Sunday, November 28, 2010

Annual Nurse Anesthetist Review and Update, and Regional Anesthesia Hands-on Workshop.
November 30-December 4

San Antonio, TX

Omni del Rio
San Antonio, TX


Saturday, November 27, 2010


To paraphrase an old french quote, plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose, to; the more things stay the same, the more they change.

No where is tradition more evident than at holidays; festivities and celebrations that are passed down year after year.  In the U.S. our holidays serve as a yearly history lesson, albeit not the the best way to teach, but at least a reminder of those events in our history that are important and descriptive of the marrow of our culture and serves as a snapshot of who we are and how we came to be that way.

For us here the July 4th commemoration of the founding of our country is probably the biggest holiday, followed closely by it's precursor, Thanksgiving.  Christmas is a holiday universally celebrated.  For the purposes of this post I'll discuss the last two mentioned and put forth what traditions we as a family have followed in their regard and how the following of tradition has led to changes in those self same traditions.

For the first 17 years of my existence, Thanksgiving was always celebrated at Aunt Nellie's.  The meal was always the same: roast turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, rutabagas, green beans, gravy, pumpkin and apple pie with a slice of sharp cheddar cheese on the side.

Interestingly, for a large family of French-Canadian descent, and who were related to more than half the people in our city of 15,000 inhabitants, (for the longest time I thought we were related to everyone
in the city) our dinner was attended by only immediate family: Uncle Ed and Aunt Nellie, Mom, dad, and me and later on by my brother and sister, 10 and 12 years younger respectively.

In 1975 my wife and I together with the first two of our three children moved into our present home. And for the next 30 years, with one or two exceptions, Thanksgiving was celebrated in our dining room.  There were never less than 10 and sometimes upwards nigh onto 25 guests surrounding our table.  On more than one occasion our table, with all the leaves set in, was extended into the living room.  The majority in attendance were family but it was also our habit to invite those friends and acquaintances who for what ever reason had no place to partake of Thanksgiving.

For the last 5 years, with our children scattered hither and yon, and with the Friday following Thanksgiving often a work day for many, family gatherings here at the homestead on Thanksgiving areno more.  Now my wife and I are the dispossessed, so-to-speak, and become the invitees of friends rather than the hosts.
Of  late we have been part of a large international/ family celebration which takes place at a good friend's home and in addition to us and their immediate family is attended by an ecumenical contingent of other modern orphans of circumstance.  This year's celebration just past was attended by representatives from France, Spain, Japan, Korea, Belarus, Iran, China, Canada, Holland and of course US born folks.  Nearly thirty, if not more, people came together in thanks for our blessings.

The tradition has been carried on but the venue, food and faces change.


One of the inviolable traditions that my wife and I have followed is that Christmas, particularly Christmas day, will be celebrated in whatever place we and our children call home.  This year will be the first year where that home will not be ours for the majority of our family.

Since our oldest grandchild is 15, the baton could have been passed long before now, but the 2500 mile distance between our home on the Canadian border and theirs, nearly on the Mexican border, has prevented us from celebrating Christmas together.  In fact, regrettably, we have never celebrated Christmas morning with our 2 oldest grandchildren; more's the pity.  So our home has remained the seat for family Christmas' observance for these past 43 years, 35 in this abode alone.  Our oldest and youngest children usually made it home as well as various brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts and uncles, boyfriends and girlfriends and found something under our tree for them come Christmas morning.

Our youngest is a father now, his daughter turned 1 year old in Oct.  They live five hours from us through two snow belts.  With the 25th of Dec. falling on a weekend this year, my wife and I, God willing and the snow's not too high, we will spend Christmas morning with our new grand daughter in her home; as it should be.
And that's how things change as traditions are passed along.

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Thursday, November 25, 2010

O God, when I have food, helps me to remember the hungry; when I have worked, help me to remember the jobless; when I have a home, help me to remember those who have no home at all.

For each new morning with its light, for rest and shelter of the night, for health and food, for love and friends, for everything Thy goodness sends.


Monday, November 22, 2010

November 22nd 1963

There were/are various theories put forth over the ensuing 43 years since President Kennedy was murdered in plain view of Texas and the world!
If anyone knew or knows the why-fores and where-to-fores leading up to this heinous act they have yet to come forth with proof positive.

One fact we know for sure: John F. Kennedy, our 35 President of the USA is dead.  Murdered on a Dallas street in the prime of his life and his career.  He was one of the most popular and well loved presidents in our history.  That such a thing, that such a man and figure of democracy should have ended thus should give us all pause; those who can remember and those who can learn.  Quit the bickering and personal infighting for personal gain and or aggrandisement and set the example to us, your constituents, a picture of how to get along!

my friends



Saturday, November 20, 2010

Standing at the door
Demon's soul plans it's escape;
Witching time of night.


Friday, November 19, 2010

Doctor's Appointment

Yesterday I went to the doctor.
So what?  So what's the big deal about that?  I'm not keen on going to the doctor; it's a male thing.  You know: don't want to admit there is something wrong, or at least something that you can't fix yourself.  It's a sign of weakness for cripes sake!

I like doctors.  Some of my best friends are doctors.  I work with doctors everyday.  I even spend some of my vacation time with a doctor.  Of course he's a OB/GYN doc so not much threat there.
But, all in all, in the scheme of things what's the big deal?  I've been a healthy person all my life.  I take no medication except 2  81 mg aspirin a day and that only because my dad died of a heart attack at age 58 so it's  a prophylactic measure.  I try to eat in a healthy manor most of the time.   Drink a little wine with dinner.  I quit smoking 14 years ago and I'm a life long exerciser; Ran a marathon on my 60th birthday and two subsequent years in a row ran 1/2 marathons.  I had my appendix out when I was 14 and had pneumonia at age 55.  Other than that, I'd say I'm a pretty healthy guy.

As I've gotten older and the requirements of my job require that a yearly physical be done, It 's been a pretty routine occurrence.  My medical doctor, for personal reasons, closed his practice last year.  And wouldn't you know it but this year in the late summer when I felt the need, I felt the NEED to consult a doctor, I had none available. 

In August I was training for a 90 mile canoe race scheduled for the weekend after Labor day.  Part of that race entails a fair amount of portage mileage; two of which exceed a mile.  In addition to conditioning my upper body with frequent paddling sessions, I incorporate daily walking sessions; ranging from 3 to 5 miles.  From the get go I was experiencing leg and hip discomfort out of proportion to the effort put forth.  Remember, this isn't my first rodeo, I'm used to the aches and soreness commensurate with exercise.  This was different and disconcerting.  It would have been easy to say; your getting old rel, what'd you expect.

After much urging from my wife and a deepening concern myself, I decided to see a doctor.  Well guess what, that's not as easy as it might seem.  First, let me remind you again that I work with doctors everyday and I can separate the wheat from the shaft.  That limits the pool of Dr.s I trust.

I call the office of  two docs that I have implicit faith in only to be told that they are not taking any new patients, but one of their two nurse practitioners is, would I be willing to see her.  Sure, no problem says I.  "I'll call you" says she.  This is the beginning of the second week of August.

"Hi rel, this is Angie at Dr._____'s office.  Can you come in the 8th of November?"

My symptom profile was somewhat changed but still disconcerting if only for the fact that it was persisting.  Being a medical professional left to my own devices, self diagnosis is a natural consequence of not early enough intervention.

OMG, what if it's this, Oh shit I've got this terminal affliction.  Yup the symptoms fit; well sort of, well at least some do.

Now I'm really scared.  So scared that I no longer need urging from my wife to seek immediate intervention. 
The next day, a Monday, I call a friend and specialist and explain my situation.  He insists I come to his office for an exam that afternoon after work.

"I have good news for you rel, your initial concerns are unfounded, you have a ________. And it doesn't require and intervention!"
November 8th:  the NP examines me takes an extensive history, sends me to the hospital for xrays and tells me to return right after that's done.  Back in the office she brings the xrays up on her office computer, (isn't modern technology great!) and we exam them together.  "See the arthritis here, and here and here?  And I think I see a compression fx here and one here that seems older; did you hurt your back recently?"

"No."  Well I did slip and fall on the stairs last week but my discomfort started way before that."

"Let me run it by the boss, wait here, I'll be right back."

" He says this isn't a fx, however there is an old healed fx here., Which orthopod do you want to see?   OK, and which GI guy do you want us to make an appointment for you with; You are due for your 5 year colonoscopy, and here's a sheet to keep track of your blood pressure daily.  It's very high today and I want to see some trends.  Does it usually run high?"

I saw the orthopod yesterday: "nothing serious rel, here a script for physical therapy.  His office is next door and he's free so you can go over and see him now and set up an appointment."

"Hi rel, what's up?"
"Doc P. wants me to see you to get some physical therapy."

"Next Tues. OK?"

"Yup, see ya at 9."

Oh the colonoscopy?  January; first opening!

As I get older, I'm pushing the envelope, and it's pushing back. :)

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

We returned as far a Syracuse, from Las Vegas, Sunday night, last.  Because it was too near the witching hour for this driver, we stayed at the airport hotel for the night.  Sleeping in, for an inordinate period of time the next morning, was followed by a leisurely breakfast and then we drove home on a balmy, sunny day.

The bride and groom left Sunday for Palm Springs and have reported that they are having a great time in the 85 degree southern California clime.  The Texas contingent flew back yesterday and the Niagara Falls couple return late tonight...and return to work in the early 'morrow; the resilience of youth is a constant amazement to me.

Las Vegas was never on my bucket list; my brother lived in Vegas for 25 or so years and I never visited him there.  If it hadn't been my daughter's choice for a wedding venue, I'd most likely never have ventured there in this lifetime.  The adage "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" is a statement that reflects the fact the Vegas invites it's visitors to indulge themselves.  To wit: You can smoke in Las Vegas.  I quit tobacco 26 August 1996 at 3 pm.  In the ensuing 14 years I didn't so much as touch a cigarette let alone smoke one.  First night in Vegas in the hotel casino I took a drag on Josh's cigar.  If I was in France, that wouldn't have happened.
I learned early on in my Navy career that I was crappy at gambling, pun intended.  The sex industry is well represented so that trying to make one's way around without ogling the eye candy is like walking through a MARS factory and not noticing the M&Ms.

Permit me to digress for the moment.  Two years ago I decided to stop working full time.  I wanted to see if I could earn a good salary working only nine months leaving me 3 months to fulfill my bucket list.  In 2009 I took off the months of July, August, and September.  Perfect!  This year the plan was to work from Jan. thru the end of July, be off August, Sept. and Oct.  October was set aside for a trip to France.  When our daughter decided to wed in November the off time was altered and the France trip scrapped.  But lo and behold there is a Hotel in Las Vegas named Paris with an obvious French theme.

 Arriving on Thursday for a wedding on Saturday would give us plenty of time to imagine ourselves in Paris , see the sights and semi-satisfy our desire to be in France.  The hotel with all the bling and glamor of Las Vegas did a bang up job of creating a French ambiance.  Then we had something to eat: welcome to the good old USA.  While the food was OK it didn't measure up to our expectations.

 Even our continental breakfast with dark roast coffee and croissants and pain au chocolate were sup-par.  That is to say the pastries were stale.

The ambiance of the boulangerie was Disneyesque and still the pastry paled.  Oh well.

So we decided, since we were up early, we'd take advantage of the quiet sunrise and tour the strip, get some pictures of the spectacular buildings, and make our way to Italy to see what they had to offer.

 At the Venetian, with her gondolas and marble walk ways,
it definitely felt more european than what we'd experienced so far.  And we stumbled upon a french bistro which was so French, complete with Pastis and Bordeaux, that it was really the  pièce de résistance.
At the Napolean bar in the Paris Las Vegas, listening to thhree great jazz singers.
Squeezing in and out of this limo was a job for a contortionist, of which none present were.
The wedding was beautiful and went smooth as silk with the reception tons of fun.  It was worth the trip and each found something in Las Vegas to fill their time: Gambling, shopping, partying/dancing, strolling the strip in the un-busy hours of dawm taking spectacular photos, site seeing, going to shows, (Manilo had to cancel due to a cold)  people watching and walking, walking, walking.

Next year? FRANCE; count on it!


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Weekend in November

10th, 235th Marine Corps Birthday
11th, Veterans day
13th, daughter's (a U.S. Marine) wedding day.

And just to jog your memory: the Edmond Fitzgerald sank 35 years ago today.

Around here and elsewhere, for us, it's a busy next 5 days.

Our daughter is a U.S. Marine.  Her active duty time is past; having served in the first Gulf War.  She is currently a member of her local Marine corps reserve unit.

She works for the federal dept. of Veteran's Affairs after a decade at the NYS dept. of Veteran's Affairs.

Her Father (moi) served in the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, and Army. (Viet Nam w/ US Marines.)
A brother served with the US Navy in the first Gulf War.

A grandfather served in the US Army Air corps during WWII

2 Great great grandfathers served in the Grand Army of the Republic during the Civil War or (The war between the states.)
Numerous uncles and cousins have a proud record of military service to our America.
If you were her and you were  getting married, what month, week day would you choose for your wedding?  So, Happy birthday Michelle/Semper Fi, and Thanks for your service!

Enter Josh Hills, Michelle's beau for 8yrs.? (I'm her dad not a record keeper.)

They've decided to tie the knot.  In Las Vegas on the 13th of November.

Both of her brothers and their partners will be in attendance as well as her mother and I.  We are surely pleased  to witness this union between two people who we've come to love as a couple.  They are well matched and should have a happy marriage.  Between Josh's mom and family and various other relatives and friends there is estimated to be a small crowd of 40 or so to make a celebration of it.

Join me as I toast the newly weds to be:
To keep your marriage brimming,
with love in the loving cup;
Whenever you're wrong, admit it,
Whenever you're right, shut up.
Michelle, I have a different one prepared for Saturday!

Their new home, just recently purchased, it'll be waiting for them when they return.  I hope they are moved in before Dec. since I'd like to see it before spring.  Di. says it's magnificent.

We remember, so that their sacrifice will not have been in vain.

If it wasn't such a great place to live, why are so many trying any means to get here?


Thursday, November 04, 2010

There once was a rooster named Clyde
Who made all the other cocks hide.
His crow was so gusty
With thoughts ever lusty;
To the stew-pot the old lady cried!

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Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Small town rural America, that's where I hail from.  Oh sure, I've been around; toured the world and some of her bigger cities for 12 years, but in the end settled down to raise my family where I felt most comfortable.  There is a certain comfort, for me, in knowing all my neighbors.   Yup we have our differences, spats and times we don't speak to each other but that actually adds to the family like atmosphere of backwoods neighborliness.

Today is election day in America.

  The morning sun shines brightly trying to warm the 30 degree frost laden air with limited success.  I'll walk the half mile to the fire hall to vote.

As I walk into the polling place, Ruthie B. gives me a big hug, a hello and a kiss.  Then I'm shown the sample ballot and have the choices explained.  Amber missed me and wanted to know where I was working these days.  She made a note to remove Bobby's name from the roll after I told her he was living in Texas.  Barb asked me when I was going to retire and then gave me my ballot and told me to fill the square exactly.  "Don't color outside the lines or you'll be rejected!"
"Barb, it's been a long time since I was rejected" I said kidding with a smile.
"Hows Jim doing Carol?"
"Better I think.  He's home from the hospital now.  Going to sign up for 3 days per week dialysis in the 'burg."
"Hi judge, gone running yet?"
"Not yet" she says, "I'm off today, going later."
"Booth's open Bob."
While I'm voting:
"This is pretty easy" say Chris in the booth next to me.
"You're probably doing it wrong."
"I still like the old lever pull way of voting, in out, no muss no fuss."
"Me too."
" Not me, this computer voting is perfect to my way of thinking."
"Carol, when ya coming back to the gym?"
"I miss it, maybe now that I'm not running to Watertown every day I can get back there if you'll let me."
"Any time, you're always welcome."
Hug and kiss from Carol.
"Bye Bob"
" See ya girls, have a great day."

"Where ya been?"



Truths For Mature Adults

1. I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.

2. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.

3. I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.

4. There is great need for a sarcasm font.

5. How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?

6. Was learning cursive really necessary?

7. Map Quest really needs to start their directions on # 5. I'm pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.

8. Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.

9. I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired.

10. Bad decisions make good stories.

11. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment, when you know that you just aren't going to do anything productive for the rest of the day.

12. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after Blue Ray? I don't want to have to restart my collection...again.

13. I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten-page technical report that I swear I did not make any changes to.

14. I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.

15. I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with Miller Lite than Kay.

16. I wish Google Maps had an "Avoid Ghetto" routing option.

17. I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.

18. How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear or understand a word they said?

19. I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars team up to prevent a jerk from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers and sisters!

20. Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty, and you can wear them forever.

21. Sometimes I'll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.

23. Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, finding their cell phone, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey - but I'd bet everyone can find and push the snooze button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time, every time!

24. The first testicular guard, the "Cup," was used in Hockey in 1874 and the first helmet was used in 1974. That means it only took 100 years for men to realize that their brain is also important.

25. After the 4th grade I have never come even remotely close to having to know how to diagram a sentence.

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