Monday, December 29, 2008

I feel like Keanu Reeves in The Matrix

There's a scene in one of the Matrix movies where the Keanu Reeves character  either catches and/or slows down bullets coming at him  at break-neck speed.  I felt like I cheated death, too, today when I got my "no news is good news" report regarding the state of my head. 

Lots of blood product where there used to be brain. 

When I get good news, or no bad news. I always hesitate to get too excited about it.

After all, the law of averages may kick in.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Happy Birthday Mom!

Today's my mom's birthday. She has sort of lost interest in celebrating them, but she is special to us, so we have forced the issue.

I cannot say enough great things about my mom. I obviously wouldn't be here without her. She has been a big support to me on my journey with my illness.  She is a woman of tough German stock, who is nurturing at the same time. In  her day, she was a heck of an athlete, could bat a softball out of the park, with a beer in one hand and a cigarette in her mouth.  That's tough.
I did not get the athletic genes.

She is also an artist and carpenter.  One of my favorite Christmas gifts as a little girl was a kitchen hutch, with table and chairs that she made with her own hands! She also drew a frame from a Peanuts cartoon freehand, and turned it into a jigsaw puzzle.

She raised to kids while going to nursing school and then working long hours as an RN.
Finally, she is beautiful, inside and out.

So here's to you, Mom! Happy Birthday!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

I'm Pregnant!

Now that I have your attention, I will explain the new baby in question-- is a kitten. Our son has wanted a cat since he visited his aunt and her cats, but we had hamsters and we're unclear as to whether our son is allergic (to cats).

The hamsters have gone to meet their maker, so we decided to explore the notion of adopting a kitten.

Thankfully, we found a place that will let you bring a cat back if things don't work out. But we are sincerely hoping we can keep her.

We will get the kitten Monday.  Her name is Sprite, a gray and white fur ball. When we had cats before, we had to find other homes for them, on account of the fact they were peeing on the carpet and we had a baby ready to crawl.

I would like to say for the record that I was not altogether on board with the adopt a kitty idea. I don't want our son to get attached to a pet we can't keep. I'm hoping for the best--that things will be different -- that we can be better pet owners than we were the first time.


Monday, December 22, 2008

Let it snow 2008

It looks like this will be our first very white Christmas in a long time.  Today we got some pictures our our son playing outside with his friend and her baby sister. As of this writing, we have 12 inches. Here is a slide show I made of 2008 snow.



Merry Christmas!
video

Sign Up For Total Drama Island!

 One of my son's favorite cartoons is called Total Drama Island.  It's like an animated version of Survivor.

His goal is to make enough money to buy an island and produce his own show there.  He plans to make the money by either playing lottery scratch-its or winning a puzzle called Eternity.

I wish him luck with that.

He's so confident of  his plan reaching fruition, that he's drawn up a contract for potential participants.  It goes something like this:

To get in, you must be 6-12 years old and do the following:
  1. Get a parent signature to let you go to an island for 12 weeks;
  2. make a video that is five minutes long and show your best skills (Simon, are you reading?);
  3. bring NO technology or pets;
  4. bring clothes and bedding and finally
  5. bring your drama!
If your audition is one of the best 20, you can go! Please give your tape to Austin Jones.

Here are the signature slips:

Dear Parents:
If you sign, your girl or boy will be gone for 12 weeks. For more info  you can call------and get your kids off your hands!  
____________________________
Signature

Also bring clothes and bedding and no tech whatsoever!

Sounds tempting doesn't it parents.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Eden--the plumber and fire-starter

Today's lesson, boys and girls, is on how NOT to treat your in-sink garbage disposal.  I learned this lesson the hard way. I was attempting to put coffee grounds down our disposal, when the sink started filling up with this brown sludge. I did what any intelligent person would do--I kept the water and disposal running.  

Then after about two minutes, I looked down below to find the pipes spewing coffee. I screamed for towels and buckets--and a number for a plumber.

The plumbers, even in the bad weather, came the next day. They installed new pipes and a garbage disposal, but not without giving me a lecture, and a $700 bill.

"Ma'am, I don't want to insult you or anything, but you shouldn't be putting coffee grounds down your disposer.  I mean, you can, but just a little at a time."

Now somebody tells me! My husband tells me the disposer is my Christmas present. That seems fair.

Meanwhile this was not my only kitchen disaster. I was making bacon and eggs for my son and his friend. I microwaved the bacon and put it aside. Then I fired up the pan to make the eggs, and the flame caught the paper towel on which the bacon was. Son and friend freaked, but I found everything I could to smother the fire and finally put it out.

You may think these are accidents, but really I'm just trying to get out of cooking Christmas dinner.


Friday, December 19, 2008

A 12-year-old's perspective of the opposite sex

Call me biased, but I find our nephew Simon quite entertaining.  He's an expert on a number of things--including surviving school dances. 

I was born a dork, and will probably die a dork, so at my first school dance, I wore purple headgear--yes purple--knee-highs and a band-aid on my knee.

SiGuy's first dance went better, but it still made an impact.  Watch as he gives advice.

Simon's other piece of wisdom--no "kissies" until 7th grade.

Stir Crazy After All These Snow Days

I remember when I used to like snow--many, many moons ago when I was a schoolgirl. I was always hoping we'd get a snow day, and thus, a day off school.

Now it's my boy's turn to be a kid.  "Three Weeks," he's been saying in reference to the the long Winter break  he is getting from school, due to the weather.  This includes one week of snow days, plus the previously scheduled time off for the holiday.

Yes, he has been out in the snow, playing with his neighbor sledding down our hill. He and his friend have actually been enjoying shoveling our (steep) driveway.

But when he's been inside, he has been going crazy, as have the rest of us. My husband grew up in a suburb of Chicago--bad weather central--so he just laughs at what we consider bad weather here in the Peoples Republic of Oregon. Nevertheless, he hasn't been out much.

As for me, if I'm going to go out, I do my best Clint Eastwood and ask myself, "Do you feel lucky, punk?"

Well, do you?


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Snow Day on Television

Once again, I was reminded of one of the reasons I left television news--snow.  Yes, snow.  About Wednesday of this week, the local news stations got in position, with their "storm teams" reporting on the "winter blast" that was coming--any day now.

That was four days ago. The snow actually came today--Sunday.

Mark my words, the day some weather forecaster said the word snow, some news director began telling rank and file staffers that they would have to work all day, even the A-list anchors. 

I'm watching the news yesterday morning--Saturday, and there's the A-team.  The weather forecaster looks like he wants a paper bag to put over his head.  He predicted snow beginning that morning.  A camera cuts to a live picture of a major highway. One of the anchors says with a bit of spite, "I don't see anything."

I laugh silently (yes, that's possible). Then the anchors "toss it" to a reporter literally on the street, or highway to be exact.  They say something like:

Wennison Baldald is standing by live at the top of Solisbury Hill--What's it like there,     Wen?

Baldald says something like: Well  Jack and Jill, It's cold on Solisbury Hill--about 40 degrees. As you can see, it's not snowing yet, but when it does, it will be a nightmare here.

Back to Jack and Jill: OK, thank you Wen.  Now let's go to Mountain Girl, who is standing 
by at The Lodge at Mount Crumpet, where it actually is snowing. We're told the ski season is expected to open, but if you go skiing today,  you'll face whiteout conditions and be risking your life. Mountain Girl, are you still alive?

Mountain Girl says:  Thank you Jack and Jill for your concern.  Yes, I'm still alive, but as you can see I'm as cold as hell, and my privates froze off about an hour ago. Please ask our boss what I did to deserve this.

Jack and Jill: Oh Mountain Girl, you didn't do anything wrong.  We do this to all the new hires. Stay warm in the blizzard conditions, Mountain Girl. Weather Geek is here with the very latest on our "arctic blast".  So WG, when will we see the blizzard conditions that Mountain Girl just spoke about.

Weather Geek:  Well Jack and Jill, I've been studying the computer models and looking at satellite pictures and I can tell you for certain--that I have NO CLUE. It all depends on where you live. May I add that I have one of the few jobs where I can be wrong and still get paid. Back to you, Jack and Jill.

Jack and Jill:  Thanks WG.  That's all we've got for now.  Of course we will give you new information about the incoming arctic blast, when we think we have information you need to know. Otherwise, we'll see you tomorrow, when the storm actually gets here. Thanks for watching!

THE NEXT DAY

Jack and Jill: Winter has arrived and we have team coverage of the arctic blast we've been promising you. Let's go to Weather Geek to find out just how  long this "blast" will last.

Weather Geek: Well Jack and Jill , now that the bad weather is actually here, the weather service has issued a winter storm warning for the area. And I don't think we're gonna warm up soon. In fact we'll have record cold temperatures in the area--temperatures we haven't experienced since the Eisenhauer administration. I'm guessing school will be closed tomorrow, but that's not part of my job.

Jack and Jill:   That's right WG, it's ours.  You can watch our promos during this newscast for the school closures we plan to have coverage of tomorrow. But now, lets go to our   helicopter in the sky for a birds-eye view of this winter wonderland.

Copter in the sky:  Thank you Jack and Jill.  The reporter (or whoever it is) sitting in my cabin looks like hell, because he needs air sickness pills, so here's a quick shot of him. Now let's take a look down below where his barf will soon be landing. It will sure make that pretty snow look terrible.  By the way--we're working but everyone else should stay off the roads.  Back to you Jack and Jill.

Jill:  You know Jack.  I drove in today, but I'm hearing rumors that the boss wants to go 24 hours with this. He's watching the other stations, and that's what the competition is doing. On the plus side, he's going to throw us a pizza party and put us up at a local hotel. I love room service breakfast don't you?

Jack:  Don't we have to be in at 5am tomorrow morning?  I don't think we'll have much time for breakfast, but would you like to get a margarita with me after our four hours on the air?

Jill:  Sure, it will be noon somewhere, right? Since I won't be home to make my husband dinner and tuck my kids in  tonight, I just want to take this time to say "I love you" to my family, and sorry that I can't be with you because of my all-important job.

Jack: And I just want to say to my wife who just had  our twin boys --both of whom have ear infections and are projectile vomiting.. I'm sorry  I can't be there to give you a break.  Remember, I love you.  I'll see you in a few days when we get to stop covering the storm. Remember you chose to stay home with the boys, and besides, I can't breast-feed.

Jack and Jill:  Right, where were we. Yes, let's go live again to the  The Lodge at Mount Crumpet, where our cub reporter Mountain Girl has been standing by all weekend. Mountain Girl, Mountain Girl! Can you hear us?

CUT TO SHOT OF A FROST-BITTEN MOUNTAIN GIRL
Jack and Jill: Mountain Girl, your face is blue.  You look like you need medical attention. 
Our helicopter, with the strange man in it, is on its way to transport you to a local hospital. We certainly hope your are alright. On the other hand if the storm dissipates, our producer will need a new lead story. 




Thursday, December 11, 2008

It's Christmas Again

What's on your Christmas list this year?  At the top of my list this year-- for the third-year running--is a NEW HEAD.  Mine is clearly broken--this year in more ways than one.  I have had a cold since the beginning of the month. I feel like the hole I have in my head is filled with mucus. In the meantime, we are hosting a party this weekend, with upwards of 30 expected to attend.

This will be my first chemo-free Christmas and for that, I am thrilled--So thrilled that I made this Christmas message, from my family to yours.

The Basement Shuffle

We have a daylight basement, which is more like a junkyard, filled with model train sets (my husbands hobby), multiple computers, and stacked boxes of sh*t. Somewhere in the midst of all of this is a bed for guests, because we like to make people feel at home, putting them in the center of our junk heap.

One weekend, my husband put together some shelves for the boxes, and pulled them over to one side of the basement, to make room for my son's desk and computer.

Days later, as I'm blogging, he drags the shelves and boxes back to the other end of the basement.

I say to him, "Have you been smoking crack again, dear?"

He explains that he's now trying to clear the area around the bed, as his mom will be coming for the Christmas holiday. 

We still have trains to move, and maybe someday I can get into our crawl space again. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Happy Birthday SiGuy!

It's my nephew's 12th birthday. He said he didn't want gifts ( I made a donation to the Oregon Food Bank in his name).

Nevertheless I wanted to use this blog to pay tribute to my sister's son, who is normally a quiet young man, except when he does this;


or competes in a talent contest before some very hostile judges.

Despite my sister's preference to have SiGuy's birth be a private matter, I was there when he came into the world, and I am blessed to have him as my nephew.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Will the "real" Ozzy Please Stand Up? If He Can

For reasons I'm still trying to figure out, my son likes some Black Sabbath music. Back in the day--way back--like when I was a toddler, Ozzy Osborne fronted the band. My husband evidently was/is a fan since Black Sabbath is in his music library.

So my son again fondles the ipod in my car, and plays "Paranoid"  and then plays "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath". Of the latter he says, "This doesn't sound like Ozzy." I explain that those two tunes come from different recordings, and that Ozzy's "voice" can be altered by the producer of the record.

Speaking of Ozzy's voice, we've noticed he isn't what he used to be. Lately, he's been making fun of himself in the following  commercial.

Says my son:  "That phone must not be very good."

Thank you Ozzy for being the poster-boy  for what happens when you injest too many chemicals


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

And My Bird Can Sing

The title to this post is a reference to a most excellent Beatles song called "And Your Bird Can Sing."

My son is usually a shy boy, but when he's not LOOK OUT!

He's been hearing these songs performed by The Bobs, an acapella group. Our friends have The Bobs' music playing in their car, and now my son sings some of the tunes.

He bravely agreed to be recorded doing a performance, and the following film resulted. It just killed me with cuteness, but I'm biased. Enjoy!

video

Seizure Girl Goes to the Movies

When I was just having seizures, my husband dubbed me "seizure girl".  I have since graduated to the position of "tumor girl."  It's a heck of a thing to have on your resume'.

Anyway doing small things can be a challenge when you have head issues. Case and point: We went to see an Omnimax movie.  The movie was about mummies, but that's not important. The film did weird things to me, before it even started.  It had an intro that gratuitously  demonstrated the unique effect (a.k.a. vertigo) produced by Omnimax. These feelings of dizziness, nausea and just plain sensory overload come in epic proportions to those who have head trauma (or happen to be Ozzy Osborne).

We get up to leave, and I on my way to the exit stairs, I feel as though I'm walking a balance beam. I step very slowly and hold onto the chairs as if this will actually help.

It's the little things that make life such a big deal.

COMING SOON: A PERFORMANCE BY MY SON.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Dear Yukon

I feel I should respond to a couple of comments made by reader "Yukon".  

Thank you,  Yukon, for reminding me that it helps for a good writer to fill in details. Sorry I didn't in the posts you commented on, but I will now.

Re: the post called "The Bird in Black".  I do not own any Johnny Cash. And as it turns out, my son hasn't heard Johnny Cash either, but he heard the song "Ring of Fire", as performed by an acapella group called The Bobs.

Re: "Dial 'E' for Egomaniac".  Sorry to scare you.  I wasn't having a bad day, but I am still trying to get rid of a bad aftertaste, left after this election cycle.  The inspiration for the post was an acquaintance of mine who ran for state office and won.  I was saddened and angered by what he had to become in order to do that. That said, I think everyone knows an egomaniac.

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Bird in Black

Just to catch you (my two readers) up on the soap opera, our nickname for our son is The Bird. The Bird off and on has liked the following bands:

Black Sabbath
Blue Oyster Cult
Primus
The Who
Toad the Wet Sprocket

The Bird has added a new artist to his favorite playlist--Johnny Cash--The Man in Black.  You just haven't lived until you've seen a 10-year-old boy (in his case wearing nothing but underwear and a blanket singing:

And it burns, burns, burns, the ring of fire

Before he sings, he inhales deeply, then exhales as he sings at loud decibels, and holds the last note for what seems like 12 minutes.

Listening to The Bird it occurs to me: Johnny Cash was a good singer.


Friday, November 21, 2008

Dial "E" for Egomaniac

You know who you are.

You pretend to be friends with someone from whom you will want a favor.

You will tell everyone about your triumphs, but if they really were (triumphs) you wouldn't need to tell us about them.

You will find fault with others, who are JUST LIKE YOU.

You don't just think you're the sharpest tool in the shed. You think you're the ONLY tool.

You are always right, but you love to argue with anyone who thinks your wrong.

When you win an argument, you think it's because you have better ideas, but you don't. You are just the better debater, and you wear your opponents down with the weight of your bravado.

On the plus side, you will get ahead. But at what cost?



A Chemo Flashback

These past couple of days, I've been feeling like I'm on chemo again. I'm so fatigued and achy that I just want to crawl under a rock. I'm probably just coming down with a seasonal virus, but when you've been diagnosed with cancer,  EVERYTHING feels like it may be a sign of a comeback.

But just like when I was on chemo, I will try to not let the fatigue slow me down too much. I will volunteer at the hospital today, and host a (non)sleep-over for my son and his friend tonight.

T.G.I.F.  I may get some sleep this weekend. I'll go see if I can get some Soma (yes, I'm still re-reading Brave New World).

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Dedicated to Cancer's Caregivers

The only thing harder than being a cancer patient is being the caregiver(s) of a cancer patient.  By that I mean the inner circle of friends and family who have to deal with you.

Let's be honest, a cancer patient can be damned unpleasant to be around. He or she is most likely depressed, obviously not feeling well, and in my case moody (bitchy).  There, I said it, and I can say it because I'M THE PATIENT.

And let's be frank about what it's like to be married to cancer patient:  Don't expect a lot of romance.  Don't expect a very clean house or good dinners. What you can expect is an argument over how you aren't there for ME. And I dare you to divorce my ass!

All that said cancer is probably hardest on the children of patients. For example, especially when I was taking chemo, I would get upset with my son easily, because the chemo had killed my patience. Children need the stability of a healthy, well-adjusted parent, and I was neither healthy nor well-adjusted. I'm not sure I am now.

As crazy as we are, please stay with us cancer caregivers.  We need you and appreciate you, and we're sorry if we are pains in your asses.

If we could help it, we would.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Oh Brave New World With So Many Neo-Alphas In It!

I belong to a reading group that will soon be (re)reading Huxley's Brave New World, one of my favorite books. It makes me wonder if he would think the dystopia he imagined in his book has come to pass. I believe he forecast that his Brave New World would come sooner than later.

What I see is a world of people who want desperately to be Alphas. Who wouldn't? In Huxley's universe, the Alphas are at the top of a caste system, but in that universe, everyone is brainwashed (for lack of a better word) to be happy with his or her given caste, so those at the bottom rung don't care that they work in sewers, or aren't as smart.

In the real world, everyone can't be Alphas, and everyone isn't happy with his or her "caste". I would submit, however that it is arguably easier for an "Alpha" to maintain his or her status than it is for an "Epsilon"--the lowest caste in Huxley's universe-- to scratch or claw to the top, and I think, as a result, the "Epsilons" in today's world reach a certain acceptance of their lot. And today's "Alphas" have NO interest in giving up theirs.

Meanwhile, ours is definitely a use-and-throw away society, like that in Brave New World, whether it's our relationships, or consumer goods.  We all love that Next Big Thing, or we think we may love our boyfriend/girlfriend, until we get bored. And we get bored VERY quickly.

My "Brave New World" would try to strike a balance  between the needs of the "Alphas," to stay on top, and the needs of the "Epsilons", who rightly want to improve their conditions.
Also in my "Brave New World" we would value our relationships  as much or more than we value trying to get "power", whatever that is.

So I think Huxley would be appalled by today's society, even though the world he envisioned in Brave New World is much worse.

You should go read it and make your own assessment.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

No Soma Holiday for Me

Why was I up at 6:00 a.m. on a Sunday morning?


At 5:45, I lay in bed, getting up for about the third time, when I debated going back to bed or declaring myself awake. Truth be told, I don't count myself awake until I get my intravenous coffee drip.

I try to go back to bed, but my nose is plugged and my back hurts, so I go for the coffee. It's a problem I've had for a few days.  Oregon is beautiful, but it can wreak havoc on the sinuses.

As I write this I've been up 2- 1/2 hours, and it's only 8:30. No wonder I get tired early.

I turn on local television news and it brings back many unhappy memories. I feel sorry for the poor bastards who have to get up early on the weekends and produce a newscast that almost no one will watch.

I used to be one of those poor bastards, so I know.

I change the channel and take another stroll down memory lane. I'm watching VH1-classic, and an 80's theme show on.  I was a teenager then.  I find myself singing along to Chaka Khan.

I feel for you
I think I love you.

Words by His Royal Badness--The Artist formerly known as the Artist now once again known as Prince--Stevie Wonder with the assist on a harmonica solo.

Man, what big  hair and colorful clothes people wore then. Back in the day, my hair was big but short, and I wore a lot of hot pink.

My, how I've grown. My how gravity has kicked me in the butt.

Maybe tonight, I'll take an ibuprofen, and a decongestant, so I can get some sleep. But I have to get up early tomorrow anyway.

It's Monday.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Diving into the gene pool to find the missing X

Blogging is great! One gets to rant or tell secrets with relative anonymity. I mean, how many people are actually reading my stuff.

With that in mind, I have a secret.

There's a reason I haven't put my picture up on my profile.  I look funny. In fact, my looks have drawn me some unwanted attention in the past, so even if someone doesn't notice I look funny, I assume the worst.

In a previous post, I mentioned how even my son was commenting on my short stature.  I'm 4-foot-9 without shoes, and (cough, cough) pounds. I need glasses that would make others feel like they're dropping acid (although I've never touched the stuff).

But hey, I feel pretty!

My appearance is largely due to the fact, I have a rare genetic disorder called  Turner's Syndrome.

You know how girls are supposed to have XX and boys XY chromosomes?  Well I just have one X.  

The result: I cannot produce my husband an heir. I'm only slightly taller than the couple on Little People, Big World.   All that said, I've had a relatively normal life. I graduated college. My nickname was "bulldog" when I was working in a television newsroom, which I think was a compliment. I have a loving family, including a husband of 14 years and  son who provides me with endless life lessons.

Still, many times I have done pointless what-iffin',  wondering what life would be like if I didn't have TS.
  • Would I be 5-foot-eight, and a supermodel?
  • Would I be smarter?
  • Would I not have a brain tumor?
But all of this speculation is a waste of time.  I am who I am, and I can't be returned to sender. 
I just hope that people learn not to judge others by appearance. 

A tall order in America the Beautiful.




Tuesday, November 11, 2008

White Noise

 
"Hearing voices no one else can hear isn't a good sign, even in the wizarding world."
--Ron Weasly in "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

I'm not that far gone, yet, and I don't talk to snakes, but I know a few.
What's troubling is I have this buzzing in my ear(s).  I can hear things like a refrigerator running better than I can hear my husband's voice at times.

Is it because of my tumor; the fact I had so many ear infections as a child, I almost lost hearing in my right ear; or, is it just because I play my ipod too loud?

When I get my MRI, it shows a lot of sinus congestion, so my oncologist thinks it's that.

I saw an ear, nose and throat doctor, who said that my hearing was only moderately poor, and anyway, there was nothing he could do.

So please don't be angry when I ask you to repeat yourself. 

What year was your "bad" year?

I'm volunteering at my son's school again, now that I'm not saddled with monthly oncologist appointments and chemo.

During my time there yesterday, I overheard a lady talking about how this has been a bad year for her--father was recently diagnosed with cancer--one of her children has been in the hospital frequently--and she's recovering from neck surgery.

I've often thought that that's how life works.  We get the tsunami of bad stuff all at once,  and somehow, we're not supposed to drown.

I debate whether or not to say anything to the lady having the bad year, but my brain tumor has left me with no filter, so I say something:

"My bad year was 2006,"  I say.

She asks, "What happened?"

I proceed to tell her about my own cancer diagnosis, father-in-law who passed away, and two friends of my family who also passed away that year. Then I tell her that she's due for some good fortune.

I don't remember her exact question, but she asks me how long it takes for things to turn around, and the good fortune to come.

That's the $64,000 question, isn't it?

Sometimes we are given more than we can handle.


Saturday, November 8, 2008

Feeding the Bird

Our nickname for our son is "the bird".  It all started when he was a baby.  I would rock him for hours until I thought he was asleep. Then I'd put him in his crib, and ZING.  "I'm awake mommy, sorry you aren't," he'd seem to say. I would mutter under my breath, "Oh Austin!   You turkey bird." So now it's just "the bird" for short.

I just attempted to prepare the bird lunch. I would like some advice from other parents on when to trust their children to make their own lunch. My boy is 10, and I would like him to at least get his own cereal and milk, especially since he wants to be grown-up enough to be left alone for little bits at a time.

But the truth is he wants to be served, so lately when I have been serving him, I've been trying to teach him how to serve himself. When I was his age, I was cooking for myself.

I ask the bird what I can serve him for lunch.  He says quite clearly that he wants a toasted cheese sandwich.   I make it for him. Then I give him a choice of sides including either bananas, apple slices or carrots. 

He says he wants grapes. Fortunately we have some. My husband puts some on his plate.

The bird looks at his plate with the cheese sandwich and grapes as if he's stepped in a cow pie.
I know that feeding children is a problem as old as time, but what makes this situation somewhat unique is that the bird can magically hate foods he ASKS FOR.

He takes a bite out of the sandwich and a couple of grapes, and pushes his plate away, declaring he's not hungry.  Then he reaches for a banana and eats that. I'm guessing that the sandwich was too toasted for him, and that the grapes were too small. Only the bird knows.

I don't know how I fought these kinds of battles while I was on chemo.

Another reason to be glad for a break from chemo.  Another reason to hope my son learns to serve himself.  For now, the kitchen is closed.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Show and Tell

 My son periodically has "choice" days at school--days where he can bring games or music from home.

So my son asks me if he can bring one of his dad's Primus CDs

I try to re-direct.  I suggest another CD, or perhaps a game.

"But mom!" he says. "There's no bad words!"

Then I remember, re-directing him didn't work when he was a toddler.

Finally, we come to sort of a compromise--a "They Might be Giants" CD that is fairly innocuous. In fact, it was actually made for children.

And despite what he thinks, my son if still a child.


Dear President Obama:

Are you there President (elect) Obama?  It's me, Eden.

I'm a (white) Tae Kwon Do mom from Oregon, and I want to congratulate you on your victory. I'm glad that as excited as you were to be elected to this high office, you cautioned us peons not to expect you to be able to clean up all the turds that will be left behind for you.

Some are still arguing over who is responsible for the mess.  I'm not sure I care anymore (it's those "I don't care" pills I take).   I just know we are in a mess of historic proportions--two wars and a shrinking economy--and us peons want results--and fast--because we're American peons, and we don't wait for anything.

No pressure, though.

I keep hearing how your ascent to the Presidency may perhaps have struck a critical blow to racism. Nevertheless, you had to stand behind bullet-proof glass while making your election-night speech, so I submit that racism is alive and well.

I do think it's great that participation in this election was high.  That, I think, you can take credit for. So many of us feel like our voices aren't heard, or that our personal lives can't be touched by politics, or that our personal lives mean nothing to the suits who make laws.

But I'm a cancer patient, so research and healthcare access are important to me. My life and the lives of some very dear friends of mine depend on it.
My husband's job is important to him. He needs one so he has health insurance, (and money for a weekend golf game).
And I want my son to have a stable source of education, and educators who actually care whether he's learning.

So I wish you good luck as you take your pooper-scooper to Washington.

Sincerely,
Eden

Saturday, November 1, 2008

My argument with my navigation system

When my mouse-infested car turned over 103-thousand miles, we decided it was time for a change. And because I have no sense of direction, we thought that a navigation system would help.

It turns out though, that a navigation system is only as good as the person trying to follow its directions. Plus the navigation system isn't always right.

So I plug a certain address into the system, thereby instructing the car to take me to said address. 

The computerized voice says, "Take the next left."

Sounds simple enough, so I take the next left.

But then the robo-voice commands me to "Make the next possible u-turn."

I take this to mean that I've screwed up royally.

And so we play this game of the nav system recalculating my route and/or telling me to u-turn, until I finally reach my destination.

I think I'll scratch bus or cab driver off my list of potential job opportunities. Maybe the local modeling agency has a market for women 4-foot-10 with glasses.

Oh--guess I better scratch that one off my list, too.

Coming down from the sugar high

The peanut butter cups are gone. The starbursts have been chewed.  The sugar will take weeks to leave the system, if it ever does. And Sarah Palin can see my teeth(and my son's teeth) rotting from Alaska.

It was very nice today to just rest after all of the hubbub of yet another commercialized  holiday. Our friends were kind enough to take our son for a few hours.  Instead of shopping for laundry baskets as I did  last time, I took a nap.

I actually don't like the way I feel after naps--groggy, rummy, like I'm waking up from brain surgery or something, but when my body talks, I listen.

One month until the next holiday that involves eating like a pig!

Maybe I'll make the choice not to be one.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

And I'm dealing blackjack..from one to two.

Even though it's not Halloween, today was party day at my son's school. I came to his classroom party dressed as a frumpy housewife.

My assignment--to run a blackjack table( a.k.a."21").  I was surprised by how many 5th graders know how to play the game.  One even asked if she could "double down".  Many also knew the appropriate hand gesture to signal yours truly to "hit" them with another card. One boy got the greatest kick out of purposely busting out.

In all the years I've been helping at classroom parties, the energy level of the kids hasn't changed as the they have aged. They still want to argue about the rules of games, and take one extra prize, just like they did when they were in Kindergarten.

Sadly one thing that has changed: I am no longer taller, than any  of them.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Dedicated to Monty Python


29 October, 2008

Dear Mrs. Jones,

I wish to complain in the strongest possible terms about your last post.  I mean--what indeed is your point?  Near as I can tell. you don't have one. Must be your illness.

First in your post, you talk about how tiring it is being a housewife.  Cry me a river! 

Then you go on and on about your son and girls. 

Then somehow we go from there to a diatribe that reads like it's coming from a hippie.

Because you deliberately wasted my time, I will no longer eat my bon bons while reading your crap!

Sincerely Yours,
Eden

Dear Eden:
 I guess the point of my last post was that I was a little surprised by some of the stuff coming out of my son's mouth. Now I have two questions for you:
  1. If you aren't going to read my blog, can I have your bon bons?
  2. Why are your writing to yourself.  Are you okay, dear?
Respectfully,
Eden Jones

Monday, October 27, 2008

What does it take to be an "American Idot"?


It seems like I was in my car all day, which is scary, and a miracle, considering the shape I'm in. Much of that time was spent shuttling my son hither and yon.  First it was to get his flu shot, then back home again in time for me to make "dinner." After dinner I took him to his Tae Kwon Do class.  After class, a road trip to Dairy Queen, where he cashed in a coupon for a treat that was burning a hole in his pocket.

I'm tired. But I shouldn't complain. Everyday is Friday when you are a housewife--or so the myth goes.

While my son has his treat. I get an earful about his day as only he can tell it.  

First, he tells me he kicked butt at dodge ball during P.E.  Nobody could hit him, he says. This made his classmates "insane," he said.

I wasn't surprised. I play dodge ball with him every time I try to discuss homework with him, or get him to take medicine, or just turn off a light.  And we all know I'm insane.

Then he talks about this one girl who was giving him a hard time. I ask him if it was one of the "popular" girls that are currently the bane of his existence. 

He says no the girl is British, so she's not popular. Then he yelps, "The British are coming!" "The British are coming!"

First it was the Canadians; now our neighbors across the pond? What have they done to him lately? Besides, they probably don't think too much of "Americans" right now.

He then says that if he were in a British school he wouldn't be popular either, and adds that "only the Americans" are popular at his school.

Since when did my boy get the notion that all you need  be American is to be white and wear the appropriate flag pin? At any rate, I'm pretty sure most of the children at his school are American. And so what if they aren't? 

I ask him what he thinks it means to be American.

At first, he doesn't want to answer.

Then he sighs and says, "anyone who is born here."

I say he's right, but that even people who aren't born here can become citizens, recalling the story his second grade classmate--an American boy of Middle Eastern heritage, who took a day off to see his parents become citizens.

One of the things I love  about this country is its ideal of achieving diversity and equality. And one of the things I love about my son is that he marches to his own drummer. As he gets older, it will be harder for him to not cave in to what's "popular".  I hope he makes good choices.

Our differences should create excitement, not tension.  We can learn so much from people who aren't like us.  But despite the lofty goals of diversity and equality we have in this country, it seems we're given the  message that we should all be alike--a nation of sheep or clones.

One of me is enough, and one of my son is enough, too.









Sunday, October 26, 2008

I'm not quite dead yet. I feel HAPPY!

One of the blessings of not being on chemotherapy right now, is that I actually have energy. I'm volunteering in my  son's classroom again,  I actually can enjoy entertaining, and some days, I stay up past 10 p.m.  I will take my son and a friend out trick-or-treating this Friday.

The cancer is there, but it's like a dormant volcano, for now, and I'll take that. 

There are many cancer patients  who don't get to "enjoy"  the extra time the cancer treatment is intended to provide, but I do.

This wasn't always the case. In general, I'm not an optimistic person. The cynical part of me would think (about the cancer) "Well it hasn't killed me today, but it will kill me," or "I just have that much longer to contemplate my doom!"

So I wasn't much fun to be around. I needed help and I got it, in the form of pills I call my "I don't care" pills-- anti-anxiety/depression medication. Most who know me would say I needed them since birth, but better late than never. I call them my "I don't care" pills because they haven't removed me from the reality of my life-threatening illness, but they have made it possible for me to put my worries in their own basket. Also, being off chemo (for now) has made a BIG difference for me.

Better living through chemistry and modern medicine! Next look at my head will be in December. We'll see if I dodge another bullet.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A half-baked blues song

THE HOMEWORK BLUES
I've got a boy
Who says he likes math
But he makes a few mistakes
Because he works too fast
And I say hey
He's got the homework blues
He's already been in school all day
Now he's got the homework blues.

Well I try to help him
He yells "Get out of my room!"
He flings his pencils at me
And I say "No TV for you.!"
And I say hey
I've got the homework blues
I need armor to dodge the pencils
So I have the homework blues

The teacher, she's supposed to teach children
or she gets the parents' wrath
Every day she comes home with a headache
And needs a nice warm bath
And I say hey
She's got the homework blues
The kids complain they get too much
So even she's got the homework blues




Saturday, October 18, 2008

"I'll get on my knees and pray......We don't get fooled again."

Those are the immortal words of Pete Townshend as performed by The Who, my son's new favorite band.

Stick me with anything you want to. I'm done with this election cycle.  That said, everyone who can, should vote.  The stakes are high.  Still for the last two years, I've been bombarded by candidates wanting to get my vote, promising lower taxes, better schools, saying they understand foreign policy because they can see Russia from their house, saying "the other one" is lying.

You all lost me when you decided to become politicians. I'm sick of the rhetoric.  It's time to decide!

I wanted to do a post featuring sort of a satirical "greatest hits" from the political season, but as usual, my son gave me inspiration--to do something else.

We were having one or our famous talks in the car, when my son asks if I have anything on my ipod by this band that had "the best drummer in the world".

With little hesitation I say, "Do you mean The Who?"

He then tells me he has been learning to play the drums to one of their songs on Rock Band, and proceeds to play "Won't get Fooled Again".

It occurs to me that the song with its lyrics ("Meet the new boss/Same as the old boss") and ("I'll get on my knees and pray/We don't get fooled again") is relevant today, despite the fact it was written 30+years ago.

Then my son and I were playing Rock Band together, along with his friends, and we were practicing The Stones' "Gimme Shelter".  I thought, that too, is a political tune, in its own way, I interpret it as a song about how the 60's were rather a violent period, even with all of the peace activism.

So I have a list of tunes that make me think about politics, and to some extent, reflect my my attitudes about it.

Besides the two songs I mentioned here's a few that leap to mind:

Freedom of Choice-Devo
Superman-R.E.M.
It's the End of the World As We Know It...But I Feel Fine-R.E.M.
It's a Beautiful World We Live In-Devo
Imagine-John Lennon
Revolution-The Beatles


Feel free to add to the list.  And please don't get fooled again. Use your head and your heart when you vote.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A special day for my family

Today we celebrate an anniversary--of my son's adoption.  Ten years ago today, a judge made us parents. It was a bumpy ride to parenthood, but all the more reason to celebrate.

There's a line in the movie Parenthood where one of the characters says, "You know,  you need a license to drive a car...but anyone can become a parent."

Or I like what comedian Martin Mull said:  "Anyone with bone marrow intelligence can become a parent."

In our case we were inspected, detected and put on the "Group W" bench (see Arlo Guthrie's Alice's Restaurant). We had home inspections, interviews, and medical tests (If I knew about my tumor then, I might not have been able to adopt).  In addition we went to seminars, participated in "mediation", and wrote autobiographies.

It is because of this effort to be a mom, that I take the job especially seriously. His mistakes are my mistakes.  Likewise, his triumphs are somehow because I'm the best mom on Earth.

Our son at times has expressed sorrow that he's not like other kids. He doesn't know too many other adopted children. However, he is like other kids in that he didn't get to choose his parents.

I will not to into detail about the adoption process, except to note that we did an open adoption, which means we have contact with our son's birth parents, and he still seems happy to be with us.

I have enjoyed immensely watching him grow.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

"I'm too gergus!"

My son is some kind of Dr. Seuss.   He likes to make up words and phrases.  Here are just a few in his lexicon:
foofer (otherwise known as "the word")
stop farting! (which in my son's language means, stop talking)
meow, meow, meow, meow, meow, meow, meow, meow, meow, meow ( can be used interchangeably for "Good Morning" or "I'm home")


And then there is gergus.   The e and the u are short.  I cannot quite define gergus, but I know it when I see it.

Example:  My son is getting old enough to fix some of his own snacks and meals, but he still prefers being served, which I tend to not want to do, if he isn't going to eat what the rest of us are eating (a subject for another post). Tonight was an exception.  I made him a hot dog.  He asks me to get him some ketchup.  I tell him that if he wants it, he knows where it is.  Then he says in a cat-like voice, "But I want you to get it."

I ask, "Why?"

"Because I'm too gergus!"

So does gergus mean lazy, tired, or spoiled?

Maybe next time he wants me to serve him, when he can serve himself, I'll speak in his language and tell him to stop farting.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

What do you do when you've been married 14 years and have time away from your child? Buy laundry baskets.

My friend agreed to have our son over for a play date with her son. Husband has a college football game on and says, "So, what do you want to do?" I say, "It looks like your watching football."

Finally we decide that our son is in need of some new clothes.  He's growing, and he doesn't have much for the colder weather, which is coming.

One of the stores we visit is Target.  To my surprise he says that we're there to get-- a laundry basket--among other things.

"You said you wanted one," he said.

It's true.  In fact, I say "Can I have two, please?"

My wish is his command.  I can't wait to get my new toys home to put them to use.

As of this writing, I'm ready to unload one of my new laundry baskets.

What? Not interesting, you say? Just what should we have done during this time away from our child?

I'm open to suggestions.

The Principle of Popcorn

I'm not as stupid as I think I am.  I recently discovered a principle of physics. I'll call it the Principle of Popcorn.  

Here's how it works:  You give your child and a few of his friends some popcorn.  Two things happen.
  1. Popcorn crumbs can be found within a 20-mile radius of where the bowl of popcorn originated.
  2. Ditto for unpopped kernels.
Somehow the popcorn travels.  I may even find it in the washing machine some day. It's sort of like sand that way.  You know how you can go to the beach and think your covered up, but then weeks later find sand in your navel, or places I can't mention in a family blog.

The Principle of Popcorn is not my first discovery as an amateur (a.k.a. NON-EXISTENT) physicist. I've got patent pending on the Bismarck Principle, which states that however many custard bismarck you purchase at a bakery; that's the amount that will be eaten.

The Bismarck Principle also applies to money.  Many of us spend the money we have until it's gone.

I wonder if Albert Einstein or Isaac Asimov had brain tumors.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Oh No! Not Thomas Covenant!

I scare myself, because brain tumor and all, I still have the most common sense  in our family.


Case and point: I wake up at 3 a.m. and discover that my husband hasn't come to bed yet. I go downstairs to find him reading a book in the "Thomas Covenant" series by Stephen Donaldson called The Runes of the Earth--The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant.

In theory, these books are supposed to be "fantasy," but if so, I don't want to live in this fantasy world. Here's the summary from the back of the book:

Thomas Covenant lost everything.  Abandoned by his wife and child, sick and alone, he was transported while unconscious to a magical, dreamlike world called the Land.  Convinced it was all a delusion, Covenant was christened The Unbeliever by the Land's inhabitants--but gave his life to save this newfound world he came to regard as precious.

Ten years after Covenant's death.  Linden Avery still mourns for her beloved companion.  But a violent confrontation with Covenant's son, who is doing the evil Lord Foul's bidding, forces her back to the Land, where a dark malevolence is about to unmake the laws of nature--and the laws of life and death..

I don't think it's a stretch to say that my husband reads these books when he's in a dark mood, so I say to him, politely as I can, when I see him up in the wee hours reading this happy fantasy:
"Christ, not Thomas Covenant again!" Excuse my language, but those were my exact words.

Meanwhile, my son was up at 5 a.m.  We all need our sleep.


Monday, October 6, 2008

Jerry was a race car driver

It appears, sadly, that my son's new favorite band is Primus. He's also taken a liking to Toad the Wet Sproket.

On our way home from his tae kwon do practice, my son dials in Primus on the ipod. He hears me singing under my breath:
Jerry was a race car driver
Drove so (expletive) fast
Never did take the checkered flag
But he never did come in last

My mistake to think he couldn't hear me. He finds the song on the ipod and plays it. Click on the link to hear a sample:

By the way, Primus does the opening credits for South Park. 

I prefer Toad the Wet Sprocket, or Toad, for short.  Appropriately enough, my son's favorite song is "Fall Down". Click on the link to hear the song, as used in the game Final Fantasy:

As an added bonus, Toad gets its name from a Monty Python sketch.

Well it took me an hour to do this post.  I'll never take the checkered flag, but I think I'll go "fall down" into bed.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Walk of Life

Today I, along with hundreds of others walked 5km to raise money to find a cure for brain tumors. I captained a team I called "Eden's Army".   My sister had about a dozen visors made with the team logo. I would not be here today without the support of my family.  They give me the will to live, and keep me laughing. So without further adieu, I give you the team members:



My sister Marie

My mother Karen


My mother and my Aunt Viv, who came a long way to walk with me!


Mom, me and Aunt Viv


Tina and Steve Estrada (no relation to actor Eric Estrada). Tina has the same tumor as me, and they both go to a local brain tumor support group I attend.   They are good people!



Tina, me and Steve
Me with the Brain Tumor Support Group Team--The Cranium Crew! They know more about me than they ever wanted.  



Me with the crew again!

This  year I raised about $660 dollars for brain tumor research.  I plan to keep doing this walk, even when some poor person has to push me in a wheelchair!

Today was a great day to be alive!



Thursday, October 2, 2008

A moral dilemma

My son, at age 10, is having girl problems.
He says to me, " Mom, I have another person I like."
I say, "What do you mean?"
"I mean, LIKE, LIKE"
"Besides 'J'?"
"Yes," he says
"Who?"
"K," He responds.

Just so we're clear, I'm only using the first initial of the young ladies in question. It turns out the difference between "J" and "K" is that "K" may "LIKE, LIKE" him back; whereas,"J" thinks that they are too young to be even discussing the matter. Nevertheless, she remains a loyal friend.

My son tells me that he doesn't want to have to choose between "J" and "K".  I think this a good sign. After all, let's face it, some boys (and girls)  like their "J" and "K", and every other letter of the alphabet. I'm glad that my 10 year old isn't a "swinger".

I must have "that" talk with him, before he changes his mind. I hope I live to be a grandma, but that does not mean I want my son to start early.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

It's still the economy stupid! And my "Seinfeld" moment

In my last poll, the very unofficial results showed that the economy is the most important issue in the upcoming election. For what it's worth, in college economics was explained  to me in terms of pizza and beer. There's an economic term called "utility" which refers to the satisfaction one derives from consuming.  So for example, say you are hungry and thirsty, and you have a slice of pizza and a beer. By the time you have eaten pizza and drunk beer until your sick,  the pizza and beer have reached their maximum utility and "diminishing returns" have kicked in..

If I'm completely in error on my brief explanation of economics, remember I'm a journalism major, not the Treasury Secretary; although, maybe that post will be open soon.

Continuing with the economic theme, my husband (and I) did our part to attempt to jump start the economy like the broken car it is--by buying a car. Meantime we traded in our Volvo with 103-thousand miles on it.

We had the car detailed before trading it in, and it turns out we made a good call.

Seinfeld reference alert:

I never watched Seinfeld very much, but I believe there was a famous episode where Jerry buys a car the smells like B-O, and he can't get the smell out. Bear with me here, I'm almost ready to make my point.

Our Volvo had an interesting problem, too-- a mouse nest --complete with mouse bathroom --in the spare-tire compartment. This boys and girls, is why having the car detailed was a good idea.

I grew up in a rural community, and field mice made themselves comfortable--EVERYWHERE!.
So the incident with the Volvo, kind of brought back happy memories--NOT!

You'll all be happy to know that I checked out our other car, and it appears to be mouse-free.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I draw a line in my ipod

Most days, I take my son to school.  It gives him a little more time in the morning, and I (usually) like our time in the car on the way there.

But not today.

He's messing with my ipod, dialing in the music he wants to hear.  I figure it's going to be Blue Oyster Cult again.

I should be so lucky.  Instead Primus blares.  I believe I have made my feelings about Primus known in a previous post.

I tell my son to pick something else.  He does.  Problem is--it's Frank Zappa with Captain Beefheart

Son proceeds to tell me that his dad told him that these are two of my least-favorite bands.
So now I'm getting the picture. Son is deliberately trying to get a rise out of me.  I tell son that I will speak to dad.

I get home, go downstairs to my husbands work station.  I put my hands on my hips and glare at him.

"Guess what your son wanted to hear today?" I ask.

Rhetorical question so I don't wait for a response.

Husband starts cracking up, just like son did.  It's so much fun to irritate me.

Next time my son wants to hear something I can't stand, I won't give him the satisfaction of blowing a gasket.  

I'll just get a bullet to bite.