Happy New Year


Thank all of you who have followed my posts this year and made suggestions. Here is a New Year’s wish for everyone.

Best always,



Wonderful news

Yesterday, I got the best Christmas gift I have ever received when my son, Glenn announced that his oncologist informed him he didn’t want to see him any more, thus ending a five and a half-year relationship. It brought back so many memories.

  • I remember Glenn’s wife Michelle not accepting his primary care doctor’s diagnosis that the persistent sore throat and itchy skin were nothing to worry about.
  • I remember waiting with Michelle for Glenn to recover from the surgery to biopsy a lymph node. I watched him sleeping and loved him so much and hoped … hoped.
  • I remember the diagnosis: Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
  • I remember how the chemo affected him; how he kept his spirits up by joshing with the staff. How he managed to miss very few days work; his courage.
  • I remember how his brother, Joel, and I shaved our heads, and how Joel applied henna tattoos to Glenn’s baldness.

    Joel Applies tattoo

  • I remember our joy when the oncologists announced that they had got it.
  • I think one of the saddest days of my life was the day Glenn came in the back door and said simply, “It’s back.” We hugged and cried on each other’s shoulders.
  • I remember visiting him at the KUMC Oncology center where he was undergoing stem cell transplants.We had to decontaminate ourselves to go in, but Glenn was positive and upbeat.
  • Oh how I remember sitting with him at Hope Lodge in Kansas City where he stayed while an out-patient. He was so weak. I remember him raising himself up on one elbow to take a bite of soup from the can; falling back and resting to gain the strength to take another bite. He had no appetite, but knew he had to eat to live so his daughters could have a daddy.
  • I especially remember one day when I was with him at Hope Lodge, he was so weak in the morning he could hardly walk. In the afternoon I took him to the hospital where he received whole blood. That evening we played shuffleboard in the basement of Hope Lodge. I’m so grateful to the unnamed blood donor who helped give my son life.
  • I remember him getting stronger. I took him, bald and masked to dinner and to a Royals game. I remember the stares.
  • I remember him calling his “nurse” to consult on whether the trip was ok. I was surprised to learn that the “nurse” was Michelle. How I love that woman.
  • I remember him walking, everyday walking, to build up his strength so he could go home to his family. The streets are steep around Hope Lodge, and I remember not being able to keep up with him.
  • I remember him planning what he would say to his doctor so the doctor would release him to go home.
  • I remember him coming home.
  • I remember a year after his release we took a family vacation to Colorado, how encouraged we were to meet a woman who had had the same treatment 20 years ago.
  • I remember each check up. First three months, then six months then a year, always hoping always fearing.
  • I remember yesterday. Glenn was here to pick up his girls and just before he went out the door he said, “My oncologist doesn’t want to see me any more!”

No more checkups.

It is my sincere hope that someone who has been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s will read this and have a bit of hope; I hope someone will read this and donate blood; I hope that I never again have to face the loss of a son.

And now, just because, here are recent pictures of Glenn and his family. I posted them before; they are from the Sci-Fi Fish Fry.

Aren’t they beautiful!

Nobody’s Perfect

I have a friend who, when I remind her she is a good person, always says, “Sometimes.” Wrong! A person who is a good person is a good person even when they do things they are not proud of. (OK, of which they are not proud.)

The statement “sometimes” implies that a good person can never be less than perfect, or they aren’t good.

This time of year we are prone to reflection — Christmas, Advent, new year’s resolutions — and those reflections often turn to the areas where we are weakest. That can lead to seasonal depression. It’s ok to think of improving ourselves, but let’s not forget to remember our virtues as well as our vices. You don’t have to be perfect to be a good person!

The Spice of Life

If variety is the spice of life, my life is pretty doggone spicy this week. Monday began with a team building gig at North East Kansas Multicounty Health Department. Monday evening found me playing my professor role, as I delivered the last lecture of the semester to my Master of Public Health class at the University of Kansas Medical School. The middle of the week slowed down a bit, but Friday I conducted a 90 minute team building program at the Johnson County Health Department’s annual holiday party. Today I will play Santa for a friend’s child’s birthday party, then play a professional hit man in a short film for a student in the

KU Film Student

University of Kansas Film department,

then Sunday it will be St. Nicholas for Sunday School at Grace Episcopal Cathedral, Topeka.

A friend posted on Face Book that the Santa gig was a case of type casting. I haven’t told anyone about the hit man gig for fear I’d get the same response.

This will be my second film for students in the KU film program. It’s a lot of work, but very rewarding. I love being around intelligent, creative young people, and KU’s film program seems to have plenty of those.

Speaking of intelligent, creative people, today is also granddaughter Zosia’s birthday. I think there is a good chance Grandfather Santa will visit her party as well.

So there you have it. Spice: Laugh2Learn trainer, professor, Santa, hitman, St. Nicholas and most important; grandfather.

Ahhh spice indeed.

What about my cute?

Warning: This post contains a rant!

“Your cute.” Believe it or not someone actually sent me that text message. I don’t remember who, but I seem to remember it was someone I thought was reasonably intelligent and well-educated. Why, oh why, oh why, can people not master the simple rules of use of the apostrophe? Well ok, they’re (not there or their) they’re not all that simple. But, I think there are a few simple rules that will cover 90% of the misuse.

To wit:

  • All contractions require an apostrophe. “It is”, becomes “It’s”; “Who is” becomes “who’s”
  • All possessive nouns require an apostrophe. “Marvin’s book”, “The book’s title”
  • Here is the hard one: possessive pronouns never use an apostrophe. Never! “Whose book is this?” “The dog obeyed its master.”
  • Plural nouns never use an apostrophe, unless they’re possessive. (see below) “I bought five books.” “All dogs bark.” (Well I know that’s not true, but at least it doesn’t abuse the apostrophe.)
  • Finally, avoid “ss” or “s’s”. “All five sailors’ clothes were wet.” The books’ covers were all alike.”

There you have it five simple rules.

OK here’s a quiz for you.

Correct answer below.

Perhaps we should just avoid the whole thing and just say ur right. Come to think of it “ur right ur car is neat and I like ur style,” would take care of one of the problems, but we still have “it’s its” to worry about.

The first and last sentences in the quiz have no apostrophe errors. Not sure but what there should be a comma somewhere in number one, but that’s for someone else to rant about. I’m the apostrophe guy.