Jabberwocky for 2004 April

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: 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.

Jabberwocky for 2004 April

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© 2001-2006 Frances Whitney.