Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Congratulations, Jess and Greg!

Jessica had her baby boy today. Everything went well. Congratulations to Ken and Sherri.

No party tonight. We'll get together over there tomorrow. I'll get all the stats and details.

PITA

I seem to have lost my cell phone charger. Since I don't have a car charger for it I'm without a cell phone for a while. If you want to get ahold of me you'll have to call my land line.

That is all.

Update- Found it.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

I'm messing with settings

This is probably going to change. I'm leaving it this way for now because I'm tired of sitting here.

I'm home.

Feeling a little...meh. There's so much here that needs to be done. I'll start on it tomorrow. First order of business- deal with the fridge.

I had a very nice time at Dede's. Did some shopping, walked three miles down a lovely nature trail, had an awesome dinner (not the pork chop), and hung out with some really cool people (my sibs and spouses and kids).

Yeah, I feel poopy. All I want to do is clean this house. Gotta deal with the fridge. I need to get my car fixed. Pay the bills.

Lio is getting too fat. It's kind of hard to deal with that because Ivy is a light eater. I'll wait until they're both hungry, fill their bowls, wait about 10 or 15 minutes and then take the food away. That's not working very well right now because we have Kyle's cats and they have their own food bowls, which I'm sure Lio raids. Anyway, it's something else I have to deal with. Once the Carrozza cats are gone I'm installing that cat door and limiting the food. Lio is a pudge.

Paige is getting a Corgi puppy, like, soon. She knows I'm not real happy about that. We're not puppy-ready. So, ok, we'll jump into action and do the best we can.

Oh dear, what about that cat door?

I bought a new microwave. Yay. Actually, that's a very good thing. You should see my old microwave. The paint has been peeling off from the inside, which has caused it to rust, which made it impossible to clean, which was depressing to look at.

So yeah, meh. I'm glad Christmas is over. I'm glad I have so much time off so I can get some things done around here. After the first of the year I'm pulling some money out of the retirement fund so I can pay off some big items and handle some repairs. We're all looking forward to having 2009 be a very good year. Really. I mean, come ON!

2003- Jim loses his job. We move down here. Dad seems to be losing it and we don't know why.
2004 through 2006- We know why Dad was losing it and now we're all in AD caregiver mode, which sucks.
2007- We lose Jim and Dad becomes reeeally difficult. We work on getting the farm ready to sell.
2008- Dad has a stroke, goes completely bonkers, we spend many nights in the hospital dealing with him. We finally get him settled. Mindy's sister dies suddenly, a couple months later she loses her mom. Mindy and Drew inherit 2 houses full of stuff and several special-needs animals. Drew is also dealing with his own set of health problems. Bro-in-law Bob is also having health issues.

So, that's five years of crapola. I'm not forgetting the good things that have happened. I'm very happy with my job and I love my house, as challenging as it is sometimes. My girls are healthy, happy people. I'm losing weight and starting to look pretty damn good. And hey, we're getting a new president! God bless us everyone.

And now I'm going to go clean some litter boxes.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Going to Dede's tomorrow

Tonight I'm packing. Earlier I went to see Dad. I had talked to Stacey this morning and she said her family and Drew's family all went to see him. She said he was not having a good day. The phone sound was muffled so I had a hard time understanding her. I'll get the details tomorrow. I had planned to see him at around dinner time. Usually he's pretty good then. Stacey said it seemed like maybe he was sick. When I got there he was in bed asleep. I sat with him for a while and then he woke up. I played a couple songs for him and then one of the staff came in to take him to dinner. She had to use a lift to get him out of bed. They always have to use the lift now. When she rolled him over to get the sling under him he yelled out in pain. He's gotten so stiff that if you try to put him in a different position it hurts him. I took his hands and talked to him and tried to get him to relax. He was really tensed up and I'm sure it made the pain worse. I tried to speak to him in the most soothing way I could and it seemed to help. Once he was in the wheelchair he was fine.

When we got to the dining room he was moaning and shivering. I went back to his room for a blanket and his hat. Once I got him comfortable he just sat there dozing. When his dinner came he perked up a bit. He actually ate quite a lot. Then I got out the uke and sang Christmas songs for him. For the first time since I've been going there he didn't sing along. He just sat there staring. He was alert but he just wasn't relating to me or anyone else. Usually he sings and jokes around. So, something is going on.

I came home and started packing for SLO. I was doing some laundry and I noticed an extra noise. The refrigerator was humming a little louder than usual. Then it stopped. Um, ok. I resumed packing. About an hour later I heard a very loud noise coming from the kitchen. The fridge sounded like it was ready to explode! I pulled it away from the wall and unplugged it. Crapola. Something else that needs fixing. But I'm not dealing with it until I get back. I called Paige and told her to buy some ice and put it in that new roasting pan and put it on a high shelf in the fridge. That ought to hold it until I get back on Sunday. It might just need a good cleaning. I'll try that first. Puh!

Gotta go to bed soon. We're all caravaning tomorrow morning. Early.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas, everybody.

It's different this year, isn't it?

Today I went to the maul, I mean the mall, to try to finish up my shopping. Not that I did all that much this year, I just wanted to see if I could find something cool and fun. I left there empty-handed. Man, I hate that Christmas consumer shit. When you've got people getting trampled to death at WalMart it's time to step back and take a good, hard look. We Americans have gotten pretty stupid about this in the last few years.

Usually by Christmas Eve the stores have been pretty much picked over. Not so this year. The stores were full of merchandise. Lots of good sales and discounts galore but I wasn't inspired. Except for one of Lindsay's college loans I'm debt free and I want to keep it that way. All the gifts we exchanged tonight were small and modestly priced. Going crazy with the spending is just plain stupid.

I left the mall and went across the street. I needed a roasting pan so I could make the brisket I'm taking up to SLO. I found a pretty good one for $19.99 with a $10 rebate. Now, THAT'S something to get excited about.

This evening we all went to Ken and Sherri's for their open house. They had set out a very nice spread and we all enjoyed a good, light dinner. It was perfect. It was nice visiting with everyone. Then we came home and opened our gifts. Paige had made mint brownies and gingerbread. We had that with sparkling apple cider.

Really, for being a crappy, low-budget Christmas it was really very nice. I had a good time with my girls and their guys. We all enjoyed watching the kitties on their various treks through the living room. I'm interested to see what they do to the tree in the next week.

Oh yeah, the tree. I haven't written about that yet. When I was in Borders the other night they had this 6 foot, HOT pink tinsel Christmas tree on sale for 75% off. When you see a hot pink tinsel tree for twenty bucks you just can't pass it up. I brought it home and Paige and Gabe set it up in the living room. We made some paper ornaments for it and covered it with multi-colored lights. I added some black maribou garland. The whole thing is pretty cat-friendly. There's nothing on this tree that they can hurt, unless someone decides that chewing on the light cord is a good idea. I watched Lio actually leap into the middle trying to get one of the Japanese paper balls I had placed deep within the branches.

I'm nicely tired. I have to get up early to take Lindsay and Kyle to the airport. I guess I'll go to bed.

Oh, oh, oh!

If the Soweto Gospel Choir ever comes to your town, or anywhere near your town, or someplace not near your town, GO SEE THEM. Moley de Holy.
Jeff and I went to their concert at the Walt Disney Concert Hall last night. The show was sold out but there were enough cancellations to get us in the door. It was kind of expensive but like Jeff said, "They gotta feed the mouse." I'm sure another venue would be less costly. But I'd say it was worth every penny. This is a show that sticks with you.

Bright costumes, amazing African dancing and harmonies that carried you places you've never been before. Many of the songs they did were quite familiar, but were arranged in a way that was so different and new. Normally, when I hear a song that I know I'll kind of hum along, but last night all I wanted to do was listen and learn. Jeff was wondering how they came up with those harmonies. I had that same thought, but at the same time I felt like there was no other way it could have been done. Their performance of Amazing Grace was stunning.

They ended the show with several Christmas carols. It was such a pleasure to hear those songs with an African gospel twist. Especially Silent Night, which was haunting and beautiful, and We Wish You a Merry Christmas, which was just plain fun.

Feeling a little dancey today.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Luncheon entertainment

It felt a little strange but I think everyone enjoyed it. Today I went to a nice barbeque place in Corona to be the entertainment for the Health Services Christmas party. It felt strange because that was my only reason for being there. I didn't really know anyone, except for the director. Dr. Deb showed up but she couldn't stay long. I had the tri-tip with coleslaw and it was quite good. it was all very pleasant and everyone was really nice. After we finished eating I got my stuff out and led everyone in a sing-along. This time it went much better than the thrown together sing-along I did for that luncheon a couple weeks ago. After that I sang the Middle-aged Woman song. Everyone enjoyed it. After that I packed up and left. It didn't feel right for me to stay while they did their gift exchange.

I did some Christmas shopping and then went to Costco. Gonna make a brisket to take to Dede's. Man, I didn't expect this to take all day. I'm glad I'm home. Time to jammy up and relax.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

I'm feeling blobby

I'm going up the Rube. I haven't been up there in over two months.

Later...

Ah, that was good. Just as I was finishing the walk Jeff pulled up. I guess I should have called him but I figured he'd be busy. Oh well.

Tonight I am dyeing. I get almost all of my clothes on eBay these days and most of it is silk. Sometimes the color isn't quite right, either because the actual piece didn't match the photo, or sometimes price is right even if the color isn't something I like. Silk takes dye really well so it's not a problem. I had seven pieces that needed a color adjustment and since I'm running out of clothes I figured I'd better dye them and add them to the mix. It's a bit of a project but once it's done, it's done. And it's like getting free clothes!

Kyle and Lindsay were visiting this weekend. Kyle always brings his cats and usually they all get along ok. Ink is kinda bitchy, tho. She and Ivy get into some scraps and today she took a swat at Ivy and caught her in the eye. I saw her sitting in the tv room looking kind of stunned with one eye shut and tearing. It stopped after a while and she was able to open it. She'll probably be ok but I'm going to keep checking on her. I don't want it to get infected. Poor Ivy! I'm hoping she'll learn to stay away from Inky. Ink and Spiral will be here for a week while Kyle and Lindsay are in New York. Ivy might need goggles.

Kitty drama.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Working on songs

I want my Christmas song book to be a lean, mean, fightin' machine. At the luncheon the other day I had a hard time with some of the songs- Print too small, wrong key, wrong chords, unfamiliar arrangements. I got every third song right. I didn't like having it all be so schlocky. But it was thrown together at the last minute so I'm willing to forgive myself. But I want it all to be right for the next two parties. We have ours on the 19th and the Health Services party is on the 22nd.

I've added some songs to the book plus a table of contents page. I'm going through them one by one making sure they're right. I'm practicing tricky chord changes.

But I need to stop now because m eyeballs are tired and I have to get up early and go to work. Got the Twelve Days of Christmas stuck in my head.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Furniture everywhere

Today Drew and I moved furniture. They're clearing out Mindy's mom's house in preparation for their estate sale. So much stuff. Good stuff, too. Lindsay and Kyle are getting a lot of it. When they settle into their own apartment it'll be completely furnished. I took a bedroom set (mid-cent-mod) and two end tables and the coffee table from the living room. These are really beautiful pieces. Dorothy and Norman (Mindy's parents) bought quality. And right now every bit of it is in my living room and family room. We need to store everything here until Lindsay and Kyle can take it. I need to get Paige to clean her room so we can move in my two dressers. I think I'll put the bedroom set in my room. Haven't decided yet. Anyway, there's lots of cleaning and moving to be done. I also need to do some minor repairs.

So, once again it looks like I just moved in.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Visit with Dad

After work on Friday I went to see Dad. They had him on one of those lounge chair things so he could lay stretched out. He's been getting frozen into a sitting position from being in a wheelchair so much. They've decided against doing much physical therapy with him because it hurts him and you can't get him to understand why he's being tortured in this way. It's too upsetting for him. Putting him in a lounge chair is a more gentle way of stretching him.

He was in his usual place near the nurses station. He yells and whistles at everyone who walks by. It's not angry yelling, he's just trying to be sociable. I got there just before dinner time so it wasn't long before they wheeled him in. There was a woman sitting in Mr. Hammond's usual place. When they put Dad at the table she said, "Could you please turn him around so I can see his handsome face?" Woo-hoo! Dad's still got it! I positioned him as best I could and she seemed satisfied. We chatted for a little while and then they moved her to a different table. Here comes Mr. Hammond!

They brought Dad his dinner and I managed to get most of it into him. For the first time since Dad moved to this place I got a little weepy being with him. As I fed him I was thinking about the man he used to be. Even though he was hard to love at times, he always was enthusiastic about life. Even though I thought he had some WRONG ideas about how the world should work, he was a very intelligent and talented man. He was also proud and independent. If he could somehow step outside of himself now he'd be horrified to see what he's become. I felt sad for what has been lost.

After Dad was finished eating I got out the uke and song books. At first I sang Christmas songs with him. Mr. Hammond had been quiet until then but now he began to sing along. He said, "Hey, you're pretty good on that thing. You have a beautiful voice." I said, "Thanks, Mr. Hammond. I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop." We sang some more songs and then I packed up to go. Again, Mr. Hammond complimented me on my singing but he never made any boobie comments. When I left I told him it had been a pleasure being with him. I guess his meds were in balance that night.

It was a good, long visit. Again, the staff kept telling me how much they love him.- "Oh, your dad is such a flirt!" "Oh he's so funny!" "Your dad is my favorite!" Heh! Give the folks at Raincross Village a call and tell them that!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

I'm Mary Poppins

Yesterday was kind of fun.

On Wednesday after weight loss class I stopped by Big Lots and bought $80 worth of Christmas lights and a small fake tree. Years ago Jim and I built these big star frames that we covered with lights. They look really cool and you don't have to climb up and down a ladder all damn day to put up Christmas lights. You just plug in six stars and the place looks great. But you do have to replace the lights every five years or so. So, I bought a ton of lights and a little tree to put up at work. When I got home I just left everything in the car.

On thursday I loaded up a bunch of decorations that I had bought at the after Christmas sale at Beverly's (75% off!) and took it all to work. Since I'm not doing much decorating at home (kittens!) I got my ya-yas out making the front office look cheery. It looked very pretty. Just as I was finishing I heard Tanya and Patti down the hall setting up tables and chairs and talking about how to make it all fit. Huh?

Now, I work in a great office with wonderful people. Communication isn't one of our strong points. Sometimes I'm seriously out of the loop. I found out that they were going to be having meetings on our office for a couple of days with a big dinner that night and a luncheon the next day. They needed to set up tables and chairs and somehow make it all look special and pretty. I heard Tanya say, "Too bad we don't have some lights." Lights? Did someone say lights?

I went out to my car and brought in the big bag of lights I had just bought. I also brought in some decorations I had decided not to use in the front office. Patti said, "Wow, it's like she's got a Mary Poppins bag!" I spent the rest of the day decorating the eating area. I hung three huge glitter balls from the ceiling, one over each table. Then I ran a string of lights to each one and bunched up the excess to look like chandeliers over each ball. Then I draped gold ribbon on each one so it went from the ceiling and cascaded down over the balls like gold tendrils. For being such a simple thing the effect was actually pretty stunning. Once Food Services got there and added the table cloths the whole place looked really nice.

Yesterday we had our luncheon. I spent the morning getting songs off the web and putting them into a song book. I designed a cover on Publisher and made 23 songbooks with red and green covers. I spent some time on Chordie getting songs into the right keys and printed them out for my own songbook. After lunch we had a big sing along with me on ukulele. I had also brought my big bag of rhythm instruments (another Mary Poppins comment from Patti) and passed them out to everyone. Har! Those administrators played like kindergartners. It was quite a hoot.

Then Monica suggested that I sing a couple of my songs. I sang Middle-aged Woman. It killed. They were laughing and cheering so much at the end I couldn't finish the song! Then I sang Bosom. At first they didn't quite know how to react to it but as it went along they started to enjoy it more. At the end people were laughing. I think it actually made the men kind of uncomfortable. We finished the party with Silent Night.

Afterward, one of the women from Health Services came up to me and said they want me to come to their Christmas party and entertain. Seriously! I'm going to go to their party on the 22nd and do exactly the same thing!

It feels a little weird that the luncheon turned into the Doni Show, but people seemed to enjoy it and Dr. Debbie was pleased, so I guess it was ok. And hey, I got a gig!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Music and stuff

Last night Jeff and Bill came over for ukeing. We went through the Jumpin' Jim's Christmas song book. We've decided that Jumpin' Jim must have a high, girly voice because all the songs are in a key that's hard for us to sing in. We spent a lot of time transposing last night. I'm glad that the three of us have basically the same range. I know that if a song is in a key that's comfortable for me it's good for the boys, too.

So, it wasn't a satisfying and productive session but it was a good start. I'm going to see if I can find better arrangements of those songs online. I want to get some good holiday song books going so they'll be ready to go every year.

Jeff and I walked before Bill came over. Hoo boy, it was good. My exercising has been inconsistent since starting that Kaiser program. They start you off at 20 minutes a day because the calorie intake is so low. We're up to 30 minutes now. I just can't get into that. I want to go hard and strong and get those endorphins flowing. Usually when I come down from Mt. Rubidoux I'm totally blissed out on brain juice. I love that.

But, boy oh boy, I was stiff and sore after that walk. Gotta do more.

Tonight is open mike. We're going to do a couple of Kyle's songs. The last time Lindsay and Kyle and I performed at open mike together was two years ago and Jim was with us. Little did we know.

Today I'm going to get started on that kitchen cabinet.

I added a link to the Weight Loss Blog →

Friday, November 28, 2008

A good Thanksgiving

Low key and enjoyable. Both of them.

Yesterday we were at Ken and Sherri's. The meal was delicious and the turkey was perfect. After dinner we played this game that's this electronic thingy that shows a word that you have to get your team mates to guess before the timer runs out. We play this game at almost every family gathering at Ken's. It's a silly thing that's pretty fun.

Today we had brunch at Stacey and Scotty's. Oh man, it was good. Scotty bought a new waffle maker so we had Belgian waffles with fruit. We had an omelette station at the stove. There were bowls of different kinds of veggies and some different cheeses. Everyone made their own omelettes. Tres delish. Breakfast meats were also served. NONE of this was on my diet. Too many calories were consumed. So, ok, I'll be good tomorrow. We had Paige's pumpkin pies for dessert.

We hung out for a while and then Drew, Mindy, Dede, David and I went to see Dad. Mindy and I bundled him up and took him out to the patio. We talked and sang songs. I uked. it was a nice, long visit. After Drew and Mindy left we took Dad inside and had him listen to Dede's iPod for a while. Dad really enjoys singing along. He can't keep up with the words but he can dum-de-dum on the melodies. Then Dede and I wheeled him into dinner and fed him a few bites.

He was pretty confused and spacey. He was like that the last time I visited. You can never be sure why. The Alzheimer's is surely progressing, though.

Ukes tomorrow night.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Crap, crap, crappety crap!

I have another leak! This one's in the back yard on the sprinkler valve manifold. Dammit! I have a big puddle right up against the house. I'm just gonna have to learn how to do plumbing. My alternatives are to bug my brother every five minutes or hire a plumber every five minutes. I might be able to handle this one. The pipes are pvc. I also have a broken sprinkler head out front. I think those pipes are metal. I wouldn't trust myself to try to fix that one. Damn, it's always something.

The bunny cage is 97% finished. I just have to attach the hinges for the roof lid thingy. I also have to cut a rectangle in the wire for the feeding tray and add a latch for the door. After that, the bunnies can inhabit. It might be dark by the time I get home tomorrow so I'll finish it on Wednesday for sure.

Man, my hands are all torn up from handling that wire. Owie.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Back to the bunny cage.

I didn't work on it yesterday. I needed to pull this house together. Every time I drag some boxes in and go through them it seems like the whole house explodes. I have to remind myself it's a good thing. Stuff gets put away eventually and a lot it gets taken to Second Time Around. I love loading up the car with discards. Anyway, I hadn't cleaned up after the last explosion and I was having company last night. Jeff came over and we uked.

Hoo boy, don't take too close a look at this cage when it's done. It's not what you could call an elegant structure. Many of the boards are a bit warped and I wasn't completely accurate with the measuring. But it'll keep the bunnies in and other critters out. They'll have lots of room to frolic, which is what I really wanted. I felt so sorry for them in that small cage.

The frame is done and I've started putting up the wire. I had to stop because it was getting dark. Really, I could have gone on all night. I ought to be able to finish it tomorrow. All we'll need to do is fill the base with dirt.

My next project will also be a free one. I brought over a small cupboard from the farm. I'm going to use it as a microwave/toaster oven stand. I need to extend the top and one side. Easy. I already have lots of plywood. This will free up some counter space and provide storage for cookie sheets and pots.

Last night was fun. Bill is sick so it was just Jeff and me. We worked on some songs that have lots of jazzy chords. That stuff is fun to play on uke. Man, it's been a long time since we last got together here for uke-ing. Things got busy last summer and our fall schedules don't match up. It'll work out better once this semester is over. Jeff and I haven't been walking together either. While I'm on this weight loss program I'm not supposed to exercise more than thirty minutes at a time. I miss Mt. Rubidoux. Oh well, soon.

Ugh! I'm hungry.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Radicals, we

RCC is doing The Laramie Project. Today they found out that the Westboro Baptist Church (not really a baptist church) was planning to show up and picket the play. That set off a firestorm of emails throughout the RCC system. I'm sure the local tubes were alive with Westboro buzz. A counter demonstration was quickly planned. After work I headed over to the Riverside campus. On the way I called Scotty and Bill. They both were planning to be there.

The emails said that the Phelps family was going to show up at 7 and picket for an hour. I got there at around 5. The organizers wanted everyone to show up early so there would be a lot of people there when the wacko haters showed up. At first everyone was milling about near the quad, which was where The Laramie Project was playing. After a while we were told we had to move to the Free Speech area across from Landis Auditorium. They said the Westboro Baptist people would be escorted to where we were gathered.

It was pretty cool. Lots of young hippie types, both gay and straight, with lots of signs. The smell of Sharpie ink was in the air. The mood was light. As we were talking several of the kids would come up and ask me what The Laramie Project was or they'd ask about the Phelps family. Like I was the expert of my immediate area. Then a high ranking RCC lesbian got up in front of the crowd and gave us instructions on how to behave when the Westboro people showed up. We were asked to be completely silent and let all the hate come from them, not us. There were some grumbling murmurs from some of the people, but most agreed it would be better to keep things peaceful. Somewhere in all this Scotty and Bill showed up. Scotty was planning to take B to the play. I lost track of him about an hour before the show started. I'll find out later if they saw the show.

Well, it was a fine gathering of a large group of friendly people but in the end not much happened. We heard that the Westboro people got stuck in traffic and couldn't make it to RCC. I wasn't that surprised. I've heard that before, that sometimes they just don't show up. I think it's possible they may have gotten wind of how large the crowd was (I'm guessing 350) and decided against it. I hung out with the Odiens for another half an hour. Liam had run home and grabbed a guitar. We sang a couple songs and then split.

So hey, we won! The play opened without the Phelps family getting their two cents in, and people had a generally good time hanging around in the dark. It was just a little bit of a disappointment, though. We were so ready for them.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Progress

Progress can be slow. I didn't get as far as I would have liked. I had to go to Home Depot and spend $8 on bolts, washers and nuts. Gotta go back for more. But it's coming together. Boy, my hands sure are dinged up. Paige helped me a little today.

I think it's going to turn out ok but it won't be exactly plumb and square. It's going to take a lot of dirt to fill the bottom box but I have a plan for that. Along the far side of my house the ground slopes towards the foundation. Poor yard drainage is one of the issues of this house. I'll be taking dirt from that area and moving it to the bottom of the bunny cage. I'll shape the ground into a nice, shallow trench so that side of the yard can drain. Good stuff.

It looks like we've got new neighbors to the back. They were playing mariachi music yesterday and the two, big, obnoxious dogs that were there are gone. Those dogs worried me a little. The fence isn't very high along the back of the yard. If those dogs ever got sufficiently inspired they could've climbed over it. Of course, Boz was no help. He'd get into barking matches with them every once in a while. Working on the cage has been much more pleasant without them.

I got a new cell phone. It has a QWERTY keyboard and teeny, tiny buttons. I can text, but I can't see. Progress.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Bunny cage!

Finally! I got a good start on it today. I gathered my materials and tools, put my hair up, grabbed my iPod, hat and sunglasses and got to work. I measured and cut and drilled and screwed (actual screws) until it got too hot and sunny. Then I came in, had lunch, and watched tv until the back yard got shady again. I went back out and worked until my back started to squawk. I'm pleased with my progress so far.

I have the basic box built. Tomorrow, I'll go to Drew's and get the wire for the sides and to line the bottom so the bunnies can't dig out. I can re-use some of the parts from the old cage. What's great about this is it's going to be almost free. I bought one piece of wood for $15 and I'll need about $10 worth of screws. Everything else I already had.

I'm very happy about this. I couldn't work on it last summer because it was so hot. I hated that the bunnies had to live in their small cage. We'd let them out every once in a while so they could frolic but it never seemed like it was enough. Right now they have a bit more room because Paige attached a puppy playpen that I borrowed from Mindy to their cage. But that's not very secure and I worry about them getting out. I'll be so happy when this is done. The rest of it ought to go pretty quick. I'm on a roll.

My back hurts!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Happy Birthday, Dede! Happy Birthday, Aaron!

Sorry this is posting so late. I hope you did something fun and ate something delicious. In your honor I put a candle in my diet shake.

No I didn't.

Tonight I fired up the heater for the first time since shutting it off for the summer. I didn't know what to do! I've never had central air. Do I light something? Will I blow myself to smithereens? Nope. Just turn the sucker on. I did change the filter. I at least knew to do that much.

I'm taking Ivy to the vet tomorrow morning to get fixed. Once she's healed both kittens can start going outside. Yay! No more litter box. I hope they'll do ok. It's always a little nerve wracking training kittens to survive outdoors. Lio is doing well so far. He looooves being outside. I just want him to understand that cars and neighbor dogs are dangerous. And jeez, we have coyotes living nearby! I can hear them howling at night. Gotta install a cat door so they can escape danger (the cats, not the coyotes).

I've been enjoying having hot water without leaks and knocks. That was a big source of stress. Next I need to explore the leak in the other bathroom. I'm not quite as stressed about that one. Heh! We'll see how that goes when I open things up and have a look. Bill, thanks for the plumber recommendation.

Good night.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

AAAIIEEEEE!!!!!!

We lost water pressure. I opened the water heater closet and heard water rushing. I got a mirror and looked behind the water heater. One of the soldered joints that the plumber made was squirting water up in the air. Shit!

I called the plumbing company and told the guy what was happening. Snarky little bastard asked me how I knew it was their fix if the water heater was in front of it. He said since they didn't install the water heater they couldn't touch it. He also told me they wouldn't be able to come out until tomorrow. He said they didn't go out on call backs on the weekend. He told me several things that didn't fuckin' fly with me. Stuff like it's going to take him and another guy three hours to reinstall the water heater. We had quite a little argument. He finally agreed to have someone come out today but I'd have to get the water heater out. When I called him back and told him we had it out he said he'd have someone here in about three hours. Grrr....

So, here I sit. My water heater sits in the hall. How much you wanna bet the plumber doesn't show up this afternoon?

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Hallelujah! (and Happy Birthday, Mindy!!!)

Hot water, baby!

I got as far as I could but in the end I had to call Drew. Fortunately, it didn't take too long and it was good to be comforted by his cempetenceness. (Heh! Spell check didn't like that one.) The water heater is in the closet, all shiny new, happily humming and doing it's job. No knocking. No leaking. God's in His heaven, all's right with the world. Well, not the whole world. Mainly just my water heater closet. And it's guaranteed for nine years.

What's next? I need to batten down the hatches and get ready for winter. I already did a LOT of yard work today. Barely made a dent in that job. Tomorrow it will be cooler so it'll be easier to work. I need to clean up the sun room. It's gotten a bit out of hand. The roof leaks in there so I need to arrange the stuff that's being stored and cover it. I really should clean the gutters and sweep off the roof where the trees are up against the house. Need a cooler day for that job.

Bunny cage. It was way too hot last summer to work on that. I want to redo that pergola I bought last spring. The canvas cover just doesn't work very well. It's always getting blown out of place. I'm going to get four panels of plastic trellis and affix them to the top and one side. I know plastic doesn't look that great but I don't want to put too much weight on the frame. I can paint it to match. I'll make curtains out of drop cloth for the ends and keep the other side open. It'll be shady, private and a pleasant place to sit and have coffee.

I want to plant my succulents in the planting bed out front. Gotta get the broken sprinkler fixed. It would be great to get my unwanted bushes removed but that'll have to wait until spring. Got more crap to haul away.

That oughta do it for now.

Happy Birthday, Mindy! Thank you for letting me borrow Drew this afternoon.

Hallelujah

Friday, November 07, 2008

One more push

To get the water heater done. Well, maybe two. Home repair is almost never easy.

I bought the water heater last night. The installation kit isn't quite right. Gotta take that one back. I bought a different one at Home Depot. That one's not right either. A kit won't do. I have to buy individual pieces. At least I think I'm on the right track now. But I'm not working on it tonight. I need a break from all this stress.

The water heater is only one of my issues. Gracie just isn't doing well and I think I need to have her put down soon. She's almost 14, which is pretty old for a large breed dog. Her hair isn't growing back as much as I'd like. The weather is turning cold but she doesn't want to sleep in the house if the other dogs are outside. And then there's Lady, who drives us all nuts.

I just read a news story about a crazy asshole who beat a six-month-old puppy to death. The puppy belonged to a friend of a friend. The story made me very angry.

I'm very happy that Obama won but I've got to stop reading the political stuff for a while. The death eaters are plotting their revenge.

So, tonight I could go to a show in LA, but I'm not sure I want to drive home late at night by myself. I have to think about it some more. Or, I could go see Annie, Get Your Gun, which is the show Bill is in right now. I was planning to do that tomorrow night. Decisions, decisions.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

What a night

Well, that was fun. I met up with Bill at Back To The Grind. They had a wide screen tv up front, laptops on every table and a nosh buffet. Darren, the owner, invited us upstairs to the VIP lounge for champagne and cocktails and good conversation. Every once in a while people would let out a cheer, we couldn't always tell why. Then when the California polls closed everyone really got excited. It seemed like it took less than five minutes for the whole thing to be confirmed. Obama had won. Truly amazing. Big cheer there.

Champagne was passed around. I also had some tequila. I hadn't had a drop of alcohol since starting this diet. I was nicely toasted. Hugging commenced. I was glad that Bill was there. Chuck showed up too.

McCain gave his concession speech. Bill said it was classy but I didn't listen to it much. I'm not ready to forgive. That was one ugly campaign. But hey, I'm not his target audience. People in the BTTG crowd were respectful and many people cheered when he said nice things. I do appreciate that.

And then Obama spoke. I went to the balcony rail and watched the whole scene- Obama on the big tv and the crowd below. It was kind of surreal. And boy, I could not stop crying. I waited eight years for this.

Too bad about Prop 8. Some changes take longer.

Plumbing update- I am woman, hear me roar, for I have built a water heater floor. After the plumber left I could see that there was no way a new water heater was going to be installed unless the floor in the closet was replaced. It was completely rotten from years of leaks. It totally caved in. This morning I rebuilt it using 2X4s and 3/4 inch plywood. That sucker could hold three water heaters. I banged it together with wood and screws that I already had. One of the pieces of plywood was from one of Jim's Hammond organs.

I went shopping for water heaters (after going to the tire store and spending $400. Sheesh!) at Lowe's and Home Depot. I'm going to go back to Lowe's tomorrow and get one. So, this whole water heater/shower valve thing will end up costing about $1,000. That's if I'm lucky. We're not out of the woods yet. When I got home I looked at the work the plumber did yesterday. One of the joints appears to be leaking. I'm so glad I didn't get Sears to install a new water heater right away! The plumber is coming back tomorrow morning. I'll be at work but Paige will be here.

One step at a time.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Plumbing

Right now there's a plumber in my bathroom working on installing a new shower valve assembly. When he's done a Sears dude will come and install a new water heater. Ka-ching. Oh well. The joys of home ownership. At least I won't have to listen to the constant stream of water running down the drain and the klunk, klunk, klunk of the dying water heater. That's worth paying for.

Last night Paige and Gabe removed the old water heater. Everything was going well until they got it to the front door. It was just too heavy to get over the door sill smoothly. It rolled off the dolly and landed on the porch. Right now it's pathetic carcass is laying there. We thought it might be fun to try to roll it out to the street and send it down the hill.

Speaking of plumbing, tomorrow I'm taking Ivy to the vet to get fixed.

I saw Dad the other day. Mr. Hammond was awake and feeling frisky. I kept getting "compliments".

Had a history test last night. I was embarrassed to turn it in. I think I did ok on the multiple choice section but completely tanked on the essays. I've had some wonderful conversations with the teacher. We often walk to our cars together and chat about history and politics. To know he's going to read my crappy, CRAPPY essays makes me cringe. Oh well.

Election day!!!!! Tonight I'm going to go to Back To The Grind and hang out with my liberal peeps and get the returns. I'm going to take a bottle of champagne with me and share it in the parking lot. Come on down.

Go Obama!

Update: No Sears dude today. A wad of plumbing variables was hiding in the wall. Good thing I'm not paying by the hour. Almost 4 hours and the guy is still here. So, we'll get a new valve today but no water heater. And the Sears deal wasn't as good as I had hoped. After the plumber leaves I'm going shopping for a water heater. I'll buy it, bring it home and between Drew, me, Paige and Gabe we'll get that sucker installed. Getting the old one out was pretty straight forward. If the new one hooks up the same way we'll be in business. I'm hoping us three bozos can do most of the hooking up and just have Drew deal with the gas line. I really don't want to bother him much right now. He's overloaded as it is. Installing the water heater ourselves would save me about $350 as far as I can tell.

Lordy, there's about 2 inches of cement in that wall, not including the plaster board. The plumber is having to do a LOT of banging. I kinda feel sorry for him.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Halloween photos

Yes We Carve! (Google it, you'll see).It turned out really well, but by the time Halloween evening got here the sun started to collapse. Still, it looked pretty cool.
Owl in tree. I hate this tree but it works well for Halloween displays.Of course, this looked much better in person with the right lighting. I had fun putting it together.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween 2008- Ho hum

A bit of a dud but my display looked good. I'll post photos eventually.

I was here by myself. I got dressed in my usual costume (which I love because it looks cool and it's comfortable) and handed out candy to the trickle of trick-or-treaters. This neighborhood has a bizillion kids but they all stayed pretty much on Laramie. No one wanted to come up the hill. It doesn't help that hardly anyone on my street opens their door on Halloween. I did what I could to have some lights out front so people could see there was something going on up here. But right when it started to get dark a HUGE U-Haul pulled up and parked in front of my next-door neighbor's house. They spent most of the night packing it (her sister was moving out). No one walking down Laramie could see my house. I had strewn snap pops along the sidewalk so they would go off when people stepped on them. The kid next door kept warning people not to step on them! A few of them said, "Ooh, this place is too scary, let's not go there" and turned around! So here I am with four huge bags of candy and almost no takers. The last group of kids to come up were teenagers. I gave them HUGE handfuls of candy. Sheesh!

So, I'll probably find something else to do next year. Halloween might be played out for me.

But, dang, my display looked good. I set the witch up in her big Morticia chair with her usual witchy trinkets on a table next to her. But this time I made it into a Paul Newman shrine. I printed out some photos of him. One of them I put into an ornate frame and signed it "All my love, Paul Newman, XXOO". I bought the People magazine that came out right after he died. That was in the witch's lap along with another photo and a box of Kleenex. I had some crumpled Kleenex around her feet. An empty wine bottle lay among them. Candles were on either side of the framed photo. A bottle of Newman's Own salad dressing was next to it. One of the photos was of him and Joanne Woodward. I took a Sharpie and drew a moustache and devil horns and glasses on her. The whole thing looked just great.

I also carved an Obama pumpkin. NO ONE commented on it. So there ya go.

I got through the whole night without eating a single piece of candy.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Damn chickens

They didn't hatch. Today I was notified that they're not considering me for that RCC job. Crapola. I really thought I had a good shot at this one. So now I have to figure out what I'm going to do to pull in some more money. I need a second job. The stores are hiring Christmas help right now. Maybe I can grab something at Target. Just thinking out loud here.

Hey, maybe I can get a job at Home Depot. Then I could get a discount on a water heater.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Kittens!

Well, not kittens anymore. They've reached the teenage stage. Lindsay and Kyle's friend, Sam, was here last weekend with her friend, Gary, who is a photographer. Sam wanted to get a photo of Ivy so she can be featured as Pet-of-the-Month at the pet store where she does design work. When Ivy was a teeeny, starving kitten she was hanging around Sam's house. When they finally caught her they brought her to me. About a week later Paige and I went to Petco and got Lio.Our Ivy. She was nervous about having strangers in the house and when they started calling her to have her photo taken she knew something was up. It took a while to find her. She was not too happy about the noisy camera.

Hmmm, having trouble uploading images. I'll do the best I can here and edit it later.
Lio was much more relaxed about the whole thing. He posed all day. Lio is awesome. He's my panther boy. He's also the most affectionate cat I've ever had.Spiral is one of Kyle's cats. He's a little shy but usually pretty friendly. But not when he doesn't want his picture taken. I think he was worried that Gary was trying to steal his soul.A good one of Lio.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

W.

Ho-hum. Jeff and I saw it last night. With all the hype that's been going on ever since this movie was cast you'd think it would have packed more of a wallop. It didn't. I just got the feeling that Oliver Stone couldn't figure out which W he wanted us to see, so what we ended up with was a picture of a bumbling but sincere idiot. And Dubya ain't that. Well, maybe he is that, but he's so much more (or less). Why did Oliver Stone want us to like the guy?

Anyway, the whole thing fell flat. And the ending.... just ended. I hate movies that do that.

Afterward Jeff and I went for coffee and tea, which was much more interesting.

Another movie I saw recently also fell flat, but not as flatly. City of Ember was visually interesting, and Bill Murray was fun to watch, but mostly it was slow moving and not that interesting. So there ya go.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Happy Birthday, Michelllllle!

Heh! She spells it with only one L. I'm giving her the gift of more Ls. Don't spend 'em all in one place.

I hope you had a lovely, lovely day.

Oh yeah, I still got it

I went to see Dad after work. As usual, he was in the dining room. He hadn't eaten much of his dinner, just a few vegetables and his dessert. I tried to get him to eat a little more meat but after a couple bites he did the classic toddler avoidance moves. Then he said, "Hey, where are my dirty cookies?" I said, "You mean dessert?" He must have had brownies tonight. Dad's aphasia was in full swing. I told him he had already eaten them. I got the uke out and started to play for him.

He almost always has the same man sitting next to him. His name is Mr. Hammond (Jim would be amused) and he's always out of it, like, totally. One of the staff will come by every once in a while and try to wake him up to take a bite, and he'll usually refuse it. One day when I was there he was sitting there with his head down muttering, "Jesus... Jesus...oh shit, oh shit.... Jesus", etc. Then he perked up and listened to my playing and said, "Hey, you're pretty good on that thing." Well, I was glad to see he wasn't permanently vegged out.

Tonight while I was playing, and Dad was singing along, and Mr. Hammond was muttering, another man came in and sat at our table. He was visiting his wife, who must be in the end stages of something because she's just plain non-responsive. We had a very nice conversation. He asked me if Dad taught me to sing and I said, "Oh yeah", which was kind of a lie because Mom was the one who taught me to sing. Dad taught me how to draw. I said, "He's a very good singer. He was a Barbershopper and he was in a group that won the world championship." Then I started singing Alexander's Ragtime Band, which is one of the ooold Barbershop songs I always heard when I was little. Dad perked right up and sang with me and got pretty much all of the words. I was impressed. Then Mr. Hammond joined in, singing loud and smiling. I said, "Hey, Mr. Hammond! You know that song! Well, I'm going to have to look up the chords so I can play it for you next time." Mr, Hammond smiled and said, "You've got beautiful boobies."

I laughed and said, "Um, well, thank you!" The other man at the table said, "Couldn't you tell her she has beautiful lungs, because she's such a good singer?" I guess not, because Mr. Hammond said it again. "You've got beautiful boobies." So, ok, I guess it's time to go.

I got up and packed up my stuff. One of the nurses came by with her cart and said, "Mr. Hammond, I have to check your vitals" and started taking off his jacket. He said, "Ow! You're hurting my balls! Get your hands off my balls! Jesus! Shit!" The nurse pretty much ignored this. By the time she was done I was all packed up and giving Dad a hug goodbye. Again Mr, Hammond said, "You've got beautiful boobies." Dad got pretty mad then. He said, "You're not... you don't know... you're not going to get out of here alive!" Still pretty aphasic, but his message was clear. Clear to everyone except Mr. Hammond, who just sat there smiling. I said, "It's ok, Dad. It's ok, don't worry about it. I'm sure he meant it as a compliment." I hugged him again and left.

Anyone who saw me walking to my car might have thought I was an escapee from Skilled Nursing, because I was giggling so hard I know I looked like a crazy person.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Too bummed out to blog

Dude, where's my money? My 401K has lost more than half its value. I didn't have a lot of stock but what I had tanked. I was planning to sell it to hold me through the next couple years while I'm going to school. Right now I'm all bundled up in a cold house because I don't want to run the heat. I'll probably shut off the satellite tv for a while. I don't know where else I can cut back but I've got to find a way to trim the expenses.

I still haven't heard anything about that RCC job I applied for. I'm like, COME ONNNNN!!!!! I'd at least like to know if I'm in the running.

AND I have a water heater that's ready to die any day now. The faucet in my other bathroom is leaking and it can't be fixed, it has to be replaced. The only way to do that is to bust out the wall from the front, or go in from behind. That's the best way to do it but I'll need to get the water heater out first. Ok, fine, it needs replacing anyway, but we're looking at around $600 without installation. If things were normal I'd ask Drew to do it, but he's got problems of his own. There's no way I'd ask him to do anything for me right now. If the water heater can hold out for another month, maybe. I'll just have to put up with the leak. And then there's the money problem. Shit.

Gracie isn't doing well. She's on medication for her thyroid but I don't know if it's helping. She's kind of skinny and her hair has fallen out in big patches. Plus, she's almost deaf and she has arthritis. Last night it was cold so I brought her in the house to sleep in the bathroom. All she did was crap all over the floor and bark her head off. I put her back outside. She's almost 13. I might be letting her go soon.

So, this is one of those times. Things are just piling up. People have been asking me if I'm going to decorate for Halloween. I'm not sure if I will at this point. The only thing I'm looking forward to is the election.

I'm going to look up bus schedules.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

We love you, Mindy!

Oh, wow. Drew just called. Mindy's mom just died. She's been in poor health for the last several months and losing weight. She was already quite slim. Mindy's sister died a few months ago. I'm sure that also contributed to her decline. Hoo boy.

Ok, universe, let up on these guys for a while, eh? Drew needs to heal and Mindy needs to recover from her loss. The last several months (the last year, really, if you add in all they went through with Dad) has been really rough on this family. They need a break.

Well. I don't believe in prayer and I don't think there is an equivalent for non-believers. I kind of wish there was, just for these occasions. But I can offer my help. As far as I know they still haven't cleared out Mindy's sister's house and now they'll have her mom's house to deal with.

I have uke circle today. I'll call them afterward and see how things are going. There's a lot to deal with in the first few hours. After that, there's time to do a little thinking about what needs to be done. I know the drill.

Take care, you guys. You have my love and good thoughts, And prayers too, such as they are.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Hidey hay!

Look to the right on the links list. I added the weight loss blog. Now it's easier to get there.

This morning I did some much-needed yard work. Mostly I tidied up the front walk and the driveway. Doesn't sound like much but I've got three big trees that dump freakin' LOADS of debris on everything. Man, I'd love to rip them all out, especially that Shamel ash. Not much chance of that because it's a city tree. The whole street is lined with them. Very pretty and they provide lots of shade, but they have very invasive roots and they drop a bizillion seeds that cover everything. Cleaning it all up was a huge job. I also cleaned out the front planting bed, which was looking pretty sad since I haven't been watering it. I'm going to plant my succulents there but first I have to kill all the nasty, persistent weeds that have taken hold.

But it's so nice to be out there right now! The weather is nicely cool. It was supposed to rain today but it looks like that's not going to happen. I've been waiting for cooler weather so I can get stuff done outside. I want to get this place looking better so my neighbors will be happy.

In a little while I'm going to Ramona to help them with their sets for this year's field show. I know, WHY am I doing that since Paige is no longer there? Because they asked me, and because the sets are much simpler this year. All I'm doing is painting 5 big spiral shapes on fabric. And I don't even have to do the whole thing. All I have to do is the outline.

Tonight we're going to see Religulous.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Open mike

Wow, it was a good one.

Bill, Jeff and I met Eric (from uke circle) and his wife for dinner at Heroes. Heroes is a restaurant that serves mass quantities. After eating like a bird for most of the week it sure looked weird to me to see those plates piled ever so high with food being carried through the restaurant. I didn't feel like I was being deprived, it was more like, wow, nobody should ever eat that much food. I ordered a tuna avocado roll up. The sucker was enormous! I took one bits and decided the wrap was too cardboardy. I hollowed the salad out of it and had that. Didn't eat the fries. I was more than satisfied.

After that we headed for the Folk Center. All the regulars were there. Lots of newbies, too. I was planning to sing my Health Science song. I squirmed a little because there were two kids sitting right in front of us and this song is a just a bit randy. After talking it over with Jeff I decided to sing the song and not worry too much about offending delicate ears. When I got up to sing I did say, "Cover the kid's ears" before launching into the song. I'm happy to report it was a hit! People laughed a lot. When I sat back down I apologized the the kid's mother. She said, "Oh, no, that was great! Don't worry about it." A little later her two kids, a girl and a boy, got up and performed. Wow. They did Closer To Fine by The Indigo Girls. Jeez, they were really good.

Jeff sang his newest song, which I think is his best yet. Kind of a bluesy, funny, haiku thing. Bill sang a song about his grandfather's chili. Shades of childhood. Nice and bittersweet. Eric sang I'll Remember You by Kui Lee. I want to learn that one. Eric did a nice job. It was his first open mike.

Ok, here are the lyrics to my song. Everything in it was covered in class-

Health Science teacher
talkin' sex and STDs
birth control and obesity
drugs and heart disease

Eat right, sleep tight, exercise
give your body what it wants
Go out jogging, meet a cougar.
Test your fight or flight response

Chorus-
Can you name all your parts?
Do you know what they do?
Do you stand or sit
when you go to the loo?
Do you roll right over
when you've had a good screw?
Do you know all there is to know about you?

Don't smoke, don't drink and don't shoot up
and treat your sweetie nice.
Don't go to bed with strangers
and you won't get pubic lice

And it's ok to use your hand
or a penis that is fake
Just don't have sex with trees or pets
and don't insert a snake

And say your boyfriend ups and dies
or girlfriend kicks the bucket
Just because it can't say no
doesn't mean it's ok to fuck it

(Oh yeah, necrophilia was covered)

Chorus-

A drink or two can break the ice
and send things in a friendly direction
But not too much, cause when it's time to perform
you might not get an erection

And if you're a girl take extra care
Protect your drink just like it's a child
Something might slip in and the next thing you know
you're the sweetheart of Girls Gone Wild

Chorus-

Mr. Beaman taught us how to stay healthy
but you'll probably still catch a cold
Just apply what you've learned
and if you're good and lucky
you'll die when you're very old

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Ok, now it is

Today was mellow and uneventful. I went to work and had a good day. Michele called but the conversation was cut a bit short because my phone went dead. Thanks for the call, Michele! After work I went to see Dad. He was much better than last time. I played for him and he sang along. He remembered my name. It was a good visit.

Last night I went to the first weight loss class. It's a pretty intense program but I feel much better about it now. I need to lose 3 pounds before they'll let me have the protein shakes. I guess it's some kind of test to see if you're able to comply. So, today I figure I took in about 1100 calories. This week I have to keep a very detailed food log. I have to record everything I eat and drink, how hungry I am before I eat, where, what my body position is, my emotions, how long it takes me to eat each meal, and the time of day.

So, it looks like the focus of the bloggy is going to change again. It started out as a Halloween blog, then morphed into the Alzheimer's blog, then the losing Jim/grieving widow blog, then the settling-into-this-new-life blog, and now it'll be the freakin' intense, medically supervised, extreme dieting blog. I feel like I just got in line at Disneyland.

So, happy birthday to me. I'm 52.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

And it's not even my birthday yet

I got a very nice surprise lunch at work today. They all know that I'm starting a very strict diet on Thursday so they gave me an early party. Usually for office birthdays we just have cake and eat it standing up. Today everyone brought potluck- Chicken, salad, layered dip, potato salad and cookies. They set up a table in the common area and we had a nice sit down lunch.

After work I met the girls and Gabe and Ken at Joe's Sushi. Ken's been wanting to go out for sushi with us and since I'm not going to be able to have any for six months I figured tonight's the night. We got there just before they opened. Ken and I sat at the bar. When the girls arrived Jin saw that they were carrying gifts. When he saw that they were for me he brought over a BIG bottle of hot sake and a whole bottle of wine for me to take home. And it wasn't cheap sake, either. This was the good stuff. I shared it with Ken.

Our chef was having fun dreaming up marvelous sushi structures for us. Freakin' deeelish! One one of the plates of sushiu he put down a blob of wasabi, stuck a lighted birthday candle in it and covered it with a very thinly sliced cylinder of cucumber. It looked like a pretty lantern. A very nice touch. At the end of the meal they had me get up on a chair (ha! I couldn't climb up all the way so I perched on my knees), gave me a bowl of green tea ice cream and had the whole restaurant sing Happy Birthday to me. It was a great Joe's experience.

The girls gave me some fun gifts (wrapped in the most gorgeous paper. I wonder where they got it?). I got some cute skeleton lights, some cat candles and a big, ceramic cat head that will make a great candy dish. They also gave me a Dwight Shrute stress reliever. It's a squeezable, rubber Dwight head. They also paid for most of the dinner. Ken bought mine. Thanks, everyone!

Tomorrow I go for the first weight loss class. I'll be going once a week. On Thursday I'll start the diet. Here we go! 800 calories a day!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The show

Ahhh, all done. I really needed to get back to my life. Still, I had fun.

Saturday was the dinner show. I think we did better on Saturday, even though there were more screw-ups. The energy was better and I liked that the house was good and dark during the blackouts. Today's show was fun because Lindsay, Paige, Kyle and Gabe were there. Virginia and Jeff came, too. It was nice seeing them all out there while I was performing. Kind of a security blanket.

I was pleased that the props turned out so well. People laughed when we came out in those big hats. We're supposed to walk out all snooty and then sit down and start singing. Today I misjudged where I was and sat down halfway off my chair. I almost fell over! It just added to the comedy.

Near the end of the show a woman came up to the front and started hassling this old lady at one of the front tables. They argued for a little while and then both of them walked out. I have no idea what it was about. Virginia said the whole thing started at the back of the room. I couldn't see it because the lights were in my eyes. I guess I'll find out what happened eventually. We're going to have a cast party and watch the video of the performance. Maybe someone will know by then what it was all about.

Well, it was fun doing a show. I hadn't done one since just before we left Santa Rosa. I hope I can find the time to do more.

Whew, I'm tired.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Props, props, props

I stayed home from work today. Partly to work on props, but also to be here for the plumber. Hoo boy, big plumbing bill. He changed the faulty main valve and added a new regulator. He unstuck the shower valve. He slowed down the hot faucet leak, but he couldn't stop it completely. The whole thing is just too old and corroded. So, remodeling the second bathroom has become a bigger priority. Puh! He also thinks I should move the water heater outside. A lot of houses in the neighborhood are like that. Boy, I really need that new job.

I've been working like crazy to get these props done. It's going ok, I guess. The hats are about half done, the masks are done and the pocket watches. I did the graphics work (not much, really) for the sing-along signs but I can't burn it onto a disk so I can take it to a copy place and get oversized copies. I emailed it to my work address. I'll go in tomorrow and burn a disk there. Then I'll go to Kinko's, or FedEx, or whatever the hell they're calling it these days, and get the oversized copies made. Then I'll spray mount them onto poster board and reinforce the edges.

I'm going for a walk and then come back and continue the gluing.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Almost too tired to blog

I might actually go to bed early tonight.

Yesterday was long and busy and high pressure. I went to Kaiser first thing to have blood drawn and get a chest xray. I'm starting this kind of extreme weight loss program at the end of the month which requires some lab tests and a check up. Bleah. I grabbed some breakfast and then went to Michael's to pick up supplies. I'm making props for the show: 4 big, fancy hats, 9 big pocket watches, 7 hideous masks, and I don't know how many big cards with lyrics on them so the audience can sing along on one of the songs. I have a LOT of work to do.

Then I went into work to do my resume (my sparse resume) and turn in my application for the receptionist job. Dr. Debbie wrote me a very nice letter of recommendation which I also submitted. The process for submitting an application is kind of unfriendly. You have to submit all the documents at once and they're not very clear about explaining how to do it. If you screw it up you don't get a second chance. I had some trouble getting Dr. Deb's letter to attach, but it all finally went through. Afterward, the release of all that pressure caused another emotional meltdown. Jeez, I'm doing too much crying in my car these days.

I went to MoVal to do some shopping. After having a nice, comforting lunch at Mimi's I went to Costco, Lowe's, and Michael's (again). By the time I finished all that it was 5:30. I got home and had about half an hour to sit and decompress before I left to go to show rehearsal. I got home at around 10:00.

This morning I had to be back at the church to rehearse at 8:00. We're having to do some emergency retooling. One of the cast members decided she was just too busy to do the show. The performance is in a week! Fortunately, she wasn't one of the chorus, just a guest performer with three big solos. It didn't mess up anything we had already staged, but it does mean we have to learn her songs and do some additional staging. People are pretty pissed at her but we're dealing with it.

Then I came home and got right to work making props. I've been doing that pretty much nonstop since noon. I finally had to stop because my eyes got all buggy. Tomorrow morning we're doing one of the songs during the church service. Then we're rehearsing for a few hours. After that I'll come home and resume the prop production line. I'm looking forward to the day when I can sleep in and spend a whole day in my jammies goofing off. I believe that will be September 26th.

Oh yeah, I'm tired. My brain is going buzz, buzz, buzz....

Monday, September 08, 2008

Not counting chickens

Both Scotty and Dr.Debbie sent me this job posting at RCC. It's a full-time receptionist job on campus that really seems like a prefect match for me. I've updated my application and Dr. Deb's going to write a letter of recommendation. I really think I have a shot at this one.

But boy, thinking about the possibility of getting it really messed with my head this afternoon. Last night was horrible. I was tossing and turning as the clock kept ticking off the hours. I was awake, awake, awake and totally consumed by worry, frustration and anger. I don't know if it was the bupropion, or my fears catching up to me or a combination of everything that has happened in the last couple years. Whatever it was, it fucked with me good. I had a glass of wine, hoping it would relax me. I got up and had a bowl of cereal, hoping for a carbo crash. Nothing helped. I wanted to cry, but couldn't. And when I did finally get to sleep my dreams were disjointed and awful. My dead kitty, Katie, showed up and made the dream sad. I got up and started making lists, just trying to get the shit out of my head. It was just plain awful.

Today at work it took me about two hours before I felt like I actually arrived. I was doing other things, personal things like faxing forms to Kaiser and Agilent. But it was a good work day and I got to end it by playing around with a graphics program. Tonight was my first American History class so I did the usual school night thing and went to a restaurant for dinner. On my way there I started thinking about the possibility of getting that job. It's full-time and it would more than double my take home pay. It would also be like getting a $500 a month raise because I'd have medical benefits for Paige and me. If I got that job it would be about 2 years sooner than planned. That would do it. That would fix everything. I was thinking wow, what will it be like to not live my life in constant fear? Suddenly I was overcome by a wave of emotion that smacked me good and hard. I started crying, sobbing. My eyes were burning because the eye cream I applied this morning mixed with tears and bathed my eyeballs in stinging chemicals. I could barely drive and there was no place to pull over. I laughed because it was such a ridiculous situation.

I pulled up to a merciful stop light, being careful not to rear-end the car in front of me. I had just cleaned out the car so there were no tissues, no napkins from Del Taco, nothing absorbent I could use to wipe my eyes. Oh well, my blouse was black so I used my sleeve. I had a couple more shudders of weeping and then got to the restaurant. I went to my table wearing sunglasses.

Jeez-o-friggin'-pete! I've been worried and scared and frustrated and overwhelmed and it SUCKS but I thought I was doing ok. I didn't know how truly afraid I was. Just the thought of not having to be afraid was enough to cause an explosion. The release took me over. I do think I have a decent chance of getting that job. It matches my skills and experience pretty well and I have GREAT references. But even if I don't, there was so much value in finding out how much fear I was holding inside of me. Oh man, I feel so much better.

So yeah, I'm not counting my chickens. But tonight at dinner I did make a list of all the stuff I'm going to do when I have money!

Friday, September 05, 2008

Contest!

Name Sarah Palin's next baby! The winner gets a no-expenses paid trip to the 2nd Annual Sarah Palin Baby Seal Clubbing Festival and Car Show. I'll start.

Trooper (in honor of her former brother-in-law)

Carjack

Staple

10010110101000101

Torque

Phleener

Ping-Pong

Pander

The lawyer's advocate

So... Lately the drama lawyer has been very nice to me. She still drives everyone a little nuts with her comments but I've reached the point where her screwy behaviors don't bother me. The other night as we were all leaving rehearsal, one the the women in the cast said to me, "She just has this tension that I really can't deal with." like she was in the middle of a conversation with someone else. I said, "Who?" She said, "Stacey (drama lawyer's name is Stacey). Her attitude is really affecting me and I just can't deal with it." I said, "Well, you'll probably have to find a way to include it and have it be ok because she's not going to change. Just accept that that's the way she is and just do what you need to do." She thought about it for a little bit and then agreed with me and thanked me for my counsel. Heh!

On the way home I was thinking about Stacey a lot. She and I are the only ones in the cast who aren't members of this church. She might be feeling like an outsider and her behavior might just be her way of coping. Besides, I don't think she's any more annoying than some of the other people in the cast.

We have kind of an odd thing in common. I have a sister named Stacey and she has a step-sister named Donita. I think that's why she started feeling comfortable with me. We had a friendly chat about our sisters and names 'n' stuff and things just relaxed.

So, yeah, she's my new BFF. Sorry, Dean.

Oh man, we ran through my big song, which has me running around the stage, and I could barely sing it! I was totally out of breath! I've been slacking off the exercise lately. Not good, for several reasons. So I've got to get back to it or I'll really suck in this show. Last night I went up the Rube and I'm planning to go again tonight. And tomorrow. And every day I possibly can so I can build up my stamina. Last night was the first time I used my iPod on my walk. Wow, it made a huge difference. I was groovin' to the tunes and didn't notice how hard I was working. I need better headphones, tho. Those dinky earbuds kept falling out of my ears.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Happy Birthday, Dean!!!!!

Sorry to post this so late. Texas is two hours ahead so I don't want to call. I mailed your card and gift too late to get there on time, but they are on their way. Happy Birthday! I love you!

You are now 52. I'm not far behind you. Yeesh, they keep comin', don't they? I guess it's better than the alternative.

I don't have an pictures of you on my iPhoto that I can post here. So, I'll recite the little poem from one of the coolest cards you ever got for me.

Friends will come, and friends will go
And friends will peter out, you know
But we'll be friends through thick and thin
Peter out, or peter in.

Smooch!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Democratic National Convention

Well, THAT was pretty fuckin' cool.

What did you think?

That stadium was amazing. McCain should give his acceptance speech in Sturgis so he can draw a crowd.

Jeff said we should volunteer to play at Obama events. Hell, yes!

Anyway, it's late and I have to get up early. Comments, please.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Dad

He was pretty out of it yesterday. He didn't sing along with me on the old songs like he usually does. He fell asleep several times and his aphasia was the worst I've seen since the stroke. When they brought him his dinner he kept trying to eat with his hands, even when I had a fork full of food right in front of his face. He tried to eat his napkin. He was doing that fretting over edges thing.

I don't know if it was because of the time of day or a dip in his meds or what. Another little stroke, maybe? Or is it the AD just progressing? A couple times he yelled for Dede and Stacey while I was sitting right next to him. Still, he was able to crack a couple little jokes. I was scooping up a bite of food for him when he reached for the mashed potatoes. I said, "Wait, Dad. I'm getting a bite ready for you." He said, "I want the other." I said, "Ok, but let's use the fork instead of your fingers." He said, "You don't love me anymore" and smiled. That was a joke.

He was sleepy but also on edge. He said he needed to go to the bathroom. When I left I let the staff know that they'd need to attend to him soon. It was kind of a crummy visit. He's been looking so good lately. Yesterday, not so much.

Wow. A year ago he still living in his house and still doing kind of ok on his own. Wasn't it a year ago that we first started cleaning up the farm? Jim's been gone 19 months. We've been in this house 8 months. Sometimes all of this makes me feel a little crazy.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Blogging from work

I'm subbing across the hall for a couple hours. I am alone, alone, alone. So, I blog.

Yesterday's show rehearsal was a bit strange. Drama lawyer decided to be nice to me. I guess we're buddies now. I wonder what clicked in her head?

I'm still really enjoying my kittens. They're a constant source of entertainment. Lio is a total love monster. I've never had such an affectionate cat. Ivy is getting more friendly. Last night I had both of them curled up next to me, which is unusual for Ivy. It's fun to watch her play. She moves more like a monkey than a cat.

I have to take Gracie to the vet tomorrow morning. We had all the dogs shaved at the beginning of the summer. Boz and Lady are starting to look wooly but Gracie's hair doesn't seem to be growing back. The fur on her head and neck is, and she has some goofy-looking patches of longer hair on her body, but for the most part she is still pretty bald. Otherwise, she seems ok.

I've upped the dose of my antidepressant to two pills a day. I was told the appetite suppressant affect would probably wear off after a few weeks, and that is what has happened. I seem to be doing ok on the bigger dose, ecxept it does mess with my sleep pattern. Lio's no help there. He thinks four in the morning is the perfect time for a cuddle. At the end of September I'm starting on a six month long, medically supervised, weight-loss program. I'm not sure how I feel about it. I worry about failure. I do like the idea of getting through Thansgiving and Christmas without gaining weight.

Gonna go see Dad after work. After that I'll hit the Rube.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

My face hurts...

...from laughing. Lindsay and I just saw Tropic Thunder. I laughed and laughed hard. The best laughs are in the beginning of the movie and it wraps up nicely at the end. The middle part where all the action is kind of levels off the funny, but there are still some good moments. Quite a good cast.

Tomorrow is my last Friday off. Next week we go back to the regular schedule. Bummer. I reeeally liked having Fridays off.

On Tuesday I had another show rehearsal. Some changes have been made. Instead of having almost every song done ensemble style with everyone singing different lines, the director assigned everyone their own song. There's still a chorus and some trading of lines but I think the whole thing will work much better. And now there's a whole bunch of stuff I won't have to memorize. I think I got one of the best songs. It's Oom-pah-pah from Oliver.

Drama lawyer got all offended again. This woman is sensitive to the point of ridiculous. We were all in a line on stage when someone noticed a spider crawling across the floor in front of us. We had a short discussion about whether or not we should let it live. Then someone said, "It's a black widow!" and so the decision was made. One of the guys stepped on it and left it twitching. I leaned forward and said to the spider, "Do you need representation?" Drama lawyer said, "Hey!" I said, "Really? You thought I was making a derogatory lawyer joke?" She said, "Everyone hates lawyers until they need one!" I was keeping it light but she was serious. Now I'm tempted to make lawyer jokes until her head explodes.

Before that happened I heard her mention a couple of times to different people that she's a lawyer. She reminds me of Tracy Morgan's imitation of Star Jones on SNL (which ALWAYS cracked me up!).

So, all you locals, save this date- Saturday, September 20th. It's going to be a dinner theater thing. I'll post more info when I get it.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Bringing up the GPA

I got an A in Health Science. I really thought I'd end up with a B. I did poorly on one of the tests and I missed an assignment. I guess I did really well on the final. It was NOT a hard class. Ok, another one crossed off the list. On September 2nd I start History 6- History of the United States from colonial times to 1877. I'm looking forward to it.

Monday, August 18, 2008

WWAAAAHHHH!!!

Something's wrong with this computer! It has a hum and the screen is 50% darker. Rats!!!! The last time I had it fixed it cost big bucks. Crap, crap, crap!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A full weekend

Thursday after work I picked up Lindsay and we drove to LA so see the Dodgers game with the Carrozza's. I hadn't been to a baseball game in thirty-something years. It was really fun. It was nice to just hang out with them in the stands. And hey, bonus, the Dodgers won. Getting out of the parking lot after the game took about a year.

On Friday I drove down to Laguna to see Lorraine and her mom. They had come down for a wedding. We met at their hotel and went into town and knocked around the shops. I hadn't been to Laguna Beach in a very long time. It was so cool to see what other artists are doing. Lots of inspiration in those gallery shops. Lorraine's friend, Joanne, and Joanne's daughter were also along for this jaunt. I guess it was too much Philly all in one place because things were a bit tense between them. Lorraine and Louise said they were VERY glad to see me because I'm such a calming influence. I know what they meant. I like Joanne, but she can be a bit much. We had a reeeeally good lunch and one of the trendy Laguna restaurants, did a little more shopping and then I came home.

Jeff, Bill and I were playing at Maui Wowie that night. They were having a Hawaii Statehood celebration event. We were playing for pay this time. I got there pretty early so I went to the crappy Chinese place next door and got a crappy fried rice thing. I ate about 4 bites of it and threw the rest away. Then I went next door and met the guys.

We played for about an hour. Then it was time for us to take a break and some hula dancers came on. While they were setting up I sat on the sofa with Zoey and talked to Virginia, who was sitting in a chair next to us. Some old guy (asshole) came in and asked us if we were going to hog the seating area. It was one of those stupid things where you're not sure if someone is kidding or serious or what. We were just sitting down. Hogging the seating area? WTF? We kind of went back and forth with him, making silly comments, trying to keep it light. Then I guess he got disgusted and turned to leave. I said, "Hey, there's room for one more on the sofa here." He said, "I'm here to see hula dancing, not belly dancing" and walked out. I turned to Zoey and said, "Wow, did you hear what he just said?" The three of us were a bit stunned.

I don't know how that whole thing was for Virginia and Zoey, but for me it was one of those things were it took me a while to figure out what had just happened. I always expect people to behave in a normal and generally friendly way, so when someone is intentionally cruel it always floors me. It took me a while to really clue in. I finally did and spent the next hour fighting tears. What a fucker. He and his family sat at a table outside the door. I took a good look at him. He was an ugly, old sonofabitch who was sporting a beer gut. I didn't know if he was someone who was connected to the shop in some way. He might have been a relative of the owners, I just didn't know. But I don't think he was. I think what he really wanted was a place for his mother/wife/old-woman-family-member to sit down. If he had said, "Is it alright if my old-woman-family-member sits down here?" we would have been happy to accommodate him. Hell, we would have moved and let his whole family sit there. But what are you supposed to do when someone walks up from nowhere and asks if you're hogging the seating area? Like he had some special right to it. The more I thought about it the more I wanted to throw a smoothie in his face.

Actually, what I really wanted to do was confront him in front of his family. But that day we were the hired entertainment and it would have been inappropriate to pick a fight with one of the customers.

Ok, Mindy just called. I gotta go. We're having dinner with the Butchers. I'll finish this later.

12:17am. I'm back.

Anyway, I held it together and didn't give in to the tears. Just before we were to start playing again Molly and Joe showed up with Mindy and Ty. Drew wandered in a few minutes later. Ah! People who love me! I hadn't expected to see them that night. We started playing and ended up having a really good time. We even played for almost an hour longer than we were supposed to. I'm glad we were able to end the evening on a high note.

On Saturday I hung around here for most of the day. That afternoon I headed up to Stacey's and hung out there for a little while. Then I went to Maui Wowie for the second night of our world tour. No hula dancers this time. No assholes, everyone was nice. Got paid. I do enjoy playing with Jeff and Bill.

Today I had show rehearsal. I'm starting to get to know these people and I must say I don't like most of them. I don't like it when people waste time screwing around or chatting. One woman was being pretty bitchy and at one point covered her ears in a dramatically obvious way because she thought I was singing too loud. Really, I wasn't, but because she can't read music she was having trouble learning her part. Later she took offense at a lawyer joke that was in one of the songs. I guess that means she's a lawyer. The song was A Little Priest from Sweeney Todd. It mentions lots of different kinds of professions and describes how they might taste in a meat pie. As soon as she heard the word lawyer she said, "Hey!" and gave the director a dirty look. Then later she got all bothered about a stage direction he gave her. Jeez, what bullshit.

After that I met the family at a Korean restaurant. I walked in just as Joe was chatting with the waitress and ordering the meal for all of us in Korean. That was pretty cool. Joe was stationed in Korea for several years and speaks Korean fluently. I could tell he was having the time of his life talking with the staff. And the meal was reeeally good. Every table has a grill set in the middle so you cook the meat yourself. We had a really good time. After that we went back to Stacey's for dessert and to watch the Olympics on Tivo. Dede showed pictures of their Alaska trip. Another fun evening with my awesome family.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Monday...

...was just one of those days. The universe was conspiring against me.

I got up early so I could go to RCC and take the assessment test for English, math and reading. Right off the bat I was already in a bad mood. I was messing around with the usual worries, company was coming and the house was nowhere near ready. My plan was to go to RCC, take the test, go to the library and go buy a parking permit. When I got to RCC my current parking permit wasn't in my car. I have no idea where it went. Ok, so I'll just get one from the machine. I screwed it up. I didn't punch in how much time I wanted. It sucked my dollar in and gave me a permit for 30 minutes. Crap! Ok, so I'll go to the library and get what I need from there. That should take half an hour and then I'll just go back to the machine and get a permit that will give me enough time to take the test.

When I got to the library door there was a sign outside saying their hours had been cut back for the month of August and they wouldn't be open until the afternoon. Grrrr... So I went back to my car and bought another permit. So, what's a couple bucks in the grand scheme?

I went to the Assessment Center. They wouldn't let me take the test because I have a hold on my record because of my shitty grades from 33 years ago. The hold will be lifted once I finish with this Health Science class, but that didn't help me on Monday. So I left. The girl at the Assessment Center said I could go to the counseling office and get a Matriculation Appeal and then I'd be able to go back and take the test. Yeah, right. By that time I was on the verge of tears. There was no way in HELL I was going to go to any office and try to talk to anyone. I found a quiet corner behind the auditorium and sat down and tried to collect myself. After I was sure I wouldn't burst into tears if someone said boo to me I went to the cashier and bought my yearly staff parking permit. At least that went smoothly.

I had three hours to kill before going to work and I didn't feel like going home. I went downtown to Back To The Grind to get some coffee and read for a while. I parked in the back, just like I always do when I go there for uke circle...on Sundays...for free. When I came back out I had a parking ticket on my windshield. My brain was NOT working that morning. It really is a good thing I didn't take that assessment test.

I went to Applebee's for lunch. I took a notebook in with me so I could do some writing. When I'm stuck in a thought vortex it really helps to write about it. I was trying to figure out what the hell was wrong with me. I was thinking about my being alone and what that means. The problem isn't so much being alone or being lonely. It's going through life without a committed partner to share and help handle all the details. If we had been living together in this house for several years everything would already be settled and in place. When we first moved into the house on Sunny Manor we did SO much work. All the repairs and major issues were handled right away and we did them together. I'm thinking about all of my married friends and siblings who have been living in their houses for a long time. If any of them lost their spouse they'd be dealing with their grief and everything else in the same home they've been living in for years. Yes, it would be hard because that home would be full of memories, but at least there wouldn't be any surprises. Part of my problem is there's so much that needs to be done and my brain can't hold it all. It's that half-a-brain problem again.

Yesterday I was really missing Jim. I just want to talk to him. We talked a lot. Talking was a big part of our relationship. I miss his point of view. It still kind of baffles me that he's gone. Yesterday I realized that I really am incomplete. I'm out of balance. It's like I have to now regenerate a lost appendage. I don't have him so I have to grow more of me. Weird.

See, this is why I need kittens.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I have a lot to catch up on

Maybe Friday I can sit and blog for a good long stretch.

The Carrozza's came to visit last night. They're out for their annual trek to CA to visit their Kyle. Last night they were here for dinner. Thursday after work Lindsay and I are going to meet them at a Dodgers game. That's baseball, right? I haven't been to one of those in decades.

Work was BORING today. I did five hours of data entry and all of it was the same set of strokes.

Oh jeez, one of the kittens is playing in the shower. I can hear the door banging. Yes, I said kittens, plural. On Saturday Paige and I went to Petco and got a playmate for Ivy. He's all black, about 19 weeks old so he's twice as big as she is, and he's a smoochin' fool. We're talkin' sooooper affectionate. We named him Leo, except Paige wants it to be spelled Lio. But call him Leo. Ivy is over the moon. For the first two day she did nothing but attack him ferociously. I was calling her Ivy the Terrible. He's so patient and tolerant. He'll just sit there while she chews on his neck and kicks at him. But he's not a blob. He'll give as good as he gets. So now I have a couple of black kittens that are hard to find if they're sitting on the furniture or my ukulele case.

I know I didn't need any more pets but it's nice having friendly critters in the house when I'm alone here. And this is it. No more. All full here.

That's all I'll write for now. Later I'll write about my shitty Monday.

Friday, August 08, 2008

A date with myself

I took myself out for dinner and a movie tonight. First I went to Borders and bought a book. I didn't know anything about this book. I wanted something to read, it was there on the shelf, it had an interesting cover and it said it was on the NYT bestseller list, so I grabbed it. It's called The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson. I took it to Coffee Depot, got myself an iced coffee drink and sat on the sofa for a nice, relaxing read. The beginning of the book has a long set-up but it made me laugh at the end of the first chapter, so I think it's going to be good.

While I was enjoying my book a woman from uke circle came in with her boyfriend. We had a nice chat until it was time for me to leave and go see The Pineapple Express. I laughed much. That movie has some great moments. Afterward I went to California Pizza Kitchen for dinner. I really wanted another one of them Miso Seafood salads. I got a table on the patio. Just before I was ready to order Bill came walking through the gate. I swear, I just about can't go anywhere in Riverside without running into Bill. He joined me at my table. Pretty soon Zoey came walking up with a friend. My table for one instantly became a table for four, but I was the only one ordering food. They got to have the delightful experience of watching me eat a salad.

It was a nice night.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

It's all just a little weird

Ok. I've been back and forth about whether or not to share this on me bloggy. But it's something that's influencing my life right now and I want to write about it. Last week I went to the doctor to discuss a few health concerns, mainly my weight and what I could do to get rid of some of it. Now, when I go to the doctor I cry. I always cry. I've been that way for years. I'm not afraid to go to the doctor, but once I'm there fear creeps in and takes hold. And that makes me cry. I fucking hate it.

Of course, it's worse since Jim died. So, I'm there and I can't talk because my throat is clenched tight. She asked me how long I've been depressed. I didn't really think I was depressed. Still grieving some, overwhelmed by my new life, worried about my future, but depressed? Well, ok, maybe I was. She told me about an anti-depressant that in addition to helping me feel better, would kick up my metabolism and suppress my appetite. Dude, sign me up!

Actually, it wasn't like that. We talked about it for a long time. I had taken Xanax for a while after Jim died but I wasn't consistent about it and when I felt I didn't need it anymore, I stopped. I didn't know if I really wanted to commit to taking an anti-depressant for a long period of time. This stuff is called bupropion, which is the generic version of Wellbutrin. It's mostly prescribed to help people quit smoking. I think Dad was taking it for a while, which also felt a little weird to me. But I decided to give it a try.

It's supposed to take a couple weeks before it kicks in but I felt a difference right away. Could be a placebo effect. It's a good thing I'm back on my regular work schedule because it does indeed make me pretty speedy. At first I was having a lot of trouble falling asleep, but that seems to have calmed down. It does suppress the appetite. I love that part of it. I'm losing weight.

I don't trust my emotions right now. Mostly I'm pretty evened out but there are times when I feel a little nutty. If I get angry or frustrated about something I have to let it go because I can't tell if it's the drug or my normal reaction. But mostly I feel pretty good and quite clear-headed. I feel more motivated to do things. Normally, I'm a master procrastinator but lately I'm handling things as they come up. I have lots of energy. And still it's all just a little weird.

I hope this works out. I hope it maintains its effectiveness. I hope I don't develop any nasty side effects. Goofing around with brain chemistry is risky but this stuff has been around for a long time and they pretty much know all of its quirks. So far the lowest dose is working just fine for me. I like that.

So, here we go. Better living through chemicals.