Wednesday, October 31, 2007

What I like about Bishop

(just ripping off Helen Newman's post riffing about life in Copenhagen)

The friends who will give you the shirts off their backs, esp. the ones who are always game for impromptu potlucks and who come bearing goodness in a dish.

The Black Sheep, the brilliant coffee bar that is less than a minute's walk away, and the attached Spellbinder Books.

The 340 days of relentless sunshine.

The White Mountains.

The Sierras.

The very tiny, but very much loved and supported arts community.

The Millpond Music Festival, where all the kids run wild and free and the musicians come from so very far away to entertain.

The Tri County Fair at Labor Day Weekend.

The Mule Days Parade.

Living downtown with my big tomato garden.

Cycling to do almost all my errands.

The fact that nobody locks their doors.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Hospital bed for one

Dr. Mast leaves no stone unturned.
I have a rent-a-hospital-bed coming to the house. I found out yesterday when the local rent a bed place gave me a ring.
The kindly LVN at the Clinic said that Dr. Mast's patients, because they have already had their battery of preoperative tests by the time they come for the preoperative consultation, are the best prepared.
Yeah, I suppose I am.

No shaving, no herbal supplements, no nicks, scratches, etc. in my hind and lower quarters.
No colds. No dental work (whoops, the cleaning from 3-4 weeks ago was a no-no).
No milk in my coffee the morning of.
No narcotics on an empty stomach, no matter how much in pain I might be at 3am.
Lots of good laxatives.

I think of my lovely, greatly missed Tommy Ryan and think about how much grace and generosity he had when Wyatt and I would visit him in his hospital bed. I am lucky, because unlike him, I will have the ability to walk away - eventually.

Monday, October 29, 2007

God bless The New Yorker

When we became parents, we really found out what it was like to have very little free time. Nighttime now means falling into bed, wee worn down nubbins.

I usually read one to two articles out of the New Yorker before turning out the lights. It would be hard to devote just 15-30 minutes to a novel each night. It would be too disjointed and life is like that already. No, in 15-30 minutes, I've read my article(s). Some days, that is my only sense of accomplishment.

I recently read about a fasting spa for the Hollywood set in the food issue. Skandar was down there last week auditioning his crystal, bowl, gong, etc. healing "modality." He is hoping he got the traveling healer gig. We hope so, too. He'd be based in Bishop, but have clients with, gasp, money.

We'll soon be adding The Economist to the stacks of half read magazines in our lives.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Quick listens

Midlake - Trials of Van Occupanther. Fairly sleepy. Young Bride def. the stand out single. Fits nicely in that Decemberists, Grizzly Bear part of the collection.

Surf City - Surf City EP. (Arch Hill Label, NZ). Vintage Dunedin sounds (from Auckland) meets no wave. Wait, isn't that rather redundant? I like 'em, though.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Signs of autumn in the Valley

Skin like a pebbled leather handbag.

Adhesion bogies inside the nose -the kind that really hurt.

Backyard dips in the kiddie pool for lunch.

Woodfires for dinner.

Civilized and really lovely potlucks - the kind where nobody gets too shitfaced and tries to cop a kiss on somebody. That will come at Christmas and again after Summer Solstice.

The great international dirtbag climber migration into Bishop - dudes and dudettes in puffy down jackets and knit caps wandering around town after dark wondering what there is to do and trying to get warm before going back to their crappy, cold, campsites in the dirt.

Absence of dumbass drivers from LA with their skis and snowboards mounted on their SUV roofs going wayyyyy tooooo fast up 395.

Jeans and longsleeved shirts, not much else.

Sally Field extended disco remix moment

Was going to post the latest NZ Musician cover story on the Phoenix Foundation forum (thanks Rodney and Carla, my operatives in Newtown!), but skimmed over it first (which is unusual) and saw that Luke Buda really sang Bishop's praises and mine, too. I reckon that as exciting as it is to see one's name in print, it's a weird feeling, too. It was such a community effort that got them here, fed, loved, paid, etc. Really, if one piece of the pie (the venue, the sound, the gear, the audience) failed, none of it would have been a reality.

I know the band know it was a community effort.

So, instead of posting the article, I used the occasion to send a love note to everyone who was involved. Let's hope for more opportunities in 2008!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Two extra days of living with the old setup

Surgery has been moved out to the 7th. I was one of the lucky ones who didn't have to change plane tickets or get my date shifted by a week. I reckon that if one wants an audience with the Pope of Hip Surgeons.....

Lovely pizza potluck at Marsha and Cal's last night to celebrate some birthdays. There was a lovely wee puppy Cal rescued from the Res(ervation). There are folks putting dibs on it, including AT.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Sally Field moment

Matty and I apparently got listed in the shout outs in the liner notes to the Phoenix Foundation's New Zealand release of Happy Ending. All I could think was, "bloody hell" and be really touched. Our copy still hasn't arrived in the mail. The transpacific postal faeries must be held up in Customs and Immigration.

In other news, we had the largest poker pot last night. Zach won $34.60 (most of it his) on an epic round of Between the Sheets/Acey Deucey. Karen dealt. This beats the $11.40 Matty won in Two Card Dropsies (guts) hands down.

Working on a medical "to do" list. This morning, zipped into the old (circa 1950-1960s) Northern Inyo Hospital for an EKG and Chest X-Ray. This afternoon, got the boy and myself flu shots. Wyatt was lovely and gave the nurse a heartfelt "thank you," even though he wasn't too pleased about the jab.

I have a date with some stirrups Wednesday, full bloodwork Thursday, pre-operative physical therapy assessment Saturday, pre-op consult the following Monday, pre-op clearance Thursday, and a type and cross blooddraw Saturday.

I am grateful that I have time to prepare and that this surgery isn't the result of some nasty accident on the highway. It will be a clean cut, Sir. No mushy bag of shards and hamburger for me this time.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Winter potluck season

Ray and Lesley kicked off the winter potluck season last night. Yay!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Fat bastard

Whoa, Nelly!

I guess I couldn't just pound down those Hoegaardens and deviled eggs (they are easy and so cheerful) and Belgian chocolates and meatpies and French cheese and Spanish chorizo and white trash novelty ice cream bars (Schwan's orange push 'ems and vanilla ice cream sandwiches), not exercise, and not expect to put on 5 lbs in a little over a week.

So, been riding the bike rig with the baby trailer for errands and trying to build up some massive thighs and butt before the surgery. The sun is still shining, there is no wind, and the nearby fields are all a gold and glorious.

I'm still going to drink the beer and eat the bad food, but cut back on the excesses and add kale and malt o'meal (for the iron).

I still have my wonderful and supportive friends and folks, my tasty snow white cherry tomatoes, and my sense of wonder.

Thursday, October 11, 2007


Surgery scheduled for Monday, 5 November. One week after Jon Becknell's second total hip replacement and a week and a half before Michelle's procedure. Bishop will be convalescent city.

Right now, I'm a little less flippant and a little more scared.

Lots to do before it all happens. Wyatt will start full-time daycare on the 1st.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Leaps and Bounds

In the midst of the screeching (Poor Wyatt *does* seem to be getting his last molars in), there are thrilling moments in which the boy's abilities are taking off before our eyes.

At 2 and a half, he is singing his own songs about "he runs away" and accompanying himself on the ukulele.
He is telling us long, involved tales about "eyebrows jumping over the fence" and the like before bedtime.
He is asking "do you remember that?" to things that might have happened months ago.
He is greeting his allergist with a hearty "Hello Dr. Beck!"

We're pretty sure he's pretty normal on the achievements scale, but to us, it's all pretty neat.

Phoenix Foundation in GR with a mention of Bishop, to boot!

Yes, the Bishop reference might have been a pisstake at us and the band, but the proof was in the pudding. Recently, folks have been asking when the next gig might be.

The band's third CD, Happy Ending, is out in NZ now! It is faneffingtastic and you can get yours here.

(Click on the pages to enlarge.)

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Friday, October 05, 2007

"Carrie Ku Mei, I have found you!"

After 20 some odd years, I finally found "But Liu Ching" [or "Bu Liao Qing" in Mandarin] and other songs from the 1960s Shaw Brothers' Hong Kong film "The Lark." They, along with the single for "Kung Fu Fighting," The Carpenters' "brown album," The Chopstick Sisters' LP, and a Jackson Five LP, were the soundtrack of my childhood as an only spoiled child with my own turntable and a microphone (Sanyo suitcase model, silver and black).

When Matt and I lived in Hong Kong, I used to search out cd shops in Kowloon with the name of the song scribbled on a piece of paper (I got my coworker William to write it down in Chinese). Shop keepers used to laugh because the song, as popular as it was, was very old fashioned and not available on cd. There was the brief stint backpacking in Melacca, Malaysia, where I found the song on cassette, but lost it in the hostel when the thieving Algerians made off with Matty's pack and passport.

I have been going through an Asian "Roots" thing ever since I found out about The Phoenix Foundation in the last issue of "Giant Robot." GR is a very neat publication and store celebrating culture and Asian American culture. I've been thinking about what it means to be born Chinese Californian and to be livin' in a little redneck town, what that expat stint in Hong Kong was all about (Thanks Kay, who was here last week, for helping me remember a lot of the details), and why a song in a language I don't understand should mean so much to me?

Postscript: Patrick and Doreen just sent me an MP3 of "But Liu Ching" also known as "Love Without End" in English. It is on Shanghai Divas Vol. 2. I have Shanghai Divas Vol. 1 and wasn't so impressed with the remixes, so never bothered to look further into them. Silly me. When it rains, it pours.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

More along the line of selfish indulging

There is a gorgeous 13.5 gallon keg of Hoegaarden beer at Manor Market with our names on it. (Thank you Markie and Karl!!!!) The obscure A type "German Slider" keg coupler is on its way up via Fedex, and we should be in business by tomorrow evening.

I will need to stop drinking while I am on the combination of morphine, warfarin (yes, the ratpoison. It also is a blood thinner), and laxatives in little more than a month, I'm sure. So, while the sun still shines on this fair Valley and while I still have the wonky femurs I was born with, let me at that damn keg!

As far as I understand the surgery, it goes like this: cut slit in upper thigh; pull away abductor muscle, saw femur in half just below the trochanter, the bit that flares below the ball; rotate lower portion of leg in 20 degrees, check how the ball of the femur sits in the hip socket, band the two cut halves of the femur under incredible pressure, something like thousands of pounds per square inch; pin a rod to the length and exterior of the femur to give it a plane to work with (and to give me hip where there were no hip before); put muscle back, stitch the skin back up.

The days that try parents' patience

We hit the so-called "terrible twos" with a vengeance. The past two weeks were one long fuss fest. Wyatt whinged where he used to be helpful. He was stroppy where he used to be obedient. Besides a cold and allergies, it was hard to figure out where the fuss was coming from.

Kay Wong, from my NBC Asia days in Hong Kong, Kay's husband Andy, and Matty's de facto cousin Greg all had liberal doses of "birth control" by hanging around us this past week. Hope they didn't want any kids anyway.

On the plus side, my child is slowly returning to me. Maybe there is a God.