Tony's dear friend Mark's sister, Gretchen, died around noon on Thursday. Not a month earlier, when she had gone into the hospital for an unrelated surgery, doctors discovered she had cancer in several places. It was a very fast-moving and difficult-to-treat type, and she wasn't offered a lot of hope.
I never met Gretchen, but I've grown to love Mark in the short time I've come to know him through Tony, and I feel just awful for him. Gretchen's death especially hits home for me given that his sister was around Tracey's age and she left behind a young son.
On Facebook this morning, Mark posted a credo by Jack London* that Gretchen's boss read at her memorial service yesterday. Mark wrote that "it sums her up in a shockingly accurate way. She never screwed around in life or in the end."
I would rather be ashes than dust!
I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot.
I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.
The function of man is to live, not to exist.
I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them.
I shall use my time.
We had another cancer scare with Rudy. We noticed a lump in his front left arm pit. And his ribs seemed to be sticking out there more than before. And Tony felt a smaller lump on the other side. So we started to worry that the melanoma had returned and was in his lymph nodes. Or had spread there and been mistakenly undetected. And then we recalled that he seemed to be even more sleepy than usual of late. And not as energetic on his walks as he used to be. And Tony said he was having some difficulty breathing on Friday. And then Tony went online and played Internet veterinarian while I was at work, and before you know it, we had just about convinced ourselves that the boy was a goner.
We took our special little guy to see the vet—Dr. Klafin at Greenwich Village Animal Hospital because Dr. Sane was on vacation—on Saturday, and she put our minds at ease. She looked at fluid from the lumps, and it looked like what you would expect to see in a fatty deposit, she said. She took a chest X-ray, and everything looked normal. She showed us the images. As you'd expect, Rudy has a big heart. :-) As Tony said when we were walking home, Well, Rudy could make a large fist with his paw, so it shouldn't be surprising that his heart is rather large.
The fluid was sent to a lab, and we should hear back from Dr. Klafin by the middle of this week. And we're feeling a lot happier in the meantime.
On Saturday night, Tony and I caught the Roundabout Theatre Company's production of The Mystery of Edwin Drood. It was quite a bit of fun. Tony enjoyed it too.
I particularly liked Stephanie J. Block as male impersonator Alice Nutting and the title character. The show's convention is that the actors play both a performer in a British music hall and a character or characters within the mystery story, which Charles Dickens had left uncompleted at the time of his death. This show was the third in which I've seen Block; 9 to 5 and Anything Goes were the others.
Block had the most outstanding exit I've ever seen on Broadway. She bitterly leaves the theater as Nutting, with a little dog in her arms, after the other actor characters vote to determine that Edwin Drood is indeed dead, thus ending Nutting's participation in the rest of the show. (Though not really, because Drood comes back a bit at the very end.) That's the first question that must be answered toward the end of the show, and it's always answered in the affirmative by the cast, which gets to vote on this question alone.
The rest of the questions are decided by the audience: Which character disguises herself/himself as detective Dick Datchery? Who murdered Edwin Drood? And which male and female characters should fall in love? Most questions are answered by loudness of applause, but the murderer is determined when cast members who aren't murder suspects go out into the audience and count upraised arms. The votes are tabulated, and the appropriate ending is acted out. And the results of the voting are posted on chalkboards above the exit doors so you'll know exactly how many votes your selection received.
I thought Will Chase did an excellent job as Clive Paget/John Jasper. The show is written to want to steer you away from choosing Jasper as the murderer because he's the most-obvious suspect. Dickens was going to make him the murderer if he'd finished the story, or so this here Wikipedia article says. We see Jasper fantasize about killing his nephew, who's engaged to be married to Rosa Bud, a girl Jasper wants for himself. And Jasper strangles but doesn't kill the clownish gravedigger Durdles's son. Durdles/Nick Cricker is being performed by Robert Creighton, who I thought did a great job filling in for Joel Gray as Moonface Martin the second time I saw Anything Goes.
We didn't get to see the other big name in the show, Chita Rivera as Angela Prysock/The Princess Puffer. She had the night off.
Bazzard was Dick Datcher, Rosa was the murderer (she mistook Drood for Jasper, whom she hated, because Drood was wearing Jasper's coat), and the Princess and Durdles's son were the very unlikely lovers.
The dogs reached a new plateau in neediness last night, especially the boy. Rudy was in the bed with Tony when I went to sleep, and Missy joined us once I got in bed. Both dogs got as close to me as they could. At one point in the night, Rudy woke me up by sniffing at my head, walking and turning around a lot between my head and Tony's head, and acting rather whiney. Tony said this morning that he woke later to find Rudy grasping at his upper arm with both paws. I think Rudy was acting that way because Missy stayed in the bed all night. Or at least most of it.
The girl and boy continue to vie for attention from us. Missy has a cute-but-somewhat-annoying whine when she wants to be petted. And Rudy still insists on being the first out the door of the apartment or elevator.
Today, the woofers were more relaxed around each and looked like they were holding each other's paw.
I had a terrific lunch with Tony at the Rosa Mexicano near Union Square today. We both got the tacos with seasonal roasted vegetables, Yucatán macadamia nut Poc Choc, and vegetable eschabeche. The three tacos were topped with a crispy fried kale leaf.
When we left, I felt full (especially after eating a ton of chips and salsa, mostly before the entrees arrived) but not stuffed. I'm not typically a fan of chain restaurants, but the food at RM is always fresh and imaginative.
Last night, Tony and I finished watching the complete series of Police Squad!, with Leslie Nielsen as Frank Drebin, on DVD. It ran for only six episodes on ABC in 1982. It was funny at times but not a laugh riot. I think the Naked Gun movies, which were based on Police Squad, had a higher percentages of jokes that landed.
There were several running gags found in every episode. My favorite was when another person, usually a celebrity, would get advice or information from Johnny, the shoeshine guy, after Frank spoke with him about the crime he was investigating.
There was also always a non sequitur below the words Act II when the show returned from the first commercial break. In one of the episodes we watched last night, it said Gesundheit below Act II, which was a remarkable coincidence for me. Earlier, at the Game Party, Mark misread one of the words he was supposed to convey in Catch Phrase as gesundheit when it actually said scrutinize on his screen. I think he might need to start considering reading glasses. :-)
All Bordeaux was on sale at Astor Wines & Spirits two Tuesdays ago, and Tony and I took advantage. So far, our three favorites are the 2009 Château Cambon La Pelouse from Haut-Médoc, the 2010 Ch. Bellevue from Entre-Deux-Mers (which I find is a much better appellation than Entre-Deux-Merdes), and the 2011 Ch. La Rame.
We had the La Rame, a blend of sauvignon blanc and semillon, on Friday with turkey burgers (which I got some nice color on) seasoned with tarragon and savory and roasted potatoes with Penzys Spices' Sunny Paris mixture ...
For me, the La Rame started out with grapefruit on the nose and palate and opened up to gooseberry. We enjoyed it.
We had the Ch. Bellevue last Tuesday with Chicken in Garlic Sauce that Tony made. He got some great color on his chicken breasts.
Tony loved the salad I made: celery, carrot, butter lettuce, and a Meyer lemon dressing with dried savory.
We both really enjoyed the wine, which had notes of apple, lemon, and lime.
Yesterday, we had Rich over for lunch. Tony made his Moroccan beef stew with apricots and raisins in the slow cooker, with saffron rice ...
... and Brussels sprouts with lemon.
The Ch. Cambon La Pelouse was delightful. We'll be buying more.
I bought a couple of hellebores at the Greenmarket on Saturday and planted them on either side of one of our dwarf Alberta spruces.
For indoors, I bought two bunches of anemones. The previous ones I got had lasted 2 1/2 weeks in the greenhouse. They really liked the cold.
On Wednesday, Tony made the best chicken dish I've had in quite a while: Lemon-Sage Chicken Cutlets. He also made quinoa with orange and thyme and steamed frozen veggies.
Yesterday morning, I got my favorite oatmeal in the neighborhood, from Think Coffee just a little ways up 8th Avenue, south of 14th.
The oatmeal is made fantastic thanks to the addition of raisins, cinnamon, honey, and steamed milk.
Tony bought a fun-for-me effervescent red wine at Moore Brothers that I drank with a superquick dinner of Fruitful O's after the gym on Saturday.
Tony didn't like it that much at all, and I agree that it wasn't worth the $22 plus tax he paid. But it was a hoot to drink, like grape soda with the smallest (only 5%) alcoholic kick. And it paired nicely with the fruity cereal. :-)
*In researching whether to call this a poem—I shouldn't be—I discovered it actually hasn't been confirmed that London wrote anything but the first line of this credo.