Thursday, August 28, 2008
I discovered that mom's meds went from $171.00 to $455.00 a month because she's in what the pharmacist called a "Medicare Part D Donut Hole."
I accidentally found out that all of Mom's toenails are all falling off. Though she's unconcerned, I'm sure there will be nightmares in my future.
I left distressed over the toenails, and ran over an opossum. I screamed.
A semi truck sprayed my windshield with oily substance.
I turned on my wipers to find there was no windshield cleaner in my car. I was left with a greasy mess that turned the windshield virtually opaque. Boy, cartoon villains really know what they're doing when they release an oil slick.
The radio station playing on my alarm clock was out of commission this morning. I slept in.
Got to work and discovered I left my cell phone at home. I'm waiting for return calls from Mom's doc, so had to go back and get it.
I ran to Walgreens and discovered, after being all rung up, that I didn't have my wallet with me. Probably tossed it somewhere when I was hunting for my cell phone.
It's hell-week for my sister: chemo 7 hours a day every day of the week. I know that it's not happening to me, but I still worry about her. Worry, fret, worry. I call her, and she's cheerful. I worry that she's being cheerful just for me.
My son is considering requesting early re-deployment back to Iraq. I acted cool when he told me, but I shook a little.
As I write, there is exactly 2 hours and 19 minutes before I get out of dodge until next Monday night. Friends are feeding the cats, friends are checking in with Mom, Teri will be with her family, and my son is still in the U.S.
Everything's gonna be alright, so I leave you with this photo montage of my brother-in-law wearing all of my glasses.
He's such a sport. "Now, try this pair on!" I told him, again and again, at lunch on Sunday.
"Are these going to end up on your blog?" he asked?
"Of course not. Now try this pair on."
I figure he'll cool off by the time I get back.
Have a great weekend, kiddies! Catch ya on the flip side.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Friday, August 22, 2008
My boss "motivated" me right in the pants this week, when he asked me if I could draw in Adobe Illustrator. In no uncertain terms, I told him No! "Get Elena to do it," I told him, of the project he needed. He did get Elena to do it.
And then he told me to start studying.
Crap. I can't do it! I don't wanna! I hate it! I hate everybody! I'm rather eat worms!
1. Find a photo:
3. Copy the file into Adobe Photoshop, and color it all purty. Burn & Dodge for Highlights.
This is kind of fun.
Don't tell my boss I said that.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
(Is that blog cheating or what? Posting about Mary's posting about GloZell?)
Who among us hasn't been through this at one time or another? Well, maybe most of the men haven't—MOST of them. I personally think it should be a law that men try on pantyhose, and have just ONE strip of hair waxed off of their bodies, just once in their lives, to see what we go through.
Just watch, and laugh.
I don't know where I've been that I've been missing out on GloZell's YouTube channel, but I'll definitely be running through her archives and staying on top of it from now on.
Enjoy your day, though I'm sure watching this was the highlight.
This is the 7:00 a.m. crowd at the Market on the Square. I am sold, baby; it's early marketing for us from here on out. The smell of the fruits and vegetables still hang on heavy morning air, it's quiet, and cool, and just lovely. No lines when you're shopping, and it's easy to snap a photo without someone stepping in front of you. The people-watching might not be as good, but we haven't had time for that anyway, lately.
It's easier to post a slide show here than it is to post 14 photos. Here's the photo-bounty of the morning.
And I couldn't resist taking a photo of this display. Looks like someone was killing time while they wait for the frenzied shoppers to arrive.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Teri & Tim
I traipse down memory lane as I think of their marriage, their life together. As I look back, the word "laughter" comes to mind. Through good times and tough times, laughter prevails.
When I think of my sister, of course, memories go back B.T. (Before Tim). We laugh now how we fought, as children, worse than any boys. I swear, kicking and rolling around on the floor, biting and pulling hair.
Our favorite stories consist of Teri's putting bite-marks into her own arm, screaming her head off, and telling Mom that I bit her.
We still remember Mom simultaneously driving down Main street and trying to spank me at the same time, while I darted around the back seat, dodging and swearing that I hadn't bitten anyone.
Another popular familiy story is one of my pestering Teri, in our teen years, while we sat in the back seat of Dad's suburban. "You better stop," she warned me. I DIDN'T stop though, and she finally, simply reached behind the back seat, grabbed a torque wrench from the tool box, and cracked me in the elbow with it.
CRACK! I mean, she CRACKED me in the elbow with it. The wrench-to-bone contact was so audible that it scared the bejeesus out of our mother. I was left writhing and laughing my butt off on the floor, while Teri sat back and said "I TOLD you to knock it off."
I never pestered her again. Would YOU?
And by the way, it was also a running joke in the family that only SHE was allowed to beat me up. She was otherwise fiercely protective of me, slapping crap out of any pig-tail pulling boys on the playground.
And Tim. I snapped at him the first time I met him, for telling me where to turn, on the way to Lake-of-the-Woods. I wanted to go MY way! I had no idea where I was going, but I didn't want any instructions! Dammit!
Teri, riding in the front seat, gave me a look that fried me like one of those cartoon people that get struck by lightning.
I decided right then and there that I'd better get about loving this guy, because my sister sure did.
And I did. And I still do. Tim has made me laugh my entire life-since-he-married-Teri, telling stories of our parents at every holiday event, and running the video camera while I drank straight out of Mom & Dad's milk jug. He always threatened to do a slide show with photographs of 1) my hair-do's and 2) all of the guys I dated. Apparently he thinks there were too many of both.
He's my singing buddy. Many's the year we
Ah. It's 25 years now, that they've laughed together, and invited so many to laugh with them. I'm so proud of them, and so happy for them.
I wish I had a copy of their wedding photo, but it seems that I do not. I'll leave you with this one, then, taken a few months ago.
Leave a shout-out for them here, if you'd like, or drop me a line for their e-mail address.
Monday, August 18, 2008
Claim and Confession #1. Last week while contemplating the Chinese' struggles with the sound of the letter r, I boldly claimed that I could master a zulu alveolar click before I could ever become a neurosurgeon.
Then, I watched a few videos of the fabulous Miriam Makeba, a South African singer known as Mama Afrika. Listen to The Click Song, recorded here in, I think, 1966 or so.
Yeah, I tried to do this a few
I absolutely can not do it. I have, instead, enrolled in this school, as pennance. (That is another lie. Really, you can't trust me any further than you can throw me.)
The next confession is about a proclamation that I have made time and time again. I WOULD do it! I WILL do it! In a heartbeat! In a split second, oh yes I would. I WOULD most certainly eat a live grub or a caterpillar with Andrew Zimmern, on his show, Bizarre Foods. I would not pass up the chance. Ever. I could freakin' co-host that show!
Then, while we were camping this weekend, Angie and Ryan yelled to me: "Bring your camera!" I came running with the camera, to find them hovering over a piece of dog poop. Ugh, why would they want me to photograph dog poop?
Upon closer inspection, though, I figured out it wasn't dog poop at all. It was the hugest, ugliest caterpillar I've ever seen in my life.
This shot's a little blurry—remember I couldn't see out of my right eye this weekend. Anyway, I can't tell which is heads and which is tails here, except for on that 50-cent piece we put down for size comparison.
I was so grossed out by that nasty thing that I was forced to take pause over my declaration to eat one, alive, no less. I tried to imagine picking it up and dropping it down my throat.
Have to tell ya, the idea didn't do anything for me but make me dry heave. Maybe if I ate it with a fork and knife? Here it is on a pretty red plate; it's all about the presentation, you know...
No thank you, Sam I Am. Not with all that back hair.
So, there you have it. I've come clean: I can't click, and I'm not going to eat a live caterpillar.
I feel like a new woman.
Won't you join me? Tell me about on of YOUR B*S* proclamations—you know you've made one.
I'm going to go now, and research skydiving.
Because I'd totally do that.
Friday, August 15, 2008
2. Took Mom for her first test this morning: an open MRI. She's claustrophobic, and even though it's open, they lock a cage over your head for this scan. They offered to drug her, but I didn't see the point of that, just so she could lie still for 40 minutes. I asked if they'd just let me stay with her and hold her hand. They did, and it did the trick. She did fine, after they put a towel over her eyes, so she couldn't open them to see that cage.
3. I picked up new glasses and contact lenses yesterday, and had intended to carry on about how great the service was at the doctor I went to. I really was pleased.
HOWEVER, when I put in my shiny new contacts this morning, I couldn't see out of my right eye. I discovered that they'd sold me a weaker lens that that I'd tested for the last 2 weeks.
When I called to tell them of their mistake, I was told that the doctor decided, at the follow-up exam, that the trial lens was too strong, so he changed the Rx, and ordered the weaker lens. And SOLD them to me, without my trying them out! Why? Wtf! WHY?
I'm getting very good at arguing with doctors these days. Still, I'm blind in my right eye for the weekend. Rat bastards.
Yeah, we're going camping, bright & early tomorrow morning. I'll still hit up the Farmer's Market before we leave. We've been arriving around 10 a.m., and it's so packed that photos on the run have been impossible. So, we'll see what it looks like at 6:45 a.m.
So, no photos, but here's my report:
(A tomato photo I took in L.A.)
Can I just say this? It's tomato season and this part of the country is
drowning in vine-ripe tomatoes. The $3/lb, across-the-board price of tomatoes at the market is outrageous. It really shouldn't cost $17 to make a bowl of salsa. Field fresh tomatoes are HALF that at the grocery store, and they're $1 cheaper at the fruit stands around town, and just outside of town. The emperor has no clothes, people.
There. That's a quote. From me. Maybe the price will drop tonight, since we really are heavy in tomato harvest season. I'll be interested to see. In the meantime, I'll get my 'maters elsewhere.
That said, I'm in charge of salsa at the campgrounds this weekend, because I make a rockin' good salsa. Here's my recipe, which consists of...salsa ingredients. I don't know why it's so good, it just is.
Gnightgirl's Salsa (Cha-Cha-Cha!)
5 tomatoes, chopped
1 jalapeno, diced
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch of cilantro, minced (yes, an entire bunch)
juice of 2-3 limes
1 t. salt
1 small chipotle pepper, diced, with 1 T. sauce from the can
Mix 'em all together. Decrease or increase ingredients to adjust to your taste.
The chipotle pepper is the secret ingredient; it has a smoky flavor that sets the salsa apart from all other salsas. It is canned, from the ethnic aisle at the grocery store. The stuff is HOT; start out slowly and build up. I used a very TINY piece of that pepper, and just a tablespoon or so of the sauce out of the can, to give it a smoky flavor. You can buy just the canned sauce too, and add a tablespoon or so to smoke it up.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Since you're not here, I just have to give you a few links, and trust that you'll go read.
Slick Sumbich made me snort coffee out mah nose this morning, when I read this one. Seriously, read to the end, it's not just about the photo.
Single Mom in the City made me laugh this morning also, with her tale of feeling oh-so-pretty and getting a different response. Read Here.
Actually, she often blows me away with her views on being a young single mother. She makes me laugh, she makes me cry. I've secretly decided she should be my daughter-in-law, though I haven't run that by either her or Brian. I like to stay out of other people's business, you know. Still, here's a sampling from The Battle of Being a Young-ish Parent, where she vents (justifiably, I might add) about the judgmental comments she gets from customers that know she has a son.
Shit happens people.
It's how you handle it that is a true demonstration of your character, not your age or the amount of life experiences you have.
Just because we're successful young parents does not mean we're an advocate for young pregnancies. It means that we are mature enough to assess our situations and do what is best for ourselves and our children.
There are a lot more prolific thoughts in that entry. Go check it out.
Janet, at Lord Celery had an amazing encounter with a stranger last week. Read here to feel good.
On the Way to Critter Farm Dani's a city girl that's transplanted herself and her family on a farm in Oregon. I've loved following her adventures in acquiring chickens and donkeys. I've laughed as she's reminded herself that she's no longer a city girl, and thus, it's up to her to untangle snakes out of blueberry netting. She has LOTS of fun photos of her adventures also. Here's one comparing the size of one of the eggs she collected recently, to a blueberry.
Not a very big omelet with this one, huh? (Photo by Dani)
I'm not linking to just one of Dani's entries. You have to read them ALL.
ARTWORK! I snagged this read at someone else's recommendation, and haven't been sorry. Mattias does a drawing a day in a moleskin journal, and they are amazing and fun. Today's entry is timely, consisting of cartoons with interesting ideas for Olympic events. To check out his renditions of Pig Boxing, Extreme Knitting, and Synchronized Sneezing, click on the link below
Ok. Go look, go read. If I find out you didn't, I'll be calling you, and reading these entries to your answering machines.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
If you want to know more about the appointment itself, read on. If not, you're dismissed. Class is over, you're free to go.
There is a standard set of questions that a doctor asks a patient with memory loss. This part of the exam always gives me a headache. My mother is so sweet, and she gets so embarrassed when she doesn't have an answer. "I'm thinking," she'll say, her hands on her chin, brow furrowed, until she forgets what the question is, and her embarrassment passes.
What is the year? 19....She doesn't know.
Day? Date? Month? She's got nothing.
Season? "I think it's summer." (Woot!)
What is this? [Doc points at his watch.] She's insulted. "It's a watch!" Duh.
Spell watch. W-A-T-C-H. She surprises me, sometimes.
Spell watch backwards. "I'd never need to do that." (Go, Mom!)
Draw this picture. Scribbles nothing of the sort on the page.
I'm going to interject here, and tell you that our Doctor is Asian, and has a bit of an accent. He was careful to articulate, but laughed at one point, saying "I think we're having problems with my accent." Mom gave pause a few times, but I thought she did amazingly well, and I resisted translating for her.
I'm going to give you 3 words to remember, ok? Banana, Chair, Pen. I will ask you to repeat those in a minute. Banana, Chair, Pen. Got it?
What country is this? Well, I've been to California.
What are the 3 words that I asked you to repeat? She remembers nothing.
"It's a flute."
Mom and I were BOTH perplexed. What's the next part of the question? He tries again, more slowly: "It's a fuh-ruh-lute." Frlute. Fruit! He's prompting Mom to remember "banana" by telling her it's a fruit. I broke down and opened my pie hole: "It's a fruit, Mom."
Apple! She's so proud.
The doctor continued with the test, while my mind wandered.
I know that there is no "R" in the Chinese alphabet. Still, I wonder why it's so difficult to master. "Rrrrrrrruh! Rrrrrrrruh! Rrrrrrrrrrrruh!" goes through my mind. It seems like someone brilliant enough to get through 16 years of school and to actually become a neurologist could nail this with just a little practice time. Say, in the car, on the way to and from work.
I wonder what sounds I myself might never be able to master. For instance, if I were to take classes in Zulu, how long would it take me to incorporate that alveolar click into my vocabulary? You know, that sound you make with your tongue and the roof of your mouth: "TOCK!" Only you have to put that in the middle of a word. Like "My name is Lo[TOCK]ri.
I think I could do it, if I did that practice in the car thing—even though I gave up on my spanish CDs. I could learn zulu before I could ever become a brain surgeon, that's for sure.
I wonder if I should make an appointment with this neurologist for my attention deficit issues.
I come back from my comtemplating to watch Mom show the doctor how well she walks. Down to the end of the hallway and back. Then heel-to-toe. And now, on heels only.
"Now, tip toes," he said. *Tippy* *Tippy* *Tippy,* she looooooves this one, waving her arms up and down like a ballerina. I half expected her to pirouette in the hallway.
Doctor sat us down then, and told us she scored 7.5/30 on the memory test. He gave us some paperwork, and sent us on our way to the lab.
"I'm glad I got that California one right!" Mom said, as we were walking away.
"Yes," I tell her. "Good job."
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
I received this photo from friends Lori & Jim, on Monday. They'd come home from a party Saturday night to find that someone had forked their yard, and then accented it with TP. Their entire yard:
I had never heard of such a thing, forking someone's yard. Even though I get the dynamics just by looking at the photos, I had to do more research. Urban dictionary.com states that "forking" means
Sticking forks into someone's yard, usually to form words or pictures; can be
used to laugh at a friend or to (anger) an enemy."
(That's just one definition you'll find there. Don't go looking up the others. Seriously.)
Ha, haaaaaa— like Flamingo-ing someone's yard, only...with forks. Instead of flamingos. See? My A-D-D (and some spare time on my hands at work) caused me to wander off and look up Flamingo-ing your yard. Did you know that there are businesses that will do that for you?! You pay them, and they go and fill someone's yard with pink flamingo's. I wonder if they'll throw in a flaming bag of dog poo, and ring the bell for you? For an additional fee, of course.
I also read about fundraising with pink flamingoes. Brainstorming fundraising techniques myself right now, I considered this one: You put a pink flamingo in someone's yard, with a note saying that you'll remove it for $10. For $15, you'll remove it and put it in someone else's yard, the yard of their choice.
When I play that out in my mind, everyone just pulls up that damned flamingo and beats the crap out of me with it, note and all. I'd be stuck with a black eye and $200 worth of pink flamingoes on my credit card statement. I think I'll keep brainstorming.
Where was I?
Oh. Forks! Well, Lori and Jim, I discovered, were lucky forking targets. This was a harmless, amusing prank. My research turned up a much more more devious, evil way to fork. A way to fork your enemies.
I really shouldn't even share it with you. It's irresponsible of me, who knows what kind of havoc letting this kind of information out could wreak. Here it is, then: If you're really trying to get at your enemy, you use BLACK plastic forks, poke them into the ground, and then break off the handles!
It makes them less visible, harder to remove, and makes a godawful ruckus when you go to mow your lawn.
Wouldn't a certain 4-letter f-word be flying THEN!
(Pssst: I'm not talking about f-o-r-k.)
Friday, August 08, 2008
In the face of worrying situations, I've never been one to just sit around and hope that things turn out okay. I'm not a big "hoper." Oh, I have hope, but I don't often go around relying on it.
I don't wish on a star, I don't just say a prayer.
I'm more comfortable diving in. Problems with friends, family, money, health, home, car, and sometimes just chance encounters: Grab the bull by the horns, and get about finding a solution. Chop-chop! Don't just stand there!
And sometimes, I know, that the solution is to accept that there is no solution. Where some cross their fingers and hope, hope, hope, I find it easier to prepare myself for the inevitable: I'm not going to win the lotto. My son is going to Iraq. My mother has Alzheimer's.
My mother has Alzheimer's.
She was diagnosed 7 years ago, at the age of 59. I've noted before that numbers are gone for her. Numbers are a huge part of one's life: how many meds do I take? What time do I take them? I have no money! Do I have any money? Is it 6 in the morning or 6 in the evening? How do I dial a phone number? What is the date? How long is 6 weeks away? Is it tomorrow?
Lately, I pick her up to find her jeans, even her bra on backwards. Her shirt is inside out, and she wears 1 blue sock and 1 easter sock. She calls, panicked, with chest pains. I race over to find her smiling in the doorway with her purse: "I feel better! Where are we going?"
I blogged, a few weeks ago, about problems I had getting proper treatment for her at the doctor's office. I didn't tell you that I later stomped my feet and demanded that the doctors review all of her records.
The doctor did.
And the doctor called me back.
She may not have Alzheimer's.
My mother has a classic triad of symptoms pointing to something else entirely: "Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus."
It's excessive spinal fluid. It causes dementia, and is often misdiagnosed as Alzheimer's.
It is treatable. Some symptoms may be reversible.
On Wednesday, we see a neurologist.
If ever there was a time for hope, prayers, or wishing on a star, this is it.
There is no grabbing a bull by its horns, or changing the direction of the day, Wednesday.
Hope is terrifying.
I've discovered this, in the last few weeks: you can't always control what you hope for.
Hold my hand.
It's probably nothing, you know.
Wouldn't it be something, if it is.
I cannot imagine.
Thursday, August 07, 2008
I'm told it grows on you. That once you figure it out, you'll be addicted. Addicted!
But there are some things I don't get. Like, how in the heck do you find Twittering friends? I have 7 friends. Those friends each seem to have 3,456 friends. Just time under your belt, or do you have to get out there and recruit?
Well. I'm recruiting. Hit me up on Twitter, my screenname is (surprise) Gnightgirl.
Show me what's so great.
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
At any rate, we're moving along. Actually, at a slooooooow rate, we're moving along. We've had more of our share of rain this summer, and have had to knock off early or throw in the towel entirely on several days. We've also had to ride out a few horrendous storms, soaked to the skin as we hustled to get tarps thrown over wood, sweep rain of of the not-yet-finished floors, and get power tools out of the rain.
Here's where we are now. The kitchen/bedroom are all sheeted and roofed, and the frame for the garage went up last week.
Here's Homer & Junior (Tom & Ryan) helping sheet the garage roof yesterday:
And where we left off last night:
Again, when I say "we," I mean "they." I'm still doing what I can around the place, but during this phase of the construction, I've taken on mostly traditional female roles: bring the food, bring the water, hand the tools, tidy up the place. I'm Girlie Gopher Extraordinaire. I do what I can do when lifting trusses is something I can not do.
Oh, hey! I mow the yard, that's helpful! I'm really getting the hang that riding mower. Except I don't do the ditches because I'm afraid I'll tip over. And I worry about running over bunny nests, and I watch for crossing frogs. Also, I have a tendency to let the clutch out too often, which makes Clint grind his teeth, and makes me nervous because I know he's grinding his teeth. I'm working on that. FYI, vinyl tractor seats don't breath at all, so don't wear nylon shorts when you mow, or your butt will get wet. Vrooooooooooooooooom!
Clint, in the meantime, is spending every spare minute out there. Now that the rain seems to have passed (except it's raining today), he's duking out 98-degree heat indexes for 14 hours a day. I honestly don't know how he's still standing. I met him there yesterday after I got off work. He'd already had 9 hours in, and worked steadily away. I hauled wood-scraps around for about 45 minutes in that heat before my brain started pulsing against the inside of my skull, and I had to sit down for some water. 3:00 arrival, 3:45 time for a little rest. That's how I roll.
It's all good though, because I know my time is coming. 6 months from now, I'll be picking out colors, and taping and painting, and ordering HIM around: "Hand me that roller, will you? Where did I put my towel? What's a girl gotta do to get a martini on this ladder?"
We work, we dream.
We can hardly wait til it's done.
Friday, August 01, 2008
If any of you are on the mailing list for the Toys for Troops e-newsletter, you'll know that I launched a big announcement last night. Since I've told 500 people there, I don't want to keep you out of the loop, and I'm announcing it here now, too, along with bonus bits.
Do you remember my telling you about my cousin Richard being called up in the Army Reserves, after living in Germany for the last 30 years or so? (Read about it here)
Richard was not deployed to Iraq, but is spending a year stateside. While he's here, he's been running around rallying for our cause, trying to find folks to partner up with us. I get emails from him, periodically, asking if I got a phone call from this reserve, or that Sargeant Major. Noop. Nothing. Haven't heard a thing.
Ah, but last week, we hit paydirt.
Last week, I received a phone call from Sara, the Family Readiness Support Assistant of the Warrior Transition Battalion in Fort Gordon, Georgia. "Your cousin told me to call you..." she began. And she told me her story, and I told her ours, and we decided to get off the phone and stew on things.
Sara is in charge of bringing in the families of wounded soldiers, to meet them when they fly in to the WTB. She's on the horn, notifying wives and parents, getting them on a plane, and on their way to Fort Gordon, pronto.
Look, if someone calls you to tell you that your spouse or your child has been hurt, and gives you information about what flight to grab...are you going to remember to grab your baby's favorite teddy bear? Your toothbrush? A pad of paper to jot down what the physician tells you, and make notes of phone numbers?
Me neither. And neither, apparently, do many, many of the families that come flying in to Fort Gordon. They are, understandably, distraught. They face hours in waiting rooms. Children are restless. Everyone gets a little hungry. And bored.
Family Services at the WTB...they could use a few things, to ease the arrival of these families. A few beanies, maybe, to give to the kids? Toothbrushes? Lip balm? Coloring books for the children, and oh! Puzzle books, even the adults get bored and need a distraction.
Stew I did. I was a caged lion when I got off the phone. Pacing, thinking, oh, I just need to leave early today, leave early, I say! I didn't leave early, but I made a few phone calls. To Marcee, our secretary: We have a potential new project, do you have time for this in your life?" To Hal Loebach, the director of the Chanute Air Museum. To Jeff, the VP: What do you think about this?
And back to Sara, on the same day: "We can do this."
Now. Go Read the Announcement. Scroll down, and see what we're going to do.
Oh, and when I say we, I mean "us" and "you."