Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I did it!!

I updated my blog every day in November!! Now I just have to sit back, relax, and wait for the prizes to roll in.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Don't worry. Be happy.

A few days ago, I saw a woman wearing a shirt that said, "Don't worry, be happy." I spent the next several minutes mentally correcting the punctuation. In my perfect punctuation world, the shirt would have said, "Don't worry. Be happy." I also would have accepted "Don't worry; be happy", but a semi-colon seemed just a little too formal in this situation. Then I pondered "Don't worry: Be happy", but I wasn't sure. I think it would be best to go with the period. "Don't worry! Be happy!" seemed a little hyper.

Then I realized I wasn't taking the shirt's advice, because I was worrying about it. Then I realized that worrying about punctuation makes me happy. What to do? What to do?

Really, I should have been worrying about something else entirely, such as how this woman managed to gain access to a time machine and transport herself back to 1988 to purchase the shirt in the first place.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


I was going to call this post "Happy Cancer-versary!" but "happy" doesn't seem like the right word. I mean, nobody sends you cards or bakes you a cake on your cancer-versary. I'm not really sure what the right word would be. I'm not one of those cancer patients who is all deep and profound and wise. All I can think of writing is, "Five years. Still alive. That's cool."

So: Five years. Still alive. That's cool.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

We are thankful for ...

A few years ago, I started a Thanksgiving tradition. Every year around November 1, I draw an outline of a tree on a big piece of white poster board, and I write, "We are thankful for ..." in the middle of the tree. Then I cut a bunch of multi-colored leaves from construction paper. Every night before WCK's bedtime, the three of us sit down together, and each person writes what he/she is thankful for on a leaf, and we tape it to the tree. By Thanksgiving Day, the poster is completely covered. This year, WCK could write all of her words herself, with a little spelling help. She would never let us forget that it was time to "go do the leaves" every night. Here is our complete list. You'll have to guess who said what. (Hint: I didn't say "cup holders".)

Our house
Our cat
WCK's school
Aunts and Uncles
Sunday School
Cup holders
Our church
Grandmas and Grandpas
Jimmy John (may he rest in peace)
Reading books with WCK
Darth Vader
Warm blankets
Book Club
Warm coats
Sunny days
Margarita's salsa
Drama Club
Our furnace
Mashed potatoes
Playing at the park
Air Zone
Our cars
Planet Sub
Being healthy
Grocery stores
Exercise class
Men who cook the turkey on Thanksgiving
New Year's
Valentine's Day
Fourth of July
(someone in the family really enjoys holidays)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Runnin' fool

Yesterday I finally ran the Thanksgiving 5k with Jay and my sister. I'd say the worst part of the race was having to stand around and wait for the race to start, because it was about 20 degrees outside. I hate cold temperatures and I'm very wimpy, so I wasn't entirely sure I'd survive. Right before the race, volunteers were setting cups of water on a table. I picked one up and discovered a solid ring of ice over the top. Not a good sign. Then my feet and hands started to go numb. The D.J. started playing, "Hot! Hot! Hot!" just to be mean. I didn't stretch, because the thought of sitting on the cold, cold ground made me want to cry, only I couldn't cry, because my tears would freeze to my face.

But once the race started, I got all warmed up, and I had a good time. I ran with my sister, and I had my iPod with all of my Bon Jovi/New Kids/Backstreet Boys/various other crappy music that I love. I hope I can do some more races and improve my time. Best of all, we could all consume an enormous Thanksgiving meal guilt-free. I'm thinking that the guilt-free eating should extend into several days of leftovers, too. Mmmm, guilt-free leftovers.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Hairspray fumes

I think today's teenagers get a bad rap. Compared to the young women of my generation, the young women of today are absolutely brilliant, practical people who will go on to achieve great things. What am I basing this on? When I was at WCK's school the other day, I noticed that 99.99 percent of the eighth-grade girls styled their hair like this:

It's just a ponytail with a headband around it. That's all it is. And all of them were doing it. It's like they all held a Secret Meeting of Eighth Grade Girls and said, "Look! We're not styling our hair ever again! Let's all make a pact to wear ponytails with headbands around them every single day!" How freaking brilliant is this? It would take about five seconds to do.

I think the reason I'm so impressed is that when I was in the eighth grade, every girl's hair looked like this:

Or this:

Or, if you were extra-fancy, this:

And if you ever did want to pull your hair back in a ponytail, it had to be something ridiculous:

Do you realize how much sleep we missed in the '80s because we had to get up hours before school started to construct our hairdos? Do you know how little attention we paid in class because we were constantly worried that our bangs were falling down? Do you know how many hairspray fumes we inhaled between 1986 and 1993? I never realized it at the time, but now I know we were all sleep-deprived, uneducated, and full of toxic fumes. I think we all have significant brain damage. I won't even get into the way our rolled jeans cut off circulation to our ankles.

But today's girls have it right, and I'm pretty jealous. They're all going to go far.

By the way, I have no idea who the girls in these photos are. I just Googled "80s Hair", and there they were. Poor souls.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Dairy Duty

Yesterday, I had "Dairy Duty." What is Dairy Duty? It's a volunteer position at WCK's school. The volunteer stands in front of the milk cooler at lunch time and passes out milk to all of the kids as they pass by. It's very demanding work.

This was my first time on Dairy Duty, and WCK was pretty excited that I was going to be there. She kept explaining what I needed to do. "You stand there, and you say, 'White or chocolate? White or chocolate?'"

I told her, "I think I'll say, 'Hello, ma'am! Would you like white milk or chocolate milk today?'"

WCK looked stricken.

"No, no, no! Don't say that extra stuff! Just say, 'White or chocolate'!"

Wow, how embarrassing to have a mom who won't stick to the Dairy Duty script! WCK would never live it down. She'd be in eighth grade, and kids would still be saying, "Hey, WCK! Remember the time in kindergarten when your mom didn't say, 'White or chocolate?' Ha ha ha!"

So I didn't say the extra stuff, and WCK still let me give her a hug and a kiss in the middle of the cafeteria when I saw her. At least I haven't become that lame. Yet.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Show-tune torture

At long last, the fact that I've had show tunes stuck in my head most of my life has paid off. This morning when WCK refused to get out of bed for school, I decided to sing "Oh, What a Beautiful Morning" from Oklahoma! until she complied. As you might recall, WCK hates my singing voice, so it went something like this:

ME: Oh, what a beautiful morning ...
ME: Oh, what a beautiful day ..
ME: I've got a beautiful feeeeee-liiing ...

By the time I got to the part about the elephant's eye, she was up. Thank you, Rodgers and Hammerstein.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

American Music Awards

Oh, yeah! Watch until the very end ... and then run to set your TiVo/DVR. You're welcome.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Even my child makes fun of me

Heard from the back seat:

"Hey, Mommy, why don't they change their name to the OLD Kids on the Block? Heh heh heh."


"You know? Because they are all SO OLD! Heh heh heh."


Friday, November 19, 2010

Shake it up, just like bad medicine

I once pointed out that the Bon Jovi song "Bad Medicine" is very useful for making important medical decisions. (You can read about how I chose my current cancer treatment based on Bon Jovi's advice here.) Well, I've discovered it's also a great song to have in your iPod while jogging, simply because of the line that goes, "Oh, I need a respirator 'cause I'm runnin' out of breath!"

I want to laugh every time, except I'm too out of breath.

Is there anything that song can't do?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A star is born

Yesterday was the big event: Opening night for the kindergarten-through-second-grade drama club production of "What Teachers Can't Do."

I guess, technically, it was opening afternoon. And closing afternoon, for that matter. I don't think "What Teachers Can't Do" will extend its run, which is unfortunate. It's not often that one encounters a play that explains so powerfully and beautifully that, yes, there are some things that teachers can't do. Also, there were free cookies at the end.

The kids acted out each page from the book, and they took turns playing the teachers and the students. The kids had decided that the teachers they were playing were their own homeroom teachers. The play opened with WCK writing on a chalkboard (actually, it was a big dry-erase board).

"WCK, tell us which teacher you are," prompted Miss Drama Club Teacher.


Huge laugh from the audience.

"But aren't you Mrs. NameOfYourHomeroomTeacher?" asked Miss DCT.

"Eh," shrugged WCK. "Sure."

She went back to writing on the chalkboard. Another huge laugh. She was not going to break character for anything.

I'd say the highlight of her performance was a scene in which two characters were supposed to be having a conversation on a playground, illustrating the dramatic point that teachers can't go down the twisty slide. It went something like this:

KID ONE: You should go down the twisty slide.
KID TWO: No, I can't.
KID ONE: You really should go down the twisty slide.
KID TWO: No, I really can't.

Meanwhile, WCK was acting the part of a child jumping rope on the playground, leaping exuberantly behind the two main actors and grinning at the audience. Scene stealer!

So, the play went well, and the teacher let us know that there will be another four-week drama club session starting sometime after Christmas, and the kids will work on an all new play. I can't wait to find out what it will be. King Lear? A Streetcar Named Desire? Les Miserables? I will keep you posted in January.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Where did you get that lovely clo?

Although I have been known to act like an evil Grammar Nazi from time to time, I usually try to correct WCK's grammar in a subtle, non-obvious way. I will usually repeat the correct word(s) back to her, as though it's just part of the conversation. For example, if she says something like, "I runned really fast!" I'll say, "Really? You ran really fast? That's great!" And so on. I figure it will just sink in after a while.

However, there is one thing that she does that I've never corrected because I find it so dang hilarious and cute. According to WCK, multiple articles of clothing are called clothes. If you have a single article of clothing, such as one shirt or one dress, it's called a "clo."

Really, this makes perfect sense.

She'll say things like, "Can I get a new dress-up clo?" or "Maybe we should get Daddy a new exercise clo for Christmas" or "I spilled oatmeal on my clo!" Not only do I not correct her, I just go along with it: "Yes, maybe we should get Daddy an exercise clo!"

This is going to come up on a spelling test in a couple years, and she's going to be really mad at me.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

They're diabolical!

WCK joined Girl Scouts a couple of months ago. When you're five, you're a "Daisy", and you wear a little blue vest or smock that makes you look like a tiny Wal-Mart greeter. I was pretty excited that she was finally old enough to be a Girl Scout, mostly because of the cookie access, but also because I enjoyed being in Brownies when I was a kid. I remember doing a lot of crafts, singing a lot of songs, and, once, going on a field trip to McDonald's, where I was absolutely fascinated to see how the pop machine worked. I think I earned a badge for jumping rope.

Well, today's scouts are much more serious. At her meeting today, WCK received a chart that will help her keep track of all of the ways our family is "using resources wisely." Why, sure! This is an excellent idea! I can remind WCK to turn off lights when she leaves the room. I can nag her to not let the water run when she brushes her teeth! This is great for girls to learn.

Then I actually read the chart and saw that I, personally, would have to use the resources wisely and stop living the lazy, irresponsible lifestyle that I work so hard to maintain. For example, one of the things she needs to check off is, "Ask parents to eat more meals with the family at home instead of going out to eat at a restaurant."

Really, Girl Scouts? You want to take away my free ice cream at Jason's Deli? You want me to cook? Have you no souls?

I won't even get into the one about how you should help mom/dad hand wash the dishes instead of running the dishwasher. It's simply inhumane.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The candy bar

All that remains of WCK's Halloween candy is what I consider the cruddy stuff: Tootsie Rolls (especially the fruit-flavored Tootsie Rolls -- blech!), Smarties, Dum Dums, Laffy Taffy. In other words, they're all my least-favorite kinds of candy, yet I keep on eating them because a) they're kinds of candy and b) they're in my house.

I finished off the last Laffy Taffy just now, and I had a few questions. If you're not familiar with Laffy Taffy, it's fruit-flavored taffy that comes in a wrapper that has jokes printed on it. Supposedly, the jokes are submitted by people across the country, but I did an Internet search and can't seem to find a way to submit the jokes. This is surprising, because I thought for sure I'd find a list of guidelines for Laffy Taffy joke writers:

Laffy Taffy is currently accepting jokes for our 2011 candy wrappers. Please follow these guidelines when submitting jokes:

1) Joke must be lame.
2) If joke is not lame, it must make no sense whatsoever.

The Laffy Taffy corporation cannot accept any jokes that do not meet these guidelines. If your joke actually makes people laugh, it will be rejected. We maintain our strong commitment to making humor-loving people everywhere crumple up our wrappers in disgust. Keep this in mind: Would your joke make the wrapper-reader roll her eyes and exclaim that her five-year-old could come up with better material? If so, we want your joke.

Seriously, here was one of the jokes on the candy I ate this morning, submitted by Terri T. of St. Charles, Mo.: "Why do some people never go bald? They have a re-seeding hairline!"

I mean, I still ate the taffy, but I wasn't very laffy about it.

My point, and I do have one, is that there are no pieces of good chocolate candy left in the bucket, except one: a full-size Three Musketeers bar.

What the heck? Our neighborhood seems like a fairly sensible place. I can't believe someone was giving away full-size candy bars. I don't know who it was. You hear stories about this kind of thing happening, but in my 35 years, I'd never seen it actually happen. Growing up, I'd always hear stories about how so-and-so's cousin's sister's friend was able to go trick-or-treating in the Millionaire Neighborhood in Omaha, where the heir to the Godfather's Pizza fortune was giving away full-size candy bars as well as cans of pop with dollar bills wrapped around them.

Could you imagine having an entire can of pop all to yourself? Plus, you'd get an entire dollar, which meant that you could go out and buy two more cans of pop! Luxury! When my sister and I were allowed pop, we always had to split one, although I would usually add extra ice to her cup to make it look like she got more.

Unfortunately, my unreasonable parents would never agree to drive me over to Omaha's Millionaire Neighborhood on Halloween night, which meant we were stuck with the sensible people in our own neighborhood who liked to give out those peanut butter chewy things in the orange and black wrappers. How I survived this difficult childhood, I do not know.

But here we are today, with a full-size Three Musketeers casually sitting in the Halloween bucket, like this kind of thing happens every day. WCK, for some odd reason, doesn't seem to have much interest in it. Maybe she doesn't realize how unusual it is. I'm not sure what to do with it. I'm not going to feed my five-year-old a gigantic candy bar, and while I could easily consume three mini-size Three Musketeers at one sitting, eating one giant one myself just seems wrong.

I think I'll keep it around for a while, just so I can stare and marvel at it. And I'm not sure how to end this post, so I think I'll close with another Laffy Taffy joke:

What kind of key doesn't open a lock? A monkey!


Sunday, November 14, 2010


Our Internet keeps going down today. For the moment, it is back up, so I have to squeeze in a quick daily blog post before it goes back down again. I know this is not the most creative post, but earlier I was trying to blog from my phone to no avail. That post was going to read, "I am blogging from my phone!", so at least this post is more creative than that post. In theory.

Nothing will keep me from winning that decorative gourd! Nothing!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Cool running, part two

OK, I think I finally figured out the correct route of the 5k. I did a much more realistic practice today, and I'm pretty sure I'm right because my time seemed much more accurate.

Notice that I did not say that it was a fast time, but I ran the entire way and did not die. Not dying is much more important than being fast. I have my priorities. Also, on race day I'm not going to have my cell phone or car keys in my pocket. Once I shed all of that excess weight, I should just fly.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Pretty, pretty princess

WCK brought home an assignment from kindergarten last week. We had five days to work together as a family to decorate a paper turkey any way we wanted. WCK decided that our turkey should be a princess turkey, and away we went.

WCK colored the turkey, made the necklace, and helped me with the tinfoil crown. She also put two little rings on the end of the turkey's wings, which you can't see in the picture. I designed the tissue-paper skirt. Jay made the magic wand and the little shoes.

The result was the loveliest turkey in all the land.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

How about a short-sleeved t-shirt?

Yes, Bon Jovi is no longer unbuttoned! My M-spike went down again, to 2.4. Woo hoo!

Also, I apologize for posting this photo, especially on Veterans Day. After looking at it for a while, I realized it's probably really bad flag etiquette. I Googled flag etiquette, and I couldn't find anything that specifically said, "The flag shall not have Bon Jovi placed upon it", but I think it's implied.

Oh, well.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Speak 'N Spell Lady, we hardly knew ye

Getting my Revlimid every four weeks is a million-step process. Fortunately, I have some really great nurses who handle 99 percent of everything (faxing the such and such to so and so and getting the correct blah blah code and all of that. It's very technical.). My job is to see the doctor, have all of my tests, and then call the hotline at Celgene, the drug company that makes Revlimid, and take an electronic phone survey. Apparently, the taking of this survey assures everyone involved that I'm not pregnant, thinking of becoming pregnant, or looking pregnant women directly in the eye.

For 30 cycles of Revlimid, the survey was administered by a computerized female voice. I always thought she sounded like one of those Speak 'N Spell toys from the early '80s. "Have ... you ... shared ... your ... Rev-li-mid ... with ... an-y-one? Press one for yes ... two for no ... or three for ... don't ... know." Early on, I lamented that Speak 'N Spell Lady was too impersonal. I thought that if someone was going to ask you all of these intimate questions, it could at least be a compassionate human voice.

After a while, though, Speak 'N Spell Lady started to grow on me. She became familiar, almost comforting. We were buddies. She was easy to talk to. I felt like she was on my side. Even though she never said it, I was sure she looked forward to my calls. I always looked forward to my favorite question: "Have you had your womb or uterus surgically removed? Press one for yes, two for no, or three for don't know."

What man put option three in there? What man??

Yesterday, I called to take my survey and something seemed a little off. Something wasn't right. What was it?

It was a compassionate human voice!

Speak 'N Spell Lady is no more! What happened? Did her batteries die? Did she get another job? After all of her years of service, she was fired and replaced by a human. I blame the economy.

Having to answer to an actual human just isn't the same. I mean, it makes sense for a computer to say something awkward and weird like "womb or uterus", but I can't believe an actual living woman got the script for this survey and didn't laugh until she peed.

Farewell, Speak 'N Spell Lady. Maybe someday we'll talk again, perhaps at the insurance company's 1-800 number or at the drive-through car wash, but I have a feeling that, somehow, it just won't be quite the same.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Meanwhile, back at the cancer center ...

I had my monthly checkup today. Everything looks OK so far (I get the other numbers later in the week), but the Rev has continued to push my white-cell counts down. "This is the lowest I want to see your white cells go," said Dr. GPO. My white cells are doing the limbo.

So, anyway, I get to take two weeks off Rev instead of the usual one week. It's a vacation. What am I going to do with myself? I need to find a beach to lounge on or something.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Cool running

I'm planning to run a 5k in a few weeks. Technically, I haven't signed up for the 5k, but I've told everyone I know that I definitely do plan to hopefully maybe definitely maybe sign up, so that's the same as signing up, right?

The race course is in a park, so this morning I went there to try it out. I figured that once I was done with my practice run, I'd be writing a blog post about how I'd collapsed, how I'd never make it through the actual race, and how I hoped the other runners on race day would be nice enough to gingerly step over my corpse, or at least kick it out of the way so it didn't trip anyone.

It turned out that ... I did great! I had my upbeat running playlist on my iPod, and I flew on winged feet all the way through the course. I didn't stop to walk once! When I finished, I felt like I could keep on running! I checked my watch, and my time was excellent!

Weirdly excellent. Suspiciously excellent. Physically impossible excellent.

After returning home and carefully studying the map of the course, I realized that I'd started and finished in the wrong place, and I'd missed out on at least a mile or more of the actual course. Oh.

I'll have to try it again in a few days, and I'll probably be writing that corpse-themed blog entry then.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Arrr, matey!

Today was the annual Holiday Gift Mart at church. WCK's favorite part of the gift mart is the children's store. I think I posted about the children's store last year: Only kids are allowed inside, so that they can secretly shop for their parents. You send your kid into the room with a fistful of money and then lurk around the door, trying not to look inside. The kids choose from a bunch of inexpensive gifts that people have donated (WCK, always a smart shopper, only spent $1.50 total on gifts for Jay and me). Volunteers help the kids wrap the gifts, and then then they reappear with their packages, all ready for Christmas morning! Yay!

Or maybe not. The downside of the children's store is that it's held on Nov. 7, which is light years from Christmas morning. WCK always makes us open our gifts as soon as we get home.

This year, she got me a very cute little heart-shaped jewelry box with flowers on it. I asked her what I should keep in it.

"Oh, you know, some jewelries, or, really, anything you'd keep in your treasure chest if you were a pirate."

Saturday, November 06, 2010

The Dinosaur Play

Today we took WCK to see a children's play about dinosaurs called -- what else? --"The Dinosaur Play." The actors encouraged audience participation. Between the sounds of what seemed like hundreds of kids "participating", and an actress who decided that her apatosaurus character needed to roar loudly over everyone else's dialogue, it was hard to make out the plot.

From what I could tell, the play was about a dinosaur egg that needed to hatch. First they tried to recruit a cranky male triceratops to hatch the egg, but he flatly denied being the egg's father and stormed off. The loud apatosaurus finally hatched the egg, only to discover -- shocker! -- that it was a baby triceratops! She adopted the baby, the male triceratops returned to rescue them from a t-rex, and they all escaped together to a swamp to start a new life together.

Was the triceratops indeed the father? Was he going to make an honest woman of the apatosaurus? It was never explained.

I'd ask Jay, but he napped through most of it. Lucky.

Friday, November 05, 2010

There's a video, too.

It's only Day 5 of this daily blogging thing, and it's already starting to stress me out. I mean, I have lots of other things to do today, such as take care of my child and Google the NKOTBSB tour (not necessarily in that order). Anyway, it turns out there is an official video (about the NKOTBSB tour, not about how to take care of a child ... although I probably need one of those).

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Let's all try to remain calm.

Well, you can try to remain calm, but you surely won't when I tell you that THE NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK ARE GOING BACK OUT ON TOUR WITH THE BACKSTREET BOYS!!

That's right. It's NKOTBSB.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Exciting times at Catholic school

WCK goes to a Catholic school. I did not go to a Catholic school, and apparently I missed out on a whole lot of exciting things that never happen at public school. When I picked WCK up from school yesterday, she could barely contain herself:

"Mommy! Today someone dropped Jesus on the floor and his head fell off and rolled away somewhere, and the teacher had to stick it back on with tape!"

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

It's that time of year again

Once again, I've signed up for NaBloPoMo, which is short for National Blog Posting Month. If I post something every single day for all of November, I'm eligible to win something from a list of fabulous prizes, which includes a scarf, a meal-replacement shake, and a hand-painted gourd. How exciting! There is nothing like a gourd for motivation!

Monday, November 01, 2010

Mmm ... tapeworm sandwiches!

For at least a year now, WCK has been completely obsessed with tapeworms. (Read this old post if you would like some kind of an explanation, but really, there is no good explanation.) Every year on Halloween, I like to make some kind of fun Halloween meal -- mummy pizzas, mummy hot dogs, carrots that look like witch fingers, things like that. When I was looking for ideas for this year's meal, I came across a recipe for "Tapeworm Sandwiches", and I knew they would be an enormous hit at our house.

Well, almost. Jay fixed his own meal and did not eat a Tapeworm Sandwich. I don't know why:

I cut hot dogs into strips and boiled them until they got curly and worm-like, and then served them on a bun. I then got out the ketchup and asked WCK if she would like some bloooooooood on her tapeworm sandwich, and of course she did. I also had bloooooood and some mustard, but I wasn't sure what the mustard should be.


Ah. Tapeworm sandwiches with bloooood and spooky goblin slime. Delicious.