Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Good-Bye, Lucy

The inspiration behind John Lennon's "Lucy in the Sky" died. Lucy Vodden's death was announced yesterday. Her obituary touched me on a few levels.

The first thing that I noticed from the obituary1 is her age. She was my age. The obituaries that I found don't state her date of birth, so I wonder about that.

I had never concerned myself with the inspiration behind the song before. I learned from the obituary that the song was inspired by a picture that four year old Julian drew, which he referred to as "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds." My daughter also drew a "in the Sky with Diamonds" picture when she was about four years old.

Speaking of "four years old," I was four years old when "Lucy in the Sky" was recorded. So I'm the same age as Lucy (and Julian).

The obituary states that Lucy died of Lupus. This is so refreshing to hear. I'm not kidding. Typically chronic illnesses such as Lupus are not listed as the cause of death. Rather, it's the failure of a compromised vital organ that gets reported. For example, nobody said that my father died of ALS; his official cause of death was asphyxiation,2 as if he suddenly got a plastic bag caught on his head and had not slowly wasted away without even enjoying his retirement. Mentioning that Lucy suffered with Lupus is like awarding her with a badge of honor. We should recognize her suffering and give validation to the millions of others3 who have the condition, as well.



1The obituary that I read this morning. If this link requires a subscription, please try this one from Yahoo! news.

2Listen you butt-head doctors, he wouldn't have stopped breathing if he didn't have ALS.

3It is estimated that the number of people in the USA who have Lupus is 1.5 to 2 million.

Wednesday Weigh-In 20090930

I bought myself a Stony Field Farm mint chocolate chip frozen yogurt last night. But by the time I finished supper and cleaned up, I was too tired to eat it.

That's one reason some of us eat. We're not necessary hungry, but our bodies need stimulation. This time I gave in to the tiredness and got the rest that I needed.

Body fat is 1% higher this time. I wonder if the colder weather is telling my body to store more fat? Or is this a slowly-occurring consequence of quitting the gym back in April?

Waist = 36.5"
Height = 5' 9"

References:
  1. Wikipedia BMI page
  2. Tanita Scale with Body Fat monitor
  3. Javascript must be enabled to view the data.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Fun With Fungus!

My wife served this for dinner:


And it was delicious! In case you can't make out what it is, it's a Maitake mushroom, specifically "Hen of the Woods," or Grifola Frondosa.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Shadow Shot Sunday Lamppost Garden

Lamppost GardenThe shadows of a lamppost, butterfly decoration and hanging plant on a Shepard's hook are the subject this week.

Click the image below to view more Sunday Shadow Shots:

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Naming the Baby

My wife went to a fortune teller a few months after we got married. The first thing the old lady told my wife was, "Oh, you're going to have a baby boy!" This surprised me since, um, we were not attempting to conceive.

My wife did get pregnant two years later. She wanted to be surprised about the baby's gender, and I went along with that. We both agreed quickly on the name Matthew a few months before the due date. Of course, we thought it would be a good idea to have a girl's name just in case, but we couldn't decide on one.

The thing is that when you start thinking of names for your child, most relatives' names can't be used. Because then at gatherings, people will be confused about which John you mean -- Big John, Jonny, JJ or Mary's John. Also, the names you mull over invariably will remind you of the kids you went to school with. I didn't know anyone named Matthew. But I did know a Craig (he was a prick and a bully), and a Lisa (the one with the big breasts? or the one with all that lip gloss?) and who can forget Jeffery (the skinny kid with the braces, speech impediment and an overwhelming desire to get real close to you when he talks, who now probably makes more money in a year than I'll ever make in a life time).

You also have to consider all the possible nicknames. Elizabeth is a terrific name, but people can't seem to resist turning it into Betty, Beth, Liz or Lizzy.

So is it any surprise that we ended up with a girl -- a girl for whom we had no name? Of course not. That's the way the Universe works. But we called her "Peanut" or "Honeydeer" or "Cutiepie" for a couple of days while we read a book of baby names and considered nick names. And we found something that we liked and that gave our daughter the same two initials as my mother and the same three initials as my sister and the same middle name that's been used on nearly every woman in my wife's family.

But guess what. Now that she's eleven, our daughter hates her name.

This post was inspired by Eric's "Naming Our Upcoming Baby!!". Thanks, Eric!

Healthcare In Denial

If you think it's tough dealing with your health insurance company, just consider what your doctor has to go through in dealing with several insurance companies every day.

Read Dr. Grumpy's account of this now.

Wednesday Weigh-In 20090923

I've met my weight loss goal. So why do I keep posting these weigh-ins?

It's important for me to keep the weight from increasing, which it can do easily if I'm not careful. I'm a carb junkie, and once I start nibbling on sweets, I slide down the slippery slope into cravings, then bingeing, then even more cravings.

But if I know I have to post my weight every week, I hesitate before I indulge. Except I didn't do that on Sunday night when my wife said she didn't like the chocolates that she just bought and told me to take them to work. I ate them all. On top of an two large platefuls of taco stuffing. As I lay on the couch moaning, cat #3 eyed me worriedly.

So anyway, I'm two pounds heavier this week:

Waist = 37.0"
Height = 5' 9"

References:
  1. Wikipedia BMI page
  2. Tanita Scale with Body Fat monitor
  3. Javascript must be enabled to view the data.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Top Ten Books That Influenced Me The Most

This "Top Ten Books That Influenced Me The Most" meme is active on a private message board I belong to. I thought it would be fun to make it public here.
  1. The (Christian) Bible. I was raised in a Catholic family, and my father was very active in the church. I attended Sunday school for at least five years and went to church every Sunday for even more years than that. How can that experience not influence someone?
  2. Tom Swift Jr. Adventure Series. I read about the first 20 of this series of books when I was a pre-teen, and I would draft models of space ships and build them from cardboard. (I had a stash of cardboard tubes and cereal boxes.) When people ask why I became an engineer, I cite this as the main reason. Actually, no one asks engineers why they become engineers. But if someone were to ask me, I'd have a great answer for them.
  3. The Hobbit & The Lord of the Rings. I seem to recall spending one whole summer learning to translate English texts into Middle Earth runes. I identified mostly with Strider, and could be found skulking around the halls of our junior high school wearing muddy hiking boots. I wanted to buy a cloak, but everything I shopped for looked too fashionable. I never did get into Star Wars, so perhaps I can be excused for this obsession.
  4. What Color is Your Parachute? I had no desire to commit to any kind of career when I was close to completing high school. I put off going to college by instead enrolling in a nine-month technical school for certification as an electronic technician. This was 1981, when electronics was booming and demand for technicians was high. So with the help of this amazing book, I learned a lot about myself and the type of things and people I like to work with. I don't think I could've survived without this book.
  5. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. My first exposure to H2G2 was through the six episode BBC mini-series, which I saw on public television. I also caught audio "glimpses" of the radio show on NPR. But my real immersion into the Guide was through the H2G2 "trilogy." The main themes of irreverence, fascination (and frustration) with technology, and the eff'ed-up nature of the Universe appealed to me. I admit that during the peak of my misfit days, I hoped I could hop aboard a passing spaceship and leave Earth for good.
  6. Creative Visualization. An artist was trapped inside my analytical body. I needed to find a way to express my creativity and shape my life. So when I was browsing the self-help aisle of the bookstore one day, this book leaped out at me. I felt perfectly comfortable with the idea that I could think my way into a new way of life. My life choices have been as much intuitive as they have been reasoned.
  7. How to Meditate. I describe here the circumstances that lead me to discover this book. I actually did meditate regularly for several months, and it helped focus my undiagnosed ADD mind enough to be able to start engineering school and do well in it.
  8. Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. I read this during the time that Nova's "The Brain" series aired on TV making "left-brain, right-brain" household terms. Even though I took two full years of art in high school, I never really was taught to draw or to properly see, which is pre-requisite to drawing. This book taught me to actually see things are they are rather than just look at something briefly and label it. This post describes the book's influence on me in detail.
  9. The Tibetan Book of the Dead. This was a difficult book to get through, but I managed to read it all. Today I can remember only very little, just that there is text that's read to the deceased in order to guide him into choosing the correct path to rebirth.
  10. Eat Right For Your Type. I took time to read about nutrition and health ever since I was a teenager. As a young adult, I was subscribed to an alternative medicine newsletter called Alternatives, as well as the Berkley Wellness Letter. And I bought the Nutrition Almanac(twice), which included content on nutrients that were known to help with certain medical conditions. Certainly, all these information sources contributed to my state of health. But Eat Right For Your Type is the latest book that not only improved my health, it made me think of food as medicine, not sustenance.

What ten books influenced you the most?

Dream: Discomfort in Church

I'm attending the service at our church for the first time since I quit the choir. I'm enjoying sitting with my family rather than with the choir.

The hymn is starting, so we stand. H.E., the bass who was most upset about my quitting, is walking over to stand with me. He either needs help with the notes or just enjoys singing next to me. But he's standing very close to me, pressing against me at times.

Finally the hymn is over, but he doesn't go back to his spot. And I notice that the Pastor is not following the routine. Instead, he positions himself as though he's planning to make an announcement. I suddenly get alarmed that he's going to announce that I quit and thank me for fourteen years of singing for them.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Shadow Shot Sunday Lampshade

The morning sun made this striking image:



Click the image below to view more Sunday Shadow Shots:

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Quiz: What Kind of Flower are You?


I am a
Petunia


What Flower
Are You?


You are a tried and trusted friend who will be there for your friends when they need you. But you have a tendency to be nervous about doing things that go against the norm.
There's a norm? Oh well.

Dream: Computer Training Picnic

I'm going to a computer training class with two of my coworkers. I've been here before, so I know the ropes. I find out what classroom the class will be held in (2B) and go look for it.

The classrooms are clearly marked, and I see 2B. But I'm dissapointed when I enter it. It's small, about the size of an office. And there are four people already in it. They're sitting around a small round table, and they appear to be having a meeting. I'm not sure they appreciate our being here.

My coworkers and I must sit in small desks right at the front of the room.

The room changes. It becomes bigger, about the size of a ballroom, and it's filled with at least one hundred people. There's some commotion -- the people are arranging themselves around the room's perimeter. I decide to do what they do. Each person is crossing arms and linking his first two fingers with his neighbor's fingers. I break into the line next to a boy.

Surveying the crowd, I get the impression that this is like a company picnic, only indoors. Also, I notice that one of the walls has no people in front of it. The end of the line that extends to my right is the beginning of the line. Each person that's at the front of the line does some sort of move - a dance or something to move across the space. I start to plan my move. I consider doing some surprising and flashy tumbling.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wednesday Weigh-In 20090916

Allergies are bad right now. This might be the only reason I weigh 1lb less today -- my body has gotten rid of about 1lb of mucus since Monday.

Anyway, here are the numbers...

Waist = 36.75"
Height = 5' 9"

References:
  1. Wikipedia BMI page
  2. Tanita Scale with Body Fat monitor
  3. Javascript must be enabled to view the data.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Are They Nucking Futs?

When someone joins Facebook, it presents a list of members the person might know. The idea is that anyone can start out right away with a network of friends.

I discovered this about one month ago, when I first joined. My new account hadn't even been confirmed when I saw the names of a couple of dozen Facebook members to invite as friends.

I joined Facebook only because my daughter joined. Why my daughter joined Facebook is interesting.

She received an e-mail from a family friend, my wife's adult friend, "AS". The e-mail invited my daughter to view some photos that AS posted on her Facebook account. However, AS's account is not public. So when my daughter, my impressionable 11 year old daughter, clicked through to view those photos, she was directed to join Facebook. Which she did because she assumed AS wanted her to, and that it was okay.

But Facebook does not allow minors to join without some extra effort. So she lied about her year of birth. (That's regrettably something I actually told her that I did when I created an account for her on DeviantArt.) She chose 1981 as the year of her birth, making her 28, and she got on. She quickly befriended a few adult folks whom we know. I wasn't too upset about that, because she didn't use her real name or photo, and I maximized the privacy options.

Facebook's advertisements appear on the right sidebar. But they're designed to blend in nicely with the site so as to appear to be regular content. You can clearly see the word "Sponsors" above the ads and ignore them, unless you're an impressionable 11 year old.

Now for some conjecture. I assume that what happened next is that an ad for MyYearbook appeared on Facebook. It invited my daughter to join and meet her friends online. What I do know is that her e-mail account had messages from the MyYearbook accounts of sleazy, leering, shirtless 16 year old boys. And when I went onto MyYearbook (logged into the computer as my daughter), I saw that her profile page had her first and last name, plus our town and state. And it said that she was 17 years old. I nearly blew a gasket.

But I managed to calmly ask my daughter what MyYearbook was. (Had I been even calmer, I'd've said, "Hey, I heard about this neat website called MyYearbook," and she might've talked freely about it.) Anyway, she was upset when I showed her that her name and town were out there. And she asked me if I could delete it, which made me feel better. Because it's quite possible that she was upset about being caught, not about her violation of privacy. She also decided that she didn't need to belong to Facebook, either, so we closed that account, as well. An interesting side effect of all this is that she spends a lot less time on the computer.

Now back to the subject of the post. It used to be that when folks got e-mail accounts, they were very careful not to give their e-mail addresses out lest they get inundated with spam. When I created my Yahoo ID back in 1997, I used the account only as a throwaway e-mail address. I wouldn't dare send anything to a friend or put friends' e-mail addresses into my Yahoo address book for fear that Yahoo would spam them. But today, incredibly, some folks see nothing wrong with giving to Facebook their login credentials and permission to access their e-mail accounts.

Thanks to brilliant Facebook marketing, the idea seems innocent enough. Facebook offers to find your friends, which it can do most easily if you let it log onto your online accounts and comb through your address books or contacts lists. What you might not realize is that Facebook saves that data in case someone like me joins a few years later. I know. I got presented with invitations to the Facebook accounts of everyone who surrendered control of their e-mail accounts to Facebook. How else would Facebook know whom to suggest as friends?

Even scarier is when you combine the seamless advertising with this idea of gaining e-mail account credentials. That's nearly as priceless as getting credit card account information directly. If an advertisement can masquerade as a legitimate networking site and get folks to provide e-mail account credentials, it can do the following:
  • Log on to the e-mail account.
  • Search through all the messages in all the folders, including Sent Items.
  • Send out impostor e-mails based on messages in Sent Items to attract "new members."
  • Locate e-mails from financial institutions and attempt to log on to those accounts using the e-mail account credentials.
That last one is a killer. If even a tiny percentage of folks who respond to the ad use the same username and password for all their accounts, they're going to get wiped out. Is that you? Do you always use the same username and password for all your online accounts? Don't. At least use a unique password. You can use a password manager1 to generate random passwords and store them.

So I wonder about these folks who give out their e-mail username and password. Are they completely out of their minds? There's some low fruit, ripe for picking.



1Two free password managers for Windows are KeePass, and PasswordPrompter.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Please Tell Me There's an Appliance Heaven

I’m always trying to eek the very last bit of function from my gadgets and appliances. Duct tape is so well suited to repairing a vacuum cleaner hose, it’s a shame to get rid of the vacuum cleaner, even though it fails to retract its electrical cord. We finally did get rid of the old Hoover canister vac -- the one we bought with our wedding money -- only because the guy who sold us the new Miele offered to take it "on trade-in".

Last month my wife complained to me about the food processor. The only thing wrong with it was that the little plastic locking mechanism broke off the lid. You could still use it just by holding the lid down. But my wife insisted that the blade could somehow fly out like a ninja weapon and impale our daughter or, worse, injure one of the cats. She was adamant, and she threw it out. And when she threw it out, she didn't just toss it in the trash. She did the following:
  1. Encouraged the cats to engorge themselves on an extra mid-day meal on the previous day.
  2. Scooped out the three extra-full litterboxes (I suspect it was the first time she cleaned them since before she was pregnant with our 11 year old daughter).
  3. Cleaned out the garage, filling two trash bags worth of garbage.
  4. Combined all the above waste with the "broken" food processor.
Nothing kills a good session of dumpster diving faster than a salvageable appliance littered with cat excrement. Otherwise I definitely would've surreptitiously removed that poor little food processor from the garbage and brought it down to my workbench where it would sit in the land of unwanted tools and appliances, with the industrious spiders, just waiting for a handy dad-person to fix it.

It's at times like these that I hope there's an appliance heaven.



This post was inspired by
Jenny Ryan's "The Firstborns"
.

Wednesday Weigh-In 20090909

Lots of walking & lots of eating. Not sure what I'm going to do when the weather will make walking too difficult.

Waist = 36.5"
Height = 5' 9"

References:
  1. Wikipedia BMI page
  2. Tanita Scale with Body Fat monitor
  3. Javascript must be enabled to view the data.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Strangers in the Driveway

Last Wednesday, my daughter and I were getting ready to catch the school bus. I glanced out the window and saw two people standing at the end of our driveway. It took me a few moments to register that this was a mom and her daughter waiting for the bus at our bus stop.

Then I remembered that last year there was a mom who sometimes drove her daughter to our house and dropped her off with my wife because she couldn't wait for the bus to arrive at her stop. "Is this that same woman?" I wondered to myself anxiously.

But no, there was no car. These people walked here. So they must be neighbors who were assigned to our stop.

Then I did a quick self-assessment. I had rolled out of bed and threw on yesterday's shorts and an old maroon sweatshirt with snot stains on the sleeve cuffs. I'm unshaven, and unshowered. I realize that as apprehensive as I am about meeting this neighbor, it's nothing compared to how she's going to react when she sees me.

There wasn't time for me to get ready for public viewing. But I did manage to rinse my mouth out with mouthwash, and I rolled up my sleeves, and I changed from yesterday's shorts to yesterday's slacks.

Also I sent my daughter out ahead before me. I tarried a bit in the garage, finding some odds and ends that needed to be tidied up. Then I finally walked down to the end of the driveway and greeted the strangers.

The mom was pleasant, well-groomed and normal-looking. She could easily win the part of Shirley Partridge in the next Partridge Family movie. The girl was a meek miniature version of the mom.

Unlike some bus stops where the parents stand around to chat even long after the bus has picked up the kids, this bus stop quickly sank into uncomfortable silence. That's the way it's been since, except that this morning, the girl's dad was her chaperon.

Here we are, my daughter and I -- the Wednesday and Gomez Addams of our well-to-do town.



Above image is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0
License. In short: you are free to share and make derivative works of the file under the conditions that you appropriately attribute it, and that you distribute it only under a license identical to this one. Official license

Monday, September 7, 2009

If You Can't Beat 'Em, Join 'Em

Churches rely on donations from their members. In the fall, our church's "Stewardship Committee" (SC) will swarm over us to discuss how much of an increase over our current level of giving we'd be willing to pledge for next year. Needless to say, it's a dreadful time of year.

Last year I got voice mail from one of the SC drones. He wanted me to call him back and let him know when would be a good time for him to stop by and discuss increasing our pledge by 10%. Huh? You mean, not only do we have to give you more money, but we have to break our asses cleaning the house to make it presentable enough for an actual visitor? Whoa.

Actually, it turned out to be not too bad. First, I met him on Sunday between services and asked him if we might not discuss the matter in the office, to which he agreed. And then when it came to actually discussing it, I found he was even more uncomfortable asking for money than I was about being asked. In fact, all he really said to me, apologetically, was "You know what you can give. It's between you and G-d." And with that, a few days worth of anxiety and dread vanished like a startled jack rabbit.

This year I have the ultimate plan to avoid even getting asked about our pledge. I would simply join the stewardship committee1. Isn't that pure elegance?

This new kind of thinking can be applied to all sorts of things we need to avoid. Like Jury Duty. It's easy to get out of jury duty. You can simply be a part of state government. "If elected, I promise not to serve on jury duty." Even easier, you can get convicted of a felony. And actually, a few state officials like to play it safe and do both.

Do cops give out tickets to their fellow cops? Of course not!

Think of all the things you can avoid just by joining in: Insurance Salesmen, Jehovah's Witnesses, Girl Scout cookie drives, fall harvest vegetable giveaways, NPR membership drives. Gosh, I get dizzy thinking about it all.

What do you need to avoid?



1Of course, I'm assuming that the stewardship committee doesn't go around asking its own members for pledges.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Writer's Camp

I wrote three blog posts while driving to work one day last week. Unfortunately, by the time I parked the car, walked into the building, greeted a half dozen coworkers, fired up my computer, dispatched the voice mail, provided duplicate reports to people who managed to lose them last week, got a cup of tea and a bottle of water... umm, sorry, I lost my train of thought.

Oh yes, by the time I did all that, I could barely remember the subject of my three blog posts, never mind the content.

strugglingwriter wrote about this several weeks ago. He wrote the Greatest Blog Post Ever while mowing the lawn. But then, by the time he finished the job and put the mower away, he forgot half of what he'd plan to write.

Anyway, ever since I read that, I had a great idea for a business. It would be a Writer's Camp. You'd come to my house, and I'd put you to work doing all the regular chores you'd do at home -- chores so mundane that they'd inspire your mind to wander into lush fields of prose. And then, whenever you feel like it, just drop what you're doing and write.

Doesn't that sound awesome?

Of course, when you're done writing, I'd expect you to finish what you started. And remember to use the mildew-resistant paint in the bathroom.



Edited on 2010-01-04 to credit strugglingwriter for inspiring this post. I had originally thought that Blogger Dad wrote the greatest blog post ever.

Shadow Shot Sunday Morning Pics

Two outdoor shots taken this morning:





Click the image below to view more Sunday Shadow Shots:

Thursday, September 3, 2009

My Personal Labor Day History

With Labor Day coming up, I've been reflecting on how my observances of Labor Day have been unconventional.

In the first half of my career, I was involved in the design and development of medical imaging equipment. September was our most frantic time of year, because that's when we'd prepare for the annual RSNA trade show. We'd be running a second shift and have people working weekends to troubleshoot systems that were used to generate images for the show. There was no taking time off to celebrate Labor Day.

I quit that job to go to school full time. I'd always have a good summer job, but I'd quit right before Labor Day to return to classes.

After graduating (May 1992), I had some trouble finding a "permanent" job, so I took yet another summer job, which also ended right before Labor Day. Fortunately, I finally found a permanent position, which started on the Tuesday after Labor Day. I remember on that first day of work thinking to myself how funny it is that I've never had a paid day off for Labor day in the 10 years I've been working.

Then I met my wife who also always worked on Labor Day. She was a medical professional, and being childless, she always volunteered (or was forced to volunteer) for holidays.

So if you have paid time off for this upcoming Monday holiday, please think kindly of the many people who are working in hospitals, public safety, retail, service.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Wednesday Weigh-In 20090902

Yikes, it's September! It's time to prepare myself for hibernation by engorging myself with high fat foods!

Just kidding. Sort of.

Anyway, today was our daughter's first day back to school, and she'll be buying her lunch, as usual. She prefers the sandwich line. I gave her an Odwalla bar for snack, but she exchanged it for a Luna bar. She also refused either of the two brands of individually wrapped cheddar cheese that I bought late last night. So I'm going to have one right now, if I can ever get the darned thing unwrapped.

Waist = 36.5"
Height = 5' 9"

References:
  1. Wikipedia BMI page
  2. Tanita Scale with Body Fat monitor
  3. Javascript must be enabled to view the data.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

When Do You Call the Doctor or Vet?

My wife will call the doctor/vet with the slightest issue. Most recently, one of our three indoor cats was limping, and his right front paw was swollen "three times its size, like a catcher's mitt," or so I heard from the frantic voice over the phone while I was at work.

I already knew what happened. One of the thousand wasps that makes a nest right next to the basement window above the litterboxes wandered into the house and fell into the litterbox. It was weak but not quite dead, and delivered its sting while the cat tried to torture it, as these adoringly innocent creatures are wont to do. Of course, since I'm the only one who cleans the litter box these days, no one else knows about the wasp problem, which is probably a good thing.

Calmly I say, "He probably got stung by a bee. He'll be oka..."

"What do you mean he got stung by a bee!?! He wasn't outside! Do you think I should take him to the vet?" I sense her glaring at me over the phone.

"A bee probably got inside, and he attacked it. Call the vet and see what they advise. And take a picture of it." Then I added, "Remember when the dog got stung above the eye and that swelled? He was fine after a couple of..."

"Yeah, yeah. Right. I'm calling the vet," she responded dismissively.

Five minutes later I was informed that the vet wants to see him immediately. I can't even imagine what she told them about the situation. Maybe she said it was the size of a grapefruit, turning green and pulsing.

After I got home I did three things:
  1. I examined the cat, who appeared perfectly normal with the exception of a very slightly larger right paw, which you'd notice only if you knew there was something wrong and got down on your hands and knees to look closely at it.
  2. I looked at the photograph my daughter took of the paw, which appeared to be mildly swollen. (The paw, not the photograph.)
  3. Cringed at the $92.17 vet bill on the kitchen table.
"A catcher's mitt?" I asked, pointing to the photograph. "You do know what a catcher's mitt looks like, don't you?

"Well, I meant a catcher's mitt if it were made for a cat."


But I still remember the last time we called the doctor for our daughter. She had been coughing for about a week. My wife kept saying that something wasn't quite right. And I kept saying that she probably has a virus, which the doctor can't treat. So just ride it out. My wife was too tired to argue.

She felt warm that night. But everyone always feels warm to me -- I have cold hands. However, she was glassy-eyed, and that's what prompted my wife to urge me to take her temperature. And I felt compelled to do so.

It reached 99F very quickly. Then 102F. And kept going. Right up to 105 F. Shit. Needless to say I didn't mind paging the on-call doctor. She informed me that if it gets to 106F, then she'd need to go to the hospital. For now, I just had to give her some Jr. Advil or children's Motrin, which, indeed, lowered the fever really well. And our daughter did get better eventually, without needing a trip to the doctor.

Anyway, all this mental diarrhea was inspired by CardioGirl's post, "At least they won’t accuse me of Munchausen by proxy". Why not go over and tell your story?