Friday, October 26, 2007

Post Apocalyptic Pastels - Friday 10/26/2007

Another shot over the neighbor's house. Braveheart says they're getting gorgeous sunsets from the smoky skies down in Los Angeles proper. We're getting these soft dawns.

In all the hubbub of going down to the hospital in Panorama City again yesterday for my post-op appointment, I forgot to take a photograph. Harumph. Ah, the stories I could tell. The queasiness I could invoke....

I will just say now that I am through it, the Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Panorama City doesn't engender a lot of confidence by its level of cleanliness. The patients bathroom in the pre-op area was FILTHY and I'm going to let them know what a bad impression that makes. Really, overflowing wastebasket, absolutely dirty floor. Shocking.

And the operating room... About the last thing I thought after I scootched onto the table was that this looked like a set from a hospital movie set in the sixties. They're building a whole new hospital right there, but the old facilities are really pretty barren and primitive looking.

I was crying. The nurse asked what was wrong.

"Just scared." I said.

She told me to think of something nice, so I imagined a beach scene. Running into the waves with Tomasina and Braveheart and Marian just a couple of weeks ago, feeling so alive.

While I was out, I dreamed that the surgeon was there on the beach with us, in full surgery garb. He buried my gall bladder in the sand, just below the high tide line.

Perhaps TMI regarding gall bladder surgery recovery. Stop here if you wish. (This means you, Dix.)

The disconnect between what the doc says the after effects are and what I learned on 43Things (and seems to be the truth) is fairly broad. He kept saying, "no known post-operation symptoms" and all foods are okay "as tolerated." This is apparently a very subtle real world code for stay close to a bathroom once you start eating again.

Zero appetite. Eating fresh fruits, crackers, and broth.

Cheap Shot - Wednesday 10/24/2007

Out my front door.

This recovery thing is taking longer than I expected. Not easy breezy in any sense. I mean, of course. As Hydra reminds me, I have four holes in my tummy.

Tomorrow I get the staples (aaaah! staples! I saw them! Big sissy Sundry!) and drain (I am not going into this on the blog) out.

Today, it's all I can do to find things that I am willing to eat (no appetite) and to sleep.

And yet.

I think of you.

I stumble to the door and let auto focus take care of the photo of the day.

A martyr to my artyr, huh?

Fire In Acton - Tuesday 10/23/2007

I got up long enough to snap this shot from our back yard, over the neighbor's roof. A little fire flared up, but was quickly doused. Seemed to be done by some of the same fire planes we saw on Sunday, along with helicopters.

Hydra's route to work was closed due to fires on Vasquez Canyon Road, Bouquet Canyon Road, and Sierra Highway, so he stayed home with me again, along with Mom. Nice, really.

Watched some of the coverage of the fires, etc., then gave in to the Vicodin.

Flowers - Monday 10/22/2007

Thanks for the flowers from Tomasina and Braveheart and from my wonderful co-workers. They were delivered in the afternoon. Mom noticed the handy barf bin from the hospital between the bouquets, but we decided to leave the photo as is.

I think I was still feeling the effects of the morphine from the gall bladder operation I had this morning when I took this.

We saw fires in Canyon Country along our drive down the 14 toward the hospital early in the morning. They were moving away from our area. Pretty dramatic lines of orange tracing the hilltops, and smoke lit from below in the otherwise dark. (Arrived at the hospital at 5:15, left by about 1pm, sans gall bladder.)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Big Scoop - Sunday 10/21/2007

We decided to take Sierra Highway back from our grocery shopping trip to Palmdale today because the wind through the pass on the 14 between us and town was very high. On the way back, we saw this water scooping plane at Lake Palmdale (a reservoir.) It and another plane were taking water to the fires in Agua Dulce and Canyon Country.

Never underestimate the strength of having a good driver/partner if you're getting into photography. Hydra drove us right into the hunting club on the edge of Lake Palmdale even though it said it was for members only. We parked and got out and just stood there waiting for the planes to come back!

I kind of doubt I would have had the nerve to drive in myself.

Agua Dulce and Canyon Country are 10-15 miles west of us. We're watching it on the news right now. Hydra drives right through the area they are talking about burning. Sierra Highway at Vasquez (which is also where our favorite veggie stand is), Plum Canyon, Bouquet Canyon.

Clearly, he wouldn't be going to work tomorrow even if he weren't taking it off to accompany me to the hospital.

Taking off to go help. About a 5-minute turn-around Amazing. As I was writing this, we saw footage of these same scoopers diving low over the flames and dumping their water.

Be careful, guys!

I can't imagine how hard it is for the firefighters and their spouses. All these fires--something like a dozen--started today. If you are hearing about the Santiago Canyon fire in Orange County, that's not near us at all, though Santiago Road, Los Angeles County is.

Back at home, there were several big limbs like this down in the yard. They're about 5 inches wide at the thickest part where they broke.

We saw a big branch down in the neighbor's yard, and Hydra and I thought it might be from our tree. He went over to offer to drag it out (good man!) but it turned out to be from one of their trees.

Now we're watching fire coverage. There was a story on Sixty Minutes about how fires are getting bigger and bigger. One firefighter said that there are no doubters regarding climate change on a wester fire fighting force.

Getty Villa - Saturday 10/20/2007

It was a beautiful day to visit the Getty Villa. It's the "old Getty," which was closed for several years for renovations. Mom and I went to the "new Getty" on something like the 7th day it was open. We'd been here years and years ago. The herb gardens are in much better shape than they were there.

My foot at the center of the universe. Just one of the amazing floors in this reproduction of a villa found buried under ash in Herculanium, Italy.

Detail of a fountain in the east garden. Beautiful colors and patterns.

Detail of one of the trompe l'oiel walls. This is one of those museums where the building is as much of an attraction as the artwork. Which is rather like some of the best European museums.

There's so much attention to detail. Even these electric lamps with Medusa heads molded into their bottoms.

And the displays are of a manageable scope. You can get through the whole thing in a leisurely one and a half to two hour visit and not feel you've rushed or missed anything.

I took this one to show the thin panel of marble behind this statue, which allows light from outside to glow into the room. I remembered this as one of the more magical features of the villa from my last visit maybe 15-20 years ago, but there was no mention of it in the room. I wondered if I'd just dreamed it.

But no, I asked one of the docents, who was delighted to confirm that the sheet of marble here is only about 1 inch thick and that it's lit only by sunlight.

Perhaps my favorite work of art today. If you are lucky enough to visit the family room when there are no kids around, you'll feel comfortable doing as we did and decorating one of the vases that's there.

The figures in the middle of this vase were drawn in by Hydra, who has the advantage of a lot of knowledge of ancient art under his belt. Pretty cool, huh?

My lion was pretty sad. Mom did some nice patterns, but erased hers too quickly!

Cool Thing: We stopped at Patrick's Roadhouse for a bite to eat to kill time before the museum opened. We made great time. It's a fun little place I'd go back to on purpose, especially knowing the history now. The Arnold Swartzenegger chair is no longer pulled up to a table, but that's really okay by me.