January 20, 2021--Lovely Day!

lovely day

When day comes we ask ourselves,
where can we find light in this never-ending shade?
The loss we carry,
a sea we must wade
We've braved the belly of the beast
We've learned that quiet isn't always peace
And the norms and notions
of what just is
Isn't always just-ice
And yet the dawn is ours

--Amanda Gorman, Poet

January 19--My feet stand on level ground

I taught my first class of the semester this morning. It's my least favorite of the semester--training for the hospital computer system, which I barely understand. When I retired from bedside care, we were still using paper charts, and I missed the whole transfer over to electronic health records. So in spite of the fact that I have never used one in a clinical setting, I am teaching it.

I got through it, and admonished my students to pay good attention to how the nurses use the EHR, so they can actually learn how it works. They will. Anyway, it's the last time I will have to teach this particular class. 121 days.

screen saver image

Abstract, courtesy of my screen saver.

Tomorrow we get a new President. I am relieved, but not quite ready to exhale yet. I am so ready to, though. It has been a long four years.

January 17--I beg your pardon...

...I never promised you a rose garden.

That song has been running through my head all afternoon. We were driving back from spending the morning up the Sierras, and all of a sudden there it was. I don't recall hearing it on the radio, though that is a possibility. After we got home I took a nap, and when I woke up, it was still there. It's still there now. Help me, please help me.

Anyway, after Christmas, we went up to Silver Lake and walked around in the snow for a while and said, "we ought to have snow shoes," so we got some snow shoes and went up today to try them out. Unfortunately, it hadn't snowed in a while, and there wasn't much left at Silver Lake, so we went up to the Carson Pass, where there was still some snow on the ground. And no people.

my left foot

My left foot, and friend, in snow shoes.

We were pretty surprised at how easy it was to get around on them. We walked along the Carson River and enjoyed the morning.

malida in the snow

Malida loves being in the snow. You'd never guess she grew up in the tropics. Or whatever the climate is over there. Ok, I looked it up--it's tropical.

I like it too, though not as much as she does. I did like walking around in the snow shoes, right up until one of mine snapped in half. I put my foot in a soft patch, and the shoe just kind of folded up, breaking the aluminum frame. I fell over and landed in the snow. A few moments ago, Malida recreated the scene for me in the living room. I can still hear her laughing.

I was able to mostly use it to get back to where we were parked, without any trouble. I'll send it back for a replacement, and we will do it again as soon as there is some new snow.

Carson River

It's a beautiful spot, and one we return to in all seasons.

January 16--Yesterday's news today

Yesterday was the actual first day of the semester, filled with meetings. We started with a district meeting, then on to a college meeting, followed by a division meeting, and ending with a department meeting. All on Zoom, all pretty boring. One thing I won't miss.

We finished up at about 4 pm. Too late to take a nap, though I thought about it. I am really going to miss my afternoon nap when I start my 12-hour clinical shifts next week. One good thing is that they are allowing us to park at the hospital again, since they are restricting visitors. For the past couple of years, we had to park on campus and take Lyft over. These two things (naps and parking) may seem unrelated, but I have a plan brewing.

fog branches

An oak tree, sans leaves, in the fog.

We took a walk in the park the other day when it was really foggy. I love these foggy days, and I love bare trees. They remind me of a vascular system.

I have a cat sitting on the desk next to me, purring loudly for no particular reason.

The first thing I did this morning after I woke up was to go outside and look up at the sky. Visibility is pretty good, and I could see quite a few stars. I would like to be up somewhere where there is no light pollution.

foggy park

There are five Ingress portals in this picture. I don't really play Ingress anymore, but I still see portals wherever I go. Even in the fog.

January 12--From chicken to chicken soup

I was feeling fine yesterday morning, and we went out to the Hmong grocery to get a fresh chicken so I could make some chicken broth. We do this about once a month or so. We were hoping to get a black chicken, but they only had one, and it didn't look as good as this one.


After I got home, I cut it up and tossed it in my big blue stock pot, which I got as a housewarming present from someone I used to work with, back when I bought my first house back in 1991. I guess that pot is 30 years old now. There was a side story about the person who gave it to me, but I'll skip it for now.

stock pot

I put in some carrots, celery, some leek, onions, a few bay leaves, and some salt and pepper and left it to simmer for about 6 hours.

Meanwhile, after I got the soup going, I started to feel not too good. I got a headache, and felt sickish. I am assuming that it is the after-effects of the vaccine I got the day before. I was told that I might feel this--it is my immune system working the way it should, developing resistance. I went in and laid down, and slept for the next 5 hours.

The stock was done when I woke up, but I didn't feel like doing anything with it, so I turned it off and let it be. I went back in and slept for a while longer before waking up to go to bed.

I felt better this morning, but still with a bit of a headache. We had thought about taking a drive up to Yosemite today, but skipped it. I processed the broth and put it in bags for freezing.


I ended up with close to 6 quarts of stock. I divided it up and put about 16 ounces in each bag for freezing. Malida held some out and made a delicious soup for me.


I start back to work formally tomorrow. It's not a busy day--I have a meeting in the morning, and then will head over to the hospital to make arrangements for my students.

Despite everything going on in the world, it was a restful break.

January 11--which they ate with a runcible spoon

It was a quiet day in the land of flamingos. We didn't do much of anything other than the usual daily chores. Laundry day was put off until today, for no particular reason other than, "lets do it tomorrow".

We ordered some food from the Cambodian restaurant, and ate it with garlic toast.

I received a call from Kaiser asking if I wanted to come by in the afternoon and get my COVID vaccine, rather than waiting until Monday. I said I would, and they said they would make a medical record number for me.

I got another call from Medical Records, asking if I was the same me who used to live in Santa Clara, who had Kaiser insurance back then. I was, and had completely forgotten about it, and that I had lived there for a brief period of time back in 1983.

I went over at the scheduled time, and was quite pleased to see one of my recently graduated students working the registration desk. I love seeing former students doing good things.

I got the shot, and waited for about 15 minutes to see if I was going to have any reactions. I didn't, and came home.


I took the obligatory post-vaccine selfie. No real after-effects other than a mild headache. I noticed that my hair is now almost completely gray. I'm not sure if that's from the vaccine or that I just haven't been paying attention.

I woke up pretty early (4 am) today,thinking about what I still needed to do for the start of the semester. Our first day of class is next Tuesday. I got up and finished setting up the course site and evaluation site. Pretty much everything else is done. There are meetings later this week, and then the big convocation on Friday.

I ordered some new scrubs and socks for clinical. It's the first clothing I have needed to buy in almost a year. It will be strange to have somewhere to go a couple of days a week.

bodega bubble

Random bubble against a cliff at Bodega Bay. You saw it here first.

January 9--Not an infomercial

I finished up the work necessary to get my students onboarded for their clinical experience in a couple of weeks. It's one of those tedious and time-consuming tasks that has to be done, and has to be done while I am on break. It all needs to be completed two weeks before the start of the semester. It went smoother this time than any other semester, which is ironic, since it will be the last time I need to do it. I'll pass it on to whoever. Maybe it's not really ironic, and there's probably someone out there muttering to themselves, "No, no--that's not irony."

great blue egret

A great blue heron from our drive around the delta the other day. We saw such a wide variety of wildlife that day. Malida saw a red fox in a field.

I have been waiting for the opportunity to get a COVID vaccine. Not because I think I am going to get it again, but because I think it will be necessary in order to do anything in the hospital, which I will need to do in a few weeks. Not to mention international travel. I want to go back to Thailand this summer.

I called my healthcare provider to see what the situation was. I'm kind of in a gray area between Phase 1a and 1b, and they said they didn't have any to give. I mentioned it to a coworker, and she told me that Kaiser was offering immunizations for nursing school teachers, and got me connected. So I'm getting the first jab on Monday.

Putah Creek

We had all sorts of really bad fires this summer, and one of them was along a creek where I used to fish, back when I used to fish. I took a drive out along the creek to see what it looked like. You can see all sorts of devastation, but there is a lot of new green coming up that softens it a bit.


Some chickens inspect my left foot.

I walked down a trail to the creek and these two guys came out of the bushes and started following me around. They were the friendliest chickens I have ever met. I talked to them for a bit, and apologized for not having any dried corn in my pocket. I did remember, though, that I had some unsalted peanuts in my camera bag, and gave that to them.

I was curious about them--why they were there. I was nowhere near any farms or structures. I am wondering if they lived on a farm somewhere and fled the fire, ended up next to the creek, and decided to stay there. They look pretty healthy. There's probably someone out there muttering to themselves, "No, no--that's not how chickens behave." Ironic, isn't it?
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