Photos of the far!

We had snow, which resulted in so much white stuff the paper was almost buried when it was tossed in the drive. Even with the amount of snow we got, the birds weren’t interested in nibbling from my hand.

I found a crazy shaped m&m in the snack bag I poured out, a different pair of bags didn’t have a single green one in them!


I found a mountain lion in a tree stump, I am so thankful I have an imagination. (I added eyes and teeth and ears to the second photo–do you see it?)

As mentioned earlier, I got seriously cold on my walk down the verge where the new pipeline is going to go, but when I found sunshine, it was warm enough to remove layers…briefly! (both photos were taken minutes apart!!)

Every step I took on the ice made a lovely crackling sound. I’m going to miss winter so much, but I am glad for warm sunshine.


Let’s Pretend

It started out pretty positive. I woke to speak to a friend about the experiences I’m in.  It was definitely a good thing, nice to imagine I can help someone else from this remnants of this crazy choice I made so long ago. It was nice to be up on a sunny breezy morning.

When I checked on mom, that wasn’t so good. She’s had some very horrible highs and lows, swings that are worse than her normal ones. She manages to go from 409 to 86 (with a shot) and then back to 414 and drops again to 119, with another small dose of Humalog insulin. (She won’t let me give her the shots, she’s perfectly able to do it herself.) This has been going on since Sunday night. This morning (Wednesday) she had gone up to 507. On Tuesday morning she got miffed at me because she felt she might need to go to the hospital, but I didn’t respond to her calling my name at 8am. She managed on her own, she said. Basically, meaning her glucose dropped from 406 to 135. It did go back up. I felt terrible about not hearing her. I had not slept much on Monday night. I’d gotten up with her at 430 in the morning and was asked to change a nasty fitting (although, most of them are pretty nasty!), gave her some meds, and I finally dropped off to sleep. I feel so irresponsible! Anyway, on Wednesday, I was not sure what to do. The nurse isn’t due out til Thursday. When I called for advice, they told me to call mum’s doctor. The doctor called me back and said we could have an appointment today (Wed) or sometime next, it wasn’t that important. (They obviously know mom and her habits, but I felt this might be not just from the carbs she’s ingesting. Mom thinks her sugars are running high cuz of pain. I’m pretty sure it isn’t just the pain.) She woke from her nap and I told her the choices to see her doctor. She finally opted to take an appointment for today. However, an hour or so later, she asked me to cancel it cuz she felt lots better.

At dinner, her glucose was high again and I reminded her there were pork loins in the fridge for a protein. She said those were too hard to eat. I then said I’d not buy them for her again til she had her new teeth in mid-April. Then, she said she didn’t need to wait that long.  She could eat whatever she wanted to. A bit later she mentioned to the dog that she didn’t get herself a squash yet. (She has not BEEN shopping, I have. Gods, I cannot do ANYTHING right.) We go back north to get the stitches removed next Thursday. Mum told the dog she is pretty sure she’ll feel a lot better once those are out and she won’t need to have any more appointments. At least she is talking to the dog. She’s living in a world of ‘let’s pretend’ and even with my imagination, it frustrates me. (she just told me after her bedtime snack of peanut butter toast with jam that she feels so much better than she has in weeks.) I am glad she is singing again and laughing at things. I sure as hell don’t feel like doing either of those! (Besides, as I’ve been told more than once by her, I am tone deaf and cannot sing at all. I am not tone deaf, I just can’t sing. I’ve probably mentioned that before in here somewhere!)

I had picked up some things in town on Tuesday. She didn’t feel like shopping on Monday after her appointment. Tuesday, I had to wake her for an appointment and then she wanted to go straight home. I absolutely needed to go in and get some script. Unfortunately, my debit card didn’t want to work. I asked The Craftsman about it and was told it was perfectly fine. I wondered if the amount was over a limit. Sometimes when you are not in the area of the card, the bank twigs things. He told me he’d check on Wednesday. I got a good night text and when I asked him about the card, he said he had forgotten. Doesn’t matter.  If the card won’t work, I’ll use a gift card my friend sent me. I was going to get something useless, but meds are more important than anything else and by tomorrow I’ll have missed two days (besides, useless is not something I do!). I’m thankful she gave it to me. (She had sent two and I found out you can’t buy a gift card with a gift card-I was going to use one of the cards to get an Amazon one. This was because Amazon won’t let you use gift cards cuz there isn’t a name on them. I wanted to get something absolutely frivolous from that site. Instead, I bought an Alaskan book for Strider at the grocery store!)

I did get out for a walk this evening. The days are so nice and long. The sun finally set around 8 pm. It was really chilly out with the breeze til I got to a spot that had been in the sun all day. I ended up taking off the scarf I was wearing, my fleece pullover, and my t-shirt! I think the people who drove past and saw me in my tank top must have thought I was crazy! It was so nice in the sunshine, although, I did dress again for my descent back into the valley with the shadows. I also finished two books. The Secret Garden and Pollyanna. I know that last one has a bad rap, but I absolutely LOVE it. I know I’ve not found many good things in the world lately, but they are there. Like the unexpected warmth I found today in the sun, the friends I texted, and the one I spoke to this morning, and Strider who called. (I guess mom being pain free is a good thing, but I’m not entirely certain how long that will last. Oddly, she didn’t use her pain pump most of today, except for what she is getting all the time. She did take some pills.)

I’ll share a photo of one of the good things in the world. A picture one of my friends took of Haystack Rock on the Oregon Coast.

Haystack Rock

Spring Cleaning Cat Nips

Wrinkled is a casual look.


In the weeks before Easter and Christmas one tends to clean. That is where the phrase Spring cleaning sprang from. In order to get everything ready for the Holy Week between Palm Sunday and Easter, cleaning was a must for house and body. It was often the first bath after a long winter and it was always a time to make all things tidy. Not everyone could afford a new costume, but anything new was worn on Easter to celebrate the Risen Lord.

In my own house, I like to open doors, rearrange dust bunnies, and welcome the fresh air full of the scent of violets and cut grass. If it is breezy, I’ll hang clothes outside. I love the scent of spring in cloth. Little Bear prefers the ease of the dryer. He often opts for the casual look of wrinkled after it sits for a few hours. Sometimes I can get him to actually fold his laundry after it has dried. (above is a photo of the kid’s clothes basket.)

Moses also likes clean laundry from the dryer. Many times I’ll fill the basket, leave it in the living room, leave for a minute, and come back to see him curled up inside. Often I have to move the cat to get to the towels or t-shirts  and socks so I can fold them. Generally, he climbs right back on top to resume his nap. Moses Mc Conikitty doesn’t care what time of the year it is. Naps are always in season for a cat.

Whatcha Got Cooking?

I usually dream about sex. Something rare and wonderful and a lot of fun.

My latest dreams have been about cooking.  More uncommon than rare, but still wonderful, and a great deal of fun!! It might be from reading stories of woodland creatures who love to eat. I am sure I’d never really want to drink chestnut and buttercup beer, but I’d love to try a woodland trifle or perhaps a gooseberry crumble with meadowcream topping, maybe a warm rye farl stuffed with cheese or even candied lilac buds. (the books are by Brian Jacques) It might also have to do with looking up recipes for barley water. After reading the comments from Garfield Hug on a post from a while back, I decided to try the drink again. I had it in Korea (at least, I’m pretty sure that was what we drank!) and figured it would be easy to procure here. Many of the farmers in the area where I normally live often plant barley and I use it now and again in cooking. It appears, however, as a beverage, it is not very common in the US. How ridiculous! Thankfully, there are many different fairly easy recipes all across the net, so it would seem a simple thing to put together. BUT, I can’t make it. Mum’s kitchen is not mine. It is not organized and the drink takes at least 2 hours to cook down. I’d need to store it in the fridge (oh gods, mum’s fridge is a MESS. Each time I try to tidy it, she manages to muddle it completely.). It would probably be good for mum, if she’d drink it. (she still hasn’t opened up the packet of tea I bought for her.) Yet, it would take up a lot of her kitchen and she’d comment. I love cooking, I like cleaning my kitchen, I enjoy knowing where to find whatever it is I might need, and it is so much fun to find new recipes and invent them. (Little Bear is a better food taster than his dad. He often suggests a different spice or more of something.) Mum’s kitchen is not mine.

I really really really miss my kitchen. Below is a picture of cookies in progress. There is a lot of counter space with all kinds of shelves and drawers to store helpful contraptions. It is a fairly large kitchen and I’m pretty sure a walker or even a wheel chair could maneuver in it. The Craftsman planned everything. I even have a small thin drawer specifically for recipes. When Little Bear called to ask me how to cook halibut one day, it was  easy. (althoughhe wouldn’t send it north) I told him to open the thin drawer of recipes and about 1/3 of the way thru the miscellaneous scraps of paper stained with oils and scented with spice, he’d find a pink heart shaped paper with ink scribbled ingredients and directions. It may or may not be marked halibut…. He found it almost immediately. I did remind him to put it back and clean up the kitchen when he was done.

I want to bake stuffed crust pizzas and cinnamon rolls and garlic rolls. I want to make Texas Sheet Cake and cookies. I miss making cheeseburgers and chicken. I want to make deer jerky and deer sausage gravy for home made biscuits. I want to make coleslaw and egg rolls and broccoli salad. Maybe someday!


My kitchen may not have anything I really wanted in it, except the dishwasher, but it is my very favorite room in the house. The little bench by the window is where I read. (Little Bear made me the bench as a step stool, I use it for that, too!) Reading while cooking isn’t always the best idea, but I also make sure to use timers. It is amazing how many words you can read in between pans of cookies and over a pot of boiling water!

I so do want to have a Bed and Breakfast or Boarding home someday. I think probably I should move to Australia with Garfield Hug and have a garden with flowers and veggies and feed people and bring comfort. As long as it has internet and running water and electricity.

Does it matter?

It is easy for me to fall down the hole of never ending darkness. I hate to bother people. I don’t want to be in the way. I’m not as strong and independent as I need to be. I try and I pretend, then I hide in my blankets and cry. I’ve gotten texts and messages from good friends, they have been beyond helpful. I don’t like to initiate, though. I do that too often!! I often wonder if anything really matters.

After reading a blog I follow, I decided to call The Craftsman. (the blog had ideas on how to encourage others or yourself and suggested calling someone you hadn’t talked to in a while) Since I last spoke to him on the 11th, I thought this would be a good idea. It was!! I got to talk to him for almost 17 minutes on the 16th. (he was also talking to Little Bear, so I listened for a while) He even texted me twice Saturday night when they were watching a movie at the house and twice Sunday morning during praise team rehearsal at church. He also called me on Sunday for 20 minutes!!! He’s a lot busier than I am, so it was nice to hear from him so many times. I had to laugh, though. Not only is the sewer pipe from the house blocked (probably tree roots), but his mom’s hot water has been leaking for months and she didn’t think it was  important. (he sees her every single night for at least 30 minutes and yet, she forgot to mention it!!!)

The satellite tech came out on Sunday. He got lost. I do wish people would stop trying to use GPS to find mum’s house. They should just call and ask how to get here. (I do fairly well with directions, as long as I remember my rights and lefts!) Mum’s health nurse got lost again last week. The road exists, but most of the time it isn’t navigable. It is sort of now, because a company is putting in a new pipeline and they have needed to doze for the trucks to haul in the pipe. However, it is really best for a 4 wheel drive!! Anyway, the TV tech, (bless his heart!) said the contraption that came is not really necessary for television in Alaska. He also said he wasn’t keen on clambering thru hip deep snow to reach the dish, nor would it work on the dish in the yard. He didn’t want me to try toshovel to get to the dish, it is in the middle of downed trees and brush! He suggested we keep the contraption and he’d return when the snow was gone and he’d move everything to mum’s roof and we’d not have a half acre of cables strung thru the trees and moss. (there are at least 3 or 4 black cables from the two dishes to the house, some might be spares.) He also said to not call the main number when the yard was clear. I’ll stop by the office and let them know in person.  Mum was sort of mad at me, I didn’t let her talk much to the guy who came. She thought she knew him (he grew up in a town much further away than any of the ones mum has taught in) and I was trying to help him get in and out and be done!

My sister called. Actually, she called a couple of times. She and my niece were gone this last week (they were sick, but had paid for a convention sort of thing for FFA and were determined to go). At the end, awards were given. My niece got one for leadership. So, she called her Nana to tell her. I could only hear mom’s side of the conversation. ‘You got an award for leadership? What did you do? Why did they give you the award? Did you build a snowman? They had to give it to you for doing something. You don’t know? Well, I’m glad for you. I have your birthday present here. When do you think you can come and get it? Are you staying the night up there or coming back? Well, be safe.” (those sentences were interspersed by blank moments where my niece was trying to answer!) Jake called before the tech guy arrived to say they were back, pretty wiped out, and still sick, so they were not planning on coming out for a while.

I hear mom whimpering and forcing herself to do things because her hands hurt. She insists it is the weather or the time of the day.  She is not admitting to pain anywhere else. She’s trying to stop taking pain meds, although she will. Thankfully, she writes it down when she does. She gets mad at me when I praise her for how well she’s feeling. She did ask me to remove the cap from a needle tip today. I also replaced it. The sharp part was bent over flat. Mum said she got her insulin, it bent when she pulled it from her skin. (I’ve tweaked needles-rarely-putting them IN my body, I’ve never bent them during removal.) She’s not sleeping much at night. I’ll hear her say she’s going to bed, the tv will be on and lights will be on til around 2. Then, she goes to her room and turns on her oxygen, if she hasn’t already. She then gets up around 4 am and again around 6 and then again at 8. Sometimes she takes meds, not always. She might be snacking. I don’t know. I let her do what she wants. She desires independence and so, I’ll give it to her. She did say the other day how it was nice having someone here. (As long as it is her older daughter who lets her do whatever she wants, for the most part.) She has paperwork due at the end of the month, she has had it since January. She says she’ll do it and I keep moving it to make sure it is in sight. I can’t do it for her, or I would. She wants to be in charge of her finances again. (I’m not keen on the idea. But maybe I should.) She is glad the days are getting longer and goes outside often. She won’t wear a coat because it is 35 degrees. (I’ve slipped and will wear my jacket. Sometimes I even zip it up, but she says it is because I don’t live here anymore and I’m not used to the weather.) She goes through short spurts of vigorous activity followed by long periods of non-activity during the day. We see a radiologist Monday so she can get a second opinion on her being incurable. Maybe someone can do surgery to remove the abdominal tumor, she managed to fly through the one for teeth and the pain pump one. Not sure what they would do with the tumors in her lungs. Tuesday they will do something so she can get some new teeth sections.

I’m just going to ferry her to the different appointments and read The Secret Garden. (pictures from pear trees in Eastern Oregon March ’15)

The Last Days

Last days. Two words which embody everything. I’ve finally mostly caught up with the all the blogs I follow and find in my email inbox these last days. I’ve not been in the WP area, except to post a few things. I have wanted to comment, but the last days have been odd. Not any more frustrating than usual or tiring. Just normal odd stuff that makes me not want to do anything. I laugh when I see people stop blogging because they don’t have anything to say or write. I can’t imagine NOT having anything to say, I just haven’t had the energy these last days to respond. It has been pretty outside, the last days of winter are waning slowly. I’m glad, I will miss winter and I’d rather have it go away a little bit at a time.

Monday was a stunning sunshine sort of day. All white and blue and golden. I went to the beach and in the middle of all the snow, I found rocks. Rhapsody has been on my mind a great deal this last week and finding a depression of rocks seemed fortuitous. Rhapsody loves rocks and so do I. I stepped into the hole and found a few rocks to remind me of my friend in Germany who is doing somewhat the same thing I am. Once home, I put the rocks around a container of dried purple flowers. I’m not exactly sure why, I just felt like I needed to. I walk past them and touch them, I hope she feels my presence.

Tuesday was really busy. It dawned with a lot of snow and some accidents. I was not one of them and drove very carefully to each errand. I was going to stop at the local TV place and ask them what the heck this thing is. It was on the porch after I got home from my beach visit on Monday. (Mum hadn’t heard the driver come to the house, which was also odd) I had texted the photos to a few persons and still no thought on what it is for.


Mum’s tv is working fine, she had her new receiver hooked up, but then this contraption arrived. I’ll figure it out eventually! What I did end up doing was visit the doctor. Again.

I know caregivers are needed to take care of themselves, but I honestly don’t know how this would have been discovered. I have been to the doctor a few times in the last months for other things. I now wonder if those things were a part of whatever this might be. OK, let me clarify the vague posting! While at the doctor, I was examined and it was discovered I have a yeast infection. I haven’t had one of those in ages. (I do wish the nasty pills to ‘cure’ those would taste better!!!!) In the course of the exam I mentioned one of the other doctors had suggested I should have a urine test. I wish it had been done at the prior appointment. The test showed there are protein things in my urine. Going online to find out what a lab result might be is not a good idea. About the only ‘good’ thing that might cause those is something I know is only plausible, pregnancy. So, they decided to take blood. They were going to wait til the end of April, but opted to do it this week. It hurt. I won’t find out those results til later. So annoyed. If I’m really sick, the irony will be laughable. Mum, who is lingering quite healthily in a stage 4 pancreatic cancer lifestyle, has fairly good body parts that are all in order. The daughter, who was well, might not be. Eye rolling!

I continued on thru the day with more of mom’s errands, some moderate elfing and much needed friend support, then picked up pizza for dinner. After which, I made what might be the final snowperson of the season. She’s entirely organic. OK, except her nose. That is a pipe from a pink wind chime. I didn’t name her. (I’d write about a response from The Craftsman after I sent this, but it doesn’t matter.)

I often wonder if mum really is as well as she appears on paper. She is taking the meds in the pain pump as well as still taking the script for pain and nausea and sleeping at the drop of a hat. I changed one of her fittings at 515 AM Wed morning, she has done the rest. Unfortunately, she also has not kept track. I luckily found 5 more we didn’t know existed, but I probably should pick up extras on Thursday. The spares have already been used. We had this conversation on Wednesday night. MOM: ‘oooow. Owie, ooooow.’  Me: ‘Are you hurting more?’ MOM: ‘Not bad. About a 3.’ Me: ‘If you are at a 3, you should only need the meds in your pump. That is pretty good!’ MOM: ‘I think it’s about a 4.’ I then hear the pump notification chime go off after the drugs are administered and mum mumbling. She is going to take a single pain pill and hope it works. I went up later and found she’d taken two.

Comparison is supposed to not happen, it does. I look at my relationship with mum and think about how awful I am as a daughter. I compare myself and feel lacking. I don’t want to take her on outings, I hate the repercussions when we return (lots of pain). I don’t want to leave her alone, she is irresponsible about what she does (today she went outside for quite a while. It was warm, but she had said she was going to just walk around a bit. She’d taken a couple of pain pills, in addition to the pump meds. NOT safe). I don’t want to be responsible anymore. I want to be taken care of, I  guess I am not as independent as I thought!

I feel like Professor Okun from Independence Day. ‘Release me.’ Looking at the sunshine on the water makes me want to follow the path into the mountains. Wonder what we’d find inside???


Growing Cat Nips

Two little ladybugs flew around a flower, Then crawled beneath a leaf to nap for half an hour. –Anonymous children’s rhyme


As much as I love winter, spring is by far the most amazing time of the year. The yard slowly wakes, a little bit more each day, until it almost explodes with color and sound and scent.  As if it is trying to rush to reach the lazy days of summer. I particularly love all the violets hiding in the grass. Most people tend to turf them out, I ask they be left alone. I often think I can almost eat them because they smell so good! (I haven’t eaten them, you can, but I generally just pick them for tiny little vases). When I’m out in the new grass, Moses usually joins me. (He joins anyone anywhere!) I was taking photos of the purple and white violets one day and found a ladybug getting ready to hitch a ride on our orange kitty. I moved the little guy. Ladybugs are red for a reason! They are toxic little things who release a nasty bitter substance when provoked. I didn’t want Moses to accidentally lick the creature and get sick!



I do not know whether many people realize how much more than is ever written there really is in a story—how many parts of it are never told—how much more really happened than there is in the book one holds in one’s hand and pores over. Stories are something like letters. When a letter is written, how often one remembers things omitted and says, “Ah, why did I not tell them that?” In writing a book one relates all that one remembers at the time, and if one told all that really happened perhaps the book would never end. Between the lines of every story there is another story, and that is one that is never heard and can only be guessed at by the people who are good at guessing. The person who writes the story may never know all of it, but sometimes he does and wishes he had the chance to begin again.” Frances Hodgson Burnett

I know this is a very long quote. Ms. Burnett wrote this for an author’s note in the book she’d written about Sara Crewe. It was a small story she had turned into a play and found so much more going on at Sara’s school than she ever imagined. She says of the characters, “They were as real as Sara, and it was careless of them not to come out of the story shadowland and say, “Here I am—tell about me.” But they did not—which was their fault and not mine. People who live in the story one is writing ought to come forward at the beginning and tap the writing person on the shoulder and say, “Hallo, what about me?” If they don’t, no one can be blamed but themselves and their slouching, idle ways.” F. H. Burnett

After the production of the play, her publisher asked if she’d rewrite the whole thing. She did, eventually releasing one of my favorite books into the world (all grown up) to make generations of new friends.

I love the relationship the Ms. Burnett has with her book. When I see authors doing a rewrite, it drives me crazy! Yet, I understand why they do it. I’m glad this particular wordsmith stopped editing and let it go before she killed it in her enthusiasm to get it right. I’m a fan of all of her works. She had a crazy life, was an American who loved England, and was all about rags to riches. Oddly, she was also insistent on making sure the class distinctions she blurred continued to exist in her writing.

She created Dickon, the one who made it possible for Colin to walk and Mary to regain health, but he was always a beloved gardener boy and the brother of one of the more Yorkshire of the servants. The Rat is rarely known as anything else, yet he invented the Game to put Marco and his dad on the throne, following them beyond the last page. Sara lived with poor abused Becky in the garret, but when Sara’s fortunes turned for the better, Becky was made Sara’s servant. Even little Cedric started out poor and continued to retain a wholesome American background in the world of Lords in England.

Her books make wonderful improbable read alouds to explain a previous way of life to a modern generation. Since it’s March, I’ll soon dive into the magical weaving of growth and life inside The Secret Garden. I almost always read it during spring break. Which is much more springlike in Oregon than Alaska!  (Except for the year the daffodils were buried in snow!)



Go, Dogs, Go!

It is obvious my apathy is taking a toll. Joy in things I used to do is waning. I don’t want to go outside. I don’t want to do many things I have found ‘fun’. For instance, every single year, in March, my books are Redwall and the first weeks are dedicated to the Iditarod in Alaska. In Oregon, with functional internet, I am online almost 24 hours the first week of the race. I lurk on FB and on the Iditarod website following and commenting and watching from the start to the Red Lantern as the final musher crosses the line in Nome days later.

This year there are more people out there voicing their opinion and people rising up to put this race down. It frustrates me when attacks are made on teams (the humans are just as much members as the dogs) that are click bait. I get angry needing to use one of the premiere sites to follow this race when many of the committee members of this race are part of those irritating voices. One of the top mushers in the world, Dallas Seavey, is racing in Norway this year in the FL1200.  As I watched a clip of the start for this race (it was like watching a dog party!), I had to laugh and smile. He is a beloved musher and he knows how important it is to be a part of the team and not the ‘boss’. (he almost always runs beside the dogs in tennis shoes!!!)  My favorite part of the video feed was the announcer yelling, ‘Go, Dallas, Go!’

This year, even without Dallas, the 46th race to Nome is exciting. Nic Petit is in the lead at the moment. Dallas’ dad, is hot on his trail. I am seriously hoping for a woman to win, it has been a while. Jessie is in the top 10 and Aliy is right behind. Once again, the musher knows the dogs are the main part of the team. Aliy has said hers are not showing the spark they often do, probably because of the weather. It has been warmer than usual and there are storms. Dogs are smart and to run with them, the musher needs to rely on the dogs as much as the dogs rely on the musher. One of my favorite mushers had to scratch (drop from the race) early on because she was sick. Dee Dee is a hero. She is a cancer survivor and pink is her signature color. The twins of Seeing Double sled dog racing are running with pink this year as well, to support their mom’s battle..

Mushing is not just a sport, it is a community full of people and dogs who care about each other. A few years back, Dallas won and all he could say was ‘Where are Aliy and Jeff?” They had been in front of him and one was lost on the ice. Concern for each other is a priority. Nic gave Dallas an important records book last year that had been dropped. When a musher lost her GPS tracker one year, someone made a FB page for the tracker and created one of the most whimsical memories of the race.  Granted, there are a few apples in the community who can ruin the barrel. Most of us who follow, just ignore those. Usually, as I follow, I know what is going on and pay attention to others who do. This year, it has been frustrating. Mum really doesn’t know much more than what she hears on the news and thinks she does. Click bait stuff. I was tired of trying to explain to her who was who and where they might be and what they were doing from the few things I have seen. I finally decided to go online tonight and actually pay attention to the race for a little while. I’m sharing some of Toni’s photos from the ceremonial start on the 4th out of Anchorage. I would love to go to this someday. (making it to Nome for the finish would be beyond amazing) But, will continue to watch from the background with millions of other fans across the world.

(Dee Dee and her team are in the first set, Aliy and hers in this second)

Unfiltered Thursday (not for FB)

I sit in front of my laptop, shaking my head in disbelief. I am inside a farce, a comedy of errors, and I’m going to shoot the director. Thursday, it snowed. A lot. That was, by far, the best part. (ok, the mini blizzard at DQ was really rather nice, too)

We had a true winter day with lots of snow and wind and ice on the roads and wiper blades. (I had to crinkle off the ice several times!) Those darn things never did get completely clean. Mum got a haircut (the lovely lady gave it to her free of charge), we went to DQ for lunch, I got the odd phone thing on my phone fixed, (Turning off notifications is a great way to get rid of things), purchased some dog food and chaga tea for mum (finally! I’ve been hoping she’ll drink some to help her feel better for years. Of course, she has to get used to the odd flavor!), then we went to her oncologist appointment.

We had never met this doctor before. Her favorite doctor, who retired, passed us to her like a parcel. This woman opened the package and spoke to mum quite frankly about what she found inside. Mum’s weight has gone up, she’s now about 116 pounds. Her blood pressure and other stats are perfectly normal. The doctor told mum she was in ‘pretty good shape for the shape she’s in.’ When asked, she told us the tumor marker went from 1992 at the end of Jan, to 4100 this week. The doctor told mum the numbers were steadily rising, but not escalating. It appears the tumors are growing and keeping the pain under control is the best option. The disease has not spread into destroying other organs. Even the ones in her lungs don’t appear to be doing more than just sitting there. She told mum she didn’t really recommend she continue as a patient, because all the clinic was doing were looking at numbers (labs). It wasn’t really helping mum. In time, as the disease spreads, she would be open to seeing her again. Although, mom’s options for systemic treatment are slim to none. The doctor knows the one who put in mum’s pain pump and said she couldn’t ask for a better pain management team. With that and her primary physician, she felt mum had all she really needed at this time.

Mum was a bit poleaxed. I did tell the doctor how the labs do help mum. She gets to see people. Unfortunately, mum could do that just by walking in with the hats she’s made. The doctor did ask mum some other hard questions. One was if mum would like to be genetically tested. This, to me, is 100% more important than finding out what kind of DNA is in her background for ancestry. Mum agreed (Jake has been wanting this done for years. Odd, as Jake also refuses to have a mammogram or any other test which might find something ‘off’. I have a strange sister.) Another thing she asked mum was if she wanted to terminate her DNR status. That was difficult for mum to think about. The rest of our afternoon was a catalyst for her decision on that. She told us we could also terminate the nurses who visit, since they aren’t really doing more than monitoring her. Unless I leave!  (I may wait for the termination of their visits til the last appointment with the pain doctor. I don’t feel comfortable with the incisions on mom. Yes, they are healing well. One has a bulge—can’t recall what the doctor called it. A bulge where the skin is not healing flat. Anyway, it appears to be ok, but what if something happened to it before we went to the city again??)

We left the office and mum was quiet. We talked a bit about DNR and a few other things and headed home. It was pretty slick, I wasn’t driving very fast, I hit a lethal corner, and this happened.

Fortunately, the snow was like a giant pile of feathers. A 16 year old witness reported to his mom it was, ‘Impressive. She landed on it like it was a pillow!’ The boy’s mom gave me a number for a tow truck and we sat and waited for help. Mum read and I had to keep popping in and out to tell people we were ok. The towing guy arrived and said it was perfect. (it did take quite a while to get the car free!) The soft snow cushioned everything and kept us safe. Mum was absolutely fine, the car seems to be fine (filled with snow inside the engine, I hope it doesn’t freeze tonight!!), and I was only slightly admonished for driving too fast. (45 was slower than those around me!) While the tow truck driver took care of mom’s car, the nearby fire station took care of mum. Two lovely first responders dug mum out, hauled her to the station to get warm, and then others helped keep an eye on traffic. This was fortuitous. At the station, mum sat and chatted with an old friend of hers who is an EMT. During the course of the conversation, mum told them about today and she decided to keep her DNR status.

Once home, I proceeded to text a handful of persons with a photo and the caption ‘Car and occupants all well.’ (or something similar). Immediately texts came back from everyone except two persons. The Craftsman and one of mom’s good friends. Later, I talked for 30 min with him. I asked if he’d gotten my text. He said yes. I then asked why he hadn’t responded. He was surprised. His comment, ‘you had said you were fine and the car was ok.’ I filled him on the rest of the week’s experiences and mom. (I laughed later. He and Little Bear are so alike and matter of fact. Although, the kid may have shot me back a text. His older brother did.)

During my text/talk evening, the neighbor came to plow. I must admit, the lovely wide drive of a few days ago is not there anymore. We really have gotten a LOT of snow!!!!!! It is continuing to snow and drift as I type. Mum meets with a cancer counselor tomorrow at the clinic. IF she can get to the Peninsula. Pilots don’t care for blowing snow any more than they like flying in fog. As much as I want mum to see this woman, I really don’t want to go out tomorrow. I guess it is like falling off a bike. Once down, I better get back on and move.

(NOTE: I also found out the owner of the house where I elf has been sick all week. So, instead of elfing and getting caught by the neighbors as a burglar, I might have met some germs. Truly bad guys.)