Friday, March 31, 2006

A birthday in the house

Our Yorkshire Terrier, Darwin, turned 9 years old today. He's starting to show his age a bit with cataracts forming and his hearing going away. He gets a burst of youthful activity each day when our miniature dachshund, Emma, initiates a game of "tough dog." Here are some pictures of Darwin and Emma.

This used to be Darwin's favorite spot in the house (before Emma). Now, he seldom gets to sit here by himself because as soon as he does, Emma jumps up in my lap and picks on him until he goes over to the couch. Poor Darwin!

Darwin's looking for a treat here.

Emma meets her mom after a year's separation (August, 2005). Her mom, Tootsie, is a smooth coat chocolate and tan (on the left). Emma has a greenie in her mouth and we were watching Steve's community band play at the Park of Roses.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

You should see the other guy. . .

That's the line Steve told me to use. I woke up this morning with a bit of swelling and bruising. I stayed home today so I wouldn't scare the students or have any other issues with bleeding. I had a bit of a challenge yesterday afternoon when a flood leaked out from the pressure bandage. I put pressure over the wound for about half an hour and that took care of it. Things are going much better this afternoon, and I'm hoping the swelling will start to subside tomorrow. I'm planning on going to work on Friday.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

All's well that ends well

All that worrying about the Mohs surgery is over and done. I had the procedure this morning, and it wasn't nearly as bad as what I had been imagining would happen. Dr. Siegle explained what to expect if the tumor was more extensive than what it appeared to be from the surface. That would involve going in several times to take successive layers until all of the tumor was removed. Instead, he was able to excise the tumor in one go and I didn't even have to have stitches. I'll have to spend some time each day cleaning the wound and changing the dressing, but everything should heal without any complications. Given where the tumor was, it won't be very noticeable, especially when I wear glasses.

Dr. Siegle took photos with my digital camera so I could post pictures (before and after shots) of the procedure. So, here is a sequence of pics showing what the basal cell carcinoma looked like before the biopsy, after the biopsy, and during today's surgery. If you're the sort who gets light-headed with medical procedures, you might want to skip the rest of this post. It's not gory or anything, but it does show what to expect with this procedure.

This is a photo Mildred Holder took of me at the Desert Woodturning Roundup. It's the only one I have that is at the correct angle to see the basal cell carcinoma prior to the biopsy done in February. The cancer was up by my left eye on my nose.

Here's a closer view, but a small picture because I cropped the previous photo.

This is the same picture I posted earlier to show the lesion after the biopsy. If you look very closely, you can see a small mole that is on the opening of my upper eyelid (just where the iris intersects the eyelid on the left). This mole was biopsied today.

The room where the surgery was done reminds me of a dentist office with all the bright lights above the table (kind of like a dentist chair that has more positions, but no arm rests).

A local anaesthetic was used to numb the area and then a bit of the surface layer was scraped off so Dr. Siegle could see what he needed to before marking the area with a felt tipped pen. Those marks are for mapping the tumor. My eyes were then covered with a cloth so I wouldn't have to be bothered by the bright lights, or see what was going on with the scalpel. The next step was to actually cut out the area just beyond where the marks were made, and then down through the skin to the basal layer.

Here's the hole left behind after the cauterization step. They have a high voltage, low amperage unit that burns and seals the blood vessels. It smells like burning flesh - just like when I slip with my woodburning pen and brand myself. Oops - I'm not supposed to admit that has ever happened to me. . .

Hurray! Only one slice and all of the tumour is removed. That made the day much shorter than I was expecting. Here's what the pressure bandage looks like - it's much smaller than I was expecting, too. I was able to get some of that flesh-colored paper tape at the Target across the way, and I'll use that each day for the dressing. After cleaning the wound, I'm supposed to put some antibiotic cream in the wound, followed by cutting a piece of non-stick dressing to fit inside the wound, cover that with gauze that's cut to size, and then hold it in place with the paper tape. Sounds complicated, but I'm sure it's not a problem.

Dr. Siegle also did a biopsy on the mole that was on my upper eyelid, just below the lashes. This was pretty tricky, and much more difficult for me than the Mohs surgery. He numbed the area by sticking the needle into my eyelid just above the lashes. I had to be careful to not jump during any part of this procedure. The worst part was that I could see everything that was going on. He also did the cauterization, which wasn't much fun with my eye open, but everything is fine now. The anaesthetic is worn off now - a few hours after the procedure. It's a bit uncomfortable with the swelling and the pressure bandage, and the cuts made, but manageable with some Tylenol. I can't take ibuprofen or aspirin for a few days, but should be able to manage ok without it.

Anyways, I'm glad to have this procedure over and glad to be rid of the cancer. Everything should heal in 3 - 5 weeks and as long as I take care of all the details, there shouldn't be any other stuff to worry about with this lesion.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Friday hands-on class with the San Diego Woodturners

I did another hands-on class with the San Diego Woodturners today. This time we had five students. There were seven scheduled originally, but two had to drop out at the last minute.

Here they are hard at work doing their pyrography exercises.

Nan Bushley working on the coloring techniques I demonstrated.

Hard at work coloring. Marguerite thought this was like attending a playschool for adults. Sure beats working . . .

The mess left behind.

What a great group of people with whom to spend a day. L to R: Marguerite, Nan, Karen, Roseanne, and Art. All of their projects turned out well, too.

Painting with light and a digital camera

My hands-on class went a little late today, so the drive from Vista back to Poway was after dark. The freeway out of San Diego was packed - even at 7 pm. Trevern Dawes had told me about a digital photography technique he uses to paint with light, so I took the opportunity to try it out on the way back to Theresa's house. All of these photos are the result of that experiment. I think it's pretty neat.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Hills of San Diego county

I used to do fieldwork in this area when I worked on Penstemon during my dissertation. It's sure changed in the past 14 years. Robynne stopped in a driveway so I could snap a picture of the "yotie" boulders (coyote rocks) in the chapparral.

Gazania and Norfolk Island pines are definitely not native to this region.

This is a typical view of the hills around San Diego.

Location, location, location!

Robynne Hanus hosted the Thursday hands-on class. She lives in a beautiful home on 9 acres out in the hills near Ramona, California. She has a large Alaskan dog who was in its semi-annual shedding. White fur on black pants works really well. ;-)

Here are some pictures from her house on the west side where the pool catches the afternoon light.

I could enjoy this view on a regular basis.

I could enjoy this view, too.

And this one.

Here's Robynne standing poolside.

Thursday hands-on class with the San Diego Woodturners

Here's my Thursday hands-on class group. They were a lot of fun to be with today.

L to R: Sally, Jim, Ray, and Robynne in back row; I'm in the front. We were having lunch at a nice restaurant in Ramona called, "Nuevo Grill."

Here they are hard at work learning some coloring techniques.

Jim's project, showing the pyrography and prismacolor techniques he's learned.

Ray's project - same thing.

More plants in Theresa's garden

I had a few minutes in the front garden while waiting for my ride to the Thursday hands on class I taught. The morning light was nice, so I snapped some pictures from the garden while I waited.

Close-up of Osteospurmum flower.

Theresa has a pot of geraniums growin on the front porch.

The foliage of this geranium is variegated. I think it's very interesting.

Streilitzia (bird of paradise) foliage.

Close-up of one of the cycad leaves (known around here as sago palm). I've never understood how common names of plants came to be so misleading. This is called a palm, but it's in an ancient gymnosperm group called the cycads. It produces a long wooden cone during its reproductive stage, which looks entirely different than the fruits of any palm, and yet people call it a palm. Ok, so the leaves look similar in a superficial way, but they are so entirely different from palms that it just makes me wonder about the common name.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Flowers in Theresa's yard.

Theresa has some nice plants in her yard, including my favorite Calla Lilies.

I don't know the name of this purple daisy, but it's lovely. (update on 3/24/06 - this is Osteospurmum, which comes from South Africa)

Here are some views of a large calla lily growing next to the house:

Flowers and plants in Theresa's neighborhood

Here are some plants I saw on our walk. I noticed that there are a lot of ornamentals from South Africa in all the yards.

Gazania - native to South Africa

I don't know what this grass is, but it sure is attractive in the late afternoon sun.

Lantana - a noxious weed in Australia.

Hibiscus - a noxious weed in my yard back home in Ohio.

Foxtail grass.

Haven't a clue, but the young foliage is bright red. (update on 3/24/06 - this is Photinia in the rose family)

Sweetgum in flower (aka "spiny eggs" in my yard back home).

San Diego Visit

I'm in San Diego for the rest of the week to visit the San Diego Woodturners. I'll have two days of hands-on classes and then an all-day demo on Saturday. I'm flying back to Columbus on Sunday, and then I start teaching my Molecular Ecology class for spring quarter on Monday.

I'm staying with Steve's sister, Theresa. We went for a walk around her neighborhood in Poway. Here are some pics from the neighborhood:

Theresa and her golden retriever, Molly, in front of Theresa's house.

The street where Theresa lives.

Our shadows as we're getting ready to go back down the hill in her neighborhood.

A typical scene from the neighborhood.