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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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It's hard to believe it has been six days, but if you include the day of surgery, it has been! That must be why I'm getting restless.

So my first full day home from the hospital was a wee bit dire.too much too soon but not that gross )
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If I approximated this type of house in the Sims, which I could do by deploying all sorts of objects made for other purposes, the observer would be easily forgiven for thinking I was just being silly. I'm going to describe it before linking the pictures, because I want you to take a moment to try to picture it from my description before you look at it. When you first look at it, you won't see what's really there: no, because I have warned you, you'll look very closely and see it.

Right, so picture this: it is a blocky house in outline, with a moderately steep roof. Including the space under te roof, there are three stories. The ground floor, what Americans call the first floor, is lined with arches set with their backs flush to the wall. In the open ings of the arches you can see that the walls are made of squared-off horizontal logs, painted a dark red, brown, cream, or white. Sometimes the arches match the logs, sometimes they are painted to contrast heavily. The next floor (second floor to Americans, first floor to Europeans) is either more horizontal squared-off logs, sometimes with the caulking painted a contrasting color, or else a smooth white plaster, or it can be half-timbered. Sometimes it also has those bas-relief arches. The walls under the peaked roof are usually covered in vertical siding, or they might be half-timbered. The vertical siding might be quite rustic or it might be fine. There might be a decoration on this top section. There may be dormers and there may be a bay window or a balcony.

Now you can look at the page where the pictures come from. Look carefully, before you read the machine-translated text with them. Do you see that the arches are functional? The text explains it, or I might not have gotten it. The arches are to carry the weight of the roof away from the walls. I imagine it is to defend the house from collapsing in heavy snow. I've seem big blocky Central European farmhouses before but not like this, with these details of construction right there to be contemplated.

What I don' know from reading this is whether, a hundred years ago, very poor country people would live in house like that. I guess it doesn't matter much, as the villages around the old castle are not poor at the beginning of the novel.
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Not to get Sims 2, I already have that, but to play Sim City in offline mode.

But here's the thing: Origin is foreverf telling me that it is going offline now. Whatever I am doing. I have gone in and tinkered with the settings to tell it not to go online unless i tell it to but it does this anyway. A couple of times it barged into my (non-Origin) Sims 2 game to tell me that I appeared to be trying to play on two computers at once and I couldn't do that so it was going offline now. That was annoying because whenever the game is minimized it takes a while to get back up again. And yet the sims go on doing whatever while I can't see them or control them, with sometimes hilarious results.

The reason I bring this up is that I have been intermittently trying to search out hos to get i to stop doing this and I can't find the question online, let alone the answer. Nobody ever seems to want to know how to stop Origin from going online when they don't need it to be up. They only complain, apparently quite frequently and at length, that Origin won't go online when they want it to.

SIgh. I do seem to have my own special problems.

On the other hand, I seem to no longer have any trace of sciatica. And also! Phase 1 of North Window Reclamation Project is nearly done -- I have an eat-facing window in the downstairs bedroom (the one I am living in now). There's a couple more dribs and drabs to do to it, but it's inthere and it opens and closes, thus affording that room with Light and Air!

The other phases involve replacing the north-facing window in that room, and the north and west facing windows in the living room, with brand new windows that open and close and have insulating glass. They will be vinyl, because fiberglass and wood are so much more expensive, but it turns out you can so paint vinyl window sashes, you just have to use special paint.

Just because I can, I'm making the east-facing window a bit of a narrow box window, providing the room with a wee bit more light and an awesome wide windowsill for a plant or two.

And the third thing: Truffle has taught herself not to rush into the yard when nighttime vermin thugs approach the house. She just runs into the back room and stands right inside her dog door barking and huffing. I reward this behavior, but truth be told, I didn't teach it to her. I tried when she was younger but she just started actually doing it on her own. Whoi says an old dog won't learn a new trick? They can if they want to.

Trujffle's going to be thirteen in November, hard as that is to believe.
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Lately I stay in bed for a while after I wake up. I can do my morning surf in bed now because of my cute little obsolete barbie-pink laptop, and I can also write there for the same reason. This allows me to keep from dangling my legs from the chair for that time (which is lousy for all the sixteen jillion billion things that are wrong with them) but it also means that I don't get moving until my bladder or the telephone force me out. Or the dog needs something, but she's happily adapted to sleeping in as long as I'm available to warm the bed for her. Yes, I sleep with my dog. 1) I haven't slept alone on a regular basis since I was eighteen, so it would be a sacrifice to not have her in the bed 2)anyway when she was a puppy it was the best way to keep her out of trouble at night so we were already in that habit 3) mutual warmth.

Anyway when I finally did get up this morning I thankfully hadn't flushed when I noticed the lack of water because I usually save flushing the toilet till after my bath when I refill the flushing buckets (I do not require everyone else to flush the toilet with buckets but I prefer to). So I noticed when I tried to run a bath. Because of my history my first thought was that the water bill had somehow not been paid but when I called the water department they said there was an emergency shutdown and it should be back online in an hour or so. The customer service guy did not know the ultimate cause of the shutdown. The thing about an emergency shutdown is that since it is an emergency shutdown there is no guarantee that your buckets and pitchers will be filled. Moral of the story: keep the buckets and pitchers filled at every moment.

Coincidentally my morning surf had mostly been about how to stop my toilet from running besides buying a new apparatus (I think I have to buy a new apparatus) and also how to weatherstrip my windows. But I think I'm not going to go out and buy the stuff I need for those jobs today because I have A Brand-New Mysterious Leg Pain and I'm going to rest the ridiculous thing until I see the doctor tomorrow. This time there's also a newish not-mysterious leg pain, as I tweaked either the IT band or the hamstring doing somewhat more difficult dances Friday night (but I had fun!). And then last night my stupid ankle swelled up quite suddenly and also quite suddenly started producing the kind of pain you can't ignore or walk through. So, against my uncharacteristic desire to be up and doing today, I am resting. If I'm feeling up to it later, I'll do a bit of hardware store shopping when I go out to take the dog to the vet.

What has happened is that I have gotten some of the money from the sale of my stepmother's house, and I am judiciously spending about half of what I have gotten on necessary repairs to the house, the car, the dog, and myself. I also paid the flood insurance and the property taxes, two expenses I have trouble with (but they don't let you break down into smaller payments or pay years in advance either). I am saving the rest for future insurance and taxes and for travel expenses.

There has been no rain at all this rainy season. There was one paltry storm at the opening of the season and nothing since. There could still be some rain, especially since the season appears to have been moving later and later over the last few years, but I think we are looking at a real drought this year, and not just those near-drought "dry years" we've been experiencing lately.

So, since I have a bit of money now (and never will again), I wonder if I should get a second-hand modern water-sparing washing machine?

edit: other money I have spent and will be spending: refurbishing my banjo, buying an actual new autoharp, refurbishing my bicycle. I will probably replace some of these windows, but that has to happen in the summer. Also getting the damned house painted, and the bathtub fixed (leaks, and also needs a hand-held shower because you can't put a stationary shower there because of the window)
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I had never really thought about the Pew report until I saw a link to this (by way of Eschaton) . I had never thoguht about "net worth" either. But really, if you think about it, I have a pretty big net worth, if you blinker yourself and just look at the assessed value of my house and how much I owe on it. I live in an area with incredibly inflated housing prices, so my little old house is assessed at six hundred thousand dollars. (I might actually be able to get more than five-fifty for it if I sold it).  I owe less than ninety thousand on it.

So my net worth is like five hundred thousand dollars, right? I'm a rich lady. If I sold the house, I'd still have to live in a place with an inflated housing market. But I could actually pay rent on a room in a house for the rest of my life on that money, if I could find one I could move the dog to. I might even be able to afford the rent on an actual  house, now that I look at it, at least if I live thirteen years or less.

That wouldn't pay the rest of my expenses, of course, but that's another problem.
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De Bange is the real name of a French cannon designer.

I have actually found the information I need.  Well, a minimal version of it anyway.  At least I know how many strokes Yanek has to beat between firings. And I know what actions the gunners are going through.

Meanwhile, Hana and Frank send me postcards from castles in Central European mountains.  Frank's postcard goes on and on about zombie attacks and has a very disturbing picture on it. Hana's has a pciture of the castle on it.

On the survival front. One of my big worries is the flood insurance is due this month, and the insurance carrier won't do an installment plan.  I was going to barely squeak by with that before I lost my job. So I was frantic, thinking what will happen to my mortgage if I'm not paid up? So I called the credit union, which has my mortgage.  What will happen? Well, see, there's this thing called a "force payment."  It's . . .  an installment plan, stuck on to my mortgage.The insurance company does it.

I had a hard time comprehending this.  The insurance company won't do an installment plan for me when I ask for it, but the punishment for not paying the big lump sum when I'm supposed to is the installment plan I needed to not screw up in the first place? Whatever, I'll take it.

It may not come to that anyway.  The nice man says they don't move on it for a few months, and by that time I may be able to just plain pay it. And he started the modification process, which I was surprised at because it's a little loan to begin with. But lower interest is always nice. Oh, and I was paying extra, so I stopped doing that for now.

There's a moral to this: do your business with a credit union, not a bank.
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In 1977, the nice fellow and I bought the house I live in for $46,900. We both made about $4.75 an hour.

Ooh, looky:
In 2010, the relative worth of $4.75 from 1977 is:
$17.10 using the Consumer Price Index
$14.00 using the GDP deflator
$15.50 using the unskilled wage
$17.60 using the Production Worker Compensation
$24.10 using the nominal GDP per capita
$34.00 using the relative share of GDP

In 2010, the relative worth of $46,900.00 from 1977 is:
$169,000.00 using the Consumer Price Index
$138,000.00 using the GDP deflator
$153,000.00 using the unskilled wage
$173,000.00 using the Production Worker Compensation
$238,000.00 using the nominal GDP per capita
$336,000.00 using the relative share of GDP

So in order to meet the conditions that the nice fellow and I encountered in 1977, our kids would have to be making something like $16 an hour each and they would have to find a house worth something less than $200,000.

That might be doable.

This is not what I started out to say.
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I never thought much about "The Pied Piper of Hamelin," but it seems there really is a historical mystery that it addresses: the town chronicles of Hameln begin in 1384 with the statement "It is a hundred years since our children left."

The next historical bit is a stained glass window created somewhat earler (?), described in various documents dating from before its destruction in 1660, showing a motley piper leading away a band of children dressed in white.

The rats appear to be a separate story welded on to try to make sense of the historical scraps.

One of the more plausible explanations for the note in the town chronicles is that the children were young adults who went East to start new villages. I like this one: it fits in well with the not-Poland story (which I apparently can only think about clearly at folk dance class, which is a good reason to never miss a Friday) on which I have made no progress in a long time but which I am still brewing.

Edit: The Pied Piper's House.

And of course my current war on rats resonates nicely.

I guess dogs aren't getting to the beach because it's close to ten, but I'll take them to Meder Street. No. I'll take them to the beach for ten minutes and then go to Meder Street, because the beach means I'll see my friends too.

also, farmer's mafrket and then to the dump to look at free paint.
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It's almost 7:30 at night. The animals are at the boarding kennel, and I have been poking at my other tasks. This is what I have to do before 11:00 tomorrow morning:

1. finish bagging the food that will be stored during the termite tenting. This involves also throwing away a lot of food and cleaning containers and the refrigerator. I've been doing this desultorally for days -- starting with medicine in the bathroom -- but there's no more dallying now.

2. finish packing. I have been doing laundry for days and I have been selecting/unselecting items for longer than that. The trip is ten days long. The weather is running 3-22 C (32-74 F), which is a pretty big range. It may rain but Frank says showers last about 20 minutes. So I have a lot of fine-tuning sorts of decisions to make. Also, I have presents.

3. Download pictures from my camera to a safe place. I believe I will use Frank's camera again.

4. Move my two remaining houseplants outside and water everything that is in a pot.

This is actually not too bad,now that I have it written down.

I got my medicines. I got my new glasses, and my new shoes. I'm pretty well prepared!

I'm going to see the arboretums this time! And, of course, the Astronomical Clock, again, and various Narodny museums and things. And ride in a boat on the Vltava!

When I get back I will be getting serious about jobhunting though there is a real chance that if I wait a couple months and take a 22% pay cut I can return to my workplace, as there is a teaching assistant who will be leaving in a while. Depending on what other jobs develop in the meantime, that could even be my best bet. Not all jobs in my field have health care benefits, and not all of them are in walking distance, and not all of them support professional development like mine. Also, I have friends and stuff.

Also I seriously need to get the furnace cleaned and to get cracking on the yard.

And I will also be seriously researching, outlining, and proposing the Baby Book to Put Other Baby Books to Shame. And writing along on other projects.
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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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So last night was Live Music Night at folk dancing. It went well: the music was great, I got really sweaty, it felt good.'


I was going to take a treat. People bring thigns to eat to Live Music Night. Usually sweets. Ellie brought "Mexican wedding cookies" (known to some of us as walnut balls, or possibly as Those (insert ethnicity) Christmas Cookies). I thought about makign sesame candy adn decided it's too messy for the occasion. Then I was going to make a pumpkin bread because I have cooked pumpkin. But I really really liked the dinosaur kale ("there's really something called dinosaur kale? Why?" Emma asked) and pea quiche thing I made the week before for my lunches. It's maybe more of a timbale or (Spanish) tortilla, or maybe like a breadless strata, I don't know: no crust, and the egg part is firm so you can eat it out of hand. So I figured I would make one out of what I had to hand. Which was cauliflower. So, cauliflower strata.

But . . . two and a half hours, and my always-slow oven had still not finished preheating and I thought I might smell gas. So I turned it off and determined to call PG&E in the morning after I got home from Dog Beach Saturday (except it was field not beach because the tide was so high there was no beach, which happens every so often, more likely around the full moon which it is about now). But as I was gathering my strength to start this task, I thought . . . I've had the stove for twenty years and it never worked right . . . I have four hundred dollars cash in my pocket from selling my telescopes to a nice guy from El Cerrito who wants to show his kids and his friend's cub scouts the wonders of the stars . . . I could get a new stove.

So, a new stove is coming Friday. It's the cheapest one at Sears that I could stand, and it was still over five hundred dollars after taxes. It's weird lookign, too. Who decided it was a good idea to put a black front and back on a stove with a white top and sides? What were they thinking? Do customers come in in droves demanding piebald cooking appliances? "Hey, we can't decide between white and black, so why don't we just split the difference?" Or what? There was no black one, it cost more for an all-white stove and I thought that since the nice fellow had insisted on black appliances, the black and white stove would look a little less weird anyway, so I'm getting a patchwork stove. Though it looks pretty damned weird.

I kind of thought that selling the telescopes was going to allow me to pay off my lawyer this month, but maybe-smelling gas kind of put that consideration first. And no, I can't do two things in one month.

one another front: Frank intends to go to the winter ball again this year. What's special about it: "We're going to the ball."

on yet another front: Neighborhood 99 is doing a literary lot design contest. Take any kind of house or community venue from any literary source and illustrate it with the Sims.

I was going to do Huckleberry Finn's raft and island, but I decided instead . . . Gregor Samsa's apartment from Metamorphosis. Without cockroach, but with narration.
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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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Last night I went to bed early and in my own bed -- for the first time in almost a year. The cat and dog were more than delighted. The dog was so excited she tried to hump ythe bed. The cat just purred all night and now he is upstairs yowling at me, trying to get me to go back to bed.

Light at the end of the tunnel, I guess.

The storage shed is leaving in about an hour.
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By way of Making Light:

This guy who paints himself to match his surroundings and blends in perfectly.

Emma says I can brag on her all I want. She's brilliant! She's compassionate! She's recovering from knee surgery and taking four classes (which is a class extra in a quarter system, because you ahve only nine weeks to do everything) and was working till a couple weeks ago and working on two plays, one of which she is writing with a couple other students!

And yesterday she helped me get over the hump of posting crap on Craig's List.

I'm posting:
-- a vintage rapidograph technical pen set in okay condition (posted yesterday as part of the tutorial process)
-- a pantograph (manual enlarger/shrinking device for hand-drawn pictures), lightly used
-- a telescope (I need to get the list from upstairs before I post details, but it's huge)
-- a darkroom timer
-- a ricoh 35-mm camera
-- a small classroom-sized cuisenaire rod set
-- a small-group sized base-ten set, no thousand cube

I got to see some of her photos from her Seattle honeymoon too.

And I had her banana bread for breakfast.

Daughters are fantastic.

Progress: I have emptied like ten of the wtf? boxes. I have put all my clothes away. I have sorted out maybe six boxes of books for the used book store. I still have the equivalent of ten miscellaneous papers boxes to go through. Fortunately many of these turn out to be stuff I kept because I thought I might be a high school teacher again, and I have definitely closed the door on that. As much as I enjoy teaching reading, I only miss it a little bit, and I don't miss educational politics at all. I think I'm going to stick right where I am, if that turns out to be possible, until I die or retire (the latter may be unlikely, though, because it doesn't pay that much).


Nov. 29th, 2009 03:50 pm
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So I have one of those newfangled bagless vaccuum cleaners. I thought the point of advances in cleaning technology was to make the house cleaner while exposing the cleaner to less direct contact with filth, but it doesn't seem to be the case with this contraption. I'm tapping out the dust from the paper filter after every use as directed, leaving piles of fine mauve dust all over everything within a fifteen-foot radius, including myself. Clearly I am doing this wrong.

And after every sixth use, I'm supposed to take it apart and wash it. Done: and also, I have to wash the area where I washed it (my bathroom in this case) and take a bath.

On the other hand, I don't have to buy bags, and that's a plus.

I have vaccuumed my old futon. I am debating calling that enough rather than trying to figure out how to find and rent a steam cleaner. I want to put a waterproof cover on it anyway.

And then I need three strong bodies to help me get it up the stairs.

Did I ever tell you how steep my bedroom stairs are? Because they are. Steep. And I have been up and down them many, many times this last four days, hauling boxes and baskets of stuff up and down. I have much, much more to do, but I have cleared the floor of the back room enough to lay the mattress down and work on it, and the library floor is swept for the first time in months and clear enough to drag the mattress through on its way upstairs, and their is light at the end of the tunnel for the living room and the room-to-be-eventually-rented.

The dog and cat think this is all hilariously unnerving. My hands are wrecked, of course, but only to the extent that they wake me up with pain, not to the extent of not being able to hold things in them.

I primed the closet floor yesterday, and bought a beautiful shade of cool indigo for it, and now I am about to go put that blue paint there.

I was supposed to buy wall paint but I hit a dilemma and I must consult with Zack first. Shall I buy the nice whiteywhite -- a bit whiter than I wanted, really -- that there's only two gallons of, of should I buy the slightly less nice offwhite that's a bit darker than I imagined that there's a five gallon tub of?

I was also supposed to lightly sand the old wood on the weird angley windows in preparation for painting them but when I went to do it they just kept getting more diseased looking and splintery and again I must consult with Zack.
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I might just get that dog.

Truffle would like it.

It would only cost a little more, since both dogs are dieting and the vet's throwing in free veterinary care for a year.

Meanwhile, Frank's coming home!

We're picking him up at the San Francisco airport Monday at 8:40 pm.

This is very very cool.
But I think somebody will be sleeping on the couch for a few days at least -- the upstairs is not done.

Tree work

Jun. 3rd, 2009 12:25 pm
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So the bigger almond tree was cut down today. The guys had to climb up and use guywires and stuff.

It's like having a pet put down. I loved that tree, but I could not take care of it and it was too close to the property line, so it developed terminal problems. And now is the time to take it down, while I can afford it.

I have a bucket of almonds from it. The only time I got that many from it. They're green enough to be eaten the Persian way.

The other almond tree looks paltry, diminshed and sad without the big one. The tree guy says it will fill out and thrive once it gets over the shock.

Metaphors everywhere.
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So Frank says he has reason to think he will be flying to California Sunday (meaning he will arrive Monday or even Tuesday).

My bedroom is still not together, which means I've been sleeping in the bed that will be his for the summer.

I wonder if I can move upstairs at least for sleeping by Monday night?

The almond tree is coming down today and I forgot to tell my neighbor . . .
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I woke up at none: I had been up till 3 making seamless textures for no good reason.

It'sa bit after 10:30. I have made appointments for myself, the dog, the car, and the trees (more about that in a minute), half-assedly cleaned up a bit in the front yard, fed the animals, taken my medicine (there is an issue there, sometimes I forget till afternoon and that is not good), and applied for another, more interesting job. I have not eaten yet because I woke up feeling stuffed and fatter, as if maybe I've gained yet more weight, which would not be surprising.

So, the tree guy came. The almond tree that is scraping Hannelore's garage has to come out. It is a major limb that is doing the scraping which would mean that the tree would lose a very large portion of its canopy, and the tree has been overwhelmed by the wisteria and may die within a decade, and it has heart rot which would eventually make it fall over (probably not for a long time: it's not the deciding factor). The garage was only built a couple of years ago. Hannelore got kind o bad advice about how to build it. If it had been built a few feet back, or a couple of feet shorter (it's very tall for a garage), it would have been okay on that count. And honestly, I might have been able to control the wisteria if I had another foot or two of maneuvering room, not that I probably would have. Between the head thing and my hands and the fact that the tree is very large there's not much I can do with it.

The good news is that I don't need a heritage tree permit for the removal. If the tree is fourteen inches in diameter at 54 inches (the guy had the gall to call that chest height. It is not. It is chin height) you need a permit to remove it. At 54 inches the tree has two trunks, one of which is twelve inches and the other is ten. In some communities the heritage tree law states that the requirement is thesum of the diameters of the trunks of the tree at that height, but not in Santa Cruz. But they're going to change the rule in three months, so it's a good thing that the tree guy came when I called him. Because if he didn't I might have forgotten about it for another few weeks, and I might have gotten myself into that whole process which costs money (not a lot, but we're getting into close times here( and takes time, potentialy a lot of time if the city arborist is busy or disagrees with my tree guy (in which case there's an appeal process where you get to make your case: I have observed this when I was observing the planning commission and the city council for other reasons. Both bodies are inclined to agree with the arborist but they can sometimes be swayed).

The tree guy is originally from New Zealand. We get a lot of New Zealanders here. I wonder why? Is there a special connection between Santa Cruz and New Zealand that I don't know about? I know there's a special connection with Hawaii that goes back to the nineteenth century when there was a Christian college here that a lot of Hawaiian royalty went to. The first mainland board surfing occurred here and then, introduced by those guys. Which is one of several reasons why Huntington Beach shouldn't make an issue about owning the title "surf city." The most important reason is that it's a dumb, dumb, dumb thing to waste money on lawyers about, and the second most important reason is that it's a misuse of trademark law.

The best news for last.

I played a thermemin yesterday, and I have an invitation to play it again!

It was the 50th of the son-in-law elect's father and he has a friend who's been playing it for a year. He's not so perfect with tunes but his tone is great. I couldn't get a tune out of it the first time but I could get the pitch to rise when I wanted it to rise.

It's fun. It's disconcerting because the only tactile feedback is your own body: so tactilely you have to be aware of your positioning in reference to yourself, not the instrument: but at the same time, kinetically, you have to be aware of your positioning in reference to the instrument. It's not like walking blindfolded, because you do have all your senses, but that's the closest I can come to it.

Maybe like drawing pictures onscreen with a mouse, which I have not mastered, because I have a regular old mouse that has to be coaxed to move a pixel sometimes and other times overshoots by a long ways (a tablet is on my list of indulgences, now that I have the camera. And that I think is all the indulgences I want: I want to go on the water, but I can rent a kayak). With computer graphics, my workaround is to do collages, geometrics, and pixel by pixel drawing, all of which are fine for some purposes but not all.

But. Gee whillikers, a theremin!
(it turns out they're not rare, after all, as I had been solemnly assured many times).

Oh, and in the four hours since I started this post, I have called two mills besides spending all this time electronically recreating old linoleums (pixel by pixel).

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