Archive for December, 2011

New Years Eve Attitude, Breast Cancer, and Mardi Gras Beads!

Posted in Uncategorized on December 31, 2011 by drycreekherbs

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I love this comic and link http://xkcd.com/996/. Click the image above to see the full comic.

I don’t have to be wearing red Mardi Gras beads to be spunky and shimmy, although I won’t rule that out either. I feel like the box I have been in has a looser lid and that I am no longer in a nuclear submarine at the bottom of the deep, dark sea. I am on the mend, back in the saddle, finding’ my groove, and ready to roll–it is New Years Eve. I am once again thinking of redecorating, wearing more exotic clothes, baking four cheese farro and Hoppin’ John, passing along Home Ec tips to strangers, measuring the length of my new fuzzy hairs, arranging flowers for Pam’s grave, gaining weight, drinking prosecco, planning outings, and making lists. Hello, this is good. This will be a mighty happy new year.

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Christmas Holiday 2011 Week

Posted in Uncategorized on December 31, 2011 by drycreekherbs

One week and one day since last chemo treatment and I have been in high gear, if not physically, definitely emotionally. I expect that the chemo part of this journey to be behind me. So, like every other week, the day after chemo I felt pretty darned good until about DSC_1937.JPG 8:00 pm then I crashed for the next 32 hours. Out like a light. We had planned to go to Mom’s for Christmas Eve day but I called the one hour I was awake and begged off till Christmas Day. We had a lovely time with Mom, Billy, Mary, and David—we got there about 10:00 am and left around 3:00 pm for home so it was a really short day trip. I think Mom really was fine with it…she say that I was still healthy enough and it good to have her family all together.

Barbara and I went to Waco Wednesday so I could have lunch at Amelia’s Cafe at Sironia…we got there and they entire place was closed until the 4th of January! Grrrrrr. BUT Barbara pointed out this shop just down the street that she had heard about….Honey’s. Oh my, oh my. I believe we were in there two hours and it took two tours for us to feel like we had at least an idea of what all was in there. I walked in thinking I never wanted to spend another time on any more ‘objects de art’ then once In the door, I was already planning how to redecorate my den! They just had too many things. Like Mom used to say, “I just have to stay out of the shops!” After buying another angel–a very, very big angel–we had lunch at a recommended little cafe…very good but I have already forgotten the name of the place. I do know it is a half block east on 5th from Austin Ave. After lunch we went to Spice for more shopping stimulation. Happily I didn’t buy a thing! The best part of the day were the belly laughs and fine conversation!

Yesterday I had a facial and ran errands until about 6:00 when Belinda got here–Len graciously treated us to dinner but didn’t join us—sports on TV, I think. When we got back we enjoyed more conversation, lots of prosecco, and Len’s Baylor-Washington updates. I 201112302112.jpgwill never understand football but I loved the updates and commentaries Len provided about the very nice, very bright player and Heisman trophy winner, Griffin. Mainly because he is the son of a retired military couple, I guess. At 1:00 am we turned in! Belinda and I were out the door at 9:00 am to go to Ft. Worth to see the Caravaggio exhibit at the Kindall. Absolutely, a great day. When we got back about 5:30, Len met us outside and said something like, “What could you all have possibly found to talk about since you talked so much last night?” Funny boy.

I have just been listening to Sarah Brighton and Jose Carreras sing Amigos Para Sempre…and now I am thinking about Andrew Lloyd Webber–I didn’t know he was married to Sara Brighton. Curious.

I am whipped—my Mac coach is coming over bright and early tomorrow morning and I have a huge list of things I need help with….goodnight me.

As A Rule I Almost Hate Forwarded Emails

Posted in Uncategorized on December 31, 2011 by drycreekherbs

I especially hate the ones that have threats attached like you won’t have good luck unless you send on to 47 other people who will hate YOU and the email. But I did receive this little essay that really hit home with me. I can’t even remember if it asked you to send it on. I really like the concept of Season, Reason, or a Lifetime. Very big to me. Here it is–I want to remember this from a blog site called Life Lessons.

Are you a Reason, a Season, or a Lifetime?

I just got back from attending a farewell party for a good friend of mine who will be working in Africa for at least one year. We met at work over fifteen years ago and have been friends ever since. We’ve been there for eachother through good times, and not so good times — divorce, marriage, raising kids, moves, illness, and job changes. Even though she will be living far away, I know we will keep in contact. I consider her a lifetime friend. Thinking of her leaving reminded me of all the moving around I did as a military brat. I was always leaving friends or getting left because they moved. It was never easy, and it didn’t get easier as time went by. There were always tears, followed by sadness, and sometimes just a deep feeling of lonliness. You keep in contact for awhile and then one day one of you just stops writing. There was no fight, no reason, you both just stopped. I learned that friends come and go, and your life goes on. I have made new friends since that time — some have come and gone, and some have remained. Anyone else out there experience the same thing? Ever wonder why? Perhaps this poem will shed some light on things for you:

Reason, Season, or Lifetime

People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.
When you figure out which one it is,
you will know what to do for each person.

When someone is in your life for a REASON,
it is usually to meet a need you have expressed.
They have come to assist you through a difficulty;
to provide you with guidance and support;
to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually.
They may seem like a godsend, and they are.
They are there for the reason you need them to be.

Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time,
this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end.
Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away.
Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand.
What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled; their work is done.
The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.

Some people come into your life for a SEASON,
because your turn has come to share, grow or learn.
They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh.
They may teach you something you have never done.
They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy.
Believe it. It is real. But only for a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons;
things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation.
Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person,
and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.
It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.

— Unknown

Ta Da…Chemo Done and I Was Ringin’ That Bell!!!

Posted in Uncategorized on December 23, 2011 by drycreekherbs

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So much to report for my memory book…I don’t want to forget any of this…Since I was just recently plugged in for chemo my hands are shaken’ something’ fierce.

Today, I had my last chemo treatment….Last, I hope. Susan met Len and me at the Vanicek Treatment Center as she had appointments at S&W too. She tried to reschedule but they were yearly appointments so it didn’t look good at first, but she was there for all the big stuff. Amazingly and for the only time ever, the treatment appointment was not only on time but early! I left Susan and Len in the treatment center lobby and went to give my navigator Christmas presents to pass out for me. I could remember most of my nurses first names but I knew I was missing some so I just passed it all to her and she did exactly what I needed…but as I was in her office Len texted me that I was up to bat! I zipped down the hall and met him…he said something like “This is good–you have Veronica.” It was indeed good..she evokes total confidence. She got me in that chair, plunged in the saline and drew the blood in one quick movement. We were in! No delays at all. The rest is sort of a blur…thanks to drugging. Once Len and Susan saw that I was good to go, Len went for our lattes then after delivery of lattes, he read in the outer lobby. You aren’t supposed to have more than one person at a time in the treatment pod. He came back to relieve Susan who went for her appointment…then while I was napping I heard a voice…I woke to find Susan S., my friend, book club cohort, and cancer coach. It was such a surprise…we were having a good visit and in pops Becky! Another wonderful surprise. It all went so fast..then next thing I knew I was being unplugged…we walked out to THE BELL and there is Susan L. just in time!!!! Len took great photos. The gang of my nurses were all there to cheer me on. I mean I RANG that bell. It was so wonderful to hear all the other patients clapping for me and really for themselves too. It means there is an end, there is hope, and it can be done. So of course, I had to weep. My former students Jocelyn, Dr. R’s assistant, even came in for the event! I LOVED this. I loved the buddies being there. I love that it is over.

Len took Susan and Becky and me to lunch then we headed home…by way of the post office and Brookshire Bros. I slept in the car. Once home, a nice two hour nap–then to celebrate I ironed a pile of clothes…this I did pretty well even with the shakes. While I was ironing I heard a knock at the door. This is rare…especially at night. It was Susan L with a great balloon bouquet from Peggie and Clifford. Peggie is one of the Mah Jongg group…and breast cancer survivor…she is in Minnesota now for Christmas. It was a wonderful surprise.

I think I will reflect more on this but I am just shaken’ too much. This was big…real, real big.

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Once Upon a Time I Lived in a Dorm Called Brogdon Hall….

Posted in Uncategorized on December 21, 2011 by drycreekherbs

Brogdon Hall was the first dormitory I ever lived in … the year 1964. As I think back, it is almost like I am recalling the Middle Ages. The common collegiate practices would violate civili liberties now. Things like, you more or less ‘had’ to wear a beanie in your freshman year. Yes, beanie as in little billed cap! I must try to find a photo….if not, they were like the little caps that the Little Rascal, Spanky, and Gober Pyle wore. On occasion, you could find beanies with propellers coming out of the center. Our freshmen beanies were maroon and gold to add insult to injury. I don’t know why or anything else….sort of hazing but not. Ok, back to the story. Southwest-Texas-State-University-Pr.jpg

Brodgon Hall had a dorm mother, of course. And as far as I knew for at least an entire year, she could and would send you packing’ in no short order. In fact she had the rightful responsibility of maintaining the ledger of demerits for the things you were CAUGHT doing. After just a few demerits you were campused. A term for incarcerated for a specified period of time in your dorm room over the weekend. Maybe this is when I turned oppositional defiant. I don’t know. What I do know is that my friend, Cee, from Kaiserslautern American High School and I were roommates first semester. Somehow or another we had a bit of an attitude, or at least sometimes. Cee was always smarter about things and I doubt she ever for a minute wore a beanie. Anyway, part of dorm life in 1964 was nearl compulsory attendance to an after hour event called Vespers. I am sure it was totally non-denominational in spite of the name. But it was seeeeeerious business and they checked your room to see where you were at the designated time. In my mind’s eye then and now, most all the girls were really cute and full of themselves. Many were going through Rush. Another story for another time. Somehow or another I maybe we, liked the idea of NOT being one of the girls. We took some great pleasure in acting out so to speak. The best of all times was at the beginning, when we actually attended Vespers. Like all the rest of the girls, we wore pale pink or blue nighties with scooped necks and puffy short sleeves. The exception: Cee and I hoarded hair from my hair brush and right before the designated start of Vespers we would prance in just seconds late just in time to have the prissy girls see we had tons of hair coming out of our scooped neck nighties and underarms. Oh it was grand. They were just prissy enough to be totally grossed out. I wish I could do it again.

Hmmm, another something I remember is Modern Dance. It was the only class Cee and I had together. We were really impressed that there was nothing really to make you go to class, or so we thought. Modern Dance was at 8:00 in the morning taught by a young, serious minded dancer with looooooong hair. So, sure Cee and I went a few times. We became serious minded about the final and made up a very smart, modern dance to the tune of Hit the Road Jack. I can remember practicing in the basement laundry room for at least a couple of hours. We went to the final, preformed for our instructor and fellow students, pleased with our clever interpretations. Later in the week, we marched down to the studio to check our posted grades. This is also illegal now. We studied the list for our initials and what was this? Only two F’s in the class. They were our Fs. We took the time to find our instructor to sort out this error. Not. She very sweetly said that because we had missed all but maybe 5 days of class we received Fs. She had something called a syllabus to back her up, like we had ever read that! Now here is the irony. Twenty six years later after receiving my doctorate from TAMU, I started teaching at none other but my alma mater, SWTSU. AND, who should I meet at new faculty orientation but the Chair of the Dance Dept. It was her! Same woman! Well, now that I was one of the Academy I was pretty sure if I told her my recollections she would be just tickled pink. So I retold the tale. She listened with absolutely a flat affect. She never blinked, never smiled. At the conclusion, when I once again was stinking of fear, she said something like, “Not all students are really mature as freshmen.” And walked away! Damn, and I just figured we would become buddies and have lunches together. Not. I avoided her for the next 4 years.

I can’t find a single photo of Brogdon Hall from the 1960s but this is the Administration Building fondly called, Old Main!

Poinsettias and Foy; Book Club, Chemo and Flocked Velvet Britches–What Does it Mean?

Posted in Uncategorized on December 16, 2011 by drycreekherbs

I do love diversity and I have had a lot of it this past week. Most of it pretty darned good.

Len took me to Austin shopping and for lunch at the Roaring Fork my most favorite place to eat red meat. Love to follow doctor’s orders about eating protein. Also I am at this minute drinking some of Belinda’s hand squeezed Satsuma orange juice….delicious. She brought it by on her way to Oklahoma to see her folks. We are still considering the possibility of getting to San Miguel for their International Writing Conference. Problem is the uncertainty of the conclusion date of my radiology and my possible compromised immunity. Damn, I want to go. Well, I WILL go sometime, but I just want to get out of Dodge, fast. And, I gather you really feel that way after 6 weeks of daily radiation. I am dreading it but I am ohhhhhhh so excited that I only have ONE MORE CHEMO TREATMENT, the 22nd. I will be ringing that bell right off the wall.

I did miss the only two Christmas social events of the season. And I missed them both because of the two days following last and most every week of chemo I am a zombie. I didn’t get to wear any glitter or rhinestones. No bling at all. But I made up for it by ‘Dressing for Success or was it for Attention” at the treatment center!

Tuesday Becky and Suz and I had breakfast at one of our new Salado Mexican restaurants at 7:00 AM. Good conversation and so-so food. When I got home at 9:30, I took a two hour nap!

Then the greatly anticipated Christmas Book Club Party. I loooooove that group. In December we decide what we will read for the coming year which involves eating, drinking, friendly haggling, and teasing. This year we made plans how to honor our good friend, Marilyn, one of the original book club members, who died this past week. We decided to do donations to the library for landscaping around the new Library signage. Marilyn would like that a lot. She was dear to all of us.

I think I want to list our books for this year….always variety. The Art of Racing in the Rain, The Keeper’s Son, Moonwalking with Einstein, The Stone Angel, Interred with their Bones, The Secret Daughter, State of Wonder, The Time it Never Rained, fathermothergod: My Journey out of Christian Science, Maine, Winter Solstice. Other books recommended but not chosen are Doc, The Children of God, Clara and Mr. Tiffany, The Paris Wife, Their Eyes Watching God, The Boy in the Suitcase, Mozart’s Last Aria, Cutting for Stone, The Patron Saint of Liars, and In the Land of Invisible Women. I think I should have used semicolons. Oh well. I did drink champagne–very tasty. So much so that I had more when I came home. Outcome: Drinking exacerbates chemo fogginess.

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I had a great time yesterday…I had my lab date and then focused on how to remember my three health care workers’ names starting with V. Veronica from Archie comic book, Victoria from British Columbia, and Virginia from Newport News. I just have to have links to remember things now. Then I took my land rocket up to Eddy, TX to pick up Foy. He had cataract surgery last week and he can’t drive until today….anyway, he is having his Christmas Open House this Sunday and he needed to run errands and I am the girl for errands. I am just happy doing them. We went to a nursery waaaaaay out in the boonies past Lake Waco to a small nursery that had gorgeous poinsettias…exactly the kind he wanted–4″ pots of pink poinsettias and one Christmas Cactus. Then to the grocery stores, then to lunch at Sironia. We just really enjoyed our selves–we have decided it is necessary for us to make a list of our topics because we start the conversation, get side tracked, and forget the conclusions! Foy presented a lovely prayer shawl that St. Paul’s Anglican Church in San Miguel made me. It is a beautiful blue color. I love that sweet group of people. After I dropped Foy off, I spent the rest of the day scurrying around doing more of my errands.

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Hmmm, what else? Well, we had a quiet ride to the Vaniscik Treatment Center…..Len had presented an extemporaneous cat box lecture from his established household lecture series just before our departure. It always makes him nuts when I get tickled at the lectures. So we get there and the waiting room was just packed with the NICEST people ever. I had a real audience. First, at the audience’s request, I did scarf training. Then I learned about hair growing back from a woman who is going into her second round of chemo…then as I prissed around the waiting area in my black velvet flocked, leopard print, denim pants and Über Red Riding Hood Cashmere Cape, I drummed up some questions about how I do my eyebrows! Here is another of my commentaries. When people make comments you should always ask yourself, What does this mean? One can get a comment and THINK it is a compliment, but dig deeper. It can mean something all together different. So when people had been saying I had such good color, I basked in that compliment….then one day I looked at myself in the car mirror and yikes…I sure DID have good color! I looked like something out of Cirque du Soliel! Stephanie has a point when she says to me, “Susan, blend, blend, blend.”

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Now more commentary: I DO KNOW that flocked velvet wall paper is out…but are my three pair of flocked jeans out too? My closet therapist did not make me throw them out and yes I know they are somewhat dramatic. But look, I didn’t generate questions about my pants but my eyebrows. When I mentioned these pants to Jackie, she said something like, “Oh yes, the ones that look like lounging pajamas.” Now what does THAT mean? Back to the eyebrows. I did a nice, keep it short and simple lesson to a first timer at chemo. It is not about my story and I am really trying. If you get a specific question you give a specific answer. So what if it involves prepackaged accouterments ready for display and demonstration. Len just sat there looking me with a crooked smile on his face. Was it adoration or was it, “She is whacko.”? Back to –what did that look mean?

The chemo experience was another drama…same clogged port business. I sent the following text to my posse: Pray for blood. Port clogged again. Final text to them: Blood at last. After one hour, of prayer, pumping, heparin, port aerobics, coughing with feet up, coughing with feet down, stretched out flat, a cathflow, Heather’s magic fingers, self-hypnosis, Len beady eyed and pacing, and me listening to Hildegard von Bingen chants—blood at last! Thanks posse! I just had to include photo of downy soft, white hair and Disney mask.

DSC07364.jpgDSC07371.jpgAfter a quick Crows Burger fix, home for a 3 hour nap. Now I am bright eyed and bushy tailed at 11:15 pm. I have to remember to write about Vespers at Brodgon Hall in 1964. Cee and I were very funny albeit somewhat oppositional girls. I will write about that tomorrow.

Doin’ the Boogie on a Median. The Job I Might Like to Have

Posted in Uncategorized on December 15, 2011 by drycreekherbs

A recent phenomenon to my way of observation, is the hiring of boogie woogie dancers to advertise. These individuals often have to boogie and hold a huge sign that might say eat at Five Guys or Sell Your Gold at HEB. The pivotal point is that they get these great or not so great dancers to boogie, rock, hip hop or Flamenco for hours. How much money do these folks make? There is one guy who is always on the same median in San Antonio by the Quarry. This guy can dance and he does it, I bet, all day. I wonder if he gets bored and then not so enthused ever or if he gets irritable with drivers who gawk at him or even ignore him. I mean it, what could you think about all day dancing on a street corner promoting burgers. Here is my confession. I really want to dance with that guy. In my prime, I was considered a pretty good dancer. Of course the era for my prime was just past the Minuette. Someday I may pull into the closest parking lot and just run over to that median and let her rip.Untitled.jpg