Not a pessimist, just a realist : Around Christmastime of the past year, we discovered that my cat Hollis has leukemia. We knew something was wrong, since he'd lost a shocking amount of weight in a very brief time. But we suspected it was a thyroid problem. It took several extensive batteries of diagnostic tests to isolate the problem, and luckily the cancer's in almost complete remission. Hollis has many more years of life ahead.

This is due to the diligence and perspicacity of Hollis's vet, Dr. Debra Eisenstein of the Colonial Vet practice here in Ithaca. Shortly after we'd gotten the results of the first post-treatment blood test (white count down, prognosis good), the following exchange occurred:

ME: I'm really glad we took him to Dr. Eisenstein. She saved him by being so aggressive.

JEN: Yeah, good thing we didn't go to Dr. Bazin. He'd have taken a "wait and see" attitude. [rimshot]

This was maybe the third or fourth time in my life I felt like I'd actually taught anybody anything.