Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Meet Comet

She's 14 years old and has outlived two Golden Retrievers, Molly and Emily. She is very cuddly and skinny, which is unusual for cats. She only weighs 7.2 pounds. Most of my other cats have weighed in somewhere in the mid-teens. During the day she sleeps on top of my computer monitor. At night she sleeps with us. Usually in the morning she has more of my pillow than I do. She sits in the window of my office and watches the bird feeders. Her little jaw quietly snapping as she lusts after the birds. During the summer she chases and catches lizards. I've met quite a few of them in my office. She is a sweetheart. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Platelets...I Give Mine Away

For the twelfth time this year I donated platelets at the blood bank. Here's why. During my Enron days I was flush with cash and used it to support my favorite cause, a woman's right to choose, AKA Planned Parenthood. Those days came to an end rather abruptly and my monetary donations dwindled.

Then Kerry was diagnosed with a platelet disorder. His body sees them as the enemy and destroys them. Not good if you get cut or need surgery. Platelets stop you from bleeding to death. No it's not hemophilia. That's a genetic disorder. His is an auto-immune disorder. Don't know when it started but he has it, and the odds of it going away are not good. Once a quarter he is tested. His platelet count runs around 40,000-50,000. Normal is 250,000 to 400,00.

So combine the two things: my lack of money and his disease, and you come up with a way for me to make donations from my body without spending a dime. You can write off the mileage to the blood bank on your taxes. It's better for women to donate platelets than whole blood. When women donate whole blood it takes long time for our hematocrit (ratio of red blood cells to blood volume) to get back to 38. After I had donated blood a couple of times the blood bank suggested donating platelets as a way to be a regular donor. Platelets are used for people like Kerry, for burn victims and cancer patients.

Each time I go in I do a double, 2 pints. It take about 80 minutes. The machine that does it is very cool. First it takes some blood out, runs it through a filter and captures the platelets, then the blood is returned to my body. This goes on the entire time. When the blood goes back into your body it's been cooled just by being out of your body.

So far I've donated 6 gallons and 3 pints. They make a big deal out of the 6 gallons, but 10 gallons is even a bigger deal. The people at the blood bank are incredibly nice. You can watch a movie or read or whatever. Today I fell asleep, which is not good. You have to squeeze a rubber ball to keep the blood flowing. They watch you closely when you are doing this. All of a sudden today someone touched my hand containing the rubber ball. She then spent the next 30 minutes talking to me to make sure I didn't fall asleep again. I swear I was squeezing the ball. She seemed to know better. Once you finish donating then you go to the snack bar and have two cups of juice and a snack. Rehydrating is very important.

So, if you want to really help a lot of people, go to your nearest blood bank and be tested for your platelet level. If you have a lot, then start giving them away. My level is 350,000. Kerry had a platelet infusion when he first got his disorder. The cost was $48,000. So you can see that platelets are very valuable. You can give every three days as long as your hematocrit level stays above 38. I go in every two weeks.

Try it, you might feel really good afterward. I know I do. Plus you get to see what platelets look like.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

All He Wants For Xmas Is A Big Screen TV

Kerry is very worried that Santa won't bring him the big screen TV he wants. The one he's standing next to is at Dennis and Carole's in Naples. He really likes it. Posted by Picasa

Thanksgiving By The Pool In Naples

Yes, we had Thanksgiving dinner on the lanai right next to the pool in Naples where my cousin Dennis and his wife, Carole, have a winter home. We spent some lazy days reading and knitting by the pool, swimming in the pool and watching television by the pool. Here are a few pictures for your enjoyment.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Thanksgiving Greetings To You All

Here are the things I'm thankful for this day.

1. I'm in sunny Florida celebrating the day with my cousin Dennis and his wife Carole and Kerry.
2. My brother has a new job, a wonderful wife, great kids and stepkids and a spectacular house in the mountains outside Denver.
3. Mark was able to buy a house in Albuquerque.
4. The health of everyone in the family.
5. The birth of Grandbaby Max Cheng Christie on March 30, 2005.
6. My sister Vicky's new job in the Treasury Department
7. Celebrating my 60th birthday in Albuquerque with family and friends
8. Finally getting to see a performance by the Santa Fe Opera Company
9. The many trips I was able to make to visit my family in Minneapolis this year
10. The love and friendship of Kerry's family in Washington State: Susan and Gary, Marshall and Mary Susan, David and Summer and Joanne.
11. Emily, our beloved Golden Retriever, is no longer suffering with epilepsy. I do miss her terribly.
12. My business is thriving.
13. Kerry loves his art classes and is exploring his creative side by creating many beautiful things
14. Adopting Beverly and George (our friends in Albuquerque) into the family. They were at my birthday party and the Santa Fe Opera performance.
15. Living in the country where it's beautiful and quiet.
16. Most of all I'm thankful for the fact that I have Kerry in my life. In January we will celebrate 5 years together.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

A Winter Hat For Max

I finally mailed the hat to Max last week. When you live in Minneapolis you need a good way to keep your head warm. It didn't take long to knit. It's the first thing like this that I've done. Posted by Picasa

The Aroma of the Holidays

For me the smells of Christmas are as important as the people and the gifts. When the tree is in the house the scent is pine. It's subtle but it's there, especially when you come in from out of doors. Then there is the baking: rosettes fried in oil and dusted with powdered sugar, sugar cookies baking in the oven and the smell of lefse when you first open the package.

And of course you can't forget the smell of Thanksgiving. Those aromas start the night before with the browning of the onions and sausage. And Grandma Coakley's sweet potatoes have a heavenly scent. Three ingredients: sweet potatoes, brown sugar, butter. Her cooking was simple but delicious.

This year, however, I won't be able to smell these things, because last spring I lost my sense of smell. I had a bad cold that lasted forever. At some point I realized that I wasn't smelling things. I put my sniffer to the ultimate test and opened a bottle of nail polish remover. I couldn't smell a thing. For all I knew it could have been a chardonnay.

Now there are some upsides to this condition. I can't tell when the litter box needs emptying nor can I smell dead skunks on the road. The flip side is that I can't smell leaking gas or gasoline or smoke.

I thought about inquiring about a handicapped parking place but soon realized that my hampered sniffer didn't keep me from getting in and out of the car.

Food has lost some of its appeal. Taste comes from a combination of your taste buds and your sense of smell. Sometimes I forget and try to inhale the aroma of a wonderful zinfandel. That's a bummer. Doctor says it may or may not come back. I don't think about it much until someone around me says, "doesn't that smell good". Then I know I'm missing something. But in the grand scheme of things, a malfunctioning sniffer is not a big deal. Luckily I live with a wonderful man whose sniffer works just fine.

So don't take yours for granted. Spend a few more bucks and buy it the soft tissue.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Another Great Breakfast Place

Here's the other place we had breakfast. This is where they serve the "smashed" breakfast. I have my back to the camera. Kerry is to my right. Cassie is at the head of the table (Charlotte's daughter who lives in San Diego). To Cassie's left is Joy, her friend from high school who is going to medical school in Denver. Next to Joy is Nan, Charlotte's mother. Charlotte is on my left. The restaurant is small so they have this heated tent outdoors where large groups can eat. Posted by Picasa

Breakfast Is The Best Meal Of The Day

I've always been a fan of breakfast. Luckily the man with whom I live feels the same way. A good breakfast can carry you through to dinner. I've always wondered who invented lunch. Just doesn't appeal to me.

When we were in Evergreen visiting Richard and Charlotte we went to two great breakfast places. They like breakfast too. The first is the Wildflower Cafe, a little hole-in-the-wall in downtown Evergreen. I had a skillet breakfast there with the crispiest country fries I've ever had. On top of the fries they piled scrambled eggs, bacon, avocado, salsa and sour cream. Yum! The picture of Richard, Charlotte, Nan and Kerry is taken in front of the cafe.

The next morning we went to Kittredge and ate at a place whose name I can't remember. They are famous for their "smashed" breakfast. The base for the breakfast is homemade mashed potatoes where you can see little flecks of potato skin. For my breakfast they piled big chunks of cream cheese on the potatoes and then added bacon, scrambled eggs, spinach and finally hollandaise sauce. I ate about a fourth of it, took it back to the house where Kerry ate about half of what was left. It was still in the refrigerator when we left. I should have ordered the "half smashed".

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

It's Good to Be King

This is my brother Richard. He just got a new job as general counsel for Leprino Foods in Denver. They make mozzarella...lots of it. You can buy a 500 pound bag, but that's about the smallest amount. Anyway, when he got the job I sent him this crown, which I found in the Santa Fe Opera Gift Shop. He worked really hard for more than a year to find the right job. I thought he deserved a great gift. He does subscribe to the Mel Brooks line..."It's good to be King". Posted by Picasa

Politics Just Got Stranger

Our Life In The Country
Here's the rundown as I see it.
1. Arnold Schwartzenegger, who swooped into the governors office a year ago with some fresh, new ideas for a Republican, lost badly at the ballot box. He's a moderate who is pro-choice. He found out what everyone else in California already knew, the Democratically controlled legislature will continue to control the state, and he won't. All of the initiatives he put on the ballot failed. The election cost the state and counties $15 million. We already have a deficit. Nearly $320 million dollars was spent on campaigns for the propositions that lost. So, as usual, the firms managing campaigns and the lawyers will do well. The people of the state won't. Arnie will be history next year. His own party is already doubting his abilities. And Maria looked really pissed when she was listening to the speech her hubbie gave in L.A. last night when the vote wasn't going well.
2. New Jersey and Virginia (a red state) elected Democratic governors. In the case of Virginia, Bush came to the state to campaign for the Republican candidate the day before the election. The guy lost by a wider margin than expected. So much for riding the coat tails of the president.
3. Kansas voted to "question" the theory of evolution in its science curriculum. I don't think Dorothy would like Kansas today.
4. Texas voted against gay marriage.
5. Maine voted to ensure gay marriage.
6. And a Republican was re-elected Mayor of New York.
7. San Francisco approved a measure to not allow handguns. Today the NRA filed a lawsuit to overturn the measure. See, I told you, the lawyers always do well in these battles.

All in all yesterday was a weird day for this country. The coasts seem to understand what to do. It's that mid-section that worries me. I came from there. It's a good thing I got out when I did.

Monday, November 07, 2005

A Different Kind of Fall Colors


At the same time the trees are turning, the hibiscus are blooming. Just another fall color in California. Quite a contrast to this past weekend in Evergreen, Colorado where it snowed Friday night and Saturday morning. Posted by Picasa

Fall Colors


When we left for Denver last Thursday, this tree still had green leaves. This morning I went out just to see what was happening on the property. I came upon this tree. The red is almost luminescent. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Minna's Refrigerator Magnets

Minna gave me the instructions on how to make these and then said "post them so I can see what you've done." So here they are. If you look closely at the bottom magnet you will see two people you know. She gave them as shower favors. I'm just having fun making them.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Richard Nixon In A New Body

As I've been reading the news lately I've seen some words appear that I hadn't heard in a while.


All are being used to describe actions taken by "W". Scooter goes with Watergate. Bork goes with Alito and Vietnam goes with Bush. Maybe Richard Nixon has been reborn, and he's moved into Bush's body. What a horrible thought.