Sunday, November 30, 2008

Bay Area

Photo of Rachel and Frances in front of the pet shop in the neighborhood in which they live.

I just spent two and a half days in Mariposa, and Yosemite National Park, photos to be posted at a later time. R and A and I drove up on Thanksgiving day, and as soon as we got out of the city, the landscape changed into rolling hills, with almond tree groves, slab rocks protruding out of the ground, and finally the beautiful acreage of A's dad with a view of the Yosemite mountains.

Friday we drove into the park, spectacular, good weather, unique and majestic rock forms. It was a real treat to be able to see it with three such fine persons.
Nov. 30, 2008
New niece in the family. Anara Ruth. Born today. Anara, the name, is a Star Trek character, Bajorin tribe. Also, a small town in Nigeria. Also, some tall buildings in Dubai.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Travel Poetry

Elegy to Bodily Functions

Phlegmy coughs on airplane flights
Shoot through my nerves like pain
Mucous globs that crave escape
Stay trapped in throats in vain.

Spit it out!
My silence screams
As yet another hacks
The snot and gunk
that wracks your bulk
Will surely rend yet your seams.

What do you think
your flightmates feel
Who hear your nasty rattle
You're old and frail
and don't much care
As if we were but cattle.

My aged self
now newly fears
The germs and 'crobes
of humans
The lavs are gross
with seats awash
in fluids fresh
from bare buns.

While I endure
the final leg
of this long flight
from Hartford
I pray you whip
that Kleenex out
Or risk my rath,
you turd!

-- L. L. Anderson
24 November 2008

Ok, so that's how the flight was. Good thing I travel with earplugs.

Yesterday, Tuesday, Rachel and I started the day before our showers with a soak in her hot tob. So luxurious and soothing, with a beautiful view of the hills out the back deck. The weather was overcast and in the 50s, but the tub was warm and made my knees feel great.

Frances was throwing up in the morning, so Rachel called in sick to her job, and we spent the morning taking care of the vomiting kid and wiping up hurl. Frances was feeling better by midday, so we went out to explore their favorite haunts in their neighborhood. We went to Peet's, a favorite roaster, and got coffee, then to Sexy Nails where I got my first ever manicure. Rachel and Frances go regularly, and since they wanted to go, I thought, what the heck. Somehow I thought it was going to hurt, but of course it didn't. I wasn't going to have any polish put on, but gave in and got some peachy brown neutral color. It was fun. The shop was playing some beautiful Vietnamese music videos on the flat screen monitor.

Then we went to Paws & Claws, a locally owned small pet shop and groomer. I bought some pet sympathy cards, which are often hard to find. One for a dog one for a cat. Lunch at a local Chinese restaurant, and a final stop at Farmer Joe's, a natural grocer, where we shopped for dinner last night: salmon, asparagus, rice pilaf, salad, wine, bread, cheese. Two of Rachel's friends came over, and my niece R., and we had a lovely time.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

California Here I Come!

Off to CA tomorrow. Dropped Camilla at the Cat Nap Inn today. Seems like a really good place. Each cat enclosure has five levels! It's only 10pm and I'm packed, a first I think. Misty will be all alone, except when the cat sitter comes by every two days. Bindi's going to be in dog play heaven with Peeve and Achilles. I miss them all already. My little critter family.

When I have internet access, I'll let you all know what's happening on my trip.

Bon Voyage!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Chiquita or DillBoy?

I was at my yoga class, doing a standing posture with my eyes closed. You know how sometimes when you close your eyes you can see shapes of dark and light sort of behind your eyelids, that sometimes look like something and sometimes look just kind of abstract, but the contrast is definitely there? Well, I was standing there with my eyes closed, breathing, when clearly as can be, I saw the definite facial contast of my cat Chiquita or DillBoy. I could see the dark outlines of the upper body, and the white markings on the face, including the white flame that extended up to the forehead in both of them. The cat was at my feet. It shocked me, and my eyes filled with tears, but I kept it together. I'm gonna say one of them appeared to me as an angel, to say hello. Yes, it could have just been a trick of the mind, but isn't everything? Or maybe it was just having watched the roomba cat. But I choose the angel visit, because of my emotional reaction. But the PTSD is very active these few days, too. The smallest thing wants to topple me.

Went to see a pre-release screening of "Milk," at Jale last night, with C & D. Ate Indian food first, and laughed about how none of us knows how the internet works. I said, "I don't even know how radio works!" We needed the Grand Lunar with us to explain it all. The movie was ok, Sean Penn and Josh Brolin were very good in it, but I found the movie deeply sexist. The complete lack of women or even an explanation about why there were no women around in the movie was blatant, given that this was a significant story of the history of the gay rights movement in the U.S.

Sleeping a lot. Really hating this cold weather. Scraped the bumper/fender of my car last night trying to parallel park. I hate these plastic bumpers. What happened to those ugly but completely protective and functional black rubber things that never showed a scratch? These new cheap bumpers have a thin layer of paint that peels off with the slightest pressure. Ratz.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Puppy Won't Stand Still!

Foot doctor. He doesn't know what the bump on the inside of my right foot is, but xrays show moderate arthritis in that foot. Great.

Novice Theory. The performance name of a student I knew while he was at Jale, graduated two years ago. Saw him perform last Wednesday in the living room of one of the residential colleges and was blown away. His talent, poetry, passion, originality made me cry. One of the best performances I have ever seen.

Old friend. Connected with another old friend from the early 1970s. Had tea with her last week. She's a writer, as is her husband. It was a very nice visit. She has had cancer twice, and now doesn't drive at all. Her house was lovely. Odd to catch up with someone after 30 years.

Nov. 13, 8pm--Bregamos Community Theater: Trans Plantations, one-woman show by playwright and screenwriter Janis Astor del Valle; directed by Carolyn Kirsch. The actor performed an autobiographical work on being a Bronx born Latina, who moved to rural CT; the culture shock, the racism. Too dark to be considered white, too light skinned to be considered fully Latina. Alienation. Was held in the auditorium of a K-8 school, in a predominantly Latino part of town. Besides the director, I think I was the only white person in the audience. The Q & A after the show was intriguing.

Should get my first retirement check at the end of this month. I am retired. Re-tired. Tired, again. Re-tred. Ire. Red. Attire. Re-tried. Try again. Has not yet sunk in. I feel this pressure to fill my days with meaningful activity, whereas when I was working there was little choice involved, I just had to do what had to be done. All the doors are wide open now. Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose. Loss. Loosed. Let loose. Lost. Found. Find. Find the loose ends. Weave them.

Rosie. Looked out my window on Friday morning and she was in her front yard, loose, milling around the front door of her house. No one was home. Bindi and I went over. She had managed to pull her head out of her collar that was on a tie out lead. I put the collar back on, and brought her over to my house, where she and Bindi played for a while. Bindi is less comfortable with bigger dogs now, likes smaller dogs like Elvy and Momo. I called C & B and told them what happened, suggested they get a harness instead of a collar, as Rosie cannot get out of a harness.

K. came over for dinner Saturday night. Salmon, rice pilaf, salad, broccoli, carrots from the garden. She brought home made pumpkin pie with a nut crust. Yum. We watched "To Kill a Mockingbird," her favorite movie. I hadn't seen it in decades. There is a LOT going on in that film.

I had watched "Michael Clayton" myself, with George Clooney. Definitely worth a view.

Went to five church holiday bazaars on Saturday morning, and a found a few really wonderful things, including a working Olympus digital camera, a D-560 I think, for one buck. These photos of Rosie and Bindi were taken with that.

Left my cane at Agway today, and had to go back and get it. It was still sitting in the shopping cart. Good thing I now have backups.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Playful Project

Last spring I found this long length of turquoise polyester fabric in someone's bulk trash. Being attacted to all things the color of tropical water, I dragged it home and washed it, an put it aside. After some consideration, I decided that the full expanse of blue was too garish, and decided to soften it by squirting full strength bleach onto it with a plastic bottle.

This is the result of the random bleaching. Sort of looked like floating clouds in a clear blue sky.

A close-up of a bleached area. I really had no idea how it would turn out.

It has now become an informal swag valance on my living room window. I didn't want to close out the light, since my big tropical hibiscus tree lives in front of that window, and needs all the light it can get when indoors for the winter. What do you think of my playful project? It certainly brings a splash of bright color to that end of the living room.

Saturday, November 08, 2008


This is my friend Kalichi who visited me last weekend. He encouraged me to try the guitar, which I had been considering for some time, and today I had my first lesson, with a Russian teacher named Yuri, who came to my house. It wasn't as awful as I was anticipating, and I think the classical guitar is a good choice to begin with.

Now I have to buy a guitar, but Yuri told me what to get.

This is Techung, a Tibetan musician whom I saw perform on Friday evening at a small intimate venue with a small audience. Also, Roop Verma (below) performed on the sitar, and I can only attribute my good sleep that night to hearing both of these amazing musicians share their talent. Or maybe I've just been raking too many leaves, and I was exhausted. I met my friend Geeta there and it was great to see her.

This is Bindi with Peeve, at Robi's house. Peeve is a Boston terrier. I think Bindi will get along well with them both.

Bindi at rest.

Achilles, the doberman who lives with Peeve and Robi, where Bindi will stay when I am in California.

Today I went out to R & R's and made them lunch while they were working on the house. Endlessly.

Yesterday I took Camilla back to the vet to get blood drawn in order to check her thyroid levels, since she has been on the new medication. $275! I finally asked the tech why they were so expensive, and she said that they do not give the labs as much work as vets who do both cats and dogs and other animals (this vet only does cats) so they don't get the volume discounts that other vets get.

M & S came for dinner on Thursday night, and S. brought her rubber stamps, and I got out some of mine, and she made some nice drawings using both sets. I'd forgetten I have so many rubber stamps.

If anyone has a copy of the 5 November 2008 issue of The New York Times, it is now worth a great deal of money. Go to and check it out. Historic value.
Went to three church holiday fairs yesterday. Ate a sandwich called "Thanksgiving on a Bun," turkey, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce on a roll. Quite tasty. Found a couple of interesting crafts for gifts.
Talked with my neighbor about Rosie's crying. He said Rosie is a "whiner," but said it was fine for me to let myself into the house and play with her, so I felt much better about that.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Here Chicken, Chicken, Chicken

Measure to provide better treatment of farm animals passes

Proposition 2 will outlaw confining cages for egg-laying hens and restrictive pens for veal calves and pregnant sows, but not until 2015.
By Carla Hall November 5, 2008

Voters passed Proposition 2 as California became the first state in the nation to outlaw confining cages for egg-laying hens. It also will ban restrictive pens for veal calves and pregnant sows. Because there are few veal producers in the state and the largest pork producer here voluntarily plans to eliminate small crates, the law will mostly affect the state's 20 million egg-laying hens. It does not go into effect until 2015.

The measure, which was championed by the Humane Society of the U.S. and the California Veterinary Medical Assn., is seen by supporters as a move away from cruel treatment of animals raised for food. Opponents, including large egg farmers in the state and across the country, and the American College of Poultry Veterinarians, decried the measure as economically disastrous for California egg producers. Each side of the issue raised about $8.5 million for its campaign.
-- Los Angeles Times

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Day After

I am very proud that our country has elected Barack Obama, and his beautiful family. Even many moderate conservative Republicans voted for him, because the situation in the U.S. right now is so dire on so many fronts and it's time for someone else to get a chance to govern. McCain's concession speech was extremely dignified and gracious. I wonder if there wasn't a part of him that was almost glad that Obama won. I cannot imagine at age 72 running this kind of campaign, and then being faced with the huge number of challenges ahead should he win. And I appreciated Obama, in his acceptance speech, acknowledging that problems are not going to be quickly fixed in one year, or necessarily in one term. And that he told his kids they could now have the puppy they wanted, they had earned it! Now I can't wait to see who the first dog will be! The Jon Stewart show tonight did a funny bit about the campaign for the first pooch, with John Oliver at a shelter showing off a pomeranian and a Chihuahua puppy as the two contenders, then a cat whom he introduced as the maverick. Cute.
Today I went to a new knee surgeon, and liked him, and will have him do the knee replacement in March, the first opening he has anyway. I even let him shoot up my knees with cortisone, and it didn't hurt as much as when I had my first shot by another doctor. And his staff apologized for the 45 minute wait I had (they had an emergency), and offered me coffee! When I asked for a big glass of water, they brought me two smaller glasses. Very thoughtful.
Tomorrow I go talk with Jale human resources about my retirement package, then yoga, then M & S for dinner. Did more leaf raking today, cleaning up the yard. Still a couple of flowers in bloom in the garden, a deep red snap dragon and some of the fall mums. Was in the 60s today and yesterday. Got yet another walking cane off Freecycle, so now I have three, which makes me feel more secure. Will put my phone number on all of them. My lost one had my email address on it, but no one has contacted me. Odd. Maybe they needed it.
Was worried about the new puppy across the street, where RJ used to live. Rosie, the new airedale, had been left in the garage alone, like RJ, and she was wailing and crying. No one was home, so Bindi and I went over there to see if we could comfort her, she's only 4 months old, but the doors to the garage were locked. I called one of her owners later to report the crying. I offered to go over during the day if I hear her crying again, and take her for a walk or something. She said she would ask her husband. How could she not immediately take me up on the offer? Animal control is right down the street, and I don't want to report them, but it was breaking my heart. Even Bindi knew something was wrong, cause we could hear it clear across the street. Poor Rosie.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


Listening to election results on CNN. Will turn on John Stewart and Stephen Colbert at 10pm. Too nervous to go to bed. Took a bath with some lovely herbal bath salts that Dr. Artemis makes. Felt good. Another busy day. Stayed on the computer for a while going back and forth with messages to my niece Em. That was fun. Raked leaves for a while. Dug up the canna corms. Went out to Robi's, who will be hosting Bindi while I'm in California. She's a dog trainer, and man, are her dogs well behaved. She has Peeve, a smash-faced Boston terrier, and Achilles, a gorgeous doberman, who's a big mush. Bindi got along well with both of them. Then I went to Agway and bought dog food (Solid Gold Wee-Bits for small dogs), then to Page Hardware. The first 100 people who came in with an "I Voted Today" sticker and their coupon got a $25 gift card. There was a looooooooooong line, and I didn't make the 100 cut. Oh well. Went to Hole in the Wall thrift shop and found a metal adjustable walking cane, and a picture frame for a print I've been wanting to frame forever. Then I went to pick up another cane from someone who read my ad for one on Freecycle; now I have two. That makes me feel better. One for home and one for the car. If I lose one of them, I'll have a backup. Tomorrow, a visit to a new knee surgeon.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Busy Week

If I don't blog, I can't remember what I do.
Then, when people ask, my mind goes blank
short term memory being what it is.

Monday with the oncologist
who said PET/CT scans are fine
Then a client.

I was approved for social security benefits
which will be deducted from the
long term disability benefits.
Now I can retire in December with
full pension and health care.
Good news, just more paperwork
to take care of.

Tuesday the yoga class
direct no frills friendly
stretching. My knees protest.

Wednesday, two clients.

Thursday, to the vet with Misty and Bindi,
both are fine, Misty will need to have her
teeth cleaned in six months. She was behind
on her vaccinations so had three in three
different places which she was not fond of.

On the way back I ran out of gas.
My cell phone battery was dead. Had to
walk up the road and ask some utility
guy to use his phone, then had to
wait over an hour for the roadside assistance.
Was almost late for yoga, but did not.
I only considered blowing it off for a
second, but I WANTED TO GO.

Lost my walking cane. The second one that
has disappeared on me. I posted a need for another
on Freecycle, but no bites. Saw a woman in the
coffee shop with a sleek cane made by Leki, wonder
if something like that will work for me.

Friday morning a visit to the surgeon, who said
everything looked fine, but that the tightness and
places under my tongue where food now gets lodged
will remain. Small price to pay, I think, for her
saying I "had" cancer, but no longer do. The radiation
is far enough behind me now that I feel pretty well
physically. Raking leaves.

Friday afternoon my friend Kalichi arrived, I picked
him up at the train station and we went to
Edgewood Park. We had not seen one another
in 30 years, but the friendship was still intact.
A gold tree and a bright coral tree were neon
against the blue blue sky, we sat on a bench in the warm
autumn sun
as Bindi chased geese grazing near the small polluted pond.

Back to my house, I made dinner, we
yakked and yakked and read Rumi to one another
from a book he had brought me as a gift.

Saturday I took him back into town to meet
another friend and then went with Bindi to
the community garden where I cut back
plants for the winter, pulled the last
of the carrots, and let Bindi wander amidst
the browning foliage in all the plots.

Back at the house, my doorbell rang,
and the neighbors had come over
to introduce me to Rosie, their 3 1/2 month old
airedale puppy. "Oh no you di'nt!" I exclaimed,
and B. said, "Yes we did!" Beautiful creature, Bindi
took to her right away. She's not RJ, but she will
hopefully bring joy to a house that was feeling such
sorrow from RJ no longer being there. They are also
talking about getting another puppy in December.

Today K. and I took Elvy and Bindi to get
their nails cut, Elvy's first time, she
was so good. Then a quick stop at the vineyard
for K. to pick up wine for an upcoming dinner,
then back to her house for supper of free range roast chicken
winter squash and chard,
and some HD tv surfing. Very nice day.