February 18--Is it like today?

We had pretty much decided to stick close to home yesterday, but after I wrote my entry, I decided that maybe getting out would do me some good. So I talked about it with Malida, and we took off up the hill to the Auburn State Recreation Area. It was a bit rainy, but we figured that the ride itself would do us some good, so off we went.

We were hungry, so stopped in the town of Auburn for some breakfast at a place called The Edelweiss, which used to be a German restaurant, but is now owned by some people from somewhere nowhere near Germany. They specialize in big breakfasts with fresh ingredients. The place was packed, and we ended up sitting at a community table with some people who were on their way up to see the snow. We had a nice chat, and the breakfast was worth the wait.

After breakfast we headed up the road a few miles to the trailhead that leads to the Black Hole of Calcutta Falls, our destination. It had snowed a bit in the early morning, but the gentle rain took care of that. There was some sort of run/walk thing just finishing, and we saw many muddy people coming down the trail.

malida at the falls

Malida looks at the falls.

We made it to the falls in about an hour. The trail is actually an old railroad bed for a quarry railroad, which runs along the American River. It is pretty. I have tried to come up here before, but it was always too crowded. A cold rainy day in February seems to be the right time.


A bridge abutment from the old railroad. If you keep going on the trail past the waterfall, it will take you to the quarry. I might do that this summer as part of The Great Aimlessness.


The falls.

It was beautiful, and worth the walk through the rain and the mud.

I'm still feeling down, but felt better for having gone up there and walked around. I went out again today and drove along the river, and that was good. I decided that I am experiencing some depression, which is nothing new, and tends to come and go. I think I am more aware of it this time around though. I have a suspicion about why that is, but want to think about it a bit more before I explore it here.

I came home and wrote up a proposal for the sabbatical I am applying for. I sent it off to my boss and got her approval, and will see the Dean in the morning for his approval before I submit it. It was kind of a struggle to write, because I was thinking about not wanting to do anything art all. I know, though, that once this feeling passes, a sabbatical to write curriculum will sound like something fun and exciting.

And so it goes.
  • Current Music
    Eliza Gilkyson--Is it Like Today

February 17--Three or four things

It's been a strange kind of week, with a number of things that have occurred peripheral to me--to other people--but have had an effect on me. I haven't felt much like writing either, so it's been a week since I made an entry. I'm barely getting this entry writ, and spent about 5 minutes debating about whether to use effect or affect in the last sentence. I think I made the right choice, though I think I could have said "...they affected me..." and been ok too.

I'm not my usual happy self.

mercy in the rain

It has rained for a good part of the week. We can always use the rain. Malida and I had been thinking about going on a hike today, but everything is saturated, so we will wait until next week. Or maybe not. Maybe getting out and taking some pictures would be good. Part of me wants to just stay in and hibernate.

We went to see the tax guy yesterday. It was pretty much what I had anticipated. We have to pay about the same amount as last year, which is a good chunk. The new tax laws brought our tax down a bit, but they also adjusted our withholding down, so no net change, really.

As usual, I could tell that it wasn't going to be good news by the way the tax guy smiled as he ran the numbers. It's been so long since I got a refund, I can't remember what he looks like when I don't have to pay.

He suggested again that I needed to do something with my photo business, as I did make a little money off it last year. So I came home and itemized all my photo expenses for the year, including all the trips I took, and sent it off to him. Perhaps that will reduce the tax bill a bit.

Malida is planning a trip back to Thailand this summer, and I am on the fence about whether I want to go with her, or hang out here and drive around aimlessly. I'll probably go so I can see how the house is coming along. Since I am not working over the summer, other than one three-day class, I can spend the rest of it being aimless.

hello kitty

A little Hello Kitty sketch I made yesterday, for no particular reason.
  • Current Music
    Eva Cassidy--Fields of Gold

February 11--Cielito Lindo Piso Mojado

It was a pleasant and relaxing weekend here in zyzylyland. I had a board meeting for the nursing alumni association on Saturday, and, other than getting some noodles and grocery shopping, just kind of hung out on Sunday. It was nice.

piso mojado

This week started out pretty low key. I went in early to work this morning, made my list, and got almost all of it done by about 10. We had a team meeting, and I was on my way home by noon. Head down, do what needs to be done. It actually worked this time.

I stopped at Malida's work on the way home to take some pictures of her car for insurance. Someone rear-ended her the other day, and she will get a new bumper out of the deal.

We have great insurance that takes care of nearly everything. They sent me an app to take the car pictures, and the same app submits the claim, and gives approval. They had the body shop call me to make an appointment, and they are ensuring that Malida has a rental car, which will be there when we drop off the car. Our insurance is AAA. I've made a handful of claims over the years, and they have always gone out of their way to ensure that it is as low stress as possible.


We talked to the family back in Thailand. Uncle Father of the Girls is putting in the pump for the well that just got dug. I asked what Uncle's name is, and it is something like Sod, so henceforth I will call him Uncle Sod (Father of the Girls). He will start building for real in a few weeks, and we need to send some more money over.

And, of course, it is time to pay taxes. Our appointment with the tax guy is this Saturday. I am curious what my tax bill will be this year. Last year the tax guy thought we would do better this time with the new tax laws, but I am doubtful.

From the way some people talk about their refunds, I suspect there are those who think that refunds are some sort of bonus that the government gives you, rather than your own money that has been sitting in the treasury since it was collected. I almost always have to pay, because I have less taken out. I never get that special government bonus.

malida bw

Malida taking my blood pressure the other morning. It was fine. I like how she looks in this pic.
  • Current Music
    Pearl Jam--Pendulum

February 7--Happy birthday Grandma!

Today is my grandma's birthday. If she were still alive, she would be 111, which would be well beyond what she had hoped for. She died at age 93, believing she had made it to 100. She was happy.

February was the month for birthdays on that side of the family. My grandpa's birthday was February 14, and my mom fell right in between on February 10. One of my students took care of a patient today who was born on February 10.


We have some confused onions that decided to sprout in a big way, and Malida decided to decorate the house with them. I think she gets bored on her days off when I am not around.




I received a couple of pieces of disconcerting news the other day. The first was that there was some sort of issue with one of our tutors, which would require some attention, and the other was that someone I care about was experiencing a scary health issue. This was on Tuesday, and when I went in to work on Wednesday, my plan was to keep my head down and get out of there as soon as I could, because I just didn't want to deal with stuff and I was fretting about my friend.

Of course that didn't work out and I ended up dealing with all sorts of stuff. We have had an issue with water pooling outside our classroom after it rains, and then freezing when it gets cold, and I have called about it a number of times, including on Tuesday, when I almost slipped. I put up a sign warning people. But no one came to do anything about it. My colleague called again while I was teaching.

It was icy on Wednesday as well, and my colleague got on the phone again to see why nothing had been done to mitigate this hazard. As she was talking to operations, someone brought one of our students in who had slipped in the ice and hit her head. Shit.

I took her over to the health center, which was not yet open, so we went over to see my boss, who sent her to the ER. She's fine, but kind of shaken up.

I was so pissed at the college operations center, which is supposed to take care of this kind of stuff, and doesn't. I complained about this same issue last year, and nothing was done. The nursing department gets treated like shit there.

I wanted to write a flaming arrow letter to the dean after it happened, but decided I better cool off first. I beat a retreat to the hospital to watch my students find patients to take care of. I came back from clinical this afternoon and all the walkways are festooned with caution tape and signs exhorting students to be careful--"May be slippery".


Anyway, being away from the campus did wonders for my mood. I'm still fretting about my friend, though. If you have some healing thoughts to spare, please direct them her way.

bw river, yosemite

Here is another shot from our trip to Yosemite last month. In black and white, which is really just infinite shades of gray, much like life.

February 4--The bouffant is coming back, in a big way

This wasn't a bad day, as far as Mondays go. I almost always get off by noon on Mondays, and I was done before 12:30 today. I started at 5:45, so it's not like I'm slacking.

I woke up when Malida was getting ready for work at 4, and felt well-rested and ready to get up and have some coffee, which I did. I did some reading before getting ready for work. It was raining gently. I could have easily stayed home drinking coffee and reading, but I had stuff to do.

The first thing I did when I got to work, after turning on some music and making more coffee, was to make a list of the stuff I wanted to do today. Once I finished the list, I jumped in and started checking things off. The first thing on the list that I checked off was, "Make a list of things to do today". It's good to be able to have some success right at the start.

The rest of the stuff took me right up to our team meeting at 9:30, and then a subsequent meeting at 10:30 about the stuff we need to do to get ready for our accreditation visit in mid-March. I was able to check everything off before the first meeting. Mission accomplished. I have my first lecture of the semester tomorrow, and am ready.

I am applying for a sabbatical for next spring. We can apply to take a semester off to do something meaningful, and I am proposing to write a new curriculum for the nursing program, which would result in the students graduating with a bachelors degree. I spent some time talking about it with my boss and our department chair, and they are supportive. It's something I am really interested in, and it would be great to be given the time off to do it. I like big projects.

Inexplicably, I am also thinking about taking another shot at a doctoral program. Part of me feels like it is unfinished business, and another part of me thinks it's just plain crazy. I talked about it with the department chair, and have half-convinced her to do it with me. I haven't said anything to Malida yet. To be determined.

The weather was crazy today. It was raining when I went into work, and when I peeked out a few hours later, the sun was out. Shortly thereafter it was hailing, and then it was sunny again, followed by cold and rainy. The snow level is supposed to drop to about 1000 feet tonight, which is well above where we are, but pretty low for this area.


This is the guy who is building our house in Thailand. He is married to Malida's mom's sister, which I guess would make him her uncle, but I think he is younger than her, so she just calls him "the father of the girls". The girls being Nim and her sisters Nien and Nung. Everybody gets a nickname in Thailand. I don't know anybody's real name.

I took this when we were there last year, as we were planning the house. He will be starting on it in a few weeks.
  • Current Music
    Decemberists--Carolina Low

February 3--A fine day for a bowl of soup

I slept about 9 hours last night, with at least a couple hours of deep sleep, says my watch. I woke up restless, though, mostly because the cats were restless and walking all over the bed. They are now used to me getting up at 5, and when I don't, they feel it is their obligation to let me know I am not sticking to the schedule.

I'm having a bowl of soup for breakfast. I made a pot of cream of mushroom soup yesterday, just because. It was good, but not as good as I wanted it to be. Something is missing. I'll probably try again one of these days. I seem to remember there is another recipe somewhere here, probably buried in the big pile of recipes in one of the cupboards.

I was prompted to make soup after reading someone musing about getting a dutch oven. After I read it, I opened the cupboard to look at my dutch oven, and it whispered, "let's make soup." I like my dutch oven, and we get along well.

I have some ribs all rubbed up and chilling out, and will cook them this afternoon with some of those mashed potato balls that seem to be everywhere now. At least they are everywhere on my Facebook page. Or were, until I looked to see how to make them and couldn't find them anywhere. Anyway, how difficult can it be?

For most of my working career, I had to work weekends, and therefore weekends were no big deal. I liked my days off during the week, and felt it was a fair tradeoff. Once I started getting weekends off, though, I missed having days off during the week, particularly Mondays. There's nothing better than having Monday off. It's like having the world to yourself.

Now that I have had weekends off for about the last 5 years, I have gotten used to them, and have come to appreciate the anticipation that starts to build on Friday afternoons. Sundays have a tinge of melancholy, though, as I think about how the weekend is almost gone. It helps that I love my job, and don't mind going to it, but still.

When I retire, I'm going to take weekends AND Mondays off. It will be the best of both worlds.

Malida is at some work meeting this morning, and has left me to do the house chores. I have already cleaned the kitchen and done a load of laundry. I also re seasoned one of my cast iron pans that was looking in need of seasoning. It's raining outside, so I feel no urge to go out into the world. Right here is just fine.

Yosemite in the late afternoon, in black and white

Yosemite in the late afternoon, in black and white.
  • Current Music
    Syd Barrett--Gigolo Aunt

February 2--I saw my shadow

It was pouring rain when I woke up this morning, but now the sun is starting to peek through the clouds, at least for a while. It's supposed to rain the entire weekend, which is fine with me. I need a good rainy weekend. I'll probably go to the store and buy a bunch of stuff to cook.

I completely overlooked that the Super Bowl is tomorrow. I guess that speaks to my interest in sports. I'll probably watch the game, just so I have an excuse to make ribs or something.

I had a nice first two days in the hospital with my students. It was good to see all my former students, and they all seemed happy to see me. It seems like half the nurses in the hospital are former students. They tend to hire a lot of our graduates, so it works out well for everyone.


It is February, so time to post black and white images again. This is one I took last summer, I think. I actually like this better as a b/w than the original.

I'm thinking more about a summer photo project. I'm about ready to bust out the map and start planning. I love planning adventures.
  • Current Music
    Carl Broemel--4th of July

January 31--Ninety-nine red balloons

For some reason, when I woke up at 4:45 this morning, after a good night's sleep, that dumb red balloons song was in my head. The German "Luftballons" version. It ran through my head as I brushed my teeth, showered, shaved, and sipped my coffee. Four hours later and it's still there.

I'm at the hospital with my students. It is, for me, the second easiest day of clinical, as the students are pretty much just following a nurse around, and don't need me for much of anything. I wandered around a bit, but now I am down in the corner of the cafeteria furiously typing away. The easiest day of clinical is the last day, when my students are doing everything with the nurses, and don't need me anymore.

I got a text from one of my nieces yesterday asking if I had some time, and so we met for lunch. It's the one who moved to Arizona last year, but ended up moving back, and I haven't seen her since. I met her at a restaurant, and as soon as we sat down she burst into tears.

She has been with some loser guy, and just left him. I guess he was the reason she moved away in the first place, and also the reason she moved back. He is abusive, and she has found it difficult to escape his gravitational pull.

We talked for a good long while I offered to let her stay with us, but she is back with her parents, for the time being. The guy sounds kind of crazy, and I hope she can stay away from him. I gave her the contact information for a place in town that can offer her some counseling and assistance.

I'm still residually crabby, but keeping it in check.


January 29--A different version

Man I was crabby today. Not for any particular reason, just a bunch of small stuff that was irritating me. I sent off one crabby email about something, and then decided I better skedaddle out of there, which I did. I went to the hospital for a while to say hi to everyone and let them know I was coming with students on Thursday, then came home.

I tried to take a nap, but my crabiness persisted, and all I did was sit there and steam about pointless stuff. I almost got up and fired off another pointless email, but thought better of it and found stuff to busy myself with.

I did find out today that I will not be teaching this summer, which contributed to the crabbiness, but on reflection, it's actually not a bad thing. After my failed nap, I thought a bit about what I might be able to do with a whole summer off.

The thing that comes to mind is some sort of photography project. Something that involves a bit of travel. That's about as far as I got with my thoughts about it, but I am going to think on it more and come up with some sort of idea.

Maybe just pick a direction and drive out to wherever and photograph whatever I come across, but farther than I normally go. Maybe travel up and down the east side of California or something. Small towns, wilderness, desert--something like that. Maybe something with trains.

Maybe take the chair with me.

I could go to Thailand, but I don't think this is the summer for that. Next year.

I saw something interesting the other day. It might have been one of those Facebook things. It said, "A different version of you exists in the mind of everyone who knows you."

I googled it a minute ago, and it is all over the place, so who knows where I saw it.

In any case, I thought about it, and remembered that I had a similar thought back when I was taking physiology, and thinking about how the brain processes information. I also had the thought that God was a neurotransmitter, and tried to explain it to the professor, but he just gave me that look that professors give. That look I know so well how to give now.

Anyway, I had to tell myself to calm down and chill out this afternoon, and now I am almost there. I'm out of the office for the rest of the week, starting our clinical rotation, so it will be a nice change of scenery.

Get back to the easy-going version of me.


Random picture.
  • Current Music
    Jesse Cook--Parasol

January 27--Six finger, six finger, man alive! How did I ever get along with five?

My friend gracegiver, her husband Ky, and I went up to see our LJ friend flying_blind yesterday up in Chico. I have known him on LJ for probably 15 years, but we had never met before. He is both nothing at all like I expected him to be, and exactly like I expected him to be, as has been the case with everyone from LJ I have met in person.

flying_blind lost his house in the fire up in Paradise, and we brought him some books and stuff. It was a great visit, and good to finally meet him after all these years. I brought him a Hello Kitty too, as everyone should have a Hello Kitty, no? Yes.

It was a quiet day here in Zyzylyland. We got up and listened to Celtic music before getting ready and going out for a walk along the creek trail. It was a beautiful day. The sky was blue, and the temperatures were warming up into the mid to upper 60s. There were lots of people out on the trail, as well as the usual compliment of turtles, egrets, red-winged blackbirds, dogs, cats, squirrels, etc.


A double-crested cormorant hanging out in a tree.


A whole bunch of cormorants hanging out. I think a group of cormorants is called a "motorcycle gang".

After our walk, we headed over to the Korea BBQ place, as Malida had a hankering, and I was willing. Our server, Kassandra, remembered us from multiple previous visits, and even remembered what we liked to drink (ice tea for me, raspberry ice tea for her), as well as our general preferences. She is one of our favorite servers, as she knows pretty much what we want and when we want it. We must be favorite customers, because she never charges us for our drinks.

I always want to ask the servers if they are going to college, and what are they studying, but I never do, because what if they aren't? Kind of like asking someone if they are expecting a baby.

"No, it's just my big fat tummy!" one of my coworkers used to answer with a big smile, while contentedly patting her tummy.

We came home after lunch and settled down for a very nice nap. I would probably still be sleeping if Malida hadn't started yelling at one of the cats. In any case, I am all caught up on my sleep and will start the week with a 5.7% sleep credit. Not sure what kind of interest it earns.

I made a casserole for the faculty pot luck tomorrow. We never have faculty pot lucks, but I made an offhand comment to my boss the other day, and she immediately sent out an email saying we would be having a pot luck for our faculty meeting. It's a macaroni and cheese casserole, which is my specialty.

Now is some relaxation time. I thought I would have to get up early and go in to finish paginating our report, but my boss just sent an email letting me know she did it, and has sent it off for printing. The perfectionist in me wants to keep editing it until the end of time, but the rest of me is happy to see it out of my hands.

mook and malida

Early evening in Zyzylyland, and all is well.