Thursday, January 25, 2007

An Idiom and an Inaccuracy

January 25, 2009

I think I am getting the hang of Blogspot, although I have not completed all the link repairs yet. Along with getting a new web space, I used the unexpected weather closings to buy a new computer (which arrived yesterday) and to hire a new internet service provider with the oh-so-much-more-convenient cable modem option. Here is an example of my newly developing skills: Erin doing her best imitation of Alfalfa from Our Gang. In fact, (with apologies to those of you reading on dial up) I have sprinkled a few more photos in some of my earlier posts this month.

January has blipped by quicker than I could adequately capture it on the web. Erin's first soccer tournament is coming up on the 3rd of February, so practices started week before last. Choir and bells have geared back up, and horse back riding will resume as soon as the ground firms up, probably next week. Erin was glad to put it off another week, since it freed up time on Tuesday afternoon to whoop it up at Jackson's 10th birthday party! Today was the fourth grade field trip to Huntsville and the Sam Houston State Park and Museum. All I have heard about it was that she made cornbread. It tasted good. And no, she didn't save any for me.

For the last year or more, Erin has given up the "children's" tapes and CDs that had been the staple in our car life for years: Raffi, Sharon, Lois and Bram, and the other musicians who sing those impossible-to-get-out-of-your-head-but-too-silly-to-sing-in-public songs. Instead we listen to grown-up music--some folk, some rock, some Beatles--but mainly just stuff from the mom library. Last weekend Erin had the idea that we needed to listen through some of her old stuff to see whether it would suit cousin Emma's tastes so we could pass them along.

So we were driving around town, singing "Ten in the Bed and the Little One Said, Roll Over" and "Everybody's Happy, Well I Should Say" happy as clams. I eyed Erin in my rear view mirror and delighted in watching her bright eyes and shining smile as she sang along, surprising herself that she remembered all the lyrics so easily. After a while the traffic picked up and our pace slowed. And finally, after stopping for a train, crawling behind an overloaded semi for a mile or more, and finding myself stopping for yet another traffic signal, I said to the air, "We're catching all the lights this afternoon."

Erin paused mid verse, considered for a moment, then said, "That's an idiom and an inaccuracy."

To which I glugged "Huh?"

Erin went on: "You didn't actually 'catch' a light. It just turned red, so you had to stop. That makes it an idiom. It's an inaccuracy because we didn't stop at every light."

To which a glugged "Huh?"

What I meant was "Why are we having this conversation? Shouldn't I be the one teaching you the definition of idiom? Where did all this come from?" But before I could actually get the words to form, she was back on task, belting out "Jack Was Every Inch a Sailor, Five and Twenty Years a Whaler."

Healthwise, Erin is mostly on track. Her bowels flare up every once in a while, but it has ceased serving as a common topic of conversation in the household. Last weekend her cough had worsened enough that I actually stopped by the pediatrician's office after I picked her up from the sleepover to have the on-call doc take a listen. He didn't hear anything suspicious, so I chalked it up to one more little viral thingy picked up from the germhaus.

Walter and I are driving down to Houston tomorrow. Can you believe it? Erin doesn't have an appointment. Davis isn't on the itinerary. We going to a dinner and providing a little consultation. Mostly, we are taking advantage of the romance package at the Marriott Renaissance--think champagne, strawberries, and breakfast in bed.

With a swimming party on tap for Saturday and a grandmother set to do sitting duty, I have a sneaking suspicion that no one (meaning Erin) will even notice that we're gone.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Don't Lean In

January 20, 2009

Sometimes I feel like Doris Day. Not the perky, chipper Doris Day who always figured out how to do her job and snare Rock Hudson, while looking stylish. No, I am the Doris Day in Please Don't Eat the Daisies who had to actually think of all the ways her children might misbehave (before they actually did) and warn them NOT to do whatever it was. Left to their own devises, they would eat the daisies in the table decoration before guests arrived because no one told them not to.

Now, I am not about to go on a rant about Erin, who though not a perfect child, is certainly one who can recognize in advance something that might get her into trouble, even if she had had no warning. No, once again I'm on a tear about Willie.

I guess I should have said,

"Willie, don't eat your father's exercise mat."
"Willie, don't eat your father's gloves."
"Willie, don't pull photo albums off the shelf and eat their covers."

and most recently,

"Willie, don't eat that African giraffe mask I bought your father for Christmas."

not to mention,

"Willie, don't eat the puzzle piece that says 'Davis Mountains' on it."--Davis thought this was a tribute to him and a sure sign that Willie's misbehavior was due to his absence and Willie's loneliness.

So, other than walking Willie around and around the lake in this nasty weather, attempting to tire him out enough so that we could leave him alone for a couple of hours each day and not come back to further destruction, we haven't done much. I have been surprised at how long Erin's hyperactive bowels have continued to, well, act hyperactively. Things have resolved to the point that she is in the bathroom only a couple of times a day, and most of the problem has been converted into gas. This is not necessarily the solution sought by most socially-active nine year old girls.

I think the cold and icy weather this week has put us all together a bit too much. With soccer and horse back riding both put on hold this week, we have found quieter, more indoorsy pursuits. Erin spent most of the day on Martin Luther King Day working on a project about French Texans for school. What? You didn't know there were French Texans? There were at least as many French Texans, apparently, as there were Greek Texans and Norwegian Texans, which were topics assigned to a couple of Erin's buddies. Here's a shot of Erin with Jackson, Aaron, Noah, and Jesse who all received awards at the academic assembly. Erin's was for Texas History.

We also put the finishing touches on a 1000 piece puzzle of the State of Texas (thank you Marsha, we loved it!), less of course, the piece depicting the Davis Mountains. One morning as we sat hunched over the puzzle, all three dogs lying calmly at our feet, Erin muttered something. I didn't hear her clearly, and thought maybe she was hoarding the piece I was looking for, so I bent towards her, and she said, much more loudly and distinctly, "Mommm. I said, DON'T LEAN IN." This further convinced me that she had the piece I needed, so I leaned in even more. At that point I discovered, through olfactory evidence what she meant. So, if you are ever by a cute red head who hisses, "Don't lean in," my advise is to heed the warning.

On the cancer, as opposed to the bathroom, medical front, blood counts went well this week. Everything was normal but her hemoglobin, which was just a hair shy of normal. We have been excused from the mid-month Bun/Creatinine test next week because of boringly normal levels the previous three draws. With that news in hand yesterday afternoon, Erin bounced happily to a birthday sleepover at Samantha's house where all kinds of quilting and sewing projects kept everyone busy until late night.

This gave Walter and I a chance to dine out for his birthday without worrying about finding and paying a sitter, AND to sleep in this morning without having to jump up and administer the 6:00 chemo. Erin's a bit tired this afternoon, but mostly just biding the time until 7:00 when Nico will arrive back from his week-long trip to Florida.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Lost in Space

January 17, 2007

Wow! Talk about a surreal experience. I have been lost in cyberspace for a week. That's right. I was just walking down the road last Thursday, minding my own business, updating Erin's website and fielding congratulatory e-mails from Erin fans thrilled by the news of stable scans, when oops, gravity lost hold, and I floated off into a black hole. Actually, it was probably a worm hole since I ended up at a different URL. Anyway, unlike Major Tom, ground control rescued me, and I'm not permanently lost. The company that hosted Erin's web page went out of business and did not make accommodations to handle customers like me who only used the free personal space. I am trying to piece things back together.

For now, I have managed to get this update posted, and I am working on ways to get all the familiar screen links, including the archive page back up and at 'em.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Same Old, Same Old


Erin had stable scans again yesterday and has signed up for three more months of the same old, same old. For those of you keeping count, that would be rounds 14, 15, and 16 of oral etoposide along with the recently added celebrex chaser. Also for those of you keeping track, this marks 22 months since relapse of wonderful, fun-filled life.

I have let out a long woooooohoooooo and relaxed my white-knuckle grip on the world around me. I can never really tell how wound up I get before scans until after I get results. If I have insulted, ignored, or pestered you lately, please accept my apology. If I haven't, it wasn't for lacking of trying.

Our day went well yesterday, all things considered. We didn't wreck going to or from Houston. We didn't get mugged. A tiger didn't eat us. We did have the usually fits and starts, crappy little (and large) delays, and so on. BUT, we also encountered people trying their hardest to get things right, trying to help ease our day along, and generally keeping their sense of humor in the faces of obstacles and burdens. We tried to do the same.

We managed to see Davis and a couple of his buddies for dinner before heading home last night. Things are off to a rolicking start at Rice U., and I guess the only surprising thing about the evening was how much food the guys socked away, knowing that they were heading for soccer practice pretty much as soon as they left the table. I do have some newsy bits about the last week to share and will do that when I update the Davis Report and add some photos to the site tomorrow. In the meantime, I actually need to get ready to start the semester next week.

Thanks for your faithful support. It means so much to us all that we don't walk this path alone.

Thursday, January 4, 2007

A Setting on the Washing Machine


Normal--a setting on the washing machine. See also: college students sleeping until noon; school-aged children complaining about bedtime on a school night; young dogs misbehaving when they don't get enough exercise.

Erin is finally feeling a bit more like her old self after feeling poorly for so long. She is still not 100%, but she her appetite has returned. She has not run fevers and with one or two exceptions is not complaining of aches and pains. Her tummy and digestion has not returned to normal yet. She still has loose stools and (she would kill me if she read this) stinky gas. She had leg cramps this morning. I hope that is not a warning that her potassium has slipped again (when we finally got it measured last Thursday it had returned to high normal, and everything else was fine, too). Counts yesterday were lacklustre, but not really worrisome.

We did manage to extend Christmas into the new year. All the Dallas-area aunts and cousins made it to town, and we had quite a lot of fun with them. I think Davis and Walter are always slightly overwhelmed by so many women/girls milling around. The big hit of Christmas has been the sling monkeys that came in the Christmas stockings. Surely, I don't have to explain what a sling monkey is, but for the untutored: Imagine a small, stuffed, superhero monkey, wearing a black cape and a mask over its eyes. Inside the fur of its arms is strong surgical tubing. If you put your fingers in its hand pockets and pull back on its tail, it can FLY. . . very far. When it lands, it lets out two very loud monkey screams. Click here, if you don't believe me. Only your imagination can limit the possible uses for a sling monkey.

Saturday Erin had close to a dozen friends over to play. The occasion? Davis's Christmas gift to her was to make silk screen t-shirts for her whole PPR club (they are a club, not a gang). The kids played in the very rain-filled ravine behind the dam, while Davis and I created shirts. We were all tired and dirty by the end of the day. Who was tireder? Who was dirtier? The bet's on me.

New Year's Eve we witnessed the battle of the neighboring tribes, who must have spent thousands of dollars on professional grade fireworks to light up the night sky and welcome in the new year. The first Black Cats started popping around 6:00, and there were not many moments from then on void of action in the skies over Leisure Lake. At one point, I saw a dad sprinting towards his car, his first grade daughter calling after him "Buy LOTS daddy so we can beat them!" A couple of other fireworks bugs gained uncountable style points by taking their jon boat out and shooting a sequence of aerial rockets from the water along the dam (at the time I questioned the use of matches and punks, with residual sparks and embers, in a small gasoline-powered water craft, but luckily, no one was blown to smithereens.).

Erin had the great fortune of spending New Years night with Ayesha in their wonderful new home in Round Rock. Any of you experiencing normal winter weather may be jealous of the amount of time the two girls got to spend in the heated indoor pool that overlooks the deer grazing by along the trail by Brushy Creek. And you should be. It's difficult to imagine a more perfect way to spend the first day of the year. . .and the second.

Another highlight of the past week has been the daily e-mail correspondence between Erin and Chet Edwards. Chet had to go on complete voice rest (no talking or even laughing) until two weeks after his scheduled January 15th surgery. Erin vowed to email him everyday until he could talk again, so that he would know that at least one person was thinking about him. She explained to him that it takes a lot of help to get through tough things. I think that is a lesson she has learned from all of you Erin Fans. Surprisingly, he has also been quite faithful in writing back. I'll ask Erin for her permission to share some of her missives.

I guess that's it for the update. Everything around here is getting back to normal. Erin started back at school yesterday. Davis will head back to Rice tomorrow or Saturday. Walter flew for Atlanta out this morning to a gathering of historians. I'm updating the website instead of doing chores.

Next Wednesday Erin will have quarterly scans. Please lift us up and focus on stable or improved disease. We'd really love it if the etoposide has continued to work and if the Celebrex has chipped away a little more on the tumors.