Monday, April 28, 2008

Home Again

Yesterday L. and I went geocaching ( We had a fun time and found four treasures. I saw the biggest dog I'd ever seen. It was an English Bull Mastiff and it was huge! Bigger than a Great Dane. Looking for a couple of the caches took us close to a fabulous dog park. It has a wet area with doggie swim pools and toys, and a big fenced in area where dogs and hang out and chat about their humans. There was a doggie obstacle course. Just incredible as a resource. Lots of happy dogs there.

I've been very impressed at how much has been provided and repaired for citizens in the area. Almost all the beaches have a spigot to wash your feet (or other parts) and many have restrooms.

Today we got up early and went down to the beach just at low tide. We got a motherload of shells today. The beaches are definitely different than they were way back. My family vacationed in this area back in the late 60's. The shells were bigger and more of them. The beaches were bigger and the sand whiter. Life moves on and things change.

I got some pictures from L's yard this morning. I'll post them tomorrow. I'm pretty tired now. At the ocean this AM I got in the water and found several shells. Once again the water was rough. After a while it wore me OUT just standing in one place and trying to balance against the waves, so I sat down and just let the ocean wash around me. I never really got to swim in the ocean, but this was pleasant and I enjoyed it very much. A quick dip in the pool at L.'s mom's house, and then it was time to dash home, clean our shells, pack my suitcase, eat lunch, and then head to the airport. I'm not sure why they call it Melbourne International Airports. The escort that rolled me around there said it was because they had flights to Baltimore. I broke the sad news to him that Baltimore was part of the US. There's only a half-dozen flights there daily and they're all Delta flights. Go figure.

My flight was five minutes late, and my son-in-law was there waiting for me. He's such a great guy. He even had a cold drink in the car waiting for me. I'm so thankful for my family!

I'm also very, very thankful to M., L. and N. for their generous hospitality. Slider and Boe-bee certainly made things interesting, and I now know two Betty's that have had their brains eaten alive by alzheimer's. It's intriguing to share stories of our LO's and see how many things are similar and how some things are different.

I'm very, very tired now, so I'll sign off, but I'll post some pix tomorow.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Melbourne Florida

L. and her hubby keep talking about how small a town Melbourne is.  However, I'll have to take some pictures of Bremen where I live to show them small.  It appears to me that Melbourne is about as small as Decatur, Georgia or maybe Charleston, SC.  What's really nifty is how people who went to high school together still see one another at the grocery or live down the block.  There are lots of families that live on the same street or in the same neighborhood.  It's nice to see folks close and watching out for one another.

Today we went over to a park nearby that has hosted the moving Vietnam Wall for something like 20 years.  It was interesting to see so many veterans together and talking about their assignments, and where they served.   It was very disturbing to me to look at all these people that were essentially my age and see how old they look.  It makes me wonder if I look like THAT and just refuse to see it or something.  There was a LOT of walking there so when we returned to the house, I tried to read for a bit and lay down, but really ended up taking a nap.  When I woke up I had some friends that were laying around keeping me company.  The black girl is Boe-bee and of course Slider.    

Before dinner today L. and I went to the beach at low tide to see if we could find some good sea shells.  The 2004 hurricane season has definitely left its mark on the beaches here.  They are doing / have done a lot to restore the beaches to before-Katrina condition, but the damage has effected the whole beach ecology.  There aren't any crabs on the beach.  When they came in and put down the new sand, evidently they buried all the crabs -- or they couldn't adapt to the new sand or something.  There are no crabs on the beach anymore.  The shells that wash up are little.  No great big clam shells or great big scallop shells anymore.  Just little ones.  We got a woman at the beach to take our picture.  My shorts are wet at the knees because we kept walking into the surf looking for better shells.  

Yesterday we spent the most of the day at the beach and had crab-stuffed-shrimp for dinner.  Tonight we're having grilled scallops and filet mignon -- really.  Wowzers.  Ken, just for you, we took a picture of me and the cook.  He's been by every night since I got here.  He cooks, he's savvy, and wow is he a cutie!  

For Sigrid there's a picture of Me, M. (L's husband) and L.  The hospitality has be GENEROUS and the food has been INCREDIBLE!

You'll just have to wait and see what adventures we have tomorrow.  I think I've convinced L. to take me to find a geocache (  I haven't done any caches in Florida, I don't think, so that'll had a new state to my places I've geocached.  

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Ocean & L.

A dear, kind friend invited me to come spend some time with her, and coincidentally, she lives close to the ocean.  Within 20 minutes of arriving at the airport, she was snapping this picture of me with the Atlantic in the background!
Now how GREAT of a hostess is this?  After lunch the first place she took me was to a friend that is a massage therapy person and I got an energy inducing Reiki "massage."  I have to tell you this was an awesome way to welcome me to FL!!!  

Arriving at her home I became acquainted with Beaux (sp?) and Slider.  Beaux is a very Zen dog that pretty much sniffed me and went, "You're ok."  Now Slider is a mischievous fellow that is pretty much like a dog on crack.  He's loving, and very sweet, and ENTHUSIASTIC and embraces LIFE with so much zest that well.......I'll let the picture speak for itself.  Slider has already opened my suitcase and stolen a pair of socks.  I was actually relieved it was the socks, because I thought he'd grabbed a pad.  So socks were a relief.  At least he wasn't running through my hosts' home with an incontinence pad!  I'll unpack my suitcase AFTER I close the door to the bedroom.  Nothing is safe from the boy if he's in there.   He has made me laugh more than I've laughed in a long, long time.  It's hysterical.

OH, and one other thing, L. & her husband M. had a bottle of champagne!   Champagne!  I can not remember the last time I had champagne.   Out of deference to my pancreas they even got alcohol-free champagne.  Now we can't figure out how you can call it champagne and it not have alcohol,, I'm incredibly impressed.  

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Ocean and Friends

In this day of computer friendships, I still find it astonishing how generous people can be. I have had a strong, strong desire to go be by the ocean, and yet I'm still weak from the chemo & surgery. A dear, kind friend from cyberspace invited me to her home close to the beach. And, in the morning I'm taking a flight to go meet this generous person. I tend to look something like a Bedouin woman while at the beach. I have my #70 sunscreen, a sheet to cover up with, a cotton long-sleeved top, and my umbrella and a hat. There won't be much of me showing to the sun, but with any luck I won't fry in the sun.

I've heard this is a very pretty beach. I hope to bring back lots of shells and to be wow'ed by the beauty. I do so love the beach. See you tomorrow, L. :) It's going to be wonderful.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Fitting #2 & Flowers

I want to share with you the happy occasion of getting fitted for new boobies. This was the happy crew that came together to help me get just the "right" pair. Do I want to be a B? C? D? Nothing larger than a D. I've done that. It's not all it's cracked up to be. But to achieve a certain degree of proportionality and regain my feminine part of me, you have to take a lot of things into consideration. It was ALL out there while we went through the various attempts to try sizes on and check out the look. Next time I'm taking different tops with me to check out how the tops look with the various sizes and bras. But we had a happy occasion yesterday and as my friend, M., said -- "I may not remember my fitting in years to come, but I'll always remember yours!" We definitely partied! What great friends and family to support me in this most intimate of purchases! Thank you M., V., Jenn and Jewel.

Today was dedicated to the home front. The most worshipful cleaning diva came today. God, but I love her! She does all the heavy cleaning, and then today we started working on the 2nd bedroom. Over the last several months it's become a "junk room" much like a "junk drawer." Today we worked on it for about 45 minutes and I'm pleased that if I spend some more time in there off and on, Liam can start coming over again soon and spending the night. Before my breast cancer treatment he was used to coming over and having a night here as much as once a week. He hasn't been able to come to grammy's for quite a while now. So, maybe soon, I'll have things tidy enough that there is room for him again. I'm beginning to feel well enough that perhaps having the boy here for an evening might not completely run me ragged. Maybe. I miss having him come over and snuggle and have special grammy time with me.

Today I was able to get all the ingredients together to finish potting and planting. I have a whole bunch of plants of all different kinds. I'm exhausted, and maybe a tad sunburned. But, I'm tickled to have a nice variety of pretty pots (I especially like the "basket" pot in the picture at the far right.) and if the sun just doesn't totally burn the crap out of the plants, maybe I'll have some pretty stuff around me this summer. I've always felt too exhausted to even mess with plants when I was working. I'm not anywhere near up to my normal levels of energy, but I was able to do a little and rest. Do a little more and rest. There are more pots, but these are the ones that I'm especially happy with. When the fence gets put in on May 1st, I'll be able to put things around inside and outside the fence in such a way that the space is more attractive. I'm bone tired tonight after lifting, pushing and pulling at the plants and pots and bags of rocks and "dirt." I bought some potting soil. Now, I know I'm a city girl, but I recognize what that potting soil was enriched with. I know horse sh*t when I see it. Horse stuff is pretty distinctive in it's "packaging." I hope it doesn't smell! Crashing soon. My poor shoulder is very aggravated and achy tonight. I feel good having accomplished a few things that make my world a little more pleasant.

Monday, April 21, 2008


Who knew it was so incredibly complicated to get fitted for new boobs?! I bet I tried on 10 bras with various merits, and tried several sizes of boobies to determine which gave me the most balanced and symmetrical look. To make things more "interesting" it appears that I have more tissue remaining on one side than I do on the other side, so I have one side that's a 10 and one side that's an 11. I could go as large as a 12, but I think that's over and above what is needed. It's very bazaar to me how they size these things.

I feel like this is a commencement -- like a graduation ceremony. So I brought goodies to share with my daughter and a friend, M, and the specialist fitter. We each got boa's, presents, and we had sweets from a local bakery, and sparkling grape juice. (I didn't want to get V. in trouble at work by bringing in a real alcoholic beverage -- besides my pancreas isn't supposed to have any.) V. is going to order some more boobies and some more bras for me to try. Whatever I pick has to be what I live with for the next two years. Insurance only covers you getting a new pair every two years. And given that each boob costs about $300, I can't say I blame them.

I tried on the "cool boobs" today. Prior to surgery I got very hot very easily. My temperature has been more "normal" since they took the boobs off me. Perhaps they were heaters and I never knew it. But putting on these appliances, I don't want to re-create the situation for feeling too hot all the time. The prostheses that I tried on have a special "cooling pad" that are supposed to prevent the wearer from getting too hot and perspiry. I'm going to try some other kinds next week, after I get back. I'm so appreciative to V. for taking so much time and working so hard to find just the right size prosthetic and just the right fit of bra. I was actually quite impressed at the stock they had in my sizes. When you come in the "large economy size" you're pretty used to having to make do with a small selection. The kind of personal service where items are ordered for potential approval, is unknown in my universe. I'm sure that if your last name is Bush, Clinton or Gates you're used to getting that kind of service, but this common woman isn't used to that level of service.

Interestingly my insurance SAYS there is no limit on the number of garments and prosthetics I get, but in practice they actually do have a limit. I'm pretty certain there isn't a bra around that can stand up to two years worth of continuous service though. Us ladies like to have different colors of bras depending on what garment we're wearing and such. However when bra's cost $100 each, it makes one pause. No more running over to Wal-mart to pick up a new "Just My Size" bra.

Have to get up early tomorrow for the cleaning goddess. Must close my eyes for a while. It's been along while now being all weird and without breasts, but in another week or two, it appears that I'll have a more normal profile. I'm looking forward to it.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Why does god allow suffering?

Well according to the literature from the 7th Day Adventists, it appears that suffering is a direct result of Satan's influence on earth. There are some other theological gymnastics in the literature, but ultimately after reading what was in the church booklet I see why the lady yesterday could jump around from god, to satan and back to human failure. It still irks me that people can just look at me, see a vulnerable person, and then they feel some burden to try and say something helpful. The question is, is it helpful to me or something that makes them feel better? I think it makes the other person feel better to say something they have been taught is a solution -- they view that as being helpful. Unfortunately for those of us that look different enough in our appearance so that others know we have misfortune in our lives, we get to hear a lot of different people's offerings of "help." Some is congruent with our own thinking. Some is kind empathy. Occasionally someone can offer sympathy. And in extraordinary situations, we get the odd ball that has to "grace" us with some goofy insinuation that makes me want to reach out, grab their neck and squeeze them like a katsup bottle that won't let the katsup out! Now, not normally being a homicidal person, it takes a lot to get my ire up to that point. I respect the earnestness of the offering from the other person. I am just not always in a generous spirit myself to put up with it. It is not my job to make YOU feel better (whoever YOU happens to be at that moment). Frankly I have no need to explain why I have cancer. The fact that you do, is your problem. 7th Day Adventist lady clearly put her foot straight into a pile of shit she didn't know what to do with once it was all over her. She wanted to be helpful. She was offering up a theology that she hadn't thought out, just spouted. When she realized that her unthinking words had clearly put her in the crapper, she reached out for the definitive word from her church in their literature. She was caught with her ignorance and uncertainty about the right way to think, and "right" was the way the church interpreted it. She shared of her own resources, and I think she was trying hard to be helpful. But, after reading the church view on "Why does god allow suffering?" I'm convinced I'll never have to worry about me joining the 7th Day Adventists! I wish her peace, I wish her enlightenment, I wish her to never cross my path again. I'll be glad when my hair grows out enough so that I'm not an advertisement for the gift of pity.

The above picture shows how much hair I've managed to push out in the last three months. Initially I thought I'd end up being all grey. But the grey hairs appeared first, and then the darker hair came in. At this point it looks like I'm getting my original dark brunette hair back.

Clearly this hairdo is the problem that attracts the attention of folks. I'll be glad when it's lengthy enough to make a real style instead of just being grateful for the stubble that I have.

Lastly, while marital accord isn't always a "given" around here in the cat world, I caught this picture of Chelsea sleeping. She was using Romeo's body for her "pillow" and it just looked so sweet I thought I'd share.

Tomorrow is a big day! I get measured for my new "girls." They'll be mine because my insurance bought them!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Neighborhood Yard Sale

Well, some folks bought tiles. Most got earrings. I probably made $35 or so, but it was a LOT of work in order to sell so few items. I'm torn between attempting to sell them, and just donating the money I've spent on supplies to Jenn. I think I'll try opening an e-bay "store" and see if they sell that way. I came home from the yard sale and was just totally wiped out from some previously busy days. I slept for about five hours, and I think I won't have trouble sleeping tonight. It's been a while since I got so tired that I'd "nap" for five hours straight. It encourages me that I was tired like that today, but that for about the last two weeks, I've actually been pretty perky. Not back to normal, but doing better for sure.

It was cold and misty, sometimes rainy this morning. Surprisingly most of the people who did the sale today were middle aged or older folks. Not too many younger folks.

One lady TICKED me off ROYALLY. She was distributing 7th Day Adventists literature, which is find with me because their faith requires that they do that. I have never been irritated or upset with them for doing what their faith requires. This lady, however, decided to tell me a bunch of stuff about suffering and cancer and how it was a pestilence of the end times, and that it was part of god's message. I flat out told her that I didn't believe god gave me cancer. So then she changed her tactic and said that Satan was working among us. Now it's a stretch to go from god to Satan in one sentence. I flat out told her I didn't think that this was the work of some unwholesome spirit. I said it was the result of being around DDT when we thought it was our saviour from mosquitoes, eating hormone-filled beef, and who knows what other kinds of toxins I've been exposed to over a lifetime. I don't think cancer is some punishment or part of god's scheme for me. I think I'm just as "lucky" or "unlucky" as any poor sap that gets cancer and that it's just a result of LIVING. You're alive, you're just as likely to get cancer as any other person. The audacity of anyone pretending to speak for god or for Satan just IRKS THE HELL OUT OF ME. I'm gracious enough to grant her grace because she's IGNORANT. She brought me a booklet with some literature from the church that explains "Why is there suffering?" Indeed she knew she'd stumbled over herself and brought the church's word on the source of suffering. I haven't bothered to look at it. Amazing the audacity of some people. How presumptuous to imagine you can speak for god. Grrrrrr.

Other than that, it was a fine day. Watching a Harry Potter film and then going to bed. I'm glad I've done the EfM study to know just how ignorant this woman was in her haughty pronouncements or I'd be ANGRY at her. I'm just short of that. Prize of the day: bought a BEACH book to read while I'm gone next week. I'm so excited that I'm going to the beach. I want to bring home a suitcase full of seashells!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Getting Ready for Garage Sale

Tomorrow is the big day when the whole subdivision has a yard sale. I've been a jewelry-making fiend for weeks now. I have gobs of pottery tile necklasses, and about 25 pairs of earrings that I've made. I have a BUNCH of pony-beads to make stretchy bracelets for little girls (or boys). $1 for pony bracelet (you get to pick the beads and I measure your wrist for size. The pottery tiles are $2, and the earrings are $3 each. I'm hoping that by keeping prices LOW there will be lots and lots of kids and moms and teens that will want to buy my inventory. The big question about tomorrow is: MUST it rain? Forecasters seem to think so.

Eric has lots of materials to make presentations with, and he is making up a cool poster thing for Jenn to put up in strategic places like her office. He's made a quick access point to her web page at The dot info is a new one on me. But if you go to that link it takes you right to her specific 3-day page.

The orthopaedist has me going for physical therapy to see if that will help heal my rotator cuff issue/tendonitis. I took the opportunity while in C'ton to replenish some of my jewelry-making needs, and ran by Staples briefly.

Here is the funny for the day. I needed to wash the ONE and only foam-boobie-holder today, so I wore one of my old bra's with my foam bobies inserted. I learned last week that the foam inserts MIGRATE. So, today I went and got some duct tape, and made a sticky roll on each side of the foam boobies and stuck them to the bra. I was literally camouflaged with duct tape today, but the foam boobies did NOT migrate! Ha!

I didn't feel the earthquake this morning. I was snoozing and I guess the cats weren't too upset by it, if the noticed it. The reports are that it was a 2.1 earthquake by the time the shocks got to Georgia. I'm sure it was a little more exciting in Indiana and Illinois.

Thanks to L. for her family's donation to my daughter's fund-raising efforts for the Atlanta 3-day. I am very blessed to know so many generous people.

Night all. Another great day on this side of the grass. I hope it's been a great one for you too!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Privacy Fence

The second fellow came by today to give an estimate. He got the deal. May 1st they're supposed to come install it. I'm pretty happy. I'm getting wood (white cedar) as PVC fencing has gone too high to afford since it's partially made of petroleum products.

I've been manufacturing earrings like a maniac tonight. I made 14 pair in the matter of a few hours. If I can sell them for $3 each and can make a good many more tomorrow, that'll be a nice sum toward the 3-day for Jenn. I also have the tiles that I made at pottery, and tomorrow will do as many of them into necklaces and pins as I can. The goal is to sell them during the subdivision yard sale on Saturday.

When I get a second, I'll post some pix in case any of them tickle your fancy and you'd like to purchase some for Mother's Day presents, or end-of-school teacher gifts, or perhaps you just know someone that would enjoy a hand-made bit of jewelry.

I'm excited that I'll get to order my new boobs before I go on my vacation, and likely be able to get them when I get back.

Later gators. I was up early this morning so I'm crashing for the night. What a lovely, warm day. Pollen count: under 150 due to the rain we got. I was glad to have the yellow washed off the outdoor furniture.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


I have my appointment to get new boobies! On Monday I go for my fitting and it's going to be fun! I'm taking a gf and my daughter and we shall have a fun time!

Fence guy came today. Fence like I want it, may be more expensive than I'd prefer. Another guy comes tomorrow for an estimate.

Lost 2 lbs. according to Weight Watchers. Oh, man they have a 2 point ice cream bar that is chocolate covered in Oreo-like crushed cookie stuff and it is awesome. I suppose it would defeat the purpose if I ate the whole box, eh?

I an too sleepy to write anymore. Going to bed. But I am very excited to be getting new boobies. :)

Monday, April 14, 2008


Today the ortho said that I had an impinged rotator cuff and bicep tendonitis and that was what was causing my shoulder problems. He Rx'd physical therapy.

They say on the tv that it is warmer right now in northern Montana than it is here tonight! Wow, who'd have thought. All the plants I put out this past weekend, I had to cover up or bring in. Grrrr.

Got a bunch of stuff to make earrings with to try and sell at the Saturday yard sale. I also got my tiles back from the kiln. I'm very excited about a special piece that came back and which I was able to glaze. It's going to be back in time for my special need. I like it. It's a nice original piece.

I have a guy coming tomorrow to give me an estimate for the fence work I want done. Wednesday another fellow is coming to do the same. It'll be interesting to see what kind of price they come up with.

If I hadn't decided on who to vote for before, it's been given to me today! Obama has actually talked with leaders in Cuba and is saying that he will loosen the trade restrictions to Cuba. He's already talked to someone? This would be great for Cuba, a country that has suffered tremendously from increasingly more stringent embargo laws. The people who made the bad decisions around the Cuban Missile Crisis are pretty much senile or dead. It's time to encourage diplimatic relations with, and develop trade and travel to this impoverished country. I have to wonder what George W. got out of the knowledge that he made it harder and more difficult for the poor in Cuba after he tighted the embargo? It's been over 40 years! Give me a break! We seem to have better relationship with the old Soviet block countries than we do Cuba, and go figure -- Cuba is only 90 miles away and if the embargo were done away with, they would be a great market close to our shores. I have to wonder what goes through "W's" brain sometimes.

Going to go sleep now. I WAY overdid it today. I see the onc tomorrow and I've got to be up and awake when the queen of cleaning arrives in the morning. Gosh I love her. The intake form today at the physical therapy place, asked me if I could hold the hairdryer ok when drying my hair? Hehehehehehe. I'll post a picture soon of my "hair." Im excited that it's I have some coming in!

Sunday, April 13, 2008


Some years ago, I recall Jenn as a teenager going to Vermont to visit relatives, and I had the opportunity to talk to her while we had some 10 - 15 inches of snow, while Vermont was enjoying lovely weather. That was on an April 9th. Now it appears that we might have a repeat of that extrordinary phenomenon. After I spent so much energy yesterday getting plants and putting them out and taking inside plants out because I thought it was now "safe" for them to be put out -- the weather forecast includes the possibility of snow for Monday night! Too strange. Yup, that means I'm hauling the plants inside now. Jenn moved the heavest one for me, thankfully. I'm hoping it'll just be inside for a day or so. We'll see.

Target had a sale today, and I got a couple of those plastic-bench-storage thingy's to consilidate my outside crap so that it tidies the area up, and it gives me a place to keep my cushions that is NOT in my dining room. I'm gradually making a nice spot to take the sun and breathe fresh air and read / think / stare into space. The most surprising thing about the storage benches is this: the outside box advertized "5 MINUTES TO ASSEMBLE, NO TOOLS REQUIRED." Skeptical me said to myself, "Yeah, sure. That's an invitation to frustration for sure." Well, the first one we put together in about 7 or 8 minutes and that's because we had to read the directions. Assembly was not immediately intuitive. You really had to read the directions. The second one went together in about 3-4 minutes. These things are an amazing bit of excellent product engineering.

Jenn saw Romeo today, and she remarked that she didn't think he looked well. I hate it because he's been to the vet twice now, and I don't quite know what else to do for him. He's eating, drinking, pooping. He's taken to laying RIGHT beside me and he snores something fearce these days. I think he's just getting old for a kitty that nearly starved to death as a kitten and probably didn't get all his essential vitamins and minerals at a crucial age. I'm thinking of taking him to the vet again to just see if some blood work might be able to screen him for any more subtle problems. Now, you're probably thinking, "Does she ever stop obsessing about her damn cat?" Well, let me tell you, if you're acquainted with cats, then you know how rare a real lap cat is. Cats tend to be independent creatures and in perhaps 30 years of having a cat (one never really OWNS a cat) Romeo is the only cat that has been a snuggler, lover, lap cat and general all-around cuddly cat. In his younger days his life expectancy was nearly foreshortened due to his desperate need to have a playmate at 2AM, and his persistence at refusing to let his best playmate sleep if he felt spunky. But for years now he is just a happy, snuggly fellow that just makes me smile by being around. I know he won't live forever, but I'm hoping he will live well and be able to keep me company for another few years. So, love me, love my cats. Like me, you'll hear me drone on about my cats. They are my fur friends. They lay in bed with me everyday through chemo, they play and make me smile in the low moments, and they keep me company when I'm bald, breastless and grumpy. Enough said.

I think most of the fluid is about gone now out of my right chest. I think. It's not shrunk up as much as the left side, which is surprising to me as the right side is where the tumor was and I kind of thought she took more tissue from the right side -- or conversely my right side might just have been much more robust than my left side. I don't know. At any rate, MAYBE I'm about as flat as I'm going to get on the right side. Not sure.

I've had a link to for quite some time. These two little fellows were born a LOT too early, but today at the 9am service they were christened. It was so joyous to see them and all their loving family around them, and to see them chunky and strong. For too, too many weeks it was scary for their family. They will continue to need support for a long time to come as twins do who arrive so soon, but they are remarkable little miracles that are made of strong stuff. That service was packed, wall-to-wall with friends, acquaintences and family that surrounded these little fellows with love in a really wonderful way. God bless these little fellows.

I've been using a LOT of eucalyptus oil lately. I find it very nice in my bedroom when I'm resting. I take an old-fashioned bottle cap, turn it up-side-down and then put several drops of the eucalyptus oil in it until all the moisture evaporates. It's a small pleasure, but a simple one that I really like lately.

Today when we came by my house to assemble and drop off the storage benches, there must have been 15 kids playing in the back drive behind the townhomes. It was amazing to see so many children running and playing in a space that for the 6 years I've been here, hasn't really had any before. It really reinforces my drive to get a privacy fence up. I'm going to call a fence company tomorrow. For sure.

BROKE the diet today for sure. Don't feel a damn bit guilty either. I enjoyed every bite! The one thing that I wish wasn't coming back after chemo is hunger. As the chemicals leave my body the eternal and ever present hunger returns. I had hoped that it wouldn't. For a while, I could be satisfied with a banana for lunch. I never understood how anyone could do that. Then all of a sudden, I could do it. But now, I'm returning to the always hungery person I've always been. I'm eating a lot more fruits and vegetables than ever before though. Things that I didn't like before, I enjoy now. Things that I used to enjoy before, I still find unappetizing. Who knows how long that will last.

Yesterday it was 78 and I actually turned the air conditioner on briefly. Tomorrow it may snow. Hmmmmmm.

Saturday, April 12, 2008


It's spring and I've been working on my little yard. I reseeded my front "yard" a couple days ago, because the only thing growing there is moss. No grass. OK, well....just a few springs of grass. I checked and after the rain last night it didn't run off with the rain. I was thinking it might do that, but it's coated with this distinctive blue colored stuff and so it's really easy to see that it's where I put it.

I pulled out my big flower pots, and today I went by Wally World and got some plants to decorate the place, and a few seed packs (though I've never really had success with them), and I bought 30 of those wall bricks to see about making a large window box in an area where nothing grows but errosion on the side of the condo. It'll be something that will take some time and figuring. I'm hoping the kids that have recently moved in and don't seem to understand the concept of private property, don't mess with them and end up with a broken toe or something.

In case you know anyone that can do a small fencing job, I'm looking for someone that could replace my ugly pressure treated crap fence with a nice bit of vinyl fence. I'm guessing only 3 or 4 panels depending on if we got 6-foot lengths or 8-foot lengths, and I'd like a couple panels put in sideways to make a T shape, so that I have a small private space to hide behind if I decide to have breakfast outside in my nighty. You'd think that with the housing market being so "off" right now, contractors would take small jobs more readily, but they don't.

I've got some window boxes that I need to attach to the windows to make them stable. I meant to get some screws when I was at Wal-mart today, but forgot. I suppose I need to get some mortar to hold the bricks together, as well as the screws, when I'm at a home improvement store. Maybe I can swing by Home Depot on Monday. I have a doc appt to se what in the world is going on with my shoulder on Monday, so maybe I can go by Home Depot in the AM. Art class was cancelled until they can talk some more students into taking the class. I hope that a few more folks will take the class, because I really like it.

I made some split pea soup today, and hope to serve it up for lunch tomorrow.

I think, unfortunately, that I can safely say my appetite and taste buds have recovered from chemo. I'm hungry, which isn't so compatible with the whole Weight Watcher's thing I have going on right now.

I signed up for my job preferences as part of the 3-day walk CREW. I know I can't walk the 60 miles but I can perhaps help in other ways to make the walkers' more comfortable. I'm rather hoping that they will take advantage of the fact that I have a CDL with passenger endorsement, and that I'll get an assignment doing something where I drive something. That way I get to sit, and maybe have access to air conditioning. We'll see what develops. I will get an e-mail with my assignment. The bad news is that I have to stay in the crew village, so I won't get to stay with Jenn, Kari and Christy -- which they are probably THANKFUL for, since I'm well known for my snoring.

I've always had a black thumb and could make most any plant fall over dead. Today I got optimistic and bought some of the stuff that makes plants put out roots so you can start your own plants from cuttings. I want to go get a cutting of wysteria and see if I can start some. I'm also trying to make my poor, spindly scheffilera trees grow a bit more thickly by trying to start some new shoots. It's hard to keep the green things happy over the winter. I put one sheffilera out at the front door. I am trying my peace lily outside on the back side, but I'm not sure it'll work out as the leaves really catch the wind. I don't want it to die from the wind flattening it out or the temps being too drastic for it to handle. I think having growing and green things around you is healthy, if only because they make oxygen, but I'm worried I'm a menace to their existance.

Lazy cats are snoozing on the bed. Romeo is better, but I can't say for sure that he is totally well. He's still using a the step-stool to help him get up on the bed. You can tell he's just a little weak, and I hate that. I think he's just getting older and falling apart, similar to someone else I know. I saw Thelma, the cat I co-own with my neighbor, this morning. She looks like she's doing well after being spayed. She didn't have her collar on though, so she's an expert at getting out of one, it seems. She let me pet her for a bit this morning and I saw her later in the day over at Kathy's. I hate it that she has to stay an outdoor cat, but she's got a better life as a kept outdoor cat, than going to the pound.

That's about it. I have to post now or run the risk of it not posting today, but tomorrow! Hope all is well wherever you are.

Friday, April 11, 2008

I'm a Slug

Today I just spent a quiet day at home. The cats and I held the bed down.

Many thanks to S. for the generous donation to the 3-day! Wowzers!

For anyone considering such a thing, it costs $37 to support one mile of walking. You can even pick which of the 60 miles you'd like to sponsor. The last mile is mine though. I'm sponsoring that one.

The above picture is one that Julie took on Sunday. She got the best shot of Julianna and Hazel. You can really see how sweet the gown looks on Julianna too. This was just after Julianna barfed on a choir member. ;)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Beach

I'm very excited that I will get to go to the beach soon. I'll be flying one of those MD-80's that are being pulled out of service of recent days. I hope when I do get to go that my flight won't end up being cancelled or delayed. I need to arrange with Delta to get gate assistance so I don't get all frazzled and worn out just getting to my friend's house.

I have had a STRONG need to see, smell, and be in the ocean. I think it is something about the end of my treatments, but I must do this. I haven't been able to figure out how I might accomplish visiting the ocean until a friend said, "I live near the beach; come visit me." The hospitality is welcome and I'll get to meet someone face-to-face that I've only chatted with on-line for the last 8-10 years. (Children should not do this.....only grown ups are allowed to judge if this is an acceptable risk.) I've talked with this person for years, and I've done this once before (Flown to visit someone I knew only from the web.) and I have every confidence it'll be just fine.

I'm getting to go to Melbourne, Florida which is south of Daytona, and north of Vero Beach but a few blocks from the Atlantic Ocean. I am so ready to go see it, smell it and put my body in it.

Art class is up and running for Mondays starting this coming week. I'll lose one week while I'm at the beach, but the beach is WORTH it.

I had the suggestion that when my tiles come back from the pottery place, that I put them up on the web. I have an idea about maybe doing an e-bay shop to sell the tiles/necklaces with all monies going to Jenn's 3-day walk account. I'll have to look into how complex that is. If nothing else, maybe I can get a Paypal account so that it's easy for folks to securely pay for their necklace. The subdivision is having a yard sale soon and I thought it might be good to see what locals thought of my tiles before I put them up into cyber world. It may be that even though I think they're nifty, the average person would go, "You think I'd wear THAT?"

I hope all is well with you and those you love.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

2762 Pollen Count

Remember 300 is all it takes to be considered EXTREMELY HIGH. Cars, outdoor furniture, and the walkways and streets are covered in the sperm of every kind of deciduous (lose their leaves in the fall) and coniferous (pine trees) tree right now. It's just like there has been a yellow snow fall. Jenn saw a dust devil yesterday made entirely of swirling yellow pollen. God bless those who struggle with allergies right now; it's the most difficult time of the year here.

Quiet day hanging out with Jewel. My left arm / shoulder that I hurt just before my surgery, is still bothering me, so I'm going to schedule an appointment with the orthopaedist to check it out more. It can be quite painful when it's rearranging itself -- that moment when it decides to CRACK as it slips in or out of place. I could live without that.

I talked to the lady at the art shop today and there are enough of us signed up to continue taking the art class. They are offering it on Monday now, which is a day that works MUCH better for me. I'm really glad of the change from Wednesdays. I'm glad I can continue with the art class. There's something exciting about learning a new skill. I'm just as happy learning about drawing as I was learning how to drive a bus. Yes, I have managed to learn how to drive a school bus, and can parallel park one on either the right or left side of the street even! I like learning.

I don't quite know what kind of physical breakthrough I've experienced, but I continue to feel some better today. That's two days in a row now! I still have limited energy, and will have to get a friend to drive me to Atlanta for a dental visit because even if I could drive all the way there, I'd be so exhausted I couldn't drive myself back home. I have a tooth that is threatening to break, so I want to get it looked at before it's a crisis. I'm thrilled to be feeling so much more like myself. Now, if I could just get rid of the thrush!

I hope you and those you love are well this day.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Yellow Air

The pollen count today was over 1700. Now this may not sound impressive, but it's considered "extremely high" when it's anything over 300. It is not an exaggeration to say that the air is yellow. It really is.

Bought a planter and some plants today on the way home from having lunch with a good friend. I introduced her to my strange hobby, geocaching. We had fun talking about looking for treasure using a global positioning system receiver.

I talked to MD Anderson today, and they couldn't send me my pathology report until I sent them a release of information form! How rediculous is that! They can't tell ME the results of their examination of MY tissue, until I send them my signature saying that I will allow them to send the information to ME! Is that like the most stupid thing you've ever heard? I think it's a gross misinterpretation of HIPPA. Anyway I should get that information sometime now that I know about the dang form!

I've contacted the lady that does the fittings for fake boobies, and am working on getting an appointment with her.

Hope you're having a great day, I'm happy to report that I had a pretty perky day. It feels awfully good to be able to say that too. I have not felt this perky in a long, long time.-

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Jewel"s Christening

Eric said it was "The Clampets Go to Church." I don't think it was quite that, but it was definitely interesting with a rowdy 3-year-old and a little baby that has found her voice! Jewel makes a sound something akin to a tom cat right now while she's experimenting with her voice. And so she was meowing like crazy all through the service. We'd have removed her from the service, but it was HER service. She needed to be there!

She was able to be christened in the family christening gown. It has a ribbon run through it and it's been a blue ribbon for the last 47 years since it was blue for my brother's christening in 1962 and then blue for Liam in 2005. For Jewel we got to take the blue out and put a pink ribbon in. What was really sweet was to find little bits of the pink ribbon left from my christening -- and presumably the christening of both my mother and her sister. We really don't know how old the gown is, but it has the potential for being something like 75 - 100 years old. It's a nice bit of family continuity.

Jenn's daddy was a minister that STRONGLY believed that one didn't make one's baptism until one was old enough to choose it. Infant baptism was totally against his beliefs, and so, regretfully, Jenn was not christened in the gown, but she has lovingly place her imprint on it by putting the pink ribbon in for Jewel and washing it and storing it for future generations of babies.

We had a lovely, lovely celebration lunch at Eric's parents' home. Jenn's other two sisters came, as well as some other friends of theirs. It was a lovely celebration.

I was struck by the language in the baptismal covenent. Although Jenn's dad would have troubles with the service and the idea of infant baptism, I suspect he could go right along with the wording of the several promises we make on behalf of little Jewel. They are strong words that we don't often hear in the Episcopal church, but I like how we affirm them: "I will with God's help." The promises are big ones. "Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons?" Who can do that without the help of something bigger than themselves? I hope that the love that surrounded both Liam and Jewel today, will be something they can cherish and share with others throughout their lives.

Hazel, our priest, attempted to give a sermon (above the din of the Clampet children) today about the enduring qualities of people. How after someone goes on to larger life, you can still catch yourself seeing them or their manerisms in other people. I thought it was nice to have that to hold on to as I thought about the grandparents, the great-grandparents and all the "family" that could not be at the christening for their transition to larger life. I can see some of my dad in Liam, so my dad is still with me. I see some of Jenn's father in Liam, so her daddy is still with her in a way. I'm sure if I knew more about Eric's loved ones, I could perceive them in Liam or Jewel too. It's just about keeping the treasure of those who've gone on and seeing them here in the present. It's a good reminder that it's more than a genetic heritage, but one of the heart and mind too that we carry along with us as well.

I'll post more when I'm not so tired. Thanks to all the people who made today special. Apologies to the choir member that Jewel barfed on. ;) What can you do?

Thanks to those who have used the link to Jenn's website for the 3-day walk. Your generosity of spirit and money is a blessing today as well.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Big Day Tomorrow

Tomorrow is Jewel's christening. Lots of excitement. Lots of getting ready. Jewel will be wearing a gown that is a family heirloom. The last time it had pink ribbon on it was for my christening in 1952.

Today I did Betty's shopping and had lunch with a long time friend. It was good to get together and just laugh and eat and talk. I got very tired after just these two things though. I continue to be frustrated by my lack of endurance. I blew out most of my energy on Wednesday and am having a hard time coming back. And I was beginning to feel optimistic about how my energy was "coming back." Bah!

There is a new link up on the right hand side that takes you to Jenn's official web page for the Atlanta 3-day. Should you be inclined to donate to her fund-raising I know she will appareciate it, and so will I. The support group I attend has applied to Susan G. Komen for a grant to have a cancer rehab center (much like hospitals have cardic rehab centers) so that folks in the process of treatment, and maybe a little shy about their bodies, would have a safe place to exercise. I hope the grant gets funded. But it shows how Komen money comes to our communities.

Arthritis, my arm (cracking like popcorn) and general grumpiness at all the aches and pains I have presently is definitely a happening thing.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Yoga Friday -- Laying Low

I went to yoga today for the first time in weeks! If I haven't been going to get drained, then the yoga instructor has been off, or I've been sick or just stuff. So today was a not-so-easy-yoga session. Between my arthritis and general grumpiness, I was ready to cry and go home about 20 minutes into yoga, convinced that I was a big wuss. Then, I just decided that it was my attitude and I could change it if I chose to. So I started smiling (like a fool) with the objective that if you smile sometimes you finally get to feeling less burdened. Then we got into a discussion about finding the "delight" in the yoga instead of the pain, and I got tickeled, and just kept chuckling every time I found more "delight." I made it through the whole session.

After yoga I ran by the mobile vet clinic and paid for a kitty that my next door neighbor and I are co-owning. She is a sweet little black kitty that unfortunately was knocked-up by the time we decided she was old enough to get spayed. She is now recooperating over at the neighbor's house and in a few days will feel perky again and if she can stay away from the roads around here, she'll have worked a good deal between the two of us. Her name is Thelma. She came up to my door around Christmas and I'd been calling her Christmas, but Thelma makes more sense. In my experience, kitties get over their operations quicker than people ever thought of doing. I hope she does too.

Eric saw the hand specialist today, and it turns out that he recommended no surgery or "setting" or any kind of repair. He taped his ring finger to the little finger to stabilize it and put on an air splint, and told him to come back in a week. Eric says it's already feeling better, and that he's a lot more relieved to know he doesn't have to face surgery next week!

After yoga today, I went home to rest. I WAY overdid things yesterday. Which wouldn't have been so bad, except I stretched things pretty far the day before. So today I had to rest or I'd have fallen apart. I took some beads that I'd bought a long time ago and made them into jewelry. I'm very pleased with my new earrings. :) Between yoga and making jewelry that's all I've been able to handle today.

I hope you and all those you love are well today.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Weight Watchers -- One Week Later

OK, so I joined WW for the first time in about 25 years. The last time I was in WW I had to be OBSESSED with food in order to lose any weight. I did it religiously for 6 months with less than spectacular results. This week I weighed in and had lost 3.6 pounds. And...I had cheated and eaten some things definitely NOT on the points list. We'll see if it continues or not. I'm generally not very optimistic about changing my body due to numerous failures in the past.

I'm not a totally happy camper today. I woke up this morning with an acute arthritic event. My back, feet and hands are all very sore and painful. Some joints are so incredibly sensitive! I'm hoping it will remit soon. I also have problems with my left shoulder. It's hurting and definitely OUT. I'm beginning to think I need to make an appointment with the ortho I saw before my surgery. Tonight, while resting, I heard a BIG CRACK again, and some of the stress and pain I was feeling diminished. I have no idea what's happening with this joint.

As if that wasn'tenough, it appears that getting a cold this past week lowered my immune system enough AGAIN, that I have thrush. I've done difulucan, nystatin, AND magic. It keeps coming back. I think, "By NOW my immune system must be getting more healthy." Clearly it's still fragile though.

Biofreeze (super Bengay-type stuff), asprin, and rest are my friends at this point.

It's chilly today, after a wonderful, sunny day yesterday. (No wonder I have a cold.) Tomorrow we are told to expect very nasty thunder and rainshowers. So much for getting to enjoy my outdoor furniture!

It's very uncomfortable to be in my skin presently. I did a little clothing shopping today. I don't get into D'ville often and so I had the opportunity to go the the local fat lady clothing store, and look for a few things that work with this refurbished body. Boobs make clothing fit better. Not having boob makes clothing fit weird, lay weird, look weird, and I have to be very conscious of how low any neckline is because I'm figuring most people aren't interested in seeing (a) my fake boobies, or (b) my scars. So, I'm having to rework my wardrobe a bit and get some different styles of clothing that accommodate this body. I can't get the REALLY good fake boobies until all my fluid has been absorbed on the right side. I'm still making do with foam fake boobies that are just lightweight pieces of foam held in a bra-like holder. Unfortunately without any weight to hold them down, they tend to creep upward, more upward, a little more upward -- until I'm feeling like I have a strange buldging neck scarf instead of fake boobs. These foam boobs also are too small and are not in proportion with my body size. The sillouette just isn't "right." Maybe my visual esthetic is such that I'm just used to seeing myself in a certain size, but I'm thinking the really good boobies just have to be bigger in order to get the right sillouette and have my clothing fit right. I don't much care about esthetic nor am I attempting to disguise the fact that I don't have boobs of my own anymore. Getting replacements allows things to look more nature and to fit better. Ugg, I think I might be rambling.

Eric see's the ortho tomorrow for his hand. I'm going to try and go to yoga. I did TOO much today, so yoga is IT for me tomorrow. I need to rest some.

I hope you and those you love are well.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

24 Hours in the Life of My Daughter

Jeeezzzzzz. After work yesterday I met Jenn and Eric and Liam (I had Jewel) and we had dinner together out. A nice treat. Just before getting dinner, Jenn learned that one of her half-sister's, C., was about to undergo an emergency appendectomy. Everyone was shocked and very concerned. So off Jenn and Jewel went to see about her sis, who is now home and recuperating. I feel for her a LOT because she is doing the single mom gig and has two children and less support than I had when my kid was little, and now she has to deal with a sudden medical emergency. I'm so sorry, C.

This morning I checked in with Jenn about some things and it turns out she and Eric were at an orthopaedist's office waiting to see the doc because he broke his hand! See above picture. You don't need a medical degree to figure out what is wrong here! He's very cool about it, like it's no big deal. See above picture. It's a BIG deal! He has to go back to see a special hand orthopaedist on Friday. I think the fix here is a big "ouch." :(

Jewel at the tender age of 3-1/2 months has spent so much time in SOME doctor's office that she should grow up to be a doctor herself!

Today in art class we had a lesson in how to draw/illustrate/imagine an Asian-style picture using a bamboo brush and black ink. It was cool. I didn't think I'd be able to do anything much with it, but the minimalist style ended up being attractive to me and I ended up with some pretty decent work. I'll post a picture another time. It accidentally went home with someone else, so when I get it back, I'll scan it.

I went to pottery for a couple hours and had a good time doing some tiles to potentially sell to help Jenn get her funds for the 3-day walk in October. She has to raise $2200!!! I also made a plate, that I hope I can get done in time to give to a kind friend later this month.

My very kind next-door neighbor helped me to assemble a new outdoor table tonight. THAT really winded me! But I now have a really nice outdoor table and I already had the umbrella. I have a small glider and a few outdoor chairs now and some small side tables that make a nice conversation group. I am glad to have a spot that is amenable to some leisure outside. So if you're in the area and want to drop by and sit for a bit, I now have a spot to do that!

Hope your day has been better than C. & Eric! Everyone get well!