Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Results Are In...

...and I don't have cancer. Yay! Thank you for your kind prayers and good thoughts. (See "Not Sure I Can Stomach This," posted August 8.2007)

It was a near thing, though. The first words out of my specialist's mouth when he walked into the exam room were, "Mark, I was sure I was going to have bad news for you today...."

In fact, he said he was so sure I had cancer that while he was performing the colonoscopy, he marked the troublesome spot inside my colon with surgical ink so he could find it more easily when he went back to remove the tumor, as he was sure he was going to be doing.

As it is, I'm merely considered "at risk" and have to endure another 'scope in nine months.

He also said my gall bladder has deteriorated some more and should be removed.

Personally, I think he's just looking for a consolation prize in the surgery department. Still, it's something we'll look at getting done sooner rather than later.

And oh, he put me on a diet.

'Bout time someone did.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Forgotten Words

I don't rightly recall what put me on to this line of thinking, but on the way home tonight I was trying to remember some very useful words that you just don't hear anymore.

Flapdoodle, for one.

Fun words. Words whose very pronunciation carries a good ounce of meaning without ever having to consult a dictionary. Words that usually upset spell check software.

Like tarnation.

Or gumption.

How about betwixt?

Poppycock and Balderdash, twin brothers of skepticism.



I invite you to share some of your favorite "forgotten words."

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Wonderful World

Trolling for material to put in my Mark Mail post next week, I ran across this, performed by Australian magician Ray Crowe:

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Commercial Education

So I watched a little network television tonight, and I forced myself to sit through the commercials (well, most of them, anyway), and here's what I learned:

  • If I buy a Jeep®, a hot blond will want me.
  • If I'm under 25 years old and anorexic, Old Navy's new line of blue jeans will look great on me.
  • There is now a hair spray for salads. I guess the lettuce was looking just too limp.
  • My children will get really mouthy with me - in a good way - if I buy them a "Go" phone.
  • Chickens can drive a car.
  • Even if I subscribe to Comcast's new telephone service, I'll still be an idiot.
  • Eating Jello's "Fruit Passion" flavor will make me dance in public and my clothes will turn into something hip and fashionable.
  • If I buy a Honda®, a hot brunette will want me.

This is why my finger usually finds the "mute" button during commercials or, if I'm just grazing, I'll move on to a channel with something I want to watch.

Though now I'm wondering which car I have to buy to get a hot readhead to want me.

Oh, wait, I already have that. Lucky me!

Monday, August 20, 2007

24 Years

This is a photo my cousin, Rowland, took of us at my wife's company picnic yesterday. Hmmm, I see it's time to go get some "Just for Men®" and get that beard darkened up a little.

As of tomorrow, my wife and I will have been married 24 years. God and time have been kind to us, I suppose. We have endured some sorrows, but not enough to make us bitter; we have known some serious joy, but not enough to make us careless; we have worked hard, but not enough to make us heartless; and we have played well, but not enough to make us foolish.

All in all, you can't really ask for more than that, can you?

Monday, August 13, 2007

Salute to Ace

My wife and I bought this car in the fall of 1993. That's nearly 14 years ago, folks. We paid $10,000 for it and it has turned out to be one of the best investments we ever made. I survived a minor collision in 2000, which gave Ace it's "blue eye" when a pickup truck turned in front of me and I broadsided it. No one was hurt, but due to Michigan insurance law, no one paid anything for damages, either, so we could never afford to get the body fixed.

Of course, we didn't call it Ace back then. It was just "the blue car" and then we'd whinny like a horse (obscure Young Frankenstein reference).

In the summer of 2004, we gave the car to my son, Matthew, when we finally purchased two newer vehicles. He was the one who christened the car "Ace."

He called me this past week to share the news that Ace had just ticked over 200,000 miles on the odometer. A testament to religiously changing the oil and periodically adding a little TLC.

Probably a lesson in there, somewhere.

In case you're interested, the car is a 1992 Saturn SL-1 with a 5-speed manual transmission.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Not Sure I Can Stomach This

So for about the past six weeks I've had a gnawing pain in my lower abdomen. Though it's mostly still a nuisance pain, it has been steadily growing a little worse, with a second spot of trouble popping up down there.

In fact, last night it kept me up a little bit trying to get into a comfortable position where it would let me sleep comfortably.

Well, my family doctor is thinking hernia - which is not unreasonable, given the fact I lift quite heavy things here and there every day - and so today (well, yesterday as I write this) I go to see an "Internal Medicine Specialist" to get everything checked out.

Folks, the good news is that I don't have a hernia.

The bad news is that I do have something. He just doesn't know what. So now I have to see about the "Big C" ... at my age, kids, that's COLONOSCOPY. That happens Tuesday. And then the following Monday I get a CT Scan of the whole abdominal/pelvic region, which requires a barium shake for lunch. (I think they call it that because it tastes so awful your taste buds just wish you would bury 'em.)

My wife's had a couple of those scope treatments where they look at your tonsils from the other end, so I have a good idea of what to expect.

My next blog entry may be posted from the bathroom.....

Sorry about that mental picture.

No, really.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Time for New Tech?

So my PDA (Personal Digital Assistant) just sounded its alarm, reminding me of an appointment I have today.

I opened it up and discovered it was reminding me of...

Groundhog's Day.


Time for another trip to the store, honey!

Friday, August 03, 2007

A Small Conversation

So in my disguise as a mild-mannered postal retail clerk, I had this conversation at my window yesterday.

A classic "little old lady" had walked up and purchased a few stamps, when she looked at my name tag and said, "My son's name is Mark."

I smiled and confidently replied, "It's a good name."

"He died."

"Oh. I'm sorry to hear that."

"When he was 41."

At a loss, I offered, "Was he able to leave you any grandchildren?"


"Well, I am sorry for your loss, ma'am."

"He had Crohn's Disease. He died two days after his fifth operation."

At this point, before I could muster another response, she said, "I had five sons. He was the youngest." And then she toddled away.

The selfish part of me was squirming. It was all, like, "thanks for letting me know my name reminds you of something tragic...." but the more mature spirit in me realized she just wanted someone to talk to about it. I had the sense this had happened in her life quite some time ago, not recently, but we honestly didn't talk about that.

And now I've talked about it with someone. The circle of life goes on.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Schooled By An Agnostic

If you read enough books by one author, you can generally pick up on his or her worldview. Terry Pratchett - I'm reading his Discworld series - is definitely an agnostic. The extent of his faith seems to be trusting that the cars will stop when the signal turns green. He believes what he can see. But recently, I ran across a passage in his book, "Carpe Jugulum," that put my own belief to the test and set a higher standard for living.

The first thing you have to understand is that the series is a fantasy and a satire, set as far away from our world as it is possible to get. Which means that he can, of course, write about truths in our own world that are as close as your next breath.

In the book, Esmerelda "Granny" Weatherwax is a witch. Not the demonic, Satan-worshiping type we fear, but the wizened old lady of the woods type found in folklore. Another character is called "Mightily Oats" and he's a priest of Om, one of the gods of the Discworld. At one point these two characters discuss their beliefs and Granny says,

"Now, if I'd seen him, really there, really alive, it'd be in me like a fever. If I thought there was some god who really did care two hoots about people, who watched 'em like a father and cared for 'em like a mother ... well, you wouldn't catch me sayin' things like 'there are two sides to every question' and 'we must respect other people's beliefs.' You wouldn't find me just being gen'rally nice in the hope that it'd all turn out right in the end, not if that flame was burning in me like an unforgivin' sword. And I did say burnin', Mister Oats, 'cos that's what it'd be. You say that you people don't burn folk and sacrifice people anymore, but that's what true faith would mean, y'see? Sacrificin' your own life, one day at a time, to the flame, declarin' the truth of it, workin' for it, breathin' the soul of it. That's religion. Anything else is just ... is just bein' nice. And a way of keepin' in touch with the neighbors."

And then Granny goes on to say,

"Don't chase faith, 'cos you'll never catch it ... but, perhaps, you can live faithfully."

I'll pray for Terry Pratchett. And I'll take his words to heart and try to rekindle the flame of my own faith, and I'll try to live faithfully. And I'll pray the Lord brings someone into his life who can do the same.

And if I ever meet him, I'll thank him for making me a better Christian.