Monday, December 31, 2007

A Look Back at 2007

This year has held its share of accomplishments and surprises. Elly took over as the manager of the Nelson Atkins Museum Store last December, so this marks her first full year in charge. She oversaw the transformation of the original store off Kirkwood Hall to the much larger space in the new Bloch wing of the museum. Thanks to her skill and hard work, and that of her team, the new store is a triumphant success.

I completed the construction of my 22-Inch Dobsonian telescope, which was started in 2005. Building my own telescope has been a dream of mine for years and the result has turned out even better than I had hoped. It is a life-time achievement and will provide many years of enjoyment under the night sky.

Not all the news this year was good. At the beginning of July our beloved dog, Samba, was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, an incurable and highly aggressive bone cancer that is all too common in large dog breeds. We were devastated. Many dogs with the condition survive for only a few months.

The tumor was on Samba’s left front leg, just above the pastern. We took him to the Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Clinic in Overland Park, Kansas. The doctors advised against a common treatment approach (leg amputation followed by chemotherapy) and recommended instead radiation therapy combined with monthly intravenous pamidronate injections. The results have exceeded everyone’s expectations. Samba has not limped since his first radiation treatment, so far the cancer does not appear to have spread, the original tumor has shrunk and significant bone remodeling has occurred(reducing fears that his leg might break). He is comfortable and happy, romping about having the time of his life. Every additional moment we spend with him is a blessing.

On a happier note, I took up watercolor painting this year, something I have wanted to do for ages. My friendship with Dahl Metters, a work colleague and mentor, has grown considerably. I have made new friends online, especially since starting my blogger site. Among these is Diana Sudyka, a Chicago illustrator and poster artist who volunteers as a bird preparater at the Chicago Field Museum, and whose beautiful bird paintings can be viewed on her blog, The Tiny Avery.

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