Wednesday, December 23, 2009


I goofed around with it last night, but this morning is the first time I did a full session. Woo-hoo! I kind of took it easy, just 30 minutes, but I varied the speed and incline and got my heart rate up. Worked up a sweat. Tra-la-la!

It has built-in fans, which aren't very effective, but they're kind of nice. I'll move a bigger fan in there. It has a place to plug in an iPod and it has speakers. They're kind of wimpy, but I didn't get this thing for its sound system. It has lots of nooks and crannies to keep stuff in, like a water bottle (it came with a water bottle!) and some small weights and whatever else you might want to have handy while you're walking. Man, I love this thing!

After I walked I lifted weights and did some Pilates. Right now we're also using that room for gift wrapping, but soon I'll get that stuff out of there and make it a gym. Hoo boy, I feel good.

This is going to be good for me in so many ways. Paige likes it too.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


The treadmill is going to be here on Monday morning. I need to get that room ready. This afternoon I started painting. I'm not going to do anything fussy like I did in my room. I'm painting the closet and trim a creamy white and the walls orange. Yep. Orange. Well, maybe more like tangerine. I had bought that paint to use in the front bathroom but I changed my mind when I bought the new vanity and mirror at Ikea. I didn't really like the idea of a whole can of paint going to waste so I figured I'd use it in a room that I didn't care about so much. I toned down the color a bit and tried a swatch. I like it.

I'll make some nice shades for the windows (I'm thinking something like a print in citrus colors) and add some black accents. I wasn't all that enthused when I started this project but now I'm kind of digging it. I'll have a nice, pleasant, sunny exercise room. This will be a very good thing.

My stress level has been sky high. I've had a series of things go wrong (car stuff, money, more car stuff, buying insurance, Christmas, car, grief, the health care bill, money). They all just clumped together in a big, nasty Katamari ball. The other night when I was at the grocery store I discovered I had lost my teller card. That was the capper. I came home and asked Paige if she could go back to the store and pay for the groceries and bring it all home. Thank you, Paige. That day I had had as much as I could take.

This is why I need an exercise room.

I've noticed that my, um, emotional pain hits me in a different place now. It used to grip my throat at the base of my neck. Now I feel it in the center of my face and at the top of my throat. Kind of weird. I don't know what it means.

Last night Tracey and I went to the Huntington Beach uke jam Christmas party. It was pretty cool. The food was so good! They had too many people, not enough seats and no tables. The place was pretty packed. Next year we'll take a couple of tray tables. It's a drag trying to eat holding your plate in your lap. After dinner they had a show. It was mostly people from the group, but there were a few guests. There was this family group that was really good. We're talkin' some pretty young kids and they all sang really well. There was a wide variety of performers. I sang I'm Gonna Lasso Santa Clause by Brenda Lee.

After the party Tracey and I came back to Riverside and went to the Citrus City Grill for our usual after-ukeing drinks. The weather was almost balmy so we could sit outside quite comfortably. She had brought along this fun word game that's kind of like Scrabble. Um, Bananagrams, I think. We had a lovely time talking, playing the game, listening to some jolly drunks at the next table and getting a little buzzed ourselves. It was a fun night, which I badly needed.

I guess the paint is dry enough for me to do the next coat.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Real rain

Finally. It's really coming down out there. Everything's getting good and soaked.

I'm being lazy today. But I swear, any minute I'm going to jump up and do something productive. All those rainy day projects I've been saving up are calling to me. Gotta re-install those cupboard doors. I need to prep Lindsay's room for paint. Those will be good for a start. I can work on the cupboards while watching Mad Men re-runs.

But a nap sounds like a good idea too!

Monday, November 30, 2009



They're running a Hoarders marathon this afternoon. I watched it while cleaning my room. I know I'm bad, but I don't think I'm THAT nuts. I think it's a matter of degree. Mostly I'm just lazy.

I should have that show running on a loop 24/7. It really makes you want to clear the crud. And when I see what those people go through, and the look in their eyes, like, glazed, vacant and crazy, it makes me reeeally want to avoid becoming like them.

It's the same look I saw in Dad's eyes when we tried cleaning his house and the barns. I'm talkin' BEFORE Alzheimer's. Some years back Dede and I took a week at Spring break and came down to Riverside to clean up Dad's barn. Stacey, Drew and Mindy also came to help. We tossed out major truckloads. We got it all organized and even made one room into a place for plumbing supplies and other stuff he needed to do maintenance on the farm. We worked our asses off while Dad resisted the whole time. When we were finished he seemed happy. But by Christmas all that work was completely undone. All the organizing we had done was still just as we had left it, but there was a ton of crap piled on top. When we cleaned everything out when the farm was sold, all the bins of pvc connectors were still on the shelves, unused.

Yep. He was a hoarder. Alzheimer's magnified it to an extreme level.

I think that show is providing a valuable public service. Many of us will be able to see ourselves in those people and their families. Since moving here I've been overwhelmed by my stuff, but I think I'm doing a pretty good job of clearing it out. My little mantra of "more out than in" really helps. Almost every week I take a carload of stuff to the thrift store. It has taken me a long time, which has been frustrating, but I'm starting to see progress.

Ok, back to it.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


The Thanksgiving meal turned out really well. The least successful dish was the stuffing- too dry. Everything else was really good. Boy, it sure is tricky getting everything to come together at once. Having another oven would really make things easier.

One Friday we had dinner with the rest of the family at Stacey's. That meal was crazy awesome. Scotty is the supreme grill master. Ok, now that we've had a few days of huge meals and tons of leftovers it's time to get back to food sanity.

I've been having a lot of back trouble lately. I get muscle spasms that stop me in my tracks for 10 to 15 seconds. If I remember to relax and breathe they release pretty quickly, but once my back starts acting up like that there's not much I can do. Hot baths and stretching help, but what I really need to do is get back to exercising regularly and work on losing weight. I feel pretty crappy these days and I'm sick of it.

Hope is on the horizon. I've got Lindsay's room cleaned out and ready for paint. I don't know if I'll get it done before the treadmill arrives, but I think I'll be able to work around it. I'm starting to get ideas for decorating that room. It's always a good sign when the ideas start to flow. It really changes my attitude towards the job ahead.

Getting back to an exercise routine will help get me through the holidays. Every year I seem to enjoy them less and less, and that ain't right. Feeling better physically will help with the emotional stuff.

Got some fun stuff coming up! We'll be going up to Dede's as usual, but after that the Langs and the Browns are heading to Las Vegas and I'm going with them. The girls are going to a Black Eyed Peas concert and the boys are going to see Blue Man Group. I'm sure the concert will be enormous fun, but I'd rather see the Blue Man show. Somewhere in there I'll do a little sissy gambling. I'm a total novice when it comes to gambling, but I do enjoy the nickel slots. Who knows? Maybe I'll win big. Really, I'd be very happy if I won enough to pay for the trip. And if Vegas kicks my ass I will still have had a good time with my family.

Ok, time for a hot bath.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


It looks like we'll be having Thanksgiving here this year. Well, the usual, normal, thursday Thanksgiving. The Lang sibs and spouses always have Thanksgiving on Friday. It's just easier that way. And for the last few years we haven't done the turkey dinner thing. Everyone gets that on thursday. We do a much easier meal of steak, chicken, salads and sides. Very summery. And the way the weather has been, it's kind of appropriate.

I don't know yet how many people we'll have. Lindsay and Kyle for sure, Renie maybe. Paige and me. Could be more. I haven't made many Thanksgiving dinners. We pretty much have always gone to someone else's house so I'll just make a dish or two to take, but I haven't cooked very many turkeys. It's always a little iffy. I think I'm getting the hang of it, though. I'm a big believer in brining.

So, I'm in menu planning mode. Turkey for sure, ginger carrots, garlic mashed potatoes, some kind of sweet potato thing. Paige is making pies. I found an interesting recipe for cranberry chutney that I'm going to try. I usually make a pineapple/mango relish but that's waaaay too much work, so not this year. I'll make cornbread stuffing. I wish I had Mom's recipe. She made the best stuffing. Someday I'd like to try oyster stuffing.

Handle those particles. Make lists. Clean the house.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Big ticket item

Spending a big wad of money always makes me nervous. But I wanted it and I planned for it and I think it'll be good for my health, so I'm considering it a good investment. I ordered a treadmill today. It's a Sole and it'll be here within two weeks. Paige and I need to get Lindsay's room cleared out. Really, I should paint it before the treadmill gets here. That might happen. I think that room would be a more pleasant space to exercise in if the walls are painted.

Now that I've made the commitment I'm looking forward to it. I want to get a cheapo dvd player and a wall bracket for my small tv. We really could have a nice little gym in there. We'll see how much space is leftover once the treadmill gets moved in. I'm hoping there's room for a floor mat.

Ooh, this'll be cool. I love treadmills.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Bunny cage fixed!

Paige and I finally fixed that damn cage. We had lined the bottom with chicken wire when we first built it, but it rusted and the rabbits were able to bite through it. There were several escapes. Today we ripped out the old wire and carted out the dirt. I'll spread that around in the front yard. Bunny poop is great fertilizer. Then we relined the bottom with galvanized mesh and screwed it into place. Then we shoveled in some fresh dirt. I took the top off the old dog house and screwed it to a piece of plywood that had been cut to fit. It makes a perfect little house for them. I set it inside the cage up on some bricks. When we put the bunnies back in the cage they got kind of excited. Eddie was pushing dirt around and Walnut was merrily exploring every inch of their refurbished space. Happy bunnies.

As I sift the gravel out of the front planting beds I'll cart more dirt to the rabbit cage. I want to fill it up to the top of the frame (about 10 inches). Then they can burrow under their house. It'll be a cool place for them to be when it gets hot again. I'm also going to plant to bamboo next to the cage for shade.

So, yay, I can cross something off my list! The tile game has advanced a square. Today was a good day.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


Saturday night. I gotta get out of here. I was going to go see Pirate Radio, but Paige intercepted and said she wants us to go together tomorrow night. She doesn't like it when I go to the movies alone. So, ok, I'm not going to the movies but I still need to do something. Maybe I'll cruise the bars downtown and see what's shakin'.

Just kidding.

Today I took a section of the old rabbit cage and turned it into a gravel sifter. Gammer and Gaffer used a lot of white gravel around their bushes. I'm sure it looked good for the first three months after they installed it, but they didn't put down a weed barrier and now it's all mixed with dirt and old roots. It's gotta go. I sifted several wheelbarrow loads, made a gravel pile on the driveway and used the dirt to fill in some low spots on the lawn. I pushed my back to it's limits. I cleaned out the area next to the back door. I'm planning to build an enclosure for the trash cans there.

After I rested a while I got out the long tape measure and measured my front yard and the front of the house. Then I put the whole thing on graph paper. One of these days I'll get some stakes and string and lay out my design. But that won't be until after all the gravel is gone. Progress is very slow but at least it's a-happenin'.

I hardly see Paige these days. Since she broke up with Gabe her whole social life has taken off. She's having a lot of fun right now. Atta girl! But tomorrow we're going to work on repairing the rabbit cage. That's one of the places where I'm planning to stash all that dirt I'm pulling out of the front yard.

But right now I gotta get out of here.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Yes, you can blame Facebook

I haven't blogged much lately. Can you tell?

Not much is happening lately. I've been working on the house and going to school. Still working two days a week at RCC. Every once in a while I'll find something fun to do. My new friend, Tracey, and I have started going to the uke circle in Huntington Beach on Thursday nights. It's a fun group. And Tracey has a FastPass so the drive ain't so bad.

Poor Tracey! He house was burglarized last weekend. She knows who did it but she can't seem to get the police to care enough about it to investigate. I'll get an update from her later.

I'm fretting a little about some upcoming expenses. I have to pay my property taxes and get some homeowner's insurance. Now that the house is officially mine I have to deal with this stuff. I need to buy a mattress and a bed. I really want to get a treadmill,(and I will) but I want a good one and that costs money. The cars need work. And then there's the usual stuff like bills. It galls me that every month I have to shell out $600 for health insurance for Paige and me.

My hours at work were cut for the summer but I didn't get them back. I really could use those two extra days per month. Things just suck everywhere right now.

I just re-read the posts from last year. Yeesh! I still can't believe we went through all that. It's been harder for me to keep a positive attitude lately. I was always a naturally happy person but that's no longer the case. Some days are just a fog. When I do have a good day, like yesterday, I really appreciate it. And yes, I'm still on antidepressants. It helps but they don't cure everything. And then there's those approaching holidays. Can we skip it this year?

Aren't you glad you tuned in?

I think there's a lot of stuff wrapped up in this Katamari ball. Money worries, Jim's birthday, the holidays, the sad anniversary of 1/18, plus all of life's other disappointments, all bound up in a ribbon of fear. Yee-haw! Right now all I can do is get through it and try to find some enjoyable things to do until, say, February.

It'll be ok. I am making progress. I'm just never sure if I'm doing it right.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Stuff I d-did.

It's been a while. I did things.
My house used to look like this.Now it kind of looks like this. It's a bit more tidied up and as of this evening there's steer manure all over the lawn. I have mostly a clear canvas.

A few weeks ago I hired Timio and his crew to do some major clearing. Four trees were removed and almost all the bushes in the front yard. It was amazing. There were four chainsaws, a blower, a stump grinder, and a gigantic chipper running almost constantly all day long. I'm sure the entire neighborhood were wondering what the hell was going on over here. Big loud. I went back to check on the bunnies and found both of the scrunched at the back of their little house. I brought them inside. Poor bunnies.

They were here for the whole day. It all got done. When they were through they had a big trailer full of my chipped up yard debris. The sides of the trailer were made of expanded metal mesh so you could see all the different layers of vegetation. It looked like a giant green and brown lasagna. The back of the big truck was filled with the logs from my big acacia tree. The whole thing was riddled with termites, and every time Timio chopped into one, thousands of bugs and grubs spilled out. The inside of the trunk was mostly hollow. Disaster averted.

It was quite a shock to see such a big change in the front of my house so quickly. I'm getting used to it now. I decided to try to get the lawn looking good again and leave it that way until I'm ready to start the big,big project of completely redoing my front yard. Today I made a trip to Home Depot (don't shop there. They're corporate scum) (but they're closer to my house than Lowe's) and bought some new hoses, sprinklers, mulch and steer manure. Tonight I spread the whole front yard with merde de la vache. Tres aromatique.

Excuse my french.

Last weekend my new friend, Tracey, and I went up to Northern California for the Wine Country Ukulele Festival. Tracey was fighting off the tail end of a bad cold and was pretty out of it on the way up. Fortunately, she quickly got better and was able to enjoy the weekend. We stayed with Lorraine the first night. It was the first time I'd seen her new place. Very Lorraine. Old house, garden, space for ALL of her animals. Her stuff looked good in that house.

The next morning Tracey and I had breakfast at this cool little diner in Petaluma. After that we shopped. Jeez-o-pete, Petaluma has nice shops. Then we went back to Lorraine's for some visiting. Got caught up. Then Tracey and I headed out to Napa. Mary told us that Jon was working for this Italian family circus that night (sounds weird but it's true) and would we like to go? Hay-ell yes! These guys (warning- website with sound). The Zoppe Family Circus. Oh man, I haven't laughed that hard in ages. They were so good.

Ok, I need a break. I'll write about the uke festival later. And my gum surgery.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Stuff to complain about.

Whew! For a while there it looked like it was time to call a repair man for the washing machine. Unplugging it for a little while cured its memory glitch. Man, that's a relief. Feeling kind of fragile today. I'm tired of things breaking.

Car issues, appliance issues, dental issues, back issues, general malaise. Something's got to give. I think I go through this about once a year. Maybe it has something to do with my approaching birthday. I just get to feeling like I can't stand the way things are and I need to make a big change. Yep, I'm there.

I'm SICK of this hot weather. It's fucking up everything. It's too hot to exercise, even at night. I can't work outside so the yards look like crap and I can't navigate through the garage. For a little while we were babysitting Gabe's dog and she made a big mess out there while she was here. I really want to get outside and clean it all up. Too hot, too hot, too hot.

Too much money is being spent on stuff that reaps no emotional reward. If I'm going to fork over a huge chunk of cash for something I want to be able to sit back and look at it and enjoy it. You can't admire car repairs.

So, what's coming up that'll cheer me? Next Saturday we're moving the rest of Lindsay's stuff out. That'll free up that room. The tile game can make a few moves. I'm getting a treadmill so I can exercise in air-conditioned comfort. I'm going up to northern California in October for a ukulele festival. Gonna see the peeps up there, which will be freakin' way cool. Today I'm going to talk to Timio about getting his crew over here to clean up the back yard. We'll also make a plan for getting the front yards done.

Ok, that helps. I'm going to go to Big Lots and buy organizing bins and plastic boxes with snappy lids. Somehow that usually seems to cheer me up. It always sparks a flurry of sorting and tossing activity. Mmm, plastic boxes....

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


I took Dad's dog, Lady, to the vet to be put down today. I wouldn't say she was on her last legs but it was close enough for me. She was almost completely deaf and fairly blind. Lately she's been getting more and more stiff. She's been nothing but a pain in the ass ever since I took her in. Today I thought, jeez, what am I waiting for? Her life isn't going to get any better and it sucks for the rest of us having her around. She was aggressive with Charlie and the cats. Whenever I worked outside she'd bug the hell out of me by sneaking up behind me and rubbing her nose against my leg. And that behavior was CONSTANT. No matter how many times you shoo her off, she'd always come back. When I caught her today she kept trying to bite me, which made me feel just fine about my decision to bump her off.

She was an energy suck and I'm glad she's gone.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Ok, no more whining

At least for now. I got myself revved up again.

I have a lot of outdoor projects coming up. Timio (remember him?) is going to have his crew come over and get all medieval on my yard. Vegetation shall be removed, cement will be poured, systems installed. I have this idea for what I'm going to do to my front porch area. I want to pour some cement and make a small patio and surround it with a privacy screen (very mid-cent-mod). At the corner of the house near the driveway I want to make a similar-looking structure that will hide the trash cans. I was outside just now looking at the area where I want to build the trash corral. It should be a pretty simple and inexpensive project and I think I can do it myself. It would involve pouring a small cement pad, sinking some 4x4's and screwing on some horizontal boards that have mitre cuts at the corners. I need to do some careful measuring to make sure both structures end up being the same level.

What I like about this project is I think it'll be a good jump start for the outdoor projects, just like the mosaic chalkboard was the jump start for the indoor stuff. Once the bushes are removed I can get started.

Ooh, I like this.

Gums and mams

I finally went to see a dentist this morning. After a major gagging session to get some xrays, he gave me an interesting mix of observations about my whole oral area. My tissues are in great shape, like a teenager's he says. But I've got some bone deterioration around my back upper molars (read expensive). I've got to see another doctor about that. I don't really have any decay but one of my fillings is starting to fail, one molar looks a little iffy and he wants to fix the chipped lower front tooth to keep it from decaying. Ka-ching! Well, I knew that going in.

After that appointment I went to Kaiser for a mammogram. Always great fun, that. I was supposed to go back in April but you know how time flies when you're avoiding the painful squish. I'm glad I did it. I got two major health maintenance chores out of the way in one day. I also dropped off a carload of stuff at the thrift store. More out than in!

I'm going to put off buying a car for a while. I need to wait and see how things settle out financially.

I'm in a list-making phase right now. Every time I have a little time to kill I make lists. Too much is rattling around in my head. Making lists helps me organize my thoughts and helps me re-assess what's so about my life right now. I had my whole big chalk board covered with lists and I've been merrily erasing the different items as they get handled. Love that.

Lindsay called the other day and announced with delight that she and Kyle have found an apartment. That means their furniture and stuff will be moving out of my house. Yay! They get to start their life together on their own and I get that bedroom. The tile game gets to make a few moves. One of those moves involves buying a treadmill and putting it in that room.

Cooler weather is coming and the show I'm doing with that church downtown will be over Sept. 13th. School will be starting soon. I'm going to try to knock out two classes this semester. Progress!

I bounce back and forth between being happy about my future plans and being dissatisfied and bummed out about the uncertainties that still swirl around in my life. It still boggles my mind that I'm on my own. I still feel like I can't fully trust my decisions. Jim and I always made our major life decisions together. He was almost always too timid and cautious and I was always the one who wanted to take some risks and be more adventurous. I'm sure his caution kept us from making some big mistakes, but I also know that it held us back in some ways and there were times when I resented it. So, ok, now I'm free to go nuts and it doesn't feel all that great. Damn it, I used to be so much happier.

But hey, what do I have to bitch about? I don't have a mortgage and I have a job that still has the potential to turn into something really great. I've got two good legs and a brain that works pretty well most of the time. I've got money in the bank. My girls are doing just fine.

See? Bouncy, bouncy.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Ok, ok...

New post. Sorry for the lull.

I have a lot to write about. I might get to it all, I might not. I went to Missouri. I'll post photos eventually. The Carrozzas are visiting!

I'm almost finished painting my bedroom. I took a break from working on the bathroom because right after I got back from MO the furniture repair guy delivered my bedroom set. Since I don't want to spend the next few months with a living room so full of furniture you can't walk through it I figured I'd dive in and do my bedroom. Right now I have the entire contents of my bedroom (except my big set of shelves and my mattress), plus the new/old walnut bedroom set in the living room. There's no place to sit!

I'm a little unsure about the color I've chosen. I liked the periwinkle color of my bedroom at the farm and I thought it would go well with the warm tones of the wood furniture. But right now it's looking very blue and very dark. I guess I should withhold judgment until I get it all put together.

Yesterday I did a quickie project. I have this vanity chair that's, like, the total classic vanity chair. It's small with a metal frame that has a curlicue design on the back. I got it at a garage sale. Someone had painted it purple, sprinkled glitter all over it and covered the seat with purple contact paper. Butt ugly but it worked well in the room. Yesterday I spray painted the frame silver and covered the seat with new foam, batting and some sage green curtain fabric. I'm quite pleased with the result and the fabric cushion is way more comfortable than sitting on vinyl contact paper.

So, I'll finish painting the room tomorrow and I'll probably move the furniture in in the afternoon. It'll be great to have one room DONE. I'll still need to hang the curtains and finish the closet doors, but at least I can start using it. And I'm going to buy a bed frame! I've had my mattress on the floor for a year and a half. Middle-aged people should not sleep on the floor.

But I'm through for the night. Gonna feed the pets and go to bed, I mean couch.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Happy Birthday, Paige!

Um... yesterday. It was low-key. We went to Joe's and ate sushi to the point of gastric injury.

I made her a cake. An incredibly weird-ass cake. She requested a strawberry cake with Captain Crunch mixed in the batter. It was an idea that Gabe had and it sounded like an interesting experiment. Turns out it's not such a hot idea. I had baked it but didn't have time to decorate it before we went to dinner. When we got home Paige and Gabe went to get her a new filter for her aquarium and I stayed to decorate the cake. I had bought these cute, multicolored candles which gave me an idea for the design. I was going to pipe a black outline of a kitty and fill it in with green icing and give the kitty a big toothy smile. It would have gone really well with the candles.

I didn't have any black food coloring so I mixed the frosting with cocoa powder and a little blue food coloring. That made a pretty decent black color. When I found my cake decorating supplies I was missing some essential parts. Ok, improvise. I was going to make a tube out of baking parchment but the stuff we have seems to be a bit more like waxed paper. Tape wouldn't stick to it. Ok, no paper cone. I decided to use a sandwich bag with a small hole cut in the corner and insert a metal decorating tip. I filled it with the black frosting color and piped the outline of the cat's face. I didn't have very much control but it looked ok.

Then I filled in the green. That looked ok too, though it wasn't up to my usual standards. When I got that done I started to pipe on the nose with the black icing. The bag exploded and gushed black icing all across the cat's face! AARGH! I tried to clean it off but it kept getting worse and worse. Eventually I gave up and smeared it all around to blend the colors. It looked like the color of guacamole after it's been sitting out a while. And when I added the candles it really took a turn for the ugly. When Paige came home I ran to the kitchen to explain what had happened. I really didn't want her thinking I had made that monstrosity on purpose.

Lindsay and Kyle and Sam showed up a little later. We all gathered in the kitchen to cut the cake. You'll just have to imagine the glory of this rotten, avocado-covered thing with pink insides punctuated with yellowish, chewy blobs. At least it still tasted like cake.

Today we're going to the Folk Center to buy Sam a ukulele. She borrowed one of mine for a while to see if she really liked it. Now she's hooked and wants to get one of her own.

Tomorrow I'm flying to Missouri with Drew and Mindy to visit Debbie and Bob and the gang. We'll be back Thursday. Poor Drew. He's going to be stuck with me for 4 days while I talk his ear off about my home improvement ideas. The other day I filled up several notebook pages with lists and ideas. I'm taking it with me on the plane.

Ho-hum. Another hot summer day in Southern California.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Not a lot, but enough to help me feel better.

The plumber came today. Turns out the drain didn't need rooting, it needed replacing. It was just too small. Bigger bill for that one and when I saw what he had done it made me think he overcharged me a bit. Ok, whatever. It's fixed and I can proceed with the bathroom project without fear of further damage. And now we won't have to stand by the washer and turn it off and on while it drains every time we do a load.

The furniture repair guy came by and picked up the bedroom set I'm going to use in my room. It's this cool, walnut 1960's set that I got from Mindy and Drew. There's a dresser with a mirror, an armoire, and two night stands. The drawers didn't work very well so he's going to install glides. He's also going to fix the doors on the armoire so they close properly. Since I'm planning to have this set for a very long time I wanted everything to function perfectly right from the start. I'd rather spend the money now and get it fixed than be dissatisfied every time I open a drawer.

I got out a notebook and wrote lists for every project I have planned. It really looks like a lot but I think it's all doable. I might have to put the retaining walls on hold for a while, but I think I'll have enough money for the rest. Today Paige got a ticket for parking on the street during street sweeper hours. Widening the driveway is a high priority.

I feel a momentum building. Cool.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Another one of those days

Caution: Whining ahead. Welcome to my vortex.

Pleah. Sometimes when I'm trying to get things done around here I find myself going in circles until I plunge right into overwhelm. It all pretty much comes from having more crap than I can realistically deal with. I know I'm making progress but I wish I had a big shed (hey, I used to have a barn!) to hold everything until I can sort through it all before moving it into the house or the garage. But I don't. I have a full garage and a full house. The tile game continues.

My mantra is "more out than in". More things have to move out of this house than can come in. I'm really doing pretty well with that. Today I made a big pile for the thrift store. I'll be going along at a good pace and then I'll find something that stops me and I have to sit there and think about it and try to make a decision about it. Today it was my Arcosanti bells. I have these three cool-looking bells that I really like. I had them hanging on my front porch at the farm. But I don't have any place here that I'd like to hang them. If I ever build my fabulous patio that right now only exists in my head, I'll have the perfect place for them. But I don't know if I'll ever be able to afford to build it. Thinking about that made me think about the uncertainty of my financial future. I followed that line of thought straight to crapland. The whole thing had me thinking that I'm not handling my life very well.

Inertia is my enemy. If I could keep moving and have it be my goal to accomplish something productive every day I'd whip this place into shape pretty quick. Ok, so that handles one of my problems. Then there's the money thing. Ok, I know I just had a big bag of money land in my lap and it really does help my situation. I'd be majorly screwed without it. But it'll only take me so far. It buys me some time. I can work on getting through school but then what? The whole point of getting my AA is to get a better job, but any kind of decent job is really hard to get right now. I also wonder if staying with RCC is the right thing to do.

See? It's a freakin' vortex of crappy, disorganized thought. Most of the time I'm really doing ok, but then there are the days when it all piles up. And I know I'm not the only one going through shitty times right now. The whole country is effed up. And even though I'm complaining a lot here, I'm not really feeling sorry for myself. It's just one of those days.

It's one of the effects of my widowhood. I've thought about this before. I know I'm capable of making good decisions, but when I was with Jim I had someone to bounce things around with. The whole process was different. I could feel comfortable and more certain about the decisions we made as a couple. The path was more clear. Fewer things fell through the cracks. A stitch in time saves nine. Buh-buh-buh-buh-buh...

Ok, I'm done. There's still daylight left. I can get some more things done.


I pulled the ugly plastic base board off the wall and found this.And this.
Oh, crap.

I wanted to remove the baseboard because it was poorly installed and it looked just plain awful. The wallboard next to the shower is a bit punky and needs to be patched. I knew that going in. It's no big deal, wallboard is fairly easy to deal with. But I really didn't want to get more involved than that. More involved I shall get.

The wallboard all around the floor is rotten and I know why. The drain for the washing machine is clogged enough that sometimes it can't handle the amount of water that's being pumped into it. It often overflows. You can see it running out from under the washer and I thought that's all there was to it. No big deal, we'd just mop it up and stand there turning the washer on and off until it finishes draining. I was planning to call a plumber eventually. I guess I'll do it NOW. The water has been running back behind the bathroom wall.

Also, it looks like there might be some termite damage. That might be old damage from before I moved in. The owners had the house was tented when it was sold. I sure hope that's the case. I really would rather not spend money on that.

I'm going to remove the toilet and the vanity so I can do all the repairs without trying to work in that cramped space. Drew is coming home tomorrow from vacation. I will definitely need his help with this one. I don't do plumbing.

Ah, the joys of home ownership.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

What have I done?

This is progress, right?The sheer magnitude of the home improvement projects was getting me down today. There's so much that needs to be done and I can't get started on it as fast as I'd like. So, ok, I can't solve all my problems at once but I can get started on a few things. Time to attack the front bathroom. Click on the photos to enlarge.Paige's friend, Nicki, asked if she could do some odd jobs for me to earn a little cash. Oh yes, I do have a few things that need to be done. I put her to work peeling wallpaper. She and I worked for about 2 hours. At one point I decided to dive right in and do some demo. I took out the 1970's monstrosity of a medicine cabinet. This hole is where the original cabinet used to be. I'm going to replace the light fixture and I'd like to see if I can move the outlet down and to the left a little. The vanity and sink will be replaced by a cool-looking set I got at Ikea. Tonight I was checking out the floor around the vanity. When they tiled the floor they tiled around the crappy vanity, which is a different size and shape from the new one. I'm going to have to think about that a bit. There's no way I'm going to rip out what's already there just to patch a little empty space. Mosaic, maybe.

It feels good to get things rolling in there. There's no turning back now.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Harry Potter and a haircut- two bits

Jeff and I saw the new Harry Potter the other night. Loved it. Visually it's quite stunning. I'm so glad the special effects people have figured out how to appropriately use computer juice. There was a time when it seemed like they were constantly saying, "Ok, let's see what this baby can do." and then they'd do it over and over again until there was nothing but effects overload. And from what I saw in the trailers it looks like that stuff is still happening. But in this movie they got it just right. I felt like I was being carried along with the flying wizards.

I also felt like it was pretty powerful emotionally, especially the scene where Dumbledore and Harry are in the cave trying to retrieve the Horcrux. Heart wrenching, really. Things did get a little goofy when they were dealing with teenage love, but even that dredged up some painful and bittersweet memories. I really got involved in this movie.

I like seeing the new Harry Potter films with Jeff. Two summers ago we read all of the books together. I enjoyed discussing them with him on our Mt. Rubidoux walks. This time I felt like I should have read The Half Blood Prince again before seeing the film. There's so much I'd forgotten. I might go see it again tonight.

Today I got a haircut. Hmm... I'm not so sure I like it. I think it'll be perfect in about two weeks when the bangs grow out a bit. Yesterday at work I searched the internet for hairstyles. I printed out a couple photos and showed them to Maria. I was really just trying to give her an idea of what I wanted but she tried to replicate exactly what she saw in the photo. I actually do like the cut, it's just the bangs that bug me. The length now is just below the shoulder. I got tired of leaning on my long hair.

The furniture repair guy was supposed to come by this afternoon but he didn't show. I have this cool, mid-cent-mod bedroom set that I want him to work on. I want glides installed in the drawers. I want to get it done soon so I can get my bedroom painted and arranged. On Monday the guy from Second Time Around is coming to get the rest of the gift wrap. Don't worry, I'm keeping enough of it to keep everyone stocked up for years to come. But I really don't need 15,000 sheets of paper stacked up in my bedroom.

Yesterday I put almost half of my inheritance cash into investments. Man, that felt weird. I keep feeling like I should have held some back. One chunk is locked in for 10 years but I can get to the other one if I need to without too much of a penalty. But what I kept out might not be enough to do everything I had planned and still have enough to supplement my income. So, ok, I'll just scale back a little. Maybe I won't get that retaining wall put in.

My baby fishtail palm arrived yesterday. I need to get it into a pot. I hope it lives.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Weekend with Bob

Walking helped. I feel better. On my third circuit around my block I discovered that Lio was following me. So, ok dude, you've got to keep up. He whined the whole time. We passed by some people hanging out in their front yard. He got so freaked out he froze. I had to go back and pick him up and carry him until they were out of earshot. Silly boy.

This weekend I went to Long Beach and had a nice visit with Bob Craig. We basically had a two day blab fest with activities. It was great. On Saturday we went to the Museum of Latin American Art. I'd love to go there again. Almost every piece in there was mind-blowing. I enjoyed discussing the art with Bob. After that we hit some thrift stores. A couple of them specialized in mid-century modern furniture. I was in heaven. Bought some lamp shades.

Bob has a photography business on the side and he showed me his photos. He does head shots for actors and weddings and family portraits, but the most interesting photos were the nudes. And not just because they're pitchurs of nekkid people. They were really good.

We spent a lot of time just hanging out. We went to some really yummy restaurants. Just down the street from his place is a Centinella pet store. We went down and checked out Lindsay's signage. On the exit door was a sign that had a drawing of a kitty that was very clearly Ivy. Ivy the exit kitty. It was fun walking around and seeing Lindsay's work.

I had a very nice, relaxing time with a good friend. Even learned a secret or two! I also enjoyed exploring Long Beach. I'm looking forward to future visits. Thanks, Bob. It was a fun weekend.


Feeling a little heartsick today. Thinking about Jim. I have all these house plans and no one to do them with. He and I had such a good time improving the house on Sunny Manor. We didn't get to do everything we wanted with that place but it was a much better house when we left. Man, we really worked well together. I miss that a lot.

I shopped for dishwashers today. I was hoping to spend less than $400 but the cheaper models are really flimsy. The quality seems to kick in at around $600. I need to check Consumer Reports. Dean?

Today I cleaned, puttered and made lists. Not a whole lot got done but my brain is a bit more organized. And my kitchen is much cleaner. I did a lot of detail work in there. Whoop-dee-doo.

Yeah, today I had that WTF? thing going on. I haven't felt that way in a while. For that first year after Jim died it felt so weird to think of him as being, like, gone. Just gone. Like, that's impossible. He can't be gone. It doesn't make sense. And that's what I was feeling and thinking today. It's been two and a half years. In January it will be three years. One day it'll be ten years since he left. The time just goes. My mom's been gone 22 years. My monkey mind can't wrap itself around all that.

So, as I was walking around Lowe's I was once again pondering the whole me-ness of it all, which is not a good way to shop. I was freshly reminded that it's all up to me. I have to find the energy and the gumption to make it all happen on my own. It really is more fun doing it with someone, with a partner. The job doesn't look so big that way. Too bad, toots.

So, I bought an iron and picked out paint samples.

I need to walk.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Mo' money. Thanks, Dad.

I know it's tacky to talk about money, but this inheritance is the source of all the stuff that's going to be happening here soon, so I think I should at least mention it. Yep, I gots me a wad.

Not the biggest wad that was ever bequeathed, but it'll make a huge difference in my life. Actually, it already has since my house is the biggest chunk of it. The rest of it will be divided, saved, invested and spent. I must be wise with my wad.

Pretty soon I'll be using some of it to take care of this house. My ideas for that are starting to gel, which is pretty exciting. Some of the work I can do myself and I'm looking forward to the challenge. I'll hire some burly dudes for the heavy lifting and I'll pay some smart and experienced dudes to do the things I really shouldn't attempt. But I can dig a trench and I can operate a power washer and I can paint. Here's the plan so far-

First, remove some trees and the spent landscaping. Start with an empty canvas. Once the trees and bushes are cleared I can see where I want to draw my lines. Along the far side of the house I want to put in a retaining wall and cover the ground with concrete. Right now it's nothing but a weedy and very steep slope, which is hard to maintain. I tried pulling the weeds out there and I kept falling down the hill. Putting in a retaining wall will add about 2 or 3 feet of useable space and make the whole thing tidy. I can then use that space for a dog run and storage. The retaining wall will continue out to the front yard, where it will dead-end into two large, step-down planters (these plans aren't yet set in, um, concrete).

And now to the front porch. I think I'll have to bust out the existing concrete before I can pour the new stuff. I'm going to enlarge the porch and make it into a small patio. I have an idea for a privacy screen which will look very mid-century modern, very retro. A new walkway will be poured. I want to widen the driveway so two cars can park there side-by-side.

Once all the cement work is done I'll start on paint prep. I'll power wash the whole place, have the stucco repaired and scrape and sand. The gutters will be removed. I'll make any wood repairs that need to be done and fill in the gaps with foam and caulk. Then I'll prime and paint. I picked out the colors today. A dusky teal for the shiplap siding, celery green for the stuccoed upper part and a creamy white for the trim.

After the house is painted I'll install new gutters. Then it's time for the fun stuff like adding plants and irrigation. I'd like to get rid of my lawn but I'm not solid on that idea yet. I know I can get my water usage way down if I use mostly California natives. One non-native plant I'm looking forward to getting is a fishtail palm. I saw some at the Huntington Museum that day I went with Virginia and I totally fell in love with them. I've never seen them anywhere else. Hey, I might be the first person in Riverside to get one!This is a very large one. I didn't see any that big at the Huntington. Click on the photo to enlarge.

I'm also adding a large planting bed that will run across the front of the house down by the sidewalk. In front of the bedroom windows I'm going to place five large ceramic pots planted with fruitless olive trees. They'll stay small for a long time and I think it'll look quite sharp, kind of zen.

And that's about it for now. I have lots of other ideas for the driveway and back yard but for now I want to concentrate on the front. I can't wait to get started.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Me date

In that first year after Jim died I would occasionally take myself out for dinner and a movie. It felt like a nice way to pamper myself when I really needed it. I haven't done that in quite a while. I wasn't really planning on it but since I had nothing to do tonight it felt like the right thing to do.

First I went to Borders and got the new issue of Atomic Ranch. I also got a gardening design magazine. Good stuff in there. Lots of inspiration for my front yard. Then I went to California Pizza Kitchen and had their new Moroccan chicken salad, which is freakin' to DIE for. Lordy, it was good. I got the half order, which is plenty big enough. Then I went to Cherry On Top for a little frozen yogurt. I strolled down to Gottschalk's to peek in the windows. They're closing in 9 days and they've finally gotten serious about lowering their prices. After that I moseyed up towards the theater.

I ran into Bill and Judy from uke circle. They're fun to talk to. You'll never fully explore whatever subject you're discussing because after a few sentences they're off onto something else. Plus, there was a band playing at the Plaza and they were kind of loud. Still, it was a fun conversation. I really like Bill and Judy. Judy's an artist. We both think we need to have a girly afternoon of creative creating and invite Virginia. We should do that soon.

After I left them I went to the movies. I saw Away We Go. I sort of liked it. It has its moments but it's not the romp I expected. It left me a little emotionally meh. Just kind of meh. Well, a little better than meh.

Anyway, it was a nice evening.

Stuff's been happening lately. I went up to Washington last week to see Michele. It was a very, very nice visit. Lots of cool activities. Michele is involved with a small theater group and right now she's working on props for a show. We spent an afternoon building stuff. I took a broom apart and made another broom out of it. Friday night her bluegrass band gave a concert as a fundraiser for the theater. Man, they're good. Bluegrass isn't my thing but I sure enjoyed these guys. On Sunday I went to her church. It was my first Unitarian service. Enjoyed that too. We ate at some really good restaurants. Spent an afternoon singing rounds with a friend of hers from church. Loved that! I love singing with Michele.

On Monday Jeff texted me and said that his mother had died. Hoo boy. No real surprise there but it was still a shock. Like Dad, she had been sick for a long time and she was pretty old. The last few months were really bad for her. I came home on Tuesday. Sister Pam and her family arrived on Wednesday. They all seem to be doing pretty well emotionally and they're working together on funeral arrangements. Having just been through this myself I know what they're going through. It's a weird time.

Celebrities are dropping like flies. Sarah Palin has resigned. Looks like she's in deep doo-doo. Good stuff.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Always an adventure.

Paige has been working on her room and needed some furniture. I'm going to be getting her a queen sized bed, so she needs a bed frame. We went to Ikea and dragged Gabe along. He really wasn't interested in going but when he got there he really liked it. It was Paige's first time there too. It took a long time to go through the whole store because they were enjoying the whole Ikea shopping experience. Paige picked out a bed frame she liked but they were out of stock. We'll go back next week and get it. We did get the dresser she wanted.

I found a very nice sink and vanity for the front bathroom. The vanity is $179 and the sink is $100. There's also a medicine cabinet and a tall, narrow floor cabinet. All the pieces are really nice looking. I wasn't really planning to get stuff for the bathroom today so I put that idea on hold. When we reached the end of our Ikea journey we went to the As-Is section. That's where they have floor models and damaged items for sale at a much reduced price. Sitting on a pallet were 6 sinks, all the model I liked. I asked the guy why they were there. He said some of them were part of a shipment that had come in damaged boxes and some of them they just got for free from the company. They're in perfect condition and they were fifty bucks apiece. So, I bought two of them. I love a good score.

The sink in my other bathroom is shot. It's all crusty with mineral deposits and it's stained with rust. There's no way to clean it and I was planning to replace it anyway. Getting these two sinks changes my decorating plans a bit but really, these are an upgrade. When we go back for Paige's bed I'll get the vanity for the front bathroom. And now I have a problem.

I had the front bathroom all planned out. I even bought the paint. But now I'm thinking of going in a whole different direction and that orange paint might not work. All my cutsey ideas for the cabinet and the stuff I was going to put on the walls are out the window. Hell, even my idea for the window has to change. Oh well. This isn't the biggest problem I've ever had, eh?

Uh-oh. Now I'm getting ideas. Time for wine.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Bird in a blanket

This morning after I got out of the shower I went into my room to get ready for school. Lio was pouncing on my blanket and looking very agitated. I thought maybe Ivy was under there but there was no Ivy-sized lump in the blanket. I didn't want Lio to rip a hole in my nice blanket so I picked it up and shook it out. Something fluttered and Lio freaked. He ran over and caught it but I grabbed him and made him let it go. That's when I saw that it was a bird. A bird in my bedroom. A healthy, uninjured bird. I think Ivy must have brought it in and decided to show off in front on Lio. Sure enough, Ivy was right outside the door.

I put both cats outside and blocked the kitty door. When I went back into my room the bird flew into the closet. I didn't have time to deal with it then so I went to school. When I got home the bird was up on top of the curtains. I went to the window and unhooked the screen. It was as if the bird was waiting for exactly that to happen because it flew over my shoulder and out the window. Happy ending for the bird.

I've had cats for years but these kittens are the huntingest cats I've ever had. And they just love to bring their still alive trophies in the house. We've had 2 birds, a few lizards, a mouse and a giant grasshopper. Sometimes the lizards arrive in pieces and a couple times I've stepped on them. Barefoot. In the dark. There's nothing that'll give you a major case of the willies like cold lizard guts stuck to the bottom of your foot.

I'm going to bed. Pretty soon Lio will join me and probably lay down on my head. That's fine as long as he's alone.

Friday, June 05, 2009


Not much going on right now. I grouted another section of the chalkboard frame today. I know it's taking a long time to finish this sucker. It's just that every time I grout a section it's a big commitment of time and it's kind of stressful. Plus, it eats the crap out of my hands, even with rubber gloves. Almost done, though. One more section.

I bought a new digital camera the other day. This is way more camera than I'll ever need. I've been reading the owner's manual and I'm barely understanding most of it. But I've got the basics. I've been itching to get some eBay sales going and now I can take photos of the stuff I want to sell.

I take my speech final on Monday. I'm so glad this semester is over. I'm not taking any summer classes. I want to be free to do a little traveling. I'd love to take a river trip or two.

Lio had a lumpy lump in his groin area. The vet thought it was caused by an injury of some kind. He said if it's a tumor then it's a nasty one because of its shape. He suggested we try antibiotics first. Well, it looks like that's doing the trick because I can't feel a lump anymore. That's a huge relief. Lio's my awesome little dude and he's only a year old. I want him to stick around for a very long time. I feel bad about giving him the antibiotics. It's a liquid that smells like bubble gum. Why couldn't they make it taste like fish?

Friday, May 22, 2009

More to whine about

My dishwasher died.

Soon I'm going to inherit a chunk of money. I'm using part of it to buy cars (used cars) for the girls and me. I want to invest some of it and the rest I'll put into the house and supplement my income until I finish school and can get a better job. When I say that I want to put it into the house I'm talking about fixing some issues like an ancient sprinkler system, spent landscaping, gutters, tree removal and poor yard drainage. I do not want to replace what's already working. That means that shit has to KEEP WORKING. I knew the water heater was a goner. I was prepared for that (mostly). Yesterday as the HVAC was humming along I thought, jeez, I hope that thing lasts a good, long time. But I think that system is fairly new. It should be ok for a while. So, ok, a dishwasher isn't a huge expense. I didn't like my dishwasher anyway.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Oh noooooo!!!

Wrigley's has discontinued cinnamon flavored Extra sugar-free gum!!! All other brands of cinnamon gum are CRAP! Whatever shall I do? I'm jonesing!

This happens all the time. It seems that the surest way for something to be taken off the market is for me to like it. They took away my cheese. They took away my favorite deodorant. Bartles and James took away their Tropical flavor and then brought it back but it ain't the same! They changed it!

What a cruel, cruel world.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Grill, baby, grill!

I bought a new Weber today. I haven't had a barbeque in over a year. I've been missing the flavor of singed meat. Tonight I grilled up some marinated London broil (an experiment), some chicken thighs and some salmon. Paige is doing Atkins and I'm trying to get back on my diet so it's good to have some cooked meats on hand so it's easy and quick to throw a meal together. We're set for the week.

Lindsay and Kyle are coming this weekend. Gonna do some ribs.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Happy Birthday, Kyle!!!

Sorry to get this on so late. Give yourself a wedgie and say it's from me!

Thanks for being the perfect guy for my girl.

Saturday, May 16, 2009


I grouted another section this afternoon. I think this one turned out better. I kept it small this time. Charlie wanted to help. She's so funny. When I was doing the tiling she kept stealing tiles. Sometimes I'd be in another room and I'd hear a plate of tiles being turned over. I don't know why she found them so fascinating. I keep finding bits of tile and broken dishes all over the house.

Tonight I worked out in the garage. I now have a BIG pile of stuff to take to the thrift store. I'm really trying to make sure that more goes out than comes in. Every time I go out to the garage I look around and see if there's anything I can delete. Having so much crap is a big energy suck.

My digital camera has fritzed out on me. I'm going to buy a new one and start taking pictures of some of the big ticket items I want to get rid of. They'll either go on eBay or Craig's List. I still have all of Jim's music equipment. It's just gotta go. I found some Hammond parts that I'm going to ship off to the Hammond repair guy. I've sent him a lot of stuff like parts and manuals. I wouldn't want to try to sell it, I just want it out of here. There's also a bunch of stuff that Lindsay and Kyle maybe could use. The next time they're here we'll get that figured out.

I want to go through the Christmas bins and see what can be pared down. Halloween, too. I think I can be more ruthless with myself if I go through all that stuff mid-season. Halloween is still out of control. I'm pretty much done with it anyway. Last year I got almost no trick-or-treaters. They just don't want to come up the hill and no one up here decorates or gives out candy. I was the only one. And I'm NOT going to do the traveling Halloween show anymore. Way too much work.

I've been feeling a bit off the last few days. Emotionally, I mean. I'm kind of aimless and I keep feeling like whatever I'm doing isn't what I should be doing. Sometimes I like having the house to myself, but the rest of the time I really hate living alone. Paige is here only half the time and she never sleeps at home. I'm here alone every night. Nope. Don't like it.

Most of the time that doesn't bother me. Not much, anyway. It's just lately I've been in a funk about it. I guess I'm still adjusting. Maybe that's why I'm focused on getting rid of things.

And I'll be soooo glad when this semester is over. Tomorrow I really need to work on my last speech.

I don't wanna.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Alright, already!

Ok, new post! Sheesh.

Um, what's new? My mosaic project is almost done. I have a few more places to fill in with tiles and then I'll grout it. I'm very pleased with how it's turning out. It looks like a big, colorful necklace on the wall.

Today I'm going to Fullerton to look at a Scion xB. We'll see how that goes. I haven't walked into a car dealership in 15 years. I need to get into tough negotiator mode. Ugh!

I have one more speech to give. It's the persuasive speech. I'm going to talk about the importance of preparing for middle age so you can deal with your parents' old age. I have to find 8 references and only 2 of them can be from the internet. This class requires way too much work. I'll be very glad when it's over.

The demonstration speech went well. I gave a basic ukulele lesson. I had everyone sing The Lion Sleeps Tonight.

I brushed Bozzie yesterday. I pulled enough hair off of him to knit a sweater. Man, that dog has gotten hairy in the last couple years. He's like a Samoyed now. Or a polar bear. He's getting his annual shave soon.

That's about it. I'm still working 2 days a week. I'm sick of school, although the Pilates class is doing me a lot of good. I'll be glad when the car buying/selling project is done. After I'm done with the hallway I'm starting on the bathroom. The wallpaper in there is proving to be more stubborn than the paper in the hall. It's time to resort to chemicals. I've already purchased the paint. It's orange! Kind of like orange sherbet with a hint of tangerine. Some of you are recoiling in horror. Stay with me, it's going to be cute.

I need breakfast and the cat needs her antibiotics.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Ooh, this is good.

Well, my tiles didn't come today. I decided not to do anything more to the frame until they get here. I want the look to be consistent.

Since I'm not gluing tile to a frame tonight I figured I'd get some housework done. I got a good putter going but I had to keep stopping because I kept getting decorating ideas. It was great. I've been so stymied since moving here. I had some vague ideas for what I wanted to do but nothing was very exciting. Now it's all wild creation popping into my brain. I haven't had this happen in quite a while. I'm diggin' it.

Hoo boy, this house is going to be reeeeally colorful.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


I think my ugly, gnarly tree in the front yard is leaning more. I think it might be falling over. I really need to have it taken down. The branch that hangs over the front walk is lower now. Jeff konked his head on it one night. Better make some phone calls.

I've started doing the mosaic on my chalkboard frame. It's looking pretty good so far. I'm not doing anything fancy, just broken bits stuck on. When it's all covered I'm going to use black grout to fill in the gaps. Today I bought some dishes at Goodwill to bust up and add some more color to the thing. I also ordered some Fiesta Ware bits from eBay. They're pieces of broken Fiesta dishes. I think it's pretty funny that you can buy bits of broken dishes on the internet. They should arrive tomorrow. I'll be set for the weekend.

I need to get this done. I'm doing my usual thing, which is when I'm immersed in a project the house goes to hell.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Subbing across the hall

It's almost as dead over here.

So! I found out that the cost of my meds ISN'T going up. The person who called me from the pharmacy didn't know what the hell she was talking about. The reason the cost went up is the number of pills was increased from 60 to 200, as per my request to my doc. I just hadn't received confirmation that the request was granted. Puh!

My hallway is looking pretty good. The walls and trim are painted and the chalkboard is being framed. Hoo boy, the green paint is bright. I might go back and tone it down. It looks exactly the way I want it during the day. At night with the lights turned on it's blindingly bright.

I'm going to cover the frame with mosaic. Right now I'm doing a small practice piece to experiment and get my chops up. I dragged out all my mosaic supplies to see if I'll have enough. I do, but not in the right colors. Gonna visit some thrift stores and see if I can find some dishes I can bust up.

I'm also toying with the idea of surrounding the chalkboard with a line of wine corks inside the frame. I'll use them like a cork board. We'll see. I'm also going to hang a shelf over the chalk board.

I found a gnarly wooden bowl at Ross. I'm going to slice it in half and affix the pieces to the wall to hold the chalk and eraser. In my mind's eye this whole thing looks pretty cute. But I'm still not sure about that paint color.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Slow day at work

Things always slow down after the semester starts but this slowdown is the slowest of the slow. Ain't nuthin' happenin' here. Really, I should save the taxpayers some dough and split. Not gonna. Sorry, taxpayers.

After work today I'm going to go to Lowe's and buy paint and supplies. It's so exciting! Tomorrow I'm painting the hall.

I've been surfing the web looking for cars. I've settled on the Scion xB, 2004-2006. I'd really like a green one but I'd be just as happy with silver. It looks like all the green ones in the area have manual transmissions and I want an automatic. So, silver it is. No big hurry, tho.

Paige got a 2008 Scion tC. We got a great deal on it because it has a salvage title. So far, no troubles. Salvage doesn't necessarily mean a lemon but you do take your chances. So, we gave Lindsay Dad's Toyota until she finds a car she likes. Her Taurus (death machine) is now sitting in my driveway. I'm thinking of donating it. I hate selling cars, especially a beater like this one.

I haven't blogged about the whole car thing. I'm going to use some of my inheritance to buy cars for all of us. I want the girls to have some decent cars, mainly for my own peace of mind. And I'm so tired of driving a minivan. I still need something big enough to haul stuff. The Scion xB is big enough, especially if I get a roof rack installed. Anyway, the cars will be the girl's gift from Grandpa.

I've got my fingers crossed. It looks like our lives are getting back to some kind of normalcy. Lindsay is settled in L.A. with a good job. Paige and I are going to school. I'm starting work on the house. If things stay like this for a while I'll be very happy. I got a call from Kaiser the other day telling me that the cost of my Wellbutrin is going to triple. I'm going to talk to my doc about it. I think I'm probably ready to give it up anyway.

So, we'll see. Ok, Universe, behave yourself for a while so we can all get a break from the drama.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Back online

Yay! I'm back. My modem had croaked. It was still under warranty so no charge for replacement.

Yesterday I spent most of the day peeling wallpaper. Lordy, Gammer loved wallpaper. It's in every single room of my house, three layers in some places. I decided to tackle the hallway since it's the smallest space and a pretty easy project. Getting down to the bare wall through that first layer of paper is proving to be a slow job. I think I'll just strip the one wall I've been working on and paint over the rest. I'm going to paint that wall with chalkboard paint so it needs to be clean.

This is the first real project that actually makes a change in this house. I think it's a good start. I need to get up some momentum on all those improvement projects I have planned. This feels good.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

No internet

Whine! My DSL went out at home. I'm blogging from work. If you don't hear from me after you sent me that life or death email it's because I can't get to it. There's a DSL dude coming out tomorrow morning so hopefully it'll get resolved quickly.

Lindsay called this morning and said that someone busted out the back window of her car. Not the car she's had for a while. That one's on its last legs so its parked in my driveway. She has Dad's old Toyota. Dang, she's only had it for a few days AND she had it parked in the fenced-in parking garage at her apartment. There was nothing of value in that car but they decided to clean out the glove box anyway. They took the registration. What a pain in the ass.

My refrigerator started making that fix-me-or-I'm-going-to-explode noise again. A repairman came out and fixed it for $180. Not bad. It was weird dealing with him. He had a HEAVY accent. Not just an accent, he could barely speak english. I'm guessing he was Armenian. Oh man, it was hard to communicate. But he seemed to know what he was doing and now the fridge is cold and silent.

Jeez. This week I wanted to make some progress but it feel like I'm pedaling fast just to stay in one place.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Happy Easter

We had our little Easter celebration tonight because them kids ain't gonna be around on Sunday. We went to Joe's Sushi for Lindsay's birthday dinner. After that I went to the dollar store and got Easter trinkets. I bought some metal collanders and used them as baskets. Everyone got candy and these cool little wind-up toys I got at Borders. When I got home Lindsay opened her birthday gift (a plastic Buddha lamp) and I gave them their baskets. Whee! Happy Easter! Very low key. No eggs, no Peeps.

Then we watched It's Alive!, which I had recorded for Lindsay and Kyle. I saw this movie when it first came out and it's a total hoot. It's about this monster baby that goes around killing people and then attacks a milk truck. But the movie that got recorded wasn't that movie, even though it too was called It's Alive!. THIS movie sucked more than anything I've seen in my life. But we watched it anyway.

We've been shopping for cars. I'm using some of my inheritance to get us some decent used cars. It's a good thing because Lindsay's car is on its last legs. We found a car for Paige. It's a 2008 Scion tC. It has a salvage title but it seems to be in pretty good shape. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Lindsay and I also want to get Scions. She wants an xA, which is a zippy little thing and I'm looking for a good deal on an xB, the big boxy kind. Then I have to work on selling the three old cars. I hate selling cars.

My informative speech is finished. It's called A Brief History of Tabasco Sauce. Spring break is next week so I can practice it a lot before I have to give it in class. My topic for the demonstration speech is How to Play the Ukulele. After that we're doing a persuasive speech and that's it. I don't know what my topic will be at this point. What do I feel strongly enough about to want to persuade people to care about it and agree with me? So far all I can think of is something like, The Importance of Preparing For Old Age. Really, I'd rather talk for eight minutes on why assholes with obnoxious sound systems in their cars should be shot, but somehow I don't think that would be popular with my audience of 18-20-year-olds. They wouldn't be too interested in the old age thing either.

Hoo boy, sushi is salty stuff. My weight is going to jump up for a few days.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Sorry for the gap

I shouldn't let things go so long between posts. So much gets away. I'll just have to fill in some stuff later. But basically what happened was...

Dad died, we had a funeral, lots of relatives, it was good, mostly.
I'm hating my speech class
I went back to work after being off for almost a month.
We're shopping for cars.

My mind isn't really on this right now. I just finished my speech, which is due on Wednesday. I'm tired of looking at this computer screen and my brain is fried. I'm going to go outside and plant some stuff.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Friday in Austin

We got up early on Friday morning and went to Barton Springs, which is where Dean takes her morning swim. It's a place where a natural spring wells up and they've enclosed the stream bed to make a giant swimming pool. There's a constant flow of clean water running through it so there's no need to use any chemicals. It's a wonderful place to swim but that water is COLD. I can barely handle it on a hot day. Dean swims pretty much year-round in the early morning. Not for Donita.

But the reason I went there was to serenade the swimmers. Kind of silly since the pool is huge and people pretty much had their heads under water but it was still pretty fun. KC was there so I mostly sang for her. We chatted with a few people. It was pleasant.

After that Dean went to work and KC and I went out for breakfast. Then I came home and crashed. I slept good and hard until 1:00. Then I got up and did some homework. Dean came home at 3:30.

A friend of Greg's got us in at one of the venues. Another free event for us. The show was Dent May and his Magnificent Ukulele. It was a fun show. I bought his cd but he was really better live. After that we went to The Belmont and had drinks and listened to the bands. Then we went back to Dean's and lounged on the patio until the wee hours.

My back still hurts. It must be a little better since I can tolerate the pain without taking a T3. I'm going to tough it out so I can give my liver a break. We're leaving soon to go to a poster show. Gonna try to score some free stuff. Then I'll try my hand at busking. I'll for sure be taking a pain pill before I do that.

Ooh, it's pretty breezy right now. Hmmm...

Saturday, March 21, 2009

I'm in Texas.

And having a great time. All except for one little glitch. I put my back out today. Spasm city. The rest of my trip may suck a bit. I'm hoping it'll be better tomorrow.

Today was the Million Musician March that began at the Capitol steps and went down to City Hall. They really shouldn't have called it that. When we first got there it was more like the Several Musician March. Eventually it swelled to a Smattering of Musicians March. Still, it was pretty cool. Very much a hippie scene. Dean had brought Nancy along. Nancy is her little tri-colored Chihuahua. She figured it would be good for Nancy to have the experience and it would get her some exercise. Nancy was a good girl.

We hung around and listened to the bands. I played along with some of them while I was standing around in the audience. After a while we sat on the grass. Dean suggested that I use the bathroom before we left for the walk. When I stood up I must have turned funny because I really wrenched my back. Man, it hurt like a mo-fo. As I walked to the rest room it was pretty clear that there was no way I was going to be able to go on that march. Dean called Greg and he picked us up. When we got back to Dean's I took a Tylenol with codeine. Throw in a couple of screwdrivers and I'm doin' ok.

Tonight Dean and Greg fixed a nice dinner. KC and Dean's next-door neighbors came over. So, that's today.

I got in very late on Wednesday night. Dean and I stayed up until 4:00 just having a good cackle. I played some songs for her. Man, Dean is the best audience I've ever had. It was really fun playing for her. At one point she jumped up and hugged and smooched me real hard. That was pretty funny. Dean is not usually that demonstrative.

On Thursday Dean, KC and I went to an exhibit called Birth of the Cool. It's all mid-century modern stuff. I'll take one of each, please. The exhibit was actually kind of small. We explored the rest of the museum and then went to The Belmont for drinks and to listen to whatever band was playing. The Belmont was one of the free venues. At the museum they gave us a coupon for one free appetizer at The Belmont. We were diggin' the free.

The bands were ok but we were hungry and thirsty and The Belmont serves good food. We enjoyed the scallops and the mussels but the calamari was the best that any of us had ever had. We were there for about an hour and a half. Then we walked down the street a little and listened to another (very loud) band. Then we came home. Dean roasted some chickens and grilled some veggies. We had this reeeeaaally good coconut cake for dessert. I made the mistake of buying a whole cake. I think I had cake with every meal until it ran out. There was no resisting it.

That's all I'll write for now. This post is long. I'm having a very good time. This trip was the exact right thing to do.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Me sicko

Man, being sick is a drag. Even if it's just a wimpy cold it still sucks. Right now my chest is congested and my head is completely clogged. It's pissing me off because I don't have time for this. I'm leaving for Texas on Wednesday and when I get back I'll be joining the flurry of funeral preparations. Family members are flying in. Lots of them. All I want to do right now is clean my house and I can't do it. After about five minutes of picking up I get completely worn out. Man, I hope this gets better tomorrow.

I'm not going to go back to work until after it's all over. I'll take a bit of a financial hit but it's not like I was really raking it in to begin with. Missing a few days won't make that much difference and I can make it up in April.

What I wouldn't give for one clear nostril.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Bye, Dad

Dad died yesterday. The long struggle is over.

On Saturday afternoon David called and said Dad's blood pressure had dropped significantly and he was unresponsive. He thought Dad would probably die within 72 hours. Man. Everything kind of shifted and my thoughts were all over the place. I had been working on the garage. Since there was no need to rush right over there I went back to what I was doing. I was the only one in town. Stacey and her family were in Orange County at Audra's game and Drew and his family were in San Diego for Tori's volleyball tournament. Then a little while later David called back. Dad's blood pressure had dropped again and he felt cold. He probably wouldn't last the night. It was time to get over there.

When I saw Dad it was quite a shock. He was not sleeping peacefully like you see in the movies. He looked like a breathing corpse. His head was pulled back. His mouth was wide open and his lips were curled up over his teeth. His eyes were half open, staring but with no life behind them and sunk deep in their sockets. His breathing was labored. He had lost 25 pounds in the last week, which was no surprise. He had pretty much stopped eating.

I closed his eyes but they popped right back open. That was one of the things we did with him all night long. We'd close his eyes so they wouldn't dry out. I doubt if it helped and I don't think he was feeling it. I sat down and talked to him for a little while, then I sang him some songs. I tried to think of some hymns but none came to mind. I went to the dining room and found an Armed Forces Hymnal. I took it back to his room and sang hymn after hymn for him. (Heh! There's a sentence.) I was surprised I could actually sing through tears.

Pretty soon Stacey poked her head around the curtain. She was also taken aback by Dad's appearance. She was concerned that B might find it too disturbing. There was no time to make a decision about it because Brendan came right in and sat down next to his Poppa and took his hand. He talked to him and closed his eyes for him. What a great kid.

Stacey and Scotty and I talked about what we need to do and who need to be contacted. I called Dede and Mindy to get the phone numbers of some of the people from church. I called Pastor Hewes. He got there about 40 minutes later. He talked to all of us for a little while and then sat down and talked to Dad. If Dad had been aware (and who's to say he wasn't) he would have loved what Pastor was saying to him. He hit all the right notes. He spoke to Dad in a way that none of us could. I really appreciated his visit. Scotty and B left a little after that.

Some of Dad's nurses came in to say goodbye. They all talked about how Dad would speak to them in Spanish, which was a bit of a surprise to us. We knew that Dad knew a smattering of Spanish but I guess it was more than we thought. They really liked him. The activity director and her daughter came to see him. She was really quite broken up. She hugged him and kissed him and called him Patron. I told her that I appreciated that she had that kind of relationship with him.

Stacey called John D and told him about Dad. He came right over. John's been a good friend of Stacey's and our family ever since junior high. He was one of the farm kids and had worked many days there. He loved Dad. Pretty soon Dede showed up and the four of us had a real nice time sharing farm stories. It was really wonderful. John left at around 11:30.

And then it was us three girls and Dad. The attendants came in and changed him and got him into a gown. We sat with him and talked and laughed and waited. Stacey was having trouble with allergies and was pretty uncomfortable. We decied that Stacey and I would go back to her house and get a little sleep and then come back to relieve Dede. Dad's breathing was stable and consistent and his blood pressure had come up a bit. It seemed like he could last for several more hours. Stacey and I left.

When I got to Stacey's I went to sleep pretty much right away. I found out in the morning that Dede had called at 4:30 and said that Dad had passed. She said he relaxed and his breathing slowed down. She had set him up with an iPod earlier in the evening and was playing Uncle Buddy's recordings of hymns for him. Dad took a few more breaths and that was it. We think it's pretty cool that Buddy's voice was the last one Dad heard.

I'll write more about the day later. I have to get ready for school.

Friday, March 06, 2009

I met people.

Tonight I went downtown to play music with Terry from uke circle. He plays with friends on Thursdays during Art Walk. They always play on the front steps of their church. This is the same church where I did those two shows. When I got there Terry was the only one there playing. He had invited a bunch of people and I was the only one who showed up. No big deal. Terry knows enough songs to be able to handle a show on his own and the scene was very informal. He and I goofed around for about an hour and a half, singing and playing for pretty much no one. There's not much Art Walk action on that corner. I considered this to be good practice for my upcoming busking adventure.

When I left I didn't really feel like going home. I remembered that they have open mike at Coffee Depot on Thursdays so I decided to see what was hoppin'. At least I could get a cup of coffee. When I got there it was pretty much the same as it was when Jeff and Bill and I went. Everyone in that room were all pretty young. It didn't look all that interesting to me so I got some coffee and sat down on one of the comfy sofas in the front room. A group of older guys (my age) were playing guitars. I was really enjoying listening to them. Then a guy came over and sat down on the sofa next to me. I mean, he sat on a different sofa that was next to the one I was sitting on. Almost immediately we started having a nice chat about music. He told me his band is playing at the Plaza on Saturday and gave me a flyer. Then another guy sat down on the sofa across from us. He was tuning an unusual looking tenor ukulele. Guy #1 (name's Jeff) and I started talking about ukes. Guy #2 (name's Tom) went to play with the guitar guys. I went out to the car and got my uke and book bag. Jeff and I continued with our conversation. Pretty soon Tom and one of the guitar guys came over and joined us. It was just a really nice conversation with a bunch of musicians I had never met before. That's unusual for me. I'm not shy about talking to people but usually I don't have all that much to contribute. This was different. I even sang a couple songs with Tom.

I stayed there until almost 11:30. I'll probably go see Jeff's band on Saturday. He also told me about some stuff that's happening on Friday night that I'm thinking of going to. I felt really good when I left the Coffee Depot. I'm not that good at meeting people and I felt really comfortable with those guys. They seemed to like me too.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

My first speech.

Yesterday we gave speeches in class. It was an introductory speech. We were supposed to bring in an object that represents who we are and tie it into the speech. I chose my Fire Monkey icon.

Last week we did an exercise where everyone shared what their greatest public speaking fear was. On the list were forgetting, sweating, fidgeting, rambling, giggling. My item was speaking on a subject that I'm too emotionally invested in. The solution for that is to pick a safe subject.

Most of my speech had to do with my creativity and my humor. I did mention a little bit about having a dad with Alzheimer's and the loss of my husband, but I made sure those points were only briefly touched on. I was safe.

Then this girl, who was three people ahead of me, got up and gave her speech about her best friend who was killed in a car accident a couple years ago. She went on and on about how she doesn't know who she is without this person, about how she sometimes thinks she can just pick up the phone and call her and how she longed for another hug. She was the SADDEST GIRL IN THE WORLD.

After she sat down I started to tear up. I can't just be a little moved by something and shed a few tears and then move on. I sat at my desk and wept. I'm thinking, oh shit. Stop. Just stop. No good. After the next guy finished speaking I left the room. I went to the bathroom and worked like mad on pulling myself together. I know I still looked like a wreck when I went back to the room. And then it was my turn.

I had to open the speech by acknowledging the fact that Sad Girl's speech got to me. I did ok until I got to the part where I mentioned Jim. My throat closed up but I managed to fight through it. I felt like such a dope because the rest of the speech was about my sense of humor and playing the uke and writing songs. People did laugh at the funny parts but damn it, that girl fucked me up! Oh well, I think it went over ok.

Next time I'm going to demand to go first.

Monday, March 02, 2009

A quick one

I visited Dad yesterday. He was sound asleep when I got there and he stayed that way. Usually he catnaps and if I say hi to him he wakes up. This time he didn't. I got out the uke and played softly for him. After about 40 minutes I left. One thing I noticed-- Dad was very well-cushioned. Like, really well. Good thing somebody's listening.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Sometimes we get excited about stupid things.

I'm excited about my freshly painted shelves and cabinets. They are ready to receive tools, chemicals and other workshop supplies. Everything, (well, almost everything) is in place. It just needs to be all screwed together so it won't fall apart in an earthquake. This is going to make such a huge difference. All the tools will be in one place and I'll be able to eliminate about 10 boxes that are taking up space in the garage. There will be a place for the kind of art supplies that don't really belong in my studio. Things like mosaic tiles and bags of grout. Really, this is all I can think about right now. I'm giddy about my garage.

No one else would be impressed because it's still a huge mess. But at least now everything has a place to go. At least now it can be cleaned.

I'm also getting excited about my pergola project. I bought a pergola kit from Kmart last spring. The basic frame is ok but the cover that came with it blows off all the time. It looked good but didn't function well. I'm going to add some wooden cleats to the frame and cover one side and the top with trellis panels. I've been engineering it in my head and I think I have it worked out. I think it'll cost around $100 to retrofit the whole thing. Once it's done it should make a nice little patio. One thing I've been missing here is an outdoor hang out space. At the farm I had my fabulous front porch. This one won't have a view but it will be cozy. I'm looking forward to it.

Other projects I want to tackle this spring-

The hallway between the kitchen and the office- I want to finish taking off the wall paper, paint the walls, sand down one wall and paint a large rectangle with chalkboard paint, frame the rectangle, change the light fixture. This will be my message center.

The back bathroom- Take down the wall paper, paint the walls a latte color, ceiling a lighter shade, the vanity a darker shade. I need to repair the big hole in the wall where they took out the heater and replaced it with a sheet of cheap, wood paneling, install new floor and a new faucet. New window treatment, towel bars, toilet paper dispenser. I'm going to try to keep it all under $150.

My room- Take down the wall paper, paint, new light fixture, repair the furniture I got from Mindy, cut down my bed and re=upholster the headboard, assemble the bed, rework the curtains.

Kitchen- Finish the capiz shell window treatments, paint the walls.

That's enough for now.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Too bad if they're embarrassed.

I just got back from a crappy Dad visit. When I got there he was in the dining room. One of the attendants was trying to feed him. "C'mon, Mr. Lang, just take a bite..." Dad was yelling in pain. I stepped up and let her know that I'd try to feed him. He kept squirming around and crying out. I asked him several times what was hurting but he just can't answer questions like that anymore. I checked his legs. His right knee was jammed up against the rail. Against the CORNER of the rail. We're talkin' a sharp, 90 degree angle. His leg had a big red mark where the rail was pressing. I shoved a pillow between the rail and his knee and he quieted right down. I called one of the staff over to show her what had happened. She called the attendant over who had been trying to feed him. I told them that Dad must always be cushioned. If he's yelling in pain there's a good chance it's because he's pressed up against the rails. I was pretty pissed but I held it together. Oh yeah, and Dad was also soaking wet. I don't think that had just happened. And his mouth was so dry his lips were curled back. I got him some water and he took a big swig, swished it around in his mouth and then spit it out against the wall (Heh!).

Just then I heard an announcement. They were going to be having a meeting in the living room and all the families of the residents were invited. I had them take Dad back to his room so he could get cleaned up. I told them I'd try to feed him more of his dinner in there. While we were waiting for an attendant to lift him back into bed dad fell asleep. I went to the meeting.

There were about 8 family members there and three officious-looking men sitting at a table. They were touting the features and services of Airforce Village. A few people asked questions. I sat and listened. I wasn't sure at that point if I was going to say anything about the seemingly persistent problem of Dad's limbs pressing against hard metal. Then the head cheese said, "Are there any other questions or comments?" Ok, what the hell. I raised my hand.

I told them what had just happened in the dining room and that it had happened before. I told them we had talked to the caregivers and the head nurse about the problem. I told them if my dad is yelling in pain they need to investigate. Yes, he just might be in pain just because, but they have to at least try to find the cause. The officious panel turned into headlight-blinded deer. I told them that overall we've been satisfied with his care. I told them that the other places Dad had been couldn't seem to get his meds right so that his crazy behavior was under control. Airforce Village was doing a good job with that. They assured me that they'd take care of it, and I'm pretty sure they will. They looked like they reeeally wished they had moved on and not taken any more questions. Then they introduced a woman who was from a local mortuary who was going to talk about "pre-need". I said, "Ok, thanks, I'm going back to my dad" and left.

I went back to Dad's room just as the attendant was lifting him back into bed. He was slipping out of the sling! He was scared to death and yelling his head off. Cussing, too. A lot. She got him into bed before he fell out the bottom of the sling. Then a different attendant, the one in the dining room, came in to change him and get him ready for bed. As she was cleaning him up we both noticed that he had an angry-looking red patch on his back. I couldn't tell if it was a bed sore or diaper rash. She called for a nurse to come look at it but she didn't show up in the time I was there. After Dad was clean and settled I got out the uke and sang him a few songs before he fell asleep. Then I put the uke away and got a piece of paper and a pen. I made a sign the said- If Mr. Lang is yelling in pain please check his arms and legs to make sure they aren't pressed against the metal rails. Please make sure he is always cushioned. He moves around a lot and might lose his pillows. If he is in pain there's a good chance that he's pressed against the rail.

I also drew a picture of a leg pressed against a rail and drew wavy pain lines emanating from the knee. I wrote "ouch!" next to it. Then I tacked it to the wall where I was pretty sure they'd see it. Then I left.

So, fuck 'em if they were embarrassed. Too bad. I'm sure Dad isn't the only one who has to endure hours of pain because some dope didn't bother to check to see what was causing it. These people need some training on this issue. I'll also talk to Dede and have her tell them to give him some water. Just plain, unthickened water. He can handle it and he needs it. Letting him go all day with his mouth so dry he can't pull his lips over his teeth is just plain cruel and, I think, lazy on their part.


Sunday, February 15, 2009


I'm painting my garage. I can't do it all at once because there's so much stuff in there. I'm working on one section at a time. But, hey, progress! I went to Lowe's yesterday and bought paint. I found a gallon of pre-mixed paint on clearance for five bucks. I love getting deals like that. And it was almost the exact color I was thinking of anyway. I also bought a gallon of white ($7) to do the cabinets. It feels good to finally get started on pulling it all together.

Lio wants to hang out with me while I paint but I have to keep an eye on him. Or I should say I have to keep an eye on Lady. Lio really wants to make friends with the dogs but Lady keeps getting aggressive with him. A couple months ago when Lio got chomped I thought Boz was the one who did it. Now I'm pretty sure it was Lady. Today she really went after Lio. I chased her around the yard with a broom. It didn't seem to make much difference because she came back for more. Her days are numbered.

Tonight I'm going to play music with a new group of people. One of the guys in our uke circle is hosting a beer and music night at his house. Should be fun. I have to come up with a couple of songs to share.

But right now I'm going back out to the garage. I'm a paintin' fool.