Saturday, December 29, 2007

Bambi II: A Fawn's Revenge

We've been watching a lot of Bambi around here. It's WCK's new favorite movie ever. The other day, she woke up from her nap and her diaper was bone dry. In the early potty-training world, this is like striking gold. I could hardly contain myself.

"Let's go sit on the potty!" I said enthusiastically.

"Potty scary!" shrieked WCK. "Watch Bambi!"

Ooooh, I was not about to walk down the "potty scary" road. When WCK decides something is officially "scary", she will not go near it for at least six months. I had to take desperate measures, so I bribed her.

"What if you can sit on the potty and watch Bambi at the same time?" I proposed.

WCK thought this was a marvelous idea, so I got her settled on the potty and then brought the portable DVD player into the bathroom. We watched Bambi for about 15 - 20 minutes, and she peed, and everyone was happy.

I've been thinking a lot about Bambi. His mother gets shot, and then his usually-distant father approaches him and says, "Your mother won't be with you anymore." Bambi looks sad, and bam, that's it. In the next scene, it's spring and Bambi is all grown up and completely well-adjusted and over all the trauma and ready to cruise for chicks. WHAT? What happened over the winter? Did he just go crash at Thumper's place? Did have to move in with his dad, who doesn't seem like the most responsible or nurturing guy? I mean, Bambi's dad just stands around on the hill doing nothing while Bambi's mom raises the kid all by herself. I kind of want to shake some sense into her for putting up with that nonsense. I always wonder how many other does Bambi's dad impregnated. Are Bambi and Feline half-brother and -sister? Eeeeeeew!

Anyway, the "What-happened-to-Bambi-during-the-winter" thing was driving me crazy, and then I found out that there is a Bambi II video that tells us, yes, WHAT HAPPENED DURING THE WINTER! Woo hoo! Apparently, Bambi does move in with his dad -- voiced by Patrick Stewart. The video is racing to our home from Amazon. I can only hope that the deer in Bambi II also discover a stockpile of weapons and take revenge against the hunters, but that's probably too much to hope for.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas was coming ...

... the goose was getting fat ...

Actually, the goose was getting cold, because it was naked. My poor front-porch goose has never owned a Christmas outfit, so I decided to fix that this year. Stylish!



I hope everyone had a good Christmas. Ours was great. On Christmas Eve, WCK helped me make some food for the reindeer out of oatmeal and glitter (aka "Magic Dust", available in the Magic Dust aisle at Wal-Mart). We sprinkled the mixture on the deck, and in the morning, it was all gone! The reindeer were hungry.

I got so many cool presents. Jay got me a book called "Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips." It's written by a woman who was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer at age 31 and then devoted herself to kicking the cancer's butt. I know she also made a documentary that aired on TLC, but I haven't seen it yet. I'm only about a third of the way through the book, but it is GREAT. I can relate to so many of the things she talks about. I recommend it to every cancer patient, especially women in their 20s and 30s. Here's a link to the gal's web site.

Jay's parents got me an electric blanket with dual controls. The dual-control feature is key, as Jay is always roasting and I am always suffering from frostbite. Jay's side isn't even hooked up, but mine is set to the Flames of Hell setting each night. Toasty.

Jay also got me a watch pedometer: It works like a pedometer you'd strap to your pants, only you wear it like a watch. I'd tried wearing the regular pedometers, but they'd fall off if I wore anything other than sweat pants. Granted, I wear sweat pants 99.9 percent of the time, but sometimes you have to dress up and wear jeans. (Granted, they are five-year-old jeans with holes in them) Anyway, the watch has about 1,587 functions and can probably launch the space shuttle. It took me a while to figure out how to work the pedometer part, but now it's up and running. Today I've already gone 9,565 steps! Woo! Time for a cookie.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Jingle Blessings

Story #1: Jay's whole family was just here for a big Christmas weekend -- lots of presents, lots and lots and lots AND LOTS of cookies. Jay's sister Patty brought along a Christmas game that involved a list of about 20 or so letter combinations that corresponded to Christmas songs. For example, if the letters said, "O L T O B", you have to figure out that that stands for "O, Little Town of Bethlehem." Or "T F N" is "The First Noel", and so on. I live for games like this and got right to work. Jay, on the other hand, had trouble figuring out the correct titles, so he decided to be a smart-alek for each answer. For "R T R N R", he wrote "Ralph, The Real Nice Raccoon." For "JB", he wrote "Jingle Blessings."

Jingle Blessings? Yes. Jingle Blessings.

Story #2: One of the greatest sandwich restaurants in the history of the world, besides Kansas City's own Planet Sub, is a place called Jimmy John's. There are Jimmy John's restaurants in my sister's town, there's one right across from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, and there are some in Omaha, and in the southern part of Kansas City, but not anywhere near where we live. For years I have been lamenting this. "Why don't we have a Jimmy John's by our house?" I would always say, over and over and over again. It's been an obsession of mine.

Today, we were in the car, and I saw something ... shimmering on the horizon like the Star in the East. It was ... A BRAND NEW JIMMY JOHN'S ... RIGHT!!! BY!!!! OUR!!!! HOUSE!!!

"IT'S A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE!!!" I exclaimed, trying not to cry.

"Yes," said Jay, clearly moved as well. "It's a Jingle Blessing."

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Real genius

Since the Dex has me up at 6 a.m. again, I thought I'd update you on some of the adventures of WCK.

In the past few weeks, we've watched A Charlie Brown Christmas about 1,345 times. If I need to check my e-mail? A Charlie Brown Christmas! Bake a cupcake? A Charlie Brown Christmas! Just lie there? A Charlie Brown Christmas! The other day, WCK and I were walking through Hobby Lobby when "Fur Elise" began playing over the P.A. system. This is one of the songs that Schroder plays on his toy piano while talking about how much he loves Beethoven.

"Mommy!" exclaimed WCK, fortunately loud enough for other patrons to hear. "I HEAR BEETHOVEN!"

Yes, now "My Child, Couch Potato Ignored by Her Mother" is now "My Child, Super Genius", at least as far as the patrons of Hobby Lobby are concerned.

The next song was an instrumental version of "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire".

"Beethoven?" asked WCK.

"No," I said. "This song was written by Mel Torme. Can you say Mel Torme?"

"MEL TORME!" she exclaimed. When we got home, we had to put in my Mel Torme Christmas CD and dance. And now I ask her about it all the time.

"WCK," I'll say. "Who wrote 'Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire'?"

"MEL TORME!" she'll cry with great joy.

I'm grooming her win a game of Trivial Pursuit someday.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Cupcake

These are the cupcakes I made for the MOMS Club Christmas party today. They're supposed to be reindeer:



They're chocolate cupcakes with red-foil-wrapped, bell-shaped chocolate candy as the nose, M&Ms with a dot of frosting for the eyes, a licorice mouth, and pretzel antlers. The hardest part was getting the pretzels to break the right way. I ate a lot of badly broken pretzels.

I'm finally done with all of my Christmas "chores." Today I made a very scary trip to Wal-Mart. to give a visual to those of you who live around here: I couldn't even park at Wal-Mart; I HAD TO PARK AT LOWE'S. As if Wal-Mart isn't scary enough on a regular day.

But now I'm ready to relax and eat some cookies. Merry Christmas, everyone!



Saturday, December 15, 2007

World's Cutest Dwight Schrute

Last night, WCK and I started working on a routine from the World's Funniest TV Show: The Office. I say, "WCK, you have your tickets? You have your tickets?" We then raise our arms, muscle-showing-style, and both exclaim, "TO THE GUN SHOW!"

Here it is in t-shirt form:



Jay is pretty concerned, mostly because he thinks that if WCK repeats this to, say, an unsuspecting grandma or to her future kindergarten teacher, that he's going to be the first one blamed. No one would ever suspect me for this, which is pretty much true. Heh.

Yeah, I'm blogging at 6:30 a.m. HATE THE DEX!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Busy times, back on drugs

Yep, I'm back on the drugs. I'm doing OK so far. In fact, I slept really well last night, and I give credit to the Revlimid. We'll see how I handle the Dex.

Last night was the MOMS Club cookie exchange. Everyone brought four dozen of one kind of cookie, and then we all got to take home a few of each kind. Now I have a big variety of cookies for the holidays. Jay and I agreed we'd stick them in the freezer immediately and force visiting family members to eat them later. We've been good so far, I swear. I made seven-layer bars, which are one of my favorite cookies AND very easy to make. My grandma used to make them all the time, so I always think of her when I eat them. Here's the recipe:

INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/3 cups shredded coconut


DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).
Place butter in 13 x 9 inch pan and melt in oven. Swirl to coat bottom and sides with butter.
Spread crumbs evenly over bottom of pan. Layer chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, and nuts over crumbs. Pour condensed milk over nuts. Sprinkle coconut over condensed milk.
Bake until edges are golden brown, about 25 minutes. Let cool.


This morning, a group of us got together to wrap presents for the Adopt-A-Family project. Our dining room table is now covered in wrapped packages that I need to drop off this weekend. Technically, I'm coordinating the project, but the MOMS Club board members completely took over for me while I was away for three weeks sucking cells (Thanks, guys!). We purchased gifts for a family of six (!!) children and another family with just one child. We had so many donations, we were able to get clothes and toys for all seven kids, one "adult" gift for each family (stuff like pots and pans), and a grocery-store gift card for each family. There were times when I'd start getting a little stressed out about the project, and then I'd get a big donation from somebody, and I'd feel like Jimmy Stewart at the end of It's a Wonderful Life when everyone was throwing money on him. It was a good feeling.

Tonight, Jay and I took WCK to our favorite Mexican restaurant ever: Manny's in downtown Kansas City. It was WCK's first time there. She ate an entire quesadilla, which we explained was a "Mexican grilled-cheese sandwich". For some reason, the quesadilla was also served with an enormous pile of cheese. She also ate most of the enormous pile of cheese and sprinkled all of the rest of it on the carpet. There may have been some mild flinging of refried beans as well. We wonder if we will be allowed back at Manny's again. Good times.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Speedy delivery

The Revlimid is supposed to show up at my doorstep tomorrow. Getting it this time was surprisingly fast and easy and didn't make me crazy. Maybe this is a good omen.

Tonight there was a story on NBC Nightly News about a 35-year-old football player who is fighting myeloma. You can view it here.

According to the story, myeloma is one of the few cancers that is on the rise, AND it is affecting more and more young people. Maybe it will start getting more attention, and we can finally find a way to get rid of this stupid thing.

Monday, December 10, 2007

I'm Navin Johnson

I went back to the cancer center today to start the ball rolling on returning to the Revlimid. The good news is they found a vein on the first try. Woo hoo! The bad news is there's nothing inside my veins. As I'd been warned by the folks at Mayo, the stem-cell-sucking machine ate all of my red blood cells. My hemoglobin is 9.7. Eek. Right before the harvest, it was a robust 12.1. Just yesterday, I saw an old episode of E.R. where Dr. Carter did a panicky run down the hall in the middle of the night because some guy's hematocrit (that's another red-blood-cell measurement) dropped to 30. Mine is 27.5. Nice. Where's Dr. Carter?

Remember the part in The Jerk where Steve Martin sends a letter to his parents telling them that he's been donating blood three times a day to get the free food?

"I decided to quit," his mother reads, "when I cut myself shaving and nothing came out but air."

This is me. There's nothing but air in there. They sucked me dry.

Anyway. Dr. GPO was impressed with my 10.4 million cells. He said he'd give all of my paperwork to the nurse, and she'd contact the pharmacy, drug company, etc., to get me my drugs. I'm not sure how long it's going to take. Oh, and here's the best news: I told him Dr. H said it was OK to back off of the Dex a little bit if the 20 mg got to be too much for me, which it was back in September. He said we could try 12 mg and see how it goes. Twelve! That's three pills instead of my all-time high of TEN.

This news makes me want to go out there and be somebody.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Nutcracker Disco!

A couple of months ago, WCK and I started playing "Bathroom Disco." Here's how it works:

1. Go into the windowless bathroom; turn out the light and close the door so it is pitch black inside.

2. Shine a flashlight through Great-Great-Grandma's metal potato ricer to create a disco-ball effect. (I bet a metal colander would work just as well)

3. Tune a radio to a station that plays silly '80s songs. We especially like "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey.

4. Dance, dance, dance!

To celebrate the holiday season, however, we have switched from Journey to The Nutcracker. I put the really upbeat Nutcracker song on repeat, and it plays forever. You know the one I'm talking about. It's the one that goes

Da DA dada dada dada da
Da DA dada dada dada da
Da ... da ... da ... da ... da .... da .... da .... da ...
Da DA dada dada dada da ...

You know. That one.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Curse you, Charles Schulz!

Over the past several months, WCK has become very particular about what she will watch on TV. She has completely shunned Elmo, and for the past, oh, three months or so, the only thing -- I mean, THE!! ONLY!! THING!! -- she would watch on TV is The Adventures of Milo and Otis. This is a live-action movie from the early '90s featuring an orange cat and a pug dog who have various adventures with other live-action animals. I sometimes wonder how many cats and dogs they, um, lost during the filming, but I try not to think about it too much. Dudley Moore provides all of the voices and narrates. I know all of the dialogue. I hear the music in my head when I try to sleep at night. WCK was beginning to speak in a British accent after listening to Dudley Moore so often.

Because I wasn't sure how much more Milo and Otis I could handle, I began encouraging other movies and TV shows. I was unsuccessful until she agreed to watch Bambi three times at my sister's house. This was a huge breakthrough. WCK thinks Bambi is HILARIOUS! The part where his mother gets shot? HILARIOUS!! (To be fair, she doesn't realize anyone is getting shot. She just notices the deer running). Santa is going to be bringing our own copy of Bambi to our home, purchased used on Amazon for $7. Thank you, Santa.

Yesterday, I introduced A Charlie Brown Christmas, recorded on our TiVo. Success! She loved it! Turns out I should be careful what I wish for. It aired back-to-back with a newer Charlie Brown special, one that features Linus sitting in his classroom, listening to the teacher talk. You know the Charlie-Brown-teacher sound: Waaah, waaaah, waaaaaah.

WCK is FASCINATED by the Charlie Brown teacher. We have to watch this 30-second segment of Linus and the teacher over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over.

And over.

And when Charlie Brown is not on, my life sounds like this:

"Teacher go 'Blah, blah', Mommy! Teacher go, 'Blah, blah!' On TV! Mommy! Teacher go 'Blah, blah!' Pretty funny! Teacher go, 'Blah, blah!'"

I'm starting to miss Dudley Moore.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Christmas cramming

It's so nice to be home.

I was a little worried that we were going to be missing out on the Christmas season, but we've managed to cram a lot of Christmas (in a good way!) into the last two days. Yesterday, we went to a tree farm and chopped down our Christmas tree, as is our tradition. It was a really fun tree farm. They gave us free hot chocolate and cider and let WCK decorate an ornament. When we got home, WCK then helped me decorate the tree. We have a lot of ornaments -- A LOT of ornaments -- mostly because I've been collecting all of the Hallmark Keepsake Wizard of Oz ornaments since 1994, and those Hallmark people just won't quit making them. Also, I can't throw anything away. I still have the gingerbread man I made out of actual ginger snaps in 1981. Yes, the ginger snaps are completely intact after 26 years. Just think of what they do inside your stomach. Just think.

But I digress. WCK very patiently unwrapped each ornament, we talked about each one, and then she told me where to place it on the tree. She was such a good helper. I just hope she doesn't rip them down tomorrow.

Today we went to a Santa Claus singalong at the public library. Santa brought a guitar and played a few Christmas songs and the kids all danced. We go to this every year, and it's always a big hit. WCK loved the dancing part but didn't want much to do with Santa's lap. In the afternoon, Jay and I attempted to take WCK to see the Fairy Princess. The Fairy Princess is an old Kansas City tradition. It's sort of the same concept as Santa -- the kids stand in line, sit on the Fairy Princess' lap, and get their picture taken. I figured she'd find the FP much less scary than Santa. Yeah. WCK refused to get anywhere near the Fairy Princess. She threw herself on the ground and wouldn't move.

"WCK," said Jay, "do you want to go see the Fairy Princess or not?"

"NOT!!!" said WCK.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

WE'RE HOME!!!!



I remember that some of it wasn't very nice, but most of it was beautiful. But just the same, all I kept saying to everybody was, "I want to go home."

And they sent me home.



Saturday, December 01, 2007

Oh, the weather outside is frightful

Here we are in Iowa. The snowy drive from Rochester to Ames was truly scary. We watched a truck pulling a trailer fly off into the ditch right in front of us. Just as we were recovering from that heart-attack moment, WCK got violently carsick and we had to pull over. Luckily, we never travel now without the Official Emergency Carsickness Kit (wipes, garbage bags, extra clothes), and we were able to get her cleaned up and continue on. WCK inherited the carsickness gene from me. I'm sorry, WCK.

We managed to make it to my sister's house in Iowa, and now we are safe and warm and full of barbecued ribs. Not a bad way to spend the afternoon. We hope to be back home tomorrow.

Wow. Home.

P.S.: Somebody named ppl posted a comment, asking if he/she could ask me some medical questions. Sure! Ask away! Either post your questions here, or give me your e-mail address.