Monday, August 26, 2019

Ten books that influenced me

Without looking back at older lists, I did this exercise again (in a visual-request way) in 2019. (That time it was seven books.)

I found an older facebook post in which I had listed ten in 2014, and then listed what I thought would have been my list when I was 23 (1979).

Here is the 2019 list, and I'll make the images links to the facebook posts, which might still be there.


In that game above, the original "copy this and tag" chain-letter game had a phrase that irked me, and probably is what inspired me to think of "book" in a broader sense.





August 26, 2014 at 9:25 AM


Instructions: in your status, list 10 books that have stayed with you in some way. Don't think too hard. They don't have to be the "right" books or great works of literature, but they should be ones that have affected you in some way. Tag 10 friends including the one who tagged you so they can see your list.
1. Whole Child, Whole Parent (Berrien Berends)
2. Conceptual Blockbusting (Adams)
3. Slapstick (Vonnegutt)
4. Zen Lessons, The Art of Leadership (Cleary, translator)
5. Slowing Down to the Speed of Life (Carlson)
6. The Monastic World (Brooke/Swaan)
7. Learning All the Time (Holt)
8. Man and his Symbols (Jung)
9. The American Heritage Dictionary (editions with the wonderful etymologies since 1969; not all have the etymologies)
10. Material World (Menzel)
No one tagged me, so I'm not tagging. It's just going to sit here. :-)

A couple of recent books I keep referring to and thinking of won't have as many years to affect me as the books above have had, but they're affecting me this year:
Smarter Than you Think (Thompson), about people, computers and the internet
Bad For You: Exposing the War on Fun (Pyle, Cunningham)
(I'll tag people who have already played, whose lists I read: Pam Sorooshian, Rose Sorooshian, Roxana Sorooshian)
I was thinking about what my list would have been when I was in my early-to-mid 20's. The only two above would have been Slapstick and The American Heritage Dictonary.Probably then, those didn't have the roots in me that they have now.

I think my list when I was 23 or so would have been:
Oliver Twist
The Bible
The Sneetches and Other Stories (still important ideas)
The Lord of the Rings
Life on a Medieval Barony
The English and Scottish Popular Ballads (Child)
The Ballad Book of John Jacob Niles
The Annotated Mother Goose (Baring-Gould(s))
Joan Baez Ballad Book
Be Here Now (Ram Dass)
But the books I didn't list above that are important in my life are reference books, not read-start-to-finish books (The Oxford English Dictionary; Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable), and collections (The Children's Hour, which I've had since before I was in school; Grimm's Fairy Tales; Chaucer; Shakespeare; Poe; various Robin Hoods, and various King Arthurs and the art in them). I liked the Science Fiction magazines on newsprint, in the 60's, and LOOK magazine, and MAD magazine. I liked Childcraft books (which friends had, I didn't) and the series on sewing and needlework that someone was putting out in hardback in the 1970's (which I saw and borrowed but didn't own).

Friday, July 05, 2019

"Horn toads"

Yesterday morning, Holly showed me that in some rearrangement in her room she had found a little gold-plated horny-toad necklace from years ago.

A while later, I saw that a facebook friend had posted something about horn toads, and I responded:
Sandra Dodd:
Those were everywhere in my neighborhood outside Fort Worth when I was a little kid. They're pretty easy to catch, too. They'll get as big as the palm of your hand (even adult hands). "Horny toads," common kid-name, years back. Maybe still. :-)


Vicki Angeline Dennis
Still called horny toads but doubtful you would see many around FtWorth­čśą. Even 50 years ago not so many as our childhood and I believe spent some years on endangered list. This generation mostly says proper horned lizards but when oldsters lament about things from childhood no longer around is always horny toads.

After the article she had posted, I'll tell the story of the biggest horn toad I ever saw, and it was not in Texas. It was just a minor story in my life, until I found out they're less frequently seen now. It makes my story more exotic, I guess.


The article was about the Dallas zoo releasing some babies "into the wild."
Dallas Zoo sets 46 horned lizards loose with its first-ever wildlife release

Because articles aren't always kept forever, I'll quote it. The author is Charles Scudder, of the staff of DallasNews.com
In a statewide effort to stabilize populations of the state reptile, the Dallas Zoo released 46 Texas horned lizard hatchlings on state land about 100 miles west of Austin earlier this month.

It was the zoo's first wildlife release.

We always want to put things back to the wild," said Bradley Lawrence, the reptiles supervisor at the Dallas Zoo. "It's just so rare that we get to do stuff like this. We would love to do that like every day."

At Mason Mountain Wildlife Management Area, a total of 139 hatchlings were released, including 93 from the Fort Worth Zoo, which pioneered breeding programs for Texas horned lizards.

For decades, the reptile has been vanishing from Texas landscapes. About 10 years ago, Texas zoos, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officials and Texas Christian University researchers partnered to try to learn how to bring the critter back to certain pockets of the state.

As a side project in that effort, the Dallas Zoo works with wild populations of the lizard at the Rolling Plains Quail Research Ranch about 250 miles west of Dallas. That work includes collecting data on the wild lizards to help provide additional information for future reintroduction projects.

This September, Lawrence brought the hatchlings born at the zoo to the Hill Country and released them in a clearing surrounded by granite hills. Click here to read more about that project and how Texans are working to protect the Texas horned lizard.


In 1972 or 1973, that school year, I was at the University of New Mexico, and was living in a house near Lomas/Carlisle/Monte Vista. Four of us went up into the Sandia Mountains one day, to a little picnic area that no longer exists, on the east side of the road. People live around there now, but then not nearly as many.

We were able to climb up some, and then there was a huge vista, over toward what is now Edgewood. Not as many people lived there, then, either.

One roommate had gone to babysit us. She had brought a book, or homework or something. We needed a babysitter, because we were there to take LSD.

On the way up there, Alan and I had been telling Dev about horn toads (which little kids call "horny toads," but being sophisticated older people (I was 19, Alan and Dev were 23 or so, I think), we said "horn toads." Both Alan and I had lived in Texas as young children. Dev had lived in India, Ottawa (I think) and then New Jersey. No horn toads. He was fascinated, and a biology student, and asked us more questions. We only had little-kid answers. :-)

We got up there, and Alan and I were lying on our backs, looking up at trees. I remember saying "Look at that airplane, sneaking through the trees." Seemed like that. We were tripping.

Then Dev came back from his exploratory adventure saying "I think I found a horn toad!"

We didn't think so. It was a huge "probably not," because 1) he had never seen one, nor a picture of one, 2) I had never seen on in New Mexico, and 3) he was trippin'.

Dev's carrying a margarine container, out of the picnic stuff. Margarine used to come in plastic bowls with snap-on lids in the early 1970's. The bowls were about 6" across.

We looked, but the clear plastic lid was steamed up. Something live was in there, for sure, and it was heavy. It was as big as the bowl, whatever he had.

We opened it to see the biggest horn toad ever. It was twice as big as any I had ever seen. It was a grandaddy horn toad king. Poor guy was scared, too, but he was absolutely a horn toad, and we apologized to Dev for not believing him sooner. We held it a while, showed him that if you turn them over in your hand and rub their bellies they'll go to sleep (playing dead is probably what they're doing), and then he took it to release it. This was in the days before photos were easy to take, and before disposable cameras, and we didn't have a camera with us.
A horn toad, but not THAT horn toad:


I was very apologetic to Dev for having doubted him, but also shocked at the oddity of the find. I told that story later to someone who lived on the south side of Edgewood, and she said they had seen horn toads on their property.

II have two more stories now, that go both directions from that one.

When I was two or three, before my sister was born, I saw snow on TV and asked my mom about it. We were outside of Fort Worth in those days. She described it to me, beyond what was on the black-and-white TV. Not long after that, she was taking a nap (pregnant, maybe; drunk, maybe) and I was looking out the kitchen door window and saw what I thought was snow. I ran and woke her up and said "It's snowing!"

She was never nice about waking up. Whether I woke her up or she woke up naturally, I always got blamed, but she was the only one there to tell. She got mad and told me it was NOT snowing, and to leave her alone.

It hardly ever snows there, and she thought (reasonably, too) that I was trying out a new word I had learned. I went back and watched that "not snowing" some more, and when she woke up she hugged me and apologized and said that it was snow.

Somewhere there used to be a snapshot of the little snowman my dad made for me when he got back from work. It was him squatted and smiling, posing next to a little metal can, like vegetables come in, that he had tried to stick snow on, with a little snowball about 3" across stuck on the top of it. So it wasn't much snow, but it was snow.

Story #3 is that when I lived with Jimbo in La Mesilla, an area southeast of Espa├▒ola, between San Pedro and Arroyo Seco, my friend Michael was visiting us. So mid-70's. Maybe 1975. We had told Michael about "child of the earth," a odd, big alien-looking bug that people find once in a while, when they're digging in dirt usually, and it comes out of the dirt clean, and looks like it would glow in the dark, and looks kind of like the bugs in "Cootie" games, and nearly as big. Seriously. Scary and weird.
A child of the earth, but not THAT child of the earth:



I only found one image that had something to scale in the photo, but the bug had long antennae like I have never seen, so I didn't bring that one. They're big, though like 3" long in the body.

It was nighttime, and I went in the next room to get something to show him, and in a box of music books was... a child of the earth. I had never seen one inside a house. I had never seen one when I needed one to show someone. I caught it in a pan or something and we looked at it and let it go outside.

Lots of times in my life I've seen something that I had just lately been talking about, or heard a song that I hadn't heard for a long time when it would have the most effect, or met up with someone in an unexpected place, but these two stories of a creature appearing in an illustrative way are among the coolest things that ever happened to me.

The most recent story I've heard of a child of the earth was from Toby Tsosie in Santa Clara. Last month, one walked over his foot. Whoa. In Santa Clara Pueblo, which is just across the river from La Mesilla. I think he was sitting outside. Good.

Those photos are links to more info.



Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Two baby Kirbies

Baby Kirby Dodd, one year old, 1987 (background), and Baby Kirby Dodd, one year old, 2019 (the 3-D baby).



Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Keith update (nearly normal!)

In the same way the personnel at UNMH seemed surprised that Keith lived, the follow-up doctors seem surprised he's doing as well as he is.

Dr. Hai, a DaVita cardiologist, second visit.
Echocardiogram, on June 24, showed the heart flow was 45-50 cpm. Dr. Hai says that's 90% of normal. People without heart attack history are 50-55. People who have had heart attacks are usually 30-35.

Results of a heart monitor he wore for three days a month ago showed no abnormalities in heartbeat. Over the course of three days, it skipped a beat a couple of times, but that's normal for anyone. There was nothing in that test to indicate problems.

Hemoglobin appears low.
Cholesterol looks good.
They had failed to do A1C, so he ordered one.

Lowered the dose of Amiodarone from 800 mg daily to 200 mg daily.

Next checkup in six months.

Note from Sandra: It would be nice to know more from the inserted monitor/defibrilator, but at the first appointment, it wasn't set up to upload data yet. We had another appointment scheduled for three months later, but it was pushed out from three months to four and a half. That's a long time to go without feedback, I think, so I'm glad that Dr. Hai ordered the external monitor. It bothered me at first for being duplication, but UNM doesn't communicate with DaVita.

Keith got copies of the records from his stay at UNM. 400 pages. Dr. Hai kept that to photocopy some parts.



Jacqueline Reeve, primary care, follow-up, third visit.
She wants to see the 400 pages of records from UNM, too.

Keith had blood tests right away for hemoglobin, A1C, and "an iron study."
Keith's been taking an iron supplement for a couple of months, just informally, on the physical therapist's recommendation. Reeve will make a recommendation when the lab work is back.

She listened to his heart just quietly for a long time and said she heard nothing like a murmur, and all was strong and good.

The kidney specialist, Dr. Chen, had recommended Saw Palmetto (capsules, over the counter) to help with an enlarged prostate, but she didn't say how much or how often. Reeve looked it up and recommends 160 mg twice a day. That's unrelated to heart problems, but when there's a big emergency, people seem to stop paying attention to anything else. He's well enough that they're looking at things other than his heart now, which is nice. They sent him to the kidney specialist (I think, it seemed) to make sure there wasn't kidney damage from the cardiac arrests, or from the effects of the ICU treatments.


Saturday, May 18, 2019

Keith's wonderful recovery

Keith's progress is remarkable, so here I am to remark. :-)

This week, he has been out of the hospital as long as he was in. And Wednesday's out-patient physical therapy was the last of the set of ten. He doesn't need to go back.

In June, I might start driving him to the pool weekday mornings early. He will daytrip to Outlandish with Paul/Lavan, before then.

Things are good.

Monday, May 06, 2019

Keith update!

Keith is doing well, using a cane sometimes, probably won't re-up for another set of physical and occupational out-patient therapy sessions, even if they're offered.

He's been to another cardiologist (one of DaVita's) who wants to do some tests over the next month or two, and he went to a kidney specialist, at the request of his "primary physician." The primary physician he has seen twice is a nurse practitioner who saw him because he regular nurse practitioner was too heavily scheduled. He also had another consult with the pharmacist, who rearranged his drug-taking schedule a bit.

The cardiologist asked him to stop taking the blood pressure lowering med, because Keith was in there in the clinic, and reading 80 over I forget what—too low. But to Keith's request to stop taking the blood thinner for a week so the pain clinic would give him a steroid cocktail shot for his lower back pain, the doctor said it was too dangerous in the first six months. Oh, and the kidney specialist told him not to take over-the-counter pain killers for it, because they're bad for his liver.

When he was in the hospital, it seemed too many departments were pulling him one way and another without regard for what the others needed/wanted/had ordered. Now that he's home, UNM and Davita, and their various departments, are doing a similar scattery stretch on him. After this current round of tests and visits, I think I'll contact the insurance company to ask for some coordination of care.

That's what I thought this morning, and told Keith, too.

Then the mail came. These were probably mailed on May-last-Friday, May 3. That would've been two months after the initial cardiac arrest. Do you think they wait two months to be polite? Or did it take them this long to get this together? The only bill we've had so far was the ambulance. Thirty-seven envelopes saying "Physician's statement" have all arrived at once. They might not be bills, and we might not need to pay them if they are (someone we went to said Keith's deductible has been met for the year), but it's a scary-looking pile. :-)



I've been opening them as the photo loaded, and yeah... bills.

charges / payment-adjustment / patient balance

Still... it's good that Keith is alive to pay these. :-) Or at least to ask the insurance company which ones he should be paying. It might be the total of this pile that makes his deductible.

Thanks again for the sympathy and encouragement of friends and relatives. Keith's still frustrated, gets tired easily, and sometimes doesn't feel great, but other times he's strong, cheerful and whole!

Monday, April 22, 2019

Two weeks home, seven weeks post-incident

Keith is doing better every day. His balance is improving, he's walking with just a cane, mostly (still uses the wheelchair in the bedroom and his office, because it's more comfortable and he doesn't get as tired). Today he and Holly went to Costco, and he used the cart as a walker. :-) He gets tired easily, still—from a combination of muscle atrophy and of difficulty breathing.

The upper back side of his head above his left ear is still numb. That injury, nobody cared about earlier. It's probably where he hit his head when he fell back downhill on March 3. Because his long hair was all matted up there for a month, it wasn't noticeable until the hair was cut.

There are a few little oddities that will probably go away. He has kerosene cans with a side cut out, flat with the hendle out, as drawers on shelves in the garage, and though he used to know what they all were, now he needs to look in them. He might label them, or his memories might come back. That's not the sort of thing they could have tested him for in rehab—"What's in those cans in the garage?" He said when he's playing music, he's having a hard time not just with breath (lungs, ribs, sternum—that would affect air), but with fingering and rhythm. I think that could be weak muscles, and playing recorder uses muscles way up the arm, on lower notes, especially an alto or tenor, and he's still weak in the shoulders and chest.

This will come back too, but his speaking voice isn't strong, and he can't sing well or right, yet. I fell in love with him for his singing, and his musical ability, and now that's messed up!? Good thing that over the years I've found other lovable things about him. :-)

This morning we went and watched Ivan for an hour at Marty & Ashlee's house. Yesterday, Devyn was over to eat and hunt eggs, and baby Kirby was here. She'll be here tomorrow for a while, too. So he's able to do his grandfatherly duty, which is sweet. :-)

We still play Dr. Mario nearly every day, and we've been playing Five Crowns. Yesterday we played two games of Azul with Kirby and Destiny, and they left the game for me and Keith to play. We will.

It will still take a few months for Keith to get back to his own strong singing self, but he's doing well.