kelliem: Riku-kitty w/ tongue out (bleah)
( Aug. 24th, 2013 05:50 pm)
OMG, so. frakkin. tired. In the past three days we have filled up a 20 cubic yard rolloff with *stuff*. Probably about half of it belonged to the former housemate- stuff that got missed when the family was here either because she had stealthily put it on our side of the garage (30 year old scuba gear, mouse-shredded tents, ancient skis, a bike, boxes of dishes...) or it was stuff we told them we would deal with like all her out-of-date food.

The rest was ours- stuff that we just never used any more, or it was something we'd replaced and we couldn't quite bring ourselves to pitch it because surely someone could use it. And lots of empty boxes we saved because 'we might need it someday', etc., etc., We've also been totally ruthless with books, I have boxes and boxes of books I have accumulated over the years but haven't read in ages. They will probably go to Goodwill or ARC because I can't bring myself to throw books away.

Once we had the garage all cleaned of 'stuff' we had to sweep out the all the utterly revolting mouse turds that were everywhere in the garage. We've both had to use our asthma inhalers several times, and Kham had a really bad attack. I'm feeling a bit paranoid about hantavirus right now.

We still have a bit more to do tomorrow to get the furniture completely cleared off and ready to move Monday morning so the new carpet can be installed. But I think the amount we've already done is amazing! I am feeling very proud of us, especially since between the two of us we might comprise 3/4ths of a healthy person. My ex did help some today for a couple of hours, helping us get the heaviest stuff into the rolloff.
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kelliem: Kitty hi (hi)
( Jul. 27th, 2013 07:57 pm)
The Tour de Cure is a series of fundraising cycling events held in 44 states nationwide to benefit the American Diabetes Association. The Tour is a ride, not a race, with routes designed for everyone from the occasional rider to the experienced cyclist. My brother is a diabetic and he is also riding in our local event.  I'm sponsoring him in memory of Betty Burch (aka Bluster) who some of you remember, and who we lost to diabetes.  If any of you would like to sponsor him too, either for Bluster or anyone else, here's a link to his TdC page.
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kelliem: aurora borealis (skylight)
( Jul. 14th, 2013 06:54 pm)
For some reason I thought it was Monday most of the day today, only to find out it is only Sunday. Don't know if that is good or bad. ;) The former housemate's family (13 of them in total) came into town and worked like demons all weekend and now Amanda's things are about 98% gone, what's left will be going to my brother and SIL's church rummage sale.We filled up TWO twenty-yard roll-off dumpsters with her stuff - much of it was just gross- dirty and unsalvageable, though we did send a lot of books to Goodwill and our used bookstore, and filled a couple of long garage shelves with stuff for my brother and SIL's church sale, including hundreds of unopened brand new DVDs - many with duplicates since in the mess she couldn't tell that she already had a copy so she would buy another one. :/  The landlord is going to need to hire professional cleaners to finish up down there - bugs, spiders, mice.  Ew.

She listed me in the will to receive 1/6th of her total estate once it's figured out.  Probably won't be a lot, but it was touching that she considered me equal to her blood siblings. She lived with us for 23 years, and was like a sister.  Her family were all really nice people. Too bad we had to meet under these these circumstances.

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kelliem: dandelion (ephemeral)
( Jul. 12th, 2013 09:42 pm)
Ten of the former housemate's family came in last night, and we spent the day sorting and throwing stuff away. We filled one dumpster (full size, not a small one) to the brim, had it taken away and a new one delivered. O.o Also took several loads to Goodwill and the Salvation Army, and set aside a bunch of stuff for the rummage sale my brother and SIL's church holds every summer. Her family did most of the work, thank goodness. They will be back tomorrow to continue, along with 3 more relatives to help. I'm so grateful for all the help- the idea of tackling it alone was daunting! Her family is a really good group of people.

Her family has found something like a year's worth of unopened prescriptions down in her room. So that makes it even longer than we'd already discovered that she had been off her meds and only using pot. x.X  Things makes so much more sense now. Also makes more sense why she was so weird during her brief stint in committment a few months ago -- she went from being on no meds except pot to double what she was supposed to be taking but wasn't.

Our kitties were incredibly unhappy when we let them out after her family's left for the night.  (We had to lock them upstairs all day) Then they seriously WTF-ed at her living room area being half clean. Poor boys. I feel bad we have to do it again tomorrow. We did have them in more than just the bathroom (where their water is, also brought their food up) but Riku being a brat pushed one of my window screens out. (The bathroom connects to my room via a second door.) We discovered he'd climbed down a pine tree and come in the front door that was wide open, which none of us noticed somehow o.O, and went upstairs to lay on his heating pad. Sora in the meantime had been hiding under my bed. "AHH, THUNDER. AHH, RIKU WENT -OUT THERRREEE-"
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kelliem: can of spam (spam)
( Jun. 24th, 2013 12:11 pm)
I don't know where this originated (I got it from [personal profile] aukestrel but she didn't make it), but it needs to be disseminated as widely as possible:
commonly misused homophones


Also, had an amazing example of great customer service recently.  A couple of years ago I bought a really nice, expensive squirrel-resistant copper cage bird feeder.  Over time (and a bear attack) one of the tension clips that holds the lid of the tube down went missing and the other one lost its tension so the lid was no longer secure and the squirrels could get the lid off, and they did, and they chewed up the tube and kept stealing seed.  I emailed the manufacturer, WoodLink and asked if they sold replacement tubes and clips.  They wrote me back and said they didn't sell a replacement tube but they did sell the clips, and they said they'd send me a replacement free of charge if I sent my address.  A few days later, this HUGE box shows up on my doorstep.  I wasn't expecting anything (other than the small clips) so I was puzzled, but upon opening the box, I discovered not just replacement clips, but an entire replacement bird feeder!  O.o  Wow.  I was NOT expecting that!  Below the cut is a pic of my old feeder (festooned with bird poop and lid held down with some pieces of wire) and my pretty new replacement.  Pic below cut )

Oh, and I finally caved and got on Facebook.  And Pinterest. 


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kelliem: Leverage: the cast (leverage)
( Nov. 6th, 2012 03:57 pm)
This is me with my fingers in my ears singing LA LA LA at the top of my lungs to drown out the incessant media coverage/speculation about the election. At this point, I don't want to know anything about it until it's settled. I just can't handle the stress.

So, in the meantime have something pretty to look at - this handsome bird is a Stellar's Jay (Rocky Mountain form).
Stellar's Jay at corn feeder
Just this weekend a pair of Stellars made themselves at home in my yard- it's the first time I have seen any in my yard. They usually prefer to live higher up on the slopes. I guess this year's drought and fires have taken their toll on the food supplies in their normal range- which probably also accounts for my recent sighting of a Red-naped Sapsucker, also not a usual denizen of my area.  I'm happy to have them, though!  As opposed to the bear. ;'D
A few more Stellars pix are available on my Flickr stream.

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kelliem: icy lakefront sunrise (Default)
( Oct. 25th, 2012 12:46 pm)
I Voted Early sticker
Actually, I got my ballot on the 15th and send it back on the 17th.  I checked, and it was received the 19th.  Vote by mail rocks!
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I am not a summer person.  I hate being hot, and this summer has been that and then some!  So it is with great relief I observe the shortening days, cooler temperatures, and the gorgeous fall colors.  There's a quality to the light this time of year that feels magical, especially around dusk.  Maybe it's because I have a fall birthday, but this time of year always makes me feel-- connected-- to the earth in the way I don't normally.  I feel more alive.  

I took a few photos this weekend, some of a rare visitor to my yard (a melanistic fox squirrel, which I've never seen before!), others are just prettiness.  Look behind the cut to see them.
Read more... )
kelliem: juncoes & a cardinal (snowbirds)
( Oct. 18th, 2012 11:07 am)
We had some excitement this morning! About a quarter of four we were woken up by loud banging coming from outside- I figured out it was something trying to get into our compost bin (which we store next to the garage behind our fence).  It was loud enough to wake up both Kham (the kidunit) and I, and we wondered if it might be a bear, since the raccoons aren't usually that loud, but since there are no windows on that side of the house we couldn't tell. About a minute after we wondered that, we started hearing noise out back, so Kham went downstairs and turned on the back porch light to find... yep.   It was a bear all right!

I could see it from upstairs once she turned the light on. It wasn't a big bear, maybe about the size of a large Newfoundland dog, but big enough to want to avoid!

It tore down my bird-feeder along with the hanger it was on which was screwed into some decorative trim on the wall above the sliding glass doors. Fortunately it doesn't seem to have really damaged the feeder, though it did mess up the trim. I hadn't bothered to bring it in, since the birds pretty much empty it by evening, but I guess I will have to start doing so!

It also knocked down my two hummingbird feeders which I was leaving up in case of any stragglers, and smushed the little decorative wire fence we have separating the flower garden from the lawn. It then went back up on the porch and Kham banged on the door to scare it off. It ran away and scrabbled noisily over the fence.  This morning I discovered that the fence seems to have suffered a bit of damage. I guess it's not meant to have bears climbing it!

Unfortunately it was much too dark for photos of the actual bear, so all I have are pix of the damage taken this morning after the bear was long gone.
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kelliem: aurora borealis (skylight)
( Aug. 21st, 2012 03:18 pm)
Finally, something not-boring to post about!  Went to see Dead Can Dance on Sunday night at the Buell Theater in Denver with the kidunit and a friend.  We got great seats, six rows back on the right side of the theater.  We had a fantastic view and the acoustics were great.  The concert was absolutely amazing.  A percussionist named David Kuckhermann opened for them (he's actually part of DCD's backup band), playing an intriguing new instrument called a 'hang' which was apparently invented only about 12 years ago.  It looks a lot like a flying saucer and sounds a bit like a cross between a steel drum and a gamelan. Actually he played three of them, each tuned differently, and also  proceeded to do absolutely astonishing things with a tambourine.  It was a great set and the audience was quiet and respectful during each piece and enthusiastic afterward, which you rarely see during an opening act.

Once he was finished there was a bit of a delay while all the people out getting drinks at the bar were herded into the theater and then the lights went down and DCD came out.  I was slightly amused by the fact that the women - Lisa Gerrard and the female keyboardist/backup singer - were both wearing formal black velvet dresses, Lisa with a golden satin stole/cape over hers. All the men were in careless casual - tees, untucked button-downs, cargo pants- it looked kind of like they were from two completely different bands. ;D   But once the concert started we forgot about everything but the sound. 

Brendan Parry's voice has really matured, and his range in startling.  At one point when Lisa was singing I thought the other woman was doing a descant in a high alto range, then I realized to my shock that it was Brendan!  He has a sort of warm, lazy, sliding quality to his singing that draws you in. Lisa Gerrard has one of the most powerful voices I have ever heard. I think she could use her voice as a weapon if she needed to!  It just soars, but not in a floaty, delicate way - more like a bird of prey. They performed a very well balanced mix of older works and songs from their new album, Anastasis (which they are offering streaming for free in full at http://deadcandance.com/ along with a free download of one of the songs) and came back for THREE encores!  They played for a solid two hours, with no formal intermission.  I did see Brendan sipping from a thermal mug regularly, and Lisa slipped offstage a few times, probably for something throat-soothing.  Our altitude and dry climate are very hard on the vocal cords.

The variety in the audience was interesting: everything from leftover new-agers like myself, aging hippies, some Goths, a few folks who looked like they walked off the Leave it to Beaver set, hipster-looking 30-somethings, and a decent scattering of younger enthusiasts many of whom, I suspect, came to DCD through their parents like my kidunit.  Like the band, there were folks in semi-formal wear and others in tees and Birkenstocks.  For the most part the audience was great, apart from one drunk girl who kept yelling unintelligible things and "We love you" and a drunk guy who kept screaming that everyone should get up and dance - unfortunately the Buell's not a really danceable venue. Oh, and there seemed to be a bull moose somewhere in the audience- at least that's what he sounded like. Fortunately they mostly restricted their inappropriate noises to the pauses between songs. The band took it all with good humor.

It was an amazing night, and if they're coming to a venue in your town on their current world tour and you like their nearly-indescribable (ambient/gothic/world/folk/tribal/celtic/gregorian/middle-eastern/african?) music I highly recommend you see them!
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kelliem: House 4/ rubber glove (bend over)
( May. 4th, 2012 01:47 pm)
Just FYI, yesterday I disabled non-registered user commenting on my DW account but today thanks to [personal profile] bethbethbeth  I found a different way to discourage spammers so I've reenabled it, anons just have to use CAPTCHA if they want to comment.

What follows is Adventures in Elder Care with Bonus Food Poisoning, and it's long and whiny so I am cut-tagging it so those who don't want to read it don't have to.  Feeling masochistic? Read more! )

However, I am feeling quite a lot better now and am planning to go with Kham and one of his friends to see Avengers tomorrow after first having a DVD mini-Marathon of both Iron Man films, Thor and Captain America.  I am SOOOO looking forward to that.  Hot men on screen!  Stuff blowing up!! Snarking!  Rampant homoeroticism!! Women kicking butt!  Good guys (in the non-gendered sense) saving the world!  That's exactly what I need right now.  And I promise I will post about the movie because I really must post something other than bitching once in a while!
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So I was on my way to work this morning, and is often the case, got stuck behind the schoolbus that goes through our neighborhood. I think it's an elementary school bus, as the one that picks up the older kids goes by earlier than the one that gets the younger kids. As I sat there idling, waiting for the kids to board, I suddenly noticed that one of them looked a tad odd. At first I thought it was just a trick of the eye or something but I kept looking and it didn't change. One of the kids had a wolf's head. Seriously. A complete, rather well done prosthetic wolf's head. At least, I assume it was a prosthetic and werewolves aren't riding the bus to elementary school these days. Although, that would be pretty cool. ;D

Watched the premiere of 'Awake' last night. I had thought the premise didn't sound very interesting but I love Jason Isaacs so I gave it a shot anyway and was surprised how much I liked it. Very good acting all around (including an almost unrecognizable Wilmer Valderrama). I will definitely keep watching it.  Also, just for the record, Jason Isaacs has amazing eyes.
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Last weekend the kidunit and I were at PetSmart and saw a kitty drinking fountain that was a new design, very slim, and quite inexpensive.  We'd always wanted to get one for the cats but were stymied by the fact that all the ones we'd seen were all too big to fit in the space where they like their water dish (in the bathroom between the toilet and the wall, yes, we've tried moving it other places and they don't like it), but this one was a lot narrower and we figured it would fit, so we bought one, took it home, and it fit in the space just fine and once hooked up was a lot quieter than we'd thought it would be, so yay!

Now, both our boys are complete wusses.  They freak out at the slightest change to their environment (OMG a piece of paper!  OMG a wrinkle in the bedspread! OMG your PANTS!!  OMG the pizza guy!!!) so needless to say they were a bit weirded out by the fountain at first.  But after some encouragement they both were eventually persuaded to drink from it and we thought all was set.  Oddly, Riku (the gray one in my icon) who's normally the more skittish of the two was the first to accept the new dish.  Probably because he likes to drink out of faucets so running water was a Good Thing. Sora on the other hand was Very Suspicious of this new device, no doubt some sort of Fiendish Human Plot.  He took to sitting on the toilet staring down at the fountain like this:
Sora, lurking, tp cover down.
(You can just barely see the edge of the fountain down on the floor between the toilet and the furnace grate. And yes our bathroom is a hideous shade of turquoise.)

You may notice in the above pic that we have a covered toilet-paper dispenser. This is because when he was a kitten, Sora used to play with the TP, unrolling it and shredding it so we installed the covered dispensers in self-defense.  Once he outgrew his fixation with TP, we got a little... lax... about putting the cover down (see below).  You see where this is going, right? 
Sora, lurking, tp cover up.

We went to bed that evening thinking all was hunky dory, because both kitties had, if reluctantly, drunk out of the new fountain.  When I woke up the next morning I could hear the fountain making a lot more noise than it had been the night before.  I just figured it was low on water, and got up to go fill it.  And proceeded to step into a huge puddle. ARGH!!!!

Apparently one of us had left the TP cover up, and to express his displeasure with this new Infernal Device, Sora unrolled about half the roll into the fountain which made it overflow and clog.  The floor was wet, the bathroom rug was soaked, it was a complete mess.  I cleaned it all up, dug the wet TP out of the fountain, discovered he hadn't actually managed to break it, and reinstalled it.  Needless to say, since then we have been very careful not to leave the cover up on the TP.  Sora still spends quite a lot of time lurking on the toilet seat staring at it, but he is actually drinking out of the fountain regularly now, so we have hopes he'll eventually stop trying to destroy it.  All I can say is it's a good thing he doesn't have opposable thumbs. ;D
Sora, drinking, reluctantly
(Sora, grumpily getting a drink from the new fountain.)





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kelliem: DS: RayK & Fraser (bf-kellie)
( Mar. 11th, 2011 11:13 am)
Okay, yes, there's still some of the old Due South love burning, so a quote appropriate to the day:

They have called this day the Eleventh of March! And whomsoever of you gets through this day, unless you are shot in the head or somehow slain, you will stand at tiptoe when e'er you hear the name again, and you will get excited at the name March the Eleventh!

We happy few, we few, we band of brothers. Our names will be as like household names. And those who are not here, be they sleeping or doing something else, they will feel themselves... sort of crappy. Because they are not here to... to join the fight, on this day, the Eleventh of March! -- Buck Frobisher, Due South, "The Call of the Wild"


In a totally unrelated note, I'm sending {{{copingvibes}}} and as much good energy as I can to the people of Japan. What a nightmare.
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kelliem: Criminal Minds - Garcia (nom)
( Feb. 24th, 2011 08:20 am)
Hey, do any of you know the title of and original performer of the song that was used in last night's Criminal Minds episode "Coda"? The one the autistic boy kept playing? I can send you a download link to an audio file stripped off the show's soundtrack if you're curious.

I haven't posted in forever, mostly because I feel pretty overwhelmed by Real Life. Work continues to be difficult, they still haven't let us have our front-desk person back so office support for 35 faculty, plus about 90 grad students and 600 undergrads continues to be done by just two people- myself and my co-worker. I discovered that we're the lowest-staffed department in the college, despite the fact that we teach more Core student credit hours than any other department. I feel like we're being punished for being good at our jobs. Plus, state employees haven't had a raise in 3 years and on top of that, they're taking more out for our retirement, so essentially we've gotten pay CUTS.

The kidunit got laid off in mid-November, the same week that Bluster passed away, and shortly after we found out about his autoimmune issues. His being laid off was not a result of his health issues, but they make him difficult to insure, and I am dreading his fast-approaching birthday when he will no longer be eligible for my plan. In the mean time, I can barely pay my own bills let alone his, so we're seriously considering bankruptcy. I wonder if a bankruptcy attorney will give us a two for one deal?

My mother had another stroke about a month ago, and despite her showing all the classic signs of having had a stroke, it took the hospital 24 hours to actually diagnose one, by which time it was too late to give her the tPA like they did last time, so her recovery has been much, much slower this time. While the stroke fortunately did not affect her ability to communicate, she has left-side weakness/unresponsiveness which is responding only slowly to rehabilitation. They're letting her out of the hospital this weekend but sending her to a skilled nursing facility to continue rehabbing, in hopes that she will eventually be able to be independent, but it could be the best we can hope for is assisted. No matter what, she's going to have to sell her townhouse which is on 3 levels and completely unmanageable for her now, so that she can get an apartment in a senior living facility somewhere which can accommodate her needs.

I have been spending much of my free time at the hospital with her trying to help keep her spirits up, and running errands and suchlike for her since she can't do it herself. Once I get home from that, I'm pretty much braindead and only good for staring at the TV. Fortunately a lot of my shows continue to please me- Chuck, Castle, the NCISes, Hawaii 5-0, Criminal Minds (though I am leery of this Prentiss arc, I fear the worst since I know she was on the chopping block at one point this year and may still be for all I know), Top Chef, and The Mentalist. I know everyone else is hating on Supernatural this season, but I'm sort of enjoying it, though I am willing to admit that may be because my critical thinking faculties have gone on hiatus due to stress. I was bummed that Fabio went home on Top Chef. He was my favorite, though I kind of knew all along he probably wouldn't win. Sucks that he went home because of a hamburger, though.
kelliem: icy lakefront sunrise (Default)
( Dec. 3rd, 2010 10:44 am)
Ardent-muses and I were able to attend Bluster's memorial service, which was held at a beautiful small church. The priest clearly knew Bluster well and even mentioned her love for cats in the service. We conveyed the condolences made by Bluster's online friends to her mother, who seemed genuinely touched to hear how many friends Bluster had. It's still hard to believe she's gone.

I also wanted to let those of you who've asked know that Bluster's kitties will be taken care of. Her vet came and got them as soon as he heard what had happened (except for Griz who was avoiding people, but they were confident they would catch him soon). The vet will probably keep Malcolm himself, and will find good homes for the other cats, making sure that the ones who need special care get it.

Now, in an effort to try to get a bit back to normal, I have to pass on today's xkcd comic, because it made me laugh out loud for the first time in a couple of weeks:


(Yes, I have a weird sense of humor.)
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Ardent and I were devastated to learn yesterday evening that Betty (Bluster on LJ) passed away earlier this week. We don't know details, but it was apparently natural causes. They are holding a memorial for her on Monday. If you would like a link to the obituary please email me at kelliedru at gmail.com and I will send it, I just didn't want to post it publicly.

If you would like to make a donation in her name, I think one of the Humane Societies near her would be the perfect place, as she always said she was "one of those crazy cat ladies."

Aurora Humane Society
1301 23rd Street,
Central City, NE 68826
(402) 694-2738
(they don't have a webpage I could find)

or the Central Nebraska Humane Society.

I am going to miss her something awful.

ETA: my son ran across this quote earlier today- it seems very appropriate.

Death is but crossing the world, as friends do the seas; they live in one another still. For they must needs be present, that love and live in that which is omnipresent. In this divine glass, they see face to face; and their converse is free, as well as pure. This is the comfort of friends, that though they may be said to die, yet their friendship and society are, in the best sense, ever present, because immortal.

--William Penn, More Fruits of Solitude
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kelliem: flower in the desert (hope)
( Nov. 2nd, 2010 08:42 am)
*

Not that it is likely to do much good, being blue in a mostly red state, but I did, and my kidunit did as well. He's not very political and tends to tune out that kind of stuff so I had to spend some time talking about local races and ballot issues with him last night, but that's time well spent! I was happy when he mentioned several of his friends are voting too. One of our state races is too close to call so it's possible that my vote might count after all. :)

*voting 'sticker' courtesy of [personal profile] lunaris1013.
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kelliem: owl w/ head cocked (say what?)
( Oct. 15th, 2010 04:01 pm)
(Wow, two posts in two days? A recent record!)

Just now as I was in my office working, I kept thinking I was hearing a cat meowing outside in the amphitheater (which the wings of my building embrace), so I got up and went to look. I didn't see anything but a crow sitting on a light stanchion wire near my window. After a few moments, I realized that every time I heard the 'meow' I could see the crow's beak and throat moving. It was the one meowing!

I wonder what on earth made it decide to learn to meow?
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kelliem: Riku-kitty w/ tongue out (bleah)
( Oct. 14th, 2010 01:33 pm)
It's been a while so thought I'd check in-- things have just been a tad nutty in my life of late. It seems like I don't have much down time, between work, ferrying my mom places since she's not allowed to drive (though otherwise she is doing well), feeding the dogs for my brother and SIL when they have to be at the hospital for continuing care for his pancreatic issues. He is having what is hopefully his last session at the hospital this afternoon. He is doing better, foods are beginning to taste right again and he's stopped losing so much weight. We are all looking forward to his being completely recovered.

Then, since my kidunit finally got onto the insurance through his work, we've spent a lot of time and money going to doctors, getting all kinds of tests done (bloodwork, physical exams, an MRI, an EMS... you name it he's probably had it) and have met with 4 different doctors. And we finally have a diagnosis-- he has an autoimmune disorder. Fortunately, the docs did not detect any of the more severe symptoms of his disorder (apparently many people who test positive for it never develop the more severe symptoms) however, he does have a couple of the less common ones. Apparently while they can't treat the cause, they can treat the symptoms, and have started him on a drug which is supposed to help. We'll have to wait and see.

To add to the "interest" in my life (for Chinese Curse values of interesting), I had to have my car towed out of my parking lot at work day before yesterday- it wouldn't start. I was thinking it was the starter, solenoid or the ignition switch but it turned out to be the battery. I was sure it wasn't that, because the radio and 'door ajar' dinger worked, but apparently it was. (This is why I am not a mechanic!) ;D It also needed new battery terminal cables (the old ones were badly corroded) and a new bracket that holds the battery in place (also corroded into uselessness). It was an unwelcome expense, but still, I am sure the total was a lot less than fixing one of those other things would have been!! And I had a coupon for 15% off labor which helped bring it down a bit.

In more fun things, I've been working on a Steampunk outfit for Halloween and other costume-appropriate occasions (I found a top hat, goggles, and some amazingly inexpensive corsets on eBay!), and have been watching a few new shows (The Event, Hawaii 5-0, and No Ordinary Family) along with my old favorites. Enjoying a couple of non-US shows, too- Shattered, and Lost Girl. Anyways, I've been vibing for folks who seem to need them, and reading posts, but it's hard to find the energy to do much posting or commenting myself.
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kelliem: stack of books (books)
( Sep. 17th, 2010 10:15 am)
One of my faculty brought this video about plagiarism from the University of Bergen to my attention and it made my day! It's in Norwegian but it's got subtitles. ;D



In family news, my mom is doing fine after her stroke, other than being frustrated because she's no longer allowed to drive. But that did spur her to go to an occupational therapist and a vision therapist to get some exercises which, even if they don't get her to the point where she can drive again, are definitely worthwhile. My brother is slowly recovering from his gallbladder removal. Have any of you had that surgery? How long did it take before food started tasting normal to you again?

TV-wise I've been watching The Closer, Rizzoli & Isles, Warehouse 13, Covert Affairs, Top Chef, Project Runway, Eureka and Haven. R&I is the weakest of the bunch, I think. Everything else has been fun. I was amused by the results of the Top Chef finale. It was so weird, Angelo and Ed seemed to have swapped personalities over the past few eps. I started out hating Angelo and liking Ed, and ended up being at least a bit empathetic to Angelo, while Ed got really annoying. So the final outcome suited me well.

The fall TV schedule has very little on it that interests me, other than returning old favorites. There are only 3 new shows I am even vaguely interested in-- The Event, No Ordinary Family, and Body of Proof. Ah well, that should make it easier to watch everything I want to watch this fall!

Saw the BBC Sherlock series and loved it. Have managed to get my hands on Shattered, CKR's new show, and the first two eps have been quite good, though it's kind of weird to see Ty Olsson and Karen LeBlanc working together and NOT in Defying Gravity (which I still miss!). I guess we Eureka fen now know why they replaced Sheriff Andy (with another fave, Kavan Smith aka Lorne from SG:A).

Oh, and I cannot WAIT for Game of Thrones to start.
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kelliem: flower in the desert (hope)
( Jul. 30th, 2010 01:38 pm)
I've been worried that it is too early to say something about this- that I might jinx things, but I decided to post anyway, as a PSA if for no other reason.

On Monday afternoon I was on the phone with my 84-year-old mother when in mid-sentence, she stopped making sense-- groping for words, using words that did not make sense in context, and saying 'uh' a lot. The weather has been very hot, and thinking it might just be dehydration, I asked if she was staying hydrated, and she exasperatedly snapped "Yes!" so I knew it was more serious than that. I told her I thought she was probably having a stroke, and that I was going to call my brother and SIL and have them come get her and take her to a doctor right away. They live about 5 minutes away from her. She'd had a couple of TIA's in the past, but they never caused any perceptible symptoms other than brief dizziness. They took her to the emergency room where she was evaluated and they confirmed my suspicions- she had had a full-blown stroke (not a TIA), and her speech/language processing area was affected. When I got to the hospital, though she clearly recognized us, she was unable to identify any of the family by name, and kept inserting 'schedule' and (oddly) 'Obama' when she tried to convey complex meanings.

After a couple of hours with no improvement, the doctors told us that there was a chance that she could be helped if they gave her a tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) which must be administered within 6 hours of the initial event, but that there were serious risks of side effects involved, especially in the elderly, though her general good health made her a better candidate than some. After discussing the situation, we decided she would be upset with us if we did not make every effort possible, and okayed the drug. They administered it in an IV drip over several hours during the night, keeping her in the ICU so they could closely monitor her reaction to the drug.

By the next morning, she was using full sentences and was able to identify everyone by name again. By mid-day she was remembering phone numbers of friends she needed to call, and facts about her youth (prompted by the bizarre coincidence of discovering that her ICU nurse was from the same tiny postage-stamp of a town in another state that my mother was born in!) so we knew she had both good short-term and long-term memory. By the next evening, she was shaky, but had all her vocabulary back and was allowed to eat after an evaluation by a couple of speech and occupational therapists. Yesterday afternoon, they released her to go home!

On Monday, we were sure she would be in the hospital and/or rehabilitation for months. The fact that she got to go home yesterday seems rather like a miracle. The confluence of events were so fortuitous it's almost hard to believe. If I had called her just ten minutes earlier, we'd have been done talking before the event occurred, and we would most likely not have known about it for quite some time, which might have ruled out the use of the tPA. That, coupled with the the fact that she was a good candidate for the tPA therapy to begin with despite her age- it's all pretty damned amazing.

This all comes on the heels of someone I work with being diagnosed with permanent short-term memory loss (think Memento) due to several small strokes caused by uncontrolled high blood-pressure. He's younger than I am and may never be able to hold more than a menial job again, despite having a doctorate and years of teaching experience.

I guess what I want to say to you all is this: make sure you take care of yourselves (and your loved ones) and have your blood-pressure checked regularly, know the symptoms of stroke, and get to the hospital ASAP if you ever experience them. Don't blow it off thinking it's no big deal.
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kelliem: Riku & Sora Kitties (my boys)
( Mar. 25th, 2010 10:24 pm)
Please watch this YouTube video.

Nutrena is partnering with The Pet Project to donate pet food. They've already donated 38,000 lbs. of food, and they only need about 2500 more views of the linked video before the end of April and they'll donate a second truckload of food ($50,000 US worth).
More info here and here. It doesn't take long and it's a great cause.

Click.
Watch.
Pets in need get food.

Sora and Riku (see icon) said to. :)
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Finally, FINALLY, they passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. I'd gotten to the point where I thought it was never going to happen, that partisan politics would kill it, but it passed! It's not perfect, far from it-- I, for one, was really hoping for a public option among other things. But the fact that you can't be turned down for a preexisting condition and the prohibition against dropping people when they get sick, right when they need insurance most-- that's just HUGE. And this is very personal for me-- my son has three preexisting conditions which between them made it impossible for him to get decent affordable insurance coverage once he aged off my family plan. Now maybe he'll be able to get insurance, and treatment for the condition that has made it difficult for him to work in his chosen field.

(ETA: Also, I keep reading about people harping on the fact that Obama isn't "honoring his promises"... please to remember that it took 8 years of a certain former president to get us into this mess, it's going to take more than a year to get us out. Especially with the Rethuglicans doing everything they can to keep him from honoring them.)
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kelliem: fall leaves & lamp (fall)
( Nov. 7th, 2009 05:42 pm)
Last night as I was just getting ready to leave work, one of the faculty came in to tell me and my co-worker to come look out the window in his office, as a hawk had just caught a pigeon and was chowing down on it atop a kiosk out in the outdoor amphitheater my building surrounds. So we did, and it was. I ran back to my office and grabbed a camera and got a video and a few still shots. The quality isn't the best, I was fairly far away shooting through a dirty window, but I am still pretty amazed that this was taking place right outside my office!

After I got home I checked my birding books to ID the type of hawk, and I'm pretty sure it's a Cooper's Hawk though it could be a Sharp-Shinned, they look a lot alike. I think this is a Coopers because it doesn't have the rusty cheek-feathers that the Sharp-Shinned seem to have.

Warning! These shots may be a bit graphic for those of you who don't like to see things being eaten by other things.

cut for the delicate )
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kelliem: pumpkin (pumpkin)
( Nov. 2nd, 2009 02:47 pm)
Wow, time gets away from me. I haven't posted in quite a while! We had two feet of snow last Wednesday/Thursday, but it was mostly gone by Saturday. Which does not explain why we had NO trick or treaters at all. Even with our porch light on and our decorations out. It makes me sad that the tradition appears to have mostly died out. Everyone's too scared they'll get a razor blade or poison in their candy, I guess, even though those things are pretty much urban legends. Here's a blurry cellphone pic of the jack-o-lantern my son and I carved:

You get a gold star if you recognize the source. ;D

I have a bunch of new pix up on my Flickr stream, mostly birds, including goldfinches, various woodpeckers, a hummingbird, a white-breasted nuthatch, and a bunch of photos of my thrilling back yard. Here's a preview of downy woodpecker:

and a goldfinch:
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I really thought we were past this sort of crap.

Gah.

eta: More.
kelliem: tree & lawn (green)
( Aug. 13th, 2009 08:02 pm)
Have I really not updated since July 23? Wow.

Has anyone else caught Defying Gravity? It's a Canadian-made SciFi show-- a little soapy but interesting so far. ABC seems to be trying to kill it, as I haven't seen a single promo for it. Ron Livingston, who played Nixon in Band of Brothers is in it, as is Cristina Cox (Blood Ties) and Laura Harris (who was the pixieish blonde in Women's Murder Club). And the guy who played Sherrif Andy a couple of eps of Eureka ago is also in it. You can stream it at ABC's website or on Hulu (I hear).

Our front porch and back patio have been sinking for years. This year, the only year since we moved in (1991) that we decided to plant some flowers around the back patio, the landlord decided to have the concrete leveled. That involved pouring concrete over the old porch and patio. Even after we specifically asked the concrete contractors to be careful with the plants, it was apparently too much trouble to do so. They stepped on them, knelt on them, dropped rubble on them, broke them, and in some cases poured concrete all over them. We are very not happy campers. I think they ruined or almost ruined over $100 dollars worth of plants. That might not be much to them, but it is to us! Here's one of the few plants that survived and seems to be doing okay, it's a mandevilla:


And here's our slightly-the-worse-for-wear clematis jackmanii (I keep wondering if it's named after Hugh...)


Speaking of things flying, we've had some new visitors to the feeders. Pix behind the cut. Read more... )
kelliem: misc spices (spice1)
( Jul. 23rd, 2009 11:44 am)
Wow, I don't post as much when I don't have bird news to share. Hm, what's new? My mom had a scare last weekend, she fainted in church and they called an ambulance and took her to the emergency room. Fortunately she's fine, they don't really know what caused the syncopy (that term always sounds so darned festive for just meaning 'fainting'!) but suspect a combination of factors including heat, low sodium, and hyperventilation.

I guess all the fun birds are off nesting, I'm mostly seeing finches, sparrows, starlings and grackles (#!@!!) at the feeder at the moment. Occasionally a jay or a flicker, but that's about it. The very fat suet-feeder-raiding squirrel hasn't been seen in some time, I suspect our fox may have gotten him, either that, or he had heart-failure from all the suet he'd snarfed. ;D Despite our having planted a bunch of flowers purported to attract hummingbirds to feeders, we've only seen two hummingbirds so far. They seem confused by the 'flying saucer' style feeder I have, so I think I may need to replace it with a more traditional one. We also are having to fight slugs and snails in our tiny flower garden for the first time I can remember. It's been weirdly humid here this summer. Beer didn't seem to be working, so I ended up getting a product that's basically granulated iron phosphate which apparently keels the snails and slugs ded, but does not harm other animals or plants. So far it seems to be working.

I've been trying some new recipes. Last night I made some hummus, combining 3 different recipes and it came out amazingly well, very lemony-garlicky-spicy, so I'm pimping the recipe behind the cut.Read more... )

Monday I made a (new to me) curry- a red "Madras" style one which includes potatoes and chickpeas. I used chicken for the protein and it was tasty, but think it would be better with beef or lamb. If anyone wants that recipe, I can post it after I get home, just let me know. It includes a recipe for the Madras curry paste used to make it, which makes enough for a small jar to use on other occasions.
Or, was. Goodnight, Walter, we'll miss you. He was 'the news' for several generations, really. What a shame he didn't quite make it to the 40th anniversary of the lunar landing. I still remember how excited he sounded. It was the first time I ever heard him sound anything but calm and soothing.
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