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Today or tomorrow, the surgeon said, we should get the pathology results from the surgery. I thought the oncologist said it would take longer than a week, but maybe she said it would take longer than a week to get started with the next phase of treatment.

Anyway. The way it goes is that there are two possibilities. Either the margins are good or they are not. If the margins are good, I don't need another surgery. If they are not, the surgeon needs to go in and take out more flesh. And beyond that there are two possibilities. Either the lymph nodes are free of cancer, or the lymph nodes have cancer in them. If the lymph nodes have cancer in them, I need chemotherapy before I have radiation. If the lymph nodes are free of cancer, there are two possibilities. Either the cancer cells from the breast have a high oncotype score, or they have a low oncotype score. If the oncotype score is high, I will have chemotherapy before I have radiation. If the lymph nodes are clear and the oncotype score is low, I will go directly to radiation and thence to taking hormone blockers for five to ten years depending on another string of possibilities.

The numbers are with me in each of these if/then situations--I mean, it's more likely than not that the margins are good, the lymph nodes are clear, the oncotype is good. If that is all the case, then I suppose I advance from "cancer patient" to "cancer survivor"--or do I do that at the end of radiation? I'm not sure. If any of those things are against me, I stay a "cancer patient" for that much longer.

I just want to open the box and see which I am, but it's not even 8:30 so I need to be patient.

Meanwhile, my brother-in-law is insisting on paying to paint my house  but the problem with that is that he's insisting on doing things his way, which means insulting the professionalism of the painters and insisting on breathing over their shoulders while they work. I almost fired him and started thinking about how to get the money for it myself, but then I used my cancer situation as a lever to get him to slow down instead. I'm going to use the time gained to figure out how to get him to trust the painters to do their job. He refused to consider Zack's painter, I believe because he doesn't trust Zack, and got three folks off of Yelp: the first two are kind of bros who started painting irregularly and independently but a long time ago so they're licensed and they have crews now. The third is a woman who got where she was by working for another painter for a long time and studying for various certifications before she took over the business.  Myself, I feel I have reason to trust any of the four of them (including Zack's painter), but if I'm choosing and I can't throw the business to Zack's guy, well, I think you can guess which one I want.

I have a bad head cold for the first time in years. I forgot how stupid and sleepy a cold can make me. I'm good for a few hours in the morning, when I do a bit of housework, take the dog out, and write a little. Then I doze and struggle to do anything at all for the rest of the day.

And now I am off to pick up my Grey Bears vegies and walk the dog and visit my friend Glen, which will take up the rest of the morning. I did poke a little at one of my projects this morning, but I am soooo slow and stupid that I made little progress. I did realize how little I know about horses (hence th previous post).
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My mother was right. VIlna (Vilnius to you) was in fact in Poland at the time that my grandparents emigrated. Which means that it was officially Wilnow. Historical atlases put it in Russia.  I realize that both could be true, but if my mother was right about that, maybe she was right about the story of my grandmother and the Cossacks?
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No writing done yesterday: I went to the center and moved boxes and furniture and then I was in too much pain. But this morning I am better. I only wrote 1300 words, which barely puts me at 50K, but that's all right, because I figured out how to accomplish a lot of things in those words. Those new characters that interloped on Saturday are earning their keep, so that's all right. And anyway, they will keep me from having to introduce other characters lter, since they have replaced them all.

Found while trying to get some terminology straight: Lamber Simnel, who sounds rather like the outline for a boy's-love story in which the protagonist eventually finds love and peace of mind with a falconer's apprentice.

Going in early because my coworker has a sick kid.

And lastly, the Prague contingent has determined that they're going to marry at some point in the discernible future, which will apparently involve taking out a license there and eventually throwing parties wherever necessary. As Frank says: it's an excuse for a pie.

And I say: good enough. One big wedding was enough for me.
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Nah, I didn't write again yesterday. But today is 23K and I accomplished backstory and acquired some more damned characters. A little more Cinderella stuff going on. Do I need so much talk about how Yanek doesn't ever have the appropriate clothing? I can cut it later. The ponies trot onstage again, briefly.

My research, let me show you it, because it will not show in the finished product, again: royal titles. Very difficult to find out what they cal the children of royals outside the UK. Screw it, the children of the Duke are "the little Dukes" and "the little Duchesses." Sidetracked into the title equivalents in other languages and why am I not calling these people things like voivode and herzog? Attempted to find some geographically-correct period clothing, or rather, some clothing of the generation or so before, again no dice so the upper classes wear what I say they do, which is largely whatever is most annoying.

I made cream cheese pastry for piroshki last night. Somewhere along the line I had become convinced that my mother had made that part up because she liked a recipe for cream cheese pastry she saw in a Sunset cookbook, but it appears there's reasonable precedent for it, so I guess that much is traditional. I don't have a lot of mushrooms to use so I'm making cabbage ones, but the recipes I see are boring, so I'm messing with that. Mainly to add tiny diced turnip and celery root and garlic and dill. And lots of parsley and green onions, as they were on sale. Anyway, I'm putting a potato and ground beef into it, so it's not that far from the original.

At thanksgiving my Danish sister in law was having paroxysms of joy over all the dill I put into everything. Of course she was. The non-Danes were a bit puzzled as to why the dill was so wonderful (I mean, the dishes were successful, they liked them, but the dill was not what they noticed, particularly).

What else? I don't know. I'm hungry. My knee hurts. I bet the dog peed by the back door.

Oh yeah, I pass 50K the next time I write.
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I've written about this before, but I feel that the story bears repeating. Here is a version of my letter:

The personal side of this to me is that I had a slight to moderate elevated chance of permanent damage or death each time I was pregnant, and the thought that Mississippi lawmakers are set on making it illegal for me to enhance my own chances of living to raise my own children is just terrifying. I suppose I don't expect them to value my life higher than the possibility that some dividing cells could become a life, but the lives of my children seems like an issue that ought to matter even to the most intransigent of mysogynist warriors for the faith. Not to mention that the life they say they are bent on preserving would be harmed greatly by the death of its mother, even if it escaped death or hideous injury on its own.

But abortion was legal and fairly inexpensive in my childbearing years, so I lived, and my children grew up with an intact mother. And they're doing well. Their father died too young, but they did have a full set of parents growing up.*

*This is my own, cross-cultural definition of a full set of parents: a full set of parents being a family of adults dedicated to raising the children together. This definition does not depend on gender, number, or residence. An incomplete set of parents is created by the death or absence of a person who ought, for reasons intrinsic to the family, be present.
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Tomorrow I get my students back, and their babies.  Rumor has it I will have two new babies -- possibly more later?  I looked at the class list with the teacher of recford but she has an ELD (English language development, pullout support for second-language learners, what we have instead of bilingual education nowadays thanks to the Texan influence on education)  class on the same roster and she didn't know who was who, and she was told she had six teenaged mothers out of the lot.  I recognized two returnees, of whom one has her child in preschool.  I also know I have three babies who aren't in her class, so four babies and also one girl I think is supposed to be on that list but I don't recall seeing her name (hmm.  She ought to be on the list).  She was sort of frantic because she also has two thirty+ -student classes in the same room and it was currently set up with one big horseshoe table which could fit maybe twelve students.  It's big enough for the desks she needs but as of Friday it needed a lot of work to get there.

So Saturday Frank and I stripped the plum tree.  I decided against making wine this year because the plums didn't get all that sweet or flavorful.  But when I started processing the plums for jam, cans, and drying, I noticed they were pretty good.  Just as well about the wine though because by the time I did strip them there were not enough good ones to make a whole batch of wine.  But now I have eight jars of tremendously wonderful almost black satsuma plum jam -- tastes more like blackberry, really: six pints of canned plums to eat with cottage cheese: and five trays of dried plums.  Also a plum clafoutis (kind of.  Sliced plums, a tad of thinned plum jam as a kind of gklaze, topped with a thin layer of custard that turned totally magenta in the cooking and a sprinkle of almond meal and a tiny bit of sugar)and a jar of plum syrup and another bowl of plums.  Also I made banana bread with three of my frozen bananas and a bunch of last year's dried fruit and mostly almond meal and a but of that weird "white" whole wheat flour (not very good flour, but it's okay in banana bread where you don't notice the flour anyway).

This year I have also canned eight jars (mostly 24 ounce jars) of tomatoes and three pints of tomato juice and five jars of escabeche (chiles and carrots in vinegar --mostly carrots because that's the part of the escabeche I actually like) and eight jars of peaches and ten jars of pears, and I have dried several batches of other sorts of plums and four trays of pears. And I made eight little jars of "wild" plum jam (the tiny yellow round ones from around the corner) I want to do another six jars of tomatoes and probably half a dozen each of bread-and-butter pickles and garlic dill pickles.  Then I think I'll put up a dozen or so jars of applesauce and maybe apple juice as well.  I'm munching on the dried apples I made a few years ago: they have softened some and now they're suddenly delicious, so maybe I'll dry some of the apples too, just not make them as crispy as I did before when I decided I didn't like them.

Also.  Got my friend Paul over and we pruned the apricot tree to a faretheewell because it hadn't gotten pruned properly in a while and it only fruits on new wood.  Hopefully we did it soon enough and there will be a lot of apricots next year.  Mostly pruned the plum tree too.  Have to bite the bullet and spray everything really well this winter.


I got the loan on the house restarted and it looks very good indeed.

And interest rates dropped again since January so even though I think I'm tacking on Frank's tuition for this year the whole thing will still cost less, and will result in lower monthly payments especially after I immediately pay off every last debt I have.  And Zack will start building as soon as we have the money for materials, and will move in during the spring, and that will be a load off my mind.

And -- as usual -- the loan officer's daughter was a classmate of Frank's.

Today I am officially off work but I am finishing putting my room together for tomorrow!  Also getting my whooping cough booster and mailing that damned Clue game to Glen.
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This will show my age:
one of my favorite songs ever is Bert Jansch's "Bright New Year," which I thought of all the time with respect to my own mother. Here it is covered by a young man who gets it okay.

Bert Jansch - The Bright New Year

Hello mother dear
Hope you are well and happy today
I do love you and think of you
Each single day
I dream of seeing you happy.

In summertime I thought
I would be able to see you again
I do love you and think of you
Each single day
I dream of seeing you happy.

As the bright new year
Draws closer now
I'm on my way
To bring you my love
And wish you good cheer over there.

Actuallym, I saw my mother all the time. But there is this feeling of concern and worry and maybe even downright fear that mom's falling apart, maybe going crazy with the weight of age and separation -- I lived with it all the time after I left home. She was going crazy and she was falling apart, she was fragile and my father dumped her when she hit middle age -- I like to think it was not because she was getting older but because he couldn't deal with her fragility and because he wanted to live the life he sang about, the free-hearted anarchist, and she was anything but free-hearted.

I didn't really intend to talk about any of that, really. I just wanted to make note of how I've started the new year.

New Year's Eve the dog and I walked in the New Year Parade, with the Women in Black, relatively silently, sandwiched between the bagpipes and the gamelan. Seriously. It's Santa Cruz, that's what we do for the New Year. Then I went to Connie and Israel's house meaning to stay for an hour and come home but what I did was stay till two-ish. Also I cooked. I made cauiliflower and cheese thing, not a great example but edible, roasted roots, chocolate bean flour cake with walnuts and agave syrup instead of sugar and some of the butter replaced by peanut butter, and also sesame candy with agave syrup. I'm not sure that agave syrup is actually lower in glycemic load than other syrups, because I haven't seen a source I trust, but it's rumored to have its fructose molecules all chained up into less-available fibrous strings. I need to talk to my favorite nutritional biochemist. AlsoI swept all the floors and did dishes and laundry.

New Year's Day I cleaned and cleaned and cleaned, a lot of floor cleaning and some throwing things away and wiping down surfaces and moving papers around. And then the in-laws came over and we went to Bean Hollow Beach for the traditional Minus Tide Viewing, with the dog of course, and with the intention of going to the famous Duarte's artichoke restaurant of Pescadero, but it was closed, so the inlaws took us to a Greek restaurant in town and I had Horta Vrasta, which is dandelion geens boiled and served up with lemon and feta. And also a dish of "gigantes," which are butter beans in a kind of thick mild starchy sauce, better than that sounds. Everything was pretty good except the avgolemono, which was too lemony and at the same time bland. I put my name on a list to be notified when they have music (and dancing) night again. And I promised to tell Helen, my sister-in-law, when they tell me. She's Greek and is wistful about dancing.

I forgot to put my card in at Bookshop for their New Years' Day drawing. Oh well.

Yesterday I took the dog to the field and she romped around sedately and I had successful conversations with human beings. Then I went and visited my brother which was pleasant though I think the dynamics in his family are not and I fear for their equanimity over time. I forgot to take the telescope and contact the guy in El Cerrito who wants to buy it. I think my original plan of only dealing with locals is the only way to go. I can't deal with all this far away stuff.

Today I pruned half my apple tree and sprayed it and the plum tree and the apricot tree and the pomegranate tree with dorman oil spray. I still need to do the rest of the pruning and get the prunings into the greencycle can. But this is the first time in years I have gotten the first dormant spray done before late February. I just paid attention to the weather for once and I noticed that there was going to be no rain for a few days and I went for it. I also cooked some more --m some eggs and some rice and lentils for the week -- and swept some more -- I sweep and sweep and vaccuum almost every day and I still have barely made a dent in the mountains of dust that have accumulated while I was wrapped up in a little mourning ball -- not that I've ever been a great housekeeper. Also I dyed some white underwear orange, because orange was the color of dye I had for historical reasons, and orange is not as bad as white, at least I think it's not, we'll see.

I meant to get out to Lighthouse Field with my clipboard, but when I thought it might be either the field or the pruning, I thought the pruning was more immediate.

Also, over this same period I have written 7000 words of a probably 10K word story. One of my endless "fellow with little to no self-esteem and his crush" stories, but this one features the song "Spanish Merchant's Daughter:"

Father was a Spanish Merchant and before he went to sea
made me promise to say "No Sir" to all you say to me
--No sir, No Sir, No Sir, No Sir

I know your father was against me. Should he not return from sea
And they say you have no mother, would you then say no to me?
--No sir, No Sir, No Sir, No Sir

Yes I know I have no mother, should father not return from sea
Then you see I have a brother who would take good care of me
--No sir, No Sir, No Sir, No Sir

If we were walking in the garden, plucking roses wet with dew
Would we be in any way offended if I walk and talk with you
--No sir, No Sir, No Sir, No Sir

I know the world is very cruel if you have no one to care
But I always will say no sir until from father I do hear
--No sir, No Sir, No Sir, No Sir

As we tarry in the garden and we linger side by side
would you tell me I must leave you and refuse to be my bride
No sir, no sir, no sir, no sir,
No sir, no sir, no sir, no no!

Tomorrow, back to work.
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So yesterday my brother in law brought a day laborer ( a nice man named Casimiro who I could not convince to come to the bathroom or to take a drink or anything). They cleaned up my back yard and pruned the feathers off my fruit trees.

A lot of people would say that it's too late to prune fruit trees once they've blossomed. But if the rules are that you have to prune your trees after the leaves fall and before the flowers come and in a period where you won't get any rain for four days, the rules are that you won't prune fruit trees in Santa Cruz, because the leaqves don't fall till after the rain starts and once the rain starts you don't get four days of dry weather till after the flowers start. Actually this year we had a kind of dry January but I was in Prague.

Fortunately for me, summer pruning works just fine in my climate. So I've been pruning in August and March for years. You definitely have to prune in March if you prune in August,anyway. The plum tree is as always gorgeous, the apricot tree is still on probation, and the apple tree looks much better. We tied up the ceanothus and cut back Monster Grape Vine which is not showing any signs of life yet. That's the Golden Muscat, my favorite. The other grape vine, the Concord-type, is leafing out, and I love its grapes but it doesn't make many. I had determined last year to sleep in the yard this August and September to chase off the raccoons and possums and rats and whatever that eat my grapes one by one as they become ripe (they are not the kind that come ripe bunch by bunch, alas).

The big job Casimiro did was hoeing out all the oxalis and piling it on my compost heap, which has disappeared under the weight of the biomass. Unfortunately he got two of my oreganos and some of my other plants, but I can be good-natured about it because my garden is so beautiful I'm actually thinking of having a party.

So today I went and got three more wine barrels because I decided that is the cheapest and easiest solution to the need for more raised beds. I could slap some together out of wood, or my brothers in law would do it, but honestly, I like the modular aspect of the winebarrels, and I think they look good in my yard. I didn't plant any of the now four empty barrels: all my extra soil is buried under a pile of biomass. But it will only be a few days before the pile rots down a but and I can dig some soil out of the bottom.

Local and local-ish folks: anybody want some rhizomes of i>pseudacorus iris? Never mind. it turns out that it's a noxious invasive weed and I better not hand off any of it to anybody. Oh well. Destructo time it is. I'm keeping the handful I moved into a new bed, though: I love it and it's been living in my garden for thirty years. We transplanted it from the lagoon when I was pregnant with Frank, which is also when we got the flowering quince out front that originally grew in front of the veterinarian's office at Ocean and Broadway. They were tearing it out to put in juniper or some damn thing and Carl Foytik brought it to us and we planted it and we've been pruning it five or six times a year ever since.
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We're getting estimates on the roof and the painting. The brothers-in-law are making sure I don't space out on basic maintenance of the house as it is my ace in the hole. So John came down and held my hand while I called people.

Frank got his ballot and voted and mailed it back in in a hurry because he was worried about missing his deadline.

I've met with my favorite lawyer and started getting the house out of the joint tenancy and into a revocable living trust. After some discussion I have decided to make them both trustees even though what will happen is Emma will make decisions and Frank will agree to them and take too long in signing papers. I'm having the lawyer write in language that includes any future spouses and children, so if I lag in updating things it will still be easy to administer.

I went to a Bat Mitzvah on Saturday. The intention was then to spen the night with my old friend Lizzie but I freaked out and had to come home and hole up. This was the second time I've left town since Ted died and I was not ready to spend the night away from home.

The Bat Mitzvah will get its separate entry in a bit, because it was really interesting. But I do have to say that Bat Mitzvah, couple with the stuff I'm doing now for my kids,certainly strengthens my opinion about Proposition 8 (not that it needed strengthening). The Bat Mitzvah girl is the child of a lesbian couple, and in order to do the things I am doing now, her mothers have to go through many extra hoops. And they shouldn't have to.

Off to walk the dog.
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So yesterday was the m,emorial. I thought I couldn't do it. I thought that it would be one long awkward moment while we thought of things to say. We did okay. I was able to speak, and sometimes when I can speak in front of people, I do really okay, and I did.

There were more than fifty people at the field, close to twenty at Henry Cowell. Certain people who were supposed to bring their dogs didn't, but there were dogs, and they went off leash.

I had set it for three so that when the dogs went offleash at four it would be a winding-down signal (not a shut-off) but what happened is that the people ate and introduced themselves to each other until four and we did the thing until about five-thirty, and that wasn't bad at all. It turned out that it ended by me walking to the middle of the field and scattering about half the ashes there.

People told me it was beautiful.

Okay, so I hate this part. I hate the part where I watch myself doing things. It makes every genuine feeling seem false and contrived. Like I'm pretending to be what I am.

I actually did do that for a few years. I've never fessed up, but I did have some post-partum depression after Frank was born. Clearly a mild case, because I was functional and I enjoyed my life, but there was a thin veil between me and myself, between me and the world. I treated myself by deciding I would behave as if I was feeling and thinking the way that I thought I was thinking and feeling, even if I was having this membrane sitting over everything dulling the feelings and thoughts I knew I really had. Does that even make sense? I believe that it was a mostly successful strategy. Probably because it was mild. I don't think I would advise someone who was in real distress to do this. I don't think it would work if you were horribly, horribly sad, or consumed by dull anger, if you had the whole world turn thoroughly grey and featureless. I wouldn't trivialise those conditions by suggesting you could treat them the same way (I don't know, maybe someone could, but I wouldn't suggest it to someone who wasn't coming up with it themselves).

I don't know what other people's post-partum depression comes from -- I think severe cases are physiological, actually -- but it's pretty easy to explain mine. Immediately before I discovered I was pregnant, I had hurt my hands so severely that I was facing the end of all the crafty and artsy things that made up a large chunk fo my identity at the time: and possibly even worse, Ted's father died after three months of harrowing illness. And then, I came very close to dying myself in that pregnancy (I can say this out loud, but at this distance it's actually hard to comprehend that that really happened: my kids are alive, I'm alive, and unless something like the smell of a particular kind of plastic sets me off, my memories of that time seem to skip right over that part). That's a lot of life changes, I think.

I have told everyone who asks me what I need the same thing. I have a tendency when I'm not functioning well to roll up into a little ball and not move. So I told them to call me once in a while and initiate a conversation about taking a walk. That's what I need, people to make me get out and do the things I want to do.

How much I want my guy.
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Most of you only know that the person your condoling me about is important to me: maybe you've gotten snippets over the years of my life with him, something he said, something we did together. I think since you're all being so very kind to me unconditionally, you deserve to know something about the guy. I'm not about to sanctify him, I'm just remembering him. Honestly, he was a grump and a slob (like me), and he could be socially awkward, and he dressed like a hobo no matter what I did. My children's friends remember him as the pantsless guy -- when he didn't actually have to go somewhere, he would frequently walk around the house in just a t-shirt, bare from the hips down, just pulling the hem down over his crotch when he had to pass in someone's view.

Gunter Grass said in The Tin Drum that a story really ought to start with a person's grandparents, so I'll tell you: his grandparents were, respectively, Austro-Hungarians who arrived in San Francisco ready to to take advantage of the building boom after the 1906 Fire and Earthquake, and on the other side, North Dakota Norwegians who broke away and came to Oregon to live like real Americans. Ted wasn't the first in his family to go to college. That would be his Aunt Elsie who did so withought her father's blessing or cooperation, and in fact against his prohibition.

Ted's a Peninsula boy, raised mostly in Menlo Park when that was a pleasant comfortable working-class suburb with an almost rural feel to it: in a house his father built. His father was a union carpenter, a job foreman. His mother called herself a secretary, but her job at the Alaska branch of the Geologic Survey was more like being the chief editor for a cadre of the researchers there, without the status (but with the respect). The Trollmans were the kind of people we wrestled with during the Vietnam War. I mean, they came out of World War Two convinced that the United States had a job to do, keeping the world safe for democracy, and staunchly supported every adventure the government got us into. By the time I met them, around 1971, they had changed their minds.

Ted's mother grew tomatoes, green beans, and Meyer lemons in her backyard. She canned the green beans and tomato soup each year and made apricot-pineapple jam from a lug provided by a friend with an apple orchard in San Jose (different times). She was the sharpest, most efficient woman, kind, and stoic. His father developed a twinkle in his eyes in retirement, but I heard he could be stern -- nothing compared to his father. Ted vowed when he had children nobody would say "wait till your father comes home" as a threat, and he would not be the disciplinarian. And he wasn't.

There are all these really 50s-looking photos of Ted and his older brothers. They all did Boy Scouts right into high school, they made cars for the Pinewood Derby, they went on Jamborees. Ted breeded guppies and worked at Nippon Goldfish as a kid, and collected comics, and got good grades. He went to UCSC, fully intending to graduate cum laude in history and go to law school,work in corporate law until he had enough money to retire, adn then live a life of enjoyment with his fish and his comics and his friends. Shortly after I met him he decided to skip the law school and corporate law part. Only it ended up being orchids he raised. He did graduate cum laude, with a major in Modern Russian History and a minor in Ancient Greek History. He kept on reading history his whole life. A lot of the books he read were about wars and the technology of war -- he called them "war porn," but there was nothing pornographic about his interest. Frank inherited this keen interest in history and politics.

I met Ted my first week at UCSC. He was a junior, I was a freshman. He was doing an all-nighter even though it was only the first week because one of his teachers had assigned a forty page paper to be done by the end of the second week. I was getting up extra early to work in the UCSC Garden. As I passed his dorm windowq, I saw his candle guttering in a scary fashion, threatening to catch his curtains on fire. We had a conversation about it, and later we saw each other again, and eventually, we agreed to see each other over the summer. He had a girlfriend that school year, and I had two boyfriends -- my high school sweetie had talked me into getting another guy to frolic with so he could justify sleeping around back home. But that summer I extricated myself from the other guys and went to visit him in Pacific Grove (basically Monterey). We went to see the squid run at the COast Guard DOck, we bought a bag of cherry tomatioes and we made iced cherry tomato soup out of them, and of course we ended up in bed together. He courted me with the little toads at Lake Lagunitas by the Stanford campus, with foraging for abandoned fruit in vacant lots (yes, this town had lots of vacant lots right then), with stargazing and comic books and a magnificent voice which I will never hear again.

Practicalities: the last I heard, Ted's body had arrived at the coroner's office from the tissue donation center, but tomorrow is Friday and then there's a weekend. So the ashes won't be back until Thursday or so, which entails running up against Labor Day weekend, and I really won't do anything that weekend that entails peoplde driving into Santa Cruz. The weekend after that is the weekend before avid arrives. So I've decided we'll do the memorial on Sunday, September 14. The Henry Cowell Park Walk will be in the morning, and the Lighthouse Field event will be in the afternoon. This also gives us a couple of weeks to sort out logistics -- tablem, chairs, etc. I know my brother says he has a couple of long folding tables, and I know my friend COnnie has stacks of chairs. If you're interested, let me know and I will see that you get plenty of warning as to the time and place -- parking, carpooli, es

I'm brainstorming the soundtrack of Ted's life, and I'll get someone to make a compilation for me and we'll find someone with a portable CD player. I haven't faced up to the photos yet, but I think that will be possible tomorrow, if it's quiet around here. When we send out directions, I'll suggest some favorite potluck foods of his -- suggest, not direct: nobody has to bring anything, let alone what I tell them to.

I'm quite literally falling asleep at the keyboard, which I hope means I'll be sleeping tonuight. I have a prescription waiting for me for some kind of sleeping aid, but I won't take any unless I really need them.

I met with the crematorium people today. They'll take care of procuring death certificates and a few other little tasks. I sprung for a biodegradable box: an astonishing expense, compared to the cost of the stupid unrecyclable standard plastic box, but not much more money in absolute terms, and I figure it's worth it to get what I want, and to not have another thing to put into the land fill. The other thing I ordered over the basic package was a bead. They take a pinch of the ashes and they cook it into a dollop of beauitiful glass, and then they want you to buy a chain or a stand for it, but all I wanted was the bead, which looks like seawater viewed from a specific angle, or like certain leaves when the sun shines just so.

The undertaker, or whatever he is, is a very kind man, very clear and not pushy (though he would have liked to have sold me more if I had been in the mood). He wears a tie made of a piece of "Starry Night." -- the Van Gogh picture, of course.

It's hard to believe in for more than a moment at a time. I keep thinking "I should save some fo this strudel for Ted," or "I should get back home, Ted will be wondering where I am."
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The nice fellow died this morning. It was almost completely unexpected. He had been ill for a while, enough to scare me. But I couldn't get him to the doctor until a week ago. Today was his last dose of antibiotic, he wasn't getting better, and Frank and I were trying to get him to the doctor and he just stopped breathing while I was trying to put pants on him and Frank did CPR until the paramedics came and he just stopped.

That's not why I've been quiet for a while. I could actually blame Frank being home for that, but honestly, it was more burnout and the Sims.

The nice fellow and I were planning a few days off for me, and we were going to go to the White Mountains to commune with the bristlecone pines. Just before he died we were revising our plans to go to Point Reyes/Drake's Bay because he didn't think he could handle high altitudes while he was recovering from bronchitis.

On Sunday we walked three miles -- just to the end of the wharf and back, to see the Polynesian festival -- he had to stop every so often and sit for a bit, and he couldn't stick around for the music, but he was able to enjoy himself and I thought he was getting better. Yesterday he was a lot worse, and I was planning to go in to work late so I could watch out for him and get him to the doctor today.

I'm not cold-hearted. I did some crying earlier, and I will do it again, but right now I'm going to lose myself online for a bit.

I'm pissed that I didn't have enough warning to sing "our songs" to him.

Maybe play Sims, maybe catch up on his favorite websites.
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So the dear boy has a journal. Go read it: it's really good, though alarming. Culture clash! Linguistical revelations!

And I went to Lane Bryant (which is far away, and we only went because we were already over the hill*) and discovered I wear a really tiny number in Lane Bryant knit tops, though in clearance-rack crop pants I wore the size I kind of expected to wear.

And you know how the cut and fit of clothes changes over time? Right now sleeves and armholes and shoulders are being cut in a way that it sort of disastrous for me. The line of the shoulder is too narrow (though there is still too much cloth over the bust, if the thing fits at all), and the armhole is cut too high, which means 1) the shoulder seam is about halfway to my neck and stands up in an awkward little point over my shoulder and 2) if I lift my arm the shirt strains all weird between the bust and the armpit. Altogether it looks like the shirt is way way too small and way too big at the same time.

I decided that, rather than fail to get replacements for the clothing I have to get rid of (really I'm not vain but there's a limit to how clownish I want to look. And the pants I bought two weeks ago are already sliding off), I would get a couple of shirts that were okay enough looking. I also succeeded in finding 3 pairs of pants. One I think is supposed to be shorts, but they hit me a few inches below the knee and if I can find coordinating knee socks I will like them. One I think is supposed to be knee-length, but they're kind of plus-fourish, a little longer than that. And the other is all the way down to my ankle so I think they're supposed to be capris. Considering it's getting cold I think I need socks.
I also got bras that fit and have no lace to disintegrate right at the worst time, and socks, though since they are strongly patterned I'm not sure how well they go with the pants and shirts.

*we went over the hill to celebrate the birthdays of both the nice fellow's brothers and to nag the oldest to eat vegetables. And watch a video of my nephew skydiving. He's really a go-do-it young man, and pleasant. Also said nephew and his father seem to be getting radicalized, which is an odd sensation, though welcome.
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We went to see "Gypsy Caravan" and now I urge you to do the same. It's a concert tour movie, but it's also a lot more. And the music and the dancing are wonderful.

Something I found out: the song, "Djelem, djelem," which I had scooped up from somewhere long forgotten and put on my playlist and assumed was Middle Eastern or klezmer, turns out to be the Romani national anthem, and it's all about travelling long distances, having no money or food, and being taken in by your own people and fed: and persecution. it's a really moving song even when you don't know what it's about.

Something else: remember how I was once talking about Johann Trollmann? The Sinto (like a Gypsy) who was probably not related to the Trollmanns the nice fellow comes from? And the tantalizing detail of the Sinto Trollman having really similar features to the Trollman men I know?

Well, I kept seeing that Trollman mouth all over this movie. Now, I don't think this means a thing but that we're all very closely related and features like that can pop up all over. I don't think I'd have noticed it unless I'd read the Johann Trollmann story first. But I did notice it, and it's a thing I'm free to add meaning to, since I am a member of a species that does that. So there. (by the way, double-n Trollmann and single-n Trollman are historical and geographical distinctions)

Another thing: 2005-2015 is the decade of Roma inclusion.
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Every so often I want to show off my kid. She's the middle one with the alarming hair do in the first picture.

I want to write something about solipsism and skyhook science fiction, but I've put it off too late for today.

On another front, I've been looking at old posts for various reasons, and I am the Queen of Stupid Typos. I don't spell check lj because the lj spell check is so annoying, but I guess I ought to.
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Frank came in and asked me was he related to Johann Trollmann, the German boxer. I said "Heck if I know. There's a lot of Johann Trollmanns around." So we went looking and well I don't know about being related to the guy, but his story was a punch in the gut. In the pictures he has that Trollman mouth, but that could just be a coincidence, because if they are related, it's probably pretty distant. The Trollmans of which Frank is a member left Glogon just in time for the patriarch of that family to run to San Francisco to participate in the rebuilding after the 1906 Fire and Earthquake. There is no family rumor about being Sinto (a word I had never encountered for German Gypsy), but a lot of people will suppress Romani heritage if they can.

If you don't like to follow links, here's Johann's story in brief: he was a boxer, born in 1907 in Hanover. You can see where this is going. He ran into a lot of discrimination in amateur boxing circles so he went pro in 1929. He beat two of the Nazi's favorites and they took his title away from him both times, to the disgust of the boxing fans. Finally, amid rising death threats (so fierce that he divorced his wife so she could take another name and get away from him), he agreed to the conditions forced on him for a fight to retain his title: he agreed to abandon his dancing style that the Nazis called "gypsy unpredictability." He showed up with white makeup all over himself and his hair dyed blond and caricatured "Aryan" fighting style by standing totally still while the Nazi favorite pounded him for 5 rounds until he collapsed.

It goes downhill from there. He died in Neuengamme.

This man was my brother, whether or not he was a cousin.
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peekaboo! )
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The last couple of days I got caught up with taxes. By this I mean I did the 2003 taxes, just in time -- I had lost the papers for it and it turned out this is the last year I could get a refund for that year -- found and filled out the last form for 2005, and did the 2006 taxes.

This will mean the equivalent of two months' of our earnings.

On another front, I am trying to rationalize my tags. I have too many. So, right now, I'm turning all references to songs and music into generic "music:" Thus, if I want to go back and see what I said about that Hungarian band, I don't go looking for "teka," I just look for "music." Likewise, if I want to see what I wrote about Angela Carter, I look for "writers." There are disadvantages to this, but I think on the whole I prefer it this way. And all my friends and family posts will eventually be grouped under "family," though I may keep "luis" separate.

On still another front, it's raining and my young friend MC is about to ditch the trailer he's been living in because the rent's going up and he's not getting along as well with the landlord (I suspect that the rent is going up as encouragement to get a job already). I'm not taking him back on my couch -- never mind my couch already has a guy on it -- except to save his life. He has a tent, so I said if he needs tarps, I'm good for that.

On still another front, yes, I'm writing, but not focused.
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So April 17 is the commemmoration of Enrico Caruso's last concert in San Francisco on the eve of the FIre and Earthquake. There's going to be a concert and singalong of Caruso numbers at the Yerba Buena Gardens at I think 5:30 pm, so if you can be in the City at that time I'll be grateful. Since I can't.

April 18th is the day that San Francisco celebrates the birth of my children and also, coincidentally, the fire and earthquake of 1906, which you'll notice is a hundred years ago this year. We're going to miss the 5:12 AM event at Lotta's Fountain, and the 7:00 AM event at the golden fire hydrant at Dolores Park, but we're going to the 10:00 Firemen's Parade. So's my sister-in-law: she's going to ride on the Oakland Fire Department parade rig with her work dog, who is a Dalmation named Molly.

Zac calls Easter Zombie Day. This year we're going to do Orthodox Easter with the sister-in-law whose family is Greek. We celebrated Easter this time at the house of Lizzie Jenkins, who is a childhood friend of mine and the daughter of my father's childhood friend. It was a really fine supper and the company was all good and best of all I got to listen to her father, whose name is Robert but my father called him Rupert P. or Rudolph because they were jazz kids and they used to do zany jazz kid stuff like having nicknames. Rudolph could be gotten to hold forth about jazz things and art things. I told him he ought to produce podcasts so I could listen to them.

Livejournal now asks you if you want to restore entries you lose because you hit some random key. This is good news.

Also I saw my brother and sister-in-law and niece and her husband and the baby Juliana who is cuter than a seven month old has a right to be, and of course, their amazingly large dogs.

And now I am off to bed: Gloria in the morning, and the next day -- earthquakes, fires, birthdays, parades, and of course, shopping.

Oh, and it rained today. Hard. But it didn't hail and there werte no new slides on 17.
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More music links.

Marley's Ghost which probably everybody else knows about but me. They do a little bit of everything American. They were live on the radio today and they sang "Religion in Rhythm" and you know what I did.

And then there's the present the nice fellow bought for me. He heard it on the radio and just went to Streetlight Records and told them what he heard and they knew exactly what he was talking about and when I got home there it was and I listened to it straight through and you know what I thought -- "have to lend this to Luis so he can make a copy" -- but I can't. Oops, this is what it is: Prototyp Hurdy Gurdy music by two guys, one from Hedningarna and one from Garmarna, and it's entirely done with hurdy gurdies and computer postproduction stuff.

Hey, I think I'm going to be pretty tedious about this whole Electra thing for a while. I'm thinking of splitting the grief stuff off with a semi-locked thing, with only people who tell me they can stand the repetition of it able to read it. I promise I will put any juicy music links or other general things into public posts as well even if they're primarily relevant to me in the grief context. But I think -- well, we're all pretty devastated, and I don't see myself getting over it really soon, and I think it might be a bit much for modern minds -- we're not accustomed to wallowing in mourning like our nineteenth-century ancestors, and I think I'd like to spare folks my more atavistic flounderings. I mean, I'm wearing black, and it doesn't mean a thing to anybody looking at me, because fat ladies tend to wear black anyway to keep from having to wear fuschia or mint green: but it means something to me.

It's almost my brother's birthday and I want to give him something really fine, to make up for losing his father. I'm still thinking about what that would be.

So, on another front: financial aid forms sent in on time! Income taxes, state and federal, sent in on time! Property tax paid!

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