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Thursday, January 27, 2011

noooo, please, uncle, enough already!

More snow. Another 17 inches. Or 15 inches, depending on what measurement you believe. Yesterday we got three inches. I am so tired. Another day of work lost to shoveling. Stanley did most of it (he’s still out working on enough more so we have a turnaround). We’re legal, the sidewalk has a foot-wide path between 3.5-feet-tall snow walls. The car is cleared off, including the top so we don’t get a ticket.

Nor'easter January 27, 2011
View from the porch. [click to enlarge] © 2011, lee fleming thompson

Nor'easter January 27, 2011
Another view from the porch. [click to enlarge] © 2011, lee fleming thompson

Stanley, Nor'easter January 27, 2011
Oh crap, not again, Stanley shovels. [click to enlarge] © 2011, lee fleming thompson

Stanley, Nor'easter January 27, 2011
Piled higher and deeper—Stanley at a familiar task. [click to enlarge] © 2011, lee fleming thompson

spot of yellow,  Nor'easter January 27, 2011
A spot of yellow. [click to enlarge] © 2011, lee fleming thompson

snowy chairs,  Nor'easter January 27, 2011
Chairs dream summer dreams. [click to enlarge] © 2011, lee fleming thompson

ghost dog, Bingo, January 27, 2011
Ghost dog in the window, Bingo. [click to enlarge] © 2011, lee fleming thompson

Mama cardinal and sparrows, January 27, 2011
Birds gotta eat. Mrs. Cardinal joins the Sparrow family. [click to enlarge] © 2011, lee fleming thompson

posted by lee on 01/27/11 at 02:17 PM

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

just ‘cause

Twitch drinking
thirsty cat [click to enlarge] ©2011 by lee fleming thompson

posted by lee on 01/25/11 at 02:52 PM

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ruby again

It’s been such a worrying thing I dread the thought of posting the entire story, so I’ll just refer you to Stanley’s blog (which he is finally resurrecting) to read the details.

What he doesn’t go into detail about is that the perforation was caused by the Deramaxx that was prescribed by vet Matthew Palmisano of VCA/Norwalk, who did the fifth knee surgery operation. We still don’t know why he prescribed this as he KNEW—or should have known since it was on the paperwork we gave him—Ruby was getting carafate and pepcid—stuff to soothe her stomach because an ulcer was suspected (she did not get Deramaxx after her 4th surgery). I suspect he didn’t bother reading what meds she was on and just prescribed the standard post-op stuff—SOP for far too many specialists, both animal docs and human docs. So, he might be a fine orthopedic surgeon and he might have done a fine job on Ruby, but if he kills the dog in the process because he’s careless about reading her case history, he’s not such a great vet, is he?

What really made us angry was the people at VCA—the receptionists treating us like shit and the vets we saw, one of whom was the medical director or something, denying VCA did anything wrong, arguing with us about it. And then telling us that it would cost us between $6500 and $7600 for them to fix Dr. Palmisano’s mistake with only a 50% chance of Ruby even recovering.

All I could think of is all the pain Ruby would go through at that place, how frightened she’d be, and to go through all of that with a shitty prognosis, I just couldn’t do it to her and we just couldn’t afford it, not for such an awful prognosis.

Dr. Kurose and the staff at Strawberry Hill Animal Hospital saved Ruby—she’s still doing well (knock on wood)—which amazes us. He asked if he could try to save her and assured me that he would make sure she was on pain medication, and we knew she loves the staff at SHAH, so she wouldn’t be so alone and frightened. I wept when he offered to try to save her. He and the staff did a wonderful job—we just have to figure out how we can repay them for all the extra miles they went to save Ruby’s life.

Since our encounter with VCA, we’ve heard nothing but bad things about them. We weren’t especially happy with them after our first encounter with them when Ginger needed to be rehydrated back in 2008 during her battle with lymphoma. They charged way too much money for what they did and when we got her back, she smelled so bad we couldn’t believe it—she didn’t smell bad when we brought her in less than 24 hours earlier. So I have my doubts about the sanitary conditions there.

One colleague told us they ruled out the condition that actually killed his dog, and another colleague told us they charged a fortune for exploratory surgery to try to figure out what was wrong with his dog.

And this time, VCA charged us $1000 for a two-hour emergency stay, giving her an ultrasound and some tests to see what was wrong with her (they didn’t even locate the perforation).

The VCA receptionists were horrible—we had no idea why we had to fill out more paperwork for Ruby when they had just seen her a couple of days before we brought her in and one receptionist tracked us down in the clinic to hand us a bill when we had no idea what was going on, and laughed when we told her we had no idea what was going on.

We need to find another emergency animal hospital—I never want to go back to VCA unless we have absolutely no choice. I’ll drive to New Haven if I have to.

Okay, my rant is done I think.

posted by lee on 01/25/11 at 01:58 PM

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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

more than 38 inches since december 26

The Boxing Day nor’easter dropped 16 inches of snow here in Norwalk. Last week, we got another six inches. Last night and today, it snowed another 16-18 inches—officially it’s 16 inches but 18 inches in our yard. I was hoping the weather gurus were full of it, but damn, they were, if anything, a bit on the optimistic side!

Since Ruby is still in a cast, we couldn’t let her go out in it, but Bingo, oh wow she loves it!

Bingo and Stanley nor'easter January 12, 2011
Doggie joy—Bingo loves the snow. (click to enlarge)

The Weather Service got the timing right on this one, saying it would start here around 10 p.m. last night. And it did. It was a fierce storm—and one point, I couldn’t see out the window it was so heavy, a sheet of white. I was amazed when I woke up around 7 a.m. and took a look out the window. I updated some closings on WestportNow (lots of great snow photos here), then went back to sleep.

Patio in the snow, January 12, 2011
Bench in the snow. (click to enlarge)

Stanley did most of the shoveling—we really, really need a grown-up snowblower and he promises he’ll get one. The little Snow Fox snow thrower he got me (my wedding present, which I loved, believe it or not) does a decent job but just isn’t able to handle more than six inches at a time without you having to put in a LOT of work. It’s just too exhausting to use it (and the electric cord is really a pain in the ass!) with deep snow.

Stanley Thompson, shoveler-in-chief, January 12, 2011
Stanley (yelling for Bingo here, I think) did most of the shoveling today. (click to enlarge)

We got the part of the driveway that will let us get the car out done and the sidewalk—the sidewalk was really a pain—finished, and called it a day. We don’t have to go anywhere tonight, so we’ll dig out the car tomorrow and maybe even the van. We met our legal obligation (schools are closed tomorrow, anyway). We each had a mug of hot cocoa—stuff Jamie sent us for Christmas—it was good enough to almost make the effort worth it. Well, it was good but maybe not that good.

I know I’m going to be sore tomorrow and Friday and ... and I lost a day of work, some of which I can catch up with this evening, maybe. If I can stay awake—I am really, really tired. I put a put of spaghetti sauce and sausage together before my second round of shoveling—I love my crock pot—we’ll probably eat dinner and collapse.

It’s beautiful out. But enough already.

posted by lee on 01/12/11 at 02:32 PM

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Friday, January 07, 2011


Another snow storm today. Not nearly as bad as the Boxing Day blizzard, but wet, sloppy, and beautiful. A daytime storm, so we watched it as we worked.

Twitch, January 7, 2011
Twitch, keeping warm by the exhaust fan. The scene out the window was heavy, sloppy snow. (click to enlarge)

Stanley hung a couple of bird feeders for me. We have a huge bag of seed, which I thought would last a couple of years. But no—it’s amazing how much seed they eat. Stanley has filled the feeders several times in just a couple of weeks.

It’s hard to get good pictures through the window. There is a pair of cardinals that gorge themselves daily. Mama cardinal likes the gourd feeder, but papa cardinal likes the perch feeder. And, so far, the squirrels haven’t figured out how to steal the seeds.

sparrow chowing down January 7, 2011
A sparrow chows down (click to enlarge)

male cardinal approaching bird feeder January 11, 2011
Hard to see in this shot, but here is a male cardinal getting ready to perch on the bird feeder and eat dinner. (click to enlarge)

posted by lee on 01/07/11 at 01:37 PM

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Thursday, January 06, 2011

operation number five (and final we hope)

Ruby managed to defeat operation number four, so the Dr. Kurose asked us to take her to the specialist—I forget his name at the moment—at the animal hospital here in Norwalk. So, we did, and he recommended one more go at it as soon as possible.

She went in January 5th, and we picked her up today.

According to the docs, the surgery went well. She goes in January 11 to get her bandages/cast checked and/or changed, then gets the cast removed on January 14. It will take about six weeks for the knee to heal. And, when she starts going out for her several ten-minute bouts of exercise daily, we’ll put her on a diet as she has to lose 15 pounds (we’re going to start cutting back in a few days. Again.)

They are also recommending that she go in for at least one physical therapy session, if not more. We’ll probably do the one session so we know what she’s supposed to be doing at home.

Ruby, operation 5, January 6, 2011
This time, Ruby has a lovely chartreuse cast. It goes well with her red fur. (click to enlarge)

Bingo was a little nervous with Ruby gone, but for the most part, she was loving her only-dog status. She is pretty much a happy-go-lucky dog—our only real problem with her is trying to trim her nails as she acts like we’re cutting off her paw with each snip. Oh, and she’s a food thief—if it’s on the counter and she can swipe it, she will. But other than that, she’s a goofy sweet thing who, for some reason, is scared to death of our niece Kate. And only Kate.

Stanley and Bingo, January 6, 2011
Oh please can we go out and play, please please please (click to enlarge)

posted by lee on 01/06/11 at 01:00 PM

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Saturday, January 01, 2011

the annual banished words list

Ah, once again, the only annual list I care about.

Lake Superior State University 2011 List of Banished Words

VIRAL: “This linguistic disease of a term must be quarantined.” Kuahmel Allah, Los Angeles, Calif.

EPIC: More than one nominator says the use of ‘epic’ has become an epic annoyance. “Standards for using ‘epic’ are so low, even ‘awesome’ is embarrassed.” Mike of Kettering, Ohio.

FAIL: One nominator says, “what originally may have been a term for a stockbroker’s default is now abused by today’s youth as virtually any kind of ‘failure.’ Whether it is someone tripping, a car accident, a costumed character scaring the living daylights out a kid, or just a poor choice in fashion, these people drive me crazy thinking that anything that is a mistake is a ‘fail.’ They fail proper language!” “Mis-used. Over-used. Used with complete disregard to the ‘epic’ weight of the word. Silence obnoxious reality TV personalities and sullen, anti-establishment teenagers everywhere by banishing this word.” Natalie of Burlington, Ont.

WOW FACTOR: “This buzzword is served up with a heaping of cliché factor and a side order of irritation. But the lemmings from cable-TV cooking, whatever design and fashion shows keep dishing it out. I miss the old days when ‘factor’ was only on the math-and-science menu.” Dan Muldoon, Omaha, Neb.

A-HA MOMENT: “All this means is a point at which you understand something or something becomes clearer. Why can’t you just say that?” Audrey Mayo, Killeen, Tex.

BACK STORY: “This should be on the list of words that don’t need to exist because a perfectly good word has been used for years. In this case, the word is ‘history,’ or, for those who must be weaned, ‘story.’” Jeff Williams, Sherwood, Ariz.

BFF: “These chicks call each other BFF (Best Friends Forever) and it lasts about 10 minutes. Now there’s BFFA (Best Friends For Awhile), which makes more sense.” Kate Rabe Forgach, Ft. Collins, Colo.

MAN UP: “A stupid phrase when directed at men. Even more stupid when directed at a woman, as in ‘Alexis, you need to man up and join that Pilates class!’” Sherry Edwards, Clarkston, Mich. “Not just overused (a 2010 top word according to the Global Language Monitor) but bullying and sexist.” Christopher K. Philippo, Glenmont, NY.

REFUDIATE: “Adding this word to the English language simply because a part-time politician lacks a spell checker on her cell phone is an action that needs to be repudiated.” Dale Humphreys, Muskegon, Mich.

MAMA GRIZZLIES: “Unless you are referring to a scientific study of Ursus arctos horribilis , this analogy of right-wing female politicians should rest in peace.” Mark Carlson, Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.

THE AMERICAN PEOPLE: “No one in Washington can pontificate for more than two sentences without using it. Beyond overuse, these people imply that ‘the American people’ want/expect/demand all the same things. They don’t.” Dick Hilker, Loveland, Colo. “Aren’t all Americans people? Every political speech refers to the ‘American’ people as if simply saying ‘Americans’ (or ‘people’) is not enough.” Deb Faust, Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.

I’M JUST SAYIN’: “‘A phrase used to diffuse any ill feelings caused by a preceded remark,’ according to the Urban Dictionary. Do we really need a qualifier at the end of every sentence? People feel uncomfortable with a comment that was made and then ‘just sayin’’ comes rolling off the tongue? It really doesn’t change what was said, I’m just sayin’.” Becky of Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. “And we would never have known if you hadn’t told us.” Bob Forrest, Tempe, Ariz.

FACEBOOK / GOOGLE as verbs: “Facebook is a great, addicting website. Google is a great search engine. However, their use as verbs causes some deep problems. As bad as they are, the trend can only get worse, i.e. ‘I’m going to Twitter a few people, then Yahoo the movie listings and maybe Amazon a book or two.” Jordan of Waterloo, Ont.

LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST: “It’s an absurdity followed by a redundancy. First, things are full or they’re not; there is no fullest. Second, ‘live life’ is redundant. Finally, the expression is nauseatingly overused. What’s wrong with enjoying life fully or completely? The phrase makes me gag. I’m surprised it hasn’t appeared on the list before.” Sylvia Hall, Williamsport, Penn.

posted by lee on 01/01/11 at 01:53 PM

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