Wednesday, December 31, 2008

No Bates in K-Town

So close. My best friend from high school was offered the offensive coordinator position at the University of Tennessee by head coach Lane Kiffin. He turned it down to remain with the Denver Broncos, but Broncos head coach was fired last night. I was desperately hoping Jeremy would return to Knoxville, but nervous about the situation in Denver. Now it appears he will be retained in Denver. I haven't talked to him in a long time, but I am very happy for him and eager to follow his career.

Stupid Michael Newdow is at it again.  Honestly, can we put this clown on a ship with Oprah and Al Sharpton and sail it to Antarctica? 

The tonsillectomy

Suni and I arrived at the hospital at 10:45 a.m. yesterady, where we were seated in a waiting room and assigned a pager. (Yes, a pager… like you get at busy restaurants). We waited forever.  When I was finally called back, a nurse named Connie prepped me by having me disrobe, put on the hilarious hospital gown. Then she started an IV and gave me Keflex, an antibiotic, as well as a liquid dose of a steroid for inflammation, both via IV. I do not think I was given anything to clam me down, although I did talk her ear off out of sheer nervousness. She gave me phenergan (promethazine) for nausea. The anesthesiologist and the nurse anesthetist then came and took my history, explained everything to me.  I talked their ears off, as well.  (Maybe they did give me something for anxiety?)

Next, the surgeon, Dr. Garman, appeared.  His first words were, "Do you really want to go through with this?  I can't believe you showed up."  Again, what the hell?  Just when I was ready to make a "run" for it, he ensured me that he was kidding and told me I needed to have it done.  (The condition of my tonsils as observed in surgery would indeed confirm that opinion).  

He then informed me about my drug regimen. Dilaudid!! I am so relieved that I don’t have one of those masochistic doctors who would have prescribed me Tylenol 3. He also have me some tetracaine lollipops that should help me get food and drink down.

They wheeled me down to the surgery area. The anesthesiologist explained that it was time, and she wheeled me down to the surgical suite.  The next thing I knew I woke up in the triage area. A new nurse was taking care of me. Surprisingly, I talked that poor lady’s ear off. I don’t remember this, but they reported that my first words as I was coming out from under anesthesia were “Can I please have a pen and paper?” The nurse brought me a pen, and I proceeded to write on the back of my medical chart. Only I would insist that I be provided these things immediately upon returning to consciousness. I also don’t remember writing what I wrote, but the nurse made a copy of my scribbling for me, and this is what it undeniably says.

I know Garman Garman,” it begins. What the hell? Dr. Garman is my doctor, and I think I meant to write "I love Dr. Garman... but… what the hell? Beats me. It continues: “This is not neurosurgery.” Um... no, nor was it a labotomy, but, why did I feel the need to state the obvious? Seriously, what is wrong with me?  Finally, something that makes sense: “Nurse told me to shut up, and she was well justified in doing so,” I next mused.  OK, so I was getting somewhat coherent and self-aware by that point. But I still wasn’t finished. “Persistently asked for pen and paper – embarrassing.” Definitely. Finally, “Don’t understand my compulsion to talk to this poor nurse.” Wow, I am weird.  The nurse came to the recovery room when I got down there just to meet Suni.  She said "I had to meet the woman that actually married this guy."  I wonder how many people have made that bewildered inquiry over the last nearly four years.   

I am 20 hours post-surgery and my pain is actually non-existent, except when I swallow!  Although I was warned that things will get progressively worse, I assumed my baseline would be more pain than 0/10 on the pain scale.  I did not think I would be able to blog or get any work done, but, alas, here I am.  I am so glad I had the surgery done.  I can breathe through my nose for the first time in years!  As crazy as it sounds, I feel much healthier already!

Happy New Year's Eve, people!!

We neglected to post that we loved Cibo's in Cedar Rapids, a eclectic place recommended to us by Monica Hahn.  Other than the overcooked calamari, the place was amazingly good.  Even the calamari was a positive, as the very knowledgeable waitress addressed it head-on with us, apologized, and made it right.  We sampled several things and were impressed with everything else, including the Rum drinks and Italian ices.  Thanks, Monica. 

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

An Iowan is Michelle Obama’s Chief of Staff.  Not a bad gig for someone who has known the soon-to-be First Lady less than two years.

Monday, December 29, 2008

If this Russian professor is right, TeamStinson will no longer share a nationality with all you Iowans. The breakup of the United States seems unlikely, but this guy actually has points on a few things… which is very scary.

For a decade, Russian academic Igor Panarin has been predicting the U.S. will fall apart in 2010. For most of that time, he admits, few took his argument -- that an economic and moral collapse will trigger a civil war and the eventual breakup of the U.S. -- very seriously. Now he's found an eager audience: Russian state media.

The article is worth a read.

Update: While in the surgery waiting room today, I read this article in Foreign Affairs. Although this article is not dircetly related to Prof. Panarin's breakup prediction, it addresses the concerns I have about America's perilous position in the global geopolitical system. To me, the internal and external threats of destruction of our democracy are inseparable. I think Kagan makes some really good points that I hadn't considered. In short, it gives me some realistic hope.

A Word: I realize I blog about some things that don't interest all (or many) of you. I apologize for this, and if it is too much of an annoyance, I will just start another blog. In a sense, foreign affairs and politics doesn't mesh with our family blog. I recognize that, but I don't have the energy to start another blog right now, and Suni simply does not have the time to blog, not to mention it has to be uncomfortable for her to sit at a computer. So, if you visit our little blog simply to see what we are up to and see pictures of Waylon, please don't be put off by my ramblings. And, if you are, please let me know.

Here is an interesting little story about an amateur Iowa photographer in today’s New York Times

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Fingers Crossed

I don’t know whether to be encouraged or discouraged, to laugh or cry.  But Charles Krauthammer, one of the most astute political commentators out there, in my opinion, makes some interesting observations (and predictions)about Obama’s apparently centrist administration.

Environmental Disaster Nextdoor

In Harriman, Tennessee, in neighboring Roane County, there has been an environmental disaster that will likely be the worst in southeastern U.S. History.  One writer says it is fifty times worse than the Exxon Valdez oil spill.  If you haven’t even heard about this you are not alone.  I didn’t know until a friend of mine who is a TVA employee told me yesterday.  The national media has done a terrible job of covering this.  (Suni points out that the local media has been all over it, and that I have been under a rock.  Although I haven’t done exhaustive research, both of her observations appear pretty accurate). 

The NY Times finally did a piece, and a second one confirms that the amount of waste spilled was nearly three times what TVA originally said the pond could hold.  Scary.

Meanwhile, the bastards at TVA are collecting their fat bonuses and financing them with rate hikes.  I bet we’ll see another rate hike to pay for the cleanup of this mess. 

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Photo shoot at Nonna’s

Waylon stayed at my mom’s yesterday so I could get some work done and some things done around the house. Suni had to work. Mom got a new SLR camera – a Canon Rebel – for Christmas, and she took some pictures of Waylon yesterday. I thought they were really good (he needs a haircut), so I decided to post them here.

We hope everyone has a merry Christmas!

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Monday, December 22, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Team Stinson visited the Kings in Nashville this weekend.  Brad and I went to the Titans game, which was great.  The whole way to Nashville, Waylon was clearly under the impression that we were going to visit his cousin Brayden in Iowa.  The names are just so similar to a 21-month old.  No matter how many times we explained it, he didn't get it until he laid eyes on Aidan.  Here, clockwise from top left, are Waylon and Aidan cruising in Aidan's car; Waylon looking through the View Finder his Aunt Pam sent him (he sees "Grandma, Briggs, and Mama" in every slide); another pic of the boys (Waylon taking the wheel); and our boy last Christmas.  

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I am finishing Carol Felsenthal's book, Clinton in Exile: A President Out of the White House.  I have enjoyed the book, which relies heavily on the author's interviews with certain of the Clinton presidential and post-presidency "team," some of whose identities are revealed, others who remain unnamed.  It fills in some of the gaps left by Clinton's revisionism evident in his memoirs, My Life, which starts out interesting and devolves into hundreds of pages of defensive chronology.   

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Suni's reading Brothers and Keepers by John Wideman.  I read this book in Colorado back in my freshman year but had forgotten about it.  We found it when we cleaned out our attic to blow insulation last weekend.  It bore an interesting stamp: "Coe College, Stewart Memorial Library."  Oops!  Wonder how much I paid for that damn book? 

Update (12/24/08): We went for Suni's 35-week checkup and learned that the baby is breech.  Next week, we'll discuss the options, but I think Suni is really hoping a C-section is not the reality.  I'm not yet educated enough to know what we're hoping for, other than hoping that the baby turns on his own.  I guess there is still time for that.  We still have no name for this kid.   

I have to have my tonsils removed on Tuesday, and I am not looking forward to that.  It's hard to believe it will be my first surgery ever.  Nobody has spared me the horror stories about adult tonsillectomies.  My Granny warned, "The first three days you'll wish you were dead."  Considering my Granny is the toughest person I know, I'm nervous about being a pansy-ass.  I think I am most nervous about the anesthesia. 

Have a MERRY CHRISTMAS everyone!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Hello Again

We have been absent for a while. We would like to post pictures from Iowa, from where we spent the last six days… but we forgot our camera, which will not be a surprise to anyone. We had a great time, though, and it was good to see everyone. I have trials coming up, which mainly explains my lack of writing. Suni is busy with the usual things, which explains her chronic lack of writing. Plus, I think we are both bummed out by the election results and the impending socialism. Anyway, I digress. We do need to post some pictures soon. The kid is growing up fast. He’s starting to speak in sentences, which is both exciting and scary. We hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!

Waylon saw his first snow when we were back in Iowa. We were all excited to see his reaction. He couldn’t have cared less. The kid just wanted to know where the grass was. He loved playing with all his little cousins in Iowa. He did miss his Tennessee cousins, though. Waylon goes to “school” with my niece, Charley, who’s just a few months younger than him. He bosses her around at every step (which actually gives him a little more executive experience than Barack Obama). I don’t know whether it was Charley or his executive power that he actually missed, but he mentioned her name several times. The plane rides were interesting, but his ears gave him no trouble, which was a big relief.

Update:  After I posted the above paragraph, I decided to cruise the blogs. (Wow, I really uttered the phrase “cruise the blogs”). That was a big mistake. I actually hadn’t read Tim Whitehead’s last three posts. Little did I know my failure to read them has saved me some angst in the last month or so. How I can know Tim and have had so many conversations with him and not know he supported Comrade Obama is mysterious. Has the topic of politics never come up? Or have we had conversations I don’t recall so well due to time, poor memory, or… um, Sailor Jerry or some similar indulgence? I’m not really sure, but I’m grateful for my now-shattered ignorance. Timmy, here’s to continued avoidance of the subject. We’ll agree to disagree, no matter how stupid your political views, be it your irrational hatred of Sarah Palin or your apparent love for socialism. :)

The truth is I am tired of politics. Politics has become a game of personal gain for these clowns, regardless of party. I never thought I would say it, but I miss Bill. Speaking of Bill, I did have the chance to stop by the Clinton Presidential Library and Museum when I was in Arkansas a couple of weeks ago. I could have spent all year there. It is very well done, even compared to the other two presidential libraries I have seen – Truman’s in Independence, Missouri, and Hoover’s in West Branch, Iowa, which are both great. I strolled in to the place wearing an Iowa sweat shirt, which prompted a sweet little old lady working there to ask me “Are you really from Iowa or are you false advertising?” Needless to say, that prompted a discourse from me regarding the somewhat convoluted answer to that question. Forty-five minutes later, I began my tour.

I won’t bore you with those details, but I will relate the truly great experience of my brief time in Little Rock – dinner at Doe’s Eat Place. Now, I admit I went there simply because I knew the Clinton campaign team hung out there back in 1992 when they were in the heat of the presidential race. But I got much more than I bargained for. What I got was – with my apologies to the old Lark in Tiffin –the best steak of my life. I get a lot of razzing about the fact that many things I eat are “the best I’ve ever had.” But, people, this 2-pound T-bone was the best I’ve ever had, bar none. Shocking that the best steak of my life would be in Arkansas, but, hey, it is what it is. Even my later discovery that Doe’s is a small chain (I hate chains) could not diminish the divinity of that two-pound beauty.

OK, enough.  I'm going back to bed.  Have a good weekend, everyone!

One Last Word:

OK, I can’t resist a couple more things. I’m late responding to comments from my October 16 post, but let me say:

Jenni: I was referring to your making fun of my notorious garrulity, not your inability to understand politics. I’m sure you do better than I do with that subject and many others.

Tim: I voted for George Bush, and I’m still fairly certain the war in Iraq was necessary. So did the 98 senators who voted for the war before it became a political liability. Still, I see your point, but it isn’t like I was going to vote for Sen. Waffle. In 2000, I voted for Al Gore, even though I am a little ashamed of that. I was in the heyday of my “college liberal swing” when I cast that vote. In my first presidential election, I voted for Bill Clinton. I voted for all these men based on that principle you referred to, but I may have been wrong every time.

Cate (at least I think the anonymous commenter is you, unless… Margaret Sanger?): You are even left of Obama. I love you, but I think that puts you in pretty exclusive company. Women’s rights? What is this, 1919? As much as I love our discussions, I’m really glad we weren’t with you when these election results came in! :)

Jody: I’m afraid we are about to find out the meaning of “change”!