Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veteran's Day

My father served in World War II. Erin's dad Gerry was in Vietnam and her grandfather Cecil was in World War II too. Mike Rozmarin's brother is in the Army. Our friend Ken Scott was in the Navy. Bridget's daughter and son-in-law are in the Air Force in Korea.

I don't remember having strong feelings ever about the sacrifices that the men and women in the US armed services have made. I have thought about them and thanked them but never felt any true affinity with their struggles or even their deaths. But I never was closely and personally acquainted with a service person while they were in the service or deployed. Reading the accounts of prisoners of war in the Pacific arena as well as in Europe during World War II made it much more real. Having Aggie and Matt in the service makes it about as real as it can be to me.

I'd like to think that if I could go back 45 years that I would consider going into the service with my current mindset. I know it never hit my radar back then at all. And, as I've pointed out throughout my life, I've never burned with the white heat of total motivation for anything. I'm more of a low simmer kind of girl with periods of rapid bubbling, boiling and overflowing the pot.  Whew, that's a mixed metaphor if every I've written one.

What's curious is that when I do see someone in military dress, I'm shy and embarrassed to approach them and say thank you. I'm not sure why. It feels a little like going up to an African American person and saying, "hey, you're black" or telling an Asian person they're Asian. So obvious as to be embarrassing and not something you should call attention to in public. I need to think about that (the military thing, not the black or Asian alerts), try to understand my discomfort and get over it.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Things I've discovered

Part of the reason I wanted to do this isolation vaccine study was to learn more about myself and how I'd handle the isolation part. Although I didn't have any qualms about being in isolation, I wanted to see how it would be and what I would do. Actually it has gone by really quickly and it's now Sunday, half way through the study for this first 12 days.

Yesterday I found myself a bit bored and at odd ends. Got tired of reading, didn't want to watch TV, muscles were sore so I didn't want to exercise, played solitaire until I was tired of that, loaded a free Scrabble and got quickly annoyed with the constant ad popups. Tried to sleep but wasn't able to. It only lasted a couple hours but still felt strange that I couldn't hit upon an interesting activity.

Today has a completely different vibe. Changed the bed, cleaned the bathroom a little, did my hair, emptied the trash, just little things but it just feels more energetic in my room as well as up and down the hallway. In changing the bed, I discovered that what I thought was a mattress protector was actually a knit bottom sheet. Didn't look like that at all. So I asked for a bottom sheet and got exactly the same thing today. But I hadn't had a top sheet so now I'm really spiffy with both a top and bottom. Had been using the thin bedspread as a top sheet these past few days. Worked OK but now everything will be nice and crisp tonight.

When I was researching a press release on Thursday for Mike Krause, I stumbled upon a reference to Pete DeMarco from MBA school. He's a consultant now in leadership. That's funny enough but in looking at his website and team, he has Leslie Marx our stats professor working for him. That must make his pecker proud. I can just see the smirk he would have about that. Such an ego the guy has. Really still looks like an ass. And I'm sure he is.

My immediate thought was to friend Linda Boutwell on Facebook and share what I found with her for a giggle. So I went to her page on Facebook and read a little. Almost right away, I got the old Linda vibe and decided not to friend her and reopen that can of worms. Her entry in response to this picture that she posted:

was "I can't learn and grow as a person if I am not honest about what worked and what didn't and about what part I played in the f-ing mess. Sad but true.  Blehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh."

It was weird, I just felt exactly like I used to feel when we were friends and she was such a downer all the time. Her posts said to me that she hasn't really changed at all. She says the words but the associated behavior isn't there. And I don't need that negativity around me. So I stifled my urge and will just keep the Pete stuff to myself.

Here in the isolation chamber, I've been able to be relatively alone and enjoy the quiet around me. I've kept my radio/CD/TV down low so I don't bother anyone. So glad I took a room at the end of the hall so I only have one person adjoining my room. I think his name is Dennis. His television (abuts my wall) is on at a constant low drone of talking from morning to late night. Dunno if he's watching it or just has it on for the white noise. It mostly doesn't bother me except when I'm trying to get to sleep. Glad I brought the ear plugs.

Dennis also has an interesting/annoying habit of very loud yawn/groans every few minutes. Either that or he's pleasuring himself frequently or just hugely bored. I'm thinking the latter.

I asked for a newspaper today so I think I'll go read it.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Sliding into routine

So now it's Day 2 of the vaccine study and the days have a predictable routine. Vitals and nasal swab about 8am, breakfast (I made some really stupid menu choices), ice delivery around 10am, lunch at about 12 or 12:30, dinner around 5:30 or 6, vitals at 7, snacks about 8 and that's it. No symptoms of problems with me - I've had a headache on Day 0 and Day 1 but my theory is that it's more due to barometric pressure changes than because of the vaccine.

It's only been four full days but I'm not having much difficulty with the isolation. My biggest bummer is not having a steady supply of ice for my iced tea. Not much of a sacrifice. But we'll figure something better out for the December stay.

It's been raining outside since yesterday off and on, and Erin says it's snowing at their house. Still a little too warm here for snow - about 35.6 degrees downtown. But the meteorologists have been peppering their reports over the past week with progressively more references to snow to get us prepared. At the first mentions of snow, John and I freeze in our chairs and look at each other, wild eyed. After the 20th mention, we don't even blink.

So now it's actually starting to come down and the reality of the upcoming weather is here. Time to buck up and deal with it. Head down, plow forward and count the days until our cruise and after that, focus on spring arriving. Of course, sprinkling the intervening months with events, dinners and outings will help make the time pass more quickly and interestingly. Lots of projects around the house with the new sunroom getting under way and insulating the garage.

Looks like Erin, Mike and the girls will be going to Michigan to be with Gerry, Kay and Bertie for Thanksgiving. Since we're opting out of Christmas I don't feel we can say anything much about it. And the real reason is for Bertie who doesn't feel up to traveling out here and Erin is doing the right thing by seeing her grandma as often as possible since the opportunities are dwindling.

But I need to talk with Johnnie and decide what we want to do for Thanksgiving ourselves.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Day 0

Today was inoculation day for the H7N9 Bird Flu vaccine study. The actual administration of the nasal mist was anticlimatic - Dr. Traynor came in, stuck a syringe in each nostril and that was it.

Within a couple hours I did get a headache and took a three hour nap but I'm not sure there is a cause and effect relationship between those events and getting the vaccine. And the nap felt delicious.

Otherwise the day has been uneventful.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Isolation? Incarceration? Quarantine?

OK, so it's been a couple weeks. In that time, I finished the Halloween costume from Hell, Princess Elsa from Frozen -- it's a really good thing that the little girls are not critical, just thrilled and excited.

And now I'm in St. Mary's Hospital in Rochester (never knew it was even here) to do a vaccine study for the H7N9 bird flu vaccine. As in 9-12 days of isolation in my own room, no visitors, frequent blood draws, a computer, a Keurig and coffee, music, TV and a decently comfy single bed. Most women I've explained this project to are jealous and envious (at least in word) about having the time alone. Men don't understand it but surprisingly there are more men here for the study than women from my cursory glances at name tags outside the rooms. John is wise enough and loves me enough to let me do this without (much) protest.

The room is bright, spacious and reasonably nice. The shower is fine, I was well advised about what things to bring to make this as easy as possible. Of course, I've not even been here for 24 hours yet so we'll see how I'm feeling by this time next week. Or even just by Friday. Forgot: batteries, could use an extension cord but so far that's it.

Just opened the curtains and realized the window was entertaining a baker's dozen logey flies. All but one two are now deceased. I'll get the little suckers yet. Did 5 minutes of exercise too. Feeling quite virtuous.

Did a bit of work and there's more to do. Need to make myself a to do list so I can get focused on stuff that needs to be done.

But right now I'm thinking that reading and/or snoozing sounds pretty good so I'm going to give that a try. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Leaves and doors

One type of deciduous tree that changes color in the fall - maybe maple? - has leaves of a brilliant yellow. When we lived in Minnesota, we had one of those trees outside the front bedroom and when it was in full yellow bloom, it really looked as though a light was on in that room. There are a couple of those trees around this house and, while they're not as close to the house, it always reminds me of checking that room several times during the yellow leaf season to turn off the light. I've always been a light patroller - hate having lights left on uselessly when there's no one in the room. Have been teased for that for years.

Most days I go to Bruegger's to get my cup of coffee. It's so interesting to follow people in or out of the double doors at the coffee shop and how they behave in holding the door for someone else or not. Followed an older man the other day and he had clearly looked in my direction across the parking lot as we were both walking towards the coffee shop. He flung the door open for himself and just walked through, not looking around or holding it for me. I don't expect it but it is always interesting to see whether people are so self-involved that they don't look to see if someone might be in close proximity going in or out and then how they handle the situation if there is someone there.

I've seen heavily tattooed and be-ringed teens/young adults hold the door for several people and I've seen normal looking adults of every age just clump on through without any thought of anyone else in the world. You see all kinds and while I don't know exactly what it says about their personalities, it does say something. It would be interesting to follow one of those people for a few hours while they're driving, working, interacting with people to see how they treat others, whether strangers, friends or family. I suspect there would be some correlation with rude or preemptive driving behavior and possibly lack of respect for themselves, loved ones and strangers.

And then there are people for whom you open the door, who prance/stalk/simper/clomp on through without acknowledging at all that you have held the door for them. As though it's a given that you are the designated door opener of the world and they are entitled to proceed without a word. Instantly makes me angry and a "you're welcome" is liable to come out of my mouth before I can stifle it. Certainly makes me (and Johnnie too) shake my head. Well, Johnnie shakes his own head.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

So this is October??

It's October 14th and we're expecting an 80 degree day. Wow. That is unheard of in these here parts. Typically the first frost/snow comes in just a couple days. Certainly not complaining that the windows are open, the sky is blue and the trees are rustling with a moderate breeze. But there'll be rain tonight and the temps will slip lower although it's supposed to stay relatively seasonal (mid-50s/60s) for the next few days. Just fine with me.

We took the deck furniture down yesterday and got essential winter vehicles - the snowblower - in position and put away the pressure washer. I pressure washed the canopy to the screen house and got drenched as usual in the process. No surprise there. But it was in the mid-70s so it didn't really matter. When I say "we" took the furniture down, it was 99% Johnnie and a little bit me. Love that royal we.

Started working on cutting the Elsa costume last evening and misread the cutting directions for the cape so I bought two more yards of materials today to finish the cutting process. Anxious to get started on the sewing parts. While the time is fast slipping towards Halloween, I don't feel pressured, just looking forward to sewing the costume.

Can't wait to see the girls' faces when they get their costumes. Went with Erin yesterday to get the material for the Anna costume. Sure glad she's making that one - way more fussy than the one I'm doing although I'm sure I'll be regretting it when I have to work on some of the organza that slips around like crazy. Still fun.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Just a day

It's a short work week in some ways for Johnnie - upcoming Columbus Day four-day weekend. But he's doing a home inspection tomorrow so that will preoccupy him for the majority of the weekend. He's really been in a rush of school bus driving/training and home inspections for the last 10 days or so. And he's completely exhausted. He had had one inspection scheduled for this coming Saturday as well but it fell through and we're both just as glad. He also hasn't completely shaken the cold he had more than a week ago and I'm sure the lack of solid rest isn't helping him recover.

Whiile it's a short work week for him, it isn't for me although I've not been all that busy which is really driving me cray cray. I billed a total of $167 for September. Although the B3 phase 3 payment will come through too which isn't figured in there. Now I'm starting to work on the Frozen (Elsa? I looked them up to be sure) Halloween costume for Lucy/Emily and I volunteered to make a sign for Erin's craft sales and print business cards up for her.

I cut out the pattern pieces last evening and got them ironed so I'm ready to lay them out and start cutting. I am so glad I'm working on the Elsa costume and not the Anna one. The Elsa pattern has 11 pieces and the Anna costume has upwards of 20. But it's the type of sewing work that Erin likes so hopefully it will be fun for her.

For one thing, we haven't put anything away outside yet and now it's getting to be time to pack up and switch seasons before it gets really chilly outside. Or rainy. Or both.

Otherwise, today is just another day - sunny outside, mid-50s temperature wise and a bit breezy. But the sky is robin's egg blue and really just delightful outside.

I've gone to Henrietta on 490/590/390 twice this week in the morning and both times there were a gaggle (?) of wild turkeys along the side of the highway pecking away at the verge finding food. They are not at all concerned about the cars racing by 20 feet away at 60+ miles an hour. Makes me smile every time. Must be their home turf and have decent eats for them.

Bridgie is in Alabama/Georgia visiting Aggie before she goes to Korea. So glad she was able to go. Hope they're having a super great time. I don't know what I'd do if I had such distance restrictions on seeing both girls like that. It's tough enough only seeing Mike and Holly once a year.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


It's already been a strange weather day. I was out driving this morning and went from sunshine with white puppy clouds to steel gray sky, no sunshine and then pouring rain. The clouds along the way were beautiful - I didn't have an opportunity to take pictures of them unfortunately. The procession of stark white clouds against the darkening blue-gray sky was striking. Now it's sunny again with a sky crowded with white cotton ball clouds scudding along against a bright blue background. Quite lovely and very changeable.

Weather is getting cooler and we won't get above about 60 degrees today. No matter - the sun is shining and the trees are bending in the wind, giving up their loosest leaves in torrents of color.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


My overriding thought in the past week or so has been that I want to do something BIG. I don't know what, that's pretty vague, but I sure hope I can come up with something BIG that equals the compulsion I'm feeling pretty soon. Is it volunteering? Is it some sort of selfless project? Rescuing a cute puppy from an evil puppy mill? Playing piano with my feet at FAO Schwarz? Nah - I just don't know. But I do know that it will become more evident in the next while. So I'll try not to obsess while the vagueness and mists disappear.

Ordered patterns online for Frozen costumes (Elsa and the other chick - dunno her name or just can't remember it). Erin and I are going to each make a costume for Em and Lucy. I get to do the pretty blue one! I had thought Erin would want to do that and I'd be relegated to the Dutch girl costume. So excited. Bought fabrics at Jo-Ann this noontime and now I want to get cutting. But I won't because we decided she should measure the girls beforehand so we know how close to the proper size the pattern is. The pattern size only goes up to an 8 and the girls are both just about out of 8s and into 10s.

Anyway, I'm excited and now I have a Project to work on. That's not BIG but it's something to take my attention for the next couple weeks. Can't wait to see the girls' faces when they see the costumes! Squeeeeeeee!

Monday, October 6, 2014

The start of something

Well, really a restart I guess. I have a strong urge to write stuff, mostly for my own edification but putting it on paper just isn't going to do it. So here I am resurrecting the ole blog to create a journal of my writing. I don't care if anyone else ever reads what I write here; it's mostly a record for me.

I really and truly dislike wintertime once we get past the first "oh it's so pretty" snowfall and Christmas has come and gone. The bitter winds, getting snow down my neck, tromping through slush in parking lots, keeping track of gloves and hats and scarves, wearing coats -- they are all a pain in the butt and I don't like it. Here in Western New York, we put up with a LOT of winter, starting in October and continuing until well into April some years.


Anyway, I am on a campaign to improve my attitude and find ways to cope with winter and all its fun this year. In past years, I have vowed not to say the words "winter" and "snow" for the entire season. Successfully. These are private vows - a challenge between myself and me so I don't share them with anyone. It's just a one woman tussle with the inevitable season change.

If someone stumbles onto this blog and finds it amusing, gross, vacuous or whatever, it's their thing, not mind. I need to work on my attitude in a tangible way and this is what I'm going to do.

So with any luck, this will be the last post that contains negative or grouchy talk about the upcoming season of yuck. From now on, my outlook will contain only happy, positive, constructive perspectives and comments about the days and months of winter. Here it goes!