Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Good News

I've just returned from a consultation with the surgeon I had been referred to for the aching lump on my jaw. He says he is certain there is no tumor. He acknowledges that something is amiss, but is confident it is a dental issue. He detects a swelling of the periosteum of the jaw (membrane surrounding the bone). So, no emergency, no panic. Current treatment plan is two weeks of ibuprofen. moist heat, come back in two weeks. If not better, repeat panoramic x-ray and consider extraction of the wisdom tooth on my lower right jaw. No need for biopsy or MRI!!!

Further good news is that this fire drill caused me to plan for eventualities that are difficult to face and I've arrived at a plan that gives me comfort, peace, and even joy! I think my plan should also do the same for others involved. So, given that I have an extended period of time to work with, I think I'll go get started with some of the lowest items on my bucket list.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Modern Warfare II or Lord of the Flies

What you see here are four nearly catatonic teenaged boys gathered in our living room. Thumb twitching assures me they are still conscious.
Here you see an image of the disgusting bloody game, Modern Warfare II, which induces their stupor. As you can see the screen is divided into quadrants. Each boy has control over one warrior in his own quadrant. They sneak up on each other by manipulating the hand-held controllers, and when they score a hit, blood erupts all over the screen. It is much easier to find your opponent if you glance over into his quadrant and look at things from his perspective. Unfortunately, this is considered bad sportsmanship, breaks the stupor, and produces shouts of "Screen Watching!!!" from all the other players. Under ideal circumstances, so I'm told, a player would only be able to see his own section.

So, Kane came up with this invention made of pizza boxes and duct tape. If the players were seated close to the TV and arranged high and low, right and left to match the quadrants on the screen and those formed by the pizza boxes, theoretically, screen watching would be impossible. Unfortunately, they could not make it stick to the TV screen. So, the game continues while the action on the screen predicts the behavior of the boys. When one is caught screen watching, warfare erupts. Life imitates art.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Party On

Kevin and Rachel came to town yesterday (braving torrential rains). We continued the celebration of my birthday with dinner at home and a show in Branson. Our friend and hairdresser, Holly, sang and danced in the show. She was great! When we came home we enjoyed a birthday strawberry cheesecake prepared by my next door neighbor. She's been baking me a birthday cake for the past several years. Sweet!

This morning, Kevin, Rachel, Ben, Logan, and I went to brunch at Hemingway's in the Bass Pro shop. I had never been inside before and it was every bit as scarey as I'd feared -- stuffed dead animals everywhere. The brunch was pleasant and I meant to get a picture of all of us, but I forgot.

This evening we went out to dinner to celebrate cousin Nick's 15th birthday. I couldn't get any of the older boys to stand still, so could only get a good picture of Adam, who is predictably cute in photos. Then my camera's batteries died.

Friday, April 23, 2010


I haven't posted this week because I've been preoccuppied with a health issue. I have a lump on my jaw. My mouth has been bothering me since the first of the year and I had root canals performed on three teeth. When that was done, my teeth still hurt, so I was put on a course of steroids. They provided tremendous relief to my arthritic pain and made me feel so much better, I forgot about my mouth. This past weekend, I admitted to myself that my jaw/teeth were still hurting, and I started feeling around to locate the source of the pain. On my lower right jaw, I discovered a bony lump about the size of a flattened marble. So, I made an appointment with my dentist and saw him Monday morning. Nothing showed in the x-rays he took. He thought it might be a stone lodged in a saliva gland and recommended that I suck on lemon drops to promote salivation and possibly dislodge it and to make an appointment with an ENT. Have you tried to buy lemon drops lately? I couldn't find any, but scooped up several kinds of sour candies and some actual lemons. Eating them did nothing to change the lump on my jaw.

I called my doctor on Tuesday to ask for a referral to an ENT. She asked me to come into the office instead. So, on Wednesday I saw my primary care doc. She thought an ENT was not the right person to see, but recommended instead that I see an axial/facial surgeon and said she thought I would probably have an MRI. My appointment with the axial/facial surgeon is scheduled for next Tuesday and I have to tell you I'm filled with trepidation. I'm scared of having an MRI because of claustrophobia and I'm afraid of what it could reveal.

I've played out all the worst case scenarios over and over and I've played out how silly I'm going to feel to learn it is a simple cyst. I hope I get to feel silly.

I've debated blogging about this, but since one of the primary purposes of this blog is to journal what is going on in our lives, and I can think of little else, I'm putting it out there. I promise to update after Tuesday's visit with the doctor.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Maybe Next Year



One blossom -- that's all, just one lonely blossom! And lots of leaves -- too early for so many leaves. I've heard that it sometimes takes several years before Dogwoods have many blooms, but mine is heading in the wrong direction . Last year there was maybe a dozen, this year ONE!
In this respect, my birthday was a big disappointment. But in other ways, it was lots of fun.
Ben, Logan, and Nick help Grandpa take a load off his feet.
Soooo big



Saturday, April 10, 2010

Logan and Shania Twain . . .

. . . feel like a woman

Surely you recognize the white legs that match his white hair. Logan and classmates performed and came in second in the lip sync competition during his school's competitive speech tournament today. There were two entries in the category. I served as a judge (I didn't judge any of Logan's efforts) and saw lots of very brave and talented kids. Two more competitions remain in the season.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Procrastinators' Guide to Income Taxes

It's very simple. All you have to do is task yourself with something you hate even more than doing taxes. I have a few suggestions:
  1. Make a dental appointment.
  2. Schedule a mammogram.
  3. Clean the garage.
  4. Fold socks.
  5. Bathe the dog.
  6. Research and compare options for high-speed internet service.
  7. Clean under and behind the refrigerator.
  8. Fix a broken sprinkler head.
  9. Put away last year's Christmas decorations that are still downstairs.
  10. Go to the post office to mail that package that's been sitting around for a month.

I would rather do my taxes than any of these. Unfortunately, I also have a list of things I would rather do than taxes:
  1. Blog
  2. Vacuum
  3. Shop
  4. Quilt
  5. Cook
  6. Pedicure
  7. Read
  8. Laundry (except folding socks)
  9. Clean refrigerator (inside, not under or behind)
  10. Plant garden
I'm sure you can come up with your own lists, but in the meantime, I must go vacuum.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Family Portraits -- Easter Version 2010

Host and hostess, Steve and Julia
(Cute picture, don't you think?)

Julia's daughter and son-in-law
Krista and Jerry (I think you two are starting to look alike !)

Krista and Jerry's sons,
Nicholas and Adam
Adam can't keep his hands off Nick and Nick tolerates it with brotherly love and of course, they look alike!
Arlan and Bernice at 63 years of married life.
It must agree with her, she looks younger every day.

Logan, me, and Ben
They are just about six feet tall
(compare here)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Unholy Week/New Life

"Holy Week" marks the ninth anniversary of Robin's death. I measure by the liturgical calendar rather than by dates.

Palm Sunday, approaching midnight, I received the phone call that Robin had been horribly wounded and that I must get to the hospital as soon as possible. And I entered a dark cavern.

Monday Colleen, Kevin, Roger, and I traveled to New York arriving at her bedside around eight o'clock in the evening, to find her hanging to life by a thread. I assured her that her children were safe and I felt like she understood. I did not feel my child was safe; I knew she was in grave danger.

Tuesday we met with multitudes of people, doctors, clergy, police, social workers, and started working on gaining guardianship of Ben and Logan.

Wednesday I watched as Robin was unplugged from life support and no longer breathed. We went to court for guardianship. Valery arrived from California. A severe thunderstorm that evening articulated God's rage at Robin's death.

Maundy Thursday I felt like I could not go on. Colleen, Kevin, and Roger returned to California, taking Ben and Logan with them. I hated to see Colleen leave, she had so bravely, kindly, stoically, gently, heroically -- there aren't enough words -- propelled me through the nightmare of the past four days. I don't know where she got the strength and clarity. I stayed in New York to finish any business with Valery taking over for Colleen as driver, guide, and vital support. I could not function without them.

Good Friday Steve committed suicide. On Monday I would have to arrange for Robin's cremation and transfer of her remains to California. I didn't want to stay in Rochester for Easter weekend, so Valery and I went to Ovid, NY to stay with a friend (Gail) I had visited a couple of weeks the previous year.

Saturday is a blank. I remember almost nothing from that day.

Easter Sunday we attended services at the local Presbyterian Church; Gail had arranged for flowers on the altar in Robin's memory. The day was bright, sunny, and unseasonably warm for that part of the country known for long winters and late springs. We ate brunch at a local winery and sat outside on the deck. Somebody said something funny, I don't remember what it was, but I heard myself laugh, almost a bark at first, but then I realized I had laughed and would laugh again. And I knew that Ben and Logan were safe in California with Colleen and that she was working with her mother-in-law to put together an Easter they would remember the rest of their lives (so far, they do!). And I knew that somehow, I would get through.