Friends & Family

Friends & Family & Personal28 Sep 2008 04:46 am


Early this morning we said good bye to our beloved Felix. In declining health over the last year or so, a recent recurrence of an upper respiratory infection was more than he could battle. Tonight he appeared to be having more difficulty than usual in breathing, so before it got to the point of distress, we made the difficult decision to put him to sleep.

As I checked on him before I went to bed, I noticed that his breathing was somewhat labored and he looked generally exhausted from the effort to breathe. He hadn’t gotten up from his spot on the spare bed very much today, so I carried him to his water bowl where he drank profusely, a sign that he’d not wanted to (or couldn’t) get up earlier. A quick check indicated that he was indeed fairly dehydrated (a symptom of his advancing kidney disease), so we gave him a round of subcutaneous fluids as we have done for more than a year. But even with the hydration, which usually perks him up, he was clearly uncomfortable. We knew it was time.

We’d been talking for a couple of months about his health and when we might need to make the difficult decision to put him to sleep. We’d considered it a couple of weeks ago, but a temporarily successful round of antibiotics seemed to clear up his upper respiratory issues for a while and he seemed to be more of his old self… wanting attention, following the sunlight to strategic snoozing spots in the apartment, etc. But about a week later, the infection was showing signs of returning, and his discomfort continued to slowly grow.

Tonight was a painful night for us, but it was peaceful for him. We all got to spend some time with him and he even purred a little as we scratched his tummy while waiting in the vet’s exam room. They took him into the back for a few minutes while the tech inserted an IV line so that, when it was time, things would go more smoothly. They brought him back to us in the exam room and we continued to pet him as he calmed down from the IV process. We continued to visit with him for about 15 more minutes until the doctor was ready.

Jongan and I withdrew to the lobby as Justin volunteered to oversee the event. I had been present at the passing of two other pets and I still have awful dreams about those events, so bless Justin for taking on the task. Justin reported that the end was very calm and peaceful.

We will miss Felix terribly. But I’m comforted by the fact that his remains will be cremated and scattered in the same place as his brother, Tiki, who we lost a couple of years ago. These years were rough on Felix without his brother, so I’m glad they’ll be together again. Meanwhile the three of us will work to keep Maggie happy. She and Felix got along pretty well but she’s been a pretty independent cat in the 2 years we’ve had her… we’ll keep a close watch to see how she fares as she realizes that he’s gone.

I can safely say that all who knew Felix would agree that he was sweet, loving, and had an outgoing and wonderful personality. We will celebrate the richness he brought to all our lives long after the sting of this night passes.

Rest in peace, our sweet boy!

Update (10/7/08): We got a letter today from the UC Davis Center for Companion Animal Health. The vet clinic where we took Felix, the San Francisco Veterinary Specialists, had sent them a donation in memory of Felix. That was very nice of them.

Friends & Family09 May 2007 09:03 pm

It was my great honor and privilege to be my brother’s Best Man at his wedding last Saturday. It was a lovely ceremony, Scott’s bride Margaret was radiant, and everything came off without a hitch. Even the quirky Florida weather stayed nice until after the wedding (the typical Florida afternoon thunderstorm held off until just as we were about to leave the church).

The official pictures will be coming along soon, but I collected a few pictures from several attendees. I would have taken some pictures myself, but I was otherwise occupied. :-)

Friends & Family & News & Culture & Podcast05 Oct 2006 11:38 pm

Justin and I make a rare in-studio appearance on The David Lawrence Show. We talk about Justin’s new gig at Adobe, his presentations this week at the “Flash In The Can” conference in Hollywood. We also talk about some current news items, such as the rumored purchase of YouTube by Google and some of the cool new television shows that have started (or returned) this television season.

You can download the audio of the show at this link, only $0.25 through BitPass.

I also stuck around to do the podcast, which can be downloaded for free at David Lawrence Unplugged and on iTunes (just search for David Lawrence in the podcast section).

Friends & Family & Personal14 Feb 2006 08:23 am

TikiIn the wee hours of Valentine’s Day morning, we lost one of our kitty-boys, Tiki. It was quick — too quick.

On Friday he had his annual checkup and while the doctor said everything was great now, a blood test revealed that he was starting into the very early stage kidney disease — so early that the only treatment option was to change him to a more kidney-friendly diet in his final years. And by most accounts he should have had a few more years at least.

But on Saturday, he snagged a claw while jumping into a chair and twisted/sprained his rear left foot. We took him to the local vet emergency clinic, where the doctor said he would be in pain for a couple of days but would be fine, and sent us home with some pain pills for him. After a day and a half, his swollen foot had almost returned to normal size, but something more was wrong. He refused to get up from his bed, and pretty much stopped eating and drinking. I had spoken with our regular vet that afternoon and he said that if he wasn’t drinking by morning, to bring him in for an injection of fluids because dehydration can be a concern, especially for the kidneys.

He was lucid and responsive around the time we went for some dinner on Monday evening, but a couple of hours after we got back, he started panting and was only barely responsive to stimuli. We rushed him to the emergency hospital where they administered fluids, did various blood tests, and said they thought he would probably be ok after a few days on fluids. So they sent us home. But around 5:20am they called us to say he had gone into cardio-pulmonary arrest and wasn’t breathing on his own. They agreed to keep him going until we could rush over (only a mile away). We said our goodbyes around 5:30am and they helped him finally go to sleep.

Clearly there was something terribly wrong going on that only Tiki knew about. Both the emergency vet and our regular vet are bewildered because this shouldn’t have happened, not like this… not this quickly. The small dose of pain medication he was on, Torbutrol, should have made him pretty loopy (and did), but shouldn’t have had any effect on his kidneys. And even on that, he shouldn’t have stopped drinking water. The blood tests were consistent with being pretty dehydrated, but none of the levels like sodium were high enough to explain what happened.

We will miss him terribly, but our grief is only a fraction of the pain and bewilderment that is in store for his brother, littermate, and life-long companion Felix. But we will support one another and get through this.

Love your pets, love each other. You never know what will happen.

If you feel inspired, please consider making a donation to the Humane Society of the United States. They did amazing work during Hurricane Katrina rescuing animals from the flood zone.

Please also check out Justin’s blog entry about Tiki. I’ve also created a Gallery of photos.

Friends & Family28 Sep 2005 08:53 pm

My partner Justin was on The David Lawrence Show tonight talking about his recent “drug holiday.” No, it’s not a long weekend in a crack house in Medellín. He took two weeks off from his drug regimen treating his attention deficit disorder (ADD).

Justin wrote about this in a blog entry entitled Diary of an ADD ‘Drug Holiday’, and talks a little more about it in his post about appearing on David’s radio show.

I’m very proud of Justin for being so open about a part of his life that has caused him a lot of pain over the years. I’m especially proud of him for going on the radio and for writing about it on his blog, so that others might learn from his experiences.

Unfortunately, there are too many people out there who don’t “believe” in things like ADD, as if it mattered one bit what their opinion is of someone else’s physical or mental challenges in life. Just because you can’t see a cancer cell, or a virus, or an imbalance in neurotransmitter chemicals, doesn’t mean that the conditions doesn’t exist. And nobody gives a rat’s patootie whether you “believe” it exists. So if you’re one of those who doesn’t believe in ADD, rest assured that I don’t believe in your right to have an opinion on the matter. :)

But what I can tell you is that my husband’s life is both qualitatively and quantitatively better since going on his drug treatment for ADD. And that has made my life better too. If you think you might have ADD, or know someone who might, I encourage you to visit Justin’s writings and to talk to your doctor. And if your doctor doesn’t “believe” in ADD, go find a more professional physician who won’t pick and choose what maladies he or she feels like treating.

Friends & Family & News & Culture26 Jul 2005 05:17 pm

Hearty congratulations and much love goes out to my cousin (2nd cousin actually) Samuel Bennett, who just moments ago was named Florida State Teacher of the Year for 2006!

Sam (pictured to the right in his classroom) teaches Fifth Grade at Garner Elementary School in Winter Haven, Florida and was one of five finalists for the Florida Department of Education /Macy’s Teacher of the Year program. To read more about Sam and his amazing work, check out this article: “Polk Man Is Finalist For Teacher of Year.”

Cousin Sam — who began his career as a police officer (if I recall family lore correctly) and is an ordained minister — gave credit to God, his wife, and his parents, my Great Aunt Sue and Uncle Luke, according to the Orlando Sentinel:

Calling the award a “tremendous and humbling honor,” Bennett gave credit to God for instilling a love of teaching; and to his wife, Debbie, for being his best friend. He credited his mother with teaching him to look for the good in everyone and, when he finds it, to nurture it; and his father, who died in 1990, with tenacity.

Please join the rest of the Everett and Bennett clans in congratulating Sam and his family, and wishing him continued success as he uses this position as Teacher of the Year to encourage great people to take up teaching, and to encourage great teachers to become even better!

Update: Here’s the official FL Department of Education press release.

Friends & Family & Good Eats12 May 2005 10:22 am

Crown Candy Kitchen in St. LouisMy father sent me an interesting item from AOL this morning. (Unfortunately it’s buried on the AOL proprietary service so I can’t give you a URL.) But it was a fun little write up about one of the menu items at famous St. Louis eatery, the Crown Candy Kitchen. An institution in one of the decrepit corners of St. Louis (which could well be seeing a renaissance by now — I haven’t been there in almost a decade :( ), Crown is known for great homemade candy, but especially for one of the best bowls of chili in the Midwest.

Burger at Dooley's in St. LouisWhen I was a teenager, I lived for two years in the St. Louis suburb of Ballwin. (Go Parkway South Patriots!) Sometimes when my Dad had work to do on weekends, he would take my brother and me downtown to his office, and after he was done with work we’d try out different lunch places. Crown was a favorite, along with Dooley’s, an odd little pub and burger joint where the outstanding burgers are topped with a huge dollop of whipped processed cheddar cheese (the orange blob in the picture).

Ah… good times! Thanks Dad for a blast from the past, and for introducing us to these great institutions in the first place.

Friends & Family & Moblog09 Apr 2005 10:53 pm

Big SurIt’s weekends like this that remind us why we live in this crazy place.

It was just an absolutely breathtaking weekend here in Northern California. Cloudless skies, warm sunshine, and cool ocean breezes all conspired to create a gorgeous outing today. And what’s more… all the idiots seemed to have stayed home today! All too often, the drive down 101 and then over to the Monterey area can be bumper-to-bumper, but it was smooth and remarkably traffic-free. We even had no trouble finding parking in the usually-packed hamlet of Carmel-by-the-Sea. And even 17-Mile Drive was practically deserted.

We went with a friend of ours who isn’t from around here, and it was fun to see him experience for the first time what we so often forget is so close, yet sometimes impossible to fit into our crazy schedules. Lone Cypress But the areas around Big Sur, Carmel, and Pebble Beach, are among the most beautiful places anywhere on this planet. So, if you’ve not been, give yourself a wonderful treat and come for a visit. Here’s a tip: try doing it on a weekday when the traffic is less crazy… And, for heaven’s sake, please don’t drive like an idiot… It’s a lot more enjoyable for everybody if there are fewer people shaking their fists at you. :-)

For a few more pictures, you can visit my Moblog at I hope to have my Moblogging integrated into this site soon, but I haven’t figured out the best way to do that in WordPress. But I’ve got some good leads.

Friends & Family & Mobile Tech & Sillycon Valley Biz07 Apr 2005 02:22 pm

CNET reporter Paul Festa mentioned in his blog entry for today about Justin’s appearance today at the Flashforward 2005 conference.

Friends & Family & Podcast & Privacy & Spam21 Mar 2005 12:53 am

On tonight’s David Lawrence Show, I coach David on the finer points of being an annoyed gay man, in preparation for his audition for the role of Mark Bingham‘s boyfriend Matt Hall. Bingham was one of the heroes of Flight 93, who fought back against the hijackers on September 11, 2001, and prevented them from crashing into the Capitol or the White House (or wherever they were headed). We also talked about the differences between privacy and anonymity.

Later in the show, my Internet Privacy for Dummies co-author, Gregg Stebben, joins David to talk health and technology. Please spend the 25¢ and listen to Gregg’s segment too!

Too cheap to pay that? Well try David’s new Podcast for free!

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