Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The adventure continues

I spent the entire day yesterday reloading applications on this laptop. That is important because now I have to start on the desk top that is on its last legs. I think I may call support in India. I HATE calling support in India, so I bought a computer made in Austin, Texas, USA so I would be able to call customer support right here in the good old states. Imagine, if you will, my dismay when I called support the first time.

But like a fool, when my extended warranty (you KNOW my luck with computers) ended, I added two years. You see, I know something they don't. I was supposed to have the mother board replaced two years ago, but I had the old switcheroo with the techs that had to come out (tee hee!), and number two didn't do it. So, I figure I am due a mother board.

That computer takes about three days to load. When it does, it will NOT go on line. Of course, now I think a huge part of the problem is Dumbcast. I don't think I have a good signal because I am using my neighbor's WiFi to write this (thanks Darlene!)

My first concern is with the computer itself. The display is sideways, so the monitor is on its side! I know when I call customer service, they are going to want me to take the blasted computer apart. I will play my "handicapped" card at that time. I really don't like staring into the interior of a computer. I don't like unplugging elements, and I really don't like and can't crawl around on the floor.

That is an issue I will have to face with my ISP as well. They will want me to disconnect the computer and so on. Not ready for that today!

My luck with computers is still missing, but at least I can sort of get things done on the laptop! It doesn't require physical manipulations like the desk top. But income tax time is coming and G will need the desk top. The adventure continues.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Advances! Humph!

I'm beginning to really believe that I should never touch another computer again - in my entire life.

It all began when I bought a new sewing machine. This thing does everything except cut out the fabrics. It sews; it monograms; it embroideries. It has a screen saver. It can read other files.

Sure. I have not been open with G about this new machine due to its cost. So when I went to the new owners class on Saturday, I just told him that I was going to a sewing class. During the class, we were shown how to change the screen saver.

I was SO excited. I came home that evening and tried to change my screen saver. I had already installed the soft ware on the laptop, so I gathered up the computer and headed upstairs for the machine. I read the instructions for connecting the computer to the machine. NOTHING.

I thought nothing until I noticed that the computer was locked up. Nothing would happen with any command. So, I turned it off. When I restarted it, it wouldn't leave the welcome page. After several trials, I would occasionally get past that page, but not always.

I thought perhaps the driver for the machine was faulty, so I deleted it. Then the computer was really frozen. Nothing would happen. So then I had the brilliant idea of getting the restore disc and
reinstall things on the computer. It made perfect sense to me.

I put in the disc. Then the death message appeared. All files would be erased. Only the factory programs would be loaded, unless I had the files on the computer saved. Ah, my out!

So I proceeded. To make a long story short, regaining all that information has taken me through today, and it is still not done. The computer is working, wonkily. Add the lousy Dumbcast Internet that doesn't work with regularity, and I am barely around!

I really think I need to leave all these new fangled contraptions to the young folks! I guess I need a typewriter, envelops, stamps, and a petal powered sewing machine!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Doctors visits

I don't know. Sometimes I just feel like such a whiner. I think I should be feeling great. Both doctor's appointments went well - six month recall on both, and they think I'm doing fine. But I find myself worrying about where I really do stand in this battle.

I had the blood test to check the marker levels. The CA-29 was 29. Last time (October I think) it was 19. Dr Poison assured me that it was still normal. Normal range is up to 35. I don't care. I still worry. Does it have some other meaning? Dr Poison said that levels fluctuate in our bodies all the time. He still put me on 6 month recall, so I guess all it right. He also wrote the orders for the mammogram and bone density study.

I told him my emotions are a little raw. He doesn't seem to think it is the anti-estrogen pill. But then he wasn't too concerned with the fact that my joint pain can get so bad at times. Of course, what is the recourse? I need to take that little pill.

So things appear to be going well. I keep wondering if the nasty C will come back. I forgot to tell him I have an ache in my back. My crazy mind yells "kidney cancer" to me, and when logic can push its way in I settle down. Guess I'll just skate along for the next six months.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

I'm moving forward!

Yesterday afternoon I had my appointments with the radiation oncologist. The waiting room was packed! They had added to the staff. It was all very interesting.

When they took me back, there were no rooms so I had to wait in the women's dressing room waiting area. Boy, that brought back memories. There were two women who went in for treatment and had to return to that waiting area. They were talking, as happens when you get treatments with people for weeks. One was going to be finished today and the other had two weeks to go. But they had to see one of the doctors. That explained the lack of rooms!

I told the doctor about the pain and the tightness. She is really cute! She is Indian, and much of her treatment is Eastern medicine mixed with Western medicine. Her advice for a solution was to use an oil like coconut or olive warmed over some water. She said to gently massage that in for about 10 minutes then shower as normal. I hope it works because it certainly felt good!

The best thing she said was that I was to return in SIX months. What good news. I am getting closed to becoming a survivor!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Strange occurances

When I put Doodle Bug down for her naps, part of the routine is to turn on the fan and the light classical cable music channel. She apparently sleeps well to that music. Normally I don't pay just a whole lot of attention to what piece happens to be playing unless it is really familiar to me or it just grabs me for some other reason.

For the last couple of days, I took notice of the music. Several times (one day it was the morning and afternoon naps) I looked at the screen because the music was very snappy. It was Vivaldi. That was really sort of amazing to me. I didn't think they played Vivaldi very often, but it has been a biggie for the last few days!

We are getting ready to head out to our "spread" this weekend. G commented that every year when we go this third weekend of Februray, the weather is really bad. It is always cold and there is precipitation - usually freezing. That is the forecast for this weekend too! Texas' weather may change in a few seconds, but it seems to be rather regular for this time of year.

I'm going to the radiation oncologist today. I've got a few concerns for her this time, chiefly how tight the skin seems. I also have some pain, but that may be because it seems I am getting some feeling back. THe chest feeling is returning, but the underarm feeling I think is gone forever.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Yep, I'm being "one of them" today. Give me a break! What else do I do around here? I keep one of the little buggers. That's my life these days.

Lady Bug is seven, and we all know that being seven means losing one's teeth. She lost three over the course of last weekend. She has already lost the two in front on the lower jaw. She then lost the ones on either side of those. Suddenly she lost one of the front teeth. She looked like a jack-o-lantern! It was the funniest looking thing. My plans were to get a picture to post here (you lucky people), but her mother told me this morning that she has now lost the other front tooth.

Doodle Bug isn't feeling just perfect these days, and she is making my life miserable. She is so grumpy. At least she is in the habit of napping. This morning at 9:22 she pulled herself on me, put her head on my shoulder showing me she was ready for her morning nap. She is such a little old lady. She is a complete creature of habit and doesn't like it to be changed. I just wish she would do the afternoon naps again. I have high hopes for today since she did yesterday.

Monkey Boy is doing well in his PPCD class. It is under the Special Education umbrella. He was very speech delayed. His major problem now is potty training. He refuses to use the potty. I don't know why. He was at school, but even that has stopped now. He is 3 1/2. I guess (hope) he will be trained before kindergarten.

I wonder if any other kids in kindergarten have this problem. I don't think any in regular classes. I know in Special Ed. Heck, we had them in junior high. His future will be interesting - to say the least.

OK. I've gotten my fill of talking about grandchildren. Perhaps tomorrow I can find a more stimulating subject.

Monday, February 11, 2008

So - when do you start counting

Survivor. That's what I want to be. A survivor. No, not on some exotic island. I want to be a breast cancer survivor.

I am having all sorts of anniversaries now. December 23 was the anniversary of the suspicious mammogram. December 29 was the compression mammogram. January 16 was the biopsy. I was diagnosed on the 19. I had my lumpecomy February 8, and then the masectomy on the 22.

These are just the first of the anniversaries that will come this year. So since it has been a year, am I a survivor yet or do I have to wait 5 years? Will I really be a survivor then?

I really think that I am in the midst of a chronic disease. I don't think that really once you have cancer you are ever really a survivor. If there is no recurrance physically, there is in your mind.

One of my friends, neighbor in the hill country, and relative had colon cancer a few years ago. I think she is at the point of being considered a survivor. I don't think she believes it however.

I spoke with her a month or so ago. She was going for her check the following week. She commented that even though she is on a yearly recall, that seems like too long a time period. I really think she would be happier to be check at a more frequent interval.

I fully understood what she was saying. I go this week to see my radiation oncologist. At my last visit, when she told me things were well and I would be on a 4 month recall, I was thrilled. I wouldn't be seeing those folks so often. This has been such a long time. The appointment that seemed to be so close at the time has, in reality, been a long haul. Next week I see the regular oncologist, and he will check the blood markers. I really want to see those numbers.

Then my son's best friend's mother has had a major recurrance. She and I are not close by any means so I can't ask her, as if I would even think of doing it, how she cared for herself. The story I have is that she stopped taking her after breast cancer pill (I don't know which one she was on), and then they found the cancer everywhere.

Since she is not actively pursuing chemo or anything like that again, I do have to wonder what she did for herself after her five years. She is doing the holistic thing right now. That includes even drinking water with perioxide in it to change her pH.

So. When do you consider yourself to be a survivor?

Friday, February 08, 2008

Disaster averted

We have weathered a disaster around this old homestead. It was another death. It was an old trusted, reiable friend who was of undetermined age. It was my faithful microwave.

When we bought our first microwave all those years ago, we thought it to be just a passing fancy. It would be good for warming left overs and making nachos, but that would be about the only uses we could imagine. But we forged ahead and bought one anyway, and brought it home.

Then we began to use it. The original uses were there of course, but then we began to experiment. And lo and behold, we discovered that others had been branching out in their uses of the glorious appliance. And those people recorded their experiments and bound them. They made microwave cook books. Oh the horizon expanded.

And so we were hooked. That orignial microwave quit on us several times. We rushed it to the appliance hospital where it was put on life support and would recieve a transplant. It would be returned to us, and we would again put it to work, reheating and cooking.

Then it became apparent that it was suffering more than was allowable. It would have to be put out of it's misery. Plus there were new ones out - with push buttons replacing the dial. Oh, we had to have one of those. So the old work horse was put out to pasture after about 18 years, and in came the new one. It was all shiny white and pristine. What a joy.

As the years wore on, the white one became stained, but it wtill worked like a charm. It served proudly and well. That was until it suddenly began arcing. That was about two years ago. It was out of the blue, and it would stop almost as soon as it began. The arcing would come so infrequently that we just plugged on.

We just didn't know how sick the poor thing was. I was heating a small bag of popcorn when the arcing became so violent. I went to the oven and opened the door. The popcorn was only half popped, but I knew that it wouldn't allow another heating because I didn't want a burned offering. The next day I went to the oven, opened the door and carefully placed my lunch into the cavity. I set the timer for two minutes. The sound was not familiar. It was so different. It was labored. The food was not hot! The microwave was dead.

Suddenly it was shop on line time again. I began my search for a replacement. How could we go on without a microwave? My search was difficult. What I was finding was the 1.1 cubic footers that had a measly 1000 watts. That wouldn't do at all. But I pushed on, and was delighted when I went to the Mega membership huge quanity store had what I wanted. A beautiful new 2.2 cubic foot with 1250 watts. It was a fitting replacement, and the price was right.

So now we have a bright shiny stainless steel microwave sitting in the place of honor in our kitchen. All's right with the world, and I can once again have a hot lunch.

Monday, February 04, 2008

We have once again returned from the little place in Far Out West Texas. The trip was packed full of exciting events. Well, I guess you have to lead my terribly exciting life to classify all this as exciting.

On the way, we stopped in the Alamo city to see my MIL. We told her we would call before we got to the independent living facility where she is now. She didn't answer the phone. That call was made about lunch time, so we thought she must be down eating. We called an hour later. There was no answer. G was a little more than upset. He thought she had forgotten we were coming and went off somewhere. That wasn't the case, she explained that he simply didn't allow the phone to ring enough times.

I spoke to little SIL Saturday. G's fear were well founded. MIL had a doctor's appointment sometime last week. Little SIL was going to take her. She forgot, got on the facility's van and went to the wrong doctor. When MIL related all this to us, she said T was coming back from Capitol City and just visited. She is not as with it as I thought.

Saturday afternoon, neighbor E was helping G tear out the front deck so that it can be replaced. E went home for lunch and our leasee for cattle came by to pay for the lease. That's when they saw the smoke.

That is a serious situation in Texas these days. Things are so dry now, and the spring and summer was full of rain. That means all the long grass has been dried out by the frosts and freezes. The winds are really high this year. Add a spark and you have a grass fire that can consume hundreds and hundreds of acres.

G decided to take the county road to see if he could find the source. He met E at the base of our adjoining hills, and they both went looking. I was there alone and the smoke was getting much worse. It was thick around the house. I really was about to call the fire department - which is 12 miles away in rocky dirt roads. It takes about 30 minutes just to travel that distance. The fire department is all volunteer. You can add all that up!

As it turned out, they found no fire. Thankfully!

On the family feud front, relations between BIL and Little SIL are not going well. She told us that she wants to stop leasing her land to him for cattle. That is one thing. The other is that there is no fence between them. Ah, I see the feud becoming really nasty. I think I'm glad we are not situated in the middle of this - both physically and emotionally. Our land is the furthest north - fenced off to boot.

Hope your weekend was a good one. Tomorrow I get Doodle Bug back. Her mom tells me she hasn't napped this weekend. She will either sleep all day, or I will be really fit to be tied tomorrow afternoon.