Thursday, December 29, 2005

Ah, we're back...

It was a pretty good visit. On the way up we stopped in Santa Barbara and dropped off some paper samples at 3 stores. Jim bought some new pants. We got to SLO late in the afternoon. That night the adults went to dinner at a pretty nice restaurant. The quality of the food wasn't quite up to the price we paid. We tried to avoid sitting next to Dad but it didn't work out. He plopped himself down next to Jim and made a nuisance of himself all through dinner.

When we got back to the Leece's we had the adult gift exchange. Good stuff this time. Jim and I came home with a nice little patio table and a bag of Starbuck's coffee stuff.

Before we left for dinner I had everyone gather in the kitchen, which is where Dede and David have their cd player. I told everyone about Debbie and Bob's thoughtful gift of some cash a few weeks ago. To thank them Jim made a cd of Little Space Girl that he found on the web. This was a record that Debbie and I had when we were really little. When I first heard it I was whisked away back to my early childhood so I knew Debbie would really get a kick out of it. I was right, she loved it. Everyone else was mildly entertained. Dede and Stacey weren't even born when we had this record. Drew remembered it a little. Still, we all enjoyed listening to it and it was a special moment for Debbie and me.

The next day we all went to see King Kong. Too much CGI for me. I just didn't buy it. But it had its moments.

That night we had Mexican food at Dede's. The rest of the evening was spent just hanging out. Very pleasant and mellow. Scotty got out his Poker set and a big clump of adults and kids had a rousing game. I enjoyed listening to them, especially B.

This morning everyone got going early. Jim and I stopped in Pismo Beach to have breakfast. We were intrigued by one restaurant that claimed to have the best clam chowder (they even had a plaque saying they had won this year's competition) and they were advertising a lobster omelette as one of their specials. Sounds good, right? Well, the clam chowder had chunks of raw celery and half raw potato in it. The lobster omelette was a clump of overcooked lobster, a slab of half rubbery half-melted swiss cheese covered with eggs. It was horrible. I asked the waitress of they had some kind of cream sauce or something I could pour on it to try to improve its rubbery dryness and she brought me some Worchestershire sauce and some green tabasco. She was a bit of a dope. Jim's ham and cheese omelette was way too salty and the ham was substandard. It was one crappy breakfast. I gave them some negative feedback on one of their "How Are We Doing?" cards.

Traffic was pretty heavy going through L.A. but we finally made it home. Debbie and Bob had some friends coming for a quick visit and we all went to dinner at Original Joe's. Jim and I tried again to avoid sitting with Dad but alas, we failed. Jim actually had to get up and leave for a while just to get a break from Dad's meddling and barking orders at the waiter. He really is getting to be more and more obnoxious. I think everyone else was oblivious but Jim, Stacey and I had really had enough. Oh well, at least the food was good. It made up for my icky breakfast.

Lindsay had a nice visit with Chelsey. They made a gingerbread house. It's kind of a tradition with them. Tomorrow Paige and Rory are going to Knott's Berry Farm. A Christmas tree customer paid for his tree with 2 employee tickets so we're giving them to Paige. The last few months have been difficult for her. So tomorrow she's going to have a fun day with her boyfriend.

Ah, this is what I've been waiting for. Post Holiday Happy Time. No pressure. Well, less pressure anyway.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas?

This will go down as the not best Christmas ever. We've had worse. Spending Christmas with Dad's second wife's mother was pretty awful. And any time Bernie is in the picture it ain't fun.

I'm sick AGAIN. I'm pumped full of cold remedies. Right now Lindsay and Paige are out getting Chinese take-out. I only have a few gifts for the girls and none of them are wrapped. I'm going to muster up enough energy to wrap them after dinner. We've already talked to them about the thinness of this year's Christmas bounty. They understand. We're going to Dede's on Monday. We'll hit the after Christmas sales in San Luis Obispo and have a post holiday gift exchange.

I just can't get too worked up about the whole thing. Too much pressure. It is what it is and so it is. So let's move on.

Going to Dede's is always fun. This year I'm thinking it will be more relaxing and nurturing because we've all been through a ringer together. Debbie and Bob are here. Dad loves it when all of his kids can get together (we like it, too) and tree season is over so he can relax. There's nothing to fight about and there will be lots of activity to distract him. We're going to go wine tasting. We did that a couple years ago and had a very good time. Actually, I don't care of we just go up there and sit in the jacuzzi for 3 days and stare at the view.

Today we sold 5 trees. The Odiens came by and got a normal tree, a short normal tree for Zoe and a Charlie Brown stick for Liam. We had a very nice chat with them. No one else came by after they left so I was able to crawl back into bed and crash.

Anyway.... Even if it's not going to be the merriest of Christmases we'll still find a way to have a good time.

Ah, the Chinese food is here!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Two more days

I'm tired and a bit blue. I'm really looking forward to the new year. I can start walking up Rubidoux again. I'll get my weight loss group started. We have a drummer now so band practices will be more fun and productive. No more Christmas tree sales. Forever. Don't even ask.

Didn't see Dad at all today. I took Paige to the doctor this morning for a throat infection. Got some antibiotics for her. Then us Smiths went to Denny's for breakfast. I told the girls they probably won't have much to open for Christmas this year and they said it's ok. They understand that it's just different this year. They're happy to shop the after Christmas sales.

Today Cody and Kyle worked. I sent Lindsay to the bank. After she came back she hung around the sales shed to make googly eyes at her new boyfriend. They're in the nauseatingly cuddly stage of their relationship which is actually kind of fun to watch. Kyle brought his sketch book. Man, what a pro.

Sales were absolutely dead today. We got a little bit of a rush at the end but not enough to justify staying open till 8. Drew came by for a little while but there was really nothing for him to do.

The newspaper story came out today. About half of the story was about our farm but the rest of it was about tree farms in general. There was a photo of Dad and me on the front page of the Local section. It was a nice story but after all the photos that were taken and the lengthy interview I expected a bit more. Only one customer today mentioned it.

Debbie and Bob are coming on Saturday. Since it'll all be over by the time they arrive Dad will probably be fairly calm.

Or not.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Today I went shopping

I was gone for most of the day. Got a few things but I didn't make much of a dent in the Christmas list.

Dede arrived just before I left. As she drove in she said, "I'm here out of my love for you. I'm not here for him." I guess he was pretty mean to her on the phone last night. It must have been really bad for her to say something like that. Dede is always so good at letting the Dad crap just float by. It takes a lot to push her buttons.

David got here at around 8:30. They took Dad out for dessert. I think David is going to tell him about the offer on the land. Maybe if David can get him to understand that soon he's going to get a big pile of money he'll be able to stop being such a jerk about the nickel and dime stuff he's been freaking out about.

One more week of tree sales. One more week. Hey, I know! Let's get drunk on New Year's Eve and bulldoze those @#$&%*!!!!!!!! trees! Maybe Drew can get the backhoe back from Louie! We have Dave the junk man's forklift! We could do some major damage with that. WHEEEE-HOOOOO!!!!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

The weekend

Friday night we went to band practice and auditioned a new drummer. I think we have a winner. He's pretty good and he seems like a good fit personality-wise. And he seems to like us. Now we can get down to business and get some gigs.

Saturday was crazy busy. Dede, Jono and Mike came down. The boys helped with tree sales and Dede wrangled Dad. I barely saw her all weekend. It's great when the Leeces are here because they're so good at keeping Dad busy while the rest of us sell these damn trees.

Today wasn't quite so busy. But we're selling 'em and the fields are starting to look thin. It's actually kind of fun since none of us really cares about the bottom line. We're making deals and making the customers happy. I spend most of my time driving the Christmas truck around the farm. Lindsay decorated our truck with tinsel garlands and I added a small fake tree to the top of the rack. I attached jingle bells to one of the back wheels. It looks quite festive. The kids like riding in the back and I like taking a pause at the top of the hill to admire the view. It doesn't have power steering so my arms are getting a good workout.

Tonight Dad came down and made some trouble. Just his usual maddening meddling. I casually gave him some cashews and it seemed to help. He got concerned that we had too much money on the premises and wanted me to make a night deposit. We can't really do that because we're not set up for it so I left for a while to make it look like I was gone taking care of business. What I was really doing was some Christmas shopping at Gottschalk's.

Thank you, Leeces, for making that long drive down. Over and over throughout the day Drew, Stacey and I say thank God for Dede. I know that Dad enjoys her visits and it makes things so much easier for us. David's influence also makes things easier because Dad listens to him. And we depend on him for his medical expertise (Alzheimer's, spider bites, whatever) So, thanks, you guys. We can't say it enough.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Drug interaction, maybe?

This morning I went to Dad's and helped him with meds, usual routine. He said he had taken a Benadryl for his itching. I really don't think he needs Benadryl for that. Lotion would probably be the best thing for his dry skin. I helped him with the meds and organized his pill box (he had it way wrong). I left him at around 9:30. Just before 2 when we were getting ready to open for business he called and aksed if I could come over. I asked him why and he said, "You'll never believe it."


I went over there and he looked terrible, really blasted. He said he fell asleep after I left (not totally true since there were a few phone calls in there) and had had a dream where he was on a big farm and he was fighting. He had really dark circles under his eyes. He asked me what was in the medicine I gave him. I told him it was just his regular meds. Maybe the Benadryl messed him up. He said he took only one but he had some the other day and he was fine, just mellow. He said he wanted to take a bath and I told him that would probably be fine just don't make it so hot. I told him to eat and drink something and maybe take a walk around the field to get his circulation going. He decided to skip the bath and take a walk.

When he was done he came down to the sales shed. He said he saw some dead trees that he wanted removed, drew me a diagram to show where they were and then went back up to the house. I'm guessing he went back to bed. After we closed tonight he had Jim and me run him up to the church for choir practice. Well, they had cancelled choir practice so we took him right back home. His energy was much better.

He was running low on Rivastigmine and he was completely out of test strips so we called the VA to find out why they weren't sending him his refills. His records were messed up. They had him getting 50 test strips every 90 days which, according to them meant he was supposed to be testing once every other day. He had been taking 2 Rivastigmine twice a day and they had him down as taking one pill once a day. It was as if they had only read the first line of the dosing instructions and left it at that. I think everything is fixed now and he should betting his refills soon.

Selling was mostly mellow tonight. Stacey was here. We had a rush in the afternoon so we had Paige and Rory come down and work. Then the rush was over and we had too many people working. No big deal, they stayed busy much of the time. Some people wanted to buy one of the Oregon trees that Dad had Jon put a stand on. But they didn't want the stand. We struggled with it and tried to get it off but it wouldn't budge. So we gave it to them. It was one predictable result of Dad's tree stand project last night.

We're almost halfway through this selling season. Looking forward to the end.

By they way, he told me he doesn't want anyone to know about what happened today so, shhhhhhh.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Hoo-whee! A good day.

Dad was quite cooperative and agreeable today. He and Drew delivered the church tree and then went to get some more bowls for the stands. We raised the price of the stands to $15. All these things made Dad happy. Later he went to the church for a meeting. So, he was gone for most of the day and when he was here he was in a good mood and didn't meddle. Whew! A day without crisis.

He called a little while ago to tell us that when he came home he and Laurel saw someone stealing trees from the back field. He said they chased the guy for a while but couldn't get close enough to get the license number. He sounded like he actually enjoyed the excitement.

So.... AHHHHH! It's good to know that it's still possible to have a good day with Dad.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Where to begin?

So much happened today that I might not be able to make sense of it here. Dad started early this morning monkeying with stuff down at the sales shed. I think he was messing with the electrical because when we tried to drill a tree there was no power going to the drill.

Jim and I went down there at 2:00 to open. We got some customers right away. Connor showed up nice and early and I was glad to see him. Of course, Dad started in barking orders at him. Poor Connor. He's our best worker, so polite, so confident. After 5 minutes with Dad he looked like a deer in headlights. Jim left to go pick up Paige and I sent Connor off to move a sign which got him away from Dad for about 15 minutes. I was watching Connor reattach the sign to the fence when a truck loaded with cut trees drove in.

We weren't going to get any Oregon trees. We're trying to keep everything simple. Besides that, Dad hasn't finished paying for last year's Oregon trees. Dad knew he wasn't supposed to order them. I asked him if he'd talked to David about ordering the trees and he yelled that he's still the boss around here. I went in to call Jim and Dad followed me into the shed yelling, "Oh yeah, go ahead and call you tattle-tale!" He went back out to deal with the delivery guys for a while and then came back in to yell at me some more. I don't remember everything that was said, it all happened so fast. But when he yelled, "You shut up! You shut your face!" I said, "That's it!" and grabbed my jacket and started for the house. He followed me yelling. I said, "I will not stay here and have you talk to me that way! You're on your own!" He said, "Then I'll apologize!" in a very non-apologetic way. I kept going.

When I got to the house I realized I had left my keys down at the sales shed. I knew I'd have to go back down there anyway because I couldn't leave poor Connor on his own with Dad. Just as I was going back down Jim drove up with Paige and Rory. He had seen Dad and me yelling at each other in the driveway so he drove up by our house instead of going directly to the sales shed. He gave me a house key and then drove down to relieve Connor. I stayed at the house to make phone calls.

I called Dede and left a message. I called Drew and left a message. I called Stacey. I'm so glad she was home because I really needed to share the warmth. She was appalled. She thought we should have the delivery guys take the trees back. The whole thing was still unfolding so I didn't know what was the best thing to do. I went back down. Dad was up at the house looking for the invoice from the tree company. That gave me a chance to talk to the delivery guys. I told them he wasn't supposed to order those trees. One of the guys called his boss and handed me the phone. I told him that Dad has AD and wasn't supposed to be ordering trees. I asked him about the unpaid balance and he said Dad still owed him about half of the amount on last years trees. Dad came down as I was talking to him. He was yelling at the delivery guys that they shouldn't listen to anything I was saying, that I was lying. I decided to let them go and we'd figure out the whole thing later. The boss said he'd take the trees back if we wanted him to.

Dad immediately started having the boys untie the trees and put them out for sale. Drew called and let me know he was on his way. Stacey called and said Scotty would be here soon and she would get here as soon as she could. I stayed in the sales shed and waited for them. Every once in a while Dad would poke his head in to state that he's still the boss around here. Scotty showed up and talked to Dad. Then Drew and Stacey came. It was this weird scene of private conversations and phone calls to Dede and David. I don't know what all was said but I think everyone pretty much said the same thing to Dad. That we agreed there were to be no Oregon trees, that he made a bad decision, that he had agreed to this when we had our family meetings, he can't treat us like crap, he has Alzheimer's, he's sabotaging our smoothly running operation.

At some point Drew took him someplace because I didn't see him again for the rest of the time I was there. We had to leave because tonight was Lindsay's band performance. We were actually going to take Dad to this concert but there was no way I was going to spend another minute with him. It would have been nice because Drew and Scotty would have had a night of running the farm without Dad there.

After the concert I called Stacey. She said things went smoothly for the rest of the night. Dad asked her for a hug and she told him she really didn't feel like hugging him after what he did today. We decided to keep this order of 50 trees and sell them out.

Jim, Lindsay, Jon and I went to Chili's for dinner. About halfway through Paige called and said that she thought she saw Dad driving down Hillside. She went to his house and didn't see his car. Oh great. When we got home we went to his house to check on things. His car was parked behind the bar area so I think Paige just missed it. I don't think he had been driving. The evil part of me was wishing he had so we could bust him.

I really don't want to work tomorrow but if I don't it will just make things harder for the sibs. Jim is going to handle morning meds. So, I'll work the sales shed but I'm going to let Dad know that he reeeeally should stay away from me for a while.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Dede, don't leave us!!!!!

She's going home tomorrow. Whatever shall we do? She's been keeping Dad occupied at the house while the rest of us have been down selling trees. Everything is running smoothly. Once Dede is gone Dad will have nothing better to do than come down to the sales shed and make us crazy.

Tonight Dede told me Dad wants to be trained on how to do credit card transactions. We didn't get a phone-connected credit card machine this year because B of A doesn't have a record of us returning the machine we had last year (I mailed it back to them myself). No problem, we've just been telling customers we don't take credit cards. We did get a manual machine but we have to call to get every transaction authorized. That means calling an 800 number, entering a 15 digit merchant number, entering the card number, the expiration date, the date of the sale and the amount. Dad can't even dial a 7 digit phone number if it isn't already familiar to him.

He wants to have flocking available. We already decided we weren't going to offer flocking this year. We're going to flock one tree for his friend at the bank but that's it. After that, Drew is going to "break" the flocking machine.

We've knocked the prices way down this year. Dad is sometimes ok with that, sometimes waaaay not ok. This could be a fiasco with the customers and the cutters. I know Lindsay and Paige aren't going to want to put up with him messing with the prices. When he gets going he can be very mean. The girls won't deal with it, they'll leave. We've warned the cutters about him but they have no idea how nasty he can get.

His AD has gotten worse. Tonight on the way to dinner he couldn't grasp what we were trying to explain to him. He was getting flustered, on the verge of anger. Dede and Jim have told me about some of the conversations they've had with him recently. He really is getting more and more out of whack.

We're all working very hard selling these money-losing Christmas trees. After Dede leaves we'll be dealing with Dad and trying to head off disaster over and over throughout the day. I should try to be optimistic.

But I know it's going to suck.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Tree season

So far, so good.

We had a bit of a rough start but Dad seemed to calm down after a while. I think once he saw that the whole place wasn't going to fall apart because we were running things he was able to let go a little. Today it actually got pretty busy in the middle of the day. Pretty good for being so early.

We've knocked the prices way down. Dad's trees have been overpriced for years and I'm sure it's hurt his business. We also did a LOT of cleanup work. Drew took down all the dangerous electrical wiring that was hanging in the pepper trees. The whole place looks pretty good and it's MUCH safer.

Dede and David were able to keep Dad occupied a lot of the time which reeeeally helped. David and the boys have gone home now. Dede will be here a few more days. We'll see how it goes after she leaves. Dad behaves himself when Dede and David are here.

These are some long days. I'll be glad when it's all over.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving

It was a pleasant one. We went to Ken and Sherri's.

I got up this morning and made a sweet potato cheesecake and some cornbread chorizo stuffing. These recipes were in this month's Sunset magazine. They were contest winners so I was intrigued.

I'd never made a cheesecake before so maybe it wasn't a good idea to make my first one for the family Thanksgiving. It kinda didn't turn out. I was supposed to have the cake pan sit in a bigger pan filled with water but I didn't have one that was big enough. The center didn't set up. But the outer 3 inches were delicious.

The stuffing turned out just fine. I made 2 pans of it. Good thing. When I was transferring the smaller one to the carrying basket it turned over. Fortunately I had lined the basket with a clean dish cloth so it was salvageable. I left that one home and took the good one.

Paige went to Rory's aunt's for Thanksgiving. TV's Kyle came with us to Ken's. After dinner we went out to the studio and had a goofy jam. We messed around with some of Kyle's originals and some They Might Be Giants songs. Kyle played accordion and drums. Lindsay and I sang and Jim did his usual keyboard thing. Lindsay gave an impressive performance of a Tally Hall rap. Ken joined us for the last few songs. We had a good time. Kyle is fun.

Now we're home recovering.

Monday, November 21, 2005


I'm kind of amazed at how good I feel right now. I went up Rubidoux with Jeff tonight and I had no knee problems at all. Plus, I went a little faster. I've been taking glucosamine for a couple weeks and I think it's made a difference. Also, today I bought some kelp and took it before the walk. I've been out of that for a while. A few years ago when I was feeling run down I started taking kelp and my energy bounced right back.

So, I don't know if it's because I'm over my cold or if it's the exercise or the supplements. It sure feels good to feel good.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

The Mister McGoo of Central Avenue

Yesterday everyone was here. Drew was using a tractor to smooth out the ruts in the driveways. Everyone else showed up here to meet and pick up Dad and go to a big RCC football game in Torrance. The kids were playing, the adults were hanging out and Dad was on a low blood sugar rampage.

He hadn't eaten all day. Looking back I guess I should have shoved a sandwich in his face much earlier but usually he'll eat right after morning meds. Yesterday he kept getting sidetracked. So he's driving around the farm in his car "managing" every activity. Bud Lyon's crew was here tagging trees, David the junk guy was here. At one point he snagged Paige, Tori and Audra and put them to work figuring out price percentages on cut trees. Ok, we're not even getting any cut trees this year. He saw the girls and thought they needed to be put to work. And he wasn't nice about it, either. They made the excuse that they needed to find a calculator and left.

At one point I saw him eating an apple so at least he had that. I left to go to Subway to get sandwiches for everyone. When I got back Jim told me that Dad had run his car into one of Bud's trucks. I guess he banged it pretty good. Dad was acting like it was no big deal but I'm pretty sure everyone else was upset about it. I got back after things had died down a bit but everyone was still walking around giving each other exasperated looks.

They left for the game, the girls stayed here. We decided to go to the movies (Except Jim. He was in hardware mode). We saw Zathura. I thought it was pretty good except there were some holes in the story that didn't get fully explained. The character of the sister wasn't fully fledged. The movie needed a little more cooking.

When we got home I set up the beading stuff in the living room and helped Audra and Tori make some bracelets. They were watching something completely lame on the Disney channel. When that show was over another one came on that was even worse. I suggested we watch Jumanji because we had just seen its sequel but they so totally were not interested because this gem of a piece of shit show was on Disney.

They left at around 10:30. To purge my system I watched Hedwig And The Angry Inch.

Today we're having our family Thanksgiving at Stacey's. No turkey. We're making a very nice steak dinner. So, I'd better get to the store.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Let's knock this one around.

Yesterday was the first time in about 3 weeks that I walked up Mt. Rubidoux. Mostly it's because I've had this nasty cold that is taking forever to go away. I feel better now but I still have some residual crud. At least my energy is back.

But boy, I've lost some ground with my fitness level. Tonight I went up there with Jeff and I know I was going too slow for him, especially on the way back down. My knees have been bothering me. Not good.

I haven't really been able to get back on the weightloss wagon and make it stick. I've had several false starts. Pretty frustrating. And now my knees hurt when I exercise and I wake up with a backache every morning. I'm also borderline diabetic. This weight has got to go.

But I need some help. I need structure and accountability. Years ago I was part of a Thin Within group that was started by some friends and it was very helpful. A few years later I was in a group that was run by the hospital in Santa Rosa. Didn't like that one. So, I'm thinking I might start my own weightloss/general health group. I'd like to meet once a month and start another blog that would be used only by group members. I'd probably structure the meetings like the Thin Within group because I thought that worked really well.

I'm thinking of inviting only family and friends at first. Just about everyone I know has weight issues. Sharing ideas and experiences could be helpful. With so much going on in our lives it's easy to let the diet and exercise efforts fall by the wayside. Having a group to answer to would help me stay on track. So far I've talked to Jim and Jeff about this and they think it's a good idea.

Anyone else?

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Low blood sugar

Dad's numbers are hovering in the 70s today and they don't seem to want to come up after a meal. Right now I'm waiting for a call back from the nurse at the VA. Dad's energy is very low and this morning his hands were shaking. He's been sleeping most of the day. Jim went to the store to buy him some milk and some small cans of fruit juices that we can keep here for emergencies.

I don't think he's in the danger zone but it concerns me that the number doesn't come up much after he eats. Most days his blood sugar is around 180 to 190, sometimes up above 200.


Ok, I just went over there. He's eaten, he feels better and his glucose is 94. I guess we're ok for today.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

The day started with a bang.

Actually, a phone call.

This morning at 7:15 Dad called. He was yelling. He demanded to know where his keys were. He accused me of taking them. At first he was accusing me of taking all of his keys. Then he said he found his house keys in the front door lock, which is where he had left them when he got home last night. But he was yelling at me like I had taken his keys and then stuck them in his lock and left them there.

So then he's yelling about his car keys. Over and over I explained that I didn't take them, that David was the last person to drive his car. Dad's yelling that he doesn't want anyone, not even his kids to have copies of his keys. Not to his car, not to his door, NOTHING. I said, too late, we already have copies. I told him to call David.

Later when I went over there for morning meds he was all nice and normal. He said David had taped them to the back of his bedroom mirror. I'm thinking, why the hell would he do that and not tell anybody? Later I found out that David had told him and everyone else (except us) and that the last thing Drew said to Dad last night was, "Your keys are taped to the mirror".


Later today Drew came over and I went over to see what was up. Drew was down at the sales shed checking on the bees. Yes, bees. A swarm of bees have taken up residence in the big, hollow pepper tree right next to the sales shed. There are 3 holes that the bees are using as doorways and the lowest one is about 4 feet up. The bees must go. Yesterday Drew sprayed them trying to get the queen upset enough to take the swarm and leave. Today he came back and sprayed them again. We decided to fill the tree holes with expando foam to either chase them out or seal them up. Just as it was getting dark we went down to check on them.

Dad decided he was going to slap a ladder against the tree and climb up and get a good look. We kept telling him not to do that but he was determined. We kept telling him to put the ladder down but he wouldn't do it. I said, "How big a ball of bees do you want attacking your head?" We finally got him to listen to what we were trying to tell him. It was getting dark so it was hard to see that at the top of one branch was a baseball sized clump of bees. Drew and I figured the queen was in the middle of that ball and they were going to spend the night there and then leave in the morning. Dad couldn't see the ball so he wouldn't believe us. It took a while but he finally saw it. Fine, don't believe your kids. Grrrr....

Earlier we had another fight. He'd been acting like a complete ass to me, barking orders. He was like that a few times this weekend when Dede and David were here and we were all working to get the place ready for tree season. I managed to talk him into giving me the keys to the sales shed, the front gate and his car so I could go get copies made. He wanted to go with me to Home Depot but he was being such a jerk I didn't want to be around him. He yelled, "Don't you turn your back and walk away from me! You shut your mouth and listen..." I cut him off. I said, "You've been acting like a jerk all day, you woke me up this morning with a bogus complaint and I'm not going to stay here and take this!" I turned and left. It felt good.

I know he's not at all teachable. I know that. But the days where he can bully me are over. We're all working to try to help him. We're all going to be here for tree season TO HELP HIM. Jim and I are putting our lives on hold TO HELP HIM. There is no way in hell that I'm going to put up with his abuse. So, even though there's no way he'll ever change and he won't even remember what happened it still feels good to be able to turn away from him when he's being abusive. I couldn't do that when I was a kid. I had to take it.

The Agavero is in the freezer. Later, I'm going to sit on the front porch, play some solitaire, drink some chilled tequila and enjoy the view. It's very clear tonight.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Golly, what a day.

I'm blasted. A lot of things happened today and most of it I can't talk about here. Family stuff, not to be shared. Nothing bad, just reeeally interesting. Well, to me anyway.

So I'm feeling a little worn out. Every day life is this mix of good and bad occurances and situations. I think I'm weathering it all pretty well right now. And... I feel a momentum building.

Or maybe it's the Agavero. I'm unwinding.

I finally feel good today. My energy came back. I'm looking forward to cleaning my house tomorrow (it's gotten really bad). I want to walk up Mt. Rubidoux. It's been almost 2 weeks since I last did that. Jim and I completed the file project this morning. Everything's tip top. Next, I want to start on the garage.

It's getting busy fast. Friday, Dede and David and the boys are coming down. We're having dinner at Stacey's and then have a meeting about recent stuff and the upcoming tree season. Monday, my cousin Jill and her family are coming to visit. They'll be here for dinner, again at Stacey's. After that, Thanksgiving, tree season and Christmas. That's the momentum I was talking about.

Man, I'm so glad my cold is gone.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Happy Birthday to Jim!

The stars just didn't line up right for this one. I'm sick and both girls had other things to do. We'll have to give him a proper one on another day.

But I can at least say thank you for being so supportive and forgiving during these rough times. I'm very lucky. I found the right person to share my life with. He has always treated me with love, kindness and respect. I feel accepted for who I am. He's always trying to make my life easier.

Coming back here has been hard for him, especially since Dad now has Alzheimer's. All our big ideas have been put on hold and he's been just great about it.

I could make a very long list but I'm still sick and my energy is waning. Everyone who reads this blog knows Jim so they know what I'm talking about. I just wanted to say I've got a great guy and I love him very much.

Thursday, November 03, 2005


I'm sick.

It started coming on last night. This morning it was a full blown sore throat with congestion. Dammit!!!! I don't need this! I've got things to do!

Oh well.

My GTD file project is almost done. Man, it's been slow going but my files are beeyouteefull. I just have to pull in the stragglers and then it will be done. Next, I'll get Halloween packed up and then we can start on the workshop. Then the studio, then the bedroom. Good stuff, baby!

Bud Lyon's crew has been here the last couple days. Timio's had his boys out there cleaning up the pepper trees and debris. It looks like we'll just need to clean up the sales shed area. We need to get together and talk about how the tree season is going to go. We're not hiring any employees this year so services will probably need to be cut back, like no drilling the trees for stands. We're not getting any Oregon trees either.

Bleah, I'm going back to bed.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Halloween!

Typing a little weird here. Last night I got tangled in a table in the dark and fell on the sidewalk. I think I hit my hand on our fountain on the way down. After laying on the ground for a while taking inventory (landed on both knees- ouch!) I got up and looked at my hand. My little finger was swollen in a weird way and reeeeally didn't look right. I flexed it and found I could bend it so I decided to carry on. I was on my way to pick up Paige from a party. My hand hurt a bit but I figured I was ok to drive and I'd ice it when I got home.

When I was a little more than halfway there (and it wasn't far) a WAVE of lightheadedness swept over me. Delayed reaction, I guess. I debated whether or not I should pull over but it was late and there wasn't much traffic and I figured I could easily pull over if I felt like I was going to pass out. Besides, I wanted to get to Paige because I knew she could help me. So I started talking loudly to myself saying, "Hold it together! Hold it together!" Then when I turned down the last street I was chanting, "Paige will help you. Paige will help you." I pulled into the driveway and she was right there waiting. I rolled down the window and told her to go inside and call jim, that I thought I had broken my hand. She ran inside and came back out followed by the parents of Paige's friend. They were very sweet and stayed with me and gave me water and ice for my hand.

Hoo lordy, I was messed up! I didn't want to get out of the car because I was afraid I would just keel over. Just before Jim and Lindsay showed up I started to feel better. I moved to the passenger side and Jim and I took off for the hospital. After much walking around but not much waiting I left there with a hand brace and some Vicodin. The doc didn't seen anything on the xray except my fabulously intact bones so we were good to go. My hand is bruised and it's hard to use it but this morning it feels better.

SO! I can decorate for Halloween today! Jim is out doing the kid run and getting some Starbucks right now. When he gets back we'll spring into action. I think it's going to be a good one. Several musicians are going to be there so I think we'll have an excellent Bone Band going.

See you later!


Saturday, October 29, 2005


Took Dad to the VA yesterday to see Dr. Griffin. He's in the pink. I managed to sneak a quick word with her to let her know we didn't start Dad on the mood stabilizers. I didn't want that to be part of the conversation.

The reception people screwed up and made us wait an hour and a half past his appointment time. Grrrr....

Last night's band practice was good. It's the first time we've met since Amber quit. Things were ho-hum at first but then we started messing around with a bunch of 60's rock stuff (our roots) and that got us going. The evening ended well.

Today I went to Ramona and helped out at one of the snack bars during the big band tournament there. What a crappy day. I showed up ready to work and they treated me like I was a pain in the ass. And they wonder why they don't get enough parental involvement? They tried to make me feel guilty for taking a break after being on my feet for 4 hours making burritos. The woman in charge sent me on a wild goose chase for trash bags when she had them in the supply trailer the whole time (and she knew it). I was yelled at for daring to ask for paper bowls. The next time they call me for help someone's going to get an earful.

But I got to see RCC's field show. Lordy, they're good. Now I'm home and in my jammies. So, don't nobody ask me to do nuthin' 'cause I ain't gonna do it.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Jim's reunion.

The class of '75's reunion kicked the class of '74's reunion's butt.

It was held at Bill Wolfs' house in Palm Desert. Billy's done well for himself. This house is huge and gorgeous. We're talkin' at least a million bucks for this house. Bill is still Bill, just a sweetheart of a guy.

There was absolutely tons of food and it was all very good. Lots of beer, wine and frozen Margaritas. The dj played the music too loud, but they always do that. Bill has a big, beautiful yard (he has his own landscaping company) with a fabulous pool area and a batting cage. The pool has a fireplace and the patio next to the house has a fireplace. There's also an outdoor kitchen area and a bar.

It was fun catching up with people. I didn't recognize Sylvia Schuler, which was awful because 10 years ago she was one of the people we partied with for hours after the 20 year reunion. I felt like a dope.

Lance Croom was there. I went up and sat down next to him and his wife and said, "Lance, do you remember me?" He smiled and read my name tag and said no. I said, "Well you used to terrorize me in English class." He did, too. Made me cry one day. His wife started cracking up and wanted to hear all about it. We were all laughing and Lance was very apologetic. I was enjoying seeing him squirm. I said, "Funny how that stuff can come back and bite you in the ass, ain't it?" So, 30 years later I got an apology from Lance. Later on he and Jim were at the piano and Lance was singing. Golly, what a voice! I'm looking at this scene and thinking never in a million years would I have thought that I'd see my husband and Lance Croom sitting together having a great time.

Later Jim got into a long, deep discussion with Sylvia about religion. Kinda heavy for a party conversation but they enjoyed it.

We took a bunch of giftwrap and I spent some time rolling up 80 tubes for people to take home. Got lots of nice comments on it.

On one table they had the photos of all the people who had died. Bruce Hockett's was there, he died just last year. John Trujillo died in 98. I saw him at the last reunion. I was pretty sad about those two.

Bob, Julie, Michele, and Danny W. didn't make it this time. Bummer. We had a blast with them at the last one. The Mac Gregor twins were there. They looked great, especially Sue.

On the way home we hit some pretty nasty fog. It was scary there for a while. We got home around 2:30.

This was a good one. Bill kept saying the next one was going to be held here at the farm. I invited him over so he could see the barnyard for himself. He thinks we can get a crew over here to clean it up, no problem. I said just come over and see, then you'll know. There ain't gonna be no parties here no more. Besides, in 10 years this place will be gone. They're talking about having a reunion cruise in 5 years. I'm up for that!

Friday, October 21, 2005

Halloween's coming

But I just didn't have the spirit this year.

Usually, we get the Halloween stuff down on Oct.1st. This year we took it down 2 days ago. I usually decorate the living room, kitchen and bathroom. This year I put up a few lights in the living room and put up the skull porchlight.

I thought I could make some money decorating someone's Halloween party but I cheesed out on that one too.

We're going to do the usual thing at Kevin's. This time I'm going to triage everything and take only the essentials over there. That's a lot of stuff to haul. I might dress up and sit in the witch's chair and do some fortune telling. I think that would be fun. It's always more fun to interact with people.

Some day I really, really want to do a big, huge display someplace. Kevin's yard is small and a tad too precious for an elaborate display. We have all these really cool props for the witch but no good way to display them. I'd love to build her a spooky shack.

I'm going to search the barnyard for materials. Maybe we could do the shack this year. We have an awning frame that would work for a roof structure. All it needs is some posts for legs. Then I could cover it with some fabric that I have. Ok, Sunday I'll do the barnyard search.

Today we saw Goodnight, And Good Luck. Good, good movie.

Tomorrow we're going to Jim's 30th highschool reunion. I'll just bet it's going to be waaaaay more fun than mine was.

Monday, October 17, 2005

My first counseling session.

Just an interview, really. I'm not cured or anything.

She said I need to take time for myself. Actually, I already do that. She said we need to hire someone to come in and help Dad. No, we're not ready for that yet.

Hold on.

Well, waddaya know? Dad came over with a new notice from the DMV. It says he has to turn his license in. He can request a hearing but he'll need a note from his doc saying he's recovered. He knows that won't happen. At first he was talking about trying to get the license back but as the conversation went on he could see that it's futile. He actually dealt with it pretty calmly. We made an appointment for him to go to the DMV tomorrow morning and turn his license in and replace it with a CA ID.

We talked a little about transportation alternatives and this time he was ready to listen- a little. We also talked about tree season coming up and I reminded him about the conversation we all had some months back about having the family do all the selling, not hiring employees. He couldn't quite get that one through his head. He said Dusty has already called him and he was planning to have her work in the mornings. He's forgotten that we were all suspicious of Dusty, that she was stealing from him last year. I'm sure we'll get it straightened out. I don't want Dusty around here. Even if she's not stealing from Dad she's just plain icky.

So we do need to have a family meeting with Dad and discuss the tree season. He's thinking it's going to business as usual. He thinks he can handle it even though I reminded him about the payroll taxes and how much he was fined last year because of screw ups. He said, "Well, we won't have as many employees this year."

So, he still doesn't get it.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Burning stuff now.

This morning when I went to Dad's it smelled like someone had been smoking in his house. Almost smelled like pipe smoke. Dad was laying on the couch in the living room. I said, "Man, it smells like smoke in here." Dad said, "Yeah, that's what I thought when I woke up this morning." I looked around the kitchen and found a pot on the counter that was totally scorched with the remains of 3 tea bags in the bottom. The bags were completely black, almost ash.

He acted like it was no big deal and I didn't say anything about it. It would have started a big fight and I really didn't want to get into it. I remember when Nana started doing stuff like that. Maybe we should unhook his stove. Oops, stove broke. Disable the ovens, too. He's been using the lower one for storage and the controls for both are right next to each other. All he really needs is the microwave to warm his food and make a cup of tea.

He's still driving. He's going to do it as long as he can get away with it. I'm not willing to fight him on this. His next appointment with Dr. Griffin is on the 28th and I'm sure we'll talk about it then. But I think Drew will need to either take his car or disable it.

Smoke alarms. Better get some if he doesn't have them.

Thursday, October 13, 2005


I took Dad to Costco today so he could stock up. If he has a full fridge maybe he won't go driving. We were going up and down the aisles and I was suggesting different things to him and he kept saying he didn't need anything. I finally got him going, though. He ended up buying some lunchmeat and some pre-cooked chicken, mixed nuts, some chicken bakes and small pizzas. I wanted to make sure he had enough protein available so he could add some to a salad or something.

Not a bad day. He was his usual foggy self this morning.

Going to Kaiser tomorrow for a boob check. Me, not him.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Maybe it's starting to sink in.

When I went to Dad's this morning he was confused and very subdued. When we were done with the process of doing eye drops, testing his blood and taking his medication he totally forgot we had done it and tried to start it all over again. He said he's so tired of taking all these pills. I told him that he needs every one of them. He said he'd like to stop taking them all and just let his body do whatever it will do without them. I explained why it's important for him to have them and he let it drop.

We talked about his driving and losing his license and again he said it was just like dying. I told him yes, it's a loss but it's not like dying. He'll just have to do what everybody does when that happens. He'll just have to adjust. We'll all adjust because that's what families do. I explained again that he can afford to take a cab since he won't be paying for gas, insurance and upkeep on a car. He listened for a while and then changed the subject.

When I was leaving he started talking about how it's all so useless. Asked him what he meant. He didn't answer, he just sat down and shook his head. He's pretty defeated. He said something about being at Drew's yesterday and having Drew help him with the driver's test. I guess Drew was quizzing him and he didn't do very well. I don't know because he wasn't really using complete sentences. Then he started going on about letting the whole thing go and he'll keep driving until his license expires. I told him he won't be insured (we've been through this one several times) and if he gets into an accident he could be in big trouble. He said no one will know because on his license it says it's valid until his birthday in February. He said his insurance company won't know unless someone tells them. He said he wished he hadn't signed the DMV papers. I told him all that doesn't matter, that he's in the system and all those different agencies already know what's going on. His driver's license will be invalid no matter what it says on the card. I guess he started to get overwhelmed because he ended the conversation and went back into the house.

He seemed to be more willing to listen to what I had to say. He's doing that different stages of death thing and right now he's in the negotiating phase. I told him it would probably be good for him to try to accept it because it's going to happen anyway. I told him he can deal with it because he's a strong man and together we'll all find a way to make it work. So, we may have gotten over a hump here. Or tomorrow he could be back to spitting fire again.

Tomorrow we're going to see the orthopedic surgeon about his elbow. It's swollen again this morning. We'll discuss what they found on the scan.

And so it goes.

Friday, October 07, 2005

A very bad morning.

When I got to Dad's this morning he was in his office going over all the DMV stuff. He had the copies of the replacement forms that the DMV sent to me. He also had a new driver's license application that he must have gotten from the DMV. He thought they had sent it to him. Anyway, he was very messed up, very angry and very wild-eyed.

I stayed calm and didn't engage him. I tried a couple times to explain everything to him but I had to give up. Nothing was sinking in. Accusations flew. He thinks we're all making a big deal about his Alzheimer's and we're doing it because we're trying to kill him. He's studying the DMV book so he can go in there and get an A on the test. He demanded that I give him copies of everything we have on the computer. I told him we've already given him copies of everything and he basically accused me of lying to him because he doesn't have those copies. There's no way I could tell him that he must have lost them. Before I could say it he started yelling about how he never loses things. He accused Stacey and Drew of conspiring against him. I told him I'd like to tell him the truth about what's going on and he cut me off and told me he'd rather hear a lie.

I told him he should call Dede and talk to her. I told him he should talk to David. That pretty much went right by, I think because somehow he knows they'll tell him the same thing I've been trying to tell him. He said he wants a family meeting this weekend so he can tell all of us to stop talking about him and doing things behind his back. He thinks we're the ones who are trying to take his license away. Nothing I said this morning got through.

He said he's going to take the copies of the DMV forms and the driver's license application and go down to the DMV and get this straightened out. I didn't even try to tell him not to do that. I just hope that someday I'll get to see the security video. If he goes down there and starts throwing his weight around I bet he'll get arrested.

Dr. Griffin is supposed to call me sometime today. She called yesterday when we weren't home. I reeeeeally need to talk to her.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Running around.

Today I ran 3 errands and each one took a long time to do. I drove to Loma Linda to drop off Dad's DMV form. His doctor has to sign it off or they'll suspend his license. I don't think she will. Even if she does he'll still have to take both tests at the DMV. Right now he's studying them. I suppose it's possible that he could pass. But see, the other day he picked up his glucose test kit and asked me what it was. How's he going to take a written test?

My second errand was to go to City Hall and get my ticket taken care of. I got pulled over the other day for speeding. I wasn't going as fast as he said I was but he didn't give me the ticket for that so I can't really complain. No, he gave me a ticket to get my address changed on my driver's license. Just a pain-in-the-ass fixit ticket. Ten bucks. Had to stand in a long, slow line for that one.

Then I had lunch at Simple Simon's. I love their Gazspacho.

Then I went to the DMV to drop off the registration paperwork for Dad's new car. At least there you can sit down. Right between the crying child and the guy with b.o. Actually, it wasn't that bad. Just took a long time.

This is complaining. I know that. I feel like complaining.

We've had a lot of days like this lately. Today I also went to Dad's to put in eye drops, test his blood and watch him take his meds. Later he came over and had Jim print out (for the second time) some stuff that Dad already had but didn't need anyway, that he lost. This is when he gets demanding. Throw in a few phone calls (from Dad) and you've got a day.

I did manage to do some file sorting this morning. I'm glad I didn't totally skip a day with the GTD project. I'm working on the first big box and I'm finding that most of it is so old I can just throw it away. Me like.

Tomorrow Dad is going to the VA for another x-ray. I don't know why they need it, his elbow isn't bothering him at the moment.


Monday, October 03, 2005

On the verge of change

At least I hope so.

So many things have happened in the last two weeks that I haven't blogged about. Some are things I didn't want to share around so I've kept them from this public forum. It's all becoming a blur anyway so I'm not going to revisit all of it. But I've been doing a lot of thinking about what my next move should be. I'm looking for the first action I can take that will get things moving in a positive direction.

It's been a very difficult 2 weeks.

But I'm ready to do something about it. I want to see about joining an AD support group. It's time. They have them at Kaiser. I'm also seriously thinking of getting some counseling (for the first time in my life). Tomorrow we're starting the GTD project. If my house is less chaotic it will help me handle all that other stuff better.

I think those are 3 good steps.

Friday, September 30, 2005

This morning at the DMV

I had 4 things that needed to be handled. Getting the address changed on my driver's license (got a ticket), getting a duplicate title for Dad's old car (lost), getting the new car registered and getting duplicate forms to give to the doctor so Dad's license doesn't get suspended (which is gonna happen anyway).

Dad went with me. Most of the time was spent explaining to Dad over and over why we were there. Turns out the new car hasn't been smogged, even though the seller told us it was, so Dad needs to do that to get the registration completed. When we came home I gathered up the papers I needed and told him he just needs to get his car smogged and then take the forms back to the DMV. Five minutes later he was at my door asking what he's supposed to do with the car. We wrote it all down and sent him on his way.

I need lunch.

Tomorrow we're going to Mexico with Ken and Sherri. I'm going to e-mail Drew and Stacey and ask them if they can help with Dad's eye drops. I think if I write the directions down and tape them to his mirror he'll be able to handle it. There are 2 drops that need to go in 3 times a day. But if he ends up going somewhere with Stacey or Drew they'll be able to help him.

Ok, lunch.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Stressful days

But Dad bought a car today so everything should get better now, right?

He's been a demanding jerk lately and Jim has been on the receiving end of most of it. Sybil, the insurance adjuster, got a generous helping of the Stan treatment too. She sent him all the paper work and spent a lot of time with him on the phone trying to get things worked out. She could see that he wasn't grasping what she was trying to explain to him and he was somewhat abusive to her during the call. He lost most of the paperwork she sent him. I'll let Jim post the details if he feels like it.

Today Drew took him to Newport Beach to buy a car that Jim found on e-bay. Before they left I took Drew aside to tell him to watch Dad's driving on the way home. Jim rode with him the other day and said it was pretty scary. Dad arrived home with the new car intact so I guess everything was ok. Thanks, Drew! Jim and I have had our fill of this car fiasco. Tomorrow after the eye doc appointment we'll turn the rental car in.

Handling the day to day stuff for Dad isn't too hard, although it does take up a lot of our time. He appreciates our help with the medical stuff. But he started throwing his weight around with this car thing. He needs to be reminded that he can't order us around like that. He doesn't ask for help, he demands it. When I tried to explain to him that we're already spending a lot of time helping him and we didn't want to take on a car shopping project he got very pissy. He didn't want to hear anything about how all this was affecting us. All I wanted to do was get some help from the sibs and he went off about how he has to pay his kids to visit him. I really didn't want to go driving around looking at cars on top of everything else we've been doing. Fortunately, Jim found a car on e-bay and Drew handled the purchase so it was taken care of easily. We got lucky.

But really, he can take his attitude and stuff it.

Monday, September 26, 2005

At the VA today

I took Dad in to have Dr. Griffin look at his elbow. It's really been bothering him lately. We had a real good discussion with the pharmacist. She gave him some Vicodin and an anti-inflammitory. Dr. Griffin was pleased with his glucose numbers and his general health. Dad also got his elbow x-rayed. It was a good visit.

Dr. Griffin talked with him about his being confused from time to time. Dad insisted he's never confused. He talked about being on the church council and running a Sunday school class and he said if he was ever confused he's sure he'd notice it. Dr. Griffin shot me a look like, yeah right. I do wonder what the church folk have to do to accomodate him.

Wednesday we go in for his eye appointment.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Just sitting here...

Counting down the minutes until my birthday.


Am I grown up yet? You'd think I would have my shit together by now. But no, I'm still totally disorganized, still bite my nails, still without income, still overweight. Still not living up to my potential.

But most of the time I'm pretty happy and that's more than Bill Frist can say right now.

I'm puttering. Today we did some major housecleaning. Got everything done except the floors. Had to quit to take Paige clothes shopping. Tonight I sorted beads. It's not going to have a big impact on my situation but they were right in front of me and it needed to be done, so there. I feel like if there's an opportunity to clean something I should do it so the big GTD project will go that much faster.

I've been thinking about Mom a lot today. Her birthday was yesterday. I wonder what things would be like if she were still here. I wonder what battles she and I would have had if she had survived. I'm not the same person I was 18 years ago. Even when she was alive I never shared who I really was with her. There are some things she wouldn't have liked.

But I think she would have gotten a kick out of my art. I didn't develop my style until after she was gone.

Bleah. Birthday emotions are weird. I'm all churned up. My life has led up to this. A lot of it is really great. Some things I could do without. There are days where I really, really, really don't want to take care of Dad. It's like, wait, how the hell did I get stuck with this? What would it be like if I weren't here? What if I left?

But most of the time it's ok. I don't like it and I didn't choose it, but I'll do it. So, I guess I really did choose it. I still don't like it.

Ten more minutes. Time to count some blessings.

Jim, Lindsay and Paige
My cool, fun sibs
Ken and Sherri
Dean and daily e-mails
Jeff and Mt. Rubidoux
The friends up north
The friends way up north
Jim again
The pets
Casual Sunday
My art
Our front porch and the view
Halloween's coming
Good things on the horizon
I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and darn it, people like me.

Ah! There it is.

Happy Birthday to me!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Getting through this life

Rancho Curioso ain't going nowhere for a while. Oh, we'll fill any paper orders that come our way and we'll schlep paper to some stores but there's just too much to do here and there are too many interruptions to be very productive right now. But it's ok. It has to be ok.

I just finished reading David Allen's book, Getting Things Done. I want to go through it again and take notes. Jim's reading it, too. I want us to take some time and put this system into place. We're just too damned disorganized around here and it's choking everything we're trying to do. If we can make the GTD thing work then all the Dad chaos won't affect us so much.

I hope.

No, I'm sure that if we can get a reliable system into place it will help things immensely. But it's going to take at least a week to get it going. I'm ok with that.

One of the first things we need to do is get the big trailer moved to the alley. Then we can start using it for storage and get rid of the rented container (thus saving $67 a month). There are 3 big piles of heavy building materials that need to be moved. I'll probably ask Timio if a couple of his guys would like to make a few bucks to move it for us. My back and elbow just can't take moving stacks of sheetrock and backer board anymore. Then Drew can move the trailer and the workbench all in one day.

Once that happens we can start the big project. The trailer is twice the size of the container so we can use it to store tools and equipment as well as our other stuff. That will free up the garage and back yard. We're going to take all our files over to Dad's downstairs and do a major purge and reorganizing. We'll clean the studio.

I think that using the GTD method to get this place together will help train me to incorporate it into my life, into OUR lives. I'm tired of constantly being de-railed. I can't blame Dad for that. Well, maybe just a little. I got the procrastination gene from him. Anyway, I know we can do better.

I got a bit of a start on it today. I'm doing a pre-sort. I'm not even going to try to process the piles but I can at least deal with the obvious stuff. The studio is already looking neater. I should probably get off this computer and get back to work. But hey, I'm on a break!

What's on tv?

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Surgery today

This morning at 6 o'clock I took Dad to Loma Linda for his cataract surgery. Everything went well. We have a follow-up appointment tomorrow morning. Then we have to put 3 different kinds of eyedrops into his eye 4 times a day. I don't know for how long yet. Getting over there 4 times a day is going to be a bit of a pain. Oh well.

Yesterday Stacey and I drove up to Ventura and met Dede and picked up Dad. Everything was pleasant until we got home. Something set him off. He was mad because I had Stacey drop us off at my house so I could get my camping gear out of the back of her car. He grumbled about the car being parked a little too close to the cactus which made it a little hard to get his stuff out. Then we had a tug of war over his medication. It was a weird, two minute drama that blew up in the driveway. Jim came out to help, saw what was happening and turned around and went back in. Jim is very smart. Later I went over to put Dad's eyedrops in and he acted like nothing happened. I guess for him, nothing did.

We had a great time at the river last weekend. There were definitely some highlights. This was the adult trip which meant most of the time we were in varying states of drunkeness. Things got burned. Oh yeah, it was fun.

I'm enjoying the David Allen book. Getting to the end now. I can't wait to jump in and whip this place into shape.

We got some rain! Last night up on Mt. Rubidoux it was so beautiful. The clouds were stormy looking. We got to the top just as the sun was going down. When we rounded a bend we could see this enormous rainbow that arched over Riverside. The clouds were red. The lights twinkled. Then the lightning started! It was a freaky, beautiful view.

Thursday I want to do nothing. Well, I want to walk, but that's it.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Dad had his pre-op appt. today

If all goes well he'll have his cataract surgery next Tuesday. He's been waiting a long time. I know this will improve his life.

We got there at 1 and left at 4:30. Not too bad considering we schlepped around to several different offices and labs. Everywhere we went the tv's were on the same channel so we could watch Judge Judy at each stop. I got to listen to a couple vets trash George Bush while we sat in the eye clinic.

Dede is coming to pick Dad up tomorrow morning and take him up to SLO. She and David are going to Dad-sit while the rest of us go to the river this weekend. He doesn't understand why she needs to drive down to pick him up. He said he could drive up there, no problem. I shudder at that thought.

Dad has to start taking some eye drops a few days before surgery so Dede and David will have to help him with that. I'll explain it to her when she gets here.

That's about it. Just a quickie Dad report for the sibs.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Workshop idea

Yes, I'm still going to do the workhops. My schedule is a bit off. I'll do the Halloween workshop next year. I now have 2 dozen styrofoam wig heads that I'll have to store. Life's funny.

Several years ago I used to make these star-shaped mandala things out of painted foamcore. They're pretty cool. I made a lot of them in different colors and patterns. I cut the foamcore into pieces and painted each one. Then I arranged them into a star shape and glued them together. I want to make a workshop around this. Painting the pieces takes way too long so I'm going to use fabric to cover the foamcore. And paper. Handmade paper, origami paper, newspaper, whatever. Paint can also be used to embellish the pieces.

This would be a great project for a workshop because the supplies are super cheap. Foamcore, fabric scraps, paper scraps, X-acto knives and glue. Ten bucks tops. I've asked Dede to bring me some of her cast-offs. I have a little fabric here and lots of cool papers but I'd like a little more for variety.

This is good. I was hoping for an idea for a workshop that would be quick, cheap and easy to put together.

Quick, cheap and easy. Look where your mind went!

Dad lost the key to the rental car.

We got the car on Friday, he lost the key on Saturday, he's driving our truck now.

I went over there just now to try to find the key. Dad's at church. He has the place ripped apart. If there was ever any hope of finding the key out in the open, it's gone now. I guess tomorrow we'll have to try to get another one from the rental company.

Last night when he came home (after midnight) he couldn't figure out how to turn off the truck headlights and he couldn't get the key out of the ignition. I don't like him borrowing the truck. He kinda screwed it up the last time.

I'm hoping he'll let us clean out his house now. It was visually overwhelming for me, it must be absolute hell for him. Crap abounds. He took out one of his dresser drawers and turned it over on his bed. It's all just a pile of useless shit. Every drawer in his house is like that. AND he's moving his chemicals back into the closets and drawers!

One bit of good news. His license expires in February. I'm going to talk to his doctor about it. I think she can report his AD to the DMV. If they test him he will surely fail. Then they'll be the bad guys. I don't know if that's the way it works. Then he can go make a BFD to the AARP.

We're going back over to look again. Jim called Enterprise. It'll cost $40 for another key.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

KUT in Austin

Boy, am I digging this radio station. I have it on iTunes now. It's what Dean and I were listening to while we were painting in her garage. Maybe my fabulous husband will post a link for me. They play a huge variety of very tasty music.

( Fabulous husband here with some tasty links: KUT's main page and from here you can listen to KUT live. They also have podcasting available here.)

During the first days of the Katrina aftermath they played stuff from Louisiana and just about anything else with a flood theme. It was pretty cool. Healing, actually. Not that any of my troubles were so big but it was a good counter to the tragedy playing on CNN.

Google it and click on the live stream. Good stuff, baby.

Friday, September 09, 2005


What an incredibly stressful day.

It started with Jim going over to Dad's to do his glucose test. Dad was searching the house for some insecticide for the Christmas trees. Bud Lyon's crew was here and they were almost out of spray. Dad started barking orders at Jim to help him move some furniture so he could look in a closet. Jim says Dad handed him some grungy bottles of some kind of questionable chemical. Jim ended up with something that was probably motor oil all over his hands. This is the kind of thing that gets Jim churning. They searched around and finally found what Dad was looking for downstairs.

Dad was being kind of hyper about everything and Jim was getting dragged along. I swear, sometimes Jim is way too nice to him. Anyway...

Jim came home and told me what had happened. He was pretty upset. He asked me if I wanted to go along with him and Dad to pick up his car and go to breakfast. I said of course.

Dad's car was stolen a couple nights ago. They found it yesterday. They called too late for him to be able to go to the tow yard and pick it up so we had to wait until this morning to go down there. When we talked to the guy at the tow yard he made it sound like we could just go down and pick it up. Total bill- $196. Dad counted out $200 and placed it on the counter. Tow yard guy was still messing around with the invoice so Dad picked up the money and put it in his pocket. Then tow yard guy asked for the money. Dad said, "I already gave it to you! I put it down and you took it!" Tow yard guy started to get pretty flustered. I said, "Dad, he doesn't have it. You picked up the money and put it back in your pocket." Dad pulled the money out and gave it to him like everything's normal. The guy was like, wtf??? AFTER Dad had paid the fee they told us that it was undrivable.

The battery was missing.

It had a flat.

The front wheel was busted off.

The radio was gone.

Do you see the beginnings of a list here?

Dad's head went kaboom. He started accusing the tow yard guys of wrecking his car and stealing his stuff. We went out to look at it. The front wheel was off and laying under the car. The guy told us that the driver had done it that way because the front lugs were broken and the back tire was flat. It protected bottom of the car. But man, it looked bad!

The owner of the towing company started getting pissed. Dad was flipping out. I jumped in there and started talking fast, trying to get Dad to shut up. I told him that we hadn't gotten a complete police report yet and we didn't really know what happened to the car. That it was all probably a miscommunication. They showed us the invoice that had a comment that (according to them) had been written by a police officer stating that the battery had been stolen. Dad calmed down a bit. The owner demanded an apology from Dad to his tow truck operator. Dad went into the office and apologized.

This whole exchange lasted maybe 15 minutes, maybe less. It was all weird, crazy Dad energy. The towing company guys were swarthy with thick accents so of course they had their own weird, crazy foreigner energy. A dangerous, yet entertaining combination. Jim stood amazed while I was the yammering voice of reason. We got the hell out of there, no car and down a hundred and ninety-six bucks.

Then we went to breakfast. Nothing too horrible there. Just more stomach-wrenching stuff like Dad being rude to the waitress and griping about not getting a booth so he could look out the window at the pretty bushes. Jim had to deal with that. I was outside talking to Drew on the phone.

After breakfast we went home. We had a break for about an hour. Then Dad came into the studio with his black book and some papers. He said, "I want you and Jim to hear this. I'm going to call the insurance people. Where's Jim? I want him to hear this." He's waving this damn book around and barking orders like we're supposed to just jump up and get right to it. He went into the house (!) to get Jim. I heard him in there ordering Jim to go out to the studio. I could feel my blood pressure rise.

Jim got on the computer so he could take notes during the phone call. He used the headset while Dad used one of the cordless phones. They both talked to the insurance woman. Jim would be supplying a piece of information and Dad would interrupt with some off-topic question and slow the whole process way down. I could see Jim getting more and more tense. At one point I heard Dad's phone beeping and then everything stopped. I couldn't figure out what he'd done. Just as I figured out that Dad had pushed the hold button, the phone rang. The insurance lady called us back. After that, I set the phone on the cradle with the speaker on.

This took about 2 hours. Afterward, I took Dad to Enterprise to get him a rental car. This went much more smoothly. He followed me home. I was watching him in the rearview mirror thinking oh my god, it's like being followed by Mr. Toad! He was clutching the steering wheel like he was holding on for dear life. He's used to his own car. It looked like it took all the concentration he could muster just to get home.

Jim wasn't here when I got home so I decided to go to the post office. While I was out I stopped by Savon and picked up an elbow brace for him. Then I went to Staples and got a gel-filled wrist pad. I figured I could rig up some kind of pad for Dad's problem elbow. I took the brace and the pad to his house and had him try them out. Then I took it all home so stitch it all together. Jim came home and then Dad came over and stayed for another hour or so. My siblings know what this is like. When Dad is in the room he's talking nonstop. We'd been going on like this all day. Lordy, we were fried.

It looks like my elbow pad invention will work. I just hope it's not too tight. He said his main problem is at night when he gets up and bangs it on the bathroom door. This should help. Also, it hurts him to lean on it. He said the brace and pad makes it feel much better.

After he left Jim and I ranted at each other for a while. It was good ranting. We both are astonished and amazed at the stuff Dad does sometimes. The foggy thinking is Alzheimer's but the bombastic behavior is all Dad. How on earth did he raise up five excruciatingly normal and reasonable adults? Yeah, I know. Mom.

Ach! I should have walked tonight. I'm all twitchy.

There's much more to come. On Monday we resume the phone calls. Then he's going to buy a car.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Coming home Tuesday night

Boy, this week has been a mixed bag.

My visit with Dean and Greg and the doggies has been great. Watching the disaster in Louisiana has been maddening. I went from being inspired by Cindy Sheehan to being beyond disgusted by the inaction and incompetence of our "leaders". If you want to find out what's really going on, listen to Air America. Read Daily Kos and Democratic Underground. Watch Keith Olbermann.

It's been a good visit but I'm looking forward to coming home. So much to do.

Thank you, Dean and Greg and KC. Thank you, Jim.

Heh, heh! Can you tell I'm just a little off?

See you soon.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Weekend summary from Jim

Howdy folks, guest-blogger Jim here, with a summary of the last day or so around here. Friday night's band practice was unprecedented in that we actually had three drummers there, instead of our usual 0 to 1/2 (thanks, Doni!) drummer. John had invited a drummer to try out, he played mediocre and was actually kinda creepy, we all agreed, so we won't be adding him permanently to the band. Cousin Dave also showed up around 9, so we played a couple of songs with him, and then around midnight, who should walk in but Paul, the very good drummer who also plays in the country band Thunder Road. So we played a couple of songs with him, too, quietly because it was so late.

Saturday's blood testing and dosing went fine. After that, I spent the morning copying a minidisk recording of Friday night's practice over to the computer so I could burn CDs of it. I asked Lindsay to make top-of-page drawings for birthday cards for her cousins Audra and Tyler, since their birthday party was Saturday. They turned out great, you can see Audra's above. I printed them out, folded them into cards, had everybody sign them, and put some money in each one. We were getting ready to go, when Paige asked if she could go to boyfriend Rory's cousin's wedding. I said yes, and she prepared for that. After some confusion and frustration between Paige and me, I dropped Paige off at Rory's grandma's and went to the party at Doni's sister Stacey's, everyone seemed to be having a great time for the 2 hours we were there. Then Lindsay and I went home and I took a CD of Friday night over to Ken's; everyone (including cousin/drummer Dave and bassist John) were pretty interested in being able to record, and how well it sounded, but Amber had never heard herself sing, so she got very excited. Ken and Sherri made a wonderful barbecued shish kebab meal, and then we played some more music until 9 PM or so.
Paige got home around midnight; Lindsay had gone out with her boyfriend Jon, and I don't know when she finally got home.

This morning when I went to Stan's to do the morning blood test and dosing, he showed me where he had scratched or clawed his elbow in the middle of the night; a small but deep wound. He said it bled and bled, and he finally wrapped the elbow with a lot of paper towels, held them in place with his other arm, and went back to bed. There was a lot of blood in his bathroom, and as we cleaned it up to bandage it, it began to bleed again. it did finally stop, though, and we dressed it with a large bandage and he is now getting dressed to go to church. I hope it doesn't start bleeding again. His blood sugar level was the best so far in the last 2 weeks (174), but his blood seems very thin; I would guess a low platelet count, since that's what causes blood to clot, but I'm no doctor. Nevertheless, Stan seemed relatively sharp and energetic. He's had several old friends visit him this week, and I think his "full" schedule has been invigorating for him.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Other stuff we're doing...

Yesterday before the rally we went to the Alamo Draft House. It's a pretty cool theater chain. They take out every other row of seats and put in long tables and serve food. I tried deep fried pickles for the first time. They're actually pretty good! We had pizza and salad for lunch.

The movie we saw was The Aristocrats. If you're easily offended, do NOT see this movie. It'll put images into your head that you might not want there. I loved it. The pre-show shorts were well chosen. They were pretty funny and just as raunchy as the main feature.

Today we're painting. Yesterday we bought stretcher bars and paint. Dean had a canvas ready to go. She's painting a picture of a naked woman running with a peace flag. I stretched my canvas, gessoed it and sketched in a crazy cat arching its back. We need to go buy more paint before I can get started on it. I've never done a painting this big before. This'll be fun.

We're listening to a pretty cool radio station. The DJ is playing a great mix of music that's mostly from New Orleans with some songs about pouring rain and storms thrown in. We're also watching a lot of CNN.

Tonight we're going to dinner at a Cajun restaurant.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

At Dean's

I'm having a very good time.

Yesterday we drove to Crawford. We spent about 20 minutes at the Peace House and then headed for Camp Casey. It's pretty much the way you see it on the blogs. A lot of tents along the side of the road, signs and those crosses. The Repubs are camped out across the street. Nobody was doing any yelling and the peaceniks and the hawks all parked alongside each other.

We got to Casey 2 at around 1:30. They had just finished lunch. They called for volunteers to go work in the kitchen so we went over there. The big tent was mostly empty, maybe 40 people there. We jumped in and got to work cleaning steam trays and utensils and putting food away. The woman who was handling the kitchen had to leave and she put Dean in charge. We started making stuff for dinner. We made 2 HUGE salads and some bean dip/burrito filling, which turned out pretty fabulous considering our primitive conditions. Actually, conditions were not that primitive. They had 2 big commercial stoves and 2 warming ovens, a big ice truck and a refrigerator trailer. All that, along with the HUGE tent and all the tables and chairs were rented using the money that was donated to the Peace House.

We were told that pizzas were going to be ordered for dinner to have with the salads and burritos, but they FORGOT to order them. People started coming in from Casey 1 and there were no pizzas. We put out the bean dip and chips and tortillas to get them started. Someone ordered the pizzas. Everybody was pretty hungry so they were very glad to have the beans.

After a little while Cindy appeared. She kind of breezed by our table but didn't stop to talk. She's a busy woman. We hung out for a while longer and then turned the kitchen duties over to someone else and left. We didn't wait for the pizza or the awesome looking, huge chocolate cake that was being saved for dessert. It was 7:30 and we had a long drive home.

Today they're packing up. All the non-perishable leftover food is being sent to New Orleans. This evening Cindy is coming to Austin for a big rally. Dean and I are going to the movies and then the rally. We even painted signs this morning! Dean has a peace symbol and mine says NOT ONE MORE on one side and BRING THEM HOME on the other. Look for us on the news.

No, you won't see us on the news unless it floods here and we have to be picked off a rooftop. That's our other major activity; watching the news. I feel like a big wimp being nervous about flying close to a hurricane. We barely felt a bump.

More to come...

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Wish me luck

'cause I'm flying into a hurricane.

Well, close anyway. I have to change planes in Houston which, on the weather map, looks like it's about 5 miles from the bleeping EYE WALL. They're cancelling flights into Louisiana and Mississippi but not Texas. I'm going to trust that those pilots know what they're doing. Remember when Dad and I flew into Denver? We had to abort the landing because SOMEONE wasn't paying attention and we got too close to the plane in front of us. I'm thinking these guys will be verrry alert because I'll bet it's going to be bumpy.

So, have a great week, everybody!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

I'm going to Texas

But don't tell anybody. Well, you can talk amongst yourselves but don't tell Dad and don't tell the relatives. I'm not planning to visit them. I'm going to Austin.

Since I decided to relax about dealing with Dad and letting go of my deadline I figured there's no reason for me not to go. I'm going to spend a week with Dean. I'm also going to do something a little crazy. I'm going to Crawford. Am I a radical extremist, or what?

Dean's already been. She spent a day there cleaning and organizing the kitchen at the Peace House and she visited Camp Casey. She peeled potatoes. She and her sister are going back this Saturday. That's when the big event is. The Astroturf Caravan is pulling into town to "neutralize" Cindy. Hmmm, I doubt it.

She and I are going there on Tuesday. I'm excited about seeing this little piece of history in the making. I'm thinking things will probably be calmed down after the big weekend. Cindy is leaving the next day. We'll lend a hand wherever we can.

But the main reason for this trip is to have fun visiting my best bud. I don't want to take any time to visit relatives. I saw them just a few months ago when I went with Dad. I'm pretty sure they'd be miffed about me not visiting and I know they'd be majorly snarled about my lending my support to the enemy (Y'know, those Americans who are exercising their rights. The ones who are shoving Bush's big fat failure right back in his face. Those people). Just today I got an e-mail from my cousin about Jane (How Many Times Do I Have To Apologize?) Fonda. Boy, my relatives sure don't know me!

Jim is going to be handling the Dad stuff while I'm gone. Thank you, Jim! When it comes to taking care of Dad, he does more than his fair share. He does his best to keep me from getting too stressed.

I'm not sure if taking this trip is exactly the right thing to do. Part of me feels I should stay home and charge on. But I also think if I don't do this now I might not be able to get away for a long time. Anyway, the ticket is bought. I'm going.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Ok, let's try this

Walking up Mt. Rubidoux is good for thinking, too.

I'm giving up the schedule. I'll keep plugging away and work towards getting the workshops going but I'm not going to get stressed over when they'll start. The first workshop might not be about Halloween. I'll just have to do that one next year.

Jim is going to work on getting finished with the appraisal class as soon as possible. We have a contact in the biz and it's possible he could start working before he gets his license. Then we'd have some money coming in. It's better than nothing.

I might get a Christmas job. I should be able to handle doing that and take care of Dad. I can still work on Rancho Curioso when I get the time. After Christmas we'll reassess the situation.

So, I'll keep doing what I'm doing and not get all stressed about Dad's interruptions. If it takes longer, so be it. We'll just need to find a way to make some money, even if it's not a lot.

Ok then.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Gotta walk off this tension

Every day, sometimes several times a day, Jim and I have to stop what we're doing and deal with Dad. Usually he just stops by for no good reason. He just wants to "shoot the bull" which in English means WASTE EVERYBODY'S TIME. Some days it's no big deal (other than making my chest tight) but right now we have a lot that we're trying to accomplish and it's hard to keep a momentum going if Dad shows up 3 or 4 times a day.

Today he called up and said he's feeling guilty for not visiting Grace and since Corny and Grace took such an interest in me because of my painting I should go with him and visit her. He was laying it on pretty thick. For one thing, Corny and Grace never took a special interest in me. Not really. Also, I don't agree with their politics so spending any time in a room with Grace and Dad would be excruciating. I think Dad wants me to go because he knows he can't carry on a normal conversation and he needs my help.

I told him I would go but really, if he wants to visit his friends he should just do that and not drag me into it. I told him I don't want to be there for longer than an hour. He called Grace to find out when would be a good time and they had a good long conversation over the phone. I told him maybe we'd go next week sometime. I'm hoping he'll forget about it by then.

I know this sounds pissy but I feel like we already give a large portion of our day just dealing with his basic needs and his interruptions. Dean offered to pay for me to fly to Texas for a visit and I turned her down because I'm trying to get my workshops going and I need to try stick to my schedule, which is already way off. The day is coming where more of my time will be taken up taking care of Dad so I really want to use the time I have now to get things off the ground.

Ugh! So, I'm pretty tense right now. Jim and I are going to Mt. Rubidoux.

But really, right now I want to go someplace and scream.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Unsticking the stuckness

I think this is going to be something I'll have to do from time to time as a sort of life maintenence. This is a new thing for me. I'll be energized, motivated and inspired for a while then it starts to wane and I start feeling like I'm spinning my wheels. Then I'll start to worry about my ability to achieve my goals. Doubts start creeping in big time.

And then I'll roll up my mental sleeves and get to work. Tonight was another one of those great brain blasts that I've been having in the last 2 years that keep me moving forward. I took inventory of my situation and the stuckness started to unravel. Here's my list.

Get the downstairs cleaned up.-- I need help moving the furniture out of the workshop area and into the bedroom. The chemicals in the kitchen need to be moved into the closet. Our boxes need to go into the container. Do something about the moisture damage on the bathroom wall. Repair the work table and paint the legs. Get 12 good church chairs out of the cupboard and clean them. Paint them if there's time. Clean up driveway and move that stuff out. Clean up parking area and pull the weeds. General cleaning inside.

Finish Jeff's uke case.-- Get paperboard for the lid and bottom of the case. Cover them with batting and velvet. Cover the top and bottom with the outer fabric. Cover the poster board strips for the sides of the case and lid. Jim wire up the light unit. Get buttons for the closure and figure out the strap. Get cord for the "seat belt".

Build first project, The Prop Head-- Come up with a better name than "prop head". Record the steps, cost and how long it takes to do the project.

Go see Cee Ann at Tiggywinkles-- I met Cee Ann last Halloween. Her son lives across the street from Kevin's, which is where we do our Halloween decorating. She really liked the display and she was very interested in one of the prop heads. We chatted a little and I gave her some of my paper. We talked a little about me making a prop head for her that she can use as a display in her store but it didn't get much further than that. I'd like to do a mannequin with interchangeable heads that she can use all year round. That's kind of an involved project for a later date. Anyway...

I want to go talk to her about making a head for her shop. I want to see if she'll let me leave some flyers for the workshop on her counter in exchange for the head. She's always been so helpful, maybe she'll go for it. I also want to talk to her about finding a cheap mannequin somewhere that we can turn into a year round display piece. Her resources might be better than mine.

Other areas of stuckness--
Getting serious about my diet. I'm exercising again and I'm happy about that but I really need to do the whole thing if I'm going to make any progress. I lost some weight and it felt great. I know I've gained some back and I want to get it off again as soon as possible so I can feel good again.

How am I going to achieve my goals AND be Dad's primary caregiver? That day is coming and I have to figure out how to make it work. When Jim and I have to spend too much time dealing with Dad it knocks us off track. There has to be a way to include the Dad stuff and still be able to take care of business. Today Dad came over 3 times. I know that as time goes on he'll be coming over more often.

Ok, that's enough for now. I feel this is something I can work with in the next few weeks.

Gotta keep moving forward.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Two and a half hours

That's how long we sat here with Dad explaining how to do his diabetes testing and talking in circles about what we need to do to sell his land.

He absolutely cannot do his own diabetes testing anymore. I wish we could have filmed this session because it was amazing. He couldn't understand why it's so difficult to do now when it was so easy a few weeks ago. We told him (as gently as we could) that he can expect it to be this way from now on. So starting tomorrow morning we're going to do all of his testing. I'm going to go over there every day at 8am and do his fasting test. Then I'll test him 2 hours after meals.

He wanted to get his meds from me. He had a bit of a fight about it, nothing big. I agreed to let him have one of the meds because he's incorporated it into his routine and it's going to run out soon anyway.

We need to set up a little meeting to discuss what the next step will be to sell his land. He has it in his mind that Scotty's friend, Patrick, is going to handle the whole thing. We have to get it cleared up soon and sign up with a realtor. He keeps getting cold calls and he has one woman mailing him comps. We need to get things locked in so we can get rid of all these other people. Dad thinks he's going to get a realtor to give him money up front. We went round and round trying to get him to understand that that's not the way it works. After a while we gave up.

Jim is a saint. That was an exhausting session.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Outa, outa shape

Kee-ripes! I went up Mt. Rubidoux with Jeff last night and by myself tonight. I hadn't been up there since just before we went on vacation. When we got back there was a big ol' heat wave and then I got sick after going to Mexico. It's been about a month since I've had any real exercise. Golly gosh, I sure can tell!

So, back to it!!!!!! Knock back the calories and crank up the activity. I like it better that way, anyway. Jim's shin splint is all better so he can start walking again. The weather is cooling down. No excuses. And dammit, no more injuries!

Friday, August 12, 2005

Dad's elbow

Today we went to the VA emergency room because Dad's elbow has flared up somethin' awful. He had an appointment with Dr. Griffin for Monday but the pain and swelling are too bad for him to wait. After futzing around in the ER for half an hour they sent us to Dr. Griffin. She drained a little fluid from the elbow that she sent off for testing. The swelling is mostly from inflammation, not excess fluid. She sent us home with an antibiotic (the same one he OD'd on some months back), something for inflammation and some Vicodin. I was concerned about Dad having these new meds and asked her if I should keep them at my house. She said I should have ALL of Dad's meds at my house, in fact she insisted on it. I came up with a compromise. I'll keep the new meds at my house and dole them out and monitor the meds he already has.

She pulled me out into the hall for a chat. She said she thinks he's slipping and we have to be very careful about keeping his diabetes under control and keeping him on track with his meds. She said if David wants to call her she'd be very happy to talk to him.

I thought Dad would be pissed about her and I leaving the room for a chat but he seemed fine with it. He also didn't mind me taking the new meds home. He's been very friendly and cooperative this last week. I think on some level he knows that he's slipping so he's willing to accept more help and give up some control.

He's definitely more foggy now. I have to explain things over and over. And then five minutes later I have to explain it all again. I worry about his driving. He eats all of his meals in restaurants which is probably the reason he's gained so much weight. I wonder if we're getting close to the point where he needs round the clock care. Calling him to ask if he's taken his meds just doesn't cut it.

So, ok.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Disaster week

Ok, we've had enough. Uncle.

I'm having a hard time typing this. My muscles are still a bit messed up. Two hours ago I felt like total crap but I think I've turned the corner now. Now I know what Montezuma's Revenge feels like.

Lindsay's two best buds from highschool are visiting this week. Thursday we (minus Paige) went to Mexico for the day. We had a great time drinking Margaritas and eating lobster and shopping for trinkets. Friday, Chelsey and David took off on their own to go explore Riverside while Lindsay went to see her boyfriend who just got back from England. Jim and I went to Ken's to go swimming. We got a call from Chelsey saying that her car had broken down. Jim and I left Ken's and went downtown to help Chelsey and David deal with the car. While we were doing that Chelsey started feeling ill. We thought it was because she had been in the heat for too long but now I'm thinking it was the beginning of our Mexican bug experience.

Saturday, Chelsey and David spent most of the day in bed. Sunday, Lindsay and I started feeling sick. Jim was fine. He didn't drink the Margaritas at Porto Nuevo. Wise boy. Sunday was also the day that the septic system decided to explode. This was a MAJOR inconvenience because there were 4 people in this house who seriously needed functioning toilets. Jim went to Home Depot and bought a sewer snake which took care of the problem.

This week we also had a power surge in the middle of the night which worked mischief on some of our appliances. Our washing machine seems to have lost its mind. We haven't worked on it yet because it's been really hot and I've been too sick to help Jim. Our washer and dryer are in a tight space and it takes some maneuvering to get them out. We'll probably mess with that tomorrow.

Hoo boy, I felt miserable. My arms and legs felt like sand bags. Every muscle hurt. I was clammy. And oh yeah, it's good that the bathroom is only about 7 steps away from my bed. Moan, groan, moan, groan. But I'm better now.