Friday, December 29, 2006

Disconnect! Reboot!

Ok, I absolutely adore (especially the Gallery of Regrettable Food, which leaves me in physical pain from laughing so hard) -- but I found this on the site today and I was laughing like a hyena.

Which became even more funny when we saw a commercial for this lovely item -- The Presto, an email printer that "doesn't need an internet connection" and is "simpler than a computer" for your obviously senile relatives who can't figure out Outlook.

We're worried that Grandma and Grandpa can't learn to use the computer?

Just look at this page. I dare you not to laugh. I double-dog dare you!

Starchy Comfort

We only got about 10" of snow last night, so we dug out and prepared for more snow, which is supposed to continue for the next three days. It's just sort of flurrying right now, but the radar views show a "second wave" coming tonight. So we headed ot the grocery store, just in case.

The Adorable Husband got chains for his car, which was a fabulous idea. We probably wouldn't have made it out of the neighborhood without them, although the roads elsewhere were pretty good.

We had a good laugh on the way home from the store, though -- I apparently connected with my polish/eastern european roots (and he to his equally starch-based Scandinavian ancestry) and we ended up with about fourteen pounds of BREAD. Seriously. If you're going to be trapped in your house for a few days, obviously you need bread, we both thought. Five loaves. And sandwich buns. Over half of the groceries were a bread product of one sort or another. The other half was large hunks of beef.

We're awfully strange. But we can grill steaks for the next four days without a problem, and we have enough in the house to put together a pretty snazzy fondue dinner on New Year's eve withn our friends. We're set!

Hopefully, the airport isn't shut down and chaotic, since we are supposed to leave on Monday for Disneyworld. My family isn't flying out until Tues, so we should be able to settle in beforehand. And if we're late? Well, no problem.

Thursday, December 28, 2006


Bush, last week:
We're making good progress towards coming up with a plan [in Iraq]
I actually sputtered when I heard that on the radio. Bush has said he's not going to make a decision (all hail the Decider!) until 2007. Shouldn't this be a pretty high priority? Weren't you supposed to have a plan before we started all of this? He's just coming up with a plan now? Didn't a commission actually come up with a slew of suggestions? Must not like any of those.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Blizzard, Round II

Ooh, boy! More snow on the way:

There could be between 1 and 2 feet of snow across the Front Range mountains and foothills by early Friday morning. Up to 30 inches could fall in the foothills of Boulder and Jefferson County.

The heaviest amounts of snow are expected to be in the areas west of I-25.
Well, that's us. West of I-25. We got (officially) 25" in the last snowstorm, which is still hanging around. We finally are dug out from the enormous drifts, the dogs have mashed down paths in the backyard so they can pee...and more snow is on the way. A lot more.

Snowfall rates could get up to 2 inches per hour, especially in the foothills along the Front Range. The first wave of the storm will hit the Front Range and I-25 urban corridor. A stronger round of heavy snow is possible for all of northeast and north-central Colorado late Friday into Saturday morning.

The second wave could bring stronger winds and blizzard conditions over the northeastern plains.

The metro area could get 10 to 18 inches of snow by Friday morning because of the storm. Kathy says the foothills could expect 15 to 30 inches and the mountain areas 12 to 24 inches.

Well, I still have enough chocolate, wine, and movies to hunker down and enjoy the snowstorm. I don't have to drive anywhere for work, we have plenty of food in the house, and there's nothing better than sitting in front of the fire reading a book while it snows and blows and blizzards outside. Whee!

The Adorable Husband is (you guessed it!) on call again. He's also supposed to drop off his car to repair the two broken taillights he got in the last blizzard (someone pressed too hard on the plastic cover and broke them). I'm thinking he should keep his car around and not attempt to drive MY car -- which is much closer to the ground and has much wider, smoother tires -- in the snow. We'll have that conversation in the morning before he leaves! I'll remind him to bring a change of clothes and pack his boots in the car.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Best Wishes for the Holidays

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Io Saturnalia, Happy Chanukah! -- pick your particular holy day and I wish you the best for the season and the new year. Hopefully you spent time with your family and friends, celebrating this lovely time of the year with those who are close to you. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Neither Rain nor Snow

We have high hopes for mail delivery today. We finally dug our way to the mailbox and retrieved the last delivery -- which was either Tuesday (before the snow) or possibly Wednesday morning. Nothing since then.

So much for this 'neither rain nor sleet nor snow...appointed rounds' thing!

Not that I blame them, of course. It took two days for most of us to get out of the driveway! I understand that Fedex is going to do saturday and sunday deliveries in order to make up for the two-day delay form the snowstorm. I'm not sure what the Post Office and UPS are going to do. Although I'm not sure that they would be able to get to the house even if they did go out.

Snow doesn't usually stick around for more than a day or so here in Boulder....Having all this white stuff still on the ground is a bit odd.

Where do people GET these ideas?

I get Archaeology Magazine, because I'm a weird information junkie. They have very approachable and interesting articles on current excavations and historical finds. I think I originally signed up when we went to Egypt (because of the recent articles on KV5 and the Golden Mummies), and I just kept reading it. Anyway, in this month's edition, there is a small sidebar talking about the results of a Gallup poll on science. It says:
49% of Americans do not believe humans evolved over millions of years.
51% of Amerians believe humans and dinosaurs co-existed
85% of Americans think archaeologists study dinosaurs

HALF of Americans don't believe in evolution. HALF of Americans are so ignorant of basic science and history that they think Tyrannosaurs hunted humans.

Of that half, many simply haven't learned anything else. Others have embraced this idea (despite being contrary to every actual fact) because their religion demands that it be true in order to function. The first group? I can sort of understand that. The others? I can't wrap my head around someone who doesn't understand that evolution (change) has occurred and continues to occur in the world.

That last statistic is a bit more understandable-- most people don't really have any great interest in archaeology and paleontology and probably don't differentiate between them.

Friday, December 22, 2006

The Force

Did you know in 2001 that over 500,000 people listed their religion as Jedi (as in Jedi Knight of the Star Wars universe) in censuses around the world. Australia, New Zealand, Canada, UK -- people around the world are writing in "Jedi" when asked for the religious affiliation. Some poeple mistakenly believe that getting a certain number of people claiming a religion will make it "official", but this is not true (according to snopes).

A note from the Australian Bureau of Statistics notes that urging people to put int Jedi on tne 2006 census may result in fines for falsifying info on the census forms. However, this doesn't appear to have stopped people.

In Australia more than 70,000 people declared themselves members of the Jedi in the 2001 census. The Australian Bureau of Statistics issued an official press release in response to media interest on the subject.

Over 53,000 people listed themselves as Jedi in New Zealand. New Zealand has the highest per capita population of reported Jedi in the world, with 1.5% marking "Jedi" as their religion on the census - more than those marking themselves as buddhist or

In the UK, they have actually assigned Jedi its own code for reference purposes, since:

"It was confirmed prior to the census that citizens were not liable for a fine in relation to question 10 (on religion).[9] In England and Wales 390,000 people (0.7%) stated their religion as Jedi on their 2001 Census forms, surpassing Sikhism, Judaism, and Buddhism, and making it the fourth largest reported religion in the country."

Pictures at Last

The Adorable Husband did finally manage to get home -- or at least, get the car to the entrance of the culdesac. We don't get plowed, really, so the snow is 3-4' deep in drifts over the road. We officially got 25" in Erie, although we decided in our culdesac that it was closer to 30" after Stu borrowed the snowblower and cleared the sidewalks and driveways. I didn't let him do ours -- the Husband absolutely loves to snowblow. Weird, eh?

It was actually quite lovely outside. I love this kind of weather. And, since the Adorable Husband did get his car back here, I had the camera. SO -- a few pictures:

The paths I had to tromp in the backyard so Rukh could get out and pee. The fence is 4' tall -- and this is after it got warmer and things "sank" a bit. At one point last night, the snow was all the way up to the top of the fence!

Yup, that's actually him, snowblowing the street. One of the people in the neighborhood has a little front-loader, and went around plowing at least a single lane on each of the streets. He just did it because he "likes to help" -- He eventually made it to our culdesac and got a lane to everyone's driveway. We gave him a bottle of wine and a hefty tip, especially since he completely plowed out Cooper's driveway (they are out of town, and her mother lives int he MIL-apartment over the garage. She's disabled and can't shovel, so we were in the process of shovelling her out when the guy in the cat showed up. Very nice.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Submarine Dog

It's still snowing a bit -- and our yard is one smooth, drifted expanse of snow (from the front door to the street, really) and in the backyard, the drifts are 4-5 feet tall.

It's been a bit of a problem getting everyone outside; I've had to shovel the porch off every time and the drifts are taller than the beasts. I let Uulaq outside yesterday afternoon and went back inside to get a hat. When I came Uulaq. Huh?

No, wait -- there she is, bulldozing her way through the snow with only her nose showing. She doesn't hop up over the snow, she just plows through it like a u-boat. Every once in awhile she jumps up to see where she is, then disappears again under the drifts.

Rukh is not quite so excited about it, since he's fuzzless and has a harder time getting around without the horsepower in that rear leg to get him through. Standing in the snow when it's up over your shoulders can't be fun!

The Adorable Husband tried to get home last night (I'm not sure why, some misguided need to shovel the driveway, I think) and wasn't able to get into our streets. The entrance to our development was too deep to drive in (and we don't get plowed at all) and he had to have a few people help him dig out and then headed back to the hospital. He spent hte night there, since if he was called back in, there would be no way to get back, even if he managed to get home. He's going to try again later today, but I think his chances are pretty slim. We're not going anywhere for a few days, I don't think. We can snowblow our own driveway, but there's still a half-mile of winding streets tht are utterly drifted over.

But we have plenty of chocolate, plenty of wine, and plenty of movies -- fun!

BTW -- I would have taken cool pictures of the snow, but the Adorable Husband has the camera in his car. Hopefully he took a few.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Snow! Snow! Snow!

Well, we officially have a blizzard warning here in snowy Colorado -- and looking out at the horizontal snow and drifts up over my front steps, it very well may be one.

The street is even with the curbs, and the snow is piling up about 2-3" an hour, with 2' expected. Whoopee! We have plenty of chocolate, movies, and popcorn to keep us amused while we're snowed in. Yeah!

I'm very, very glad that I don't have to drive anywhere to work. The Adorable Husband got in this morning before it got really bad, but he's going to have a fun drive home this evening, if things progress the way the weather forecast suggests they will.

Chemo, Round Two

Back up to the vet today for a second round of chemo for the beast yesterday. They couldn't do it last week, because his white count was far too low. Much better this time, and they did the second dose of Carboplatin. He wooed everyone at the office with his charming ways, and slept through most of the treatment. What a ham.

He seems to be doing pretty well today -- a little woofly, perhaps, but we've got him on anti-nausea drugs prophylactically. Hopefully that will forestall any barfing. Based on our experience last time, he should be back and bouncing around in a day or so. Yeah, Rukh!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Secret Services

Secret service protection for ex-presidents was begun in the 60s, after the assassination of JFK. It was originally set up for lifetime security for ex-presidents. But in 1994, Congress amended the rule to offer only 10 years of protection to ex-presidents. The change became effective in 1997, so the Shrub is the first president to leave office under this rule.

So of course, there are some murmurings that this is not adequate and that the rule needs to be changed for the Shrub, because he faces a higher level of threats that previous presidents. Do note, though, that a Republican congress changed the law, and enacted it. But, a democrat was in office then, of course.

They're probably right that Bush needs more/better protection. He is really not well-liked at all. Specific threats are a valid reason to extend protection.

Former Secret Service agent Chuck Vance, who is a former son-in-law of
former President Ford, said Bush's post-presidency will include a variety of

"One thing is, he is a relatively young man, and young men are more active
and always on the road," said Vance, now a security consultant in Virginia.
"That takes a lot of manpower and a lot of team effort."

And, Vance noted, Bush will be a target.

"He is the only president that invaded a country without provocation and
without it being started by the other side. I think he has gained a lot of
enmity. ... There are a lot of people who resent this president, both externally
and internally, some of whom have lost sons and daughters and had people injured
in the war in Iraq," he said.

Looks like some things are coming home to roost. And could they have used the word "former' more often in that first sentence?

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Xmas Gambling

My TUSC Christmas party was, as usual, a BLAST. Nearly everyone in the office made it (a rarity when so many people travel all the time) and we had a fabulous time. Of course, I was out shopping for a dress earler in the day, because I bought a really cute, dressy outfit online about a week ago, but wasn't really happy with it. Besides, when else are you going to wear red velvet?

Good food, fabulous company -- and we got to gamble with fake money to our hearts content. I lost every penny of my fake money, but the Adorable Husband did quite well. Well al have fun, but it's funny how competitive we get. The Texas Hold-em table got pretty rowdy!

Really good, geeky presents, too -- backup drives, ipods, gps trackers. We really ought to wear out propeller beanies to the party. We are such nerds.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Nickels and Pennies

Well, here's an argument for getting rid of smaller coins, if I ever heard one. With the current market for metals, a penny is actually worth about 1.12 cents of materials, and a nickel is worth about 6.99 cents. They're worth more as melted ingots than as coins.

As a result
U.S. Mint officials said Wednesday they were putting into place rules prohibiting the melting down of 1-cent and 5-cent coins, with a penalty of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 for people convicted of violating the rule.

I have a feeling that's not going to stop anyone, and how would they know that any specific metal ingot of zinc or nickel or copper came from melted coins? And I'm rather stuck on a simple question: why not make all coins from some cheapo metal (aluminum?) so that they don't have to worry about the value of the metal in the coin being related to the face value.

Coins are just placeholders for "real" currency, anyways -- like dollar bills represent a specific value. Bills are just paper, why can't coins be just metal? They may have at one time been actual currency amounts, but perhaps it's time we dispense with that particular charade.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

HD Reality

Finally! After three tries, several crabby phonecalls, and quite a bit of work on the part of the Adorable Husband, we have HD cable in the theater.

The first attempt, they gave us a window of four hours (8-12), called at 11:30 to tell us they were running about two hours late. We had a ton fo things to do, so we rescheduled. Not knowing at the time, of course, that we'd wait 3-4 weeks for an appointment.

Second appointment comes around and the two guys who come are supremely puzzled by the fact that the current cables are buried in the walls and unable to grasp that we want them to run four NEW wires into the basement. HD requires that each box have it's own home-run wire to the new dish, no switching, so the wiring we have is not adequate). They talk about using the existing wiring for the two downstairs tvs and then running wire all the way around the house, in two directions, to reach the other two. We have a centralized cable "box" downstairs that we want all the tvs to run from. They paced around the house, hemming and hawing, and when they realized they'd have to actually pull new wire down through the porch....they told us to reschedule and left.

The Adorable Husband was FURIOUS. They basically decided that it was too hard to pull the wires and told him on the phone that he'd have to do the pulling through the deck, since they wouldn't pull up any boards to do it. Apparenlty they didn't even LOOK at the porch, since it took the husband about fifteen minutes to get the cable through. I didn't hear his conversation with the DirecTV people, but they rescheduled the appointment to be back in two days.

So a new guy shows up, having been briefed in detail about the goat-rodeo that is our installation, and he does it -- perfectly. Two hours, and he pulled four new cables, put up a new dish, hid all the wires, tested everything. Voila! HD picture on the big screen.

Only three months after we asked for it the first time. I've been incredibly happy with DirecTV on a day-to-day basis, but the intalls and upgrades have been painful. We did make sure to call and compliment them on the final appointment. I think they ought to be giving us stuff for free, but at this point, I'm just glad everything works.

No HD tv for months, what a stupid first-world kind of problem, eh?

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Electronic Mozart

In honor of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's 250th birthday, his musical works are now available online...for free. All of it. Piano works, symphonies, concertos, etc.

The website draws from the original Neue Mozart Ausgabe paper version
developed since 1954 by internationally renowned musicologists and comprising
over 125 booklets of sheet music, whose origin has been painstakingly authenticated, the Salzburg foundation said.

The "Digital Mozart Edition" (DME) website -- -- features over 600 works by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, separated into ten categories, from concertos for orchestra to chamber music and pieces for piano.
The site is based on Salzburg, and in the first 12 hours had over 400,000 hits. It can be a bit slow, and sometimes switches between German and English for no reason, but...yeah!

Only in Tecas

At first, I thought this was a joke. It's not. This is definitely a serious issue that needs to be addressed by the Texas legislature:
Rep. Edmund Kuempel, a Seguin Republican, has filed a bill for the 2007
legislative session that would allow legally blind hunters to use a laser sight,
or lighted pointing instrument. The devices are forbidden for sighted hunters.

Keep in mind that blind hunters have always been able to hunt in Texas. They have to have a sighted hunter along. This really only changes their ability to use a laser sight to assist their "spotter" in helping them aim. About fifteen states and canada allow blind hunters, with appropriate assistance, to hunt.

Having Children

Ok, I found this on one of the lists I frequent and it had me laughing like a hyena.

Mess Test - Smear peanut butter on the sofa and curtains. Place a fish stick behind the couch and leave it there all summer.

Toy Test - Obtain a 55 gallon box of Legos (you may substitute roofing tacks if you wish). Have a friend spread them all over the house. Put on a blindfold and take off shoes. Try to walk to the bathroom or kitchen. Do not scream because this would wake a child at night.

Grocery Store Test - Borrow one or two small animals (goats are best) and take them with you as you shop. Always keep them in sight and pay for anything they eat or damage.

Dressing Test - Obtain one large, unhappy, live octopus. Stuff into a small net bag making sure that all the arms stay inside.

Feeding Test - Obtain a large plastic milk jug. Fill halfway with water. Suspend from the ceiling with a cord. Start the jug swinging. Try to insert spoonfuls of soggy cereal into the mouth of the jug, while pretending to be an airplane. Now dump the contents of the jug on the floor.

Night Test - Prepare by obtaining a small cloth bag and fill it with 8-12 pounds of sand. Soak it thoroughly in water. At 3:00pm, begin to waltz and hum with the bag until 9:00pm. Lay down your bag and set your alarm for 10:00pm. Get up, pick up your bag, and sing every song you have ever heard. Make up about a dozen more and sing these too until 4:00am. Set alarm for 5:00am. Get up and make breakfast. Keep this up for 5 years. Look cheerful.

Ingenuity Test - Take an egg carton. Using a pair of scissors and pot of paint, turn it into an alligator. Now take a toilet paper tube and turn it into an attractive Christmas candle. Use only scotch tape and a piece of foil. Last, take a milk carton, a ping-pong ball, and an empty box of Cocoa Puffs. Make an exact replica of the Eiffel Tower.

Automobile Test - Forget the BMW and buy a station wagon. Buy a chocolate ice cream cone and put it in the glove compartment. Leave it there. Get a dime. Stick it into the CD player. Take a family-size package of chocolate chip cookies. Mash them into the back seat. Run a rake along both side of the car.

Final Assignment - Find a couple who already has a small child. Lecture them on how they can improve their discipline, patience, tolerance, and toilet training and child’s table manners. Suggest many ways they can improve. Emphasize to them that they should never allow their children to run wild. Enjoy this experience. It will be the last time you will have all the answers.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

No Chemo Today

We all headed up to Vet Specialists today for Rukh's second chemo appointment, and the bloodwork showed that his white count is simply too low to do another dose. They tested it three times, just to sure it wasn't a glitch (which leads me to wonder just how low was it?) and we have to reschedule for next Tuesday instead.

Rukh's been doing really well, although a bit tired. He's been out walking, and seems pretty dang perky. But his white count is so low that we've got him on full-time antibiotics. This isn't really a sign that the chemo is working -- just that the side-effect of chemo (depressing the immune system) is certainly occuring.

It's all a crap shoot anyways. We're just playing the numbers -- hoping that we catch any incipient tumor cells now with the chemo. There may not be any cancer cells at all (although this is unlikely) -- even if we see clear xrays at his next appointment, it doesn't mean that there either were or weren't cancerous cells in his lungs, just that we dont' see them now

So, a week's reprieve on the projecto-barfing. At least he only feels sick for a day or so, if his attitude and behavior are any indication. Grossly nauseous for about a day, then almost back to normal.

Still no hair on his butt, though.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Lions and Tigers and...

My nephew is SIX today. It's hard to comprehend that he's six, really. I can't quite think of my sister as old enough to have a six year old child.

For his birthday, I sent him a larger-than-lifesize, extremely realistic, fuzzy, remote-controlled tarantula. It creeps across the floor quite like a scuttling spider, according to my sister, who shrieked at the very thought of a 7" spider -- even a fake one.

I love being the childless aunt and getting the good presents!


For his birthday, I got the Adorable Husband a wireless weather station thingy, that measures wind speed and direction, temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, and rainfall. It's a pretty spiffy new toy, and he spent the day setting it up and calibrating it. We now know just about everytihng you ever wanted to know about the weather in our backyard -- and have the ability to take measurements every five minutes and store them for years on the computer.

I did at least talk him out of trying to mount it on the top of the roof. I had horrible visions of him sliding off and crashing on his head. Our roof is not for the faint-hearted, and we'd need a cherry-picker to get up there. Either that, or he'd have to hang over the edge and try to screw things into the soffits. Not the best idea, if you ask me.

I, of course, was banished. This often happens when the Husband gets a new toy, since I read the instrutions and then attempt to take over installation or configuration of things. Apparently, I had stepped over the invisible line from helpful to annoying at some point in the morning and every single thing I said or did set his teeth on edge. I retreated to my office to play my new computer game until things were bolted to poles in the back yard and all setup had been completed. Sometimes, discretion is the better part of valor.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

16 Colors

One of my friends is buying a house -- he's been looking for a bit and found the perfect house about a mile or so from us, in one of the new subdivisions. Cute ranch house, and he bought it in time to get to pick all the cabinets, hardware, colors, flooring, etc.

Considering that he is also a believer in the idea that men can only name 16 colors, he asked me to come along and give him a hand. He'd already picked out lovely cinnamon-colored maple cabinets, but when it came to carpet colors and tile, he wasn't as sure. So -- off I went to the builder's showroom to pick things.

Boy, the Adorable Husband is REALLY glad that I'm not doing this for our own house. Yikes. I have the unerring ability to find and love the most expensive thing in the place -- the tiles that are $200 apiece, the most expensive carpet. I am a bit more realistic than that, and with my friend's budget he's trying to get the most bang for the buck for upgrades and stuff. On my own? I'd have a hard time not going hog-wild in the antiqued tuscan stone tile and granite countertops. It's like decorating overload.

My friend has good taste, though, and it's fun to see him so excited about getting his own place.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Power-mad HOA

A woman in Pagosa Springs, CO has put up a wreath shaped like a peace symbol. In her mind, a symbol of the season, and her hopes for a more peaceful future. But the rest of her subdivision have decried it as an anti-war statement (like that's a bad thing?) or even...satanism! (Um, just what is the color of the sky in their world?)
Some residents who have complained have children serving in Iraq, said Bob
Kearns, president of the Loma Linda Homeowners Association in Pagosa Springs. He
said some residents have also believed it was a symbol of Satan
"Three or four" residents in the 200-home development complained. Ooh. A huge issue, obviously. But the real travesty of this situation is that Kearns, the HOA president, is apparently on an enormous ego-driven power trip and he wants the wreath down. Here's what really frosts my cookies:

Kearns ordered the committee to require Jensen to remove the wreath, but members refused after concluding that it was merely a seasonal symbol that didn't say anything. Kearns fired all five committee members
Oh-ho! He "ordered" them to make a specific decision, and then when they didn't comply, fired them. Over "three or four" complaints. While I sympathize with the family with a child in Iraq, why is a peace-symbol a threat? How on earth does it minimize their child's involvement? And people wonder why HOA's despised.
If my HOA demanded that I take down a peace-symbol wreath, I'd pay the fine. And believe me, next year's display would be even more controversial.

Xmas Party Success

Well, the Adorable Husband's office party was here last night, a fine party with much wine and good food.

Of course, we now have about eight pounds of leftover Honey-Baked Ham. Everyone brought so much food we were all reduced to sitting in lethargic heaps and sighing contentedly afterwards. I think that's the mark of a good dinner party!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

It's Important Because I Read It

That's an interesting question. It's certainly an important part of our
deliberations, and it was certainly an important part of our discussions this
morning. Some reports are issued and just gather dust. And truth of the matter
is, a lot of reports in Washington are never read by anybody. To show you how
important this one is, I read it [Bush - conference on Iraq recommendations]
Ooh. He read it. And we should know how important it is because he actually read it. I supposed in a way that's true. It's well known that he is an incurious sort and that anything crossing his desk has to be short and sweet, since he doesn't read often -- or much.

The press conference is pretty positive, though -- something needs to change and despite the fact that making any changes at all is a huge bother to The Decider, there really isn't much choice.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Out Walking

It's been a month since surgery, and Rukh is doing great. (Well, except for that serious barfing incident). He's getting around in the house really well, and seems to be doing ok outside.

He even trundled (more like crashed) down the stairs into the basement to sit with us while we watched a movie. We've been keeping the door shut before this, to prevent him from trying the staircases, but we decided that he was getting pretty antsy and if he was going to attempt to do two flights of stairs, we might as well do it while we're home and could help him back up. We left the door open, and about fifteen minutes into Davinci Code, amid much crashing and thumping, he made it down the stairs. He had a hard time getting back up, but with a bit of a boost, he managed. He hasn't tackled the second floor yet,since he has to go up first, and that is more daunting.

He spends most of his days lounging about in the house, getting up a few times to go outside and pee, maybe walk to the other end of the yard, but definitely not enough to keep him in any kind of physical shape. If he doesn't build strength in his leg, he's just going ot have problems forever. He gets tired so easily, and his leg tends to give out after any sort of exertion. We need to work more on the physical therapy side of things.

So, the Adorable Husband took him out for a short walk this evening -- just out the front door (and down the four steps) and around the culdesac a bit before coming back inside. I stayed inside, because I get so nervous for Rukh and probably freak him out. He managed like a champ. I don't think he's every going to do long distances, but he seemed to appreciate the new scenery and getting out to stretch his legs.

On other news, we were going to board them for the evening when he host the christmas party, with all the people, but the vet's office called and told me that he's overdue on his shot for kennel cough. Everything that I've read says not to give dogs any immunizations when they are on chemo, and without the shots we won't risk him going to the kennel and being exposed. So, they are probably going to stay home with us and mooch food from all the party guests. I'm waiting for a call from the oncologist, just to be sure.

Testicles and tradition

Some right-wingers are upset because Keith Ellison, the new Muslim congressman from Minnesota, doesn't plan to take his oath on the Bible, but on the Qu'ran.

As he should. The entire tradition of "testimony", or swearing, is to add that extra oomph to your words by affirming whatever it is on top of/in front of a representation of your religious belief -- I assume to intimate that you believe that god is listening and you'd be a fool to go back on your word.
He should not be allowed to do so,” columnist Dennis Prager writes [...] Insofar
as a member of Congress taking an oath to serve America and uphold its values is
concerned, America is interested in only one book, the Bible. If you are
incapable of taking an oath on that book, don't serve in Congress.
Prager is a narrow-minded idiot. On many counts. By trumpeting that "America picks the book!" that we use, he demonstrates that he knows nothing about the concept of testimony, and even less about the concepts of culture and "America". Despite his hyperbole, allowing someone to swear an oath by their own ethical and moral belief system is not going to be the "downfal of American civilization." Please.

First off, America isn't a theocracy yet, and to say that the bible is the only "book" is arrogant and presumptuous. Despite all the protestations from the religious conservatives, America was not founded as a christian nation, and the founding fathers were not christians in any sense of the word. Deists, yes. Believers in a higher power, yes; but allegiance to a particular dogma was not in the cards. It was something they specifically wanted to avoid.

The Bible doesn't have a monopoly on morals or values (in fact, some of the values and morals expressed in its pages are quite evil and unenlightened, as are those in most religious texts), and more specifically, it doesn't represent the American constitution or culture. It is the beloved book of millions of people around the world, but it is not the only possible icon that we can accept. And it is just that -- an icon of a particular belief. For me, for example, "swearing on a bible" is no more binding than swearing on a copy of Cat in the Hat. Either I am honest and will uphold my word, or I won't. The weight of a biblical blessing on my word is moot. The bible, to a Muslim, is still a holy book, but it is not the scripture of the islamic faith. Swearing on the bible (if you buy the idea that this tradition is meant to add some sort of threat of damnation if you renege) would not be particularly meaningful to someone who doesn't accept the book as their iconic text.

It certainly doesn't have anything to do with supporting a single, unified value system, as Prager writes. I can guarantee that people swearing on a bible don't follow the rules of every single word in it, and they certainly do not share the same interpretation of its words. Not even close. What unified system are they speaking of?

He has never heard of the "no religious tests" clause in the Constitution, I guess. There is a strict prohibition for requiring any officeholder to profess faith of any kind, much less accept any specific articles of faith. This whole hoopla comes up simply because the senator is Muslim -- and the popular culture and media have done a good job demonizing islam and playing to the ignorant masses wanting someone to blame for terrorism. A right wing radio host has suggested that Ellison needs to "prove" that he's a good American -- that shadowy suggestion of a loyalty oath has tossed up its ugly head -- simply because he is Muslim. "I have to tell you, I have been nervous about this interview with you, because what I feel like saying is, "Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies."

Disgusting. Although I'm sure it plays well with the people who want to preach fear fear fear at all times to retain power.

Prager also is woefully ignorant of history. At least two presidents (Hoover and Pierce) didn't take any oath -- they "affirmed" their office-- and that Teddy Roosevelt, who did take the oath, didn't take it on a Bible.

The bible is used by tradition, because most of our presidents have been nominally christian, or have at least accepted the Bible as a suitable object to swear by. I wonder if we just shouldn't go back to the historic meaning of testify -- related to testes -- and simply reach down, grab hold and swear by something important to you. Although I suppose that's sexist. The constitution allows "affirm" because not all people can or will swear (a word which has some serious meaning to Quakers, and an act that is specifically forbidden by the Bible in Matthew 5:33-37). But it is sort of amusing to point out that the injunction "Swear not at all" is in the book they demand others swear by.

By the time we got to the constitution, we had to deal with the Quakers, who do not swear. (it was important to reach an agreement with the Quakers, since they controlled PA, which included Philadelphia, the city that spawned much of the revoluationary zeal). Quakers do "affirm", and that's why that text is in the Constitution. No law requires (or even suggests) the use of the Bible.
"The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the
several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the
United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation,
to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a
qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."

I couldn't even read the comments on the various articles and blogs posted about this topic. The level of bile and venom spewed by some posters is simply amazing.

Propaganda Literature

Instead of trying to build an actual legacy of doing something positive, Bush is going to simply have one created for him. How surprising. Think of what that half a billion dollars could do when applied to something meaningful. School lunches. Actual literacy.

WASHINGTON - He may be a certified lame duck now, but President Bush and his truest believers are about to launch their final campaign - an eye-popping,
half-billion-dollar drive for the Bush presidential library.

Eager to begin refurbishing his tattered legacy, the President hopes to
raise $500 million to build his library and a think tank at Southern Methodist
University in Dallas


The legacy-polishing centerpiece is an institute, which several Bush
insiders called the Institute for Democracy. Patterned after Stanford
University's Hoover Institution, Bush's institute will hire conservative
scholars and "give them money to write papers and books favorable to the
President's policies," one Bush insider said.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Holiday Cheer

We're usually pretty lax about holiday decorations at Chez Phouka. In fact, we have probably put up a tree one out of every three years. If it's just for us, we rarely bother -- although we have succumbed to peer pressure in the neighborhood and put up christmas lights on the eaves almost every year. There are some houses in our neighborhood that are starting to rival the Gridwolds.

But this year, we got the tree up, put up the garlands, hung lights, the whole shebang. Going through the boxes of christmas stuff that has survived the moves and packing and storage, we realized that we really don't have that many decorations. A few silver balls, some family ornaments....that's about it. We've decided this year to hit the post-holiday sales and pick up more ornaments so we can at least have a tree that doesn't look on the sad and shabby side!

Friday, December 01, 2006

I'm going to regret this...

OK, ok. I know I'm going to regret this, but because everyone asked so nicely...the Turkey Feast Plan. Laugh if you will, but it WORKED. Hah!

Setting the Table

Somehow or another, we volunteered to host the Christmas Party for the cath lab this year. We have plenty of space, and we offered to bring the wine, so the unanimous decision to hold the annual potlock hangout party in our kitchen (and, I think, in our movie theater) was made.

Great! I actually love to have parties. Despite the fact that I suffer seriously from itsuparok (the act of going outside often to check if guests are coming) and get all freaky-stressed. We're going to pick up a honey-baked ham and plates and cups with the allotted budget for the party and everyone will bring stuff. The Adorable husband has already started the Christmas Baking Frenzy. I think he's got four batches of cookies done already.

At any rate, we were sitting in the kitchen discussing plates and utensils and such for the party. The usual thought is to get plastic forks and spoons, buy heavy paper plates, and go for it. We already picked up a box of cheap wine glasses from the local Costco, and were laughing that we had almost enough china to have 20 people sit down to dinner. We'd be short a few forks and such, but we could manage in a pinch.

(This is all because we a) have 8 place settings of china from grandma as a wedding gift, b) my MIL has found plates here and there and given them to use to round out the collection, and c) I discovered a few years ago some poor, ignorant person on eBay selling 8 more place settings of our china pattern (Noritake Eminence) for about 300 bucks, including shipping. They didn't know that it's a fairly rare pattern and that Replacements (which stocks old china, silver, etc) usually prices each dinner plate at about $30 and those platters and such upwards of a hundred. We scored 8 place settingsk, a few extra bowls, a sugar and creamer, and another platter. I felt quite guilty about it for awhile. Should I have told them the "street value" of the china? I resisted.)

On a whim, I decide to check out eBay again to see if someone has any stray pieces. They show up once in a while, usually in ones and twos, and we always need a few extra bowls. We have at least 16 of all the plates and saucers, but we have 6 each of three different kinds of bowls. ANd I think a few of the teacups have met a bad end, but we even have a gravy boat -- I've only see one on Replacements before. Anyway...

What do I discover on the marvelous tagsale that is eBay? Eight place settings (dinner plate, salad plate, bread and butter plate, saucer, cup) and serving pieces....for 225 plus shipping. New. In the box. Unused. Stored in the closet for 40 years. I'll probably bid on them before too long.

We don't really need more china, but it's always good to have extra pieces. Besides, as the Adorable Husband pointed out, it means that in a dozen years or so, we can pass on a set of 'great-grandmas china' to one (or more!) of the nieces. Any collection will contain at least some of the pieces that the Adorable Husband's grandma used, even if some of the other pieces are just the same pattern and found from other places. The idea is a nice one.

Off to bid on eBay. Wish me luck!

Home again, home again

I wrapped up at my client before noon today, and the Travel Fairy was good to me. I got a seat on a much, much earlier flight and was home at 3pm instead of 11pm. Very nice. Of course, the flight was packed full, and I had a middle seat between two men who decided that they were really lounging on the couch in fronto f their big screen tv (necessitating a few sharp elbows and concerted pushing back to get any armrest room at all).

Lovely week, great people, good assignment. Gotta love that!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Old House Fanatic

Despite the fact that I live in a house that's less then five years old (even if it does look like an old farmhouse), I still have a deep and abiding love for Real Old Houses. I get choked up driving past our old house, which I loved despite having 120 years of gunge, broken plaster, odd wiring, and mysterious construction issues. I loved fixing up an old house (well, loved it most of the time!).

I ran across another person who obviously loves old houses -- and her experience in renovating a turn of the century bungalow in Chicago entirely engrossed me for almost five hours. Read through the archives of her blog on doing Bungalow Archaeology -- digging out a hundred years of accumulated "collections" from a previous owner who hoarded everything -- from six WW1 army tents (in original backbacks) to enomrous collections of depression era glass to spare Victrola motors and boxes of rocks.

She has been documenting the finds since 2003. It's fascinating and fun and sad and oh-so-familiar to anyone who has ever looked at an old house and thought, "I can fix that!"

Check out House In Progress. Read from the beginning in the archives. It's worth it.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Off travelling

I'm a bit missing this week -- travelling to Salt Lake City to work with a new client for a week.
First off, I'm not flying anywhere near the weekend of thanksgiving again. What a madhouse!ACtually, it wasn't too bad, just really hectic and far too early to deal with families and huge luggage and all heading back home from grandmas house.

Salt Lake City is a lovely place, and it has to be populated by the nicest people I've ever met. I mean, freakishly nice. Too nice. Every single time I've approached a door, someone has held it open for me, even backtracking a bit to make sure they could do it. They hold elevator doors. People came to my rescue when my shoe heel got stuck in the transit rail line while crossing the street. Pregnant women and elderly people got all the seats on the train. No one is grumpy. It's kind of stepford-like.

I'm staying only a block away from Temple Square, which has tons of sights and restaurants, so I may have to foray out into the raging blizzard (really!) and eat somewhere funky today. I have to walk to my hotel (no car this trip), but I can do most of it inside through the office complex and attached mall. Pretty cool.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Leftover Mania

The post-thanksgiving Turkey Feast was a great success! Nineteen pound turkey, about ten pounds of potatoes, and an enormous batch of stuffing. Everything was done on time, everyone had a great time, and we have enough leftovers for the Adorable Husband to eat during the week I'm gone.

The Linnemeyers joined us again -- this time with Rainer's girlfriend in tow (we were beginning to think that she didn't really exist) and a friend of Annika's as well. My friend Mark came along, and we lounged about eating dinner and pie for the afternoon. Much fun!

The Adorable Husband got beeped back to work just as we started the final prep for dinner, so I got everything in order and set the table on my own, but we managed.

Everyone laughed at my Turkey Feast Plan -- a visio timeline to get everything done on time and prepped for dinner. They laughed, but IT WORKED! Hah. No, I'm not going to post it here, it really is embarassing. I'm such a geek.

Friday, November 24, 2006


We spend a lovely afternoon yesterday having turkey and the trimmings with our neighbors -- very nice, lots of good food and wine. And pie, don't forget pie.

The Adorable Husband is on call the whole weekend (pretty much from Wednesday to Monday. He got called in Thursday morning, but was back in plenty of time to join the festivities. Of course, Friday was not so calm -- two cases in the morning, and then he got called in at 9pm...and just as he got back home, beeped again and didn't get home until 2am.

He still managed to make three pies and bake Cardamom bread, so things aren't too bad!

We're doing the entire Post-Thanksgiving Turkey Fest on Saturday -- inviting friends and neighbors to finish off the 19lb turkey and Major Stuffing (I only know how to make one size. It's fun.

The beastie is doing fine and back on normal food. Well, mostly normal food. He's discovered that if he stares mournfully at me long enough, I succumb and cook him chicken and rice. I am so well trained.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Barfing has Arrived

Ugh. The beastie was fine Tuesday night, but spent the whole day today lumping around looking very, very nauseated. He refused absolutely everything, even water, and you could tell he was feeling awful.

I called the vet who gave the chemo and he prescribed Reglan, an anti-emetic med, to handle the nausea. I had asked to get a prescription when we left the office after chemo, but they balked for some reason. I should have insisted, and would have had it on hand to give tot he poor beast when he started drooling and horking. I picked it up at lunchtime, and by dinner he was acting a bit more interested in food.

So I gave him about half a bowl of chicken noodle soup, just to get some fluid into him. Big mistake. He followed it with about half a gallon of water (he must have been very thirsty) and then plopped down in living room.

Half an hour later? Barf-o-rama. No warning, either. Just three enormous spots on the carpet and a very, very unhappy dog. The Adorable Husband hauled out the carpet spot cleaner and we did the best we could, but we're going to have to rent a steam cleaner or have the carpet people back to clean the living room carpet. Ugh.

It might have been the antibiotics, according to the vet. (He's on antibiotics proactively because chemo will lower his white blood count) That can really cause stomach problems, so we're suspending that until he feels better. Poor beast.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Toxic Avenger

Rukh had his first chemo appointment today, and so far is doing pretty well. He seems a bit off, but we stopped for his standard post-vet-visit Arby's Roast Beef and seemed pretty happy about it. They told us to expect the barfiness tonight or tomorrow, if he gets sick at all. Hopefully not!

We opted for Carboplatin, five sessions three weeks apart (probably). Of the three major drugs they use, it has the fewest side effects (the others can cause cardiac damage, or kidney damage, or neurological issues)...of course, it happens to be the most expensive, too. Of course. Well, I'm willing to trade a little pain in the wallet to make sure that he feels better and has fewer side effects.

He was the belle of the ball at the vet's office, though -- they cooed over him, and petted him; he got his chemo while laying on the rug with his head in the tech's lap. He's taken the "I'm cute" act on the road, and it's a hit.

Monday, November 20, 2006


I really, really need one of these. Oooooh!

We saw one at the local Borders, and at first thought it was a mockup -- the screen is white, the words are crisp, it is this close to being a paper page, but it's digital and holds about 80 books.

This might actually be more sexy than the iPod.


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

For Women Only

The adorable husband gets tons of funny stuff forwarded to him in email, and he passed along this one to me, since he thought I'd appreciate it.

I do. Oh, yes. Make sure to check out all the side effects.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Venti Grande Supremo...what?

I don't drink coffee, and I certainly don't drink the foofy coffee things that people drink at Starbucks. I have to admit a slight sense of giggling hysteria over the jargon thatStarbucks coffee people (oh, wait, the proper term is barrista) force you to use -- and will apparently correct you if you misstate your order. Vente. Grande. Skinny. Half-caf. Legs. Huh? This is just coffee-code. Why can't it be a large coffee? No, you must order a Grande, and will often be snootily corrected if you attempt to buck the system.

But I discovered that Starbucks produced a brochure on "how to order" a few months ago. There's a decoder ring for how you ought to get your enormous coffee (equal to 4-6 regular coffee cups, depending on what you get) properly. One guide has the following
  1. The cup (here, to go, your own)
  2. Number of shots of expresso (single, double [doppio], triple, quad)
  3. Ristretto, Decaf or half-caf (regular is default)
  4. Size (short 8oz, tall 12oz, grande 16oz, venti 20oz)
  5. Syrup
  6. Type of milk (whole, skinny, half-n-half, organic, soy
  7. Modifiers (wet, dry, no foam, whip, no whip)
  8. Type of drink (americano, latte, cappuchino, mocha)
It's still pretty funny, even I can decipher what they are saying. The Adorable Husband loves to go in and order 'large coffee' -- and is often squinted at curiously, and asked, "d'you mean a venti drip?". Hah!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Beastie Update

A friend of mine stopped by today to see Rukh and to pick me up to go house-hunting with him. I opened the front door as he stepped up the curb into the sidewalk and Rukh got one look at him and bounded out the front door, down the three stairs, down the other two concrete stairs inthe walkway and just about bowled Friend over.

I just about had a heart-attack. I'm still paranoid when the beastie goes down the two small steps into the yard in back (and even more paranoid when he goes back up the stairs) and here he goes flinging himself off the porch with reckless abandon. Yikes!

But, it's another day in the ongoing improvement. Rukh is doing amazingly well, and is starting to get back to his normal self, honestly. He looks better, acts perkier, and seems to be pretty happy. He's still a bit wobbly on three legs, and gets tired really easily, but I figure in another week or so, he's going to be almost back ot normal (or as close as he's going to get minus a leg, I guess). Of course, we're starting chemo this week, but they say that dogs do really well, so here's hoping it goes well.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Veteran's Day

To all the men and woman who have served this country -- thank you.

Twisted Gifts

If you want slightly twisted, rather odd, and definitely fun presents -- check out

I really want one of these Voodoo Knife racks, it just makes me giggle every time I look at it. Yes, it's sick. But funny. Very funny.

Maybe if I paired it with the Voodoo Toothpick holder....

Thursday, November 09, 2006

I don't need no steenkin leash!

Well, two days off the narcotic painkillers and Rukh is almost acting like his old self. He is perky, alert, wagging, and just seems so much happier. He's still pretty quiet around the house, only getting up a few times to shift around or go outside, but he's having a much easier time of it and is moving around the yard so much better. He's still on the Rimadyl (anti-inflammatory), but he seems pain-free from the amputation.

We dumped the leash on our forays outside, since it just seemed to piss him off to be tethered and watched while he did his business. He's shy, apparently, and doesn't want anyone standing there whistling idly while he takes a dump. He hides around the corner of the house now so we can't see him, and seems much happier. I haven't had any repeats of the 'lay down at the end of yard' episodes, so I'm sticking with it. I do worry that someone will walk along the back fence and he'll try to chase them like he's used to, so one of us is outside with him all the time.

We did drag him to our vet this evening, mostly to assuage my worries that his "good" leg is still good and that he is doing ok. Lisa was so pleased to see him, and said he looks just great. The specific gravity of his urine is still too low (which probably means that he is simply drinking too much water because of the drugs or anxiety) but she wants to wait a few weeks to see if it resolves on its own now that he's off most of the meds. His hock is fine, although he needs time to build up strength, and he was a fine example of cute-and-playful dog at the appointment.

The vet office sent us a Doggy Gift Basket today with biscuits, a ball, and a stuffie toy for Rukh. That was really sweet. We love our vet.

While I'm still paranoid and using the sling each time Rukh gets to stairs, he's really doing well and I might actually be more of a hindrance than a help. I'm just so nervous that he'll slip or fall, but he seems to be balancing so much better now, and he's fast. Speed is the friend of a tri-ped dog, I've been reading -- think about using crutches: hopping slowly is actually harder than getting a good rhythm and swinging along. Same thing with the beast. When he runs, most of his weight is on his front legs and he just has to push off with the back leg (and he's way more stable). Scares the snot out of me, but I assume that he'll be back to running in the yard in a few weeks. At the moment he looks like an oversized rabbit.

Uulaq is having a hard time, though. She really, really wants to PLAY and so far has been rebuffed (either by us or by Rukh himself). It's just about killing her. She is so confused when we don't allow her to pounce on him, and she doesn't understand when he just ignores her. I hope that in the next week or so he feels good enough to at least engage her a little. In the meantime, we've set up a playdate with our neighbor's dog (a 7mo-old Golden) to see if that takes the edge off a little. Otherwise, she's going to be extra-neurotic until things settle back to normal.

And, of course, she's convinced that we just take Rukh in the car so we can stop at some tasty-food place and not give her any. We always stop at Arby's or McDonalds with the beasts when we go to the vet, so each trip out, Rukh comes home smelling like roast beef or cheeseburger. She's getting extra attention to make up for that one!

Chemo should start next week. We haven't heard back with a 100% confirmation of the type of cancer, which will affect which type of chemo we do. I've been reading a bit about chemo for dogs with osteosarcoma and there are quite a few options, ranging from least toxic to more toxic and least expensive to how much? One of the primary drugs can cause serious heart problems, another is kidney-toxic, while the least toxic of the group is the most expensive (> 1K per dose). Ouch. Different combinations of things are used depending on the specfics of the cancer and size of the dog. Dogs do, however, tolerate chemo pretty well -- most don't get sick or nauseous, and at most are a bit "off" for a day or so. They see to sail through it. Chemo is critical in cases of bone cancer since it always metastasizes to the lungs, whether you see it in the initial xrays or not. So, the chemo proactively attacks any cancer cells in the lungs and hopefully keeps them from growing. With chemo, there's a very good chance that he'll make it a year or more. Rukh is otherwise healthy, although he is nine, so we are very hopeful. As long as he's happy and seems to be pain-free, well do what we can.

We did have a rather macabre laugh about things though -- Akitas, being a giant breed, don't have long lifespans; we have gotten used to the idea that we will lose them somewhere around 10years old. When I got so upset about possibly losing Rukh (who, out of all of our dogs has been my favorite) early, we suddenly thought that it would just be fitting irony if Uulaq (who out of all of our dogs has been my least favorite, despite being a sweetheart) would live to 17 or so. It's not really funny, but in the stressed-out situation around here, we did get a laugh out of it.

So, news from Chez Phouka is pretty dang good this week. So far, so good, knock-on-wood, etc.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Bouncy Flouncy

First off -- good news on the change in leadership in Congress.

Second, Rukh is doing really well today. We finally backed off on his meds, since he appears to be mostly pain free (despite the slight sprain in his hock, which we've been icing and he seems to be dealing with ok) and the tramadol makes him a bit woofly.

Oy. He was bouncing around the the house this morning like Tigger. Charged outside this morning to pee, back inside. Up again asking to go ou. Getting up to drink on his own without any encouragement. Apparently, he was feeling more woozy than we thought on the meds and even if he's a bit more uncomfortable, he's definitely perkier. We might have to put him back on meds just to keep him quiet!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Ice and Treats

Rukh is actually doing really well today -- he's getting up and moving around on his own, not just when we make him get up . But, he's obviously strained his hock, which is swollen and sore. I think he hyperextended it, hopefully not to seriously. He seems to be able to get around, but it's very weak and not too stable. But -- he's been out three times today and seems to be able to squat ok. We aren't following him around with the sling anymore, it seemed to freak him out. He does have to wait at stairs so we can help, and he's picked up on that really quickly. He just stops and then hops up the stairs once we've got the sling under his belly.

I called Lisa, our vet, and she said to ice it and if it doesn't start to improve tomorrow we should bring him in. The other problem -- dribbling pee on the floor -- is not a UTI, and may just be related to the fact that he's been drinking a LOT post-operatively (either a sore throat, or the narcs give him a dry mouth) and since he doesn't want to get up much, he waits until he really has to go. It's been better today.

Functional Art

This might be one of the strangest things I've found in a while -- sculptural urinals. Urinals are usually plain-jane, functional fixtures. I never thought they'd be seen as an expression of artistic vision.

Clark Sorensen, in San Francisco, makes absolutely stunning floral urinals. They are lovely, fully-functional, but would probably be a pain to clean.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Glad I Bought a SpotBot

Rukh is doing pretty well, actually -- he's much happier now that the Adorable Husband is home, but he's still really leery about going outside (probably because I traumatized him). He doesn't want to get up and hop into the yard, although he certainly does well enough once he's out there. He's annoyed that we have him on a leash.

But, he's apparently having some sort of urinary tract problem -- either he has a UTI or something else is off, since he's dribbling/leaking when he is laying down. This has necessitated spot cleaning the carpet a few times a day, when he managed to lay down off of the quilt or pad we've put down. It's not a lot -- but it's strange for him, and he seems quite upset about it. He's not having problems peeing outside, so we're going to drop off a sample at our vet to make sure he doesn't have an infection or something else. Hopefully, this is a temporary problem!

Spasmodic Dysphonia

Weird. Apparently Scott Adams (creator of the Dilbert comic) lost his voice about 18 months ago as a result of a very strange and exotic disease called Spasmodic Dysphonia-- where the part of the brain that controls speech just fritzes out. People with SD can't speak normally, but can often sing or chant or (in weirder cases) talk if they pinch their noses or speak in a falsetto or other "fake" voice.

This is usually permament, but Scott apparently has recovered his voice (at least partially) in the last week or so; he's one of the few who has ever recovered from this.

You can read his experience here, in his blog.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday to the fabulous nieces -- ONE YEAR OLD TODAY!

You can see the details here -- at Slippery Tiger.

Yeah! Wow! Omigod we feel old now!

Walking! We're Walking!

Update on Rukh, since I've been entirely offline since Friday. It's been a wee bit hectic.

He's doing really well in terms of getting around, adjusting to the tripod stance, and is getting up on his own a few times a day to either find a new spot to lay in or go outside.I don't think he's in much pain at all -- the Rimdayl seems to cope with most of the discomfort and the tramadol just seems to make him woozy without offering any actual relief. Cutting back actually made him a bit perkier, and I can't see any obvious signs of pain. Amazing. He just needs to adjust to the new balance paradigm and you'd hardly know he'd had surgery just four days ago.

The incision (while horrifyingly large) is clean and the bruising is even clearing up. They shaved most of his butt (except his tail-- so his whole back end is nekkid) and about half-way up his belly, so he gets cold easily. He's getting a lot of bruising along his belly and sheath (where most of the swelling has settled, poor guy) but he's otherwise doing well. The Adorable Husband commented that it'd good that he's neutered, or his testicles would have swollen up to the size of oranges. Oy,

Definitely improved over Friday. If he continues on this path, he'll be romping in the yard by tuesday.

We had a bad episode last night -- I got cocky in letting him head outside without the sling under his belly so I could support him down the two shallow stairs to the yard -- and Uulaq bumped him off balance on their way down the stairs and he fell on his right hip (the amputation incision)...and then just stopped. He refused to move, and lay incision-side down on the concrete stoop (and it was COLD) and refused to even try when I called him to come inside. I tried tempting him with food, tried just about go.

In retrospect, I should have called the neighbor to come over, Rukh probably would have stood up on his own..but I hit the wall. Collased in a pathetic heap, crying hysterically, throwing up, and ended up dragging the beast up the two stairs. Every attempt to pick up him and get his front legs set was met with limp submission (and increased mass to at least 900 pouunds, I swear), I just picked up his front end with the sling behind his elbows and hauled him bodily to the deck,rear leg be damned. Uulaq kept trying to engage him in play and I yelled at her..

I don't think I hurt him (any more than the crash onto the concrete did), but I felt awful. Just awful. I scared him, and scared Uulaq, and that was terrible. A tiny part of the incision reopened, but he otherwise, seemed unhurt.

However, dogs have a much bigger heart that we have, and by this morning he had either entirely forgotten about the incident, or decided to forgive me. Going outside this morning was uneventful, and he seemed to be ok -- even perky.

I called the the Adorable Husband this morning and he checked out of hte hotel and headed home, skipping his last three classes so he could be here. Rukh seems SO much better with DH home. His attitude improved immediately (and he headed out to the yard to poop about five days' worth in fifteen minutes) and he seems happy that the Husband is home. I think that Rukh believe that he'd had abandoned us, or something. He's definitely more upbeat now that he's home....and the Adorable Husband can simply pick him up and carry him inside when he gets too tired or sore to continue (the benefits of a large, muscular husband, eh?)

So -- much improved over Thursday (despite my nervous breakdown) and we're hoping that his improvement continues as his strength increases. All in all -- much better. I feel horrible that I scared him, but he's ok. I also went up to nap as soon as the husband got home...and apparently fell into a stupor for about five hours while he managed things. Even throwing lemon peels down the garbage disposaln in the next room didn't wake me!

All-in-all? I'm glad we did this. He's adapting well, and has less pain and seems to be so much happier. Chemo starts next week, and with that we hope to have another year with the beastie!

Friday, November 03, 2006

First Tri-ped Day

We had a pretty quiet night last night -- although Rukh whined in the car because he couldn't get comfortable. It's the FIRST TIME I've ever heard him whine; DH got so concerned he pulled over on the freeway to check that nothing was poking him or pulling his stitches. He was just woozy from the drugs and very tired.

Once we manhandled him inside (and manhandle is the word -- he was DONE with walking by that time) he racked out in the living room and slept. I couldn't get him up to pee around midnight -- he seemed like he was interested in going out, but wasn't going to budge.

This morning, he was wagging and got up himself to get to the door. I still had the towel tucked up under his belly to support him, since his "good" leg is really, really weak right now and he tires so easily. He rabbitted off into the yard like he had a purpose, and I let him get too far....about a quarter of the way back, he STOPPED. I spend over an hour trying to get him back in the house (including pushing him onto a sheet and dragging him across the grass) and eventually just had to hoist him up as best I can and pull him into the house (it's only about 20 degrees outside, and I didn't want him to sit outside in the cold without his fur!). I don't think I hurt him, but it can't have been comfortable.

Once inside, he just sprawled in the hallway for awhile, but a few minutes ago got up under his own power and made it ot he living room.

It's my responsibility to know that he's got no stamina and prevent him from doing things like he did this morning -- now I know. Yikes.

Oh -- his incision is about 12" long, 40 staples. Other than being really, really red (and I'm sure he'll be a lovely shade of green and yellow as the bruise forms, since he's pink under all his fur, he looks great. I saw a huge improvement even from last night in how it looks. And, I wasn't really grossed out, like I thought I was going to be. I don't really even notice the lack of his leg -- just the massive bruise. Poor guy. He doesn't like the cold packs (as instructed by the vet) but they do seem to help!

I'm very tired, though. I hope that he gains enough strength to manage a bit easier soon. We'll be up a creek if I throw my back out trying to haul around a hundred pound beast. And those blow-up camp mattresses? Not so comfortable. If I have to sleep on the living room floor again, I'm having my neighbor go out and pick me up an Aerobed or a futon. LOL.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Good news

CSU called this morning, and Rukh is doing really well! He has been up already, and when they got him outside, he tried to run. I'm not sure if he was actually trying to be energetic, or trying to escape (the hydromethone makes them really, really disphoric, so he might just be confused) but that's very encouraging. He's eating and drinking and they have already turned off the IV drugs and put him back on Rimadyl and Tramadol (which he was on before). That should control his pain.

Yeeha! He should be able to come home today!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Update II - 8pm

CSU just called, Rukh came through surgery very well -- he's groggy but comfortable.

They did the amputation all the way up to the hip socket, removing the entire femur and all the musculature associated with the leg. I assume that is because it's easier for them to balance without any structure on that side, and to remove as much weight from his rear as possible.

Here's hoping that he can get up and move around tomorrow, so he can come home!

Surgery Day

We brought Rukh up to CSU this morning to check him in for surgery. Yesterday was a bad, bad day -- he was barely able to stand up and his hock and foot had swollen up terribly. Even his toes were poofy. We upped his pain meds, and the two Tramadol every four hours that was making him so groggy he couldn't walk just a week ago, now took just enough of the edge off that he could sleep and was able to get up and around.

This morning, he was actually a bit perky -- went outside and walked around a bit, and seemed pretty happy in the car. The student who is handling our case is very sweet, and she spent a lot of time just talking to Rukh and petting him, so when we handed over the leash he was quite happy to go off with her.

Surgery should be around 1pm, and they'll keep him on intravenous pain killers and fluids for twenty-four hours after that. When he can stand up on his own, and when he pees as least once, we can take him home. Probably tomorrow afternoon, late.

I really, really hope that this is better for him.

Monday, October 30, 2006


Back from CSU today (Colorado State University vet practice -- the Mayo Clinic for dogs, really) with Rukh. Our vet had referred us initially to a vet specialty practice, who immediately sent us on to CSU because there were opportunities for clinical studies that Rukh might qualify for, and which might offer a better prognosis than standard treatment.

The vets at CSU confirmed the diagnosis of osteosarcoma, even without a bone biopsy; his signs and xrays are perfect examples of osteosarcoma in the tibia. The joint is really swollen now, and he's gotten progressively worse over the last week, despite a few good days where he was walking around a bit. He's basically three-legging it most of the time now, when he works up the gumption to stand up and go somewhere.

They did another set of chest xrays (clear! No signs of metastasis in this set) and went through our options.

  • pain treatment only (nsaids/narcotics) -- 1-2 months
  • radiation -- palliative (2 sessions) -- 1-3 months
  • radiation -- treatment/palliative (20 sessions/30 days) -- 4-6 months
  • amputation -- 10% 1 year/0% 2 years
  • amputation with chemo -- 50% 1 year/ 30% 2 years

Most dogs are euthanized because of pain, and the only real way to alleviate the pain is amputation. Which, as the vet(s) explained to us today, is almost instantly less painful than the condition Rukh is in right now. Even the day of surgery, the reduction in pain from bone-pain to incision-pain is so dramatic that they are up and around immediately. I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around that, but after talking to a few of the people there with dogs, it seems to be true.

So -- we are going forward with amputation of his rear leg, scheduled for Wednesday. We were not sure about it, but dogs really do seem to do well and barely even notice that they only have one rear leg (once they figure out how to balance). I'm still not sure how we'll deal with it, but all the data we have says that Rukh will be better. We'll start chemo about two weeks after surgery.

There were a couple of clinical trials at the university, but those that we felt comfortable with all had a delay before amputation (which was required by all) that was unnacceptable. We can't wait for 2-3 weeks before we do surgery, to see if drug A or drug B are useful. I'm not willing to bet on "should provide alleviation of pain" for the beastie.

Of course, with surgery on Wed, we can bring him home on Thursday, just in time for the Adorable Husband to go to a weekend-long seminar. He's been signed up for months now, and can't really miss it. He'll only be a few hours away, so he can come home if there's an emergency but otherwise, I'm on my own for the weekend. I'm not looking forward to that -- I can deal with wound care, I can, but I get awfully squicked out by the incision itself. Hopefully, the beastie will sleep most of the time and I can manage to get him outside by myself. They recommend a sling or towel to support him for a while. Yikes.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Good News and Bad

I talked to my sister last night, and she is getting married! She has known her fiance for about two years, although they have been dating only for a few months. I have never met him, but he sounds like a good guy, and the Adorable Husband and I are looking forward to meeting him. She's very excited, very happy, and I am excited for her.

However, for reasons that I will not explain here, I have never been more disappointed in my father than I am right now. Sigh.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Quick Update

I'm teaching class in Chicago this week, so just a quick update.

The Adorable husband took Rukh to the oncologist in Ft. Collins yesterday, and spent quite a bit of time talking through the options. The upside? He strongly recommended that we talk to CSU and the vet practice there, as they have a number of ongoing clinical trials that look very promising. Rukh would get state-of-the-art care, which hopefully have a better track record than the 'standard' treatment for cancer, and he would probably get that care for free. We have a higher commitment for tests and such, but we'll manage.

My only concern is that a) he is not in a trial that would risk him getting the 'no treatment/control group' option and that b) we always have the option to withdraw and end it when he is suffering. I don't think that either of these options is going to be a problem, but we're going in to talk to the docs on Monday to see if we qualify for any of the studies and if they actually do offer a better option.

Most still include amputation -- we're not sure that he'll be able to get around afterwards, but we've been assured by both our vet and the oncologist that it is the only surefire way to control pain, and that dogs are amazingly adaptable. I might not be so adaptable, but if it's the best option, we'll go for it. I just don't want him to go through surgery to amputate and then have weeks of recovery if the final prognosis is only a few months anyways. That seems unfair. But -- some of the trials are reporting early results of 1-2 years in remission. We don't know if any are appropriate, but we can hope. Our primary concern is that we control any pain. If we can do that and he's comfortable and happy enough laying on the couch watching TV with us, we'll do it.

More as I get more info. You can see the synopses of the trials at the Colorado State University site.

Monday, October 23, 2006


Apparently, the US is cracking down on the import of Vegemite (that yeasty-veggie spread that is so populate in Australia -- a relative of Marmite from England). It contains folate, which some obscure law in the US allows only bakers to use.

No worries about Nutella though.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Reconstructing HIstory

During an interview today on ABC’s This Week, President Bush tried to distance himself from what has been his core strategy in Iraq for the last three years. George Stephanopoulos asked about James Baker’s plan to develop a strategy for Iraq that is “between ’stay the course’ and ‘cut and run.’”

Bush responded, ‘We’ve never been stay the course, George!’ Watch it here

And then, please, recall that Bush has OFTEN argued that we are going to "stay the course". Does he think we're stupid? That we'll forget what he says? Do these people not understand that nowadays that there are machines that can record your voice and replay what you actually said?

BUSH: We will stay the course. [8/30/06]

BUSH: We will stay the course, we will complete the job in Iraq. [8/4/05]

BUSH: We will stay the course until the job is done, Steve. And the temptation is to try to get the President or somebody to put a timetable on the definition of getting the job done. We’re just going to stay the course. [12/15/03]

BUSH: And my message today to those in Iraq is: We’ll stay the course. [4/13/04]

BUSH: And that’s why we’re going to stay the course in Iraq. And that’s why when we say something in Iraq, we’re going to do it. [4/16/04]

BUSH: And so we’ve got tough action in Iraq. But we will stay the course. [4/5/04]

Friday, October 20, 2006

Bad news today. The swelling on Rukh's ankle, which everyone (including the vet(s)) thought was a bad sprain is not a bad sprain. Or a break. It's the result of osteo-sarcoma -- bone cancer -- in his tibia just above the hock.

They did a series of x-rays today that definitely show a mass or shadowing in the bone with a characteristic starburst shape, which makes them both about 95% sure it's bone cancer. Our vet also took a set of chest xrays, which show that it has probably metastatized into his lungs, as this kind of cancer normally does. It's very fast growing, and extremely painful.

We're seeing a veterinary oncologist on Monday (well, the Adorable Husband is, since I am travelling for work and can't reschedule on such short notice) to see what the options are, what sorts of pain management we need to deal with...basically what's what.

My internet searches have been depressing. Primary treatment is for pain, since bone cancer is not really curable and only in a few cases will go into remission. Usually, amputation of the limb is the suggested course, followed by chemo and radiation. Even with chemo, it's 4-6 months for most dogs; and that's if it hasn't yet travelled to his lungs. I feel absolutely awful that he's been in pain for obviously a long time -- he just never let us know, never showed any signs of it ; only when he had a tendon injury/sprain did he really start acting like things hurt. We've been attributing his stiffness and kind of general malaise to arthritis and old age. He's 9 this month, pretty geriatric for a giant breed. We only put him on Rymadil in the last two months.

Poor beast. I just don't know what we're going to do. I'm glad that we have the resources to do whatever we decide, and hopefully the wisdom to know when it's too much, and too long.

We really need to raise poodles, or chihuahuas or some other little yappy beasts that live until they're 27. Not these big dogs that are with us for such a short time. But we won't, I know.

Damn. Just....damn.


I don't read a ton of Greek literature, but occassionally I do and I have to admit that the names throw me for a loop sometimes. I found a lovely site -- Encyclopedia Mythica -- which is not only a great source for the mythic stories, but has a handy pronunciation guide. It covers most of the Greek and Roman myths, some Celtic names, and some Native American stories, as well. Not comprehensive, but a good reference for the most common stuff.

I have to admit that even though I knew that Hermione was pronounced {hur-my'-uh-nee}, every time I read it in Harry Potter, I heard her-mee-ohne in my head. And, if you pick up the new YA series 'Percy Jackson and the Olympians' by Rick Riordan (The Lightning Thief and The Sea of Monsters) it's handy to know how to pronounce the Greek names

The Perks of Power

Two interesting bits from ThinkProgress today.

President Bush recess-appointed former coal industry executive Richard Stickler to head the Mine Safety and Health Administration. The Senate had twice refused to confirm him “because of his troubling mine safety record — the mines he managed from 1989 to 1996 incurred injury rates double the national average.”

“Moving quickly to implement” the new Military Commissions Act, the Bush administration “has formally notified the U.S. District Court here that it no longer has jurisdiction to consider hundreds of habeas corpus petitions filed by inmates at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba.”

The American Red Cross came out today and said that the new law Bush rammed through congress to eliminate the due process of law for enemy combatants (which only Bush and his cohort can actually identify, at will, apparently) basically makes war crimes legal. Isn't that nice?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Tuskless Elephants

I love Discovery Channel.

Apparently, poaching of African Elephants has forced the selection of elephants with no tusks -- accellerating the process of natural selection in evolution by thousand and thousands of years. There have always been elephants with small or non-existant tusks, but the rate is nearly 30% in some larger populations. Wikipedia sums it up nicely:
African ivory hunters, by killing only tusked elephants, have given a much larger chance of mating to elephants with small tusks or no tusks at all. The propagation of the absent-tusk gene has resulted in the birth of large numbers of tuskless elephants, now approaching 30% in some populations (compare with a rate of about 1% in 1930). Tusklessness, once a very rare genetic abnormality, has become a widespread hereditary trait.

No Wonder we're Fat

Give it another few months. Eventually schoolkids will not be able to go outside at all, and will spend "recess" sitting at their desks with their hands folded.

A bit of hyperbole, of course, but schools in Attelboro, MA, Cheyenne, WY, and Spokan, WA have banned the outdoor game "tag" -- you know, one person is it, they chase the others around and when you are touched, you become It and chase the others. Everyone has played this game. It's a staple of every schoolyard the world over.

The school in Attleboro has banned tag, touch football, and any "chase games" apparently because they're afraid the kids will get hurt and parents will sue. Playing tag is, I believe, part of being a kid, and banning it smacks of micromanaging kids' lives and living in fear of our (admittedly overly-)litigious society. Some parents are pleased, and say their kids feel "safer" because they can no longer play at recess, others think the whole idea is silly, and sad.

Well, just what are the kids supposed to DO? Stand around in closely supervised groups and stare at each other? Play entirely alone, since no "contact" is allowed? This is getting a bit ridiculous.

Hopefully there is more to the story; perhaps there are plenty of supervised games at recess -- but I doubt it. Recess has always been a free-for-all, and I doubt that schools have the resources and personnel to monitor every single activity that occurs outside.

As Seen on TV

I'm working from home today, which means that the television is on in the background and I have to laugh a bit at the bizarre products that they hawk on TV. Daytime television seems to be worse than late-night (although there are a lot fewer semi-naked women in the ads)

So, up comes an ad for Quiktop -- a plastic topper/sealer and spout for cans of soda. You pop this thing on the top of your can and it "hermetically" seals, and gives you a nice rounded spout and lid so you can save your can of soda for "days".

Who in the hell is concerned about saving a half a can of Diet Coke? Who doesn't finish the whole can at once? I mean, the television ad suggests that you can store the cans for several days and never waste a can of soda again. Huh? This is a big enough problem that you want to spend twenty bucks or so on these things? Is the risk of cut fingers or cut lips (also mentioned in the ad) from the metaal edge of the can really that much of a problem?

The only reasonable thing I could see if giving it to a kid -- less likely to spill, I guess, but kids shouldn't really be drinking lots of soda anyways.

I just had to laugh. Of course, if I believed the television ads, there are a lot of people out there who are incapable of draining pasta, turning pancakes, and that sort of thing.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Gumby Beast

Well, one of the beasties has managed to badly sprain his (ankle? hock?) and it swelled up like a grapefruit. We took him to be groomed on Saturday and we think that he slipped while on the grooming table, or while he scrambled up the ramp to get into the tub.

He's pretty arthritic nowadays (he's already on Rimadyl just to keep him up and moving) and we told them he coudln't jump and probably was going to have a hard time. We're not sure what happened -- it could even have been when he jumped into the car to go in the first place -- but we've been to the vet and they now have him on some lovely morphine-based pain killers. All we know is that it must have hurt terribly, since he was actually whining. It's so hard to tell with these big northern breeds if they are in any pain...they simply ignore it and do whatever it is you ask them to do, regardless of how much it hurts. We were worried that he'd broken something (and indeed, will have him in for xrays this weekend because the swelling is not really going down). The vet says it's a bad sprain and he'll need 4-6 weeks of rest.

He's pretty pathetic, though. And stoned.

He's groggy enough that I can prop him up and then watch while he sloooooowly tips over and sprawls on the floor. Heh. I shouldn't laugh, really. I shouldn't.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Banque or Banc or Bank

Maybe it's an error, maybe it's a political statement, but the bank in Kazhakstan has printed out banknotes with the word 'bank' mispelled on them. Instead of the proper form of the letter K used by the Kazakhs (the Cyrillic form), it uses an alternate form that many feel denigrates the Kazahks and is a slur (as well as being pronounced slightly differently). Language has been an important expression of nationalism among the Kazakhs, since they broke from the Soviet state sin 1991, so using the "wrong" langauge may be an accident of translation, or it may be something more.

The parliament wants to prevent the notes from being put into circulation, but the bank has decided to release them and then slowly replace the notes with a corrected version in the coming months.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Promises Unkept

A key proposal for the Republicans "Contract with America" was an amendment to impose term limits on congress. When the amendment was proposed, seven members of the class of '94 pledged to limit themselves to twelve years in congress. In 2000, four more promised to leave after six years.

A promise is apparently not that important (at least not when it comes to retaining power). Of the ten members due to retire, not one is stepping down . Each is reneging on their campaign pledge and running again in 2006. According to the sourcewatch, The pledge-breakers are:
Rep. Barbara Cubin (R-Wyo.)
Rep. Phil English (R-Pa.)
Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.)
Rep. Gil Gutknecht (R-Minn.)
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas)
Rep. Ric Keller (R-Fla.)
Rep. Timothy V. Johnson (R-Ill.)
Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.)
Rep. Mark Souder (R-Ind.)
Rep. Zach Wamp (R-Tenn.)
MyDD actually lists thirty who have gone back on campaign pledges or promises to self-impose term limits -- because every single one of the non-incumbent Republican congressional candidates signed the Contract -- which includes the Citizen Legislature Act, meant to limit every member of the congress to 12 years. They may not have explicitly promised in their campaign to limit themselves to 12 years, but they certainly signed on to the document when they thought it was going to help them.
The 10th plank of the Contract with America, which was signed by every single non-incumbent Republican Congressional candidate, is the Citizen Legislature Act. This was a proposed amendment to the Constitution that would have limited every member of the U.S. Congress (both houses) to twelve consecutive years of service

30 current House members are Republicans first elected in 1994. Only 5 of them are on CQ Politics's list of 8. That leaves 25 more who signed the Contract, which would have stopped them from seeking re-election. At last count, every single one of them was running
Perhaps they simply thought it was so long ago we'd all forget?