Sunday, March 29, 2009

AAHA annual convention, Phoenix

I needed to complete my continuing ed hours for the year, so I had to find something going on around the time of "The Gathering." I had a choice of either the Alumni meeting at The University of Georgia or the AAHA meeting in Phoenix. While I thought I might be able to check in on a couple of my southeastern friends if I went to Georgia, a more considered examination of the meeting revealed I'd be dead when I arrived. Ergo, I am in Arizona...a mere 90 min flight from LA.

Most embarrassing moment. Eating out at "My Big Fat Greek Restaurant" the first evening. Sitting outside. Beautiful evening. The waitress is asking me what I'd like when I hear this whoosh!!! behind me and I scream a little and lunge forward throwing myself on the table. In my mind there was a tidal wave about to wipe over me. In reality, a waiter had lit some sort of flaming dish. I laughed all evening. I'm guessing the employees there laughed even longer.

And, you thought I'd just fallen asleep in the front row!

Money I did not spend at the convention

One vial of eye drops to clear cataracts or lenticular sclerosis in dogs = $70.

Two text books $230 + $17 shipping.

Otoscope cone - a long skinny one! $20

A new surgical head for an otoscope (and they'd throw in a couple of those skinny cones for free!) $100

Pair of magnifying lenses + $1300. (20% off - hard to resist!)

(Money I did spend....$6 for cat toys for Stella and Luna. Sorry Zelda!)

How to get enough sleep

on an international flight.

1. Watch a really bad movie. If you are having trouble selecting one, try "Rachel Getting Married."

2. Remove glasses, crunch up on seat, don sleep mask. Sleep fitfully for 90 minutes.

3. Decide you'll use the restroom and watch a better movie. Reach into lap and find your glasses are missing.

4. Get down on hands and knees and feel around. Next, push call button and ask the attendant to shine his little torch around on the floor.

5. Continue to be unsuccessful. Recognize that while you may use the restroom like this, you'll never watch a movie.

6. Get pissed and tell your husband to scoot over. Then "stretch out" over two seats while wearing seat belt.

7. Wake regularly to turn over. (This involves removing seat belt, changing seats, re-fastening belt.)

Fortunately, by the time the lights came up for breakfast my glasses had been located by "some other attendant". I was concerned about how I'd replace my glasses while in Phoenix at the conference. I did see one service dog here, so I guess that might have worked.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Warning: This blog is about to become


Once again.

It probably feels a bit like it is already, I know. We've been busy (and I've been stressed) - preparing to go to the US for my annual "I need to collect my continuing education hours" and Kevin's annual "Gathering of Friends". Who will have the better time?

Zelda, on the other hand, is staying at home this year with Jane and Hubertus.

Thank you, Jane and Hubertus. I hope we don't hear that someone had to pull one of your heads out of her mouth.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Cement Garden by Ian McEwan

From Singles 2009

I am only including the little story of his death to explain how my sisters and I came to have such a large quantity of cement at our disposal.

Four children. Two dead parents. A summer. Adolescent sexuality.

What is that odor?

This was my most recent book on CD - my in the car read.

I am starting to worry a little about myself...and about my car. It seems to have picked up a funny smell. I wonder if it is the company I'm keeping.


Tomorrow Frankie gets his stitches taken out. And, he gets a bath. He is probably most pleased to just not be spending the weekend with the Z. Something about having to pull his head out of her mouth, I think, may have put him off our dear girl.

Frankie has had some vomiting this week. He isn't gaining weight. I'm a bit worried about him. We need to get him into a home where he can be loved for whatever time he has.

He is still cute and still very happy.

Keeping cool

From March 16 outing


From March 16 outing

From Roma Street Parklands.

I don't know why we didn't have the crowd of spiders encasing our bushes in webs this year. We didn't have mangoes on our tree either. Hmmmmm.

I'm preparing to go home next week. Time to fulfill my continuing ed requirements. I'll be bringing my mother and my auntie back with me. I'm hoping the spiders will still be plentiful when we get back. They were here in the winter last and missed seeing them. We Ohio folk are very impressed by big-ass spiders...not that we want to live with them.

Sunday, in the park

From March 16 outing

I don't think it was the forth of July.

I think it was the 15th of March, actually.

And, the day wasn't going as planned. Yet, it was going pretty, pretty, pretty well.

My plan was as follows: Catch the 1 PM train into the city and catch the film "Big Night" at the State Library of Queensland. Then, roam over to Roma Street Parkland before taking the train back homa.

I did get the train. I did arrive just at 2 PM but I was turned away at the door. I was the first and possibly only person to be turned away because the theater was full. "No seats. We're trying to find seats for these two women."

OK. Fine.

So, what to do. I could go home and start preparing for my trip. (This is pronounced "major house cleaning frenzy".) Or, I could seek out the best air conditioning in Brisbane and see what's shaking at the Gallery of Modern Art.

Of course, you know which one I selected.

The GOMA is preparing to open its new major exhibit on Modern Chinese Art. They've got the bit down the center featuring duel giant Chairman Mao statues and a long row of Chinese busts with objects glued to the tops of their heads. The large feature galleries, however, are not yet open. The installation is not installed.

So, I wandered upstairs.

Big exhibit by indigenous Australians - a portion of which has been on display before. Nothing caught my fancy.

Exhibit by high school students from Queensland - that is always kind of fun. But, nothing was too memorable.

From March 16 outing

Finally, down the hall and way in the back is Spencer Finch's exhibit: As if the sea should part and show a further sea. As I approached it I first saw "Thank you fog" - a series of 64 (I think- seemingly endless) square black frames. In each, inside a white mat is a black square. "Great," I thought sarcastically, and walked on by - as I did past a couple of photographs (I never figured them out- the description says there are three but I only saw two...) and then past a series of fluorescent tubes angled on a wall covered with different colored filter paper. I did read about this but didn't really understand it. (It makes more sense here.) It wasn't until I came upon his installation West (Sunset in My Motel Room, Monument Valley, January 26, 2007, 5:36-6:06 PM)
that I became intrigued. This installation is made of 9 monitors positioned in a grid and located only a few feet from a white wall. On each grid is a still image from some western movie (I forget) and once a minute the images change. The cumulative effect of the light hitting the wall mirrors the setting sun that Finch observed on the wall of his motel room - as you've already guessed - on January 26, 2007. Now, that was cool. The exhibit is laid out as a circuit and I found I was soon back at that series of black squares. But, now I was beside them and I could see they were not black squares but very, very subtle photographs of the fog in San Fransisco rolling over and revealing glimpses of tree tops. WOW.

I must see it all again. So, I relooped.

After a cup of green tea in the museum cafe, I did travel over to the Roma Street Parkland where I was pleased to discover the sunflowers were blooming.

I love sunflowers. I wish I could grow them here. I had such nice ones in North Carolina. My seeds won't sprout.

I have so much to do. I am so behind.

And, yet, I'm going to take a moment here to reflect upon the antiviral medication I am taking.

Tell your doctor as soon as possible if you notice any of the following:
- a rash that is separate from the shingles rash
- extreme sleepiness or confusion, usually in older people
- hallucinations
- signs of a possible liver problem such as persistent pain in the upper right abdomen, yellowing of the skin and/or eyes, dark urine or pale bowel motions.

The above side effects may need medical attention.

My leg looks much, much better.

At least, I think so...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I am not certain but I suspect

From Singles 2009

that my leg will soon be falling off.

Edited: CRAP. I've got shingles again. My doctor called his doctor wife into the exam room. ("Do you mind?")
"Have you ever seen just one shingle?" he asked her.
"Yes. Last week for the first time. Now, I've seen it twice."


Saturday, March 14, 2009

More on Frankie

From Singles 2009

Frankie is nothing less than amazing. He's had one episode of regurgitation after being fed too much on the first day post surgery. He is still lapping up his dog food puree like a stampede of wild buffalo are thudding up from behind. He never cries or whimpers or even tenses up when he's lifted up - even though his chest was open widely just 2 days ago. He chases a ball, won't sit still for a photograph, and wagging his tail tears off to meet any dog who passes his way.

But, today, he must meet his greatest real challenge.

He's coming home with me to spend the weekend with


She doesn't put up with ANY foolishness.

Photos to follow.

Language lesson

From photo a day

This one is for everyone who is not an Australian...or, at least, for all the Norte Americanos.

Finally, on Thursday, Kevin and I went for the movie-meal deal at - Fasta Pasta.

Now, here's the lesson.

Those words rhyme.

They rhyme with "FAST".

In Australia pasta ALWAYS rhymes with fast - not just when you are being cool and choosing the movie-meal deal before seeing "Watchmen".

More, you ask.

Fillet.... rhymes with millet.

Herbs....has an "h" sound.

Aluminum... acquires an extra "i" : al-u-min-i-um. I guess if you save up enough "r"s (Melbourne, Cairns) you can cash them in for an extra vowel.

Super = Supa; Tipper = Tippa; Oscar = Osca; you get the idea. People here, no doubt, think I'm half retarded when I have ask them to spell their dog's name: Pipper/Pippa?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A work tale

From Singles 2009
It has been a long, long time, eh?

Maybe you heard me complain about working a seven day work week? That was created, in part, by a puppy who got dropped off literally minutes after we thought we had closed. Regurgitation. Immediate. Forceful. Painful. Reliable.

I put in an IV catheter and gave him medication to help keep his digestive system working in a toward-the-tail direction. By the next morning (Sunday) he had not only chewed the line in two, but had pulled the IV out of the vein. I started feeding him tiny amounts of easily digestible food. He did well at 7 AM. At noon it all came back up. Ditto for 6 PM.

I suspected he had a problem with his esophagus. (Somehow, somewhere in that word Australians put an "o". Oesophagus, maybe. I just go about blithely spelling like a Yank. I think it is good for my morale.) Eventually I got permission to do a barium swallow and - vwalla! - a diagnosis! Vascular ring anomaly. He had some sort of developmental problem whereby a (useless dried up) blood vessel that should have broken down did not and was now constricting his esophagus. Food couldn't pass. The esophagus in front of the constriction was distended with food (and barium).

My boss's eyes lit up. He was intrigued by the idea of repairing this. So, today we did. He did the cutting. I did the breathing. This is important. I was breathing for two. When you have a big hole in your chest, you no longer have the vacuum necessary to make your lungs work.

It is now almost 10 PM. I've just returned from checking on Frankie. He's busy running around his cage and looking forward to his first real, go-all-the-way-down meal tomorrow.

So far his IV line is intact.

Now, we've got to find him a home....

Friday, March 06, 2009

Isn't it time

From Singles 2009

that Zelda made an appearance?

Sugar Plums

From Singles 2009

I found these at the produce market this week.

Sugar plums.

Still waiting for them to dance.


From Singles 2009

It is official. I suck at Wasabi. We played Wednesday evening.


We played Wasabi Wednesday.

How many sentences can you create with three capital letter W's? Especially since we have a new president...

Anyway. I suck.

But, I still love sushi.

Burning Angel

From Singles 2009

"What bothers you more than anything else in the world, Dave?"

"I beg your pardon?"

"Vietnam? The death of your wife Annie? Revisiting the booze in your dreams?"

When I don't reply, he lifts one hand, gestures at the diamond, the ruined school building that's become softly molded inside the fading twilight. A torn kite, caught by its string on an iron fire escape, flaps impotently against a wall.

"It's' all this, isn't it?" he says. "We're still standing in the same space where we grew up but we don't recognize it anymore. It's like other people own it now."

Lets see - Sonny Boy Marsallas - a New Orleans street hustler with ties, though not friendly ties, to both the NO mob (now headed by Johnny (Carp) Polycarp Giacano) and US feds and/or mercenaries from Central America passes to Dave a diary. Then, all hell breaks loose. Add into this a local plantation raised lawyer (Moleen Bertrand) and the family of African Americans he has living on a stretch of the plantation near the railroad. His grandfather supposedly gave them this land, though there is no record and for some reason Moleen (and his lovely drunken wife, Julia) wants them off the land NOW. Somehow the mob is involved in this, too.

This piece of land was our original sin, except we had found no baptismal rite to expunge it from our lives. That green-purple field of new cane was rooted in rib cage and eye socket....

Tolstoy asked how much land did a man need.

Just enough to let him feel the pull of the earth on his ankles and the claim it lays on the quick as well as the dead.


His teeth were like tombstones when he grinned.

Maybe it is because I started reading this book then set it aside for a couple of weeks before finishing it (binging on "Battlestar", you know), but I just couldn't get my head around this story. WHO IS CHARLIE??? Well, with the exception of that question, I CAN identify all the main players and their role, but it is just not one of my favorite Robicheaux novels.

Still, Burke gets some things right:

"The world's a small place today. People watch CNN in grass huts. A guy might as well play it out where the food is right."

Thursday, March 05, 2009


From Singles 2009

Still she watched me. Still her eyes seemed very dark. Then, "I would need no key," she said, "while I had spirit help. And, I would come to you, Aurora. And we would go away together."

Margaret Prior. Sad and lonely since her recent suicide attempt after her love married another is determined to do good deeds by visiting the local women's penitentiary. London. 19th century. Margaret is intrigued by and drawn to one woman there, Selina Dawes, a spiritualist medium who is imprisoned after a client suffered an "attack by spirit".

Grey. Spooky. The sort of stuff I love.

But, I am sooooooooooo naive. (How, at 47??)

Here I was laughing to myself about how a novel set in a women's prison must have lesbian undertones and digging the spirit stories that Selina tells Margaret. While I was not completely surprised by the final chapter, I was pretty disappointed both for myself and for - well, that would be telling. What amused me more about myself and the world, however, was what I found I went to Amazon to find the photo for this blog entry: Sarah Waters - big lesbian writer. And, the reviews! My favorite complained not only that this was decidedly not the steamy number of Water's first novel but that the love interest (Selina) was described as very unsexy - pale and drably dressed with red, swollen, chapped hands. The chick is in PRISON! No one looks her best surrounded by limestone. (Still, I must admit the book cover - which is nothing like the cover of the CD - is more than a little suggestive.)

It was fun. Yes, maybe it did drag a bit, but I was listening to it on CD as I went to and from work - except for those times I'd bring the disk inside to binge on while I chopped vegetables or did other quiet things in the kitchen. A much better experience than my last BOT (book on tape).

Sunday, March 01, 2009

February 29

Not much heard from me lately. I've been really busy working - six days last week. Well, seven actually - I think any day you go into the office 3x counts as a day of work. This week looks light. I'm only scheduled for 5 days. That could change.

Anyway, as a consequence of all this labor, I've not been updating either of my blogs, not taking any photos, not cooking any meals, not making the bed, and being a grump to live with. (Just ask Zelda who hasn't been allowed to sleep in the bed in DAYS. Call the RSPCA!) I'm tired and confused.

And, it doesn't help when I find myself confronted with things like this:

From Singles 2009

Yes. I paid money for this calendar. Fortunately, Sunday is ALSO March 1st (turn page).