Author Archives: Pamela

The Crud Crisis

The crud finally got us. We’ve both been coughing our faces off for several days now. I went to pick up an extra stockpile of Fisherman’s Friend and–disaster!–they were out. I still have one unopened bag plus a half bag.

As a back up we have three tins of what we are calling Tante Hilla cough drops. Those are sorta low rent Ricola that Tante Hilla sent us from her Apotheke in Germany.

We’re remaining calm for now.

Before I went down with this cold, I had planned to write something about flu shots (Since this is the Internet, I will clarify that I know colds and flu are not the same thing but both fall under the general heading of crud and are being combined in this post.) But now that I have the crud, I don’t have the energy for the whole manifesto.

I have become a huge fan of Health News Review which is a website where medical professionals discuss how health news is portrayed in the media. I think it should be required reading. This article from 2015 talks about flu shots and I will just pull this quote:

“…under ideal conditions (when the vaccine matches the main viruses circulating that season) you need to vaccinate 33 healthy adults to avoid one set of influenza symptoms.”

I’m actually in favor of flu shots. What I hate is when you get sick and someone says, “Oh, didn’t you get a flu shot?”

Moving on.

For one calendar year I saved all the mail sent to our work suite that was addressed to the previous tenant, the people who moved out in September of 2008. That cruise company sends stacks of huge catalogs. I tried to notify them that “No one here cares. Your fancy catalog goes directly into recycling.” I guess no one there cares either.

Finally, I was at the bookstore last week and there were a bunch of kids there doing some sort of program. A little girl approached me to give me a card she’d made.

She wanted me to know it was Martin Luther King’s Birthday on Monday. Here’s the quote on the front of the card:

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

She wanted to remind me to remember his message and pass it along. I wasn’t sure if she wanted me to pass the card along but it was so cute I kept it but I’m sharing it with all of you. Peace.

Posted in doing it wrong | Tagged | Leave a comment

Cookie Sales

I can’t believe I’ve lived long enough to see Hugh Grant staring in a movie with a talking teddy bear.

Yesterday one the neighbor kids came over selling Girl Scout cookies. I was so sad Bob wasn’t here because this kid is a character and we’ve seen her around the neighborhood since she was teeny. He would have loved to be in charge of this transaction. I asked to buy two boxes and she asked if we would buy one from her and then another from her younger sister who was selling cookies for the first time. How cute is that?

Younger sister still hasn’t appeared but it’s been cold and wet so maybe she hasn’t gone out for her lap yet.

I’m sure it will come as a surprise to no one that abstaining from social media is brilliant. Staying away from discussion boards and not reading the news is great, too, although probably not the best idea in the long run for a responsible adult to skip reading the news.

Finally making measurable progress on Book #3 but I’m still working out of order so I don’t have a precise sense of my word count. Maybe a third of the way done? I’ll have a better idea when I have a couple more good productive weekends under my belt.

Posted in doing it wrong | Leave a comment

Searching for Consciousness

I was going to break my social media ban to tweet these today but a ban is a ban so I am posting here. (Anything that involves opening Twitter is banned. Blogging is fine.)

Item 1 is this article that was in the NYT food section and caused me to almost sprain myself from the full body shudders of WTF?

It’s hard to pull the best quotes when the entire thing is best quotes but here you go:

“…glass orbs containing 2.5 gallons of what is billed as “raw water” — unfiltered, untreated, unsterilized spring water, $36.99 each and $14.99 per refill…”

“He said ‘real water’ should expire after a few months. His does. “It stays most fresh within one lunar cycle of delivery,” he said. “If it sits around too long, it’ll turn green. People don’t even realize that because all their water’s dead, so they never see it turn green.””

And here is an opposite article — a really good one about great progress with Native voting rights, also from the NYT:

“[I]n late December, after a federal judge ruled that San Juan County’s longtime practice of packing Navajo voters into one voting district violated the United States Constitution, the county was ordered to draw new district lines for local elections.”

Posted in doing it wrong | Tagged , | Comments Off on Searching for Consciousness

Little Black Backpack

This is Percy, all piled with leaves to keep him warm. I don’t know why Bob named our fig tree (is it really a fig tree when it’s this small?) but now I drive up and I think, poor Percy is just some sad little sticks.

One of the good things about driving home from the coast was I got to drive along Highway 101 between Eureka and Crescent City which means I had some beautiful ocean views and drove through the redwoods. I know the world is filled with amazing beautiful things and places but there are few places or things that can compete with the redwoods in NW California. One of my very favorite places to be.


I made an off-hand remark a couple of days ago that I was considering giving up all non-essential Internet for the month of January. I can’t really give it up completely because I use it for work and streaming exercise classes and certain kinds of research and apps for writing.

The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea. I have unsubscribed from almost everything. I cleaned out my feed reader and left only friends and work related. I took Instagram and Twitter off my phone. I’m keeping a list of what’s allowed and what’s not. I am making an exception for Timbers and NCAA gymnastics — which starts NEXT WEEKEND. Here’s a link to my case for watching NCAA gymnastics.

Bob asked what I was going to be doing to fill the void I was creating and I’m like: getting my brain back. I let myself get so distracted. Hopefully I will do more reading and writing and learn new stuff.

My brand new backpack, which is not little or black. Did I ever write about what a hassle it is to find a new backpack? I started looking two years ago but it was like looking for a car with all the different kinds and configurations. Last year I found one to buy — it was nothing special but had nice colors and would carry my crap to and from the office every day and was reasonably priced. But the first three comments said: don’t even think about using this backpack in the rain.

Clearly, that wouldn’t do.

Then I started looking at waterproof backpacks which weren’t pretty and said things like, “Mt. Everest compliant.” I need to keep my stuff dry while I walk from the bus to the office. I don’t need to keep it dry in a monsoon.

Finally I found one I liked and bookmarked it and when I went back the company was out of business.

Then I found this one and it was not cheap but I figured, I have a big girl job, I can treat myself to a nice backpack that I will use and enjoy every day. So I bought it immediately, months ago. I opened the box to make sure it was the right thing, then I gave it to Bob to give to me for Xmas. I have been counting down ever since.

I can’t wait to use it. It’s from Waterfield. I bought several laptop sleeves and a laptop bag from them. I have never been disappointed.


This post is kinda all over the place but I will conclude with some podcasts I listened to while doing so much driving lately.

My favorite is Gymcastic which is for gymnastics nerds. I love the hosts – they are shameless fan nerds, they are extremely knowledgable, and they are funny but have covered the criminal abuse case with dignity.

My Dad Wrote a Porno — I feel like I might have mentioned this one. SO SO FUNNY. I haven’t listened consecutively but you can drop into any episode and get a good laugh.

My friend Tina does a podcast Toasted Cake which is spec flash fiction. I like that the episodes are short so if the story doesn’t work for me, it’s over quick, and I get to hear so many different writers.

I especially like long car rides for listening to writing podcasts because during my regular life if I have time, I’d rather be writing than listening to a podcast.

I like Writing Excuses because they keep it to 15 minutes and almost always hit something interesting even if the topic isn’t something related to what I’m doing.

Finally, I recommend with reservations, Narrative First. This one discusses stories using Dramatica which is story theory that I love. It is not for everyone. It takes some effort to learn. Narrative First works hard to make it more accessible but it isn’t something you study over the weekend and then get. Recommended only for deep story study nerds.

I will try to post once a week going into the new year. I’m still getting my bearings on my manuscript after my trip down south. As soon as I get a grip, I will start posting my word counts. I’m way behind where I want to be but I think I’m further along than I realize.

Happy New Year.

Posted in doing it wrong | Tagged | Comments Off on Little Black Backpack

Hips Don’t Lie

Here’s an update for anyone interested in what’s been going on with my family.

My dad had a hip replacement at the beginning of the month and was doing great with his recovery. Unfortunately, one day he misjudged the place where he was going to sit and he fell. He was taken to the hospital.

My folks live inland and the nearest medical facility is on the coast, about 90 miles one way.

I was off work for the holidays so I rearranged my holiday stuff and went to California to see what was going on. He didn’t have to do another surgery but he has to keep weight off of his leg for 4-6 weeks. When I got there he was still in the hospital but the next day he was released to adult physical rehab facility.

If you don’t know what that is, you should stop reading right now and wrap your arms around yourself and take a moment to be grateful. Chances are you will know someday, and you will yearn for this more innocent time.

While I was in CA we did several day trips to visit and then I spend several days in a motel and shuttled back and forth to the care center. Mostly to keep him company but also to help get situated and communicate with the staff on any issues that we wanted to bring to their attention.

The good news is that Dad is doing great with his physical therapy, getting more upper body strength to get in and out of the wheelchair, practicing walking with a walker using his good leg, and getting better mobility with both legs. The therapy staff is super terrific and seem to genuinely like working with Dad.

He had another X-ray while I was there and we were hoping for an Xmas miracle but unfortunately, no luck. The bad news is he’s stuck there at least another 4 weeks which was hugely disappointing.

During all this another family member had a health bloop but is recovering well. Also during this time my husband was moving his mother into assisted living. He stayed here while I was gone.

So, all-in-all it was a strange holiday season and not very holiday-ish with all the concerns.

BUT, we had a great meal with the extended family on Christmas eve and got a chance to celebrate being together. Then the immediate family went to spend Christmas day with Dad. The important stuff worked out.

I finally returned home on the 27th and it’s taken a few days to get back into the groove here. I plan to enjoy a lazy holiday weekend and then get ready to go back to work next week.

Hopefully tomorrow I’ll have a companion post about my trip down south.

Posted in pamily | Tagged | Comments Off on Hips Don’t Lie

You Can’t Stop Time

This is fabulous photo of my family taken in 1969. My Dad used a timer with a camera on a tripod. I remember him setting it and then hurrying to get into the picture.

I love my sister’s “you wanna mess with me?” face, my bowed legs and missing tooth, our bangs! and my Mom and Dad all young and healthy and happy.

I adjusted my plans and I’m headed to California tomorrow. Dad’s having some health issues and I want to be able to see him and help out Mom. Chirstmas is going to be weird this year.

Don’t stand by the mailbox waiting for our xmas card.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Posted in doing it wrong, goofy face | Comments Off on You Can’t Stop Time

Rain Maker or Rainmaker

I thought I’d take a lap through the yard and take a few dead garden photos before doing some long neglected clean up work.

Then it started raining. I don’t mind a drizzle. But then it rained harder so I ran in the house.

These are the only two photos I took.

We need raking out front, in the back, and along both sides of the house. So much raking. I still haven’t mixed in the compost. I’m sure there are still potatoes out there.

Earlier this week we ate a butternut squash I grew and it was fantastic. There are still a few little tomatoes on the window sill trying to get ripe. That’s the garden report.

I almost completely failed NaNoWriMo. I always have a hard time getting started. I’m still writing everything out of order so I don’t have a great feel for my word count. This is my best guess.

Posted in doing it wrong | Comments Off on Rain Maker or Rainmaker


I can’t tell you how long I fiddled with the cropping on this. The original photo was from a goofy angle and I couldn’t figure out what would be the least distressing to look at for people who don’t like looking at crooked photos.

My Auntie gave me the paper doll a long time ago and during that 15 minute period a few years ago when I was trying to be more creative I put her in a frame and she lives at the office now. I’m sure I got the idea from a blog or Etsy shop.

That’s November. Back to my once a week posting and hopefully a word count update on the last writing project.

Posted in doing it wrong | Comments Off on Angles

My Favorite Sweater

My favorite sweater for the past many years has been the Pendleton cardigan. I have worn 3 out. I have at least 4 in my closet right now. I wear a sweater almost every day of my life because I am cold when it’s cold outside and I am cold when it is air conditioned inside. My favorites are the merino wool because they are thin but still warm.

I haven’t had great luck with my cardigans the last few years. It seems like the colors were icky or the color I wanted was sold out. This year, I started early and I went to the new downtown store in October to get myself a new sweater. I did not have a good experience.

The new store is smaller and there were at least 4 people working there and they all seemed to be really busy doing something that involved avoiding customer service. When I asked about the cardigans they told me I needed to look at a catalog.

I stomped off in a huff.

Eventually, I commenced with a clicking exercise and searched around for cardigans online and found Woolovers. (wool overs or woo lovers?)

Check out all the colors!.

I almost bought 4 sweaters on the first go but I got nervous about the sizes. I bought a trial black sweater since my black cardigan is the one I had to retire. (For work use. It’s still fine to wear at home.) It just got here and it’s perfect. More sweaters to come.

Posted in doing it wrong | Comments Off on My Favorite Sweater

Finding the Fun Online

I very occasionally look at Craigslist ads for recreation. Don’t do this. It’s such a waste of time and no good will come of it.

One of my favorite ones was someone looking for a housekeeper. They wanted deep cleaning every single day–they had a whole list. You had to move furniture and climb under things and dust on top of things. Every day. Plus help with childcare, cooking, cleaning and errands and I think it was a flat rate like $400 a week. You could smell the crazy just from reading the ad. You knew these people were never going to be happy with whatever their worker did. I was afraid for anyone who answered the ad.

There was another one for a short term roommate and I get that when you’re looking for someone to live in your home, you have to have some rules. But this person had a very short time period, like three months, and limits on what you could bring into the house and when you could use the kitchen. You had to be quiet and not park your car close by and on and on with the rules. And the rent was above market. I wonder if anyone answered.

You can tell I’m running out of steam. Two more posts.

Posted in doing it wrong | Comments Off on Finding the Fun Online