Monday, April 30, 2007

So Tired

I am a tired puppy.

I awoke about 2 AM last night and never really got back to sleep. Today has been one long slog. Plus, I have felt icky most of the day. Don't know why. Maybe just because I am tired.

I have been trying to do some planning for a trip that I hope to take my kids on this summer, and I find that making lists gets harder when the little grey cells don't fire on command. Good thing I am starting early.

We have been having small thundershowers since late this afternoon and it is still raining and occasionally booming. I love thunderstorms. This is the first one this year and it makes me happy to listen to the water dripping off the eaves and pattering on the leaves. We need the moisture so badly too.

I managed to scrape a dinner together late. We had to wait for the girl to get home from her various athletic practices. I naturally had planned to grill, so I was in and out quickly, trying to flip steak and brats on the grill in between the raindrops. It came off well enough though. Now, the dishes are getting done and I am here, doing a quick update before I hit the bed and veg a while with a movie.

I hope that tonight, I get past 2 AM.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

"Borat" and Family Values

I try to be a good parent, but sometimes, I wonder.

I just watched "Borat" with my two kids on a Sunday night. Now, I spose you could honestly say that doing something like that was not setting the right example as a parent, but I am not sure. It's true that we all got grossed out, and the language was not what the PTA would approve of, and there were scenes that were probably inappropriate for parent and child to be watching together (though if we were watching separately with our peers, we would have laughed louder perhaps).

But still, it was a family activity, and that counts for something.

I wonder about what it means to be a parent these days. I know that my relationship with my children has changed since I became the solo parent. I wasn't all that sure of my parental skills when there were two of us, and am even less so now. It is guided by much more of a gut feeling now that it is just me. I am trying to "feel my way." Much as one might do in a dark cave.

I recognize the difference between "parent" and "friend." I know that I have to be "parent" and honestly feel that I am doing a fair job of that. Still, we have changed since C left us. It is different and sometimes I don't know if I am doing the right thing. Maybe that is the way it goes though. You don't know if you are on the right path, you are just on "a" path, or "the" path. Still, I feel good in the company of my kids. They are good ones. I like it when they decide to spend company with me. Even if it is to get grossed out watching "Borat."

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Strange Days

I am watching the NFL draft (interspersed with a DVD of "More Tales of the City") which is about as improbable as something intelligent coming out of Washington.

I'm not a big football guy. So what am I doing watching the NFL draft? Some of you might recall a post a while back where I went off with three other guys to watch a Notre Dame home game because one of those guys, an old friend, had a son who had been starting for ND since he was a freshman.

That same young man is up for the draft today. So here I sit, in my darkened bedroom watching hours of blowddry blowhards spew hot air discussing things I know nothing about. Of course, I can always use the excuse that I am supposed to take it easy and recover from yesterday's chemo.

It's not like I have been totally non-productive, I cleaned the ear wax out of both ears. I fed the beta fish. I read the paper.

I didn't make it to my daughter's track meet, which I had hoped to do. She had a good day - new personal best, letter qualified, and place sixth in a discipline she just switched to this year. So hats off to her.

It's a beautiful day here and I wish I felt better. Tomorrow will be much different, but today is still a blah one for me.

Anyway, I just wanted to say "Hi" and let you know I was still here.


Tuesday, April 24, 2007


Today was “Second Laundry Day.” Kind of like “second breakfast” in the Lord of the Rings movie. It was the laundry that didn’t make it into the first, and official pile that I sorted through and washed, and dried, and folded yesterday. Things like the kids bathroom towels and my son’s bed sheets, which were a surprising addition.

You see, my son ascribes to the Elizabethan (the First) theory of bed linen hygiene – once a year is more than good enough. In fact, the last time I saw his sheets was when we bought the bed. He claims that his bed is so comfortable because it is firm. I think that is due in good measure to his sheets, which have the consistency of plywood.

The reason that his request for laundering his bed boards was surprising is that it is much too early for his annual cleansing. It did not become clear until I asked him, “Why the rush?” and he explained that he had to take his bed apart to look for something that he had lost.

This made perfect sense to me as his bed serves as his primary storage place for all things. I have no idea where he actually sleeps. He could probably fund his college education by auctioning off the beanie babies that hide amongst the thirty thousand other stuffed animals, clothes, kites, books, and assorted flotsam and jetsam of boy-teen life.

As long as I was doing another load of laundry, I threw in the garage towels to add padding to the washer drum in the hopes that the sheets wouldn’t dent it.

I have also performed other important tasks today. I took in my neighbor’s paper, which shows the level of trust, and esteem in which I am held around here. It’s not everyone who gets asked to be custodian of one’s neighbor’s roadside deliveries. In a little while, I’ll perform my second sacred duty and take in their mail.

I also drove up to see if my boat survived the first night it has had under the open stars in over two years. I’m trying to sell it, so yesterday, we hauled it out of the warehouse and parked it outside the locked building, but inside the locked chain-link fence. I had to drive by and see if anyone had vaulted the fence and made off with my boat and trailer on their backs overnight. Fortunately, it was still there.

Oh, and yes, the wonder dawg and I did our daily walk. It was kind of a penance for me. A peace offering if you will. Yesterday, on our way out to get the mail, I opened the back door and caught her paw underneath. She gave one of those rare shrieks of pain and while I was down on my knees petting her and begging her forgiveness, I found what looked to be a tick buried in the fur between one of her eyes and the adjacent ear. It was a tricky identification however and my near vision is getting worse as I get older. Even with my reading glasses on, I couldn’t tell for sure.

Better safe than sorry I thought and took her into the bathroom and got my medical hemostat out to pull the tick out. Well, it didn’t come out and I pulled pretty hard. Rather than subject her to more pain, I decided to wait until it got all jelly-beanie and dropped off on its own. The wonder dawg spent the rest of the day trying to hide from me and giving me furtive glances whenever her eyes met mine.

Today, before I put my contacts in, I lured her back into the bathroom and gave that tick a close-up viewing. Hmmm, looked more like a little skin-tag thingie to my very near-sighted, uncorrected eyeballs. No wonder she was trying to hide yesterday.

Friday, April 20, 2007


It is Friday and sunny. It is getting warmer outside and the dog is begging for a walk and I will succumb, but not until I have done my morning surfing.

The internet is truly a strange and amazing place. Take the business of public photo hosting. Who would have thought a few years ago that so many people would hang intimate views of their lives in virtual space for any browser to see? From the viewing standpoint, it is addicting. I waste far too much time clicking through the shots put up on Flickr as part of their 365 Day project, where bloggers post a self-portrait every day for a year.

For a people watcher like me, this is akin to mainlining good junk - and it's free. Except that nothing is really free. But I get sucked in on a regular basis. And of course, with time, I begin to "know" some of the participants, and even look forward to seeing what pose or place they will feature next. Some, on the other hand, go for the "standard" look. Like the person who's link I am posting here.

To experience the true depth of this site, you have to actually read the comments under his daily photos. Just looking at the pictures is not going to do it.

Have fun.

Thursday, April 19, 2007


Here's another one from the sunny side of the bed.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Nothin Special

I keep meaning to leave little bread crumbs, so I can find my way back, or you can find your way forward, but wait, that's awfully pretentious, thinking that I am moving forward. I am moving, but which way is not clear. Or, perhaps it is everything else that is moving and I am not. I don't know. Do you?

Things around me moved to Duluth over the weekend. I caused that to happen because there was an extra special poker game there on Saturday night. You remember my story of the poker games and all who partake? Well, one of the old timers, who like me, moved south to the big city many years ago was making one of her rare trips north and there was a commemorative gathering planned because it was her birthday.

Now, this was someone whom I had not seen for some time. We had zigged and zagged over the years in our poker comings and goings. I kind of kept up on her activities through others who kept in better touch. She and her partner had a child late in life as those things go, then she found out she had breast cancer. Now it was time to get together, so I left my children to fend for themselves for a night and made the world move past me until I was in my old home town.

It was also a time to visit with my mother. She is alone in the old house now and we don't see enough of one another. Her dance card was open as it turns out and we went to an old supper club up the shore of the big lake. The restaurant had recently gone through a re-birth and was now decked out with a new look, new staff, new menu, and still the old beautiful view of our inland sea.

I can't remember the last time I had my mother all to myself at dinner. It was nice and we enjoyed a slow dinner of food we would never make for ourselves. Conversation flowed with the slow tempo of the placid waters outside the windows. A sip of wine, a bit of thought. Memories pulled from hidden places. Shared loneliness and a longing for things that were.

In time, we were done and made our winding way back along the lakeshore. Then it was time for me to have the world change its gears and move me to my old crew of poker players. Upon arriving, I found a full table that in time split into two - the testicles and the ovaries. For the first time that I can remember, there were more ovaries than testicles. After a while, I lobbied to sit at the ovary table because my luck sucked with the testicles.

As it turned out, the game shed a few players and we all moved to one table. From there, I can't remember a lot of specifics. I won and I lost if one were to count cards and hands, but I wasn't - counting, that is. I was being. I was in the company of friends.

Those of us with cancer compared notes and hair (or the lack of it). We moaned about the medical bureaucracy and the soullessness of the healthcare system. We also lauded our personal oncologists and compared notes on all other minutiae of the cancer train.

Then, it was late and we all stumbled our way home (or what passed for it). I tossed and turned on a bed that was not "mine" and in the morning, made my way back south to see where my children had hidden the bodies.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Cue Ball

OK, I did it. I couldn't stand the "stubble feel. So now, I am sporting a fine razor rash over most of the left side of my head. On the up side, I can wear my beret without worrying about it mussing up my hair. And while I am on the subject of hair, let me tell you why my recent experience argues against the existence of a kind and loving supreme being.

You see, in a world created and watched over my such a kind and loving consciousness, when your hair started falling out due to treatments like chemo, the first stuff to go would be those black tree trunks growing out of the tops of your ears. Next would be those hairs you find when you look in the mirror at some fancy reception. You know the ones. The ones that look like the hawsers off the Queen Mary that magically appeared hanging out of your nose. And all that time, you thought she was fascinated with what you were saying.

Next would be the melting of those unwanted love handles as your molested constitution shifted body mass around, producing those sculpted washboard bellies that stare at you out of the Sunday papers advertising underwear.

Then there is the issue of snow in April when I took my snow tires off on an eighty degree day in March. Somebody's just fucking with me.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

A Quickie

It is so nice to wake up and WANT a cup of coffee. That's the first sign that I have turned the corner. So, it was up before the sun crested the surrounding hills, walk the dog, collect the fat Sunday paper, make the coffee, and sense the beginning of the day.

The bare oak trees that surround me are full of wood ducks. It is so strange to see ducks sitting way up in the tree branches like that. Sometimes there are wild turkeys roosting in the trees which looks even more strange. The ducks are waiting for the sun to hit them and start to warm them up, not to mention that the pond is frozen over again and needs the early day's heat to melt some clear spots.

As you can see from the picture, I have a temporary solution to the loss of body heat from a non-insulated skull. I remembered that the SIL who used to make me custom shirts produced a matching doo-rag for one of them out of excess material. It's a little large. I think she used a basketball as a template, but it will suffice.

Hope your holiday (if it is one for you) passes pleasantly. I will enjoy the solitude here at home while my children pay respects at the in-laws. Finally, they are good for something. LOL.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Dilemma Decided

So, I went for the trim - kind of.

As you can see, the trim was done with all of the attachments removed which resulted in a uniform hair length that can now me measured in angstroms. My head is freezing. I need a tea cosy. Every time I have done this in the past, I have followed up this step with a razor, paste wax, and a polishing rag. Every time I have caught a cold.

I was hoping that the weather would get warmer before this step had to be taken but this morning in my miasma, I looked down to see ever increasing signs of shedding - and it wasn't the color of the dog. So, as I have done in the past when I felt at odds with the world, I took a dramatic step in the area of personal folicular management. It is after all, a renewable resource.

I haven't decided if I will resort to shaving the pate. It requires a bit of a commitment and I always nick the tip of the rather largish bump on the back of my skull just above the jade pillow spot. I suppose that those who shave their heads on a regular basis have electric razors that do this, but I am old fashioned in this respect and would have to make do with a regular old blade razor. I had it done once in a barber shop with a straight razor and I must say, that gave me a bit of a pause.

Anyway, I wanted to drop a line and let you know that I am still here - with a cold head.

Friday, April 06, 2007


Six hours of chemo today. Motionless in a barco lounger chair tied to a bunch of plastic bags with plastic tubes all running into my arm via a pump that goes "wheeze-sigh, wheeze-sigh" over and over again. This is what I look like now. Sitting at home, sucking on a beer. I will basically be useless for the next 36 hours, so for those of you out there who have been planning on having their way with me, now is your chance. I am basically helpless.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Frozen HNT

I haven't played in a while, but had to do a self portrait for Flickr's 365 Project, so as the old adage says "A bush in the hand is worth getting stoned." Or something like that.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Thank You

I would like to say thank you to all of you who sent me best wishes (and more) on this day. I am sitting in my bedroom as I write this after soundly thumping my daughter in cribbage (skunked her the last game, tho she claims she let me win because it's my BD - haw). I spent the day being a parent and indulging myself in some of my favorite things.

On the parental side, I had to go grocery shopping because we were out of food. I also did up the week's menu so I could make a shopping list, but the prime motivator was that I was out of yogurt which I needed to make bread and bread is my life's staff. While the rest of the world is going carb free, I stick to my homemade bread for a fair portion of my days nutrition. It starts me off and sometimes is my only sustenance until dinner.

I also made homemade spaghetti sauce. My daughter said that her new boyfriend wanted to come over for spaghetti and since I like it so much, and since it is cold and rainy here, I thought I would make up a batch. He couldn't make it tonight, but maybe later this week.

I also picked out a very nice bottle of wine for dinner - a 97 brunello that is truly wonderful. I have a taste of it here beside me as I write.

For those of you who are curious, I posted pictures of this evenings events on Flickr (click the images on the sidebar to go there). It has been a nice day.

The kids gave me a 7'x7' crossword puzzle (where did they think I would hang it up?). My SIL and BIL gave me a T-shirt and a CD that both relate to a local acoustic music stage. Very thoughtful.

My other SIL in Duluth gave me three of the Armistead Maupin books on "Tales of the City" which I look forward to reading. So, all I need now is a complete body massage and a good lay and my day will be complete. Even without the latter, I cannot complain.

Thanks to all. Love, P.