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May 5th, 2008
Long time no post here ...
I've been over at my other place posting pretty regularly, but since I shared the whole cancer-no cancer story about my father here, I thought I would take a moment to update. Dad continued to have some problems with pain and other issues, so he went to the Mayo Clinic at the end of March. After a bunch of tests and some invasive procedures to take care of a problem with his stent, the doctors told him that Dr. Negative was right after all and that he had pancreatic cancer. Just one of the very rare folks who live more than the normal 3 to 18 months after diagnosis. We were all hoping he'd break the record for survival with that cancer, but he started to have more issues and about a week and a half ago was told that his liver was shutting down and he had two to three weeks left. I hopped a plane the next day and have been in Colorado since. He died this morning.
I won't go into all of the details of the past week and a half, but by the end we were all ready for him to go to what would no doubt be a better place for him. His passing was peaceful and quiet. I had been staying with my stepmom at the hospice and didn't hear him go. He just stopped breathing.
I certainly was not ready for him to leave, but I'm glad his pain is over.
November 27th, 2007
Well, at least they've got the right body part this time ...
I guess I can be grateful that I'm not being offered the opportunity to enlarge my penis, but:
LADIES, bigger your asset now, give your mate a big surprise
* you will feel proud of having LargerBoobie mate
* if your are her BF/HUBBY, buy your girl this 100% safe BreastEnhancement Pill
Given that I'm not exactly skinny right now, I don't think my husband needs a LargerBoobie mate. I'll re-evaluate if and when it ever becomes an issue.
November 26th, 2007
Things to be thankful for:
A pretty awesome family. They’re all stubborn and opinionated, but they’re bright, witty and wonderful to be around. And that even goes for three of the four exchange students we’ve hosted. Good health (brain still normal). A roof over our heads and food on the table. You know, all of the basics.
Plus, a job that does this: Schedule an extended staff meeting. Feed us all lunch, then hand out $50.00 gift cards to the mall. Instruct us that they were to be spent on personal items and not on our families or our homes. And provide limousine transportation to said mall for a shopping trip.
That? Was a fun staff meeting.
November 21st, 2007
No, really. That's what we do.
Explaining Thanksgiving to an exchange student is always fun.
Do we have any plans for Thanksgiving? [Obviously assuming a four-day holiday from school must mean major plans.]
Well, I’ll be spending all day cooking.
[Explain the whole origination of Thanksgiving, e.g., Pilgrims and Indians celebrating the first harvest, etc. Tell her that given our lack of nearby family members and our general heathen outlook on life, eating is pretty much what we do on Thanksgiving.]
What do you do on Thanksgiving?
[Asking again, because clearly she heard me wrong.]
Well, we pretty much make enough food to feed a third world country and then we eat.
What did you do last year?
That pretty much covers it. Oh sure, we’ll go around the table and say what we are thankful for and probably play some board games and watch movies. But mainly, I’ll be throwing away enough leftovers from the ’fridge to feed one small country tonight [because no one but me seems to ever see those leftovers and therefore, they don’t exist]. Then tomorrow I’ll cook enough food to feed another small country and fill up the now roomy ’fridge with more leftovers.
And that’s Thanksgiving at our house.
November 20th, 2007
What's that you smell?
Well, my brain is normal.
No, really. That’s what the doctor said.
Lots of folks might have a difficult time believing it. But the scan said so.
I had been smelling cigarette smoke even when there was no way it could be present. In my non-smoking office. In my very non-smoking house. In my also very non-smoking minivan. (Yes, that’s what I drive. What’s it to ya?) If I were to walk past someone actually smoking while smelling the phantom odor, I could tell the difference between the real and the illusion, but other than that it was incredibly real. And this was no little whiff of smoke. It was as though someone were sitting next to me smoking and blowing it in my face. And I couldn’t even smack him.
Got real old, real fast. So, I went to the doc-in-the-box. Who said he couldn’t find anything, but here, take these antibiotics just in case. And schedule an appointment with an ENT specialist. Which I did. He also didn’t see anything, but prescribed a steroid burst, after promising it wouldn’t make me go nuts and kill my family. Well, not any more than the general desire to murderize them when the house is trashed and no one can see it but me – apparently I have problems with my nose, but some kind of extrasensory power of sight that can see mess where no one else can. And dirty laundry. And available food for meal prep. What eyes!
Smell was still there.
So the ENT guy scheduled a CT scan. Of the brain. Couple that with the silly internet research on phantom odors which suggested that one potential cause was a brain tumor and you have a very nervous, cigarette-smoke-smelling gal.
But my brain is normal. So they say.
The smell disappeared all on its own a couple of weeks ago. Perhaps it felt that $700 spent on doctor stuff (damn $2,000 deductible) was sufficient. Knock on wood it stays gone.
September 24th, 2007
We're the long lost buckle of the Bible belt ...
Headline in the local paper today:
Is Idaho ready to forgive Sen. Craig?
Only in Idaho could an article in the local newspaper actually have such subheadings as:
FORGIVENESS: A RELIGIOUS PILLAR
WHAT THE LORD'S PRAYER SAYS
Sigh … no this was not an editorial piece. It was a front page news story. Complete with a sidebar containing no less than four Bible verses on forgiveness. The Bible Belt has nothin’ on us.
September 20th, 2007
Rick to me:Prairie Dog [local theater group] is confirmed for Friday. Please RSVP.
I made the reservations, so please let me know ASAP if you can’t make it.
I live in fear of making reservations for 12 and only me showing up to fill three tables.
Me back:David and I will be there.
See you Thursday? (Movie night)
Rick to me:Yes, see you Thursday.
Me back:Good, 'cause I live in fear of cleaning the house for nothing!
Oh, and by the way. If I needed a bigger penis, I’d be in luck. The spam filter quarantined 8 offers to increase the size of my penis. If I had one.
September 19th, 2007
Girls are a pain
This will be a rant about girls. Um, a rather long rant. It may contain adult language. Hit the back button if that bothers you. Oh, who am I kidding. No one reads this. But I’m gonna rant anyway.
I have a daughter. She’s beautiful, incredibly bright, very funny and while she has occasional “moods” (what female doesn’t?), she’s a pleasure to know. I, of course, love her so much it hurts.
She decided about 5 years ago that she wants to fly jets off of aircraft carriers and the best way to do that would be to attend the Naval Academy (really good, free education and the possibility of flying jets off of aircraft carriers). She completed the arduous paperwork required to apply for nominations and an appointment to the Academy, received all three nominations, but wasn’t accepted her first try. Right now, she’s in Southern California attending Northwestern Preparatory School – a school that is solely to prepare kids who are trying to get into one of the nation’s military academies. Ten other girls are also at Northwest Prep (there are about 60 guys – I told Catie that it was a “target-rich environment.” Heh).
My daughter was not in the popular crowd at school. We don’t have the money to buy trendy clothes and she’s never cared about that kind of stuff anyway. In fact, I was the one who tried to de-geekify her wardrobe to some degree when she hit high school. “Honey, you don’t have to wear the most ‘in’ stuff, but I think you should wear something besides the sweat pants with the hole in the ass EVERY SINGLE DAY. In fact, I FORBID you to wear those to school ever again.” Succeeded to some extent, but she still preferred jeans and a t-shirt. Preferably a band t-shirt – she has quite a collection, one for every year of marching band and several from marching band competitions – she can wear a different one every day of the week and then start over. Which she did, frequently. She’s a self-proclaimed geek and rather proud of it.
Yeah, yeah. I’m getting to the point.
The prep school has a dress code requiring students to wear business-appropriate clothing except during the grueling physical training or the limited free time they get. So, we found appropriate clothing that my daughter was willing to wear (not an easy task). Nice slacks and t-shirt type tops, but cut nicer and with no words. She hates to wear dresses (mostly because she despises pantyhose), but a couple of interview-type dresses were procured and we got some classic, plain black, but actually comfortable, heels. She packed those in with her favorite weekend attire of jeans and t-shirts and I drove her down to the school, helped get her settled in with the other girls who had already arrived (4 of the 10), and left my nervous, trying not to tremble, baby to face the longest time she’s ever been away from home.
She calls every weekend and has been writing letters to keep us up-to-date on what’s going on. She sounds upbeat and like she’s doing well. They’re working her ass off, both physically and mentally, but for the most part, I think she’s really enjoying the experience.
Got a letter from my daughter on Monday. There was a picture of a beautiful young lady in with the letter. I looked closely at the picture. Could that be my Catie? Hmmm, right color hair. Looks somewhat like her. But no, those are not her clothes. So it must be someone who resembles her. Along with the “to the whole family” letter, there were two folded sheets of paper addressed “To Mom Only.” Turns out the stunner WAS my daughter. Wow, she really cleans up well! Some of the girls decided “Hey, let’s give Catie a makeover!” And she let them. They straightened her wavy hair, caked on the makeup and loaned her trendy clothes for a picture. She really looked fabulous.
Which is all fine and good. It’s great to have a “wow” look for special occasions. Problem is, my daughter inherited the “shower and go” attitude from me. Other than lotion to keep my skin from flaking totally off and deodorant to keep people from shunning me, I really don’t do the whole dress-up-purty thing on a daily basis. I reserve makeup for really special occasions. Mostly because I’m too damn lazy to clean it off at the end of the day and THAT can’t be good for your skin. So, Cate was happy with the head-turning look, but not really planning on making it a daily regimen.
Enter the bitches. The make-over gals have decided that they’re going to take Catie out on one of their free weekends and she’s going to buy a whole new wardrobe. They’re making comments such as “Oh, hon, we have GOT to get you a new pair of heels” and “Please don’t ever wear your hair in a braid like that again.” Catie said, “They talk as if my appearance is offensive.”
Why is it girls can be so focused on appearances? Why don’t they think before they open their mouths and say something obnoxious? Do they think Catie should be grateful that they are making fun of the way she looks when she’s not doing exactly what they think she ought to do? Even if we had the money for a whole new wardrobe, Catie’s not really interested in ditching everything she likes so she can be trendy. She can’t really say what she thinks because she has to live in very close quarters with all of these girls every single day and has nowhere to go to be on her own. She doesn’t want to offend them and have them pissed at her for the remaining 2-1/2 months she’ll be living with them. See, my daughter is capable of thinking before she says something offensive.
I suggested that she let them know that the Bank of Mom & Dad is tapped out and she spent all of her summer earnings on school too, so she’s not really in a position to go on a shopping spree, but that she’s willing to window shop. Go ahead and go shopping with them and take copious notes as though she’s taking all of their advice to heart and she’ll purchase one of each just as soon as she can. Heck, she may actually find something she really likes and she can always say she’s got enough in the budget to purchase one (or whatever) item.
Another thing – a lot of these girls wasted no time in pairing off with guys (remember “target-rich environment” – apparently it wasn’t a joke for some of them! In spite of the “no fraternization” rule the school has). What is it with some girls and their inability to not be part of a couple at all times? I told Catie she is so much better off being comfortable with herself. That that doesn’t mean she can’t “fraternize” if she feels like it at some point. But there’s nothing wrong with her just because she’s not salivating after everything with a penis. Yes, I did just type “penis.” I’ve always felt sorry for girls who aren’t complete without their matching guy. There are actually gals out there who won’t do things unless they’re attached to an XY chromosome. Isn’t that sad? I’ve always been comfortable taking myself to a movie, window shopping at the mall (while I’m waiting for my glasses to be made, etc.) or on a trip to New York City BY MYSELF. She’s a lot better off being able to do that instead of feeling incomplete and incapable of amusing herself unless in the presence of a – well, I won’t type it again!
Any suggestions for additional words of wisdom for my incredible daughter? Believe it or not – I’m actually at a loss for words. Heh.
September 18th, 2007
Time flies when you’re having … life?
I can’t believe it’s been a month since I posted!
Had a great time driving Catie to Northwest Prep School. Actually, my father-in-law did most of the driving. I drove from Boise to Mokelumne Hill, California, with Catie, then he drove to Southern California and back up to Moke Hill and I drove home alone. It was a lot of fun having some mother-daughter time during the 10-1/2 hour drive to Moke Hill. My van was in the shop (blown head gasket), so we drove a Buick that we’re buying from my dad. The only drawback? It doesn’t have a CD player. So, I dug out all my old cassettes and Catie was forced to listen to ‘80s music. Heh. Really took me back in time listening to Roxy Music, Loverboy, Queen and ELO.
While we were in the L.A. area, Catie and I drove to Hollywood to check out the Walk of Fame and Grauman's Chinese Theatre. We went on a wild goose chase trying to find a good vantage point to take a picture of the Hollywood sign, but only managed to find it after it was too dark for a picture! Got a great picture of the “No Access to Hollywood Sign” sign, though! I must give kudos to those who battle the L.A. highways every day. I think I’d go crazy if I had to drive down there on a daily basis. And although I live in a relatively small city (heck, the whole state of Idaho only has about a million and a half people!), I have lived in larger cities (Philadelphia and Atlanta) so I’m not completely without big city driving experience. The school Catie is attending is in the mountains east of L.A. Once we got up above the smog, it was kind of horrifying to look down on the brown air. We’ve had some experience with brown air in Idaho, but only when there are a lot of fires burning - which is the case right now. Again, having to live with that on a daily basis would probably drive me crazy.
And the van repair? Well, turns out it needed more than head gasket work. The repair shop said there was coolant in the oil and it had likely been leaking for some time. Even though it had been running perfectly fine. They said it needed a new engine. And they weren’t just trying to jack up the bill, since they didn’t want to do that job and we would need to take it elsewhere for that repair. That upped the price of fixing the van from in the neighborhood of $2,500 to a whole new neighborhood of closer to $6,000. Since the van had nearly 100,000 miles on it and a repair like that usually signals the beginning of many more such repairs, we decided to list it on Craigslist (sold in one day - hooray for Craigslist!). We were driving the Buick and the older van (the one with close to 200,000 miles on it). Then the old van broke down. Sigh ... So we now have ourselves a new car payment. Well, not on a new new car, just on a new to us car. Yet another minivan. Joe always said that once we got a minivan our lives as cool people were over. I think having our third minivan makes it irreparable! We love ’em though since it makes long trips with three kids much more enjoyable. So we sacrifice any possible coolness factor for the comfort. The “new” van is a 2006 Dodge Grand Caravan. It’s ever so much larger on the inside than the Pontiac Montana was. Feels so luxurious. And it has a CD player. Which makes kids who don’t like commercials or old cassettes happy!
Joe is still loving his new job. He’s working a ton of overtime because they’re so busy. Which is fine now while he’s working through the temp agency and making overtime pay. When they roll him over to permanent employment, he’ll be on salary and it won’t be so much fun! He’s still working on painting. All of the red is done, but the yellow is taking a bit longer (because of the previously mentioned doors, windows, etc. The first coat in the dining room and half of the kitchen is done. Most of the rest is primered, so finishing shouldn’t take all that long (says she who is doing no painting). It really looks fabulous and I don’t know what took us so long to get some color on those bland, white walls!
David and Rabe are enjoying high school so far. Things are finally starting to calm down somewhat. We were pretty much consistently on the go from Rabe’s arrival until just recently. Did the fair, a rodeo, a birthday party, a picnic, a potluck, volunteered at the Shakespeare Festival three times, took a trip to Portland and the Columbia River Gorge, went to a local art festival and worked a concession stand during a football game. Rabe has orientation up in McCall, Idaho, this coming weekend, then I think we’ll settle into a more normal schedule. Oh, who am I kidding. We never have a “normal” schedule!
Speaking of Rabe, we cooked authentic Italian lasagna and tiramisu last weekend. It was great. The lasagna was a lot different than the American version (almost no cheese, for one thing), but it was quite tasty nonetheless. And tiramisu is always yummy! Oh yeah, hosting an Italian was a great idea!
I was suckered into, er volunteered to serve on our neighborhood Homeowners’ Association Board. Shoot me now. I think it will be less work than serving as PTA president at the middle school - a job that’s done since I no longer have a middle schooler - so I don’t think I’ve taken on any additional responsibilities. Just different ones. Still secretary for the high school band boosters which keeps me busy during marching season, but slows down after that.
Well, I think that’s pretty much it!