Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Try an Anagram

Did you know that "Joy! Enhanced stale." is an anagram for "Lee and Cathy Jones"? Or, "Joy! Cleanest he." for "Lee & Cathy Jones".

Neither did I... "Lee and Cathy" produced the less-appetizing "Deathly acne."

"laugh out loud" produced "Ugh! A loud lout."

Anyway, have a few minutes to kill? Try Sternest Meanings, a front-end for Anagram Genius. Sternest Meanings is also available as an AIM chatbot, which should give you a clue what "Sternest Meanings" may be an anagram for...

Monday, May 29, 2006

Lee & Cathy Both Sick Now

Well, now we're both sick.

I stayed home last Wednesday through Friday to get well. It is Monday now, and I am almost over my cold... Actually, I think it's the same flu I had three weeks ago, but I just never quite got over it. I suppose if you are going to get sick, Memorial Day weekend is the best time to take days off work.

Cathy picked up the flu, probably from me. Her symptoms are a little different, but with her treatment interfering with her immune system, she's actually a lot worse off than I was. :-(

What sucks is that Cathy is not allowed to take any time off for illness. Somehow, that was part of the agreement for her to go back to work. It seemed odd to me that any HR department would say, "you cannot take sick time anymore," but what do I know? I'm not sure that's actually legal, to be honest. Anyway, Cathy is thinking of using a vacation day to try to get well.

I'm going back to work tomorow, but if you read this, please pray for Cathy's recovery. Thank you.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Another Year Without A Mocha!

So I bought Cathy a Mocha Frappucino today, and she tells me that she hasn't had one in a while... in fact, not since March 25, 2005!

this is an audio post - click to play

So, Since Yvonne left, Cathy hasn't had a coffee buddy... I'm thinking I'll buy her a Starbucks card for her birthday.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Ellen is Growing Quickly

A quick update on Ellen the Kitten. First, she began to use the litte box without any assistance from us. We still have to teach her to bury her eliminations, but she is already well on he way!

Just yesterday I noticed that her claws are retractable now. And she is able to lunge at things and bite.

Done Reviewing Van Kampen

I finished reviewing "The Rapture Question Answered: Plain and Simple" by Robert Van Kampen. You can read the comments for more details, but here is my take in a nutshell: don't waste your time with this book.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Ellen: Teething & Weaning

Ellen has been teething and likes to nibble on everything. Anything she comes across goes directly into her mouth... and it tickles if she finds your finger.

We're also weaning Ellen; she is almost ready to eat solid food. Here's the videos...

Saturday, May 20, 2006

The Da Vinci Code Movie - Big Deal

Yes, I read the book; who hasn't? When I first heard that The Da Vinci Code was "highly controversial" I knew that mean it would contain some kind of factual error regarding Christianity, and that this would be a central point. Still, I figured, "big deal" and ignored it.

Frankly, the written version wasn't all that wonderful, and I doubt it would have sold as many copies if people hadn't made such a fuss about it. Ever heard of the Streisand Effect?

Regarding "What is the big deal, anyway?", the problem isn't The Da Vinci Code but how some people react to lousy history as though their faith depended upon a novel. If you are a Christian and you are reading this, do me a favor (in fact, do Christ a favor): don't get too worked up. Yes, read the book. Yes, make sure you know where it is wrong and know how to answer it. But don't have a cow.

Sure, Dan Brown actually believes what he writes in the book is true, but he does terrible research for his books; Cathy is reading Angels and Demons and Brown has American Indian beliefs all wrong. The sheer amount of bad and confused history in TDVC actually gave me a headache. He gets dates, places, and events mixed up and conflated, and he does bad math on top of that. Is it too much to ask for people to do a little homework? To quote Tom Hank's goofiest line of the movie, "I've got to get to a library -- fast." I only wish Dan Brown had spent more time in one.

In hearing and reading the movie's reviews, it seems that the critics find the movie version a yawner. Even the positive reviews sound weak, and I found one clearly negative review so funny that I couldn't finish reading it out loud to Cathy.

For the record, I'm going to wait for the DVD version. I don't see the point in spending the money to see a movie nobody recommends and the plot of which follows the book religiously (haha). I didn't like the book enough to pay to be bored by it on screen.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Adventures in Atlanta

I went on a trip last week and ran into some trouble in Atlanta. The trip was for business but I had planned to visit my father-in-law since I was less than 90 minutes away from him. None of my plans worked, but some of them were for the better.

Here was my original plan last Wednesday: leave home at 5:00 A.M., fly from Ontario to Atlanta, rent a car and drive to Chattanooga, work several hours and then check into the hotel. Thursday would find me in Chattanooga again, but Friday I would drive to Birmingham and Nashville. I would sleep at my father-in-law's place Friday evening and fly home Saturday in time for Mother's Day. Things did not work out that way.

I did arrive in Atlanta on time, but things went awry at that point. Picture in your mind the following scenario: I get off the shuttle to the rental car office and walk up to the counter. I've been through the drill a hundred times:
"Hi, I'm Lee Jones, here's my reservation number, my license, and my credit card." I wait to the sounds of rapid clicking and keyboarding, then the guy behind the counter says, "OK, got your car right here..."
"Excuse me, sir?"
"Yes?" I say.
"Sir, did you know your driver license has expired?"

Yeah, so... my plan was a little thrown off at that point. It turns out, however, that there are numerous shuttles from Atlanta to Chattanooga, so I was able to get to my client. Nonetheless, I was unable to visit my family. They gave me a second look at the airport on the way home, but the return trip went without incident. I made an appointment at the field office with the earliest appointment and got my license renewed on Tuesday.

And yes, I drove to the DMV to get my new license. I'll have a new photo, so maybe I'll scan that for comparison purposes...

How did this happen? When I moved, I did not tell the DMV to change my address. And, guess what? The post office does not forward DMV correspondence. It says so right there on page 3 of the California Driver Handbook, so it does you NO good to set up mail forwarding if you need a new license...

Anyway, if you've moved recently, you might want to check your driver license expiration date!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Cathy Update

I suppose it is about time that I give you some updates on the Joneses. To update you quickly on Cathy's progress. Her last shot is on August 18th, so it is just

Cathy just started thyroid shots about two weeks ago. She was feeling really tired, and now her energy level is more even. However, it appears her stress level is up, so some adjustments are needed. According to the book "Hep C: the first year", thyroid damage is common in treating Hep C, but the damage usually reverses itself after treatment ends. Thus, the thyroid supplements may only be a temporary necessity.

On a personal level, I am still praying that Cathy will be completely cured. We won't know for sure that the treatment really worked until after six months or even a year after the shots. However, Cathy & I are truly hopeful that the treatment will work completely, and I think the early detection and good initial response are good signs.

This is becoming the "Kitten Blog"...

OK, this one is in focus. Here's Ellen cleaning herself. Wow, she is growing quick! The end of the video is really cute!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Video of Ellen the Kitten Eating

Here's another video... it went live after the other two. Notice how her little ears bob in rhythm when she is drinking milk? That is sooooo cute!

Videos of Ellen the Kitten

The video on left is of Ellen the Kitten being treated to her postprandial massage. On the right is a (sorry) out-of-focus video of Ellen cleaning herself!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Ellen the Kitten is Growing!

On the left is Ellen from May 7th, on the right is Ellen from May 14th. With one week between the two, you can compare the photos for how Ellen is developing and thriving.

This is a praise! Thank you for your prayers.

Ellen is now able to drink directly from the bottle. She started doing this on Friday. She also started cleaning herself and has become much more playful.

When she eats, Ellen's little ears bob with her sucking on the bottle. After her meal either Cathy or I will give her a belly rub which she enjoys immensely! She's not nearly as boney as she was just a week ago!
When the videos are verfied, I'll post links to them. To see videos of Ellen, click this Google Video search or click on the categories for kittens or Ellen.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Ellen is Doing Better!

this is an audio post - click to play

So, Ellen started walking on Thursday (05/11), and she is no longer dehydrated. She also had an "explosion" in her cage which Cathy had to clean up, but now the little kitty has had solid stools. She is crawling around a lot more and has a healthy appetite.

Based upon this, I think Ellen is out of danger, and God has granted our requests for her well-being. I'll get to see her soon, so I'll snap some photos and upload them!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

I'm Concerned For Ellen

Ellen, our new bottle kitten, is not responding as quickly as I hoped. She has not attempted to eat from the bottle yet, so Cathy and I have been feeding her with a dropper. The poor kitty has the runs and is dehydrated. We have decided to take her to the vet tonight where she will at minimum get some water into her system.

Ellen must have been without her momma for an extended period. Perhaps she was the runt of the litter, and her momma was moving the nest and was unable to come back for her. Ellen has fight in her, though, so I keep praying and hoping for the best.

I believe Ellen does have a fighting chance. She just woke up a little while ago. When I checked on her, she was looking around for a nipple. I was able to feed her 1/4 teaspoon. She went back to sleep on my chest. *sigh*

Your prayers would be appreciated.

Update at 8:31 P.M.: The doctor says Ellen should be O.K. It apears the worst of it is over, and her color (gums) is good. Apparently the gums are a good indicator of overall kitten health. Anyway, no antibiotics, just continued loving care.
this is an audio post - click to play

Monday, May 08, 2006

New Bottle Kitten - Ellen

Ellen came to us last night. We have no history on Ellen at all except that the people who dropped her off at the shelter said she is two weeks old. As you can tell, Ellen's eyes are already open.

Ellen is rather weak and is not taking the bottle directly. Currently, Cathy is feeding her with a dropper. She'll need some extra love and close care for the next few days, and I've been praying for her as well. Lord willing, Ellen will be more active and eat well in a week or so.

It is just one kitty in this litter. Assuming she is two weeks old, we'll get her tested in another two weeks, and then she can interact directly with the other cats.

Lee is Sick (but better)

Yeah, I'm sick. Friday I woke up with "really bad allergies" and went in to work. My voice started giving out on me about 10 A.M., and I decided I was coming down with a cold. I couldn't leave work since I had a trip to TN to plan. I took Zinc and Airborne and hoped for the best.

The cold only got worse. When I get a cold it usually takes me a week or more to recover. On Saturday the cold was present but seemed to be no worse. I went to my all-day class. I got tired, but not sickly. Saturday evening, however, I was getting a sinus headache and generaly feeling lousy.

Sunday was even worse. I am pretty certain I ran a fever Saturday night; I just couldn't stay warm, then I was really hot and sweated a lot. We got to church late and I kept to myself, and we left after communion. I doubt anyone even had a real chance to notice we were at church!

Cathy believes in homeopathic remedies. I was taking a sinus remedy and began taking "head cold relief" drops after church. The difference between conventional treatments and homeopathic rememdies is a matter of differing philosophies. Conventional medicine (e.g. Day-Quill) supress the body's response to sickness to make us feel better. Homeopathic rememdies boost the body's response to make us get well sooner.

So, on the Day-Quill plan, I would probably be sick for more than a week but I could tolerate the symptoms. On the homeopathic remedy plan, I was miserable from Sunday morning until bed time, but today I can tell I am on the mend. I am taking the day off work to rest (hence the updated blog), and I may not go in tomorrow, except to pick up stuff for the trip.

Don't get me wrong, I hate the misery I went through yesterday. But I would rather get it over with than to suffer for almost two weeks, like the last time I had a cold. Thankfully, Cathy and Rhonda have not picked it up from me (thank God).

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Get Better Gas Mileage

Improving Gas Mileage (Edmudns.com & About.com)
  1. Slow down.
    Driving the speed limit, rather than 5 to 10 miles over it, can have a significant impact on gas mileage, especially at highway speeds. If you're not sure what speed to travel, a good rule of thumb is to "Drive like you have a soon-to-be licensed teenager in the passenger seat and there is a police car following you."
  2. Gradually slow for stop lights.
    Rather than rush up to a red light, start slowing down in advance of the light. This may allow the light to turn green before you reach it, meaning you can cruise right through. It takes less fuel to accelerate a car that is in motion than one that is at a dead stop.
  3. Avoid abrupt accelleration.
    The "jack rabbit" start is one of the biggest fuel wasters. Accelerating smoothly yet briskly accomplishes the task of getting a car up to speed without using as much gas. Drive at an even speed, whenever possible.
  4. Don't let your car idle for long periods of time.
    While it may be nice to have your car's interior temperature at the "perfect" setting the moment you step in, the unnecessary idling means results in zero miles per gallon during the idling period.
A couple of other tips for better saving money on gas:
  • Buy gas before the weekend. Gas prices seem to go up after business on Friday.
  • Eliminate unnecessary cargo. Hauling heavy loads in the trunk or inside the car will lower your gas mileage.
  • Go into the store rather than sitting in the drive-through.
  • Comparison shop for cheaper gas. Try your local Costco or Sam's Club and check an online service like GasBuddy.
  • Link several short trips together, starting with the farthest away trip first. Linking trips together helps keep the car at operating temperature. Starting with the farthest away trip allows the engine to have more time to get up to operating temperature.
Other Good Ideas (that don't really affect gas mileage)
  • Regularly check your tire pressure.
  • Keep your car properly maintained. Blocked air filters, dirty oil, and lack of attention to other maintenance items all decrease performance.
  • Calculate your gas mileage on a regular basis. By being more aware of your gas mileage, you are more likely to make changes. Sometimes it may mean a change of driving habits. Other times it may mean a change of cars.
  • Purchase a fuel consumption gauge. A fuel consumption display can help you see, in real time, how your driving habits are impacting your gas mileage. If your car does not already have one, you can purchase an aftermarket gauge that plugs into your car. There are many available on the market, such as ScanGauge.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Recipe: Turkey Tetrazzini

Turkey Tetrazzini

This dish was first made in a restaurant using chicken and was named for an opera star of the 1890's, Luisa Tetrazzini. Over the years, countless cooks made the dish at home, resulting in numerous delicious recipes like this turkey version.

Preparation time: 15 minutes.
Cooking time: 40 minutes.
Makes 4 servings.

6 ounces spaghetti
1 can (12 ounces) evaporated skimmed milk
1/2 cup low-fat (1% milk fat) milk
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon lower-sodium Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon each salt and white or black pepper
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (2 ounces)
2 cups chopped cooked turkey breast or chicken breast
1 jar (2 1/2 ounces) diced mushrooms (drained)
2 tablespoons chopped drained canned pimientos (optional)
1/3 cup fresh bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cooking Directions:
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Cook spaghetti according to package directions; drain and keep warm.

Step 2: Meanwhile, in a medium-size saucepan, whisk together evaporated skimmed milk, low-far milk, flour, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper. Cook over moderate heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture starts to thicken. Cook and whisk for 2 minutes more or until thickened. Stir in the Cheddar cheese until melted. Stir in turkey, mushrooms, and pimientos (if using).

Step 3: Place half of the spaghetti into a lightly greased 2-quart casserole. Top with half of the turkey mixture. Repeat layers. In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle bread crumb mixture over casserole. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes or until heated through.

Nutritional Information for One Serving:
Calories 458
Total Fat 9g
Saturated Fat 5g
Protein 41 g
Carbohydrate 51g
Fiber 2g
Sodium 569mg
Cholesterol 84mg

Lee's Seminary Schedule

Well, I got my class schedule figured out for the rest of the year. I still have to petition to get into one class and three other classes require a signature to get in. If it all works out.