The Way Things Happen

Posted in Mixed Nuts, On Tthe Road on September 2nd, 2010 by MadDog
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When I reoriented myself this morning after a restless night and a couple of hours of trying to go back to sleep and finally giving up, I was startled to see, after getting my computer going, that it has been only two days since I last posted here. It seems like a week.

First, let me tell you that we are once again amazed by grace that we find ourselves safely and comfortably sheltered, fed and counseled by dear old friends. We are presently staying at the home of Mick and Marg Horwood in Brisbane.

I stumbled out into the garden this morning to take a couple of pictures, because I can’t stand to write without images, even if they have little to do with my subject matter:

Above is an image of promise, fat little strawberries growing warm in the morning sun.

The title today, The Way Things Happen is very ambiguous. I don’t have a lot of time to write, so I’ll have to cram it in quickly, like my breakfast. What follows is a digest of random happenings mostly good, some less so. Don’t expect it to make any sense.

My charger for my Canon G11 has chosen the morning to give up the ghost. Fortunately, I brought my Olympus SP590UZ along and it uses AA batteries. So, when the Canon battery dies, I’ll still have a camera. Okay, bad news, good news.

As I mentioned, we have once again found safe haven to protect and nourish us as we face the current terrors.

Our dear friend Richard Jones showed up yesterday evening from Madang. I am astounded, but not surprised at the love that is being poured out for Eunie. Carol Dover, recently relocated in Vanuatu, is also flying in soon.

This is a plant I found in the Horwood’s garden that seems unlikely – possibly designed by a committee:

You will note a very nice lemon tree in the background.

Our son, Hans, arrives today from Hamilton, Ontario. It’s difficult for me to express my emotions now, because I have to maintain a certain numbness. It will be good to have him here to see his mom and hear with us what the future holds.

Regular readers will know that I don’t throw my religious beliefs in your face. It’s not the purpose of this journal. Ask me, I’ll tell you. However, I must say that it is a strange experience to be wandering in this desert of profound negative feelings, which you can imagine for yourself. What makes it stranger yet, but eases the journey, is the way that every time we get to the point where I am thinking to myself that I simply do not know what to do, some unexpected door opens and I find an oasis of relief. As for myself, I attribute this to God’s mercy.

Eunie and I have always known that we would have to travel such a road at some point. I always hoped that I would simply drop dead some day and Eunie could carry on. She’s so much better equipped to deal with life than I. Now the sequence seems to be in question.

All that I know for certain is that a couple of nights ago we nearly lost her. However, with the help of Val and her doctor’s house call (!), we got her back. I told Val quite frankly that, if she had not been there for us, Eunie would very likely not have survived another day.

That’s about all the rambling that I have time for this morning. Today is going to be interesting.

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I won’t go into the gory medical details, because it’s only the outcome that matters. Three nights ago, after seeing Eunie go downhill rapidly for several days while we were waiting for our appointments in Brisbane, she crashed. She was nearly unresponsive, could not stay awake and would not eat or drink. Val’s private GP came to the house after his office hours and said that we needed to get her into the Gympie Hospital, which we did the next morning with difficulty in Val’s car. He blood pressure was shocking. The anti-inflammatory she had been taking since receiving a stent in her bile duct had caused her to bleed in her stomach. They hooked up many hoses to her and began to rehydrate her. They also gave her two units of blood.

Eunie bounced back eventually after a morning of us hearing discouraging words. Yesterday, she was stable enough to transport her by ambulance to Wesley Hospital in Brisbane. She is scheduled today for an MRI and some other tests. There will be some other kind of scan also.

As of last night, she was in no pain. I expect within a few days to hear some prognosis from the oncologists.

NOTE: I am going to try to answer all of the comments that I am receiving and all of the email messages. Every message is important to me, but I may not be able to keep up with the flood. I’m sure that you will understand this.

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Items For the Easily Amused

Posted in Photography Tricks, Under the Sea on May 27th, 2010 by MadDog
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I’m greatly relieved that Madang – Ples Bilong Mi  now seems to be alive and kicking again. A recent double-whammy of weird interactions between plugins and some possible security problems conspired to knock me off of my own site and caused many readers to receive weird offers to download a mysterious “wordpress.gz” file, dump them to a 404 “Not Found” page, or behave normally, as the fortunes of fate dictated at the moment. I’m sad that this happened, because the last thing which I want to generate in my readers is frustration. My game is amusement, not apoplexy. If you do encounter any problems with the site, please inform me by email or leave a comment, if possible. I can’t fix anything which I do not know about. I’ll praise once again my WordPress guru, Michael VanDeMar, who, for a modest sum, plucked my precious baby from the tar pit and washed her clean. If you are a WordPress user, you will probably need Michael someday. Put him in your contacts now before you forget.

If you’re a long-time “local” in or around Madang, you will remember Doctors Michael “Mick” and Margaret Horwood who were the local sawbones in town for years. We lived in a small flat above their office. They are wonderful, caring doctors and excellent friends. Mick still comes up to Madang on occasion and dives with us. His son, Will, recently visited us along with some of his fellow medical students. Will was visiting Sam Young, a friend in New York City, and got this phenomenal shot of the skyline with an iPhone!

Not too shabby for something with an Apple logo on it. I confess to not being an Apple fan. Please don’t hate me. However, one of our co-workers has just arrived with a new iPad. In a couple of days I will deliver to you the definitive review of this absolutely fascinating, but seemingly useless product. I admit that I was mesmerised the first time that I squeezed my fingers together and watched the images shrink and then grow again when I moved my fingers apart. Mind blowing!

Here is something that I’d bet that you have never seen. It is the underside of a New Guinea Cushion Star (Culcita novaeguineae):

It clearly shows that it is really a starfish with the stubbiest possible legs. Yeah, yeah, I know that most people call them arms. But, we don’t walk on arms, do we? If somebody asks you how many arms a starfish has, answer, “Zero, dummkopf.” If you click to enlarge this image and look carefully, you will see some small shrimp crawling around on the underside of the critter. Look for the two dark eyes and then you will see the rest of their nearly transparent bodies.

And, here is yet another thingie which only the most bizarre of you may have ever seen:

It is an extremely juvenile Bulb Anemone (Entacmaea quadricolor).  When I first saw this from a couple of metres away, I bubbled into my regulator, “What the . . .” It is very small, only about 20mm across. I honestly couldn’t say what it was until I got the shot on my computer and enlarged it. Seeing it big made it clear from the shape of the little bulbs with the . . . er . . . nipples on them (hey, what would you  call them?) that is is definitely an itsy-bitsy Bulb Anemone.

At the Madang Lodge Hotel and Restaurant there are several carving similar to this one of two old men and a dog in a canoe:

There is a guy in Madang who carves these. I think he may have a patent on the design. I have coveted these for years. Maybe if my new jobs work out, I may commission one. I don’t know where I’ll put it. Our house is so full of artifacts that we’re running out of wall space.

I saved this one for last because it makes me giggle. Click to enlarge this image of a Slender Grouper (Anyperodon leucogrammicus):

I’ve uploaded it to my server lager than usual so that you can see the raw hatred and anger on the face of this fish. If this fish had been a tiger, I’m certain that I wouldn’t be sitting here boring you into a catatonic state. Fish don’t usually react to me this way. Maybe it got out of bed on the wrong side.

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