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Saturday, April 30, 2016

And the Winner Is...

...my dad.

Along with five other people, actually.

I mean, I knew he was on the boards of many an engineering and/or performing arts organization here in the Seattle area. I just didn't realize he was that big a deal. He's... well, he's Dad, you know?

Laston, Dad, and Me
But last night was the 31st Alumni Awards for Seattle University (home of the Redhawks!): it's a private Jesuit university, and my father was instrumental in implementing a connection between the school and major corporations (like Boeing, where he worked for a gazillion years) back in the late 1990s. He also took their executive program himself, graduating in 2000, when he was in his mid-sixties.

And given that, and all the things he does around the community (with the Museum of Flight, the Young Eagles, and a vast assortment of other organizations; he says he flunked retirement and I believe it), he was honored with an award last night, in a very touching ceremony complete with videos, along with those five other people, all for various accomplishments in and around the community, the city, and the world.

They're an impressive bunch, and the program was amazing.

And food (Salmon=yum!). And the venue (Four Seasons Hotel).

And hey, Laston managed the entire evening, although he's tired out today. I count that was a win, too.


Sunday, April 24, 2016

Yer a Wizard

We finished reading the first book last week, and now Lizzy and Abby and I (and Laston, sort of) are watching Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Yes, the American versions, with Sorcerer in place of Philosopher, but I do try to do the voices, which Lizzy appreciates.

I have discussed previously that Abby is a Hufflepuff. They're the House of all the sort of socially sweet things, like kindness and diligence. She's the child who always got rewards for Empathy and Service in elementary school. If Hufflepuff has a drama department, she'd be in it. Or maybe she'd grow up to take over for one of the Weird Sisters.

Lizzy, on the other hand, is almost certainly a Ravenclaw. She would make an excellent Ravenclaw Chaser, and would likely be very good at Potions (if Snape didn't intimidate her overmuch) because Potions is the closest Hogwarts comes to a science class. She would also likely be the one losing House points for letting pixies loose in History of Magic class.

By Merlin's beard, but the actors were cute when they were just babies.

Abby and I are having lots of fun playing "Name that Who Actor" as we watch.

We're doing this early in the evening, because the imagery might be a bit much for Little Miz Liz to tolerate too close to bedtime; she shows up meek in odd places.

And after she goes to bed, Abby and I will watch more Stargate SG-1. We're really enjoying watching it together, not least because it allows us (as does Uncle Vernon's behavior toward Harry's Hogwarts Letter) to discuss such topics as Trying to Destroy That Which One Does Not Understand Because of Fear.

This leads to more interesting discussions along the same lines, with more up-to-date topics, such as terrorism and anti-LGBT legislation.

People fear what does not fit their worldview.

And fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.

That, my friends, is the path to the Dark Side.

And if I choose to impart these lessons through fantasy fiction, be it books, movies, or TV shows, well...

My kids grok it.

And it may make more accepting human beings of them.


Friday, April 22, 2016

The Little Things

I don't post as often as I used to, partly because I just don't open my computer as much.

And writing a blog on a phone - even one with the same set of Googly Bits as this blog - is a pain in the neck, sometimes literally.

But I can do everything else on my phone(s).

You see, I have my personal device, which is a Windows Phone. Many people don't care for the Windows OS on a touchscreen device, but honestly, that's where I prefer it; I like it on the phone (and my mom's Surface) far, far better than on a laptop. Windows 10, I mean; my laptop is still on Windows 7, and I like it that way.

The main failing of the Windows Phone is the dearth of apps for it.

However, because I have both Android and Apple devices as sort of loaner phones from work, this is OK. I can use anything on them, as long as I don't go over x GB of data a month, and I don't do anything NSFW at work or illegal on them at any time.

I love this perk of my job.

So yeah, little things are doing fine. Even the Big Thing That Looms™ is doing okay, although the side effects still suck. But at least the man can write again; even if he gets the occasional inexplicable low-grade fever and mild dizziness when standing (along with the upset stomach and the rash), he is at least considerably more coherent than he was on FOLFORI.

This is a Good Thing.

And not so little after all.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

New Normal, New Again

The FOLFOX works a lot better. Less stomach upset, less killer fatigue, more energy. Most importantly, it's working; the first session took the Bad Numbers down by almost 100 points, which is a Good Thing. The zits he can live with (and has medication for anyway). The potential for neuropathy can be minimized by using gloves to do things like cracking eggs and avoiding cold food and drink. Schedule still sucks, but hey, at least he feels less like crap while he's getting better.

He's definitely employable if you can work around the chemo schedule or give him a good, legit work-from-home job.

As far as New Normal goes, things are, well, almost normal. Take this upcoming week, for instance:

Please, take it.

Today was my day off, but I had to go in for a couple of hours because of time missed earlier this week. I came home, loaded and ran the dishwasher, ran a load of laundry, ate lunch (more on Weight Watchers and FitBit later), and boiled eggs for next week. Then I placed a grocery order on safeway.com, retrieved Abby and our friend/neighbor Y from the school bus (by car), approved a sleepover for late next week (spring break), and went to pick up Lizzy from her school bus stop (on foot, with sunglasses, FitBit, and Laston's cane because a) I need the exercise/steps, and b) I hurt my ankle - not sure how - yesterday).

It's 81F out there today in Seattle, folks. This is not normal.

Tomorrow I have what amounts to an actual day off (insofar as parents get these), as my only tasks are a Weight Watchers meeting (normally ('normally," she says, as though two weeks thus far is already a pattern...) I go Thursdays but I worked today during WW hours), laundry for next week, and making dinner for kids. Saturday and Sunday I work, and Sunday I help the kids pack for...

Monday I work, but the kids are on Spring Break, and Grandma is taking them for a couple of nights.
Monday about lunchtime she comes to get them and they spend the next two days with her and their little cousin. Wednesday they all go with Lizzy to a Girl Scout event at Build-a-Bear, and come home later that evening.

Thursday I have off again, and after Weight Watchers we clean house like mad people for a sleepover, then Friday morning Lizzy and I go to another Girl Scout thing; this one is to deliver donated cookies to the Washington State Patrol.

Whew!

Sounds exhausting.

Also sounds, well, normal.

What? The WW and the FitBit? Yeah, well... I've gained weight (stress-eating, I suspect, mostly) since Laston got sick. And screw it; as I said in that same link up there at the top, I need this.

Friday, April 1, 2016

This Week I Learned...

...that I am not ready (and neither is she) to read Lizzy The Last Battle. We can leave Armageddon-analogy for another day year, just as we did the more adult (mid-Season Four and on) episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer for Abby. Lizzy and I are going to start the first Harry Potter book tonight instead.

...that apparently a FitBit on one's wrist does not read the steps one takes while using that hand to hold onto the grocery cart. I was all over that damn store, and got a measly 800 or so steps out of it? I think not.

...that losing any weight at all during a big eating-holiday like Easter is to be celebrated, as it is most probably a miracle. Even if it was just under a pound. Not all sugar cookies are created equal, you see; it depends on a) whether it is a hand-sized bunny or a finger-sized carrot, and b) who frosted it and what age the froster happens to be.

...that the sheer amount of paperwork involved in wills and all that crap in our litigious society makes me want to curl up in a ball and suck my thumb, Instead, I have a call into the legal consulting thingy provided by my union contract (they provide more than one kind of counselor, it seems). But just knowing that - while one should always have the legalities taken care of - one must do it, well... it makes me need the other counselor some more. Dammit.

...that I use bad language a lot more in my blog than I used to. I think I'm pissed off at the world in general. Sorry about that, Dear Readers. But not sorry enough to stop doing it.

...that although we miss Norwescon (for the second year in a row), just lunch out (without children) for our anniversary was nice too.

...that seeing one's child get rejected - even for perfectly legitimate reasons - is distressing.

...that knowing said child will get over it - and that the place rejected her only because there were too many applicants; they love her there - goes a long way toward easing that distress.

...that I'm glad Little Miz Liz has friends who are not simply the younger siblings of her sisters' friends. She has those too, of course. But she's such a wild one that I was a bit concerned she might come off too rough with the other kids. I was wrong. Kids who barely know Abby and Leanna are asking Lizzy over to play. That makes me happy.

...that I wish my spouse had found out why they changed his chemo schedule instead of waiting for that information until Monday at his next infusion appointment. I suspect it's just that they want a more steady trickle of the damn stuff (and I hope it'll be a lower dose at every week instead of every other). But I don't know.

...that the phrase, "I'm really disappointed in Lucifer," is more than a little strange out of context. I must have laughed for two minutes straight when I realized he was talking about the TV show (he's annoyed that it has turned into a Buddy Cop thing).

...that Lizzy's assumption that her dad is bald, "because he played with mercury and my teacher says it's toxic," is pretty funny. I wonder how long she's been thinking about that...