Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Monday, December 18, 2006
Nathan flew to OKC last week for one of his quartely visits and their holiday party. Things were going good throughout the week (despite the small leak from our water heater). He was suppose to attend the party Friday night and fly home Saturday morning (with a JR puppy for my parents).
On Friday at noon, Nathan calls me and says "I'm sick". I expelled everything in my system at midnight and I have been vomiting every couple hours. My tummy hurts. (at this point he was laying in his hotel room). I insist he calls a co-worker and goes to the ER for fluids. After minimal balking I offer to call his doctor in Edmond (even though they were closed on Friday). While I was making these calls, he calls a co-worker, who promtly takes him to the hopital where he proceeds to wait for 4 hours. At the end of these four hours he makes a trip to the bathroom to vomit. On the way out, a murse says...."You don't look so good man, let's bring you back and hook you up to fluids". (insert sarcastic comment here -- well duh, he hasn't been waiting for 4 hours b/c he feels peachy keen). At this point they run a blood test, ask him a bunch of questions. The blood tests come back and they hurry him up for a CAT scan.
At this point they come in and say they think he has appendicitis and they are going to take him to surgery. ......Let's recap.... he is now by himself, in Oklahoma, about to have surgery to remove his appendix. Nathan calls me around 6:30pm (as I am finishing up my day at work) and says I have appendicitis. I get emotional at this point, he is all by himself and who knows how good of a hospital he is at (in Oklahoma some of them can be pretty scetchy). I tell him I will get there as soon as I can. While I finish my last appointment, my boss runs upstairs and starts searching flights for that evening. I soon go up to see what he has found. At his point Nathan calls again and says his boss will pay for my ticket. There is one direct flight out of O'Hare that I could possible make if I could make if I was dropped off right at the terminal. A co-worker immediately offers to drive me. Another co-worker offers to take care of Mason, Oscar, and the tortoises for the weekend. With that said, I grabbed my coat and my purse and we were off.
We get to O'Hare 30 minutes before the plane was suppose to take off, all was good. I get the gate and it is delays...what the &$%^!!! I decide to call a friend from vet school who lives in OKC. She assures me, it is a good hospital. She knows the head nurse there and has had family members who have had proceedures there. She says it is a teaching hospital though. Then she offers to pick me up from the airport and take me to the hospital. After we talk,I sit impatiently and start talking to an older gentlman next to me, who says it will be ok and tells me about what happen when he got his appendix and everything he remembers about it (which actually made me feel better). I then talk to Nathan's mom. Apprentely, he called and said he is having his appendix out in Oklahoma and hangs up. She is very stressed, as am I after hearing another delay (due to a broken part on the airplane). I just want to get there before he wakes up. It is now almost 1 1/2 hours later (I should be about arriving in OKC by now). Another lady next to me says to call a speciall 411 number to get the number of the hospital to see how he is doing. I get in touch with the hospital and after being routed to 4 different departments i talk to the recovery nurse who says he is just waking up. (damn, I wanted to be there by now, he must be scared). I tell the nurse to tell him I am at the airpot (although I failed to tell her what airport) and I would be there as quick as I can.
Shortely after this, AA decides to give us a new plane but we have to talk to another terminal. By the time we all get there, the check-in people are told there are people and weight retrictions (plus they have to fit on 6 AA employeed on this flight). They says the need 13!!! volunteers. They get 10. So they are going to boot off the last 3 people to check in (that would be me). I go to the desk....and i freak out....I start crying and I say I have to get on this flight....my husband is in emergency surgery and there is NO ONE there with him. Of course the AA employee doesn't care. But the kind people around me do. One guy says I heard you on the phone...you need to get to your husband. He says, please take my seat. Another couple guys also offer their seats. I am so grateful.... a random act of kindness from complete strangers. I get on the plane and arrive in OKC at 1am. Due to the long delay, I told my vet school friend I would take a shuttle. I get off the plane and run towards the pick-up doors. When I get outside (at 1am in the morning), I see this randome pitbull running around outside (welcome to Oklahoma). I see him sniff a tree and I run over to an airport shuttle. I ask the driver, do you take credit cards. He says yes, but you have to wait a few minutes to see if there is anyone else. But it was only me. As we are driving out of the airport he says we need to stop by an ATM so I can get cash....WHAT!?!?! You said you take credit cards. No, only cash. Great. So we drive over to a 7 eleven and at 1:15 in the morning (not the greatest part of town) and i run in to use the ATM. I come back and get in the car and I relaize he isn't there. Five minutes later he gets back in. (the only thing that gave me the slightest amount of comfort is when I heard him say he was making a stop at St. Anothony's Hospital on his walkie talkie. We sat in silence until I got the hospital. I threw him the $20 and ran inside.
I get to Nathan's room at 2am and he is resting quietly. I am so relieved to see him. He shows me his incisions. We talk for a little while, I check the dosing on his IV antibiotics and fluid rate. A very friendly nurse comes in and helps me make up a bed to sleep in. And we fall asleep. The student nurses come in every 2 hours to do a TPR. A respiratory nurse comes in to show him to use this breathing toy thing. Before meeting the doctors I got a call in the morning from my boss to see how everything was. I was so tired that I was just talking and after a while I realized i had no idea who I was talking to. Shortly after Nathan gets a visit from his boss and another co-worker. In the morning, he orders some food from the hospital menu and we get to meet the student doctor and the surgeon. Both are really helpful and take their time to explain everything to nathan. They use the came critera for discharge as we do in vet medicine. If you can eat, not vomit, urinate, and defecate, you can go home. We around 1pm he is release from the hospital, with instructions not to lift/pull/push more than 5 lbs for 5 weeks and to walk alot to encourge the gas to work it way out.
My friend picks us up and drops us back at the hotel. After a brief shower, we walk to an Italian restaurant so Nathan can get some bland pasta. After lunch we realize the nurse was mistaken and there was no pharmacy in walking distance of the hotel. So Nathan contacts a co-worker to drive us to CVS. After getting back we take a nap and then get up to go have dinner with my vet school friend. That night we some much needed sleep.
The next morning (my birthday). I help Nathan pack up his stuff and I drag it downstairs. Throughout most of that day, we get strange looks as I lug his heavy laptop/PS2 bag and his suitcase around while he walks behind me. After some lunc he see Happy Feet before heading to the airport. At the airport we meet the JR breeder who gives us "Samson", an 8 week old JR puppy. He is all calm in the breeders arms. At security, we had to take him out of the bag and all the security people took turns hold him. When we got to the gate, he decided it was time to play and started squirming (nothing a little Benedryl for the flight doesn't help :-D ) . So anyway, we made it home safe and sound. Nathan is feeling much better! :-D
PS Pics of Samson to follow soon
Monday, November 20, 2006
Nathan receives an IM from Grant. He is locked out of the house, without a coat, without a cell phone. He only had his PDA to sustain communication with the outside world. Nathan signals to me to call my parents to ask what to do. Dad picks up. He is in the middle of a business meeting but tells Grant that there is a key under the white flowerpot. Yes, yes indeed...to my surprise I find out everyone has their own version of the key under the bunny rabbit. I convey this message to Grant via IM. He is unable to find the key. A phone call to Dad, finds he is unable to assist any further and my mom appears to be MIA. Grant suggests calling his wife (at this point I am unaware she is too in Flemington). Sheryl is unsure what to do and needs to have a pow wow with my mom. A few minutes later my mom calls to save the day and to instruct Grant where the key actually was.
Now we may feel sorry for Grant, outside in the cold without a coat. But there is more humor to be found in the story since this was not the first time Grant had locked himself out of the house.
Moral of the story. 1. Wear a coat when you go outside. 2. Don't lock the door when you are just bumming around the yard. 3. Always have a PDA on your side if you are lacking a cell phone.
Monday, November 06, 2006
Here is what she had to say:
Pain: Mason started telling her how much he was in pain. He was hurting in his left hip, left knee, right hock, and both wrists. He wanted to know if I could make the pain go away, if I could help him breathe better, and if I could tell him if it was going to get worst. At this point I am crying (heck, I crying about it at the moment). The communicator wanted to know what I wanted to tell him. I can't make the pain go away, I can't make him breathe better, I have tried and all I am left with his pain control. He said he wasn't ready to go quite yet but he would let us know when he is. For right now he requested to be outside more often and to have a window open to help him breathe. ** I am still digesting the first portion of this reading and I am not quite sure about how to feel about this lady. Obviously you can tell just by looking at him that his age is rapidly catching up with him. But I don't know what to think from here.
Next the communicator, said he was talking about wetting his food and why it isn't done any more. At this point I look at mom who smiles at me. Mom use to always but some warm broth leftover on his food. He said he didn't mind the dry food but would like something wet on it from time to time. He then said that he likes his bed to be near the kitchen so he can see what is going on around him. The communicator
said he was talking about window wells, that he was worried something was going to get stuck in them. This was a strange comment, b/c our new house has 2 uncovered window wells in the front yard. But I know he has wondered over there once or twice. He requested that I look in those wells daily to make sure no critter is in them. I agreed. The communicator then said she was getting images of some type of pink food -- like a salmon fillet. Mason wanted some salmon and wondered if I could give it to him. I said no, he could have some pizza. He said that would be ok but he really wanted salmon. I said that gives him gas.
Brother - She said that Mason missed his brother, that he didn't know what happened to him. And wondered if there was another dog that use to live with us. I said he lived with 2 dogs in NJ before we left (but now that I think about it, it would have been Charlie who he lived with for 2 years and was very close to). Mason said he understood about Tippy but wanted to know if the other one was happy and well taken care of.
Mason then went on say he knows he has to be careful about the carpet. Weather it meant the carpeted stairs or the carpet to Nathan's office in the last two apartments who knows. I went on to ask the communicator to tell Mason not to go upstairs b/c it isn't good for him. But he says he doesn't want to be left out and will still go up them.
I then got to ask questions. First I asked if he likes to stay at the animal hospital or he likes the pet sitter. He says he likes either one. Then I asked if he minded Oscar kneading on him. Mason said...is that what that is? No he doesn't mind since Oscar seems to like it. In the final thoughts of his session, she said Mason asked if he was going to be euthanized now. The communicator said, no remember you said you weren't ready to go, and he said oh, yea. So she said he had some dementia going on.
A little background. Oscar was in super curious mode the day of his communication. Just as we were about to begin with Mason, he decided to jump on the counter, knock her water to the ground along with some brochures. During Mason's reading he was jumping around the room, into the communicator's lap, looking at the window trying to catch bugs. With that said, on with Oscar:
After a few seconds of "communicating" with him the communicator said he is a very CURIOUS cat. He wanted to know where she lived, who she was, where she came from, if she could come visit him...etc. She explained to him in the communicator code who she was and what she was doing. Oscar said he was a very curious cat. He loves to run, and jump and especially swing from things. When he isn't swinging he likes to dream of swinging just like Tarzan. If he was a human he would be a trapeze artist. He said he has NO fear he will take on anything and likes to do so in front of an audience. He said he was smarter than the average cat and wondered if we noticed? (um, no). He said he wants to try more human food and would like it if we gave him small portions of our food. I said no. Then the communicator said he was VERY INTENSE about going outside. He needed to check things out and wanted to know if I would let him do that. I said on the next nice day.
He then asked "Are there bone fragments in my food?" "Those are things are bone fragments" " Are bone fragments good for me?" I said there were no bone fragments in the food. "Are you sure?" Yes, I am sure.
Then he said he would like to have another cat (or small dog) to play with. But he was very insistent that this small new pet would like him. But he needed a playmate. Then he wanted to know what was wrong with Mason, is he ok, (insert more tears from me). I said no, we slow down as we get older and we love him and will keep him around as long as he wants to be here. Oscar was worried what would happen to him when Mason went, if he would be all alone or would get a new pet. That he was afraid.
The communicator said he was talking about an aerosol can Nathan ("the man") had and wanted to know what he was doing, and what that can was. I said Nathan was spraying wasps. Oscar wanted to know if they would get into the house. I said no. Oscar wanted to know if he would see that can when we get home. I said sure.
Now on the the question portion
1. Do you like the pet sitter or staying at the animal hospital? He said he doesn't like the animal hospital. He LOVES the pet sitter and asked if she was coming to visit. He likes her b/c she talks to him.
2. Why do you knead on Mason? Well an animal that big should be a source of some nutrition. But it makes him feel good.
3. Why do you like Nathan so much? I like the water it is a fun game. And I really like the bathroom. But I also like his belly.
4. Why are you scared of the vacuum? He says its not clear but at some point there was something loud and blowing air on him on purpose. But he was out of it in this picture.
5. Stay out of the bedroom and off of the counters. Why he asks? B/c no animals on the counters and Nathan is allergic to you. He says, how is that my problem? B/c it makes him sick. Well I am not going to change.
So that was the animal communicator experience. And I know that pretty much everything she told us came from a fine-tuned skill in reading faces, emotions, the way we/our animals walk, dress ourselves, or seeing how they act in the room. I know she told me nothing new about Mason, heck most people choose to tell me what is wrong with him. But she said it in a way, like it was coming from him. Mason telling me he hurt, why can't I make the pain go away...etc. A cheap shot? maybe, a useful resource? maybe, and yet why does this truth I already know, still hurt so much? My brain knows better, my logic is swinging its arms wildly to pay attention - this lady is a quack, you are doing your best to keep him comfortable, this is a normal process of aging (add in all medical terminology here) you can't do anything to stop it, you know when it will be time. But my heart still feels like a dagger was put through it, when she said Why can't you make the hurt go away?
Monday, October 02, 2006
On to the the 7 mile fair which turned out to be an interesting change of pace. As expected we there was your fair share of auto parts and audio equipment. Certain sections outside even went back to the archaic flea market times by selling any type of tool or appliance that was covered with at least 90% rust. A few neat finds included some old Oscilloscopes, a radio flyer, and any tool you could imagine. But as we were walking we wondered into 1st the "food" section. There were live chickens and pigeons (and I believe ducks) stuffed into small cages fro sale. And for those who preferred them dead, yes, you could find your evening meal from the cooler next to these cages. Oh let's not forget about the reptile guy who was selling turtles, snakes, and yes even a crocodile. So you wonder around some more and happen into the dog section were you could buy your very own "designer dog" (aka mutt) for a sale price of $375-625. Just when you thought you were done we happened upon the pet avian section where could buy your pick of several parrots or small birds or hedgehogs.
And yes, we did even see someone leaving with the kitchen sink :-D
Sunday, October 01, 2006
Well it is getting a bit late so I am calling it a night.
Monday, September 11, 2006
1. Looks like Blogger has increased user friendlyness. So I took a little stab at playing with their new beta version. Do you like the look? Do you want your blog added to my links? Does something look weird? Comments welcome.
2. This weekend I got "spoofed." Now. thousands of people around the country have reieved e-mails from my domain name on how to "enlarge their penis". And now I am getting a bazillion returen e-mails into my mailbox. So let's take a daydream into Brooke's mind. What kind of person can sleep at night knowing they are an internet spammer. After several contestants competed in my head for the rights to trigger a mental image when I think of penis enlargement spammer the winner is....(drum roll please).... a 35-45 year old while male, with black greasy hair, sleezy eyes, skinny as a rail, sitting in the dark basement of his mother's house trying to pass the lonely night. Enough about that, I am making myself nasous.
3. Well we found a house! Actually it was one we found a few weeks ago but now Nathan is on the bandwagon. So we are making the offer today, trying to keep Nathan's words of wisdom in mind "Don't come to the negotiating table, being emotionally attached to the house". We will just try to forget that yesterday we went to Menards and a furniture store to look at paints, curtains/window treatments, browse at flooring, and chat about small projects for the next 5 years.
4. You may not be able to teach an old dog new tricks but no one ever said an old dog can't teach you new tricks. Mason is on Rimadyl for his arthritis. He is doing wonderfully on it. He gets his chewable pill (aka treat) after our morning walk and after he goes outside around 7pm. Over the last couple days i noticed that every 15-30 min he wants to go outside, when he comes in he goes to his Ernie cookie jar to await his medicine. If you don't give him a treat he whines to go back outside.
5. Oscar has found a brand new place to sleep. In our apartment we have a stackable washer and dryer. We usually leave the dryer door opened a little. Well if the there are clothes in there and the bell has just recentely went off, it is nice and cozy and this is where we can find Oscar.
Sunday, September 03, 2006
This week I finished my second Wilton Cake Course. My final project turned out as above. I realize that I took some crappy pictures of the cake. But despite my troubles with Royal icing (2 weeks in a row), I was able to produce a descent cake. So needless to say this cake took me about 8 hours to make (over about 4 weeks). I brought the cake into work (as I usually do) and placed it in the staff lounge. Usually the cake sits there on display until very late morning or early afternoon.
Now on with the story. So one of my client was paying her bill and had been allowing her 3-4 year old daughter run around. Her daughter went into the staff lounge, saw the cake and with her grubby little fingers started stuffing my uncut cake into her mouth as fast as she could. When the front desk staff alerted her, that her daughter was doing this all she said was "She Loves Cake". No apology, no discipline, no guilt. This story would have been cute and funny if...the daughter was taught a lesson or the woman apologized. But instead you are left to wonder... Obviously the girl knew no better but instead of being told that is not acceptable behavior she now thinks it is OK to use/eat/handle(whatever verb you put in her) other peoples things.
Ok, a little more about our househunting experiences. We saw several more houses (that were much closer to what we were looking for). One house we saw, looked gorgeous on paper (and from the pictures). The layout was perfect, the backyard was huge, and it was in a nice neighborhood. Then we saw it in person. Apparently some guy bought this house (built in 2005) when there was only the frame and tried to finish it himself. The drywall was curvy, railings were loose to the point of breaking off the wall (not to mention the one railing that was a bit too short and lengthened with putty). The beautiful granite counters put on the cheapest cabinetry you ever saw (not to mention that the inside of each cabinet contained several "extra" screw holes where he had messed up). One side of the cabinet didn't quite meet up with the window the other side partially covered the window. The beautiful wood fence didn't meet up quite perfect and where each fence section was suppose to align there was 20-30 screws and nails attempting to hold it together. Outside, some siding was falling off, and the rest of it was put on crooked. It was a shame, this house has soo much potential but at this point it needs to be striped own to the studs and be rebuilt.
We did however see two houses that I liked. They were right across the street from each other in a cul-de-sac of a very nice neighborhood. Both had great properties, nice kitchens, good layouts. Nathan is concerned that their laundry rooms are in the mudroom (that is essentially a small hallway from the kitchen to the garages. Once house would need the kitchen floor replaced and the interior would have to painted in colors that fit our style, while the other house didn't have a fence or a deck built on it yet. But they two are definitely at the top of our list. I will keep you posted.
Sunday, August 27, 2006
I finally caught it on digital film. Oscar has this very strange habit that I am seeing more and more. He enjoys kneading Mason's manly areas whily sucking on his flank. Is he trying to get milk out of him? How do I help him understand that a 12.5 year old MALE golden retriever DOG can't be a mother to a CAT.
Also, I managed to finish Marley and Me this week (who needs sleep anyway). I can see why this book was on the best seller's list. Obviously there are going to be many people out there who don't "get it". For for many of us with big dogs, we can relate to this book at various if not all life stages of Marley. I found myself laughing and at the end (for the first time ever in a book) I found myself crying. I am glad I am not the only one dreading the day I need to say good bye to my long time companions. But the book helps remind you how much our animals can teach us. I highly recommend it for anyone who has ever owned a big dog.
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Sunday, August 20, 2006
Last weekend our realtor took us on our 1st home viewing marathon. The first outing was meant for Nathan and I to get a feel for what we want and for our realtor to get a feeling of what we like. So we saw an interesting combination of houses. The first house proved some important points to keep in mind when selling a house.
1. If you are selling your house have your teenage son take down all of the posters of swimsuit models he has posted to his walls and ceiling. I can really tell you what that room looked like but I remember the multitudes of posters.
2. You want to give an impression that rooms are bigger than they are. This image isn't conveyed if your children's toys are spewd all over the floor. I hope I didn't break any of them.
Some lessons from the other houses.
3. Don't show potential buyers around the house. That is what the realtor is for.
4. Musty and moldy smells are not inviting.
Ok. The first house wasn't too bad but like another house we saw later on it was in one of the many lake neighborhoods. They neighborhoods are made up of summer homes and permanent homes. So you could have a nice home right next to a run down boarded up cottage.
The second house.... on paper this house looked great. Newly remodeled, a lot of square footage, view of the lake, fenced yard, etc. When we got there is was moving day for the family and there where 6-8 kids swarming around the house like bees to nectar. Walking around the house our realtor points to a cabinet in the butler's pantry. Something ain't right. It is crooked. Interesting. On further inspection of the greatroom, the whole room was taller than the rest of the house by several inches. Interesting...what small differences in measuring can do. Oh, and let's not forget that the owners accidentally locked us out on the porch.
The third house....Walk into the house and a funky smell. The house has been vacated but what is that smell. As we go into the basement.....standing water. I think the room with the standing water was suppose to be an additional family room b/c it had a formal fireplace. Further inspection of the basement revealed a small home business complete with cubicles and a receptionist corner. But let's not forget the mold growing out of the walls. The only good point is that is had a bright lime green toilet.
The fifth house. A beautifully landscaped property that backed up to a conservatory. The house wasn't quite our style and we weren't horrible excited about the confederate flag we saw flying next door or the porn shop two doors down.
Ok, the forth house. This house was nice. It had a beautifully remodeled kitchen, a nice big backyard with a screened in porch, nice neighbor's with lake access, a beautiful fireplace. The only negative is that the bathrooms were really small and very 70's.
So stay tuned for more house hunting adventures.
I had a scare a couple of weeks back with Mason. He got to the point where we could hardly walk and wasn't eating very much. Let me tell you one thing. At this point invested emotions don't mix well with a scientific history. I just began thinking of all the horrible things that he could have, completely ignoring the obvious of arthritis. A few tears and a couple of deep breaths later I started him on an anti-inflammatory and he is feeling much better. He began eating, nibbling, wanting to go on walks, and being frisky. His breathing is mildly improved but he still has his good and bad days with that.
A few weeks ago, Nathan and I flew to NJ and drove up to Seneca Lake with my parents and Adam to spend a couple of days with my mom's side of the family at their lake house. It was an absolutely beautiful day. The heat wave had broke the day before, the sun was out, and there was a nice breeze. But the best part is, is that despite the fact I haven't seen any of them in 2 years there is never any of the awkwardness that you generally feel at other types of family gatherings. You just jump right in and begin where you left off like it was yesterday. Go to the photoweb page to see a selected collection of pictures from that weekend. The little boy in alot of the pictures is Bryston -- Holli and Jason's little guy....he is so photogenic that I couldn't help but snap a few shots.
Odds and ends I thought I would post from last time
Woofstock. Each year the humane society here in Kenosha hosts a festival called woofstock as their main fundraiser. Sponsors throughout the county buy these fiberglass dogs and cats from Cow Painters in Chicago and has a volunteer paint them. These sculptures are then displayed downtown for about 60 days leading up to Woofstock. On Labor Day weekend the dogs and cats are auctioned off. I thought it would we really cool to do a photo decopage thing on one of these animals.
I finally finished the quilts for Baby Wood (could be a girl or boy --- only I know, hew hee I am keeping my secret as promised Holli) and Baby Amelia. They aren't perfect but I am slowly getting better. I know I need to master the whole binding issue next. The binding is currently taking me way too much time and turning out way too crappy.
Darwin award nominee: A few weeks ago, a man was driving on a very busy highway (that runs from Chicago to Milwaukee)on his motorcycle. While driving along, he has an attack of road rage and feels the need to "get back" at the car (yes this is an important detail...car) that initiated this rage by rear ending him. Needless to say his motorcycle hit the car and he went flying from the bike and landed on the road. If he wasn't dead by this point, then I hope for his sake he went quickly after being run over by the semi truck he landed in front of. Lesson learned: Motorcyle + Road rage + rear-ending car does not = progression in evolution.
FEMA is still on hold. I am applying to being in the veterinary portion of FEMA but I am stuck at the proof of vaccination portion. It is a slow process to offer help in a time of need.
Very cool, I just got a picture of Oscar kneading Mason's manly areas while suckling his thigh.
Ok. This is long enough for now.
Saturday, July 29, 2006
This month I look Wilton Cake Decorating Course 1 which is being taught by one of the staff member at the hospital I work at. It is a series of 4 classes. The first class went over the basics of making the cake and icing. The second class we learned how to make stars and write with icing. For my first cake (which was a caramel, coconut, pecan cake --delicious!) I decided to free draw a frog onto my cake (using a coloring page as a visual reference) Here is the result:
Darn well since I am having trouble inserting photos here is the link to the cakes:
Course 1: Class 2
The next week's class we started learning how to do figure piping and rose making. The figure piping involved making clowns. For me, that was not going to happen. So I attempted to make sheep and Oscar the Grouch instead. During the flower making I kept saying how my icing was melting (a problem I had the previous week as well). Well as it turns out, when you substitute 1 cup of butter for 1 cup of Crisco you must decrease 6 tsp of liquid to get the same consistency. Otherwise instead of working with stiff icing that holds, you are working with melted icing like me. So as a result I did not take pictures of this week's homework due to the icing disaster. But there is next week (the final week of Course I). I will be continuing on to Course II next.
Well I got a pretty good start on my book list posted on an earlier blog. I have read My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult, Drowning Ruth -- Christina Schwarz , The Secret Life of Bees -- Sue Monk Kidd. They were all very good and told a unique, page turning story. I won't go into too much detail but I will say My Sister's Keeper kept me up to the wee hours of morning several days in a row. I started it not really thinking it was going to be all that impressive but then I just couldn't stop reading it. The ending just threw me for a loop and caught me by surprise (which very rarely happens to me in books).
Shedd Aquarium and Photography
Adam was able to visit us a few weeks ago. Because it was scorching hot we decided the zoo was probably not the best idea. So we headed to Shedd Aquarium in Chicago . A word of advice to those of you planning to visit this wonderful aquarium. There is a HUGE line to get in (a line in which you stand outside for an hour). So either you pre-buy your tickets online or you find a child (still needing a stroller) to bring with you. Either of these situations will place you in an alternate entrance. Anyway, this has to be the best aquarium I have ever been to and they did a fabulous job in offering something for every visitor to enjoy from toddler to the elderly. I had a great time attempting to get practice my "aquarium" shots using my digital SLR camera. With over 200 pictures taken, it isn' t as easy as it looks. The first challenge is that there is low lighting and you can't use a tripod or a flash. Challenge number two is that there is a thick piece of glass b/w you and all the fish. Challenge number three (and yes this is a completely separate challange) is that there are a bazillion children (and adults) fingering the glass as they pass by, leaving greasy (or sticky) finger prints on the glass. Challenge 4, those darn fish don't stay still even if you ask nicely. Anyway I got a small handful of respectful pictures and they can be found on our picture website. The main secret I can share (which I saw on a few tutorials) was to take along a rag to wipe the finger marks off. Use a very, very low apeture setting. Hold your camera as close to the glass a possible. I used my pinkie and thumb to stabilize my camera on the glass. Be patient, fish usually travel in the same pattern over and over again. Ie. oooh! look a rock.......oooooh! look a plant......oooooh! look a rock.
As the summer edges on Mason's excessive panting has started to get worst with a small wheezing component to it. At this point I don't believe surgery is an option to "tie-back" one of this laryngeal folds (since it isn't always curative and it is not a trivial surgery). I have done some research to see what else I can do to make him more comfortable. The main recommendation seems to be (for non-surgical canidates) to invest in a good air conditioner and allow no exposure to the heat (in addition to watching for aspiration pneumonia). There were a couple of other suggestions as well. One was to try steroids to get the inflammation in the airways down and the second is to use a drug to try and open up the lower airways a bit more. So in a desperate attempt to make Mason feel a little better I have put him on these two drugs. First there has been no improvement. Second (even though I have him on a very very low dose of steroids) he is drinking water non-stop, has been trying to get me to feed him more than twice a day, and his peeing like a race horse. I have found a pee stain on our carpet. For those of you who know Mason, he would rather pass out than pee in the house. He hasn't peed in the house in 12 years. So forget the steroids...I have already begun to taper them and I will finish up the other useless drug as well. I have also notice that he now has Horner's syndrome (a condition in which the eyes look sunken into the sockets more than usual). However, only in male golden retrievers between the ages of 9-13 is there a breed predisposition for this. On the good side, he still loves to go on his small walks, get pet by all the blondes, and nibble on his stuff animals.
On to Oscar. This morning when I got up I remember seeing Oscar hanging around in the living room. Before I got my shower (while in my robe) I let Mason out for a quick pee. After he came back in I was surprised not to see Oscar. I looked briefly around the apartment and even peeked outside, No Oscar. After my shower I feed Mason and No Oscar. Now i was slightly concerned b/c that cat is front and center when it is feeding time. I looked really well in the bedroom and No Oscar. So I throw on some clothes and take Mason for his walk. I walk outside and I see a little fuzzy orange kitty on the porch next door, just perched there enjoying the sun. It was Oscar. I am glad he didn't run away too far but I am still trying to figure out how he got outside without me seeing him. Goof ball.
Ok, I am getting tired...here is a reminder to myself what to talk about next time: Mortagages, House hunting, quilting, FEMA, possible Darwin award nominee from Kenosha, woofstock, tailgates, upcoming photo, sewing classes.
Monday, July 10, 2006
- Long (stringy and/or greasy) hair
- An attempt to grow facial hair that just turns out like uneven hair blotches on the face.
- Jeans and an old t-shirt (an added plus if it relates to a game or computers)
- Either tall and skinny as a stick, or shorter and around in the middle
- If they are of Caucasian descent: skin so white that it hurts your eyes.
2. Did you know that it is considered "taboo" to have a baby shower in the Jewish faith? It it thought that a baby shower may arouse the "evil" spirits and give your baby bad luck. The most superstition of parents to be won't even mention the name of their new one to family or friends until after the birth. I learned this today from my mom before I sent out the quilt I finished for Baby Bell. But after all the work I did on it (even though it isn't perfect -- still learning) I just wanted to get it out the door and especially out of reach of Oscar (who will find anyway possible to sit on any quilt I make). Pics to come.
3. Speaking of Oscar. Over the last week and a half we have had 3 sets of people who have slept in our living room. Every morning I asked how they slept and if Oscar cuddled with them. Everyone of them said they heard lots of noise in the kitchen overnight. What would be really interesting is to set up a camera overnight and watch what Oscar does. Or perhaps we really don't want to know.
4. At work we were all split into team to redo an exam room for $200. After some brainstorming my team decided to go with a jungle theme. One of the things I definitely wanted to do was add new seating in the exam room. Right now there is 1 beat-up wood chair. My original plan was to make a built-in corner bench with storage and jungle themed cushions that could attach to the wall. But while Nathan and I were in Menards, Nathan once again pointed out reality to me. A bench like that would cost at least $100 to build....which wouldn't leave us with enough money to do the rest of the room.
So today, I came up with a budget for 3 different plans to the room: All 3 scenarios include a refinished seat of some sort from a rummage/estate sale, a coat of primer paint, and a parrot clock from eBay. One idea from a team member was to do a mural on the wall (if she can get her friend to do it b/c none of us are decorative painters). However with this idea we could afford only 6 1-quart cans of acrylic paint. Another idea would be to have a digital mural (VERY LARGE POSTER) printed up. The final idea (sugg. by Adam) was to rasterbate an image. What does rasterbate mean? Well it is basically a technique in which a large image is printed on several to many pieces of paper that can then be taped, mounted, or framed to form a very large poster. So I will keep you updated on the progress of the room.
5. Just a reminder to myself to decide what to write about my new nemesis.
Oh my...it is getting late. Time to hit the sack. Have a great week.
PS. Outlook and my cell phone had it out a few weeks ago and I lost some of my addresses and phone numbers. If you remember can you e-mail me with your current info.
Monday, June 19, 2006
Then we headed up to Nathan's parents house so that Nathan could play golf with his dad on father's day.
Arg...I guess I am not really in the writing mood so I will end it here.
Sunday, June 11, 2006
This week I started my new job. They are breaking me in slow by allowing me to observe the hospital and all the inner workings this week. It also gave me a great chance to get to know everyone and to see what they do on a daily basis. I even got to see two routine appointments.
Mason seems to be doing alot better. His limp has improved and is now just a little stiff into he morning. But he is enjoying the beautiful weather and loves to spend the majority of the day outside nibbling on his stuffed animals. Oscar got a little jealous that he was outside and has started going on on a leash in the evenings. Oscar even made a new friend.....a young Labrador puppy a couple of doors down. They are both about the same size (which won't last long) but they have a good time playing.
IN THE KITCHEN
The day before I started work I got my new Betty Crocker Cooky Book in. This is suppose to be all the best cookie recipes and so I was anxious to try it out. With Nathan's help we make these Coffee, raisin, nut bars. They looked so good in the picture but I was definitely disappointed in the outcome. They were bland and really chewy. I took them into work anyway but they weren't a big hit.
CRAFTS, HOBBIES, AND MORE
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
As a side note -- part of me knew that Denny was going to die but it was still a sad way to end the season. And let's not get into the poor portrayal of the veterinary profession...
Ok back to moving. It was early morning -- still dark out and we were sleeping as well as one could on a air matress and the looming 14 hour trip. But we were abruptly awoken by a **BANG** as Oscar fell out of some cupboard in the kitchen. I turn around and see Oscar's eyes, completely dilated in the dark (this is his signal for warning us that he is in "on" mode). As I shut my eyes I feel a wiff of air streak by my head and then silence. I am too tired to be aware of Oscar's next move. As I slowly fall back to sleep, I feel a chomp on my toes. Yes, Oscar was awake and thus everyone else was.....I look at my watch and it was 5:15 am.
We got up and were on the road by 6:45am. By this time Oscar had decided it was a great time for a nap. Mason was nervous and I tried to calm him with a few pats on the head. As we headed out of Stillwater, I radioed to "toothpick" in the truck -- See ya Stillwater! Four years ago when we drove out of Madison I was sad to be leaving the town but that day I was excited to finally be leaving Stillwater.
Midway through Missouri, I let Oscar out of his cat bag. He soon discovered that the back window dash was the most excellent of places to catch the afternoon sunlight and to watch all the trucks and cars. And so there he stayed until 30 miles outside of Chicago. My back window got several double looks and a few honks. By the time we hit Chicago, it was after rush hour, it was dark, and people were driving like you were in the middle of a "Grant Theft Auto" game. Of course this is when Oscar yearns to sit on my lap and take a nap with the occasional peaks out the driver side window when we approach tolls booths.
At 10:30 pm we finally reached our new home. Luckily the hotel had a couple of extra non-smoking rooms that allowed animals. Nathan went up the stairs ahead of me with the suitcase, litter box and pet food. Mason and I tried to follow but he was having a hard time getting up the stairs and kept slipping. While Nathan was trying to offer some advice, he lost control of the litterbox and pet food which went tumbling down the stairs along with Mason. I take Mason to the front desk and I ask if they have an elevator. They do not. Nor do they have a room on the first floor. So we try another flight of stairs. After alot of encouragement he finally made it up. Nathan was still busy trying to sweep litter back into the box with his hands, obvoiusly well beyond amused at the whole situation. Let's just say it wasn't hard to fall asleep that night.
The next morning, while Nathan still slept I slipped on a coat over my pjs and took Mason ot for a walk. As Mason was walking around on the grass, I notice a little white dog in a semi barking his head off. A few minutes later I see a man approaching me from the semi. And he begins to talk, while he pets Mason. He talks about his truck business, his love of collecting gems, and then about his own dog (in the truck) and how he gets in trouble in doggie daycare. Then he asks me if I want to come over to his truck to see his dog. A little memory pops into my head. My mother said to be a couple of years ago as I was about to make a trip by myself: Now if stranger asks you if you want to see their puppy in their car...don't go... and I remember rolling my eyes pretty far back into my head and saying....mom...who would every say that. But I disregarded her advice and walked over the the truck. Yes I know, a pretty stupid desicion on my part but I am going to blame it on the lack of sleep and the lack of coffee. I petted his dog and then decided it was really time to part ways.
Later that morning Nathan's parents and Cameron joined us to help unload the truck. And later that afternoon Logan and Kristin arrived from Michigan and we started unpacking boxes. We made a fairly good dent in the unpacking before heading to dinner. We decided on this random little pub that was listed in the phonebook. The food was fair. Cameron ordered a grilled cheese sandwhich but really ended up with a grilled bread sandwhich with a pinch of cheese that couldn't be seen without carefully the inner seams of the sandwhich. For the rest of the week and weekend Nathan and I worked hard to turn an apartment full of boxes into our new temporary home.
A couple days after moving in Mason introduced himself to the piles of kids living in this complex. I was so proud at how patient he was with all the kids who were a little overly excited at having a dog around that someone actually allowed them to play with. Other than that he is so very content to sit in lawn and watch all the happenings throughout the day while nibbling his stuffed animal.
Now that everything is unpacked, I finally have a chance to play with my camera, order some accessories, and do a little scrapbooking. I will put pictures of the final product up later tonight along with pictures of the new apartment.
Also, I got a phone call last night from my new boss saying that my licensure has finally been approved and I can start work anytime....so we settled on June 5th. That will give me a few days to head to NJ to cash in on my graduation gift (see previous posts) and to help my mom pack up my old room.
Until next time :-D
Saturday, May 13, 2006
For my graduation dinner/lunch we ate at Kyoto Japanese Restaurant (which is a hibachi grill). Mom, Granny, and I were the first to arrive so we started the celebration right with some alcoholic drinks in souvenir Buddha cups. Here is a picture of Granny sipping out of Buddha's belly.
Our chef for the night arrived right on time. Mom thought he looked alot like Owen Wilson. He dazzled and amazed us with his repitoir of cooking tricks. But I was impressed that he could crack and egg without little pieces of egg shell falling into the goo (a skill I am still trying to Master).
But who could end a good hibachi meal without the flaming onion?!
It was next back to the house so that Mom could iron my gown one last time and then we scadaddled off to the gradation which had been moved ahead to 6:30pm due to Pres. Bush's commencement speech earlier that morning.
Then came the usual graduation rituals...group picture, walking into the stadium, speaker talking, walking on stage, and shaking a bazillion hands, receptions, pictures with friends. Pictures can be seen at our photo site.
Then back to the house for CAKE! Now the following cake is a Nathan and Brooke creation. Nathan baked up a strawberry cake -- using a bunt cake and some muffins. I was incharge of icing the whole thing (which turned into a green mess but turned out pretty good). Not too bad considering this is my second cake that I made. But I couldn't have done it without the inspiration of srmaxwell on Cake Central.com.
Now to the best part! The presents. I received a very cute snowglobe from Marcia and John and some very generous monetary gifts from various family members.
From my parents I received the following letter:
Special Graduation Gift
Dr. Brooke Pitel Lewis
"ONE SHOPPING SPREE"
Rules for redemption:
1. All Wal-Mart clothes must be burnt beyond recognition.
2. New clothes will have limited animal images and NO cat images
3. All shopping much be done with the expert advice of recipient's mother
4. All purchases will be made regardless of whether or not the item is on sale
5. All purchases shall be made at fine East Coast stores
6. Shopping at Wal-mart, Target, and Costco is strictly forbidden.
So look out NJ here I come!
And finally it was time for me to open Nathan's gift. Now a little background history. For the last couple of years I have been slightly hinting (ok fine often begging) for an SLR digital camera. Two weeks before graduation I opened the study door (which is NEVER shut) to find a macro lens on Nathan's computer screen. Ok...back to Saturday. Nathan went to the garage, rummaged through some of our boxes and brought in a box labeled chess stuff and statues, cut open the box to reveal a smaller box that was the perfect size of a digital camera. But I have been so busy with the packing this week I haven't gotten much of a chance to play with it.
So that is about it for graduation day. Most of this week has been spent packing. We are down to the bare bones. Bed, TiVo, my computer. Oscar can't figure out what happen to his pink lounge chairs, and then his lounge bed by the window, then the shelf next to the window, or his towel next under the sink. Mason won't stay outside for too long for fear of being left behind. But anyway the big travel day is on Tuesday! I guess I will write you from Wisconsin :-D
Friday, April 28, 2006
Nathan and I rented an apartment in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin and with Adam's help we plan to move on May 16th. We got a 6 month lease at the Hidden Oaks apartments.
If you have the inclination to check it out got to:
Hidden Oaks Apartments
The good points are that it is about 1 mile from where I am going to work. It is close to Woodman's, the highway, and Target. Our particular apartment over looks the pool and playground so Mason will enjoying passing the day watching all the kids. Also they are allowing me to keep Mason there, although he is 40 lbs over their weight limit. While we were driving around we saw that we are about 2-3 miles from a Pick your own Strawberry farm and a Pumpkin farm. Since our lease is only for 6 months, we don't plan on unpacking most of our stuff. Marv is being nice enough to lend us a portion of his garage for storage purposes.
Which brings me to our garage sale. We had a "few" extra things that we didn't want to lug all the way to Wisconsin so Nathan and I put on our first gargage sale. I spent my day off yesterday, arranging things, and setting up. And here I am now sitting at the garage sale as we have our very first full day of rain in about 3 months. So today has been pretty slow but I am hoping tomorrow will be busier. But it is interesting to see what people buy. Nathan and I decided to price everything "cheap" -- most things are $1 or 50 cents. And there were a couple of big ticket items at $10. So great deals on everything. Do you know what the first thing to sell was? Mason's toothpaste and toothbrush (which is approximately 8 years old). I felt kind of guilty for selling it to the lady since I should have really just thrown it out. SO I threw in the doggie breath tabs for free. Later I had a retired bull rider visit and buy two pieces of my flea market jewelry. There is one thing I am determined to sell: Nathan's glitter experienence that he won at a dirty Santa. What is the glitter expierience? It is like a lava lamp but with glitter --a perfect decoration for a tween but not quite made for the 20 something computer scientist.
Ok, back in time again. Last week I finally decided that Mason needed a dental. His breath had gotten to the point that it smelled like something died in it. I have been hesitant to put Mason under anesthesia again, since he crashed at the end of his mast cell removal surgery in 2002. But if I was going to have it done, I wanted to have an expert watch over him during anesthesia. I did all the blood work, no problems. I talked at length with the head technician at school (who is running both the ICU and Anesthesia departments and knows more about Anesthesia then anyone else at school). So her and Wayne (the senior student on the case) planned out a unique protocol for Mason -- so that he could be reversed very quickly if needed. Mason is exceptionally well during anesthesia -- which turned out to be a 3 hour procedure. He needed 3 teeth removed in addition to a set of dental x-rays, scaling, and polishing. The minute they turned off the gas he sat up. I have never seen a dog wake up that fast. Anyway, to make a long story short, I bought him new toothpaste and toothbrush and we are going to make an effort to brush his teeth everyday. Oscar on the other hand is not as fond of the toothbrush but we have progressed and I can brush about 1/2 of his teeth.
So I am finishing up my last rotation at an emergency clinic in Oklahoma City (the same clinic Mason spent a night at after his mast cell removal surgery). In general the majority of people take good care of their animals. But then there are those animals that come in with the most bizarre stories, sad situations, or in such bad health that you begin to wonder what their owners were thinking. But I guess the reality is that it isn't our job to figure out the owners. We are just responsible for doing what is best for the animal. I am however am getting alot of good practice on the ultrasound machine and I have even been able to diagnose problems in 2-3 animals just by practicing. Anyway, I will have some "amazing" pictures to show when they get e-mailed to me about an emergency that came in the other day.
7 Days until Graduation!
Friday, April 14, 2006
Yes, it is that season again. Two days before Easter and we (hopefully with your help)will help in the hunt for duck butts.
What is a duck butt?
Affectionately named by Anne, orginally duck butt was adopted from Walmart. This became Mason's ultimate passion in life. He spent many hours each and every day nibble the butt (and yes, only the butt) of duck butt. Duck butt traveled all over the country with us. From Oklahoma, a short stay in TN, NJ, OH, WI, IL.
When Oscar came along, Mason taught him amount the special relationships with duck butt. Oscar soon acquired mini-duck butt and soon Oscar would carry it around the house, talk to it every night, and bathe it in the water bowl every early morning.
Why a new duck butt?
There was a tragic ending to the love story b/w Mason and duckbutt. One icy Oklahoma night, duck butt was left outside and he froze. Mason conmensed on nibbling the following day and let's just say the end result was not pretty. Duck butt had to be buried in the trash can. Mason, mourned for days.
When is the best time to find a duck butt?
Right after easter. All the duck butts are put on sale. Unfortuntely we have only Walmart here in town and I am worried that there will be a short (or no) supply of them. Here is where you come into place.
This is a few examples of duck butts:
So these are few examples. Note that they all have a rather large, pointy, back end. They come in many sizes and shapes. Colors don't really matter. But we are in need of a mini and a large duck butt (or a small stock pile of them).
So here is your mission: Scour your Walmart, Meijer, and Target for these little fellows. Mason and Oscar are desparate. So your help is needed.
E-mail me if you need my address.
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
well I am finishing up my last week here in Ohio. This week is kind of in a state of choas this week with the Class of 2006 finishing up their last week in clinics and the Class of 2007 starting up (this is at Ohio anyway). So upon my mom's suggesting I am going to take 2 personal days on Thursday and Friday to drive to Wisconsin. Nathan is flying into Columbus on Thursday. We are going to leave from their and drive to Pleasant Prairie. On Friday we are going to visit a few apartments:
I really like the first one :-D How fun would it be to live somewhere that has all these art outlets :-D But we will see.
On Friday night we are going to run up to Neenah and see Nathan's family. Then on Saturday morning we head to Champaign to visit Grant and Sheryl (for Sheryl's b-day). Then Sunday we race back to Okalahoma and hopefully get back before the kennel closes so I can get my babies :-D. But Mason loves the kennel so much, I am sure he won't mind staying an extra night.
I think there is going to be 3 things I will miss about oklahoma.
1. Fresh brewed ice tea. You never have to ask a waitress/waiter if their ice tea is fresh brewed...it always is.
2. My scrapbook store. Not only do I like the products they offer (which are sold at reasonable prices), the great crops, but the owners are so friendly and took the extra mile to learn their customer's name
3. The kennel. Not only do they charge dirt cheap prices ($7 or so per night forMason), their facility is spot less, they know me by name and they go one and on about Mason and Oscar :-D. But the biggest thing is that they take Mason outside to play everyday (hence the reason he never wants to leave) and they cuddle with Oscar alot since he is one of the few cats who is taht friendly.
Anyway, I am procrastination, cleaning out my car and getting ready for the trip back to Oklahoma
Thursday, March 23, 2006
1. Saturday (Unabridged) -- Ian McEwan (CD Recording)
Saturday is a novel set within a single day in February 2003. Henry Perowne is a contented man — a successful neurosurgeon, happily married to a newspaper lawyer, and enjoying good relations with his children, who are young adults. Henry wakes to the relative comfort of his home on this, his day off. He is almost as comfortable here as he is in the operating room. Outside the hospital, the world is not so easy or predictable. There is an impending war against Iraq, and a general darkening and gathering pessimism since the New York and Washington attacks two years before and his children are now grown and making their way into this world as adults.
On this particular Saturday morning, Perowne's day moves through the ordinary to the extraordinary: from an unusual sighting in the early morning sky to his usual squash game, and from trying to avoid the hundreds of thousands of war protestors filling the streets of London, to a seemingly minor car accident.
2. My Sister's Keeper (Unabridged) -- Jodi Picoult (Cd Recording)
Conceived in vitro, 13-year-old Anna Fitzgerald has decided to sue her parents to stop them from using her as "spare parts" for her older sister, Kate, who suffers from leukemia. After years of having her bone marrow and blood used to keep Kate alive, Anna now refuses to donate a kidney and strives for her own personal freedom. She hires lawyer Campbell Alexander to represent her, even as her own mother, a former civil defense attorney, fights her in court.
3. Drowning Ruth (Unabridged)-- Christina Schwarz (CD Recording)
Winter, 1919. Amanda Starkey spends her days nursing soldiers wounded in the Great War. Finding herself suddenly overwhelmed, she flees Milwaukee and retreats to her family's farm on Nagawaukee Lake, seeking comfort with her younger sister, Mathilda, and three-year-old niece, Ruth. But very soon, Amanda comes to see that her old home is no refuge--she has carried her troubles with her. On one terrible night almost a year later, Amanda loses nearly everything that is dearest to her when her sister mysteriously disappears and is later found drowned beneath the ice that covers the lake. When Mathilda's husband comes home from the war, wounded and troubled himself, he finds that Amanda has taken charge of Ruth and the farm, assuming her responsibility with a frightening intensity. Wry and guarded, Amanda tells the story of her family in careful doses, as anxious to hide from herself as from us the secrets of her own past and of that night.
Ruth, haunted by her own memory of that fateful night, grows up under the watchful eye of her prickly and possessive aunt and gradually becomes aware of the odd events of her childhood. As she tells her own story with increasing clarity, she reveals the mounting toll that her aunt's secrets exact from her family and everyone around her, until the heartrending truth is uncovered.
Guiding us through the lives of the Starkey women, Christina Schwarz's first novel shows her compassion and a unique understanding of the American landscape and the people who live on it.
4. The Secret Life of Bees (Unabridged) -- Sue Monk Kidd (CD Recording)
Living on a peach farm in South Carolina with her harsh, unyielding father, Lily Owens has shaped her entire life around one devastating, blurred memory - the afternoon her mother was killed, when Lily was four. Since then, her only real companion has been the fierce-hearted, and sometimes just fierce, black woman Rosaleen, who acts as her "stand-in mother."
When Rosaleen insults three of the deepest racists in town, Lily knows it's time to spring them both free. They take off in the only direction Lily can think of, toward a town called Tiburon, South Carolina - a name she found on the back of a picture amid the few possessions left by her mother.
There they are taken in by an eccentric trio of black beekeeping sisters named May, June, and August. Lily thinks of them as the calendar sisters and enters their mesmerizing secret world of bees and honey, and of the Black Madonna who presides over this household of strong, wise women. Maternal loss and betrayal, guilt and forgiveness entwine in a story that leads Lily to the single thing her heart longs for most.
5. The Greatest Speeches of All Time (Unabridged) (CD Recording)
Includes these famous speeches: John F. Kennedy: Inaugural, "Ich Bin Ein Berliner;" Rev, Martin Luther king, Jr.: "I Have a Dream;" Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Declaration of War; Robert F. Kennedy: Democratic Convention; Richard M. Nixon: Watergate Tapes, Resignation; Ronald Reagan; Evil Empire, Berlin Wall; Harry S. Truman: Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner; Gen. Douglas MacArthur: Farewell Address to Congress, Winston Churchill; First Radio Address as Prime Minister. Run time, 70:19 Also available as an Audio CD
6. The Millionaire Next Door (CD Recording)
In The Millionaire Next Door, read by Cotter Smith, Stanley (Marketing to the Affluent) and Danko (marketing, SUNY at Albany) summarize findings from their research into the key characteristics that explain how the elite club of millionaires have become "wealthy." Focusing on those with a net worth of at least $1 million, their surprising results reveal fundamental qualities of this group that are diametrically opposed to today's earn-and-consume culture, including living below their means, allocating funds efficiently in ways that build wealth, ignoring conspicuous consumption, being proficient in targeting marketing opportunities, and choosing the "right" occupation. It's evident that anyone can accumulate wealth, if they are disciplined enough, determined to persevere, and have the merest of luck. In The Millionaire Mind, an excellent follow-up to the highly successful first analysis of how ordinary folks can accumulate wealth, Stanley interviews many more participants in a much more comprehensive study of the characteristics of those in this economic situation. The author structures these deeper details into categories that include the key success factors that define this group, the relationship of education to their success, their approach to balancing risk, how they located themselves in their work, their choice of spouse, how they live their daily lives, and the significant differences in the truth about this group vs. the misplaced image of high spenders. Narrator Smith's solid, dead-on reading never fails to heighten the importance of these principles that most twentysomethings should be forced to listen to in toto.
7. Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most (Stone, Douglas) (CD Recording)
Nobody tells you how to discuss the hard things. You may learn from your parents how to "play fair." You're taught that if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all, and a few other gems. But how are you supposed to know what to say to a boss who undermines you in a big meeting? What do you do when you keep having the same, but increasingly annoying, argument with your spouse? How about (my personal favorite) dealing with the noisy neighbors? Sometimes these conversations happen in a fit of anger, in which case not much usually improves. Sometimes we plan strategically with friends. Their advice, and our own ideas about how to broach difficult matters, come from experience, which is nothing to be scoffed at. But often we fret in nervous anticipation, stumble through a conversation, come away frustrated or fail to get the desired results. We are left to wonder: If we'd approached the issue differently, could we be better satisfied with the outcome?
8. The Curious incident of the dog -- Mark Haddon
Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. Although gifted with a superbly logical brain, Christopher is autistic. Everyday interactions and admonishments have little meaning for him. Routine, order and predictability shelter him from the messy, wider world. Then, at fifteen, Christopher’s carefully constructed world falls apart when he finds his neighbor’s dog, Wellington, impaled on a garden fork, and he is initially blamed for the killing.
Christopher decides that he will track down the real killer and turns to his favorite fictional character, the impeccably logical Sherlock Holmes, for inspiration. But the investigation leads him down some unexpected paths and ultimately brings him face to face with the dissolution of his parents’ marriage. As he tries to deal with the crisis within his own family, we are drawn into the workings of Christopher’s mind.
9. Until I Find You - John Irving
So begins John Irving's eleventh novel, Until I Find You — the story of the actor Jack Burns. His mother, Alice, is a Toronto tattoo artist. When Jack is four, he travels with Alice to several North Sea ports; they are trying to find Jack's missing father, William, a church organist who is addicted to being tattooed. But Alice is a mystery, and William can't be found. Even Jack's memories are subject to doubt.
Jack Burns goes to schools in Canada and New England, but what shapes him are his relationships with older women. John Irving renders Jack's life as an actor in Hollywood with the same richness of detail and range of emotions he uses to describe the tattoo parlors in those North Sea ports and the reverberating music Jack heard as a child in European churches.
10. The Rule of Four by Ian Caldwell, Dustin Thomason
Princeton. Good Friday, 1999. On the eve of graduation, two students are a hairsbreadth from solving the mysteries of the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili. Famous for its hypnotic power over those who study it, the five-hundred-year-old Hypnerotomachia may finally reveal its secrets -- to Tom Sullivan, whose father was obsessed with the book, and Paul Harris, whose future depends on it. As the deadline looms, research has stalled -- until an ancient diary surfaces. What Tom and Paul discover inside shocks even them: proof that the location of a hidden crypt has been ciphered within the pages of the obscure Renaissance text.
Armed with this final clue, the two friends delve into the bizarre world of the Hypnerotomachia -- a world of forgotten erudition, strange sexual appetites, and terrible violence. But just as they begin to realize the magnitude of their discovery, Princeton's snowy campus is rocked: a longtime student of the book is murdered, shot dead in the hushed halls of the history department.
11. A Child Called "It": One Child's Courage to Survive by Dave Pelzer
This book chronicles the unforgettable account of one of the most severe child abuse cases in California history. It is the story of Dave Pelzer, who was brutally beaten and starved by his emotionally unstable, alcoholic mother: a mother who played tortuous, unpredictable games--games that left him nearly dead. He had to learn how to play his mother's games in order to survive because she no longer considered him a son, but a slave; and no longer a boy, but an "it."
Dave's bed was an old army cot in the basement, and his clothes were torn and raunchy. When his mother allowed him the luxury of food, it was nothing more than spoiled scraps that even the dogs refused to eat. The outside world knew nothing of his living nightmare. He had nothing or no one to turn to, but his dreams kept him alive--dreams of someone taking care of him, loving him and calling him their son.
12. The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century by Thomas L. Friedman
When scholars write the history of the world twenty years from now, and they come to the chapter "Y2K to March 2004," what will they say was most important? The attack on the World Trade Center and the Iraq war? Or the convergence of PCs, telecom and workflow softwares into a tipping point that allowed India to become part of the global supply chain for services the way China had become for manufacturing--creating an explosion of wealth in the middle classes of the world's two biggest nations (India and China), giving both nations a huge new stake in the success of globalization, but also flattening the world in a way that requires us all to run faster in order to stay in place? Has the world gotten too small, too fast, and too flat for human beings and their political systems to adjust in a stable manner?
13. The Shop on Blosson Street.
A Seattle knitting store brings together four very different women in this earnest tale about friendship and love. Lydia Hoffman, a two-time cancer survivor, opens the shop A Good Yarn as a symbol of the new life she plans to lead. She starts a weekly knitting class, hoping to improve business and make friends in the area. The initial class project is a baby blanket, and Macomber (Changing Habits), a knitter herself who offers tips about the craft and pithy observations from knitting professionals throughout the novel, includes the knitting pattern at the start of the book. Well-heeled Jacqueline Donovan, who chooses to ignore her empty marriage, disguises her disdain for her pregnant daughter-in-law by knitting a baby blanket. Carol Girard joins the group as an affirmation of her hopes to finally have a successful in vitro pregnancy. Alix Townsend, a high school dropout with an absentee father and a mother incarcerated for forging checks, uses the class to satisfy a court-ordered community service sentence for a drug-possession conviction for which her roommate is really responsible. Unfortunately, Macomber doesn't get much below the surface of her characters, and, although they all have interesting back stories, the arc of each individual happy ending is too predictable. The only surprise involves Alix's hapless, overweight roommate, Laurel, and even this smacks of plot-driven manipulation. Macomber is an adept storyteller overall, however, and many will be entertained by this well-paced story about four women finding happiness and fulfillment through their growing friendships. Agent, Irene Goodman. (May) Forecast: The religious overtones of Macomber's novel may throw some readers, but the author should attract her usual sizeable readership and pick up some fans of Chiaverini's Elm Creek Quilts series. Author tour. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
14. The Widow of the South
In 1894 Carrie McGavock is an old woman who has only her former slave to keep her company…and the almost 1,500 soldiers buried in her backyard. Years before, rather than let someone plow over the field where these young men had been buried, Carrie dug them up and reburied them in her own personal cemetery. Now, as she walks the rows of the dead, an old soldier appears. It is the man she met on the day of the battle that changed everything. The man who came to her house as a wounded soldier and left with her heart. He asks if the cemetery has room for one more.
In an extraordinary debut novel, based on a remarkable true story, Robert Hicks draws an unforgettable, panoramic portrait of a woman who, through love and loss, found a cause. Known throughout the country as "the Widow of the South," Carrie McGavock gave her heart first to a stranger, then to a tract of hallowed ground-and became a symbol of a nation's soul.
The novel flashes back thirty years to the afternoon of the Battle of Franklin, five of the bloodiest hours of the Civil War. There were 9,200 casualties that fateful day. Carrie's home -- the Carnton plantation -- was taken over by the Confederate army and turned into a hospital; four generals lay dead on her back porch; the pile of amputated limbs rose as tall as the smoke house. And when a wounded soldier named Zachariah Cashwell arrived and awakened feelings she had thought long dead, Carrie found herself inexplicably drawn to him despite the boundaries of class and decorum. The story that ensues between Carrie and Cashwell is just as unforgettable as the battle from which it is drawn.
15. The Dead Beat: Lost Souls, Lucky Stiffs, and the Perverse Pleasures of Obituaries
The New York Times comes each morning and never fails to deliver news of the important dead. Every day is new; every day is fraught with significance. I arrange my cup of tea, prop up my slippers. Obituaries are history as it is happening. Whose time am I living in? Was he a success or a failure, lucky or doomed, older than I am or younger? Did she know how to live? I shake out the pages. Tell me the secret of a good life!
Where else can you celebrate the life of the pharmacist who moonlighted as a spy, the genius behind Sea Monkeys, the school lunch lady who spent her evenings as a ballroom hostess?
The Dead Beat is the story of how these stories get told
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
This week I am attending the International Camelid conference being held at Ohio State. Yesterday I got to attend some of the labs and I wanted to share with you an incredible lecture I heard on Camelid Handling. Marty McGee, is a animal behavorlist who has spent her career understanding and teaching others about camelid behavior. Most of us (myself included) are under the misconception that a llama or alpaca's neck is a big handle that can be grasped easily when they are backed against a wall and held in place using your muscles. But I was blown away by how this instructor used her body language, the llama's body language, and very simple, discreet body motions to calmly handle these animals.
Her website is:
If you ever had an interest in any sort of animal behavior, I highly suggest her book or one of her weekend clinics. You will be amazed on what a difference you can have on an animal's behavior by understanding how their minds work and gearing your handling around that. In case you didn't guess already, this lab got me really excited about llama/alpaca handling and behavior.
Anyway, today I spent all day listening to lectures and the majority of them were really interesting. I won't go too much into that ....Medicine stuff. But there is 3 more days of the conference, so I will be up-to-date on all the llama/alpaca information. :-D
Over and out
Saturday, March 18, 2006
1. Adam has outdone himself once again. The engineering college at Bucknell has a yearly intercollegiate competition b/w all the engineering departments. One of these categories is a film. So who else would take on the Electrical Engineering film other than Adam. It is his best film yet and due to the riots and rage that flared up when he came in second (b/c his department did not do as exceptional in the other competitions), the committee has decided to change the judging rules of the competition to include more emphasis on the film so that another such defeat will not occur. To view this video go to: http://apitel.no-ip.com/myfilms.html
The newest film is the last one listed.
2. Congrats to Holli and Jason! They are expecting a stork arrival on or around Oct 30, 2006.
3. Some of you may have noticed my blog is having some formatting issues. I am well aware of this but I have been unsuccessful in trying to correct it. If you want to offer your help I would be more than willing to accept :-).
4. I am still in Ohio. I will be here for 2 more weeks. I am doing my Food Animal (Llamas, Alpacas, goats, and sheep) rotation. They were kind of lacking on these types of cases this week and mainly we saw dairy cattle. But we did get a client who brought in their 3 pet camels. I took tons of pictures and I will put them up sometime next week. Next week is Ohio's Camelid Confrence, so I will be assisting in many of these labs.
This weekend I am visiting Logan, Kristin, and Anya in Ann Arbor, MI. Last night, despite getting loss getting out of Columbus, getting a speeding ticket on a side highway (where I realized Ohio's side-highway speed limit is 55mph and not 65mph) from a young guy whose hat barely fit on his head, then following a detour from an "old" detour sign they forgot to take down and ending up in the middle of no where, I was more than happy to end up in Ann Arbor. I will let you know how it goes. All I know is that it was very refreshing to get a good night's sleep.
Saturday, March 04, 2006
Sunday, February 26, 2006
I guess you can call this a late holiday letter, a belated Valentine's hello, or just a late Saturday night in which I got some time to up date you all on what I have been up to since oh....Thanksgiving. This may be long, so grab some popcorn and a diet Dr. Pepper and lets get started :-D and go back to December.
Two days before my birthday I took one final test, what my whole veteriary education had lead up to. My national board exams. Yes is was a 10 hour trivial pursuit of veterinary medicine. I had questions from alligator vitamin deficiencies, to random pet bird disease, to the ever so common dilemma of putting a rapid cow into the food chain. I was patient for ther results for about a month but as the score report dates become more and more delayed the anxiety of me and my classmates began to rise. I had one vivid nightmare after another that I did not pass. The day had come that I had to start driving to my preceptorship in Madison, WI and I still didn't know my score. Well I am driving through the middle of Missori when my friend calls to tell me that the scores are in. After a little encouragement from Nathan over teh phone, I decided to pull off the highway at an "interesting" fireworks warehouse and gas station (not a combination I would think was particulary safe but anyway). I call and the lady told me I PASSED! After thanking her and telling her I love her ( I was slighly emotional), I called Nathan and started bawling. I had convinced myself I didn't pass and I just let out all my stress from the last 4 years or rather 26 years :). I next called my dad at work and told him and my mom (and yes, I was till crying). But it was an unbelievable feeling for the next 6 hours of driving I felt like I was walking in air.
I stopped to stay the night with Grant and Sheryl and was greeted with 2 dozen roses from Nathan, dinner at a Mexican restaurant treated by Grant and Sheryl, and a big bouquet of flowers from my parents.
For the past 3 weeks I got to go to Madison for a preceptorship at a small animal clinic. For the first 1 1/2 week I got to stay with my friend Tami and her husband Sean in their beautiful house. I was never lonely with their 3 cats, 2 labradors, and Weimerer puppy. Then I went to stay with Cameron and his roomies near the capitol. I think his apartment had the very best view in all of Madison. A direct view of the lake from one window and a direct view of the capitol building from the other window. Unfortunetly I couldn't get his roomie's Siameese cat to warm up to me despite the fact it spent one whole night staring at me.
While in Madison I worked at Truedall Animal Hospital. I was extremely impressed with how the hospital was run and the types of clients that it attracted. I decided to use this practice as my standard of the type of medicine I want to practice. They were nice enough to allow me to go out on interviews in the afternoon.
While I was there I sent out 30 resumes and I was suprised at the large percentage of responses I got. Of course with these responses I realized I was a little rusty on my Wisconsin geography because I had applied at a couple of places near Lake Superior. But I braved it and started my interviews in the Stephen's Point area. What to say about that? It was an interesting expience and I learned what I don't want from a practice, but I was also disappointed that there are people that practice medicine that way. I did end up canceling some other interviews in that area. Ok, let's cut ot the chase. On my second to last day in Wisconsin, we got a huge snow storm -- so severe that the University of Wisconsin canceled classes for the first time in 16 years. But I had a gut feeling about an interview in Pleasent Prairie. So I started out very slowly and I am glad I did. So I end up at what i think is the right clinic (2 hours early) and go in to introduce myself. All I get is blank looks, I verify that this is the Care Animal Hospital. But the docs I was suppose to interview with didn't work there. I said..."Well this is embarressing". They try to help me out but I am a bit confused myself. Luckily Nathan and his handy computer came to save the day. He finally figured out there is another Care Animal Hospital south of Milwaukee, owned by the docs I was suppose to interview with. Thankfully I was so early.
When I arrived at the night clinic I walked in and it was beautiful and they were busy despite the snow. The doc I was interviewing with was in surgery (an orthopedic one, which excited me). After the surgery I shadowed her around to appointments and loved the cliente (they were all professionals and no one bargained prices). The staff where certified techs and even after a very long day people were still having a good time.
Whew...I almost fell asleep while writing, so i had to take a sleep break. Anyway I am back now. Anyway our personalities really clicked and they offered me a job after looking for someone for almost a year. I officially accepted this week. So where is this place? It is in Pleasent Prairie, Wisconsin. It is right b/w Milwaukee and Chicago, 6 minutes from Gurnee Mills Shopping and Six Flags :-D, 40 minutes from O'Hare airport, 25 minutes from Milwaukee International Airport. A little history about pleasent prairie? Well it use to be a very blue collar area until many of the factories closed down 10-15 years ago. As these people moved away to find better jobs, more professionals started moving since it is so close to 2 big cities. Everything after that is history. The population is growing very rapidly. Want some more info on Pleasent Prairie? Go to: http://www.pleasantprairieonline.com/ Nathan and I plan on renting an apartment for a couple of months until we can find a nice house to buy. Of course it may be diffucult finding an apartment since many places don't allow dogs (but they do allow cats). Anyway, my start date is June 1st?
So what about Nathan? Nathan's company is making some major changes. They hired a new CEO who has lots of experience of taking small companies and turning them into $50 million dollar companies (at which point he moves on to a new small company). They just finished getting rid of some "extra bagagge" and are now in the process of hiring lots of people, a process in which Nathan has taken part in. But through many resumes and interviews Nathan was able to sift through the applicant pool to find people with good potential. Next month his company is moving into a new building in the Bricktown district in Oklahoma City
http://www.bricktownokc.com/ his companies url is: http://www.amcat.com/ . Nathan talked to his boss this week and he will continue to work for Amcat after we move via telacommuting (I think that is the right word). That way he won't feel pressured to take a job that may not suit him in Wisconsin.
Ok, so where am I now? I am in Ohio for the next 6 weeks. I am going a 3 week preceptorship with Dr. Dyce an orthopedic surgeron at Ohio State University. I am having a blast. I am learning how to do complete orthopedic exams, how to manage wound, and I get to watch some cool surgeries. My second 3 weeks here i am going over to food animal and I am going to do a preceptor with Dr. Anderson, the world renound alpaca man.
OH! let's not forget to boys. Mason is doing great. During my last rotation at Oklahoma state before heading up north, I got to do some more x-rays of him. He is looking great. He has a couple of small stones in his bladder but they don't seem to be bothering him at this point. While I am gone Nathan and Mason are bonding .... Nathan is enjoying teaching Mason how to sit and stay :-) (keeping mouth closed here..lol) and Nathan got a new pooper scooper so they can pick up poop together. Oscar is as good as ever. He has a new friend that will come over for play dates every so often. She hissed at him at first, but Oscar was patient and then they just hit it off and started playing. Harry is also doing well....although he doesn't appreciate Oscar using his cage as a back up litter box now that his cage is next to Oscar's real litter box. But we are working on htat.
Oh yes, I forgot one more thing. I found a Jack Russell dog for my parents. Kelsey is a 2 year old Jack Russell that was presented to Ohio State with a broken jaw. After a little investigation through radiographs and biopsies (to rule out cancer - which was negative). The owners did not have the money or didn't want to put the money into helping her so they surrendered her to the Humane Society. Well there was an intern who loves Jack Russells and immediately began to foster and nurse her until Dr. Dyce returned from England. She fed her by a syringe and took her everywhere. When Dr. Dyce got back he wanted to first see if it would heal well by herself. But this week he was not comfortable with the stability of the healing process and wants to put a plate in. He guarenteeed she would be normal after that. The intern would love to keep Kelsey but she said it is really hard to find places to live when you own more than one dog. So I have been keeping an eye on her this week to see if there is anything "wrong" with her. She loves to sit on your lap and to find warm places. Her favorite thing to do is be near people. She is house trained and loves the trick "Bang bang" where she rolls over and plays dead. She only barks when she has to go to the bathroom and will jump in your lap. She is otherwise very healthy and likes other dogs. So despite being a Jack Russell she is not spiteful and over engergetic like one. So she is going to become a Pitel. The surgery is going to be covered by the school and she will be having this week. So wish her luck :-D
Dad's building is really coming along. They started putting the steal beams up this week. Here is a link to some pictures: http://pitel.no-ip.com:8080/ira/main.php . The business is really booming and dad has had to rent some more space to handle all the orders. For those of you who don't know, he is building a new facility in Flemington, NJ that will be 22,000 sq feet (I think). We are all very proud of him. http://www.magna-power.com/ Website compliments of Adam and Grant.
Nathan's mom also opened her new salon Salon DiAmici this past month and it is going better then ever expected. Clients who left the old salon they use to work at due to the poor attitudes of the owners are now returning to Jan's new salon. The vibe of the place has made a 180 degree turnaround. We are also proud of her success. www.salondiamici.com Webpage compliments of Nathan.
Grant received his Masters this past fall and is now working towards his PhD. Yea Grant! Adam is doing excellent in school and is getting a great reputation in the engineering school for his film making abilities. He made a very popular National Geographic type documentary on the behavior of the electrical engineer that I look forward to seeing on http://apitel.no-ip.com/myfilms.html very soon (hint hint).
Ok so I am about done here. I now I forgot things so sorry. But if you still haven't had enough of us... go to http://saturn49.dyndns.org:8008/gallery2/main.php