Saturday, January 31, 2009

My 45th Birthday Part Two:

It was a very good day. Very sunny and mild. A bus driver told me his backyard is full of robins and he has seen may blue herons, indicating (to him) that we can expect an early mild Spring. Let's hope so.

Todd called early to let me know he wasn't able to make it, and Ethan & Maria couldn't make it down from B.C. Nancy tried to come and drove around Eastlake for awhile, but I didn't give a good enough description of the place and forgot to tell her I no longer have a cell phone. And Poff drank too much last night so he couldn't make it off the couch.

Still, I had a good time with Paul and Inma, Geoff and Bridget. and Erik and his six month old son Neil (the most well behaved and happy baby in all the land).

As usual the pizza at Pazzo's was excellent. I had my usual and I have about three quarters of the pie left.

Erik gave me a Starbucks gift card (Starbucks might be laying off workers but no thanks to the generosity of my friends). Geoff and Bridget gave me an intriguing CD and book (which is across the room, as I lie in bed, so I can't name them at the moment).

(Click on any picture to enlarge)

Pazzo's after dark.

My pizza (Canadian Bacon, Pepperoni, Sausage, pineapple, and mushrooms.

Paul & Inma's pizza (I think Artichoke hearts and basil).

Geoff & Bridget's pizza (Sauce-less with herbs).

Erik's Calzone (very meaty).

Geoff & Bridget

Paul & Inma

Erik & Neil


Me (45)

Either my lens is dirty or the autofocus doesn't work well. Sorry if the pictures are blurry.

Friday, January 30, 2009


Apparently we had an earthquake this morning but I didn't feel it. I guess unless you were awake at 5:25 a.m. and standing right over the epicenter, no one probably felt it.

Other than that it was another typical day of IVs and therapy. I got a birthday card and Starbucks gift certificate from Rachel (Thanks Ray!) and email best wishes from Ethan, Stefanie, and Bill. Tomorrow I have Pazzo's to look forward to, but right now I am full of sushi and semi-suffering.

The good news is that after five months my wheelchair is finally fixed. I can now raise my feet, so maybe my legs won't swell as much.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

I'm 45 Today

Pretty anticlimactic for a 45th birthday. 45 should be big. I think any birthday ending in a 0 or 5 should be a big deal.

A few nurses new it was my birthday, but most people didn't. At least I meet my friends Sunday for pizza, so maybe that will cheer me up. If I was allowed, financially, to have a cell phone I think I would have got a call from some of my out of state friends, if they remembered it was my birthday. I remember just about everyone's birthday, but it seems like I always have to remind people when mine is.

I did get some very welcome email best wishes from my Aunt Jeannette and my friend Karie, which was very cool. This morning I picked up the birthday cake (above) that I ordered from the Coffee Shack (thank you Corrine, it was delicious). I had a healthy slice with some ice cream and then shared it with the therapists. If there is any left I'll have some tomorrow.

Therapy seems to be going really slow. There also seems to be a lot more people getting therapy so I am feeling like I am not getting my share. I'll show up at 10, like I always used to do because back when the old crew was there, there were actual schedules. Now I might as well have them come look for me.

Anyway, enough with the negativity. Here is a list of people born January 29 (at least the ones I find interesting) more here:

1737 Thomas Paine
1860 Anton Chekhov
1880 W. C. Fields
1923 Paddy Chayevsky
1945 Tom Selleck
1954 Oprah Winfrey
1970 Heather Graham

Interesting people who died on my birthday:

1820 King George III of Great Britain
1956 H.L. Mencken
1963 Robert Frost
1964 Alan Ladd
1977 Freddie Prinze
1980 Jimmy Durante
1981 Cozy Cole
1992 Willie Dixon

And interesting moments in history:

1845 Edgar Allen Poe's "The Raven" 1st published
1863 Battle at Bear River WA US Army vs Indians
1919 Secretary of state proclaims the 18th amendment (prohibition)
1936 1st players elected to Baseball Hall of Fame
1958 Murderer, Charles Starkweather, captured by police in Wyoming
1958 Paul Newman & Joanne Woodward wed
1964 Beatles record in German "Komm, Gib Mir Diene Hand" & "Sie Leibt Dich"
1964 Stanley Kubrick's"Dr. Strangelove" premieres

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I Guess It's Been Awhile...

I guess it's been awhile since I've bought anything besides DVDs and CDs, which I often buy used. I thought about getting an electric wok or electric skillet so I could make my own pasta sauce, or maybe some pork fried rice. I thought I could get something like the West Bend wok my Mom had, which was about $30. Looking at Amazon, all the woks are like $75 to $100. And when I went to QFC the other day, I noticed that four pork chops cost about $12. Now that I am back to handing all but $50 of my disability to the nursing home, I can't afford such luxuries.

Tomorrow I turn 45 but all day I stressed about seeing 50. Mary Joe confirmed that the lumps in the small of by back are in deed caused by calciphylaxis.

Tomorrow I will also pick up my birthday cake from the Coffee Shack and hope it's good.

I received Kind of Blue today but haven't got a chance to listen to it. I gues I could turn off the TV. I also recieved a very nice birthday card and Starbucks gift card from my Aunt Jeanette. It was very sweet of her. I will try to call her soon.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

New music to my ears

It had totally slipped my mind that I had ordered Frank Zappa's "Lumpy Money," a 3-disc reissue of Frank's two 1968 albums "Lumpy Gravy" and "We're Only In It For The Money." I did not remember ordering it, but I was, and am, expecting the deluxe version of Miles Davis' "Kind Of Blue" (which is on a truck in Nevada, according to the tracking). I haven't had much time to listen to it today, I had a lot of therapy. The therapists praised my progress but I felt as weak and useless as ever. Today I spent most of the time sitting on or laying down on the mat. My muscles, what's left of them, being pummeled. The distressing thing is one person noticed what looks like a potential calciphylaxis developing on my left ankle, and while getting worked on by Kathy in O.T. we both felt what seems like a cyst in my lower back. All of this caused me to reread the Wiki article on the disease making me feel very depressed. Will I ever get out of this place, and if so, how many years of a "quality life" can I eek out? This article, which was published eight years ago, has me pretty spooked at the moment, "The prognosis for patients who develop calciphylaxis is grim, with an estimated 5-year survival of less than 50%.3." I have now had it for 17 months. A couple weeks ago I almost died from Septicemia, which can be contracted from my open wounds. They said, when I was on dialysis, that had my kidneys failed several years before I would have been less likely to survive. Several months ago I was told that the open heart surgery that I had would have been a lot more involved and dangerous than it is now, both thanks to constant research in the areas. But is anyone trying to find a cure for calciphylaxis? According to the Kidney Journal they are still studying it, and an article called Treatment of vascular calcification by W Charles O'Neill just came out a few weeks ago, but it is $32 for a reprint, and I am afraid it is would all be over my head. Tomorrow I see Mary Joe, the wound care nurse from Northwest Hospital, who visits me every Wednesday, and I'll ask how her other patients are doing. Anyway.

The subject of Chinese New Year came up and I looked at this years and last's for my sign, The Water Rabbit, and as usual, in hindsight, the horoscope was spot on about the last years poor health, and it says that in 2009 my health, and my career will greatly improve. We'll see.

At least I should live to see the next few days. I pre-ordered a small individual chocolate cake with white icing from the Coffee Shack next door for Thursday (I will be 29) and Sunday I will be with some friends at my favorite pizza place. I ought to take my laptop and find a wi-fi hotspot to download the past couple months worth of stuff I've neglected.

Nothing on the TV right now except for House reruns. Maybe I will listen to music and play Solitaire. As interesting as my life sounds at times, it is pretty boring.

Today's Fantasy Meal

I love all kinds of food and periodically I'll let you know what I'd like to eat at that moment. This is one of those moments. (Assuming I have the appetite and my taste buds are working).

Dirty Vodka Martini

Warm Rolls with Pot Butter
Jumbo Prawn Cocktail

Caesar Salad (Hand-Tossed)

22oz, 2" thick NY Steak (rare side of medium-rare "warm but bloody")
Served with Smith & Wolensky Steak Sauce
Lobster tail of almost equal size with Hickory Butter
Thick crispy Dinner Fries
Heinz Ketchup
Button Mushrooms sauteed in Garlic Butter
Spinach with a hint of red wine vinegar and butter
Texas Toast
A very tall cold glass of milk

Café a lait
one scoop vanilla ice-cream

Monday, January 26, 2009

45 Minute Vacation

Today was a pretty decent day. Despite the bitter cold it was sunny all day. After the usual therapies I went over to QFC and spent the rest of my gift certificate (thanks Jeanette) on a My Brother's pizza and a lighter. The kitchen managed to do a good job on the pizza. Earlier in the day when I was transferring stuff from drawer to drawer I notice a very small morsel of herb and went "off campus" armed with a ball point pen part and a little aluminum foil to smoke it. It was a short but nice vacation from this place.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


Though there is nothing in the forecast, it has been snowing off and on here in Shoreline since last night. Not enough to stick, except for the grass in the back this morning when the ground was still frozen, but it is visible. It just makes it really cold outside (currently 34°). Since I missed all the snow with my recent illnes I wouldn't mind seeing more, but considering how people freaked out and it shut down the city, we are better off with out it.

It's a typical Sunday here at the home. Slow and mostly quiet except the demented patients and very loud Chinese patients. As of now (3:30 p.m.) the church people are singing hymns in the dining room and some preacher will soon me extolling the virtues of a Christian life.

I had hoped the transfusion on Friday would give me some pep but I am still pretty tired. Yesterday I went to be at 3:30 p.m. in the afternoon. If I was able to get in and out of bed by myself, like I could several weeks ago, I would have just lay down for about an hour. But since I need to use the Hoya lift, I wound up staying in bed until ten this morning.

Except for getting coffee and ordering a small birthday cake for myself from Corrine next door at the Coffee Shack, ordering the Deluxe version of Miles Davis' Kind of Blue, and some restorative therapy with Lamin (we talked about how every government in Africa has a level of corruptness).

This coming week I don't have any appointments, that I knw of, so i should be ble to throw myself into therapy. I would be hapy if by the end of the week I can lift my legs or roll over in bed.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Another Boring Day

Today was so boring I wound up going to bed at 3:00 p.m. and just woke up at 10:00 p.m. Today I started taking diatretic and will be wearing tend hose to try to control the swelling in my legs.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Pretty boring day

I pretty much got woken up at 8:30 a.m., not counting the time at 4:00 when Paclab came to draw blood, had my bandages changed by Mabel, then sent off to North West Hospital for a transfusion of two pints of blood. I am pretty anemic and they are hoping the transfsion will help me heal faster. All I did today was sit on my ass and do crossword puzzles and watch court shows. I got to order food, but this time they didn't restrict my diet. The food at NWH is OK. I got a Chicken Caesar, Cream of Mushroom Soup and a Mocha Frappacino. A couple hours later I got an order of fries that were so greasy they were impossible to keep down. I finally got back at 6:00 p.m. Another day shot. Now I lay here with an I.V. of antibiotics draining into me and, when that is done, get a different antibiotic I.V.

At least next Saturday I have Pazzo's and some friends to look forward to.

Cool site

The Slog linked to this site and it is way cool. You can zoom into everything, including Obama, and ever person on the screen, including the Secret Service agents on he roof tops. This site talks about how it was done.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A couple updates

The problems with web security seemed to be at its worst when I use the server in my room rather than the one in the lobby. It's a bit hit and miss.

Tomorrow I have to go to Northwest Hospital, near Northgate, for a transfusion. This afternoon I went there to get my blood drawn to type and match. This is the first time I've been to NW other than the Emergency room and the one time they sent me there overnight for another transfusion.

For decor it beats Virginia Mason, but they forgot to make the elevators and many of the doors wheelchair friendly.

For lunch I decided to go to the taco truck by the 76 Station, behind the Goodwill, and found out it closed three months ago. Too bad. It was way better than the one nearer the home. I wound up getting a taco that fell apart in my hand.

Outside my room there are five people all yelling for help. It is hard to care anymore because that's just about all they say. I can hear a frazzled nursing assistant outside, all alone, trying to calm them down.

I probably should go to bed early because I have to get up early for the transfusion but there is a lot on TV tonight. I miss having a DVR.

Therapy was OK. I worked with Toby on standing (I barely managed three half-assed stands at a minute each. O.T. was a bit of a bore, there were too many people, plus my time was cut in half because of a "Care Conference" which is just a meeting with the head nurse and social worker to reiterate my care program.

Nothing much else going on. It is frustrating being bed ridden or chair ridden. And then not being able to out and do something because I have to be around for therapy and an IV at noon, then another one at 2:30, and by the time I am be free to go out, it's too fucking cold and the sun starts going down around 4:30. It makes it hard to go out and accomplish anything worth writing about.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Jesus H. Fucking Christ!

This WatchGuard security that the nursing home uses to block sites now makes it impossible for me to comment on Slog. I get the following message when I click on "comments":

Request denied by WatchGuard HTTP proxy.

Reason: one or more categories denied helper='Default' details='Personals & Dating'

Method: GET
Path: /seattle/Comments?oid=1005019

The nursing home says it is corporate's decision (fucking Morman's) and I have no recourse. It's just a matter of time before they prevent me from blogging.

PS I was able to work around it, for now. If I click on the story I can add a comment at the end. Still this fucking sucks.

Nurse Debbie

Nurse Debbie is an imbecile. That might be a bit harsh, but that is my impression of her. She often reminds me of a chicken with it's head cut off. I always can tell she is my morning nurse when 9:30 a.m. rolls around and I still haven't got my pain medication, which I am supposed to get prior to getting my bandages changed. I didn't get out of bed this morning until almost 11. Between this morning and my almost ten hour visit to the doctors yesterday I feel like a lot of my time has been wasted.

Under other circumstances Debbie might be a good nurse, but when she has to administer drugs to about sixty patients, many diabetics, many dementia patients, I am sure it is difficult. But it isn't so difficult that any of the other nurses can't handle the job. She seems more suited to being in charge of no more than six, well behaved, low maintenance, and lucid patients.

Anyway, I managed to do therapy. Too many new people are working there it is making me uncomfortable. Arthur thought I was making progress, but I feel kind of worthless. Prior to this last bout of sickness I was very independent and now I need help doing everything. A good day is one I manage not to pee on myself.

The doctors are going back and forth on what antibiotics I need to take but at least I know I should be off them by February 6.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Recipe: Macaroni, Cheese, & Spam

(Occasionally when I am jonesing for one of my favorite foods I am going to post it on the blog with the hopes of getting it out of my system. No such luck.)

Alton Brown, who's show Good Eats, is one of my favorite "celebrity chefs" (though I consider him more of a cook than a chef) I often agree with, can suck my dick when it comes to Macaroni & Cheese. On his Good Eats show devoted to Mac & Cheese and the recipe he quoted as exactly how NOT to make the dish is almost exactly how my Mom taught me to make it. And I love it, and want it now!

I don't know if my Mom even heard of a béchamel sauce, and the only "creamy Mac & Cheese" occurred when either not enough water was drained from the noodle or there wasn't enough yellow powder in the Kraft box to adhere evenly to all the tiny noodles. As much as I like by Blue box of craft, the Mac & Cheese I speak of is from scratch, super fast and super easy.

It only has five ingredients:

32oz Large Elbow Pasta
16 oz Fancy Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese (If you are game to great it yourself, go with the Special Reserve Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese)
1 can Spam* (low sodium or low fat is fine, to me it tastes all the same, good)
Garlic Salt
Black Pepper

*as an experiment I've tried diced ham and pork loin, but neither beets Spam

While boiling the pasta, cube up the Spam, wrap in paper towels, and nuke for about 90 seconds to get some of the oil out and make it crispy.

Drain noodles into colander and let sit for a minute. Take a spoon and put a a layer of noodles in casserole then stir in some Spam and some of the garlic salt and pepper, then add some cheese. Repeat until the last layer all cheese then season again.

If you were using a real oven I would say put the casserole uncovered in a 450° preheated oven for five minutes then cover at 350° for 30 minutes (if microwave only: cook on high covered for 30 minutes and 10 minutes uncovered to get crispy).

Yeah, it sounds gross, but everyone who has eaten has loved it. It also sounds better when you call it Macaroni, Cheese, and Spiced Ham.

A fancier, non-meat version is good too, just substitute radiatore for the macaroni, substitute Vintage White Extra Sharp Cheddar for the sharp (you will have to grate it yourself), and sun-dried tomatoes and sliced black olives for the spam.

One warning about leftovers: reheating cheddar cheese creates an amazing amount of oil. I recommend reheating the amount you want to eat than use whatever is handy to drain off the oil. Make sure you wash your face thoroughly when done.

A Long Day for Obama and Me

I managed to get out of bed to catch Obama's swearing in and his inaugural address before heading off to three separate doctors appointments today that I absent-mindedly scheduled for today. Before my first appointment I got a chest x-ray, then met with my thoraxic surgeon (he was 40 minutes late) who removed the chest tube from my side. After the tube was removed he wanted me to go have another chest x-ray taken after my other appointments. He wanted to make sure there weren't any airpockets or fluid left in the lungs. The doctor als warned me to come straight in to the hospital if I have chest pains or am short of breath (no shit).

The second appointment was with my infectious diseases doctor, who keeps me on, or takes me off, antibiotics. He says I will be on some of them for at least two more weeks. He asked me if I had any worries and I told him about my swollen legs. He said I needed to talk to my family doctor about that. He wanted me to get some labs done after my last appointment.

Finally, I saw my kidney doctor (who is also my family doctor). So far, so good. Other than the swelling in my legs and the fact I have taken a giant step backwards in progress in physical therapy, the doctor says I'm O.K. He'll figure something out about the legs, probably diaretics.

He also wanted me to get even more labs done. So I had to go downstairs and wait, and wait until my name was called and my luck I got someone who never drew blood before. I am particularly difficult to get blood or blood pressures from. Since 2000 I have had a fistula in my left arm when I needed dialysis. So I'm not supposed to have any blood draws or blood pressures taken from the left. That leaves my right am, which may not have any veins left. I keep telling them to not bother with the arm and go right for the hand, which is a perpetual bruise but the veins are easier to fine. The lab wound up sending me down to the Cancer Ward to draw the blood out of my pic line (the needles already in my arm for IVs.) Then I had to do back upstairs for the final chest x-ray. In the end, all three doctors are happy with my progress. I hope we can get this excess fluid off my legs so the pain will go away, so I can move my legs, and I can try to learn how to walk again.

In the end I missed my ride by an hour (they never schedule the window large enough for these appointments), and after waiting for another pick up, I finally got back to the home at 6:30 p.m. Missing a horrid dinner of Bratwurst and cabbage.

I wish I had the foresight to schedule these appointments for yesterday or tomorrow because I felt I missed a lot today. I did see the Warren invocation, which seemed unoffensive and unmemorable. When G.W. was introduced he was apparently booed but I couldn't tell. I saw both Biden's and Obama's swearing in and Obama's speech. All I really missed the day punditry and the Slogging, which I am periodically doing now.

The one line of Obama's speech that stuck with me was "...we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist). I think this line is applicable to not only those factions or countries that consider us their enemies, but should apply to all people who don't agree on everything, but try to agree on something and get it done.

(Oh, dear. My dumbass roommate is trying to get out of bed setting off an alarm that no one is coming to check on. He's O.K. He just got up to go to the bathroom. At least he isn't pissing all over the floor like he did the last two nights. It's like living with a three year old.)

Depsite it is barely 10 p.m., it feels like it's been a long day. It's one in the morning in D.C. I hope the Obama's can get some rest (they may still hve balls to attend).

Tomorrow I will put all my energy into therapy and Obama will start his first full day as President.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Did you know?

I was sitting around thinking about how, soon, the Seattle P-I is folding in a couple weeks. I'd bet, before this recession is over, The Times will follow suit and be an online only publication. I was wondering what the effects will be since there are TV web sites devoted to every inch of a newspaper, including classified ads, crossword puzzles, and comics, but then I started wondering about obituries.

Did you know you have to pay for an obituary. I always thought it was free, at least cheap, but according to The Seattle Times and P-I:
Cost = $94.92/inch for daily and $109.20/inch for Sunday
Includes header (name of deceased) which is 2 lines tall.
You will see approximately 12 lines per inch including the 2 line header.
Photos on week days are $142.38 and Sundays are $163.80.
And that is the cost of a single newspaper. What if you wanted to also place an obit in the deceased home town newspaper? Or the city they went to college in or where a lot of their friends live? At least my alumni newsletter is free, if anyone bothers to tell them.

There are a few online services that take existing obits from the newspapers, you know, the ones you already paid. There is also a site that for $3 you can look up any birth, death, divorce, cemetery location and any other public record (kind of scary). These are really just connected to genealogy (Family Tree) sites.

Through an ex-roommate, here at the home, and his very helpful brother, Derek, last year I was put in contact with my Aunt Jeanette (she's actually two or three years older than me but I'll allow her the title). She is my Mom's half sister on my mother's father's side. She is deeply into genealogy. Between Jeanette and Derek I learned the father I knew died almost ten years ago in Arizona and is buried in Olympia with some woman I barely recollect (perhaps two wives after my Mom). I also learned that my Mom's father died recently. The guy who got my Mom pregnant but wouldn't take any responsibility died about four years ago and was "devout Red Wings fan" (thank God that didn't work out, I would have grown up in Detroit or Flint). And I learned that my Aunt mother's aunt Florence, who I loved more than my grandmother, died a few years ago too. Florence's passing ranks a close second to the loss of my Mom. I had two opportunities shortly after my Mom passed to visit Florence, but I let fear get in the way. It had been more than ten years since I'd even seen her.

Ever since I was a kid neither my father or anyone on my mother's side of the family ever wanted to talk to me on the phone. They would call my Mom on her birthday or Christmas, and my mother’s family would say "Can I speak to Peggy Sue?" My father was much more direct "Let me speak to your mother." Except for my Mom, her-half sister Jackie Holybee (who I have been trying to find for 18 years) and my mom's mom and her second husband, both whom died within a year of my mother's death, I felt as I had no family. As I write this, I can only imagine how much Jackie must have felt losing both parents and her only sister in less than two years. The last time I saw her was when I took some of my Mom's stuff over to her place. She seemed like she was in bad shape but also disinterested in talk.

Conversely my Dad's passing would mean more to me if the son of a bitch ever wanted to have anything to do with me. The last time I spent any time with him was in 1983, I went to Livingston, Montana for two weeks, because he came to Olympia because he wanted me to visit him. It was pretty fun. I got to drive his T-Bird and after the first night there we went out fishing and I caught a couple big trout (I always seem to catch trout). The next morning he left me with the keys to the T-Bird and some money for food and gas and then he took off on his trucking job. The ten days I was there he was actually around for four days (not all that different than when I was growing up and he was in the Navy). While he was gone I explored Bozeman and drove down to Yellowstone Park. I saw Christine in the worlds smallest movie theater and then preceded to read every Stephen King book from Carrie to Cujo. As far as food, except for a hamburger here or a pizza there I very carefully cooked dinners of NY steak, fries, mushrooms, and spinach (my favorite) or Pork Chops with Kraft Mac & Cheese (comfort food du jour). I meticulously cleaned so not a speck of grease or dirt was on the counter or floor. I folded up all the trash and put it in the waste bag, and then at the end of the day I took it to the outside bin. When he got back from his trip he was livid that I hadn't taken the trash out to the curb and the bath tub wasn't as bone dry as he liked. His anger reminded me of all the times growing up that he punished me for not living up to his standards. I let things cool off for awhile then made an excuse that Mom wanted me to come home because I had a job interview at the end of the week. Surprisingly Dad seemed sad, so we went out to a bar and had Harvey Wallbangers and the next day je put me on a bus back to Lacey. (And ironically I got my first job about a week later). The last time I saw him was about a year later. He hung around for a minute but refused to stay because my dog would not stop barking. He just turned away, got in his car and left. No "Hey let's got to lunch, or go to a bar." He just left. The last time I talked to him was in 1991 (I'd also called him the year before about my Mom's funeral and my graduation but he had already made plans to do something else). He actaully returned my phone call. I had tried to call him several weeks before in one last ditch effort to build a relationship (all my friends have great relationships with their parents). My roommate Paul answered the phone and handed it to me and the only words I remember my father saying was "Is that your boyfriend?" And then eight years later he died in Arizona.

As far as the passing of the man who gave me his name, so says my christening photo; a man from a time when "No" meant "O.K., got my mother pregnant, destroyed her Naval career, but when push comes to shove wouldn't take responsibility for it because his mother didn't want any half-breed grandchild (Grandma, does your family tree have news for you). I don't really care about "Captain Red Wing." However Derek has traced that part of the family through French Canada and back to 1600s France and, if he is still working on it, maybe farther (it has been many months since I've spoken to Derek so he may have his hands full with another project).

So back to obituaries. I don't have a copy of my mother's obituary. I was a bit overwhelmed with the whole thing and she had friends at work who organized a wake at the Thurston County Fairgrounds and either I assumed obituaries just appeared or that one of her friends would take care of it. There is no memorial to visit.

Per her instructions I took her to our favorite place to fish in Shelton. It had been there since 1972 (age 8) and obviously never driven there before, but in 1990 I managed to drive straight to it. You drive through Shelton, past the big Paul Bunyon statue, then turn left at a fish hatchery, drive a ways own the road was a vey small one-story church. In'72 we'd park at the church then walk across the street, through endless brush until we came to the Skokomish River. We would fish for hours. My Mom (and sometimes Dad) would drink ice cold beer and I be drinking Cragmont or Shasta (they always bought the cheap stuff) in bulk.

In '90 I was able to drive straight to the church, but everything else had changed. Through nature or design the river was rerouted to where it was right up against the road. No more brush to wade through. No privacy. I said something to my mother and to God and tried to fling the ashes out of the maroon plastic box into the river. The heavier chunks sank right to the bottom of the clear water. It couldn't have been more than ten inches deep. The lighter material just kind of floated on the surface and sat there. I looked around for a stick to stir things up but couldn't find one. I peeled my Mom's name off the box and chucked it as far as I could into the middle of the river then went home.

The reason I brought up obituaries is because I was curious about my former roommate Dan Brady, who when he left here seemed resigned to die. There is no point in hoping he gets better, his disease is fatal and more painful each day. I hope his brother or someone would see fit to get an obit published for him. He has a lot of friends here, but once people leave here the just soon forget everything even the friends (not much different than a lot of jobs I've had).

Since 2000, I have had, three angioplasties, a kidney biopsy, been diagnosed with chronic renal failure, arterial heart disease, have had numerous cardiac ablations, had an arterial flutter, have had two staph infections, endocarditis, septicemia, had to have a fistula put in my left wrist for dialysis then have it redone, kidney transplant, kidney rejection due to not being able (at the time) to afford the drugs, edema, calciphylaxis (which causes so much pain a feather toughing me makes me beg someone to kill me), atrophied muscles so now am in a wheelchair until I can walk again, and, most recently double bi-pass surgery (three months ago), and three weeks ago I had two different nasty types of bacteria in both of my lungs, septicemia (again). There was other ailments that occurred during that time that are slipping my mind I am sure. The point is on eight of those occasions in a little over eight years I was told I might die. And calciphylaxis is fatal, there just isn't a time line per se. I don't want to die anymore than I want to spend much more time in the nursing home. If it wasn't for these setbacks, especially this last one, maybe I would be out now. But if I do die, I still want to be cremated, I almost don't care where the ashes go, but a plaque somewhere would be nice. Or at least an obituary.

POSTSCRIPT: I couldn’t figure where to put it in this post, but I was going to mention how I found out the circumstances of my conception and why it makes me feel that it is the reason that none of my family ever cared much about me, even though I was a nice little boy, if I do say so myself.

Can I get a gun?

I am trapped in the lobby of the home, sitting in the only sunny room in the building while a family encourages their demented loved one in to screaming baby talk as loud as she can. It reminds me of when I was a kid trying to teach my dog to howl, which I quickly regretted. They are blocking the only exit out of this place, the fuckers.

Today I wanted to go up to the wi-fi cafe and try to download all the stuff that I haven't been able to download because of these stupid security restrictions. There must be at least ten episodes of The Bugle alone, plus upgrades to Notebook, Pixlemator, iTunes & Leopard, Firefox, and Dashboard attachments. But as of 3.p.m. it doesn't look like it's going to happen. Sundays the bus runs once an hour, so the next bus is at 4:15 and I don't want to come back in the dark.

I would have gone earlier but I had to have an IV at noon hsrap, and then wait around for the lab to come take my blood. I still haven't had any restorative training with Laminand now I feel very sick and tired after having a root beer float.

Crazy Alice was at it again, convinced one of the aides was "The Devil" and threatening to kill him like that dog. (What dog?) I wish I had it on tape. It went on for awhile and was pretty funny.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Dark Night vs. Iron Man

As a a life long DC fan (I have NEVER) bought or read a Marvel comic. Batman has always been the man I wanted to be. Over the past couple days I have seen both films and have to give it up for Iron Man. Since I never read the comic I don't know or care if the canon has been altered. Robert Downey Jr. is not only great, but has already had the class to agree to appear in seeveral sequels and tie ins inclucing a co-starring role in an Avengers film (Marvel's answer to DC's all-star Justice League of America). Tony Stark (Downey) is also a lot more fun to watch than Bruce Wayne. Perhaps it's just Christian Bale's sullen performance as the Dark Knight and that all the film appears to take place at night. Downey's Stark is pretty upbeat, even under torture, and I'd say 80% of the film takes place in sunlight.

As far as supporting cast: dead or alive Heath Ledger kicks Jeff Bridges in the villian department. I'll take Gywnth Paltrow everyday over Maggie Gynethal, and Michael Caine has no opposite number in Iron Man, unless you count a robot (I don't).

I need to watch both of them again, but I think Iron Man will have more replayibilty.

The end of brick and mortar

There is a term in the shopping business for an actual store that you walk in to buy stuff rather than order online. These stores are called "brick and mortar." Every day or week someone in the Economy or Business section will write about how the B&Ms cannot compete with online stores in price and in titles. I am specifically talking about CDs, Videos, and books. I will always prefer buying clothes in person.

Today, since it was a sunny day, I took the bus down to Northgate and rolled over to Silver Platters. All I wanted to get was the second season of 30 Rock and the fourth season of The Office. I could have ordered them online and got them by next Friday for about $53. They were out of The Office but had 30 Rock for $39.99! Had The Office in stock it would have been $59.99. Almost everything in the store was "Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price" which is always high and stores traditionally low ball by a few bucks so people think they are getting a good deal.

I was able to get a few good deals in the used section including season two of 30 Rock for $17.

Unless I am looking for something unspecific uses, or unless the storee is going out of business, I don't think I will bother going to a brick and mortar store again.

News Bite

I hope you don't like Roquefort dressing on your salads because with a stroke of his mighty evil pen, GW has all but made it illegal. He has raised the tax (tariff) on imported french cheese 300% to punish the French, they say because the French won't buy hormone enhanced beef from us, but really, for the French not kissing Bush's ass when he wanted to overthrow Iraq. The French have vowed to get their revenge. Story here.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Health in general and a sad anniversarry

I am feeling just a smidge better and more flexible but I can't still lift my legs. I hope to get the tube out of my side on Tuesday then I can practice rolling back and forth in bed and get closer to rolling out of bed and into my chair.

Joyce left today. That doesn't leave many of the regulars that were here when I started. Some of the new people do not inspire confidence. I question how much experience they have.

I've had a roommate. Alvin, for about as long as I have been back but have been too tired and distracted to write about him. I am guessing he is an early stages of Alzheimer or had a stroke because he does do therapy but is communicative. Thankfully he doesn't talk much but often he leaves the faucet running and last night he walked to and from the bathroom pissing on the floor and wall (I quietly rang for the nurse because I didn't want to distract him and have him wander over and pee on my stuff.)

Nineteen years ago today my Mother passed away. I will try to write about her when her birthday comes up February 22.

Here's an interesting job

If I was in shape this is what I would like to be paid to do.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

"If you want a shot, your're hoing to have to dance for it."

That line and the image that followed it was the funniest thing I saw on last night's 30 Rock.

Low key day. I did all my therapy in the morning so had all the afternoon to myself. I went up the street and ordered way to much sushi/tempura and udon.

The powers that be say that since no one admits dropping my Xbox, they won't replace it. They might pay to fix it, but fixing one right now is literally cheaper than buying one. I'll trouble shoot one more time then way my options.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Still no progress

Right now they want me off my feet for most of the day I can't get my shoes or socks on. My feet and calves are really swollen and painful to touch. I really don't want to go on dialysis again, but if that would do the trick, I would be willing to do it (albeit temporarily). So I have been sitting around doing crosswords, solitaire, napping, and watching my court shows.

Slog has been a bit of a bore. Just more stuff about the P-I goind under, which is inevitable.

The most interesting thing I read today was on Nancy Leson's blog about a local man who ate sushi everday for a month. Some nice pictures.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


There is a lifer hear named Kit who has occupied Room one Hall one (the first room on the left when exiting the lobby) for God knows how, at least no one here seems to know how long she’s been, let alone why she is here.

One of the receptionists, who has worked here the longest said Kit was in Room one Hall one ever since she got here in 1967 (I should have asked the if she had had the same roommate all this time, though I doubt it).

As much gossip that goes around here, even if the news can be weeks behind, no one knows any facts about Kit. Most think it is something mental, but I find her quite lucid. When she isn’t reading, smoking, watching TV, or asleep in the living room chair, she is willing to have a pleasant albeit superficial conversation.

My tactless ex-roommate would either describe her appearance as “a kyke and a classic Bull Dyke” or when he thought he was being complimentary “Tug Boat Annie.” To me she looked like any other Pacific Northwest woman raised in wet weather who at some point in her life decided that shorter hair is easier to manage when it rains all the time.

She doesn’t appear to have a change of clothes but seems always clean but does not have any odor as I can tell. She does smoke a lot but manages to keep the funk out of her clothes or stains off he teeth or fingers.

As far as I know she has not had a long term roommate. I know the woman that Kit lives with now, but don’t feel right prying, but I have never seen them interact. (At this point I must confess I have taken every meal for the past thirteen months in my room rather than watch a roomful of old people, some toothless, eat.

Kit has no real friends amongst the residence but has a cordial relation towards most of the staff, and also myself, because we despise Ray, the hermit who camps out in the lobby to force the rest of us to either watch the Weather channel or FOX.

Anyway, it has been such a slow day I’ve just been observing Kit as a potential character. She is gruff on the outside with a bit of a soft interior. She has no problem admitting her sexual preference, her political affiliation, the fact that she has given up Judaism in favor of Paganism (I am guessing she went to college in the early, very early 1970s. Just don’t ask why she is in the home. The first time I asked a large cloud passed. “That is a private matter,” she stated. Then the cloud passed and things were back to normal. She read and I wandered off to find something to do.

I haven’t any deep conversations with her, or anyone else since, and I’m OK with that but I’ll keep my ears open and try find out who this woman is?

BTW, If I were ever to go blind she could never sneak up on me. As she shuffles she say's "Oy, Oy, Oy, Oy, Oy,....) Personally, I find one "Oy" enough.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

I know I have been sporadic blogger

I feeling a bit better since yesterday but I haven't ventured out any further outside than to get coffee and I am having trouble getting back in in the building, which was easy. I seem to have lost the ability to bend at the waist or lift my legs. An many ways I feel like I am starting over (all 14 months back), but the therapists are optimistic, so we'll see.

Since I got back the doctors have stuffed so me with much antibiotics I think is contributed to my ennui. I have so many tubes sticking out of me it's a wonder I am still able to go back to edit the blog. Sometimes when I look up at the screen it looks like random box of Scrabble tiles...mostly consonants.

I've also managed to use up all of the Starbucks cards I've received from Marianne and Todd, and am still trying to find a nice gift from from the certificate that was given to me by Aunt Jeanette and her family. I aslos want to thank you who sent me cards, especialy Rachel and Nancy.

I also just got done watching The Dark Knight, which I thought was very good, and so was Heath Ledger, but had he not died the mos he could have hoped for is an MTV movie award (unless tere was such lousy selection of supporting actors this year.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Feeling a little bit better

I am still a bit weak and need help in and out bed in bed, but barring a relapse, I should be fairly well recovered by the end of the Month. I still plan on doing something for my birthday at the end of the month.

Bummer news is that some tool here dropped my XBOX360 while I was in the hospital and it will be some time before a I can get it fixed. Insult to injury, I had just bought 5 new games.

I've tried to keep track of what has been going in Seattle and the World, but I am either on so any painkillers and antibiotics that I can't think straight, unless I had a stroke left undetected

Monday, January 5, 2009

I'm alive

I just got out of the hospital at around 4:00 this afternoon today I am very tired and pretty exhausted. I still have lots of tubes sticking out of me, but I do feel better, knock wood I hope to be better by early February.

Ten days ago, by the time I made to the hospital my temperature went up to 1o4.6° The nurses and doctors kept asking me who am I and where I am "thinking I don't fucking care; just make it fast or let me roll over and die."

I completely freaked out when they tried give me a cat scan, and I've had my share of cat scan in my life. And that was just first day. I'll write more wen lucid.