Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The strangest thing I heard today

On one of those radio "morning shows" with the multiple DJs who banter back and forth, one of them (male) said:
Gay guys are constantly having sex because they don't have a woman to tell them "no."
My first thought was that, by inference, lesbians never have sex at all. ;)

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Monday, October 22, 2007

A telephone call to the tanning salon

Tanning Salon Employee: "Hello, {Tanning Salon name redacted}. How may I help you?"

Me: "Can you me tell if either amoxycillin or penicillin is on the list of drugs that, if you're taking them, you're not supposed to tan?"

TSE: "Sure! Give me a moment" Pause. "Okay, um, amoxycillin's not on the list. What was the other one? Penicillin? Let me check.... Yes, penicillin is on the list. Penicillin, and also 'penicillin and its derogatives.'"

Me: "Its what?"

TSE: "Derogatives."

Me: "Derogatives?"

TSE: "Yes. You know, other things that are made from penicillin."

Me: "Ah."

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

I'm so much cooler online

You know MySpace has become mainstream when it becomes the subject of a Country-Western song. My favorite part is that his idea of a "three way" is to chat with two women at the same time. :)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A New Sunrise

At this time of year it's dark when I drive to work in the morning. But yesterday I took the day off to take Sunni to her CT scan appointment in Maitland, about an hour and forty-five minutes away (see previous post for the backstory). The appointment was for 9:00 am, so I got to leave the house at 7:00, a little later than usual, and so was treated with a beautiful sunrise.

Since we learned about Sunni's tumor last Friday, Judi has been doing amazingly well. I think that if she had decided against the radiation treatments, she'd be a basket case right now, spending all her time wondering how long Sunni might have left. But since she's going ahead with the radiation, her mood has been one of delight in everything Sunni does, and in every moment they have together, and I think she's looking forward to the moments they'll have in the next year or so. Though she's had a few moments of tears, too.

Even though Sunni had an MRI last Friday, she needed a CT scan yesterday, because the CT scanner "talks" to the radiation machine, and actually programs it with the exact coordinates, angles, intensities, etc. for this delicate therapy. Despite the gravity of the situation, the geek in me couldn't help but be fascinated by the sheer geekiness of these machines.

Speaking of geekiness (and veering a little off topic), you may already know that I design and develop software for a living. As a result, I tend to view with a professional eye computer systems that I come into contact with in the "real world." This week, I had a need to buy something at the office supply store Office Depot. I was putting the purchase on my charge card. I swiped my card through the reader-gadget, and a number pad came up on the screen, asking me for my PIN.

"It's a charge card," I told the cashier.

"Then press under the '7'," she said.


"Push the empty space under the '7' on the pad. That's the button for charge card."

"The empty space is a button?" I said. I pushed the empty space -- there wasn't even a box around it, it was truly an empty space -- and sure enough it asked for my signature. "That doesn't seem very intuitive," I said.

"It's an invisible button," said the cashier with nonchalance.

An invisible button....

Somewhere, Office Depot has a software designer or developer who should rightfully be operating a cash register.

Sunni's CT scan went without incident. The radiation treatments will start in the next week or two. I feel a little stressed at the moment, because, besides what's going on with Sunni, I have a lot of deadlines at work, and Sunni's treatment will require a lot of my time, and also I happen to be very short on available vacation. But I am pleased-pleased-pleased that Judi isn't in distress. It really was a beautiful sunrise, yesterday morning:

A new sunrise

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Saturday, October 13, 2007


Dogs already possess the qualities that humans admire and aspire to. After our friends, our family, our children, dogs are the greatest treasure among God's blessings. We are honored and humbled by the presence of dogs in our lives. Some of you know what I'm talking about. To those who don't, I'm sorry, but it's beyond my ability to explain. I'll leave it at that.

When our obligations to our four-legged loved ones cost money, and it's within our means to spend it, we do: My Missy's chemotherapy cost me $3,000 and extended her life by eighteen months. I have never for a second regretted it. Judi spent $2,000 for surgery to repair her Bailey's ruptured spine. Money well spent, in her opinion. When I first adopted by three-legged beagle, Andrea, I spent $1,800 on an operation to try to repair her disabled leg. My only regret is that the surgery didn't help her.

I posted in August that Judi's beloved little beagle, Princess Sunni, had a ulcer in her eye, and Judi was very distressed that there was a possibility that she may be blinded in that eye. Since then, even as Sunni's eye recovered, she became unsteady in her footing. This was attributed to an ear infection, which was treated, and for a short happy moment we thought things were well. But the unsteadiness didn't completely go away, and Sunni began to have problems holding food in her mouth. Judi became more and more alarmed. Last Tuesday Sunni went back to her doctor, and it was discovered that the left side of her face is paralyzed.

By Thursday the vet had eliminated possible causes related to infection and organ failure, and we were faced with the reality that it was a neurological disorder. The next day, Friday, yesterday, Sunni saw a veterinary neurologist in Maitland (about an hour and a half away).

Sunni had $2,000 worth of examination (yes, just examination, not treatment -- the MRI was the bulk of the cost). We waited with some anxiety but also hope. The symptoms didn't seem very severe, there was a possibility it could be a swelling in the spinal cord that would be susceptible to medication, and even if it was a tumor, canine brain tumors are often treatable.

At 2:00 pm yesterday we were handed the results, and it turned out our hope was baseless: Sunni's brain tumor is in the part of the brain that controls things like heartbeat and breathing, so surgery is out of the question. Without any treatment, she would have only two or three months of life. With (very expensive) radiation treatment, her life will be extended, but still the median survival rate with radiation treatment is only nine to twelve months. Cure is impossible.

There aren't many afternoons in my life that were as horrible as yesterday's. A couple of months ago, it was distressing that Sunni might lose sight in one eye. Now, all of a sudden, we are facing fatality. As you may have inferred from my choice of verbs in the previous paragraph, Judi has decided to go ahead with radiation. Next Tuesday Sunni will go back to Maitland for a CT scan, and the following Monday she'll begin three weeks shuttling to Maitland every day for her therapy. Then we will embark on what will probably be the final year of her life. My own feelings have been in oscillation. Yesterday evening Judi and I actually felt grateful for the opportunity to have one more year with this winsome, loving, utterly wonderful little creature. After all, as bad as the news was, it could have been worse. But then at 2:00 this morning I woke up, wide-eyed, and lay in bed for a couple of hours overcome with dread at the prospect of losing this winsome, loving, utterly wonderful little creature.

I mentioned that the radiation treatment will be very expensive. It will be more expensive than any of the procedures we had done for Missy, Bailey, and Andrea. In fact, it will be way more expensive than all three of them combined. Judi and I have canceled our plans for a return trip to Europe next Autumn, and that will offset a lot of the cost.

I don't think we will for a second regret it.

Princess Sunni

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Monday, October 08, 2007

I don't typically post other people's content...

...because, after all, it's their content, but I couldn't resist this:

cartoon from
Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.


Sunday, October 07, 2007

A sight you really don't want to see:

Sad Flowers
Flowers at the site of a fatal automobile accident


Saturday, October 06, 2007


When I go on trips, I take pictures by the bushel-full. This was the cause recently for a coworker to remark that she never takes pictures on trips, and in fact does not own a camera. When I asked her about memories, she said, "My memories are what I remember."

Personally, I know that my memories would be much less rich if I didn't have my pictures. I go back and look at them from time to time, and my screensaver displays them at random for me. When I see each one, it takes me back to the moment it was taken: I literally hear the sounds, taste the tastes, feel the sunshine, experience my mood, and simply relive the moment. And, for the most part, they are happy moments.

I know there are other ways to capture memories: Parents keep baby books. And there's scrapbooking (welcome into our English language a new verb, "to scrapbook"). But for some reason, this week, I remembered a friend that I knew thirty years ago, and his unusual way of recapturing memories: Whenever he went to a rock concert (Heart, for example), he brought an index card and a pen. During the concert, he noted each song that was played. When he got home, he got out his albums and made a cassette tape of the same songs in the same order. Later, when he played the cassette, he said it took him back to the concert, and he could experience the entire show all over again. Without having to buy another ticket.


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