Monday, November 28, 2005

One of these things is not like the others

Thanks to a dose of reality from Sarah B, I bit the bullet and investigated food stamps. Sheesh! The phone recording seemed very complete, but it wasn't, as it turned out.

Since I got a late start today, I decide to arrive for about 1pm since the office is closed from 12-1pm. Upon arriving, the receptionist says, "oh food stamps. there's an orientation at 2:30pm". Stunned, peeved and staggered by the prospect of waiting for over an hour, I find a seat. Looking around I notice there is no one who is obviously caucasian except me. I mean no one. There was a charming toddler who was showing off his white and red sneaker to all who would look. However he also was unattended by his mama quite frequently which resulted in a spilled soda of another visitor in purgurtory.

Finally, almost an hour after I had arrived I saw some others, okay two, who were white after seeing many other races represented. One, was an overweight guy reading Ann Rynd's "Atlas Shrugged", moving his lips from time to time. The other was another guy, singing silently but enthusiastically to no music. Really, I looked for the IP*D or Mp# player. Nada. And then there was me, knitting.
Yep I was smart enough to bring the baby sweater from hell. I have never made a sweater, not one. So I pick a patterned one of course. Jennie scolded me for not choosing something simple. Supposedly this pattern uses 3oz of yarn, of a specific yarn apparently because I used this hellicious arcrylic in navy blue - stiff and nasty stuff. Well I didn't even get started on the sleeve before I had almost run out. So I added this much nicer black today for the sleeve. I messed up the pattern switching to the new yarn while I sat at the Self Sufficiency Center waiting for the "orientation".

Orientation my ass. You are handed basic forms. Then specific forms depending on whether or not you raise your hand for additional services. I figure, I'm here, just order me up one of everything. So I write my name, DOB, SSN, address about 2 dozen times to ask for Food Stamps, General Assistance, and Medi-Cal. Hey, they are ruining my day, I should get something out of all of this, right?
I get a little ticket with a number of it. That's the orientation. Now I wait again until my number is called. The ticket says my wait time is estimated at 1 hour and 39 minutes!!!!!!!!! Well I give them a "A" for estimation skills. Finally I am called to the window only to find that I haven't signed my name in another dozen places. Ye gads and little fishes. Anyway, I am assigned an appointment with a worker tomorrow at 1:15pm, and an appointment at 8:30am Wednesday for fingerprinting. Yep, I love governmental aid.

The good news is that I made progress on the baby sweater that is navy blue and black - not suitable for any baby, even if it turns out wearable.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

So happy to be home

It is so nice to sleep in one's own bed. To shower in a bathroom that is familiar. Receive kisses from girlfriend and puppy.

While away it was hard to focus enough to write, to think about myself. I called Greg while I was in NY and he asked what my days were like. "Amorphous" was my reply. It was true. I had no grasp on the day of week most of the time, I stayed up until at least 1am each night, and woke anywhere from 8am to 11am, often if I woke early I went back to sleep. I felt tired and hungry most of the time in ways that didn't seem connected to how much rest or food I actually had.

In true form, I finished Sunny's beret after arrival. I started and finished a pair of booties, a very simple pattern but it gave me a sense of completion that was helpful. We did eat bagels, we did get our hair cut, we did go for great walks. No yoga, but I left her the video tape to inspire her.

For my sanity I finally got out of the house alone, two days before I left and took a scenic drive to Lee's Yarn where I was in heaven at the shelves and shelves of yarn. I was restrained buying the needles I had come in search of and some other accessories. But then I spied the sale rack and swept up the 6 balls of Jo Sharp's infusion kid mohair colour 614. I have no idea what I can do with this yarn but it was too lovely and 50% off! I squeezed this trip in. Later with Sunny, we found Flying Fingers, and she who doesn't knit was in heaven looking at the colors and textures. When she saw that I had bought, along with knitting props and two books, she exclaimed that I was truly her daughter - I walked out with books and no yarn. Even though she was paying, I couldn't justify buying yarn without knowing what I would use it for and if it were enough for the project I would assign it in the future. I love the books I got and plan to make a number of the project so that I can expand my skills. I told mum that now she knew where to buy yarn she like so she could purchase it, send it to me and I would make her stuff. It seems like a good thing to me.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Marcus Welby Lives

Only his name is now Charles Stark and he practices in Briarcliff Manor NY. Really. I mean it. He calls my mother before she can call him back to find out the biopsy report. He visited her at the hospital after her surgery – folks she was there just over 24 hours! He called yesterday to make sure she had made an appointment with an oncologist. This is just too much. I am so happy she has such a great general practitioner as I think it makes all the difference.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Sunday in Almost New England

Croton on Hudson, NY really doesn't quality as New England, for me anyway. There are naked trees, and some with dulling colors of fall. Yesterday Sunny and I went for a walk on the trail that's at the end of their road, where it was lovely to have the crunch of leaves under my step. The light is so much lower here than in Berkeley so that it feels later much earlier.

The visit continues to go really well. In fact Sunny let me throw out old peanut butter jars - lots of them! What a coup! About 2 dozen went into recycling. Her office area is atrocious but I haven't spoken to her about it yet, maybe tomorrow before we go to the surgeon.

My father and his girlfriend (such a weird term to use, I mean they aren't kids!). Okay, his partner, significant other, oh I give up - his Maddie. I just adore her!!!!!!!!! She is so good for him and doesn't let him dominate conversations, she is funny too. The visit went really well. He brought, as requested, real jewish rye bread for Sunny - she is over the moon. I thought she was going to crawl into the bag. Also, bagels, lox and cream cheese. Ah new york bagels - it's heaven. They have left and Sunny is napping. I will start cooking the chicken livers when I'm doing writing. I have never made chopped chicken liver, at least I don't think so. I hope I can make to her liking. Mostly I am sure that I can.

Oh yes. I finished the beret and gave it to her the other day. It's a great color for her and as expected she is showing it off. Last night she wore it across to the street to the neighbors and of course today when we went out to lunch. No doubt if there is the least bit of chill she will wear to the surgeon and tell him all about it tomorrow. Absolutely she will wear Tuesday when we go to her hair cutter, Heidi.

I do miss being home with my love and I talk incessantly about her and the critters. I hope I'm not boring anyone too much.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Landed in the East

So many things to say. I miss my animals so much, and of course my sweetheart. The plane rides were uneventful, which is always nice. I will be taking some pictures here and there to post later.

The really sad part is I get to this sweet little airport, White Plains, NY expecting to see either a cab person with one of those white cards with my name, or my stepdad. Nope, no one. Okay, maybe they're late, because my plane was late. Hm. Still no one. Go to make a call, not having a cell phone (unpaid bill don't ya know) I go for my phone call. Ha. Not there, left home after specifically checking wallet before. Okay was very tired, having sleep about 4.5 hours. Finally decide to use 50 cents to call the hospital, a guy answers my mom's phone in what apparently is no longer her room. I can't use a credit card to make call, again, what income, have almost no cash. Finally getting a tad concerned but hopeful I call mom collect - sure enough she is there. Yeah! Great sign. She, Lindsay and I get everything straightened out.

I go outside to wait for the cab, putting on my jacket as it is rainy and a bit chilly. I reach into my coat pocket to find poop bags from the dog park, oh my sweet crazy Wyatt, what I wouldn't give for a kiss from him.

Momcat actually greets me at the door which warms me, but she looks hunched over, her face a bit swollen and bags like I have never seen before under her eyes. And tired. She seems to get smaller each time I see her, it's been a year still I last visited.

Later I tell her, "listen I know you really wanted to show off your new bathroom but this is a bit extreme, don't ya think?".

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The corset restricting my breathing comes off

Well, in my stepdad's indoubtable wisdom he hadn't yet called me. I called the hospital, got her direct dial, only to get a busy signal. Karen finally got fed up and called the hospital who connected her with a nurse somewhere and put me on. They hadn't turned on the phone in the room!!!

I speak to Lindsay (stepdad) who tells me that things look fine, no apparent spread to the nodes, but they have to wait for the official word in about two days. Says, get this!!!! "I was waiting till we took care of her nausea to go home and call you." Did I mention he's a very rational, non-emotive kind of guy? Now of course they are saying that she probably won't come home until Thursday, so he adds, So I will probably pick you up from the airport myself. Uh, no, not without checking with my mother you won't be! So practical he is.

Breathing is much easier now.

An Ode to Queen

Yes, Queen, the group, not the royal one. I was driving home after the very empty knitting circle at Jennie's church and searching the radio station. On comes "Fat Bottomed Girls". Haven't heard that in years, probably at least a decade. It brought back memories of listening to that song, the first public positive message I had about my ass. Now you might know that most women remember puberty as being marked by breast development, in my case it was the ass.

Remember albums? Well that's what I listened to music on back then, I remember picking up the needle and moving it back over and over to let the message sink into my soul. It's kind of laughable now, given the sweet, little, gentle bubble butt I had back then. I mean how could that little squeeze bottom have caused me any angst. Now, decades of abuse, gains and losses, but mostly gains of weight, gravity of being middle age, spending more time in a chair than hiking around NYC, NOW I have a sizeable ass. I am lucky in that my girl is a proud ass woman. She adores mine, describes it as heart shaped, proclaims that she has yet to see an ass that rivals mine. She's a keeper, I tell ya!

Monday, November 07, 2005

Gathering the troops

What troops you might ask? What indeed. I just couldn't think of a title. I guess the troops of support inside my own head and heart, and outside forces as well. By this time tomorrow momcat's surgery should be over, since it's noonish here, and 3pmish in NY. But I will be here, in the gloomy Bay Area (where is that DAMN sun!), waiting for a phone call ideally from her, but her husband would be fine too. With all that is possible and the universe full of light I am hoping that whoever I speak to will tell me that there is no spread of cancer cells, that the most basic of mastectomies has been done, and she is doing great.

We had a great call the other day discussing what all we would be doing while I was there. She has been sounding really good, I am thanking the goddesses with difficult mothers that her meds were adjusted before this and working so well. I do expect a crash once I'm actually there. Our plan is to go for walks, do light yoga (I really need to do something my body is going to hell in a handbasket!), and try to have fun. I have encouraged her to get a massage while I am there, we may go get our hair cut at her favorite place which only uses Aveda products and is all new agey sounding - just her kind of place. Lord knows that I haven't been able to afford a trim and besides that I have no idea what to do next with my hair. Any suggestions?

This should make my girlfriend laugh

The Warrior Princess

You are strong, courageous, and dynamic, a woman of
action. You have an iron will and a sharp
tongue. Indecisive, weak, or wishy-washy people
test your patience. You tend to grow bored
quickly and yearn for excitement.

Role Models: Brunhilde/The Valkyries, Xena

You are most likely to: Lead your people to victory
against an army of orcs.

What Kind of Princess are You? - Beautiful Artwork
brought to you by Quizilla

So not what I would have thought

Jennie sends me this quiz, What kind of knitting needle are you? Ifound the blog first and that person got pink aluminum, retro like. Jennie gets interchangeable. I get:
You are plastic.
Futuristic, milky, and silky, you are willing to go
where no crafter has gone before. You can do
just about anything, with strength agility, and
pretty colors to boot! While you are good at
slipping and sliding out of sticky situations,
remember to stay where and when you are needed.
Don't overdo it on star gazing when there's
earthbound knitting to be done!

What kind of knitting needles are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

I do like the description and that only 6% of takers (over 2000) have gotten this result. I helps me to maintain the illusion of my strikingly unique self.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Gray day, gray me

So I woke up and was mildly productive, fighting the encroaching ennui. (How's that for fancy language?) It worked pretty well for awhile, but my focus was, well, incapable of anything of real import. Laundry, dishes, feline care, going through the Sunday coupons - done. Studying, not done. I tried, I seriously did. I dutifully rounded up the syllabus, looked at the possible threads to reply on (once the reading was done), realized I needed my state's code of ethics. Found them, printed them. Opened the book and couldn't make the words connect.

Felt like maybe I should talk to someone, but really couldn't figure out anyone who seemed like a good choice. Everyone just seemed shy of what I needed. One that hurt was that I just don't trust Michele enough to really call her right now. Especially given her lack of follow up with me the last time I told her something heavy. I did tell her about my mom, but I haven't heard from her since. No surprise but doesn't make her a great choice at the moment. The only person I could think of is the one person who won't speak to me and hasn't for nearly five years. Denis. I miss him so much, even when I am so angry at him, like now. His absence leaves such a void in my life. I suppose given that I am facing my mother's mortality, I am grasping at not losing anyone else, though I suspect he really is long gone.

So, since there was no one to call, I decided to blog, only to not be able to get on, since I am now working on the Junior Miss laptop as Serving Tray is not well. My login crap isn't stored here. I kept trying to get on with the wrong user name. Figured it out, finally. Did I mention that I am having trouble focusing today? So here I am trying to find the, I don't know what, to get caught up in Ethics (owe two weeks now since I finally did Week 3 yesterday) and Relationship and Family Intervention (two weeks behind). We won't even talk about the other classes since they don't have weekly assignment. From skimming through the Blackboard system (my school is online) I see that I already owe a couple of papers and again, we won't discuss what's coming up.

Maybe I should just try another class entirely.

Or knit. Finished girlfriend's ear warmer/head band. Don't think she's worn yet! Fine. It was rainy and miserable today when she went to the dog park. Fie!
Made great progress on the beret for mum only to realize that it would fit a small dog. Took it out and am trying a new pattern. If I get cranking it should be finished before I leave. I am thinking of trying to make fingerless gloves to match. If I have enough yarn. Who knows.

Okay. Maybe some dinner would help. Thai shrimp Gyozas perhaps? They are in the freezer, easy to prepare. Off to try something.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

I am a -


I would have guessed a period - definitive, a tad judgemental. Who knew?
You scored 23% Sociability and 47% Sophistication!

There's no denying that you have a certain flair. You don't mind being
around others, especially your little brother, the hyphen, but you
rarely emerge except when needed. You respond well to those who know
how to treat you, but have only contempt for those who don't--you tend
to embarass them every chance you get. Your only enemy is the colon--he
will sometimes try to move in on your turf.

My test tracked 2 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 15% on Sociability
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 21% on Sophistication
Link: The Which Punctuation Mark Are You Test written by Gazda on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Autumn Light

A little bit ago I asked the girlfriend about dinner. I wasn't hungry, it was the light, hanging low with a shimmer more yellow than gold casting lathes of light through the slats of the window blinds.

In many ways this is my favorite time of year, though I am still learning to notice all the different ways autumn manifests itself here in California, which is so different from New England.

It's been a very up and down day in my head. I woke up positive and active, when suddenly like the coastal fog I so dearly love, this foul gray crabbiness descended. Pushing past the crabbiness I finally got some things done that could have and should have been done about 6 weeks ago. Nothing like plans to leave town to up the ante. One moment chipper, the next blah, the next almost downright perky, the next glum. More tiring than a roller coaster without any of the fun.

From my couch, which is my perch until I finish my office and have a second perch, I can see the olive tree which doesn't seem to change color. The other window has some sort of leafed tree thing which is changing colors in the muted way of of a female bird.

Tuesday morning I woke up at 7 something and thought one week from today my mother will be in surgery. Yesterday I thought this time next week I will be on a plane. My therapist said that the diagnosis of cancer has very much of before an after flavor. What I found staggering is that I realized that it had only, or already been two weeks since we got the biopsy results. Wow. I guess Laura (the therapist) is right. Instead of b.c.e (before common era), my life will now have a bbc (before breast cancer) demarcation. Weird. I suppose there are other before and after events but there are few that will turn into anniversaries.

The light has sunk lower and beams of light are gone leaving just a low light peeking through. I think it's time to do other things.