Tuesday, June 30, 2009

We made the paper!

You gotta love living in a small town! Our local paper prints the results of the city league softball games, complete with a short list of the batters who had the most hits for either team.

Three of my friends and I made the paper this week as well as one of the newer people on the team - a young guy (at least compared to some of us who are about 17-18 years older than him).

It says and I quote, "Amy Searles, Dee Kingston, and Rick Webb all had three hits, and Bryan Hill [he's the new guy] and Josh Searles each had four hits in the win." Oh, yeah, we won 23-10! We are now 4 and 2 for the season. The other Samaritan team is 5 and 2 on the season - they're in the same league as we are. We lost to them last week.

But we have a winning season so far! Yippee!

Note: Amy and Josh were on my first date with Scott and Amy, Josh, Rick, and I all went to see Journey and Def Leppard three years ago. Rick and I have known each other since 1990 since we were on a volleyball team together and then he joined the softball team I was on in 1991. Rick's wife was on the softball team beginning in 1990. Amy and Josh got on the softball team in 2001, I think.

Monday, June 29, 2009

A Great End to the Week-end

First, some updates:

Eddie - no live lice yesterday, although I found a handful of nits that I picked out of his hair. (An all new meaning to the term "nit-picky"!). I think we're beating this infestation, although I don't think we're out of the woods yet.

Scott - the area that he thinks was the first to contact the poison oak has started to weep. Poor guy is walking around with calamine lotion all over him.

Scott - today is his birthday (48th). Yesterday evening, I planned a little surprise birthday thing after our softball team's game - we always go to a local pizza place. My folks and my sister and her family also joined us. Luckily, we all showed up a the pizza place first and then 15 min later, Scott showed up - and we yelled "Surprise!" He was surprised, although he thought that I was acting a bit strange earlier when I kept pressing him for his ETA. We had pizza and cake and joked around with folks. I fed my friend's almost-year-old little bites of cake. I said I was "contributing to the delinquency of a baby".

Deanna - we won our softball game 23-10. I was 3-for-4 batting. Whatever hesitation I felt earlier this season due to my reconstruction surgery (with my tight abdomen and tight shoulder and test) has gone. Although I still don't quite have the distance on my throw, it is getting better and I'm able to get that ol' snap to the throw that I used to have. My personal chef was on the other team and then one of Eddie's classmates mothers was on a team that played just after ours. Anyway, it was great fun, topped off by a good visit.

Deanna and Scott - the reorganization of the house is coming along nicely.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Takin' Care of Business

The past few days have been busy. I still haven't cleaned out my email inbox. But I guess I got a few other things done. I took Eddie to Portland on Friday - we went to Buffalo Wild Wings so we could play a trivia game against other customers. Borders had a trivia game, too, but Eddie only read two of about 20 of the series. He ended up in 2nd place.

Scott and I have been rearranging furniture in the house.

I've been cleaning house - and as I stated in my earlier post - I'm washing clothes and am on lice and poison-oak rash spotting duty.

Thank goodness I'm not teaching. I've got more time for this stuff.

I have a CT scan on Wednesday. My wheezing has decreased - it's almost gone, although it comes back if I have processed sugar. I *think* that enlarged lymph node in my left armpit is smaller. I had to search some to find it. I have been doing more qi gong and visualization and while I'm not taking the cordyceps alone, I am getting a slightly increased dose of it with my mushrooms - I increased that dose about a week ago. The feather mattress top is off the bed, too. Not sure if that helped or not. I think pollen is decreasing here in the Valley - although my mom's and my brother's allergies were still bad last week, when I felt my symptoms decrease.

In other words, takin' care of business.

Thank goodness for a high efficiency washer!

The men in my life are having issues.

Eddie, as his dad and step-mother discovered on Thursday, has lice.

Scott believes he has poison oak.

I found live lice on Eddie's head - two on Friday evening and one on Saturday morning. His dad and step-mom gave him a anti-lice shampoo Thursday night and combed his hair and got rid of nits. Eddie's step-mom told me yesterday that rather than treat him again with the shampoo (you should wait a week), to give him a mayonaise head soak. So, we did that yesterday. I only found a couple of nits yesterday evening.

Scott, on Friday (? I think), found a couple of red, splotchy, itchy spots. It wasn't until yesterday morning that he thought it might be poison oak. Well, now it's spreading - it might be in his system now.

I have never washed so many clothes at once in my life. Thursday, we pulled the sheets off Eddie's and our bed and washed them. We pulled Eddie's sheets on Saturday and Sunday. Each time they use towels, we're washing another load. We washed the couch cover. Their clothes everyday need to be washed.

We're like a family of chimpanzees - combing through our heads trying to find lice. My head begins itching every time I think about it.

So far, though, I've escaped both. Someone's gotta stay uncontaminated so he/she can do the laundry! LOL

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Eddie's Grades

So, I just received Eddie's 4th quarter and semester grades (I was in DC when Tim picked them up) and I thought I'd share them with everyone:

Subject 4th Quarter Semester
Reading 91 90
English 93 94
Spell/Vocab 95 93
Soc. Stud. 86 87
Math 95 92
Science 89 88
Handwriting S S (Satisfactory)
Music C C (Commendable)
Art S S

Not too shabby, eh? He improved over the course of the year. In the first semester, he had more 80s and one 76; and he improved on those subjects with 90s. So, he's moving on to the next grade!

Monday, June 22, 2009

My Mission Today ...

is to clean out my work email! I have over 3,000 messages in my inbox and the same in my sent mail. I also need to finish making arrangements for the July trip to Nome, Alaska. (Did I tell you? My mom, Eddie, and I are leaving July 18 and return July 28! Yay!) We're working on the interactive placenames map.

Speaking of maps, I also need to mark the new map for new placename spots so that our web designer (Greg Hyatt at Greg Hyatt Designs) can add them to our interactive map.

A busy day. But the kind of work that will be fun to do. Well, maybe not cleaning out the email, but that one is a necessary one! Gak.

Happy Monday! It's sunny here and you can't go wrong with a sunny day! Right?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Oh, the guilt of a daughter . . .

So, I completely messed up and didn't call my dad for Father's Day. Mom had to remind me. And, I even said "Happy Father's Day" to Scott. And, my son was with his father in the early part of this day to celebrate Father's Day with him.

I'm just too wrapped up in my own thing - the meeting at NSF, Scott moving in, picking up Eddie, a wedding reception and birthday party yesterday, a barbecue and softball game today - that I just forgot to wish my own father a Happy Father's Day.

I was also traveling during Mother's Day - that was when I went to Norway - so I didn't even celebrate my own mother's day and no one said "Happy Mother's Day" to me, not even my folks. I didn't say that to my mom. Mom didn't seem upset - perhaps because she knew I was traveling (I did, however, leave a gift certificate for them to use and mom was able to get some shirts). They didn't wish me happy mother's day. Scott didn't wish me happy mother's day. Eddie didn't wish me happy mother's day.

I'm not saying that to make anyone else feel guilty. But my dad is taking it kind of hard, so I'm feeling guilty. My dad does do a lot of favors for me, after all. And, I appreciate his help and support.

So, I called my dad to say Happy Father's Day, but it wasn't soon enough.

I feel guilty. Not sure what to do about it because I feel if I changed my plans for the day or whatever, dad would know that I did it out of guilt and not because it was something I did because I remembered and wanted to do something nice.

What a dilemma! Should I do something out of guilt which might have the end result of assuaging hurt feelings? Or, would it make things worse because my dad would know I did it out of guilt and not because it was something from the heart?

Well, as I sit here and type, I think I'll call my dad up again and say that I'll take him out for lunch or dinner tomorrow. And apologize again, of course. Thanks for listening as I worked through my guilt!

Yes, Renee, anthropology can be useful!

Renee is my new friend and colleague in Hawaii and I'm teasing her here because she was giving me a bad time about being an anthropologist when we first met. Anthropology does have a bad reputation in Native American circles . . . but it doesn't mean it has to stay that way if Native peoples use an anthropological perspective to their own advantage, which is the subject of this post: what an anthropological perspective can bring to a problem or issue that is new or unique.

Okay, so I'm gonna toot my own horn here, which is somewhat uncomfortable for me, but because I do think it's important, I'm going to tell everyone about part of my meeting at NSF.

This year, I served on the "AC/GPA" for NSF. (There are lots of acronyms at NSF and in Polar research generally.) The "AC/GPA" stands for the "Advisory Committee for the Government Performance Results Act" and our purpose is to assess NSF's performance to make sure that the investment that the U.S. makes in NSF is bearing fruit. I have to say that I read 60 highlights of NSF-funded research this year - and each of my colleague read about the same number. From my perspective reading these highlights, I was very impressed at the good things that are happening, many of which may have a long-term benefit to society. Of course, we are reading the "best of the best" but since most NSF-funded research is peer-reviewed, it is the "best" that gets funded to begin with.

Anyway, that was only part of what we did there at the committee; our chair also asked us for our collective opinions on what NSF can do to either make their processes better or to figure out better ways to fund cutting-edge, high-risk research, or how funding can be directed to make America #1 again in terms of how we educate our society in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) disciplines.

One gentleman, who was from the private sector, said several times (and I'm paraphrasing here to make a point) that NSF needed to direct funds toward projects that would make the U.S. more competitive in the global marketplace and then mentioned how other countries have learned to be more competitive and are progressing faster than the U.S. is.

Now, I have to say that I am anti-big business. I'm a tree hugger (and as someone with metastatic cancer, it pisses me off just what big companies can get away with in terms of environmental pollutants) at heart. I just wanted you to know my bias. I see big companies as greedy and only concerned about money, not necessarily people or the environment.

So, my first reaction to this gentleman's comment was, "sheesh, it's too bad that other countries are following our lead in terms of competition and technological progress, that they have learned our (American) game so well". I reacted this way because I have seen what's happened to indigenous peoples all over the world when confronted with the western/American mentality of competition, the bottom line, money, profits, etc. In general, the western economic model has not been too kind to indigenous peoples. For instance, there has been some research in the north that when indigenous/First Nations people engage in a wage economy, then they tend to keep those funds for themselves; however, when they have subsistence resources (food, generally), those resources are still shared with those that cannot get them. In other words, when it comes to western model, they've adopted a western mindset that that money is for individual, not community, use, which has negative effects on the community as a whole.

A couple of other individuals mentioned projects or ideas that they've been involved with in which collaboration with other people have lead to exciting innovations and another who mentioned that NSF should conduct the "science of NSF" as part of NSF's program SciSIP "the science of science and innovation policy".

After hearing these different opinions, when it was my turn to give advice, I related my reaction to the private industry representative who said several times that we needed to increase our competitiveness in the global marketplace. I said, "I think it's too bad because there is a lot of research in indigenous circles that shows that these ideas of competition and profit-making have had negative effects on those cultures". (Something like that - I'm still paraphrasing here.) I continued, "Competition does have positive effects; being competitive has certainly lead to some great innovations. But rarely in American society do we talk about the negatives of competition. Competition (and hence peer-review) are not the end-all and be-all of science. Making profits is not the end-all and be-all of life." (Another member caught my eye and gave me a silent clap of approval.) I then took several minutes and mentioned that while I am trained as a western scientist and see the world through a scientist's eyes, I also know that there are other ways of knowing how the world works, that there are indigenous peoples all over the world who are scientists in their own right, not necessarily following western science's method of systematic research and western science's preference for replicable results, but who can survive in the Arctic much better than I can. There is value in these other ways of knowing about the world. There is value in operating in a world where community is valued over the individual.

I then mentioned that I met a Hawaiian geographer (Renee, in the title of this blog entry) who gave me a chapter of her dissertation on Hawaiian epistemology and that I know that Maori scholars have been writing about their epistemology and said that these other ways of knowing have value, too.

I suggested, then, that perhaps as the lead scientific agency for the U.S., perhaps NSF should invest more effort in exploring the "science of indigenous/non-traditional sciences", that NSF should explore the ways that other cultures study and understand their worlds, that, in true western scientific fashion, that it seeks to understand, in a systematic way, how other people learn and know about their world. Later, on my way home or yesterday or something, I thought that, much like the NIH (National Institutes of Health) has a branch of alternative and complementary medicine, maybe NSF can develop a branch on "alternative sciences". And, I echoed another gentleman from industry that maybe NSF could develop a fund for collaboration, in which the individuals who get the money not necessarily outline at the beginning what they are going to do, but just get seed money to put their heads together and see what they come up with.

Afterwards, several people told me how much they appreciated what I had to say. And, then, the chair of our committee told me, "Wow, you gave me so much to think about. I don't know very much about anthropology, but I certainly learned something today." I told Scott on my way home that I think I surprised this man - that this man who has had so much experience in industry and at NSF was surprised to actually learn something new and learned a new way of looking at the world and attacking problems from another direction. I think I just converted this man to learning more about what anthropology can offer the world. Yay!

So, I've continued thinking about this issue since my return home. A couple of weeks ago, a couple who were VISTA volunteers in Nome and who worked with the King Islanders from 1969-70 gave me a DVD showing these competitive games that the King Islanders engaged in for their Christmas festivities. My dissertation was on the "Wolf Dance", which was actually a three-day celebration, which included competitive games. These competitions, from an outside perspective, were an opportunity to hone their skills, skills that they needed to survive in the Arctic, while subsisting off the land in the middle of a cold winter. I relate this to say that competition isn't necessarily bad and in fact, forms of competition can be found in any culture and are valuable. The difference is that in our western society, we tend to only acknowledge and reward those who win the competitions, especially in the marketplace and in the economy. Our society also tends to denigrate those who lose, by saying, "well you didn't try hard enough" and "if that person can do it, so can you". There is a strong preference for the individual and if the individual can't make it, then it's that individual's own fault. This then leads to a feeling of despair in that individual because they begin to view themselves as failures. And, if they failed once then they begin thinking that perhaps they will fail all the time and why should they even try. In King Island community, while there is certainly competition and politics, at the end of the day, those who have access to a lot of resources, or who have the skills to gain those resources, must share the results of their hard work with those who do not have the skills or resources. The only way they can continue to be in power is if they are generous and share what they have with those who do not? (Imagine what a better economic position we would be in if the CEO's that got so much money and golden parachutes had shared what they have with those who don't. Well, if you didn't know it before, you know by now that I'm a liberal!)

I know there's a lot of research out there about the welfare system and that there have been efforts to empower those individuals so they don't feel like failures, so that they can get off of welfare.

I have also been introduced more to the problem of substance abuse in this country, because several friends have kids or family members who struggle with the disease of addiction. I have learned a lot about different programs that are out there for these individuals - and realized just how many of them there are out there. In Native America, when discussing the high rate of alcohol abuse, they often say that it's because there's such a high level of poverty, of hopelessness because they have not been given the tools to succeed in our society. Then, if there are so many programs out there for substance abuse, then what does that say about our society? What is it about our society that contributes to the rate of substance abuse in this country? Is there a connection to the valuing of the individual ("pull yourself up by your own bootstrap") and their achievements and the denigration of people who can't win that then leads to the vicious cycle of substance abuse?

Well, these are just thoughts that I've been having over the past few weeks and this meeting at NSF caused them to coalesce in some ideas that I have. I'm under no illusion that this will make things better in our society. But if, just if, NSF decides to create a "science of indigenous sciences and epistemologies" branch, I would love to be part of that effort. I'd be really excited to see what would come of it. What would happen if instead of valuing an individual contribution, we could value a group's or a community's contribution? What if we did something where we didn't compete but collaborated more? What if? : )

Okay, enough philosophizing this morning. It is a summer morning after all. It's cloudy and cool out at present, but it's still summer and time to get out of my brain and engage with the world at large. Right? LOL

Saturday, June 20, 2009

I'm back home!

Hey everyone,
I'm back home! I had a great meeting in DC - will post about that soon. I had a good night's sleep last night, then relaxed this morning at home, then went to a birthday party of a young boy who turned one today (his mom just graduated from OSU), then did some weeding, then went to a wedding reception for MisAnthropology. Scott joined me. We had fun and enjoyed some good conversation and good wine!

Tomorrow? We head to a barbecue in the afternoon, so that our team can get the other softball team drunk before we play them later.

I have something that I'll post about my meeting in DC - but that will take some time, so I may not get a chance to post it until later. It was interesting, though!

Oh, yeah, I noticed when I was in DC that any slight wheezing/coughing that I experienced was not mostly nonexistent. I figure I must be experiencing allergies here.


Friday, June 19, 2009

In DC, at NSF

I'm in DC now and on the second day of our two-day meeting. I was part of this same committee last year and this year is much better. Last year, there was a lot of angst about the data we were given. NSF did a much better job explaining where this data came from and how it was gathered, so all that angst has gone. Instead, we have this sense that this is a much more productive meeting, instead of talking ad nauseum about what's wrong.

I always find these meetings interesting. The people on these committees are engaged, intelligent, and fun (especially for a bunch of stuffy academics!! I'm one of them). I always learn something at these meetings, whether it be something new about NSF culture or about some new field or finding.

I also met with my program officer at NSF, who continues to be very supportive of the King Island work as well as the new research I'm conducting with a colleague from Portland State. I also got to see a colleague of mine from OSU who is finishing up her two-year appointment at NSF. She's coming back to OSU in a few weeks; it'll be good to get caught up with her! I also saw the director of Polar Programs while I was here - it was good to see him, too.

My former sister-in-law, D., is picking me up from my meeting today and taking me to the airport. It'll be good to get caught up with her, too.

So, all in all, a successful trip! I'll be back home late tonight.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I'm leavin' on a jet plane . . .

but know when I'll be back again!!

Hehehe. I'm heading to our nation's capital today - will get there about 10pm tonight, after a 4 1/2 hour layover in Seattle. Good time to get some writing done, that's for sure. I'm on a committee at the National Science Foundation - we'll meet Thurs all day (including working lunches and dinner) and Friday until about 3pm. It's intense, but interesting. I always view these meetings from an anthropological perspective. I get home late Friday night, just in time to go to MisAnthropology's wedding reception Saturday evening.

If I have a chance, I'll blog! Have a great week everyone!

P.S. Made travel arrangements for Nome, Alaska. We leave July 18th! Yay!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

MisAnthropology's pics from the Bachelorette Party

As I mentioned earlier, I went to a Bachelorette Party for MisAnthropology the other night. Well, she posted pictures from her "swanky soiree". Check them out here! It was great fun!

Monday, June 15, 2009

A busy few days

What have I been up to? Lots of fun, mostly.

Saturday - garage sale, then the bachelorette party

Sunday - ran errands, then went to a baby shower, then spent 3 or so hours grading papers, then my softball game, then to the pizza place to hang with teammates, then another 2 hours grading papers

Monday - up early, graded most of the papers, took Eddie to my folks, then I had an acupuncture appointment, then I finished grading papers and submitted my grades by the noon deadline, then Eddie had a dentist appointment, then home where I completed a report for NSF, then it was hanging with Eddie in the front yard while he played on his slip-n-slide, then to the pizza place to wait with teammates for our v-ball game, then we played v-ball.

What's coming up this week?

Tuesday - make travel arrangements, clean up my desk, gather materials for my trip, then take leftover things to Eddie's childcare for their summer garage sale, pack for trip

Wednesday - leave for Reagan National for a meeting at the National Science Foundation

Thurs - meeting at NSF

Fri - meeting at NSF, then fly home

Sat - a former student invited me to her son's first birthday barbecue, then a wedding reception

Sun - barbecue at my softball friends, then an early softball game

Mon - rest? : )

I'm just glad I can do it all - my stomach issues seem to have resolved and I have energy again. Yay!

Take care everyone!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Bachelorette Party!

Yesterday afternoon, I went to a bachelorette party for MisAnthropology, who writes a blog about the "Wedding Industrial Complex". MisAnthropology is also an anthropologist and a colleague of mine. Her good friend, Ms. K., organized the festivities.

We met for a drink at the Tear Drop Lounge in the Pearl District in Portland - I had a very good drink called the Rosy Dawn.

Then, we went to the Daily Cafe also in the Pearl District. I had the wild Alaskan snapper. Delicious!

Ms. K paid for our pedicabs down to Darcelle's IX for a drag show. MisAnthropology got all dolled up, complete with four-inch heels; Ms. K wore sequins; I wore a skirt with my Chacos, although I also wore make-up, too, in honor of the event. MisAnthropology looked great in a purple dress.

It was fun! I enjoy Darcelle's very much - the place has fun memories for me. The first time, I went to the show with some of my softball/v-ball friends and afterwards, they went on my first date with Scott - Scott met the whole lot of us at a bar in downtown Portland. My friend, Josh, said beforehand, "If I don't like him, I'll kick him in the arse." After meeting him, Josh said, "He's okay. I like him. Have fun." It's nice to have your friends looking out for you afterwards.

The second time, a group of my card-playing/v-ball/softball buddies went for my 43rd birthday, almost two years ago. We met for drinks and dinner beforehand, went to the show, and then dancing. I hadn't raised hell like that in a long time! (Note to self - it's about time a bunch of us did something like that again.) That was the best Darcelle's show that I've seen.

Last night was funny, too, though, and I enjoyed watching MisAnthropology's reaction to it. The pedicabs were a great idea and our rider/driver guy was a fun young man.

Back to reality today, though. I have to grade papers . . . but then I am done teaching until mid-September! Yippee!

Friday, June 12, 2009

I think it's the cordyceps .. .

My stomach wasn't quite right again on Wednesday and Thursday. I started taking a new herb, cordyceps, last Friday. Cordyceps is a fungi that grows in caterpillar larvae. It has been used for many years in the Chinese medical pharmacopeia. It has since been found to help with many things, including respiratory issues, including both the lungs and the heart; a tonic for the liver and the kidneys; increased vitality; more efficient oxygen transport; among others.

I've been taking Tykerb - at least 500 mg/day and sometimes 750mg/day (the recommended dosage is 1250 mg/day) - since I found out about the spots on the lungs in April.

I took cordyceps last Friday night and Sat morning (I think they are 150mg tablets). I doubled my dose of Tykerb Sat morning to 1000 mg. I ended up with diarrhea.

I took both again on Sunday, thinking it was just a one-day occurrence, perhaps from seafood I ate on Friday. I still had diarrhea.

I didn't take either on Monday. No diarrhea, but with stomach upset and bloating and gas.

I didn't take either pill on Tuesday. I felt more or less normal.

I took cordyceps only on Wednesday. My stomach felt a little upset, bloated, and gassy.

I took both on Thursday. Again, my stomach felt a little upset.

Today, I only took Tykerb - 500mg. I won't take cordyceps today and I'll see how I feel.

That's the life of a cancer patient - never quite sure what's causing the side effects, so you have to do a little controlled experiment on yourself to figure it out. I haven't really changed my diet in any appreciable way in the past week. If anything, I haven't had as much to eat, but it's still the same kinds of foods. I am drinking lots of water.

I'll give you a report later!

My New Hawaiian Friend-Colleague is on Fox News in Hawaii!

Shortly after our return from Norway, my friend and colleague, Renee Pualani Louis, was interviewed by the Hawaiian Fox affiliate about her work on Hawaiian placenames.

While the story was a bit weak reporting on the names itself, it did a good job of capturing Renee's personality. Here's the story - and the film clip on the right.

Board of Hawaiian Geographic Names

Great job, Renee!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

I went to 3, yes, THREE pizza places today!

Today was Eddie's last day of school. Our original plan was to go to Chuck E. Cheese to celebrate, like we did last year. Eddie likes traditions like that.

But on our way to the car after school, another mom mentioned that a few others were going to a local pizza place for lunch. This pizza place has a play room for kids. So, we went for lunch and a few of Eddie's classmates were there.

Then, we drove to Chuck E. Cheese. Eddie got to play a lot of games there. There was a mall nearby and so we were finally able to buy his summer sandals.

At lunch, this same mom mentioned that her daughter's softball team was going to a pizza place in the next town for "Family Karaoke Night" around dinner time. Eddie said he wanted to go so that he could karaoke. I figured, what the heck? So,we went. Eddie sang, "Life is a Highway". He did okay, although sometimes he forgot to sing because he was so busy reading the words.

Am I nuts or what? We're both tired. Good thing we can sleep in tomorrow!

And, now we know what to do for Eddie's birthday party - karaoke!! Anyone out there have a karaoke machine we can borrow? ; 0 LOL

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Last year at this time ...

I was struggling, feeling sad, angry, and alone. I colored a mandala that I entitled "Slow Burn". I asked my friends for help, and especially to initiate contact with me because I didn't have energy. I had to do daily radiation treatments. I felt tired and was worried about whether or not I would be able to travel.

What a difference a year makes. Since then, I've flown to DC/North Carolina, Anchorage, Bergen, Norway, and Guovdageaidnu, Norway. I've taught a full load. I've written one article (grrr - wanted to do more there), worked on several research projects, submitted a supplemental request, supervised grad research assistants, managed a household, learned how to make the choice to be happy on a daily basis, made new friends, etc. etc. etc.

I guess I'm doing okay. I'm glad I'm where I'm at now than where I was last year. You know, it's partly because of you. Thank you all, for your support!

Wow - Already in Summer Mode!

I stayed home Sunday afternoon because of the stomach bug. Then, yesterday, I chauffeured kids to the pool for an end-of-year party. Today, I attended Eddie's end-of-year class party - a luau. There were some tribal representatives on campus today and I visited with them. I met with one of my grad research assistants. I had a faculty meeting.

But in the end, I didn't really get much accomplished in the way of paperwork.

I might normally feel guilty or stressed about it and even work at home to get it done. And, I might even tell myself I should feel guilty.

But, I don't.

I think I'm already in summer mode! Woo hoo!

P.S. Do you think it might have something to do with the fact that I did not actually have class this week? Also, the last time I need to rush around in the morning getting ready is tomorrow ... Eddie's last day is tomorrow. Yay!

Back to Normal

Back to "normal" today. Feel good and have had a decent night's sleep. Yesterday afernoon, I helped drive some of Eddie's classmates and Eddie to the local pool for their end of year pool party. That was fun watching them play and hanging out with the moms chatting at poolside. It was cloudy and a little chilly but otherwise fun. Then, I had a volleyball game yesterday. I played terribly but it was fun. Eddie got fresh air. We both slept pretty well last night.

Have had a couple of emails about summer travel plans. I guess that means I need to settle them here soon, huh?

In other words, back to work. Have a great day!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Sigh! Feeling MUCH Better

I'm feeling MUCH better today! Although my digestive system is not yet 100%, it's 90% or better and I feel back to my positive good self. There's something about stomach problems and nausea that really gets me down, more so that a cough or whatever. I remember that even with those few weeks of morning sickness I had when I was pregnant. That's why I dread the thought of IV chemo again and how I react to anesthesia. I hate nausea more than anything.

But it's gone now and I'm regaining strength (my legs felt shaky all day yesterday). Yay!

I would be grading now but my students haven't turned much in yet. I have two short papers I can grade . . .

I need to wrap my head around summer travel plans - will probably settle on something tomorrow. I need to talk to a few people first - like folks in Alaska as well as my mom.

I've been invited to attend a symposium and workshop in Oxford, England, on their dime, in August. Hard to pass something like that up.

Hmmm . . . definitely feeling better if I'm thinking about travel stuff, too. Also, the issue that Scott had to take care of looks like it's close to being resolved, so there's less stress there, too. I tend to reflect the mood of those around me - I take on their stress. I need to stop doing that as I have enough of my own, right? : ) Easier said than done . . .

Have a great day!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Feeling Better!?! : )

My stomach is not quite right yet - when I woke up in the middle of the night, I drank a sip of water and it almost came right back up and then I got the chills. I changed into my flannel pj's and put another blanket on the bed and ate a bunch of plain crackers. I was able to sleep 'til almost 7am.

This morning, all I really wanted to do was to take it easy and watch movies at home. However, I had to shower and get dressed because I had to go to a thesis defense this morning. I'm glad that I went - it was interesting - although physically it was still touch and go. My legs felt a little shaky and I feel really tired.

After the defense, I picked up a couple of things in my office, had lunch, then walked to my car and came home. I watched the movie "7 Pounds" with Will Smith. It was a good movie, [spoiler alert] if a tearjerker. I think I got the crying out of my system, though.

So, mentally, I feel better, but my tummy still isn't quite right. It's gurgling away and trying to cramp up. Good thing I don't have to do much today!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Feeling Melancholy Today

Scott hasn't been here for the past few days because of things he needs to do in Portland.

Add to that the diarrhea that I still have and also the slight wheezing and I'm feeling a little melancholy and alone.

Eddie went to his dad's this morning so that his dad could take him to the Strawberry Festival.

I read up again on Tykerb side effects and diarrhea was at the top of the list; a very smaller percentage people sometimes got "interstitial lung disease" and/or "pneomonitis". The latter is inflammation due to something other than a bacterial infection. The former is inflammation of the air sacs, which may result in scarring. Both can also be caused by radiation therapy, too.

I think this means that I've been doing too much reading, huh?

I need to leave in a few minutes to drop some things off at my softball game. I don't think I'll play since I still have diarrhea and an upset stomach. It'll be good to see my friends, though. They'll cheer me up!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Am I Grasping at Straws? : )

I have been wondering, over the past week or so, whether or not the goose feather mattress topper I bought is causing this slight cough that I have. I bought this goose feather mattress topper on March 30, 2009, because my all natural latex bed is a bit too firm for my back.

I had my CT scan on April 7, 2009. Dr. K called me with the results with on April 14, 2009, in which they found lung nodules on my left lung. I began noticing a slight cough with a slight wheeze two days later, on April 16, 2009.

Lung nodules can be caused by a variety of things, including infections and inflammation.

Maybe, just maybe, I am allergic to that feather mattress topper. Maybe the continued exposure finally resulted in finally getting a cough a couple of weeks later.

Or, perhaps I have slight allergies to mold or mildew, which can be especially bad here in the mid-Willamette Valley during the winter months. Then, the feathers (which were sterilized) in the mattress topper made things worse.

Or, perhaps I'm allergic to dust mites and since it took a couple of weeks for dust mites to grow in the feather mattress topper.

So, respiratory allergies cause inflammation. Perhaps the inflammation caused the lung nodules.

How can I get to the bottom of this?

First, I took the feather mattress topper off the bed today.

Second, I just might take C.'s advice (the nurse who called me today) and make an appointment with my primary care physician and see if I can get tested for allergies as well as tuberculosis.

Third, maybe I am allergic to mold. There is some more mold growing on my bathroom ceiling.

I've never really been bothered by allergies. However, my mom is very allergic to a lot of things - she gets hay fever, she has asthma, she's allergic to animal dander and metal, as well as the sun. My youngest brother also has hay fever. My sister breaks out into a rash in the sun. Several years ago, during a particularly high pollen year, my eyes burned. So, I just may be susceptible.

In past years, I've gotten a cough that hangs on for weeks, usually in the winter time.

I also had a cough that hung on for a couple of months last summer, when I was doing radiation treatments.

If I do, then I think it's highly probable that the lung nodules are caused by allergies.

I'll keep you posted.

What a Great Nurse and Other News

You know, sometimes people tell me that they seek cancer services up in Portland and/or Seattle, as if the service here won't be as cutting edge or whatever. But you know what? I have always made a choice to have my cancer treatment here, primarily because I don't want to have to travel any farther than I have to and also because I do think I get great care.

Today is a case in point - the nurse (C.) I talked to yesterday about the CEA results said that she would be at the Infusion center today and if she had a chance, she'd call me with the CA15-3 results. Well, she called me this morning, after I went to a baby shower.

The CA15-3 was 19.7. I've had numbers below 20 (since August 2008) for nearly a year on that tumor marker test. That eases my mind because I think the CA15-3 might be more sensitive as a marker for cancer.

Here's the history:

Sept 2007 - 23 U/mL
Jan 2008 - 31 U/mL
Mar 2008 - 36 U/mL
June 2008 - 23 U/mL (started radiation that month)
Aug 2008 - 18 U/mL (week of August 4th)
Sept 2008 - 14.5 U/mL YAAAAAAY!!!
Oct 1 2008 - 19.6 U/mL
Oct 31 2008 - 15.3 U/mL
Nov 28 2008 - 19.5 U/mL
Dec 30 2008 - 16.0 U/mL
Jan 22 2009 - 15.4 U/mL
Mar 2 2009 - 17.8 U/mL
Apr 8 2009 - 19.6 U/mL
May 5 2009 - 18.4 U/mL
June 4 2009 - 19.7 U/mL

Remember that anything below 33 is considered normal.

Here's the history for the CEA:

1/2008 - 1.2 ng/mL
3/2008 - 0.9 ng/mL
6/2008 - 1.0 ng/mL
8/2008 - 1.1 ng/mL (need to double check this number, but it was in that 0.9 to 1.2 range)
9/2008 - 0.5 ng/mL
10/2008 - 0.9 ng/mL
10/31/2008 - 1.2 ng/mL
11/28/2008 - 1.2 ng/mL
12/30/2008 - 1.1 ng/mL
3/2/2009 - 1.4 ng/mL
4/8/2009 - 1.6 ng/mL
5/5/2009 - 1.9 ng/mL
6/4/2009 - 3.0 ng/mL

For the CEA, anything below 3.8 is considered normal!

So, I won't freak out too much yet. The nurse, C., thought that maybe I should go see my primary care doctor about what might be causing the slight coughing/wheezing that I have, to try to get to the bottom of whatever respiratory might be going on.

In other news, I ended up with diarrhea today. I doubled my dose of Tykerb today and another blogger I know would complain of diarrhea with Tykerb. I also had seafood last night - a couple of mussels and shrimp - and I don't know if my digestive system was bothered by that. It's wiped me out today, even though I think I had a good night's sleep. I was supposed to also go to my colleague's house for a party, but I think I better stay home and rest. Sorry, L. & J.!!

And, in other news, the garage sale was okay today. I think we had three cars stop by from 12:30 on, so I don't think it was worth it to have it until 4pm. But Scott and I earned over $100 today. Of course, we have a lot more we can sell . . . we'll see how we do tomorrow! Mom and dad were a great help and they even ran to the grocery store for me because of my digestive problems! They're great parents, aren't they?

A very big note of appreciation goes to C. for taking the time to call me with the tumor marker results today. I get great, personalized care!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Garage Sale Tomorrow!

For all my loyal friends in the mid-Willamette Valley, we are having a garage sale tomorrow and Sunday. It's 9am-4pm on Sat and 9am-1pm on Sun. Most of you know where I live, right?

Scott and I are combining our households, so there are a lot of household goods and furniture. Mom and dad and my brother also have some things for sale.

Things for sale include a treadmill, a glider rocker, a wicker chair, a coffee table, a stereo, camping equipment, electronics (several 1gig MP3 players, a scanner, camera, boombox, DVD player, etc.), clothes, music CDs and audiotapes, videotapes and DVDs, clothes, jackets, ironing table, a Hollywood bedframe, mom's hand-made crocheted blankets and hotpads, dad's necklaces, some of Eddie's toys, purses and bags, and books.

Hope you all can stop by!


I just got my CEA results back. It was 3.0. Anything below 3.8 is "normal". However, my CEA has been in the range of 0.9 to 1.9. Even when I had active cancer in the skin last year, it was 1.2. I'm not very happy at this result. This means I'm upping my dose of Tykerb back to a full dose tomorrow.


I don't have the CA15-3 results back. I'll call later. This one actually went down a bit last month. Let's hope it's still down. If it's gone up . . . but we're not going there yet, right?

God damnit.

Cussing helps, you know!

NOTE, 7:30PM: My colleague, S., found that the CEA can rise for a variety of reasons 60-70% of the time due to infections or something going on with the digestive system, etc. Only 30-40% of the time does it rise when there's cancer activity.

I also tried to get the CA15-3 result later today, but it wasn't in yet. The nurse might try to call me tomorrow if it comes in.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Tired Today

I was up too late last night. There's a lot going on this week-end for me. Softball game tomorrow evening. Garage sale at my house Sat and Sun. A baby shower for a colleague on Sat morning. A party at another colleague's on Sat afternoon. Softball Sunday evening. And, on top of that, grading papers. I am feeling the need to reorganize my work piles and make a new to-do list.

The good news is that I don't have to teach any more classes until late September! Yay!

I am so looking forward to working on my own research and writing.

Scott won't be able to help with the garage sale. Some unexpected things happened that require him to stay in Portland. My folks, however, are helping me.

If you have more questions about the garage sale, please let me know!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Eddie Einstein!

My son's teacher had the kids do presentations on the biographies they had to read for book reports. (That was kinda awkward: As part of their book reports, the kids had to do presentations of the biographies they read. Whew. That was a bit better!) Eddie chose to do Albert Einstein and his presentation was today. The other two students presenting were Sacajawea and Annie Oakley. The three kids are pictured below:

Aren't they cute? Here's Eddie Einstein himself! He said that one reason he picked Einstein was because "I am smart, too, like Einstein."

Here's a snippet of his presentation. I apologize - I didn't turn the camera video recorder on in time, so it starts with "e=mc squared". You'll get the gist, though, I'm sure. I'm definitely the proud mama here!

Note: I will post the video as soon as I can upload it into YouTube. I've uploaded twice this afternoon and for some #&!* reason, the sound isn't coming through. So, I'm going to try again! Bear with me, folks!

Note, 9:15pm: The video is now uploaded and the sound is audible! Yay! (Flippin' computers anyway, but letting you all see Einstein was a must!)

Mosaic picture below

In the last post "I have great friends!", I posted a picture of the grouted mosaic - with some cleaning left to do. See below . . .