Apr. 30: “Tell me about the rabbits, George”

This post starts with a warning: Loveliest Lori, consider not reading it.

When I came downstairs this morning, the cat was trying to work her way behind a storage box on a shelf under my desk. She had already pulled out one box and dumped it over—of course, it was the one full of miscellaneous USB cables, cords and chargers, and messy as could be—and wouldn’t stop meowing at whatever she thought was behind those boxes.

I ignored her. Millie frequently meows at spots she wants to get into, thinking they’ll be good places for a snooze. I used to move things out of her way and she’d jump into the spot, sit down for three seconds and jump back down, then find another place at which to meow. I got tired of rearranging the furnishings for her, and she has, for the most part, stopped asking.

But this morning she wouldn’t let up. She kept trying to squeeze in behind the boxes, meowing and crying and scratching, no matter how much we told her to stop. Finally, Victor pulled a large box off a shelf and she sat in its place. We thought she was satisfied and got back to the busy-ness of our morning.

Not a minute later I heard Vic yell GOOD GOD! and I looked over toward the sliding glass door, where I saw a little mouse running along the frame with Millie close behind. Mice don’t bother me—in fact, I think they’re adorable—but I certainly don’t want random ones running around loose in my house. However, mice give Vic the heebie-jeebies and he immediately started to find something with which to trap it. We both watched as Millie chased it back and forth along the window frame, and when they moved away from it, he made the smart move of opening the sliding glass door. The mouse was all THANKS, DUDE! and hopped right out (super cute-like, if you ask me). Millie was right behind, of course, and as soon as Vic closed the door again, she picked up the mouse and scratched to be let back in.


He wouldn’t let her back in, of course, so she took the mouse down onto the lawn, where she played a lenniesmalllittle  catch-and-release, rolled around and smooshed the little critter. She’s very Lennie Small with her catches, and when Jack did a close-up check a few minutes later he said the mouse was laying in the grass with its feet in the air.

What might have happened:

We have a mouse problem again and Millie caught the mouse inside the house.

What I choose to believe happened:

Millie caught the mouse outside, where she does all her hunting, and brought it indoors to show us. We do not have a mouse problem. We don’t! We don’t!

Whatever it is, we’ve now got one pissed off kitty wandering around the house, crying for her fun toy. The milk jug caps just aren’t gonna cut it for entertainment anymore.

Hey, Lori—coming to our house for a visit any time soon? smiley

Apr. 30: IDCEAYWTPFriday

friday Time again for I Don’t Care Enough About You to Write in Transitioning Paragraphs Friday.

  • I kind of resent the Blazer game when it pre-empts my favorite Thursday night TV shows. There, I said it.
  • Today’s a cram-packed day. I’ve got Rex Reader stuff to do at school, then a volunteer training session to run, then coffee with a friend, and then setup for Teacher Appreciation Week, the busy-ness of which begins Monday. In between those things I’m printing out a bazillion different types of tickets and labels and banners and signs and announcements for next week. My printer ran out of ink last night, so I also need to squeeze in a trip to Office Depot. At least this is my week o’ energy. If I were try to do any of this on Monday I would probably collapse in tears.
  • I had chemo this week. Wrote all about it here.
  • One of our TiVos died the other night. The electricity blinked off for a second, and poor TiVo never recovered. It was the first one we ever got, and lasted a good many years, so I shouldn’t complain but I’m gonna. If you have a TiVo (or DVR) then you know how much it changes the way you watch TV. Adjusting to the old fashioned way is no fun, even for a few days. We’re planning to replace the dead TiVo soon.
  • You know what gets Sharpie off your fingertips? Hot glue burns! I advise you just take my word for it. Victor and I both got really nasty burns on our hands while working on Katie’s covered wagon project. The good thing is that the project is done and ready to be turned in this morning. She actually ended up doing more of it than it seemed she would in the beginning, so I think she can proudly submit it as her own work, or at least mostly so.
  • My cousin suggested I look for a picture of the first Saltmarsh brothers to come to Oregon so Katie could share some of her heritage at school. In the process, I found parts of a journal written by a woman (I think she was my great-great-great grandmother) while on a wagon train from Iowa to Oregon. It was really interesting to read through. Katie went NUTS with pride; it was very cute, like she had no idea anyone in her family ever traveled by covered wagon. Of course, then Vic went on about how HIS family came over on boats, where they had plenty of room and didn’t have to burn buffalo chips for firewood. Those snobby Asians…
  • Saturday I’m having my makeup done and getting my pictures taken sans hair. I’m getting oh-so-nervous. I still haven’t decided what to wear, and I have no idea how these photos are going to look, and I’m totally completely freaking out over it. I really do feel like this is something I need to do for myself, though, and if nothing else, someday down the line my baldy pictures will be good for a laugh. Right? Laughing’s good. Wish me luck.
  • Speaking of the camera, I’ve been threatening to take pictures of myself like this for a long time, and finally got around to it. Let this to be a lesson to children everywhere: someone who wears their wig sideways and cannot apply lipstick well is someone to avoid. 

  • Something else I learned this week: y’know that long-wearing lipstick that lasts all day and won’t come off no matter what unless that matter is Vaseline? Well, if the only red lipstick one has is long-wearing lipstick, and one wants to wear said lipstick for a very brief time, one should make sure one has Vaseline in one’s possession before one smears said lipstick all over one’s mouth or one will be wearing said lipstick for a much longer time than one originally planned. (‘Twas a scary few moments until I finally located the Vaseline.)
  • Today is National Hairball Awareness Day. How are you celebrating? If you can’t think of anything, check out the Wikipedia page on hairballs—you can see pictures of hairballs! Which are not really ball-like at all! And you can read about humans who eat their own hair and then have to have it surgically removed from their intestinal tract! How better to celebrate a holiday such as this one?

Have a delightful weekend, my lovelies!

Apr. 29: Put your camera where your mouth is

You know how much we hate cancer ‘round here, right? I desperately need help with this fight, and if you’re wondering what you can do, here’s a reminder:

send me a picture of you dancing around a pole or pole-like object!

I’ve collected photos of friends dancing around legs of dangerous wild animals, bristlecone pine trees (ouch, brave Dana!), playground equipment, rifles, and actual IV poles (which is how this all started, thanks to Kim F’n), among other unusual items. It doesn’t matter what it is. It also doesn’t necessarily have to be YOU in the photo—it can be your pets or your kids or your one-legged nana if you’ve got one. It doesn’t even matter if I’ve never met you personally, because this is the thing:

if you hate cancer, I want proof!

Here’s an IV pole dancing picture I took of Kathy at Chemo #8 the other day and forgot to include in my post. See, I have a folder in which I’ve been storing all of your pole dancing photos, and for some reason I filed that one away immediately. Silly me. I started to text-scream at Kathy this morning for not emailing it with the other pictures from that day, after all I’ve done for her or somethin’ like that to make her feel guilty, and then I thought to check my Pole Dancers Extraordinaire! folder. There it was. And here it is:

See how much fun she’s having? Wouldn’t you like to try it out and see how much fun pole dancing can be for you as well? Hey, if I’ve got Adventist pastors sending me pole dancing photos of themselves, I think you can play along too.

Remember, you don’t need an actual IV pole; it only has to be something on which you can wrap your leg around. Sparkles are good too. And sure, I’ll give you extra points for creativity, but mostly I just want to see that you hate cancer. Trust me, pole dancing is waaaay less painful and less awkward and less embarrassing and less humbling than getting a Brazilian bikini wax and/or a tattoo, according to y’all who’ve gotten one, plus you won’t have to get on all fours (unless you really, really want to, in which case it’d be best for your photo to arrive in a brown paper wrapper, thanks).

If certain people don’t take me seriously about this request, I may just enlist the help of Kim F’n to strong-arm you into posing and you do NOT want that girl after you. She can carry a refrigerator under each arm, or so the legend goes.

Email your full-resolution photos to jennifer-at-manullang-dot-com. Eventually I will put my collection in an awesome collage à la this one. Right now I have the photo below selected to be the collage centerpiece. It’s a variation on pole dancing that surely makes parents everywhere proud as can be:

I was given permission to post this, um, “pole dancing” photo, but I’m quite sure this departure from the more traditional style of pole dancing is exactly why many of my friends’ husbands have forbidden them to send me pictures. Please assure any extra-cautious spouses that pole dancing does not have to be naughty, although Kathy might argue that it’s more fun if it is. She’s probably right.

Don’t make us assume you love cancer. You don’t love cancer, do you???


Thanks. smiley_face

Apr. 29: Thursday Thunks #5

thursdaythunks I haven’t participated in Thursday Thunks for a very long time. Part of the reason is the creators include themselves in a lot of the questions and I don’t know much about them, so I feel like an outsider trying to play along. This time I took out the questions that didn’t make much sense to me or I didn’t feel like answering. Hey, I can play by my own rules, right?

  1. It seems that there are several very popular memes each day of the week. Which meme did you first become a regular of?
    The first one I participated in regularly was Thursday 13, which I haven’t done in ages. It’s hard to think up 13 anythings, much less make them interesting for others to read. However, if not for Thursday 13 I never would have met Jen E of MommaBlogsALot and my life would be much less bloggy-friendy. smiley_face
  2. Tell us about your pets. Do you have one that you wish would run away?
    is our beagle, our baby, our first love. She turned 13 years old last week. Scout is a typically bark-y beagle, and it’s a lot worse now that she’s almost completely deaf. Over the years she’s become quite naughty, constantly trying to steal food and occasionally having accidents in the house. But she’s still the cuddliest, lovey-est girl there ever was.
    Casey is a rat terrier who came to us as a stray. She’s incredibly insecure and sticks to me like glue, probably because I was the first one in the family to whom she bonded. She’s really friendly to adults but sometimes gets freaked out by little kids and has been known to snap at a few—personally, I think she’s just got a really accurate evil detector. She also hates other dogs—she definitely lived the first part of her life in a single-pet household. One of the funniest things about Casey is that when my sister visits she stares at her non-stop, like she’s keeping an eye on her not to steal stuff. Ha!
    Millie is our kitty, and she’s nearly two years old now. She’s sweet as can be. Loves to sit on my shoulder, and if I don’t pick her up and put here there, she’ll jump up on her own. She thinks Victor is her food source and meows at him if he goes anywhere near her food.
    All our critters are funny, sweet girls. I would cry my heart out if any of them ran away.
  3. What was the last thing colored red that you wore?
    I think I wore a red shirt on Saturday. Yeah, I’m pretty sure I did.
  4. I have a train that runs by where I live several times a day. I actually find it peaceful. What’s the longest journey that you have taken by train?
    I rode Amtrak from Pendleton to Denver and back when I was in college. I’m not sure I’d do it again without a sleeper room or someplace a little more comfy and private. It was relaxing but I got a little stir-crazy because it was something like a 35-hour trip.
  5. If reincarnation really happens, whose life would you like to know that you have already led?
    I love the idea of being some kind of noble, honorable person who made a mark on history. Most likely, though, I was a badger or something else asshole-y.
  6. What are your three favorite possessions?
    My iPhone, laptop, and car. They are what connect me to my friends and family and the outside world. I don’t know if I can say they’re my favorite, really, but they’re definitely the things I use most and appreciate very much.
  7. A lot of people still believe that Elvis is alive. Have you ever worn blue suede shoes?
    I’ve had navy blue leather shoes with a bit of suede on them. Does that count? I think it counts.
  8. Do you have siblings? If yes, are you anything alike?
    One seester. Our sense of humor is very similar. We both have a huge sense of devotion to our friends, families and each other. Personality-wise, though, we’re pretty different.

What is THURSDAY THUNKS? Thursday Thunks (TT) is a blog meme for those who need a little kick in the butt to find something to post about. Your blog posts/answers to TT’s can be type or pictures, doesn’t matter! YOU pick, not us, we just give you the assignment (yep, just like English class... only we won’t grade your spelling and grammar).

Please play along in a comment or your own blog!

Apr. 28: Napping together

The other day’s awesome thing was #518 napping with someone else. I’m a little late.

Jam your elbows in that stomach, breathe in those shampoo fumes, and squeeze your knees into the puffy cushions while spooning into a quick catnap on the couch. As drool drips, skin warms, and a slippery sweatfilm slides between you, just smile, close your eyes, and fade into a quiet cuddly moment with someone you love.


Ah, wouldn’t this be lovely? Unfortunately, this is impossible for me and Victor because his snores register on the Richter scale. Our naps together are much less cuddling and smiles than they are shoves and punches and strangulations and stomping off so I can find peace and quiet in a room far, far away.

For us, not so awesome.

Apr. 28: Chemo #8… is it over, Rover?

I hope yesterday was my last chemo. We won’t know for a while. Here’s the deal:

I’m having a CT/PET scan on Tuesday, May 4. It’s not being done in Victor’s department like all of my other CTs, because they don’t have a PET machine. Instead, I’m going to a doctor’s office to have the scan done, which means a radiologist in that location could very well be the one to read and report on it, which means I won’t get the results of the scan until my appointment with my oncologist on the afternoon of May 11. Even if I get the scan results before that, I won’t know what Dr. O will want to do with them until I see her on the afternoon of May 11. I’m being very specific because what this all means, Mother Mary!, is that if you call me after my scan on May 4 to see if OJ is still hangin’ around, I will not have an answer because I will not know and I might even scream at you for increasing my anxiety level. Ye be warned. Also, I love you for being concerned. ♥

Anyway, my appointment with Dr. O before chemo yesterday was uneventful. Nothing new. One good thing was that I didn’t need the Neulasta like she had planned to give me; my white blood cell counts “looked great.” I guess I’ve been lucky not to need the Neulasta at all yet, really, because it has some nasty side effects that I definitely don’t want on top of the other chemo crap. So, y’know, whew.

Kathy arrived while I was in with Dr. O. When Victor left the room to bring her in, I got up from my chair and tried to pull out the table’s stirrups and get in them quickly, but I couldn’t figger ‘em out! I don’t think they get used very much in that office, but wouldn’t it have freaked out Kathy good to walk in and see me like that??? Anyway, it was so great to see her face-to-face (as opposed to face-to-nethers)! She decided the day’s theme was “It’s Over, Rover!” and did her best to make us bark ‘n stuff. I was not so into the barking, but I was ALL OVER the dog treats and belly rubs! I felt extra-tired yesterday, and Kathy was tired from getting up in the middle of the night for her flight to Portland, so you’d think we would’ve just lounged all day quietly. You’d think wrong. We were good and noisy. (Mostly Kathy.) We even squeezed in some photography:

I like to call this picture “Damn, I miss my eye hair”

Even with Kathy’s jabbering, I did sneak in a quick fake nap in which I worked up some drool that totally grossed out my nurse. Soooo worth it.

This is quite possibly my least flattering angle. Me no likey. The drool doesn’t help either, I know, but at least it distracts from all some of my chins.

And lastly, here’s Victor pretending to tolerate all my demands and like me:

I love his smile. Still, I will call this picture “Damn, I DO really, really miss my eye hair”

Kathy presented me with some fun goodies; one is a book from which I’ll be sharing in future blog posts because it is AWESOME—very inspiring and uplifting and kinda bossy but in a good way. Mostly, though, it was just super-fab to have my big sister there with me. I like her kind of more than anyone.

Thank you to all of you who texted, emailed, and Facebooked me throughout the day! I love getting those little reminders that you care, and they continue to lift me and make me smile, and I soooo need that right now. This whole cancer thing seems to have gotten even more challenging in the past week, even when I haven’t thought it possible. Grrr.

Here’s what Kathy had to say about our day together on her blog this morning:

I just returned late last night from Portland, Oregon where I was honored to be with my sister for her last scheduled chemo treatment. She truly was a champ, all bandaged up in pink, signing thank you notes (which I will mail out shortly) and staying awake even during the slow, steady hum o' my incessant yammerin'. Jen had a great chemo party last time when I named it ROCK STAR CHEMO and she got all sorts of rockstar everything for her chemo party! This last appt was unofficially IT'S OVER, ROVER cuz, well, hopefully it is!! If I had been there when she walked out afterward, I would have serenaded her with WHO LET THE DOGS OUT, WOOF WOOF WOOF-WOOF. And while I try to stay positive and not get too pissed at her painless brazilian and to-die-for assortment of cute hats and wigs, I am reminded of the negative side of all that is happening. I mean, for cripes' sake, TAKE OUT LUNCH ON CHEMO DAY???? Hasn't she suffered enough??

What a windy, curvy, sometimes confusing road with lots of speed-bumps! My friends and me, we have so much to be grateful for. I love the way we find stuff to laugh at in the face of this monster who is powerless to our fixation with remission. Yesterday while Jennifer and I were complaining that the chemo room had no internet available, Jen said "If we're lucky, I'll still have cancer next year when they finally get wi-fi!!" Cooooool. :-) (Lesson here is only get cancer where wi-fi is available. Makes facebooking and online shopping so much easier.)

‘Twas a good day. Once again, I had way more fun at chemo than cancer wanted me to. HA! We are kicking cancer’s ass so big and so bad. As Kim F’n says, “Buh-bye, OJ!”

Apr. 25: Wagon ho ←(me)

coveredwagon Once upon a time, about 25 years ago, I had to make a covered wagon for a history project. My dad took me shopping for a model kit and miniatures, and I set to work. And by “I,” I mean that my dad let me hold the glue while he did all the work until he said I was holding the glue wrong and made me leave. This was not my choice—I wanted to make the wagon myself—but he was quite certain I would do something wrong so he wouldn’t let me touch it. I remember feeling a little weird about turning it in with my name on it; it really should have said “Curt,” and Mr. T-Bury would’ve given Dad the A.

Times have changed. I was in high school when I made that history project, and now my daughter is in fourth grade making a covered wagon. Is it just in Oregon that kids gets this assignment? If so, I’d rather be schooled in California where we could make dioramas of the Donner Party feasting on their friends.

(By the way, did you hear the latest on the Donner Party? Researchers don’t think they ate each other after all. Such a disappointment, that news.)

Katie brought home her assignment details a couple weeks ago, and although I looked online for a model kit right away, I didn’t order anything because I planned to buy something locally. Little did I know that covered wagon model kits aren’t easy to find anymore—not shoebox size, anyway. There’s an itty-bitty dumb one that just about every hobby shop has, but it’s about 4x6x2 and the tag might as well say “for wiener kids only,” it’s so lame.

The project is due on the 30th, and knowing this could take some time, I wasn’t going to wait until the last minute. I spent most of Friday making phone calls and driving around Portland looking for covered wagon kits. I eventually gave up, so the four of us spent yesterday making phone calls and driving around Portland looking for covered wagon supplies. It was the least fun we’ve all had together in a long time. At one point Katie said, “Why do Jack and I have to be here too?” and I thought Vic might reach back and strangle her right there in the car. I would not have stopped him.

This morning Victor, Katie and I sat around the kitchen table with all our parts and pieces and glue guns and balsa wood and dowels and other covered wagon supplies and got started. Katie lasted a few minutes before she quietly moved over to the family room to watch TV. Within an hour she was in the neighbor’s backyard, playing on the swings. Vic and I asked WHERE THE HELL IS KATIE? just a couple times and then decided the project was easier without her.

We are not the kinds of parents who do our kids’ homework, and we are not the kinds who insist on “helping” the way my dad “helped” me by temporarily allowing me to hold the glue for him. But we also aren’t about to let our accident-prone kid use a saw or a hot glue gun, or get an F because her project is a total shit-pile of balsa wood and muslin. Is this really a suitable assignment for a fourth-grader? Are those sneaky teachers just testing the parents?

The covered wagons are always displayed in the library, and it’s been very obvious to me in years’ past which kids had a lot of parental “input.” Some wagons definitely looked like they were made from model kits or with the help of a skilled carpenter; the ones at the other end of the spectrum were mostly cardboard and staples. Those are the ones that other parents point at while laughing derisively. Well, the bad parents do. I’ve seen them. I’ve been them.

Katie told us she’d already made a first aid kit for her wagon, and when she showed it to me, I saw it was a tiny piece of paper on which she’d drawn a red plus sign. I knew then that she’d need as much help with the contents as she needed with the wagon itself. Grrr. She is amazed at the ideas I’ve come up with for different ways of representing typical wagon train supplies. I’m all, HEY KID, I’VE DONE THIS BEFORE.

(Well, I kinda have.)

I know, I know… somebody’s getting back at me for not really doing my own covered wagon homework 25 years ago. And my dad is probably watching me from on high (or low), still cursing at me to just give him the glue, go away, and let him do it all by his own damn self.

Apr. 23: IDCEAYWTPFriday

just because. Time again for I Don’t Care Enough About You to Write in Transitioning Paragraphs Friday.

  • ‘Twas a busy week. I spent the entire day at school Monday. I worked for a while yesterday. I can’t remember what I did in between. Oh wait, I do remember! I met Kim F’n for lunch… went to a PTO meeting… cleaned off my desk… re-did the color scheme on my blog… napped… celebrated—or more specifically, remembered—Scout’s 13th birthday… got the school’s volunteers database up-to-date… watched Dreamgirls 17 times… there wasn’t time for much else.
  • Sunday is the fourth annual Olivia Medici Memorial Run. We won’t be participating this year, but I’m going to stop by to see Annalee for a quick minute. It’s always a very special gathering at the run, and a good fundraiser for a worthy cause.
  • Next Tuesday is my eighth chemotherapy treatment. I’ve gone back and forth over whether I should celebrate as though it’s my last one, but we won’t know if I’m done for sure until at least a week after it’s over. So here’s what I’ve decided to do: we’re going to call it my last chemotherapy treatment of this regimen. That means if O.J. still shows up on my scan on May 4, and I have to start a new chemo regimen, I won’t be totally bummed out for celebrating for no reason. Besides, with my sister coming from Colorado for the day, how can’t I make it a party??? So here’s the deal: if you want to come by and join the Jen’s Last Chemo celebration, please do! I won’t force you to do an IV pole dance for me, but it sure would be nice if you offered… You can email me for the location, or look for the info once I post it on my Facebook page.
  • I missed the entire Law & Order: SVU marathon on Tuesday. And I’m still alive! I know, I can almost not even believe it either. If there’s another one on this weekend, I’ll have my giant arse parked in front of the TV fer sure.
  • I got a new desk chair at IKEA and I think it’s the cause of my recent back pain. Doesn’t that suck? It has good lumbar support, so I’m not sure what’s bad about it, but I can’t sit in it for very long at a time without being really uncomfortable. It’s still better than my other chair though—that one made all my hair fall out.
  • (Sometimes I draw unfair conclusions.)
  • I kinda can't believe I'm posting this photo of myself with no eye hair. I miss my eye hair. I also miss my nose hair and my head hair. I don't miss any other hair. I received some delightful surprises this week. Sherilee sent me homemade kettle corn (packed in styrofoam peanuts—like half tasty Cracker Jacks!). A department I contract with at the hospital sent me one of those delicious, fruity Edible Arrangements. Dan sent me a way-cool Yankees cap. It fights cancer, just like Pop Rocks. What a lucky girl I am, with such thoughtful friends!
  • On Monday, when Sunshine and I left the school for two seconds to do a Starbucks run, I ran into Lisa & Kevin Krueger! They were headed back to Walla² after visiting Kevin’s parents for the weekend. It was great to see them, though our visit was very brief. I like coincidences like that—they’re so much better than running into people you hate. smiley
  • So, last week I wrote that I thought Dreamgirls on stage was kinda ho-hum. I have since watched the movie—over and over and over—and I absolutely LOVE it. Love the music, love the cast, love the story. LOVE. Love.
  • There’s another big occasion coming up on May 2. A bunch of us are getting together at Bridgeport for an afternoon of Mike-bashing food and fun. Larry’s coming all the way from Spokane, Mike (“Mr. Devitt” if you’re nasty) is flying in from Boise for the day, Kim is hurrying back from a girlie weekend in Bend, and I’m driving from… the other side of town. We’re hope-hope-hoping that Loveliest Lori will also be along. If you know any of those people and want to meet up with us, let me know—you won’t be sorry. For reals. We’re awesome.
  • Lastly, this picture made me smile today (thanks, Mom!):

Apr. 22: A human pillow

Today’s awesome thing is #520 When a baby falls asleep on you.

You’re a human pillow.

Feel that tiny heart beating on your chest, that strawberry-sized hand gripping your finger, and those baby powder breaths softly whispering in and out…

When you were a little baby you fell asleep on people all the time, too. Now that you’re all grown up you’re helping another life on its way.

And just think: One day way off in the distance this softly sleeping snuggler will be doing the exact same thing.


Some of my favorite pictures of our kids are of them sleeping on us—or someone, anyway. Here are the ones I could find (these were all taken before we got a digital camera, so they were all printed and scanned and that’s why they’re cropped all weird/bad and I apologize you have to see such awfulness but the pictures are still cute, right?):

 Scout, baby Katie and me – February 2000

 Katie and “Auntie” Debi Nelson – March 2000

 OK, this photo isn’t of anyone in our family, but I love it anyway.
This is Jason Neil, holding his brand new nephew, River – May 2000

 Jack and me, when he was just a few hours old – November 2001

 “Auntie” Debi again, this time with Jack.
He’s such a little cuddly bundle!
And isn’t Debi’s hair super-cute?  November 2001

Apr. 22: Simple reward

I’ve been semi-planning to throw a big party when I’m all done with this cancer thing, but lately I’ve been thinking I might just rather have a new diamond. I really, really, really like this one:

If I wore this little 18-carat beauty, people probably wouldn’t even notice my lack of hair. And if they did, it wouldn’t be “so sad, that bald girl.” It’d be more like, “Huh? She didn’t have hair? Whatevs, did you see that rock?”

Don’t get me wrong, we can still have a party. You’ll all want to come see the ring, right?

Apr. 21: Super Terrific Happy Thing #13

happyturtle Here’s a new blog post type I’m gonna try once in a while because I need to remind myself more frequently of the joyous parts of life. I’ve decided to call it “Super Terrific Happy Thing” in honor of the Japanese show in which Jerry Seinfeld appeared for one second. He earned 12¢ royalty checks… so I’m starting at #13 (#1 was just too darn easy).

When I first pour my coffee in the morning and the mug is so heavy I have to hold it with both hands; it’s like holding a guaranteed 20 minutes of warm, life-giving contentment.

Pure super terrific happiness. smiley


Apr. 21: One word only

Stolen from Sherilee at Sweet Tea & Sunshine. Each question must be answered with one word.

  1. Your cell phone? iPhone
  2. Your hair? absent
  3. Your mother? sweet
  4. Your father? missed
  5. Your favorite food? potatoes
  6. Your dream last night? forgotten
  7. Your favorite drink? tea
  8. Your music? Broadway
  9. Your dream/goal? remission
  10. What room are you in? family
  11. Your hobby? beading
  12. Your fear? losing
  13. Where do you want to be in six years? here
  14. Where were you last night? bed
  15. Something that you aren’t? thirsty
  16. Muffins? banana
  17. Wish list item? vacation
  18. Where did you grow up? Portland
  19. Last thing you did? clicked
  20. What are you wearing? jammies
  21. Your TV? old
  22. Your pets? silly
  23. Friends? many
  24. Your life? happy
  25. Your mood? blue
  26. Missing someone? always
  27. Vehicle? Jetta
  28. Something you’re not wearing? mascara
  29. You? tired
  30. Your favorite store? IKEA
  31. Your favorite color? navy
  32. When was the last time you laughed? today
  33. Last time you cried? today
  34. Your best friend? awesome
  35. One place that you go to over and over? school
  36. Facebook? fun
  37. Favorite place to eat? Paris

This was a fun one. Play along in a comment or on your own blog.


Apr. 19: Sad face.

Last night I wrote a big bummer of a post. I know I shouldn’t apologize for it, but I’m going to anyway because I didn’t mean to bum anyone else out; I just needed to get some stuff off my chest. All day today, though, I’ve been receiving concerned messages from family and friends, and while I so so sooo appreciate and treasure them, I hope you didn’t think I was asking for them by writing what I did.

Ever since I started keeping a journal in high school, I’ve been able to sort through thoughts and express myself better by writing things out. The words flow from my fingers, the manic editing polishes it up, and if the planets all align, I come out with something that’s helped me make some sense of my world. It’s usually a good thing, though not always painless.

Anyway, I didn’t mean to freak anyone out. I hate when people post stuff on Facebook that’s all “poor me!” because it’s so obvious (to me, anyway) that they’re just looking for attention. That was not at all my intention, to be one of those narcissistic weirdos. But I also feel like I should explain what triggered my bummer of a post. I couldn’t write about it last night. I tried, but it was incoherent and rambling and full of improper grammar. It was not my best work. But I think I’m ready now. Here’s how that post came to be…

A while ago, when I asked for pole-dancing pictures from y’all—which I’m still collecting, so keep sending them in!—I linked to a blog in which a woman’s husband had received a “Fuck Cancer!” poster with 240 pictures of Internet friends giving cancer the finger. Since then, I’ve read through her past couple years of posts with great interest, especially those in which she discusses her husband’s cancer fight. His diagnosis was Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma. That’s what I have. Last year he was said to be in remission, and then the lymphoma came back. He tried aggressive chemotherapy and was considering a number of options as of two weeks ago. The last thing I read on her blog was that he was home.

As I browsed through Twitters last night, I happened upon one that felt like a punch in the gut:

califmom: He’s gone. (2:56am April 18)

And that’s when I kinda lost it.

They were a loving couple with young children.

They were determined to kick cancer’s ass, together.

They had no reason to believe it couldn’t be done.

They had tremendous support from their family and friends.

They allowed their Internet audience to share in the cancer-fighting experience.

And then he died. They fought and fought, and he died anyway. There’s just no way around how completely unfair that is, how wrong that is, that this woman will now have to figure out how to live without her best friend at her side, and that their kids will have to go through all the huge milestones in their lives without their dad to celebrate with them.

I’ve cried a whole bunch in the past 24 hours for them, but I gotta be honest and say that a lot of those tears were for me and my family, too. I know that’s incredibly selfish, but it’s true. It’s just that this news scares the shit out of me. I’ve tried to stay upbeat, knowing that positive thinking is powerful and healing, but the fact is that it doesn’t necessarily make one bit of difference. I can fight-fight-fight!, diligently follow every one of the oncologist’s rules, and eat all the Pop Rocks I can get my hands on, but it doesn’t mean I’m coming out of this alive.

…and you thought my post last night was a bummer.


Apr. 19: Color and cheer

I’m gonna brag a little bit about some of the stuff in my front yard because it’s so pretty and I can’t keep it to myself. Right now we have huge red tulips, smaller yellow ones, a few pink ones, and some late-blooming daffodils, and they’re all contributing to brightening our front yard with springy-ness. There are also multicolored pansies, lots of bright green new growth on evergreen plants, the periwinkle is… well, periwinkle, and the dogwood tree has finally shown itself in all its glory. The bubbler fountain is running most of the time now, and our front yard has become a very cheery and pleasant place to me.

We bought our dogwood tree last year just after it had bloomed, so we weren’t sure what to expect from it this spring. Would the flowers be white? Pink? We watched eagerly as the little buds transformed into blossoms, but it’s just been in the past couple days that they’ve really opened up. Here’s how it’s looking after a few days of sunshine:


And here’s a close-up of a pretty little bloom:

Here it is with our fountain in the foreground:

I just love this little tree. I’m so pleased with our very uneducated choice for that space.

Here’s the really fascinating plant in our front yard right now; it’s a Euphorbia Tiny Tim:

When you see this thing, it looks like tiny red flowers with tons of greenery, but close-up, the centers look like earwig heads. That would normally give me the willies, but I adore this goofy plant. It’s one of the oddest shrubs I’ve seen.

I am loving spring. LOVING IT.


Apr. 19: School day

I showed up at the school first thing this morning to help with our Rex Reader program. Sunshine’s in charge of it, and she got all bossy and told us what to do and where to go (such a meanie). For the kids who read 200 minutes or more in the last two weeks, we gave them these super-cool pins that say “PAW-some Reader!” around a wildcat (the school mascot) pawprint. Fancy Lori™ and I did the 5/6 grades and got all bossy by making the kids add up their own minutes. It was fun to play hardasses. At least we weren’t like Mean Dina, who wouldn’t give sweet little Alec a button EVEN THOUGH HE READ 200 MINUTES and then she made him cry and then she threw her head back and laughed her evil laugh at him. That’s pure, diabolical wickedness in Mean Dina.

It took just a few minutes to distribute the buttons, and then a bunch of us gathered in the conference room to put special wrappers around the candy bars that were being given to all the volunteers. This is volunteer appreciation week so we’re telling volunteers how much we appreciate them with cheap chocolate.

If it were up to me, about half the volunteers would get squat. I had to go through the database and generate a list of volunteers, and that was easy. But there’s a clipboard sign-in that way too many have been using INSTEAD of the computer—I find this infuriating because I have to enter all those sign-ins manually and it’ll take hours. Hours. Even more of them have not submitted the required paperwork and/or attended the volunteer training session required by the school district. But apparently rules do not apply to those people. They keep leaving me nasty notes that say they don’t have a nametag or aren’t in the computer, but it doesn’t seem to matter how many times I let them know they have to turn in paperwork and/or be trained; they don’t do those things, and they still complain.

I’m not supposed to hate people who willingly work for free, am I? But these people who don’t follow directions are making my life increasingly difficult. I talked to the principal—he’s the guy I have to answer to if I’ve allowed a volunteer to work without being processed properly—and he suggested a kind, firm note. I’m thinking a “P.S. Don’t make me knife you!” would be totally appropriate, too, because if history proves anything, I know this note will have little effect. Parents who ignore the required procedures will still show up to chaperone field trips, facilitate reading groups, and lead pencil sharpening seminars.

I’m just doing what I’ve been told I’m supposed to do. Why won’t they?

School was out by the time I left this afternoon; it was a very, very long volunteering day for me—properly trained, applied, and logged in, of course. Thank goodness I took that Starbucks break with Sunshine late this morning or I mightn’t have accomplished so much. Yay, me! And now I’m gonna strip off this bra and take a nap.



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