Thursday, April 4, 2013


It's been an emotional week. Nothing in my family, but for some friends in various situations (medical and otherwise). Peleke is here and there with an unpredictable schedule over the next few weeks. When we get time together, the world starts to feel right again, so I'm glad he's not deployed! The Hooligans in their neediness and energy have been helpful too :)

Gucci was really a lifeline for me in Seattle. I love the place, but I had such a terrible time settling in and finding a group of friends whom I felt I really connected with. Working nights while living in my grandmother's basement may explain some of that difficulty... Anyway, she and Pumba have done something similar for me here on the Redneck Riviera. We go to the unofficial dog park pretty much daily when it's not, you know, a broiler out. So, like, 6 months out of the year. Despite Gucci's alter ego, we've managed to befriend some pretty neat people.

One of those friends and I went out kayaking the other day. My poor shoulders and back hadn't seen sun since September, so I definitely turned red, but, man, it was gorgeous out! A totally idyllic afternoon that fulfilled a need for friendship, rest, and beauty :)

A few days later, I drove to another southern state to visit Peleke for the evening/night. We took a gorgeous walk through several miles of what can only remind me of Ravenna Ravine (squeeeee! so happy!!) while it was overcast, 50's, and impressively green out. I kind of wanted to just camp out there for a few weeks, and in my mind I'll pretend that area doesn't get as steamy and icky as it actually does in another month. Then we enjoyed an excellent dinner out before heading back to the hotel. Peleke casually mentioned as we passed Tractor Supply that he might like to check that out while he's there, and I think I surprised him with my excitement over that sentiment. I'd seen it on my way in and had contemplated browsing there myself but didn't have time before we met up. You know you chose well when you and your spouse spent a solid hour happily browsing the local Tractor Supply Company :)

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Interior Decorating

I grew up in a “shoes off in the house” family. It was a near mortal sin to walk in, during any season, wearing anything other than socks. I’m ok with this even though it takes a few more seconds going in or out. Who wants to get their socks or bare feet all gritty or dirty? Ironically, the other part of this is regular vacuuming. Again, I’m good with this.

Actually, I’m not totally good with this. I don’t like vacuuming (although I do swoon over our new one). With the addition of Pumba, it’s unavoidable. Gucci doesn’t shed, but he definitely does. Combine that with the impossible amount of dust that makes it inside, vacuuming isn’t optional. 

So vacuuming it is. 
The problem is, apparently Pumba has particular, shall we say, decorative tastes contrary to this. His “back to nature” theme makes it look like a pine tree exploded in the living room. I mean, pinecones, leaves, and branches get obliterated. This happens without fail within 24 hours of a cleaning. It also makes keeping any kindling for the fire pit in the yard unadvisable.

Sunday, March 24, 2013


A friend once told me we have more poopscapades in the Hooligan Household than she does with her nine month old baby. We don't have kids with whom to compare, but I think she might be right. Pumba definitely takes the lion's share of this in our house, but Gucci isn't without her contributions either. Neither are usually very funny at the time, but in a day or two (or sixty), I can come to see the humor in these situations.

Gucci provided a novel episode of potty humor the other day in a way that I would only have expected from Pumba, if for no other reason than that he eats anything and everything. As I was standing by the bed folding laundry and humming along to the radio, I didn't notice Gucci make her way into the room until she sat on my feet.

My feet became suspiciously warm and slimy. Afraid to look but already knowing what I'd see, I nudged her off and she waddled a few feet away. Yes, that's right, my bearded lady had eaten enough grass to, well, let's just leave it at she ate too much long grass.

I think we all know what happened next. I know as a nurse I've done far grosser things, but outside of the hospital, the gross threshold is much, much lower. Gucci knocked the limbo bar right off with this one. 

Saturday, March 16, 2013


The Hooligans both have beards. Pumba's only counts in the sense that a seventeen year old’s scruff is also a beard, though. It’s all stringy. Hooligan Dad doesn't want to trim it because it does fit his personality, it’s just really gross.

His method of greeting primarily consists of face-butting you and giving sloppy kisses on your face if at all possible. He also frequently does walk by beard-draggings. Especially after drinking, he’ll come over and wipe his dripping beard all over your leg.

Gucci's beard is full and bushy. She’s our bearded lady. But make no mistake, she's only marginally less gross in this regard.

She keeps her beard generally pretty clean, but when she gets dirty, she goes all out.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


Gucci is pretty focused and smart. They say dogs can't plan multiple steps ahead, but "they" haven't met my dog. Mostly she uses it to get into mischief. One night when she was being watched at a friend's place, he came home to find Gucci had gotten into the pantry and liberated the bag of cat food from the top shelf. Not only that, but she was dropping down other items of food to his dog as he walked in. This is not to say she's not distractible, just that Gucci will make her own fun.

Pumba is a different story all together. Object permanence is a little too complex for him. Consequently, he's pretty easily amused. When I ride the stationary bike we have at home, he likes to sit by the pedals and watch them go round and round. Of course, this is after he finally stopped standing in front of the pedals and getting klunked in the head each time the peddle came down. He's since found less hazardous pastimes.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

The name game

Gucci came with a rather long, pretentious title. How pretentious, you ask? Well Gucci is her middle name. Really. I find this odd since she was bred in Colorado and raised in Oregon.

I got her when she was two, so I didn't have much room to work with. Since I didn't want to be calling out a seven syllable name at various parks and fields, I decided to Americanize and shorten things.

So Gucci it is.

We got Pumba at eight months from a shelter in Ohio. We're his fourth owners and kept the name he came with. He's got these funny little white tufts of hair that stick out around his nose making him look very much like Pumbaa from The Lion King. 

It's actually quite fitting. The Swahili word "pumba" means to be foolish, silly, weak-minded, and negligent. No truer collection of adjectives ever described a dog. Ok maybe that's not entirely true, but he has never been accused of being intelligent. Trainable, yes. Intelligent, not so much.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Running, doodling and skeet

No, I haven't dropped this blog yet again. It's been kind of busy around here. Not in the no-time-to-take-a-breath busy, but enough that I don't want to sit down a couple times a week and write. I figure if I'm going to do this blog thing again, I will at least make sure it doesn't stress me out :)

So I ran a 5k! Nearly two years after the first of the most recent five surgeries and only five months after the last, I did it! Peleke was out of town (foiled by the Air Force once again), and my friends were running the half marathon, but I was still smiling when I crossed the finish line to a bunch of strangers. I might have even cried a few tears. Who would ever have guessed? Not me. To my surprise shock, I actually ran the whole thing too! By run I mean 12:20 minute miles, but hey! I ran a 5k! Wow.

I spent Saturday night in Seaside with a friend and her two other friends since the race was early Sunday morning. I can't remember when I've laughed so hard or long! But we weren't laughing in the morning- it was 38 degrees and windy out. Brr!! Some sweet neighbors had me over with another neighbor family Sunday evening for a nice family style dinner and a birthday cake. Was really a fantastic weekend.

As I mentioned, Peleke has been traveling. A lot. The Hooligans missed him, and both are on the bed napping with him as I write this. His parting gift from the trip is some upper respiratory bug. Poor guy is wiped out, but the Hooligans are happy enough for the excuse to cuddle in bed during the day with him.

Speaking of the Hooligans, when I was all laid up (and not snowed by drugs, that is) I doodled some cartoons of them. Because, you know, I'm the master arteest. I'm going to throw a couple up here in the next few weeks because, um, because I can.

Spring is definitely here in the Redneck Riviera. It's bittersweet because first of all, the winters just aren't a force to contend with anyway. But secondly, summer can't be far behind. I remember when I used to love summer... Anyway, for the time being, the weather is mostly ideal. Cool to warm during the day with cool to cold at night. Most excellent. Especially for this:

Saturday, February 2, 2013


Peleke's family has a thing about family names. As far as I'm aware, everyone born into the clan is given a name traceable to a previous member. I don't think this is unusual by any means, but we didn't grow up that way in my family. Anyway, this is to say that Peleke's namesake, both first and middle, was his grandfather (Peleke Senior, for the sake of blogging).

As a family Christmas gift, one of Peleke's brother's hunted down and printed off all the publications of Peleke Senior and put them into binders for everybody. He was a physician, you see, and was apparently associated with the local medical school to some degree. I've been fascinated reading through his fairly prolific research writings dating from 1934 to 1973. He was a surgeon, and the research certainly reflects that, but he appeared to be interested in more than just that (there's a thoughtful article written about Medicare in 1971). I mentioned once that I wish I could have met him and that from his writing, I think he had a neat sense of humor. I was met with a blank look at the latter half of the statement. Apparently he was not known for humor, but I still enjoy reading his work.

His common sense has been refreshing. For example, in regards to tetanus treatment, he said "the time-honored quiet darkened room is of great importance. It is too often either overlooked or not available." I don't know any reasonable person in the hospital who wouldn't agree! And the things we all took for granted in school as basic knowledge, such as not leaving NG suction on continuous and taking into account its effect on acid-base and electrolyte balances, was apparently learned the hard way. Likewise, the plastic cannulas used in IV's were once very new and merited a whole journal article on what to do if you accidentally lose it into the vessel!

A part of me fell even more in love with my grandfather-in-law when I read his 1942 article on the misuse of antibiotic compounds. If you know me at all, you know how I feel about the overuse and misuse of antibiotics, so if this isn't proof that I married into the right family, then...

One thing that I noticed and feel a bit sad about is how commonly "mongrel dogs" were used for experimentation. I'm not judging, and I'm grateful for modern medicine, I'm just not sure I could do it.

My favorite thing of his may be not a journal article but a simple letter to the editor of JAMA in 1971. Peleke Senior, in no uncertain terms, says NASA's medical contingent of the moon program is making fools of the medical profession with their attempts at sterilizing the module capsule upon reentry. He indicates that it's haphazard and poorly thought out. Tell us what you really think!

Loving this man and his namesake :)

Friday, February 1, 2013

Five Minute Friday

Today's prompt: Afraid

Afraid. It's a lonely word. You can be fearful with other people around, but the fera itself is personal, so nobody can really know where your head is at that very moment. At least, I don't think they can.

I think it's safe to say we can define fear and we can certainly identify people acting fearfully. We can even quantify fear with things like heart rate, breathing, sweating, and blood pressure. But I don't think we can presume to know exactly what somebody is feeling, we can only measure and quantify indirectly.

I sometimes wondered how much of my patients' physiologic changes were due to pain versus fear. The two probably blur together anyway in drugged hazes. In one particular hospital, each ICU room had a tv and stereo system. On nights, I'd turn the lights down as much as I reasonably could and turn on the local Christian musical station quietly (again, if reasonable). I just hoped that through the sighs, beeps, clicks, whirs, and other sounds of the ICU, they would feel loved and not alone or scared.

Those sounds were comforting to me, but I realize how scary they are to the uninitiated, especially when some of those sounds are directly connected to your breathing, kidney function, and outright heart function.

The heart is complicated.

See Gypsy Mama for Five Minute Friday

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Something's cookin'

When Peleke and I got married, I told him that I don't cook. Not only don't I cook, but I also don't like to and don't want to learn how. My "I can cook anything that fits in the microwave" magnet came as no surprise.

Well, life in the Redneck Riviera made my non-cooking agenda difficult. I mean, there are places to eat out and clog up your arteries in five days flat, but we certainly don't have any Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, or the like. There is a health food store about forty minutes away, but it's overpriced and, well, forty minutes away. As you can imagine, our diet has been less than ideal.

Then along came Pinterest. I resisted as long as I could, which was surprisingly easy given that everybody seemed to mention Pinterest in relation to cooking. However, one day I discovered that there's a lot more than food on there. Holy moly, there's a lot more.

My name is Wenikio, and I'm a Pinterest addict.

I feel that I should mention here, however, that we've overall benefitted quite nicely from it. Not only have a discovered this woman, but I've been able to do quite a bit of stuff around the house that we bought. Those are all things for other posts, but suffice it to say, I like Pinterest.

Then over the past year, I've sloooowwwwwllly started cooking. And by cooking I mean not ordering out or making things out of boxes. The culmination of which (because no, I don't plan on advancing through the ranks of kitchen goddess thankyouverymuch) has been the freezer crock pot meals. Best. Cooking. Idea. Ever! One day of cutting, chopping, slicing, dicing, etc and dinner is made for the month! With leftover lunches to spare! Side benefits are that I know exactly what went into things- no canned "cream of whatehaveyou," organic veggies only from the dirty dozen list (better on the pocketbook), and the overall cost of dinner has plummeted.

All this is to say that dinner, chicken tortilla soup, is smelling up the house quite nicely today!