Posts Tagged With: skin cancer

How High’s The Water?

Random things I learned this week:

1. A washing machine has a valve for the purpose of shutting off the water when the tub has filled to the proper level. This is a mechanical device. It can fail. It sometimes does.

2. There are formulas for determining how much water per second pours out of an overflowing washer and how many gallons of water are required to fill a bathroom floor to a depth of one inch. When you’re busy mopping up water, you don’t care about these formulas.

3. Two flat-sided plastic bowls meant to store leftovers, one in each hand, are surprisingly effective tools for scooping up water from a vinyl floor.

4. A sponge mop and a large hand-held natural sponge, each capable of soaking up a pint or so of water, are useful items no household should be without.

5. Once a bathroom floor fills to a certain level, water will seep through the wall into the adjacent storage room. When there are two boxes of important papers and two boxes of rock samples against that wall, the law of inevitable consequences insures that the boxes of papers will be in the direct path of the water while the boxes of rocks stay high and dry.

6. The roughly 30-inch by 30-inch area of nice carpet just outside the door of a flooded bathroom can hold an astonishing amount of water.

7. Pressing this water out of the carpet can require all the old towels from the rag bag, all the dirty towels that had been intended for the next load of laundry, and several clean towels. (Household hint: use the dark ones first.)

8. Once the water is soaked up, what do you do with a pile of waterlogged towels? Why, toss them into the washing machine, of course. Um—never mind.

9. When someone has had a skin cancer removed from his forehead, he is sent home with a list of care instructions. Oddly enough, mopping up water and moving heavy boxes of stuff to drier ground are not on that list as recommended activities.

10. When the writer of a weekly blog post is scrounging for a topic, she may hope something out of the ordinary will happen. The writer should be careful what she wishes for.

Categories: Just For Fun, Odds and Ends | Tags: , | 2 Comments

A Nose by any Other Name Would Smell as Sweet

Years ago, on my single (so far) visit to New York City, I had a chance to spend an afternoon at the Museum of Modern Art. One of the highlights of that visit was seeing a collection of works by Auguste Rodin. He is famous for his iconic and powerful sculptures like “The Kiss” and “The Thinker.”

Yet the piece I liked most in the MOMA collection is a portrait bust in white marble called “Madame X.” It shows a woman with a simple hairstyle and no jewelry, her head tilted slightly and her chin raised at an aristocratic angle. She has a nose that a tactful person would describe as “prominent.” It isn’t an ugly nose, but you might say it stands out. In profile, it makes a line that starts at her brow, sweeps smoothly up to the top of a small slope, and makes an abrupt descent. It’s the kind of nose that would be an asset on someone in authority like, say, a high-school algebra teacher.

To me, it’s the nose that gives the woman’s face its character. Apparently Rodin agreed. The bust was commissioned as a portrait of Anna-Elizabeth de Noailles, a French countess. Based on existing photographs of her, it’s an accurate likeness rather than a society portrait meant to flatter.

Had Rodin been a different kind of sculptor, no doubt he would have performed artistic surgery and given the portrait a more conventional and prettier nose. Financially if not artistically, this would have been wise on his part. When MOMA bought the bust from Rodin in 1910, his records showed that the countess had refused to accept it. Apparently she didn’t appreciate her nose.

Which I understand. I’ve never appreciated mine, either. It isn’t as large as hers, but it doesn’t have an elegant swoop like hers, either. It’s just there in the middle of my face, in a rather boring and ordinary way.

A couple of years ago, though, the dermatologist removed a skin cancer from my nose. Fortunately, the surgery didn’t leave any major dents, ridges, or mismatched grafted skin. There’s just a scar that isn’t noticeable to anyone but me.

Still, this has given me a new appreciation for my nose. Aside from some relatively minor sinus issues, it works reliably, day in and day out. It allows me to enjoy aromas like new-mown grass, roses, just-bathed babies, brownies fresh out of the oven, and bacon. It has reliably held up my glasses ever since I was in second grade. Given all that, I can live with the fact that no one will ever want to immortalize it in marble.

Even though, given a choice, the nose I have isn’t necessarily the one I would have picked.

Categories: Odds and Ends | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

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