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November 2007
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January 2008

December 2007

Up In No. Cal Again

My sister is having Chemo #4 today (of 6) and my mom is here for a pre-christmas visit. I flew up yesterday morning and we spent the afternoon in Los Gatos.
Losgatostheater_3

The day was cold and breezy and cloudy and I loved being bundled up and walking around the sweet stores looking at all the shiny things, chatting with my mom and sister and niece and a couple of other friends. Today it is raining, but we'll be in the chemo clinic most of the day, so that's just fine.

Last night we drove around looking at Christmas lights, something I haven't done in a long time.
Christmaslights_2

This photo doesn't really do the house justice, but you get the general idea of the Christmas light madness going on.



Liverwurst Sammich!

Kurt thinks I'm a strange person because I like liverwurst -- braunschweiger more specifically. There is something delicious and creamy and rich about it that I love. And I'm not one to love things related to liver. braunschweiger and pate are sooooo good. Mmmm.

Liverwurst_slices_on_bread

I was introduced to this lovely sandwich meat by my stepmom when I would go visit her and my dad and sisters in the summer time. We would make sandwiches for lunch with Roman Meal bread and sprouts and avocado and tomatoes and sometimes just bread, mayo and braunschweiger! Mmmmm, fat!!

These days I buy it only occasionally but I always think of Diane when I do.


photo found on wikipedia and used under the creative commons license.


Poor Mouse

As hard as it was for Poor Mouse to be away for a week in a strange place, it's tough for her to be home too.

Poormouse_2

Because she's still radioactive, she has to stay about 6 feet away from us 99% of the day. It's so sad that she wants to come and sit next to us on the couch and we have to keep shoving her off or saying "No!" It's really hard to explain about Einstein and the splitting of the atom and radiation to her.

Poor Mouse, our little dirty bomb, at least until Christmas Eve.


Mouse Is Home

AND SHE HAS LASER BEAMS FOR EYES!!!!!

Mouseishome

Okay just kidding. But she is home and has already eaten a little something and is not hiding in the closet -- all good signs. The hardest part is, I want to pet her and cuddle and make her feel better, but I'm not allowed more than a few pets! (Radioactive.) Poor Mouse. But she seems fine and will be radioactive until December 24th.

I tried taking more photos of her but she's really camera shy and the second you pick up the camera, she's outta there. But soon she'll be flopped on her back by my desk.

Just glad to have her home safe and sound.


The Water Bill Is Here...

I just got the mail and the DWP bill is here. I haven't opened it yet. I will right now.Logo_main3_2

Our full DWP bill this billing period is $301.30. (This covers two months of water, electricity, sewer, taxes etc.) Previous to this, our bills have been between $195 and $220 per billing period. Hmmmm. Those new pipes sure are wide! (I filed all of my previous bills into the storage are in the garage and will not be going to dig the last one out to check water to water costs.) The water portion was $75 for this bill. I'll have to check that again in two months.

I'm not surprised and soon the novelty of long hot showers will be behind us and our water usage will go down again. The ups and downs of "new" technology!


Now It Can Be Told (Shown)!

The plan was: Remove the hot water heater and replace it with a tankless water heater. Replace all the old pipes in the house with copper (you may have seen earlier posts on that process). Demo the built-in cabinet thingy, remove the old exhaust pipe and put the electric and gas lines into the walls up to the central heating unit. Remove the funky white shelves, put them on the sidewalk with a "free" sign and see how quickly they disappear (about an hour.) Then paint the walls, put in new flooring and put in new shelves. Finally, return the dining room to it's role as dining room, not buffet.

Here is where we started:
Origpantry

We did this little bit-o-demo. Demo is always fun.
Pantrydemo

Thanks to Brody-Pennel (who installed our central heating a few years ago), we had to open walls, insert electric and gas lines, then close the walls. They used the old exhaust pipe to run the lines before. We didn't know until we did this job. Oh well.
Openwallsinpantry

Meanwhile, as you recall, the pantry contents were in our dining room, camping under their clear tent (SO MUCH PLASTER DUST!).
Pantrydiningroom

The walls got patched, then Kurt patched the holes from the old exhaust pipes:
Floorwaybefore

We painted the walls a lovely sagey green then had to buy cheap-ass vinyl floor tiles to even out the flooring before laying the new tiles. Kurt is very precise.
Inbetweenfloor

Then, as you read more recently, Kurt put the floor in and it is just as cool as we hoped it would be!
Floordone

Then today. I was gone for about 4 hours and Kurt rocked the Ikea shelves into submission. (These are "Gorm" by the way.) (WTF is Gorm?)
Omgshelves

We now have about 90% of everything that needs to go in here, in here. Oh joy.
Done

The man, the myth, the handyman/pantry redo legend!!
Myhero

I don't have a wide angle lens on my little digi-camera, otherwise I would do a shot of the whole room. I call it a room. It's 40 square feet -- 5 feet wide by 8 feet long. It's not big. And our laundry (stackable, thank god) takes up probably 1/6 of the space. It's not large.

I am so happy. Look at all that extra space! Look how handy it is and how fresh and new and on purpose!

I'm so happy. So So So happy.

Now, if Nate Berkus wants to come and rip it all out and start over, I have no problem with that.


Cute Winter Dog Action

I have a blogbud, Will, and he and his wife have a dog named Ranger who loves it when Will plays Wall-Ball. You can read all about them and that here. Having watched that video, you will understand why this made me think of how Will and Ranger would play if they lived in a slightly more wintry clime...

I found this video on Cute Overload (of course). The music in the video will remind my sister exactly of Beetle Juice, as it did me.


Mouse Update

Mouse is doing just fine and will be available for pick up on Wednesday afternoon. Good news! I'm still working hard not to think about her in a metal cage, scared and lonely. Whenever she gets stressed out -- usually that's simply a trip to the vet -- her ears get all red and hot and she trembles a little. But soon she'll be home and will wonder why the hell she can't sit in my lap.

Bunny is the alpha cat in the house and has been missing Mouse I think. She comes to meow at me while I'm at my desk way more often than she does when Mouse is here. On the other hand, she does delight in wrestling Mouse out of chairs or soft spots and chasing her around the house, so sometimes we just aren't sure what that love/hate relationship is about. But this week has been a bit more telling...

I googled "radioactive cats" to find some thing to post with this blog entry and found this photograph:
Radio

It is called "Radioactive Cats" by Sandy Skoglund from 1946.


I Needed A Little Christmas

Over the weekend while out running errands, I kept seeing people driving with Christmas trees on their cars, on the way home to start decorating. I saw kids in driveways, hopping up and down, waiting for dad to unload the tree. It made me smile and it made me a little wistful as we won't be having a tree this year. There is a lot of travel for us around the holidays and Christmas itself will be in Texas with Kurt's family.

We've had plenty of years without a tree as we have not spent Christmas the same way since we've been married. The first year we were married, we ran the Honolulu marathon in the middle of December, with a week of recovery (for me) and fun on Maui afterward, then we went to Texas for Christmas. The following year we might have had a small tree as we were home for Christmas, then left immediately afterward for a month's trip to Italy and Portugal for our honeymoon. The year after that was probably Texas, etc etc.

I think because this year we are both focused far outside of ourselves (aside from the plumbing) and onto other members of our families, I felt a stronger yearning to have a tree and to put lights up outside. Watching those cars loaded with trees humming along was a reminder to be patient. I did put a wreath outside the front door last week, and yesterday I thought about getting a poinsettia or two, but decided against it as we are only going to be here another week.

Around 3 yesterday afternoon our neighbor, Janet, came by with a Christmas card and a poinsettia for us. After thanking her with a big hug, I thanked the guardian angel in charge of hearing my gentle wishes for just a little more Christmas at home.

Poinsettia