Sunday, February 28, 2010

I'm Proud To Be Canadian!

What a day! What a finale to the Olympics! What a hockey game! What a day to be a Canadian! It's exhausting ... all that emotion!

Darrel, Lynn and Otto came by to watch the game and then stayed for dinner and the finale. Awesome!

Here's dinner! I do love mashed potatoes!

I spent yesterday just the way I needed to. I stayed home. Kevin was away all day and night at meetings. I didn't get out of my pj's until late afternoon. A whole day with nothing to do except relax and be peaceful inside and out ... and watch Olympics. It was just what I needed. I think the only person I talked to besides Kevin was Luke.

Today I woke up feeling a bit more energetic. With the game starting just after 2:00, I had to do some shopping while I was in the mood and had the energy and I had to get it done before the game started. Bra shopping. Ick. I haven't bra shopped for some time and I'm long overdue. It would have been more exciting if I was shopping for "pretty things" but I was shopping for pure function. Beige **yawn** function. I dreaded it. Things get more complicated when you've got a big divot in one your breasts and your general body shape has changed since you last bra shopped. But it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be and I was successful! After finally getting something MUCH more comfortable, I wonder why I waited so long. Really. What an idiot!

Luke's team won their lacrosse game in Philadelphia yesterday 10-4. That's 3 wins and 1 loss so far. Good for them! Luke got a goal! One-Goal-Luke we're starting to call him, which is a whole lot better than No-Goal-Luke. They flew back to Louisville today. They were able to watch the first 2 periods of the hockey game in the airport but then they had to board the plane. Agony! Probably just as well because Luke said the mostly American crowd was getting pretty annoyed with the little group of Canadians cheering loudly! On the plane, the boys had to rely on game updates via text message. Agony! Luke was pretty excited about the win. That's an understatement. They took a lot of ribbing after the Canadians lost the earlier game to the Americans. Both teams sure gave us some very good hockey, though, didn't they?!

And with that, I'm Olympically drained!


Saturday, February 27, 2010

Saturday Hair Doo Show

I did my hair up into a little mohawk just for you. It's an up-doo. It's not feeling much longer to me, though. I wish it would hurry up and grow faster. I had thought I might be wig-free for our trip to Louisville at the end of March but now I suspect that I might be toting one along after all. We'll see. My comfort level is the biggest hurdle. Wuss.
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Friday, February 26, 2010

You Should Read "The Book Thief"

You might recall that I'm a sucker for books about all things bookish. For that reason, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak caught my eye by title alone but the clincher was Sue telling me it was very good. I bought it immediately after that. And she was right. It's very good. You should read it.

Here's a link to more about it at

The story is about a young girl who ends up living with foster parents in Molching, Germany during World War II. As would be expected, there are some very dark parts and yet I can't say it's a depressing book. I wouldn't recommend if it were. It's a very beautifully framed and told story that I think even my chemo brain will retain. A quote from one of the reviews on Amazon, "As a memorable rendering of an unforgettable period in history it should easily capture and hold the hearts and minds of its readers."

Please read it.

The Last Olympic Weekend

Friday. I worked this afternoon. Just barely, but I made it there and was able to make some accomplishments. I'm glad to have a weekend with no plans, though. I came home, put on a cozy toque, curled up under a warm blanket and watched a nail-biter of a women's curling final! Silver! That's nothing to sneeze at!! And two medals today in speed skating. I was very glad to see that, too. To see Hamelin finally medal and with a gold at that! Ahhhh ... olympic fever! I know what we'll be doing next week when they're over. We'll be watching all the shows we otherwise would have watched but PVR'd instead. Before that we'll have to get through the men's hockey final! I feel sick just thinking about it. Is it bad to want to win so badly? Of course, I'd better not get ahead of myself. We still haven't quite won against Slovakia, though we have a 2 goal lead with 7 minutes left!

This morning I talked to a nurse at the Champion Centre who was filling in for the nurse I would normally have spoken to about my puffy and tender under arm. I was quite prepared for her to hemmm and hawww and then suggest I talk to my family doctor. I was ready for that one. I told her that I felt I should see someone who specializes in cancer treatment and its side effects because my family doctor just doesn't know enough about that. She didn't balk. She did say that it's not uncommon for someone to experience swelling in the area months after finishing radiation. We confirmed that the swelling and discomfort gets worse by the end of the day and isn't as bad in the morning. I guess that's typical. She mentioned lymphodema but I don't think it's that because the rest of my arm doesn't seem swollen. Still, I don't know if that means much. She's going to have the regular nurse call me on Monday. So at least the ball is rolling. I'm merging even though I dread getting back on the cancer treatment freeway.

Luke's team's flight to Philadelphia was cancelled today. Blizzard. They're supposed to go tomorrow and then, instead of playing in the afternoon, possibly play in the evening. Everything is dependent on weather and then, if they really do get there, it will depend on what facility they can find to play at. It will depend on if they're able to clear outdoor fields of snow. It's not football, you know. Well, on the other hand, if they were playing in Saskatchewan, they'd just dress a little warmer and play in the snow ... no biggie. I don't think they can quite grasp that concept for lacrosse in that locale. Hannah had planned on meeting Luke in Philly but that's not going to happen both because of the instability of Luke's plans and because New York got super dumped on with snow and I don't think Hannah will be getting out of New York. I'm sure she would be very happy to be snowed in there for another week, at least. She's loving it!

Thanks for the brownie today at work, Jan! It was yummy! Even better was seeing your cheery face!

Isn't this tulip pretty. I bought a bunch of them last Friday and they're now drying very interestingly. The colours have a beautiful antique look to them and they look so beautifully textured. Very vintage looking. Love 'em.


Chemo Brain 101

Chemo Brain. I hadn't heard that term until I needed to. It's another one of the side effects that occurs in varying degrees to people who have undergone chemo. I feel it, though not as badly as some people have reported (knock on wood). It's definitely not the same as the gradual slipping of memory I'd already been experiencing prior to breast cancer. I hear that the worst of it might diminish within a year or so. I hope so. Things in my head are quite a bit more muddled than they used to be and things that used to be "on the tip of my tongue" are now more likely to be hiding in any one of the vast number of cells in my body, some of which may have been killed off entirely since that's what chemo is designed to do ... kill as many cells as possible and hope that only the good ones regenerate. If chemo can purge your body of visible things like hair, nails, and skin and take away the feeling in your hands and feet and the taste from your tastebuds, doesn't it stand to reason that it's going to mess with your head, too? Oh yeah. Definitely.

It's hard to explain something that people don't see and that I also try to hide so that you might not notice it. Every now and then I find myself embarrassed by it ... caught off guard ... and sometimes when I beg forgiveness and blame my "chemo brain", and if I'm talking to someone who is around the same age as me, they might say something like, "welcome to the club" or "we're at that age, Heather", at which I smile ... Wanly. Sadly. Feeling very misunderstood. I know people are probably just trying to make me feel better but it's also a little frustrating because chemo brain is on a whole different level than just aging/menopausal brain. We are not in the same club at all. Let me try to explain.

Peaches and Cream complexion = our brain in our teens and 20's and into our 30's.

A few pimples here and there = our brain in our 40's and 50's ... aging ... menopause ... memory slips ... annoying. Using a little cover-up.

Bad acne = chemo brain. This goes beyond "gee, I hope this goes away before my date on Friday night". There ain't no cover-up to hide this ... except maybe a paper bag.

Here's what a conversation with my brain might go like while I'm with some friends ...
Heather to Brain: "This would be the right time to tell that story ... you know the one ... I just can't remember a couple of key bits. Can you pull the book off the shelf and give me a little refresher?"

Brain to Heather: "Sorry. No can find. The catalogue says the book is in but it doesn't seem to be on the shelf. It's probably been put in the wrong place".

Heather to Brain: "Can you do a quick scan of the shelves and see if you can find it. It must still be on the same floor".

Brain to Heather: "Sorry again. We're in a recession here. Big budget cuts. Most of our experienced staff have been given early retirement and there's just a skeleton staff left and half of them are off sick. The cataloguing is all backed up and half the books are badly out of order and it doesn't look like we'll have qualified staff to take care of those things any time soon. We have a few volunteers doing some work but they haven't had much training and they're not well supervised so standards have slipped. Sorry I can't be of more help. By the way, there won't be anyone to answer calls in the next little while because we're going for lunch."

Heather to Group of Friends: **smiles blankly**
I hope this helps people better understand how my brain is working ... or more like NOT working. Unless you've recently had chemo (and I hope you haven't had to), we're not at all in the same club in the brain department. Thanks for being patient with me.

Here, from the Mayo Clinic, are common symptoms of chemo brain, of which several are experienced by most women as we age, but let me tell you ... having experience with both, this is significantly more noticeable.

Signs and symptoms of chemo brain may include:

  • Being unusually disorganized (I feel this mostly when I'm already tired)
  • Confusion (same with this)
  • Difficulty concentrating (I already feel improvements here)
  • Difficulty finding the right word (oh yeah)
  • Difficulty learning new skills (time will tell)
  • Difficulty multitasking (I feel improvements here)
  • Fatigue (mental stamina is improving)
  • Feeling of mental fogginess (about a month ago, it felt like someone opened my brain and let the air and sunshine in)
  • Short attention span (improving but still limited)
  • Short-term memory problems (definitely - much worse than before chemo)
  • Taking longer than usual to complete routine tasks (yes)
  • Trouble with verbal memory, such as remembering a conversation (significantly worse than before ... so annoying)
  • Trouble with visual memory, such as recalling an image or list of words (also significantly worse than before)
A 2008 study (reported here at CTV News) found that the experience of "chemo brain" is very real. The drug, 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), is the F in the FEC combination of chemo drugs that I had three rounds of.
The research concludes that a common chemotherapy drug, known as 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), causes stem cells in the central nervous system to die off well after treatment has ended. The resulting side effects are often referred to as "chemo brain."
Other reading on the topic:
There. Chemo Brain 101 or, what makes me laugh, Chemo Brain for Dummies.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Happy Birthday, Kevin!

Yes, Kevin got KD for his birthday! I know ... I know ... I'm such a romantic fool!

What was funny is that when I got home from work with his card and present in hand, there was already a box of KD on the table because ... yes, believe it ... he stopped on the way home and bought some for himself!! Did I choose the right present or what?!! He's been having such a hankerin' for some KD and it's not a pantry staple in our house, so we've been laughing about it the past few days. When he was told that he could eat pasta (what with his gastrointestinal upset) this is what he's had in mind, though I don't know if it really counts as "pasta". Who am I to say. It's HIS birthday! And what Kevy wants, Kevy gets.

Kevin was feeling quite a bit better today and went to work.

I went to work this afternoon, too. So far so good. I still can't believe how tired I get by late afternoon, though. And tonight I just had to keep my eyes open long enough for figure skating and then I decided to quickly post something before calling it a night. Another wonderful day of Olympic events. YEAH! Does everyone else shed a tear or two during the medal ceremonies? I'll bet there's a lot of us who do.

That slight swelling and discomfort that's been going on for a few weeks under my left armpit has not gone away. It's becoming quite tender in fact and I'm having to adjust the way I sleep to avoid squishing it. Enough. It's time to make a call and get it checked. I probably should have done that already but it's like merging with traffic on an 8-lane freeway you've never driven on before and where there's no signage. After some thought, I've decided to start with my radiation oncologist's assistant and hopefully she can point me in the right direction. And then I'll try merging.

Oh, and by the way ... Kevin didn't JUST get KD for his birthday.


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Sit and Chill For A Bit!

They look so cushy comfortable, don't they?

The Canada/Russia hockey game is just starting. Someone might need to go chill on the deck. Not me, of course. I KNOW Canada will kick butt!

Kevin had a particularly hellish day yesterday, which made for a long day for both of us, but I'm happy to say he's turned a corner and is feeling considerably better today. His stomach seems to be settling down and he was even a little more cheerful, too. Bonus!

Yesterday and a late night got the best of me for today so between that and a medical appointment that was just moved to this afternoon instead of this morning, I stayed home from work today. I figured if I went in today I'd end up missing tomorrow so I might as well miss today and be there fresh as a daisy Thursday and Friday. I'm actually a little itchy to get back at it. That's a very good sign. I have things to do ... books to catalogue ... journal subscriptions to figure out ... websites to update ... tweets to send ... information to gather for reports ... events to plan ... TONS OF STUFF! It could be overwhelming if I let myself think of it that way but so far I'm managing to actually just ENJOY plugging away at things one at a time ... slowly but surely. It feels good to be using my skills again.

I saw my naturopathic doctor today. That's always like an upper for me. It's so refreshing to have the help of a medical professional who really wants to find answers to my health issues and who is keen to prevent my having future issues. That's key, I've found. Prevention. There's a lot I can do to arm my body to help prevent a recurrence. I know I always say "recurrence", but what I really mean and (choke on) is "death". I want to survive. I've done that so far but I want to give my body the best possible chance to continue to survive and to resist future cancers. Making sure my hormones are at appropriate levels and balances is key. Making sure any internal inflamation is kept at bay is key. Making sure I have a healthy "gut" is key. Optimal iodine, insulin, and Vitamin D levels are key. Healthy thyroid is key. Exercise is key. Maintaining a healthy body weight is key. Good nutrition is key. That's an awful lot of keys! I've had to get a big key ring! I might not always keep all those keys polished to perfection, but at least I'm trying.

And now. Hockey! GO CANADA!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Making Pretty Things

I know it's not Valentine's Day but I had been telling Alexa and Chantelle about my efforts last year to master Linzer cookies after I'd purchased the prettiest little cookie cutters. It took three tries and three recipes to get to these ones after which I declared myself a Linzer Cookie Master. I had meant to make them this year for Valentines Day but I just couldn't get around to it!

There's a lot of things I haven't been able to get around to ... returning emails ... phone calls ... addressing envelopes ... other good intentions. I apologize to everyone. February just got so crazy busy during the week of my birthday and then I started work and then Mom had a little fright ... and now there are Olympics and lots of fatigue. I've kept up blogging but even that has been a bit of a challenge. I feel good but I find I'm very tired and working even a half day feels like a big chunk of my day and energy.

I worked this afternoon and felt good all day, though very tired by late afternoon ... and now while I watch the Canada/Germany hockey game. Kevin is still down for the count. When he gets sick, he really gets sick. Always looking for attention ... (KIDDING!!).

I've been quilt dreaming and need to just get at it already. I also want to make some pretty cookies again. Linzer cookies and macarons. Those are projects that need a whole day. A whole day of feeling good. And Alexa, my willing baking recruit.

I hope to make some calls, send some emails and drop some things off at Canada Post soon. Very soon. My apologies for taking so long.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Vitamin D Registering Optimal

Day 4 of being back to work! Yeah! I'm glad yesterday wasn't a work day or I don't think I would have made it but today I felt good ... well rested after a long sleep. It was nice to see my colleagues who were away last week! It surprises me, though, how quickly I get tired. I was pretty tired when I left work this afternoon.

I picked up my Vitamin D test results (they take a long time) that I had done on January 20th, just before I started the high doses of Vitamin D (20,000 IU per day for one week, followed by 10,000 IU per day for three weeks) and after I had been taking 4,000 IU per day for a while ... I can't remember how long.

I'm happy to say that my Vitamin D levels have moved up into the bottom of the optimal range! That's good! My previous test showed levels of 74 nmol/L and now my levels are at 127 nmol/L.

I found the following chart in this Vitamin D Information Sheet (pdf). It generally reflects most of the guidelines I've seen, with only slight variations. I've put the "normal levels" from my Saskatchewan Health Region lab report in red.
  • Below 20 ng/ml (50 nmol/L) = deficient (below 25 nmol/L)
  • Below 30 ng/ml (75 nmol/L) = insufficient (25-70 nmol/L)
  • 30 – 60 ng/ml (75 - 150 nmol/L) considered sufficient (no listing)
  • 50 – 80 ng/ml (125 – 200 nmol/L) considered optimal by some groups (70-250 nmol/L)
  • Over 100 ng/ml (250 nmol/L) = excessive (no listing)
  • Over 150 ng/ml (380 nmol/L) = toxic (over 250 nmol/L)
This explains why my medical doctor told me that my 74 nmol/L was "normal", while my naturopathic doctor told me it indicated deficiency. My research leads me to strongly side with my naturopathic doctor and I marvel that my medical doctor didn't even encourage me to increase my Vitamin D intake to aim for something more optimal, considering I was at the very bottom of a rather broad range. Well, he wouldn't have tested my Vitamin D at all if I hadn't asked him on behalf of my naturopathic doctor. This experience (among others) reminds me of the importance of educating oneself and taking charge of one's own health. I also know now not to trust doctors to look out for my best interests. Well, not my doctor anyway. Maybe you have doctors who are more proactive and who believe in preventative medicine instead of just band-aid solutions. Note to self: get new doctor before I become even more jaded.

Kevin is still sick today. He spent the day on the couch probably sleeping more than anything. He's still sleeping.


Sunday, February 21, 2010

New research about the joint/bone/muscle/tendon problems I've been having

Aromatase inhibitor-induced arthralgia in early breast cancer: what do we know and how can we find out more?
Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, Monday, February 16, 2010 (link)
Abstract: Aromatase inhibitors (AIs [such as Arimidex, which is what I took that caused my joint problems]) are a standard of care for the adjuvant treatment of hormone responsive early [breast cancer] ... Arthralgia was a somewhat unexpected side effect of this class of agents and has proven to be potentially problematic in clinical practice. Although rates of up 35% have been reported in the randomised trials, the figure has been much higher in subsequent case series. There is concern that these symptoms are significant and may affect compliance and thus the overall efficacy of treatment. It is therefore extremely important that we evaluate this syndrome with a view to gaining more information regarding its clinical features and possible aetiological mechanism. The potential aetiological mechanisms and evidence for aromatase inhibitor-induced arthralgia (AIA [the bone, joint, tendon and muscle problem I've experience]) are reviewed in this article. Looking forward, it is now important that prospective clinical trials are well designed to evaluate this syndrome and potential therapeutic strategies to circumvent it. Radiological imaging and biochemical analyses may help our understanding of AIA and these are discussed.
Great ... looks like they're just starting to really research this side effect that has caused me so much grief these last 4 months. No wonder I'm having trouble getting any useful answers.

In this research report released on the same day, the following statement is included in the abstract: " ... vitamin D is being investigated as a means to reduce aromatase inhibitor-induced joint symptoms." (link to study published in Current Oncology Reports.

Prevention of Aromatase Inhibitor-Induced Bone Loss Using Risendronate: The SABRE Trial.
Journal of Clinical Oncology, Vol 28, No 6 (February 20), 2010: pp. 967-975 (link)
Conclusion: In postmenopausal women at risk of fragility fracture who were receiving adjuvant anastrozole [such as Arimidex, which is what I was taking that caused my joint and bone problems] for EBC [breast cancer], the addition of risedronate at doses established for preventing and treating osteoporosis resulted in favorable effects in BMD during 24 months.

Supported by AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals [the company that makes Arimidex]
This means they're at least looking for ways to deal with the long term bone and joint problems that women using estrogen blockers (like Arimidex) are experiencing.

** Note that the text in square brackets are mine.

Aspirin. I'm Starting Tomorrow. Every 2nd Day.

The recent news about the potential for aspirin to greatly reduce breast cancer recurrence and death is obviously huge. I just checked my breast cancer research feeds and there are probably over 50 news releases about this exciting research.

Here's one that reflects my way of thinking, which is ... while researchers are cautioning women not to run out and start taking aspirin because this particular research study was not of the "gold standard", my feeling is "why wait?!"

Aspirin: A blockbuster therapy for breast cancer survivors?

I'm going to start taking one every second day. For my heart, of course. *wink wink*

My question about this research ... and I haven't seen this talked about yet ... is: Should aspirin be taken in conjunction with aromatase inhibitors (such as Arimidex and Tamoxifen) or might it replace them? I would love to think it's the latter.

I see that my question is being asked and here's one answer that has been given: "No. If aspirin truly helps prevent breast cancer recurrence, it does so only when combined with recommended cancer therapies." (link: Top 4 Questions About Aspirin and Cancer)


Extra! Extra! Read All About It!

Another decorating marvel by Chantelle! This time for Dana's birthday, which was last night. And yes, he's all about Guinness! It was a surprise party and I think he was pretty surprised! I've never seen so many people packed into Dana and Sue's house ... quiet as mice while we waited for Dana to walk in. And now I can tell you that it was Dana's brother, Glenn, who was our house guest this weekend! I couldn't say anything before because of it being a surprise! He drove from Winnipeg on Friday so he'd be here for Dana's birthday.

Happy Birthday, Dana!

Kevin and I didn't stay long at the party. Both of us were feeling a little off. Kevin since late afternoon and me just about the time we got to the party. We were both home by 9:30. Kevin isn't feeling very well today yet and while I feel fine, I do feel generally wasted today. I had such a long sleep, so I'm surprised I feel so tired. As you might imagine, it's been pretty much an Olympic day with both of us parked in front of the tv. I didn't even get out of my pajamas all day.

Luke's team had a good game yesterday. Even though they were the underdogs by a long shot and they ultimately lost 12-7, Luke says they could have won and that they played well. There were some upsetting reffing moments in the last quarter, Luke said. Luke's not one to make excuses so it must have been a real issue. If not for his team getting 4 penalties right near the end, Luke said they would have had a chance. I'd like to have seen the game. Luke got a goal in the 4th. Next weekend they travel to Philadelphia to play St. Joseph's University. Maybe Hannah will make it to that game.

Come on Canada. Win this hockey game!

By the way, it's interesting to look at the front pages of Newspapers from around the world. You can do that at the Newseum. Choose "Today's Front Pages" at the right of the site. I prefer using the "list" feature and then I float my mouse over the links which then displays a small image of the front page. It's a site worth exploring. I see they still don't have any Saskatchewan newspapers represented, which I find very disappointing. I emailed the Star Phoenix about it 5 years ago but never heard back from them. Obviously they're not interested. A shame.

The Newseum collects and archives newspaper front pages from important historical events (an American preference, naturally). Those are interesting to look at, too. I'm sure the 2010 Olympics will be archived.

I find it interesting to see what other parts of the world find worth reporting (and not reporting). I remember checking the front pages the day after Obama was elected. Very interesting.


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Should I Get A Tattoo?

These are the marks on the inside of my upper arm that were left behind after my PICC-line was removed. They look darker ... more reddish-purple in real life. I thought they might have faded a bit more by now but they really don't look much different than they did a few months ago. Hmmm ...

I'm thinking that if, after a year, they haven't faded considerably, I might just get a tattoo to disguise them.

It would take some planning? Any suggestions?


Saturday Morning Chia Pet Photo

Not a whole lot of difference. It really takes two weeks, I think, to see marginal differences. Slowly ... slowly ...
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Saturday Sports Central

Olympics! Isn't the Canadian women's curling team keeping people on the edges of their seats?! AND the men's hockey team?! Yikes!

We've been unable to find any online coverage for Luke's lacrosse game today so that's disappointing. We'll have to wait to hear from Luke after the game and there will be a game tape we can watch after the fact. There is a link on the Bellarmine lacrosse website to live stats but the link is dead. Damn! Nobody is tweeting and the Bellarmine University Radio station emailed me to say that they would NOT be broadcasting the game because they don't have anyone involved with radio this year who also knows the game. Rats! If only some of the boys were ineligible to play, they could commentate! KIDDING!!

We talked to Hannah this morning and she's having a GREAT time in New York! She and I MUST travel together some day so we can look at beautiful things together. She says there are so many things she would love to show me there.

Lyn is home from actually being AT the Olympics and AT Olympic events! WOW! Fabulous photos! Norma and her family had their private, local Olympic event last night complete with running down the street draped in a Canadian flag with a makeshift Olympic torch ... and sparklers! TOOOO funny! And how FUN!

Lots of reasons to smile and laugh. What a change from last Wednesday. Sheesh!


I Think I Feel A Daily Headache Coming On ...

Aspirin Linked to Increased Breast Cancer Survivial
Article Date: 17 and 18 Feb, 2010 (Link to news article and here.)
A new US study suggests that regular taking of aspirin is linked to increased survival after a breast cancer diagnosis and also to a lower risk of the disease recurring. However, as this was an observational study that suggests a possible link and not a clinical trial, the researchers recommended women do not use these findings as a reason to start taking aspirin as a way to increase survival from, and prevent recurrence of, breast cancer.
Still, taking an aspirin every day is recommended for other reasons, isn't it? Can't hurt?
"This is the first study to find that aspirin can significantly reduce the risk of cancer spread and death for women who have been treated for early stage breast cancer."

Previous studies in animals and lab cultures have suggested that aspirin may reduce the risk of breast cancer spread.

When asked about the possible reasons for aspirin potentially reducing the risk of dying of breast cancer and making recurrence less likely, Holmes said that the "new thinking" was to view cancer as an inflammatory disease, and aspirin reduces inflammation.

Anyone considering taking aspirin on a regular basis is advised to consult their doctor first, because of the risk of stomach bleeding.

According to the study, participants who took aspirin two to five days per week were 60% less likely to have a recurrence and 71% less likely to die from breast cancer. Women who took aspirin more frequently had a 43% lower risk of recurrence and a 64% lower risk of death. Taking aspirin once per week or taking acetaminophen did not produce a benefit, the study found.

"If these findings are confirmed in other clinical trials, taking aspirin may become another simple, low-cost and relatively safe tool to help women with breast cancer live longer, healthier lives".

"If true, it would certainly be a relatively easy, inexpensive, potentially safe intervention for women who have had breast cancer." However, he added that researchers "have been tricked by things like this before, especially in cancer epidemiology".
There seems to be a lot of cautionary talk as in, "Don't get too excited". Still, discoveries and potential discoveries ARE exciting!

Friday, February 19, 2010

A Good Book

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley. I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Of added interest is that Alan Bradley was the Director of Television Engineering in the media centre at the University of Saskatchewan for 25 years before taking early retirement to write in 1994. I hadn't known that when I picked up the book. Here's a link to his bio.

This book is intended to be the first in a series of books and I think the 2nd in the series is supposed to be available this month. I think Alan Bradley is going to be a very wealthy man if his next books are as good as his first! The stories will be loved by young adult readers as well as adults.

The protagonist is Flavia de Luce, a precocious 11 year old who lives in an old mansion that happens to have a Victorian era chemistry lab, which sparks in Flavia a passion for potions! She has an eccentric family and is an amateur detective. I'm not typically a mystery reader but I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I love reading books where I learn something and in this one I learned some things about chemistry and stamps. It was a delightful read.

Flavia also loosely reminds me of Harriet the Spy, who I adored as a young girl!

Kentucky Woman

It's official! Our flights to Louisville are booked! Ten days in Louisville to see Luke and watch lacrosse! Awesome!!

We're staying at the Inn at Woodhaven! Here's a link to their website. We stayed at this bed and breakfast last year ... in the carriage house ... and it was absolutely beautiful ... quaint ... and the most comfortable bed I've ever slept in ... with vintage linens, no less!

Last year we stayed in the Derby Room in the Carriage House, which is just behind the main house. I loved it! This year we're staying in the main house in one of the 2nd floor rooms. It's either the Garden Suite (right) or the Master Suite. They're both totally gorgeous!

While in Kentucky, we're going to do a day trip to Paducah! What's in Paducah that's so special you may wonder? Well, let me just tell you that it is THE quilt mecca in the western hemisphere!!! Often called Quilt City USA! It's about a 3 or 4 hours drive from Louisville. We'll poke around there and visit the National Quilt Museum! I haven't done much research yet but I know there will be lots of quilt shops and other artisan type places to see. I'd better plan ahead or I'll be so overwhelmed, I'll end up coming home with nothing more than a brochure! I hope they also have a fish store for Kevin. Poor man.

We also want to tour a Bourbon distillery this time and maybe see if there's another cave nearby to explore.

Listen, Buster ...

I treated myself to tulips tonight when I went for groceries. Aren't they pretty? They represent the promise of spring!

I worked again today. Yeah me!! I did it. I didn't go in until 1:00 again, though. As much as I would like to go in earlier in the day, for now afternoons seem better for me. That's a bit disappointing because I had hoped to work earlier and then be able to go for a good, long walk at the PAC after that in the afternoon. That idea just isn't working for me yet. I must say that once I get there, I'm in no hurry to leave. Even when I'm getting tired, I really don't want to leave. It's the getting there and back that tires me out most. By the way ... big day today! I didn't wear a wig to work!! I knew I'd be the only one there anyway, so I just wore a hat. It was okay. Wow!

At any rate, I got through this week and managed to work 3 out of the 4 days I'd planned to work. AND I got groceries after work, too! I'll try to forget that one very miserable mid-week day and focus on the fact that it's Friday and I feel okay and I worked three half days. YEAH!

I had a funny email from Nora today. She was mad for me, which is great because I'm not so good at "mad". The idea of saying, "Listen, Buster ...", to my doctors cracks me up! I wonder if they'd call security if I opened with that? For sure they would if I was wearing a zoot suit, a hat with a rakish tilt, and smoking a stogie with one eye all squinty ... and had a thug with me ... carrying a violin case. Nora's comments also brought to mind the quote (I don't know who said it ... there seems to be some uncertainty), "If you've got them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow". If I only had the noive!

I talked to Mom every day this week and she's doing okay but still isn't 100% steady. She still has some dizzy moments. I hope she can get this figured out with her doctor when he's back next week. Friends and neighbours are looking out for her and for that I'm grateful. Her test results should be back on Monday I would think, too.

Luke has a big game tomorrow at noon (10:00 a.m. here). It's their first home game. I'm glad they're sitting at 2 out of 2 already because it would be a shocker if they won tomorrow's game. They play Maryland, who has one of the top ranked Division I teams. They team is having a special fundraising event tomorrow during the game for their coach, Jack, whose insurance doesn't cover all of his costly cancer treatments. It a surprise event so don't tell Jack! I don't think Coach Jack is reading my blog, so I'm not worried about spilling the beans. The team will be wearing t-shirts that all say "Everyone works for Jack" and they'll be selling t-shirts at the game, too, so I expect there will be a lot of them in the stands as well. I asked Luke to buy a few t-shirts for us if he can so we can support Jack from here. Matty might want a t-shirt.

Lovin' Olympics! Norma exhausts me just hearing about the fun surprise birthday event she and some girls have been working on ... they've made a podium out of a covered drawer, made medals out of round wood pieces covered in foil and then strung with ribbon ... little bouquets ... cake ... flags ... Canadiana ... a meal of dishes from around the world ... CRAZY! But crazy COOL!! Crazy FUN!! I feel guilty now for not even wearing red while I watch the events on tv. I should be waving a little flag, at least. Where IS my spirit?!

Tomorrow ... oatmeal pancakes. I got the buttermilk today so I can soak the rolled oats in buttermilk overnight. If you want oatmeal pancakes tomorrow, don't forget to soak! They're SO yummy! We have a weekend guest but I can't say who it is. It's a surprise. Isn't that crazy? I'll tell you after the surprise part is over.

Happy Olympic weekend, everyone!


Thursday, February 18, 2010

I'm Happy To Introduce You ...

... to this blog by Amy Jo Ehman that Sue directed me to. I love it and you might like it, too. There is a lot of information about local (Saskatchewan) food and recipes using it. Check it out here.

I've only looked at a few pages but I definitely want to read more. I've learned so much already. For instance, did you know you can grow lemons in Saskatchewan? Do you know where to buy locally grown chickpeas and lentils and all kinds of other foods? Do you know which restaurants try to use mostly local ingredients?

I've added this blog to my feed reader.


Sense of Purpose

These prettily packaged soaps and bar shampoo are from Berny. Thanks, Berny! A woman in Nipawin makes them. Her name just happens to be Barr! haha! They smell heavenly. They are calling me to a soak in the tub tonight ... if I can tear myself away from Olympic coverage. I LOVE Olympics!

Check out the Barr Soap website (you can buy her products online - BUY LOCAL!) and read this article from the Nipawin Journal about Sonja Barr and her soaps.

Today I got to work at 1:00 and it was A-OK! I wore Luke's big boots to work, which look ridiculous, but at least I didn't fall. Lynne sent me the brilliant suggestion of getting some of those spikey things that you can slip onto the bottoms of your shoes. I hadn't thought of that. Good idea. I'll have to check them out.

It was just Karen and I at the office today. Quiet and relaxed. So relaxed, in fact, that I felt comfortable enough taking my wig off. I wore a hat at first but then I had a hot flash and got rid of it, too ... until my head got cold. I couldn't see myself, so it wasn't bothering me too much and I even forgot about it at one point when Karen walked into my office. My office is a "safe" environment. I had no trouble working away ... happily plugging away at things that need doing ... just starting at the top of a list of tasks and checking them off ... twittering ... blogging ... updating website information ... ordering books ... forwarding information to those who might need it. It feels good to have the sense of purpose my work provides. I missed that.


Another Kick At The Can

I laughed when I saw this. It's the picture that would have gone with my post yesterday!

Today, I'm happy to say that I do feel calm. I feel better than yesterday. I didn't sleep so well last night again but I didn't try to get up early and I let myself sleep as long as I needed, which was until about 10:45. For this past week or so, it seems that my best sleep starts around 6:00 or 7:00 a.m. Anyway, sleeping as long as necessary may have made the difference today.

While I'm not "on top of the world" today, I do feel generally better and less upset. I'm less achy and my stomach isn't upset today, though it was in the night for a bit.

It's no wonder I feel despairing sometimes when I thought that I would be feeling steady improvement once I got through chemo and then radiation. Nobody warned me that there might possibly be nasty side effect issues caused by the drugs I'm to take afterward. I knew there were potential side effects but so do tylenol and cough syrup have potential side effects. I didn't know that there was likely to be quality-of-life compromising side effects. I wasn't expecting this and then to have it continue longer than even my oncologists thought it would has been disheartening. It makes it much harder to move forward and it certainly slows my progress. A lot.

Getting ready for work, getting in and out of vehicles, walking to the office, dealing with snowy and icy surfaces ... and then repeating the process to go home are the most tiring things about work, I think. I might have to see about going in to work every second day instead of every day.

I think I did remarkably well walking outside with Otto while I was wearing Luke's old sorels (giant winter boots), which are at least two sizes too big. They allowed me a little more stability on uneven surfaces. And they're so heavy, I mostly shuffled instead of lifting my feet. It was more like snow-shoeing. I also had to shuffle because the boot laces were missing and I could easily step right out of them. Where are the laces? I think they've been repurposed as shooting strings in a lacrosse stick somewhere.

In my own shoes and boots, I've fallen 5 times in the snow already just getting to and from the car. I haven't slipped on ice and I haven't really hurt myself except for rehurting my shoulder, which happens just as easily sometimes just dressing myself. Sometimes all it takes is to step into snow and over I go. I think the numbness in my feet really impacts my stability on uneven surfaces and I'm sure the joint problems don't help. So even a short walk to the car comes with it's problems. I might have to resort to wearing Luke's sorels to work to make it across the parking lot and down the sidewalk to work. I know I felt very vulnerable walking back and forth on Tuesday.

Anyway, wish me luck today. I'm going in this afternoon. I might be the only one in our office, though, according to Nora. Most of my colleagues took part or all of this week off.

I think I'll wear Luke's boots today.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ain't No Sunshine

Not in my little world today, that's for sure. I just felt crappy all day and so I didn't go to work on what woulda coulda shoulda been work day number 2. I was so disappointed! I didn't stray far from the sofa all day and just watched Olympics and slipped in and out of naps.

My joints actually ached today. My stomach was a little upset all day and during the night last night. I had a headache. I was tired from not sleeping well. For the first time in a long time even the place where my PICC-line was inserted hurt a little, too! What's with that?! I must say, though, that I've noticed some correlation between my feeling tired and my joints hurting more. I have no idea why that would be so but it seems so nonetheless. It's not just that I have less tolerance for pain when I'm tired, my joints are actually more stiff and sore. My fingers were so stiff today I had trouble doing some things that I can usually do without any problems ... such as opening the container I keep carrots in.

Instead of staying in bed and sleeping longer in the morning I got up hoping that once I was up I would feel okay but it didn't work that way. I had hoped to get to work a little earlier today ... say, around 10:00 ... and then I planned on going in at 1:00, but that didn't happen and by 1:20 I gave up any thought of it.

So I've been a little bummed all day and I still don't feel quite right.

All I can say is that I hope I feel good tomorrow and I plan on being in my office at some point.

After reading today's post, please don't send me any cheery notes or suggestions of ways to improve my lot. Just think a little wish to me for a better day tomorrow ... and the next day ... and the next day, which is what I know you are all doing anyway (thank you so much ... it means so much to me).

I became cranky (and I almost NEVER get cranky) as the day progressed and I don't have much capacity for cheer tonight. Tomorrow. Tomorrow I will. I do know that there will still be tough days to come and that returning to "real life" won't happen over night. After everything going so well yesterday, though, I didn't think I'd feel so lousy today already. No wonder I'm a little bummed. But don't worry. I'll get over it. I've already started making adjustments in my mind. I do think the way I feel today is an anomaly. So let's all try to forget that today happened for me.

It is also in the back of my mind that Tamoxifen can cause depression. Many women on Tamoxifen are also taking an antidepressant (to treat depression and/or hot flashes). Several women stop taking Tamoxifen entirely because of this particular side effect. And, just to throw another kink into the mix, new research indicates that some of the most common antidepressants being prescribed interfere with the effectiveness of Tamoxifen (Here's a link to information about that). Why I mention the link between Tamoxafin and depression is because it's uncommon for me to feel the way I do today, though I think I thoroughly deserve to feel this way from time to time. That said, if feeling this way becomes commonplace for me, I will be on high alert to it being a possible side effect of the drug. I have never in my life felt depressed and for me to feel that way more often now would strongly suggest to me that it's a chemically-induced feeling.

And you can bet I've been contemplating my joint and drug issues and as much as possible I have plans, back-up plans and personal deadlines for signs of improvements. I think about it a lot. I follow the status of current research a lot. A lot. A lot. I bet I know more about the research than most (and maybe all) of my doctors. As much as I wish there was some way to make this joint problem go away NOW, trust me ... I have done my research and I have set my own limits as to how long I will let this last before seeking further consideration from doctors. There is no magic pill I can pop to make all this go away. I'm not being ridiculously patient. I think I'm being as patient as I'm required to be based on what I've been told by doctors and what I've learned from my research. And I know I have to wait a little longer before trying to get some medical answers and, from what I've learned, there may be no answers. There aren't always answers. I know that and stamping my feet and having tantrums won't make one iota of difference so I might as well keep calm and carry on.

Here's to a better day tomorrow!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Mom Update

Mom's friend, Peggy, drove her to Eston today to see her Doctor but he's away this week and so she saw another Doctor instead. There is still no speculation on why Mom had that "spell" on the weekend but they're running some tests. Mom also said was feeling a bit dizzy and short of breath again today and her face was "feeling funny" again. The Doctor gave her a "water pill" (the same pill she was given when she got to Rosetown hospital on Saturday) and she said it made a difference after it had some time to work. She has a prescription for those and has been told to REST! In the meantime, friends and neighbours in the community are aware of what she's been experiencing and are watching out for her, which is comforting from this end. She promised me she would be taking it very easy.

The Librarian With The Pearl Earring

This reminded me somewhat of "the painting". You know. The one by Vermeer.

What happened is that I had taken my wig off as soon as I got home. It felt like a long time to have my wig on and my head was getting pretty itchy and uncomfortable. Besides that, I'd started having a few hot flashes just before I left the office and they were carrying on when I got home. They were making me feel a little dizzy and sick. And then, when they were over, my head felt chilled and clammy but my hats were all upstairs and because I was feeling too tired to tackle the stairs, I just grabbed the nearest scarf and wrapped it around my head to warm it up. I hadn't worn this scarf on my head before but I kind of like the exotic effect!

Here's the painting! See the resemblance? Okay ... only BARELY! I think I need pearls.


Back To Work!

This is my first day back to work since June 8, 2009! I hadn't felt so good yesterday ... tired ... tender and puffy underarm ... just a little blah ... so I was a little apprehensive about today. But I woke up today feeling better and before I knew it I was out the door and on my way to campus. I stopped at the parking office and got a temporary parking pass that lets me park closer to the building than I would normally be able to do.

As I entered the building, several of the people from the Dief Centre Museum had seen me coming and they gathered at the door with big, welcoming smiles to greet me and welcome me back! I hadn't expected to see so many people all at once. They were so nice and beaming and made me feel so missed! I got a little verklempt. And then I walked down the hall and saw Ben and was a little too choked up to talk. Then I made it to our end of the building and there was Karen and Nora, also with beaming faces, and so welcoming! They had decorated my door so festively! I didn't get too weepy ... just a little and for only a short time. It was very nice to be back and went better than I expected. I didnt' get too overwhelmed. Not yet. I just started by dealing with the piles on my desk and slowly went through things one at a time, sorting and shifting to make some decent work space for myself. There was a bit of dusting to do, of course. The sun was pouring in the window, which was lovely and warm! That's more sun than I get in our house during the day. Nora had just filled the bird feeder outside our windows so I could see some happy birds! Karen and I had lunch in the "sun room" overlooking the river ... I've sure missed that room and that view ... and then back to work. Being there reminds me of all the things I've missed about it. I really do work with a wonderful bunch of people.

I was very tired by the time I left. I should have left about half an hour earlier and that's a good reminder to myself to stick to half time and not do the "just one more thing" thing. Baby steps. Baby steps.

And now I'm home resting and watching Olympics. I got home just in time to watch women's snowboard cross, which was crazy but crazy GOOD!

I haven't heard from Mom yet so I'll give her a call soon.

Here's my office, dusted and with some cleared space. Now that I'm back I'll see about getting some things hung on the walls! As you can see, I have two phones. That gives you some idea of what a VIP I am! (haha)


Monday, February 15, 2010

Mom Update #2

I just got a message from Mom saying the doctor let her go home today after all.  So she's home and will be going up to Eston tomorrow to see Dr. Holmes. We can expect another report after that.  It sounds like she's feeling just fine. YEAH!!

Mom Update

I spoke with Mom this morning and she's doing really good.  She had a good night's sleep. Her blood pressure is back to normal this morning and she feels mostly back to normal in general, too.  Still, they're going to keep her in overnight again so they can complete some tests. With yesterday and today being holidays, I'm sure lots of tests have to wait until tomorrow anyway.  I'm just as glad to know they're keeping her in.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Chantelle Bakearella!

Such pretty mini cupcakes!


Road Trip to Rosetown

Early this afternoon we got a call saying Mom was being transported from the Kyle Health Centre (they don't have a hospital there anymore) to the Rosetown hospital. We got there shortly after she did and Darrel and Lynn, on their way home from Calgary (after returning from Mexico) got there a little later in the afternoon. Jim, down with a nasty cold, was best left at home.

Mom hadn't been feeling very good yesterday and then this morning when she was afraid she might pass out, she thought it best to get herself checked out. Good thinking, Mom! She had been feeling some terrible heartburn-like pain, a very bad frontal headache, dizzy, nauseous, and so forth. Her blood pressure was very high. I'm happy to report that she's settled in at Rosetown. Her blood pressure came down after she was given some medication and they're keeping her in at least over night so they can run some tests. For the time being, we don't know much except that she's in good hands and was feeling a lot better when we headed back to Saskatoon just before 6:00.

I must say that the view on the way to Rosetown and back was spectacular!  The trees were incredibly beautiful and fluffy snow truffles hung on all the electrical wire and barbed wire. We made one stop and that was to take a picture of the tetris frost on the deer fencing by Harris. If I hadn't been in a hurry, I would have been stopping every mile or two to take pictures.  On the way home, just this side of Zealandia I think, was a cute, red barn and on it someone had strung red Christmas lights in the shape of a primitive red heart. It was soooo pretty, especially with the surrounding trees so draped in white and everything looking so perfectly and surreally magical!  The towns looked magical, too!  I hope somebody was out there taking photos to show the world how pretty it is here.

We went straight to Don and Syl's when we got back to the city and Sylvia heated up a delicious leftover dinner for us ... followed by birthday cake for both Kevin and me. Alexa, artistically inclined and a "doer", decorated the very pretty cake and made valentines!

Now, exhausted and relieved that Mom is okay, I'm home sleepily watching Olympic events and Kevin is treating me to a foot massage playing Valentines Day Poker. Don't be horrified! I'm not. We celebrated Valentines Day yesterday and we have all day tomorrow!

One sad thing is that Otto isn't here to keep me company! As you can see, he road tripped with us to Rosetown where we delivered him back to the loving arms of Darrel and Lynn. As happy as Otto was to see Darrel, I think he was a little confused and at one point jumped out of Darrel's truck and back into the car with Kevin and me. We'll sure miss having him around.


What Am I Doing Up This Early?

I wish I could have slept longer. I was thirsty and forgot to take a glass of water upstairs with me last night. So here I am.

Last night we had a nice dinner at Kaos on Broadway with Kelly and Chantelle and Dana and Sue and then we went to Kelly and Chantelle's for cupcakes and Rummoli! The best part was that we all got to sit around the kitchen and watch Chantelle make icing and decorate the mini cupcakes all fancy like! She used her brand new KitchenAid mixer ... Sue and I have appliance envy! I didn't have my camera with me so we used Chantelle's camera and she promised to send me some photos.

And then we played Rummoli, which I'd never played before. A good time was had by all, even Kevin, Sue and I who ended up with the least pennies.

There are no improvements to report in the joint department. Alas. Patience is getting harder to maintain. I really, REALLY believed (and was led to believe) that this joint issue would be a thing of the past by the time I started back to work.

My left underarm is still a little puffy, too. It's been like this for a few weeks (I think) now. Always a little puffy and sometimes worse than others. Last night it was worse. It's puffy above the incision where my two lymph nodes were removed and I'm not sure why. I think I might have to see a Doctor and ask about it just to make sure there isn't something to worry about with the other lymph nodes, which would be in that location. If it had been puffy there the whole time since my surgery last March, I wouldn't think much of it but because it's only really been puffy lately, I think I should have it looked at. Could the radiation have caused some latent swelling? But first the question is who should look at it? My oncologist? My radiation oncologist? My surgeon? My family doctor? I think I'll start with my family doctor. I find I sometimes ask one and they suggest I talk to the other who then suggests I should go back and talk to the one I had just talked to. If they can't figure out who should be treating me for what, how can I? My scheduled appointment to see my radiation oncologist isn't until the end of April but I don't think I should wait that long. I know. I'll call Marg (the oncological nurse) and ask her, which will also give me the opportunity to mention to her that my joints still haven't improved and see if she has anything to say about that. That's what I'll do. Next week.

I'm still so tired. I think I'll go back to bed.

Have a romantic day! 
We might even go through the car wash!

Happy Birthday, Alyssa!


Happy Valentines Day!

Cone Love.
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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Hannah And The Big Apple

Hannah made it safely to New York and was out dancing wildly at a club last night already! What's not to love about that?! The girls have lots of plans and I can't wait to hear all about their adventures!

Hannah is looking into tripping over to Philadelphia two weekends from now to see Luke play. That will be great if she can and if they can have a little time together.

I told her that I would be starting back to work in two days and then I laughed when she called this my "unvacation". An "unvacation" is right! I can't wait for REAL vacations again. March. March it is!


Kevin Found Lacrosse Tweets - Bellarmine WINS!!

Kevin found David Berry tweeting Luke's game. It was 4 all in the 2nd quarter but then, just before the half, Jacksonville scored another 5, so it's 9-4 for Jacksonville at the half. I hope Jack is giving those boys a big talking to at the half and I hope they come back feeling VERY inspired!

Good for Kevin for finding the tweets himself. I get very tired of being the go-to computer person.

2:30 update (Dave is obviously cheering for Jacksonville) ... Bellarmine controlled the start of the 3rd qtr but JU still leads 11-9. 15 mins away from history.

2:55 -- anxiously awaiting game result. Dave hasn't tweeted for almost half an hour. I'm hoping that means Bellarmine won!

3:00 update! I deduced correctly! Bellarmine wins!!!! 14-13! That was close!! -- Dave tweets, JU loses an absolute heartbreaker to Bellarmine 14-13. Defensive breakdowns killed in the 2nd half. They lost that one...

3:25 update -- Luke phoned. He said it was a pretty intense game. He sounded very happy about the win. He got one goal and one assist. He says it's pretty cool to be on a campus with palm trees everywhere. Even though it's been uncommonly cold in Florida, Luke said is was a nice day there ... warm and sunny. They'll have dinner and go to a movie tonight and then fly back to Louisville tomorrow.


Norma, They're PERFECT!

See, Norma! Here are the bins on the day you gifted them to me. And then ... see the bins filled with sewing projects??!!

Thanks so much! They're perfect. Previously, all of this STUFF was in various cardboard boxes, plastic bags, and old suitcases. And now look how tidy and accessible they look!! And best is that I can actually see what's in them! Now I can truly be haunted by all my undone projects. I think a little haunting can be a good thing.

Thanks, Norma!


Saturday Olympic Hair Review

Welcome to my podium. It's growing hair. Slowly. Notice how it's getting a little curlier?

We watched last night's Olympic Opening Extravaganza with Rex and Erin. Man, it was LONG! Some lovely moments and much sadness for the Georgian team but generally (don't hate me), I thought it was too long. Some very pretty effects at times, though, and I loved hearing k.d. lang sing Leonard Cohen. I would like to have heard Leonard himself, of course, but I was glad to hear his song represented so beautifully. I have k.d. lang's cd, Hymns of the 49th Parallel, with that on it.

Rex and Erin brought Coco over (she and Otto had a previous flirtation at the firm a couple of years ago during harvest). Sadly, though, despite Coco's rapt attention and posturing, Otto seemed a little freaked out. A doggie valentine experience was no to be.

I made those yummy oatmeal pancakes again this morning and used Saskatoons instead of blueberries! Quite a different flavour and SOOO good! I also discovered, at the back of a cupboard, some leftover Chokecherry syrup. BONUS!!

Kevin is pacing while we're watching some Olympic events. He's a bit jittery because we have no way of tracking Luke's game. The University of Jacksonville isn't broadcasting it or providing live states or updates of any kind. We'll have to wait until we hear from Luke. Maybe some parent will kindly email the rest of us at inverals ... or send tweets ... or something.

I'm making some more progress upstairs. Just wait and see, Norma!