It is literally steamy outside. The air is reasonably heavy but the air is so filled with humidity it is hazy and almost smoky. We’ve had humidity before, but I don’t ever recall it being visible like this. Very cool. Luckily it is not too warm (70s).
The family ordered pizza and watched Vertigo last night – wonderful time together… Vertigo is widely considered Hitchcock’s best film, and I try to love it, but I don’t. It’s creepy, but I don’t like the “As you know” dialogue in the beginning, its length, how Stewart forces Judy to wear certain clothes before he knows she’s scammed him and it seems slow for a Hitchcock Film. I love the how green surrounds the characters when they are influenced by the plot, and the reds. I love Ebert’s observation that Hitchcock put himself (Stewart) on the screen for judgement. But I like other Hitchcock movies more.
.. Was curious during movie about 1906 San Francisco earthquake. 3,000 people (out of a population of 400,000) died, over half the city ended up homeless and it hit an estimated 7.8 on the Richter scale (which was created 3 decades later).
Community Lunch serves 50,000 meals per year to anyone. They interviewed some of their regular patrons, but it was so loud under the freeway bridge where they lived that the interviewers had to move the interview to a new location in order to hear. One person became homeless after their husband was murdered. Another was a professional with a college degree. A third hates when people yell “get a job” because he works. A fourth talked about laughing at homeless when he was a teen, never realizing that it would be him some day. They now provide medical and dental care, too. We donated over $500 to the cause although it has been a difficult financial year for us. Next year, we’d like to give $1,000.
We started Christmas week by attending the Nutcracker as a family. It was a surprise since we didn’t think we could afford it this year, but wife M bought discount seats in the upper back and cooked dinner at home (normally we go out to eat). It was a pleasant evening, all of us dressed up, and we took N, who is living with us t his year.
Christmas Eve Eve was spent at a party with friends. The friends are good and social people, so have good and interesting friends, and we enjoyed our time there. I met Leo, who is from the Phillipines, loves to motorcycle and is planning a trip to Oregon this summer. I also spent time talking to Steve and family, who we’ve known for a very long time and didn’t know we were both friends with the host. I also spent time speaking with John, who is from Puyallup, works as a consultant and whose family is heading to Bend for a week of skiing. There was amazing homemade eggnog, whose alchohol was distilled by the person who brought it, people singing carols and lots of chit chat. One of my favorite things about the hosts is they have many friends, and everyone always asks how we know the hosts.
Christmas Day was pleasant. We slept in, then had Wife M’s sister and mom over for dinner and a movie (Krampus). It was a nice evening with delicious food, and I was able to squeeze in a walk just prior to sunset, which may be my favorite time/moment of the year in Seattle, since it is peaceful and I love the way the light hits the surrounding hills.
Christmas Day, N was sick, so stayed home, but the rest of us headed up to MOm and Dads for Christmas brunch and dinner, with my sister and her family. We had a wonderful day of food, family and interaction. It was only the second time I’ve seen my nephew and niece J and P, who are now a month old. I spent much of the day holding, feeding and changing J or P, and it was great to spend some time taking care of them and helping my sister get a break 🙂 Babies are fun to take care of – they just need lots of love, and changing a diaper or walking them around and patting their back is a piece of cake (the hard part is the late night feedings, which I didnt ahve to do :).
There was a small threat of snow/rain all weeekend, but overall it was a chilly, dry, cloud weekend.
Today I think is a holiday, since Christmas was on Sunday, but I am heading into the office for a few hours to make a showing, since I am out ext week.
I’ve had Shingles twice before and never knew what the big fuss was about it. The first was a small patch that itched a lot but otherwise I seemed fine, and the second time was similar but with a little more fatigue/pain, although I am always tired and in pain so a little more of that isn’t a huge deal. But I’ve come down with Shingles a third time and I am startging to understand the fuss. I have a series of red patches along my right chest and back (including under the arm) that flat out hurt, like a burn, and I am really sore. I am not sure if it is related (I am sure it is) but I am itching and tender at invisible places in m body: for example, my right tricep is tender (i.e. hurts to the touch) and itches but nothing is there. I have a few places like that on m body (left ankle, right shoulder, etc.). Some of those spots come and go, but others (like the ankle and tricep) are persistent… I am certain that I still have a fairly mild case, but at least now understand/get why some people are truly miserable with Shingles…
I visited the doctor on Friday (they squeezed me in since I was still in the 72 hour critical window for treatment), and I am on antiviral medicine which doesn’t seem to be helping but then again who is to say if it is or not (i.e. maybe it would be worse without the medicine). She also asked about my stress; honestly, I am in a very stressful part of my life (stress being relative). I have chronic health issues, am spending a lot of time in doctors offices while working full time with fatigue, we are having financial stress since Wife M is in school full-time and my earnings have been cut in half since my diagnosis in 2011, and my current employer is having serious financial difficulty which means I am likely back on the job trail again and explaining why I am on my fifth job in 5 years. Sigh. 🙂 The best way to cure the stress will be to get a stable job and to stabilize our financial situation (which will be much better next year when wife M has graduated). I am not bitter about anything – there is just a lot of stress I am trying to manage. 🙂
The last two times I had Shingles were in 1990 during college finals, and three years ago when I joined a high-stress company as a manager (I literally was thrown into the fire day 1 for a chaotic company).
I was walking over 10 miles a day on our vacation in Europe, which makes the 5 miles I am walking this week seem paltry. So walked for 30 minutes during my lunch. It feels so good to take a moderate walk. It is bright and sunny today, and the temperature is 72 but it feels 80.
As I walked I thought about my week in the hospital in 2012, when I was too restless (or worried) to read, and didn’t feel like watching TV so all I did was walk the halls. The first trips were brutal (my lungs were recuperating from surgery) but I got stronger every day. When all else fails, I always feel better when I walk.
On our vacation, we had five people who really went the extra mile to help us. One person, in particular, took an extra 5-10 minutes to find something for us that two other of her peers said they couldn’t find (with barely an effort). So I took 10-minutes this morning to send a note to their employers this morning to call out their service. Why? It is a way to thank that person, it reinforces the attitude that is is important to care about other people’s concerns, and it hopefully encourages their companies to encourage their employees to care (note: it is a two way street – employers have to treat their employees with respect and also reward them in ways that impact the pocketbook).
Of course, what very well may happen is the employer will get these notes and start enforcing habits that don’t necessarily encourage better behavior but actually soliciting more comment cards 🙂 But, I have to hope for the best.