Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Not that anyone is paying attention...


Because I want to be as clever as this guy...I'll keep on trying.

I'll never have the hair!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Cardiac Rehab is tough!


Cathy had her first cardiac rehab session today, and it went very well.

Nothing popped or started leaking, on her anyway.

I can't, however, assert that fact for certain for all of the older men who got the thrill of seeing a young "hottie" running on a treadmill in their midst...




Note to self: Keep an eye out for unexplained fancy gifts she gets that have a lingering smell of Geritol and old money...

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Thank You Sir! May I have another???


So, we had a few more car break-ins in our neighborhood. Some loose change taken, and a GPS device or two.

How did we respond?

Here is one post from the listserv:

Warning - remember to lock your doors and cars. I was forgetful last night and fell prey.

So far, so good, but then the poster must have remembered that they lived in Decatur and added:

My fault for not locking my car.

Since when is it the victim's fault???


The overwhelming response, apparently is to leave our car doors unlocked to avoid damage to car windows.

Why stop there?


I think I'll post the following on my front door:

This door is unlocked...please do no kick it in or otherwise damage my property. Just come in and take whatever you want or need. I have had a nice life thus far. I went to college and had a good family. I got a good job, and have more than I deserve. You are undoubtedly "less fortunate" than I.
You decided to drop out of a free education and sling dope, but hey, that's not your fault, it's mine. Somehow.


Or, I can, like most of my neighbors, just put a Hillary sign in the front yard.

They seem to be moral equivalents.

Candy.
Babies.
Taking.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Yeah, this guy to your right, that's him.


For the few people who don't know about where we live, and are still reading this after a drought of posts, we live in The City of Decatur, Georgia.
Decatur is really a good place to live and raise a family, but it leans verrrrrry heavily to the left politically.

But that's OK too, most times.

We have lots of artists, and boutique shops, and nice bars and restaurants and a great downtown area. We're in the shadow of downtown Atlanta so you can get downtown in about 15 minutes, but you'd never know you were that close from living here.
Violent crime is very low, and the police have very quick response times if you call 911.

Decatur is the Berkeley of the South, for better or worse.

In this case, it's for the worse.

In our neighborhood, a few weeks ago, there were several thefts, burglaries and attempted burglaries while folks were at home. Many neighbors on our email listserv (those email chains that you join and post messages to everyone who subscribes gets) reported what had been happening, and several witnesses reported similar descriptions of a specific suspicious couple in a specific car that had been seen near some of these incidents.

A few days later another neighbor posted information saying that they had seen the car and couple driving through the neighborhood, and as this neighbor followed them, they saw the man get out and put a bag into the trunk. The witness saw computer monitors in the car. This neighbor got the license tag number and another good description.

The first response post asked, "How do you know they weren't out collecting things for charity?"

Classic Decatur, but it gets better.

A few days later, there was an Armed Robbery at the YMCA, which is in the same neighborhood, less than half a mile from where all this stuff has been happening.

Knowing the Decatur Police Chief, a most able fellow, I emailed him the posts which mentioned license plate numbers and descriptions and information for his detectives to contact witnesses. I posted a message to the listserv letting people know that Decatur Police were on the case, and then I posted a few words of advice about watching out for unusual circumstances and people in the neighborhood, and to trust your instincts if a person or situation gave you a second thought.
Basic, basic stuff it was.

The first response?

There was a post where a (different) neighbor preferred for me not to use the listerv to "fuel distrust."

Also a concern was my attempt to use the listserv for the purpose "of casting our least noble fears into monsters that sleep on the other side of the tracks."

See the guy up above there? He kidnapped and decapitated a 24 year-old woman north of Atlanta on New Year's Day.
Actually, he apparently kept her alive for three days before beating and decapitating her.

You know who he is?

He's just my least noble fear.

I think I'll leave the doors unlocked tonight.

I live in Decatur where burglars are really Robin Hood and violent predators are all in my mind.

"It's not that we don't have enough scoundrels to curse; it's that we don't have enough good men to curse them."
G.K. Chesterton

Cathy says "Hi!"

P.S. There is nothing to suggest that this guy has ever been near our neighborhood, and I'm not implying that he personally had anything to do with the crimes around here.
But, if he were to be found around here, he could be pretty confident that nobody would judge him "for being who he is."

Friday, January 4, 2008

50% is Well Above A Passing Grade In This House




Cathy had her first EKG yesterday and she now shows about a 50% "ejection fraction" capability for her heart.
A healthy, normal heart has an ejection fraction of about 60%.
Cathy's was about 30-35% before the surgery, and it is hoped that the 50% will rise when she starts her cardiac rehabilitation.
Her doctor was very satisfied with the results.

The less encouraging news is that she developed a bit of Pleurisy (inflammation around the lungs) which is painful, and limits her breathing, but is not expected to have a long-term impact.
It had us concerned initially because it mimicked her symptoms pre-surgery, but now that we know what it is, and that her ticker is working well, "we" can relax.
For the record, I had Pleurisy several years ago, and it felt like I was being stabbed in the back and chest with an ice-pick.
Good times.

It has delayed her rehab program a bit, but the main news about her heart is very encouraging.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The Word Was Made Flesh, And Dwelt Among Us...




Today is the day we celebrate Jesus' incarnation.
It sounds like a medical procedure if you say it with emough of theological affect.
I prefer to think about the commemoration of this event in a way similar to CS Lewis who described it as Jesus parachuting behind enemy lines to start the process of our eventual liberation.

Some great movies have been made about D-Day, and they all do a fantastic of job showing how even well-trained paratroopers got bewildered, lost, scared, and confused when they hit the ground deep inside enemy territory in the early morning hours of 06 June, 1944.
I think that both the French citizens and the German soldiers would have been equally surprised at their appearance, but what a different view each would have taken towards a heavily-laden young American soldier with his face blacked out and weapons protruding from everywhere.
The Frenchman knew that his occupation was at neaing the end, hopefully.
The German knew that the defenses along the Atlantic Wall were stout, but that there was not much to stop the allied forces if they made it past the beaches.

Is this Christmas, or saving Private Ryan?

It's both.
Jesus came into the world with a momentary flash of light, and was then whisked away to Egypt because Herod and Rome had plenty behind their initial defenses to finish off anyone who dared to incite a rebellion or lead anyone along a new way.

Jesus spent thirty years being a regular guy, by outward appearances. He certainly had friends and family and community to help him grow along the way into the man who would, in a way not unlike William Wallace in Braveheart, lead his people (us) to their ultimate victory.

The "Word made flesh," in you is what I recognize this Christmas.

I have pictures above of our parish, St. Thomas More, and a school, Decatur Presbyterian, where our three youngest have attended.

For over a month, members of each of those communities, and others as well, have brought food, flowers, beer, laughs, prayers, and joy to our home. The support we have enjoyed has been overwhelming, and I have really been hesitant to say too much about it for fear of embarrassing, favoring, or slighting someones' efforts.
We have had our kids driven around to school, practices, play-dates, and just "away."
We have had groups pay for house-cleaners, and women come to our house and do laundry. We had friends help decorate our house for Christmas, and communities from a synangouge to cloistered carmelite nuns, and a lot in between, offer prayers for us.

Most of the people who read this blog are the people I am addressing.
You did the heavy-lifting and shelled out the cash and made the meals.
You made time in your busy schedules to pick up or drop off kids and food.
You called, sent an email or a card, or asked how everything was going.
You made Christ present in the flesh by your charity and acts of faith and love.

I was the beleaguered and exhausted French peasant who looked up and saw the strong liberator coming to my aid.
I was the one who felt lost and alone and scared, and looked up and saw you loving my children for me.
I was the one whose knowledge proved to be of small value against the uncertainty and chaos that surrounded us these past six weeks, and you were the gentle deliverer who was there to prop me up.
You showed me Christ "in the flesh" in your flesh, and your smiles, and your kind words, and your generosity.

Our entire family has benefitted greatly from all of this, but none more than me.
You helped me end (mostly) my days of straining gnats and swallowing camels.

God bless you.
Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

We're Cleared For Takeoff





Cathy saw the surgeon yesterday who told her that she was doing fine. She still has some ligament and soft-tissue pain from the process, but he said her heart is ready to get down to some serious blood-pumping!
She will start a cardio-rehab program soon, and will begin to lift things gradually.
She still has a 30 lb. limit for another couple of weeks, but then, it's a matter of working through the discomfort to get her body built back up.
She said something about calling Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds for "a little help" to bulk up....hmmmm.

I have learned some fascinating things about health care costs and insurance benefits and stuff that I will share soon.

I have really appreciated the many kind words about what I write here.
I really enjoy writing, and I'm glad that some of you enjoy my style, or lack thereof.

I will probably continue to post things here, although I don't plan on a lot of specific updates on Cathy.

Oh, I'll mention when she completes her first marathon and stuff like that, but I hope that "She's doing great!" will be a true, standard response to the question of how she's doing.

So, I'm giving everybody fair warning that I am about to hijack this blog and use it for my own ends, which will likely be an irritant to some, and likely of no interest at all to others.

I am just assuming, of course, that people have a lot of interest in my thoughts on different things.
I am also fairly certain that I am entertaining a delusion in this assumption, but I'll not let that stop me.

For example:

Next post I'll explain why I'm going to encourage the kids to eschew college and find a good trade to practice so that they can support Cathy and me in our old age.

And speaking of old age, one of us is now 41 years old. The other won't be 41 until sometime next year...