Saturday, December 30, 2006

Beware Strange Men.

As I was sitting idly on the sofa wondering what to blog about today, I chanced to glance out the window and spy a mustachioed stranger on the porch. No sooner did I notice him than he knocked on the window. I recognized him as the neighbor who had been fixing his car as I went to the post office this morning and tried to engage me in conversation about holiday fare. Looking back at the computer, I calmly informed jc that there was a man at the window. We had just this morning discovered that it is possible to communicate through the windows, owing to their thinness.

The man spoke: "Is that my cat?" He pointed to my lovely Ailleanach, nervously skittering away.

jc replied, "I don't think so."

A short conversation ensued about the various tabbies in the neighborhood before the intruder scuttled off. I repressed the urge to vomit and instructed Ailleanach to bare her fangs threateningly should the situation recur.

A note on our living situation: jc is currently engaged in a diligent perusal of all available real estate. Landlady's appraisal came back too low & the deal will probably fall through. We're still getting out of here as soon as possible.


A big thank you to all my loyal readers who offered their sympathies.


Thursday, December 28, 2006


I learned today of Granny's death after a long illness. She was 89 years old. In the past five years or so, because of bad osteoporosis, she broke her hip, collarbone, pelvis, and some vertebrae. All but the last time she returned home to the farm after a stay in rehab. This time she had to go to a nursing home. In the last weeks, she became progressively, drastically worse, so that at time she no longer recognized family members. In her last letter to me, just weeks ago, she sorrowed that she could no longer walk without help.

I have been anticipating this for some time, and am grateful that she has been loosed from the trouble that plagued her in the last years. I am pleased to know that she died in her sleep, with adequate pain control, and family by her side.

I remember her life.

Granny was born in a very small, rural town in 1917. In the 1930's she took the train some ten miles to go to high school, then continued on to college to earn a degree in higher mathematics. She went on to earn her master's degree in the 1960's. She taught upper math at the local high school, by this time, much closer to home, until retirement. Everyone in the school district remembers her as a tough math teacher and as a woman whose hair was snow white in her thirties. She used to sit in the living room and work calculus the way most people do the crossword puzzle.

As if a teaching career weren't enough, Grandma raised five children and worked on the farm. There were no TV dinners then, either. She shamed me throughout her life by her industry. I would bet that she was still mowing the grass in her eighties and only stopped then because the family made a pointed effort to mow it before she could get to it.

She made delicious candy at Christmastime and peanut butter eggs for Easter. There are many dishes that she is known for making best. Anytime we visited near mealtime, she insisted on cooking "a little something." I'm not sure if we ever had a meal there that didn't include dessert.

At times, I was afraid to open my mouth around her for fear of saying something stupid. She stayed informed of current events, and had a certain knack for knowing what things really meant.

By my best count, she is survived by her five children, twelve grandchildren, and ten or eleven great grandchildren.


Wednesday, December 27, 2006

sad holiday for some

I am deeply saddened and appaled by this news story reporting the death of James Emerick Dean, 28 years old, at the hands of the police. The poor guy's crime was that he didn't want to go to Iraq, having already served 18 months in Afghanistan.

I know there are lots of angles to this: volunteer army, mental illness, taking pot shots at the police surrounding his house. Nonetheless, he is another casulaty of the war in Iraq. jc remembers a boy from his hometown who shot himself rather than going to Vietnam.

When will this end?


dump- dream journal

We were living in what looked like a dump. I felt that we really needed to get the place cleaned up, so we started picking everything flammable out of the rubbish and built a big bonfire. It turned out that Mother and Father were staying nearby and their place didn't look any better. Then I realized that jc had forgotten to put the trash out two weeks running. I scolded him for it and he got very upset. It was near midnight, and I was preparing a chicken to roast over the open fire.

Sronnoc Esor

(Upon waking, I ventured down to the garage to make sure the trash was out. Of course it was.)

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas is over

I actually removed all the decorations from the tree yesterday. I took the lights off today, drug it out the door on a sheet, and threw it out for the garbage man to pick up tomorrow. It was enjoyed by all, especially the kitties.

Here's the surprise gift-that-I-didn't-want of the year from my step-mother-in-law. It's a Lenox China Jewels Musicals Winter Wonderland music box. Think we can sell it on eBay?

And this is our gift to ourselves. It's a Kitchen Aid ice cream maker bowl. And we got it for a steal.

Otherwise, we had a beautiful, peaceful Christmas; as I hope everyone else did.


Saturday, December 23, 2006

The 39 steps- movie review

Here's a classic framed-for-murder-noone-believes-me yarn from Hitchcock. The hero is unwittingly drawn into international intrigue and politics, but in the end he cleverly solves the puzzle and, in the process, wins the girl. I enjoyed the points of clever cinematography like overlapping the train whistle with the charwoman's grisly scream. Thanks to jc for renting this one and furthering my cinematographic education.


Thursday, December 21, 2006

Whitman's sampler

Dahlia Man scored big with me by giving a Whitman's chocolate sampler that includes exactly zero creams. I despise creams. Before I discovered this fact, I offered jc the creams. Since there are none I reneged on my offer, telling jc to leave my chocolates alone. Yes, this year I plan to be a little piggie and eat the whole box myself. (Since I ovulated today, booze are out as a way of celebrating.) I'll worry about those five extra pounds around my hips later.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

early Christmas photo blog

The dying Douglas fir tree.

Shadow, who is trying to pull it down.
(here seen sniffing people food)

Peanut brittle that I made as gifts for friends.

Korean art coasters: a gift from Ki'il and the Scholar.

Hearts's Desire paperweight: a gift from a coworker.
(She says to write what you want on a piece of paper, put it under the weight as a kind of charm. I'm giving up hope that I will ever get what I really want, but it was a nice thought.)

Bath stuff from Robin. Thanks bunches. Sorry I opened it early.


The Princess and the Warrior- movie review


(originally Der Krieger und die Kaiserin)

The beautiful and detailed filming of this movie immediately captured my attention. The visuals were a pleasure to watch.

The film weaves a tangled story that could result in a lovely weaving or a tangled mess. The lives of the main characters seem so inextricably intertwined that the story couldn't come out any other way. There is nothing transcendent here; on the contrary, any hope that the story offers is purely and deeply human. It leaves me asking,

Do we make our own destiny, or has it already been chosen for us?


Monday, December 18, 2006

Lucky # Slevin- movie review


Although it is a bit more violent than I normally prefer, I thorougly enjoyed this one. There is definitely something to figure out & kudos to you if you do. Each subsequent plot twist was a new "aha" moment. If there were gaps or contradictions, I didn't notice them. With an all star cast including favorites Ben Kingsley and Morgan Freeman, the movie was worth watching just for the nice acting in it.

The sets were unreal. Quirky wallpaper and matching clothing just added immense visual appeal to the film. The wrap up at the end, where you find out what really happened, is done cleverly.

I don't want to ruin anything for you; if you don't mind a few killings, go out and get this one.


Another View- book review

My most recent read for book club was Another View by Rosamunde Pilcher, New York Times bestselling novelist. Those who recommended the author said it was light reading, and indeed it was. Unfortunately, I was unable to invest myself in the story or the characters. The story was harmless enough, but a week female main character seemed to need men to make her decisions for her, and none of the characters really took human shape for me. I cannot recommend the novel and will be happy to move on to another author.


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Christmas baking

I've been talking about it for days and now I finally did it. I started. Little green Christmas tree sugar cookies are now happily waiting in the freezer. Gingerbread cookie dough is chilling in the frig, waiting to turn into little G-bread boys tomorrow.

Landlady came for the appraisal today. Actually landlady, her husband, and the appraiser all came. I was fortunately on the telephone with Robin at the time, so had a good enough excuse to ignore the intrusion nearly completely.

We watched two movies which I won't even bother giving separate space for reviews.

Garden State was an okay movie with a decent ending, but I feel that it lacked depth.

The Libertine was about a guy that was just way too fixated on sex. The portrayal of women in general was abyssmal. One character, the actress Elizabeth Barry, was worth noting because she stood up for her right to live her life her own way no matter what anyone thought. However, I couldn't even watch the thing straight through. I'm sure I missed some stuff as I was doing other things at the same time.

Now I'm off to put clean sheets on the bed: a wonderful everyday luxury.


Sunday, December 10, 2006

syncretic- word of the day

syncretic \sin-KRET-ik; sing-\, adjective:Uniting and blending together different systems, as of philosophy, morals, or religion.

Trinidad Carnival is a syncretic popular form, drawing on
Christian tradition and pagan ritual, fused in the vortex of plantation
society.-- Stuart Hall, "Calypso kings", The Guardian, June 28,

In Cuba, the dominant religion is Santeria, a syncretic
mix of Roman Catholicism and Yoruba deities.-- Steve Fainaru and Ray Sanchez,
"Free agent", Boston Globe
, July 15, 2003

Compared to the syncretic, polytheistic empires of the
past, the 'doctrinal rigidity' of Judaic monotheism could be a source of both
solidarity and division.-- Dominic Lieven, Empire:
The Russian Empire and Its Rivals

In the hands of the gay right, the same individualism can produce a syncretic politics that draws from across the political
spectrum.-- Richard Goldstein, "Queering the pitch", The Guardian, May 15,

Indonesia is known for its moderate, syncretic, inclusive
brand of Islam. People see no difficulty in worshipping Allah and sea spirits.--
Jason Burke, "Paradise lost", The
, December 22, 2002

Syncretic is the adjective form of syncretism, from Greek synkretismos, "federation of Cretan cities," from sunkretizein, "to unite against a common enemy, in the manner of the Cretan cities," from syn-, "with, together" + Kres, Kret-, "Cretan."

Friday, December 08, 2006

Crash- movie review


This movie is completely full of such multi-layered prejudice. It takes the "right" away from any race and muddies the water completely. Does anything happen because of race? It makes me wonder if there really are good people and bad people, or if everything is just some strange happenstance.

It is also completely unexpected and, in places, gut-wrenchingly moving. I think, whether correct in its depictions or not, this is one movie that will keep me thinking for a while.


Thursday, December 07, 2006

eWater House- .dream journal

jc and I were taking Dahlia Man's dogs for a walk. We had borrowed a truck from someone. We saw a beautiful house on the hill overlooking a waterfall and a pool of water and we went over there to look inside. It was still under construction and it turned out Landlady was building it. After we had explored for a while, Landlady came in. She was having people over for dinner. I started to ask her what she was doing there when I realized it was her house. I started to leave. jc was waiting outside on a raft in the truck. When he started to pull out the truck turned over on its side. One of the dogs was already in the truck and jc went to get the other one. The truck had somehow righted itself. I went back in the house because I had forgotten my shoes. I spilled chocolate milk on landlady's carpet. When I went back outside, we were parked in the garage and two trucks had us parked in.

Sronnoc Esor

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Not a Fairy Tale Ending

I'm terribly sad that James Kim's body was found today.

I can't image what Kati is experiencing now. My thoughts are with her and the girls.


Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Lost- a true story

Kati Kim and daughters found

I'm strangely touched by the story of this San Francisco family. They were traveling in Oregon over a week ago when they got stuck in snow on a back road. Maybe it's because it sounds so much like something I would do. Matter of fact, it's very like something I did once. I got the car stuck in sand in the middle of the Utah desert, only noone knew where I had gone. I hiked to the nearest town for help, eventually leaving the narrow dirt road when I didn't like the direction it was going. It worked out for me. I caught a ride to my friend's house and they went and pulled my car out. That was the time I learned that putting a pebble in your mouth really does help you not to feel so thirsty.

These people were basically trying to go somewhere that there just wasn't a road. I get a little nervous in mid-summer if I'm on those roads after dark. The stretch of I-5 they had to drive on recommends tire chains if there's a chance of snow. Leaving that for BLM roads sounds a little foolhardy to me. I wonder about the human interaction in this story. Was it a joint decision to take this route, or did Mrs. Kim get understandably upset when they got stuck on a road she never wanted to take in the first place? If it had been us, it would have been jc getting upset because I got stuck.

I love it that Mom and the girls were found. I hate it that Dad went looking for help and...? His footprints indicate that he left the road. I can't figure out why he would do that, but I hope that he is found, however unlikely that may seem. My thoughts go out to the Kims.


Boss Lady- dream journal

Boss Lady was reaming me out at work for a variety of things, and I didn't take any guff from her. I had an answer for everything. Then we didn't have the right forms. Everyone was using other forms, writing in pencil, and erasing, a big no-no for medical records. All the erasing was shaking the table and I couldn't write clearly.

Then I was in some kind of surreal ceremony, probably church. At the end of the service, some lady claimed I was an angel and wanted me to come up on stage while the reverend went on about angels. I kept slipping off the stage, so I just sat in a chair in the front. Then the reverend starting asking me about oysters. I told him I ate a lot of oysters and he wanted to know how I prepared them.

At some point in the sequence, the congregation turned around and started attacking me. I helped a little girl escape by putting on a disguise and swimming away.

Sronnoc Esor

Monday, December 04, 2006

Roomies- dream journal

I was back in college, living in the dorms at BJU, and XBFRN was my roommate. I was jealous because he was inviting some girl from down the hall over to cook dinner for her. Then there was some kind of huge mess with M&M's all over the floor and I was worried that the hall monitor would find out a boy was living in the girl's dorms and we would all be in big trouble.

Sronnoc Esor

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Ode to Elusive Peace and Quiet

We got the letter from our old landlord yesterday. He won't return our deposit and wants additional money. Apparently we wrecked the place so badly that he had to replace all the flooring. Cheap linoleum tile (over flakeboard over a damp crawl space) that kept coming up and crumbling. Carpets god knows how old that never got clean no matter how much I vaccuumed. On top of that he wants us to pay for repairs to the twenty year old dryer. jc wants to take him to small claims court to get our money back. I just want a place to live where no one can bother me.

We still don't know whether we can break a lease and therefore buy a house. First the landlady was offering us money to get out ASAP. Now, I wonder if her sale has gone through, since she's back to telling us we can stay out the lease. It makes me wonder if her sale has gone through. As someone at work wisely pointed out, the potential buyer hasn't been through the house again. Who would buy a home without seeing it at least twice? I just want a place to live where no one can bother me.


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Too Small?

Introducing: a handset for your cell phone. Because cell phones have gotten so small you get a hand cramp if you talk on one for any length of time. And everyone is on them all the time. That's technology, folks.


Fred Retro Handset for Cell Phones
Retro receiver that connects to a cell phone.
Works with most phones and includes adaptors.
Item is 2.5''x 8''.
Cord is approx 19'' long.
AvailabilityAvailable to Ship
Available now on

Odds and Ends

1. Begin Cycle 32

2. Crazy landlady- says we can stay through May now

3. Looking for a Christmas tree- easier than house hunting

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

What have I been Doing?

interest rates


Monday, November 27, 2006

Hill Towns- book review

Anne Rivers Siddons- Hill Towns

As soon as I began this book about a little girl who was afraid to leave the Mountain, even though it held such dark memories for her, I was enveloped in it. The story held sway over my mood and emotions. At times I raged at Cat for the choices she was making, but I never doubted that it is what she would do.

But more than that, I was with Cat as she faced a journey that was at once unbelievable and completely credible. Her journey took her so far outside her comfort zone that she could never possibly return and left her unalterably changed. It is a psychic journey that I can identify with, that I compare to the road that I am travelling.

The book didn't tell where Cat's journey ended any more than it told me where mine will end. It is fitting that it ends in uncertainty, as there really is no end.


Sunday, November 26, 2006

Where to Live- dream journal

jc and I had moved cross country and were looking for a place to live. We finally found a small one room apartment in a shopping mall. It was right next to a fast food restaurant. I was going all around the mall on roller skates. It turned out there was some kind of convention there. After the convention, we left. Before we left, a lady showed me all the accomodations at the other end of the mall. There were cabins and camping spots and many people had stayed there. Next I was on the bus with two classmates from high school. For a change they were being nice to me. Suddenly they decided they needed the bus for something else and hijacked it. We went careening wildly around curves on a country road.

Sronnoc Esor

Saturday, November 25, 2006


I'm of the opinion that you should claim responsibility for your actions, even if you can't control them. jc doesn't usually snore, but when he does and I say, "I can't sleep, you're snoring too loud.", he replies with offended tone, "I can't help it. Put your earplugs in." Well last night I was on call and had to be able to hear the phone, so I resorted to sleeping on the sofa. Snoring Beauty isn't even up yet and probably won't even realize I slept on the sofa to be properly remorseful. If I remind him of it, then I'm just a bitch. Why does his snoring always manage to make me look bad?

Well, this is quite a rant and I forgive you for skipping it. I feel better with that off my chest.


Friday, November 24, 2006

Response to Twisty from XBFRN

Author definitely has some daddy issues. I keep waiting for my silver spoon to arrive since I am after all a white male, but apparently the 1/8 of me that is Native American precludes me from dominance. I figured that the thanksgiving in the beginning was probably more of a robbery then a party, but who knows. I think that the author is right, but in her efforts to get back at the huge christian tradition has skewed things to the point of militant lesbian atheism (my term it will be in my book i believe).

The thing about america is that we are guilty. The Romans conquered the whole planet as far as they knew and never apologized, same with the Greeks, the Inca, the Aztecs, the Huns, the Ottoman-Turks, ad nauseum. Humans love to dominate each other, and civilization does the same; this is not limited to the whites.

In 100 years when another race, be it Hispanic or Chinese, takes over, will they say, "oh we conquered you here is a job and welfare, but we still think you're inferior, but this helps us feel better about it."? War is violent, as are humans in general.

Seeing my heritage, I hate the whites, the Huns, the Irish, the British, the Sioux, the Mexicans, the Canadians, the Romans, the Amish, the Lutherans, the Wasps, industry, and a few others; since at some point they have all done something to someone in my lineage that was morally inexcuseable. In an effort to consolidate my energies, I am declaring war on anyone who makes more then 4 million a year; they after all are above law and national borders. When was the last time Murdoch got a speeding ticket? The true powers lie in finance, not race; as long as we battle each other for the crumbs the guy holding the bread is safe. That's my soapbox today; dont forget to vote for me in 2016.

Mission Impossible 3: movie review


There isn't much to say about this. It is incredibly long at 126 minutes, and I found it to be quite boring. I think I could have turned it off at any time with no problem. If you like special effects and firefights, maybe you would like it. There is an interesting plot twist where you're not sure who the bad guys are for a while. There is a nice human element involving Ethan Hunt's desire for a normal personal life. Oh, and the part where the girl they rescue dies because the defibillator takes 30 seconds to charge up. I had a hard time with that one when they have all the latest toys. To end my rambling, I'll just say, Tom Cruise is old news.


Journeys-dream journal

Lately, my dreams have been troubled and I have awakened with the vague sense that I did everything wrong without remembering what really happened. Last night, they were pretty well back to normal.

I was walking on some back roads with Father and it started to get dark, so we were hurrying home. I told him that I had gotten a new job at the college as a counselor. He wanted to know if I had called the number he gave me. I told him, I tried a few times, but there was no answer. Then we got on a bus. Mr. Clean and Robin were there too. We were going to a parade in celebration of something. Robin and I fell behind and had to run to catch up. There was a whole line of animals in cages, and the guy running the thing had a miniature dachshund the size of a hot dog in a plastic trash can. It kept jumping out and running away.

I was walking up a dirt road to see someone. There was a stream running by the road and a little boy was playing in it. I broke his toy by accident. Then I watched from a distance before deciding to turn around and go back. I slid down some of the hills on my belly like an otter. There was a town meeting and the mother of some friends of Robin was there.

Sronnoc Esor

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Hop on over and read this

While I fully intend to satiate myself with Thanksgiving turkey and I even made a list of things I'm thankful for, I usually get a big kick out of Twisty's essays and this one is no exception.

Here's an excerpt to whet your interest:

Horribly, Thanksgiving’s repellent foodly intemperance is nearly always
presented at some weird, un-dinner-like hour of the afternoon, then it’s back to
the TV for the patriarchs, and back to the scullery for the womenfolk, where
they scour off the carbonized substrate of the sugary sweet potato-marshmallow
pie, wrap in foil the remains of the enhormoned, tortured Butterball, tuck into
Tupperware the green been casserole made with Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup
and French’s Fried Onions, and chuck out the untouched can-shaped cylinder of
Ocean Spray “cranberry sauce” that nobody understands, eats, or can live
without. Afterward, everybody either falls comatose or writhes, suffering
varying degrees of physical and emotional distress, on such seating — usually a
small needlepoint footstool or one of the dining room chairs — as has not been
previously commandeered by the football-watching males.


Wednesday, November 22, 2006


As we sat eating our nice, civilized dinner and sipping wine Sunday, the landlady came on the answering machine to tell us that we need to get out because she's sold the place. That's a provision of the lease. No date set in stone yet, we have 2-3 months.

This got me thinking that landlords around here are really awful and we should buy a house. So today, I talked to the loan officer, talked to the real estate agent, and looked through listings some more.

On the hunt for somewhere to live again.


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Signing- dream journal

The only thing I remember from last night is signing my name with my maiden name which always felt awkward and stilted for me and I had to repeat for people. Two nights ago I dreamed that we visited Granny the day of my dinner party and she served the menu I had planned. My dreams have been unusually wrapped up in worry, and thus I haven't even tried to remember them.

Sronnoc Esor

Speaking but still Thoughtful

Suppose a man receives a letter from his father in law containing these (among many other) words:

After I had invested twenty-some years of my life in her, thousands of
prayers, and thousands and thousands of dollars, I did not want some man thinking
that she was a cheap sexual object to take advantage of.

Is the man's wife wrong to believe that her father sees her as nothing but voiceless, thoughtless, choiceless Property? An investment. Is she wrong to wonder if any supposed relationship with her father has been a meaningless charade?

The letter goes on to encourage the man to be a spiritual leader in the household and make sure his wife goes to church and reads the Bible.

So the man's wife is reduced to a caged animal who cannot decide when to have sex, what to read, or where to go.

The man's wife is very upset with the man's father in law.


Sunday, November 19, 2006

Enforced Thoughtfulness

I've lost my voice. It's been more or less gone for almost two days now. At work, the first night it was gone, a coworker commented that it made hime think about the value of saying less. Another coworker missed my chattiness. It makes me feel a little like a different person, miming and writing, and saving that for important communication. But here on my blog, I'm the same with or without my voice.

I'm busy cooking up a storm for company tonight. Sometimes I like spending the day in the kitchen.


Friday, November 17, 2006


The first time I took a shower in the new house I couldn't help but notice that the shower hits me somewhere in the region of the neck. I have a decided aversion to water in my face and you have to be a contortionist to get the spray to hit the top of your head. So I got a handheld sprayer. The supporting apparatus gives it eight inches or so, making it just fine. The only problem is, the new shower head uses more water and now there's four or five inches of water accumulated in the tub by the time you finish showering. So I dumped the drain cleaner down the thing with no result and let my landlady know that it wasn't draining well.

When the plumbers showed up this morning, it turned out the trap was too short to snake it and the sink drains into the tub drain, or something like that. They had to cut the pipe to fix it, the tub is a mess, the landlady is frantic because she's showing the house tonight. Oh, and "you're using fiberglass cleaner on that, right?"


Thursday, November 16, 2006

Putative- word of the day

putative \PYOO-tuh-tiv\, adjective:
Commonly thought or deemed; supposed; reputed.

Certainly, to have even a putative ancestor commemorated
by Shakespeare is something about which to boast.-- Frances Spalding, Duncan
Grant: A Biography

A report has found that the putative evidence for the
paper that started the controversy was fabricated.-- Margot O'Toole, "The
Whistle-Blower and the Train Wreck", New York
, April 12, 1991

Putative comes from Late Latin putativus, from Latin putare, "to cleanse, to prune, to clear up, to consider, to reckon, to think." It is related to compute, "to calculate" (from com-, intensive prefix + putare); dispute, "to contend in argument" (from dis-, "apart" + putare); and reputation, "the estimation in which one is held" (from reputatio, from the past participle of reputare, "to think over," from re-, "again" + putare).

another meme from ScienceWoman

1. Yourself: nurse
2. Your boyfriend/girlfriend: jc
3. Your hair: red
4. Your mother: caring
5. Your father: controlling
6. Your favorite item: my piano
7. Your dream last night: ?
8. Your favorite drink: chocolate milk
9. Your dream car: 4WD station wagon
10. The room you are in: filtered natural light
11. Your ex: my friend
12. Your fear: infertility
13. What you want to be in 10 years: a mother
14. Who you hung out with last night: jc
15. What you're not: energetic
16. Muffins: chocolate chocolate chip
17: One of your wish list items: kitchen island
18: Time: 10:17
19. The last thing you did: woke up
20. What you are wearing: nightgown
21. Your favorite weather: warm autumn days
22. Your favorite book: the dictionary?
23. The last thing you ate: swedish meatballs
24. Your life: happy
25. Your mood: hopeful
26. Your best friend (s): jc
27. What are you thinking about right now: food
28. Your car: Infiniti M45
29. What are you doing at the moment: obviously...
30. Your summer: relaxing
31. Your relationship status: contented
32. What is on your tv: cat toys
33. What is the weather like: windy
34. When is the last time you laughed: yesterday

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

re: RE

This morning I don't think I'll do it at all. Maybe my FNP can run the basic tests for lupus anticoagulant. I don't think I'm emotionally capable of going on that whole infertility ride. Dahlia Man always says, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." It seems that it is the thought of changing the status quo that makes me unhappy. If so, then I'll just keep it the same.


Bees- dream journal

I was visiting BJU. Someone dropped me off at the curb with all my stuff. My old roommates drove by and stopped to pick me up. Instead of taking me to the dorm though, they just kept driving around in circles. I jumped out and went into the Amphitorium since it was time for chapel. I sat in a pretty empty section of the balcony near Mark Ort, the guy my good friend married. I had to turn sideways to fit down the aisle. I said, "I guess I've put on some weight since college." Halfway through the service, most of the students got up and ran out the exit doors in a panic. Dr. Bob was yelling at them to stop. I was looking around to see what was wrong, but I couldn't see anything. Then one girl stopped running down the aisle to swat at a huge bee. After that I noticed bees all around me, but they weren't hurting me. I saw some guy who was releasing bees and taunting me to run away.

Sronnoc Esor

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Looking for Help

I like to have all the answers.

I like to know ahead of time what the options are.

I like to be in control.

I dislike doctors.

I've spent most of yesterday and today trying to find a doctor to help us get pregnant. Trouble is, I don't even know who I should see first. The American College of OB/GYN only lists four reproductive endocrinolgists (REs) in the state of Oregon. But then, when I visit their websites, they all talk about IVF as the first treatment option.

I don't want IVF.

Or at least I don't think I do.

Should I just be going to a plain old OB/GYN to start out with? What are they going to want to do?

jc had good sperm counts when they were tested ten years ago. I don't think he wants to do it again. Does he need to? What are the factors that would make it different?

I didn't have endometriosis when I had my exploratory laparoscopy ~five years ago. When the doctor hears that I still have chronic pelvic pain, are they going to want to do another one? I don't want one.

What is this going to cost? (addendum: I just read that basic testing runs $4,000- $11,000; my insurance doesn't cover a dime.)

What is the chance of finding a treatment that A) I'll agree to and B)will work?

I was doing pretty well emotionally with the idea of continuing to try on our own for a while and adopting if it didn't work. Now, I am seduced by the idea that if there is an easy fix, it would be stupid not to find out about it. This is more of an emotional struggle.

They're almost certainly going to want me to start doing basal body temperature charting (BBTs) again. I hate temping, but I'll probably start next cycle so I have some stats to show the doc when I see him.

I guess I need to call my FNP and ask her for a referral.

This is too concrete. I want to cry. I want to curl up in a ball and hide from the world. I want to drink myself into oblivion, smoke a pack of cigarettes; heck, get really high, until I forget all about TTC.

My life is way too good to drag myself down by thinking about this too much. I love my jc. I love the kitties. I love my work. I love this Oregon and the delightful bay where we live.

Why must I want this one thing that I can't have? I wish I could just turn it off and forget about it. I don't want the label fertile or infertile or sub-fertile or anything else they're going to call me. I'm afraid this quest is only going to land me with the label crazy.


Monday, November 13, 2006

Yard Birds

I hung the feeders in the new backyard this week and was almost immediately rewarded by the folowing common yard birds.

White-crowned Sparrow
(a whole family)

Song Sparrow

Dark-eyed Junco

House Sparrow
(the bird of sidewalk cafes everywhere)

Fox Sparrow

American Crow
(they fly off with whole apples)

Steller's Jay
(noisy and piggish, but beautiful)
(photos obviously not mine from Kaufman Focus Guides Birds of North America)


The lights flickered last night in the middle of putting together my fake leather red retro chair. As I sat at my laptop contemplating the purchase of an artificial christmas tree, the lights went out. I lit all the candles in the dining room before coming up with the idea to drive to a nearby town and get mcdonald's or something. About half a mile onto the highway, we encountered many tail lights at a standstill. We turned around and went home, read by candlelight, and went to sleep early.

Small town life.


Sunday, November 12, 2006

a Note on Nomenclature

j. has informed me that he would rather be referred to on the blog as jc.

Noted and Done.


Saturday, November 11, 2006

More Views out the Window

Looking Out

Looking In

Trying to Come In

Lookalike On the Fence
photo credits to j.

crusty bread

This is the loaf that I prepared and j. baked as I slept this morning. I have despaired of making light, crusty bread, but this is the golden ticket. It's a little messy to make, but the result is amazing. Here's the recipe.
Recipe: No-Knead Bread
Adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street BakeryTime: About 1½ hours plus 14 to 20 hours' rising
3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
1¼ teaspoons salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.
1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.
2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.
3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.
4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.
Yield: One 1½-pound loaf.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Last of the Breed

I'm pretty pathetic when it comes to correspondence. You wouldn't know it from my blabbering on this blog, but I have a hard time keeping in touch with people. I've lost touch with all my college friends from BJU, the first time around. Of course, that was before e-mail. I thought those were good friends, but then again, they're all holy rollers and I wonder what I would still have in common with them anyway.

I've kept one important friend from Penn State: XBFRN. I talked to him today, and it often makes me sort of melancholy thinking about the good times we had together back then. I guess the fact that the good was so near to the bad made it that much better.
Tonight, I'm pouring wine and thinking of you.

congeries- word of the day

congeries \KON-juh-reez\, noun:A collection; an aggregation.

As the great French historian Fernand Braudel pointed out in his last major
work, The Identity of France (1986), it was the railroad that made France into
one nation and one culture. It had previously been a congeries
of self-contained regions, held together only politically.-- Peter F. Drucker,
"Beyond the Information Revolution", Atlantic Monthly, October 1999

William Rothenstein described the Academie as a "congeries
of studios crowded with students, the walls thick with palette scrapings, hot,
airless and extremely noisy."-- Jeffrey Meyers, Bogart:
A Life in Hollywood

More important, he doesn't tell us that the Kennedy Administration was a
very uneasy congeries of vastly differing types of Democrats
with conflicting foreign-policy agendas.-- James C. Thomson Jr., "Whose Side
Were They On?" review of Friends and Enemies: The United States, China, and the
Soviet Union, 1948-1972, by Gordon H. Chang, New York Times, July 29, 1990

Congeries is from Latin congeries, "a heap, a mass," from congerere, "to carry together, to bring together, to collect," from com-, "with, together" + gerere, "to carry." It is related to congest, "to overfill or overcrowd," which derives from the past participle of congerere.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

back home again

We're happily home again after a great getaway. We're reminded every time we leave that a few days is more than enough time away for us.

We drove to Portland, arriving Sunday afternoon. As soon as we left the coast, we were confronted with the changing leaves. The beautiful bright yellows contrasted warmly with the dark green of the firs. I never did get wi-fi in the hotel, they blamed it on the weather, or I would have written sooner.

The plan was to go out Sunday evening for some micro-brews. We walked around the mall and got some delicious Indian chicken tandoori. Unfortuately, after riding the train and streetcar around and walking in the rain, we never did find anywhere we were looking for. j. started getting crabby about our purposeless wandering, and we went back to the hotel with a six-pack to eat the sushi we had in the mini-frig.

Monday, I got up early for the nursing meeting. It was well-0rganized and professionally run, and the speakers were well-spoken experts who had something to say and were worth listening to. I came away with some new information and good reminders about old stuff. Of course, there is always plenty of food at those shindigs. I was appalled by the way many of my colleagues were dressed for such a thing. I saw lots of jeans and sweatshirts and very few who looked professional. What can you expect of people who wear pajamas to work, huh?

In the afternoon, we decided to take a second stab at going out drinking. We went to McCormick and Schmick's for an early dinner. I had Tombi Tuna, served rare on a bed of rice with wasabi sauce and greens and topped with pickled ginger. The whiskey sour on the side had me approaching very silly well before dessert was offered. For dessert I had the chocolate hazelnut pie, served warm with vanilla ice cream and an Irish coffee. Being well on the way to drunkenness, we went to Powell's City of Books, a block large, four-story bookstore in the Pearl District. I bought the Tao Te Ching, a lovely illustrated copy.

On the way home, we stopped in a bar where I had the experience for the first time of being refused service on account of my youthful appearance. j. reminded me that I should hang my ID around my neck for such occasions. We went back to the hotel and had a beer and hot wings in the rooftop bar.

Tuesday morning we went to the Portland Art Museum for the Egypt exhibit. The huge stone sarcophagus lid sat in the lobby. I loved the smooth, onyx-colored Isis and Osiris statues. There were funereal finger cots, masks and gold sandals as well as jewelry, a pyramidion and other cool stuff. The museum's Asian display is impressive with Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and the six-armed woman as well as lovely woodblocks and paintings. The Northwestern Native American art consisted of intricate baskets woven from up to four different grasses, painstaking beadwork and traditional costumes. My favorite was the Raven Steals the Sun costume. (Click the link for the amazing story, or watch Northern Exposure season 3 episode 10.)

We went to Silk by Pho Van for lunch. I had vegetarian spring rolls, lotus tea, and noodles and shrimp. It was a great reminder of the food Hien Nguyen used to make me eat back when I worked homecare and took care of her. If you haven't had Vietnamese food, head out to your local Vietnamese restaurant posthaste and order something with lemongrass in the name.

On the way home we stopped at another mall, and I came home with a new bedside table, shower caddy, over the door hooks, and other such things. Now, we're back on a diet and a budget. This move and vacation thing has near bankrupted us. Also time to get back to doing yoga. I've been slacking and my body is complaining.

Anyone who made it this far in this post gets The Booby Prize as congratulations.


Saturday, November 04, 2006

big trip tomorrow

I've been feeling poorly. I'm afraid I'm getting the flu that plauged j. for days and is still troubling him some. I called in sick tonight after a rough time last night. Our plan is to breakfast with Dahlia Man in the AM and then dash off to Portland. (Note to self: make sure none of the thorofares are blocked by mudslides.) We get half a free day Sunday, I got to a class on Monday, and Tuesday we go to the Portland Art Museum for The Quest for Immortality: Treasures of Ancient Egypt. If we're still having a good time, we'll stay Tuesday night and get trashed on local microbrews or something on Wednesday. In preparation for the good time, I must now go and get a good night's sleep. If I'm not having too much fun, I'll check in with you.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Kitties out the window

I followed Ailleanach's intent stare out the window to see this kitty family.

This one wanted to play in the street instead of following Mama and Sister in out of the rain.

Mama told the little one to stay put and headed back very purposefully for the straggler.

Sister poked her head out to see where Mama and Straggler had gotten to.

Safely back across the street, they scooted in out of the rain.
There's a story everywhere.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Just Cause and Rope- movie review

Just Cause


Somehow the movies that arrived yesterday for j. and I respectively both had to do with murder. We're not big fans of whodunits and only watch the occasional thriller, so this seemed like a strange coincidence.

Rope is a Hitchcock film, something to ponder on rather than excite. The thesis is that morality only holds true for the masses and the upper crust, the inteligentsia, may do as they like up to and including murder. Jimmy Stewart is true to form. When confronted with the practical reality of his idealogy, he admits his error.

Just Cause had me cutting off the blood flow to j.'s hand and even covering my eyes at one point. I think Ed Harris deserved an Oscar for being creepy to the max. It included a plot twist that separated it from the ordinary. In addition, the Everglades are downright creepy.

Two questions arise.

Number one: who decides who has value in society? Is it the intelligent? That's mostly a matter of breeding. The social elite? A combination of birth and fakery. The educated? The employed? The nice guy? If we were going to start pruning the undesirables from the world, who would decide who goes first?

Number two: should we use the death penalty? It comes down to a question of who gets to decide again. We've decided to trust a jury of ordinary people to decide guilt or innocence. We already know that innocent people get convicted and guilty ones go free every day. I'm not ready to trust justice to the caprice of fate, but is it right to take a life for a life? How about a life for two lives, or three or four? Who decides?


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Random meme- copied from ScienceWoman

Explain what ended your last relationship. Combination of circumstance, non-inertia, and another man.

When was the last time you shaved? Partial yesterday; complete can't rembember.

What were you doing this morning at 8AM? Snoozing.

What were you doing 15 minutes ago? Writing a novel.

Are you any good at math? I can add, subtract, multiply and divide and do simple algebra.

Your prom night, what do you remember about it? My Christian school didn't have prom, but we had a banquet. I went 'stag'-with other girls. The rest is a blank.

Do you have any famous ancestors? No one you would know. Some chief justices in England a Revolutionary War colonel are the most prestigious.

Have you had to take a loan out for school? Twice.

Do you know the words to the song on your MySpace profile? Don't have one.

Last thing received in the mail? Netflix

How many different beverages have you had today? enough water to swallow pills and hot tea.

Do you ever leave messages on people's answering machine? Yes, awkward ones.

Who did you lose your CONCERT virginity to? Um, Pam Tillis, free tickets.

Do you draw your name in the sand when you go to the beach? No.

What's the most painful dental procedure you've had? Toss up between drilling and cleaning.

What is out your back door? At the moment, probably a possum eating fallen apples.

Any plans for Friday night? work

Do you like what the ocean does to your hair? No.

Have you ever received one of those big tins of 3 different popcorns? Yes, from Baptist Nun for Christmas

Have you ever been to a planetarium? Yes.

Do you re-use towels after you shower? Yes. j. uses two new ones every time though.

Some things you are excited about? Trip to Portland this week. Nothing to do.

What is your favorite flavor of JELL-O? Green.

Describe your keychain(s)? Robin's egg blue leather Nine West matches my purse.

Where do you keep your change? My wallet. I like to use exact change.

When was the last time you spoke in front of a large group of people? The last time I remember is a high school program where I told a Brer Rabbit story.

What kind of winter coat do you own? I don't really need one here.

What was the weather like on your graduation day? High school- it rained and I lost my favorite raincoat. College- sunny both times.

Do you sleep with the door to your room open or closed? Ajar.


National Novel Writing Month is underway, and in a move that feels foolish even to myself, I am undertaking to write a 50,000 word work of fiction between November 1 and November 30. With my pre-organized thoughts in mind, I began today. I have a start with 2,900 words, thoughts that are beginning to flow more smoothly, and characters that are gaining shape in my mind. I am widely known for my inability to complete large tasks, so we'll see where this gets me. One way or another, my protagonist is helping me sort out conflicts that I need to think about.


Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Fingers to the Bone

Ki'il and I worked hard getting the old place cleaned up today. All that's left is the refrigerator and the steam cleaning. I am certain that it's cleaner than when we moved in. It was as pleasant as cleaning day could be, with such good company.

My mind was wandering idly on the subject of houses and spouses. We loved our first house, we quicly grew weary of the second one, what will be the future of the third? It seems some people go through spouses this way. I hope we don't get sick of each other for a good long time (never).


Roughing It- dream journal

I was staying at some sort of camp or school. I went for a walk in the woods. I lost my shoes, then I caught a ride on a passing elk. The elk seemed to know where I wanted to go. When we passed my shoes lying on trail, he stopped to let me off, and I walked the rest of the way.

Sronnoc Esor

Monday, October 30, 2006

Saturday dream journal

I was studying with a guy named Adam who I’ve never seen before. He lived on about the fifth story of a big apartment house with no elevator. He started coming on to me and I told him, “Gee, this feels really nice, but I’m not sure I want to cheat on my husband.” Then I decided to do it after all. Afterwards I was looking for workout clothes to go to the gym, but then I realized that I had to go see Dahlia Man. When I got down the steps, I realized that I had forgotten my keys and had to go back up for them. By the time I got to the parking lot, I was already ten minutes late and I couldn’t find my car. I finally found it, but something was wrong and I caught a ride with some people. When we were almost there, they decided to stop in the park to look for a friend. I got out to walk. There was a simulated ocean there and some kind of meet and greet going on. I dodged the people and made my way down the street. Instead of going to Dahlia Man’s house, I found myself at a bar where I was supposed to meet Adam. Some girl was outside. She said she couldn’t let me in and that the meeting had been rescheduled. Then I had to try to run home so I wouldn’t be late for work.

Sronnoc Esor

the Grebes are here and so am I

We slept in the new house for the first time last night. The mattress didn't make it until today, so we camped out on the quilt on the floor. The kitties went ballistic and hid, then started expoloring and calmed down. Today when the movers brought the piano and the mattress, they went ballistic and hid again. Shadow is in the box springs and Ailleanach is behind the washing machine. j. is in bed with a cold and I'm keeping him doped up. We still have a few things to move from the old place, but we're out of there. For the moment, I am pirating a wi-fi connection from god knows where. In order to do that, I am forced to walk a block and sit by the water with the wooden docks creaking, the gulls mewing, and the pink sunset fading in the west.

Life could be worse. Much, much worse.


Western Grebes, returned from their summer breeding grounds, are fishing for their dinners.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Acts of Rebellion- dream journal

I was in some kind of school. The assignments were time-consuming and ridiculous so I didn't do them. I was confronted about it by my teacher, Miss Yost, who I never got along with IRL. I told her that her assignments were ridiculous and I wasn't doing them. As I was leaving I stumbled and fell in a mud puddle. After that, the teachers ignored me as if I had never been there. My brother Mr. Clean came looking for me and asked me to come back, but I said no. I went and sat on the train tracks. Once two trains were passing in opposite directions on different tracks and I had to crouch down to avoid being hit. Then I walked up the track a little ways and came to a convent where they had all kinds of religious sculpture. Mother was there trying to find something for Robin.

Sronnoc Esor

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

the Coming of the Pain

Finally that cycle is over. Hopefully my "cycle buddy" gets hers too. We were planning big moving today. Maybe if I can get on top of this pain, I will still be able to participate. My inclination at the moment is to do some self education about fertility testing and treatment and begin some testing in six months to a year. After all, I have just gotten the thyroid corrected. That sort of started us back at square one in the ttc game. I definitely want to go into this knowing what my options are and which ones I will consider. Doctors are always wanting to cut, and I'm ready to say no to that one. Well, food for thought. My heating pad is starting to work; I think a snooze is coming on.


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Tragedy- Nightmare Journal

Robin and I were both in college. We went to a class together where the professor had the TA give the first lecture. He fumbled things terribly because he was so nervous, but was okay in between. Then we decided to go to lunch. When we got to the cafeteria, we didn't have our student IDs to get in, so we went back to our dorms to get them. There was a big line in front of the dorms and suddenly Mother and Father were with us, holding us up. I went around the back way to my room, cutting through a vacant building. When I got back, Mother told me that Robin had died. She said she had an abortion (a thing Robin would never do) and that she had gotten sick afterwards, lost a lot of weight, and been unable to recover. Mother said it was God's punishment. I yelled back at Mother that that wasn't true. Was she going to carry on like this every time she remembered Robin? Was she going to taint her memory this way. My grief was uncontrollable and I broke out in sobs for my little sister. We had to hire a lawyer for some reason. He was helping us pack up Robin's things in her dorm room. I told him most of her clothes would fit me if I lost a little weight. He tried to tell us that Robin had been standing in line to get some kind of activist petition signed when she collapsed in the line. None of it made sense. This couldn't have happened when I had just seen her, perfectly healthy, and we were going to eat lunch together.

(She's on the phone now, perfectly fine of course.)

Monday, October 23, 2006

Peace and Hope rose

Seemed appropriate.


Laughs with Friends (and Angst)

I'm too old to be doing this just now for the first time, but I am still in the middle of a major parents, religion, status quo rebellion meltdown. The recent visit from Mother and Father has left me ranging from contemplative to resentful to soul-searching to downright angry. Dahlia Man and Tazmom both listened understandingly to my confused ramblings about why this is such an emotionally powerful crisis situation for me. j. is the picture of kindness and sympathy. The hormonal fever that my body is going through can't help at all.

Yet I am happy and contented and fulfilled.

Ki'il and the Scholar stopped by for a pleasant if short visit. They joined us in poking fun at the crooked shack that we are soon leaving. Ki'il has agreed to help me with the terminal cleaning here. We look forward to spending a lot more time with them. We always have such pleasant and interesting conversations and they are able to laugh at the world in much the same way that j. and I do.

A midnight trip to Wal-Mart yielded needed things for the house and a new sports bra which is helping to soothe my aching chest. Upon our arrival home, we packed up a large contribution for the garbage man.

Now I'm going to relax and enjoy some one-on-one with my Best Man. I missed him over the weekend.


Sunday, October 22, 2006

cycle stats

cycle day 44
ovulation was cycle day 27-29
usual LP 12-15 days
recorded LP range 5-20 days
longest recorded cycle 41 days
new onset breast pain day 43
ultra high stress this cycle with parents visiting and impending move


Saturday, October 21, 2006

Dead at the Scene- dream journal

Another night of driving around, seemingly pointlessly. We stopped for a car accident. A female doctor and I were first on the scene. Although the injured elderly man was still breathing and pulsatile, lady doctor jumped on him and started CPR immediately in the passionate making out kind of way they do on television. I stood by feebly protesting. The man died anyway and lady doctor was out of there.

I passed a street fair selling beautiful raisin breads and old gadgets like stovetop espresso makers.

j. and I went to a community dinner where we had trouble finding our assigned table. On the way there, we passed the home of a patient of mine and poked around the back yard.

Sronnoc Esor

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Beautiful Girls- movie review


The title might help prepare you for some of the callow objectification of women used by the mostly male main characters in this film. Does a one to ten rating system for face, body, and personality sum up a woman? Are supermodels really the "promise of a new tomorrow"?On the other hand, Gina has a brilliant soliloquy (delivered as advice to the Tommy), in which she reminds him in a wondrously colorful and expressive way that beauty is only skin deep. So maybe what we really have here is a commentary on lots of different ways to think about beautiful girls.

Most of the female characters in the film showed an acceptable amount of backbone. In spite of the rating system, I give the film good marks for representing a cross section of thought and behavior in its characters.

It was also very funny. Overall, an enjoyable flick.


Safari- dream journal

We were all packed up to go on a long trip. We even had portable toilets. We were leaving from Father's, where he had an outhouse with a 'possum in it- vile creature. Everyone was sleeping on the ground in sleeping bags. I was afraid to get up in the night to go to the outhouse.

Sronnoc Esor

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Afternoon Snooze

Taking a nap with their Daddy.

The lovely Ailleanach squinting at the imposition of the camera flash.

Nothing bothers my little Shadowy-head.


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Angels in the Gloom- book review

Angels in the Gloom by Anne Perry

This was one of the authors for book club for October.

It is a historical novel that takes place mostly in England during World War I. There are a few underdeveloped characters in the novel. It seems to me that the pages devoted to Richard Mason and Judith Reavley are of little consequence to the story as a whole. I most note, though, that the book is part of a series, so it seems likely that the characters are dealt with more completely in other books.

The Joseph Reavley character, however, is well developed and his quest is pretty well developed. Again, the search for the Peacemaker is reasonably expected to be an ongoing one. Stories of intrigue and suspense are not my favorites, so the best part of this book in my opinion was the psychological struggle. After all, isn't that the most applicable part of any story. Joseph struggles to follow morality and truth, as best he knows them. Some of the time he is misguided by preconceptions, but in the end he comes to the truth.

When asked if God has abandoned the world, Joseph has the following notable answer:

"I don't know. There are times when I look at what's happening, young men crushed and dying, the land poisoned and turned to filth, corruption of what I used to trust utterly, and I'm not sure. But the things that Christ taught are still true, of that I'm absolutely certain. Meet me at the end of the world when we stand at the abyss, I'll tell Satan to his face just as certainly: Honor is still worth living or dying for; no matter how tired or hurt or frightened you are, face forward and seek the light, even if it's gone out and you can't remember where it was, keep going. It's always right to care. It's going to hurt like hell at times, you'll think it's beyond bearing, but if you let go of that then you have lost the purpose of existing at all."

There is much idealism in that answer, but also much truth.


Can't Fix the Roof when it's Raining

On Christmas Day a huge hunk of plaster fell out of the garage roof. The landlord told us he'd fix it when it quit raining. When it rains, a puddle forms on the floor and more little bits of plaster fall down. Yesterday, the landlord showed the house to potential tenants. This morning at 0900 a contractor showed up to take a look at the roof.

This is one of those cases where if you don't laugh, you'll cry.

Monday, October 16, 2006

tchotchke- word of the day

tchotchke \CHOCH-kuh\, noun:A trinket; a knickknack.

The rare tchotchke aside, our antiquing journeys mainly
amounted to wishful foraging, in the spirit of a more roomy and prosperous
someday we somehow never really articulated.-- Jacquelyn Mitchard, The
Most Wanted

Of course, you also have arcades, like Funland, and your
typical tchotchke vendors, like Ryan's Gems and Junk.-- Jamie
Peck, "Rehoboth Beach", Newsday, May 18,

I'm going nuts with my mother's accumulation of tchotchkes -- it's bad enough she never parted with one she got
as a gift -- but why did she have to buy more?-- "Artifacts of Life", Newsday, December 9, 1996

Tchotchke is from Yiddish tshatshke, "trinket," ultimately of Slavic origin. It is also spelled tsatske.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Inspiration from Dr. Chickenfarmer

The visiting ER doc I worked with last night set the wheels in the void above my neck spinning. He told me that he just diagnosed one of his patients with a newly discovered enzyme that prevents implantation, thus causing repeat early miscarriages, often before a pregnancy can be confirmed. The treatment is anticoagulation: aspirin or heparin. I've said forever that I don't want fertility testing and treatments. I was thinking of IUI, IVF, hormone shots, and all that goes with it. What if a simple baby aspirin a day would give us a baby? I need to learn more about this. It could be new hope for us when mine has been severely wilted. The name of the problem is lupus anticoagulant. Should I be looking for an RE?


Saturday, October 14, 2006


One of our dear old gentleman left this world last night. We all thought he would go home soon. He was so cold all evening and kept asking for blankets. Then he just stopped breathing and I closed his eyes. He was in his nineties. We should all go so peacefully.


Friday, October 13, 2006

Now I know I'm crazy

I had a meeting at the hospital at eight this morning, so I was up early. I spent the day updateing addresses. Then I went to get supper for Dahlia Man. The only trouble is- I wasn't supposed to go until tomorrow. Anyhow here I am, finishing the movie and waiting to go to my real job. Today started out cold, cloudy and windy. I wore a sweater and my jacket to walk to the hospital. Of course, I'm sure the real craziness comes from the mild PMS from which I've been suffering. The progesterone cream helps some, though. Wait and see what tomorrow brings.


Thursday, October 12, 2006

Memoirs of a Geisha- movie review


I thought I heard poor reviews of this movie, but we liked it. It's a little over two hours, I know that's long for some people, but it kept my attention. I don't really know anything about geishas, but the portrayal is stark and far different in many ways from the image we have of beautiful, talented, alluring women. Here are some major images that were altered in my mind.

Misconception #1- a career choice

Geishas were sold into slavery by their own families. If the geisha house didn't want them, they became prostitutes. If the geisha house decided they weren't good enough, they became servants.

Misconception #2- virgins

A maiko could not become a full geisha until she sold her virginity to the highest bidder. After that, she wasn't supposed to have sex again.

If the story is true, then it is full of all the ugliness that women can be to each other. Lies and backstabbing and setting each other up in a cruel competitive dance that could sometimes mean surviving or not for the geisha house. Sadly, is a dance that is put on for men. Yet this dynamic goes on every day in the school, the workplace, the home, and the public for many American women.

Although we have the freedom in this country to choose a life and a career, what are the factors that enslave American women? We are constantly reminded by ScienceWoman how hard it is for a woman to pursue a professional career in science, and of the fierce competition and bias toward men in the field. Although, I was lucky not to experience this, many women in the Christian circles that I grew up in are taught that their only acceptable role is wife and mother. That said, I believe Father censures Robin for her choice to go back to nursing school with a husband and child to care for. If you look at the media at all, you'll receive only a few images of powerful women. Most of the images there are the American version of geisha: how to make yourself up and play the patriarchal game in which women are pawns.

What about sex? We've got a corner on the virgin/whore dichotomy. It's popular wisdom that if a girl doesn't "put out" by the third date, a man will move on to someone else. So does that mean a girl has to have sex on the third date if she doesn't want to lose the guy? And of course she's supposed to sleep with her date to the high school prom. All the while, she should maintain the snowy white purity that will allow her to wear white on her wedding day.

On the other hand, consider the chastity movement. Girls (and presumably boys) are wearing bracelets inscribed with TLW (True Love Waits) to remind them to save it for the wedding night. This is considered "safe sex". Can't get any diseases if you don't "do it", right? No further sex ed necessary. Sorry, abstinence crowd, it doesn't work. What it does accomplish is, when she finally decides to do it in a moment of passion, she doesn't know what a condom is, much less to ask for one. Or maybe she'll just fool around. Oral sex isn't sex, right? Wrong.

Well, everyone knew we have this problem in America and it didn't have much to do with the movie. But that's what I'm alll about, saying what I think while I'm thinking it.


Tuesday, October 10, 2006


Yesterday I made applesauce with apples picked from Dahlia Man's trees and drops off the ground. The green apples are called Kings; I don't know the names of the others. I used a large bucket of Kings and a medium bucket of the red ones, which are sweeter. Below are various stages of preparation. The drops are wormy and bruised.

Here is the applesauce in progress. When it is liquedfied, I add brown sugar and cinnamon. I ended up with about eight quarts. j. ate some and I froze the remainder using our Foodsaver bag and seal system.

I wish you could smell it.


Air Soccer- dream journal

I went for a walk at night. A fancy helicopter was landing in the park with refugees. I went home and told j. about it. Just then we saw it circling overhead. It came in to hover over the athletic field. It lowered nets that men were hanging from. They were playing some version of soccer while suspended in midair. It changed into a motivational conference with standing room only. While j. was talking to someone, some girls came and took his seat. I got upset and left. I wasn't dressed. I had only a blanket wrapped around me. I must have come back because I whispered something to j. and the speaker got really upset with me. Then I left for good.

After that I was with Mother and Father visiting a summer camp where I used to work. Everyone was talking about a man who was pregnant. Then his wife suddenly dropped over dead. We went for a walk and came to a deserted housing community with a broken down aviary full of really scraggly looking birds.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Fun and Friends

Dinner with Ki'il and her husband The Scholar last night was fantastic. Ki'il poured margaritas when we got there. Then she served up a delicious Korean feast of lettuce wraps with marinated beef sauteed with mushrooms, garlic and onions and a whole grain and rice mixture. You get a piece of lettuce, pile it with the other components and roll it up. It's supposed to be a mouthful. There was a fermented soy sauce and fermented soybeans, which are rich in probiotics. Then she brought out the dark green seaweed. You make wraps with that too. My mouth was still bursting with the memory of flavor hours later when we got home.

I guess I was the big drinker in the bunch. I drank both my margarita and jc's. Then when the Scholar's parents got home, I had a glass of Merlot. Some of you will appreciate the humor in little old me who used to be a teetotaler drinking more than anyone else.

The Scholar is in nursing school, so we had some conversations about that. He is in the phase where they throw theory at you without explaining the practical purpose of it. Hopefully, I helped rather than muddying the waters more with my rambling. We could've stayed all night chit-chatting, but people have school and work, and so we scurried home about midnight. We hope to do it again soon. Only I'll be embarrassed by my simple food after the feast we got served up.


Sunday, October 08, 2006

busy weekend

I started a new sideline this weekend helping Dahlia Man while his caretaker is away. This kept me busy as I helped him with his dinner before going to work on Saturday, and then helped him with his breakfast after work. I had to wake up even ealier on Saturday to go sign the lease for our new place. That means this week we can start moving stuff in. I also got apples from Dahlia Man's trees for apple sauce. That will keep me busy tomorrow. Tonight we are invited to a friend's for dinner. I will take her some dahlias. I am looking forward to meeting her husband, who is a yogi. Exciting updates should be coming along soon.


Friday, October 06, 2006

commune- dream journal

I was living at a commune. Brownie was there. Mother and Father came to visit. They wanted to buy food from the commune for lunch, but were very awkward in going about it. Everyone there was cooking different meals and the kitchen was a mess.

Then there were some kind of war games with toy soldiers. I was taking it pretty seriously and my best friend from high school got pretty upset with me. Something underlying made the situation very tense.

Sronnoc Esor

Thursday, October 05, 2006

on the creek- dream journal

I was awakened by repeated kicks in the shins. j. told me he had been dreaming that a general made him go into the army and practice saluting and things for two weeks. He was trying to escape.

I went back to sleep.

I was trying to float down the creek at The Farm at flood stage. When I got about where the cable car used to be, there were fisherman in motorized craft. I returned to dry land to avoid them.

After that I was at BJU. I was wearing pants with a skirt over them. On my way to breakfast, I ran into Mary. She had her two year old little girl with her. There was a long wait at the cafeteria. Then I sat with Leigh and her friends. They ignored me completely. I wanted a salad, but the salad bar lady told me she had just put it out and it wasn't ready to eat yet.

Sronnoc Esor

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Running ragged?

After four hours of sleep last night, I got up to meet someone about a little homecare gig which I will be doing. It took two tries to get in a nice talk with Robin, who seems to be doing well, although busy. I took a little nap, then went to hike around in the wilderness behind Wheat Grass Lady's new house. I'll go back and take some pics for you later.

After yoga class we had grilled cheese sandwiches on the new cast iron grill pan and watched "Like Water for Chocolate". Out of laziness, I will comment on it here. The English voiceovers were terrible, so we watched it in Spanish with English subtitles. It was much better that way. I disagree with the basic premise of the movie, which to me seemed to be that sexual passion is the ruling force in the world. I believe that love can conquer all, but that's different. Of course the movie is fanciful, so we must allow leeway. Literal fires start from sexual longing and fulfillment and in the end, a woman eats matches and burns down a whole rancho. I don't doubt that I may have missed the point. If someone else got it and wants to correct me, I'm all ears.

R. C.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Plastic surgery risk or Intrinsic tendency?

This study of Canadian women who had breast implants and other cosmetic surgery found a significantly greater suicide rate in the study group than in the general population (about 73% higher). This begs the question: Would these women have taken their own lives if they hadn't had the surgery? Is there a connection between plastic surgery and depression? Is there a higher suicide risk among people who have other kinds of surgery?

First of all, I have to ask myself why people want to have body-changing surgery. I have never harbored even the remotest desire to do such a thing. Of course, as a nurse, I know that the last thing you should ever do is let a surgeon cut you. But that's beside the point. Aside from body changes that I can affect myself through exercise and proper diet, I'm happy with the way I look. I'm not perfect, but I'm me.

What gives someone such poor self esteem that they risk their lives to change their bodies? Is it the way they've been treated by others? Unimaginable things happen in families. I know a woman whose father called her "flats" because she had very small breasts. Parents tell their children they are ugly and fat and stupid and bad. Based on this sort of treatment in the develomental years, how could a person come out with positive self-image?

Then we have popular culture. Big breasts are beautiful. Men will desire you. Wide noses are ugly. You might be mistaken for someone of another race, other than white that is. Aging is terrible. Wrinkles and crow's feet and gray hair are all signs of inferiority. Forget the wisdom that comes with years of experience. Do we have plastic surgery only because our society is so ageist, sexist, and racist? Who decides what beauty is? Advertisers? Hollywood?

I submit that beauty comes from within.

Love yourself.


We're moving

This will be our new home. No, not a boat, a house about two blocks from the harbor. The rent is similar and the house is much nicer than where we are. We've sort of wanted to try out living here for a while. We even entertained the idea of a houseboat for a while, but it didn't seem like a good idea with a piano, let alone children. So now we have our big chance. For the moment, that's a big chance to pack up all our earthly belongings again. I'm making the most of the excited energy I have now to get some of that done right away.

I'll keep you posted.


Monday, October 02, 2006

snake in the bed- dream journal

I was taking care of a patient who complained that there was a snake in the bed. I didn't believe her and took the covers of to show her that it wasn't there. She said it was under the pillows, but she didn't want me to move the pillows. "If it's under there, it can stay. I don't want to move." I picked up the pillows anyway and sure enough, there was a snake there. I "eeked" out loud. (j. asked me what was wrong.)

I went out to eat with Mother and Father. The menu looked much like a hospital menu: a piece of paper with four or five sections, each had one menu choice. I ordered in German and the waitress told me, also in German, that my choice wasn't available. She said they were out of the brown bread it came with. I asked if I could just have it with different bread. She said all they had was white sandwich bread and I told her that would be fine. The drinks came in glass bowls. Father had lager. Mother's meal came with a cheese selection, which she said she didn't want. I said I would look at it. About twenty different kinds of cheeses came out on a tray for our perusal.

Next thing I remember, we were in a hired car being driven to the waterfall. The driver said we would be able to drink from the waterfall for a dollar. I was thinking how nice it was to have a driver and be able to sit back and enjoy the trip.

Sronnoc Esor

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Father and Jack- dream journal

Father won a bottle of Jack Daniels in a raffle. He stood in front of the assembly drinking it and talking loudly and generally acting foolishly. Mother tried to take it from him and encouraged him to have something to eat. He said all he wanted was the Jack Daniels.

We were swimming in a very nice pool when they suddenly drained the water. I thought maybe you just couldn't see the water and tried swimming anyway.

Sweet Normalcy

Ah, how nice to get back to work and have a nice normal night and be "hitting the hay" at 0800, getting ready to spend all day in bed.


Friday, September 29, 2006

Dr. Laura- talk radio

Our local radio station has morphed from country music, which I love, to talk radio. I have a sort of love/hate relationship with talk radio. If it is on, I am compelled to listen to the current caller's story and the subsequent advice given. Then I fume about the idiocy of the callers who cannot think for themselves at all and the rudeness of the talk show host, or the inadequacy of the advice offered.

Today it was "Dr. Laura", who I've never been able to stand anyway. Most of the advice I heard today was basically sound, but the lack of grace with which it is delivered offends all my sensibilities.

Note to self: listen to CDs in the car.


Thursday, September 28, 2006

old fashioned roses- book club today

I attended the first fall meeting of the local book club at the library today. Having never been to a book club before, I didn't know what to expect. What I found was a nice hour or so of chatting about our favorite books. I was younger by half than anyone else there, so I'm the winner, because these people have had a lifetime to read wonderful books to tell me about.

I lazed about the rest of the day; my excuse for doing so is wearing thin. It'll be back to work for me tomorrow.


Tea with Mussolini- movie review


I suppose I'm the last person in the world to see this delightful film. I love Dame Judy Dench no matter what she does, Cher really delivers as Elsa, and Lily Tomlin's Georgie is unforgettable. The cinematography is flawless, the costumes, the landscapes, the art and architecture dazzle.

Aside from all that, who couldn't love these ladies who embody the spirit of humanity that all of us should emulate? No matter whether we like each other or not, let's love each other in the face of whatever obstacles stand in our way.


Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The River- movie review


Why do we always quarrel with the way things are?

You can't change anything simply by wishing it were otherwise. You can't bring anyone back to life or get your leg back or make someone love you.

The film is a nice story beautifully shot and full of lovely images of India and information about the culture.

The other thing that I really liked was Mr. John's sentiment that we ruin childhood by filling children's minds with our taboos.

Is it better to live fully and die young or live carefully and live to old age?

The Hindu mindset that pervades the piece is a worthwhile reminder for us to have a more peaceful and accepting attitude toward life.


fulsome- word of the day

fulsome \FUL-sum\, adjective:
1. Offensive to the taste or sensibilities.
2. Insincere or excessively lavish; especially, offensive from excess of praise.

He recorded the event in his journal: "Long evening visit from Mr. Langtree--a fulsome flatterer."
-- Edward L. Widmer, Young America: The Flowering of Democracy in New York City

Concealed disgust under the appearance of fulsome endearment.
-- Oliver Goldsmith, The Citizen of the World

Fulsome is from Middle English fulsom, from full + -som, "-some."

foggy walk

It's a lovely sunny afternoon here, but the rim of clouds over the hill tells me that it's foggy by the lake. I'm going to take advantage of my new freedom to go for a walk. Come along, but only if you can keep quiet.

They've put up new flora plaques. Let's learn some botany.

It's a beautiful misty afternoon at the lake.

Listen, I hear the tapping of a red-breasted sapsucker.

At the end of a dog-leg from the main trail, we come to the dunes. The ocean is right there above the tree line, but the fog is hiding it.

As we round the corner by the parking lot, the sun is breaking through the mist.

Thanks for coming along.