Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Local Food Critic Blogs about Himalaya!

But you read about it here first!

Cook's Tour

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Maybe Doreen needs to work harder!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Picassa Web Album

Aug 5, 2006 - 39 Photos

My sister Mel started a blog, and in it she linked to a Picassa online album. I had not seen this before, so I checked it out and upgraded to a beta copy of Picassa 2. Dangerous! But I have uploaded some photos now, too.

You can see them if you click on the photo above.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Adventures in Health Care

Last night Doreen and I went with a couple of friends to a new place quite near the house for dinner called Indika. It is modern Indian food that recently moved closer to town from outside the loop. We had eaten there the first week it had opened, and were unimpressed. But that is never a good indication of a restaruant’s worth.

We walked over and met Warren and Steve at 7:00. We started off with some funny drinks and then ordered appetizers and one bottle of wine.

Doreen started with Crab Somosas and had the Vegetarian Plate. I had Spinach and Paneer for my appetizer and braised short ribs. The wine was a California Zinfandel that matched with the spicy food.

The evening was quite fun with good conversation. It was winding down and we got the check and started to leave. Doreen went to the ladies room and the boys and I waited in the reception area. Doreen took a bit of time (which is unusual) and then met us as we walked outside. It was about 9:30.

Warren asked for his car, and then asked us if we wanted a ride home. Doreen, surprisingly said yes. She then started leaning against me. I took her hand and leaned into her.

Then, very quickly, she put more and more weight on me. I looked at her as asked if she was OK. She looked up at me, but her eyes were completely blank. She then fainted away. Steve was on her other side and I asked him to help me carry her.

I started to go inside, but there was a bench right by the parking lot so we sat there. Doreen was pale white and her skin was pale and clammy. She could not stand up on her own.

As we were carrying her over to the bench I asked someone to call 911. Warren did, and then had to give the dispatcher direction to the restaurant. (Indika is on Westheimer. This is one of the main streets in all of Houston. He had to spell it for the dispatcher. Not awe-inspiring)

A fire-truck showed up first, much to the consternation of the restaurant folks. The ambulance was there shortly thereafter. The crew was good and very professional. (This is the sort of time when it is good for married people to have the same last names)

One of the EMTs looked just like Keanu Reeves (much to the delight of our dining companions) and seemed to be the one in charge. He asked questions about what she ate, how she felt, her name, and if she knew what the date was. The took her blood pressure while she was sitting down and it came to 68 over 32! Wow.

They bundled her into the ambulance, stated a saline IV drip and put an oxygen mask on her. I was able to sit with her in the back until we started moving. They put on a portable EKG and that is when they started talking about inverted T wave.

We decided to go to Methodist Hospital (Doreen’s docs of choice) so I went out and gave Warren and Steve my keys to go by the house and grab a couple of things for us.

(Warren had been to the house before and had met Blaze, our dog. Steve never had. I was just a big worried about how she would react, but it she was fine. They got the stuff and headed to the hospital)

I, meanwhile, got in the front of the ambulance. The driver (They prefer to be called chauffeurs) said “So, what’s the quickest way to get to Methodist from here?” That was a bit disconcerting, but then he told me that The Montrose is not his usual route – that he drives the Third Ward. I gave him directions, he checked the status of Methodist (open) and off we sent. Sirens blazing only when we passed through stop signs or stop lights. A nice ride.

Doreen in the back, meanwhile, heard Keanu Reeves saying that she had “Inverted T-Waves” and a problem with the left ventricle. While not true, this was not all bad. Because when we showed up in Methodist’s ER to a crew ready and waiting. The ER staff was not worried about her heart after looking at the charts.

They kept her on a drip (A total of about two liters. It seems that flows through your system pretty quickly) and the nurses and techs we all very nice and friendly. A doofus looking doctor came in while Warren and Steve were generously driving me home, and arranged for a CT scan of her head and a chest x-ray.

I told the ER nurse that my brother was a tech in an ER in Milwaukee. She said, “Oh, so you are one of us, then”. It was sort of fun. We overheard them talking about “frequent flyers” and a psychotic woman who was living in an SRO hotel and claimed that she was chloroformed and raped. The doc refused to do a rape kit. She had been there before.

After a while we were assigned a doctor named Ron Ralph. Or maybe Ralph Ron. No, I am pretty sure it was Ron Ralph. He came in and said he wanted to keep her in overnight for observation. He is the one to diagnosed this as a “vasovagal episode” He said it was very common in people our age, especially women. He said they would probably never know why it happened, especially if all the tests came back negative. He made a joke about making sure she didn’t have a massive stroke (poor choice of joking material) and went home. He said that we would be his first stop in the morning, and he would see us about 8:00 AM.

So we waited and waited while the gears of the hospital system ground away slowly.

We finally got our tests and waited another half hour or so until they were about to take us up the room. I asked if we could just go home (Doreen was feeling fine by this time) and was told that we could, but it would be a “Discharge against Medical Advice” and that sounded pretty scary. SO we stayed.

We got up the room and settled about 3:00 AM. I drove home to let the dog out and to get a toothbrush. Doreen never knew I was gone.

I slept a bit on the chair in the room (we had a suite. The other bed was empty) and time eventually passed. Breakfast was ordered (breakfast tacos) and Dr Ralph finally came by and gave us the boot.

Doreen has a slight infection and some Cipro to take care of that.

No work for her today. I may have to slip into the office for a short time.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Joel in NYC

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


I took the office bowling yesterday. It is our community activity of choice.

Although it may be hard to believe, in my first game I bowled 176!

My second (more typical of my abilities) was 115

I passed on the third game.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

The Tempest

This evening we went to see The Tempest at the Miller Outdoor Theatre. Great show – it was the last night.

It is always a delight to see live theater. And the evening was pleasant and almost cool. We sat on the hill, as the covered seats are always hot. The crowd was bigger than I had thought it would be. It seemed like there were plenty of young people on dates (it was cheap) and plenty of old people just there for the fun.

“We are such stuff as dreams are made on…”

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Confronting Mortality

One of Doreen’s friends from the Yale Club of Houston recently passed away from breast cancer. She was 49. A good friend of ours had a stroke almost three months ago and she is still in the hospital. She is 49. A couple of years ago a friend had to have triple heart bypass surgery. He was 49 at the time.

Once you hit 49, you can’t pretend that you are not “middle age” Middle of what? I have no real indication that I will live to be 98 years old. With my height (6’6”) I would guess I will be lucky to see 80, and I will trust that to my genes. “Late middle age” I am not sure what to call it.

My father lived to be 88, yet both of his brothers died in their 40s. My mother died in her 40s.

I wonder what life would be like if you knew when your due date was? Would you work more or less? Would you take more vacations, read more books, see more movies? Would you try and do more good in the world earlier, or would you use the time hedonistically?

I don’t know the answer to those questions. But as Warren Zevon told my brother Matthew after a show one night:

“Life is short. Enjoy every sandwich.”

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


Life is short
Art is long

Friday, August 04, 2006

Houston. It's Worth It.

I really love Houston. I have said this before, and I will say it again. I moved here three times, and each time I could have gone somewhere else. I have considered moving more than once in my life. Now that I am in my Year of Turning 50, I really know that this is the place that I should be.

Houston has a lot of detractors, and I am not saying that Houston is not without its faults. In a show of why bureaucracy doesn’t work, but grass roots does is the fact that the “official” Houston has had many slogans. (My favorite was I [heart] Hou) We have been through “Houston’s Hot!” to “Space City, a City of Infinite Possibilities” and all the strange computations in between. But a local group called Houston, It’s Worth It (HIWI) has come up with a great campagne where they ask Houstoninans why we love the city (See the link above)

Well, tonight we happened upon a photography exhibit of 650 photos that folks sent in to “Show Us WhyHouston is worth it. It was held at the Houston Center for Photography, and it was a wonderful show.

They had taken all the photos (and they accepted all that were submitted) and put them up on the walls with no rhyme or reason (other than photos from the same artist could not be adjacent). The effect was much like the effect of being in our No-Zoned city. A little bit scattered, but wonderful all the same.

And the people! They allowed a maximum of 5 photos per photographer, so there were at least 130 people involved. I think that there were more. The joint was jumpin’! There was a dj – international artist James Eck Rippie spinnin’ the tunes and free beer and wine.

We saw one of Doreen’s board members and his wife, along with some neighbors and one of The Art Guys (with whom D now has a kissing relationship. Don’t ask) And the place was just PACKED! It was fun.

Yet another reason that makes Houston Worth It.