Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Happy Halloween from FrankenSpike

Happy Halloween everyone. Don't you just love my costume.

Here's a version with one red contact lens and one green one.

I've been feeling much better lately and wanted to thank everyone for their words of encouragement while I was sick.

Fall Display

The first year we lived here we put mums, corn stalks, pumpkins, hay, a scarecrow and Indian corn in the woods in front of the house.

Then, every evening I'd drive around the neighbor hood just to verify that our house had the nicest fall display.

Now, four years later, I've gotten over myself, but still put out the display. It makes a nice transition between the summer flowers and the winter snow.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Rest in Peace Jack Sullivan

A couple of months ago, when I learned Jack Sullivan had cancer, I went to visit him. Sitting in his room at the assisted living facility, he was smaller than I remember him being. But then, I've probably built him up in my mind in the years since I last saw him.

I knew him as JG; my boss from 1988 - 1996. He liked to tell the story of my hiring as him rescuing me from the gas station. In reality, I had just lost my job at a radio station, after the new owners replaced the entire staff. And, I had picked up a part time job doing the books at a gas station. I wasn't anxious to go to work for another radio station; I wanted to do something more. In high school I had worked at a newspaper and in college I had worked at a TV station. I liked it all -- radio, TV and newspaper. I started thinking there should be something out there that would let me be involved in all three. Turns out working at an advertising agency was the answer. I sent my resume to two agencies and was offered jobs at both. Not sure where I'd be today if I had selected the other one... not even sure they're still in business.

My favorite JG story is the time I asked him if I could have a typewriter. He said there was a girl in the front office with a typewriter and she was called the receptionist. If I had any typing that needed done, I should give it to the receptionist. Right then I knew he was setting me up for success.

I learned quite a lot from JG. The three things that strike me as being most important are attention to detail matters, give your client what they need which is not necessarily what they ask for, and make your message appropriate for your audience.

JG was pretty hard on me at times, but I always knew he was trying to teach me and trying to make me better. I had a basketball coach in 9th grade who was harder on me than on any other girl on the JV team. I couldn't understand why and got so discouraged that I quit the team. Only then did I find out that she was so hard on me because she saw potential and thought that pushing me would help me get good enough to move up to the varsity team. Had I not had that experience, I don't think I could have appreciated what JG did for me. I'm glad that I had the opportunity to thank him for it.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Spooky Video Just in Time for Halloween

Here is a very spooky video I found on YouTube today.

The back story: A production crew was filming this car commercial and when they looked at an edited cut, they saw something VERY strange.

Toward the end of the video, after the first corner, the car drives behind a group of large trees and is out of view for a second or two, but when it emerges from the trees, the film's editor saw a small white misty-like human shape following the car.

The video was shown to experts in the paranormal, and they concluded that it was indeed a ghost. I've watched this video tons of times, and I can see the ghost.

If you look very close, you can see it too. I had to get very close to my computer screen to see it though, so look carefully.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Dubuque, Iowa

I drove to Dubuque, Iowa Thursday evening for a Friday morning client meeting.

We had lunch at a new restaurant that has opened in the former Dubuque Star Brewery, on the bank of the Mississippi river.
The city seems to be investing heavily in renovations and enhancements in the riverfront and downtown areas, giving the area a younger and more exciting atmosphere.

Behind the brewery I noticed a building that appeared to be a stand-alone square smoke stack. After asking why there was a smoke stack without an attached building, I learned that it was a shot tower.

Dubuque Shot Tower History and photo courtesy of Wikipedia: The tower was built in 1856 to provide lead shot for the military. The concept of a shot tower solved the problem of how to produce many cheap, nearly perfect lead spheres of the right size to fit in a musket. To make lead shot, molten lead was poured into the top of the tower, where it passed through a grate. The droplets that fell from the grate were of relatively uniform size, and the fall provided enough time for the liquid-metal droplet to form into a sphere before landing in the water below. The water cooled the lead to its solid state, retaining the spherical shape.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Honoring Our Local Beverage Delivery Drivers

I'm guessing most people never stop to wonder how the beverage they're enjoying at their neighborhood pub made the journey from the brewery to their table.... let alone show appreciation to the hard-working delivery drivers that make it all possible.

Before today I was part of that clueless majority. Today we were invited to the Michiana Area Tavern Owners Association driver appreciation party and fund raiser.

Somehow, between all of the appreciating and fund raising going on, Bruce and buddy Andy were able to memorize the preamble to the constitution of the American Legion.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Halloween Comes to Elkhart County

We stopped by to visit former neighbors Paul and Judy today. They had been to the Halloween store and picked up a variety of outside decorations.

Hard to believe Halloween is just a few weeks away -- today's temperature was about 85 degrees.

Lunch with Grandma

Grandma couldn't join us for lunch last weekend -- she wasn't feeling very well. So, we asked her to think of a place she hasn't been to in a while, but would really like to go to this weekend.

She didn't come up with it, but we knew that she really likes Mandarin House so that's where we had lunch today.

We had a 12:30pm reservation and that's the exact time we arrived. Unfortunately, the restaurant staff forgot the basic rules of the reservation process:

1) take reservation
2) save a table
3) seat people who made the reservation at the saved table

So, we had to wait about 15 minutes until a table opened up. Bruce played the "bitch and win" game and was awarded a free carafe of sake.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Counting Cars

Traffic leaving Chicago Friday afternoon was really heavy. It took us about an hour to get from Lincoln Park to Grant Park.

As we came around the bend near Navy Pier, I noticed this guy off the side of the road counting cars. What an overwhelming task that must be.

Bowling in Chicago

Our end-of-summer party at work was at the Seven Ten Lounge in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood.

I bowled a 78 my first game, but after that warm up, bowled a 109 the second time around.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Lunch with the Ducks

Pinhook Park in South Bend is full of ducks.

Some are a bit more curious than the others.

I like to go there at lunchtime to watch the ducks. It's a great way to relax and re-energize for the afternoon.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Spike The Wonder Dog Not Feeling Well

Spike has been hanging out in his safe place, behind the sofa, under the desk. Still not feeling well.

A couple of weeks ago, we started smelling urine in the house. We bought a black light to track down the source of the odor and soon discovered more than one location that Spike had confused with a fire hydrant.

Such un-Spike-like behavior led to a series of vet appointments and a diagnosis of a kidney infection, medicine and prescription dog food.

Now Spike is used to eating Mighty Dog, which is a soft, dry food and about the only kind of dry food that he can eat, due to his bad teeth. So, as soon as we opened the first can of Science Diet K/D, he was all over it. Really smelly, moist and apparently delicious.

Then, Saturday morning he didn't want to get out of bed. I encouraged him to join me outside and he moved very slowly and when we came back in, he went immediately to his safe place under the desk. He laid around whimpering most of the morning while we tried to figure out what was wrong with him. Moving slow, stomach as hard as a rock, warm nose, panting. Many different Google searches lead us to believe he had a severe stomach problem -- maybe even bloat. OMG... was this our fault by letting him gorge on the juicy and delicious K/D food??? But a call to the Animal Emergency Clinic talked us back off of the ledge. Since he wasn't retching, it wasn't bloat.

Throughout the weekend, he had no interest in food, but we made sure that he drank plenty of water and we kept walking him around outside until he did his business. We wanted to make sure whatever was going on inside him wouldn't come exploding out inside the house.

Since Spike couldn't make it up the steps in his feeble condition, I slept downstairs so I would be sure to hear him when he started crying during the night. It was so sad and I felt so helpless.

Monday we got him back to the vet and I was sure the vet was going to tell us there was nothing he could do to help Spike. But, the prognosis, although serious and sad, was not at all what we expected. Spike hurt his back. We knew he had arthritis in his back and he's been on pain pills in the past when he sprained it. But, since he hadn't been eating and his stomach seemed to be distended, it never occurred to us that he was having back pain.

The x-ray showed that two sets of two of his
vertebrae have fused and two others were distressed. The vet was quick to give Spike a shot of pain medication and another shot of muscle relaxant. He said that, with time and rest, the inflammation that is causing the pain will subside. And, he sent us home with pain and anti-inflammatory meds and advised us against encouraging exercise.

The really good news in all of this is that we didn't reach the $500 vet bill threshold which, in the past, has been the bill that came with the news that there was nothing more that could be done to help our beloved pets (Tyler and LBK). Our total with Spike was just under $450.