While Wednesday may have delivered death by a thousand cuts (and four needles), today was more of a death by a couple of gouging slashes and a very deep stab.  It would seem everything is going sideways.  Given my recent bad luck, I suppose I should consider myself fortunate that I don’t have any scheduled medical visits lined up.  It also leads me to wonder how my rolling momentum of misfortunes will react with Ivon’s notoriously heinous vacation mojo.  I’m kind of hoping that basic math prevails and negative times negatives equals positive (- x – = +).  Of course, you could argue that it’s more of a negative plus negative equals negative predicament (- + – = -), but best not to dwell.  And keep positive. Literally. I figure the fact that Ivon already experienced an earthquake on his last trip makes it highly unlikely we’ll be experiencing one while in Japan.  Law of averages and all.  I mean, come on, I’m sure fate can be a little more creative than that.  On the other hand, all that saber rattling by the global family version of the oafish cousin with the suspect hygiene (North Korea) does give me pause.

Yes, I’m a little bummed – and I’m sure watching The Life and Death of Peter Sellers (a brilliant but deeply depressing movie) and reading Maus: A Survivor’s Tale hasn’t exactly gone a long way toward lifting my spirits.  I really need this Tokyo trip and, while I’d love to say I’m looking forward to going, the truth is a big part of me isn’t.  After receiving yet another second opinion (I suppose that, technically, you’d call it a fifth opinion), I’ve decided not to wait.  I’ve gone ahead and scheduled Jelly to undergo surgery on Wednesday.  My dogsitter, Christine, who is nothing short of amazing, helped put my mind at ease.  Somewhat.  She’ll drop off Jelly on Wednesday, then pick her up on the weekend and help her through the early recuperation process. She’s been through something very similar with her last dog and is confident I’m making the right choice.  Me, I’m not so sure and while I would prefer to wait the two weeks until my return, all the physical symptoms suggest that if I don’t act now, it may well be too late by the time I get back.  Between her recent stem cell treatment, vet visits, MRI, and upcoming surgery, I’ll have spent more on my gal than my last trip to Tokyo.  But, at twelve years, we’ve been together longer than any of my past relationships so, really, I owe it to her.

Still, my time in Tokyo won’t be quite as joyous as past travels – at least not until I’m reassured that the surgery went well and Jelly is on the mend – which probably won’t be until next weekend.  I’ll be hitting the sake hard.  Good thing I have a capable wingman/someone-to-carry-me-back-to-the-hotel-if-I-pass-out in Ivon.

Anyway, thanks to all you regulars, semi-regulars, and long-time readers/first-time contributors for the well-wishes and helpful links, from those whose kind and supportive words are on full display in the comment section, to those who, for reasons unknown, ended up in my spam folder.  Fortunately, I was able to wade in and save some of the more complimentary and encouraging posts and thought I’d spotlight them here.  Thanks again…

Kate writes: “Wow! Nice article. I like it.”

Answer: Thank you, Kate.  Your kind words are much appreciated.

Joshua Heglin writes: “I wouldn’t think I have ever seen a new site using this type of lots of remarks in it!”

Answer: Yes, Joshua, there are a lot of remarks in it.  And that’s mainly due to the support of people like you.

Remanufactured Ink writes: “i like to search the internet for new kitchen gadgets to add to my kitchen”

Answer: As do I, Remanufactured Ink.  I feel like we were separated at birth.

Restaurant Coupons writes: “The quality of your article is very good. Nice reading, informative, and thought provoking.”

Answer: Thanks, Restaurant Coupons.  I try to mix it up, providing entries that are alternately informative, thought provoking, and baffling.

Carpet Shampooer writes: “there are bargain dvd players that are sold in our area. i think they are generic low cost dvd player”

Answer: Thanks for the tip, Carpet Shampooer.  I’ll be sure to keep that in mind.

Shower Screen writes: “actually i like women wedding singers comapared to male wedding singers, the female voice is awesome _”

Answer: Hey, Shower Screen, I agree.  The female voice IS awesome.

melissagibso writes: “May i sex dating with you?”

Answer: Hi, melissa.  The number you provided erroneously connects to a 1-800 service that charges $5.95/minute per call.  Double-check and please re-post.  Thanks.

osmanli iksiri writes: “People with hypothyroidism often gain weight and have difficulty losing weight despite a normal diet. This can be frustrating. Fortunately with successful treatment of hypothyroidism weight loss can become successful and permanent. Long term weight loss for thyroid disease patients is something that patients can realize with the help of their doctors or healthcare practitioner.as”

Answer: Thanks for this hopeful post, osmanli!

Premature Ejaculation Treatment writes: “lithium ion laptop batteries are very good specially those 6 cell battery array”

Answer: Hey, I think I went to high school with your sister.  Small world!

Again, thanks to everyone who has taken the time to post.

70 thoughts on “December 3, 2010: Yet another one of those days…

  1. Have a safe trip. Enjoy yourself and come back to Jelly who will be more than happy to lick your face! Thoughts and prayers for Jelly!

  2. hey Joe. I can tell you that so many times I would have a big trip coming up and things went all wrong right up to the time I left. So keep on plugging away and try to relax and have fun in Tokoyo. With Ivon along, it has to be fun, right?

  3. Hi Joe, glad to hear you’re going ahead with the surgery and will be keeping you guys in my prayers, I promise. Please, please, please let us know as soon as you can when she’s out of surgery. Jelly’s like one of the family for many of us, so we’ll be anxiously awaiting any news. Give her an extra hug and a kiss for me, another for Elway 🙂 Have a good night!

  4. Aw, Joe. Take some extra *huggles* and pass them on to Jelly. My Shelly (terrier/healer mix) is 13 now and starting to feel her age. It breaks my heart to see her slowing down. Sending positive vibes to your old girl. (And don’t forget to keep a huggle for yourself, too. You need it!)


  5. How are you possiby going to eat all that delicious food in Japan with all that dental work going on?

    I don’t know, Joe. I would have your embassy number sewn into your jackets, just in case, if you are going to be hitting the sake that hard with Ivon. On the up side, he will be a great distraction for you while your thoughts are drifting homewards because that’s what friends are for. And then there is the pole dancing event. That should help take your mind off things for a short while.

    Sounds like Jelly will be in great hands while you are gone and so glad you made a decision before you left. Trust that. You both will be in our thoughts (and prayers) all week.

  6. Premature Ejaculation Treatment writes: “lithium ion laptop batteries are very good specially those 6 cell battery array”

    Answer: Hey, I think I went to high school with your sister. Small world!

    That made my day a lot better. Thanks you XD Funniest thing ever. 😀 And thanks for taking the time to answer our posts. Much appreciated as always. Have a good night.

  7. You are lucky to have a wonderful person like Christine to take care of the pooches in your absence. You’ve made a good decision. I’m sure Jelly couldn’t be in better hands. The vets will do their best for her and you’ll have your faithful fans praying for her.

    Hey! Reading Maus at a time like this? What are you thinking?! Find yourself some lighter reading! Don’t you have a stray Terry Pratchett or two lying around? I’d go with one of the Nightwatch books. Corporal Carrot and Commander Vimes always work wonders for my attitude when I’m down. DAS!Get Joe some good graphic novel recommendations – he needs a fun fix fast!

  8. {{{{{Joey}}}}}

    I can’t imagine how you’re feeling, you must feel so torn right now. You’ll have lots of prayers and good vibes coming your way, for both you and Jelly. There’s really nothing I can say that you don’t already know, but even knowing that you’re doing your best doesn’t help with that knot in your gut. Hang in there, buddy…try to enjoy your trip…and whatever happens, we’ll all be here for you – whether it be to laugh, or to cry.

    Take care, Joe, I’ll be keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.


  9. IM sorry Joe…

    If it makes you feel better I had an awful day today.. I cried quite a bit today… twice actually. :p

    Hope things brighten up soon,
    Major D. Davis

  10. Joe, I’m on the verge of tears here and I’m on the free wifi at Maccas. I know exactly what you’re going through. I was the cat-sitter for my sister and there were several times when her cats were sick/old while they were away. It sounds like Jelly will be in amazing care. You are absolutely unequivocally doing the right thing.WIll you be able to get regular updates on Jelly’s progress via emails from the vet? You both will be in my prayers.

    I was worried about you but I know you’ll be with the very best person to cheer you up, take care of you and get you drunk. I’m so glad Ivon is going and that’s not me talking selfishly here.

    XOXO Chev

  11. Man I got through that with only a few tears…I don’t think anyone noticed.


  12. (((Joe & Jelly)))

    What PBMom said in earnest, I’ll say seriously. The US Dept. of State Consular Services division is recommending that US citizens traveling abroad register with US consulates upon arrival. Most tourists don’t–I didn’t in Ireland last summer–but considering the sabre rattling as well as your & Ivon’s luck, you probably should check with the equivalent Canadian agency.

  13. I suck at commiseration/sympathy messages.

    Instead I would like to thank you for electronically visiting my house every day and sharing a bit of yourself. You are one of my few “must reads.”

    I hope I’m not too presumptuous – I will burn a series of candles for Jelly and for you from Dec 6th (The Feast of St. Nicholas) until you post that Jelly is recovering and you have returned safely from Japan.

    And I think I’ll burn a St Jude candle for Ivon’s vacation as well – St Jude being the Patron of Lost Causes you know…….

  14. You’re doing the right thing, Joe. Now your task is to tell yourself you’ve done everything humanly possible and go have a good time! Easier said than done, I know, but that’s what wingmen are for. Ivon, just remember your mantra: he’ll have a double!

  15. Hello Joe.

    Sorry to hear that this are not going well for Jelly. Give her a big hug for me, as well as my prayers for the surgery.

    Best wishes,


  16. Tis the season… have spent over $500 in vet bills in less than 2 wks.. money we don’t have but not an option. I don’t want to say your woes made me feel better, but it sure put into perspective that my dog is still relatively young for a basenji and predominately healthy. You’re a good guy, Joe. And that in the midst of it all you take time to posts such hilarious responses… just thanks and hugs. And please post when you know about Jelly.

  17. Dear Joe, we will be stormin’ heaven for Jelly.
    Take care and have a good time in Tokyo! Don’t stress, she will be in good hands!

  18. Thank you Joe for keeping us updated on Jelly’s condition. Fingers crossed, eyes crossed, paws crossed, tails crossed and positive thoughts for a successful surgery for Jelly. She sounds like she will be in great hands while you are gone. Have a great trip.

  19. Joe, you are one very amazing guy. Being so concerned about Jelly and being away when everything is happening to her has got to be really hard. And still you are making us all laugh with your very clever writing. You really are a class act.

    My very best wishes.


  20. Yup, you have done everything properly and your dog is well taken care of.
    It looks like Jelly has a good caretaker for your absence.
    So it’s time for you to go to Japan, and no guilt trip please.
    Please take us plenty of pictures and stories !!
    take care, have fun, rest well and discover Japanese stuffs 😉

  21. Joe — Not sure if the Baron has been following the Facebook posts about Patrick but on Dec 1 I got news that he is going to get to stay at the school he is at at least for awhile until I can get things sorted out to make the school district pay for it (i.e., administrative hearing) where I have to show that the school he is in now is the “appropriate” place for him to learn and not the public school. You would think after all I’ve posted that would be a no-brainer, but you don’t know how heavily the stack is weighed against the parents in Texas.

    I was sobbing.

    He also did something incredible right before I got this news. I guess when eating a Dorito, it scraped his esophagus or got caught. Bottom line is–it hurt. His eyes were welling up with tears and I said, “What’s wrong? Do you not want me to put Shark Tales on? Is it really that bad?” He signed to me — “help” then “me” and then he took both his hands and wrapped them around his throat in the front. And I got it! I said, “Oh, did something go down wrong?” Let me get you some milk.

    This was 100% self-initiated communication. (So much for the school district saying, “Don’t you think that learning 10 signs in 1 school year is just too much.) This kid is signing 3 and 4-word sentences. Take that crappy school district.

    One of my biggest fears for him was that his lifespan would be cut short because he would not be able to tell anyone where something hurt. In fact, I would often tell people that was the hardest part of his disability–he was not able to communicate his wants, fears, or pain. It took almost 15 years, only 3-1/2 months at this fantastic, miracle-working school, for him to be able to tell me this. I had been worrying that Dec 17, his birthday, was going to be his last day because we couldn’t take out any more loans. But we got a call for an alternate source of funding just 10 minutes after this event and I just broke down in uncontrollable sobbing. I immediately called them and the director was like,”Oh my God, what is wrong?” I told her, “Nothing is wrong. HE GETS TO STAY!!!!!!!!!!!!” And then she started crying and yelled at me for making her cry in front of this group of people she was with.

    Now didn’t that make you feel AWESOME!!!!!!!!!?????

    Then later on that night Mike Dopud was on Human Target. Then the next day was an awesome Fringe and guess who I spied on Fringe? Primo Allon (Koz) of the Lucian Alliance. So outside of the still-persistent kidney stones that I am going to cut open and remove myself soon, it has been a fabulous December. Tomorrow I get my hair colored. Does life get any better that? I’ll let you know after I get my 450 Christmas cards out. Oh wait, that’s right I cut down my list to 150. Whew. Oh wait, those are just the snail-mail cards. Still have the e-cards so I guess it really is about 450 still.

  22. Wow, I just read your posts for Dec. 1, 2, and 3… those were a bad series of days! I’m normally an optimist and an idealist, but of late my luck has been particularly bad, so I don’t know… optimism is becoming harder to muster.

    None the less as others have said you have good friends and good people to count on. I’ve learned while going through difficult times it’s the good people in our lives, our friends and family, that help us pull through.

    All will be well,

    Also, your spam folder replies are hilarious, and made me laugh. ( I’m thankful for EVERY good laugh. )

  23. That’s gotta be tough. I really hope you’re able to have a good holiday and that Jelly will come through well. Fingers and toes crossed for the best result possible. Good luck to Jelly, and good holidays to you.

  24. Hey, Joe!

    Jelly will definitely be in our prayers the next few weeks!

    Know that no matter the outcome, every decision you have made for her was made out of wanting the best for her… and she knows it and loves you for it (well, except for the times you had to withhold her breakfast before going in for procedures at the vet’s… she’s probably still holding a grudge about that).

    I recently lost my dog of 15 years to a brain tumor and the hardest thing was the helpless feeling of not being able to change the situation. She suffered a stroke, blindness, couldn’t walk, and began having seizures… all the vets wrote her off, but her spirit was unbridled and she taught herself to walk again, and adjusted to being blind and having seizures… long story short she went on to live 3 years after her stroke and initial brain tumor diagnosis even though the vet sent her home expecting her to die. Her last 3 years were very happy ones as she genuinely loved life even though she had pain and physical set backs, her spirit still soared.

    It’s Jelly’s spirit and orneriness that has gotten through her good times and bad times, the same will be with this, regardless of the outcome. In the end, you are helpless to change her situation, but at least with the surgery it will give her a fighting chance. Even if she passes away during surgery, or if the surgery is unable to alleviate her pain, you still gave her that fighting chance… and that’s the best you can do, and that’s all she asks of you. Well, that and food of course!

  25. Hey, Joe!

    I just wanted to say how great the mid-season finale of SGU was! It was “freaking awesome!” I watched both live airings, and to kill the hour in between the 2 live airings I watched the DVR recording of the broadcast… 3 hours back to back to back!

    Every single one of the 29 previous episodes were touched on at one point or another in the episode! Great writing to be able to pull that feat off! The effects were amazing!!! They’ve come a long way from the Thor puppet days! Also the acting was really great! David Blue really stood out. He showed a whole range of emotions throughout the episode, but was still great with the comic timing while remaining is said character mode… not always easy to pull off, but he was stellar. Man, April is such a long ways a way. That’s way too long to wait… hey, you wouldn’t happen to know where they’re storing the time-machine puddle jumper at do you? I’d just borrow if for a minute… honest!

    I have 2 questions to ask:

    1) Have you heard through the grapevine if a Season 2.0 dvd is going to be released like 1.0 was released during last year’s mid season hiatus?

    2) The other night I was eating chili and came across a Tostitos Scoops chip that was a spot on replica of the Destiny. Unfortunately I was hungry, so after taking a moment to marvel at the likeness I ended up eating the chip. My question is, if I ever come across another Destiny-like chip should I….

    A- try to sell it on Ebay?
    B- detail it with windows, a mini shuttle, and rising bridge?
    C- keep looking until I can find a seeder ship-like chip then see if with their powers combined if they can achieve FTL?
    D- put it in a super-safe styrofoam shipping container and have it sent to Carl’s office? (possibly with a gift tag that reads “To Carl, From Brad”)
    or E- just eat it like last time?

    As always, thanks, Joe! Take care!

  26. Jelly is one very lucky gal to have an owner who loves her so very much. What a horrible position you are in…making these decisions for our beloved pets can be agonizing.

    I herniated a few discs several years ago and the pain was excruciating – so I figure whatever you can do to alleviate the pain/discomfort is a good thing for Jelly.

    You’re a wonderful daddy! My empathy is with you both.

  27. Your accidentally-sent-to-spam contributors were hilarious, Joe!

    Best wishes to Jelly for the surgery – just keep positive thoughts coming for the outcome, I know that we will do so here.

    I don’t know if I’d be overly concerned about the Korea situation at least as far as it specifically affecting your trip to Japan. When a couple of friends and I went to Nepal (Everest Base Camp) a few years ago, they were still somewhat in the middle of the Maoist uprising. Foreign Affairs indicated that it was a “use a high level of caution” situation, and even with that there was really no issue whatsoever. I actually felt safer there than I usually do in downtown Toronto. (For what that’s worth!)

    Anyway, best of luck on your trip and try to have fun.

  28. Hey Joe, keeping my fingers crossed for Jelly and a non-disaster-laden holiday!

  29. Prayers to Jelly! Speaking as a former vet tech, I feel it’s safe to add that Jelly’s vet tech will be watching her vitals like a hawk! I watched all my patients with sharp eyes but especially, the high risk ones. Also, twelve years old is not that old for a small breed. Kudos on getting a great house sitter, too.

  30. Jelly will be surrounded by a lot of prayers, warm wishes and good thoughts. Like a psychic blanket. Slightly deranged, but sincere and heartfelt for her comfort and recovery.

    Dang it, I’m sappy.

    North Korea? Meh. They do this all the time. Panic when the Americans evacuate the dependent families from the bases in SoKo. There is a lot pf American steel afloat in the north Sea of Japan just now, there’s a reason Japan allows the US bases so much prime real estate.

  31. Hope everything goes perfectly with Jelly’s surgery. My prayers are with both of you.

  32. Did you know a third of all spam is believed to come from one man, Oleg Nikolaenko? If you didn’t, maybe the similar, uh, voice in a lot of them caught your attention. He’s Russian, who’d’a thunk?

    Aww, ((Jelly)). Once you get such a specific diagnosis, though, you’re on the right track.

  33. @Michael A. Burstein

    I can’t find a reference for it, but I remember nerds used to get on internet chats back in the early days of the internet and just write “spam spam spam spam” over and over as a reference to Monty Python. I think that’s the source of the term, but I can find no reference for it. I think you were more engaged with the internet back in those days than I was. Can I get some confirmation for my crackpot notion?

  34. @ DP – Your ‘crackpot notion’ seems correct – according to wiki:

    “According to the Internet Society and other sources, the term spam is derived from the 1970 Spam sketch of the BBC television comedy series “Monty Python’s Flying Circus”. The sketch is set in a cafe where nearly every item on the menu includes Spam canned luncheon meat. As the waiter recites the Spam-filled menu, a chorus of Viking patrons drowns out all conversations with a song repeating “Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam… lovely Spam! wonderful Spam!”, hence “Spamming” the dialogue. The excessive amount of Spam mentioned in the sketch is a reference to the preponderance of imported canned meat products in the United Kingdom, particularly corned beef from Argentina, in the years after World War II, as the country struggled to rebuild its agricultural base. Spam captured a large slice of the British market within lower economic classes and became a byword among British children of the 1960s for low-grade fodder due to its commonality, monotonous taste and cheap price – hence the humour of the Python sketch.

    In the 1980s the term was adopted to describe certain abusive users who frequented BBSs and MUDs, who would repeat “Spam” a huge number of times to scroll other users’ text off the screen. In early Chat rooms services like PeopleLink and the early days of AOL, they actually flooded the screen with quotes from the Monty Python Spam sketch. With internet connections over phone lines, typically running at 1200 or even 300 baud, it could take an enormous amount of time for a spammy logo, drawn in ASCII art to scroll to completion on a viewer’s terminal. Sending an irritating, large, meaningless block of text in this way was called spamming. This was used as a tactic by insiders of a group that wanted to drive newcomers out of the room so the usual conversation could continue. It was also used to prevent members of rival groups from chatting—for instance, Star Wars fans often invaded Star Trek chat rooms, filling the space with blocks of text until the Star Trek fans left. This act, previously called flooding or trashing, came to be known as spamming. The term was soon applied to a large amount of text broadcast by many users.

    It later came to be used on Usenet to mean excessive multiple posting—the repeated posting of the same message. The unwanted message would appear in many if not all newsgroups, just as Spam appeared in nearly all the menu items in the Monty Python sketch. The first usage of this sense was by Joel Furr in the aftermath of the ARMM incident of March 31, 1993, in which a piece of experimental software released dozens of recursive messages onto the news.admin.policy newsgroup. This use had also become established—to spam Usenet was flooding newsgroups with junk messages. The word was also attributed to the flood of “Make Money Fast” messages that clogged many newsgroups during the 1990s. In 1998, the New Oxford Dictionary of English, which had previously only defined “spam” in relation to the trademarked food product, added a second definition to its entry for “spam”: ‘Irrelevant or inappropriate messages sent on the Internet to a large number of newsgroups or users.'”


  35. Best wishes to you on your trip, and to Jelly and Christine back home. Hope everything goes well.

    @PBMom, congrats on all of Patrick’s progress! That is wonderful news. This weekend’s Washington Post magazine has an article featuring one of the boys who attends my son’s school. Nothing earth shattering, but it is nice to see autistic kids portrayed as part of the normal spectrum of life.

  36. Love the christmas sweaters, Chevron7! Makes me nostalgic for the big Sears catalog.

    Nothing is worse than being kicked when you’re down, then run over and hit by lightening; these are the times I have a serious talk with the Gaia about what the frak she does up there all there day; it’s not like she’s eradicating global warming so you’d think the heavens could rain down more good than bad.

    For instant cheer I turn to my youtube favorites; I’ve got Eek the cat, The Tick, Sheyla fan vids, Meyla fan vids (that Teyla gets around) and my uber fave, The Landlord. And that bear falling out of a tree onto a trampoline.

    Good luck to Jelly; you can video Skype with her and the gang from Tokyo. I’m sending good wishes Jelly’s way, she’s a sweet gal.

    Make a detailed to-do list for your trip; when you travel with stress it’s easy to forget things and end up even more stressed. I spent two weeks in Austria and forgot my deodorant. I did an elaborate pantomime of putting on deodorant for the giggling pharmacist in Salzburg, so embarassing.

  37. Joe! 🙂

    I was wondering if you would like to help me out a bit. I know you have done things to help people with sick dogs, or relatives. So this isn’t nearly as important and if you don’t do it. I understand. But!

    There is a game set in the Stargate-verse and it is set to be shut down for good. We believe that a petition to show interest in the game sent to MGM may work to at least get them to release the source code so that way the Community can continue to play the game. It is a solely online game, and right now the players can’t set up their own servers to play on. So if nothing else, we just want to continue to play the game! Even if MGM doesn’t want to support it anymore.

    Here is the game: http://www.stargateresistance.com
    Here is the petition: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/save-sgr-sgw/

    You can sign it yourself if you’d like. But what I am asking for here is that you write about it in a blog post. Doesn’t have to be much, a paragraph or even just a sentences would do fine. Hell it could even be a sentence fragment 😉

    Thanks! Ian

    P.S. Here is our Facebook page, which has the petition listed in 14 different languages (including latin haha 🙂 )


    And twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/SaveSGR

    They can sign on the link I provided above. Or directly on facebook here: http://apps.facebook.com/petitions/1/save-sgr-sgw/

  38. Awkward timing, but it sounds like the best choice you could have made, and there’s the extra blessing that someone who’s dealt with the situation before will be there to take care of Jelly. May there only be good news from home while you’re away on your trip.

  39. All these hugs for Jelly, add another one from me. Hope you enjoy your trip and have no earthquakes, although with a bit to much sake the world will spin 🙂 Glad Ivon will be there to keep you off the floor 🙂
    Love the snow on here but I’m treading carefully, I’ve already fallen on me arse over in the UK 🙂

  40. Thanks for making me laugh, Joe, with the responses that went to your spam folder. You and Jelly will be in my prayers next week. It will be easy to remember you being in Tokyo as this Tuesday is my birthday. Hope you have as good a time as you can.

    Take care.

  41. P.S. Just saw “It Might Get Loud”; The Edge, Jack White and Jimmy Page, awesome. Jimmy Page is such a sweetheart, and they all struggled to make something creative at a time when originality was missing from music; the Muzak 60’s, the cheesy pop 70’s and the boy band 90’s. So I guess the theme is crappy music angries up the blood and births something fresh and new.

    Finally saw Toy Story 3 and cried so much I thought was having a breakdown, until I looked online and saw that everyone else who saw it cried too.

  42. @PBMom


    My daughter works as an activity coordinator for a group home of adult autistics. I am continually amazed by what her clients learn and accomplish. Praying that things keep working out for you at the new school.

  43. @Das on the Puerco Pibil:

    I can’t find Banana Leaves (I might have to go to another market…no stock in fresh or frozen). Any substitutes? I was thinking Kale, but that might be too much of an “iron taste”…what do you think?

    Turns out that I needed to order the achiote seed online as well. This dish is taking some commitment to finish; I’m sure it will be worth it though!

  44. @noelm Any chance your son attends The Children’s Guild in Chillum, MD? That’s where my nephew is.

    @PBMom Wonderful news re P’s sign skills! I have lost most of what I learned in my ASL classes 2 yrs. ago.

    Recently learned that Nephew shot up this year. He was just shy of my height, 5’6″, in Feb.; now he’s 5’9″.

    @EllieV: I’m ex-travel agent. Joe probably faces all sorts of outrageous fees if he chooses to cancel or delay the trip. Frankly, he’s better off financially if he travels as scheduled.

    If it were his mother or sister having emergency surgery, a travel provivder MIGHT waive fees, but I wouldn’t count on it.

    Just my 25 cents’ worth.

  45. so very sorry to hear of jelly’s health troubles. all i can think of suggesting is to find a good naturopathic vet. my own best healing has come from working with a kinesiologist instead of an m.d.

    find the cause instead of guessing what’s wrong, find the cause and the cure will be pretty obvious.

    good luck!! =)

  46. Hey Joe,

    I’m so sorry for all the crap you had to put up with in the last few days; it seems like it just never lets up, and that would seriously drain a person.

    I hope everything will turn out alright with Jelly. Personally, I think you made the right choice – not that I’m in any position to understand, as I’ve never had a pet – but it just seems like giving her a fighting chance at some graceful golden years is better than letting her deteroriate. I have my fingers crossed for Jelly’s wellbeing, and I will be thinking of her on Wednesday.

    But hey, my personal philosophy is that the world runs on karma and balance; bad luck is always followed by good luck; perhaps these past few days of utter crap is just a set up for the great deal of good luck you will encounter soon. The Tokyo trip will be great; the sake will be cheap and delicious; Ivon will manage to avoid his vacation woes, and the best of all, Jelly will return from the surgery renewed with vigour and Awesomeness.

    Lastly, I just like to thank you for continuing to share your life and entertain us with your humor even in these dark times. Rest assured, I think I can speak for all here when I say that we will be here for you if something were to go…sideways.

    Take care of yourself, Joe, and good luck to Jelly.

  47. @das @JeffW

    Here’s hoping Kale’s ok. I’m going to make some, too. (and I have gigantic Kale that hasn’t died in the cold) On second thought, my gigantic kale might have too much water, it’ll shrivel. I’ll have to make a trip to Jungle Jim’s.

  48. Thinking good thoughts and sending prayers for Jelly Girl and for you. I rarely comment but visit here everyday and I know how much you love your doggies. As someone who also has four-legged family members, my heart is with you guys. Crossing our fingers and paws for you!

    Patricia and Molly the Dog

  49. I don’t suppose your Trip Insurance covers “Pet Medical Emergencies”…?

    Anyway, just a THOUGHT here… Before you take off on the trip, leave some shirt or whatever bit of clothing that you don’t mind “parting” with that happens to be saturated with your SCENT [some old sweat-reeking workout stuff should do] and have it kept WITH Jelly AFTER her surgery as soon as possible. It should keep her calm while you aren’t there.

    Meanwhile, load this to your iPhone/iPad/laptop:


    If you see a pattern emerge too close to where you are, go back home to your dog.

  50. @Das and DP:

    In the words of SNL’s “Emily Litella”:

    Never mind!

    I stopped by another Hispanic Market tonight (the first one was more of a Hispanic Convenience Store), and I found the banana leaves. I’m good to go (well except for the spice grinder!)

  51. @ DP & JeffW – Hmmm…not sure on the kale. I get my banana leaves at a Mexican market (we have several little Mexican corner markets around here – all seem to carry banana leaves). Asian markets may carry them, as well. They are usually sold frozen. I checked on-line, and it said that fresh corn husks or parchment paper can be used as a substitute.

    And Jeff – I LOVE Mexican Coke! We get it all the time. I can only take sips, though. I gave up soda about 8 years ago, and I also have to avoid caffeine, but a sip now and then doesn’t hurt. Mexican Coke is SO refreshing, just like Coke used to be before they went and screwed it all up.


  52. @JeffW: No Hispanic/Latin markets in your area? You can find all this stuff there. Kale would taste awful, don’t do it! Many years ago, Guatemalan tamales were completely wrapped in banana leaves. In recent years, however, they use one small leaf to kindasorta wrap the tamale in and then cover the whole thing in aluminum foil. They taste the same, at least to me. While the banana leaves will impart a certain flavor, I’m sure you’ll do just fine without them. You could also use dried corn husks, believe it or not. The taste will be slightly different, but still delish. 🙂

  53. Shiny said:

    Love the christmas sweaters, Chevron7! Makes me nostalgic for the big Sears catalog.

    Thanks heaps Shiny…that really means a lot. When you spend time creating stuff it’s nice to hear someone enjoyed it. I really only hear from the subject of my photoshops these days. *sighs*

    Cheers, Chev

  54. @JeffW That’s fantastic (your daughter). People give up on people on the more severe end of the spectrum if they haven’t made progress by the time they are 5. I was just also reminded that he has watched me like a hawk for many years and picked up on some of my harmless flirty moves. Using them on his female teachers at school. A new teacher was training and he was pouring on the charm. When his teacher said, “Dude, she’s married,” he got his very disappointed look on his face. And his stubbornness, and attitude. He has been studying me a great deal. It’s a riot. These past 3-1/2 months have been amazing for all of us. He’s verbal speaking ability has improved, too. I listed about 40 things of what he has learned that were new for this grant I was applying for and that was just the major things.

  55. @PBMom:

    Sounds like he’s growing and learning every day…that’s wonderful!


    On the Mexican Coke; I had a Grandmother in Georgia who years ago owned a Country Store. Nothing was better than going in the store on a hot and muggy day, digging into the bottom of the slide-top cooler and pulling out an ice-cold bottle of coke. After they changed to corn syrup, it wasn’t the same.

    The Mexican Coke allows me to bring back the memories and share them with my kids. It’s a regular part of our weekly movie nights.

  56. Hey Joe

    Jelly is absolutely adorable. Think you’ve made the right decision and jelly will be happy to see you when you get back. Good point as well about the 12 year relationship. She is definitely worth it. And glad your last dental trip was a bit better! Enjoy your trip.

  57. Joe, sending all good thoughts for Jelly baby on her surgery. You are the best doggy daddy! and sounds like you have an awesome doggy sitter too. Gosh the trip is here already, seems like only yesterday… I hope you and Ivon(wingman) have a truly wonderful time and have lots of stories and pictures to share. Earthquakes, no stinking earthquakes, only the ones Joe and Ivon will make partying thru town.

    PBMom, always glad to hear good news.
    Chevron7, now you will have those guys wanting you to do their photo layouts for GQ, nice job.

  58. @DP – Others have already answered your question, so, yeah. 🙂

    Joe: Reading Maus is not something to do when feeling down. Years ago, Nomi and I visited the US Holocaust Museum and the Vietnam War Memorial on the same day. Knowing the emotional wallop that would pack, we scheduled the Lincoln Memorial and the Einstein statue for right afterwards.

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