Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009--a retrospective would have been nice.

so today . . . is new year's eve--and i am about to write my last blog of 2009.

i had a plan. i thought i would write a top ten list of my favorite blogs from the last year. but i have written over 300 blogs! i'm not sure i could narrow my list of favorites down to 10. and really, if i was going to do that, i should have started a couple of weeks ago . . .

so, plan b. i would choose my favorite blog from each month. of course this was going to require me to read all 300 blogs, one month at a time, and choose just one to highlight. but it seemed doable. i would just pull up january's blogs, quickly skim them (because after all, i did write them--i shouldn't have to reread every word to remember what they are about,) choose one, and then move on to february. it seemed like a good plan. so i pulled up january's blogs and read them, and found something to like in each one of them. how could i choose just one?

ok, plan c. i would look at the topics i wrote about most and choose my favorites. so i would link my favorite weather blog, my favorite dog blog, my favorite blog about my family, my favorite school blog . . . yes, i thought that might work. but again, i couldn't choose just one.

on to plan d. i would not go back and read all the blogs. that was just not working, because when i would read them, i would think, "oh yeah, i liked that one," or "that was really funny!" so my new plan was to think about the blogs i could remember that i really liked and list them. but the first two that came to mind were the ones about the devil donuts and the police coming to the house last summer, and i had just linked those on recent blogs.

i was talking this over with rollie, and he said, "well, make sure you include cholesterol wars." i think that is HIS favorite. he will whip out his phone, look up that blog, and make people read it with very little provocation. usually they enjoy it, but still--i think he is a little too proud of that high five from his doctor!

so, here i am at 11:56 p.m. on december 31, 2009 with no retrospective. i just couldn't do it. i think almost all the blogs i have written are worth another read. in fact, when you are sitting at your computer with 20 minutes to kill, just pull up a month's worth of blogs and read them again. and then comment and let me know which ones you liked the best.

as for me, i think i have to say that the joshua blogs were my favorites last year. i am sure that in the coming year i will write blogs about the weather, my family, our dogs, my school kids, shoes, and food. but the joshua blogs kind of define 2009 for me. he made me laugh during some times when i didn't think laughter was possible. he lightened some heavy days with his wit and his smile. those blogs were unique--a slice of my history that will never be repeated in quite the same way. because there is only one joshua, and he will never again be five years old.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

that's what alarms and barking dogs are for!

so today . . . we are back home. normally i would say we are back home in sunny southern california. but today we are back home in wet and slightly rainy southern california.

i don't know what happened to the sunshine! it was here when we left a week ago--and now it is gone. i blame the oregon ducks fans. they are all on their way down here for the rose bowl--and by the profusion of car flags and decals and pompoms sticking out of their trunks, they are darn proud of it!! but you know, ducks need rain . . .

anyway, we are home. i always hate to come home after being gone. i'm not sure exactly why, but i think it has something to do with unpacking. as much as i hate to pack, unpacking is even worse . . .

but our dogs were so glad to see us! they had a somewhat harrowing experience while we were gone, which probably scarred them for life. it all began with some barking . . .

. . . on sunday i got a call from our neighbor just checking to be sure we were ok. she said the dogs had been barking quite a lot, and she was worried that maybe something was wrong. she didn't know that we were out of town, and i am guessing that she was picturing us passed out and dying on the bathroom floor. i assured her that we were fine--just out of town. then i called the person who was checking in on our pets and suggested that maybe he should close the doggie door and leave the pups inside when he wasn't there. that way, even if they barked, it wouldn't disturb the neighborhood. there. problem solved.

i thought.

the next day i got another phone call from the neighbor, and her side of the conversation went something like this: "another neighbor was out walking and we got to talking about how your dogs had been barking a couple of days ago. and so we took it upon ourselves to go into your back yard to see if they were ok. and the little one came right out to us, but the bigger one wouldn't come out! so we looked in the window, and we could see her running up and down the stairs. and we were worried that something was wrong, so we tried to open the patio door. but that set off the alarm. so we called the sheriff."

wait a minute. what??

"well the bigger dog kept running up and down the stairs, and we thought maybe she was trying to tell us something." yes, i am sure she was. she was trying to say, "who are you, and why are you trying to get into my house!"

"so we thought we should go in and check it out." but how did they think they were going to get in? we were out of town, and of course all the doors were locked!

"and so then the alarm went off, so we called the sheriff."
there it was again. they had called the sheriff. this was not going to be the first time that the sheriff had been to our house . . .

i'm not quite sure why, but all i could think of was that i had to get someone to go get that alarm turned off because it upsets milo and he howls. and i had to get someone to call the alarm company and tell them it was a false alarm so they wouldn't send the police. oh wait. the police were probably already on their way, because OUR NEIGHBOR HAD CALLED THEM!!

so i did the only thing i could think of to do. i called rollie.

rollie was out with diandra. he was being a good dad and had taken her to the mall, even though it was only two days after christmas. (yes, he is up for sainthood.) at the exact moment that i was getting the neighbor's story, rollie was getting phone calls from both the alarm company and the police. but he didn't know that it was just the neighbors trying to get into our house--he thought there might really be intruders! (the last pastor who lived in this house was robbed more than once.) so he called the friend who was checking on the dogs, and asked him to go over to the house and see if everything was ok. and then he got my frantic phone call telling him about the neighbors attempt to get into the house . . . and all of this was happening while he was just trying to have a few quiet moments in the men's room at the mall . . .

after talking to rollie, i called the neighbor back to tell her that he had taken care of everything, only to hear this: "well, there is a man in your house, but his name is not ernie, and you said you were going to call ernie to come take care of the alarm, so we think maybe he shouldn't be in there."

and then the sheriff drove up.

the guy in the house was the friend we had called. he had a key, which is how he got into the house. he knew the alarm code and was able to get it turned off. as i was trying to explain this to her, she was telling her story to the sheriff who was busy checking our friend's identification.

"give me the phone," the sheriff said to the neighbor. "are you the homeowner?" he asked me.

ok, technically we do not own this house. the church owns it. but most people don't understand how that works, and i didn't think this was the time to muddy the water with facts, so i just said, "yes" and hoped he would believe me.

"and did you give someone permission to come and feed your dogs while you were away?" he asked.


"and what is that person's name?" i told him, and he seemed satisfied and handed the neighbor's phone back to her. i wanted to explain a few more things, but i heard my neighbor say, "well she has hung up, but . . . " and then the phone went dead.

WAIT!! I HAVE MORE TO SAY! THERE ARE STILL A FEW THINGS THAT NEED TO BE CLEARED UP!! but i found myself talking to a dial tone. i tried to call her back, but only got her voice mail. i am guessing that she didn't think it would be prudent to ignore the sheriff and answer her cell phone--especially since there was apparently some discussion as to why she was trying to get into our house through the patio door when she knew we were out of town . . .

my only consolation during this whole ordeal was the thought that maybe, just maybe this was the same sheriff who had responded to our false alarm last summer. because this time, my house was clean!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

oh the weather outside is frightful!

so today . . . technically we are on our way home from visiting our families for christmas. but in reality, we are stranded in southern oregon, as there is apparently a blizzard in northern california and I-5 is closed. yes, closed. to all traffic. that means us.

this is not the first time this has happened to us. in fact, i don't know why we don't just start factoring in a delay for weather when we plan our trip.

last year the weather was so bad in the portland area, that we almost didn't go. but we decided to forge ahead and were lucky enough to stay just ahead of the road closures and accidents. usually that is not where trouble occurs. usually our problems lie just south of ashland, in the siskiyou mountains. and that appears to be the case again this year.

when we left sunny southern california a week ago, i checked the weather. i needed to know whether to pack snow clothes or rain clothes or just cold weather clothes. and at that time there was very little precipitation in the forecast. i was expecting clear skies until the very end of our trip when it looked like there was a chance of a little bit of rain.

ok, in oregon "a chance" of rain means get out the umbrellas and rubber boots. and there is no definition for "a little bit of rain" here. when it rains, it pours. but you see, i have spent the last eight years living in the land of perpetual sunshine where "a chance" of rain means it might rain in burbank. and "a little bit of rain" means wear a hoodie. so i foolishly believed the weather report and left my mittens and snow boots at home.

we enjoyed fairly good weather for most of our trip. the sun shone, but cold east winds blew. and then this morning, while we were packing up the car, i noticed that the sky looked kind of dark. ominously dark. we hit the freeway, and shortly after we left, i got a text from my mom saying that it was snowing. whew, i thought, we just missed it! and then it started snowing where we were . . .

it was snowing pretty hard, but not much was sticking to the ground. and as we continued on our way, the precipitation turned to rain and stayed that way for the next four hours. then, just as we were approaching medford, we saw the sign--blizzard conditions, northern california, I-5 closed to all vehicles.

yep, the kiss of death.

thankfully we were planning on spending the night in ashland anyway. we have friends there who were expecting us for dinner. but we were not the only ones on the road. we were surrounded by oregon duck fans headed for the rose bowl. i am guessing that many of them were coming from eugene, and probably planned to spend the night in redding or sacramento before driving on in to pasadena tomorrow. but sadly for them, they are going to be staying in medford or ashland tonight (if they can find a room,) which is going to make for an unexpectedly long drive tomorrow. and all those motels in redding and sacramento who were expecting duck fans are going to be very disappointed with all their empty rooms . . .

I-5 is not going to be a happy place tomorrow . . .

we drove on to our friends' house, entered their warm home, got hugs all around, ate a delicious dinner, and enjoyed an evening of catching up. we kept checking the road conditions, but when we finally headed for bed, the highway was still closed.

so i am going to sleep now. i don't know when we will be able to leave. i am sure that the california department of transportation is aware that their roads are going to be crammed with frantic duck fans as soon as that road opens, so i am sure they are doing everything they can to make it happen. rollie is still planning on getting up EARLY so we can leave, but if the road is still closed, we won't be going anywhere.

weather! it sure can mess up your plans!!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

the opposite of industrious is . . .

so today . . . i was a lazy bum. thus, i will not be posting an amusing, entertaining blog today, because that would require thought, work, and effort. and by definition, lazy bums engage in none of those things. lazy bums sit around eating o'henry bars, redecorating their pet society house on facebook, and watching dvds. i can be an award-winning lazy bum, but i don't get the opportunity to showcase that ability very often. today i did, and it was fun! perhaps tomorrow i will be less lazy and write a real blog. or perhaps not. we shall see . . .

Saturday, December 26, 2009

the quest for perfection

so today . . . we went shopping. yes, again. because my mom doesn't get to go with us anymore after thanksgiving, but she does get to go after christmas.

after christmas shopping is not as strategic as after thanksgiving shopping. on black friday, we have a mission--get our christmas shopping done. and we have a plan--scour the ads, make a list of items to be captured, and then do everything in our power to secure those items. oh, and stop several times to refuel (mcdonald's, cinnabon, wetzel's pretzels.) so there is a certain frantic, driven energy to our shopping that day.

but after christmas it is much more relaxed. the gift giving is over. we already have new stuff to play with. there is really nothing we need. so after christmas shopping is more about the wonderful surprise of finding something you didn't even know you wanted, marked down to a ridiculously low, low price, and maybe even getting the last one on the shelf!

for us that experience came in the form of water bottles.

we were at target. we had already spent a few hours at the mall, scoring some major deals. we had battled the never-ending traffic to escape the mall parking lot and were lucky enough to find an empty space in the target parking lot. we fought the freezing wind all the way to the entrance, only to stand inside wondering what we were looking for . . .

we ended up, as we usually do, in the christmas decorations. let me just say, we don't need any more christmas decorations. both my mother and i have boxes and boxes of christmas decorations. and yet we gravitate to all things red, green, and sparkly. as we pawed through the discounted items, looking for treasure, diandra found "the golden ticket!" stainless steel reusable water bottles!!

they are perfect! stainless steel inside and out, a secure top that screws on, a push button system that seals it up tight so it won't spill, yet also allows a person to drink without having to suck on a straw, a large enough opening that ice cubes can be dropped in. AND it doesn't sweat and drip when the beverage inside is colder than the air outside! i am telling you, they are perfect!
and diandra is the only one of us who bought them.

because you see, my mom and i had already bought what we THOUGHT were the perfect water bottles earlier in the day. and we were happy with them, until we got home and realized that they were not perfect--they were just pretty good. diandra had the perfect ones . . .

i immediately started plotting as to how i could get one of diandra's perfect water bottles--did i mention they came in a set of three? i knew she was smart enough to figure out if i had stolen one--she knows how many she has and might notice me drinking out of one. so i had to take the high road and negotiate a price. which i did. i then proceeded to tell everyone in my family how perfect these water bottles were. and then everyone wanted one. and not just one, but a box of three!

so after dinner diandra and i trekked back to target, with enough money in our pockets to buy four more sets of water bottles. and after searching the shelves, we came up with one box. yes, just one. this afternoon there had been several on the shelf, but now, just one.

this was not good, not good at all. especially now that i had convinced my entire family that they had to have these amazing water bottles! so we did the only thing we could do--we went to another target.

i did not want to go. it was 8:00 and it had been a long day. but what if we didn't go and the last of the water bottles sold out tonight and we missed it?!?!?! so we got back in the car with our pathetic catch of one set of water bottles, and headed out to the next closest target--with even worse results. they didn't have ANY of the coveted beverage containers. not one.

i wanted those water bottles! but i guess there is a limit as to how far i will go to get what i want, and i had hit it. so we went home with our mission unaccomplished.

and yet, unwilling to give up without a fight, diandra called a friend at home to see if they would go to the target stores at home and search for the perfect waterbottles. because we still need three more sets . . .

Thursday, December 24, 2009

a whole year of blogging!

so today . . . is the first anniversary of my blog.

last christmas eve when i wrote my first blog, i had no idea how blogging was going to affect my life. i started with the intent of just documenting the funny or strange things that happened to me, but along the way i found that i was also recalling childhood memories, learning things about myself, and writing not just to document, but also to entertain. i tried to write every single day, and i did for a while. but i found that there is a reason that newspaper columnists only publish two or three columns a week--it is hard to be creative and funny on a deadline.

i wanted my first anniversary blog to be amazing--knock your socks off amazing! i was going to have it redesigned with new colors and pictures. i was going to write a retrospective of the year that would have you laughing until it hurt. and then i was going to end it with a bang!

and then i got sick and my brain turned into cottage cheese . . .

so instead, i am going to offer you a first anniversary top ten list.


10. i go to bed later. i tend to be a night owl anyway, but now that i blog, it is getting ridiculous. many nights i do not even start writing until 10:00, which is when i should be heading toward bed. it has been suggested that i start writing earlier, but oddly enough, i am not as funny earlier in the day.

9. mini chocolate donuts. actually, the mini chocolate donuts haven't changed, but their role in our family has. we now refer to them as "devil donuts." so do a few of our friends. but to diandra, they represent her mother wrongly accusing her of theft. and she can't seem to let it go. if you ask her about my blog, THAT is what comes to her mind--not all the wonderful, brilliant things i've said about her, but how i thought she ate the devil donuts (hey-it was a reasonable assumption given the information that i had . . . )

8. "you should blog that." i hear these words from my family quite frequently now. when we are out together and something unusual happens, one of them will say, "you should blog that." i am glad that they enjoy my blogging and appreciate their willingness to participate--whether it's by giving me ideas or just allowing me to tell stories about them.

7. my mind is learning to think kinder, gentler thoughts. i try to avoid offending or hurting anyone when i blog. this means that sometimes i can't just write straight out of my head--i need to edit my thoughts before i write them down. and as i have done that over the last year, i find that my thoughts don't need to be edited nearly as much as they used to. my initial reaction to my world is more forgiving and more tolerant, and i think that makes me a more contented person.

6. people know things about me that i don't know they know. sometimes i forget who reads my blog, and when people come up to me and reference something from my past or something that happened at school, it is always surprising to me. and i look at them and think, "how did you know that?" it sort of makes me feel like a celebrity for a few minutes. and then i remember--loyal blog readers.

5. the first thing i check when i go online is my email. why, you ask? because i am always hopeful that someone has commented on my blog. i love to blog, but i love your comments even more. i can see how many people are reading by looking at the stat counter, but your comments show me your reactions to what i have written. the possibility of reading your comments is what keeps me blogging on those days when i think i just can't do it.

4. i think in blogspeak. i will be going about my day, minding my own business, when an idea will come to me for a blog, and suddenly i am not thinking like i normally do. suddenly my thoughts will have a certain rhythm and cadence. i will discard a particular word in favor of a more descriptive one. and i will know that in my mind i have switched from real world thinking to blogspeak.

3. anything can be a blog--not necessarily a good blog, but if i think about something for a little bit, i can usually relate it to something that has happened to me, or something i have been thinking about, or food (a favorite blog topic!) in fact, this has just given me a great idea for a blog . . .

2. my family is the best! ok, so this isn't something that has changed--i've always known this. but blogging has shown me why. my family is funny, and they are not afraid to show it. we like to make each other laugh, even if the joke is on us. and we love each other and get along and enjoy being together. yes, i am a lucky duck!

and the #1 thing that has changed since i started blogging--
i don't type in caps anymore. i started doing that because it was just easier and faster, and i decided it would be part of my "style." but now that I have been doing it for a year, it is affecting other areas of my writing. i sent an email to my doctor the other day and thought i should use capitals. so i did. for the first sentence. while i was thinking about it. yes, now i have to think about hitting the shift key. it is no longer an automatic response.

and there it is--the first anniversary blog. i just want to say how much i appreciate each one of you who give up five minutes of your day to read my blog. as much as i enjoy writing it, i probably would not put in the time that it takes if no one was reading it. so thank you! you give me incentive and purpose to continue . . .

happy first anniversary!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

so today . . . i am at my mom's. christmas can come now :)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

and away we go!

so today . . . i've spent the day getting ready to go north for christmas! i am so excited!!

our pups are not so excited. somehow they seem to know, even before we get out the suitcases, that we are going. (i'm sure they understand us when we are talking to each other.) this was milo's response when i began gathering clothes to pack . . .
now before you think, "well of course he knows you are leaving--you are getting stuff ready to go," the sad truth is that it is not an uncommon circumstance for him to find a stack of tops or pants laying on the bed. somehow, when i do laundry, i seem to lose interest between the folding stage and the putting away stage . . .

anyway, it is now 10:07 p.m. and of course i am not ready to go. once again, rollie is. he is tucked snugly in bed racking up zzzzzzzz's so that he will be ready for the long drive tomorrow. he will wake up about 3:00 a.m. and be ready to go.

diandra decided that she would just stay awake until we leave. her thinking is that if she goes to bed tonight, she will get just enough sleep that she won't be able to sleep in the car. and how frustrating would that be, to be wide awake in a dark car at 4:00 a.m.?!?!

i am heading for the shower. and then i will finish packing (i am almost done,) pick up the last few things lying cluttered about, and maybe vacuum. and then sleep . . . of course, i will sleep in the recliner, in my clothes, so that when rollie is ready to go he can wake me up and i can walk zombie-like to the car and resume my slumber.

i have no problem sleeping in the car . . .

Monday, December 21, 2009

on the mend . . .

so today . . . i am on the mend. i am thinking hopeful thoughts for my trip north. maybe christmas carols will play in my head after all . . .

Sunday, December 20, 2009

the long and winding road

so today . . . i managed to eat some real food and keep it inside my body long enough to suck some nutrition out of it. i think. AND i did all that without the intervention of prescription drugs. so i am hoping this means that i have turned a corner and am on the road to recovery . . .

. . . unless the unpleasantness returns under cover of darkness.

stay tuned for the ongoing drama i now think of as "how sick will i be tomorrow?!?!" subtitled "julie sets a new personal record for days missed at work . . . "

Saturday, December 19, 2009

all i want for christmas . . .

so today . . . i am sad. i am missing all the fun of christmas.

i know what christmas is all about, and i never want to let myself get so caught up in the preparations that i lose sight of why we celebrate. but i do enjoy the preparations . . . the decorating, the shopping, the wrapping, the music, the lights. i love it all--even the baking (although i don't bake christmas goodies much anymore, because of all that sugar.) i love the whole process of getting ready to celebrate, and then stepping back and just enjoying it all. i love it so much, that it usually looks like christmas at my house until well into january!

this year it doesn't look like christmas at my house at all. i've been too sick to decorate, and circumstances have prevented rollie and diandra from doing it. i haven't been out and about to enjoy any of the hundreds of light displays that are within a few miles from my home. i haven't been able to go shopping and see the mall decorations and spend time looking for the perfect gifts. but that's ok. i've accepted that, because i've been sick. and anyway, i knew i would be spending a week at my mom and dad's house . . . and that's where christmas happens for me.

maybe it is because i am not responsible for making it happen there. when i go home for christmas, it still feels magical to me--even at my age. i still walk around the house, checking out what has changed. i scope out the refrigerator. i check the candy dishes. i surreptitiously look at the names on the big boxes and the little boxes under the tree. i look in the small dresser drawer in our room, because that's where my mom puts stuff that she has found that she thinks i might like to have. i know that their house will be wonderfully decorated, and it will smell good. my mom will have our favorite christmas treats to eat, and my dad will keep the fire going so it is warm and toasty, and we will get to see the rest of our families who live so far from us that we only get to see them at christmas. and it might even snow.

last year there was a huge snowstorm, and diandra and i had to go buy new warm coats and snow boots, because we didn't have any. and finding a really warm coat in southern california was no easy task! we finally ended up both buying exactly the same coat--we looked like the bobsey twins. (ok, maybe from a distance, when all you could see was the silhouette of our coats. but i didn't have a picture like that.) it was going to be soooo cold. and i knew that even getting back and forth to the car was going to be freezing!! and it was!

but now, i am afraid that i might not be well enough to make the trip, because i still feel sick. and the thought of packing and traveling for 17 hours is just more than my mind can deal with today. and yet, that is where i want to be next week.

i hate being sick.

i'm feeling a little sorry for myself. i know in my head that christmas isn't about all the decorating and shopping and traveling. and i also know in my head that whatever christmas turns out to be this year, it will be good because i will be with people i love. and i am very thankful for my family--both my little immediate family and my bigger extended family--that love me, even when i am sick and tired and whiney and unreasonable. i'm thankful for my mom, from whom i get my love for all things christmasy. i'm thankful for rollie and diandra, who are flexible and have embraced the seemingly odd holiday traditions we have forged. i'm thankful for that tiny baby who was born more than 2000 years ago, even though he sometimes gets lost in all the rushing about.

i'm not thankful that i am still sick. everyone says i need to take care of myself, and i'm trying to. people say i need to rest, and i've done that. some people say how can you even think of making that kind of a trip! you should stay home and get better!! and that may be true. all i know is, as the calendar nears december 25th, my heart starts heading up north.

the question this year is, will my body get to go along . . .

Thursday, December 17, 2009

back on sick leave

so today . . . i am sick. again. really sick.

tuesday night i was at school, waiting to take my class into the church for their christmas program performance. i was having some digestive discomfort, but didn't know what was in store for me. until just before it was time for us to go sing, when i made a mad dash for the restroom and realized just how sick i was. i immediately felt a little better, so i took my class upstairs, led them through their song, went right home and was promptly sick again. and again. and again. all night long.

i was really brave (ok, you can stop laughing now!) and made it through the night without begging rollie to take me to urgent care. again. (they recognize us there now . . . ) we went in to see a doctor wednesday morning, and came to the conclusion that i must have had food poisoning. (if you have never had food poisoning, you cannot imagine how awful it is. if you have, then you can feel my pain.) they gave me an iv to combat the resulting dehydration, and sent me home. i thought i would just sleep a bit, eat a bit, and be fine by the next day.

i wasn't.

so my blogging has been interrupted once again. i have a couple of blogs rolling around in my head, though, for when i am feeling better and have the attention span to continue writing. one of them is urgent care vs. the doctor's office--let me just say, there is a huge difference in how sick people are cared for. neither is bad, but one is definitely preferable.

i hope i am feeling normal again soon, but maybe i would settle for just feeling better . . . until that happens, my blogging will be eratic. don't give up on me--i am sure that i will be back to my normal blogging self again . . . some day . . .

Monday, December 14, 2009

hi ho! hi ho! it's back to work i go . . .

so today . . . i went back to work. it was time. i guess.

i've been off for most of the last two weeks, trying to recover from this bout of pneumonia. but it isn't fiscally feasible for me to just stay home until i am 100% better--that could take several weeks. so i decided that i would go back today and see how it went.

the day did not get off to a great start. my alarm clock was the culprit. last night when i got into bed, i set the alarm on my clock for the first time in several weeks. (i've spent most of the last six weeks sleeping in the recliner downstairs to minimize the disturbance caused by my nighttime coughing, so i have been using the alarm on my phone--whenever i needed an alarm.) i have two alarms set on my clock--one is earlier and one is later. i chose the earlier time, knowing that in addition to getting ready for work, i was also going to have to deal with the whole sinus rinsing thing and the new inhaler. but as you know, i never plan to get up when the alarm goes off--i plan to get up after i have hit the snooze button a time or two (not to exceed three, or i will really be late!)

so this morning when the alarm went off, oh so early, i hit the snooze button. just once. the second time the alarm went off, i rolled over and got up. i was feeling pretty proud of myself. then i happened to glance at my clock and noticed that the time on my alarm clock matched the time displayed on my phone. perfectly.


this was wrong, very wrong. the time on my clock is supposed to be between 7 and 13 minutes fast, so that i will think that it is later than it is and not be late to work. but if the time on my clock matched the time on my phone, then it was not fast--it was right in sync with the atomic time set by some satellite orbiting in space . . .


and then i remembered . . .

i remembered when the time changed and rollie was going around the house changing all the clocks. he didn't initially change my clock, because, well, he can't stand to look at my clock, since it always has the wrong time on it. and i don't like him to touch my clocks, because he insists on setting them to the correct time! but my clock projects the time onto the ceiling, and after several days of me sleeping in the recliner, i think he got tired of looking at the wrong time on the ceiling--because not only were the minutes off (which is necessary if i have any hope of getting to work on time,) but the hour was off too, because i hadn't changed the time when we went back to standard time. i was going to. i had planned to. but then i started sleeping downstairs, and i just forgot . . .

and then one day i realized that the time on my clock had mysteriously been changed to reflect the actual time rather than julie-time. i asked rollie about it, and he said that he didn't know what happened--he was just trying to help me out by changing the time to reflect the correct hour, and somehow the minutes got changed too. he said all of this with that innocent, little boy look in his eyes. which immediately caused me to question the truthfulness of his statement, because while he was trying to look innocent, he actually looked guilty, guilty, guilty . . .

but that day was several weeks ago, and i had decided to let him enjoy the correct time for a while. i thought i would just tweak the minutes when i started using the alarm again. that was my plan. but in the ensuing weeks, i had totally forgotten about it. even when i got into bed last night and saw the time staring at me from the ceiling . . .

. . . so i had to get ready for work this morning in real time. i managed to do it, even with all the extra stuff i had to do. i did, however, have to go to work without any makeup on.

once i got to school, the day was kind of uneventful. we had music time, work time, we practiced for our christmas program and had macaroni and cheese for lunch (yum!) then i sent the kids off for their rest time, sat down at my desk, leaned my head against the wall behind me, and fell asleep.

yes, sitting in my chair, i fell alseep. if my coffee machine hadn't made a noise for no apparent reason, i might still be sitting there sleeping. i don't know what happened. i just closed my eyes for a minute, and the next thing i knew, 20 minutes had disappeared. apparently i was tired.

but the important thing is, i made it through the day. i didn't have to come home early. rollie didn't have to come get me and take me to urgent care. i didn't have to take any tylenol or cough medicine. things were almost back to normal. almost.

except for the time on my clock, my bare face, and my impromptu nap . . .

Saturday, December 12, 2009

a less than perfect holiday

so today . . . the movie theater won.

our family loves to be together. i have fun doing all kinds of things, but if i want to have the most fun ever, i will do something with rollie and diandra. even though the three of us live in the same house, it seems like sometimes the only time we see each other is when we pass in the doorway as one of us is going out and another one of us is coming in. so time spent together is something we look forward to, and christmas day is one of those times that we set aside to be together.

of course, i am speaking here of early christmas. (if you didn't read yesterday's blog, you should stop right now and do it. then come back here and finish this one.)

early christmas was scheduled for today, but then we decided to have it yesterday. so we did not have to get up early to do the whole gift exchange thing this morning. instead, rollie got up and went to play basketball, and diandra and i slept in. and then this afternoon we went out to lunch and a movie.

i take no responsibility for the way the rest of the day went. i did not make any of the decisions. perhaps i should have . . .

first we had to decide where to have lunch. rollie, as usual, picked rubio's. diandra, trying to make healthy food choices, picked jack in the box. (ok, pick your chin up off the floor. they have really good grilled chicken strips there.) i didn't care as long as the food was hot, because it was raining today. so we compromised and went to subway . . .

we went to subway at 12;30, even though the movie we were going to see didn't start until 2:30. i thought it seemed kind of early to go get lunch, until an hour later when we were sitting there and rollie and diandra were watching me eat my soup (yes, subway had their delicious broccoli and cheese soup today--yum!) they were watching me eat, because they were both done. they had finished six inch subs and chips, and were just sitting there watching me eat my bowl of soup. and then diandra said, "THIS is why we have to come so early to get lunch!" i could have been offended, but i chose not to be--it was christmas, after all . . . about 20 minutes later i finished my soup and decided i had better take my chips with me--because the natives were getting restless!

we got to the theater half an hour early, which is just the way rollie likes it! he stood in line to get tickets and diandra and i entered the lobby, only to be immediately stopped by an employee who informed us that we could not bring our subway sodas into the theater. i was a little surprised, because even though they have signs posted saying "no outside food or drink allowed," usually no one seems to care. but this guy took his job very seriously--there was no way we were getting past him with those sodas!

i know that when you are only paying $2 for a movie ticket, they have to make their money somewhere, and that seems to be the food . . . so we went back out into the rain to leave our sodas in the car. i just decided i didn't need a soda to get me through the movie. they might not let me bring my outside drink in, but they couldn't make me buy a $4 diet coke!! i was, however, going to buy rollie some raisinettes--even though he wouldn't say the word raisinettes--because it was christmas today. and then he decided we should have a drink too. ok, fine. we will buy one drink and he and i will share it, but that is all--one drink and a box of raisinettes.

as i am standing at the counter, waiting for diandra to make a decision about if she is going to get candy (the battle between healthy eating vs. movie treats was raging) the guy behind the counter says, "you know, since you are already buying a large soda and a box of raisinettes, you can get a large popcorn for only $2.50 more." ok, i NEVER buy popcorn at the movies. never. and i am already buying more than i had planned to, since i am sort of protesting the absence of my subway soda pop. but diandra and i decided that maybe popcorn wouldn't be as bad for her as a box of candy, so we got the popcorn. and he wasn't kidding--it was HUGE!! and as he handed it to us, he said, "oh, and by the way, you can get a free refill on the popcorn." are you kidding me?!?! there is no way we are going to be able to eat one bucket of this stuff, let alone get a refill!

and yet, their evil plan worked, because i did buy a $4 soda, not to mention the raisinettes and a large bucket of popcorn . . .

as we walk away with our food, today's blog starts forming in my head, and i decide that i need a picture. after all, i have this new phone with a camera. and we are so early that we can't go in and sit yet. so we set up the food and i take a few pictures--at which point the same employee who said i couldn't bring my own drink into the theater, tells me that i can't take a camera into the theater--you know, in case i want to pirate a tape of a movie . . .

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!?! first of all, i doubt anyone would pay for a copy of a movie shot with my camera phone. and then diandra tells me that my new phone won't shoot video anyway! and let's not forget that we are at the cheap theater, which means these movies are just about ready to come out on dvd. and is this guy seriously telling me that i can't take my phone in with me?!?!?

i am usually a very nice, calm person, but for some reason i was on the verge of coming unglued! thankfully diandra stepped in, and with a few quiet words kept me from becoming a raving lunatic and seriously hurting someone. with my contraband phone.

we made it to our seats without further incident, and settled in, expecting to be entertained for a couple of hours--and then spent the next couple of hours watching the worst movie ever! well, maybe not the very worst, but certainly one of the top five worst movies i have ever seen. really. usually when i see a movie, i am kind of sad when it ends--a good movie leaves you wanting more.

but not this one. this was the movie that would not end! i kept thinking of ways it COULD end, but it didn't. and then, of course when it did, everything was the fault of aliens. more lazy story telling . . .

so this was not the most perfect of days. but still, we made some memories. this was definitely a christmas we will not forget. for years to come, we will be saying, "do you remember the year it rained on christmas?" or "do you remember the year diandra picked that awful movie??" or "do you remember the time it took mom forever to eat her lunch?"--no wait, they can say that almost any time we go out to eat.

the thing is, even the less than perfect memories are still fun to remember, because we 'suffered' together--and managed to have a good time doing it.

oh yes, and here is the picture that drew attention to my phone's photographic capabilities . . .it's probably a good thing it doesn't take video. i would have wanted to do it, just to prove i could!

Friday, December 11, 2009

merry early christmas!

so today . . . was christmas at our house. early christmas.

i think diandra thinks this tradition started when she was born, because of course, on the day she was born the whole earth shifted on it's axis so that everything was now about her. (i'm not kidding--well, at least in our world this is true . . . ) but early christmas actually became our tradition the first year we were married . . .

you know . . . we were young and in love . . . and while we wanted to share christmas with our families, we also wanted to have our own christmas with our brand new family of two. and so, early christmas was created.

here's how it works. usually it is the friday or saturday (depending on everyone's schedules--and let me tell you, it is getting harder and harder to find a date as we try to coordinate the working schedules of three adults) before we leave to go visit our families for the real christmas. whatever date we choose becomes christmas for us, which means the night before is now christmas eve. our tradition is that on christmas eve we get in the car after it gets dark and drive around looking at christmas lights. then we come home and watch a christmas movie, we each open one present, and then we go to bed with visions of sugarplums dancing in our heads . . .

. . . at least, that has been our tradition. but in the last few years rollie has finally confessed that he hates driving around looking at christmas lights. so i let him off the hook, and instead i take little detours all month long when i am out after dark, enjoying the lights by myself.

. . . the movie tradition was a pretty good one, until the year that i picked "the 12 dogs of christmas" to watch. i don't quite understand it, but no one seemed really interested in it, and everyone but me fell asleep.

. . . opening a present on christmas eve seems to be alive and well in the tradition department, except for this year. but then again, we deviated from the plan in so many ways this year, that i am not sure you can say we even had a plan.

. . . and really, visions of electronics are what dance in our heads now.

this year was different in so many ways. first of all, i have been sick and just have not been up to decorating. usually my christmas boxes are lying in wait the week before thanksgiving, and while we are out shopping on black friday, rollie sets up the christmas trees. then decorating consumes the rest of thanksgiving weekend so that we can enjoy as many festive days as possible.

but this year, instead of decorating after thanksgiving, i went to urgent care . . . and yes, rollie and diandra could have done it . . . but no, really they couldn't. because it would have made me crazy! i'm sure they would have done a fine job of decorating, but it would have caused my eye to twitch . . .

and then there was the shopping. i only had that one day after thanksgiving to go out and shop--since then i have pretty much been confined to the house, except for doctor appointments. so this year, instead of piles of presents under the christmas tree, we each got one amazing gift. we've never done this before. every year i love watching rollie and diandra open gifts and seeing the surprise and delight on their faces, over and over again as the pile of wrapped gifts gets smaller and smaller. this year there was plenty of surprise and delight, but it only happened once!

and then there was the date. the logical day for early christmas was next saturday--the last saturday before we head north. but there was an issue with hiding one of the gifts, which was kind of large, and wouldn't be able to make the trip north with us. and how much fun would that be, to open something you've been wanting, and then have to leave it sitting in your room for a week before you get to enjoy it?!? so we agreed we would celebrate our early christmas really early--like tomorrow.

and then diandra came home for lunch, and i was just sitting here in front of the fire (because it sort of rained again today,) and rollie was kind of bummed because he wouldn't get to play basketball in the morning . . . and so we all decided today would be christmas!

so there were no christmas eve festivities, because christmas eve turned out to be last night. but we didn't know it then . . .

and there were no decorations, because even though i am feeling somewhat better, we changed the date TODAY, leaving me no time to put up anything . . .

but we did have a fire, and finally some cooler, gloomy-ish weather, and christmas music . . .

oh yes, the christmas music . . . every single year i play the carpenters christmas album while we open presents. every single year! and this year, diandra said, "what is that?!?!" and she did not say it like "ooo--that is so beautiful." she said it like, "why are you forcing me to listen to that horrible music! isn't it bad enough that there are no decorations?? now you have to mock us with terrible sounding christmas music??!?!" ok, maybe i am reading just a little bit into it, but she has never complained about it before. i blame the bose speakers--the sound was just so much better this year, that she actually heard what was being played. even if she didn't particularly like it . . .

so then diandra whipped out her cell phone and rollie started scrolling through his ipod touch and i was trying to find some other christmas music on my nano. really--the three of us were sitting there with our various electronic devices trying to find christmas music we could all enjoy, when diandra said, "why don't we just play a cd?" actually, i think what she said was "don't we have the beach boys christmas cd somewhere?"

this was actually a very good question, because we used to have a beach boys christmas cd. but it has disappeared. the jewel case still resides with all the other christmas cds, but it is empty. and apparently out of 'print' because i have tried to find it online, and that particular album cannot be found. and yet, i just can't quite part with that empty case. i keep thinking maybe the cd will turn up . . .

and then i had to tell her that we don't even have a cd player anymore. she looked at me like i had just told her that there was no tooth fairy. but when we all went digital and the cd player died, rollie and i just decided to use the bose speaker with our ipods and not replace the cd player.

somehow she missed that momentous decision . . .

anyway, we finally agreed on some christmas music, and the gifts were opened with surprised and delighted faces all around--even though there was teasing and trickery involved. and then new electronics were plugged in, charged up, connected, activated and finally ready to use. rollie (bless his little pink heart!) being the techiest one in the family, had to wait to play with his toy until he got diandra's set up and mine working--which kept him busy most of the rest of the day.

but the best part of early christmas, is that now the hoopla is over. no more shopping or wrapping or decorating has to be done. every time we play with our new toys, we will be reminded about how much thought and love went into choosing and purchasing our special gift. now we can just relax and enjoy the rest of the christmas season, remembering why and Who we celebrate.

early christmas--a most excellent tradition!

and since every blog is better with a picture--even though i don't do it very often--here is one that i took tonight with my new phone :)("mom, are you kidding me?!? you are really going to make me stand in front of this tree at the mall while you take a picture?!?!?! ok, well hurry up. really?? another one? ok, that's enough--people are looking!") we have so much fun at the mall :) and i guess if she didn't want her picture taken, she should have waited until we were home to show me how to use the camera on my new phone :)

i love you diandra--you are a good sport too!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

and the results are in! well, mostly.

so today . . . the saga continues . . .

my ct scan was good, but my lungs still squeak when i breathe (whatever that means!) so a "pulmonary function test" is in my future, and a new inhaler was added to my routine. oh,and i also have to continue irrigating my nasal passages . . .


both the inhaler and sinus cleansing have to be done morning and night. and while neither one takes a huge amount of time, i sort of have to work myself up to the whole "squirting a whole bottle of solution in one nostril so that it can drain out of the other nostril" thing. plus, i have to eat enough breakfast that the antibiotics don't upset my stomach. and, other than the antibiotics, this new routine is going to continue indefinitely . . .

this is why i am staying home another day.

i can see that i am going to have to get up earlier for a while, and i am not happy about this. i am not the most alert, fast-moving person early in the morning. my engine doesn't really get going until about 10:00. so not only am i going to have to get up early enough to get all this extra stuff done, it is going to take me longer to do it at 7:00 in the morning than it does at 10:30.

when i asked the doctor how long this new routine was going to continue, she looked at me blankly. it is never a good thing when your specialist looks at you blankly. it either means she doesn't know what you are talking about, or she doesn't know what else to do. in this case, as it turns out, it meant, "what do you mean how long are you going to have to do this? you are going to have to do it until you stop squeaking. either that, or we are going to have to run a tube down into your lungs and take a look around."

i am not a big fan of having tubes stuck into me so a doctor can "take a look around . . . "

so i guess i will adjust, and hope that my uncooperative body responds well to the prescribed treatments and the squeaking goes away by next month when i see the doctor again. i am already doing the mental gymnastics that it takes to convince myself that water in my nose is no big deal.

but it is. i may have to offer myself a reward . . .

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

another sick day . . .

so today . . . was a bust for blogging material.

the sun shone.

i'm getting good at irrigating my sinuses (sadly.)

my ct scan was uneventful. i didn't have to wait. i didn't have to get undressed. i didn't fall off the machine. i didn't pass out from holding my breath (although one time i thought i might.) i didn't get claustrophobic (i just closed my eyes and pretended i was laying on the beach . . . the mind is a powerful thing!)

i did wear a christmas tree pin that i liberated from my mom's jewelry chest last summer :)

and someone did steal the poinsettia plant from radiology. so a radiologist stole a poinsettia plant from someone else . . . while i was standing right there!!

i did not go to school.

i did not go to band rehearsal.

i did not go to old navy and get $15 boots or to starbucks for their special "12 days of christmas" deal which was a red travel cup for $6.99.

i did get a get well card from one of my little munchkins, via his mom's blackberry :)and i did wear my sheepskin boots all day to keep my feet warm, because it only got up to about 60 degrees today--even though the sun was shining.

pneumonia--day 10

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

my brain is not cooperating!

so today . . . i really want to blog, but my mind is empty.

i know this is hard for some of you to believe (wendy) but it is. i've been home from work for a week now, and have only gone out of the house for doctor appointments. my only connection with the outside world is when rollie and diandra come home and talk to me, or when i chat on facebook. there is not a lot happening for me to comment on. i did start a different blog tonight, but it wasn't funny at all--i think my brain knows i am sick and refuses to giggle. but don't give up on me--i promise i will be funny again. in fact, tomorrow i am going to have a ct scan. i have high hopes that it will be an adventure!

Monday, December 7, 2009

my 300th post!

so today . . . it rained.

and i was going to write a blog about the rain, but then i realized that this is my 300th post! i think that is kind of amazing! so the rain blog will have to wait for another day . . .

three hundred is a pretty bug number. so it got me to thinking about what other things i have done 300 times . . .

--the laundry. yes, i passed the number 300 long, long ago.
--kissed the dogs. i kiss them multiple times in a day, so i surpass 300 kisses every year!
--hmmm--i guess i should add kissed rollie and diandra too. i kiss them almost every day, sometimes twice ;)
--read books or magazines. i always have something that i am in the middle of reading.
--made a list. oh yeah--i am the master list maker. i make a new list almost every day. of course, i never complete my lists, but this is a topic for another day's blog . . .
--popped the top on a can of diet soda. sigh. i know.
--logged onto the internet. yeah, my facebook friends know this is true!
--said, "in this class we are all friends together," or "are you making a good choice?" or "i see johnny is doing the right thing." yes, some days i could pretty much be replaced by a recording.
--whined. this number is probably upwards of 3000.
--cooked dinner. hah! i know some of you don't believe this, but i used to cook all the time.

and in the interests of fairness and balance, i would also like to add . . .

things i have not done 300 times . . .
--put gas in my car. in oregon, there are guys who come to your car and pump your gas--even in the rain! you still have to get out of your car to pay, usually, but still . . . since we have only lived in california for 8 years, i'm pretty sure i am still under the 300 mark here.
--cut my hair. my hair has been an almost constant source of frustration to me, although in the last few years we have reached a tentative truce. but the truth is, i am just too cheap to have it cut more than four times a year.
--gone to the gym. yes, i have discovered that i am not a gym rat--even though i want to be.
--reorganized my closet. but i am sure i will hit the number 300 here before i die . . .
--told my mom and dad i loved them. i should have told them thousands of times. they are amazing parents!
--gotten a speeding ticket. thank goodness! i've only had two, and i only deserved one of them. that's not to say that i never speed, but where we live, speeding is relative . . .
--watched "it's a wonderful life!" some things should be savored, not gorged on.
--defrosted the freezer. it is cold and wet in there--i prefer sunny and warm.
--asked a friend to go do something fun. i am kind of a solitary person. i have friends, but typically i do things alone. solitude works for me.
--gone to disneyland. i was 42 years old when i went to disneyland the first time, and i still thought it was the most magical place on earth. i think this needs to move to the other list. let's see, if i got a pass and went once a week . . .

and there you have it--my 300th post. be glad i decided not to write "300 things you might not know about me . . . "

Saturday, December 5, 2009

never going to happen . . .

so today . . . i am crossing one more thing off of my "things i did that i vowed i would never do" list. this is the companion to the "things i will never, ever do, no matter what" list.

my list of "things i will never ever do, no matter what" is not a written list. i keep it in my head--that way it is easy to adjust it. because i am finding that as my life progresses, more and more things are moving from that list to the list of "things i did that i vowed i would never do."

like saying, "because i'm the mom, that's why!"

honestly, i don't remember my mom ever saying that--maybe she did (although if she did, i am sure it was not addressed to me--i was the perfect child!) but for some reason, i just decided it was something i would never, ever stoop to saying. if my child asked me a question, i would answer her. because of course, i would always have a reason for everything i did . . .

and then diandra started talking.

i don't know if it was because she was an only child or because of genetics or because we read to her all the time, but she had an analytical mind and an amazing vocabulary to go along with it. this resulted in conversations with lots of "but why" questions, which i always tried to answer completely until i would finally run out of answers. at which point i would hear myself saying, "because i'm the mom, that's why!"

or eating broccoli.

i used to be somewhat famous for my aversion to most vegetables. but for some reason i had a special dislike for broccoli. i'm not sure why. i don't remember ever eating it and thinking it tasted awful. it may have had something to do the with dreadful smell when broccoli is cooking, i don't know. but my friends knew that if anything green was passing between my lips, it was sure to be an m&m. and then came the day when we realized we were not getting any younger and should probably start thinking about trying to live longer instead of just assuming we would. so i learned to like broccoli, and now i eat it several times a week. i even order it instead of mashed potatoes when we eat at sizzler.

but today, i did something that i knew for certain i would never, ever do--not for any reason, not for any amount of money--i would die first! and yet, today it crossed over to the "i did it" list.

i rinsed my sinuses.

i've heard about the neti pots. i know there are people who swear by them. but not me. there was no way i was ever going to be running water up one nostril and down the other one. no. way.

but i've been sick. and the pulmonary doctor i saw yesterday thinks that maybe my pneumonia started out as sinusitis, which can be very difficult to get rid of. so she thinks this is a good idea. she thinks it will help. and as she is telling me about what she wants me to do, all i can think is "there is no way on earth that i am going to be able to do that!! even if i wanted to, which, by the way, i don't! water up my nose??? and then filling up my sinuses and coming back out?!?!? uh uh, no way!!!" i don't even like to put my head under the water--i'm pretty sure that is why i can't swim. i didn't even take showers until i went to college--it was baths for me. you don't get water in your nose when you take a bath!

i'm pretty sure if i try this, i will drown. seriously. in fact, rollie and i had a discussion about it when the doctor left the room. i kept saying, "but if i block the back of my throat so the water doesn't get into my mouth, then i can't breathe!" and he kept saying, "of course you can." and i kept saying, "no, i can't! watch." and then i would pinch my nose shut, block my throat with my tongue and try to breathe. which of course i couldn't. he just rolled his eyes, but i knew this was going to kill me.

rollie picked up the kit from the pharmacy, along with the newer, stronger antibiotics. (which btw, are ENORMOUS! i have to cut them in half and they are still hard to swallow!) i read the directions to the sinus rinsing stuff on the way home, and acted like i was going to do it, but i wasn't. when we got home, i put it on the kitchen counter (which is beginning to look like a drug store,) and decided i should wait a while before i tried it--knowing i was not going to do it, but pretending i was . . .

time passed. rollie went to bed. i got tired. i wanted to go to sleep, but i couldn't until i rinsed my sinuses. so i just stayed up. finally i knew i had to do it. but i didn't want to. i knew at the very least i was going to gag and snort and cough and be miserable. and at the very worst, i might drown. but what would i say when the doctor asked me about it? i thought about lying, but she is a doctor. she would know.

so i prepared the solution. i got a box of tissues. i headed to the bathroom sink, hearing a funeral dirge playing in my head. and then i did it.

and it wasn't fun. water went in one side and out the other. it felt like it does when i breathe in when my head is underwater (which never happens anymore, because i have pretty much given up on swimming. but the memories are strong!!) and yet, i didn't gag or choke or drown. so i guess i am going to live.

there's still a lot of stuff on my "things i will never, ever do, no matter what" list. but after this experience, i'm kind of afraid to think about what might move to the "things i did that i vowed i would never do" list next.

i sure hope it isn't bungee jumping . . .

Thursday, December 3, 2009

a day of enforced rest

so today . . . i rested.

shortly after waking up, i logged onto facebook to take care of my games. i harvested, plowed, planted, baked, visited, picked up gifts, sent gifts--i have a very busy virtual life.

i spent 40 minutes on subversive activities.

about 1:00 rollie brought me jack in the box for lunch, and we watched a movie on tv.

i sat on the couch and did report cards for my class, so they could go home tomorrow (just in case i am able to go to school next week and do parent conferences.)

i watched some shopping tv, but didn't buy anything--because i am resting.

i went back onto facebook and repeated my morning's activities.

i ate leftovers for dinner, and printed out the report cards, so rollie can drop them off at school tomorrow.

i skulked about the internet.

i drank more tea and read a little bit.

and that is all.

no wait--i also started the dishwasher.

(well, i needed to accomplish something today--which is hard to do if you are supposed to be resting.)

i can hardly wait for tomorrow . . .

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

at last, an answer. i hope.

so today . . . i am sitting in front of the fire (because there is finally a chill in the air,) playing on my computer, and eating a chocolate cake lollipop from sweet and saucy shop (yes, diandra finally brought me some, and now that i have tasted one they are zooming to the top of my list of "things that i would kill for!" i cannot describe to you how delicious these little cake balls are!!) if only that was the whole story . . .

. . . i am sitting here in front of the fire, playing on my computer, eating a cake lollipop because i have pneumonia. that cough that i have been whining about for the last two and a half months? yeah, it is now pneumonia.

i was pretty sick over the weekend, so sunday i emailed my doctor and said, "what should i do?" i hadn't actually seen MY doctor since the middle of october--i'd just been going to urgent care. but i thought maybe now i needed to see someone who knew me and could look at all the information from the last couple of months and figure out why i was still coughing.

and then i got up monday morning and went to work.

it was an economic decision. i do not have any benefits at my job, because i do not work 40 hours a week--i work "only" 32 hours. that means no paid vacation days or sick days, and holidays are only paid if you work the day before AND the day after. i had dragged myself in last week, and i was not ready to lose 3 days of pay just because i didn't feel good on monday.

i got to work without incident, and everything was ok. for a while. but then things started going downhill. by 10:00 i was trying to figure out how i was going to get my head off my desk long enough to take my little darlings across the hall to the bathroom. i was afraid i was not going to be able to drive the one mile it would take me to get home, let alone navigate multiple lanes of freeway traffic. i called rollie and said, "can you take me to urgent care after lunch?" he said, "you don't sound good. maybe we should go right now!" but i said, "no, we could be there a while--you had better eat first." which turned out to be prophetic, because we were there all afternoon . . .

we got to urgent care about 1:30, and while the waiting room wasn't packed, there were a couple of wheelchairs challenging my path to door which protected the medical staff from the sickly hoards. the guy who checked me in said the wait was probably going to be about 2 hours. i figured those wheelchairs were going to beat me in. but i didn't even care--i was just relieved to be in close proximity to medical assistance.

they called my name 10 minutes later! (it's a good thing i hadn't decided to go across the street to jack in the box, because the thought did cross my mind.) i learned that the magic words when going to urgent care are "chest pain." the triage nurse took my vital signs, and looked at her machine like it was broken when she saw how high my pulse was. and then she took it again. and then again. apparently it was pretty high. i thought it was good that my heart was strong enough to pump so fast--she did not! they hustled me into a room where they took my blood pressure laying down, sitting up, and standing. and they used the kid cuff! if i had felt better, i would have been mortified! i was already wearing a hospital gown--you would think that would be enough humiliation . . . and then came the ekg--i guess "chest pain" and a high pulse are cause for concern to urgent care personnel. the ekg was normal, so the nurse said, "wait here."

are you kidding me?? i was in the inner sanctum. and it had only taken me 10 minutes to get in! i wasn't going anywhere until i had some answers. i sat on the soft, cushy "bed" for a while, and then finally gave it up and laid down to nap . . .

and then, my phone rang. it was my doctor's office. "we think you should see a pulmonary specialist. can you go thursday afternoon?" there i was, laying on a bed in urgent care, wearing two hospital gowns (yes, there is a story there,) waiting for permission to stroll down the hall to have a chest xray. in my two hospital gowns. "sure," i said. "what time?" i figured it might be a good idea to keep my options open. because if they somehow managed to get past rollie and send me home with a bag of cough medicine, i could always go see the specialist . . .

the ekg was normal, so once they were convinced i was not going to have a heart attack and die right there in urgent care, they sent me down the hall for a chest xray. in my two hospital gowns. and let me tell you, my insurance dollars are NOT being used to pay for heat in that building! it was COLD!!

after the xray, i had to wait again for my turn to get a room. i was so tired, i fell asleep. in a chair. in the waiting room. in my two hospital gowns. when they called my name, i went cautiously through the doors, wondering what was next . . .

it turned out to be a warmed blanket! i was in the middle of thinking, "it has all been worth it! i have a warmed blanket!!" when the nurse wheeled in the iv stuff. "uh oh. this can't be good . . . " apparently i was dehydrated, which meant they were going to sloosh saline solution into my body through an iv--and fyi, room temperature liquid feels cold when going into a body temperature body! now i understood the need for the warmed blanket . . . then, when the iv was empty, they repeated the whole 3 position blood pressure dance again.

the doctor came in, looked at the xrays and declared "pneumonia!" she talked to me about it for a while, ordered some medication and a breathing treatment, (yes rollie took a picture--the poor man had been sitting with me for hours with nothing to do, so i humored him . . . for some reason, he thought this was hilarious!)and said i should stay home from work for a week or two. WHAT?!?!?! oh nonononono! clearly she didn't understand the whole "i don't get sick days" thing. she obviously didn't know that my little dumplings had to be ready to perform in the christmas program in two weeks. or that parent conferences are scheduled for next week. or that CHRISTMAS IS COMING!!! she must have read the horror on my face, because she finally said i had to stay home at least this week, and then we could see how i was feeling.

i can tell you right now how i will be feeling on monday--well enough to go back to work!

but before i can do that, i have to rest. all week. at home. and drink lots of water. and see the pulmonary specialist. and get past rollie . . .

i think i need a nap.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

another sick day . . .

so today . . . there will be no blog. i am pretty sick. in addition to the cough that never ends, i have also had a temperature and headache all day. most of my day was spent on the couch or in the recliner. i suspect tomorrow will be more of the same, so i am fairly sure there will be no blog on sunday either. because when you spend your day on the couch or in the recliner, not much happens to write about. maybe monday . . .

and before you all leave comments saying things like "well, if you had spent yesterday sleeping and taking care of yourself instead of running around shopping, you would probably feel fine today!" just know that i have already heard it. but i felt much better yesterday, which is why i was able to run around shopping.

don't worry about me--i am just sick. i will get better. at least now i have a few new symptoms which might help the doctor come to a correct diagnosis and know how to help me get better.

until then, i will just lay here in the house with two dogs sucked up against me (or on me) drinking water and resting . . .

Friday, November 27, 2009

apparently . . .

so today . . . was apparently "black friday." i say apparently, because we used to just call it "the day after thanksgiving," but it seems as though now it has it's own special name. i have heard more than one explanation of the origin of this term, but to us it simply means "get up well before daylight, and shop until you can't see straight."

this tradition started for us many years ago when my mom and i began collecting hallmark ornaments like they were solid gold bars. we both loved christmas ornaments, but those tiny hunks of colorful plastic were expensive--unless you waited until the day after christmas. in those early years of post-thanksgiving collecting, we would get up shortly before dawn (because the stores opened at 7:00--don't we wish for those days again?) drop diandra off at my grandma's house so that she could have a fun day, and then spend the day zooming from one hallmark store to another in search of those special ornaments that we needed to continue our collections.

then socks entered the picture. when we lived in southern oregon, there was a department store that started putting all their socks on sale for 50% off for the first few hours they were open. socks are expensive. so my mom and i would get up early (because the stores opened at 7:00 and we had to drive 20 minutes to get to one,) wake up diandra (because she was now old enough to go along,) and buy enough socks to last everyone for the next year. then we would eat breakfast at mcdonald's and move on to the hallmark stores.

slowly we started to realize that while we still needed socks, we had about all the ornaments our trees could hold. that seemed to coincide with diandra entering her high school years, which meant a good portion of the day was now spent in dressing rooms while she tried to find the perfect pair of jeans--giving the term "black friday" a whole new meaning! so now we had to get up earlier, because the stores were starting to open at 6:00 a.m. we would go get socks, and then only enter the hallmark stores at the mall, because the mall is apparently where the perfect jeans were always hiding out!

the first year we were in socal, my mom and dad came down for thanksgiving. as we looked through the ads, my mom kept mentioning that it was time for a new computer. fortunately for us, best buy had great deals on computers that year. unfortunately we decided we needed to be there at least by 5:00 a.m. in order to have a chance at one. so we got up earlier than ever, bundled up (because even in socal, it is cold at 5:00 in the morning!) and navigated the dark and nearly empty streets to best buy . . .

. . . where we realized that the streets were nearly empty, because apparently everyone else had rolled out of bed earlier than us and were already parked in the best buy parking lot and standing in line. in the dark. and cold. as we discussed whether or not to stay in line and possibly freeze to death, or lose our place and go to the car and crank up the heat, the topic turned to wondering if we would even be close enough to the front of the line to get a computer. pros and cons were weighed, and then a miracle happened! a store employee started down the line handing out "golden tickets" for the hot items. the store knew just how many computers they had, and so apparently to avoid a stampede they were handing out tickets to those who were already standing in line. we watched that stack of tickets dwindle as it neared us and had already decided to go to walmart if we didn't get one. we waited and watched, and were ultimately rewarded by being handed the very last ticket for a computer! we put that computer in the car, and then we proceeded to mcdonald's and the mall.

the last few years my mom and dad have not made it down for thanksgiving, but diandra and i still get up early and hit the cold and dark streets. this morning was no exception. last night we went through the ads and made our lists--although there wasn't much on them this year--the ads were somewhat disappointing. we decided not to go to kohls, which opened at 4 a.m. (and is a nightmare!!) but instead to start at target which opened at a more reasonable 5 a.m. we got one of the last remaining parking spaces and arrived at the doors just as the store was opening.

and that was apparently our last bit of luck for the day . . .

the coveted item at target was already just an empty space on the shelf when we got there. and the lines were too long to stand in to buy a few dvds. so we went back to the car and drove to the next destination on our list--office depot. it is just across the street from target, so it was a short drive.

"are you sure this is where office depot is?" diandra asked me.

"yes," i said. i have been to office depot many times, but it is kind of tucked back in a corner next to babies "r" us, so it is hard to see from the street. diandra seemed unsure.

"i don't see any cars," my darling daughter said.

"well, i guess that means we are the first ones here. yay!"

that is not what it meant. what it meant was that office depot had apparently closed it's store at that location, and the next nearest store was several miles away.

ok, apparently we needed a new plan. so we headed to one of the malls.

once we got there, our luck started to turn around. well, except we still had to stand in some lines, but none of them were too long. (actually, there were some pretty long lines, but diandra refused to stand in any.) so we went to jc penney and bought some shoes, then we went to the gap and bought some jeans (those elusive, perfect jeans apparently live at at the gap,) and then took a break--complete with diet coke. we hit another store, and then stopped for pretzel bites. we took our bags back to the car, detoured to the bathrooms (for the fourth or fifth time--hey, those sodas apparently work their way through pretty quickly when you are walking around!) and moved on down the mall to another target.

our coveted item was still represented by an empty shelf. of course by now it was 10:30, so we were not surprised. we were starting to drag--we had been up and moving since 4:30, you know. so we called rollie to see if he wanted to meet us for lunch, because we hadn't eaten in almost an hour . . .

we refueled with rollie at subway and then went to the cerritos mall. apparently to look at bull dog pups, which diandra is dreaming will show up under our christmas tree. while i can say with some certainty that a bull dog will never live at our house (unless a stray shows up--you know how i am a sucker for strays . . . and no, diandra, don't get any ideas! i would know if you planted a "stray,") nothing with four furry feet and a cute face will be joining our household this year. but i guess a girl can dream . . .

at which point rollie called to say our dvd player had chosen today to "give up the ghost, and were we anyplace where we could pick up another one . . . " we were at the mall--not the cheapest place to buy electronics. but i was starting to lose diandra--sometimes you have to know when to call it a day. (perhaps those should be the words on my tombstone. it seems like i say them a lot . . . ) so i took her home where she could check "take a nap" off her list, and braved walmart. apparently i didn't have to be all that brave . . .

by 2:00 this afternoon, walmart wasn't the zoo it had been earlier in the day. the lines were short. the sales people knew what they had and what they didn't have. and people were moving about in a normal manner instead of at warp speed.

i quickly picked up a dvd player and paid. i knew if i didn't get home and throw myself down for a nap soon, i might spontaneously combust. i walked out into the california sunshine, put the top down on my car, and cranked the stereo up. i could barely keep my eyes open. my wallet was empty. my trunk was full. my body ached.

and yet, i smiled. you can't help but smile when you are cruising around in warm sunshine on the day after thanksgiving, listening to the beach boys sing christmas songs, with a trunk full of stuff that was at least 50% off!

apparently for us, black friday is one of our favorite days of the year! even if we have to get up at 4:30 in the morning . . .

Thursday, November 26, 2009


so today . . . between eating bar-be-que chips and molasses cookies, i've been thinking about being thankful. i was going to post a top ten list of things that make me thankful. that was my plan. but sometimes my blogs don't go according to my plan. sometimes i sit down and write so today . . . and something totally different comes out. that's what happened today.

lately, i've been having a tough time. i've been sick. work has been frustrating. my band has been in turmoil. my stuff is disorganized. i feel gloomy. and yet, even with all that, my life is so much better than many others. this fact has smacked me in the face more than once lately.

our church has a food bank. it started out pretty small and mostly helped people in our congregation for whom money was tight. and then it grew. now on any given sunday, food is given out to probably 50-60 people--many of whom are homeless. and lately, some of those homeless people have started coming to church and attending small group bible studies. it is really cool to see the more affluent members of our church having real conversations with people who live in the park or under the freeway overpass.

this has made me very aware of how much i have. a few weeks ago i met richard. he had just been to the food bank, and in addition to his two bags of food, he was also given a blanket. he was so excited--because even though it is still nearly 80 degrees in the daytime, it gets cold at night. he couldn't wait to show me his new blanket, and tell me how much he appreciated getting it! last week i had a conversation with richard on my way out of the parking lot. i was driving my cute car and the top was down, because it was a nice day. as i approached him, i slowed down, took off my sunglasses so he could see it was me, and said hi. i felt somewhat conspicuous in my car, but i didn't want to just drive by and act like i hadn't seen him. when i waved, he smiled, said hi, and then added, "nice car!" so we talked about it for a while, and then i went off to lunch. i left richard waiting in the shade of a tree, with his bicycle, for his turn to go into the food bank.

i have so much, and yet there are always things that call to me from the other side of the cash register. and it is ok to buy something new--even if i don't necessarily need it. (which is good, because my plan for tomorrow is shopping.) but in the midst of it all, i want to remember to be thankful--not only for all the things that i already have, but also for that frustrating job that provides me with income, for a body that is healthy enough to work (even when it isn't completely well,) for a church that lets me "rock out" during worship on sunday mornings and makes homeless people feel like they belong, for friends who read my blog for a laugh but "feel my pain" when life isn't funny, and for a family who loves me whether i cook a thanksgiving turkey or not.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

twas the night before thanksgiving

so today . . . i went to the grocery store in preparation for thanksgiving day.

yes, i know thanksgiving is tomorrow. and yes, i also know that there is no way a frozen turkey of any size will thaw in time to be cooked for dinner tomorrow. but that is ok, because we aren't having turkey for thanksgiving dinner. i'm not quite sure what we are going to have . . .

. . . because i'm not cooking. usually i do. while i don't cook a lot in my normal life, thanksgiving dinner is the exception. traditionally my mom and dad have come to our house for the long weekend, but now that we live 1000 miles away, it is a pretty long drive for a four day weekend.

and so now our thanksgivings are not always the traditional kind.

the first time i broke tradition was a few years ago when rollie and diandra were out of town. i had to fend off several dinner invitations from people who were horrified that i would be alone, but i was kind of excited about it. the night before thanksgiving, i went to the grocery store and picked out the foods that sounded good to me, because i certainly was not going to cook a huge dinner just for myself! and then i spent thanksgiving day in front of the tv watching christmas movies. my holiday dinner consisted of canned chili with fritos and shredded cheese, and a box of ding dongs for dessert. i made my christmas list from the ads, and went shopping ridiculously early on black friday. by myself. (i couldn't quite break all the traditions . . . )

that was the year i realized that the earth wouldn't stop spinning if i didn't bake a turkey on the fourth thursday of november.

then there was our first diandra-less holiday. technically i guess it was my second diandra-less holiday, but it was the first one rollie and i had shared. so we decided we would make a new tradition. we realized diandra was all grown up now, and there might be years when she wouldn't be with us at thanksgiving, so we needed a plan. my plan was that i wouldn't cook and clean up all that food for just the two of us. we decided our new plan would be to eat out for thanksgiving dinner. at about 2:00 we got in the car and headed to sizzler. it was closed. ok, maybe olive garden. it was closed. i was worried that i was beginning to see a pattern here. red lobster was closed. the outback steak house was closed. black angus was open, but booked solid with reservations.

reservations. that would have been a good idea . . .

we drove on. hometown buffet was closed. subway was closed. (you can see our standards lowered in direct proportion to our hunger.) burger king was closed. i was beginning to think we were going to have a repeat of the canned chili with fritos dinner--only i didn't have any fritos or ding dongs, and the grocery stores were closed too. i did have tuna fish. and bread . . .

and then we saw it . . . a place to eat with the lights on! we eagerly turned into the empty parking lot, and went inside and placed our order. as we sat at the table eating our sourdough jacks (yes people, we were at jack in the box!) i couldn't help but smile. were we rebels or what!

this year is going to be another tradition-breaking thanksgiving. i've been sick, and while i usually kind of enjoy cooking on thanksgiving, this year it just isn't going to happen. my plan was to call around and see what restaurants were going to be open, and possibly make a reservation. but that didn't happen either. so we have a new plan for thanksgiving this year. it is called eating snack food all day long and then driving around to see if we can find a place to eat dinner (knowing we can always end up at jack in the box.) that is why i had to go to the store tonight, because we don't really keep snack food in the house any more--except for nuts.

i went to the grocery store with a list in my head--chips for me, cookies and crackers for diandra, apples and bananas for rollie (although that doesn't really enter into the spirit of snack food, since it is good for you--so i bought him cookies too,) and soda pop for all. lest you think that is all we will eat, i also bought lettuce in case we had a craving for salad (uh huh--that's going to happen) and yogurt.

the grocery store on the night before thanksgiving is a surprisingly busy place. i noticed three kinds of people there--the "on a mission" people who are racing madly around the store, tossing items into their cart, because they have to get home and bake pumpkin pies and make jello salads, and figure out how to thaw a 25 pound turkey in time to bake it in 12 hours. then there are the "shell-shocked" ones who wander aimlessly through the aisles unable to put anything in their carts. they don't know what they need or where to find it. they have 15 people coming to their house for dinner the next day, and they have no idea what to serve. except for turkey, which they don't know they have to thaw first . . . and then there are the "whatever" people, who know that tomorrow is thanksgiving, but dinner is NOT at their house. they just have to bring the soda or rolls or whipped cream for the pie that someone else will bake.

and then there was me, buying snack food--no turkey, no pumpkin pie, no vegetables or rolls. people were probably thinking, "does she even know what tomorrow is?!?!?!"

but that's ok, because i do know what tomorrow is. and it isn't about the food. really. it is thanksgiving--a day to be thankful for all the wonderful things we have in our lives--even if a home-cooked turkey dinner isn't one of them.