Tuesday, December 30, 2008

2008 Holidays

Well the 2008 Holidays are almost over; just a couple more days and 2009 will be here and it'll be time to start everything all over again. This year was a bit different than most for the family though. First, I decided that I didn't want any gifts this year. I'm very disillusioned with organized religion and the greed that seems to overcome people this time of year, and decided I didn't want anything to do with it. My parents had already got a few gifts for me but otherwise I asked people not to get me anything. They didn't care for it much, but I'm happy that they respected my beliefs and wishes.

There were also a few absences this year. My sister received the last minute gift of a trip to Alaska to visit her husband's family, so they're spending two weeks in the frozen wonderland of Wasilla, AK (a town made famous earlier this year due to its apparent proximity to Siberia, or some such). I'm very jealous of her right now though, I think of Alaska as a fantasy land of sorts as it's one of the places I would love to move to and live for a while. Snow, huge tracts of open wilderness, glaciers, screwed up days/nights, and icebergs floating in the ocean. It sounds almost perfect.

My oldest nephew, David, was also absent this year. He had to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in the hospital on IVs recovering from mono. Poor kid. It was the first time since he was born that he didn't spend the Eve with my brother too, so that bummed them out even more.

Unfortunately that wasn't the only trip to a hospital either. My youngest niece, Victoria, was attacked by a dog and had to get a few stitches in her cheek because of it. She and the dog had been playing with each other most of the day without incident, but the dog apparently didn't like Vic picking up one of its toys and it suddenly latched on to her head. Thankfully she's fine and doesn't seem to be holding a grudge or fear of dogs from the ordeal, but my sister is more than a bit freaked out by it all and probably will be for a few decades to come.

And to top everything off, my car decided to be finicky too. To the tune of an estimated $4,500 in repair costs. Which aren't going to happen since that's more than the actual worth of the car at this point, so my vehicle situation is a bit spotty right now.

So it's been a rather interesting few weeks. Overall everyone's fine, and that's the important thing. But I'm thinking the new year couldn't get here any sooner.

(Tree in my parents' yard on a foggy Christmas morning)

Friday, December 12, 2008

12 of 12

Thanks to Chad for the cool "12 of 12" concept. On the 12th of the month you take 12 pictures to show how you spent your day. Go here for bigger versions of the pics.

Chad's recently started a fight with cancer, so it's amazing to me that he's even up to the task of doing this again this month. I've had, and have, my own health issues but the Big C isn't one of them and hopefully never will be. My thoughts and best wishes go out to him.

At any rate, here's how I spent the 12th this month:

7:34 am
Woke up late again this morning. This has been one of those weeks when I've overslept almost almost every day for some reason.

8:17 am
On the way to work. One of the perks of being late for work is that most of the morning traffic has thinned a bit.

12:01 pm
A cool sculpture in a yard near work.

12:08 pm
Lunch at Asheville Pizza & Brewing Company.
Great pizza and amazing micro-brews, although I didn't drink at lunch today...that annoying "go back to work" thing.
Try their "Shiva" beer if you're ever here. It's very tasty.

12:20 pm
A sample of the cool hand-painted walls inside.

12:53 pm
The "Wall of Remote Controls".
I really enjoy the creativity and uniqueness of this place and this town.

1:11 pm
The sundial at the entrance to work, just outside the window to my office.

4:23 pm
The sparsely decorated Holiday Tree in the lobby at work. Huge controversy over its decorations this year, but I won't get into that. Note the crooked pictures and lampshade, and the holiday cards strewn about.

4:46 pm
(Yup, came in late and left early today)
View from my bank's parking lot. This is the last bits of the storm that dumped record snowfall everywhere else but here.

5:17 pm
Stopping by FedEx to drop off some packages.

5:25 pm
Looking back towards Asheville on my way home.
(Ignore the ugly parking lot)

6:03 pm
Leftovers for supper on a Friday night.
Such a glamorous life I lead, no?
It's not the prettiest lasagna I've ever made, but the taste makes up for what it lacks in looks.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Early Thanksgiving

The family did an early Thanksgiving celebration this weekend since several peoples' schedules were a bit tight this year. So I headed to the parents' house early Saturday afternoon and did the turkey thing.

Had a great time; ate a lot of good Mom-cooked food, and brought back loads of leftovers. It was a quick trip and there was some irritation at my father's attitude (nothing new there), but overall it was a good visit.

I'm a little concerned over my youngest nephew though. He has bad allergies, and something was irritating them this weekend. They gave him some medicine for them, but by the end of the day he was looking pretty rough. His eyes were red and watery, and his head was twitching to one side with almost every he blink of his eyes. He hasn't been to the doctor for those in-depth allergy tests yet, but I hope they take him soon.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


I actually left the apartment and went out this Saturday night. And it was even for a worthy cause too! A friend works part-time at the Western North Carolina AIDS Project (WNCAP), and I volunteered to help out at their 2008 Raise Your Hand Benefit Dinner & Auction. It's an annual event and was held at the Grove Park Inn this year. They had a silent auction that was loaded with cool stuff and then a live auction that they held after dinner.

I helped with some data entry stuff for the auctions at the event and also with the checkout procedures to get all the items to the people who won them. It was a tad chaotic at the end with everyone trying to leave at the same time (and of course the typical computer problems that always happen when you don't need them to) but it was a pretty cool evening. A lot of people showed up and much money was raised. Although I'm not sure how much impact this year's economic fun had on it compared to previous years.

A trip to Denny's and then some margaritas (and maybe a rum & coke or two) (and a few beers) rounded out the night and made for a fun day. 'Course Sunday was spent napping and being lazy.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

12 of 12

Thanks to Chad for the cool 12 of 12 idea. This 12th happened to fall on a weekday so the pics this time may be a bit less than interesting. Also, this ended up being a pretty dreary day here so most of mine were taken during the couple of sunny hours we had around lunchtime here in Asheville. Larger versions of the pics are on my Flickr page here.

A dreary autumn morning

The house across the street from work that's for sale.

My cluttered office (I do my best work amidst chaos)

A cool door and handle I spotted on the way to lunch. The doors were at least 10ft high

I had lunch at Mela Restaurant off Lexington Avenue in downtown Asheville
(very good Indian cuisine)

Another cool door, this one at the entrance to Mela. The pic's a bit blurry so it doesn't reflect how truly awesome the door really is.

One of the many cool hidden alleyways in Asheville.

Looking back towards Lexington Avenue.

A view of Lexington's cool sidewalk.

A side street.

A shot of the Vance Monument and Pack Square, taken from inside the car.

Another blurry one, taken from the moving car as I went by.
Cool art project on one of our underpasses.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Animal Visits

I was a bit under the weather this past weekend, so I spent most of it around the house doing a lot of napping and being lazy. Not that that's different than my usual weekends, but I at least had an excuse for it this time. The fact that I was sick and slightly feverish at times may have contributed to some of the dreams I had. None of them were particularly odd or anything, but I had quite a few of them and that's unusual for me.

The main theme of my weekend dreams appeared to be animals. There was a family of enormous black bears in one of them. Enormous as in: larger than the size of my car. They weren't doing anything much beyond hanging around the yard, but their size was a bit startling and there was 8-10 of them. Another dream involved a baby goat (a kid?) that I had to walk around on a leash. It was one of those dreams that jumped all over the place and was extremely fractured and odd. The fact that the goat put the leash on itself with its tiny human-like hands should give you an idea of the weirdness factor.

The coolest by far though was the one with Shelbe. I was flying in the dream too, so that made it even better. I was swooping up and down in the sky flying over meadows and around trees, and all the while The Shelbster was running at super speed on the ground beneath me. I'd fly down to pet her and she'd jump up to meet me; we both were having a blast. It's one of the best dreams I've had in a long while and hopefully I'll have it again soon.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


I've been reading a lot recently about hammock camping, and it sounds extremely cool. Instead of using a tent for camping in, you hang a hammock and use that as a shelter instead.

The hammock's completely enclosed and is lightweight and portable so it can be used almost anywhere. Once you put a tarp above it, you're protected completely from the elements and it's apparently a much more comfortable sleep than lying on the ground. Since you're not touching the ground you're not limited to flat areas free of roots and rocks or designated camping sites. All you need is two trees and you're set. Here's a set up using a tarp:

Hammock Camping
(pic courtesy of Wikipedia at the link listed above)

Very cool.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The AT

I decided this weekend to set a date for my Appalachian Trail attempt. I've been talking a lot about it for a while now and even made a half-hearted attempt a few years back. And I'm using the word "attempt" pretty loosely there, all I really did was claim I was going to do it the following spring and that's as far as anything really went. I did some preliminary planning but there wasn't any follow through with anything and it didn't happen. My typical "I need/want to do it NOW NOW NOW" thought process without actually considering the enormity of what it entailed. It didn't diminish my desire to do it though, it only delayed it a bit.

Shortly after that The Shelbster was diagnosed with diabetes and Cushing's Syndrome, and that effectively postponed the trip for the next two years. The daily shots were bad enough on her, not to mention the periods when she spent days at a time on IVs at the vet. There was no way I could abandon her for 6 months and ask someone else to care for her. She would have loved walking it with me but without her insulin and other care she wouldn't have made it far, and I had no desire to watch her die like that.

I was seriously considering an attempt next Spring but I'm thinking that the health stuff I've had happen this year is more than enough reason to reconsider and wait a bit longer (and it's a good thing that I didn't try it those years ago given my health, I probably wouldn't have survived it). There's no rush on this and I definitely don't need to push myself right now. Slow 'n steady, and all that jazz. The wait will just make me savor it all the more when it finally does happen.

So the date I set this weekend was for the Spring of 2011. It sounds like a long way away, but it's only a little over 2 years from now. One of those annoying things that life teaches is that time really does seem to move a lot quicker on this end of the candle. That old saying that youth is wasted on the young is true. Two years will disappear in a flash.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Weekend Randomness

Well October's halfway done and another weekend's come to an end. I didn't do anything productive on Saturday; slept in and then stayed at home all day.

This afternoon I went and got my hair cut at one of those cheap strip mall places that only charges $9 a pop. I've never seen the point in spending much more than that for my haircuts since there's not a lot involved in it. "Gimme a #4 blade on the sides and back, then scissor trim the top to blend in". It doesn't take long and it's pretty hard to mess it up.

Plus with the rate my hair's thinning, the scissor portion of it is getting somewhat less time consuming to cut. The stylist today even suggested that I might want to consider shortening it to a #3 blade all over, since that's a good look for men whose hair "is thinning out a lot around the edges like yours is." Thanks for putting it like that, I'm sure I'll hear those words echoing in my dreams. I'm ok with it thinning and have no qualms about being an old bald man one day. Really. It's just hearing it said so matter of factly like that from a complete stranger seemed to make it more real somehow.

After the trim I drove around for a few hours enjoying the clear day and found my way over to the new REI store that opened this weekend. Very cool 2-story store jam packed with outdoor gear and clothing. It was crawling with customers on both floors, but strangely no one was buying anything. They were all milling about the aisles standing in front of all the stuff I wanted to look at, but no one was in the checkout lines. I signed up for some camping gear giveaway (i.e. put my name on a mailing list for snail mail spam) and spent some time ogling the attractive people who were staffing the place but ended up not buying anything either. Very cool store though, if a bit overpriced compared to what I've seen online.

I was hoping they might have some camping hammocks either on display or at least there in the store that I could look at, but all they had were a few traditional tents and accessories. Guess I'll just have to bite the bullet and get one online and hope I like it.

Friday, October 17, 2008

TV Update

I haven't decided if I'm enjoying this season's TV story lines yet. Some of the shows I watch have been decent so far but others are leaving me a bit bored. And yeah, I realize I watch too much television. But other than the shows listed here I don't really watch anything else beyond a random show on Discovery or Sci-Fi here and there.

Amazing Race: Pretty good so far. They've picked a nice mix of couples to compete, but this show's always been a bit better than most other "reality" shows out there.

Heroes: Meh, it's boring me and I don't care for the character changes they've made. A couple twists isn't so bad, but changing every single person's personality is a bit much. My biggest peeves: Suresh was better as the bumbling scientist instead of a "Fly" ripoff; Sylar was MUCH more interesting as a villain; Peter needs to just disappear for several episodes, I'm tired of him altogether.

Pushing Daisies: Love this show. Quirky characters, weird stories, strange dialog, unusual sets and scenery, and a completely unbelievable premise to base the show on to begin with. It's practically perfect in every way.

Survivor: About what I expect from the show. I don't have many feelings about it yet either way, but it usually takes me about half the season to get involved with many characters anyway.

My Name is Earl: Watched the first 2 episodes (shown back-to-back as the season opener). Haven't seen an episode since, and haven't really missed it. It's not that I stopped liking the show, I record it every week. I just haven't had a desire to watch it.

The Office: Love it. The first couple of episodes were a bit off but the last few have been right on the mark. The best written and acted show on television today.

Grey's Anatomy: I was on the fence about this one after last season; it was getting a bit too preachy for my taste. It hasn't been too bad yet so I'll keep watching for a while. I'm enjoying the burgeoning lesbian love affair between Callie and Erica, but the whole Meredith and Derek thing is old and tiresome, it needs to be resolved soon so they can move to something else.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

12 of 12

"12 of 12" is a cool concept developed by Chad. On the 12th of every month you take 12 pictures to show how you spent your day. I've been meaning to do it for a couple of months now but always forget about it until the 13th. This month it just happened to be the day the family gathered to celebrate my Dad and Sister's birthdays so I already had a reason to snap some pics. (Their birthdays aren't the same day, we just consolidate and have a big gathering).

(Click pics to embiggen)

8:25am. Asheville, NC. My reminder to do "12 of 12" this month.

12:19pm. Black Mountain, NC. On I-40 East heading towards my parent's house for the birthday festivities.

1:11pm. Hickory, NC. Success! Arriving at their house.

1:12pm. Hickory, NC. I'm greeted by my niece, nephew, and mother at the front door.

1:14pm. Hickory, NC. Just in time for way too much mom-cooked food (it was all delicious, Ma).

3:11pm. Hickory, NC. My niece is going as "Belle" from Beauty and the Beast for Halloween this year and had to model the dress for me.

4:00pm. Hickory, NC. We spent most of the afternoon outside since it was a gorgeous Fall day. Here are the kids riding their bikes and big wheels.

5:24pm. Hickory, NC. It's become a family tradition to have balloons at every birthday gathering, and at some point before the day is over we go outside and release them into the sky and watch as they float away. I had the white one this time.

6:16pm. Hickory, NC. Mom's flowers are still looking pretty good. They probably only have a few more weeks before the cold weather gets them though.

6:23pm. Hickory, NC. Taken by my 4½ year old niece. She has a good eye for detail.

6:36pm. Hickory, NC. Sun's starting to set, almost time to go home.

7:17pm. Morganton, NC (or thereabouts). On I-40 West headed back home. Not a bad day at all.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Another Dream

I've been having this odd recurring dream for the last few weeks. I don't have it every night but it keeps popping up every few days. It happened again last night.

In it I'm walking along a dirt path about the width of a road, and there are puddles of water scattered around it. The puddles are pretty big but they're not very deep. I go from one to another and I kneel down and place my right hand in the water for a few minutes. The heat from my hand warms the water enough to purify it somehow. I usually only do one puddle per dream so it ends as I'm standing up and getting ready to move on to the next. It's a very cool dream and I always wake up feeling good after I have one.

Last night's was a tad different. I warmed a puddle and moved to the side of the path to do another, only this one's water was almost dried up and was a milky stagnant color. There was only enough water to get my fingers wet in it, and it wouldn't heat up. I'll have to try to remember it's a dream the next time it happens and see if I can look around a bit.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Max Patch

I went on a bit of an outing this morning. A friend and I drove up to Max Patch. It was my first time on a "bald" (grass-covered treeless peak) and also my first time setting foot on the Appalachian Trail, but it will not be my last.

The place is simply stunning. A complete 360° view from the top, and the morning was crystal clear and crisp and that made the view even better. It's been described as a "Sound of Music" type place and that fits it perfectly. A twirling Julie Andrews singing to the hills would not have been out of place at all.

The pics I took of the trip can be found here.

Anyone who is ever close to it should definitely take the time to stop and see it. The parking area is at the base of the bald and it's just a short walk to the top; not strenuous by any means. I can't wait to go back.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Trashy Neighbors

I seem to be attracting the worst neighbors. The younger girl who lives next to me is at it again. She's had trash piled up outside her front door for about a week now. There's so much of it this time that several bags have toppled down her steps. I haven't seen her car parked in the lot since she put it there. And the nice clean, empty dumpster is mere yards away.

At least the woman who moved in below me seems to be fairly normal and quiet. So far.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


I went hiking up to the top of Mt. Pisgah early yesterday afternoon. The sign at the trailhead says it's "steep in spots" which, in my opinion, is a gross understatement. Most of the trail books I've seen list it as a "moderate" hike but the rockiness of the path, especially near the summit, makes it a bit tougher than average.

The almost 360° view from the top is well worth it though, and yesterday was a nice crisp day which made for some spectacular shots. There's a radio/tv tower that blocks part of the view and an observation platform at the top which ends up being a nice little social area for people to chit-chat after the climb.

The trees are starting to change a bit at that elevation, hopefully it'll be a nice leaf year.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


I rarely remember my dreams, so I've started trying to record the ones that happen to still be in my memory when I wake up. One of those happened last night. It's not a particularly odd and/or disturbing one this time.

I was with a friend (I don’t know which one) in what felt like a courtroom type of setting. It wasn’t an actual courtroom, but there was a definite feel of my side vs. their side type of thing going on. I was on one side of the room with my friend (it feels like my sister?) and she was arguing about something with a woman and man on the “other side” of the room.

My sister (it’s definitely her, I can tell that now) has just said something about religion and marriage and the woman is responding to her. That’s when I chime in with my opinion. I don’t remember the specifics of everything that’s being said, but the woman says something about Jesus not renewing someone’s marriage, thus proving her point (don’t know what her point was or if the “renewing” thing is in the Bible anywhere). My response has something to do with “reality” and how it’s perceived differently by everyone, which silences the woman and proves her wrong somehow.

I wake up.

It's pretty easy to connect things to the waking world in this one:

I've recently been called for jury duty (I go the end of this month), so there's the courtroom, us vs. them thing.

I began reviewing our Policy Manual at work yesterday and found several inconsistencies concerning our equal opportunity and discrimination policies. And I have a history of pointing out religious overtones in the workplace with Human Resources. So the equal rights/keep religious opinion to yourself thing is fresh on my mind. It also reinforces the us vs. them image of the room I was in.

I also began re-reading a book on Toltec Wisdom last night, and the chapter I read concerned how we all live in our own reality and have others’ realities pushed onto us from the time we’re born. What we choose to accept and add to our own reality depends on us and no one else. I’ve started the book before but never finished it as it didn’t seem to do anything for me.

Pretty cool how the mind sorts everything out and puts it all into a nice little sketch for me to act out while I'm asleep.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


I did something today that I haven't done in over a year: I went walking in the woods. I scanned through my pics on Flickr and it looks like the last time I did that was back on July 13 of last year (I went down to Brevard with a friend and walked around looking at waterfalls and possible camping spots). I went camping almost a year ago today, but after that I pretty much stopped going outside completely.

I went to the Blue Ridge Parkway today and stopped at the French Broad River Bridge and walked north on the Mountains to Sea Trail. I ended up out there for about 35 minutes. It was nice to be in the woods again.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Labor Day Hermit

Labor Day Weekend 2008 has come and gone, and how did I spend it? I spent about 30 minutes on Saturday to at the grocery store and then did the same today, otherwise I went through the entire 3 days sealed away inside the apartment.

I didn't even set foot outside at all on Sunday.

I keep doing this; pulling farther and farther into myself and avoiding contact with everyone. Am I really that scared of everything?

Thursday, August 28, 2008


The remnants of Hurricane Fay have been rolling through here for the last 2 days and they've dumped a huge load of rainfall on us. We've been in bad drought conditions for a few years now so we need all the rain we can get, but this much this fast is starting to cause a few problems.

Last night around 9:00pm I heard a loud crash from outside and knew that another tree had fallen. Sure enough, the large tree that's been leaning badly for years now came crashing down. Luckily it didn't hit any of the apartment buildings, people, or cars but it has managed to block off the lower parking lot.

Some guys were here about 30 minutes ago with a chainsaw, but they left soon afterwards without doing anything noticeable. I think they may have underestimated the size of the tree and have hopefully gone to get something bigger than the single, small chainsaw they brought.

The guys finally got the tree "cleared" around noon. They had to call in some local guys with longer, more powerful chainsaws to cut through the trunk. They got it sliced up and rolled out of the driveway so we can get in and out. 'Course they didn't clear it away or anything, this is Candler after all. I predict it'll be here for at least another month before they do anything else.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Mondays

Today was a bad day. Not because of anything that happened though, it was basically my attitude that made the day suck. I woke up this morning and did not want to be around anyone. I wanted to be left alone and not interact with people whatsoever. And I can't think of any particular reason for it either; it was just one of those days. I didn't want to speak to anyone; I didn't want to deal with anything; I wanted to sit at home and be pissy about everything and nothing.

But of course it was a Monday, and the weekly meeting I have to sit through at 9:00am ran longer than normal. Sitting in a hot, stuffy room listening to people drone on about things that have absolutely nothing to do with my job for 2 hours didn't really improve my mood much either. And it only got worse from there.

By the end of the day I had exhausted everything I could find to complain about and started getting mad at myself for being so pissy to begin with and ruining my day.

Of course now that the day's over I can see how silly it all was, and if I'd only made myself change my attitude first thing this morning I would have had a much nicer day. I'll try that next time, but every now and then it feels kind of good to have a pissy day. Gets it out of my system in one big burst.

Friday, August 22, 2008

A Week Ago

Well it’s been a week now since I lost the Shelbster, and I’m slowly adjusting to her not being there. I don’t think you truly realize how much a part of your life your pet is until they’re not there anymore. I find myself still talking to her like I used to do and I still expect to see her sitting in her favorite spots around the house when I turn around or enter a room. I haven’t collected up her stuff and packed it away yet (toys, bowls, leash, etc.) since I’m not quite ready to remove her completely from the place. Like everything else the time for that will come when it comes, and I’m not in a hurry for it to happen yet.

The biggest adjustment so far has been going to sleep at night. She always slept in the bed, so suddenly not having her there after 10 years has caused a bit of insomnia. Plus she always had to be touching me if she could, even if it was barely making contact at my feet. It comforted her and let her sleep better, and apparently it did the same for me too since I’ve found that I have problems going to sleep without it. I’ve co-opted a pillow from the couch to give me a physical “presence” in the bed, and it’s helped a lot, but I have a feeling it’s going to be a while before I really get used to an empty bed again.

My family and friends have been very supportive through it all since they know how big a part of me she was, and that’s helped quite a bit. I even got a nice card (hand-signed with well wishes) from the vet’s office early this week and it’s helped a lot as well.

This may sound odd as I’ve experienced the loss of loved ones before, but losing Shelbe has really made me realize how permanent death is and how quickly it happens. It’s not that I didn’t know that before now or that I’m saying her death was somehow more meaningful or important than anyone else’s. I think the difference for me now is that I’ve seen it happen. I held her head and watched as she was there one second, and the next she was gone forever. It wasn’t some big cosmic event with dramatic music playing or anything, it was simply a tiny instant in time when everything from her perspective and everything she was a part of simply ended. And that realization is having a rather profound effect on me.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


“To own a dog is to know that one day, you will cry.” I read that quote once a long time ago and it describes perfectly the day I’ve just had. I don’t remember who said it, so I don’t know whom to give credit for it, but the truth in those few words hit me hard and often all day today.

For the last week or so Shelbe’s energy levels have been dropping and her appetite coming and going. Then on Sunday she stopped eating altogether and I noticed her breathing getting heavier. I took her to the vet on Monday and she spent the remainder of the week there. Her pancreas had basically shut down and her body was starting to get thrown out of whack because of it. The vet called me this morning and told me the situation, and I made The Decision. I scheduled the appointment later in the afternoon, and then went to be with her at the end.

After all she’s been through in the last two years I knew this time was coming, but that didn’t make any of it easier. But once they brought her into the room I knew The Decision was the right one. Her breathing was very labored and wheezing, and she barely had enough energy to hold up her head. I could tell she didn’t really know where she was or what was going on, but there was a glint of recognition in her eyes when she saw me, and I knew that she realized I was there with her. She laid her head in my hands and I scratched that special spot on her ear until she breathed out for the final time.

There have been a number of nicknames I’ve given Shelbe over the last decade (Shelbster, Shelbe-Dog, Baby Doll, Pretty Girl, Shelllbeee [said in a high-pitched droning voice], Shelbe-Lynn, Lil' Miss Shelbe-Dog, just to name a few), but the one I liked and used the most often was “Shelbe-Dog”. It rolled off the tongue easily and it always sent her tail into a wagging frenzy.

Thank you Shelbe-Dog, for the 10 years of life that you gracefully shared with me. Thank you for showing me the true meaning of unconditional love and happiness every day when I walked in the front door. Thank you for listening patiently to my rants, for making me laugh when I needed it, and for catching my tears without judgment when they fell.

Good night Shelbe-Dog. I’m going to miss you.
March 7, 1998 - August 14, 2008

Friday, August 8, 2008

An Anniversary, of Sorts

6 months ago today I was in the hospital. I was spending my 2nd evening there after being admitted hurriedly following a visit to the cardiologist for chest pains. I’d spent that day and the afternoon before speaking to numerous doctors, having all kinds of tests done, and eating some rather bland food (low salt, low fat). After all the doc conversations and tests, a diagnosis was reached and I was to be sent home the following day so we could start putting the plans to fix things into motion. Things like angioplasties & stents, MRIs & CAT scans, aneurysms & occluded arteries. And of course the possibility of more serious surgeries later in life when things get worse, which inevitably for me they will. And a lot of what was decided has already happened in the 6 months since then.

I’d like to say I lay there that night pondering deep meaningful things like life, health, and family. You know, the types of things you’re supposed to contemplate when a life-altering event happens and you come face-to-face with your own mortality. But I just don’t think like that, and don’t remember ever thinking that way. I spend my time disconnected from reality and everyone around me. It’s like I’m slightly out of phase with the rest of the world. Things happen to my body and in my life, but I’m not really there feeling any of it.

So instead of meditating on life and its meanings, I lay there with my mind a blank. I didn’t set new goals for myself and start myself down a path of renewed spirits, I was frustrated by the poor sound quality of the TV speakers in the room and pissed that there was nothing good to watch on a Friday night.

And here I sit half a year later on another Friday night. There’s still nothing good to watch on TV and I’m still floating around aimlessly as life happens to everyone else.

At least the sound quality’s a bit better though.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Wanna Feel Old?

Remember when this Nirvana album came out, way back in 1991?

Well here's that cute little baby now, age 17. And here's a link to a recent news article about him in case you want more info.

Where does the time go?

(pics courtesy of www.npr.org)