Thursday, December 27, 2012

Unclogging Things

I've been sick. It was just a cold and it came and went so quickly I thought I was 20-years-old again. But it didn't actually leave. I have something still or again or now that is like a Part Two version of my earlier easy ailment. Based on experience, I have the makings of bronchitis and a sinus infection.

My nose has been filling up so much that when I blow it, I swear there is an echo in my sinus cavity. It feels empty and lonely up in there. That sensation doesn't last long, but being empty is almost as uncomfortable as being stuffed up. I'm going to give the old Neti Pot a twirl pretty soon here. I've been downing Odwalla Vitamin C Monsters for days now and probably eroding my teeth in the process.

I don't feel as knocked down as I did with the cold, but I'm definitely not at 100% right now.

In the meantime, however, I fixed my washing machine all by myself! I have a front-loader, which I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. My only complaint is that it doesn't get the clothes out of the hamper by itself, nor does it transfer the clothes into the dryer, but those are minor complaints in the grand scheme of things.

The other day when I was doing laundry (I swear, I'm not making this up, I actually did laundry!) my washer showed an error message. I ignored the message, got the washer to stop whatever it was doing, threw the clothes into the dryer and moved on.  (Who knows if they were even clean!) Two loads later, I got another error message. This one was f21. I couldn't find my manual, which should be no surprise, so I Googled it. The forum I found said it was a clogged something or other and that it was simple super complicated to fix. This made me want to do it myself.

I unscrewed the three nuts on the front panel, and this was seriously the hardest part. I had to make several trips to my tool boxes to figure out which wrench to use. The nut called for a socket and I found sockets, but not the wrench to attach them to. I ultimately found the Very Cool screw driver that we got for Christmas last year and promptly misplaced (putting it where it belongs does not guarantee that I'll be able to find it when I want it.) This screw driver had a socket set with it and one of the bits fit!

The Internet instructions said that when you un-do the thing that you're supposed to un-do after the front cover is removed there will be lots of water. Yes, I unplugged the machine. No, I didn't turn off the water main. The instructions said to have towels. A bucket would have been better, (it's on a pedestal) but no worries, I'll get the water sopped up soon.

The error message was from a clogged drain catch and sure enough, there was enough crap in there to choke a washer! Mostly it was just clumps and clumps of dog hair. And 5-quarters, 4-dimes, 2-nickels, 5-pennies, a 100-FRW* coin from Rwanda, and a small pebble. That means, that instead of hiring a plumber or washing machine repair man, I got paid $1.80 and whatever that coin from Rwanda is worth! I threw out the dog hair. I don't find that it's that valuable because there is so much of it here.

The clothes that were in when the error occurred are getting washed again and the towels used to sop up the mess are next. I'm feeling quite proud of my self-suffiency. That was quickly negated by the smoky fire I made in the fireplace without opening the flue. All in all, I think I'm still ahead, though.

*It turns out that this is a Rwandan Franc and at today's exchange rate would bring me $.16 making my grand total $1.96.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Pieces Cobbled Together to Make a Whole

It's a funny phenomenon that when I post more, I have more to post. And in this case, the opposite is true. I sit at my blank screen with a dearth of ideas. A part of me wants to say something about gun control, but I've been avoiding even thinking about the tragedy in Connecticut because it makes me too sad.

And besides that, not a whole lot has happened that strikes me as worth writing about. At least not a whole post. So instead, I'm going to string together a bunch of minor things:

The other day a spider suddenly made a spastic appearance right next to me as I was typing away on my laptop. It could have jumped or fallen for all I know. I looked over and it was moving very quickly like it was trying to get away from fire.

Another, other day I was driving up my hill and one of my neighbors was driving down my hill and we almost got into a head-on collision. I got home and five-minutes later my heart was still racing. Other than that, I don't remember anything remarkable about the event at this point. Unfortunately, near-misses are not uncommon at one particular blind-curve near me.

My dining room chairs have gotten extremely uncomfortable. So has my couch, actually. While I'm sure I'm sitting entirely too much, I think it's time for me to re-upolster these chairs and add some padding. Maybe my behind has too little padding now. Maybe not. I can't do anything about the couch. That's not a padding issue, but more of a posture issue.

I've been more prepared for Christmas earlier this year than in the last few and it still seems like it's flying to hit me in the face. Perhaps because by "more prepared" I don't mean that I've got my shopping done. We got our Christmas tree early this year, which I LOVE! I've been listening to Christmas carols more. I ordered my Christmas cards early, though I didn't order enough, so some people are going to get something else. I wish I had a job, which puts a damper on me going overboard for my kids like usual, but there is still time for me to lose my senses.

Oh! I had a flat tire last week. I didn't change it myself, though. I pay about $50 a year to join the motor club and it's totally worth it. That, and by being a member I get my insurance through them and it's cheaper than the alternatives.

I'm going to go meet my husband for lunch. I'm excited. I don't ever meet him at work because we're something like 25-miles away, but I wanted to take advantage of my ability to do this before I start work again. If I ever start work again... Perhaps I'll post about my adventure, or my meal, or something weird that I see today. I guess at this point, you can only guess!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Barky Boulevard

I was going to write about another scary topic - lice! And how we discovered that we had it again this morning. But that only one of my daughters had it and even though I was itching like crazy it was only in my head not on my head and I was free and clear.

Instead, I'm going to tell you about my afternoon on Barky Boulevard. There is a woman who walks up my street talking on her cell phone. I'll say she does it everyday, but I've only noticed it the last two-days in a row. She walks up the street chattering away and as soon as she passes my house, she sets off the Bark-A-Thon. My dog barks and the neighbor's two dogs bark and it doesn't stop until she turns around at the top of the hill and comes back down again. Those two dogs don't need any encouragement either, let me tell you.

My neighbor is great and I'm trying to be understanding, but this is really too much. The dogs bark like there is a contest to see which one of them can go the longest and they are both too competitive to lose, if you know what I mean.

The fact that I was standing out on my front deck sweeping didn't have anything to do with their state of frenzy, I'm sure. But while I was there, clearing the front of my house out from under the pine needles washed out of the tree by the recent rain, I was thinking about Halloween decorations again. I'd like to put my man out there, but with the rain, I don't want soggy, mildew-y clothes come next week.

And for the record, the dogs are still barking and I've been inside as long as it's taken me to write this.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Scary Season

I love Halloween! I love just about everything about it, too. When I met my husband, he told me that it was his favorite holiday, which I thought was quite clever. In fact, we officially started dating in late October and we saw Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein on our first date. I did think it was odd that the first Halloween we spent together he didn't dress up, but we walked around the Castro district back when hundreds of thousands of people used to show up for the party. Maybe they still do, I wouldn't know.

Anyway, I feel a little lame-o since our only decoration - so far - is a skeleton hanging on our front door, especially since most of our neighbors have gone all out with the spider webs, fake tombstones, body parts and crashed witches in their yards.

Walking the dog today, I was admiring a yard with two skeletal hands emerging from the grass when I tripped over a dead body. You know when you step on something that gives a little and you know it's not right? It was quite shocking that the body would be laying in the street unmolested, perhaps a little warm still. And my dog didn't even notice it! Not that he's in the habit of being attracted by the dead. 

Considering that it was amidst so many holiday decorations, it would be easy to imagine that it was part of the scenery or even fake. But no. It was definitely a dead thing and it was very real. I kept going, ignoring the poor squirrel because I wouldn't know what to do with it. Should I have carried it home with me to put in my trash bin - or better yet, perform a small burial and funeral ceremony to commemorate what was most certainly a short life?

I did nothing. I walked on thinking about diseases that jump from animal host to human and tried to recall that rodent-borne one's name. Is it Heppa? Hanta? Hinta? (Hantavirus) And my reward for my cowardice? Further along in my walk I came across a small patch of fur. It looked like some poor critter was scalped. Very disturbing. Very apropos, unfortunately, in this scary season. My lame-o decorations seem just a little bit more fine now.

Friday, October 19, 2012

I've been channeling my inner Oscar lately. Oscar the Grouch, that is. Though, I've always loved Oscar Madison. Both are a bit messy, which might be why I can identify with them.

I'm on my third and hopefully final day of my latest migraine. I've been suffering as if I had a cloud hovering over and through my head while having to bear the weight of the world on my tired shoulders. I've been grumpy and glum and if anyone would let me hide away with a lid on my tiny enclosed space, I would have. There is a lot of sleeping involved and without the proper kind or amount of medicine to take away the pain, I've wondered yet again, why I haven't gotten some sort of prescription for this monstrous burden.

Not that it would help. Or so my fellow migraine sufferers complain, too.

After another nap this morning, I felt the fog had lifted and I was feeling much better, though still in pain, strangely enough. And I just remembered the post that I wanted to write. I'll make it another entry, though, and instead, I'll tell you about my tap-dancing dog.

I was walking my dog the other morning when I noticed him moving his front paw funny when he walked. It was almost like a limp, but it also reminded me of those horses that can count. As I watched this strange behavior, I heard a tap-tap every time he put his foot down on the pavement. In his own way - or in the way in which we anthropomorphize our pets, he was smiling at me like Gene Kelly in Singing in the Rain. (A movie I finally saw after all these years of pop culture references.)

I reached down to my dogs foot to find that he had a half walnut shell stuck to one of his pads. Clever dog found a way to make tap shoes. Or shoe. When I removed the shell, the smile seemed to disappear. Then again, there was grass to be eaten.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Losing and Learning

So, when I was at the dentist yesterday...just kidding. No more dentist entries. At least until I forget or find myself full of self-indulgence.

I wanted to give you an update about my weight-loss. One more pound made ten. Then I crept up a smidgeon, but I'm holding steady. The Atkins book that I was using was a library book and I had to return it. I'm going to look for a copy at the used book sale at our school's big carnival fundraiser on Saturday. If I don't find one there, I'll buy it for a penny on Amazon.

You are dying to know if anyone noticed if I lost weight after I cut my hair, aren't you? Only one person noticed. And do you know who it was? No, of course you don't. It was the very friendly woman who helped us out at my daughter's Orthodontist. Yes, another reason to love going there! I'll leave it at that, though, because you don't want to hear how my daughter got braces on the bottom teeth yesterday.

To me, losing ten-pounds has been huge. It has made a significant difference in so many things from the way my clothes fit to the fact that my left ankle doesn't swell anymore. But also, when I'm following the diet more strictly, I don't get tired and my energy level sky-rockets! Who doesn't want more energy? Don't get me wrong, I love my coffee more than most people, but it works better when I'm not starting at a negative energy level and rising to zero just to get through my day.

The other big, Big, BIG, thing that I've noticed is that if I have just one Ice Cold Pleasure Unit (beer) at the end of the day, I feel crappy the next morning. Not crappy in a hangover kind of way, but in a someone just gave me a transfusion-with-molasses kind of way. I have a ZERO energy morning after a just one beer night. It's almost enough to stop drinking them! And yes, I know they are not on Atkins. I've been slipping. I told you I was.

Life is nothing if not a learning process. And I'm all about learning.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Long-winded Telling of Two Dental Visits That Went Very Well

I've written a lot about my adventures and misadventures with dentists, but this time, I'd like to write about my kids' dentists. I'm so thoroughly impressed with my experiences lately that I have to share.

First of all, my oldest daughter started to complain about a pain in her tooth. She mentioned it, then I didn't hear about it again for a while. I must have forgotten and pains don't usually stop for no reason, but she mentioned it again a week or so later. I asked, "Still?" And yes, same pain, hadn't gone away. Did she want to go to the dentist? Yes, but not during school hours.

We were busy, mind you. We were settling into our new school year. I called our regular dentist and found out that she had just had a baby! She was on maternity leave and her receptionist gave me a number for a substitute dentist. I called the new dentist, made an appointment, and got some mumbo jumbo about how they don't bill our insurance company and I have to file all the paperwork myself.

My daughter didn't want to miss school and rejected this appointment. I called back to cancel. About a week later, I remembered to try again and checked in with her Orthodontist to see if they could recommend another dentist. She called this substitute dentist and called me back. They would help me and I'm not to worry about insurance paperwork.

I called the substitute dentist again and they had no recollection of that first conversation and got us in right away. By this time, my daughter was going to miss some school, like it or not. That tooth had to be taken care of already!

When my daughter was at this dentist's office, he initially suspected that when one of the two roots on this tooth dissolved as the permanent tooth started coming in, the tooth itself sort of flapped up and got something stuck underneath, causing an abscess. Just to be sure, he did an x-ray.

It turned out that she had a massive cavity on the backside of that tooth, but that the root was also dissolving unevenly causing an abscess. He pulled the tooth. Sure, the massive cavity was a problem, but the root issue wasn't something we could have done anything about. The tooth was pulled immediately and she was out of there within 45-minutes start to finish.

A side note about this:

When my daughter was born, she had a defect in one of her valves. It was easily corrected by surgery. (And by easily, I mean the surgery was easy for the doctor, but one of the hardest days EVER for me as a parent!) Her bi-annual visit to her Cardiologist just the day before revealed that her biggest risk to heart would be an abscessed tooth. (I simplify, but you get the picture.)

So, the tooth was taken care of, lickety-split by a dentist who was substituting for our regular dentist. I was SO impressed, SO grateful and SO relieved! If I didn't love our current dentist so much, I would switch in a heartbeat. I may even check to see if they treat adults there. I don't need to get a prize when I'm done, but I love the professionalism.

But that's not all!

My youngest daughter had a wire pop out of her braces and it was causing her a lot of grief. As it turned out, the wire rotated, making one side longer, thus poking her painfully in the cheek, while making the other side was shorter, and therefore not long enough to stay in place.

I picked her up from school and she said she needed to get in right away. We drove over there, not even knowing if they were open. Sure enough, the door was locked and the lights were out. She wiggled the second door handle and someone opened it for us. I'm not sure what this woman's official role is, but while she sits at the receptionist desk, she comes across to me as the sort of person within an office who can do everything and runs the show from behind the scenes. I love her!

Even though she didn't have the skill-set to help us specifically, she offered up what help she could, even plucking out some tools in case I wanted to cut the wire until my daughter's scheduled appointment two-days later. When this wasn't going to solve our problem (I didn't cut a thing) she called in one of the dental assistants (again, I don't know the job title!) who came in on her day off to make the wire adjustment. She arrived within five-minutes of the call, and we were out five-minutes after that.

Amazing! Both my girls were taken care of so well and so quickly. And the professionalism and courtesy we experienced were absolutely outstanding. I'm so impressed!

Am I gushing? I don't care. I'd gush all day about this!

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Spiders and Cake

If you really must know, I write the best posts in my head. And while it may look like I've been MIA, I've been very prolific in the ether.

Then, today, as I was making my coffee, a spider crawled into the water reservoir. It crawled out, then in again and back out. The vacuum was handy, but before I went for the vacuum, I noticed another similar - perhaps twin - spider crawling on the wall not six-inches from the coffee pot. They're gone now. May they rest in peace and come back next life as a cat and I will love them.

My husband has been taking care of the spiders on the outside of our home lately, and I haven't noticed as many inside. It's a pleasant surprise to realize that I don't know when the last time I encountered a spider was. Though, now that I think of it, I know when it happened.

The last time a spider crossed my path, the path was on my arm while I was in 99%-asleep-mode. I felt it crawling and I put my drowsy pincher-grasp on it and felt the heft of it as I threw it across the room. This was not a spindly cellar spider or an insignificant wisp of a thing. Nope, this was the size of a dime or a nickel with fatty legs. It was probably black and hairy, now that I think of it, too. Fortunately, I didn't see it and was asleep enough to deal with it without getting freaked out.

I think I wrote about this episode before, but it may have been in my head. Forgive the duplication if I'm boring you.

What I really meant to write about today, though, was the fact that I've lost nine-pounds. It's a long, boring story how it happened, but I decided to try Atkins. It has really changed my life. Not only is nine-pounds wow all on its own, but did you know that my pants don't fall down now? Yes, that's right, the roll of fat around my middle pushed my pants down (think apple) so I was constantly pulling them up. Now, however, they stay up because the middle isn't bigger than the under-middle. Yay!

Funny thing, though. I've lost nine-pounds and not a single person has noticed (besides my husband, who has been very supportive)! I see it missing from my face the most. I don't look as puffy or round as I used to and I can't believe that it isn't totally obvious to everyone.

In a completely unrelated side-story, I got my haircut today. I had really long hair then cut it to my shoulders and today I cut it to chin length. I love it. It's so me. And what I think is that now that I've cut my hair, people may notice that I've lost weight. We'll see. I've got more to go.

You may be wondering how I'm doing without all the sweets that I love. And that is a valid question. The answer is: I'm doing fine. We've had Hostess Donettes sitting on our counter for a few days and I haven't had a one. My only indulgences have been a slice of pie and two slices of cake on my birthday. In my defense, I shared the pie with my best friend and the cake was for my birthday!

I have more to say, of course, and I'll have to hold my tongue until the next entry...

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Last Filling - EVER!

I went to the dentist yesterday. I know you love to hear about my dental visits, so I won't disappoint. Of course, you should have read the post yesterday - the one I created with my imaginary keyboard while sitting in the chair. I can't re-create it because I don't remember anything. Well, just bits and pieces.

My dentist starts off by leaning in to give me a shot to numb me, when I stopped him to ask for my nitrous. "Oh, did you want that?" "Why yes, I do, thankyouverymuch." I breathed that stuff for a while and I could have sworn that it wasn't even turned on. But even if it wasn't, I'll take the placebo effect any day over no effect at all. It was probably on, though, because after a while, felt less and less. Then again, on or off, not feeling is my goal, so it worked.

I won't bother you with details of how he thought I was numb and when the drill hit my tooth, I wasn't quite numb. That stuff gets boring to write and must be boring to read since it happens over and over again. I will say, though, that I was stinkin' numb when all was said and done. I was so numb that I still couldn't eat by the time I picked up my youngest from school.

I will bother to tell you that I don't intend to ever have another cavity again for the rest of my life. Since my last visit and admonition that the cavities I have been dealing with are in-between teeth and I need to floss, I've been the Flossing Queen! Every day. Every. Day.

There were a couple of funny things that happened, but I just don't remember what they were. We talked about Mitt Romney and hunting. That's funny if you know me. Actually, I didn't do too much talking since my mouth was full of hardware, but there is always the illusion that there is a conversation going on at the time, isn't there?

All in all, the only reason I'm writing this post about my dental visit at all is because here it is, 24-hours later and my jaw still hurts. It's a good thing I'll never need another filling again!

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Mud, Grass, Poop

I took my dog for a walk on the Fox Loop today. That's what I call a side loop off the Fawn Loop, that I don't do since the Bullying Incident. I like it. I never see anyone else and I can let my dog off leash pretty confidently.

As were were coming back down the hill, amongst the dry yellow grasses that dominate our landscape right now, he managed to find a mud puddle. I assure you that it's the only mud puddle within a hundred miles. He's good like that.

After muddying up his paws, he started to eat the green grass. It's the only green grass on the entire walk - or so I thought, but more on that in a bit. He was minding his own business mowing down his morning salad when a barking dog appeared at the fence across the street. I don't know if the dog saw my dog, but I was standing looking at this dog then at mine, then back at this dog. My dog did not care that there was another dog to pay attention to. He wanted to eat grass and was not to be distracted from this task.

The barking dog attracted the attention of its owner, who whistled for him. You know the whistle, the one that sounds like you're tying a knot. Coincidentally, that is the same whistle that I use for Mooch. He heard it and perked up his ears and ran to the fence to tease the dog about being locked up. I called my dog off and he gave up his antagonism almost too easily, probably because he was happy about the mud and grass. I just thought it was funny that the other owner basically called my dog's attention to her own barking dog. He otherwise wouldn't have cared.

Further down the hill, Mooch found some more grass in front of someone else's house. It's also known as a lawn. I don't let my dog walk in other people's yards because I don't feel it's polite. My dog, though, loves grass and my usual command, "Get out of the yard" wasn't working like it always does. As he wandered around the yard, taunting me to come in and get him, we both spotted the fountain bubbling water at the same time. I got to him just as he got to the fountain and started drinking. I got him back on his leash but not before imagining what we must have looked like had the owner arrived just then to see a woman with a dog on a leash while the dog was drinking out of the fountain.

While talking about dogs and yards and being polite, I feel badly for people who have their yards pooped in so much they feel compelled to put up a sign to deter this behavior. You know the ones:

I'll have to come back with a picture. 

What bothers me most about the signs, besides the fact that they're as unattractive as the poop is, is that the dog's tail is pointing up in the picture. When dogs poop, the tail curves down. Clearly these are not dog people!

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Happy Anniversary

Yesterday was my anniversary. My husband and I have been married for 13-years now. I spent a lot of time yesterday strolling down memory lane and viewing all the landmarks on the side of the road.

We met at work. I had a part-time job while going to college and threw myself into it, as I always do. He worked full-time, like people do when they're finished with school. I call him my college sweetheart, though, since we met while I was still attending.

We started out as friends. He made me laugh and was so easy to talk to. I spent entirely too much time at his desk discussing one thing or other that may or may not have been related to work. And if he left early, my heart sank. It wasn't the same without him there. We used to take long lunches and he introduced me to interesting parts of San Francisco that I wasn't familiar with. I still think he's one of the smartest people that I've ever met.

Did I mention that he has the most amazing blue eyes? I call them Holder Blues. I used to get lost in them and forget what I was saying all the time.

What a cutie-pie!

And then we were a couple. And then we used to sail his Etchells together. He taught me everything I know and I felt so completely safe on the boat with him, even when it was blowing like stink. We got engaged on the Etchells in gale force winds, or at least they felt like it. He asked if I would like to spend the rest of my life doing this. I said yes.

We got married on the 86' schooner Kaiulani. We sailed around the Bay with friends and family and said our vows in Raccoon Straights between Tiburon and Angel Island. It was a beautiful and fun three hour tour.

Ceremony performed by Capt'n Rob

After that, I graduated from college and started working, just to stop within a short time to have our babies. Two beautiful little girls, who aren't so little anymore. I raced the Etchells in San Diego while pregnant with each of them. Sailing until I couldn't move around as easily or travel.

Now our girls sail and our family has come back to this thing that I love so much. It's like we've made some kind of circumnavigation of life. My husband and I are racing the Etchells again this year in San Francisco Bay, but conflicts keep me out of the water more than I like. I live vicariously through my daughters' sailing programs and I am so very proud of them. I'd also like to mention that one of them inherited the Holder Blues.

So, 13-years later, through smooth sailing and stormy weather, my husband and I can really celebrate a wonderful adventure and I look forward to whatever lies ahead. Happy anniversary, indeed.

Sailor Girl ready for adventure!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Birds, Bats, Rats, Owls and Raccoons

I feel pretty good right now. It may have something to do with the three (THREE!) cups of coffee I had this morning before walking my dog. It could also be that I'm not feeling as sick today as I've been for the last few.

It was like a light switch flicked on. One minute I was fine and the next minute I was sick. It hit me hard and fast. I was hoping it would go away just as quickly, but it hasn't. I'm kind of a baby when it comes to being sick. I like to take it easy, eat soup and take naps. I know that it may sound like I'm sick all the time by that description, but there is nothing wrong with eating soup and taking naps on a regular basis. And when I'm sick, I complain a lot and take naps and eat soup. When I'm not sick, I'm cheerfully eating soup and napping for pleasure. See the difference?

Never mind.

My dog walk today took me past a house that is growing grapes on their property. A vineyard, if you will. Next to the vineyard, there was a box on a stick with a hole in it. The first thing I thought of was that it was a bat box. For bats. The flying kind.

It really got me thinking. There are bat boxes, owl boxes and bird houses. Don't they all have a box with a hole in it for something to live inside? How do the different animals know that it's for them? Why wouldn't a bird go live in a bat box? Or conversely, why wouldn't a bat go live in a bird house?

Upon further investigation, a bat box seems to be a little bit of different. Amazon sells one that is made to the specifications of the Organization for Bat Conservation. If the OBC has specifications, there must be more to it than a hole in a box. And after looking at the one mentioned and some others online, what I saw today was probably not a bat box at all.

So what about owls? These look a lot like bird houses with bigger holes. This place has some that you can buy and even recommends them for rodent control. I could have used them a while ago! Not that I could put one in my kitchen, but still...

I will stop there, yeah, yeah, bird houses are nothing to write home about. Although, bird feeders are another story. I have tried in the past to make pinecone bird feeders only to end up feeding some other critter. Cover the pinecone with peanut butter, roll them in bird seed and hang them by fishing line down from the back deck so that it hangs in front of your daughter's window and she'll be able to watch the birds from her room. OR find that a raccoon has pulled up the fishing line and run off with the pinecone leaving only peanut butter footprints behind. I'm sure this happens to everyone, right?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

My Old Lady Suit

I got up this morning and put on my Old Lady Suit. The one with the achey shoulder, wishing for Granny's rumatiz medicine. The one with the achey knees and the hot flashes. In fact, I got into the car and turned on the air-conditioner full blast only to discover that it must be out. That, my friends, is worth a trip to the dealership for repair!

Rumatiz got you down?
Of course, it doesn't help that I have the mind-set that once school starts I can wear jeans. It's still too hot for jeans in reality. Though, I'll do anything to avoid shorts most of the time. I could have worn them today, though, since my Old Lady Suit didn't include the knee-high nylons pooled around my ankles. They're probably in the laundry that my lazy butt is behind on, as usual.

I brought my dog out to walk after school drop-off and since there wasn't a spot to park, I drove past the school to the private school down the road. We walked to a trailhead where we saw the sign warning us about rattlesnakes and mountain lions. It's funny how I only think about those dangerous animals when I see a sign and I hike along the same area from different trailheads all the time. I'm sure they don't stick to the posted areas, either.

The hike was straight up and my creaky knees were warning me about the last time I pushed them too hard. I slowed down a bit and kept going. My dog was panting like he'd just seen a cute pack of co-ed's running by, but when we reached the top, he didn't slow down - any further than his slow butt was already going. He walked past and sniffed to and fro while I tried to orient myself to where we were. I thought the trail was going to join a familiar loop and I knew that I should really go ahead and keep going. Unfortunately, (or rather fortunately) I couldn't figure out where we were in relation to what I knew. I felt guilty to turn back around and start walking down. My dog seemed disappointed but not in a way that made it hard to re-direct him.

As we walked down the trail again, I ran into a woman I know from school and we chatted a bit. She commented on the size of my dog and asked if he was friendly. After all of my crazy experiences, I know that my dog has an unpredictable side, but it's predictably so. I told her he was friendly unless another dog talks shit about his mother to him. I left out the part where he hates to be mounted. It should go without saying.

Just as we reached the bottom, we walked around a beautifully groomed grass field at the private school. My dog loves grass, but rarely gets a chance to walk on it. He started mowing it like the part-goat that he is until he came to some shade, in which he laid down. All my guilt for being an old lady today went away. That, and I can feel the burn in my thighs.

It's not that being old is a bad thing. In fact, age is only a marker of time, not an absolute when it comes to behaviors or physical milestones. And all my old age issues aren't even age related. The dark spots on my jawline aren't from age, but sun damage (says my Dermatologist). Either that or my dark brown leather couch is bleeding on me when I take my afternoon naps. And again, naps are not an age thing. Perhaps it's just a Greek thing. Or a Spanish thing. Not that I'm either of those nationalities, but since I've travelled to both of those countries, I'm allowed to nap every afternoon.

And my shoulder isn't rumatiz, but probably from hefting a Laser onto the top of my car. That's when my shoulder pains started. And the knees, that's probably from being overweight. That I blame on my age. Grown ups just can't eat junk food the way kids can and I can't seem to remember that. I enjoy my cupcakes and Donettes. And I enjoy a glass of wine or bottle of beer every now and then. Or is it a bottle of wine and a glass of beer?

I think the smart thing to do today is to take off my Old Lady Suit and get a shower in. Perhaps I'll sprinkle a little youth under my arms and take an anti-inflamatory-forget-the-shoulder-pain pill and get on with my laundry. And maybe do a little dancing.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Tree Swing Adventure

So, I was climbing a tree yesterday and almost fell out. I stepped on a section of a branch that was rotted and it gave way. Fortunately, I was expecting the possibility and caught myself before I tumbled.

Sometimes I think that things happen to me strictly for entertainment purposes.

In case you're wondering why I was climbing a tree, I was helping - but not really helping - hang a rope swing in my backyard. Our backyard has a million trees, but they're Bay Laurels. They grow straight up with spindly trunks. They don't have the shape that a good rope swing needs and therefore, we had to do a lot of considering about where to put the swing. My husband settled on one that had a nice thick trunk and curved downward. The trick was getting the rope around it. Safely.

My husband leaned a 7-foot ladder up against it and it still wasn't high enough to get the rope in a good spot. He wanted me to climb to the top rung then throw the rope. I thought about it, but could not bring myself to do it. The tree is on about a 45-degree slope so the ladder had to lean against the tree at an awkward angle. After giving up on that tree, we settled on a different tree that is next to our house. It has a strange shape as it curves to reach for sun in the shadow of our house.

The second tree was easier to climb, but as much as I wanted to be brave, I just wasn't up for the potential to break and arm, leg or neck. As it was, I stepped out onto a weakened branch and just about dropped down about 15-feet. I put my weight on my leg and as the branch gave way, I took my weight off that leg suddenly. As a result, the muscles in my leg are burning today like I did a 300-pound squat with it.

Only me, right? Other 44-year-olds don't hurt themselves climbing trees, do they?

Monday, July 23, 2012

If It Ain't Broken...

It's not broken. I really wanted the doctor to email me the x-rays since they're all digital now, but I didn't end up asking. My hand has been hurting a lot more and it turns out to be just a deep bone bruise. There is a lump on my hand and it should take another couple of weeks to heal, but no, it's not broken.

This was one of those times where it's not that I wanted it to be broken, but I didn't want it to not be broken either. I'm going to get a big fat "I told you so" from my husband for making a mountain out of a mo hill - again. Only he's probably not going to say it to me, being too polite and kind for that, but he'll be thinking it.

In the meantime, I've gotten a splint on it to keep me from banging it again (and again) to help it heal. And I'm to elevate it. And ice it. And I've already taken the splint off because I can't type with it. I'll put it on for heavy lifting and stuff. I am right-handed with a right-hand injury and that provides all sorts of challenges to look forward to.

In any case, I probably did today what I should have done when the injury occurred, as most people would, to take care of it from the start. So much for being brave. Who am I kidding, anyway? I'm not brave. On the plus-side, I didn't spend $75 on an emergency co-pay.

Now, what else is there to write about? Spiders?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Lazy Sunday

I made an appointment with my doctor for tomorrow. I think my hand my be broken. Remember when I mentioned that I banged my hand really hard and I was trying not to let on how much pain I was in? I have merely bumped that same spot several times and there is as much pain as when it happened. And my hand has a funny bump now. And it hurts more constantly. I realize it's been a while since my initial injury, I'm just concerned that it's not going to heal because I have re-injured it several times already. The pain becomes constant sometimes, too.

My husband always lets a smile cross his face when I mention it - which is not entirely infrequent, either. He is amused by my steady flow of injuries and self-diagnosis. Not that my injuries give him joy, it's just that there are so many of them. Fortunately, my bruises have all faded and that just means I need to go sailing again!

I have the unique luxury of being alone in my house with no one around and no time schedule to check. My kids are having an adventure with my parents and my husband is sailing. I have my barking dog to annoy me, but for some reason my LONG list of projects has completely slipped my mind and I feel like I don't know what to do with my time. This explains why I haven't done anything with it and it's ticking away as I write this.

I think if I get out of the house even just briefly, the call to nap will fade. Or I can do the crazy trick of drinking coffee then napping to get motivated. Or, I could do nothing and not let myself feel guilty for it. The house always needs cleaning. There are always things to be done. There are always projects on my wish list. Doing any of those things does not mean they are done; it only means they are done for now.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Learning to Breathe

Meet the new dentist. Same as the old dentist. I went to visit my favorite dentist again after discovering after my last experience that he had not, in fact, retired. Lucky for me. I got in to see him to fill my last (it's not the last!) filling on the upper left side.

Right away, I told him how I was traumatized by the last guy, and I never even wrote about the horrid experience I has last time, either. Dr. R asked me if I wanted nitrous and I said yes. The helper (what the heck is that job title?) started to question it (I don't remember why) and he said to her, "She said she wanted it." That's what I'm talking about! Give the girl what she wants!

Breathing in my nose and out my mouth was a distracting meditation and given my hearing problems, I didn't pay much attention to much else.

In through my nose.

I couldn't figure out where my mouth was a couple of times and inhaled deeply, only to discover that I had all this air in me that I didn't know what to do with.

Out through my mouth.

Dr. R asked me if I drank a lot of carbonated soda and was telling me about the dangers of that and Altoids and how when he found them in his wife's car he took them and hid them. I asked why.

Dr R: They're just like eating powdered sugar.
Me: I don't eat Altoids, but I eat powdered sugar all the time.

I think I nearly gave him a heart attack. I was joking, of course, except for the powdered Hostess Donettes that I eat whenever I can get my grubby little hands on them. Or at least before my youngest daughter told me I couldn't have them anymore because they'll make me fat. She's made it her mission in life to protect me from the little powered Donettes.

Anytime Dr. R said anything, I opened my mouth wider. I don't know what he said most of the time, but I figured it was to get me to open wider, so I did.

In through my nose.

Dr. R and his helper could have been welding the doors on a new car for all I knew what was happening in my mouth. And again, where was this place where the exhale goes? Holding my breath until I figure out how to exhale because I've forgotten again.

Out through my mouth.

And then it was done. Dr. R asked me how I was doing and I told him great since he didn't make me cry. Seriously. The last dentist made me cry. I was nearly hysterical in his chair with the looming sensation of drowning on my own spit. Why would he put a drooler like me in a chair with my head below my chest? Dr. R knows what he's doing. That's why I like him so much.

In the chair, inhaling and exhaling, I thought that if I had three wishes from a genie or something, I would wish that my dentist was at least 30-years younger. That way, he wouldn't retire any time soon and I'd have a good dentist for a long time ahead. Better than that, though, I'd wish that I had flossed my teeth daily like I'm doing now, but that I'd have been doing it all along to avoid the ravages of decay.

Dr. R assures me that when I'm in my 80s that my sensitivity will decline. Something to look forward to. That, and the numbness to go away. The water I'm drinking keeps spilling on me.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Getting Sprayed

In my Army days, we pulled a lot of pranks. Our platoon would sit in a computer bay and go nearly insane at the sound of the dits and dahs of Morse Code for hours upon hours during whatever shift we were on in our windowless rooms. Those conditions were prime for playing tricks on each other. So we did.

Some of the pranks stood out for their uniqueness, such as wrapping a sleeping soldier up in Christmas lights and plugging them in without his waking up. That one is my personal favorite. But some stood out for their predictability. It was certain that someone - even if they didn't think they would - would get engrossed in their job while someone would crawl up behind them and tape paper spurs onto the back of their boots. When they finally got up to walk around, the whole bay would start singing, "Jingle Jangle Jingle," in unison, how could anyone not feel the joy?

Tags, or taping a note on someone's back (like "kick me"), were so ubiquitous that I - and I'm sure many others - developed a habit of swiping their back whenever they left a room or stood near others. Getting pranked enough made you develop defenses, and even if no one was immune to the joke, you could keep yourself out of trouble for a while.

An essential part of getting pranked and pulling pranks is the ability to laugh at yourself. If you take yourself too seriously, the pranksters will just keep trying to make you cry. You become an easy and ready target. It helps to develop a thick skin.

So, if I'm so used to getting pranked, why has my family been able to get me with the old rubber band around the sink sprayer so many times? I don't even think I'm the target, but if someone puts a rubber band on, I WILL get sprayed. Tonight I got sprayed and decided to leave it on for the next person. And guess what! I forgot and got sprayed again! What the hell?

It's funny, no doubt about it, but I hadn't planned on changing my shirt twice tonight and I can't even guarantee that I won't do it again. I use that sink all the time!

Which totally reminds me about pranking myself a couple years ago on Halloween. I filled up a pair of pants and a shirt that belonged to my husband, put shoes at the bottom and something red at the neck to look like a severed head. The whole thing was standing next to the front door to scare people. I put it there. I knew it was there and I scared myself over and over again because I saw a "man" out of the corner of my eye every time I left the house.

When the heck will I learn?

Friday, July 13, 2012

Easy Wednesday Night Race

My latest sailing adventure was on an Etchells for the Wednesday night beer can races this week. It was an easy little race in relatively light air out to Southampton Shoal and back. My oldest daughter drove the last time we did this, but I was at the helm this time.

I really like driving the Etchells. I get the feel for the wind and with a few exceptions where I'm over-powered, I'm comfortable with this position. Ever since my near-collission, which I still haven't written about, I have been doubting my abilities, and had to ask which way to turn the tiller during a tack or jibe. I shouldn't have to do that but I am afraid of making a mistake. It's like I need to confirm my knowledge as I'm thinking it.

Bow of the Etchells as snapped by my daughter.

My husband and I had our two girls onboard with us. My oldest was sitting in the bowman's position and we kept having to tell her to hold onto something. She was too complacent with the light wind for my comfort. My youngest was sitting in the cuddy the whole time. It was convenient to have her hold the beverage my husband and I shared during tack maneuvers, but I really wanted her to come out to watch the waves and enjoy the sail. For her, though, it was just something to get through. (And so you don't need to ask, the entire family wears life jackets when we go out.)

The best part was that it was a nice easy sail with the whole family. It wasn't blowing too hard and I don't think I got a single bruise from the adventure. I needed that more than I care to admit, since my body is still riddled with bruises, including a new one from a fall on my mountain bike. (I merely tipped over the wrong way and didn't get my foot out of the cleat in time. No big deal.) Another best part of the trip was that we saw a cool spotted seal while we were sailing back into the harbor. I LOVE seeing seals! And I just read that they are actually dog mermaids. Now I love them even more.

The worst part of the race was putting the boat away. Since it is dry-docked, that means hauling it out of the water, cleaning it off, putting the trailer away and putting the cover on it. The cover part feels like it takes an hour. The other worst part was that my daughter was sitting underneath and not enjoying it. What I would do to have her enjoy sailing more than she does!

And even though we were late at the start, we still beat three boats in. The Etchells is great like that.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

4th Man on the 4th of July

Yesterday's 4th of July holiday was like a weekend rolled into a single 24-hour period. My husband and I went sailing on the bay with another couple on their Etchells. Then we ate barbecue, went swimming and went on a big hike to see fireworks. Some of that hike home included me carrying a 50lb+ child on my back.

Today I'm exhausted!

The races yesterday were PHRF "perf" races, where different classes of boats race against each other. They have some sort of handicapping system that I don't even understand, but that allows some sort of fair race scoring. 

We sailed with another married couple and while I usually work the bow, I ended up being the fourth man on a three-man-boat. Talk about being in the way! All I had to do was move from side to side on the boat, but the way the Etchells heels over, it's very hard to climb from side to side without anything to hold onto and nothing to brace your feet on. I got slammed around the boat quite a bit and slid along the bottom more times than I could count. 

We figured the winds were blowing at about 30 knots for part of the day, but I heard today they were clocked at 33 knots. The Etchells is fast and low and the harder it blows, the wetter you get, especially up at the front of the boat. The other woman who was working the bow took the most water of all of us, but I was next in line. The driver was probably relatively dry. Some of the spray was so heavy that a person could have been standing with a bucket of water throwing it at us at times. I got it in my eyes, my ears and down my foul-weather gear soaking me inside as well as outside.

When the first race was over, I could just as well have been done for the day. I was already tired and sore and that's just from moving from side to side in the boat. I don't ever want to be the person who makes us quit a race so I just kept going and kept my mouth shut. In fact, I didn't complain at all the whole time, even when I slammed my hand so hard that I discovered it was swollen after we were done. I thought I might have broken it by the intensity of the pain when it happened. Right now, though, you can't really tell I did anything. 

That's not the case with the rest of my body. This morning the bruises from yesterday had settled in. I have several more on my right bicep to go with my Laser sailing bruises and the back sides of both legs are covered. I have a couple more large and noteworthy bruises on the side of my upper right thigh and my tailbone. It hurts to sit. Besides bruises, I'm just achy and sore. Who would have thought that sailing would be so physical. I mean, I know it its, but I forget that it is, too. 

The second race was a strange course, and had us going up and back and around and we set the spinnaker three times, including the downwind finish. We were flying the spinnaker at the end and the wind was blowing so hard that I don't recall ever going that fast in a sailboat before! We were a rocket ship with a huge wake out the back! It was very fun. 

As it turns out, we won the spinnaker class of the race, beating out all of our competitors. That was very cool. It's different, though, than sailing side by side from your competitors and seeing the finish one after another. When we crossed the line, no one was around us and a boat with a different rating than us - larger, etc - finished ahead of us. All in all, if you're going to get beaten up and run through the ringer, winning is a bonus.

My kids are sailing today and I can't wait for them to be finished. When we put their boats away, I'm not going to think about sailing for a while. And I'm going to recover.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Adventures with Steve

I've been living and breathing sailing lately and I have the deep tan and Raggedy Ann nose to prove it. Mostly, I'm living and breathing Optimists with and for my daughters. Next in line comes the Etchells, for which I wrote last post - and never finished the story, but I'm not going to do that here. The last boat on the brain is the Laser. 

I have my own Laser named Steve. Recently my husband found a great deal to get a second Laser on Craig's List, at which we jumped. Yesterday we took Steve and the new Laser, named Scooby Doo, out on the Bay. 

Carol and Steve

Getting everyone on the water, including the girls into their Optis for race practice, was a monumental effort. Scooby Doo hadn't been sailed in a very long time and getting it rigged up took time. The two of us sailed out of the harbor in a very light breeze. We sailed past a few random giant jelly fish that looked like mushrooms the size of basketballs. The wind was shifty at first, but the farther you went out, the breeze picked up. 

Emboldened by my husband's presence, I went further than I had ever gone. I was doing pretty well finding the feel of the boat, the wind and getting my maneuvers down. 

And then I flipped.

I've never capsized before. They make the kids do it in sailing school, but for me it was always something I knew would happen to me eventually while out on the water. When it happened, I knew that matter-of-factly I had to push down on the centerboard and the boat would pop up. I would climb back on and away I'd go. Except that is not what happened. Not even close.

First of all, I pulled down on the centerboard and the boat didn't budge. I pulled down on the centerboard again and again and again and nothing would make the boat come back upright. A guy sailed up next to me in a keel boat and offered me help. He didn't know what he could do to help and I didn't know what to do to take help. It had also just happened so I was confident I'd be fine and sent him on his way. I looked out to see that my husband had sailed off pretty far past me, but was probably making his way in my direction. He was either really, really far away or he didn't know that I was down. 

I tried over and over to right the boat and nothing was working. I finally tried pushing the hull of the boat under the centerboard while pulling down and after a few tries, I got the boat flat again. With the feeling of relief mixed with "now what?" I tried to pull myself into the boat. That proved challenging and the boat was turned around and tipping a bit again. I thought that if I turned the sail into the wind, I could be sure that it was going to stay flat while I climbed in. 

Turning the boat, I managed to capsize it again. Fortunately, I now had the pushing-while-pulling trick up my sleeve and it only took me a few tries to right the boat again. My husband still wasn't there and I was getting tired. 

Trying to climb back into my boat, I kept getting my life jacket caught on the edge of the boat and I couldn't get myself out very far. When my husband finally arrived, he asked me if I wanted him to tow me to shore. He tied our boats together and set off in the wind. I started dragging behind the boat like I was Superman flying off to save the world. 

I called my husband to bring his boat near mine instead so I could use it to climb up. I thought that if I could throw my foot onto his boat, I could leverage myself up. It worked, but in the process, my husband's boat turned away from the wind wrong and he capsized. He was able to right his boat easily without even getting wet. (Show off!)

Once on board Steve, I tried to calm my nerves but realized that I was shaking. I had been in the water a long time and don't know if the shaking was due to cold or fear. It didn't matter at that point. During the acrobatic maneuvers, we managed to drift pretty far and we were nearing the land. We weren't at risk of crashing onto rocks, but we were close enough that our wind was affected by the land. I couldn't make the boat move the way I wanted it to. And close enough to have a hearty audience for the whole show.

My husband was yelling instructions to me to get the boat back in order, as all the lines had loosened up during the capsize. The loosened lines made my boat very touchy to the wind and I needed to flatten out the sail to under-power it for my ability and situation. The main sheet, the rope that controls the sail got wrapped around the corner of the transom, the back of the boat, and I needed to un-hook that to regain full control.

The next thing I know it, I've got the boat going again and there is a high-speed ferry crossing my path. I wasn't so close as to hit it, but close enough to be freaked out by it. And then freaked out by the wake it caused. I bobbed around a bit and kept heading into the wind to stop myself from going anywhere. Another lower speed ferry soon followed, nearly duplicating all the fear that I hadn't quite recovered from.

I finally got going and limped into the cove. I sent my husband off to sail on his own, knowing I could get it into the dock at that point and wanting him to have some fun before coming in. I slowly made my way in and tied up. After getting on dry clothes, I went to the bar for a beer. 

Today my knee is tweaked, I'm bruised under my arms and I have a massive shoulder pain, though, that could be from hefting Scooby Doo onto and off of the car top twice. But all of my muscles are screaming today and my ego has its own bruise, as well. 

I'm not saying that is the last time I will sail the Laser, but I don't have immediate plans to do it again soon, either. And in the meantime, I'm going to see if there is a technique to pull myself out of the water should I need next time. If there is a next time. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Etchells and Optis

My whole family raced sailboats last weekend. My husband and I are sailing an Etchells that was very generously loaned to us for the season from a friend and all around great guy. We named the boat 39 Steps for the season for a couple of reasons. The boat was previously named Rebecca, for whom I'm not sure, but it's the name of an Alfred Hitchcock film and I'm a super big fan. 39 Steps is another Hitchcock film, and the name of a play my husband and I saw when we were in London this past fall. It's also the number of steps it takes for us to get out on the water. In other words, it's complicated.

My daughters raced Optimists, or Optis, out of the yacht club next door to where our boat is dry-docked. So first thing Saturday morning, we drove out to Point Richmond, dropped me off at 39 Steps so that I could get the cover off and set it up to put it in the water. I had help from our "third" crew,  a great guy who's been a friend of mine ever since I've known my husband and to him even longer. The two of us moved the boat to the hoist and lifted it into the bay. We set it up, including raising the sails and checking all the lines, etc.

My husband went with the girls and got them set up. They needed their boats off the trailer that had delivered them from our club. Then, they needed their boats rigged, sails tied on, splashed in the water, usually with a lot of encouragement for the girls to do what they need to do, like get dressed, make their lunches, go to the skipper meeting and not a lot of help to get the boats ready. And we're usually late for everything, too.

Once we were all out on the water and doing our thing, the sailing was fantastic. We sailed separately from the girls and didn't see them during the day, but we knew they were okay and looked forward to watching them race the next day.

I'm in the pink life jacket.

For the first time ever, I drove 39 Steps. I usually work the bow, which includes adjusting and trimming the jib and setting the pole for the spinnaker. I also jibe the spinnaker pole when necessary and help throw the sail up and take it down when it's ready. It's a lot of work and is exhausting. So exhausting, in fact, that when we raced last time, I couldn't manage the last race and we dropped out. Sailing isn't thought of as strenuous, but it really takes it out of me.

Driving the boat is a little less strenuous physically, but it's mentally draining. There is a lot of concentration involved. I was pretty wiped out at the end of the day on Saturday. I took a lot of direction and tactical advice from my crew and focussed on keeping the boat going as fast as possible.

If I thought that racing was complicated, so is writing about it. I'm being pulled in a million directions or at least 39 of them. Consider this - To Be Continued.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

All Day Pain

So, I went to the dentist today. That was fun.

My appointment was at 9:10am and I didn't stop being numb until 3:30pm. Here it is almost 7pm and I'm still in pain. Funny thing, my dentist just called to ask me how I was doing, too, as I was writing this!

My new dentist did a pretty good job getting me numb, but when he started drilling, I felt a hot pain in that area. He gave me more pain relief and I decided that I was going to bear it even if it hurt. Fortunately, the subsequent dosage did the trick. 

The worst part was that I was a little congested and phlem-y. I felt like I was going to choke on my own spit and I couldn't breathe through my nose. And my jaw got sore from being propped open with a rubber stopper like my mouth was a door on a windy day and needed some reinforcement. 

After the drilling and before the filling, the dentist let me rest for a bit. I cried a little. I didn't want them to see it, but I couldn't help myself. It was painful and stressful and I was absolutely miserable. 

During the procedure, I was listening to my ipod to distract me. It worked pretty well, but in hind-sight, I should have made a playlist. Being tense with Lady Gaga tapping an up-beat tune in your ears (or in my case, ear - singular) doesn't do much to calm the nerves. I was able to drown out a lot of the scary noise, though and I will definitely do this again.

I'm supposed to go in next week for the other side and I think I'm going to cancel my appointment. I think I just need more time to forget how awful this was before subjecting myself to additional torture. And if this worked the way it was supposed to, I'll be able to chew on that side and avoid it for a long time anyway. 

Thursday, May 31, 2012

New Dentist

My dentist retired. I wanted to believe that I never had to go to the dentist again, but it just wasn't true. After getting a filling not too too long ago, I am still experiencing some discomfort. Rather than having someone look at it, I went ahead and did all my chewing on the other side of my mouth. Unfortunately, I started to feel pain there, too.

Time for a new dentist.

I did my search on my insurance company's website to get one in-network so I don't have to pay as much - especially anticipating big bills coming up here. Then I cross-checked him against I hate Yelp, but it can be useful. Anyway, this new dentist got rave reviews.

He also got me in right away for a consultation, which went to today. And I think it's going to be okay. He confirmed all the things I already knew about the condition of my teeth and what might be going on with my state of pain. He also showed me on a giant computer monitor the x-rays and what he things he needs to do for me. Then he made a minor adjustment on my crown, the same as my last dentist did, rather than jumping head-first into a root-canal, and I have another appointment next week. And the week after.

The only thing that I'm a little uncertain about is his response to my up-front disclosure that I have a VERY difficult time getting numb on the bottom. He acted very confident that he would be able to help me. That's exactly what the last two dentists did, too. We'll see. He might be confident that he can get me numb, but I'm just as skeptical that he can't. At least not easily. I guess next week we'll see who has more experience in this area.

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Worst Headache of My Life

I'm working on Day 3 of a migraine today and it totally sucks. It hurts so much that I'm nauseous much of the time. And today, I did something completely irresponsible: I didn't go into my daughter's classroom to volunteer. I just didn't show up. I feel a little bad, but not as bad as my head hurts.

Funny thing, though...

I went to the drug store to buy some Migraine Relief today. In the past, I've had nominal success with Excedrin's version of this medication, but they didn't have that brand so I bought CVS's brand. I was looking at the ingredients and reading the labels and I came across the following in the Drug Facts:

"Ask a doctor have the worst headache of your life."

I think this just may be the worst headache of my life. I've talked to my doctor about migraines in the past and I even had her write me a prescription - that I never did get filled (they didn't have it in stock then when I had my next headache they had cancelled the prescription. Now I don't have it on file and don't have any in my hot little hands and this headache is off the charts. Woe is me.)

I've spent most of today as immobile as I could be and I wish I had some sort of chamber where I could float in zero gravity as to take all the pressure off my head. Putting it on a pillow hurts and therefore I can only lie down just so much. My best friend thinks that maybe I'm also sick. Maybe I got something that was going around. Maybe this awful feeling has something to do with the tick that I dis-embedded from my leg a week or so ago. In which case, do I have Lyme Disease? 

Maybe that tick was radioactive and after I come out of this adverse reaction, I'm going to have special powers that makes me part human and part tick. What are they good at, anyway? Maybe I'll be able to bury my head into a giant cake without needing to come up for air while I eat it. Maybe I'll be able to ride on dogs. 

I'd give up the ability to ride on dogs and bury my head in giant cakes just to feel good again, though. I'd rather write about spiders and the wolf that my daughter claims to have seen than complain about how awful I feel. And more than complaining about how I feel, I'd like to not actually feel badly either. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Dark Patch

I think that I have successfully recovered from a dark patch. Having had (too) many bouts of depression since my teen years, I am tuned into what is going on with my psyche and finally know when it's time to ask for help. Of course, as soon as I emailed my doctor, Mother Nature gave me a sign that the suffering was over.

Let's just call that the worst case of PMS I've ever had. Ever!

I did have an enlightening moment of insight that has stuck with me for days, though. I was watching the show The Finder* and one of the characters said, "You are who you think you are." Which is very much down the path of the self-fulfilling prophesy thing, and I've been repeating it over and over since then.

Can I change my disposition just by thinking I want to? I tried plastering a smile on my face today to see if it picked me up, but I found that I hadn't had enough coffee and therefore, didn't have enough energy to hold the edges of my mouth into an upward curve. But the quote gives me a certain optimism, which I like.

I know from experience that my depression is not externally charged, but from the inside and chemically composed. I'm not unhappy with my life, though I can get frustrated like everyone else. In fact, things are going very well for me lately and that makes this last dark patch further evidence to me that depression drags me against my will.

I hope that I can move on and this isn't a false start, so I'm going to do all that I can to use the quote and the belief I am not unhappy to actually feel happy. I'm going to go frolic now.

*This link has sound. I don't like to be surprised by sound, so I thought I'd warn you.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Week in Review

I've had a lot of unusual things happen to me this week. So many, in fact, that I want to list all the craziness. I'm not going to attribute them to specific days because, frankly, I don't remember that well.
  • Saw a turkey fly. I don't think I even knew that they did fly our could fly, and it looked quite awkward with that giant body and wimpy little wings. 
  • On my dog walk yesterday, I saw a decorated Christmas tree on display. Life-size! Still!
  • Learned that May 4th is Star Wars Day (as in May the 4th be with you!)
  • Removed a giant tick which had embedded himself into my knee.
  • Scalded my hand with boiling water while missing the cup I was pouring into almost entirely.
  • Dinner out with my wonderful family, husband, kids, mom, step-dad, and my favorite uncle and his wife. 
  • Raced Etchells sailboat on Saturday, which resulted in some quite nasty bruising on my arms and legs.
  • Went to take the girls to school, only to discover that the car battery was dead. My bike was in the shop so I had to go under the house to retrieve my old one. My youngest daughter walked her bike about a half-mile of a mile-and-a-half trip to school. My oldest daughter rode that distance on a flat tire.
  • Obsessed and (maybe) got over the desire to cut my hair off again. 
  • Left a bag of dog poop in the car after walk only to discover the horrid smell next time I went to drive. 
  • Screamed louder than my youngest daughter at the discovery a spider was on my bed.
I think I'm going to just leave it at that. I have things to do and I won't bore you with the rest...

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Ticked Off

I need to check my back for some kind of "Kick Me" sign taped to it, as surely there must be one. And I'm pretty sure that if I had my portrait taken, there would be a black cloud over the top of it, too.

Yesterday, after walking my dog while wearing long pants and only stepping into the brush to pick up after him, I found a tick embedded into my knee. I felt something and went to scratch it only to discover that something was stuck and that something was sucking my blood already. It hurt, too! It was nearly the size of a dime. As you can imagine, I've spent today's walk checking every ten-minutes for something crawling on me or my dog. I pulled four off of him. Thankfully he has white fur and the critters cannot hide as well.

Later yesterday, I was pouring some boiling water into a mug to make tea and I missed and poured it on my hand instead. That hurt, too. Still does. I can't believe I did that and shiver with relief every time I think that my skin could have melted off.

Then there is today's misfortune.

I skipped my morning coffee because I'm out of filters. Now that I think of it, though, I have a ton of filters that are another kind. Anyway, I skipped the coffee, took the kids to school, walked the dog then stopped off in the next town over to buy a cup of coffee. I had to wait for a woman with an orange stroller as she crossed three streets in front of me. I couldn't turn because I had to wait for her, then I couldn't turn again because I had to wait for her, then I found a juicy spot right in front of the coffee shop, only to wonder if it was actually a spot. I decided against staying and went to leave, only to have to wait for the lady with the stroller, again.

I parked much farther away, walked to the coffee shop, waited a LONG time for the guy in front of me to finish whatever he was doing then ordered. I finally got my coffee, walked all the way back to my car and drove home. Once I was home, I took my coffee with me to let my neighbor's chickens out. Meanwhile, I probably got in about three sips, waiting to sit down and drink it while reading the newspaper or something.

After all of this, I checked to make sure the dog couldn't get anything and went to the bathroom. When I got out, two seconds later, I couldn't find my coffee. Sure enough, the dog got it. He's attracted to the whip cream like I am, I'm sure. I was pissed! Am still pissed! Am still wanting desperately a cup-a-joe.

Dare I ask what else is possible?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


My mood lately has been a little like the tension on my sewing machine. A little off. When I sew on lightweight fabrics, the upper tension is too high and the thread pulls. I just don't back-tack so I can pull the fabric out of its pucker then hand-tie the thread.

In other words, I make do.

I've tried to fix the tension a few times and strangely enough, each adjustment doesn't seem to do anything. I can crank the damn thing (bits at a time, of course) and not see a difference. And then I'll just put it back where I thought it was and out of the blue, it will be fine again.

Likewise, my mood is a bit off-kilter. There isn't anything wrong with it, it's just off. Not quite right. I've been in a bit of a funk that feels like I'm blue, but without the sadness. I feel like I'm just a bit off my game, but I don't really know what to do about it.

Except that I feel like I have a migraine knocking on my door. Or rather drilling a pilot hole so it can get a good hold on me. I suspect that the barometric pressure has something to do with this funkiness. I wish I could just pull the puckers out.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

In A Day

What a difference a day makes!

Today I took my dog for a 45-minute walk that took an hour due to grass eating, dog greeting, water play and babying my own knee today. Killing that extra bit of time, the traffic was nonexistent when I got back on the road. I am also having some vague recollections about some kind of warning for this construction, though, I still think it's ludicrous that they didn't start last week.

Then I got on my bike and rode to the library to do some writing. I stopped off at the Hippie Grocery Store and bought a tincture (Maca Magic) to help get my cranky-butt in line with reality. I don't know if it will work. The reviews are good and I'm willing to try. In fact it better work because it was expensive, though the woman at the register says they have a 100% guaranty on their products.

When I rode home, I had three library books and my laptop in a backpack as I climbed our steep hill to our lovely home. I'm pooped. I took the tincture with some water, made some coffee and I sort of feel like I can kick the world's ass if I had to. Yay me!

And our Crepe Myrtle is starting to bud.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Irritated and Itchy

I'm feeling a little more irritable than usual each afternoon. I'm not sure if it's because the chores seem to stack up on me in the afternoons or if my daily dose of sunny-side-up has run out. Whatever the case, the little things set me off more than usual these days.

For one thing, my dog steels food. It's a well-known fact. The trick is to keep the food out of his reach or keep an eye on him. Whenever I leave the kitchen, I look around to see what might be within his ability to snatch and then I move it or mentally relax a bit. That and I make sure I don't leave the dog unattended for any length of time.

Others in my family haven't caught on about that. I'm really directing that at the small children (who are bigger by the moment now) who think that the grown-ups are at their beck and call. If they leave something out (which is all the time) or don't put things away (also, all the time) then magically, nothing will happen or everything will happen for them.

I wanted to make French Onion Soup tonight and I bought a nice loaf of bread to get toasted for the top and some Greyhair cheese for it, too. One of my kids decided that the loaf looked like a good after-school-snack and sliced it up and walked away. Then the dog ran off with it. I may use it anyway, since there is a good possibility my husband won't read this until tomorrow and therefore won't know about the bread until it's eaten. But maybe not.

I was also more irritable about the road construction that is happening in my neighborhood on the way home from school more than on the way there. We just finished a week off from school where the traffic would have been at the very lightest it could be and they didn't start the construction then. No. They had to start the week we're all back to school and don't know about it so we need alternate routes to school at the last minute. Not only that, the next shortest way is going to be blocked tomorrow. I'm going to have to drive all over the place for this little inconvenience. What were they thinking?

Another thing I'm terribly irritated with - and by - is the bout of poison oak. It showed up on Thursday of last week in a little rash on my right wrist. It could be from the previous Sunday's gardening, but that seems like a long time before it showed up. It could also be from my cat, but my daughter isn't getting a rash and she plays with the cat as much as I do. Did I roll around in poison oak while singing to the moon recently?

The problem is that I have it on the inside of my right wrist, the back of my right wrist and a couple of dots on my forearm inside and outside. And on my ear! I have a patch behind my right ear that is also creeping to the front of it and down my jawline. I have several dots of it on my stomach, too. There is a dot of it in between my eyebrows and on my chin. Poison oak face is not fun.

I washed with Technu and have been using (the best) anti-itch cream, which is supposed to dry out the oozing parts. Gross. I know. It makes me crabby. I'm trying my best not to give in to the itches, but sometimes, I just can't help but give it all a good scratch.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Storm Worms

After an incredibly dry winter, we've had a bunch of rain dump on us in the last couple of days with more on its way. I don't mind the rain, it can be kind of nice to sit in my living room and listen to it as it drums the roof or looking out the window as it falls gently on the trees.

I credit my husband for giving me the appreciation I have of rain. He taught me that weather happens and life goes on. If we stopped living every time the weather isn't perfect, we'd miss out on a lot of stuff.

Two of my favorite things to do in the rain are to run and to walk my dog. I haven't done much running these days, but my dog always needs to get his walks in. Today we went out to play in the downpour. I put on my rain boots and rain jacket and set out with him to walk down the hill and clear the drains that get clogged with leaves, dirt and other debris - and stomp in puddles. The streams of water can really get moving and sometimes I even put a leaf in it to pretend it's a boat and see how far it goes.

Today, as I was clearing debris, I noticed that some of the pools that filled when the streams were blocked were filled with worms. It was so strange and I don't remember seeing anything quite like it before. I reached my hand into the pools, picked up as many of the worms as I could get into my hands, and threw them back into the dirt embankment. One of the little pools had no less than 50 worms in it! I must have thrown about a hundred today.

Back home again, I cleared our gutters, showered, and curled up under a blanket to do some writing. It's fun to be out in the storm, but it's also fun to be in for it, too.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Ebb and Flow

Thank goodness there is an ebb and flow to our lives. Without the bad parts, the good parts would not be as savory. As I say that, though, I'd like to try a life with just the good parts, you know, just to see...

The three-day migraine lasted four-days. And I have to say, there is no grateful like the gratefulness of pain-relief. I feel like I crawled into a cave and lost four-days of my life. I'd like them back, please! It doesn't matter. I feel better now and that's what's important.

All the posts that I meant to write have faded away and I'm kind of drawing a blank. I'm sure the words will flow back to me at some point, however, they always do.

Monday, February 20, 2012

You're Invited: Pity Party

I'm really feeling sorry for myself right now. I'm on Day Three of my migraine and I'm ready to be pain-free. When is that going to happen? It's such a shame to waste a perfectly good three-day weekend on something so debilitating. I've been trying to push through and act like nothing is wrong, but the reality is that I feel like absolute crap. I've tried to sleep through it, laze through it, and eat through it. Nothing is getting me through it quite like I'd like.

My family let me sleep in today and then went for a walk to give me the house to myself. Unfortunately, the pain is so bad that I can't even enjoy the peace and quiet. I've showered to wash away to pain, but that didn't work either. I've taken as much medicine as I have and can safely take and that's not helping either. I'm ready to start a coffee IV so that the caffeine can restrict the blood vessels in my brain and stop the pain, but I have nothing to put in my coffee and I'm barely motivated to drive to the coffee shop.

I'm going to crawl under a rock now and feel sorry for myself in private. Just do me a favor. Take a deep breath and be grateful if you feel good. It's priceless!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Being Mom

It's funny how often being the mom means putting yourself last and everyone else first. We went skiing last weekend - not the one that just passed but the one before that - and I skied the green slope with my daughter. I was trying to give her confidence and help her work on her ski skills, but it was downright boring for me. Except that I was skiing with my lovely daughter who is such a joy to be around no matter what we're doing. 

Then, when she wanted to sit in the lodge and warm up, I didn't leave her to go ski by myself, I stayed to keep her company and listen to her stories. That was fine. I'll ski a billion more times in my life, but my little girl will not be little forever. 

Last Wednesday we all went to dinner at the fanciest yacht club I've ever been to. The St. Francis along the San Francisco city front with views to die for is where my youngest daughter goes for sailing lessons. They've got a wonderful program to get kids into sailing in a very fun way. My youngest likes it there. After sailing, she likes to go to the locker room for a steam. How cute is that? 

The yacht club had a youth sailing dinner to honor the junior sailors in their program. Because my youngest was in their program, she was invited and the rest of the family went as her guests, since we do not belong to that club. We ate very bland pasta and my kids ate nothing, as usual, since they're incredibly picky eaters, but otherwise, the night was very enjoyable. 

As we're listening to all the winners called up to the podium for recognition, we were overjoyed to hear our youngest daughter's name called up for Most Improved Sailor in the fall program. The look of pride on her face brought me near to tears. Really. Tears were just on the verge of coming down.

What meant so much to me was just seeing my little baby shine. It was such a pleasure to see her reluctantly get into something and do well enough at it to gain recognition. To see her beam with happiness for her own accomplishment was payback enough for anytime I gave my last bite of dessert to one of my kids, or to take off my sweater so one of them wouldn't be cold. Or forgo time on the slopes on the last day of skiing so that I could keep one of them company. I couldn't be any prouder. And not proud of the award, but proud of her

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Things My Dog Did Today

I could have a nice juicy post every day if this was my subject. This dog of mine is an endless source for fodder. The reason I wanted to write about him today was that he did two noteworthy things.

This morning when we went for our walk, we began at the school and started our climb up the hill. Mooch stopped a short ways up and did his business. As I bent down to pick up after him, I noticed that part of it went into a gopher hole. That gopher sure is in for a surprise when it decides to emerge from the ground!

The last time I went to Costco, I picked up some rawhide bones for my dog to chew. I've heard that I shouldn't give these to him, but with my dog's iron constitution, he can manage chewing on a lead pipe if he were so inclined. I call these bones Leave Me Alone Bones or Get Off My Back Bones. It's my way of sending him somewhere away from me so I can have some peace.

I gave my dog one of these bones today and for some reason, he didn't want to chew it. He left me alone, so I just assumed that he went off to reduce the rawhide to some gooey mess or other. Unfortunately, I found out what he did with it. A few minutes ago, he showed up at the back door barking with a bone in  front of him that was covered in dirt. My so-called backyard does not have its own dirt, it has planters full of dirt - but also flowers. I had to see which one of my plants did not survive the Leave Me Alone Bone. I made a round of all the possible places my dog had to dig up something and found that he dug up a plant that I wasn't sure was going to make it anyway. Now I know that plant won't make it, but it doesn't make it any easier for me.

I think the dog needs a pot he can call his own and bury to his heart's content. I just don't think if I gave him one that he would stick to just that one. Most of our plants have a wire fencing covering them so the cat doesn't do her own brand of digging, but this time my dog just moved the thing out of his way. He knows what he wants and does what he wants, that's for sure.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Just Do It

My mood ring would be green with envy if I were wearing one right now. There is a family in our community who very recently set off on an adventure for a few months in South Africa. You can follow their journey and get jealous with me if you'd like.

My enviousness is entirely unrelated to envying their travel - because I love to travel, too. No, that part is an obvious envy, so it can remain unsaid. I'm jealous of the ability to homeschool their two girls. The mother admits to the challenges that homeschooling poses, and they're using curriculum from our school, but I'm talking about the ability to present an opportunity for learning that this trip is offering.

There are two-sides to me as a mother. One is the mother that I actually am - living, breathing, in the flesh. The other is the mother that I am in my head. The one that has absolutely no follow-through. That's the side that I'm thinking of here and my jealousy for someone to actually do great things makes me want to try harder.

If you go to their site, you will see a field guide as one of the tabs. There are pictures and identifications of various critters and it totally reminded me of why I bought a book on birds when we moved into our house. I wanted to identify all the birds that live and roam in the trees that surround us. There are so many of them! I must have gotten the book at least three or four years ago thinking as a summer project we would do this. Nope. Never did.

Or what about that book on space? No, not that either, though I absolutely love our new telescope and would like to explore the universe myself, even if it doesn't turn out the way I had initially envisioned it. Or the plant books that I got when we went to Hawaii - thinking that we'd learn about all the flora over there. Ideas, all of them. Actions, none.

Getting opportunities can be as simple as opening your eyes to what is right in front of you. I can create opportunities without even trying, but doing something about them is much harder. I have been given a wonderful opportunity recently to write full time. I've stopped working to spend more time with my family and right away I started another novel. Then stalled. I kick myself every time I think about how much time I've NOT written anything. I have wonderful excuses, too, like needing to clean up or Christmas and stuff like that, but they're just excuses. I need to harness some latent ability to follow-through and then DO it.

Friday, January 13, 2012


Sometimes when I do the same dumb stuff over and over, I think I'm destined to forever learn and re-learn that lesson. There are a couple in particular that I can't make myself learn - at least for the long-term. I will remember them once and forget them again the next time.

These go beyond the basics like learning that drinking a little too much will cause a hangover, or eating a carton of ice cream will give me a tummy ache. No, these have consequences that are a little harder to deal with.

The first one is remembering NOT to put sharp knives in the soapy dish water. I very distinctly remember my dad telling me not to do this because I could reach my hand in and cut myself. For years and years, I put steak knives in the soapy water without any ill effects, but it's when I started putting the big chopping knives in the water that I started to cut myself up. I still have a cut on my thumb that is healing into a scar that I cut a couple of weeks ago. It hurt, too! The thumb is an important and useful digit that does not like to be out of commission!

I did it and I knew better, too. I thought about how dumb it was to put it in the water just as I was putting it in the water. You'd think I would have acted smarter than that by now.

The other thing isn't quite as serious. I don't think I'll ever sever a finger, so the last one isn't too serious, but all the blood makes the consequences bigger. No, this other one isn't that bad. Not really. Kind of, though.

I'm a pretty responsible dog owner when I take my dog out for his walks. I clean up after him with bags recycled from the newspaper delivery. I usually have three with me and mostly come home with one left over. It's the time that I take two and need three that I'm a little less responsible, but given the amount of poop I see when I take my dog out, I'm better than a lot of owners out there, let me tell you.

Most of the walks that Mooch and I go on pass a trail-head at some point or another. Most trail-heads have garbage cans in which I can make a deposit. I have seen people freak out about anyone using their garbage cans, so I will not use personal cans for a deposit. Instead, if I have a bag in my hand at the end of a walk and I cannot deposit it anywhere before I have to get in my car to get home, I put the poop bag in the back of my car.

Both my cars are technically trucks and the back of the car is not really a trunk but the back part of an SUV. I don't like to put the poop in the front seat with me for some reason I'm sure you can deduce. It can be stinky - even though it is sealed up in plastic.

My problem is that sometimes, because it's in the back, I forget to get it out again. This forgetfulness will only last as long as it takes to get back in the car. I immediately know what I forgot when I get in the car - especially on a warm or hot day. Even as these days lately have been freezing cold, the poop still stinks.

I got today's out, but two-days ago, as I got into the car and got a huge whiff of Yuck, I had to chuckle at how I should be able to remember to take it out by now. After all, my dog is almost seven-years-old and it's not like I forget to get the dog out of my car. The windows go down for as long as it takes and I drive around trying to remember not to do it again.