Thursday, November 22, 2007


I've been going to Annie's for Thanksgiving off and on for at least ten years now. She has a set menu and it's always delicious and very different from what I grew up on.
(Candied yams, green bean casserole with canned french fried onion rings, you know.)

Here's her menu:

Turkey, cooked on the Webber grill (so moist and delicious it's sinful.)

Bourbon Street Sweet Potatoes (it's more like yam mousse, plus, the recipe calls for Jack Daniel's. What's not to like?)

Brussell's Sprouts (never had those growing up either)

Mashed Potatoes, gravy and stuffing and assorted cranberry relishes and a new cranberry chutney. And the stuffing has chestnuts (NHTGU).

It was a lovely night, the moon was rising. And there was great conversation and champagne. Mmmmm.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Almost there

Remember these? We had multiple sets, I think we had the Indians, too. It was my job to set the table with the good cloth napkins and the Thanksgiving candles. They'd burn for a little while, the pilgrim man had a hole in his hat that got bigger each year.

We rarely ate together as a family, except for Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. Dad was at sea every two years and Mom didn't eat with us so it was my brothers and I in the kitchen trying to find ways to get the dog to eat our canned peas. Remarkably, we all came out of it with pretty good table manners just getting through those few family dinners. "Leah, Leah, strong and able, get your elbows off the table." In fact, we were so well trained that I remember a trip from Virginia to Cleveland to visit grandparents when we stopped at this really great diner that we loved to eat at. It was at an ideal spot right between the Pennsylvania and Ohio Turnpikes. They had foot-long roasted hot dogs and milkshakes made with real ice cream, and they gave you those metal containers that held another good half glassful. Anyway, all five of us were finishing up with our dinner and my Little Brother got up and started to take his plate to the kitchen. (Clear your place was one of those lessons.) He was only about 5 or 6 and was very confused when Mom called him back.

I do enjoy dining with people with good manners, or even decent manners, or at least someone who doesn't huddle over his plate and shovel in the food.

Thursday I'll be over at my friend's who hosts her family and assorted orphans (all with good manners). I've spent the majority of my recent San Francisco Thanksgivings there, frequently as sous chef (slicing and blanching parsnips, turnips and rutabags for root vegetable casserole - smells like old tennis shoes, but just add enough cream and cheese and you've got something delicious). And since I can't drive home this time, maybe I'll drink a little more champagne than usual. I have to let her know I need car service to and fro.

My eyes are tiring more easily since my diagnosis. I think part of it is that I'm working at home with my laptop, in my lap, which doesn't allow me the mobility that I have at work, where I can get up and move the monitor around and all that. I also think that since I have an actual diagnosis, the denial has a harder time staying in play. If that makes sense.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Denial, and how it works for me. Or not.

I've been having problems with my vision becoming unstable. I've worn contacts since I was 16, 40+ years now, and the very best thing about them is they slowed down the decline in my vision. I think I've been wearing the same prescription for decades. But I haven't gone to an eye doctor regularly, like I should.

Sometime back in the 1980s, the big thing was radial keratotomy, which was the percursor to today's LASIK. It's best for people with moderate nearsightedness, but my vision was already at the "Chart, what chart?" stage. But the correction was good enough for me to use that eye for close vision and my right eye, still corrected with a contact lens, for distance. This is called monovision. It causes headaches in some folks, but it worked fine for me for many years.

This past August, when I went to a movie with a friend we sat in the last row (stadium seating, my choice) and I realized everything was slightly blurry. I also drove her back to her hotel, downtown, across the street from where I work, and realized that I was having difficulty seeing clearly. So I ratcheted up the denial and decided it was my "night vision" and I mostly stayed off the roads after dark. Couple that denial with the really stupid stoicism I inherited from my dad and you--well, I--have a problem.

So, now we're back on Standard Time and I'm driving home in the dark and having to finally admit to myself that my vision has gotten significantly worse. Especially since I was having problems recognizing people at work (in my defense, we have a lot of contractors who come and go), seeing detail on TV, etc. So I figured I needed a new prescription, right? I mean, it's been decades. My other motivation is that my favorite cousin, who has been living in Australia for over 25 years now, is coming for a month in early December, and bringing her youngest daughter, Lisa, with her. In two days I'd looked up providers and made an appointment a block away from my office.

On Thursday at 1:35 pm I met Dr. Michele Bloomer who is my newest hero. She gave me the most thorough eye exam I've ever had, spent about 90 minutes with me and in addition to telling me she thought I was her age (43!) informed me I had cataracts in both eyes and should have surgery. There was not an option for stronger contacts and she informed me I would never be able to wear glasses, because there was too much difference in acuity between my eyes. I'd last seen an opthamologist about 4 years ago who'd sighed with frustration because he couldn't get good readings and advised me I had a small cataract growing. He didn't tell me (or I don't remember) in which eye. Dr. Bloomer was surprised that I had them at my age (young for cataracts) and also told me about the different approach she'd have to use to correct my left eye, because of the incisions in my cornea from my previous RK surgery. I'll be scheduled for surgery Dec. 4. Right eye first.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Let's try a video

Yep, that's Dean, Rockstar, aka, Disco Dean. You rock, dude! Turn up the volume to hear Gloria Gaynor.

Rain and dangerous dudes

At last! We are having some seasonal rain today, just lovely and cozy. Here's what my friend Marta said about it:

I love this, I just love this. A good, moderate soaker, a celebration of life returning to our overly-parched California hills. Makes me feel good all over. And yeah, I know I’m strange.

Me too!

I went out earlier today to pick up some cat food from the vet. It was just sprinkling a bit and I parked the car across the street. I was crossing 24th Avenue, which has a stop sign, and was in the middle of the cross walk when I realized the man in the car approaching the intersection wasn't going to stop for me, or the stop sign. I was RIGHT THERE! So I yelled at him and smacked the backseat window behind him and he didn't even slow down till he was already across the intersection. Jerk. I could tell someone was behind me and my hand was damp and hurt a little bit from the slap, but I kept walking up the block to the vet's office. It was busy, with about three people ahead of me at the counter. By the time I was paid up and ready to go, a man had come in and told me he saw what had happened with the car. It was surreal. I told them what my Aunt Mary told me about 25 years ago: Reader's Digest did a study on bad drivers and they found that the worst by far were old men wearing hats. Yep, the guy who almost ran me down was an old guy with a baseball cap. You were right, Aunt Mary.

Also on my to-do list today was looking in on my neighbot's cats, the orange boys, Ti and Bu.

Okay, so this posting/formatting pictures thing, not so easy.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Like riding a bicycle

Woot! This is so easy now, love not having to battle html to get things the way I want them. It'll be a work in progress for a bit.

Now I'm trying to get my pictures from Yahoo. Apparently I was too late to have the photos there migrated to Flickr and I had to use another service, even though Flickr is Yahoo's new photo storage whatchamacallit. I'm going to have to do some detective work on my laptop to see if I transfered the other pictures from the ancient Dell. I thought I got them all, but we'll see.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Boy, is it dusty in here.

Just let me open up a window and get some cross-ventilation going.

It's been quite a year and a half. Outsourced but still employed, Dad died, I'm an absentee landlady now (well, along with my brothers) and trying to stay on an even keel managing the property and a drunk brother.

I've taken time off from quilting, got temporarily obsessed with artist trading cards and have gotten back to knitting. So the creative urge is still alive and well and serving as good therapy, supplemented with actual therapy.

It's going to take a bit to get my blogging chops back (the few I had), so bear with me.