A Surreal Week

One of the definitions of surreal is “very strange or unusual”. That pretty much sums up last week.

Monday I received an email from the Santa Clara University provost where my son attends college. They hospitalized one of his classmates with a suspected case of meningitis. Yikes! On Tuesday a second student entered the hospital, then a third. By mid-week we were pretty nervous. I pulled out my son’s immunization records which shows he’s been vaccinated, but a quick call to our pediatrician indicated otherwise. He’s not covered for this particular strain of meningococcal bacteria, common on many college campuses.

waiting for vaccines

Waiting in line for meningitis vaccine

His university handled the details swiftly and impressively, coordinating a free vaccination clinic on campus for all 5,000 undergraduates. My son waited in line for two and a half hours to get his shot, along with everyone else. They were not allowed to return to class without a “vaccine pass.” They have to get a booster shot in thirty days, so they’ll be waiting in line again in early March.

The hospital released two of the three students from the hospital but a third remains under medical care. I can’t imagine what his parents are going through.

Last week also coincided with the lead up to the Super Bowl 50, hosted in Santa Clara, California. My husband works a few blocks away. The city set up detours early in the week, and by Friday all of his co-workers worked remotely to avoid the chaos. What is surely a sign of the times, but disquieting nonetheless, is the level of security for this sort of event. Outside Mike’s office window he could see army tanks, helicopters and security personnel practicing drills in case of an attack. It’s one thing to see this on the news, but surreal when it’s happening in your own back yard. The Super Bowl came and went this weekend without incident, and we’re all relieved to have things returning to normal.

super bowl parking lot photos

Super Bowl 50 Security Maneuvers in Santa Clara

My sweet Slinky, who’s been my constant companion throughout my recovery, started hiding under my son’s bed. We were finishing up a medication for a bladder infection and thought she was simply avoiding us. Then I saw her walk into a wall, retreat, then step over one of the other cats lounging in the hallway. I thought she’d suddenly lost her eyesight. I got her into the vet the following day for a thorough exam and asked them to test for things that might be causing this, anything we might be able to treat. Apparently a spike in blood pressure can temporarily rob them of sight. Dr. Shanker said there was nothing wrong with her eyes and believes there is something systemic causing a dulling of all her senses. He said a blind cat can get around just fine, and can find their food hidden in another room while at the same time easily negotiating furniture. So, my sweet Slinky has now retreated to one room in the house, where she sleeps on a pile of blankets on the floor. She’s eating well and purrs when I pet her, but she’ll also swat at me if she’s not sure that I’m in front of her.

slinky 2016

Slinky

It’s hard not knowing what’s going on. She’s eating, using her litter box…most of the time, and purrs when she finally relaxes and lets me sit next to her on my son’s bed. The few time she ventures out of his room, we find her staring at walls. If I pick her up and bring her to the couch, she gets upset and goes back into hiding. Our vet always says it comes down to quality of life. If she’s not in pain, responds to touch, eats and purrs, then her life is still pretty good.  I have a heavy heart.

And on the subject of cats, last night Mouse figured out how to open the screen door so he could bring in a dead rodent. What a way to round out the week

I have the beginnings of a head cold, I lost my prescription sunglasses and I fell off the sugar-free eating plan I’ve been committed to since January. The Girl Scouts came to the door, Mike bought a few boxes of cookies, and I helped myself to a “sleeve of them”. The scale didn’t go down this week. Coincidence?

Stress eating once again rears its ugly head. I’m back on plan and hope this week is mind-numbingly mundane.

I’m sure you’ve had weeks where you were  happy to draw the curtain on the whole thing. Do you ever stress eat as a result? Do you have any tips for keeping it in check?

Super Bowl Gardening?

Squirrel eating sunflower

Squirrel eating sunflower

I’ve been wracking my brain for a gardening-Super Bowl tie in today.  Since half the world is probably watching the Super Bowl now, I could simply make something up.  I doubt anyone is reading a gardening blog.

Instead I consulted the ‘For Dummies’ series to educate myself on the following football terms.  I’ve come up with my own (gardening) interpretation of the same:

Down: A period of action that starts when the ball is put into play and ends when the ball is ruled dead (meaning that the play is completed).

Down: A period of time known as winter.  Gardening down time.

End zone: A 10-yard-long area at both ends of the field — the promised land for a football player.

End zone: The only zone in which you can’t grow a thing.  I garden in zone 14-15.

Extra point: A kick, worth one point, that’s typically attempted after every touchdown.

Extra point: When you plant one thing, and two things come up instead.

Field goal: A kick, worth three points, that can be attempted from anywhere on the field but usually is attempted within 40 yards of the goalpost.

Field goal: My goal is to grow a garden as big as a football field.

Fumble: The act of losing possession of the ball while running with it or being tackled.

Fumble: The act of losing possession of the bulb you just dug up when the resident gardener runs after you saying “No!  Not the tulip bulbs!!!” This usually pertains to squirrels.

Hash marks: The lines on the center of the field that signify 1 yard on the field.

Hash marks: The indentations left on your knees after pulling weeds all day.

Interception: A pass that’s caught by a defensive player, ending the offense’s possession of the ball.

Interception: The sunflowers saved by a defensive gardener who figures out clever ways to outsmart the squirrels.

Kickoff: A free kick that puts the ball into play.

Kickoff: Also referred to as ‘Spring.’

Punt: A kick made when a player drops the ball and kicks it while it falls toward his foot.

Punt: A kick made when a gardener drops a packet of seeds and tries desperately to keep them from hitting the ground.

Return: The act of receiving a kick or punt and running toward the opponent’s goal line with the intent of scoring or gaining significant yardage.

Return: The act of returning to the garden center again and again because you simply can’t help yourself.

Sack: When a defensive player tackles the quarterback behind the line of scrimmage for a loss of yardage.

Sack: A great place to store and dry last year’s seeds.

Snap: The action in which the ball is hiked (tossed between the legs) by the center to the quarterback, to the holder on a kick attempt, or to the punter.

Snap: The sound a gardener’s neck makes, when she realizes that what she just brushed off her shoulder has six furry legs. A snap may also warrant a trip to the chiropractor.

Touchdown: A score, worth six points, that occurs when a player in possession of the ball crosses the plane of the opponent’s goal line, or when a player catches the ball while in the opponent’s end zone, or when a defensive player recovers a loose ball in the opponent’s end zone.

Touchdown: When you brush your hand across the surface of a ‘lambs ear‘ it’s like touching down.