Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Merry Christmas, M-spike!

I'm a little late in posting my test results from last week. My M-spike came back at 1.4, which I was pleased with, because it's completely stable from the month before. Then the nurse told me that it is actually better:  The new lab is now using two decimal places, so last month my M-spike was officially 1.48, and now it is 1.41. I improved by .07. I'm sure .07 doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of M-spikes, but I'll still take time to enjoy it.


Also, my beta-2 microglobulin and IgG both slightly improved, so that's good, too.

I won't have another test until after Christmas, so now I can take the time to think about important holiday things, such as this: Why don't I have my own Bon Jovi-themed Christmas stocking like this one I found on Etsy? Why?

Saturday, November 30, 2013

O Come, All Ye Faithful

Yay! I did it! I blogged every day in November! It's time for me to sit back and wait for all of the prizes to roll in. In the meantime, let us celebrate the end of NaBloPoMo and the beginning of the Christmas season with a touching scene from "A Very Brady Christmas".

No, that's not the real Cindy.

Friday, November 29, 2013

The Clinic

I've been watching Grey's Anatomy on DVD while using the treadmill. If you've never seen Grey's Anatomy, it's a medical drama about a bunch of impossibly attractive surgeons who work at a hospital in Seattle and have dramatic affairs with each other. In between dramatic affairs, they are constantly victimized by dramatic, dangerous events, such as dramatic bus crashes, dramatic ambulance crashes, dramatic plane crashes, dramatic bomb scares, and dramatic mass shootings, just to name a few.

Then they have emotional problems brought on by the traumatic events, which causes them to have even more dramatic affairs.

It's like ER, only super trashy and extra traumatizing. I enjoy it.

I just started watching season nine, in which one of the doctors, recently traumatized by a dramatic plane crash and fleeing her estranged husband who recently had an affair, gets a job at "The Clinic" in Rochester, Minnesota. Apparently, legal reasons keep them from coming out and calling it "The Mayo Clinic". They do show some exterior shots of the real Rochester, but everything that has to do with the actual clinic -- while it does look very similar --  is fake. I found a photo of the Grey's Anatomy version of "The Clinic". Note the sign above the door:

I'm only a few episodes in, but I don't think this doctor is going to last long at "The Clinic". All of the doctors there are portrayed as old and lame and too polite to create much drama. They say things like, "You need some R and R. Why don't you go to The Mall of America and ride the roller coaster?"

They actually showed a patient receiving a tater tot hot dish from his family, and they used the words "tater tot hot dish" repeatedly, so that we'd all know the show's writers had done a lot of research on Minnesota.

Granted, one of "The Clinic" doctors did collapse and die of a heart attack right in the middle of a surgery (because he was so old, and perhaps had been eating tater tots), but it's not like he had a bomb strapped to his chest and exploded the entire OR. Back in Seattle, the entire OR would have exploded, and the survivors would have had affairs right there in the rubble.

Apparently, Grey's Anatomy is trying to tell us that the doctors at Mayo are calm, polite, reasonable enjoyers of tater tots who die quietly and are unlikely to be involved in dramatic bomb scares and/or affairs. This is exactly why I trust "The Clinic" with my medical care.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving music break

Remember the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade of 1989? No? Then click on this video and prepare to be transported back to a simpler time. For this video, I am truly thankful. Amen.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The latest Myeloma Mom

Today's post is another short one: My latest Myeloma Mom column has been posted on the Myeloma Beacon web site.  It's about the six-year anniversary of my stem cell harvest at the Mayo Clinic. It's hard to believe it's been six years, and all of my little cells are still up in Minnesota, chilling on ice. Anyway, it's all in the column, so go check it out!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Good goal.

I saw this posted on Facebook earlier. Seems like a good goal to me!

Monday, November 25, 2013

My big night out

WCK has been sick with a virus since Friday, so I have not left the house much. I've been spending my days vacuuming cracker crumbs out of the carpet, taking WCK's temperature, fetching ice water, and watching the Disney Channel. WCK still likes to watch A Bunch of Smart-Mouthed Kids, and now there is a brand new series that not only has smart-mouthed kids, it has smart-mouthed identical twins! Actually, I think the twins are played the same actress in a Parent-Trap-type way. I'll have to watch a few more episodes to be sure. WCK will be home again tomorrow, so I will let you know.

We did start a new project: WCK and I want to see how many Wizard of Oz movies we can watch. Since she's been sick, we've watched Tom and Jerry Wizard of Oz, The Dreamer of Oz (a made-for-TV movie from 1990 about the life of L. Frank Baum), The Wiz, and The Muppet Wizard of Oz. Unfortunately, I fell asleep during most of Muppet Wizard of Oz (vacuuming up cracker crumbs is exhausting, people!), but WCK tells me it was OK. Queen Latifah played Aunt Em.

The second Jay came home today, I fled the house for the bright lights and excitement of the grocery store. The sights! The sounds! The produce! It was the greatest place to be ever!

Before I left, Jay told me I should stop at the Caribou Coffee that's located inside the store and drink a fun beverage as I walked around. Oh, that's a bit much. It's enough that I'm having a wild night out at the grocery store. I was not about to get crazy.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Lookin' fancy

It's time for another fancy outfit from my past.

My grandma used to buy matching dresses for my sister and me all the time. As I look through old photos, I think my sister and I should go back to wearing matching dresses, because we looked fabulous. I was completely aware that I looked fabulous, too. Just look at the expression on my face. Not even the purple yarn on my head could distract from my feelings about my fabulous gown.

Dang! I know I look GOOD.

I don't know what was in those tiny presents, but my sister looks pretty excited. That gray lump that I'm holding? That was my stuffed dog, Toto*, who started out as a white dog but turned into a gray dog because I carried him everywhere. I think I took him to college with me.

*What else did you expect me to name a dog? Even a white dog?

Saturday, November 23, 2013

The world record

About ten years ago, I bought a Dorothy dress, and I made Jay buy a scarecrow costume. We still have them, and WCK has collected a variety of Oz costumes over the years: Dorothy, Glinda, and the Wicked Witch of the West. I feel these are necessary items that everyone should have in their wardrobe, because you never know when you will need them. For example, today I got a long letter from the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, informing me that this event is included in the annual Wizard of Oz Festival this June:

If I'm ever going to set a world record in my life … this would be it.

I went to Google to find out the previous record. It was set by 446 British schoolchildren in 2010. Oh, someone fetch me my ruby slippers. Those British schoolchildren are going down!

I should add that, as of right now, Jay and WCK are less than enthusiastic about driving 10-ish hours to set the world record, but I have until June to work on them. I'm feeling confident.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Queen Latifah!

Fellow blogger and cancer survivor Ginny Marie, who blogs at Lemon Drop Pie, interviewed me for a piece she wrote for the Queen Latifah web site! The article actually has nothing to do with cancer or blogging. It's about delivering meals to people in times of need. Whenever someone I know has a baby, I bring them a Hy-Vee chicken meal. True story. Go check out the article!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Outfit

I was looking through old photos today, when I came across a photo of … The Outfit. Be warned before you look at the photo below. If you look directly at The Outfit for too long, you could go blind.

Are you blind yet?

My grandma, who is in the photo with me, bought me The Outfit for my tenth birthday, in 1985. When my grandma wanted to buy clothes for me, she'd walk into a store and ask the clerk what all of the fashionable little girls were wearing these days. I was always at the mercy of what they would pick out. The clerk would usually steer her toward something odd. When she'd give the clothes to me, she'd announce, "You're going to be a trendsetter!"

Well, I did not believe her the time she gave me the baggy yellow pants with black bats all over them. I did believe her, however, the first time I set eyes on The Outfit.

Baggy white pants with multi-colored neon stripes? Sign. Me. Up.

Notice the neon-pink triangle on the shirt that is glowing in the camera flash. It was made of shiny plastic.

I felt like a rock star every time I wore The Outfit to fourth and fifth grade. (I wore The Outfit a lot. It spanned two school years.) In the photo I am wearing regular tennis shoes with it, but when I really wanted to rock The Outfit, I wore neon pink jelly shoes with neon green socks, an oversized yellow jacket, and a pair of Michael Jackson sunglasses. Oh, yeah. I was the raddest girl in Iowa.

P.S. I have no idea what is going on with the hair clip. Is it even attached to my hair? Is it an anti-gravity hair clip that would just sort of hover upside-down near my head? The Outfit was magical, so anything is possible.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

How does cat food work?

Garland the cat, who is over 16 years old, now eats a fancy, expensive, prescription food. I have to go to the vet's office to buy the special food, and I'm pretty sure a one-month supply costs more than I paid to adopt the actual cat in 1997. But I keep buying it because Garland is a little old lady and she's cute and fuzzy and she has the power to claw me in the eye in the middle of the night.

Today when I brought the food home, I noticed the bag features a detailed diagram explaining how the food works. Have you ever wondered how cat food works? Take a look:

Step One: Kitty eats the food, which contains vitamins.

Step Two: The food goes on a wild roller-coaster ride inside the kitty. Whee!! Fasten your seat belts, food! It's going to be a bumpy night!

Step Three: Kitty poops the food directly into the litter-box scoop!

Wow! That's why this food is so expensive! The cat will poop directly into the scoop! Think of all of the time this will save us! I need to show Garland this diagram, and then start following her everywhere with the scoop.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Sorry, boys!

In yesterday's post, I said that the Rainbow Loom was for little girls. A friend of mine responded on my Facebook page* and said that her boys were also maniacs on the Rainbow Loom. I asked WCK about this, and she said, "Well, yeah. Boys make bracelets, too." (Duh, Mother. Why would you think otherwise?)

How awful of me. Why would I think otherwise? I always get offended when people imply that dinosaur toys are only for boys, and I point out that WCK has been playing with dinosaurs and has wanted to be a paleontologist since she was two. Granted, sometimes I find the plastic dinosaurs wearing Barbie ball gowns and heels, but she does play with them.

To all of you boys out there who are maniacs on the Rainbow Loom: I am so, so sorry. I would make you a Rainbow Loom bracelet as a peace offering, but I'm sure you are much better at it than I am.

*Have you "liked" The Adventures of Cancer Girl Facebook page? If not, why not?

Monday, November 18, 2013

Over the Rainbow

After months of begging and pleading, WCK is now the proud owner of a Rainbow Loom. If you have never heard of a Rainbow Loom, you are obviously not the parent of a little girl, aged six to twelve. In fact, you probably live in a cave on some distant alien world where everyone is born at age thirteen and little girls ages six to twelve do not exist.

For all of you Alien Cave People: A Rainbow Loom is a plastic thingamajig doohickey that you use to make friendship bracelets out of teeny tiny rubber bands. If you are in the third grade, you simply cannot function without a Rainbow Loom.

The bracelet-making process is pretty straightforward, but the Rainbow Loom instructions come with ominous warnings: "Do not wear if skin develops redness. Visit physician if symptoms persist or worsen" or this one: "Rubber bands under tension can generate high force."

But that's the thing about third graders: They take the risks. They are brave in the face of the Rainbow Loom. They run toward the Rainbow Loom when everyone else is running away. That's their job. "Yes," they say, "my skin developed redness. I took a rubber band to the eye. But I could not -- would not -- stop making friendship bracelets."

The Rainbow Loom has been in our house just a little over 24 hours, and a pile of little rubber bracelets is growing in WCK's room. She's made them in all color combinations, including a patriotic red, white, and blue one, a red and gold one for the Kansas City Chiefs, and an orange and black one for next Halloween. The child is a maniac on the Rainbow Loom. She says her goal is to make 100 -- no, 200! -- bracelets and then sell them and get rich.

She offered to make me one in yellow and pink, but then she said I'd have to pay $5 for it. I said that since I'd already forked over $16 for the Rainbow Loom that I should get my bracelet for free. She finally agreed to my terms, and now I have a lovely yellow and pink rubber bracelet that I can wear to the many formal affairs that I attend.

Jealous much?
Want your own? That will be $5.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

And now for a whimsical drawing by my child

Original artwork by WCK, entitled, "Evil Mickey". I'm a little relieved there is no blood dripping from the fangs.

Run, Donald. Run for your life.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

The emperor's new clothes

Today I came across The Emperor action figure wearing a pink Barbie bikini top. I don't think he can quite pull off this look, but I like that he's having a good time for once:

Friday, November 15, 2013

Mid-Month Music Break

Back when I was marathon training, I would often start to get emotional over songs on my iPod. Usually this would happen anywhere after about mile 10, depending on how difficult the run was. ("I am livin' on a prayer! It's like you can see into my very soul, Bon Jovi!")

Once I got anywhere in the mid- to late teens, I could become an absolute wreck over certain songs, such as "I Run for Life" by Melissa Etheridge, which is a song about breast cancer patients who are runners. "I run for hope. I run to feel. I run for the truth, for all that is real." Oh, thank you, Melissa Etheridge! Now I can neither see nor breathe because I am trying not to sob!

I almost had a breakdown during the song "Carry On", which has the line, "My head is on fire, but my legs are fine. After all, they are mine." 

When you see that line in print, it doesn't seem breakdown-ish at all, but if you go out and run 18 miles, it certainly will.

Anyway, here's another one that always made me cry. Especially when Jon sings alone.  I would always get all, "If Jon can sing alone, I can run this marathon!! I love you, Jon!!

I was in pain. Do not judge me.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Y do you want to know?

WCK had to write "New York" on a homework paper and asked me how to spell "York."

ME: Y …

WCK: Because I have to do this social studies paper, and I don't know how to spell York!

ME: Y …


ME: Y ….

We're like Abbott and Costello, folks.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Complete Curmudgeon's Guide to The Wizard of Oz

Last night, I read a post on NPR's Monkey See blog called "The Complete Curmudgeon's Guide to 'The Sound of Music'".  The woman who writes this blog is always very funny, but this was the funniest thing I've read in a long time. Reading this inspired me to write my own version for my own favorite movie. Keep in mind that I write this with great love, but even when great love is present, there are still things you need to get off your chest. I present to you …

The Complete Curmudgeon's Guide to The Wizard of Oz

If the Wicked Witch of the East was oppressing the Munchkins so horribly, why did she allow them to have a government and a military, and to assemble in groups such as the Lollipop Guild? Didn't you take seventh-grade social studies, Wicked Witch of the East? Forbidding these things is Basic Oppression 101.

We see some of the Munchkins hatching out of eggs, so … is that how they are born? Or do they just like to hang out inside giant eggs?

I can get on board with "I'd be brave as a blizzard" and even "I'd be gentle as a lizard." But "I'd be clever as a gizzard"? I think that's a bit of a stretch there, Scarecrow.

This is one that WCK pointed out to me: Why does the beauty parlor at the Emerald City just happen to have a fully-staffed scarecrow-stuffing station and a tin-man-polishing station? Do scarecrows and tin men go there for beauty treatments all the time? "Do you take walk-in appointments?" "Sorry, sir, we have five tin men to polish this afternoon. We can squeeze you in on Friday in between lion-mane perms."

"Can you even dye my eyes to match my gown?" Oh, bizarre. And painful.

When the Witch writes, "Surrender Dorothy" in the sky, the crowd starts yelling,  "The Wizard will explain it! To the Wizard! To the Wizard!" Seriously, people? Has the Wizard ever explained anything? You have never actually seen the Wizard. I think all of you know that the Wizard is not going to explain jack squat.

Speaking of that, did the Witch mean "Surrender Dorothy", as in, "I'm talking to the people of the Emerald City, and they all need to turn her over to me," or did she forget the comma and really mean, "Surrender, Dorothy", as in, "Dorothy, I'm speaking to you directly, and you need to turn yourself in"? Either way, the Wizard is still not going to explain it.

Plus, Witch, if you're going to fly all the way to the Emerald City, why not just swoop down and get Dorothy while you have the chance? Writing in the sky and then flying away seems a little passive-aggressive.

Let's ignore for a minute that the sign reading, "Witches Castle 1 Mile" is misspelled. This is a castle located deep in a mountainous area of the haunted forest inhabited by the Wicked Witch and heavily guarded by men with spears and flying monkeys. Have enough people wanted to go there to warrant putting up a sign telling them exactly where it is?

But perhaps the misspelling of "Witches Castle" shows that the Witch did, indeed, forget to put a comma in "Surrender Dorothy".

So, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Lion, who have thus far shown themselves to be kind, sensitive souls who can't bear to be slapped by Judy Garland, who cry in poppy fields, and who are excited about getting perms at the Emerald City beauty shop, manage to overpower three armed guards at the Witch's castle and then, apparently, strip them naked, steal their clothing and weapons, and … kill them? Do they kill those guys? By stabbing them through the heart with their giant spears? By using the Tin Man's ax? Because if they merely knocked them out, you'd think the three naked guards would show up at some point to try to warn the others.

And just before the (possible) murder, the Scarecrow and the Tin Man decide they are putting the Lion in charge of this dangerous mission. Really, guys? Because earlier he admitted to all of you that he's terrified of imaginary sheep.

Why does the Wicked Witch of the West have a bucket of water just casually sitting around her castle?  That would be like a regular person having open vats of hydrochloric acid around the house. "Oh, yeah. The acid. It's part of the decor. Just don't throw it on anyone."

After the Witch melts, the guards turn out to be really nice guys, and they're all, "Take the broomstick! Hail to Dorothy!" Yeah, just wait until they figure out three of their brothers are outside, naked and dead.

"A heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others." That is an absolutely terrible philosophy.

The wizard finally -- finally!--  appears in public, only to announce that he's taking off and leaving a scarecrow in charge … and the citizens of the Emerald City are totally cool with that.

Who brings their cat to a balloon launch? "The Wizard is leaving? Oh, Fluffy would love that! No, don't get the cat carrier; there's no time! I still need to paint giant circles on my cheeks before we go out!"

The wizard used to make his living flying hot-air balloons, and yet he can't come back, because he doesn't know how it works.

"If I ever go looking for my heart's desire again, I won't look any further than my own back yard, because if it isn't there, I never really lost it to begin with." I have been watching this movie for 38 years. I have read all of L. Frank Baum's books. I have a college degree, and yet I have no idea what this means. Is Glinda just pretending to know what this means so Dorothy will just go home? Because, really, Dorothy, nobody knows what this means.

So Dorothy is home/recovered from her concussion and everyone is all happy and la la la, but Miss Gulch still has an order from the sheriff allowing Toto to be destroyed. Have we all forgotten that? Everyone is all, "Yay, Dorothy!" but Toto is sitting there going, "Oh, crap."

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

I'm not afraid of Gloria Estefan.

Every November, I write a blog post complaining bitterly about how much I hate hearing Christmas music before Thanksgiving. I complain and complain and complain, and yet the Christmas music keeps playing.

I'm starting to think that my complaining is doing no good. I guess I just need to complain more.

The other day I was at a store (I won't say which one, but it rhymes with "Johl's"), and I was trying to shop for regular, non-Christmasy things while listening to Gloria Estefan tell me she wanted to see Christmas through my eyes. If you've never heard this song before, here are some actual lyrics:

I wanna see Christmas
I wanna see Christmas, I wanna see Christmas through your eyes
I wanna see, I wanna see Christmas
I wanna see, I wanna see Christmas
I wanna see Christmas through your eyes
I wanna see Christmas
I want to see Christmas
I wanna see Christmas through your eyes

To sum up: The song is about wanting to see Christmas through your eyes.

Now this song is permanently stuck in my head. There are also some verses about being a child again and seeing a rainbow and so on. The more my brain plays it over and over, the more awful the song gets. Now, it's not as awful as the Christmas song where the little boy is buying shoes for his dying mother so she can look hot when she meets Jesus, but it's still pretty awful. And my brain won't let it go.

Is the universe trying to punish me for all of my years of complaining? Is it trying to send a warning in the form of Gloria Estefan? If so, I am not afraid. The last time Gloria Estefan tried to warn us about something back in 1987, there was that big panic, and then the rhythm did not get anybody. 

I'm going to keep complaining. Bring it on, Gloria. Bring. It. On.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Mother Teresa: That gal totally gets me.

WCK's school is doing a fundraiser selling religious gift-y items. I ordered a framed quote from Mother Teresa to hang on the wall. I'm not really one to go about purchasing framed quotes from Mother Teresa to hang on the wall (this is, in fact, my first one), but I just thought it was nice. Today, as I was loading groceries into the car, I figured out why.

You know how, when you're a stay-at-home mom, people constantly ask you, "What do you DO all day?" (If you don't know that this happens, you're not a stay-at-home mom.) I always wonder why it is OK to ask stay-at-home moms this. You don't ask this question of someone with a "real job", and then listen attentively as they describe downloading the blah blah blah reports to get the numbers on the blah blah blah account.


So, I spend my days answering questions from people about what I do all day, reading blogs written by other stay-at-home moms who complain bitterly about how people are constantly asking them what they do all day, and this. THIS is what I do:

I do small things. Many, many, many small things. They're things nobody notices while I'm doing them, but if I suddenly quit, my husband and child would be out in the back yard in dirty, ragged clothing, hunting moles for food, all the while having absolutely no idea that WCK needs a poodle skirt costume for her Christmas program.

I can't allow this to happen. Think of the moles. That's why I'm glad Mother Teresa finally has my back.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Be a winner at the Game of Life!

WCK is completely obsessed with The Game of Life. I've played it six times this weekend.

I worry a little that it is warping her brain about what life is really like as an adult. Sure, you'll land a $100,000-a-year job as a "Superstar" the day you graduate from college! Why not? Fortunately, the superstar position allows for plenty of time off to climb Mt. Everest, attend art auctions, and win the Nobel Prize, all the while hauling around a car filled with perfect peg babies and a peg husband.

The only thing WCK found implausible was the time I won $50,000 in a dance contest. "You won a dance contest?" she said. "I think I need to speak to those judges."

Really? She can believe I set the world record for running the mile, was elected President of the United States, and solved global warming, but she can't see me winning a dance contest? At least my plastic peg babies never mock me.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Princess dresses are low in fiber

One day I found this in our upstairs hallway:

For those of you who don't see this kind of thing in your upstairs hallway every single day, this is a Rancor Monster action figure from Return of the Jedi with a rubber Cinderella dress sticking out of his, uh, bottom.

I kept walking past it, not really wanting to acknowledge it, until I finally had to break down and ask.

WCK was very casual about it.

"Oh, yeah, he ate a princess, and now … he's very uncomfortable."

Friday, November 08, 2013

Hey, girl ...

My M-spike results are back and -- woo! -- it went back down to 1.4 where it belongs, just like I knew it would. My magical Bon Jovi photo worked once again. It works every single time. I don't know why scientists aren't trying to use magical Bon Jovi photos to cure cancer. Why, scientists? Why? If any of you have connections to the Smart Scientific Community, could you please tell them about this? It could revolutionize medicine. Bad medicine, that is.

Anyway, I'll just go ahead and congratulate myself with a magical Donnie Wahlberg photo. Thanks, Donnie.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Weird but true

WCK is really into these "Weird But True"books published by National Geographic Kids. They're filled with all kinds of strange, random facts. She found this one particularly delightful:

And this one:

But she was absolutely stunned by this one, and, quite frankly, driven to anger:

I was pretty stunned by that one, too. Only 90 percent? Did National Geographic rely on scientific surveys to come up with this number? If so, who are these goody-goody parents who make up the 10 percent who do not steal the candy? What is wrong with them? I imagine them looking all wholesome and smug and eating nothing but kale. Instantly, I hate these 10 percent of parents. I hope a komodo dragon swallows you whole! And the motorized toilet you rode in on!

Well, then I flipped through the book a bit more, and I saw this one:

Ah. And ten percent of those lies were told when the National Geographic corporation surveyed parents about Halloween candy. It all makes sense now.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Things you only see at parades in South Dakota

I was going through photos from the past few years, and I realized that we spend a lot of time going to small-town parades in South Dakota. As much as I enjoy small-town parades in South Dakota, I realized that there are many things that you will only see at small-town parades in South Dakota and nowhere else in the world. 

I mean, I hope I never see this anywhere else:

Yes, you really saw this.
This is supposed to be a chicken:

Want some candy, little girl?
Here he is (a few years later), dancing on a float. Notice there is another chicken walking in the background. I believe there were several others, and that they plan to band together and take over the planet.

Someone in an inflatable pizza costume:

And finally, a dancing bear. You can't tell from this photo, but the bear is wearing a cape:

I actually have an amazing video of the dancing bear, taken by my sister-in-law, but I couldn't get it to upload. Once I figure it out, though, do you think it's going right on my blog? You bet! Does a bear dance in the woods?

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Tales from Dr. GPO

Today was the first time I've seen Dr. GPO since I decided to run the marathon. Normally, I see the nurse practitioner every month (which is fine, because she is great!), and I see Dr. GPO maybe once or twice a year now. He told me that he once tried to run a marathon about 20-some years ago, and -- he can laugh about this now, so it's OK -- he made it 19.1 miles, realized he couldn't feel his face, staggered into the medical tent, and had to be hooked up to an iv.

"The distance you ran nearly killed your doctor," he said.

Well, I feel really bad that he didn't finish his race, and I am very glad I didn't hear this story before I ran the marathon, but I think there is a good lesson for cancer patients here. If you find out you can run 7.1 miles farther than your oncologist, you're probably doing OK.

Monday, November 04, 2013

WWND: What Would Nanny Do?

Right before Halloween, I was at Hobby Lobby and I saw this guy:

I had a magical experience where I heard songs from the heavens and a voice in my head said, "What would Nanny do?" Nanny was my grandma who was always buying all kinds of crazy stuff. She totally would have bought this cat.

Want proof? Exhibit A:

My grandma.

So I brought the kitty home and named him Pablo. (If you can't tell from the photo, he's holding a teeny, tiny human skull, which I thought had sort of a Day of the Dead feel to it.) WCK wanted to keep Pablo around all year round, and I did consider it, but I finally decided to put him away with the Halloween stuff. This way, we'll always have a nice surprise every year when we open the Halloween box. "Oh, look! It's Pablo!" And we'll all be so happy to see each other. Maybe we can have a little tea party for him.

I miss Pablo already.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

The return of Johnny Bravo

In July, Jay and WCK and I took a week-long vacation to Branson, Missouri. We've lived in Missouri for 10 years and had never been to Branson before, so we figured we should check it out.

It turns out that Branson, Missouri is exactly as Homer Simpson described it: Las Vegas if it were run by Ned Flanders. But we had a lot of fun. We did. Jay said we can't go back until he's in his cold, cold grave, but I think that is his secret code for, "I had fun." He said the exact same thing about the Great Wolf Lodge.

Everybody kept telling us we needed to go to some shows. I had no idea which show I wanted to see until I found out about this:

Yes!  It's a show called "'70s Music Celebration" staring Barry Williams, aka Greg Brady from The Brady Bunch! Greg Brady! They don't even need to tell me it's "Branson's Hippest Show"! I take one glance at this cardboard cutout of Greg Brady handing me a brochure, and I know that instinctively!

You see, from about 1987 to 1993, I watched The Brady Bunch every single day on TBS at 3:35 p.m. You would think at some point my parents would have insisted I do some homework or go outside or participate in some extra-curricular activities. They did not, and I became an absolute master at Brady Bunch trivia.

And so, even though Peter was always my favorite of the Brady boys, I knew that I absolutely had to go to this show and see Greg Brady. Jay and WCK were not as enthusiastic. In the end, they decided not to come with me and endured an undoubtedly boring afternoon swimming at the hotel pool and eating ice cream.

Meanwhile, I was ushered to a seat in the front row (the front row!) to watch Greg Brady sing many '70s hits, such as  "Disco Inferno", "Kung Fu Fighting" and "Convoy". I just knew Jay and WCK would feel terrible when they found out how awesome it all was. They still won't admit that they feel terrible for missing out, but I know deep down that they do.

At one point, Barry/Greg flew down from the ceiling in a Superman outfit.

How could you not feel terrible for missing this?

At intermission, one of the backup dancers announced that we could purchase a variety of Greg/Barry items and that Greg/Barry would be in the lobby to autograph them after the show. Holy mother of God!  I rushed to the table and purchased a special collector's edition of Barry William's book: "Growing Up Brady: I Was a Teenage Greg". Naturally, I already own this book, but this was the special collector's edition. The book details the time Greg/Barry went out on a date with Florence Henderson, among other things. It is a classic, and I highly recommend it. With my purchase, I got a free copy of Barry's CD, "The Return of Johnny Bravo."

When the show ended, I rushed to the lobby and I was the second person in the autograph line. Greg/Barry signed my book. And then this happened:

One day when the lady met this fellow ...
And it was one of the greatest days of my life. THE END.

Epilogue: Two days later, I took WCK to a show called "Amazing Pets", which involved dogs dressed as Batman riding little tiny bicycles. Jay, who has now clearly proven that he can't appreciate good entertainment, decided not to go with us, and he went for a run through downtown Branson. Just as he was passing the restaurant shaped like a giant chicken*, he was nearly run over by, yes, Greg Brady.

I believe there is a valuable life lesson to be learned here, a lesson we can all turn to during these troubled times, and the lesson is this: If you turn down a chance to see dogs dressed as Batman riding little tiny bicycles, Greg Brady will run you over. I think I'll needlepoint this and put it on the wall. THE END.

*I think the phrase "the restaurant shaped like a giant chicken" pretty much sums up all of Branson.

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Something in the freezer is watching you.

Jay often accuses me of being a hoarder. You can read this old post about my hoarding of baby teeth.

So, yes. I admit I am guilty of the above-mentioned tooth collection as well as a large collection of cardboard boxes. In my defense, you just know that the second I get rid of the big pile of shoeboxes in the laundry room, a note will come home from school telling me that my child needs to bring in a shoebox for some Very Important Project worth 90 percent of her grade. You just know this will happen.

But I need to point out that Jay is not completely innocent in the hoarding department. Jay hoards meat.

Jay works for a meat company that often gives away free meat. He brings home any free meat that he can, no matter what it is, and puts it in the freezer. The only way we are allowed to get rid of said meat is to have it pass through our bodies.

The other day I was rummaging through the freezer and found ...

Ham eyes! Ham eyes??!?! Ham! Eyes! (Begin the Psycho music: "Ree! Ree! Ree!")

I texted Jay an accusatory photo of the ham eyes, and he suggested we have the eyes for dinner. We did not. He has not thrown the ham eyes away.

So, this is how I live. I go to bed each night next to a dresser filled with old baby teeth, worrying that the ham eyes are going to crawl out of the freezer in the basement and come find me.

Ree! Ree! Ree!

Friday, November 01, 2013

It's time for NaBloPoMo!

It's November 1, and once again I have signed up for National Blog Posting Month (or NaBloPoMo, for those of us who are too important and busy to write out actual words). This means if I post to the blog every day during the month of November, I am eligible to win a prize. I've signed up for the November NaBloPoMo for many years now, and I have never won a prize, but this year could be my year. I can feel it.

Anyway, I also have a new Myeloma Mom column up on the Myeloma Beacon web site, so check that out when you get a chance. Once again, I have written about running the marathon. Someday I'll stop mentioning the marathon. Not today, though.


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

I'm all over the Internet!

A few months ago, I sent in an essay to the web site and they published it today! Woo! If you're already a runner or want to start running, you should check out the site. The women who run it are the authors of the books "Run Like a Mother" and "Train Like a Mother", which I highly recommend. "Train Like a Mother" has different levels of training plans for a 5k, 10k, half and full marathon. I've used the beginner half and full plans from this book, and they worked great. I'm planning to try the advanced 10k plan next.

Here's the direct link to my story:

Yes, there's another photo of me running the marathon. Yes, I'm going to keep bringing up the marathon. Marathon, marathon, marathon.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

I did it!

I did it! I ran a marathon! I dragged my 1.7 M-spike across 26.2 miles. Fine, M-spike. You want to go up? I will make this diseased bone marrow run a frigging marathon. You like that? If that's not enough to scare the myeloma into submission, I don't know what is.

Around this time in 2005, I wasn't sure if I'd even be alive eight years later, let alone running a marathon. It just shows that anything is possible. All you need are brains, heart, courage, and a good pair of shoes. I saw that in a movie once.

It hurt really, really, really bad, but it's one of the best things I've ever done. I would do it again. Someday. Not now. I just regained the ability to climb stairs.

Here's one of my favorite photos that my mom took. Jay and WCK and my parents came out to see me at mile 20:

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The healing power of Bon Jovi

My M-spike went up to 1.7. It was 1.4 last month. This happens at least once or twice a year, and it always goes right back down the following month. You'd think I'd be used to this by now, but I always get all shaky and nervous and start thinking, "What if it isn't going back down this time?"I spend the entire month trying to remind myself that this is not a big deal. It's not a big deal. It's not a big deal.

Of course, there is only one way to make sure it goes back down: Post a photo of Bon Jovi casting a magical spell on my M-spike. There we go. I'm feeling much better.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

My hemoglobin can beat up your hemoglobin

If you've read my blog for a while, you know I spent years struggling with low hemoglobin (iron) levels caused by Revlimid and by the myeloma itself. Over the past year or two, though, my hemoglobin has been steadily improving. My hemoglobin is now at a never-before-seen number that I didn't even know was physically possible for me:

All must bow down before my Almighty Hemoglobin!
My nurse practitioner thinks all of my running has improved my blood counts. So I guess as long as I can keep up the marathon training for, oh, the rest of my life, I'll be just fine.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Have you heard? I'm running a marathon.

I know I haven't blogged in a really long time, but that's OK, because I've been training for a marathon. As you all know, people training for marathons are among the most annoying folk on earth. My blog would only have looked like this:

But now it's less than two weeks until the marathon, so I'm tapering and I have more free time than usual. I mostly spend this free time sitting around trying not to start crying and wondering about why in the name of God did I sign up for a marathon? WHY? I suck! I SUCK!!! And, is that little twinge a pulled muscle? OH MY GOD, IT'S A PULLED MUSCLE! THIS IS THE WORST THING TO EVER HAPPEN TO ANYBODY EVER IN THE ENTIRE WORLD! 

Now, I haven't reached the point of my last half marathon taper, when I was absolutely convinced that I was going to get pneumonia and die and my legs were going to fall off, but it's only a matter of time.

In all seriousness, I do feel pretty confident that I can cross the finish line one way or another. I just know that it is going to hurt really, really, really bad.

Anyway, since I've been away, my latest Myeloma Mom column was published on the Myeloma Beacon web site. You can read it here:

Monday, September 16, 2013

Someday I'll be a unicorn.

So, they never did get my M-spike result last month. My awesome nurse practitioner figured out that it's not enough to simply order my protein electrophoresis, as has always been done in the past. The new lab apparently won't test the M-spike unless she writes  "NEED M-SPIKE!" on the lab order. Her plan worked, and the new results are back, and I remain stable (woo!) at 1.4.

I Googled "funny stable" and this is what came back. You're welcome.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

August Myeloma Mom

My latest "Myeloma Mom" column is up on the Myeloma Beacon web site. I hope you'll go read it when you have a chance, but I suppose I should provide a warning first. The column is about my Aunt Margie, who passed away from myeloma last month. I compare our two cases of myeloma: Mine has always been tame and non-aggressive; hers was wildly aggressive and impossible to stop. In the column, I wonder how the same disease can behave so differently from one person to the next, and it dawns on me that this is why myeloma has proven so impossible to cure.

After the column was posted, I got a comment from the wife of a newly diagnosed patient, telling me the column was disturbing and gave her and her husband nightmares.

I certainly would never, ever want to give a newly diagnosed patient nightmares. I feel bad that I contributed to the stress she's feeling. The main reason I write this blog is to help newly diagnosed patients, to show them that it is possible to live for a long time with multiple myeloma and to live a good life. On the other hand, not every case of myeloma is like mine, and I think people need to know that, too. What Margie and her family went though was an absolute nightmare and shouldn't be ignored. I thought her story needed to be told to show why we need to find a cure for this disease immediately.

Anyway, if you're a newly diagnosed patient or someone who simply doesn't want to hear a myeloma story with a sad ending you might want to steer clear of this column for now. I totally get it.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The case of the missing M-spike

I had all of my blood tests done last week, and I was told that the doctor's office has just switched to a new lab so there could be a few hiccups along the way. The whole Revlimid process went beautifully (woo!), but the nurse could not find my M-spike. Did they not test it? Has it gotten so tiny that it accidentally got thrown out in the back yard and now must make its way home through a jungle of grass and killer ants like in Honey I Shrunk the Kids? Nobody knows. I'm sure it is totally fine. If it doesn't turn up soon, I'll be getting tested again in three weeks anyway. No worries.

Oh! Theeeeeere it is!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Intellectual concert review

As long as we are talking about the New Kids on the Block, I should tell you about the concert I went to last month, or as I like to think of it, "An Evening With Donnie Wahlberg's Abs".

Bow chicka wow wow.
The first opening act was Boyz II Men. Who doesn't love Boyz II Men? People with cold, dark hearts, that's who. Boyz II Men are down to just three boyz these days, but they are still delightful. They made it rain rose petals during "I'll Make Love to You." And now that song is in your head. You're welcome.

The second opening act was 98 Degrees. I know next to nothing about 98 Degrees. I do know who Nick Lachey is, sort of, and some of their songs sounded vaguely familiar, but my friend Abigail and I used the 98 Degrees time to take a bathroom break, get a drink, and rest up for the two hours of screaming to come.

I'd thought about learning some 98 Degrees songs before the concert, but I wisely decided that I shouldn't get emotionally involved with yet another boy band, for the sake of my mental health. With the emotional upheaval caused by Kevin returning to the Backstreet Boys, I just can't take the stress.

Here's what I noticed about 98 Degrees: Three of the guys were ruggedly handsome, boy-band-looking guys. Then there was this guy. Who is this guy? He doesn't look boy-bandish at all. He looks like Nick Lachey's accountant:

Here are those numbers you wanted, Mr. Lachey.
And I know I shouldn't mock, because I know how boy-band fans work. Every member of a boy band appeals to somebody, and I'm going to get angry comments: "Jimmy Jo Jo* is my favorite member of 98 Degrees .... blah blah blah ... I built a shrine to Jimmy Jo Jo in my closet .... blah blah blah .... after praying to the shrine, the pus-filled boils reduced by 25 percent and the doctor has never seen anything like it in all of his days ... blah blah blah .... Love, the future Mrs. Jimmy Jo Jo."

I'm sorry, Mrs. Jimmy Jo Jo. And I'm sorry, Nick Lachey's real accountant. I'm sure you're attractive.

After Nick Lachey and two other handsome guys and the accountant left the stage, it was time for NKOTB. They had everything. Lasers and smoke and flames and giant balloons falling from the sky and pieces of the stage that lifted up during "Hangin' Tough." And, of course, abs.

Oh, no! Donnie accidentally ripped his shirt! Again!

But the most amazing part of the concert was this:

Jon sang by himself. Twice.

If you're not a New Kids fan, you don't care. If you are a New Kids fan, you're not even reading this anymore because you're lying on the floor hyperventilating because you know this is the biggest event to ever happen in our lifetime. And your pus-filled boils have all healed.

OH!! MY!!! GOD!!!!!

*I'm sure that's not his real name. But it could be.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Intellectual book review

If you've read my blog for a while, you might remember that about a year ago I came across two fantasy romance novels -- available in Kindle format for $2.99 -- with characters based on the New Kids on the Block.

And if you haven't been reading my blog for long, you just read that sentence and said, "Whaaaat? Karen, I must read these books!"

Yes. You must! Because they were the Best. Dang. Books. Ever. If you missed my reviews, you might want to go back and read my summary of book one ("Second Time Around") and book two ("Second Chances").

About a month ago, the same author released a third book in the series ("Second to None"). Of course, I downloaded it right away so I could report back to all of you. I read it ... and then I didn't know if I should publicly admit I read this book. I publicly admit a lot of things (remember the time I ordered an NKOTB DVD so I could get a scrap of clothing from one of their outfits?) so you know it's bad.

Book three is much different from the other two. My theory is that sometime after writing the second book, the author attended a writing seminar called "How to Write a Book That is Nothing but Disturbingly Graphic Sex Scenes." Mission accomplished, author. Mission accomplished.

I wasn't even sure how to review this book for my blog or even if I should.  But I know that reporting on these New Kids books is a valuable public service I provide, so I needed to carry on. I decided that instead of going into details about the above-mentioned scenes, I would simply insert the following sound effect:

Bow chicka wow wow.

Ready? Let's begin.

The book opens where book two left off. Fancy, sassy lawyer Kaye is engaged to Josh/Jon, who is super, super, SUPER heterosexual -- not the tiniest bit gay -- in case anyone is wondering. A magazine reporter wants to interview all of the members of Boys From the Block and their significant others about how they met. Josh/Jon is reluctant. Remember his crippling anxiety disorder? He's straight now, but he's still anxious. He finally agrees. To reward him, Kaye gets him alone aboard his private jet and ...

Bow chicka wow wow.

Everyone gathers for the interview. Jared/Jordan and his wife, Erin, tell their story. It begins when they are teenage sweethearts. Erin has been secretly in love with Jared/Jordan for years but is unsure about the relationship because he is a world-famous teen idol who is always being chased by screaming women, blah blah. Years go by, and Erin finally decides she is ready for a disturbingly graphic deflowering by Jared/Jordan. She surprises him in his hotel room while he's on tour and ...

Bow chicka wow wow.

Jared/Jordan has to rush off because he gets word that Dean/Donnie has crashed his motorcycle, so Erin returns the next night to surprise him again, this time wearing sexy lingerie, and:

Bow chicka ...

No! She discovers a drunken Jared/Jordan stumbling into the room with two drunken groupies. She flees into the night. A short time later, Jared/Jordan realizes that perhaps -- perhaps -- he made a mistake. He knows the only way to right this wrong: He must hunt Erin down and become a creepy stalker. He stalks and stalks and stalks and stalks. When that doesn't work, he simply serenades her and proposes, which cancels out the stalking and sleeping with two women! Of course! She says yes! Yay!

Next, it's the story of Jake/Joe and his wife, Brennan. She is a sassy, fancy real-estate agent. He really needs some fancy, sassy real estate. They go on a date. Then she doesn't return his calls. He knows the only way to right this wrong. He must hunt Brennan down and become a creepy stalker. He stalks and stalks and stalks and stalks. When that doesn't work, he traps her in an empty house ... but it's not creepy because he has champagne and roses!

Bow chicka wow wow.

Next: David/Danny meets his future wife, Tracy, at a bar, and they head to a hotel for a night of anonymous bow chicka wow wow. Two months later, Tracy's sister just happens to have front-row seats to a Boys From the Block concert. Tracy agrees to go, despite the fact that she knows nothing about BFTB and she is feeling nauseous. (You know exactly what is coming, don't you? I totally had you at "nauseous", didn't I?) Tracy gets to the concert and realizes, "OH MY GOD! ANONYMOUS BOW CHICKA WOW WOW MAN IS A MEMBER OF BOYS FROM THE BLOCK! I'M GOING TO THROW UP!"

She meets David/Danny after the show and they head to the tour bus.

Bow chicka wow wow.

And, of course, shortly afterward she figures out she's pregnant with his baby, blah blah, chicka blah blah.

Then the group interview is all over and Dean/Donnie and his wife head home to take a shower.

Bow chicka wow wow.

The End.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Odds and ends and Jon Bon Pony

First, an M-spike update: My June M-spike was 1.5 -- completely stable from the month before. In July, it actually went down to 1.2. This calls for a photo of Jon Bon Pony:

Next, I had another Myeloma Mom column published on the Myeloma Beacon web site at the end of July. If you missed it, you can find it here.

Finally, I've been asked to be a panelist in a call-in discussion about young adults with cancer. It's on Thursday (!!!) and I need to come up with some intelligent-sounding questions to ask. If you have any ideas for questions, please let me know! Here's a link to info about the discussion.

Monday, August 05, 2013

Why I've been away

I've been away from the blog for a long time, but I have a good reason. Something sad happened, and I knew I couldn't just go on blogging like nothing had happened without writing about it first, but I didn't want to write about it. So I kept putting it off.

If you've read this blog for a while, you know that my Aunt Margie was also diagnosed with myeloma in November 2011. Margie's myeloma was aggressive and relentless. She went through a lot: Lots of different medications/chemo, a transplant, radiation, and surgeries. Finally, this past June, the doctors told her there was nothing more that could be done, and she started hospice care. She passed away from myeloma in mid-July.

It's a big loss for our family, especially for her husband, her kids, and her grandkids. I will really miss her. I promise I will write more about her someday soon, but I can't right now. I just wanted to explain why I've been away from the blog for so long.

Happier posts to follow soon, I promise!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Mother pus bucket!

I've finished four weeks of marathon training, and here is what I've learned so far:

During the week, marathon training is awesome. You have "easy" days and cross-training days, and your daily runs aren't too terribly far. You're not too tired, and yet you still get to post things on Facebook about how you're training for a marathon and then get on Pinterest and pin tips about how to carbo-load.

Oh, and I ordered a cute shirt, which I immediately photographed and posted on Facebook. In fact, it is now my profile picture:

In case anyone on Facebook forgot I'm training for a marathon, I can subtly remind them.

Most of my runs during the week are on the treadmill in the air conditioning, and I get to watch DVDs of Blue Bloods. This is the best dang show on television, not because of the writing or acting, but because it has what no other show has: Donnie Wahlberg. In a suit. Running.

Run with me, Karen. Run with me.

So the weekdays are all happy and filled with cute shirts and Donnie running, and then the weekend comes. Then it's time to drag myself out of bed at the crack of dawn and run 12 miles in the heat while trying not to throw up, and suddenly the happy week is gone, and I'm all, "MOTHER PUS BUCKET!"


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Myeloma Mom is back!

My June Myeloma Beacon column is now online! Go check it out here. And if you're a fan of Tim McGraw ... well ... I am sorry.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Thank you, Hazel!

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how great it would be to have a sunbonnet to wear while running. It would keep the sun off of me and the strap would keep it from blowing away. The only issue was finding a sunbonnet made from moisture-wicking material that wouldn't get sweaty.

Imagine my surprise when I opened my mailbox yesterday and found a package from Hazel, a very sweet blog reader from Colorado. I have never met Hazel, but she actually sewed me a sunbonnet made from moisture-wicking material and sent it to me in the mail.

Seriously, how awesome is this?

Laura Ingalls Wilder would have been unstoppable with moisture-wicking fabric!

I decided to get into full running gear and don the bonnet to see how it would look. I'm thinking it looks pretty great.

It's too bad Mary went blind and can't see my fabulous bonnet!

The bonnet is hugely practical. It offers tons of sun protection that you just can't get from a regular hat, and it won't blow away. Still, I'm working up the courage to wear it out running in public. Not because it's not a well-made, attractive bonnet, but because you just don't see other runners wearing bonnets these days. Jay said if I'm not going to wear it running, he's going to wear it to mow the lawn.*

Anyway, receiving the bonnet made my day. Maybe I'm not a world-famous writer, but I doubt that, say, Stephen King ever had anyone send him a custom-made, moisture-wicking sunbonnet. Take that, Stephen King!

*Yes, I will get a photo of that, should that occur.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

I need a respirator 'cause I'm runnin' out of breath ...

I did it! Today is the final day of my 32-day blog-athon! If you are still reading all of my nonsense, thank you for sticking with me. Now, let us all celebrate with a joyful song:

Saturday, June 01, 2013

The ants go marching one by one, hurrah.

The wildlife siege on the House of Pain continues. This time, we have a vast ant colony in our mailbox. It seemed to spring up overnight. Yesterday, WCK and I took the hose and sprayed all of the ants out of the mailbox. I actually felt kind of bad as they washed away in what must have seemed to them a Biblical flood. Still. Build your house in a hole in the ground like normal ants, ants! Our mailbox is entirely inappropriate for your colony.

Today, less than 24 hours later, I opened the mailbox to find the colony had again rebuilt itself overnight, bigger and stronger than before. All 10,000 ants turned to look at me and then flipped me the bird.

Jay suggested we use some poison. It makes me feel a little evil, but, yeah, it needs to be done.

Poison will put them to sleep. Sleeeeeeep. Now they'll sleeeeep.
Shortly after this conversation, we were leaving to go somewhere and WCK yelled to me from the driveway, "MOM, DID YOU PUT THE POISON IN THE MAILBOX YET??"

I bet we get zero trick-or-treaters this year.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Turd grade

Today was the last day of second grade for WCK! She is now officially in third grade! I remember a lot of things about third grade, but the main thing I keep remembering is my cousin Mikey telling me I was in "turd grade." (Mikey was a grade younger, so it wasn't a bullying thing; it was more like a second-grade empowerment thing. I think.) Now that I've remembered this, I cannot stop calling it "turd grade" in my head, and I have to fight myself to keep from saying it out loud. I know if I slip and say it out loud, WCK will not stop talking about "turd grade" until, well, the end of turd third grade.

Must not say turd. Must not say turd. Must not say turd.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Let me guess: Is it a potty?

Every year I volunteer to help with field day at WCK's school. I don't think I'm really cut out for field day, but I try. The past two years I have been stationed out in the blazing sun at the following stations:

Year One: The "Let's All 'Accidentally' Throw Tennis Balls Into the Woods" game.
Year Two: Some kind of relay race involving giant buckets of water. My mind has repressed all other details of this.

This year I was thrilled -- thrilled -- to be stationed in the dry, air-conditioned indoors at the Pictionary station. Yes, Pictionary is now an official field day event. Field day is much more elaborate at WCK's school than it was at my school back in the '80s. I vaguely remember running around a track and perhaps jumping. These days, there are about 1,000* events at an elementary school field day. There could have been a Partridge Family Board Game station somewhere in there for all I know.  I was extremely focused on the Pictionary, so I'm not sure what all of the other events were. I could see a mini-golf station across from me, and I was right in front of the "Dance Party U.S.A." station, which kept playing "Party Rock Anthem" over and over. And over.

Still, I really enjoyed the Pictionary station. It was both frustrating and joyfully hilarious at the same time. The smallest kids didn't seem to understand that the object of the game is to get your team to guess the picture quickly. When their team would guess, they'd get upset because they wanted to finish drawing the picture. And I learned that when boys ask if they can draw a picture that's not listed on the card, they will draw a potty. Every dang time.

*This is possibly not the correct number

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Silly homework

It's the last week of school, so WCK's class is done with "real" homework. Instead, they get "silly homework" every night this week. Last night's silly assignment was this: "Follow a pet around the house for ten minutes, writing down everything they do. If you do not have a pet, politely follow a family member. If Mom or Dad asks you to stop, please stop."

Jay and I had to laugh at the last sentence. I wonder if there were issues with this silly assignment in previous years. "But Mom, my teacher said I had to observe you lying around watching The Bachelor!"

Anyway. WCK was very excited about the pet assignment. Garland was not so excited. Then again, she is 16 years old and doesn't get excited about much these days. Here is the report:

Garland the Cat

Licking her face. Sleeping. Looking at me weirdly. Looking at a tuft of fur. Sleeping. Getting curled up in a ball. Sleeping. Sleeping. Squirms in her sleep. Waking up. Starting to get mad. Looking at me weirdly. Starting to fall asleep. Stretching and yawning. Meowing. Meowing at my dad. Scratching. Looking at me. Itching her ear.

I almost think she embellished this to make it even more exciting, because this sounds a little wild for Garland.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Myeloma Mom

In case you can't get enough Cancer Girl in your life, I'm now the newest columnist at the Myeloma Beacon web site. They publish lots of columns written by myeloma patients (which you should also read), and I finally decided to apply for a spot. Apparently, someone over there believed that I'd write about something somewhat factual instead of posting shirtless Bon Jovi photos, and my first column came out today! It's called "Myeloma Mom". Please go read it and leave me a comment. My column is scheduled to appear on the fourth Tuesday of every month.

Here's the link:

Monday, May 27, 2013

When animals attack

Because we've pretty much run out of major appliances to break down here at the House of Pain, we now face a new foe. Our house is under constant attack by wildlife.

Less than 24 hours after the Snake Encounter, WCK told me she "heard a spider" in her closet. Of course, I hadn't bothered to learn anything from the Snake Encounter, so I thought she was exaggerating. I went into her closet and I immediately heard a very loud, very scary "scratchy scratchy" noise. I would find out in a minute it wasn't really a "scratchy scratchy" noise; it was a "flappy flappy" noise.

Our house has a crawl space that we use for storage. The entrance to the crawl space is in WCK's closet, and it's blocked off by a large piece of wood that's nailed to the wall. I realized the "scratchy/flappy" noise was coming from the crawl space, and then I noticed an angry orange beak sticking out of a crack in the wood.

There was a beak in my house! A beak! If you don't think beaks are scary, you have never seen one pointing at you accusingly from your child's closet.

All I saw was the beak, but I'm pretty sure the rest of the animal looked like this:

WCK and I immediately fled the scene. Fortunately, Jay was home this time, and I told him he needed to get the bird/velociraptor out of the crawl space. Clothed in protective gear (hat, gloves, goggles) and armed with a tennis racket, Jay entered the crawl space and found ... nothing. He then went up to the attic and again found nothing. Either the velociraptor made a quick getaway or it was huddled in the corner, breathing quietly, wearing an invisibility cloak. 

With our luck, I know it has to be the cloak, which is probably also hiding a few dozen hissing cockroaches and bats. Just wait.