Monday, July 28, 2014

The Year of the Amoeba

"Why does the amoeba always get blamed?"

Exactly 365 days ago, about this time of day, Ernst got attacked by a pool amoeba, or so he thought. As it turned out, it was a retinal vein occlusion, which means his eye was bleeding way back where the sun doesn't shine. In this year, I have been both amazed and frustrated at the complicated and delicate structure of the eye, and grateful that there are doctors who specialize in all the things that can go wrong in this tiny part of our body.

This is your eyeball, be good to it.

Three laser procedures and $3000 of "co-pays" later , it looks like he has seen the last of his amoeba problem. Or so we hope. What a frustrating year it has been. In order for his eye to heal, he was given the warning from the retinal specialist to curtail any heavy lifting. No heavy lifting for a guy whose backyard has Heavy Lifting Required written all over it. Despite that, we have managed to keep most things alive, put in a basketball court/dance floor, start the out-building addition, plant some fruit trees and keep the pool pretty much amoeba free.

Because of the delicate nature of his eye situation, it was vital that Ernst bring his blood pressure down even more. What does a low-fat vegan do to improve his diet? I was teasing him he needed to become a Raw Air Vegan, but fortunately that wasn't necessary. I am so proud of my former Bacon/Milk Shake/Butter/Cheese/Pork Loving Husband. He has managed to change his diet once again, this time cutting out sodium even more and lowering his fat intake even more. The results have been dramatic. For once his stubborn body has given up and surrendered and said, "OK, you win, I'll lower your blasted BP, I'm raising the white flag, I'm defeated". I think if a body could stick out its tongue on its own, it would do so, but instead this time it is Ernst 1 - Body 0. I've had to go from making really yummy vegan food, to cooking sort of bland vegan food that's crying out for salt, but you do what you have to do, and we had to do this. We have become those weird people in the store aisle, squinting at the food labels, doing the calculation of sodium and fat grams divided by the serving size, times the calories, minus the weight, plus the calculation of RDA requirements over the square root of pi (not pie). We hope this is the year of anything but Amoebas.

Raw Air Vegan Amoebas

Sunday, July 20, 2014

White space suits and promises

Back in the early part of 1991, while slogging through the tragic haze of my father dying, we began to plan our wedding. When it comes to dates, I love nice balanced numbers. Getting married on the 25th, or the 10th, or the 30th, those are good dates in my opinion. But having an anniversary on the 8th, for instance, or the 27th? Not for me. I don't believe numbers or dates have one bit of significance, but I just love when they look and sound good. For instance, when we were moving to Sacramento after two years in beautiful South Lake Tahoe, I was driving around getting some errands done in our soon-to-be new neighborhood. I was bummed, and sad and not looking forward to that move one little bit. Until I stopped at the post office to get our new PO box number, that is. They assigned me a palindrome, something like 804408. Wow, I thought, maybe this won't be so bad after all. Our randomly assigned number put me in a way better mood than something like 943875 would have.

So when we began to look into getting married in the summer of 1991, I had my heart set on June 1st. What could be better than a June 1st wedding date? So terrific and perfect, it was just screaming cool date on a wedding invitation. I was settled on it, June 1, 1991. Of course, June 1, 1990 would have looked even better, but that would have involved time travel and we know how tricky that can be.

We had to wait a while to set the date officially, because there would be a big conflict if our annual convention was too close on either side of June 1st. It was, and I shed a tear of frustration, along with all the other tears I was shedding for much more legitimate reasons than a good sounding wedding date. Not only did June 1st bump up too close to our convention, some friends of ours chose that date as their wedding day. So I did go to a wedding that day, but it wasn't ours. And it was hot - blazing hot and yucky. Whew, so glad we hadn't chosen June 1st, we dodged some sweat bullets on that one.

We picked July 20th. Rounded out enough, easy to remember, looks good, with that nice big zero following the happy number 2. And it was only 83 degrees (80 sounds better) in the Central Valley that day, a minor miracle for a summer wedding in Davis California. No sweat bullets, no glistening wedding photos from our pictures taken in the UCD Arboretum. And little did I know it was such an important day in world history, the anniversary of the day Neil Armstrong walked on the moon! Houston, we don't have a problem with July Twentieth.

All it needs is a veil on the helmet.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Keeping Molly in dog food

If money comes in waves, this month is a tsunami. There is nothing I can do but just try to keep kicking and keep my head above water. Because I had a co-worker who was killed, I am working much more than usual in my school district job. I'm still writing for the dental websites, I have two proctor jobs at CSUS this month and then the grand-daddy of them all, the California Bar Exam at the end of the month. It is pathetic I know, but I don't even have time to go on our planned anniversary trip. And I had to turn down a writing job for an Oriental rug site because if I had agreed to it, you could have found me at the end of the month rolled up in a fetal position under our rug, whimpering. What does all this have to do with a photo of our dog's food?

A few weeks ago while in the drugstore, I ran into two of my favorite people, Jane and Julie. They were teasing me about all the various jobs I have. Julie asked if I would be interested in one more thing. Why not? Life is just too boring with only eight W2s during tax time. So she told me where to go to do focus group work. I thought I knew what a focus group was. There is a table. There are people. They are focusing. That was the extent of my knowledge on focus groups. Fast forward to the Internet world, Jessica. It's done on computers now, or at least the bulk of it is.

And that is why I sat in my pajamas this morning, participating in the first half of a focus group about the riveting subject of dog food. While children are waking up hungry, the Middle East is in another crisis and California is drying up like a raisin, I'm getting paid to upload photos of my dog, her dog food and her doggy treats. This is a very odd world we live in. But the pay is great, it was a fun project, I got to write about my dog, and did I mention this was all done in my pajamas? What's next, chocolate? Sit around a table talking about dark vs. milk, bitter vs. sweet? Would there be free samples? Talk about my dream job!