Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Waiting for the Equinox

Sophie is awaiting the fall equinox, when the afternoon sunshine will return to the bed where it belongs.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Saffron Update: Two Steps Forward

Good news! After a rough night last Wed., Saffron clearly feels better. She's acting like her old self: talking to us, purring a lot, and eating everything in sight (her food, Sophie's food, and our food).

Even better news: Saffron's blood test today showed that one of liver enzyme levels has dropped (improved); it has dropped enough that's nearly in normal range. The other enzyme went up such a tiny bit that the change is not significant. This is wonderful news! I expected the results to be the same as the last test; I never dreamed that we'd see this much improvement.

I did ask Dr. Amy if the fact that Saffron is still alive and actually improving means this is more likely to be liver disease than cancer. She said that IS likely and it's also gone on far too long to simply be from the weight she lost when she had gingivitis.

The regular doses of fluid, Reglan, and B12 are obviously helping and Dr. Amy said we should continue to encourage her to eat. I can do that!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Lunar Eclipse

Don't miss the lunar eclipse Tuesday, August 28.

According to Sky and Telescope "A total eclipse of the Moon occurs before and/or during dawn tomorrow morning for much of the Americas. The farther west you are the better. (For Hawaii the eclipse happens during the middle of the night. For Australia, New Zealand, and much of the Far East the local time is Tuesday evening, perhaps around sunset.)"

Scottish Fest

This is a picture of one of the many pipe and drum bands I saw yesterday at the Kalamazoo Scottish Festival.

The festival was held at the Kalamazoo County Fairgrounds, so there was lots of room but, unfortunately, the rain kept many people away, including some of the vendors.

Speaking of vendors, we really liked the t-shirts by Got-Kilt? (Follow the link to pictures of the t-shirts on his web site; there you will also find a link his blog with a Celtic joke every Monday.)

After a rainy start, the day turned out to be sunny and breezy -- perfect weather for all the activities, and there were quite a few:
Event Attractions For 2007

* Ceilidh
We are host a traditional ceilidh again this year at the Kalamazoo Fairgrounds. Friday night, please bring a dish to pass. Join us for an enjoyable evening of storytelling, singing, piping, and dancing.

* Pipe Bands
Enjoy on-field performances by area bands and two massed band demonstrations. Talk with band representatives about piping and drumming and, maybe, give it a try!

* Clans
Visit the clan tents to trace your roots, meet “family,” and join in the parade of tartans!

* Dancing
See demonstrations of highland dancing given by the award-winning Kathleen McMahon Dancers. Watch or join in with the Kalamazoo Royal Scottish Country Dancers.

* Heavy Events
Cheer the regional amateur athletes competing in such highland games events as the stone put, hammer throw and caber toss. You could test your skill in the renowned haggis throw!

* Children’s Games
Kids of all ages may participate in the children’s parade and games.

* Artisans
Watch artisans demonstrate ancient crafts. Marvel at spinners, weavers, and a blacksmith.

* Re-enactors
Walk through the encampment of Grant’s Company of the 42nd Royal Highland Regiment. Visit the History Tent and join in the activities with Elliot MacFarlane.

* Vendors
Shop for Scottish and American food, clothing, jewelry, books, music and more.

* Animal Exhibitions
See rare Highland cattle and watch border collies in herding demonstrations. Visit Clydesdale horses, Jacobs Sheep and see the greyhounds.
I didn't see the Clydesdales or greyhounds, but enjoyed the herding demos and visiting with the Border Collies and the longhorned Highland cow and her calf.

Lots of people bought their dogs, so I got meet and pet lots of beautiful dogs. Here are a few:

A cute Dachshund in a kilt.

Just a few of the 16 Border Collie puppies.

Connery stopped by our booth to visit and enjoy the shade.

The people who didn't attend due to the threat of bad weather missed a good festival and lots of fun. Hopefully this year's Irish Fest will have equally lovely weather (unlike last year's monsoon).

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Math 911

I got this from a friend and couldn't resist sharing. I think the title should be "When NOT to Call 911!":

Monday, August 20, 2007

Summer Flowers

After weeks of heat and humidity, it's cool and rainy. Despite the weather change and attacks from Japanese Beetles, my Hibiscus is thriving. It has 10 flowers today! Unfortunately, you can't quite see all of them in this picture.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Rowling Writing a Mystery?

Today on Fox News: Report: 'Harry Potter' Author J.K. Rowling Working on Crime Novel

Rowling demonstrated how good she is at misdirection in the Harry Potter books, so I'm sure any detective novels she writes will be very well written. I just have one question: she's the richest woman in Britain and she still writes in cafes? How the heck does she avoid being continually interrupted by her fans?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

At Last, Camelot

In the early '80s, I fell in love with the Broadway version of Camelot with Richard Harris and Meg Bussert. Unfortunately, we didn't own a VCR at the time, so although I watched it countless times on HBO, I was never able to tape it.

I've been hunting for the tape for several years without success. A few years ago I even e-mailed Meg Bussert who is an instructor at NYU Steinhardt. At that time all she knew was that the rights had been sold to A&E. When I contacted A&E they had no idea when it would be available.

Now, quite by accident, I found it was released on DVD May 1, 2007. (At last!) I've already ordered my copy from Amazon.

If you haven't seen this version, I must say I like far better than the 1967 movie with Richard Harris and Vanessa Redgrave (which looks very dated). The performances are fresh and entertaining. Bussert plays Guenevere with a charming mix of innocence and cunning. Richard Muenz portrays Lancelot as confident but a bit naive. These interpretations make the tragic ending all the more poignant. Harris is, of course, superb as the idealistic and forgiving Arthur. I can hardly wait for my DVD to arrive so I can see it again after 24 years. (Man, does that make me feel old! I was about 20 the last time I saw it.)

UPDATE Aug. 22: It arrived today and I watched it immediately. It's a good as I remembered: beautiful costumes and staging, wonderful music, and Harris was so good I didn't think of Dumbledore once. :) There aren't many special features on the DVD (not even closed captioning), but I don't care. I'm so glad to finally own a copy of this version!

Damn Bees!

According to NPR and National Geographic, bees are disappearing by the thousands -- and I know there they are. They are in my living room!

Every day I find a dead or dying bee near the sliding door and kill at least one live bee that's hanging around the door. I can only assume they are attracted to the flowers on the porch and come in to enjoy the air conditioning any time we open the door. Unfortunately for the bees, coming in here is a death sentence.

I'm rapidly overcoming my bee phobia because I'm so afraid they will hurt my cats that my instinct is to kill the the bees. Is that an unrealistic fear? Maybe, but Saffron is so sick she doesn't need a bee sting to add to her problems. Sophie likes to eat bugs, and has found several feeble bees for me, so she's even more likely to get stung.

My husband tells me these bees don't even have stingers, but I don't care! I'm not taking any chances. Bees, be warned: enter at your own peril!

Davison Election has 10 Candidates

According to this week's Davison Index, the Nov. City election has 10 Candidates, the largest number in years:

Mayor Fred Rappuhn has thrown his hat into the ring for another four years. Rappuhn has served as mayor for four years.

Rappuhn has some competition though, with three other candidates in the running: Jim Hansen (a former city councilman), Charles Purdy, and Fred "Mac" Fortner, who has also served on council in past years.

Mayor Pro Tem Ralph Arceo and Councilman Don Csutoras, are running for re-election. Newcomer Gordon Winther, who was choosen to fill Kevin McKague’s vacant seat on Monday June 25, has also turned in his petition.

Three other residents running for city council are Tim Bishop, Jim Hershberger and Tom Lesnock.

Future issues facing the city council include looking at building a new municipal center, continued infrastructure needs and economic development.

I'm not surprised. I think many residents are annoyed about the canopies, scheduling major downtown work just before this year's Pumpkin Festival, and the idea of a new "municipal center" (i.e., city hall and library).

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Saffron Update: A Step Back

Saffron had a bit of a set-back this week. She started throwing up again Thurs, right before we went to the vet on Fri for her weekly B12 shot. She lost 5 oz. last week (which is a lot, since she only weighed 5 lb. 10 oz. before that!). The vet examined her, did a blood test, and gave her fluids, Reglan for her tummy, and her vitamin shot. The blood test showed that her liver enzymes are slowly getting worse. That could be the cause of her digestive problems. Her overall health is excellent, especially considering her age and her illness, which is why she has a good appetite and why she is doing as well as she is. The vet says I’m doing a very good job taking care of her, but I’m disappointed. I kept hoping that if I could just get some weight on her, her liver problem would improve. For now, we are going to try fluid and Reglan twice a week to see if that keeps her comfortable and helps her tummy. I’m glad she’s bright eyed, happy, and comfortable, but losing hope that she will improve. I'm thankful every day that she is comfortable and happy but afraid she won't be with us much longer. This picture is typical of her these days: resting, relaxed, happy -- and purring.

UPDATE Mon., Aug. 13: Fluids are helping. Last Fri, she weighed 5 lb. 5 oz. (and must have been pretty dehydrated); today she was 5 lb. 14 oz. and today she clearly feels better! Yesterday she wouldn't eat anything except baby food (she usually prefers her crunchy food); today she's eating everything in sight: baby food, treats, crunchy food, and our food!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Progress, At Last

I saw the sports doctor yesterday. We are both pleased with how much my tendonitis has improved. I'm done with physical therapy, only use ibuprofin for inflammation, and am doing my home exercises every day. I'm doing so well that I didn't need to schedule another follow-up appointment! I now see the sports doc on an as-needed basis. Hoo-ray!

I continue my home exercise plan and wearing my brace for another 3-4 months. It I get the faintest twinge of sharp pain, I see the sports doc again, but right now everything looks very promising!

Since typing is one of the things that makes the tendonitis worse, I asked if he had any advice for how to deal with teaching three on-line classes this fall. In addition to being as ergonomic as possible, he recommend dictation software: here's the Mac version. I ordered my copy today. He said once you get used to it, it's very efficient and he uses it all the time. I hope it's as easy as it looks! Of course, I will be blogging about it once I get my copy. :)

Friday, August 03, 2007

The Man in the Moon

What do you see when you look at the full moon? I see a friendly face smiling back down at me, but maybe I'm not seeing what everyone else is seeing.

This site has some wonderful images of How to see the man in the moon and Images seen in the Maria of the moon. Some of these images are quite complex, like these examples of the man in the moon and the moon hare:

What I see is actually a much simpler version of the Man in the Moon. I've darkened the facial features so you can get an idea of how I see it:

Is this what you see, or do you see something more complicated?

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

What Happens After Harry Potter 7

In an online chat Aug. 30, Jo Rowling told us what happened after Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows:
Summary on CNN Rowling: So you want to know what happens next?

Complete transcript on The Leaky Cauldron.

I'm glad Jo filled us in! This info, plus the Epilogue, should be enough to keep other authors from trying to "fill in the gaps" -- and it's so much better than Sir Arther Conan Doyle's Reichenbach Falls solution for dealing with Sherlock Holmes. I don't know if this will satisfy readers' desire for more Harry Potter stories, but it's good info.