Daily Update: Friday, September 18th, 2015

09-18 - Colon Cancer Ribbon

We have no Saints to honor today, although today is the second of three Ember Days for this season of the year, but today is the fourteenth anniversary of my successful Colon Cancer Surgery in 2001.

Today is the second of three Ember Days for this season of the year. Ember days (a corruption from the Latin Quatuor Tempora, four times) are the days at the beginning of the seasons ordered by the Church as days of fast and abstinence. They were definitely arranged and prescribed for the entire Church by Pope Gregory VII (1073 – 1085) for the consecutive Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after December 13 (the feast of St. Lucy), after Ash Wednesday, after Whitsunday (Pentecost), and after September 14 (Exaltation of the Cross). The purpose of their introduction, besides the general one intended by all prayer and fasting, was to thank God for the gifts of nature, to teach men to make use of them in moderation, and to assist the needy. Turning to my personal health, I have always felt that it is over-excessive to call me a Colon Cancer Survivor, as I did not know that I had cancer until they removed it; they also removed most of my large intestine and rewired my small intestine to my rectum. After my surgery (I still think they should sell morphine in vending machines), I did a six-month course of “light” chemotherapy (I did not throw up, nor did I lose my hair, but it left me feeling nauseated and weak after each treatment) and my weight was down to about 130 pounds, which on my frame looked positively anorexic. Fourteen years later, I see my oncologist twice a year to double-check my blood work to make sure that the cancer has not returned, and I swat Richard with my hat every time he says that I “bravely battled cancer”. As I was only 43 when I had my colon cancer, I urge and advise my Five or Six Loyal Readers (and my Army of Followers) to have a yearly colonoscopy. (I still have not figured out why the Ribbon for Colon / Colorectal Cancer is blue; in my humble opinion, it should be a brown ribbon.)

I did my Bathroom Devotional Reading, forgot to bring in the flag, and on our way to work I did my Internet Devotional Reading. On the radio was an item about setting up ICE (In Case of Emergency) numbers in one’s Contacts on one’s cell phone. I have an ICE App (which is my lock screen, and a first responder (or anyone else) can access my ICE numbers through that, but I set up ICE numbers in my contacts as well. (Can’t hurt, might help.) Once we clocked in at work, Richard was on a Blackjack table, closed that table, changed Blackjack cards, and spent the day on another Blackjack table. I was on the second Three Card Poker table, then was the Check Racker on Roulette, then became the Relief Dealer for Mississippi Stud and Three Card Poker, with the second Mississippi Stud table added to my string at the end of my shift. On my breaks I talked to our Shift Manager and Assistant Shift Manager about my PTO situation; because I had to take PTO on Sunday when I had my killer migraine, I am more than a day short of being able to take my whole three weeks when it comes time for our vacation at the end of October. I told the SM and ASM that I would prefer eating eight hours with no pay, rather than being docked on the front end or the back end of my vacation, and they indicated that they did not think that would be a problem. (They mostly have a problem with people who have problems, but who do not come forward to address them timely.) I also traded Emails with Liz Ellen; she needs to know how big our outdoor flag is, and was giving me updates on how her getting stuff organized at her old duplex and her moving into the new house is coming along.

On our way home we stopped at Wal-Mart, and Richard got supplies for tomorrow. When we got home, I ate my lunch salad and read the morning paper; Richard looked at my PTO status, and I told him I had talked to our SM and ASM. Richard also told me that he had gotten an Email from the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia that the Who Concert on November 4th would be cancelled. I took a nap, which looked like it would last for the rest of the day, but I got up at about 7:00 pm to do this Daily Update.

Tomorrow is the Optional Memorial of Saint Januarius, Bishop and Martyr (died about 304), the Optional Memorial of Our Lady of La Salette, and the third of three Ember Days for this season of the year. Tomorrow is also International Talk Like A Pirate Day (arrrrr!); I have found that I can get my Internet Facebook to do Pirate Speak, but not my Facebook App on my phone, so I won’t bother with Pirate Speak on Facebook tomorrow. We will be going to work as usual for a Saturday, and in the early afternoon I will be going to the Adoration Chapel for my Weekly Hour of Eucharistic Adoration. I will then come home, measure the flag, bring the flag in, and eat muffalettas with Richard as we watch our #13 LSU Tigers play the #18 Auburn Tigers / Plainsmen / War Eagles at 2:15 pm. And I will do my Daily Update before I go to bed.

Our Parting Quote on this Friday afternoon comes to us from Joy Covey, American business executive. Born in 1963 in Boston, Massachusetts, her mother survived two years in a prison camp in the Dutch East Indies during World War II and watched her own mother starve to death; this imbued her mother with intense self-reliance, a quality she passed on to her daughter. Raised in San Mateo, California, Covey dropped out of high school at age 15, moved to Fresno, California, and started attending California State University in Fresno at age 17, graduating with a BS degree in Business / Accounting in 1983. She then took the exam to become a certified public accountant, and aced the exam without studying. She then attended Harvard Law School and earned a joint business and law degree, which helped position her to become the chief financial officer at Digidesign, a digital audio technology company in Daly City, California. In 1996 she became the first Chief Financial Officer for Amazon. She joined the company at the very start of its frenetic expansion from books and into new product categories such as music, movies, electronics, and toys. She was the architect of Amazon’s initial public offering in 1997, a much more staid affair than the overheated spectacles of today, and somehow managed to bottle up founder Jeff Bezos’s public exuberance for the seven weeks of Amazon’s SEC-mandated quiet period. She also co-wrote with Bezos Amazon’s first letter to shareholders in 1998. The company reprints it each year with its annual report, and it has arguably become one of the most influential statements of corporate values in all of business. Covey played roles in recruitment, strategy, and ultimately in keeping Amazon functioning during the Wild West years of the Web. At one point she was so focused on her job that she left her car running in the company garage all day. That evening, when she could not find her car keys, Covey concluded she had lost them and went home without her car. A security guard called her a few hours later and told her that she might want to come back to the office to retrieve her still-idling vehicle. In the fall of 1998, for example, when she saw Amazon had more orders coming in than going out, she rang the bell for an all-hands-on-deck emergency effort that the company called Save Santa. Employees from corporate headquarters in Seattle fanned out to distribution centers and customer-service centers to fulfill the company’s promises. In 1999 she was #28 on Fortune magazine’s list of “Most Powerful Women in Business”. Covey retired in 2000 to spend more time with her family and worked as treasurer for the Natural Resources Defense Council, remaining a fierce advocate for Amazon. She died when she was cycling on a California road and was hit by a delivery van (died 2013): “I didn’t finish high school–left home when I was 15. I moved away to Fresno and worked as a grocery clerk. I went to college part-time at Cal. State Fresno, and then ended up finishing in two and a half years because I wanted to get on with things. But having fallen off the track, in a way I think I acquired a sense of independence in how I make decisions. It’s really helped me not worry so much whether other people approve of my choices.”

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