Saturday, March 31, 2012

Was It Fun? Of Course It Was!

I overslept, and had to rush into Boston with Tommy to get cake. But then I changed my mind and got cupcakes from Cakeology on Province St. I picked them because they had such a great rating on Yelp. However, once I was there I realized this was the place with the cake truck outside the Boston Public Library. I already loved them!We got German chocolate and double chocolate and Boston cream pie - which my mother loved - and key lime.

Then we hauled all our stuff to Grace's house and she just rolled her eyes. We ate.....and ate....and ate!

It was great to have our parents and nieces and nephews and cousins together to celebrate our birthdays.

Getting together with my family never gets old.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Almost Ready For Tomorrow's Party!

I made tuna salad; chicken salad; spinach dip; onion dip; a fruit tray; and cole slaw.

I have chips and pretzels and soda and Nutella and crackers and bruschetta and mozzarella.

Mum made potato salad and my Dad bought more snacks.

Grace is making meatballs and chicken wings.

I told Grace I would take care of the cake.....and true to form I have waited until the last minute.

So I guess we know what I'll being doing tomorrow morning!

But for now I am lazing in the parlour watching "Lost Weekend". The music sounds like the music in the original "The Day The Earth Stood Still". Gort, Klaatu barada nikto!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Dear Redhead at Today's #OSMH Lecture

I'm so glad you ran away without facing me yourself. I wouldn't want to upset Griff by dressing you down as you deserved.

Griff and I took the Main Street bus downtown and walked down to the Old South Meeting House. Today's lunchtime lecture was the final installment in the series "The Sum of It's Parts; A Boston Neighborhood Review" Charlestown-Rebuilt after it was burned by the British following the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775, and annexed to Boston in 1874, today Charlestown is home to extraordinary historical architecture; major national landmarks and a new generation of immigrants and young professionals that have joined its traditionally Irish-American population. Carl Zellner, Historian of the Charlestown Historical Society, explores the city’s oldest neighborhood, which today is a thriving 21st Century community.

Griff and I took a seat off to the side as opposed to front and center. Just in case he got itchy. But overall, he was great. I didn't think much of his whispers and moving about. You see, during lectures, tourist are still roaming around the periphery. Floorboards squeak and people talk in hushed tones. That's why they gave Mr. Zellner a microphone so he could speak to his series of slides.

I try never to miss tours or talks about Charlestown because I always learn something new. I enjoyed Mr. Zellner's talk very much.

But not everyone did and they didn't want to be unhappy alone. I noticed a redheaded woman three people to my left leaning over, away from the screen. I didn't get it. But someone made sure I did.

To my immediate right was a young girl, 10, maybe 12. Her mother was between her and the redheaded grump. The young girl's mother got up and walked over to me to say "He (meaning Griff) is bothering her (indicating the redheaded woman). You might want to move."

I was speechless. I looked down, the redhead wouldn't meet my eye. I stayed right where I was.

Then the redheaded woman called over one of the OSMH people and apparently voiced her displeasure. The woman from the OSMH brought Griff some crayons and a clipboard with Paul Revere pages to color. Griffin was very good. It's not like I brought a three-year old Frankie to the lecture.

When the lecture ended, I looked over, but Miss Fussy had hurried away.

Very wise.

After the lecture we bought books, had lunch and went to the bank. Everywhere we went Griff charmed people, he is so cute and very polite.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Well, That Didn't Go As Planned!

This weekend the Somerville Theater in Davis Square is hosting the 13th Annual Irish Film Festival.

Yesterday was a "down day" where I didn't even shower, but I knew today would be better. So I checked the listings and I saw that Sunday's offerings included "Bernadette: Notes On A Political Journey". I was struck immediately! This documentary is the story of Bernadette Devlin. I had read her book "The Price of My Soul" when I was 16 and it impacted me deeply. I didn't always agree with her views, she is a socialist, but you can't help but be in awe of her. At least I couldn't.

So today I got up and showered and not wanting to risk the "T" on a Sunday schedule, I took a cab to Davis Square.

I went up to the ticket window, very happy to be 30 minutes early for a 2 pm showing. I put my money on the counter and asked for a ticket.

"It's sold out and started 30 minutes ago."

Ah yes, I am so good aren't I? It was a 1 pm showing not a 2 pm showing.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

THIS Is What Should Come To Mind When You Hear "Dewey Square"

Dewey Square was named for Admiral of the Navy George Dewey. This lovely park should inspire thoughts of Dewey's US Naval Service.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Where There Is A Will.....

This will be a little cryptic. Sorry about that.

Today, I had to go somewhere and stand for....I don't know.....5 minutes. This was after some walking. Grace didn't want me to do it. She is against all exertion until after I see the endocrinologist.

Oh yeah, did I tell you? They think I have hyperthyroidism. Kate told me and I laughed. People with myeloma experience weight loss. Not me. People with anemia experience weight loss. not me. People on chemo experience weight loss. Not me. People with hyperthyroidism experience weight loss. Not me. It makes me wonder...if I didn't have these medical problems....would I be 500 pounds????

My oncology team says it's unrelated to the cancer; the chemo, or the transplant. So, why? How? Who knows. But it means that most of the time I shake. People who know me are saying right now "But you've always had a tremor". Yeah, but this is ridiculous. I shake all over and have vertigo. If they are right, they think a specialist can solve it either with medication or radiating my thyroid (which sounds awful). But I can't wait for them to fix it. People are always looking at me. Telling me to slow down. Or calm down. But it's not nerves or upset, it's just minor exertion that brings it on.

So I go. Luckily I wasn't alone. My Frankie and my good friend Bette took me. I can't drive anymore.

Jen & Grace had to go to the funeral of our cousin's grandmother, which is actually where I should have been.

It was sooooo embarrassing. I nearly collapsed. The trembling was so bad. Then the room got all murky and shaky. People came up to me, helped me to my seat. Gave me water - which was a great idea, lol. And I was able to pull myself together a little.

Frankie & Bette made me laugh afterwards. I am so grateful for their support.

Should I have gone? Was Grace right?

A great man once said "Never give up. Never give in." Some things matter.



Tuesday, March 20, 2012

It's My Birthday!

It started the day before and it won't end at midnight. That's how I roll!

First there was a beautiful bouquet of flowers waiting for me when I got home from the doctor's office. It was a huge lift! Aren't they beautiful? They are from my Uncle Walter and Tom, so naturally they are from Bunker Hill Florist. Then when I opened my Google page. When I ran the mouse over it, it said "Happy Birthday, Maggie". Nice touch Google! A little while ago I saw an episode of "Unique Sweets" on the Cooking Channel. They were visiting Clear Flour Bakery. I made a note in my calendar to go on my birthday. So that was my primary mission. Totally worth the trip out on the Green Line. In the pic above you can see a raspberry/apple tart and one of the delicious chocolate things and half of a chocolate macaroon. You can also see the chocolates that Grace & Jen sent me.
In the foreground are Walter & Tom's flowers. In the back are the flowers from Grace & Jen. In the bowl is a birthday card for Grace. Her birthday is next Tuesday. That card and mine have been in the bowl for a while. My Dad is always ready way ahead of time.

This is stuff Grace & Jen brought from a different bakery.

This is blueberry lemon cake and another chocolate dessert, again from Clear Flour Bakery.

And another treat came on Facebook. Pictures of my newest niece, Lily Grace. Congrats Jessa & Sean, she is beautiful! I can't wait to meet her. Is my birthday over? No way. There's still a party on March 21st.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

I'm Not Saying I Have a Problem....

....but I am just wrapping up the replay of #TalkingDead. That's after watching last week's episode once and tonight's season finale twice.

But I have to go to bed now. Tomorrow is scheduled pretty tightly.

Starting off we have the opening round of voting for #TwitterFightClub. Please vote for @HerbCarmen tomorrow between 0900 and 1200.

Then I have to head over to NEMC for PFTs. I did this once before when I wasn't so weak. They're gonna be lucky if I don't faint from the exertion.

And of course, I'll spend all day feeling guilty for wishing that Lily would hold out for Tuesday & be my birthday buddy. It's kind of mean to keep hoping that since my niece Jessa has just been admitted to the hospital with contractions. Even I'm not mean enough to hope for 23 more hours of contractions.

Friday, March 16, 2012

I'm All By Myself

Regarding this Kony2012 video. I don't get it. The backlash has me baffled.

Have you seen it? You should. Here's a link. It's just under 30 minutes long.

It gives a very simple overview of the situation in Uganda ( and surrounding countries) and Joseph Kony. Joseph Kony is the leader of the Lord's Resistance Army. He is, without doubt, a war criminal.

What I got from the video was that Jospeh Kony should be brought to justice. That the more public pressure that can be brought to bear on Western governments (particularly the US) the more likely that Kony can be brought down.

The filmakers other point were that Uganda will need lots of help rebuilding what has been destroyed in the fighting. He also points out that if public pressure wanes, not only will no further progress be made towards these goals, but the US may withdraw the 100 special forces presently deployed in Uganda.

I firmly believe that more people need to educate themselves on what goes on outside of their own little bubble. Particularly the college age people he has clearly aimed this campaign toward.

So, why the backlash?

It's oversimplyfied. Ok, who is going to watch the expanded, nuanced, comprehensive version? Probably the people who are already aware and looking to further educate themselves. I look at this like a trailer. Of course there is more to this story. Duh.......

Kony hasn't really made a move in over a year. Umm, so? Is there a statute of limitations on murder, rape, torture and kidnapping?

Other leaders in Africa do bad things too. LOL! This defense didn't work when you told your parents "All the other kids do it!" and it won't work here.

The makers of the video want US military intervention in Uganda to hunt down Kony. I didn't hear that. I heard them say that the US could assist/advise - and I agree. I also heard them say that if Kony falls off the radar, the troops currently deployed there may be withdrawn.

My favorite though was from a Facebook friend "Lastly, this video is little more than Kipling's 'white man's burden' repackaged and remessaged for the 21st Century"

But I am used to it. I take flak from Jennifer all the time about my feelings on Darfur. Today was probably the first time I ever agreed with George Clooney.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Whose Idea Was This?

When did they move Park Street Station 30 blocks further up Tremont?

Who is letting me go out on these adventures unsupervised?

Shouldn't someone tell my parents?

So I get on the Bunker bus and ride to Haymarket. I get on the Green Line to Boylston. It's right across from the AMC Loews. I like this theater. Plus I have passes that I bought on Living Social and AMC's frequent flier card, Stubbs.

This should be a piece of cake, right? Wrong. Boylston is not handicap accessible. No elevator, no escalator. I was dying by the time I got to the top and crossed Tremont.

Have you ever gone out on a cold day and after a few breaths had a pain at the base of your throat? That's what happens to me whenever I exert myself and they can't explain it. It started during chemo and got bad after the transplant. But it faded and by last summer I was doing great. But now it's back. And no one has a clue. Paging Dr. House!

But the theater has escalators and it turns out the two movies I want to see are playing side-by-side. So I was in theater 19 for the 5:55pm showing of "Gone". I liked it. I had my Coke & ice and my smuggled Cadbury mini-eggs and pretzels.

Then at 7:35 I went into theater 18 for the 7:30pm showing of "Act of Valor". I didn't miss anything but a few previews.

Do I have to tell you that I loved it? Of course not! We knew this going in. Everyone I know who has seen has liked it or loved it. Well, except for that assclown Dax Shepard.

So what went wrong? Well between seeing Kate and Dr. Miller today and taking the "T" and sitting through two movies... I was pretty wiped out. And I have this depth perception problem, so I get nervous going downstairs. So, instead of crossing back over to Boylston, I decide to walk up to Park. I crossed Avery, I crossed West, I crossed Temple, I crossed felt like miles!

But there was the elevator.

The elevator someone just peed in. My pants were too long to wear with sneakers. So there I was, standing with pant hem in pee. Then I realized I wouldn't make the 9:45 at Haymarket, so I had to walk down the Winter St concourse to the Orange line.....where there were no elevators. I made it to Sullivan where the bus was late. Everything on the "T" tonight is effed up because of an explosion in the Hilton near Mass Ave.

And the thing is, I did it to myself. Why didn't I just walk down Avery to the Chinatown station? I know where that elevator is and it stops at Haymarket & Sullivan. And it's not like I don't know that Park Street is the smelliest, most peed in station. Whenever something smells really bad I say "That's worse than Park Street Station in the summer!"

End result? I was later than I wanted to be and I had to take my sneakers and pants off in the back yard so I didn't slime the kitchen floor.

By the way, can you guess my favorite character in "Act of Valor"?

Having Faith

Things are happening in my life that I can't control.

Whatever is happening healthwise is not cancer. So I have to see a neurologist, a pulmonologist and something else I can't remember right now.

Someone is trying to trash my life, but I'm not going to let them.

I have faith it will all work out.

But since I don't want to think about it, I am going to the movies.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Eva & Ella Came To Visit Me

This post is a little late. They came during February vacation, but I had such a good time, I must tell you all about it!

So a couple of Wednesdays ago, Eva, Ella and their mother met Griff and I down at the USS Constitution for a tour. They went everywhere on the ship and loved it. Afterwards we went over the the USS Constitution Museum, which Griff loves! The three of them climbed into the hammocks for a swing in the children's exhibit on the second floor. They also checked out the faux galley with it's barrels of food, plates and utensils for mess. The museum also has some rigging set up so kids can climb like Sailors did/do on the Ship.

Next was lunch. We took the 93 bus from City Square into the North End. After a short wait out on the sidewalk we were seated in the original Pizzaria Regina on Thatcher Street. There is nothing like their pizza! We polished off 3 small pizzas and headed back out to scout up some dessert. We wended our way up to Salem Street and got some awesome cupcakes at Lulu's.

Then it was off to the Rose Kennedy Greenway where the girls gave me three awesome gifts. I know it's a little blurry, but this is actually the least shaky pic of the three I took. There is a beaded bracelet and a matching pin. Eva & Ella actually made the pin. I love the colors! I am not surprised that I suits me, I already knew I like their taste. Ella was the first to have tinsel her hair, that's where I got the idea! In the upper left corner is a bar of "Only In Rhode Island" pine soap.

Then Griff and I went back and fell asleep on the couch.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Thanks A Lot Rush, You JackAss

I saw the stupid Rush Limbaugh story and rolled my eyes. Great job you assclown! Now no one is going to see the real issue. You gave a great gift to those who would violate the Catholic Church's freedoms.

I would love to walk up to him and whack him in the back of the head. Who would even know about Nancy Pelosi's hearing if Rush hadn't attacked Sandra Fluke? No one but hardliners on either side and political junkies like me.

Limbaugh has so muddied that waters that the real issue - forcing religious organizations to pay for services that they find morally wrong, is lost. Those who would force Georgetown to pay for contraceptives are violating their first amendment right to freedom of religion.

As long as we allow people to frame the argument as being about woman's "reproductive health", we lose.

To those who would say "The government can not force someone else's views on my behavior and what I do with my body."; it is hypocritical to then turn around and say "The government should impose my views on religious organizations."

If you want freedom, you must respect the freedom of others.

Friday, March 02, 2012

I Am Still In Remission!

Now some of you are thinking "Huh, why is this news?"

Well it's news because since New Year's Day, I thought I was out of my remission. I was soooo angry. I felt cheated. I had been promised 18 to 24 months and it hadn't even been 11. I had things to do!

And now I can still do those things.

New Year's Day I noticed - GROSS ALERT - that my urine was cloudy. I mentioned it to Grace & Jen. What did it mean? I promised them that I would call Kate and mention it.

A few days later I was curious enough to Google it. I typed "cloudy urine" and immediately got upset. I didn't bother reading the results, I changed the search to "urine protein". The first result listed the possible causes and there it was "Multiple Myeloma". I laughed nervously. I know that I block unpleasant things, but this was ridiculous. I knew somewhere deep down what it was all along. I just didn't want to know it.

So I kept it to myself. Not altogether mind you, but pretty much. Grace and Jen and my parents knew something was up. They were watching me get weaker and weaker. My parents didn't push it. But my Dad just started going into my room and taking my laundry and other stuff like that. But finally on February 2nd, I just felt I had to tell someone. So I told my parents. My mother had to confide in her brother. Unfortunately, Grace overheard one of their subsequent conversations. She and Jennifer demanded to go to my February 10th appointment. I refused and my mother backed me.

So on February 10th I go and we talk about and it turns out that there is no sign of it in my blood. They have tested for the IgA protein and the level is in the normal range. They wanted a urine sample, but I was too tired to stick around and promised to come in another day. So that was enough to bolster my spirits. The assured me that the fatigue had nothing to do with the myeloma. My white blood cell count was down, which led them to believe I was having a tough time recovering from a virus.

I explained all this to Jen and Grace and little by little some other people.

I got the urine test. I also got a blood test to see if I was low on a different protein, IgG.

And today Kate called -

"You were right about the urine. You were right about the protein. But it's not Bence-Jones."

I was flabbergasted. There is no trace of cancer in my blood or urine. They've ruled out diabetes and kidney failure. They gave me antibiotics for the resurgent head/chest cold. I have an echo scheduled for the 12th and I see them again on March 13th. March 13th is Mama Kelley's birthday, she would have been 99 had she lived. Everyone thinks it's a good omen. My appointment is at 1300 hours.....3.....13.....13, her actual date of birth.

Mama Kelley will take care of me and my mystery protein and my mystery fatigue.