To read about F's and my London trip, start here and click "newer post" to continue the story.

Monday, November 27, 2006

What a week. Miss F was at home all last week, of course, with the flu turning out to be perhaps not so mild after all. Her ped. put her on Tamiflu on the chance that it wasn't too late after onset of symptoms to do her any good. By Friday she looked a little less desperate. But we didn't go anywhere on Thanksgiving. I think I took a nap. I really don't remember. Worked Friday and had to work ALL day Saturday, from 8:00 to after 5:30, and then Sunday after church we took F back to school, a 6-hour round trip. Supper with my parents on the way back, which was nice.

I thought today I'd leave work on time for a change and come home, eat something, and fall in the bed, but I got a call from my former boss this AM telling me that my former lead analyst, John, died last week. Quite a shocker. I knew he was sick. He had a kidney transplant 26 years ago, which is a phenomenal amount of time for one transplant to last, but he had run into problems. The process of trying to diagnose them shocked his kidney into inaction. They were thinking to put him back on the transplant list, but in doing dialysis in the meantime, the kidney was allowed to rest and get hold of itself, so to speak, and actually regain some function. And that's the last I had heard, but apparently he was in a lot of pain; they did MRIs and so forth and couldn't find the source, and concluded that it had to be the kidney and operated to remove it, but when they did they found a very large tumor that had invaded everything and for which nothing could be done. So it wasn't the kidney after all. This was Wednesday, and he died on Friday. I left the job in which I worked with John in September before he got sick, but R and I went to see him in the hospital. He didn't look that bad. I think this was kind of a shock for everybody. John was 53 years old and he talked kind of loud, like people do who have hearing loss although as far as I know his hearing was fine. I remember him walking briskly into my office virtually every morning and bellowing HELLO MISS LAURA at the top of his lungs. I had to shut my door sometimes when he was talking to someone in the lab next to my office because his voice projected so. I remember once he had the radio on in there and they were playing fight songs and challenging their listeners to name them, and I heard him hollering out those song titles as he worked - "On Wisconsin!" and so forth. That was so funny. He knew all kinds of stuff. F emailed me from school one day in despair, wanting to know how and why JFK deflected interest toward third world countries during the cold war. (I have to say that her Western Civ course was exponentially more grueling than the one I had.) At a complete loss, I read her email out loud and John gave me an entire detailed, expositive answer. He was one of those people who know stuff because everything is interesting to them. Gosh, I hate that this happened.

So after work I went to his memorial service, at the church where he apparently was very active. They spoke affectionately of him and will miss him a lot, not only for the things he did but for his friendship. One's thoughts turn to what would be said at one's own service, of course. "Laura loved her family, and her kittycats, and she was much happier in the laboratory than doing housework." Ha ha.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Poor F is at home. She was supposed to come home Tuesday evening for Thanksgiving, but she called last Friday - Come get me. The doctor at the minor medical said sinusitis and an ear infection, but I'm not convinced it's not a relatively mild case of flu. She would not say it's mild, but she's been much sicker with flu than this. The thinking was that F would come home, go to the doctor and get antibiotics if appropriate, sleep in her own bed, and go back today. They always plan some pretty intense stuff during the two days before Thanksgiving break because so many kids want to go home the previous weekend and not come back. So F was pretty upset when she turned out to feel so bad this afternoon that going back was out of the question. But she emailed her professors to tell her sad story, and she's already heard back from one telling her not to worry, she can make her work up when she comes back.

Of course she didn't pack for a week at home so R and I made a run to Target to get her some more underwear and stuff. Her roommate told her that if she plays her cards right I will buy her an entire new wardrobe.

***Update 11/20. Not being filled with confidence by the doctor at the minor medical, R took F to her pediatrician today. He sez it's the flu. I am not surprised. Fever and body aches don't logically follow from ear infections and sinusitis, especially in this kid who had multiple ear infections, sinus infections, and bacterial pneumonia at age 4 with no fever. All but one of her teachers are being merciful, I'm glad to say. She has a note from the doctor, just in case.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Change Destiny has a new pet. Feed it a T-bone. Make it howl.


Monday, November 13, 2006

Saturday we drove to F's school for Family Weekend. It turned out to be so cold that we didn't participate in any of the activities, but just visited with her, which was nice. Took her out to lunch, shopped at Wal-Mart for various little things she needed. She's trying to get over the headcold that everyone seems to have to one degree or another.

Funny conversation with her roommate, who flew to Detroit the previous week for an Anime con, and who was singled out for extra security checks. The way F described her question of the security people was, "So, is this random, or, like, not?" But the roommate said she actually asked, "So, is this random, or do you think I look creepy?" Long pause, during which she realized that what she thought was a joke was being taken seriously. F's roommie has a pink-and-white face but long, long, straight, BLACK hair and she favors black fingernail and toenail polish. Perhaps she looks a bit Goth. She said the security person said that they have to take an extra look at people who seem "different" [making the quote marks with the fingers] and that "different" is OK, it's a good thing, really, but not in an "airport". So we live and learn.

We learned something about R's truck on the way home. (My car is in the shop.) It seems that his thermostat gets stuck on heat when the car is warmed up. You can turn off the heater, but you still get heated air from the flow-through ventilation. So we drove 3 hours in the 30-something-degree evening with the windows open so that we didn't absolutely die. I was surprised that my feet weren't blistered when we got home. I suppose his trips around town are short enough that he never really noticed. It will probably be an easy fix, once we get my car back, which has his tools in the trunk.

My job, well, my job is bounding along. New challenges every day. I think my computer is here, finally, so I can move my office down to the laboratory where I belong. Our e-notebook is being installed on the server later this week. The wireless hub has been installed in the lab, and the tablet we ordered is here; this is what we'll carry around to the workstations to enter data into the e-notebook. This is going to be so extremely cool. There's still a whole bunch of stuff to work out, but we'll get there.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Interesting election. I didn't really have a chance to post about it until now.

1 - Harold Jr. is out of a job. It's rumored that he will run for mayor of Memphis. I think that's kind of a comedown from US Congressman, but actually I wish he would. I'd vote for him.

2 - Ophelia Ford won her election to the Tennessee State Senate by a very wide margin. It irritates me that newspaper articles referring to the fact that that the Senate voided the tainted election she "won" before, and refused to seat her, invariably remark that there was no indication that she had anything to do with the fraud. Of course she (probably) didn't. That wasn't the point. The point was that it was an improperly run election and they were right to void it, and therefore the seat wasn't hers any more than it was any Joe Blow or Jane Doe Memphian's. But it's hers now. We'll see how she does.

3 - And Steve Cohen did beat both Jake Ford and Republican Mark White to win Jr's vacated 9th district Congressional seat, despite being white, and a Jew, and not a Ford. Even though I would have preferred seeing the Republican win, I'm still glad for Sen. Cohen, and what this says about the willingness (let's be blunt) of black Memphians to vote for a white man. But he needs to get in there and PERFORM for the next two years, because he has to win the Dem. primary again if he's to keep that spot.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

I added Nzingha's blog to my sidebar. I've been reading her stuff for quite some time. Nzingha lives in Saudi Arabia with her husband, "Mr. Man", and her four cute kids. I should have added her at the beginning of summer, when she and her mother and children went to Kuala Lumpur for a fairytale vacation that those of us who had to WORK all summer got to enjoy vicariously.

Nzingha wants to be a virtuous wife and mother, and raise her kids to be Godly people (if Muslims use that term) and she appreciates living in a country in whose culture she has some expectation of support in those goals. But her current post is about an unspeakable miscarriage of justice in SA. This is horrifying to her, partly because it just is, and partly because it is rationalized by people who pervert Islam and the teachings of the Koran to try to justify evil. I ask all of my two or three readers to join me in praying for the woman Nzingha writes about, and for justice for everyone in SA.

And for those who may feel a bit self-righteous that we don't have this kind of abomination in the West, may I direct your attention to the post below this one.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Well, I am stunned.

I've long thought that people who support abortion, or rather that subset of such people who say there's nothing wrong with it (as distinct from those who admit that it's murder but support it anyway) show an extreme lack of logical thinking when they confer human status on a baby only after it's born - as if it might be a cat or a walrus beforehand. There's nothing magical about the birth process. It's not like a baby was a blob of featureless protoplasm that the magical act of birth put a human stamp on.

Now that idea is turned on its head. Doctors: let us kill disabled babies.

The college’s submission was also welcomed by John Harris, a member of the government’s Human Genetics Commission and professor of bioethics at Manchester University. “We can terminate for serious foetal abnormality up to term but cannot kill a newborn. What do people think has happened in the passage down the birth canal to make it okay to kill the foetus at one end of the birth canal but not at the other?” he said.

One used to read about primitive cultures that exposed newborns who weren't perfect. One used to read about them in such a way that it was made clear that these were uncivilized and unenlightened people. Apparently those cultures are us.

God, forgive us. God, save us from ourselves.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Seems to me, if all Person A can find to talk about is what an idiot Person B is, then Person A needs to make it his business to get his dadgum line straight. And then if he does screw it up, and screw it up in such a way as to insult the intelligence of thousands of Americans who are serving their country, he should say so immediately and apologize, and not try to find a way to make it Person B's fault. Because that is so puerile. Like a little kid who keeps insisting "He started it!" and can't just take his licks and shut up.

Seems to me, if Person A really has something to offer he isn't going to waste time insulting Person B in the first place.