Thursday, January 31, 2008

Just add insulin...or sugar

We went down to Childrens (there is no apostrophe) Hospital LA to meet Wyatt's diabetes doctor, nurse, and nutritionist. The team were wonderful. They kept asking if we had any questions and gave us the assurances that we were going down the right road to good diabetes control. The new protocol will just involve more finger sticks to check blood glucose levels and a few more insulin shots to "cover" the carbohydrates eaten during snacks.

The boy cheerfully gave two vials of blood for a thyroid antibody and Celiac Disease test. Fingers crossed he is fine in those departments.

CHLA is a behemoth of a facility and is like a well oiled machine. Matty, ever the engineer, appreciated that.

Seeing all the families and kids with varying degrees of conditions and difficulties made us grateful that we can do easy things to make the boy's life a healthy and full one.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

My own LA Chinese food trifecta

  • Mandarin Deli in Northridge for Shanghai dumplings, cold stewed tripe, and moo shoo. Believe it or not, real Chinese will occasionally stoop to eat moo shoo.
  • Empress in Chinatown for dim sum and no crowds. It's fun to watch Mr. Empress, an old Chinese man in pretty simple clothes, survey his domain.
  • Sam Woo's Van Nuys for hot greasy chowmein (Hong Kong "stylo") and roast meats over wonton noodles. They have a Chinese American guy working and the nicety level has shot through the roof.
Oh yeah, Naomi and Dave Chan Hansen's for Chinese New Year feasting over sticky rice, oyster lettuce wraps, shrimp chips, roast pork, etc. They have been putting back the Chi in Chinese since 2006. Bless.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Pop single of the week - Mansard Roof

Active had been thrashing this single and I kept missing the back announce. Just finally made a quick call to Wellington to find out who it was.

Vampire Weekend. They are out of New York.

I am a sucker for speedy pop hooks. This single is up there with "80's Celebration" (by the Reduction Agents, whom I first heard on Active, too.)

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Babbo, Pedal King of Bishop

and if he ends up a poor musician, you can blame the family.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

And now for something completely different

a spate of good news:

My other surgeon (I was double teamed. I think this is why my stitches were so long, they needed room to get two sets of hands in there) Dr. Perry gave me the go ahead to weight bear as much as I could stand (oh, the pun!). I can begin strengthening physical therapy exercises in a month and skiing beginner slopes in two months! He seemed dead chuffed about how the bone was healing (the Xray looks like a bit like an ice cream sandwich, with the vanilla being the new bone) and how the hip now looks like a classic textbook hip, especially when juxtaposed next to the old school wonky one.

It's as if the news took out some of the wobble from my hobble. I was getting concerned that I would walk like an Igor for the rest of my life.

I celebrated with my first cycle around the block.

We got a date with Children's Hospital LA at the end of the month with Dr. Debra Jeandron. She was part of the country's best doctors list for 2007. This appointment will be just in time as it seems as though Wyatt has entered ANOTHER honeymoon phase. This means easing off the insulin doses to almost nil. He still needs some insulin to keep the remaining insulin-producing bits in his pancreas alive for as long as possible. I underdosed him this morning, and he still got hypoglycemic by lunchtime. We are watching him like a hawk, though, and he likes the attention.

Our lovely renters over at our "retirement house" (we bought Matt's Mom's property last year in lieu of doing IRAs for a few years) will be staying on another month. This gives us another month to look for a replacement. It was looking grim and possibly eating into our vacation budget.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Dividends from a misspent youth

We saw Paris Je T'aime over the weekend and the Ben Gazzara/Gena Rowlands' Latin Quarter segment touched me. It was only because when I was at Cal, Tyler and I would sneak off to see John Cassavetes' films, many of which starred Gazzara and/or Rowlands. It was a joy to see them again, delivering their lines wickedly and credibly (they play a divorcing couple).

So many times I stumbled out of the Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley pretty much with the sensation that I totally didn't get the Cassavetes film I'd just seen. I have seen The Killing of a Chinese Bookie twice, and I still don't get it. It was almost as if I willed myself to see the films knowing it would one day be good for me.

(The other Paris Je T'aime segments I was fond of were the Nigerian stab victim, the American woman abroad, and the boy who follows the Muslim girl to her mosque.)

Wyatt's Bits and Bobs

He might have had the shortest Honeymoon Period ever - all two days of it. He then caught a cold and his blood glucose levels shot up, and we seemed to always be a day or two behind figuring out what was going on.

I am happy to report, though, that we seem to have reached equilibrium with his insulin needs and for the first time since his diagnosis, his levels are where they should be. As the Kids in the Hall zombie sketch punchline goes, "Yes, but for how long?" One growth spurt or virus will send it off kilter. Perhaps this disease teaches us, more than anything, to learn to roll with the wee punches.

I have lately revisited that funny habit that all mothers of newborns have and taken to waking him right before I go to sleep to make sure that he is still alive and not unconscious. Usually this means just smooching on him and tickling him until he rolls over in disinterest or starts to laugh.

I have started to take part in the 3:00 am glucose readings. Rare is the night that the parent who stays in bed stays asleep. The reading is like a magic number and there is intense curiosity surrounding what it could be.

Newest nickname for the boy: Comb-over Larry. He so looks like a very small middle aged man, potbelly, thinning hair, saggy bummed trousers and all.

Wyatt is the owner of a pair of bitchin' Rossignol downhill skis and Nordica boots thanks to the Griffiths, one of the other laissez-faire, liberal, parents in town.

Friday, January 11, 2008


Our dear Mayumi lost her mom, Harue, on New Year's Eve. Mrs. Stroy, as I knew her, was a beautiful, beautiful woman. Together with her husband Albert, they always made sure that Mayumi's friends were well fed and taken care of.

Mrs. Stroy was born in Japan and still made a lot of Japanese dishes. She used to harvest roe in the waters off Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay. She told me that she felt like such a "Mahr-maid" standing there in over waist deep water, with the Bay flowing around her. I had not seen Mrs. Stroy in years, but we always hoped that she would get the chance to come over the mountains and to go for a swim in the various hot springs we have here. The opportunity has passed, but I will think of her when the water at the springs pulls this way and that.

I have also been moved by Sir Edmund Hillary's passing. I was struck by pictures of his Everest ascent as a little kid and really struck by the Himalayan Trust school we passed through in Pangboche on our Everest Base Camp trek in 1996. These sentiments gave away to a stint about 8 years ago of reading as many books as I could about him. He was remarkable for his spare words and honesty about his abilities, his drinking, and the loss of his first wife and youngest daughter. His modesty was not for show, and I reckon that they just don't make many men like him anymore.

the Weakerthans

Digging on this Canadian quartet's release "Reunion Tour" thanks to Mary and Mark, who made sure we got our fill of Can-Con (government mandated Canadian Content in the arts) for Christmas.

The Weakerthans are from Winnipeg and are unabashedly North American. Considering that a lot of popular bands these days sound like they are from somewherelse (the Decemberists with their sea shanties and over articulation come to mind), it's neat that a band can just crank out pure pop with unforced references.

(Actually, I like sea shanties and over-articulation heaps).

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Sundry things in the new year

  • We got about 4 inches of rain, over 3/4 of our annual average, over a 15 hour period last week.
  • The Schoberlews have a bad case of gas.
  • Wyatt told his daycare provider that he had nipples and that she had nipples, all while he was sitting on the potty.
  • He does not do number twos at school. Ever.
  • I probably have Attention Deficit Disorder. It makes sense and explains so very many things.
  • Wyatt's diabetic honeymoon period might have only lasted two days.
  • The boy thinks he's Sleeping Beauty and needs a lie in until 9 am. I think it's a growth spurt.
  • We are addicted to HBO's The Wire. It is teaching us to swear creatively.
  • Bishop is in need of another rock and roll show.
  • Still angling for a way to go to Portillo, Chile, for a ski at a self-contained resort (free daycare included and medical staff on hand) this August.
  • Matt and I are handling the new stresses of life quite differently. Sometimes we communicate effectively, sometimes not. My skills and sense of humor improve remarkably when I've had my evening glass of beer. His, when he has had a ski.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

The Lives of Others

We saw this incredible German film two nights ago, and I have been thinking about it ever since.

Ultimately, it was a film with a kind of redemption that I could live with - the kind that didn't make me throw my hands up in the air and run screaming from the room. The other work that makes me feel this way is the BBC production of the Singing Detective.

I found the film's pitting of restraint versus desire, morality versus immorality, comfort versus loneliness, and power versus powerlessness in a backdrop of total fear and paranoia, arresting.

I knew I had to see the film when I read Anthony Lane's ecstatic review in the New Yorker.

The late Ulrich Muhe's work in this film breaks my heart.

Matt noticed that no one ever raises their voice in the film.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Grouse Mountain - thanks Michelle!

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Igor at your service

The lovely sun was out on New Year's Day and those of us at Camp Spruce Hoose buggered off to the desert to enjoy it. I hadn't been literally outside in ages and hobbling around the sage and sand on Jon's borrowed cane was pure joy.

The Vancouverites and everyone else went home and the house felt a bit empty. Christmas and New Year were great, with everyone pitching in, like we were cast members of a production of "Stone Soup." It was wonderful to still feel a connectedness to friends made what now seems like so many years ago.

When I can't find the cane or crutch, I hobble around the house like Igor. I am even of some use in that state because for the first time in months, both hands are free!