Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Mama drama-o-rama!

This is a really long story, so I'll try to sum up: The stay-at-home moms' group I belonged to (and also served as Administrative VP of) was a local chapter managed by an international office. The executive board decided to disband from the international group and form our own, independent group. We were having some troubles with the international people, but we are a group of about 50 awesome women and have a great local group and wanted to stay together and set our own rules. For example, International said we weren't supposed to be out after dark more than once a month. We already have a Moms' Night Out once a month, so the book club I've been running for about two years has been -- gasp! -- completely illegal! I don't know how we managed to sit around and discuss "My Sister's Keeper" without getting abducted or having all of our husbands file for divorce, but we did. Anyway, we were in the middle of carefully following all of the "rules" for the disbanding process and planned to start up our new group May 16.

Yesterday, the entire executive board got registered letters informing us that we were all "fired." I've never been fired from anything, let alone via registered mail. It was all very exciting and dramatic. I was accused of "officer malfeasance"! Malfeasance! Me! Actually, our president, Brooke, was fired first. She called to see if I'd gotten my letter.

"No," I said. "I haven't gotten anything."

"Well, International has removed me as president," she said. "So I guess you're president now."

Five minutes later, the mailman showed up with my Official Firing Letter. Let me tell you, for the whole five minutes that I was president, I was nearly drunk with power!

It's all OK, though. Within a few hours, we had our brand-new web site all set up and our new group up and running. We changed all of our executive board titles, so I'm now "Community Service Director". I'm going to be doing the same stuff I did before. I'm kind of relieved that it is all over.

As for the firing letter, I plan to stick it in WCK's baby book for posterity, so she knows what a rebel I was. Here's my one big issue with it, though: The international office spent over $5 per letter to fire all of us. Did any of us even get a regular letter or even a short little e-mail congratulating us when we raised $800 for a cancer patient's family? When we dropped off almost 700 toys at the children's hospital? When we collected toys for seven children at Christmas? When the entire group sent me a giant care package and gift cards and completely supported me through the three weeks I was having my stem-cell harvest?

Um. No. No we did not. Hence, the disbanding. I guess I sound bitter, but I'm not, really, because our new group is going to kick butt! Well, I guess it will as soon as I actually start posting the playgroups like I'm supposed to instead of spending my free time typing up a giant blog entry. More malfeasance on my part.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Same old, same old

Today I was back at the Cancer Center for my monthly visit. My INR is fine; my blood counts are better than last time. My white counts are still a little bit too low, but my hemoglobin is kicking butt at 12.9. Must have been that cheeseburger I ate last night.

Cheeseburgers = Better Health.

Anyway, no big cancer news to report right now. I'm now about to start Cycle 12 of the Revlimid. Can you believe I've been on this stuff for over a year now? I should have celebrated a Revlimid-iversary.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

American Idol commentary

I don't know which of these is more disturbing: The fact that Annoying Dreadlock Man did not get voted off, or the interview with Clay Aiken. What's up with Clay's hair? And why was he dressed like a colorblind Mr. Rogers? Clay used to be my secret boyfriend. I might have to break up with him now.

Next week is Neil Diamond week. Can't wait.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Out, damned Spot!

Weeks ago, WCK asked to check out a library book called "Spot's Giant Treasury." It contained about a dozen stories about a dog named Spot:


Apparently, the Spot books are quite popular among preschoolers, despite the fact that they are low on action and plot. Some examples of Spot plots: Spot goes on a picnic. It rains. Spot comes home. Or: Spot goes to a fair with his grandparents. It is fun. They come home. Or: Spot's room gets messy. His mom tells him to clean it. He cleans it.


Every night before bed, WCK would insist that I read one Spot story, and then she'd ask Daddy to read one Spot story. WCK looooooved the Spot stories. Jay and I grew to hate them. Obsessively. Sometimes we'd lie in bed at night, complaining to each other about the Spot stories. Like, why is the mother dog bigger than the hippo? Why is Spot called Spot, but his friends get regular names, like Steve? Why are all of the animals "human" (they drive fire trucks, they play tubas, they go into the hospital for x-rays), except for Spot's grandparents' pet cat, who is just a regular cat?


"Why are Spot's parents always referred to by their first names instead of 'Mom' or 'Dad'?" Jay would always say. "I HATE THAT!"


I'm happy to say that the Spot book was returned to the library this morning. WCK seemed to understand that it needed to go back, and she hasn't complained. Jay and I can go back to our happy, pre-Spot lives, but I think the emotional scars will always be there.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Grateful

I keep meaning to say THANK YOU, THANK YOU to everyone who donated to the Jackie Malena Treatment Fund. (I will be sending out "real" thank-yous soon, I promise!) Jackie is a 32-year-old mother of two from Kansas City who is fighting a rare form of cancer. I headed up a donation drive through the MOMS Club, and we were able to donate nearly $800 to Jackie's fund. We also gave two boxes filled with little gifts to Jackie's two daughters and convinced Wal-Mart to donate some gift cards to the family. I'm so happy we were able to raise so much, and I appreciate the hard work of everyone who helped out. I'm technically "in charge" of the MOMS Club service projects, but I feel like I didn't do a whole lot. Even little Tom (remember little Tom, WCK's future husband?) sent in $5. We love Tom.

If you haven't had a chance to donate yet, you can visit Jackie's web site and find out how to send in a donation on your own: http://www.fightforjackie.net. Every little bit can help!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I EOF-ed!

That's what we used to say back in the Olden Days when I worked on my college newspaper. EOF stands for Error of Fact, and it was such a big deal that we turned it into a verb. If you misspelled a word or someone's name or got anything wrong in your article, somebody -- usually the EIC (and that stands for Editor-in-Chief; apparently we were far to busy to use entire words) -- would declare, "You EOF-ed!" and then you wouldn't get paid for that story. We were only paid $8 per story -- $10 if it was a particularly long or difficult story -- which seems ridiculous now, but when you're an impoverished college student, $8 can buy a lot of ramen.

Anyway, I posted the other day about Tiny Little Super Guy, only to discover that it is actually TEENY Little Super Guy. I'm so ashamed. If I got paid for this blog, I'd dock my own pay.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with TLSG, here is a short video. It was from Sesame Street in the '70s and '80s.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I scream, you scream ...

Today ten toddlers from the MOMS Club came over to our house to make home-made ice cream. It wasn't nearly as scary as it sounds; it turns out that home-made ice cream can be incredibly simple and mess-free to make. I tested the recipe over the weekend, and I was shocked that it worked AND made delicious ice cream. If you'd like to enjoy a nice, quiet dish of ice cream, though, I'd suggest making it without the ten toddlers.

Ziploc Ice Cream

Ingredients/Supplies:

Whole Milk
Sugar
Vanilla
Ziploc bags (pint and gallon)
Salt (Rock salt preferred or regular salt if you can’t find rock salt. I found a box of rock salt labeled "ice cream salt" among the regular salt in the baking aisle)
Ice


In a pint-sized Ziploc bag add the following and then zip it shut:

½ cup milk

1 tablespoon sugar

¼ teaspoon vanilla

In a gallon-sized Ziploc bag add ice to fill the bag halfway and six tablespoons of rock salt.

Place the pint-sized bag inside the gallon sized bag. Zip it shut. Now add it to ANOTHER gallon sized bag (to prevent holes/messes). Zip it.

Shake, turn, toss and mix the bag. In about 10 minutes you will have cold hands and yummy ice cream.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Tiny Little Super Dinosaur

WCK is generally a pretty well-behaved child. Well, for a three-ish-year old. When she's had a good nap. And when she's not at the Zona Rosa play area. For some reason, ZR turns her into a complete running-away-from-Mommy maniac, and she leads other people's children astray. (Sorry, Abigail!) But most of the time, she's a good kid.

Lately, though, we've been having big problems at bedtime, when WCK will NOT. LISTEN. TO. A. WORD. WE. SAY.

"Go into your room and get into your bed," we'll say. WCK will only laugh and streak down the hall.

"Go into the bathroom and sit on the potty," we'll say. Oh, this is a good one. There's no WAY WCK is going anywhere near that potty. Even if we do get her to sit on the potty, we'll never get her to wash her hands. Or put her pants back on. Or go back into her room and go to sleep.

One night, I picked up one of her stuffed dinosaurs, waggled his head a little bit, and said in a funny voice, "Hey, WCK, can you show me how to go potty? I don't know how." WCK immediately complied. The dinosaur asked her to show him how to wash hands. She did that, too. Then she showed the dinosaur how to go to bed. She will do ANYTHING for this dinosaur, despite the fact that I'm a terrible ventriloquist and she can obviously see my lips moving on the dinosaur's behalf. Also, the dinosaur must be a very slow learner, as he constantly claims to have NO IDEA how to go potty or get into bed, despite being shown repeatedly. WCK does not question this. Dinosaurs did have pea-sized brains, after all.

The dinosaur's voice is a cross between the voices of Marge Simpson and Tiny Little Super Guy. It's gotten to the point where all requests have to be made in the dinosaur voice. The Normal Mommy Voice gets no respect. Dinosaur Voice gets instant compliance. Will I ever have to do this out in public? I'm sure I will let you know.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Take me away from the ball game ...

Today we took WCK to her first Kansas City Royals game. And it was cold. Really, really, really, really, really cold.

When Jay bought the tickets, they were forecasting high 50s/low 60s and sunny. Every day leading up to the game, the forecasted temperature would go down a little bit. Today ended up being in the low 40s and cloudy and windy: Like I said, really, really, really, really, really cold.

We decided to bundle everyone up and brave the elements anyway. We tailgated, but WCK and I wisely ate our hot dogs in the car. WCK thought eating in the car was the greatest thing ever. In fact, she had a wonderful time at the game until, oh, the national anthem ended. Then she started up a running commentary that went like this: "Is it over yet, Mommy? Is it over? Is it over? Is it over yet, Mommy?" Whenever I would say, no, it's not over, she'd object. "I say yes. I say yes, it's over."

We left during the fourth inning.

When poor Jay tried to listen to the rest of the game on the radio on the way home, WCK began crying for Mr. Stinky Feet, and he had to turn the radio off. (Mr. Stinky Feet is the only thing WCK allows us to listen to in the car. THE ONLY THING.) WCK fell asleep on the way home, and Jay and I didn't even think to turn off Mr. Stinky Feet and turn the grownup radio back on. While we were sitting at a traffic light about one minute from our house, I realized I was quietly singing along with "What Color is Your Mini-Van?" instead of listening to the game or some non-Stinky music.

At least the hot dogs were really good.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Judy and Gene

Ah, all the fun things you can find on YouTube! Watch this and try not to smile.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Twisted friends

WCK and I hosted our playgroup last week, and everyone once again got a good laugh at our Mr. Potato Head in the Darth Vader costume. (His official name is Darth Tater, by the way). I explained that this was a gift from my sister before WCK was born, and somebody pointed out that I must have some really twisted friends and family: Every time the playgroup comes over, they find something bizarre around here that was a gift from someone else.

This is true. I do have twisted friends. Today I opened the mailbox to find that my friend DeAnna in Minneapolis had hand-crocheted me a little tiny Jabba the Hutt. I must add that this was a gift for ME, not for WCK. I'm not a Star Wars fanatic the way Jay is, but I do enjoy Jabba. I wish I could spend my life lying around, laughing at people, and eating frogs. You don't find a tiny Jabba in your mailbox every day, so it was a very special afternoon. DeAnna's note pointed out that his nostrils somewhat resemble Clark Gable's moustache. You'll have to judge for yourself:



He's so tiny that it was hard to get a decent photo of him, so I posed him in a variety of locales. Here he is shopping for groceries:



Lounging at the Emerald City:



Hangin' with his good friend Thomas:



"Aloha," says Jabba. "I'm off to Hawaii!"

Finally, attacked by a T-Rex. Fight back, Jabba! Fight back!



You know how I'm always complaining that I never have the time to, say, clean out our closets or read as many books as I want to, or prepare a fancy meal, or write the Great American Novel? This is why.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

I get to use two eyeballs today

Today's my birthday -- the big 3 -3!

I read my previous birthday posts on this blog. When I turned 31, my goal was to have no health dramas the whole year. I didn't make it. When I turned 32, my goal was to get into remission. I didn't make it, although I'm a lot closer than I was last year. Am I jinxing myself by setting these goals? This year, I've decided I'm not going to set any goals; then when good things happen, I can say, "Wow! This great thing happened, and it wasn't even my goal! I didn't even plan on this!"

Jay already gave me one of my presents, which is a gift card to Barnes and Noble and the promise that I can go over there this afternoon BY MYSELF and spend time wandering through the store BY MYSELF to pick out some books. This has to be the greatest present ever. Usually when I go to Barnes and Noble, I spend 99 percent of the time in the children's section and the other 1 percent of the time trying to look at the grownup books as fast as I can with one eyeball while keeping an eye on WCK with the other eyeball. This is why I buy most books online. Amazon.com must love mothers of toddlers.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Ticklebee: A new beginning

Today we went to a "Spring Fling" put on by our Parents as Teachers program. We got to do a lot of cool toddler-friendly activities and crafts, but it was really crowded and we spent a lot of time waiting in line. A friend of mine passed by as we stood in one of these unmoving lines and asked what we were waiting for.

"Um," we said, "we don't know."

It turned out to be ... a woman making balloon animals! Our lucky day! She made us a brand-new blue balloon dog. Ticklebee Two. He's been reborn.

Remember at the end of "Old Yeller" when they had to shoot Old Yeller, but then it ended up being OK because they got a brand-new puppy? It was exactly like that. Well, we haven't had the guts to shoot Ticklebee One yet. He's still languishing around the house, all deflated and deformed. The merciful thing to do would be to take him out back and pop him, or, at the very least, throw him into the trash compactor, but I'm squeamish.

Friday, April 04, 2008

TRY. TO. REMAIN. CALM.

It was officially announced today that all of the members of The New Kids on the Block will be reuniting and going out on tour. I saw it in the paper and nearly spit out my oatmeal.

"WCK!" I exclaimed. "The newspaper says that The New Kids on the Block are back together!"

WCK seemed mildly interested. "I want to see the kids," she said.

I showed her the photo of what appeared to be a group of little old men. I guess they haven't actually been "kids" in about 25 years. Is it just me, or does Jordan look frighteningly pale? Danny looks a little bit like a crazed axe murderer, but then again, he always sort of did anyway:



I then tried to teach her to sing "Hangin' Tough", complete with dance moves. WCK stopped me. "No, no," she said. "I want to sing 'Twinkle Star'."

These kids and their music today.

Anyway, my secret hope is that one of their tour dates will be in Kansas City. My extra secret hope is that an elderly Tommy Page will be their opening act. I still have my t-shirt from the 1989/1990 concert tour. I'm ready.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

We could while away the hours, conferrin' with the flowers

WCK and I spent all morning in the house, waiting for the Revlimid Delivery Guy to show up. On the day the Revlimid comes, I have to be here to sign for it, and they tell me it will come any time between 8 a.m. and noon. Usually the guy shows up well before 9 a.m., so it's not much of a problem. Today we had a different delivery guy, and he didn't get here until nearly 11:30. We had a lot of time to kill. Plus, WCK has a cold and is extra cranky. Plus, it's all gray and rainy out. It was a long morning.

After letting WCK watch cartoons for a while, I decided I'd better be a Good Mother and actually play with her before she developed some kind of brain damage. Some day I will get a call from the Dean of Students at her college, letting me know that WCK is flunking out because of two many hours of "My Friend Rabbit" when she was two.

I asked her what she wanted to play, and she immediately asked for her Dorothy dress. WCK likes to dress up in her Dorothy dress and ruby slippers and play Wizard of Oz. This is the same Dorothy dress she wore two Halloweens ago, so it is getting a little bit small -- OK, it's getting A LOT small -- and the buttons are popping off. She loves it anyway. Playing Wizard of Oz means that WCK gets to dress up and then boss everyone else around, deciding who gets to be Glinda, who gets to be the Scarecrow, and so on. Usually I wear a pink feather boa and use a soup ladle as my magic wand and play Glinda, but we also have a blue gift bag decorated with Elmo stickers that WCK has decided is a "Scarecrow hat." You turn it upside down and wear it on your head and become the Scarecrow. It doesn't get embarrassing unless you forget you have it on and, say, answer the door wearing the Scarecrow hat.

WCK has never seen the movie, but she is familiar with the plot and knows what every character wanted -- brains, heart, courage, and to go home. (Once she asked me what the Wizard wanted. "Um," I said, "Respect.") We were gearing up to play Wizard of Oz when WCK remembered that the Scarecrow hat was upstairs. Because she was cranky, she didn't want to go get it herself.

She started begging me to go get the Scarecrow hat.

"Go get a brain, Mommy," she said. "Go get a brain."

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Join me in mocking the dex

One of my very nice Cancer Center nurses called today with my M-spike news. It is now 1.7. Hurrah!

I know this is only a piddly .1 drop from last month (which essentially means I'm just "stable"), but you have to keep in mind that it dropped .1 WITHOUT DEX! I'd had this secret fear that it was going to go shooting up again, and I'd have to go back on the dex. Imagine my excitement!

Ha, ha, Dex! I don't need you! Nyah! Nyah! Nyah!