Toad in the Hole January 2007 Archives

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January 29, 2007


I've been a bit distracted this weekend but I haven't quite dropped dead. More to the point, neither has my sister. She sure gave us a scare though -- blood pressure hitting bottom (like 52/18) twice, tons of internal bleeding, two rounds in ICU ("What are you doing back here?" "Why, was I somewhere else?") -- well, never mind the details. It was as scared as I've ever been, and 3000 miles' of helpless besides.

I just talked to her. Her voice is shaky but she's crackin' wise, and able to rise and walk to the bathroom. Any minute now, real food for lunch. The other good news is that she's got the paperwork to get on a transplant list, and some MD advocates on her side -- hotshots who apparently get to give orders to other medical folks, as opposed to the guy who she saw first a couple months ago who told her, "Get married and get a job so you'll have health coverage!" -- evidently never having heard of the concept of "pre-existing condition." Just for starters.

This was the same guy who put her on Lisonopril for her blood pressure; a drug that's Not A Good Idea for someone whose kidneys (among other useful bits) are screwed up. Guess who just got fired as her doc.

We really thought we were losing her this time. Damn it was good to hear her voice.

Based on the phone traffic among the lot of us -- brother, sisters, nieces, and my sister's valiant ex-ex-husband (who was IIRC in the waiting room when she was ordered to get married) I'd endorse buying stock in a phone company soon. Pretty much any phone company; we're all over the map. (Working Assets here.)

Posted at 05:00 PM | Comments (7)

January 21, 2007

Life's Little Milestones

OK, the damned braces are doing something besides shredding the inside of my mouth and slurring my speech. Tonight, for the first time in my life, I ate an artichoke right-side-up. By this I mean that I could keep the leaves turned cupped-side-upwards and scrape the flesh off with my upper front teeth rather than turning the leaves perilously, drippily over to scrape them with my lower front teeth. My upper front teeth used to be juuuust longer enough than the teeth next to them to make that not exactly impossible, but certainly inefficient.

Wow. Progress.

Posted at 05:27 AM | Comments (2)

January 19, 2007

Is Mercury in Tardigrade?

Headline writers are having a bad week by us. Joe's Daily Planet piece, about that handsome duck in the photo, was headlined "Are Scooters Crashing?"

scoter cropped

That, of course, is a scoter, not a scooter.

This after he'd sent in the headline himself -- and he doublechecked it when he saw that mess in print; it wasn't a typo he sent. I'm betting the hed writer took the spellcheck's word for it.

Our Chron piece -- the top half of it was about cabbage whites -- had a hed about "moths." I've asked Lynette to give the writer a schmittox for that too. Cabbage whites are butterflies, of course.

And this morning the Chron had a frontpage hed: "Fatal jumps from bridge rise sharply." Well, that would solve part of the problem, I guess.

Posted at 06:18 AM | Comments (8)

January 14, 2007

Holiday Reading

olvzl's January 14 post over at Echidne's is a good and timely piece for MLK Day.

If you want to know where my scintillating prose has been going lately -- aside from the usual winter-blahs attenuation -- have a look here in the Chron's morgue. Anything more recent than last October, you will notice, is co-written by Joe. We're sharing a byline and so far so good. Actually it's fun putting our heads together on this stuff.

Posted at 05:16 PM | Comments (7)

January 11, 2007

More Family Values

Better rendition of those otters:

otters 5 cropped

All this, and they get to live on sashimi and crawfish too. Dag, yo.

Posted at 05:38 AM | Comments (3)

January 06, 2007

You've Got Rail!

See the bird?


See the bird now?




About this time of year, we get serious rail tides -- really high tides that flush the local rails out of their hiding places in the cordgrass and pickleweed. We went to Arrowhead Marsh near the Oakland Airport when our schedules and the tide tables intersected OK, and saw clapper rails like this one, at least one sora, and a couple-three Virginia rails.

AND we heard a black rail! Hot damn.

People flock there during rail tides, and some do some counting. Clapper rails in this marsh were in the hundred-plus range, and the others were seen in startlingly high numbers too. Want a side of irony with that? One reason is that they love the invasive exotic spartina grass, a hybrid of the native one and an eastern species mistakenly planted for restoration.

Posted at 05:47 AM | Comments (7)

January 02, 2007

Signs & Portents, or Something

First bird of the year: scrub jay.
Second bird of the year: crow.
Third bird of the year: Anna's hummingbird.

All three first by ear, then seen, from the back door.

Joe slept in another hour or so; his first bird was Bewick's wren, singing somewhere out back.

Posted at 04:25 AM | Comments (5)