Thursday, April 30, 2009
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Picture lifted from this lady's blog.
"This cornfield, and the sorghum patch behind the barn, were the only broken land in sight. Everywhere, as far as the eye could reach, there was nothing but rough, shaggy, red grass, most of it as tall as I.
"North of the house, inside the ploughed firebreaks, grew a thick-set strip of box-elder trees, low and bushy, their leaves already turning yellow. This hedge was nearly a quarter of a mile long, but I had to look very hard to see it at all. The little trees were insignificant against the grass. It seemed as if the grass were about to run over them, and over the plum-patch behind the sod chicken- house.
"As I looked about me I felt that the grass was the country, as the water is the sea. The red of the grass made all the great prairie the color of wine-stains, or of certain seaweeds when they are first washed up. And there was so much motion in it; the whole country seemed, somehow, to be running."
Posted by puddle at 4/28/2009 01:21:00 am
Monday, April 27, 2009
Friday, April 24, 2009
Posted by puddle at 4/24/2009 11:02:00 pm
Friday, April 24, 2009 4:19 PM, EDT
Wow, it has been a while since my last update. That usually means things are going well. Ally had a good week. She continues to tolerate the chemo well. It is messing up our new nap routine a little bit. The chemo makes her tired, so she wants to nap in the morning, but then she won't nap in the afternoon. It almost seems like a normal 2 year old thing to do....could we be having a "normal" period of our lives? Naaaaaaaa.
At this very moment Ally is eating a popsicle. As I watch her lick her RED Popsicle, I can't help but notice parts of her tongue are already BLUE....hmmmmm, have I just been swindled by a 2 year old?
You may have noticed the new picture on the welcome page.
Well, I am on school vacation! Ahhhhhhhhh, if only. I have 2 major goal setting projects to work on, reading group planning, visiting friends, oh yeah, and playing with Ally. Which do you think are the priorities?
Okay...Ally has now thrown away 1/2 her Popsicle and is asking for pancakes...
Posted by puddle at 4/24/2009 07:54:00 pm
Posted by puddle at 4/24/2009 06:31:00 pm
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Monday, April 20, 2009
Sunday, April 19, 2009 10:25 AM, EDT
Ally's week went well. She is tolerating her chemo well. The chemo runs into the start of her nap time, so she has been taking a slightly later nap, which is causing her to not want to take an afternoon nap. This causes her to be a MASSIVE GRUMP at night!!! We are working on keeping her awake until mid-day, so she will take one, longer nap. Who knows if Ally is willing to do this.
Ally had a super fun time visiting friends in Mass yesterday. We went to pick up lunch and the owners of the pizza shop loved Ally so much they gave her some free chips. Later in the day we went to a coffee shop and a tiny Portuguese lady was so enthralled by Ally she gave her a dollar. We assured our friends that things like this don't normally happen to Ally. She really enjoyed driving through Boston and looking at all the buildings. She SUPER enjoyed the ride home and looking at the huge piles of dirt on 95.
The visiting nurse came this morning. He accessed Ally's port and took blood. We are expecting to hear about the results later in the day. This will tell us if her counts are good enough to go ahead with the second week of chemo.
This past week Ally has continued to talk up a storm. She has been to the park and playground each day and has been picking the flowers in our yard.
We are looking forward to an uneventful week!
Ally's Mommy later added:
We just got the call...Ally is all set to start Chemo tomorrow!
Posted by puddle at 4/20/2009 10:34:00 pm
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Friday, April 17, 2009
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Tuesday, April 14, 2009 5:42 PM, EDT
Aunt Janet came through! She got a picture of Ally's star. She sent me a couple different versions (in different formats), but I am not tech advanced enough to figure out how to get the whole pdf file uploaded. Somehow I managed to get the picture of the star and the logo of the observatory where it was taken (Maria Mitchell Association telescope on Nantucket. Aunt Janet is the Director there.)
Pretty cool stuff!
In more day to day news:
Ally started chemo again yesterday. She was scheduled for a 12:30 appointment at DHMC yesterday, for Day 1. Chemo FINALLY began at 3:30, and Ally, Grammy and Grampa were out of there by 6:00. They had pizza waiting for them when they got back to Concord. Ally napped a total of 30 minutes yesterday.
Today chemo was at home. When the nurse got to the pharmacy to pick up the chemo, things were wrong, and it wasn't mixed correctly. Something to do with the weight Ally has gained (she is over 21 pounds!), so chemo began 2 hours late today. Grammy was very thankful the nurse was being so careful with Ally's medicine. Hopefully things will run more smoothly tomorrow.
Mommy gave blood today, in honor of Ally, and almost passed out.
Ally played in the dirt all afternoon. She is picking up 2-3 new words a day lately. Today she is saying: bike, orange and Popsicle. She is playing a lot of imaginative games, and LOVES all her Easter gifts, mostly the candy!!!
Have a great week!
Posted by puddle at 4/14/2009 11:57:00 pm
Monday, April 13, 2009
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Saturday, April 11, 2009 4:02 PM, EDT
In case you missed yesterday's update: Ally's scans came back as good as we could hope for. She has less activity in the same amount of tumor. In the overall scope of things this does not change her prognosis (her only hope is finding a cure...fast), but continues to give us a little extra time with the coolest kiddo around. We take what we can get. Every extra day is like the best Christmas gift ever. But enough of that, because we don't like to think too much about specifics....
This week Ally received a big gift in the mail. But let me back up for a moment...EVERY week Ally gets mail. She gets lots of mail from First Baptist Church in Farmington, and various cards from other people. We are VERY bad at writing back to people and thanking them for their thoughtful gifts, but please know Ally LOVES all the cards and stickers and pictures she gets...blame the no response on Mommy and Daddy. Perhaps over the summer Mommy can catch up on thank yous...but don't hold your breath! Anyway...this week Ally got a huge package in the mail. A star has been named after her! I know at least one person who reads this has access to a powerful telescope so here are the coordinates: Ursa Major RA9h11m17.91s D57º 16'55.28" I have no idea what that means, but looking at the map they gave us, if you look at the big dipper and towards the end of the handle look down (an inch on our map...who knows how much in the night sky) you will see the star "Allyson Mae". Thanks to our friends in Maine for thinking of Ally in such a special way. There is a star that Ally can see out our front door each night as we take her upstairs for bed. She always says that star is blue, so we are pretty sure this star is blue.
Anyway, in a more day to day update of Ally: her speech is coming a long way. It seems she adds 1 or 2 new words a day. She is pronouncing words better (she used to say "oap" and now says "soap", stuff like that). She is still not putting 2 words together, but that will come when she is ready. She is starting to climb up on things (like the couch). We had always discouraged this activity in the past, due to her tubies, but now that she is stream-lined we are not so anxious about it.
Okay, this has turned into one of my longest posts ever, so once again...Happy Easter.
Posted by puddle at 4/12/2009 02:56:00 am
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Friday, April 10, 2009
Friday, April 10, 2009 6:50 PM, EDT
We just got results from today's scans. The bone scan showed nothing, which means the lesions on her leg bones are inactive! This also gives us a baseline for future scans. Her CT scan showed the tumor has not grown or shrunk. The MIBG from yesterday did show less activity in the area though. Her G-Tube is now a mic-key button. After her bath I will take a picture of it, and post the before and after of her surgery sometime tonight or tomorrow. We did find out Ally can swim (in lake, pool or ocean) this summer with the mic-key button! Her blood counts were also good enough to begin chemo on Monday.
Have a great weekend...if I have time over the holiday festivities I will post about Ally's star this weekend!
Posted by puddle at 4/10/2009 08:30:00 pm
Thursday, April 09, 2009
Thursday, April 9, 2009 8:41 PM, EDT
We just got a call from Ally's oncologist. Her MIBG scan today showed LESS activity!!! There is still active cancer in her, but less than in February! The chemo is working. Yippee!
We are still headed up for more scans tomorrow, and they are going to switch her G-tube over to a button. We may not get results from those scans until next week, as they are so late in the day on a Friday.
It looks like we should be a go to begin chemo again on Monday.
Thanks for all your prayers and thoughts.
Posted by puddle at 4/09/2009 09:52:00 pm
Posted by puddle at 4/09/2009 10:56:00 am
Wednesday, April 08, 2009
8/6/2008 2:00:34 AM
My experiment with the spiders is running amok. Not with the mothers, Suzanne and Suzette -- they are staidly ensconced in the bathroom window where I can easily observe them. Nope, it's the children. Suzanne's brood is now four egg cases open and running around, and Suzette has one of her three are birthed. Suzanne has cut the first opened-and-emptied three loose, has the fourth one open, and is working on another. Interestingly, she's made two interim cases, which she then cut loose. I don't know if they were somehow defective, or if she was just giving them a chance to get further away from a picked over area. At any rate, I'm beginning to see evidence of the children's work all over the house. And my are they energetic little buggers! Some mornings on my way to the bathroom, I walk through overnight webs in both doors. One of them's set up housekeeping on the lamp on the kitchen table, and, and, and. . . . I know soon I'll have to get the vacuum out and go to town, but not just yet. The babies still tickle me: dropping from the ceiling and hanging there before reversing themselves and climbing speedily back up their thread. Or startled, cuttin' loose of it and running like krezzy. Still not that fond of snakes though, so guess there's still a bit of the girly girl in me, ya think?
Posted: 8/7/2008 6:14:45 AM
weaving their tiny
webs, too small to catch
How hungry they must be
How like a miracle their survival
I haven't the heart to brush
their webs away
Wish instead to watch them
grow, succeed. . . .
Knowing, even as I cheer them on,
that eventually the housekeeper in me
will take care of them
No good answers here, at all.
Suzanne the Queen of the Bathroom Spiders, hatched her last nest last week, and although the cloud of babies is still hanging around, she cut the egg case loose last night. Suzette, still has *all * five of hers. Who'd a thunk spiders had personalities, lol!? Not me. But Suzanne is definitely anal retentive, and Suzette is clearly *not*! The new one I've been watching is the dining room table spider, making her web on the table's lamp.
I'd actually been wondering about the lack of fella spiders observed, when what *might* have been one showed up courting Morganna (the table spider). Slightly smaller and a bit redder, he plucked her web till she came running, he leaped and grabbed her in a serious embrace for about a minute then fled to the edge of the lampshade for 24 hours. Then for about three days they shared her web but stayed a good distance apart. At that point I googled spider love making, the results of which didn't bode all that well for Morganna's possible mate. And sure enough, this morning, he was gone. I checked the "leavings" on the table, and there he was, entombed along with a fly. My guess is that he made so bold as to try for a fly and while he was munching down, she came and got him. . . . It appears that Black Widows are not the *only* widows in the spider world. After all, one love making session can leave the lady with all the sperm she'll need for all of her baby making, at which point *he* becomes simply competition for possibly scarce food.
Morals: 1. Don't be greedy and 2. don't be a male spider.
Now is the time
Posted: 9/15/2008 7:13:03 PM
Something new and startling, to me, has happened in the Spider Chronicles: Last week, Suzanne, our anal retentive house keeper was just sitting in her immaculate web doing jack shoot. Suzette, in her messy web was getting ready to hatch her last egg case. When I came in one morning, there was new small wolf spider hanging around the base, and Suzette was hanging upside down in the bottom of her web. When I blew gently, she moved a little, but didn't run back up to protect the egg case as usual. Jumping to conclusions, I killed the wolf spider, and Suzanne ran down her web to check it out. When I came back the next time, Suzanne had carried Suzette up to her web and was, best as I can describe, "holding" her. When I blew, she'd leave, Suzette would move a leg or two, and then Suzanne would come back, and "hug" her again. Suzanne would only leave to go take care of flies trapped in her web, which she would as usual, wrap up, eat, and then cut out of the web. The rest of the time, for two days, she just held Suzette. The third morning, I came in, and Suzette's last egg case had been moved up to Suzanne's web, right next to Suzette, who'd placed one leg on it. When I checked again, later, Suzette was gone, and the egg case had birthed its babies, which Suzanne is now watching.
Reasonable or silly, I'm going to have to vote spiders into the league of living things with souls.
10/30/2008 5:35:55 PM
Sad to report that Suzanne has died. She is survived by two egg cases. The next to last one was amazing, and the only one she did like this: first the regular brown one, and then, around the outside with just the merest gap for air? insulation? another whole envelope of shiny sparkling web. Looks like a giant tear drop. This one, I think is meant to last until spring. And then finally, another one, about half the size of all the rest, as if a last ditch effort. She was okay if very quiet the night before she died, and then just gone. Leaving her genetic promise for the next season silhouetted in the window. Going to clean up the rest of the webs/spiders soon. That one I'm leaving. Herald of spring?
Posted by puddle at 4/08/2009 08:49:00 pm
Tuesday, April 07, 2009
Tuesday, April 7, 2009 4:54 PM, EDT
Ally is the best patient. Sometimes we wish she wouldn't be. This week we are giving her GCSF injections. These daily shots help her immune system build up white blood cells. Like a normal 2 year old she does not like the shot, and also like a normal 2 year old, no matter how many code words we use or how many words we spell, she always knows what we are talking about. This morning Ally woke up extra early, so she didn't get her shot right away. A bit after she woke up we were talking about it, and Ally picked up on it, so we thought we would just go ahead and give it to her. Like the good little girl she is, even though she hates the shot (one of the FEW things she will actually cry about), she headed over to her nap area, laid down on her blankets and waited for us to come with the needle. She is so awesome, but at the same time I feel so sad about it.
Tomorrow Ally heads to DHMC for her first of 3 day visits in a row. She has to be at the cancer clinic for 2:00, and then she gets her MIBG injection at 3:30. Then she comes home. On Thursday she gets her MIBG scan (6 hours of no eating before hand...and that late in the day you KNOW they will be running behind). On Friday she goes back up for a CT scan, a bone scan and her G-Tube will be replaced with a mic-key button (another 6 hours of no eating). This will mean that, instead of a foot long tube sticking out of Ally she will just have a small device coming out of her belly. This means NO MORE ONESIES! Yippie! We can put her in fun shirts!
The bigger meaning of all these scans is to see what the chemo is doing. Please pray that it is beating that tumor down! I will be sure to update when we get some results back.
Posted by puddle at 4/07/2009 07:46:00 pm
Posted by puddle at 4/07/2009 04:02:00 pm
Sunday, April 05, 2009
Saturday, April 04, 2009
Friday, April 03, 2009
Thursday, April 02, 2009
Although the Boboli fountain is named everywhere "The Bacchus Fountain" and Pietro clearly liked to pose for the Bacchus bronzes, I agree with James Holderbaum that likely the pose on the turtle is a play on the Neptune theme favored at the time, rather than the Bacchus one. How early is the mixup? No way to know.
"But the real stroke of Florentine wit is the pose: The familiar gesture of a hundred fountain statues of Neptune who imperiously raises his hand to still the waters, the Vergilian Quos Ego; the Duke's ludicrous little jester travesties the mighty lord of the sea. This was a joke sure to amuse the sixteenth-century mind, and especially topical for Florentines in 1564, only three years after the great Neptune fountain competition which Ammannati had won -- at that moment he was completing the colossal marble for the Piazza -- and at a time when Giovanni Bologna was beginning his bronze giant for the Neptune fountain in Bologna."
Posted by puddle at 4/02/2009 01:23:00 pm
Valerio Cioli's 1560 statue in Florence's Boboli Gardens. It shows Pietro Barbino, Cosimo I's court jestor, as Bacchus.
Wednesday, April 01, 2009
Wednesday, April 1, 2009 3:54 PM, EDT
It seems our same problems keep recycling themselves. Ally has to have scans to see how the chemo is working. These scans require her to go to sleep, which means, no eating for 6 hours before. We ALWAYS want Ally to be the first of the day, so the eating thing is not a big issue.
Sooooooo. Her first DAY of scan (yes, just one on the first day) is next Thursday at 3:30 PM. Then, the very next day she gets more scans at 2:30 PM. TWO DAYS OF NOT EATING! ARGHHHHHHHHHH!
This is one of my most frustrating issues. In my head I understand scheduling and all of that, but in my heart I just want to punch someone in the face. Honestly, we put a G-tube in this kid because she doesn't eat enough, and now we tell her, sorry kiddo, no eating for 2 days.
Even crying on the phone cannot change these stupid scans next week. Plus, there is the added stress of what these scans mean...is the chemo working or do we already have to move to step 2? (Plus report cards are due on Monday for me at school!)
Meanwhile, Ally is still kicking butt. She is tolerating chemo well, being in an awesome mood, and refusing to take her afternoon nap. Love her!
Posted by puddle at 4/01/2009 09:08:00 pm
Tarot - The Fool
The Fool fearlessly begins the journey into the unknown. To do this, he does not regard the world he knows as firm and fixed. He has a seemingly reckless disregard for obstacles. In the Ryder-Waite deck, he is seen stepping off a cliff with his gaze on the sky, and a rainbow is there to catch him. In order to explore and expand, one must disregard convention and conformity. Those in the throes of convention look at the unconventional, non-conformist personality and think "What a fool". They lack the point of view to understand The Fool's actions. But The Fool has roots in tradition as one who is closest to the spirit world.
Posted by puddle at 4/01/2009 12:00:00 am