It’s really hot outside

I said it was hot.  Now that 101° F sounds quite comfortable.  Right now it's 107° F.  And the heat index?  Oh, that's only 111° F.

Welcome to August in Texas.  Hot, humid, miserable, and otherwise unbearable.  The good thing is that, although August is our hottest month, it heralds the coming autumn.  Texans know that, when August arrives, it's going to be quite hot, but it also brings with it the promise of cooler temperatures to come in just a month or so.

Those cooler temperatures can't get here quickly enough…

Gaza exodus

Given historical reference in the region and, more specifically, regarding this situation, I believe my first response to the Israeli announcement of their intention to move out of Gaza was to guffaw uproariously.  More empty promises of neighborly conduct?  Unexpected political maneuvering to garner more global support?  There were many reasons this might have been said.  I thought, and I suspect a majority of humans on the planet did as well, that this was so much Israeli posturing for any number of reasons and that, in the scheme of things, it would be for naught.

Imagine then, if you will, my delight and pleasant surprise with the Israeli pullout from the Gaza Strip.  Despite some protests and violence — by the Israelis, mind you — the government and more notably the military have accomplished an admirable feat.  The "occupation" (read as subjugation) of the Palestinian territories has been a regretful 38-year travesty.  It seems to me that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has taken a significant step in the Middle East peace process.

Some of the West Bank settlements are next, of course.  I suspect they too will go well, although I dare not assume they will be without incident, even minor ones.

What I believe people need to stop and take notice of is that the Palestinians made no aggressive movements during this activity in Gaza.  I'm sure, like me, that they needed to see it to believe it.  Promises have been made before, commitments have been agreed to.  They have seen the plans and heard the rhetoric and bought the lies.  If the Israelis promised to leave Gaza, I would refrain from marking it on my calendar as a victory for peace until it summarily happened, which it has now done.  No, I believe the Palestinians were well served by their leadership who, while welcoming the move, made no attempt whatsoever to glorify it as concrete evidence of Israel's eagerness to usher in an era of peace in the region.  More importantly, Hamas and other troublemakers who appear to have no real interest in peace also refrained from taking action of any kind.  Doing so could have spelled doom for Sharon's plan and acted as a reinforcing influence for more violence on both sides.  It would likely have also halted the pullout.

All of the reports show, however, that it was the Israelis who attacked their own military, blockaded the roads, and otherwise tried to make nuisances of themselves in order to disrupt their own relocation.  I realize some of you will undoubtedly point out that they were simply defending their homes.  I respond by pointing out that those homes were built on someone else's land, namely the Palestinians, and they have been occupied, in the military sense of the word, for far too long.

The Palestinians deserve hope.  This exodus from significant portions of the occupied territories is a start in providing that hope, the hope that they will one day have their own land, their own sovereign nation.  We will, for now, ignore the planned increase in some settlements in the West Bank so we can at least momentarily wallow in this historic occasion.

Let us hope that this is not just a token gesture, but instead let us hope that it is a solid first step in a rejuvenated peace process, that there is some optimism, albeit remote and near inconceivable, that the Middle East could eventually get this terrorism justification off the table.  I say that with clear sarcasm as it would have been lunacy to say that an eventual Palestinian state would simply stop terrorism based on the Israeli/Palestinian situation.  I assure you that they have plenty of other excuses, some not as clear to the eye as this one.

So we shall see.  We shall see how the West Bank pullout goes.  We shall see how the Palestinians respond to this event.  We shall see what, if anything, this accomplishes in that region of the world.

Jenny’s turn for the emergency vet

And I considered myself lucky for not having to run Kazon to the emergency vet yesterday…

The phone rings this morning, and it's my dear friend Jenny.  What do you think she needed?  Directions to the emergency vet in our area.  Apparently one of her cats was having some bowel problems (as in nothing was moving).  Poor Jenny, but I feel her pain.

Luckily it was nothing major — just a simple case of constipation.  Once they helped get things moving, everything turned out — dare I say came out? — just fine.

Jenny was back home no more than an hour later with a much happier cat.

That was almost another trip to the emergency vet

After Kazon's trip to the vet yesterday, he spent most of the day resting.  That's not out of the ordinary when any of The Kids go to the vet.  It takes them out of their element and increases their stress.  Spending the rest of the day resting and being quiet is normal under those circumstances.

It was therefore with some level of surprise and worry that I found Kazon curled in a ball and presenting fever (unusually warm ears) around 9 PM last night.  He was lying on the bed where I had seen him earlier in the evening.

At first I tried to move him, but he whimpered uncomfortably — in a way I'd never heard Kazon sound.  In response, I laid on the bed next to him and curled around him carefully.

I began stroking him slowly and speaking to him calmly and quietly in the hopes of soothing him.  We stayed there for several hours, I in tears and Kazon in apparent distress.

Having just gone to the emergency vet with Kako only a week before, I was already prepared to whisk Kazon there if needed.

Kazon isn't prone to being ill.  In fact, outside of the problems he had when I originally adopted him, he's never been sick.  That made this situation all the more worrisome.  I cried while I rested with him and monitored his condition.  He's the baby of the house and requires extra attention as he's emotionally sensitive.  This has formed a very strong bond between us, and it caused me great concern to see him in this state.

He slept for quite a while with me wrapped around him, so I didn't dare move for fear of waking or upsetting him.  I continually monitored his temperature and breathing.

Having received both his rabies and respiratory/distemper vaccinations yesterday, I was confident he was having a reaction to one or both of them.  The only issue with that assumption was that he'd never reacted to them before.

I get all of The Kids vaccinated for rabies every year, but I only get respiratory/distemper vaccinations once every three years.  For that reason alone it was possible Kazon had developed a sensitivity to the vaccination in the three years since he'd received his last one.  I can only assume that's what happened in this case.

It was several hours after this episode began that Kazon started to feel better (apparent by the way he was acting and his reduced temperature).  Luckily, this time, there was no need to run to the emergency vet.

Still, I will have to keep this in mind in three years when he's due for this same set of vaccinations.  I will not put him — or me, for that matter — through this again.  It was unpleasant and didn't help my emotional state at all.  Besides, I can't stand to see my kids suffering like that.  Hopefully there will be other options.

This is going to take longer than I thought

As I've said already, I’m slowly moving all of the posts over from my PostNuke site.  It's taking much longer than I thought.  Many of the old posts have some level of formatting in them that will not work with the new site, including invalid XHTML or specific formatting that was based specifically on the PostNuke theme.  What does that mean?  Essentially it means that I have to edit and reformat each post as I move it over.

Why not do a search and replace on the database export and import the updated entries?  That would work only if all of the formatting corrections were the same, but they're not.  And that doesn't take into account the issue with links back to my own site (those posts that reference previous posts, articles, gallery pages or other content.  Since the permalinks on the site have all changes with the implementation of WordPress, I have to manually update every link — but that's only possible after I've moved the linked material into the new site.

Tedious and arduous work, it is, and it's taking me longer than I thought because I don't have a lot of time to sit and read every post, edit it appropriately, then move it over.  Oh, and I have to move the comments manually as well, including updating ownership and post times (something I also have to do on the content as I move it over).

But, it's interesting to go back and see some of those old posts.  What the hell was I thinking?  Sometimes I have to wonder…

Anyway, 169 posts moved over.  493 more to go.