Sunday, January 31, 2010

Here Again!

Yes, another snow storm arrived yesterday. Four inches laid on the ground before this weather event was over. Are we getting tired of the white "stuff"? The answer is YES! I think this subject of our blog is getting old! Will try not to post any more "minimal" snow news.

The neighbor's furnace went out again. We took one of our infrared heaters over to help warm their house. They will get a new furnace tomorrow.

We got up to get ready for 9:00 AM church and the temperature was 2 degrees. It was warm here - our friends out in the country had -6 degrees. Here is what the pond looked like early this morning - this is the lowest temperature this winter season in Gilmer county.

Hopefully, by this time next week, we will be basking in 70 degree temperatures. We have a date with Mickey and Minnie on Saturday!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Especially Fat Ones

There are many obese critters in the world. People, cats, and dogs come to my mind. Pets such as cats and dogs are usually the result of people's actions. A thought - have you ever seen a grossly over weight deer or cardinal?

Overweight pets can develop medical problems much like their over weight owners. The potential health problems that could afflict overweight cats are legion: diabetes; hip problems; knee problems; joint inflammation and pain; skin inflammation and other skin problems; depressed immune systems; heart disease; osteoarthtritis. Some cats get so big that they can’t even clean themselves properly.

Interestingly, obese orange-and-white male cats are four times more likely to develop diabetes. It is a genetic thing!

There is a web site devoted to fat cats. Check out

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Max - Before and After

As you can see from the photos above that our eldest Ragdoll cat is a large critter. Max weighs in at 18 plus pounds - this fellow loves to sleep, sleep, and sleep. We gave Max a bath last week and discovered that his legs were too matted to comb the tangles out.

Yesterday we traveled to Gassaway and a lady did a haircut on ole Max. She did a lion cut, but we modified it a little and opted to let him have his tail tail instead of cutting the tail and having it end with a pompom. The photo below shows a cat with the lion cut and the crazy tail!

The photos below show Max after his cut. His fur is so much better and has no matted areas. We can now easily comb him.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

PET/CT Scan Update

On Thursday Judy and I went to Morgantown for a PET/CT Scan followup of my chemotherapy treatment. You will remember that we started the chemotherapy in May and continued through October of last 2009. I received the chemical cocktail ABVD every two weeks and ended the series of 12 on October 21. At that time, I was in remission. (Actually I was in remission after 4 treatments)

We did the PET/CT scan preparation at 11:00 AM which entails injecting a radioactive material into the blood system and then drinking 3 glasses of jello/sugar solution. The sugar is metabolized quickly by tumors (which has a higher metabolic rate). The tumor metabolism is picked up by the radioactive material - tumors tend to appear as "glowing" areas on the PET/CT scan digital photos.

I say to those folks who have a privacy problem with full body scans at the airports (to help in security on the flights) - you should have a PET/CR scan! Every layer of your body is exposed. I certainly have no problem with medical or security scans.

I had followup labs and then met with the cancer specialist. Dr. Craig was as wonderful as ever. He came in with the news that he was concerned with an aspect of the current scan. The scan showed a "glowing" area in my right underarm lymph node area (axillary). This is the area where we first noticed the largest tumor in May, 2009.

OK- this is only a bump in our cancer recovery. We will see what this actually is. Dr. Craig suggested that there is an excellent WVU doctor, an intervention radiologist, who can most likely preform a needle biopsy - the needle being directed by the CAT scan. However, the intervention radiologist determined after looking at the results of the scan, that a needle biopsy was not possible. The next step is another lympectomy so the suspect areas rcan be removed and tested. Will meet next week with the surgeon to schedule lymph removal. Will keep you all informed. How exciting can this cancer trip be?

We stayed Thursday night with Jeff and Sarah. Sarah had a great meal prepared. We watched The Mentalist before will retired to bed. This is one of our favorite shows.

When I got up, Sam was playing his computer games.

He is so good with his computer skills. You will notice that when he got up he possessed the "chicken" hair that I have in the mornings.

Here is a cute story concerning Sarah and Sam's expertise on the computer. Sarah ordered a sweeper from Amazon. However, two Hoovers arrived. Seems she must have double clicked and put two sweepers in her virtual on-line cart.

This morning, we were in their kitchen when we heard Sam say proudly, "I ordered that one!"

There on the screen was the Amazon website and a picture of a sweeper.

If you folks know anything about Amazon, you know that once a data base is established, it only takes a few easy clicks and Sam could have added the third sweeper to the Dodson household!

Mr Nate was as charming as ever.

He has his own method of getting across the floor, but is not up in a full crawl. His personality is really blooming.

We are so blessed to be able to see these guys frequently. It would be so fantastic to be closer to Flora and Lucy so we could share in their adventures more often.

As I mentioned, we will update you as we walk the ole cancer recovery road. As always, it has been an experience that I can truly say has made me a better person.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Price Cut!

NASA slashed its multi-million dollar price tag for museums looking to acquire one of its three space shuttle orbiters after they are retired later this year. The due date for the reduced payment, which dropped by almost one-third, was also advanced to be six months earlier than previously announced.

Interested educational institutions and science museums will now only owe the space agency an estimated $28.8 million - down from the $42 million set in December 2008 - if they are chosen to receive either shuttles Atlantis or Endeavour. Discovery, the oldest of the orbiters, has been promised to the National Air and Space Museum, although the Smithsonian will still need to pay the same fee.

The lower price comes as a result of NASA releasing the shuttles' recipients from having to underwrite the "safeing" of the vehicles, preparing them to be safely exhibited. The museums will still need to pay for ferrying the orbiter atop the agency's modified Boeing 747 from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida to a U.S. destination airport.
While updating its formal Request for Information (RFI) to museums, NASA also revised its schedule for transferring the orbiters to begin six months earlier than previously stated in 2008.

As such, the earliest NASA will announce the final homes for Atlantis and Endeavour will be in July 2010, giving the selected museums approximately a year to fundraise and erect the required indoor housing for the orbiters.

NASA has set a Feb. 19, 2010 deadline for institutions to reply to the updated request in order to be considered to receive an orbiter.

In the interim, NASA is continuing to ready Endeavour to fly the first of five remaining shuttle missions to complete the International Space Station. STS-130 is scheduled to launch on Feb. 7 on a 13-day mission to deliver the third and final connecting node for the orbiting outpost.

Any takers??

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Cat's Paw
Thought I would share with you all the latest in astronomy photography. This is for my friends at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory at Green Bank, WV.

This beautiful nebula resembles a huge paw print in the heavens. It can be located near the tip of the Scorpion' s tail in Scorpius.

John Herschel discovered this nebula in 1837 from the Cape of Good Hope, and cataloged it as h 3678 in his 1847 catalog. It became GC 4288 in his General Catalogue of 1864, and NGC 6334 in J.L.E. Dreyer's NGC.
A stunning new image of the Cat's Paw Nebula reveals a region at the heart of our Milky Way galaxy where new stars are being born at a furious pace.

The nebula, a cloud of interstellar gas and dust, is a cosmic nursery where new stars are ushered into being as these materials mix and condense.

Also known as NGC 6334, the Cat's Paw is thought to hold several tens of thousands of stars. Among them are freshly minted, brilliant blue stars — each nearly 10 times the mass of our sun and born within the last few million years.

"NGC 6334 is one of the most active nurseries of massive stars in our galaxy," researchers said in a European Southern Observatory statement.

The new photos were taken with the Wide Field Imager instrument at the 2.2-metre MPG/ESO telescope at the La Silla Observatory in Chile. The view achieves its stunning pinks and purples by combining images taken through blue, green and red filters, as well as a special filter designed to let through the light of glowing hydrogen.

The nebula appears red because its blue and green light are scattered and absorbed more efficiently by material between the nebula and Earth. The red light comes predominantly from hydrogen gas glowing under the intense glare of hot young stars.

The roiling, red bubble in the lower right part of the image may be a star expelling a large amount of matter at high speed as it nears the end of its life, scientists said in a statement. Another possibility is that the star has already died, and we are seeing the remnants left behind after it exploded.

The Cat's Paw Nebula is about 5,500 light-years away from Earth, in the direction of the constellation Scorpius (the Scorpion). It extends about 50 light-years across, and covers an area on the sky slightly larger than the full moon.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Greenbrier Resort Mini-Vacation
Part Seven

My gal dressed up on Monday evening to attend "A Taste of The Greenbrier" dinner buffet. This dinner was a sampling of all The Greenbrier restaurants with a musical combo and dancing. This buffet was located in the very large Colonial Hall.

Colonial Hall seats 1,500 theater-style or 800 for banquets. The food was representative of the many restaurants at the resort such as Sam Sneads restaurant, Prime 44 West, Classic Greenbrier Desserts table (ole my, peaches and real cream - but the classic is the wonderful bread pudding with vanilla sauce!), and Drapers. Judy loved the shrimp risotto!

A new restaurant that has recently opened at The Greenbrier and is Prime 44 West. This is The Greenbrier's premier steakhouse and is dedicated to Jerry West.

Honoring NBA Legend and WV native Jerry West, the restaurant features exceptional cuts of beef in addition to a wide selection of entrees ranging from your classic New York Strip to a tableside Dover Sole. Appetizers and dessert are just as tempting, with the a classic raw bar, Chesapeake Bay Crab Cake Cigars, and a not-to-be-missed signature dish, Karen's Italian Cream Cake.

In addition to great food, Prime 44 West showcases over 100 pieces of West's memorabilia, including his most monumental basketballs and his 1960 Olympic gold medal. The room's dark natural woods, combined with rich burgundy walls, soft suede textures and rich brown leathers, create a warm, intimate atmosphere, a perfect place to pay tribute to West, one of the greatest basketball players of all time.

It is from Prime 44 West that one may enter the Tavern Casino. The Tavern Casino is in a small area and encompasses a 3,700 square feet casino with a Monte Carlo atmosphere. Discreetly located below Prime 44 West, the facility features a variety of table games, including blackjack, roulette and three card poker as well as 44 slots.We started with one dollar and played the slot machines. We checked out with thirteen dollars. We were certainly big winners!

Judy and I had a great time on our mini-vacation. During our Monday evening meal, we had our picture taken. It was against a green screen and the photographer digitally added the background. I pointed out to him that we had snow on the grounds. He said that he could add a winter Greenbrier scene, but we would have to go get our coats! Oh, well!

Thanks for allowing us to share this January mini-vacation with you all!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Greenbrier Resort Mini-Vacation
Part Six

No trip to The Greenbrier is complete without a bit of shopping (according to Miss Judy!). With over 30 stores, shopping at The Greenbrier is a delight all its own. Most of the shops are located in the hotel’s lower level, including The Greenbrier Shoppe and Newsstand, Carleton Varney Gift Gallery, Kate's Mountain Outfitters, The Greenbrier Gourmet Shop and many others. The Art Colony on Alabama Row features a collection of shops with unique handcrafted items and exceptional pieces of original art. Finally, The Christmas Shop at the Depot is located across from the main entrance and is open year round with gifts and decorations to make every Christmas special.

The Greenbrier Gourmet Shop is my favorite. I love looking at all the cooking supplies available.

It is here that I can also order a Starbuck's Americano and sit and watch the shoppers travel the green carpet.

I thought this photo was whimsical. These two Greenbrier chefs tasting jam in order to find the perfect addition to a new recipe. I asked them if they had come to the shop to buy new spatulas. They assured me that each cooking station has all the implements imaginable.

Here is the entrance to the gourmet shop. Love the handmade iron works.

The photo below was taken outside the toy store. This is for our friend Sharon Phares. Sharon, the doll second from the left is really a Phares family member.

What is shopping without purchasing the world famous Greenbrier chocolates? Here Kathy is showing Miss Judy a selection of their creations. We ended up purchasing truffles and chocolate covered pretzels. Tasty!

Tomorrow will be the final Greenbrier Mini-vacation blog for January.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Greenbrier Resort Mini-Vacation
Part Five

The indoor pool, constructed in 1912, offers year-round recreation amidst lovely canopies and colorful furnishings. The Olympic-size pool was remodeled in the late '40s by Dorothy Draper. That name should be starting to sound familiar!

Here is our lifeguard friend, Dana. Let me explain why she is such a friend.

Judy and I had planned to take a swim after the sleigh ride. Oh my, someone forgot his swim trunks. (ME!) Dana offered a loaner pair (size large). This pair did not work. There must have been a mistake in the sizing! We checked out the spa which sells swimwear. Hark, the prices were a little much for retired teachers - $115 for a delightful small swatch of fabric.

Judy and went back to the room to rest. As we were lying on our bed, Miss Judy said. "I have an idea!" (I have learned through the many delightful years that this means a probable adventure.) She explained that she could take my silver walking pants and cut off the legs. She could actually create designer swimming trunks! I may have reacted negatively to that suggestion and grumped something about not wanting to look like Jed Camplett at the Greenbrier.

Judy has a way of gently pursuading her husband (moi!). She used the "What Have I Gone Through In This Marriage Technique". She reminded me of all the things she has done in our marriage that may have initiated by me - including cave exploring in tight rock crevices, standing in the cage of a 16 foot python to remove eggs from her coils, raising a plethora of critters (hedgehogs, snakes and lizards - you get the idea), and the list can go on for hours. I finally came to the realization that I had no choice, so I sweetly said, "Of course, I will be most proud to swim in your creation!"
[What a fib!!! He did Not say that. Judy]

We were off to the pool with silver pants in hand. Dana supplied the scissors. In the room, Judy had previously calculated the correct length and marked it with her eyebrow pencil. The scissors were not the sharpest, and were used probably to pry things from the pool's skimmers. Judy went to work in the ladies dressing room and amputated the legs from the garment. She exited the dressing area and proudly said, "Here are your swimming trunks!"

I went into the men's dressing area (where one can find all necessary items such as hair dryers, swim suit water extractors, combs, creams, sprays, and other ammenities). I was walking to the pool and started to enter the warm waters when I saw these two ladies floating in the shallow end of the pool. They looked at me, smiled, and said, "My, we really like your new swim wear!" They were obviously in the ladies dressing area and saw Judy hacking off the legs of my pants!

I was so proud and responded to them in my Appalachian way. "Thank ya muchly. Granny, Elly Mae, and Jethro will be out in a second. Mr Drysdale woud have joined us, but he and Miss Jane are in the hot water area. I believe it is called the spa!"

Judy and I had a great time swimming. It was only because of her loving and gentle persuasive techniques that we had this aquatic adventure. Thanks, sweetheart.

The adventures continue in tomorrow's blog.