December 30, 2008

Would You Like A Little Cheese With That?

Whine on.
I am so tired. All the time. I don't feel like doing one thing. No reading, no cooking, no scrapbooking, no photography, no blogging. We have been at the mercy of our winter weather, feet of snow now being melted by buckets of rain which, when coupled with freezing temperatures, turns every surface into a skating rink overnight. We've been stuck in this house together, three of us sick with pretty good bronchial crap, me PMSing and waiting for my new synthetic hormones to kick in, feeling so gloomy and so freaking TIRED.
Whine off. Whew.

We had a lovely, small, quiet Christmas. Santa delivered the coveted MP3 player for Claire and the Pokemon Electivire Action Figure with special foil trading card for Ben. We stayed in our pajamas all day and ate junk food and I took a very long nap in the afternoon. Very Norman Rockwell in our snow-covered farmhouse with a tendril of smoke curling up out of the chimney.

Then "we" lost the Nintendo DS with the new Pokemon Ranger game in it. The house was combed top to bottom. Claire's room even got dusted (gasp!) because we had to clean it to look for the DS. Mark went through all the garbage since Christmas, all the pockets of every coat and inside every shoe and boot. This morning he said we needed to stop being so exotic in our search and go back to the basics because really, where the hell could it have gone? INSIDE the couch. Not under the cushions or beneath it, but inside of it, and it's not a hide-a-bed. Pulled the stapled netting off from underneath and out plunked the DS. Mark left for work with a smile on his face and guess what Ben is doing?

And yes, we really are leaving for Germany in 2 weeks. Just turning off the lights and walking away. And no one is "sprechening" much deutsch around here. The institute (I love calling it that, although I guess I shouldn't giggle about it too much considering my current mental state!) has awarded us a german tutor upon arrival, so that should help in communicating with the german medical system about filling the prescriptions I have to take everyday for the rest of my life and finding a good potato bread that Ben will eat! The rest is just details.

I'm planning to give the blog a little face lift in anticipation of our time in Europe, something along the lines of "Kaydub Does Deutschland" perhaps? Because 2009 is going to be my year, I can feel it in my bones. No more of the torture that was 2008; I'm gonna let it shine.

Happy New Year Y'all.

December 22, 2008

Snowed-in With Friends

By Mark

I've finally lost track of accumulated snow. 11 then 4 then 6 then 8 then some more. It's a bunch and the drift on the far side of the pass after Saturday's wind was a bit too much to attempt even with chains on the big rig.

It may sound a bit saccharin but I wouldn't want to be snowed in without my best friend and sweet love, especially since her radio iodine has finally dissipated to french kiss levels.

Claire got to be snowed in with her best friend too, and they have been making the most of the occasion.

Oh, the wonder of it all.

December 20, 2008

A Heartfelt I Love You

Today I have been married to this guy for 22 years, the kind of guy that would sit in a vinyl chair at the hospital for 2 days working sudoku puzzles just so I didn't have to be alone. Happy Anniversary Babe. I love you. And as soon as my mouth is no longer radioactive, I will be expecting the biggest smooch of the century.

It was quite the snowy adventure but we made it to Spokane and back home yesterday. We have many inches of snow here, but they have many FEET. It was impressive to say the least. My scan went well; I have a hot spot where my thyroid used to be and two small spots in my sinuses. When I go in for the next RAI scan in six months, they will be able to determine if those hot spots were wiped out by this round of radiation. I began my second hormone pill this morning and am expecting to feel fabulous any time now!

We're laying low and waiting for our next storm to begin later tonight. We are predicted another 3 to 7 inches of snow with 20 mph wind gusts tomorrow. Claire and Mark are in town getting gas for the snow blower and picking up Emily so she can be snowed in with us for a couple of days. It is so beautifully bright out today; the sun is shining in clear blue skies, but I can't even share a picture for fear of searing your eyeballs. Suffice it to say, it's a proverbial winter wonderland and we'll definitely be enjoying a white Christmas.

December 18, 2008

Dear Mother Nature

We're sorry. Would you like to come in for a cup of cocoa?

A special little elf hid these tiny festively wrapped chocolates for us to find after her departure. That little elf escaped our snow only to become stuck in Vegas since yesterday afternoon. My brother Zach is flying from Denver to Houston today to attend my brother Ray's college graduation tomorrow, so I know she's getting anxious. Good luck mom; it's the biggest reason why we don't try to leave home and take to the friendly skies this time of year!

We here on the farm are in our 24th hour of snow. Our state highway is closed to town. The kids are home from school and are probably beginning their winter break right about now. The hospital has me on stand-by for my body scan; as soon as the weather breaks we are heading to Spokane with the intention of maybe not getting back home for a while. The radiation that's been emitting from my body will eventually degrade and we might miss the opportunity for pictures. Can you say have to do this again? No way. We WILL make it to Spokane.

And to our friend Wendy who will be managing the homestead while we're away, we say "hang in there baby, it's not always this way, we promise!" And really, when you change your perspective and look at it in a different way, being snowed in is a gift of time, one that many of us may never have the pleasure of experiencing.

And then there's always the room service....

December 15, 2008

Sofa King

By Mark

We were Sofa King (say it fast) snowed in Sunday. But, it was light and fluffy, just what the snow blower likes. The grader busted through the pass late in the day. Though he didn't linger to make it pretty, it was plenty functional. Bob stopped by with Brian's plow and busted the big drift across the driveway, mostly for fun because I had blown a path through it already. Then we chained her up and busted a path up to the old place so one of his hands could move in. All in all a perfect Sunday, all play and no work!

Here are a few more of the pics if it isn't cold enough at your place to get ya in the spirit of the season. Feels like minus something out there tonight but the stars,,, oh my,,, the stars are wow.

December 13, 2008

No need to travel

By Mark

Kristi is still amazingly radioactive and winter finally came with a full force blizzard so there really isn't any need to go anywhere.

This is our new Radiation Safety Officer. I have been relieved of my duties by this young upstart. I can't get the counter out of his hands.

This is what it looked like from the door to the studio if the patient sat on the bed. FYI it sounds like somebody is torturing a lot of crickets.

The kids have learned the two most important rules of dealing with radioactivity,, time and distance. Keep time short and distance long. We even spent a little time talking about exponential functions, twice as close is four times the radioactivity. Kristi went to the basement and we were able to track her movements through the floor with the geiger counter. Great fun.

Yup,, that is as close to a foot as we get in half a day around here. This was measured in the open driveway before the wind started. It's legit! By the way the wind is blowing out there I'm sure we will be able to bury a yard stick by morning in the right spot.

The snow is too dry for snowmen and snowballs, but just right for sledding and drifting.

Me and my snow gal spent a lot of time playing. We even got the old snowmobile running and used it to pack down the big run. Bet we have to do it again in the morning,, bummer.

Hello From the Hot Zone

I am still quite radioactive, but dropping quickly, and the family is having a good time tracking my progress with the geiger counter. My pillow, my toothbrush, and my coffee mug are singing the most, well in addition to MY WHOLE BODY! Unfortunately, I don't feel very well today. Woke up and took my first dose of hormone replacement, had a nice breakfast and then spent a little time worshipping that old porcelain god. I am tired and cold and have been nursing a swell headache for days on end, but at least my food choices have been returned to me and I am savoring my mom's yummy gumbo. The weather here is frightful and beautiful, pretty near a foot of snow on the ground and the wind is blowing hard. So very excited to wake up tomorrow and see how our landscape has been transformed. I am isolated in my studio, so I'm working on Christmas presents (they'll have a little extra brightness this year lol!) and watching DVD's on the old laptop. I'll be posting pictures soon, but I need to wait until I'm a little less toxic to touch the camera. Hope you're enjoying your weekend.

December 11, 2008

The girl is hot tonight

by Mark

Kristi is currently really hot. I mean 100mCi hot. She was giving off almost 100 mRem/hr if you stood next to her. That is more exposure in 20 minutes than I've had in 2o years of research.

Here is our gal in the hot zone.

Everything is prepped for easy decontamination, and this is where most of it is going. Drink up fishes.

Just one little pill. Don't let all the Pb shielding make you nervous, it really is good for you!

We had to be in Spokane by 9am and all she had to do today was take that one pill. She didn't get to finally swallow it until after 2pm. Gotta love hospitals, eh? It did give us some time for a little mischief. We modified the bulletin board with a little white tape. Think anyone will notice?

December 9, 2008

I'm All Aglow

Well, not quite yet, but I'm on my way to the big house for my very large dose of radioactive iodine on Thursday. My first blood draw showed my hormone levels to be well above what is required for treatment and I've been on my diet for almost 2 1/2 weeks already, so the time has come. The nuclear medicine man told me that if I followed all of his directions I would be released around noon on Friday, so I'm planning to be on my very best behavior! He even said I could have a regular old breakfast Thursday morning, whatever I want, but I'm foregoing that in favor of a latte on the way to Spokane. I haven't had one since November 21 and if you know me at all, that's a really long time. I am starting to feel the effects of no thyroid hormone. My mom and I finished my Christmas shopping today (thanks for the playdate Carrie!) and I was exhausted by the time I got halfway through my errands.

Speaking of my mom, thank goodness she's here. We picked her up at the airport last Saturday and immediately drug her out to the forest the next morning in search of a Christmas tree. She was such a good sport, just put her feet into my Ugg boots and off we went. She will be taking over the job of "me" for awhile, for although I will return home on Friday, I will have to be sequestered from my family until December 19th. At that time I will have a body scan, start my hormone replacement therapy and be done with this cancer thing for awhile I hope.

It was of course raining on our expedition, but that did not dampen our spirits and we found the most beautiful tree in the meadow. We even got it home and decorated that night, although the rest of the house will have to wait for my decorative hand a little longer. And yes, I will be putting up the village lest you think I am a cruel parent; Claire and I made a deal that I would put up the houses and she could do everything else. I guess I really am letting go of the control factor this year!

And here are my two beautiful elves under the Christmas tree. I am slowly working on my December Daily album and maybe after I get home and put on my rubber gloves (oh yes, I must wear rubber gloves to touch my computer for a while) I can post a few pages from it. Until then, peace and goodness all around.

December 5, 2008

Beautiful Music

We spent the last evening in our middle school gymnasium listening to the musical goodness of all the children in our school system orchestra, from elementary through high school. They were simply amazing and way, way better than we had anticipated. Thanks to all the wonderful people in the world who love children so much that they will spend their lives teaching them how to make beautiful music. Because it must be really, really hard sometimes.

Here's our girl getting ready to leave for the concert with her viola.

And here she is in the thick of it. The beginning orchestra students got a little miracle when, unbeknown to them, their teacher arranged for the high school strings to accompany them on their songs. It was a delight to watch their little eyes light up when they realized that they were making beautiful music. They all sat up a little straighter and prouder. So sweet.

I am home alone today, all day. Ben is at a friend's, Claire at school, and Mark at work. I'm puttering and listening to music fairly loudly, got a fire going and I'm ready to print pictures and work on my December Daily album. I am feeling such a sense of gratitude for each additional day I get to spend without many symptoms. I feel they may be numbered. But my mom is here tomorrow, WOO HOO, and hopefully I can hold out to go cut a Christmas tree on Sunday.

And HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my friend Shawna. Have a great day girl.

December 2, 2008

Hello world.

I'm crawling out of the turtle shell known as recovery from surgery and looking around for a new shell in which to pass the time of hypothyroidism. I met with my surgeon yesterday; my scar looks fabulous!! and the pathology report confirmed the diagnosis of papillary carcinoma in both lobes of the thyroid. While we were in Spokane, Mark and I took care of most of our Christmas shopping (and don't get mad at me because I'm AHEAD, for cripe's sake I may have to sleep through Christmas!!) and had a pleasant, back-road drive home in the sunshine that burned off our perpetual fog for a few blissful hours. I start tests tomorrow to track the level of Thyroid Stimulating Hormone in my blood so that we may determine when I might enjoy a lovely stay in isolation at the Hotel Sacred Heart in Spokane.

Both of my brothers called me today. I hardly ever talk to them on the phone and then for both of them to call me in the span of a few hours was delicious. My youngest brother Ray is making plans to spend a couple of months touring Europe while we have a home-base for him from which to foray out in Germany. He is graduating with a BA in History later this month and is doing some worldly exploring before entering Law School. My brother Zach called to share with me some most excellent news about which I'll encourage you to let your imagination wander. Suffice it to say they were both little golden sunbeams for me on this most dreary day.

I picked Ben up from Kindergarten today for the first time in a while and I wish I could paint a picture of the relief and joy on his face when he saw me there. Even though I cannot help what's happening to me, it doesn't keep the "mommy" guilt from descending, especially as we're heading into the holiday season. We're keeping things quiet and minimal around here, but Claire absolutely put her foot down when I told her I wasn't planning on setting up the Christmas village this year, claiming it was her very favorite part of it all. So added to Mark's list of "Honey Do's" is fetch the boxes from the basement, it's decoratin' time!

Loving this right now and hoping to participate. Some angel of a mother-in-law left a little gift certificate for me to our local scrapbook store and I might head there tomorrow after blood tests to purchase a few new goodies. Plus I could use a few hugs.

November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Last night I asked everyone to come up with five things that they were grateful for in anticipation of today. Claire excitedly responded that she had just the perfect project for such an occasion and made little "kits" for all of us to use to put together these cute gratitude turkeys.

May you also take a moment to reflect upon all your gratitudes today. There really is so much for which we can be thankful.

November 26, 2008

Overlooked.... Still on Hold

Earlier this spring I bumped into a blog called Those Little Big Things, also known as Overlooked. The gal who created it was encouraging a "One Little Word" thing, but instead of words, she was challenging readers to document subjects in their everyday lives. The first subjects included coffee mugs, collections, the fridge, tv/dvd love, and street signs. I joined the Flickr group associated with the blog and even designed a binder to house all of the subject layouts.

Here's my layout for tv/dvd love.

I loved this project. Then in July she got busy with some other endeavors and although she said she was only taking a short break, she has yet to return. So I thought I could certainly continue on my own, but I realized that what I've been missing are the prompts. I like not having to come up with them on my own, it seems so much more random and real when someone else generates them. So I'm asking my readers to throw me some subjects, any subject about anything in our lives that might render itself interesting when looked back upon in the years to come.

You guys game?

November 24, 2008

Mornin' Y'all

Here I am, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Well, not exactly, but I am showered and dressed and I ate a lovely breakfast of unsalted rice cake with unsalted peanut butter and strawberry jam. Believe me, it's one of my more tasty options! Friends are coming for a visit today and the stitches will be removed tomorrow afternoon. My neck is starting to turn a lovely shade of chartreuse and I'm thinking it will be turtlenecks for me after tomorrow. Talking with the endocrinologist to find out the schedule of my blood draws, and then we just wait.

Thanks everyone, for all your well-wishes and surprises and love. The surgery and recovery were a lot better that I expected, and although I'm pretty tired, I feel human and fairly happy. However, I have to say that was one of the WORST sore throats I've ever had.

Hope the world is treating you right.

November 21, 2008

Home sweet home

So, so good to be home. A comfy bed, a new hat, sweet kids. Thanks all for the love, and flowers, and company, and favorite things, and warm thoughts, and knitting! Kristi will be up and at 'em soon enough, and she is hoping to do a little art before she runs out of thyroid hormone.

November 20, 2008


Here she is. The drain tube just kept on coming and coming, it must've been 6" long. A bit of coffee though and she is back in the saddle.

Well by back in the saddle I mean a tad ornery! She is trying to convince the Doc that she doesn't need to stay and that waiting in the hospital for a blood test they can do in Pullman is ridiculous. You go girl!

November 19, 2008


Things are going pretty slow. Kristi just got wheeled away and we got at least 2hrs to wait. She watched a river runs through it while I got to eat. She was a bit hungry, thirsty and smoke deprived but still laughing. Thought I would share the Before picture of my sweet gals lovely neck. I don't suppose I'll be chewing on it any time soon.

UPDATE: Surgeon said it was an easy one to get out. Lymph nodes looked great so he left them behind.
UPDATE: She is trying to sleep, but they gotta keep bugging her. Nausea as usual. Once she metabolizes all the crap in her system, maybe she can keep something down. Thanks for stopping by Tammy! You got her to sit up and be human again. Thank you WiFi for something to do!

November 17, 2008

Two More Stupid Days

If I had to choose a sense that I would be willing to live without, it would not be sound, because I am a hard-core music lover. And I am a firm believer in music therapy; there is a song for every human condition and I can always find one that reflects my mood. These past few weeks have brought with them a lot of anxiety and stress for me, and in response I have been listening to Counting Crows, one of my all-time favorite bands, in particular this song. I tried to embed it here, but alas I've never played on YouTube and my patience is wearing thin. If you're interested, go to the link and give it a listen, and by all means turn it up really loud. Just keep in mind that I'm not a Celine Dion kind of gal! This morning I sat right in front of the speakers and cranked it until I could feel the soundwaves on my skin. I always worry that I will damage the hearing of our parakeet, but when I looked over at her in the middle of the song, she was bobbing her head and singing. No kidding.

We spent the weekend processing deer, well Mark did anyway. I'd go into the kitchen every once in a while to give him a kiss. The kids both had sleepovers here, so we had four munchkins in the house from Saturday morning until late yesterday. One of Mark's buddies from high school was also here to hunt for the weekend, so our humble abode was a bustle of activity. Good for keeping my mind off of things.

I did a little art:

A compilation of photos of Ben using new Jenni Bowlin paper.

A layout of Claire depicting the night she made dinner for us. I even included her original menu.

A lift from Susan Weinroth I've had in my project file for at least a couple of years now. Still love it.

Happy Monday. And as our friend Sue would say, only 2 more stupid days.

November 14, 2008

Successful and Proud

Our hunter guy spent yesterday afield and came home with this buck (well the head of it anyway!!). Its rack was 7 by 5, a really nice sized deer for this area. He shot it at 200 yards in a thicket at the bottom of a canyon, which meant he had to spend this morning hauling it out. But thanks to the use of a four-wheeler from our friend Bob, the work is all done. Well, except for the butchering part; the poor guy is in pieces in my fridge awaiting packaging (the deer, not Mark, tee hee).

I did a couple of nice layouts, but I'll save them for another day. I don't want to steal the big guy's thunder. Nice job babe, can't wait for sausage.

November 12, 2008

Extraordinarily Ordinary

Macaroni and cheese for lunch with a friend.

A little hunting.

A little raking.

A little holiday prep.

A little wishing. I'm not a gadget girl and I have resisted all cutting systems that have come before, but I've got my eye on this baby. I got to play with one this morning and YES!

Sometimes it's just nice to notice the everyday things that are so extraordinarily ordinary!

November 9, 2008

Happy Birthday... my amazing partner and very best friend. He's 43 today and just as sexy and fun and smart as he's ever been. He's rained out of his deer hunt this morning, but his dad is dropping by for a short visit and there will be a lemon bundt cake in the oven shortly. So much less hoopla around birthdays as we get older, but I for one certainly appreciate and want to celebrate the birth of this guy. Have a great day babe, I love you so much.

November 7, 2008

Sorry Football Post

by Mark

This year it should say "Caution Bad Football From Here to Ocean"

I am so not a football fan, but ya gotta admit this has been an especially bad year for the Washington teams. This post is for Timmy the human luge,, who cares more about this than we do, yet still hasn't paid his debt from his last Apple Cup wager. We do have pics we can share luge boy if you don't wanna pay up.

We know you appreciate the importance of the Apple Cup game for both teams to gain some grain of gratification from their pretty awful seasons. The only good news for us Cougs is that we are only in year 1 of rebuilding,, the Huskies are in year 4, right? And at least we aren’t the only division 1 team w/o a win. That would really suck. But I’m sure all 119 other teams had easier schedules than the Huskies. Salt in the wounds?? Sorry for the sucker punch,, I’m feeling frisky. The only team we beat was Portland High school , and that cost us two quarterbacks.

So ya wanna wager which sucky team will suck less? It might be the only competitive game of the year!

November 6, 2008

Shades anyone??

by Mark

My future's so bright I gotta wear shades

Remember that oldie? I still have it on vinyl in the basement. Maybe it is time the kids heard that one?

Yes the future appears bright, even on this dreary rainy grey day. We have a highly curable papillary carcinoma in the big white farm house on Benedict Rd. which, for Kristi, is preferable to Colonel Sanders and Caribou Barbie in the other White House on Penn. Ave.

I can't take credit for that funny bit, that one belongs to Mikey, who is still chasing skirts around Barcelona. I am stealing it for use here, since I owe him a dollar I lost on the election. Can't wait to give it to you in person along the Mediterranean, friend.

This is a picture of Mike that he appropriately self titled: Two occasionally bright objects.

This is a picture of Mike on a long ago Halloween that I titled; a Vegan in my Leather, which is almost as funny as a Vegan in Spain. Yes, that is a Barbie head around his neck. Weren't there people painting their nakey bodies and rolling around on paper at that party?? Oh my.