Saturday, January 31, 2009

I like being unimportant

I just read a really interesting article published by the Mayo Clinic called Treatment of Myeloma: Cure vs Control. The article talks about the big debate in myeloma treatment: Is it better to go with the big, heavy-duty treatment to try to get that zero M-spike? Or should you treat the disease as a chronic, manageable condition with as little treatment as possible? Mayo leans toward the chronic approach, unless you have a really aggressive form of myeloma.

Here was the best part (and if you're not a myeloma nerd, "monoclonal protein" is the same as "M-spike"): " ... a small monoclonal protein (minimal residual disease) is not in itself clinically important and is commonly present in the general population in the form of monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance. In many patients, reduction of myeloma to a state similar to monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (near-CR or very good partial response) may be all that is required for best long-term survival."

That's me! My M-spike is not clinically important! I blend in with the general population! Woo hoo!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Do it herself

WCK recently went through a phase where she insisted she needed help with everything, even things she could clearly do by herself. The most infamous incident occurred when she screamed bloody murder for me to come upstairs to her room, and then swore up and down that she ABSOLUTELY COULD NOT walk three feet to her bookshelf to get a book on her own. We had a standoff for about 15 minutes until she finally agreed to try walking the three feet.

Now, overnight, she has entered a phase where she insists she can do everything herself. Of course I want to encourage self-reliance, but it's a little extreme. Today I innocently opened her bedroom door, and she instantly collapsed on the floor sobbing, because she wanted to open the door herself. Can we find a happy medium here, WCK? Can we?

Today we were at Target, and I put our items on the checkout conveyor belt.

"WAIT!!" shrieked WCK. "I WANT TO PAY FOR IT!!!"

Wow. Think of all of the luxuries a preschooler's salary could buy.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Miss Hoover? I glued my head to my shoulder!

One of my favorite episodes of The Simpsons is "I Love Lisa". This is the Valentine's Day episode where Ralph Wiggum gets a crush on Lisa. Just the other day, I bought WCK a new Valentine's Day t-shirt, not because she needs yet another Valentine shirt, but because it has a bee on it and says, "Bee Mine!", and it reminded me of Ralph Wiggum.



Anyway, if you remember the episode, you'll remember that the inept local radio DJs play "Monster Mash" on Valentine's Day and again on Presidents' Day. When I asked WCK what she did at school today, she proudly told me that she sang, "Monster Mash."

SERIOUSLY? LIKE ON THE SIMPSONS???? I questioned this repeatedly, but she insisted. "Sometimes you just have to sing Halloween songs on Valentine's Day, Mommy," she said patiently.

I was starting to think that her teacher was a fellow Simpsons fan with a wicked sense of humor. I wondered if I should send a thank-you card (or, perhaps, a "ItalicLet's bee friends" card). Then I opened WCK's backpack and saw a sheet of paper that said the class studied the letter "M" and learned the word "monster" as one of their sign-language words today. Oh.

Do you think it is possible that not everything in life revolves around The Simpsons? I choo-choo-choose not to believe that.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Blogger's block

I know I haven't blogged in almost a week. I have a serious case of blogger's block. Really. We're still going about our daily lives around here, WCK is still extremely cute, but I have nothing interesting to say. I guess after blogging nonstop for over three years, this was bound to happen.

I think the best thing to do in this situation is to remain calm and post a clip from the movie Cocktail.

That's the best thing to do in any situation, really.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

We must be up inside the cyclone!

When I was a little girl, I went to a car wash with my late grandma. This was an exciting experience, and hugely extravagant, because my parents believed in washing our car themselves with the hose and a bucket of dish soap, the way God intended. My dad is a firm believer in never paying for something he could easily do himself. Someday, when he "passes out of the picture", as my family likes to say, he will find a way to return from the Great Beyond to dig his own grave. Yes, it is physically impossible, but it is cheaper. "Never let the Laws of Nature stop you from saving money," would be my dad's motto.

Anyway, while I was in the amazing car wash with my grandma all those years ago watching the assorted car-wash doo-dads spin and churn and shake the car, she told me this is what it sounded like when Dorothy was up inside the tornado. Of course, this managed to make the car wash even cooler. To this day, whenever I take the car to get it washed (because I didn't inherit my dad's Thrifty Gene), I still pretend I am Dorothy, even if it is just for a split second. I was at the car wash today, and it squirted out multi-colored soap all over my windows. Yes, there were tiny rainbows, Wizard-of-Oz rainbows, if you will, all over the car. I think this was a message from my grandma: "See? Isn't this better than using the hose?"

Sometimes in life, you just gotta go to the car wash.

P.S. As you might imagine, WCK is terrified of the car wash. I tried using the Dorothy story on her, but she was not impressed. I can only wash the car when she's in school. Maybe sometime, she and Grandpa can wash the car with the hose.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Gotta get out, get me some of those rays

The other day, I was singing one of my favorite songs to WCK, and she actually liked it. She keeps requesting that I sing it, sings along with me, and doesn't yell at me because my singing is so bad. Why? I have no idea. My best theory is that the original singers were so terrible that my singing sounds good by comparison. I mean, listen to Bobby's solo. Surely I sing better than THAT.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Cycle 21

Cycle 21 actually started on Thursday, but I forgot to post my usual Revlimid photo. Maybe after 21 cycles, I've finally stopped thinking about it so much. Or maybe I am just lazy.

Anyway, I thought I would share one of the actual warning labels that appears on my Revlimid bottle every month. I've never actually experienced dizziness from the Rev, but thank goodness I have been warned by this alarming drawing of Kermit the Frog getting drunk:



By request ...

Here is the recipe for the Irish tea cakes. Still can't stop eating them ...

1 cup salted butter
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup Blackcurrant Jam
1/4 cup Gooseberry Jam
1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar

Oven 325
Cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Add vanilla.
Beat in flour and salt till thoroughly combined. Roll dough into 1 inch balls and place 1 inch apart on lightly greased cookie sheet.
Using the second knuckle of your index finger, make a depression in the center of each ball.
Fill 1 dozen with 1 teaspoon each of Black Currant Jam, and 1 dozen with 1 teaspoon each of Gooseberry Jam.
Bake 18 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan immediately to a cooling rack.
When completely cooled, dust lightly with confectioner’s sugar.
Yield: 2 dozen.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Snacks o' the Irish

Today my stay-at-home moms' group had a meeting with an international theme. Everyone was supposed to bring a snack that somehow related to her background. Since our great-great grandpeople were Irish, I went online and found a really easy recipe for these Irish tea cakes:




That's the photo from the web site, not the actual cakes that I made. While mine were tasty, they were not nearly that neat and attractive, and I forgot to put the extra powdered sugar on top. I'm not sure how authentically Irish they were, plus the recipe called for gooseberry jam. I'd never heard of it, and, apparently, neither has the local Price Chopper, so I used strawberry jam instead. Since most of the people who ate them were under three, I don't think anyone cared.

I needed to use an electric mixer for part of the cookie-making, so WCK chose to hide upstairs. I guess an electric mixer sounds too much like a vacuum. When she came back down, however, I tried to explain to her about Ireland. I thought I was doing a pretty good job, but, really, her only frame of reference to Ireland is the show "Jakers! The Adventures of Piggley Winks":



So we ended up talking a lot about Jakers, and I thought she'd learned something new. "So, in Ireland," she said, "all of the animals can talk?"


Um. Maybe if you've had enough Guinness.

A sign of health

WCK has recovered. This is what she told me last night via the baby monitor:

"MOMMY, I DON'T WANT TO GO TO SLEEP!" (dramatic pause) "I WANT TO RUN AROUND AND BE NAUGHTY!"

Thursday, January 15, 2009

"I cannot go to school today," said little Peggy Ann McKay

WCK has come down with -- in my expert medical opinion -- the Plague. Actually, she is doing a little better this morning than she was yesterday, but she was running a fever yesterday and was up a lot in the night, so I kept her home from preschool. Today is her first official Sick Day from school in her life.

When I was in school, sick days always made me nervous. Yes, I always welcomed the chance to spend a school day lying on the couch watching The Price is Right, but I always had a little bit of paranoia in the back of my mind. What if today was the one day that something really cool happened at school, and I was going to miss it? What if there was a surprise assembly featuring Weird Al Yankovic and Alvin and the Chipmunks? What if the class learned something really, really important on that one day and then never reviewed it, leaving me forever behind everyone else for the rest of my life? This is what I thought about during Price is Right commercial breaks.

I have those same fears today for WCK. I feel very nervous about her missing school. I know that her class is studying the letter K right now. What if, because of this sick day, she never learns the letter K? For the rest of her life, she'll recite the alphabet with a big chunk of confused silence between J and L. She'll never learn to spell her own mother's name. She'll forever pronounce the name of the animal "angaroo."

I think I need to calm down. What time does The Price is Right come on?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

At last!!!

I swear this is the only thing that gets me through the long, dreary winter months:



Well, the only thing besides the laughter of my child. I suppose.





Sunday, January 11, 2009

Happy anniversary, again

I know you've all been waiting with breathless anticipation for this month's New Kids on the Block video, marking the two-month anniversary of the concert. (Moment of silence) This month, it's "Dirty Dancing" from their newest CD. The song and video absolutely crack me up, but I think that's just me. Just don't listen too closely to the lyrics, and you'll be fine.

This isn't the best quality video, but it was the only one that didn't have the embedding disabled. I found out the "Two in the Morning" video has actually been removed from my blog. YouTube spoilsports.

Anyway, my friend Abigail was kind enough to translate what they're saying in the beginning:

King: Herzelinde, stop!

Princess: And you can forget your stupid festival, too. That's when New Kids on the Block are giving their one and only concert in the kingdom.

King: New Kids on the Block? That was back in my day. They split up 15 years ago!

Princess: Dad, what planet are you on? They're back together again.

Guard: ReBoldally, how cool is that?

Princess: Yeah, and in North America their shows were sold out within four hours!

Guard: Within four hours?

Princess: Can you believe it?

Guard: That's so cool.



Thursday, January 08, 2009

Triumph!

This month's M-spike is down to 1.5! Hurrah! Hurrah!

Housie?

I just finished watching the incredibly disturbing two-part episode of Little House on the Prairie (or LHOTP to us nerdy folk) where Laura has a baby brother. I can't even bear to type out what happens to the baby brother, so disturbing is this episode. At one point, Charles and Caroline take the sick baby brother to see a "specialist" in "Mankato." The name of the doctor is never mentioned on the show, but when I watched the credits, I saw that his name was "Dr. Mayo."

Hmm. It would have been exactly the right time period for the original Dr. Mayos (or would it be Drs. Mayo?) to have been around, but they would have been in Rochester at that time. Yes, I actually went online and researched this, because I don't have enough to do. I figure that when kids get to be around three and a half, they can pretty much raise themselves.

Now it's really bothering me that the Ingalls family went to Mankato when they could have gone to Rochester. Then again, the show's version of southern Minnesota involves mountains and year-round greenery (suspiciously like California), so I shouldn't expect the writers to be sticklers for detail. Plus, I suppose if I am going to buy Ernest Borgnine in the role of God, I should probably buy Dr. Mayo practicing in Mankato. With a microscope powered by candles. I guess.

I make fun of Jay for being a Trekkie, but it looks like I have a similar problem. What would I be? A Housie?

Monday, January 05, 2009

They don't even sing "Fly Me to the Moon"?

WCK once again pointed out my horrible singing, because, let's face it, when the New Kids on the Block CD is playing in the car, I can't help myself.

I decided to ask her if she thought that she was a good singer.

"No, I'm not," she said matter-of-factly. "But I'm going to be an astronaut when I grow up, and astronauts aren't singers."

Excellent point. I hope she uses that as a sassy comeback when she's rejected from American Idol in 2025. She'll only audition on a dare made by a couple of friends from Astronaut School when they're all hepped up on Tang and dehydrated fruit.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

I forgot the best part!

When we got home from the Cancer Center yesterday, WCK dug through one of her boxes of toys and found a toy medal that she got as a favor at a gymnastics-themed birthday party long ago. She handed it to me.

"This is for you, Mommy," she said, "because you were so brave at the doctor's."

Ain't it da truth? Ain't it da truth?

Friday, January 02, 2009

Another visit to the Cancer Center

I was diagnosed with myeloma when WCK was six months old. This means that she'll never remember a time when I didn't have cancer. (I almost wrote, "she'll never remember a time when I was healthy", but I don't really consider myself "sick", so that's not exactly the right word.) She knows that I take a lot of medicine, that the medicine has to come from a special "delivery guy", that I go to the doctor all the time to have my blood checked, and that I have a special doctor in Minnesota. I don't think she realizes there is anything "wrong" with me, though. I'm guessing she assumes that everybody's mommy does these things.

I'm explaining all of this because I took WCK with me to my Cancer Center appointment today. Ideally, I like to go on my own because I enjoy the quiet reading time, but I've learned that taking her now and then is really not that bad. She was incredibly well-behaved (why she can't act this way in church, I do not know), and I think it is actually good for her to come with me from time to time. This way, she can see that my doctor's office is not some mysterious, scary place. She can see that it is actually very non-scary, and that I have a group of extremely nice nurses and doctors taking care of me. She also watches them take my blood, and she gets to see that it's pretty simple and painless.

Also, she seems to really cheer up all of the elderly people in the waiting room, so I kind of feel like I'm helping everyone out. Seriously.

Anyway, my blood counts were excellent, except for slightly low white cells again. Dr. GPO said my hemoglobin is so good (13.5! Woo!) that I can stop the iron supplements and see what happens. Yay! One less pill.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

My child is Simon Cowell

I have always been extremely self-conscious about singing in public. This is mostly because my elementary-school music teacher spent six years yelling at me on nearly a daily basis about how terrible my voice is. As a consequence, I spent most of the time just lip-syncing through all of the school programs, because I was convinced that I was screwing the whole thing up. Never mind that we were a group of seven-year-olds wearing paper sheep costumes.

The thing is, I actually like to sing. I secretly longed to be in the choir, and I mean the good choir where the kids got to wear matching uniforms and get out of math class to travel to music festivals and things, not the "anyone-who-wants-to-be-in-choir-gets-to-be-in-choir" choir, which is where I usually ended up. I sing all the time when I am all by myself, but I vowed to never sing in front of another human being, because I am obviously so awful.

Then I had WCK, and I wondered what I was going to do, since, as a mother, you're required to sing "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" and things like that. When WCK was a few months old, we started going to a baby and toddler music class led by a delightful woman who encouraged all of us to sing to our babies. "It doesn't matter what you think your voice sounds like," she'd tell us. "Your baby thinks you have the most wonderful voice in the world!"

That really encouraged me. And sometimes I just have to sing in front of WCK, because I usually have a Mr. Stinky Feet song stuck in my head that I just can't get rid of unless I sing it. Lately, though, WCK has grown tired of my songs.

"NO, MOMMY!" she'll shriek. "STOP SINGING!!"

For a while, I had chalked this up to three-year-old moodiness, but today I finally asked her why she wanted me to stop singing.

"Because," she said patiently, "you are just not a very good singer."

Oh, that hurts. Now I know why rejected American Idol contestants cry.