Tuesday, January 27, 2009

News of Luie

The thing about not updating regularly is that when you do finally get around to writing you have sooooooo many things you could write about and you haven't been writing because you really are tired and short of time . . . but now I have really, really good news to share, so a long entry will still have to wait.

When we first took Luie to the ophthalmologist to have his poor, damaged eye consult, they warned us that his eye pressure was so high that we would eventually have to remove his eyes -- probably both eyes. The small eye is totally blind we are assured -- even today.

But the other eye, which once had been so badly ulcerated and had such high pressure from cataracts was voted "vastly improved" this morning. The pressure in the eye is normal. The ulceration is completely gone.

We have notice quite consistently that Luie is seeing things. He knows when I'm approaching the car after school. He's always up in the window looking for me and he recognizes me even before I get to the car -- he frantically paws the window until I can give him a pat. He knows me from other people, too, who might approach the car. He knows when we turn the corner onto our street. He barks when he sees big dogs walking near the car.

He still does not chase balls or things that we throw. If you throw a toy for him, he will stand and continue to look at your hand where the toy used to be. If he's lucky, Gussie will chase the toy and then Luie will follow.

We have been paying quite a hefty sum just to walk into the ophthalmologist's office ($140 each visit -- and that's if they don't medicate) every month. Today we were told to come back in six months. Luie is doing just fine.

How joyous for our little boy! I ulcerated my eyes once over-wearing contacts back in the early days of their use. I remember that I was bed-ridden for the duration. I couldn't open my eyes because of the pain. How Luie tolerated such pain, probably for most of his life, is beyond me.

Hubby has dutifully been dosing Luie with two kinds of drops (one fairly cheap, one pretty pricey) twice a day since September after our first appointment with the eye doc. Today we learned we only need to continue using the cheap medicine, still twice a day, but Luie doesn't mind it (or any eye drops actually) at all. He knows that treats follow the drops so he runs to his pop every morning and night, looking for the full "treatment."

Luie's news is a real blessing. He is seeing -- maybe limited sight, but "vastly improved" sight. And he is not in pain. And it will be another six months before we have to worry about him again. Blessings all around!

Monday, January 19, 2009


Things got put off during the Christmas vacation mostly because we were in Houston and I came home really sick. I spent New Year's week in bed moaning.

I still cough a lot but today I got up and thought, "Need a hair cut." So off I went to Fantastic Sam's which does a darned fine cut for a pittance. I thought it odd that the only two working the shop today were both African-American women -- after all this is the official Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday Monday. So the white people took off?

However, my stylist was one of the African-American women and she understands my needs perfectly. The hair cut came out just fine.

The I strolled over to the local grocery and did MY kind of grocery shopping. Hubby does most of the shopping for us because he's the cook. But at least once a week we have a kind of free night around here and we each eat stuff we like that the other doesn't. That's what I stock up on about every three months. Mine choice is always convenience food. I like Stouffer's frozen dinners a lot. I won't go to the effort of making stuffed green peppers but I like to eat them. Their creamed chipped beef poured over rice is just about the best thing ever! They have some great sides (apples, potatoes, macaroni and cheese) that make grand dinners for one all by themselves. Add some bread for a salad and the dinner is great. I like cereal. Hubby doesn't eat anything but corn flakes which is so boring, why bother? Grape nuts, oatmeal, rice krispies are all yummy for dinner -- or a late night snack. So I loaded up on the stuff I like -- process cheese in a can (don't judge) and Ritz crackers. And because a Houston friend make me one of the finest drinks I've ever had -- just very expensive gin and good tonic, I bought some less expensive (but still high quality stuff -- Tanqueray) and a small six-pack of tonic bottles.

Hubby shops for $30 a pop. My bill -- no meat but lots of frozen dinners, some exotic spices, and the gin came to $130. Only a hundred bucks more. I don't think I'm going to confess to him how much I spent. I'll just admit to the two baking potatoes and the ginger I got to marinating tonight's steaks.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

SPOILER ALERT -- and Crap!

I used to love movies. Hubby and I would take in two and three a week. To spend a couple of hours in a dark theater, with a tub of hot, buttery corn and a huge, icy cola wrapped up in a land of escapism was one of our favorite things.

Then something awful happened to the movies. In today's theater you've got four choices:
  1. The hero dies
  2. It's a dense, talking movie with little to no action -- and it's just boring
  3. It's a cartoon
  4. It's a horror movie and/or made for teens
One of the traditions we've kept, because usually something other than those four choices are available, is the Christmas Day flick. The presents are opened, the food devoured and we need a couple of hours before we start in on the left-overs. So we go to the local Houston movie theater. This year we discussed all the Christmas movies. We each agreed to avoid Marley and Me -- the dog dies, folks. That's worse than the hero dies. After losing Wolfie, the dog can't even get hurt without me dissolving into rivers of tears. The other choices were cartoons and a Will Smith movie. Both Wendy and I had seen the interview on Letterman where it's announced that there's a twist at the end. Okay. It's Will Smith. Eye candy. The dude from Independence Day who almost single-handedly saved the world. We went -- and it was the worst Christmas movie experience E V E R ! No only does Smith die -- he dies in terrible, unimaginable agony. He screams and writhes and twists . . . and well, I couldn't watch it all. We left the theater stunned -- and completely disheartened -- on CHRISTMAS DAY!

Hubby and I haven't gone to a movie since. But then Eastwood came out with Gran Torino. Dirty Harry, man! Gotta be good -- you don't kill the guy who can mumble, "Make my day!" Hubby's gonna get the action he likes and I'm gonna have the hero survive. I gotta admit, when the sweet, old yellow lab came out the door with Eastwood in the first scene, I thought, "Oh, oh! Dog's gonna die!" But then I thought, "NO! It's Dirty Harry. He can protect that dog!"

The dog doesn't die, folks. It's not the dog. The dog lives on with the neighbors.

I cried. I know that the movie made the death scene make sense and it wasn't the worst death by far (nothing like Smith in Seven Pounds) -- but still . . .

The hero should not have to wear a cartoon suit to be able to walk away from the last scene in the movie. He / she shouldn't have to be Batman or SuperMan or Iron Man.

It may be that we're so enamoured of Obama's inauguration this Tuesday because here's a good guy who is alive. He's not wearing a special suit. He can't fly. He doesn't have x-ray vision. He isn't an animated toon. He's just a regular man who is also a hero. He's done something impossible -- united a diverse people just by being a man. Yes, he's a smart man. Yes, he's a decent man. Yes, he seems to be an honest man. He's not giving out seven pounds of himself in a senseless, stupid act. He's not facing a street full of thugs unarmed. He's just being a man -- and in the process he becomes the hero we all so look for in the movies.

Tuesday will be my day glued to a screen. And I won't be crying. I'll be cheering!!!!!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Little Luie

Luie is nearing the one year mark (in age -- he's been our puppy since the first of August -- five months & counting) and he is clearly growing up. He's definitely still very active and he still wants to taste everything he meets, but he no longer tries to chew it all up and then spit it out. His potty habits have much improved and if his mama and papa pay attention to him, he never has indoor accidents.

He traveled with us to Branson at Thanksgiving and was far better in the car than on his initial trip from Tulsa to here. He even did well in the motel. The Houston road trip -- 14 hours in a car to and 14 back home -- was almost idyllic.

In Houston he was the perfect gentleman, though Auntie Wendy was not noticeably impressed with his exuberance. Still, he behaved perfectly in her home and listened and responded positively to all commands. We were very, very proud of him.

He grows daily in my heart. He is simply the most endearing little fellow -- all legs and hugs and kisses and good humor. He tries so hard to be the life of every party. He loves people. He loves to play. He teases Gus unmercifully but listens when Gus finally announces he's had just enough.

My heart continues to heal as Luie curls up next to what ever body part he can latch on to and gently snores the night away.

Monday, January 05, 2009

5 a.m. is awfully early . . .

We managed to roll out of bed at 5 a.m. -- on time and waking up without the benefit of the alarm (aside: Hubby gifted me some years back with a very expensive radio/CD player/alarm clock which is so complicated all I can do is set the time on it -- I've never gotten it to go off at any set time in the last three years -- which necessitated my learning to self-program getting up without alarm benefit). Hubby strolled to the kitchen in his undies to do the breakfast / lunch chores and I stumbled to the bathroom for the morning ablutions.
All dressed, dogs, Hubby, and I were out the door in the still dark, frigid wee morning hours and I was strolling down my classroom hallway by 6:15. The temps outside were 17 degrees and it wasn't that much warmer in my classroom.

The day ran fairly smoothly. The science teacher called to say one of mine refused to work and could she send him to me. Instead I suggested I come talk with him; sometimes it's as hard for the kids to get self-started as it is for the adults. When he found I wasn't mad, just rather amused that with only seven days left in the semester it was NOW that he decided not to work, he thought better of the situation. Seems he hadn't wanted to come to school today but his mother made him, so he conveniently left all his supplies at home. "Well, this is silly. You came. You knew we'd expect you to work. How do YOU want to handle this?" I queried and he agreed that getting pencil and paper from me and doing the vocabulary assignment wouldn't be such a bad deal.

In World History my two girls passed two benchmarks each. My student aid came in the last part of second block and instead of getting right to putting away Christmas decorations, came over and gave me a big hug from behind. Then she got right to work.

My para, who was absent the day before Christmas, was now absent the day after Christmas. My understanding is that you miss the day before AND the day after a holiday, the district will not pay you for the holiday. I hope she's found other employment because if she shows up this week without a doctor's note, the principal will suspend her for at least another two days without pay.

Third block completed all the assignments for Mockingbird. Now I'm just marking time with them. They work so diligently at this point that I hate to see them go. We have only the final left.

Lunch was taken up with a teacher from another community who is very, very unhappy with her life at my school and thought I might offer her some insight. I had little to contribute other than "hunker down, keep a low profile, and try NOT to piss anybody off." That's my current teaching philosophy, anyway. She wasn't really pleased that I wouldn't help her tilt at her windmills.

Fourth block went by quickly with the students working on a reading program on the computers in the lab. The kid from first block brought back the unused portion of his borrowed tablet just as the bell rang but had lost the pencil into the stratosphere. Then the SPED staff met for 30 minutes to review new procedures for alerting parents to IEP meetings. And it was time to go home.

My virus still hangs on. I feel crummy and on getting home went straight to bed. But I got an unsolicited hug from my student aid and that made the day all worthwhile.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Post 176

It seemed like it was just an hour ago that I was looking forward to a 16 day holiday, half in Houston, half at home catching up on things that needed doing.

The Houston half went pretty well, though, par for the course, I got sick. Same old refrain for 2008 for me. I managed to hang on until we got home and then I took to the bed and there I spent the next seven days, lamenting my ill luck, my sweating brow, and my un-ending cough.

Monday the work routine starts again and I'm not prepared. I haven't developed a plan for the English 1-2 course I'm piloting. I do have the first couple of lesson printed off, but I still don't have the stories chosen and the over-all bird's-eye-view of the course in my head. Here's to winging it, I suppose.

My head is still awhirl, though I do feel marginally better than yesterday. My cough remains persistent and my sinuses refuse to dry up. The dogs and even Hubby are thoroughly disgusted with my vegetative state and I can't get up enough energy to really care. "Go. Run in the park. Have fun. Go to the party. I simply can't be bothered," I mumble as I climb back in bed for another three hour nap.

By Monday morning, though, I've got to have recovered sufficiently to pop out of bed at 5 a.m. and put on clothing -- not sweat pants and dirty tee-shirts. I think that means I need to do a load of wash. Darn it, there's always something.

Here's another happy Houston holiday picture of Hubby opening one of his sock gifts, Luie at the far left trying to make his sheep toy "baa-baa" (blind dogs need noisy toys), and little Gus hoping that the present his papa is opening is a treat he can share:

Friday, January 02, 2009

The Year May Change but . . . .

Of course I ended 2008 sick. It was the year of the trifling illnesses for me and so I caught one final bug going down to Houston and came home, not violently ill, but just plain sick and tired. This is the third round of this nasty chest / nasal virus that I've had and this is probably the lightest version. Still, my head is a terrible stopped up mess, my cough never ends, and I'm soooo tired. Today I cleaned out the linen closet in preparation of putting in the new sheets (400 & 800 thread count! Whoooo!) and blankets we got at the after Christmas sales in Houston and by the time I was done, I spent the rest of the day swabbing my brow and gasping under the old flannel sheets, shivering with sweats and fever and pouring in liquids. I'm so sick and tired of being sick and tired. 2009 had better bring me some better health!

Here's a happy picture from Houston -- sister-in-law and me opening Christmas presents! We had a great trip -- and if I could only manage to stay healthy for more than a couple of weeks at a time, things would be super-duper.

Thursday, January 01, 2009