I'm the other mother - or Momma Deb. Our family is pretty much like every other family in suburbia. The girls go to school, one mom is on the PTA boards of elementary and middle school. The other mom goes to work, paints, writes, and tries to just have a good time raising kids with her partner. This is my third attempt at blogging...

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Update: Here I Sit

Late Thursday afternoon I saw my surgeon for my first time since the surgery. He was pleased with the progress. I was not pleased with his order,

"You must sleep at night with the leg brace on for 2 more weeks."

Argh. It is so hard to sleep with this fracking thing on at night.

He also told me that he didn't just replace the anterior crucial ligament (ACL), he did a total ACL reconstruction. He found that my ACL had, for whatever reason, adhered to the joint with scar tissue, and it no longer moved around, destabilizing the joint (Well, doh. Now we know why I couldn't rely on that leg!). In removing the ligament, also required was reaming out the space where the ligament should freely be able to run through. Thus, the reconstruction.

Guess what? I get to go back to work on Monday. Well, hey, my brain and hands are working quite well, thankyewverymuch.

If I had extra sick-leave or vacation, I wouldn't be going back quite so quickly. But, I don't have that luxury right now. But, thankfully, I can work at home for the most part. Although, I do have an office nearby, so I will gimp over there on Monday to do a video conference with my buddies back in Berkeley. That way I can stay on the same page with everyone. That is important. It's too easy to get marginalized in this business of extreme engineering. If you don't keep your hands in the mix, you may not get back into the mix.

So, I'm sitting here, in my CPM and kicking back again for the weekend. Next week I start Physical Therapy (PT). I can't wait. Yes I can. It's gonna be painful! At least, that's what they tell me.

I hope they're kidding...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Have I Figured this Life Out Yet? ...Part One

I was an Air Force Brat. I thought I was the younger of 2 kids (well, really 4 kids, total (I think), but I'll save that story for later in this series of posts).

Me? I had the good fortune to be born in 1954 in San Francisco, at Letterman General Army Hospital in the Precidio. My Mom and Dad were fresh back from being stationed in Okinawa, where they had been quartered in a Quonset Hut. They were stationed on Hamilton AFB, probably living in luxury by comparison. My Pop was a pilot - he had been a fighter pilot in WWII, instructor, helicopter pilot, rescue helicopter pilot in Korea, and a transport pilot in the late 50's and early 60's.

When I was 2 years old my Pop got a transfer to McChord AFB in Tacoma, Washington. I have memories of growing up on Woodbine Lane, friends, family. Rain, snow, kindergarten where I learned to shake hands and be polite. Up until I was 5 years old, I thought I only had one brother, my brother Jack was 10 years older than me. When my Pop again got transfer orders, it was to Hickam AFB in Honolulu. That was when I learned I had a half-brother, who was a year older than Jack. He knew he had a brother, but no one had thought to tell me, just a dumb little 5 year old. That is, until it was time to go to Hawaii - and my parents thought maybe they should tell me since they were going to bring him up from Arizona and then be with us in Hawaii.

At first I remember being incredulous. It was hard for me to wrap my mind around the concept of another brother, and one who was older than Jack. I don't recall how my mom and dad told me, I just remember being quite excited. I recall loading into the Caddy and going for a ride to the Tacoma Bus Station - It was probably Greyhound or something. This was 1959, I think. I remember one of the first things Ron ever said to me was, "How ya doing, Bean Pole?" And that was his nickname for me since forever. He's since transferred it to my daughters, a name I willingly allow them to use.

He is my mother's son, from a previous marriage. Mom won't talk much about that time to this day. Ron still tries to draw information out of her about his origins... That's another story as well.

We had a yellow MG convertible at the time. I remember the running boards on it, and the wonderful leather seats. Pop sold it before we left for Oahu. I wish I could really remember that car better. The "family car" was a powder blue 1956 Caddy. That was some comfy car. We would take holidays and drive down to Santa Barbara on old Highway 99 and 101, to visit old family friends, the Bettencourts. I would stretch out across the seat with my bed pillows. No seat belts in those days. I remember stopping at a motel where each room, or suite, was just a very tall, A-framed, pine log cabin. Reminded me of tee-pees. I slept in a bed in the loft. Sweet! On one of those trips, at 4 years old, I caught my first fish off the Santa Barbara pier. Somewhere in a dusty box there's a small black and white picture of me proudly holding up and displaying my 4" fishy. How cute can you get? Ha!

It was nearly my 6th birthday when we packed up our bags, our home, ourselves, and drove one last time down to California - destination Travis AFB. From there my own Pop would be piloting the C-118 passenger turbo prop plane to our new home in Honolulu, Hawaii - Oahu. The next four years would be my formative growing years. They would imprint me for the rest of my life.

Monday, February 23, 2009

In Response to My Readers

I'm watching "Rocky and Bullwinkle" while in the CPM machine. Can't get better than that, can it? Heh.

It's nice to see some old signatures as well as new ones stopping by the comment line. Welcome to StephLove, and to Peg from PA. Peg, do you have a blog? How can I repay the visit if I don't have your blog address? I have enjoyed your comments.

The knee is coming along, thank you. I can put weight on it, and I'm up to about 70 degrees of flex on the CPM. A friend mentioned to me that her surgeon used a ligament from her patella (think she said) instead of a donor ligament. Well, unfortunately, that wouldn't work for me. About 32 years ago the original injury occurred when I played on an all-navy softball team. It was a Lesbian-Honored pass-time, although so many words were not said in those days. I was sliding into 2nd when the opposing player jumped up to catch the ball coming in from center field. Unfortunately for me, she came down right on top of my leg, dislocating the knee cap and a sundry of other injuries. The ligament over the patella at that time had to be re-attached to my tibia. Not fun. 7" scar on the front of my knee to show my battle wounds for the rest of my life. No arthroscopic surgery in Guam in 1977. :sigh:

The knee held up very well for about 20 years, and then about 7 years ago I was running up a ramp when I tore my meniscus. That slowed me down a lot. Had a clean-up surgery then. The knee was never all that great afterward. Fast forward to about 2 years ago. One of the orthopedic surgeons in our medical group is one of the surgeons for the Oakland A's. Lots of practice, thinks I. So, I started seeing him, procrastinated as long as I could, but then finally took the plunge.

Here I sit. On my butt. It's boring, but I'm very lucky. In a future post I will boast about my lovely wife who has been nothing short of an angel and a saint while taking care of me. And the girls. And the house, and the ornery cats. The woman needs a break!

I've got to come up with a wonderful reward for my lady. If it were not for her, I would be very, very sad.

Hugs, Honey!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Here I Sit...

Had a 3-For-One knee surgery on Wednesday. Replaced the ACL, repaired the torn meniscus, & a Chondroplasty. In the immortal words of my surgeon, "it was a mess in there."

This picture shows my leg in a CPM ( continuous passive motion) machine. I use it 3x a day for 2 hours at a time. Each day I add 5 degrees to the range of motion from the day before.

Contrary to looks and the extent of the surgery it's not all that painful. What is a pain is the full leg brace I must wear 24x7, except when in the CPM. Sleeping is a challenge.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Valentine's Day, Peggy Flemming, and the Grocery Store

On Saturday, I was tooling around town running various errands and things. I dropped Megan off at a friend's house, then went down my list of Honey-Do's. Kandy, meanwhile, was out and about with Katie shopping at Kohls. We planned on making pizza from scratch, so my last stop was the grocery store to pick up items for dinner.

So, I'm wandering around the store with my mini-cart, taking my time to look at all the goodies on the shelves. I usually just rush in, get stuff, and rush back out, but I had some time before I needed to pick up Megan. While mindlessly strolling down the bread isle, over the store address system comes the announcement, "Shoppers, Peggy Flemming is in the store today in our wine tasting area. Come on by to taste some wine and meet Peggy Flemming." (Or words to that effect.)

I'm like, "No. Really?" So I go over there to check it out, and sure enough there's Ms. Flemming. I immediately get on the cell to call Kandy (who is a Big Fan).

"Hon, you will never in a million years guess who's here in Safeway today... Peggy Flemming!"

Kan says, "Stop! She is not!"

"Would I lie to you about this? She's here. I'm staring right at her."

"Stop! Really? How long will she be there? Lori is picking us up to go to the fund raiser."

Long story short, while she was getting Lori to swing by the store, I tasted their two wines, a Syrah a Cabernet blend called "Choreography. Yummo. Peggy is quite personable (of course), and very pretty at 60 years old! Her husband of 38 years is a retired physician (he was there, too). The wine we were tasting was from here in Livermore Valley, of their 2005 bottling which came from vinyards grown on some of John Madden's land about 5 miles from our home. Peggy said that they plan that the proceeds from their next bottling, in April, will go towards fighting breast cancer. She said she "is an 11-year survivor of breast cancer."

I should mention that our Safeway was remodeled recently and has a special wine-tasting area. It has always been free to taste selected wines. They have various local wineries (often it's the owners themselves) coming in for an hour or two on evenings and weekends. After tasting, I used to walk out of Safeway feeling like I had better not drive for a while! Woowee! Lately, because of that, I haven't been "tasting" quite so often.

Kandy bought their "Choreography" wine, and Peggy signed it "Happy Valentine's Day!" with her signature. We may not open that bottle for quite some time. I hope it ages well.

Kandy with Peggy Flemming:

All in all, just another typical day in Livermore. ;-)

Pizza Sunday! - Yummo!

I enjoy making things from scratch. Here's my latest effort. Home made pizza dough, sauce and all the fixen's:

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Sometimes You Get Lucky

Last year when I was laid off, I was out pounding the pavement desperately seeking employment. I would go to any interview, look at any position that might be offered. Little did I know that pornography would offer itself up to me as an option.

I remember an interview in San Francisco. It was set up for me by Robert Half Technology - a big name for a big company that does head-hunting. I had gone to RHT and taken their piddly tech exam - which I could have done in my sleep. Somehow that elevated their interest in me. Thing is, the exam was multiple choice and I'm sure my 13 year old could have done as well just by elimination of choices.

So, I get a call from the RHT San Francisco office from a man I had never spoken to before. It was a bit of a cold call and I could hear him swish over the phone. While I never met him, he sure did sound like a gay man. I thought, cool. Family. This might work out okay.

So he said he had a hot lead in downtown SF, off of Market Street. Would I be interested? Well, why not? Then he said,

"Uhm. Do you have a problem with... porn?"

Thoughts are racing. No, I guess I don't really have a problem with porn. As long as I don't have to look at it. And, it doesn't involve children in any way. I'm a live and let live kind of girl. So I said, "Uhm. No. Not really. Why?"

As it turned out, the client was a company which provided pornography online. In my head I'm screaming, "What???!!!? You're kidding, right?" Out loud I said, "Uh-huh."

Oy. Never in my wildest dreams did I consider that I would be asked to interview for a tech position at a porn company.

But, the thoughts were coming fast and furious now. I hadn't worked in months and the bank account was getting pretty lean. I had two kids and a partner relying on me. But what would they think of me? What would I say to them about the business? Maybe I wouldn't have to tell them...? Rats, that wouldn't work! What to do?

Eh. It was just an interview. Let's see how far this roller coaster ride would go. So, I consented to a phone interview, and that went well. Two days later, I found myself getting off BART and wandering around downtown SF. I was a half hour early... it must've been about 9:30 in the morning. There were a LOT of homeless looking people. My oh my.

There were pan-handlers. There was one woman in particular, an Asian woman who had a large suitcase on rollers. Her purse sat on top of it as she pulled it down the street. She stopped a moment, pulled a paper sack out of her purse, pulled a tall beer can out of the bag, and slipped the can on the sidewalk under one of the newspaper stands. She then strode off to a convenience store a couple doors down. The next thing I knew another woman came along and picked up the can - which was evident that it be not quite empty. She took a swig, kept the can and walked off. In the mean time the first woman came back with a new can of beer, put it in the paper sack, put it in her purse, and off she went.

I'm thinking to myself - would I want to take BART into the city every day and be a part of this crowd? Well, I would do it if it meant having food and roof over our heads, given no other options.

So I headed down to the street where the business was located. It wasn't so much a street as it is a large alley. Not a good sign. I find the door - a security door with a camera above it. I get buzzed in. Walk up the stairs into a loft-like area. It's a nicely done office area. There were some big porn posters - nothing overtly outrageous, but still... They ushered me into a nice conference room where we talked about this and that. Technical things, my willingness to be on call, how would I feel about working at home if necessary (there may be photos on the screen), stuff like that.

When I walked out of there, I really, really, really did not want to work there. But at the same time I was struggling. What if they did offer me the job? What if I didn't get any more offers? Could I work for them for a short contract to see?


I hated thinking about it. If I worked there, I couldn't tell my friends, I'm not sure I could even tell my family. What was I to do?

As it turned out, when I got home I worked very hard at getting more contacts. I got a couple of other irons heating up in the coals. By the time the porn-guys actually did call and offer me a job, it was with relief and happiness that I could turn them down and take a contract with a bank instead.

And that, my friends, was as close as I ever hope to come to working in the pornography industry. It makes my skin crawl just to think about it.

Dodged a bullet that time, I think.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Stupor Bowl

Over the last few years, the Super Bowl Frenzy has died down in our household. I attribute this observation to the fact that none of "my" teams have made it to the Ultimate Play-off in the last few years. There are other reasons. One that comes to mind s that the friends with whom we might have celebrated are no longer living nearby. None of our families live here, and when my Dad passed on a couple of years ago, there really wasn't anyone with whom I still loved to share or swap a football story with any longer. We used to talk at half-time on the phone about the game. I miss that.

That, and the Super Bowl just seems just so, so, so commercialized. Yet, for this fan, it seems so frivolous.

We don't have one of those nifty Big Screen TVs, so I won't embarrass the family by attempting to have a Super Bowl Party at the house. None of our close friends are football fans - unless you're talking about Soccer. Even if they were, we'd find it hard to root for Pittsburgh or Arizona.

All that being said, the family is still gonna watch it today. We'll have some chips and dip and pick a team to twist and shout for. I'm going for Arizona, the True Underdogs. Kandy is going for Pittsburgh, god knows why.

I used to be a Pittsburgh fan of the late 70's and early 80's - back when the rivalry with Dallas was the best that there ever has been in football. Man, those teams really knew how to manage the clock. The quarterbacks called the plays. That was really good football. In my most humble opinion, today's football is fraught with individuals and managers. It's a game of numbers and not of heart. It's been a while since I've seen a heart like Joe Montana displayed.

So, pardon me while I go make some guacamole and get the chips into some bowls. At least we can eat good, and watch the commercials.