Jabberwocky for 2004 June

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[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.

Jabberwocky for 2004 June

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© 2001-2006 Frances Whitney.