Monthly Archives: May 2011

Shrimp, Rap, and Farmville?

  • Jell-O wrestling and nude parties at a science research station in the Antarctic 
  • A treadmill for shrimp, costing $500k
  • A year of pornography and chat rooms during work hours
  • Forty-seven romantic trips, costing around $144k
  • A study about why the same friggin’ teams dominate March Madness every year, costing $80k 
  • A study on how playing Farmville on Facebook helps adults develop and maintain relationships, costing $315k
  • A study analyzing how quickly parents respond to trendy baby names, costing $1m
  • The development of a laundry-folding robot, costing $1.5m
  • A study that shows that people who post pictures on the internet from the same location at about the same time are usually friends, costing over $2m
  • A bunch of amateur video clips about science, costing $50k.

It was reported today that all of the above activities was funded by the National Science Foundation using our tax dollars.  What???  Ok, this looks really bad but most bureaucracies have some waste and lax managers.  So get rid of the bad apples and lazy bums.  Hire some motivated people, people who have the expertise for the job and who NEED the job. 

I can understand the wrestling and polar bear party in the Antarctic.  Seriously, what else would you do with your free time there?  And if this were just a single person organizing some much-needed relief and fun, then discipline the organizers, determine WHY the employees need distractions, and help them deal with life in the Antarctic!  You definitely have a morale issue in that research center!

Yet it seems to me that building a treadmill for shrimp was a well thought-out project which couldn’t be a spur-of-the-moment idea, especially not for $500,000.  They needed to measure the impact of sickness on shrimp why???  Measure the impact of ridiculous ideas on our federal budget instead!!!

Does it really take a YouTube rap video called Money 4 Drugz and a song called “Biogas is a Gas, Gas, Gas” to get our kids interested in science?  What ever happened to teaching kids in the classroom, making it fun to learn, peaking their interest with your enthusiasm?  And I could’ve told you that if two people post the same picture from the same location at about the same time, they are probably friends and it wouldn’t cost us $2 million dollars.  But the real question here is why someone would want to know something like that so badly that they would actually plan a project to get some actual numbers to report to someone who cares!

What is it with the federal government and crazy spending?  Everyone is watching the budget and the bank account, but no one seems to be watching the coin purse.  Instead of rehashing old territory, can some government official go through every department and have every manager justify the reasoning behind every project costing over a certain amount?  I used to think that projects over $1 billion, or even $1 million, should be reviewed annually, just to make sure that the project is still necessary but, looking at these numbers, maybe we should shorten that time to every quarter, for every project over $10k, just until we get a few trillion of the debt paid off. 

We seem to be sinking from the puddles of unwatched waste and abuse, as much as from the floods of departmental spending.  Some of these activities are old, I understand that.  Yet they shouldn’t have happened in the first place.  Now that we are trillions in debt, we need closer oversight so this type of thing doesn’t happen again.

Oh, and where did I read this story, you ask???   The Daily Mail out of London!  Sure makes the U.S.A. look brilliant, doesn’t it?

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Health and Welfare Update

I’m officially po’ed!  The surgery that Ed and I had been looking forward to was scheduled for tomorrow.  They called today just before 5 pm and cancelled it.  There are no beds available at Presbyterian tomorrow and they just refuse to prop Ed up against the wall somewhere for the night.  So much for trying to fix the atrial flutter tomorrow.

They have scheduled it for June 8th but if someone cancels a procedure between now and then, they’ll let him know.  I have visions of getting a wake-up call at 6 am one morning asking us to get to the hospital as soon as we can.  I’m sure that won’t happen … maybe.  I would hope they would give us notice at least the day before but who knows in this crazy world we live in? 

Speaking of this crazy world, who could imagine that we would have so many tornadoes, deaths, and losses this year?  We even had a tornado plow through the Country Lakes subdivision, just right across the street from us, hopping across neighborhoods from the southwest corner, to tear through blocks in the northeast corner of the subdivision … right across the road from us.  I haven’t heard anything about injuries so I don’t believe there were many reported, thankfully.  I drove through it today about noon and people were everywhere, getting roofs patched, rebuilding wooden fences, and checking on neighbors.  Emergency vehicles, trucks, vans, and people crowded the streets but nothing, thankfully, approaching anything like Joplin, MO. 

Our tall trees behind our house looked like they were bent double at times but I saw nothing break and no damage at all.  We were lucky, I think, because we are totally surrounded by trees, which cut the strength of the wind on the house and our many windows.  But I must tell you that we are seriously considering an underground tornado shelter!  That’s great for us and the dogs but I may have a little difficulty talking Ed into a safe room for the goats.

Beautiful Music

Chloë Agnew.  Lisa Kelly.  Lisa Lambe.  Máiréad Nesbitt.  Not household names, by any stretch of the imagination.  Yet they have the most combination of beautiful voices, talents, looks, and personalities I have seen in quite a long time.  Ed, Kim and I saw them last night at the Verizon Theater in Grand Prairie. 

Celtic Woman began as a single show in Dublin in 2004 and was very well-received.  Since then, they have traveled the world together, becoming sisters in the love of music and performing.  It definitely shows onstage.  Their voices meld together beautifully.  Their movements seem to naturally complement each other, sometimes scripted, sometimes not. 

I love them all but I think my favorite is Lisa Kelly.  Not only is her vocal range closest to my own but she was working in a 9 to 5 job in the computer industry before taking some time off to perform in a Christmas show in Dublin.  From there, she was cast as a lead vocalist in Riverdance, finally coming to Celtic Woman in 2004 for the original performance.  She has three children (yes, 3!  How can she still have THAT figure!) and she travels with them.  In fact, she has been on the road since 2005 for about 80% of the time, she says.  Can you see why I am thoroughly intrigued with this woman?  She went from the computer industry to something for which she has a great passion.  What an absolutely joyous way to live your life.

No, this obviously is not country music, pop, jazz, blues, Big Band, or classical, all of which I adore.  Their repertoire consists of old Irish songs, songs composed just for them, and contemporary songs, performed in their very unique style and energy.  This particular show, “Songs from the Heart,” is about the love, hope, joy, and loss that your heart could feel and they definitely put their hearts in every song.  Their rendition of Amazing Grace received a standing ovation from this large Texas audience.  Sometimes you may tear up, sometimes you will clap and stamp your feet, and sometimes you will just sit in wonder, watching them enjoy their craft and the audience’s response to them.

If you have not seen a Celtic Woman live performance, find one and go!

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Uncoming Surgery

Yes, Ed’s surgery is scheduled for next Thursday at 8 am and it should only take a few hours.  They will “zap” some of the receptors in his heart so the flutter will stop.  They’ve done this surgery, called ablation, … Continue reading

Atrial Flutter

The results are in from the stress test.  Ed’s heart looks good.  There is a slight leakage at the top of the heart but that’s not a big deal.  Woo-hoo!!!

The results are in from the heart monitor that Ed wore for 24 hours.  Ok, that’s not so good but it’s not bad either.  Ed has had a slight heart flutter for years; we knew that.  Now, however, it seems that his heart is in Atrial Flutter almost constantly.  What does that mean?  For Ed, it means that 56% of the time, his heart rate is 60 beats/minute or less.  Yeah, that’s slow!  What’s worse is that sometimes there are pauses of up to 2.8 seconds between beats.   Ouch!  Yeah, we probably need to fix that, don’t ya think?  But how?

Well, we really had 2 things to think about.

  1. The doctor could externally shock his heart and that would indeed stop the flutter but it could come back.  The doctor couldn’t say how long it would take to return though.  Minutes?  Hours? Days?  Who knows!
  2. A special doctor could go up thru the groin and “fix” it.  How he does that, I don’t know but it is called ablation, if you want to look to up.  Dr. Naseem in Denton would be Dr. Kruger’s first choice for that procedure.  Yeah, it’s invasive but very safe and the results are usually very good.  It shouldn’t come back.  That’s a plus.

Ok, option 2 sounds like the best one in the long-term. 

I told you this might be a multi-step procedure to get Ed in shape for our river barge trip later this year and that’s exactly what it is turning out to be.  We got the carotid artery fixed which helped his brain function.  We got his list of medications sorted out and that has definitely helped his dizziness issue.  Now if we can get the atrial flutter stopped, maybe that will help with his shortness of breath and lack of energy. 

So we get this fixed but then what?  It depends upon what symptoms are remaining after the surgery.  We could be looking at a Pacemaker if the heartbeat is still irregular and Ed still has health issues.  We just won’t know until we get the atrial flutter stopped.  The cardiologist’s office will be setting up an appointment with Dr. Naseem in the morning so we will have a better idea of a time frame then.  Again, we are at a waiting stage but the waiting is getting just a little easier, I think.

Oh, and the really good news is that Dr. Kruger said there MAY be a minor bit of coronary disease but not enough to worry about.  Woo-hoo!!!

Happy Mother’s Day!

To every mother out there: Happy Mother’s Day! 

Kay and Nonnie

This is my first Mother’s Day without my mom and I’m feeling a little down.  I sure do miss her.  She was opinionated and, sometimes, a royal pain in the a$$, but I loved her.  She demanded a lot from everyone around her but it wasn’t any more than she demanded of herself.  She was stubborn and really pushy when she wanted something but she usually got her way, right or not.  Our politics were almost exactly opposite of each other and we learned not to discuss them unless we were just looking for an argument, which we sometimes did just for the fun of it.  I miss those times. 

I miss the trips we took together, just the two of us.  If you really want to get to know someone, spend three weeks with them non-stop, in a single car, staying in the same tiny room with a miniscule bathroom, constantly together.  We did just that in the UK, driving through England, Wales, and Scotland, taking ferries and trains to and from Dublin.  We met the Duke of Argyll.  We sang as we drove around Loch Lomond.  We teased each other about seeing the Loch Ness Monster and told Drake that we thought we did see one. 

I wanted to see Hadrian’s Wall but I found out that, even in mid-July, it’s darned cold in Scotland and especially at Hadrian’s Wall.  When we arrived there, I told Nonnie that we really didn’t have to make that stop but she wouldn’t let me back out of it.  We dressed up in every sweater, coat, gloves, hat and socks that we had and STILL froze our butts off walking through those ruins!  We laughed about that for years and I’m so glad she made me stop and get out of that car!  Someday I will make Drake take that trip with me so he can see where his ancestors came from.  Ok, ok, I want to make him freeze his butt off to see those ruins also.

Drake will not be here for this Mother’s Day either so it will just be Ed and me this year.  I can sleep late if I want to.  In fact, I don’t have to get up at all, if I don’t want to.  What I wouldn’t give, a few years ago, to be able to do that and not feel guilty about it!  Most years, I usually spent Mother’s Day traveling to some project somewhere.  This year, I just miss my mom and my youngest son. 

If you still have her, never take your mom for granted or feel that she will always be there for you.  Give her big hugs and spend some alone time with her.  Take a trip, just the two of you, and really get to know her.  Tell her just how much you love her and depend on her having your back.  Tell her how much you are proud of the woman she is and the person she helped you become.  Tell her one thing that you’ve never told her before.  Laugh a lot and enjoy that closeness with her.  There are so many people in the world that can’t do that, for many reasons, so count yourself lucky if you can and have a wonderful Mother’s Day!

A-fib? Umm, maybe not?

After all of that research on A-Fib may have gone to waste.  We got the stress test results back on Ed and his little ol’ heart is just lookin’ good.  That’s great, right?  Yeah, that’s the good news.  The bad news is that we still have no answer as to what the problem is.  Yet we may be getting a little closer to the final answer.

Ed wore a heart monitor for 24 hours last week and we just got the results back this afternoon.  They showed that Ed’s heart occasionally beats way too slow, sometimes up to 2 seconds between beats.  Yeah, that may be a problem …..

We go back to see the cardiologist next Tuesday, late afternoon, to see what the doctor suggests doing next.  Meds?  Pacemaker? We have no clue but whatever he suggests, we will do.  I promised Drake that I would take care of Ed, Nonnie, and his favorite dog Stephi until he gets back.  We’ve already lost Nonnie and Stephi.  We will do what the doctor says for Ed.  I have no intention of letting Drake down on all three promises.