Ordinary health matters, learning Lightroom, and seeing sweet Cinderella

by Rob Tiller


I took these pictures late Friday afternoon at Raulston Arboretum. The fresh blooms of early spring are gone, but there was a richness to the atmosphere, and great smells. I tweaked these with my brand new software, Lightroom 6, which I decided to buy on DVD, rather than the subscription service. After watching a number of instructional videos, getting a short lesson from my friend and colleague Ruth S., and experimenting a bit, I’m starting to get the hang of what Lightroom will do, and looking forward to improving some of my image making and storing.

Jocelyn’s been running, and texted this week that she’d taken two minutes off of her four-mile time. She was pleased! When we talked, she reported that running was helping her get to know her neighborhood Fort Green and the environs. I’m so glad she’s taking good care of herself!

Here in Raleigh, Gabe has been running, too, at a nothing-to-sneeze-at pace of 8 minutes. Thinking of his health, I asked what he was doing about health insurance since leaving his job last month, and determined he hadn’t really addressed it. I briefly panicked, since one serious accident could mean financial ruin for us all.

Sally has long been a skeptical critic of the American health care system, and pointed up an on-point new piece by Atul Gawande in the New Yorker. It’s about the incredible waste in our system from the many unnecessary medical tests, drugs that don’t’ make people better, and surgeries with more risks than benefits. Gawande is a practicing surgeon, and thus has a fair bit of credibility, as well as interesting personal anecdotes. The legal scholar in me would have appreciated more citations, but I don’t have much doubt as to Gawande’s basic point: our system is optimized to make money for hospitals and the medical establishment, rather than to keep people well, and is horribly inefficient. It’s remarkable to me that we can’t get general agreement that we need major reform.

Anyhow, we live in the world that is. At my urging, Gabe figured out how to get an ACA silver plan, which doesn’t kick in until the first of next month. Meanwhile, I counseled him to cool it for a couple or weeks on skateboarding. Also, he should be particularly conscious of looking both ways before crossing the street, and watch out for falling flower pots.

On Saturday afternoon, I took a short walk from our apartment over to K2 Massage, where I had an extraordinary therapeutic massage experience with Ken Katchuk. For this first visit, Ken told me to allow for two and a half hours, and ended up needing about three. He spent time debriefing me on ailments and old injuries, and on things I liked to do. Then he got down to the business of figuring out where my areas of tension were, and going after them. It was difficult by moments, but I felt that I was in good, experienced hands, and my body was being helped.

That evening we had dinner with friends at Buku, and saw the Carolina Ballet’s new Cinderella program. Margaret Severin-Hanson was a lovely, graceful Cinderella, and Alicia Fabry and Randi Osetek were very funny as the mean stepsisters. Fabry’s tango solo was a hoot! I wish, though, the score were less sweet and repetitious. In the second half, I really liked Zalman Rafael’s new piece, In the Gray. Set to music by Philip Glass, it is sort of an anti-Cinderella, emphasizing kinetic abstract shapes rather than characters. The dramatic side lighting deemphasized the dancer’s individuality, but Jan Burkhard, Cecilia Iliesiu, and Adam Crawford Chavis made powerful individual impressions. As with other Rafael work, this one shows deep comprehension of the music and unites with it.