Monday, June 22, 2009


We've had a busy week-end. It left me pretty tired and with enormous amounts of laundry. Actually, it started last week. I got this in the mail on Monday. A lovely little welcome package, complete with a Rebiject, a titration pack, and lots of literature. And a pen. I gave Kateri the pen and "Treatment Journal." She loves paper and pens and has quickly filled up most of it with her writing. She was thrilled with the little green ribbon to mark her place. I was thrilled there was actually something we wanted to use in the package. I gave Pippin the little black travel bag and he was happy. I think Cyril would like the Rebiject, but I'm holding off on that.
Just so you know I was not making it up, the second sentence here states it is made with genetically engineered Chinese Hamster Ovary Cells. Ok I said it was monkey.
But close enough. Anyway, I did call the hotline to discuss drug interactions etc. The lady on the other end was in her car in the middle of a lightening storm, but we had a good conversation anyway. I asked her about alcohol and she said it was not completely contraindicated.
"I mean, you're already dealing with a lot, and then shots, you can't give up everything."
Amen sister. So I guess I can put my mint to good use.
I still have not started the shots, and who knows, I may not. I was glad I did not start them right away as a few days later the kids came down with the stomach flu. First Audrey a 4am. The next night Pippin, at 1am. And last night Kateri at 2am. I couldn't imagine feeling sick and tired from the shots and then cleaning up and taking care of sick kids all night. Which makes me really re-think if the drugs fit my lifestyle at all.

Here is Pippin convalescing with Battlefield 2. That and Halo have been his therapies. His only lasted 8 hrs so maybe there is something there. Poor Audrey was a couple days and then several days of sleeping. She had to miss her ballet recital. But she said, at least she got to keep her costume. A pretty peacock green gauze slip, with gold trim. She was very excited when she brought it home last week.
Shane watched Pippin playing Halo with Cyril and was amazed. Cyril had done something Pippin didn't like so Pippin started chasing him. When Cyril jumped onto some flying thing, Pippin jumped on, threw Cyril off, and rode off with the transport. Shane said its a pretty difficult move, even for a gamer. But Pippin pulled it off flawlessly. I guess I'm impressed. Although I'd be really impressed if he would go pee on the toilet.

Pippin decided rather than wrestle with Papa and the kids, he'd play sniper.

And here is what Kateri is doing today. Amongst all the sickness, we have pretty much exhausted our movie selections. But Shane found some new ones on reefs and it has footage of several places we snorkeled in Palau. So I'm interested in that one. I've been able to keep on to op washing the towels and sheets, not so much putting them away. Yesterday, I convinced Shane I needed to go to QFC, which I did, but also too the opportunity to run out and get him a present for Father's Day. Nothing too special, just some new jeans and a couple shirts. And some steak and asparagus and Yukon gold potatoes and some wine for dinner. Kateri and I made him eggs in a nest for breakfast. She thought it was really cool.
So I guess we'll just repeat last week. But hopefully we'll get through it all sooner. 3 down and 1 to go. Kateri is actually really good about the flu. She'll jump up, run to the bathroom, flush, wash her hands and rinse her mouth out. And then get back in bed- I put her in our room. But all without crying or making noise. Audrey on the other hand has a more difficult time and when we are completely out of the woods, I'm going to shampoo the carpets. Again.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Shane's Gonna Burn One Down

It was Shane's team's turn to host the weekly BBQ so he came up with the theme, got some crafts to do, and then at 11:00 announced he was going to build this. Under the circumstances and with limited resources-whatever scraps we had in the garage-I thought it was pretty good. You can't tell very well from the picture, but he drilled holes and embedded sparklers on the arms and shoulders. I think he was going to pick up some lighter fluid too. I told him to get lots of pictures.
Kateri likes tools, and thinks they can help in any situation. Like this. She was smart and decided she'd bring a handful of wrenches to find just the right size. We try and keep the power tools up high. And the lighter fluid.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Summer Fun

The weather has been fairly nice lately. Its cooler now, but we had some nice warm days. Some were so nice we finally got the pool out. First I hiked down the trail to retreive the hard plastic one the kids had been using for a sled. After washing it out and patching the holes with duct tape-Cyril had also used it as a target for his bow and arrow-we filled it up. And then when the weather stayed nice, we pulled out last year's big pool. Its suffered a bit from use, but if we give it fresh air each day it works. The kids decided it would be fun to make a boat out of the pool. It still had a few leaks but with enough bailing they were able to stay afloat.

Our neighbor brought out her dog course and the kids had a great time "training" the dogs to run it. Pippin was very excited.

As evienced by the fact that both feet are off the ground here.

And I am excited to have lots of new tomatoes coming on. The first one somehow got removed but there are a ton more now so I'm over it.

And on really hot days there are Iced Americanos. Or sometimes breve lattes. With a tiny bit of sugar.

Audrey found a humming bird and got a few pictures. Maybe we'll put up a feeder.
So far lots of summer fun, and its only June. And I talked to a nurse today and she said alcohol is not completely out once I start the Rebif, so there may be mojitos on the horizon too.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Recent Progress

I still have not figured out the picture loading order thing. So, of course these are in the reverse order of what they were supposed to be. No surprises here.
I picked up this little night stand from our neighbors FREE pile at our last garage sale. Its solid wood, has dovetailing on the drawers, and only one coat of gold paint over one layer of a green wash. And Cyril needed a night stand and I needed a wood project. And our neighbors needed it out of their driveway. So now it is in our garage. I've already gone through one can of stripper and will need several more. But the fumes were making me dizzy so I have not gone to get more stripper yet. But it turns out it was not the stripper, it was a new lesion in my brain stem which the neuro discovered on the MRI this week. So it looks like I may become a Rebijector after all. Maybe. I still need to do some studying on how to get around FDA bans, on natural substances. Namely estriol.
But at least I can finish stripping my nightstand with harsh chemicals that have probably been shown by the state of California to cause cancer, but which do not seem to be the cause of my vertigo. In other developments, Kateri is now riding her bike sans training wheels. We were headed out to ride the other day and she brought me a screwdriver and asked me to take them off. Knowing she is a pretty good judge of her own capabilities I got a wrench and took them off. I figured it would take some a few falls but that was all part of the process. No. Not for Kateri. I steadied her and sent her down the driveway and that was it. She was so proud of her newfound ability and announced to every neighbor
"Look! No training wheels!"
Only it didn't come out that clearly and as most of them had their windows up or were behind closed doors I'm not sure the message really got out. But she has been enjoying flying around the cul-de-sac, helmet-hair flapping in the breeze.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

....How Does Your Garden Grow?

I decided to put a garden in this year. And when I did, it really made me miss our old back yard. We only get good sun on one side of the yard. The other side is mostly swampy and mossy. So in order to have a garden I had to cover up most of the "good yard." But I also wanted fresh vegetables and I figured it would also be less grass to mow. And as our soil is really bad, it was perfect to do raised gardens.
I got the bug to get started on Thursday, and as it was Thursday I took the four kids and headed to Lowe's for supplies. And Home Depot because Lowe's doesn't have pearlite in big bags. It was an interesting trip and I didn't really think about the logistics of herding four kids along with I don't know how many pounds of peat moss and poop. The kids thought it was pretty funny to be buying cow and chicken poop. I was really glad they had little trolleys for the kids to load and pull around the store. The three older ones each grabbed a wagon and I evenly distributed the loads amongst their carts. It was a good plan , though I had to remind Kateri not to go too quickly or it would run her over when she stopped. I wished I had brought the camera. She was pretty cute pulling a load 5x her weight in her little cropped jeans. Then we had to caravan through the store looking for the boards I needed, luckily not too far from the garden, and then the deck screws, unluckily on the opposite side of the store.
By then the kids were a little tired and I had to help pull a wagon, while pushing the big cart full of plants and Pippin. Finally I told them to stash the carts in an open area and we'd just run over and get the screws. Another good plan.
Check out was lengthy, but successful and I was feeling quite capable until I looked out the sliding door and realized there was a slight slope into the parking lot. I warned the kids not to step too far out or their cart would get away. I figured I'd leave the big kids at the door with the carts and I'd ferry the carts one at a time to the car. But Kateri took one step and her wagon started for the big tent pole. She tried to hold it back-think of a squirrel trying to stop a bowling ball. I had Pippin in the big cart, which I could not let go of, and reached with one had to grab her wagon handle- think of a bigger squirrel trying to stop TWO bowling balls. Just then gentlemen was walking out and ran to grab Kateri's cart, which did bump the pole but fortunately not enough to take down the tent.
I was feeling quite broken down at this point and sort of silly for taking on more than I could safely handle. But what else do you do but laugh in said situation. Laughing, I thanked the man, and was wishing he would go now so he would not have witness more of my obvious ineptness. But then it got worse.
He said he's help us across and then asked the one question for which I was wholly unprepared.

"Where are you parked?"

I stared at him blankly. Realizing I had no clue where the van was and feeling flustered and on the spot, all I could manage to do was go into hysterics. I know. Not very helpful. But apparently all the stress of the shopping came out at once and I just draped over the cart handle and wept. I couldn't speak, so shrugged my shoulders and shook my head to communicate I had absolutely no clue where I had left my vehicle. Eventually I wheezed out an "I dunna no" but more like "its anybody's guess where that crazy lady parked my van."
Realizing he was not going to get any useful information out of me, the man turned to Cyril and asked,
"What does your mommy's car look like?"
Which of course sent me into another fit. I was frantically going through my purse looking for my keys so I could at least use the locator to help us. I did and paged the van.
"Sounds like it came from over there" the man said. And we all went off in the direction of the beep.
I had regained my composure at this point but was thankful when the man left us at the van so we could load in peace.
I hadn't thought ahead about loading and thepeat moss bricks were quite heavy and akward to get up and over the back bumper. But we managed to fit everything using all the available space.

And then I got to start on screwing the boards together. Another lesson learned: check the boards for warping first. I got to the last corner and there was quite a gap. I couldn't hold it down and drill at the same time as it needed all my weight to straighten it. And I had to use Shane's drill which is quite unruly using one handed. I thought of "pinning" t in place with a nail, but obviously that wouldn't work. So I called the expert and he recommended I try the old leverage method. So I built this.
Archimedes could move the world, I can build a garden box.

And here they are. Of course, because I decided to plant lettuce the weather has turned unseasonably warm. Or hot I should say. Currently it is about 85 in the shade. And it has been like the for the past couple weeks. Ever since I put the gardens in. I finally gave up and started some seeds inside. I put them in the pantry as it is the coolest part of the house. And hopefully they can get going there.

This is my favorite part of the garden. I bought four different varieties, all good for the area. I am very happy for them when the sun is shining.
Elsewhere, we planted zucchini, yellow squash, cucumbers, peppers, carrots, spinach, basil, thyme, cilantro, strawberries, and along the fence some corn. Now I just need to make a hill for the pumpkins and we are set.
And I think with the first salad we make using our fresh vegetables, I'll look back on that trip and fell it will all have been worth it. And hopefully I don't start laughing again and choke and die. Because that would be a bummer.