happy may 13

My husband would have been 90 years old today, but he would never have been 90 years old. He died at the age of 45, a premature death, but the men in his family were not notably long-lived. I'm counting on the Viking side of my family to give my sons longer lives. So far they've passed 45.

Over the years of my survival I have learned a lot about grief and negotiation with the past, also the present and the future.  I learned the hard way how to adapt all those catchy, current phrases and ideas that keep bobbing up as if someone had just thought of them, like "cherish the moments', "live in the present"," be mindful", not to mention worn-out lines like "find out who your friends are", " lower your expectations" and "count your blessings". One is in danger of sounding cynical if one leans (in?)  on these too much.  How much is too much?

Tomorrow is Mother's Day. Milestones keep on happening - like every year. I'm being celebrated by my older son and daughter -in-law  at a Japanese brunch.  He was only 14 when his father died.  Of course, he is a father now, not yet a grandfather. (The next generation is taking its time.)  I am going to celebrate his father's birthday by writing a memoir about the man he scarcely had time to know.  

So that's all for today. The rest is private.

more words

I'm still reading, though not as much.  I'm up to page 506 in my 1100-page book by Rebecca West (Black Eagle and Grey Falcon) and some strange words emerge from that but I have started a new-to-me book by Jincy Willett that just arrived yesterday.  She is one of my favourite writers, and this  collection of short stories is rocking me. Got some new words out of it, too.  So here we go. I'm noty sue if this one came from her:

The de Broglie–Bohm theory, also known as the pilot-wave theoryBohmian mechanicsthe Bohm (or Bohm's) interpretation, and the causal interpretation, is an interpretation of quantum theory. In addition to a wave function on the space of all possible configurations, it also postulates an actual configuration that exists even when unobserved.  (Wikipedia)  (Like the tree that falls in the forest?)

Where did I get this???  

 leguminous |lɪˈgjuːmɪnəs| adjective Botany,   relating to or denoting plants of the pea family (Leguminosae). These have seeds in pods, distinctive flowers, and typically root nodules containing symbiotic bacteria able to fixnitrogen. Compare with papilionaceous.    ORIGIN late Middle English (in the sense ‘relating to pulses’): from medieval Latin leguminosus, from legumen (see legume

anamnestic |ˌanəmˈnɛstɪk| adjective Medicine, denoting an enhanced reaction of the body's immune system to an antigen which is related to one previously encountered.  (Have I seen this before?)

bariatrics |barɪˈatrɪks| plural noun [ usu. treated as sing. ]  the branch of medicine that deals with the study and treatment of obesity.   DERIVATIVES  bariatric adjective  (as in surgery, that's where I met it)  ORIGIN 1960s: from baro- + Greek intros ‘physician’ + -ics.

ocotillo |ˌəʊkəˈtiːjəʊ| noun (pl. ocotillos),  chiefly US: a spiny scarlet-flowered desert shrub of the south-western US and Mexico, which is sometimes planted as a hedge;  family Fouquieriaceae. .ORIGIN mid 19th cent.: via American Spanish (diminutive form) from Nahuatl ocotl ‘torch’. (For sure, this is from Rebecca West)

mesquite |ˈmɛskiːt, mɛˈskiːt|nouna, spiny tree or shrub of the pea family, native to arid regions of south-western US and Mexico. It yields timber, tanbark, medicinal products, and edible pods.● Genus Prosopis, family Leguminosae: several species.  (I just knew this from its use in Barbecue cooking - smoky?)

girandole |ˈdʒɪr(ə)ndəʊl|, noun, a branched support for candles or other lights, which either stands on a surface or projects from a wall.  ORIGIN mid 17th cent. (denoting a revolving cluster of fireworks): from French, from Italian girandola, from girare ‘gyrate, turn’, from Latin gyrare (see gyrate) .

stoma |ˈstəʊmə|noun (pl. stomas or stomata |-mətə| )1 Botany,  any of the minute pores in the epidermis of the leaf or stem of a plant, forming a slit of variable width which allows movement of gases in and out of the intercellular spaces. Also called stomate.• Zoology:  a small mouth-like opening in some lower animals.                2 Medicine, an artificial opening made into a hollow organ, especially one on the surface of the body leading to the gut or trachea.  DERIVATIVES stomal adjective, Medicine)  ORIGIN late 17th cent.: modern Latin, from Greek stoma ‘mouth’.

Mandelbrot, Benoît |ˈmand(ə)lbrɒt| (1924–2010), Polish-born French mathematician. Mandelbrot is known as the pioneer of fractal geometry.

fractal |ˈfrakt(ə)l|  Mathematics  noun, a curve or geometrical figure, each part of which has the same statistical character as the whole. They are useful in modelling structures (such as snowflakes) in which similar patterns recur at progressively smaller scales, and in describing partly random or chaotic phenomena such as crystal growth and galaxy formation.  adjective, relating to or of the nature of a fractal or fractals: fractal geometry.  ORIGIN 1970s: from French, from Latin fract- ‘broken’, from the verb frangere .

I was rereading some of Ruth Stone's poetry (love her), from her National Book Award Winner, In the Next Galaxy (2004). She uses the word fractal a lot in the book:

"But, oh, in this work-a-day world

where factual is fractal and

everything leads to something

else and division is beyond

control, the great ? mass

of  us is on the road...."

It''s  a  lovely book, by the way, written when Stone was 89 and losing her vision - her sight not  her vision.