Merry New Year!

I’m so exciting. I’m sitting around in my sweat pants, waiting for the noise to end in an hour or so so I can get some sleep. 2007 wasn’t the best of years and I’m ready for it to be over. I know it’s just an arbitrary date, but it’s still symbolic.

The last lunch of the year wasn’t bad. My mom and I took a walk to the bank just to get out of the house and we had lunch on the way back. I was selfishly heading towards a spot I like, Bonnie’s Burgers. It used to be an old-school burger drive-in, but it closed down when I was a kid. In fact, I only went there once or twice when I was a kid and it was awful.

The present incarnation looks much worse from the outside. It’s part of an Astro gas station near Good Samaritan Hospital in NW Portland. Fortunately, it has pretty good burgers (possibly a little over-cooked) and very good fries. It’s the kind of Korean-run hamburger place that I love. My mom wanted something “non-greasy” and I knew they had teriyaki bowls.

Bonnie’s Burgers is what you’d expect the inside of a gas station burger joint, but they have a poster of udon on the wall. It’s not on the menu, but my mom took a chance and asked if they had it, and they did. My buddy Il says they eat udon in Korea. It was pretty good with fresh grilled chicken and fried egg. I still had my usual bacon cheeseburger and fries, but next time I might get the udon.

Bonnie’s Burgers Udon.


Why they call it a sleep disorder.

I’m tired but I can’t go to sleep right away and just lie there. I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong besides not getting enough exercise. It’s the holiday season so I’m just sitting, dorking around with my computer, watching bowl games, or reading books. It’s all quite boring, really. I haven’t been to the gym since before my mom went into the hospital. I’m guessing that’s probably the biggest problem.

I ran some errands yesterday and took my Garmin doo-dad (the Nuvi 650) out for a spin. It’s quite silly. It made some odd road choices (some of the same odd choices that google maps uses) and it mispronounced some things it should have gotten right. I can understand it mispronouncing “Couch” and “Glisan” (which are pronounced “cooch” and “gleesan” here and I’ve forgotten the International Phonetic Alphabet so you’ll just have to use that as the pronunciation) but it keep referring to the Morrison Bridge (abbreviated Morrison Br) as the Morrison Brother. But it did a pretty good job of getting me around. I just wish it were a little LOUDER when it was giving directions.

I keep driving around looking for sales on LED Xmas lights and I think I’m too late now. I really wanted to make one of these LED cube things out of cheap LEDs but I guess I’ll just have to buy the LEDs from a parts store like a regular person.

Toys and no sleep.

I was nervous about the snow they predicted for this morning, but it never made much of an appearance. I had to walk my sister’s dog one last time and then drive her to the airport to pick up my sister and my brother-in-law. I delivered them all home safely as the snow started to fall in earnest. See how weird my language gets when I don’t sleep because I’m worried about getting stuck in the snow with a very neurotic dog and also because I’m reading a book where they FINALLY catch up to Dracula in the last dozen pages or so? I’ve been reading The Historian off and on for a couple of months and I finally finished it. It was worth it but it was quite long.I finally got the GPS mapping thingy that I ordered from Costco. I was unable to get one built into my car, because I wanted a Civic Hybrid and I had to take the car they had. It’s the wrong color and it doesn’t have the map built into the dash. It was cheaper this way, but now I have a new gadget making me feel foolish. I guess I should find an address to type into it so I can test it out.

Merry Xmas.

I took part in a sacred religious ritual today: I went to eat Chinese food with Jewish friends. He even bought lunch and at the end he said, “It’s Christmas!” and we both laughed. I suggested next time we should invite our Muslim co-worker as well.

Other than walking down to the Chinese Restaurant I didn’t do all that much today. I watched A Christmas Story last night and I watched A Christmas Carol (the 1951 version with Alastair Sim) today. Other than that, not much other than walk my sister’s goofy dog Dede. Lately, Dede doesn’t seem to want to go for a walk. We’ll get out the door and she just stands there, shivering. I have to carry her across the street before she gets the idea. I think she just wants to sleep next to the heat register.

Dede sleeping.

Silly dog.

Computer time.

For some reason I can wait for a program to finish on my computer all day long and it always seems to finish right after I want to go to sleep. Everything seems to require loss of sleep.

I ran into a bunch of guys who were taking Computer Science classes with me at Portland State today. They showed up around dinnertime and I was already through with my second beer and had to go home to help dogsit my sister’s goofy dog. Woo were those two beers strong.

In any case, I thought I’d be done right after I started at 9PM but now it’s 1AM and please, please let this computer be done with it’s fiddling…

Holiday spirit.

I could swear that they used to tell you to stop flushing your drugs down the toilet and to take them back to the pharmacy for proper disposal. I tried that today and got in a heated discussion with the pharmacy tech. They were even pissy about taking my sharps container from the $1000 drugs my mom had to inject into her stomach. As I left, I threw away a cardboard box and the pharmacy tech panicked and called the store manager. She thought I’d thrown away the sharps container into the garbage. I saw her pointing at me and waving her hands so I walked up to them and showed them that I was still in possession of my “hazardous waste.” The manager was a nice guy and told me that if I thought she was being difficult, to tell the pharmacy manager.

To make things even better, my own prescription was denied as well. I called it in Sunday and they’d never called me to tell me there was any problem. It was all a large pain where I had to call the insurance company several times and sit on hold for 30-45 minutes. Fortunately, when I called back the pharmacy I got a sympathetic tech who sees me there all the time.

I’m not the only one who has received seasonal cheer today. I walked to the store (about 20 minutes each way) because I knew traffic would be awful. On the way back I saw a car stopped in traffic with its 4-way flashers on, blocking the only lane of traffic. People were honking at the car, so I wondered if it was just double-parked. As I got closer, I saw the guy trying to push it by himself, so I gave him a hand. He said he probably ran out of gas. We pushed it to a parking space and he was able to start it then and park it properly. A couple of other guys came up to help and we all agreed that the honking helped get the disabled car out of the road.

Why don’t people tell me these things?

Apparently comments on my blog have been broken since December 6th and nobody told me until yesterday. Hell, if it were my sister’s blog people would have been all over my ass on day one.

Well, my interview went OK. Not great, not terrible, pretty good but a lot of times I think things are pretty good and I’m left without the job I thought I was going to get. Guessing the outcome of interviews seems to me to be like guessing the future: nobody I know can do it. So now we wait.

One of the things I guess I should fool with my RFID card reader. My buddy Greg helped me replace the chip with one that will read even more types of RFID tags. I made sure it still works reading the things it always read. Now to see if I can get it to do more.

Well that wasn’t so great.

Yesterday I wasn’t able to concentrate after 9:30PM or so but going to bed early didn’t do much good. I couldn’t fall asleep until after 12:30AM even though I was so tired that I was hallucinating. Or at least I wasn’t able to concentrate and my mind was wandering quite a bit. And I wasn’t even on any medication.

I didn’t get up until quite late today and I was still pretty tired. At least that was all it was, just tired. My mom seemed a lot better, too. She was tired as well but she was up and around unlike last week when her leg hurt so bad she was limited to whimpering to the couch.

The big excitement for the day was the Xmas present from my sister. She insisted we open it right away and it was a Nespresso machine! It takes little cartridges of coffee concentrate and makes quite drinkable espresso. They were demonstrating it when we were in Japan and I was thinking about buying one, but it’s one of those things that’s better as a present. I mean, I’d worry about all the garbage I’m creating with the cartridges (1 per drink) but now I can say, “Eh, it was a gift.” Onward with the coffee drink experimentation.

Hallucinations are us.

My mom came home from the hospital today. I’m trying to write something about this, but I can’t concentrate and almost feel like I’m coming down with the ‘flu. I’m not running a fever, but my mind is wandering. So, I guess all I can say is that she’s back home and feeling OK. Her energy isn’t 100% but at least she’s home.

I’m supposed to be at one of two parties right now.

I’m too old for this. I was trying to catch up on some sleep last night and my aunt called for my mom at 6AM. I made it to the hospital a little late, but I’d missed the doctor by hours. It’s an odd arrangement they have there, groups of doctors calling each other and only really conversing through written notes they leave in a loose-leaf binder by my mom’s door. They don’t even talk to the nurse all the time and sometimes she has to find out what to do through the notes in the binder. It’s all very bizarre. It also means that I have to hang around and wait for the doctor in case my mom needs something translated.

Fortunately she’s looking a lot better. She’s up and about and reading her book and doing Sudoku puzzles. If we’re lucky she’ll be home soon and then we’ll have to schedule her gall bladder surgery after she’s through all her blood thinners. When it rains it pours.

I had the fried chicken with mashed potatoes and peas for lunch at the hospital cafeteria. The chicken was like the Banquet frozen fried chicken. Sometimes that’s real good. I pigged out at dinner at Pastini and even had their tiramisu. It always seems odd to me how different everyone’s tiramisu is.

I should get off the computer and get some sleep. I’ve been playing solitaire obsessively to comfort my brain. I need more dangerous pastimes so I can be more cool. Heh.

Meatloaf sandwich coma.

I spent most of my time today in the hospital, waiting for someone to tell me what’s going on with my mom. I sat and waited most of the day. I had to chase down the nurse to get the first information, and then I waited until the evening before all the doctors – the resident, the intern, and the attending physician – all came in. They all believe that my mom’s leg pain was bad enough that she needed some pretty serious pain killers, and just out of perverse coincidence she also had trouble with her gall bladder. On top of all that, the blood thinning medication she was taking was working a little too well and it was 3 times thinner than it should be. Imagine enough blood in your pee that it looks like cranberry juice.

OK, so now for my whiny part: yesterday I didn’t get to eat dinner. I had a deliciously nasty bacon cheeseburger and a green tea latte for lunch and then I stayed up until almost 4AM at the hospital (my mom needs a translator sometimes.) This morning I had my usual oatmeal and tea and figured I’d get some food at the hospital. However, by the time I made it to the cafeteria they only had soup and refrigerator sandwiches. Even the coffee choices were limited: good tasting coffee that was cold or hot coffee that tasted like burning rubber.

I went to the Industrial Café for dinner and had a gigantic hot meatloaf sandwich and a beer. I’m sure it wasn’t good for me, but it sure tasted good. Now if I had any sense I’d go to bed early so I can talk to the cutterssurgeons at the hospital tomorrow.