Friday, December 30, 2005

Pyro Kitty

Now we see why the candles were all over the table the other night.

Sure enough he knocked one out right in front of us.

But then the poor guy burned his nose! Which was followed immediately by a sneeze. (This guy sneezes A LOT.) He kept licking his nose, like "Wait a minute, that didn't feel good!".

He stayed away fromt he candles and we were able to let them burn out on their own tonight.

Drawn to the light

Atticus pondered the candles, as he has every chance possible this holiday.

Don't the candle colors look lovely against his grey coat?

The white candle is one of a pair that were lit during our dinner of potato soup and those fabulous dinner rolls.

It took no time at from lighting the menorah to cat on the table.

None at all.

Luckily we had mostly cleared the table before he jumped up. Really it took no time

Random thoughts none require

an individual post.

1 - I was surprised, honored and delighted to see my blog entered on someone else's blogroll. Someone I don't know personally! The delightful Ancrene Wiseass. I am touched really as I admired her work.

2 - My last post, showed me that I am capable of long winded writing. Sheesh. Who knew?

3 - This morning I got up and while brushing my teeth looked in the mirror and thought, "Wow, I have serious sexy bedhead this morning." No really, I honestly was reminded of Bridget Bardot! For those who aren't well associated with me in person, let me assure you that normally I spy myself in the mirror and start listing all that's wrong with what I see. It is quite an occasion for me to look in the mirror and think, "hey there Sexy!". What was really funny is that The Girl Friend had the same response to my look this a.m. Even down to the Bridget Bardot part. Believe me, the hair is the only resemblance I have to this gorgeous woman.

4 - Trader Joe's has the BEST Cherry preserves on earth. I'm telling ya, sex in a jar. Yum!

5 - I am continuing to enjoy this winter holiday season. Only Atticus makes the channukah candles a dangerous feat. I have never seen a cat so fascinated by fire. The night before last I looked and saw that one of the candles had gone out before it was spent. Odd, I thought. Later I looked closer only to find that all the other candles had been knocked out and were sprawled across the newspaper on the table, complete with burned out sections of the paper! Last night Atticus jumped on the table, staring, hypnotized by the flames, inching closer and closer. It was decided for safety sake to blow the candles out. Tonight the camera will hopefully capture our pyromanaical feline in action.

Horrors of the Beauty Ideal

While browsing one of the huge pile of magazines recently referenced that overflow my living room, I happened on an article that left me dern near speechless. For those that know me, that is quite feat. What publication could possibly contain an article of this magnitude? Well it was one that I don’t recall ever seeing anywhere. At this juncture, I feel compelled to state for the record to my dear readers that I don’t subscribe to any magazines, these denizens of deforested land oozing with scent strips that bring on asthma and itching eyes just appear in my home. I swear.

Women’s Health and Fitness. July 2005. Now I realize that the cover headlines should have warned me to just toss it into recycling like I do to Ebony because the writing in that tabloid so atrocious as to embarrass a fifth grader. “Have more SEX! and 22 other ways to be healthier TODAY” “Is your job making you FAT?” “Spray on tans: Are they safe?” All of that should have warned me that opening this glossy example of misogynistic rot would enrage me. Sure the concept that a job makes one fat is silly, though possible. I absolutely agree that having sex is part of being healthy. But but but…. “Designer Vaginas” by Anka Radakovich just sent me seething. Yes, I do know about the Laser Vaginoplasty and am incredibly dismayed by the concept that women feel and are being encouraged to feel that there is something wrong with the look of their lovely vaginas. The brilliant and a tad maniacal Twisty of I Blame the Patriarchy had an excellent commentary on this subject a few months ago that had me laughing, fuming and nodding my head a lot. We all look different, even our vaginas look different – isn’t that all part of the miraculous thing called being human? I remember marveling at the photos in A New View of A Woman’s Body in the early 80’s of all the different ways we look. I thought it was a fantastic opportunity for women to learn about the diversity of our nether regions and embrace it. Okay, I was idealistic and working at Eve’s Garden at the time. The truth is I haven’t changed my views, but my career as a sex toy seller has ended though I do preach the gospel of visiting one’s local sex positive toy store (in my case Good Vibrations).

So, yes I knew that there are hacks surgeons advertising and performing laser vaginoplasty because god forbid there are females going around having two different size labia lips. We all know that breasts, especially surgically modified ones are perfectly identical (cough!). I realized that women were having one side reduced, and I suppose I wasn’t too surprise to read that some women are having them pumped with fat (from where, she wonders with horror) to give them “pouty” lips, or to have liposuctioned mound because it was too pouty? How can one’s pubic mound be fat? How fat phobic are we? OMG.

Now we get the surgical “advance” that had me sputtering, and The Girl Friend had to speak soothingly to me to bring me back to speech. Vaginal Rejuvenation. Apparently there is a common complaint among women that they feel looser after giving birth and this is a bad thing. As a doula and childbirth educator I had always heard and taught and had reported to me that giving birth increase the folds in vaginal canal (wish I had a better word that didn’t reference a manmade tunnel) which, whoa, increase pleasure. Apparently not. This surgery is designed to tighten the vaginal walls. Using a laser the pelvic floor is CUT!, then this lovely Doctor Matlock “reduces the diameter of the vagina, tightening it up and improving the friction. The procedure, ‘is all about sex,’ he says.” Sure for someone who has $3000 to $7000 dollars and are willing to be in pain for 2 days, and who can take a week off of work. What about working out those muscles, you know the “elevator” trick. And did you know that men should kegel too? In the article the Doctor Frankenstein actually is quoted as saying the surgery results in a “post virginal/prechildbearing state.” ACK! He also says he gets thank you notes, and flowers from husbands. Aha. So really this is for men, but women get to do all the work. As usual.

But wait, there’s more! Another procedure is the “G-spot injection”. Again, if you have $1800, are willing to have a few hours of throbbing pain you too can have your g-spot injected with collagen which will apparently make it more sensitive and creates more powerful and intense orgasms. The collagen in absorbed back into the body in about fours months, but women report that there is a lasting benefit of an increased awareness of their g-spots. Hm, some good sessions with some toys, a good lover, or even just by yourself should be able to accomplish all this without sticking a damn needle into honored tissues. (While searching for links for this paragraph I found this one, which is amazing. I'm not saying good or bad, but the name of the site just has me tickled. For one of the ultimate sources of self pleasure and learning about your body's responses, I would encourage you to at least look at this website. Ms. Dodson is quite spectular on many levels, I can say this as I have actually spent time with her, socially. I don't agree with everything she has said or written over the years (no one fits that criteria, I mean really!) but she is fabulous for what she has done and helped to bring about significant changes in our views on sexuality.

In a rejection of the contents of the article referenced, and because we all have a roll in changing society, I would encourage all of my 4 readers to think about submitting artwork to this. I would be happy to offer my photographic abilities to your submission. For those that think this is merely a flirtatious device, let me assure you that it is, however it is backed by the fact that I was once upon a long time ago a photography major and I prefer black and white film.

End of Year Book Meme

A favorite blogger of mine, Ancrene Wiseass (with that name who could one not love her?) did a meme about books. I haven't the foggiest notion of whether she came up with this one, or found it somewhere, but it amused me.

(However, I am not amused by use of the word "meme" to describe these things. I had to learn all about the meme concept in my first semester of graduate school where the proscribed reading included, Flow by Mihaly Cskiszentmihalyi.

Regardless, the meme from Ancrene:
1) First, name 5 (preferably non-work-related) books have you read and especially liked this year.
2) Second, list books you've received or bought for yourself lately.
3) And finally, name 33 books or series of books that changed you or your life in some way. These don't have to be the most influential books you've read; trying to come up with that list would just be nerve-wracking for most of us. (And yes, I know 33 is a strange number, but I like that it's both symmetrical and odd. Not to mention that "3" is a sign of pluralism or completion in Western numerology. So there.)

1- is kinda hard. I can only think of one non-work related book I've read this year. Hell, I have barely cracked open the two dozen books of assigned reading for my courses!

Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz. Really, I think that's it. Magazines, sure. Although given the stack in my living which dates back to July, one would think I don't read those either. I'm working on it folks. In fact an article I read this morning from a July rendition of a rag will probably for the grist for another entry. Scary but true. I can't think of another book I've read this year.

2 - Not including school? Hm.
a- Easy Knitted Accessories, by Jeanette Trotman
b - Weekend Knitting, by Melanie Falick
c - Scarves - A knitter's dozen, by XRX Books
d - Pedagogy of the Oppressed, which wound up on a reading list for school!
e - ????

See a theme here?

Thirty-three books that changed me in some way:

  1. Letters to a Young Poet, Rilke
  2. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
  3. Like Water for Chocolate, Laura Esquivel
  4. Lolita, just celebrated it's 50th anniversary
  5. God’s Bits of Wood
  6. The Reluctant Princess
  7. Flow, see above
  8. Mary Poppins
  9. Little Women
  10. Ms Magazine – my family were among the first subscribers
  11. Alice in Wonderland
  12. I was a Teenaged Dwarf, Max Shulman
  13. The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, Max Shulman
  14. Gone to Soldiers, Marge Piercy
  15. Madame Bovery
  16. Lady Chatterley’s Lover
  17. Till We Have Faces, C.S. Lewis
  18. Zami, A New Spelling of My Name, Audre Lord
  19. The Buddhist Tradition, William Theodore De Bary
  20. Positive Magic, Marion Weinstein
  21. Coming to Power, Samois
  22. Dracula, Bram Stroker
  23. Spiritual Midwifery, Ina May Gaskin
  24. The Woman Warrior, Maxine Hong Kingston
  25. Dreaming the Dark, Starhawk
  26. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
  27. Skinny Legs and All, Tom Robbins
  28. Jitterbug Perfume, Tom Robbins
  29. Prairie Kitchen Sampler, E Mae Fritz
  30. Yankee New England Cookbook, Leslie Lane
  31. Lesbian/Woman, Martin & Lyons
  32. Delta of Venus, Anais Nin
  33. Lakota Woman, Dog Mary Crow
That took some work. But it fostered an interesting trip down memory lane. I'm sure there's some essential work I have missed. There are a few more that I could add, like Cooking with Julia, for example. I realize some may think I copped out by including Ms. Magazine but it was so elemental to me as a child. Absolutely shaped a lot of my thinking, the way I view the world, my vision of humanity. I devoured it cover to cover for years.

Prairie Kitchen Sampler is on the list because it is a memoir that includes the recipes that were common to the decade she is writing about, truly eye-opening for someone who grew up in NYC and when electricity was a given.

Max Shulman's writing in these books is so crisp, so articulate, such graceful grammar! Imagine my delight and surprise when I saw one of the chapters in my college English course reading. It opened up a whole new appreciate for his work.

Positive Magic confirmed some beliefs about how the universe worked.
Dreaming the Dark melded the spiritual and the political for me.

I can still remember sitting on the couch in my apartment on Vanderbilt Avenue in Brooklyn, reading passages aloud in order to grasp the enomority of what I was reading in The Buddhist Tradition. It was that book that confirmed a change in my college career.

These days, other than brainless magazines and knitting magazines, books and website, my reading list is school directed and has included (this list does not imply I have finished, or even started some of these :-)
Evolution's Rainbow.
Uprooting Racism
The Spirit Catches Us
Issues and Ethics in the Helping Profession
Critical Theories of Psychological development
Lives Across Cultures
Clinical Handbook of Family Therapy
Treating Troubled Children and Their Families
Intimate Worlds
Foundations of Family Therapy
Sane Society

These sorts of things have been sitting on my shelves collecting dust and randomly shaken from their cobwebs in my wild periodic attempts to actually do coursework.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

New Traditions with Family

Last night was simply lovely. It really was. The Girl Friend and I have been starting our holiday season traditions. We decided to have some people, who we consider family, over to light the chanukah candles with us.

Of course this necessitated cooking, because, well I was one of the hosts. Going to my ultimate source, Cooks Illustrated (are you seeing a pattern here?), I scored a latke recipe which also covered how to making them earlier in the day and have them not taste like hockey pucks. November/December 1999, in case you need to find it. Let me assure you that they were great! As an aside, made without flour thus suitable for those with gluten issues. Seriously the best latkes I have ever had, best GF ever had and let us remember she is very picky about all things food.

In addition I made sufganiot (or soufganiot depending on where you are reading, speaking of which did you know that there are approximately a dozen different spellings for chanukah), which are jelly doughnuts. For these however I did not use my ultimate source, instead using another excellent source, The Book of Jewish Food, by Claudia Roden. This book is definitely a book to read and to use. Again, excellent recipe. I have made this one before but only once maybe twice before and not for years upon years. I used cherry preserves and apricot preserves for the fillings.

We socialized, lit candles, watched the most excellent video The Girl Friend made about our niece - not a dry eye in the house, I tell ya! Ate latkes with applesauce and sour cream. Fried up the doughnuts which were quickly devoured.

Our guests were:
Jennie, her son Graham (age 5.5 years), and her mother, Sharon -who had never see a menorah lit and was so gracious about the event.

Sue and Sarah, and their baby boy Isaiah (age 1.5 years).

Ruthie and Akilah, and their children Isabella (almost 5 years) and Ben (just over 2 years).

It was a lovely, lovely evening and one we hope to make an annual tradition, although next year I will make way more latkes and sufganiot!

After everyone left The Girlfriend and I exchanged gifts for the second night of chanukah. I found a Hallmark Keepsake Ornament of Tigger - a huge fav of GF. It was perfect, I wish you all could have seen her face when she opened it. I got a calendar of pin-up art! I love love pin-up art. Even my checks have babes on them. Huh, maybe they have been discontinued because I can't find them on their website. Oh I just found it, only it's a new artist. Good thing I need to order checks with my new address!

Tonight, The Girlfriend had a choice of gifts to open, the magazine she picked out today or one of two unknown gifts. Hee hee. Drove her nuts. She chose this gift, which upon seeing what it was said "You rock!". I am doing so well with the gifting so far. Yeah me. She gave me one I had picked out, which is filling me glee! But I am NOT going to open it until January 1st to peek at it. Well at least that's what I'm saying right now.

I am so enjoying life right now.

A shopping we will go

Finally Jennie and I had our date to shop at Skein Lane, Friday before christmas. Jennie, who rocks! presented me with a gift certificate to said shop. Sharon, Jennie's mom (she who also rocks!) and I tromped off while The Girl Friend hung at our homestead with Jennie's son, Graham.

What fun we had! I had printed off a great number of patterns before going and carefully chose ones to bring with me that I really wanted to try to find yarn for. The Girl Friend has requested a scarf, mittens, and a hat though she realizes that this may all take awhile. Girl Friend decided that she like a pattern I had found for Jennie (different link for She Who Rocks, btw - it's her knitting blog!) recently.

On Jennie's site you can see the yarn that she is using. I found this great stuff for GF - Classic Elite's Inca Alpaca in color board 3, color 1182, Heather Violet. It is SO soft and, I think, the color is perfect for her. I chose the Heart scarf pattern by Stephanie Roy for my mother. For her scarf, I found this delicous yarn, Ornaghi Filati, Country, Le Fantasie. It's 50% wool, 10% alpaca, and 40% acrylic in this fantastic deep pink.

Okay I have just been all over the net trying to find a link for this damn yarn, really. usa sites, candian sites, Ornaghi's site over in italy. Nowhere!!! Weird. Seriously I can't find it on Ornaghi's site - lots of other yummy looking yarn, but not what I bought. Anyway, it's beautiful.

Oh and then, I just couldn't resist some yarn on ebay. I know! I've got it bad. I bought skeins and skeins of this, I just know I'll use to make something for our niece, Leigh and 4 of this, maybe for me {gasp}. I probably bought enough of the pinkish one to make an entire wardrobe for Leigh, but I just loved it. If I don't when I get it I am sure I can resell it or barter. Also I am keeping an eye on this yarn for our friend Jeriann. Jeriann loves blue, apparently baby blue especially but I don't know if I can do that color. This yarn look yummy and since she lives in Ohio, I figure a good scarf is needed.

Jennie, all of this is your fault.

Christmas without Lights

Yes, it's true. The power went out here on christmas day for about 3 hours. Put dinner on hold for that time. The scalloped potatoes (homemade ones, thank you very much) were about to go into the oven as was the small slab o'ham (did I mention I LOVE The Girl Friend?) for heating, the green beans were defrosted and ready for the pan along with butter and almonds when POOF. All went dark and the daily hums that we associated with modern life went silent.

Have you ever noticed that when you have no electricity everything you think of to do requires power? Laundry, oops. Vacuum the rug, nope. Check ebay for that awesome deal you've been obsessively tracking, no go. Watch tv, yeah right. Work on the jigsaw puzzle, hah! (Unless you are uniquely gifted or have immense amounts of patience, don't get one of the photo mosaic beauties - been working on this one, Tigger if you must know, for WEEKS!)

After lighting candles around the house a bit, The Girl Friend played on her mactop, because hers has a working battery, unlike mine. I sat beside her on the couch winding tangled yarn (thanks Wyatt). It actually had a sweet feel to it.

That morning was a bit melancholy around here as GF was missing her family and friends and all the adrenal that usually surrounds christmas day. We had already bought and set up our mutual solstice/christmas gift, the combo vcr/dvd player for our bedroom and we had decided we would do chanukah gifts starting that night, I just couldn't stand to see her be so blue. A few weeks ago she had picked out a solitaire computer game thingy for her mactop as a gift (which was fine as it was on my list to get for her) - she and I are addicted to such things, but the poor thing has been suffering with some demo crap forever! I snuck into the bedroom closet and rescued the gift, tiptoed upstairs and quickly wrapped it. With total aplomb (yeah right) I sat back down on the couch and said, "Every kid should have a new toy on christmas morning" and handed her the present.

So while there was no power, The GF was in her glory able to play endless variations of solitaire. It's really fun version in that it arbitrarily runs animation of silly things across the screen while you play. She is enjoying it greatly and I am so happy.

Finally the lights did come back on and dinner was served, albeit about 3 hours later than intended, but still with candles on the table. It was sweet.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Better than Store Bought

My lovely Girl Friend is, how can I put this delicately, respectfully, accurately.... the opposite of a food snob, true to her southern roots - particularly those roots that run through parks (you know the kind I mean!). As I wrote in an earlier post she is a connoisseur of things like potato chips. Never before have I had Mir*cle Whip, Rice-A-Roni, or Betty Crocker Scalloped Potatoes and Mountain D*w in my home. Never I tell you! Yes Mir*cle Whip and Mountain D*w, there are times she is a walking stereotype.

I, on the other hand, make things from scratch, have been eating tofu and brown rice for about 30 years and had only bought soda for the house once every 6 months or so, previous to our co-habitation. This is not to say I don't love my junk food, but I do try keep it to a minimum and have never had 4 kinds of chips in the house on a regular basis until now.

But love being what it is, I decided that I would gladly have these thing in my kitchen and pantry, that I would happily put these things in my shopping cart. Like I said love. And love being what it is, I decided to make beef stroganoff, the Betty Crocker version off the web even! for christmas eve dinner, as this is something that's kind of a tradition for her. I also decided that since The Girl Friend is a carbo fiend I would make dinner rolls. I also love bread, so no sacrifice there. Well, we go shopping and she picks up those damn ready made rolls in an aluminum pan. I just give up. Really.

Luckily she comes to her senses and realizes she is being rude to refuse such a sweet offer, to which of course I agree. Someone offers to make you homemade from scratch dinner rolls and you say no? I mean there are heathens, and then there are heathens!

So yesterday I get to work, choosing exactly which recipe of dinner rolls from my beloved Cooks Illustrated I will make and settle on version in the November/December 1999 issue. It actually is very easy and relatively quick. They were done just a bit ahead of the stroganoff, I would have liked them to be timed a little better, but hey both were new to me recipes. The dinner rolls look great! I mean perfectly browned on top, just barely colored on the bottom, fairly uniform in size - I have impressed myself anyway.

Of course my stroganoff looks different than any other she has had - the onions are more plentiful and not diced - OMG. Whatever. I know it was passable because she has two plates of it.

But, but, but the best part. She actually concedes that my rolls are better than store bought, something she "didn't think was possible". I am over the moon!

While I am obviously in her life to expand her palette (as well as other reasons, I assure you!), she has determined that she is in mine (again, as well as other reasons) because I have had it too easy what with people falling at my feet over my cooking. I'm sorry, but I don't understand why they should do otherwise. I am a very good cook, no Alice Waters, I assure you, but damned good. So why do I need to have someone so difficult to please in the food arena? I really don't see the need, do you?

Ritalin Might be An Option

I realize that puppies are, by their very definition, ADD but I truly think our Puppyman may be actually ADD rather than simply having a case of puppy-itis. Take for example Wyatt and the ball. At the park yesterday, The Girl Friend throws the ball, after first getting his attention to let him know there is a ball to be chased. This, in and of itself, no small task of concentration on his part.

She tosses.

He chases.

He captures.

Ball is in his mouth, he is running back to us.

Oh, what's this, barely out of the corner of his eye he detects...what exactly is entirely unclear to the average vision, but whatever it is, in a split second of his attention being pulled the ball is forgotten about, witness his mouth going ever so slightly lax and the said spherical object falling to the ground, while Wyatt's head turns to ..... again, what the hell could he have possibly seen as there is nothing there. I mean nothing.

If it's not some invisible floaty catching his attention it's a scent, with the some lolling ball being left for the human to rescue while Puppyman gives chase.

Okay, I can hear you now, saying perhaps he simply isn't a ball dog and is merely humoring us with his vague attempts to play fetch. To this I say, Fie! He is a dog, he must be ball crazy. He simply must. I tell you he has ADD, if only we could help him with this horrible condition he and we would live happily in ball chasing and fetching land. I am sure that living in the dog heaven that the Bay Area, and specifically in Berkeley we could easily find a vet who would be more than willing to prescribe ritalin, or maybe even aderall which would entirely change our existance and all would be good.

And as a side benefit maybe he would have allowed his stuffed Santa toy to stay intact for more than 2 minutes this morning. I mean it, two minutes and this sweet toy was beheaded, destuffed, and torn limb from limb.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

I know our dog is smart

But it is seriously scary when he, at 10 months old, has a better sense of the phrase "use your inside voice" than a 4 year old at Target.

Chemo Mania

Did you know there was such a thing? Neither did I. Tuesday was the first dose of chemo for Sunny. I spoke to her yesterday - she was awake, I mean talking fast, and sounding peppy even though she and Lindsay had just gotten back from doing several things. You have to understand my mother hasn't been deeply awake since, oh, sometime in 2000. Really. One trip to one store and she is ready for a nap. So far the only side effect of the chemo she is having is that she is terribly awake - hyper. Really hyper. I suppose it's good to know that it's a side affect, and a good one for her as she got filing done - a MAJOR accomplishment in Chez Sondra. Better from the chemo than because her other drugs stopped working.

Rant, because well, have you seen

the address of this blog?

SBC sucks. There I've said in print, print that might even be searchable if my blog was of any real import or majorly read, neither of which is the case. Anyway. You may remember, my dear few but loyal readers, that several weeks ago my phone line was crossed with a neighbor's (who gets way more phone calls than we do - I'm still peeved about that fact). Well it mysteriously ended, I assume our social director neighbor contacted the phone company.

The other day while on the endless loop of "press 1 for no help, press 2 for even less" hell to reinstall voicemail, our phone line developed a bad case of static. To the point where one could barely hear what the technician (??) was saying.

I called to report the problem (again the endless loop, which I have determined is a way to keep you busy while you wait endlessly and is entirely pointless since they ask for the same information you have punched or dryily spoke in the phone before a live person appears) telling them that the static is so bad I can't really hear them and the only time it subsides is when my neighbor gets on the line and I can hear her call as if it is happening in my living room. With this information I assure them that it is their problem, that my inside lines are not the problem since they are trying to tell me to unplug and replug the phone jacks. ARGGGH. We decide on an appointment time, Wednesday between 1-5pm. I assure them that it doesn't matter whether we are home or not since the problem is outside.

Sure enough we are out doing the Puppyman walk, going to the post office to mail off seasonal cards and a lovely DVD which The Girl Friend has created about our new niece when they come, leaving a note on the door saying, "Oh so sorry you weren't home so we didn't even try to do anything. Please call again and wade through the much hated useless, endless loop of voicemail so we can try again to not solve your problem".

I call this morning. I know this is long, but please bear with me, I rarely rant here {smirk}. This time dailing 611 which has a blessedly short endless loop and I don't even have to wait too long for a live person. The gentleman was rather pleasant while I fumed about the incompetency of SBC, stating for the record that since I have had other such problems with this monolith of uselessness that I am not surprised that despite the fact that the problem is with them, that their so-called well trained technician/repair person couldn't even figure out that the phone lines travel from the street to the back of the house, which was entirely accessible to them and they could have fixed the damn thing yesterday.

In theory, they will appear sometime tomorrow and the nice gentleman, who probably took a long sip from his flask after getting off the line with me, said he would explain as carefully as possible how to access the phone box attached to the outside of our home.

**You may wonder how we know whether the phone call if for us, or Susie the Social Director. It's simple, when it's her line, no caller ID information shows up. So if we don't pick up when you call, it's that we are out. Or that we are peeved at you for some mysterious reason that we will never discuss with you, and let our anger fester until it blows up at some totally bad time, like your child's christening where we are the godparent when we will let loose a stream of words that have never seen the inside of a house of worship and lightening will surely strike you dead for letting us hold on to such anger at you for so long.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


The Baby Sweater From Hell! Really. I just casted off the bottom. Should I block it?
I mean it's going to live on a teddy bear, and doesn't fit him. So it's official I have made something besides a scarf or a hat.

On to finishing my mother's ankle warmers. I am using a pattern from a sweet little book, that mom bought me at Flying Fingers in Irvington NY, Easy Knitted Accessories by Jeanette Trotman. Only using one colour and will probably make them shorter since she just wants something to extend past her socks a bit. Plus I don't have that much yarn, just one skein of Brown Sheep Company's Lambs Pride Super Wash in "japanese plum", same yarn as her beret.

I am thinking of frogging the three rows because I started them on Addis 12 inch circular size 5 but it's not feeling comfortable. Of course after reading the instructions more carefully, straights are the recommended needles in size 7. Oops. Which of course is the recommended size needle for the said yarn. Directions? I don't need no stinking directions.

Also need to find a great hat pattern and lovely yarn to make a "chemo" hat for her as soon as possible. Any great ideas? I have lots of patterns saved in my bookmarks, I have books, magazines. But like cookbooks, I like to consult a huge number of sources before deciding. Jennie - Skein Lane..... SOON!

Barely Related Sad News

I just received an email from a friend, Ann, who I have known for over 20 years. After a very long battle her sister, whom I have never met, has died. The humor, grace and dignity that Ann conveyed about her sister through this, the ability of Ann to find joy in caretaking her dying sister is awe inspiring.

Reading the email, obit and Ann's note has inspired some tears, something resembling real crying for the first time in I don't know how long. I realize that many many women get breast cancer without any major complications but none of them are my mother. It's not fair.

For those who have the nerve to write me things like:
But it *feels to me* that you are losing sight of something very important -- your mom wants to live.

a whole of lot women who get breast cancer re-evaluate their lives, and make major decisions according to their re-evaluations. .... women who say they are grateful for having gone through this, because they have finally understood what is important in their lives *for them.*

Quite frankly, they can kiss my ass. I know all this. This is hardly my first exposure to something like this, nor my mother's. We have both lived quite full lives with many things that have given us pause to reevaluate things. It took all my self control this morning not to write an email back to this person which would have essentially said "BITE ME!" among other less than gracious phrases. I am the one who sat in her therapy session where she realized that the concept of being an invalid had lost it's appeal. A long time ago she had stopped considering suicide on a daily basis as a viable option. Of course she wants to live. It's been eons since she made anything like an attempt not to be here. Sunny is an incredibly brave woman, and she was one long before breast cancer.

Okay. I think I'm done. For now.

Knocked over by the Cancer Feather

Everytime I think I've figured out just enough coping skills, read that as ability to forget, around this nonsense, it knocks me out. Since yesterday afternoon I've been in this odd funk. I feel pulled into a bog that slows every step, warps my thinking - actually kind of ends it, and just makes me feel rotten.

I really feel bad The Girl Friend. I owe her a ton for putting up with me. I mean, jeez, I'm a moody bitch anyway, but these days, I'm surprised that she hasn't killed me yet. I'm thinking that the prospect of no sex is the only thing keeping me alive right now. Granted it is exceptional sex, so I figure I have enough good sex karma energy to keep me alive for, oh, say another 5 years of gloom. And that's without another orgasm for awhile. (No honey I am not saying there won't be, just that if there weren't any on the horizon.)

Anyway. I tried waking up for quite sometime before I actually hauled butt out of bed. Everytime I woke up at all, all I could think was "my mother is getting chemo today". It is the weirdest thing.
Normally I love being here in the Bay Area, but right now I can't stand that I can't drive home. It's never been the easiest thing, but right now it sucks so bad it physically hurts.

I need to make an effort to get in gear now, so I am off to address holiday cards.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Life Can Be Good

At some point today, I was musing that usually, Bill L would send a box of Fanny Mae chocolates as a holiday gift. I knew that box wouldn't come this year, Bill being the father of an ex. But then there was a knock at the door. At first I thought it was "the box" that The GF had been warned by her mother was coming, but it looked a little small. (I later found out that she thought it was waaaay to small and was about to put on a major pout.)

The box was addressed to me! It was from Hunza Printers, who we use for the newsletter that I organize (which is, tres late, as I write this) for BirthWays. If you ever need a printing job done and well, call Nina over at Hunza, she's lovely and tell I sent you. Lo and behold, it was a box of chocolates!!!! Not Miss Mae's, but Sees, which is awfully, awfully good. I am sure you are probably thinking, well hold on just a delectable lipid moment there girl! If you recevied this box of lusciousness though your lovely organization, shouldn't you share with the rest of the board? Listen here, Miss Hi and Mighty. This newsletter stuff is hellish. I mean it! Sure I could be faster with my end of things but semi-annual event sucks the life out of me. So I ask you, don't I deserve some chocolate to make this go a little smoother?

I ate one piece upon opening the box, a mere 4 hours ago. I sighed, I smacked my lips, and yes, I actually moaned, it was that good. In fact some of the sounds emanating from me this afternoon, sounded suspiciously simliar to those that have bounced off the bedroom walls of late. Happily The Girl Friend didn't notice as she was once again ensconced in her Mactop.

In case anyone is wondering what is coming in the aforementioned box from Ohio, I will let you know. In the meantime we are hoping it will include requests GF put in for her seasonal gift order.
The requests are as followed: her mother's famous freezer strawberry jam, homemade sheep salve (a nasty smelling tar textured, amber colored cure all that is a family recipe), and Mike-Sell's Potato Chips. GF says there simply are no good potato chips in the Bay Area. She is a potato chip snob. Really.

Just When It Seemed Safe to Go Back into the Water

This morning I received a quirky forward from my mother of an email from Jane (formerly of Siena College as the director of the Counseling Center), my godmother (yes I know, I know I'm jewish what's this about a godmother but there it is nonetheless).

It didn't contain my mother's writing at all so no way to know exactly what the fabulous Miss Jane was responding to, but somehow there was just enough for me to know, just know deep down, that Sunny had chosen to do chemotherapy.

Of course being her daughter, I chose to ignore this bit of knowledge and go on with my day. The Girlfriend and I took The Boy to the dog park. GF insisting that I leave the house and go with. {sigh} I haven't the foggiest notion of what she is speaking of, I'm sure I left the house yesterday to retrieve the paper. Before that you ask? Hm. Um. Well. Oh wait I remember we to Target, Saturday evening to get the household holiday (chrisoltichanukwanzaa) gift. It was decided that rather than carry the singular dvd player back and forth between the living room and bedroom and doing a dance of wires, we bought one of those DVD/VCR player thingys by Samsung that was on sale. Why Saturday? Because that's when the sale ended, of course! Where was I? Oh yes, I remember now.

We got home and I saw we had a voicemail, which was a celebration in and of itself as we have been without voicemail and caller ID for several weeks, and I spent considerable time this very morning getting services restarted. Hm, it's from Sunny. I thought, "not good, just simply not good, I tell you!".

I call her back and sure enough she has changed her mind about getting chemotherapy and starts....TOMORROW! The regimen recommended to her is "AC protocol, the more aggressive of two the doctor recommended. A is for Adriamycin, C stands for Cytoxan. AC: 4 treatments, every 2 weeks, each treatment followed by a shot the next day to restore my blood count."

She of course was trying to reach me, one to tell me, and to vaguely inquire about whether I could come out there sometime in the next whenever. Since she is also having some computer issues, GF is more than welcome to come, and "yes I know that means animal care but we will work all that out".

Did I mention that I am years behind on cloning myself?

Somehow I found the news of her deciding to do chemotherapy very upsetting. I think that if she didn't do it, it somehow meant this wasn't such a big deal. It feels like each step of this process has been assessing everything as not too serious, unless contradicted. Well damn it, this contradicts my world view that she is fine. She's just fine, damn fine, thank you very much.

So how did she go from sounding like she wasn't going to do to having the first treatment tomorrow? Thanks for asking. I would hate to dump information when it was unwanted. It seems that given all the factors of her particular situation, if the cancer comes back, the greater liklihood is it would return in about 2 years or less. Somehow all this talk of the 10 year survival rate overtook some rather crucial data points. It was easier to think about not doing chemo when it was possible that sometime in the next decade she might have a recurrance. But two years? Well it was too hard to think about that in such a short time her odds might look very different. I don't blame her, I really don't.

But my mind, hell my life, was ordered around her NOT having chemotherapy. The GF is very happy about her doing it because it signifies Sunny doing everything possible. I get that I really do. I, on the other hand, am totally not clear where I am about this decision. Yeah, I realize that she and I are two individuals, even if once upon a time I resided in her uterus and I share only half her DNA. I really do know this but damn it, why is happening. That's really all I keep coming back to. Yeah, it's happening to her, but by extension and 50% of DNA it is happening to me as well. Besides this is my universe, as stated in the title of this blog, and therefore it is all about me. Despite me telling Sunny that it was all about her not long ago. I lied. I am not ashamed. Nope, not in the least. Not even a little bit.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Season of Miracles

Okay, I realize this is not a miracle by some folks' standards, but here, in this house it is. The miracle is I have been getting The Girlfriend to eat breakfast at all, and before 11am! Regularly! One secret that I accidently discovered is that she likes oatmeal, how easy is that when one uses Quaker Oats and not the absolutely fabulous steel cut oats. Simple, I mean really. She likes it pretty plain, some brown sugar and milk. I add raisins and walnuts to mine, sometimes a splash of milk.

Of course, this being a very gray morning with thunder and lightning, and Sunday we had a more elaborate breakfast. She actually offered up that she would like eggs and bacon. I decided to warm up the rest of the sweet baguette (that was bought for the fabulous lasagna {November 1994 version} made on Friday) and some grits, because what kind of Sunday breakfast is it for a southern girl, which GF is, without grits. The GF was sitting playing on her Mactop doing who knows what. Well I have some idea she was on some geek board reading her geek pals posts on some obscure geek topic. I do believe she was pleasantly surprised by the spread for breakfast.

I did mention that given last night's {ahem} activities that I thought she could use a hearty repast. She laughed. I love her laugh. What I loved more this morning was this little vignette. I am at the stove tending to the bacon, she walks in saying, "Blah blah......." Dead pause. Walks up behind me and grabs my ass, "God I love that ass. You know I walked in here saying something and completely forgot what I was saying and could only think about how you look in those pants". Did I mention that I love this woman?

Friday, December 16, 2005

Two Spots of Knots

Can someone explain to me why we get new stress symptoms at random times in our lives?
In recent weeks I have developed this new pain when I am stressed out, and apparently even when I don't know that I'm stressed, like tonight.

This sucks. At least tonight it's only a dull ache rather than the stabbing pain which, mercifully, is short lived usually. It appears on both side of my neck, right at the base of my head. This low level ache/tension thing is quite frankly annoying. I suppose a massage would help. Who knows.

Sweater Hell Freezing Over

Can you believe it? It's almost done. Really, errors galore and all. It fits, albeit awkwardly, The Girlfriend's white teddy bear. Kinda cute. Just need to add a few more purl rows. Earlier I seamed the sleeves because I needed to do something different or else the sweater was heading into the trash. Really.

I have cast on and done about 3 rows of the first of Sunny's ankle warmers. She just wants something that is a little extra for those days she wears boots, or something like that. The two skeins of Wool-Ease might work for Linday's one leg warmer (he only needs one for his bad leg). That should go fast on the right pair of circulars.

Next stop, yarn store with The Girlfriend so she can pick out something for her scarf and mittens. Eek mittens. Hope I can do that. I have enough patterns stored away that I should be able to figure it out. Jennie, date to go to Skein Lane Saturday or Sunday?

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Sometimes forgetting is nice

I attended a sort of board meeting today, where we discusse a collaboration with another mama/baby thing. Can't name names because it's all in process. But the real point is this, I have felt on the verge of tears since getting home. Couldn't pin point the reason. Had a mild tiff with The Girlfriend which allowed me to rant at the walls while she walked Wyatt, aka Puppyman. Still had that somewhere this is thing bucket of tears sitting heavily somewhere. I think I finally figured it out. I saw folks who I had only emailed about Sunny having cancer, didn't write them much. Today was the first time I had to talk about it to new folks. I think that's it. I really do. It seems so fricking silly though. Could that really be it? It's the only thing I can think of, so I guess that's my story and I'm sticking to it.


Since Jennie found this, I figured it would be fun, or at least interesting.

You scored 7 Extravert, 4 Sensing, 10 Thinking, and 9 Judging
The Keirsey Test says you are/have:

Extravreted, iNtution, Feeling, Perception.

I am not writing out the full description that comes with the Kiersey
Test, but I will write this other thing that I can just copy and paste.

E: An E for extraversion probably means you relate more easily
to the outer world of people and things than to the inner world of

N: An N for intuition probably means you would rather look for possibilities and relationships than work with known facts.

F: An F for feeling probably means you base your judgments more one personal values than on impersonal analysis and logic.

P: A P for the preceptive attitude probably means you like a
flexible, spontaneous way of life better than a planned, decided,
orderly way.

NOTE: If you got a 5 for Extraversion, or a 10 for Sensing, Thinking, or Judging, then you actually get an X in place of that letter. This means that you scored equally extraverted/introverted, etc.

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 99% on Extraversion
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 66% on Sensing
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 66% on Thinking
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 66% on Judging
Link: The Keirsey Temperament Sorter Test written by seth-x on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

Now I have to go find my Meyers-Briggs score....

Wow, first try, it was where I thought it would be! Impressive, dontcha think?
INFP - Introverted Feeling with Intuition. Which briefly means: Imaginative, independent Helper; reflective, inquisitive, empathic, loyal to ideas; more interesting in possiblities than practicalities. I still think that fits, though I am more extroverted than I used to be, no doubt.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

A different kind of fruit

The Peach
Random Gentle Love Master (RGLMf)

Playful, kind, and well-loved, you are The Peach.

For such a warm-hearted, generous person, you're surprisingly experienced in both love and sex. We credit your spontaneous side; you tend to live in the moment, and you don't get bogged down by inhibitions like most women your age. If you see something wonderful, you confidently embrace it.

You are a fun flirt and an instant sweetheart, but our guess is you're becoming more selective about long-term love. It's getting tougher for you to become permanently attached; and a girl who's in a different place emotionally might misunderstand your early enthusiasm. You can wreck someone simply by enjoying her.

Your ideal mate is adventurous and giving, like you. But not overly intense.

DREAD: The Battleaxe

CONSIDER: The Peach, The Playstation, or The Window Shopper

Link: The 32-Type Dating Test by OkCupid - Free Online Dating.
My profile name: niya11

Well for cripes sakes!

You scored 63 masculinity and 73 femininity!

You scored high on both masculinity and femininity. You have a strong
personality exhibiting characteristics of both traditional sex roles.

My test tracked 2 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 47% on masculinity
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 83% on femininity
Link: The Bem Sex Role Inventory Test written by weirdscience on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

The Parking Goddess must have been busy

I just spent as much time looking for parking as I did entering the building, going up in the elevator, signing in, waiting briefly and getting fingerprinted and returning to the car. The upside is I did find parking right in front with time on the meter.

Tomorrow I get the physical where they tell what I know, I'm not dying and get another lovely TB test.
I still have no idea when I start my training or get officially hired. The woman at Human Resources was lovely, I get to go back to see her to do my "official hiring process". Yesterday I did my application for the job I've already been offered. Silliness.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Sipping on a latte

Folks, that's exactly what I'm doing, and lovin' it! My first soy latte in I don't know how long, being the budget conscious girl these days. The Girlfriend is luxuriating in her mocha. We want to thank our beloved Jennie for this most excellent treat, as it was she, who gifted us via email with certificates to Peets - an older and better coffee house than Starf**ks. While at the Peets on Solano, I saw a coffee mug that I must buy for The Girlfriend. It says, "A cup is worth a thousand words". That is so her in the morning. She is the original grumpasuraus in the morning, although she says she is much better than she used to be.

Testing... testing

Somehow it's already 11am and I have accomplished just about nothing. Yesterday I was productive in that the laundry is finally caught up, polished up the stove and the counters in the kitchen, ran the dishwasher TWICE last night, made cat food (yes we make our own) and The Girlfriend made Aunt Lila's chicken and noodles - hence running the dishwasher twice.

This morning, well not so much. Still have to take a shower. Made coffee, made our current usual of oatmeal for breakfast, checked email, did my at least once daily slog through the blogs. Okay, the best thing I did so far was call human resources for my NEW JOB. I am going to the office today at 3pm to start, what promises to be, quite the process. The TB test, no surprise. The physical, well okay, haven't had one for quite some time, though I expect it will be the standard brief event that tells you nothing except you are obviously not on death's door. Fingerprinting! Kinda cool. Haven't had that done before.

Also on the list today is to sort out some phone bill fiasco. Due to a blizzard of mail and bills when The Girlfriend and I set up cohabitation, I apparently paid about $71 to an account in her name from Ohio that didn't have anything due, or some other amount than what I paid. Okay, I admit I have been ignoring the bills in terms of really studying this one other than noting we keep having a credit with AT&T. Just yesterday I determined that it's an account in her name, with an Ohio number. So now, since AT&T and SBC have merged (what are there now like 2 phone companies?), I am hoping to apply that credit to one or more of our other phone bills. That should waste about 2 hours of my time today, with additional time throughout the week, I'm sure.

Big accomplishment for yesterday, I almost forgot! was taking serious steps toward catching up on schoolwork. Now that isn't to say that any actual work got done, mind you, just that groundwork was laid so that it could be done. In my world, that is cause for celebration.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Trying to Live in Grace

I deeply appreciate the responses I have had about my mother. I really do. All of them.
This has been such an interesting journey already. I have deep faith that my mother will
decide to do what she thinks is best for her, all around, so that means taking into account
who she is emotional as well as physically.

The statistics around cancer are frustrating and also helpful in some ways. There is no right or wrong answer about doing chemo or not. Really, there isn't. Everyone has their own journey to make if it is the path their life takes. I respect the personal decision in health greatly, or I wouldn't be the kind of doula and educator I have been. As much as there is a small piece (very small) of me that cries out for her to do absolutely everything possible to stay alive and cancer-free, there is a larger piece, more of my core value, that says I support any decision regarding treatment she does.

Yes that means if she thinks she should go live on a mountain top in Tibet and eat nothing be

daikon radishes, and kombu tea, then I would go along with that plan. The faith one has in their
choices is a key element to who they are and what their outcome is. This doesn't mean that I think
some people give up or chose to die, it means that I highly value people making their choices, following their heart and soul, listening to the inner voice (whether one calls it gut instinct or god) and finding whatever peace they can in their path.

For me, this journey has included me recognizing some strengths my mother has that I can lose sight of in the midst of all of her challenges. It has brought me to the beginning of a path that is deeply informed that I will lose my mother at some point and it will be one of the greatest loses I expect to ever know. I have been humbled already by this experience, and I expect to continue to be, by this and other things yet unknown.

Why the Eggroll or Dessert isn't appealing to Sunny

The idea of being disabled temporarily by chemo scares the bejesus out of Sunny. As much as in theory she has craved the role of the invalid (this is the truth, heard her talk about this in therapy - don't ask), the reality is not so appealing to her now (thank the goddesses, with and without husbands!). My mother has an extremely low tolerance for discomfort of any kind, I think it's related to her various and sundry mental disorders. It freaks her out entirely. I am talking being out of a particular kind of applesauce for a few days causes a level of discomfort that is barely acceptable. Physical discomfort is just beyond the pale (what does the phrase mean really and where did it come from?).

With the prospect of starting a job, I am kinda hoping even more that she doesn't opt for chemo because I have yet to perfect cloning myself and simply don't think I can fly cross country frequently enough to meet all the potential committments. Her oncologist is talking about starting the regimen on the 14th!! That's next frigging Wednesday! Sunny has not committed to doing the chemo, or if she does it, she hasn't committed to starting on that date. It's a process. I actually respect her process in this because I would hate for her to feel like this: Focusing by Jane Underwood. I totally understand how Jane got there, and I wouldn't want my mother to feel like that more than absolutely necessary.

Rumors of my math skills have been greatly exaggerated

Actually they are not my math skills, it was a reporting of data from my mother.
Here is her writing on the statistics of her care options:

The chemo is to prevent a recurrence, which I have roughly a 50% chance of. Trouble is, there's only a 50% chance that chemo /will/ prevent it. Recurrence, in my case, means metastasis, a word I've never been able to pronounce. Now I think I know why. What other common words can't I pronounce? Not too many. Lindsay went over the actual statistics, and even he says the difference between chemo and no chemo is very slim. He does think it's worth trying, if I'm willing, and he's the type who will carry (and has carried) buckets for me. Of course, it's me filling the buckets, not him. At least he probably won't have to hold my hair. ;-) Yes, I know I have a dark sense of humor. But if anything saves me, I believe it will be my sense of humor. That's my version of "positive thoughts."

Friday, December 09, 2005

Moments like these, y'all are glad I'm not a human parent

Yes, it's true, I damned near cried. I readily admit it. I didn't even have anything to do with the event happening, and yet I took enormous pride in it. Really. Enormous, I tell you. It made my heart jump with glee, my breathing was faster, I almost shook.

What happened to inspire such great demonstrations of emotions?

You really want to know?

My dog swam, seriously swam for the first time today. Yep, that's all it took for me to beam enough joy to light up the Bay Bridge.

Before this, he romped in the water, laid down like he was in a spa tub, lapped at the salty stew that simmers in the inlet of the Bay. The Girlfriend had seen him paddle for the first time about two weeks ago, I saw such marvels recently. But all of these event were mere dashes of light compared with today. Today, he swam, no paw touching siltly earth, no lie there and lap, but a full out dog paddle over actual distance of several feet.

Yes, I do consider this a blog worthy entry, thank you very much!

Talking in Code

It's been bugging me. It really has. While at Sunny's my dad visited, as I have already mentioned. His cell phone rang and it was my sister (technically my half-sister, different moms, ya know), it was clear that we should all be quiet. Don't ask me how, it just seemed clear to me.

Well it apparent that he hadn't told my sister (who lives a few blocks from him in Brooklyn NY) where he was going, or anything about Sunny. I suppose he may have felt like it wasn't his information to share, but it's my sister why shouldn't she know? Yeah, yeah, I haven't contacted her, but I only have so much energy to talk about the damn cancer. It would be nice if he had told her, for me. He never asked me about telling her, but did ask about our cousin who hosts Thanksgiving, so I would have thought he would ask what I wanted to do about my siblings (sis has a twin brother).

I guess the real issue is that my dad likes to keep secrets, he has a habit of lying, keeping people separate, creating weird coalitions and it seemed like he might be doing that again. I don't know. I suppose I could give him the benefit of the doubt that he was being respectful. He really has been a mensch about all of this, calling my mother, checking in with me. It just isn't my sense of him from growing up.

I know he's changed, but how much can someone change. Well I guess I hope a lot since I'm going into a field to help people grow and change, but when it's a parent, your parent sometimes your hope and faith isn't very strong.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Like a sudden breeze

The phone rang with the call I thought wouldn't come. I mean, after 5pm, who among us expects a call about a job. But there it was, 6:02pm and the blessed thing rang with the caller id that made me hold my breath. Only here was the catch, there is this weirdness going on with our phone line. Apparently out of the blue our line is completely crossed with someone in the neighborhood. I'm trying to hear John say the words "we'd like to offer you the position" while a woman's voice is talking to someone else. The woman asks me if I live in Berkeley, which I do; then follows up with asking if I'm near Stannage and Cedar -yep. Damn this is frustrating. She hangs up and I quickly get the HR number from John who tells me to call Monday.

OMG I got the job! A real job in my soon to be new career. Now realize I am terrified, this is huge!
My new employer is La Cheim in Contra Costa County. What will I be doing you ask, as well you should.

Here are some specs, as if were about my new job:

Upon receipt of a referral, the treatment team, the  parent or caregiver, client, clinician, social worker, attorney, and  TBS specialist  (That's me!) collaborate to develop goals, hours and days of service, and discuss relevant treatment information. TBS hours and length of service are based on the level of need to achieve the necessary amount of progress.

TBS addresses specific targeted behaviors that are jeopardizing a client's placement or assists clients in the transition to a lower lever of care. It also identifies triggers to clients' behaviors and effective interventions, and passes on successful techniques to caregivers for continuity of care.

The TBS specialist utilizes behavioral analysis, cognitive behavioral techniques, skill building interventions and rewards and consequences to strengthen the client's functioning. Using these techniques the specialist develops a behavioral plan which targets a specific behavior with the goal of reducing or eliminating the identified behavior and replacing it with a more adaptive behavior.

Wow! I will be assigned a minor, do an assessment, write a treatment plan, and implement it.
Me! Can you believe it? Sheesh. Obviously I will be getting LOTS of guidance in all of this. But, OMG.

Oh yeah - it's a real job in that I get paid! Yeah! I get experience! And and and, I might be able to use some of my hours required for my practicum for my degree. Finally, something is going right.

Except for the damn phone. The worst part of this phone business is, my neighbor gets more phone calls than I do! Why does she have more friends? {pout} The Girlfriend says, "have you noticed that our friends mostly communciate via email?" I have no idea what she is talking about {smirk}.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

You are still sleeping. I am awake, coffee just served to me, by me. The dishwasher is emptied. My email read. I listened to you fall asleep in the opening hours of today, while I tossed the bed figuratively since I was trapped by kittens sleeping along side of me, between my legs and a dog below my feet.

Thoughts swirled my brain as I tried to sleep, anxieties mounting, thoughts piling atop one another like a multicar pileup on the bridge, tottering, swaying in the winds as inert passengers hope not to fall into the inky waters below. In the light of day the thoughts that held sleep hostage are there, but muted, barely staying still enough for me to grab hold to challenge, banish, or wallow in.

I tried math tricks to train my mind around something harmless rather than have it run rampant through the thickets of school, money, the interview this morning, the class I teach tonight, Sunny's cancer, the mess that is my home, my burgeoning size. It didn't really work as I had a devil of a time doing multiplication trying to determine whether a number was prime or not.

I feel held hostage by my lack of school work, my procrasination is not serving any purpose here. It really isn't, yet it holds court as if to mock my desire to move on and up with my working life. Every day I concoct a plan, a schedule that includes study time, and each day none happens. Sometimes I think, if I would just finish my office, so that I have a retreat to do my work, that would help. Indeed it might well, but again that doesn't happen either.

Each time I woke, I searched the boundaries of my body for ways to move that would not upset the position of a feline, too much. It worked, probably more for them then for me. As usual I am quite positive that I had many dreams, but now that I have been awake for more than two minutes, the visions have faded and blended into the maze of memories unrecoverable. The only one that continues to permeate is one about The Girlfriend's family. Apparently in the world of my dreams they have some yearly todo in a hotel, where they rent huge swathes of the property essentially taking over to hand out donations, and yearly stipends to the younger generation with great fanfare that includes trinkets based on the size of the check. Included in the festivies are performances by people who I don't believe were related but perhaps had fiscal ties which supercede blood ones. That part is fuzzy. In the dream I was conscious that this was my first soiree with The Family and I was on my best behavior.

Oh, now I remember a dream that preceded this one, just a bit. It was like being in a movie from the '40s and involved a husband and a wife tale and a box of old fashioned tampons. Yes, I know. I warned The Girlfriend early on that it was a scary place inside my brain.

I have about an hour to compose myself to leave for my interview. I think that might be just enough time to redirect this vague sense of things being very, very wrong and dazzle these folks with charm and off the cuff humor about adolescents in residential placements.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Not Isaiah, But It Is Isaiah!

Dog Park Time. Wyatt meets up early with Piccolo, much to their mutual delight. The associated humans are pretty happy to see one another as well. Piccolo and Ruth leave early, and our family (Wyatt is much bigger now, this was waaay back in May) go for another loop. As usual he is ahead of us romping and greeting. Well he finds his favorite human type to greet - a baby. As usual we call out, No Wyatt, Not Isaiah! as he jumps up on a front pack wearing mama and her babe. The mama turns to us and says, "But he is Isaiah!". We all laugh. Okay the command should have been "No, Not Your Isaiah". We often say, "Not your baby", as in Isaiah this amazing toddler we know and who has a lovefest with Wyatt when they are together. Who woulda thunk?

Monday, December 05, 2005

We Bought Dinner!

Yes we did folks! We had a small influx of unexpected money come in and we spurgled on a few things. More coffee, we had just run out of the gifted coffee from the most wonderful Jennie, a couple of $1 chew toys for The Boy, and a new leash for said Boy, who has destroyed THREE so far.

Luxury of luxuries we treated ourselves to one entree each at Your Place Thai Restaurant. As we were leaving I asked The Girlfriend if we could go next door and buy soda, as a treat. Double spurgle we each bought a candy bar. It was SO thrilling!

Next, paying some rent! YEAH!

Column A Comes with Eggroll

Yep, the title comes from one of mom's jokes. God she is incredible. The stats size up like this: if she does chemo, she has about a 50% chance of no remission in the next ten years. For the math genuis among us - anyone? Yes, that means that she has about a 50% chance of no remission if she doesn't do chemo. The doc gave her two recommended course of chemo, which my mother characterized as "one comes with eggroll the other comes with dessert". She is SO frigging funny.
She regards chemo as poison, as do I. Kind of on the lines of the old commercials "
why trade your headache for an upset stomach". The side effects are pretty wretched. The compelling piece is the doctor suggesting (this is my mother's interpretation please remember) that if she doesn't do the chemo and the cancer reoccurs, well "might as well start digging" - my mother's words.

So yes, after after the phone call I felt pretty damn tired. It was Dog Park time by the time I finished and I knew that Karen wouldn't let me beg off, and she didn't. Yeah yeah, out of doors, sun, wind, looking at the water, watching Wyatt play all good things. I know. We ran into Wyatt's new best friend, Piccolo and her human, Ruth. They are both fantastic and a lot of fun. It's a little scary as one tends to know the dogs names and have no idea of the human's name. Like Jughead - great dog, his dad seems nice, just have no idea of his name. And Leo, a beautiful Weimaraner, who is another of Piccolo's buddies. I really do like going there. We only did two short loops today. Oh well. Some is better than none, for all of us.

Once again, the damned phone doesn't ring

Today is Sunny's appointment with the oncologist. Can I just say that I feel totally out of control being 3000 miles away. If I still lived on the east coast I would have just driven down and gone with, ya know?

I spoke to her yesterday, with her sounding a bit nervous and stressed. I reminded her to breathe, often and deeply, to unhunch her shoulders, and recommended taking Rescue Remedy. She said she had only taken it for physical stress and didn't realize one could take it for emotional stress. Jeez.

Knitting Content: Figured out the joining up stuff for the baby sweater from hell. It is so messed up pattern wise but hey, it looks like a sweater and that's gotta be good for something.

One for the books:
I said yesterday to Karen, "I decided you're right, I did..."
"EXCUSE ME? Could you say that again", as she mutes the television for even more emphasis.
Sighing loudly, reply "It's true that I have...."
"No, start again from the beginning!"
Clearing my throat, realizing I must suffer my fate and repeat those words, "You are right, I have learned a lot by making this sweater, even with all the mistakes."

Actually she has been quite sweet about it and keeps saying how cute it is, with such a loving look in her eyes, like she likes it or something. She thinks it might fit her teddy bear, but I'm dubious. So a few more inches in the hellish broken pattern, finish off in garter for an inch and it's time for blocking - again just for practice.

Now she wants mittens and a scarf. I have never made mittens, so as long as she is willing to become a fashion victim, we are good to go. I was going to make her a sweater but mittens and a scarf will be done faster. Right? Just have to find a good, easy pattern for mittens. I think Jennie's right about the avoiding the Zimmerman triangle tipped mittens. Besides that seems like mitering and I am just not ready for that. Any recommendations for new to mittens patterns? I really do have a treasury of websites stored where I am sure I can find something. Just like asking the question.

Okay I started this post quite some time ago, to distract me from the phone. It has sort of worked except that now looking at the clock on the cable box distainfully staring back the time of 11:03am isn't a good thing. That means it's 2 friggin o'clock in NY! Her appointment was at 10am, okay she actually had to be there at 9am to make sure all her forms where filled out correctly, nonetheless we are talking 4 hours since the supposed appointment. I am trying to think that this a good thing in that she is getting a very complete, with lots of explanations kind of visit. That's what's happening, right?

Sunday, December 04, 2005


Has anyone heard of the tradition of sauerkraut and pork for New Years. Girlfriend swears it a tradition, I suggest that it is merely one of her Heinz57 families oddities? She says it guarantees a sweet year. Bizarre.