Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Resolved and Pending and Stars

Human services recently (in April) sent me a letter telling me that my cousin was not qualified for extra psych group therapy (three days a week) because she collects too much social security. She collects that much social security because she has said psychological issues.

April and May were spent trying to resolve this through various government, independently contracted and county human service agencies. In fact, with all of the "answers" I got, this is the part of the story that could turn into a novel rather than a blog post. The final option and the way we stood before vacation was to completely start the reapplication process from the top and hope to get a waiver.

Until that point, the county offered emergency funding so that she could continue services. While on vacation I received an email from the director of the program asking to meet today.

Though not intentional, my resting bitch face was hard at work. I had dealt with so many beauraucrats giving me so many different and conflicting answers that I couldn't see how meeting at 10:00 am on a Wednesday morning would improve things.

Once in the meeting, the situation was again explained to me and the possibility of a waiver was ruled out based on the limited funds of the state and the high demand for requests.

As soon as that was established there was a "BUT..." She does qualify for "social group" as opposed to "psych group." Social group being a much more activity oriented group which is perfect and was the service I had hoped for originally.

I just have to wonder why oh why did it take four months and a face to face meeting for them to share this alternative with me? Every week she would ask me about it. In the meantime, the people who were supposed to be supporting her were telling her that she might not be able to come any more and also not offering up the possibility of the other group.

That is the conclusion of the resolved story.

The Pending part is all about the sweet Liza Jane. She is not putting any weight on her back right paw. Maybe it's sympathy pains. She figures if she walks like me I'll take her for a walk.

We have pain meds for a week and if it persists we will have to sedate her and/or put her under general anesthesia so that the vet can get an X-ray. The dogs who are ambivalent to the world have garnered a new respect from me.

This summer will be looked upon as the summer of reading. There was a conversation at knit night about a goal of reading a book a month. I've definitely hit that this year and am much happier for doing so. There are about three others that I'm partially through.

My star system-

1 star: I don't give one star. I put the book down if it's that bad. Life is too short to read boring books

2 stars: I finished it but it was a struggle.

3 stars: I finished it and might recommend it if the topic interests you to begin with.

4 stars: Time with this book was well-spent.

5 stars: Hurry! Quick! Go read this book and then we can talk about it!





Must. Read. All. The. Books.


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Baby steps

As I mentioned earlier, the little room in the basement has some issues. At least three years of end of the year detritus.   It's very hot here and that room has no ventilation so any attending to it need be done in small bits.  In an effort to take baby steps, I grabbed a stack of papers and found some recipes to share.

When first beginning to clear out Aunts house- before realizing it required professional grade cleaner outers, I headed for the recipe counter.  She had many many cut out and saved recipes that I discarded but I saved the hand written, well-worn ones.  The main one I was looking for was this one-

Lemon Squares

1 c flour
½ c butter
¼ c sugar
bake 15 minutes at 350

2 eggs
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 c sugar
2 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp baking powder

sift powdered sugar when cool

bake at 350 20-25 minutes

recipe usually doubled for 9x13 pan

The entire list of saved recipes are in a dropbox file here.  They include:

Pumpkin Roll with frosting, Neiman Marcus' $250 cookies (I think I gave her that one), Nut rolls, Chocolate chocolate chip cookies, Quick lemon cookies. Zucchini Soup, Roll out butter cookies, Cake frosting, Large cake, Coffee cake, Strawberry Dessert. Strawberry Cream Pie, Chocolate Dream Square, World's Best baked apples, Brownies, Strudel, Pecan Pie bars, and cheesecake cookies.

The ones I remember clearly as absolutely delicious are the lemon squares, brownies, and strawberry pie.

Now they are on the interweb for eternity.  Or until drop box goes under. Also typing out recipes adds fewer calories than making and eating them, so there's that accomplishment today as well

Monday, July 25, 2016

What do you really want to do?

This summer I have finished 10 books. That wasn't on my list of goals but it's what I enjoy doing.

I also did some major de-cluttering. While cleaning was on the list, 23 bags of garbage was not.

Things on the list that I prepared before school was out that I have not done-

Spin Poi

Learn calligraphy

Make a fruit pizza

Play the ukulele and the guitar

Read Love in the time of cholera

Get Rosetta Stone and learn Spanish

Get stickers of myself giving a thumbs up to give to kids

Go to the zoo

Eat a giant ice cream at Sarris' candy

Creatively plant chicks and hens

Complete an ItunesU or Coursera class

Make waffles with banana pudding and strawberries

Update ios on all devices

I did make a visit to the courthouse and go to Zumba.

So, what's my dealio I wonder. Do I channel Chris Farley's man living in a van down by the river in May with "another one of those things I'm never going to do." Maybe I just need the list so that the thought of transitioning from school to summer isn't so overwhelming. Maybe I just like the idea of doing those things rather than actually doing them.

There are three weeks left. Plenty of time to do/try something new. I wonder if I will.


I also did not include laying in the air conditioned room with the dog under the blanket but I've done plenty of that!


Friday, July 22, 2016

An update on the topsy turvy

So after a visit to Medexpress, a short emotional meltdown tended to by the kind nurses there, and some resting time to lower my blood pressure from 168/110 my foot was x-rayed and not broken. I got some muscle relaxers and a great excuse to take it easy.

I spoke to Aunt this morning. They are still testing. People her age, and conditions such as this suggest another night of observation and evaluation so I'm going to let the phone take care of my taking care of her.

This morning husband bob fielded a call from the cousin. She fell and pulled a muscle in the back of her leg. Wants to go to have it looked at. I mentioned it while I was being checked they said there wasn't much they could do for her. We are sending over ibuprofen, a cane and dinner in an effort to avoid yet another visit to a medical establishment.

So after some muscle relaxer, some crying and some TLC I'm feeling ok again. The only looming worry was the job situation for next year.

It's like this. There is a school that serves mostly the children of university professionals. The building is seventy five years old and smells like that wax they used to use on wood floors back in the day. There is no place or space for teachers such as myself. I once got yelled at for parking my car. They are building a new bulding but have another nine months to completion. Normal people love this school. Smart kids-neighborhood school feeling. I hate it because it wreaks of entitlement, white privilege and disregard for what the arts can offer given the right atmosphere. (Wow- I've never really articulated the "whys" of my loathing for that place- seeing it in writing makes me feel less guilty.)

One summer I came home from vacation to find I was assigned there again after a ten year respite. I was sure that was what the most recent phone call was about. Instead, I came home to a letter from the assistant Superintndent that said I was assigned to Juvie Elementary school on Friday mornings! I love the teachers there, I love the kids there and honestly it won't be much different than some of the things I faced this year only help will already be in the room.

So maybe in a day or two it will finally feel like vacation with healthy relatives, a clean house and knowledge of stability in my job.

Thanks for bearing witness.

Of course

In the category of you never get more than you can handle...

Today was spent in the ER with Aunt.  Low oxygen-labored breathing.  Tests to follow.

Around 5:00 pm after being there for eight hours I suggested to the attending aides and nurse that part of her grumbliness might be due to the fact that she had not eaten for 24 hours.  Their response-"we all get angry sometimes." She had already singed some bridges before it got to that point.  I made sure to tell them it was for their benefit that I shared this information.

Before returning tomorrow I'll stop at Medexpress and have the 5th metatarsal x-rayed. It occurred to me to ask them to do it while I was waiting with her but didn't want to complicate things.

Dear husband took me to out to dinner in spite of the fact that he had two options that he had planned on cooking instead.  I just needed to be "away."

And at 1:09 am, I am still clearly operating on west coast time.

Le sigh.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

And so reality returns

One of the biggest problems I was avoiding while on vacation was telling the aunt the news of her house. Mainly that everything in it has been removed and that there is a buyer for it. One reason this was a challenge is that in her mind, everything there is still exactly as it was before she left. She often refers to one thing or another and says "I know right where it is."

With that stressor weighing on my mind upon our return, another was added via an answering machine message from the assistant superintendent saying something to the effect "we appreciate your work at your current position, I need to talk to you about a change in your schedule." Having returned the call, I am waiting to hear back. In the meantime this has replaced the prior major stressor. Calls like this are generally never good news and while I have 30 years invested in the system,(20 at the current school) they can move me from school to school at their whim.

After dinner with my lovely cousin (and a double Don Patron tequila on the rocks) I made the call to the aunt. Turns out while I was gone, she and some galpals got the living center people to get them a bus to Christopher Banks where she made up for an entire two years of not going shopping. I told her about the house and its contents and she said "it's for the best and by the way...", proceeding then to tell me about the shopping trip.

Sometimes the world just works in your favor.

As for the other, I have spent the last five years in a significant leadership role in my current position. It has cost me more time and more stress than its been worth but I've mostly enjoyed the challenge. If, in fact, those circumstances change, it will be an opportunity to relinquish the being in charge of x, y and z as well as being a part of the team responding to "kids in crisis." (Formerly known as CPI training.) With thirty years in, I can find a way to teach music in any situation (remember that time I taught at juvieschool with kids climbing the furniture - maybe I left that part out) without carrying any drama home. So, while I'm not looking forward to what may come, fuck it. I've got this- it takes more than career upheaval to send me over the edge. At least today.

Sunday, July 17, 2016


Nothing going on here. Unless of course you are looking for a photo analysis and the way I make annoying things funny sometimes.

What you see- two thumbs wrestling

What you don't see- they're in a restaurant, they're nearly horizontal (is that laying or lying?) on the bench, and they are covered with black spots made by sharpie markers because apparently when you do that and then place your phone camera directly on top of said mark, and snap a photo, you get the effect of one of those electric dog collars set on about 4.

What you see- empty plastic travel cup once containing Pepsi.

What you don't see- the other three large glasses ordered and consumed-leading to a frenzy of near epic proportions in which, in other circumstances, I would call for assistance. There was intervention after the first two hours but by then there was no relaxing for anyone.

What you see- that peach colored blob to the left of the fork is silly putty. Perhaps it was a keep the kids busy item from the restaurant.

What you didn't see- is that the silly putty was throughout the house throughout the week. Most notably stuck on the bathroom wall. It could also be spotted being tossed against the wall over tourist's heads across a busy sidewalk. If it came from a restaurant, it was long past its expiration date.

What you see-

An innocuous rest room at the site of a 9/11 memorial.
What you don't see-

Look a little closer...

Are the two missing from the group photo because they were on the roof of the innocuous restroom.
As parents might say "kids these days..."
As I say "WHAT THE WHAT????"

Saturday, July 16, 2016

The boat

Then we were on a boat.


And a tube.



And they have something fun to remember.


Friday, July 15, 2016


Fish and house guests-three days.

Ben Franklin (edited for brevity)

There was a child at school last year that I didn't write about because that's not right. Behaviors included: demanding to be the center of attention, always. Antagonizing other kids (physically and verbally) for results. Repeating loud statements for the sake of hearing his own voice. Relentless requests for every whim that popped into his head. Also the sweetest kid in the room except for the unending annoyances. He was five.

Yesterday he reappeared. Except he is 14 and with me on vacation. I was tolerating it all with a "that's just -----, he's always like that." Until I made the connection and went immediately into RBF (resting bitch face). And now it seems to have stuck.

We're at fourteen in number and it would seem that my comfort level is with a solid ten. I am hibernating now to avoid the RBF reveal and to avoid a panic attack. Later in the day we are renting a boat that seats fourteen. I have to go. I may medicate.

Husbandbob took me out for a trip to the casino last night and a trip to the yarn store this morning.




If 409 yards of cashmere can't cure RBF then I'm pretty sure nothing will.



Monday, July 11, 2016

Lake Chelan Day 4

No pictures, not much to recount.

Kids lived at the pool all day.  Parents made enchiladas for dinner. I knitted, read and slept and did the final kitchen clean up.

The ages are 4-11-11-12-12-14 and 16.  The 16 is a trapeze artist.  The 14 is the only boy. One 12 is the daughter of the son's girlfriend.  The other is the son's.  One 11 has had brain surgery.  The other looks like Jodie Foster and has never met a stranger.  The 4 knows that with all of these "bigs" around, a crying tantrum can get you anything.

There's been one round of poker.  I think it's harder for grandfather to connect as the gkids get older.  Yesterday he asked what a meme is and didn't find Snoop Dogg narrating nature shows nearly as hilarious as the younger ones did.

I'm still icing the ankle and while it's not swollen, there is a good bit of pain.  Bruised bone?  Stretched tendon?  Probably it will need attention when I get home.  The weather and little burg here are perfect for getting daily steps but it is what it is.

I am imagining the novelty of the pool will wear off some time tomorrow and there will be more poker and an exploration into the surroundings. And hopefully a picture or two.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Washington Day Three- Lake Chelan

In a day that seemed like two we made it to the lake house. The cute little town of Manson is just two blocks away. The beach house pictures left out the Chelan Fruit Crates in the distance. The pool is everything it promised to be and there are enough giant flotation devices for every kid and then some.



These two girls were so happy excited about the four person bunk bed bedroom, they could hardly contain themselves. It was so much fun to watch. The two older grandkids helped with the shopping trip where for a few minutes the bill registered $849.00 thanks to a $549 bag of carrots.

People are relaxed, laughing and happy.


Saturday, July 09, 2016

Seattle-Day Two

Today was a quiet day. We saw the littlest's sharing performance from summer drama camp. She was one of five Elsa's.


This was followed by lunch with the stars.


The rest of the siblings returned from various adventures this evening. Tomorrow is the beginning of the lake house,


Friday, July 08, 2016

Seattle Day One

We are here. We are here.

-Horton Hears A Who, Dr. Seuss


First class makes things better. Long plane journeys still suck. Thank you restless leg syndrome.

After a long sleep and a nap we were ready for the first (and only) order of business for the day- Downtown Seattle for a #blacklivesmatter vigil.

It started quietly,equal numbers of all colors gathering.


And even once it took to the streets, remained so-


Most impressive were the police on bikes who made sure the unplanned street protesters were protected from cross traffic. The march ended up at the U.S. Courthouse.


And this being Seattle, the kids played in the park undaunted by both the protests and the rain.


I am proud to be part of a family who pays attention to the world.



Tuesday, July 05, 2016

IHOP for the win-actually it's more of a hobble.

I believe that this will be a yearly summer treat. It's a little out of the way for us but sometimes you just need banana pancakes.


Dear IHOP, your tv commercials work. When we finished eating our server asked us if we wanted dessert. Hilarious.

Cousin and aunt attended to? Check. House sitter taken care of? Check. Flea medicine and pet food taken care of? Check. Travel money acquired? Check. Airport arrival pick up arranged? Check.

Tomorrow afternoon begins our adventure to the northwest. More to follow. (I hope)


Monday, July 04, 2016

The question is...

What will I do with myself with July and August ahead of me and all garbage disposed of?


There IS a table in the kitchen.


Yarn room? Check.

There is vacation and the room that shall not be named. These two things will likely take us into August. But, I don't return to school until August 14th. There may in fact be two solid weeks of guilt free activities.


Sunday, July 03, 2016

The Internet

Has changed my relationship with books.

Even knitting books. And cookbooks. And books that I love.

This morning was spent culling books. Again. About 4 years ago I started this process and have essentially gone from needing four book cases to needing only one.

I held on to the Elizabeth Zimmerman and Charlene Schurch books. Those are favorites. I kept three classic designing knitwear books because maybe someday. I also kept the toe up socks on two needles because again, maybe someday. Every other interweave collection and lace collection is in the to go pile. I'm going to take them to knit night a few at a time and dispense of them that way. (Vanfox, if you're reading this and want the motherlload, send me a secret message- I can find you at the CB track upon my return.) Also I did not follow the rule of gathering all books from all places. My foot hurt.

I knit patterns from Ravelry. I mark them from my app Goodreader. That is how I like to do things. I haven't knit from a paper pattern in years.


Knitting and changed my life books

There are three cookbooks that have recipes that I've actually made. The rest are going going gone.

I haven't completely done away with the "changed my life after reading them" books, but the collection is smaller and all the ones available on kindle are marked on the wish list at Amazon so I don't forget about them. We'll see how I feel about that in a year. (Vonnegut is so hard to let go of.)

There are two books that are as yet unavailable on Kindle. Gabrièl Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude and Isabel Allende's Eva Luna. I'm taking both on vacation because I might not want to take my tablet here where I will be lounging- Northwest US, here we come! I need to remember to ask a family member to take this exact photo with me in one of the chairs!


I am sparing the stash from the recent "bring me joy binge." Dammit, yarn brings me joy. But some reorganizing has brought some projects to the front that I may go back to now that I can see the patterns. (Thank you progressive lenses and I'm talking to you Hitofude!)


There is still a "room that shall not be named" in the basement. Every year when school is out I put things in th car and move them to this room. I need to wait until it's closer to garbage day before I tackle that space.

Once again, if you've made it this far in this self absorbed blog post, you are rewarded with another Great Pyr puppy pic.



Thanks for sticking around and bearing witness.


Friday, July 01, 2016

And in the category of no good deed goes unpunished...

We have a winner.

The good news is that for a day and a half I've been able to select what I want to wear as opposed to what's available to wear. The grand total of (kitchen sized) trash bags was 16.

The bad news is that as I was taking said bags out to the car, I rolled on the side of my foot and fell down two steps. More good news is that there were bags of clothes to break my fall. Other bad news is that I'm living in the world of "is it sprained/bruised or should I get it x-rayed?" KT tape for the compromise.


I started on room two and turned a large plastic bin full of cd's and their cases into a shoebox full of CDs but have decided to postpone any further efforts and let my appendage heal.

Now splitting reading time between Assasination Vacation and a book titled White Trash (a discussion of the history of class in these United States.). Also the update for Netflix on the tablet allows for a minimized picture in picture on screen while doing something else. I'm halfway through season one of Scrubs.