Saturday, May 22, 2010

What a year

Wow. I think I forgot I had a blog. I did get a Facebook page, but I find it so superficial there.

So, here are the highlights of the last year.

I recovered from my tendon transplant and returned to work.

Joe and I bought a house.

My coven achieved some hard-won milestones and set some new goals and directions.

Joe and I adopted another dog, named Connor, to be a brother for Mojo. We are now a two dog/two cat family.

I found out that I enjoy mowing the lawn--I find it oddly relaxing. If only I did not have to empty the bag every few minutes . . .

I have had surgery on my mouth and on my toe.

Joe and I are SLOWLY getting a raided-bed vegetable garden going. We got flower pots for the patio planted and flowers planted in the front bed. I have a composter going.

I will have to tie a string around my finger to remind me to come back and post here more often.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Where did February go?

Oh where oh where did February go?
Oh where oh where could it be?

I think it passed me by, mostly, except for the first part of it which was a bunch of frenetic worrying and trying to get as much work done at work before I had reparative surgery on my biceps tendon on February 7th.

I actually worried and fretted through half of January, too, because I found out I would be having surgery on my arm on January 13th. I still went on vacation to Tucson, because, according to two anesthesia nurses I spoke to prior to surgery, it was "quite likely" that I would never wake up from surgery because of my high blood pressure and sleep apnea. Oh joy, and WHY am I having my arm repaired again? Because it will look flawless in the casket? Dr. Hegmann, who had been looking after my arm injury since October put it all into perspective for me when he told me that I had a greater chance of dying in a car wreck on my way to work in the morning than during or after surgery.

Well here I am! Fab and fat as ever! Well, not as fat as ever, but that is a different doctor . . .

So, surgery happens. It was actually a kind of pleasant adventure. The post surgical nurses and nursing aides were amazing. There was Andria and Polyanna who were my nurses and Alicia and Dani who were my nurses aides. They were so friendly and professional and made my overnight stay at the University Orthopedic Centre a far better experience than I might have thought. The guy in the room next to mine was a total asshole and made it impossible to sleep. I wish I could share the asshole's name with you all, but I dont know it.

After I was released from surgery, well, the next two weeks were kind of a blur in a way. I spent nights with Joe, with my coven sisters Mo and Brie, with my parents. I slept alot. I was sleeping up to 16 hours a day at times. Even now, at the first of March, I am still sleeping ten to twelve hours a day. However, I am healing up well. Dr. Tashjian, my surgeon said the surgery went well. They grafted a dead person's tendon onto the stub of a tendon that I had left, and reattached my biceps to my radius. I have gone from needing lots of help for simple things like bathing and dressing to needing no help for those. I am washing dishes and taking out the trash (with my right arm). But February is gone.

In some ways, I feel like I have been off work for three or four months. I miss it and I wish I could go back now, even if only part time. Winn tells me that install requests boomed right as I went in to surgery and it has been stressful for them. I really wish I could help and now I feel stressed out that I cant.

My headaches have been diminishing over the last month. I have had ONE headache that was bad enough to make me late for work and a few others that would just have made going to work annoying. My blood pressure is down, my cholesterol is down, my triglycerides are down. Things are looking hopeful.

Today was a warm day. It was sunny, but dusty with all the Hatu winds blowing. It was a good day and it was like waking up for the first time after a coma or something like that. It was crisp and clear and REAL.

I also want to wish my sister, Tammy, a very happy 27th birthday tomorrow. She deserves it!

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Nature of Winter

Winter is . . .

Yes, winter is and it is just a drain to put a label on it. In warmer seasons we put superficial labels on it. Winter is so snowy! Winter is so cold! It is like we cannot remember the more subtle fingers of winter upon our psyches once warm weather is upon us. It is like childbirth for women in a way. The baby passes through the birth canal and their is a peak of pain and then the retreat of pain becomes ecstasy and for most women there is no psychic trauma, just as the baby does not remember trauma.

Visiting a warm climate for a few days and then being dropped back into the winter milieu does seem to clear the mind. Going into a warmer climate, there is a kind of vague thought that, "Oh wow! It is nice and warm here! Winter what?" However it all becomes painfully clear upon reinsertion into the winter clime.

Winter is depressing. Winter is demoralizing. Winter is an ameoba of cold air on the floor. Winter makes people grouchy and irritable. Winter saps a smile. Winter makes people worry. Winter makes people just as cuckoo as July heat. Winter makes cats and dogs cuddly. Winter air is either cold or polluted or both. Winter emboldens Republicans in legislative moralizing agendas and makes progressives feel angry and powerless.

Winter becomes a bad memory with the coming of good weather that makes us all forget the physical and psychic trauma and leaves us with only a general sense of dread and avoidance that only comes to life again come October, but is easily the most ephemeral and avoided thought during the warmer seasons.

We forget winter so easily, even when winter does not forget us.

Winter is . . . And winter always is . . . even when we forget.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Tucson and life thereafter

Tucson is a winter paradise to people like me from the Wasatch megalopolis of Utah. I did not think I would like it and that it would be ugly like the dessicated moonscape I witnessed at Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix years before. My first trip to Tucson happened in January, 2008. My eyes were opened and thrilled. My return trip this year was just as great if not moreso. First of all, Tucson is not a moonscape, but has green everywhere! Of course there are several types of cacti, but the huge ears of some variant of prickly pears are dominant and exotically beautiful to the northern eye for some reason. There is cholla, which is a kind of furry-looking skinny cactus that one does not want to mess with, or look at too closely lest it jump onto your skin or clothing and reduce you to tears of misery. There is manzanita and palo verde which also have their own exotic beauty. There are citrus trees, full of ripe fruit this time of the year. There are even the palms one sees in Southern California along the streets. There are these huge, long-needled pine trees which grow all over the city and are beautiful, but different from the pines up here. The grasses and washes are all dry, but some of the barrel cacti have some blossoms. There is even a plant called ocotillo which is dormant this time of year, its stems protected by thorns a cactus would be proud to wear, but they are not cacti. they bloom with leaves and flowers when the rains come to awaken them, but in winter they are long, grey stalks of thorns that look dead. This year the temperatures were ten to fifteen degrees higher than they were last year, so instead of January feeling like March last year, January felt like May. My lingering cold is GONE, so gloriously GONE, after just a few days with some sun and warmth.

Then I had to come home and resume life. Mojo was so happy that Joe and I were back that every movement of arm or leg was a signal to jump up on our laps for a lick and some vigorous petting. My cats acted interested when I first pushed through the door, but then Loki seemed to focus on something interesting on the wall. Ulysses looked at something interesting on the floor until I moved toward the bathroom and he wanted a fresh drink of water in the sink. Loki strolled into the bathroom, but still found something interesting to watch in the doorway. Loki came around after I feed them both a can of soft food and then even he wanted his five-day share of scratching, rubbing and squeezing. So much for feline indifference as punishment for inattendance! They still had plenty of food, but were about a day away from a water crisis. I am glad I had both the small pot of water on the floor and the water-cooler style water dish. I did have reserves to call in just in case there was a blizzard or something, but that did not need to take place.

I had an MRI for my arm on the 21st for my surgery on February 6th. That was really painful! I had my arm positioned high above my head and strapped down. Then I was forced into the tube. I am such a chunk, but it was nice to rest against the side of the tube on one side. At first there was only minor discomfort, but as the MRI went on, the pain in my arm and shoulder started to ramp up. After about 20 minutes, it was getting to be moderately painful. By the time it was done, it was amazingly painful. They finished the last scan and wanted to leave me in the tube while the final scan was evaluated. Then they said, "How are you doing?" I said, "I am in a LOT of pain here." They yanked me out and said the scans were great. It took a couple of hours to regain the full use of my arm, but no permanant damage was done.

Returning to work was more of a challenge. Winn was freaking out about a big project for Care Transformation so that patient care areas will have access to electronic medical records in case of down time problems. After working on such projects for the last few years, I have just come to realize that these projects will accumulate the needed staff and skill and will turn out to be just fine. Winn was more freaked out until we had a meeting about the project. He is still freaked out about the regular equipment installs that need to be done before my surgery, but I am heartened about the amount of work that needs to be done on the project and extra time to take care of a few critical installs along the way. I was also relieve that my bud at work, Jeff, helped me get some critical work done on Friday. The next week will be fast and furious, but any extra installs I get done will be icing on the project cake and pave the way to get the rest done before surgery. I think things are going to be okay! Winn really is a good boss, but he still does not have the historical perspective of projects that I have. He really does work to make sure that I am not abused and I appreciate that very much, even when we differ on job mechanics.

I look forward to some coven work this week, some housework pre-surgery, and then the final preparations here at home.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Head Cold that Came to Dinner

I have had this medical and mental condition that will not go away. Medical, because it is something like a cold, mental because it causes great stress and irritation. I know I contracted it back at the end of November, first of December. It visits for a day or two or up to four then it goes into hiding again. Some people get the creeping crud; I seem to have the lurking crud. My symptoms are mostly mild: runny nose, sinus headache, a minor sore throat and earache on one side, watery eyes and just a sense of localized misery. Below the neck, I feel like a caged animal because down there I am just fine and ready to take on the day with gusto. My head kind of gets dragged along at the end of a rope just long enough to get a periodic back kick from my ankles as I rush from task to task. Maybe it is visiting again because of the stress of last week: two small projects, one small project that ballooned into a large project and some work politics and general territorialism. I need to get certain things done at work, because I am bringing out the big guns against my lurker. I am spending a few days in the sun.

Sun. It hardly seems like a real thing anymore. I hardly get to see it on work days. Many days are just grey, like today, or even snowy and miserable on the outside. On the days when it does shine, it only makes it's presence known by its enhanced brilliance from the albeido of the snow, but you can't feel it. But shhhhhh! Don't say this outloud. I am only sharing this in writing because I am hoping that cold viruses still cannot read. I am going to Tucson! Forecast: mid-seventies and sunshine all the days we will be there! This gives me a chance to breath real, unconfined and non-cough-contaminated air. I can stock up on Vitamin D and get a little ultraviolet illumination on my skin and surface blood vessels. I will get to see green, living things, even if most of them are armed with thorns and barbs enough to tear one to pieces: thorns and barbs that make rose buses seem the tame housecats versus the sabretoothed cave lions of yesteryear.

If a huge dose of the Sun and a little accidental bloodletting (sans leeches) does not cure this, I don't know what will.

Monday, January 5, 2009

New Year Developments

On Friday the 2nd of January, I got a call from the Veterinary Hospital where Lusay spent her last day. I had requested that they make me a plaster cast of her front paw prints in black and white and it was ready to pick up. I went in and the lobby was full of patrons with various concerns. One was there to buy some perscription dog food. Another guy was there to pick up his dog, which turned out to be a cute little collie and he was so happy he was almost bouncing when he walked. Another lady was there to see her pet. She held up a brave front until she spoke the name of her pet that she was there to see and then she exploded in tears--they ushered her away to a private room quickly. I thought to myself, "There but for two weeks go I." However, it was more like there but for two minutes go I, because when a staff member asked what she could do for me, I choked up and whispered to her that I was there to pick up Lusay's plaque. She did not hear me, so I had to speak up and tears started to run. She scurried back into a back room and came out with the plaque in bubblewrap. She took it out for me and I started to tear up some more. She asked me if I liked it, which I did. It was better than I expected. Her paw prints and name in black, the rest in white and a black and white bow on the top. The top surfaces are all shiny and laminated while the back is raw plaster. I am very happy with that. It feels nice to have some kind of memorial of her to be able to touch and interact with because I did not get that with my cat, Arthur, who died in 1991. I still visit his grave in Diamond Fork and when I do, I bring a stick of incense and light it. He was a great cat, too, just like Lusay.

On a related front, Christian, who gave me Lusay, is still in the area, I found out. I did try to contact him before Lusay was put to sleep to see if he wanted to see her, but his phone number that I had did not work. I feel bad that I could not reach him, but now I feel like I might be able to find him and let him know what happened. He is a friend that I miss a lot, anyway. Maybe it is just the impetus I need to find him and reconnect.

I found out that my friend Jenn is having half her thyroid gland removed. I got to speak to her and find out that it was not a cancer thing, but a cyst thing that needs removing. She will have to wait a couple of months to find out if she needs to start taking thyroxin. Hopefully she doesn't.

Things are on track for Joe and I to head down to Tucson next week for a short vacation. I look forward to seeing Canopus again and making this a yearly tradition where we get a few days of spring and a few nights of Canopus each year in January.

I hope everyone had a great Perihelion and life improves for all as we pull away from the Sun.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Athbhlian faoi mhaise dhaoibh uilig

Yes, a very happy, healthy and prosperous 2009 to everyone. I am thinking of many people today--moreso than at Christmas or the Winter Solstice for some reason. I think about Joe who is well into the third year living in frigid Utah and I hope he is liking it enough to stay. I think of my mom and Bill and camping this summer and Tigger. I think of Ben and Tammy, my sis and bro in law, and how fast their kids Chris, Kayden and Carlee are growing and changing. I think of my brother Brent and his wife Candise and his daughters Ryeley and Jayde--the girls are becoming young women. I think of my sister Shelly in a new relationship with Mike, whom I have not met, and her two grown boys starting their adult lives. I am thinking of my friend Wendy down in Las Vegas with her aunt who is failing with cancer this winter. I am thinking of Aisling and Brie who are dealing with the aging and failing of my dear friend Mary, Aisling's mother. I am thinking of Mary, herself, and wondering what is going on in her mind as she experiences the things her body and mind are going through as she turns ninety. I think of Bret and TaMara who are both busy for the holidays and probably tired and hope they get to use January to recover. I think of Clint, raising Kaden by himself, even with a couple of uncles around and want him to find THE ONE. I think of Don and Denny and their great home and their big studio project in their back yard where their creativity will meet reality. I think of Dana and Denny and of all the stories and experiences I have had with Dana over many years. I think of Diana, a truck driver, who plies the roads between Phoenix and Salt Lake and her doggie, Murphy. I think of Dave and Renae who work really hard to support their family and then go out and work harder to bring peace and security to many Pagans in all sorts of binds. I think of Jenn, alone with her studies and kitties as she muddles through her life. I think of Aaldis and Ty and how they bring love and humour to those around them. I think of Parker, stuck up in the tundra of Kemmerer, Wyoming without his bride this winter. I think of my brother, Matt, who is working his butt off and trying to decide what he wants to do with the rest of his life right now. I think of my cousin, Christy and her new husband, Ray, as they start their life together. I think of my friend Allen in Dallas as he mourns his father. I think of Dave and Bryan in Tennessee who are both worried about their ailing and aging parents. I think about Goat because she seems adrift and alone in some ways and I dont know what anyone can do to help her. I think about Aisling and Brie's daughter Sara and her kids, Gabriel and Joseph, as they begin again in Wyoming. I think about Kevin and Steve in Tucson and hope they have a nice drama-free year. I think about Myke who works as a janitor at one of our clinics and hope he has a wonderful and meaningful year. I think about Mony who I hope finds herself and then likes herself. I think about Nathan and Marie who are going to become first-time parents this year. I think about Joanne at one of our clinics who just got a new grandchild and how her grandchildren ARE her life. I think of Sheila who has just lost a great deal, but who has so much to gain in this year. I think of Michael and John who have been through so much this last year and on whom I wish so much peace and love for 2009. I think of MiLinda who has no job and just lost her family support network and I hope she finds direction. I think of Lusay and how Loki misses her and hope the Ulysses will be healthy this year. I think of Barack Obama and the huge problems that will face him as he becomes our new president. I think of his wife, Michelle and their two girls as they will have to adjust to a new life in the White House and under a microscope.

I think of, worry about, and dream about these people and wish nothing but peace, prosperity and comfort in the coming year. I think this coming year is going to be a challenge to many of us emotionally, economically and just to try to stay human amid the pressures we all feel to be automatons and zombies in the hive order we have come to live in via work and computer.

I wish everyone a happy and very human 2009. May it be better than 2008.