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Tell Me About Your Canister Vaccum But That Has Nothing to do With My Walk at the Mall

January 6, 2011

I meant to update yesterday but something really weird happened.

I ran out of words!

No I didn’t. I don’t think that could ever happen to me.


Now I just jinxed myself and am minutes away from stroking out. Or losing my voice box in a drive-by voice box removal.

I was too busy being focused on weight loss yesterday to sit down and write an entry. Also, I mopped the floor.

Doesn’t that sound like fun?

It kind of was. Especially the part where I met my friend Karna at the MOA (Mall of America for us mall-savvy people) for some mall walking. Same place, same time Karna. But on Friday. Not Wednesday. So, same place – same time – different day.

Karna’s got these freakishly long legs (says the short chick) but I didn’t want to slow her down and I wanted to burn some holiday cookies so I walked hard, I walked fast. I broke a sweat! And I didn’t spend any money! I forget how big that mall is and how I should be taking advantage of the controlled climate and lack of hills more often. Thanks Karna!

By the way, SS? It’s about 2 miles to walk the entire mall.

I think you all need to take me on mall walks. Even if it means you have to fly in. See you soon!

So I exercised and I logged my weight watchers points like a weight watching points-logging pro. Now I just have to do this for the next 3 trillion days in a row and I should start seeing some results. That doesn’t sound too daunting, does it?

You know how up higher in this entry I mentioned mopping the floor? I have a question for you. I was vacuuming the floor using my old Sears canister vacuum when the power head, which had been dying over the past few years, died. I NEED a power head to suck up the dog hair from rugs, but I also need something to vacuum hardwood floors, which is what I have the most of. I need a new vacuum altogether. But here’s what I want to know from you guys. I want to know if any of you have a canister vacuum that you like and would recommend to the likes of me. I don’t know what that means, the likes of me. Maybe it means that I want something that’s inexpensive and works well. You know how demanding I am. I don’t know if I want a bagless kind or baggish kind. I’d like to hear what you think about yours, be it baggy or not.

Thanks, my vacuum-savvy friends!

Woops, I Did It Again

January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

Happy New Blog!

I’m not kidding. I started a new one because really, this one just about wore me out:

kitchenblogic. rhymes with kitchenlogic. with a b in it.

Update your reader feeds. Update your blogrolls. Update your links.

I command you!

New blog. Same me.

In The Year 2010

December 31, 2010

Here’s one going around the blogosphere today. What did you do in 2010 that you’d never done before?

Should I go there? Should I open Pandora’s box? Is this anyway to celebrate?

Sure. Why not.

1. Got my boobs cut off

2. Lost my hair

3. Bought prosthetics

4. Had liposuction

5. Quit wearing bras

6. Lost a friend to my cancer

7. And even more new things this year!

Good times.

Fucking 2010.

Coupons and Nighttime Baking

December 31, 2010

I can’t get that new TLC show about people who obsessively use coupons out of my head. My God! One guy paid around $75 for over $1,000 of groceries. Maybe more.

One woman got her grocery bill dropped from over $800 down to $6.93. And it was that much because she bought a chicken, which didn’t have a coupon. By the way, that chicken was the only thing in all of her carts that was not a prepackaged food item full on chemicals. Oh wait, I don’t believe it was an organic chicken. Never mind.

The savings are crazy. What’s even crazier is the crap they fill their garages with. Shelves and shelves full of Gatorade. Mounds of fruit snacks. Cartons of candy bars. Who needs that much high fructose corn syrup? Boxes and boxes filled with antiperspirant. Who needs to put that much aluminum in their body (says the breast cancer survivor who now only uses aluminum-free Tom’s of Maine deodorant.)

It seems to gluttonous to me.

And I’m jealous.

Jealous of gluttony.

So I went to the prosthetics supplier yesterday. God, never thought I’d be doing anything like that in my lifetime. But that’s where the lymphedema supplies are. I got fitted for a nighttime glove. It looks like an oven mitt and goes from my fingers, on up to my shoulder. And the goal is to compress my arm and hand at night so that the lymphatic fluid won’t be allowed to build up overnight. (Right, Cathe?)

It’s very sexy, no?

And then I might actually wear my compression glove and sleeve during the day. I cannot tell you how much getting lymphedema just pisses me off. Especially when I’d never heard of the damn thing less than a year ago. That’s one hell of a chronic surprise, let me tell you. I’m thankful that mine is relatively mild. Right now. Shit. Probably just jinxed myself and will now puff up like a puffer fish.

I might just use that nighttime compression glove for what it looks like I should use it for – an oven mitt. For those midnight pie bakes.

I just found an article that sums up lymphedema. In case you’re interested.

I hadn’t planned on making any new year’s resolutions but because of my lack of taking care of my health, I think I must.

So here they are:

1. Do my light massage to help the lymphatic fluids drain.

2. Do the exercises my physical therapist suggested I do.

3. Lose weight, which will hopefully reduce the swelling.

4. Make creme brulee, which I didn’t get around to making in 2010. I know. It won’t help #3 above. Man, you’re a tough audience. Lighten up! I’ts not going to kill me to have one serving of creme brulee!

The Minimalist Plan

December 29, 2010

Forgot to mention this in the last post.

Yesterday I took down all of the Christmas decorations. As much as I love to decorate the house for Christmas, I love to put it away as soon as possible because it makes the house seem bigger and brighter.

After I put boxes away, I said to the Big Nugget, “I’d like to go minimalist in the house. We’re going to need new furniture!”

“That makes a lot of sense,” he replied.

Which is doesn’t. But it does.

Creme de Maalox

December 29, 2010

Susan commented in my last entry:

Kathy – you totally blow me away – Ive just read over some of your posts from the last few weeks and I don’t know where you get all the energy to do all you do.

I’ve got a secret, Susan. I nap. I nap hard. I take advantage of not working and not attending school by laying down on a couch at around 3:00 every day and crashing. It might last 15 minutes, it might last an hour. But it gives me enough energy to last until 10 p.m., when I hurry up and get ready for bed so that the minute I hit the pillow, I’m out again.

When I go back to school in a couple of weeks, I might go through an adjustment period where I’ll have to nap as soon as I get home from classes. But maybe not. Maybe my classmates and best teacher in all the world (Hi Susan! But not the Susan who commented above!) will give me the extrovert’s energy I need.

It seems to me that the more busy I am during the day, the less likely I am to need a nap. However, if I’m just hanging out at the house and get to feeling tired but want to stay awake? I’ll run to Caribou for a very big caffeine-filled coffee. But even that won’t keep me from napping if I’m not running around the Twin Cities Metro area. I guess I’m like a shark and I just have to keep moving.

I had one of my 3-month check-ups with the oncologist yesterday. #2 in a 3 year series of 12 3-month check-ups. (I’m doing a countdown of follow-up appointments and number of times I have to refill my Tamoxifen prescription. I think I’m at 57 more refills on the Tamoxifen. It would help if I were better at math. I should probably give up on the countdowns.)

My blood work came out good. My physical exam went well. No lumps or bumps where they shouldn’t be.

I didn’t make my next appointment while I was there and I wish I would have because when I got a call this morning from Minnesota Oncology, I got a whole lot of nervous when I answered the phone. Thankfully it was just them calling to schedule my next appointment in March. They also scheduled me for a chest x-ray which freaks me out even though I know it’s just routine. But why am I having one at my 9 month check-up? Why not wait until the 1 year check-up? That just makes me think that the oncologist is suspicious. Which I said to the scheduler, who replied that my oncologist is aggressive with the follow-up appointments and the chest x-rays. Which makes me suspicious that I’ll get cancer from all of these chest x-rays.

You just can’t win with me, can you.

We just got our third New Year’s Eve party invite. I don’t know that I’ve ever been this popular before! Must be the hair. Or the fact that our friends are having more parties now that their children have moved out of the house. Woohoo! Partying through our 50s and 60s!

Talking about our aches and pains. Reminiscing about all of our dead friends. Playing cards with a deck of large cards. Eating fiber-filled snacks. Drinking Maalox-based cocktails.

Oh. Hey. There’s an idea! Creme de Maalox. On the rocks!

Party on, old people!

p.s. Speaking of New Years. Anyone joining Weight Watchers who’d like to be a part of my Secret Facebook Weightwatching group? Write on my facebook wall and I’ll invite you!

The Parking Ramp

December 28, 2010

Poor Ricky Nugget. He’s bored out of his mind. Surgery and recovery aren’t fun for him like they have been for me. I could write an entertainment manual on the fun a person can have while recovering from major surgery.

I took pity on him and his inability to entertain himself, and took him out for a day of adventure. Well, a few hours of adventure. He’s not ready for a whole day off of the couch just yet.

We went to lunch at Burger Jones. It was The Big Nugget’s first time there. He wasn’t impressed. Which pretty much made me want to turn around and take him home. But then I should have known this would be his reaction to my favorite burger joint. He feels this way about most food. Which explains why he’s still wearing the same sized pants since the day I met him and I am not.

After lunch I took him into downtown Minneapolis for some shopping at Macy’s. Which used to be Dayton’s.And still should be but some times, the world just ain’t right.

To make it an even more adventurous adventure, I parked in my old parking ramp at the IDS Center. A parking ramp that brings me lots of memories. That I couldn’t rehash with The Big Nugget because he’s already heard those stories too many times and he was too busy focusing on the fact that I parked in the most expensive parking ramp in Minneapolis. The next most expensive parking ramp was over in the Sears Tower, in Chicago. Maybe. I don’t know. But probably. It’s not in Fargo or Des Moines, I’m guessing.

So I’ll just share an old IDS Center parking ramp memory with you:

Back in 1983-ish, I worked for Oxford Properties (Hi Kristine!) who owned the IDS Center. I was a secretary. I got a call one afternoon from Vern, the parking ramp manager – “You better get down here, quick! Bruce Springsteen is waiting for his limo!”

I bolted. To the elevator, wishing I could just open the damn elevator door and drop 28 floors for a quicker trip. Then I had to bolt to the parking elevators through the crowds of the Crystal Court.

Thank god for polyester dresses of the 70s and 80s! No wind resistance – I could streak across the Crystal Court. I can’t believe I didn’t kick off my sensible high heels!

I got onto the parking ramp elevator and beat the heck out of the P1 floor button. When the elevator landed, I bolted out the door and ran smack dab into Mr. Springsteen. Slam!

There was a quick “It’s nice to meet you!” before his people stepped toward us. I apologized, told him I was with the building owners and was just heading over to the parking ramp office for some parking ramp business and walked away.

Then I went into the parking ramp office and screamed a very excited thank you in Vern’s face.

Who then told me to chill because Clarence Clemmon’s car was just pulling up.

And Vern, being cool – unlike me, said, “Hey Clarence! Have you met my friend Kathy?”

So I got to meet Clarence Clemmons.

And I just about died.

Because we don’t get that many celebrities in the Twin Cities and I don’t know how not to act the fool.

I loved working in that building. The Big Nugget said I should work there again. Sure. I’ll just walk into the management office and tell them to make room for me. Demand free parking again.

Funny thing? The Operations Manager that’s there now is the same guy who was the Assistant Operations Manager when I worked there. (I googled him) Maybe I’ll give Thom a call and see if he needs me! Think he’ll remember me some 25+ years later?

Probably not. Besides, I doubt they give employees free parking anymore and with it being the most expensive parking ramp before you get to Chicago, I’d have to work a second job just to cover parking.

Never mind that I can’t just go walking into offices, demanding jobs.

I wonder if I’d get more than the original $12,800 annual salary I made back then.

Man, I thought I was rich when I got my first salaried job. $12,800 – medical and dental. No kids! No house! I was!

The Hangover

December 27, 2010

I’ve got a fat and sugar hangover. Too much holiday eating.

But I’m not going to get back into the healthy eating until after New Year’s Day.

And then, no more food hangovers.

You hear that?!!!

(I was just talking to myself.)

Today I’m going to begin the undecorating. Even with my fake tree and no worries about it burning the house down, there’s something to be said about taking down all the Christmas knick knacks to give the house a clean feeling. It’s the time of year when I want to go minimalist and give away everything I don’t need.

Except the creme brulee torch, the mandolin slicer, the two bundt cake pans, that watermelon shaped serving bowl, and all the other things I didn’t use once in 2010. Because I might actually use them in 2011.



Probably not.

Extrovert Much?

December 25, 2010

The 12 lb. prime rib roast I made today turned out fabulous! There were only 8 of us so I’ve got a whole lot of prime rib left. And I’m not sharing any of it with any of you. I like you all, but this roast is mine!

The in-laws left shortly after we ate and I took a nap because even though it’s  really easy to make prime rib, I was still exhausted from the night before.

But I didn’t take a long nap because I had Christmas gatherings to crash. I got it in my head that I wanted to drop in at my high school girlfriend’s parent’s houses. Whether my high school girlfriends were there or not. But I didn’t just drop in, I gave a bit of a heads up on Facebook.

I stopped at my high school best friend, Tammy’s, parent’s house first. She wasn’t there but I spent over an hour with her parents and a few of her siblings. Some people might have thought that would be awkward but not me. Mostly because I pretty much spent my high school years at their house, even when Tammy was gone.

Then I went to my junior high school best friend, Patty’s, parent’s house. Patty and her husband were there. Which I knew because I would have been less likely to drop in at their house had Patty not been there. I love her family, too, I’m just not as close to them as Tammy’s family.

Sorry. Thinking out loud.

It was just the best Christmas Day I’ve had in a long time.

Extrovert much?

I’m curious – would any of you/do any of you do this kind of thing, too, or are you a bit more reserved about dropping in at old friend’s parent’s houses at Christmas?

I’m Going to be the Great Aunt of a Dentist

December 25, 2010

Man, I love my family!

The house was packed last night. And it could not have made me happier. Kids spread out all over the house. Babies sleeping in my room. My niece’s new boyfriend introduced to our white trash family. Cousin dog Frankie and Stella wrestling in the back yard but behaving very well in the house. Too much food. Again.

I was exhausted and I can’t wait to do it again next year!

But first I have to get a 12 lb. prime rib roast into the oven for the in-laws today.

I figured out who my grandnephew looks like. Hermey, from Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. And from the moment I figured that out, it clicked for all of us.

And so it comes to us that little Caden, now Hermey, is going to have to grow up to be a dentist. Anything else just won’t be right.

Seriously! He has a future of either a dentist or a garden gnome. And maybe he can make a living out of traveling if the Travelocity gnome has retired by working age, but he’d have more options if he became a dentist. To children. And misfit toys.

Love this baby!

Merry Christmas!

Just About Ready

December 23, 2010

I made these cookies this week. Good gravy! They are fantastic! I wish they had a better name, though. “Melt In Your Mouth Pumpkin Cookies” is a stupid cookie name. Maybe I should change it to Pumpkin Melters? I’ll think on it.

Today I’m making this. For Christmas Day’s Gingerbread/Pumpkin Trifle. Once I have a recipe for the Gingerbread/Pumpkin Trifle, I’ll share that with you, too.

I’m trying to remember what I did yesterday so I can share it with you all. Because I know you want to know what I’m doing all the time. I am that interesting. And I don’t want to disappoint you. But other than fetching stuff for the couch-ridden Big Nugget, I didn’t do much. Except run little errands and fetch Pho from a local Vietnamese restaurant. Man, I love Pho. Which is just soup. But those sneaky Vietnamese put something in it that makes you want to cry if you can’t get your hands on it. I think there’s anise in it. Which sounds odd for a soup. Believe me, it works.

I just looked for a recipe. There is anise in it. Good thing 2011 is The Year of Soup. I’ll give it a go. I bet the Thai basil also gives it that flavor that you just have to keep having.

I finished wrapping the Christmas gifts last night. We sure do have a lot of gifts under the tree for a house that’s cutting back on Christmas this year. I wrapped everything in silver paper with silver bows and a bit of chartreuse ribbon. Picture later. Maybe. You know how I am. Lazy.

Other than cleaning the house for tomorrow’s party, fetching stuff for The Big Nugget, and baking gingerbread; I’ve got a low key day.

Until I realize the fact that Christmas starts tomorrow and I have a ton of stuff to get done before the family starts arriving.

Forever 12

December 22, 2010

I’m going to share this with you because it is too precious not to share. But you are going to be sworn to secrecy. Details of secrecy follow what I’m about to tell you.

So yesterday, The Big Nugget’s surgery was for a double hernia. Which I mentioned before but you guys can’t seem to remember anything! (Said the pot to the kettles)

This morning, The Big Nugget’s mom called to check in and see how he was doing:

“Is he stiff?” she asked.

I lost it.

Lost it.



And so did she.

We are forever 12.

And now that I told you that, you are sworn to never tell The Big Nugget that I shared it with you. If you know him, don’t mention it. (You hear me, Floweer?) And if you ever meet him, you are not allowed to broach the subject of my husband’s groin-area surgery. Got it?


By the way, he was stiff this morning. But he’s in the shower now so should be good and loose once he’s done.


Zip it.

I’ll Be The Roundabout

December 21, 2010

It’s so interesting how differently we all react to stuff. I so appreciate that other women who’ve been down this road offer up their opinion in my comments. We’re all learning! Maybe the fact that I’m such an extrovert leads me to want to talk about my cancer. Some times. Some times I don’t want to. But mostly, when I run into acquaintances, it feels like a very heavy elephant in the room. Maybe I’ll get over that when I get my frickin’ hair back!

By the way, 6 mos. post-chemo and I still have nothing curly nor thick.


(Jane – sorry about the port thing. I had no idea it would be the most vicious scar of all!)

Now my husband, he doesn’t want to talk about stuff. Which is why he probably wouldn’t want me to tell you that he had outpatient surgery this very morning and is now hopped up on Percocet and recuperating right before my very eyes.

So, let’s bring the attention back to me. Thanks.

You know how I have told you in the past how I’m connected to just about everyone on the planet by less degrees than Kevin Bacon?

Today, while I was waiting at the hospital for The Big Nugget to wake up from surgery (he takes forEVER to wake up from general anesthesia!) I went to fetch a latte from the hospital’s coffee shop.

Somebody was in front of me when a woman came up behind me, and said, “You should get the white chocolate mocha with raspberry! It’s delicious!”

Alrighty. Didn’t ask, but thanks for the tip.

“I have to pass on the sweet stuff,” I replied, “I’ve had way too many holiday cookies this week.”

“Oh! I made these great bars with rice krispies and caramels! You should try them!” she said.

“Where’d you get the recipe from?” I asked, as if I cared. But I didn’t. Didn’t stop me from asking though.

“The Red Wing Shoe Company Cook Book,” she answered.

“I was born in Red Wing. Are you from there?” I asked.

“Born and raised!” she replied.

So I asked her if she knew my cousins and not only did she know them, her husband does my cousin, Jeff’s taxes; and she spoke at Jeff’s wife’s brother’s funeral a couple of months ago.”

I didn’t know that my cousin’s wife’s brother died. Good to know.

Very roundabout way to learn about Lynn’s brother.

Welcome to my roundabout world!

All’s Fair in My Cancer

December 20, 2010

Kate commented in my last entry, regarding people bringing up my cancer to me:

And then isn’t there also this thing where you (the person dealing with or who just dealt with cancer) are sick and tired of talking about cancer and just want to talk about Anything But? Man, is there really a best way to be or a right thing to say? It does get confusing for those of us who haven’t had cancer. You know? So not only do cancer patients have to go through all the shit, but they should wear a sign that helps us non-cancer-patient friends and acquaintances know what they want or need so we can give it to them at that particular moment. Because most of us would try, if we only knew.

Here’s my feeling about this  kind of thing. Always bring it up. If a person doesn’t want to talk about it, let them have the option about not wanting to talk about it. It’s not up to you to make that decision for them. I feel this way about death, too. When my older brother died, it was the kindest of people who would tell me that they’d heard about his death and that they were sorry. Sure, it made me feel sad. I lost my brother. I was sad. But it sure was (and is) nice talking about him.

Now, if you don’t want to talk about it, then don’t bring it up. Don’t go blaming that on the person who had cancer.

If they want to talk about their cancer and you don’t, for whatever reason, want to hear about it, let them know that you just can’t talk about it.

Like I said, it’s all so very weird.

And also? If I want to talk to you about my cancer and you tell me you just can’t talk about cancer with me? I’m not going to judge you.

I’m going to dismiss you.

God, how rude are you?

I think that’s fair, don’t you?

My cancer trumps anything you ever thought or felt.


Said the woman who believes Man Created God.

Speaking of my cancer, when I was at the dermatologist last week, getting my face tortured, I asked him about the scar where my port catheter was. Of all the slicing and dicing I’ve gone through, that is the meanest looking scar of them all. It’s thick and dark and oh so very shiny. He told me that it would eventually flatten and lighten but I told him that I wanted a better answer. So he wrote me a prescription for this tape that’s supposed to speed up the process. Cordran Tape. It’s a topical corticosteroid. I’ve only tried it a couple of days so I’m not sure how well it’s working. Just thought I’d put it out there, in case you really cared about me and wanted to know where I was with my cancer. But didn’t want to ask.


Acknowledge Me!

December 20, 2010

1. I made these yesterday. Man! They’re awesome. Probably has something to do with the sweetened condensed milk in them. I believe they will now be a part of my Christmas Cookies & Bars tradition. Along with my grandma’s Honey Jumbles, the Red Velvet Whoopie Pies with Peppermint Filling, Molasses Kringles, Buckeyes, Caramel Bars and Butter Cookies. I might get around to making some biscotti and another new cookie: Melt-In-Your-Mouth Pumpkin cookies. We’ll see how much cleaning I get done first.

2. I have a confession to make. I did not know that the song, Runaway Train, was Soul Asylum. I always thought it was Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. God! What a doofus! I’m glad I got that off my chest. I’ve been holding that in since Friday and it’s been tearing me apart! You’d think I’d know better about a Minnesota band. I’m not local-music loyal. I don’t even own any Prince albums. Even though I met him when he was filming Purple Rain.  Shook his wee little hand, I did. Itty Bitty Prince. The Big Nugget was schooling me in local bands. Soul Asylum, The Replacements, Husker Du, The Suburbs. Go ahead. Ask me some questions. I won’t have answers for you but you can at least show off your Minneapolis Music Knowledge.

3. We just discovered that my sister isn’t hosting Christmas Day. Well, I just found out. Apparently almost every one else in my family was aware and apparently none of them want to host it so the subject got dropped. That ain’t right for an extrovert like me. I don’t want to sit in my house with my family, doing nothing. And I don’t want to go to movies. So we’ve invited the Big Nugget’s parents and sister down for Christmas Day. Not having a clue what to make, I stole Jean’s idea for a prime rib. Pricey but guaranteed satisfaction. And they can’t be easier to make. Thanks Jean!

4. That thing I got frozen nitrogened from my face is healing as slowly as my hair is coming back in. People don’t want to hug me. Awesome.

5. Speaking of people, it’s weird, when I run into people and I’m not sure if they know about my cancer or not. I ran into an acquaintance at Target this morning and we chatted for a bit. I didn’t bring up my cancer. I figure she either knew or would suspect seeing as how my huge boobs are gone and my hair is the shittiest growing back hair in the history of post-chemo-returning hair. I’ve been going through this a lot lately. At parties, where I’m seeing people I haven’t seen in a year or two, I’m not sure what they know and I’m not that keen in rehashing it all for them. So when people ask me how I’m doing, I assume/pretend it’s just the polite inquiry. Not the genuine concern. What I really like is when people know that I had cancer, they tell me that they heard about my cancer. Then they get a sincere reply and not the standard, “I’m good, how about you?” Today’s run-in at Target was a nice, genuine, conversation. She told me she’d heard about my illness and asked how I was doing. I didn’t drag her through what I dragged you guys through, in my blog, but I told her that it was a really shitty thing, filled with an emotional and physical roller coaster, but that I’m emotionally and physically in a much better place. It was nice to be acknowledged. I think it’s weird when I run into people that I’ve known for years, and know that they must know about me because we have friend(s) in common, and they don’t address it at all. That’s weird. But it’s also indicative of their personalities. Other people’s personalities are very spotlighted during someone else’s trials and tribulations.

I didn’t mean to go there, but I went there. Here’s the thing, it’s pretty cool how people’s personalities show through when this happened to me. People deal with my cancer in so many ways.

One friend, who I hadn’t seen for awhile, was all about wanting to pet my fluffy hair (I’d offered it up in the first place) and now when she sees me, it’s her thing. And the thing is, I like that. It’s our thing – my floofy head.

Another friend, who I hadn’t seen for awhile said to me, “Don’t you fucking die on me!” Blunt. Direct. Just like her.

And the friends that I haven’t seen for a while, who don’t outright address it? At first I was kind of offended. I mean, c’mon, I just went through hell. Acknowledge my wonderment! But when I think about who those particular people are, they aren’t going to address it with me because they just don’t address anything serious with me. And that’s okay because that’s not the kind of relationship we have anyway. Besides, the people I’m running into at parties and in Target, that I haven’t run into for awhile, aren’t the close friends who supported me through the tough parts anyway. So it’s okay. Just weird. Which pretty much sums up the whole cancer thing. It’s just frickin’ weird.

Okay then. Snow’s falling. I’m going to get to cleaning so I can have more time for more baking because my name is Kitschin Logic, and I am a Christmas baking addict.

My First Avenue Life

December 18, 2010

I went to see Soul Asylum at First Avenue last night. Anyone who knows me and my taste in music (Ben Folds, James Taylor, Luther Vandross) might wonder just what in the heck I was doing at a rock concert? On a frigid Minnesota night? Believe me, I was asking myself the same thing all day long and all night long. I was still asking myself the same thing when I went to the bathroom during the concert.

Simple answer: I was being a good wife.

Some times a wife has to do what a wife doesn’t want to do to keep the passion going in a marriage. If that means I have to stay out after midnight once in a while, so be it.

We went with two other couples who we’ve gone out with before. A few years back I Good Wifed to see The Decemberists at The Fine Line. I didn’t know who The Decemberists were. And now I’m a fan. So I was kind of hoping the same thing would happen with Soul Asylum. But after last night’s concert, it’s definitely not going to happen. I am not a rock and roll fan. I don’t get what all the white boys see in this kind of music. And the place was full of white boys doing the overbite head bop.

Also? Soul Asylum didn’t even go on stage until 10:45. p.m.! At night!

I am 51 years old. I have recently gone through chemo. What in the hell was I doing – going to a rock and roll concert in a crowded bar on a frozen night in the middle of the night?

We ate at First Avenue’s new restaurant, The Depot. Good, pre- and post-concert food. And it was fun because my nephew, who is now a manager at First Avenue, came over to visit and even comped us a round of beverages. Free Diet Coke for me! (party animal that I am)

Bonus? The Big Nugget was ready to leave by midnight, before the concert was even over! He claims his back was sore. But I am suspicious that he may have been trying to save me, his nearly bald wife, from being bumped around anymore. Overbiting headbopping white boys, especially the two getting high next to me, would not stay out of my personal space.

But, my nephew put me down for two free tickets to Ben Folds when he comes to First Avenue in January. Definitely worth being  a Good Wife.

You know what’s weird though? Going out when you’ve got a nearly-bald head to a place you’ve been going to since you were 19. We could do a life’s perspective of how I’ve looked over the years at First Avenue. From a bikini-wearing teen (they had a pool one summer and ladies could get in free if they wore swimming suits), through the disco, post-disco, new wave years; taking our kids to all-ages shows,  to a middle-aged cancer survivor. Guess I’ll just have to keep going to First Avenue through my 90s.

Am Too

December 16, 2010

You guys are awesome! I’ve got an e-mail box full of soup!

I decided that rather than sitting on them before I add them to my family’s cooking website (nothing goes on there without taste testing) I’m going to put them on the Kitschin Logic cooking website that I almost forgot I had. That way anyone can try them and let us know what they think.

Give me time to post them. I got a lot of recipes. A lot of good looking recipes! Keep them coming –

2011, The Year of Soup! Join in the soup fun!

Totally different subject now.

A cousin of mine sent me a list of names yesterday that links me to Charlemagne, through my maternal grandma. The same grandma that links me to Celine Dion. I was so relieved to be able to stop dropping Celine Dion’s name at every party I went to. I don’t like Celine Dion. She sings too hard. I don’t care if we’re cousins. I don’t have to love all of my cousins. Even the ones I never met.

But now I can name drop Charlemagne at every party I go to over the holiday season. Too bad I didn’t know this before I attended the last two parties! Dang!

Except, I didn’t know who Charlemagne was until my cousin sent me the list, asking me if I knew we were descendants of Charlemagne.

“We are?!” I asked as though I were impressed because just the other day, I’d been wondering about Charlemagne and what ever happened to his (or her, I really had no idea who Charlemagne was) ancestors.

“Through our grandmas,” he said.

I think I have his beard

So I googled Charlemagne and found out that he was The King of the Franks! Who knew?

Who are the Franks? I am so behind in my early monarch history.

He is also the founding father of the monarchies of France and Germany. And very Catholic.

There’s been a lot of watering down of the blood line between me and Cousin Charlemagne.

Oh. I could use this. Against my husband. Who is merely a descendant of Mary, Queen of Scots.

This must be where The Big Nugget got his red hair from

“Dude,” I said to The Big Nugget, “I’m a descendant of Charlemagne. That trumps your Mary, Queen of Scots!”

“Charlemagne was the father of Europe. The British Isles are not part of Europe. You are not the boss of me!” he said.

Dang. He has me there.

Just read this about my cuz in Wikipedia:

He was heavily built, sturdy, and of considerable stature, although not exceptionally so, since his height was seven times the length of his own foot. He had a round head, large and lively eyes, a slightly larger nose than usual, white but still attractive hair, a bright and cheerful expression, a short and fat neck, and he enjoyed good health, except for the fevers that affected him in the last few years of his life. Toward the end he dragged one leg. Even then, he stubbornly did what he wanted and refused to listen to doctors, indeed he detested them, because they wanted to persuade him to stop eating roast meat, as was his wont, and to be content with boiled meat.

We are so related. Bring me my meat!

2011: The Year of Soup

December 15, 2010

You might not remember this but back in 2009 I’d proclaimed that 2010 was going to be the year of Creme Brulee. But then I got that stupid cancer and it was not a good year for creme brulee. I haven’t even made any yet. However, I plan on making some on Christmas Eve. While my sister is over. Making it for me.

She doesn’t know about this creme brulee plan yet. She’ll find out soon enough on Christmas Eve when I hand her all of the ingredients, the ramekins and the torch. That’s what big sisters are for. So that little sisters can boss them around. And steal their clothing when they’re not looking, wear it, wash it, shrink it and pretend she had nothing to do with it.

Am I right?

Payback for all those times she used to make me turn off the bedroom light and then scare the crap out of me with her “Watch out for the monsters under the bed!” Is it any wonder that I can’t watch those Chuckie movies? Before they even came out, I was afraid of leaning against the door to keep it closed from a bad guy because I just knew they’d poke my heels with a sharp knife under the door.

Had she known then that I could torment her forever after with “What’s it like to be as old as you are?” she might not have been such a mean big sister.

Anyhoodle. I’m not going to proclaim 2011 the year of creme brulee because it’s just too late. Instead I’m going to proclaim that 2011 is The Year of Soup!

And I think this should involve all of you. Do you have any soup recipes you’d be willing to share with me? I’ll give them a try and if I like them, I’ll put them on my family’s cooking website and maybe I’ll even give you the credit! I know! How generous of me!

E-mail your soup recipes to me: Let me know if it’s okay to link back to your blog. If you don’t have a blog, how would you like me to give you the credit? Just your name? Want to include your photo? Let me know!

Soup, it’s so danged good for us and we all need to have a healthier year in 2011. Every last one of us!

Just Like Brad and Angelina

December 14, 2010

I had a few goals when I went to the ophthalmologist yesterday afternoon…1) to get my eyes checked and see why everything looked so much fuzzier than a year ago, and 2) get my pupillary (?) distance measurement so that I could order glasses on-line and save a million, trillion dollars.

“They won’t give you that,” The Big Nugget said.

“Yes they will,” I said.

According to him, orderer of online glasses with his self-measured pupillary distance, it’s the last hurdle that the optometric (!) world won’t give out, not wanting to cut into their eyeglass money-making empire.

“I’ll get it,” I said.

So off I go to the neighborhood eye clinic. Which is a huge chain of metro-wide eye clinics. When I got to the building, the place was mostly the eye clinic with just a sprinkling of other offices. One of them being a secretarial service. For real! Didn’t those go out of business in the 90s? I have to go and check that out some time! I bet there are women in nylons with garder belts! (Why is “garder” being spell-checked? Is it no longer a word? What about sanitary pads? Nope. No spell-check warning.) From what I could figure, they have an ambulatory surgical center right on the premises. I’m going to file that away because it would be so much better to get cataract surgery without having to go through the hospital. Not that I have cataracts and not that I can possibly remember the surgical center 20 or more years down the road.

After I checked in and waited to be called back, I noticed a sign that said they now check your hearing, too. Which annoyed the heck out of me because, really? Can’t they just keep their specialty to their specialty? What are they going to do next, put a Red Box movie rental kiosk in their waiting room?

Tacky, I thought. Which just made it easier for me to be tacky and ask for my pupillary distance measurement.

I got called back by the doctor’s assistant, who pretty much did all of the work with the glaucoma check and the lens check. BTW that glaucoma check? That freaks the crap out of me. I warned her up front that if I start to feel anxious, I’ll start to get facial tremors and then good luck getting anything up next to my eyeball. I’m glad they don’t use that eye puff anymore. But damn, that blue light gets smack dab next to your cornea.

Do you know that I didn’t have one tremor? Sans Xanax? All it takes for me is to announce that I’m anxious and then the anxious, it’s gone. I’m so weird.

After the exam showed that my prescription had only changed a little, and that I could get by with  my current glasses, I asked the doctor’s assistant, “Do you think I can get my pupillary distance measurement?”

“We don’t do that,” she replied, “the optometry department does that when you order glasses.”

Damn. That’s how they get by without sharing that valuable piece of information.

“Shoot,” I replied, “I wanted to get new glasses for cheap, online and I need that measurement to get a better fit.” Honesty. Blunt honesty.

“You can stop by the optometry desk before you leave and they’ll give it to you,” she replied.

Wow. Cool. Really? I didn’t believe her. I figure she was passing me off to the next person who could say no, when she just couldn’t say no to a woman with chemo-thinned hair.

The exam with the ophthalmologist showed no issues. He figured my eye sight might be a bit worse because the chemo does something to the oils that coat your eyes, temporarily, so gave me a couple of eye drop samples and sent me on my way.

BTW – another sign in the second waiting room shared that they now do pre-op exams.


Will they be offering lattes in their mini-cafe?

I stopped by the optometry desk, where I planned to be rejected. But was measured by a very peppy gal who didn’t seem to have any issues with giving out such valuable information. Probably because they’re making their money with hearing checks and pre-op exams. Maybe when I go back next year they’ll be offering pap and pelvics. A mammogram in the closet.

I called The Big Nugget and gave him the news about getting the measurement. I know he’s jealous. He’s tried to get it from a few eye clinics in the past, with no luck.

“It’s the hair,” he said.

“Sure is,” I replied, “How about I run back over there with you and ask her to measure your eyeballs?”

He didn’t accept my offer. Instead he used me to gauge the accuracy of the measuring thing he got from the online glasses site. It was pretty accurate.

Oh! How could I almost forget this. The gal who measured my eyeballs said, “You’re symmetrical.”

“Like Denzel Washington!” I replied. I know. Weird.

“And like Angelina and Brad!” she replied back. Kindred goofball.

This morning I went to the dermatologist and was diagnosed with the actinic keratosis, reader Lisa  said it was. Thanks Lisa! He sprayed me with liquid nitrogen and sent me on my way. Ouch! I also made an appointment for the first week in January for some laser work to remove a broken blood vessel from the bridge of my nose and a few other areas that bug me. That broken blood vessel on my nose makes it look as though I have a permanent zit. I can cover it up with makeup but it shows again in a few hours.

He also gave me a prescription for some sort of cortisone tape that will help speed up the healing of my port scar. Of all the scars I’ve received from breast cancer, the port scar appears to be the angriest.

The dermatologist told me about his sister, who had breast cancer, who’s hair came back a different color, thicker, and curlier. I almost punched him. But I did not for fear he’d use the canister of liquid nitrogen to defend himself and that shit really hurts!

The Fool’s Phone on the Hill

December 13, 2010

It was a fine, sunny day for running errands this morning. And the frigid cold has kept the old people at home, for the most part, making the lines at the post office and bank really short.

This 18+ inches snowfall is what Minnesota used to be like every winter. But the last decade or so we’ve had really lame snowfalls. Saturday’s snow was just what this state needed so that we could get our Winter Pride back. You can’t have the winter pride without suffering through the Minnesota winter. We’re all going to get our badges come springtime. I think the old people (you know, people way older than me, by at least 3 years) quit moving to Arizona because our winters were so mild. This winter should thin that herd out again.

My youngest son, the fool who went out on Saturday night during the storm, losing his cellphone? Last night (I don’t know why none of this stuff can happen during the daytime, when it’s more common sensical) he and Buddy Eddie decided to drive over to the sledding hill, looking for the lost cell phone he’d lost the night before. At night. In the dark. With a temp of about 1 degree, wind factor not factored in.

“Why didn’t you go during the day?” I asked.

“Mom! Don’t worry about it,” he replied.

So he and Buddy Eddie headed out in my car because 1) Thing 2’s car is in need of an alternator and 2) Buddy Eddie had no gas in his car at the time. Hey, I actually had a 1) and a 2) this time!

About 15 minutes after they left, they returned. I assumed because they figured their efforts for looking for a cell phone on a dark winter, after a snowstorm, in frigid temps, was futile.

“Found it!” cheered Thing 2 as he came into the kitchen.

“No you didn’t,” I replied.

And then he showed it to me. Apparently it was better to hunt for the thing in the dark of night because when they got out of the car, they could see the low battery light blinking.

And that, my friends, is a damn fine spot of luck.

Last night I proclaimed that I was done with baking for the holiday season. Even though I still have the ingredients to make about a dozen more varieties of cookies and bars. I am done! I have be done! Because 1) It’s too hard to stick to Weight Watchers when I’m baking. Once I put it out on the porch (Minnesota’s free walk-in freezer!) I forget about it. But while I’m baking, I’m constantly tasting the dough. And I can’t let them cool without helping myself; 2) Crap! I don’t have a #2 again! Why won’t I edit?

Until I get trust myself to stay out of the dough and out of the fresh-from-the-oven cookies, I’m going to quit baking. We’ve got enough on the porch to get us through the end of the month, even with visitors. And although I really want to try the peppermint cream bars, the melting pumpkin cookies and make another batch of Red Velvet Whoopie Pies, I’m going to step away from the baking!

I am!

Yes! I am!


I am!

Reader Jean commented on my sounding better these days. She’s got that right. I’m feeling so much better. I’ve still got the lymphedema, will probably always have they lymphedema but for right now I’m okay with that piece of crap I was dealt. I’ve been so busy having so much fun lately that I often forget I have it. I’m just glad to have that evil cancer shit behind me. I have my next appointment with the oncologist at the end of this month but I’m not feeling too emotional about it.

Reader Lisa got me to stop freaking out about the thing on my face when she mentioned I google actinic keratosis. And I did. And the photos and the description pretty much sum up what I’m seeing on my own face. Unfortunately, they’ll probably freeze it off, like the one was done on my temple a few years ago. It won’t hurt (much) but it will be incredibly ugly over the holidays. But hey, I’m not going to complain as long as it doesn’t kill me.

Today I get my eyes checked. They’d gotten worse with the chemo. But when I asked my mom’s eye doctor if that could happen, he said that it was highly unlikely. I have an appointment with an ophthalmologist this afternoon so we’ll just see about that.

Kitschin Logic’s Big Snow Adventure

December 12, 2010

With two feet of snow headed in our direction, I was happy that nobody had to go out. Neither of my kids were scheduled to work. So I hung out on facebook and baked more cookies. In my kitchen. There is no kitchen on facebook. Yet. I need to call Mark Zuckerberg. I’ve got an idea for him!

Part of the facebook hanging out was me going on and on and on about my secret project with denture cream. Oh, I was just sure it was going to be the best secret project, ever!

The phone rang and it was Judy Beauty, from across the street. She and her husband were going to take her son’s very large truck down to the grocery store, would I be needing any denture cream?

Of course I would! What a mind reader! Or facebook reader. But I wasn’t going to let her  have all the fun and adventure, I invited myself along for the ride!

Here’s Judy Beauty’s husband – our driver:

Here’s Judy Beauty aka Nanook of Bloomington:

The grocery store was hopping! What a bunch of crazy people! There was a little old couple in front of me that I think was part of the cars we saw stuck in the snowbank after we left.

Here are the very important items we risked our lives for. Butter pretzels that I’m dipping in almond bark are an essential blizzard survival food!

Here we are, sitting warmly in the truck while Mr. Judy Beauty was outside of it, trying to remove snow from the windshield so he could safely deliver us back home. I am never going anywhere with Judy Beauty, sans makeup, ever again! It’s like I’m the before in our before and after photo! I’m just glad my teeth are whiter than they were a few weeks ago or there would have been some serious depression going on after I saw this photo of the me and Mrs. Beauty!

And here is my secret project, with denture cream:

I’d been online, looking for inexpensive cake tiers to use for setting a nice table. But the thing about cake tiers is that they are big/tall and don’t store well. Who wants to take up that much space for something you don’t use that often. Unless you are one of those cupcake junkies. Which I am not.

Am not.

Most definitely not.

And even though I seem to be protesting too much, I am not.

I said to The Big Nugget, “I wonder if there’s a temporary glue out there that I could use to put glasses and plates together and make temporary cake tiers?” When it dawned on me, denture cream.

Wouldn’t it be cool if we could figure out how my mind works?

Unfortunately, it the denture cream didn’t work like I’d hoped it would. It works well enough to keep the plate from sliding around, if you bump it (and my guests are always bumping stuff with their greedy mitts!) but you can’t pick it up by the plate and move it, like you can one of those cake tiers. You can pick it up by the base and the plate stays in place so I think I have some success. I just need to find a better, temporary glue to have true success.

Wanna see a good girl who makes sure I do things right. Here she is, Stella Mirra, Quality Control:

If only I would walk away, for just a second, she could check the denture cream theory AND the taste of those buckeyes!

With over 18″ of snow in our back yard, she’s needing extra food because she’s burning off all sorts of calories hopping through the snow.

Speaking of snow and the fact that we had so much, snow plows were pulled off the streets…guess who’s kids went out? That would be me – and all three of my kids. Now that I have three.

And guess who’s phone rang at 2 a.m. because one of their cars stopped working enroute to pick up one of them while the other was in his car, who knows where? That would be our phone. Poor Ricky Nugget. But thank god for that Land Rover he bought because he was able to pull the Infinity home safely. Even more thankful is the fact that Thing 2, who had lost his cell phone when he’d gone sledding earlier in the evening,  taken his father’s cell phone with him. Otherwise, I don’t know what could have happened to my baby!

It’s going to be a very long winter.


Suffer Unto, Oh Wait, Did I Just Start a Bible Verse?

December 11, 2010

I got up this morning and was browsing around on the internet, looking for things that I had no need for but wanted anyway. Then it dawned on me – this genius idea for setting a table when entertaining. And it involves denture cream. I want to see if it works in a very bad way. Unfortunately, we’ve got a blizzard going on in Minnesota today so I shouldn’t be driving around, picking up things that might not work. But I suspect this is a very good idea and you are all going to copy me. Unless it doesn’t work and I don’t admit my failure to you. Then you’ve got nothing to hold against me. Not here on my blog, not in a court of law.


Hey CyberMom Katie? Remember how you wanted to place a bet that I would go out again in the night time before mid-March? Guess who’s reluctantly going out next weekend? Me.

Here’s the thing, The Big Nugget goes down to First Avenue for all of these quirky little concerts with bands I don’t listen to (i.e, Black Rebel Motorcyle Club and The Jayhawks) (BTW – I’m sure my cool friend, lap, is reading this and shaking her head  with my version of quirky little concerts. Hi lap!) I don’t want to spend my time in a crowded bar trying to pretend I like being there when, 1) I rarely like live concerts anymore – unless it’s Ben Folds, James Taylor or Luther Vandross – who went and died on me so now I’m down to 2 people I’ll hang out in a crowded facility for; and 2) ditto #1 because I just realized I don’t have another reason but am too lazy to edit but not lazy enough to continue with this sentence. Thankfully, The Big Nugget’s best high school friend likes to go to the same concerts. Unthankfully, his best high school friend’s wife also likes to go along to the concerts. Which is fine and all but it makes me feel guilty because even though the friend’s wife goes, I don’t go. Not guilty enough to suffer through a crowd and music I don’t like so much. It’d be a different story were it Elton John or Barry Manilow, because I like their music and I’d only have to suffer the crowd.

Here’s the new dilemma to the concert plot…we were at a party last night and The Big Nugget invited my girlfriend’s husband to join his concert people for Soul Asylum next Friday. And the husband wants to go. As does his wife. My friend of 37 years. So if she’s going, now I have to go because 1) the guilt would ruin my evening and I’d suffer from that guilt more than were I to suffer the crowd, the cold, and the music I don’t care for; and 2) again, no number 2. The edit button is broken but the sentence writing button is ON!

Oh dear, I just looked up and out the window and the snow, it’s a blowing and a blizzarding all over the place and I still want to run out for denture cream. Which is just ironic because I’ll suffer a blizzard for something that might not work but whine on about going out to a concert where I’ll probably have fun and maybe my nephew, who works at the venue, will give me free drink tickets.

I am so difficult some times. I wish I were a simpler soul. Don’t you?

We’re Going to do our Best not to Freak Out, We’re Not Going to Even Comment About This

December 10, 2010

I’m going to put this here and then I’m going to walk away from it until Tuesday morning.

I’ve got a couple of weird patches on my face. On both sides, above my jaw and under my cheeks. The right side got really weird during my chemo, dried up and fell off. The left side has been the same for a long time so not too much to worry about there. But that right side is starting to get more patchy looking and I am not happy about this at all.

So I called my dermatologist’s office (the one who’d removed a pre-cancerous patch from my left temple a few years ago) and begged to get her first appointment – which is not until next Friday. So I begged some more and got myself an appointment on Tuesday morning with one of her partners. Then I googled him (hello!) and found out that his area of interest is skin cancer, which my dermatologist’s is not.

I assume I’m going to go in and he’s going to say, what with all of his cancerous specialness, “That’s an old lady skin issue, not to worry.”

However, you and me, we’ve been down this road before and nobody’s going to breathe a sigh of relief until he actually says that.

Stupid cancer. I’m going to freak out about everything I come across on this traitor body I own.


I went out last night and did not freeze my kiester off. Because it was over 20 degrees. Heatwave!

I’m going out tonight but we’ve got a mini-blizzard headed our way, with dropping temperatures.

And then I will not go out again, during the dark hours, until the middle of March.

Mark my words.

But Baby It’s Cold Outside

December 8, 2010

It’s so damn cold around here. 10 degrees (fahrenheit) And there’s even colder, wetter weather headed our way for tomorrow. I am very happy that I have a variety of winter coats in different winter weights.

The Big Nugget is insane. He went out tonight for the annual John Lennon Tribute at First Avenue. He not only found a friend to go with him, the two of them headed out in the ’66 Land  Rover. They were probably frozen solid before they crossed the Minneapolis border. I’ll just sit here and try to stay warm until the police knock on my door with the popsicle news.

I’m going out tomorrow night for book club and the ornament exchange party. I don’t want to go out tomorrow night. I don’t mind going out in the day when it’s this cold but when night falls, it’s unbearable. But I’ll go out because I’m happy to be back and book club and it’s worth the risk.

I just found out that Ben Folds will be playing at First Avenue on January 23rd. And I’m really considering not going. Dude. I don’t want to go out at night in a Minnesota winter. January 23rd? That’s guaranteed to be a frozen night.

I know. I’m old. I didn’t worry about this kind of thing when I was a teenager and when I was in my 20s.

Time to go put on my flannel pajamies.

A Toast To Mom

December 6, 2010

Mom’s second eyeball surgery went as well as the first. Better, because we were pros at getting her there and getting her home.

“You should do this again, mom. We’ve got it down! Do you have a third eyeball anywhere? On the back of your head maybe?”

“I’ve got one on my butt,” mom said.

God. We are five.

“Are you going to get excited about your toast this time?”

“What?” she asked.

“You were so excited about the toast they gave you after your last surgery. ‘I love this toast! This is the best toast! Would you like some of my toast? It’s delicious!'”

“I did?” she asked.

This time she also thought the toast was the tastiest toast she’d ever eaten. But she was aware of her love for the toast so kept it to a minimum of toast-honoring.

Oh! I just remembered that before she went in for surgery today, one of the nurses (an old friend of mom’s from her nursing days – as are 3 more of the nurses at this eye surgery center) opened a safe across from where we were sitting…

“What are you getting?” mom asked her.

“Drugs,” her nurse/friend said.

“Bread?” mom asked.

“Mom’s got a thing for your toast here,” I said. “She’s a carb addict! Good thing you keep the bread in a safe!”

Seriously. We are five.

Well, I am.

If you need cataract surgery but have been putting it off because you are a big chicken, be chicken no more. It’s nothing. This time she was awake during the surgery and had no problem with it whatsoever.

Not five minutes after I got her home, her nosy neighbor called to check on her. She did it after the first surgery, too. And her phone calls are so in tune with our arrival, I’m suspecting that she’s either counting to 60, 5 times or she sets a timer for 5 minutes.

The last time I spoke with her for a few seconds and then handed the phone over to mom. This time mom wanted me to tell her that she was going to bed, so I did. And then I spent the next half hour on the phone with her because I’d just found out that she has non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and was starting chemo at the end of this month. And she was scared. So I did my best to put her at ease*. But I didn’t let her think that chemo was a party. I just told her that she would get through it, be emotionally exhausted, and thankful once it’s done. She was so thankful that I felt kind of guilty for how much she bugs me with her Gladys Kravitz ways. But hey, even obnoxious people get cancer. Right?

And that, peoples, is all I’ve got for now.

*I lost some friends during my battle with cancer because they couldn’t “handle” dealing with it. For whatever reason. And for awhile, I was sympathetic to their shortcomings. However, I came to the conclusion that their weakness was so self-centered that they were not the friends for me. And talking with Nosy Neighbor today, I can’t help but wonder how anyone can walk away from a friend who’s going through a difficult time. Especially when they’ve been given (rather forcefully) the knowledge that can help another person have less stress. I am deeply disappointed in the chicken people who used to be my friends. They are no longer welcome here. In my life or on my blog.

Something Eddie This Way Comes

December 4, 2010

I was a little concerned about having a new boarder in the house. The last time we had someone stay with us, it didn’t go very well. Actually, that’s when The Big Nugget got his name. It was a family member of his and I’d had it with our tenant and said, “That’s it! I want no part of your family anymore. I’m changing my name back to ‘my maiden name'”

“Me, too,” he said, “But not your family’s name. I’m going to have a brand new name. ‘Ricky Nugget’ rhymes with ‘toupee'”. And so he became.

I’m glad that we’ve patched up with the former boarder. I can’t figure out what in the hell went wrong with it in the first place. I get along with people pretty well and am a generous host. So very weird.

Eddie’s been here almost a week and he’s added so much fun to the house. We haven’t had this much fun in our house for years. I can get past the toilet seat he keeps forgetting to put down.

Last night, Thing 1 was out with his new friend (hurray for new friends for him!) and I was about to start making dough for butter cookies, while watching a movie. But Thing 2 and Eddie decided that we were going to play Apples to Apples, and Pictionary. The Big Nugget, too. We couldn’t say no. They would have refused to accept it.

So we spent the next three or four hours playing game after game.

I don’t know what’s happened to me, The Big Nugget said it’s because I’m old, but I now suck at both Apples to Apples and Pictionary. I used to rule the board game world! Or it could have been that Thing 2 and Eddie are like twins so can guess each other’s stuff as though it were their own.


When we heard that Eddie needed to stay a place, it was funny how both The Big Nugget and I said yes. We must have intuited the added family value.

This afternoon I put a white board into the entranceway of Eddie’s room. I can’t wait to see what these two come up with. Once they’ve rested from all the furniture-moving I’ve made them do.

The End

p.s. Jean – I got the ornament that you sent me in the mail today. It’s perfect! I’ll be getting some photos soon. Thank you! I’m looking forward to hearing how your pre-Christmas party goes this year. Share recipes!

Ooh! That reminds me – this is not the end.

I’ve been so thankful for my family and friends who helped me through my cancer and other family stuff going on that I neglected to mention the special people who also helped me get through it all…my blog friends.

A few of you I’ve met in real life (hi akk! lap! Carrie! Lena! Jean! Diane! Jenn!) but most of you I haven’t met (yet). But you were so important to me through this year. The cards, the e-mails, the packages, the flowers. Each time I opened my mail, my e-mail, my door – and you’d taken the time to send a little of yourself my way – I smiled and was incredibly grateful. You guys really got a lot of my grief spelled out before you. I couldn’t do that in person oftentimes. It was so nice to get it off of my chest and know that you guys really cared. I thank you thank you thank you!

Here’s to a better 2011 for all of us and hopefully I’ll get to meet more of you! (Kate! Let’s meet at Joan’s in Winnipeg!)

Thanksgiving Recap

December 2, 2010

Because I don’t have a million things to do, I thought I’d spend even more time in front of the computer today, posting more photos. These are from thanksgiving.

This is my plate:

I hope you’re not worried that I didn’t get enough to eat. I didn’t go back for seconds, afterall. However, I ate two pieces of pie and a piece of pumpkin roll. I was merrily bloated.

It is full of very orange/yellowy food. I wonder, were I to remove this shade from my food, would I lose 100 pounds in less than a week? I assume so.

I didn’t get many photos of my family because I didn’t feel like taking many and I was too busy taking photos of Little Miss Snarky Pants, aka My Adorable Grandniece:

I adore this kid.

I didn’t have this much personality when I was her age. What is she going to be like when she’s my age?

I feel for her future life partner.

I also was tickled to see my sister’s grandson hanging with the “big boys” that are my older brother’s grandkids:

He went from using that sippy cup at the beginning of the day to drinking hot chocolate out of a coffee cup, just like the big boys.

And I’m trying very hard to love this baby even though  he tried to murder my niece during childbirth:

Okay. I love him.

p.s. There are two grandnephews and one grandniece missing from these pictures. FYI. Maybe they’ll make the cut at Christmas time!

Hair Product

December 2, 2010

Lori – your comment the other day about you putting on a hat to flatten out your post-chemo duck fluff hair got me to thinking. What would happen if I used some hair product. And so this morning I pulled out the very neglected bottle of Aveda’s Confixor hair gel and I went to styling. I used the tiniest smidgen of the gel because I didn’t want to come out looking like a greaser from The Outsiders.

Not a problem. Probably wouldn’t have been a problem even if I’d used the entire bottle of Confixor. Which, by the way, is mostly full because I must have just bought it before my diagnosis. Stupid cancer.

It is way too cold for precious me to take photos outside. Besides, the neighbor guy is coming over to cut down our broken weeping willow and I am a dork, but not that much of a dork that I want to be taking photos of myself in front of him.

I like how I pretend he can’t see me when I’m out there even though their house looms over our back yard and I’m sure he can see just about everything that goes on back there. Which is why I don’t mow the lawn naked.

I’m kidding. I don’t mow the lawn.

So I took this one inside and people, you get what you get when you’ve got a cheap point and click digital camera and the skills to not know how to use it well:

I smooshed it to the right. Because that’s the direction in which I have always smooshed it and I’ve had just about enough of changes in my life I not about to smoosh left anytime soon.

Here’s another view so you can see the thin-ness of my hair:

It’s not that bad. But for your viewing pleasure (and that of everyone who stands behind me in line, too closely) here is an extreme close-up of the back of my head. Which is not an easy photo to take but hey, I’m just showing off my post-mastectomy arm stretching skills:

Maybe that’s not so much back of my head as it is, back top of my head. I don’t know. I just think it would be a lesson learned for anyone standing behind me in line who doesn’t know about invasion of my private space. Back that thang up if you don’t want to look at my pink scalp.

This makes me wonder, how did I run around bald-headed for months when I’m this sensitive about my hair at this point of the game?

Oh. I know. I had this attitude: I have cancer. I had chemo. My hair fell out. I’m not comfortable wearing a wig. Even less comfortable in scarves. I only want to wear a baseball-type cap when I feel like it. I don’t have to look at. You do. You don’t like it? Say something to me. I’ve got a lot of frustration to vent on strangers dumb enough to comment.

What I learned from my bald days is that absolutely nobody stared at me. The only comments I got were from the grocery store clerks that I see multiple times a week and they were always so sweet.

Okay kids, I gotta fly. And then I gotta come home and post some pictures that I took at Thanksgiving. God, we make great food!

Call the ASPCA!

December 1, 2010

I finally got around to going outside and getting a picture of my hair. But before I did that, I did this:

I’ll title this one, “Oh, the humanity!”

And this one:

I call, “Smiling on the Outside.”

Finally, this one:

“Perp Walk.” This is supposedly a “Mrs. Claus” doggy costume, but the minute I saw it I thought it was not. It’s either an ice skating costume or “Mrs. Claus, The Hooker.”

I got this for her and a reindeer costume, complete with antlers and red nose but she’ll have none of that. Well, she wants it. In a bad way. But she wants to eat it, not wear it. For some reason, she was much more content to let me put this on her and then actually keep it on for about a half hour.

As long as she knew I’d give her a Milkbone dog biscuit. I don’t give her doggy treats except for her Greenies teeth cleaner at bedtime. So to get some unhealthy snacks in the middle of the day? I bet I could get that reindeer costume on her now. I forgot to use the biscuits when I was putting that on because I was too damned busy wrestling with her.

This is what I spent part of my kiln-earnings on. The Big Nugget told me he has less respect for me after this purchase. But he’s had less respect for me since I became a fan of The Real Housewives Of series and Hoarders.  Too late to class up  my act.

And now, the hair.

Five months and two weeks post-chemo, this is what I have:

And that, my curious friends, is the only picture I have. It was cold out there AND the Big Nugget had a Craiglist customer in the garage, which is in view of the patio. I figured that if the Big Nugget was in their getting murdered and I was so vulnerably standing on the patio, it was going to be my turn to be murdered next.

Yes. I really did think along those lines.

My hair has some definitely thin parts but I think I’m still seeing growth? No? Yes? I figure I’ll just keep growing it out and do the Donald Trump combover, if I have to.

By the way? The sweatshirt I’m wearing? I haven’t been able to zip that thing up for the past year or so. But now, after the chemo weight loss, the scar revision surgery and the two pounds of weight loss since yesterday (actually, 3 pounds of weight loss since yesterday – I didn’t want you to think I’d gone anorexic on you) I could not only zip that sucker up, it fits very nicely.

And my teeth? Those are now one week whiter. I’m very happy with them and plan on going for a few more days with my whitening trays.

Edited: I was just looking at my other post-chemo hair photos.

2 months after chemo:

Can you believe I ran around looking like this? I mean, c’mon! Look at those yellow teeth!!!!

3 months after chemo:

4 months after chemo:

I can see that it is actually getting longer and thicker. It’s just definitely not getting curlier.

My Pocket is on Fire!

December 1, 2010

Before I get to my important update, I received a comment from a fellow lymphedema sufferer who pointed me to an article she was part of. From the looks of the article, Dr. Judith Nudelman (who sent me the comment) has got lymphedema a whole lot worse than I do, having to wear compression garments around the clock.

I am such a whiner.

And yet, I will not stop.

Lymphedema is breast cancer’s dirty little secret. So, of course, I’d be one to get it because I am incapable of keeping secrets.

If you are a lymphedema advocate looking for a voice before congress or the senate or whomever might need a voice to speak on behalf of fellow lymphedemettes, I’m the gal to see. You want insurance to be forced to cover payment for more than two-per-year compression devices? I’m the gal. You want insurance to pay for more light massage drainage therapy? I’m the gal. You want insurance to cover free cauterization after lymphedema victims can’t take it anymore and they chew off their arm? I’m the gal.

Lymphedema advocate at large. Limb. Get it? God, I am so not funny. Not even to myself.


Okay then, enough about the lymphedema for a moment, let’s get to the big news of the entry.

I sold my bead making kiln on Craigslist  yesterday. Got more than I paid for it. How is that possible, you ask? They cost more these days then back when I bought it. And seeing as how my kiln looks unused, who wouldn’t want it? Actually, I’m wondering if I underpriced it because some young kid snapped it up in just a few hours of posting. He even drove up from southern Minnesota on a snowy day to get it.

I’m so happy that it’s gone. It was staring me in the face almost every day. I hardly used it at all when I realized that I’m no good at glass bead making and gave it up. Goodbye guilt!

I made The Big Nugget run over to Best Buy with me the minute the kid left with my kiln so I could look at netbooks and ipads. “The cash! It’s burning a hole in my pocket!!!!” I calmly said. Ahem. “We’ll go, but we’re not buying anything tonight,” proclaimed the voice of reason. “Hey Thing 2, you want to go with us to Best Buy because I’m going to buy an ipad or netbook tonight!” I bellowed down the hall.

Seriously, how does someone not immediately spend a windfall of cash within one hour of receiving it?

Now I’ve got a jones for selling stuff on Craigslist (Is that how you spell it? Who sold the kiln on Craigslist? Would that be me or my husband? Who, by the way, took $20 from me once the kid handed over the money.) I’m looking around the house to see what I want to list next. The Big Nugget is constantly selling stuff on Craig’s List (don’t you think I could quit being lazy enough to check the spelling out? But really, WordPress won’t approve “lymphedema” so I’m not going to look it up! And that is how I justify that.)

In other important entry news, we’ve got a new roommate in the house. (Are you worried that we’re broke and not only selling off household items, but also taking in boarders?) Not to worry. We’re fine. The Big Nugget is still working (**spit spit** for continued luck. Oh hell, now I just jinxed it!) Thing 2’s best buddy, who we adore and will hopefully continue to adore, had his parents run away from him this fall. Down to Tennessee (Why, I don’t know. I’ve been down south – remember? I went to Brewton, Alabama – the basement of our country.  And the south is not a place I’d volunteer to move to. Sorry southern friends. You just don’t know how good and smart it is up here.) The best buddy tried to make a go of living down there but came to his senses and moved back here. So for awhile he’s all ours. And I just have to tell you, this will be a much more hysterical abode while he’s here because Best Buddy is a hoot.

The other day, Thing 2 confessed that he and Best Buddy had been refused service at the Taco Bell drive-thru. Because they’d been going through the drive-thru in reverse. Reverse! Can you imagine? Cracks me the hell up! Kid got born to the right mother.

Also, I’m hoping he’ll eat leftovers because my persnickety bunch won’t. I fried chicken the other day and the leftovers will remain in the fridge until I, alone, eat them or I throw them out. Last night I made a batch of Spicy Turkey Chili. Ditto with me eating it or me tossing it out. Here’s to a boarder with a healthy appetite who’s smart enough to warm it up himself.