Jabberwocky for 2001 October

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: I took my baby Gretel to the vet to be spayed this morning. They told me that if I go to the Humane Society, I can get a $20 voucher toward the cost of the spay. Naturally, I went over there. I haven't been to the Humane Society in years and years, but the minute I got out of the car the rack of jackets on the sidewalk flagged me down and said, "Looky, looky!" So I bought a beautiful parka -- new!-- for $25. I got my voucher, but I don't think I made a profit.

: I went to the county fair by myself tonight. I couldn't find anyone who could go with me, and I figured, well, get used to doing stuff alone or sit home. I really wanted to go to the fair this year because I wanted a new cheese grater thingy, but my children are all gone and friends out of commission except for folks who want to go on Sunday or something. I chose tonight to go because Gretel is in the hospital getting spayed, so I wouldn't have to leave her home alone.

Anyhow, I had a really good time because I just visited whatever exhibits I wanted to see, took as long, or as little time as I wanted to, went to the cookware show and bought my grater, and wandered a little. For the first time in my life, I got to go into the Hall of Minerals and look at the dinosaur bones and crystals and stuff because nobody was with me telling me I couldn't and they didn't wanna, etc.

Noticed that my brother in law Garry had won best of show for his peaches (commercial grower.) Go Richardson Farms! Boy they looked good too. I guess I need to go out there one of these days and look hungry.

I found a rusty old horse shoe in the parking lot. Good luck, I suppose, unless the luck is all rusted out of it.

I ate some corn on the cob roasted in its husk at Bubba's Big Red Barn or some such place. It was wonderful! I didn't eat a cinnamon roll this time because I just made a batch yesterday, and I think I've gotten it down to where my homemade ones are better.

: Oh, I almost forgot to mention that I finally found a US flag to buy. At the Havana House Cigarette Cigarette Outlet! I have a pole and bracket for it that Rachel and I bought at Beverly's like two weeks ago, but nobody has had flags. I do own an Argentina flag (courtesy of DH's missionary days) and a Korea flag (they were giving them out at the closing ceremony of the 1984 Olympics) but I don't think it would "fly" to hang one of those out. As soon as my backhoe and tractor guys are finished stirring up dirt in the front yard I guess I'll climb up and mount that bracket. I also got a little stars and stripes grosgrain ribbon cockade at the Democratic Party booth at the county fair. It has a little label that says Proud to be an American and a Democrat. They were giving them away to any woman who is a registered Democrat. I don't know what they were giving to men. I'm just so patriotic!

: Today was a very bad terrible horrible miserable awful no good day. First thing that happened was a friend woke me up banging on my bedroom window because I didn't answer the door. (It was early! She was unannounced! I was asleep!) Then I stepped out on the porch to get the newspaper-- not dressed, no shower, no breakfast, no glasses on, no medicine, had to go to the bathroom, no shoes-- and she reached behind me and slammed the door shut. Whaddya go and do that for? She sez her husband doesn't like the front door to be open. Well excuuuuuse me, it's not HIS front door. So I spent all morning half dressed running around this town while she found a locksmith. He couldn't pick the lock and had to ruin the doorknob drilling holes in it.

Meanwhile, guess who didn't show up to work on the yard. The tractor guys. I couldn't go get Gretel from the vet-- locked out, no money, no car keys, no leash, no pet bed to put her in. By the time I got back in my house of course they were closed for surgery and I had to wait until afternoon. Finally when I did go to get her, I was still out of it and shaking from medicine schedule being messed up and I accidentally shut my finger in the vet hospital door. Now it's blue and throbbing and I'll probably lose a nail.

Then my home teacher was supposed to come at 6 p.m. and I fixed a wonderful dinner, per his request. Chicken Enchilada casserole from scratch, even homemade broth in the sauce. Spanish rice. He never showed up, and I can't unload my pickup (full of mulch) by myself because the pain in my elbows is too much. [I was packed in ice in bed when I got locked out of the house, but then I was locked away from the ice packs!]

Also, I was supposed to take Sara Langley to lunch for her birthday but she had to work and cancelled. The rest of the day I spent installing software on Rachel's new computer, and we all know just how fun that is. Plus I kept having to interrupt myself while doing it because I was making that fancy dinner that nobody came to eat and now I'm stuck with a big pile of food. Bleah. Couldn't find anyone who hadn't eaten yet to come help me eat it. Gretel won't eat and appears to be in pain. Well, no wonder.

The one bright spot of my day was Marlene's afternoon visit. Except even during her visit, the mail came and I got not one, but TWO!!! nasty letters from the bank. They have put a hold on my account for the amount of my disability insurance check until it clears. Up theirs.

I'd take a shower now, but what if someone else comes to the door, finding it open? I'll have to put a new doorknob on. I'd give up and go to bed but I have papers to grade and someone would probably just wake me up again.

Actually, another bright spot. I saw Sam, one of last year's students, at the vet. I was so ratty and unshowered and scragglyhaired he didn't recognize me at first, but he looked good and says he's doing well. He's a big Senior now, polite enough not to tell me I looked like death warmed over. Oh. And I smell like dog vomit.

: Below is the text of the response I sent the editors of this scandal sheet re the referenced article.

http://www.meridianmagazine.com/breakingnews/011004assault.html I really resent the rhetorical tone of this article, as well as the assumption that every single time some lawmakers try to pick up the slack left by the deterioration of the traditional family they are "attacking the family." Most children (in case you don't live in the real world) don't even have a family, or parents who even feed them breakfast in the morning, let alone who teach them morals. Some of these fundamentalist LDS seem to think that if only they could impose their values on everyone, all the world's evils would instantly be solved. Got an announcement: that was Satan's plan too.

I was just getting quite ticked at Governor Davis for his bungling of California's energy crisis, but you can bet he is going to get a call from me now-- in SUPPORT of every one of these bills. I'm going back into his corner, where I'm going to stay (allegorically) until the Affirmation people or the PFLAG people, or whoever it may be drag me out to go support their cause in the next and nearest available Gay Pride Parade, where on one side I will hold the hand of my gay brother while with the other hand I will wave my temple recommend and a large poster of my high school students, who unfortunately know more about sex,drugs, parental abdication of responsibility, and every other societal evil than I ever hoped to know.

Frances Whitney

: Wheee! The tractor guys are done. They ripped out the old dead lawn (thatch was about 6 inches thick!) and scraped and leveled the yard, blending in thetruckload of steer manure the missionaries spread for me. They yanked out the old nonfunctional) sprinkler system, which was patched together with-- can you believe it?--- electrical conduit. Bzzzzzt. They piled all the extra dirt (from fishpond and sidewalk excavation that the YM did) into nicely shaped landscape mounds and placed my new granite boulders thereon. They also hauled off a dump truck load of junque from the back yard.

I think I'm almost finished with throwing away junk, trash, and underbrush now. I'm still cleaning up after the roofers, but just little stuff-- nails, staples, bits of lath and shingle.

When Bro. Romo came to do the job earlier in the week he brought his little Bobcat tractor, and the poor thing just bounced off the earth, it was so packed. So went back home and got his giant backhoe, and today he brought the backhoe back and also his big bulldozer/loader/scraper thingy. It was just like that children's road construction video in our yard all day! I have never seen so much traffic on our street. We've been like a sideshow, with gawkers, lookers, and advice givers. The project has been especially popular with the elementary school children who walk past her on their way home. One little boy told me, "This sure is COOL!" (I think so too, but then I'm Lew Whitney's granddaughter!)

Even deep down, the dirt is just like fine talcum powder, straight out of the desert. Despite the obvious burial of mummies and plastic bags and pieces of old shag carpeting, the land is practically sterile. I have not yet found a single earthworm in my yard. No, not one. You would think that land that would support cockroaches would support worms, wouldn't you. Well, that's gonna change. I've been faithfully blending kitchen scraps in the blender and dumping them out there, and I got 25 bags of mix & mulch from the nursery, along with three more bags of cocoa hulls (so we can smell like chocolate.)

I have a call in to Bro. Alvarez, who owes me some work, but haven't reached him yet. I have the pipe all ready for him to trench for new sprinklers. We may survive this project yet.

: I collapsed all day yesterday. Went this morning and taught my class, and then came home and collapsed some more, reading the Garrison Kiellor novel my darling son sent me. Autographed, to me! no less. I need to get out and work in the yard and also bathe Gretel, but I'm plum tuckered out.

I took pictures of Erika Orr and Adam, her boyfriend, for their wedding invitations, and today I took the roll of film to be developed. I certainly hope they turn out okay.

: Today I went to get my bloodwork done and the line at the lab was clear out the door, so I skipped it. I went to Pioneer Hardware to exchange a bolt I bought to try to repair my desk chair, and visited with Richard Porter, from our old ward, who was there picking up a tool he had special ordered.

Then, I went and taught my class and was observed by Hillary Neumeister, and we planned an in-class baby shower for a student who is expecting a baby on December 3, the day of the first phase of the writing proficiency exam. (She will need to cross her legs.)

After class, another student interviewed me about teaching careers for her counseling class-- I suspect about the 50th time I've been interviewed by a student clutching this questionnaire over the last decade and a half. Then I met Cindy-- uh-- Shepherd uh-- Hare -- uh-- Rock -- uh -- Hubbell, anyhow, Cindy, for lunch in the faculty lunchroom. Cashew chicken salad not to be recommended, but we had a nice visit. Tim, a PE teacher who plays trumpet in the band with me, was there too, as was Susan McQuerrey.

I am busy prewashing flannel to make nursing nightgowns for all the baby showers coming up in my life. It's a nice gift I can put together for not a lot of money.

Drat. I got a letter from the high school district saying they want me to send them a check for $478.38 to cover the expense of my insurance coverage for September and October. I sure hope this isn't going to be a regular expense. I don't know how I'm going to pay it.

Plus, the dishwasher has broken. It's only 8 months old! I suspect the dishwasher knew all my kids were going to be home this weekend, and in the ineffable way of appliances, it decided that this is a good time to take a vacation. I got an appliance repair guy to come yesterday and he spent all day and couldn't fix it. He's coming back in the morning. I sure hope he doesn't charge by the hour for all his hopeless hours.

Other news in the mail-- a wedding invitation from Joel Ellsworth.

: I got my bloodwork done today. There was only one person in line ahead of me, and then a cashier came back and opened up another station so I went over there. Thirty seconds later, there was a line of people behind me clear out the door. Talk about luck! I visited with the office manager about billing problems with the send-out lab, and why I have gotten EOB from my insurance company but not a statement from the alternative send out lab they have been using since I made such a fuss about the incompetence of the old one. Folks, it does do some good to file complaints with the Better Business Bureau!

After blood I spent the day cutting out jammies and directing the electrical work Andy Smith is finishing for me (I already paid him for it months ago) and wishing... and... hoping.... and wishing.... and hoping.... the dishwasher repair guy would enter my life again. I called and the girl in the office had nary a word to say in my behalf. If I don't hear from them tomorrow, I'm going to call Mike James and weep.

Marlene Bursell spent the afternoon with us, talking shop with Susie and letting me pack her torn achilles tendon in ice. We are quite the pair, Marlene and I, with her ice on the foot and my ice on the elbow. Gretel and I got stopped twice on our afternoon walk so people could tell her how beautiful she is. The kids say she is better behaved than she was-- good. I'm glad they notice and I hope it's really true that she's learning how to be a good doggie. She was banished to Outer Darkness while the electrician was here because of the way she kept trying to help him.

My children are all home, Rachel just having arrived. Susie and Leonard and I played Clue (I won one and Leonard won one) and Scrabble (Leonard won, as usual, but I came closer to beating him than I ever have. I mean since he was a three year old genius or so.)

: Today after class I went to White Forest Nursery and picked up a brachychiton, three coast redwoods, two trumpet vines, a pink jasimine, a lemon, a grapefruit, a navel orange, and a Valencia orange. Then Gretel and I went back and we got a load of mulch. I spent the afternoon putting sprinkler pipe in the trenches my kids (mostly Leonard!) dug for me. The neighbor says she thinks it's going to look better than the cactus. (Ya think so?) My email is not working and Inreach says they don't know when it will be back. I can receive but not send. Oh well.

: Here is my questionnaire for the Iron Rod Group. 1. What kind of things do you have in and on your bedside table? Right now? Lamp, alarm clock, water glass (on a doily crocheted by my friend Nancy) a "Blue Elf" aloe (NOT aloe vera) plant in a small Chinese pot, picture frame with my kids in it, dispenser full of Mary Kay Hydrating Hand and Body Lotion, a bottle of itch gel and a tube of itch cream (black widow bites), a pattern for men's pajamas, size XL, Tad Callister's book on the Atonement, a dog biscuit, and a key that I don't know where it goes.

2. Describe autumn in your area of the world. My favorite season. All the roses (not mine; I don't have any... yet...) are again going full blast, the weather has cooled off (mid-70s now), but the leaves haven't fallen yet. My yard is entirely dug up ready for sprinkler pipes and fall planting. I hauled home three coast redwoods, a brachychiton, four citrus, a jasminium polyanthum, and two campsis radicans from the nursery this afternoon. In addition,I have three hydrangeas, two clemantis, a huckleberry, a daylily, a crocus collection (100 bulbs)! and a "daffodil grab bag" (50 bulbs!) that came in the mail on Saturday sitting in the dining room and six lycoris of various genera in the refrigerator.

3. If you were a season which one would you be? I suppose again autumn-- cf. Shakespeare's Sonnet LXXIII.

4. Do you decorate the fall season/holidays in your home? If so, how? I have a pumpkin (uncarved) plopped on my doorstep. The kids bought it when they came to visit me this weekend. I used to have a door wreath that I could change with the holidays, and last year it had been on Labor Day through the holidays and the entire year until the NEXT Christmas, whereupon it stayed Christmas until Easter and I took it down and threw it away. I'm a pretty busy person.

5. What volunteer or service experiences have you had lately? Uhhh... my first meeting as a member of the Ward Scout Committee was last night. Zehr interesante.

6. Are you fearful of world conditions right now? Nope. Armageddon... bring it on!

: Yesterday, I ran all the pipe for the sprinkler systems in the front and side yards and installed my antique crusher chain on posts around the curve at the northeast corner of the yard. I also sold my red truck to Marlene and Chuck Bursell. (I'm sad, sad, sad to see it go.)

I attended a baby shower for Michelle (Cumberworth) Calderon, but had to give her an IOU for the nightgown I am making her since my hands were too sore to sew. By the end of the day that I had to take one of the pain pills Dr. Patel gave me after my hysterectomy. I never took even one of them, post surgery, but my elbow is in such agony I couldn't sleep. Just for the record, how badly does my arm hurt? As bad as a broken bone. As a matter of fact, I've never taken painkillers for broken bones, either, or for childbirth, but boy I needed it last night.

Today I had lunch after class with Hillary Neumeister and then I bought a different kind of elbow brace and another [different kind of] tendon pressurizer at Big 5. (Now, doesn't that sound like some sort of Adolph's one would sprinkle on a pot roast?)

Marlene and Chuck came over to get the truck and we did the DMV stuff and changed the license plates over. I retained my BYU Alumni frame, but it is really thrashed. Truth be told, the license plates are thrashed too, but oh well. I baked some brownies to take to the Boy Scouts tonight but I burned them. (Drat-- I was baking a pan for me too!) Axeman came to visit me, bringing his lovely niece Lisa instead of Edward, and then I went to the Scout troop meeting to do a merit badge clinic in environmental science. Seven boys were in attendance: Davin Amundsen, Joey Nations, Joseph DeLuna, Joe Cumberworth, Travis Whitten, Curtis Smith, and Matt Mitchell. We did three of the requirements and I made them commit to goals for all the others. This, I am pleased to report, I did without pulling any teeth although I thought at times I would have to. They are to bring me a recycling survey by Sunday and a report on an endangered species by next week; then, some other time I will do the oil spill lab with them. The habitat study I think they will need to do on a campout, so maybe I can talk the Scoutmaster into letting me and Gretel come camping with them. Ya think? I believe the particulate lab, the soil erosion study, and the ecosystem they can do at home, but I suspect I'll have to ride some of them to get it done. Matthew claims he did all this in third grade, and I'm sure he did, but if he can't produce his work, he is going to have to do another report. Travis sez he already has this merit badge. Yeah, right. Like he already had his Gospel in Action Award and already had been baptized. Then he's been granted early admission to MIT, too. I've been THERE before. Working with these Boy Scouts, I wonder how I survived teaching junior high all those years. Well, they are a cute group, and they should be allowed to blow off a little steam at Scouts.

The book I ordered for tomorrow night's book discussion from Amazon.com has not arrived. Supposedly it was shipped long ago. It's Joseph Ellis's The Founding Brothers, and rumor has it that it reads like a textbook, not like a novel. That's okay... I don't read that many novels anyhow, but it looks like I won't read this book at all for the discussion because it didn't come today. Karen Nations phoned me in a panic wanting discussion suggestions, but I couldn't help her because of no book. I suggested we just discuss a little, consume something chocolate, and continue the same book for next month.

Also tonight I hugged Karen Olson and we talked at some length about how her (deceased) son Trevor must be feeling about Barry Bonds's home run record. I wonder how that works, in the next life? Surely he would be allowed just a little peek at the Giants, if only because his hero is doing so well. The Giants, as the world knows, and as Justin, the other alto sax player keeps reminding me, dropped out of playoff contention long ago, and I am highly disappointed. Hillary is getting out her old Yankees shirt, so I had to stick my tongue out at her.

: I spent all day on the yard, testing pipe for leaks and filling in trenches. I am almost finished leveling the area I've been calling "Japanese Garden. " It's probably going to turn out to be more a Mediterranean Courtyard garden, what with this climate zone and all. I transplanted the weeping crabapple to the corner, planted the brachychiton, and rigged the lattices so that they can't blow or tip over. (Using framing clips and a 10 foot length of pressure treated 4X6, which features a caution label that says the State of California knows this product has arsenic in it.) Well, nobody better go out there and chew on the top of the block wall! I planted the clemantis against the lattice, but they are only tiny sprouts right now. I think I have finally gotten the front porch fountain to work, but I need to go to Pioneer in the morning to get more hose clamps por las dudas. My arm is just killing me.

: Today I spread mulch, etc., etc., and gave up and went to Home Depot and bought myself a little mini-tiller. It's very lightweight and should be easy to use. The box even claims it's easy! However, like many other things, assembly required.

I called Parks and complained about my order. When I redid the landscape on San Emidio, they didn't send my irises and explained to me that they always ship to the cold winter areas of the nation first. So, while they were shipping to the cold winter areas, they were using up their inventory and I kept getting little postcards in the mail saying such-and-so-variety is out of stock. Today when I opened my Parks order, I had one lousy iris and the rest backordered. I told the customer service rep that I don't think it's fair that I should be penalized for living in California, especially since I placed my order in July! She said, "Well, it works both ways because the same thing happens to people in Vermont in the springtime!" I expressed my displeasure with that marketing strategy and she flagged my iris order to be shipped out on Monday.

I went to Dr. Amin and my viral load is down again. He took x-rays of both of my arms to see why I'm in pain. Not broken, not significant arthritis, so it must be a tendon injury. He said to put warm packs on it, and here I've been using ice for months. After Dr. Amin I went to Michaels and JoAnns to take advantage of sales of certain holiday decor items. I'm going to make stockings and a tree skirt out of the scraps from the upholstery.

: I am just beat. I took a look at the tiller and decided machines of that ilk should be left to folks with a Y chromosomes, so I took it back yesterday and bought a spading fork and a prong cultivator instead. With which I did half of the front yard. I planted redwood trees, hydrangeas, and various bulbs. Then I drowned the whole thing, using a portable sprinkler and a hose, since Mike James hasn't made it over to connect the sprinkler plumbing yet. The trees look good.

I didn't go to play saxophone at the football game last night because of my arm, but I read in the paper that we won. I did stay up until 1 a.m. grading all my papers; fortunately, it is the time change and so I gained an hour. It seems such a pity to gain an hour and use it grading papers.

I came home from church after Sacrament Meeting and took a very long nap, and now I am sorry because the house fairies didn't clean it while I was sleeping. Did I mention we have lots of mud tracked in?

I bought a different kind of betta food at CLS and they just love it. They really turn into sharks when they see me coming past their bowls. Also at CLS, I bought a sort of mouse/hamster/guinea pig replication that has a vibrating mechanism it it. You pull its little tail out and it sits and chitters, supposedly making life exciting for your cat. Well, my cats are very blase and it takes a lot more than a chittering fake fur blob to get them interested. They can't be bothered even with real rodents. Such pillow denters. However, Gretel found it and was carrying it around in her mouth, so it occurred to me that I could pull the tail and make it chitter while she had it in her mouth, and that would bring some excitement into the household. It did.

: "It's been a quiet day in " Baketown. I cleaned house some in the a.m., then went and taught my class. My order came in from Wanda Boardman's Pampered Chef party. Yay! No more struggling with a half-melted egg separator. The PC one is metal and won't "travel" in the dishwasher. (IF I ever have a dishwasher again--no word from Mike James!) The citrus peeler is exactly like the one you win free at Tupperware parties. It's a racket, I tell you. The frosting spreader came with a recipe for butter pecan fudge, which I gave to Wanda and Midge Ladd, since they seemed interested in making it and I am not.

After work I went by Henley's to pick up my repaired camera flash and was waited upon by the Head Cheese himself, who slashed my repair bill in half. Whattaguy. Then I visited with Jill Langley. I took her a set of the Christmas ornaments I made and I petted Bartholomew, who sat on me and purred and purred.

Came home and fell apart the rest of the afternoon. I don't know why I'm so tired-- perhaps the pain killers are wiping me out still. I am back to cleaning house now. It looks like rain--the first of the season.

: Strange day. The person I sold the red truck to rolled it. Bye bye red truck.

I spent most of the day cleaning the house because it was raining--the first storm of the season. Gretel had no idea what to do! She was freaked.

I knew I was in trouble when Robert Harmon called me to arrange for the Bishop to visit me tonight. He wants me to be Ward Activities Chairperson. Aaaaack! Aaaaack! Christmas party coming up on December 14.

: I've had a lot of trick or treaters so far. I've been through four bags of Snickers bars. My first one was little Peter Handy, dressed as Bam-Bam, who came over to my neighborhood especially to see me. I went as Mary Kay with Pink Hair to work and to Tarjiay today, but ditched the costume this afternoon because I was itchy, and now I'm wearing sweats. That's even scarier. Rachel bought a Dracula costume for the Gretel, and she was helping me answer the door for a while until she got the idea that the kids had c-a-n-d-y in the bags and I had to put her in the back yard. I don't have any decorations up or anything, but I'm having a good time grading papers and answering the door. I missed all this when I lived in the country; I'm glad I don't live there anymore.

: We had a very interesting discussion in class about the grammatical implications of the difference between the imperfect tense in Spanish and the present perfect tense in English.

When I was in college, there were reference books for sale in the bookstore: 501 Spanish Verbs, Fully Conjugated In All The Tenses! 501 French Verbs, Fully Conjugated In All The Tenses! 501 German Verbs, Fully Conjugated In All The Tenses! If one were not sure of the conjugation, one could look it up before using it in one's term paper. There is no English equivalent reference book, but it occurs to me that one would be a nice security blanket for ESL students.

Bakersfield College is no longer going to have ESL students, instead; they will be known by some tongue twisting and very forgettable acronym which supposedly will be more PC.

: Some of the kids who came trick or treating -- the same ones who smashed my pumpkin-- were eating pomegranites, which they said they had obtained "from a tree." I wish I had a pomegranite. It occurs to me that I know where a tree is, hanging over a fence into the back alley. Maybe I'll take the dog for a walk and go liberate one, unless it's the very tree those kids already raided.

There is evidence of ancient folklore that Eve ate a pomegranite in the Garden of Eden, not an apple. Probably unbeknownst to the Church filmmakers, who nevertheless picked a pomegranite tree for the starring role in the temple film [but glued plastic fruit to it.] I'm talking about the old temple film that they don't show anymore, not the current one, which is a vast improvement, though nowadays the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil is played by an actor pertaining to the genus Malus. Shrubbery, shrubbery. So many of our beliefs are culturally filtered.

Jabberwocky for 2001 October

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© 2001-2006 Frances Whitney.