Friday, January 30, 2009

So How Productive Have I Been This Week?

Today is the fourth day in a row of no school around here. Yes, you read that right...our only day in session this week was MONDAY.

By now I should have all my weekend chores done so I can sit around and do nothing all day Saturday, then read magazines most of the day Sunday, until the football game comes on.

"should have"

However, I've done quite a bit of ... nothing.

Wait. I washed two loads of laundry.

I cooked dinner...TWICE.

I opened up some boxes of some things that I ordered online a few weeks ago. (haven't gotten them put away yet though)

I even ran the dishwasher a couple of times.

This morning I got a good laugh when Alex tried to move his car and got it stuck in a snowbank next to the driveway. Yes, it's still there. We'll wait on Big Daddy (Ted) to come home and move his truck so that Alex can move his car. My car stays in the garage. Joe moved his car to the garage so all the snow and especially the ice would melt off. I turned the heat in the garage up to 72, so it's melting at a pretty quick pace.

I've played LOTS of games of Spider Solitaire and Bubbles. I've put lots of JigZone puzzles together. I've checked my email approximately every 15 minutes. I've read all about the octuplets and Jessica Simpson's new curves.

But most importantly, I've read a lot of blogs.

So I guess I've been more productive than I thought I was.

Unfortunately it's about time to pay the piper, so I'm off to the laundry room. And the kitchen (it needs a good cleaning). And the half bath off the kitchen (also in need of a good cleaning). And of course I have about 8 shows to watch that I've DVRed. And a few good books to read.

Did I mention that it's snowing outside again? And that there's a chance for another winter blast to come through Monday night?

Joy.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Snow Photos

I braved the elements and went outside to take a few pictures. For those of you in the warm area of the country right now, enjoy our beloved snow.

For those of you getting hit with the same winter storm as we are in east central Ohio, just remember that misery loves company!


Our property butts up against the family farm, and this is a pile of topsoil that was scraped off of the land next to us. Ted's sister and her husband are building a new home there and they scraped this off before they started. In the background is part of one of the farm buildings. I liked how the weeds stuck up through the snow.


This is our charcoal grill. We had freezing rain for at least four hours before it finally turned into snow. I thought that the icicles hanging off the grill looked nice. Of course I wanted to reach out and break them all off, but somehow stopped myself. Maybe I'll go out and do it later on.



This is one of our plants around our back porch. I have no idea what type of plant it is because I rarely commune with nature. All I know is that it looks nice when it's blooming.



Here's another one of those plants that I don't know the name of. I like how the snow just fell right into it. I think it looks COLD.

I like snow...and even cold weather, at times. But when I've had enough, I'VE HAD ENOUGH. We're quickly getting to that point, so I'm trying to imagine myself inside this fenced area, floating in the pool. Yes, there's a pool under all that snow. Somewhere. At least there was in the fall.



When I came back inside, Marina was lying on the counter watching me. Okay, so before we got cats I said that we would NEVER have a cat on the counter or the table. I caved in early on. However, lest you think we're dirty slobs, please know that I clean the table and countertops off on practically an hourly basis and go through several bottles of kitchen cleaner spray a week.

Snow Days 4 and 5

No school yesterday for me or for Alex. Still can't quite figure that one out as far as Alex is concerned, because there was NO new snow. Where I teach had a little bit, so I guess that was what made them cancel. For Alex, he leaves here around 6:40 am so that he can get a parking place. Fortunately he was running a few minutes late because his call came at 6:41. However, about 6:55 am, Ted told him he needed to go turn his car off...he'd been letting it warm up and forgot about it. (And this is the kid that we're sending away to college next year????)

I was somewhat domesticated yesterday...I grilled 3 pounds of boneless skinless chicken breasts on the George, then cut them all up. Yes, I took one of the little cut up pieces and broke it up into tiny bits to feed to the cats. They loved it. Anyway, then I made chocolate chip cookies. I think this is the first time I've made tollhouse cookies since we've lived in this house, so it's been quite a while. They were still warm when Ted got home from work and that made his day. Those are his all time favorite cookies, especially when he eats them with a glass of really cold milk. Then I boiled some penne pasta, added frozen broccoli when it was about half way through the cooking time, drained it, added the chicken I'd grilled earlier, then mixed it with two jars (gasp! not homemade!) of alfredo sauce. It was SO good! I also made garlic bread and a salad and it was a darn good meal for mid-week, hahaha!

We're in the hook of the wild winter storm, but when I got my call that there was no school today at 4:15 am it was not snowing, but raining ice pellets. Right now it's up to 32 degrees and still icing, and it's almost 10:00. Every other district in the county called off last night, but our district decided to wait until every one was in a deep sleep and let the ringing phone scare the crap out of them. We have a phone chain and whenever I call the next person, I'm always extremely careful that I dial the correct number. I can't imagine how irritated someone would be to answer the phone and realize it's a wrong number when it's sometime between 4 and 6 am!

A few areas in our county have already lost power due to the ice. The local news on the radio said that AEP has already called in workers from states not in the line of this winter storm, in anticipation of a lot of customers losing power. I just hope that we're not one.

My mother seems to get concerned about my plans on snow days...I think she's afraid I'll just waste the day. And if the truth were to be told...sometimes I do just lay around and do nothing, but I don't tell her that. I like to let her think that I've used my time off wisely. Let's keep that our little secret, okay?

But today I think I'll evaluate the laundry situation, maybe run the dishwasher, and possibly clean up the den a little. I might even watch some TV shows that I've DVRed.

Or maybe not.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Pizza Night

Saturday evening I called a pizza shop in the town next to ours to order dinner for us.

I placed the order (which varies only slightly from order to order). The guy on other end of the line said, "This is for *******, right?"

The pizza shop knows who we are. This could be because:

  1. they have caller ID
  2. they are clairvoyant
  3. we order pizza wayyyyy too much
I'm going with choice 3.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

A Member of My Medical Team

When I was young, I made the foolish assumption that I would rarely, if ever need a doctor.

Give me a moment while I laugh like crazy.

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!!!

So back in the early 80s, I found out through the school nurse that my blood pressure was always running pretty high and I needed to find a family doctor to monitor that. I finally found one who was taking new patients and saw him about every 3 months or so. Then he retired. I finally got in with another family doctor that I still see today, but I only see him twice a year, unless I get sick in between times (which as a teacher usually happens each October and March).

Of course, I had an OB-GYN, and spent some time with him until I basically released myself from his care, and moved on to another one. I think the world of my current OB-GYN, but don't see him hardly at all anymore because in 2002 he removed all my "female" parts. I did see him quite a bit while I was pregnant with our sons though. He wanted to monitor me closely and he did. I had appointments every 2-3 weeks until the last two months, and then moved up to weekly visits.

And during my hysterectomy, my heart went goofy, skipping beats, so they would not release me until I had a stress test. I have ventricular tachycardia and a mitral valve prolapse issue. Both are pretty mild and are easily taken care of with medication. HOWEVER, I now see a cardiologist once a year, just to check on things.

Then the big "C" hit. The surgeon who took such excellent care of me during my initial surgery and my colostomy take-down surgery is my absolute favorite doctor of all time. I still see him occasionally because he is the one who does my colonoscopies and orders my CT scans.

Of course I also have an oncologist now. I started out seeing him every two weeks, then when I finished chemo, it was once a month, then every two months, every three months, every four months and I am now on the six month visitation schedule, thank goodness. He's a great guy, very knowledgeable in the field of cancer and even has a personality! My sister-in-law Patty also sees him as she had a bout of cancer a year and a half ago (no chemo needed, thank the Lord). He gets a kick out of the fact that we both visit him...although I don't know why he would find that so amusing. We've even had appointments back to back a couple of times. His staff needed a little wake-up call though, when last summer they submitted paperwork to MY insurance company for a PET scan that PATTY was scheduled for! They apologized profusely when I called them and told them that they may have gotten a little confused.

Anyway, this past week I had a visit with my surgeon, Dr. P. This man is just fabulous, in my opinion. A few months after my initial cancer diagnosis and surgery I was having a particularly rough day emotionally and it happened to be the same day I had an appointment with him. We talked a lot that day, and he never once made me feel as though he was rushing me through. He answered all my questions, including the ones pertaining to the mental side of dealing with cancer. We even got into religion a little and how it plays such a part in the healing process. (We belong to the same church, but because there are so many masses, I've never seen him or his family there.) He's asked me about my family and how they were dealing with things, and it turned out that his third child is in Alex's class.

The other day he walked into the room and had this huge grin on his face and said, "Hi CYNTHIA!" He knows I loathe that name and I told him that he does that just because he knows I don't like it. He agreed completely, and started chuckling. He sat down to look at his computer, and commented that I was now three and a half years out (like I didn't have a clue?) and my CT scan results showed that......

I have NO sign of cancer in my abdominal or chest areas, HIP HIP HOORAY!!!!

What a relief! I had no reason to think that there was anything there, but it helps so much to find it out officially.

Then he told me that I am his largest referral base. He said that I've sent quite a few people to him for colonoscopies and they mention that they are there because of me. That made me feel really good. (I should have asked him to put me on the payroll, but I didn't think of it at the time!) I asked him if he'd found anything in any of them, and he said he had, and that he had to have a serious discussion with one woman the next day. I asked if she was a teacher, and he said she was.

In the course of our conversation I asked him when I would stop thinking about having cancer on a daily basis...maybe only think about it once a week or so. He looked at me and told me that he really didn't know, but that I'd been "burned" and we are always more aware of things after that.

Then I told him that I felt that my cancer was a fluke, because I was under 50 and had no family history and basically no symptoms, other than a 5 day stomach ache. I told him to please agree with me, even if my thoughts weren't valid. He said they WERE valid and that he definitely agreed with me. He used another term to describe it, but I don't remember it now.

He told me that we're in the same club now, age wise. I shot him a dirty look because I don't like to think about my age. He laughed at that. But then I told him that I thought he was a little younger than that.

He likes to tease, so I sort of gave it back to him...asking about his youngest child. Dr. P has boy-girl twins that are 21, a son who is 18, and another son who is....get this...THREE. All with the same mother too. Can we say "surprise" when the last one came along? On my last visit to see him he told me that one Sunday he had taken Joey (his youngest) along with him on rounds at the hospital. One patient's family told him that they thought it was so sweet that he was bringing his grandson with him to the hospital, hahaha! I asked if he told them that it was his son, not his grandson, and he said he did, and they were so embarrassed. He got a kick out of that.

He and his family live on a farm, just outside of town. They also raise Christmas trees and this past holiday season he told me they sold 140 trees! I was really surprised by that, as I thought more and more people were going with artificial trees. He said he couldn't figure it out either.

Before we got Pepina, I had mentioned to him that we were thinking about getting a cat and he said he had many on the farm that we could choose from. I asked if any were calicos and he said that they could be, with some spray paint. I passed on the offer and we both laughed.

His twins went away to college, but have both changed colleges and can now live at home while finishing their education. He said, and I quote...they came back. He laughed about that.

In between all this conversation, he examined my incisions and checked for swollen lymph nodes on my neck and armpits, as well as listening to me breathe, etc.

As my appointment finished, he said that I'm doing so well that this time we can go a year in between visits instead of six months.

I just stared at him at first.

He's been one of my "rocks" and I don't know if I can handle that long between visits. He's always made me feel so good mentally and emotionally...

But I agreed.

In two weeks I have an appointment with my oncologist. That should go fine.

In the midst of all the cancer stuff, there were several weeks during which I had three doctor's appointments and just planned my life around them. I'll never forget the first week that I had NO appointments...it was like I had turned a corner. And now that they are so spread out, that's really good.

Except for Dr. P. He's a great man.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Yikes! It's Been Almost a Week!

I didn't realize it had been that long since I last posted. A whole lot of nothing had been going on here...until TODAY!

Today, Alex's dream came true and I'm still trying to deal with it.

Alex received an acceptance letter from his top college choice! He's on Cloud Nine and absolutely THRILLED! I'm extremely happy for him...yes, there's a "but."

This means that he will definitely be leaving home in late August. He will no longer be here on a daily basis. I'm not ready for this. I have approximately seven months to get my act together. I'm really trying not to rain on his parade, but it's so dang HARD.

I'll take any and all advice regarding preparing myself for his inevitable departure. Please.

In other news:

  • no snow days this week; we've used three and only have two more "freebies" available; the first five are forgiven and after that we have to make them up, yuck
  • school is becoming a little bit of a challenge in that the other reading teacher and I are expected to do a lot of "extra" stuff (DIBELs testing, STAR testing, Early Lit testing, etc.) but are given very little time to do it all in; unfortunately most of it involves the kids, so we can't do it after school
  • today it really warmed up and actually got up to 38 degrees! The snow is starting to melt a little now, thank goodness; I'm ready for all of it to melt, and then start over with fresh snow
  • I'm trying to change my way of thinking these days, trying to be more grateful for things in my life, rather than wonder why everything can't be perfect; it's hard to change my mindset, but I'm not going to give up
  • I have about 8 loads of laundry to do this weekend; I'm hoping to start it tomorrow after I get home from school so I'm not stuck with it all weekend long
  • the kitchen really needs cleaned badly; sounds like a Saturday morning chore to me
  • the bathrooms are starting to get nasty too; might be a Saturday afternoon chore
  • I would love to get a cleaning lady again; I had one for several years until I was diagnosed with cancer, but then had to let her go because we needed to trim the budget as I only had about two months of sick days and would not get paid while I was off, beyond that
  • it's time to start planning Alex's graduation party so I'm not pulling my hair out at the last minute

So what's new with all of you?


Friday, January 16, 2009

Another Day Off

This time I got the call last evening, while I was fixing dinner. Then Alex drove us crazy, wondering when the call would come for him. He kept checking different websites for updated school closings, but nothing was showing up for here. FINALLY, two hours later, the phone rang, and the Caller ID showed the school district's phone number. I picked it up, called for Alex to pick it up, and Ted picked up too and even put it on speakerphone (we have way too many phones in this house!).

Sitting in the house right now, looking outside, it's a beautiful morning. White, pristine snow, sunshine reflecting off the snow, a few things gently blowing in the breeze.

HOWEVER...

I have checked several sources online and the temperature is currently 10 DEGREES BELOW ZERO. Factoring in the windchill factor makes it 18 DEGREES BELOW ZERO.

Fortunately, I don't need to go out today, but Joe has a haircut appointment and has to go get his allergy shots. He's young, he'll handle it. However, now I'm wondering if his car will start. Both of the boys' cars sit outside. We have a three car garage, but my vehicle and Ted's work truck are the only ones that are in there. Part of the garage is dedicated to....the riding lawn mower (or as Ted refers to it, the John Deere riding lawn tractor) and all kinds of other "stuff" that men like to let accumulate in their garages. Joe may have to take my TrailBlazer out and he will NOT be happy about that. He prefers his car and his car only. It's not that his car is a fabulous machine or anything, but it's just that it's HIS. Sometimes he really confuses me...

So...I think I'll finish up the laundry from yesterday, fill the dishwasher, and settle in to attack the pile of magazines that have accumulated over the past few months.

Ahhhhh yes...another snow day.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Anatomy of a Snow Day

11:20 pm - Finally go to bed, just having a strong feeling that there will be no school tomorrow, especially since many other districts all around the area have already called off (and wishing that the superintendent would have made the decision then too)

11:25 pm - Falling into a deep, welcoming sleep, after having two nights in a row with very little sleep (lots on my mind, thoughts swirling, and then weird, goofy dreams when I finally DO reach slumber land)

11:25 pm to 5:16 am -DEEP sleep, ahhhhhhhhh

5:16 am - RINGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG at a full 120 decibels or more; I'm in such a deep sleep, that although I know it's the phone, I reach for the alarm clock and hold it to my ear, then can't figure out why it's still ringing. I put down the clock, pick up the phone, and listen to the recorded message from the school district we live in. Alex doesn't have school today.

5:18 am - decide to go to the bathroom since I'm awake; Ted goes to tell Alex that he has no school today.

5:20 am - back under the covers, all snuggly, fall immediately back to sleep

5:22 am - RINGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG again. This time it's someone from my school, telling me that there's no school. We have a phone chain, so I hang up, get out my call sheet, conveniently located in my nightstand, and call the next person. She comments that it took them long enough to call off. I hang up, and go back to sleep easily.

5:37 am - RINGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG yet again. Me: "Who the heck is it now???" (it's too dark to see the caller ID) Another recorded message from the district we live in. I have no idea why they had to tell us yet again. I got it the first time.

5:38 am - I'm thinking that I don't know if I can go back to sleep, and begin to toss and turn.

6:05 am - Give up sleeping for the time being, turn on the laptop

6:05 am to 6:50 am - check email, check our local newspaper website, check weather bug (Ted asked what the temperature was...I told him it was 5), check people.com, play a few games, tell Ted that it's now down to 4 degrees.

6:55 am - fall into a deep sleep

9:00 am - RINGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG My mother..."So, are you enjoying your day off?" Me: "I was...until the phone just woke me up" She apologized.

9:50 am - Hang up and decide to give up on sleep for the day

And now I've just been puttering around doing little stuff. If we have a day off tomorrow, I'm staying in bed all day and reading magazines!

For the record, the temperature continued to go down, but bottomed out at 4 below zero. It's now up to 8 degrees, but with the wind chill, it's -3. It's also very sunny out, which makes it pretty.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Snow

The group of people who pay almost as much attention to winter weather as the meteorologists is....can you guess??

Yes, you're right...TEACHERS.

Some of them take it very seriously. In fact, last year, the two teachers I shared a room with were so on top of the weather that our room was nicknamed "Weather Central," and deservedly so, I might add. They knew what was happening hour by hour (via weatherchannel.com) and would state first thing each Monday morning which days were looking good for a 2 hour delay or even a cancellation.

This year, one of them was transferred to another building (not her choice, because she would never want to leave ME, hahaha! but due to her being low man on the totem pole seniority wise even after 12 years, she had to go to a building whose test scores were lower than low, in the hopes of bringing them up) and now I am left with only one weather guru.

When Kris looks at me, she is really looking behind me, out the window. She's always checking the status of the sky in addition to www.weatherchannel.com. Other teachers stop by and ask her for her professional opinion on what we may or may not get as far as snow or ice is concerned.

Everyone thought we would have a two hour delay this morning because of the cold weather. It was 3 degrees when I got up. However, there was no wind, so the children waiting for the buses did not have to suffer terribly and, alas, we went in on time.

Within a couple of hours of school starting though, it began to snow...and snow...and snow...and it's still snowing. After lunch, several teachers were talking about a few neighboring school districts that would be dismissing at 1:00 due to the snow. Then we heard that our bus drivers were told to be on standby. As we all watched out the windows as the snow was blowing and piling up , we anticipated the announcement declaring we would all be going home shortly.

IT NEVER CAME.

It's hard to keep the kids focused when it's snowing outside. They just want to look out the windows. I usually let them go over to the windows for a few minutes and watch the snow come down. They seem to get it out of their system that way, and then they are ready to go on with the day.

Anyway, it's still snowing, but Alex and I both made it home safely. Joe doesn't start classes until next week, so he's home too. Ted is still working, but should be home in the next hour or so. Hopefully he'll plow out the driveway.

During after school announcements, our principal mentioned that the way the weather looks, there's a chance we won't be in school tomorrow AND with a wind chill of -25 projected for Friday morning (yes, you read that right, MINUS 25), we are likely, at the very least, to have a two hour delay. I brought plenty of stuff home to do, just in case our next day is a scheduled work day on Monday.

One can only hope.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

AC/DC, Alex's Take

Before I get into the concert, I really want to thank all of you who responded to my love/hate relationship with CT scans. It means so much to me that you took the time to give me encouragement. I know it sounds silly to get all worked up over something so simple as this, but I guess it's what it represents that bothers me, in addition to the physical side of the IV stuff. Jen, I've tried those little hand warmers, but the problem is, we never know where to put them. I'd have to have about 20 of them up and down each arm. BUT, the phlebotomist at my oncologist's office can always get a vein in one particular place and she brings me one as soon as I sign in. The only thing is that I'm not supposed to let anyone else use that vein for anything. And Melanie...thank you so much for your comment. It truly means the world to me. The scan went okay yesterday, but I really got sick during the afternoon at school, before I even started drinking the contrast. I think part of it was nerves and apprehension, and part of it was the metrol prep I have to take because I'm allergic to the dye they put into the IV. Anyway, I got through it with minimal discomfort, thank goodness.



Now for the concert!

I thought I would just interview Alex and he could give you his thoughts.

So Alex, what kind of souvenirs did you purchase before the concert?
I got two AC/DC tour t-shirts, an Angus Young school boy tie, light-up devil horns, and a program, for a total cost of $135, but don't tell my mother that. By the way, I spent my own money.


Anything special you want to tell us about the tie?
Well, I don't have the talent of tying a Windsor knot, and asking my aunt, uncle, and cousin proved to be fruitless. But luck was on my side that night as a Cleveland police officer was standing next to the souvenir booth. I approached him and casually asked him, "Can you tie a tie?" He said, "Sure, but I'm left-handed, but I'll give it a shot." I was grateful that he tied the tie, but it wasn't done perfectly...it was rather loose and abstract, but it was okay.

Where were your seats for the concert?
We sat in Row 5, seats 11-14. Facing the stage, this was on the right side of the runway that ran into the middle of the crowd. I was ten seats away from the runway.

My cousin Holly and me.

My Uncle Tim and Aunt Patty.


What did you think of the AC/DC opening?
Beforehand, I knew there was a video about a train. The video was rather exciting and entertaining, depicting the band on a train with two women on board and as Angus began to hit on them, they attempted to punch him. The women tied up Angus in a corner, then they broke the emergency brake, and jumped off the train. As it picked up speed, Angus was able to untie himself, pick up his guitar, hang out the door, and then the video screen split open with sparks and smoke, and a real train came crashing through. I thought it was AWESOME!


video



What was your initial impression of seeing the band you adore for the first time in real life?
The first thing I noticed was how short they all were. I know from all my research that they are not known for their height, seeing that the tallest member is only about 6 feet tall. I also took note of how old they looked. As butterflies were fluttering in my stomach, there was a permanent smile plastered on my face. About 30 seconds into "Rock n Roll Train," their opening song, I noticed that the amount of energy they appeared to have has not lessened over the past several decades. (I've watched DVDs with old footage of them.) I was very impressed with that.

What were the special effects like?
The train had devil horns on the front and I thought that was quite creative. As the train would spit fire, you could feel the heat coming right out into the crowd. During the song "Whole Lotta Rosie," they had, what Brian Johnson (the lead singer) called his "favorite girlfriend," a huge inflatable busty woman.



Their Hell's Bell lowered from the ceiling. Of course I had noticed that when we first got into the arena.

During "Let There Be Rock" Angus played his guitar while walking out the runway to the very end where he stood on a portion of the stage that slowly rose above the crowd. He had a lot of energy up there, as he did his solo on his side, spinning around on his back, like a madman.
For their first encore song "Highway to Hell" a small area on the front of the stage shot up smoke and flames and we could hear Angus playing his guitar. After the smoke cleared, Angus rose up from beneath the stage as if he were rising up out of hell, with his devil horns on.
For their final encore "For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)" they had six cannons, three on each side of the stage. They went off at different times throughout the song and left the place filled with smoke and loud booms.


How was the crowd?
There were over 20,000 people there, most of them in the 40-55 year old age bracket. There were a lot of young people there too and everyone really got into the show. No one around us sat down during the entire show.


What was your favorite thing about the show?
The opening was my favorite, because it built up a lot of anticipation and for me, high blood pressure because I'd been looking forward to this for so long.

Was the concert worth the cost of the ticket?
Indeed!

Was there anything you wanted to see, but they didn't perform?
Yeah, their older songs, both by Bon Scott and Brian Johnson. Maybe they're trying to appeal more to the younger generation by doing their most recent songs.

Did anything about the concert surprise you?
Not really, because I've read all about the concert and seen so many DVDs, and I knew what to expect.

So what's the story about Angus Young and the schoolboy outfit?
In the beginning of their career, all of the members were dressed in different costumes. He chose his schoolboy outfit because his older sister Margaret suggested it since he had dropped out of high school and he was still a little schoolboy to her. He's been wearing it ever since.



When we dropped off my cousin Holly at her place, she just had to put her devil horns on her cat Jasper. He really loved them. Can't you tell?

So there you have it...I know I've talked about this a lot here, but I was so happy for Alex, that he was able to do something that he has wanted to do for several years. And it was something that he was able to share with his cousin, aunt and uncle. There was a four ticket limit, and Ted was "the first alternate" but no one opted out. That's okay though...Alex is very close to Tim, Patty, and Holly, and it's only fitting that he would get to experience something like this with them, if he couldn't experience it with us.


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A Love/Hate Relationship

First of all, tomorrow I will post about Alex and the concert he went to last night. I'm on my laptop and the pictures (some of which turned out really well!) are on the desktop in the den and I'm too comfortable in the bedroom to leave.

(Gee Angie, do you have a quickie lesson on how to improve the ones that are only so-so?)

But this evening my head is swirling with the love/hate relationship I have with CT scans.

Tomorrow afternoon is my annual scan, and as usual, I'm concerned. Although I have no reason to think otherwise, I'm worried that the scan will show that my cancer has returned. Every single day, cancer enters my mind. It's been almost three and a half years since I was diagnosed, and I really thought I'd be over this by now, and only think about it once a week or so, but that hasn't happened.

On one hand, I love the CT scan because it is a wonderful diagnostic tool. It can show if there is anything questionable in my colon, liver, lungs, stomach, and everywhere in between. I'm extremely thankful that technology has made this machine possible. A CT scan is what first detected my tumor in August of 2005. I'm so grateful that it can easily check my body for any kind of "suspicious" spot.

On the other hand, I hate the CT scan because it gets me all worked up ahead of time, always wondering what it will find. I'm also allergic to the dye, and need to take some medication both 12 hours and then again 1-2 hours before the scan. The contrast is yucky to drink. I have to do that two hours before the scan, and I'll still be at school then. And of course there's the matter of the IV. I have awful veins. I've asked the professionals about my lovely veins and they've told me that I have:

  • a poor blood return
  • tiny veins
  • deep veins
  • veins that roll
Each of those things can make starting an IV difficult, but with all four of those things? Let me just say that it's NOT a pleasant experience. The last time I had this done, no one would listen to me when I told them that I needed a warmed blanket to put on my arm to help the veins rise to the surface.

Gee, do you think I might know what helps when it comes to MY veins??? Four different people tried to get the IV in a total of six times. I kept mentioning the warm blanket. Then they went to ask the radiologist if it was absolutely necessary that I have the IV. He said yes. Again, I told them to try the warm blanket. But no, they got a surgical nurse to come in and try, and she finally got in on her second attempt on the back of my right arm.

I was supposed to be back in the CT room for about 20 minutes. It was an hour and a half.

I promise you, tomorrow will be different. If I have to be rude, then I will be. I'm not putting myself through the misery of last year's scan.

So there's my love/hate relationship with CT scans. I really just want to fall asleep and wake up 24 hours from now, when it's all over. Then fall asleep again and wake up in the doctor's office when I get the results.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Alex's Night

You may recall back in early October that I wrote about Alex's dream.

Tonight's the night! I'm so excited for him.

Alex, Aunt Patty, Uncle Tim, and his cousin Holly have been working on "the plan" for almost THREE months now, and today they have been able to put it into place.

Alex was going to leave school at lunch today, go to the bank (t-shirts are $50 and Devil Horns are $15), come home and get something to eat, then go over to AP and UT's. (They live behind us.)

AP was working until 2:00, then coming home.

UT was working until a little after noon, then coming home.

They were planning on leaving at 2:00, driving to a suburb of Cleveland to pick up Holly at her apartment after she got home from work, eating at a nearby restaurant, then arriving at the "Q," otherwise known as Quicken Loans Arena.

I spoke to Alex around noon and he was trying to be patient, but when you're 18, about to see the band you are a HUGE fan of, and have had this date circled on your calendar for three months, patience isn't an easy thing to attain!

He bought two extra memory cards for my digital camera (yes, I gave him permission to use it) and is taking two sets of extra batteries. With fifth row seats, he should be able to get some great shots.

Unfortunately we won't see them until after school tomorrow, because I'm NOT getting up at 1:00 in the morning, when he gets home, and he'll be heading straight to bed because....

he has to go to school in the morning. I was going to tell him that he could go in at lunch because I knew he'd be tired, but he commented that he hates to miss school because it's so hard to get caught up. What an attitude!

Ironically, Ted went to his first concert on a January night of his senior year in high school. It was over an hour away, and it began to snow while they were inside. They dealt with slippery roads and blinding snow on their way home, but eventually made it safely, in the wee hours of the morning. The other guys that went with him showed up for school the next morning, but Ted's mom let him stay home and sleep.

Fortunately, there is no snow in the forecast for tonight, but in northeast Ohio, you just never know.

I just want him to have a great time!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Note To Anonymous Commenter

On New Year's Eve we went to the old Basetti's Restaurant. I think you'll know which restaurant I'm referring to by that. We saw Mark and Debbie, along with Sugar Bear and MaryBeth while we were waiting. They were leaving. Mark said that their reservation was for 5:30, and by this time it was about 7:45! It was SO crowded that we didn't get a chance to do more than quick hugs and a Happy New Year wish.

So not only did you have to work on Christmas Day, but on New Year's Eve too...poor thing, but that's part of having a job in your field. My parents both worked many holidays, so I'm a little familiar with that. Anyway, I know you're counting down the days until retirement! Can't wait to see both of you in July!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Just a Few Days Late

New Year's Eve was nice.


We went out for dinner with Ted's brother and sister in law:


his sister and brother in law:


and our sons:

(who were absolutely thrilled that I got the camera out, as you can see).

The other cousins had other plans for the evening, so there were only 8 of us.

Around Thanksgiving time we made reservations at a fairly nice nearby restaurant. They couldn't get us in until 7:15 pm.

The lobby was packed, and I do mean PACKED. We saw several people that we knew, either coming in or going out. Do you know how hard it is to give someone a hug and wish them a Happy New Year when it's wall-to-wall people?

We were finally seated around 8:00 pm.

Our waiter was very good. That helps a lot.

A few of us just had water to drink, so we asked the waiter if he could bring us a pitcher and leave it at the table. He said that would help him out in addition to us.

I ordered an appetizer called fried pasta. It's very good. There's pasta and mozzarella cheese, made into a small cube (okay, a rectangular prism for those of you who teach math), then covered with Japanese bread crumbs (I have absolutely NO idea what that is, but it sounds good), then deep fried. It's served with a marinara sauce. YUMMY!

The salad was good. It always is at that restaurant. The italian bread was good too. However, they do not serve butter, but rather a "spread" of some type. Excuse me, I prefer butter.

The Boston strip steak was pretty good. It wasn't fantastic, but it was okay. It's a thicker cut than the New York strip. The baked potato didn't have a lot of flavor and I really didn't like the idea of the flavor of "spread" on it, so I asked the waiter if they had butter. He thought they did, and found some in the back and brought it out. That scored him a few extra bucks in the tip department.

I ate about half of the potato though...I was full by that point.

All in all, the meal was about a 6 out of a possible 10. I think we may go somewhere else next year.

After we came home, the boys and Ted went over to his brother's house for a while. I was continuing my quest to upload all my photos to photobucket. I didn't realize how many I had!

I went to the bedroom and sat in the recliner to read shortly after midnight, and the guys came home a few minutes later.

For the most part it was a quiet night...and that was fine with me.

I hope yours was happy and safe!