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January 08, 2006

"I don't know yet but can we all agree to quit winding my grandmother up?"

I try not to read posts after I make them. I read them enough when I write them that I never go back later unless I'm trying to find something I've already mentioned.

That being said I went back to night and re-read my last entry.

Since writing it I've gotten some very nice emails and phone calls from people who've been concerned about my well being. While externally I've always come across as a very public person I am, in fact, a very private person. My last post makes me uncomfortable to read so that should give you an idea of how close to home it hits.

The last week has been filled with questions but little in the way of answers. I spent all of last weekend in limbo waiting for the doctors offices to have the results so that I could make an appointment. (Friday was too soon, they were all closed on Monday and even calling first thing on Tuesday got me an appointment on Wednesday morning at the earliest.) In my state of mind those 5 days seemed to take forever.

At the same time I was now taking a delightful cocktail of medicine to try and get my throat back on the mend that included steroids, painkillers, etc. This led to my being tired, I slept from 6 pm Friday night to almost 10 am on Saturday morning, or irritable to the point that the smallest things bothered me and that Jack and Fabulous Babe were both sick. (He had a double ear infection and she got the throat based flu that she then gave to me.)

At one point on Saturday I sat down on the edge of our bathtub and just looked at myself in the mirror. Before I knew it I had my clippers out.

It's the same pair of clippers I bought after the surgery 7 years ago. At the time I had a bandage on the side of my head that covered the stitches and a circular bald spot where they prepped the area for surgery. After I got home and was well enough to move around I went to the Wal-Mart that was near by, scared the staff and bought the clippers. I figured out, correctly, that being bald would distract everyone from my bandage.

So Saturday afternoon I'm sitting there and I start by "touching up" my haircut with the clippers. (It was already short but not "stubble" short.) Pretty soon I've screwed this up so badly there really isn't any choice but to take the plastic guard off, push the metal guard all the way back and, quoting Larry the Cable guy, "Git-R-Done" as the case may be. In about 10 minutes I'm bald.

It was interesting as I was working with the clippers. I remembered standing in Baltimore doing the same thing. (This time I was smart enough to hold my head over something to catch the hair. Who says Fabulous Babe hasn't improved me.) In some ways it was the final thing I needed that let me shake off all of the thoughts from the last couple of days. After Saturday afternoon I was actually more at peace with things than I had been before that.

Saturday night, I think, I got a call from Auntie Dearest. After reading the post here she got flustered and called. Despite my having a hard time speaking I told her everything was going to be fine and not to panic. This did no good as she called my grandmother the next day and wound her up to the point that she called in a worried out of her skull fluster.


I walked my grandmother through the whole thing, praising my painkillers at the same time, and told her that everything was going to be fine and to relax.

Wednesday morning I'm the doctors first appointment.

The good news? No growths, tumors, unborn baby brothers or sisters or any other foreign object in my neck. The blood work is equally clear.

The bad news? No clue what is going on and the MRI's aren't conclusive. What that means is the doctor I went to can't tell what is going on and want's my regular physician to refer me to someone else who specializes in reading MRIs.

For the after dinner mint to the whole experience the Doctor and I compare notes and he realizes that either he or the pharmacy screwed up one of the prescriptions directions which might have a lot to do with my demeanor resembling that of an annoyed Kodiak grizzly bear.

So I'm now in limbo, waiting for my next specialist appointment to be set up. My throat, not as bad as it was, is still in pain and my voice has a sexy Nick Nolte quality. (Best described as sounding like I've consumed 3 packs of Camel no filters and a fifth of Jack Daniels every day for the last 20 years.) It hurts to talk so I'm trying no to unless it's necessary. I'm taking painkillers and some other medicine to heal things along and, mostly, am biding my time.

Thanks for the prayers and good thoughts. They helped more than you will ever know. Knowing it wasn't the worst but trying to tell your subconscious are two entirely different things. Sometimes you need people on the outside lending a voice.

Posted by Jim at 10:56 PM | Comments (0)

"That's GREAT Mazinga to you chump."

When I was a kid all I wanted for Christmas one year was one of the Shogun Warriors that Mattel had imported from Japan. I struck out for Christmas but my Grandmother moved heaven and earth and got me one for my birthday the next year.

Which one was it? Why, the Great Mazinga of course. Here, take a look:


Who wouldn't want that badass in your toy closet? He looks like he's ready to kick butt and not bother taking names because it's beneath him.

Mazinga was the Samual L. Jackson of the Shogun Warriors. (The other two initial Shogun Warriors, Dragun and Raydeen didn't hold a candle to Mazinga.) Even better to a little kid was that Mazinga shot missiles, had two swords and came with a detachable spaceship brain. Take that loser kid down the street with an invisible friend only they could see.

I still have Mazinga. Everywhere I've moved Mazinga's gone with me. (I may have Mazinga buried with me.) Sometimes I wonder what Jack's Mazinga will be.

Posted by Jim at 11:37 PM | Comments (0)

January 09, 2006

"Snow day..."

One day last week when it finally got a couple of degrees above freezing we took Jack outside for some sledding action...


This is Jack on his sled. Like all things toddler scaled it's got a molded seat and the all important seat belt. I took this shortly after his first run down the hill to the side of our house.


Here's Fabulous Babe lugging Jack back up after the disaster that was the 2nd run. Jack leaned to the side and ended up tilting the sled over and doing a face plant. I was accused of being a terrible driver and had to relinquish control.


Jack being towed up hill. Notice he's leaning back as far as possible to try and have another accident.


The previously mentioned lean in action. Disaster soon followed.


Here's Jack trying to make a snow angel with a few difficulties. The problem mostly lays with the fact that due to the cold the snow has frozen solid so all Jack really accomplished was that he lay there like a fish out of water. He's looking to mom for help because, like any good father, I was too busy laughing to offer any practical advice.

Posted by Jim at 12:00 AM | Comments (0)

"Looks like a warpath to me..."

I found this in the photo archive tonight. My dad scanned it in a while back when he was sharing some old photos with some of the family.


Those are two of my uncles in the midst of what appears to be an enforced time out during what must have been a ferocious game of Cowboys and Indians. I always get a huge kick out of it and thought I would share.

It also amuses me to see my one uncle pleading his case with with whoever was taking the picture while my other uncle is simply scoping out where to launch the next volley of arrows when the time comes.

Posted by Jim at 12:16 AM | Comments (0)

Favorite Pictures Part 1.

I had someone email me the other day and ask if I had any favorite pictures that I hadn't posted. That set me to thinking so I decided I would start poking around in the archive a bit and see what came to mind.

Here are a few of my favorites:


I took this during our trip out to the Western shore of Washington state with Fabulous Babe's parents, Farmer Mom and Dad, and her Grandmother. It was a blustery day and we had wandered down to the beach where the surf was rolling in trees that had gone into the ocean during a storm a few days previously.

Fabulous Babe and her father are incredibly similar. (Some might say equally stubborn.) When the two of them walked out along the beach that day it was a great father and daughter moment.


I took this in Seattle at the top of Queen Anne hill when a friend of Fabulous Babe's, the Silver Fox, was visiting. He wanted to see a good view of Seattle and we took him to where every production company filming a television or movie comes to.

I used to have this as my desktop picture until a couple of years ago. It's a picture that brings up a lot of emotion for me. Some homesickness for Seattle, some revulsion at the simply awful EMP museum that Paul Allen built that is visible. (The brightly colored mess above the white building.) Mostly it reminds me of the good friends we made while living there.


This is a picture of Fabulous Babe and My Canadian Sister that we took when she came to visit us out in Seattle. While I call her my sister she's really one of Fabulous Babe's bestest, bestest friends in the whole wide world. I think this is a wonderful picture of the two of them together.

It was close to Christmas when I took the picture. We had gone to Molbaks, the giant nursery in Woodinville that is the hub of all things gardening on the Eastside of Seattle. During that same visit my Canadian Sister took a picture of us that we used on our Christmas cards that year. (FB's mom still has it on their television.) What was so striking that day was the vivid colors of the flowers. That brilliant riot of the spectrum really came through in the pictures that I took.

Lest you think my Canadian Sister is too prim and proper...


Here's a shot my dad snagged of her at our wedding reception. If that doesn't sum up a good time I don't know what does.

(If you're curious, from left to right, it's my old friend from my hometown, my cousin "Chuck", my Canadian Sister and the hand of my sister in law, Mary Jane Watson.)

Posted by Jim at 12:26 AM | Comments (0)

January 19, 2006

No. I don't know anything yet...

I've got another appointment with a specialist scheduled in a few days. Ideally we'll know more then. I have some wonderful painkillers so it's not too bad.

Went the Leafs game last night. Big write up later tonight.

Posted by Jim at 12:23 PM | Comments (0)

Favorite Pictures Vol. 2

As I'm still a bit under the weather here's more favorites from the "Photos" folder on the G: drive...


Shot during our trip through Western Washington state. All it needs is Julie Andrew's twirling about in a nun's outfit singing and ripping her top off. Oh wait, that last bit was from one of her husband's movies. (She married Blake Edwards and went on to do a topless scene in his movie "S.O.B." which disappointed my grandmother to no end.)


Occasionally you see something that reminds you that the places we live in used to be something completely different. This is a picture of a pylon that I found next to a parking lot one day in Seattle. What is its purpose? To mark the spot where Will Rogers played his last game of polo.

Here is a closeup of the plaque: Will Rogers plaque

It reads: "On this field Will Rogers took his last ride - Shrines erected around the world will commemorate his passing, but none could be more hallowed than this little patch of ground where the kindly, chuckling, hardriding cowboy played his last game of polo before he went roaring to his last round-up. We still hear his cheery haloo as with broad grin on weathered-lined face he urged his pony into the thick of play. To the spirty of a mighty adventurer Hail and Farewell."

I love Will Rogers and yet as time passes fewer and fewer people will know who he was or what he meant to so many Americans at the time he was famous. If you think Jon Stewart is funny realize that Will Rogers had him beat 9 ways from Sunday and inspired people to create things like this. It says a lot for the man.


I'm sure I posted this somewhere before but it appears not. This is Fabulous Babe from our trip to New York where I was on Perceset for my broken leg and she was on Perceset for meningitis. As stoned as she was at the time I still think this shot of her at Rockefeller Center is quite nice. The colors in the flowers and her hair make a nice contrast.

Time to embarass Goolia.

Everyone in my family loves Goolia. She and her sister both are like sisters to me so it's with great pleasure I share a couple of pictures that I found of her that I like:


From the wedding reception for her sister in NY. (See above picture of FB.) She looked great and, via some clever photo cropping, you're left with her coy smile and spared her ex-boyfriend.


From our wedding reception. A bit grainy due to the lower megapixel ratings of a few years ago but still a nice pose and proof that beauty will always triumph over poor photograph conditions.

Posted by Jim at 12:26 PM | Comments (0)

Jack's Library

I've always maintained that in raising children one of the most important responsiblities you have to undertake is making sure they're surrounded by good books.

To this end I'm always on the lookout for things that I think Jack should have. Granted he may decide that this "reading" thing is for the birds and may simply embrace pretty colors, odd shapes and signing an "x" for his name but my hope springs eternal.

I frequently rummage through piles of old books in an effort to find things that I think he'll want later on. In the last month or two this has turned up some exceptional additions to his shelves.

The first is a copy of "the" Wernher von Braun's "History of Rocketry and Space Travel" in great shape. (It's the ultra rare, super snazzy edition covered in tooled mission leather.) I snagged this for $5.00 and just about danced into the parking lot. The technical information and von Braun's attention to detail on both his work for Germany during World War 2 and for the U.S. afterwards is fascinating reading. This is literally a book that could bootstrap a countries efforts to get a rocket into space.

It also brings to mind the old joke that von Braun's autobiographys should have been titled "I aimed for the stars but sometimes I hit London." lol

Then came a load of Piratical adventures! I found a 1922 copy of "Treasure Island" with astonishing illustrations that just make you want to pick it up and start reading it. At the same time the shelf yielded a copy of "Blackbeards Buccaners" and a copy of "Mutineers!" which are both of a similar nature. (Young boys get caught up in an adventure on the high seas.) Perfect reading for under a tree on a warm summer day.

I've a few more but I want to scan a few things first.

Posted by Jim at 09:22 PM | Comments (0)

January 23, 2006

"Guess where we went..."


Hint: It was a heck of a lot warmer there than home.

More after I finish uploading the pictures.

Posted by Jim at 12:21 AM | Comments (0)

January 24, 2006

"It's a park? Based on cartoons?"

Fabulous Babe had an offsite meeting in Orlando last week. When we first heard about it we decided that since she already had the hotel room it might be a good time for Jack and I to come down after the "work" portion was done and visit Walt Disney World for a couple of days.

I was a little wary due to a.) it would be Jack's first plane flight and b.) I would have to lug Jack and his 1800 metric tons of stuff through the airport by myself. (Car seat, diaper bag, small child, stroller, etc.) It a bit awkward trying to balance everything while going through the terminal but in the end it all went fine and Thursday night we landed in Miami. (Special thanks go to my large supply of Nuks and Jack's Big Bird doll.)

Friday we woke up, got dressed, hopped on the bus, rode the monorail to the Magic Kingdom and arrived at what the Best Woman refers to as "The second happiest place on earth!" (Disneyland having come before Disney World.) Crowds were light, the weather was perfect and who did we meet when we walked through the door?


A gigantic rat! (FB spotted Mickey and noticed the really short line to pose with him so we jumped right in.) At first Jack wasn't really warm to him but within a few seconds that hesitation turned around and began laughing and smiling. It is pretty hard not to smile at the thought of giant cartoon mouse.


With the 50th anniversary of Disneyland they've gone to the effort of Pimping up the Castle in all of the parks. It's like MTV's show collided with the Imagineer Holiday party. It supposedly lights up and looks great but during the day it's simply gawdawful.


That's right. They sell toy GUNS to kids at Disneyworld! In multiple locations! It warmed my heart so much I had to take a picture. Sure you can buy everything you can think of with a Princess on it but before your Junior Woodchuck gets depressed just point out that he or she can also buy a swell cap pistol or rifle.

I sincerely hope that one of those daft "Children should never have violent toys" types sees this picture and keels over from a heart attack. Imagine the shock from the realization that Disney, the paragons of politically correct culture and branding, have realized there's a cubic acre of money to be made selling kids toy guns and acted on it. (We saw tons of kids with them.) *chuckle*


Jack at lunch, still wearing his personalized hat. If you want that done you have to visit "The Chappeau" on Main Street. We learned that with our last trip.

Notice the mouse shaped bowl of Mac and cheese.


Jack on the Merry Go Round. This may have been Jack's favorite ride according to Fabulous Babe. He certainly looked happy as a clam as we went spinning around.

After the Merry Go Round we headed off to "It's a Small World", a ride left over from the 1964 World's fair. (In another post I'll explain how important that was.) Since we were last there the whole ride has gone through a massive refurbishment. (In my opinion it doesn't suck anymore.) We were both impressed by the new paint and characters.


I'm going to have to keep Jack away from these French women of course. I saw the look in their eye and caught them showing Jack a bit more of their pantaloons that I'm comfortable with.


By 2:00 Jack decided it was nap time. Since Tomorrowland has always been something of a snooze Jack decided to blend in. He slept for about a half an hour and then woke up ready to go some more which was perfect as it was now time for the "characters enclosed in air conditioned bubbles" parade.


I held Jack on my shoulders and took about 40 pictures. This one sums it up nicely. Jack was waving the whole time but his was but one arm wave in a sea of gesturing children and the closest we got to a character stopping near us was one of the primates from the Jungle Book.

I've decided to ease back on my policy of no pictures of myself. Here's one of the author about to embark on a cruise with the Pirates of the Carribbean.


Oops! Took the picture during moonlight. My bad.

More later.

Posted by Jim at 08:28 AM | Comments (0)