November 16, 2000


I feel like that medium-size dog just got up from on top of my chest.

This morning Dad had an appointment with his abdominal surgeon. It's exactly eight months since his operation for diverticulitis and colon cancer. The doctor peeked inside him today and told us that everything is "perfectly normal".

Added to the "perfect" blood test results we received last month with regard to his prostate cancer (he's under hormone therapy for that) and it feels damn good.

Dad still tires easily; still walks with a cane; but he came through this past year with a quality of life that he seems to be content with. He's now considering spending two months in Florida. My only concern with that is whether he can cope with fewer support services and his wife's medical problems. He says he can.

The latest medical news for Stepmom isn't quite as rosy.. they finally coughed up the "A" word in regard to her memory loss; however the medication she's on ("exelon") seems to be at least retarding the downward spiral. Nothing is ever all bad.. she doesn't remember that she received that diagnosis. I don't think she remembers how sick Dad was last spring either. Just as well..

She was also recently told that she has elevated blood sugar, and her blood pressure remains high. The poor woman is ten, perhaps fifteen pounds overweight, and has to watch every bite she takes (or rather, Dad has to remember to watch it for her), while Dad and I, who are more overweight than that, pass all our tests including cholesterol with flying colours. Life is rarely fair.

I know that my father is almost 85; that much more looms ahead; but today, I'm relieved and happy. That's all anyone can really expect.

On my way home, after dropping off the parents, I stopped at the pet store for lizard food - we need to refresh the supply of live crickets every two or three weeks. I enjoy going there, even though it tends to set off my allergies. The first thing I do is visit the cats, who live in giant birdcages. (I don't bother with the dogs, as they're enclosed in a totally separate room and I prefer cats anyway.) They often have beautiful Siamese kittens with blue eyes but I'll play with any cat. Unfortunately, today they weren't receptive.. it was sleepy cat day I guess.

I pass through the bird section next.. they have a good collection of large tropical birds, many of which are on perches out in the open. The last time I was there, someone had apparently brought in his bird for, uh, maintenance. It was a grey parrot-like thing, but not too large.. about the size of a large pigeon.

The store employee held this parrot on a counter and was spoon feeding him. With a small plastic disposable spoon. The food was some brown mush in a paper cup; I asked and was told it was "pablum". Every time this bird saw the spoon come towards him, he got tremendously excited and began hopping around; the employee had to hold him steady so he could pour some mush down the bird's throat. At the same time, the employee was giving the bird's owner some instructions for its care. I watched this spectacle in fascination until they were finished, and even watched them wipe the bird's chest off with a paper towel. He wasn't the neatest of eaters! (Reminded me a bit of Dad..)

I get the crickets last.. fifty of them, which they don't count out, but measure in a marked tube. They then pour the crickets into a large freezer bag, along with a section of cardboard egg carton which keeps the insects from getting squished. Invariably, as I'm walking towards the cash to pay, carrying this bag, people give me strange looks. I smile and say, "Lunch!" If the kids are with me they cringe.

Linque Du Jour:   An American's Guide to Canada

The introduction to this site begins as follows:

Most Americans know next to nothing about their neighbo(u)r to the north, except that Canadians play a lot of hockey, drink beer, and end sentences with "eh?"

These pages, written by an American who has been living in Canada since 1992, are intended to give Americans a better idea just what goes on in the Great White North.

There are sections on Canadian facts, history, culture, sports, Canadianisms, how to tell you're in Canada, how to immigrate, and resources for Americans. Clear, often amusing, and mostly accurate!

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