Jabberwocky for 2004

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: Me: I hope Leonard and Jeff stay together forever and ever, until they become silly old men.

Rachel: They already are silly old men.

[Comments] (2) : I am back from the hinterlands. It was a hard trip, and I felt like I was a real dud as far as companionship goes. I was feeling lousy the whole time--so punk I didn't even want to go into campaign HQ with Leonard to meet the folks.

The first day we drove to Tucson. We ate at a Taco Bell in Palm Desert and Rachel got food poisoning there, so we both spent the night retching. The next day Rachel was basically passed out. I drove to Fort Stockton. I stopped at a wayside restaurant in New Mexico to eat steak--it was good, but NOT rare. Not even medium. I saved the last of it to share with Mitch, only to find out when we arrived in SA that Mitch had been given away, so I gave it to Sadie. Rachel slept in the car while I ate. In Fort Stockton, we had a light supper at a random diner--urrrrk.

The next day, to San Antonio. We ate at a Subway. Urrrrk. I was glad to get to Anne's house, to see everyone, and to crawl into bed. I felt like a real party pooper though. For New Years Eve, Rachel and I went to see LOTR with Joseph and Dave. I enjoyed it, but I think I liked the second movie better.

We thought we had locked the car keys in the trunk, so by midnight I was waiting for the AAA locksmith to some. They say that what you do on New Years Eve sets the stage for the next year to come. I hope not! Just as the AAA guy pulled up, Rachel found the keys. Whew. That saved me $200. Rachel had lost her glasses also, and we spent our time in San Antonio looking for them. At the last minute, Dave found them. Whew! That saved me another $200. Gosh, I'm getting rich!

I would have liked to go to the zoo with Atticus and Samuel, but Anne didn't seem to have anything planned and I wasn't feeling well enough to mobilize against the inertia, so we didn't do anything. We did have cioppino for dinner on New Years, and Anne's friend Ben and also Gayla and Sarah Scoll were there. It was pretty good, and stayed down. Cioppino is a traditional Whitney family celebration meal. I have actually never made it because my mother made it when we all got together when I brought Roy up to meet the family and he about had a fit. He had a fit before he ever tasted it; in fact, I believe he never even tried it. I never met someone who had a problem with fish like he did.

Kristen and Aaron were in kind of a jam for care of their dog, Sadie, as Anne says she can't keep her any more. I told them she can come live with me and play with Gretel. So Sadie went back to Utah with the Smiths and I'm going to need to drive up to get her.

From San Antonio we drove to Houston and visited Charlie and Nancy Schile. On the way there we ate at a Dennys. Urrrk. Charlie looks good and his new kidney is working well. I took all my quilting stuff to Nancy since I don't think I have enough time left in life to do it all. I'm going to devote my life to genealogy. Nancy was acting just like it was Christmas morning. Charlie went out and got some Vietnamese chicken noodle soup for dinner, which made me feel some better.

In the morning we drove to Little Rock. We had a bowl of wonton soup at a doubtful looking place in Nacodogches. I was expecting a bowl of broth with two floating wontons, but it had all kinds of veggies, shrimp, meatballs--it was a lovely meal for $3.75. We were starting to feel as though we had spent an eternity in Texas, and boy did we whoop and holler as we crossed the state line! I never thought I'd be excited to see Arkansas! I had wanted to stop in Hope and get a picture of me by the sign of Pres. Clinton's birthplace, but it was dark by the time we got there. What an ordeal the whole trip was--this country is b-i-g! We met Leonard at our motel, went out for dinner (I had more Vietnamese soup) and then we crawled into bed. In the morning we dragged out and caught the shuttle to the airport. The flight was long and a big ordeal, and our flight out of Las Vegas was 45 minutes late in taking off so we missed the airport bus and had to take the next one home. Home! I was so glad to see it.

Click those old red shoes! There is NO PLACE like home!

[Comments] (3) : Woohoo! Today's Newsweek says that General Clark's Internet operation is "impressively savvy."

[Comments] (1) : Today, in the cold grey hours before dawn, Xochitl hunted down a wet sponge and brought it to bed. I kept wondering what all the dampness was.

[Comments] (1) : I spent a couple of hours on genealogy tonight and made it through the Burgundy family on my printout. This was a big merging job because many lines go back to the French Burgundian royalty. I am glad to be finished with them and almost to the Cs.

It occurrs to me that the lucky ones are the folks who are new to family history who start with a clear slate, instead of folks like me who have to try to make sense of generations of other people's mistakes. Sometimes I feel like I'm just slogging along in it, but if the cleanup waits another generation it will be an even bigger mess. I think I mentioned before: it takes me about a half hour to check a page. The printout is over 800 pages. I'll be doing this for a while.

[Comments] (4) : Dr. Amin said he presented my case at a conference for infectious disease specialits in San Francisco in December and the doctors there couldn't believe I'm still alive. But I still am. Viral load through the roof, and only one T-Cell, but I got out of bed this morning!

I hope it argues something for not being a wimp.

Getting ready to start more genealogy. There are five more pages of B surnames.

: Bleary eyed and stiff, I made it through checking and merging the Byzantine Empire, and am now working on a bunch of Welsh names that start with the letter C. Coming up, someone I would like to know more about: Anna Cakebread.

I had to go over to the church and download a some more files tonight because there was a hole in one of the lines. Turns out it was a B-I-G hole--about a thousand people.

[Comments] (4) : I have started a batch of sourdough French bread. I'm going to make it into little mini-bowls for soup. I'll eat one today and put the rest in the freezer. I don't know why it never occurred to me to do that before. Right now it is rising and the house smells good!

[Comments] (2) : Leonard's Wired arrived, so I read it hoping it would induce somnolence. It induced annoyance. I just hate it when magazines fill themselves with advertising postcards and other non-standard sized pages full of non-editorial copy, and Wired appears to be the queen of origami.

There are gardening magazines I quit subscribing to because of this problem, so beware, Wired.

: Tonks is too fat. Way too fat. He's having trouble getting through the kitty door; he has to squirm. What a knothead.

: I am reading The Blind Watchmaker. An interesting part is the chapter on bat echolocation, where Dawkins says that a human perceivs a bat's face as a grotesque mask, while actually what it is is an ideal instrument for sending and receiving sonar.I think all humans need to cultivate the ability to view the world without screening it through our own chauvenistic prejudices. Probably the bats think we are ugly too.

: I pruned the catmint (which none of the cats seem to like) and the Mexican sage and that was all I had energy for. Fortunately that filled the green bin, so I had an excuse to quit. I hadn't realized just to what an extent that bout with the flu had taken the starch out of me, and I'm starting today on a little program to rebuild strength.

As I was trimming the salvia I found a preying mantis egg case on one of the branches, to my consternation AFTER I had cut said branch off. I trimmed it up and stuck the stick upright in the dirt by one of the granite boulders. I hope the little guys find that condition satisfactory for finishing their incubation.

: Yippee! Madonna has endorsed Clark! I really like her letter. I tried to link to Madonna's website, but couldn't figure it out so here is the text of her letter from Fox News /a>

[Comments] (1) : I'm trying to determine a way to doctor up Mr. Campbell's tomato soup. I thought of Angostura bitters, Tabasco, lemon juice, cooking sherry.... tried the former, but it didn't make enough of a flavor difference to be worth it. I wish I could remember how Dorothy Hall did it, and Aunt Jeuney isn't here so I can ask her!

A recipe search on the Web reveals some rather strange things, including Tomato-Oatmeal Soup (???) and a recipe that makes two gallons of the stuff.

: Today started out very slowly. I put on my dress. It was backwards. I took it off, turned it around, put it on again. It was still backwards. yesindeedydoo, a slow morning. Made slower by the fact that I have to wrestle with tubes when changing clothes. I wonder, if I had worn my dress backwards to church, would anyone have noticed? Would they have said anything?

Probably I've been backwards all these years and nobody has thought to remind me.

: I picked up a Charlotte Bronte novel I had never read before--had barely heard of. Shirley. In the first few pages, Bronte warns us not to expect a love story, and we don't get one--it's about workers in woolen mills, the villages, the mill owners, and the Industrial Revolution. I wonder why it's not more widely taught?

I think if I were one of the people who teach Eng. 1A I might use something like this for one of the novels and do a semester on social responsibility.

[Comments] (2) : Molly Ivins is one of my heroes.

[Comments] (2) : I pulled a bunch of weeds, but there are still many more to go, if anyone feels like coming to help me.

This afternoon I'm going to experimentally try going to a movie by myself. I've tried going out to eat and to the fair. The going out to eat alone is no fun at all, but I did okay at the county fair, so maybe a movie... we shall see. I think I will go to watch Calendar Girls .

[Comments] (3) : Back from the movies. I enjoyed it, even by myself. I didn't buy Coke or popcorn or anything because I am trying to save money. I did find a bagette of Southwest Airlines peanuts in my jacket pocket. There were only old couples at the cheap matinee, and one pair of older ladies.

So I think I'll go more often, without relying on a friend to go with me. I can get three movies out of the gift certificates Susie and John gave me for Christmas. What a brilliant gift!

The ladies' church group in the movie was sooooo much like Enrichment Night!

[Comments] (1) : The Bakersfield Californian is having a "Fattest Cat in Town" contest. Ahurhk.

[Comments] (2) : In conjunction with my determination to do a bunch of Round Tuits, I went to Sears to order new glasses. They are having a 50% off sale. I ordered new glasses and sunglasses with a new prescription. The optician couldn't read Dr. Freeman's writing on the prescription, so she called his office, and whomever she talked to didn't have two brain cells to rub together. So we are waiting for a call back from them. I hope I get my new glasses soon.

I also stopped by Target to buy toilet paper and cleaning supplies. This old geezer was staring at me as I loaded my cart with 48 double rolls of TP. What, geezer, nobody at your house uses this stuff?

There was a paid signature gatherer out front who was the most ill-informed human I've ever met. (and I'm a remedial teacher, so you know I've met a few!) He wanted me to sign one that he told me was about (nearly as directly quoted as I can remember) "There are all these doctors who don't know what to do with themselves, and this initiative gives them money to do research so they have something to do with their time." I told him I didn't think that was a worthy idea. Then I read the statute--it was for stem cell research. Well that kind of changes the perspective. There were about six other initiatives. Some of them I refused to sign, and I would have told him the reasons, but he wasn't capable of listening.

I wonder what makes a person so stoopid? Drugs? Poor nutrition? Lack of stimulating environment? Plain old mulishness?

[Comments] (6) : Jonathan says Alyssa is getting married in the Salt Lake Temple on Friday, February 13. Friday the 13th, yeah, that's about right. I spent quite a while talking to him on the phone today.

In just a few minutes I need to pack up my crock pot dinner and pick up Ernestine Boonstoppel to go to Guilt and Lies Meeting. It's going to be about time managment, and I have been promised (threatened?) that we will be divided into groups and made to participate. Rawr rawr rawr.

: Knock me down and pick me back up: I received a letter today from someone from elementary school.

: I am still reading Shirley. I'm almost through it though. Because it is set in Yorkshire, I wanted to go see Calendar Girls again to listen to the people and see the scenery. So Rachel and I went after her eye doctor appointment. Post-movie, we picked up some Japanese tempura for me and In-n-Out for Rachel and Gretel. It was good but I threw it up. I saved half of it for lunch today, and it was good today. I wish I had saved all of it. Today I'm making us a meatloaf and baked potato.

: Today I ventured out into the world and bought vaccuum cleaner bags and a new paper shredder. Luckily they had the cheap $10 kind of paper shredder, the kind that comes with no wastebasket. I like that kind best. Then I wanted to pick up some more Japanese tempura to see if it would stay down, so I went to Wasabi Express, and they are closed Mondays. Undaunted, I went to Tokyo Garden. They are also closed Mondays. By that time I was getting hungry so I drove through Long John Silver's and got some fish & chips. Mistake.

[Comments] (3) : I forgot to tell about the anole lizzard when I wrote about our trip to Arkansas. On New Years Day, Aaron and Atticus caught a little anole lizzard and hung him from Alyson's ear. He was hanging on very tightly, clamped to her earlobe by his teeny tiny teeth.

I felt very bad to be laughing and thinking it was funny because I knew the poor little thing must be terrified. Atticus was jumping up and down and yelling, "Papa! Papa! There is a lizzard on mommy's ear!"

It was difficult to get the lizzard off Alyson's ear because he was holding on for dear life. Eventually Aaron pried his jaw loose, using the stick from a discarded bottle rocket. This is good practice for when Aaron is a dentist.

[Comments] (3) : I went to Home Depot and bought a For Sale by Owner sign, to which I fastened my Clark yard signs. Gretel went out with me to put it up in the front yard. So far, the house hasn't been egged.

[Comments] (4) : Postscript: When Gretel and I left the house to go for a ride in the car, the neighbor came over and asked where she could get a Clark sign. Luckily I have an extra one to give her. I'll set her up with a bumper sticker too.

: Stephanie Hale sent me this little thought:

Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in one pretty and well - preserved piece ... but to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, worn out and defiantly shouting "Wow what a ride!"-- Author Unknown

[Comments] (1) : I explored the possibility of having Gretel take doggie Prozac with Dr. Reno. He says it's expensive and doesn't always work and she will grow out of the anxious behavior. Someday. Eventually. We hope.

The anxious behavior was at its peak this morning because she got left at the vet to have a bath and her nails clipped. Poor Baby. The cats have been worried this morning too. Xochitl keeps crying and I don't know what she wants. I was wondering if there was an earthquake, but the nearest one today was in Coso Junction. I'm on the alert.

: More Round Tuits: Today I weeded out all my bookcases and took a laundry basket full of books to the donation box for Friends of the Library. All the shelves are nice and loose now. The trick here is every book I took over there is probably a book I would have bought at a used book sale if I saw it there! I better stay away from the book sale (starts tomorrow) or I just might buy some of them back! (and don't think THAT hasn't happened to me, because it has!)

[Comments] (2) : Today at Green Frog Market I bought a bag of oranges. When I got them home and opened the bag, they were grapefruit. I'm not supposed to eat grapefruit, but I am forming the opinion that fresh fruit is better for me than the drugs that grapefruit supposedly makes weaker.

I am all ready for school to start on Monday and looking forward to it. I like working. Last Tuesday I still had five openings in my 10:30 class, but by today the class was full.

[Comments] (1) : Sumana has been dreaming about pledging to KQED.

I have also been considering contributing to their miserable campaign drive. Not KQED, but KVPR. If I give them $75, they will give me a pair of tickets to the Bakersfield Symphony. Then they will send me junk mail for the rest of my earthly probation.

Hanging in the balance: Symphony v. junk mail

: I mostly did genealogy today. I was going to work some in the yard, and Gretel and I even went to White Forest and bought 25 strawberry plants, but then on the way home it started raining. It is raining still, for real now. They were glad to see Gretel at White Forest even though she banged a flowerpot planted with sedum with her tail and tipped it over. And walked in the dirt.

They have a job opening there.

I think I have figured out why this genealogy is such a mess. It's because names that were added by the extraction people just got dumped into the archives without being linked into pedigrees. So there are all these anomalous ancestors floating around.

[Comments] (1) : The first day of the new semester went well for me. I had thundering herds trying to add my 8 a.m. class. I added everyone who talked to me last November, and I think I will have a little raffle for three more places. That would give me a HUGE class, but I only had three no-shows. I dropped them immediately after class. One of them I didn't want anyway, having had him twice before. He never comes to class, and never listens when he does, and half the time he has disappeared and come to find out they took him to jail.

My 11 a.m. class has a lot of people in it too, most of whom are quite clueless. I signed an add slip for Mercedes, who works in the office at Chipman. I thought she looked very familiar when she walked in the door, but it took me about an hour to place her face in my mental file. I am glad to see she is coming to college and trying to make some progress in life.

There is also someone in the class named something like Moxisijsuy Vakrheyenenayask. She barely speaks English and only at a whisper.

Mark Handy's brother, Matt, is taking my English 60 class. He is a fireman taking college units on his days off. Some other teacher--I don't know who-- refused to add Matt because she said "You firemen are only here for salary advancement, not to learn." Hellooooo? Isn't that why everyone goes to college? Anyhow, I cannot imagine anyone who would take a composition class voluntarily to "learn". Except maybe the people who cut and burn their arms and the people like to be whipped by their sex partners and the people who drive British sports cars.

[Comments] (3) : I gave up on trying to call the phone number to update my Norton Anti-Virus subscription. That line has been busy for months! I went to CompUSA and bought a new Norton, 2004 version. There was a rebate for TurboTax in it, so I got it. In the TurboTax there was a rebate for TurboTax California, and also a rebate for Quicken 2004. I installed the Quicken, praying meanwhile for my data files from the old version. It converted them nicely. I don't know if I like the new software, however. It seems very "busy" visually.

I haven't installed the TurboTax yet.

It's raining here. Poor Gretel doesn't want to go out in it to pee. Last time it rained she held it for 15 hours.

A group of obnoxious parents is trying to ban Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye from high school classrooms in this district. I have signed a petition against their petition. The pro-book petition was written by Gloria Dumler. I was trying to think of who I know (Kern County residents) that would agree with me and sign the petition, and I could only come up with Jeannette and Rachel. Most of the people at church violently disagree with me on many political issues, so I just don't pursue any arguments with them. So I circulated the petition to Jeannette and Rachel and hope they know other people. The BC English Department wants everyone to go down to the KHSD board meeting and make a showing, but I am tired. I'm trying to do less, not more. I would just love to go to jail for picketing over a First Amendment issue, but not today, thank you.

I feel really irritated about the way these born-agains think they can dictate the curriculum that is taught to my child-- and that I teach in my classroom. Let them do their little homeschool thing if they want, and keep their religion and "values" and "morals" out of my classroom and away from my kid.

[Comments] (2) : Ouch! The line for the BC Bookstore comes out of the bookstore, down the hall, through the building, out the door, across the walkway, and clear across the quad!

Something is obviously wrong with their system. Students are having to spend forever just trying to get near enough to buy their books.

[Comments] (2) : I often hear from Marlene, on a mission with her husband Chuck. They are working at improving the facilities at a church camp in Washington. She sounds like she is having the time of her life.

[Comments] (2) : Today I went to check out Lassen's, the new natural foods grocery store. I had been thinking I wanted to start using free range chickens and cruelty-free eggs. (Jeff's influence over me I guess!) The chickens were $9. Ouch! I just couldn't bring myself to spend that kind of money on one chicken, half of which Gretel will probably eat anyhow. Then I went to Young's, and whole chickens were $7. Jeeezzzz.

[Comments] (1) : I've never followed a Presidential campaign so closely in my entire life. Of course, the stakes for our country are much, much higher this time. Every time I get scared and nervous for Clark, I remind myself that it's probably like trying out for Honor Band. The first year you try out, you have to realize that you probably won't make it. But you learn the ropes and what to expect, and the next year there are no rude surprises at the audition, and you're in!

: Karen Nations and I went to see the Book of Mormon Movie tonight. We sat with Noel and Emma Cruz, and it was good to see them. The movie was about as bad as they come--wooden writing, mediocre acting. Lehi and the angels were all particularly stiff, and some of the costumes were obviously made out of afghans and bedspreads. The actor who played Nephi, however, was hunky.

Before the movie, the "assistant production assistant" or somebody like that gave a speech in which she spoke of the "miracles" that happened during the filming. Then she tried to sell us the DVD, specially priced today only with a free soundtrack CD if you buy it tonight steprightupladiesandgentlemen! All in all, pretty cheesy.

: There is a woman at church who reminds me so much of me at her age--glowing with health and happiness, three little blonde stairstep kids, handsome husband. I feel like telling her to wake up and enjoy it, because before she knows it, it will all be..... gone.

: Cambria is still quaking. (Lookit all the fools who moved there for retirement; serves them right!) The Caltech site has a category of measurements of "quality" of earthquakes. I think that's a hilarious concept, to rank earthquakes for quality.

[Comments] (3) :
create your own visited country map My World Map! My State Map:
create your own visited states map

[Comments] (1) : I've been doing a "rough draft" of my federal taxes. Arrrrrrrrgggghhhh! I owe LOTS of money again this year! I absolutely HATE this. I went to Human Resources and filled out a new W-4 so that hopefully the problem won't occur again in 2004. I don't know why Mr. Bush thinks he has relieved America's tax burden. He certainly has done NOTHING for me.

: I am a little bit tiffed at my maps. I think the world map shouldn't show that I've been to Alaska (I wish!), and it shouldn't show all of Canada, when the truth is I've only been to British Columbia. And why won't it let me revise them?

[Comments] (1) : Follow Up: See I was right. In today's business section of the paper, there is a big article headlined "What Happened to the Tax Cuts?" It says that millions of Americans will have their taxes go up instead of down. Dumb George W. Bush.

I think that, as a nation, we have been had.

: Today's big headline is that the KHSD board has voted to keep the Toni Morrison novel in the classroom. Hooray! Strike one for religious freedom for The Rest of Us, and for the First Amendment, and for the critical thinking skills of the new generation.

The troublemaking parent who started the whole scandal is thinking of running for the school board though. That is a scary thought. I will have to campaign for her opponent. Especially if it's Wesley Crawford.

: A dependent clause worksheet had the sentence, "We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union." One of my students corrected this sentence by adding "will do anything it takes to make it perfect."

I thought that was sweet.

: I donated absolutely every cent I thought I could afford to sacrifice to the Clark campaign. I don't know if it will do any good, but perhaps it will send a message to the universe.

[Comments] (2) : Frances: Hey, Universe! All this stuff you loaded into my life really bites, ya know?

Universe: Huh? Did some little pipsqueak say something? Do I care?

: This morning I went to the post office and the grocery store, and when I came home I had to just keep on driving. The Jehovah's Witnesses were parked right in front of my house (taking up both parking spaces!) and they were clustered in a large group right there on the sidewalk. So I drove up and down Oleander Street for a while.

I think the last time I did this was the time LuJean and I came home from a movie and there was a momma skunk with her babies on our front porch.

I feel sorry for our missionaries. There is nothing I resent more than answering the door, and lo and behold, it's representatives from some other religion. I don't want to hear their message, and I have no intention of EVER joining their church, and I don't like feeling bad about it if it's a nice old lady or a little kid. I am always doing something important, no matter what time of day it is. I never have time to just sit and chew the fat with strangers who want to convert me. I am a busy person, and I try to stay productive. I'm sure a lot of people feel that way, and our poor missionaries!

I really don't mind if it's a knock on the door and it's our missionaries. Even though they usually want me to type something for them.

: I only did a little bit of yard work today. It is COLD! And I didn't feel all that great, so I went back to bed in the morning. In the afternoon, I went to lunch at the Tea Room with Kim Cornett, Karen Nations, and Karen Olson. We had a good time and sat at our table for forever. I bet they were glad to see us go! I ordered Hawaiian Chicken Salad, but brought it home for Gretel to eat. She did more justice to it than I was able to.

The daffodils are starting to come up and the crocus are blooming. I wish I could find someone to help me with the weeds who will do a decent job.

[Comments] (6) : Today in Relief Society they passed out petitions for the constitutional amendment to preserve the sanctity of marriage. I was really bothered: 1) we are told not to use church meeting for politics, 2) I'm not sure marriage is worth preserving (only partly a joke!) and 3) I think that is the dumbest excuse for a constitutional amendment I've seen in my life.

What? We couldn't get the Equal Rights Amendment ratified, so we're going to pass this nonsense into law?

When the stack of petitions came my way, I didn't take one. I thought I would be alone, but Sarah [Welch] Giorgis saw me and smiled. Then she didn't take one either! I'm not alone! Ernestine Boonstoppel, who was sitting by me, took one, but asked me to explain it to her after the meeting. She listened to my explanation (I tried to be neutral and fair) and then she said "Flubathththth."

: My hair spray smells like Robitussin. It's Clairol Herbal Essence, and I thought it would smell nice when I bought it. I can't for the life of me think why any marketing or development person would think it's a good idea to have hair spray that smells like cough syrup. I hope this is as close to Robitussin as I ever get again in my life, but in the meantime, I'm stuck for a long, long time because I don't have anyone using up the hairspray along with me.

Gretel was choking when I did my hair this morning.

[Comments] (3) : It's time to start packing for my drive to Utah. I will attend Alyssa's wedding, see my children and other family members, and bring little Sadie-dog back to her new home. I only have a stack of papers about 3 inches thick to take and grade over my vacation!

Today the newspaper published the results of the Fat Cat Contest. Tonks is still working on it. The winner weighed in at 33 pounds. Now THAT is a fat cat! I put Tonks on the bathroom scale to weigh him and he weighed in at 16. He was very confused by the procedure--dim bulb, you know. 16 pounds is still a pretty hefty kittycat. Bobocatmorn at his most glorious weighed seventeen.

[Comments] (3) : I am home from Youuutaaahhh, and survived the trip, even to the point of being able to drive all the way there and back myself. Ruth Davis went with me and we had fun talking. It was nice traveling with Ruth because she won't eat junk. I think I made it through healthier, although I was very tired. It was nice to see family at Alyssa's wedding and the next day at lunch. I took Camilla to a movie, and went over to play a game with Aaron and Kristen, Joe and Louise. Went to the scrapbook store with Susie.

Sadie was a good little dog all the way home, but she's kind of obnoxious to the cats now that she's here. I spent the day getting her settled in--new ID tags, fencing, and so on. I had thought I had some chicken wire, but couldn't find it, so we had to go to Home Depot. One roll wasn't quite enough to do all three gates, and I had to buy two. So now I have enough left to build a new screen for the crawl space someday. Keep the kitties out.

I made Stir Fry Chicken with Pineapple and Pecans for Leonard and Brendan. They arrived just about dinner time. I'm making Leonard take the leftovers home because I don't think it's going to stay down.

: The dogs are getting along wonderfully and playing nicely together. Only thing is, it's like being a nursery school teacher or a Campfire leader.

: When we go to the temple, everyone is dressed alike in white clothing. Everyone is equal, and it doesn't matter who in the world you are. This is the way it will be in heaven, and this is what our democratic society has been striving for these last couple of centuries.

Our great-grandmothers marched and fought and went to jail for female suffrage and abolition of slavery. Thousands have given their lives in defense of freedom and equality.

Now, some of the Christian Right is promoting this FederalMarriage Amendment. This is a huge step backwards, and the Constitution of the United States is going to be amended to mandate inequality based on biology over my dead body.

I went to the website to sign the "anti" petition; there were 557,573 signatures.

http://www.petitiononline.com%2F0712t001%2Fpetition.html

[Comments] (1) : I told one of my students this morning that I was going to come home and write about his triumph on my weblog, but I can't remember who it was or what he did that was so wonderful. I think he used a semicolon correctly.

English teachers have no life.

[Comments] (5) : Everyone on the Molly list is on a diet/fitness kick, and I mentioned that I've gotten so I'd rather eat a real orange than a chocolate one. So Alyson, via Leonard, sent me a bunch of organic oranges! What a surprise! I made juice this morning, and it is yum.

Meanwhile, I've almost made it through the orange I got in my Christmas stocking. It's not an orange one, it's lime flavor, and it is luscious. I have just two slices left. It's funny. Years ago the whole thing would have been gone in one sitting, but I think I'm enjoying it more a tiny bit at a time.

[Comments] (1) : "Time is Nature's way of making sure that everything doesn't happen at once." --Anonymous. So says a little doohickey at the scrapbook store. If I had said such a ridiculos thing, I think I would be "anonymous" too.

[Comments] (1) : I have a huge box of floppy discs that Aunt Jeuney made and gave to me because she couldn't bear to throw them out. They contain PCX files of all her scanned family history photos and odd little other things, like templates for address labels. I am going through them and converting the files to JPEG preparatory to putting all the photos on a CD. I'm also changing the file names from gobbeldygook to a meaningful title. It's taking longer to do than I thought it would, but I am afraid the days of floppy discs are numbered.

: Dr. Amin says my viral load is down some, so I guess my new healthy eating program must be paying off. It's nice to have something going right. The CD4 count, however, is zip.

[Comments] (5) : Good old Dubya spewed out an endorsement of the federal marriage amendment today. The man has GOT TO GO, I tell you! He's going to get a pile more votes from all the conservative Christians now.

Those people are dangerous.

I am shaking my head at the way the Church is crawling over itself to be considered "Christian." From where I sit, Christian is not all that great of a thing to be. For one thing, they believe in justification by grace, which absolutly doesn't fly in my book, and they believe that they are the only people who have the opportunity to be saved. In addition, they believe that they should be able to dictate how everyone else should live, what they should read, and what should be studied in school.

These people have and promote a bigoted fundamentalist mindset, and I think we can do very well without them and the Christian-in-Chief.

: At long last, I have finished resizing all of Aunt Jeuney's scanned photos and loaded them onto my hard drive. There were only two that had bit rot, and one she had two copies saved, so it was ok. The only thing I couldn't load was a file called Christmas 1973. Now, what I have to do is sort out all the various other pictures and make scanned copies of all the pictures from the Call side, and then I can burn a CD.

[Comments] (5) : Gracie Harsh, one of my students, had her baby die of cancer. He was only eight months old. She is selling chile verde burritos to raise money for Relay for Life. The burritos are really good, and we all sat chomping them in class.

It makes me furious that in this country only the wealthy have access to state-of-the-art medical care and Gracie is selling burritos to advance that state-of-the-art. The other thing that upsets me is George Bush is spending billions of dollars on his ego in Iraq; meanwhile he has plopped on his promise to fund AIDS research. And Gracie is selling burritos. This is where a "compassionate conservative leads us." I say, let George Bush hold a bake sale.

[Comments] (6) : This afternoon on my way to Green Frog Market I waved at the strikers in front of Albertson's. They looked tired and drawn, and it is starting to rain.

: There are only 69 signatures on the petition in favor of the federal marriage amendment-- and two of them are Morticia Adams and Esme Weatherwax.

Now Sigmund Freud has signed it too.

: This month's Scouting magazine has a forum by Scoutmasters on what if your wife thinks you are too involved in Scouting. One reply, from a Scoutmaster in North Carolina, says the solution is to involve your wife by having her teach the Scouts to cook, sew on patches, and make a budget. I cannot BELIEVE they printed this!

[Comments] (3) : When I finished rinsing the shampoo out of my hair this morning, I opened my eyes and there was a Very Large Dog in the shower with me.

[Comments] (5) : Everybody be sure to read my reply to Kristen's comment under my rant about Dubya below. Meanwhile, is anyone planning to see The Passion? It's playing to very large attendance here, but I don't think I'm going to go. I don't think I would be able to handle it. I cried when Seabiscuit died, for heaven's sake. I cry when the Germans march on Paris. The only thing that kept me from falling apart at the end of Where the Red Fern Grows is David Oman pointing out that the dog was opening and shutting his eyes as he lay there being "dead."

[Comments] (2) : Today at Church, Brother Morris told me that there are chocolate candy bars you can have on the Adkins diet. My reaction was "Huh?" because I'm of the opinion that chocolate tastes ever so much better if there is sugar in it. He said that there are some types of sugars that don't spike your blood sugar. This flies in the face of what I learned in college, that a carbohydrate is a carbohydrate is a carbohydrate and your body doesn't know the difference--as in, between sugar and honey, for example.

However, a lot of what I learned in college has turned out to not be true over the years, just as the information from my tenth grade biology class is now outdated. I *like* Bill Morris, and I hope he has a long(er) and happy life and gets to eat lots and lots of candy bars. He can eat my share as well. I can't believe the changes in my eating habits since I got sick.

: The Bishop taught the Fifth Sunday lesson today. One of his points was the story of Nicodemus, who asked Jesus "What lack I yet?" It occurs to me we all need to ask ourselves that question. Bishop's emphasis was on temple work, but that aside, I bet we could all think of something if we examined our own lives.

[Comments] (2) : The lesson plan tomorrow calls for a discussion on gender equity, with writing assignment to boot. One of the articles in the anthology is a debate on whether women should be drafted. One writer argues that drafting women, just as men are drafted, would be a false equality because the military does not treat female recruits the same as male ones. For example, women are not assigned to combat positions.

Of course the edge on this one is getting narrower and narrower. But I was thinking, would I be willing to be drafted to serve my country in the military. Yes, I think I would if I were needed. I think if a person believes in equality, then they have to take all the ramifications as they come.

HOWEVER, I don't think I would be any good as a soldier. I have never been buff, strong, and healthy. Don't think I would make it through boot camp. If the military were to need me, there are many, many other things I can do and do well--office type work, writing, potato peeling, who knows but what I can do technical stuff. I just don't think I would survive hardship and combat. So am I equal? hmmm. Has biology turned around to bite me in the seat again?

I think I need to cheer myself up with the thought that everyone has something to contribute, and not everyone has the same something. Maybe you CAN compare apples and oranges.

: Terrorism: "The low-technology violence of the weak is such an abomination that there are no limits on the high-technology violence of the strong which can be deployed against it." --John V. Whitbeck

[Comments] (1) : slog, slog, slog. I am slowly, very slowly, making a dent in this pile of genealogy. I get about three pages a day done. That's pretty slow. But today I fixed a very big problem, so it's getting there. In my list of alphabetical surnames, I am down to Coney.

I also pulled a lot of weeds. The snails are out for the spring, so I need to get some nice poison for their last meal.

[Comments] (2) : Yesterday, Grandma and Pat and I took Rachel to lunch at the Olive Garden for her birthday. Joel came too, and sat in his high chair looking around like a good little boy. He was so adorable! Shannon came for a little while and watched us eat; we had a nice visit.

Everyone but Rachel had the soup and salad. This was the first time I had Olive Garden's minestrone, and I thought it was wonderful. I looked up the copycat recipe on the internet, but I thought the recipe was for a something slightly different than what we ate. Maybe different Olive Garden chefs do it differently. The only OG I have ever eaten at besides ours is the one in Dallas where we ate before Alyson and Dave's wedding.

P.S. Rachel had the chicken parmasiana.

I'm sure pigs just flew. Grandpa has switched his allegiance to the Democrats. He actually threw a fund-raising appeal from George Bush into the trash while we were there.

[Comments] (3) : The battery in my alarm clock apparently died in the night. I woke up too late to be on time for church, and with a slight fever and sore throat, so I just went back to bed after feeding Sadie. I must have been really out of it because Sadie's activity didn't bother me until about 11 a.m. Then I got up and made eggplant pasta for Rachel and ate some. It feels like it's going to stay down--a first this weekend.

Rachel is gone now, leaving the household very, very quiet. I think I probably need to do lots of genealogy to make up for being a slacker on church attendance.

[Comments] (4) : Terry Pratchett has a new book out. It's about a girl who runs away from home to become a soldier. I thought about getting it but Rachel checked and said it's only in hardback $25.00. If I were a writer like Terry Pratchett I would publish directly into paperback.

[Comments] (2) : We had a discussion in my 8 a.m. class this morning. The unit in the reader is about language and its power to build or destroy. The writing assignment is about the place of perjorative words in our lives--nigger, bitch, queer, etc. One of the articles we read was a defense of profanity written by a student in Iowa or somewhere. He argues that profanity is a "real" way to talk, and people should be genuine, and those who don't like it can... well you know.

I was extremely surprised at the number of students who think it's OK to use rude language when they are with their friends, who call their friends by rude names, and who behave coarsely. Their argument is that when they are with friends, "it is real" and "safe" and they don't have to be polite.

Huh. I'm glad they feel they have to be civil in the classroom. I tried to talk to them about how friendship is precious and our friends deserve our best, not our worst, but apparently they don't have those values.

[Comments] (1) : Two issues of Smithsonian have come in the mail. I didn't know where they came from. At first I thought Ruth Davis got another of those buy one get one gift subscription free deals, because a couple of years back she gave me a year of Smithsonian. But she says no. Then I thought maybe I ordered it with my Delta Airlines frequent flyer miles that were expiring. I'm not sure what magazines I ordered, but This Old House has been coming.

However, today I got a statement from Smithsonian. Big deal special offer, limited time only. I suspect that they sent the two magazines so I would get used to it and then they sent a bill thinking it would get paid automatically. Pretty sneaky of them.

No, I'm not going to subscribe.

[Comments] (1) : Today I sent an email to Carol Cunningham and told her I don't think I can teach two classes in summer school. It's just going to be too hard, even if for only six weeks. So I am just going to teach the morning one. This bothers me a little bit because that second class was my trip to Italy, but I don't know if I'll ever be able to go to Italy anyway. I can't go off to Europe hooked up to this IV like this. Perhaps summer after next I can go on my dinosaur trip in the car. Or maybe even this summer if I figure out how to do it between summer school and going to Utah for Aunt Jeuney's anniversary and Call Family Reunion.

: Evil. Evilness. This morning I forgot to bring a bottle of water, so I tried to buy one from the vending machine. First it wouldn't take my dollar. Then it wouldn't take my quarter. Then it ate them both and did not dispense a water bottle. Then it sat there sullenly and wouldn't give back my money either.

I went to a different building and tried another machine. It wouldn't even suck my dollar in. Later in the morning, a student asked if he could go buy himself some water and I told him he could if he could get some for me. I gave him $1.25--a dollar and a quarter. He was gone just forever, and when he returned he reported that he had had to go to the snack machine and change the dollar for quarters and then he had had to hit the water vending machine. Eventually the water bottle came out.

The water here on the east side of town has toxic waste in it, which you can taste if you drink out of the drinking fountain. This vending machine issue is a serious one.

: Celebrate! I have just now made it through the C surnames of my genealogy. Whew! What a milestone! This momentous event occurred on page 206 of the printout.

I have a theory, which I hope is correct, that C is one of the more common letters for surnames to begin with, and so I've really made progress. As I said, I hope. It is true, at least, that all the Calls fall into the C category, and there sure were a lot of them!

[Comments] (1) : Today I actually planted the rest of the daffodil bulbs that have been sitting on my porch since September. I thought maybe I would have to throw them out, but they told me at White Forest Nursery they would grow. Probably not this year but next.

I worked really hard in the yard until I was absolutely exhausted and had to give up because my muscles were shaking. I thought I'd been out there a long time, but when I came back it, it turned out I was only working an hour. Oh well. If I can just faithfully do an hour every day maybe things will improve around here.

I spent the rest of the afternoon on genealogy. I got through the Davenports and the Davises, both of which were a real mess with a lot of broken links. Sometimes the PAF program doesn't want to make a link, no matter how many times you tell it to. Could it be the dearly departed don't want to be linked and they are messing it up?

[Comments] (4) : Sumana is bringing her parents to meet me on Sunday. I went to the store to lay in provisions because I wanted to make them a quiche. Spinach and mushroom, with Swiss cheese-- but the Swiss cheese I bought doesn't have holes in it, what's up with that?

I splurged on fresh blueberries to go in fruit salad, and I am freezing guava nectar into ice cubes to float in the orange juice. It's going to be yummers.

I'm going to try my hand at making a boeuf bourginiognefor lunch tomorrow when Leonard arrives. I'll have to start it tonight. Reading the recipe, it's a lot bigger deal than I thought it would be.

: When I was working in the garden I found a nest of little pearls buried in a shallow depression under a California poppy. Whose are they? I don't know--snail? scorpion? little snake? I haven't the foggiest, but I figured it was a pretty good bet that it was not someone I want in my flowerbeds, so I killed them. I felt like Rikki-Tikki-Tavi.

: Happy Birthday to You! Happy Birthday to You! Happy Birthday Dear Rachel! Happy Birthday to you!

[Comments] (1) : So Martha Stewart lied about her stock sale. What else has she lied about? Did she lie about high count cotton sheets? Did she lie to us about homemade blackberry ink? How about the antique mason jars made into lanterns with candles and sand? Is that not true?

Now, creme brulee, I know that one is a lie.

[Comments] (1) : I hadn't seen Xochitl in four days, and I was really beginning to worry, but this evening I spotted her two houses away. I gave her a lecture about where she belongs. I think she's avoiding the home front because of the dybbuk that has come to live in our house. There is no safety anymore.

If she would just get in a couple of good swipes with her little needleclaws I bet that would solve the problem, but she runs away.

: Leonard and I went to see Secret Window. Oooooooohhh that handsome Johnny! We liked the movie, but did not find it as tense and scary as a Hitchcock. Leonard thinks it is similar to a Stephen King novel, not the one the movie is based upon but another one. I have never read a Stephen King novel myself.

[Comments] (2) : Today before church I fed Leonard quiche and fruit salad. I made the quiche with leftover asparagus from lunch yesterday, and it is YUMMY! Then he and I started sorting away in the garage--going through, getting rid of lots of stuff. His old stuff. Some of the things he wanted to get rid of I made him save, like his Cabbage Patch astronaut doll. There was a lot of stuff he actually could sell on Ebay if he wanted to.

We found his Halley's Comet matchbox car. I think Halley's Comet has to be one of the high points of my life. I love comets. My grandfather got to see Halley's Comet twice--once when he was a teenager and once when he was a very old man. I celebrated the second time with him.

I tripped over the manger in the garage and made a huge gash on my leg. I thought I just had a little nick on the shin, but upon further investigation there is a big gushable hole on my knee. By the time I noticed it, it has pretty much settled down, and is now going about its work of turning purple.

[Comments] (1) : Metacognition, as Explained By Tonks: "I know I'm not all that bright, but I'm friendly. What is so all-fired great about having a great big brain anyhow? All that mouse-hunting and philosophy and Oedipus Complexes and all that.... it's better to have a tabula rasa and nap in the sunshine.

[Comments] (2) : The quote on the today's sheet of my Afterthoughts notepad says, "Earth... one million one hundred thousand animal species living in harmony... and one species stark raving out of control." I wonder how true that really is? I'll agree that homo sapiens [what an idiotic species name!] is pushing the limit, but might there not be other species doing so as well? Mosquitoes, perhaps. Viruses, definitely.

[Comments] (5) : What I want to know is, has the United States sent anybody to Spain for a condolence visit? I've been combing the news for days and have found no mention of such a gesture. According to the White House Website, on Friday, President Bush did give a little speech to the Spanish embassy and press corps, and he laid a wreath and floated the Spanish flag, which was very nice, but I think someone should go over there.

Neither have I read news reports of American rescue workers going to help. I'm very sure they must be, and the press is not covering their efforts. Can it be we are so inured to these constant attacks that the media is beginning to treat tragedy with a big yawn? We must not forget that even if disasters happen far away, someone somewhere has lost family members.

[Comments] (1) : Talking about patriotism in class today. I'm one of the people who hung out a flag after the September 11 attacks, but later when the flag got skuzzy and old, I took it down and gave it to Andy Smith to have the Boy Scouts dispose of it. I never got another flag, and now my bracket is malfunctioning. I wonder what this really means? I do love my country, but why do I only fly the flag when everyone else does and then let it go?

OTOH, I am not guilty of flying a Winnie-the-Pooh flag.

I pulled a lot of weeds this afternoon and sprayed a lot of Roundup, but I am not optimistic that I'll ever catch up with them. The weed misery this year is partly due to being sick LAST spring and letting them go to seed. Hope I can keep it under control.

[Comments] (3) : Tonight I am making corned beef for the missionaries and the Ledbetter family. I put two briskets in the crock pot last night so there would be plenty because the Ledbetter kids are growing and probably eat a lot nowadays. Then, our elders got replaced by sister missionaries--WHOOSH! I found this out late last night, and I began to think I'd have too much food.

But why should I be worried about that? Perhaps the sister missionaries eat a lot also. Prhaps it's a stereotype that they should only have a very small portion of food. I'm constantly amazed at how often I find myself tripping up on preconceived assumptions.

: Little Ethan Ledbetter loves rocks. He started by finding my trilobite on the coffee table and noticing it's like the one I gave to him. From there, he began to explore, and he picked up each rock and looked at it very carefully. When he had seen every rock on the coffee table, he started on the bookshelf. He was especially fascinated by the jar of cave pearls.

Not only did he want to see and feel each rock, but he wanted to know its name and habitat. He replaced them each so very gently. What a kid!

[Comments] (1) : I had quite the time today trying to find something green to wear for St. Pat's. I don't understand it--I have green sheets, my living room is painted green-- why don't I have any green clothes? I finally found a moss green t-shirt, and when I got to work Kim Nickell said she was in the same situation. She was wearing lime. Oh, well, we were "green". I think this just goes to prove that I'm not at all Irish.

So on St. Andrew's Day, should I wear my nightgown, since that is the only tartan thing I have?

: It's a gorgeous day. I'm going to go visit Ernestine Boonstoppel, to make sure she is okay, and then I need to work in the yard. Anne sent me a bunch of amaryllis bulbs (for my Christmas present!) so they will need to go in the ground. Some of them are trying to overachieve right now inside their plastic wrappers. They probably won't do much this year, but next summer, wow.

I'm also trying to figure out logistics for a trip to the temple to get cards made for Larry and Uncle Carl. Also Aunt Carolyn and Uncle Richard, but their cards don't have to be ready the first week of April like the other ones. The YM are going to the temple during spring break, so I want to send Larry's and Carl's names.

Dogs are funny creatures. No matter what rawhide chew it is, the other dog wants it. Then, when the prize is gained, suddenly the abandoned chewie is attractive again.

[Comments] (1) : For Sumana: Whatever you do, don't get Dirty Story mixed up with Scary Movie. But let me know when Dirty Story comes to SF and I'll come up and see it with you.

[Comments] (2) : Kristen put this in my comment section, and my answer is very long, so just skip it if you aren't interested in education. (Nancy, I'd love for you to weigh in with your opinion! Several of my readers are products of the Texas education system.)

Frances: This is not controversial or meant to be, just a question. I was wondering how you feel about the situation going on in the news regarding the 3rd graders being held back b/c they can't pass the test with basic reading and math skills. You being a teacher who deals with the kids that were never taught and just passed through the school system, I would like to know how you feel about this issue. Thanks

I think the current method of just passing kids along has got to stop. At some point, these students are going to find out that they can't just slide by, and unfortunately, that usually happens in the business world. If kids know they have to pass a test, they work hard and do pass it. If they know the test isn't going to matter, they shine it on. The San Francisco Chronicle reported a Canadian study which indicated that students of whom expectations were higher performed better. Well duh.

The problem in implementing this--as we have found with California's STARS test--is that the tests are not aligned with the curriculum, so students are being tested on things they have not been taught. The two have to work together to be successful.

The current procedure in early elementary school is for everyone to be creative and have a wonderful time. They celebrate every holiday, cutting out construction paper shapes, and they do big projects like making pigs out of Clorox bottles. This has got to come to an end to make time for more math and phonics. I think third grade is just about right to give such a test.

Teachers will probably fight this. You'd be surprised how many teachers don't have basic reading and math skills. They'd rather make pigs out of Clorox bottles and Easter baskets out of milk jugs. (I'm the first to admit, there is nobody more fun to go play with that 25 second graders.) There is a test called the PRAXIS--used to be called the National Teachers' Exam. It tests general knowledge, and someone who passes it is considered knowledgeable enough to teach all subjects in a self-contained classroom. In California, if you pass the exam, you can get a multiple-subject credential with it. (You still have to do all the other credential stuff, but the curriculum part is done if you pass the test.) I took this test because I had applied for a job at the prison, and those are self-contained classrooms. A girl I knew from grad school took the test with me. Before the test, we were talking to the other people who were there, and most of them had failed it before, some of them several times. One lady had taken the test eight times and she was planning to go to San Jose the next weekend to take it again! All these people could do was moan about how hard it was.

At the lunch break, I met my friend and said "Am I missing something? This test is a joke." We agreed that it was probably one of those tests that you think you are going to ace it and then it turns out you missed the point entirely and you are a dismal failure. Oh well, we thought. Well, I got my results and I was in the 99th percentile--without having studied, taken a refresher course, or even (forgive me!) prayed. During my five years teaching for the elementary district, I met a lot of people who had been unable to pass the test but they are still teaching on emergency credentials, and occasionally trying to pass because there is such a shortage of people with a valid credential.

The high school district was worse. Those people want to spend zip time on basic skills, which they believe should have been learned in elementary school (as they should have!) and they only want to teach their subject matter. Plus, a high school teacher has a couple hundred students a year. There is not time and manpower enough to remediate everyone by that point. Kids have got to get the basics down before puberty, because once they hit middle school everyone is just going for six years of survival.

And that is why I have a job. Some of my students are thirty years old and not able to read at a third grade level. Recently in the news, the University of California and the California State University systems announced that they would no longer accept students who were unprepared to work at university level in reading and math. Guess where those students are going to go? Job security for me.

: What a day. I drove to Los Angeles to take a disk of names to put into the temple, and also to buy myself a new white temple dress since my old one is about six sizes too big. The saleslady told me not to "reject" any just because of how they look on the hanger--you have to see them on. I sorted through and chose two with front buttons, which I figured would be needed to accomodate my IV tubes. Then she talked me into trying a r-e-e-l-l-y-u-g-l-y dress with a zipper down the front, too.

I ended up buying the ugly one because it was about 400% easier to get into, with the tubes and so forth. It doesn't look as ugly on me, it's easy to get in and out of, it was short enough that it wouldn't need hemming, and it was half the price of the others (the final selling point!)

Then I went to the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit at the LA temple Visitors Center. I don't know why I was naive enough to think I was really going to see Dead Sea Scrolls--of course any museum isn't going to send something so valuable and fragile trotting around the country for exhibit. The "scrolls" were copies printed onto Naugahyde. (I guess that sounds worse than it really was, but actually it is kind of sorry.) Many of the other items in the exhibit were things recycled from the Masada exhibit the BYU Museum put on a few years back--all of them reproductions except a Roman sword that wasn't labled as a copy but I'd be very surprised if it were a real one because it's in too good a shape. I didn't learn one thing I didn't already know. I am grateful that I got to see a real Dead Sea Scroll in the British Museum, so that I don't have to pass my life never having seen one.

Then into the temple to get cards made for my names, and their computer wouldn't take the data from my disk. So, huffing and puffing, back to the LA Family History Center where it took a very long time to get everything straightned out. Grrrr. Then back to the temple to make cards, and finally it took. By then I was too exhausted to do any of the work.

I picked up Rachel and took her to lunch at our family's traditional spot, Earth, Wind & Flour in Santa Monica.

Karen Olson was there at the temple doing a little receptionist job, which she says she is doing one Friday a month now on a volunteer basis. Her assignment appeared to be to sit in a chair by the exit and read an Ensign magazine, but she did bust me for having a cell phone in the temple.

[Comments] (2) : I am heartbroken and abandoned. Xochitl has moved next door and adopted Lurine. I went over to get her and to talk with Lurine, but Xochitl wouldn't come home with me. Not that Lurine is not a nice lady--she is a wonderful person and she has a gigantic desert tortoise and another cat. But my Xochitl!

[Comments] (1) : I am trying to find parents for Giovanni D'Angelo, born 1514 in Italy, who at some point moved to England and became George Denslow. Now I ask you, how can we keep track of our ancestors if they pull tricks like that?

[Comments] (3) : Mirrors do lie. I think it probably has something to do with loose molecules and glass being a liquid that slowly warps. The mirror in the dressing room where I tried on my new white temple dress made me look fat (and shorter than I am.) It is a fat mirror. On the other hand, there was one in our apartment at Montighetto in Provo that was a stretchy mirror. It made me look taller and thinner. One of my roommates took a picture of me standing in front of it in a bikini. My reflection looks fabulous, but the real me shows telltale chunks of cellulite. That's when I started thinking about mirrors.

One of the cleverest uses of a mirror is in Secret Window, where the protagonist is approaching the mirror and his reflection is walking away from him, so we see the guy's back walking away from the camera and also walking away in the mirror. It turns the trope of mirror on end.

More mirror thoughts: Gretel knows there is a dog in the bathroom mirror. Every so often she has to stand up at the sink to look to see if the dog is still there.

I hate the mirror in the Nations' dining room. It is huge--wall to wall, floor to ceiling, and it gives me the creeps to see myself sit and eat.

: Audrey II has sprouted in my front yard. I don't know what variety she is, or where she came from, and if I didn't know better I would say Colorado blue spruce. Now, however, it occurs to me that she might be a tumbleweed, so I am now going out to pull her up by the roots. If it is a tumbleweed, she will want.....blood.

[Comments] (2) : Is it Spring Break yet?

: Today when I got to work, the news was waiting that Robert Knowlton's wife had died. She's been on a waiting list for a liver transplant for several years, and I guess she just ran out of time. Robert has a lot of friends at work, and they are taking up a collection to help him with her final expenses. I donated $20.

Robert was a student of mine many, many years ago when he first came back to school. It was the semester I did the California story project, in which I asked students to write the story about how they and/or their family came to California. Robert's story was fascinating. He had been working in the oilfields in Wyoming and lost his job. They were flat broke, but they heard there were oil jobs in California, so Robert, his wife, and all their little boys went out and stood on I-15 with their thumbs up. They were picked up by a club of Hell's Angeles who were returning to California from the annual Harley rally in Sturges, South Dakota. Robert and the kids each rode to San Diego behind a biker, and one of the bikes had a sidecar so his wife got to ride in that. They came here with only the clothes on their backs.

Now Robert works for the college, and his boys are no longer small, but he still has that sunny personality. I am very sad for him.

[Comments] (5) : These things happened yesterday:

A student came to class stoned.

I arrived at the E surnames in my genealogy checklist.

Kim Cornett called very sick, and Gretel and I went to take her some Terry Pratchett books to read.

These things are happening today:

I made crostini and mozarella bruschetta and shrimp spread.

I am going to Hillary's soon to see the new puppy.

Sherrie Lewis and I are going to go visit Jill Langley.

That's the best I can do, as far as excitement in life goes.

: I am in the middle of trying to straighten out the English royalty in my genealogy. There are a gazillion people linked wrong. I don't know who did the inputting, or maybe there is a bug in the program.

: I went to Lowe's tonight and bought 80 feet of sprinkler pipe and some spring bulbs and some furnace filters and some eggplant plants. I don't like to go to Lowe's, but a discount coupon came in the mail for Leonard, and he gave me permission to use it for this house. The only reason I can think of that Lowe's would possibly send a coupon to Leonard at this address is they bought some kind of mailing list from the post office that caught the period when Leonard's mail was forwarded here while he was in Arkansas. I find that concept quite disturbing.

[Comments] (1) : Fuzzmuffin. Sadie really needs to go to the beauty parlor. Or does she? I don't know anything about this stuff, but why and when did the tradition of trimming certain breeds of dog in a certain way begin? There must have been some original purpose. Sadie is a cute little dustbunnie with her hair. I think she'll probably want to be trimmed soon because the weather is warming up--not as big a problem in her ancestral Germany!

Aunt Jeuney -- always the renegade -- used to have Madchen be fuzzy for years on end. And I can never remember her poodle, Shelly, being clipped poodle style. Do the dog clipping police ever come after a person for that? Cute little fuzziedooble.

[Comments] (2) : Last night I was writing something interesting and philosophical and my computer threw its diggers in the creek and I lost it. Today, can't remember what it was. Philosophy is so ephemeral!

I was sick today. Stayed home in bed all day, asleep most of the time. Still feel rotten but MUST go to work tomorrow. Fortunately it's the last day before spring break. I think being sick is really a pain.

: I have survived to Spring Break, but I had to bring home a stack of papers to grade. It seems like my life nowadays is mostly just survival, and this is not at all fun.

In checking my genealogy, I have made it to Ingeborg Finnsdatter, Queen of Scotland, born 1021. Would be nice if all ancestors back that far were checked, but of course I'm doing them alphabetically, not chronologically.

The summer clothes I ordered from Land's End got returned to the company. They said I sent them back for a credit. HELLOOOOO? I never even saw the package. They are being nice about it though.

Well, dogs are wanting to go to bed so I guess I will too.

: The winning science project from Arvin High School: What combination of speaker boxes and mounting makes the stereo blast louder from a low rider truck? (no joke!)

: After a horrible "bad digestive tract" night, I woke up starving. I made Chinese fried rice, and it turned out better than any fried rice I've ever made before. I think it's because I forced myself to be patient and let it cook by itself while the egg was "setting." Or perhaps because I ran out of soy sauce and didn't have enough to make too big a splash.

[Comments] (2) : I spent much of the day straightening out the Fisher and Fiske families. I knew they were going to be a tangled mess because of other encounters, and they have been weighing heavily on my mind for some time. I am glad to have that milestone finally behind me, and I can start on Captain Josiah Fitch.

: This is not good. My brother-in-law Don has had a heart attack. He was home alone at the time, but fortunately had the presence of mind to call the ambulance, and they got him into surgery right away. One of those new anti-clotting dispensing stents was installed and he [says he] will be fine. The poor Richardsons are all frantic.

I went over to the hospital to see him and he looked pretty good. I took him two bottles of purple grape juice, which is supposedly good for your heart, and he promised to drink it. What an April Fool stunt!

In other news, I have a strawberry growing in my garden. It's April 1 and I have a strawberry almost red enough to eat!

: What is wrong with this picture? One of the auto dealers along Freeway 99 has installed those double banner standards on every lamp post along their frontage, and they are floating pretty banners. The ones on the east are the USA flag. The ones on the west side are banners with the logos and brand names of the cars the dealer sells--Volvo, Mercedes, BMW, Subaru.

[Comments] (2) : Bulletin:I ate my strawberry today. Yesterday I went to White Forest Nursery and got three flats of gazania and a flat of wooly thyme, some herbs, a zuke, some catnip, and whatever else looked pretty. I've been planting and weeding all morning--lots more to do! The catnip already has been mauled and isn't doing all that great.

Just as I was removing my rubber gloves to come in, a goat-footed La Rosa guy whistled far and wee, so I bought a limon and sat eating it under my back patio. It's like heaven in my back yard. The Lady Banks rose is hanging in fragrant streamers down from the patio overhead. In bloom are the lemon, Valencia orange, and grapefruit (navel orange still isn't doing much, maybe next year!), the apple, and the boysenberries. Also the Brazillian jasmine and the freesia, and you couldn't bottle the fragrance! There are little baby apricots on the apricot tree. I suppose if I were ambitious I would get out there and thin them, but I've got a whole carpet worth of gazania to plant. I want to get it done before the daffodil leaves die down, so that I don't disturb bulbs while planting the ground cover. --

[Comments] (2) : Daylight Savings relay: Gaaahh! I have eleven clocks! Oops, twelve! (I forgot there is one in my cell phone.) Thirteen! (but the answering machine is not hooked up.) Arrrgh! Fourteen! My IV pump. How can ONE PERSON have fourteen clocks????

: After another day of hard work I should reach the end of the people whose names begin with the prefix Fitz-. Then coming up, the Flemish and French royalty, which are pages and pages of tangled mess. England wasn't too bad, so knock on wood.

Heads up to all planning to make Aunt Jeuney's beef stroganoff ahead of time and freeze it. Do NOT freeze it with the sour cream in it--it curdles. Freeze the meat in the sauce and then stir in fresh sour cream when you are heating it up to serve it.

: The first day of spring break! So far, I haven't felt well enough to work in the yard, but I drank a cup of Vietnamese chicken broth and I guess I'll sleep for a while and we shall see. I really want to be out there working when Juan gets here so we can talk about the new sprinklers.

I did do my taxes. Grrrrrr.

[Comments] (4) : I was talking to Dalton about his neighbors. We sat in the driveway and he pointed out each house and told me who lived there and all about them. (I can't do that with my neighbors!) The lady across the street is Chinese, and she has a business selling wholesale to Chinese restaurants.

This is the lady who made the spicy shrimp Dalton brought to the Christmas brunch last year. I did the math and figured that if those shrimp were made by a Chinese neighbor, there must be a recipe for it in a Chinese cookbook. I looked, and in my book there is a Schezwanese recipe for Chunking Style Shrimp. I'm going to give it a try. The recipe doesn't look like it calls for enough red pepper, but I betcha we can fix that!

I bought a pound of shrimp, never dreaming what a big pile a pound would be. I'll try half the recipe. The other half pound, I quickly made up into a batch of scampi for lunch. Gretel had fun while I was peeling and deveining the shrimps because I have a couple of bandaids on fingers and am a little awkward, so every once in a while one got dropped on the floor. It didn't seem to matter to Gretel whether the shell was on or not.

While I was peeling shrimp, I remembered when Grandpa Call died. Robert was living in Houston, and he brought a big cooler full of Gulf shrimp when he came to Utah for the funeral. We cooked them in lemon, garlic, and olive oil and had a big family shrimp-stuffing feast.

The butcher at Albertson's asked me if I was having a good day so far. I said, "I'm starting the morning at Albertson's; life doesn't get much better than that!" He grinned and agreed.

I went to Bed Bath & Beyond to get a new soap dispenser for the kitchen because they sent a discount coupon in the mail. Whooooeeee, there are some UGLY soap dispensers out there nowadays. I finally chose one that is sort of Italian-looking, a golden yellow. I wanted another blue one, but they all were the wrong shade of blue. I'm a little bothered about that because I'm thinking of redoing my kitchen in red and blue (instead of yellow and blue) and my new soap dispenser might not match. I hope the dispenser will last a long time because it has a metal cap and spout, so we (knock on wood) won't have the cracking spout problem rampant with the ones from Tarjiay.

Oh well, that's a long way off. I have to redo my bathroom first. Heck, I have to FINISH the first redo of the bathroom before I start the second!

Then I went to Home Depot to get more sprinkler parts. This makes three stores I have gone to, and still don't have everything I need. Today I stooped to sorting through all the other boxes to see if what I wanted had been misplaced. Not a lot of luck--only one part. Everyone was there buying PVC pipe. I think having an automatic sprinkler system is like owning a British sports car. As Jon says, only a machochist would do so. There is a certain amount of OCD behavior that is called for--or perhaps triggered--by sprinkler ownership. I saw a former student there; he is spending his spring break doing honeydos.

I also continued my search for dill. No dill. No dill seeds. What is up with this? There was fresh dill at Albertson's but it was the kind without roots. If Youngs would get in some of their usual brand, I could plant it in the yard, but nooooooo.

[Comments] (1) : Well, I started working on my thirteen pages of tangled mess French royalty. It's going to take me a while. Most of them have to be looked up in history because they are linked to several different pairs of parents, and a lot of them are married to the wrong spouses. I don't know how it could have ended up as bad as it did except for sloppiness, but we'll fix it. I just have to plow patiently through, one name at a time. Say three or four generations a century, and the line goes back past year 200, and all the people they married--that's a lot of folks. I just want to make sure nobody got forgotten.

I think the Scandinavian royalty is probably messed up just as badly, but it's not as noticible because of the use of patronymic names.

[Comments] (1) : It's the Eurosealer! New! Fantastic! As seen on TV! Reseals bags for extra freshness!

So I had to get it to see if it would work. It does, after a fashion. Kind of tricky to use, and a twistie tie is easier. I resealed the carrot bag today.

The real attraction of the Eurosealer is it's a descendant of the heat sealer Leonard and I used to run when we were in high school and we worked in packaging at Aunt Jeuney's hobby supply business. It was the most tempermental machine I ever met, so of course we developed a love-hate relationship. Ziploc bags were barely invented at the time and wouldn't become common for another decade. The Eurosealer is about 1/50th the size of that old heat sealer machine.

The Eurosealer may very well end up in the garage sale when I have finished playing with it.

: I finished checking the people who have France for a surname today. This is not to say France is untangled--I still have to do all the ones who called themselves Franks, and also everyone who is filed under Holy Roman Empire. And the Germans. Plus I keep finding more and more--Burgundy, Champagne, Bretagne. Etc. I can't get Hugues Capet to stay married to his wives. Every time I exit the program, he comes up blank again.

: Alliance of self-deprecating spammers:

forgive me we sell medicinal/do you care......

: Waiting for "Sandrose" to start our 180th Scrabble game. I have a bingo to play-- "hefting." I hope she will give me a place to put it--it should be an easy one to place if there is an a, e, i or o in her word. If not, I'll pass and try next turn.

[Comments] (1) : Gettysburg of Snails: I started out high tech, wearing the latest in surgical gloves (the latest in latex!) and picking them precisely off the plants. I shifted to low tech, mashing them with a trowel. In the end, I employed the D'Medici Method, and there was a small "whoosh" at my side. A tiny hunched over figure in a hooded black cloak, carrying a miniature scythe, had skooched up on a silvery mucous trail. YES? he said. YOU WERE EXPECTING ME?

No Easter Bunny: No Easter Bunny came to our house, but Rachel and I went to church and then out to Pat & Alan's "new" condo for dinner. Pat made ham, potato salad, and green salad, Kathy made jello salad, and I made cheesecake. The guys all stayed busy and involved watching the golf tournament on TV. Except for Kyle--he was zonked out in the recliner, dead to the world.

I took the Easter basket centerpiece off the dining room table and plonked it and Joel in an azalea bush to take his picture, so I'll have a pretty cute Eastery scrapbook page in spite of no bunny.

Getting out to Pat's was the pits. The authorities had closed Hart Park, and the cops had blocked off all the roads. Everyone in town was there gettting turned away from their planned picnic and sent home. I think that can't possibly have been a legal move by the city because it left the people who live next to Hart Park trapped. We eventually found a back way in and Rachel hopped out and moved the orange roadblock cone.

[Comments] (3) Grrrk!: I was so sick this morning I though I would turn inside-out. I wonder if that has ever happened to a person?

Update: Dr. Amin assures me that this never happens. I am even less certain about that than I was this morning.

[Comments] (5) Disappointment: There is a full time job opening in my departnent at work. I remember when the last job came up, I was feeling really good; Dr. Amin had said there were new therapies coming down,and I had some hope for my future, so I applied. This time, I'm not even going to apply. I wish my life had worked out like I planned it--like I dreamed-- but I guess that seldom happens. Just keep going the best I can. I suppose.

Kosher?: Hillary brought me some matzoh ball mix, and upon reading the package, I found it contains sodium bicarbonate. That's baking soda. That's a levening. I thought levening was a no-no.

Later On: Well, I threw up the matzoh ball soup. This is a real bummer because I've always felt it was a quite curative soup, and I have enjoyed it many times since I got sick. Now I don't know if I can finish this pot!

I'll think about it tomorrow. Tomorrow is another day.

English Teacher Quagmire: I have graded papers most of the day and I am still not finished!

[Comments] (1) In a Parallel Universe: In another lifetime, I am taller and thinner and have better hair. I wear bright colored ethnic inspired clothing and funky jewelry--and bracelets don't bug my in my other life. I work as an editor for Natural History Magazine, and every morning I drive my red sports car from my restored 1915 Craftsman home in Sugar Hill to the Natural History Museum. I walk through the Los Angles Municipal Rose Garden every morning after I park, and then I go to my own little office in the museum to produce the magazine.

It's almost as fun to imagine these things as to do them, isn't it? I actually quite like the friends and family I have in this universe, but it's nice to know this is not all there is. We can always think about the alternatives.

[Comments] (6) Bah to Technology: I had to get a new computer. Wrestled it in from the car. Could find nary a soul to come help me hook it up. Gave up. Went to bed. Tackled it this afternoon. Moved every book. Heaved and shoved at the computer desk. Finally got it moved. Puff puff. Exhausted. Cleaned up dust bunnies. Hooked up new computer. Fixed all cords so Gretel doesn't yank on them. Don't have everything working yet.

The pit thing is, I can't figure out how to get my mail.

[Comments] (3) Visitor: My cousin Whit Griffith, who drives a truck on a route between Seattle and Los Angeles, stopped by for a visit. This is the first time he has visited me, and it was nice to see him. He brought a box of old papers from Aunt Jeuney that I will have to go through, a Mongolian hot pot for Leonardw if he wants it, and a wedding present for Susie and John.

I made a dish from the last meal on the Titanic for dinner--Chicken Lyonnaise. It was really good. I also made wild rice, vegetables, and a California salad.

We went over a bunch of genealogy and I showed him what I have done on Uncle Carl's. (His father.)

The bad thing that happened --and this is very bad-- is that his dog ran away while he was here. Somehow he got out of the back yard. We drove around looking and asking neighbors, and we made fliers and hung them out. On Monday, I will have to go to the pound.

[Comments] (1) Norway: Today at church I was late for Sunday School because I went to the clerk's office in between to get a new birthday list. There was nowhere to sit, so I dropped by the family history center and chewed the fat with those guys. Toren Torgersen pulled up some maps of Norway on the Internet and was showing Bob Harmon and me all the places his family came from. He says there are extreme variations of the dialect even within a county. I hadn't realized that Norway had so many little islands along the coast. They are innumerable, and to think that each little one has its name and people living there! It's like the coastline is breaking apart into the sea, which I guess it is.

Toren also brought up a website of his family's hometown. It was a wonderful website, very visually pleasing. I couldn't read a word, but the photographs were lovely. Toren says the web page announces that the Beach Boys are going to give a concert there in May. Bob and I think they are probably not the kind of beaches the Beach Boys are used to.

[Comments] (1) A Trip to the Pound: Today I went to the pound to continue looking for Whit's dog. I'd never been looking for a lost dog before; they put you through the third degree. Two men were there with me, also looking for dogs, and they made us fill out forms and show our drivers license. Then they escorted us back into the nether regions where the sad eyes occupied the kennels. Everybody, of course, wanted us to take them home, except for those who were scared and curled in a cowardly little ball. There were a couple of Aussie shepherds, but none that looked exactly like Lucky. He has one brown eye and one blue eye, so he's pretty hard to miss. One hopeful note is there was a lady there with three little kids; they were adopting one of the dogs.

On my way out I ducked into the cat room to see who was there. Very few adult cats, lots of kittens. There was one very unusual kitten who couldn't have been more than five weeks. She is tiny, tiny. She stood up in her cage and squeaked at me, begging me to have pity. Very strange coloring. The adoption card on the cage called her a "black tabby", which I have never heard of or seen before. It's like she is striped with two colors of black.

When I go back to take them some pictures of Lucky, I will have to strictly avoid going in the cat room, or I might get in trouble.

Suzi sent me an email saying she had cried all night, and Whit has called me several times, and it is so hard to tell them I have no news about their dog. I feel just terrible about this.

[Comments] (5) Today I Saw.....: Two wild ducks flying low over the freeway, heading north. This was worrisome. There are supposed to be more than two ducks in a flock. Let us hope that they are just catching up to the crowd. There necks were stretched out long in front of them and they were so low I could see the markings on their throats and wings.

...A real estate ad, the headline for which read "Road Resurfaced Two Years Ago." If this is the main selling point for the place, then that is really sad. That's all it is, is just sad. The poor house was going for $54,000, resurfaced road and all.

...No dog for Whit. But I finally got the fax from the vet in Texas and the paperwork from Dr. Reno so I can get Sadie a city dog license.

[Comments] (1) Birthday Warmup: Today at work they surprised me for my birthday. I got a card, a balloon boquet, and a miniature rosebush. Also brownies with a candle on them, which the students then inhaled.

I brought the balloons home and put them in the kitchen and the dogs freaked. They were barking and growling and circling the table objecting to this brightly colored interloper.

[Comments] (3) Food Diary: Today I have drunk 3-1/2 bottles of water, a quart of broth, a small can of V-8, and about two ounces of apple juice, and I'm still thirsty. I think I might be dehydrated from days and days of vomiting. I haven't eaten anything but a one-inch square of brownie and 1/4 c. cottage cheese because I couldn't face it, but so far everything has stayed down today. Knock on wood. I am going to go to bed now. I think I am losing ground. I'm afraid I am getting weaker and sicker.

[Comments] (3) My Birthday: Celebrated my birthday today being taken to lunch at La Mina by the ladies from church. Over 20 of them came, and I was really surprised. It was a really fun visit, and I got lots of cards and balloons and plants and candy. Sherrie Lewis made her famous German Chocolate Cake, and it was lovely. Here is her grandmother's secret: Use the recipe on the package, but use EIGHT egg whites instead of four, and use TWO cubes of butter in the frosting. Yum. I didn't know if I would be able to blow out all 52 candles, but I did! Yay for a big mouth and saxophone lungs!

After lunch I went to the SPCA to look for Whit's dog and then drove the streets and alleys some more trying to find him. Then I waited the whole rest of the day for my delivery from the home medical people. I finally called them at 7:15 and they were "confused." They are bringing it in the morning.

Groan!: I was going to get going this morning and get a whole lot of stuff done, but instead I am sick. Today drank 4 oz. apple juice, which I don't think counts because I threw it up, a cup of chicken broth, and a small V-8. The jury is still out on the V-8. Besides nausea, I am sooooo dizzy, and Whit and Suzi and SarahMaurie are getting ready to leave to come here and stay with me and look for Lucky. I warned Suzi that it is entirely possible she will be on her own while she is here and that I wasn't up to much.

When I get like this I start thinking that there is no way I will get everything done that I need to do before I die, but what can ya do? I'll get done what I can, and as for the rest, so be it.

[Comments] (1) Saturday Is A Busy Day: Much better today. Gretel and I went out with the church members to participate in the Bakersfield Clean-Up day. Actually, I didn't participate; I just took pictures. Curtis Smith found something nasty wrapped up like a giant tamale, reminiscent of the mummy we found in this yard, down in the riverbed.

Then Rachel and I went to the grocery store, I roasted a chicken and made Chinese cabbage salad, and I took a nap. I was going to make her help me pull weeds--and the yard needs it; it is a disaster in the making! However, I decided it would be better to go visit Don in the hospital and the grandparents. When we went to the hospital, Don was discharged already--a day early, but that's Don. We went to visit Grandma and Grandpa and Rachel scored a lot of old kitchen utensils and pots. I was glad we went to visit--they are old and lonely and family is more important than weeds.

Sunday: Reid Jackman came over and worked on my computer. He got the scanner to work, but PageManager is gone. We'll have to scan from PhotoFinish. The Hotburn software won't work with the new CD/DVD burner, so I will have to buy new. I fed the Jackmans chicken tacos; it's always fun to have them over. Doris is working on a darling little dress for the expected new granddaughter. Won't it be a huge joke if the doctors are wrong, like they were with Alyssa and Camilla? Somebody else in The Church of the Hallway today was telling how she was told to expect a little boy and it was a girl.

Whit and Suzi and SarahMaurie came when the Jackmans left, and I fed them tacos too. They are out now hanging up more fliers and looking for Lucky, and I need to be grading papers.

One thing that worked really well for the chicken tacos is I mixed the salsa with the shredded chicken to warm it up. It was good that way, and not dry.

The Rest of the Story: Today my ACDV 68 class took the first half of their exit exam, and I think they did really well....at least the ones who came at all did.

English Teacher 24/7: LuJean sent her daughter Rosie's essay for me to proof, so I had to install Microsoft Word on my new computer. I have a disk of Office 97 that Art Hendricksen gave me. I installed it, but it wouldn't open LuJean's attachment. Windows wanted me to use Office 2003 and wouldn't take no for an answer. Grrr. I think that is really cold, to fix things up so only one kind of product can be used.

I got around it though. I saved the attachment and then opened it with WordPerfect, which unlike SOME programs can read a lot of other ones.

Yoooooohooooooooo! Bill Gates! My boat is not floating!

[Comments] (3) Creepy Crawly: There is a fascinating spider in my bedroom. He is big and black and hairy. A really scary dude, and he not only runs, he hops. Jumps. He has some white stripes on his legs and a white spot on his bumby. He is so big that you can see his body parts--leg segments, mandibles, eyes... I am trying not to be afraid of him because he is A-1 at catching flies, but the spiders in Harry Potter have nothing on this guy.

It's incredible to watch him weaving with all those legs a-going. He patrols very fiercely, and I've been able to leave my door open for the cool air all night because I know any insect that enters will be DNS. He will actually jump after a fly without bothering with a web. I told Irma this morning to make sure she doesn't kill him.

Eight Legs and Holding:: I named my spider Edward after Edward Hopper because Hopper is very high on my list and also because he is a hopper spider. Suppose he should turn out to be an Edwinna? I hope not. I have no idea how to tell, however, and no desire whatsoever to learn how to do it. What would I do, turn him upside down and look?

Anyway I don't want him to be Edwinna, even though that was the name of my best friend in tenth grade. Edwinna would put an egg sac somewhere in my bedroom and then I would have a lot of babies, and it's about all I can do to let Edward live. I am sort of like Henry VIII. It has to be a boy, or off with its head!

This morning Edward was perched on the smoke alarm.

[Comments] (2) Heartbreak: A whole family of [endangered] kit foxes was found dead in their burrow over by East Hills Mall. Somebody filled in their holes and they suffocated. There's got to be a special room in Hell just for the person who did that.

What's bad about it, is the dead foxes were found by a crew from National Geographic that was here doing a documentary on kit foxes. Great. Now National Geographic knows what a bunch of ignorant hicks we have in this town, and pretty soon the world will know.

Poor little foxes.

[Comments] (2) All Points Bulletin:: Didn't see Edward this morning. Makes me nervous because Tonks the Mighty Hunter spent the day in my bedroom yesterday.

[Comments] (1) No Joy In Mudville:: It's starting to look like this is not going to be a good year to be a Giants fan.

[Comments] (2) Weekend: Leonard and Sumana came to visit and to see the grandparents. Grandpa isn't doing too well, IMHO. I spent Friday and then yesterday over there helping pack to move them to Columbus Estates. The move happens Wednesday. Grandpa doesn't want to go. It's hard and exhausting to see them getting older.

I spent half the night last night doing the ward newsletter and waiting for the Bishop to send his column, and then the rest of the night throwing up. Leonard and Sumana brought me some peppermint ice cream from Dewar's, which I thought would taste good, but it was like cod liver oil to me. Also I guess it's been forever and a day since I had any amount of any dessert kind of thing, so maybe my body was rejecting the fat and sugar. Bleah.

Going back to bed now.

Please Don't Leave Me Your Junk!: I finally made it through the box that Aunt Jeuney left with my name on it. It did contain Marton Ackerman's genealogy and a copy of her patriarchial blessing, which are maybe good things for me to have. It also contained letters written between Uncle Carl and Aunt Jeuney. I don't understand how two people who can write each other such mushy letters and love each other so much can get a divorce. I am going to mail these letters to Whit and Suzi.

The rest of the box was full of letters to and from various people, with variations on the theme of "Hi, I know I'm late writing back, we are fine." I put them through the paper shredder, and also all the sales receipts and newspaper clippings. Why me? Oh, I know why me. It's because AJ always thought I cared about family history--and I do-- but bleah. People should go through their own stuff before they die.

Woe Is I:: This has to be some kind of record. I have the Q -- and no U or blank-- in every game I am playing. The scrabble trolls are out to get me today.

[Comments] (3) Long Day:: I spent most of the day working on my syllabus for summer school. I still have more to do. I broke out all the paragraph editing into separate assignments. I am going to read turned in editing assignments until I find the first mistake, and then back it goes to the student and the grade goes down. If I have to return it a second and third time, I will, and the grade will go down some more. I am sick and tired of them slopping through things.

Sadie has been to the groomer and she is NAKED! I bet she feels better in this heat. I also made it downtown to get her dog tag. I think if those people who work for the City could work any more slowly and inefficiently, they would qualify for a job with the County! In the Welfare Department or the Health Department.

I was going to get my syllabus for fall done today too, but it's not going to happen.

End of Semester: Today was my last class meeting with my English 60 class. I'm going to miss the little stinkers. One boy made a decision to fail the class rather than give an oral report, and he didn't come today. He really needed those points. They all take their departmental writing exam on Saturday.

Everyone who showed up to take the writing exam in my ACDV 68 class passed it, except for one girl who borderlined. I had to call her to tell her that I wasn't going to send her on and she would have to repeat the class. It made both of us sad.

In other news, one of my students had planned her baby's birth for June, when school is out. She had to have an emergency C-Section on Monday because the cord was around his neck, and she's still in the hospital. I excused her from her oral report--I figure she's been through enough. I don't know if she'll be up to taking the exam on Saturday or not.

These kids live lives of one emergency after another.

Spam Schmam: I got a spam from someone claiming to collect "Judicial Judgments." Is there, perhaps, an alternative kind of judgment of which I was unaware?

Later: Oh,yeah. There are "snap judgments", "faulty judgments" and "pre-judgments" . Any others?

Genealogy, I am Doing It My Genealogy:: I am still at it. I have waded through approximately a gazillion people and made it through the German royalty--that is, the ones whose last names are Germany. That doesn't count such folks as are named Swabia, Regensberg, Schweinfurt, and so on. Bavaria, however, is done because it is a B.

[Comments] (2) Mexican Cuisine: I am making chile verde the way a little Mexican grandma I met at the meat counter in Young's yesterday told me to. So far, it looks like what you get in a restaurant; I take that as a good sign.

She said to peel the tomatillos, but tomatillos apparently have both a husk and a skin, so I didn't know what to do. I ended up just taking of the husk and leaving the skins, figuring it's going though the blender anyhow. The one thing I did differently from what she said is I used Ortega chiles instead of jalapenos. I didn't think I was interested in the jalapeno roasting and peeling scene, and also I wanted to make it a little milder in case John might not like spicy food, and also out of deference to my finicky tummy.

Your Weevily Wheat's Not Fit to Eat:: We spent most of the day going through stuff and organizing things in the garage. Rachel found a container of wheat that had a crack in the lid. It was full of weevels and their maggots and their cast of exoskeletons. The wheat was about half gone. I guess that's pretty good odds, considering how long I've had the wheat. I hope this project is going to help the chaos in the garage. Rosalie is giving me Grandma Jessie's old refrigerator, which will go out there as well. I can keep the cases of juice that I buy at Smart & Final in it.

Eliminating the duplicate entry: bleah.

[Comments] (3) Some Days You Just Can't Win: Today has been an interesting day. Susie and John left in the early a.m., and Rachel and I got ready for church. My IV container sprang a leak and soaked my clothes, and Gretel opened the door and got back in and we couldn't get her out, so we were late for church. We sat in the back with Gwen and Don Hare, who said they had also been late. Church wasn't too bad. I didn't cry this year from missing my mother too much. The Relief Society had made pineapple strawberry frappe for all the sisters but I didn't get any because I had to leave early to go home throwing up.

Then Rachel went back to Los Angeles and I went to bed. Barely got to sleep and my TPN pump decided to act up, with big loud alarms. I turned it off, tried to reboot, tried new batteries, checked the tubing, tried everything. It doesn't work still, and I am starting to feel faint. I called the nurse and she said they would send another one out, but they haven't come yet.

Meanwhile, Sadie is in desperate John withdrawal mode and just craving attention every second.

Hicktown:: So. The President of Chechnya was assassinated, and what does the Bakersfield Californian have for a lead story? Legal technicalities for the retrial of a ten-year-old local murder.

Winding Down: Today was last class meeting, and I have all the papers graded. There will be more papers coming in tomorrow. Tomorrow is the big deadline. I have to spend tomorrow and maybe the next day reading departmental writing exams. I am REALLY looking forward to a short break before summer school. I think I might go to San Francisco.

[Comments] (2) No Nap Today: This afternoon, Don's field crew is going to drop the old refrigerator by. I will need to shuffle the piles in the garage. It's funny, but it doesn't seem all that long ago that we had a big garage sale and ALMOST cleaned it out! I don't know where all the stuff comes from. If you want to be shocked at the extent our consumer society has taken over our lives, just look in your garage.

I sure hope someone buys John and Susie's clock.

[Comments] (3) Round and Round in Podunk-Town: After waiting fruitlessly for the local paper to publish news of Chechnya, I gave up and looked for an update on Lexis-Nexus. Thank heavens I am a college professor and have that alternative available. I've been complaining about the situation there for days and almost everyone says "Who?" "What?"

Hello, folks! The days when we could huddle up in our little American cocoon and ignore the rest of the world are O-V-E-R! Since technology is what it is, the probability is that if one of those little countries goes down, they will take us with them, like a big stack of dominoes.

World War I (the war that ruined the world) started with an assassination in just that area of the earth.

Finally!: All finished with this semester except for turning in grades. I do have to meet with class members on Wednesday morning to go over their exams, and one of them says she is going to bring late work. We shall see. She had a baby, and some complications, and wasn't feeling so hot when I talked to her last. She's going to get an incomplete and take the test with my summer school class.

I have three who tried and tried--and this is their third time through Eng. 60-- and they failed. They need to be in ESL, but will they listen to me? noooo. Even if they did take ESL, there are so few sections it's almost impossible to get a class. I sent two of my boys to Susan McQuerrey, however.

Sigh. I think I will go back home and return to bed.

[Comments] (3) Yoooohooo! Universe to George W. Bush:: Lookie here at today's headline from CNN. CIA: Top Bin Laden Ally Beheaded Berg in Iraq See? See? Al Quaida did it, not the Iraquis. Al Quaida attacked New York City, not the Iraquis. Let's get focused on the goal here! You've got a job left unfinished.

[Comments] (3) Apricot Day:: What a day! Rachel and I picked all the apricots that were ripe and picked up the ones that had fallen. We made apricot jam. Apricot pineapple jam. Apricot plum jam. And six quarts of cobbler filling AND a huge huge cobbler to take to the ward party. It was good, but Sadie got up on the table and helped herself to some of it.

After that, I went over to the Welsh's to make shisk kebabs and cut up fruit. The social was well attended, and it looked like people had fun. I started getting nauseated toward the end, but what do I expect, eating so late? Brock Hare had brought a "fruit" salad (his sly little dig) that looked incredible, and most people ate that and not my cobbler, so there is a lot left over. Rachel will take some of it with her back to LA.

Brock is a bad boy. I should spend more time with him, being bad.

Changes:: Today I was settling comfortably into my pew, and the entire Stake Presidency walked into the meeting. Oh-oh, I thought. They released Brad Davis from the Bishopric and replaced him with Michael Bean. I have the idea to interview him for the June newsletter, questions like where were you born and what is your favorite food, etc.

I worked on genealogy all afternoon, and I am in the middle of the Greys. The Greys are a very large and tangled family and it is going to take me a while. They tie us in to "Hotspur" Lord Percy, which might lend some excitement to our lives. At the very least, we can dream of Shakespeare while we complete our more mundane pedigree charts.

[Comments] (7) Flubbaththth:: I feel like I'm really struggling. Getting sicker. I think I probably won't go to San Francisco over break, but stay home and try to rebuild my strength. I hate this; it really cramps my style.

I've Said It Before; I'll Say It Again:: It's a sad year to be a Giants fan. However, it's looking a little brighter since they won last night. Now, if we can just keep Bonds off the disability list....

[Comments] (4) A Hole In the Middle For The Juice to Come Out:: Gretel and I went to White Forest Nursery this morning and bought more blueberry bushes. I realized I would never have enough blueberries to make a pie unless I grow more bushes. I also bought one to give to Jill Langley for her birthday. She was thrilled, so I was glad I thought of it. Tomorrow I will plant our new bushes in the morning.

Sherrie Lewis and I took Jill to lunch at La Mina for her birthday. We also took Gwen Lewis, so our visiting teaching is done for the month. (Sherrie stopped by Sister Boonestoppel's, and I spent time with her last week.) I had the enchilada suiza and the other ladies had the buffet. So far it has stayed down--sorta, barely.

I am making pate a choux filled with tuna salad to take to Guilt and Lies Meeting tonight.

Beep. Beep. Beep.: My TPN pump went bonkers in the night, so I had to disconnect my IV. By morning I was too weak to go work in the yard, and it was early afternoon (and naptime) by the time they brought me a new one. So for tomorrow, the plan is plant blueberries.

I went to Target and bought a gift for Laura and Michael Rasmussen's baby, (another!) wastebasket, and some little dishes for Jellybean to drink Arrowhead water from. I forgot to buy the two gift cards that I intended to pick up. I did remember to get my reprint of photos from Easter. Then I went to the grocery store and now I am done for.

[Comments] (1) Later On:: I forgot to mention that while I was at Target I saw Jimmy and Robin Carlisle there. They have always been good friends to me. Valerie was with them, with a little girl and half a baby in her tummy. They asked about everybody.

Jimmy told me he doesn't think I'm looking that good. I could always count on him to tell it straight.

I have waded through almost all of the "G" names in my list. I'm down to the GUs, and there are five more pages of G to go before I start H. Today I checked and got biographical dates for a lot of Welsh ancestors, but don't expect me to say their names.

[Comments] (4) Busy Saturday: I worked in the garden all morning, and I picked the remaining apricots. There are only a few greenish ones left on shady lower branches. Tomorrow I will make apricot nectar out of them. Then I made another attempt at Chicken Marsala, and once again it did not turn out like the one at Benji's Basque restaurant. It's good, but it's not what I was aiming for.

Now I am up from my nap, but still in my nightgown because my entire wardrobe is in the wash. Between now and the time tonight when I go to the shower for Laura and Michael Rasmussen's baby, I am going to do something (I don't know what) about the organization of the binders full of 12X12 scrapbook paper. Perhaps Roy G. Biv will help.

[Comments] (4) Walking Wounded: I accidentally stabbed myself in the thigh with my little sharp scrapbooking scissors. I must have hit a vein, or there is not much left of my leg, or something, because it spurted great loads of purple [oxygenated] arterial blood. Oh no! Shall I panic? Shall I call 911? No. I shall apply pressure to the wound and discourage the dogs from investigating. I made it to the bathroom and butterflied it shut with a band-aid. As swelling has started in, the bleeding has quieted down, and now it hurtz.

Yes, my tetanus shot is up to date. Is YOURS, faithful reader?

Burnt: Last weekend, Rachel and I made apricot cobbler filling. We took a mongo cobbler to the ward potlluck and then canned the rest in quarts. However, I burnt a bunch of it in the bottom of my big pot. Ugh. After applying elbow grease all week and getting nowhere, I looked for tips on the net.

On one of them, the person who posted it said they tried it because it was such a crazy idea it might work and it did. It was swish a dryer sheet around the pot, and the carbon will magically leave the pot and adhere to the dryersheet. Right. The carbon in my pot laughed at my dryer sheet.

The hint I am trying right now is sprinkle the burned part with dishwasher soap and add water, then simmer. It's working okay, slowly, but ok. (When I say slowly, I mean it's been simmering all day, and still traces of burned stuff.) It still takes scraping and elbow grease, and I am an unhappy camper because I really needed to make apricot nectar this weekend, and I can't without the big pot.

Don Aslett says use oven cleaner, but I hesitate to do that to my good French cookware. Of course, I shouldn't burn stuff in my good French cookware either, but there you have it.

[Comments] (3) Orange Bottles Like Liquid Sunshine:: Today I got the pot clean and made apricot nectar. The crop from the late bearing graft of the tree yielded 17 pints. I only sealed up two boilings, and I put the rest in the refrigerator. Yum! I was going to go see A Day Without a Mexican but finished the nectar too late. It took a lot longer than I thought it would.

Grandpa is in the hospital. I'm going to go visit him in the morning and see how he is doing.

[Comments] (1) The Patter of Little Feet:: It's being noised abroad that Shannon is going to have another baby! The end of November.

[Comments] (3) Where the Heart Is:: I spent most of the day at the Heart Hospital with my inlaws. They had taken Grandpa to Memorial yesterday, but they found some things wrong with him in the ER, so the doctor moved him to the Heart Hospital. They are running every test in the book--and apparently finding more things wrong that lead to more tests....

I don't think Grandpa has a very clear picture of how serious his situation could be. So far, that I have heard, he has blockage in his kidneys and an embolism in his lung.

Grandma is managing the best she can, but she can't hop up and find his glasses, straighten the pillows, run to the nurses station, and all those little things that need to be done when a loved one is in the hospital.

I made Grandma go to lunch--the hospital cafeteria is called a cafe. The Heart Rock Cafe. No lie. The food looked pretty good, but I only had jello. When we got back, Bones was in the room going over Grandpa with a tricorder. It was interesting to see the various internal organs as they appeared on the computer screen. Tomorrow Pat has to go to Madera, so I have extracted a promise that if Grandma needs a ride and company tomorrow, she is to call me.

Then I came home and was very sick (orange jello, yuck) and went to bed for the rest of the day. I am not accomplishing much.

[Comments] (8) Bookworm:: I have finally finished reading The History of Private Life. It consists of 18205 pages and spands a thousand years. Whew! I sure learned a lot. I also read, mostly today, The Red Tent, which is a historical novel about Jacob's family from the point of view of his daughter, Dinah. The author opens a window into a fascinating world.

[Comments] (1) Claudia:: I turned the page of the article about the evolution of the German family I was reading (in The History of Private Life) and there I was! Really me. Or what I looked like in 1972, when the photo was taken. Her name is Claudia, and she lived (lives, probably) in Germany, and she looks exactly like me. She is sitting on the beach having her photo taken on the occasion of her engagement. Spooky.

I Don't Feel All That Confident:: I bought a product for toenail fungus called "Clearly Confident." The package insert says to "Apply Clearly Confident with brush around and under nails and message into effected areas."

Do you suppose I can do it by email? And can I verb a noun?

[Comments] (5) La Rosa By Any Other Name:: Young's Market has discontinued selling La Rosa bars. I went over there to buy one, and no dice. I communicated my disappointment to the manager on duty, and he said he was surprised this morning--nobody told him they were going, either. He will tell his big boss he has been getting customer complaints.

In the meantime, I guess I need to listen carefully for the jingle of the man with the cart.

[Comments] (1) In Memoriam:: Today's paper carried an obituary for Vicki Tucker. She was a teacher and coach at Haven Drive when the kids went there, and a really outstanding woman. I'm sorry that she had cancer and had to suffer, and I'm sorry that the world has lost this beautiful soul. The children of America need more teachers like her.

[Comments] (1) Long Weekend:: Leonard and Rachel and Sumana were here for the weekend, and they helped me in the yard, which was thrilling. We didn't do much really--visited Grandpa, and went to see A Day Without a Mexican . Rachel remarked that the people who really need to see that movie are the people who will refuse to go to it.

I've just about got my (contemporary) scrapbook caught up, and then I need to work on Leonard's before I can start on the life history book again. Will be nice to be finished.

Genealogy wise, I did all the Hansens today. It was odd coming across the names of aunts and uncles I knew when I was a girl, and not having to imagine what they were like. Remembering very fondly tonight Aunt Bessie, who was a professional seamstress and who encouraged me and taught me a lot.

[Comments] (1) The Symbolism is Obvious:: I had a dream last night that there was this big banquet at church (held in the Wilshire Ward chapel) and I was out in the hallway and couldn't get in. I looked in at the table, and it was crowded with outstanding couples--the Poulsons, the Boswells (I thought Lois Boswell looked really good for being dead.) Both Bishop Traynor and President Tanner assured me that I could come in, even though I had no one to sit with. I looked and couldn't see an empty chair, and I knew that if I went in, they would scramble around and find me a little corner and I would still be alone.

I was starving and I wanted a Whopper, but I couldn't go in there to eat the dinner.

I'm gonna go buy me a Whopper.

[Comments] (3) Summer is Here:: It's 100 degrees today. Whew. I worked in the yard a little bit and was dripping.

I went to Target and bought a plastic kiddie pool for Gretel to wade in. She was very suspicious of it, and I had to get in it first before she thought it was ok. Sadie won't go anywhere near it.

[Comments] (3) Public Service Announcement:: The spa is now fixed! Come one, come all! However, you don't really need to get in the steaming water to be hot. Just stand outside in the air; that will do.

[Comments] (1) Back to the Salt Mines:: I am at work getting ready for summer school. It's so quiet here! The only other person in the building is Dave Ramirez, the custodian. I don't know if he was glad to have company or not. I am trying not to mess anything up. Dave is so sweet and works so hard, against incredible odds.

I went through my new worksheet packet and put all the overheads with the sheets and cleaned out last semester. I answered all my emails and straightened my desk. I cleaned out the file box that goes with me to the classroom. I played all my Scrabble turns. (Oopsie! That's not "work", is it?)

There are 28 students registered for my class (full class) and a dozen more on the wait list. The only thing left to do is print out a class roster--I'm going to do that Sunday night in case someone drops between now and then,or signs on to the waitlist. Then Monday, we will yoke up the oxen. I'm going to tell them to look at their butts and then say goodbye, because they are going to work them off the next six weeks. What they don't realize is that all the work I give them is work for me X30.

The News We Don't Like:: Xochitl and I went to get her shots this morning, and Shane told us that his dad had gone in for biopsies and an MRI about a mass in his pancreas today. This worries me sick. From what I know about pancreatic cancer, if you have it, it's goodbye.

I reminded Shane that my mom died like his mom did--very young of breast cancer. It's been 24 years and I am still upset about that. He says his mom has been gone 14 years, and "some people leave a hole in your life that can never be filled--it's just too big a loss." His mom was a great lady too.

Mr. Spiny:: Gretel and I went to a yard sale this morning. It was over on San Emidio Street, at the house where the Mains used to live. The woman had had her mother move in with her and they were getting rid of a lot of stuff. So many knick-knacks! There were a lot of trashy bunny figurines, bunny candle holders, bunny junk. There were some plastic pieces for the kitsch creche, but nothing we didn't have already. Shoot, I shoulda bought the angel though. It was really tacky. Gahhhh. I bought a gigantic sea urchin.

It's fun to think of him living his life in the briny deep, snapping at plankton (or whatever he eats). Now his skeleton is sitting on my coffee table.

The sale continued into the back yard of the lady next door. You could hardly get onto the patio for the stuff--she had barrels of junk not even unpacked. It was a huge, incredible mess, and nothing worth having. There were three --count 'em, THREE!-- bride and groom wedding cake statuettes.

This experience made me think even more of my own pile of stuff. What will we ever do with it? Arrrgh.

At least I don't have anything tacky. Except the kitsch creche.

[Comments] (3) The Carpet Sweeper:: Gretel did something today that --I think-- was intended to be helpful. I was settled on the couch with a trashy novel and a bowl of popcorn on my lap. She came in carrying a stray puff of popcorn, very gently, and spit it into the bowl.

I couldn't tell which kernel was hers either. Lucky a dog's mouth is clean.

[Comments] (1) True Grit:: My little bottle of layered colored dirt that I brought back from La Quebrada de la Humahuaca (Argentina, almost to Bolivia, high in the Andes) launched itself from its perch on the shelf today. Not only did it fly, it scattered sand, having somehow lost its plaster of Paris plug over the years. I was very upset, but it isn't hurt too much. Only the top layer is gone, and the patterns and ripples of color are still intact. There is a thin film of Argentina everywhere--keyboard, mousepad, pc, floor, desk, papers... It's gritty and no matter how much I sweep and dust, there is always more. Don't cry for me.

[Comments] (8) Ready or Not:: Well. Today was a qualified success. The waitlist option on the registration seems to be working fairly smoothly. I don't have enough room for all the students though. I hope some more drop, but they appear to be a good group. I had them write a practice writing proficiency, and most of them did ok. There was only one student with awful, tangled up sentences.

I walked over to the cafeteria with Bev Kieper, bought a tuna sandwich, ate half of it, threw it up. I'm hungry again now but don't know if I dare eat anything. It was nice visiting with Bev; this summer it will be a good thing to spend some time with her.

One of the students this morning asked about my IV. That's a first for me. Usually people don't mention it so they can pretend it's not there.

I am doing my laundry.

[Comments] (6) The Medical Gestapo Versus Me:: I have escaped. My life is my own again.

Last Monday when the nurse checked me, my temperature was 100, so she said that if it goes up I should call the doctor. I said “yeah, yeah,” because my temperature is always going up and down. But Tuesday morning in class, I started shaking uncontrollably. I finally had to let the students go early, and I was just freezing. I went and sat in the sun and it didn’t help. I crawled up to my desk and slept on the floor under it for a couple of hours, and then I finally made it home and to bed, where I dove under the comforter. When I woke up I took my temperature and it was 104, so I decided to call the doctor after all.

Dr. Amin was out of town. His PA said to go to the emergency room (always my favorite thing to do), so I called Sherrie Lewis and she took me in. It was freezing in there, and Sherrie made them give me a blanket. The triage nurse gave me two Tylenol, and we sat down to wait. We made friends with all the people there–a four year old named Larry who had been dragged along because his baby brother was sick, Larry’s grandpa, the mother of a man whose arm had been crushed. (That’s GOTTA be painful!) We watched the Lakers game against Utah, which they won coming from behind at the last minute during overtime.

I was worried that I had that PCP, which is what Roy died from. Same symptoms, cough and high fever. We waited and waited. My TPN container ran out, and I didn’t have any Carmex in my purse. The profile was really piling up on the “I don’t want to be here side.” When they finally took me to the back, they found all these things wrong with me, so they kept me.

It was about 20 hours before they moved me out of emergency to a room. I felt really bad about that because there I was taking up a stall in the ER when there were so many sick and injured people in the waiting room–as I had been. I made Sherrie go home. I was going to call people, but my cell phone wouldn’t work in there. They called in a pulmonologist, a cardiologist, a gastroenterologist, and an infectious disease specialist.

Coincindentally, the ID specialist was the doctor Leonard had when he had osteomastitis when he was about eight years old. She hasn’t aged a bit, which doesn’t seem fair to me since the rest of us are all turning into hags.

So I cooled my heels in the hospital for a week while all these doctors ran every test in the textbook. They gave me a unit of blood right off the bat, and I immediately felt much stronger.

Life in the hospital was awful. They had me on a liquid diet, which means nonfat dry nonsoup and fake jello (Did you ever wonder just how artificial something can get???) They took my blood sugar (finger prick) every hour round the clock, vitals every four hours, and blood draws about six times a day. Also, it was noisy! I’ve decided I have a very low tolerance for noise, and that is why I never turn on the radio, and why Sadie’s barking drives me so insane. I’d rather be hot, cold, hungry, thirsty, or in pain than exposed to continuous noise.

Lots of people came to see me and smuggled in real food. Rachel brought me a Too Fat sandwich, which was really good, and I had some nice homemade matzoh ball soup that Hillary brought me. I missed home and work and my students very much, and Gretel, of course, was a basket case when I didn’t come home.

The good thing about this adventure, is the gastroenterologist found a very serious problem. The duct between pancreas and stomach was infected, inflamed, and totally closed off. He poked a tiny little hole, and I feel much better, but I have to go in for a laparoscopy on it when summer school is over. The optimistic view is that if this is fixed, I won’t need to be on the TPN IV anymore. That would be wonderful.

Finally, all the doctors said I could go home, but the nurses got excited because my blood pressure was low, and they didn’t believe me when I told them it was always low. They put in a call to the cardiologist, and he never returned it. I don’t blame him, because he had said I could go home the night before. The day nurses didn’t believe he had said that, however. Finally, I got disgusted and took of f the heart monitor myself and just left. Jonell Amundsen and Becky Bean took me home, where I found GIGANTIC zucchini. I tried to get the ladies to adopt them but they wouldn’t.

I fell into my own bed and slept like a person who’d had no sleep in a week–and I hadn’t. It is SO good to be home and eating real food and sleeping in my own bed. I’m going to make a really nice dinner for Rachel before she goes back to school. Some kind of chicken breast dish, sauteed zucchini, wild rice.

I really felt bad about being sick when Rachel was in the middle of her senior thesis and finals. She made a lot of trips from Los Angeles to take care of me, and was so stressed, and I regret that. It was a bad time to be sick. I am so very grateful for the loving care of all my family and friends.

[Comments] (5) Yumtum:: I made a lovely dinner today. I tried yet another recipe for Chicken Marsala, still trying to make what we ate at the Basque restaurant at Garry's wedding. This one has lemon juice in it and it was closer than any other I've tried so far. Really tangy and yummy. I made the last of the wild rice mix, and I sauteed two baby zucchini with cherry tomatoes, onion, and garlic. Poor Rachel said it was the first meal she's had in forever.

I tried to teach her the technique of deglazing the saute pan to make a sauce, but I don't know if it stuck. She'll have more time to cook once she is out of college.

I just can't believe my baby is graduating from college! It feels like a real lifetime accomplishment to have such wonderful, smart, and educated kids.

[Comments] (4) A Capitalist Economy:: I ventured out into the wide world today. I am planning to go to the scrapbook store next Friday because I have a coupon to use their facility for free, so I dropped by to check out what they have. I think I'll have to bring my own CM cropparoodle and scissors. I have seven years of my life left to scrapbook, and I want to use their big tables to lay it all out at once.

Then I went to Office Depot to get more file folders and some watercolor brushes. While there, I found that they had stocked OmniPage Pro, so I bought it. I know it wasn't there a couple of months ago when I was looking all over town for an OCR program that would work with Windows XT. I do hope I can get this to work with my old scanner. I have lots and lots of OCs that are waiting to be Rd.

Then I went shopping for an outfit to wear to graduation. I found a few nice summer clothes at Ross. The only thing left that I really need is a pair of white capri pants. The ones I found at Ross I liked really well. They only had a size ten, which fit fine everywhere but around the tummy. Bleah. I'll look at Target one of these days.

That did me in and I came home and collapsed and slept for a few hours. Now up, it's 4 p.m, and I haven't even started my paper grading and newsletter typing.

[Comments] (2) Meow:: Today's top story stars a cougar, which surprised some bicycle riders along the bike path, right here in Bako. Puddertatzens.

Addendum:: One of the people who saw the cougar was Victor Lasseter, who was my thesis advisor. He is retired now, but still very active with riding his bike. I would not want to be the kittycat who tangled with him.

Dr. Lasseter is one of the people who are under the delusion that American literature is the best kind. Bless his heart, I read Moby Dick and Walden for him.

[Comments] (1) Pomp and Circumstance:: Rachel came walking down the aisle at Royce Hall, and I sat and bawled. My BABY, graduating from UCLA!

I was so happy, but I was sad too. Most of the students had two parents there, and a lot of them even had four! Rachel, as usual, had me. All these years, I've gone alone to concerts, plays, games, graduations, Susie's wedding. It bites, and sometimes I've felt like giving up, but I couldn't because I had three wonderful kids to raise.

In a way, we've cobbled together some "family." Rachel's friends Chris, Jennifer, and Becca came, and also Jen's parents, the Vorells, as well as her old roommate, Christina. So it wasn't like she didn't have a crowd. I took Chris and Becca out to dinner at the Grand Panda on the way home. As usual, our eyes were bigger than our stomachs, so Chris had to take home a bunch of styrofoam boxes. My fortune cookie said I would have a summer full of comfort and material security. I'd sure like to know whan that will be!

[Comments] (1) Father's Day:: I crawled out of bed -- I didn't want to-- and went to Sacrament Meeting. Sarah Amundsen spoke about her father, and Bishop Nations spoke about lessons he's learned from being a father. They were both excellent talks, and the choir sang "Be Still My Soul." That's the song I want for the opening hymn at my funeral.

I made it through the meeting without a meltdown, though afterwards Doris Jackman and I got a little bit sentimental as we remembered our fathers.

After church I went over to visit Dalton in the rest home. He was doing well and seemed stronger; he dictated a very sentimental note to Rosalie and I wrote it down for him.

[Comments] (4) Monday, Monday So Good to Me:: I went back work today. A little shaky but I made it. It was good to be back being useful. I've hardly dared eat anything, however. After work I met with the nurse, slept for a little while, and then Rachel and I went to see Harry Potter. I thought the cinematography was excellent.

Hermione's cat is a Flame Persian. I wonder why people think those caved-in facial features are attractive?

Speaking of cats, I saw Xochitl today. It was the first time in a couple of weeks. I spoke to her, but she wouldn't come in the house. She's getting thin. I think she needs to come home and scratch the dybbuk across the nose.

[Comments] (3) Several Green-Eyed Monsters:: I bragged to Dr. Amin that my last had graduated from UCLA, and he told me that his youngest graduated from UCR a couple of weeks ago. They took her on an Alaskan cruise for a graduation celebration, and that's where he was when I got sick. It gives me a little pang that I am not able to do things like that for my children.

He had a little jealousy himself, however, as I told him all about my hospital stay. He cast his jaundiced eye on the medications they had me on, the doctors they called in (except Dr. Manouj--he likes him), and the whole procedure. Serves me right for getting sick when he is out of town.

[Comments] (1) My Life: *may not actually be MY life:: I am reading Bill Clinton's autobiography, which has received some negative reviews. So far I am enjoying it. There are vignettes of his place and time growing up, and sketches of some interesting characters.

I think he is a good writer, but it wouldn't have hurt him to run it through another draft or two. I think this may be one of the cases like JRR Tolkien, when the author has such a towering ego that the editor hesitates to suggest needed changes, or perhaps the author ignores the editor's advice. (That was why Tolkien fell out with C.S. Lewis, but I side with Lewis in that battle.)

There are some lovely and touching tributes to his mother, and I think he is very honest about his character flaws. More honest than most, to tell the truth.

I have made it to his college years at Georgetown. A review I read in the newspaper said probably nobody would hang in there for all 900-odd pages. We shall see.

[Comments] (1) Scraphappy:: I spent the day at the scrapbook store today, cropping and laying out all the pictures I have left--Years 1988 to 1992. After I get them in an album, I will be DONE. I ran out of power layout dividers long before I was finished, so I bought random paper in solid colors I knew we would use and did the layouts on them. I tacked the pictures in place with repositionable glue and wrote titles and captions on Post-it notes. It should go really fast once I get started gluing them down into the book.

Rachel came home and we went out to dinner at Mimi's, where I had the onion soup. I don't think it is going to stay down though. We wanted to go to the dollar movie, but it starts too early/late.

Tomorrow, the weeds.

[Comments] (4) A Waste of Onion Soup:: Today has been pretty slow. I feel crummy. However, Rachel and I went to the matinee of Farenheit 9/11. I thought we'd be the only people in the theater, but it was full. The film was, of course, very biased, but since it was biased towards my beliefs, I didn't mind.

Then we went to visit Grandpa. He didn't even sit up in bed. Grandma was there sitting with him, working on a baby quilt which she was piecing by hand. It's pink, so if Shannon has a girl this time, she will get it so she can raise the poor little thing according to outmoded sexist stereotypes. (I don't think she will, and I hope she won't.)

I remarked that I haven't seen her making a quilt since the one she made for Leonard when he was born. She said she quit making them about that time because Grandma Jessie started to crank them out.

Now Rachel and I are going to see Ella Enchanted, if we can ever get Gretel out.

Oh, Nancy:: When are YOU going to start a blog of your life?

[Comments] (1) Saturday Night and I Ain't Got No Money:: Rachel and I went to see Ella Enchanted at the dollar movie. It was corny and fun. The line to get in was clear down the sidewalk. Lots of families with kids because several kid type movies were playing. Do you think there was a need for a dollar theater in Bakersfield? Ohhh yeahhh. It was nice because we got an evening out and I only spent $3.00 for both of us.

Today at church I made arrangements for some Boy Scouts to come pull weeds so they can earn money for camp. They are coming tomorrow night. We also sang "Come Let us Anew", one of my favorite hymns. We came home after Sacrament Meeting and I went back to bed, where I spent most of the day sleeping and reading my new Italian cookbook. I am tempted to go back right now, as a matter of fact.

The plum tree has produced. They are fresh and juicy and good.

[Comments] (9) Just Follow the Rules, Ma'am:: Another chapter in the saga of me v. the medical establishment. The home health service thinks I should live my life lying around in bed at home, ready for their beck and call. I keep TRYING to educate them otherwise. I'm not going to lie around in bed until someone has to chain me to it.

So today I was at work, left about noon, came home, and lo and behold, as I turned onto Cedar Street, there were Jill and Sara Langley chasing me down the street. It turns out the nurse was looking for me all morning, and they ended up calling Kim Cornett (my emergency contact), and Kim called Jill and Sara [because they have a key] so the Langleys could come over and see if I was dead in my bed with the cats eating me. I have told and told and told the agency that I work until noon. They don't believe it.

I called Kim to apologize and thank her for fielding that emergency, and she said she will never let me be dead in my house for a week with cats eating me. She is such a good friend!

[Comments] (1) Night Noises:: Gretel whiffeling in her dreams. Swoosh of the ceiling fan. Tock of the alarm clock. Jellybean: snoring. Whirr of the air conditioning unit. Somewhere in a pipe, running water going out the drip system. Far-away hum of freeway traffic. Then, the Sheriff's helicopter. Sadie, restless in her crate. Tonks rattling his tags. Slow sawing sound of the IV pump. And suddenly, through the night, sirens.

[Comments] (5) Cruizin': I've been looking at recipes on the internet. There are so many! Just about anything you could imagine, you can find it online. What I have noticed, however, is a disappointing number of them call for prepared ingredients instead of being strictly from scratch. Same problem with the new Italian cookbooks I bought. They use boullion cubes with a liberal hand. I don't believe in boullion cubes, although boullion is what kept me alive during me week in the hospital. It may be nasty and dehydrated and processed, but at least it was better than the soup from the cafeteria, and it came in a styrofoam cup that I knew was at least clean.

Independence Day:: Hooray, our website is back in business?

I am enjoying a long weekend with my family even though I feel rotten. I am sort of sorry about the firework situation for John's sake; all the shows are expensive to go to, and the fireworks are expensive to buy, and I can tell he is disappointed to not have any. If I felt better, I would have insisted that everyone get in gear and go to a show, and if I weren't so broke, I would have bought tickets.

The kids helped me quite a bit in the yard yesterday, and things have improved. I installed the new pumps on the filters in the fishpond, so I hope the water will clear up soon.

Today I walked into church with my whole family, and we sang "America the Beautiful" with the choir. It was an exciting moment to me, to be a real family and do the things that real people do. I am so proud of my children.

[Comments] (2) Monday Holiday: Today I made spinach omlettes, hash browns, and bacon for my family for breakfast. It certainly has been a nice visit.

We went to Beverly's to get some curtain material for Leonard's new house and some elastic for Rachel, to Smart & Final to get water and V-8 juice, and to the pet store to get cat and dog food and fishpond enzymes. They had guinea pigs on sale for half price. The pigs were not very tame.

After everyone left, I collapsed, and when I woke up my temp was 102. I took some Tyelenol and stayed in bed, and I'm feeling some better now.

I am wondering how much longer I'm going to be able to work?

Too Hot to Handle: I found a website where you can order a 25 pound case of Atomic Fireballs for $76.96.

[Comments] (3) More Red Hots: I kept thinking about Atomic Fire Balls (which are TOO HOT for me!), so I rooted around in my desk and found the last of the hard hot cinnamon candies that Lila Stevenson gave me. When I was a kid, I used to live on those Jolly Rancher Fire Stix, and we had cinnamon toothpicks which were well worth chewing.

Last night, after I had gone to bed but oh well, Amanda Donev came over and brought me a rose, a CD of her acapella choir, and some little pressure point gadgets that are supposed to prevent nausea. They are elastic wristbands that have a little plastic ball to lean into a pressure point. I've had them on for about 24 hours now. So far so good. Amanda is looking good--all grown up and beautiful. She is going to Italy for study abroad next year.

Got Rock: My sister has announced her engagement to Ben Taylor. He seems a fine fellow and I am happy for her. I think that with him, she will be able to have the life she's always dreamed of. The kind of life most of us dream of, to tell the truth, but most of us never see it.

Coincidentally, we were discussing engagement rings at work. Stephanie, the student who is sitting at Hillary's desk for the summer, maintaines there is no such thing as too big a diamond. I hold that anything over, say, a karat and a half is tacky. Too big, and people assume it's fake anyway. We went round and round about this while Midge Ladd laughed at us. Stephanie and I agreed that the very best engagement ring is a plain Tiffany-set solitaire. That's what my first one was, and after all these years it's still lovely. Though I did very much love the custom made ring Roger bought for me. I wish I could have kept the ring when I had to get rid of him. It was made by Raul, the goldsmith next to the Target on Wible Road, and he was kind enough to sell it for me when I needed to get rid of it. Raul's a good guy, and he's seen me through the disposition of two husbands.

[Comments] (3) Sea Breezes: In the morning, I'm going to go teach my class--it's the last class session, testing next week-- and then Rachel, Sadie, and I are going to go over to San Simeon for a little break. I made a reservation at the motel where Stacey and I stayed with Aunt Jeuney in 1987 when we went on our girls' trip. It's right on the beach.

This is the first vacation in my life where I feel I can just stay in one place and relax. The only thing we have going is tickets to Hearst Castle on Friday. Sadie will have to stay in her box in the motel while we go there, but it's only three miles away.

Gretel is going to military school while we are gone. She does not know this yet. Today we got her a bordatella booster at the vet's, and she was the biggest wussie about that little ole shot. She cried and cried; you'd have thought we amputated something.

[Comments] (3) The Vagabonds Return: We just got back from our trip to San Simeon. It was very nice, low key and relaxing. And cool! The temp is in the hundreds here.

We stayed at the Cavalier Oceanfront Resort, which is pricy by my standards, but we had a fireplace in our room, an ocean view, and just steps from our room to the beach--also the motel's restraurant is right there and decent food. They have three outdoor fireplaces on the bluff above the beach where they light fires every evening, and you can roast marshmallows or just sit and watch the sun go down. We slept a lot, read a lot, sat in the jacuzzi, and walked on the beach.

Sadie didn't like the ocean. The first time it came up and knocked her over, she decided it wasn't for her, but she thought the sand and seaweed smelled interesting. She was a very, very good dog the whole trip. When we went shopping in Cambria, everyone stopped on the street to remark how cute she is.

We went to Hearst Castle, on a tour I'd never been on before, the one where we see the kitchens and library and Mr. H's private study. Rachel loved it. We got in trouble for leaving Sadie in her crate in our motel room while we went to the castle, so thereafter we had to take her everywhere, and we had to make her stay in the car while we had dinner. We ate at two very nice restaurants for dinner--Pezullo's, an Italian place, and Moonstone Gardens, which is a restaurant/exotic plant nursery. (The nursery itself was closed by the time we got there, but the landscaping was a wonder to behold).

We also visited Harmony, a little hippie town that boasts a potter and a glassblower. It turns out the glassblower, Carl Radke, is famous. I read about him in Smithsonian. It's not as exciting to watch as you might think because his method involves long waits of standing around while the glass heats in big furnaces.

We took the long way home a bopped through Solvang, eating at Pea Soup Andersen's and buying Danish pastries. Decided Solvang is cute, but it sure has gotten tourist trappy, so we never need to go again. I had a terrible tussle with the pump for my IV the whole time, and now I'm waiting for them to bring me a new one. I'm feeling kind of wiped because I was disconnected more often than not, so my blood sugar is down. As soon as they bring the pump, I can take a shower and go to bed. In my own bed! Always a blessing. It's good to be back!

Honorary Mexican: I am eating fresh raw turnip with lemon juice and pico de gallo sprinkle stuff. Yummers. Now I wish I had bought an ear of corn also, so I could sprinkle it.

[Comments] (2) Gratituous Violence: Last semester we had an essay topic about violence in the media, and one of my students wrote that he likes to watch violent movies. I was shocked. Then later that day, I was reading a review of Hidalgo, and the reviewer was complaining about the violence in it. Huh? Then I realized that I like to watch violent movies too. The kind of violence I don't like is cars chasing around and blowing up and modern action film, but give me a good swordfight or a brawl in a Western cantina any day. Yes, I want to see the hero hit the villan over the head with a chair.

That said, Karen Nations and I went to see King Arthur this afternoon. We loved it. I like going to the movies with Karen because we sit and make irreverent remarks. This Arthur story is mostly galloping horses and swordfights and Saxon battle axes--the love story is very much secondary.

The movie was filmed in Ireland. I read one review--in Newsweek, I think, that said "It's not very often that the weather is one of the main characters of the movie." I'm going to go see it again when it comes to the dollar theater.

In other news, I graded exams all morning and then went to the dentist. He has figured out $3,400 worth of work he wants to do, and my dental insurance will only cover $1000 a year. Bleah. I even have some teeth that are cracked. I'm going to have to take a long look at how long I really expect to live. I'll get the cavities filled, and crowns on the two broken teeth, but I don't know about the rest.

Endure to the End: I think I'm sick. I came home from work and spent the day asleep and I'm still sick.

I sent three of my students for retakes of their writing proficiency. I am holding out hope for only one of them. After we grade these tomorrow, I can do final grades and be done. The #1 thing I need to do now is prepare the student worksheet packet for fall semester. Need to get that turned in to be duplicated by next week.

I ordered some things from Parks--more daffodils, some irises, some cyclamen. When those seed catalogs come, I always one one of everything because the flowers are so pretty. I wish I had a full time gardener. And an English garden. In England.

[Comments] (1) Leaving the Island: I have survived summer school! Whew. I have a lot of projects in the works for the rest of the summer, #1 being stomach surgery. I need to get all my stuff for fall semester in line and over to the duplicating guy.

My paycheck is for half the hours I worked. I sure as heck hope they are going to send us the rest on August 15.

I called Garry and asked him to donate grapes for Pioneer Day, ordered some bulbs from Park, and now (well maybe after I nap a while) I'm going to get set up so that I can ask Joey Nations to come over and move sewing machines so I can make Leonard's curtains. And maybe do some other sewing.

Things for Joey to do: 1.Change the Arrowhead water bottle. 2.Climb up and get the needlework frame down (Rosalie wants it.)3.Move sewing machines and kitchen table.4.Scoot bedroom bookshelf out so I can plug something in. 5.And of course, the reason he is coming over: bring back the camp kitchen. I wish I could get him to pull weeds, but I know him too well.

[Comments] (7) Another Task for Joey: Move the washing machine out so I can clean the grit screen in the hot water line.

Joey is coming over tomorrow after I get back from Los Angeles and he gets back from EFY.

Maybe I should invite them to dinner and make eggplant. I have eggplants. I have eggplants. I have eggplants. Did I mention? I have eggplants.

[Comments] (1) pLAydate: This morning early I drove to Los Angeles. None of the friends from here who wanted to come with ended up being able to, so I went alone. The occasion was going fabric shopping and to lunch in Chinatown with women from the Mollie list. I picked up Paula in Burbank about 9:30 and we made it down that rampy part of the Pasadena Freeway in record time. I wonder what CalTrans has done to improve that stretch? I couldn't tell that anything had changed, except it was so much better.

Off to Michael Levine, my idea of heaven on earth. Sue and Mary from Orange County met us there--it was soo good to see them. I was very strict with myself and did not allow myself to buy anything that wasn't for Christmas-- so I can't say what I did get, can I, because little pitchers have big weblog-reading eyeballs.

We went across the street to the home dec department, but I didn't see anything that really stirred my mush for redoing the kitchen. They did have some fabulous raffia fabric that I thought would do beautifully for the green chairs that are losing their caning so when one sits, one's bottom falls through. However, for $40 a yard, we can keep sitting with our bottoms falling through.

Light traffic in downtown today. We resisted with great difficulty the street vendors with the kosher dogs and grilled onions and drove up Broadway to Chinatown. We ate at a dim sum place. I got a bit concerned as we entered the restaurant because the posted grade from the County Health Department was only a "B". I spoke sternly with self:

Self: Yeech, I'm gonna get food poisoning!

Me: Where is the adventurous girl who would even eat shrimp from a street vendor in Hermosillo? Let's live a little, girlfriend!

The dim sums (is that how you spell the plural?)were absolutely delicious and we got completely full. I've never really had dim sum except for wonton, pork buns, and potstickers, but Sue and Paula knew what was what. Yummers. Sue bought a half dozen cha su bao to take home. Most of the people eating there were ethnic Chinese. A highlight of the restroom in this place was a poster of Lady Liberty against a flag backdrop that said, "United We Stand." I thought that was a wonderful thing to have hanging in a Chinese restaurant, and I am so grateful that I live in America where people can mix and meld and share cultures.

We poked in a few little shops after lunch. I was hoping to find another bag of turtles like the ones I got for Atticus so I can give them to Joel, but no luck. I did find a metal praying mantis (or is is preying mantis?) which looks very real. I love it, and it was only $2.99. When we were ready to go, Sue's car was not, as it wouldn't start. Poor Sue had to call the AAA, and Paula and I caught a bus back to where my car was parked. I had had this idea to take Paula on a drive through Angelino Heights to see the restored Victorian houses, but Me was nagging in the back of my mind about the Health Department grade on the restaurant, while Self was concentrating on keeping a stomach full of shrimp balls down. So, we hit the freeway and I dropped Paula off by where she had parked (she left her Chinatown purchases in my car!). After that, I made it clear to Castaic before Me and Self colluded that it was time to lose lunch.

I didn't think I would get that far actually, especially approaching the Antelope Valley Freeway, because there was a big forest fire. Fire trucks. Cops. Rangers. Fire crews. Helicopters. They had the 14 freeway closed, and everyone who had wanted to go there had to get off at Lyons Avenue, so there went that pit stop. Once past that, the freeway cleared, and smooth sailing to Bako.

One little funny thing happened when I was gassing up at the Shell station at the Bear Mountain Boulevard exit. A man leaving the mini mart honked his horn at me. I think it was Roger. Gosh, I sure hope I looked happy, well-off, and successful!

[Comments] (2) Pealing Bells: I came home to a notice in the mail that Joshua Oman is getting married in the Salt Lake Temple on Friday. I would love to go, but I am having stomach surgery next week. Even if the Dr. again says he wants to wait for me to get stronger, I'm going to insist on getting fixed NOW!

[Comments] (11) Sick: Sick. Sick. Sicketty. I hate being sick.

[Comments] (3) Update: Hello, this is your friendly neighborhood Rachel bringing the update on Frances (mom). She's in l'hopital (Memorial 171 for you Bakersfielders) since Thursday, a day early for her operation--which hasn't happened yet. She says she is feeling much better and hopefully if is she is all better by Monday or Tuesday they will go through with the procedure. :)

: Mom is having her operation this afternoon. More updates when I hear news!

[Comments] (2) Another update from Rachel: I talked to Georgette Velez, who said she saw mom after her surgery and she is doing fine!

[Comments] (5) Ahhhhh.... My Own Bed!: I am out of the hospital but didn't get out until nearly 10 p.m. last night. What's up with all that poky stuff?

I think I've only been so sick one other time in my life, when I was a kid and had Rocky Mountain fever. I went to bed after church Sunday (the 18th) and never got up again really. Wednesday was the worst day. I was seeing hallucinations, including one where Rachel came to me as an angel (little wings sprouting out of her shoulders) and told me I needed to get a degree in American history. I told her she needed to fly a kite.

Wednesday morning I was putting Gretel out so Irma could clean the house, and I collapsed on a garden bench. I was seeing a parting in the air, and I could see another world behind the air curtain--lighter and brighter than the one we live in. There was a halo of light around every leaf and flower. I stared at the rent in the time/space continuum, but Anna Buxton didn't come through it, so I figured I'd be okay. Then later I learned that Neal A. Maxwell, one of my favorite speakers ever, died Wednesday morning. So the angels WERE near.

When I went to my checkup with Dr. Amin on Thursday he bounced me straight into the hospital. What he didn't know is I was already so much better than I had been. However, they decided I was too sick to do the whoopdedootomy, so I had to wait.

Finally, the following week, Dr. Manu did the procedure. He said I was so overgrown with scar tissue it was like cutting wood, and it hardly bled at all. They didn't have me all the way out, and I could feel the scope tickling and scraping down my throat. He kept yelling at me not to vomit. Well, Dr., you have a camera down your throat and see whether or not you vomit.

I suppose I feel better but I don't know. I'm exhausted and I have to drink Gatorade instead of water--very unpalatable. It's nice to be home though.

[Comments] (8) Summer Reading: I am reading The DaVinci Code , which my friend Marianne lent me. I am really enjoying it so far. Sherrie Lewis, who travels in much different circles than I do, says there is a big controversy among some church members about the book because it doesn't "adhere to gospel principles." Well flubaththth. I never thought authors of mystery novels were obligated to adhere to gospel principles. Whatever THAT means. I think Sherrie is going to read the book.

I'm also slowly working my way through Bill Clinton's life. It's such a big book that it's hard to read. What I mean by that is my arms get tired. However, Bill has written an interesting book populated by fascinating world leaders and no less intriguing behind-the-scenes movers and shakers. I hold with my original opinion that the manuscript could have used a big blue pencil.

Finally, I've almost made it through The Blind Watchmaker . I love reading it, but it puts me to sleep after a few pages, so I use it for pre-nap reading. I realize the book is somewhat dated [1996], but I haven't seen science change all that much since then, and the ideas espoused are certainly new enough for my tiny brain to grasp.

Grasp, Brain, grasp!

[Comments] (3) I Knew That!: This morning I opened my fortune cookie (OK, so what's wrong with having chow mein for breakfast???) and it told me that Saturday is a good day for doing chores. Humph. I wanted to sit and eat bonbons.

So Far So Good: Karen Nations came over and I finally got to eat spareribs. We shared a dinner and there is one left over for me to eat tomorrow. I do hope it stays down. I worked on the ward newsletter and program, and now I'm just about to open all the mail that came while I was in the hospital. I am afraid there are bills, ugh.

[Comments] (3) Apostlenaut: Today in testimony meeting one of the deacons said how sad he was that the apostle, Neil Armstrong, had died. That's one small step for a man but a giant leap for an Apostle. What a hoot. Chris Leger remarks that in his honor, they are building a temple on the very spot where the Apollos launched.

Today both Karen Nations and Ruth Davis were on their own, so they invited me to dinner at the Davis home. It was going to be just us girls, but then Brad came home. We had a nice dinner of curry and ripe tomatoes (and a lovely salad for those who can eat salad, but I can't.) We were going to play Scrabble but couldn't find the board. Drat. My chance to win a game.

It was a fun visit, and I needed to be home paying bills, but I wasn't.

[Comments] (2) I'm Doing Everything Wrong: So. Dr. Amin says he doesn't know how anyone's stomach can be that bad and they are still alive. (and I'm kicking too!) I haven't seen the pictures yet, but he has. I told him I could mention a few words. Hivid. Norvir. AZT. Etc.

I am not supposed to eat: Spareribs. Curry. Bagles. Pizza. Practically everything else I have eaten all week.

Back to juice and yogurt.

[Comments] (4) But it Cost Just as Much!: I went to the store today and bought a bunch of Dr. Amin approved food. Stuff for a boatload of smoothies, yogurt, rice pudding, soy milk. Experimentally, I bought carrot juice to add to smoothies. It's not too bad. So today starts the grand experiment of retraining my stomach. I spent $57 and don't even have any real food. I guess real food isn't an option for a while.

[Comments] (2) Surprise Shipment in Boxes!: I received two boxes today from Amazon.com. The ladies on the Mollie list went in together and got me every book on my wish list plus one called Losing America by Senator Byrd. Wow! That was very thoughtful of them. Two of the books are Paul Theroux travelogues about traveling by train--through Europe and through South America. I can't wait to read them.

Still chiseling along on Bill Clinton's biography.

[Comments] (3) Dentadventure: Today I had one of my teeth fixed by a new(ish) German method. The dentist drilled out the old filling and the new cavity, leaving a horrifyingly jagged shell of a molar which my tongue of course couldn't resist. He took a digital picture of the tooth, cropped the surrounding teeth out of the picture, and then used some fancy software to transform the picture into a virtual 3-D image of the tooth. Then, using the trackball on the computer, he outlined the area that was to be filled with porcelain. The computer sent the info to a milling machine, which lathed out a block of porcelain in the exact shape and size of the hole. Then the dentist basically bonded the patch in with Krazy Glue. He says only about 4 to 5% of dentists have this equipment. It surely was interesting to watch. I got to go into the other room and see the little machine drilling out a crown for my tooth.

Now my tongue can't resist the new filling.

Meow: A litter of tiger cubs has been born at the National Zoo. They must have very good luck with breeding tigers. When we were there in 2000, there was also a litter of new cubs. It was an overcast, cool day --okay, it was cold!-- and the tigers were very active. The cubs were chasing each other all over the grotto, and me without my telephoto lens!

[Comments] (1) Beating the Odds: This afternoon I went to my appointment with Dr. Manu. (The stomach doctor.) He said it was a miracle to see me come walking into his office. Why? Because, he said, the operation I had last week has a 10% fatality rate. I wonder if I knew that last week? I was so sick that even if he had told me, it wouldn't have sunk in.

That's not such bad odds, really. I would still go ahead with it, even if the risk were higher.

Tiger Update: The new cubs at the National Zoo can be watched on the tigercam, http://www.fonz.org/ Actually, they don't do much, but they are cute.

Oh, Noooooooo!: Yesterday I went to Target to buy a baby gift. Everything had been rearranged, and the aisles had been squiched closer together. There was a cavernous empty space in the "seasonal" area--all the patio furniture, etc., gone. I don't wanna think they are getting ready to set out for Christmas, but who is taking bets?

Tis a Puzzlement: Just wondering. I eat so little, and vomit so much--how is it that so much can Come Out The Other Way?

These doctors don't have anyone to serve them with a writ of certioari. Makes you wonder at the trust we have in them.

Meanwhile, the new medicine is causative of misery. It makes me shake like a Parkinson's patient. (He warned me that might happen.) So, all in all, bleah.

Let's Go!: An ad in Sunset proclaims: There are 3,679,192 square miles to see in America. Hurry.

Rachel claims she doesn't want to see every one of them. I'm not so sure. However, there are many hundreds of square miles where if you've seen them once, you've seen them all. (We are talking about Nevada here.) I would like to see all the quadrants that have dinosaurs eroding out of them.

[Comments] (3) And Furthermore.....: Now this new medicine has given me a rash. An itchy rash. At first it was only my scalp, but now it's everywhere. Wurrrawurrawurra.

Scratcheda.

Sunday, Sunday: Church today was excellent. The Scouts just climbed Mt. Whitney, and we heard from the boys about lessons learned on the journey. Mainly, endure to the end. I hope I can endure to the end.

David Oman called me and I spent about an hour on the phone with him. Every so often it's very nice to catch up. He says Richard has had more heart trouble. I'm sorry to hear that.

This afternoon I went to get my temple recommend renewed. I was early, and I sat in the stake presidency's office for about a half hour reading old Ensign magazines. President Rodriguez did my interview. He didn't remember me from last time, but of course it was two years ago, and I am an inconspicuous sort. It was nice to visdit with him. He shared his thoughts regarding people who can't/don't learn English. He is unconvinced; he thinks anyone can learn it if they apply themselves. I still think it's a very very difficult language.

[Comments] (1) So Busy: I was very productive today. I went in to work and sniveled to Bill the Printer about why I didn't get my class packet in on time. He told me to shut up and go home and go back to bed where I belong. So I did, for a time. Then I went to see the Creative Memories lady (and forgot a bunch of what I went for), and afterward I went to Michaels and then to take the stickers I bought for Sherrie Lewis to her. Sadie went with me all these places and was very good. Then I did some scrapbook pages in my book and Leonard's and some genealogy.

I was talking to Juan the Gardener and I mentioned that someday I was going to have the yard under control. Yeah, sure, he said.

[Comments] (9) It's a Mess, I Tell You!: I had some patterns sitting on the dining room table, and this morning while I was still asleep, Sadie shredded them and spread the pieces throughout the house. When I got up, there she was happily bedded down in a nest of shredded pattern tissue. Arrrrrgh.

At Beverly's, where I went to buy more patterns, the lady said, "At least it wasn't money." What patterns cost nowadays, it might as well have been money.

[Comments] (1) A bit of philosophy from Wanda: Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well-preserved body but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting, "...holy shit...what a ride!"

[Comments] (3) The House is CLEAN!: I got up at 6:30 and started the sheets to wash and the bathroom rugs to dry. I did several other things to get ready for Irma too, like take out the trash. Irma got here about seven, and we cleaned and cleaned. I also went to the grocery store. I bought a chicken, which I have roasted, and some shrimp. Also an experimental steak. (To see if it stays down.) I've been doing pretty well on the eating so far. The rash has faded some but still itches. I suppose I should call the doctor and update him.

I was exhausted by the time Irma left. I forced myself to go to the bank to get money for Los Angeles, and I bought a new toner cartridge and gas and got my hair cut. It's only 11:20 a.m. and I've done a whole day's worth! After I take a nap, I will do Christmas sewing.

[Comments] (1) Japanese Food: Today I ran a lot of errands, including going to sears to get my glasses fixed. There was an article about a new Japanese restaurant in yesterday's Business section, so I went over to give it a try. It was really crowded! I had sunomono and was pleased to note that it was prepared with crab just as it is in Little Tokyo. It was garnished with thin slices of carrot cut into five-petal flowers. Then I had some tempura, which was very good, but a mistake to have eaten it.

An interesting aspect of this visit was seeing the clientele eat sushi. Here was a whole restaurant full of people who looked like they were from Bakersfield, chowing down on seaweed and raw fish, etc. And, this place doesn't have forks. All the fellows-- who look like oil workers-- were using chopsticks. We may not be a provincial as some of us have always suspected.

[Comments] (2) A Moment of Silence: Julia Child is dead at age 91. *standing with hand on heart* Hers was the first cookbook I bought myself. Actually, I got it for $1 from the Book of the Month Club Cooking and Crafts Club. My four selections were Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. I and II, a baking book, and James Beard's American Cookery,which is my favorite cookbook of all time.

I like to experiment with cooking and try new things, but I had a very long dry spell in my life while I was married to men who did NOT like new things. I also had three little picky kids. Well, I'm on my own now, and my kids are no longer picky, and I can cook a thing or two every now and then.

[Comments] (2) Smoothies: I had two wonderful smoothies yesterday. The first was one I made myself, containing bananna, frozen peaches, nonfat plain yogurt, and oranage juice. Accented with a little bit of nutmeg. I drank it on the way to Los Angeles yesterday.

On the way home from LA, I got a Jamba Juice. I'd never tried Lime It Up! before, but it sounded good. It's lime, mango, and strawberry, and really outstanding. I was going to put half of it in the freezer for today, but when I got home I couldn't find where I had set it down, so it sat out all night. (Actually, I had left it in the car, clueless me.) So today Gretel and I had to go for a ride to get me another one. Yum.

[Comments] (3) Hoboes:: I am making a Hobo in my oven instead of in a campfire. It consists of chicken breast, onion, mushroom, carrot, and fresh green beans. And Heinz 57 sauce. The Heinz sauce has gone up so much since the last bottle I bought that I'm just sure it's supporting the Kerry campaign. Or it better be.

I bought some snow peas (a small handful was only 21 cents) to do the other half of the chicken breast with a soy-ginger-garlic kind of arrangement tomorrow.

Weirdness Exits the Woodwork: I just found out how really strange some food hobbyists can be. Looking for recipes for penne, I found some goodies. Penne Pasta with Greens and Rutabaga. Penne Pasta with Cicada Sauce. Penne A La Vodka. I thought all the strangeness revolved around bow ties, but no! Penne wins! I wonder what it is about the shape that brings out the bizarre in people. (Freudian analysts need not respond.)

[Comments] (1) Gala: I am eating an apple from my tree--the very first one I have eaten. It is so much firmer and tastes so much better than the Gala variety from the store. This is the only apple I will have this year. The tree made more, but they ripened and fell and got ruined while I was sick. Gretel picked some to play with too.

[Comments] (4) Oh, Dear, Oh Dear, I Greatly Fear: . . . that I have just bought, from the Target clearance rack, the same pair of pants that I bought last spring and took back because they are too long. I realize the real solution would be to hem them up, but I don't WANNA! I'm tired of all that. I'm 52 years old and I'm not gonna hem any more pants. Back I go to Target, to get a refund of my lousy $4.39.

This was the East Hills Target. I went to visit my father-in-law (who is not looking good at all) and then dropped by Target to check their clearance rack. I had been to the one nearer home yesterday and the pickings were slim. I fell in love with some Hawaiian print Capri pants, but they didn't have the right size, so when I had to go over to the east side to visit Dalton, I dropped by Target to check. They had one pair. At least I hope they are my size; didn't try them on. They are pretty wild.

I also got a peach colored T-shirt to match the Capris, a geranium colored polo shirt (for $3.98) a black blouse, and some khaki linen pants. And the white pants of which I am now suspicious. Got some nice summer clothes for not much money; that's always a plus.

They did not have greeting card envelopes at Target, so I decided to go to the Office Max by BC, but I forgot until I was halfway home, so I went to the Office Depot on my side of town and bought a box of 100. It's one of my budgetary goals to not buy greeting cards because they've gotten so expensive. If I had been a nice person, I would have dropped by home and picked up Sadie and taken her with me to Office Depot, but I wasn't nice this time.

[Comments] (4) Pedal Pushers: I am wearing a new pair of Capri-length jeans. It feels fun! I haven't worn pants this length since I was a little girl. I expect I should, any minute now, wrap a Pucci scarf around my head and drive off in a 1958 Ford Galaxy.

[Comments] (2) Licorice Visitor: Xochitl came to visit me while I was pulling weeds this morning. It was nice to see her--she's all sleek and beautiful. I think she comes home and eats in the middle of the night; I know Lurine isn't feeding her because I asked her not to. Xochitl and I talked for a while, and then she went under the weeping salixto be in the jungle, just like Tonks does.

[Comments] (3) Where is My Universal Health Coverage?: So. Dr. Manu put me on some stomach medicine. It gave me a rash. He took me off. He wanted to try the non-generic version of the meds to see if it would work, so he called in a prescription. I went to pick it up today.

They wanted $50 for ten pills. Ten pills that will make me sick and make me shake uncontrollably all over. I told them no thanks. I'd rather go medicineless.

Fifty dollars to try for three days a medicine that I've already been proved to be allergic to in the generic version. A medicine that makes me miserable. How's that for taking your personal health care into your own hands?

Now I have to play phone tag with the doctor all next week, and tell him I'm not taking it. He's not going to be pleased, but oh well. The real non-funny is that there are four or five other medications in Europe that we could try if we were there, but here in the United States this one is the only one.

[Comments] (1) A New School Year: I only had one no-show from my class today, so I had to add four seats to accomodate the waitlist people who came. It makes for a very big class. If they all stay aboard, I will have to work very hard. They seem more immature and look younger ever year. After I met with my class I took the famous white linen pants back to Target, and then I came home and slept all afternoon. I can't do that tomorrow because I have to go to the dentist to get a new porcelain tooth. It's going to cost me a thousand bucks. yeow.

I made some vegetable soup, like the soup allowed in that 80s crash diet. It's good! I put so many vegetables in it, it's not all that soupy.

My pile of things to take to Utah is growing larger and larger. I am discussing with the Jackmans the possibility of their bringing my cooler full of medicine in their car instead of me trying to fly with it.

[Comments] (1) I Am Not A Wussy...: ...I sat and chanted mentally as the dentist drilled. Today's tooth had an even bigger hole, and problems in the teeth either side of it. I'm glad to have it fixed, but I had to put the dentist bill on my credit card. Sigh. A person just can't get caught up.

I'm packing to leave for Utah, fun stuff. Dreading the trip there and back, but being there will be fun.

[Comments] (1) Michael Moore: I think Mr. Moore would be taken more seriously if he cleaned up a little. I realize that his style of dressing is a political statment (one we all make, really), but it's doing him no favors among the conservatives. I also realize he doesn't want favors from the conservatives, but I still think he would be regarded as a professional if he would dress more like one. Is that "selling out"? I don't think so. It's the same matter as using correct grammar--we want to present ourselves in the most positive light possible.

[Comments] (3) Ready to Go: Gretel has gone to the puppy hotel, I'm packed, and Tom Jackman has come over to retrieve the cooler full of medicine, which is getting a ride to Utah with him. I am informed by my sister, however, that we have no baby yet. I suppose I should balance my checkbook before I go. And confirm arrangements with my ride to the Airport Bus.

[Comments] (2) Quickie Trip: I am back from Utah. I don't know if I will ever fly there again. It's such an ordeal to fly when you live in Bako. I spent 8 hours on the road on Thursday, flying, riding the Airport Bus, and waiting around and getting hassled by airport security. It took the Jackmans only 10 hours to drive there. They took my cooler full of IV essentials up in their van, which alleviated a HUGE hassle for me.

My brother Jonathan met me at the airport and we went to lunch at Spaghetti Factory with Laura. Then Laura took me home and I slept until Susie and John got off work. They picked me up and we went to John's parents for dinner. I couldn't eat much because I was full of Spaghetti Factory.

Friday was devoted to Kristen's labor and delivery. I slept a lot while Susie was at work, snoozing between cell phone updates of Kristen's progress. Little Lilly was born about the time Susie got off work, so we rushed over to see her. She is beautiful!!!! Poor Kristen was wiped. The baby had Aaron's big shoulders, and it was Not Fun. I took Susie and John to Red Lobster, and then we dropped in for a while at the home of Dane McNeil, someone I went to high school with and haven't seen in maybe 30 years. It was good to see him again.

Saturday morning we did a big family event at the temple and did work for all the aunts and uncles. It was nice being in the temple with everyone. Afterward, we went to eat Chinese food, and David Oman had brought a handful of letters that Mom had written to Aunt Margaret and Grandma. He read them aloud during the meal, and I brought them home to scan and put on CD for everyone. Then we went to the cemetery and visited our folks. Everyone else went to the hospital to see the baby, and Susie and I went home for a nap. That evening we went to visit Richard and Pam Oman and had a nice chat. I wish my yard looked like Richard's.

This morning I went to church with John and Susie and then to the airport for the ordeal of getting home. By the time I landed at LAX I knew I was going to be sick, but the line in the bathroom was long and I ended up throwing up into a wastebasket in the middle of the concourse. Embarassing, and a lot of people freaked, but they should get over it. I have. Rachel picked me up--out to dinner, home. Sadie was surely glad to see us.

All in all a nice trip, but I am certainly tired! I honestly think it would have been much less trouble to drive.

Nuffin' Much: Not a lot going on around here. It's 104 degrees, which sort of puts a crimp in it. My box of fall plants from Park's is still in the refrigerator, where I hope it thinks it is winter. My Tuesday/Thursday class is quite rowdy, and today Wanda had to come and close the classroom door.

Some of those girls have the most incredible endowment of boobs. I spend the whole class time worrying that they are going to come out of hiding. (They are not hidden very well.)

Yaaaaaaaahhhhh!: I read in the news that robbers have stolen the "Scream" painting from its museum in Oslo. I don't know what one would do with a painting that famous. Certainly it couldn't be sold to a dealer or museum.

One year we had a Scream Christmas. Everyone got a bunch of Scream stuff. We were feeling like it. Leonardw gave me a very nice framed reproduction. I use it to hang on top of the fusebox. That was our last Christmas with Roger. The next year we had The Unchristmas, when we left him.

[Comments] (1) Whoosh!: I have my very own hurricane!

[Comments] (1) Farewell Scotty: This is late in the posting but I wanted to note James Doohan's passing. Wil Wheaton has a nice synopsis of his memorial service on his blog.

[Comments] (3) Where Am I Going and Why Am I In this Handbasket?: I got home from work today and discovered that my cleaning lady had taken the Oriental rugs out onto the patio and hosed them off and left them to dry in the sun. She must think they are something you buy at Wal-Mart or something. The smaller ones have now dried, and I brought them back in the house. They are all crunchy and I am unhappy. The big giant one from the family room is still dripping. I dragged it the best I could and draped it over some patio chairs, but it's heavy and will take a looong time to dry, and it got dirty again where I dragged it across the patio. Bleah. I don't know HOW I will ever get it put back because that involves moving table and couch and I'm just not strong enough anymore.

Then, apparently, while the back door was open while she was hosing, Gretel got in and peed on my bed. She does that to get even when I've been out of town. So the bedroom door has to stay closed (and the cleaning lady always leaves it open.) So I'm having to wash my down comforter, my duvet cover, sheets, mattress pads--and I already washed the sheets this morning!!!

Thank heaven she did not take the Really Valuable rug --the one under the dining room table--outside. Now I am left to think how I will defend it if she gets a wild hair next time. Next time is two weeks off because next week she is taking the day off to go for her final interview for her green card.

Aiiieeee!: I think she washed the rugs with laundry soap because the laundry soap is all used up.

Prelude to a Holiday Weekend: I didn't get a nap today, so I am exhausted and going to bed early. I stayed after class and then I had to go see Dr. Amin. He wants me to start some new medicine that has come out. I hope it doesn't make me sick. While I was waiting for time for my appointment, I hung around and worked. I got all my papers graded, so I can just relax all weekend.

I'm going to do Christmas sewing and work in the garden. Also, Ruth Davis wants to go to lunch tomorrow. It should be a nice quiet weekend except I have to get the church newsletter out.

My hurricane is gaining speed and power, and I have several efriends in Florida who are hunkered down. I feel bad for them, since it is my hurricane.

The Q and the Z and the H and the P: Instead of working in the yard I spent most of the day in bed. I guess I was wiped from no nap yesterday. I was somewhat disappointed in myself. How is all this stuff going to get done?

The big Oriental rug has dried and looks terrible. I think maybe if I spread it out again and scrub with rug shampoo and then vacuum it might improve?

I did meet Ruth Davis and her friend Leah for lunch. Ruth made tuna sandwiches and we played Scrabble. I won. Leah is pretty good at the game, but she was hampered this time around because the tile fairies weren't being good to her. She wants a rematch.

Angels and Demons: I finished reading Angels and Demons, the prequel to The DaVinci Code. I found myself getting really irriatated at the character about halfway through because I had figured out the mystery and he was still bumbling along. Lo and behold, I was wrong and had NOT figured out the mystery, so I was sort of unhappy with myself for a while. However, at the end, the surprise bad guy turned out to be the one I suspected quietly all along, so I felt happier.

This story is all about the Illuminati, which made it that more interesting. It's a real page turner.

[Comments] (1) Lentils: I've tried for years off and on to replicate the lentil dish my mother and my Aunt Margaret used to make--sooooo good. Have never found a recipe for it. I decided one of the problems in the recipes I have tried is that they all call for a can of tomatoes, so the lentils turn out red. The stuff Mom and Aunt Margaret made looked like mud. I tried some today with no recipe. I simmered half a bag of lentils in a can of beef broth and a can of water. Added half a pound of hamburger (I used ground sirloin to avoid the fat), lots of garlic, onion and celery sauteed in olive oil. At first taste, it was a little bland, so I added some crushed dried red pepper flakes and that perked it up.

It's pretty good. Next time I won't put so much celery, though. It's the right color and pretty near tastewise as far as I can remember. I don't remember whether this lentil dish contained chopped carrots or other common lentil ingredients, but what I made is pretty good. Gretel likes it too, but that may be a function of the beef broth/ground sirloin.

Blue Monday: I wish today had been a better day, but it wasn't. My father-in-law has died, and though he was very sick and miserable and not going to get better, I still feel sad.

I've been having dizzy spells that started yesterday afternoon. I wanted to get up early and work in the yard, but was too dizzy, so went back to bed and slept until 2 p.m. Don't know what I would have done if today weren't a holiday. Hope it's better by tomorrow.

I bought a balloon boquet at Albertson's to take to Helen Henton, who is in the hospital and it is her birthday. There was no clerk in the floral department so the manager himself filled my balloons. I think he filled them too full because three of them popped, just randomly, when I got them outside. I had bought five latex balloons of various colors and a huge Mylar one shaped like a tree frog. At least the frog balloon was okay.

Too sick to work in the yard this afternoon, so I sat and did a little genealogy. Tomorrow is going to be a long, hard, day.

[Comments] (3) Spinning Wheels, Turning Round: I have been working on my genealogy, checking on the people whose surnames start with H, just forever, and I'm nowhere near done. I have 13 more pages of H surnames to go. Sometimes I feel like I will never get through them.

H is a real biggie. Both my grandmothers had H surnames, Henderson and Hansen, so that makes a big dent right there. Also there is the royalty of HOLLAND, and the kings of the HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE and HUNGARY. Lots of the Viking names begin with H, as do many Welsh.

I found and corrected several big booboos today.

[Comments] (1) Old Times: Tonight I went to visit my mother in law so she wouldn't have to be alone. She told me many tales about her family and the past and gave me another trove of pictures for the kids to go through. I moved a bed for her, and now I'm exhausted, but at least she doesn't have to worry about getting it moved anymore.

It was a good visit and I had a nice evening.

[Comments] (3) Oh, I'm So Old!: I bought a walker today. I hesitated for a couple of months because I didn't want to admit that I need a walker, but the drugstore in Dr. Manu's building was closing them out--cheap--. Sigh. It is just getting so hard to get from the parking lot into the building where I work. A small consolation is that this walker is purple.

Auld Lang Syne: Yesterday was my father-in-law's funeral. I was so sad I was numb. Arvin Cemetary. You know the drill--heat. Highly decorated graves of other people. Rickety folding canvas bench/chair things. There were lots of flowers and lots of people. Pat had the sense to rent a tent for overflow. The people in the tent sat on regular folding chairs--better seats than the family. Leonard read the obit and Susanna told a story about Grandpa.

Poor Shannon was sobbing by the casket. I hugged her and told her that a girl has a special bond with her grandpa, one that will never be repeated. She is sad that her daughter will never know him, and that reminded me of my grandfather Whitney, who died when I was two. I have tried and tried to remember him--I'm told we were crazy about each other--but I can't capture even a wisp. I can't wait to meet him in the next life.

After laying my carnation on Dalton's casket I walked over to visit Larry and Helen. Sad sad sad. The fact that we all know we will see each other again in heaven does not make up for the emptiness we feel when someone leaves earth, somehow.

After the services, we met in Lamont at El Pueblo for lunch. (Used to be Jacalito's.) Dave and Cindy Anson were there, and Mandy, and other old family friends. Garry sat at the table with me and the kids for a while and talked with us. I could only eat a few bites, when when we got home I was sick, sick, sick.

I had been planning on sitting in the spa with the kids last night, but I forgot. Maybe tonight.

[Comments] (1) Quietude: Well, after a weekend with the house full of kids, they are all gone and I am left with my lonely genealogy. Back to work and normal routine tomorrow.

[Comments] (3) Varoom!: Today was the maiden voyage of my new walker. Actually, it's not a walker, it's a roller. A walk-n-roll. I think it helped in making the trek in from the parking lot, and it folded up under the bulletin board upstairs so wasn't too big a hassle.

I came home and tried to take a nap but was interrupted by Robert Gomez once and then by the home health nurse whom I wasn't expecting until next week. Robert is going to bring his crew to prune all the trees and shrubs (shrubbery!) again this year. I talked him down to $900. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch.

[Comments] (1) Big Opportunities: I took my class on a field trip to the tables set up by the different universities for Transfer Day. I was going to get a felt UC Merced pennant to hang in Rachel's room, but decided to leave them for the students. Aren't I nice?

I remember when Leonard was in high school, I pulled him out for a day and took him to Transfer Day, where he spoke with the rep from UCLA. We had a lot of our questions answered that day and it was really good. I told my students that the decisions and choices they make in the next five years will make or break the rest of their lives, so please take Transfer Day seriously. I think a lot of them ditched out, however.

Gourmet Swill: The news today says that Martha Stewart is asking to serve her jail sentence ASAP to get it over with. I don't blame her a bit. She will probably serve at a minimum security facility, where she will be allowed to work in the kitchen.

I can't wait to see the results of that work assignment.

[Comments] (1) Mother of All Garage Sales: I did yard work this morning, and then I did sorting in the garage. I hung up clothes until I ran out of hangers. I'm also about to run out of hanging space. Maybe this evening I'll go back out there and do some pricing. Pat is coming over next week with all of Lillian's stuff to sell, so I have to make room! I looked on ebay and priced a lot of crystal and the antique treadle sewing machine.

It's really hard to believe how much stuff accumulates. I want it to stop!

[Comments] (1) H is for Hooray!: I have FINALLY made it through checking the H surnames in my genealogy. Whew! What a big job that was. The I surnames shouldn't be a tedious. There are only four pages of them, and a lot of them don't belong there since someone typed the Roman numerals in front of the surnames on a lit of names. That will have to be fixed.

[Comments] (1) Don't Preach Politics at Me!: Today church was all about politics--high council speakers and Relief Society lesson. Even in Sunday School, there is one fella who tries to hijack the lesson to talk about politics every week. The speakers actually did pretty well, considering what they had to work with and the constraints on what they could say. It was just boring. I don't think politics is interesting if it's watered down without any controversy. I entertained myself by making origami puppets from the program to give to the little boys in the row in front of me and playing Snake on my cell phone.

The Family Search website is down, so I can't check any names tonight. I was planning to finish the I surnames today, but no luck.

[Comments] (3) I is for Its About Time: I finished the I surnames and did all the way through the Jacksons. There are seven pages of J surnames-- that's not too bad. I also sorted and sorted and priced and priced in the garage. I'm going to have all T-shirts be 10 cents, and all clothes be a quarter, no matter what it's marked. There was a clay mask in Sumana's stuff she donated, which I guess she made in an art class. Sue, the neighbor, took it to hang by her back door. It will look pretty cool there.

[Comments] (2) : Last night I remarked that I have nothing to write in my weblog, and Rachel said, "Yes you do. We went out to dinner." So. We went out to dinner. At Hungry Hunter. I ate three bits of prime rib. I have the rest for my lunch today, and Gretel had the rib.

Pat is coming over today to bring things to sell at the yard sale, and to bring plants from the funeral. Everyone is going to end up with lots of plants.

The Latest Spam Has Been Received: Does anyone besides me think that Viagra Softabs are not a good idea?

[Comments] (1) Stabbed: I don't think I wrote about Israel Leon, who was stabbed Sunday night. He was my student when I taught at East. I'm really down about this, but I did see it coming. He was always into trouble, but he could charm his way into your heart faster than anything. He would always ditch class, but then he would come visit me on my prep period (while he was ditching another class.) I was very fond of Israel.

I also grew fond of his mother, who I got to know because I had to make so many calls home. Now the boy is dead at age 20, and I can only imagine his mother's grief and agony. I didn't go to the funeral.

I also didn't go to the funeral of Tennant Brooks, a member of our ward choir, who also died on Sunday of heart medicine complications. I had to work this morning. Tennant was a delightful, funny man, and everyone will miss him bunches and bunches, and not only that, he sang bass!

Composition in Aubergine and Celadon: Pat brought over a box of green and black plums, so I made a little box of plums with an eggplant from my garden. It looked so pretty! I took it over to Ernestine Boonstoppel. Ernestine was just back from the doctor and not feeling well, so I hope my visit cheered her up.

[Comments] (3) Volcano: I have started a new drug cocktail, which is awful. If it turns out I can take it, I will live longer. Last night was my second night spent with a fire bomb in my stomach, and it was dreadful. I did try to calm it down by taking a Pepto Bismol, but it didn't help much. And I don't know how a medicine can do you any good if you just throw it up. Tonight I am going to try drinking a glass of milk, and Pepto Bismol ahead of time, to maybe coat my stomach lining. Maybe that will help. I also tried some biofeedback methods, to imagine the Pepto coating the stomach and protecting from the pills, but it only worked as long as I was awake and thinking about that. Once I fell asleep for a minute, the pills went back to excavating a giant canyon. Chip, chip. chip.

Speaking of giant canyons, I read in the paper that a man fell into the Grand Canyon and died. My worst fears, confirmed!

There is No Free Overcoat: Well, I found out that milk doesn't coat your stomach and protect it. Milk goes down the pipe and congeals into a hard little clot. Bleah.

It's Fall!: Such beautiful weather! I just love it. Gretel and I went to the park this morning to take pictures of our ward playing Fifth Ward for stake softball. We had a really nice time. I came home and napped because I was done in from walking through the park. Then I made dinner and worked in the yard. My Irises came from Park's yesterday, so I planted them in the front--I hope correctly this time! Then I pulled weeds until I found the other ant's nest. The hard way.

If only I could work in the garden an hour a day, it would get to looking like something.

Rachel and I should be out in the garage pricing yard sale stuff, but she is working and I'm too tired. I guess I'll do a few lines of genealogy.

[Comments] (4) Atomic Fire Belly Burner: Last night the medicines stayed down for the first time, but what that means is they ate a hole through my midsection all night. By morning I was exhausted. I went to work, but the campus was closed because of a broken water main, and nobody was there. Whee! I went to Albertson's and got a few groceries for me and Rachel and a Booda Bone for Sadie, and now I'm going to go back to bed.

[Comments] (2) Shake and Roll: I didn't feel the earthquake today, *sobs*. I was sitting at my desk doing--probably nothing-- but I am on the third floor and the building moves a little bit all the time.

The garage sale sorting is going mighty slowly. It's hard to get anything done when you have to sleep as much as I do.

Rachel and I went out to Peking Palace for dinner because yesterday was "Eat Dinner With Your Family Day", but yesterday she couldn't go because she had rehearsal for the improv team. Why does that sound like a contradiction in terms? We couldn't eat it all, so there is plenty of lunch.

[Comments] (1) : We had a 5.0 earthquake here this afternoon, in Keene, and I did feel this one. Meanwhile, Mt. St. Helens is getting ready to blow. I love Mother Nature!

I repotted all the plants-- broke up the funeral baskets and also repotted everyone else that needed it, including all the African violets. The baskets are going in the garage sale and all extra flowerpots. Yikes! Only a couple of days left to sort stuff, but Sherrie Lewis wants some of the crystal. And Tyson Smith is coming over to get $55 worth of kitchen stuff for his new apartment, part of a barter deal I made with his dad.

[Comments] (1) As The World Turns: The Lone Star Iconoclast, the hometown newspaper in Crawford, Texas, has endorsed John Kerry for President. It warms the cockles of my heart that there is an actual newspaper called the Iconoclast.

Tote that Barge, Lift That Bale: We worked all day in the garage, until long after dark, and STILL don't have everything priced. I hope the hoards come to buy early because there is scarcely room to walk in there. I was going to borrow folding tables from Karen Nations but she is using them tomorrow, so we're having to make do. We are using Sumana's table; it's in the center of the garage with a whole lot of Halloween stuff on it.

[Comments] (4) Exhuastion: We had our garage sale, and it was a mighty success at over $500. There is still soooooooo much left. We are thinking about the first weekend in December for another one. Gretel and I took a load to the Goodwill, but the garage really doesn't look any different. I need to go through and sort and take more stuff to them and only save really good stuff to try to sell.

Nobody, nobody, nobody wanted the lovely Laura Ashley clock.

We unloaded all of Lillian's stuff except some sheets and a set of china. Tyson Smith came as an early bird and picked out a lot of it for his new big boy apartment. It was good to see him again. I told him that if he ever wants a side job, I have a bathroom that needs painting.

Keeping Up With The Joneses: I have finished checking through all the J surnames in my genealogy. Yay! I need to get ahold of Aunt Marcelle somehow and get her husband's life dates. He hasn't been dead long enough for it to be online and of course Marcelle is still kicking. Maybe LaRita Evans or Bill Call has her phone number? Maybe I could just call information!

Crash: I am trying [not] to be sick. Really bad headache, wheezing, cough. I did get up to listen to some of conference while lying on the couch. Don't feel all that great, even at the end of a day of sleep. I'm planning to go teach my class tomorrow though.

Crash: I am trying [not] to be sick. Really bad headache, wheezing, cough. I did get up to listen to some of conference while lying on the couch. Don't feel all that great, even at the end of a day of sleep. I'm planning to go teach my class tomorrow though.

[Comments] (1) Crash: I am trying [not] to be sick. Really bad headache, wheezing, cough. I did get up to listen to some of conference while lying on the couch. Don't feel all that great, even at the end of a day of sleep. I'm planning to go teach my class tomorrow though.

[Comments] (2) Wardrobe Woes: Early this morning I had a long, slow, half-awake nightmare that I couldn't find anything to wear to work. I dreamed of putting Spray& Wash on the polka dots of a blouse I haven't owned in years. I don't know if this is the fallout of getting rid of extra clothes at the garage sale or the fact that I haven't done laundry in forever.

[Comments] (1) Ketchup: So. I am doing laundry and paying bills. Both of which needed doing badly. Rosalie told me to go to bed, and I guess I will, but I have to get my clean underwear into the dryer first. And pay these bills before they foreclose my house and cut off my power. I was going to pay bills yesterday but by the time I got the bank statement reconciled I was done tuckered.

[Comments] (5) Jingle: We rolled all the coins and I am taking them to put in my poor savings account. I kept the currency out--two months of paying Irma, one month of paying Juan, haircuts for Sadie and me, and an envelope full of tens to partly pay Irma with in December. I sure hope they don't make me unroll all the coins. I'm going to the credit union this time. Last time I rolled a bunch of change they made me undo it, but I think it was at Vons.

I haven't been to Vons since the strike. I like our local independent,Youngs, I like Green Frog for their beef, and I really like our new Albertson's. Albertsons has a partnership going with Savon, so there is a drugstore right in the grocery store, which is handy for me if I need cough syrup or something. The local independent and Green Frog don't reliably carry a selection of toiletries and OTC meds. Or film. For prescriptions I still have to go to Walgreen's because of my insurance, but I can drive through, and mostly I get meds mail order anyhow.

Tomorrow. Midweek. I wish it were the end.

Curl Up In A Ball: I didn't get out of bed all day. I woke up at 6 a.m., sick, and at 8 a.m., still sick so I called in---sick. Went back to sleep. I think one of the reasons is that my IV came unhooked in the night and fed my sheets instead of me, so I was weak. I hope I'll be able to sleep tonight. I have a tower of yard work to do in the morning.

Quakies: I counted seven little earthquakes in the area today--in the 1.something range. I felt none of them, but of course I was asleep.

[Comments] (4) Swoop: The vulture migration is back! Every fall I look forward to it. These are not the big scary redheaded buzzards; they are little and all black. I sat for a while and watched them this morning. It's funny, I've never noticed them coming back this way in the spring. Maybe they fly a triangular route.

Today there were some crows flying along with them. Wannabees!

Planting a Nursery: I got my plants from Jackson & Perkins, the ones I ordered with the gift certificate the Mollies gave me. I was going to put them out in the yard today, but they seem so small and bereft and helpless. A couple of weeks ago I set out the three galliardia they sent me, which came early, and only one of them is still living. So I think I will pot them up and keep them in the kitchen until they look more robust. It's going to be a pain, but plants are expensive.

This J&P adventure had convinced me it's better to just go to White Forest Nursery and buy the plant, which will be five times the size and healthy, for the same price.

Parks has shipped my daffodils and Dutch iris.

[Comments] (3) OoooooKKKKKKK.....: I started checking the K surnames. There are only seven pages of them. I did one page plus tonight. I found two really bad mistakes--one person married to her grandson, and one person married to someone who died at age 9 months. The parents had another little girl later, named her Hannah after the dead one, and this is the one the guy should be married to.

I know how easy it is to make a mistake with this stuff, but let's get it together here, folks, and not perpetuate the errors.

The next time someone pipes up in Sunday School and brags that their genealogy is all done because great-aunt so and so did it all, I'm going to say something. My great-aunt Anne did it all too, and I've found a lot of places where she messed up. (Great-aunt Eleanor didn't though--she was picky like me. In fact, she may be the one who taught me to be picky. I remember her making me rip out a facing and do it over.)

NB to Atticus, Lily, and Samuel: Just because great-aunt Frances is doing all this checking doesn't mean you are off the hook. I've probably made mistakes too, and I don't know if I'll live to get through the Z surnames. Plus, I'm only working on your maternal line, so your father's line is up to you!

Caution to All: When I checked through Uncle Carl's genealogy, which he "did", I found 174 forgotten people whose temple work hadn't been done. Would you like to be them, waiting and waiting?

Shower: Rachel and I went to a baby shower for Shannon that was held in the tackiest house I've ever been in. I kid you not. The pool was black asphalt with gold sparkles in it and an I Love Lucy mosaic on the bottom of the shallow end. Furniture was unspeakable. In the middle of lunch, I was very sick in a powder room that was completely painted faux, even the ceiling. People with money can be so much tackier than people without. Rachel and I thought ours was the cutest gift there--a little denim cowboy dress with horsie appliques and little suede cowboy booties.

We came home early and I was sick, sick, sicker, but Amanda came over and that cheered me up.

Supposedly if I'm able to take the new drug cocktail, I will live longer, but days like today I think I've lived long enough. Pooh to the stomach volcano!

[Comments] (1) Slow Sunday: I was miserable at church, spent a lot of the meeting huddled on the bathroom floor, came home and went back to bed. I had made a roast in the crockpot so Rachel and I could have dinner. It turned out good, and Gretel had the rest of mine. It didn't stay down. I went to visit the Jackmans for a little while to get my cooler back and to take Leonard's old calculator for Tom's use. We couldn't sell the calculator at the garage sale because people didn't seem to understand it, but the Jackmans were thrilled. (I don't understand it either.)

Doris is making a big old fashioned quilt, all by hand by hand.

I told myself I am not allowed to spend all my time in bed, so I did hours worth of genealogy. I checked two pages worth of names, including all the Russian and Polish royalty who have Kiev for a surname. You can't even get your tonsils around some of the names.

[Comments] (1) Today.: Work. Then Rachel and I went to Beverly's and bought interfacing and a pattern for the robe she wants to make, and we went to CLS Pets and bought Eukanuba dog food. We use that brand anyway, but we were especially sure to get it this time because someone sent us a forward to boycott Proctor and Gamble products because of the company's support of gay rights. No, I have not looked on Snopes to see if it is just a rumor!

Tonight I went to a farewell dinner in honor of Kyle Jones, who is going into the Marines. We are all putting a brave face on it, but this is a scary time to join the military. I hope by the time he is finished with boot camp the person who wants to send him to Iraq is not in office anymore.

Larry and Kim Cornett (Kyle's parents)are going ton a Mediterranean cruise as soon as Kyle leaves. I hope they have a wonderful time. In the meantime, I will stay here in Bakersfield and faint and vomit and all the other unpleasantness my life entails. Does it sound like I'm feeling just a wee bit sorry for myself? Well, I am. After a month of living like I have been on this new drug cocktail, you can hardly call it living. Will I EVER see Italy?

[Comments] (1) This Reporter has Writers Block: Not much to report today. I went to work and caught up on paper grading despite headache and trips to bathroom. Before work I dropped Sadie off at the beauty parlor, but when I went back to get her she wasn't finished yet. I came home and went to bed, and later Rachel went to get her. She's not a ragduster anymore! And she knows she's beautiful, so she prances around. There is a spot on her chest where they took it down to the bare skin--I bet she wiggled. Sadie confesses that she has been known to wiggle.

I'm going to work on my gradebook and then go to bed early.

My daffodils and Dutch iris came from Parks, so Friday's work is set up.

[Comments] (3) Sick: I don't know why I'm so sick today. I hurried at work, went to Green Frog Market for a couple of things, and then came home and went to bed. Didn't get up until almost 6:30 and now I think I'll go back. Rachel went to Los Angeles, so I am just here quietly with the dogs and cats. Tomorrow I go see Dr. Amin, so I'll ask for a flu shot and complain about being sick.

[Comments] (2) Dr. Visit: I went to Dr. Amin today and he said stop taking the new medicine. It's not doing any good; my viral load is way up, hemoglobin is down (almost to transfusion point) and it's making me miserable. (I knew that!) I have to go back in two weeks to see if I need a blood transfusion. My appointment is the same day as the Stake blood drive. How do you like that?

P.S. The Stake blood drive is called "Prick or Treat." Who thinks up these things?

[Comments] (7) HOt Hot Hot: I made my chili tonight for the ward Chili Cookoff. It's going to simmer in the crock pot for 24 hours. This is the first year I've really entered to try to win. The year I was in charge of the Cookoff, I was worried that there wouldn't be enough food, so I bought a big #10 can at Smart & Final, emptied it out into the crock pot, and took it over. It won second place. I wouldn't admit it was mine.

The chili smells like heaven already. I made it according to the way Midge Ladd, who has a reputation as a good cook around work, told me. Mix cans of beans (I used pinto, kidney, and canolli) with the bean juice, except for not the kidney bean juice because it is slimy. Brown hamburger and onion. I used the special chili meat from Green Frog Market and two onions and four cloves of garlic. Add one bottle Pace Picante Sauce and a packet of chili seasoning. I like the expensive chili seasoning that comes in a little paper bag. Boy has the price gone up since the last time I made chili.

I've never made chili with canned beans before; it feels like cheating, but Grandma Mary does it and she is the best cook I have ever known. The pot is really pretty with the mixture of purple, pink, and white beans. We shall see how it does in the contest.

Last year I was so busy running the apple bobbing I didn't even have time to eat any chili.

[Comments] (3) Jesus Evaluates His Misguided Followers: I can just see the scene in the afterlife where Jesus comes face to face with the street-corner evangelicals. "What on earth were you guys THINKING?"

Little Licorice Kitty: Xochitl appears to have come back home. Sort of. She spends a lot of time in the front and side yards. The current hideout is under the Mexican sage, which is blooming wildly with its fall purpleness. Except when when sprinklers come on. Xochitl doesn't like that. She comes in and eats quite late in the evening, and she sleeps on a chair in the living room, from whence she is gone before dawn.

About a week ago she came and slept in bed with me, but it's never happened again.

[Comments] (4) Peaceable Healer: Every afternoon when I take my nap, Tonks curls up and cuddles with me and purrs. Some days he even puts his paw gently to my face. I think he knows I'm sick and miserable and he is doing the best he can to alleviate that through kittylove.

Sometimes he sleeps with his tummy up when he is with me in bed, which they say is the ultimate expression of trust in a cat or a dog. You won't find Jellybean or Xochitl in that position.

[Comments] (2) We Ain't Got The Money Fur The Mo'gage on The Farm!: I wore my overalls to the chili cookoff. It's fun to wear them. I wish I had a straw hat too. My chili won the Wow Stand Up and Take Notice award because it was unique. Said the judge. I think it is too salty and I don't like it, but I can never tell if something is really too salty or too anything anymore so what do I know. I'll ask Rachel tomorrow. If it is too salty, it's the fault of either the Pace or the seasoning packet, which didn't have salt separate like some of them do. I don't think I'll make that recipe again. I prefer a more tomato-y chili. The one I had was pretty good--I smelled them all first before I took some. I ate a few bites of pumpkin pie too, which tasted lovely, but was not so good when I threw it up. It was a fun activity.

What Is Wrong With Women Nowadays?: I heard today from my friend Chris, who was the contractor on the remodel of this house. He gets lonely and calls me to share woes about his (absence of)love life. So often he gets taken for a ride by a young thing, or shafted by an older one. Recent events on our family have me reflecting on this too. Why one earth aren't these ladies happy with someone who is stable, successful, and loving? Why do they throw it all away? I Just Don't Get It. I know that there aren't many available women in my age group, but good men are even more scarce. Tis a puzzlement. Whoever wants to be fixed up with Chris, let me know.

Prying Oxen Out of the Mire: I went to church today and Kim Davis gave her goodbye talk. She is going to Montana on a mission. I had a very nice talk with Linda Urmston while I was ditching Sunday School. Then Tonks and I slept for a while after church.

I planted my Dutch iris bulbs, and Rachel and I rearranged and put the kitchen back the way it belongs. I moved my sewing into Susie's room, where there is going to be a permanent sewing room. I don't do so well unless I have a permanent sewing room, I have discovered. Rachel is doing the laundry--including mine!!! and she started the dishwasher running, so it may appear we are making some progress. We're still in a mess but hey.

I guess I'll do a little bit of genealogy while I am resting here.

[Comments] (8) Civil Rights Movement: Today in class I did a lesson on how to write a summary of a magazine article, using an article on the reopening of the Emmett Till case. Amaziningly, none of these kids had heard of Emmett Till, or seen the famous pictures of his tortured, bloated body in his coffin. Yet every day they reap the advantages fought for by those who have gone before.

As part of trying to explain to them what life was like, "back in the day", how segregated America was, I told them that I had never eaten a taco until tenth grade, nor Chinese food until I was a senior in high school. They couldn't believe it. What did you eat? They asked.

Not lasagna. Lasagna was unheard of. (Though they did serve it at Prom when I was in ninth grade, an exotic, gourmet delicacy.)Not enchiladas. We wouldn't have known how to say it. No pasta, except spaghetti and macaroni.

We were pretty poor, so we ate a lot of fish that Dad caught. Free trout. Probably a couple of times a week. On Sundays we would have pot roast cooked with carrots and potatoes in it. I still enjoy that meal. Spaghetti. Yummy Balls. Macaroni and Cheese (homemade.) Meatloaf. Pinto Beans. Split Pea Soup. Very rarely, fried chicken, or ham. Or sometimes roasted lamb. My mother used to brag that she could feed her family of seven on 1/4 pound of hamburger.

The constant vegetable was Swiss chard, which grew well in our garden. Or Mom would buy boxes of frozen green beans. In the summer she would visit farmers and get truckloads of stuff, which we would can. Nobody knows how to can food anymore.

Every Thanksgiving, the turkey carcass got made into soup. I refuse to do that anymore, and I refuse to eat turkey soup. However, I find myself making chicken soup out of the remains of chickens that I roast, so there you have it.

This is probably somewhat different from what Emmett Till ate, but we lived in different regions of the country and hail from different ethnic groups. People come together more nowadays.

Emmett ate greens; we ate Swiss chard. I suspect we both ate turnips.

[Comments] (1) Wild Puffs: This morning when I woke up, Gretel was huffing at an insane cotton ball that had sneaked under the door. The Demon Dog of cotton balls. Nightmare of Cotton Ball. The cotton ball possessed. Then I put my glasses on and discovered that it was a Xochitl paw.

Goes to Show Ya: I have been struggling with one of my sprinkler timers. Couldn't get it to work automatically, and then it quit working manually. Bought a new one. Had Andy Smith over to install. Other things (spa, turtle spitter) on that circuit work fine. New timer worked fine too. For a week. Then quit.

Bleah. I've been trying everything--clear, reprogram, unplug, reboot, and the durn sprinklers will not turn on. Manual watering doesn't work on this one either.

So tonight I go out into the rain to put the garbage can out in the gutter for trash day tomorrow and what is going full blast but the sprinklers. Looks like not only going full blast but flooding, but that might have been the rain. I had to turn it off again. I hope this isn't a self defeating cycle.

[Comments] (5) Mixup: The UPS man knocked on my door just now, delivering a box from Jackson & Perkins. I have been waiting for a half dozen viola plants "Irish Molly." I opened the box and though "Those sure are funny looking viola plants." Turned out I had a dozen English lavender, meant to be shipped to someone named Karen in Wyoming. Who is probably waiting frantically, poor girl, to get her plants in before the snow gets deep.

I called J&P and the customer service boy was very polite. I get to keep the lavender, he is sending out six more violas, and I complained that my last shipment contained a pot of dirt instead of dianthus, so he is sending another of those.

I hope English lavender grows here. I grew French lavender when we lived out in the country, and it got out of control.

[Comments] (3) Year Round Gardening: I worked in the yard this afternoon until I couldn't work anymore. (A little over an hour.) I planted my new daffodils and half of the English lavender. I took the other six plants over to Jill Langley. I trimmed and weeded. The Bermuda grass under the redwood trees is Out of Control. I'll try to do more tomorrow morning, but this morning it was too cold to go out. The eggplant is looking really beautiful because it has enjoyed the rain. The zucchini is looking really bad.

[Comments] (2) Such and So: I worked in the yard this morning and pulled many more weeds. I hope I can do a little every day. I feel pretty good.

Old roommates Evaun and LuJean came to visit with me this afternoon. We had a good old time just chewing the fat. Reminds me of that verse my mother used to sing: "Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other is gold."

Read the Labels!: I have this big cushy sweater that was a handmedown from Shannon. I wore it the other day when it was so cold.

*Small tiny voice, hiding face in shame* I think it wasn't supposed to go in the dryer.

Grrrr: I was going to do genealogy this evening, but the Family Search site is down. AGAIN. You would think the Church would put its big-gun resources against this, since it's part of its threefold mission. But no. And in our local FHC, there are three computers that don't even work. The rest of them are old hat. What must the public think of us when they come to use the center?

[Comments] (4) Termination: Today I gave my students a practice writing proficiency. I told the students that if I found run-on sentences when I graded these papers, I would have to kill them.

You write run-on sentences. You are not worthy of being assimilated into the collective. You must be terminated.

Debbie Cantrell claims that if she has to read "I seen" instead of "I saw" in one more paper, she is going to scream.

Perhaps we have become less patient in our old age. I just know I have been explaining this stuff for twenty years, so why haven't they gotten it yet?????

[Comments] (6) The Moist Rich Aroma of Mother Earth: Before I left this morning, I asked Rachel if she would be home to unload compost when I got here with it. It was buy three, get one free at White Forest Nursery, so I went after work. She said maybe not, but she would unload it for me, just leave it in the car.

Bat guano and worm castings in the afternoon sun, how lovely. I did drag some of the bales out myself, as many as I could.

I planted everything I bought at the nursery except the two flats of wooly thyme--some herbs, various flowers. Also I planted the babies from J&P which have been taking up room on the kitchen counter. I pulled a few weeds. I figure if I can just get out there some every day, the yard and I will both be better for it.

Pedigree: It is pouring outside, so I couldn't do yard work this afternoon. I cooked some fried rice and washed the dishes and then after I did my grades I worked on genealogy a little bit. I keep getting sidetracked from my main line doing linkages because it's so fascinating when the lines start to cross. Somebody married somebody else's fourth cousin. So there is more in my PAF than just the direct line because I'm trying to link up everyone I can.

[Comments] (3) Potluck: We are having a potluck at work tomorow so I made the following salad: ARTICHOKE RICE SALAD 1 c. long grain rice, cooked

1 (6 oz.) jar marinated artichokes, chopped, reserve marinate

3 green onions, chopped

4 oz. sliced pimiento stuffed green olives

1/2 lg. green pepper, chopped

1/4 c. minced parsley

1 c. mayonnaise

1 tsp. curry powder

Salt & pepper to taste

Add artichokes, onions, olives, green peppers and parsley to cooked rice. Pour dressing over rice mixture. Refrigerate 24 hours. Adjust taste and texture with olive juice, mayonnaise, salt and pepper before serving. Good alone or stuff tomatoes.

I did some variations: I used the whole bunch of green onions, and added a couple of stalks of finely chopped celery. I cooked a half cup of wild rice and added that, and instead of green pepper I used a teeny jar of diced pimentos. I also added a jar of marinated hearts of palm. (chopped.) And.... 1 t. curry powder? Someone is a wimp. I used a lot more. (I didn't measure.)

The salad turned out very pretty and colorful and highly flavored. In addition, it has somewhat more texture than you usually see in this salad because of the celery and the wild rice.

Quakes: We've had two earthquakes in the last hour (little ones, one in Keene and one in Frazier Park), and neither one was on the San Andreas, proving once again that name recognition don't mean a thing when the earth is splitting open. Plus another more sizeable one in Barstow a few minutes ago.

Don'tcha love Mother Nature?

[Comments] (3) I Shopped; I Didn't Drop: I ventured out into the commercial world today for the first time in forever. I went to Home Depot to buy a baby gate to keep Sadie out of the living room, some bungees so I can take the table to San Francisco at Thanksgiving, and some lock lubricant for the front door. I also bought when I was there three potted chrysanthemums and a "Tuscan" rosemary bush. I looked and looked for the lock lubricant--astoundingly, it wasn't with the locks-- and I found WD-40 and 3-in-1 Oil, both of which I have heard you shouldn't use in locks. Finally I found the graphite lubricant by the checkout.

If I have not gone on record before that I HATE the self-checkout at Home Depot, let me do so now. I guess everyone else must hate it too because I stood in a really long line to get checked out by the only human cashier on duty.

They didn't have a wide enough baby gate there so I went to Babies R Us. I am really glad I don't have to have all that gear in my house anymore.

Holiday outfits for babies have sunk to a new low with the advent of red velveteen dresses with white fake fur trim, accessorized with a Santa hat.

I also went to White Forest Nursery (I took Sadie for the ride) and got 27 six-packs of flowers. The yard is going to look really good. I got about half of them planted before it got dark tonight.

At dusk, I harvested the last of the basil and made pesto. It was a little pale since the basil plant was looking peaked and going to seed. I also trashed the zucchini--no more vegetable! The eggplant looks like it is still going strong, however. It even has eggplants on it. I don't know if they are any good.

Political Involvement: Today I called my friend Terry in Arizona to make sure he was going to vote properly. Everyone else that I know in Arizona is not exactly a swing voter, but I wanted to check up on Terry. When we were in college, he was the type to vote straight Republican and "NO!", but life has brought him a few lumps and given him a reality check, so he's down with the people now after all these years. We agreed that the incumbent is a delusional megalomaniac.

I tend to automatically distrust people who think God talks to them. I know there are folks like President Hinckley who have had that privilege, and never, ever, ever do they discuss the procedure. It's too personal an experience. I think Mr. Bush is using God for political advantage.

There was a lady we knew in Los Angeles who was told by God that she was pregnant. It was going to be a boy, named John after John the Baptist, born on a certain date. (No symptoms, dr. did not agree with God.) The date came and went without an appearance by John. She wore baggy clothes and laid in supplies for eleven months, and then God told her it was only a test. She confided this news to me. "It was a test."

"Oh." I said. "Did you pass?"

[Comments] (1) Pantheism: This morning I took Xochitl, a carbon-based member of the Animal Kingdom, to the vet for shots. She very much resented that procedure. Then Rachel and I went to buy office chairs, to Smart & Final for provender, and to lunch at Olive Garden. We had a very nice accordion discussion about history and politics over lunch. (An accordion discussion is one that can be streeeeeettttccchhhhed out.) We had a concertina about religion.

This afternoon I planted all the rest of the flowers and one of the flats of ground cover. I crawled around all over pulling weed seedings (weedlings?). Xochitl usually comes to keep me company when I am working in the front yard, but today she boycotted me. I pooped out about 4:30 p.m.

Oops: I thought the label on the little Tuscan rosemary bush I bought said it grows 8 to 12". Now I see it says 8 to 12'. What a difference a little bitty apostrophe makes.

[Comments] (7) Samhain: I love Halloween! It's not quite as fun, however, if you don't have little kids. I'm not dressing up this year because it's Sunday and I have nowhere to go. Next year, if the creek don't rise, I can dress up for work. I was going to go to the Trunk or Treat at the church on Wednesday, but by the time I was through being sick that evening it was almost over so I stayed home.

I don't have a pumpkin either, no little kids to carve it with. But I have put lights in my little ceramic haunted house and ceramic jack-o-lantern. I made both of these years and years ago. I put them on a plant stand in front of the living room opening, so they can be seen when I answer the door. Gretel always enjoys waiting on the trick-or-treaters, but I think Sadie is going to have to spend the evening in her box.

I did try to sell the haunted house and pumpkin at my garage sale but nobody was buying. They did buy a bunch of Halloween stuff, but not that. Man, I have so many t-h-i-n-g-s.

Accomplishment: I finally finished reading Bill Clinton's autobiography in between trick or treaters. That Newsweek critic who said nobody would make it through the whole thing was wrong! I've been on hiatus from the book the last few months because I can't read heavy stuff when I am sick. Too few brain cells on duty I guess. However, I enjoyed Clinton's book and I learned a lot about how a President spends his time.

Contrary to popular belief, he DOES apologize for the Monica thing in this book.

[Comments] (5) In-N-Out: This evening I paid Juan, balanced the checkbook, bought groceries, and paid bills. I guess that says it all right there.

We are having a controversy at work--I may have written about it--in which another prof was offended by Gloria Dumler's bumper sticker(s?) and sent out a massive theological email complaining about it. Sheesh, her licence plate says GDUMLER; if he had a problem with her, he should have talked to her privately. So this morning I walked in from the parking lot with Becky Mooney and she asked me if I had offended anyone with my bumper stickers. I certainly hope so. Jar people's thinking a bit! Most people know who my license plate belongs to also, so they can key my car if they want to, I guess.

Actually, the red truck did get keyed during the time I had the anti-Rush Limbaugh sticker on it. It may not have been Rush's fault, however, because that same semester I had a gangbanger student really angry with me because she failed and I wouldn't change her grade when she tried to intimidate me. She even filed a formal complaint with the Dean. She may have keyed my truck too.

If some of these people would put the energy into coming to class, doing their work, and trying to learn that they put into avoiding work and playing games, success would be theirs!

[Comments] (3) Present and Future Tense: Rachel and I are monitoring Cnn.com and hitting the refresh button often, but I think I'm going to bed early because I feel rotten.

At work, they are doing all kinds of hazmat stuff on the roof, and the area has been full of fumes. Everyone has a headache, and I sure don't understand why they can't do this stuff on a weekend when nobody is there. The Dean asked me (personally) if I wanted to move my classes for the week, but I figure the fumes will drift whereever anyhow, and the students didn't want to change rooms. We only have two more class meetings until writing proficiency testing.

Flubathththth: That's all I can say. "But we must cultivate our garden."

[Comments] (4) Sigh: But our garden will be harder to cultivate now. Opressive regime.

[Comments] (2) The Stepford Wives Don't Have These Problems: I have a big owie red place on my eyelid. It not only hurts, it itches, so I have an appointment with the eye doctor, Dr. Freeman, tomorrow at 3:45. I like Dr. Freeman, but I always have to wait forever in the waiting room before seeing him. Fortunately, I have no hot date tomorrow night.

I also got back into case management with the County Health Department. They had me on the string before, but I dropped off when I started working full time. Now I am back. The public health nurse came to see me this afternoon. Gretel liked her really well and kissed her a lot.

Dr. Amin ended up with no flu shot for me. I can possibly go stand in a line at some senior center in Oildale on November 22 from 2 to 4 p.m., or the public health nurse is going to see if she can get me one. She said she requested twenty shots of the current ration from the county.

She also said I shouldn't dig in the dirt. Flubathththt. Just try and stop me.

[Comments] (4) I Cultivated My Garden: This morning it was cold and Gretel and Tonks and I went back to bed. Then, when I got up, Gretel and I went for a ride in the car, to the bank and gas station, and then to Carls Jr. for a happy meal for her and a Famous Star for me. (It stayed down a whole two hours.) I worked in the yard until time for my appointment with Dr. Freeman.

Dr. Amin's office called and said they had a handful of flu shots, so I got one when I went for my appointment with Dr. Freeman. Dr. Freeman said I have wazzitblepharoadoodlesaurus, and hot compresses and a prescription. And no eye makeup.

After the doctor there was time to run over to White Forest Nursery, and I picked up some more herbs, a bunch more violas, some bulbs, and another couple of flats of wooly thyme. I'm going to put crocuses in between the stepping stones, among the thyme. It was a trip, walking down the aisle where they had the pony packs of stock. It's all quite floriferous and bloomiferous and odoriferous. Lots of planting to do tomorrow.

I did start my paperwhite bulbs in a vase tonight. This year I got paperyellows, though. They are named "Cheerfulness."

[Comments] (2) Press Forward: I finished the K surnames and started on the Ls. There are 23 pages of L surnames, so I only printed out half of them to start with. Of these, I checked two pages of names today, but am going to quit now because my eyes are fogging up.

[Comments] (4) Bits and Pieces: Today I went to Youngs to buy ingredients to make Indian Shrimp Curry. They didn't have any coconut except the sweetened flake kind, so I had to go to Lassen's (a health food cum organic cum vitamin store) for that. Also the rice flour the recipe calls for.

I have Aunt Jeuney's CD with all her recipes on it, but the track that has her shrimp curry recipe is corrupt. So I'll be experimenting tomorrow, adapting an online recipe to what I hope is memory.

After the grocery stores, I made beef stroganoff and planted a whole lot of flowers and killed a whole lot of weeds.

I think I've put my finger on what bothers me about Lassen's. You would think--well, *I* would think-- that a person who wants to eat healthy foods would figure out that the best route to that is to prepare fresh, natural ingredients from scratch. The shelves at Lassen's are absolutely full of packaged foods that purport to be more healthy and are proportionately more expensive, but look to be really just the same as the old same old found at the supermarket. There are all kinds of brands of soda pop, cold cereal, and the snacky stuff--oh my oh my. The packaging touts earthy values, but it's still packaging.

Poor Lassen's. I went into the produce department to get an avocado, which I forgot to buy at Youngs, and they didn't have the prices on any of the tomatoes. I don't blame them because it's probably pretty scary. (Accordingly, the avocado was pretty scary too. $1.69.)

Off to put the November church newsletter together.

Fat Free Spam--Oh So Nourishing: "My tablets is an advanced fat-binding appurtenance that takes away grease from the nourishment we dine! Devised with the vigorous grease-sticking filament, the mixture of biological components..."

[Comments] (3) Cooking Curry: Well, I made the Indian shrimp curry. It was ok, but not wonderful. Somehow the flavor lacked something, and I can't quite put my finger on what. One possibility may be that I didn't have curry leaves to fry in ghee. (I used butter.) Another is that I used the Schilling curry powder from the supermarket. There is an Indian spice store somewhere in town, and I'm going to go there to see if I can get better curry powder. I don't really know the difference, but it's got to be more authentic than the prepackaged Schilling stuff, right?

I served it with my favorite salad, a California salad of orange, grapefruit, avocado, red onion, and bibb lettuce with poppyseed dressing. Rachel liked it this time! I am relieved, after years and years and years of having my husbands and children refuse to eat this salad. (This salad is also good with Italian dressing.)

[Comments] (1) My Wish List: Red sweater. Lands End jeans #8923-7A72 size 10 inseam 31. New garden clogs. (www.gardeners.com). New pepper/salt grinder. Nutmeg grater. Trip to White Forest Nursery and help planting the stuff. Amaryllis bulb(s). Alice and Jerry Books. I also have a book wish list on Amazon.

Moving Along: I checked all the Lanes and the Langleys today. I found another place where the lines cross. One of the Lane wives has Call ancestry two generations back. I was excited to discover this. I think it's always interesting to see the interrelationships.

About That Time Again: Next week my students take their writing proficiency. I'm busy busy grading papers because they are hurrying to turn in their late work. There were two in today's class I wanted to drop because I don't think they are going to pull it off, but when I talked to them they each wanted to hang in there. We shall see how they do.

I also have to get ready for next semester. I want to get all my duplicating sent down in the next couple of weeks so that I don't have anything to worry about over Christmas. Thursday is a holiday! Yay!

[Comments] (3) Yummers: Going to make cinnamon rolls now.

[Comments] (2) Citrosity: I ate a tangerine this morning. Most of them are not ready yet, but this one was, so I sat on a bale of compost by the tree and ate it. I feel so fortunate to have inherited a tangerine tree of the variety that contains no seeds.

We've been eating the lemons for several days now, and the oranges and grapefruits are coming along. This will be our first year for oranges and grapefruits. We had a few lemons last year. Now, the tree is loaded!

In other outdoor news, I planted a flat of thyme, some spraxis, some ranuncluus (ranunculi?) 25 crocuses, and a dozen Iceland poppies. The yard is looking really nice.

Is the Weekend Over Already?: I didn't get up until afternoon today--I had a really bad night due to the Zithromax. Couldn't keep anything down all day either. Gretel was really glad that I didn't go anywhere or do anything. After I got up, I just sat quietly at the computer (except for dashes to the bathroom.) I didn't even get around to getting dressed. Hope I feel better for tomorrow; I have to work and then go to lunch with Grandma.

This is a Test, Not an Actual Emergency: Obviously. I had three students from this morning's class not even bother to show up. I'm feeling pretty cranky about cooperating with them for a makeup test. I think I should just flunk them, and then we'll see how they feel!

Rachel and I went to see Napoleon Dynamite at the dollar theater. It was okay, but I am glad I didn't pay to see it in a regular theater.

I am working and working on getting my handbooks done for Spring 2005 so I can play over Christmas.

Seig Heil!: Are we sliding closer and closer to dictatorship? We certainly appear to be. The latest move is the purging of the CIA. Apparently the administration is humphy because of "leaks" to the "liberal media." Dunno what's becoming of the Bill of Rights, but I'm starting to get scared.

[Comments] (3) Same Drama, Different Characters: Today I had three students not show up to take their exam, just like yesterday. That gives me a total of six makeups to have to schedule, not including any possible retakes. Arrrrrrhhhhgghgh! One of the students I advised to drop back before the drop deadline, and she wanted to try and begged me to leave her on the roster, and now she doesn't show for the exam.

Irma is finally coming back to clean the house tomorrow after almost three weeks in Mexico visiting her mother. I'm glad she got to visit Mexico, but boy has this house missed her. Rachel and I have swept floors and whatnot, but still....

[Comments] (4) Dipit: I think I will make spinach dip to take to the placement reading on Friday. This means I will have to go to the store tomorrow. Maybe a cheese ball too. I always try to take something like that nowadays since I can't/don't each much candy/cake/cookies/doughnuts anymore. I really don't want to spend Friday doing placement reading instead of sleeping, but I do need the money.

Pink Socks: Grandma Jessie used to be in charge of charitable donations at her church in Orange County, and she always receive many more clothes than the needy people in her congragation could use, so she would bag them up in big black trash bags and send them home with us. We called it "The Bag". Then we would go through The Bag and take what we could use and people we knew could use, and then The Bag would go to Grandma Rosie for her garage sale or the field workers or people at her church.

I have a pair of pink socks that came out of The Bag, oh, probably twenty years ago. They are still good and haven't worn thin, despite the fact that I wear them often because I like them. A lot. There was a counterpart pair of socks I got from The Bag at the same time, the same sock but in sage green, which has long ago reunited with Mother Earth. But my pink socks just wear on and on. I think they are some kind of miracle sock. Super socks. The socks for eternity.

[Comments] (5) Keeping Warm: Cats have a normal body temperature of 101 degrees, so it is important to keep them close to you during a cold winter season. One suggestion is the Cat Hat, which will prevent heat transfer from the top of your head into the atmosphere, at least until your scalp reaches equilibrium with the cat or the cat jumps off. Clothing that contains large Cat Pockets is a stylish addition to anyone's winter wardrobe.

A common problem is a situation in which you need the cat on your cold feet, but the cat prefers to rest on your tummy. We can suggest our new Cat Slippers, which are large enough for one foot and one cat together. An optional feature of the new Cat Slipper is a ribbed cuff opening at the toe which allows the cat's head to protrude for a decidedly retro look. It is important when wearing Cat Slippers to keep your legs as far apart as possible at all times in order to avoid hissing and suchlike.

Wedding Bells: I went to a bridal shower for Christa Settlemire today. There were not very many people from church there; it was mostly her friends and co-workers. She got a lot of things that really made her blush. I wouldn't know a)where to buy such stuff b)how to get up the nerve to go into that kind of store, or c) what to do with it if I did have it.

I think I may have missed the boat somewhere along the line.

We played a game I'd never seen before, called Pin the Kiss on the Groom. We had little paper kisses and a big cardboard poster of Drew. My kiss ended up on his chin. Christa played last, and while she was blindfolded, they took away the cardboard Drew and sneaked the real one in so that when she felt her way to him he grabbed her and kissed her. She screamed. It was pretty funny.

[Comments] (3) Response to Sumana's Post: I'm happy for Condi Rice that she was able to have UFE. It would be nice if it were a procedure available to all women, but alas, most private insurance companies won't cover it, and most people don't have the kind of cash on hand (or connections) Condi does. Insurance companies would rather have us bleed to death, it appears. Or maybe we should have the hysterectomy and get sent home from the hospital too early, with our tummy slit open.

Been there, done that. So has Nancy.

I hope Dr. Rice remembers what kind of privileges she enjoys because of the efforts of the women who have gone before, and when the current administration starts chipping away at those rights, she will do something. This is not an optimistic hope.

M-M-m-m-m-m-M: I finished checking the L surnames in my genealogy today and it's time to start on M. This is a milestone I guess because M is halfway through the alphabet. I think that I am much more than halfway because the original printout was 863 pages and I am down to 215. That seems almost manageable.

[Comments] (2) Heirloom In the Making: I have a maple rolling pin that my grandmother received for a wedding gift in 1920. She gave it to me when I went to college, and I've used it ever since even though one of the handles is broken off. This is fixable by someone who has the proper woodworking tools, but I don't know anybody like that.

This rolling pin has always driven the kids crazy, and last Christmas during the cookie making they bought me a new rolling pin--a kind of exciting wooden one with ball bearings in the handles. The first time I went to use it, the dough stuck horribly. Then it occurred to me that it is new wood, not "seasoned." Well, I can't give it the patina of a pin that has been in use since 1920, but I sprayed it with nonstick cooking spray.

Nonstick cooking spray is a product I seldom use because I admire the charms of real butter, but it worked wonderfully in this case. Tonight I sprayed it again and rolled out the crescent rolls for Thanksgiving really slickly. The wood appears to be getting a titch darker. It's getting seasoned! So about 2050 it will be an heirloom too.

American Families in Crisis:

Jonathan: William has left home and joined a cat cult. I miss him.

Me: William? He ran away?

Jonathan: Yes. He was seen in the company of another cat trying to indoctrinate the neighbor's cat into the cult.

Me: Can't you get one of those deprogramming experts and hold an intervention?

Jonathan: No, we don't know where he is now. He never writes.

[Comments] (1) Inner Boyfriend: While visiting for Thanksgiving at Leonardw's, I lay down to read next to him on his bed--just like old times, reading together! I picked up the book Jeff had on his nightstand--Encountering Your Inner Boyfriend or some such title. I've read these ideas a zillion times before in the women's magazines. You know the drill--take better care of yourself, do things that interest you, don't be "needy" and go out seeking just any old boyfriend... Jeff says he suspects I already have an Inner Boyfriend. I think I need to take better care of him.

So today, I made my bed (like it said to in the book!) and I made a beautiful meal of chicken dijon over rice, orange-glazed carrots made with fresh orange juice, and lightly steamed fresh spinach. Unfortunately Rachel is sick to her stomach, so my Inner Boyfriend and I ate it alone, and there is quite a bit left, so come on over!

[Comments] (2) Sign Me Up For The Idiot Brigade: When I am feeling sick, it is very difficult to concentrate on anything else. One time I was vomiting into a wastebasket in the Humanities Building and I couldn't even see straight. Eventually I felt I was better enough to crawl home, so I left, and I got halfway across campus before I realized I was still carrying that wastebasket. So I had to sneak back with it, fearful of getting caught and that someone would accuse me of stealing it.

I say this by way of introduction as the reason I left my purse in the restroom of the Shell station at the Firebaugh exit last Wednesday. Arrrrgh, arrrgh, arrrrgh! I know being sick is no excuse, but it is the reason. I had to spend the whole holiday with no money--was not able to buy a cowboy song CD to give Jonathan, was not able to treat my kids to lunch, was not even able to buy gas! The Pits.

Fortunately some Good Samaritan found the purse and the station owners saved it for me, so I was able to retrieve it on the return trip. The Shell operator called my bank when the purse was found and they have my checkbook and ATM card on hold, so I will have to call tomorrow and see what needs to be done about that. I had forgotten about that when I went to the grocery store on Saturday. Arrrrgh, arrrgh, arrrgh. I hate it when I do stupid klutzy disorganized things.

[Comments] (2) Letting the Housework Go: I got up today and took my car in as it had been making a funny noise. The mechanic found a loose muffler, which they welded, and I hope that was it. It sounded okay coming home. I also got a new battery and wiper blades and the various checkout things.

Many students were absent today. I had the ones who came do some proofreading exercises while I called them up one by one to go over their exams. I always hate the part of my job where I have to tell people they are going to fail.

I came home, got my car, went to the bank and got reinstated, and came home again to go to bed. Rachel appears to be getting sicker and I don't feel so well myself. Mostly exhaustion I think. Can't wait until Winter Break!

[Comments] (3) Mercator Projection: Sumana is all upset about the Mercator Projection. I must confess I have been irritated by it for years. Even when I was a kid, I disapproved of the warpage of continentage, and later when I happened to see a map of the world in a Russian geography text, it occurred to me that the Mercator Projection is just plain chauvinistic.

No wonder the rest of the world hates Americans. We think even the map centers on us, us, us.

In good news, the Supreme Court has refused to review the Massachusetts gay marriage law.

I think I would like to be a Supreme Court justice. Then I could decide the way it is and the way it's gonna be and people would take me seriously. Let's start with the Mercator Projection.

[Comments] (2) Bare, Ruined Choirs Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang: It really frosted last night. I went out to get the newspaper, and every little viola flower had a rim. A rim of rime. The poor eggplant is a goner. It droops, all withered and pathetic and turning black. I guess it's time for the green waste bin.

Even though the furnace was on, I still froze all night. Xochitl was under the covers with me, but she is so little and scrawny she didn't provide much heat. I seriously considered inviting Gretel up into bed with me, but she had gas.

Big Crowd: My 8 a.m. English 60 class was full of registered students on November 28, and since then a slew of people have added themselves to the waiting list. Many of the students on the waitlist are people I would just love to have in class again. Class starts January 24, so you can see that the situation is desperate. There really are not enough English classes offered, and anyone who decides to come to school for their New Years Resolution is up a creek, as far as I can tell. I imagine I will have 50 or 60 students crowding into my room the first day of class.

Over The Top: A student is walking around here (near my desk) wearing a Santa hat and reindeer antlers. AND jingle bells.

[Comments] (2) Oh, oh, oh, It's Magic!: A sprinkler pipe on the back patio came loose and was making floods. I've had it on my RoundTuit list for a while. As I woke up this morning I decided that today was the day. Go to Home Depot, buy glue, dry the pipe off, sand it, glue it, and while I am at it, cap off the extention that is not being used.

Then I went outside to pick lemons and noticed the pipe had been glued! It was my Fairy Godfather!

Ohhhhh, Godfather! I have a whole list for you! Come back!

[Comments] (1) Maybe Tomorrow, Tomorrow, Tomorrow: I didn't get a whole lot done today. I really need to get out and clean out the frostbitten stuff out of the front garden, but spent most of the day sleeping instead. Yesterday and last night were rough. I did check several pages of names and go to the grocery store.

I really do have so many things I need to do, and I wish I could get with it.

[Comments] (2) Whack! Whack!: I slept most of the day, but got out this afternoon and started trimming the frostbitten plants anyway. I filled both waste bins with just the lantana and the eggplant, and now I am exhausted. Those eggplant roots were really hard to dig up. And the rotten eggplants were slimy and nasty.

The Mexican sage will have to wait until later because I am out of steam, out of room in the trash can, and nearly out of daylight. At any rate, it's still purple! and looks okay from a distance! if you squint! Perhaps I should install a sign in my front yard that says "Please squint as you drive by," and that would take care of some of my guilt over how unkempt it gets. Not.

Sorry news items are (a) the bougainvilla froze at the tips, way up on top of the patio cover, and (b)the big nasty orange tree that we took out has made a comeback. Up from the rootstock, I suppose. I need to decide whether to dig it up or kill it with chemicals.

People ought to do gardening just for the sheer joy of killing. Who needs video games?

[Comments] (4) QUAKE!: A few minutes ago, 4.3, near Eureka. I hope no Victorian homes are damaged.

The USGS has added a feature to their quake site--color coded shake maps, showing severity of damage from the epicenter on out. Pretty neat. USGS claims these shake maps will be posted within ten minutes after the event. In case you ever wondered just how anal those geologists are, here is a suggestion of proof.

I LOVE IT!

Workin': No news today, just workin'. Went to church, no news there. Paid bills, no news there. Did work for next semester, no news there. Played with dog, no news there. It's been a quiet week at Lake Bank Street, my hometown.

[Comments] (1) This Just In From The Whitney Research Group:: Dear WRG: We all hope for royal blood in the Whitney family. Sure enough, there is: 1. John-1 WHITNEY (1592-1673), m.(1) Elinor ----- 2. John-2 WHITNEY (1621-1692), m. Ruth REYNOLDS 3. Ruth-3 WHITNEY (1645-1718), m. John SHATTUCK 4. William SHATTUCK (1670-1744), m. Hannah UNDERWOOD 5. Hannah SHATTUCK (ca1690- ), m. Nathaniel BLOOD 6. Hannah BLOOD (1721-1796), m. Joseph BLOOD 7. Royal BLOOD (1758-1825), m. Rachel GILSON, res. Groton, MA Reference: Groton Vital Records. Regards, Robert Mr. Robert L. Ward rlward@whitneygen.org http://www.whitneygen.org/home.html

Fruther News on Mr. Blood: I played around with Royal Blood a little bit, and I found a couple of things. One, he named his kid Royal Blood also. The nerve of the guy. The other is that the Call line ties into these Shattucks who married into Royal Blood.

Whenever I see the name Shattuck I think of the street in Berkeley.

Whew!: Hooray! I am all ready for next semester! (Or as ready as I can be until I get my new overheads back from Media Services and my syllabi back from Graphics.) It's going to be a nice, nice vacation, and I am not going to think about grammar for one minute. (She says.)

Now, I need to start panicking about Christmas.

[Comments] (1) No Sweat: I've decided I just can't panic over Christmas. I'm just too sick. What gets done, will get done, and what doesn't, I'll give good intentions.

[Comments] (2) Dost Thou Love Life? Then Neither Squander Time: Today was a waste. I didn't even take the trash out. Stayed in bed sleeping all day, temp bouncing up and down. I hope that at least I'll be rested up for the relatives tomorrow.

[Comments] (2) yes its broken: my finger. broken. smashed on doorframe. hutrz. no cmas sewing. bah. robert visited we went to sf. one day w/2 brothers one day w/son. drove back alone today threw up pea soup, lovely lovely trip zoo museum greens used bookstore what fun.

is it armageddon yet?: sick sick sick

Not Over Yet: Some better today. Refrigerator has been shorting out. I called Andy Smith; he had just driven to Youtaaa. Mark Handy came but couldn't find the prob in the dark. Will return tomorrow. Meanwhile, orange ext cords. I am embarassed because didn't think of ext cords myself. must discard contents of freezer. Mark will cost me $40/hour. finger still hurtz.

[Comments] (1) Not Over Yet: Some better today. Refrigerator has been shorting out. I called Andy Smith; he had just driven to Youtaaa. Mark Handy came but couldn't find the prob in the dark. Will return tomorrow. Meanwhile, orange ext cords. I am embarassed because didn't think of ext cords myself. must discard contents of freezer. Mark will cost me $40/hour. finger still hurtz.

[Comments] (3) still no fingr: bad time today fainting/seizure/stroke or something don't worry about m3 though reading women& children in georgian country house interesting historical treatise

me and doug: i'm as bad as doug or getting that way. gretel and i went white forest nursery to get rhubarb for front. I got a pitcher plant. it will sit in the kitchen and eat spiders and flies. yummers. way cool looking plant. feeling better poor fingrr.

[Comments] (2) oh the poor tummy: i had a plant like this before when i taught 7th grade. The kids all became mighty hunters and trapped prey for it to eat. they stuffed it so full of spiders and flies that it died.

[Comments] (4) In celebration of banned books:: A list of the top 110 banned books. Bold what you've read, italicize what you've read part of.


#1 The Bible
#2 Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
#3 Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
#4 The Koran
#5 Arabian Nights
#6 Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
#7 Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift
#8 Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
#9 Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
#10 Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman

#11 The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli 
#12 Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
 #13 Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
 #14 Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
 #15 Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
 #16 Les Misérables by Victor Hugo 
#17 Dracula by Bram Stoker 
#18 Autobiography by Benjamin Franklin 
#19 Tom Jones by Henry Fielding 
#20 Essays by Michel de Montaigne

#21 Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck 
#22 History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon 
#23 Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy 
#24 Origin of Species by Charles Darwin 
#25 Ulysses by James Joyce 
#26 Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio 
#27 Animal Farm by George Orwell 
#28 Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell 
#29 Candide by Voltaire 
#30 To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

#31 Analects by Confucius 
#32 Dubliners by James Joyce 
#33 Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck 
#34 Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway 
#35 Red and the Black by Stendhal 
#36 Das Capital by Karl Marx 
#37 Flowers of Evil (Les Fleurs du Mal) by Charles Baudelaire 
#38 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
 #39 Lady Chatterley's Lover by D. H. Lawrence 
#40 Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

#41 Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser 
#42 Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
 #43 The Jungle by Upton Sinclair 
#44 All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque 
#45 Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx 
#46 Lord of the Flies by William Golding 
#47 Diary by Samuel Pepys #48 Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway 
#49 Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy 
#50 Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

#51 Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
 #52 Critique of Pure Reason by Immanuel Kant 
#53 One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey 
#54 Praise of Folly by Desiderius Erasmus 
#55 Catch-22 by Joseph Heller 
#56 Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X 
#57 Color Purple by Alice Walker 
#58 Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger 
#59 Essay Concerning Human Understanding by John Locke 
#60 Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

#61 Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe 
#62 One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn 
#63 East of Eden by John Steinbeck 
#64 Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison 
#65 I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou 
#66 Confessions by Jean Jacques Rousseau #67 
Gargantua and Pantagruel by François Rabelais 
#68 Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes 
#69 The Talmud 
#70 Social Contract by Jean Jacques Rousseau

#71 Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson 
#72 Women in Love by D. H. Lawrence 
#73 American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser 
#74 Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler 
#75 Separate Peace by John Knowles 
#76 Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath 
#77 Red Pony by John Steinbeck 
#78 Popol Vuh 
#79 Affluent Society by John Kenneth Galbraith 
#80 Satyricon by Petronius

#81 James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl 
#82 Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov 
#83 Black Boy by Richard Wright 
#84 Spirit of the Laws by Charles de Secondat Baron de Montesquieu #85 Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut 
#86 Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George 
#87 Metaphysics by Aristotle 
#88 Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
 #89 Institutes of the Christian Religion by Jean Calvin 
#90 Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse

#91 Power and the Glory by Graham Greene
#92 Sanctuary by William Faulkner 
#93 As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner 
#94 Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin 
#95 Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig 
#96 Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe 
#97 General Introduction to Psychoanalysis by Sigmund Freud 
#98 Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood 
#99 Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Alexander Brown 
#100 Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

#101 Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman by Ernest J. Gaines 
#102 Émile Jean by Jacques Rousseau
#103 Nana by Émile Zola 
#104 Chocolate War by Robert Cormier 
#105 Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin 
#106 Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn 
#107 Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein 
#108 Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Peck 
#109 Ox-Bow Incident by Walter Van Tilburg Clark 
#110 Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

[Comments] (3) Let the fun begin: Leonard and Sumana showed up at dawn practically, so it's time to let Christmas roll. Unfortunately it seems to be rolling without me. I'm still weak, sickly, and faint. Oh well. Let it roll OVEr me.

[Comments] (1) thoughts on chile rellenos: I made chile rellenos today--the real way, from fresh peppers. what i am wondering is why do I have to deep fry them? why not just brown in a nonstick pan, like an omelette, and then finish up in thr oven. It finishes in thr ovrn anyhow, heating with the sauce.

Must try sometime.

[Comments] (4) Time to Undeck the Halls: Finger a little better. I haven'tupdated my blog because I didn't want to rave and rave about my wonderful gift and have Susie read it and guess that she was getting it too. But then Rachel blabbed, so she knew anyhow. For Christmas, Leonard published my entire journal in a book--a real book, with the Jabberwock on the front and the author's picture on the back. (Who is the scariest?)

Leonard aand I drove to Utah where we are visiting John and Susie. Yesterday we went to an exhibit of artifacts of the ancient Mediterranean world which was very, very nice. Everything in the show was exceptionally fine, and there were only two pottery shards.

todday we go to SLC and I can visit at Jon & Sharon's house. I wish I felt well enough to go running around, but it's nice to be here and see everyone.

[Comments] (3) Ahhhh! My Own Bed: Leonard and I drove back from Youtahh yesterday. I didn't feel so well, so I went to bed and did not arise until 3 p.m. today. Now I'm going to go back. I made leek soup, which is pretty good. (I dont think Rachel liked it.)

Chris Leger made a poem out of my leek soup recipe.

Beautiful soup, so rich and green
Waiting in a hot tureen
Sauteed the leeks until brown
I hope it stays down.

Jabberwocky for 2004

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© 2001-2006 Frances Whitney.