Friday, December 31, 2004

Diets, Coke and (Caffeine-Free) Diet Coke

Wifey-Pooh's got me on a diet. It's OK, though, since I actually agreed that I'm gaining way too much weight. We're still eating out since the kitchen remodeling is incomplete, and you'd be amazed how quickly you can tire of eating out!

So, my diet's a combination of the Blood Type Diet (Dr. Dadamo) and The Maker's Diet (Dr. Rubin). It's actually pretty close to the Atkins Diet (that's right, not possessive) for me since my blood type is supposed to eat a lot of meat and vegetables. I'm just glad I am not supposed to eat vegetarian like Wifey-Pooh!

In short, the BTD says that your body absorbs and processes food differently, depending on your blood type, so you should "Eat Right 4 Your Type" which was the title of the book. There's a great resource for BTD people at

TMD essentially says that you should eat organics and "get back to the Earth." There is an emphasis on discovering why God laid out all those food laws for the Jews, and TMD does a convincing job of supporting claims that pork (for example), tends to be back for you.
That said, I'm on a new BTD/TMD diet that resembles Atkins. I'm (at least) at 250 lbs now, (although that always surprises people, I'm told I carry it well), but man my pants are getting tight around the waist! I'll be attempting to stick with the diet at least 98% of the time, and that meant giving up simple sugars even with all the Christmas stuff around. *sigh*

Which is also why I was drinking some Caffein-Free Diet Coke on my way out the door this morning. Actually, the CFDC was left from last night, but since CFDC tastes like flat ginger ale (without the ginger), it didn't seem to matter if it sat all night or not.

Except, of course, that my little princess of a cat was waiting by the door and she wanted to get close to me, probably to get her twice-a-day piggy-back ride. Off goes the CFDC, onto the couch, the wall... though I still made it to work on time.

Which brings me a round to the "what's up with" part of this entry... What is up with CFDC, anyway? It tastes like... nothing, really. I've got most of a six-pack left, but the product is either defective, or this is how it tastes! Yuck! I'm glad it was cheap, at least.

Well, I suppose I'll update my weight along the way...

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Are Blogs Impersonal?

What do you think? Are blogs impersonal?

My lovely wife argues that blogs are impersonal... I agree, but only to a point. Blogs are what they are: me communicating to you, my friends and family, probably a multitude of strangers, and telling you what I think and what's happening to me and mine. Wifey-Pooh argues that old-fashioned letters, personalized to the recipient, is personal, but a blog is not. She basically says that maybe Fred cares about my cats but Jed does not... why would I tell them both the same things?

I figure this blog is a way for me to allow others to keep in touch and up to date with me & mine (hence the title) without having to receive emails from me regularly. I post things, you read them if you want, when you want. The posts don't get lost, and my feelings don't get hurt if you ask to unsubscribe to my mailing list.

I think of blogs like those annual Christmas letters I get from some friends and family. Surely not everybody is interested in Timmy's new bike or Bill's new Volkswagen (yes, that's how you spell it)... but eveybody does get reminded that the family still exists and still remember they exist. This blog is like that Christmas letter, but without me bugging you.

Impersonal? Maybe... or perhaps it is too personal but not personalized enough?

I don't know, and either way I'll be blogging, so there. :-)

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Tsunami relief

Ouch. Talk about being out-of-touch with the world. I just read about the tsunami in South Asia.
The most powerful earthquake in 40 years struck underwater, 100 miles of the northern Indonesian island of Sumatra, measuring 9.0 on the Richter scale. The quake caused tidal waves which reached India within a hour. To date, the death toll is above 52,000.

If you don't know how else to help,

  1. pray
  2. donate money through World Vision
  3. or try Network for Good to find another relief organization
If you are looking for information on a U.S. citizen feared missing, contact the U.S. State Department at 888-407-4747, or, from overseas, at 317-472-2328.

May God have mercy.

Blakely Sky is born!

I have a new niece!

Blakely Sky has been born into the world this afternoon! She is a healthy 7lb 2oz.
3:04 PM

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

A note about Site Feeds...

"What the heck is a Site Feed?" That's a good question...

Basically, if you are using something like My Yahoo! to customize a start page, or perhaps you're one of those cutting-edge computer people and you use Mozilla Thunderbird for your email client or Mozilla Firefox for your web browser, you can be notified every time I update the page.

Just add the Atom feed to your RSS reader or Firefox's "Live Bookmark" feature. For Internet Explorer, look for "syndicate this site" instead. If you are using Yahoo! as your home page, just click here to add the feed.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Final Update on Zechariah

Hi friends,

I have an update on Zechariah. The short version is:

“Zachy-Pooh is recovering nicely and should be herself in a week. Thank you for your prayers and kind concern. Praise God!”

Yes, I know I spell her full name Zechariah and her nickname Zach.

For those of you interested in more detail, read on. Otherwise, thanks for everything.

Here’s the long version, as I am able to recall at this time.

Cathy & I moved on October 31st, and the new place is still pretty messy and half-done. Zach didn’t seem to like the new place, and she kept more to herself, although she still greeted me in the morning and demanded my attention. About 11/14/2004, we noticed that Zach looked a little skinnier, so I fed her more treats. The next week a friend came over and asked if Zach was pregnant. She was even skinnier, but her belly was big. Zach started keeping to herself, and on the day after Thanksgiving I started calling around looking for a vet, and I got a recommendation from a friend that lives close by. A former veterinarian dropped by and told me that Zach just looked fat, so I concluded that she was depressed. I resolved to have her checked out just in case.

On Monday, November 29th I checked online for the doctor my friend recommended, Above and Beyond Pet Clinic in Downey. My boss was out Monday and Tuesday, so I was unable to leave the office on those days. During Tuesday evening I became very concerned with Zach as she did not eat much, and her belly seemed bigger to both Cathy & I. It did not appear to me that Zach had groomed herself that day. I resolved to take Zach in during the workday the next day.

Wednesday, December 1st, I took a long lunch. I went home and picked up Zechariah and took her to the vet. I was seen pretty quickly. Zach weighed 8 lb 8 oz, and she was apparently not feeling well. The doctor, Gerald Citek, spent a couple minutes with Zach and asked me about her feeding and behavior. He felt her stomach and concluded it was a cyst, although we would have to x-ray to make sure. Dr. Citek told me he just treated another cat with a cyst and operated on November 30th, and after initial exploratory surgery, the doctor and owner agreed to put the cat to sleep on the operating table. Dr. Citek told me that Zach was probably in bad shape, and that I should prepare for the worst.

We took the x-ray immediately, and the doctor showed me Zach’s x-ray along with the other cat from the day before. Zach’s was much larger, he said, but that did not matter. What mattered was where the cyst was growing and whether her kidney or liver functions had been compromised. If the cyst was on the kidney, she would probably be OK. If the cyst was on the liver, it was unlikely she would make it through surgery. We could not tell from the x-ray, so exploratory surgery was the next recommended course of action.

Dr. Citek recommended that we operate right then. However, I was unable to face the possibility that this would be the last time I would see Zach, so I asked him what other choices we had to determine her likelihood for recovery. The doctor indicated that we could do a full spectrum blood analysis which would tell him whether the liver and kidney functions, among other things, were impaired. The test would be sent to a lab with results coming in that evening. I paid for the blood test and took Zechariah home; they told me to call at 6:30 PM.

Cathy & I loved on Zechariah and prepared for the worst. We agreed that we would pursue any possibilities for her treatment, and I resolved that I wanted Zechariah back healthy. If the treatment would make her a live but unhealthy cat, a former shadow of herself, I would still put her to sleep. We prayed, and I pleaded with God to have mercy on me, since I knew my Zachy-Pooh would be better off whether she recovered or not.

We had an appointment in Redlands at 07:00 PM, so I was on the road when the clinic called shortly after 6:00 PM. The tests indicated that the liver and kidney functions were normal. This was very encouraging news, and it lifted our spirits tremendously. Several test results had not come back yet, so the doctor wanted to wait until Thursday to operate. I was to call in the morning. Zach did not eat well that night, which the doctor told me later was due to a simple lack of space; she was starving since she could not get enough food into her stomach as there simply wasn’t room in her body.

The next morning I spoke with the clinic. The results were negative; Zach had no feline ailments and her body was functioning normally. The doctor wanted to operate right away. We pampered Zach and went to work. I took an extra long lunch and went home to spend time with Zechariah. I arrived at the clinic around 11:30 and met with the doctor. He told me the procedure would go quickly, and that he would begin initial exploration and update me about 10 to 15 minutes after the procedure had begun. At that point, if the cyst was inoperable, they would let me know.

At 11:57 I watched an assistant take Zach away from me. I called my wife and we prayed together; I promised to call her once they updated me. I was alone in the waiting area, praying and pleading to God for my cat’s life. About 12:20, I realized that I had been praying for longer than 15 minutes, and nobody had updated me yet. I took this to be a good sign. Several minutes later an assistant came to me and told me the cyst was on the liver; my heart sank. Thankfully, he kept going and said they were going to perform a “crunch” procedure. They realized that I wanted very much to try to save Zechariah, so the doctor did not stop to update me. I went back to praying, still fearful, but hopeful.

At 12:50, not quite a hour after it began, the assistant informed me that the procedure was over, and that the doctor would update me shortly. They brought out Zechariah and let me see her. Zach looked pretty pathetic, and she was still very drugged up. I cradled her head and petted her. The doctor came out (BEGIN ICK ALERT) and told me that they drained the cyst, which contained a liter of blood. As soon as the cyst was drained, (END ICK ALERT) Zach’s condition improved, which the doctor says was probably due to the cyst inhibiting circulation. Zach’s body temperature remained constant through the procedure, which he indicated was a good sign. However, at this point, he felt that Zach’s chances were 50-50 that she would make it through the night. He had isolated the part of the liver with the cyst and cut away a third of Zach’s liver. If her circulation is good to the liver she could make it. I would be allowed to visit Zechariah that night after 08:00 PM, so I went back to work happy.

Cathy and I ate dinner and called the clinic, and it was OK to come by to see her. We arrived at 08:30 PM and they brought Zach out to us. They had warm water balloons all around her and a heating pad beneath her. Zach was not responsive, and she did not feel warm to Cathy & I. We covered her with a towel, petted her and prayed over her. The doctor said that her temperature dropped during the afternoon, which was not a good sign. If she made it through the night, her chances would improve, but at this point he was uncertain. Dr. Citek gave Zach some malt from a tube, which he indicated was necessary to jumpstart her system. She should be fed to keep her health up. We were allowed to stay until 09:00 PM, so Cathy & I stroked Zach and tried to warm her up. Her temperature did increase a bit, and she drifted to sleep.

We asked about who would take care of her that night, and basically nobody would be checking on her until morning. Cathy believed that Zech had been depressed being away from home, so we talked to the doctor about taking Zach home with us to keep her warm. It may have seemed unusual to him, but the doctor did not see any harm to that, so I warmed up the car and we took Zach home with us, the heater on high. We prayed for Zach on the way home, as well. She was aware of us but unresponsive. We bundled her up and turned up the heater.

Honestly, we thought we were going to lose her.

When we got home, I closed off her favorite room and warmed it up while Cathy waited in the warm car. We took Zechariah into the room. Just as soon we took off the top of the cage, Zach perked up, started looking around, and climbed out of the cage! We were ecstatic! We fed her some malt every hour. She warmed up a bit as the night went on. We stayed up with her until Zech used the cat box and climbed onto her favorite chair. She curled up to go to sleep, and shortly after that we thanked God and went to bed.

On Friday, Zach was still tired, but much more at ease. Cathy took her back to the clinic where they checked on her and feed her a little bit hourly. I picked her up at 2:00 PM and brought her back to work with me. I fed her hourly and she rested most of the time. After work, I took her home and Cathy & I doted on her as much as she could take it. We were to give her amoxicillin twice a day and feed her a tiny bit of soft food hourly.

On Saturday morning, Zach purred for the first time since I took her to see the vet. I cried for joy. Cathy took Zach to the clinic while I went to attend to my duties at the pet shelter we volunteer at (adoption time). The doctor said to keep up the amoxicillin, but to feed her four times a day. Zach weighed 6 lb 6 oz. The doctor indicated that if Zach kept eating, that means her liver is functioning properly. Cathy kept Zach in the room by herself on Saturday, and we spent the evening in there with Zach. The other cats and the dog wanted to see her, but we didn’t allow them to yet.

On Sunday, Cathy stayed home with Zach while I went to church. Zechariah had her first bowel movement! Her appetite has increased steadily, and she asked to be let out to explore the rest of the house. The critters were happy to have her back, and Zach appears to feel comfortable being around everybody again.

It is now Tuesday and I will be going home during lunch to feed Zach this week. Her body is filling out a bit; she is still very skinny, but when we pet her now the bones are getting more difficult to count. She is back to jumping onto furniture and people, and she is recovering nicely. We have a recheck this week, but I believe God has granted me mercy and let me keep Zechariah.

Thank you for all your prayers, emails, and kind words. May God bless you all,

-Lee Jones

Friday, December 03, 2004

Update on Zechariah #3

Hi friends,

Cathy & I visited Zechariah last night at 08:30 PM. The doctor indicated that Zech's body temperature dropped during the day, which was not a good sign. Cathy believed that Zech had been depressed being away from home, so we talked to the doctor and took Zech home with us to keep her warm. She was aware of us but unresponsive. We bundled her up and turned up the heater. Honestly, we thought we were going to lose her.

When we got home I closed off her favorite room and heated it up. As soon as we got Zech in the room she perked up, started looking around, and climbed out of the cage. She warmed up a bit as the night went on. We stayed up with her until Zech used the cat box and climbed onto her favorite chair. She curled up to go to sleep, and shortly after that we went to bed.

Today, Zech was still tired, but much more at ease. She's been at the vet today now where they're checking on her and feeding her a little bit hourly. I am going to pick her up at 2 PM PDT.

Thank you for your prayers, we may be out of the woods. I'll send out (Lord willing) final update next week. Feel free to call or email if you want more details than provided here.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Update on Zechariah #2

Hi friends,

Zechariah is recovering after surgery. Cathy & I are very grateful for God's grace.

The doctor says she has better than 50-50 odds of recovery. Cathy & I will be visiting her tonight, and we should know more after that. I'll give more details later.

Update on Zechariah

Hi friends,

All liver and kidney functions are normal. The tests for the lethal diseases are also negative. This was a great source of thanksgiving. The doctor wants to operate right away, and Cathy & I agree.

I am leaving work soon to spend a few minutes with Zachy-Pooh, and then to the vet. The doctor will begin exploratory surgery, and update me about 15 minutes after the procedure has begun. At that point, if the chances are good, then we will proceed. If it is unlikely that Zach will live healthily even with the surgery, then I will have the doctor put her to sleep on the table.

I remain scared but hopeful. May God have mercy on me and on my cat.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

My cat is sick, please pray

Hi friends,

Most of you know that I love my cats very much. Cathy & I adopted Zechariah when she was barely 24 hours old, and we took care of her. She is three years old now.

Well, I took her to the vet today because she seemed to be loosing weight around her hips. They took a x-ray, and the vet says she has a cyst. The vet says if the cyst is on the kidney, they can try operating; if it is on the liver, they cannot save her. I've asked for blood tests, and I'll get the results tonight. We'll have a better idea after that.

This may seem strange, but I love my cat very much, so I am asking for your prayers. I know God is a better caregiver than I am, but I want my cat to live with me.

I give my thanks to you in advance. I'll keep you apprised if you ask, but I do not plan on sending out emails for a blow-by-blow. I'll update you if something major happens.