Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Three Beautiful Things 12/11/18: Kidney Update, *Selma*, Roasting a Chicken

1. My kidney function had dropped to 14% back in September. When kidney function falls below 15%, it's in the Stage V range and this can be when a kidney patient starts on dialysis. But, because I'm still feeling good and because my nephrologist wasn't convinced my function was going to stay at this lower level, I didn't start dialysis. I had blood work done again in late October as part of the process to (hopefully) be listed at Sacred Heart for a transplant and my function was back up to 18%, a number that would dismay most people, but, the improvement made me so happy I nearly cried.

Today, the results of last week's blood work came floating into my email inbox and I've held steady. My function was at 17%. Right now, this is just about what I hoped for. I'm feeling good. I didn't stay in the Stage V range and, for now, I'm not having to get things set up for dialysis and have my life centered around having a machine filter my blood regularly.

On December 12th, I see my nephrologist, Dr. Jones, and I'm looking forward to what she has to say about how she reads the blood (and urine) test results.

2. Today I watched Selma, the 2014 movie that tells the story of the three attempts civil rights advocates made in March of 1965 to march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in support of voting rights for black Americans. I experienced again how, when I was only an elementary school kid,  I came to see these civil rights workers and marchers as on the right side of history. Back then, I used to pore over the depictions of the civil rights movement presented in Life magazine and I couldn't understand the harsh things I heard adults in my life say about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights movement nor could I understand adults I heard support Governor George Wallace and others who opposed civil rights on the grounds that they wanted to keep things they way they were.

I experienced the power of this movie from a distance, as an observer, as one who lived far away from where these events occurred. But, the movie moved me in a personal way, too, as I found myself taking stock of my earliest impressions of the civil rights movement and of how what I felt and experienced within myself over the next fifty years or so was often in contrast to members of our extended family, family friends in Kellogg, my Boy Scout leaders, and friends I hung out with. At an early age, I began to realize how people who are devoted to service to others -- teachers, police officers, coaches, supervisors at work, volunteers for organizations like the Boy Scouts -- and people who are devoted to church, the love and care of their families, and to their friends, that is, people who are capable of great acts of generosity and goodwill, can also articulate heartless and cruel and distorted observations and assessments when it comes to the lives of African Americans and other people who aren't white. I've never lost my admiration for all that is good about the people I am remembering and who I know today, but will always be perplexed by this contradiction I have experienced. (By the way, I'm also perplexed by my own contradictions. I don't see myself as in the clear when it comes to contradictory behavior.)

Along with sending me down my own memory lane and moving me to think about my own life in relation to the history of racial relations in the USA, the movie also reminded me of how much I admire Oprah Winfrey's acting. I don't know which movie I saw first back in 1985-86, Native Son or The Color Purple, but I do remember coming away from both of those movies deeply impressed with Oprah Winfrey's work. Years later, I saw her in Beloved and I wished she would play more roles. Now, I understand that Oprah Winfrey was very busy with a million other non-acting projects, but I think she brings gravity, depth, and deep feeling to the roles I've seen her play and this was certainly the case in Selma. She plays the part of Annie Lee Cooper, a small role to huge effect. When Annie Lee Cooper is denied voter registration because she cannot recite the names of the sixty-seven county judges of Alabama for the Dallas county elections registrar, she becomes the weary, but determined face of the efforts to reverse this kind of intimidation and injustice.

3. I had fun later in the day experimenting with roasting a chicken. I slid butter underneath the skin of the chicken along with a couple of thin slices of lemon. I cut the rest of the lemon into small chunks and put them in the chicken's cavity. I roasted the chicken on top of slices of onions and a very tasty liquid formed underneath the bird which I will turn into a gravy or a sauce to put over rice and chicken tomorrow. I thought the way I roasted this chicken and the way I seasoned it with salt, pepper, and Old Bay seasoning worked well. Because I'm cutting back on eating meat, I won't be roasting another chicken for a while, but I had a blast doing it late this afternoon.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Three Beautiful Things 12/10/18: Snow Removal, Kidney Research, Short Deck Hold 'Em Poker

1. It snowed a bit in Kellogg overnight. Even though chances were good that it would melt on its own, I shoveled our walks and driveway. I'd rather not have snow piled on snow should another snowfall arrive before this one melted.

2. I'm slowly, surely trying to sort out the ins and outs of a kidney friendly diet. Reducing animal protein is straightforward, but eating other sources of protein and cutting back on potassium is a little trickier. It's a numbers thing. I need a certain amount of potassium, but need to be careful about too much and I haven't quite been able to commit to memory how much low potassium food is within the range of what is best for me to consume. In a perfect world, there'd be a bookstore nearby with a kidney disease section and I could browse kidney disease cookbooks. Ha! For now, I'll just keep reading materials from the well-known kidney disease websites and try to get these numbers and percentages fixed in my mind so I can more intelligently read ingredient lists and so that the food I buy and prepare for myself is supporting what kidney function remains.

3. While I fiddled around with this and that and took care of some business this evening, I put NBCSN on the television and kept an eye on their replay of the 2018 Poker Masters tournament held in September. Of particular interest to me were two games I'd never watched before, Pot Limit Omaha and Short Deck Hold 'Em. Pot Limit Omaha is difficult for me to watch casually because each player has four down cards. I have trouble keeping track of the action. Short Deck Hold 'Em is Texas Hold 'Em played with a thirty-six card deck -- the 2s, 3s, 4s, and 5s are gone. Fewer cards in the deck means more action. This game also has different hand rankings -- for example, a flush beats a full house in this game. And, interestingly, the Ace can be the high card at the end of a 10-J-Q-K-A straight and it can become a 5 in an A-6-7-8-9 straight. It was fun watching this game being played and the players who were interviewed think its popularity will increase as more players become familiar with it.

Sidebar: A couple of player said that this game could become very popular among recreational players playing cards in their homes because everyone at the table is involved in more hands more often than in full deck Texas Hold 'Em where it's not uncommon at, say, a seven hand table for a player to fold the hand he's dealt multiple times in a row and go for twenty or thirty or more minutes never playing a hand.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Three Beautiful Things 12/09/18: I Love this Movie, Zags Lose, Family Dinner and Remembering Mom and Dad

1. A few days ago, I watched the movie Come Back to the 5 and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean until I decided I was too tired to continue -- which also means I was too tired to willingly experience its painfulness.

This morning, I returned to the movie, rested and eager to see the movie to the end.

I first saw this movie about thirty-five years ago and I'd forgotten that its enduring impact on me, forgotten that this was more than just a movie I loved. It was a very important movie to me.

I won't write about all that came back to me today, but, for starters, for the first time in years today I thought about Ibsen's character Peer Gynt, from the play of the same name, and his monologue on onions. It's a simple metaphor. Like an onion, we humans are made up of many layers of experience and character and, we can, if we'd like, peel away layers of ourselves and eventually get to the center of our being.

In Come Back to the 5 and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean, the layers insulating characters from the core truths about themselves take the form of illusions that these characters have come to believe in and live by. I won't give away how it is that what started as a twenty year reunion of the Disciples of James Dean to mark the anniversary of his death turned into a session of truth telling, of peeling away onion layers, of getting at core truths, both painful and liberating, that are alive in these characters who come back to the Woolworth's Five and Dime they hung out at in McCarthy, Texas when they were teenagers -- along with the store's proprietor.

Today, I enjoyed reliving how important this movie was to me thirty-five years ago. It helped shaped feelings, attitudes, and ways of seeing the world that have deepened since then, but that this movie helped either bring into being or helped solidify. I'm not saying specifically what these  feeling, attitudes, and ways of seeing the world are because I don't want to give away plot details. The movie's revelations surprised me (I'm easy to surprise as a movie viewer!) and I don't want to spoil that experience for any of you reading this who might decide to go to YouTube and watch the movie in its entirety.

I'm not recommending that you see this movie. I understand from reading what critics said about it that it did not have the impact on the professional movie goers that it had on me -- I realize that my love for this movie is very likely a personal experience and the movie may not work for those who are more tough-minded and less eager to be pleased than I am.

But, I'm sure glad I let this movie work on me the way it does and I'm grateful for all that it has moved me to feel and learn over the years.

I look forward to watching it again -- who knows how many times?

2. At noon, I went over to Christy and Everett's. I had hoped I'd be done watching the movie before the game started, but I wasn't and I came into their house weak in the knees from what I'd been feeling.

It was thrilling as Gonzaga and Tennessee played a fiercely entertaining game filled with exciting plays and a many lead changes. Yes, I would have been happier if Gonzaga had won, but Tennessee forward, Admiral Schofield, got hot in the second half, scoring twenty-five of his game high thirty points, and I don't think whacking him on the shins with a 2 x 4 could have stopped him. Even though it was at the expense of our beloved Zags, Schofield's performance was jaw-dropping, among the most invigorating I've ever seen. In the closing seconds of the game, when Gonzaga could have tied it by scoring from behind the three point line, Tennessee's defense was suffocating and the shots both Norvell and Hachimura were forced and were way off the mark, but Tennessee's defense wouldn't let them fire up a better shot.

3. For family dinner tonight, we had tacos, expertly prepared by Carol with some key assistance from Paul. We had a great time looking through a couple of little boxes of Mom's recipes and household tips she had saved. We hoped to find Mom's Nuts and Bolts recipe and we did and it led to quite a fun discussion, remembering Mom's preparation of Christmas treats and laughing about Dad's annual making of his Tom and Jerry batter. Dad turned a ten minute process into a long, clear the kitchen, stay out of my way stress fest, but he was very proud of this batter and it was enjoyed with universal approval all over town. 

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Three Beautiful Things 12/08/18: Black Cauldron, Lunch at Red Tail, Milk Substitutes

1. Buff rolled by around 10 o'clock and then, from Kingston, Ed drove us down to the CdA Casino in Worley. I played for a while, but, seeing it wasn't my day, took a break at the Red Tail Bar and Grill where I ordered a 12 oz glass of Grand Teton Brewing's exquisite Imperial Stout, Black Cauldron. I asked for the beer in a room temperature glass. I knew it would still be served cold, so I left the beer pretty much alone and let it warm up so that its dried fruit, chocolate, coffee, cherry, and other flavors could arise out of their chilly hibernation. It's a high alcohol beer, one that I would have preferred to drink in a four or eight ounce glass, but I sat with it for nearly an hour, slowly sipping it, loving it, as it warmed up.

2. I hadn't quite finished my glass of Black Cauldron when Buff and Ed arrived at the Red Tail so we could enjoy lunch together. Ed's luck was running pretty well today and he treated us. I enjoyed eating three shrimp tacos and a glass of water. The three of us got in some good yakkin' at the table and we all played a little more before heading back to the Silver Valley.

3. Back home, I made a quick trip to Yoke's so I'll have coffee in the morning. I also bought a couple of non-dairy products to see if they'll taste good in my coffee and be a suitable substitute for milk when I make pancakes and muffins. This is in line with my ongoing, albeit inconsistent, attempt to cut back on potassium in my food and drink. I see Dr. Kristie Jones, nephrologist, on Wednesday and I anticipate that we'll talk about how my kidneys are becoming less adept at properly filtering excess potassium out of my system and I want to report that I recognize this and am doing something about it, however inconsistently.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Three Beautiful Things 12/07/18: Afternoon in the Kitchen, Vito 2018, *Come Back . . . Jimmy Dean*

1. After a waffle and a couple of eggs at Sam's and writing out checks for three more bills and making a trip to Yoke's for Christy,  I acted on a thought that buzzed through my head yesterday. I bought a box of Grape Nuts. I wondered if Grape Nuts muffins would be good. I bounced around on the World Wide Web a bit and found a recipe that looked simple enough and early this afternoon I baked a batch. They worked. I am also very pleased with another cooking idea I carried out. I boiled my last potato and a handful of baby carrots until I could fairly easily push a fork through them, drained them, and combined them with the cabbage I recently made. I took a little bit of this dish out of the pan and seasoned the sample with a few caraway seeds. I loved it and so I seasoned my mess of potatoes, carrots, and cabbage with caraway seeds and it was perfect -- tasty, substantial, and warming.

2. Today was the release date for Wallace Brewing's annual barrel-aged strong ale, Vito. This year's Vito, thanks to Shawn's suggestion, was aged with Basil Hayden Boubon spirals, and Shawn and I met around 3:00 to give it a try. Before I knew it, Holly placed a tulip glass that was bigger than I wanted in front of me. Vito has a fairly high alcohol content, so I resolved that this one glass would be my only beer for the afternoon. As the Vito warmed up -- and I wish I had let my glass sit for about twenty minutes before drinking it -- the beer's complexity asserted itself -- the subtle brown sugar of the bourbon, the vanilla of the oak spirals, and the smoothness of the aging process.  Wallace Brewing's brewmaster, Jack, joined Shawn and me and told us about how he made this year's Vito and he piqued our interest to look forward to the January 19th release of Wallace Brewing's 10th Anniversary Ale, a Scotch Ale that Jack made sound well worth waiting for. I don't know if I'll make it to the actual 10 year anniversary party on the 19th, but I will surely go up to Wallace to sample the Scotch Ale at some point.

3. Back home, I settled into my tv room and did a search of movies available to me, looking for Come Back to the 5 and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean. This movie has been on my mind recently. I saw it in Portland in 1983, soon after it came out, and it fit perfectly into my preoccupation at that time with plays and fiction written in the USA that explore the illusions characters live by (what Prof. Clark Griffith called "the Grade B movie in their heads") and what happens when those illusions shatter.

I will return to this movie soon, but, tonight, after about forty minutes or so, I gave it a rest. When I was nearly thirty years old back in 1983, I found excitement in the ideas of these American plays and novels and short stories, but now that I am nearly 65, these stories are less intellectually stimulating and are much more painful. Tonight, I needed to take a break from Sandy Dennis' brilliant and excruciating portrayal of the deluded character, Mona. The illusion she lives by in this movie, and, the fierceness with which she protects it, is nearly unbearably painful. I know as the movie develops, she's not alone in living a life shaped by a reality she wishes for but that doesn't exist and I will return to this movie soon and watch as other characters confront the pain generated by living lives unsupported by what's actually true within themselves and in the world they occupy. Tonight, I was tired and could only absorb so much of this movie. But, good Lord, do I ever love watching Robert Altman's films.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Three Beautiful Things 12/06/18: Night (and Day) Guard, Meal Plan, Epic Movie in My Future

1. Having had a ton of dental work done last month, I now need a night guard to protect this work from my habit of grinding my teeth. I grind my teeth a lot during the day. The work I had done has changed my bite and I am continually checking out my bite, trying to determine if it's working the way I want it, too. Therefore, I'll be using my new guard as a day guard and a night one. These days I spend a lot of time by myself, reading, writing, doing things around the house, and watching movies. I will wear the guard while alone and wear it at night.

The dental office was as busy as I've ever seen it today and I waited two hours to get in to have my mouth guard fitted. I can't explain why this wait didn't bother me, why I patiently and calmly read about different things online and sat around thinking about different things, totally unruffled. Once attended to, the fitting of my guard went smoothly and, once home, I popped it right in and started the process of getting used to it.

I like the feeling this guard gives me of my teeth being protected from my dumb grinding habits.

2. I decided that on Friday I'll combine the cabbage I made Wednesday with boiled potatoes, some carrots, and garbanzo beans and make a soup seasoned with an old favorite I haven't used in a long time, caraway seeds. My shopping trip to Yoke's centered on buying groceries for this dish.

3. Ever since I first heard about the movie, Once Upon a Time in America, I've wanted to see it and then I'll go long periods of time forgetting about it. Today it came back to mind and I read up on the movie and discovered that I have online access to one of the movie's long versions that runs nearly four hours. One of these days, I'll commit myself to watching it in its entirety and let myself get absorbed by this epic film about which I've read so much acclaim.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Three Beautiful Things 12/05/18: My Medical Life, Southern Cabbage, DVDs and the Zags Win

1. I called the Idaho Lung and Asthma Center in CdA and learned that the order from Sacred Heart for me to be examined arrived. I should hear from a scheduler next week. Right now, it looks like everything else that Sacred Heart is requiring before their committee makes a decision about whether to list me for a kidney transplant is done. If my lungs, damaged as they were by the SO2 and zinc and cadmium dust I inhaled when I was injured in 1973, are up to snuff, I should be on my way to being listed at Sacred Heart.

I see nephrologist Dr. Kristie Jones on December 12th, so I got to see the world's finest phlebotomist, Tracy, again today at the clinic uptown and have three vials of blood drawn and I gave a urine sample. I'll see Tracy again on the December 12th when I have my monthly blood sample drawn to send to the U of Md in Baltimore.

2. I wanted to be sure to use a head of cabbage I had on hand and found a Southern Cabbage recipe that is simple and looked tasty. The recipe called for chicken broth. I don't have any on hand. I dug around in the freezer a bit and found a container of turkey broth I'd forgotten about and used it. The recipe didn't ask much of me: I cut up the cabbage, poured it over chopped onion and minced garlic sauteed in olive oil and butter, seasoned it with salt, pepper, and Johnny's Seasoning Salt, poured in a couple of cups of turkey broth, brought it to a boil, turned down the heat, and let the cabbage simmer, covered. The more tender the cabbage became, the better it tasted and I have a nice side dish stored and will figure out something to cook up to go with it.

3. After some diligent searching, I found used copies of three DVDs of short films I wanted to own again. Two of the collections are short documentaries and the other includes a short film entitled, "Family Tree". I used to show "Family Tree" to my writing students. I've missed having these short films around and was happy I found them.

After my shopping spree, I went over to Christy and Everett's and watched the Zags defeat the Huskies on a last second tie breaking jump shot by Rui Hachimura. I had watched the Huskies play last week and I thought they might give the Zags a stern test because they are a stingy defensive team and have a few pretty good scorers. Tonight, the Huskies never gave up. Behind much of the game, they kept making plays on defense, found a hot hand in guard Jaylen Nowell, and tied this game with under ten seconds left to play -- and did so with their stellar forward Noah Dickerson on the bench with five fouls.

Tonight Gonzaga faced what they will face game after game after game. Opponents are going to be extra motivated to play hard, sometimes play better than they ever have, because Gonzaga is not only the top-ranked team in the nation, but is, year after year, one of the USA's elite programs.

So, tonight, the Huskies dug in and kept coming back. Even though they were behind by eleven points with about five minute to go in the game, the Huskies persisted, played their hearts out, and Gonzaga once again had figure out how to defeat a team whose confidence grew in the game's last minutes, who believed they could, and nearly did, upset Gonzaga.

I know I'll hear some Gonzaga fans grumble about the Zags nearly blowing this one. There's truth in that grumble. The Zags had an off game. But, I am slow to be too negative about Gonzaga's team. I came away from the game, not so much grumbling about the Zags, but thinking, man, these Dawgs have a lot of fight in them and I sure hope the powers that be never let the Huskies/Zags rivalry disappear from the schedule again.


Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Three Beautiful Things 12/04/18: Christy's Tired, *The Post*, Enhancing my Soup

1. I don't have much to report about how Christy is doing. I know that she was up and down a lot Monday night into Tuesday morning; I know that she spent a lot of time in bed on Tuesday; I know her home nurse made her first visit on Tuesday. I concluded from our text messages that the combination of a fitful night, the strength of her medication, and just being tired after a full day Monday when she came home from the hospital left her tired and in need of a lot of rest on Tuesday.

2. After I got some medical business taken care of and called about a furnace tune up and an oil change in the Sube, I settled into spending about half the afternoon watching The Post, a fictional account of the decision by Katharine Graham, publisher of The Washington Post, to publish what came to be known as the Pentagon papers.

I kept finding pleasure in the experience of thinking throughout the movie that I was watching a film made seventy years ago by a director like Frank Capra.  It was melodramatic with clear lines of conflict between the moneyed interests of the banks and the paper's board of directors and the bulldog editor, Ben Bradlee, played by Tom Hanks, and his wealthy publisher, Katharine Graham, played by Meryl Streep, who both were determined to protect and enact the ideals of free speech and the interests of the governed over those governing and not give in to the profit-minded bankers and the board members.

I thought about how Steven Spielberg paid homage to matinee cliffhangers in the Indiana Jones franchise, and how in this movie he grounded the story in another kind of melodrama that pitted freedom against money and governmental power. Much like Jimmy Stewart invigorates the ideals of Frank Capra's stories, Tom Hanks animates the urgency of not bending to the will of the powerful by advocating for the publishing of the sensitive material in the Pentagon papers.

Meryl Streep portrays Katharine Graham as simultaneously strong and tentative. She's mindful of being dismissed, despite her power and position, by the powerful men around her -- talked over, interrupted, looked through, ignored, condescended to, not taken seriously. She's also mindful of her enormous responsibilities and her inexperience in such a position of power. As the story develops, I could see, in Streep's portrayal of Graham, a growing sense of Graham shedding her familiar role as a socialite and embracing the responsibilities inherent in owning The Post.

When Spielberg plays up the melodrama of the moment when Graham decides to publish the Pentagon papers, the melodrama isn't cheap. It's a powerful moment climaxing not only a crucial moment in the history of journalism, but also climaxing Katharine Graham's steady embrace of her position and her defiance of the male dominated pressures around her to cave in.

Watching Meryl Streep's physical, vocal, and emotional investment in bringing this movie's portrayal of Katharine Graham to life made me think of the staggering number of roles I've seen Meryl Streep play over the years, the staggering variety of these roles, and the staggering skill Meryl Streep brings to her work.

I also thought today about the young actors I performed with in a handful of plays at Lane Community College who were often snide and snarky when they talked about Meryl Streep's work. I'm not much of an arguer and I just listened to these comments and tried to understand them. Again, today, some of those comments rose up while I watched The Post and I thought about how fully the Meryl Streep I've heard interviewed and seen on awards shows disappeared in this movie and, in her place, was this multi-dimensional, complicated, tough, tender, intelligent, occasionally stumbling, publicly self-assured, grieving, courageous character, Katharine Graham. Her work in this movie moved me to tears, something I've experienced several times watching Meryl Streep perform.

Whatever it is about me that enjoys so much of what I see and whatever it is about me that is so eager to be moved by stories, movies, plays, music, and acting, I'm glad it's the way I am. I realize it would make me a lousy movie critic for any publication. After a while, readers would just say, "How can you trust him? He enjoys almost everything!" I think it's because when I watch movies I believe the story, I believe in the characters, I do not ever assess a movie by my own experience -- so I never say, "That could never happen" -- because it just did -- in the movie, and I readily surrender myself to what I'm watching. I don't assess the reality of movies, I enter into the movie's reality.

It's fun.

3. After the movie ended, I thought to myself that maybe the sweet potato cauliflower soup I made on Monday would taste good with red rice and black beans. I made a small pot of red rice and, as I heated up a can of black beans, I seasoned them with cumin. Ah! Cumin! It was exactly what my soup needed and I loved how much heartier my pureed soup felt with the addition of beans and rice. Now it's creamy, sweet, earthy, a little nutty, and deeply satisfying. And, and, I still have some left and, when I finish it tomorrow, I can contemplate what warming, more than likely vegetarian, soup or dish I'll make next.








Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Three Beautiful Things 12/03/18: Christy Returns Home, Soup Experiment, Late Night Muffins

1. Shortly after 8:30, Christy texted me that she was being released from the hospital. I had a couple of things to take care of before leaving Kellogg and decided to grab a quick bagel and an espresso drink on my way out of town. I arrived at Kootenai Medical Center around 10:30 at which time a nurse discharged Christy and we went in search of the antibiotic she'll be taking over the next 10 days. It took a while (no problem) and we found a pharmacy that was both in network and had the pills in stock. By early afternoon, we were back in Kellogg and Christy was in the warmth of her home, comfortably heated by a welcoming fire in the fireplace.

Christy will have an in-home nurse visit to treat her wound. She's learned that the healing might take about four weeks.

I checked in with Christy later in the evening and she and Everett had rested and done some house cleaning. Carol brought them some dinner. Christy's pain level wasn't too bad, she said. I hope she had a restful night once it was time to turn in.

2. I had planned on making some business and medical phone calls today and made three of them while Christy secured her medicine. Back in Kellogg, I went to Yoke's and bought a few things. Once home, I experimented with making a cauliflower and sweet potato soup, concluding that the soup might benefit if I were to buy a squash, roast it, and blend the squash into the soup I've already made. I'm also trying to determine how much cinnamon and allspice the soup needs and whether a little more brown sugar would enhance it. I've decided that I don't want this batch to be spicy hot.

3. The last thing I did before going to bed around was make a batch of Bob's Red Mill 10 Grain Cereal Muffins so I could have muffins in the morning and have muffins more around to snack on. I'm hooked on these muffins and I think I'm about to go on a tear trying out other muffin recipes as well.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Three Beautiful Things 12/02/18: Christy's Recovery, Rye Beers at Mad Bomber, Scouting the Dawgs

1. I was with Christy for about three hours, until 2 this afternoon. She was feeling much better, didn't seem to be in a lot of pain (she reported 3 out of 10 to her nurse), and is getting a clearer idea of what lies ahead. The medical staff is determining what antibiotics she should take at home. She might be released on Monday, December 3, but that was still to be nailed down. She'll have a in-home nurse visiting her to treat her wound. The wound will take in the neighborhood of four weeks to heal. She learned more about what she and Everett will need to do to keep surfaces in their house clean and disinfected. Hand washing is crucial. Christy showed me a picture of the wound and I can see why it's painful. I never doubted that it was, but the picture helped me understand much better what Christy is up against.

2. When I left Kootenai Medical Center, I zipped over to Byrdman's house and we rocketed up to Mad Bomber Brewing. Most of the patrons were zeroed in on the Seahawks playing the 49ers, but we were indifferent and found a table near the popcorn machine where we could yak and eat a couple or three bowls of popcorn. The football fans were fairly reserved so yakking was easy. I always enjoy Mad Bomber a lot, both its beer and its down to earth atmosphere. I started off with a pint of Tomahawk Rye IPA and was so enamored with this rye beer that I ordered a pint of 1605 Rye, their regular rye ale. I don't have words to describe what it is I enjoy about rye beers, but, then, I don't really have words to explain what I enjoy about rye bread either! Rye pleases me. That's all I got.

3. Back home, I ate more of my tangy potato soup and got laundry going and began to think ahead for what business I need to tend to this week: medical stuff, probably a visit to the dentist, blood draw, some insurance details, phone calls about household matters, and help Christy come home. I took my mind off of some of this stuff by watching the second half of the UC Santa Barbara/UWashington basketball game to get an idea of what kind of team the Zags will face Wednesday when they play the Dawgs. The Zags will have their hands full with the UW's big guy inside, Noah Dickerson, a senior with strength and great footwork. He's a force. The Huskies also have experienced guards who are seniors and a high scoring sophomore guard, Jaylen Nowell. They play tight defense. They have some depth. The Zags will definitely be tested on Wednesday evening.