Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving Memories

I am thankful for many things not the least of which is family, friends, health and a job that I actually enjoy. I am thankful that I have friends that will come over for non-traditional Thanksgiving fare. I don't eat turkey--I actually do try it most years to see if the judgement has changed--it hasn't yet. I don't eat ham. Well actually I spent many years eating both but the caveat is that I needed a full bottle of either ketchup or BBQ sauce to get them down. So now that I am an adult, I can choose not to eat them and there are plenty of Thanksgiving foodstuff that I actually love--a lot--pumpkin pie, pecan pie, sweet potato pie, just to name a few.
There are several memorable Thanksgivings and one that I would rather forget. The good stuff first. Thanksgivings after I left home and missed a few were always good. The best thing was that people finally became sensitive to my non-redneck taste buds and began preparing things like shrimp, roast beef, and venison--OK so deer is pretty redneck. I also spent several fantastic years in Hawaii with friends. Pound and Jojee hosted great gatherings with a myriad of food that always included lumpia and panset (Filipo specialities). OK so maybe I am into traditional food--just not American.
The bad Thanksgiving was spent in 2000. My mom called me the week before to tell me that I needed to fly home as soon as possible to say good-bye to my dad. Otherwise I might not have the chance. I spent a week with my dad in the hospital and we were able to bring him home for Thanksgiving, but what a homecoming this was. The house had recently flooded--a pipe had burst had time to run while my mother was at the hospital with my dad. The house was in serious disarray. My brain was in serious disarray with trying to deal with my father's frail mortality. Thanksgiving was hard that year. The ensuing year was hard with grief but I remember feeling a little light creep in next Thanksgiving signalling that grief was waning. C and M spent the day making a fantastic traditional Thanksgiving meal that involved C waking up at 4:00 in the morning. I believe that I am the only that actually woke up at 4:00--so I was pretty grumpy most of the day. So I ask forgiveness if I crumpled any good memories on their part because on my part I see it as the day light came back into my life after a season of darkness. And now I am able to cast Thanks toward the past for that rather bleak holiday I spent. I am thankful that I was able to say good-bye to my father because he had only 5 more weeks and an Idabel covered in ice prevented me from attending his funeral. I have much to be thankful for especially all the memories I have of family, friends and taken opportunities.
Happy Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Losing 7 Pounds the Hard Way

At about midnight Thursday night, I woke up with a terrible feeling in my tummy. I felt poisoned so remembering my last bout 10 years ago with a toxic chinese steamed dumpling, I got up and tried to purge myself. I continued purging every 15 minutes for the next 4 hours. Between 4:00 and 5:15 when my alarm went off I was able to sleep. I stumbled out of bed, made a detour to the bathroom and searched for my car pool's number. No number. Crap. If it had been a normal day I would have just crawled back into bed or curled up next to the toilet but I had someone waiting for me and no way to contact her. I decided if, I was going to drag myself out of bed, go across town to meet my car pool, I might as well try to go to the training.
On the way to East LA, I called J to see if he was poisoned as well. No he felt OK. Crap, so it might have been the Albacore Crisp that did it to me--I had an extra one. Or my unusual ginger allergy may have gone on steroids. I didn't have a fever so I didn't feel it was viral. What ever it was, I was in it's clutches all freaking day.
I had a bagel, it came up. I had some Sprite, it came up. I had water, ditto. After a brief nap during lunch I felt good enough to eat some ice chips and then a bit later drink some sprite. All was well. I gained a bit more confindence and tried the dessert square--no problem. I was thirsty again, ice chips and sprite were gone so I tried some Coke. One drink and all the progress I made was laid to waste. The next three hours were a nightmare. But in the end, I felt there was nothing left disgrace myself with in the car. I didn't.
I made it home, was able to get down an English Muffin and a small glass of yoghurt. I was asleep before 8 o'clock and didn't wake up until eight the next morning feeling considerably better weighting 7 pounds less than the day before. I might not have minded the trauma the day before if it was a real 7 pounds but I drank a glass of water, drank a cup of coffee and discovered that 5 of the seven pound miracously reappeared. DRAT!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Fire Watch

Last night, I called J and told me I didn't want to be alone with the fire on the hillside. He suggested we go for pizza. I agreed. After pizza Oggie's J grabbed his binoculars and I grabbed a couple bottles of beer. We headed up the hill to watch the spectacular fire storm on the hillside. We speculated the distance, me--worst case scenario girl--said it was about 5 miles, he, more accurately guessed 10 miles. Nevertheless, the conflagation awed up for upwards to three hours. We traded the binoculars like a joint back and forth. Most of the commentary consisted of OH. MY. GOD; Wow; Holy Mother of Jesus; You have to see this; Look to the right, left, middle of the ridge V; It's really flaring up. Through the evening the wind died down some and pushed the smoke over into the San Fernando Valley. We watched long enough for us to engage in a rather surreal but typically LA conversation. I paused in my fire watching to tell J that I am thinking about hair extenstions. I remarked that it took a couple of hours and a couple of hundred dollars. He became completely distracted from the flames jumping on the hillside to question my sanity. We continued to watch and we watched long enough for me to become comfortable with the idea that if I went to sleep, I would not wake up to loud speakers telling me to evacuate.
In the a.m., I woke up to call my worried mother who answered on the first ring. I explained I made it though the night and checked out the ridge line before reporting in. In the early dawn, the otherside of the ridge glowed. Later with coffee in hand, I ran into J on the hill. We watched a most amazing conflagaration flare up with flames that must have reached 30-40 feet high and was at least 40-50 long. Amazingly the air quality was still suprisingly good, only becuase the winds decided to spare the Santa Clarita Valley. We watched for a while, I went off to Valencia and J had an unexpected day off. LA is still burning, people are losing their homes right and left, but it seems for now, I am safe.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Santa Ana's Breathe Fire

Yesterday the Santa Ana's started blowing fiercely. At one point a gust caught my car and I almost went into the other lane. The humidity dropped considerably (as if there was much to drop)throughout the day. Perfect condition for a major fire were brewing. I had hopes that this time, we would get through the Santa Ana without worry or harm. Those hopes dissappaited when I spotted a purplish glow over the ridge as I walked back to my apartment about half midnight from playing Wii at J's. In the AM, I found out just how bad it actually is. Over 600 hundred mobile homes gone, now a crime scene--arson is suspected. Thousands being evacuated. My hope in humanity plunges. The big answer small question whyis unfathomable.
Power is threaten, so I may spend the evening in the dark with my trusty flashlight purchased after the Hawaii flood. Our big library is severly short staffed as most of the staff live in the Valley. All major access points out of our valley to LA have been closed. I look out at the ridge line and that one area is burning down but seems to have been put out as it is all smokey. No visible flames licking the undergrowth. Still too close for my personal sense of comfort. My friend's daughter is at working at Olive View Hospital which earlier today lost power and was ringed with fire. M. spent all last night worried about her child. I phoned across the country to try to allay the fears of my mother for her wandering child. Mother's bear a heavy burden that doesn't lessen significantly through the passing years.
Earlier today the wind shifted--the smoke was then coming our way, but it seems that it shifted back, I see mostly blue skies with billowing smoke drifting away. I am comforted but realize that my comfort is at the expense of thousands of others. Theirs would be at mine. Comfort today comes with a close companion of guilt.