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Week of 17 December 2001

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Monday, 17 December 2001

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Another busy day yesterday. Malcolm and I had a very nice visit with a family looking to adopt a BC. I got back home around 2:30 to start the lawn mowing. The new grass coming up was a still wet and sticky, causing some major clogging up of the mower.

While the mower cooled down a little I swept up and dumped the grass cart on the leave pile by the street. Bob came out to help me turn the mower on its side to drain the oil and assisted with the cleaning of the air filter. After reassembling the mower and refilling it with oil I hosed everything off real good. After giving it a quick drying off I sprayed the gears and wheels with WD 40 and put her away for the winter. I washed out the catch bag real good and left it to drain dry on a towel.

By the time I was finished it was time to start dinner. We had good ol' Pennsylvania smoked sausage. My dad periodically calls the butcher in Allentown and gets him to send us some sausage and ring bologna. I do not like either one the way it is made down here in the south. We had sausage and hash browns. YUM!

After a full day of house cleaning, home visits, and lawn stuff I was pretty tired last night. We spent the evening reading and listening to music again. I am almost finished with the third D. R. Meredith detective mystery, Murder Past Due. I did read a couple of more chapters before turning off the light but it was a struggle.

Off to the gym this morning and the drugstore for Lenore. 

I hope your day gets the week off to a good start. 

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Tuesday, 18 December 2001

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I lied! Ha, but not about anything of importance. I forgot two Christmas gifts that I need to shop for. One is the 365 day dogs desk calendar I always give Lenore every year. She enjoys seeing the pictures and reading the stories about the dogs. The other is a gift basket from Lenore to my parents. I almost forgot I promised to take care of this for her. She had suggested a fruit basket but instead I am going over to a little gourmet shop, The Golden Apple, to do a small basket. 

Tomorrow, rather than sit around and worry about both dogs' surgeries I will run those couple of errands. I am saving my grocery shopping for Friday since I need fresh stuff for the dinner for my folks this weekend and the peach salad for Christmas day.

We, or rather the dogs,  had a lot of excitement yesterday. After I returned home from the gym I did a few clean up things in my office. Then put in a load of towels to wash. While downstairs I removed all the packed boxes of Lenore's stuff from her closet out into the main room with the rest of the boxes. I am going to store my Christmas decorations down there next year to give me some additional closet space in my office. Might as well make use of that area as much as  possible. 

First, the lady arrived that fixes Lenore's hair, getting the dogs all excited and barking. Just as Bob got them calmed down, I was still downstairs working away, Bob yelled that Betsy and Esmirna from Reynolda Library were at the front door. They had dropped by with a nice tin of candy and a Christmas card in appreciation for the volunteer work I do for them. I was so surprised and very touched by their gift. They visited for a few minutes taking a chance to look at my Christmas decorations.

I am off to SciWorks this morning than back home. If the weather cooperates for tonight we may head up to Bullington or set up observing scopes in the yard. 

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Wednesday, 19 December 2001

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Today is the big day. Duncan and Malcolm both go to the vet this morning. Malcolm to be neutered and have his teeth cleaned, Duncan to see what the problem with his back not healing and to have his broken lower canine tooth fixed. I know that I will not be able to concentrate on anything today so I may as well run errands and get that last bit of shopping taken care of.

Also, I never did find any tennis shoes for my birthday from Lenore so I will hit a couple of stores and see if I can find something I like. I will turn on the cell phone just in case the vet calls Bob while I am out. 

Tonight was Friends of the Library Christmas party and Astronomy Club Christmas party. With the dogs getting home late this afternoon we decided not to try to attend either one. At one point I was going to go to the Friends one at 5:00 for a short stay and then come home so Bob could go out to the Astronomy Club party. However, we decided we both should be home with two dogs ailing.

Thursday I am leaving Bob to deal with both dogs while I take a day bus trip with our friend Bonnie from Astronomy Club. We are gong up to Abingdon, VA to tour the historic downtown area, have lunch, and see a Christmas play at the Barter Theater.

Bonnie asked me to go after we had the surgeries planed for the dogs. Bob said he would handle things here so I could go which was very nice of him. Sort of a pre-Christmas present from him. I am sure we will have a great time. 

I started and finished one of my "wilderness" books in two days. If you enjoy Thoreau's Walden or outdoors type adventure stories I recommend Anne LaBastille. I read her 1987 non-fiction work Beyond Black Bear Lake. She is well known in environmental and conservation circles world wide. This particular work takes up from an earlier book, Woodswoman, left off. She continues the story of how she came to live in seclusion on a lake in the Adirondack Mountains in the late '70's. 

Update on the dogs tomorrow.

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Thursday, 20 December 2001

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What a day of waiting yesterday was. When I got home from running my errands around 11:30 Bob said there was not word yet from the vet. I ate a snack lunch sitting at my PC checking e-mails and web pages. I had an e-mail from the Library Journal editor that I have done some web columns for. He needed a couple of web sites with one paragraph descriptions for a last minute deadline. Even though it does not pay, I told him I could send him a couple since I keep fun/reference sources book marked anyway. I was glad for something to do to occupy my mind yet did not require a lot of thought/concentration since I was annotating sites I use frequently.

I spend about thirty to forty minutes or so getting those written up and sent off. Just as I went downstairs to get a load of dry towels from the dryer Bob yelled down the vet was on the phone. He said Malcolm was fine, came out his surgery with flying colors. Duncan was still under anesthesia having just had the broken tooth checked and his teeth cleaned. Dr. Craig was giving me two options about Duncan's back. One was to just insert a drain for a week and see if it helped to heal the area under the skin. The second was to go ahead and cut the area open and dissect with the laser to get all the dead tissue out. This would require another hour or so under the gas plus create a long suture area. Of course the drain may or may not have worked and then he would have to go back in for more surgery. We opted for the second option to guarantee a good healing process. He told me he would call when he was finished.

Agonizingly long wait. I tried to read and/nap but had trouble even doing that. It was about 3:00 by the time the vet called back. Duncan came through the surgery fine but required a lot of cutting out of the dead tissue area. He told us not to come pick him up until after 5:00 to give him time to recover from the anesthesia.

I decided we should go ahead and leave at 4 to go to the library and dinner first while we waited rather than just sit around. That way our dinner would be out of the way for us when we got home to get the guys settled in. 

Duncan had a five inch or so long scar across his neck and of course his hair is shaved off all around that area. He was still pretty groggy when he got home. Malcolm is wearing one of those Elizabethan collars like he wore when he cut his leg and had to have stitches. He got home, grabbed a ball and was ready to play. It is hard to make a dog understand he must lay down and take it easy with brand new stitches in his underneath.

Tonight Bob is going to sleep on the couch with Malcolm penned up in the den with him. I will take Duncan back to the bedroom with me. Malcolm is not supposed to jump up or over on things so we need to keep him off the bed. I need to set the alarm to make sure I get up at 6:00 to get ready to leave on my trip. We can switch places tomorrow night and I will sleep on the couch with Malcolm in the den and Bob can have the bed.

Off this morning for Abingdon, VA. for the day. I think the weather is to be clear but chilly. I am really looking forward to the trip and again it is very nice of Bob to agree to take care of the guys all day after their surgeries so I can go.

More on the trip tomorrow. 

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Friday, 21 December 2001

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Bonnie and I had a very nice time on our trip yesterday. We arrived in Abingdon at 11 or so, just in time to go straight to the restaurant for our lunch. We ate at the Peppermill, a very interesting little place with a rather strange menu. The food was excellent. I ate the chicken/ham on croissant sandwich with the potato soup. After lunch we had some free time to wander around the shops downtown before meeting at the Theater for the 2 o'clock show.

I really enjoyed the play,  WMKS-The Christmas Show, 1942. The cast was wonderful with a lot of singing and playing of a wide variety of musical instruments. We left Abingdon at five getting back to the parking lot at 7:00. I called Bob to see how things were going and if he was in a hurry for me to get back home. Bonnie invited me to go with her and her husband Jerry to grab a quick bite to eat. I finally got home around 8:30. By the time I greeted the dogs and gave them some attention, changed clothes, and walked them I was too tired to check my mail and instead went to bed to read a couple of chapters before turning off the light.

We have a few pictures of the dogs in recovery mode. Animals are really amazing creatures. I am sure Malcolm cannot understand why he is being made to wear a plastic bowl around his head and cannot play ball. Duncan just knows he has something weird on his neck. Both are coping very well. Malcolm has to wear the collar at least long enough for the stitches to begin healing up so he doesn't lick or chew them. They both go back in 14 days to have them removed.

malcolm-conehead-1.jpg (30805 bytes)    malcolm-conehead-2.jpg (29555 bytes)Here is Malcolm trying to eat a little food on Wednesday . 

 

 

 

   

Here he is looking at me. With that collar on he is really quite cute with his faced framed.

malcolm-conehead-3.jpg (30955 bytes)

 

 

 

 

Bob and I both discovered that Duncan's skin matches his fur coloring. The incision is long and weird looking because of the path Dr. Craig had to follow to remove the dead tissue. He is not act like he is hurting. Dr. Craig used a laser to do most of the dissecting of the area which creates less pain and swelling. And of course, his fur will grow back.

duncan-stitches.jpg (41787 bytes)

Off this morning to do the grocery shopping for the weekend cooking and next week. If it is warm enough when I get back home I need to wash and clean up my nasty car. It is to be cold but clear tonight so I think we will head up to Bullington to do some observing. There are some great deep sky and planetary objects up there for viewing right now.

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Saturday, 22 December 2001

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Wonderful observing last night. The skies were mostly clear with a little bit of haze. But, with Bob's help, I was able to locate a few deep sky objects myself. I think Jupiter was the most impressive with all four moons lined up in a straight line and the red bands visible. It was cold but not unbearable. I did get one of the chemical hand warmers out to alternate from glove to glove. My feet started getting cold about the time we decided to pack up around ten. I wore my new observing vest and used my new red beam flashlight. 

The dogs continue to recover from their surgeries. Malcolm is pretty spry and just doesn't understand why he cannot play ball. 

I don't think I have mentioned the mystery I am reading by Tamar Myers. Bob and I met Tamar several years ago at our first mystery conference and became reacquainted at the Cape Fear Crime Festival back in October. She writes several series but the one I am reading is from her Pennsylvania Dutch mysteries. I am currently reading her first one, which she signed for me at the Festival, titled "Too Many Crooks Spoil the Broth" published in 1997. She has written maybe half a dozen or so in this series with her latest one getting a hard back publication for the first time. 

The mysteries are set in PennDutch, a Bed & Breakfast, where of course murders are always taking place. Proprietor Magdalena Yoder, has converted their family farmhouse into a B & B after her parents are killed in a car accident. In addition to dealing with eccentric guests she must also cope with her lazy, manic sister. Myers sometimes tries to be a little too funny to force the issue of wittiness and is not nearly as good a writer as some of the other mystery authors I have read, but her books are funny and good for light reading. She reminds me a little of D. R. Meredith though not quite as good a writer as Meredith is.

Not sure what is on tap for today. My desk needs a little attention and we need to do some telescope stuff downstairs. 

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Sunday, 23 December 2001

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Both the guys continue to do well. I let Malcolm have some time yesterday without his Elizabethan collar on while I could supervise him. I used two old bandanas tied together to reattach the E collar back on to at least make it more comfortable around his neck. Duncan was trying to scratch his stitches so I put a bandana around his neck and over the scar. It will help to protect it when he is outside particularly today since they are calling for major rain and he is not supposed to get it wet.

I ended up going to the gym yesterday morning for a nice long workout then spent the day playing with the dogs and working at my desk. Lasts night I watched a couple of Christmas music specials on the local PBS station. I have not had a chance to hear Charlotte Church sing until last night. Wow, what a wonderful voice.

Today is house cleaning day. I will do a quick vacuum and clean up with the folks coming for dinner tonight. Since we are spending Christmas day at Frances's this year they are coming over tonight to see my tree and decorations. We are having home made stromboli and salad. 

The reason it will be just a quick vacuum is every year at this time I do what Bob calls the Thompson Deep Clean. Since the house is already rearranged for Christmas I take each room and tear it apart to clean it real good. Curtains come down, blinds are cleaned, furniture is moved etc. I take one day to do each room and it takes me a week or so. 

When I worked I started taking the week between Christmas and New Year off so I could spend the week doing the Deep Clean.  I decided since I really don't have anything to do tomorrow I would start in the back of the house where there are no decorations. I think I will do our bathroom and if I have time, our bedroom.

I hope if you celebrate the holidays that you are ready. If not, you are running out of time. Christmas Day is almost upon us. A lot of people will be out of town starting this week so I will go ahead and wish everyone an early and safe Merry Christmas!

 

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