senoritafish: (Default)
A few years ago my dad had me sign him up for Tin Can Sailors - a group for people who served on naval destroyers. I think I mentioned before he served on the USS Stormes in WWII. This morning I got an email from someone in that group who'd put up some movie footage of that vessel - although 12 years later. I emailed him back thanking him for it and wished I could show it to my dad. He knows someone who may have been aboard the same time my dad was, and they might have known each other. I linked him to some pics of my dad in earlier journal entries here although after almost 60 years, who knows if someone would remember.

Dad would have also liked that there was a Navy Week this past week in San Pedro. We tried going to see the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln Wednesday when I had the day off, but it got shut down early for security reasons. So we went to the Maritime Museum instead, which I haven't been inside of since we took Dad there for his birthday when my mom was still here, although I drive by it every time I go to the docks. Then [ profile] runsamuckwas starving, so we had some lunch at the Crusty Crab (not the Krusty Krab; this one's been there since before Spongebob) at Ports O' Call.


I had to work Thursday, but the rest of the fam damily tried again on Thursday, along with some friends from school. They left about 8 am (ships didn't open until 10 am) to secure parking and get aboard the mandatory shuttle to the ship. It was all a self-guided tour, but the most exciting thing, I hear, was the plane elevator from the lower deck to the flight deck. Quite the E-ticket ride, I understand. Gareth took some video of it, but being 11, excited and not a trained videographer makes for a rather motion-sickness inducing recording (plus it takes freaking forever to upload); but I may put it up later. Some photos here.
senoritafish: (Not Again...)
I have a number of things I want to post about, but I have a couple of work deadlines I have procrastinated on for way too long and now I feel like Garrison Kiellor's Winged Motivational Products™ are glaring down at me from my cube walls. Gonna have to wait until at least the first one is finished with, but at least need to get something off my mind. To do:

  • Concert.

  • Spokane.

  • Brothers, sheesh.

  • ?

Meanwhile, today is my dad's birthday. I was aware, but [ profile] runsamuck mentioned it to me after dropping the kids off at school as well. Every time I do something for the first time since he died, I remember he was here the last time I did this. Almost every time I take a can out of the cupboard, I remember going with him to Smart & Final and arguing about the checkbook. The frozen burrito I brought for lunch today he was charging around the store pushing the grocery cart for, disdaining his walker. It's Flag Day and I never remember to put the flag out - that was always a good reminder of what day it was.
senoritafish: (gardener vader)

My work family (and people here do seem like a family, especially those of us who've been here a long time) not only made a donation in my dad's name to the American Heart Association, but also sent us a tree seed from Seeds of Life. It's a Canyon Live Oak, a native Californian, as he was, so it's very appropriate. They even grow around Oxnard and Moorpark, where he was born and grew up.

We planted it in its biodegradable pot a couple of weeks ago, and the acorn is sprouting! Very exciting!

I don't know if we're going to be able to plant it here at the house, once it gets big. I'm wondering if maybe the Shipley Nature Center in Central Park might let us plant it there? Then it would still be here in HB, and we'd have a nearer place to go and visit.
senoritafish: (pensive)

One of our last walks around the block before he went back in the hospital. It was a gorgeous day, having rained that morning; you can see the clouds in the background. He saw me taking these and told me, "Eh, you don't want me in your nice pictures." I assured him that I did, very much so. Then we went home and I packed to go to the Bay Area for work for the weekend. The next Wednesday, after an xray by his doctor, he was admitted to the hospital once again; he'd only been home for about a month and a half.

The following is an account of my father's death. I'm leaving this public because after my mother passed away, I found similar stories comforting, but maybe I'm just morbid. Please skip if you find such things distressing, or if needed I could make a filter, because there's likely to be more related stuff here for a while.

Alternatively, other entries from this journal about my dad are here - or by clicking Dad in the tag cloud on the right on my LJ page. They may be happy or not so much. Also, I had made a journal for him where I was transcribing some of the stories he told me at [ profile] deadwood_bob, although I always intended to write down more of them. If you knew my dad and have a story about him, I would love it if you could write it down and send it to me, and I'll include it there as an entry.

Read more... )
senoritafish: (pensive)
Robert Stephen Laughlin
June 14, 1926 - May 1, 2011

Pics you may have seen before... )
senoritafish: (Jet - red)
Dad's been put in ICU again. I have not been able to to talk to his doctor, but it seems while the CHF cleared up, his COPD complicates things. He's got pneumonia again and his oxygen levels are not improving, so they putting him where they can keep a closer eye on him. He is stable and the nurse who called me said he was alert and joking (flirting was the word she used), so I guess that's positive.

Kids are out of school this week.


Apr. 14th, 2011 06:05 pm
senoritafish: (vendetta's slug)
I stopped by to see my dad in the hospital after work yesterday - stressful enough in itself as I'd forgotten to get back to someone who'd requested a data summary of me, I couldn't get hold of my boss all afternoon, and had a newspaper call about shark populations - I hate media calls, and oh btw, must remember to submit a media contact form! :p He told me, after a course of stronger medication than he's been taking at home, the doctor told him he's much improved and should be able to come home soon, maybe even tomorrow.

That's a relief...

So have a funny...

Where do new fake tree cell phone towers come from? )
senoritafish: (Currently reading)
Happy Groundhog Day! If we had groundhogs here, they'd fershure be seeing their shadows, as it's sunny but blowing gusty Santa Ana winds (do gophers work instead?). And by the way, Groundhog Day is one of my favorite movies.

Dad update... )

He's also finally expressed a bit more interest in reading - so far, he hasn't wanted to, but did like it when Doug and I read short stories to him. My brothers and I had talked about going in together on a Kindle for him since he's been complaining that books, especially hardbacks, just start getting too heavy to hold up and start hurting his hands. I decided to go with a Kindle rather than a Nook because of its text-to-speech feature. If he gets tired of holding it, it can read to him. We got our tax refund recently, so I went to Staples at lunch yesterday and grabbed one for him. This is actually a really nifty gadget! Does all kinds of things besides e books! If he decides he doesn't like it, I'll keep it myself. Man, the accessories are where they get ya, though. It doesn't have a backlight, so if you want to read where it's dim, you need a light for it and also a cover to keep it from getting wrecked. It was about the same price for all of them separately or a nice leather cover with an integrated light that actually runs off the Kindle battery ($60). And I suckered for the extended warranty, too. John always tells me they're not worth it, but we're hard on batteries and we're hard on gadgets.

I played around last night, looking for some free James Fenimore Cooper to put on it for him, and also found I could forward Word and PDF documents to it, so I tested that out with the thresher sampling plan proposal I need to make comments on. Pretty cool!

Apropos maybe: Seven Ways Electronic Books Can Make Us Better Readers. by the CEO of Levenger (I like to drool over their pens). I seem to be what he calls a preservationist - but I don't write in my books so much because I can't bear them being marked up, but more because when I'm reading, I'm in an absorbent mode. I might think of questions or notes later, but not usually during.
senoritafish: (so tired...)
After his surgery on a Wednesday, Dad spent through the weekend in the surgical ICU because he still had some fluid in his lungs that they wanted to be sure was cleared up, so it didn't turn into pneumonia. Then he spent two days in DOU, and another couple back on the Telemetry floor, waiting for a bed in a convalescent home to open. On Friday evening when I went to hang out with him for awhile, he had just arrived in the room twenty minutes before, and they'd moved him during dinner time. It was going on 9 pm and he hadn't had a meal yet. The nurse managed to find him a turkey sandwich and some milk and applesauce. However, he took two bites and declared it inedible; it was plain, but I tried it - the bread was fresh and the filling was the same kind he usually buys when he goes grocery shopping. He just does not have any appetite and everything tastes awful to him. I remember my grandmother complaining of the same thing after she was moved to a senior apartment with a dining plan, and we wondered at the time if any of her meds were affecting how food tastes. I wonder if the same thing might be happening with Dad - he's also lost nearly 20 pounds since being in the hospital, although part of that is several days of not eating at all, diuretics, and probably losing muscle mass from being bedridden as much as he's been (although he was fairly sedentary before this).

He's now been moved to a nursing home, which seems to be a fairly nice place - recently renovated in any case, and much closer to our home - but on trying to verify the address to give to my brother I found this, which is rather concerning:

It's actually improved to "below average" from "poor" when I first found it yesterday. There are links to the state website, which lists citations it's gotten, but I still have to look up what the code violations are. We'll be watching this place very carefully. On the plus side, there is no age restriction for visitors, so the kids have been able to come and see him. They've missed each other, I think. Animals are welcome, too, but I don't think the cats would find it very fun.

Anyway, he's getting cranky being in bed for so long, and since the move, as of last night, he hadn't been out of bed since he got there because of the current place "needing to do its own evaluation." In the meantime, he's lost a couple days of progress he's made with physical therapy and walking, but supposedly that's supposed to start tomorrow. He still doesn't feel up to reading or anything, but Doug brought in an anthology of "Historical Whodunits", which we've read to him and he's liked that. We were thinking of the three of us going in together on a Kindle or a Nook for him, because he's also been saying books, especially hardbacks, are getting kind of hard on his hands. Plus a lot of free older books that are out of copyright is a plus; I'm leaning toward the Kindle because it also has a text-to-speech function - not quite books on tape, but at least he can listen instead of using his eyes (although he does say he tends to fall asleep). Doug also finished a pair of stripy wool socks while visiting and decided to just give to him. They have one blue toe because he ran out of green and was tired of ripping them out and redoing them; toes are almost always inside your shoes anyway, right? ;) We just have to remember not to put them in the dryer.


We've asked how long his stay here is expected to be, and apparently that mostly depends on him. I've told him recovery is something he's going to have to work at; he can't just lie there and expect to get better. I want to sign us up to go do this with him this summer, so maybe that'll be some motivation for him.

Dave had to return home the next day after this surgery because of his work schedule (he does network security for one of the big power companies back east), but Doug has been coming down from LA, 2-3x a week. It's been nice to actually gets some one-on-one time with each of them. Meanwhile we're going to have to clean up and rearrange Dad's room so it's easier for him to get in and out (not to mention the rest of the house) - John's already taken out an entire recycling bin of boxes from he's mail ordered out of there, but a lot still remains to be done.
senoritafish: (Jet - red)
Visiting Dad before his heart surgery - he's been in the hospital since after his angiography last week. He was originally scheduled for surgery last Friday, but since he was originally scheduled for an angioplasty and had been given Plavix, an anticoagulant, they had to wait until all of that was out of his system. Then it was scheduled for yesterday, but he started having some digestive upsets (both ends) so that had to be cleared up. So now it's tomorrow this morning. Three bypass grafts, an aortic valve replacement, and possibly he might wind up with a pacemaker - two of the the three spots on your heart that that generate the electrical signals for your heart to beat are also out. And it seems he's also diabetic - although I'm not sure if that's something that's developed recently or it's the medication they're giving him. He really wanted to come home over the weekend for Christmas and had an argument with his cardiologist about it, but in the hospital he stayed.

I know these are done all the time and fairly routine, but still it's worrying. Seems like we didn't have much warning for any of this going on. My other brother flew out from Ohio yesterday and is staying in a motel closer to the hospital - we really don't have the space, and the kids have been sick off and on. I talked to my aunt last night who's had pretty much the same procedures done about five years ago, and she's doing ok now.

He went into the OR about an hour ago, and they told us it should be about 3-5 hours. So we wait.

(written ~8:45 am, but no internet access until now...we're still waiting...)

Grr. Why won't this post!

We were just informed they're closing up and he should be in ICU in about 1/2 hour.
senoritafish: (vendetta's slug)
It seems Dad was either not being quite straight with us or he wasn't hearing everything the doctor said (he's getting fairly deaf, as well). I took him to the hospital at 6 am this morning for an angiography and supposedly an angioplasty - he only had a 20% blockage right? He had told us after his appointment last week the cardiologist also suspected a leaky atrial valve as well, which might require surgery, but we didn't know until they looked if or when that surgery would be.

They got him prepped and I went and sat in the waiting room for about an hour. The cardiologist's assistant came and got me because the doctor wanted to show my dad's pictures to me, mainly to get across how serious this is. I looked over his shoulder into a tiny room where he ran videos of my father's heart. He has three coronary arteries that are so blocked he couldn't get the wire through them (99%). When they sent him home last week with a diuretic instead of doing this because of some fluid in his lungs, that was actually congestive heart failure. They couldn't get the wire through to actually look at the valve but they will be doing another test tomorrow with an esophageal probe. He's in the ICU now to prep for the test tomorrow morning and surgery Friday.

Supposedly it's still a fairly routine surgery that a lot of people come through well, and the cardiologist referred to him as a "tough, stubborn old guy" which should do him good stead for coming through this. After getting him settled in ICU, he was pretty sleepy because a Valium was still wearing off and he hadn't gotten a lot of sleep last night. I came home to get some lunch and maybe take the kids for a walk. They're probably not going to get to see him until after he gets out of the ICU post surgery (maybe next Tues.).

Doug told me he'll come down after work to visit for a bit although probably not for too long because he has to come from LA and hours are over at 8 pm I think.

Then I came home to write this and find that Scooter, who just got his stitches out yesterday, has ripped open his abscess wound YET AGAIN! Stupid cat!
senoritafish: (Isane Faye-Faye)

Six tigers; Angus (1998), me (1962), and my dad, Robert (1926) were all born in the year of the Tiger, plus two toys and our newest little tiger, Scooter. 

And the last of my Feb. scavenger hunt... )

And I'll be back for the next scavenger hunt, because this one is done!

3. Tiger ☺
13. A kiss ☺
28. Something you want to spend your tax return on ☺
8. A sign of jealousy ☺
18. Self portrait at work ☺
22. The cover of a book with the word "home" in the title ☺
9. Laughter ☺
7. An object you always have with you ☺
senoritafish: (Winry)

My dad went a little crazy and bought a boat. He's been thinking about a kayak for years, but at 83, a solid one is a little difficult to handle. Sea Eagle was having a sale, so he splurged and bought this. Sort of a cross between a kayak and and a Zodiac. We took it down to one of the little sandy beaches in Huntington Harbor, blew it up - it comes with a foot pump, but we cheated and used an electric inflater plugged into the minivan - and spent a couple of hours taking turns paddling around on it. I have absolutely no upper body strength and didn't want to overdo it, so I didn't go very far; thought I'd be really sore the next day and was surprised to find I wasn't. Unfortunately, I forgot the camera while we were at the harbor (we also forgot the paddles and [ profile] runsamuck had to run home and get them), so I took these while we were rinsing the saltwater off after we got home.

435ps Paddleski
Huntington Beach CA
Canon EOS 1000D
26 April 2009

+1 )
senoritafish: (Sesshomaru and Inuyasha)

My uncle and dad ...

Veteran's Day

This was taken in 1943 - my father, on the right, quit high school to join the Navy after Pearl Harbor.  He was seventeen.  My uncle John, two years older, was already in the ROTC at UC Berkeley.  They met up in the Bay Area when my father had shore leave and had this and several other pictures taken for my grandmother.  I think my father felt he had to join up in order to keep up with his older brother; he always had a much harder time in school and always felt as if he had to compete with him. 

Shortly after, my father shipped out to the South Pacific, including Midway and Okinawa.  His ship, the USS Stormes, was hit by a kamikaze at one point.  My grandmother always told the story of how one night, she woke up screaming, and realized later it was the same moment my father's ship had been hit.

 My uncle served in the reserves until he retired from a long career as a high school math teacher, along with my aunt, also a math teacher.  He passed away in 1999, of heart problems no one in his family knew he had - he also had Parkinson's and apparently chose not to go that route.  My grandmother was heartbroken; although he was elderly, she outlived him by several years.

My father has been retired from the aerospace industry for nearly 20 years and is enjoying teaching his nine-year-old grandson about those historic times when he served his country.  Gareth now wants to be a pilot (and an astronaut, and a scientist, and a marine biologist, and a veterinarian...)

senoritafish: (jet midol)
Angus's Pictures 103

My dad does most of the grocery shopping, but forgets that there are some things we have plenty of. [ profile] runsamuck left another list next to his posted shopping list. The last item is my dad's response.
senoritafish: (Al runs)
Let's see what's been happening lately....

At work, we've been trying to hire scientific aides, since both DP and KP got permanent jobs. DP, thankfully is still with our project, but KP is doing something else now. VT is also leaving us, since she was offered the steelhead job we both interviewed for a while ago. And while I'm happy for her, and don't begrudge her getting the job at all (I'm reluctant to leave Marine Region), I will miss her sitting right across from me. I'll have to go to the other side of the building now. ;p DP is moving into her office, and she'll still be helping us for another four months or so, so it's not like there's a hole there. But still...

We've interviewed six people so far, however, the only one we've hired has a degree in business (!); he has the necessary number of units in biology, is a diver and volunteers at AOP, so he's familiar enough with the material. A mortgage company was not his cup of tea and he is looking for something that might be a better fit. We've also ha, one person who had no clue what we meant by a time management question, and one who was so quiet on a phone interview I could not hear half of what he said, despite asking him to speak up about 4 times. And I'm clueless as to how people can be nearly finished with a degree in biology (or have a Master's, in one case a few years ago) and not know why random sampling is important. The business guy did pretty well on that one. So I spent all last week out at the docks every day getting him started with training - we're not usually out there every day but that's just how the (random) schedule turned out. Another guy we interviewed Friday is a possibility after we check his references.

Put in for two more Associate positions - one for invertebrates and one for Highly Migratory Species (tunas, sharks and the like) - the latter one is on my project, but I would be doing more contentious Council stuff and working more closely with someone who intimidates me - I'm not sure about it. Haven't heard back about interviews yet.

On the home front, Angus's birthday is coming up, and we are actually going to have a party with invited friends, etc. Probably just cake and ice cream and a few games at the park, but before this, their birthdays have just been family things, so this is new for all of us. They've been to so many parties where the parents invited every kid in their class (20-30 kids and at least one parent each usually) to Chuck E. Cheese or a martial arts dojo, or Prehistoric Pets. I think I remember one of my birthday parties we went rollerskating, but there were few enough of us we all fit in one car. I want to wonder how those other parents can afford it, but I know perfectly well that we're in the lower income bracket at that school. I just don't want them to feel slighted that they only get a get-together at the park rather than some fancy shindig at a pricey venue.

We went to the party store last week to pick up some supplies, and after wavering a bit, Angus finally picked Harry Potter over Star Wars. I bought a few things at that store, but thinking of some other things we needed, I decided to check out a bigger store a little farther away this weekend. Darned if they didn't have all the Harry Potter stuff on clearance, at about 70% off. I was kicking myself for not going there first, but at least it means we could get a few more things for favors and such. I was also thinking about going to one of those bakeries that put pictures on cakes and having them put Angus's picture from Halloween on his cake, since he made a very good Harry Potter.

Dad gave us a scare on Saturday. First he made John mad by barging into our bedroom to see if the phone was off the hook while John was still asleep and woke him up (he wanted to make a phone call and the phones were dead). It turned out when he had gotten up from watching television, he got a very sudden and painful urge to urinate - he didn't quite make it to the bathroom. When he was done he noticed blood on his hands. This happened twice in the space of an hour, but then he went to bed and it didn't recurr in the morning. When he phoned his doctor, he was told to go to the emergency room to be checked out. John thought it sounded like a kidney stone. I went with him and the place was jammed. There has been a really bad strain of flu going around, which I think quite a few people had. We waited about 2 1/2 hours before he could get in, and then he was in there for another 2 hours or so before I finally asked what was going on with my father. They told me I could go in and see him. They'd done an ultrasound and determined he had a kidney infection, and gave him a course of IV antibiotics, and a prescription.

The doctor must have been concerned that Dad's mind was wandering, because he turned to me and asked if I'd make sure he was taking his medication properly. He even phoned the next day to make sure he'd filled the prescription - I've never had an emergency room doctor do that before. The thing is, that's how Dad is most of the time; constantly talking at you about stuff that's of interest to him, and occasionally difficult to keep on the topic at hand. It's not that he's not lucid - he'd just rather talk about World War II planes and armament or some story he read in a magazine, than keep on the subject at hand any longer than necessary.

Some small sadnesses - they switched all the bus drivers around on the route down Lampson in front of my office, and I miss my nice drivers who stopped without my ringing the bell. Frank, the guy in the afternoon, liked to chat, and they change every couple of days now so it seems like I don't know anyone.

Brandy, the little girl across the street, and her brother Bobby, moved when their father and stepmother bought a new house, and Gareth misses her. She's still at school until the end of the year, but will be going to a new school next year. But it seems pretty quiet not hearing them running around in the front yard. We are inviting both of them to Angus's party, but don't know if they'll be able to come yet.

There are a few things missing since the Big Cleanup; well, more than a few, but a couple of the important things - Gareth stuffed orca hasn't been seen for quite a while, and when he thinks about it, he cries. A small quilt handmade by a co-worker for Angus when he was a baby was in the pantry/laundry room because I was trying to get a stain out of it, and a couple of rips I meant to repair. It was a bit faded from its original bright colors, but I loved the fish pattern of it, and while it was too small for him, Angus still liked to have it on his bed. Makes me depressed to think that might gone; TL spent so much time on it.
senoritafish: (Default)
Valentines, invites and bills...

For once, I got the kids to do their Valentines for school on the weekend instead of the night before, while I made out invitations for Angus's birthday party next weekend. Gareth and Avalon only had to sign their names, but Angus, being in 3rd grade, had to actually address them to everyone in his class. Avalon insisted on folding hers so her signature was on inside. Dad decided to join us to do his bills.
senoritafish: (Default)
My father has had some bronchitis lately; pretty much every time he gets a cold it turns into a cough that seems to persist forever. He went to the doctor earlier this week and was complaining the night before that the cough he'd made the appointment for had pretty much gone away. I laughed because it seems that happens to me too.

This morning, he happened to be up and as I was going out the door, he told me the doctor had called and wants to talk to him about something they found on his chest xray. He made another appointment for Monday. Which makes me think, if it was urgent they'd want to see him right away, right?

Still this has got my stomach hurting. That was how my mom started - a lot of coughing that seemed to come and go, but never completely went away.

Aaah, I'm probably getting worried about nothing. His mom lived to be a 100, and that was only 4 years ago.

Xmas, 2005

Dec. 31st, 2005 12:14 am
senoritafish: (merry chris-moose!)
Christmas was pleasant enough, I guess. We had bought it a few days before, but the tree didn't get put up until Christmas Eve, which is how John likes it anyway - he feels it's more traditional. We're supposed to trade off every year the kind of tree, and how and when we put it up. One nice thing about getting a tree late is that often the lots are trying to get rid of them, and you can get them much cheaper.

John wanted to just leave all the presents for the kids unwrapped under the tree, but I insisted on wrapping most of them except the one largest one, so they can ogle that one and whatever is in their stockings before we (the adults) get up. I also put a few more ornaments on the tree, since John takes minimalism with it to an extreme; that earned me a glare the next morning. Angus got a Bionicle dress-up set; a mask, chest plate and tool, Gareth got a dinosaur fossil kit consisting of plastic dinosaur bones embedded in a block of coarse, glued-together sand, with tools to dig it out (and safety glassses), and Avalon's big present was a "Puppy Surprise;" a pink fluffy dog that is supposed to be pregnant - a velcro opening in her tummy reveals an undisclosed number of puppies - 2 to 4 possible - and she got three. She'd been wanting that one, according to John. The boys got smaller Bionicles as well, which I helped put together and Avalon also got a My Little Pony with her birthstone on it. *Shivers* I knew there was a possiblity she'd be extra girly, but she really seems to be into the pinkness. Ah well, she also got a tool set, like Gareth got for his birthday, so maybe that will counteract it a little.

I got Dad a copy of The Da Vinci Code as he'd expressed an interest in it, and I had a coupon for Barnes & Marmoset, so I got it for almost half the original price (I can't believe it's not out in paperback yet - hasn't it been over a year?). He's finished with it already, as well as the my latest Harry Potter book, which was also on sale. Got to read it before me - grumblegrumble. But he's had bronchitis for at least a month, and the last few days has been not feeling up to snuff, so he spent a lot of time in bed reading (which he does when he's feeling ok as well, truth be told). John has gotten addicted to Sudoku puzzles lately, so I got him a book of those and the Johnny Cash - Legends CD - although it slipped my mind I'd gotten that for him because I hid it, and he didn't get it until a couple of days later. He really liked that one, though.

Not done a whole lot for my week off though. Playing with the kids and their toys, watching a few movies on TV, reading, and trying to drill through their heads that my bed is not a trampoline. It just doesn't absorb.

Agh! I've just remembered another family present I had hidden in my dad's room! Ah well, I guess it can be a New Year's present. Santa is absentminded...


senoritafish: (Default)

August 2011

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