October 2008

It’s been a week since the itching has stopped. Dodo’s shredded right eyelid is healing and both eyes are growing his black hairs back. He’ll be wearing his full batman mask again in no time! The vet called me yesterday to check up on the situation. He said the best-case scenario he’s seen is one shot lasting 8 months. I’m HOPING that’s the case! At $45 a pop, it’s well worth a free-er Dodo, but I don’t want his kidneys to be unnecessarily strained. Now that Dodo can finally groom himself, he does a damn better job than me. He’s not shedding nearly as much, and he’s sooooo incredibly soft with all the dead hairs removed. The downside to this is that in the middle of the night some days ago, he spit up a hairball that can only be more accurately described as a hairlog. I jumped out of bed and got him onto the bathroom tile too late, and had to clean up the heavy log in the middle of the night. The sucker had weight. I was scared to let Mr. W see it but luckily nothing was waking him up.

In other Cindy’s World news, my college best boy bud Edgar (as differentiated from high school best boy bud Eric) had one of his annual birthday dinners this year. Dinner was at an interested Japanese hole-in-the-wall yakitori place, which is like shish kabobs in a miniature scale. We had chicken-n-green-onion, chicken-n-garlic, shiitaki mushroom, chicken gizzard, chicken heart, beef, pork, duck, quail egg yakitoris, and since we were in a Japanese restaurant, Mr. W and I could not resist sashimi. GREAT fish. GREAT food. The after dinner activity this year is not the usual bowling (thank goodness cuz I can’t bowl), but an outing at the outdoor bar of the beautifully landscaped Red Bar & Lounge at the Pacific Palms Resort. Now THAT would’ve been a great place to get married. It was great to catch up with old friends and meet new ones. Oh, and we didn’t drink at all. Maybe next time.

The birthday boy is blurry cuz he’s cutting his cake.

A gal pal of mine recently accepted an invitation from a guy to go out. She wasn’t sure she was interested in him romantically, so she asked for my top 5 methods of keeping this outing from being interpreted as a “date.” I responded:

1.) Go to lunch. Lunches are asexual. So’s coffee, actually.
2.) Go to an asexual place. Denny’s and IHOP come to mind.
3.) Talk about other men while on the non-date. Follow attractive men with your eyes when they pass you while on the non-date.
4.) Pick up your cell phone if it rings.
5.) Don’t dress sexy, and don’t shave anything.
Free bonus: scratch yourself a lot.

She ended up going out for a few drinks and had a great time. I’ll take credit for that. Ha!

Mr. W’s gamer brother and wife drove here this afternoon from Vegas and the three of them left about half an hour ago to attend Shipwreck 2008 at the Queen Mary. I didn’t go cuz I don’t do events where scary things jump out at me and I can’t hit them back. I hate that we’re all funneled through like sheep and just victimized. I hate the element of surprise in attacks, unless I’m doing the attacking. So they’re gone till, like, past midnight at this terrorfest party and for the first time EVAH, I get this house all to myself. (Stepson typically doesn’t stay with us on weekends.)

WHOA, what do I do with all this freedom? If I were a guy I’d pop in a bunch of pornos and jerk off all night. Woohoo! But since I’m ME, I’m apparently BLOGGING. Cuz I love you guys. So love me back by leaving some comments. =)

I took today off cuz my judge is off attending a criminal law seminar, so I didn’t feel like going to work to float. I remember what happened last time I was floated out, although I apparently made such a great impression that that judge remembered me months later and invited me to transfer to his courthouse to be his clerk through that courthouse’s administrator (which my judge did not appreciate). Of course I declined, cozy as I am presently. Never needing much of an excuse to play hookie himself, Mr. W also took the day off work. Here’s what we did today.

That’s right. We went SAILING. It was our first time EVER. And it was at our lake. Here is our sailing instructor and his wife.

It’s my high school German teacher, Mr. Finn Englyng and his wife, Kirsten!
He taught us what parts of the boat and actions of sailing are called…

…about wind direction and how it affects our movement…

…and about who has right-of-way on the water in given situations and crafts.

Most of it, especially the terminology, went over my head. I must’ve looked the exact same way I did when my dad tried to teach me chess. That glazed look used to piss my dad off and cause him to walk away from me. But Mr. Englyng is a professional (retired) teacher and he was good, patient, and I did control the rudder part of the trip and the sails another part of the trip. And of course the company was hard to beat.

Hmm. 7:19p. Where’s my anime porn?
I am kidding, of course.

Look who’s back to his old self…!

Whose back is this? Is it…is it…

*gasp* it IS!@#$

On our day off Tuesday, the vet called and did a followup phone interview. I told him that Dodo was still rubbing his eye on stuff and actually scratched his right eyelid bloody. He said he had time if we want to bring Dodo in for Plan B: cortisone shot. I asked what the side effect would be and he said that cats tolerate this steroid very well; if there are any side effects whatsoever, it would be Dodo drinking more water and going pee more, and that’s it. So we brought him in. Dodo was NOT happy to be back in his cat carrier, and even madder to go for another hated car ride. He was SO loud complaining in the car that I recorded him yowling and sent it as a voice message to Jordan and Flat Coke & Flies. (If you have Verizon cell service, I can send it to you, too. Just ask or email me.) Jordan was like, “What did you do?!”
So anyway, a quick shot later, he came back in the carrier and we were instructed that this isn’t a magic shot so to not take the cone off cold turkey; we were to do it under supervision in small increments. If it does work, the vet said, we’d notice it between a few days to a week, and the effect should last from multiple weeks to 6 months or so. I hope so, because my court reporter told me today that these things tend to be damaging to kidneys. Today is day 3 and Mr. W noticed Dodo seems less interested in having his face scratched. So we tried taking the cone off for the first time since the shot. He did clean himself quite a bit, but this time, even though I still feel the attention he gave his eyes were more brutal than a normal cat, he didn’t scratch himself bloody! YAY! We may have found a temporary solution. I’m so happy he looks like a normal cat now. Mr. W can stop with the stupid martini jokes finally.
He is drinking a lot of water, tho. Hope his kidneys are gonna be okay.

Isn’t he bootyful?

Mr. W is VERY excited to have a normal cat, as you can see.

Yup, that’s what he’s doing next to me as I blog this.

I rode down the elevator yesterday with a coworker. She asked me what kind of trial we had going on right now, and I told her it’s some labor commission appeals case. Basically, this guy felt he was underpaid when he worked at a particular company, and that he should’ve been paid double-manager’s salary because he was doing the job of 2 managers. He lost the case, so he appealed and changed his theory; he’s now saying he should’ve been paid more than he was paid because he was NOT a manager and thus should’ve been paid salary plus overtime. Real interesting stuff, I say with more than a teaspoon of salt.
“At least that’s better than our gassing case,” she said. Gassing? What kind of gas? Is someone suing for gas leakage in a home? Or gas fume damage? Did someone get gassed by the police and is now suing over it? Did someone’s car blow up at the gas station cuz they used a cell phone while stepping back into the car, thus igniting a static electricity spark? My mind turned over all the possibilities. They were all wrong.
Apparently “gassing” to law enforcement means that someone flung his poo and pee at a peace officer. “Like monkeys?!” I GASped in wonderment. Yup. This happened in jail. The inmate is being charged with this bio attack on a prison guard. She was more awed that the officer who got hit was dumb enough to stand there and get hit.

How come we never get the interesting cases?

Mr. W had an appointment this morning with Body Scan International for a full-body scan. It’s like a giant 3-D animated MRI of your body from the trunk of the neck down to the pelvic region. He thought it’d be useful for me to take the day off and go along with him, as a second set of eyes/ears during the consultation. He first had to remove all the metal from his body (there’s quite a bit of it), then he went into a little room where I couldn’t follow, but when the radiology technician gave instructions and operated various scans, I could feel a powerful generator humming along. After the images were taken, we were told to return in 45 minutes for the consultation with a doctor.

We watched an animated x-ray image on the screen travel down the inside of Mr. W’s body, like how food would probably see him as it’s being swallowed, if the food were a tiny living Superman with x-ray vision. The radiologist explained various things on the screen as she paused to point out a few things. This is his stomach. It’s normal. This is the large instestine. No visible polyps, no abnormality, which is good for his age. Those black areas? That’s poo. Yay for poo. These are the spinal vertabrae. This is L1 through L5. There’s slight degeneration at the end of L5, which compared to a scan he took 5 years ago, had worsened slightly. This is the liver, spleen, kidneys. Nothing remarkable, no kidney stones or gallbladder stones. This is the heart, it’s normal-sized. This is the aorta. Uh-oh, see those white things along the edges of the circle? That’s calcification of plaque build-up. Let’s travel down and follow this aorta. See the white stuff here, and here, and also down by the pelvic region it reappears, here and here.

What’s that mean? Is that bad?
This is hardened fatty deposits in your blood vessels, and this is what may cause a heart attack. Your dad had his first heart attack symptoms your age, but after his bypass surgery he’s fine, so that’s good news for you. There’s an assessment score for the level of plaque build-up; yours is 66. A normal male your age should be at 33. You have twice the level you should have, and the rate of increase since your last body scan 5 years ago is high; 65%. You should really only be increasing about 15% a year as you age. But it looks like it’s genetic, since you’re in great shape and you exercise regularly and looking at your diet, you eat better than most people on restricted diets.

Cuz my husband looks like this (he took this picture about a month ago and thought it’d be funny to sneakily import it into my cameraphone pictures):

You have to ignore his messy head. He’d just gotten up.

So anyway, the radiologist said it looks like time that Mr. W got on high blood pressure and/or high cholesterol medication, and to take the scans to talk about this with his regular doctor. She suggested he start taking baby aspirin daily starting immediately, so that if a hardened area of his blood vessel ruptures, there’s less chance of a clot forming and causing a stroke. Mr. W is the last member of his family NOT on cholesterol medication; his parents and all 4 brothers are on it. =P

[Getting on my high horse] I noted to the doctor that he’s been eating a diet high in raw fruits and veggies and has dramatically minimized his fast food and soda intake in the last 2.5 years that I’ve been with him, and in the last 2 years, have started weightlifting regularly at the gym. He also does yoga once a week (rec class at the gym). So how could it have gotten this bad in the last 5 years?
Well, apparently, it would’ve been A LOT worse if he hadn’t done all that to curb it 2 years ago. Yay, me. Yay, organic. And I’m totally glad I haven’t had fast food in almost 3 years, and I’ve probably had 1 serving of soda in that time.

[Getting on my soap box] Somewhere in between high school and college, I pictured myself right where Mr. W found himself today. With my vivid imagination, I saw myself at a doctor’s office, gripping the edges of the armrest, as I was told that I have long-term damage to my body based on 40+ years of doing little things wrong. Years of refined white carbs, cookies, bleached white bread, fast food, excessive sugars in sodas and candy bars. I asked my imaginary doctor what there is to be done. “Nothing, except surgery if you have a heart attack, or baby aspirin to mitigate the effects of a stroke you’re very likely to have in the next couple years.” Crap. Crap. How could this have happened? What’d I do? “It’s nothing you did yesterday; it’s years of eating this and not exercising enough.” I need to go back in time, say to my late teens, early 20s, and stop eating those things! And then popping out of my day-nightmare, that’s exactly what I did. I joined a gym in 1994, cut down the fast food and junk food, virtually stopped the soda intake, didn’t pick up smoking or drinking (much), dramatically reduced sodium intake. As I got into my 30s, I stopped fast food altogether. I really don’t miss sodas or donuts, and don’t remember what was so great about them, cuz the former now burns my mouth and the latter burns my stomach. The more studies I read on newfound negative effects of junk food, fast food, artificial foods and sodas, the more it confirmed that I had been doing the right thing.

[Grabbing the loudspeaker] It’s not too late to not ruin the rest of your life. You don’t have symptoms now, but it doesn’t mean that stuff isn’t happening inside. My husband’s heart plaque is asymptomatic and if not for the scan, he wouldn’t have known about it. Thank goodness he didn’t have a heart attack first! All those problems you see in people in their 60s, where they’re struggling, popping prescription pills daily, always going to the doctor to be monitored for this or that problem, that didn’t start in their 60s. That started in their 20s and 30s. If you’re my age and you’re feeling healthy, make it last by NOT selling your future health for a greasy fried manufactured item today. It’s not worth it. PREVENTION IS KEY. And it’s cheap, WAY cheaper than daily meds and doctor visits and treatments and surgery.

[Stepping off my soapbox, putting away the loudspeaker] Of course, *I* didn’t get a body scan…

This is a catch-up post. I finally got some time on the computer without being shooed off by Mr. W, so he could play his 20 hours of some combat PC game. Yay! So at long last I’m uploading the recent cell phone photos.

Some time ago I made a penne alfredo with mushrooms, zucchini and grilled chicken. I thought it would go well with bruschetta, so I toasted some mini bagels with white cheddar chunks, and mixed chopped tomatoes, fresh sweet Italian and spicy basils from our garden, fresh chopped onions, and red and orange bell peppers. Tah-dah!

I’m really glad that Mr. W will eat whatever I put in front of him, because that gives me the freedom to experiment and get creative. Friday nite I made a chipotle roast beef in the oven, garlic mashed potatoes, and stir-fried green and yellow zuchinis with onions and string beans. It disappeared from the plate equally fast.

On Saturday morning, we made an appointment at a local animal hospital to get a third, fourth, etc. opinion on Dodo’s eye condition. Six years ago he had a corneal ulcer, probably brought on by stress as I had left him to go to Canada for a week. The vet made me put triple antibiotic ointment in his eye, which didn’t do anything for him except create a compulsive rubbing situation in him so that now, even though it’s been years since his last corneal ulcer outbreak, he still wears the cone because he’ll keep pawing his eyelids until they’re swollen and bloody.

We were hoping that maybe his eyelids are just itchy because of some allergy, and if we could isolate or determine the allergen, we could keep it from affecting him. So I had to wake up the poor sleepy cat from his afternoon nap and gently force him, claws and legs outstretched, yowling his complaints loudly, into his cat carrier.

He protested angrily the entire way to the vet, and as usual, was the perfect kitty when in front of the nurse and vet. The female vet was a very nice woman who took some bloodwork, reviewed the thick Dodo healthcare file that I’d brought, examined my cat, and determined that as far as eyeballs go, his are fine. It’s just a skin reaction that the cat’s been going at, and she suggests slowly weaning him off the cone. For the half hour at the vet, the cone was off Dodo (the first Mr. W has seen his step-cat without his pink halo) and Dodo was fine, exploring the little examination room, walking up to me and caressing me with his tail. But as soon as he came home, after eating some lunch and cleaning his chest and face with his tongue and paws, he dug into his right eye with his right paw. I suggested putting the cone back on. “Just wait,” Mr. W, the non-cat owner, insisted. Dodo rammed his right eye into the back of a shoe, rubbing away.
“NOW do you still want me to wait?!” I demanded.
“DODO! NO! See, he stopped. Just wait, he’s fine. He didn’t do it very much.”
Dodo arched back to the right, and his right hind paw started scratching at his face. In seconds, his right eyelid was swollen, hairless and bloody.
“What about NOW?!” I said smartly as Mr. W leapt forward to hold Dodo’s hind leg down. The cone went back on. *sigh* Plan B: regular cortizone shots.

After a nap, then dinner at an Incan restaurant, we explored a hiking path near our home. Mr. W had researched all the various hiking and biking paths and found that this one leads to some red rocks in a moderate 4-mile hike — 2 miles up to the red rocks, and 2 miles back. It was about 5:30p when we set off on the path in an area called Whiting Ranch, which had been in the news some time recently for its mountain lion attacks on people. (Yeah. I know. But it wasn’t my idea.) After Mr. W stepped into some poison oak, then hiking through a canyon between a high neighborhood where the back yards of houses were visible above us on both sides, we left civilization behind and went on some slight hills. The sun started getting lower. I noted that unlike most recreational areas in our city, this place has no cute bunnies popping out at dusk. Mr. W informed me that the lack of bunnies is a sign of the presence of mountain lions. As if I needed any signs in addition to the ACTUAL signs with photos of cougars and warnings about how to ward them off if we come across any.

So it got darker and darker, and we weren’t even at the red rock point yet, meaning we weren’t even halfway done with the hike. I started asking if we should turn back. Mr. W ignored me and moved forward. I decided it’d be a good idea to call some people and let them know where we are in case we were forced to give back to the wilderness as cougar food. Mr. W rolling his eyes at me, I called Vicky and explained the situation.
“Do you have a big stick?” she asked me.
“For what?”
“That’s how that woman beat the mountain lion off her husband. The lion had the man’s head in his mouth and she was hitting it with this big stick she found and finally fought off the lion.” I think this happened in the same area we were at.
“I’m not really game for hitting a big cat with a stick,” I said thoughtfully.
“But that’s your HUSBAND.”
“Well, then maybe you should get a big stick to defend YOURSELF at least.” That was when my phone lost reception and cut off. I again urged Mr. W to turn back. He said we must almost be there and trudged on. I asked if he had a survival pack in his backpack, and he said of course. I asked if he had a flashlight. He said no. Great.
Going forward still, I found I had enough phone reception to send text messages, so I sent some to Jordan and college roommie Diana telling them where I am. Mr. W looked absolutely disgusted with me. “SOMEONE needs to know where to send help,” I explained.
“What’s JORDAN in FLORIDA gonna do if we’re missing?” he snapped.
I took another picture. Cuz if a rescue team finds my cameraphone, they could at least see what we were facing in the end, right?


Mr. W finally broke down after my 15 minutes of whimpering about having to walk back in total blackness and how giant predatory cats have night vision and we don’t and we’re gonna in the minimum blindly stumble off the path and fall in poison oak, which was everywhere. I also pointed out this is how EVERY HORROR MOVIE starts: lost in the woods, no cell phone reception, ignorant man insisting we’ll be fine and to keep moving forward. He insisted, “We’re not lost!” but grumblingly turned back.

If you can barely see him on the bridge doing the boogie woogie dance, you know how I felt. But we made it out, and not a moment too soon. It got DARK just as we exited the wilderness. Mr. W is going to go back on Sunday without me so he doesn’t have to hear me be “paranoid.”
“Paranoid people don’t DIE,” I spat at him.
So on Sunday next weekend, while I’m at my cousin’s garden bridal shower, my husband will be running around in the woods by himself, hopefully avoiding mountain lions.

Got this in an email tag from Flat Coke & Flies. 🙂 Looked fun, especially based on her answers. Here are mine.

2. YOUR GANGSTA NAME: (first 3 letters of real name plus > izzle) Cinizzle
3. YOUR DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color and favorite animal) Yellow Dragon. Okay, okay, Yellow Cat. But Dragon sounded cooler, and it is my zodiac sign.
4. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME: (your middle name and street you live on/or neighborhood if a number) Sing Bristlecone. =P That’s awful. Then again, there’s some soap opera chick named “Babe.” So that’s worse. Eep! I just thought of what Jordan’s soap opera name would be! *pointing and laughing at Jordan*
5. YOUR STAR WARS NAME: (the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first name) I’ll skip this one to keep my last name anonymous. But it totally doesn’t sound Star Wars, as anyone who knows me in real life can tell you.
6. YOUR SUPERHERO/CRIMINAL NAME: (Your 2nd favorite color, and favorite drink). Ice Blue Red-Headed Slut. :/
7. YOUR IRAQI NAME: (2nd letter of your first name, 3rd letter of your last name, 1st letter of your last name, 2nd letter of your moms maiden name, 3rd letter of your dads name, 1st letter of a siblings first name, and last letter of your moms first name)
Inthm?s. The question mark is cuz I don’t have any siblings.
8. YOUR WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: (parents’ middle names) An Ling. Or maybe Ling An.
9. YOUR GOTH NAME: (black, and the name of one of your pets) Black Dodo.
10. YOUR HOOD NAME: (first 3 of your first name and add-iqua) Ciniqua.

I think some of these didn’t work well for me. Namely items 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 9. Hope you had a good laugh. Now post your answers to these simple 10 questions so I can laugh at you, too!

Deep rumbling noises culminating in howling and rattling woke me up this morning. I was confused, because it sounded like the throaty growl of earthquakes past, but there was no movement of the walls, just a sense of everything outside the house spinning in loud commotion. Turns out the Santa Ana Winds peaked early this morning.

Mr. W came back into the house at 7am cursing. Mondays are trash collection days, but the winds have beaten the City to the collecting; large bins in front of each house are blown over, some bins thrown down the street, trash strewn everywhere. Our magnolia tree in the front yard painstakingly picked out at a local nursery the first week we moved in and planted and babied was lying on its side, as with my poor abused avocado tree, still in its plastic pot. The avocado is now just inside the front door, but Mr. W has gone to buy stakes to replant the magnolia and give it enough support so that it’d hopefully survive the fall. Other saplings in our backyard blew over, and all young trees still standing have this sideways slant although surprisingly the roses still top our rose bushes beaming a bright white in the sun. The sun’s another weird character in all this. It shone optimistically and innocently the entire time, so that if you go out to curse the weather, it looked at you like, “What?”

Mr. W ran into a neighbor outside this morning, who was also running around trying to retrieve their trash cans, Halloween decorations, patio furniture. “Does this happen often?” Mr. W asked her.
“Yeah, at least twice a year. Didn’t they tell you that?”
“No…they omitted that fact about this place,” Mr. W, the man from the Windy City of Chicago, sighed.

If Christopher Columbus had enjoyed these winds 516 years ago to the day (did I do my math right?), the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria would’ve sailed to land in a week.

So our pretty little girl was nominated to be on the Homecoming Court for her high school. All the potential homecoming queens were escorted by their fathers or uncle or some other male parental figure from a convertible car onto a stage during the homecoming football game’s halftime show, where the winner of the title of homecoming queen was announced.

You would think that at a school where the winning homecoming queen is someone with practically all consonants in her first name (Chyi Shin), the below wouldn’t happen, but such is my stock in a racially mixed relationship:

When Mr. W and I got there, Daughter led her dad, me, and another one of her friends onto the field where the teacher coordinating the event greeted them, and gave Mr. W a rundown of where he would stand, when he’d come down, where he’d escort Daughter as she exited the convertible, where the stage would be. At some point he turned and acknowledged me, asking, “Are you with Yearbook?”
“No, she’s with us,” Daughter said.
“She’s stepmom,” Mr. W explained, as I said something simultaneously about pseudomom. The man apologized, and then I wondered — was that actually a compliment? Cuz, did he think I was a high school kid on the Yearbook staff? Cuz THAT’d be flattering.

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