Spin art at dinner

spin art!
Originally uploaded by Liz Henry.

Tonight Jo and Squid and I had dinner.

It was just Squid’s kids and Moomin, and fairly peaceful aside from my getting to experience Leelo’s more lively frustrated moments. (That is a euphemism for getting punched in the stomach, hard!) I saw how much he cheered up and settled down when Squid ran around and played with him. Also when she more or less sat on him – sometimes full body pressure or sensations like that help him focus and how he will throw himself at the couch when he’s frustrated.

We had burgers and fries and then Squid made us lemon-ginger tea with honey; lemons squeezed and ginger chopped up very very small. Delicious.

When Iz wanted to make spin art I was grouchy and impatient and did not want to mess about with paint. My memory of spin art: my mom would put the spinny thing in a high-walled cardboard box, and paint would still spatter everywhere. We wore my dad’s old tshirts and newspaper was down on the floor. Paint still got everywhere.

In retrospect some of this may have been due to the differences between 1976 vs. 2006 spin art technology. More was due to my personal talent in getting paint everywhere if I even look at it crosseyed. You should see me and the bathroom after I purple up every few weeks. Ha!

I’ve been thinking non stop about Jo and her upcoming surgery. I am morbid and yet trying to be cheerful … we examined her scars from previous laparotomies or some other major abdominal surgeries. There’s no way around it, this is going to suck and be really painful for her. I read obsessively on the net about ovarian cysts (not just the “you have a cyst out of control” but “There are massive multiple cysts all over your pelvis and your ca-125 count is up” cysts. The CA-125 count does not seem to mean much on its own as it has a very high false positive rate and it being low does not mean much either; but they take it as a baseline and its changes over time can be meaningful. Also, malignant ovarian cancer is really rare and the benign kind is yukky but way, way more common. Still, I’m extremely unnerved and being around Jo and knowing full well her freakoutedness under (or seething amidst) the braveness she displays I just want to pat her, every second, or give her giant hugs. But one can’t be hugging and acknowledging all that freakedoutedness all the time and so I opt for the morbid joke and the comforting swig of tea.

And then though I have been thinking about this all weekend I haven’t wanted to write about it because it seemed like it could look like deliberate melodrama and also one could say dumb things. Or make it worse by talking about it. Or write about it on one’s blog for the hit counts to go up, even, or people might think that of me. On the other hand the more I think hard about something upsetting, the weirder and more unnatural it is *not* to blog about it, and the more it feels like a lie not to say. I am sure many other bloggers know what I mean about that feeling. And since Jo is writing about this on her own blog(s), it would at some point be more odd for me NOT to talk about it, since we’re friends. (That was convoluted!)

But YES of course underneath I am ready to cry constantly and going “Aaaaa is this the last time I will look at the stars with my friend? Or drive around together, or eat dinner? Please don’t let her die from surgery or in the hospital afterwards in some horrible way or slowly from cancer afterwards.” Duh. Of course that was going through my head every single second. Combined with the inevitable self-centered wallowing thoughts like “If only I had been a better friend, then right now I would not feel so crappy.” (Which of course is not true.)

So in the car I put on the funky “Stymie and the P.L.I.O.” cd that Barak gave me and played the “Home” song on it to feel better, which worked like a fabulous funky hot bath of soothing cheer on my freaked-out heart. I wished I could have been shining and brilliant and witty and funny to distract and cheer her. Instead I was just sort of there. We hope that’s enough sometimes.

Back to the spin art. As I said, I was grouchy and negative thinking of the fuss and clean-up for Squid that it would surely entail. (After a long day for her and a night spent at the hospital with baby Mali, who had croup.) Squid was more cheerful, helped, figured out the paint situation, all while lugging a baby around, making tea, trying to eat her own dinner, and wrangling Leelo. So I settled in and then got very into making the little squares of cardboard. Iz and Moomin made a bunch of them, and Jo and I took our turns! We pushed the medium; as always she is an ideal partner for making a slightly boring activity as interesting as possible and asking silly yet excellent questions like “What can we do to this square of cardboard and spinny machine that no one meant us to do?” We used hairpins and french fries to smudge and scratch the paint and, given a little more time, could probably have invented something horrifying. There was some wild talk about using non-paint household substances.

It was a cosy, nice, low-key night. And may there be many more.

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