Chattering Magpie Past Web Log
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January 2003
Jan 29 2003
Walk this way.
E called me from work today to ask when I wanted my MRI. He talked to our doctor to give him and update on the state of my knee, and the next thing I know, I'm scheduled for an MRI tomorrow afternoon. Then we'll see what's really going on in there.

I can walk almost normally; I just use the cane to shorten my stride and slow my pace. I can stand on my right leg okay. I can't quite completely straighten it, nor bend it all the way. What I really can't do is lift my right leg behind me, without moving my knee forward. Sideways pressure or twisting is still out of the question. I don't move very fast. I did go to qigong class this morning, which is mostly a standing or slow moving practice.

Jan 28 2003
Tuesday to do.
I'll go watch the president's state of the union address, because it's good for me, like eating my vegetables. Then I'm watching American Idol. Which is like eating potato chips. Like the bag of Tim's Cascade Style chips I just polished off.

More flowers!

Jan 26 2003
Super Sunday.
What I'm really excited about is not the big game, but my pretty little paperwhites. They are actually blooming! This is one of the best Christmas presents ever. It's so fun to watch them sprout up with hardly any effort on my part. It's like magic.

First flowers!

Jan 23 2003
Farewell Willie and Joe.
I'll forgive you if you are under 50 and don't know Bill Mauldin. If you were in the armed services, or otherwise had occasion to read "Stars and Stripes", you'll know Bill Mauldin's two sad sack everyman foot-weary foot soldiers, Willie and Joe. They made WWII a little easier for the front line men, giving expression to the frustrations and fubars experienced by the average soldier.

Starting to bud.

Jan 21 2003
Farewell Nina.
The first thing I saw in the paper this morning was the news that Al Hirschfeld had died at age 99. If you don't know Al Hirschfeld, shame on you. He was the pre-eminent caricaturist of the Twentieth Century. With a few lines of india ink he would execute a sketch that was distorted to the point of recognition. Looking at a Hirschfeld always puts me in mind to consider how little information is necessary for a face to be recognizable.

I'm still gimping along, although I have graduated to a cane. Much classier. I can bend my knee forward and back, but it hurts like a sonuvabitch if I move it sideways.

Taller and taller.

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Jan 18 2003
Wounded knee.
Just call me Gimpy. I'm hopping around on crutches. We had advanced class this morning in kung fu and I sprained or twisted my knee. We were moving around and the floor was slick. My left leg went one way, my right leg went the other and my right knee hit the ground. I had x-rays taken and it doesn't look like there's any fluid in the joints, which would indicate the possiblity of torn tissue. Still, my knee is swollen and I can't put much weight on my right leg. It moves okay in a straight line but side to side hurts and twisting is out of the question. It doesn't so much hurt when I move it as it gives out. It feels like there's no structure or strength. We'll wait for a couple days to see whether it gets any better. If there's no improvement I'll have to get an MRI to see whether ligaments are torn, but it doesn't appear that way right now.

This was my third kung-fu related hospital visit in six years of training.

Jan 16 2003
Foiling the spambots.
I finally got off my tuchas (apparently I've been spending quite a bit time there lately) and implemented the Hivelogic Email Encoder. This nifty little utility will convert the letters of your e-mail address into number code and generate a bit of Javascript that you tuck into your web page. Browsers and e-mail clients can understand number code, but harvester bots can't! He he he.

They're really sprouting now!

Jan 14 2003
And the lights all went out in Massachusetts.
Maurice Gibb died in hospital last Sunday. I was a big Bee Gees fan in high school; I had most if not all their albums at that time. I knew that Maurice's name was pronounced MOR-iss, like Morris the Cat, not mohr-REES, like Maurice Chevalier. I knew that Maurice and Robin were fraternal twins. I had a crush on Barry Gibb with his fabulous hair, but reserved a fondness for the twins, as well. I wasn't much interested in their much younger brother, Andy, though he was much cuter. When the disco fad faded I got rid of my albums and never thought much about the Bee Gees after that. But they were a part of my youth and it's always sad to see that pass.

I'm struggling with executing a layout in CSS: top banner spanning the page, left nav column and right content area below. Kind of like the layout of this site. I'm beginning to realize why I've never seen it done all in CSS: it's damned hard to do! I may have to live with a master table for layout, CSS layout be damned.

Jan 13 2003
To sleep, perchance to dream.
Our new mattress came today. We decided to get ourselves a mattress for Christmas. Our old mattress was just too soft. It wasn't the best mattress when we bought it ten years ago, but it was cheap. Mose with her shaved armWe got a great deal on this one from Sleep Country. We did a little shopping around to get a feel for prices. E likes to handl. I appreciated that the salesman gave us advice on what type of mattress to look for depending on our sleeping styles.

Poor kitty. Here's our little Mose with her shaved arm. Now we have to give her a pill every day for a month, plus some liquid for a week.

Watch 'em grow!

Jan 12 2003
Sleepless in Portland.
I'm waiting for E to come home. I need him, if for no other reason than to get to sleep. Never mind that he snores like a sawmill, I can't sleep when he's not here.

I'm mulling over New Year's resolutions. I'm considering this: do it now. IOW, don't procrastinate. If something needs doing, do it when it needs to be done. I tend to put things aside to attend to later. And later. And later.

Mose is back from the vet. She has a pretty pink bandage on her arm where they gave her fluids. I think she'd rather have it off.

Jan 11 2003
In loco parentis.
My good girlfriend, CG, and I were drinking last night at a NW Portland dive, on the restaurant side, when we saw a little girl walk in with her doll case and sit her little self down at a table. We looked at each other. CG, a mother of two teenagers, was instantly on the alert. She was chatty little girl, a happy little clam with her case of Bratz dolls and their interchangeable feet. Ten years old. Here with Grandma's boyfriend. Grandma's boyfriend?? There's a red flag. Where's Grandma? Home, sick. And where is Grandma's boyfriend? Over there at the bar with his arm around some blonde. The little girl clearly knew to stay in the restaurant section. Suddenly, CG felt a strong need to get home to her own kids.

Slacker. I have felt like such a slug lately. I was too depressed Thursday to go to 'fu class. I overslept the alarm Friday and missed 6AM qigong class. This morning I couldn't drag myself out of bed to go to open workout. I've been doing everything to avoid cleaing up the house. How many games of Diamond Mine can a person play anyway? I did a real good job on the Saturday crossword. I finally got off my tuchas and cleaned up the house. My incentive? No weblogging until the kitchen was clean.

Paperwhites are pushing themselves out of the tub. I'm trying to push them back in.

Jan 10 2003
Poor kitty.
I just dropped Mose at the vet. She has to stay in hospital for a couple days for fluid treatment to clean out her kidneys and to begin thyroid medication. Her lab tests showed elevated levels for thyroid, heart and kidneys. Hyperthyroidism is pretty common in older cats. It explains her weight loss (40% over the last few years) and her high energy level at a relatively advanced age. Unfortunately she has thirteen-year-old heart and kidneys; her thyroid was writing checks that her body couldn't cash.

E has gone for the weekend to a mountain cabin with a small group of his high school friends. I would have like to gone with, but I couldn't leave my little sick cat.

Paperwhites are sprouting.

Jan 9 2003
S.O.L.
The day I've been dreading has finally come. My unemployment benefits ran out and I am not eligible for more. I'm not sure about the federal benefits; they're still distributed by the states. Now I start looking at those barista jobs.

My kitty Mose is sick, poor thing. Since yesterday morning she's been moping about, hiding under the bed, not eating. She is drinking water. We took her to the vet today for a checkup. She had blood drawn and sub-cutaneous fluids for dehydration. We should get blood test results tomorrow that will tell us what the problem is.

Jan 7 2003
Joe Millionaire.
At my insistence, we watched Fox's latest offering for sadistic voyeurs: Joe Millionaire. Fox is bringing schadenfreude to the nation by deceiving twenty gold-diggers (we're down to twelve after the first round of elimination) into thinking one of them will be selected as a life mate by some ordinary Joe who has come into a ton of money. But get this: it's all a great big hoax! Won't it be fun to watch some money-grasping honey get her comeuppance and be humiliated in front of millions of viewers when she finds out that handsome horse-riding Evan really makes only $19K/year? It'll be a laff-riot!

Yeah, and I'm one of the sick sad souls who is enjoying it. It's almost as much fun as American Idol.

Jan 6 2003
Demon rum.
We've been drinking rum and Coca-Cola® lately. E found Lemonhart Demerara rum on sale last week. Very tasty, indeed, but at 150° it kicks my ass around the block. I drank too much of it last night and have been paying for it today: headache and touchy stomach. Ah well, that'll l'arn me - until next time.

We did have a lovely day out, the two of us: lunch downtown at an upscale Vietnamese restaurant, meandering about Powell's bookstore, then a matinee. We saw Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Long, faithful to the book, good special effects. The scene with the spiders is class A nightmare material.

Jan 4 2003
paperwhites sprout and bloomNew Year, new life.
How can a person possibly feel sad around flowers and growing things? My auntie gave us the most wonderful gift to start the New Year: a tub of paperwhites to grow. I am very excited about this. I've never tried growing forced bulbs indoors. These are so simple: just tuck them into soil in a tub and water weekly. I'm excited, too, to share their progress with you. I could just about swear that they have sprouted even more since I first put them in the tub only a couple hours ago.

Bloggage abounds. Two of my partners in blog already have redesigned their sites: Semaphoria and Cherz, and a third compatriot has joined our ranks: Sir Cringe. Must be a New Year's thing.

Jan 2 2003
This year I resolve ...
As if.

Photos of the big swim are up.

Jan 1 2003
Happy New Year.
In a few moments I will prepare myself to once again dunk myself into the frigid waters of the Columbia. Hell of a way to start the year. We went out for dinner last night, but didn't stay for the final celebration. I was just too tired, despite a nice nap earlier. I just couldn't make it. What a wuss.

It's the turn of the year. I personally prefer to look forward, to wonder what the year will bring, to prepare myself for the challenges ahead, rather than reflect back. Mainly because I tend to focus on the embarrassing bits.