Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Don't Forget to Dance

So, happy new year's eve everyone! I'll be at home, alone. By choice, sort of. Semi-pathetic, but choosing to be pathetic.

I already had a nice morning - had my training session. Had to apologize to my trainer for freaking out yesterday. It was the day after two migraines in a row and I wanted him to interrupt his training session to get the bad spot on my back. He didn't, and I was upset, not at him, but at life. I had a tennis ball with me and was able to get it myself later.

Actually, before that I had some nice exchanges. I had to park downtown and had almost no change. The guy hanging out by his car in front of me didn't really have any, but searched on his car floor and found some and just gave it to me. Wouldn't take a dollar for it. And then on the way to the gym I stopped and gave the homeless guy selling newspapers the Happy 2009 cookie I had in my backpack wrapped in cellophane. He wouldn't take it without giving me a paper.

Then after training, went to pick up a free Ralph Lauren full size comforter (freecycle) which I need for guests. And picked up my tile which I bought off ebay for half the price of in the store. Thing is, it's a little fishy, which I didn't really know, since I guess they have to pretend I'm a contractor. So this morning I worked for some front company I guess. Nothing I could do - I already paid for it.

I also dropped off a printer at a place that employs persons with disabilities to recycle them. And, finally, stopped at the local store that sells pork neck bones so I can make myself some tomato soup broth. If you want that recipe, I'll write it out. It's a pain to do, but the soup is delicious and really will hit the spot on this windy, cold, New Year's Eve.

Here's my song for the New Year. I actually remember when this video came out. Never knew the song would apply to me...

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Monday, December 29, 2008


I think I've mentioned that every Christmas Eve, we make pierogis. It's a Polish Christmas tradition. We always make potato, and cabbage filled. This year we also made prune (didn't try) and sour cherry (yummy). And after I had left, my brother made a hot dog pierogi just for the hell of it. (yucky). Thing is, because we have to do the oplatek, by the time we sit down and eat it's always pretty cold. Just the nature of the meal. But still delicious!

200+ handmade pierogis

Leftover dough cannot be re-rolled and used for pierogis, so they are made into 'straighties'.

When they float, they are done.

And right before the masses descend, it's oh so pretty.

Trader Joes Moment

Yesterday, waiting in line to pay, the store manager gets on the intercom.

"Ladies, look around you. If you came in here with your husband and he is not next to you, he's at the front desk wondering where you are. Please come claim him."

It's a very small store. Not sure I would have gone to get him...

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Saturday Hunt - White

I just found out the word from looking at Churlita's blog, so here's what I wanted to show with Billy lovin' me, but finally got around to cropping me out. A whole lot of lovin' white as he bonks his head into my chin.

Home Again

Home again, and I had to jump right onto blogger since I was having withdrawal symptoms. At my mom's place there's no such thing as privacy, especially using the computer, and again, most of my family does not know I blog. If they saw my home page they'd immediately know it was mine though, given the lion head. Did you watch the Peanuts thing below??

It was a nice little 'vacation'. Got some nice presents. Was nice to spend time with the family. I use the quotation marks since I spent a lot of my time either cleaning my mom's place (especially dusting) or getting/assembling stuff to organize her things. My mom is almost 80 and lives on the second floor of a two story house with two apartments. The laundry and storage is in the basement, so she needs to have as much as she can on her floor. And until this weekend, there was a lot literally on the floor. We bought 2 bookshelves, an entertainment column that's open to use for storage, and a tall thin thing for the kitchen. Which, between KMart and a furniture liquidator, only cost around $250.

Whew. Perhaps it isn't a surprise then that I got a migraine last night. Yucky. Woke up at 1:30 am with it, which isn't my usual mo. It was so pathetic to watch myself search around in the hope I had brought one of the magic pills with me, which I knew wouldn't be completely effective since the migraine was well underway. I found a small case that might have one in it, and I sat at the kitchen table with my head hung low pulling items out one by one, feeling them, until I got one! A Christmas miracle!

Even so, my poor brother had to drive all the way back and I slept most of the way. I got the vomiting out of the way before we left, so that was good. And I'm back, feeling better, petting Billy Boy, and will go eat and get some easy shit done. See you soon!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas Eve!

I hope one and all are happy and healthy. I'm taking a quick break from making pierogi - we're stuffing the cabbage ones right now. We got a late start... Eating raw dough to stave off the hunger. :-) Well, that's just the excuse.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

People watching

This morning as I stood in the train car, I watched a couple sitting side by side. They both were pretty glum. The woman especially - she had that kind of mouth that kind of turns down. She looked kinda like a bitch actually.

So, the guy checks his blackberry and starts laughing. He then gives it to her to read. She takes it without a change in her facial expression - glum glum glum. She obviously is a slower reader than him. As she's reading he glances over quickly. Quickly turns away. Waiting for her reaction. But she's glum glum glum.

Then, finally, her mouth becomes a straight line, and then amazingly turns up and even breaks out a toothy smile. What a difference. Not a bitch. Just glum. But whatever was on that blackberry certainly helped their morning.

Monday, December 22, 2008


Pecan Pie

First I started with a recipe a friend sent me from a search on, that was from Cooking Light: Pecan Pie. As I was mixing it all together, I thought to myself that it was way too few pecans. So I looked at Joy of Cooking (the new one). It had 2 c. of chopped pecans and the Cooking Light one had only 1/2 c! So, I think I added a total of 1.25 c - I would next time add more. It also said vanilla OR dark rum. Since I had already added vanilla, I just added in the dark rum - 1 TB.

I did not spray the pie pan with oil before putting in the pie crust because Joy of Cooking did not say to. Mistake - really, you should do it. I made the pretty decoration on the top of the pie - I just made that up since I had perfect halves.

Russian Tea Cakes

1 cup soft butter (I used one stick salted, one unsalted)
1/2 cup sifted confectioners' sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 cups sifted Gold medal flour
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts

Combine all ingredients. I used a pastry cutter because I haven't unpacked my mixer, and I think it was a good thing. It's kinda like making scones - you mix it only as much as it needs it.

Chill dough. Roll into 1" balls.
Place on ungreased baking sheet.
(Cookies do not spread)*[see, mine did]
Bake until set, but not brown.
While still warm, roll in confectioners' sugar.
Cool. Roll in sugar again.

Temperature 400 degrees (moderate hot oven)
Bake 10 to 12 minutes
Makes about 4 dozen 1" cookies

I never noticed this before, but there's a quote in the new Joy of Cooking. Joy's soul lies in the doing. William Shakespeare.

Why is it?

When you have half a day at work, you have a full day's work plus to do in that time? Leaving early for holiday party at boss' house. Will catch up on blogs later. And may even share the recipe for Russian Tea Cakes, which I made for the party... mmm....

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Disabilities in the US

Number of Americans With a Disability Reaches 54.4 Million

About one in five U.S. residents - 19 percent - reported some level of disability in 2005, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report released today. These 54.4 million Americans are roughly equal to the combined total populations of California and Florida.

Both the number and percentage of people with disabilities were higher than in 2002, the last time the Census Bureau collected such information. At that time, 51.2 million, or 18 percent, reported a disability.

Among those with a disability, 35 million, or 12 percent of the population, were classified as having a severe disability, according to Americans With Disabilities: 2005 [PDF].

Nearly half (46 percent) of people age 21 to 64 with a disability were employed, compared with 84 percent of people in this age group without a disability. Among those with disabilities, 31 percent with severe disabilities and 75 percent with nonsevere disabilities were employed. People with difficulty hearing were more likely to be employed than those with difficulty seeing (59 percent compared with 41 percent).

A portion of people with disabilities — 11 million age 6 and older — needed personal assistance with everyday activities. These activities include such tasks as getting around inside the home, taking a bath or shower, preparing meals and performing light housework.

Other important findings:

* Among people 15 and older, 7.8 million (3 percent) had difficulty hearing a normal conversation, including 1 million being unable to hear at all. Although not part of the definition of disability used in the report, 4.3 million people reported using a hearing aid.

* Roughly 3.3 million people, or 1 percent, age 15 and older used a wheelchair or similar device, with 10.2 million, or 4 percent, using a cane, crutches or walker.

* Nearly 7.8 million people age 15 and older had difficulty seeing words or letters in ordinary newspaper print, including 1.8 million being completely unable to see.

* More than 16 million people had difficulty with cognitive, mental or emotional functioning. This included 8.4 million with one or more problems that interfere with daily activities, such as frequently being depressed or anxious, trouble getting along with others, trouble concentrating and trouble coping with stress.

* The chances of having a disability increase with age: 18.1 million people 65 and older, or 52 percent, had a disability. Of this number, 12.9 million, or 37 percent, had a severe disability. For people 80 and older, the disability rate was 71 percent, with 56 percent having a severe disability.

* Among people 16 to 64, 13.3 million, or 7 percent, reported difficulty finding a job or remaining employed because of a health-related condition.

* Among people 25 to 64 with a severe disability, 27 percent were in poverty, compared with 12 percent for people with a nonsevere disability and 9 percent for those without a disability.

* Median monthly earnings were $1,458 for people with a severe disability, $2,250 for people with a nonsevere disability and $2,539 for those with no disability.

* Parents reported that 228,000 children under age 3, or 2 percent, had a disability. Specifically, they either had a developmental delay or difficulty moving their arms or legs. In addition, there were 475,000 children 3 to 5 years, or 4 percent, with a disability, which meant they had either a developmental delay or difficulty walking, running or playing.

* There were 4.7 million children 6 to 14, or 13 percent, with a disability. The most prevalent type was difficulty doing regular schoolwork (2.5 million, or 7 percent).

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Saturday Hunt - Love

Second one on the theme... I made this pie for the friends and neighbors that I love. It will be parceled out. I love to cook. I love when things come out well.

(OK, so I just wanted to show off my first ever pecan pie. I made a mistake and followed a Cooking Light recipe which also had oats in it, but then after checking with Joy of Cooking, realized I needed to jazz up the recipe, so doubled the nuts and added some rum too.)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Saturday Hunt - Love

A day early. But I got some love from Billy Boy, and gave some out too. What a face.

Spreading good cheer

1) my doorman friend just showed up with a bottle of rum he had been raving about. a present to me. I just smiled and accepted it instead of berating him for buying me a present. Controlling myself to not open it immediately.

2) a homeless guy yesterday had a sign saying he would write a love poem. that made me smile. he also wished me happy holidays.

3) I'll be playing Santa's elf this weekend, delivering homemade cancer-fighting food from Pennsylvania to a friend who has brain cancer.

4) I picked up some stuff from a freecycler last night - stuff I was going to buy from Ikea anyway and there it was for free, including a never used cutting board. And then she offered me nice hanging lights, and even a medicine cabinet. She was so nice - it made me jump up and down for joy - so see I did have a good moment last night.

Internal/external chaos

It's clear that my medication needs to be increased. The event with my ex was just the beginning. Yesterday I should have kept my door shut all day and not spoken to anyone, but I had windows of being ok, so I thought I could pretend to be normal. Yet the stress of hearing one of my 'bosses' break down on a conference call, the stress of seeing the vultures circling in the office figuring out where to put everyone in smaller spaces, the stress of being told I'm not doing my timesheets right because I HAVE to balance 50% between two projects made me have a blowout with my boss. Drag down knock out fight - verbal that is. The things that came out of my mouth. And we were doing so well in getting along. Last night my ex was at the gym and came over to say hi/get water when I was sitting putting my shoes on, and I told him he wasn't the only one I had a blow out with. And starting crying, because you can't take what you say back. And he encouraged me to try.

So last night I sent my apologies and this morning we had a talk. She's shocked/amazed by how blunt and open I am, but I can't not explain what's going on. I have to have at least a couple people in my life understand that if I could control this I would. I'm trying the best I can. It took me years and years when I was younger to figure out what triggered migraines. I've only been dealing with this diagnosis and the reality for 6 months or so - the bipolar 2 thing. And it's real. It's not a figment of my imagination. I am not a bad person. I can't always control it. And that SUCKS. So I have to clean up my messes.

Anyway, I decided since it's raining I would not bike so I had to drive some. And I played a very appropriate song, which made me feel better. So, sharing it with you.

Embedding was disabled by request, and I want to share her video, so please click here. Alicia Keys, Superwoman.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Chocolate before noon

An indicator of how my grumpiness still lingers is that I've just eaten not one but two pieces of chocolate before noon. I was doing better after showering at the gym, since I'm now friendly with most of the trainers, and it's good to see them every morning. The gay guy had told me a story of this one old man who works out there and how his jock strap is yellow with no elastic and basically does nothing. Well, that guy was working some machine and his shorts had fallen down a little so you could see the band (no, not the horn and cymbals, but the elastic band). I made sure to show it to the gay guy, who found it very hot of course. And showed me his!

Anyways, yesterday seemed like all would be well. My ex had asked me to bring his change to my bank for free sorting and conversion to bills. Not a problem. I like being helpful. And it just so happened that he was out and about later in the day and was willing to stop at a HVAC store only open until 5:00 to pick up a 7" to 8" transition for me (for my vent in the kitchen to the outside). How nice of both of us.

Yet, later when I stopped by, things went sour. I will freely admit that it's my fault, mostly or all. When I'm in that house, I still get too comfortable sometimes. And it's not mine. He lives there. He owns it. It's just I put so much into it. Anyways, so I see the piles of wrapping paper behind a door that I had forgotten to take some of. "You don't want this Big Bird paper, right. I'm taking it." And he retorts that everything in the house is his and I should ask. Or something like that. It was like a slap in the face. Likely which I needed, but boy did I get pissed off. We have not had time to go through the rest of the tools, and I was there partly to get photos off the computer that I didn't have yet.

And most importantly, we haven't gone through the wedding photos. I pulled out the albums and noted that those are OURS and we have yet to split them and just because they are in HIS house does not mean that they are HIS. I made the mistake of saying that I'd make photocopies of the black and white album and give them to him, and that I'd give him the color album back and make copies for myself.

It's a huge mistake. I looked through them this morning. The black and white was made by a friend and I already said I had wanted it. But I put some much effort into that color album. It's the best photos of everyone who took photos and tells the whole story of the wedding day. Copies would not do it justice. So, now I don't know what to suggest. And I'm pissed at myself for yet again taking on the responsibility for something when it should at least be shared. Dumbass me. I feel like holding them hostage, but should not do that.

I was 36 when I married. I really looked beautiful, if I do say so myself. I look so happy, and it's weird to look at. Because even back then I knew things weren't right. I might have been happy to have such a great party, because it was. Everyone said it was the best they'd been to. Relaxed and fun. We had it on a farm and the kids could pick all the berries they wanted, we had BBQ, and we had a hay ride and got stuck, and the pig escaped, and we had a bonfire, and dancing. And more. I actually posted a photo from it way back. Here.

Anyways, while I can't say I'm regretting the chocolate I just scarfed, I certainly should have made a better choice. And I suppose I should get to work. It might be a closed door day, else I bite someone's head off. It's partly a need for adjustment of medication, I know that too, and I'm going Monday for the next phase. I wonder if the fact that I decided to stop taking my blood pressure medication has anything to do with it?? (I was pissed - the dr's office would only give me 30 days because they said I needed to come it and I'm not going to be held hostage by them...fuck 'em).

So, what do I do about the photos?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

This just in - Facebook

Court approves using Facebook to pass along foreclosure document.

"You've been "superpoked" - and served. A court in Australia has approved the use of Facebook, a popular social networking site, to notify a couple that they lost their home after defaulting on a loan"

So much for not having anything serious on the site.

New Words

CUSS inspired me to write this post with her list of invented words.

I still use a word in my head that my first ever boyfriend made up. We were headed into New York City via train. We waited on the platform, and when the train arrived, the door to the train ended up right in front of us. Snidelklatch. It means the occurrence of being in the right spot - ie right where the doors are - when public transportation stops to pick people up. I use it in my head for the bus, for trains, for subways. I have never spoken the word and am really not sure how it is spelled.

I always thought another word I use was made up, but it really exists. Definitively.

So, have you any words you use that you've made up? Do tell!

PS-Bra counter is +1

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Facebook status I would never write

But would love to. [this may become a regular feature]

Pamela is wondering where on her body she should warm the cold banana she just bought.

Father daughter dance

I ran across this unpacking, and thought I'd share since everyone liked my description of the father/daughter dance. I made the dress. It just so happens that recently I found the ribbon that edges the sleeve in my bag o' ribbons and thought it looked familiar, and then I saw this! This is me before I learned how to smile with my mouth open (which wasn't until late high school I believe). I look like MRT's sister with those glasses too.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Everyone's got to face down the demons

One story I did not tell about J-tree was my night of crying. I went to bed early Thanksgiving night, because I was exhausted, because I felt like I was getting sick, and because I just felt like crap emotionally. So, I laid there at the foot of M's bed and cried for about 20 minutes. I had just been hit by alone-ness. I was hit by how I couldn't keep depending on the 'husbands' in my life to help me with my house - I felt like I hit some kind of milestone where the statue of limitations on moving/getting divorced and getting extra help from people expired. And felt very alone, and scared. So I cried and cried. And when I did go to sleep it made me snore. Oops!

And driving to visit my friends Saturday who are sort of extended family at this point given how long I lived with them, I was hit again. I missed them, I missed the rest of the friends who aren't where I live, I felt very alone. I cried again. Just a little this time though, because, well, I was on my way to visit them! How sad could I feel? And didn't want to wallow.

And I thought about my blogging and about facebook, and what kind of role they play in my life. It's kind of funny, because I'm much more real on this blog than I am in facebook, even though that exposes my name and contact information. Because facebook is all about being quippy, and upbeat, and throwing random thoughts out. But blogging, at least for me, is part therapeutic. It's what I'm feeling and experiencing, which helps to validate those emotions and kind of my life. But facebook validates my existence - connects me with "real" people in my life. I've gone kinda psycho in both mediums (oops, media?) at times because I so want connections, but I need to find the happy medium (har, did that on purpose). Facebook does feel like high school Churlita - I worry about what I write, what I do. This blog, well, you have a choice to come here or not. You have a choice to comment or not. Facebook throws it out there to people who might not want that particular thing - I guess they can choose to be friends with me or not, but I wonder how many times someone un-friends someone in facebook.

I was much more eloquent thinking about this during my drive and during other times. I guess I just realized it's only been 2 months to the day that my divorce was finalized, and I still have some processing to do. And more learning on how to live a different life. And being happy in that life and not searching always to fill a void through other people. I need to fill the void with myself.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Saturday Hunt - Merry

How can you not be merry when you look at this face?

Good thing you can buy them at Costco.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Lesson learned

Never kick your trainer in the butt before your training session, because he will kicks yours. That was Wednesday. Still sore. Last night I was laying on the couch and my cat jumped up and walked on me. Stood with one paw on my upper left chest muscle. OWWWWWW. I did not scream however, so he just got settled and all was ok.

Thing is, I like the punishment. So yesterday morning I said to my trainer - I should kick your butt more often -- I get easy work outs. He just looked at me, laughed and said, you'll pay for that one too.

Hope everyone has a happy weekend. I'm going to visit Cutiepie and her family, who moved away in August.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

7 random things about me

Tera tagged somebody named Pamela and for some reason I am the one who has to fill the darn thing out. Anyhoos, here goes.

1. When I was young, I once got bit on the finger by a squirrel as I was feeding it a peanut. I felt the single canine. It didn't break the skin so there was no trip to the emergency room. It did not contribute to my hatred of squirrels in the current day.
2. I used to eat butter sandwiches when I was young. Just writing that makes me queasy. But then again, I eat bread with butter to this day, so what's the difference?
3. I'm double jointed in my left elbow.
4. It wasn't until my late 20's that I knew there were no such things as pink lemons for pink lemonade.
5. My family was on the local news in the 70's for making a big web of string in our backyard.
6. Huh... was having trouble thinking of something else, and just did a regular habit when thinking or anxious. I like to feel out curly/kinky hairs on my head and pull them out. I met one other person (in college - an Asian guy) who did the same thing. The one I just pulled out was gray. I have a couple hairs on my head that curl to like less than 1/4 inch round. I love to find those. I don't have whatever disorder that is where people just pull their hair out and make bald spots. I just find the curly/kinky ones. No, I do not pull out ones in my crotch.
7. My lucky number is 8, I think because I found a dollar walking home from school when I was 8 and it was on the 8th day of some month.

If you'd like to be tagged, have at it!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Lag Time

I'm so excited the lag time between what I'm feeling and letting it out is getting shorter. Yet another friend is having a baby. The most recent tally: One baby is now a couple weeks old, the twins are due Monday, and Cutiepie's mom is due in the spring. I am ok with where I am most of the time - sometimes it just creeps up on me. So, I'm going climbing tonight to clear my head - never mind the broken toe!!!

Olive the Other Reindeer

Every year my friend DBN gives me an advent calendar. It started a long time back - not even sure how long ago. This year she gave me a pop up one based on Olive the Other Reindeer, which I had never heard of. It's a really cute calendar.

Last night I was working on some Christmas presents, and actually looked at the TV Guide to see what was on. And there, lo and behold, was Olive the Other Reindeer! So I watched it, and let me tell you it's really great. I can't believe I've never heard of it - it was made in 1999. It has all the makings of a classic Christmas cartoon - a cute story, a moral, songs, jokes for the adults - eg she meets Schnitzel, Blitzen's cousin (and that's just a small joke, obviously, but I loved it - and who happened to be voiced by Michael Stipe). And it even mentions Hanukkah!

Watching it is like watching a Picasso painting, or being transported to a world where all humans are like flounder - eyes on one side of their heads. It was fascinating, and yes, a little disturbing at times, but I really got caught up in the story. So, seek it out next year!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The second big adventure

So, yes, I'm still working on stories from the climbing trip. Someday they will end...

The second big adventure actually happened before the first one. Saturday we hiked up to a relatively remote area because the park was really crowded with climbers (damn them all - how dare they use the park when WE wanted to?). We found some nice bolted climbs, and I saw a nice crack I wanted to do, which was NOT listed in the book, so even more exciting.

So, after doing the bolted climb and seeing the crack from the top, I thought I could do it. And that it was not crumbly in the crack, so the gear would hold. See, the thing was that because not many people go to this area, there's crappy rock that has not yet been knocked off.

I loaded up on gear, and started up the climb. There was a thin crack that angled up left to a small ledge with big rocks in it, and it continued angling up left with a palm in it, and then straight up. Luckily there were some big rocks with good holds that I could get up and stand on (after one foothold broke off) so I could lean over and get a piece in (specifically a green alien).

Then I had to somehow get my body over left to follow the crack. I tried down low, but couldn't do it, and then went up a little higher to where there was a low angle. I stood on the low angle, but was scared to move without holding onto something, in part because the rock was a little crumbly, and there were no good handholds. I tried various things, sometimes over and over.

Finally I decided to make a move. I leaned over and grabbed one of the rocks that was on the ledge. It moved. I screamed. I fell.

Everyone said it looked like I fell in slow motion. And I probably did. If the rock movement hadn't freaked me out, I might have kept my balance and stayed up. But, alas, that was not the case. I fell and my friend D caught me, hard, because I was so close to the ground. That was not the end. When I fell, one of my larger cams (#2 to be exact) went through the carabiner of the draw, and I was essentially trapped in that biner.

Someone started videotaping at that moment. So there is video of two people helping me to get out of the gear sling so that I could be lowered to the ground with the rope. It was very very odd. Below is a photo of what it looked like.

So, after staring at it for a moment, I got the gear down, put my shit and myself back together and got back on the climb, albeit from a different direction. I was able to pull the loose rocks off the climb, and continue. About halfway up, I realized my foot hurt. Soon I realized I had broken a toe (or at least jammed it reallly reallly well). Below is the toe.

I did finish the climb, and since it wasn't in the book, some thought I should name it. But I'm sure it's been climbed before, alas... I also climbed the next day and the next, because I found out only certain directions made me gasp in pain, and smearing/climbing wasn't one of them. So that's why my toe now has a buddy, and is taped together with it.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Tis the Season

- For snot rockets (biking to work in high 20's temps)
- For cookies in the workroom (I guess leftover from parties)
- For holiday cards (sent a lot out yesterday, with a photo of me on my front stoop. will be a surprise for those who don't know I'm divorced!)
- For salt on the car (got a little snow Sat night)
- For holiday parties (went and helped at my brother's Sat afternoon/evening. glad I had to leave early. nothing worse than a roomful of people who don't know how to socialize)
- For trees and ornaments (was the only snafu of Friday night dinner - us splitting the ornaments. only because we came across 'our first Christmas' one. needless to say neither one of us wanted it, and it bothered him immensely. I gave it away on freecycle)

I'm working on my final post from my vacation. Will likely post tomorrow.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Saturday Hunt - Window

Well, I still have not found my battery charger (if you saw my house you wouldn't be surprised). So here's a quilt I made a long time ago (2004). The pattern is something like 'window'. I made it for my ex that I lived with in Zimbabwe. Actually for his son. His wife spent time in Indonesia so I tried to combine the African and the Indonesian in the quilt.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Saturday Hunt - Window

OK, Music version today. Tomorrow photos if I can find my battery charger!

I love this song. Was just listening to it. Has the word window in it!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Bits and Pieces

I have yet more to write about from the trip, but it's a short one today on random stuff.

- one of the things that's great about climbing is that age doesn't matter. Just ability and responsibility and niceness. In our small group this past weekend we represented 4 decades. Kinda cool.

- Due to one of the new people I met I joined/became active on Facebook. It's an odd place, but I think I like it. It's odd to not be anonymous. It's kinda disconcerting to ask to be someone's friend and not have them respond.

- The economy is directly impacting me now. My position is foundation funded, and though I won't lose my job, I'm not sure about half my pay until the end of the year. Oops. Likely it won't be my pay that's affected, but rather we'll have no funds to do ANYthing, but we'll see.

- Making my ex dinner for his birthday tonight. We also have to split some items such as Christmas ornaments, etc. Wish we weren't combining them, but oh well.

- I realized why I don't like the black jeans I'm wearing. Finally. They fit well in the waist but a little loose in the butt, which is one of my best assets, so to speak.

- Finally, I just checked Not Fainthearted to see if she actually posted my guest post, and she did! Here it is.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Rescue 911

I participated in a helicopter rescue on my last day at Joshua Tree. First one I've ever participated in.

Three of us (women) were left climbing together. We went to Real Hidden Valley, which is a great little area - with the feeling like an old circle of wagons from the olden days, but instead of wagons, piles of rocks. Since it's a circle, and even though it's fairly big, sound gets transmitted really well. At first we were the only ones there, but then we heard another party start climbing across the way.

So, on our second climb of the day, I was halfway up when I heard a huge THUMP from across the way, and then "Oh fuck, oh fuck". I looked down at my friends, D and S. And then there's a scream "HELP!". You can't imagine the chills that went through me when I heard that. She sounded frantic - and then "Call 911!" over and over.

So we yelled back that we were getting help, and we mobilized. D was the driver of the rental, so she was the one to go get help from the ranger. She was freaking out because, as we had already heard, in the summer she had seen someone fall to his death in Colorado. S and I put our boots on and I grabbed what I could (a meager first aid kit, water, helmet, cordellette) and we ran over.

I'm a former EMT (meaning, I haven't kept the certification current) and S knew nothing, so I was the first responder technically. We arrived and the guy is standing up, obviously in pain, blood all over his face and back of his head. He had fallen at least 35 feet, pulled at least 4 pieces, landed on his back on the rock, not wearing a helmet. And he was standing up, coherent, talking.

Now, given that I'm not current I don't have the checklist in my head, but I do know the basics. I checked his head wound to make sure it stopped bleeding (using gauze), and listened to his list of what he felt. He is a former wilderness first aid responder (again, not current) so he knew what to say. His friend knew NOTHING, but was trying to help as much as possible.

I knew straight off he was 1) in shock and 2) hard headed (not just because he wasn't dead or unconscious). He was talking about walking back to the car, and I stopped that idea dead in its tracks. I did however let him go over to a rock and sit down. After sitting he wanted to change his shoes and also kept moving his head around, and I just repeatedly yelled at him to stop moving and that we would do what he needed.

After checking his eyes, pulse, and allergies/medications (in case he went unconscious), he started really going into shock - getting cold. So we found him a place to lie down and I put my vest and shirt over him. S had gone over to where we were climbing because some guys had shown up - she wanted to make sure they knew we were coming back. Well, one of them was a current wilderness first aid responder so he came over.

Then it was out of my hands. You basically pass the patient over to the person with the most expertise. He had gloves and started doing a toe to head assessment. Before he was even done with that, the rangers and EMTS and rescuers arrived en masse. Woo hoo!

We left to go get our gear and returned to help. By the time we returned, he had been given an IV and put into a stokes basket for transportation. He was still conscious and seem to be fine, so I yelled down to him, Hey T! Can I take pictures? He rolled his eyes but then said yes, he could show his son (an 11 year old son and he's climbing without a helmet!). So it was a well documented rescue and really fascinating.

Here he is after being placed in a Stokes basket.

The way we moved him out (and there were 10 of us helping at least) was to pass the litter along by people holding onto the bars of the basket, and not moving physically. When you no longer touched the basket, you would yell 'off' and then move down to the bottom to be the next person in line to grab the basket. This worked well on mostly horizontal, but was a bit trickier when it was more vertical. Then a rope was attached to the head bar and the basket was belayed down for control, with people passing it along as usual.

Here's the belayed and handing down the rocks.

Once we got him to level land, they pulled out what looked like an ATV wheel with two bars on it to make a V. The bars connected to the stokes basket, and all of a sudden we had a wheel! Six people held the basket as it was moved over land. I took photos.

Here he is being carted over land.

In the end, the helicopter came and transported him out. T kept saying he'd better have something broken after all this trouble (rib, spine, wrist, something). I told him to be careful what he wished for.

The next morning I wrote to his friend and she wrote back that he walked out of the hospital Monday night with just a broken thumb. Lucky hard headed dumb ass! I asked her if he would use a helmet now, and she responded: I don't know. He is kind of thick.

All the best to him. Dumb ass.

Dammit, I hate it when I have to work for my pay

I have a nice long story to tell, with photos, and it will be coming later today. I know how you pine for my words. :-)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

She's a Screamer

Flying out to LA Wednesday night, they played a movie. I decided I should stay awake, so watched the movie. Plus they gave free headphones, so I figured what the heck. Even though it was Journey to the Center of the Earth - the new one with Brendan Frasier - which I had heard wasn't all that great. In fact the greatness to what extent it existed was the fact that it was 3-D.

In any event, all around me was darkness and sleeping people. Then comes a huge flying fish with great big pirahna-type teeth straight at me. I screamed.

Oops! All around me, people stared with evil looks - the ones that woke up that is, of which there were quite a few. I covered my mouth and looked sheepish, and kept my mouth covered for the entire rest of the movie.

I was reminded of the time my brother brought me to Broadway to see Death Trap (with Christopher Reeve! that tells you how long ago). I was towards the front. When someone got killed and it was a huge surprise, I screamed. Noone else in the theater did, and again, everyone looked at me, though with not quite so much evil.

The entire weekend climbing, I had my screaming moments. It just is. I can't help it. People who climb with me regularly know I do it, and don't really listen until I say some key word that would mean something more serious. But I was climbing with a few people who hadn't climbed with me. I'm sure it is indeed freaky to hear a yelp when you are at the bottom, and can't see me, and you think I'm falling off the other side of the rock. One guy got so sick of it, he proposed getting a bark collar for me - jokingly, but I'm sure he would have liked to use one if he could find one quickly.

No, I don't scream during sex, sorry.

And I forgot my bra today.

Back to my nasty evil financial report.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Saturday Hunt - Gratitude

For a chance to be in Joshua Tree.

For a lovely Thanksgiving dinner.

For friends who like to try and find tomorrow's climbs, while I sit in the sun and take photos.

I'm baaaack - and Quick Question for the Men

Back from Joshua tree. Have many experiences to relate, and many photos. Missed you all, but gotta go actually do some work with my limited brain function (flew in on red eye and came straight from the airport to work).

One quick thing: We went out to a honky tonk place - Pappy's and Harriet's or something like that. Our waitress with the butch haircut and likely butch herself had on the best top in order to display as much of her large breasts as possible without getting arrested. And she used every opportunity to bend over into the table. Most impressive. And another day at another restaurant several of us noticed a female climber's beehind. It was most impressive - even my female friend said that her beehind practically begged to be grabbed.

So, men, are you a tits guy or an ass guy? Choose and defend (as Laura would say)!