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.


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.


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!