February 29, 2016

Not too much to write about today, so will offer a small reflection of the last few days with Jay.

First, a pic:


Jay is a very nice guy. His is a soft footprint, said Jim today, and I agree. He is easy going, helpful, kind and agreeable. He’s mellowed a lot in the five-plus years he’s lived in Thailand.. and he was largely mellow to begin with.  His life is simple and satisfying. He seems at peace.

We enjoyed his three days here.


Next time: golf (that, chess and Trump are Peter’s latest obsessions).




February 28, 2016

It was a pictureless day, in spite of worthy subjects. For example, Davis’ Old North was just aburst (that should be a word) in color from flower beds spilling over sidewalks, mounds of yellow sour grass crowded around sycamore trunks, and trees popping pink and white blossoms all over the place. After brunch and before driving down to Pleasanton, I decided I had to show Jay how luscious and charming Davis can be in on a sunny day in late February. He was impressed (or polite) and agreed it was lovely. This neighborhood in the spring just makes my heart soar. I’m serious.

For another example, Aunt Joy’s fabulous chili with many bowls of fabulous fresh embellishments. T’was truly fabulous.

The hills on the drive down to Aunt Joy’s were their usual springtime luscious green. My friend Bev wrote on her blog that the deep velvety color lasts about an hour and half, so it’s good to enjoy it while you can. I borrowed a picture she took… hoping that’s okay!

Image 3-1-16 at 12.05 AM

Between those hills, the verdant marsh, the blooming orchards, the sparkling delta and towering peaks of Mt. Diablo… well… it was all just stunning.

Nice afternoon, too, with Aunt Joy.. lots of talking and catching up. She served up all kinds of wonderful things to eat (ie., the aforementioned chili) and we even watched the Oscars.

I left Jay there to spend some extra time with Aunt Joy, and drove home on the late-ish side.



This is what I’m talking about:


A real live family member is getting to see Peter play baseball. (That’s Jay in the middle, as people were arriving and settling in for a pair of games out at Jesuit today.) And not a moment too soon… as this is Peter’s final season of baseball (as I may have mentioned a thousand times before). Because we are up here in Northern California and most of our family is far away, almost nobody from either the Frame side or Peterson side has ever seen Peter play. Aunt Joy made it to a game down in San Jose last summer, which was grand, and that may be it! There is a chance that during Peter’s Little League years, somebody was in town for some game, but for the most part nobody’s seen an inning.

Nobody’s fault. Just the way it is.

However, today Jay got to see a fantastic double header–DHS v. Jesuit, and DHS v. Granite Bay. We won both games handily (we are now 4 and 0). The boys played solidly–lots of hits, great pitching, tight defense. As I said, a perfect day for some great baseball.

Of all the family, Jay is definitely the baseball fan I value most… since he actually played baseball, coulda/shoulda been a youth baseball star, and really knows the game. Peter pitched three innings in the first game and Jay was there to appreciate every nuance.  It was a great outing. It’s fair to say this is absolutely the last opportunity Jay (or anybody) will have, so I’m glad he threw strikes, didn’t give up any runs and made a super crisp pickoff move for a dramatic inning-ending out… the duo of Frame-Henrickson; they are perfect. The whole thing was most excellent.

This is the view from the terraces… (Jesuit has such a nice stadium)… Peter on the mound:


Hard to beat that.

Well, unless you have puppies. Tobin and Tara brought their eight-week old ridgeback (forget the full name of the breed). They make dramatic-looking adult dogs.. and extremely cute puppies:

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Sweet, huh?




Not So Fast on the Trigger

February 26, 2016

All dressed up for surgery and nothing to surge. That was me today.

And I mean: I was outfitted with a gown, a nice paper hat, paper booties.. the whole nine yards. They’d taken all my vitals and had me tucked under a heated blanket, all prepped for trigger thumb surgery.  But then…

The surgeon came in and started asking questions about my thumb. He asked me to demonstrate range of motion and the positions it would get stuck in. He palpated and manipulated and kept asking over and over “in what position does it lock up?” It doesn’t lock up, I said. Sometimes it clicks as it moves from one position to another but mostly it just hurts like a sonofagun. He kept asking me about the locking. No locking. Finally he just outright challenged me on my diagnosis.

Not my diagnosis, I felt obliged to point out. It was the physician assistant guy I spoke to a few weeks back who came up with my diagnosis and a plan of attack.

He studied my x-ray and showed me all kinds of abnormal protuberances, misaligned bones and fuzzy areas that he said were signs of arthritis, and emphasized over and over (one over would have been plenty sufficient) that the surgery he was prepared to perform on me would do absolutely nothing to address any of it.

Well… to make a frustrating and slightly embarrassing story short, I forwent the surgery and left instead with this:


(I’ve since trimmed all that extra velcro and it looks a lot nicer.)

I’m to ice, immobilize and consume whatever I’m comfortable with in the oral anti-inflammatory category (having turned down the far more powerful injected anti-inflammatory solution… that godawful, painful cortisone shot that I was very motivated to avoid and apparently willing to substitute surgery for…much to his obvious dismay) and see if that does the trick.

And this is all more than fine with me.


One For One

February 25, 2016

So…Peter heard from a college last Friday. Coincidentally, it was the very first one he’d sent an application to way back in November. While it’s a great school and we’d be totally thrilled if he chose to go there, it’s not among his first choices. Still, I have to say, we were all dancing in the aisles when he shared the news. Including Mr. Understated himself.

I mean, right? It’s one of those Big. Deals. You see senior year coming forever, you dread the college application process. It’s months of this low level anxiety as you work hard to have the right attitude and the right approach; you struggle to help just enough, but not too much; you hope he’s making good choices and putting together applications that show his best self. You go to workshops; you collect and pore through all kinds of resources and mailers; you hear from others about how they’re approaching this whole thing and wonder if you’re doing it right. You worry big time about how you’ll ever afford it and wonder how college became such the big business it has become. You fret for our nation and for those who can’t afford basic higher level education, including you. You wonder if a 4-yr college is the smart choice, or if a 2-yr is better, you wonder about the value of education anyway and… and…. and…Then you become hyper-aware of deadlines–which you see come and go, and are sometimes ignored completely. The whole thing is just something to endure, suffer through, and then you’re glad you have these kinds of worries. Mostly though, it’s something you want over in the worst way. When the last deadlines pass, you’re super relieved, but then comes the waiting.

And now it’s the beginning of the end of the waiting part. Peter got his first acceptance and it was a good one and we’re all pretty damn happy about it. And very relieved. He’s got somewhere to go.

Oh… btw, it’s Cal Poly San Luis Obispo!

He’d learned of his acceptance earlier in the day. A classmate said that he’d heard Cal Poly had begun to release some information and suggested Peter check on the status of his application. They spent most of fourth period trying to get into and around the site, until Peter finally got to his account and his updated status. It’s not even like Cal Poly let him know; he had to hunt this information down. No exciting congratulations letter or anything.  It simply said he’d been accepted as a first year freshman in physics for the fall of 2016. That was it.

He texted both Jim and me, which I’m so grateful for… but neither of us got the text (we’re such lame texters).

The text read: I guess I got into Cal Poly. Fri, Feb 19, 12:05 PM.

I wish I had gotten it! On the other hand, it was far more thrilling to be standing in the kitchen with Jim when Peter said, in the most unimpressed tone, “you guys never check your texts,” and then, smiling, gave us the news. And a few high fives.

It was a great family moment.




February 24, 2016

I heard an interview with an older woman the other day in which she characterized growing older as a process of tinkering.. as in, as you age, you find yourself tinkering with your body to kind of keep it going well enough and strong enough to keep going.

It’s not like I’ve turned 60 and now all I can think about are the effects of aging on my body, but I will say it’s been an odd little run this past few months… a bit of this, and a bit of that and no good stretches where nothing is happening. It used to be that the prevailing condition was all systems free and clear and it was unusual if something was amiss. Lately, it’s been the other way around. I’m optimistic this is, as I said, a bit of an odd run. Planning to return to normal soon.

Dr. D said to me the other day that there’s this thing in the medical world called an incidental finding, where you go in to talk to your doctor about one thing and end up chasing down something else entirely, because a minor question leads to maybe a test, which turns up a thing that then has to be resolved, even if it wasn’t the original purpose for the visit. Happens all the time, she said.

[Maybe I talked about this already…. ugh… memory, you know.]


It was Jim’s turn today. (Close this tab now if pictures of scars and stitches creep you out.)


Jim had gone in to talk to his doctor about a thing on his chest, which was nothing, but, in the great tradition of incidental findings, his doctor found, removed and biopsied two things on his back. They, too, turned out to be nothing, but did require some follow up attention.

And now, enter me, the maven of wound care.

For the last two weeks, I’ve been managing the dressings and whatnot for the two holes on Jim’s back, which, if you know me, is way (way) out of my comfort zone. To my credit, I’ve handled my duties quite well.

Today we took wound care up a notch: today was stitch removal day. Two holes, four stitches….. TWENTY minutes. This was perhaps a new world record (in the slowest stitch removal by an amateur category). As I said, not my strong suit…plus, one of the stitches was slightly embedded beneath the skin. You can hardly blame me for 1) taking so long and 2) nearly passing out.

Well, not much more to say about this except: tinkering. I think we’ll be doing a lot more of it going forward. Also: we now have a suture removal kit and some experience under our belts which prepares us for future post-op wound care.

(Did I mention I have trigger thumb surgery on Friday?)





Beating the Bushes

February 23, 2016


It just gets weirder and weirder, doesn’t it?  I guess it’s no surprise, after a string of such poor showings, that Jeb! would drop out of the running, but I sure didn’t think the race for the republican nomination would be so upside down and that the formerly-considered presumptive nominee would become such a total non-player. People are throwing around the figure $100,000,000, as in, that’s how much he’s spent to date–on two primaries and two caucuses.. though technically he dropped out before today’s Nevada caucus–to get exactly nowhere. 

He brought out the big guns last week in South Carolina, too–his brother and his 90+ year old mum (desperate times call for…)–to absolutely no effect. Wow.

In a family of presidents, he drew the short straw. And with that, the Bush dynasty has come to an end.

I thought this poster was sort of sad and sweet in a way (well, and very funny). I admit to feeling a little sorry for Jeb and nostalgic for the republican party of old. I never thought I’d hear myself say, “Holy cow, Jeb Bush is sounding like the most sane and reasonable guy on that debate stage!”  If I were a republican in 2016, I’d be grateful for Jeb. It’s not that I support anything that he stands for, but at least he’s not jumping off the cliff of reason as spectacularly as all the others.

I’d actually probably support Kasich… you know, if I were a republican. Which, good lord almighty, I certainly am not. I’m no libertarian, but I even thought Rand Paul made more sense than most of them. But no… I’m happy happy happy that I can call myself a democrat, especially this year, in what has been the most bizarre and disgusting display of bad manners and shockingly provocative politics ever.

Primaries are always kind of a circus.  Maybe things will settle down in the general, when adults are back in the room.

I go back and forth between having faith that a majority of republicans will put their big boy pants on and reject Trump’s histrionics… and feeling like nope, it’s come to this, Fox has succeeded in whipping up the conservative base into a frothy mess of angry, fearful anti-anything-Obama voters who think Trump (TRUMP!) is some kind of savior.  They get what they deserve.

And it’s sure looking to me like he’s gonna be their guy.

It may mean a lot more election-related writing, or exactly the opposite because I can’t stand what our country’s become. We shall see.