Monday, February 22, 2010

Little Stinker

A big big Jackson-sized hug goes out to our wonderful Auntie Heather for her birthday gift of three Little Books - the story of Little Oink, Little Hoot and Little Pea. This hilarious (to parents) collection is quite an addition to our rapidly growing collection of 4-inch books made of cardboard and limited to 10 pages.

Little Oink is about the struggles of a poor little pig that just wants to keep his room clean. Imagine that. Even after his pig-parents' exhortations to dig holes, get dirty, scatter countless toys about the house and wear dirty clothes, this little piggy just can't wait for the chance to finally play the game he loves: "house." He sweeps and cleans and stacks his things. Pity those poor little other piggys whose parents require them to always make a mess, and never let them discover the pure and simple joy of cleaning.

Would it surprise you to hear the saga of Little Hoot, the young owl that, in order to be old and wise, must master the dreaded skill of staying up late? All he wants to do is go to bed early, but instead he must stay up playing, jumping on his bed and make a ruckus. If only he was lucky enough to be tucked into bed early, like all of his non-Strigidae friends. Alas, no.

To be honest, the only story that really scares me is Little Pea. This subversive tale of an adorable little vegetable is a thinly veiled attempt to trick young innocents into eating things that are green and better left in the woods. Imagine the agony as Little Pea is forced to eat ALL of his candy, all the while yearning for the heaping piles of spinach that await him for dessert. What a bunch of horsehockey.

Now if only we could find the book that tells the story of the cute little boy that never ever wants to terrorize his parents with another diaper worthy of a CBIRF intervention.. I guess we'll just have to make these book reviews a regular thing. Thanks Heather!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Peter D. Bogguss

From before I can remember, my father had two best friends. G. Michael Fink and Peter D. Bogguss. And that's what he called them. They went camping with us, were regular dinner guests, and rumor has it they were probably around when I was conceived, although that's a story I have no real desire to hear. When Dad passed away, they were there immediately, stepping into the giant vacuum that suddenly appeared where Dad had been. Mike was battling cancer at the time and was incredibly weak himself but he insisted to be a pallbearer and we knew better than to argue. Pete brought the minister over and reassured her I wasn't usually this harsh on members of the clergy. They have always been like fathers to me because of how integral they've been in my life from even before it began. Peter D left us this morning to join my father after a very brief battle with cancer. He leaves behind a wonderful wife, Julie, and a beautiful little 10 year old boy, Ian.

I imagine right about now, Dad is smacking him on the back and introducing him to all the souls that are happy to see him again.

May you have a peaceful journey into the next life, Peter D. Boggus. I cannot thank you enough for all your gave to us and I will miss you beyond words.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


I've blogged before about Jack's mastery of the Bism'allah, a traditional islamic prayer. But I didn't really think he was going to grow up to wear a rag on his head...

Maybe he is just "culturally curious." That's a good thing these days.

Happy Birthday, Banjo Paterson!

Today, this blog pays tribute to the Australian A.B. "Banjo" Paterson, the original author of the folk song "Waltzing Matilda." Banjo was born on Feb 17th, 1864, and also wrote the famous poem "The Man From Snowy River," later made into a movie.

Incidentally, this is also the birthday of Thomas Malthus, noted British economist and evidently the co-inspiration for most of Andre Bauer's opinions on welfare and free school lunches. Mr. Bauer's other inspiration? His grandma.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Fat Tuesday

Happy Mardi Gras!


(probably not the kind of topless you were expecting, but hey - you get what you pay for)
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High Fives

Jack learned how to do high fives this weekend. Sweet!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Happy President's Day has this assemblage of the 5 Most Badass Presidents of All Time. Top of the list: Teddy Roosevelt. Shot while giving a campaign speech running for a third term, T.R. is alleged to have remarked: "Ladies and gentlemen, I don't know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot; but it takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose." There then followed a 90-minute speech.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


We will miss you, old friend.

Rites of Passage

Some of the most poignant moments I spend as a veterinarian are those spent with my clients assisting the transition of my animal patients from this world to the next. When living becomes a burden, whether from pain or loss of normal functions, I can help a family by ensuring that their beloved pet has an easy passing. Making this final decision is painful, and I have often felt powerless to comfort the grieving owners.

That was before I met Shane.

I had been called to examine a ten-year-old blue heeler named Belker who had developed a serious health problem. The dog's owners - Ron, his wife, Lisa, and their little boy, Shane - were all very attached to Belker and they were hoping for a miracle. I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer.

I told the family there were no miracles left for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home. As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for the four-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt Shane could learn something from the experience.

The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker's family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on.

Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away. The little boy seemed to accept Belker's transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker's death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives.

Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, "I know why."

Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me - I'd never heard a more comforting explanation.

He said, "Everybody is born so that they can learn how to live a good life - like loving everybody and being nice, right?" The four-year-old continued, "Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don't have to stay as long."

By Robin Downing, D.V.M. from Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover's Soul (c) 1998 by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Marty Becker and Carol Kline.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Plumbers and Scutcheons and Valve Stems, Oh My!

I have to say, I have always had the utmost respect for guys with know-how, that work with their hands and take things apart and put them back together working better than before. Those kind of folks that collect old Jeeps and Scouts and boats and other stuff, fix 'em up and turn 'em loose. Not that I can't do those things - I might be able - but I never really learned the right way, and so my first (and second) attempts are usually just short of catastrophe. So I am always happy to learn from the experts, when I have the chance.

When the tub faucet started leaking (running uncontrollably) yesterday, I gave it about a half hour of good elbow grease. In the end, I had determined that the screw holding the handle to the valve stem was corroded and stuck. How did I reach this determination? I stripped the screw head until looked like a Hot & Now Krispy Kreme donut. Time to find a plumber.

Countless Facebook and email solicitations later, I still didn't have a good plumber I could trust. What luck when I struck up a conversation with Mr. Steve Crihfield, a well-respected Greensboro attorney and preceptor that willingly passes his knowledge on to Elon students. He recommended I call Coble Plumbing, and it was game on.

Phil showed up shortly after I called, and quickly got to work. A little banging and twisting, he knew enough to tell me that he didn't know what parts I needed, even though he could show them to me. He was, however, gracious enough to point me in the right direction: the all-knowing Cliff down at The Plumbing Store. Phil just wasn't going to charge me to drive down there, ask Cliff, buy the part, and put the whole rig back together when he knew I had watched him take it apart. Not only did my wallet respect his forthright frugality, my ego was soothed by his trusting confidence. He even left me a tool to finish the job, and didn't charge me a cent (He also showed me where the in-house mater cut-off valve was). Talk about getting a customer for life..

Cliff is a work of art, a man that knew exactly what part I needed within seconds of seeing it clutched in my grubby hand, and cheerfully retrieved it while finishing his Bear Claw. He charged me $22.36 and laughed when I found exactly $23 in my wallet. I think he even made some joke about adjusting the cash-scanning machine at the door. Apparently plumbing supply stores run into a lot of desperate clients. Hell, I thought under $25 for a pair of Nibco cartridge valves was a fair deal.

Back to the house to fix this mess. New valves installed, then the scutcheon tubes, valve stems, and the scutcheon. Two almost brand new faucets that don't leak a drop. Sweet.

This diagram? I have no idea what it represents.
I just found it on a plumbing webpage and thought
I would include it for the "cool factor."

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A sad day..

I know this is a bit of an odd time to post a September 11th remembrance post, but I just stumbled across the most incredible set of photographs that I just had to share.

On that star-crossed Tuesday, airspace control was understandably tight and NYPD Detective Greg Semendinger was the only photographer aloft in a police helicopter. As a result, this series of photographs are the only aerial shots of the attack and the ensuing disaster. Heartwrenching? Yes. Critical to our national understanding? Absolutely.

Remember the Maine.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Date Night

We had a great double date last night with some old (read: high school) friends of Doc, Paul and Emily Gale. They were kind enough to invite us to join them at Ruth's Chris, and it was fabulosity reincarnated as meat. Seriously good food.

I also think that this is the first time we've been out for "fun" since Jack was born, without him, and without the safety net of a family member babysitting. We've had the incredible luck to stumble across the nicest neighbor, a 10th grader that lives across the street. She's now our official babysitter (at least, until softball season starts), and maybe we can get a few more entries on the ol' dance card now..

Friday, February 5, 2010

Jack's Birthday Recap

Matilda is running a few days behind the times, but I've finally been able to go through all of the pictures from Jack's First Birthday. Our boy was a big hit at daycare when he showed up on his birthday with a dozen Hot & Nows from Krispy Kreme. Although, I think he was just as popular with the teachers as he was with the students.

I think Jack enjoyed his first experience with Birthday Cake, after a little uncertainty in dealing with the candle (Daddy helped blow it out). All in all, it didn't end up nearly as messy as I expected - I think that was because Jackson is a pro at making sure most of the yummy stuff ends up in (or around) his mouth. Dean patiently waited for his slice.

Unfortunately, we found out the hard way that the little elastic bands on these birthday hats hurt like the dickens when you snap them against your ear.
But except for that little mishap, it was a pretty fine day. Happy Birthday to all, and to all a Good Night!

Snow Day

We got another 2-3 inches of snow last night here in Greensboro. I can't believe that we've had three different storms of substantial accumulation this year - people are almost getting used to it. "Global warming" my batookus. I was supposed to drive to Durham for a CLE on "2010 Changes to the Federal Tax Code" but I decided this morning to skip out when I saw the white stuff coming down. Doc was on a 2-hour delay at the hospital, so we all got to sit around and eat a nice family breakfast of eggs and english muffins. I guess they will just have to mail me the CLE materials.

I've finally sifted through a glut of pictures on my computer, and rustled up a few more birthday pics from last week. It's still kind of funny to think that we have a one-year old! Pics to follow in a separate post...

Tired Bear

Jack passed out in his crib before I could even get him off to daycare this morning. For some reason it cracks me up to see him sprawled out, limbs akimbo and snoring. What a cute kid.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Kisses and Hugs

I just can't express, even to myself sometimes, how much joy I get out of the smallest moments with my son these days. I know I'm his mother and I'm insanely biased, but the kid is one of the most genuinely happy and loving people I have ever known. And truly, I think that says a lot for a one year old. He is always smiling. At me, at his father, at the dog, at his monkey, at my pager on my belt, at the sun in the morning through the window, and himself when he gets to run around his room naked rubbing on his belly. And he actually misses us. When he gets up in the morning, he wants both Stephen and I to be with him. On mornings when Stephen had to go in to school before Jack got up, he would spend a few minutes searching the bedroom and then just sit and pout. Same goes for when I'm on call. But boy, when we're both here and sitting on the floor with him, he just appears to be in toddler heaven.I was on call last night so I went almost 36 hours without seeing him. Tonight, when I finally got to see him, he just lit up. He crawled up on my lap and sat there for no less than 20 straight minutes, looking up at me and kissing my face while he giggled. We ate dinner and had a great bath and played on the floor for a blissful amount of time before he let me read him a few books and then sit him in his crib. I said, "Nite nite, Jack. I love you. Can I have a good nite kiss?" He sat up, looked up, opened his big toothy mouth, planted one squarely on my mouth, giggled, and flopped back down in his crib.

This is what people mean when they say money can't buy happiness. Nothing in this world makes my heart swell more than that little guys love and affection. I know too soon he'll be a grumpy terrible two or a reserved pimply defiant teenager or a college grad living on his own, but right now he is my 100% here gorgeous little angel and I'm trying with all my might to hold onto these moments forever.

With my favorite holiday just around the corner, I sure am going to have a lot of love to celebrate this year...