October 07, 2010

Killing Two Birds with One Stone

As things have slowed into a sort of pace and living with a Krang in my brain becomes a fact of life that only occasionally hits me in the face, I find that I have less dramatic processing to do. I am still weighted down by sudden realizations of the implications to my life, but by and large, it has become a fact of life. The lessons that I am learning these days have far more to do with how to live my life with this new complication: attitudes, approaches, etc. These develop more slowly and are not as easily bloggable as have been the last three months of "crisis" moments.

Nonetheless, I have had a new idea for what to blog about. Writing "memoirs" sounds like a very lofty thing to do, but what I have in mind is just to process my life as it slowly flashes before my eyes here on the blog. Not chronological, not planned, not complete and (believe it or not) NOT in preparation for death.

I know that it could seem vain to assume that anyone really wants to hear about my life, but truthfully I have not understood why anyone is interested in what I have been writing anyway. Mostly I want to do it because I am a reflective person. Quite naturally, the threat of death would make most reflective people think about their life, and I find the the best way for me to reflect is to write. Interestingly, half of the "life" I will be reflecting on are the things that have never happened, like all the wild and sometimes unrealistic things that James and I have talked about doing together. I will continue to write about our present journey, but since it is happening slower now then before, these will be less frequent.

James is well settled into his Master's Program at the U of M and loving almost every minute of it. At some point I will get him to write about it on here so that you can also know what he is doing. My summary would fall sadly short.

It is certainly a lot of work. He reads his requisite 5000 pages of readings and then summarizes the topics for me over a number of conversations. I really enjoy this. It would be very easy for me to feel like I live in a small limited house while James lives primarily in the big wide world and comes home to sleep. I have had to avoid this train of thought, because then it would be easy for me to turn into a guilt tripping wife who is always pestering her husband to "come home". I don't want to be the kind of wife who nags her husband for attention. I want to be inviting, so that he wants to spend time with me. Thankfully for us, I find all the things that he reads about for his classes extremely interesting. It would be much harder if he was studying anything related to Math. We have always had very similar scholastic interests. This leads us to our first "reflection".

Over the course of studying for our undergraduate degrees, we discovered that we had chosen very complementary fields: James in agriculture, and me in nutrition. We started out thinking that we were in two totally different areas. In our first years I would be learning about vitamins, nutrition education and food chemistry while James studied about soil science, crop rotation and production quotas. However, as time went by we gradually realized that both of us had far more interest in the social and international implications of our degrees than in the latest scientific research. For those of you who don't know me, I have very little interest in the supplement aisle. I am a hearty proponent of a well-rounded diet (in all parts of the world) and have limited interest in supplementation of Coenzyme Q or fill-in-the-blank vegetable extract.

How many hours we spent reading about and discussing the food supply chain, the various "sell outs" in our fields, topics in development and international programming we'll never know. Whatever the case, there were many nights where we fell asleep exchanging thoughts on these various topics. This was only the beginning of more common interests. I have recently been reading a book by Jared Diamond called Collapse outlining how various societies through history have dealt with the social, economic and ecological problems facing them. It has sparked many an interesting discussion between James and I. Let me point out that these have been points of shared learning for us and expanding our knowledge base, rather than "solving the world's problems".

On a side note, I would be very quick to recommend Jared Diamond's writing. He is better known for his best-selling work, Guns, Germs and Steel. He managed to arouse my interest in the current economic and ecological challenges that are facing Montana, something that I can guarantee you I had never thought of before.

And with that somewhat random thought, I end my blogpost. The only medical update I have is that I will be going in for another MRI on Oct 22 at which point my oncologist and other neurologists will determine what the impact of my six weeks of treatment was. After that we establish a new baseline and plan from there. I will not know any of these outcomes until I see my oncologist on Oct 29.



Sue said...

On the off chance that this will make you smile (and relevant to your vitamin comment), we saw this sign in front of a church here in Houston: "The best vitamin for a Christian is B-1". (Pleez don't hurt me!)

derrydown said...

Great line, Sue! I lived in Houston and went to church at Grace Presbyterian. It is across from St. Cyril of Alexandria Catholic Church, and their signs are famous for great lines like that!

Jess, it makes me so happy to read about your conversations with James. You two are a match made in heaven. Those books are so good.
Love, Mom