Wednesday, November 26, 2014


It's good to know that despite our daughter being almost 21, we can still be callous parents who simply don't care about her -- in this case, refusing to let her borrow the car to drive to see a friend, just because it's been snowing all day, the temperature is dropping, and it's night.  Ice on the road? Won't happen to me!


The surgeon said you know how the initial report said you have a hernia in your diaphragm, but we couldn't see it, so we had you get another?  We nod. Well, the second CAT scan was much clearer.... and there's nothing there.  No hernia at all.


Tuesday, November 25, 2014


I've said that everything sounds better in French.  Even this, I think -- though the original is pretty good!

Bonjour, mon nom est Inigo Montoya.  

Vous avez tué mon père. Préparez-vous à mourir.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Waiting for....Daughter

Daughter has driven down to Maryland.  Her destination is about 90 minutes from here.  She told us that she would not be home for dinner.  I know that she's driven long distances - well, relatively long, a couple of hours - by herself.  I really don't expect her home much before 9PM.  Or even 10.

Still:  at what point do you stop worrying that a kid who is not here is in some kind of trouble?

Probably: never.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Interesting...would be one word for it

Daughter calls home, she's sick.  Goes to the emergency room, where she gets a CAT scan and Xray. They tell her that she needs surgery.  Bring her home a week early, wait two days to see the surgeon.  Who then says I can't read this CAT scan, she needs anotherBut I see on this report that she has a different problem that's going to need surgical intervention, too. They want to do the CAT next Monday, after the insurance people say OK.  The daughter says Its okay if insurance won't cover an immediate one, we'll pay for it. CAT gets scheduled for today.  But she still has to wait a week to see the surgeon again. He's booked in surgery Monday and Tuesday, he'll be coming in on Wednesday just to see you. Which helps her mood not at all. 

And now she's cranky, nervous,  and bored.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


As a rule, pleasant days do not include conversations with surgeons.


Its about a quarter to eight.  In three hours, we leave for the surgeon's office to find out what's going to happen, and when. I know he's not going to say oh, that's nothing, leave it alone, it'll get better.  After all, she had pains strong enough to make her call home in a bit of a panic. When I stand, it hurts my chest. So yeah, he's going to say something about yeah, we need to fix that.  No free pass.

But I wish....

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


I have never been drunk in my life.  This is not a triumph of will over circumstance; it is simply that I am frightened by the thought of losing control of my actions.

And yet.

Yesterday, I drove from Virginia to Pennsylvania.  I hadn't eaten breakfast or lunch.  It was raining.  And at least four times, I woke up as I was driving.  I was not awake enough to realize that I should not be driving.  That I was too tired to make rational decisions.

This morning, remembering this, it scared the hell out of me. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014


The phrase is "Congenital diaphragmatic hernia". It translates to "Your daughter will need major surgery."

Friday, November 14, 2014


Sometimes I look at the elderly people in the supermarket and wonder what they looked like when they were kids.  Its a slightly unsettling thought, that this wan, weary woman was once a cute kid.  And then I think about how much I look like those people, and I'm unsettled all over again.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


Argh.  Another book where the first few (four, in fact), were excellent, and the fifth feels like the author was doing something else while plotting this one.  Its not bad, but it's certainly not as good.  I wonder if books have to be written close together to have the same 'feel'?

Monday, November 10, 2014


The New York subway system is functional and mostly clean, which is really all that I can say about it. The Washington DC metro is elegantly designed, if showing its age, and mostly clean.  The Boston metro has always fascinated me because of a) the trolleys that are part of it, and b) the Park Street Green Line Station with its elegant lights (last time I saw it, which, granted, was about 20 years ago).

But the Stockholm metro.... I wouldn't go there just to see the metro, but if I was in the area....

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Getting Hot

Breville makes a really nice toaster oven.  But if the thermal fuse blows, you're in for a delightful time.  Either you send it to them to be repaired -- not an option if its out of warranty -- and then wait one to two months to get it back, or you take off the back, replace the thermal fuse with one from Radio Shack, and you're done.

Except that the back is secured with 22 screws, and once they're off you have to slide the back, and to get it to slide you have to loosen four mounting feet, then remove two more screws on the base. An hours work, easily.

Apparently, they never heard of a 'resetable' thermal fuse. For sure there won't be 22+ screws holding it together when we reassemble it!

Wednesday, November 05, 2014


Since there are people who are stupid enough to say Keep the Government's Hands Off My Medicare, I assume there are also people stupid enough to blame Obama if and when the Republicans cut health care spending, period.