Mt. Rainier and Lenticular Clouds - Dec. 2008 copyright: JMM

November 22, 2010

Life Update

So Halloween was kind of a bust.  I got 2 pumpkins earlier in the month so that I could roast the seeds.  We used to carve them but we've never gotten many kids and the past couple of years have been so crappy that I stopped.

I did, however, decide to do this just to take a picture of it.  I call it, "Unhappy Pumpkin is Unhappy".


We were barely able to keep awake to see if any kids showed up.  Finally around 7 we had one group of 4 kids.  I didn't buy candy till the day before Halloween because we'd end up eating it.  The first year we lived here, we got 30 kids, which was a lot considering we got no one in California.  But then the building boom came and all these giant neighborhoods sprung up, with flat, well lit streets and houses right next to each other.  Our older, hillier, darker street has gone ignored for years now.  No one wants to climb our driveway, which is slick with pineneedles, not even for free candy.  The roasted seeds were delish, by the way.  

I was asked to donate a necklace for the Art for Equal Justice auction at the Tacoma Art Museum in December.  The proceeds go towards funding legal programs for low income people, like the Volunteer Legal Services Panel, for whom my boss has volunteered from time to time.  I didn't take a decent photo before I brought it into work so these aren't the best.

I used cobalt blue cat eye (a/k/a 'miracle') beads with faceted Czech crystal coins, bead spacers, and that faceted glass drop.  I hope someone bids on it.

The Puget Sound region was rocked by the sudden death of Dave Niehaus, the voice of the Seattle Mariners since their inaugural season in 1977.  He always did the first half of the games on TV, and in the middle of the 4th inning, he'd switch over to radio for the last half.  We have grown accustomed to his voice, his unmistakable play calling and expressions that have become part of the language of Seattle sports.  He called a Grand Slam, "Grand Salami".  Whenever a Mariner would hit one, he'd belt, "GET OUT THE MUSTARD AND RYE BREAD GRANDMA!!!  IT'S GRAAAAND SALAMI TIME!!!!!" Dave was inducted into the Broadcasters' Wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY, as well as into the Mariners' Hall of Fame.  No one can imagine future Mariners games without his voice, and he will be greatly missed.  

We had a bit of a health scare with Brian and I am really glad to be writing 'scare' instead of the alternative.  I didn't tell very many people, just a few b/c I didn't want to sound the full on alarm.  But his bloodwork came back a couple of weeks ago with 'tumor markers' for his liver.  He has HCV and we believe that he contracted it in the army, in the late 70's from shared innoculation needles.  They just gave all the kids their overseas shots with the same airgun, and Brian was at the end of the alphabet, so he had everyone from A to WE's blood shot into his arm.  Blood borne pathogen information was in its infancy, as AIDS was just about to explode onto the world scene.  His biopsies and blood work have always been pretty good, all things considered, but the risk of liver cancer is very high.

When he got the news from some underling at Multicare, he agonized if he should call me to come home from work, but finally broke down and called and I flew home to await the call from the doctor herself.  Which call came close to 5:30.  OK I realize they are busy, but for the love of god, it's just not right to keep people waiting on tenterhooks all fucking day long, wondering what the hell is going on and if they have a ticking time bomb in their bodies.  All she said was that she wanted him to have an ultrasound the following week b/c the blood test was quite a bit elevated from the last test he had in 2009.  

I went with him to the ultrasound on Tuesday.  I was allowed in the room, but the visitor's chair is against the wall, facing the tech, so I couldn't see the screen.  Not that I wanted to.  Brian was studying her face and trying to get a read on her body language, esp. when she'd be scanning, stop short, and then go back and do it again slower and harder.  Then after she was done, the radiologist would have to read it, dictate a report and get it to his doctor's office.  It was the longest 3 days.  Talk about the 'elephant in the room'.  I did my best to remain upbeat, and did what I could to push out the thoughts that could easily have spiraled out of control.  Basically, I was Cleopatra:  Queen of Denial.  My boss had a conference to go to, and he knew I was in a great deal of turmoil, so it wasn't a big deal that I left early every day whenever I could, so that I would be able to be home in case the doctor called.  

At 5:20 pm on Friday night (11/12), someone from Multicare called to give him his results.  First of all, it's always a good sign when an assistant delivers the news, because that means it's not serious.  If he had a tumor, I assume the doctor would have called to discuss the immediate treatment plan.  The ultrasound was negative, nothing was seen.  No tumors, no gallstones, no inflammation, no dark spots.  No cancer.  Talk about relieved!  Over and above the health issue, surgery and treatment, with no health insurance it would have wiped us out financially.  

I love it that we're back on standard time.  I've said it before and I'll say it again, it makes no difference in energy usage and we don't need it for farming anymore.  And in a northern state like Washington, we don't need daylight savings time in the summer.  It stays light for a long time up here, thank you very much.  Arizona is the only state that refuses to adopt DST.  I wish we could as well.  But noooooo.  A few years ago they decided to shorten standard time even further so that the precious little kiddies could have more light to trick or treat in on Halloween.  Give me a break.  How ever did our generation get through those dark Halloween nights of trick or treating when we were kids??  Now standard time in the US goes from the first weekend in November to the first weekend in March, then back to DST.  I hate it.  Of all the things that Ben Franklin accomplished and invented, I curse him for DST.

I finally got my Etsy store opened, link on the right side.  I've made a handful of sales this first week and am pleased that my work is out there and that people like it enough to purchase.   A huge thank you to all of you for your ongoing support and your kind words and encouragement.   I appreciate it!!  Another huge thank you to Joe, who has been resizing all my photos because I don't have a clue how to do it on my computer w/o buying an expensive program that I'll be too scared to  learn use.  

Our winter sunrises are becoming more dramatic, so I'm hauling the camera to work with me every day for the next month to see what I can capture this season.

11/10/10 at 7:15 am


11/11/10 6:45 am

Damn those power lines.  I just get a better view from my office than from ground level.


The meteorologists and local media have been pushing the panic button about this being a La Nina winter.  Last year was El Nino.  This means that there will be cooler than normal subsurface water in the tropical Pacific Ocean, near the Equator. When it's La Nina, the Pacific NW, it means cooler, wetter and stormier weather than normal.  No one can dispute the erratic and vicious storms that have occurred thanks to climate change.  Since I am First Snowflake Freakout Lady (I highly recommend clicking on that you tube link and listening to this radio spot.  I nearly drove off the road I was laughing so hard), I have been stocking up on soups and frozen foods just in case we get a ton of snow like in 2008.

Because of the geography of the state, it is virtually impossible for them to accurately predict the weather.  I hear that a new radar station is going out on the remote coastline so that they can finally see what's out there.  Case in point was the other night.  We were told it'd be windy, blustery, rainy.  That's fine, it's normal.  Unfortunately by the time they realized that our blustery weather was going to be a full-on winter wind storm, it was too late.  Of course our power didn't go out because why would it?  Just because we sunk thousands of dollars into a state of the art generator, it'll never go out again.  So I went to work as normal on Tuesday morning and heard that there were some outages in University Place, near where I work, but in the nearly 11 years since I've worked there, we've never lost it.  However,  I arrived to find the traffic signal out, and all the lights off in the office complex also out.  The office was freezing and my boss was sick, so he was trying to nap in his office.  I sat in the conference room, trying to catch some Zzzz's and wondering what we should do all day.  Deb arrived soon after me and she and I chit chatted, lamenting the fact that we had no coffee.  As we were talking, the whole building shook really hard.  I called Brian from my cell to ask if he felt anything, but he didn't.  

As we sat in the cold, dark office, Steve finally came into the conference room.  I told him that he should go home and get some rest, and Deb and I would just cull files till the power came on, and then we'd call him.  He hesitated then said, "There's no reason for any of us to be here.  You guys get outta here."  Didn't have to tell us twice, Deb & I bolted.  She gets a ride into work, but she only lives 12 miles east of me so I drove her home, and I was home by 9:30.  Oh, and it was a 4.2 quake we felt.  Now we're getting ice cold air flowing down from BC, and there was snow in the counties near the border.

So it's American Thanksgiving on Thursday, and as usual I am off beginning on Wednesday.  I'm in the midst of making holiday cards too, which is a task I do enjoy, even though the list of "homemade cardworthy" people grows every year....I feel bad about not sending them to every single person I know, but I would have to start making them in January and it'd cost a buttload in postage.  I've had to limit them to only my closest and oldest friends, the ones who have been there for me outside the blogosphere.  People who have gone above and beyond to help Brian and I.

And lastly, I'm sad to report that my Uncle Dick passed away on November 20.  He was 96.  He was actually my Great Uncle, as he was my grandmother's brother.  I grew up down the road from them and he was the closest thing to a grandfather that I ever had, as both of mine had passed away when I was a preschooler.  He was our town's only TV repairman.  And his name wasn't really Dick, it was William.  Family lore explains that he was in a play and his character was named "Dick".  When I was little, I'd get so confused when people would ask how my Uncle Bill was doing.  It the end of an era.  He was the last of Filomina & Giovanni's 8 children who was still with us.  He served in WW2 too. Rest in peace Uncle Dick.


  1. Anonymous10:36 AM

    Holy Cow what a life. First of all I'm so glad to hear that Brian is okay. What an anxious and scary time that was for you. I'm glad he had you to support him through this.
    Second my condolences on the passing of you Uncle Dick. You say he was like a grandfather to you. That's quite a statement. He must of been a wonderful man.

    The sky in your photos looks like its on fire. Just amazing.

    Congratulations on you first jewelery sales. I hope there are many more to come. The auction piece is just beautiful, what a gorgeous shade of blue. Stunning!

    I can't believe the crazy weather you're having already. You may be in for it this winter.

    Thanks for the update.

  2. Wow! That was a post and a half -literally!

    Love and kisses to Brian for the good news.

    I love it when families have special names for one another that other people don't get. Seems so close and cuddly.

    Those power lines - did you ever see the Beatles film Help!? They were skiing in the Alps, and some power lines spoilt one shot, so the director Dick Lester had the notes of the accompanying music appear on the lines in time with the music. It was neat.

    And OMG an earthquake? Didn't you leave SF to get away from them?

  3. And now it's snowing so hard that I had to go in late and leave early. Brian had to get my car up the driveway b/c I couldn't. lol On the up side, there's an LOCI marathon on USA and it's first season!

    Val, I can't get away from earthquakes on the west coast. Living in a subduction zone has been a normal way of life for 21+ years. And we also have that added volcano & tsunami factor just to keep it interesting.

  4. Glad to hear Brian is okay... I am curious if you have any more info about that? I had several airgun vaccinations around the same time, and my liver enzymes are always high. Interesting, but maybe I'd rather not know...

    Great photos, and have a great Thanksgiving!

  5. RIP Uncle Dick :-(
    You sound quite fond of him. My great uncle, whom I never knew, seems to be host to a fondness of mine in my life too....I still own his WW2 razor (can't remember right now what you call those old "switchblade" thingies) and I also own a leather suitcase that he made BY HAND!!!

    OMG I am soooo relieved that Brian is okay! Fuckin' hell, babe, that must've been some of the worst days to wait through. Thank God he is alright...who else is gonna Buddha me when I am upset? :-)

    That necklace is simply STUNNING!!!
    Can I commission you? I'm serious. I think you are super-talented and I am not surprized that you are selling these masterpieces so easily.

    As for the weather...I guess that is one of the rare good things about this shit hole. The weather is as boring as the entertainment industry here!

  6. Amazing skies and rather nauseous pumpkin!

    I'm glad Brian is okay too. I remember at school we used to have to line up for whatever the injections were due. They used the same needle for everyone but would put it over a bunsen burner between shots. If yuou were towards the end of the queue, the needle was - if sterile - hot and blunt. Not a great experience!

  7. Anonymous12:06 PM

    Happy that Brian got the all-clear, and Uncle Dick had a 'good innings' as we'd say on this side of the pond, so he's earned a rest.

    LOVE the necklace, and the photos!

  8. Glad to hear Brian is OK! My brother is digging the snow in Seattle..

  9. The necklace and the photos are beautiful... The Unhappy Pumpkin, not so much! :-) I do like it though, very funny!