Friday, June 30, 2006

Sesame Street is one funny show

I'll explain the photo in a minute. Keep reading.

Today I realized I have a bunch of little topics that don't really go together:

1. The other day I was in a department store and the jazzy muzak sounded vaguely familiar. It dawned on me that it was "Fall on Me" by REM. This was a cool song from Back in My Day. It was so cool, in fact, that had it played on a "regular" radio station and been declared cool by the mainstream, it would have instantly become uncool. It was that kind of cool. I had visions of all of the alternative kids from high school -- you know, all of those kids who wore flannel and combat boots even when it was 90 degrees -- hearing this version and flinging themselves off of a bridge. Then again, they're probably now all accountants who drive SUVs, so they probably wouldn't get upset.

2. There's a 60-ish woman in my exercise class who always wears tight-fitting shorts with the words "HOT BUNS" emblazoned across the backside. I just really wanted to share that with everyone.

3. Yesterday I laughed out loud at Sesame Street. Cookie Monster's mom made a guest appearance. She looked just like Cookie Monster, only she had a curly blue perm and dangly earrings. (See the photo above) For some reason, I thought this was a riot. After she and Cookie devoured their cookies, she said, "You have a really good job here, son." HAHAHAHA! WCB, of course, paid no attention. I think I need to get out more.

4. We leave for Mayo on Tuesday. You'd better not be messing around in there, Marcia! There's no way I'm letting you move into my groovy pad in the attic, missy.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

See what I mean?

Sends chills down your spine, doesn't it?

Starting bid is $1.99 on E-bay.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The DaFisher-Price Code

We spent last weekend visiting Omaha again. We got to go to World's Cutest Godson's first birthday party, which was very fun, especially when he smeared cake into his hair. Mmm ... hair cake.

We also got to visit with a lot of family, including WCB's Aunt Patty, who bought her a Fisher-Price Noah's Ark set. It's the most darling thing ever, and WCB loves sucking on the giraffes, but apparently poor Noah was the lone human on the ark. The set has no Mrs. Noah. I spent all weekend wondering about the fate of Mrs. Noah. Did she fall overboard? Did she refuse to board the ark and perish in the flood? The plot thickened when I complained about the lack of Mrs. Noah to my friend Elizabeth. (That would be the mother of WCG). She said that her older son has a two-year-old version of the same set ... and his set has a Mrs. Noah.

Sometime in the past two years, Mrs. Noah simply vanished. It's like Fisher-Price is trying to erase her from history.

It's The DaVinci Code for ages 1 - 5.

I am now hot on the trail of Mrs. Noah. The Fisher-Price web site, as expected, reveals no trace of her. Genius code-breaker that I am, I found out that can buy her on E-bay for $3.66 plus $1.66 shipping. Mystery solved? HA HA! That's what the powerful, 2,000-year-old hierarchy at Fisher-Price would like for you to think! E-bay revealed another secret that is even more shocking. One Fisher-Price Noah's Ark set up for bid includes Noah, a lion, a pig, a bear, a toucan, a giraffe, and ... Ronald McDonald.

That's right. If you look at the accompanying photo, you can clearly see Ronald behind all of the animals, waving happily. It's like the scene in The DaVinci Code when the characters look at The Last Supper and realize Mary Magdalene is sitting next to Jesus.

What does this all mean? I don't know yet. I'm sure all of the pieces will fall into place.

I'm suddenly in the mood for some McNuggets, though.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Oh. Whoops.

I belong to a myeloma e-mail list, and somebody posted a link to this article about a woman who was diagnosed with multiple myeloma and treated for it for over six years ... and now it turns out she never had it in the first place.

Whoopsie.

Turns out her doctor didn't do a lot of important tests before diagnosing her, including a bone-marrow biopsy, which is one of the most important tests for myeloma. Myeloma's not diagnosed from any one, single test; doctors need to look at results from several different tests before they can make a final conclusion. A jury awarded the woman a million dollars. I'm sure she went through a lot of unpleasantness, and, man, that doctor doesn't sound too bright, but I'm wondering ... why didn't the patient question anything?

Why didn't she learn the basics about myeloma and find out what tests she needed? Why didn't she get copies of her results, check them out, and then ask what the results meant? Why didn't she get a second opinion before starting treatment?

So, here's my public-service announcement for the day: If you've been diagnosed with myeloma or any other awful health thing, you need to do all of the above-mentioned stuff. I'm not saying that you shouldn't trust your doctor, but at least get on the Internet for 10 minutes and make sure he/she ran the right tests, for goodness sakes. My doctor at the Mayo Clinic told me that she once had a patient who was told by his regular doctor that he had four months to live. She checked him out and ... there was nothing wrong with him. So you never know.

OK. I'm done. I've only received one silly children's song so far. Come on! You know you want to share!

Friday, June 23, 2006

Apostrophe on a stick

Lizard Eater commented on my last post about incorrect apostrophes and asked if I'd read the book Eats, Shoots and Leaves. Yes, yes, a thousand times, yes!

It's a laugh-out-loud funny book about ... punctuation. Really.

The book's author, Lynne Truss, is so obsessed with apostrophes that she protested at screenings of the movie Two Weeks Notice with an apostrophe on a stick. She is my hero.

Here's the origin of the book's title:

A panda walks into a cafe. He orders a sandwich, eats it, then draws a gun and fires two shots in the air.

"Why?" asks the confused waiter, as the panda makes towards the exit. The panda produces a badly punctuated wildlife manual and tosses it over his shoulder.

"I'm a panda," he says, at the door. "Look it up."

The waiter turns to the relevant entry and, sure enough, finds an explanation.

"Panda. Large black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves."

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Karen vs. The Sun

WCB has been getting up earlier and earlier and earlier. As much as I love seeing her smiley little face and sticking-up hair in the morning, I'd love it even more around, oh, at least 7:30 a.m. I am not a morning person. I never have been, and I never will be. I think I'm part vampire. My theory is that she's waking up because it gets light out so early now. The summer solstice just made my Official Enemy List.

Karen's Official Enemy List:

1. Marcia Brady
2. Dr. Laura
3. People who use apostrophes incorrectly
4. The summer solstice

Watch your back, summer solstice!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Hey, you guys! Ow! My nose!

Where does the time go? Two weeks from today, I have to haul my Marcia Brady blood into the Mayo Clinic for another three-month appointment. Listen up, Marcia: You'd better not be doing anything bad in there. You'd better not be accepting dates with two different boy blood cells for the same night. I don't care if one of them is the Big Blood Cell on Campus. It's not right. I will personally hit you in the face with a football, and I'll enjoy it.

I always did like Jan much better.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Larks and peanuts

In a previous post, I revealed that the song "La Cucaracha" is about a cockroach who smokes pot. I got a comment from Lizard Eater suggesting that I Google the French song "Alouette".

Turns out it's about ripping a tiny bird to pieces! Fun!

Alouette!
Gentille alouette!
Alouette!
Je te plumerai!
Je te plumerai la tete
Je te plumerai la tete
Et la tete
Et la tete
Alouette
Alouette
O-H-H-H...


Translation:

Lark!
Nice lark!
Lark!
I will pluck you
I will pluck your head
I will pluck your head
And your head
And your head
Lark
Lark
O-H-H-H ...

In the verses that follow you add more body parts to be plucked from the poor lark: eyes, neck, back, wings, tail, legs, and feet.

And it always sounded so cheerful.

Send me your favorite songs from your childhood. They can be classic songs, campfire songs, or songs such as, "Jingle bells, Batman smells ... "

One of my personal favorites was "Found a Peanut." I won't type out the lyrics here, because it can go on forEVER. Basically, the main character in the song finds a peanut and has a long series of misadventures including a major health crisis, death, an ascent into heaven, a descent into hell, and finally, the finding of yet another peanut. Apparently, the floor of hell is littered with peanuts.

All aspects of the human condition can be found in "Found a Peanut." Tonja, the girl who grew up across the street from me, liked to add in even more verses. Her version of "Found a Peanut" could go on for, quite possibly, days. It could become an epic tale spanning generations. She was brilliant at "Found a Peanut." She could still be singing it, for all I know. I haven't seen her in about 15 years.

Send me your songs. Watch out for peanuts. Finding one can only end in tragedy.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

It's a sunshine day!

My friend DeAnna sent me the best present ever: An autograph from Barry "Greg Brady" Williams! It says,

"Keep on groovin',
Barry Williams"

I think I will, Barry. I think I will.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Amazon.com is spying on me!

WCB is usually pretty good at going down for naps or going to bed. Today, though, she's having a lot of trouble going down for her morning nap. So while I was sitting here at the computer, miserably listening to her wail over the baby monitor, an e-mail message popped up from Amazon. com:

"Amazon.com recommends: The No-Cry Sleep Solution"

Insert Twilight Zone theme song here.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Myeloma, myeloma, myeloma!

The Kansas City Star publishes a weekly "Neighborhood News" section. It's a small, tabloid-sized insert that contains a few pages of news from around our specific part of Kansas City. Today's edition had two separate stories about two people who have multiple myeloma. They both live probably within a 10-mile radius of me. One of them goes to our church.

I keep telling you -- it's like everyone has myeloma now. It's like it's the most popular disease in school. It's the Marcia Brady of diseases. Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

I'm a nice, solid cheddar

Former Kansas City Royals pitcher Moe Drabowsky just died of multiple myeloma. He was 70 years old.

Very sad, yes, but I have to admit, I have absolutely no idea who he was. I know nothing about baseball, let alone individual baseball players. Years ago, we were at a Royals game, and every time the announcer said "Mike Sweeney", I thought he was saying "my sweetie." As in, "Now batting ... my sweetie!" It seemed reasonable to me. Maybe it was some kind of inside joke. Maybe the announcer and one of the players had something going on. You never know. File this under "Sexy camel leg hair."

Where was I? Yes, Moe Drabowsky. As always, whenever anyone dies of multiple myeloma, it jumps off the page at me, and then I go off and Google and Google and Google. I found an article that was written several months ago that said he'd had myeloma for seven years. This is really good, considering that he was diagnosed in an advanced stage, and he said his bones looked like "Swiss cheese" at diagnosis.

After I read stuff like that, I always do a horrible, insensitive mental checklist establishing why I will fare better than the deceased:

1. He was much older than I am.
2. His bones looked like SWISS CHEESE!
3. When he was diagnosed seven years ago, they didn't have all of the treatments they have now.
4. Did I mention the Swiss cheese?
5. Swiss cheese, people!

I do not look like Swiss cheese. I'll be fine.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Deck-a lecka hi, deck-a hiney ho*

* Anybody else remember this from the genie on Pee Wee's Playhouse? Or is it just me?

Anyway, our deck is finished!! Woo hoo! My parents came back over the weekend, and my dad and Jay turned into deck-building maniacs. WCB absolutely loved watching the deck-building from the window. I wonder if I should be alarmed by her extreme interest in power tools.

The deck is just great. Now we don't have to grill -- and eat our grilled food -- in the driveway anymore!

I should also mention that I won the Super Scrabble Championship Game. I made ENTOMBS for 99 points. Oh, yes.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Pot-smoking insects

WCB has a Fisher-Price car that plays music when she presses various buttons, turns the steering wheel, opens the trunk, or even just looks at it. Some of the songs have words, and they're sung in a very chipper woman's voice. The same chipper woman also says things like, "Driving is FUN! Vroom vroom!" or "Let's go for a ride! Ha ha!" WCB is in loooove with this car. If WCB had to choose between rescuing the car or her parents from a burning building, she would choose the car. Yesterday, the batteries ran out, the two of us experienced a very tense few minutes while Mommy ran to fetch the screwdriver.

I always wonder about the woman who is the voice of the car. Did she have childhood dreams of making it big as a singer? I picture her, the night of her high school graduation, boarding a Greyhound bus that will take her far from her dreary Midwestern hometown to the bright lights of Hollywood. She works two jobs waiting tables while attending audition after audition, experiencing heartbreak after heartbreak. Then, one night, as she sits eating her last packet of ramen noodles prepared on a hot plate, she gets the call that will change her life.

She's the voice of the Fisher-Price car.

After that, did she let her fame go to her head? Did she buy a mansion with a big pool and servants? Did her hometown boyfriend walk out on her, saying, "I don't understand you anymore! It used to be about the music!"

This is what I think about while I listen to "The wheels on the car go 'round and 'round!" fifty times a day.

Anyway. One of the non-lyric songs that the car plays repeatedly is "La Cucaracha". After listening to that one about fifty times, my mom and I today realized that we have no idea what the actual lyrics are, and my mom speaks Spanish. We decided to Google it.

Turns out it's about a cockroach that smokes pot.

La cucaracha, la cucaracha
Ya no puede caminar
Porque no tiene, porque le falta
Marijuana que fumar.

Translation:

The cockroach, the cockroach
Now he can't go traveling
Because he doesn't have, because he lacks
Marijuana to smoke.

I'm glad my child is getting some nice, wholesome entertainment. It's multi-cultural, too.

Ahhhhhhhhhh!

Remember that massage gift certificate I got for Mother's Day? I finally cashed it in today.

Ahhhhhhhhhh!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Broken-up mountain

I finally got around to watching Brokeback Mountain. I'm a little bit behind in my current-movie watching. Back in the Olden Times, Jay and I would go to a movie in the theater almost every week. We'd see all of the best-picture nominees before the Oscars. Those were the days. Of course, WCB is far more entertaining than any movie could ever be, but that doesn't change the fact that I haven't set foot in a movie theater in one year. We went to see Star Wars: Episode III for Father's Day last year ... and that's been it. Now Netflix is my only link to the movie world -- that and our subscription to Entertainment Weekly, which is the cruelest publication for new parents. "Look! Here's a weekly reminder of all of the new movies you can't go see, TV shows you don't have time to watch, and new books you can't afford! Ha ha ha!"

But back to Brokeback Mountain.

This is one of the best movies I have Netflicked in a long time, and also one of the most heartbreaking, rip-your-guts-out-and-stomp-on-them sad movies I've ever seen in my life. I've been completely broken up over it all day. I think I need to go lie down for a while and dream up my own alternate ending in which Jack and Ennis live happily ever after on their own little ranch. I'm not sure I can go on otherwise.

Thanks a lot, fictional characters! Thanks a lot!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Fish are cool

We took WCB to the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE over the weekend. I grew up near Omaha, so I went to the zoo all the time as a kid. I hadn't been there in years. It's probably one of the best zoos in the country. Nobody ever believes me, because it's in, well, Omaha, but you absolutely must go if you have never been. Trust me.

We met up with my two best friends from college, their spouses, and their two kids each. That's right: We had five kids under the age of three. It wasn't nearly as scary as it sounds. One of the boys was WCB's future husband, Tom, but he seemed more interested in the zoo train than in his future wife. We'll work on him.

WCB's favorite part was the aquarium. She stood pressed against the glass forever, just watching those fish. She'd probably still be standing there if we'd allowed it.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Photo of the possessed firefly

Remember the haunted toy firefly? My blog friend Teresa, who writes about her husband's experience with multiple myeloma, posted a photo of it on her blog. You can see it here. I can't thank her enough for this visual aid!

It's even scarier-looking in person.

I've been kicked out!

This is a good thing.

Last December, an overreacting doctor wanted to get me started on a bone-marrow transplant. Actually, he wanted me to have something called an autologus stem-cell transplant: They'd remove my own stem cells, give me high-dose chemo, and then put the cells back in. That's really, really simplifying the process, but you get the basic idea.

The doctor's office called my insurance company and told them I needed this transplant. The insurance company then assigned me to a transplant "case manager", who would call me all the time to see how I was doing.

In the meantime, I went to the Mayo Clinic, where the doctor determined that I don't have active disease and I don't need any kind of treatment right now, let alone a transplant. Whew. I never went back to Dr. Overreacting's office.

But the case manager kept calling every few weeks to check on the state of my bone marrow. I kept telling her that I had nothing new to tell her. Now, I'm sure that if I HAD been going through the transplant process, I would have found the case manager to be pretty helpful. I wasn't, though, so I found all of the calls a little annoying.

Yesterday I got a letter from the case management program saying, "Your progress indicates that you no longer require case management services." Woo hoo! I'm outta the program! No more phone calls. As Homer Simpson would say, "So long, suckers!"