Tuesday, December 16, 2014

nine days...

 ...until Christmas.

People will be busy finishing
their shopping for family
and friends.



Maybe they'll add a gift or donation for people they don't know.
Many people are nice like that.




Maybe they'll take time to reach out to some folks
they've been missing because the emails and phone calls
haven't happened in a while.
Everyone's life is busy. 


Maybe they'll come across
a box or an album full of old
photos of dear ones no longer
living.
The memories might bring a
tear but also a smile.


To my friends and family near and far,
may your Christmas be Merry and Bright.

Friday, November 21, 2014

It will warm your belly and make you smile...

Jean's Hungarian Goulash:

1.5 lbs kielbasi, sliced  1/8" pieces.
1 ea med. onion and green pepper, chopped.
minced garlic, to taste.
black pepper, to taste.
6-8 med. potatoes, skin on, cubed or sliced.
1 small bag sliced carrots.
1 med. head of cabbage, cut into chunks.

Soup pot with lid.
6 cups water.

Water in soup pot on med-high heat.
Add all ingredients, reduce heat to med-low.
Cover and simmer until cabbage, carrots and potatoes
are fork tender.

Serve and prepare to be happy.

(Good bread for dipping is nice but not required.)

Monday, November 17, 2014

Frigid...

the snow sky is a 
beige flannel blanket that keeps
the warmth in heaven.
leaving the ice wind for us.

The first one is a big one...

Have been watching it snow since last night.
Didn't start accumulating until sometime early
this morning.

It's time to clear the driveway and the sidewalk
and the steps. *sigh*

The snow shovel and the jugs of salt are waiting for me.

OK, I'm going outside now. Really. Layering up.

 on 3... 1... 2... dammit...3

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Christmas shopping done...

I may procrastinate in almost everything else, but
Christmas shopping ain't one of 'em.

*

Hard to believe it was
two years ago today that
I lost Sparky. Still miss him
every day.





*

Sister is doing pretty well, except for a couple of infections.
About a month ago, she clipped off a hangnail and her thumb
got infected. Took more than two weeks of heavy antibiotics
to clear it up. Then, last Friday, she looked like she had a 
black eye. Went to the oncologist and they gave her antibiotics
for an infection in and under her eye. It's just now starting to
look better. Everything else seems fine but still, I worry.

*

Might be a good time to start stocking up on salt for the driveway.
Snow falling on sidewalks will be here too soon.

*

Hope ya'll are doing well.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Beaches, Birds and Butterflies...



Best thing I've done for myself
in a very long time.

First day, we went to the beach, cuz I wanted to make sure it was 
still there. It was.
The soothing low roar, the salt in the air and the
palm trees cleansed my soul.
A trip to beautiful Winter Park for a luxurious lunch and followed
by a stroll through the Audubon Bird Refuge made for another
double highlight day.
Then there was a trip to a huge plant nursery to walk through
their butterfly habitat.

I was treated to a belated birthday dinner at Carrabas and then a movie.

Delicious food every day and amazing company with dear friends
made my four days there perfect. I came home a much happier person.
I didn't realize how much I needed a break to wind down from the
past two and a half years.

Good friends make life better. 
Thank you, Jan (and the whole gang)!

 

Monday, October 20, 2014

I'm giving myself an intervention...

in the form of a short vacation. Southward.

Be well, my friends, and enjoy every breath you take.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Don't hold your breath...

There's no telling when I'll post again.
In the meantime, you should pay a visit
to the blogs on my sidebar. Quite the variety there.

For those who appreciate a delightful mix
of art, music, literature, science... I highly recommend
The Hammock Papers

Thursday, October 02, 2014

aaaaaaaaaaand it's October....

Whatthehell happened to September?

Having too much fun to keep track?

Too busy to pay attention?

The leaves are doing their annual color-burst show.

I really, really love Fall. How 'bout you?

Monday, September 22, 2014

A very short poem...

What wish a dream.
What fear seen.
Alone by day.
Visited by night.
Pain relived amended.
Life seen pretended.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Such weirdness of dreams...

If they were one time only, it might not bother me.

I keep dreaming that I took my parents to a MLB game.
They both look healthy and happy and the same age they
were when they died...Dad 69, Mom 63. Both have been gone
almost twenty-five years.
The game is in Cleveland, beautiful, sunny day.
It's all my treat because I did very little of that for them.
Asking them what they want from the concession stand, Dad
just says "aww, I don't need anything." Mom doesn't know
what's on the menu, so I take her with me and we bring back
hot dogs and sodas for all three of us. End of dream.

The next repeater is my two sisters and I are in the back seat
of a 1950s vintage car being driven by Dad. It's dark outside.
I feel like I'm about twelve years old in the dream, which would
make Carol eight years old and Ann six years old.
We are approaching a RRX-ing and see the warning lights begin
to flash and Dad is not slowing down. We are screaming.
End of dream.

We were in a bad accident in 1961 but Mom was driving.
Dad was always the one who scared us with his driving.
(Like missing an exit on an interstate, pulling into the
emergency lane and backing up to the exit. Seriously.)

Anyone out there with dream interpretation skills?
Any shrinks in the audience?

 

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Scrambled eggs...

Here's a question: Why doesn't the Big Dipper move
across the sky like other stars and the moon?
They arc across the sky from east to west but the B.D.
shows up in nearly the same spot every night and
varies little. Stop laughing. What am I missing?

One of the local weather peeps said that Ohio averages
only 10 days a year with temperatures at 90 degrees
or higher. Doesn't seem right but, I'm having trouble
remembering more than a day or two so far this year.
Let's see... in Florida we were lucky to make it out of
April without at least a few days at 90 or more and then
had to wait for October to start breathing easier again.
10 days/6 months...10 days/6months...hmmmm.

Carol is still doing well.
Ann is healed and walking on her own.

The new movies this summer really sucked. 

I discovered that books written by Wally Lamb are outstanding.

I started Christmas shopping in late July. Bits and pieces.
Somehow, I also ended up with new shoes, blouses and a 
comforter for me. I need to make a list next time... 
for everybody else.

I saw a cloud that looked like Mickey Mouse's head.

Monday, September 01, 2014

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

NOT my favorite obligation...

If I counted correctly, tomorrow will be the
eighth funeral we've attended in two years.
All relatives. All in their 80s except for Aunt Helen
who made it to 101.

Tomorrow is for Uncle Kenny, who was Mom's
youngest brother and last surviving immediate family member.
I wrote a bit about him just before I moved to Ohio.
Click on his name above for a refresher if you care to.

All the other funerals were for relatives from Dad's side
of the family. It's almost redundant to have family reunions.
This time I expect to see relatives from Mom's side that
I haven't seen in decades. Many in 30-40 years.

Events like this can make a person feel old. And mortal.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

I know, I know...

Those loyal few who still check in here are probably 
wondering how long Robin Williams' photo will
continue to be at the top of this anemic blog.
This will do it.

Anemic indeed.

I'm taking vitamins now but they don't seem to be
boosting much of anything yet. I think I need a
new approach. Like reading fewer dead people's
life stories and more poetry and carrying a notebook
with me again. For starters.

I look at clouds a lot. They remind me of snowflakes
because it seems they're all different. Well, how could
they not be? They change constantly.
I saw one today that looked like Saturn. A big, gray
cotton ball with a wide, flat ring around it. Very cool.
Until it started to spread out like someone took a butter
knife to it and smooshed it out into a blobbish lump.

I keep thinking about not blogging any more.
But I don't really want to stop. I just feel guilty about
not posting much and when I do, it's way too much
whining (like now?).  I need a life. My own life.
If you see it lying around, please send it home.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Popsicles are my friends...

In these long, hot days of summer without a/c,
I love them all... pineapple, fruit punch, grape, cherry...
The only thing better is lemon sorbet on a stick, but it's high sugar.

Supposed to be cooler for the next coupla days.
I sure as hell hope so.

 
 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

It's going to be a long summer...

Yesterday was a very bad day for my other sister, Ann.
She fell and severely broke her left leg. Maybe needing surgery.
She also sprained her right ankle and broke a small bone
in her right foot. They put a boot on the right foot and a heavy
cast on the left leg in the ER and referred her to an orthopedic 
surgeon.

We got a walker for her but still had to call 911 and ask them to
carry her into the house. (STEPS. I hate steps.)
Now she's trying to find a medical transport service to take her
to her appointment with an orthopedic surgeon next week.
So far, she hasn't found a service that transports from residences,
only dealing with hospitals, nursing homes, etc.

We've asked her HR Department for help in the search.
We might have to get a wheel chair because a couple of the 
transport services said they can take her but do not provide 
the wheel chair.
Didn't realize how much of a blessing it is to be ambulatory.

Carol is feeling well, but...her platelets got up to 89,000 about
two weeks ago but when they checked before her chemo on 
Tuesday, they had fallen to 56,000... lowest so far.
She also has cellulitis in her left arm. Same area that had a 
port and got infected about a year (?) ago. Antibiotics for 
that seems to be clearing it up nicely. They said the infection...
or the antibiotics... might be the cause of the fall in her platelet 
count. Not sure, of course.
Still, they ok'd her for the chemo, so that is still on track.

Carol has actually been a big help with Ann.
I think she would've made a better nurse than I thought I would
be, oh so many years ago.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Books keep me sane... usually...

I'm tired of only posting about cancer (she's doing well,
platelets are up, chemo continues on schedule) and since
the creative corner of my brain has shriveled to near
non-existence, I thought I'd post a list of the books I've
read since leaving Florida. I'm sure there are more than
what's listed here but what-the-hell. I'm not doing this for
a grade, just filling up space with something different.

Here goes:

Fall of Giants- Ken Follett.
Winter of the World- Ken Follett.
Winter's Tale- Mark Helprin (yuck. Gave up after 100 pages).
I'm Over All That- Shirley MacLaine.
Cronkite- Douglas Brinkley (slow. Not done).
Washington, A Life- Ron Chernow (slow. Not done).
Heaven Is for Real- Todd Burpo (so-so).
Anne Morrow Lindbergh, A Gift for Life- Dorothy Herrmann.
Dear Life- Alice Munro, short stories (yawn).
Lone Survivor- Marcus Luttrell  (better than the movie).
A Natural Woman- Carole King (autobio).
Stan Musial- George Vecsey.
My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business- Dick Van Dyke.
Streets of Laredo- Larry McMurtry.
Steve McQueen- Marc Eliot.
Steve Jobs- Walter Isaacson.
Eudora Welty- Suzanne Marrs.
the Time Keeper- Mitch Albom.
First Phone Call From Heaven- Mitch Albom (boring).
Philomena- Martin Sixsmith.
The Book Thief- Markus Zusak.
Flyboys- James Bradley.
On Wings of Eagles- Ken Follett.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society- by
Mary Ann Shaffer and  Annie Barrows.
Honor in the Dust, Theo. Roosevelt, War in the Philippines- by
Gregg Jones.
The Goldfinch- Donna Tartt.
The Fault In Our Stars- John Green.
Zealot, the Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth- by
Reza Aslan (just started. so far, so good). 

*************
I know. You're really really glad you stopped by.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Trust no one completely...

She got her chemo this week, even though her platelet count
was lower than last week.

I asked everyone within arm's reach "Why this week and not
last week?". Reasons given were conflicting and lame-sounding
which only succeeded in upping my frustration and anger levels
until... the oncologist's RN/PA came by, smiling and crowing
about how wonderfully well Carol is doing, then saying last week
was a "communication error". Seems the oncologist (who has not
made an appearance in weeks) forgot about the discussion that
set the acceptable platelet range (wouldn't there be notes in the
patient's file and wouldn't that info go to the chemo lab?).
My tongue is still sore from biting it to keep myself from ranting.

All I can do is be more vigilant.
If I had been there last week I might have been able to jog some
memories.

You see, Carol never argues with or questions authority. Ever.
She'll argue with me because I'm only her sister and have no 
authority. All those people who are trained to do what they do
cannot possibly ever make any kind of mistake, therefore they
should never be questioned only followed blindly like a brain-
dead lemming and when I ask questions I embarrass her.
Even when it turns out that I'm right.
When will I learn that I can't fix stupid?
Yes, I'm angry with her, too. She takes no responsibility for
herself, expecting everyone... oh, nevermind. I'm tired.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Apparently...

you can never relax.

Carol was supposed to have chemo yesterday. Platelet count
64,000 (within the range they said was ok)... and the doctor
said "Nope. Come back next week and we'll try again."
Nothing else changed so I'm confused. And frustrated.
I try not to worry too much.

Maybe it's time to go shopping.

Thursday, May 01, 2014

It must be Spring 'cuz the dandelions are blooming...

Sister's platelet count continues to fluctuate from
61,000 to 73,000. After eleven treatments of Kadcyla,
the medical folks have determined that as long as the
platelets stay within this range, she's ok to continue
with the reduced dose every three weeks. So far, she has
no other side-effects (yay!) but we still need to watch for
unusual bruising and/or bleeding.

Church activities are keeping her active. Lent was a busy
schedule of baking and cooking and attending mass.
Easter was siblings, stuffed cabbage, ham and baseball.
Now the church folks are getting ready for their annual yard sale.

Weather last week was beautiful but this week is rainy,
although nothing severe like so many other places.
The first yard mowing will happen soon and when it's 
nice enough long enough, we'll be getting the house painted.

Look at that... a post with no complaints.

Well, except for the Indians and their painful beginning season.
Ah, well. Life ain't perfect, is it?


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Next...

Winter squalls into
Spring sunshine. One more beam than
yesterday. Beauty.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Too much gravity...

A little less and I'd still be perky.
All over.
Cheeks, boobs, butt. Upper arms.
Happy Birthday to me.
63!
There will be no photos.
Ever.
Again.

Are you well?

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Progress of sorts...

Platelet count is up to 69,000. Still not ideal.
The oncologists were concerned about postponing another
treatment so, it was decided to reduce the dose by 10%, hoping
that will allow her platelets to continue rebuilding.

Guessing. Hoping. So much for exact science.

She has a follow-up visit with her doctor in 10 days, unless we
notice unusual bruising or bleeding or her temperature spikes.
Then we head for the ER.

Anyway, I'm relieved for now. 

We're keeping alert for Winter's next (may it be the last) hurrah.
Predictions are freezing rain starting tonight and then mucho
snowflakes and wind tomorrow.
The excitement never ends.

Stay warm and dry, dear friends.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Blood platelet battle...

My sister was scheduled for chemo last week. No go.
Her platelet count was 61.
This week was 67 but still not good enough.
They want at least 75.
Re-scheduled for next week.

They said there is nothing she can do to bump up
her platelet count but, I'll be doing some research.

Her cancer is not gone and without treatment it
will grow.

This is making me nervous. 

p.s.
I'm confused. Blood platelet numbers I found on the net
are nothing like what are listed above. What I found
range anywhere from 140,000 - 400,000 for normal to
under 20,000 seriously low.
61? 67? 75? WTF?
Her oncologist is out of town this week. Great.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Respite...

Today the sun shines
on brown grass that winter killed.
Tomorrow, more snow.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Someone moved Ohio...

to the North Fucking Pole.

It's been snowing and blowing for three days, without a break,
until an hour ago. Looking at the sky I can see it will start
again soon. 

And, more sub-zero temps coming for the next two or three days.
Anything at or above freezing feels balmy.

Crazy.

I know, it's as bad or worse where you are but, I haven't
done any real whining in a while.

Still here, still breathin'.