Category Archives: Uncategorized

Mother’s Day!

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We had such a wonderful Mother’s Day yesterday!  Everyone pitched in and made food (well, I didn’t, see below) and Linda and Jennifer planned and pulled it all together.

The day started with picking Jen up and taking her to run her errands. It was so nice to be able to spend time with her. Because she is taking me to my radiation treatments, I am getting to see her everyday and we chatter all the way over and back. But Kevin doesn’t get to see her much and he was the one to suggest that we pick her up.

We had dinner at Linda and Bill’s house and it was so nice to have everyone (well everyone but Max who spent the day with his Mother. I totally understand but I missed him!) We got there at noon and dinner wasn’t until 3pm so we had plenty of time to chat and catch up. I usually go up to Linda’s every Thursday and Linda, Mom and I go out shopping but I haven’t been able to go much in the last month and a half. It was nice to spend time with everyone. Dinner was delicious! We had ribs cooked on the BBQ, asparagus, baby squash, potato salad, macaroni salad, fruit, rolls, tossed green salad and a gorgeous cake for dessert. Yum!!

The past few days have been hard because I have been very tired and weak. Not sleepy but just bone tired. It is the chemo drugs and will probably get worse. It is hard to get anything done because I wear out so fast. Sunday wore me out but I wouldn’t have missed it for the world!!

It is wonderful to still have my Mom around for Mother’s Day. She will be turning 100 on May 24th and she had the best time Sunday. I went out on her deck (she lives with Linda and Bill) and she showed me all she had done with her plants. She loves to garden. It occurred to me this morning that none of us took a picture all day. Not sure why we didn’t think of it.

Well, that was our day. The next time we will be getting together will be for the birthdays at the end of the month. We celebrate them all together because they are all within 6 days of each other. This one is obviously going to be very special because of my Mom turning 100 so we are planning a very nice dinner and then a BBQ the next day. My niece and her family are coming out to celebrate with us and we haven’t seen them in a very long time so that will be so exciting!

Dana

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It Has a Name…..

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As a lot of you know, yesterday we went to Seattle to find out the pathology (a name for this tumor) and what the next steps will be. We didn’t get the news we were hoping for in that this is a very aggressive form (a glioblastoma) and that it is a fast grower. The doctor thinks it has only been there for 3-4 months. I certainly did not notice anything until I lost the peripheral vision and I went right in. So, shit.

I have an appointment on Monday with the oncologist and they will be starting treatment right away. I still don’t know what to expect with any treatment but we will move forward and find out. I think we are all pretty numb still but today is easier than yesterday. Kevin stayed home and it was just us today and that has been really wonderful; just what we needed.

I wanted to let all you know what is going on not because I am feeling full of myself and think everyone must know but because I think you do and that makes all this easier. I’m sure I will blog this whole thing but it won’t be all just about cancer. I do have other interests!!  Haha I am going to tag you so you know and then I promise I will try not to again, this pops up on my facebook page so you can find them there,

I will try to be my usual cheerful self tomorrow. This is all so damn hard, not for me but for what it is doing to my poor family. I told them all how sorry I was but they don’t understand why I am saying it. That will always be the hardest thing on me, to watch my family be so scared and unhappy.

The fight begins

 

Dana

 

Monday 4/14/14

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This will be a big week for “going forward”. Not that last week wasn’t big too…yikes but I am hoping to get going on the fight rather than just recovering from the surgery part.

I have an appointment on tuesday in Seattle with my surgeon but also with a nurse that will be a big part of my team. We are all writing down questions for her so we don’t get there and forget in the excitement. I expect I will need to see an oncologist before treatment will start but I think this will be the begining of all that too. So many qestions to be asked of course.  I haven’t ever gone through this or known anyone who did. I had thyroid cancer in 1990 but they just took it out and sent me home. When the surgeon said that most brain cancers come from someplace else rather than originating in the brain, everyone figured they will find it camefrom my thyroid but that is not the case, it apparently started in the brain. My surgeon was hoping  to know where it came from and seemed disappointed that he didn’t. I’m sure that it is a treatment thing but I saw it as not having cancer in 2 places. That is one of my questions to him, why is that important. And aof corse you poor people will have to read through a blog post as to why…hehehe. I find all this stuff interesting and always have. Doesn’t matter if it is me going through it or someone else, I am the first to ask questions and I google everything. While I wish this had not happened (mostly because of what it is doing to my poor family) I will enjoy the learning of it.

Because I am anticipating loosing my hair, (I’m not looking for trouble but the karma from all the warm olive oil and conditioner I have lovingly rubbed in over the past 50+ years…it is a joke in my family how I have taken care of my waist length hair). I finally googled chemo caps and found there are many many websites with patterns and so I am going to make myself some but I am also going to make a bunch to take with me to the treatment center. Not everyone sews and I think it might be a good and therapeutic thing to do for others. I will have to probably make some that are dignified but most will be wild gorgeous colors like when I make Kevin’s welding hats ( something else that is legendary at my house, he has well over 300 and all of the flashy bright cheerful colors). I am looking forward to doing it.

Well, I guess I will close for now. I must say again how I have been so touched by how people have responded to what I am going through. I love getting all the messages and it has and will help.  It totally makes my day!!  I will try to get back to the posts about knitting and whatnot but this has been so helpful for me to write. More than you will know, so thanks for reading it.

Dana

This is my Mom. On May 24th she will be 100 years old! Yesterday we got out all her pots that winter over in the garage and she is cleaning one of them in this shot. She lives here with my sister and it has been nice to spend extra time with her while I am recuperating.  She has enjoyed it too.

This is my Mom. On May 24th she will turn 100 years old! Yesterday we got out all her pots that winter over in the garage and she is cleaning one of them in this shot. She lives here with my sister and it has been nice to spend extra time with her while I am recuperating. She has enjoyed it too.

04/12/14 – What Started This All

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It occurred to me tonight that I haven’t really said what happened to start all this in motion. I have said what is going on and that it was sudden (yeah, that is an understatement).

It started on last Tuesday evening. I was just about finished with work and I reached kind of behind me to grab the phone and realized that as my hand went past my face to the right, my hand disappeared. Ok, that was weird… so I slowed it down, holding my hand to the right of my head and moving it back (your peripheral vision) to see how much was gone. Turned out that even before I got to my face, my hand was missing. Ok, very weird…but I am not a panicky type so what I did was to get online with Group Health (out HMO insurance) and make an appointment with my eye doctor. I was convinced (really!! I’m not making light og it, I really was) that I would go, he would say take these eye drops and I would be home. I did mention the missing hand thing on the online form and they called the next morning to set up the appointment. They seemed much more concerned than I had about this but honestly, I still didn’t think it would be anything bad or that couldn’t be fixed with eye drops. I got an appointment for 4pm and that was it. I worked that day and the missing sight bugged me a little of course but I made some adjustments and that was it. Can I mention that I drove myself to the doctor? Yes…well…ok, this was more challenging. We live in a very small town and we have no 3-4 lane roads, just 2 lane. It wasn’t until I got to Silverdale (WA) where there are double lanes that I realized that this would be a problem with driving and I should have taken Jennifer up on her offer to drive. I had to change lanes to get into the doctors office and had to completely turn way back to make sure that no one was beside me. I did it but you know, that eye doctor would be giving me drops so this will go away so I happily parked and went in.

I have a really good eye doctor and he did lots of tests. I told him it was probably just something for drops and he looked in there, went out of the room, looked in again etc etc. He is very patient. He finally came back and told me that this wasn’t my eyes. Wait…what. Of course it is. Silly doctor. He thought I might be having a little stroke. Wait…what? Silly doctor. nd he said I need to get up to the emergency room and who could take me. Wait…what…I have my car….. OK, I called my sister who doesn’t live far and she came. We went up and they were expecting us. It was at this time that I noticed the concerned faces around me and I got thinking this might be more serious than I thought. I tend to blow things off and roll with the punches. Maybe this was going to be something I couldn’t blow off and that tends to get my attention a little.

By now, the family is beginning to trickle in one by one and they are taking me for a cat scan. I have to say here that while I am seeing concerned faces, I am laughing and joking with the doctors and nurses (who, on hindsight, must think I am either faking or nuts). I don’t get upset by medical stuff having been through a lot in my life. So I am having a cat scan but joking with them about my head being empty….

So the results come back and this I remember pretty clearly. A nice doctor came in and said that they had found a mass on the back of my brain. Wait…….what…wtf….but I talked to him, I asked questions, I laughed and said well that is a bother but I held it together. He told me he had ordered an ambulance and they would be taking me to Virginia Mason Hospital (I could type in wait..what again but you must know that is coming and continues to this day).  I do have to say at this point that I never really get upset about things and I am very cheerful but the second that door shut I threw both hands over my mouth and screamed and started to cry. I do have to say that I did this silently as I could because I didn’t want to disturb both my family or the other patients but it was such a strong feeling to just scream and scream that I had to do something. But my family, who is not used to this kind of behavior out f me must have been shocked. Linda later said I went from a cheerful bird to screaming in a second and I feel bad about that. Honestly, it was never on my radar to ever get such news and I simply broke down. I could not have stopped it and I think it probably helped. But I did it all silently and looking back, it was a weird moment in my life. By the time the doctor came back with the trips plans all nailed down, I’m sure he could tell I had cried but I was back to being a cheerful bird and remain so pretty much through it. Don’t get me wrong, I have cried, sometimes in the middle of sentence (OFTEN when reading the posts on face book). It would be crazy not to cry and I do so.

So that was last Wednesday and here I am on Friday night (well. I guess it is Saturday morning) and I haven’t gone home yet. I never got to make plans. Before I left for Seattle, I got Jen to make a list of what to bring to the hospital, what to feed to what bird and fish, that she will have to find my passwords and pay the bills (do you get the idea that I am fully in charge of everything at home…I am and please don’t you let yourself get to this point  yourself, delegate now and make a list of what each pet eats). I could tell Jennifer was very upset but her thumbs flew over her phone and she took down everything I was spewing forth. Kevin and Mom kept saying it will be ok, just lay back down but I had to get it all out because I am truly the only one who knew and and it was important to me.

So here we are. I was so lucky to get a wonderful doctor assigned as my surgeon and he will be with me a long time. I have to say that Virginia Mason Hospital in Seattle is the best. They were and are concerned for my well being but what means the most to me is that they were also concerned about my family and took such good care of them. That means a lot to a control freak who suddenly has to maybe pay attention to her health a little….whatever…

Thanks again for listening. I tend to get long and rambley with my writing but it is me. I will keep up the updates. for those brave souls who wish to follow along. The future of treatment still holds a bit of the unknown and in the middle of the night gets scary. On the upside, I have more than a little weight to loose and expect it will be coming off…along with my precious long hair but that is for another blog post…hehehe. Something for you all to look forward too

 

Dana

 

Update – 04/11/14

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It has been about a week since I said “I’m having surgery to remove a mass in my head” until now. Lot’s has happened since then and I thought I would update.

It is weird in the online world to ever know if someone is reading this or if anyone could possibly care about the update of a perfect stranger. I think about it a lot when I write a blog post but even more now I guess. I love to write and I am an open honest person who loves to read blog posts, especially those who are written about people’s everyday lives. Maybe I am just nosey.  So, in the absence of knowing if anyone is interested, I will just forge ahead assuming all are! Yes, I know that is crazy. Such is the online world.

So, I have had surgery on the back of my head and even though we haven’t had the formal meeting to tell us of the pathology we do know it was/is cancer. Pretty darn scary stuff but I am not the kind of person to fall apart and feel sorry for myself so I am forging ahead and am ready to do battle. It might be good to say what kind of person I am right now. Most who read my blog (those brave few) know that I knit and spin. They know we have a new truck after trying to duct tape the poor old truck together for years and that I love to write. They have read about the fiber shows I have gone to and my chihuahua. And tat I love all things Disney. I am also an exceedingly happy cheerful and strong person. I think this will help in the months of therapy to come. I hope I can help others who may be going through this too, not because I know it all but because I think a lot of people when scared often just need someone to say “hey, I am going through this too and I care a lot, lets just chat”.

I have been online reading others facebook posts and blogs for years and have, until recently, been a lurker. When all this happened, I decided maybe it would be good to stop lurking and just talk so I posted my update on facebook. I have a lot of people who I follow and who follow me and so I posted what was going on. Most of these people I know only on facebook by name although some of my precious Disney friends I have met at the PNW MouseMeet. Well boy was I honored, amazed, surprised and humbled by the outpouring of support I got.I can’t tell you how it helped and will help in my recovery. I have gotten private messages from people to tell me that they have gone through this too and what I can expect. Everyday since I opened up, I have cried because of the love flowing out of my little laptop. And I don’t dry often! This is a world which I will rely on and I do so hope that I can help someone myself through their journey.  I think this kind of support is going to be as important to me as any medicine. I stop and think about it often durng the day and I hope these wonderful people will read this blog and know what a HUGE HUGE difference it has and will make to me. I keep thanking them and they are probably getting tired of hearing it but I am going to keep saying it because it is that powerful to me. One of the other things about an online life but especially facebook is when to tag and when is it weird and to do so so that people don’t think I am trying to just get readership…I am not.  So when this gets posted to facebook, I am going to tag people. If you really don’t want me to, PLEASE let me know and I will stop. I just don’t know what the protocol is on such things and I will always assume this might be interesting to someone but do know that the last thing I want to do is flood your facebook with silly “tags”.

I guess this is enough for now. It is 2am on friday morning and I had to take some pills (holey cats, how can they give out so many pills!!) and I should go to bed. I have been staying with my wonderful sister since surgery and have been getting totally spoiled. I really want to be home but for now, I need to be here and Kevin needs to be at work and my being here lets him do that.

Thanks so much for listening and I will be blogging much more but not just about this. I will get back to spinning (which I did this morning and was thrilled to find that I still could) and knitting. The knitting is harder, I was working on this gorgeous pink lace sock and the pattern was just too hard to follow for now so Linda found me some yarn, large needles and a simple sock pattern and I am off and knitting again. It is great therapy.

Dana

A Look Back: Behind the Scenes of the Re-imagined “it’s a small world” at Disneyland Park « Disney Parks Blog

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A Look Back: Behind the Scenes of the Re-imagined “it’s a small world” at Disneyland Park « Disney Parks Blog.

 

This is a great behind the scenes look at the refurbishment of Small World 5 years ago.

Wool Dyeing Experiments

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I have been dyeing a lot of wool since that fiasco before. By the way, that actually turned out to be pretty nice yarn and I made a hat out of it. It had a lot of gray in it which is from not using the color wheel properly but I still liked it.

Recently I bought a lot more dye from Dharma Trading Co (it was on sale) so I could try different color combinations. I know you can make any color using just red, yellow and blue but that take a lot o more color theory training than I have! I did buy 2 primaries this time to see how it goes but haven’t used them yet.

My first experiment was a mix of Sapphire blue, burgundy and periwinkle. These were all Jacquard acid dyes. I wanted to try a mix of all over color like I did before but these were carefully chosen to not turn muddy where they came together. This was a very successful dye job and I am thrilled with the results.

Finished blue yarn. Not perfect but getting there. I haven't decided what I am going to make with it.

Finished blue yarn. Not perfect but getting there. I haven’t decided what I am going to make with it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This week I decided to try a 3 color dye, dyed separately so I could blend them together on my blending board. I’m not very good a reading directions, preferring to just dive in and let the chips fall where they may. I used my 3 pot crockpot and after soaking the wool (about 4 ounces, divided into 3 hanks and tied with yarn to hold it together) I added a teaspoon of Dharma Trading Co acid dyes in Peach Blush, Duckling and Lichen. I had soaked the wool in a bowl of water with 1 ½ cups of vinegar. I got it all put together and turned on the crockpot and when to work (not a unsafe as it seems, I work from home)

The resulting wool was MUCH darker than I expected from the pictures on the website but they were really wonderful fall colors. I have them blended and am spinning them now. I am very pleased with the colors but they were so much darker than I thought they should be so I decided that maybe it was time to read the directions all the way through. OK, maybe I added too much dye.

The first darker batch of wool.

The first darker batch of wool.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the blending board

On the blending board

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The rolags that I am spinning from

The rolags that I am spinning from

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So yesterday I did the math (their figures are based on a pound of wool or yarn) and found that I should have used a ¼ teaspoon of dye…. So back to the crockpot!

I did everything the same on this, used the same colors so I could see the difference and the same amount of wool. The difference was amazing. They colors are very much like the pictures on the website and very nice spring colors!!  I think I will blend these too so that I have a firm comparison.

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That got me to thinking about the color range you could achieve with just one dye color. I realize that this is probably not rocket science and that for people who dye all the time, well they probably already know this. But for beginners, this might be a huge deal; it was for me.

So this morning I got the 3 pot crockpot back out (seriously, this is the handiest thing for dying small batches and not having to hang over a pot for hours!) and put labels next to each pot with ¼ teaspoon, ½ teaspoon and 1 teaspoon. I am using Dharma Trading Co acid dye in “Fire Engine Red”.  I used 6 ounces of wool this time (South African corriedale) so I have 2 ounces in each pot.

Fast forward a few hours and I have 3 – 2 ounces lengths of red wool. The color change isn’t as strong as I thought it would be originally. I do like it and will certainly be able to use it for something.  I have some light patches and it may be because 1) I didn’t soak the wool as long as I usually do. I am going to start soaking over night from now on and 2) I think the size of the 3 small pots is too small for this much wool. Before this I was using 4 ounces total and the dyed wool was much more evenly colored.

Three shades "Fire Engine Red"

Three shades “Fire Engine Red”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope this might encourage you to try dyeing wool or yarn. It is so fun to do and so satisfying to knit something from yarn you dyed and spun yourself!

Tomorrow I am going to Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle with my daughter and her husband. I hope to have some pictures by Monday or Tuesday.

Enjoy!

Smokey Sausage, Kale & Sweet Potato Soup …

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MAKE A 15 MINUTE SENSATION – [[MORE]] Smokey Sausage, Kale & Sweet Potato Soup ….

I first made this soup in November and have made it many many times since then. I start with the basic soup but almost always add something extra or different. Tonight I added a can of kidney beans and I chopped up a pound of asparagus and threw it in. It makes a really great, hearty soup. I have also made it with beef broth and strips of beef as the meat (I think I added a can of diced tomatoes to that too). It occurred to me as I was making it tonight that I should share this recipe with everyone.

Enjoy!!

Dana

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Kevin’s New Truck

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Wow, I have really been neglecting my blog lately. No excuses, just very busy. So, what has been going on in my life? Well…

The other day when I was making the payment on the truck it occurred to me that I have never blogged about it, especially when I blogged about Kevin’s old truck before.

We were going on a cruise in November (it was a splurge for our 40th anniversary) but because of an emergency in April, we had to cancel.  So, we thought that maybe we would run down to Disneyland and have our anniversary trip there (anything so long as it is Disney!!) Well, we were 2 weeks away from the trip when I get a call from Kevin saying he is broken down and has called for AAA. This is the same truck in this blog     so I always dread getting these calls. It took AAA 3 hours to come get him and we had it towed to Midas. The Midas here in town is the only place we have found that actually still knows how to work on old trucks (this is a 1977 chevy). The Next day we got the bad news, the engine was gone, things that should be moving in there just weren’t. This is the news we didn’t want to hear. There comes a time when you just can’t put any more money into an old truck, no matter how good a truck it has been.  My whole family has used this old truck for years and it had given very good service for many good years.

So…what to do. I have to point out here that the last car we had payments on was a brand new 1974 Datsun truck that we got about a year after we got married, mostly because Kevin was going into the Air Force and I wanted a car that was reliable. This was not the truck, it was NOT reliable at all and I had it in the shop a lot. But that was the last car we made payments on. Since then, we have paid cash and bought cars we could afford even thought they were not very new. We knew this time that maybe it would be good to buy a newer truck that might last into our retirement (10 years, so it might be pushing it a little…). I gave Kevin a budget to stay under and everyone started looking online for the perfect truck. I had a few things I wanted, the most important that it have less than 40,000 miles A few days later, Kevin called from work and said he had found the truck. I could tell from his voice that he was in love…

The ad he sent was a gorgeous truck, a blue crew cab with 4 wheel drive and ALL the bells and whistles. I called him right back and told him that it was certainly a beautiful truck but it was considerably above the budget I had given him and the payments would be too high. By this time he had already called and told them we would be there the next day, asked questions about it and was told that it would be no problem to keep the payment at what I wanted….I could see that this was a done deal before he even climbed in.

On Saturday we all climbed in Max’s truck and went over to see it. And it was beautiful and it was WAY more than any car we have ever had. It had bells and whistles that we didn’t know cars even had these days. And it was comfortable. And it drove beautifully (it is a 2010 and had been taken very good care of by the former owner) It had not been smoked in (cigarette smoke is one of the things that gets my asthma going). And did I mention the stereo? That’s what sold me. This thing has a stereo system that is just amazing. The sound wraps around you and seeps into your soul. And this was just with the radio playing (it is way better with the MP3 player plugged in). It also has a “sync system” that not only plays the radio and MP3 player by talking to the car, Kevin can sync his phone with it and so is completely hands free. We didn’t know cars did this but we drive old cars.

So, we have a new truck. The first thing we did after buying it (which was a whole new level of scary) we drove it up to my sister’s house so everybody could see it and we all went for a ride. My Mom loved it (she is 99 years old) and wanted to drive it herself!   And we made them close all the doors so we could play them the stereo. Not sure they were as impressed as we are with it but they were amazed that the car talked to Kevin. Once a week it (actually “she”, you can choose between a woman’s voice or a man’s) asks if he wants it to e-mail him a car report….

I don’t get to ride in it much and I have yet to drive it but Kevin is truly in love. Almost every time he gets out of it he says “isn’t it a beautiful truck? And that is worth the many many years of payments to come!It is a really big truck and I am use to driving my small flat 92 Camaro. I moved it across the drive way because Jen was coming over and I had to sit on the front edge of the seat so I could reach the pedals and I could barely see over the hood. It does have adjustments for the seat and the pedals move out towards you but I didn’t want to change Kevin’s setting for a 50 trip. I probably should drive it sometime.

So that’s it. Oh, the old truck? Kevin gave it to a guy at work and he is going to fix it so he has an old truck to haul things in. I was glad we didn’t have to just haul it to the car dump.

Here is a picture:

Isn't it beautiful?!

Isn’t it beautiful?!