31 January 2008

Yesterday I said something about craving Vietnamese and thought I might go for some today.

I did it. I called Pho Saigon with a to-go order. There, Pearl and I talked about the weather while she rang up my order. In her very thick and sometimes hard to understand Vietnamese accent she mentioned that today's rain — projected to turn to sleet and/or ice — is awful, but that she'd rather be here than Boston. I agreed. Backing away from my parking space, I heard a hideous noise. Fearful that I'd nearly ripped the front bumper off of my car, I put the shifter back into park, stepped out into the sleety-rain to see what the hell was going on. This particular parking space has a concrete stop with a 2-inch piece of rebar protuding from the top. Luckily, I couldn't see any immediate damage. I got back into the car and slowly made my way back to the office.

Pho Saigon's combination vermicelli features an charcoal broiled pork, shrimp, and an egg roll on lettuce, julienne cucumbers, carrots, and daikon radish, with chopped peanuts on vermicelli. I pour over the fish sauce and add Tuong ot toi Viet Nam chili garlic sauce. It's divine. Along with that I got an order of spring rolls and plum sauce. I love spring rolls, the non-fried, fresh ones in this case. During the Memphis Music and Heritage Festival at Court Square some fifteen or so years ago I ate my first one from a restaurant called Indochina. It was a fantastic, mint, shrimp and rice noodle filled bit of heaven, a bit larger in size than a roll of Life Savers. But the ones from Pho Saigon seem to grow larger with each visit. They're just too big at today's size of — I'm guessing — 2.5 inches in diameter and more than 4 inches long.

Watching the Travel Channel while I ate, I knew better than to eat all of the vermicelli. I knew better than to begin eating the second spring roll. But, it's all so good. Halfway through the second spring roll I had to quit. I know that the bloated feeling I have right now will subside by the time I leave for the gym. I'll work it off if we don't get the severe winter weather we're forecast this afternoon. T-minus one minute and counting....

30 January 2008

Nothing extraordinary occured over lunch in the diner downstairs today.

I ate Peeled shrimp with lemon, a small salad of romaine, grape tomatoes, button mushrooms and tuna with sesame tamari dressing and hot green tea to drink. Anne had a Lean Cuisine pizza, Eric ate some Blazing Noodles from Pei Wei and Donna M had some Nutrisystem soup and a salad with her day's allowance of shredded carrots. She's doing great, losing 13 pounds in the last month, her first on the plan.

While eating in saves money and time, I think I'd like to venture away from the office for Vietnamese combination vermicelli tomorrow.

29 January 2008

It's been a while... I'll try to do better

Downstairs in the diner, I ate leftovers from a dinner I made the other night: meatloaf (turkey, beef, lamb) and "California mashers." Over the course of a little under an hour, I saw and talked to Jo, Wil, Anita, Anne, Jami, Donna G., Randall, Michelle, Jamie, Amy W., Andrea, Cherie and Michael.

Topics of discussion: the news that was airing, the elections, California mashers, Raising Arizona, Pan's Labyrinth, First Wives Club, Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte, iced tea, Mayor Herenton, Bush.

25 January 2008

In Like a Lion

I don't know if the old adage about March applies here, but 2008 has come in like Calypso seeking revenge on Davy Jones in Pirates of the Caribbean III.

Not that there haven't been some uplifting moments three weeks into the New Year, but there have been seemingly more grievous ones. First, we lost Doris. Secondly, Cameron has been pulled off work to overcome Pneumonia, a staph infection (no doubt picked up in one of his layover hotels), and I learned this morning as a result of his complete physical that the second blood analysis reaveals that he's diabetic. He left for Methodist Germantown this morning for a stress test.

Day before yesterday I was eating a cheeseburger from Burger King. This was not a Whopper. It was one of the small pucks with mustard, ketchup and pickle. (I know. It's bad, but I've been in a rut for the last couple of weeks not having enough time to do much of anything for lunch, let alone go shopping to stock my office fridge.) While eating this burger, one of my lower right teeth encountered a bone. It broke off the side of my tooth. So, I get to go to the dentist for three hours of installing a temporary crown. To be fair, I believe this tooth had a hairline crack in it for the last three years. Yet, when I've talked to my dentist about it at each of my 6-month cleanings and annual X-rays, they've been able to find nothing. You see, three years ago Cameron and I went to the St. Jude fundraiser called Red Carpet Bash at Hollywood Casino. While there I enjoyed a real Caesar salad, with anchovies and peppercorns. One of those glorious black orbs is the culprit. I apparently bit into it at precisely where my porcelain filling and tooth bonded together. Oh well.

On with the positive. Remember my last post that chronicles my anticipation for a visit from my younger brother, two sisters and neice? My brother couldn't make it Sunday because he had an 8 A.M. job interview the following morning that he'd already rescheduled once. Lisa, and her friend Gina arrived around 3:00 P.M. with Lisa's Boxer Lucy in tow. Tina, Kayla, Daisy and Georgia wouldn't make it until around 9:30 P.M.

Cameron and I took Lisa and Gina to bowling with us around 5:00 P.M. We returned home around 8:45, Tina arrived about an hour later. What I learned once they were in the house and getting settled was that this gathering wasn't completely for them to meet here so Lisa could acquire a second Boxer for her family.

They decided that they would meet here to bring us a second Boxer who might try to ease Billie's loneliness over the loss of Doris, but that Lisa would be here in case we weren't ready for a new baby. If we didn't keep her, Lisa would take her home to the Gulf Coast.

After some discussion, Lisa, Gina and Lucy headed south around 12:30 P.M. on Monday without Georgia. Lisa reminded me that if things didn't go well she would still take Georgia. But, I think things are going to be just fine. We have an appointment with Dr. McCutcheon on February 1 for spaying Georgia. In the meantime, here are some photos from the visit, but unfortunately, I got the camera out too late to include Lucy in the shots. I'll pull one from my archives to make things fair.

From front to back, Georgia, Billie and Daisy.

Georgia and her grinning-squeaky-wiener-dog toy.

Daisy Growling at the Camera.

Lucy multitasking in South Dakota, August 2005

19 January 2008

It's much more than waiting for the Heinz to drop from the bottle

I'm reminded of the ketchup commercials from the 70s where Carly Simon's famed "Anticipation" was the soundtrack for Heinz spots when I think of tomorrow's expectations. Side note: notice the spelling of "ketchup". I'm definitely a Heinz boy, but it has to be organic. No high fructose corn syrup.

You see, Billie has been so very lonely and not herself since we lost Doris. I anticipate tomorrow so much because Billie will have loads of Boxer cousins with which to play.

My younger brother, Christopher, has been very successful in placing orphaned Boxers amongst our family as well as his friends. My two sisters, Lisa and Tina, have Boxers that he helped them find. A failed attempt with a prospect for Lisa's second dog resulted in my mother's new family member -- a white Boxer -- Lily.

Lily is an awesome, sweet girl after my mother's dedication and love for a year -- it's undone the horrible treatment by the boyfriend of a psycho chick that Christopher once knew.

This is great considering that when Lily and Lucy were introduced, the former attacked the latter and the new union was called off. There were some extenuating circumstances involved (Lucy's leg surgery and 3-month recuperation). Considering the initial unfriendly meeting and Lucy's rehabilitation, Christopher decided it was best if Lily didn't go home with Lisa. It's all worked out for the best, and now we all have Boxers. Six in total, which was seven before Doris' untimely demise.

Now, Christopher has a second puppy for my sister Lisa. They're meeting here tomorrow so that he can deliver "Georgia" to her new mom and sister. As a bonus, however, my youngest sister Tina is driving them down here. Her Boxer, Daisy, and most likely, my niece Kayla will be in tow.

For so many reasons I am looking forward to this very quick one night visit. Christopher has never been here. Tina hasn't been here since her boys left Visible School (a Christian music academy) three years ago. Lisa hasn't been here in at least three years. It will be the first time all of us will be together in Cameron's and my home. Plus, Lisa is bringing her closest friend, Gina, for a what they refer to as "a spa weekend."

Apparently we treat our guests well. I've never really given it much thought. It's not anything I wouldn't do for whomever comes to visit, but it's special when everyone visiting thinks coming here is an awesome time.

I can't wait. As a bonus we're taking them to gay bowling tomorrow night. And, to my original thought, Billie will have a very exciting, exhausting, wonderful day.

God lover her. Yippee!

16 January 2008

71% Dixie?

I took this quiz at the suggestion of my friend Eric D. In fact, I think I may have done this before and even posted about it in the past.

Regardless, the results are still a bit puzzling to me since I grew up in Southern Indiana and was parented by a girl from Pennsylvania Dutch-country who made sure we didn't speak in hillbilly. For instance, "five" was "fyve," not "fav".

Interesting. Perhaps I HAVE been in Memphis for far too long.

11 January 2008

I'm Not Surprised

I pay as much attention to election news as possible. I watch debates. I also take what the media feeds us with a grain of salt, so I also look to many varied sources for my information.

Imagine my lack of surpise when I discovered through a quiz found here, the results of my leanings when compared to those of the presidential hopefuls. I was particularly content to find that the one I've been standing behind all along is a 91% match.

91% Hillary Clinton
91% Chris Dodd
90% Barack Obama
89% John Edwards
81% Bill Richardson
80% Joe Biden
76% Dennis Kucinich
75% Mike Gravel
49% Rudy Giuliani
37% John McCain
29% Tom Tancredo
27% Mitt Romney
27% Mike Huckabee
17% Fred Thompson
10% Ron Paul

2008 Presidential Candidate Matching Quiz

07 January 2008

I Can't Help It

I picked Doris' ashes up from our vet today. As such, I felt the need to honor her once more.

I asked Cameron for this photo from of his phone a few days ago, and because I love my Mac and it was easy as could be for my first attempt to connect through Bluetooth, I now have it.

My girl, in another shot that I'll always cherish:

05 January 2008

One Last Time

It's a grey rainy day and the weather seems befitting, for I've just returned from Dixie Memorial Gardens to see Doris one last time before her cremation at 9:00 A.M. I was reluctant to do so, but I feel so much more at peace right now knowing that she's not hurting anymore. There are no more eye drops or laser treatments. No more NSAIDs. No more shots. No more valium. She's finally at rest.

The house is so, so quiet. Billie seems to be having an increasingly difficult time without Doris. I wish for her to be OK but her best friend is nowhere to be found and it's obvious to me that she doesn't understand. She is spending a lot of time in Doris' bed, eyes wide open, waiting.

Big Daddy will be home today. God love him. Cameron has been out of town during the last four days. I can't wait to see him, hug him and tell him we love him. Those of us left behind will finally be together to comfort one another and remember Doris and the joy she brought to us in her short time on Earth.

We haven't had Christmas with them yet, so we're having David and John over tonight. As I stand at the grill, I'll imagine Doris licking another one in heaven.

04 January 2008

Doris, The Way She Should Be Remembered

Doris, April 2006

I just got "the call" from Dixie Memorial Gardens. I will see Doris one last time at 8:30 A.M., before her cremation begins. I haven't decided what I will do with the ashes. Cameron and I haven't had a chance to talk about much of any of this. I've thought of planting a tree and using her ashes in the soil. I just don't know right now.

I got the X-rays and the CT Scans from the surgeon's office today.

The tumor is inside the red circle, the dark area that appears to disconnect her spinal cord. The mass was compressing her nerves, making it impossible for her to tell where her front legs were, which is why her motor skills deteriorated so quickly. I'm glad she no longer suffers. I remember her looking the way she does above.

I Needed A Laugh

My friend, David, sent me this a couple of weeks ago and I'm just now getting around to watching it. There must've been a reason for the delay because I really needed this, and because it's from one of my favorite people it's even better.

The River Doris

We used to have a low, red, plastic water bowl in the kitchen. It's outside now and has been for years. Doris used to tilt her head when she drank out of it, licking the inside of the bowl, leaking as much water on the floor as she drank. And with the gentle tilt of the kitchen floor toward the back door, there would be a stream of water for 2 to 3 feet after she'd finish.

We switched the water bowl for a small bucket to fix the problem. But, right now, I'd give anything to walk through "The River Doris" in my sock feet. Anything.

I'm a Wreck

I woke up this morning thinking I might be ok. When I asked Billie if she wanted breakfast she bounded out of bed and headed toward the door. I let her outside and she went looking for Doris. When I let her inside, she went from room to room, looking for Doris.

My heart aches for us all. I can't do much without bursting into tears. Grabbing the food bowls this morning and filling only one sent me over the edge.

Who's going to bounce on her front paws barking excitedly at Edith to make her leave the kitchen while they have breakfast? Who's going to gradually push the bathroom door open with a pensive gaze followed with an air of pride at the success of getting it open enough for her to come in? Who's going to patiently lift each paw for me to dry, first front, then back, at the door when it's muddy outside? Who's going to lick the grill while I'm cooking outside? Who's going to stand in the center of the arch out back and bark at whatever unusual noise she hears in the Greenway?

I've got to get out of here. I thought maybe Billie would like to go for a walk, but there hangs Doris's bright red harness, the one she loved to wear because it meant a walk or a ride.

03 January 2008

You'll Always be With Me, Daddy's Girl

Happier Days: Doris and Billie, Summer 2004

Doris Day Maddox Sasser · June 16, 1999 – January 3, 2008.

I am so grateful to have had her for eight years, yet, so sad to have to let her go.

The only way I can think to get through today is to write about how wonderful Doris was and the joy she brought to our lives. I'll remember how she jumped so excitedly in the air the first time she saw snow falling, trying to catch the snowflakes as they fell. I'll treasure the memory of how much she loved to play with her first toy, a Little Caesar's pizza man. Or, how she'd run throught the house and yard with her Beanie Babies spiders in her mouth with only the spider's legs showing. She'd bring me any of all the toys she knew by name to play fetch -- toy in the mouth, chin rested in my lap waiting for me to take the bait. Dumbell. Donut. Spaceship. Kong. She got a "Water Weenie" for her second birthday and proceded rip it to shreds in no time, but she had a ball. She'd play relentlessly with her frisbee, bringing it to anyone who would take it with the promise of throwing it for her.

She loved Cleo, Kim and Lara, not because she simply loved them, but also because they wore body lotion. Covertly, she would wait for any opportunity to lick the moisturizer off of their legs. Little Mary Elise, about 4 at the time, was adorable running around the backyard saying, "no kissies, Doris," because Doris would follow her and love her to the point of saturation if allowed.

I'll always remember so many things about her. How crazed she looked in the face whenever I asked her, "do you want a cookie?" Or, an icecube.

I suppose the first time I announce, "Big Daddy's home" will be another happy memory/sad occasion. She used to run the front door, nubby wagging and bark until she saw Cameron approaching the door. And, when I'd say, "It's Auntie Creo!" she'd be just as jubilant. Same held true for everyone who came to visit. She loved everybody and everybody loved her.

I'll miss the kiss on the face I used to get every morning to wake me up. Translation: 1) Good morning, I love you. 2) Let me outside. 3) Feed me. 4) Give me a cookie and my vitamins. 5) I'm going back to bed.

Preliminary diagnosis of the pain and mobility problems Doris was having in the last two weeks was a cervical disk problem. But, we learned today through a myelogram and CT scan that Doris had a large tumor at the base of her skull. It was pretty much inoperable. Radiation might have helped but it's wasn't likely. I have to be thankful that she'd no longer be less than herself, free of pain and in a much better place.

Going to meet Big Daddy at the Airport, 1999.

Doris and Big Daddy at the Airport, 1999.

"Let's go for a ride, Daddy," July 2000

With Beanie Pig and Chicken, Christmas 2000

Opening Wiggly Giggly bone, Christmas 2000

So happy playing Frisbee, June 2001

Big Daddy & Doris, June 2001

"Stop teasing me with that Camera," Doris' Birthday, June 2001

Doris' Birthday, June 2001

So excited, playing with cousin Maggie at Uncle Christopher's, July 2001

"You're not paying attention to me, so I'll make sure you do," November 2001

Christmas 2001

Doris loves the new baby, Spring 2002

I see you. May 2003

Doris Chasing Billie at Uncle Thom's, Spring 2005

"I want a cookie, NOW!", July 2005

Cleo, Shelby, Cameron, Doris and Billie, Christmas 2005

"I ate a bee. Now my face is swollen," Fall 2005.

Crazy Eyes with Big Daddy and Billie at Grandpa's, Christmas 2006

I'll miss you, sweet girl.