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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The More Things Change... likely know the rest.

A Cancer (and flu) Post™

Laston does not have flu; let me very clear, and reassure you all on that point at the start of this post.

His wife does, though.

As I had my flu shot (I'm asthmatic, and Laston's on chemo. Hence, flu shot is pretty much a given), it's likely lighter than it would otherwise be.

Still miserable though.

Not so miserable that I can't find humor in the situation. When the doctor says, "If you can't afford Tamiflu, just treat the symptoms," and my first thought is do I look that badly off financially? (which I am, but I didn't think I looked it particularly), only to find out that Tamiflu, for which there is no generic equivalent, costs $112.25.

With my very decent medical insurance.

No wonder she said it. It had nothing to do with me, and everything to do with the American healthcare "system" (quotes intentional).

See, stays the same.

So treat the symptoms it is. I took today off work, and Thursday and Friday are my regular days off. Aside from laundry, I can rest. Fluids? Check. Pain relievers? Check.

Other, more minor but very irritating things also stay the same. For instance, cancer or not, Laston has never learned to replace the toilet paper roll. Lizzy doesn't seem to grok that achy-body mama really doesn't want to be cuddled. Abby will do chores when asked, but there is a lot of eye rolling and sighing.

It's kind of reassuring, in a way.

Friday, February 5, 2016

The Gift Economy

Remember this post, when I said we really need a new couch?

Well, we got one. And we didn't have to pay thousands of dollars at Bothell Furniture, or even hundreds at Ikea (plus all the swearing involved in assembling such things).

Instead, we got this lovely four-butt, one-chaise sofa, complete with rolling storage ottoman and a few pillows thrown in for good measure.

For the price of the gas it took us to pick it up.

At today's gas prices, that's a real steal.

This is all something that came to us via the Buy Nothing Project. It's like freecycle, but more... specifically neighborhood based, rather than Free Craigslist, which is what freecycle always seemed like to me. Basically, if you have something to give/lend, you post it in your neighborhood's group. If you have something you need, you post ditto.

I live in an area that could be any one of three neighborhood groups, one of which I also work in, so I chose that one. The rules say you only belong to one, and you also don't share your sob stories in an effort to get picked as the recipient of a given item (most givers, if there are multiple potential recipients, have a child choose, or a random choice via names drawn from a hat or suchlike).

This is an alternative to selling on craigslist or ebay, or  giving to Goodwill or something. This way you know it gets used by your neighbors. And you get neat posts like this one, where the youngest child in the house says things like, "This couch is the Best Couch Ever and I don't know why anyone would give it away. And so many bonuses, like the dragonfly pillow and this HUGE FOOTSTOOL."

It doesn't get a lot better than that.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Day After (Not That Kind)

A Cancer Post™. Also a Troperiffic Post™.

This is not a scary, post-apocalyptic Day After.

Although that sort of thing is very popular around here; After The Hunger Games, dystopian After The End stories are all the rage in the teen set (and I've always rather liked them too, as long as they didn't seem too plausible. There is that Volcano Day issue I have after all).

Anyway, back to the topic at hand.

You will be pleased to note that Laston's Avastin  (it rhymes!) did not make him nearly as ill as it did last time, two weeks ago. This time he had preemptive ginger ale and crackers, which might have helped. And he also knew what to expect. It does, however, explain the cough and the raspy voice getting worse. And here we thought he had a cold or seasonal allergies (which he may well also have, but Avastin is a common culprit in such things).

I now understand both FMLA and what my employer calls Me Time much better than I did. Thanks, managerial and human-resourcey folks. Appreciate it.

Abby has great grades, two Bs and a slew of As. We haven't actually received her report card yet, but at junior high and above, we can log into the grading web site and see the grades; the dates indicate that they are end-of-semester grades. She wins a sleepover during midwinter break. I'll be home for part of it and it's Not a Chemo Week™, so it's doable.

Once in a while.

No idea on the other kids' grades, but Lizzy earned a special honor at the end-of-quarter assembly at the elementary school; she got an award for Accountability. They do different character traits during the year; in past years, Lizzy was usually Accountability and Perseverance, and Abby was pretty consistent with Empathy and Service. Thus are the two children who live here, nutshelled.

It's still cookie season, so drop us a line!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Of Classrooms and Cookies

Not a Cancer Post™

No, this is (mostly) a post about Lizzy.

Today we had Reader's Theater (essentially a short play on-book; they have their scripts in hand) in her classroom; she played a girl called Lizzie (sic; she cannot deal with the different spelling, and gives little screams of laughter every time she has to write it down) in a short story called Grandpa for Sale.

Lizzy (as Lizzie) is even bigger of a ham than usual. She asked her teacher if she could do "a British accent," and actually did a passable job of it (if a bit questionable as to region), certainly better than some professional actors I could name. I guess she's been paying attention to Who and to my nightly readings of first both Alice books and now The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. And when she started the accent, her classmate who played opposite her felt she had to do it too.

There was also Lizzy's friend S (in a different play), who seems to be a born stage manager, as she seemed to know her own lines and everyone else's.

And a neighbor boy, C, whose mother came to see him perform in spite of having had a baby three days ago. She is a stronger woman than I.

Speaking of theater, Abby auditioned for another one tonight; she's trying for a part in Studio East's upcoming production of Little Shop of Horrors. This is the first time she's been one of the youngest auditioning (minimum age 13) instead of somewhere in the middle of the age range, and as her voice is not all that mature yet, well... we shall see.

She is also doing Cadette Journey with her Girl Scout Troop. I am sorry to report that her troop is not selling cookies this year.

But Lizzy's is, and Abby's willingly relegating all sales she would otherwise have gotten to her sister. We will work out rewards and who gets what (and if they earn that pink fedora and they both desperately want it, we can always see if there is an extra on ebay or something when the time comes).

So, all ye who would like some cookies, please feel free to give me a shout at my email if we won't be seeing you for the next week or two. Dear workmates, I'll bring in the order forms. Laston's once-and-hopefully-future workmates, ping me and we'll work something out.

Now off to bed; tomorrow's gonna be a doozy; I'm sure half the east coast - including our call centers - is buried under a couple feet of snow. It'll keep us busy...

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Days Off, They Call 'Em

They're not, and this one is more than most.

Not if one is "adulting," as the latest internet memes call it. I kind of like "adult" as a verb, actually. It's sort of all-encompassing.

Take today, for example. Laston - he's on the doesn't-feel-too-crappy upswing of his treatment cycle (and BTW, this is Not a Cancer Post™) - has done some writing, tidied up a bit, grocery shopped, and paid some bills. Given his energy levels, this is an impressive list of things (especially the groceries) for a couple of hours in the morning; just because he feels less like crap than - say - a week ago doesn't mean he feels well. Just less bad than usual.

I, on the other hand, am well. I got the kids off to school, took a short nap, did a load of laundry, a load of dishes, put dinner in the slow cooker (more on that later), changed the sheets, and made a big pot of gypsy tea. Now I can hang out and relax between laundry loads, maybe (re)play a little Final Fantasy 7, read, like that.

Note: the term "gypsy tea" is used with respect rather than contempt; the idea is one of inventiveness in using whatever one has handy, rather than of pity for not having much on  hand. Someone called me out on the term last week and I wanted to make that clear. In this case, it's black tea plus raw sugar plus a peach-apricot tea I got at a local tea shoppe.


So, dinner in the slow cooker: part of the reason Laston is out doing some grocery shopping is that we were running low of things I often use, like Campbell's Golden Mushroom soup. And eggs, which we were low on because the last batch from had some that were broken upon arrival (they're really good about this; even though over half the eggs were fine, they refunded the price of the entire delivery. I loves them).

Anyway, using what we already had on hand, I have the following in the slow cooker: three chicken breasts, a bag of mixed veggies (without lima beans, thank you very much), and a bottle of Soy Vay Garlic Hoisin Sauce and Marinade. I'm serving over pasta. If this means that Lizzy eats pasta and veggies, and Abby eats pasta and chicken, so be it; I'm tired of cooking to accommodate their picky little selves. I mean, I'll still do some; if I'm making sandwiches I'll make them each their own favorite, and I'm certainly not going to force them to eat things like red meat (for Leanna) or allergenic nuts (for Abby). But I'm not saying if-not-this-then-that anymore.

Oh, BTW - any of you who are my workmates, I changed computers and my internal IM contacts didn't transfer. Q me, would you, so I can rebuild my contacts list? Thanks.

Abby and I are starting Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Except that tonight we're watching Clueless again; she is using an excerpt for her audition tomorrow. We are adjusting for language though; this is children's theater, after all. We loves Studio East too.

This has turned into a Random Thoughts Post, hasn't it?

Thursday, January 14, 2016


David Bowie, Alan Rickman... the other 69-year-old male British entertainer is Tim Curry. Take care, Mr. Curry.

The spurt of energy Laston gets on the day after his chemo treatment can be very useful. My kitchen is pretty clean right now, even down to the floor.

I love it when a throw-it-together in the kitchen does an A-Team. I used 3 lbs of chicken breast, six cups of water, a cup of barley, a packet of Just Juice marinade, and a can of mushrooms (and a slow cooker) and now we have some pretty good stew. Needs salt (unlike anything else I have ever cooked, ever).

I in no way endorse nearly anything Carly Fiorina has to say. Except that this morning, I heard an interview with her on NPR where she opined that "Donald Trump is the Kim Kardashian of American politics." I think that's pretty accurate; it's like he's the reality TV candidate, the train-wreck we can't stop watching. So yes, I agree with Fiorina on something. Mark the date.

Arg - another evening of Lizzy Has to do Word Work. She doesn't need help as much as she needs a traffic cop; it's all redirect-redirect-redirect.

Maybe the older girls and I will watch Galaxy Quest this weekend in honor of Alan Rickman. They're too young for Die Hard, and I don't want the darkness of either Harry Potter or Robin Hood Prince of Thieves.

The pregnancy parallels get more and more frequent. Laston is craving - of all things - Jell-O parfaits, and his doctor prescribed him a drug intended for morning sickness. Yes, we know about marijuana, and no, ginger ale is working fine for now.

I went to my jury duty this morning. I watched the How to be a Good Citizen video, read the pamphlet, and made desultory conversation  with my fellow potential jurors for two hours (and read a book; good thing I had been warned). Then they dismissed all of us because they didn't need us today. This is apparently not uncommon. I have to call again tonight after five to see if they may need me tomorrow.

That's all I've got at the moment.