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Social Media Overload

So, I’m at Pycon. I figure I should report back, mostly to the GDG Academy people, since Python is a big deal in K12 education.

But there’s the rub. Where do I post? Since GDG Academy is on Google+, that seems obvious. But in the community page? On my page? Probably not, since I don’t “own” those spaces. So my own blog makes sense. Then post to Google+ (both home and the academy?) or send email to the GDG list or Tweet?

Damn. Let’s see how it goes. At least I’m pretty sure I won’t need to post to Ravelry.

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Taking Heart

Since I haven’t been to Pennsylvania to see my father since I started working at Info Tech in September and since plane tickets were cheap and snow wasn’t in the forecast, we flew up to Williamsport yesterday.  Dad looks good, all things considered (growing old in not a task for the weak or cowardly).  We had a good visit and two more days here.

But that’s not the point of this post.

We flew out of Gainesville despite all the problems we had there when we came back from Greece.  Please don’t take this as any sort of endorsement of Gainesville Regional Airport because it really is a po-dunk one-horse place.  But maybe because it is a po-dunk one-horse place, the flight crews that come into it are, shall we say, more relaxed at times.  Every time I fly, I remember the flight announcements from an Eastern flight a million years ago, just as Eastern was failing.  The crew knew they were all losing their jobs soon and decided to go out with a smile:  “Okay, if you’ve been living in a cave for the last 20 years, I’m going to show you how to use your seat belt.”

Delta’s Connection isn’t going under quite as soon (probably) so the crew was a bit more circumspect.  Still, the flight attendant included prayer as one of the things to do as you were putting on your oxygen mask and even included it as she acted out how to don the mask.  But more interestingly was the announcement from the pilot that we would be given priority into Hartsfield because we were carrying a heart.

Okay, so there were 53 other hearts on board, but those were in bodies, not in coolers.  And, since I wasn’t sure quite what I’d see in Williamsport, I welcomed the opportunity to think about what having a heart on board meant (beside landing with no circling and getting a gate with no waiting).

Two families were dealing with significant emotions…one at the loss, probably sudden, of a loved and the other at the chance for new life (and you just  know the phrase “Christmas miracle” was bandied around that hospital waiting room more than once yesterday).  Hey, it helped to know there were people who were bigger emotional basket cases than I was.

But then I started to wonder, is it really the case that the loss was sudden?  Who are these heart donors anyway?

The Internet is an amazing place and http://optn.transplant.hrsa.gov/latestData/rptData.asp has all the answers, some of them a bit surprising.

There were 6,011 heart donors last year.  The largest number of them died of stroke (2,471), but a lot (2,340) died of blunt injury (only 942 of these were motor vehicle accidents though).  There were 539 gun shot wound caused deaths.

What I find peculiar is there were 736 who died of cardiovascular causes.  So, the heart didn’t work in one person, let’s try it in someone else?  And there were 243 deaths caused by drug intoxication.  I guess the  drugs caused fatal damage to something other than the heart.

One thing that did come out is that almost all donors died of something sudden.  And getting into Atlanta so quickly was no fluke.  The shelf life of a heart is only about 5 hours.  You have to figure it was still in the guy’s chest when we left for the airport at 4:30 AM, since we didn’t get to Atlanta until a little after 7:00 AM.  What with rush hour traffic, surgical prep, etc. they didn’t have much time.  (That may explain why gate checked baggage took a while to come off the plane.)

And so ends today’s distracting thought.

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Lights, Cameras, Athens

One of the unexpected benefits of sabbatical is being able to travel at times other than summer and Christmas vacation. So we really took advantage of this by taking a cruise from Rome to Athens, via Turkey, Cyrus, and Egypt.

We’re in Athens now and have seen all the obligatory sites and taken the obligatory photos. But even though it’s been done before, standing in the shadow of the Parthenon is still pretty durn amazing.The Parthenon

Of course, we also get to see the unusual sites, traveling on our own.  At our local Metro station, there’s an archeological display, since apparently you can’t dig anywhere around here without hitting ruins.

Athens Metro Station

Still, it wouldn’t be travel without some fun and games.  The lights in our room in the Athens Hilton have been a source of amusement for me and annoyance for Charlie.  The closet has a light that comes on automatically when you open the closet and, well, stays on.  I can sleep through just about anything when I’m tired enough (and hiking up the Acropolis makes you tired enough), but Charlie was bound and determined to figure out how to turn out the light.

Athens Hilton

We finally discovered if you take the bulb out of the socket, the light goes off.  Then the next night, we got to learn how the night light in the bathroom was controlled.  (By the switch by the bed of course, you silly Americans!)

One of the strange things about traveling in November is going away when people stay and work. In the academic world, when one professor gets a vacation, they all do, so there’s no going back to an office three weeks ahead of you. Things will be interesting Thursday.

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Belated Pictures

So, we had kittens and they spent just a day with us (I still have no idea where they came from or where they went to).  But I did get pictures and now that I’ve figured out how to log into this blog again, I’ll try in vain to catch up.

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Go give blood, please

You’ll meet some amazing people there.

We had lunch at the Olive Garden, which shares a parking lot with Macon’s only remaining clothing-fabric store and the blood donation center. On the way out, I decided to run by the fabric shop and see what was new. But first I figured I’d drop in at the blood center. Last week, Maureen, the volunteer coordinator, called me, out of the blue, to let me know she was thinking about me. She wasn’t trying to get me in to give; I’m ineligible for at least two more years. She just wanted to see what was up.

So, Maureen was there and came up to hug me and we spent an hour catching up. I’ve only seen her at the center and even during my most frequent visits, I was only there for two hours every two weeks. And her office isn’t in the donation center, so it’s not like we spent those two hours in the same room. She even remembered IkeGetDownFromThere. Ike’s a memorable cat, but really, to remember the pet of a donor. I’m so blessed with these people in my life.

Of course, Maureen had pictures of the latest children receiving platelets and knew all their stories. So, please go give blood and there will be another amazing person there.

(See, isn’t this better than an ad for celebrity photos?)

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What a difference a year makes

So, a year ago today I was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Yesterday I saw my surgical oncologist after my first post-treatment mammogram and it was a dull, routine meeting. Nothing at all to report, the mammogram (which took twice as long as they used to pre-cancer, but I’m not complaining) showed nothing.

Sometimes dull is very, very good.

And Charlie and I are back to our routines, such as they are. I’m in Princeton at an AP Meeting, he’s in Maine at the TUG, Last year at this time (or soon thereafter) we were doing much gnashing of teeth about whether or not we could attend these meetings. He ended up attending a few days of his (worrying the whole time that he should be home, I think) and I called in to mine.

Sometimes routine is very, very good.

Of course, it doesn’t leave much to blog about, but…

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It wasn’t too hard

So, surgery is over, I’m home, and while I won’t call it easy, it wasn’t that hard.

THe folks at the Medical Center were great, as usual. I’m feeling a little pain around the middle (belly button) incision and that one doesn’t even have a bandage.

And I’m very tired, so this’ll be short, but wanted to let whoever is reading this that all is well. And I’m getting to drink wanter again!

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