Wednesday, December 31, 2008

How About This......

How about we get all three doctors in one room......

Then my friend the Armorer comes in with some lethel medieval weapon.......

And he makes them admit that they are just trying to torment me.

A commenter in one of the posts below suggested I join a list serve for multiple myeloma patients. It's been very interesting. However, these people like everyone else I've met, read, talked to.....had symptoms. People who take this foolish Zometa are experiencing an *improvement*. They have pathalogical fractures. This gives them relief. So of course, the trade-off..........having the flu seems fair.

I don't have any symptoms. So I am just celebrating Ashoura.

Happy New Year! I have been dozing on and off all day while I the SciFi Channel plays their "Twilight Zone" marathon. This could have something to do with my paranoid state.

I am better than I was when my boss had to drive me home from work at 1400. But I am still sore and tired. The chills are gone.

From what I have read they can alter the method of delivery slightly to alleviate this reaction.

But I tell you what.

They get just one more shot at this. If this happens again next month, they can forget about this.

Well......I'm Not Going To Buy An Effin' Lottery Ticket

Before I went in for the bisphosphonate treatment, I went online and read about it. As I wrote previously, they picked Zometa. The potential side effects for Zometa are.....

Some patients may experience mild and transient side effects, such as fever, flu-like symptoms, fatigue, gastrointestinal effects, or anemia, which may be related to their underlying disease.

I had a wicked headache, but it was fading by the time I left work and headed to Walmart. I got home and the boys unloaded the car. I got ready for bed and felt pretty good.

No real side effects as I settled in just before midnight.

Something might actually go my way.

No, I woke up about 0500 clenched in a ball. I have the flu.....or at least a reasonable facsimile.

I'm going to try to take a shower. This isn't supposed to last more than a few hours.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Something I Didn't Want To Be Right About

When I was having trouble getting my 3rd round of Revlimid shipped to me, I was wondering what this would do to my numbers. I guessed that my number would go up.

I would have preferred to have been wrong.

Dr. H didn't seem happy. He said it was fine. That the overall trend from June until now is down. There doesn't seem to be any reason for the flucutations. I would like things to be more black and white. Unfortunately that does not seem to be the way this will go.

Here's what I know now.

June 10th - 5948
August 21st - 4940
September 17th - 5850

Three different labs and possibly different processes. I was not in any treatment up to this point. I was still seeking opinions and weighing options.

Revlimid begins October 1st. My next test was just at the end of round 2.

November 20th - 3310

Then, instead of having 7 days off of Revlimid, I was off 24 days.

December 12th - 4164.

In my opinion he seemed surprised, a little ruffled. He mentioned that this may move the transplant up. I was expecting to go the full six rounds of Revlimid at the least. If Revlimid was knocking the number down, then you want to get the number as low as possible before a transplant.

Then he seemed to recover and said it would be fine. That I was doing fine. That we would only worry if there was no downward movement. But he is going to adjust the level of dex. We are going to put it back up to 40 mg per week. That's what it was for the first round and it was adjusted to 20 for the 2nd and 3rd rounds.

Talking about moving up the transplant shook me. He asked if I had a problem with that. I don't really, but he can't expect me to look forward to it for pity's sake.

Oh, and the bisphosphonate was nothing. They picked Zometa, it took 15 minutes. I had a raging headache, but that was as likely the stress of the appointment as anything else.

Today I Start Bisphosphonate

Again, a little peeved. I found out about this in passing. When I called two weeks ago to move this appointment because of the delay in obtaining the Revlimid....she said "Oh by the way, count on being here an extra hour for the IV." Excuse me? This is how I found out the answer to my previously faxed question "Should I be on a bisphosphonate?"

No other info. I had to go out on my own and read about it. That's how I know that it's a good idea to pre-medicate with two Tylenol (325mg) to counter the possible side effects.

I have a headache and I am cranky.

My suggestion? Stay away from me.

On the Matter of Caroline Kennedy's Credentials

You know back in 1979 when the Pope came to Boston, I was dating a state trooper that was assigned to Gov. King. When we met up that night at our usual hangout he was kidding people about shaking his hand and his meeting the Pope rubbing off on them. One guy turned to me and commented that he had shook the hand that shook the Pope's hand. Or something along those lines. I replied that I had kissed the lips that had kissed the Pope's ring.

So by Caroline Kennedy's standards, I should be able to ask Cardinal O'Malley to make me a Monsignor. *You know.*

Go home Caroline. Your father and Uncle Bobby were great men. It doesn't grant you a Senate seat.

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Thing That Really Nags At Me

Is what about people who *are* worse off than me?

My next regular check-in with Dr. H is tomorrow. Normally there is blood work for this. We are monitoring the effect of the Revlimid on the normal components of my blood. This appointment was originally scheduled for Tuesday the 16th, what would have been two weeks or so into round 3. However, round 3 started off two weeks late after a series of snafus. I let them do the blood work on the 15th anyway because I wanted to know the effects of the two week delay on the IGA number.

So this morning I called Dr. H's office to make sure they were keeping track of me and there were orders in the computer for my blood work. Then three hours later I called over to see what the wait was like at the drawing station near work. It's literally across the intersection from me.

I snagged one of Rachael's Christmas candy packages that she made up for the drivers to drop at different doctor's offices and facilities. After all, I've become friendly enough with these people for them to have said if I come on a steroid day.....not to come empty handed. With no sleep last night, you have no idea how hard today was for a lot of people in my orbit. Especially a couple of vendors who were not doing what I wanted.

I get to the drawing station. No patients. Three techs. No order in the computer save an old mistake that said I was there for a urine test. I put the red, white and green chinese take-out style container on the counter. They weren't the regular crew and they were giving me funny looks while they tried to straighten things out.

"Is that your urine specimen?' one of them finally asked.

"No, it's candy! I took my steroids yesterday and I am not allowed to come in here empty handed when I am raging." I tipped the box forward so they could see the label with my company's name. "And someone else packed it, so you won't get any of my germs either."

They laughed in relief.

My orders were called in. But the question remains. What happens to people who can't say - "Yeah, I know I am here for a CBC and a comp." "No I don't need a urine test." "Yeah, my doctor's office number is ....."???? Or the people who can't hang and wait because of a transportation issue or because they are so debilitated???? Or a million other things? And what happens when, because the drugs are draining my brain, I am one of those people?

I Used To Be Smart

I don't mean like Einstein....but like Yogi "smarter than the average" Bear.

Friday evening while I waited for Jen, I flipped on Jeopardy for about ten minutes. I didn't get a single question. I finally had to shut it off when I couldn't identify duetsche marks as the name of German currency before euros. I've been to Germany, I literally have marks in my house in a scrap book.

I doubt I could possibly convey how distressing this is.

I am not keeping up with reading things I am interested in. Things I feel I should keep on top of.

I fear I am losing control of my plan of care.

I am having problems remembering the Revlimid. I figured it was stress. I figured I was just stressing myself out.

The other day I was on the IMF website and I was looking through the webcasts. I opened the one about the "Myeloma Manager". They were explaining that it would help keep track of test results and doctors visits, etc. I was very open to the idea because after just six months I have several files and stuff online. There's stuff in my car and my desk at work and my nightstand.

Then they said "How many of you have had trouble following the oral drug regimen? Did I take the pill yet today?"

I started to cry at my desk.

I'm not just walllowing. I downloaded it. I am going to use it.

I'm Awake......I'm Angry

Midnight confessions anyone?

I am pissed out of my mind about the state of my life right now.

Right at this moment I am so SICK AND TIRED of putting a good face on it.

For those of you who would point out that I am constantly whining here already - EFFFFFFFF YOU - That WAS me putting a good face on it.

I am especially pissed about two things.

First, my family Christmas party back on the 13th. All my cousins and aunts and uncles were so good about scooping away all the little kids with their runny noses and little coughs. Everyone pointed this out to me. I thanked everyone who did it. Thank you so much for being conscientious about my compromised immune system.

It was all I could do not to cry before I got to the empty ladies room and closed the stall door.

Guess what? I like little kids. I love the attention. I am a great aunt....cousin....whatever. I always have cool stuff. My Halloweens used to be just beyond reason - I love having little kids come up and say "Look, it's Frankie's mother!" for them I would have special treats. Or back in the day "Look, it's the lifeguard!" again, there would be something cool and different. And I used to run the neighborhood 4th of July Horrible Parade. All the kids dress up in costumes and parade around the neighborhood. Before I took over the top three costumes won a prize. When I took over,everyone got something, sand pails and stuff, wiffle bats, hula hoops. And there were Hoodsies, sodas, bags of candy and over 200 helium balloons. I went WAYYYYYY over budget, but my ex had a good job and he was very indulgent of me. I did that for ten years. No one overblows a party for kids like me. Little kids used to be excited to see me on the street. I was the one who got them all sugared up and sent them home to their parents. One year I had a candy treasure hunt. I made maps of several sites in the neighborhood, got teenagers to man the sites, each with a different kind of candy that wasn't normally available in stores (there's a place in Brockton called CandyWorld-n-Mor and they have candy saucers and pixie sticks and candy buttons and candy necklaces and Nik-L-Nips). The winner was the first team back with every type of candy.

So, yeah, it doesn't sound very Princess Crabby....but I like kids and when I bring in Santa and yes, Santa is literally a personal friend and I BRING him.....those kids go crazy. And this year thanks to my entire extended family who loves me, I only got to pick up one of them when no one was looking. My cousin Nicole's daughter Kasey didn't like the present she got from Santa and I took the message. And I got to whisper in her ear that I would make sure Santa knew the deal. I didn't get to pick up Martine's son Danny, whose mother listens to WTKK so much that three year old Danny does a spot-on "I AM MICHAEL GRAHAM!".

So everyone loves me and is looking out for me. And I have been mad for two weeks. The best part? I got sick ANYWAY! Last Monday between the intense cold and the steroids, my O2 SAT dropped from a normal healthy 99-100 down to 93. Fortunately I have oxygen for those moments. But that's not the point. I should have touched every one of those kids.

Ok, so that was my first beef, my second will be much more in keeping with my personna.

Last New Year's Day, I put the PCSIP into action. I will admit, I was not always good. But I found out about the Kearsarge in early June and that set off a frantic burst of time at the gym - I was deathly afraid of being the rotten egg as we moved about on the ship. So, by the time I went to the Sunset Parade on the Constitution I. Looked. Good.

I was a little tan. I was feeling great. I was at the gym almost every night because I was trying to be in shape for the Kearsarge and it's many ladders.

I was wearing a red and white summer dress that I had specially altered to fit my perfectly. My hair was perfect. My makeup was perfect. My clutch, my shoes, my dress...all coordinated.

There was someone there who couldn't tear his eyes off me. I didn't walk around, I glided, six inches off the ground.

It was fabulous!

Right now, I am 31 pounds heavier than I was the day I was diagnosed. I am exhausted constantly. My skin is awful! My hair....there aren't words.

I know, I know, other people have it worse than me. I know that. I write it here all the time. I know that. I say it to family and friends and coworkers and doctors. And that's only a fraction of how often I say it to myself. I say it to myself as I stare at the ceiling in bed. I say when I am alone in the car. I say it in the mirror when I brush my hair. I know that. I say it in Mass when I ask God to make me less self-centered. I say it all the time.

I don't care. I am angry. Multiple myeloma didn't do this to me. Drugs did.

Multiple myeloma isn't the reason those children were scooped away from me. Revlimid is what's killing my my white blood cells.

Multiple myeloma isn't making me breathless, steroids are.

Multiple myeloma isn't keeping me awake at this moment. Drugs are.

I *had* multiple myeloma when I was standing there in my red and white sun dress in July. As a matter of fact, my IGA number was at it's highest point when I was standing there in the Charlestown Navy Yard. How-da-ya like them apples? I recently found out my very first test result from July and guess what? It was even higher than when I was in Schlossman's office at Dana Farber. Which means I was high (stage IIIA) in July, dropped for no discernible reason in August (stage IIA), went back up in September (stage IIIA) and then began chemo and dropped in November to stage IA.

I was in the gym almost every night in July and August with huge IGA numbers. I was on the Kearsarge climbing ladders and sleeping in coffins with huge IGA numbers. I went to Vegas with bigger numbers than I had on the Kearsarge. It's the drugs that fatigue me. I know, I know I have to keep taking them.


But I am pissed out of my mind.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Spring Comes Early

It's 57 degrees with 25 mph winds. I have doors and windows open. I have been cleaning for hours.

SB sent a text that I did not feel properly reflected the golden rule that it's all about Maggie. It's steroid day. I sent back something snippy.

Some of the neighborhood girls came to the door taking orders for Girl Scout cookies. Frankie ordered three boxes and was beefing that he had to wait. It's steroid day so I told him that sounded like a "YP" not an "MP". He went back to his pals watching the Patriots.

I was washing the laundry room floor on my hands and knees when he came out and told me he cut his hand screwing around with the lawnmower. It's steroid day. I told him I was glad it hurt, stop screwing with the mower.

I feel rundown and oddly breathless from the steroids. I am becoming accustomed to it, but I still skipped Malasada. You have no idea how bummed out I am about it.

I ran to the dump looking like hell. Who would see me at the dump? Yeah, that always works for me. There were more Girl Scouts there and they had actual cookies. So I stopped and bought cookies. I told them that back in 1902 I was the top Brownie cookie salesman in Boston. Actually my Dad was and it was 1968 or 69. He brought the sales sheet into Krohn-Hite where he was a line supervisor (I think that was the title) and sold an incredible amount of cookies. Remember - power tends to corrupt but you can use your powers for good. I've never done it myself....but I have seen it done.

Back to cleaning.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

...But I Understand

Have you ever caught Chris rock's little riff on OJ Simpson? He ends it with "I don't think he should have killed her......but I understand."

Phila. man shot because family talked during movie
A South Philadelphia man enraged because a father and son were talking during a Christmas showing of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button took care of the situation when he pulled a .380-caliber gun and shot the father, police said.

Now I am not saying he should have shot the guy.....but I understand, lol.

My favorite part of the story......
After exchanging words, Vanore said Cialella allegedly got out of his seat to confront the family when the father got up to protect them. That's when the victim was shot once in the left arm, sending others in the theatre running to safety.
Cialella then sat down to watch the movie. Police arrived a short time later and arrested Cialella and confiscated his weapon, Vanore said

When the movie "Backdraft" came out I went with my ex and another couple, the Saturday of opening weekend. We were really looking forward to it. The other couple included one of my best troublemaking friends Kathy. The theater was literally packed, we were in the second row......John, Jerry, Kathy and I. There was one empty seat beside me and three in front of me. Three older women and woman in her twenties came in. I was 29? 30? Anyway, the younger woman sat beside me and talked all through the previews to the older women who took the seats in front of us. I was irritated. I like everything about the movies and love previews. But I held back. Then the movie began and the credits were rolling and the young women continued to make comments about each actor as their name came on the screen. I turned to the young woman and said "You will not be talking during the movie."

Kathy leaned over "Are we going to have a fight?"

My ex asked Jerry how we ended up sitting together.....he should know better.

The women in front of us snickered. I think they were tired of her chatter too.

Not a peep from anyone after that.

I'm not saying he shoulda shot that guy....but I understand.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Best Christmas Present of 2008

The best Christmas present I received this year was the one that let me relax and enjoy Christmas.

I got it just over two weeks ago. I read it every day. It's on my desk at work.

I came home from work on the 9th and there was a FedEx letter. I wasn't expecting anything but I recognized the name on the return address. Pia of Fatekisminy (she has a private blog) had asked for my address. Inside was this card. I read the card several times. It really stopped me in my tracks. I was still standing by the front door in my coat.

Finally, Frankie looked over at me and asked me if I was staying. I looked over at him and read the card to him. He took the card and read it himself.

I called Jen and read it to her.

Pia had written this funny note about her secret mission. Pia's been reading me for a while and we've met. She is a huge Sox fan so there was a trip to Boston in the summer of '07. I couldn't pass up that chance, I drove in to meet them. They were just what I thought they'd be like and it was an enjoyable evening (have I told you yet today how much I love the Internet?).

Pia wrote that she and seven other people had gotten together through a secret blog "Just Shut up and Take The Gift". It's gone now, but you can see the cached version of the first page by clicking on the link.

Inside the card was a very generous check. I still can't get over it. The funny thing is, I never realize how stressed I am until something relaxes me. Up until that moment, I had been deliberately putting Christmas out of my mind. I didn't want to try to figure out what I was going to do in two weeks. So I wasn't thinking about it.

I know it's exaggerated in my mind, but it feels like I have been sick and broke for so long. Really it hasn't been that long. Really lots of people are so much worse off. Really, my lot is better than many. But that wasn't how I felt before I opened that card. Before I opened that card, I was feeling pretty down.

Then eight people I would never have met without blogs reached out and lifted me up.

That's pretty amazing, huh?

Pia also added a small religious medallion that was blessed by Pope John Paul II (good juju) and a Marine/US flag pin (she is a Marine wife).

So far only Sarah of "Trying to Grok" has given Pia permission to reveal her identity. Sarah is having a pretty great Christmas herself......her early Christmas present showed up on the 19th.

Thank you Pia.

Thank you Sarah.

Thank you to six other mystery people who I hope tell me who they are.

Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 22, 2008

USS Kearsarge Returns

I am a little late with this.USS Kearsarge home after helping others
Last Edited: Tuesday, 02 Dec 2008, 11:55 PM EST Created On: Tuesday, 02 Dec 2008, 4:56 PM EST
Lori Crouch
NORFOLK, Va. - A ship of war, that at its heart, holds a mission of mercy.
For the USS Kearsarge and its Sailors, home never looked so good. It's been four months and long enough for these families who waited in the chilly morning air.
"Here they come Rubin, here they come," yelled one mother, clutching her 2-year-old son.
The deployment was a first for a Navy warship. Continuing Promise 2008 was a joint civil-military operation which provided humanitarian aid to South America and the Caribbean. For Senior Chief Doug Ferm, it was a change of pace to a typical war time cruise.
"We did a lot of construction, a lot of community service reach out, it was a lot of fun," said Ferm. But it was no less difficult to be away from home. "This could be my last deployment before I retire from the Navy, so I've been really, really looking forward to this." Kearsarge Sailors shared space within its steel hull with members of the Air Force, Army and Coast Guard. It required a quick language lesson between branches said Commanding Officer Captain Walt Towns.
"They're all talking Navy now...One of the Air Force guys left the other day and he came up and said goodbye shipmate." Rubin was finally off and running, yelling Daddy in his wake. Like most of the waiting loved ones he had his own mission in mind. It took only a few seconds to find who he was looking for in the sea of uniforms.
Navy personnel say this deployment was so successful, they are already planning another one next year.

BZ Kearsarge!

Jen & Her BFF

SB knew I was not feeling well yesterday. Steroid day. Bad head cold.

Last night as Jen and I sat on opposite ends of the couch after dinner, watching an episode of "Criminal Minds"......playing our roles as Statler and Waldorf.....SB sent a text.

"Feeling any better?"

"I am at death's door."

"Has anyone contacted a priest?"

I read the last one out loud. Jen looked over at me with such a look! She was ready to rip whoever sent that a new one. Jen, like me, has no poker face. Who would dare mock my state? After all, that is the pervue of my sisters, isn't it?

I held up the phone - "Your BFF."

She pulled the collar of her sweatshirt up over her face, but not before I saw the great big grin.

"Oh sure! It's funny when he says it. You were ready to rip the still beating heart out of the chest of the person who said this....until you realized who it was!" I called him and told him and at that point she was choking with laughter.

I can't fight them both in my weakened state.

OMG! Am I In Trouble Now!!!

Chap wrote about ADM Blair's appointment it at the USNI blog, which I am pimping, but not keeping up with.

Guess I'll put myself in the corner.

Congratulations, ADM Blair!

Obama To Name Dennis Blair as Intelligence Director
Dita Alangkara / Associated Press
Dennis Blair, the former head of the U.S. Pacific Command, has been tapped by President-elect Obama to be the nation's next intelligence director.
Blair is the former head of the U.S. Pacific Command. The search for a candidate to head the CIA has not been settled.

I sent out a dunning email to some of the Navy Coterie beefing that there was nothing in their blogs about this.....but I have to take it back. Yankee Sailor wrote about him at Galrahn's place on December 9th.

Something I liked from the Wikipedia entry.
Blair is somewhat renowned in U.S. Naval circles for attempting to water ski behind his Destroyer when he was the Skipper.[8]

Good one, sir!


It's the day after steroid day.
I have a bad cold.
Frankie kept me up late with his stress dreams (poor kid - he was worried he was the only one).

So I am going to cheat and send you to the Armorer for one of my favorite WWII stories.

22 December, 1944

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Happy Hanukkah!

Steve, our computer guy sent this to me in an, I thought I'd share.
Happy Hanukkah, from Steve!

A "Swingin' Dreidel" suits Steve......I can see him dancing with Harriet while he sings along.

General Sir Mike Jackson on Iraq

I saw this at Op-For. Sure the guy paints the Brits in the most favorable light.....I wouldn't expect anything less. But this article and others like it are important to keep those who would misinform the public in check. There is constant effort to make it seem as though we went into Iraq for no reason (or worse, a nefarious reason) and that we have completely mucked it up to no good end. You need people like this retired British Chief of General Staff to keep the records correct.

Britain's Armed Forces will leave Iraq with heads held high
The announcement that Britain is largely to close down its military role in Iraq by May 31, 2009, is welcome news to both this country and Iraq. It represents a most significant achievement after what will have been a very difficult and challenging six years.
By General Sir Mike Jackson Last Updated: 8:04AM GMT 21 Dec 2008
We should remember that this saga does not start in 2003, but rather in 1990 with Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait – an act of outright international aggression. After the forcible removal of his forces from Kuwait, there followed a decade and more of brutality towards his own people and defiance of at least 16 binding resolutions of the United Nations Security Council.

My purpose in writing is not to conduct yet another post-mortem of the decision to intervene militarily by the United States, the UK and some 30 other countries, but to reflect on what British forces have achieved.

The purpose of intervention is not to indulge in some latter-day military adventurism, but to help a country move out of a dark past – out of tyranny, civil war, ethnic cleansing – to a better future, a future in which the country is stable, at peace with itself and its neighbours, with a representative government, institutions being built, the rule of law being established, the economy recovering.

This is a complex and difficult task; pace the neocons, it is indeed nation-building. And it is a task for military and non-military alike. It is also true that conflict between groups such as in Bosnia in the 1990s, and the Shia and Sunni in Iraq (and wider, for that matter ) is a political phenomenon which, in the end, can only be solved politically. This cannot per se be achieved by soldiers; their job is to create the conditions for such a political solution. And all of this takes time, a rather unappreciated commodity in today’s 24/7 world. This, then, is my benchmark for judging the effectiveness of our intervention in Iraq.

The initial conventional war-fighting campaign against Saddam Hussein’s forces in southern Iraq was a tremendous military success; in particular, the taking of Basra city by 7 Armoured Brigade was a brilliant operation conducted with great finesse and fine timing. Despite the gloomy predictions of some commentators, there was no re-run of Stalingrad in either Basra or Baghdad.

The initial euphoria which followed the toppling of Saddam Hussein was short-lived, as factions within Iraq began to use violence in pursuit of their political objectives. Iraqi expectations of immediate economic improvement were understandably but unrealistically high; their frustration at not seeing this realised quickly turned to anger with the Coalition forces. This volatile situation was much exacerbated by the security vacuum created by Washington’s appalling decisions to disband the Iraqi security forces and to de-Baathify the public administration to a very low level; the latter marginalised the very people who were best placed to help. These decisions may well have doubled the time it has taken to get to where we are now. Iranian backing for Shia militants was a further difficult complication, as was the lack of a coherent reconstruction plan and the failure in Coalition capitals to understand fully the complexity of the situation.

All of this presented an enormous challenge to the Coalition, not least the British Armed Forces in the south. The Army, in particular, was fighting the classic “3-block war”: a mixture of intense firefights, benign patrolling and reconstruction projects.

The campaign became a long haul – we had to have the strategic endurance to see it through. There were tremendous successes: the referendum on the new Iraqi constitution and the subsequent elections; the avoidance of outright civil war; the long and hard efforts to bring on the new Iraqi security forces; the handover of security responsibility for our four southern provinces to the Iraqi authorities. There were drawbacks: how we dealt with the Mahdi army in Basra; allegations of abuse of Iraqi prisoners; Whitehall’s organisational difficulties in bringing an integrated single national effort to bear; the political and military friction of working within a coalition.

And there has been the tragic costs in casualties, the agony of soldiering. The bereaved and the wounded have our greatest sympathy; those deaths, those wounds, were not in vain but rather suffered in the noble cause of a better future for Iraq and, indeed, the region as a whole.

The end of Coalition involvement in Iraq was always going to be that moment when the Iraqi government concluded that it had the political and security strength to deal with its own future, that Coalition forces had done all that they could. For Britain, for the four southern Iraqi provinces, that day will be May 31, 2009, at the latest – save the probability that we will maintain a military training team as we do in many other countries. For the US and the rest of Iraq, that day will be somewhat later.

It has been a long, hard and controversial campaign, but I believe it has largely succeeded. If none of this had taken place, if Saddam Hussein had remained in despotic power – no doubt to be followed by his despicable sons – where would Iraq be? We will never know, but I cannot think that Iraq would be a better place, nor that the Iraqi people would wish for such a fate.
The British Armed Forces, as ever, have played a courageous, enduring and committed part in all this. It has been difficult, messy and challenging, but I believe they rose to that challenge in their inimitably good-humoured and professional manner. The Iraqi prime minister has thanked them generously for their part in getting Iraq to where it now is; our Forces may justifiably be proud in playing that part. We, in turn, may be justifiably proud of them – our young men and women have been at once inspirational and humbling to watch.

The struggle against those who would destroy our own way of life is by no means over. Afghanistan will require even greater strategic endurance – but I know that the British Armed Forces, I trust properly supported in every way by government and nation alike, will continue to do their duty.

General Sir Mike Jackson is a former Chief of the General Staff

Blogs For Joy

I saw this at Hub Politics.

Which in turn directs you to "Blogs For Joy"

I've also been hearing a radio campaign encouraging people to make donations to charitable organizations in the name of those on your gist giving list. They are encouraging people to make their giving more meaningful. Not to purchase something for the sake of purchasing something. This was actually something I did for my kids teachers when they were in school. I never knew them well enough to pick out a gift they would like, but the few that commented like the idea. Particularly of the charity was local.

So if you blog, consider spreading the idea of this and other like ideas. You can also spread the word via Twitter, Facebook, etc.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Holy Crap, Stella!!

You're nominating me for "Best Conservative Blog"??? LOL

Thanks for the vote of confidence....but maybe you need to expand your circle of conservatives. Clearly this is a small pool.

Army LT Seth Varayon Inspires Coat Drive

video is from DODvClips
Students Send Coats to Kids in Afghanistan
posted 4:08 pm Thu December 18, 2008 - McLean, Va. from ABC 7 News
In the spirit of the holiday season, students from a Fairfax County High School are giving gifts to children all the way in Afghanistan.
Students who participate in the Student Government Association at Langley High School in McLean are taking what they have learned about leadership and helping others through their work at school by sending coats to children in Afghanistan.
For the students who participate in SGA, community service is a regular activity. But for Senior Carolyn Shaw, this particular project was personal.
"My uncle was over there last year," Shaw said.
Shaw and the rest of her SGA classmates held a drive to send winter coats to children in Afghanistan.
"It felt really good to see the pictures and the kids wearing the clothes, and all your hard-work being put into that," said Shaw.
The idea for the coat drive came from a 2003 Langley High School graduate, Army Lieutenant Seth Varayon who is stationed in the mountains of Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne Division. He says he chose coats to give to the children, because there's no electricity in the village surrounding his post and winters can be rough.
"...We thought [it] was really selfless, so we just jumped at the chance to help them out, especially with something helping out the people over there, not just the troops," said student, Caroline Engle.
And tucked inside the sleeve of those coats was a note with warm winter wishes from the students here in the U.S.
Shaw's leadership class does similar projects every year. Last year, for example, students sent soccer balls to Iraq. Soldiers gave the balls out to neighborhood kids, which they said, led to more success on their mission.
"Because they were so appreciative of receiving the balls, they started turning in bomb storage, bomb makers, ambushes and things like that," said Matthew Howard, a teacher.
It is unclear how may coats the students were able to send overseas, but they do know that the 86 boxes full of coats were enough to provide winter warmth to all of the kids in the surrounding village, and even some adults.
Students are also conducting a canned food drive. In fact, there is a contest between Langley High School and their rival, McLean High School to see who can collect the most canned goods.

Which Reminds Me

Posting the pic below reminds me that the Naval Institute started a blog. They have pulled together a group of really smart people for you know they have plenty of my Navy Coterie there. They know quality when they read it! I love that it's Adams on the's like they know me or something.........

Happy Holidays from the Naval Institute

I just got an email from the USNI and it's lovely. So I thought I'd share -

Friday, December 19, 2008

Over and Over

I repeat to myself......I love living in Boston..........I love living in Boston.........I love living in Boston.


I finally decided to leave work at 2015.......ok, my boss decided I'd be leaving then. She went out to clear off her car and leave and then called my cell from the parking lot. "Your car is running and cleared off. Leave now!" What choice did I have?

So out I went. The company that manages the property has a good snow removal crew, that walk to the car was easy enough. My boss had my car cleared off. Just get in and drive, right?

Wrong. There was just enough snow to hang the car up. I had to go back in work and find the shovel in the warehouse and dig out my tires. After that, a careful 17 mph in 3rd and I was home in no time!

Oh well. It really is a small price to pay to live in Boston.

Cary Grant is on the TV as background noise while I get ready for bed. Some Nyquil and I will be unconscious soon.

I almost tripped over the Christmas decorations when I came into the house. Frankie picked up the tree and brought all the stuff down from the attic. I haven't called to thank him yet because we had a fight last night and I haven't gotten over it quite yet.

French Toast Alert System Bulletin

Go over to Universal Hub for Adam's very humorous explanation of the "French Toast Alert System"

Right now it's "High"

I am staying in work, but letting the girls go now.

It's supposed turn to rain later, so I am not worried. I already have dinner in the kitchen. I can suffer from chemo drugs and a cold here just as well as I can at home.

I wonder if Frankie has milk and bread and eggs.

A New Find and Some Stolen Stuff

First off - how did this happen? There is a Navy blog out there I didn't know about. Sure, sure I know there are some I haven't seen, but this guy is local for me; a Red Sox and Pats fan and conservative. How did I miss him?

More to the point - why didn't he check in with me?


Anyway, he had, from what I've seen so far this year, the best Army/Navy spirit spot. Again this year, it was from Army. Just an aside to the Army - You know, if you spent more time on the game than the spirit might win a game, kids.

I thought this was stole it.

Thanks NavyTim and good luck there in Djibouti. I'll be keeping an eye on you.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Night Before Christmas with the 26th MEU

This Isn't Fair!

I took the steroid Sunday and started the Revlimid back up.

Ok, I knew that would slow me down for the beginning of the week.

I knew I would just have to make up for it Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

But now I am getting a cold.

I feel shitty....just in time for Friday.

I am going to drown in paperwork.

This isn't fair!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Enough About The Effing Shoes!

I am so sick of the hypocrisy from the other side of the blogosphere. They want me to accept that it's ok to laugh at this incident.

It isn't.

First - It's not the huge big deal that some on the right want to make it. It's not a black mark on the secret service. I am sure they were there as quickly as possible. I wouldn't have wanted them to actually harm the guy. Poor bastard was brutalized by a shia militia group. He doesn't need a jail cell, he needs serious therapy. He is Iraq's version of John Hinckley. His actions do not represent a serious political view. If you see one, then I am sure that you will also find great insight watching monkeys fling their feces next time you visit the local zoo.

Next - For those on the left who say we would have laughed if it had been "The One" having footwear hurled at him........think again. Me and mine are already on record about how we feel on foreign attacks against our Presidents or Presidents-elect.

This video is from 22 NOV 2008 when Uncle J responded to Zawahiri calling Obama a "house slave". Uncle J tells the President elect "I've got your back." I agree in the comments. So we are already on record with our position.

You may disagree with "W"...after all, I have plenty of times, but he is the President of the United States. An attack on "W" is an attack on America. If you don't get that, I feel sorry for you.

There's not a whole lot in the Arab world that I agree with, but something I always got on a gut level was the proverb "Me against my brother - my brother and I against our cousin - my brother, my cousin and I against an outsider."

I will never applaud a foreign leader or citizen attacking an American president, no matter who that person is.

Patriotic firefighter told to repaint helmet

There's a headline that grabs you. And the article keeps pulling you in.

"A veteran of the Iraq war, Richard Busa is used to fighting for the American flag. But never quite like this."
Wow! Makes you want to go defend this guy and his red, white and blue helmet, huh?
Who is attacking this great American? This veteran? This brave firefighter?
But then you calm down a minute and you have to consider the other side - Newton Fire Chief Joseph LaCroix.
Of course the Chief could have framed his arguements a little better.
Just for you Chief, I have consulted with my super-secret firefighter expert (What? You thought I only have Navy guys in my pocket? Please!)
Here is his take -
Been there and done that with the helmet thing...
The Chief is right but is stating his case poorly. Once everybody paints his/her helmet...they all look like shitbags. The Chief should not have compared the situation to the invites comparisons that he will not want to address.
What he should have said was this:
We have a uniform and protective equipment policy. In a paramilitary organization we need to convey to our customers that we are professional and with everybody doing their own thing, we fail to do that.
In the fire service, helmets are color coded to designate rank...this paint job can cause confusion on the fire ground.
The manufacturer of the helmet voids all warranties when it is painted and OSHA does not allow the modification of the helmet.
We admire the firefighter's sense of patriotism and encourage him/her to demonstrate that within the polices that we have set forth.
The stickers...shamrock, union, 9/11, NYFD, or otherwise need to go as well.
The Chief was right.
The Chief handled it poorly.
The firefighter needs to get his/her act together and get with the program.

Soldiers' Angels & the Super Bowl

From FbL
Football Superstar Franco Harris has chosen Soldiers’ Angels to be the designated beneficiary of the 2009 Franco Harris/Lydell Mitchell Grid Iron Golf Tournament, to be held in Tampa during Super Bowl week! This special fundraising event has been conducted at the location of each Super Bowl since 1997, and has resulted in over $180,000 donated to a variety of charitable causes.
The Grid Iron Golf Tournament will be held during Super Bowl week in Tampa at the renowned Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club, one of Golf Digest’s Top 75 Golf Resorts in America and home to the PGA Tour’s Transitions Championship each March. The three-day event includes a visit with sports stars to the James A. Haley VA Medical Center, a charitable auction, the Immaculate Reception & Dinner, and the opportunity to sponsor a soldier for the tournament itself.
“Soldiers’ Angels is so honored to have been chosen to be the beneficiary of the Franco Harris/Lydell Mitchell Grid Iron Golf Tournament. The Tournament is a wonderful Super Bowl week tradition and will help us meet our mission that “No Soldier Go Unloved. We are so excited to be a part of this great event,” said Soldiers’ Angels founder and president, Patti Patton-Bader.
For more information about sponsorship or participation, please contact Luana Scott at 619-279-5879, or e-mail
Princess Crabby doesn't golf, but if someone wants to fly me down to the 19th hole.....I will be happy to meet up with everyone and raise a glass.

Col. John W. Ripley, USMC (Ret.)

Funeral of Col. John W. Ripley, USMC (Ret.) at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland on November 7, 2008.

I've read about Col. Ripley in various milblogs over the last month and half. John of the Castle, LTCol P and Townie76 both of Op-For and the Phibian. If you haven't yet, you should too. This coverage of his funeral is from YouTube. Very beautifully done.

Jen Reminds Me.....'s not always about me!

We were driving home from Grace's house and Jen was coughing again. I asked what she was taking for her cold. She said she was just using Hall's cough drops.

"I'm probably walking around with pneumonia!"

"That's ok, I had the pneumonia shot."

"I'm not worried about you!"

We laughed so hard, we're lucky she didn't drive us off the road.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Lovely Surprise

I was in charge of the Valour-IT auction items. There were three. I emailed the winners to ask a few questions about getting them the items. I am of course.......late in doing this.

So I threw myself on their mercy.

Let me just say that when I sent these emails, they were notes to three strangers.

But one of the replies that came back was from my newest friend.

It was a charming note from someone who turns out to be a lurker/reader of my nonsense.

He has graciously let me off the hook for being late.

It made my day.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Happy Birthday Sherri!

Juan Garcia????

Give me a break!

Don't even talk to me about hackery ever again.

The guy is no Bob Work.

Garcia's big contribution was running the Texas campaign for "The One".

He can't take the position until October of 09. Who's running the Navy in the mean time?

Oh, and did I mention...............he's a brown shoe.

I send a text to SB "Hey!" He calls and after interminable fawning over his BFF on the other end of the couch......I say "Garcia? What the eff?" He says "Who?" Exactly.

In A Timely Manner

It's never been my strong suit.

It's been a chaotic couple of days.

Something absolutely wonderful happened to me and I will post about it today.

I fought a surprisingly tough fight to get me next cycle of Revlimid/ld Dex going. Now that I am successful, I have to laugh - why did I do that??????? LOL! I feel like shit!

I'm still trying to figure out how to deal with a personal matter that threw me a curve ball. I was hoping a little distance would give me on that plan.

Our insurance is changing at work and this will be a huge headache for yours truly. Ironically, I instigated this - again - why did I do that?????? LOL $1500.00 deductible? Increased copays? I saved my boss more that 50K annually. I hope this means she's ready to pay for dinner a couple of times in '09. So far it has resulted in a 3 lb. bag of M&Ms on my desk. THREE POUNDS!

So I unplugged.

But I'm back.

Monday, December 08, 2008

I Don't See How This Is My Fault

Suppose you were me.

Suppose you got an email from someone who provided you with certain opportunities to particpate in military/civilian don't know.......conference calls about current events in the military.

Suppose that person were someone you thought highly of and always tried to behave around. (Remember, if you are me, the behaving part is difficult and takes effort)

Now suppose that you get an email from this person (who again always behaves in the most professional way).

In the subject line is Yama Sakura.

Yama Sakura? You know where my mind went.

How was I supposed to know Yama Sakura is a yearly command post exercise designed to strengthen military operations and ties between the U.S. Army and the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force sponsored by U.S. Army Japan and the Japanese GroundStaff Office. It is I Corps' largest and most important exercise in Japan.

I mean - really!

Can Someone Explain This To Me?

I understand that the death of a 15 year old is tragic.

I understand that crowds may become unruly and angry at authority figures.

But -
Youth Riots in Greece Enter a Second Day
ATHENS — Youths angry over the killing of a teenager by the police took to the streets in Athens and other Greek cities for a second day on Sunday, burning shops, cars and businesses in the worst rioting in recent years.
OK, I've never understood this crap. how does burning shops and such ever help anything?

The violence continued despite swift action by the government, which charged a police officer with premeditated manslaughter in the shooting death of the 15-year-old on Saturday night. The country’s prime minister — whose government is already unpopular because of a series of corruption scandals — also wrote a letter of apology to the boy’s parents.
What are they apologizing for? You don't know anything yet. There has to be an investigation and trial. Talk about appeasement!

The youths regularly clash with the police, whom they view as symbols of the establishment. In most cases, the confrontations are relatively contained and end at the gates of universities with the young people holding off the police with gasoline bombs, rocks and slingshots.
But the speed with which the riots spread over the weekend — and the ferocity of the protests — seemed to take the government by surprise. The police nationwide were not put on alert until Sunday night — only after fires had destroyed dozens of businesses, including a high-end department store in central Athens.
*******Now here is the kicker for me.
Greek police and the military have been banned from college campuses since military tanks in 1973 rammed the gates of the school to quash a student uprising against the military junta at the time. At least 22 civilians died in that attack, which is marked every year by youth-led marches that occasionally turn violent.
What?? These hooligans are burning and looting and running amock and then they get to run into the university and they are off limits?

I've gotta be missing something here.

My Faith Is Restored Somewhat

It was standing room only yesterday in the Hull Room in the Charlestown Navy Yard's visitor center. Due to the inclement weather some parts of yesterday's Pearl Harbor commemoration were moved from the USS Cassin Young down to the Hull room. I would guess the room seats more than sixty people and there were many people standing in both aisles. I'm going to guess well over 100 people.

I sat behind a row of gentlemen from the Marine Corp League. Most were my Dad's age. Their demeanor and dress were still impressive.

Officers from the USS Constitution and USS Freedom were present.

The main speaker Don Tabbut, a Navy veteran who survived the attack recalled the attack and the immediate aftermath. It was thought Mr. Tabbut would be the only Pearl Harbor survivor present, but he noted there were two others. The Boston Globe has an article that highlights Bernard Murphy, one of the other two survivors.

I think there might have been a few more people attending, but moving down to the Hull room confused some.

Then we headed back to the ship. There were two wreaths dropped into the water and Mr. Tabbut's wife dropped a rose.

I was afraid that the officers from the two ships would outnumber the other attendees. However, that wasn't the case and I was really glad.

A Navy spokesman is quoted in the Boston Herald about how important these things are.
“Any ceremony commemorating such a tragic event is always emotional,” said Lt. Cmdr. Paul Brawley, Navy spokesman. “When you attend this kind of memorial every year and you see the number of Pearl Harbor survivors dwindling . . . it only makes one realize how important carrying on the ceremony every year is.”

You can listen to WBZ radio's podcast of their report here. It's less than a minute long.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

December 7th

Do I have to explain that? Do you need links?

If you do, then I don't know what you are doing here at my place and you should leave.

I'll even give you a sec.....after all it's Brit's birthday, Jim's too. If that was their first thought, I'm ok with that.

OK, everyone with me? Now read this article and tell me that if it's at all possible for you to be in the Charlestown Navy Yard today at 1230.......isn't that where you should be?

A day they'll never forget
Few remain to mark 67th anniversary of attack on Pearl Harbor
After a lifetime of war, work, child-rearing, and retirement, the ravages of age have largely accomplished what Japanese warplanes could not do 67 years ago today.
The survivors of the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor have been decimated by death and disability. And today, when a memorial ceremony is held at the Charlestown Navy Yard, only one survivor is expected to make his way to the fantail of a World War II destroyer to toss a wreath into Boston Harbor.
"The ones who won't be there either can't make it or they're dead," said Don Tabbut, 85, a stooped Navy veteran who will step aboard the USS Cassin Young. "I'm still doing my best."

"I'm still doing my best."

Yes sir. Thank you sir.

And that's why everyone who reads this should do their best to honor this man and all those like him.

Read the rest of the Globe's article here. It was a good one.

There's actually lot's to do in the Navy Yard today, I posted about it here. You can make a day of it, there are plenty of places to eat near there. If it get's too cold you can pop in to the USS Constitution museum and enjoy your history in a toastier setting.

OK, I know I said no links, but....
The Castle of Argghhh!!!
CDR Salamander
and Steeljaw Scribe from last year

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Looking for Stuff to Do Sunday?

The Charlestown Navy Yard is the place to be!

From 12:30 to 1 pm there will be a Pearl Harbor Day commemoration aboard the USS Cassin Young , a Fletcher class destroyer that is maintained and staffed by the National Park Service and volunteers (I met one this morning). Sailors from USS Freedom will be participating in that ceremony.

After that you can tour LCS-1 as she will be open from 12:30 pm to 4:30 pm.

And, in the spirit of the season, USS Constitution is having her annual tree lighting ceremony. I have it on reasonable authority that there will be cookies available!

USS Constitution will hold its free annual Christmas Tree-Lighting ceremony at 4 p.m. Dec. 7 onboard the ship’s top deck. Boarding for this event begins at 3:30 p.m. The crew has partnered with local schools and community members to celebrate the holiday season with a public ceremony following live cannon fire from the ship’s saluting battery.

Dress warmly - tomorrow's forcast calls for cloudy skies in Boston with rain and snow. It's going to be windy and it's always breezy in the Navy Yard bundle up!

My Head Is THIS BIG!!!!

****UPDATE****Jen read the ID post. "Good Lord. How much did you pay this guy? Why is Maggie important???" Then she made her voice high and flighty - that is how she portrays me - "Because I tell you I'm important constantly, that's why!" See? What ego could stand up to that? I'm all back to normal.******

LOL, traffic here at my little slice of the blogosphere is up today and I was puzzled. So I look in the sitemeter and find links from this post.

Using Freedom For Reaching The Human Network
People like Maggie are critical to the Navy in reaching Americans, because she talks to people as a hobby and is good at it, and her interest includes the Navy. That makes Maggie, and everyone else who comes on that ship today and tomorrow for a tour a VIP to CHINFO, and anything short of VIP treatment will hurt a ship that can sell itself OK, and with a little personal attention, can sell itself beyond anything else the Navy has that can pull into an American port.

Don't worry, once Jen, Grace, my Mum, SB and the rest read this nonsense about me, they'll make sure my ego is properly deflated. LOL

But for the moment.....I have the most ridiculous smile on my face.

Today Was More Fun Than I Can Tell You!!

So much stuff to write and it's all swirling about in my head. I was on the run all morning and loved every minute of it.

I was up at 0600 so I could be sure to be on time for everything. you know punctuality is not my strong suit.....but if it's something for my Dad and something for the Navy.....every effort is made.

I made it to colors. Words can't really express how you feel when you stand there on the pier, your hand over your heart.....facing the oldest commissioned warship in the Navy and you hear the cannon and you see the flag and you hear our National Anthem.

Then I popped down for my first look at at USS Freedom. I was way early for my 0900 tour, so I popped up to see the parents.

On to the tour - I was met first off by LTjg Tisdale, the PAO, then the OOD, then my official tour guide CDR Doyle, the XO. My first thought as I spoke with LTjg Tisdale was that he was a great representative for the ship. You want someone personable and enthusiastic leading tours and talking to outsiders. But the fact of the matter is everyone I came into contact with was just as excited to be there, just as friendly. Out of 55 person crew, I spoke with more than a dozen Sailors and a few officers and they were all bright and friendly and happy to show you what they did. Their excitement at being part of the newest, and coolest ship in the Fleet was obvious and contagious. As the XO said "It's a hotrod!"

I found myself just saying "Wow!" a lot.

What struck me first is how compact it was. I guess that's not the normal reaction, but my experience is aboard USS Kearsarge..... For one thing, even with visitors swelling the ranks, there were maybe 3% as many bodies on board, compared to Kearsarge. I found this especially noticeable on the bridge. Anytime I was on the bridge during my time on Kearsarge there were more than a dozen Sailors working, whereas the manning the bridge on Freedom will take four to six Sailors.

We walked out into the cold December sunshine and CDR Doyle announced the particular area we were standing in was the forecastle and I was confused because on Kearsarge it was inside. But of course everything here is different. Still I was glad when she commented on it, after all, I don't want to think I'm losing it!

I was afraid a lot of the modular talk about the mission packages would be lost on me, but they dumbed it down for me, lol.

OK, I have to run, but there is more to write and I will.

If you have the chance, get up there tomorrow (Sunday) and have a look for yourself.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Globe Covers USS Freedom's Arrival

Navy's newest ship to visit Boston
By Globe Staff
The old and the new will be in sharp contrast today when the Navy’s newest commissioned warship cruises into Boston Harbor and docks at Pier 1 of the Charlestown Navy Yard. It will be in front of the Navy’s oldest commissioned warship, the USS Constitution.
The USS Freedom was commissioned Nov. 8 in Milwaukee. It is a littoral combat ship designed for coastal missions. The Navy says the boat is capable of speeds in excess of 40 knots and can operate in water less than 20 feet deep.
The ship will be open to the public for free tours Saturday and Sunday from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. Visitors must obtain a ticket from the ship before boarding, the Navy said in a statement.
The ship is expected to pass Castle Island at 8:15 and arrive at the dock at 9:30.

See video here.

USS Freedom Is Here!

**Ok, you've already missed a couple of these events, I am late putting this up***

USS Freedom (LCS 1) Schedule of Events

Friday, December 5
8:30 a.m. Ship off Castle Island with BFD Fire boat putting up water spray

9:30 a.m. Ship arrives at Pier 1 Charlestown Navy Yard by USS Constitution

10:30 a.m. Official welcome onboard the ship

1 p.m. Boston Fire Commissioner Rod Fraser, representing Mayor Menino,
presents a proclamation welcoming the ship to the Commanding officer

2 p.m. Ship’s commanding officer, Cmdr. Donald Gabrielson makes a courtesy
visit at the State House with Lt. Gov. Tim Murray who will present a proclamation welcoming the ship to the State

Saturday, December 6
8 a.m. Flag flown on Constitution to be flown on Freedom. Freedom sailors will
be in modern uniform with Constitution’s sailors in their 1813 period
uniforms. Cannon fires promptly at 8!

12:30-4:30 p.m. Free public visiting
************ Princess Crabby will not be with the hoi polloi during public visiting, lol *****

Sunday, December 7
11:30-2:30 Crew members attend Mass Bay Council of Navy League Toys for Tots
celebration at Commandant’s House, Charlestown Navy Yard.

12:30-1p.m. Crew members participate in Pearl Harbor Day commemoration on USS
Cassin Young, Charlestown Navy Yard

12:30-4:30 p.m. Free public visiting.

Monday, December 8
8:00 a.m. Ship departs

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Guess What I Get To Do Saturday Morning?

I will be aboard LCS-1 USS Freedom. I would have gone no matter what, even if all I got to do was stand on the dock and see it.

But this is soooooo much better!

When it first occurred to me that Freedom might be making an actual stop in Boston, I asked Galrahn for a point of contact. I emailed the PAO and dropped every name I thought would do me any good, Jack Holt at DOD, ENS Day on USS Kearsarge, the CO of USS Constitution, and SailorBob. Yes, that's right, Princess Crabby is completely shameless. Jen & her BFF, SB feinged shock that I would be so crass, but really, no one is surprised.

I got back a very polite "Thank you for your e-mail. The ship will be open to private and public tours during our visit to Boston." and a request that I check back in on 01 DEC.

That was when I came out on the blog and posted this.

So on the 1st, I dropped a quick "?" kinda note.

Much better response!

"We've got general public visiting from 12:30pm until 4:00pm. If you would like, I can arrange a more detailed tour for you Dec.6th from 9:00am until 11:00am. What would you like to focus on? If there is something you are particularly curious about, I can make sure the right people giveyou the tour."

I tell Jen. "Focus? He thinks you can focus. Good. Lord." I told her I had already dealt with that problem - I forwarded the email to my Navy Coterie and asked them "What's my answer?" And of course, Princess Crabby has the most outstanding Navy Coterie ever assembled! They came back with great suggestions.

There were a few more back and forth emails. I assumed the ship would be coming into Black Falcon......but no, it is coming into the Navy Yard. Sweet! Right in my home territory!

Can I tell you..........I am psyched!

Master Chief Thorpe

Wednesday, December 03, 2008


We can't discuss details of USS Freedom yet....

So let's talk myeloma.

I have a primary care, a local hematology oncologist and two specialists in Boston. So, sometimes communication between the five of us is a problem. Throw in a holiday like say......Thanksgiving and there are some pretty frustrating delays.

During my 20 NOV visit with Miller I was told that my results would be available on Monday or Tuesday. Guess I should have asked which Monday or Tuesday because the call came in yesterday. It's raw data and I am trying to compare it to my Dr. Schlossman information.

Here's what I *think* I know.

On 21 AUG I saw Dr. Miller and my IGA immunoglobulins were 4940- Stage IIA

On 17 SEP I saw Dr. Schlossman and my IGA immunoglobulins were 5850 - Stage IIIA

On 20 NOV I saw Dr. Miller (after two full cycles of Revlimid w/ld Dex) and my IGA immunoglobulins were 3370 - Stage IA

So clearly Rev is working. I owe Dr. Miller a dollar. But I am disturbed that it jumped 910 in 26 days. Is that fast? Aggressive? Normal? I have sent a fax to Dr. Hochstin with these questions.

It is an enormous relief to know that there was a reason to put myself through this.

I *think* this will make the next series of two cycles easier to take. But who knows, I am such a whiner. I had to laugh when Dr. Miller said he was concerned with my side effects and the fact that I was having trouble tolerating the treatment. Why is no one taking perspective into account.

I am completely unprepared for all this. I have never suffered a serious injury. I have never been hospitalized other than the births of my two sons.....and let me be completely honest here....compared to some of the horror stories I have experiences were nothing. It took my sister *days* to have some of her kids. My sons practically fell out! From the time I felt a twinge, my water broke and Tommy showed up was four hours with only one of those being anything that could be catagorized as labor. With Frankie, I felt uncomfortable for a few hours, then crampy, then again maybe an hour of labor and fini. I have never broken a bone. I have never had an illness that lasted longer than a day except for chicken pox and that's an itch not a pain.

So of course, I have no tolerance.

If this were Grace or Jennifer going through this, they wouldn't even feel the side effects worth discussing. As a matter of fact with all Jen goes through with the MS, she might not even notice Revlimid side effects, lol!

Mind you, I am all about the full disclosure. Each time I meet someone and we discuss the cancer, the treatment.....I tell them right up front that I am whiny and I have a ridiculously low tolerance for pain. So no one can blame me if I am difficult......they were warned.

My First Christmas Card

The irony? There have been years when I did much more for the party time and donation wise and not gotten a card. This year any effort I have made has been on the Web and this card was not addressed to Maggie. Funny.

As I opened the mail last night, there were the usual suspects eating, drinking and playing Fifa. When I said "The President sent me a Christmas card." One of Frankie's buddies whispered "Is she serious?" LOL, yes I am!

Do You Miss Me?

Life has been a little chaotic.

Good things.

Bad things.


But all in all things are rolling along.

Monday, December 01, 2008

The Definitive Answer -

Is it Bombay? Or is it Mumbai?

This was discussed in this post at the Castle.

But it's Howie Carr who has the answer today on his radio show.

"It's Bombay. Mumbai Sapphire Gin just doesn't cut it!"

There you go.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Points - You Win Some - You Lose Some

You all know that I use a point system in every aspect of my life. I give points, I strive to earn points, I ask for points, I demand points (that part never works with SB, even when he stops laughing). Every good thing I have ever done was (in some part) with the hope of gaining points for heaven. (Yes, yes, Grace, I know you say it doesn't work like that, but since neither of us has been there yet, I could be right).

My Dad and my brother Frankie are working on my bedroom again today. My father came out and handed me two screws. "You need a jar or a margarine tub to keep these kind of things in. You never know when you will need this screw. These are nice screws." As he was talking I walked into the kitchen and picked up an old spaghetti sauce jar (yes, sauce from a jar, I am Irish, I like it) and walked toward him - it was full of random screws and bits.

"Yes, very good."

Woohoo! A point.

I don't know how much I deserve the point. After all, the jar is only to have shut the other men in my life up. My exhusband John , Joe who works on the house, Mike the worst b/f eva, my father, my uncles. Any man who has ever helped me with a project has presented me with something at the end and told me to save it. Boards, strapping, dryer parts, half of a piano hinge and a ton of screws and nails. I keep the jar, although every once in a while I dump some. Otherwise the stupid jar would over flow. I have never once used something out of the jar. Although to be fair I think Frankie (my son) has. So the point is for having a place to recycle good leftover bits. Yet I have never used and any and I only keep it to shut people up. Do I deserve the point? Well, I have other points I don't deserve, so I don't care.

A point is a point.

And then I lost it.

My father had refinished one of my windows because the glass broke. I took it to Charlestown, he repaired the glass stripped the wood, painted it, caulked's perfect. I brought it home and put it in. It was easy, there is no framing around the window because there are no walls yet.

I hear him yelling at Frankie and walk into the bedroom. Frankie is laughing. "Who put that window in?" he demands, pointing at it.

The problem is immediately apparent to me. The window is upside down. It doesn't save me from the window lesson. LOL Good thing I am not on steroids today, I might have burst out crying.

A well, off to see if I can't do something right. It would be nice to finish the day a point ahead.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Yahoo Names "10 U.S. Places to See Before You Die"

10 U.S. Places to See Before You Die
By Andrew Harper
Many people have a list of places they'd like to visit before they move on to the next world; here are a few American suggestions of my own.
For conversation's sake, I have avoided the obvious targets, but a stroll across the Golden Gate Bridge or a trip up the Empire State Building is still definitely worth it.

Though we are lucky to live in a beautiful country, I have mostly focused on smaller, manmade sites, simply because a catalog of pretty American places could stretch on forever.
This list is admittedly subjective, but comes from 30 years of professional wandering. Some places are more well-known than others, but all share a sense of tranquility and wonder.
And since I review small boutique hotels for a living, I have included nearby recommended places to stay. Happy travels!

1. San Francisco de Asis Church, Ranchos de Taos, N.M. Famously painted by Georgia O'Keefe and described by her as "one of the most beautiful buildings left in the United States by the early Spaniards," this handsome adobe mission a few miles outside of Taos Pueblo yokes together a staggering five centuries of North American history.Harper hotel: Casa de las Chimeneas, Taos.
2. Whaling Museum,
Nantucket, Mass.
At its whaling peak during the first half of the 19th century, the small island of Nantucket had 88 ships scattered across the oceans. The Whaling Museum is wonderfully evocative of this era (plenty of scrimshaw and rusty harpoons), and out-of-season Nantucket Town, with its Greek Revival mansions and cobblestone streets, is equally enchanting.Harper hotel:
The Wauwinet.
3. Battery District,
Charleston, S.C.
The historic Battery District of Charleston, South Carolina, home to dozens of stately antebellum mansions, is one of the prettiest U.S. neighborhoods I've ever explored. Follow the promenade along the shores of the Charleston peninsula; Fort Sumter, where the first shots of the Civil War were fired, sits broodingly across the Cooper River.Harper hotel:
Planters Inn. 4. Madison Valley, Montana
Montana's Madison Valley, which runs between the Madison and Gallatin ranges down to West Yellowstone, is magnificent Lewis and Clark territory. This is unspoiled land, vast and uncompromising — everything you hope Big Sky Country will look like.Harper hotel:
The Lodge at Sun Ranch.
5. Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum,
Housed in a charming Venetian-style palazzo, this gem of a gallery displays works by Rembrandt, Michelangelo, Whistler and Sargent. It's small enough to tour in an hour or so, and you can spend the rest of your time enjoying the sunny, flower-filled courtyard. And if your name happens to be Isabella, you get in free.Harper hotel:
XV Beacon.
6. The Four Seasons Restaurant,
New York City
If you had to choose only one restaurant in New York City to visit, this would be the one. The city's prettiest dining room was designed by architects Mies van der Rohe and Philip Johnson, and astutely hasn't been touched since its introduction in 1959. The Pool Room is a study in muted sophistication, despite some of the outsized egos at the tables.Harper hotel:
The Lowell.
7. The Rothko Chapel,
This small, non-denominational chapel located just off the Menil gallery in Houston's Museum District seems unassuming at first, but spend some time surrounded by the 14 mysterious paintings by Mark Rothko, and it may start sinking into your skin.Harper hotel:
St. Regis.
8. The Huntington Gardens,
San Marino, Calif.
Huntington did quite well in railroads, and he's left us with a wonderful afternoon escape just outside of Los Angeles. After admiring some of the spoils of his industry — a Gutenberg Bible, a Shakespeare folio, Thomas Gainsborough's "The Blue Boy" — venture out into the superb botanical gardens, home to dozens of unique environments: an almost eerily authentic Japanese garden, a lily pond straight out of a Monet painting, and an entrancing collection of cacti.Harper hotel:
Hotel Bel-Air.
9. Robie House (Frank Lloyd Wright,
The Robie House, the world's first modern home, was designed in 1908 by architect Frank Lloyd Wright, and still seems startlingly contemporary 100 years later; with its broad horizontal lines and sleek art-glass windows, it looks like a modernist yacht. Wright himself showed up to protest the planned demolition of the house (it was to be replaced by a seminary dormitory) at the ripe old age of 90. Harper hotel:
Four Seasons.
10. The Oregon Coast
Highway 101 along the Oregon Coast swerves through 360 miles of jagged cliffs, rocky outcrops, sweeping dunes and temperate rain forests. The coastline lacks deep harbors, so there are no large cities here — just old logging towns, fishing villages and the occasional artist colony. And the entire coast is public land, which makes for excellent picnic opportunities in rugged and remote spaces.Harper hotel:
The Stephanie Inn, Cannon Beach
Certainly the Whaling Museum on Nantucket I can get to pretty easily. And I have been to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, although not in quite a while. That sounds like something I can round up my sister and nieces for. We'll add dinner and make it a "Girl's Day". We'll skip the hotel recommendation of XV's lovely, but a little pricy!

Comments? Suggestions? Offers to take me to the others?