Jabberwocky for 2006

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[Comments] (2) Land of The Walking Dead: I had a really nice time in Texas and got to visit with family. Anne took good care of me. The flights there and back, however, were really an ordeal, and when I got home I crashed. Today is the first time I've been up.

Now Rachel has got this miserable cough too.

Yesterday I went to the doctor and on the chest xray my lungs were cleared up but bronchial tubes still clogged. I hope I continue to get better soon.

[Comments] (2) Vapo: Vick's Vaporub has an ingredient missing. It doesn't smell the same as it used to, nor does it work as well. Along with Vaporub, they also retooled the stuff you put in the steam vaporizer.

This ingredient is thymol. I guess they probably found out it kills you or something, but it was good stuff. Anybody want clean sinuses? Thymol's your chemical.

When I was in college, we used thymol for a crystallization lab. If you didn't stay upwind from your petri dish, you were in tears.

I hope they didn't take the thymol out just because some wussy complainers thought it was too strong.

[Comments] (4) Changes: I have a colleague at work who has been sick with Valley fever for oh, about two months, I guess. Now, today when I went in, I found out that it has gone into her bones. I'm afraid she is going to die. It seems a very high price to pay for just being in this town.

We had a puppy once--Jake--who died of it. That disease just sucked all life and energy out of him. I was very upset because he was a good dog, and then my vet told me he probably could have saved him. The vet was out of town and we had a substitute who came from Orange County and had no idea what to do.

In other news, I found out that another colleague died of cancer just before Christmas. That's what I get for not checking my email--not that I was in any shape to check email. I hate cancer, and I think we should not have it. Vote it off the planet. I figured she wouldn't last long because I asked Brenda while we were grading exams if she had heard how Karen was doing, and Brenda said, "She's just about as bad as anyone can possibly be."

I think anyone who hasn't taken care of someone with cancer has no idea of how bad it can possibly be. (I'm not talking about Brenda here.) It's bad, no two ways about it.

I also got a phone call from one of my freshman year roommates, who told me that her sister, of whom I am very fond, is dying of liver cancer. She's in Salt Lake City, and being cared for by her five children. I wish, I wish, I wish that I could do something.

Like I said, vote it off the planet.

[Comments] (1) Vacation Winding Down: Leonard and Sumana are here, en route to New York. We're having a nice but quiet time. I took them to work with me this morning and made them do slave labor cleaning overhead transparencies. Leonard and I went to the AAA and put me on the title to his car, and then put the car on my insurance. It's costing half of what I thought it would, so that is good.

I made cream of broccoli soup. It tasted good but I accidentally curdled it. Oh well. I'm not good at watching things carefully while they cook, and this is just another incident in a long string of burnt, scorched, curdled, and dried out food. I figure if things can't cook reliably with only a little guidance from me, they get what they deserve.

[Comments] (2) Saturday: Today I went to a baby shower for Christa (Settlemire) Finley. There were really a lot of people there--Drew's relatives, people from their ward, neighbors, Christa's co-workers, and people from our ward. There wasn't room for everyone and the co-workers stood at the back. (By the refreshment table, heh.)

No kidding, she sat and opened presents for a solid hour. It certainly was a wealth of stuff--most of it kind of the same though, little onsies and overall outfits. I hope she can take a lot of it back. She didn't get any little undershirts and not enough nightgowns. I also thought she didn't get enough socks, but Karen Olson said she thinks two packages is enough.

What's funny about baby showers nowadays is the girls get things that I never heard of and wouldn't know what to do with them. Times have really changed and a baby's equipment needs have blossomed. I would have never though I needed a special nursing pillow, for example, or a "Tummy Time Mat" for the baby.

Christa's co-workers put on a nicer show this time than they did for her bridal shower. At her bridal shower they gave her lots of embarassing, nasty things. (Christa made Wendy go with her to return them.)

I won the game. I always win at these things because my head is full of useless trivia. The prize was a very nice picture frame that holds three pictures. I picked the flat package instead of the gift bag for a prize because I feared getting yet another candle or tube of body lotion.

[Comments] (1) Gah!: Today was the last day of vacation and I was sick all day. My temp is 101 right now. I'll probably be sick tomorrow but must...go... to... work....

Luckily, I have a dr. appt. in the afternoon.

Or maybe unluckily, if he puts me in the hospital.

[Comments] (5) Wannabee: I think that as a young teen I would have been a Goth, if there had been such a thing, but there wasn't. I spent my adolescence reading Edgar Allan Poe by candlelight. Of course, it was ungehort for any kid to dress in black back then, but I would have.

We had the perfect old graveyard to hang out in in Rico. Decrept fences, splitting apart old wooden markers. The 4-H club cleaned it up for a service project once, and as I was raking up the long grass I raked up a pile of bones. I loved that. And at Halloween, I was the spook alley building queen.

I can't put my finger on when I finally let go all the gothic weltschmertz. Possibly when I became a parent and I was just going for survival with no time to bask in those feelings. I'm still a little bit "that way." Someone at work told me I am morbid. Well, what do they expect?

[Comments] (1) Slouching Toward Babel: Reynolds goes to Grammar Hell for selling me a box of "wax" paper.

Thinking about this issue, I wonder about ice cream. Shouldn't it be "iced cream"? And shouldn't I be eating some?

[Comments] (2) End of the Week: I made it through the first week of the new semester--a short week, at that. But I barely made it, and I'm so worn out right now that I am shaking. I think I'm going to have to stay home from Enrichment night. My temperature is only 99.8 but I sure feel lousy. And exhausted.

Tomorrow is reading placement exams. I bought all the stuff to make bean dip to take for the food table--I hope I'll be able to go ($100 is $100, after all). I guess I will go to bed even though it is early.

Cold Sores for Sale: Any takers? I don't seem to be able to heal. I've been through three tubes of Campho-Phenique and at $6.29 a tube that's no small chickens. I am taking an extra Zovirax every day. The sore on my lip closed up and went away but underneath I can feel the virus still dancing and threatening to break loose.

It's not too cold today and I think I need to plant some stuff and pull some weeds. I'm beat, however, from my trip to the drugstore, so nap first.

[Comments] (2) The March of Folly: I finished reading Tuchman's The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam and remain convinced of the fundamental meatheadedness of our government leaders.

"In the illusion of omnipotence, American policy-makers took it for granted that on a given aim, especially in Asia, American will could be made to prevail. This assumption came from the can-do character of a self-created nation and from the sense of competence and superpower derived from World War II. If this was "arrogance of power", in Senator Fulbright's phrase, it was not so much the fatal hubris and over extention that defeated Athens and Napoleon, and in the 20th century Germany and Japan, as it was failure to understand that problems and conflicts exist among other peoples that are not soluble by the application of American force or American techniques or even American goodwill. "Nation Building" was the most presumptuous of the illusions. Settlers of the North American continent had built a nation from Plymouth Rock to Valley Forge to the fulfilled frontier, yet failed to learn from their success that elsewhere, too, only the inhabitants can make the process work."

Sounds like us in Iraq doesn't it?

Can't Win for Losing: I've been very careful to take it easy and try to build strength, but today my legs are collapsing and my temp is 103.

Exactly what is it that was so all-fired exciting about coming to earth and receiving a mortal body?

[Comments] (1) Stuck Songs: Yesterday, Valley Public Radio was playing Appalachian Spring and it got stuck in my head. I don't even like Copeland, particularly.

"'Tis a gift to be simple; 'tis a gift to be free..."

I wonder if that is the only record that radio station owns. They surely play it a lot. One would think they would be giving us a surfeit of Mozart, what with his anniversary year and all.

Then in class I was proofreading some rough drafts and one student had written about a vacation in Jamaica. So now I have the "Jamaica Farewell" playing on my internal recorder.

"Down the way where the nights are gay and the sun shines daily on the mountain top..."

[Comments] (1) Dysfunctional: Gretel is terrified of trucks. UPS truck, Ryder rental truck, any truck. She hears that diesel motor and goes bananas. I think it goes back to when she was a puppy and got hit, but the phobia is getting worse. It's been pretty bad the last month because our neighbor has a rental truck he is parking by our driveway every evening.

I keep telling her to stay in her "cave" and she will be all right.

Today I went to the eye doctor and my prescription hasn't changed much. Bad me, it has been two years since my last visit. Sears has their $99 glasses deal going until February 18, so tomorrow I will go pick some out. Rachel is going to help me choose, and then we will go to lunch at Flame and Skewer, a new Mediterranean restaurant that just opened. We've been watching the construction--with bated breath--for almost a year now, and finally they have put up a banner that says they are open.

Yummm, gyros.

[Comments] (3) It's Greek to Me: We went to the new Mediterranean restaurant. They didn't have gyros as such, but one of the sandwiches sounded like it approached them. This is the third day they have been open, and they are still figuring things out and bumping into each other in the kitchen etc. The place was full when we got there, and people kept coming in the whole time. I hope this place is successful because it is really good.

I had a chicken kebab and Rachel had a falafel sandwich. I thought their tabbouleh was wayyyy to heavy on the parsley and light on the wheat. Also, they serve Pepsi instead of Coke, but other than that, a really good lunch.

They were making that Armenian thing where you put spiced hamburger meat around the shish and grill it. This is served wrapped in a pita. I don't know what it is called, or I might have ordered it. It's been like 25 years since I had that.

They had big chunks of lamb and beef on big vertical spits. Chunks of meat had been hacked off and it made the whole setup look rather strange.

[Comments] (4) Slacker: I stayed in bed all day today. I found two magazines, a Sunset and a This Old House that had been Irmaed, so I hadn't read them. These kept me suitably entertained when not sleeping. Cough is back.

I did do one useful thing, which is put the sprinkler on the raspberries (which I should have done a week or two ago.) We shall see how the raspberries do with such a slacker momma.

Update Later: I've been through rough time and been in the hospital to get my catheter repaired. Thank goodness they could repair it and did not have to replace it.

I hope I'm going to work tomorrow, but I'm certainly not 100%

[Comments] (4) Toobs: I didn't make it in to work because I almost fell down every time I stood up. I think I'm shaky from loss of blood. (We're not going to talk about the blood, but it did wash out of my down pillow--eventually.) So I slept most of the day, in the morning in Rachel's bed while Irma was here, and in my bed in the afternoon.

I heard somewhere that you can make lasagna and manicotti without cooking the noodles first, so I tried it with a batch of manicotti. The funny thing about the tubes is the stuffing would pour out of one end while I was stuffing the other end. I learned to cup the tube in my left hand and spoon filling with my right. I baked it for an hour and it turned out perfect. I got one little batch for us to eat now and two other batches to heat up sometime later from one box of manicotti noodles.

There is one lonely tube left, and I don't know what to do with it.

No, Actually it Isn't: Rachel has a little tote bag featuring two bare-bottomed little kids cuddled up on a bench looking at some five-point stars. It says, "Love is.....wishing on a star." Who thinks of these things?

I'm going to make a tote bag that says "Love is.... the woman doing the grunt work."

Might be Springtime: I did some work today--hauled out all the recycling and the trash, made beans, and then I pulled weeds. Most of the daffodils are up. I blinked this week and the broccoli bolted on me.

I keep forgetting about that big stack of papers I have to grade this weekend. I guess I have spring fever about those also.

Gretel is really, really wanting to come back in the house, and I am really, really wanting to have a shower without her.

[Comments] (9) Let's Buy Some More Lego: Poor Denmark is hard hit by the boycott from the Muslim fundamentalists. These are folks who don't believe in freedom of speech, for sure. We need to help our friends and all run out and buy some Danish cheese. And Danish butter cookies. And Danish ham for sandwiches. And Lego. Lots and lots of Lego.

[Comments] (1) Hack. Hack. Hack.: Most of the weekend I spent grading a weeks worth of papers from two classes-- about a five inch stack. Whew. In between coughs. I wish, I wish I could get rid of this coff. Coff Coff.

At church they released Bishop Nations and made Brother Davis the new bishop. Counselors Jon Olson and Leonard Welsh. So I have a little bit of news for the newsletter this time, I guess.

[Comments] (8) You Go, Denmark!: I white-knuckled it through work today and then went to Young's. They had a huge selection of Danish cheeses--I never noticed before. I got a Danish brie in a little wooden cheese box, some "mellow bleu" and one called Flora Danica. Like the china, ha ha. It appears to be a bleu with herbs in it. I got some crackers to eat it with, but I'm thinking of stuffing celery stalks with the "Mellow Bleu".

Young's was my choice of store because they had whole chickens advertized for $.49 a pound, but they were out and not expecting any more in at that price. So I didn't get chickens. I didn't see their flyer in the mail last Tuesday, so I didn't know about the sale until I saw it on the marquee on Sunday.

[Comments] (3) Flu Flew: I think I'm getting a relapse of that flu. Ugh, ugh, ugh.

Bye-Bye: Rachel's car is g-o-n-e. I'm kind of sad about it. Tuxedo Tom will have to find a new place to hide.

[Comments] (1) Koff.: Koff. koff. koffidy koff.

[Comments] (4) What Did You Get... uh... Give?: *I* got a Harry Potter tatoo of a dragon. I'm thinking of putting it on my cheek. I don't know if for work or for church would be the most shocking. I'm afraid they are getting immune to me at church.

[Comments] (4) Do You Wonder Where I Am?: I am sick.

[Comments] (4) Update: Mom is in the hospital but wished to emphasize that you ARE NOT TO GET EXCITED!

Rachel

[Comments] (4) update 2: The good news is Mom doesn't have pnuemonia (sp?); the bad news is they aren't sure what is making her cough & her heart rate go so fast. But I can tell she is feeling better because she gripped about being in the hospital and starting reading the Nora Roberts novel I brought to her.

[Comments] (4) Home!: Mommy is home! She is feeling better, it would seem.

[Comments] (3) For all those who said "anything I can do...": Mom seems to be a bit lonely, having no one to talk to but some girl who is assez involved in her 30 pages of research papers due this week, so all calls and visitors are much appreciated!

[Comments] (5) Another update: Hillary said I should update my mom's weblog saying she is back & feeling a bit better. I said I had, but I guess three weeks ago isn't good enough.

The good news is Leonard is coming next week and bring mom a laptop so hopefully she'll be able to do her own updating then.

[Comments] (2) : It's hard to know what to say to everyone who wants an update. Mom has been able to get out of bed a bit, but is very shaky. She has been able to read, and it's nice to see her having something to enjoy. Leonard's visit seems to have cheered her. He is staying nearly a week. Being in bed all day can be lonely and she has enjoyed having Leonard sitting next to her working on his book.

Visits and phone calls are always welcome, even though she can't always get to the phone quickly enough. We are also still looking for a new home for Gretel.

Susie

[Comments] (3) Weep, Weep, Weep: We had to take Gretel to the SPCA--Just couildn't find anyone who could recognize what a wonderful dog she is underneath all the playfulness. Also she looks big and dangerous (teeth!) even though she still thinks she should be able to fit through the kitty door.

I feel just terrible about this, but I am just not able to give her the care she needs, hardly being able to get out of bed and all. She seemed happy to lie at the side of my bed, a la Elizabeth Barret Browning's dog --was his name Flash?--but got restless after many days of that.

Anyway, I am a mournful, mournful person.

[Comments] (5) Random Thought: When we are supposed to be "all arrayed in spotless white/we will dwell in truth and light", what are Camilla and Alyssa going to do? What am I going to do? Why can't I dwell in truth and light in jeans and a black sweatshirt?

[Comments] (4) Update: Mom said her number one goal for this weekend was to get online & post a wishlist for her birthday, but it doesn't look like that will happen. So since people are worried I will post an update. She isn't doing too well. Sorry for the bad news.

[Comments] (6) Quotable: "I'm the happiest miserable person there is."

[Comments] (5) Birthday!: Today was Mom's 54th birthday. The ladies from the ward had a lovely party for her. Mom came out and lay on the couch while they set up some salads and a cake. Then everyone sang to her and chatted for about an hour. I think there were at least 12 people who came. They brought presence, instead of presents, which was nice. Each of her friends came and chatted with her for a bit, sharing cards they had brought. Mom ate some fruit, some potato salad and two bites of cake! She has enjoyed reading all of the cards, including several that came in the mail today.

Thanks to everyone who helped with the party or sent a card. Mom had a very good day today. - Susie

[Comments] (2) A breath of fresh air: Mom is now on oxygen to help her breathe better, and has been making regular visits to the chiropractor to help her back pain (which is from falling... I think).

[Comments] (3) The Beginning of the End: From Frances' sister, Anne:

I just wanted to keep you posted on what's going on with my sister Frances. She has asked Leonard, Jonathan, Robert and me to join her in California this weekend for an initial meeting with hospice to "plan her last phase." I am not sure what all this means, but the bottom line is that she cannot start recievng hospice service until she discontinues use of the pump that delivers nutrition via IV 24/7. I am not sure how much nutrition she actually absorbs by eating normally, after what come back up, and what goes straight through. Whatever the case, the TPN has kept her alive for several years. She is getting weaker and weaker, and has a hard time conversing on the phone for any amount of time because she says she is running out of air. She has wrung every ounce of life out of her poor old body, and has done it valiantly. She has been in much discomfort and pain, and tolerated many inconveniences to do so, but she did it willingly in order to be with her kids and enjoy the home and the very full life she has built for herself. Now, there just isn't enough of living that she is still able to do, and I think she is finally ready to say "It is enough." (This comes years after the doctors would have predicted.)

I am very honored that she wants to share the the beginning of her new journey with us, and that our little band is ready and willing to be at her side. I am grateful for the support of our partners that allows us to do it.. I am proud of the five of us, and that we are still functioning as a family so long after our parents are gone. Frances is our leader, and the respository where our family history resides. I wish we could have her with her with us always. However, I know that at some point there just won't be enough of Frances left to recognize, and none of us, especially Frances, wants to extend her existence beyond that point. My biggest fear is that after all she has and tolerated and suffered to remain here with us, that she will have to suffer more to depart. I pray that this will not be the case. Please join me in the prayer that her passage into the next life will be well-timed, comfortable, and joyous. Once that happens, she will be alive, for the most part, in our shared memories of her. Let's keep this amazing woman in our lives always.

----- We had our meeting with hospice this afternoon and Mom wants to stay on the TPN a few more days before beginning hospice. However, the TPN is causing adema and she is only able to stay on it for an hour at a time. Once hospice care begins and the TPN is discontinued, she will likely live less than a week. Right now, she is in the living room sitting with us, not asleep I think, but in her own thoughts, preparing for the new journey ahead of her. --Susie

[Comments] (3) 'Tis but a scratch: I know my mom is still herself because when we were signing her up for hospice and someone set her water glass down on the table she said, "That needs a coaster under it."

: Anne is writing down all the conversations we have with Mom, and some of them are pretty funny. Here is my favorite:

Mom (about her horse, Sprite): You were always a good horse.
Anne: Thank you.
Mom: Even if you did sit down once.

The day began with a clean house. Then we began the sorting process. We went through Mom's cedar chest, the books, the crystal, vases and silverware and the paintings. The house is a mess, and I won't pretend it's an orderly mess, but everything has stickies on it now! This made Mom feel better because she is worried about people not getting things. There are heirloom items for all of the nieces, but boys are harder to "shop" for. The girls will be getting not only a piece of their Aunt Frances, but a piece of Grandma Lorna or Della. Mom was very helpful in identifying the origin of the items in her cedar chest. We made sure to write where everything came from, because no one else will ever figure it out.

Mom's cousin Steven Call drove up and spent several hours with us. Mom enjoyed seeing him again. We also had visits from Hillary and Brock, and Uncle Garry also came by and stayed for a while.

We have an appointment tomorrow with the mortuary in Bakersfield. The booklet the hospice nurse gave us places her breathing patterns (occasionally stopped for 10-15 seconds at a time) under "one to two days to hours prior to death". I think I noticed this earlier, but Hillary pointed it out today.

The End is Just the Beginning: Frances passed away peacefully in her sleep this afternoon.

We spent a wonderful night with her and the bishop, sitting in the living room, singing her favorite hymns and talking. We put her to bed around 3:30 am, and said goodbye. In the morning, she wouldn't wake up. Her breathing became more congested and irregular and finally stopped around 1:30 pm.

Services will be held in Bakersfield on Wednesday, May 10th - details to follow.

[Comments] (3) : From an email sent by Alyson today to the Molly Bluestocking list:

I have sad news. Frances passed away peacefully today at around 1:30pm. She has had a rough week, beginning on Friday, April the 28th, when her body began rejecting the TPN. She was removed from that on Sunday, and Hospice came on Tuesday to begin her morphine medications. Her body became more restful after that, but her mind refused to slow down. She had been incredibly alert and lucid all through the week, and last night, at around 12:00 am, she said she could no longer tolerate the drawn out nature of her dying.

We have been writing down many of our conversations, and this is what she said to my mother, Anne: "Nobody has come for me. I have discovered, this is a pretty big blow for me. I have always been able to accomplish what I need to by myself. Maybe if you prayed, I could be strong enough." My mother responded that she's heard a person has to ask, in order to finally die. At that time, Frances asked that we invite the bishop to see her. He arrived around 12:30, and sat with us as we sang hymns to Frances.

We first sang "Redeemer of Israel." Bishop Davis asked, "Do you want another song?" Frances said yes. Bishop asked "Do you want us to pick?" She said, "Well, I was just thinking. . ." She paused, and Bishop said, "That's a dangerous thing to do." There was another pause. Frances said, "If we sing another song, we'll be out of ammo. . . I have to do two more." We sang "How Firm a Foundation," Leonard requested "Master, the Tempest is Raging," "Abide with me 'tis eventide," and "Brightly Beams our Father's Mercy" (which was sung at Franny's dh's funeral and at her father's funeral).

After all that singing, we settled Frances into bed, and Bishop Davis gave her a blessing. He promised her that the veil would become thin, and she would see all the people there ready to receive her. She slept all night and all morning, and passed away sometime in between 1:15 and 1:30 when we were out of the room.

She loved her Molly friends. Her room is decorated with cards and flowers from many of you, and she has been touched with the thoughtful things that you have sent her and her family.

Here is another conversation from May 4th.

Anne (my mother)"Tomorrow is Cinco de Mayo."
Frances: "Better not go out."
A: "Why?"
F: "Its wild out there. Everybody is crazy. If you have to go out on a desperate mission to save France, be prepared."
A, teasing: "Maybe you'll die on Cinco de Mayo. Make a lot of commotion."
F: Yes.
A: "But if you wait, you could die on Mother's Day."
F: "That would be a kick in the pants."

I'm glad Frances had a good week with us, and she was Franny to the end. She didn't miss a beat.

Obituary: Here is the link to Mom's obituary, printed in the Bakersfield Californian on Tuesday. The death date is wrong, it was actually May 5, 2006

Jabberwocky for 2006

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