Friday, December 30, 2005

Wheelchairs and the Ambulatory

When we go out together and a lot of walking is involved, we try to get Cathy a wheelchair if possible. For example, Ikea has wheelchairs availale at the entrance. And, when we went to Disneyland on Christmas, Cathy was in a wheelchair for the duration. I was pushing her chair around, and having a wheelchair essentially gave us an automatic FastPass to most rides. So, a nice benefit of the tiring work of a wheelchair is the hours it shaves off the lines.

Having a wheelchair means yelling, "excuse me!" a lot. Among other things, Cathy discovered why so many people use wheelchair blankets: her legs got cold really quickly. She also found that it was difficult to see (this standing chair would be cool) sitting so far below crowds. I imagine Cathy got tired of gazing at the gaggles of glutei.

Since I was behind Cathy a lot, I got to observer people who looked at her. It is interesting... Those who are ambulatory seemed to fall into two basic categories: those who ignored Cathy and those who tried not to stare. The ones who ignored Cathy essentially treated her like they would anyone else, as someone to navigate around. It is the ones who tried not to stare that I found interesting and at times entertaining.

Perhaps because Cathy looks relatively healthy, she stuck out among those who were in other wheelchairs. Most of the people we saw on chairs were either sickly or very heavy. Very few people in chairs looked healthy except for a cast on a foot or something. There were a couple other people that I wondered about, since they had no visible disability, like Cathy.

For whatever reason, people stared, and the women especially tried not to stare. Most would look away guitily when they saw me notice (these were the amusing ones). Since I was having a good time, I was smiling a good portion of the time, so I don't think people would have thought I was offended. But I did find the observations interesting.

Oh, by the way, people who interacted with Cathy directly were either trying hard to address her needs without singling her out (that's good) or extremely deferential ("OMG! I'm sorry, I didn't see you there!") and rather amusing to watch as they practically fell over themselves trying to make way or whatever.

There was this woman at Ikea that was particularly funny. Cathy & I were looking at sheets for her trip North, and her chair was in my way. A couple happened to be standing behind me, so I couldn't go around Cathy. I said to Cathy, "I'm just gonna move you over here." and the woman behind me was like , "Oh, please, it's ok! She's fine where she is!"

I had to keep a straight face in order to reply to this flustered woman (who apparently thought I was moving Cathy out of her way like a piece of furniture), "Well, she's in my way!" Cathy was kind and waited until the couple was gone to laugh. :-)

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Christmas Day at Disneyland

We've been to Disneyland as a family before on Christmas. It has never been crowded, and I've heard that many people, who do not celebrate Christmas, go to Disneyland instead. I've been to Disneyland on Christmas two previous times, and they were relatively uncrowded events.

So we decided to go to Disneyland this year. Jerry & Tracy came up with my nieces from San Diego so the seven of us could go as one big family. Although we agreed not to purchase gifts for each other this year, the little girls did each receive a present; a set of farmhouse animals for Blakley and a Cinderella bicycle for Clarity (video).

Cathy hasn't been handling physical activities very well, so I called Disneyland about reserving a wheelchair... that just doesn't happen, apparently. I asked around at work and, to my delight, a co-worker had access to one! So it came to be that I brought a wheelchair to Disneyland with us.

We took two cars and found out at the parking structure that Disneyland was closed! We were offered a chance to go to California Adventure (which, located in So Cal, seems silly)... as a family we decided we just wanted to be there together, and since mom hadn't been to California Adventure yet, we figured we could go.

It turns out that my sister-in-law is very persuasive. We all bought tickets, and she noted that some people were getting in to Disneyland. She eyed the ticket-inspectors at the gate and picked her quarry... and after a minute she had talked her way into Disneyland! We were all very happy and posed for a group photo before that entrance flower display.

We didn't get to ride a lot of the big attractions, but we did go on the Indiana Jones Adventure, Pirates of the Caribbean (Yo-Ho-Yo-Ho) and Star Tours. I took a "video" of Indiana Jones, but it's mostly audio as it was really dark.

We were fortunate to find a really good spot to watch the fireworks display Remember... Dreams Come True. Because of Cathy's wheelchair, we were allowed to occupy a small area off the main walkway normally reserved for Disneyland equipment. We had a clear view of the castle, and I filmed the fireworks as well (which came out pretty nice, I think it's worth watching).

Of course, we had to ride It's A Small World, and my in-laws got us all into Haunted Mansion Holiday. By the time all these were done, having pushed Cathy around all afternoon, I was feeling pretty done myself, so I waited while the others went on Astro Blasters and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.

It was a very fun day, if a tiring one. Cathy enjoyed herself, which made it a very good day in my book.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Baching It Again

So, I'm being a bachelor for a few days again. Cathy & her mom are off to Northern California (the real one, way past Sacramento) to see some land she owns. The plots sell for $20,000 and I think she wants to get a feel for how it may be developing in the future. In the mean time, I'm on my own for four days, three nights!

this is an audio post - click to play
It is almost rediculous how lost I feel without my wife.

I suppose we were created to live in community. Very few people choose to live entirely alone or work alone. Those who do live alone usually have some form of companion in a cat or a dog. I've got plenty of cats and a dog, but I'm still lonely for my wife.

I'm 32, and I've forgotten how to be a bachelor. Perhaps I'll try to cook myself dinner. I certainly don't feel like starting a house project, although I may begin costructing that backyard enclosure. I have to get my car smogged... I guess I will find things to do!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Eyelid Twitching - Argh

OK, so my right eyelid started to twitch the last week of November. I wasn't getting a lot of sleep, I was drinking lots of coffee, and I was looking at a computer screen all day at work and then all night at home (that's why they call it homework).

this is an audio post - click to play

I would be more worried, like, "quick, buy more life insurance", but Cathy assures me it isn't anything serious. She sounds confident, so either she knows something I don't, or she already bought that large life insurance policy on me and is just waiting for me to pop. :-p

Anyway, I did a little searching and really didn't find much. Perhaps the combination of stress, eye strain, coffee, sugar and lack of sleep is doing my eyelids in, I don't know. I've been getting more sleep, so I'll try cutting back on the caffeine. I guess I won't worry unless it persists or extends to other parts of my face. (eww)

Timewaster: Mythbuster Quizes

Myth Busters, featured on the Discovery Channel, is hosted by the guys at M5 Industries. They have a plethora of quizes, which certainly busted a lot of my wrongly-held myths. (click for quizes)

Comic: Have A Nice Day

The comic
says it all...

Monday, December 19, 2005

Comic: Don't Know Much About...

I don't know why, but this comic is just hilarious to me.

Sam Cooke: Wonderful World (mp3 audio)

Microsoft Abandons Internet Explorer on Mac

Microsoft is dropping Internet Explorer support entirely on the Mac. That either means they will make some of their IE-only services conform to web standards, or they're just blowing off the 3% of people who are using Apple Macintosh computers?

Anyway, another reason to switch to FireFox (here for Mac, or try these links if you have a G4 or G5); at least you won't get dropped from support.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Why Is She Called "Eve", Anyway?

Curiosity question: why is Eve called "Eve"? I read Genesis 2-10 this morning, and it just kinda hit me... we're not pronouncing Eve's name right. Why not?

Yes, studying Hebrew has reinterested me in reading the Hebrew Bible. And aside from being nerdy, why do I care what we call Eve? Did you know that devout Jews will not utter the name of God out loud for fear of mispronouncing it? All those times the KJV refers to "the LORD" are actually God's Name (which is not vowel-pointed in Hebrew, either since you're not supposed to pronounce it).

In my many translation excercises, I came across Genesis 3:20
And Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.
This one actually threw me for a loop, because chav-vah looked like a pronominal form of "to live"... like "her life". I realized from the rest of the sentence (Adam's wife... hmm...) what the word must be, but just pronouncing it, it would sound more like 'khav-vah'.

It seems that the Hebrew would be closer to Kavah rather than Eve, so why "eve"? I emailed my Hebrew professor about it, but did a little digging myself.

Eve is only mentioned by name four times in the Bible (five times if you're Catholic). Since the Hebrew is nothing like Eve, I thought the blame must lie with Greek. Well, the Septuagint (LXX) has "Zoe" in Genesis. The Greek in the New Testment is closer to "eve" but even doesn't sound right.

So, I wondered if Latin was to blame? I looked up the Vulgate and it has "Hava" in Genesis and "Eva" in the New Testament.

Genesis 3:20
Latin - hava
Hebrew - chavvah
Greek - zωη

1 Timothy 2:13
Latin - eva
Greek - ευα

My conclusion, tentatively, is that we call Adam's wife "Eve" instead of "Khava" because of the Latin Vulgate's rendition of her name in 1 Timothy 2:13 and 2 Corinthians 11:3. Perhaps the New Testament was favored during the time English translations were written, and the tradition of the Latin name determined how we refer to the mother of all the living.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Outdoor Cat Enclosure Idea

Frankly, with the way the house is organized, we don't have a lot of places to put the litter boxes. That combined with the fact that our felines appear to desire venturing out-of-doors has caused me to consider enclosing the back "yard."

So I'm thinking about enclosing our tiny patio for the cats to go outside. I would build a few shelves and probably put some patio furniture out there. We don't really have seasons in Southern California, so I imagine we would get a lot of use from such a project.

There are commercial solutions available, and I found several sites which suggest such a cat enclosure can be and should be made, as well as sites offering instructions for sale and for free.

Before I did my searches, Cathy's mom (Rhonda) was suggesting using lattice work to keep the cats in. I don't plan on building any permanent additions to the house, so I shouldn't need a permit. I'm leaning towards a combination of poles and netting, but Rhonda thinks a lattice ceiling would be prettier.

Well, I should measure things, first, and clear out the back yard (or the other way around) Then I can worry about enclosing it for the kitties. I'm gonna do it some time, hopefully before school starts again.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Pet Peeve: People Pretending to Know Stuff

I came in to work today to find my boss frustrated by an IBM tech. We use IBM servers and employ their warranty coverage. One of our clients had a parity error on the motherboard (the system said so, isn't that nice?). That really can mean two things: bad memory chips or an actual motherboard failure. The solution is easy... replace memory or replace the motherboard, in that order.

Well, the IBM tech insisted that we "flash the BIOS" first... like that would help. We've been there before, upgrading BIOS firmware on random parts, just to prove that the problem was really hardware failure, and my boss has to do it now. It frustrated him because the IBM tech (IBM! You'd expect better!) doesn't know what he's talking about and just can't be bother to do his job.

What happened to people, that even on the job the regular Joe pretends to know more than he does? Is there some inherent danger to admiting you cannot do something or do not know something? What happened to, "I don't know, let me find out" or "I am not able to, but let me get someone who can"???

this is an audio post - click to play

Just a note... in my book, anyway, it is always O.K. to tell me, "I don't know" or "I'm sorry, I am not able to". If the person saying "sorry" is in a service business (oh, say, customer support, waitressing, media, clergy...), I do expect to hear "but I'll find out" or "let me try to find you someone who can".

Hey, I tell people all the time that I don't know stuff. I have to get back to them with the answer, or pass them on to someone who should be able to help... it's O.K.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Whew! That was Easy!

I've been sick (feeling about 90% now) and went back to work today. We had our Hebrew final exam tonight, and our professor set really high expectations for our final... we had to 40% to pass the course.

That sounded like a REAL difficult test, but it turned out to be an easy exam. We were merely tested on the basics. Apparently the department chairman writes the final to make sure we're actually learning. Ah... sweet relaxation!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Cathy's Improvements

I've been staying home sick the last couple of days... I'm not very productive when I'm sick (who is?), but I did manage to get a little studying done.

Yesterday Cathy got her final Hep A/B vaccination shots. People with Hepatitis C must not get Hep A or B, otherwise the combination is sure to kill them. So, Cathy got her third and final shots for Hep A/B, and now she is safe against them.

She's been getting up earlier this last week. Usually, she sleeps in until 1 P.M., but she got up about 11:30 the last few days. The Hep A/B vaccines will probably keep her in bed longer today, though.

Cathy plans on getting back to work... she's itching to work. I think staying home is slowly driving her batty. I convinced her that she isn't ready to go back this month, so we set a (pretty) firm date of March for her to return to work. She wants to go back sooner, but I want to wait and see, for her health's sake.

Though I did not feel up to going to work, or going to class last night, Cathy did manage to convince me to go out to dinner. Money has been tight recently, so we celebrated mildly by eating dinner at Cathy's favorite Sushi restaurant, Niko Niko (which translates to "smile"). Since Hep A is food-borne, especially in undercooked food, we haven't been able to eat Sushi since Cathy started treatment.

Niko Niko sounds Neko Neko in Japanese, which is "kitty kitty." That's probably what triggered me to go across the street to a pet store, where we also got some pretty new collars for the kitties... I'll probably post some photos later!

I woke this morning feeling better than yesterday; I think this will be my last sick day; I sure hope so, as I hate being an invalid. My nasal passages don't hurt anymore, so once the cogestion clears I'll probably be OK. I don't think I'm contagious anymore, so I'll probably go in to work tomorrow.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Three Kittens, A Pit Bull, and a Sick Santa Claws

Yup, I'm sick... I have been taking Zinc and Vitamin C, and I went to be early last night. Still, I woke with a sore throat, congestion and sore nasal passages. It usually lasts three days for me, so I may miss work tomorrow. Good thing I got my major project out the door on Friday.

Here's more photos of Santa Claws, taken by a fellow volunteer.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Santa Claws

Santa Claws - click to enlarge

Happy Birthday to Me!

So I'm 32 now... the day passed without much incident. I got up, did my devotions, then got ready for my studies in Hebrew. I left for the PetSmart about 09:30, dropped off some mail and arrived at PetSmart by 10:30.

On my way to the PetSmart I received a call from Ted, using Skype! The quality was acceptible, about like a calling card dialing International; some echo, a little delay for him, but usable! My heart was gladdened by my brother's consideration, and I know his wife is ecstatic about being able to call home from Haiti!
this is an audio post - click to play

This was a good day for the shelter! I played the part of Santa while people brought their pets, big and small, to get their photo with Santa. Each photo package costs $8.95 (one dollar less with their club card), and $5 goes to the shelter! We had 33 packages, so that's $165 for the shelter! Sad to say, but this is the major source of income for the shelter... So we had a good day!

While I was playing Santa, I got a call from Cathy, who left a singing voicemail (Happy Birthday, of course). I also got a call from my aunt Adell, but I had to cut it short since it looked funny for Santa to be on a cell phone!

I got home and discovered that mom had made me a cake, from scratch! We'll be enjoying that after diner. The girls are going to watch a movie (Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants?) while I study for my Hebrew final.

I'll post some photos later on! My throat is sticking... I hope I'm not coming down with something...

Friday, December 09, 2005

Santa Claws

The shelter we volunteer at is a PetSmart Charities adoption partner, and as such the shelter staffs PetSmart's Santa Claws in-store photo event. This year, we're short a Santa for tomorrow, so guess who's going to wear a beard and jelly belly? Yeah, that's me. I'll try to get some photos and post them tomorrow.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Narnia Movie - Worth Seeing

So, we just got back home from watching Narnia, or as Lucy said it, "Narn-yah". We got to see it a day early, thanks to Cathy's connections. :-)

The effects were convincing, and not the least bit distracting. The movie had such an easy way of presenting its special effects without calling attention to it, they actually only aided the movie. I laughed, I cried, I cringed, I rejoiced; I really enjoyed myself! It makes me want to read the books all over again.

Lucy Pevensie is probably my favorite character, having appeared multiple times and is the first to rush to Aslan for any and everything. Personally, I identify with Edmund a little better, though my quiz scored me as Peter. Which one are you?

Cathy & I very much enjoyed the movie, and my M.I.L. Rhonda seemed to like it as well. We had the good company of our friends to make the experience that much better.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Yow! So Much Going On...

Well, I've been too busy to sit down and play with the computer. For those of you that emailed and called, I'm sorry I haven't been online for instant messaging, either... I had a Hebrew exam, a sermon to write and deliver, some after-move-in maintenance on the first apartment... and Thanksgiving, of course.

The first apartment was rented out to four students last month. There was the obligatory last-minute rush to get things done, and thankfully it all got done in time, except for the blinds we ordered which were back-ordered. I finally got the blinds the day before Thanksgiving and installed them that weekend.

The week of the November 21st led up to Thanksgiving, and I have to say that there are many things I was thankful for. I am very thankful that God brought Cathy's mom, Rhonda, to stay with us. She's been a great help during Cathy's convalescene, and she put a lot of work into the apartment remodel, as well. I am thankful the apartment got rented out (whew) finally. I am most thankful for the news we got the day after Thanksgiving... the test results show that Cathy's shots are taking effect and her Hepatitis C will very likely be erradicated by the treatment!!

The day before and the day of Thanksgiving I put up the home entertainment center. I hung the screen and set up the projector, and we watched LOTR 3 - The Return of the King after Thanksgiving Dinner. That weekend I hung the blinds in apartment one, then in our apartment. I then cleaned out the garage and made room for the car, so Cathy can park indoors now.

Big changes at work... I was asked to switch departments about 4 months ago. I tentatively accepted, then decided to back out; the bosses seem to have understood. Now that department has lost a key person, so they are severely short-handed. We'll be hiring for that position soon, and I'm hoping to recruit a business student from school.

Well, I still have to study for my Hebrew final... more later!

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Second Preaching Attempt

this is an audio post - click to play

Here are some thoughts on how I can improve my preaching..