Jabberwocky for 2004 July

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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.

Jabberwocky for 2004 July

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© 2001-2006 Frances Whitney.