Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy birthday to ME ME ME..just in case you forgot

We spent yesterday with my in-laws..two WONDERFUL people. FIL spent 2 years in Stalag 13 in WWII and I even went to CHURCH. My AI students are holding a special sweat lodge ceremony for me and I bought my CD'S, will burn burn them and know for a fact I will never need them.

I will be fine. When I remember, I will post my music. You can cry your eyes out with relief/ Well now not only can I not find the apostrophe key, I can/t find the period key either/

The VA will hold a special service for me on the day of my surgery...maybe as soon as next week. I have a brain doc here in Prescott and one in LV ( long humongous story....favors to friends) just so I could take this trip.

Girlie has been working on the home from; handling the phone calls from UCSF/Stanford and forwarding them to my doc there at home.

It has been so beautiful here...I love the Grand Canyon and will be up in a couple of hours to see the sunrise. We saw all kinds of elk, antelope, eensy little rabbits....when you are not tromping around, you get to really look at stuff. I saw a whole flock of the smallest quail..not California or Egyptian quail that I have but soft gray ones. Quali, still the same.

Met the Man from UNCLE..not Ducky..the other guy. Regular guy.. Very nice.

Found the BEST SOAP in the world. Glycerin soap poured into a loofah and the cut into maybe quarter inch slices. THE BEST.

I had the most wonderful visit with my friend in LV..we taught together for years and she teaches at a GED-Casino school. Evidently, you don;t need a GED to be a showgirl but you do need one to do any of the other work at the casino and the CASINO will pay for it. She is able to set her own schedule and just loves it. When I get enough hair, I'm going to the showgirl hairdresser and get some hair woven into my head---compliments of the showgirls. How lucky is THAT?

The only advice I have for you...any and all of to start on your memory jars now. Every day brings at least ONE thing you'd like to remember. Type it up on the computer (it's not like we're not ON it) and once a week or so, print it out and roll it up and drop it in a jar. In the 35 years I have been teaching, there are a million memories I have jammed in my 404 file....all my Rotney stories, my art projects, just silly things. The ones I have saved..funny, serious, mad, dead serious....well, after 35 years, most of the bd ones have been softened and were not so bad in hind sight but the funny ones are too hysterical.

Boy-o and Girlie are making one for me...and I almost shudder to think of what they will come up with! The bought BIG jar at Michael's, got the stick on letters that say Memories in a goofy font and acid etched the glass. Boyo said they used my 000 knitting needles to roll them up tight enough to really get a lot in. And here I thought they never heard a word I said.

I think I am getting my toes done tomorrow because I feel like it. I have to stop in at the head doc in Prescott and have her look at things. (Today has been good--I'm typing in none hysterical English). Looking forward to the Rose Parade. It is so beautiful in real life that I hope you all get a chance to go. Incredible. I think I have only missed one Rose Parade IN MY LIFE and that was when I was born, two days before. My Da loved parades.

I feel at peace and I have so much of that I owe toy ou all. Even if I never mention you by name, know that you are thought of often and loved, loved, loved.

So very loved.

By trying, we can easily learn to endure adversity-another man's, I mean.
Mark Twain

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

And a welcome to Miss Illiana Marie

My friend Cher is having a new baby grand daughter and wanted a simple little cross-stitched poem , suitable for framing. Well, I can do that! First you find a font you can stand and then you chart out the writing part, line by line. Find the center of each line and off you go to the races. And I mean that literally...I dragged this project EVERYWHERE and was working on it while Lily's mother was in labor. Every child deserves to have something handmade for them. And knowing Cher...well thiswas just a tiny little project so Miss Lily will knowthae she is loved,loved,loved.

Monday, December 24, 2007

There is just no place like home for the holidays

I know there are families who do Christmas both easily and well.
I do Thanksgiving well and have hosted oh, somewhere around 5-60 people for Turkey day...and it is wonderful. However, comparing Thanksgiving to Christmas is like taking the Miller's Analogy Test. A post-doctoral in idiocy.

So my main focus has been on ME, MY HEAD and MY HEADACHES, punctuated briefly by ambulance drives to the ER. That's what my holiday planning has been about. I have a tentative date for surgery, my bag is packed and my paperwork is in order.

Inserted into this was a total meltdown by my husband, who tossed my daughter out of the house. (I know. I got him drugs from a doctor and had some very hard, harsh words for him. But the outcome of THAT is going to have to wait until I get out of rehab).

Then my friend, my very best since 8th grade friend suggested that PERHAPS, being as how the hysteria has gotten the best of my spouse that I should spend Christmas with my mother and children...

When I told Mom about this surgery (mainly because she gets all crazed if something major goes on, and she iwill nevitably finds out and go insane, since it's NOT a secret) There truly is nothing worse than a feeble, frail old woman screaming and sobbing. Too bad I do not have a carry permit. So, in my usual INSANE style of living my life, I decided to let my 86 year old mother know what was going on with me...just in case I died or had a stroke. I felt she should at least KNOW. (Big mistake.) After the weeping and wailing; How did you get it? Is it my fault? You haven't been the same since xyz (actually, since I started thinking for MYSELF), sob, weep, wail....oh Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus, WHAT was I thinking?

When I told her that it was congenital (as opposed to being caused by an injury), she went nuts over it was her fault. (WHO CARES? Not me. I am content enought to know what the heck it is and have no need to lay blame. If this isn ot the way God wanted me, he certainly has had time to change it.).

Then it was off to the races, with Pity Party in the lead, followed closely by Holiday Hysteria, with No Flowers at the Gravesite and One Step into the Grave, neck and neck in third place.

It looks like it is going to be a close one, folks. These fours equines have trained for years for this Holiday Triple Crown -Holy Mary Mother of God, What Were You Thinking is coming up from behind and it looks like this race is going to be a surprise finish. Folks, I hope you backed either Original Drama Queen or Screamin' Diva, because it looks like those two are going to pass the relative newcomers on the field.

Spend the holiday with my mother. What WERE you thinking?

Sunday, December 23, 2007

My bag is packed

Shaved my legs.
Bought some new jeans.
Finished up buying for Christmas.
So now I have PLENTY of time to surf the 'net and see what iti s I am getting myself into. My idea of bzzzzzt, staple and three days (sort of my own version of brain surgery catch and release) isn't EXACTLY what is in store for me.

I went over to my mother's today and she is in one dramatic upset state. My sister, who is a NP and told her that I might not me coming home (this I knew but have tried to just ignore...I'm good at ignoring reality that doesn't fit with my own personal view of the world). SHE is beside herself. Here she is getting ready to go into a nursing home and here I am, having my head drilled into. Girlie pipes up "You two could be cellies!!" which just struck me as just too funny.

HOWEVER....and this is so rotten of me....I am going to pretend I don't recognize anyone when I wake up. I just gotta remember who I'm going to think they are. My Da thought I was Marie Jones, Wendy Jones's wife for years....

Thanks for all of the good thoughts. I am scared to death.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

10 year olds and Craftsman drills

I am number 1 with a bullet on the head drilling list. That means if someone drops off the list for ANY REASON, I will be called. The doctor I talked to in SF said people drop out all hte time; family/housing problems, transportation problems, they have a cold, they cut themselves...all kinds of reasons, big and small.

So I talked to Jennifer, who explained all of the calling, arriving, checking in stuff.

Then I talked briefly to my doctor who sounded like a 10 year old. He explained a little about what he was going to do (drill a hole in my head and then rummage about, like me looking for change in the bottom of my handbag). MY real concern was whether "they" were going to shave my head (maybe, maybe no---sometimes yes, sometimes partly, sometimes not). I'm not sure I want to hand my life over to a guy who can;t make a simple decision about shaving my head.

Obviously, he is NOT in touch with what is of prime importance to ME.

So here's hoping I get a call on Monday or Thursday. It's a six hour surgery, so I should get a lot of rest and if all goes well, I'll be home bald head and all by my birthday.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I love the ER

I was at work yesterday because I needed to tidy yp my desk and files for this HUGE audit going on this week. WHY anyone would schedule a huge audit the week before a three week holiday is beyond me. But why anyone where I work decideds to do anything is also beyond me.

So I am quietly working away, with one of my fists jammed into my left eye. (It hurts enough to jam my fist in there, but not enough for me to start crying :Mother of God!@ Kill me now!") My cop walks by and does that double take skid and asks me if I feel okay. Yeah, I feel fine. Well, I'm just asking because you have YOUR FIST JAMMED IN YOUR EYESOCKET. Well, now that you mention it, I really don;t feel so good.

So I decide to call my boss...who is out of the office. So I call HIS boss...who is out of the office, too. So then I'm going to call their boss, Mrs. S-B. That is when my sargent and captain come strolling in. Maybe I'd like the MTA's come check on me? Sure. Sounds fine. Evidently my blood pressure was so high that in SECONDS here comes the ambulance.

So I'm at the facility hospital and the sarge has called my husband to come get me.
Mrs. S-B opines that I CAN WALK TO THE BUS STOP and wait for him, since he hasn;t been cleared to come onto grounds.

My LT goes that military ballistic on her: no, I am not trotting off anywhere and he has ISU waiting to escort my husband to get me. The medical officer decides that I need to go to a REAL (as opposed to an inmate hospital, which isn't set up for civilians). So just minutes later, here comes a real ambulance. By this point, I'm not too sure who I am or when I was born or any of the other pointed questions they ask you in the ambulance. I DO know what is wrong with me (short term memory is intact).

My boss is with me and honestly, I think he is going to pass out when I get this HUGE needle put in (in route), because there's no telling what the heck I'm going to need once I get to the ER. I do get one of those big saline bags (I think that's SOP) and some oxygen (why can't they find an ATTRACTIVE oxygen do-hookie?) I do tell him about 100 times that I dropped off my lesson plans in his office and MY scribbled up copies are on my desk.)

So finally, I'm at the hospital and whisked off to room 4 (that is the one where the nurses station can see you all the time. After that, I don;t remember a whole lot, except that my husband is there and my boss looks both worried, horrified and relieved.

I get a bunch of scary tests done and am just freezing before I start getting some serious drugs. The nurses are incredibly nice and evidently, the drug barrel is right outside my room. The doctor actually listens to me when I recite the list of drugs that make me puke ("oh, really, well usually XYZ DOESN:T make you puke." "Okay, but get me one of those really big trash cans." Okay,,,,why don't we give you what you KNOW works for you?") The biggest toruble I had was that it all burned like lit kerosene....but compared to the jackhammer in my head, that was a mnior little problem.)

So when I went home, I though maybe I would go to work today. WRONG. I couldn;t pass what we laughingly call the field sobrieity test...can I walk down the hall without bouncing off the walls? Can I dress myself and manage to put my sweater on right side out? How about front side front?

Since I can't, I have to stay home. Where I sleep pretty much all day.
I am planning on going in for a half day tomorrow. Then I see my regular doctor and see how much closer I am to getting my head drilled.

THe high point is that I recognized all my dogs AND my family members. I did miss Judge Judy, though. The low point is that I attempted top email Marji and I think I forgot how to speak English. Or any other language. I think she got the jist of it.


Mike made me stop typing, sine I sent him an email and all he manage to deciper was his name.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Wail, sob, poor me

Okay, I admit it.
I am scared.
Scared scared scared. Terrified.
I spent the most of the day writing letters to my loved ones and putting them in the bottom of my hospital bag.
This 86.6% of a stroke happening to me has got me scared. I am NOT a 14.4% HALF FULL GLASS KIND OF survival person. I am a 86.6% DEAD kind of person.

I packed up some of my favorite rubber stamps for a friend who loves the snow; and have left directions for Lisi to mail them to her. I know she will get a lot of pleasure from the thought.

I wrote down memories and curled them into tight paper rolls and put them in jars for my daughter, son and best friends....I had really had a lot, so some of the jars have way more than 52. I just wish that I could have thought up more because they added so much to my life.

I even made a stash and knitting box for my best friend...just in case. I have some really good stuff and I know she can use it all/give it away or set it on fire. I just don't want it to get packed away and dragged around for the rest of Lisi's life.

On the one hand, it is a relief to have a diagnosis.
On the other, it is really scary.
The good thing is that I don't have to fight for drugs.
The bad thing is that I NEED drugs to navigate the next week.
However the non-drug directions Dr. Spock gave me? Piffle. I'm not supposed to eat crap. I'm not to drink anything but water or cranberry juice. See's chocolates? Wait on them until after.
And make sure I take the pills prescribed and ONLY prescribed exactly when prescribed.
Well. I don't have a lot of faith in this particular aspect of medical knowledge and figure I can't possibly hurt myself any more than Dr. Benydryl managed to.

Toss that directive right out the window. It is not as if I live 5 minutes AWAY from the medical center. A lot of things can happen in 12 hours. And besides, Dr. Spock is not up in the middle of the night with a Craftman's drill in his head now, is he?
He probably sleeps the sleep of the just, while I an up all night either crying, sobbing or wondering if I should drive myself to the ER or call some one to take me.

So if I want to eat red hot Cheeto's in the middle of the night, that is EXACTLY what I'm going to do. With a chaser of 7-Up.

I am easily amused

Dan Fogleberg died today

The song Leader of the Band was written about
his father, music teacher at one of the local high schools in Illinois.

And here we think we have no impact on anyone.

Christmas shopping in one fell swoop

We managed to go to TWO stores and get everything. Then end.

Had the car washed. Lisi is going to Santa Monica tomorrow for a law enforcement exam (tell me, who the HECK schedules tests the week before Christmas for THE ENTIRE STATE?) Wouldn;t it make sense to just send the exams to regional centers. They're a bunch of cops, for goodness sakes. If you can;t trust them, who can you trust? Or send them to a GED center. THOSE guys know how to maintain total security of test materials.

Marji gave me a baby sweater pattern than looks as if I might possibly be able to knit. I have 10 inches done and it actually LOOKS like it could be becoming something.

I printed up my lesson plans for since my class opened in August....we are being audited and my sticky notes on my daily rosters evidently won't cut it. So they are all printed and clipped and ready to just go into the folder with my name on it in the office.

And man, does my head hurt. Not ER hurt. Just regular drug myself at home hurt. I am hoping to manage to make it thru an entire 5-day week. That is all I am asking. 5 days. Then I have two weeks and hopefully a call from either UC San Francisco or Stanford. I even have a new haircut picked out.

I am in the middle of Brother Odd and was told that there were two books PREVIOUS to this one I should read. Could I find them? Don;t be silly.

But I bet they have them at Wall-the_Mart....which I cannot bear to enter, unless it would be at gunpoint. NOT that there is anything wrong with people who shop there. I just cannot bear walking 500 miles North for hot dogs, 500 miles South for hot dog buns, 700 miles East for mustard and the 2,000 miles West for the other one thing I'm looking for. THEN when I manage to get this stuff checked out, I have to have the store security guy go thru my bags and match my purchases with my receipt, which by the time I GET to the door, I have managed to misplace.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Spent the after noon with Marji

She gave me an easier pattern than that Baby Surprise one. It is actually zipping right along. (It's the kind of pattern that says CO 40 stitches, more or less. Knit for about, oh, 4-5 kind of pattern.) It has a little bow tied at the side. Baby Jack will be getting wood buttons. AND I bet he will be getting it before he is 4. Maybe before he is 2.

Friday, December 14, 2007

My job is so totally a twisted kind of way

"Your Kevlar vests will be checked next week."
Said signs are posted on every single door...even in the bathrooms.

So I don't BOTHER to read the entire sign; all I need to know it that one day next week someone is going to either shoot me or stab me to see if my vest works.

I mention this to my cop.


That is not, apparently, the way they do it. You have to take the Kevlar plates out and have their integrity checked.


And by integrity, you would mean???????

Never mind.

Work is good

Thought I would mention it.
Clerks are good.
Students are working.
No body is scary for now.
The biggest thing I have to harp on is them wearing their little ski caps and do rags inside the classroom. I told them they could wear them ONLY if it was raining INSIDE my classroom or I was going to ugly face them.

One guy decided he wasn't going to take a reading test (hope you like AdSeg for Christmas) and another one refused to sign his job description BECAUSE (get this) it said he had to do what I told him and HE. DOESN'T. KNOW. Me. WELL. ENOUGH. to make that knid of promise.

Dude. You are in PRISON. For 900 years. I honestly don't even want you breathing my air. Hope you enjoy Christmas in AdSeg.

Pict line

Talked to Dr. Spock today (yesterday, since it is the middle of the night). He is thinking maybe I need a pict line, so I can get my antibiotics, steriods and drugs jammed right into an existing port. My veins are looking a little Angelina Jolish-ish and they sometimes blow out, scaring pretty much everyone. (It doesn't hurt and it only looks scary, like a Bruce Willis movie).

So I ask how much it is going to hurt. And he says something like this "Mmmmmhmumble..large bore needle...mmmmmhmumble, lidocaine cream....mmmmumble mumble...quite safe...mmmmfmmfmumuble for a month or less....mummble long tube which point my brain is now PROCESSING this as "Noooooooo!!!! Nooooooooo! It's going to huuuuuuurt!"

What I say is, "let me think about this until next week, okay? ANd who would be doing it?" Annie, he says.

Annie does all the really scary needle-insertion things and she is very good. There's a special little room and hot blankets (which is a BIG CLUE it is going to hurt). ANd she sort of sings to herself whenever she does this, so you sort of know what is going on. It is sort of a Pooh-ish kind of song that goes like this, " Oh,nooo...that won't do at all, now will it? Let's try, oh, I don't like the looks of that one either. This one looks okay. (stick stick stick). Let's just leave that for a minute.
No you are going to feel a little pressure (LIKE A RUNAWAY TRAIN) or this is going to feel like a little pulling (IF THAT IS LITTLE< WHAT DOES A LOT FEEL LIKE)?

I had a drain line in once. Of course, I was asleep when it was put in, so all I remember was the painless pulling outedness. Did not hurt not even a little bit. Just looked VERY ODD to see miles of aquarium tubing coming out of me.

I'm still #2 on the list. Maybe if I get to #1, I can skip this part. Or I'll be asleep when this part happens.

Knitting adventures

I have been knitting now for FIFTY years (okay, 49 years and 17 days) and while in the past, it was effortless 9two sticks and a string. How hard can it be?), lately it has been just kicking my butt. I have some lovely wool that I had hand dyed for me (really pretty gray, white, green,lavendar) called "Ranier" for a Baby Surprise Jacket. The surprise will be that baby Jack gets this before he is four years old.

I got gauge. It took most of two nights, but I got gauge. (I am obsessive over gauge and I measure and change needles all the time. Little ocd there.) (Okay, big OCD there.)

The pattern starts out easy enough. Cast on 160 stitches, putting a marker on at 35 and 125 (or something like that; I'm not looking at the pattern.) It takes me the better part of the EVENING to get that accomplished.

Then, I knit unil I almost get to the marker, slip stich, knit 2 together and then pass the slipped stich over. Then I knit unitl I get almost to the marker and do the same thing. A person can make A LOT of mistakes in those 160 stitches. But I do finally wrestle the wool to my will. Then I knit a whole row. Just knit. No counting.
THEN on the next (row 3) I do the same knit to the marker, slip, K2together, psso, knit some more and do the same thing over when I get almost to the marker. (Well, except the umbers have changed, which is why it is called a pattern.)

Kncoked me out. My real plan, since I carpool is to do the hard part (that would be the odd row with the slipped stiches and knitting two togethers) at home, leaving just ONE STINKING ROW to placidly knit to and from work. I know that one row done during two 45 minute commutes isn;t much, but it is more than I'd get done if I wasn't doing it.

Maybe next week. The beginning of knitting alsways looks so puny, especially when a person (me) has her face all scrunched up. I like the idea of leaving said knitting on the car seat that LOOKS like something. Although the Baby Surprise Jacket looks a right mess when you do it right. It looks worse when you do it wrong. And since it is sort of an oragami folded bit of work when it is done, I have a pretty good idea that it will look a right mess the entire time.

Now, since I am a Zen knitter (process, not product), this shouldn't bother me. Well, much, at least. (If it was easy, it wouldn't be Zen. It would be Fast. Or Jet.) But I would like the mess of knitting-sitting-on-the-car-seat to at least cause the officers who walk around all day, checing to see that the cars are locked to say "Hey! That looks like a wee baby sweater!" instead of "Boy! Those sticks look sharp! I wonder if you could strangle somebody with that there colored string? Hey...who does this car belong to, anyway?), causing my driver guy to get called over to the squad and questioned, which of course, causes ME to get called over to the squad and questioned and then my knitting skills are called into question.

Well, it will help break up the day. And it's not like I'm trying to smuggle IN the knitting. I ma just taking it out for a little drive. Letting it look out the window.

Threatening it with the side of the road.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Getting ready to go to the hospital..

I am an obsessive planner for the inevitable. For a spur of the moment six week trip to Central American, I can be packed and on the road in 30 minutes.

However, packing for a hospital stay; however brief, where words like gamma rays, staples, novacaine and my favorite "some discomfort" send me into a weeping frenzy. Once it is over,it is pretty funny. However in all of these years, I have never once found someone who wants to be in the same house with me while it is happening.

- I refuse to wear the hospital gowns so I have three pretty ones that I have opened BOTH sleeves and sewed on snaps. I am ready to do battle with ANY nurse who tries to talk me out of this. It is non negotiable.

- I hates hospital gowns. I hates that they don't fit and I hates how my ass hangs out. Were I to have a 19 year old ass, maybe I would feel better about it. But those day are long gone and in my war with ass gravity, gravity has won. I can deal with the no bra look, but the dragging ass look is not a fight I am going to give in on.
I do not like slippers, so I wear socks and pathetically wander the halls, dragging my IV pole.

- Trying to find a pair of jeans that fit AND have pockets. Fitting is an odd concept. They need to be loose enough to be comfortable on a long (4 hour) drive, during which I will most probably be hysterical. (Hysteria for me is just tears streaming down my face. no sobbing. no noise).

- Begin hunt for a second pair, since I will most likely dump something in my lap. Pause briefly to berate self for not being the sort of person who wears jeans which actually fit so I am then accustomed to being uncomfortable.

- Find two pair of jeans. One fits me and the black dog at the same time. Maybe not the best choice. Ask husband if I can wear the dog and me jeans in the car and then change when we get there. He thinks this is one of the dumber ideas I have had, Obviously, I have not shared enough of my ideas with him. The other pair does not have pockets BUT they do look nice. But where I am going, who cares?

-Puruse both my carryon and my handbag. I don't want to look like a bag lady.
Perhaps I need a new handbag! Scap that idea. I will take my stuff in this nice looking red overnighter that belongs to my daughter. The leather one I usually drag around I got in Mexico about 23 years ago and looks it...and not in a good way. Remind myself that the first thing I need to do is get a good looking overnighter when I am done with this. Roomy with pockets. Leather. Wheels. Fits on a plane. This will require some research, which I may or may not do. haven't decided.

- Briefly think that the first thing I need to do when I come back is buy at least two pair of jeans that fit and have pockets.

- Try both jeans on and realize that I will need to wear nylons with these, not socks. Socks in the car make my feet to hot and I take off my shoes and lose them, causing hysteria at destination

- While digging through dresser, locate 23 pairs of ratty underpants that nobody would ever wear and try briefly to understand why anyone would keep these underpants. Toss out said underpants, leave a nearly empty drawer. Briefly think that this is the first thing I need to do when I come back.

- Locate 12 pair of previously buried nylons (the knee high kind). None are the same color. Briefly think that this is the first thing I need to do when I come a dozen pair of knee highs in the same color.

- Curse. Frighten the dogs.

- Look for a two clean sweaters and two clean t-shirts. (I get hot in the car.)

- Look for sweatshirt. I get cold at rest stops. Choose the Fort Myers one. It is grey and white. Not my colors. Make me look sick. Contemplate. I AM SICK.

- Take deep breath, wonder if anyone else has this much trouble getting dressed.

- Pack. Remember to take moisturizer and cleanser. Take photos of kids, just in case.

- Find my lacy bra from Fanny Wrappers. Even if I don't know who I am, at least I will look nice. Find matching underpants. Decide to wear them, even though they itch.
But not in the car. I will change when I get to the hospital parking lot. HUsband asks me exactly WHERE I plan to change. Hell, it is San Fransisco. If me changing my jeans and underpants call out the 5 o'clock news, it must be a slow news day. Celebrate.

- Decide to wash and roll my hair, so I look like I take care of myself.
_ Worry that they are going to shave my head and what would be the point.
- Decide that is a stupid thing to worry about.

- Decide that the medical barbers can feel bad about that because I don't care.
- Pack medical info, medical card and a flash light. I might wake up in the dark.
- Pack map to hospital, just in case.

- Pack photos of dogs, just in case I forget them, too.
- Worry needlessly, because I am #2 on the list. Remember I didn't worry when I didn't KNOW there was a list.

- Wonder briefly if the medical people at UCSF's idea of comfortable is the same as mine. Mine is a coma. Pack my own drugs, just in case. They have guys who regulate the anesthesia. They can handle this. And if they can't, well, they can feel bad. I don't care. I am not going to be awake for this. (When I had the angiogram, I did the same thing. I am not listening to nor watching any of that bodily fluid stuff.

- Decide to shave legs. Very important
- Decide to strip and wash the bed. Just in case.
- Decide to vacuum and scrub the bathroom. just in case.

- Pack some books to read. I might have time.
- Pack my knitting. I might magically remember how to do this. Gamma rays and all. Who knows? Not me, That's for sure. Carl is as sharp as a whip and i=his imploded in the Ukraine, (Go back to hotel. You vill die there.Too bad; you seem like nice American boy."))

- Pack photo of my Da. Just in case I can't remember him. Pack a photo of Marni,just in case.
- Punctuate all of this with crying...not sobbing and not hysteria. Just crying.

_Look for picture of Skipper. I want to recognize him he if he comes to get me at the the Rainbow Bridge. Write a note to my dogs.

-Write a note to my kids. Just in case.

-Cry some more. Feel pitiful. Try wailing. upset me and

-Instead of thinking WHY ME, I am thinking wow! how lucky! It could be someone else with no health insurance, no secure job and no one who loves them.

-And in the end, I am loved. Loved. Loved. Loved. Loved.
-Doesn't help much, but the thought was there.

-Pack my nosepin, yarn and the jar from Pat. I might be there for a long time. Or not. Just in case, because you never know.

-Wonder briefly if I will ever remember how to type, decide today is not the day to worry about that and bless the SpellCheck Guy. He is right up there with the Birth Control Guy.

_Decide to forgive Jackson and John. Yeah, I know, very big of me. They are both dead already and none too soon.

- LEAVE frantic message to to Rachel, who is co-ordinating all of this. Let her know I am worried, scared and pretty well out of my mind. Burst into tears. Great way for her to start her day. Oh, well. Sorry Rach.

-Dogs and I go upstairs while I can still navigate the stairs. I have take all of what is called my "rescue drugs", not to be confused with my normal drugs. Hoping to avoid going to the clinic or ER for a shot. Nice thing about going 31 times is that I'm not on the wait around and Dr. Benydryl has been permanently crossed off my chart. I am sure he thinks it is because I am difficult. It is, however, because he is an educated ass.

- Drugs have kicked in. I feel much better now. I might wake up in time for Judge Judy, who in my opinion is the sole reason television exists.

-Write letters to my kids, Marji, Clark, Pat and Mike. Just in case. They are in the bottom of my overnight bag with addresses and stamps. Of course, I won't bee needing them. Everything is going to be fine.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Now that I have had some time to obsesively research this

It is not so scary. They will most likely use gamma knife rays (who makes thes words up? Dr. Spock?); aim three of them at the tangle and where they intersect, there will be the unmistakable smell of frying flesh.

This is so unbelievably rare that only 2,000 people have had it that they know of in the uS. (The others just drop dead of a stroke. The end. Next). I know one m an FOR sure who had it (in the Ukraine; they sent him back to the hotel to die. Cross the Ukriane of of my to-vist countries) and then three friends from college who literally dropped dead after complaining of horrific headaches.

So all in all, lucky me. There is always light at the end of the tunnel.
I still can't knit. But I am a whizz with spell check. Some of these entries look as if I am writing in a heretofore unknown language (and that is AFTER I have fixed them).

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

An arterio-venous malformation...that's me

No wonder I can't get anything done.

Evidently this is (from what info I can get on the Net and BOY! is it scary) a tangled little nest of capillaries that swell up when I get a bad headache. It's the blood pressure spike that makes the difference, I guess. So I finally found a doctor (in the ER) who ran this blood test and came back saying WOW! I think I know what's wrong with you.

So then of course, the fight with the insurance company was on, since if I was an insurance company, I wouldn't be in the business of spending money. I would be in the business of getting your money, making it impossible for you to get treatment and praying to a voodoo doll that you would drop dead before I had to shell out one nickel.
That's how I would run an insurance company. And I would be driving one fancy car, let me tell you!

That's how my insurance company likes to run things, too. Except I am married to a really scary man and have a really scary doctor. So after a lot of growling (the men) and sobbing (me), I'm going to Stanford to get my head fixed. I read on the net the choices they have...and none of them sound pretty.

One of them sounds like they shoot crazy glue up into the little rat's nest of capillaries and that's that. (Sounds icky, doesn't it?) Or they can snake a wire thru a vessel in my groin and stick a wire in there. (Now THERE'S a picture for ya!) Or they can drill a hole in my head and dig around (visualize looking in your handbag for a nickel). There are some other fixes, depending.

Depending on what you ask?
Well, I am of the opinion that doctors barely know what they are doing most of the time. This is one of them. We are all in agreement that the spiking blood pressure is going to kill me. We are all in agreement that something needs to be fixed. We are all in agreement that I am in one big pickle. For me, depending usually means depending if I can find shoes that match or some change for a soda.

Depending does not usually mean I have to decide what to do about my head...shoot crazy glue in it? Stick an IUD in it? Or drill a hole in it? And when you talk about drilling holes, how bad is it going to hurt? Look? ANd when this doctor who looks young enough to be my son tells me he will make sure I get enough medication to make me comfortable...exactly how much is that? Because there I am, strapped to a table and he has a Craftsman drill in his hand. I'd have to be PRETTY medicated to fell comfortable in that situation.

And most of all, is it going to get rid of the headache or am I going to have some crazy glue in my head and it still hurts?

I did get to meet some really good doctors and one ass (he had just gotten out of school and for some reason did not think that drugs would be of any help. Why? Because he read in a medical magazine that it doesn't. Really? I read magazines, too. NOT ONCE have I read that withholding pain meds from a woman writing in pain, crying, with a BP of 290/250 is a good idea.) So they sent in this little doctor who shot me up with a bunch of different stuff, (which made me puke) and then decided maybe my first suggestion of the pain meds that always work for me might be a good choice. He was the doctor who told me that being a doctor is like being an artist or a scientific illustrator. No answers, just luck. And sometimes assholes have no luck at all.

So I have a diagnosis and an emergency appointment in Stanford at their migraine clinic. Wish me well because for some reason, the theme song from "One Flew Out of A Cuckoos Nest" keeps running through my head.

Monday, December 03, 2007

I have an ATV in my head

Okay,it's not an ATV, but it has some ATV-like initials. I am going to Stanford to get it fixed. It isn;t a BIG deal but a big enough deal for me. I sort of like knowing who I am and where the heck I am at.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Ripping out my little beach house

I don't mind the carpet.
I hate the windows. I hate the cheap blinds.
I don't like the front window.
I dispise the kitchen.
And I'm not crazy about the bathroom and I hate the dinky little tub.

So we are going to do a major remodel...and it will all be inside and no one will notice...just the way I lkie to do things.

First, rip up the kitchen.
I never use the stove. so out it goes. I do use different small appliances, so I want a place for them to go...and a counter top with some plugs. And I hate hate hate HATE the counter tops. They are white, flecked with gold and make me feel like white trash. Out those go. Maybe dark red Corian or dark blue. Not sure. I like my cupboards and I even like the original knotty pine paneling in the whole house. I'm not crazy obout the flooring in there but who ever looks at the floor? Not me.

Then I'm putting an oak bookcase to divide the kitchen and the living room (this is one teeny little place). The bookcase has doors that will open into the kitchen and that's where I'll store all my extra bedding (squished in one of thaose suck out the airbags ziplocks doo-hickies). Then I can have my books around me and feel like
THAT's the kitchen.

Then I'm getting rid of the cheapest-blinds-on-the planet and putting up some thermal denim tab tops on that wall. Mike is going to ripout the slider and the front window (nothing to see there anyway) and putting in bookcases, too. If we need to see what is gong on, we can look out the little portholes. Just streamline the looks in here. I'm getting a modern looking navy recliner, since no one ever comes over, there is totally no point in having a couch in here. (The only visitors we every get are the Mormon's and I can tell you right now, they are not a-setting on my furniture.) He's going to put on a TREX deck and we'll go in the back door (the hallway is plenty wide enough to get in and out)

I'm not crazy about the bedroom, but I like it best of the whole rest of the place.
Once we get the kitchen and the front room to my liking, we are ripping out the bathroom, if I have to do it myslef with a knitting needle. It is dinky, impossible to clean and in general, just icky. I'm putting in a pedestal sink with recessed medicine cabinets so everything looks tidy. Rip out that ratty shower, put in an one of those WOW showers and then put in one of those Japanese soaking tubs on the patio.

It will always just be 400 square feet but it'll be MY 400 square feet. And I can see the golfers and the boats, so what do I have to complain about? (Besides the icky kitchen and dinky bathroom).

Saturday, December 01, 2007

December 1

Another wonderful weekend in Morro Bay. It is chilly (I had to wear shoes outside and I had a sweatshirt, but didn't bother to put it on.) My total set of chores included ripping out the alysium in the garden (it gets leggy and weedy looking when it is broadcast...and I never have liked it right out of the nursery in tight little balls of fluff), So I ripped all that out, amended the soil (beach dirt is not the best) and planted poppies, butter lettuce and all kinds of carrots.) I just like the way they look in the winter...which is so mild here that they'll do get fine.)

Did a little knitting and managed to actually NOT have to frog back. I even drove my own self to the Cotton Ball AND the market all by myself. This doesn't sound like a big deal but since I usually get lost here (MB is a teeny town and after spending nearly 50 years here, I still don't know my way around. The streets all look the same.)

I think Mom is Santa!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

When the kids were little

I took them to see "Joseph and the Technicalcolor Dreamcoat" at the Barn Theater. (We saw it probably 10 times, with different casts)> This first time, they were so little (2 and 5 maybe) , they sat on the backs of the theater seats. When Potifer's wife falsely accused Joseph and Potfer tossed him in prison, you could have heard a pin drop, sinc ei tis very dramatic which point my two wailed, "She's LYING! He didn't do it!!"

And ever since, we try to go to every production big, small, national or junior high, just because we like it so much.

This one makes me happy, too!

This is a good one for a bad day

Monday, November 19, 2007

I dont know why I love this song so much

I just like to sing it real loud on the way to work

Friday, November 16, 2007

I'm learning how to knit again...well, learning is maybe too positive a word

I learned to knit oh, about 50 years ago. I FORGOT how to knit in the last year. I think (well, my head doctor thinks) it could possibly be an aneurysm, which scares me to death, since TWO very dear friends both just up and died from an aneurysm (not the same one; two different ones.).

So I am still going to work, which entertains me to no end except on the days when i can;t remember who I am and I manage to find the hospital , show them my ID and get taken care of. Yeah, it IS pretty scary, if I really took the time to worry about it, which I don't since THAT would be so totally counterproductive. Who needs to be scared all the time?

So, I'm trying to learn how to knit again. It is usually an exercise in futility and it's a good thing that frogging stuff doesn't bother me, because I do an awful lot of it. But everyone once in a while, I look at my knitting and think "Well now. I understand all of this. This is proceeding in a sensible manner. What a relief to know this.!" and that usually means that it's time to knit in crazy spirals and make random and very bad buttonholes in the midst of whatever I'm attempting.

My real self thinks "Huh. I bet there is an easier way to do this" and my crazy self thinks "Who cares? This is supposed to be about the Zen of knitting." and then all of these doors swing wide open and it turns out that I have no idea what I'm doing. At all. I look at my knitting and it is like my brain is saying "There has got to be a harder way to do this!"

Learning new things is hard for me; well things I think I already know. I will do something wrong a hundred times before I figure out that MAYBE my approach is incorrect. Once I have figured out that I have no idea what I am doing, I hate it.

I LIKE knowing what's going on and having things go predictably right. I'm trying to NOT think "that's new = that's harder" because my wonky brain likes it better that way. SO when I get totally frustrated (that's when it is no longer entertaining), then I get my nose pin that MWKAT Marji gave me and rewind my yarn up into these vaguely egg shaped balls.

I really wanted one of those nose pins, because Marji's yarn looks SO VERY COOL in their egg shaped balls. And the only way to get these egg shaped balls is to use this nose pin thing and NOT FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS. If you follow the directions, you will be really boring round balls like anyone can make, even without a nose pin.

And it's not really called a nose pin. That's just what it sounds like in my head when I read the word.

I have found reading is pretty entertaining now, too. I just make up words I can't decipher. It is sort of like watching Armenian television and just making up the story for your own personal entertainment. Sort of like watching Steven Segal with the sound off. (You cannot, however, watch Nic Cage movies with the sound off. No way could you make up a story fast enough to make sense. TRUST ME ON THIS.)

This is even more amusing that EZ's is really hysterical

Sunday, November 11, 2007

My bedroom is a work in progress

Walls...the color of toffee fay candy; sort of a caramel, toasty brown.Way lighter than tootsie rolls.

Of course, I'm having the walls rag rolled, and I'm used a semi gloss glaze on the final (4th coat), so it picks up the light. Not a heavy gloss, just a light, hit or miss, so it will keep the room from looking like the inside of a paper grocery bag at midnight.

Mike is building the bed platform but I kept my old headboard and it is being screwed to the wall. I hate it when the headboard wobbles.

This platform has slide out drawers for storage, so that cuts down on the dust issue that we had in the old house. I have a lot of really dark furniture; two mahogany, carved highboys and a gorgeous mahogany dresser with a marble top. I kept the huge, romantic pictures (which I paid far too much to have framed, but I just LOVE them).

I went down to the Salvation Army Thrift shop and bought two king sized comforters and will be making two duvet covers for them. One in a rich espresso, with tailored pillow shams and the other one is in sort of a sari gold and bronze plaid that I keep folded at the foot of the bed. This fabric will be the safari that Marji and I take. I'd like something tailored and espresso brown /bronze for the dust ruffle and for piping on the pillow shams. We'll know it when we see it. And drapes....we have to find the drapery fabric at the same time.

And it is going to be lush, chic and totally indulgent, like a big expensive box of chocolates. Marji and I can do this!

I bought a raw bench (it has curved arms and wooden legs and a muslin cover but needs to be actually uphostered. You sit on it so you can put your shoes on. Or use it to toss your clothes on. Or let the dog sleep on it. But it looks REALLY chic). I think I want it covered in something sturdy with a subtle stripe or slub or something. DARK for sure, since I know for a fact that we are not very tidy.

The walls were the single hardest part of this whole huge project. I have red, I have green, I have yellow, I have pink and I have lavender.....and I wanted something chic and different and I don't like grey.

I think I'll do the master bath in peach and white and black (the tile is black and white) and I want a lot of orchids in pots, silver/nickel accents. The vanity is from a tear down, so it has to be painted....and I know an artist who will be able to tie the whole thing in together. That master bath will be the very last thing I do,

I can knit!!

You can't imagine how hard it has been to try and try and try and end up with a mess of dropped, crossed tangled up stitches. Imagine a dozen wet cats and a two year old with forks in your knitting...that is what it looked like. Couldn't even manage a swatch becuase it involved to much counting and a modicom of skill...neither of which I could find in my brain.

All I got was that pesky 404 (file not found) error message.

Well, today. obviously which every corrupted files in my head uncorrupted themselves.

I feel just like Abbs on NCIS.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

I have 9 days coming up next week

Nine entire days. One of them is my mother's birthday, so we ( the kids and I) are taking her to the Super Buffet so she can eat all afternoon and we can eat sushi. It is an Asian buffet, so it has a ton of really weird things (like fish sausage, which is really good, if you don;t think about it. Like blood pudding or haggis. Sort of.)

Then on Sunday, I might or might not be taking her back to our home town for a big birthday party for someone else. My brother is going to meet me there and at least we can visit. (SInce I never go anywhere alone, not even to work. But that is another story.)

Then I think I will spend the whole rest of the time working in my yard. I have a gardener, of sorts, who rents a house from me. He is a teensy bit behind. SIX MONTHS, if one were counting. So he has decided to do the gardening around here to work off the debt. Only he really likes the blower and the weed whacker and the mower a lot. The actual weeding, not so much.

I would clean the house,,,and I probably will do an afternoon downstairs, but the torn up floor and torn up ceiling is still in sort of a torn up construction mode, so what would be the point?

So I have one huge flowerbed that runs around the entire front yard that I can weed...which I really truly love to do. Right now, it isn't too hot and I can open the windows inthe house and play music and make a big muddy mess, flinging the weeds out onto the laen for someone else to pick up. I can plant the 5 million bulbs for the spring and plant some running roses (pink bably blankets) in front of the actual house, mulched with a good ton of newspapers I have been saving expressly for this very project.

And have you ever noticed that you can spend the day weeding and it's all "ooohh! aahh!" or you can spend the day cleaning and it's "So, what did you do today? And really, yard work is SO much easier. Plus no one expects you to fix dinner, either.

I'll take photos, because it is beyond belief what the flower beds look like. (And I did have a gardener. He was just very picky about the days he would come over. Like if it was a day with a vowel in it, it isn't a good day. maybe tomorrow. Unless I called him up and got all fussy with him. Then he would shamble over, do the lawn and leave heaps of grass behind, since the green trash will only hold so much. And then I would stomp around and drag the stuff off to the compost heap. One day, archaeologists are going to find this compost heap and wonder what the heck we worshiped.)

Oh, I have to hose off the decks and patios, also...,I LOVE hosing. My favorite thing. And I have to drain the pond for the winter, too. LOVE that job, too. Totally entertaining. I get to use the pressure washer and sump pump and everything. All that pond water goes into the vegetable garden.

And one day, I need to go over and paint the lobby with my green swatches....I want a green the color of Spanish moss, with the base coat WAY darker and semi gloss (stay with me)and the two rag roll colors way lighter. The base will just barely show thru but will catch the light, so it will always look like candlelight.

I just have to find the right three greens. The kitchen is yellow and ivory and black; (very French) the library is crime scene red and the dining room is pink with a plaster run decorative ceiling. My bedroom is going to be (after MUCH thought) a cage au lait (which Lisi still calls cafe ole) and the bedding will range from ecru to espresso. Very European. Luxe. And sexy. Sort of like Sifuente's apartment on NYPD Blue.

Darling is concerned about getting the heating in and I am only concerned about the paint on the walls. And the bevel pattern in the skylight. I want that all beveled, since the POINT is light. I have enough stained glass on the main floor.

No vacation sleeping in for this girl.

I give up

I can't drink. And I had a LOT to drink about.
It is useless. No fun. Makes me stupid and really tired.
I can't talk and make any sense at all.

I do want to argue though. Tonight, I wanted to argue about stuffing. Why, I do not know. But at the time, it seemd to very, very, very important.

And then I took a nap. And now I am just a little disoriented and feel more than a little silly.
WHY would I care?

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Crazy like a bag of wet weasels

I teach at a super max prison. This last little bunch of students have been, well, crazy making. A bad mix. So the other two teachers came over the other day (okay, I admit, I had my head down on the desk, sobbing like my entire family had been wiped out by the black plague).

So we went over our class lists and moved my low ones to Domi's class, my high ones went to Wilder and every one in the middle came to me.

WHAT a surprise to have a functional class. We were all on the same page. IMAGINE!! So I'm teaching a 3-4-5 class and it worked today, at least.

I showed a health video about STDs twice. Once for me to write the quiz and once for them to answer the quiz. (These guys are 2x learners). So in the big middle of the discussion part (we had to watch the vid twice to have anything to intelligently talk about), I go to the back of the room (I am 30 guys away from the door, which says a lot about how comfortable I was feeling about this student mix) and I'm sitting on my little stool, facing the class and drawing behind my head. (Great little trick, huh?)

These guys need a LOT of drawings, since they don't have a real clear idea of how the world works. So I'm drawing a cell and a virus (a cell looks like an egg yolk and white; a virus looks like a cockleburr).

And we;re talking about HIV and how
it works (I have a lot of students and 99.999999% of men in prison are on the down low. Fact of incarceration.) And as I like to say, the truth will make you free.

If I don't tell them the straight stuff, who will?

So I'm showing them how the virus works, attaching itself like a burr to the healthy cells and
explaining how the only purpose of a virus is to replicate, even if it kills it's original host....and I almost felt as if I were showing them how to make fire.

Then we started talking about protecting yourself...because if you don't care, no one else is going to.
They were just a little hinky at first, since they didn't want to overstep (I'm not a nurse, so I might not know anything about this stuff. Ha.) So, once I told them that I had lived a life before I wound up in prison and I highly doubted that they could come up with a question I hadn't heard or asked nor would they be able to shock me...I'm a product of the 60's.

I was just amazed at the really true questions they asked...honest questions and the really true explanations that the guys who knew the information gave. Three guys acted out HIV, the immune system and A. Dude. It was hysterical but so informative....and it got the point over.

Next week, we're working on Hepatitis and then tackling Anger Management.

Sounds like a lot of fun.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

And this is what I listen to on the way to work

Well, not just these two ...I have a whole collection of "Life isn't over" music. Morning are sort of schizophrenic for me...on the one hand, I haven't screwed anything up yet; on the other, I'm going into a place where everyone hates me and would just as soon shank me as look at me.

The longer I work where I work, the more I understand (well, understand is too broad...I get it, though), that there are people who don't even know me who hate me. Hate every breath I take, every thought I have ever had in my head, every emotion I have ever had. Now, in my life, I have done plenty to make men hate me, but the key is that I DID something. With the guys I work with, I didn't do anything except show up.

Most of the time, it doesn't bother me. I have so many men I work with that the psychotics make up a very small percent of my case loads. It's when there are other stressors; stressors I'm not even aware of, that makes what I do so dangerous. I'm right in the thick of it---no Plexiglas shield between a client and me. Sometimes I have a desk between us, but not usually.

So I listen to this music to pump me up, to fill up the vacant spaces in my head so I'm not totally out of my mind scared.

A little scared is good. Makes you not cocky. A lot of training helps, that a lot of my behaviors are automatic...but there is still plenty of room in my head for me to get really scared because these guys are seriously wicked.

This one makes me cry when things are going wrong

And of course, I have to play it over and over...just in case anyone has missed the point

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Giving blood and other butch things I do

Needles don't scare me. Not much does. So when the annual blood wagon drove up, I was first in line. Now, I work with REALLY tough guys and they were sweating bullets. You can always tell. They are too chatty, for one.

So I lie down on one of those rocky little bed chair things and much to my surprise (because I guess I've never bothered to look) the nurse comes at me with this REALLY big bore needle.

What do I do? Faint.

It is the best way to get immediate attention, or so I have found. Of course, me fainting meant that some of my muscle bound comrades keeled over, too.

But once I got packed in ice and some orange juice in me, I was as perky as a spring day. When you faint, they don't yank the works out, did you know that? Unconscious blood is just as good as conscious blood,

So I spend, oh...45 minutes being drained out. They pulled the needle part way out so I didn't go too fast and faint again. And every time I closed my eyes, someone would come by and poke me to make sure I hadn't fainted again.

So it was a nice way to kill almost an entire morning...something that should have taken about 30 minutes took me a little bit longer.

Then I had to wait for 30 minutes, to make sure I didn't faint again. Of course, all they had were twinkies and water to drink, so the nurses had to trot off and get me orange juice.

So I spend the rest of the day, working on files. drive home and decide to hop into the hot tub.

Silly, Silly Silly. I got so light headed, I could seriously visulaize the EMT's
dragging my water logged body out of the hot I hopped out (well, I dragged myself out and staggered into the house) where I settled down on the floor and watched my arm turn into this. Now mind you, it hurt only about as much as biting your lip.

But it was certainly good for a lot of sympathy out at the gun range.

And I'm off the yard until they get the staph infection under control, since the Lt...who just happened to be in my third grade class, could not BELIEVE I was walking around, looking like this.

ANd yeah, I did push up my sleeves. What good is a bruise like this (which only got worse) if no one can see it?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

One of my top 10 favorite songs

I love Highway 99

I think I have been over every square inch of California: the big, faceless I-5; the pokey little 43; the 46 that goes past the Jack Ranch; all over San Diego and Los Angeles; the Lindsey-Porterville Highway and the Orange Belt Freeway; the old 65.

But there is no road more thoroughly imprinted on
my memories—a reminder of colorful, unpretentious family trips to buy new breeding stock or harvesters—than Highway 99 as it bisects the Central Valley from Bakersfield to the Oregon border.

The old 99 was marked out in the early 1900's with a narrow strip of concrete. As the farming blossomed, the little road linked the big cities with the isolated ag towns of Pixley,. Tipton, Tulare, Fresno, Madera,(where Marji lives) Le Grand (where the antique auction is),Merced, Hughson (where Jana lives), Chowchilla, Modesto, Ceres, (where Chrissy boy lives) clear up to Sacramento, on to Redding (where Chris and Brenda lived)

In John Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath, the fictional Joads traveled on the 99, as did so many real-life Dust Bowl migrants looking for work in the fields. Today, truckloads of grapes, bins of tomatoes, garlic, oranges, cotton bales, peaches, kiwis, almonds, pistachios. walnuts, lettuce, hay or rice exits the Central Valley without being ferried up or down 99 nearly every day of the year.

But the 99 will never rank high on a tourist's agenda. Most people who drive 99 these days do it because they have to—truck drivers delivering goods, people visiting relatives. The 99 will never get you to the California you see in the movies but it will get you to the real heart of the state. Nothing makes me happier than driving through the spring blossoms and being able to name off the crops as we pass---those are peaches, those are table grapes, that's alfalfa....who knew I was listening on all those long drives when I was a child.

The 99 was always the road of choice for long trips...and anyone who has every taken a long trip (before car radios/air conditioning/seatbelts) can sympathize with my Dad, who after listening to us bicker over some toy in the backseat for 50 miles, reached back, grabbed the offending toy and tossed it out the window. We immediately were glued to the back window, as we watched out toy bounce out of view.

Driving along 99 today, you'll find an unfussy, real California in a lovely landscape of almond orchards and vineyards, tidy farmyards and rusty train tracks, peach trees, and Depression-era hamburger stands. The 99 highway passes towns with their handsome old Main Streets and new McMansions. Thriving downtown or not, the elegant old buildings seem to whisper the names of the people who once walked those streets: Serpa, Briano, Valline, Koontz. O'Leary...all immigrants who knew how to husband the fields they found, not streets of gold, but close enough.

Each name on the map reminds me of the hundreds of trips I've taken; to Anderson to bury Uncle James and see the salmon jump; to Madera to meet up with Marji and the lovely Miss B for a trip to the city, to Mount Lassen, where the deer tried to eat us, to the Paige exit, where there were only memorized landmarks, taking me through the fields and groves to home.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

End of October

See how clear it is today? We went down to the rookery

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Wathching third season of HOUSE

Either I've watched way too many medical shows or I've spent too much time in the hospital...but I'm watching this and saying stuff like "Oh, that looks way worse than it is" or "Holy moley, that really hurts" or "Doesn't look like it hurts as bad as a liver biopsie" or my son's favorite "Remember when they did that to you? You didn't even know they were doing it!" (I had a bad headache and when they jammed the port in my arm, they blew through the vein. Blood everywhere. Didn't hurt, since I had a roofing hammer in my head.)

Ya think?

We're over at the beach and it's raining. Ben has been doing his gourmet chef thing...he can throw down...went out to the range and shot until the weather got really wet (yes, we are crazy). I want to go out to the beach to take photos tomorrow (I have that fancy pantsy new Nikon) and we're going out again tomorrow to shoot if it is dry. I took my Saturday sky photo right off my back steps with some BFA lense, as long as my arm.

October 2007 Saturday Skies

October 27 2007
From the back porch steps
This was the week that souther California erupted with wildfires from San Diego to Ventura. The sky driving in last night was full of the dark smoke cloud hiding the moon. Today, it rained and rained and rained. (The black line is a power line I've never noticed!)

This one in the middle t is October 20, 2007. The Santa Ana winds were whipping up the waters and the white "fog" you see is the spray from the waves crashing on the breakwater.

October 13, front yard
Judy and Gene came out from Provo to visit, so we stayed home.

October 6, 2007
Wow! Isn't it beautiful? This is at the marina, where the boat is docked.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Disturbia..feel free to skip this one

I see a lot of stuff in the course of my day and it always astounds me at how cruel and mean and inhumane people can be. I have vivid pictures in my head of uber violence; I have either seen it first hand or have had to sit for hours and read about it, while searching for some specific detail. I read really fast, so I usually draw this duty.

Working in corrections can shorten your life by FIFTEEN YEARS. On days like today-well, in a week like this one is sorting itself out to be, that is a blessing. There are some things you just are not meant to know. And you won't be hearing them from me. Enough that I know.

So that is why I need to get out and walk or drift on the tide or sit on the bottom of the pool with my dive gear on---I need to quiet the noise in my head with just some whooshing. I even sleep with a fan on--I have to have the sound of the air and the feel of the air, as well. Otherwise I feel like I am suffocating under a pile of rocks. How do I sleep at night? You might as well ask a soldier in a war how they can possibly keep putting one foot in front of another. And the thing is, this war? It goes on every day, on every block in every town. Whatever it is that you see on televison? It is pretend.
I don;t watch scary movies anymore, since I work in the belly of the beast every day. I don't want anyone else to see what I see when I close my eyes.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Otters on a date

These two were out in the channel past the Coast guard station,

New camera...I just want to get them posted!

This is what it looks like from the water. Today (Saturday), it was like this until I got past the boats moored in the channel. Then the wind kicked up and it got choppy..pretty, but a little rough. Lots of sailboats wee going out, so I had a lot of company. It was rough enough that I put my cell phone AND my camera in a double zip lock. If I tipped over, I could call the Coast Guard (I have them on speed dial)to rescue me. I saw some sea otters and will get them posted later. They looked like they were on a date and were very cute.

Here is my view from the patio. My little house is NOTHING to look at; it is dinky, dinky, dinky; I don;t like the kitchen and I hate the bathroom. But with a view like this every day...really, who am I to complain? I have a tiny patio (enough room for a table and two chairs in the middle, the barbeque and then two chairs and an itsy table up by the front walk..just to look friendly. I really don't visitors! There is just enough "extra" space for me to put in one of those Japanese soaking/hot tubs. I'm torn with this idea...on the one hand, I really hate the bathroom here and would like to rip it out and put in a WOW! shower, with a steam/sauna thing. OR I could put a two person tub out on the patio and look at the ocean. Gee, it is SO a toss up.

The wind has whipped up and that white fog is really spray whipped up against the breakwater.

Friday, October 19, 2007

This one is for Marji...amazing what you can find on the internet

Blame it on Paulie

Darling gave me a fancy Nikon with all kinds of lens do-hickies! I have talked about Paulie's artistic skill SO MUCH that Darling got me one to play with. I love taking photos of whatever catches my the way the seasons play out here in the farm belt; love the flotsam and jetsam on the beach and I especially love being in the kayak and snapping nothing in particular.

I will never have the eye that Paulie has. But I can entertain my own self. So the old point and shoot goes to my son, the newer point and shoot just goes in the glovebox (you never know) and the Nikon goes in a camera bag in my car to drag around.

Yesterday, after a bad, bad, very bad day--a Hanibel Lector squared day-I pulled over and smelled the cotton that is baled up on the side of the road. It is a bad year for cotton but it still smells the very same way as it did 55 years ago. Some things just never change. It is't the smell of clean linens...just the smell of fresh picked cotton on the side of the road.

In my line of work, you take joy when you can. Cotton v Hannibel Lector? No real comparison.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Cleaning up the computer..o'dark thirty

Oh, my PC has been running wonky lately, so it is time to run my Spy Bot and re-align all my files, do my 35x shredding and do my reboot. It's something I can't just set and let run; I have to actually DO yes or no; evaluate all the stuff I'm shredding, look at the cookies...there are 3500 little pieces of information I have to examine, which makes this just a little less fun than cleaning the bathrooms.

Speaking of cleaning, other than the office, which is today's chore, the house is clean on the outside. If the weather is nice, I'm hosing off the porches, which are the source of a lot of the dirt that finds it's way into the house. Then there is the guest cottage and the attic....looks like a huge ebay fest to me.

Speaking of, I am going to have to paint pretty soon,just to protect the wood on this 150 year old monster. Yellow, I think this time. With dark green trim. The other houses on the block are various shades of gray, which I have never cared for. I had hoped to sell the place before I had to paint, but I dilly dallied and now it is starting to look just a tad raggedy.

I have to pump the pond this week, too... all the water (6,00 gallons of it) goes into the flowerbeds and the garden on the south side of the house. I'm hoping that the housing market swings up so that I can get, if not top dollar, within sight of good money for this place. It is big (3,000 square feet) and on a acre with a pool, trees, graps,. garden, koi pond, guest house, outdoor shower and outdoor bathroom, hot tub...really a nice place for someone with children AND NOT ME. Too much work.

All that needs to be actually done at the hotel is the kitchen so I can get my C.O. Oh, I want the floors done again with a heavier satin finish to fill in all of the little and I'm not happy with the dining room and I hate the color the lobby turned out...but other than that and the drapes, it is all good. Once I get all the furniture moved in (I have three pianos plus flotsam and jetsam) I think it will be spectacular. Nothing like this house, which is sort of farm house-y. The room at the hotel are much larger, so all the stuff has room to breathe.

I am going tothis morning for a wooden bowl for the coffee table and some harvest colored candles. The coffee table needs an update.

My big project for last night (while I was watching Season 3 of Rescue Me) was to clean out my tote and handbag. Two different things. I leave my handbag in the car; the tote I drag inside the perimeter. There are all kinds of things I just can't take inside and for some reason, they multiply inside my tote.

More later about my so-called life!

I am insane. I know many of you are nodding your heads and wondering why I didn't catch on sooner. (Marji, shut up.) I'm crazy. I'm flighty, scatterbrained, clumsy and moody. I can imagine that it's very frustrating to be around me for any length of time without being driven to drinking. Which makes me love my family all the better for sticking with my lunatic self. My husband dotes on me like I'm a princess- even when I don't go grocery shopping for weeks and he has no clean underwear. He makes my coffee, he rubs my neck; even when I go from furious to sappy to melancholy in the time it takes to blink. (He thinks coffee is the cure for all ills, It might be.)
My daughter humors me and only laugh at me when she thinks I'm not looking. She gets really mad at me and then apologizes--I do, too. It is a nice, adult relationship.

They tolerate my bizarro rambling stories and my kooky plans. I don't deserve it.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

October Saturday Skies

October 6, 2007 in Morro Bay

October 13, 2006 in front of my house..far cry from last week, eh?

Friday, October 12, 2007

That's MISS Betty Crocker to you!

I have been so busy today....managed to get the regular cleaning done as well as stuff I never have time to get the pantry, under the kitchen sink, the pantry and the linen closet. I have all the bed linens folded tidily inside their pillow cases, with a ribbon AND a sprig of lavendar. So Martha Stewart, oui? I should take photos...but that would be a tad obsessive!

Tomorrow, I tackle the office, which is the hugest mess. It is my junk room and totally lives up to it's name. I am embarrassed to have this room in my house, it is such an untidy mess.

I've even washed ALL the curtains in the house...and the carpet guys are coming on Monday, if it doesn't rain.

And no, I'm not climbing any ladders, lol!