Thursday, January 31, 2008

Sick Toddler

Since about 3:00 a.m. Tuesday morning we have been dealing with sicky-poo Jackson. Throwing up and liquid poops. Poor baby. I have been sleeping on the twin bed in his room so I can be nearby to help. He kept waking from a dead sleep to throw up. I ran out of sheets the first night and finally figured to have him lay on a towel that I could remove and replace without changing the sheets. He is improving now, after several days of very little food and drink. I am working on getting him nice and hydrated and he is perking up now. Of course yesterday afternoon I got hit with it myself, although it seems to be a milder form. I hope.

Tonight I am supposed to go to a meet and greet party with the Team in Training people. I probably should stay home, but have been cooped up in my house with a sick toddler for three days. And since I am feeling ok and Jackson seems better, I want to get outta here for a few hours. I'm not going as the CQ tonight, just as me. And I am not speaking, just meeting people. Should be fun to meet some of the other mascots for the season.

What else? Oh, FYI Pedialite Popsicles taste like ass and Jackson is not fooled.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Pee Pee and Publication

We have a pee pee problem in our house. The two-year-old is not interested in potty training, but he is interested in his pee pee. He continually puts his hands down his pants at night and pulls his pee pee to point up and sometimes completely out of the diaper. So then the next time he pees, his clothes and sheets get soaking wet. I have tried the next size up diapers, different brands and now pull-ups nighttime diapers, but it makes no difference. The boy can fanangle his dangle till it peeks out of the diaper no matter what I put on him. Even if I put him in a button-crotched shirt with pants over it he can push down the top of the diaper until the waistband is a low-rider and the next pee brings the gushing flood that means mommy has to change diapers, clothes and sheets at 3:00 in the morning. So now I have taken to going and checking on him before I go to bed to make sure his pee pee is properly pointed down and nicely tucked well into the diaper.

And for the past couple of days he has had acid poops that I need to check on before I go to bed. So picture it - small child sleeping, curled up in a ball, all snug and warm. Enter mommy, with cold hands and a determined heart. He is sleeping calmly and here I come checking out his heine for acid poop and then rolling the poor boy over to stuff his privates down into his diapers. It's gotta be done, though. What is a mamma to do?

On an entirely different note, I got an email today that Coping Magazine is going to publish my Ode To Prednisone piece. And they want me to send a photo to include for publication. Ok then. Could be published as soon as March or as late as August; they will send me a page proof to approve when they know for sure. I am definitely excited, but now I have to choose a picture. Or get one taken. To Chemo Queen or not to Chemo Queen, that is the question...

Friday, January 25, 2008

I hate colds

I have been enjoying work again this week even if I have been fighting off my husband's cooties. He is starting to feel a little better and I am on the decline. Sudafed is helping, but this cold seems to be settling itself in my chest and my voice is all whisky/smokey. I hope it isn't a prolonged illness, I have had enough of that in the last six months. I deserve an immunity card from all colds, allergies and stomach viruses for the next, say 20 years? I think I have earned it. I know it doesn't work that way, but wouldn't that be nice?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Labs Today and Regalia Thoughts

This morning Jackson and I bundled up and headed to the cancer center for my scheduled lab work. Mom and Tonya met us there to watch Jackson boy in the lobby while I went back for the draw. I didn't put my numbing cream on early enough this morning so I had to deal with the pain from accessing my port. It needs flushed every month so I had him go ahead and do the draw from there. It took a few pumps of the syringe to get things flowing from the port. I don't think the hospital put heparin in it the last time I was there. Heparin is a blood clot inhibitor and keeps the port from getting clogged up. He finally got it flowing though and we made sure to put the heparin in this time.

Jackson was concerned when I went back to get my blood drawn. He wasn't as upset this time, but he was concerned. When we walked up to the doors of the cancer center he turned around and ran to me and said "mommy carry you?" So I carried him in. He wanted to be attached to me so I couldn't leave him, I guess. When I came out after the draw he was very relieved. He didn't cry this time, so that is an improvement.

We stuck around for a few minutes to see how my cbc looks and everything looked good except for my platelet count. That was really low. Mom was a little concerned about that, but since all the other numbers looked good we decided to go ahead and leave, sure that Dr. George would call us with the results of the LDH protein test and everything else. We had hardly sat down in the restaurant before Dr. George called. He was concerned that my low platelet count was a mistake and wanted to re-run the test. He said that the tube they used for the test sometimes isn't the best for platelet counting as it sometimes lets blood 'clump' together which inhibits counting. So your platelets look low when they are not.

So after lunch we headed back to the cancer center and I got another blood draw, this time in my arm and a few minutes later we had the results. My first test was wrong. My platelets were not 50, they were 280, well in the normal range. Yay. My blood work looks good, we just have to wait to see what the other tests say when they come back. Hopefully tomorrow.

So I am thinking about the Chemo Queen and debating whether I should get a new crown. The tiara I have is cute, but I kind of want an actual crown, like this Miss America crown or something. They aren't expensive, you can get these things online for between $30 and $80 depending on what you want. Of course there are the more expensive ones, but don't need that. So is it silly to want a new crown when I already have a tiara that my best friend gave me a few years ago? I like the one I have, but don't like the way it fits. It is big for my head and stands a little too high.

I could get a Breakfast at Tiffany's replica. That would be sweet.

Or this one is nice too. Thoughts anyone?

And while we are at it, what about my dress? Andrea and I were talking about whether or not I should change the dress. I originally chose the cream dress because it was comfortable enough to sit through chemo in and was low cut enough so they could access my port. I am of two minds here. I think wearing the dress I took my last chemo in is symbolic somehow, or maybe just more genuine. This is the dress that saw me through it. On the other hand, I don't need access to my port to be a guest speaker and cream really isn't the best color for me. Even my husband said so and I trust his judgement. Also the cream dress is stained in many spots with a light pink something, like the dress was washed with a tube of lip gloss or something. Not incredibly noticeable while getting chemo, but possibly an issue when speaking in front of people who you want to take you seriously. Of course, stains or not, a ball gown and tiara don't exactly scream "Take me seriously" even if the dress isn't stained, so I don't know how much it matters.

If I choose a different gown it can't just be a pretty dress, it has to be kitchy; pageanty. A beaded number or something equally somewhat ridiculous. It can't be a dress a normal woman my age would actually wear. It has to have a costume feel to it.

Hmmm, a thought just occurred to me - what if we dye the current dress? Is that possible? How would one dye a satiny gown to more flatter the wearer and to cover pink staining? Hmmm.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Good Times

Jackson and I had a really good time this past few days with my sister and her boys. It was amazing how little I had to do for Jackson while he had his cousins to play with. He must be so bored at home with only me to interact with. Must be boredom behind his constant needs. I will say that he does play alone remarkably well for a year old, but with the boys to play with he only came to check in with me once an hour or so. And then only for a minute to find out what I was doing. He was so busy.

On Monday we went to a big mall about a half hour from my sister's house. It boasts a big carousel in the food court and an indoor foam playground encircled by couches. Jackson was excited to ride the carousel, but didn't want to get on one of the horses that moved up and down. He just wanted to sit on one of the benches that didn't move at all. We went around and around on the carousel and I got a little dizzy, but Jackson had such a good time. He didn't want to get off when it stopped.

Then we let the boys play in the play area. There were tons of kids there and I had a hard time keeping all three boys in sight. The boys were so tuckered out by the time we left that all three fell asleep on the ride home. I got a great picture of them on my phone, but need to figure out how to get it off of there before I can post it.

On the drive home today I got a call from Carson with Team in Training. They were really happy with my talk at their meeting Saturday and want me to speak at their big pasta party the night before the Austin Marathon on Feb 16th. I can't remember which hotel it will be at, but all the runners with Team In Training from all over the country will be there. Should be a decent sized crowd. I am really flattered that they want be to be there. Course the spectacle of a Chemo Queen is truly something to behold, so maybe I am not all that surprised. What I would really love to happen is that San Diego sends a team and their delegation is so impressed by me that they invite me to attend their events at the Rock and Roll Marathon in San Diego in June. That would be fun, yes?

Saturday, January 19, 2008


I got all dressed up as the Chemo Queen this morning and went to speak at the Team in Training meeting. There were probably 20 to 30 people there to learn about the program and hopefully sign on to train for an event and raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I felt a little like a circus freak walking into the packed YMCA across from McNeil High School. There were so many people there working out, swimming and it was picture day. There were tons of kiddos in their YMCA team uniforms waiting to get their picture taken. No one pointed and laughed, but it was definitely a test of my resolve to keep walking into the building as if I owned the place. Or at least as if I wasn't a circus freak. Luckily Andrea' met me in the parking lot, so I had backup. It is essential that you have a handler if you ever go to the YMCA in a gown and tiara. Alone, you could be an escaped mental patient. With a handler holding your bags and taking pictures you are merely an oddity. Here I am with Andrea, who taught me today that a pageant queen can never be seen holding a bag, her hands must at all times be free to sign autographs. Invaluable knowledge, I say.

The Team in Training staff were very nice and welcoming. They asked if I was ok with closing the program after they did their presentation regarding the athletic training and fundraising. I sat in a window on the side while they did their presentation. When I was introduced, I realized that I felt like I had a wad of cotton in my mouth. I had a soda in the car on the drive over which is drying and I neglected to bring any water with me. So the entire time I spoke my mouth was so dry my lips were sticking to my teeth. I did ok considering, but I need to remember to always bring a bottle of water to a speaking engagement. I also need to edit my speech a little more to make it more conversational. It sounded too formal and 'written'. I think I can make it connect with people more. Maybe I need to just have a note sheet instead of a written sheet. I know it was fine today, but I can make it better, I know. The Team in Training people were happy and after I spoke, one said "It's really hard to follow that." And as I was leaving one of the athletes attending the meeting stopped me at the door to tell me how touched she was and she gave me a big hug.

I am probably going to attend a few more meetings in the next two weeks. If I am going to keep doing this Chemo Queen thing I definitely need to get the dress cleaned. It is filthy from being in a theatre costume shop forever and needs a really good pressing.

Tomorrow morning I am getting up and driving to my sister's house in Kingwood. Jackson and I are going to visit for a few days. It should be fun for the boys to play together. I am looking forward to it.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Happiness is Being Busy

It's almost disgusting how giddy I am at work. I worked hard this week, problem solving within the new seating system while it is being implemented, working with patrons who were wary of change, and just simply having a good time answering phone calls and questions, showing off the new computer system and keeping busy. I love being back. I feel so useful and smart and can't help but giggle to myself when I come up with a fix for a problem. The Palace has growing pains and now that I am done with chemo, I get to be right in the thick of it. It really is disgusting, my giddiness, I am sure my co-workers probably want to vomit.

This evening, I went over my speech for tomorrow. I wrote the draft last night and edited it tonight for 'speakability'. Writing for people to read is different than writing for people to hear. When I write to be read I tend to use more formal language that sounds funny - or phony - when spoken. So I have to go over any monologues or speeches I write and add contractions and substitute more casual language. Also, saying it out loud makes it easy to find awkward sentences to make sure I won't stumble all over the words cause I didn't edit for speakability. Of course when I actually give the speech tomorrow I will probably edit on the fly, I usually do, picking more accessible, casual language to use. I hate to sound like I am reading from a paper even though I have no intention of memorizing it between now and tomorrow morning.

So the speech is done, the gown is ready and I pulled out my 'Miss Chemo' sash. I wanted to make a new one. I want it to actually say 'Chemo Queen' since that name seems more fitting to me now. But I forgot to stop at Hobby Lobby for new letter stickers and after work today it was cold and rainy and didn't want to drag Jackson back in and out of the car. But that is ok. I can change it later if I want to. My tiara has a light film of tarnish on it so I need to get the silver polish out and have a go at it, but I can do that in the morning.

I am pretty beat tonight. I tried to do a pilates DVD, but only got thru half of it. I am sore from last night's video, especially my arms from push-ups. So I decided to give myself a break and just stop. Every other day is enough, I don't have to force myself to do it every day. So there.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Oh the Laundry, Woe is Jackson

I had a doctor visit this morning with the ENT who deals with the wound/scar on my face. He thinks it looks good and expects the dent will still continue to fill in as it heals further. I have to smile, because he is very concerned that I am going to head to the plastic surgeon's office too soon. He is adamant that I need to wait six months, if not a year, before having a scar revision done. He has told me that at least twice at each visit and at at least twice that today. He said "Now don't let any doctors talk you into letting them at that scar before six months. Don't let anyone talk you into a scar revision too early." I swore I wouldn't as I have sworn at each visit. I think he takes my questions about scarring to mean I am going to be hasty, which I am not. I ask about Mederma and other scar products because I want to do things that will help it heal the best and prettiest. Not because I am going to simply die if i don't get the scar removed pronto. I can deal with it. It doesn't even make my blood boil to look at it like it did a month ago. Now I am just annoyed with it when I look at it and manage to forget about it most of the rest of the time. I promise not to be hasty and get a scar revision before the scar matures.

Now the doc has never actually told me what the consequences would be if I did make an appt with the cosmetic surgeon tomorrow. If they 'revise' the scar tomorrow would I grow a third eye out of the hole in my cheek? I don't know. He has never said and I have never asked because I figured he would have an anxiety attack or something. But he can rest easy. I may not let him do the revision, though I am sure he is a fine ENT slash head and neck surgeon. I will probably decide to go to the most highly recommended cosmetic surgeon in the area. Not sure who that is, but I have at least six months to find out, right?

My Mom watched Jackson in the lobby of the doc's office and he got pretty upset when I left to go back into the exam room. Mom says he cried and yelled off and on the whole time and would cry, then visibly try to stop and wipe the tears out of his eyes like he was trying to be strong. When I came out, all the ladies in the office were up front talking to him and comforting him. He saw me and just about broke my heart when he said "Mama back. Mama not go to the hospital." Geez Louise I hate that he has to worry like that. I picked him up and told him that no, I wasn't going to the hospital. He was extra clingy for an hour or so, but some IHOP and a purple balloon helped lift his spirits.

He kinda had a rough evening too. I am wondering if he is feeling a little bad. He has a little bit of a runny nose, so he may have a little cold. This evening I got his clothes hamper and started to throw his stuff in the washer. He got all excited cause in the hamper, lo and behold, are all his favorite shirts and he wanted to put them on...all of them. I would say "No, the yellow shirt is dirty, I need to put it in the washer." Then he would see another shirt. "Put on soccer ball shirt? Put it on?" He just couldn't accept that everything in his laundry basket was dirty and was going into the washer. His tears were tragic. His Dad held him up to see in the washer as it agitated and told him that the clothes were taking a bath. Jackson got it immediately and told us that the clothes were 'ready to get out now.' David and I laughed like crazy, but the poor boy was inconsolable for a little while. We had to just let him cry and work it out til he got distracted by his markers and coloring book. After his bath, David took him to the dryer to pick out a nice, warm, clean and slightly damp shirt and he was so happy. Clothes are very important to him.

He got some really nice shirts from David's mom for Christmas and he won't wear many of them. I am kind of learning that the shirts need to hang in his closet for a while before he gets comfortable seeing them and then he will begin to add them to his clothing repertoire. We are adding the new pieces bit by bit. And very soon his three or four absolute, cry-over-them, favorite shirt are going to be too small. They actually are already too small. They are one piece and button at the crotch, but they won't button anymore. So we use it as a t-shirt and just tuck the ends into his pants. Works pretty good to hold up the waist of some of the bigger pants that tend to fall down. He won't be able to squeeze into these shirts for much longer though and I am not sure how to get him to choose new favorites from the things that fit.

I just realized that I am rambling about clothes again. What a boring post. You can see how much thought we have to put into dressing Jackson. Much more than dressing ourselves. Hope he grows out of this majorly clothes-picky phase. Is this a totally weird trait for a two-year-old or is it something they all do?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

See Mom? I really am a Princess!

My two 1/2 year-old son is awesome. He thinks I am beautiful. Last night while I was surfing around online he saw this picture of Katie Holmes and got all excited, "That's Mommy, that's Mommy!" He was convinced of it. But alas, no, Mommy is not the spitting image of Ms. Holmes. Katie just has the same haircut as my awesome wig. And after looking at several pictures of it, I am beginning to think she has the same wig. Check this one out. It doesn't look like her real hair to me. I dunno.

Here's me modeling what will soon be called the Katie Holmes Model of the Rene of Paris wig. And the price will double, I am sure.

Kind of funny since I have been looking at her first short 'do' as a model of what I want my hair to be in six or eight months...or however long it takes to grow that much hair.

And this morning Jackson was playing in my room while I tried on my Chemo Queen gown to make sure it was going to be OK for Saturday. When he saw me in the gown he got very excited and ran over to touch it and hug my knees. He kept saying "A princess! Mama a princess!" Now, I have never read him or taught him anything about princesses, but noticed a few weeks ago that he recognized the Disney princesses. So he must have gotten this from Playhouse Disney. I think they advertised a Disney Princess cartoon movie recently. So my lovely son saw me in a floor length, creamy, satiny gown and proclaimed me a princess.

Then he requested I wear my wig. He pointed at it on its stand and said, "Mama, put on hair." And he was so happy when I did. He didn't want me to take the dress off when I hung it up and put on clothes for work So I decided to wear the wig to work today since Jackson clearly enjoyed seeing me wear it. When I was dressing him, he petted my wiggy head and told me, no joke, told me "That's some nice hair you got there." Just like with the potatoes the other day. Where is he hearing this stuff? I tell you he can hear something once and never forget it. He's a genius I tell you, a genius! And officially left handed, just thought I would throw that in.

So my son loves me in a gown, wants to wear my tiara and makes me paint one of his fingernails every time he sees the red polish. He's a two-year-old clothes horse who has to pick his own shirts and shoes every day. My son is a diva and I absolutely adore him.

Diva yes, model no. I tried last night to get some pics of him in the tub. He was eating bubbles and had the cutest bubble beard. He just can't sit and pose and let you take a picture. He doesn't stop moving ever and my camera takes forever to snap when you push the button. It is nearly impossible to get a decent picture of him with my slow camera. Here is the best I could do.

And in other news:

Whoo Hoo! The gravy train has arrived! David interviewed for a promotion this morning at work and got the news this afternoon that he got the job! He is going from an Account Rep to a Project Manager. Great news and a much deserved promotion. We are very excited. I knew I married a meal ticket. Whoo hoo!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


On Saturday I am planning to attend my first meeting with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. They are starting their Team In Training season this month and asked me to come to some information meetings to put a 'face' to the reason that they are fundraising. So I, dressed in full Chemo Queen regalia, will be one of the "Honored Heroes" for this season. I need to prepare a speech between now and Saturday. Geez, the word 'speech' sounds so pretentious. "Look at me, I'm preparing a speech." But I guess I am. I have to come up with a funny, engaging way to briefly tell my Lymphoma story that will gel with the fact that I'll be costumed in a gown and tiara. That is my quest.

I spent some time this afternoon trying to teach Jackson how to blow his nose. He has a snotty nose and desperately needs to acquire this skill. He has had only a couple of snotty nose episodes since birth so he has had no opportunity to learn. He watched in amusement as I demonstrated how to blow air thru my nose. He latched onto the fact that blowing air thru your nose makes a 'whooshing' sound and proceeded to bunch up his nose and make 'whoosing' sounds thru his mouth. Not exactly the idea. He sort of got it and managed to blow a little, but then he lost interest and refused to participate. If his nose is still runny-snotty tomorrow we'll have another go at it, I am sure.

Well, I need to get off my hind end and do a little exercising. I have to look good in my gown on Saturday. Heh. And I need to polish my tiara. It's a little tarnished. Fitting, I say.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Rape and Haircuts

Yesterday the very nice ladies at the new Round Rock JC Penny's were more than happy to cut the reluctant boy's hairs. We wheeled him into the salon in a shopping cart and they told us to just leave him in that. Three ladies helped talk him into the haircut and distracted him with a spray bottle of water. They were so nice and he got a really good haircut in just a few minutes. And unlike the crazy kids haircut place they didn't charge us $26. It was $12. Score one for Penny's!

I know I have been writing a lot of what I think are cute Jackson anecdotes, but I can't seem to stop. He just does something funny every day. Last night he randomly pulled a Kleenex from the box and came over to wipe my face. He said "Mommy has a booger." and proceeded to wipe my chin. Pretty sure I didn't have a booger on my chin, but I appreciate his concern for my appearance.

Tonight I had the CD player on random and the player chose a song from the Broadway soundtrack of The Fantasticks. "It Depends on What you Pay" was the song. Do you know it? It's the one with that uses the word rape like a hundred times. Rape as in abduction, not forced intercourse. Very catchy song actually and cute when you realize what it is about. But my son, who is just now starting to 'sing' along with songs latched onto the word and we almost choked on our dinner as he sang 'raaappeee' along with the song. Sigh. I just had a conversation with Elaine about not playing inappropriate music in front of the boy. Must I censor Broadway now? Or just let him horrify people in public with his singing? (To hear the song click here and scroll down to listen to song #6.)

After dinner I had another go at one of the Pilate's videos I have been doing. And it seems to be getting a lot easier. I can tell I am getting a lot stronger already. Wish I was seeing more evidence of it, but it is really, really good to feel a little bit strong again. I think I need to kick up the aerobics to work on stamina. Geez, I have never been much of an exerciser. Didn't think surviving cancer and chemo would turn me into one. But don't expect to see me at the gym any time soon. I am waaay too cheap to pay those monthly fees. And too lazy to drive somewhere to work out. This will have to do for now.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Margaritas and Wal-Mart

Friday night we got Forum opened to a good crowd, about half full. Mary sat with Jackson so David and I could attend. It was an entertaining show that I can tell will get better as the actors get more comfortable. I had never seen the show before. I enjoyed it, but can tell it is an early Sondheim. Not as sophisticated as his later stuff. There is quite a difference between Forum and Assassins. Of course Forum definitely has more general appeal. I don't think Assassins would sell in Georgetown, though I would really love to see it done.

But I digress. Forum is opened and the new system of assigned seating is launched. Sort of. The computer program is still being written. There is quite a bit of administrative function that isn't available yet, making our work on Friday somewhat difficult. I can definitely see how the system is going to be really awesome and cut the amount of work in the box office more than in half. When it is finished. Larry and I decided after our work-day on Friday that we deserved margaritas before the show, so he met me and David at the little sports bar on the square and we didn't head to the theatre till nearly show-time. We didn't want to witness whether our work on Friday was a success or a failure as the theatre-goers arrived. Turns out there were not many problems, just a few issues with how to do walk-ups and people seemed fine with the new system.

After the show, the Palace hosted a laid-back opening night party in the tin barn behind the theatre. I hate calling it the tin barn, but the Palace Board of Directors has not yet settled on a new name for said barn. Most of us call it the shed, which they really don't like. Makes it sound small and dirty. And it is dirty, dust everywhere, but it isn't small. It is actually quite large with room enough for our full-size rehearsal stage and set construction area in addition to the dressing rooms and green room that we are already beginning to construct. I think the shed may end up being called the Palace Annex and I know we are trying to sell naming rights to the planned green room slash black box theatre. So far we have no takers. I am not sure how much they are asking, but if you have an extra hundred grand, let me know.

Today David and Jackson and I attempted a Wal-Mart trip. We haven't been to Wal-Mart in, well, so long that I can't remember the last time. At least a year, I think. We are Target people now. But we decided to go today cause the Super-Center is close and we wanted to get Jackson's hair cut for less than the $26 we paid at the specialty kids haircut place last time. And we need a few groceries and the special car oil that David needs that most places don't carry. Also thought we'd see if they could replace David's dead watch battery. We thought it would be a one-stop trip. Ha. When we left the house Jackson was all primed and ready to get his haircut. We were talking about it happily and in a good mood. Well, the boy took one look at the stern fifty-something Asian lady at the salon and howled in protest. He wouldn't sit in the chair alone, wouldn't sit on his daddy's lap, wanted absolutely nothing to do with this follicular adventure. And the lady was no help. Stood watching and holding the little cape. OK, I guess shaking the little cape at him was an attempt to help, but only served to make him yell louder. It was pretty awful. We could tell it wasn't going to happen, so we gave up and went into the store to get the other stuff on our list. Strait ahead was the jewelry counter so we headed there for the watch battery only to be told that they only do watch batteries for Wal-Mart brand watches. Wouldn't even sell us a battery to do it ourselves. David turned to me and said, "Let's get the hell outta here." So we abandoned all hope of our one-stop outing and left, saying "Screw Wal-Mart" all the way to the car. I hate Wal-Mart, what was I thinking?

We went to Academy instead, to look for some warm clothing items for our winter NYC trip. Found some long underwear and an on-sale sweater. And in their sports equipment section I got a nice, thick yoga mat and a resistance cord thingie with handles that came with a DVD 30 minute exercise. The mat was an awesome purchase; the resistance cord, not so much. I tried to do the DVD and managed to do a couple of exercises but then kept getting hopelessly tangled in the damned resistance cord. And the lady went soooo fast I couldn't figure out what the hell they were doing. Wrap the handle around the right foot, step on it shoulder-length apart with the left foot, pivot, etc. I am a truly clutzy, not-so-graceful person on my best days, add a resistance band and you have a one-woman comedy show. I felt like friggen Mr. Bean. So I quit after ten of the 30 minutes and decide to do one of the netflix yoga/pilates videos. I did the one I had done first when I decided to start exercising a couple of weeks ago. I had a really hard time keeping up with the cardio portion of this video then. This time I got almost through it before I had to stop doing everything they did and march in place some of the time. That felt good, that in so short a time, I can tell that I am getting stronger. Not showing a whole lot of progress on my figure, but definitely helping my stamina. Maybe the physical changes will come with more repetitions. I just need to keep it up I guess.

After dinner with Elaine, she and I hit the Old Navy blow-out sale and I hit the underpants mother-load, no kidding. I swear I doubled my underpant wardrobe for about $10. They were selling these cute 5 packs of underpants with holiday designs and colors for about $3.50 a box. So I got three of them in different color schemes. I won't describe them cause that is kind of over the line I think, don't you? Hi Daddy!

Tomorrow, perhaps we will make another go at getting the small one's hairs cut without paying way too much for the salon that looks like Disney threw up. And maybe some more looking for winter clothes on sale. Most stores are trying to get rid of that stuff so now is the time to go.

And hats, I need hats. You'd think after being bald for 5 months that I would have what I need and maybe I do. But my head-wraps hold such strong associations with me, I am not sure I ever want to wear them again. And honestly, who wears a turban as a choice when they have hair? As my favorite wig stylist, Bonnie, would say, "That is soooo chemo."

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Advice from my Son

Work continues to be busy, with us preparing to move to computerized sales and assigned seating. Today was spent calling all the people who have already bought tickets to this weekend and assigning them seats. Most people I talked to were happy about the change as it means less waiting in lines for them and no more seat scrambling before the show starts. A few people were curmudgeony that we have the center five rows as the 'premier' seating section that costs extra per ticket. One lady debated with me for five minutes saying 'so if you don't sell those seats are you going to leave five rows of empty seats?' I said 'yes.' And if the other seats all sell out and all I have left is premier seating, then that is all I have for sale for that show. It is possible that we could sell those seats to walk-ups at a discount if that is what the board wants us to do to fill the seats, but until we are authorized to do that then the better seats cost more or you can't sit there. And isn't this what other theatres do? Call Bass Concert Hall and buy a $40 ticket for a $40 seat. If you want a better $50 seat, you can have that...for $50. But this lady was indignant. I finally got her to tell me where the hell she'd like to sit and she says "Oh we always like to sit in the front row." Front row is not charged as premier seating as it is too close for most people, like in a movie theatre. This lady was well aware of that. So why did she argue with me and give me such a hard time about premier seating costing $5 extra if she didn't ever want to sit in premier seating and was never going to be asked to pay that $5 fee for the crappy front row seats she 'always' wants to sit in? I swear some people just want to give you a hard time for no reason. I bet she hates every show she comes to and complains to anyone who can hear about how awful she thinks we are. Then buys another ticket for the next one. Sheesh.

I haven't been blogging as often this week. Been too busy living; going to work, to the grocery store, cooking dinner and reading. Just now I had to force myself to stop reading the fabulous book I have had in my hand for about two hours now. I had to post an update or people think I am taking a turn for the worse. But you know, I think I am getting past the times when every day could bring a new trial. I am cautious about being excited and effusive when people ask me how I am doing and if I am done with treatment. I tell them I am doing well and that I think I am done. I don't want to jinx anything. So I'll leave it at that.

Jackson and I had lunch with Mom and Tonya yesterday. They brought Jackson a set of rubber cars that came with a bucket with a lid that closes to carry them.
I decided to designate these as 'work cars' as my house is covered floor to ceiling with cars of every shape, size and color. So they live in my car and for the past couple of days he has carried the bucket by the handle from the car into work and taken them out to play with and to trip unsuspecting theatre patrons and tech crew members. I try to keep them out of the traffic areas, but it is difficult. People are somewhat used to watching their step in the lobby, he's had his toys and random office supplies strewn about the place since he was old enough to do so.

Jackson is talking so much now and coming up with such funny things to say. He says things I know we have not taught him; he has to be learning a lot from his playhouse Disney cartoons. Today while I was cooking dinner he said "That's a nice lot of potatoes you got there." I stopped washing the potatoes and I asked him to repeat it and he said it again quite clearly. WTF? What cartoon would teach him that?

Last night I gave in a got in the bathtub with him. He asks me every night to get in with him and every once in a while I do. He got tired of the bath before I did so I wrapped him in a towel and sent him out to his Dad. After he was dressed he came back in, all excited to see me still in the tub. He cautioned me, as I often caution him, "Mamma, no poo poo in the bathtub." I told him gravely, "No Jackson, I am not going to poo poo in the bathtub." And I didn't. The End.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Cosmetics and Cashmere

Wow. I have lived a pretty normal life for much of this week. In addition to going back to work, I have been able to go to the grocery store after work, cooked dinner most nights, kept the house in decent condition and even did several loads of laundry. This may not sound like a big deal to you, but this is not the way I have been living for the last 6 months. Hell, longer than that if you consider the 6 to 8 months I was gradually getting sicker from Lymphoma and didn't know it. I feel like I have more energy than I have had in such a long time. And that is a nice feeling.

I discovered that Netflix has exercise rentals and even has a lot of them on their 'watch it now' function. That means streaming video online. And my 'I got cancer so I got a new, fancy TV' has input right on the side of it to hook to my 'I was hospitalized with a toxic pimple so I got a new laptop.' And 14 hours of 'watch it now' is included in my Netflix monthly fee. So twice this week I have called up Pilates-type videos and done them.

The first video was a cardio-pilates thing and I could tell it was a beginner-friendly work-out. But since I am even lower than beginner at this point, two months post chemo, I could not keep up. I just got too winded and couldn't breath and my resting heart rate is still high. Yesterday it was 116. So cardio is something I will have to work up to. I did what I could and just walked in place when I just couldn't keep going. There was a pilates mat portion of the video which is stretching and exercises and muscle work. That I did pretty well with and was good and sore the next day. Last night I did a mat pilates video and was able to do most of it, though not so gracefully and prettily as the gals on the video. And I am not terribly sore today. I may have another go at it when I am done blogging. Makes me feel in control of my own body again. I promised my mom I wouldn't go overboard, but I am really anxious to be in better physical condition. No cancer, no infections, no arms shaking while trying to pour New Year's Eve champagne.

Today was a good day. Got some laundry done and the house picked up. Then had a visit from my Mary Kay consultant, Nancy. She brought me a huge gift basket that Mary Ellen sent me for Christmas. All the skincare stuff I use plus a few lipsticks and mascara. I have gotten back into my Mary Kay routine in the last few weeks and am a devotee once again. When I use it consistently, it changes the texture of my skin. It's much softer and even in tone. And I swear it has helped improve the texture and color of the scar on my face. And since I don't have much hair, I am really focusing on making sure my face looks good, skin-wise. And I love Mary Kay. If any of you ladies have not tried it, I highly recommend it. There isn't a product that I have tried that I don't love. (Maybe I should do another Mary Kay party. If anyone is interested and lives in central Texas, let me know. I'll do a party.)

After naptime, in which Jackson didn't nap, David and I took him to Fry's for a new computer component that was on sale. Then we headed to Nordstrom to look for scarves. I had some money left on a gift card I won last spring (from Mary Kay incidentally) and wanted to find a nice scarf to go with my nice red wool pea coat. I am going to need it in NYC.

Nordstrom was sort of overwhelming. They had a large section of hats, gloves and scarves. Very expensive things. I saw one that looked nice and looked at the tag - $225. Um, not for me. And the things that were less expensive I didn't like. Too many prints and colors. The salesgirl was very nice and showed me what she was wearing - a red cashmere scarf wrap. She showed me how it would fold to be a warm scarf, then when arriving for a Broadway show, for instance, you could unfold it into a shoulder wrap. And it was on sale for $99. On sale at Nordstrom isn't the same thing as on sale at Kohls, I perceived. But what is a gift card like this for if not to buy some expensive accessory you would never have bought otherwise? So I bought a black one and I will feel pampered and special every time I wear it. Imagine, cashmere for only $99!

It has been a good week. I would say I am feeling more like myself, but I a still unsure who that is exactly in the post-cancer world. I guess I will simply have to undergo a second (or third) adolescence to figure it out.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Introducing Marsha, the Badass

Yesterday was my first day back at work in weeks. And it started with a bang.

Well, it started off with a big meeting of the Operations Committee at the Palace, of which I am a member, even though I have (had) cancer and have been out of the loop for much of the last few months. Big meeting. We are working out the logistics of going to direct computer entry sales and 100% assigned seating.

General admission seating at the Palace has become a nightmare. But this is a great problem to have. It only exists because we are selling out, extending runs and selling those shows out too. General admission for a sold out show is rough. The people line up in droves outside the doors waiting to get in for the first come seating. Then the last groups in often have to split up and people get pretty pissy. The house managers are having a rough time with crowd control. So we need to sell tickets by seat numbers.

The process to implement this is going to be a little rough, but we gotta do it. We are just dealing with growing pains and we have to get through it. We open A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum next Friday and by then hope to have enough kinks worked out. We really need to be a-go for this production because we expect it won't sell out in the first few weekends. We need the practice before Superstar opens Feb 22. That is gonna be a killer, and we need to be ready for it.

Jackson has taken to being back at the theatre pretty well. Had a little breakdown yesterday when we got there, but quickly got over it and was pleasant, charming to everyone and took his nap as usual. Nice to have him sleep from 1 to 4 so I can work.

I am very happy to be back in the office selling tickets and watching the set go up and get painted. I love the smell of it. And just now it is exactly what I need.

And apparently I am trendy. Yes, me. Trendy. My hair, at not quite an inch in length, is none-the-less long enough that people think I have done this on purpose. I think my bad ass widow's peak does the trick. Or it could be the big eyes thing. I don't know. No fewer than 3 strangers have commented about my 'haircut.' I have twice been told I look like a punk rocker. How little they know. I am gratified that my decision to go out sans wig at this point hasn't resulted in points and stares, but anyone who knows me understands that never in a million years would I have done this on purpose. Heh, It was even suggested by someone at work that perhaps they think I am emulating Britney Spears. Um yeah.

November 2007, I was the chemo queen.

And now, Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the new version, the punk-chic Marsha. May she burn out quickly and be replaced with the Katie Holmes version. (Am I making that gesture right? I'm new to this punk thing.)

Thanks to Andrea' for my new 'Goonies Never Say Die' T-shirt. I put it on (braless, of course) especially for this picture. It goes with the hair.

Uh oh, look at this. I seem to have relocated my sense of humor. Where have you been, buddy? I thought I had lost you during my last hospital stay.

What is it about normalcy that makes me positively giddy?

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Sometimes your pants just fall down

Poor Jackson. Such a skinny boy. He is 2 1/2 years old 18 month size pants are too big in the waist. 12 month pants fit in the waist but are waaaayyy too short for him. And most of the pants we have are 24 month size hand-me-downs from my sister's boys and the new clothes Susanne has given him. So the boy wears big pants. He does. Baggy and long. Perhaps that makes him trendy. But when you wear too big pants they occasionally wiggle off your butt and end up around your ankles. Especially when you like to dance, like Jackson Boy. Poor baby.

We took the boy to Chucky Cheese this evening. He woke up cranky from his nap and we quickly realized that we could get out of the house and take him somewhere or we could sit at home and listen to his crabby demands all afternoon. We would get tired of it and he would get in trouble and have numerous time-outs. Very tiring. So out we went.

It was fun. There really aren't that many games geared toward small fry like Jackson. There are a few though, and he had a good time. He quickly mastered putting the token in the slot to pay for a game. I was impressed. David was so patient with him, holding him up so he could try to throw basketballs, played skeeball with him and generally just played with him. He is such a good daddy. We are lucky, Jackson and I.

So it is January the first of a whole new year. I do believe this is a welcome event in my household. New year equals renewed health and vitality, I hope. I ordered an exercise DVD on amazon to start working on my strength and stamina. And to make sure I can fit into all those clothes I bought while on chemo brain this summer. As it stands I am somewhat limited in wardrobe do to the uncomfortable tightness that the season's great and plentiful food did not help. But what the hey, that is what Christmas is for, yes? Good food and lots of desserts. January is for dieting. (February is for going to New York City!! So exciting.)

We didn't have any advanced plans for New Year's Eve. We didn't have a sitter so couldn't go to the party we were invited to. But at the last minute we decided to have a couple of friends who also didn't have plans over for some dinner and games. Cliff & Mary Ellen got a Wii for Christmas and brought that over. Elaine and David played a boxing game that was quite physical and David has been really sore all day. Makes me think we should get a Wii and send back the work-out DVD.

I am going back to work tomorrow. I am a little nervous, it has been so long. But I am ready to get out there and do some productive work again. We are having a big meeting at 11:30 tomorrow to work on details to implement going to computer sales. I had planned to take Jackson out to my mom's in the morning so he would be out of the way for the big meeting. But Mom called yesterday to tell me that she and Tonya have the crud and wouldn't be able to watch him. I don't want him to get sick, and they can't run after the boy when they aren't feeling well. So he comes with me. I'll take some markers and a coloring book with me and hopefully it will work out fine. He naps starting around 12:30ish when we are at work, so he should be sleeping most of the afternoon.

So wish me luck. I'm going back out into the world.