Wednesday, May 31, 2006

visiting hours

Visited Essie on Monday evening. Her daughter Diane and Diane's husband Jim were there; Diane was giving Essie a nice manicure, and Essie was loving it. The five of us sat and chatted for a while, then Diane and Jim had to go. Mom walked out with them for a smoke, and I got to talk with Essie alone for a while.

She told me that she was having a really rough day. She woke up that morning feeling lonely, and as the day went on, she got down and depressed, feeling that no one was going to visit her. She said she felt better when Diane showed up, and then when Mom and I showed up, but she was still a bit down.

It was a good and sad talk...she talked about how she gets lonely and weepy, which then makes her feel vulnerable and so she gets snappy. She said she knew she needed to work on that, since it made some of the people around her angry with her.

It broke my heart. I told her that she was definitely entitled to her feelings, and that *she* was the one going through this, so she had to deal with it her way. I reassured her that she was not unusual, and let her know that now was the time to focus on herself and how she felt, not the way other people needed her to act so they could feel better about it. Not sure if it will help much, long term, but she thanked me for listening to her and letting her talk about how she really felt.

When Mom got back, we checked Essie out and headed up to Dairy Queen for Moo Lattes [and a brownie sundae for me]. We took our desserts and sat in the car on Main Street in Coshocton, something Mom and Essie did with their parents a lot when they were growing up. It was a really good time, even if the people watching was minimal [five people and two dogs was the final count]. Essie got brain freeze from sucking down the Moo Latte too fast, which gave us all the was a good time.

Back to the center to get Essie ready for bed. Rubbed cream into her legs to fight the excema, got her into pajamas, got her bed ready for her. She was getting weepy as time for bed and for us to go came, but Mom held her and reminded her off all the good times she'd been having, and told her to keep those in mind when she felt down. Essie smiled at that, said she was happy to have the day with us, and calmed down...hopefully she got a good night's rest.

She hates being alone...the two things she said is she is scared of most are being forgotten and losing her independence. I'm hoping that people in her life can coordinate their visiting schedules so she gets visitors fairly regularly...she's got a lot of family in the area, so if they get together, they can cover just about every day. It's hard...people have their own lives to keep going as well, and it *is* tough to see her so frail after being so feisty all her life. But now is the time that it needs to be about *her*...she needs us.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

roadside attraction

roadside attraction
roadside attraction,
originally uploaded by tiredcynic.
Snapped this going through Newark,'s the headquarters of the Longaberger Basket Company.

Yes, it's a seven story basket building...

Sunday, May 28, 2006

on the road again

Like a band of gypsies, we go down the highway...

d.i.y. waffles

Finished the day with random wandering around the campus area,
then dinner at Bennigan's and some mall-wandering to work off the
meal. Mom was feeling a bit worn out, so I did the driving for
the afternoon...and *man* is it hard to drive a Jeep Cherokee
after years of driving a Mini.

To bed around midnight...Mom and I tossed and turned most of the
night, then we were up before 6a [darn it]. Since we were all
awake, we headed down to breakfast in our pajamas...make your
own waffles, yum.

Time to pack everything up and get ready for the 4+ hour drive
back to uh-hi-yuh...

Saturday, May 27, 2006

hi dad!

Mom and I send our love...

50 yard line

Well, close to it, anyway. Went into town to the stadium, walked
all the way around, and found an open gate. It technically wasn't
open to the public, but we headed in and got some great pictures
[I'll post some soon]. I even "found" a sign from the concession
stand for Alexa [photo soon].

It was pretty impressive to be in the stadium when it was's under construction, so you get an idea of what goes
into building a huge structure like that.

Not sure what's next today...going to be really hard to top this.

Friday, May 26, 2006

go wolverines

Made it to the hotel with only one false step, then across the road to the Briarwood Mall for some Starbucks, pretzels [yay, Auntie Anne's], and shopping. I found a decent suitcase to replace my poor one with the broken zipper, some random shirts, and some sushi [which made this California girl very happy].

Just spent an hour or so at the relaxing and gearing up for tomorrow's visit to the University of Michigan for Alexa.

G'night from Michigan!

and away we go...

Hit the road for Ann Arbor earlier this morning...Mom, Debbie,
Alexa, and I piled into Mom's car and headed out. Breakfast at
Cracker Barrel, then back on the road...we should be in Michigan
around 3p or so. Good thing I've got my invisible ink books to
keep me busy... :^)

Thursday, May 25, 2006


To the care center to see Essie tonight. We got there as she was finishing dinner; we hung out with her for a bit, then Mom leaned over to her and whispered something and disappeared for a bit. I talked with Essie for a while, asked her how she was doing. Her answer really hit me: "I'm okay. Sometimes good, sometimes bad. I hate being held back, not being allowed to do things." She went on to talk about how she isn't like some of the others in the ward yet, and that she hates not being able to go walking on her own, to go outside, to take care of herself. She said that she knows she'll be worse soon, and wishes that she had the chance to be everything she can now, while she still can. She "hates losing the independence", hates "feeling like a prisoner".

And in a burst of wonderful timing, Mom came back and told Essie, "I've signed you out. Come on, we're breaking you out of this joint for a while."

We went driving around Coshocton, here and there, with Essie reminiscing about this house, that place, that plant where her father worked for 30 years. Mom drove me past the house I came home to after being born, which I really enjoyed. We dropped by to see Richard [Mom and Essie's brother] and Mary [his wife], which Essie seemed to get a kick out of. More driving, talking, remembering, then back to the care center to wind down a bit. Helped Essie into her nightclothes, put more ointment on her legs, then left with hugs and kisses. A very, very good evening.

And now it is thundering, which I I said, a very good evening.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

set the waybac machine, sherman

Tonight was my nephew Cole's "promotion" from eighth grade [apparently it isn't called a graduation any more]. It was strange, being in the new middle school that didn't exist when I lived here, hearing many of the same last names being called and realizing these were the kids of people I'd gone to school with.

Before the ceremony, I saw Lynette Whyde...she was my closest and best friend way back when. She lived down the block, and we ran around together, took swimming lessons together, did the things that 9- and 10-year old girls do. I recognized her right away...she was always a beautiful girl, and now she is a beautiful woman. With luck, we'll be able to get together while I'm here, to catch up, share stories, see where life has brought us.

I also got to talk with Brad Dye for the first time in about 21 [gulp] years. We were on the quiz team together, and I had always admired him...he was a smart ass who was also smart. He said what he felt, acted up, but was also a good friend and was always there for you. I envied his self-confidence and took me many years before I embraced the cynical, sarcastic side of myself.

Another highlight was getting to see Mr. Goins, who is now the assistant principal of the middle school. He was my honors English teacher in high school, and I really respected him. He was one of the few teachers who treated us as adults; this didn't go over so well with some, since it meant adult expectations, but I learned a lot with him. I had last talked with him about six years ago; I'd coincidentally run into him during a visit home, and got a chance to tell him how much his teaching meant to me.

Tonight, they announced that this was his last year teaching...he was retiring after 35 years. After the promotion ceremony, I stopped by to see him...I waited my turn, then said simply, "Thank you, from a member of the class of '87." He actually remembered me, which was incredibly flattering, especially given a 35 year career...he asked me if I was still in California, and even told me that he still had one of my poems around. We chatted for a bit, he hugged me, I thanked him for everything...his influence is still there with me, 20 years later.

Then Mom, Dad, and I went to dinner at Adornetto's pizzeria...every time I come home, that is a must for me [you've got to love their ever-so-appropriate slogan: "the pizza people come home for"]. It is still there in the same place it has been for more then 30 years, and was a big part of my high school times. It's changed a bit inside, but the pizza is [thankfully] still the same. Sadly, they've gotten rid of the "Fanky Malloon" was an automated machine that blew up and dispensed helium balloons. You pushed the button of the color you wanted, a carousel rotated around, a balloon came down onto the nozzle and inflated, then it went "PONK!" and popped off, sealed and ready to go. Of course, it didn't make it very far, since helium was meant to be inhaled...

Ate far too much [yum], then Dad drove us down to Dillon Dam for some sightseeing and to check out their fishing spots. The drive back was nice...quiet, warm, food-coma setting in, good company, the obligatory stop for Mom's English Toffee coffee. Now we are home and unwinding for the evening, with nowhere to go, nothing specific to do, just relaxing and spending time together.

This is the way it should be.

Monday, May 22, 2006

sad and sweet

Spent the evening with my aunt Essie [Mom's oldest sister]. Essie is in the Alzheimer's wing of a nearby nursing home, Autumn Health Care, and we kept her company during dinner, then spent a few hours together. It was hard, though good...Essie was the oldest of eleven kids, always the one in charge, running things, strong opinions, big heart. The heart is still big, and it's hard to see the effect the Alzheimers is having. She'll hunt for words, forget how to use a fork or put on glasses, how to dress. But she's still in there, and you can see it frustrates her. She remembered me, though she hasn't seen me for a year; she even asked how Pepper was doing. She knew Mom [and got choked up while telling me how much Mom means to her], she knew I was Mom's daughter.

The facility she is in is incredible. Quiet, well-run, and the thing that I noticed the most was the smell...or rather, the lack of it. It was clean, fresh; it felt more like a hotel than a nursing home. The rooms were well laid out; even though they were shared rooms [two to a room], there were closets in the middle to make it feel like each resident had their own space.

Feeling pensive and a bit off-kilter right can't help but picture yourself in that same situation and wonder how you would handle it, what you would do. Or you picture other people close to you there, and wonder how often you could visit, how you would keep your life going while also letting them know that there weren't just dumped and forgotten, how you would pay for it. It's sobering, it's saddening...but it was also uplifting to see the amount of indepence this facility gave the residents. They were watched, taken care of, monitored, but they were free to walk around, feed themselves, chat with friends...all things they wouldn't necessarily have at other nursing homes [and that she *didn't* have at the one she was at prior to this one].

I'm glad places like this exist. And I hope one is available to me if I ever need one...

Love you, Essie.

ah, youth today...

My nephew: "Do you watch [some cable television show]?"
Me: "No...I don't have cable."
Him: " have DirecTV?"
Me: "Nope. Just whatever comes over the air."
Him: ...stunned silence...

Sunday, May 21, 2006

happy birthday, mom!!

I timed my trip to Ohio so I could be here for both my mother's and father's birthdays. Today is Mom's day...and Dad went all out. She woke up to small pieces of paper scattered on the floor, down the stairs, and into the kitchen, all with birthday-related pictures and sayings [one of my favorites: one that said "I'm this many", with a hand sticking up its middle finger].

When she got to the table, there was a vulture piƱata hovering over her chair, some black roses inserted into a flower bouquet she already had, two small cakes, decorations, and gifts. Dad had gone online and found a lot of birthday articles, some humorous [the "remember when you didn't have to lock your doors" kind of lists], some really interesting [Newsweek's article on baby boomers turning mother was born in the first year of the baby boom], all very sweet. My dad is really good at these things...

So now we are relaxing, taking it easy. My sister is going to be coming over with pizza in about an hour; the boys will be here too, so we can all share the day with Mom. This is a special one [well, they are all special, but this one is especially special]...this time last year, we didn't think there would *be* another birthday to celebrate. Today, it's all about her...happy birthday, Mom.

the travel gods were good to me

The day before I left, there was rain that caused a two hour delay; today, the day after I arrive, it is raining here in Ohio. So for the one day that I was travelling, the weather behaved itself and I got here smoothly.

Need to remember to sacrifice a barometer under a full moon in thanks...

Saturday, May 20, 2006

getting ready

Going through the morning routine and doing final packing for the trip to Ohio. Need more sleep, but that seems to be par for the course lately. Looking forward to seeing Mom and Dad...

Thursday, May 18, 2006

the doctors were in

Just got back from the Saw Doctors concert at Bimbos in San Francisco. It was, as always, a great concert. The band was having fun, the crowd was into it, and a good time was had by all. I'm frickin' exhausted...there is always a lot of bouncing, singing, and dancing at their shows, and I definitely enjoyed myself. Even managed to snag a set list, which is always nice [and props to Jim, who apparently stood over my shoulders and got the band's attention for me].

To the right is a Bimbos napkin...gotta love the naked woman on the goldfish [read more about it here].

Now to publish this, drink some water, then read for a while until the adrenaline settles down...wheee!!!

the sound of breaking glass

Folding laundry a little while ago and heard a CRACK! CRASH! KERTINKLE! [insert Batman-style visual effects here]. There were guys mowing the lawn next door, and it kicked something up into my dining room window, breaking out a pane. They were really cool about it; turns out the guy is my next-door neighbor and does landscaping and lawn work. He offered to replace the window himself; got his card and left a message for my landlord. Swept everything up, pulled out the jagged bits that I could, put cardboard and plastic over the hole [need to run to the store to get duct tape to seal the outside a bit better]. Luckily I was home at the time, so we knew what had happened...would have been more frustrating had I come back hours later, with no clue as to what broke the glass.

Man, there is nothing like the unexpected sound of breaking glass to get your heart rate going...

way too much time spent

Just spent way too much time at these sites:

with the help of:

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

what an interesting idea

Can't remember how I found this site [that random clickstream of web-consciousness that happens when you are surfing with no goal], but I thought this was both odd and interesting:

one sheep, two sheep...

Went to bed at normal time [11pm-ish], read for a while, then fell sound asleep. Had a weird sci-fi dream about a team of us having to be away working on-site for a while; when we came back, we found that ants had gotten into the facilities. Following the trail of ants, we found a stream of increasingly larger insects, all moving towards one specific place. All the bugs were carrying fruit, finally handing it up to other "helper" bugs at a central point; the helpers then handed the fruit behind a corner to something. We realized that they were making offerings to some much bigger, much more powerful, mafia-like godfather bug....I woke up just as we were debating just what kind of creature was hiding in the darkness that would engender this amount of devotion from other insects, and how the heck we were going to deal with it and get it out of our living quarters. It was one of those "story" dreams, the ones where you are simply being entertained, not really involved; no personal emotions being invoked, no scariness or drama, just a mental movie happening behind your eyes.

And now, for some reason, I am awake at 3:30a and can't get back to sleep. Hurrah for the internet [or, in l33t speak: teh intraweb]...

Monday, May 15, 2006

yay, books!

Went to Book Buyers this afternoon to stock up on books for the trip [assuming I don't read half of them before's been known to happen]. Had a very odd conversation with a very normal-looking guy...survived unscathed. Got some good used books, including the Madeleine L'Engle "Wrinkle in Time" series [haven't read those in way too many years to count]. Picked up a copy of "Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand. I've read "The Fountainhead", and it made an impression; Rod is currently reading "Atlas", and it sounds like one I'm going to have to read...hence my own copy. Some random collections of fantasy and short stories...good plane reading.

Now to hold myself back and not read them all before I fly this weekend...

I'm a dork

Sitting in a bookstore, sipping non-fat chai, reading, and catching up on email on my phone [so any typos are due to the phone keyboard...thats my story and Im sticking to it]. Yup...bookstore, email on phone. Dork.

Picked Rod up at SFO this morning, then we went to brunch in the city [Squat & Gobble...chicken pesto crepe, yum]. Good time, relaxing, interesting out and about, running some errands, enjoying the weather [though temps in the 80s area bit *too* warm for this autumn-weather-loving gal].

Off I go to the next stop...woot!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

recipe for a nap


1 lazy Sunday afternoon
1 sunny, moderately warm day
1 light breeze
1 set vertical blinds
1 comfy couch
1 sleepy kitty
1-2 good books

Adjust vertical blinds until light is softly filtered. Mix afternoon, warm day, and light breeze with blinds until soporific. Separately, mix books, sleepy kitty, and couch together; when sufficiently combined, add previous mixture until nap is achieved.

Saturday, May 13, 2006


A great day...went into SF to hang out at KFOG KaBoom with Jim [and a few thousand other close friends]. A great atmosphere out on the piers, and one of the best fireworks shows I've seen. Nice way to spend the day...

An update: KFOG says there were about 45,000 people on the piers, with another 350,000 gathered along the waterfront; they've posted a video of the fireworks at the link above.

Friday, May 12, 2006

a waste of a day

Well, not a waste, in that it was apparently necessary, but *man* I hate being sick on my own time! The bronchitis took me out today...could barely get out of bed, so gave in and didn't fight it. Slept much, coughed much, still tired and aching from the inside out.

But hey, you get a great ab workout from the coughing.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

the best pun ever

When I was in high school, there was a girl a year ahead of me named Amber Graves. And for a while, she dated a guy named Wayne. To this day, I can't hear "America, the Beautiful" without thinking of them:

"O beautiful, for spacious skies
For Amber Graves and Wayne.
For purple mountain majesties,
Above the fruited plain."

[Seriously...I swear I'm not making this up. Those were their names...and only a pun-loving goob like me would get such a kick out of it. Guilty as charged...]

'round and 'round we go...

So I get up crazy early, and make it to San Francisco by 6:30a to pick up Rod. To the airport, drop him off, head back home...but a few minutes into the drive, my phone rings. His flight was flight is at 12:45p. So turn around, head back to airport, pick him up, turn back around, head to my place. Hang out, talk, walk down and get some coffee, chill, then climb back into the car and head to the airport for the third time today.

No word from him yet...taking that as good news. :^)

one advantage

A nice thing about not working is that I can take friends to the airport during the week. Mind you, making it up to the city [sorry..."The City (tm)"] by 7a isn't my most favorite thing to do, but it's cool to be able to be "the airport friend" while I can. Plus it gets me extra time with them before they head off to other added bonus. Last week, Lisa; today, Rod...and then next week, Jim is being sweet and will be *my* airport friend as I head off to Ohio for a while.

Off I go, to beat the traffic...hi ho, Cooper, awaaaayyyyyy!!!!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

kathleen turner...whoo hoo

So it's a chest cold again. Well, actually, it's likely "still"...the same one that caught me a few weeks ago probably stuck around, and is resurfacing. Low-level bronchitis, or some such thing. Nothing to do but wait for it to run its course, but I've got some fun medication [medically-induced wooziness...yay!]. For the first time in a long time, I'm leaning more towards the "Kathleen Turner" voice than "Minnie Mouse". Of course, it's likely to slide right in to "Bea Arthur" before long, but that's still better than squeaking like a Disney character on helium.

The plus side: not working right now, so I can take it as easy as I need to. The down side: it's my own time, darn it...and I really would rather be out there walking, bike riding, finding bookstores, anything but feeling poopy.

Pepper is enjoying the company, though...

Sunday, May 07, 2006

the smell of summer

A very nice day yesterday...Jim came over and we grilled in my backyard. He kind of overshot on the volume of food [I tease him that he must have been an army cook in a previous life, with the massive amounts of food he ends up cooking], but it was good: grilled onions, zucchini, peppers, sweet potatoes, chicken sausage, chicken breast [in a really good asian marinade he made]. After the cook-out, we went down to Castro Street in Mountain View for gelato, but found a street fair going on, which was a nice surprise. Wandered it for a while, got some good flavored almonds [butter toffee for me, cinnamon/cajun for him], and wrapped up the afternoon with a banana split. A very nice day, indeed.

Today, not as nice...beautiful weather, but I'm getting a cold. Actually, I expected this: it's the old "been running too much, too busy to get sick, then the minute you slow down, it catches up with you" thing. A little chest congestion, alternately stuffed/runny nose, that tired feeling. But there is a positive side to this: maybe this marks the first of my "two days in pjs" goal that I set for myself during my last week of work [oddly, I haven't been able to fulfill it yet...who know it would be so tough to give in to utter sloth for two straight days??].

Off to medicate a bit, feed the cat, grab some breakfast, get some laundry started, then pick a movie to enjoy...

Thursday, May 04, 2006

pics from my last day

Just uploaded and captioned the pics from my last day at Acti...for those that are curious, they are at

feeling old

feeling old
feeling old,
originally uploaded by tiredcynic.
Target is selling polo shirts. As "retro" wear.

Man, do I feel old...

two songs that really need to go away now

Daniel Powter, "Bad Day", and James Blunt, "You're Beautiful"

We've heard them. Many times. They need to fade away quietly, please. Pretty please. No, really. It's time now. Buh-bye.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

all bases covered

There was the one that wanted someone else. The one that the timing wasn't right. The one that wanted long-term too soon. The one that I wasn't ready for long-term with yet. The one that wasn't ready for long-term with me.

This bodes well for the next one. One of the previous ones? Someone new? The world may never know [thank you, Mr. Owl].

evian will, evian will, rock you

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

a fateful mouse click

[So I had a whole thing typed up about a lot of things whirling around in my head: having two terminal parents, trying to figure out the what/when/where thing, dealing with the passive-aggressive and the inertia-bound, being lucky to have true friends, seeing the difference in who I was six years ago and who I am now, trying to be in the moment, juggling commitments, fighting minor health issues, and so on. Then I accidentally hit the wrong mouse button, which took my browser back a page, thus losing every incredibly wise, poignant, salient, soul-baring bit.

So rather than retype it and relive it, I'm just going to say this instead: I'm frickin' lucky. Even with the money concerns and the life situation, I've got a lot. Friends, real friends. Family, who have been there for me and made it possible for me to challenge myself, knowing that they could catch me if I fell. Love, in various forms, past/present/future, which I am richer for having. A roof over my head, the ability to get regular meals, and my mobility. Occasional bursts of perspective, frivolity, insight, goofiness, randomness, introspection. Wishes, dreams, desires, all of which have the potential of fulfillment.

Yeah, I'm going to have down times. And I'll whinge about how much life sucks sometimes. But overall, life is good...and thank you for being part of it.]


Grumble, mumble...a grumbly day. Little things piling up and making a little storm cloud over my head. Got stiffed for about $40 at Dave and Buster's last night [I paid with my credit card, and people didn't pony up enough cash to cover the $240 tab...tried to get it cleared up, but no one would admit they hadn't paid enough]. Then some folks went a little nutso with my game card, and ended up burning through the $25 I had put on it. It was all for Kathy's birthday, but I can't afford to pay for everyone else's fun, darn it. Add to that the cost of the game card from my own party there, plus the amount I plunked down in SF last weekend, and I'm burning cash too quickly. I want to spend time with friends, and I enjoy it, but I just can't afford it.

Been trying to get my keys back from the folks who watched my cat for me when I went to Australia [we've been trading cat-sitting], but didn't hear back from them even though I was trying to buy them dinner to say thank you. Now they are in touch, and need some cat-sitting [well, cat-picking-up-at-the-cat-hotel]...not a big deal, except there is some last-minute notice to get my keys and theirs, and by the way, the carrier may not be available you may need to go to the house, pick it up, go pick the cat up, then go back to the house. Not necessarily a big deal in itself, but with the other frustrations, it adds up.

And I'm getting little or no time to just recharge. I've got a lot of things I need to do, errand- and project-wise, and I also have some social commitments that are weighing on me. It sounds stupid to complain about having to do social things, but I can't afford it all, either budget-wise or recharging-wise right now. I have commitments now every night through Sunday, and I'm freaking out about the money. I'm going to end up cancelling most of them, which sucks, but I just don't have the cash to spare [especially after the last two Dave and Buster's trips]. Plus I have to pay for my trip back to Ohio, and there are things I have to get done while I'm off work, which will cost money.

Sigh. Grumble. I'll get over it. But I've got some serious cutting back to do to bring some peace of mind...because the current situation certainly isn't giving me that.

Monday, May 01, 2006

happy birthday, kathy!

Celebrated Kathy's birthday at Dave and Buster's time. Drinks, dining, games, an air cannon for the guys [bought with the tickets we won on the games], a Batman for Batsam [his nickname]. Fun times...and I think there are photos for evidence of the night, too. Uh oh... :^)