Becoming - March 2004

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HARD WATER...Becoming...

Donna Camp



††††††††† Iím behind on minac so I definitely have to get a zine done.Iím not sure if it will be long enough but it will be something.And Iíll have it to Lucy before deadline!Donít faint, everyone. :)The reason is that tomorrow I am going to have my next surgery - a knee replacement.I have to be at the hospital at 6AM, so I am getting this done beforehand.I donít know how long Iíll be in the hospital.The nurse at my surgeonís office said two weeks, but I have had too much trouble with my insurance company to think that may happen without hassle.Then, almost as soon as I get out of the hospital, if the insurance company goes along with my surgeon, we will be off to Lunacon.For a number of reasons I canít go into at this time, this may well be our last Lunacon for a while.And after that we will be trying to clean the house up enough to host the very last annish of APA-NYU that Marc will be running.In a sad concurrence of events, we learned a couple of days ago of the sudden death of one of the original founders of APA-NYU: Samuel Edward Konkin, III.We will miss him.


††††††††† Rehab takes forever.The exercises are boring and time-consuming.I get tired of being ďsickĒ and want to do more normal things (like read or play computer games) that keep me distracted from the ongoing tediousness of rehab to surgery to rehab.I get to the point where I can, for instance, do most everyday things with my arms and get too bored and/or impatient to want to keep up the exercises.So I ignore that I still canít quite get my arm up high enough to reach the back of my head and put my hair in a pony-tail.What the hell...I can always lean on the wall for that last couple of inches. And when the only progress is to get strong enough to get more surgery which will make me weak again, there doesnít seem to ever really be any progress.

††††††††† However, every once in a while something happens that lets me see how far I have come.One of those things this year (well, last year really, but whoís counting?) was being able to make my holiday breads.I make three kinds of quick breads - whole-wheat pumpkin, applesauce raisin oatmeal, and cranberry orange nut - and give one of each to family, neighbors and some friends.Iím still not independent in the activity, but I could hobble to the kitchen and sit in a chair.Then Marc or sometimes Ethan would get down the ingredients I needed and stand by to move things from one surface to another.So I managed with that assistance to get two batches of the first two (about 5 loaves each) and three of the last (about 4 loaves each) with extra batches of muffins for the house.I also managed to bake a birthday cake for Ethan and cupcakes for him to take to the birthday `eventí he had with his friends.†† It was way too much, but it felt good.It felt like I was `back to normalí, overdoing like I used to. It did show me that I have made progress, but it also showed me that I really do have to keep working on those upper arms exercises.

††††††††† And I also had the energy, again with help, to put up some holiday lights. I used to like to put them up on the winter solstice, along with the tree, and keep them up till the spring equinox.In practice I would wimp out on the window lights, but I always kept the tree up, keeping the sun alive until it was reborn.Ethan was home for semester break, and besides helping me with my bread baking, he helped me with that, too. Not as many as I used to, but more than the last couple of years.I like white lights around the windows with evergreen, and the menorah in the center.†† For many years I used to use old strings, tediously checking all the lights in a string and replacing the ones that were burned out.I had one particular set that had the evergreen around the wire and clear caps over the bulbs that would diffuse the light; but the last time I used them they were half burned out and it was a chore to change them all and then find out that it was the fuses that were burned out.Then after I got them all working, they only stayed lit for a few days.(Just because I picked them up off the street out of someone elseís trash, I donít see why they shouldnít work forever.)Marc went out shopping to find me enough white lights to try to do it again.He wasnít sure what was watt with all the different sizes and styles, so he bought an assortment. This time I couldnít get them lit at all - changing all the bulbs, changing the fuses - hours of messing around.He finally talked me into giving up on them and letting him look for something else I could use, so he and Ethan went out looking, (Ethan has a clearer idea of the decorative ideas I have, in part because Marc thinks itís something he canít do because heís color-blind) but they werenít able to get an exact duplicate.So Ethan and I took the evergreen from an old string and managed to wrap it around a new string.There were no caps to make the lights more star-like, but it wasnít too bad. And Ethan got it up into the window near the start of Chanukah.And since Marc had bought some colored lights too, we strung some up on the fireplace.AndI rediscovered something:Christmas lights make me happy.I also learned itís probably more time-, and maybe even cost-effective to give up the old stuff.At this point in my life, at least, itís a false economy to keep replacing old bulbs and spending hours checking the strings.I canít do it like I used to, and itís likely I wonít ever be able to again because Iím going to keep on getting older, after all.New strings cost about $5; my time and energy are worth more than that.I resent the wastefulness of the industry that plans things this way.But Christmas lights make me happy and itís ok to spend a little money on happiness.


††††††††† The second day I was in the nursing home last year, Garyís mother fell and broke some bones in her backHe has had to stay with her since then, mostly to make sure she doesnít fall again, but also to help her get to all her doctorsí appointments and such, much as he used to do for me.As my mobility has increased, we have managed to work around his absence, partly because Marc is currently retired on full pay, till the end of the year since he wasnít willing to move to Florida when the bank did.Hopefully, by that time all my surgery will be done and I will be independant again.Still, I have missed having Gary here, especially during football season.I still watched the games, but the few times he was able to come over and join me, it was clear that friends make football more fun.I sure hope that next football season he will be able to be here more often.


††††††††† My heart fell when Ethan told me that he and Esther had broken up.It was a literal feeling.And even though it was a clear possibility once they went to college, it left me stunned.I havenít been sure how to address it, since Esther is in the apa, too.For a while I was so upset that I cried, myself, over every broken-heart, lonely song I would hear.I still tear up sometimes. I really like Esther.I really liked Ethan and Esther together.I really liked how happy Ethan was when he was happy with Esther.But I really hurt over how unhappy Ethan was sometimes.I very selfishly want my kid to never be hurt or unhappy.I know itís impossible.I even know it wouldnít be good for him.Nevertheless, I want itAnd because I like Esther, I hurt over her being unhappy, too.And I want her to be happy, too.For a long time I hoped it would be another passing trouble that they would find a way to get through; that they could eventually find a way to be happy together.But I realized last disty, when Esther said Ethan had told her he didnít love her any more, that it wasnít going to happen.Iím sitting here crying over how much that must have hurt you, Esther, and I sincerely hope your hurt will have healed soon, and as well as it can.

††††††††† Maybe because I am a woman, too, I empathized with Esther.I could see that Ethan was not completely happy being `singleí again, but he didnít seem as broken up even as I was, much less Esther.It wasnít till one of those late-in-the-night, traveling-in-a-car conversations over Thanksgiving that I began to get a glimpse of what was happening for him.What he said was that he was finally beginning to feel like himself again.Marc asked him who he had been, and he had trouble putting it into words, but it amounted to trying to be what he thought other people wanted him to be, and that he had been doing that with Esther for a long time.It was also something he had been doing through-out his senior year of high school and freshman year at college, as he `lostí old friends and began to try to make new ones.Perhaps another reason that I donít empathize with that is that when I was that age, I never was `myselfí;my Self was someone I kept finding for the first time all through my adolescence and twenties, and in fact, still keep finding, though at a slower pace.I wonder if this is a gender-linked difference, or if it means maybe we did do a better job raising our kid than was done for me, at least.

††††††††† Now he is getting involved with someone else and it is good to see him happy again.I hope he is going to keep on being himself.


††††††††† I have one particular comment to make.(I apologize for the lack of mailing comments, again, but I have to be at the hospital at 6 AM tomorrow (2-26-04) morning for the next installment on my rebuilt chassis.)Lucy, I really think you are doing a fine job as an OE.I donít think it is a reflection on you that the apa is shrinking.I donít think many apae are doing well with the change to Internet communication that seems to be taking over the world.We apa people are becoming dinosaurs, and there are fewer and fewer of us to keep the medium alive, let alone growing.Witness the changes that are happening in APA-NYU.We can but hope for a new equilibrium, at a level that will probably be smaller.While I donít want you to be doing something that doesnít please you any more, I hope you will find ways to be pleased for quite a while yet.


††††††† As before, the concurrence of the APA-NYU annish collation and the next BWA collation, as well as (hopefully) the interest from people in both apas, makes a common zine seem common sense, especially since, as I said above, this will be the last APA- NYU annish that Marc will be running.Therefore I am again combining the zinesfor the occasion.




This has been Hard Water... Becoming...

for BWA, APA NYU and Friends

from Donna Camp

1088 East 40th St.

Brooklyn NY, 11210

phone: (718)692-2373


home page:



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