Monday, August 29, 2005

Sound familiar?

Here's a quote for you...

“All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country." Herman Goering (at the Nuremburg trials)

For those of you NOT in the know, Herman Goering was a bad guy. He was just describing how easy it was to push fascism onto the German people in Nazi Germany.

Have you seen the kind of things the people who are "Anti-Cindy Sheehan" are saying about her? "She is not patriotic." "She is aiding our enemies."


My father-in-law is in Shadyside Hospital now due to some severe pain in his left side (apparently the result of a collapsed lung). When I called 9-1-1 I told him what my father-in-law was experiencing, he asked me if this is normal for him. I felt like saying "actually it IS pretty normal now that you asked, but I was hoping to make a new phone friend to chat with"). The guy asked me what medications he has taken in the past 12 hours. I asked the guy if he had a comfortable chair and snack cuz it was going to take a while.

P.S. The Shadyside staff have been great. Especially the intake nurse who was flirting with my father-in-law about how she likes to perform the initial "skin integrity" check so that she can look at guys' naked butts.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Father-in-law update

He moved in on Tuesday and we're glad to have him here. It's got to be hard to lose your independence as he is slowly doing. Especially for someone who has always been so private. Here's this man who had a very stylish sense of fashion, did not share his feeling with others very often and liked to do his own thing. Now he's in a bed in his daughter's living room, mostly wears pajamas, uses a toilet chair and has his waste emptied by family members.

Yesterday he was transported (by ambulance with a $50 round-trip co-pay) for his radiation treatment. He ended up not getting the treatment because the "radiation machine broke". He had to wait for over 45 minutes to find this out.

He got a call from his mother last night. She's too fragile to leave her home 50 miles away and he is not leaving our home. They have seen each other for the last time. I don't know if they both have admitted that - especially to each other. He was pretty upset by the end of the phone call.

It ultimately was a pretty crappy day for him.

Soy milk at EatnPark

I wanted to give a public THANK YOU to Eat n Park restaurants (a family-style chain of restaurants in Pittsburgh and the surrounding areas) for recently including Soy milk on their menu. It may not seem like a big deal and I may be the only person requesting it but for those of us who are trying to eat an animal product-free diet, it's really nice.

At the same time, I wanted to let any Pittsburgh vegans out there know that I have been in touch with the head of menu development (or some such title) for Eat n Park and he has been very helpful in identifying vegan foods at Eat n Park.

The only vegan soup is a mushroom & rice soup (offered on Mondays). French fries, and the spaghetti w/marinara are also vegan. Unfortunately, the veggie burger and onion rings are NOT. I haven't gotten info on the various salad dressings yet but I will post when I find that out. Anyway, consider this a start.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Train - Get Away From Me

So I'm stuck listening to a local top 40 station at work for the next
week and a half until my office-mate/radio nazi leaves for a better
job (congratulations!). I heard this song in which the guy sings
about riding on the back of a butterfly. It seems hardly believable
that there is a song written in the past, um... 30 YEARS that would
include such drivol (not including something written for

It ends up it's the bland San-Fran band TRAIN. Turn the cheese factor up to 11!

"...Maybe you could pollinate over the
Golden Gate
Take a left hand turn at the corner
Of Haight..."

"...Go on hitch a ride on the back
of a butterfly
There's no better way to fly
To get to me"

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Why Hospice?

So my father-in-law has lung cancer which has spread to his brain, thigh bones, spleen, liver and lymph nodes, yet he and my wife have repeatedly gotten questioned by doctors why they want him to come to our house with hospice care.

Medical professionals need to get over their hang-up with thinking death of a patient means the professionals failed. EVERYONE DIES!!! Many of us don't know when it will happen. Anyone with a sense of reality knows approximately when my father-in-law will die. Just accept it and make it as painless and peaceful as possible.

He ended up being admitted to a local hospital last night because, while waiting for a PALLIATIVE radiation treatment on his lung tumors, the nurses decided it would be best for him to be in the hospital because he has having "difficulty breathing". Yeah, it's surprising that HUGE CANCEROUS TUMORS ON YOUR LUNGS will cause one "difficulty breathing."

He SHOULD be coming to our home today.

Who Would Jesus Assassinate?

Pat Robertson is such a good Christian. He recently stated the US should assassinate Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. USA Today:

"We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability," Robertson said Monday on the Christian Broadcast Network's The 700 Club....We don't need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator," he continued. "It's a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with."

Chavez has emerged as one of the most outspoken critics of President Bush, accusing the United States of conspiring to topple his government and possibly backing plots to assassinate him. U.S. officials have called the accusations ridiculous.

"You know, I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it," Robertson said. "It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war ... and I don't think any oil shipments will stop."

I think I can count the minutes until he backpedals and tries to "clarify" his position. He will say he never said the US should assassinate Chavez but will refuse to apologize. Any bets?

Monday, August 22, 2005

Vegan Virgin - Too Much Information

So I've been doing the Vegan thing for about the past month and a half now. I ate pretty healthy - lots of fruit and veggies, even grainy sort of bland tasting cereal with my vanilla soy milk. I quickly lost nearly 10 lbs as soon as I cut out cheese, butter and milk. I hadn't eaten meat in several years anyway so it wasn't that hard. Then I go to the PETA2 website and look up "everyday" foods that are Vegan and I realize that alot of my favorite junk foods are still okay. So I've been eating Cracker Jacks, Twizzlers, Dum-Dums, Froot Loops, Corn Pops, Apple Jacks, etc. I'd never even eaten one of those Apple Turnovers at Arby's before. I didn't think ANYthing at Arby's was vegan. I love them now. What a dork! I've put most of the 10 lbs back on.

I heard a famous vegan doctor say that going vegan is not necessarily healthy He pointed out that french fries and beer are technically vegan but those "college vegans" do not have a healthy diet.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Home to Die

Tomorrow, we begin hosting my father-in-law for his final days. We'll be having hospice folks entering our home to assist with his transition to the next part of his journey (or the end, depending on your beliefs).

Some people seem to think it's a difficult thing for our kids (ages 4 & 9) to go through. I tend to believe seeing him go through the death process, is good for them. My son was 5 when we did this with my mother-in-law. He wanted to come home from school if she died while he was at school. She did and so we brought him home. He wanted to see her in her bed and even watched when the funeral home came to put her body into the bag. That seems like too much for a 5 year old to handle to some. We have switched bedrooms in recent years and he now sleeps in nearly the exact spot he saw his dead 'Nana'. I will say, he has never mentioned any fears or shown any signs of trauma about it.

We (as people) need total care at the beginning and end of our lives. In the middle we're the care GIVER. My father-in-law is giving us the chance to teach our kids that lesson.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

my 'punkrockgirl'

It's 11pm. My 4 year old daughter and I are driving back home after a LONG day that included art camp, 2.5 hours of driving, hanging with her mother before and after foot surgery, visiting her grandfather in the hospital. I assume she's asleep. My iPod plays "Punk Rock Girl" by the Dead Milkmen and when the song ends I hear my girl's voice say (rather softly) "play that song again". I smile.

"...if you ain't got Mojo Nixon then your store could use some fixin'!..."

Mariachi band in Beechview

Eating authentic Mexican food with 19 of my closest friends and a Mariachi band playing, kids dancing, everyone smiling...and we WALKED to the restaurant.

Is There a Surgeon in the...CITY?

So Clay Mama is stuck in Uniontown, Pa trying to make arrangements for her cancer-riddled dad to move in with us in Pittsburgh for his final days/months/years. She steps on a sewing needle and it breaks off inside her foot! She can't get it out and neither can the emergency room workers in THE hospital in Uniontown. They tell her she'll need surgery the next day. When she calls the surgeon's office in the morning, she finds out he's in Monessen (about 30 miles away) today.

Downtown Pittsburgh Flooded

Yesterday there was a watermain break in downtown Pittsburgh and the "golden triangle" was flooded. The news reports told people to avoid the downtown area. After 5pm, Pittsburghers do that anyway.


Cow-less Beef?

"...bread wine and cheese are products of biotechnology..." so why not "cultured meat"

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Professionals vs. Families

I hate it when "professionals" (doctors, casemanagers, social workers, etc) think they're more important than families when dealing with certain difficult life situations. As a professional who has dealt with families with certain difficult situations I often reminded people that all of us "paid" friends are temporary and the family is permanent so their opinion is most important.

Lately, I've been the family and I'm sticking to my guns. We've been dealing with some insensitive doctors and other medical professionals in relation to my father-in-law's battle with stage IV cancer. After my father-in-law dies or somehow is no longer a patient of these folks, they will move on to their next patient. My wife (Clay Mama)is going to have to live with herself and the way she dealt with her father in his final days/months/years for the rest of her life.

Toe in

I'm putting my toe in the blogosphere. I've read some and enjoy them more when I already know the person sitting in front of the keyboard.