Light At The End Of The Tunnel

We are almost at the end of “Week 2” and things are looking better. It’s not as fast as in the past but that’s to be expected since all these good poisons are cumulative. We embrace each day no matter the challenge. Last night we went to Kyle’s Varsity baseball game in the season Regional tournament. They won and if they win this coming Friday, then they head off to the Virginia state tournament. School? You ask. I admit to not knowing how it works. A miracle, I guess.

Diane’s surgery has been scheduled!! Huzzah. She goes in the first part of July which is very soon after chemo is over but that’s a good thing for us…less waiting. She just has to stay strong and fit and keep the blood counts high. But we know she will.

I found this image while doing a walkabout in the West Virginia mountains several years ago but publishing today seems pertinent. Rain. Fog. But the sky is clearing!

Mountain Valley

Mountain Valley at Coopers Rock, West Virginia

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Season 4, Episode 2

Things are going better with my bride than just a couple of days ago. Mother’s Day was a cool interlude in this episode. We had a quiet family day with naps and a weird board game that was fun but hard to play. Diane’s days and nights have been filled with awful nausea, fatigue, no-taste to metallic-taste, pain, dehydration, and on and on and on. Of course, she still is concerned that we aren’t eating properly, taking care of ourselves, etc.  But, that’s what she does. We have hummingbirds again including a single who just comes and sits. He eats some but mostly just sits. Maybe he is waiting for something better. Maybe he’s staking his feeder territory. Maybe he’s the spirit of a guardian angel. The behavior is different. Diane is worried that he’s sick. I do not think that’s so. Today we have doctor appointments and I’ve got some cleaning to do. The last (we hope) of the work from the freeze damage (JANUARY!!) is scheduled for tomorrow.  That should bring things halfway back to normal. Right…

Yesterday I went to the old Carnegie Library in DC which is now a huge Apple store. The 120 year old building has been empty for a very long time. Apple and the DC conservation society (I think that’s their name) spent a lot of time and money restoring the building (mostly Apple money I bet). The outside is almost like it was a hundred years ago. The inside is all Apple but they kept many of the main architectural features. I did not buy anything. Amazing. Sometimes the beauty of things is in places that weren’t intended to be viewed. This is from a teak bench on the grounds of the library during a rainstorm. I loved the lens-adjusted range of colors viewed through the droplets on the richly colored bench. By summer, the bench will have weathered to a shade of gray.

I had my service provider fix the problem with making comments to the site so now if you’d like to comment on anything, have at it. The timing is still unpredictable as the comments go through a bunch of filters and then end up in an email to me all asking for approval. I won’t approve any hateful or mean or troll like comments. I’ve gotten quite a few over the last 2 years and don’t want anymore.

Carnegie Library Bench

Carnegie Library Bench in the rain

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A Letter to My Wife on Mom’s Day!

Diane,

If you line up the trillions of possible paths on which our lives could have proceeded, the chances of an “Us” were tiny! Teeny! Infinitesimal!! Any small change in either of our life currents would have had us whooshing by one another like tumbleweeds in a South Dakota windstorm. And yet…

Destiny struck where it mattered, and we started together with adventure, excitement, fear, fantasy, hope, and love. In what seemed like a nanosecond but was actually most of three years, you became a mom. You morphed into Mother Earth with strong roots, sheltering branches, sturdy structures, wisdom, confidence, faith, and above all, humility. You nurture all of us, care for all of us, guide each and all of us, inspire each of us, love us unconditionally, and keep us focused on family values. All of that while working long hours at a high stress, internationally focused “day job.” Well, you’re not working a day job anymore but there’s that cancer thing keeping you busy!

Because of you, our kids have questioning minds, adventurous spirits, respectful expectations, and real, human emotions. We love and care for one another and others because of your example, your humanity, and your love. Mom! Wife! Wonder Woman! Happy Mother’s Day!!

Love, me

The first photo was taken in 2008 by Debby Crevonis…the Way We Were! The second, last Thanksgiving, the Way We Are now, including Paul, Kirsten’s fiancé.

Debby Crevonis image 2008

Family Thanksgiving 2018

Family Thanksgiving 2018

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Mom’s Birthday! And a little nostalgic look back at what must have been an interesting time

My (our) mother was born in Palmer, Iowa, just one hundred three years ago today. I imagine the birth took place in the bedroom of the farm where my grandfather worked. I wonder what she would think of all the things that have happened or haven’t happened since she passed away just 9 short years ago. She was born at a time when the U.S. didn’t want to meddle into foreign affairs. Of course, the U.S. had been busy, just 51 years before her birthday, the Civil War ended and true racism began. And, 18 years before her birth, the U.S. had gone to war with Spain which forever changed the global structure and notified the rest of the world that the U.S. meant to be paid attention to in their policies. And, of course, she was born the year before World War I, The Great War, started. Then the Roaring Twenties when she was four until the Crash when she was 13. Her maiden name was Jones, there were TEN kids in her family…imagine having 9 siblings! Two sisters, Dorothy and Edith; and seven brothers, Cecil, Roger, Edgar, Kenneth, Bob, Malcolm, and Eugene.

My impression is that they were not well off and the times made things difficult. My grandfather, Wallace Percival Jones was an engraver, a railroad worker, a farmer, and even a cowboy in the panhandle of Texas for a few years. My mother’s early years were spent in a tenant farm just outside of Huron and then to Frankfort, SD where she finished her teen years and graduated high school. Frankfort is a very small town which was barely a wide spot in the road 60 years ago and now is even smaller since they move the road to the north of town a couple of miles.

Mom’s formative years were World War I and the Roaring Twenties. Remember, women did NOT have the right to vote until 3 years AFTER my mom was born.  During the early part of the twentieth century, women were becoming activists, Suffragettes, petitioning for an amendment to the US Constitution giving them that right. One of the largest, if not the largest, industrial opponents of women voting was the liquor industry. I think the industry felt threatened because women might take away alcohol. And they did. My Grandmother Florence Jones (my mom’s mom) was some sort of leader in the South Dakota Women’s Christian Temperance Union which desperately wanted alcohol eliminated. She was a lifelong teetotaler who hated alcohol and bars. I wonder about coincidences. When my mother’s family initially lived in Huron in the early 1920s, that’s when Gladys Pyle, also from Huron, was very active politically. Pyle was the first elected US woman senator. In the first part of the century she was very, very political for the Suffragettes and by definition anti-alcohol so it’s not beyond the pale that my grandmother knew Senator Pyle and was most active then. I can’t find her name anywhere but I’m not sure record keeping was on the same par as today. The South Dakota version of the WCTU and the Suffragettes was called the SD Universal Franchise League.

My mother had a hard early life where nothing was taken for granted. She married my dad just before she turned 21 in 1937 and just four years later, World War II started. Imagine those years: a Great War, then great hope and partying for some, then economic and social hardship for most, then drought, then marriage, then World War II. All before you turn 30.  Wow.

Looking back usually carries good memories and makes me remember good things…like fishing. Hence, the image below!

Fishing at sunrise

Fishing at sunrise

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Session 4, Week 1

Sounds like a TV series, perhaps I should say “Season 4, Episode 1” to more fully align with modern day news exchange. I mean…what will we do when Game of Thrones, “The Final Episode” is aired and Bran is on the Iron Throne…really? Now you know, I really don’t know anything about how GOT will end.

Chemo was yesterday and took longer than normal. From a purely customer service viewpoint long waiting isn’t perfect until you consider the reason they were taking longer was that the chairs were unexpectedly  mostly full. We were glad to be there, of course, because “Chemo is our friend” as an old Bird Dog bandmate and cancer patient says but he adds,  “Although, a cruel friend,” ahhhh, a Game of Thrones-like friend! It all went relatively well except for the port “tube” that goes from the mediport to an artery deep in my bride’s body. Because of scar tissue and other things, the tube must go on top of the clavicle, clearly visible to even the most casual of all observers. And also not protected by the bones and body like many of mediports. But, this was the least intrusive option and that’s what we have. The issue is some swelling and some psychedelic color effects around the tube (not the port). There wasn’t a color show during chemo, that was last week…but…they want us to check. And so we head off to find out about this side effect by getting an ultrasound. Ah, side effects, ya gotta luv ’em! The medical folks all say it’s probably nothing but we need to check.

She’s still doing great, staying busy, taking care of the family and the house. Tonight, however, the “bad shot” will hit and she will take a break for a couple of days. Then we get to take care of her!!

Many years ago I went to Chicago. I wanted to juxtaposition the old with the new and the best way to do that was to look up. And for us, finishing “Seasons 1-3” means things are looking up here, too!

Chicago Skyline

Chicago Skyline

 

 

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