Sunday, December 30, 2012

The boy doesn't even know about the Newtown massacre

The other day, Babbo confessed that he's been unable to stop thinking about the fact that we live and we die, but the earth just keeps spinning and spinning as if we weren't here at all. This is what has been making him afraid to sleep in his own room - because the thought was just making him so sad. We talked a bit about the meaning of being here, and I pointed out that most of the folks he knew were at peace with the fact that one day, some sooner than others, they would die. In addition to being at peace, they were honestly happy people. I encouraged him to be mindful of his actions on others, but to go ahead and to pursue those things that make him happy.

In other news this week, thanks or no thanks to our friends from the north (Mark, Mary, and Loz are down from Vancouver), the boy has been working on his Michael Caine impression.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Valerie and Judy see each other again after 8 years!

Chris and Valerie came back from the big city for a visit to the East Side around Thanksgiving Weekend. It was great to be with them again. We had a little wander around the glorious Tablelands on a glorious Thanksgiving morning, and we ate like princes and princesses (thanks Chris!).

On the morning I went in for surgery, my dad and Judy came up to help watch Wyatt. It'd been over 8 years since V and Judy had seen each other. By all reports, J recognized her dear buddies right away. Bless.

Yes, but is it going to be like a Costco inside there?

* still have this to look forward to in the coming years. 

Five days post-op from a laparascopic hysterectomy and man, I feel alright. I am on very little Norco and Ibuprofin and I am grateful for the talented and young Dr. Arndal who was able to keep the procedure from becoming a full laparatomy (the long incision through the abdominal walls), even though she found stuck ovaries and scar tissue.

Despite giving up: my left ovary, two fallopian tubes, a uterus, and a cervix, my innards feel pretty normal. I was afraid that having all those organs removed would render me into a Costco warehouse - all big and empty. Happy to report that my stomach and guts are only too happy to fill the void.

My remaining right ovary is a bit sore, but hey, if you'd been unstuck from your hiding place and cleaned up, you'd be sore, too.

I am grateful that my uterus and other reproductive organs aren't going to be my favorite topic of potluck chitchat (Hey, I am still an American and inappropriate topics at dinner are our birthright) for years on end (one year was enough). I am grateful for some insurance (such that it is - the procedure was approved only as an outpatient deal - right. I was vomiting from the anesthesia until 9 pm the night of). I am very grateful for Matty, Babbo, and my family and buds.

What we did on our holiday

Back from a very good trip to Europe. A week month and some later, the whines, the bouts of dehydration, and the fussiness over the logistical minutia have faded. A month and some later, the memories of being someplace familiar, but different, the good old-fashioned catch up with dear and new friends (Gary and Sandy Linn bred while we were breeding and their boys are awesome), and the random acts of kindness among strangers have prevailed.

I am grateful that Matt insisted on seeing some new places – and suggested the Swiss Alps. They, as well as Chamonix, are very special places. I guess we get all emotional about mountains and not beaches in the end. I'm glad that Schober got to see and climb around the Fatherland in a week of glorious autumn weather.

My night in London, with Carosello and Mark, Ed Sterns from my Hong Kong C/NBC days, Owen Harris – who is now in Sydney, Spence Bayles from Leeds and so many other old-timer, hardcore Mutton Birds fans was a dream. It was the weirdest thing to be in pub with folks I've known for years only online and to finish each other’s fragments of conversations with a Mutton Birds’ lyric. The band played very well and the highlight for me was looking over at Carosello, who openly wept to “Ngaire” and “While You Sleep.” It was also special to be in a venue with maybe 800 folks who knew the words to all the songs and all shared that special “mutton moment.”

Friday, September 21, 2012

"He's adorable like a puppy and a little boy rolled into one...."

Actually, Anthonie Tonnon of was a lot more than that. We put on our last houseconcert of the year, and truth be told, I wasn't sure how it'd all turn out. (Okay, truth be told, I ALWAYS don't know how it's going to turn out). For one, Tono doesn't perform music that you can dance to. We're sort of dancing fools in this town. He sings in a broad New Zealand accent about life in your twenties - about falling in love, the economics of being broke, the ghost of old girlfriends, etc. His "Skinny Jeans" is a primer on getting it on in the modern age.

But, I have been a fan for about five years - ever since I heard Graeme Downes sing Tono's praises on National Radio in New Zealand - ever since I wrote that quick note and bought that first release - and every release thereafter.

Matty said to me the night Tono and his friends arrived, "They get younger and younger each year." Babbo was so thrilled to be in the presence of the singer of his new theme song (ugh, 7 year olds wanting nothing but skinny jeans) - even more thrilled when said singer showed him a thing or two in soccer. I will always treasure the sound of Babbo squealing like a school girl and the sight of Tono in barefeet stealing the soccer ball time after time.

Turn out for the show was light (20-24). It was a school night. It's getting dark early. The twentysomething climbers in town are all broke. As always, the folks who came (and some aunties in particular) were very generous. The lights went down and we were blown away by the storytelling arcs, the lovely and touching and hilarious lines. I could hear folks chuckle as they listened through the veil of recognition. I could hear wee gasps when some line like this was sung:

One day I might be the mayor
And history has seen stranger things
It’s seen shrews grow wings
But no bat would exist
If mammals never leaped from trees
Following stupid dreams
Into the dirt face-first

AT and Karen took us to Rusty's, and Michael from Seattle, Karlya from Plimmerton, and Tono from Dunedin got a bit of that famous hometown hospitality. I even went. AT and I danced a few rounds of her jumping up in the air and touching the ground with our hands jig to Nick Cave. It was that fine of a night.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

It would be funny if I didn't feel like cryin'

No, not about my own uterus (which I *will* have taken out this November), but about the political climate. It is what makes me avoid talking to my mother and stepfather, who are not even nominally Republicans, because I find myself stepping in it all the time.

I see Romney and Ryan and I think about the rich kids I served while working in college - the kids who waved their parents' credit cards in my face with the "don't you know who I am?" smirks. I see the Obamas and I think about the smart kids I worked with - the ones who were going on to grad school on their own merits. I know who I want to represent me and that little hapa son of mine.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Conniving, as always

it’s advisable to check in advance to confirm engagements.

From "The New Yorker"
Musicians and night-club proprietors live complicated lives; it’s advisable to check in advance to confirm engagements.

You can say that again. A poor band from New Zealand didn't make their appointed date in our living room - twice. The first time, their newly minted old van sprung an oil leak and the second, there was a catastrophic implosion between the band members. It left them all traumatized, so very far from home, and at a loss for how to move on. We're in the midst of a heatwave, and I had to urge the members with the van not to try their maiden voyage up US395. 

In some way, the cancellation was a great way to have a wee gathering. I got the chance to dance with dear Karen and Betsey and some new lovely folks moving to town. The first set of songs - led by "How Soon is Now" kicked off what I affectionately call "Emo Hour."

Stephen took to calling me Yoko - because I got involved with a band, and they broke up. Hey, he's Brazillian and isn't saddled with all the PC stuff and for that, I can roll with the name. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

It's bliss.

What is wrong with me when I find 2 hours in the MRI tube a mini vacation? I didn't even get to bring  music! I turned all the clunking and thunking into some Germantechno lullaby and fell asleep.

Turns out, my angry lady bits are getting the better of me this year. I now have license to act like a crazy middle aged woman because all the bits are going haywire. (There is a reason they named the hysterectomy the hysterectomy. Turns out, I don't need one - yet). There's a good, very methodical new doctor in town and we are slowly, slowly figuring it all out.

With all the change happening in folks' lives (change without trauma like last year - mind, when it felt like all the relationships we knew - ours included-  imploded, exploded, and everything in-between), I am grateful that I still like this life, have insurance, have goals. Most importantly, the other day, I was able to tell Matt that if I dropped dead tomorrow, the ONLY thing I would regret would be not seeing Babbo grow up. Otherwise, I could die a happy (mostly) and content person.

In a related note re: change - wishing the Gaggias well in their new careers and lives in Ventura. It's rare that folks make the foray back into the "big city" - but being realistic - it's hard to make a living here in Bishop.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

From yesterday's New York Times

I try to remain mindful and grateful, but some days I really fail. I stuck Wyatt like a pig the other day trying out a new kind of infusion needle. Instead of being compassionate, I was angry because things didn't go as we hoped.

I have been lucky that my few bouts of depression have been very short-lived and not frequent. I realize, though, that anxiety and anger and depression are close relations.

I think seeing this article makes me feel better about spending some hard earned cash on a family adventure this year. A change of scenery and a change of routine will do us good.

Parents’ Depression Linked to Problems in Children


Like many other primary care doctors, I sometimes sense the shadow of depression hovering at the edges of the exam room. I am haunted by one mother with severe postnatal depression. Years ago, I took proper care of the baby, but I missed the mother’s distress, as did everyone else.

Nowadays it’s increasingly clear that pediatricians, obstetrician-gynecologists and internists must be more alert. Research into postnatal depression in particular has underscored the importance of checking up on parents’mental health in the first months of a baby’s life.

But a parent’s depression, it turns out, can be linked to all kinds of problems, even in the lives of older children.

“Depression is an illness that feeds upon itself,” said Dr. William Beardslee, professor of child psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, who has spent his career studying depression in children and developing family interventions. “Very often people who are depressed don’t seek the care they need.”

In 2009, the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council issued a report, “Depression in Parents, Parenting, and Children,” that summarized a large and growing body of research on the ways that parental depression can affect how people take care of their children, and how those children fare.

One in five Americans will suffer from depression at some point, noted Dr. Beardslee, who was on the committee that issued the report. “Untreated, unrecognized parental depression can lead to negative consequences for kids,” he said, ranging from poor school performance to increased visits to the emergency room to poorer peer relationships and adolescent depression.

Moreover, there is plenty of evidence that when depressed parents get treatment and help with their parenting, families are much better off.

Depression is certainly treatable, said Dr. Mary Jane England, a psychiatrist and professor of health policy and management at Boston University School of Public Health, who led the Institute of Medicine committee.
But, she added, “because of stigma and lack of training of some of our primary care practitioners, we don’t pick it up.”

Depression damages the interactions between parents and children, and disrupts family routines and rituals. Children with a depressed parent are themselves more likely to manifest symptoms of depression, research shows, along with other psychiatric problems and behavior issues. They are more likely to make visits to the emergency room and more likely to be injured.

A depressed parent may have trouble following a plan of preventive care if a child has a medical problem like asthma. But higher rates of depression in parents whose children have chronic medical problems may also reflect the stress of dealing with those problems, especially for psychologically vulnerable parents.
Depression may become part of a vicious cycle in these families: An overwhelmed and depressed parent is less able to follow a complex medical regimen, and a child ends up in the emergency room or the hospital, creating more pressure and more stress for the family.

“There is a high burden of maternal depression, anxiety,” among mothers bringing children to an emergency room, said Dr. Jacqueline M. Grupp-Phelan, a pediatric emergency room specialist at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. “It influences their own perception of how well they can deal with their kids’ problems.”
It’s also become clear that there may be genetic propensities to depression. Its appearance in parent and child may in part reflect inherited vulnerabilities.

And all of that reaffirms how critical it is for primary care doctors to ask the right questions and offer diagnosis without stigma.

“Moms appreciate being asked,” said Dr. Grupp-Phelan, who has done research on the acceptability of mental health screening. “It may be the only time they’ve been asked about their depression.”
I often find myself urging mothers to pay more attention to their own medical problems and mental health. Pediatric colleagues tell stories of depressed parents who break down and cry during a child’s visit, but then say they’re too busy taking care of the family to get help for themselves.

I don’t love the “do it for your child’s sake” argument; I worry it suggests that the parent isn’t important in her own right. But to be honest, I make that argument anyway, because it works.

“They are open to doing something about their own issues because it could help their kid, and that’s a very strong hook for mothers,” Dr. Grupp-Phelan said. And when the “doing something” includes a focus on the whole family, those routines and rituals and routines can be rebuilt, and there’s plenty of research to show that children are resilient.

So if parents are open to being asked, and if we know that identifying depression has important benefits for our patients and their parents, why aren’t we better at asking?

As a pediatrician, I tend to focus on the child, of course. Asking mental health questions of the parent can sometimes feel intrusive or invasive.

And there’s the worry that even if you identify a problem, there may not be good help available. When poverty and lack of access are combined with parental depression, not surprisingly, the risks are that much greater.

And in looking for parental depression, in asking about it and discussing the risks, there may be a sense that doctors are placing blame. I think we fear that parents who are struggling with these shadows will feel accused and inadequate.

“The last thing in the world we should be doing is blaming parents,” Dr. Beardslee said. “We should be reaching out and offering hope.”

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

RIP Sierra Phantom

Coverage from Blogging in Bishop

(Photo courtesy of Chris Morrison)
The Sierra Phantom 
KICK AROUND DOWNTOWN BISHOP and likely you’ll see a slender old man sporting a billowy white beard and pedaling a bike trimmed in faux-leopard fur. His embroidered Western regalia and his suitcase-pannier proclaim that he is: 
Now Bishop collects all kinds of knockabouts, interesting and otherwise, and for years I assumed “The Phantom” was a showy curiosity. Then one day in the mountains I ran into him, miles from the trailhead. He carried his spry skeleton down the track like he was right at home, and in tow he had a palefaced young couple with fish on their stringers and smiles across their cheeks. As he acknowl-edged me with a “Howdy,” I had to wonder if this ornamented geezer might have a real Sierra legacy. Back on Main Street, John P. Glover gave me his card and invited me over to hear his story.
The Phantom lives in a small studio, the walls covered with fading photographs and mounted trout and trout flies. On a bench sits a fly-tying jig. Sitting back on his bed, he looked gaunt, and not so much at home.
He began, “I used to have a chain of camps in the High Sierra, from South Lake all the way to Mosquito Flat. I had eight of them all together.” He told how at each site he built a shelter by digging into the ground, and then laying a roof of criss-crossed pine boughs. “I had to trap, hunt, fish, gather wild greens, and utilize what was in the area. Now, I did this for 51 years.” “Fifty-one years?” I almost choked. “For most of the year?”
“All year.”
“All year, three-hundred and sixty-five days?” I pressed. “Three hundred and sixty-five days. From 1946 until 1997.”
I sat back and heard my baloney detector beeping, trying to imagine all the trials of surviving year-round in the High Sierra. But he had me hooked, I couldn’t resist hearing more. “In all that time I survived avalanches, quicksand, bogs, whiteouts, electrical storms, hypothermia...There’s nothing in the area that I don’t know about.” 
Quicksand, bogs? Those aren’t part of the High Sierra I know. But other things he said had a ring of credibility. He named off remote places accurately, like Amphitheater Lake and Blackcap Basin. And he told why he had eight camps.
“Because if I stayed in one camp too long, I’d harm the ecology of the area. I had to rotate through one camp a year, to put as little pressure on the environment as possible. And after nine years when I got back to the first camp, the area would have re-propagated, you couldn’t tell anybody’d been there. Secondly, for my own safety, if one camp got destroyed or something, then I could always go to the next.
“I quit school in the eighth grade, we got very little education back then. But if you know how nature works, you learn how to survive, you learn how to be a jack-of-all-trades. I grew up in the woods in Oregon and Washington, and I learned how to fish, hunt, trap, and make all kinds of things. I’d make my own fishing pole with a willow stick, safety pins as eyelets, and an empty thread spool.” I was having a hard time swallowing 51 years, but I also couldn’t write off my sense of a genuine essence
“I traded porcupine quills and hides with the Indians for food…You learn the tricks of nature. You learn how to pre-predict the weather. And I’ve never been wrong in 51 years.”
“Did you ski?” I interrogated. “Very little, mostly I made my own snowshoes by bending green branches over a fire… “Did you ever come into town?”
“Yes, if food was scarce I would walk all the way into Bishop with two 5-gallon buckets and get my carbohydrates. Then I’d walk all the way back up...”
“Did you ever get harassed by the Forest Service?” “Sure, they were chasing after me for 30 years. Not once did they ever catch me or find my camps. And I told them I had the right to be up there because I’m a professional mountaineer, which I can prove, and I gave up four years of my life fighting the Japanese up in Alaska.
“And the other thing is that, except for a few groups like the Sierra Club, Americans never backpacked in the High Sierra until all this technology came up, not until 1960. And by 1970 there were 20,000 ding-a-lings running up and down the John Muir Trail, trying to climb Mt. Whitney, treating the Sierra like it was Prospect Park. That’s when I had to become a search and rescue agent. I came across families, Boy Scout groups, people who were injured, people with hypo-thermia, hyperventilation, bunions, bruises, the whole bit. I never worked for the sheriff or anything, I did it all on my own. It was just driving me nuts.”
In 1979, Phantom says a fierce, late-summer storm hit, turned to snow, and over four days he had to rescue a whole canyon full of backpackers and fishermen. The ordeal gave him frostbite, and he was “hypothermiating the whole time.” “You know how to catch fish?” I prompted.
“I am the undisputed fishing master of the High Sierra. These pictures are just a scratch in the bucket...1956, a strange thing happened, I was trying to improve my fly family, and I saw this 12-inch golden trout, the sun at my back, it was shining like a spotlight, and wham! I thought, if you could take that shine and put it on a lure, you could sure amplify your catch…
And to perfect his World Famous Glitter Fly? 
“When you shoot your deer, you knock off the hooves and boil ‘em and scrape the film off the surface, and that’s the strongest epoxy anywhere. And so I had a fly that carries so much oil you can put it in the water for 20 years and it will never sink. And I tie little eyes on…This is 70 years of science that nobody in the history of fishing has ever thought of…
“In 1997, the frostbite and hypothermia from 1979 finally caught up with me. The Paiute chief, Dan Silverspoon, came up to check on me, and I couldn’t move. I told him, let me be, I’m ready to go. But he said, ‘you have knowledge that nobody else has, you have to come down and share that knowledge.’ And he carried me down.”
Glover is 83 now, and since 1997 he has lived in town, venturing into the mountains only on day trips, showing people how and where to catch fish, and helping others.
“Anybody who needs food or anything, that door is always open… I have a guy who takes me down to Pleasant Valley Reservoir, and I keep two fish for myself, and I find seniors or a family with kids… And Raymond’s Deli returns that karmic favor, giving him a table to troll for conversation and customers from, and an occasional sandwich.
I kept asking myself, could the Phantom really have lived in the Sierra for decades, a neo-Daniel Boone? Logic said, nah, no way. On the other hand, his tale stayed very consistent, and I couldn’t dismiss it outright. Maybe he wraps a few boasts, like glitter, around a very real core. I met him a second time. This time I drove us out to Pleasant Valley. With his lungs still hurting from a hit-and-run incident with a car, we strolled slowly toward the reservoir, and he was indeed frail compared to when I saw him striding the high country. But as he talked—never a problem with that—pieces began to come together. 
“I’m a loner. I want to be alone. And man, I had one nasty childhood. I was born in Hollywood but my parents were slaughtered when I was three years old. In 1929 they went back to Germany to try to retrieve their relatives, and Hitler slaughtered all of ‘em. He took their property to feed the army, who were starving. That’s how he came to power. So in the meantime the Depression hit and I was turned over as a ward of the court. I went through three families, five orphanages, and I was nothing but a damned slave to every one of‘em. Most of them were alcoholics, one father beat the #### out of me with a quarter-round, so this kind of turned me against the world and all.
“In World War II, I was a sniper up there in Alaska, at Dutch Harbor. It was declared the second Pearl Harbor. And after that I just got disgusted with people killin’ and beatin’ each other and everything. And so I decided to live in nature. Nature is a fantastic teacher.”
As he said that we reached the reservoir. His blue eyes promptly lit up, his head lifted, and his enthusiasm came back. And he declared, “This is my real home, this is the greatest country anywhere.” Phantom pulled out a paper and handed it to me. It was printed with his own poetry. I started to read,
Hiking the Sierra’s a mile a smile
I heard strange music and paused a while
It filled the air, it humbled me,
‘twas the magic of nature’s symphony…
And I realized that, one way or another, the Sierra Nevada has put the life into the Phantom’s heart, and that’s what really counts
J.P "Sierra Phantom" Glover

May he rest in peace

Thursday, February 02, 2012

For the love of winter

We have been spending our weekends up at Mammoth Mountain skiing.
After years of flailing around on light telemark gear, I bought some old beater downhill gear and made the switch back to the kind of skiing I did when I was a kid.
Holy hell, it's fun!
Six year old Babbo is kicking my ass, but it is as it should be.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Reason enough to be relieved he's not doing well

It's weird to think that I could vote for a person based on one or two issues alone, but after having had the likes of Perry and Santorum in the Republican field of candidates.....

25 Jan 2012: Kate Harding: Invoking God's will as a supporting argument to his position on abortion hardly fits with the constitution he claims to uphold

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum
Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum (left) signs autographs at a Tea Party campaign rally. Photograph: Joe Skipper/Reuters
As a lapsed Catholic turned atheist, a staunch feminist and someone who has a strong general aversion to sleazy, disingenuous men, I was shocked yesterday to find myself feeling something like respect for Rick Santorum, Pope Benedict XVI and Piers Morgan all in the space of three minutes.
The three minutes in question are a clip from Morgan's interview with Santorum on the former's CNN talk show. In it, Santorum declares that even if his own daughter were raped – a hypothetical scenario both men manage to discuss with remarkable calm – the Roman Catholic presidential candidate would maintain his adamantly pro-life position regarding abortion.
I sincerely feel a tiny, grudging mote of respect for that degree of consistency. As anti-choice zealots go, those who will take the "baby killer" argument to its extreme appeal to me slightly more than those who can say with a straight face that abortion is murder, except when the woman didn't want to have sex.
Of course, that's the beginning and the end of my respect for Santorum, who had the gall to tell Morgan that his opposition to legal abortion is "not a matter of religious values". He insists that it's founded on his interpretation of the US constitution, as opposed to his interpretation of the teachings of Jesus Christ: "[L]ife begins at conception and persons are covered by the constitution, and because human life is the same as a person, to me it was a pretty simple deduction to make that that's what the constitution clearly intended to protect."
Hang on, I need a moment. Reading those words just gave me a bad flashback to tutoring hopeless freshman composition students in a university writing lab.
We're to believe that Santorum's desire to overturn Roe v Wade is "not a matter of religious values", yet, when discussing a hypothetical pregnancy by rape just moments later, he says: "I believe and I think that the right approach is to accept this horribly created, in the sense of rape, but nevertheless, in a very broken way, a gift of human life, and accept what God is giving to you." ("In the sense of rape." Deep breaths, Kate.) "Gift from God," "person under the law" – why quibble about semantic differences? The point is: Life! Glorious life! Santorum will defend it!
And here's where my blip of respect for Morgan comes along. "I know that your position is – correct me if I'm wrong – that you believe in the sanctity and the innocence of life. How do you equate that with supporting the death penalty?" he asks. Boo-yah! I dearly wish more American reporters would put that question to self-styled "pro-life" candidates who evince little interest in the sanctity of human life ex utero.
That brings us to my smidgen of respect for Pope Benedict XVI – and for that matter,John Paul II before him – for making it clear that Catholic doctrine, in a moment of convergence with common sense, holds that a pro-life position contraindicates revenge-killing born people. "It cannot be overemphasised that the right to life must be recognised in all its fullness," Pope Benedict said in 2009, praising the abolition of the death penalty in Mexico. So at least in that one respect, Santorum can truthfully say that his political intentions are not based on his professed religious values.
Still, if you can't even speak for a whole minute on a political issue without invoking "God's will" as a supporting argument, you have no business running for president of a country whose constitution actually – no weasel words or tortured logic necessary to make this case – enshrines freedom of religion. That alone should be enough to make any American who truly loves liberty and the vision of the "founding fathers" lose all respect for Rick Santorum as a politician.
But if you're not persuaded by that, just try remembering that he said becoming pregnant by a rapist is a gift from God. Out loud. With a camera on him. And he wants to be president of a country that has women in it.
What does this man have to do to get drummed out of the race?

It's ugmo and it might be ours

We've been in the market for a new car. We go down to LA often enough for Children's Hospital visits that we need a reliable Schoberlew mover that won't break down on the way down and that won't break the bank in gas. Used cars are really expensive right now and I'm sort of tired dealing with all the baggage that comes with owning two 1994 Toyotas - one with over 100,000 miles and one with over 200,000 miles. 

So after having test driven the Toyota Matrix and the Honda Fit, we are pretty much sold on the Fit. This will be the first non-Toyota I've ever owned. 

The automatic gets 35 miles to the gallon and the manual gets 33. As much as I wanted a manual, it might be more practical to get the AT.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

[Shakes fist in the air]

Had a great quick trip thanks to work and United Airlines to the Bay Area for two days. I made it to my first staff retreat in 12 years of employment! My office really does fight the great public health fight, and I work with so many dedicated people and friends.

It took me nearly the whole two days to get my city on. I brought a compass and discreetly whipped it out when I came out of the holes in the ground that are BART stations. Speaking of which, dude, the upholstered seats on BART have to go. There's a vaguely pooey/peeey element about those damned seats, and it's activated every time somebody gets up or sits down. Having said all this, I was grateful for the chance to catch up with my dearest friend (and boss) Diane at the un-upholstered North Berkeley station while we waited for our trains.

I stayed with Chris and Val next to Mission Dolores in "the City." They lived in Bishop until late 2004, and I've only seen them once since. A lot has happened to us all in the intervening years (we - the parenting route, they- back to the high flying, venture capitaling/consulting route), but it was beautiful to pick up where we left off - feeling loved and telling tales with blankies on our laps on their most perfect couch.

They spoiled me and ruined my life (probably in more ways than one) when they introduced me to these little bastards (which are not shipped by any retailer)

The week started with a most perfect family ski day at Mammoth. We had a date with two lovely families and did laps on mellow Chair 7 and Chair 16. The kids decided that two hours wasn't enough and became masters of their own universe and did endless laps on the poma lift. They were free. They were happy. It was t-shirt weather. It was a good way to put me on a wee plane and send me off to the big city. 

Babbo's blood sugars were out of control the morning after I got back and we either gave him some bad luncheon meat or he had a bad stomach virus. I was glad to be home for him.

Food notes: got to eat Mission Chinese. Had Tripe Florentine (land squid) and calamari (sea tripe) at Delfina. Happy girl.