Friday, February 27, 2009

How am I doing?

- I just found a major mistake in something at work, that affects a huge meeting we have Monday-Wednesday. My fault.
- Budget cutting might mean I might not have half a job. Things looked ok for a while, but then the PI's are at a point where they dont want to continue it if it gets cut past a certain level. And we're not cutting it enough for the powers that be. Final decision next week.
- My personal emotions are shit.
- I haven't been sleeping well.
- I adopted a cat last night, despite friends warning me not to because I just didn't need the stress, and I realized when I brought the cat home that I can't deal with the stress. Billy freaked out and won't come out of the basement, and the other cat just wants out of the room. It is indeed Sweetie, and she's a great cat, but I can't deal with putting them together now. So, I'm bringing her back. This agency takes care of their cats well, and they'll keep the $150 I gave to adopt, so that's good. An expensive lesson, but at least I'm listening to myself. Monty, you should adopt her.
- And I also took precautions and took an extra dose of one of my meds, so I'm surprisingly numb and ok at this very moment. I really do love drugs. And I'll keep on trucking.

So eventually all will be ok. I will not be broken.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Did you say you wanted a quilt?

I'm helping out Childs Play X2 by making a quilt for an auction to benefit the YMCA that he manages in Southern California.

See Here for the auction site. Mine is the only quilt on it. It's a repeat of what I made for my size.

From his request email to people:

As you may or may not know, I am the executive director of a YMCA in San Diego, CA that is a stone's throw from the Mexican/U.S border. We are situated in a low-income community that is comprised of many families struggling to achieve the American dream. Our YMCA provides childcare to hundreds of families - much of it free or reduced-cost. This year, in particular, has been a challenging one. Requests for financial assistance has risen almost 200% over last year and we are struggling to keep up our pledge of never turning anyone away due to an inability to pay.

February is the month that we have our YMCA fundraising drive. Because of my family issues, I'm a bit behind where I usually am at this point and I need to catch up fast! Many of you have expressed concern over my situation and asked how you can help - even from afar. Well, I think I have a way that anyone can help and, perhaps, make this fun at the same time... [an auction!]

Why Hair Goes Gray

Why Hair Goes Grey

Study Blames a Chain Reaction That Makes Hair Bleach Itself From the Inside Out
By Miranda Hitti
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Feb. 25, 2009 -- Scientists may have figured out why hair turns gray, and their finding may open the door to new anti-graying strategies.

New research shows that hair turns gray as a result of a chemical chain reaction that causes hair to bleach itself from the inside out.

The process starts when there is a dip in levels of an enzyme called catalase. That catalase shortfall means that the hydrogen peroxide that naturally occurs in hair can't be broken down. So hydrogen peroxide builds up in the hair, and because other enzymes that would repair hydrogen peroxide's damage are also in short supply, the hair goes gray.

Putting the brakes on that chemical chain reaction "could have great implications in the hair graying scenario in humans," write the researchers, who included Karin Schallreuter, a professor clinical and experimental dermatology at England's University of Bradford.

The study appears online in The FASEB Journal; the FASEB is the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.

My life in a hair?

This is a hair that either fell out of my head or I pulled it (I can pull hair out when I'm anxious). I'm sure noone finds it as fascinating as me, but part of my life story is in that hair. Half of it is brown. Half of it is grey. In the middle is some sputterings of what color should I be... - kinda zebra striped.

Tune in tomorrow. Maybe I'll share some toenail clippings.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

5 lb block of scrapple

My sister asked me to buy this. You buy 4 lbs and you get one free, and who can pass that up when it comes to scrapple? UGH. I had to cut it up into pieces to freeze it, so I actually had to touch it.

I would label this post under food, but can't quite get myself to do that.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Twitter Tuesday - good thing I keep my mouth shut

Talking on the phone with a transgendered person (my tech person who used to be a guy), and eating nuts. Thought of, but refrained from asking, would you like some nuts?

Fickleness of children redux

So, I was talking with my friend, Cutiepie's mom, this morning getting some advice/sympathy, and to make me feel better she tells me a story. Seems she and her husband were going out and leaving Cutiepie with a babysitter they'd used before, Jacqueline. Cutiepie got mad and upset, sat on the floor, and said no, she wanted Pam. Unfortunately I'm not close enough to babysit, or I would. Anything to stay in her mind.


So, I got approved from the second agency to adopt, but the three that I was interested in, one got adopted, and the other two they think are not appropriate for me (ie, one likes to bolt out the doors, so they want to place her in an apartment building). This agency does a good job of describing the cats and finding good homes for them. It's kind of odd because I'm sort of of the mindset that I shouldn't fight someone else for a cat since that means it has a home, but I have to think of Billy and myself too. So, it's weird. The photo is of Sweetie, who sounds ideal, but she has another application too. And not sure I can go through a rollercoaster like this right now. Yet they want to place a cat with me and will keep sending me ideas. I guess I'll just tell them I need a break when I need it.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Fickleness of children

Oh how the mighty so quickly fall... From the beloved Ma to 'No Pam'. From wanting to stare out the window to see me arrive, to 'No Pam'. Good thing I've learned to not take it personally (sort of - :-) ). Thing is, how can I compete with an almost 7 year old girl who is kind and pays attention? Can't!

Spent a day with a 7 year old, 3 year old, and 2 year old. And the parents, THANKFULLY, because man, is it exhausting. Despite the fact that Cutiepie's dad is a kid magnet and knows how to play 'Los Tigres' (Tigers) over and over and be attacked by them (see below).

Yes, dear old Titi Pam was second fiddle all around. And it was great to see them playing with each other. If my back were better I would have done the smackdown much more with all of them - I managed to do it a little and it was greatly appreciated (pick them up and 'throw' them on their back in a smackdown squish wrestle move). Kids just want to be thrown around a bit and be a tiny bit scared and make a lot of noise. Do one or all of those, and you're the BEST. That's the secret. Yeah, take it from someone with no kids. :-)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Saturday Hunt - Ice

I had something better in mind, but here's the ice maker component of my fridge that I won't be using because I don't have plumbing attached to my fridge... How eggciting!

I would have added some Vanilla Ice music here, but I've done too much music recently.

How I'm feeling

Friday, February 20, 2009

Bert and Ernie try gangsta rap

Things that are wonderful

- I will sing the praises of my trainer over and over. I've been having this back issue since I tweaked it 2 whole weeks ago. And unfortunately I didn't have my session last week. And I was climbing with one arm and going nuts. So this Wed finally I trained with him, and it made such a huge difference. In part because I know what pain is ok. In part because he knows how to get at what's wrong. And I know that I have to challenge it so it doesn't heal weakly.
- Because of that, I was able to climb last night with both arms - ie for real. I have been going NUTS not being able to climb. And it felt so good.
- If I ever wonder why I'm still doing therapy, I have a good session like yesterday that helps me get perspective on where I am in my life right now. And the fact that I am still trying to get perspective in my life in this ever changing world of mine.
- I am having a home visit late Sun. afternoon from another cat adoption agency. So someone thinks I might be ok. Ahhhh, validation. ;-) The cat I wanted is already adopted, but apparently the other two I looked at are colors that are hard to adopt out (huh? - gray and tortoise colored? - though I will admit I would never ever want a white cat so I guess other people aren't nuts. or are at least as nuts as me).
- Thank you Heather for the hints on how to do bullets... just running late this am so no time to learn something new. And that's the wonderful thing about blogging - you meet such nice people...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Zimbabwe photos

Here's the kids from the last photo after their father made them button up their shirts, and pose with their mom.

I was listening to my Toni Child's cd in my car, and on came Zimbabwe. So I need to share this great video I found on YouTube.

It's interesting to listen to the lyrics. I remember when Pat and I heard this song either while we were still in Zimbabwe or afterwards, and we thought, oh, it sounds like she's saying Zimbabwe, but we thought that we just had selective hearing. But no, she is saying it, and sharing a message of hope.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Starlight Reserve

A Starlight Reserve is a site where a commitment to defend the night sky quality and the access to starlight has been established. Its main function will be to preserve the quality of the night sky and its associated values, being them cultural, scientific, astronomical, natural, or landscape-related.

I read about this in relation to Tekapo, New Zealand. They are trying to get designated as a starlight reserve. Can you imagine being able to see such a vision as the one below? Amazing. I might need to plan a trip there. Here's the article that came out.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Subjunctive Day?

If I knew how to do bullets, I would this morning.
If I knew how to fix my bike brakes, I would, so I wouldn't be biking with only my front brakes, which is a bit dangerous.
If I knew how to fix my back so I could climb like a real person, I would. Fuck it though, I'm climbing tonight and damn the consequences.
If I knew why my dishwasher doesn't drain completely, I would fix it so all would be perfect with the appliances in my kitchen.
If I were not on medication, I think I would be really depressed. But I'm not sure. Because maybe it's me helping me through the hard times.
If I can't keep my blood pressure down, I will have to go back on medication. [shoot, is that subjunctive?] (last night 134/84, but at the doctor's office on Wed it was 127 over 74 or something like that)
If I were sure that all of these were in the subjunctive mode, I would not have put the question mark on the title. Sister Rose is shaking her finger at me in heaven.

Monday, February 16, 2009

It's supposed to be my day off, dammit

I'm one of the lucky non-federal employees that gets the federal holidays off. I appreciate it greatly, believe me. Thing is, today was a work day. Workin' on the kitchen.

Here's my friend M sticking his head in the oven to try and kill himself after having spent at least an hour, maybe two, trying to figure out why my stove wouldn't work. And finding out there was a part that he didn't know about - he didn't ask if there were other parts! And then later finding out there were even more parts, which he did ask about but I didn't think were important so didn't respond when he asked. Turns out in order for the burner to work you have to have it ALL together. Sigh. It's a good story, and lucky he's a patient man, and not my boyfriend, as he likes to say, because if we were dating he would have killed me.

And here I am on the floor connecting the wiring of the dishwasher. I am glad M was there because I was able to ask questions and since he needs to SEE stuff, it saved a lot of frustration on both our parts. We'll talk on the phone about an issue and take 10 minutes for a simple question just because we aren't speaking the same language. And still he says I'm allowed to call. In any event, the dishwasher is connected and looks great and the electrical works, but it doesn't drain completely. I have to run it through a full cycle to see if it will work. Otherwise, it's back to the drawing board to find out what's happening. Sigh.

And, it's beginning to look like a real kitchen. The board is propping up a piece that we just caulked into place. Until it dries.

Billy is annoying the hell out of me with his demands for food, so he wins and I go feed him.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Solace of Open Spaces

Great book.
I wish I could write a line like this one I found in it.

Leaves are verbs that conjugate the seasons.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Saturday Hunt - Expectations

Well, massive amounts of excitement from me that I had the word wrong for this week. I thought it was expectations. Don't ask me where that came from. But given the item I was talking about (see below) excitement does pretty much fit anyway. Unless you need Magnums.

Cleaning out my nightstand drawer, I found these the other day. OK condoms. Just OK - best to keep your expectations lowered, even though they are super strong and super sensitive, according to the packaging. I got these in Vietnam, so not sure my expectations would be very high anyway. And, considering that they expired in October 2004, I don't have any expectations that they will be used.

Friday, February 13, 2009

What have you done for ones you've loved?

I was thinking last night about the impending Valentine's Day, and remembered some of the things I've done for men that really showed how much I loved them. And I'm talking things that aren't so easy - not the buying of lingerie type of deal.

I think the one that takes the cake, so to speak, is when my boyfriend and I were at his sister's. He became violently ill in the middle of the night and projectile vomited in her bathroom all over the place. It wasn't even a question, and I didn't mind too too much because I know how to NOT breathe through my nose, and also quell my own urge to vomit, so I cleaned it.

Also, and this was the biggest one, when the love of my life (though he had long since let me go) came down with Creuzfeld Jacob's disease and I went to visit him in the hospital in LA, I remember sitting with him as he was trying to eat lunch (at that point he was in a wheelchair and had to be fed - though his parents were doing that) and thinking that I'd still love to spend the rest of my life with him, because he was still in there, and you could tell (even though he couldn't speak all that well).

Of course, there are a select few men who I've had relationships with that for whatever reason weren't meant to last, that I truly wish them to be happy with someone. I think there are three total of those. The rest, eh, whatever, though I'm of course glad to know if they are happy.

So, question to you, what have you done for a significant other that really really showed your love? I'm not talking family members or children - just people you have chosen to be with.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Windswept hair and everything else

Biking to work this morning I was reminded of a story a former colleague told. She was biking across the country with some friends and apparently in Kansas especially (you'd think it would be Oklahoma, OK?) the wind gusts would occasionally blow her and her bike over. That would suck. I hope that doesn't happen to me today.

I dressed for the wind - tight red dress. I had to spruce myself up a bit to make me feel better - the damn pain I've had since Sat is not going away. But of course, it hasn't helped that I climbed on Sun, and then moved appliances on Tuesday. Oops. I could do it when I was younger! I also went to a new neurologist on Wed who actually said what my neither my old neurologist, back doctor, chiropractors said. Only my trainer was correct. That my migraines are caused by a pinched nerve. It even has some fancy name. I have a follow up appointment and we'll see if I'm going to live.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Believing, with backup

I actually did it. I managed to disconnect my dishwasher and my gas stove and not flood the place, nor blow it up, nor electrocute myself. When I heard Monday the stove and dishwasher were going to be left for me to deal with I was freaking out, but I called my two helper friends for them to tell me I could do it, and that helped. And they offered to be on call if I needed assistance.

And assistance was needed for the strangest things, and the strangest conversation ensued. OK, M, I'm ready to disconnect the tube from the gas line but I don't know which way I should turn the wrench. It looked gunky, and I figured I'd have to apply force - like step on the damn wrench to open the seal, and it had to be the right direction or else I'd mess everything up. So, me talking about jars and lids and him talking using the official technical language and us not communicating, until finally we connected and I understood.

And so I hung up and opened the seal, and smelled gas. Holy fuck. I managed to close it quickly, and then called the other friend, B, terrified. Oh, btw, there will be some residual gas in the line so you might smell gas. But you might also have a bad valve. OK, so what do I do?? Solution - keep the valve closed and try to turn on the burner. No flame, so no gas, or at least not enough. So, I did it - took it off. And didn't blow up.

As for the dishwasher, I was fine until I couldn't get at the ground wire, and finally said screw it, and cut the entire wire, which made it 4-5 inches shorter, but oh well, I had a time limit, since a friend was coming over to help me get the stove out of the house so I can have Habitat pick the stuff up.

I had called a handyman earlier in the day to ask about uninstalling and reinstalling the stuff, and he called me. I told him I had the stove ok (I put the new stove in place as well as connected the new hose) and was afraid of the dishwasher. He said for him it would be opposite - afraid to do the stove. In any event, he said he's more of a carpenter, so I may need to try the dishwasher myself. But though I finished all this stuff very early, facing and overcoming the fear really wore me out, so I ate stuff I could heat in the microwave, and watched the Biggest Loser. And now it's bedtime...

Monday, February 9, 2009

Thank goodness for fickle women

I love women who decide they want all new appliances because the ones they have are the wrong color. And the appliances are so good they just buy the same ones in black.

Meet my 'new' refrigerator. Please note that though it has a water/ice dispenser, I'm not connecting plumbing to it, so it's just for show and to drive uninvited guests crazy. 'where's the damn water! I need water to rob this house!'

And somewhere there is a stove and a dishwasher that need to be installed.

All for $500. I couldn't NOT get it. I also got a microwave in that pot too. And although my appliances still work, they are older, and having ones that are only 3 years old really make me feel like it's going to be a great kitchen. If I can ever deinstall the old stuff and install the new stuff. Which, I hope to do. But can't do in one night. Like tonight. I did find the breaker for the dishwasher, which is easy, but difficult when you are only one person and have to run up and down the stairs to check each breaker.


I have been thinking about getting another cat, in part to keep Billy company. So I've been looking around craigslist, going to the shelter periodically, etc. Looking around.

I found this 6 year old female cat that a woman was trying to find a home for. Seemed like a nice cat, and I was hoping it was a direct adoption, but no, she was working with a rescue agency to find a home. I had two phone interviews this weekend, and I get an email this morning saying that I was rejected and I can't adopt from this agency.

I know why. When I told the story of Cleo and her diabetes and being unwilling to do daily insulin shots, they asked me specific questions about that. And they noted that it didn't cost that much. For me it was more the quality of life issue, but I also told them I would not be willing to spend $5,000 to save a cat's life because there's just too many cats out there that need homes. I was asked how much I would be willing to spend. What kind of question is that?? When asked what kind of cost I'd incurred in the past, I couldn't think of anything besides a teeth cleaning, but I did spend $55 a 12 lb bag for special food for Cleo.

Apparently, that's not good enough. And thus I am not good enough for that agency. What a crock of crap. Anyway, my question to you is whether you agree with the agency or with me. What would you do (WWYD?) Don't worry, I won't harass you if you don't agree with me - my back is all out of whack and thus if I tried to whack you I'd get hurt, and so I wouldn't want to do that.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Saturday Hunt - Options

On a beautiful sunny warm Saturday, but not warm enough to climb in, I had many options of stuff to do around the house.

Replace the hole-y screening on the downstairs door.

Clean the cat tree thingie I got dumpster diving.

Finish/redo the weather stripping installation job.

Wash my car

I got all done except the car. I would have loved to do more screens (it was so easy!) but I don't know how to get them out of my windows...darn it.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Thursday, February 5, 2009


My trainer was yabbering at me yesterday about an episode of the Mentalist that focused on the death of a rock climber, and about a woman that was hanging with the guy climbers, and was seen as one of the guys. I said that wasn't a bad thing. He retorted that if I ever liked some guy, he'd still only see me as one of the guys. I'm not sure that's true, but my reply was that I'd rather have a climbing partner than a boyfriend. I don't have either, and that's what I'd prefer.

I was honestly a bit surprised to hear that come out of my mouth. And it is the truth. I'm dealing more with reworking my personal life/friends and want to figure that out. A boyfriend, meh.

Don't get me wrong. I want to love again. I want to be in GREAT relationship next time. But man, I gotta work out all the crap that's left over from my divorce. And people have to get to know me first before they'd be willing to deal with all the shit I have attached to me.

Below was what I wrote when I was feeling down a week or two ago.
My profile:
42 y.o. divorced female with herpes and bipolar 2 seeks...
I shouldn't even bother with any more words, since noone would get past the first 9...
Can you see why I'm not doing any online dating sites? I wouldn't respond to any either, since I think these site assume cleanliness, which I'm not, and it's almost like leading someone on by even interacting with them.

I'm back in the now. I'm not sure I feel much different than that. But at least right now I don't feel bad about it. I'm not letting it define me. Of course, talk to me next week. I'm sure it'll have changed.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Mother Nature has laughed in my face. The last two days I have not biked because of weather forecasts, so I was excited to bike in today. I'm 10 minutes away from going out the door and it starts snowing like crazy. The radio is talking about all the accidents in the north and west. But there was no way I was not going to bike, so I did. In the driving snow. And I survived!

Two nice things happened to me yesterday. The first - I had gotten my Levelor blinds and while the blind itself was what I wanted, the factory chose the top bar front thingie, and it is this weird green. When I called them yesterday, not only did they listen to me, but they are also shipping me a sample of a gray that they have to make sure I'd like it before sending it back for 'repairs'.

The second was when I stopped at Whole Foods after work. I didn't have a basket, and so put my wallet in my pocket. Of course I picked up way too many things to carry, so at some point my wallet fell out. I only realized when I was done shopping. I went to the customer service desk, and ta da, it was there. Nothing missing - I think, since I dont' know how much cash I had in there. Since it wasn't that long, I'm not worried about numbers being stolen.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Zimbabwe now and then

Maybe you've heard what's been going on in Zimbabwe. Maybe you haven't. Up to 60,000 people now affected by cholera. Food shortages. Economy destroyed.

Well, I want to start showing the Zimbabwe and Zimbabweans that I know and loved. So you see the real people as they can be under a stable government.

A recent photo on What you often see in the media about Africa. Poor dying starving people.

A photo from 1989 when I was there. Healthy, happy, and what they should be.

I want to see the vision come true again.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

You just never know

Ah, the poor poor Cardinals. They did so well. Both teams did well, and one did have to win. But great game. Unbelievable plays. You don't know who's going to win until it's over - that's what made it a great game.

In any event, my ex called me by accident during halftime I believe - he was trying to call his parents. He said he was going to call me anyway, since he thought I should stop by to pick up some donation receipts that were mine, and while I was at it, have a piece of pie that he made. So I'll do that tomorrow night. But after he called his parents he called me back, since he found some news out he had to share.

And he asked me if I'm finding this whole thing difficult. Shit, I should just refer him to this blog. Ok, well, maybe not. But we had a good discussion about how difficult it is even though we both didn't think it would be so bad. I told him it seemed like he's doing great, and he corrected that assumption. And I told him about my ups and downs and round and rounds. It's always odd to talk about the impacts of the divorce, since I'm the one who pushed for it so essentially I brought this pain upon him, kind of. But it was good to touch base. He does need to hear that I'm not always doing well. That I spend time alone. That I go to the movies alone. That my friends sometime tire of hearing me cry about what I'm going through (well, at least I think that).

I do care about him so I'm glad we aren't completely disconnected.

But my whole point was, you just never know what people are going through until you are involved in it, or you are told about it. And chaos can arrive at any time. And you gotta learn to live through it and roll with the punches. And support those who are being punched.

This song was in my head last week when I was feeling especially low. Sometimes the inner me tries to console the other half of the inner me... It usually speaks through music.