Saturday, August 27, 2011


Today is the 28th day of having this mess going on with my face and I’m damn sick of it.  I’ve been hiding out as much as I can but Monday I’m going back to the office.  This morning I took Gracie to the vet.  I was grateful that nobody asked what the hell happened.  They probably assume I’m an unfortunate accident victim.  This is a picture I took yesterday. 
27th day of hell
Gracie got her second set of puppy shots today and they tested her for various parasites – she got a clean bill of health other than a few small spots of mange. The vet says this kind of mange is common on puppies and most of them are free of it by the time they’re a year old. For now, we do nothing. If it gets worse, we give her pills and if it goes away, hooray.

I have a big paper due and I’m having trouble getting into it because one of the mandatory items to be covered is not clearly defined and I can’t relate it to anything. What are (exactly) IST domains of management? To me, that means everything IST managers must manage. We are to analyze a case study scenario and relate all the problems we find to IST domains of management, database, networking, Web, programming, and all scopes of systems development. Perhaps if a problem doesn’t fit neatly into one of the other areas, I’ll just lump it into the catch-all domains of management.

Five more big individual papers, one more team paper, six reflection statements, 15 discussion questions, 34 reply posts, and one dissertation, and THEN….I’M DONE!!!! I’m getting close enough to almost see the finish line and now someone is acting all pissy about the time I’m spending and how the house has fallen to ruin. Maybe someone is just in a pissy mood because of shit going on in his life. If misery loves company, we should be a match made in heaven.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Face disgrace

I took another picture of my face yesterday, but I don’t want to post it. It’s too depressing. I look like an alligator who’s been blasted with a shot gun…sort of. Yesterday morning was the last dose of the flesh-eating chemical/drug. This morning I took a long warm shower and washed the last traces of the nasty, greasy stuff off my face as best I could – now it feels like if I smile my whole face would crack and shatter. Tomorrow I go back to the doctor and hopefully he will say I’m through and I pray he doesn’t want to touch anything on my face because if he does, it’ll probably hurt. Don’t touch! Back off, Jack! That would be fitting because his name really is Jack.

Our puppy is quickly growing; I’m lengthening her collar about every three days. She’s getting a bit more brave and troublesome. We have to gate her off or keep doors shut where there are plants, shoes, clothes, etc. She loves to chew and never mind that she has doggie toys to chew on, she loves nothing more than to grab one of the girls’ padded bras. It’s time for her next round of shots and I fear she’s probably got worms again. I won’t gross you out with the details, but her favorite food is not the puppy chow, but nasty stuff she finds in the woods. Here’s a photo of her being sweet and about the only time she is not getting into trouble:


I took Gracie outside to “do her business” and discovered the apple tree had three squirrels in the top of it.  Two jumped to the ground and ran across the yard escaping up the maple tree.  The other held a large apple in his teeth by the stem, leapt over to the other apple tree (totally bare of apples), then over to the maple, then one more jump to the hickory.  He sat there looking down at me, then began munching his apple.  I ran for my camera and was able to grab a photo.  A few nights ago, I took Gracie out at night and heard a deer thrashing the limbs of the apple tree.  Then, thump, thump, thump of apples hitting the ground.  I assumed the deer shook all the apples out of the trees, but now I know squirrels take their fair share. 

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Scary face

My face is heavy on my mind these days. Today is Day 15 of a 21-day treatment plan with Fluorouracil on my face. It’s a scary drug! The doctor didn’t give me the whole truth about it, which is probably a good thing because I never would have agreed to this. I hate pictures of myself, but I will post one that I snapped off quickly at work the other day. My hair looks wretched because the heat and air from the hair dryer make my face hurt more, so I let it air dry and do whatever it wants. I can’t wear make-up. What my co-workers tell me is that my face seems to change from hour-to-hour; swelling some parts then unswelling, turning dark red then light red in some parts, bleeding off and on. Look how gross!!

I went to a dermatologist because I had a little place above my lip that came and went until finally it came and stayed. I had two other scaly patches on my face that have been coming and going. On the day of the appointment, the two patches were cleared up and normal. The doc took a quick look at my lip and said it was pre-cancerous. He could cut it or burn – both would leave a noticeable scar. OR…I could use Fluorouracil for 21 days and no scar. That seemed easy!  I liked the idea of no cutting or needles.  He told me about it and how it works, and how if I treated my whole face, it would be like getting new skin – undoing all the damage over the years. He said nothing would change for 14 days, then it would get red like a bad sunburn, scab up, peel, and heal. OK!! It’s only supposed to react with sun-damaged abnormal cells – sounded good.

I’ve never been one to lay in the sun for long and I’ve worn sunscreen since it was available. A few memorable burns, not as much on my face as on my back and shoulders. I’ve played a lot of golf, but since I was late 30s, I get migraines triggered by intense sun so I always wear a visor when I’m playing golf or tennis in the sun. Anyway, the place on my lip and one of the scaly patches reacted to the drug the first time I put it on. Based on pictures I’ve seen online, I’m at least a week ahead of schedule as far as gross appearance. The red and burning is way worse than any sunburn.  It’s getting worse every day. It burns and itches like a mother! I got permission to work from home starting next week. I don’t plan to be seen in public until it’s somewhat healed up…at least no worse looking than the photo of me.

Saturday, August 6, 2011


Today, I was thinking about being in kindergarten. We had a time block during the day when we could choose to play a particular activity. Boys had certain things they could do, and girls had certain activities they could do. Toys were grouped by activity and gender and we were forbidden to mix them. Boys could play with large cardboard blocks, small wooden blocks, trucks, or rubber animals. Girls had girly stuff – dolls, sewing cards, hand puppets, or a play house. Most girls chose to play house or dolls. The hand puppets were socks with buttons sewn on for eyes…really lame. The sewing cards were too easy, and boring after 5 minutes or so.  Playing dolls in kindergarten with other girls was unappealing.

I usually played house because it was the least dreary of the choices. I usually amused myself by upsetting the other girls. One in particular, her name was Joni, was the world’s worst tattletale and a crybaby. It was easy to make her mad, and she almost always cried when she got mad. The play house had one large, ugly plastic doll in it. The doll had a plastic head with painted hair and painted blue eyes. She had a frozen smile and looked rather devilish. Perhaps that’s where I found inspiration. I did things such as tie her booties over her hands and put her clothes on backwards. That was all it took to upset Joni. Sometimes I put the doll in the toy oven, refrigerator, or washing machine.

One time, I popped off off the doll's arms and legs and discovered they were I put arms where legs were supposed to go and fat, chubby legs where arms were supposed to go.  I put it in the crib and covered it with the blanket. Joni found it and pitched a giant fit  - she cried so loud the teacher felt obligated to investigate. I showed the teacher that the limbs were easy to put back in order, but she made me sit in the corner for the rest of the play period.  The teacher made me apologize in front of the whole class. I told Joni, with much sincerity, how sorry I was that she cried. I took my seat and looked over at her. She stuck her tongue out at me. When I think of Joni, that’s the image that comes to mind – looking hateful with her tongue sticking out.

I never was one to play with dolls much.  Sarah being an only child and sort of a loner (like her Mommy), always wanted me to play Barbies with her. There’s only so much an adult can do with a doll. I combed their hair, changed their clothes, and mostly just watched Sarah play. One time, she handed me two dressed Barbie dolls and asked me to swap their clothes. Ugh, really? I swapped their heads instead, but she didn't notice.  I handed them back to her and she was stunned. As soon as she reasoned how I did it so quickly, she was furious with me.  She was not happy with head transplantation. 

Erin and Emily began playing with Barbies quite young, I wouldn’t let them have the little shoes or accessories because I thought they might choke on the little pieces. They were not quite coordinated enough and struggled to change their clothes. One time, Erin was sitting in front of me trying to get a Barbie out of tight-fitting pants. She said, “OH!! This is really pistering me off” and she chucked it across the room. It was funny but it made me feel bad to hear her imitate me (she no doubt heard me say the expression “pissing me off”).

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Addition to the Family

Vacation is over for 2011 – our traditional excursion to Myrtle Beach and all the things we do down there every year. I leased a Verizon air card for the second week because the beach house has no reliable Internet service. Last year, the air card was great. This year, performance totally sucked. S-L-O-W. Too slow. I will blame slow Internet for why I got no work done on my dissertation – it was all I could do to finish class work on time.

I did do some fun things on vacation, but mostly it was work for me. Last year we went on a little tour of plantations and islands south of Myrtle, leaving out of Georgetown. That was so nice, so we did it again this year. We got to see lots dolphins this time which was kind of neat. It rained a lot the last week we were there, but the last two days, the ocean waves were much less crashing (not so much knock-you-around type waves). There were sand bars so we went way out away from the shore before the water got very deep – it was nice to just swim around and float. Jerry and I were out there and we think a dolphin or a large black fish sort of jumped up out of the water no more than 15 feet from us. We both saw it and looked at each other like, “WOW!! DID YOU SEE THAT?” We didn’t tell the girls about it – they certainly would have assumed it was a shark.

A little beach friend

So while I was down there, I did call speak to Dr. Barbuto to request permission to use his (and Dr. Wheeler’s) survey for servant leadership. He graciously gave me permission and sent me a release to use it. These gentlemen are currently at the U of Nebraska. I called Mindgarden and purchased the “starter kit” for using their MLQ – a survey for transformational leadership developed by Bernard Bass. The starter kit has a manual and a non-reproducible sample of the instrument. When I know how big my sample size has to be, then I’ll know how much $$$ it’s going to cost me to use it. Researchers get a break on the price, fortunately.

My class ended last night and there’s a week off now until the next one starts. THE LAST ONE!! When I complete that class, I’ll be Dr. Me, ABD. Not impressive, all but dissertation. I don’t want to be ABD, but it will be nice not having all that busy work interfering with the important work, and the busy work has made me much more capable of doing a decent job of the important work…let’s hope it was NOT all for nothing.

We were supposed to get a puppy yesterday but the owners decided to keep it. Today, I was determined to find a puppy, so Erin and I went out to the Boyd County Animal Shelter. So many beautiful puppies needing homes, it was hard to choose. We chose this one, and Erin named her Gracie.  The worker at the pound told us she was one of a large litter.  She was different from all the others - they all looked like schnauzers, whereas she looks a bit more like a German Shepherd.  All her siblings had been adopted out over a month ago.  She has spent most of her life in a cage so she was a bit nervous to see the outside world and ride in a car.  She seems smart and the kitties are getting to know her. 

Gracie, about 3.5 months old