Friday, June 24, 2011

I vant your blooood

I had to get two units of blood transfused last week, it took 5 hours, but I feel a lot less tired for now. (I've donated blood lots of times, but I never thought I would need some myself.) White cell count really low too, I'll probably get a bone marrow booster (Neulasta) for that next week. From what I read online, it can be pretty grim for a few days afterward, but I don't want to get an infection and have to be hospitalized. Meanwhile the advice is for lots of hand washing, staying away from people with colds or the flu, washing/cooking food thoroughly, and staying away from crowds. That pretty much rules out trips to WalMart on several levels.

My hair is growing in and so I have this fine white crew-cut all over my head. I hate it, and try my best not to see myself in mirrors.

But all in all the chemotherapy is going pretty well, with only minimal nausea and so forth. And the insurance is now covering 100% of costs, as we have met the catastrophic limit for out of pocket. Yay! Just as an example, the two units of blood + infusion came to $1500. I am really really grateful to Blue Cross.

Bumper sticker of the day: "There's no time like NOW to postpone doing stuff."

Sunday, June 19, 2011


There have been entire summers when we didn't have a thunderstorm the entire season. And then there is this summer.. ..
thunderstorms and torrential rainstorms regularly. Last night was a real hide-under-the-bed storm at around 1 am. The horses were out and I was standing on the back porch with my mega flashlight trying to see if the beasts were under the old barn, out of the rain at least. So of course they were "hiding" under a tree and were soaking wet. They were visible only when the lightning flashed, and so N and son C put on slickers and went out to round them up. First step was to corral the dogs into their stall, lured there with a hot dog since they too were quivering from the continuous thunder and lightning and wanted only stokes. Then he opened the big barn doors and the horses nearly knocked C down getting to their stalls. They shut the doors and came back in and the thunder still roared, up until 4 am. Nobody got much sleep.

Today's forecast was more of the same, so we left them in the barn, and it never rained a drop, and thundered not at all. Still we left then in tonight, and the biggest storm is due to hit shortly. I'm using the Macbook so I don't lose the entire post should the power go out unexpectedly. Around midnight the neighbors decided to treat all of us with fireworks, and I am sure the horses now think they are doomed to be violently assaulted every night. Since this is the county, none of this is illegal; just poor manners.

The thunder is getting closer and I will soon have 3 chicken cats trying to squeeze into little balls under the bed, they hate the noise so much they won't even come out for treats.

Bumper sticker for the day: "Oh NO! Not another learning experience!"

Friday, June 03, 2011

Still hanging in there

I didn't intend to let my posting here slide so long, but I didn't want this to become a long harangue about breast cancer treatment, and yet there is little I think about except the next step in my treatment.

Last week we went to a local antique mall and I found something neat. There was a wooden box, about twice the size of a cigar box (dating myself again) with an inlaid design on the top and there on the front, the initials of my name (MH). It was only $40 and I never thought twice about getting it. When we got it home, I wiped off the dust and crud (carefully) and when I got to the bottom, I thought I saw some writing. Turns out there was an inscription in ink, barely visible through the scuffing and staining, that said "V. M. Hartley, (a date in April), 1858." Because I do genealogy stuff myself, I looked up the name in the 1850 census records and found a Virgil and Matilda Hartley in a county near ours, just over the line in PA. His occupation is listed as "carpenter". How about that? The inside of the box has a lip for a tray, which is missing, and I would say it most recently has stored hand tools; but probably it was intended as a flatware box. I haven't been able to find any significant event associated with that family, like anniversary or wedding date or birthday, but I'm still looking. Lots of new genealogical data is showing up on the internet all the time. I'd like to find a way to bring up the ink inscription (I tried UV light and it doesn't help) so I can trace it out on paper and keep it with the box. For now it sits in regal splendor on my dresser and holds some jewelry in boxes. A neat find.

Mostly what I collect is fountain pens. I may have written here before about the types of pens, and some of the best ones I have found were at garage sales and flea markets, but I think over the years there are a lot more collectors and fewer pens to go around. I watch Antiques Roadshow all the time, and I have so far never seen a pen there, which is great, because that might encourage new collectors. The best thing about collecting pens is that I can store a lifetime of pens in a shoe box. I pity those who collect bulky stuff, like china or weather vanes and so on, they end up with half their stuff stored in boxes in the basement for lack of room to display all of it. My only problem is to keep writing with a few at a time, so the ink will flow. I can understand why ball points were such an instant hit, back around WW II, blobby and smeary they were, because they wrote right away, no wiping or blotting needed, and no need to find a refill ink bottle. I had my father's fountain pen I used in elementary school, until I dropped it somewhere on the sidewalk one day when I was dashing home to avoid a rainstorm. I went over every inch of ground I passed, but I never found it. I have an identical pen now, but it isn't quite the same, you know?

The washing machine is playing a tune now so I'll leave you with today's bumper sticker: "Any small object when dropped will hide under a larger object."