Sunday, February 24, 2008

Purloined Family History (150th post)

I was watching this series on PBS called African-American Lives which is, incidentally, very interesting, but not what this post is about. The series got me all fired up about my own ancestry and how I don't really know a lot about anything. I started thinking about how even our immediate history has been broken up between the kids (even though some sources assert that Chad has a disproportionate amount.) So I thought I'd do my part and share the little pieces I have, which isn't much.

These are all the pictures I have of our parents when they were young. The two square pictures say 1970 on them, which is the year Mom and Dad got married, so that makes sense. The other pictures, I'm not sure when they were taken. Can anyone help me out?

Maybe after I graduate, I'll come visit Brea and scan everything everyone has and make CDs for all the kids.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Trip to Ridgecrest

The Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NavAir) has offered Tyler a job. So we went to check it out. I know what you're thinking: Naval... ocean... why are these pictures of a desert? Good question. In the 1940s, JPL in Pasadena needed a place to test all of their rockets and missiles. Thus, Ridgecrest came to be. There's even a restricted air space corridor between Ridgecrest and Oxnard so they can shoot things from the ocean and hit things in the desert.

But enough about the company, what about the beautiful city?

Above is neighboring Inyokern's City Hall.

This shot is actually coming out of the "city." As you can see up to the left, the sierras are actually very close. Yes, that's snow.

One Pro: No smog.

This is at the city college. Just to prove that not all the buildings are dilapidated.

This is looking out from the city college over the whole thriving metropolis of Ridgecrest.

The main drag.

The lights belong to a sports complex where little kids play soccer and pee-wee football and t-ball.

So, let's talk specifics. They picked Tyler up to go to his full day of being schmoozed, and I drove around the town. The first half I drove through looked a lot like the above picture. I thought, no way in a million years will we ever live here. Ever. The latter half looked more presentable, like a regular suburb. (You'll have to take my word for it because I didn't take any pictures.) So here's a short list of pros and cons:
  • Cheap housing. And not just trailers which we could buy with Tyler's signing bonus. No, we could buy a nice three bedroom house in the nice neighborhood for 150-175 thousand dollars.
  • Good pay. It's not as much dollar-wise as he could make at some other jobs, but when adjusted for cost of living, it's more.
  • Good job. They do conceptual stuff, prototype stuff, testing stuff, building actual stuff, putting stuff on actual planes. When you are a new hire, you work in all the departments you think you'd be interested in for a month each, and then you can pick which one you want to work in permanently.
  • Hospital for me to work in. I didn't get a good look inside because there was construction obstructions and a crying baby in my car.
  • Small town feel. Tyler's escort took us out to lunch and he ran into maybe 20 people he knew just around town. I kind of like that. But, the guy said that his wife hates it because she can't go to the grocery store in sweats.
  • Not as small as you'd think. They do have all the stores you would need (except, I couldn't find a bookstore, but I'm sure there's one there.) They have the sports complex, a city college, parks, etc.
  • Lots of outdoorsy things. It's close to the Kern river for those river-type activities. It's close to Lake Isabella for those lake-type things. It's close to the mountains for those mountain-type things. Everyone has mountain bikes, dirt bikes, ATVs, gliders, rockclimbing gear, etc.
  • It's 40 miles east of nowhere.
  • The average temperature in July is 110 degrees.
  • It's a desert. I didn't think this would bother me until we got back to San Luis and I saw how green and pretty it is. If Ridgecrest isn't green or pretty in February, there's no hope I think.
  • Half the town looks like a rundown trailer park.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

All puns must die

I like crossword puzzles. I really do. But I hated this one. The NYT Crossword gets reprinted some months later in the Mustang Daily, the newspaper of Cal Poly, so Tyler brings it home for me every once in a while. I understand the concept of word play and I get how it can be funny, but this one was just ridiculous.

(FYI: this whole post is about me complaining about this puzzle. So, if this doesn't interest you, stop reading)

First off, I hate puzzles where you have to do something else after you're done to get the joke. 20A clue: With 59-across, hint to this puzzle's secret. The answer is CLARINET / RELATIVE. Then 41A clue: What to do after completing this puzzle, with four straight lines. Answer: CONNECTALLTHEOS.

It doesn't show up really well on the picture, but if you connect the Os you get a bow tie. An O-bow of you will. O-bow, oboe, clarinet relative. Har har.

To make so many Os in the exact right places, all the other answers were really sketchy. Olaf spelled OLOF, and nos (as in yesses and nos) spelled NOES.

Not to mention the use of the all-to-well-known 15A: Mythical king of the Huns. What? You didn't know about King Atli?

As I was complaining to Claire she said "maybe you should make a puzzle with all the answers being authors of xword puzzles, and one of your clues could be "hint to this puzzle" and the answer could be "lame-oes.""

Friday, February 08, 2008

Finishing touches

I bought some new headbands, and Lillian loves them.

Of course, she only wants to do it herself. (Ignore the large pile of laundry to her right. Tyler took these pictures... I would have never taken this shot : )

My engineer

We made a double batch of spaghetti sauce so we could freeze some. As dinner was winding down, I all-of-a-sudden had no idea how I was going to get the sauce into the jars. Without skipping a beat, Tyler grabs a knife and cuts off the bottom of the just-emptied milk jug. I love my engineer.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Pulled intercostal

I've been sick for about a week with a runny nose, sore throat, and cough. If it wasn't another disease, I'd say I had a whooping cough. My cough was so bad, that my professor told me not to come back to the hospital until it was gone (this was after I thought I was getting better). Then, two nights ago, I awoke in a coughing fit and in the midst of it, I felt something pop in my chest wall and then had THE WORST PAIN OF MY LIFE. My first thoughts were that I either had a pneumothorax or a pulmonary embolus. I woke Tyler up (this is probably about 3:30 am) and told him that I was dying and that we needed to go to the emergency room. Always the sensible one, he pointed out that if we were to go to the ER, we'd have to wake up the baby. He said to take some ibuprofen and see if I was still dying in the morning. I laid there with the WORST PAIN OF MY LIFE and talked myself out of the above maladies and decided I had pulled a muscle of inspiration (the left side of the above diagram).

Turns out, Claire did this a while back so she can sympathize. I just wish she hadn't told me it still hurt her after 8 weeks. The pain has downgraded from hurricane to tropical storm, but it still hurts a lot, especially if I yawn or hiccup, or walk up the stairs to our apartment.

I also have thought of all those COPD, CABG, and pneumonia patients that I've been torturing in the hospital. As people sit in hospital beds and do a lot of nothing, their lungs can fill up with fluid. To guard against this, we make them cough. Sure, we medicate them for pain, but they still complain a lot... and I'm totally Nurse Ratchet and say, "I know it hurts but you have to do it." And if they are little sissy coughs, I make them do it again. So, to all of my patients, I'm really sorry. (But you still have to cough).
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