Gary Thomas has correctly identified my problem with food. I’m not the skinny teenager I once was.
Here’s to better health and fitness in 2012.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Our hearts are breaking with the news that our wonderful little Bella has passed away suddenly this week, and we share our grief, and our joy, that we found in this beautiful creation of God.
We have hundreds of wonderful memories of Bella, a feisty terrier mix that was also calm and gentle, a rare mix in a terrier. From Diane’s first memory of how they chose each other at the shelter to the way Bella would greet us when we came home with a toy. And if we went outside to the garage and came back in, that was another chance to greet us happily. Her constant companionship in the evenings while watching a movie. And her compulsive vice to shred Kleenex if given the opportunity. And the way we would hide our suitcases from her when going on a trip, for Bella understood that we were going on a trip without her.
This trip was going to be different, though. We discovered that bringing a small dog to Italy was easier than we expected, so we changed our flights and made all the arrangements. Her trip to Italy had so many firsts – her first airplane, her first escalator, her first elevator, her first taxi. She handled all them bravely, quietly, though anxiously we could tell when she trembled.
This last week she went to her first Italian restaurants and sat quietly and patiently. After a week in our apartment, she had learned to navigate the stairs to the front door as we took her for her daily walks to the parks where she chased pigeons from her new territory. And she went to church for the first time in Florence this past Sunday. If you would ask Bella if she knew Jesus, she’d happily agree with you.
On Thursday, the staff informed us that during the cleaning of the apartment, Bella left the apartment through the open door, navigated the stairs, and was seen exiting the front doors. For hours we searched the city streets with the help of some good friends, then posted missing posters, then searched some more. And we cried. And we prayed, for ultimately the source of all things is the Lord our God.
Friday evening I received a call from the apartment staff that she had been found, but she had not survived being alone in the city. Later this morning, I am to accompany then to identify our precious little girl and complete some sort of paperwork. Bella gave us 11 years of affection and love, and we grieve deeply that she is no longer with us. For those of you whose lives she also touched, we know you also share our grief. We began last night by picking up her food and water dish, little dresses, and leash, because they are stark reminders that she will not ever be needing them again.
From all of our friends and family, we ask for your prayers for comfort for us as we begin grieving for our loss, and we give thanks to our Lord for giving us many wonderful years from His beautiful creation. He is truly amazing that He created such joy and beauty in such a tiny package.
Goodbye, Bella. We miss you, and we are so thankful you gave us warmth, affection, and love to our lives.
All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful:
The Lord God made them all.
We went out with friends Friday night to get away from the deconstruction / reconstruction cycle going on at the house. There’s only so much sheet rock and dryer fan noise you can take before a dose of sake is required.
We had a great time. Benihana’s has this new Japanese / Mexican fusion chicken that’s interesting. The shrimp appetizers were tasty.
Have I ever mentioned I’m allergic to shrimp? I know I am, but it’s not a highly reactive allergy. I can’t eat a shellfish dinner without having a reaction like Will Smith does in “Hitch”, but appetizers are usually ok.
But not Friday night. Immediately the lumps on the neck and cheeks started, then my throat tightened up a little and my voice went all husky. I sang a sexy medley of Barry White and Lou Rawls in my new throaty voice for entertainment.
I stopped at the grocery store for Benedryl. In liquid form, all they had was Children’s Benedryl. A doctor once told me to drink a half a bottle of Benedryl if I had a reaction. Diane poured me a little capful of Benedryl which I downed. Then I took the rest of the bottle and downed that, too.
Children’s Benedryl can pack quite a punch, I’ve discovered. That stuff knocked me for a loop, and I passed out on the sofa.
I guess I just can’t hold my Benedryl as well as Will Smith can.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 9 so far )
So, the dog steps on a bee during the mandatory walk.
Last night, the mighty dog hunter slayed a cockroach. Knowing the propensity of the wife to scream upon spying cockroaches, dead or alive, it behooves me to remove the carcas from the middle of the dining room.
A water, swirling grave is called for. But as the water recedes, taking the evil and suddenly very much alive cockroach with it, my auditory sensory receptors detect an anomoly. The toilet is not refilling. The toilet contraption, which I call “the contraption,” is stuck in the off position and must be replaced.
I leave a most un-romantic note for the wife, detailing dead bugs and broken toilets.
I also have a voicemail from General Electric who says they’re coming today to repair the oven. Since I didn’t schedule this appointment, I wonder why it now becomes my responsibility to cancel it. Attempts to do so, however, are met with further automated voices telling me to call back later.
Not as bad as last week when a machine called me and asked if I wanted to speak to the DSL phone technician, and when I pressed “1″ for yes, proceeded to place me on hold and tell me in a patient but automated and uncompromising way that my wait time would be 12 minutes. But still.
I have to wait till 8 to cancel the oven repair. I have to use my lunch our to buy a toilet contraption. Pulling into the work parking garage, I nearly hit a large turtle. I put on the emergency blinkers, moved the turtle to the lake to the side. Parked the car and walked into a giant spider web manned by a maneating spider that’s probably still in my hair as we speak, who is understandably upset that his web was not strong enough to catch this morning’s meal of the humanoid biped.
That’s the first hour today. How’s your day going?Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 4 so far )
I was late for work this morning with a new and unusual excuse. First, let me setup the scenario.
It’s a little stressful around the house right now. Last Tuesday we received nearly 10 inches of rain in about 5 hours. I woke up that morning to find an inch of water in the study. Fortunately, the floor isn’t completely level and the computer gear was on a tiny island. Unfortunately, the closet absorbed a lot of water and all the boxes on the floor. And we’re sure the walls have absorbed water and will have to be replaced.
There was eighteen inches of water in the garage. Shop vac, camping stove, other minor stuff was ruined, but the water was high enough to cover the floorboards of both cars.
So I’ve been talking to the insurance company a lot this week. Homeowner’s insurance, flood insurance, townhome group insurance, and two separate auto insurance claims come into play. Last night, a remedial company drilled holes in the water and sprayed anit-mold chemicals and set up two noisy air dryers. The house is noisy and smells funny.
I dropped my car off last week to be repaired; my wife’s car is still pending because the rental car company only seems to make a car available for an hour before saying “oops, sorry, it’s rented already.” And I’m driving a smelly, beatup rental car that reinforces my believe that Enterprise Rent a Car supplies only trashy vehicles.
On top of that, I’m working 65 hours a week, trying to hit an important, expensive deadline.
So this morning, I’m up a little early. I’m going to de-stress and pick up a latte on the way to work and count it as my protein for the morning. And I chill, relaxing in the car, listening to AM 700 talk radio.
After a while, I glance at the clock. It’s 7:00 on the nose.
After a while longer, I glance at the clock. It’s still 7:00 on the nose.
And I realize it’s not 7:00am. It’s 700AM. What I thought was a digital clock was actually the radio station readout. It’s likely to be 700AM all morning.
And that’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 5 so far )
We sure did get some rain last night. About an inch in the study; 18″ in the garage. Both cars have some water on the floorboards.
How is your morning going?Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 4 so far )
First, some background about the way I select my clothes in the morning. I generally put the freshly laundered clothes on the left side of the closet, and select clothes to wear from the right side. I suspect women select their clothes based on mood, impression, temperature, moon phase, and other factors I can’t deduce, but I’m a simple, partially colorblind engineer that needs a system so I don’t wear the same thing every day.
I select my pants first because there are fewer pants. I’ll then have a wider selection of shirts to choose from, whereas choosing a shirt first may force me to wear the same pants (black slacks) multiple days in a row. Once I have the pants, I choose a shirt that matches. Maybe. See, I’m a partially colorblind engineer, and I’m not always sure of the colors I’m choosing, nor whether the combination actually matches.
This morning, I selected a pair of slacks that are not brown. I know this because I wore these pants for a few years with brown shoes and a brown belt before my sweet wife, who fortunately is asleep when I’m dressed and leaving the house and not subject to my wardrobe infliction, noticed my combination and informed me the pants were actually green.
At least, I think it was these pants. It might have been a different pair she was referring to, but none of the other pants look brown to me. So I think I’ve selected green slacks.
Then the trick is to select a shirt that goes with the pants. I’m not really sure what goes with green. When I wear blue slacks, I know blue shirts go with them, unless they’re the wrong sort of blue. I don’t know what sort of blue that is, but I know those sorts of blues are in my closet. I don’t have any green shirts. At least, I don’t think I do.
So then the trick is to select a shirt that is least likely to clash with green. I have a pink oxford button down shirt. I know I can wear this shirt with black pants, and I suspect it’s ok to wear it with blue pants. Is it ok to wear it with green pants? What if the green pants are actually brown after all? Brown and pink sounds like a horrid combination, though whether it also looks horrid is beyond my powers of observations.
I elected to wear the pink shirt anyway because 1) it was coming up in the rotation, having journeyed from left to right in the closet, and I was going to wear it in th near future, 2) I don’t know what goes with green, and 3) I’m pretty sure red and green go together in a Christmasy sort of way, pink is basically red but faded, and being February, so has Christmas.
And now you know why I’m wearing pink and green today.
At least, I think I am.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 8 so far )
When I was a child, I celebrated Halloween. I didn’t care for the gory and gruesome stuff. I didn’t even care for the scary stuff. I thought the costumes were fun, and I loved the candy.
As an adult, I see more evil in the world thatn I’d like to admit. Today in the news, a woman beats her own 4 year old daughter, calls her a slut, and throws her into traffic. I’m horrified, daily.
Way too many movies glorifying death, destruction, dismembered limbs for my taste. Saw V? Eeps, the poster enough gives me the heebie-jeebies. Scary is good – I liked the old Hitchcock movies, and M. Night Shyamalan‘s movies have great apprehension in them without the gore and killings. And I like movies where things explode as much as the next guy.
But I’ve had enough of the dismembered bodies, the celebration of evil over good. And the last several years, I’ve seen Halloween become such a celebration. I’m not going to participate anymore.
So the lights at my home will be off tonight. Come back at Christmas when we can share joy and love instead.
Have a *happy* Halloween for a change.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 4 so far )
Image via Wikipedia We survived; we’re thankful. Not only that, we’re well, we have a nice cool front to bring the temperatures down, and it’s a full moon to illuminate our evenings. All these things we give praise and thanks to God.
Last Friday we tried several places to buy a propane refill tank to no avail. Everything was sold out; even finding a gas station that still had fule was difficult, but we found one still pumping. I made a last minute trip to Walgreens to buy a propane lighter, and then to Specs for some hurricane pinot noir, just in case. Then settled down to watch the news.
We watched until 12:30am and the power flickered off and on; at 1:30am we headed to bed. We lost power at 2:00am which woke us back up; electronic appliances beeped and complained they were without power, so I got up to shut them off.
Around 4:00am, the full force of Ike arrived, howling and shrieking outside. Thunder, lightning, wind, rain blowing sideways. I went back to sleep; because of a head cold, I took some Nyquil with the achy-stuffy-head-so-you-can-sleep-through-a-hurricane medicine.
Around 9:00am Saturday, without power, we took a walk in the light rain to survey the damage. Widespread flooding around our homes, and several large trees were down. We had abut 4 inches of water in the garage; it was expected and we had raised things up. Some trees had uprooted sidewalks; a chimney was damaged and fences were down. Some kind samaritan drove by in a pickup truck, fired up a chainsaw,and cut up the tree blocking our entrance, then drove off again.
Cell phone signal was sporadic; we sent text messages to relatives, and heard back from most of them. Cell phone service went out for good after that. And in the afternoon, we lost water pressure.
Sunday, the rain returned, and this time we had 6 inches of water in the garage. Any desire to find better accomodations had to be postponed, waiting for the water to drop.
Sunday afternoon, we drove to my mother’s, who had a large generator running. We were able to take a hot shower and feel civilized again and cook a hot meal. Monday morning a very nice cool front blew in, dropping the temperatures to a quite pleasant upper 70′s, and the full moon lights up the evening. We play cards and dice and read books during the day, and the in the evening play by candlelight. We have a laptop with enough juice to watch 1 movie.
At work, the building I work with is not yet in service, so I’m in a temporary training room where I can charge the laptop back up and finally see the devastation around me and realize how fortunate I am. I picked up some food to go from Olive Garden last night; some salad and pasta fagioli was tasty. They shut down early, though, because of the curfew still in effect.
Tonight, we can watch 1 more movie, the play games again by full moon and candlelight. We’ve visited more with our neighbors in the last 4 days than we have the last year. All blessings to be thankful for. The water pressure’s back, so we can take cold showers but more importantly we can flush the toilets. It’s sort of funny that everytime we walk into a closet we try to turn on the lights.
Finding gas for the cars is rare; most gas stations don’t have power, but we’re ok for another 4-5 days. Some restaurants are opening up; that’s easier than trying to wait in line at grocery stores that are out of everything except canned good. But power is being restored quickly around the city, so we have high hopes that they’ll get to us this week. Almost a shame, though, because the neighborly visits will end, the romantic card games by candlelight will be over. And I bet my electric bill this month will be low.
Thank you for the prayers; we are indeed thankful for them. Continue to pray for those that didn’t weather the storm nearly so well.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )
The Lord doesn’t tell us to be stupid, though. Hurricane Ike is coming; where I am, they say we can expect 80 mph winds for about 12 hours. Right now, it’s the calm before the storm. Bright blue skies, a gentle breeze. Within 12 hours, though, we should be having 30 mph winds at the edges of the hurricane.
Technically, it’s a himmicane, not a hurricane. Ike is a male name.
I was in Houston in ’83 for Alicia and was treated kindly; I lost no power or water. Others were without power and water for weeks, though. I expect that I’ll lose power this time. Heck, I lose power during summer sprinkles.
For those closer to the coast, the situation is more grave. The National Association of Um Weather Stuff…. ok, ok, I’ll go look up their real name. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) runs the National Weather Service, and has this to say about Ike -
LIFE THREATENING INUNDATION LIKELY!
ALL NEIGHBORHOODS…AND POSSIBLY ENTIRE COASTAL COMMUNITIES…
WILL BE INUNDATED DURING THE PERIOD OF PEAK STORM TIDE. PERSONS
NOT HEEDING EVACUATION ORDERS IN SINGLE FAMILY ONE OR TWO STORY
HOMES MAY FACE CERTAIN DEATH. MANY RESIDENCES OF AVERAGE
CONSTRUCTION DIRECTLY ON THE COAST WILL BE DESTROYED. WIDESPREAD
AND DEVASTATING PERSONAL PROPERTY DAMAGE IS LIKELY ELSEWHERE.
VEHICLES LEFT BEHIND WILL LIKELY BE SWEPT AWAY. NUMEROUS ROADS
WILL BE SWAMPED…SOME MAY BE WASHED AWAY BY THE WATER. ENTIRE
FLOOD PRONE COASTAL COMMUNITIES WILL BE CUTOFF. WATER LEVELS MAY
EXCEED 9 FEET FOR MORE THAN A MILE INLAND. COASTAL RESIDENTS IN
MULTI-STORY FACILITIES RISK BEING CUTOFF. CONDITIONS WILL BE
WORSENED BY BATTERING WAVES CLOSER TO THE COAST. SUCH WAVES WILL
EXACERBATE PROPERTY DAMAGE…WITH MASSIVE DESTRUCTION OF
HOMES…INCLUDING THOSE OF BLOCK CONSTRUCTION. DAMAGE FROM BEACH
EROSION COULD TAKE YEARS TO REPAIR.
Notice the “MAY FACE CERTAIN DEATH” line. NOAA, unlike the looney local weather forecasters that stand on the beach and yell into the winds that this is a dangerous storms, NOAA is not given to panic. If you’re within a mile of the beach and your house is at sea level, a 12-15 foot storm surge will absolutely ruin your day, not to mention your HDTV and your life. Move inland.
For the rest of us, though, we just hunker down. I’m in a brick townhome that should weather 80 mph winds just fine. I’m spending the day preparing for a bible lesson tomorrow. I’m still assuming I’ll be teaching it come Sunday. Depending on whether we have any electricity, though, it may be a few days before I can post it here.
I still need a new propane tank for the grill, just in case.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 2 so far )
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