Friday, November 25, 2011

So...what am I thankful for, exactly?

Whoever came up with the -- aphorism? quote? saying? old saw? -- my brain is not working so well today, so I don't know what this actually is -- but the phrase, "It never rains but it pours" was thinking about my day yesterday. Hang on to your hats because it is a long story. Okay, here we go.

Yesterday was Thanksgiving. I was slated to celebrate Thanksgiving with my cousin Mickey and her family, at her house. My part of the meal was to bake five pies and take them with me. Now, pies are best about eight hours after they are baked, so the best thing to do is to bake them the night before, and then they can have cooled and settled and be ready to transport and to eat. So I had assembled all my ingredients, and was ready to get home from work on Wednesday night and begin baking.

I arrived at home, checked the mail, changed my clothes and was in the act of tying my apron strings, when floomph! The power went out. It was about six pm, so already quite dark, plus raining so overcast, so there was no light visible anywhere. Blackness. I began immediately to light candles since I have quite a few around the house, and soon had four tall tapers in the kitchen lighting it quite well, and I began to make pie pastry. I soon had the pastry for five pies prepared and divided and wrapped in plastic wrap, waiting for the power to come back on so I could start baking them! I had just started to mix the pumpkin custard, when the lights came back on. Total outage time: about one hour. Not so long, in the overall scheme of things, but an awful lot of time when you are supposed to be baking five pies, one after the other, and your oven will only hold one at a time.

So this sort of explains why I was too busy and too tired at the end of the evening to go and sit at the computer -- I just went to bed, and therefore did not notice until the following morning, Thanksgiving Day morning, that my computer was not able to gain access to the internet, and therefore I not only had no e-mail access, but also no phone service, because my phone service is computer based.

So, the long and the short of that story is that I have just now gotten off the phone with Quest, for the second time this morning (you see I had to wait until I came in to work before I could call them -- no phone service at the house!) and the first time they hung up on me, after I had finally convinced the Indian woman who answered that I was, indeed, a Quest customer, even though I was not calling from that number. And they are unable to assist me, because I am not at the computer in question. She was able to tell me that it is merely a connectivity problem, since the signal that the modem is receiving is full and strong (I had told her that already) and that the computer was just unable to recognize it. Guess I'll be trying agin when I get home from work.

The other half of the raining-pouring story, however, is that when I woke up on Thanksgiving morning, my stomach was hurting. Or at least, my interior abdomen was hurting -- who knows what organ -- and it had bloated me hard and tight and was making it very difficult for me to move around or do anything except curl up into the fetal position and gasp. This has happened perhaps four times in the past few months, and each time has seemed like the end of the world (or at least my corner of it) and after about an hour and a half, has faded away and left me feeling fine. It does not strike after any specific food (this time I had drunk some chocolate milk, but wasn't eating because, duh, Thanksgiving!!) nor after any medicine, although I had thought that possibly I was taking too many of my acid reflux prevention pills, and had cut back on them. I did manage to dress and comb my hair and all, since I could not call my cousin and tell her that I wasn't going to make the drive to her house since a) I had no phone service, and b) I also had the pies.

However, when I got there, I was quite incapable of bearing the loud, hot, crowded aspects of her house, full of happy noisy people, so I managed to pull her aside and tell her that I was going to leave immediately, and why. She was unwilling to allow me to go quietly home and suffer until it got better, and extracted a promise from me, that I would go instead to the emergency room. And then find a pay phone somewhere and call her.

Oh, boy. What IS it about emergency rooms? This was Thanksgiving Day afternoon, and I was the only person in the waiting area, and I was in significant pain, and I had medical insurance. Surely they should have whisked me back to a room immediately and given me a bed to curl up on! But no, I had to go back out to the waiting area, and sit on a molded plastic chair for at least half an hour, until the same woman who had taken my information came out and called my name, as though the room were full of people, and she had no idea which one I was. I then was able to curl up on the bed, since it was another lengthy wait before the doctor (who was at least ten years younger than I) appeared and made a humorous remark about overeating my turkey and stuffing. I was able to tell him with only a little sharpness that far from overeating, I had not, in fact, eaten anything that day, but had merely drunk some coffee and then some chocolate milk. "Oh, then you must be lactose intolerant," he said. "Well, since this is NOT the first time in my forty-six years that I have drunk milk, I don't see how that can be right," I said, only slightly sharper. But he was prodding my (hard and distended and so painful!) belly, and said that since I had already had both appendix and gall bladder removed, that really only left indigestion to be causing this degree of bloat. And I should go and see my regular doctor about getting an appropriate diet to follow, byee! Happy Thanksgiving!

This morning, I am slightly better. Still painful but no bloating, no appetite, but no feeling of horror at the thought of food, and some sadness that I missed the dinner at Mickey's, since Billy's turkey is always the very best. And five pies! All made by hand! Sigh...

It is, however, a beautiful blue Fall day! Sparkled with yellow and russet and maroon, as the leaves continue their flamboyant parade. Or something like that. Sorry, my descriptor is not working so very well this morning.

And tomorrow is, at the very least, another day!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Today is pie-making day. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, I have accepted an invitation, once again, to my cousin Mickey's house, for the Mistler family Thanksgiving, and I am bringing the pie. So when I get home tonight I am assembling and baking pies. Two pumpkin, an apple-walnut-raisin, a blackberry custard and a pecan. Five pies. Putting them together will be the easy part, but baking them is going to take hours. So I will be up late. Me and Sir Andrew Aguecheek.

I am really, REALLY enjoying my sweet little new camera! I take a picture or several with it every day, and I have had it for a month (nearly) and it still has not needed to be recharged. Very happy about that! I am sending pictures to everyone I know and posting them online, and really enjoying owning a camera! For the first time since I was a teen-ager. I love making records of things.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I'd Like to be In One

This is the week that I am on jury duty, and yet I have only been in the Jury selection room for half of one day. Much better than the process in Multnomah county, fifteen or so years ago! Although that room was much more comfortable, with couches and a television and shelves of books to read (all trash, but still...)

This room had only stiff upright chairs, although padded, and about half the room had tables to sit at. I was called in the first jury-go-round, and lined up in careful order and walked over to the courthouse in careful order, and filed in to the jury seats in careful order. And then the judge spoke to us for awhile, and the two attorneys spoke to us for awhile, and then I did not get selected to be one of the six they needed. So back we went, but instead of settling down to wait until five, I caught the bus back home. I approve of this system! And then I was able to call in last night to find out that my number had not been called for today, so that was good too. I will be glad to do jury duty every year, if this is how it is! But I would like to actually get on a jury occasionally!

I would like, I think, to be on a jury that had some meat to it -- a murder or a kidnapping, with high-priced attorneys and lots of evidence that had to be kept track of. You know I enjoy reading (and watching!) coutroom dramas, well, I'd like to be in one, as well.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Big and white and soft

Nameless Agent came into my office to ask me if I knew the whereabouts of some office furniture today.

"Do you know what happened to those big white overstuffed chairs?"

I reminded Nameless that I had started working here after the move from the Division Street office.

"So you haven't seen them? It's a couch and two chairs or a loveseat or something. And they are white overstuffed chairs, really soft and comfortable." Nope, I said, I had never seen them, but they could ask Doug when he got off the phone. So in a few minutes, Doug hung up.

"Doug," bleated Nameless, "Do you know what happened to those big white overstuffed chairs?"

"What big white overstuffed chairs?" Doug inquired.

"From the Division office, you know the ones from the waiting room area? Big and white and soft?"

"Noooo..." said Doug thoughtfully. "I can't picture them. Can you describe them?"

"Well, they're white."