Month: March 2009

I’ve got blisters on me eyeballs!

To paraphrase John Lennon. I finished up the little manuscript for the gent with the excitable brain today. It was a tough project, given that he just wrote things down as they occurred to him, but I had forgotten how much pleasure I get from wrestling words into order. Maybe not beauty, in this case, since it’s a seminar-type presentation, but order. It’s fun, like solving a puzzle.

Grandma’s been on her new meds for a couple of days and, while she hasn’t asked for Percoset since they plopped the patch on her, she seems to me to be pretty out of it. She’s really lethargic and when you talk to her, she’s pretty spaced out. She doesn’t seem to follow you even as well as she usually does, and kind of stares off into the air.

On the one hand, it’s good not to need so much Percoset and maybe to have less pain (though I don’t know, since when I ask she has to think about it… say what?); on the other, not engaging with life isn’t good. Normally, she reads a lot, enjoys quite a few of the activities they have, and likes to visit with people down in the dining room, and she seems too groggy to do that.

Often, a person will perk up after a few days when her body starts to get used to the new substance. OTOH, she’s 92, and she isn’t going to be metabolizing it as well as a 40-year-old. So I guess it’s another wait-and-see kinda deal.

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Of brains and boots

I get to spend my weekend editing a manuscript. This is not a bad thing, since I get paid for it, but I fear that, as usual, I rather vastly underestimated the time it would take to do it, therefore the amount I ought to get.

It’s only a 44-page piece, so you wouldn’t think it would be that difficult. However, its author has what I can only call an excitable brain. He writes kind of stream of consciousness, so that each time you run into a different section—headed, let’s say, “dragonfly life cycle” or “wing iridescence”—and you expect it to contain basic information about that topic, you are surprised and not a little dismayed to find that it contains information about every other topic, as well, and a few colorful stories about World War II and diamond mining, as well, and that much of the information has been repeated six or eight times, at least once per section. Sometimes two or three times.

Before I could even start, I had to cut and paste each paragraph into an appropriate file for each topic he wanted to hit. Even just doing that, my eyeballs were blistered. Took nearly four hours.

Oh, well. It’ll pay for the new monitor I had to buy last week when my old Viewsonic, for which I can’t even find an example anymore, bit the bytes. Or is that byt the bits? Whatever. C’est mort. Deadaroonios. Of course, that will still leave me to pay for house insurance ($800), the tax guy ($400), and probable taxes ($600). All on $400 a month less! Whee! Isn’t forced ingenuity fun?

I went to the orthopedic shoe store today. They have one pair of barely acceptable shoes that will hold orthotics and strap on so they won’t fall off my miserably shaped feet. But they are UG-LY and cost $150. This is distressing. Nobody else within a 60-mile radius carries stuff like that, and you cannot buy this kind of thing without trying it out. Distressing. Yes.

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Claws and Coraline

My friend Patti and I went to see “Coraline” yesterday. The visuals were enchanting and we were disappointed that we didn’t have a 3D option (evidently, our theater doesn’t have that capability, or so they claim, which you’d think should be addressed at once). Van Gogh would have loved seeing his “Starry Night” wheeling around in mad 3D color and lots of other things would have been wonderful to see in 3D (the garden, f’rinstance). Knowing already about the costumes, I found them fascinating. And I’m a fan of Neil Gaiman, for the most part. Tim Burton, not so much, although this was at least not the same old story in different words and pictures.

Even though it was charming and I’d love to see it a few more times to get the details I missed, the story itself seemed to lack something. It might be that they couldn’t quite decide whether their audience was children or adults; or whether they wanted to do it straight or sly. Quite a few visual jokes and references to well-known things (cf Van Gogh above) that were entertaining, but didn’t fit the mood of the story. If Gaiman’s good at anything, it’s mood, so I’d be interested to find out who ran the screenwriting. Worth seeing, especially if you can wangle 3D, but not for small children.

Having been a woefully neglectful dog mommy the last few weeks, I finally sat down on the floor (ugh) to cut BluDog’s toenails this afternoon. That’s always a horrific ordeal, so I tend to procrastinate even though I know that’s a bad thing. I discovered two things, though: When she has the cone collar on and can’t see what I’m doing, she’s a little less apprehensive (a little); and if I sand the claws (with sandpaper), that doesn’t seem to bother her at all. I’ll have to see if I can try the Dremel tool. And maybe put a paper bag over her head. Hee.

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Being of light strikes again

In other news, I finished the top I’ve been working on. I’m pretty pleased with it. I had to frog it several times, but wound up with exactly what I wanted, drape and fit-wise. Gives me some confidence. 🙂 I get a kick out of the flash turning me into a creature of light. Energy! Heat! Illumination!

So, we had Grandma’s annual “care conference” this week, during which she, the charge nurse and I go over what she can/can’t do and what kind of help she does/doesn’t need. Since she’d been caught having sneaked a walker into her apartment so she could “practice walking” (read: find ways to fall), we were blunt with her. Somehow, she got the idea that the RN is looking for an opportunity to send her to a nursing home. I have NO idea how she gets this stuff. What was said is that we did not want her to have to go to a nursing home, but if she didn’t stop trying this idiotic crap she was going to fall, damage herself, have to have surgery, and then go to a nursing home, where she probably would not gain the strength to come back to OPAL. The nursing home would be the result of her own actions, not anything Denise or I would do. But no, she’s convinced we want to send her to a nursing home and that Denise has the power to do it. Lordy.

It drives me insane that I’ve told her the same things for years, but she’s refused to pay any attention, preferring to believe that she has no limitations if she doesn’t believe they exist. The stuff we told her is crap that’s for her own good, to try to keep her safe. Now she’s decided that Denise and I are in league “against” her. For wanting her to do things that benefit her. Like just waiting until an aide gets there to wheel her places, so she doesn’t cause herself more pain by dragging herself around. You’d think someone who’s lived 92 years would have learned how to wait, or at least not to be so self-centered, but no-o-o-o-o… the world has to revolve around what SHE wants, when SHE wants it. She’s always ignored me and done what she damn well pleases. Now that she’s convinced we’re out to get her, maybe she’ll do what she’s supposed to do. Geez, that woman is more stubborn than a rock. If I ever get like that, shoot me. I mean it.

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Acts of the ancient, Part I

Grandma and I were talking about the upcoming Wedding of the Century and got onto the subject of mothers-in-law. Personally, I am thankful not to have one of those any longer, since the relationship with the one I had was something less, shall we say, than an exhilarating, uplifting experience. Although it was quite a learning experience, as they say (read: I learned that no matter how hard you try, some people are determined to hate you).

“I figure I’m going to be the world’s best mother-in-law,” I told Grandma. “I decided a long time ago that I would love whatever the boys dragged home. They’ve picked really great women so far, so that’s been easy. If the girls think I’m a nutcase, they’re diplomatic about it, but I don’t think they think I’m Evil Incarnate. I hope not, anyway.”

Grandma, from whom I have not heard even the teensiest hint of unsavory language since I was 10 and playing jacks on the kitchen floor when she burned something and snapped, “Damn!”, whereupon I scuttled out of the room, gave me one of Those Looks and replied, “I’m sure they don’t. You had one hell of a bad example to learn from!”


Grandma wanted to call Snaotheus and tell him happy birthday (I didn’t go down today, despite plans, because their social schedule was too heavy), so I dialed him up on my cell phone after we finished Chinese lunch. They talked pretty well for a while, and then she started wailing that he was gone.

She was pressing the phone into the back of her head. And steadily pushing it farther and farther back.

I moved it forward, with her fighting me all the way, holding her frail little arm as stiff as she could. “Mom, you have to keep it over your ear,” I explained, and said to Snaotheus, “Yell to her!”

“GRANDMA!” he complied.

Grandma jumped nearly out of her wheelchair and stared at the phone. “I guess he is there!” she said, and immediately applied the phone to the back of her head again. I scooted it forward as unobtrusively as I could, but she kept fighting. They talked for a little bit, and then she wailed again. “He’s gone! He’s gone!”

I took the phone from her hand. She had pressed it so hard against her head that she had turned it off. Yes, turned it off.

“Grandma, you don’t have to squeeze it against your head,” I explained. “I’ll hold it by your ear and you’ll be able to hear just fine.”

“OK,” she said, but doubtfully. Got the boy back on the phone and held it in place. They talked again and had a few more difficulties. She pushed her head harder and harder into the phone so that I had to move it or risk shoving it clear into her brain through her ear. She kept pressing as hard as she could, until her head was nearly lying on the table.

“Gee whiz, if I moved the phone to the right rhythm, maybe I could get her to dance the tarantella,” I said to my accompanying friend. He snorted and nearly fell off his own chair. The nurses who were in the door snickered behind their hands.


So I took the phone away. And noticed that since she hadn’t been holding the phone, she had pressed the sidepiece of her glasses into her temple so hard she had bent it. I speculated a little on whether she thought squeezing the metal sidepiece into her brain would add to her ability to receive the phone signals. Who knows?

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Electronic morbidity

Considering that Snaotheus probably checks this more often than he does his email, I shall explicate the current (ha ha) electrifying electronic eccentricities here.

My monitor, which is around eight or 10 years old, is showing some disconcerting signs of dys-health. When I turn on the system, it won’t come on. It says it’s on, but it isn’t. I have to turn all of it off, give it a few minutes, then turn on the computer and, while it’s booting, the monitor. Otherwise, it continues to claim it’s on when it’s not. Black, black, black, which is even worse than the Blue Screen of Death.

I am assuming this means that some switchy thing or circuity thing is about to bite the dust, go toes up, shuffle off its mortal (OK, wire) coil. Therefore, even though tomorrow is Snaotheus’s birthday and I intend to visit to pay my respects, I may need to hit an electronics store to pick up a new monitor so I don’t have any downtime when it finally gives up the ghost. Not that I can afford it, but then, I can’t afford not to work, either, can I?

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Self-beratement fest

I despise doing tax crap. This is why I opted a few years ago to throw money at it. It gives me anxiety attacks and makes my stomach hurt and grows nightmares.

Not surprisingly, I usually put off messing with tax crap as long as possible, despite the fact that I now shell out actual cold hard cash (actually soft, floppy cash, since it goes well beyond pocket change) to do the decidering part.

Today I forced myself to ingest lots of caffeine and sit down to add things up and put the info on the accountant’s forms, for my and for Mom’s accounts.

Thanks to my new system (which involves entering the amounts each month when I pay the bills, so it’s easy to add everything up), it took me precisely one and a half hours. Ninety minutes. Not even as long as it takes to watch a good movie.

Of course, it makes some difference and is probably a mitigating factor that I rarely get anything back. I suppose it makes sense to put off sending money to the government for as long as possible.

But still. What a wuss I am.

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Failure mode

After dragging my carcass out of bed, I poured a nice big cup of tea to take back to my office (that constitutes my commute). I turned around to take a step, and the handle on my beloved seahorse mug from the Seattle aquarium fell into the four pieces it was in before Snaotheus superglued them back together.


There went about 12 ounces of tea, all over the floor. The cup landed upside down.

Despite the fact that I merely stared at it in bemusement, this is not a positive portent for the prospects of the day.

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Depressed, downcast and disgruntled

Edited to add forgotten trauma

To paraphrase the old song. . . what a demonstration of Northrup Luck. I went to Snaotheus’s and KrisDi’s yesterday, largely to hang with them (which turned out to be a good thing) and partly to go see the Lucy exhibit at the science museum before she goes back to Ethiopia or someplace.

So you have your basic high-stress, two-hour drive (roughly $10 in gas) to S&K’s, a half-hour drive to get to the science center (roughly $4), and a $6 parking fee for two hours before we even get to the front door. Not to mention Snaotheus having to park ve-wy care-fuwwy in a space made for one and a half Vespas.

We get to the door, where an unconscionably long line has formed. C’mon, it’s mid-afternoon on a Saturday and it’s not raining! Can’t these people find anything better to do with their time?

Pretty soon, some minion of evil pops out the front door and says we should go away, because Lucy is sold out until 5.30. Which, incidentally, is precisely 12 minutes before our parking expires. Sold out? It’s a freaking exhibit! How can an exhibit be sold out? You have people walking through; they don’t stop to build a fire and camp out for a week!

After a bunch of rather pointless, dispirited and inconclusive discussion, we opted to go have a beer at the Revolution bar, a half-mile hike away. We got there, thanks to all that fitness effort we’ve all been putting in, but. . . the bar was closed. Closed. On a Saturday afternoon. What is wrong with these people?!?

Another hike back to the car, about three-quarters of a mile this time since we took a short cut that, true to Northrup Luck requirements, turned out to be twice as long as the way we’d come. We decided to dump the $6 in parking, go back to Renton, and have a blinkin’ beer at the Whistle Stop before eating dinner at Naan ‘n’ Curry (yummmmmm).

Traffic was pretty bad and did its best to thwart Snaotheus’s efforts to get off at the right place, but once at street level, we scooted over a railroad track three nanoseconds before the gates came down and the bells started clanging. “Yay!” I said. “There went my good luck for the day—it got us across the railroad tracks!”

“We wasted all that time, money and effort for that crappy little piece of luck?” snapped Snaotheus.

But the beer was good. And there was no TV in the bar. :stands up and cheers: And the Indian food, spectacular. I got a second entree to bring home for lunch today. And dinner tonight.


I was going to pay for it, since I ordered extra food, but Snaotheus embarrassed us all by throwing me to the floor with a loud war cry and wrestling the bill out of my hands. But I forgave him because they bought me a bag of Cadbury Mini Eggs (now in season!!).

On the way home, I realized my crappy little piece of luck had been ill spent when I missed the exit to I-5 to go north toward home. A recent accident had blocked it off—complete with fire truck, ambulance, and all the accoutrements—so I had a lovely, fairly lengthy scenic drive through (very very dark) Lynnwood and Edmonds before I was able to find (read: stumbled blindly across) a sign saying “I-5: This way.”

Still, I got to spend the day with them and it was lots of fun. As they say, priceless. Unlike Lucy and parking, and even beer, and certainly the freeway.

The other day I was cold and couldn’t find a hat, so I donned the Dr. Zoidberg hat. Had to fold the bottom end inside so the eye-holes would be closed up and keep my noggin warm, which of course resulted in a completely ridiculous appearance:


So there’s your laugh for the day. I need a nap.

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