Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Orange trees..really (PM December 22)

Here it is...noon and there are some of the many miles of orange groves. It is high enough here on the slopes of the foothills so that the oranges don't freeze. In a few miles, it will be too cold and nippy for them. There are mandarin oranges here and avocados, too. Miles of them. A little higher are apples (they need colder weather). Lower down, where I live, are peaches and plums, apricots...stuff like that there.

It's snowy and stormy and COLD. Look at the sky! It snowed in Vegas yesterday. Marji emailed me and said that it's been windy and cold in Sedona and there is supposed to be a huge storm on the way to Utah from Seattle. I have a sweatshirt and my RiteAide tennis shoes with me. I have my Dux home. We did bring chains.

Look at THIS! It's the wind factory in Tehachapi and there is snow and fog and terrible weather everywhere. What was I thinking? Whose idea WAS this? I hate the snow! I HATE the cold! I like my own bed.

And then like magic, the skies are clear right around the bend on the way down to Mojave.

This is what the Mojave desert looks like in the winter. Not what you expected, is it?

About an hour outside of Vegas.

Las Vegas
It looks pretty spectacular at night...just like CSI. This is what it looks like in real life. We stayed at South Pointe Casino for $29. (I looked it up on the web and then called the hotel direct. Got a better price that way. Who knew?)
Of course, wireless internet was $13. Nothing was on tv. You could rent movies for $15. Or you could go gamble. The buffet was $15 (and it was REALLY good and really fresh. Probably the best I've ever had in Vegas. Ever.) Which is what we did and then we went to bed.It was one long day. And tomorrow is going to be longer.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas is early for us: Lisi is working and we'll be on the road

Perfect: We are all together, snug and safe
Except: Lisi, who is working at the jail Someone has to keep the streets safe. Might as well be her at double time and a half. She volunteered.

We'll have another Christmas with judy and Mom in Utah, so this one is pretty much Lisi-centric.

So here is Lisi's new sewing basket (courtesy of Marji); zip pockets for notions and a sushi pincushion. There is also a needle keeper, a thread braid (I'll post a photo because I can't explain it), good scissors and a bunch of other little things she'll need for mending. Lisi is no seamstress. I lined the inside of the basket so it would look nice but I have no real expectation of her ever ACTUALLY using it. She did teach one of her inmates how to sew on a button and told me that it made her feel really competent, so I'm not a total failure in teaching her those useful skills needed in life (besides balancing her checkbook, doing laundry and saving 10% of her paycheck).

Saturday, December 20, 2008

SHU-by Dooby Do

The SHU is sorta like solitary confinement. It's not for the worst of the worst (as in never get OUT of prison);it's for inmates who just don;t play well with others.

SHU inmates spend 23 hours a day in their cells, usually alone because they can't play nice with a cellie. I have about 50 of them on my caseload and about 10 of them actually are active and doing any work.

The other 40? They write every day and want books or batteries or pencils or televisions but can't manage to get work finished and sent in. Part of it is because they are only using their enrollment to get whatever they think I'm handing out. Part of it is because they are just "stuck on stupid" and afraid that maybe they are stupid and I'll find out.

Funny how that works--a guy doesn;t mind if I think he's a stone killer or a pedophile or uses his own bodily fluids to write on his cell walls but he very much minds that I find out that he can't read. For some reason, if their math skills are bad, that's okay. Reading is a point of pride.

I have one SHU-by who generate more paperwork than all of the rest of my students put together. He reminds me of a toddler who wants some candy and is throwing a bigger and bigger tantrum in his attempt to get that candy. This SHU-by wants a television. He claims that he has to have one to do his school work. (He doesn't.)He writes almost every day--begging. pleading, threatening, cajoling. Trying to be lawyer-like. It doesn;t make any difference because I DON'T HAVE ANY TELEVISIONS.

He 602'd me (inmate complaint) because he has to have a television to do his work. (No, he doesn't.) Then he 602'd me because he can't do his work without a television.
Another 602-he's requested a television from me and I refuse to answer, so there is nothing he can do except write a 602. (Evidently, NO doesn't count as an answer.)

I get dozens of notes every day. Usually, some guy wants to get tested ("I done been here for eight years and I need a TABBY test." No, you don't. You took that test when you entered prison. I don't have time to retest you just because you feel like it.)Occasionally, he wants something else...a computer, a book, a cellphone, some paper, envelopes, a television. I don't have any of that stuff. But I guess it
doesn't hurt to ask.

I might have a TV keistered and want to sit down.

Monday, December 15, 2008

I love to read

I snagged this from Marji’s blog. It’s is originally from UK’s The Big Read where they assume most people will have only read about 6 of the 100 books listed. Ha.

I say the folks at The Big Read need to have their heads examined since they have The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, and ALL the Harry Potter books listed as one title apiece. I say The Big Read needs to look up the meaning of the word "book" in the dictionary.


1. Look at the list and bold those you have read.

2. Underline those you intend to read.

3. Italicize the books you LOVE.

Put this list on your blog so that we can track down those people who have only read six and force books upon them.

1. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen

2. Lord of the Rings - J.R.R. Tolkein (Didn’t like it)

3. Jane Eyre -Charlotte Bronte (the world would be a better place if the Brontes had not been given access to pen and paper)

4. Harry Potter series - J.K. Rowling (Couldn’t get into them at first. Like them better now. The movies helped)

5. To Kill A Mockingbird - Harper Lee (I can hear this outloud in my head when I read it)

6. The Bible

7. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte (see #3 above)

8. Nineteen Eighty-Four - George Orwell

9. His Dark Materials - Phillip Pullman (Marji has it on her to-read list, so I thought I’d give it a shot)

10. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens (He was paid by the word and it shows. At least he avoids the inmate "very, very, very, very" when counting out words.)

11. Little Women - Louisa May Alcott (loved Alcott when I was little. Not so much now.

12. Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy (Poor Tess.)

13. Catch 22 -Joseph Heller

14. Complete Works of William Shakespeare (I still say this is cheating)

15. Rebecca - Daphne du Maurier (Marji’s mother recommended this book when I was about 16. I like most everything du Maurier wrote, especially House on the Strand.)

16. The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkein (Didn’t like it)

17. Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks

18. The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger (I hate this book.)

19. The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger

20. Middlemarch - George Eliot (I never liked the sound of these words)

21. Gone With the Wind - Margaret Mitchell (What was in Rhett’s head?. Stupid Scarlett. Weak Ashley. Poor relation Melanie. That bunch had Brittany Spears/Anna Nicole Smith written all over them.)

22. The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald

23. Bleak House - Charles Dickens (Dickens-still sucking all the words out of the universe)

24. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy

25. The Hitchhiker's Guide to Galaxy - Douglas Adams

26. Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh

27. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky

28. The Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck

29. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll ( Disney has a lot to answer for)

30. The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame (Better book than a ride)

31. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy

32. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens (word, word, word)

33. Chronicles of Narnia - C.S. Lewis

34. Emma - Jane Austen

35. Persuasion - Jane Austen

36. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe - C.S. Lewis (Isn't this part of #33?)

37. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini

38. Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis de Bernieres

39. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden

40. Winnie the Pooh - A.A. Milne (Walt, Walt, Walt)

41. Animal Farm - George Orwell

42. The DaVinci Code - Dan Brown

43. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez (I’d like some of that)

44. A Prayer for Owen Meany -- John Irving (I’m not an Irving fan).

45. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins (Early Danielle Steele. How did this get on the list?

46. Anne of Green Gables - Lucy Maud Montgomery

47. Far From the Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy

48. The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood

49. The Lord of the Flies - William Golding (Lord, how I hated that book.

50. Atonement - Ian McEwan (what a perfect title)

51. Life of Pi - Yann Martel (this was one nutty book)

52. Dune - Frank Herbert

53. Cold Comfort Farm -- Stella Gibbons

54. Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen

55. A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth (I tried but just could not get into this gigantic fat book)

56. The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

57. A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens (It is a wonder there are any words LEFT for any of us to use)

58. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley

59. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime - Mark Haddon

60. Love in the Time of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

61. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck 62. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov

63. The Secret History - Donna Tartt

64. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold LOVED IT

65. The Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas

66. On the Road - Jack Kerouac

67. Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy

68. Bridget Jones' Diary - Helen Fielding (How did this get on the list?)

69. Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie

70. Moby Dick - Herman Melville

71. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens

72. Dracula - Bram Stocker

73. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett

74. Notes From a Small Island - Bill Bryson

75. Ulysses -- James Joyce

76. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath

77. Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome

78. Germinal - Emile Zola

79. Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray

80. Possession - A.S. Byatt

81. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens

82. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell

83. The Color Purple - Alice Walker

84. The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiquro

85. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert

86. A Fine Balance - Rohintin Mistry

87. Charlotte's Web - E.B. White

88. The Five People You Meet in Heaven - Mitch Albom

89. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

90. The Far Away Tree Collection - Enid Blyton

91. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad

92. The Little Prince - Antoine de Saint-Expury (I think everyone at college read this and thought it was SO DEEP. I thought it was SO STUPID)

93. The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks

94. Watership Down - Richard Adams LOVED IT

95. A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole

96. A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute

97. The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas

98. Hamlet - William Shakespeare (again, isn't this part of #14?)

99. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl

100. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

I am embarrased to say there are some books here I have never heard of. It’s a UK list—but where is Mark Twain? Dick Francis? Jodi Picoult? J.D.Robb? Oxbow Incident? Red Badge of Courage? The Great Gatsby? All of the books Oprah reads?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

I don't knit for Christmas

Knitting for me is the Zen of my existence. It is the white noise that enables me to enter into the belly of the beast every morning. I actually had a conversation with my son about this today about my chances of getting murdered at work. Every day I don't increases the chances that I will. That's what I get paid a cartload of money for and have a cartload of insurance.

So last week, when I was THINKING about knitting some little holiday sweater ornaments for people in ple in the office I made one up, just to see how long it would take, since I have the yarn. (It was supposed to be for a little wrap sweater for Lisi, only Full Metal JACKASS found it every place I hid it and now there isn't enough for a sweater.)

It took 2 hours and 32 minutes to make a very cute cute very cute little miniature sweater ornament. Knitting at top speed, which IS NOT ZEN KNITTING. That, my friends, is BUSINESS KNITTING. Times the 13 people I need to gift by Wednesday, because you never know when someone will up and decide not to come in...32 hours of Zen knitting time I will never get back. So forget that silliness.

So I went to Target, got some little felt snowman stockings, stuck some candy bars in them for the gals, little bags of dilled nuts for the guys and there you go. $15 and 15 minutes.

Then there are family gifts. This year we agreed on no gifts because we gave the gifts ahead of time...and darn nice ones they were.

Here is the way I usually do Christmas

  1. Get yourself a list. I can't stress the planning enough. There must be a list. The list must be carefully considered. The list must be constructed weeks in advance when there is no pressure or panic. July is the perfect month. Plenty of money in July. Plenty of time in July.The list must not monkeyed with overmuch. My list contained SEVEN people in July. The list was sealed yesterday and contained TWENTY FOUR people.
  2. Do not fall prey to $99 items at Blockbuster, even if the guy at the counter says that these are the last two on the planet. No one needs them.
  3. At no time may anyone be allowed to make a trip to Rite Aide to get stocking stuffers. We don't need any more stuff. We have enough stuff
  4. I know what Marji likes. Get that. I know what Pat likes. Get that. Wrap it and be done with it.
  5. Ben got a house and new linens (and right now, I'd like some new linens myself.) That is enough.
  6. Lisi got car insurance for a year, AAA for a year, rabies shots, neutering, dental work AND a microchip for Jack, plus a sewing box with all the fixings. Very cute, if I do say so my own self.
  7. Be honest. Take a reality pill. Look at the list. Ask yourself what the odds are that you are suddenly, in a busy season full of many other responsibilities, find anything that Mike needs/wants/doesn't have
  8. The mitts and socks you made for your Pierce? THEY ARE FINE. That DAR bracelet? Fine-ola. Pack it already
  9. Ash and Mike WANT to go shopping. Money is fine. Get over it.
  10. You don't care what Judy thinks ANYWAY. A bag of fruit is better than fine. She has 400 boxes of stuff and she just moved. She doesn't need anymore stuff. If you are the sort of person who is going to be really, really , really hurt if your presents are not received at the Parrish household with the complete amount of enthusiasm with which they were purchased (none), you should probably forget them. Just go out to the car and rummage in the back and say you can't find them.


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Ugly Shoes

I have just spent way too much time trying to jump start the economy over at Zappo's. Where did they find so many ugly shoes?

Maye it's the multi-view thingy, where I can look at the shoe from every possible angle. Not a great idea, obviously, especially when it's already an ugly shoe.

Once upon a time, I had tons of shoes. Capezios. Cute, cute, very cute. In every color. i was the queen of cute shoes.

Now I wear little grandma black runners from Rite Aide. $2.99. When they look ratty I throw them out and buy new ones. Sometimes I'll spring for little flats from Target, if I can bear to brave the crowds at Target.

I think that in the olden days, when there were actual shoe stores, it was just easier. Park the car, look for shoes and only shoes and Bob's your uncle. Not now. Everything's in a huge box store with a Starbuck's. Takes all the fun out of it.

Might as well go to RiteAide.

Because they send all the ugly shoes to Zappos.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

You know what I love about knitting?

I could be forgiven for thinking not much these days, but really - this blogging thing can create a sense that I must knit ALL the time if I am to be other than a slacker, and I just haven't wanted to for a while. (I tend to post random photos and online quizzes--have you noticed?)

The thing about blogging my knitting is that I"M SO SLOW.

A narrative arc develops stitch by stitch by stitch - which is what makes knitting so intrinsically tactile and satisfying and wonderful. (There is only so much chatter I can write about a cuff or screwing up a count or fretting about an armsecye).

But as a subject for the Internet, I'm better off with modest progress pictures and a big reveal (See Finally! Knitting!)

Blogging is still ideal for the emotional narrative of what knitting means in a life - for whatever emotional narrative any passion means in a life. And a blog is perfect for the many passions-the color of the kitchen walls, what I'm going to use for counter tops, the hotel, my kayaking (at which I suck, but it's not an Olympic sport for me), a 4-7-12 year backstory and no known ending yet, but it's connected to things, other people, feelings and friendship and love and hope and disappointment and irony that are just too complex and personal for me to keep to myself.

And I'm not even sorry about that.

The blogs I have been reading are perfume blogs and sewing blogs and arts blogs and CANADIAN political blogs and food blogs. I started reading blogs after 9/11 - discovered them when I was looking for better news sources and then had this whole world opened to me.

But I do love knitting. Today it is damp and foggy and I am just back from the coast and I have no headache and I am wearing my own pair of self-made socks and the Dream in Color pullover (Visual Purple) I made last winter (I think that is the maximum acceptable handknit:body style ) and I am warm.

Last night I found myself making mental notes about what I would change the next time, which is the unmistakable intellectual stirring of a knitter exiting hibernation. (Except for car knitting and that doesn't really count).

The other thing I have been doing is reading until my eyes fall out. And I can't - nor do I want - to do both at once.I read a lot. I have books all over. Anywhere where I might possible be stuck with --gasp!-nothing to do. Car books. Waiting room books. Bathroom books. Hot tub books. Bedside books. Drop in my handbag books (I have to hide those since we aren't supposed to have them a work. Quelle horrors! Call out the Garda. Put me in chains.)

But the thing I LOVE about knitting - back to my original point - is that it is infinite. Never done if you don't want it to be. You can find a mistake, no matter how infinitesimal and rip it out., Or not.

It is as infinite as self knowledge, as infinite as learning itself. And it waits for you until you are ready to move on.

Knitting almost always leaves room for you to get it right someday . That's what I love

Bad headaches

I have these horrible migraines--I might have mentioned them.

A couple of my friends have them; several of the gals at work have them, too. We talk about them endlessly, only because a migraine pretty much takes over your entire world. You either have a headache, think you are going to get a headache, HAD a headache or are wondering when you are going to get a headache.

And we talk about what we take and what we do to tend to/avoid the pain. We all have a bag of rescue drugs in our handbags (it's all the same stuff) and if one of us gets something new, the rest of us will ask for some the next time we go in because you never know--it MIGHT work. I like those little silver meth suppositories that only work if you take them 20 minutes before you think you might be getting a headache.

SO my friend Marji has them, too. She takes Top (almost everyone I know does. It's supposed to calm something deep inside your brain. The dosage is a little iffy, though, and hard to get right). It makes my hands hurt but better my hands than my head.

She, unlike the rest of the migraineurs I know, never ends up in the ER with her fist in her eye, with her blood pressure at 295/190. She doesn't go to the clinic in San Francisco and get big needles jammed into her skull. She doesn't carry an ER script behind her driver's license for when she is out of town.

She isn't up on the kind of lunchtime chat we are either---did they push the drugs in your line or let them drip in the saline? Did you get Benydryl as an accelerant? Did they give you oxygen? That's supposed to help. With volatile migraines like ours, you need a support group.

So this morning, I get the email from Marji. She has her fist jammed in her eye and is on the way to the ER.

I know exactly how she feels.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Christmas in Yellowstone

Catching some sun today

Today was just a nice sunny day out on the water. I went out with my camera and met my husband down at the Embacadero for lunch. My actual plans were to paddle there and back, but we loaded my rig up and drove home. This is supposed to be fun.

So here are the little deer out in the estuary

Sea otters

Pelicans in flight (I only took about 900 , trying to get these) and the sky changed during the day but not as much as it looks...just depending on how close to the water they were. The really blue one was over by the golf course; the gray ones were over the channel. Of course, I had about 895 shots of birds dropping like rocks.

Sandpiper on the beach, (cool reflection, huh? that took forever, too). I thought I would either get stuck in the mud or flip over. I saw this shot in a calendar so when I saw the sandpipers in the wet sand, I knew I could catch the reflection if I was patient. I just didn't frame it too well. Too much blue.

Pelican with obvious hair issues (I usually see the gray and brown ones.) It's migration time and I've seen white ones AT WORK, so nothing surprises me anymore.

Bird I don't know down from the steps at the park where I walk the dogs

Egrets (doesn't this one look like ROCKY?) There is a huge rookery I can see from the water that looks like something from a horror movie....and it is only when I'm drifting a something like, oh....two feet AN HOUR I can get shots like these because there is nothing else to do. It's Zen Kayak Chloe, not a Paddle Crazy Kayak Chloe. That's why I'm going OUT with the tide.

Another egret on the bow of a bow, moored in the channel. I live out in an agricultural wetlands area. They are always standing around like a bunch of cold little old men.

Sandpiper over by the musuem. Not nearly as interesting as the one in the wet sand.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

So, what do you think about a PhD? I think


Talked to a recruiter from UCLA, looking to enlist me for a PhD program.
Two years.
The floundering state would "help" me--unlike the school districts, whose idea of helping teachers get their degrees or credentials, the state would actually post me to campus.
They would not, however think for me.

They evidently need somebody with a PhD in Correctional Education on staff and thought maybe I was smart enough (I am) and vain enough (I'm not) to go for this.

Oh, I listened for FOUR WHOLE HOURS.
I asked a lot of questions, because I really am vain enough but I'm not stupid. A PhD is a LOT OF WORK. And I only have a few more years of this---okay, maybe four. Or six. Or ten.

But I don't have enough time left IN MY LIFE to spend it driving back and forth to UCLA if Stevie Wonder was at the wheel and Ray Charles was riding shotgun.

So, no thanks.

My REAL reason?

This goof told me that my "work" here at the prison was noble and worthwhile.
Like I need his validation to know that.

Like I need anyone's validation.
Or a Ph fucking D.

Like that would make me more of who I am.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The one where we have a photo shoot of our own


So what do college kids DO during a weekend home?
Hang out with their folks
Drink beer
Steal beer
Get into gang fights
Go to the zoo
Go to a game
Hang out with high school boyfriend
Go to the beach with friends
Hang out with new puppy (Awww. Cute)

Yarn-A-Go-Goes To New York

I am so happy for you, Rach!

Finally! Knittng!

I've only made this particular pattern a million times

It's on the blog here someplace. This one I made for Coach's baby Jamie's baby (Bob) Dylan. And I was so worried that it would be too little! I made most of it at work (over estimating my speed, as usual-it took almost two months). I used bamboo yarn in "vanilla frosting" and "cupcake" (an ivory and pale yellow). And man, is that bamboo stuff heavy when it gets wet! Blocks out nice, though.

When I'm working a a baby sweater, I have no real idea after a while what size it is, really. I take it to Target and hold it up to the newborn stuff and think "Well, it's a wee bit bigger than this" and I hold it up to the 3 month stuff and I think "I better knit faster" and when I gave it to Coach it looked huge until he was across the room and then it looked impossibly tiny. So until I saw Dylan in it, I had no real idea if it was even going to fit over his head.

So welcome, Dylan!

Judy is in the process of moving; you know how that is

The movers are crating her things in Provo.
She is between two houses (she's lived in Provo for, oh, 30 years.)
She's moving to Salt Lake while she waits for the big house in Park City to be finished.

Mom is in Salt Lake, where the boys are taking turns taking care of her until Judy is all moved in.
I've not talked to her, since she can't hear on the effing phones.

I can hear her in the background. She is in her element, ordering people around.
I'm not sure that the boys and their wives/girlfriends are much for listening to her.

Judy has called here to see if I know where she put this that or the other.

I only know where she put the stuff in the RV.
She's since unpacked the RV.
How would I know where it is now?

Sometimes I think I was sent home with the totally wrong family.

Marji Likes Cats. go figure

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Oh, my hell! Pat!!

The BenOsmonds!!
They gots my Mom!

They are in Baker

Two hours down the road.
So much for driving all night.

Not that I would have, either.

Judy says that already, Mike has turned into a saint, as have I.
He was a better driver and I was a better cook. And we never would have stuck her in the back to ride in a cave all by herself.

UPDATE from the Eastern trek:
Gene evidently has the rare talent for finding every pothole in the road.
Judy could not possibly have ever been a nurse, since I took better care of her working full time than she is taking care of her so far. (Of course, Mom is pretty demanding and over wrought.) What she means is that I would turn her over, prop her up with pillows and the wait for an hour, making minute little changes until she was comfortable or asleep.

UPDATE from the wagon trail:
Judy is hoping that they make Provo by nightfall. Provo is only twelve hours from here by the clock we use. Mom is not happy that she can't see out the windows to see what is going on (my guess is because they are moving too slowly.)
Not a complaint, just an observation.
No wonder it takes Judy so long to get anywhere.
Soldier on.

UPDATE from the wagon trail: Judy's boys turn out to greet Mom
at Judy's new house. (I'm sure it's not all that bad. I'm just worried because I DON'T KNOW THESE PEOPLE.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Mom's on her way to Utah

Judy got into town about 2, got the apartment emptied out in about 90 minutes and then got Mom checked out of the nursing home and loaded into the RV by 4. Then they were on the road again, back to Utah.

Now when Ben found that this was the plan (at noon), he called Lisi, who called her work and took the day off so she could say goodby. We had NO idea that they were going to leave today. We thought they were going to leave in the morning.

So we got her things packed up and she was able to climb up into the RV and walk down the hallway into the bedroom, although it did just knock her out. She will probably sleep most of the way home and all night long, too.

Once she gets settled, she'll be fine. It's just all this change.

Christmas Parade

We always take the 1924 Dodge Brothers.

We get dressed up; I wear my once a year mink coat and Christmas hat (next year, I'm wearing some opera gloves. my hands got COLD...

We took Christie's kids, who were good as gold and have a standing invitation (Micah asked me if he could come next year...Please, Miss Chloe?, as his little sister poked him in the ribs and whispered "Ask her! I want to come next year!".) It's a big deal here. (6,000 people sitting on the sidewalk this year!) I have a little sleigh heater with a slide out tray with a chunk of soapstone that we heat up in the oven all day so I can rest my cold feet on it during the parade so I don;t get so cold. (it is not only dark, it is chilly, too. Did I mention that?) Some years it is so foggy that you can;t see across the street; this year it was just super dark.And crowded. 6,000 people sitting out in the cold dark night--the only show in town, I guess. Not a lot of vendors out. We were at the very front of the parade (like the first ten minutes) and home by 6:45. We've been way in the back (like entry #295)-I like being in the front better. I don't get so cold. I guess I've mentioned that it gets cold? Not like Canada cold or even Utah cold, but pretty darn cold for here cold. Cold and dark and damp and breezy. I have my coat and scuba diving skins on (sort of a leotard thing you wear under a scuba suit to keep you warm in the COLD water), jeans, a black merino sweater I KNIT MYSELF, socks I KNIT MYSELF and my sheepskin slippers with the toastie toes insert (you snap it open and it heats up for six hours.It's a ski kind of thing. They have them for your pockets, too.)At least we were waiting over in China Alley so I could get a
thermos of tea. I could live on that stuff. We don't do the fake wave..we do the real, look-you-in-the-eye wave..I'm still a kinder teacher at heart. Micah and Mia are first and second graders and waved like crazy people when people in the crowd shouted out their names (they are in soccer and church and what all, so lots of people know them. ) Plus they come from a huge family who didn't We were behind a gymnastics float...the kids would get off and do flips on the street. It was as good as the Olympics!

Friday, November 28, 2008

You just have to laugh when your mother turns into a three year old

When she isn't crying, she's giving orders.
She's not paying for physical therapy and she's not DOING any, either. (Yes, she is.)
She is tired, so she is going to rest. (No, she's not. There's a deck. There's a family room. She's going to be part of the damn family, if it kills Judy.)
Good luck with that.

Occupation therapy? Fine motor skills? Phooey! She reads. Turning pages is good enough. (Nope.)
She is too old to monkey with computers. (Not if Judy has her way.)
Good luck with that.

She got on a tear and tried to make me promise a bunch of I don't know what for Ben and for Mike--oh ho! I am too clever for that (been burned before). I can't make promises for other people.

I won't make promises for other people, which just makes her crazy. (She tries crying, sobbing, ugly facing me--none of it works.I am so so stubborn. This is a fight we've have a number of times in the last ten years. It is always the same. Talk to Ben/Lisi/Mike yourself. She doesn't want to because she knows they will say no. She wants to wheedle me, because she thinks I'll say yes for them and then they'll do it. Hasn't worked in ten years. Isn't going to work this weekend.)

Lisi came home last night after working second and third watch, just so she could get some sleep, see Mom and come back home, get more sleep and the go back to to work. She has started leaving clothes here, just in case she decides to stay over.

Adventurers in UHaul

1. We need a 16 foot covered trailer.
2. All that is available is a SIX foot covered trailer.
3. Once again, Judy waited until the very last minute to make the arrangements and blamed it on "that little town you live in". My town is plenty big enough for me, thank you very much.

So what we are going to do is pick out what Mom has to have, put it in this little trailer and then store everything else. Won't make Mom happy, but nothing will.

I had this good idea this morning ---postpone this trip/have me move everything into a storage unit/come out next week.

That won't work because Judy has already made arrangements to borrow this RV. (If she was borrowing it from ME a week wouldn't make any difference, so she can't possibly be borrowing it from people she really knows.) Plus this RV doesn't have running water OR a working bathroom, so this should be a cheery little trip.

THEN I mentioned that we'd be out in a month and I thought she was going to have a a complete meltdown. Was I planing on staying with her? (Was she CRAZY? I wouldn't stay with her if there was a nuclear holocaust and her house was the only house that had bread, water and a working toilet.)

I stayed at her house ten years ago and if Mom wasn't living there, that would have been the last time I ever bothered to knock on her door. When Mom dies, that will be the last time I ever go to her house. When Judy dies, I bet you a bag of nickles no one calls me unless they need money.

To say that we have differing philosophies is putting it gently.

She married Felon Boy.

I not only think OJ did it, I have to boycott Michael Jackson, Woody Allen, Angelina Jolie AND Brad Pitt. God help me if I find out that John Lennon and Paul McCartney were pedophiles. I'll have to stick my fingers in my ears for the rest of my life.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

No Drama and No Guilt

That's my sister's department these days and I feel sorry for her because she sounds like she is on the edge....and I should know, because I've been living there for the last eight years.

Mom is still in the acute care home and hating every minute of it. I'm going into work at 0300 every morning---that is 3am as in 3 dark thirty because I don't have a classroom (not since my class decided they were going to rape and dismember me)

I have a desk job and a non-contact one at that. I write lessons, run them off, mail them out, correct them and keep track of work---all easily done in the dark, as long as custody knows I'm back there, locked up in the warehouse, with my alarm.

Lisi drops by before she starts her shift and then drops by during her lunch hour. I drop by on my way home at noon and again when Ben gets off work.

I've made arrangements (if Judy can get a 16 foot U-Haul rented via the internet) to have it loaded tomorrow while she and Gene drive down from Provo.

It's a 12 hour trip (Well for me. It takes longer for Judy. Always has.)

Not sure when they are leaving. They are parking in my driveway and I'm having the crew park the U-haul in front of my house so they can drive it off with Mom on Sunday.

Judy is beside herself. All of these plans have been in place for years but I don't think she ever thought they would ever actually happen. The house she was living in wouldn't accommodate Mom (tiny with stairs and a teeny bathroom), so they are moving to another house they own in SLC, which won't be ready until Friday.

They will only be living there a short while, while the house they are building in Park City is being finished. I don't envy her three moves with Mom in tow one bit, Mom being as crazy as she is. (Mom had this great idea-load her in the U-haul in her bed with a cell phone. Forget the fact that she is deaf and can;t hear on a cell phone. She thought that was a good idea. Judy is renting an RV.)

Today, the plans changed hourly until I was as snippy and short as I could be. First it was this way. Then she talked to Judy and it was something else. Then she talked to me and it was totally opposite. If I hadn't had Ben with me, I would have thought maybe I was the crazy one.
She is positive that Judy has to handle all the last minute business herself in person--not so. The address change--fill out the forms and mail them in. Done it a million times. Moving money from one account to another? Simple as writing out a check, filling out a deposit slip and putting it in another bank. Not a big eal at all. The big deal is the way she has her power of attorney worded--it is fine if she is dead, but worthless if she is alive unless she is incompetent, which she would have to be dead before she would agree to being. Makes everything impossible to handle.

With Joe, it was exactly opposite. he thought he had everything taken care of but what he had only worked as long as he was alive. Once he was dead, he had nothing put into place. It pays to have more than one lawyer look at your trust/will/plans. Not all of the attorneys graduate at the tops of the class.

Judy is in for the same very long and contrary road I've been on.

It won't be any fun.

Movie Time...or TV time, whichever

I've been plopped in front of the tv, knitting.
Guess the line, let me know and I'll give you credit here. It's a little heavy on the cop thing.

Well, WE'RE a little heavy on the cop thing. When we're driving together, I'll call shotgun and Lisi'll call nine millimeter (cop humor. We laugh our asses off.) We both have cuff keys on our keychains.

1. "They'll dress you like a flannel sock!" (I laughed myself silly over this one. My only hint is that I don't watch anything on real TV.)

2."I apologize to the people of Los Angeles. My behavior has been improper and I accept the consequences. I ask my fellow Angelinos for their patience and understanding. Life here can be difficult for me. After all, I am the only one of my kind. During my incarceration, I will be participating in alcohol and anger management treatment. You deserve better from me. I can be better. I will be better." (I thought this was such a romantic movie..almost as romantic as the first Terminator.) HANCOCK/NOVEL (Did you like it? I thought it was so off the wall quirky and sweet. And the shove it up your ass--OMG! so literal)

3. "My father taught me one thing above all others; to be sure. And I am. Matt Chambers, Miami is your last stop. If God is in the details and if I believed in God, he’s in this room with me. I just wish he had brought an extension cord.""

5."And one and two and three and four and your hands should be light like a birdie on a branch. And one and two and three and four and Wat doesn't lead he follows like a girl."A KNIGHT'S TALE/NOVEL (One of my favorites. So sweet and quirky. Like Jocelyn would really last with living with the pigs; sweet sentiment but unlikely. Even for Heath. She could quit him in a red hot minute.)

6. "Our dad was a cop, you're a cop, I work for the cops... for us, this is brother-sister stuff.

"Good cop and bad cop have left for the day. I'm a different kind of cop."

8. "Who are you? What are you?" T

9."I could lie to you. But I have far too much respect for you as a person."

10."It's almost as though there's a sign that says 'Give us your tired and poor.' "

11. "Don't look at me, I just know stuff."

12."What's your favorite kind of torture?"

What do you believe? What works in your life?

1. What you put out comes back all the time, no matter what. (Ugly, kind, all comes back...usually engraved on your face)

2. You define your own life. Don't let other people write your script. Still working on this one.

3. Whatever someone did to you in the past has no power over the present. Only you give it power. This one, too

4. When people show you who they are, believe them the first time. (There are felons who are truly bad men. Then there are felons who made a bad mistake. You need to know the difference.)

5. Worrying is wasted time. Use the same energy for doing something about whatever worries you. (Knitting is good for this.)

6. What you believe has more power than what you dream or wish or hope for. You become what you believe.

7. If the only prayer you ever say is thank you, that will be enough. Even "thank you" for a sunrise will do.

8. The happiness you feel is in direct proportion to the love you give.

9. Failure is a signpost to turn you in another direction. (Lace is not for me.)

10. If you make a choice that goes against what everyone else thinks, the world will not fall apart.

11. Trust your instincts. Your gut doesn't lie.

12. Love yourself and then learn to extend that love to others. It won;t hurt to look at a name tag and thank the checkers by name or thank the bagger or the waitress. it is such a little thing. Wave to the guy on the corner with the sign selling cell phones. he's not invisible.

13. Let passion drive your profession.

14. Find a way to get paid for doing what you love. Then every paycheck will be a bonus.

15. Love doesn't hurt. It feels really good. It feels just like sitting with your babies in the sun. Hold on to that.

16. Every day brings a chance to start over. (That's why I like Monday's. Haven;t had a true chance to screw up yet.)

17. Being a mother is the hardest job on earth. And it will never stop.

18. Doubt means don't. Don't move. Don't answer. Don't rush forward.

19. When you don't know what to do, get still. The answer will come.

20. Trouble don't last always. You'll get past it.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thank you Harlot, for the kick in the arse

By many standards, I am not a wealthy woman.

I have a great job that will employ me forever, but I am still a working woman; I trot off to work at 0'dark thirty and watch the sun come up on my drive to work.

It is not a thankless job-I get to watch the seasons change; the crops grow and the harvests. I see the jets net the sky with their con trails. I work with some pretty funny characters, so I am endlessly amused all day long.

There has never been a day that I went hungry or wondered where I would put my kids to bed. I pick and choose what I'm going to wear in the morning from my overstuffed walk in closet and at least once a week I toss out food that went bad before we could eat it. I order out Chinese maybe once a week because I'm "too tired" to cook-and that's an easy $50 out the window.

I have never wanted for anything more than "more" of what I already have. I am... to most of the people in the world,obscenely wealthy...

Today, I wrapped up "good" loaves of bread (as opposed to the cheap stuff), wrapped them in handmade aprons, tucked a letter in the pocket and dropped them off at the women's shelter,
along with some starter cash--because I've been there and really? It was little of nothing to me. I had the fabric in my stash and I had the week off. What else was I going to do with my time?

It meant I couldn't get my nails and hair done this week. Imagine, that was the price I paid.

Next week, I'm, "giving" up a silly handbag that I don't need so I can send some goats to Boliva.

I'm skipping a pedicure so I can send some girls some KOTEX for a year so they can go to school AND sending some women a flock of chickens and two ducks. For the price of a pedicure.


And in my family,we live well into our 90's. I have many more years to do good. makes up for all the evil I've done in my life.

Thanks, Steph.

Me Me Me ME (in bold)

Things I've Done (In Bold) Thanks,Inky (
1. Started my own blog
2. Slept under the stars

4. Visited Hawaii!
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than I can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland - Still remember "E" Tickets.
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sung a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched lightening at sea--I thought the Minnow would be lost

14. Taught myself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown my own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitchhiked. With Marji. As a teenager. In the middle of the night. IN UTAH.
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping--even after I lost my battle with gravity.
27. Run a Marathon--Bay to Breakers and Pioneer Day in SLC-talk about a killer!
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice (does the one in Vegas count? Guess not.)
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset (Every day of my life. Makes the day worth it.)
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of my ancestors (Stood in the very house)
35. Seen an Amish community--Yep, spent several summers right near Lancaster, PA
36. Taught myself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke (Of course, I sound more like Cameron Diaz in "My Best Friend's Wedding"-pretty terrible)
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had my portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling (I love it more than I can say)
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater--set up the lounge chairs in the bed of the pickup
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business---had a coffee shop/catering business for a while; a daycare business for a while. I like a steady paycheck
58. Taken a martial arts class. Wanna see my six broken ribs?
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason. Today, in fact
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving. Hang gliding, too.
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial.
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle-they are ALL speeding as far as I'm concerned
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person--nothing beats sunrise
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had my picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous--Yep, a few people.
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Rode an elephant