Wednesday, January 31, 2007

It might as well be Spring

It was 60 degrees in Davis today. At this time last year it was cold and very wet. We have had virtually no rain all winter. It's getting serious and the weather man says no rain in sight.

Last night the Patient and I celebrated all kinds of things, not only our marital endurance but also his successful treatment and return to health. After a tiny sip of the bubbly he couldn't drink any more so I was forced to finish the bottle. It was luscious, I don't mind telling you. But I woke up with a titanic headache this morning, parched beyond recent experience! It was worth every moan I uttered.


When I went back into my office to finish last night's post, the Patient was deep into reading his favorite right-wing posts, so I did not disturb him. So now, to continue . . .

Today was my day for retail therapy. After a lovely early morning walk through the cold and misty streets of Davis with my friend Georgette, I zipped up to Sacramento to do a bit of selfish indulgence and loved every minute of it.

For dinner tonight I cooked some lovely fish -- True Cod -- which the Patient managed to get down, along with some warmed-over potato (his choice) and a tiny bit of green salad. Probably 200 calories. But he washed it all down with his new best friend, Belgian beer. He wants some pudding of some kind, not the instant type but something cooked. So perhaps tomorrow I'll do a very eggy bread pudding that he can nibble at. This month Martha has some wonderful pudding recipes, both the bake-in-the-over-in-a-water-bath type and the steamed type. (I tried to find the exact section from this month's magazine but cannot find a link. You'll have to go to the library and check them out in the February issue.) Tomorrow afternoon will be the Pudding Hour. The Patient hasn't decided exactly what kind he wants but it will be something very soft with no crunchy fruit or nuts. Perhaps we will settle on a basic bread pudding with some currants or raisins, like Spotted Dick.

Tomorrow we see the head and neck surgeon. If all is as we think it will be, the next chore is to start packing for the grand getaway on February 27. Since we will be gone only two months we may be able to avoid the usual frenzy of shopping for things we simply must have during our sojourn in the outpost. This time we will just pack up our shorts, enough tea lights to keep us in a romatic mood for sixty days, throw it all in the back of the van and head out. That is a much more sane way to do it. And thanks to NAFTA there is now almost nothing we can't get at one place or another. I'm not sure that is a good idea; I sort of liked the idea that we had to do without certain basics for awhile. That is, of course, if you consider imported Spanish olive oil a basic.

Monday, January 29, 2007

The Anniversary Gift

Today the Patient and I celebrate our 43rd year of wedded bliss. Seems like only yesterday . . . No, actually it doesn't. It has been, most assuredly, a long and winding road. Sounds like a good lyric to me. But this anniversary is the best we've ever had. The Patient received the results of his CT scan this morning. All clear! What's supposed to be gone is gone; what's left will either clear up or is harmless. The swelling in his face and neck will "probably" subside over time. What more could we possibly ask for?

As if that were not enough, my good old reliable Toyota (circa 1990) passed her smog test. Then I went up to Sacramento to get the glucometer disconnected. I am now reduced to only one bodily plug-in. This has been an all-around red-letter day!

To celebrate all of this good news and good fortune I stopped by the local wine shop and bought a hideously expensive bottle of French champagne and a big bunch of red tulips to gift the Patient (and myself, of course!). The Patient was, unfortunately, unable to drink much of the bubbly so I was forced to finish it up, not wanting it to go flat. For the occasion we dragged out our beautiful Baccarat glasses that we bought for our 15th anniversary when we had some loose cash and decided to put our money where our mouths might end up.

To all who have been reading this blog about our journey from sickness to health and have lit candles, sent good karma out for the Patient and for me, and who have kept in touch, I cannot thank you enough Your energy for him has paid off big time. Your vigils have kept me going through what has been a very scary time. But we have passed through it and are now on the other side. We can actually look to the future and make wild, exotic plans. What fun! Merci.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Weekend work

Yesterday I went off to a fabric wonderland in Sacramento to lend an eye to a friend who is reupholstering a couch and a chair. In my halcyon days I was a sewing fool, but since the eyes have been acting up I have given it up in favor of buying retail. So along with her, friend Babz and some measurements for a project of my own, we descended on the place. It is a huge warehouse filled, and I do mean filled with thousands of bolts of mainly upholstery fabric, but there are also drapery/curtain materials, trims, tassels, soutaches in gorgeous shimmering silk. For myself I was looking for outdoor canvas to make new coveers for two sling chairs and some director's chairs that we have at the beach house. Here's what I found.

The two stripes and the pink floral are for the director's chairs; the red floral is for the sling chairs and one director's chair for the guest room. The sling chairs sit out in a small front patio that is off the guest room. The other chairs are used mainly up on the 3rd floor terrace. It will all be as colorful as all get out. When I get them together I'll take a snap for this site. I bought this fabric as insurance that we really are going at the end of February. I even contacted the auto insurance chap about arranging our usual policy. So now we must go.

While I was out involved in filthy commerce the Patient was puttering in the garden, doing more clipping and trimming. When I got home I noticed that the fellow next door had begun choppiing down a huge bay laurel tree in his backyard. For several years this tree has gradually encroached on our garden and our back neighbor's garden, and had been dropping seeds that turned into tiny sprouts of bay laurel tree. Now that the tree is gone our butterfly bush will have sun and may even bloom again. The good thing about this is that I now have a lifetime supply of bay leaves scavenged from the huge piles of debris on the street.

As for the Patient's diet, his eating has slowed. Not much yesterday; not much today. Mostly soups, although he did try a bit of steak and some steamed potatoes last night. Tonight was only cream of potatoe soup. Perhaps more tomorrow. The Bionic Woman (that would be me) goes back to the hospital tomorrow to get unhooked from the glucose monitor. I'll get the readout in a few days and those numbers may call for an adjustment to the insulin pump.

This afternoon I watched an old black and white film, Separate Tables. Great cast including Deborah Kerr, Rita Hayworth, Wendy Hiller, Burt Lancaster, David Niven (I think he got an Oscar for this role). But now it's back to the Masterpiece Theatre presentation of "Jane Eyre." Maybe she won't get Mr. Rochester this time.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Now we wait . . .

The Patient had his CT scan this morning. Now we wait for the results. He sees the surgeon next Thursday so we probably won't have any word before then.

Meanwhile, on the ranch, we had a Chinese Pistache tree removed today. There is a big gap in the front foliage, like a missing tooth. Ten years ago we planted three of these beauties. But the middle one ended up without enough room to spread her branches and was becoming misshapen by the encroachment of her sisters on either side. So out she came. The arborist did save all the wood and we will have it for next year's cold weather. Of course, we won't BE here next winter . . . Now the other two trees can grow out instead of up, and everyone, especially the trees, will be much happier. This is what it looks like in the fall when it turns a flaming red and then drops a zillion leaves all over the place.

This bionic woman is still wired up with various meters, following everything I do. It's like being bugged; someone is going to know everything I have been doing for 72 hours. Tomorrow night or Sunday morning I will disconnect and then be free to misbehave at will.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Yet another good day

More good eating and energy from the Patient. He may not be able to get completely off the feeding tube by March 1 (our estimated day of departure) but it will be close. He had three good meals, almost enough to keep a body alive. But not quite.

The sensor continues to program my blood glucose every five minutes. I'll be interested to see the results.

Tomorrow is the CT scan. Think good thoughts.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Doctor is In

Today was a visit to the medical oncologist, Dr. Grennan, for Jim's (almost)
three month post-treatment visit. His blood numbers are good, his
spirits are good, his appearance is good. So I guess everything is
good. He is still having considerable swelling in his neck, but my
massage therapist gave me some techniques to try to stir up the lymph
fluid and get it draining. The next stop is radiology for the CT scan on Friday. But Dr. Grennan is very optimistic that (a) Jim is doing so well in his eating and (b) seems to be recovering at a good rate.

Speaking of the eating, his food intake has easily doubled in the last
few days. He is actually eating three meals a day, although
he supplements with the liquid stuff. Things are beginning
to taste better. On Tuesday he had a ham and cheese sandwich
and a beer for lunch! This was his first beer in about five
months, some Belgian stout that was very fizzy and
tickled his throat. So he put it away and let it get a bit
flat, then finished it up for dinner. Tonight he put away pasta
and sauce,about 5 pieces of lettuce that he called salad, and some juice.

Before Jim saw his doc I went to the endocrinology office and
had an "Indwelling Continuous Glucose Sensor" plugged into my
body to do a continuous check on my blood glucose levels. This
little gizmo is about the size of a pager, hooks on my waistband
and has a sensor that is implanted into my hip. It tests my glucose
levels every five minutes for 72 hours. I have been running some
dangerously high sugars lately and I want to get a handle on it
before it gets (even more) out of control. So now I have a pump on
one side and this monitor on the other. I have to wear it for three
days, and keep an exact record of everything I eat or drink and
count the carbs exactly. On Monday I will go back to the hospital
and turn in the meter, they will read the chip, and let me know what's
going on. I am hoping this will give me some clues to why things are so haywire

Monday, January 22, 2007

The Constant Gardner

I should have taken a picture of the Patient up on the ladder pruning the trumpet vine andthe African Honeysuckle. He was busy clipping away with his new shears, and happy to be doing so in the warm winter sunshine. Two more days and all the various shrubs and vines will be clipped and trimmed and ready for their Spring budding. I still have not planted the rose bushes I bought. Perhaps tomorrow.

I took the old reliable Camray (the NO PARIS) to get a smog check today. And what do they tell me? Their machine is out of order. I'll try again later in the week. I have been contemplating replacing the wagon with a smaller "town" car. I have looked at a Mini Cooper, a VW bug, a Toyota Prius . Fortunately I don't have to make up my mind for a few months. We also plan to replace the Toyota van later this year with a newer model. That's one of the reasons we have to get back to the beach. We left one of the back seats there last year and must retrieve it in order to sell. Good motivation.

The Patient's swelling is a bit less today, although he says it has moved down into his neck. His voice is very gravely, more so than in the past. I am hoping Wednesday's doc appointment can offer some explanation. He did eat a good dinner; shrimp in cream sauce over rice and some sautéd veggies. No enough to put any fat on him but enough to see him through the nigh

Sunday, January 21, 2007

The Sunday Invention

Sundays are a great idea. Whoever invented them knew exactly what
He/She was doing. The Patient had a good day; no gardening, no strenuous
anything. His swelling is about the same; under his ears in the morning,
under his chin by night. This morning he did indeed make pancakes and
bacon and even managed to eat two cakes doused with maple syrup. Tonight
he ate a good bit of stir-fry; pork, chicken, veggies, rice. The various
maps of Mexico are on prominent display on his desk. I think this is a message.

There is a ritual in the Anglican church called The Churching
of Women after Child-birth. The instructions for the rite state:
"The Woman, at the usual time after her delivery, shall come
into the Church decently apparelled, and there shall kneel down in some
convenient place, as hath been accustomed, or as the Ordinary shall
I personally don't care what she's wearing, or where
she kneels. Childbirth can be tricky, and coming through it safely is
cause enough for celebration. I want to welcome Maxwell Everett Huber,
arrived this day, safe and sound.

Gotta run. It's time for the PBS presentation of Jane Eyre

Saturday, January 20, 2007

A Satisfying Bloodbath

I sat utterly enthralled by Maria Callas singing in this morning's Lucia de Lammamoor, a rebroadcast of her only appearance at the Met in 1956. This opera has everything; gorgeous music, intrigue, thwarted love, heartbreak, madness, blood and piles of bodies. An all around good time was had by all. And next week? Madam Butterfly, another woman who goes over the edge for love.

When the Patient went up to the Farmers' Market this morning he made a detour to the hardware store to buy a new set of clippers. This afternoon he cut and trimmed everything in the garden. The oleanders are now a manageable height. The lavender has been cut down to the stub. More tomorrow. And for dinner? Sweet potato, steamed veggies, a tiny bit of grilled pork. The swelling has made it more difficult to swallow but the taste of food is improving every day. Tomorrow may be pancakes and bacon again. I see a taco in his future. And soon.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Thou Swell

This is actually the first line of a song in the Rogers and Hart musical Connecticut Yankee. It goes:

Thou swell, thou witty,
Thou sweet, thou grand . . .

But for us, "swell" means "getting big" not "being terrific." I called the doctor this morning to report the strange shifting swelling in the Patient's neck. Late this afternoon Stephanie (the SUPER nurse) called back to say that this is not uncommon for patients receiving neck radiation. It may clear up eventually. It may not. We are advised to keep an eye on the amount of swelling and if it gets painful or gets really big, to call back. And, she said, this can last for a year OR can be permanent. There are all sorts of things they don't tell you when you begin this treatment, such as the fact that you may have an unsightly swelling in your neck for the rest of your life! Despite facial and neck swelling, the Patient had a hard boiled egg dressed up with mayo and smeared on crackers, steamed veggies, macaroni and cheese (about five pieces), and various flavored juices. Progress nonetheless.

Tomorrow is the presention by the Metropolitan Opera of Lucia de Lammemoor, an old broadcase of this bloody opera with the late, great Maria Callas. If you are looking for a good scare, tune in at 10:30 AM.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

La Femme de Ménage

Do you dust? I remember dusting. My mother used to dust or, more likely, hire someone to do it. Today I decided to dust. Then I moved on to scrubbing, mopping and Windex-ing. I don't know what came over me but it's done and about time, I might add. I should do this more often. Or hire someone . . .

The Patient has developed a mysterious swelling on his neck. During the day, it looks like he has a goiter under his chin. A mega double chin. But in the morning this swelling is more around his ears and under his jaw line. This obviously has something to do with gravity; when he sleeps it dissipates. When he is "upright" it concentrates around his chin. The tissue is soft and spongy, not like a tumor. We will put this to the doc next week. Every day something new.

Tonight the Patient ate some macaroni and cheese (thank you Stouffers), some steamed carrots with ginger (thank you Susan), some other noodles with an Alfredo sauce and cardboard chicken (I don't know who to thank for this), some Mott's applesauce. More each day. We got a phone call from a friend at the beach and I think this spurred him on to EAT!

This web site has a fantastic ad that has appeared in the UK for Honda. Enjoy! Honda

And I leave you tonight with a beautiful picture taken by daughter Caitlin during a weekend in Yellowstone National Park, in deep winter.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Ernie Chronicles

Here is the ailing Ernie, hard at work, as usual. I saw him yesterday; still pretty perky, having shaken off his weekend lassitude. Reports are that he has been eating and drinking (Oh, Ernie!) and is tending to cat affairs.

Yesterday, as threatened, I went to hear the talk about California politics by Ed Costantini (Google him and see what you get. Pages and pages of stuff!). He is an emeritus but is right in the middle of things nonetheless. It was great to see him strut his stuff. His topic was why he thought the Democrats were goners in CA after the 1992 election, and why he was soooo wrong. Confession is good for the soul. I have known Ed for more than 30 years and he continues to be one of the most delightful and astute political analysts around.

This afternoon I spent 1 1/2 hours with my doctor talking about (a) why I have lost so much weight; (b) how to put it back on since I have to watch everything I eat so closely; and (c) why my blood sugar numbers have been so high. The consensus? Stress. No shit.

Monday, January 15, 2007

The Editorial I

Here's what I should have said about the Dreamgirls cast: They are so talented it's criminal not that "they are criminally talented". Syntax, syntax, syntax. I hope Miss Parker is not reading this. Doubtful; she would be about 125 years old by now.

Then there is the following from a book I am reading, The Moscow Club by Joseph Finder. In describing a character, the author says that "he had a thick head of grey hair." Is this man stupid, as in he has a thick head, or does he have thick grey hair?

Obviously I didn't have enough to do today.

No Ernie report tonight. I'll know more tomorrow when I see Ernie's temporal caretaker. As for the Patient, every day in every way he's getting better and better.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Sunday at the Movies

I took myself off to the movies this afternoon. I sat transfixed in the dark as Dreamgirls unfolded before me. What a sensational production. The entire cast is criminally talented. Esp. Jennifer Hudson. Shows what losing on American Idol can do for one's career. I laughed, I cried, I stamped my feet. Made my pants want to get up and dance! I had a fine time.

The Patient had a fine time today, too. Some gardening in the late morning after gorging on football. (Go figure.) Today's caloric intake included chocolate pudding, lemon yogurt, bean soup, a tiny piece of salmon cake (not good), pomegranate juice. Not too bad. A little more each day.

Medical report on Ernie the Cat (see yesterday's post). Very lethargic, not eating, not drinking. But as I was getting the lowdown he ambled his way to his "box" and took care of some business. So there's spark in the old boy yet!

Tomorrow is hair cut day. Hurrah!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Nine Lives

My friend Babz has a wonderful cat named Ernie. She told me yesterday that Ernie has been diagnosed with cancer and is not long for this world. He is 13, has a big, puffy black coat and white sox. He is actually about half the size he appears. She has decided not to pursue radical treatment for Ernie but to keep him alive and comfortable as long as possible. I cannot imagine a more humane way to care for an
ailing pet. We had to deal with cancer of the nose and face with our
beloved cat Foster, and with hip displasia with our Old English. Not easy.

Despite this bad news, this was a good day for the Patient. He napped this
morning, as usual, but then bustled around, took a shower, then wanted
to go out shopping. He brought back the fixings for bean soup and a
luscious lamb chop for me. He chopped and mixed and stirred and came up with a pretty good soup for himself. I tasted it; too bland for my spice-loving palate, but if he can eat it, who cares.

I bought two bare root rose plants today for the front garden. My neighbor
helped me pick out the most healthy and well-formed plants. She has a
gorgeous rose garden in the front of her house. I am hoping that by the
time these bushes bloom Jim will be in full bloom as well. In the front
garden I found spears from the newly-planted rununcula poking up. I hope they don't freeze tonight. I think we lost both our big plumbago and two coreopsis bushes.

By the way, Aero California is back in the air and flying to Colima (and other out-of-the-way spots in Mexico), the closest airport to us. This company shut down a year ago because of safety issues. But they are up and flying again. If we decide that driving is too strenuous, we can fly down for a couple of months. We are, however, determined to drive, as usual. And determination counts for everything.

Friday, January 12, 2007

The King's English

My friend Mary Ann has a wonderfully quirky blog No More Commas Period that I recommend for those longing for a daily dose of fresh air, a snappy humor and a look at a different world. She and I were copywriters in the advertising department of the now-defunct Capwells in Oakland. We quit and got real jobs. Her post on Wednesday had to do with what I will call linguistic annoyances. More than annoyances, however. Hers is the use of the word "like," as in: "Like did you know you have like spinach on your teeth?" "Like no way!" "Man like I'm telling you." "Like gross!" You get the point. Mine is the substitution of the verb "to say" by the verb "to go." Such as: "Well, I go 'Mom, where's the peanutbutter.' And she goes, 'Just where you let it last night, under the sofa.' And I go, 'Like gross!' " Then there's the "I mean" phenom. Where did this come from, and how can it be erradicated? Well, there are probably fewer than a dozen folk who care about this travesty of English usage. Alas. And what would the King say?

As for life in Davis, the patient is coming long, inch by inch. He has not eaten much in the last couple of days. Throat has been sore, appetite has been low. We got another delivery of liquid supplements so I guess that's going to be the diet of necessity for another month. The doc has said he is a bit dehydrated. He must be fully hydrated before the next CT scan. He has to push the water intake so the dye will not affect his kidneys. So it's MORE WATER to puff him up!

As for the weather, it is bloody cold. The pool guys called to say we have to run the filter beginning at 9 PM tonight and running until 8 AM tomorrow to prevent freezing. PG&E is going to have mega profits this next quarter.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The (Pity) Party's Over

I've recovered from my last post's self-indulgence. Onward! After all, I am NOT the one who has had his body destroyed. I am NOT the one who cannot eat. I am NOT the one whose hair has fallen out -- although it is growing back in. I am only the one who had to watch it happen.

Here's something too look forward to. The UC Davis Design Museum has a new show, Encountering Textiles. That ought to get me out of the house. In addition, one of my favorite political scientists from the big U is speaking about California politix next week. I have it on the calendar and will go.

I have done absolutely nothing today except lounge around waiting for my blood sugar to go down. For unknown reasons it soared (dare I say "surged"? It's going to be everybody's least favorite word after tonight.) this morning and I've spent the day monitoring it. Stress, she wrote.

And while I have been languishing on my fainting couch, Jim has been bustling around in the kitchen. He made himself pancakes today. Well, he made a sea of batter and cooked one little 4" pancake. We have enough left for several feeds. And HE decided to make the meatloaf using dried porcini mushrooms and various and sundry other magical ingredients. He's getting back in the swing of things. Goodie for me. He also noted that his throat was no as sore today which may be how he was able to eat foods with slightly more bulk. We'll see how the eating of this concoction goes. And let's see if he can swallow W's message tonight. It will probably slide right down!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Frustration Management

I have been trying to get back onto this %*#^& blog site since Sunday afternoon. The Google folks have been dicking around with the Blogger business for many, many days if not weeks. I decided that it was time to switch (or be dropped) from the old format to the new, and when I did so, all hell broke loose. I have been navigating my way back through cyberspace ever since. I have finally made it, but have no assurance I will ever be back once I leave.

The next frustration experience has been with the bank in Mexico to pay our trust fees. Their toll-free number in Florida does not exist, the toll-free number in Mexico does not exist. Emails have been returned. The bank agent with whom we deal does not return email messages or phone calls. I know Mexico is in a political uproar but this is ridiculous. It's going to be easier just to let the bank move into the house and forget about it.

Then there is the frustration of Jim's very, very slow recovery. I realized on Monday as I was going about various chores that I was again gritting my teeth so tightly that my face and neck were aching. I have caught myself at this many times over the past few months, including waking in the night because of pain. This ordeal is catching up with me. I have become housebound; I don't go to movies, to hear music, to local lectures. I have begun to lose touch with the world. My attention, my focus, my energy is on getting Jim through each day so that at the end of it we see some progress. Some days we are rewarded; others we are not. On Monday he ate a boiled egg mashed up with some mayo. But yesterday he couldn't eat anything, not even ReddiWip. Today he wants me to make a turkey meat loaf. Why not! It is a roller coaster, both physically and emotionally. We need to get to the house in Mexico before the bank does!

I saw this remarkable video some time ago but never got around to posting. Then saw it again a couple of days ago and was reminded to share it. Enjoy! It is Jerome Murat and is called Les Deux Têtes.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

New Favorite Food

Jim's new favorite food is ReddiWip, the ghastly sweet whipped cream that comes in a can and can be sprayed on any food in its path. The first thing he sprayed it on was Jello Chocolate Pudding (the cooked kind). Pretty good. The next thing was a big slab of Nugget Market's Champagne Cake. It just didn't taste right, so he added a dollop of chocolate pudding and a swirl of ReddiWip. Le voila! Perfect. My blood sugar surged just looking at it. But he thought it was delicious, and I say, "If he'll eat all those calories and carbs, good for him!" Tonight at the table he tried some barley (too rough going down), some steamed carrots (Yes!), some steamed broccoli (Yes!), and some steamed cauliflower (Yes!). We'll try more of those tomorrow. He is also interested in trying some pasta, well cooked, with just some olive oil. No tomatoes, no garlic, no other kind of sauce.

Several years ago I happened to drive by a house that has the most interesting and welcoming entrance. It appeared on the "Open House" list for this weekend in the real estate section of the paper. I went today to check it out. Yes, the entrance is indeed unique and lovely. The house itself, however, is pedestrian and totally boring. I have put in my remodel time so I am not interested. One of the positive things about looking at other folk's sale houses is how well your own abode measures up!

But I did find out that a house in Davis designed by Cliff May just sold for lots and lots of money (well over $1 million). It is a house I have always admired. I had fantasized that when my ship came in I would walk up to the front door, make my (generous) offer and move in. It has a Southwest flavor, like Santa Fe or Santa Barbara. At Christmas the owners string luminaria along the front of the house, around the patio walls, and around the front drive. I guess it reminds me of Cuyutlán. It didn't even go on the market. It sold by word of mouth. Oh well . . .

Friday, January 05, 2007

A Stall in Progress

Jim has no appetite and nothing seems to appeal. He has hit a recovery plateau; the nutritionist told us this would happen. Nothing tastes good, even though pictures of food are appetizing. This is something he has to wait out. Today he had a bit of cereal, milk and banana and some mango juice, but nothing else. He is weak and tired, partly because he doesn't want to eat, partly because he is monumentally bored by the situation. I tried to interest him in some barley or a soft boiled egg. He was having none of it. We'll try again tomorrow.

This recovery thing is getting depressing for both of us. Jim is unhappy with the rate of progress; I am unhappy that he is unhappy. I can see that he is a bit better, although some days he is quite fatigued and it is hard for me to gauge just how much progress he has made. If he manages to get a good nap in the morning, the rest of the day is pretty good. If he misses that rest, he fades at about 5:30 or 6 and is done for the day. I am using the "food by mouth" scale as a measure. The more he eats the better I like it. Sometimes he fades because he has neglected to take in sufficient calories through the feeding tube; he just forgets that this is the way he lives now! The sooner he gets off that routine, the better he will feel, and the more in control he will feel. Right now, it's ALL about control!

The north wind came blasting into Davis last night, kept up most of the day, and is still with us. It should be down in the 30's tonight. No rain is forecast until next week, perhaps by Wednesday.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

A Gourmet Adventure

Today Jim had scrambled eggs with cheese, pomegranate/cranberry Sobé tea, steamed fish and chopped spinach, and didn't like any of it. But at least he got most of each dish/drink down. Tomorrow he has decided to try some of the Thiebaud-esque pastries at the local bakery; beautiful little cakes with creamy fillings and lots of sugary icing. He thinks he can get those delicacies down where steamed fish won't go! No kidding.

I called Fernando at the beach this morning. He assured me that all is well at the house after the tenants left yesterday. We have never rented the house but these folk were friends andacquaintancess of his. Yes, everything was still there and nothing was broken. When are you coming down? March, I assured him. So March it will be, God willing.

The gigantic rain storm predicted for today never materialized. Maybe tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The Reliability of Ritual

I have been watching the ceremonies surrounding the burial of President Gerald Ford. It reminds me of how comforting rituals are; you know when to stand and when to sit, what to say, exactly what is going to happen next, what it all means. There are no surprises, no ad hoc moves. It is all written down in a book that generations have studied and practiced and learned. The turns are sharp; the salutes are crisp and solemn; everyone knows his/her part and performs it without fault or hesitation. There is something reassuring in this formality; even though there has been a monumental event, this ceremony, this acknowledgement of a passing, is constant. We know what comes next. The National Cathedral never looked so grand, filled with black-clad mourners, come to bid farewell to the man who was fated to be the national janitor, the one to clean up the terrible mess left behind in the Watergate fiasco. And he did it with grace, dedication, and an understanding of what this country needed at that time. I was deeply moved when Bishop John Chane, the bishop of Washington, welcomed Ford's body into the Cathedral for his unification with the Saints. RIP, Gerald Ford.

The "food by mouth" program had a bit of a set back yesterday, but got back on track today. Tonight we were talking about heading off for Mexico. I really do think we will make it. Jim's lab numbers were better; blood tests yesterday showed an improvement in red blood count so he is off the Procrit injections. This is very good news. His count is still below normal, but it always is and in fact it is better than his "normal" numbers.

This parched valley is expecting rain tomorrow. Long overdue.

Monday, January 01, 2007

What's on the Menu?

This morning Jim decided he wanted to eat a "real" breakfast. He had:

1/4 cup Cheerios soaked in 1/4 cup milk for 45 minutes.
Add 1/4 thoroughly mascerated banana
Stir and mash well to mix.

For lunch he decided on:
1/2 c chicken vegetable soup
Whirl in blender until completely ground and reduced to runny pulp.

For dinner:
1/4 c mashed potatoes
3 T gravy
Mix thoroughly until soupy.

It's not what I would have chosen, but I am thrilled that he has been able to choke this down. This is the beginning of the New Year's Resolution to EAT!

I, on the other hand, have been the recipient of the generosity of my neighbor. Yesterday she came bearing home-made tamales, and tonight it was shrimp spring rolls. I do not have to grind up or mascerate anything. Beautiful food has been offered as a "get well" token, for which I am deeply grateful. All I do is stir-fry a bunch of veggies and I'm set. In addition, the freezer is full of the overflow.

We had a very quiet New Year's Day. The weather is bright and sunny; by this time last year Davisites had already had two months of steady rain. Jim trimmed the wisteria and I got the house back into some semblance of order after the visit from the family. We are both looking forward to a new year without any shocking revelations or diagnoses; we've had enough of those.

We hope the same for you.