Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Thank goodness for family and friends

Click on image to enlarge.

Middle son Jeff installed some critical equipment to enable me to shower safely. We had been planning on doing a remodel to this bathroom. We had not planned on the sudden accessibility changes we have had to make to our shower. Besides the purchase of a transfer bench and a knee scooter. We have also had to buy a hose shower head and a grab bar so that I can shower standing on one foot. None of these have our worker's comp provider said they are willing to pay for. So, we bought these ourselves and Jeff installed them for me.

This makes a huge difference. There was nothing in this shower I could use to stand up and sit down with my good leg, much less hold on to steady myself.

When we do the remodel all this will be ripped out. These expenses are solely related to this work injury. But, I think we will be thinking about accessibility as we plan the remodel.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Celtic Woman

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Last night we went to see Celtic Woman perform at the Mountain Winery. Despite really cold temperatures and a biting wind, we really enjoyed the show. We almost canceled due to my recent injury and sudden loss of mobility. But, we called the venue and they were really nice. Even though we were unable to use our bleachers seats, they gave us other handicapped accessible seats and one of their staff even pushed me around in a wheel chair they provided. A golf cart took us from the handicapped parking to the show. So, rather than have to throw away our tickets we wore our parkas and had a great evening.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Waiting for Celtic Woman

My first time in a handicapped seat. Had my first wheelchair ride to. A night of firsts!

Musings from the couch

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I am laying around a lot, trying to keep my foot up to reduce the swelling. The cats are loving it, they consider me their human cat bed. Jeff has been very helpful. He has installed grab rails and a shower hose to go along with my transfer bench in our shower.

Despite the fact I fell and broke my foot at work during work hour's the worker's comp administrator for my employer has been very confrontational. I am chronicling that on another blog here.

I am scooting around on my knee scooter, that's way better than crutches!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

My Fall to Earth

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At 10:15 a.m. Tuesday August 24, 2010, I was attending the Welcome Convocation on the Tower Lawn at San Jose State. It was a very hot day and the actual convocation was being given on the lawn between the library and Washington Square Hall. I wanted to hear SJSU President Don Kassing speak because I had missed his speech on Monday due to needs at the Help Desk. I was walking on the lawn and suddenly I fell, twisting my foot underneath me.

There was a hole in the lawn that grass had grown up into. I did not see the hole.

It hurt and I thought I had sprained it. Sprained it badly. I attended the speech limping along. But, it hurt; badly! I limped back to the help desk and reported the injury to my supervisor. He called one of our staff who had a cart. They wheeled me over to the health center where they x-rayed me and said I had a Jones Fracture and an Avulsion fracture.

Information about that is here, and here, and here.

They were not able to give me pain medication as the university pharmacy was closed due to our recent layoffs. I was sent to the university's worker's comp provider where I waited for what seemed like forever. Finally we were seen and I was given some medication and referred to see the podiatrist (who comes in Thursday.)

Research on this has indicates this will be awhile. According to one source, "You won't be able to put weight on the leg, and will not be able to move the foot for several weeks, usually 6-8."

This is my new reality!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Coming out of snowshed

On the abandoned old line, overlooking Donner Lake.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Westbound Stacks at Troy

We just shot our second train of the day, a westbound double stack train at Troy.

We are at the John Maky memorial

A quiet moment at Troy.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Passing time watching trains

I am at the Davis Depot hanging out watching trains go by.

Rob Collier speaking at Labor Workshop

I am at day two of the Media Skills Workshop at the UC Berkeley Labor Center. Former SF Chronicle reporter Rob Collier just finished a talk about how to work with the news media. This is a great workshop and I am very happy to be here. Andrea Buffa, to the left of Rob is one of the facilitators of the seminar.

Fun on 880

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I am back in Berkeley at The UC Labor Center. My drive was marred by a box that dropped on 880 and spilled the possessions of someone who was moving all over the freeway.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Are we doing March again?

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This morning as I drove to work the thermometer said 56 degrees (13.3 C.)

For California in the dog days of summer that's fracken cold! It has been warming up in the afternoon, but nothing like what we would normally see. While the rest of the country is sweltering; we are wearing sweaters and jackets in the morning.

I guess March is being rerun over and over again this year, kinda like Groundhog Day. Go figure?

Friday, August 06, 2010

But, that's me!

Click on image to enlarge.

This morning at 9 a.m. my friend and SJSU ace photographer Robert Bain was scheduled to do a photo shoot. So, I went over to see how it was going. He used me to check his lighting (that's Tower Hall in the background.)

It is wicked cold for August in California and I was wearing a heavy sweatshirt Susie and I bought in Quebec City last June. I was not dressed for a photo shoot. I did not shave this morning and I had my own camera over my shoulder. But, that's me! It was really nice of Bob to share the photos with me.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Obama speaks to Labor

Click on picture to view video.

As a long time union steward (and union officer) I found this speech by our president on his birthday yesterday interesting.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Fire Season: Thinking about Janet Fitch

I can tell you why I think about Janet Fitch this time of year. It's because of White Oleander. In that novel Fitch so eloquently describes California's fifth season, fire season.

Summer in California is short. It lasts maybe a month, between the solstice and the ides of July. Then comes fire season that runs through the dog days of summer into late October. The California fire season forms a backdrop for much of her novel, White Oleander. It's when the Santa Anas blow. That's where we are now. Fitch captures the brutal heart of this season:

The Santa Anas blew in hot from the desert, shriveling the last of the spring grass into whiskers of pale straw. Only the oleanders thrived, their delicate poisonous blooms, their dagger green leaves. We could not sleep in the hot dry nights, my mother and I.
— Janet Fitch (White Oleander)

Janet Fitch is an intense writer who wields worlds with amazing efficiency. Sometimes, I get the feeling she is a writer possessed by a thinking, creative and hungry demon. Her demon can only be satiated by writing. Getting paid for writing for Fitch, I suspect, is a side benefit. Her passion for writing seems so intense to me. I think she would write no matter the compensation.

I suspect if intelligence were (formally) recognized in this country as being evil, if intelligence was made illegal, if thinking writers were being burned at the stake along with intellectuals and other enemies of the state for practicing their witchcraft, if Fitch survived the first pogrom; she would still be writing.

I can see Janet Fitch working midnights at Denny's and writing on the back of napkins. By day she would post her writing on public bathroom mirrors, if she had to; to feed the demon.

Fitch wrote:

I regret nothing. No woman with any self-respect would have done less. The question of good and evil will always be one of philosophy's most intriguing problems, up there with the problem of existence itself. I'm not quarreling with your choice of issues, only with your intellectually diminished approach. If evil means to be self-motivated, to live on one's own terms, then every artist, every thinker, every original mind, is evil. Because we dare to look through our own eyes rather than mouth cliches lent us from the so-called Fathers. To dare to see is to steal fire from the Gods. This is mankind's destiny, the engine which fuels us as a race.
— Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
[More quotes by Janet Fitch.]

I am glad Fitch is blogging and we can read her blog as well as her books. It is good Janet Fitch has to feed her demon.

White Oleander and Paint It Black are powerful books. If you want to read some of the best contemporary fiction writing there is. Start there!