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Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Second Helping

The really great thing about Old Country Buffet is that you can go back for a second helping of rich chocolate cake with a dollop of creamy vanilla frozen yogurt. The really bad thing about Old Country Buffet is that you can go back for a second helping of rich chocolate cake with a dollop of creamy vanilla frozen yogurt.

That segue into this paragraph is probably not as smooth as the frozen yogurt on my chocolate cake, but we’re here.  And we’re talking about the tiny seats on the school bus in which I rode on Friday.  Really! The seats were made for mini muffins.  The  extra wide aisle to accommodate the wheel chairs forces the bench to be much smaller and only allows for two small children.   

When my new little friend across the wide aisle verbally instructed me to fasten my seat belt?  I smiled meekly and didn’t let her see me roll my eyes.  Hey sweetie….fat Chance. In addition to the squeeze, there wasn’t anywhere near enough strap. 

Riding with handicapped students on a bus is just one of the experiences afforded me through my on call status with the school district. I’ve been learning a great deal about special education and the children who receive it.  What really surprised me are the people who provide it. They work hard for rare moments.  They get discouraged but don’t stop.  They smile. They encourage.  I think they cry when no one is looking.
And more than anything, I can see that the really bad thing about their jobs is also the really great thing about their jobs. 
*  *  *
Ps.  No, I do not plan to try and fill the shoes of one of these people.  I already know I don’t fit in their seats. (Thank you Old Country Buffet.)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

No Charge

Monday morning presented an opportunity for a walk up my favorite venue - the creek.  Right now there is water roaring frantically over the berms, and more source can be seen in the foothills of the Blues.   There was a battle in body and mind about stepping out into the cool wet air.  In addition to still having a jaw that feels like someone hit it with a strong left hook (cracked tooth and extraction), the rest of my body seems to be bowing to the demands of another flexing of fibromyalgia.   But, I felt good when I got back to my car.

I saw a lone female Common Golden-eye.  She was in about the same spot that last week I saw a lone female Wigeon.  There were also several small groups of Common and Hooded Mergansers, Mallards, and Canadian Geese.  I also saw my dancing American Dipper.    Obviously it was fine weather for water fowl.

A five a.m. morning call yesterday advised us that our 7 year-old granddaughter, Goober Evalina,  was once again in the hospital as a result of an asthma attack.  After sending a prayer for healing, I always vow to pray more often; I'm sure He also wants to hear from me when everyone is well.

I think I closed my eyes and drifted to sleep about 7 a.m. when the phone rang again.  This call was to request my presence as a substitute tutor for the day.  I had to shift into high gear to make it there on time.

There has been a little ting tang walla walla bing bang coming from my car's engine the past few months.  The mechanic, who kept it overnight so that he could listen to it in the cool morning air, diagnosed it as pistons and a lifter.  He said he could charge me a lot of money to fix it.  But, his advice was to let it be.  Apparently those two parts can grow noisy as a car ages and not really cause any major problems.  In fact, he said that the lifter could be replaced and still make that clicking noise.

Then I asked about a tune up.

"Whats the makers recommendation?" He asked and I told him 60,000 miles. I'd had that done, of course.

"So, you should be good for another 10,000 miles,"  he added after mentioning that my odometer  registered just just over 100,000.

He handed me my keys and said, "No Charge."

That rare phrase deserves its own post.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Fun Monday Dirty Haiku

I do not like chores
no sweeping, mopping, waxing…
not even poetic


Lil Mouse asks, “What is your least favorite chore?”  Obviously, I got distracted just thinking about it and wrote poetry instead of getting down and getting dirty.

But, you can rant about the one you hate to do and scamper on over to leave your link with Jill.  Then come back and do my dishes.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


I bought affresh at a local hardware store on Thursday. It is a Washer Cleaner that "Removes odor causing residue in all washing machines."
If you own a front loader you may recognize that smell caused by bacteria growing in the airtight drum.  I've used another product in the past which worked well. Unfortunately, the store no longer carries that brand.

I followed the directions on this new package, but on Friday morning it still assaulted my nose.  I called the number on the back of the package. It connected me to Whirlpool.

"Hey, " I told the representative that answered. "The affresh I purchased did not remove the odor from my front load washer."

"Did you order it from us?" she asked.

"No, but it is your product."

“Because you ordered it from someone else,” she emphasized with a very unfriendly tone, “you will have to take your complaint to them." .

"Uh..." I stammered,  "…you mean Whirlpool doesn't back their product?"

I could hear her huffed breath when she replied, "It just means you didn't buy it from us so you have to take your complaint to the company you ordered it from."

I didn't tell her that she should have eliminated the redundant preposition. The timing wasn’t the best for a grammar lesson.  But, I did tell her that I was a "consumer" who called the contact number on the product to make a "consumer complaint."

"Well. Okay. I guess I can take the complaint. Goodbye."

* * *

I suppose I should return the product to the store so they’ll know that it doesn’t remove “a stink.”  And, maybe I should let Whirlpool know that their toll free number causes one.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Tumors, Tooth, and Tragedy

The news program this morning featured stories about the children in Haiti.   It answered some of my questions about why so many people seemed to have burns on their faces and arms.   The earthquake hit while many people gathered together cooking and eating meals.  The stories are overwhelming, but the small miracles keep one watching and listening. 

There was also a recall announced for Tylenol which gave me some alarm.  Ever since Thanksgiving, I practically bathed in the extra-strength capsules, along with an anti-inflammatory.  I’ve been in a  toothache battle.  My dentist is not one that overreacts.  The X-rays didn’t show any reason for my pain and he hoped that the anti inflammatory would do the trick.  On Monday morning this week the dentist took a third X-ray that revealed something ominous.  My immediate referral to an Endodontist on Wednesday was a bust.  The tooth cannot be saved.  The Endo prescribed antibiotic for a raging infection and referral to an oral surgeon.   I am so disappointed.  I take exceptional care of my teeth.  This has been physically AND emotionally painful. 

While we were stressed by the surgery on our 8-year old grandsons eye tumor we had another dramatic event.

A little background:  I began taking Sherry, my 60 year old sister-in-law, to her regular medical appointments in December 2008.  At that time she complained of chest pains. I confirmed that she often gasped and grabbed at the ribs on her side.   Over the past year the DR X  has treated her for acid reflux, for pinched nerve, and even suggested she needed new bras.   I often pushed and quizzed the physician.  “Could it be her Alzheimer’s medications?”  “Could it be her head ache medication.”   I attempted to be an advocate.

In early December I arranged a special appointment, took Sherry to her doctor, and made an issue about the chest pain.  Upon my request, DR X looked at the records and admitted sherry had complained of chest pains since her first visit in September, 2007.   I was angry that 27 months of pain had gone unanswered.  (Remember, I was also fighting a toothache and probably very cranky.)  The doctor promised to set up an Endoscopy. 

Sherry called our house the following Saturday while I was in Oregon waiting for Jammin’s surgery.  She was in horrific pain.  WR took her to the immediate care center.  Within minutes of their arrival, Sherry was given a chest X-ray.  It revealed a “softball size” tumor in her chest. 
From that point, things went swiftly and extremely well. WR fired DR X and the other clinic.  Sherry received a CAT Scan on Tuesday, and a new physician.  The radiologist (who rides bike with my husband) pushed for quick response to the results. DR New recommended a cardio-thoracic surgeon in Portland and the consultation was Christmas Eve morning.  On January 8, the surgeon removed a tumor “the size and consistency of a cantaloupe” from her chest and predicted a long and difficult recovery.  Within 24 hours, Sherry was sitting in her bed eating a bowl of soft fruit.  The doctor and nurses could not explain her miraculous recovery.  We expected her to be in the hospital up to 14 days.  Day five she was home!  (I drove to Portland and back to retrieve her on Tuesday.)  She is not taking any pain medication other than ibuprofen. 

We decided that the benign tumor was so large it could have been a baby.  With respect to the “cantaloupe” quote from the Surgeon, we named it her “Melancholy Baby.”  Sherry still has a great sense of humor in spite of her diagnosis of Alzheimer’s.

In the meantime, we had to break the news to Great Auntie Fern that her younger son had passed away.  She took it with the strength and courage that we have come to expect. You must have an iron will in order to live to 101.

It is 60 degrees here with a wind blowing and howling like a banshee.  It sounded like someone was trying to get in the front door, which sent the cat running for the bedroom. (That is also her response when someone rings the doorbell.)  I think I’ll take her cue and go hide under the bed. 

Friday, January 08, 2010

Things on My Mind Today

The earlier the morning and the more tired is my body, the more coffee smells like skunk.  I still drink it.

Whenever I feel sleepy, a nap is inconvenient.  Of course, as soon as I can lie down, my eyes are like a big-eyed bird.  My husband can generally close his eyes and fall asleep anywhere. Except on weekend afternoons when I challenge his napping activity in front of the football game.    I say, “ crawl into bed and make it worth your while.”  So, he begrudgingly trudges back to the bedroom where he tosses and turns until he gives up and comes back to snore in front of the television.

Why is it that a particular dish I need to use is always in the dishwasher… dirty.   And yet, if I have a dirty dish to put in it, the dishwasher is full of clean dishes waiting to be unloaded.  How can it be both ways?

Q: What do you get when you combine my chapped split finger tips with the cold dry weather’s static electricity?
A:  Some shocking sign language.
(fyi:  I finally put the tea kettle a steamin’ to discourage the zap factor)

There is no room in the refrigerator.  But, there is nothing for dinner.

The weather warmed enough for the cracked patio slab to be removed and replaced.  (Watching the workers was a diversion for my two-year old and four-year old grandsons.)  It looks lovely.  What we didn’t plan on was the wear and tear on the frozen back yard.  So, now we have another project come spring.  $igh.

Hope everyone enjoyed the first week of 2010.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Goooey Kisses.

Untitled from pamela on Vimeo.

Seven-month old Smurf-Ella and her big 4 -year old Brother Z-bub.  

Monday, January 04, 2010

Go With The Fun Monday Flow

This little angel had me awake at 4:00 this morning.  She finally dropped back to sleep at 6:30.

That may have nothing to do with Fun Monday – and Mariposa asking us what we look forward to this brand new year.


Or, it may have everything to do with it.

Our middle daughter lives in central California, which is a 12 to 15 hour drive.  Flying doesn’t assure you of a shorter travel day.  You have to count the hours of checking in early and going through the security check.  Not to mention layover, as flying from our small local airport sends  us to a hub city for transfer to another airline. At least when I drive I know exactly where my luggage is and who has touched it.  Have you ever watched your luggage get banged around on the tarmac?  Sorry about that rabbit trail.


Jen called a few days ago and asked if I could watch the 3 little pablum guzzlers for three or four days while they checked out Spokane.  There is a job interview and some extra time to survey the lay of the land.


I could be looking forward to having them living within a 3-hour drive from my front door.

That would be wonderful.

(It’s not a long trip over to Mariposa Tales.  Write your own post and join the Fun.)

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Big Birds

My finch feeders are attracting larger birds.  The other day the three turkeys were visiting again. 

On the left you can see two of them making their way to the base of the feeder pole.  The third one is sitting atop the fence taxing his turkey brain to figure out a way to shake out more sunflower seeds.

Meanwhile, back on the patio, our little black and white kitty cat was slammed up against the sliding door.  I think she was doing an impression of one of those plush Garfield's that people suction to their car windows.

This morning I happened to glance out and see a  Cooper Hawk sitting on the crook of the feeder pole. By the time I readied my camera it had jumped down and was stalking a small bird hiding in the foliage.  When he heard me clicking away on the patio he jumped back up on the fence and soon flew away ---still hungry.

This morning  on a walk, I watched a red-tailed hawk fly into the trees gripping a field mouse or a vole.  I didn't get that one photographed either.  But, here is one from the other day surveying his vast kingdom.  
Gorgeous bird of prey! 

My New Years resolves are to spend more time bird watching this year. . . 

and to find more time to do watercolor.

I did some of both today.