Goodbye, Scout

We were playing in the backyard, Scout, C and I, when C was the first to notice that Scout’s nose was bleeding, not a lot, just a trickle.


At first, I thought it might be a bad allergic reaction, but it didn’t stop. Maybe there’s something stuck up his nose?  He does sniff everything and everywhere. We looked and looked but didn’t see anything, maybe it was lodged deep in the nose and we could not see it?  

Ms J took him to our vet the next day. The staff at the vet’s office first also thought that it must be something lodged in the nose, a porcupine quill ?  They used a specialized device to check his nose and didn’t see anything up there, but they did see that his blood was not clotting.  

This is somewhat unusual for a 10 month old dog, but it is a symptom of having ingested rat poison. We didn’t see him eat anything that might have been killed by poison, such as a dead squirrel or mouse. The antidote for a dog who has eaten rat poison is a massive dose of vitamin K, which helps to clot the blood.  This didn’t work. Besides he would have had to eaten ten pounds of poison to cause this lack of clotting, but at least that could be ruled out. 

Perhaps he had a genetic disorder, such as hemophilia?  A treatment of Prednisone would help with that.  If it worked it would indicate that he was a hemophiliac, which is manageable with a variety of drugs, but that didn’t work either. 

A tick bite ?  Some ticks can cause this type of symptom. A blood test did not indicate a tick borne illness. A treatment of antibiotics was tried anyway just to be sure, but it didn’t help.  

So they tried an ultrasound. That’s when they saw the tumor that is eating away his spleen. He just cant clean the blood and make the platelets to help clot normally. There’s not much to do to stop it. 

One of the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do is tell our eight year old son that his dog was going to die soon. We won’t be able to take him to the beach and see him jump in the waves this Summer. We won’t be able to ride bikes with him running along beside us wondering what those strange wheeled things were. I had thought that C and Scout would grow up together, but that’s not going to happen. 

So we took him home. 

For the next few days he’ll eat his favorite foods. 

He’ll sit in the sun in the backyard. He’ll sleep on our bed if he wants to.  He can sit in his favorite spot in the garden. 

Maybe we’ll play tug-of-war with his blanket. 

I’ll scratch his ear as long as he wants me to. 

And then we’ll have to say goodbye. 

He’s been the smartest, happiest, most good natured dog. He loves meeting new people and he especially loves kids. He loves going to pick up C from school, seeing all the kids run around, getting a lot of attention from the kids who wanted to pet him. He loves meeting other dogs too, hoping they will want to play with him.   He just wanted to be friends with everyone. The best dog I’ve ever had. And he’s only 10 months old. 


Be yourself…or be Batman!

Mr. C: Hey Daddy, can you guess what song Killer Croc sings to Batman ?

Me: No, what is it? 

Mr. C starts to sing………..

“Did I ever tell you that you’re my herooooooo?!!!!….

Me:  Oh no!…

C: Everything I wish I could be!!!….

Me: No, no please stop…

Mr C: I can fly higher than an eagleeeeee!!!….

Me: No,no,no, please stop!… (puts fingers in ears) … La, la, la,la! I can’t hear you!

C: For you are the wind beneath my wings!!!!….

Me:  Great, thanks for the earworm!

Lego Advent Mystery Calendar

We finally were able to get a Lego Advent Calendar  this year, after years of having them sell out before we could find one. Among this year’s 24 little Lego sets was this mystery man. 

It looks like he’s getting a chocolate chip cookie ready on some kind of serving board.  Or maybe it’s a cake that he’s taking from the oven?  But why does he have a helmet with a face shield on?  And is that an oxygen tank on his back ?  Is this some kind of tradition that I’ m not familiar with?  Is he a fireman who also bakes? 

At least the Santa figure makes sense.


We went on a camping trip recently, but before we left, we made sure to leave some cut up orange pieces in the basket where we were keeping the caterpillars, should they complete their transformation to butterflies while we were away.   I just noticed the the orange pieces look a bit like butterflies!

When we came back, three days later, the first thing we did was to check on the caterpillars.  All of the caterpillars had turned into butterflies. We had them in a wire mesh waste basket with a piece of cardboard on top, with the orange pieces on a plate on the bottom of the basket. I thought that since we were away it would be a good idea to change out the orange pieces to make sure they had something to eat.  The moment I lifted the cardboard from the top of the basket, every one of the butterflies immediately flew out of the basket.

If you’ve ever had a fly in a room, you’ve seen it fly around aimlessly bumping into things, randomly landing on things in the room and taking off again to fly around aimlessly some more.  These Monarch butterflies did not do anything like that, instead they all immediately flew directly over to the most southerly facing window in the room and flapped against the glass furiously.  There were twenty or so butterflies gathered around the window and on the window sill.   It’s amazing that these little insects somehow know that they’re supposed to make their way south to Mexico before it gets too cold.  They can only fly when the temperature if above sixty degrees and it seemed as though they wanted to get out of that room as soon as possible while it was still warm enough to fly.  In the photo below it looks like they are trying to get to the dahlias blooming below the window outside.


We opened the window and most of them flew out and away as fast as they could.  I’ve read that it is estimated that they can fly at around twelve miles per hour, but will go much faster if the wind is in their favor.


We gathered up a couple of the remaining stragglers who were on a neighboring window that does not open and directed them over to the open window.  Having a butterfly crawl over your fingers really can’t be compared to anything else, a very strange feeling having their little legs move slowly over the fingers and hands with the wings flapping away.

Most flew away up into the sky, but a few landed on the dahlias below the window briefly before taking off.    One of them had some trouble taking off and landed on the grass below the dahlias.  Mr. C went outside, held out his finger for it to crawl onto, held up his hand into the sky and then it flew away.


Mr. C’s Favorite YouTube Channel

When I was a kid, I would watch Sesame Street, hoping to see a specific short film they would run fairly often.  This was way back in the early 1970’s, before VCR’s, and way before youTube.  So if you wanted to see a specific show on television, you had just the one chance to see it, when it was scheduled to air, and that was it.    In between the short animated films, and skits featuring the muppets, Sesame Street would sometimes include videos featuring people doing their jobs, such as farmers, bakers, doctors, policemen.  One of my favorites was one featuring a man who operated a car crusher at a garbage dump.  I’d watch the show hoping they would include that video, and would be disappointed if it was not included in that day’s show.    I will admit that I was actually more interested in seeing the cars being crushed than in the day to day activities of what the adult working world was like.   At seven years old, I really had no interest in the educational content of the short films, I just wanted to see old junk cars get crushed up.

I remember that I searched for that video a few years ago on YouTube, i did find it and shoed it to Mr. C.  I  can’t seem to find that specific film on YouTube now though, the closest I can get is this one, “Where The Garbage Goes”, which I do remember seeing as well. Not exactly the same as the car crusher, but it was at least in my top ten back when I was seven, and you can get the idea of what the typical film like this was like.


Now, through the magic of YouTube, Mr. C doesn’t have to wait to see his favorite short film to show up on a television show.  He can ask to see it, and there it is on the computer.

It’s ‘The Hydraulic Press Channel’, where a hydraulic press operator crushes various items in an industrial press. There’s no added educational content, no discussion of the physics or material science involved,  he just crushes things up in his press.

I think he’s from Finland, so his English is heavily accented and can be hard to understand at first.  This can often actually be helpful since he will sometimes let loose with a four letter word if an item is being especially stubborn in the press, his accent is so hard to understand on those curse words that Mr. C has not noticed that he is saying them.  Mr C. will often make suggestions of things he should crush; baseballs, watermelons, bananas, metal ball bearings. I will then do a search and just about all the time Mr. Hydraulic Press has already posted a video of the suggestion item.

I don’t know how we found this channel on YouTube, I think it was in a list of suggested videos. Maybe YouTube searched my history and came up with a similar video to that old car crusher video and thought that Mr. C would like it.



Best Gift Ever

A few months ago, I was reading ‘Frontier Wolf’ by Rosemary Sutcliff, a historical novel about a Roman army officer sent to England to command a fort on the Antonine Wall.  I’ve been reading a lot of children’s books and young adult books lately. Mostly so I can then have Mr. C read the good ones once he’s old enough to read them, but also because I missed out on a lot of good books when I was a kid.

A few pages in the style reminded me of a book I had read when I was a kid.  What was the name of that book?   The more I read, the more it bothered me.  It reminded me so much of a book I had read when I was about ten years old.  Then I remembered that I didn’t finish that book. I had to return it to the library before I was done. This was years before libraries offered renewals of books.  Once three weeks were up, you had to return the book or get fined.   What was the title of that book, and was it really a Rosemary Sutcliff book ?  At about the same time I read an article in the Wall Street Journal about the science of memory.  There’s actually a German word for this experience.  The zeigarnuk effect, which is what happens when unfinished thoughts or activities weigh on the mind more than those that have been completed.

First,  I checked a list of all the books she wrote.  From the titles alone nothing seemed familiar.  I did remember a few details of the plot though.  There were two children living in a village in England where the towns people were preparing for an invasion of Vikings, and I remembered that there was a Viking holding a shield on the cover. A Google search of “Sutcliff Viking book”  brought up the familiar book cover that I was trying to remember from forty or so years ago, “The Shield Ring”.

Apparently it is a difficult book to find in the U.S., at least in the hardcover edition that I remember.  It was first published in 1956 and appeared in hardcover in only one edition, most of which went to the library market. Oh well, I thought, I guess I’ll never find that book, I thought.

Months later, a package arrives in the mail.

A gift from Ms. J for my birthday.