Wednesday, January 28, 2009

My son likes asparagus, and there are consequences to that...

Yes indeed.

Jackson wears a pull-up to bed since without one, at three and a half, he'd be wetting the bed all the time and I don't want to get up every night to change his sheets. Or mine, since he is in and out of my bed at least once a night.

Last night at dinner, Jackson ate a ton of asparagus. He likes it, which doesn't surprise me considering his love for black olives and broccoli. But asparagus has late-night consequences that were unanticipated.

He came crawling into my bed about 2 or 3 in the morning and I was sleeping soundly. I barely registered him until the smell hit me. You know that asparagus makes your pee stink, right? Well imagine that smell coming from the diaper of the child sleeping next to you. I was in such a weird state of sleep though, that I couldn't wake up and take care of it. I kept dreaming that I was getting up, getting Jackson up and getting rid of the pull-up of death full of asparagus pee. I have no idea how long I suffered before I rolled over and kicked Jackson out and sent him back to his own bed. Poor baby. He stank all night and I didn't care as long as he wasn't sleeping next to me. I can't believe I didn't wake up and take care of him.

Remind me never to sleep next to my son who has eaten asparagus and my husband who has eaten garlic.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

To scan or not to scan

I was supposed to have a PET/CT scan today. But it was cancelled, though I am not clear on exactly why. I go to Austin Radiology for the scans. But they called me yesterday to say that due to insurance reasons, we needed to reschedule from a Texas Oncology time slot to an Austin Radiology time slot. I asked exactly what that meant but I don't think the girl on the phone understands either. I rescheduled, but couldn't find a mutually available time til Feb 18th. I require a morning appointment. PET scans require an Atkins diet the day before and nothing to eat for six hours prior. Which means you can get up and have breakfast at 6:00 in the morning for a noon appointment, which isn't something I can do. I can't go that long without eating and then down a gallon of barium. So I can't get a scan til the middle of Feb.

I called my oncologists office to talk to them and to reschedule my Feb 12th appointment but their power was out so couldn't get into the computer system. I am hoping they can explain what is going on with my insurance and what the hay the difference is in the time slots. I almost don't even care. Whatever. Inconvenience me. I'm used to it and it hardly even bothers me. I am just more curious than anything else.

But I am thinking I am going to cancel the scan anyway. I am not on any type of birth control. And any time I get a scan, I could be irradiating a Sray Zygote and I don't want to do that. I am not even sure I can procreate anymore, but I don't want to risk it. Plus the whole debate about whether these periodic scans are really necessary. If the cancer comes back, most likely it will show up in my blood work first. If I keep my regular check-ups and the doctor is diligent, we should be able to catch it and then order a scan to diagnose. Thus saving me the potential zapped baby Sray and the exposure to all that extra radiation.

And how the hell is radiation both a cure for and a cause of cancer? How is this possible? It all seems to work that way though. Adriamycin kills cancer cells and irreparably damages the heart, another of my chemo drugs kills Lymphoma and gives me a 30% greater chance of developing Leukemia. Rituxan is our current greatest hope against some blood cancers, but you could drop dead the first time you get it which is why it takes 6 hours to infuse in round one.

So the scan debate in my head continues.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Miss America and Mall Meltdowns

I am watching the Miss America Pageant. Why? I don't know. I think there are much better things a woman can do with her time/life than trying to prove herself to be the most perfect Miss in America this year. But inside me resides a little girl who is a sucker for an evening gown, would like to wear a sparkly crown all the time and is fascinated by extremely tall, long-legged women. Their legs, geez, their legs are taller than I am.

But I am struck this year, after watching the swimsuit competition, that each woman has the same skin color - burnt orange. Of course there are two or three women of color in the finalists, and they are not painted burnt orange, but when you line them all up and pan the camera in a sweeping motion as they are want to do, you see a wash of legs and rock hard abs of all the same color. They all blend in. So I get it. White skin, pale skin, does not work in a bikini. But really, orange is better? Put down the spray tan, ladies. Everyone in the real world thinks you look stupid.

Also, big hoop earrings, bracelet size, seem to be the style. Not something I will be following. But that is ok. Earrings the size of my head somehow don't seem desirable to me.

We went shopping today. Jackson got a haircut from the oldest, slowest hair stylist we have encountered. She was really nice, but didn't seem to understand that you have 10 minutes before Jackson can't sit still any more. She took forever. She snipped and combed, snipped and combed, and just took her sweet time till Jackson was ready to crawl off the chair and run away. He did well under the circumstances. He tried to sit still. But it just took too long. Like 35 minutes. And in the end the cut was kind of clunky in the back and not exactly straight in the front. It is hard to cut straight and neatly when the kid is wiggly. But if you take 35 minuted, he is gonna get wiggly.

We looked around the outlet mall for shoes for David. He is a meticulous shoe shopper, needs to try on several shoes in several stores. Has to know all his options before choosing. Which is fine, unless you have a three year old with you. We did well at the outlet mall. He behaved pretty well. But David didn't find the shoes he wanted and we decided to head to the other mall to look more.

We should have quit while we were ahead. It was 4:00, Jackson had eaten too much junk food and very little lunch and had not had a nap. We were not the smartest parents in the world for going to the mall under the circumstances. We had a feeling it was not a good idea.

And we were right. We barely got into the mall before Jackson was throwing a fit about not wanting us to stop at the bathrooms. Then when we finished in the bathrooms and were headed into the mall proper, he decided we needed to go back to the bathrooms because he needed a drink of water from the water fountains. We were outside the cookie company so tried to get him a drink there, but he threw a fit and nothing would do but the water fountain several stores away and up the escalators from where we were. At that point David scooped up the crying, yelling boy and said, we are going home.

And we should have left right then. But the threat of leaving calmed the boy and we stupidly decided to stick it out and actually try to look at some shoes. We traipsed through a couple of stores looking, but Jackson poked around, stalled and became unreasonable as only a tired 3 year old can do. The last straw came when we walked past an establishment we didn't expect. Lakeline mall has one of those places you can take your kid to jump on a dozen different inflatable moon walk/jumpy things. And this place has a glass wall to the mall. Jackson saw the place and melted down big-time cause we were not going in.

The place was crowded, cost $10 each to get it and we were just unable to cope at that point and decided to cut and run. So we carried a screaming kid from one end of the mall all the way to the other end where we were parked. David and I started giggling a little bit here and there on our long walk of shame, since we both knew we deserved the meltdown for going to the mall even though we knew better.

And we still need to get David some shoes. Somehow I can't imagine we will be ready to brave the mall again any time soon.

Is is a right of passage? Do we all have to make the screaming child walk of shame at some point as parents of small children?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I hate cedar

I am in full-blown cedar fever misery. Itchy eyes, faucet nose, scratchy throat, general body misery. Crankiness. I hate allergies. And I hate having to promise not to cook meth when I need some claritin D at the pharmacy. Jackson is also suffering and I needed some motrin cold syrup for him and some claritin D for me. Both of which have Pseudephedrine in them.

And you have to beg at the pharmacy for this non-prescription item. I feel bad for the pharmacists who have to dole out the stuff with rules so convoluted they can't even say if you can buy cold medicine for both you and your kid until the scanner computes the exact amount of pseuephedrine you are attempting to buy, swipes your drivers license and you sign the 'I promise' line. I did get both meds, I didn't have to choose between fixing my nose and Jackson's. And as the pharmacist said, when looking at my red nose and generally miserable cedar disposition, "I doubt you are going home to start the world's smallest meth lab in your kitchen."

Right. I'm not. Can we please stop with the Sudafed gestapo? Please make the rules a little less strict. Let me have more than 10 claritin D at once please. Must I write my legislator to beg for some common sense? Do legislators not have colds and allergies? Do they never have to jump through their own hoops for some sudafed? They probably just send someone else out for some. Bastards.

Jackson, of his own accord, peed in the potty standing up yesterday. He went in to pee, saw the seat was up and gave it a try. He only made a small mess. After he was done he turned to me and said, "Peeing while you're standing is a lot easier, isn't it mommy?" Sadly, I wouldn't know. I suppose it is easier, thus the line-size difference outside the bathrooms.

Gotta go see what's for dinner. All members of this household are allergic messes, so something simple is in order.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

There are worse things I could do...

Than not getting cast in a musical or two. I could be stuck at work on inauguration day trying to get rights to songs for the musical I didn't get cast in, while trying to get the office computers to stream the inauguration...with sound. And fielding ticket inquiries for the said musical I didn't get cast in. That is the sucky part about auditioning for the theatre you work for. If you don't get cast, you can't avoid the show. Not even apparently for five minutes while you decide how upset you are that you didn't get cast.

At least I am in good company. Some of the most talented ladies I know auditioned and fought hard last night and didn't get in. Sigh.

I am really excited my friend Sabrina got a role, she has worked really hard on her acting and singing and this is her first "real" part. Her emphasis, not mine. She has been a featured dancer in many a show, she just doesn't consider that real even though it is. So congrats to the talented ladies who made it into the pink ladies. I'll be sitting here selling tickets and aquiring right when I should be home watching history happen.

Oh, wait, I just got sound. Yay!

Shit there's the phone. Do I have to answer it?

Monday, January 19, 2009


I just got home from Grease callbacks. So yes, I did get called back. I was called back to read for Frenchy and Patty Simcox, the cheerleader. There were about 20 women called back for eight roles and everyone was really good. I think I gave a good accounting of myself. I think I can do a pretty annoying, bubbly cheerleader for sure. But will I be cast? Magic eight ball says "Concentrate and ask again..."

Cast list should go up tomorrow. I may be on it, but if not, I am ok with my audition. I still wish I would have sung better at the initial audition. But at least I feel good about my callback. So we shall see.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Audition and Jacksonisms

Just got home from auditions for Grease. I sang my song, performed my monologue and learned the dance with forty something other people. And there were more auditions last night. I think in all well over 60 people came out for it. And they were overwhelmingly female.

I am okay with how I did, though. I was nervous and it came out in my voice, so I didn't sing as well as I wanted to. I sang better than some, not as well as others. The dance was fast and we had very little time to learn it. I danced better than some and not as well as others. I did try to look like I was having fun though, even when I was sucking. But my monologue rocked. I did my ice skater piece and as usual it worked and I was comfortable doing it.

So we shall see how I measure up against the multitude of women who auditioned. The callbacks are tomorrow and the list of who is invited to callbacks will be posted online really late tonight or tomorrow morning. Not sure if I am staying up to obsessively check for it, or if I am going to bed to worry about it in the morning. I don't think not knowing will keep me awake. At this point it is out of my hands, I did my thing, either I get a call back or not. And if so, I go on tomorrow to fight another day. So dramatic.

But honestly. I am beat from a long night of alternating nerves and boredom as you sit around waiting for your turn and then sweating like crazy and pretending that you remember the steps to the combination. Fake it and smile, baby, fake it and smile.

Here is a list of some 'hmm' very interesting things a three year old might say to you to make you laugh.

When you are trying to sneak some alone time with your spouse you might hear:

"Hey, why are you naked, guys? Huh? Why are you naked?"

When your pajama top comes open as you laze about on the couch on a Sunday morning:

"Mommy, your boobie is out."

When you catch him coming out of his room without his pants and wearing a different pair of underwear than before:

"Mom, don't say it, don't talk, don't get up and look."

When he discovers the cat has taken a dump behind the couch in the living room:

"I smell poooopp! There's poooooopppp! There's a big loonng poop and two little ball poops!"

I'm sure there's more but as I am degenerating into cat poop stories, I better stop and go to bed.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

I got my hair cut this week and Maria showed me what it looks like when I blow it straight instead of letting it curl/feather. So I have a bit of an improvement on the floppy, growing-my-hair-out hair. It won't be long before I actually have a bob. That will be nice. When I don't have so many layers, but more one length or at least long layers. I still don't know what the plan is with it. Keep it above my shoulders or grow it longer? I doubt I will grow it down my back like before. Just would seem like trying to go back instead of forward. But I would like to be able to pull it back, put it up in some way. And I need to go buy a brush. I don't have one if you can believe that. I have a round brush, but I threw my other brushes away when my hair fell out. Figured I didn't need them and I used to by cheapo brushes new every year or so anyway, so by the time I needed one again, I could get a new one. And I need a different kind of brush now. I have different hair. So it is time for a new brush. A Sally trip is in order.

I took Jackson to buy shoes at the outlet mall last week and took a few pics of him riding on the $.50 rides conveniently placed outside the kid stores. He makes me laugh. He sits nicely with what, to him, must be some strange animal statues.

Aaaand he puts his hand in one of their mouths. I guess an open mouth invites you to stick your hand in it.

So how bout that plane crashing into the Hudson river and no one getting killed? I am a huge fan of the pilot right now. Nice work. That must have been terrifying, but what an awesome ending.

Tomorrow night marks the return of Battlestar Galactica and we may finally learn the answers to the questions that have been plaguing us. I can't wait, but I will be sad when the series is truly over. Sigh.

Monday, January 12, 2009

My talk was a success!

I attended the PEO luncheon today and had a great time. The ladies were all so nice and welcoming and kept saying "Oh hi, are you the program today?" And though I worried I wouldn't have enough to talk about to rate being THE Program, I talked for at least 45 minutes, maybe more. It was pretty easy to talk about theatre. And the ladies asked great questions that led to more talking. And I was quite comfortable and only had slight issued accessing my vocabulary. I had a good time and I am so glad I did it.

I am really worn out now. I spent some time at my mom's after work helping sort out a few things with their laptop. With working several hours on my presentation last night and on my mom's computer tonight, I am computered out. I didn't sleep well last night, probably from nerves about today. So I am hoping I crash as soon as I hit the bed and don't wake up till morning.

Right now calls for a cup of hot tea - decaf and a good book.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Theatre talk

Tomorrow I am speaking at a luncheon for a service group out in Sun City; the PEO club, don't know what that stands for. But I do know they support education for women, have numerous scholarship programs and such. They asked me to come talk about theatre and acting. This has been on my calendar for months. Someone in the group was at a cancer luncheon I spoke to back in June and they schedule their meeting guests that far in advance. So I knew this was coming, but it still snuck up on me.

I spent the evening putting together a power point presentation with pics for the occasion. They want to know the ins and outs of it all - auditions, ways to prepare for a role, favorite shows, things like that. So I made plenty of notes and tried to find things to talk about that answer some of the questions people ask all the time. Like "How do you memorize all those lines?" And "How many rehearsals do you have?" One of the questions the organizer sent me was what was my most difficult production. That one is easy. Since I was trying to play Shelby in Steel Magnolias when I was diagnosed with cancer, I think that probably beats just about every other theatre difficulty I have encountered.

I had a hard time narrowing things down though. I could pull up slides and talk about shows all day long. But in the end I tried to keep it simple and light and then let them ask their questions at the end. I think it is going to be a fun time.

I am slightly nervous because I don't speak extemporaneously much and since I had chemo my vocabulary is sometimes held hostage in my brain. You know how sometimes you just can't find a word or a name? You know it is in there, you use it 50 times a week, it was your favorite movie in high school, but your brain just won't give it up till you relax and come back to it later? That used to happen to be occasionally just like everyone else. But since chemo, it happens at least once or twice a day. When I am talking to someone, I have a hard time accessing my full vocabulary. Seriously. This is a symptom of what cancer patients call chemo brain - this is something we feel is very real, but isn't always accepted or documented by the medical community. But trust me it is real. I don't have the short-term memory I used to and I can't reach my words like I used to.

But I am not too worried, cause I stuck to topics in theatre I am very familiar with and I think I can get through the luncheon without embarrassing myself. And if I can't find my words, I'll just tell them the story of chemo brain and place the blame where it belongs.

David and I accomplished a few things this weekend. We scrubbed both bathrooms, redid the grout in the shower that had succumbed to mildew, washed clothes, cleaned the BBQ grill and replaced worn out parts inside it. I have the sheets and duvet in the washer right now so we can crawl into clean, warm, sweet-smelling bedding tonight. I love clean sheet days.

I also decided to sign up for an audition slot for Grease at the Palace. There are over 30 women signed up already, so I understand the odds of getting into this one, given the level of dance I have. Which is basic/fake it technique. But though it is a long-shot, I have to audition because the number of awesome people I know signed up means that this could be a great and fun show to do and I would regret not even trying. You have to try. Sometimes the long-legged blond dancers beat you out, but you still have to try, right?

Monday, January 05, 2009

My kid is a criminal mastermind...

Yes. Jackson is the sneakiest boy in the history of sneaky boys. In the mornings when he gets up, he often takes his wet pull-up off and leaves it on the floor. We constantly ask him to put it in the trash. Yesterday morning as I was getting up with him, he stopped in the hallway by his room and said, "Um, I'm just gonna close my that you don't see my wet pull-up. I had to laugh. Damned internal monologue malfunctions. They trip up villains all the time. The need to brag about one's crimes is overwhelming sometimes. Especially if you are three.

He also peed on my couch and tried desperately to cover it with a pillow...while I was standing there asking him about it. It went like this:

Me: Jackson, what is this? Why is the couch wet? Are your pants wet? Did you pee?
Jackson: (carrying pillow) I'm just gonna, I'm just gonna...
Me: Did you PEE on my COUCH?!?!
Jackson: I'm just gonna put this pillow here...

It wasn't funny at the time. Cause there was pee on my couch. But it's funny now. I guess.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year

New Year's Eve was a lot of fun. Went to Kyle and Dave's house for the near-annual cavort. This year, in addition to the dancing in the street with sparklers, the gathering featured Rock Band, the video game where you play different instruments and get scores based on how well you follow the music on the screen. Jackson was mesmerized and sat with his Dad 'helping' him play the bass guitar.

He eventually moved on to play the drums with help from David. David had the hard job of keeping the drum beat going just well enough so that the song didn't 'fail' regardless of whatever beats Jackson was playing with his drum stick.

It really isn't a little guy's game and Jackson came over to me upset saying "I don't have an instrument to play." But Auntie Andrea' had brought his Christmas gift to the party and she happened to have bought him *tada* a recorder. Yup. Just like the ones you played three blind mice on in 3rd grade music class. He was so excited, he sat down and joined the Rock Band. Cause what Rock Band doesn't need a recorder? Hell, the only think better would have been a cow bell.

Jackson did have some momentary trouble making the recorder work for him. He was very concerned and kept telling me, "It keeps sounding like that, show me how it goes." I thought he meant the fingers and I kept showing him how to hold it and move your fingers over the holes, but that wasn't it. He meant that the sound he made blowing into it didn't sound like the sound I made blowing into it. After I figured out what his concern was, I helped him hold his lips around it better and told him he needed to blow gently. If you blow too hard, too much air goes through and it doesn't make that perfect(ly annoying) tone.

Once he figured out how to make the right sound, he played his recorder along with the band on every song. It was pretty damned cute, him tooting the recorder along to the music. The sound of the game was pretty loud, so he didn't really distract much. (His hand in the picture is telling mama to stop cramping his style.) He had such a good time and we let him stay up way too late. When we finally put him to bed at 11, he was out immediately and all our fireworks and cavorting didn't bother him a bit.

On Tuesday, I took him over to my friend Kathie's house to play with Delaney, her two-year-old daughter. Kathie's husband is in the hospital battling the cancer beast, and with pre-school being out for the holidays, I figured Delaney needed some play time, as did Jackson. Kathie is spending much of her time at the hospital with Steve, as she should, and her mom has been staying with the girls. So I sat with the kiddos and the sleeping baby while Kathie went to the hospital and her mom got some cleaning done she had been wanting to do.

Delaney and Jackson did pretty well together, given their differences in age. Jackson is not an aggressive player and Delaney has no problem communicating exactly what she wants, so that was good. It took about a half an hour for them to settle in to playing. Delaney wanted to jump and roll around on her bed and Jackson was not interested. He wanted to play with her Winnie the Pooh tree house and the scooter that went with it. Delaney, in her two-year-old wisdom determined that if she removed the distraction -the scooter- from Jackson then perhaps he would play in the bed with her.

Didn't work. Jackson just got upset because she took the scooter. I tried to get them both to let me read to them instead. They weren't interested. I took down a book and tried to show it, but Delaney took it and put it away, saying "No book." Jackson did not take to that very well, he wasn't interested in the books either, but I saw something in his face, like "Don't you be telling my mama she can't have a book." He picked up the book and said, "Yes book." After a few rounds of book tug-of-war with neither kid budging, Jackson decided tears were in order and returned to the true object of contention - the scooter. "Please let me have the scooter, please."

Sigh, I have to teach the boy not to beg a woman for anything. It isn't dignified. And it doesn't work. The situation finally resolved itself and the kids set into playing along side each other happily. I guess you gotta work things out before you can really be friends. Generally there isn't a mom witnessing the tussle though. Good thing, cause I don't think I could handle that. I'd want to intervene, de-escalate, appease, compromise, take over. And you mostly need to let them work it out for themselves.

And they did. By the time we left they were interacting well and climbing on a little slide together. I got a great picture, but figure I shouldn't post a picture of someone else's kiddo without permission. So you just have to take my word that Delaney is a beautiful, delightful girl and she had Jackson take a mean photo together.

I had a moment of sad memory while I was there though. Kathie brought out her shoes to put them on to head to the hospital and the minute the shoes came out, Delaney knew her mom was leaving. She was sad and climbed into Kathie's lap. "Shoes? Shoes?" she said, sadly. Her mom said yes, she was leaving. Going to the hospital to see Daddy. Delaney started to cry a little and it broke my heart. That sucks. I remember a time when visiting a doctor's office set Jackson to crying "Mama, not go back to the hospital." It sucks that these kids have to get dragged into the harshness of life so early. Fucking cancer. Leave us parents of young children alone! Shit, leave everyone alone, but especially avoid those of us with babies to shelter and keep innocent for as long as we can.