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November 9--What if Batman had been born in Arkansas?

I was planning to finish up work yesterday at about 11 am, but was hit with yet another audit just before I was ready to go. So I ended up working well into the afternoon to get all the stuff they needed to see. Fortunately, our student personnel assistants were there, and they were really helpful. Another hoop we have to jump through to keep the clinical placements for our students.

I woke up thinking about work this morning, which is something I hardly ever do. I am just generally irritated--no particular focus for my irritation. This has actually been a pretty chill semester, and things are going well overall. I'm just irritated. I'll get over it.

pizza moon

From the people who write my subject lines.

Malida's mom, brother, grandpa and niece Nim are all still staying at our house in Thailand. They all seem to like it there, and I suspect we will always have company whenever we're visiting. It's fine with me--we have our own room, with our own little back patio, and I like all of them.

The house in the city is being looked after by Nim's big sister, Nung, who is living there and going to school. Everyone seems happy.

We are thinking about driving up into the Sierras for the weekend, as we both have Monday off. Not sure where we will stay, but probably some place on the east side, so we can drive back through Yosemite on Monday. We missed the fall colors up there, but there is always something to see, no matter what the season.

bodega fog

A foggy morning on Tomales Bay, from our trip a few weeks ago. that dark spot on the right side is the head of an otter looking at us.
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November 3--Rotary Dial

It is a crisp, cool morning here. My favorite kind of morning--coffee always tastes better on a cold morning. I have used the word "morning" four times already. Moving on.

house

Our house in Thailand is finished enough that they had the monks in to do the house blessing last weekend. Now MaMa and Malida's brother are staying there for a week to make sure the blessing sticks. Or something. They are happy with how it turned out. MaMa is working on some of the details like getting curtains, hot water heaters for the shower, and stuff like that.

monks

It was a five-monk event. Lots of folks from the village came and there was plenty of food. I wish we could have been there.

MaMa has done a fantastic job of being the construction foreperson. She has pretty much handled all the finances, made a lot of the day-to-day decisions, and kept everyone on the right path.

I'm thinking about clearing all the junk that has accumulated in my home office. There are piles of stuff everywhere. It does not spark joy. The idea of cleaning doesn't really spark joy either, but it has to be done.

I still can't find the two hard drives that have ten years of my photographs on them. I hid them before we went to Thailand in 2018, and have never been able to remember where. This last time around I hid the credit cards I wasn't going to take with me, and didn't remember where they were until I stumbled across them yesterday. I need a better system.

Work is work. I am looking forward to winter break, which is about 6 or 7 weeks away.

bread

Here's some no-knead bread I made in my dutch oven. It is delicious with some butter. It sparks joy.
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October 25--Apple Cinnamon Muffins for all!

Two days in a row! Zowie!

I was having a wonderful day yesterday, and the shift was just about over, when I got an email informing me that our school was being audited by the healthcare organization where we have students in clinical. This meant that we had two hours to produce all the background check, drug screen, and immunization documents on six students. "We" meaning me, as there was no one on campus and my boss is on vacation.

I had to cancel my post-conference with the students and run back to the campus to try and gather all this stuff and send it in. I got it all in just at the deadline, but got a subsequent email that some of the stuff I sent wasn't adequate. Dang. I was already on my way home, so nothing I could do about it. The person requesting the documents is off today, so I can stop fretting about it until Monday.

I made a comment earlier about armor, and how I had visited a museum and seen a very cool armor exhibit a few years ago. I thought it had been in Italy, but turns out it was in Paris I think it was at the same place Napoleon is buried, where there is a military museum--Les Invalides.

guy's face

I love this armor face.

I'm looking at recipes for muffins. I am pretty much settled on making some apple cinnamon muffins this weekend, for no particular reason other than to take my new muffin pan out for a spin. I will half the recipe so we are not overwhelmed with muffins.

While nosing through my photo archives for the armor face picture, I found a shot I took from atop Notre Dame, of the spire and roof that are now gone.

notre Dame

I wonder if it will be restored in my lifetime.
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October 24--Destined To Take The Place Of The Baby Shark in Your Mythology

Ok, I finally heard the Baby Shark song, and it is catchy. I'm now hip to the new lingo, daddy-o.

I made some cupcakes last weekend for a "bake-off" at work for our curriculum meeting on Monday. They turned out pretty good, and I am now thinking about all the cupcake possibilities. I bought a new cupcake pan, and am ready to go. Muffins too. I think I'll make some blueberry muffins this weekend.

pumpkin spice cupcakes

I'm not a big fan of "pumpkin spice" but this recipe predates all that stuff, so it is ok. Pumpkin Spice, doo doo doo doo doo doo...

We got some pictures of the Thailand house the other day, along with a request for some more funds. We figure one or two more times of sending money ought to do it. Most everything is done, other than the fence and stuff like curtains. I guess we also have to buy a water tank to store water in for when there is no electricity and the pump won't work. We have spent about 1 million Baht so far, which is pretty much what we thought it would cost. That's about $33,000.

house in October

In this picture, they are working on the front--we added another section of porch roof to the front because when it rains, I guess, the door would get wet otherwise. It will be a nice shady place to sit when it is hot out. I'm already scoping out possible favorite spots.

To the right, you can also kind of see the carport and what is the outside bathroom.

Nung in the kitchen

Our niece Nung in the kitchen. I like this one. It makes me want to sit at that counter and have a cup of coffee as the morning sun streams in, with some music playing in the background.

They will have the house blessing soon. There is some discussion about how many monks to have for this--there is apparently an optimal number of monks, which I think is 5. Once that is done, people can stay there. Not sure what happens if people stay there before the blessing, but I am led to believe that it is not good. In any case, we won't be there until the summer, so we are safe. I guess.

Tomorrow is the last day of clinical rotation for the students. they begin preceptorships on Saturday, which means I will have to spend some time making rounds on the weekends, but don't have to spend Thursdays and Fridays at the hospital. I'm looking forward to having some weekday free time to do whatever. Maybe bake some muffins and hum Baby Shark. doo doo doo doo doo.
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October 17--The Shakes

I'm with my students at the hospital this morning. They are almost done with their clinical rotation, and start their preceptorships next week. That means the semester is at the halfway point, and it is a downhill slide from here on out. Hopefully.

I put my stuff in the locker I use on one of the nursing units, and grabbed my lock out of my bag and locked it up. A moment later I realized that the lock I pulled out of my bag wasn't my lock, and I had to get security to come up and cut it off. I'm not really sure how someone else's lock got into my bag. My lock was there as well, and once the bad lock was off, I locked it with the correct lock. I'll buy the nurse whose lock I had cut a new one, and attempt to explain what happened to her.

We went out to the coast this past weekend to celebrate Malida's birthday. It wasn't really planned--just something we decided to do. All of the places we usually stay were all booked up, so we ended up staying in Bodega Bay, which we just recently discovered was a pretty cool spot.

moonrise

We went out to Bodega Head to watch the sunset, and there were all sorts of people out there watching it with us, and watching a young whale out beyond the rocks. Every time the whale surfaced, everyone would go "Ooooohhhh, ahhhhhhhh". Usually I will move away from crowds of people, but this group was pretty cool, and it was a nice shared experience. Just after the sun set, the big moon came up, and people ooohhhed at that as well.

Tomales Bay

Tomales Bay in the morning mist.

Sunday morning we drove down Highway 1 to Point Reyes and hiked around on the Tomales Point trail. It was really foggy, which made for some great pictures.

Finally, we headed out to the north beach and walked around for a bit before heading for home. Other than a couple of people fishing, we had the beach to ourselves.

malida on the beach

Malida walks along the beach.

It was a lovely weekend. I made some lemon cupcakes on Saturday morning, and when we got home, I lit a candle and sang happy birthday.

I took about a million pictures and was happy, as I haven't really picked up the camera much (other than the wedding I photographed) since we came back from Thailand. It felt good to be out again. We might go up to the Sierras this coming weekend to see the fall color.

Today is the 30th anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake in San Francisco. I was a brand new nurse, working on the 4th floor of the hospital in Sacramento. I watched as my patient's cane, hanging from the overbed trapeze, started swaying back and forth, then felt the quake, even though the epicenter was more than 100 miles away.

It was about that same time that I talked to Arlina for the first time, though our first date was still 8 months away. Today is her father's birthday. He's 89.
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October 10--Love song of Hagibis and Nargis

Things have been pretty good lately. I am not nearly as busy as I have been the past few semesters, and I am able to simply enjoy teaching and following my students in the hospital. I finished up and submitted all my pending curriculum assignments, so that's done. I finished editing the wedding pictures I took last month, and delivered them to the people who were waiting for them, so that's done too.

Mostly now, I am enjoying the fall weather and taking it kind of easy. I go to bed at about 8 every night now, and read for an hour or so before getting a good night's sleep. I wake up early--maybe 4 or 4:30, and walk outside with my coffee and look up at the stars. I see Orion, and Orion's belt points down to Sirius, the dog star. Arf arf.

I am thinking more about retirement and spending more time going out and enjoying life. I'm thinking about taking a photography trip one of these days. Maybe Death Valley over the new year, maybe someplace else during spring break next April.

Today is my dad's 90th birthday. We went down to the Bay Area over the weekend and celebrated with the family. My sister flew up from LA to be with us. My step-siblings introduced us to yet another found half-sibling--an older child of their father. They now have two unexpected half-siblings, and everyone gets along great.

dad

My dad opening some silk pajamas someone gave him. I gave him a picture that I framed. It's a sunset shot I took a few months back up along Carson Pass. He liked it, but it's really just one more thing a 90 year-old doesn't need.

malida and Mook

Malida and Mook earlier this week when Mook and I were trying to take a nap. Malida's happy, the cats are happy. Things are good.
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September 17--Avocado Toast Points

Holy cow! It's been almost a month since I last posted. Kind of interesting, as I had an entry all ready to go right after the last time, and for some reason, just never got around to writing it. I don't even remember what it was about, other than it would have had some pictures from Thailand. I also wrote the first half of a short story I was going to share here, but have never gotten around to writing the second half, though I still remember how it ends.

I haven't taken a lot of pictures lately, other than a wedding I photographed a few weeks ago. That was a lot of pictures, and I am still going through them. I have to turn them over this coming weekend, so the pressure's on. I love photographing weddings, but hate editing the pictures after. The money is good, though.

I'm in my evening class, watching the students take a test. There are only 8 students in this class, so it is kind of a nice switch from my daytime class of 30 students. Tuesdays, when I have both, are long days. I got here at 5:45 this morning, and will not be done until about 8:30 this evening. I did go home for a few hours after lunch and caught a nap, so I'm good to go.

hello kitty

What have I been doing? Working a lot. I have all these projects I am juggling, and it was a busy start to the semester. I finally finished one big one--writing the curriculum for a new program we are starting next year. That took two years, and I finally submitted it to the curriculum committee last week. That takes a lot of the pressure off, and now I am looking forward to going to the hospital with my students and just being a teacher for a while.

We are getting regular updates on the Thailand house, and it is coming along nicely. We were fortunate that we paid and had everything delivered just after we left, as the big rains finally came, and washed out one of the bridges on the road from the city. They have gotten a lot done--painting, floor tile, bathrooms, windows, and are now working on the trim.

tile

Here's what the tile looks like, going down the big hall toward the back of the house. Nim, our photographer, tends to not see "the big picture" and mostly sends us pics of piles of stuff, or a corner of a room. I am curious to see what it all looks like.

We will go back just after spring semester ends in May and spend at least a month there. Everything should be done by then, other than furnishing the house. I can't wait.
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Meme-ish

1. What was the last thing you put in your mouth? A sip of orange juice.

2. Do you sleep naked? not completely.

3. Worst physical pain in your life? A tossup between a busted toe and some undefined abdominal pain.

4. The 1st bone ever broken? Some toe.

5. Favorite place you have ever been? Not sure. Maybe Paris, or Moorea.

6. How late did you stay up last night? 10:15.

7. If you could move somewhere else, where would it be? Probably somewhere along the Oregon coast.

8. Which of your LJ friends lives the closest to you? - gracegiver!

9. When was the last time you cried? On the airplane ride to Thailand, while watching the Freddie Mercury movie.

10. Who took your profile picture? I did. I still have those balls somewhere around here.

11 . What's your favorite season? Fall.

12. If you could have any career what would it be? Well, I have loved my nursing career, but if I had become a photographer when I was young, I would have loved to have tried that as a career. The thought I have associated with this is that if I had become a newspaper photographer, I would probably have been laid off in the past few years, with no time left to do anything else.

13. What was the last book you read? The Caine Mutiny. I had seen the movie, but never read the book. It was excellent.

14. If you could talk to anyone right now, who would it be? My grandpa.

15. Are you a good influence? Mostly, though I have my moments.

16. Does pineapple belong on pizza? Yes, as long as it is paired up with some ham or Canadian bacon, or something like that. I had a pizza in Thailand that had pineapple and prosciutto, and it was delicious.

17. You have the remote, what channel will you be watching? No particular channel. I am not a bit watcher of tv.
18. Last concert you attended? Jason Isbell and Father John Misty at the Greek Theater in Berkeley.

19. Favorite type of food? – Italian, or Italian-influenced.
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August 23--School Daze

My jet lag is pretty much under control, as long as I am ok with waking up at 4 am. Which I am. I am almost back to my school year waking time of 5, and actually can do a lot with that extra hour. The downside is that I am falling asleep at 8 pm, just like grandma.

I started back to work on Tuesday, and it has been full time the rest of the week. Normally I can ease into the week before classes start, but not this time. It has kind of forced me back on a regular schedule.

Yesterday I spent about 6 hours presenting our proposed major curriculum change to the rest of the nursing faculty with my faculty buddy. We were surprised and amazed when everyone jumped on board with it, and we actually got a lot of the preparatory work done that we needed to do. It will be a busy next couple of semesters.

Enough of that stuff.

Cows

These are some cows who live down the road from our house in Thailand. As is the custom, the owner takes them out to whatever grassy areas there are, and lets them chow down. You see a lot of cows along the highway doing this as well, and always hope they decide not to walk out in front of your car.

neighbor

Our neighbor who lives at the farm to the north of us. That road that the cows are on runs north-south, and ends one farm south of our house. I'm not sure how far it goes north, but on my walk that day, I went about a mile. It's all rice and cassava farms.

This woman, who I have met before, was out digging up some sort of mushroom. she showed me how she found them. They look like rocks in the ground to me, but she can spot them from a distance. She knew Malida's dad, when they were kids together in the village.

I walked up further and met another woman who called me over to her land and showed me her water buffalos. She had six of them in a kind of dark manger. It was too dark to take pictures. Everyone seems to know who I am, and they are pretty friendly. I look forward to exploring more when I am there next time.

late afternoon sun

The late afternoon sun comes in through the western window in the living room. There's glass in that window now, and I am curious about how the light looks coming through it. I drew most of the windows pretty big, so we could look out and see the green. Of course, the green only lasts part of the year, and the rest of the time it is brown and fairly ugly. Fortunately, the green time corresponds with my summer break.

Time to get ready for work. Today is Convocation--the official start of the semester, and a day full of listening to people talk. Whee!
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August 20--Home again, home again

Well, we're home again after a fairly busy trip. I didn't have nearly as much leisure time as I usually do. Normally I will get up, and not do much of anything until about 11 am. This time, though, we were up and out taking care of stuff by about 9 am.

We got a lot done. We selected the tiles for the floors, designed and ordered the kitchen cabinets, designed the bathrooms, had the windows made, selected the paint, and picked out the ceiling lights. We spent many days at the various home depot-type stores.

It is kind of frustrating--you can select something, agree on a price, and order it, and then they call and tell you that it is out of stock and to reorder it will cost more. I guess this happens all the time. Sard, who is building the house for us, just kind of shrugs whenever that happens.

When we weren't at the Home Pro, we were driving out to the house to get measurements on things, meet contractors, and take care of the million small details. One day I spent about 3 1/2 hours measuring every possible surface that could be measured, in anticipation of having to make decisions about how much tile to order, etc. I'm not sure why it was me that did this, as I have absolutely no skill in this area, but I mostly figured it out.

measurements

I was able to fairly accurately determine how much tile we would need for each room, which amazed me. The blotchy areas are where I sweat over this. It was kind of hot and humid. Once this project is done, I will be able to say I designed it, which is something I never thought I would or could do.

window guy

The guy who is doing our windows is also a police officer. He did measurements before we got there, and asked Sard if he wanted him to pad the numbers so they could split the extra money. Sard said no, and when we arrived, the officer assured us that the numbers weren't padded. This is how things work in Thailand.

We spent a couple of days in Bangkok before we came home, mostly doing nothing. There is a huge new shopping mall next to our hotel, and we spent some time there. We had a nice dinner along the river with Malida's niece the night before we left.

sunset

Sunset along the Chao Phraya. I love staying near the river when we are in Bangkok. I've gotten to know the neighborhoods near where we stay pretty well, and things are familiar.

I have all sorts of other observations and lots of pictures, but will save them for later. I have to go to work this afternoon, and I am still in the throes of jet lag. Interestingly, I decided to make yogurt yesterday, for the first time. It turned out great, and I am off to have a bowl of it with a bit of the 4 kg of muesli I brought back with me.
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