Lanyard progress.

Vince has been teaching his campers how to make these lanyard keychains. I remember doing these as a youth, so ordered a bunch of string for myself and I’ve been entertaining myself by learning the tornado stitch. So cute watching youtube videos of 8-10 year old girls teaching me how to do these stitches. Usually when I’m watching instructional videos these days, it’s middle aged men teaching me how to fix my dishwasher.

Maginot Line.

Good morning. I have this impending sense of doom about the fall and that the Delta variant (or some other variant) will overcome us and we will have to go into lockdown again and people will needlessly get sick and die. I had my first long-haul Covid patient last week – young, previously healthy and lungs so, so damaged. And all that work/suffering/loneliness will have been for nothing. The first metaphor that came into my head was “Maginot Line” – we won’t’ be able to hold our vaccine defense, it’s our Maginot Line. Then I was – what the hell is the Maginot Line? And am I using the metaphor correctly? Vaguely remembering from HS AP European History (so white, I know – at least now you can take AP World History: Modern now) – ok, so I had to look it up. Basically it’s the French fortification in WWII on the east side of France that was really expensive (it had air conditioning?) and then the Germans outflanked it by going through some forest they thought was not accessible. I found this: The term “Maginot Line” has been used as a metaphor for something that is confidently relied upon despite being ineffectual or: metaphor for expensive efforts that offer a false sense of security. So yeah, we are all idiots standing behind our Maginot Line in air conditioning not only right now being unknowingly outflanked, but also simultaneously contributing to global warming in air conditioned barracks having mimosas.

Have I showed you our corn in our front yard? I think the deer are going to get to them before us. I’m not even sure they are eating corn. The squirrels took the corn from the squirrel corn and buried them all over the yard and now we have corn growing in random places.

I’m enjoying this song on tiktok. Kinda vulgar, what can I say? It has a good beat.

Dinner, ashes, puzzle.

Ah, I was scheduled to work at the hospital last Sunday, but instead I took that day to go for a run, fix the dishwasher and go to Sunday night dinner. I was relieved to not go into the hospital. We drive by the hospital on the way home from Gene and Bette’s, you can see it from the freeway and as we passed by, Jeremy held my hand and said, it was nice that you were able to stay home today and now I get to hold your hand now instead of waving at you as I drive past you on the freeway. It’s a funny thing, being too busy, being busy, just right, being relaxed, being too relaxed. It’s hard to always be in the just right place. As I go over to the too busy side, I’m overwhelmed. As I go over to the too relaxed side, my anxiety tends to flare up where I have intrusive thoughts that are not helpful. I mean thoughts about things I can not change (how I’ve broken the earth for Vince and Edda and their summers will be 104F) or things that are totally out of left field (omg, I think I’m going to lose my left foot). Why, why, why can’t I be in the middle?

We got Max’s ashes in the mail a few days ago. I was not expecting the paw print. Honestly, the paw print really touched me. I look at it and think – yeah, I never trimmed her nails. She never let me touch her toes. Ruby would let you massage her feet no problem, but Maxi was a sensitive soul with sensitive soles. Normally, I wouldn’t have asked for Maxi’s ashes back, but when Emy was taking care of Yeager in 2002 and Yeager passed away, she asked to have Yeager’s ashes back. And so when Ruby passed away in 2016, I thought I should ask for her ashes back too. And now I have a little pet cemetery. Or a little pet mausoleum.

Yesterday (Monday) was Kitachi’s last day. Over the weekend, Alice, Sofi and Mike worked a couple hours on this puzzle to leave just enough to finish on Monday. We started this puzzle before the pandemic and when we went into lockdown, I set the puzzle aside for the entire time waiting for us to reconvene. And after we were all vaccinated and could go over to each other’s houses, we only did it once or twice. So I thought it was fitting to finish off the puzzle on Kitachi’s last day. And we did! About an hour’s worth of work for us and we got it done. Not a single piece was lost over the last year, and Sofi and Kitachi got to put in the last pieces.

I know Edda is not too thrilled in this photo, but it’s just because she’s already ready for bed. One last tuck into bed from Kitachi and big hugs to send her off onto her new adventure.

Scout and dishwasher.

The boys are planning out their year-delayed Eagle Scout ceremony.

I spent part of the weekend replacing the water inlet pump of the dishwasher. $35 dollars and four hours to fix the dishwasher that has been sitting in the garage for 9 months. I’m a bit embarrassed that it took me so long – that Jeremy washed the dishes for that long by hand.

Keep going.

And we keep going. This was the exact actual advice that my nursing manager gave me. My manager, Anthony (probably one of the best managers I’ve had), said (after we had worked through all the situations and solutions to my scheduling problems) – just keep going. That you can rest, adjust, pause and regroup, but keep going. Haha, maybe he just didn’t want me to quit, though really, three shifts every six weeks hardly helps him out.

Vince and Edda are doing well at Camp JCC. Vince got honored for being a good camp counselor – got a T-shirt that says “Heart of Gold”. They had a performance on Friday and Vince’s kids got 2nd place! I can’t straight embed the video, but you can click through and you can see Vince at the 14:50 mark. He was the choreographer. His triumph was the “wave” and the “tunnel” and getting the kids to wear hula skirts which was initially met with skirts are for girls (he has almost 100% boys in his group) – so breaking gender norms, haha. And anyways, men do wear hula skirts. And you can see Edda at the 59:30 mark!

Kitachi & burn out.

Lovely Kitachi! We celebrated her 35th birthday on Wed with this beautiful chocolate cake from Lauren. Jeremy made shrimp and steak fajitas. Kitachi has been by Edda’s side for five years! Kitachi managed all the online school for Edda during the pandemic. We are forever grateful for her help. She’s moving to Arkansas next week and we will miss her terribly.

It has been a very trying week. I was at the hospital on Monday – again tearing my hair out. The night before the shift, I woke up suddenly at 3:30 am and thought, omg, I need to quit my nursing job. I’m not going to make it through August without quitting the nursing job. I have no childcare, no camp for Edda and I have various other personal commitments that take time that I want to honor. And also, I can tell I’m burned out. There is always usually that one “difficult” patient per shift. Usually I’m entertained by the difficult one. I like talking them down from the ledge. But these days, I just want to strangle them. When I’m stressed, my first emotional reaction is to turn inward – to be like – I hate my life, I hate myself, why is this thing happening to me!!?. I do not (like many people), turn to anger. Anger is my emotion of last resort. If I’m about to strangle someone, I know I’m at the end of my rope. My favorite charge nurse was working and I called her over to me when I was about to cry somewhere and I kind of whispered to her that I needed to leave and quit. Anyways, I gotta go and get Edda ready for camp. I talked to my boss. I think we came up with a solution which is to drop my work commitment to the lowest possible amount until I get over this hump – I think it’ll be one shift every two weeks.

Ivy to the rescue.

It’s been quite nice having Ivy around after Maxi’s death – so the house isn’t immediately absent of 4-footed creatures, though Ivy always reminds us of how not-dog-like he is. omg, also we try, always, always to gender people the way they want to be gendered – whatever pronoun you want, we will try (this is especially true of Jeremy’s office where people do have all different combinations of pronouns which are not in traditional alignment with their names and/or biological sexual attributes), but we call Ivy 10,000 times a day by the pronoun “she” when he’s really a he (neutered male). And we had Max for 10 years and always erroneously called her a “he” when her given name is “Maxine” and she’s a spayed female, but also behaved gender fluidly by grabbing any unoccupied blanket, piled it on the ground like a sack of potatoes and enthusiastically humped it in the middle of the living room surrounded by a myriad of sighing human onlookers. This pronoun thing is really hard for us, we are trying. Also, coming from an Asian culture where names aren’t really important (I will go for weeks without correcting someone of mispronouncing my name, because for me, it’s more polite to have my name mis-spoken than to correct someone who is deep, deep into mispronouncing (well, usually misunderstanding – Dora or Dorothy) my name) – everyone is Auntie – which causes trouble. Sometimes my parents will tell me one of their friends is sick or daughter got into Harvard and did I remember them from when I was little and I am like – I don’t know! They were all Auntie.

Maxi(ne).

Maxi passed away yesterday with her head in my lap and her back scratched by Jeremy. It was a long weekend that was really long. I thought I had more time with her, I had no idea this was going to happen. She was 11 and I thought she’d see us through another three years at least.

We all said our goodbyes.

And we camped out with her on the first floor on Monday night with her because she couldn’t get up the stairs anymore. On Tuesday morning, she surprised us all by wanting to go for a walk and was still drinking, so we took her to the animal hospital to try and figure out what was wrong. I think, in the end, it was a tumor on her parathyroid causing toxic, elevated levels of calcium, though the definitive answer will always elude us. But she was declining rapidly at the hospital, her kidneys were injured from the calcium levels, so we decided to not hospitalize her for further testing and possible complicated surgery. I would say that her final illness was not painful, she was not in pain even when she wasn’t eating. I’m happy that the last, real meal that she wanted to eat was my mom’s home cooked steak lovingly prepared especially for her.

Jeremy and I stayed up late looking at old Maxi photos/videos. Maxi! Our hound dressed like a black retriever. The one who sings, the one who humps blankets and could never quite figure out how to wag her tail just back/forth, but it would get confused and go all sorts of different ways. Thank you for taking care of us! Thank you for being part of our family!

Baby Maxi 🙂 (and baby Vince.)

Maxi update.

While Maxi can muster enough energy to bark ferociously at Ivy, she is markedly not herself. Weak and not hungry, we are very concerned. We did take her to the vet – the physical exam didn’t show/reveal anything, we are waiting for the bloodwork to come back.

Here she is sleeping in the closet under my ironing board. (it’s my quilting closet, it doesn’t hold any clothes, just an ironing board and a felt -wall testing quilt thing-y and some quilting supplies)

And she’s snuggling with us which she never does. Last night, she whined a bunch and we had to put a twin sized mattress on the floor so she was able to crawl onto the low surface and I went to the same twin bed and slept with her for half the night (again, Maxi never sleeps with us in our bed and only half the time in our room and often chooses to sleep in the quietest room with no people in it).

Her appetite is down, she ate this last night (turkey and rice), but turned her nose up at it this morning.