A Safer and Saner Place

I sometimes so thoroughly confuse myself that correcting my jumbled thoughts takes considerable time and effort.

Recently, as I was watching one of my favorite Finnish television crime dramas, I noticed that the producers showed the wrong title on the show’s credits. That should have made me realize the jumble was in my mind, not on the screen. But it took a while. I looked through my several postings that mentioned the show. In every case (almost), I showed the title (incorrectly) as Borderland.  After checking several sources, I determined that my certainty had been misplaced. The correct title of the series is, in fact, Bordertown. My embarrassment overwhelmed me. I spent about thirty minutes searching my blog for the title I used erroneously, then correcting each occurrence. Not that my blog will ever be considered a true and correct record of anything but the jangled intellectual and emotional barbwire and tar inhabiting my brain. But I wanted the title of that series to be correct so that, later, when I return to read what I’ve written, I will not be as confused as I was before settling on the true and correct title of the series. Sometimes I think I should be euthanized, making the world a safer and saner place.

Last night, that Finnish television series—the one I mistakenly misnamed—came to an end. I finally watched the last episode of the third season. Each hour-long episode was interesting, well-planned, well-executed programming. I hated to see it come to an end. And the final episode was an emotional one, for me. Ach, I am a sucker for stories that grab me by the heart strings in such innovative ways.

What’s next? I don’t know. Mindless laugh-track programming holds absolutely no appeal. Nor do the American versions of crime dramas; they seem so utterly artificial, so thoroughly plastic. Macho cops whose emotions are crafted of tin and peanut brittle and aluminum foil. Blech! Fortunately, I have a long list of prospects, many of which come highly recommended by people whose taste in such stuff I trust and value.


Yesterday, I had a relaxing, enjoyable, and entertaining brunch with a friend from church, who suggested we meet at Xplore Lakeside, the newish restaurant on Lake Balboa. We got there just as it opened at 11. From the moment we sat down, I felt remarkably comfortable and relaxed. My friend has that effect on people, I think; in her presence, people just feel comfortable and welcome. She exudes charm and ease. I might have felt more comfortable on the deck, from the perspective of avoiding potential exposure to COVID-19, but the air was far too chilly and damp. And we wore masks until we each were served a Bloody Mary.

After lunch, I went home and logged in to a Zoom gathering designed to encourage sharing memorable holiday stories. My story was one of a few that touched on failed attempts to get restaurant meals on holidays. My wife and I have an off-again, on-again tradition of going out for non-traditional holiday meals. One year, at Christmas, we decided to take a spur-of-the-moment road trip. We ended up late Christmas Day in Marble Falls, Texas, where we could not find an open restaurant. We decided to pause our search and check in to a motel, then continue our food quest. The second portion of our food quest was just as  fruitless as the first. Finally, we gave up and stopped at a convenience store, where we bought some frozen bean burritos. We took them back to our motel room, where we planned to microwave them for our Christmas dinner. But the microwave did not work. So we waited until the burritos thawed and enjoyed (that’s not quite the right word) our non-traditional Christmas dinner.


If the temperature cooperates today, the unpainted treated lumber top railing and the few replacement spindles will be painted today, completing my years-long deck refurbishing project. The painter texted me last night, asking me to bring the paint inside to stay reasonably warm in preparation for painting today. Once he completed that (or maybe before), the painter will transform into handyman and will replace the fluorescent fixtures in the workroom behind the garage with LED fixtures I bought a few days ago.

I had planned to take the car into Little Rock today for its 72,000 mile service, but I rescheduled for a couple of weeks hence. As I looked at my late November and December calendars, I saw several medical appointments: blood draw, CT scan, oncology appointment, surgery two-year follow-up, etc. And I already cancelled another one, which was to remove some annoying skin disturbances with fire (probably not fire, actually, but the doctor said he would burn them off). I guess the point was to have all this done late in the year so they would be covered by the year’s coverage for which a deductible has already been paid. I suspect it’s a bit late to reschedule. But maybe I can reschedule the surgery follow-up to coincide with the car’s service; both are in Little Rock. We’ll see.


I will attempt today to speak with the administrator of the rehab facility where my wife is undergoing therapy. I have a few bones to pick with the facility, mostly involving communications. But I also question how much therapy my wife is getting and I’d like someone to give me a guess, at least, as to how long she might need to stay. Have I mentioned I am growing increasingly distrustful of rehabilitation facilities for elderly patients?


It’s just after 7. Time to shower, shave, and otherwise prepare for a day that probably does not really require me to be especially clean and presentable. But being clean and properly dressed probably puts me, mentally, in a safer, saner place.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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