Friday, August 30, 2013

Traffic Responses

The other evening, I was stopped at an intersection because, although the light was green, there was not enough space behind the car ahead of me to ensure that I would clear the intersection before the light turned red.

I HATE blocking intersections. I've been known to honk at people who do so.

Well, today, while I was thus stopped, I got honked at by the car behind me. Just as he honked, the cars ahead of me started moving, so I moved.

But at the same time, I was all:

Seriously. Cool. Down.

And it struck me that, when I honk at other drivers, I intend for them to hear this:

And then, after recognizing the truth in that, I expect them to say this:
Thank you.
But, on reflection, they're probably thinking:

So I probably just need to:

I'm going to try to keep this in mind next time I encounter a stupid driver.

Fiction Friday: Methuselah: Bad News

For other posts in the series, visit the Methuselah page on this blog. 

They made up. Of course they did. And, as Marta had suggested, they called for appointments with their Genetic Counsellors. Because she had been offered a reproduction permit, Agnes got her appointment within days; Glen was still waiting for his.

Agnes hadn't seen her counsellor since her renewal decades earlier. Since she'd chosen career paths with her two previous Sesquis, it hardly mattered. So long as she could afford it, she could undergo indefinite renewals without genetic screening. Genetic counselling only mattered if you were considering reproduction.

Dr. Bundchen asked Agnes to open her mouth. He swabbed the inside of her cheek and placed the sample into a test tube on the counter behind his desk. He took his seat and they made small talk until a quiet ding signalled that the analysis was complete, confirming her identity. Agnes' dossier opened on his monitor.

"Well, congratulations, Agnes! This is big news, indeed. I thought you were going to follow the career path indefinitely - or so it seemed at our last meeting."

She did not feel his comment warranted any kind of response from her. It was really none of his business what she decided to do, or when. She nodded politely and made a noncommittal murmur.

"You've left things a little late this time, I see," his brow serious now. "Shouldn't we have seen you a couple of years ago? Wait. Six years ago?" He didn't even try to hide his astonishment.

"Well, you know how these things go," she shrugged, "busy and all that. No perfect time, no Mr. Right. Didn't want to give up life in the fast lane,"  she laughed.

His patronizing smile made her want to smack him with her bag.

"Unfortunately, time has not been on your side." He spun his monitor so that she could see the display. An incomprehensible array of bars and codes filled the screen. He used his fingers to expand one of the bars and tapped a purple segment. "That shows some genetic entropy of the telomeres on your fertility segment. It's not grave, not yet. But it is not reversible with renewal. You should know this."

Agnes felt as though she were sitting in front of her grade-school principal. She couldn't help blushing and looking down. She'd been taught all this, of course, before puberty. But it hadn't mattered to her then.

"Women keep thinking they can push this off indefinitely and modern medicine will magically make it all better. Well, we aren't gods! When we first started the renewal therapies, a fifty-year Sesqui seemed a reasonable amount of time to wait before resetting the genetic clock. And it's true for most aspects of aging, but fertility is still a very odd thing. It's only a matter of time before they close the door to reproductive permits after the second Sesqui. Count yourself lucky for getting in before the door closes.

"Ordinarily," he continued, "if you had come in for renewal on schedule and if it were in your second Sesqui rather than your fourth, you would expect a reproductive window of about a decade, more or less. Every woman is different, of course. But the damage you have allowed to take place has reduced that window. Can't say by how much. Maybe by two years, maybe by five." He turned away from the monitor and looked at Agnes, who was trying desperately not to cry, her chin and cheeks twitching. Dr. Bundchen pinched the bridge of his nose and closed his eyes. "When is your renewal?"

"Two weeks." Her throat constricted.

"Well, my advice to you is this: if you want to have a child, do it now. You're not getting any younger." He glanced again at the bars and codes, shook his head and pressed his lips into a disapproving line.

Agnes pulled a tissue from the box on his desk.

"I'm sorry I didn't have better news for you, Agnes," he softened as he saw her eyes and nose glow pink. "But the good news is that you are still able to reproduce. Your ova have been preserved with no damage, so the implantation should be unproblematic.  Whether your body can sustain the requisite hormonal production to sustain a pregnancy is another matter, of course." He noticed he'd made her cry again and mercifully stopped talking.

"I will submit the validation of your fertility status to the Department of Reproduction," he concluded. "What happens after that is up to you."

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

When did they stop saying that?

Photo taken March 2013
There was a time when people would comment, "Wow, you don't look like you have four children!"

This was generally deemed to be a compliment, but it always struck me as odd: what does a mother of four look like? Should I have more frown lines? Should I be older? Should I look more like Mama June?

But then Heidi Klum has four kids and, dayum, I wouldn't say no to having her figure! She probably has full-time nannies, so that explains her lack of wrinkles. Plus Botox and cosmetic surgery. And laughably good genes.

Now that I'm 50 (okay, technically, 51), I still get the "wow" part of the comment, but people have stopped remarking that I "don't look like a mother of four." Which, I guess, answers my questions: a mother of four looks like a middle-aged, slightly overweight, menopausal woman who has not gotten enough sleep of late.

Interestingly, the "you don't look like a mother of four" comments dried up only a few years after my last "when are you due?" query. (Actually, I only ever got that comment once, and it was when I was working in the baby department at Sears, so babies were clearly on the guy's mind. I felt sorrier for him than for myself. At the time, my youngest was under a year old.)

So I now look like a mother of four children (who are now well on their way to adulthood) and I don't look like I will be popping out any more. I'm absolutely okay with that.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Fiction Friday: Methuselah: Complication

The Reproductive Request notification icon grew to fill the screen and then was replaced by the figure of a fine-boned brunette.

"Hello. Please scan your finger for confirmation of identity," the brunette asked. Agnes scanned her finger.

"Congratulations, Agnes! You're going to be a mother! My name is Marta, and I am absolutely delighted to be your Reproductive Liaison."

The word "mother" brought tears to Agnes' eyes. Glen gripped her hand. They were giddy, almost vibrating!

"That was fast! I wasn't expecting to hear back from you so soon," Agnes said, barely able to keep her grin under control.

"It was," Marta agreed. "Sometimes that's how it works -- not often, but sometimes. First try, immediate confirmation. It all depends on timing -- and your genotype, of course. Sometimes it takes years or even never happens!" Her voice was surprisingly matter of fact.

"Oh! But Glen hasn't heard back yet. Have you?" Agnes turned to Glen. How could they have forgotten that he was still waiting for his answer?

"I may be able to help with that," Marta offered. "If that is Glen with you, he can scan his finger and give me access to his file."

Marta frowned very slightly after Glen sent his scan, her lips forming an almost indiscernible pout. She winked at something to her left.

"Glen, I do have your file here, but it shows no sign of your having sent a reproduction request," Marta said. "Your last entry is a genetic update at the time of your renewal last year."

Agnes' heart was in her throat. Glen gestured for her to give him the chair.

"Are you kidding me?" he asked. "I sent it last night."

"Well, it may be on hold somewhere, but for now, it is not showing in the system." Marta's eyes moved as if she were reading something. "That happens sometimes, so I wouldn't be too fraught about it," Marta tried to reassure them.

Glen was fraught. Agnes was fraught. Fraught was the perfect word to describe the combination of panic and anger and anxiety that they each felt.

"What I suggest, before we go any further today, is that you each schedule an appointment with your respective Genetic Counsellor. You will need to do that in any case, and it can take several months to get an appointment, so you might as well get on the list," Again, Marta winked at something to her upper left, multi-tasking, evidently, like a distracted bureaucrat. "In the meantime, you have a couple of options, Agnes." She ignored Glen now, focusing on Agnes.

Marta outlined Agnes' options. She could proceed with her renewal, recuperation, and retirement as planned, followed by her reproductive procedures, in hopes that Glen's request would be found - and approved - before her fertility expired. But if she went that route, and Glen was not approved, she was obliged to conceive with an alternative partner who had been approved for reproduction.

"But you must understand that the reproduction permit entails a committed monogamous relationship to raise the child to adulthood," Marta advised. "Current policy does not permit you to raise a child with anyone other than the biological father."

Or Agnes could put her reproductive request on hold and proceed with a temporary career option, and wait for Glen's permit. The hold was good for up to five years, after which she would have to submit a brand new Reproduction Request and go back in the Lottery with everyone else. She was permitted one such hold in her lifetime.

"You don't have to answer right away," Marta reassured her (again with her eyes focused on Agnes, as if Glen were not even sitting in front of her; Glen was becoming increasingly irritated). "This is a momentous decision. Only one in 547,000 applicants were granted Reproduction Permits this quarter, so I know you will understand that this is an exceptional privilege."

"Yes, of course," Agnes answered, but the elation of mere minutes ago had soured.

Marta closed their conversation.

"Honey," Agnes turned to Glen, but before she could finish her sentence, he grabbed the monitor and threw it against the wall, the glass shattering into countless diamonds scintillating in the sun that poured through the window, heedless of the drama in the room.

Agnes had never seen him do anything like this. She grabbed her bag and ran out of the apartment.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Kingston Celebrity Tour

We took a quick visit to Kingston, this weekend. We don't always revisit our former homes, but this time, we did. Please join us.


Welcome aboard, folks, and thanks for joining us on the Kingston Celebrity Tour featuring "Places of Importance to Steve and Wynn Anne."

Famous for their four remarkable offspring and stellar careers, this power couple had its beginnings in humble Kingston. Today, we will show you just a few of the landmarks on their early journey.

Let's start with the house where they first met.

While studying English Literature, Wynn Anne shared this row-house with three women: Heather, Stephanie, and Debbie. All of them were emotionally unstable and involved in various toxic relationships. Lest you think that the camera has distorted the building, let me assure you that, no, it is indeed as decrepit as it appears. It is -- and was -- sinking.

Wynn Anne's room was approximately the size of a modern pantry; her current office is much larger than that bedroom. It accommodated: her twin bed, a trunk, and two baskets, which she used in place of a dresser. (In fact, if we had a picture of that time, you would wonder why she even had the baskets as she seemed to use the floor as her clothes hamper. Her four remarkable children and stellar career were very far in her future.)

I'll pass around a picture we have unearthed of Wynn Anne from that period. You'll note she's sporting a mullet - a hairstyle now worn predominantly by rednecks. There have been many theories as to why Steve chose Wynn Anne over her arguably more attractive roommates. Steve is on record as saying she was "cute." We can only conclude that he saw something that was not captured in this picture.

It was mere days after moving into this house that Wynn Anne met Stephen. Heather (remember? The roommate?) had been invited to join Stephen and his friend Mike on Stephen's sailboat. (Stephen owned his own sailboat before he even turned 21 - you could tell great things were in store for him!)

This is where Steve and Wynn Anne discovered the joys of home-made chocolate-chip cookies and red wine. This is where Wynn Anne leapt over bicycles to greet Steve after his trip to Israel.

They also discovered the questionable joys of absentee slumlords, inebriated hooligans (new game: guess how long it takes for the police to arrive in a crack neighbourhood?), and cars in flames in the middle of the night.

Not surprisingly, at the end of that academic year, Wynn Anne moved to this address, with Stephanie (the door wasn't nearly this pretty back then):

From street level, all it is is a door. But it was right on Princess, in the heart of Kingston's bustling downtown strip. It also boasted a skylight in the bathroom and three humongous bedrooms. Back in those days, there were such attractions as the Italian Pastry Shop, the Falafel House, and Top Dog all close by.

Some things, however, have not changed. If you come here at night, you will notice the odd homeless fellow curled in the doorway. "Odd" in this case means actually quite bizarre; Kingston has a rather famous psychiatric hospital and more than its share of prisons.

By this time, the two had fallen in love, so Wynn Anne spent a good deal of time at Steve's "apartment." (It was a room, really. Just a lean-to.)

And we're in luck! Here's Steve himself to show us his room! Please try not to startle him.

It was in that room, in August 1983, that Stephen proposed to Wynn Anne, on bended knee. History shows that she accepted.

And this, up ahead on your left is the apartment Steve and Wynn Anne shared with Heather. It was three long flights up the stairs. Steve carried his bike up every night and hung it over the bed. [Insert obligatory "well hung" joke here.]

The apartment was just a block from the market and only two blocks from Books for Children, where Wynn Anne worked part time while studying.

At the time, there was a milliner's shop in the same building, and that is where Wynn Anne purchased the supplies to make her bridal veil and her bridesmaid's headdresses. As you can see in the reflection, it is right across the street from Cooke's Fine Foods and Coffee, another (less violent) Kingston institution. We'll pause here so you can go get some refreshment.

Everybody back? Good then. Let's head over to Union Street.

Up ahead on the right you will see St. James Anglican Church, where Father Bob Brow married them on August 11, 1984.

Many followers of Steve and Wynn Anne (they call themselves SteveandNanians), are not aware that this was actually a second ceremony and the couple were already married. The first, and legally binding, ceremony took place on April 28, 1984, in Burlington, Ontario and was officiated by Wynn Anne's Uncle Doug.

And not far from here, we have Kingston General Hospital, where, twelve years into their marriage, their eldest son, Peter John Francis Sibbald, was born on June 3, 1996.

As our final stop on this tour, we have here, on your right, the first home Steve and Wynn Anne ever purchased.

Bought in 1989, when interest rates were high (12%), they lived here with their daughter Katharine Elizabeth (and eventually, Peter), while Wynn Anne completed her B.Ed. and Steve completed his Masters in Computer Engineering.

As proud homeowners, they worked hard on this house, completely renovating the kitchen (their first of many kitchen renovations), removing dated panelling, and putting in new carpets and a renovated bathroom.

Sadly, the current owners have undone (or failed to maintain) much of the work Steve put into the exterior. Here is an illustration of what it might have looked like back then.

A pretty white fence and gate, a tiny herb garden, and NO WEEDS in the driveway.

That concludes our tour, folks. We hope you enjoyed it. Tips, of course, are most welcome.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Fiction Friday: Methuselah: Surprise!

For other posts in the series, visit the Methuselah page on this blog. 

This is a new thing for me. I've decided to give fiction-writing a try. I'm inspired for two reasons.

  1. On our way down to Kingston this weekend, Steve and I started talking about what the next wave of world-changing breakthroughs might be, something grand, along the lines of the Renaissance, the Industrial Revolution, or the Information Age. I won't tell you what it was -- you'll have to read to find out!
  2. A friend shared a "Friday Fiction" post from her blog. What a great way of getting started! It's not a big commitment, like writing a novel, but it's a start.
So here it is. The first instalment in Methuselah.

Placing her mug of coffee on the table, Agnes tapped the glass screen on the desk in front of her and swiped her finger along the scanner on the monitor so she could log into her gene account. Pulling a blonde tress behind her ear, she winked at the "Submit a Reproduction Request" icon and completed her submission, a flutter of fear and excitement surprising her as she did so. The odds were so much against her, and she had forgone this option in the previous Sesqui - and even the one before that! - but it felt like now was the time. This relationship was the right one. 

She winked to close that window, then winked again at the calendar icon in the upper right corner. A week-at-a-glance calendar displayed on the glass, and she winked at the month option so that it changed to a full-month display. Again, with quick winks, she performed a three-week search for availability and saved it to a file. Tapping the file she dragged it to a folder and sent it to the booking desk at the Renewal Centre dictating a short cover message, asking them to match her availability with theirs and make her appointment. She was overdue, and it was becoming evident that she needed to get herself in.

Already, she'd been feeling the effects of aging. Nothing terribly troubling, just a general feeling of fatigue, a tendency to gain weight (she'd gained half a pound!). Sometimes she wondered if the renewal treatments were worth the misery (oh, the recuperation!), but then she started feeling this way and knew she needed to face reality.

Tapping the glass again, the screen began displaying the series of pictures she'd taken after her last renewal and before training in marketing. Bali. Just so incredibly beautiful, the water a colour that touched something primal within her. She paused to watch a few of the pictures cycle through before she moved to the couch and started surfing career opportunities on the big screen.

She was perusing the undergraduate requirements for journalism when Glen emerged from the bedroom, hair all mussed, unshaven - just the way she liked him.

He sank into the cushions beside her, his hand on her thigh.

"Journalism?" he asked, in his typical monosyllabic morning argot.

"Mmhmm," she answered, and leaned to nuzzle his scruff. "Think I'd be good at that?"

"I thought we were going to try for a baby," he reminded her, a slight petulance creeping into his voice. "I applied yesterday!"

"Yes! God, yes!" she answered, "I submitted my request this morning. But it couldn't hurt to have a plan B, in case we don't win the Reproductive Lottery."

"I had no idea you were such a pessimist," he teased and, waving the big screen into silence, pulled her off the couch and back into the bedroom. "Let's pretend we're making a baby the old-fashioned way."

Her coffee was cold on the desk by the time she retrieved it. She drank it anyway while she swiped her fingerprint and again logged into her gene account.

"Glen!" she almost screamed. "Glen! I won! We won!"

There, in the top corner of the screen was the notification she had dreamed of and dreaded: a white double helix on a red coin. She had been granted permission to reproduce.

"That fast?" Glen asked as he peered over her shoulder.

"I know! Who'd have thought?" She opened the notification file. It was astonishingly brief.

Thank you for submitting your Reproduction Request. We are happy to inform you that your request has been approved. Please confirm your acceptance of this offer through the button below.
She was about to wink at the "I accept" button, but paused and looked at Glen.

"Are you sure?" she looked into his blue eyes.

"I haven't been this sure of anything in a century," he said, and kissed her.

She winked.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Entropy: the Accidental Mud Room

Once upon a time, in a previous house, we had a mud room: a vestibule that was mostly entered by those of us who lived in the house. It was allowed to get messy. Hats, jackets, and boots were jumbled willy-nilly.

It was great, especially for a family with four young-ish children. I am nostalgic for those days.

This house has a moderately large entry hall -- one of the deciding factors for our purchase -- which we have fitted out with a few storage solutions.

Unfortunately, the human element kicks in - and those storage solutions are seldom as well used as they ought to be. This house is home to five people, a dog, and a cat. We come and go at every hour of the day. (Except the cat; she is housebound.) And this is what happens:

Most of this mess is mine - can't really blame it on the kids.

We come home. We are tired. We drop our bags on the floor and kick off our shoes rather than putting them in the shoe-hanger in the closet.

We're running late, so we grab a jacket and dash out the door without closing the closet.

We take off one jacket and hang it on top of our previous jacket, rather than putting either away.

That cone-topped thing on the floor is a mitten dryer.

We don't like hunting for frequently used items, or putting away things that we know we'll be using in a very short time.

And what happens is that our entry hall ends up looking like a mud room. The messier it gets, the less likely I am (or anyone is, for that matter!) to take care of where I put things. I just grit my teeth as I walk through.

Until, that is, I reach my limit. Today was that day. In a 15-minute flurry of tidying, it went from what you saw above to this:

I do confess that most of the mess that was in the "before" version of this picture was mine. My handbag, my overflowing basket of shoes, my "bring upstairs" pile. But a few things belonged to the kids; those I brought to their respective rooms.

This took far less time to tidy up than I expected. Most of the things went into the closet, a few were brought to the kids' rooms. Yet other things were tucked into the (almost empty) storage baskets.

Here, I compromised. After putting the mitten dryer, Peter's work bag, and the extra dog-poop bags away, I left it as it was. There really is no better place to put the dog's "walkies" things.

It didn't take long to do, but I've already received some pushback from the kids.

"What's the point of having the coat hooks if we aren't supposed to use them?" one asked.

"They are for guests," I answered, "so they don't have to go digging through the closet." I'm not sure he's convinced.

"But I'm going to be using that bag later this afternoon! Why does it have to go upstairs?" asked another.

"It doesn't belong in the front hall," I replied. "And you have to go upstairs to get ready anyway, right?"

[Son grumbles but stops arguing.]

For my part, I will miss my shoe basket. I've brought it up to my room (and have tucked a few of my favourites into the shoe-hanger in the hall closet). But I was able to point out to my kids that I've moved my crap as well - which went a long way to stopping the whining.

All of which contributes to this.

Much, muuuuuuuuch better.

Steve just got home from church and (after asking about Scooter, who has a sore hip today) immediately commented, "Wow! It's tidy in here! Only one pair of shoes per person!"

To which I replied, "You didn't close the closet door," which he had left very slightly ajar.

"We have a Front Hall Nazi!" he retorted.

So be it.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Ah, sleep!

As I lay there the other night trying (and failing) to fall asleep, I starting thinking about sleep. And the more I thought about it, the weirder it seemed.

We willingly spend significant chunks of our day comatose, periodically paralyzed and hallucinating, I thought. If we don't get that time, we can actually go insane. Once we fall asleep, most of us have a hard time waking up. At least, I do.
Love not sleep, lest you come to poverty; open your eyes, and you will have plenty of bread.  Proverbs 20:13
As I reflected, I concluded that even more than being asleep, I love falling asleep. Oh, that sweet drifting! And the irresistible tug of sleep in the morning, my head feeling heavy, my breathing still slow. The pleasure of falling asleep is like falling in love; it's not the actual thing, but it is more thrilling.
He said, “Go away, for the girl is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. Matthew 9:24
For several years, in fact, I experienced a stomach-dropping sensation - like what you experience on a roller-coaster - just as I was falling asleep. It was a little like a panic attack, but without the adrenalin rush. Not unlike the stomach-flip that happens when you see your beloved, in those early passion-laced days.
If you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.  Proverbs 3:24
I've only had anesthesia a couple of times, but I know that waking up was the hardest part. I just wanted to sleep and sleep and sleep . . . Quite honestly, I understand how Michael Jackson became addicted to induced sleep. (Not that I excuse his doctor for providing it.)
O sleep! O gentle sleep!
Nature’s soft nurse, how have I frighted thee,
That thou no more wilt weigh my eyelids down
And steep my senses in forgetfulness?
Why rather, sleep, liest thou in smoky cribs,
Upon uneasy pallets stretching thee,
And hush’d with buzzing night-flies to thy slumber,
Than in the perfum’d chambers of the great,
Under the canopies of costly state,
And lull’d with sound of sweetest melody?

2 Henry IV (3.1.7-16)
Anyone who struggles with insomnia knows the misery of being absolutely bone weary, but completely unable to make that delicious transition from tired to asleep.
Of all the comments I've posted on Twitter, this is the most "favorited."
More than 80 days since I posted that, it still gets "favorites."

For his part, Stephen rarely has trouble falling asleep, but when he's stressed, he often has trouble staying asleep. A friend of mine has the same problem.
Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments
Will hum about mine ears; and sometime voices,
That, if I then had wak’d after long sleep,
Will make me sleep again: and then, in dreaming,
The clouds methought would open and show riches
Ready to drop upon me; that, when I wak’d
I cried to dream again.

The Tempest (3.2.96-104)
I think either one is bad. It means we aren't getting our rest.

Weekends, of course, are positively rife with potential to sleep: Naps! Sleep late! Go to bed early! (If that's your thing.)

On that note, I will wish you a good weekend and sweet dreams. I am off to read in bed and sleep in tomorrow morning!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Stinky, Part II

To read part I of this story, go here. I'm too lazy to give much of a back story, except to say that the city planted a tree right on top of our sewer and storm lines. The tree subsequently grew thick roots through the pipes and managed to cause a sewage back-up into the house.

This year, the city scheduled a two-year check up and found that roots had re-invaded the pipe. The solution was to clean it out again and then, this time, line it with a "cured-in-place pipe."

Today was the big day for the laying of the pipe. (Stop snickering.)

It took two men a full day to line our existing pipes, all of which went smoothly, though dinner was delayed because we couldn't run water while this was happening.

What I hadn't expected was the stench, though I suppose I should have if I'd done any research. Turns out the product is a resin-saturated tube of felt. If you've ever worked with resins, you know that, even in small quantities, they are pungent. This was enough resin to saturate more than 30 metres of pipe.

They left the house about four hours ago, and we've had the windows open all day and evening (thank God it's mild!), but it is still unbearable to enter the basement. Worse, we don't have a door to the basement, so the fumes are infiltrating the rest of the house.

Our daughter usually sleeps in the basement. She won't be doing that tonight.

I don't know what we could have done differently. Perhaps gone camping? Still, I wish I'd known. And, like I said, I'm glad it is neither stinking hot nor bitterly cold right now, so we can keep the windows open.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Who's a good doggy?

You are! Oh, yes, you are!

Isn't she sweet? Scooter has really bonded with Stephen, and, when he got home today, she demanded to be taken for a walk. She's not usually a very vocal dog, (though she does bark when someone comes to the door - but only if there's someone already at home), but this evening, she was eager to go for another W.A.L.K.

So Steve took off his bicycling shoes and slipped on his sandals and we three went to the park.

Eager, but well trained.
Pat and Ross did such a great job training Scooter that we feel like we are the ones who need training.

Here's Steve performing the "Here" command and gesture.


She's doesn't like to let go of her toys at the best of times, but when she's tired, she just refuses. She stops running around and just holds it in her mouth so you won't throw it again.

Then we know it's time to head home for a drink of water and a rest.

Happy, tired dog.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Unravelling the Mysteries

A photo of me and my siblings, taken sometime before 1980.
Top: Christine
Middle: Wynn Anne, Pat
Bottom: Andrew, Stewart, Douglas, Harvey
That picture was taken when we were all young and healthy, while our parents were still (relatively) healthy. And it was taken before much usable research was done into the mysteries of the human genome.

Since then, the world of genetics has blossomed, and we've learned more than we ever dreamed. Cystic fibrosis, from which two of nieces suffer, was one of the first diseases whose genetic marker was pinpointed by researchers. It is now one of the first to be targetted for gene therapy!

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