Friday, October 26, 2007

Something I forgot to mention in my earlier post was that the past two times we've visited the vet, she has said, "you just have to get another Rudy." She's saying that not only because our Rudy was so great, but because it was clever and funny to have a dog named Rudy, given my last name. I think she hoped that we'd give Ande the name Rudy. She probably understood that it was too soon when we got Sam, and also that he'd already been named and we didn't want to change it. But with Ande - why it is two years later, he isn't the same species and we had free choice of names. So why not?

Last time we were there, I just chuckled and didn't respond. But this time, I said, "there will never be another Rudy." That is the simple truth. Yes, back in 1995 when I got Rudy I did name him after "the" Rudy. It was a lot more obscure to everyone except New Yorkers. But I'd watched Rudy's career for a long time. Now, he's running for president. 9/11 happened, and the name recognition is huge. I guess it may seem like even better timing, to give a pet his name, again, given my last name.

None of which matters. I still watch "the" Rudy's career. And I'm still glad I honored him by naming "my" wonderful, handsome Rudy after him. But I don't give pets the same name, even if one could argue that it would be an honor. There never will be another Heidi. Or Howie. Or Penny. Or Hobo. Or Mr. Wuj. Enough said (sniff).
On Sunday I noticed that Edna didn't seem to be herself. She ate, but not as much as usual and although she didn't really throw up, she coughed/gagged occasionally. No major retching. She slept a lot of the day and wasn't interested in going outside, and it was such a beautiful day. Then, on Monday she didn't eat at all. She was interested in food, but when she tried to eat, she would immediately throw it up - before it even got down. We thought it could be a tooth, a hairball, or maybe something more serious, considering her age. She did go outside on Monday, but the occasional gagging continued.

That evening, I decided to put Ande in the bedroom so he couldn't irritate her. Almost immediately, she perked up. She still wouldn't eat but she stopped sleeping, got up, wanted to be petted and was purring like crazy. I kept Ande away from her all night, and in the morning when she still wouldn't eat, we made an appointment with Dr. Tina. I wasn't sure if we were overreacting, but at her age I didn't want to risk her not eating for very long. The vet appointment was in the afternoon. After I made it, she did eat. We really debated whether to take her (vets aren't cheap, our holistic vet is even more expensive, and the car ride could be traumatic, being the kind of roads that usually make Edna car sick). But since we both had already taken the day off, we decided to take her anyway.

It is not serious - turns out all she has is a sore throat! That's it. Dr. Tina cleaned her teeth (without any sedative, believe it or not, and she was an angel), gave her a vitamin shot to boost her appetite, and a shot of antibiotics. I think Ande upsets her, and she made herself sick. So now we are going back to keeping him separate from her at night. We bought another large crate for the living room (we have Sam's old crate set up for Ande in Samsonville) since we can't continue to keep him on the porch once the weather turns cold, and that's where he will spend nights. During the day, when I am not here, he'll be in the bedroom. He has free run at other times, although if Edna seems irritated, I put him in his crate or in the bedroom for a time out. It's working well. He meowed some the first night (and Sophie barked because there is a food dish in that crate!!) but they have both settled into the new routine.

I'm not sure if this is what we will have to do for the rest of Edna's life (maybe) or if she will tolerate him better eventually, facilitated by him learning how to behave around her. He really isn't that active for a kitten. But we think that she wasn't able to sleep at night, that he kept bothering her and she couldn't relax enough. She loves to sleep on the day's newspaper, on the kitchen table and he was making that impossible. They don't really fight or bite each other or even hiss or swat at each other, but I think he just annoys her.

Anyway, she bounced back to even better than her usual self in less than a day. I think she loved the attention, of being the only animal to go with us for the day. We took advantage of the opportunity to do some things in Hudson. It was fun, and Edna was excellent in the car. Of course, the vitamin shot is magical too. They are why Rudy had a good quality of life for longer than the conventional vets predicted. And why, ever since Rudy's cancer, it's holistic all the way for them. Right now, I put Ande in the bedroom with his ball (he has a really cool toy that's just his, although Sam would love to play with it). He had free run this morning after I took him out of his crate. He was full of pep and vinegar, as my mother would say (about a horse). My perception is that mostly he pesters me - but when I was in the bathroom, I felt a presence silently come in, and when I looked down, I saw Edna's huge green eyes imploring me. So I told her, yes, I will put him in the bedroom for a while.

Monday, October 22, 2007

I see that author Peg Bracken has died. I was never very aware of her work, although I have heard of The I Hate to Cook Book. But I see it was published in 1960, so that explains why I really couldn't be among her fans. However, her name was immediately familiar to me. I remembered Mimmie mentioning her in a note to a recipe that I transcribed. Here are Mimmie's unedited words:

"The above recipe for doughnuts or cruellers is a fake. I tried them both ways and they are NO GOOD. The first way I tried them, they spread all through the oil when I fried them. Then I added more flour to make them handable the way the recipe says, and they become tough and tasteless. I should have known, it’s a Peg Bracken recipe which are always lousy.”

Trust me, Mimmie may not have been a published cookbook author, but she knew how to make delicious cruellers. But then she certainly didn't "hate to cook."

Friday, October 19, 2007

Something I haven't posted here: the computer nightmare in Samsonville finally IS over! Last weekend my father ran the heavy duty cable that he made and it works like a charm! It is even longer than recommended (the limit for ethernet cables is supposed to be 327 feel, according to my research) and it still is very, very fast. He estimates the one he made is 375 feet. That gave him enough so he could run it outside of my fence and up in the trees before the swampy area. And he eliminated the coupler.

I was on campus three days in a row this week. That was tough. I have no idea how I used to go "in" five days rather than working at home most of the time. I did accomplish a lot of grading etc. This semester has been quite a bit of work in terms of lesson plans, because I have made so many changes. Every week, I have to extensively revise all lecture notes and slideshows, as well as discussion materials. Usually I do just minor tweaking, and only have to write new essay questions each semester and maybe occasionally create an entirely new lecture and slideshow. It was actually easier to do the grading in my on campus office this week than I usually find it is at home, but revising my teaching materials is impossible on campus, that is an activity that I find I have to do at home.

I've been doing some thinking about writing another academic article. I haven't heard back yet, aside from the acknowledgement, from the one I sent to the toleration magazine. It is supposed to take six to eight weeks and I am pretty hopeful. Anyway, the one I am thinking of now would be about instructional technology. I have quite a bit going on in that area, and really have ever since I was a doctoral student. At present, there are some new developments that bode well for increased involvement for me (although they will require a lot of effort on my part, but this is a subject that really interests me). I think any more I write will about this be off-blog, but we'll see.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

We went to the Finger Lakes this past weekend. Specifically, we went to Watkins Glen, at the southern end of Seneca Lake. It was a beautiful, quiet trip out there, mostly on Route 17. After a major hassle with the crook who owns this dump, the Glen Way, where I had made reservations two months ago, we would up staying at the Seneca Lodge instead. (It was great, and a bargain besides.)

We visited several wineries, including Fox Run, Herman J. Weimer, Villa Bellangelo, Fulkerson and Glenora (the picture above was taken at Fox Run). On Monday, we hiked at the Watkins Glen State Park (the picture that follows was taken there).

Finally, on the way home, we stopped at the Woodlawn cemetery in Elmira to see Mark Twain's grave.

All-in-all, it was a wonderful couple of days - gorgeous scenery, great wine, and the nicest people on the planet.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

I'm so busy that although I have been intending to post, I just haven't found the time. But I didn't want to forget to post this! What a weekend! The one event I wanted to be sure to mention was that on Sunday, I hiked Overlook mountain in Woodstock with a group of eleven humans (plus one dog) that included Bob, my sister, my brother, my sister-in-law, my brother-in-law, my nephew, my two grand nephews, my parents, and my sister's poodle. The oldest was 80, and the youngest was 7. It was a 2.9 mile hike to the summit - so that is a total of 5.8 miles. What a view!! I climbed about 4 platforms on the fire tower, but there was no way I was going all the way up. I could see fine from the fourth platform.

After 2.2 miles, there are ruins of the Overlook Mountain House, which was a vacation destination from the late 19th Century until the early 20th century. They would take visitors up via horse and carriage, and then eventually, automobile. (That makes the trail to get there better than you might expect.) It burned down twice, and the third structure, which was concrete and never opened, was closed up in 1941. Naturally, the batteries in my camera were dead, so I have no pictures to post. Maybe one of the others will send me some.

Quite an accomplishment for an anti-athletics wimp like me!! I was rather tired on Monday, and still a little sore on Tuesday, but by yesterday I was 100% and back on the treadmill.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Unusual lately for me to post twice here in one day -- but I am procrastinating on doing something (write a book review with a deadline of next week)!

Since January, I have made a lifestyle change. It involves switching to a whole foods diet. The philosophy includes limited refined white flour, limited refined white sugar, local, organic, and vegetarian, in that order. So while I am not actually a vegetarian (yet), and I do wind up eating things are that not necessarily organic, or locally produced sometimes, my diet is radically different than it was a year ago. I have always eaten lots of vegetables and fruit, cooked mostly from scratch, favored local products, gardened organically and have not been a major fan of meat, but the realization is amazing when you actually make an effort: how many things you routinely ate that violated those principles.

I've never been much of a bread eater, but I thought sugar would be very difficult. I've always been an addict, and had a several-box-of-Freihoffer-danish-per-week habit. The reality is that it hasn't been all that hard! Oh, I do miss pasta a little - and choosing what to eat takes time. Besides fruit, I satisfy my still-powerful sweet tooth with those individually packaged, expensive chocolates. There are numerous varieties on the market. I favor Ghirardelli dark chocolate caramels and mints. Eating one is satisfying. I have no desire for cake or cookies. And eggplant parmesan, which has always been my favorite dish, is a completely fine substitute for pasta. I find that supermarkets and other stores have come a long way in terms of selection of healthy foods, and the co-op, farm stands and Internet are great places to shop too.

More recently, I added in a missing link: exercise. I have been using the treadmill daily. We've owned it for years, but it sat there unused, a guilt producer, taking up valuable space. I hate formal exercise (remember the gym teacher from hell) and was never successful for more than a few days at a clip in the past. So I made new rules. Use it for warm up and slow down, forget all that stretching crap. Don't set up some arbitrary rules - the goal is, try to do it every day, and when I am sick of it, I get off.

The results have been incredible. I feel a lot better. My lifelong struggle with the curse of constipation is almost resolved. I enjoy the things I choose to eat more. And I have experienced a very slow, but very steady weight loss. I've never been obese or anything, but I'm now down to the weight I was in my 20s.
I got my permanent crown this morning. I'm relieved it's done. No novocaine this time.

Last evening I covered ethics, academic dishonesty and how to cite in my class. It only tangentially relates to tolerance (more of a no tolerance issue, actually) but I think it is an important subject to cover, given my experience with students who cheat. I actually had quite a go-around with a student during the discussion. Finally I said, "have you been listening? It doesn't matter worth a d-mn whether you agree with the sanctions or what your opinion is about whether something constitutes academic dishonesty. And don't be telling me that you cheat!" That pretty much ended anyone else in class wanting to volunteer to say anything that was in opposition to my viewpoint. (Now I'll probably get a bunch of evaluations at the end of the semester that complain that I am not open to students' input.)

I know it is hard for some students to grasp that this subject isn't the same as us discussing whether tolerance is a virtue or whether teachers should be moral agents, there simply is no alternative perspective that is valid. It isn't a debate, it's one of those rare times when there are no shades of grey. I'm trying to save them from making a bad decision that will cost them big time.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Ande is leukemia and AIDS negative!! We have to re-test in 3 months to be 100% sure but it is looking good.

A rodent chewed the wire again in Samsonville! My father is trying to figure out how to make a heavy duty cable that they can't chew. Another possibility is putting it inside a garden hose for the entire length. I'm also wondering if there is any kind of solution I could spray on the wire to deter rodents?

Very warm day here.

Monday, October 01, 2007

The computer nightmare in Samsonville is over! Yay! Saturday I hooked up my "new old" machine. It works fine. I was able to eliminate the router, in terms of it being the source of the problem. On Sunday, after church and before going to my aunt and uncle's 60th wedding anniversary party, I figured out that the problem also isn't the NIC in my mother's machine. So that meant the only weak link was the 315' cable between our two houses. I thought for sure it was the coupler - a $2 item that is under my deck which connects the 300' custom cable to a 14' one I bought at Staples. But that wasn't it. We walked the length of the 300' - through the swampy area - and couldn't find a problem. So I figured it had to be that as an interior cable, after 10 months it succumbed to the weather and failed. It answered the question of why you can't use regular ethernet cable outside. So I put a regular modem in my mother's machine and hooked it up to dial-up until I can find a solution. My father wasn't satisfied with that solution - didn't believe the cable failed for no reason. So today they pulled the wire so he could test it on some kind of device he has that sees if there is a signal - and it turns out a rodent chewed through some of the wire. It wasn't fully severed, which was why we didn't see it with a quick walk through. He repaired the wire, put it back and my mother is back in business.

We took Ande to the vet today. So in a few days we'll know if he is positive for AIDS or Leukemia. Keep your fingers crossed! She thinks he is older than three months. He's grown - weighs 5 pounds.