Friday, January 28, 2011

Top 5 Friday

Top 5 Random Things that make me Happy:

5. The word insouciance

4. The word corporeal

3. The intro to the Colbert Report (yes, I've seen it a hundred times, but it makes me smile every time)

2. Making my own background on google:

1. This collection of "treasures" at the Menlo Park library:

Not shown are a slide rule and high school diploma from 1957.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Menlo Park's Once-ler

The Menlo Park City Council voted 3-2 last night to let a developer cut down one of the biggest redwoods in the city so she could extract the most possible profit from her investment.

In tree vs. cash, cash wins.

This developer, Kim Lemieux, referred to for the rest of this post as The Once-ler*, bought a house on University Avenue in 2007 with the intention of tearing it down and building a bigger, "better" house to then sell for a huge profit. She has done this about a dozen times before in Menlo Park. Because of her experience she knew about Menlo Park's Heritage Tree Ordinance, which says that you have to get permission from the city to chop down any tree bigger than 12 inches in diameter. From the beginning it was her intention to chop down the tree, and she assumed her request would be rubber-stamped. (She has not said this publicly, but it's pretty obvious to anyone who has followed this saga.)

As is their right, the next-door neighbors (my new colleague on the Environmental Quality Commission, Christina Smolke, and her husband) filed an appeal after the planning commission approved her house design, with the tree removal included. The Once-ler said she couldn't possibly build a viable house on that lot with the tree in place, right in the middle of the deep, narrow lot. We on the EQC said we didn't believe her. In October the city council listened to her sob story about how she just had to bigger her house in order to bigger her money. They decided they couldn't possibly make a decision about this without paying some experts $7,500 to tell them if a house could be built with the tree there.

These experts said it could. The Once-ler said it would be too expensive, and no one would want to buy the house under the redwood tree anyway, because it would make the house oh so sad and dreary. The council (or at least three of the five present) bought it and said, "OK, Once-ler, it's only one tree."

I hope the city is working on a new logo this morning.

*The Once-ler is the villain in the great Dr Seuss book, The Lorax. In it, the Once-ler discovers the beautiful Truffula trees, and uses them to knit Thneeds until they are all gone and he and all the animals who lived in the Truffula forest are ruined.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Before and After

Both these xrays show same foot, my very own right foot. Is that amazing or what?

I had another doc appointment today and got my stitches out, which wasn't as uncomfortable as I thought it was going to be. He changed the bandages and said I can start taking showers without wrapping my foot in a plastic bag. I'm a little nervous about taking care of the wound myself, but he says it's healing fine. (Don't worry, I'll post a new pic when I change the bandages.) And in a week, I can try to wear a real shoe!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

How cold is too cold?

Sitting here at my dining room table, wearing two sweaters and slugging hot coffee, I'm practically shivering. Why? $250 to PG&E last month, that's why. This giant rented box we're living in, with its single-pane windows and shoddy construction, is a sieve, and there's very little we can do about that. I've set the thermostat to 66. In the master bedroom, we've put a plastic sheet -- the kind you shoot with a blow-dryer to seal -- over the bathroom window. The vent in there is busted, so I use a space heater when I'm showering.

We can't put in new windows. We're stuck here more or less indefinitely. The males of the house don't seem bothered by the chill; my husband is content to put on a sweatshirt. Should I pick up some cheap longjohns? Or admit defeat, turn up the heat, and find another way to save cash? The new $2 wine at Whole Foods is half-way decent...

Friday, January 14, 2011


I went to the doctor this morning and finally got to see what's been under the two inches of bandages on my foot all week. The doc says it's healing nicely and it seems like I've been doing all the things I'm supposed to. This week I need to keep using my ice machine and gingerly putting weight on the foot. I am also supposed to wiggle my toe back and forth with my fingers, to make sure the healing happens within normal range of motion.

But the really exciting news is that I got a temporary handicapped parking placard! Basically, I can park anywhere I want for free until the end of April.

We sadly bid Aloha this morning to my mother-in-law, who was here for a week doing alll the cooking, cleaning, laundry, errands and miscellaneous pet- and child-care while I started recovering.

Now, if you are squeamish, don't scroll down, because there's an awesomely gruesome picture of my incision.


Here it comes...

Keep going if you like gross stuff.

If you don't, close your browser window now!

It's almost here!

Behold, the Frankentoe:

Friday, January 07, 2011


My foot has been sliced on and the healing is underway for my formerly-bunioned right foot.

In case you're wondering, as I did, how they make sure they do the correct side, a nurse had me write YES in purple marker close to the spot that's to be worked on.

Basically the doc cut my foot open, broke the bone below my big toe, shaved some of it off, shoved it into place, and put in some kind of screw that disintegrates over time. Took about an hour and a half, during which time I was totally out.

The numbing medication is still in effect, but my toes are starting to tingle just a bit, so it's time to take a painkiller, per doc's orders. I have a cold machine that pumps ice water into tubes wrapped around my foot, and that's supposed to be on for 20 minutes and off again, so I don't get frostbite.

I'm supposed to say in bed for the first few days and then I'll be hobbling around a bit. My wonderful mother-in-law, who had the surgery a couple years ago, is here to help take care of the boys for a week.

I see much knitting and listening to audio books in my future...

Oh, and I didn't' feel the earthquake, or if I did I just thought I was dizzy from drugs and fasting.