Monday, November 30, 2009

Dear Future Karen

A letter to my future self, to be read in November 2010.

Dear Future Karen,

Remember your obsession with not preparing for Christmas before the actual Christmas season?

Well, it's stupid.

Think back to November 2009, Future Karen. Remember the week before Thanksgiving, when you spotted one of the toys WCK wanted for Christmas at Target? Remember how Target had tons and tons and tons of these toys? Remember how you had the opportunity to buy one, but you did not, simply because it was before Thanksgiving and it violated your policy of not buying Christmas stuff before Thanksgiving?

Now remember how you went back to Target on the Monday after Thanksgiving. That's right, Future Karen. Not one of these toys remained. You had to run around to three Targets, and finally ended up having to venture inside -- gulp -- Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart, Future Karen! Wal-Mart! The toy was there, but you stood in the "express line" for what seemed like an hour, only to have the cashier mock your choice of gift for your child. (Note to others: It was a set of doll furniture, so I don't know why she was mocking it, other than the fact that she's a Wal-Mart cashier and probably unhappy with having to spend hours inside that God-forsaken place.)

I'm writing this, Future Karen, because this happens to you every year, but you always forget. Every year, you revert to your stubborn, no-shopping-before-Thanksgiving ways. If you don't want to drink eggnog or listen to carols before Thanksgiving, fine. Fine. I know I'm not going to change your mind. But start your shopping earlier, for the love of God! We were mocked by a Wal-Mart cashier today!

Help me, Future Karen. You're my only hope.

Love,
Present Karen

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thankful: The complete list

A few posts ago, I mentioned our "Thanksgiving Tree." Every year, WCK and I draw a picture of a tree on a big piece of poster board, and then every night during November, Jay, WCK, and I write one thing we're each thankful for on a leaf and stick it to the tree. This year, WCK was able to write words on her leaves herself. Some of her words are perfectly readable; others needed me to put little "captions" under them when she wasn't looking so I'd remember what that leaf was supposed to say. The poster is full of leaves now, and I can tell you our complete list. I know we have even more to be thankful for than what's on this list, but this is what we came up with in November:

WCK
Mommy
Daddy
Granddaughters (that one was added by my dad when he was here)
My bed
Helping
Chairs
Grandma Kathy
Good food
Running
Sunny Days
Friends
Daughters who like Star Wars (Yeah, Jay put that one!)
Beer (That one, too!)
Football (Again, Jay.)
Grandma Marty
Grandpa Mike
Grandpa Mark
Uncle Pat
Aunt Kim
Garland
Cats
My house
Tapeworms
That we don't have tapeworms!
WCK's school
Sunday school
Delicious apples
Church
Turkey
Movies
Light
Coffee
Friends at school
Parks
Uncle T.J.
Cartoons
Cookies
Judy Garland
Frog (WCK's favorite stuffed animal)
Candles
Cats
Aunt Jenny
President Obama
Books
Cousin A.
Cousin L.
Aunt Patty
Elephants
Pepper -- the dog, not the kind you eat (WCK made me write it exactly that way)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Four more years! Four more years!

I'm writing this post in case someone recently diagnosed with multiple myeloma has stumbled across my blog. No doubt you've already been online for a while, reading a whole bunch of scary information and statistics, including the one about how you have three years to live. Well, here I am, and today is my fourth anniversary of being diagnosed, and I am perfectly fine. Fine.

I'm not cancer-free, and maybe I never will be cancer-free, but I am completely drug-free and also completely healthy, other than that pesky little spike in my blood. I feel perfectly normal. I exercise every day and chase around a four-year-old. My life is perfectly normal -- as long as you count driving around with a concrete goose in the back of my car "perfectly normal." I call myself "Cancer Girl", but I rarely feel like one. I spent two years on medication and, yes, the dex made me a little crazy and a lot tired and cranky, but really it could have been much worse, compared with what a lot of other cancer patients go through.

I have more than 10 million stem cells that have been sitting on ice for two years now (two years!!), and I hope those suckers never see the light of day again.

New developments in myeloma treatments are happening all the time. When I was first diagnosed, Revlimid was still in clinical trials. A year and a half later, when I needed it, it was approved by the FDA and ready for me.

I know I've been really, really lucky that my disease has so far been really lazy and non-aggressive, and I know myeloma is different in every patient. I know a lot of people need to launch a full-fledged attack on the disease right away. I just hope newly diagnosed patients find this and can know that it's possible for things to turn out OK.

Here I am, four years after being diagnosed with a "you'll-be-dead-in-three-years" disease, and I'm nowhere near death's door. I'm not even in death's driveway. Heck, right now I'd need a very fancy GPS to find death's neighborhood, and I'm not even sure I'd end up on the right street. I've never been very good with directions.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Sloth vs. Armadillo

Today we were all fully recovered from our turkey comas, and we went to the Omaha zoo with my mom and dad. It was a great day for the zoo. Because WCK is obsessed with nocturnal animals, her favorite exhibit was "Kingdoms of the Night", which is an exhibit consisting of nothing but -- yes -- nocturnal animals. It's a really cool exhibit, and I am thankful there isn't space at the zoo devoted to her other obsession, because I don't think I could handle walking through "Kingdoms of the Tapeworm." But "Kingdoms of the Night" is great.

WCK said her favorite animal at "Kingdoms of the Night" was a sloth. My favorite animal was in the same enclosure as the sloth; it was a teeny little armadillo who kept zipping around and around the cage like a little windup car. It was like he felt he had somewhere extremely important to be. WCK and I thought this little guy was hilarious, but I wondered if the zookeeper who put the sloth and the armadillo in the same cage really thought it over beforehand. It seems like the two of them would drive each other insane, in an Odd-Couple sort of way.

Then I decided to look up armadillos on the Internet and I found out that armadillos and sloths are actually cousins. Shocking! Just think of it. All over the world, sloths and armadillos are forced to get together at least once a year for family reunions. All the way home, the sloths are muttering to each other, "All that running! We are not going back next year. We're not!" And that's a whole lot of complaining, because it probably takes them 30 hours just to crawl home.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Comatose

Fighting ... turkey ... coma. Must ... stay ... awake ... long ... enough ... to ... make ... today's ... blog ... post ... Must ... stay ... awake ... Must ... not ... collapse .... Must ... not ... adkfnadnafieawad

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

It's a Thanksgiving miracle!

Today we pulled into my parents' driveway, and we found this guy waiting for us:



My dad called around to some lawn ornament places, and he found a place that had one goose left.

It just goes to show you: If the Fairy Princess and God don't come through, Grandpa will.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Bring back our goose!

Does everyone remember the traumatic goose theft last June? I tried to post a link to the old post about it, but it wasn't working. I'll sum up: For years, we had a very fabulous goose lawn ornament on our front porch that used to belong to my grandma. We dressed it up in various outfits. Then, some evil hooligans stole it right off of our porch. WCK was devastated. Devastated. So was I.

Yesterday, we went to see the Fairy Princess. The Fairy Princess is an old Kansas City tradition around Christmastime, although she always shows up in November so that Santa can take over after Thanksgiving. I feel it is OK to go see her before Christmas since she is not Santa. She is a fairy. (Fairies before Christmas are OK. I suppose.) She's a pretty teenage-ish girl who wears a beautiful gown, and kids can go sit on her lap and tell her their holiday wishes and get their picture taken, and then she gives them a crown to take home. Last year was the first year that WCK was brave enough to talk to the Fairy Princess, and now we love the Fairy Princess.

The Princess asked WCK if she had a holiday wish. Did WCK wish for a Hannah Montana doll? A DVD? A video game? No, WCK said she wished the people who stole our goose would bring it back.

Wait, it gets sadder.

Just now, I heard a tiny little voice coming from WCK's room:

"In the name of the Father, and of the son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. God? Can you bring back our goose? Can you tell the people who stole it to bring it back? Oh, thank you. Amen! In the name of the Father ..."

Oh, nothing like a little child's prayer to make you want to hunt down goose thieves and poke them in the eye. We have to get another goose.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Crazy!

When I'm not busy complaining about grammar, I'm busy complaining about people who put up their Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving. Fortunately for me, I really enjoy complaining. I'm an absolute joy to be around this time of year. Apparently, I've complained enough that I have brainwashed WCK. She becomes absolutely outraged now when she sees Christmas lights. If there's one thing four-year-olds are good at, it's becoming outraged.

"THEY HAVE THEIR CHRISTMAS LIGHTS UP!" she'll exclaim. "THAT'S CRAZY!!!!!"

I have taught you well, young padawan.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Grammar Patrol never lays down on the job

I love Nebraska Furniture Mart, but today I briefly considered never going back ever again when I saw a sign on top of a display bed: "Please do not lay on the display." Does Warren Buffett know about this?

While we're on the topic of Nebraska Furniture Mart, would someone please tell my husband that real furniture should not have cup holders in it? Thank you.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Thankful

Last November, I started a new tradition. WCK and I decorate a big piece of poster board to look like a tree, and I write "We are thankful for ..." inside the tree trunk. Then every day from the first of November until Thanksgiving, Jay, WCK, and I write one thing we're thankful for on a construction-paper leaf and stick it to the tree. WCK has been doing a great job of thinking of things to be thankful for (except maybe for the one day she said "elephants"). Tonight, though, she said she was thankful for ... try to guess ...

Yeah. She's thankful for tapeworms.

When it was my turn, I said I was thankful "that we don't have tapeworms."

I guess we'll have to agree to disagree.

Friday, November 20, 2009

It's a big, big world

I'm typing this while trying to watch "It's a Big, Big World" with WCK at the same time. WCK is insistent that I watch the show with her and don't look at the computer, so if you see any typos, then akdau'dsvna; v

"It's a Big, Big World" is a show on PBS that features creepy-looking animal puppets who live in the rain forest. The star is a giant sloth. Because it's one of the few shows that WCK will actually watch on TV, it's grown on me a little bit. (WCK watching TV = time for me to take a shower) From what I can tell when I'm not in the shower, the show is about science. Right now the creepy anteater is making a compost heap. Now there's a big musical number about the heap: "Some folks say it stinks; it doesn't bother me; I'm just doing something for the tree!" Not making this up.

A new season of "It's a Big, Big World" started the other day, and suddenly there was an adorable little baby sloth who lived with the big sloth. The baby sloth was not there before. I'm guessing the baby sloth was added to boost ratings, just as Cousin Oliver was added to The Brady Bunch when Cindy and Bobby weren't cute anymore. WCK tells me the big sloth is the baby sloth's dad, but where's the mom? Where's the mom? Did the big sloth have an affair since last season? If anyone knows the origin of the baby sloth, please let me know. I think about it a lot, especially when I'm in the shower.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Bad Guy Forest

WCK is concerned with "bad guys". I could blame Jay for his Batman-adoring ways, but she has also become concerned with "killing people", and she got that from -- unbelievably -- Meet Me in St. Louis. Yeah. You would not believe how many times that movie mentions killing people. I couldn't believe it, and I've seen it 9,000 times. Everything looks different when you watch it with a four-year-old. I thought most of the killing references would go over WCK's head, but most of them come from Margaret O'Brien's character, 5-year-old Tootie, who WCK thinks is unbelievably cool. So now we're completely obsessed with killing. Thanks a lot, Meet Me in St. Louis! I guess I'll think twice before letting my child watch a heartwarming classic musical made in the 1940s!

Anyway. Today WCK was worried about what would happen if "bad guys" broke into our house, and she asked me if I would kill them. I said that I wasn't going to kill any bad guys, but I would certainly stop them from coming into the house. We don't have to worry about that anyway, I added, since there aren't any bad guys anywhere near our house. I told her they all live really far away.

"Do they all live in Illinois?" she asked.

Illinois is where her cousin lives, and I didn't want her to worry about her cousin having to deal with bad guys, so I told her that there weren't even any bad guys in Illinois. She insisted there were.

"When we were driving there, I saw a big sign," she said. "It said, 'Bad Guy Forest: Straight Ahead.'"

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Shot through the heart

When I was in junior high (sometime in 1987 or '88), a concert came to town that I really wanted to see. My mom and dad said no. The next day, every single person at school (or, maybe, like, three people, but it seemed like everyone) showed up wearing t-shirts from the concert and talking about how freaking awesome it was.

I have been bitter for 22 years.

But I am bitter no more! I say, HA, HA, MOM AND DAD!!! YOU CAN'T STOP ME NOW, MOM AND DAD!! I'M GOING TO BE UP PAST MY BEDTIME AND EVERYTHING! I have a ticket to see:

That's right. Bon Jovi. It's not until March, so I'm still a little scared my parents will find a way to stop me.

When WCK found out I was going to a concert, she announced that she really wanted to go, too. Like the generation before me, I had to tell her no. She cried. Then Jay said, "Oh, it's just a very old man singing. Do you want to go see a very old man singing?"

"Oh," WCK said, no longer crying. "Not really."

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

He's a man on a mission, baby

I was nearly in a panic tonight, because I couldn't think of something interesting to put up on my blog. Then I remembered that just this morning my friend Abigail sent me a link to Joey McIntyre's new video. Oh, thank goodness.

What's that, you say? You say this doesn't qualify as "something interesting"? I say, just watch, because you will learn several important things:

1. It is possible to sing in an emotional, anguished way while boxing.

2. Even if you are singing in a weird, robot voice.

3. Joey appears to be wearing the same hat he wore in "Hangin' Tough Live" in 1989.

4. But don't point that out, because he can beat you up. While singing. In a robot voice.

Also, now we can review the number of times a member of The New Kids on the Block has appeared shirtless on my blog. I believe the score stands at

Jordan Knight: 2

Joey McIntyre: 1

See? Interesting.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Halfway!!

I have just passed the halfway point on my daily blogging project! In case you missed my initial post about it, I signed my blog up for National Blog Posting Month at www.nablopomo.com. If I can post every day for the whole month of November, I'm eligible to win a prize. Plus, I just want to see if I can do it.

I'd say the advantage of posting every day is that I can take a look back and really see everything I've been doing during November. Over the past 15 days, I've gotten a good report from Mayo, WCK became a superhero, Garland had her official coronation ceremony, Jay was accused of wearing a diaper, a witch broke into our house, and I got a blog comment from the vice-president of the Taco Bueno corporation. I couldn't have imagined any of this on Nov. 1. I can't wait to see what the rest of the month brings.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

All hail Queen Garland

Our cat, Garland, is a very good sport. She was eight years old when WCK was born, which means she spent eight years living a very peaceful life.

Then we went and ruined everything by bringing home this mysterious tiny person who made a lot of noise. Just as Garland was adapting to the noise, the tiny person began to crawl and chase her everywhere. Garland was very good about it. Really, WCK could probably be covered in scratches right now because she messes with Garland so much, but Garland has never raised a paw to WCK. Garland is very, very patient.

Need proof?



I was told that she was a queen. Notice how she has closed her eyes in shame.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Clang, clang, clang went the trolley!

Yesterday was an important day, because WCK watched her first classic MGM musical and her first Judy Garland movie. It was:



Nobody believes me, but she picked it out on her own. I think she was expecting to see the St. Louis Arch at some point, but she sat through the entire two hours without complaint. Now she says she'll watch Easter Parade with me, but not until Easter time. Score!

Friday, November 13, 2009

This post brought to you by the letter F

WCK's preschool class studied the letter F last week. Everyone had a "Family Feet" homework assignment to do. Each family member had to trace one of his or her feet onto a piece of paper, decorate it with eyes, nose, a mouth, etc., and then cut them out and paste them all together onto another piece of paper. As you will see, WCK and I made perfectly respectable Foot People, but Daddy went a little nuts and turned his foot into Batman:



WCK found this hilarious, not necessarily because the foot was Batman, but because it looks like Batman is wearing a diaper. It's a pretty saggy diaper, if you ask me. I found out the other day that the kids take turns telling the other children about their Family Foot Portrait. "I told Noah that Batman was wearing a diaper!!!!" shrieked WCK.

I'm wondering if this will come back to haunt us. I'm imagining all of the other kids going home and announcing to their parents that WCK's daddy wears a diaper.

"No, really," they'll say. "I saw a picture of his diaper at school."

It's a good thing that Jay is Batman, so at least he has the skills to get a good job in another town, and we can just move.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Princess Bride

ME (In a stern voice): If you scream like that one more time, WCK, you are going straight to bed! AND I MEAN IT!

WCK (Grinning impishly): Anybody want a peanut?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I'll be lovin' them forever

Can you believe it? It's already been a year since the New Kids on the Block concert. I know all of you have been thinking about it nonstop. Tonight at 8 p.m., I plan to observe a moment of silence. Perhaps I will light a candle. Perhaps I will wave it over my head, Hangin' Tough-style. Perhaps I will sing mournfully to myself. "Listen up, everybody, if you wanna take a chance ... Just get on the floor and do the New Kids dance ..."

I know I've slacked off a little on posting my monthly videos, but I searched YouTube for something special for today. I discovered that there are tons of videos on YouTube from the actual Kansas City concert, and I decided on this one. I chose it, not because it's the greatest quality video, but because the person who posted it wrote this interesting description:

"I taped this in Kansas City at the Sprint Center. Makes me smile every time I see it. At about 0:30, Jon says something to Danny, and whatever he says makes Jordan get this funny look on his face and turn to Joe. Jon's laughing, Danny's smiling. Joe starts smiling/laughing, and then watch Donnie, how he gives Joe a nudge wanting to know what's so funny. I just wish I knew what Jon said!!!!"

Yeah, me too!!!! With four exclamation points!!!! I think we should have a contest to see who can come up with the best suggestion for what Jon said. The winner gets, oh, I don't know ... a superhero cape fashioned from a Taco Bueno bag. Or at least instructions on how to make your own cape at home.

Also, this video doesn't exactly capture my experience at the concert because this person had much, much better seats than I did. Next time, people. Next time!!!! With four exclamation points!!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

My super girl

We were at the park the other day, and WCK found a plastic bag from Taco Bueno hanging in a tree. She went to throw it into the trash -- because she loves throwing away litter -- and then she realized she could loop the handles over her shoulders for an excellent superhero cape. It was pretty windy that day, so the way the plastic bag billowed off of her back was quite dramatic. I knew I should probably stop my daughter from running around with a piece of trash on her back, but it looked so danged fun.

So there she was, rushing around the park, Taco Bueno bag waving in the breeze, having the time of her life. She was approached by two little girls who, you could tell, would never be caught dead running around the park in a trash-bag superhero cape, who, in fact, wore hair bows that perfectly coordinated with their spotless, non-grass-stained outfits from GapKids. These are the girls who will decide which lunch table is the cool table in high school.

"You're not a superhero," they told her.

"Yes, I am!" said WCK cheerfully.

"That's not even a cape," said the Gap girls. "It's just a bag."

"It is a cape," said WCK, completely at ease with her trash-bag-wearing ways, not the least bit intimidated by anyone who told her she couldn't be a superhero. And she flew off again, ready to save the day.

Do I have the coolest kid in the whole entire world, or what?

Monday, November 09, 2009

The vacuum doesn't suck!

Two important dates in our lives:

November 7, 2009: WCK announces she is no longer afraid of the car wash OR the vacuum cleaner. Karen and WCK drive through the car wash and finally clean the bird poop off of the windshield.

November 8, 2009: Karen successfully vacuums the entire house while WCK calmly plays by herself.

This is a huge deal. WCK has been absolutely petrified of the vacuum cleaner for a really long time. Vacuuming was nearly impossible, unless she was at preschool. At other times, Jay and I would actually have to schedule times to vacuum so that one of us could vacuum and the other one could keep WCK distracted so that she didn't have a nervous breakdown.

It wasn't always this way. Before WCK was born, Jay and I read about unconventional ways to calm down a screaming baby, including running the vacuum. Because we'd never actually had a baby and therefore felt we knew everything about taking care of a baby, we laughed at this idea. Who would actually do this? Fast forward to 5 a.m. on the morning after WCK came home from the hospital, and we realized we had no idea how to stop our baby from screaming. Jay even took her for a 3 a.m. stroller ride on the lawn. Finally, we looked at each other, and we knew what we had to do.

"Get the vacuum cleaner," I said.

And it worked. It was a miracle. We'd switch on the vacuum, and WCK would quit screaming, mid-scream, and instantly calm down. We ran that sucker pretty much nonstop for a couple of months.

Sometime between babyhood and toddlerhood, however, she developed an intense fear of the vacuum. On the plus side, I always got out of cleanup duty at our moms' group meetings, because WCK would always run for the door as soon as the vacuums came out.

I'm also very grateful that she's over her fear of the car wash, but this new vacuum attitude ... It's going to change our lives.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Doughnuts and jewelry

This morning, our church had a "Holiday Gift Mart", with lots of booths where you could buy crafty-type items, a bake sale, a raffle, and so on. Usually I shun anything holiday-related until after Thanksgiving, but the diabolical evil geniuses in charge of the Holiday Gift Mart (also known as the ladies of the Altar and Rosary Society) had moved the post-church doughnuts to the area where the gift mart was being held, so if you wanted a doughnut, you were forced to attend the gift mart as well. They also posted cute, cookie-selling Girl Scouts at the door. Diabolical, I tell you!

If you'll recall, I use the doughnuts as a bribe to get WCK to stay in Sunday School, so I can use church as a peaceful, reflective time to compose blog posts in my head. I mean, pray. Plus, I really like doughnuts. So we had to attend the gift mart.

It turned out to be fun, and the highlight was the "Kids' Store." Only kids are allowed to shop in the Kids' Store, where adult volunteers help them pick out gifts for their parents and wrap them. This way, the parents are surprised and the kids get to pick out gifts all by themselves. The gifts are all small items that people have donated.

WCK was absolutely thrilled that she got to shop all by herself. She picked out a present for me and one for Jay. She was just glowing as she walked out with her presents. I think it was the highlight of her life.

The only downside, of course, is that today is Nov. 8, which in Kid Time is approximately 25 years before Christmas Morning. I suggested that we wait until Christmas, but WCK was so excited that she couldn't even wait until after lunch, and she made us open the gifts right away. Jay got a picture frame for his desk at work, and I got a stretchy gold and silver bracelet. It's a little bit itchy, and I swear I saw Betty wearing the exact same one on Ugly Betty, but it reminds me of WCK's glowing little eyes, so I think I will wear it every day for the rest of my life.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Brave 4-year-old Accuses Witch in Pony Attack

Kansas City, Mo. -- The bodies of several "My Little Pony" dolls were discovered in a Kansas City home late yesterday afternoon, their tails and manes completely severed. A pair of scissors was found at the scene.

The only eyewitness, 4-year-old WCK of Kansas City, told authorities that she had absolutely nothing to do with the pony-cutting; in fact, the ponies were the victim of a mysterious witch who broke into her home. WCK was alone in her bedroom at the time and later recounted the entire event to her mother, who took detailed notes.

"I was busy resting when I heard a knock at the door," WCK said. "It was the witch. She ran out the door to get some scissors and then she cut the ponies."

WCK says she desperately tried to save the ponies.

"I said, 'NO, WITCH!' a lot of times," she said. "I got louder and louder, but she didn't hear me."

As WCK thought more about the incident, she recalled an interesting twist to the story: The witch had an accomplice.

"I saw a vampire come in, too," WCK said. "He was helping the witch. He was almost going to ruin a different toy. Then he saw a bat and ran out the door to play with the bat. The witch didn't see the vampire leave."

Authorities are asking parents to be on the lookout for the pony-clipping witch. She was described as "mad and mean." She had white hair and a green face and was wearing a black witch dress, black shoes, and a "regular witch hat." She may have been carrying a broom.

WCK's mother says parents should take away their children's ponies and perhaps caution Santa Claus against bringing any more toys so they can't be damaged by the witch. WCK, however, believes that this is a drastic step and insists that there will be no further witch attacks.

"She also wanted to shoot fire at me and turn me into a witch, too," she said. "But I fought her with a stuffed animal, and then I melted her. She will not be back, because she is melted."

Friday, November 06, 2009

Plateau?

Pretty good news from Mayo. My M-spike came back at 2.4, and my IgG levels (which tend to follow the M-spike) are still pretty stable, even compared to tests done a year ago. Ol' Spike was 2.5 in early October, so at least I've had a stable M-spike for a month now. Dr. H says she's seen people have a jump in their M-spike, like I did last month, and then hit a plateau and level off for a long time. Let's hope that's what's happening to me. All of my other numbers were really good. I even have a normal level of white cells for the first time in I don't know how long. Years, maybe.

Keep eating those nachos, Spike!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Blood royalty

Here we are at Mayo. I've already given up my blood. We're scheduled to meet with the doctor in about an hour or so.

They've changed around the blood area here at Mayo. In the past, everyone who needed to get blood taken would get to pass through a set of festive purple doors into our very own blood-draw waiting room. It was just another waiting room, but no non-blood draw people were allowed in, so it made you feel a little special. Now, we get to wait out in the regular lobby like everyone else. I'm not sure if this is a permanent thing or what, but it did look like the old blood room had some remodeling going on. I'm hoping a new, improved blood room is coming soon. I don't want to wait out on the regular waiting room like a commoner when I am clearly Blood Royalty. Maybe the new blood room will have big-screen TVs and a waitstaff serving drinks with umbrellas in them. Even if it doesn't, I'll tell everyone that it does.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Have some nachos, Spike

In a little while, Jay and I are headed off to the north for my six-month Mayo checkup with Dr. H tomorrow. Hopefully, it will be uneventful and we'll find out that Spike has decided to calm down since last month. Maybe he's feeling sluggish, just lying around watching Oprah and eating nachos. And he's not watching one of those inspiring, call-to-action episodes of Oprah, either. It's, like, a boring one where a celebrity is promoting a really bad movie that Oprah claims to love.

And they're not good, spicy nachos. They're, like, soggy, Taco Bell nachos.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Tapeworm parade

WCK is obsessed with ... tapeworms.

That's right. She has a really cool kids' encyclopedia with lots of big, colorful photos, and one of the big, colorful photos is a lovely close-up of a tapeworm. The photo totally creeps me out, and I once made the mistake of telling WCK how yucky and creepy I thought it was. WCK found this hilarious. She loves the fact that I apparently hate tapeworms. Really, I had never thought about tapeworms much before, and I have never encountered one in the wild, but you have to understand that this photo is really, really creepy.

Now WCK brings up tapeworms about 1,000 times a day.

You think I exaggerate. Typical conversations at our house go like this:

WCK: Mommy, do you know what tomorrow is?
ME: What?
WCK: It's TAPEWORM DAY! We will have a tapeworm parade and eat tapeworm food and just celebrate TAPEWORMS!

Sometimes I'll be trying to fix dinner with a little voice behind me: "Mommy, there is a tapeworm on your head! Ha ha! Now it is on your ear! Now it's on your arm! Ha ha, Mommy! Aren't you scared of the tapeworm?"

She also composed an original song: "Who likes tapeworms? NO ONE! Who likes tapeworms? NO ONE!" (repeat)

And, of course, you can't beat, "Knock, knock!" "Who's there?" "A TAPEWORM!"

Her teachers haven't mentioned it to me yet, but I'm sure the endless tapeworm dialogue goes on at school. The other day WCK told me that they played "Simon Says" at Sunday school.

"When it was my turn," she said, "I told everyone to TOUCH THEIR TAPEWORM!"

I'm waiting for a concerned-teacher phone call any day now.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Please let the pumpkins rot

I found out this morning that two Kansas City radio stations are already playing Christmas music. I realize that this happens every year, and every year I complain bitterly about it. Bitterly. I know I'm perhaps a bit extreme in my "no Christmas music until the day after Thanksgiving" rule, which I impose upon my entire family. I know some people do like to get started a little bit early. I know this.

But still. This early??!?! Is there anyone who wants to hear "Jingle Bells" while they're still eating Halloween candy? While there are still orange leaves on the trees? Before the Jack-o-lanterns have even had the chance to rot? Is there anyone who really enjoys Christmas music on Nov. 2? Anyone?

Humph. Anyway. Speaking of Jack-o-lanterns, here are the ones we carved this year, which are still on our front porch and have not yet started to rot. Do you hear me, Kansas City radio stations? No pumpkins rotting here!

Sorry they're a little blurry, but it's always hard for me to get good Jack-o-lantern photos. They're a kitty, a face, and a little monster:









Sunday, November 01, 2009

Hot dogs, mummy hot dogs

Here's what I made for our Halloween meal. Don't laugh when I say they're supposed to be mummies:



They're hot dogs wrapped in strips of Pillsbury crescent roll dough and then baked. I think that part turned out OK, although the third mummy from the left looks a little bit bloated. It was when I tried to make eyes and a mouth with ketchup that everything went awry. Maybe I could say that they're just super creepy mummies with blood seeping from their bandages. Jay decided to put chili all over his and say that his mummy was climbing out of the dirt. Do mummies even crawl out of the dirt? These are mummies, not zombies from the Thriller video. Aren't they all inside perfectly neat and tidy ancient tombs? Way to kill my historical accuracy, Jay!

Anyway, I also made veggies with Green Slime (spinach dip) and the mini-pumpkin fruit cups that I made last year. I figured that we could all afford to stock up on some fruit and vegetables before the candy onslaught.