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I must flea!

We are waging all-out war against those little buggers, fleas. Everyone says this is a bad year for them, because we had a mild winter, but whatever the reason they are a plague here. We treated the inside cats once last year and they were fine (as far as we could tell.) But this summer!! Gross…

But the cats have been amazingly cooperative as we ply them with pills, collars, and the stuff you dab on their necks. All but one cat, who earned the coveted Vet Visit for flea treatment and two vaccination jabs. Isn’t it amazing how cats struggle when they must go in the carrier, then at the vets place they don’t want to get out of it? And how they howl on the way there, but never make a peep on the way home? They are looking a little hunted, and won’t come to the lap for a snuggle. Which is OK by me, right now.

And in case I haven’t said it, I love the internet. I was having a fit with HP Image Zone crashing ever time I started it, and that is the program I use all the time to tweak my photos, leaving Photoshop for the complex editing. It all had to do with a new printer (one that we gave R at Christmas several years ago, and she never even opened the box.) Somehow I messed up the photo editing program with the scanning of an image, and the fix was not intuitive. But what I did was type the whole error message into Google (“An outgoing call cannot be made since the application is dispatching an input-synchronous call.” What the hell does THAT mean??) And the first or second hit was the simple answer, through Task Manager. All this was after 3 hours of re-installing printers, restarting the computer numerous times, and looking on the internet under the name of the program. Live and learn.

I have another herceptin infusion on Wednesday. I asked the oncologist about taking that Hawaiian cruise in March, even though the treatments won’t quite be finished, and he said, Go for it. So I will call the travel agent this week and start the ball rolling. I will add more in the next post or two. Planning travel out of Morgantown is always a challenge, our airport only flies to Dulles, and only twice a day. Small town, eh?

Bumper sticker of the day: “Double your drive space! Delete Windows!”

Posted by Redhead at 3:04 AM 2 comments

Monday, October 03, 2011

Meme for today

This is the “Where I’m From” writing template that I found on I Wasn’t Blogged Yesterday. This is my result:


I am from fountain pens, from the Parker Pen Co. and the smell of blue ink.

I am from the ice cream house, older but just right and filled with the smell of candles and the feel of tall grass.

I am from the marigold flower, the only kind I can get to grow outside.

I am from a family tradition of big meals and big eaters, from Grandma Knight and Mom and Aunt Nina who swapped out Christmas and Thanksgiving at their homes every year.

I am from a family that tells tall tales and laughs loudly.

From being told as a child “your face will freeze that way” and “stand up straight”.

I am from a Baptist church that broke up in strife and took my spiritual life with it.

I’m from West Virginia farmers from before the Revolutionary War, from raising horses and growing bumper vegetable gardens (which I also can’t seem to grow).

From the family story of a certain speeding ticket in Claxton Co., GA and why Dad would never eat fruitcake; and the story of how daughter R ended up being born in San Francisco instead of WV. (N accepted a job here in WV and we sold our California house, and then I went into labor 10 weeks early; R stayed in the Intensive Care Nursery in California for 2 months while I lived in a friend’s home and N, the horse, the cats, the dog, and all our belongings went to WV.) Beach Boys “California Girl” in my head now…

I am from a genealogy index of more than 2500 family members, and I can relate family lore of soldiers and scoundrels, show photos dignified and hilarious and I know the difference between second cousin and first cousin once removed (which no one really cares about). I will probably never finish the family of Knights, but I get a great kick out of looking for all the Peter Knights in WV.

Whew! That all took some heavy thinking…

Bumper Sticker for the day: “If you can read this I’ve lost my trailer!”

Posted by Redhead at 10:51 AM 2 comments

Saturday, October 01, 2011


I feel like I deserve a blue ribbon for today. My daughter and I went shopping together for 2 small rugs for her bedroom. On Thursday new laminate flooring will be put down, and she needs a rug where her computer chair wheels will be, to avoid scoring it over and over, and another one at the side of her bed. You would think this was a fairly easy task, wouldn’t you? AH HA but you haven’t been shopping with R. No decision is ever easy, and after two stores, one of which was holding a rug and home decor sale, she still couldn’t settle on anything. Finally in desperation I picked up two striped throw rugs around the right size, and told her she could see better how they would look at home, and return them if not satisfactory. She hesitantly agreed and we made our way home (in the pouring rain, I might add). The rugs look great, and she LIKED WHAT I PICKED OUT! Be still my heart.

She doesn’t read this, by the way.

So right now the dining room is once again serving as a holding room, this time for two bedrooms full of stuff and the furniture from them. The dining table is completely covered, which doesn’t matter since there isn’t room to pull out a chair anyway. The last time it was full of stuff like this, was the time the sewer line had to be re-dug and the storage shed had to be moved, the one with all the junk in it that I couldn’t fit in the house to start with. Here is the link, if you are interested Moving along

Anyway, this at least will result in a positive improvement in the house, and not just a big muddy filled-in hole. In a few more weeks, the all-wood doors will be installed on all the hall doors, replacing those horrible hollow dark plain doors. I’ll try to remember to take some before-and-after photos. The next project will be the kids’ bathroom, and I am not looking forward to the turmoil that will result when it is torn out.

I finally got a copy of my PET/CT scan results, which I requested about 4 weeks ago. All 3 pages. They don’t say anything the oncologist didn’t tell me (his exact words were, “It all looks good”), but I like to read reports like this myself. And keep them in my files with the other breast cancer stuff. My version of compulsive, you could say.

Bumper sticker for the day: “I just let my mind wander and it didn’t come back.”

Posted by Redhead at 7:06 PM 2 comments

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Bound and determined

Next month will mark the 7 year anniversary of this blog. It amazes me that I could natter on and on (with so little to show for it) and with so little to really say :-} but I began to feel like it could all vanish with a server failure at blogspot, and so I got one of those online web sites to convert my posts into a pdf document which I then printed out and voila! I had it bound on Friday, all 243 pages. What, exactly, I plan to do with this is a puzzlement but at least I can use it as a doorstop if all else fails. My therapist calls it a memoir, but I’d like to think a real memoir would have a bit more substance to it. Ah well, that’s why I call this random (unplanned) micro (very small) thoughts.

I had always planned to get both bedrooms that the kids use re-carpeted and re-painted once they moved out, but (ah hem) that doesn’t seem to be a reality anytime soon, so we told them that they had to clear out everything, leaving only the main furniture, so the floors can be redone with wood laminate, and the wall paper stripped and the walls re-painted. They both keep very neat bedrooms, always have, but they were stuffed to the gills with books, computer games and consoles and CDs. So this weekend they have been sorting, tossing, donating and boxing everything up and what revelations they have made. R found shoes, still in the box, under her bed; C found a backgammon set, very nice, that none of us could identify as to origin. Long lost books were found, and I am the beneficiary of a bunch of unopened CDs that I think were mine to start with. Not that it matters, really, but still… Once C got his bookcases empty, he knocked them apart and threw them out the window in pieces, so much faster than carrying them all down the stairs and outside. It worked OK but seemed a little, um, bold, but they were in awful shape and his window faces the back of the house where only the horses and dogs can view the chaos and be offended.

I’ve been doing some bidding on ebay, it is an awful addiction of mine that I try to do conservatively. It must be working, or I’ve lost my touch, because the last several auctions I have been outbid in the final 15 seconds of the auction. I usually bid at 30 seconds to the end, but that apparently is not good enough to win. Just as well, the whole house would look like the kids’ bedrooms and poof! there goes my image.

This post has been a little more random and tiny than usual, so I will leave with this bumper sticker: “Don’t make me get out my red pen!”

Posted by Redhead at 8:26 PM 2 comments

Saturday, September 10, 2011


Here it is the 10th and I haven’t posted in over a week. Just one of those times when there is more to do and less energy to do it with. We’ve been managing the battle with the cats’ fleas, and I think we’ve finally gotten the upper hand. How they get fleas when they never go outside I can’t figure out, but one of our cats is solid white and she is the bellwether for all of them. We have (wince) 7 cats indoors and now 3 outside barn cats that we feed regularly, plus visiting cats from the neighbors. Really, I’m not one of those crazy cat ladies, they were all legitimate cat rescues or the result of an ill-advised trip to the local pound. I have told N that he is to take the keys away if I ever suggest going to the pound again. So many lovely cats, and they euthanize 1 of every 2 cats. So heartbreaking.

The echo cardiogram went quickly and the tech said there wasn’t anything she saw that was different from the original scan done before I started the chemo. A little leaky valve, but nothing serious. I am thinking about uncrossing my fingers any day now, I think.

I still haven’t finished the mountainous task of organizing the photos, I am waiting for the storage boxes to arrive, then I will be able to sort better and to label the back of each photo as to who is who. The “when” will be the tricky part, trying to relate hair style and furniture and background, as well as how old the children look, to figure an approximate date. It was so nice when the film developers put dates on the back; now my camera will print the date on the front, not the date it is printed (like the old ones were) but the actual date it was taken. All these modern conveniences.

I want to sign up for another on line photo class, like the ones I did before, but the assignments every week can be labor intensive, and I’m not sure I can master the effort to do it justice. And I had a phone call from Holland America (cruise line) to ask about booking a cruise to Hawaii, but that can’t happen unless I finish with the Herceptin therapy earlier than expected. The season ends in early April for those cruises, because of the weather. I’d like to do it in December or January, wouldn’t it be heaven to leave a cold wet winter here for sun and surf in Hawaii? (Sigh). There is a live webcam at Turtle Bay resort on Oahu, the camera pans back and forth, aimed at the beach cove on the eastern side of the resort, and you can hear the surf, and see people walking along the shore. I visit there often. Here is the link if you are interested:

Turtle Bay web cam

I bet this resort costs and arm and a leg.

Bumper sticker for the day: “Optimism. Waiting for a ship to come in when you haven’t sent one out.”

Posted by Redhead at 10:09 AM 1 comments

Monday, August 29, 2011


Hard to believe summer is nearly over, especially as the high today is 90 degrees. When we first lived here, 30 odd years ago, there was no air conditioning, but we had a whole house fan in the hall ceiling that blew into the attic, and if we ran it at night and closed the window shades in the day, the house stayed perfectly cool. Now we have central air, and a window unit in the dining room which has windows on three sides (and is hotter than the rest of the house), and I can’t imagine doing without them. I not only believe in the reality of global warming, I think it has been quietly gaining ground for at least 25 years. I hate hot weather. I grew up in Miami Florida, back in the ancient days of the 50s and 60s, and we had no air conditioning at home either. I didn’t know anybody who did. If you got too hot, you went to a department store or the movie theater. There we also had a lot of rain, so it was nice and steamy as well as hot. Now the area is sweltering and having a drought, not an improvement. Even hurricane Irene didn’t do much to change that; what they need is steady light rain for an extended time, and not torrential downpours that run off and not soak in.

Here is a photo from the 50s of me, my older sister, and our grandmother, in front of the house in Miami. The big awnings kept the house cooler and folded down to protect the windows in a hurricane. We had several hurricanes, what they mainly meant to me was that school was cancelled (if in the fall). Never thought about the storm itself, or how the house could be damaged with us in it. Sweet ignorance of youth.

The visit with the oncologist was uneventful and the only wrinkle is that I go next week for an echo cardiogram to check that all is OK in the heart department. I had one when I first began the chemo, and it is fast and painless, so no trauma to do.

I’m sleepy and want a nap, so I’ll leave you with this bumper sticker: “Ever wonder what the speed of lightning would be if it didn’t zigzag?”

Posted by Redhead at 7:30 PM 1 comments

Thursday, August 25, 2011

All is well.

The result of the PET/CT imaging is back and everything is OK! WHEEE! I love that they called me so quickly, the waiting is the worst. Thank all of you for your kind thoughts and prayers. I see the oncologist next week, and then every three weeks thereafter, but at this point in time, there are no tumors or growths anywhere. I will still receive the antibody Herceptin for a year total, and thank you Uncle Sam for the Federal employee BC/BS insurance, we couldn’t do this without it.

And thank you, S, for the yummy cheesecakes, I’m ready to celebrate with it. I’d also been ready to commiserate if necessary with cheesecake; it’s the all occasion dessert, but celebrating is the best.

The photo is one from the Web, but the apparatus looks just like the one I was in, head first, for 20+ minutes while laying perfectly still. With your arms over your head, and your head braced in position. After receiving radioactive glucose and a contrast media, IV. All in all, though, not really that bad. I’m just glad it is over, and all is fine. And did I thank all of you??

Bumper sticker of the day: “If I must die, let it be Death by Chocolate.”

Posted by Redhead at 2:40 PM 3 comments

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Bits and pieces

I’m scheduled for another PET/CT scan later today. I know I won’t find out anything about my cancer status for days, maybe a week until my appt. with the oncologist, but I’ve already started obsessing over it. Will the tech doing the scan drop me any hints if I ask? Probably not. Will it do any good to call on, say, Friday? My jaw muscles are so tight it’s a wonder I can eat.


Willie has recovered from his sore hoof,so no more soaking, Hooray. My back is even on the mend from standing bent at the waist to hold his hoof in the water; if I removed my hand from his fetlock, out came the foot, usually kicking the bucket over as it did.

Let me see… Oh yes, Google adsense emailed me that I have a $10 check coming, thanks to nice people like you who click on one of the three ads up there on the top of my right sidebar. Of course, it has taken 5 months to accumulate $10, so I haven’t planned on a big spending spree just yet. Still, it is nice, and thank you for checking them out.

I’ve been busy listing used books for sale into my data base, so far I’ve gotten around 750. This is for ABEbooks, or Amazon, they email me shipping manifests and I ship the book off, national and international. So if you have a burning desire for a book that hasn’t been published in a coons age (see below), check them out. There is another button over on the right for that too, but it doesn’t pay me (sigh); in fact I frequently spend more in shipping than I get from the sale, after all the monthly charges and all the commissions. I also think I’ve bought more books than I have sold, which is not resulting in the clearing out of 40 years of accumulated books that are in every nook and cranny of this house. But now that I have the Kindle, I’m hoping I’ll stop buying print books (mostly) and I guess a lot of people are doing the same and paper books will be going the way VHS tapes went in recent years.

Our neighbor across the road has successfully trapped those pesty raccoons that have been raiding our cat food in the garage and our trash cans. The most elusive one was a huge beast and the big concern was that he was too large to get in the trap, until we borrowed a very big trap. And you know what was used for bait? Peppermint patties. Apparently coons are wild for peppermint, and as an added bonus, cats aren’t interested at all, so no risk of catching one.

Well, one of our house cats (Mac) would eat peppermint, he eats everything, from jelly beans to cantaloupe, quite a scrounger if we let him. Here he is:

Thought for the day: “Never confuse movement with progress.”

Posted by Redhead at 2:14 AM 2 comments

Saturday, August 13, 2011


Here it is 4:30 am, wide awake and stiff as a board. Thursday Willie, my big bay gelding, was lame -three legged lame- in his pasture. So, figuring a stone in his foot N and I went to him with halter and hoof pick. He didn’t mind having that leg picked up, but when I commenced picking at it, he yanked it back. So I tried again, and he yanked it out of my hands, reared and tried to strike (and his foot bled a bit from the frog). Time to call the vet. He came that afternoon, and tranquilized him so he didn’t care what went on down there on his legs, and picked out the stone and checked for any abscess. That little stone cost $200. Now I’m doing the twice a day soak in warm epsom salts, for 10 minutes or until he kicks over the bucket, which ever comes first. And vile tasting meds in his grain for the pain. Anyway, all this to explain how I came to be so stiff it hurts. I’m OK on the bendy-over, but not so good on the straighteny-uppy. Never a dull moment.

Here is Willie:

And as an aside, I am SOOO glad the barn has hot water in the tack room, I don’t know how I got along without it. Well, really I do know – I hauled buckets from the house, boo hiss.

I go on the 23rd for another PET/CT scan, see if all is OK from the chemo. Waiting is the hardest part of all this. Maybe that’s why they call us patients; I don’t want to think about why it is called a medical practice.

And this is what I call a perfect day.

Bumper sticker for the day: “How do I set the laser printer to stun?”

Posted by Redhead at 4:25 AM 3 comments

Saturday, August 06, 2011


Just a little silliness to pass along.

It’s 2:45 am here, and I am battling nausea every time I try to lie down. So, sitting up. I can hardly keep my eyes open.

I’ve been poking around in my stuff here in the computer room (closet) and have found neat stuff, lots and lots of memo pads with different artwork. Also, some older games (which are not compatible with WinXP, never mind Win7), maybe they will be worth something some day? They’ve hardly been out of the box. Let’s see… Oh, I found some money ($35), it’s mine now by crikey. Found my long-lost stapler, and my Garfield eraser. Special stuff, you know?

Last week N, C and I spent 3 hours on the dogs’ coats. The black and white Newfy just needed raking to remove the dangling bits, but oh, what a mess the black one was. She has a ‘cotton coat’ that mats really easily, and being a barn dog, has tons of sticker bushes and twigs to give her the complete Rasta look. Her we have to clip to the skin. I have 3 pairs of clippers, and we needed them all. I wrote about this last year here, it’s not like this is a big surprise, but each time we do it, I think longingly of a lab with a short coat.

I also cleaned out the garage last weekend, it took forever for it to dry, it was so humid. But it looks and smells better, got all the recycling done, while N mowed and trimmed. You know, I have another guilty pleasure — driving through a neighborhood and staring into people’s open garage doors. Man, I thought we had a lot of junk. At least we use my garage to park my car:

Granted, a Miata is a small car, but still.

I feel good about these little efforts, after so long of having no energy to spare. I still have to sit down while I’m working at tasks like defrosting the freezer, or doing laundry, but then I catch my breath and go on. I know if I constantly do things only in my comfort zone, that zone will get smaller and smaller. Better to push on, as I can.

I think I’ll try going to bed again, so I’ll leave you with this bumper sticker: “I could do so much more if I only had minions.”

Posted by Redhead at 2:43 AM 5 comments

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Butterfly award

An award! How nice! The butterfly award comes via SkippyMom, and includes 3 (luckily easy) steps:

1.) Link to the person who gave it to you.
2.) Answer some questions
3.) Pass it along to someone else.

So here goes…

Skippy Mom Her blog is one of the best I read.

Favorite color: Purple. The butterfly color itself, how serendipitous !

Favorite song: Oh, a hard one, it changes so frequently. Right now I’d have to say the one by Kenny Rogers “Water and Bridges”.

Favorite Dessert: I don’t think I’ve ever met a dessert I didn’t like, but cheesecake wins in the long run.

Favorite Pet: I’d have to say my first horse, Poco.

What wizzes you off? People who say they will do something, but then try to get out of it, or just blow you off. I’ve always thought that if I didn’t want to do something, then refuse when asked and not when it’s time to do it.

When I am upset I: Cry. So embarrassing, and often inappropriate too. I’ve pretty much given up agonizing over it, but it would be nice if I had more control of the waterworks.

Black or white: Black.

My biggest fear: right now? That my breast cancer is not in remission.

Everyday attitude: Mellow. Now that I am retired, the relief from being able to set my own schedule is enormous.

What is perfection to you? The love I share with my family.

Guilty pleasure: Eating smokehouse almonds. And then licking my fingers.

I’m passing this along to:

Lucky Lady

Thank you, SkippyMom!

Bumper sticker for the day: “Madness takes its toll. Please have exact change.”

Posted by Redhead at 10:30 AM 5 comments

Friday, July 29, 2011


Today would have been my mom’s birthday, she would have been 93, but she passed 13 years ago, at 80. It doesn’t seem like it has been that long to me, sometimes when I am half asleep I hear what sounds like her voice, but it is R, my daughter, that I hear. Lots of mom’s ancestors lived to be into their 90s — her mom died at 98, and doing genealogy I find many who lived to over 100, remarkable for the time when medicine was so primitive, if available at all. Mom was born in 1918, the year of the big flu epidemic that swept the world, especially in England. Her folks lived on a farm here in West Virginia, and certainly benefited from limited exposure to travelers and such. She had a twin, but her sister (my aunt) died at 57 from a stroke, so 80 was pretty remarkable given that Mom had diabetes and a bad heart.

I had a second transfusion and will probably need another, if my extreme fatigue is anything to go by. The oncologist doesn’t seem too concerned, although he says many have the entire 6 cycles and never need blood, but I try not to read anything dire into his comments. I worked in the blood bank at the hospital for 5 years or so, and the vast majority of blood was used by bone marrow cancer patients, post ablation of their own bone marrow. That, and extreme bleed-outs from trauma, which were always a crisis for us, especially on weekends when there were only two of us in the blood bank. Glad all of that is over and done with, I can’t imagine having that kind of stressful job now, tho it seemed OK at the time.

I’ve been slowly (very) organizing our photos from the last 30 years – I should say, ours + my parents’ + N’s parents’ + my grandmother’s photos. I did real well there for a while, but now it feels like such drudgery with no end in sight. I gave up on chronological sorting and went with categories like horses, pets, our kids, family and (drat) miscellaneous, for each collection. When the kids were small, I always got triple prints made and sent one set off to the grandparents, and now I have three prints of each back again, in no particular order. The albums that I do have are just going to stay the way they are, even tho a lot of what is in them is meaningless now — flowers, friends, photos too dark, too light, bad exposure, etc. and I am rigorously throwing away all the negatives. And if it is a photo I took, and even I can’t identify who or where or when, out it goes. I have 6 huge plastic tubs to go through, and if I don’t do it now, when would I?

I can’t think of what I wanted to write here, so I’ll post this for now and stick the rest on above or within this once my chemo brain spits the topic out.

Bumper sticker for the day: ” The secret of staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age.”

Posted by Redhead at 2:00 PM 4 comments

Friday, July 22, 2011

Playing possum

Last night we caught a possum in the have-a-heart trap, the last night of our pest control contract. At least we caught something for all the $$$ we put up. I think we will be buying one of these traps to use ourselves as needed for raccoons. Also, as we drove past some neighbors on the next road, I saw a trap in their yard too, so maybe someone else caught our marauders.

Wednesday was the last (6th) cycle of my chemotherapy and I celebrated with turtle cheesecake, yum!

Now I go every three weeks (instead of every week) and get the herceptin, the antibody to the her2.neu antigen site on the tumor cells, a targeted treatment that I will need to take for an entire year, but at least it doesn’t make me ill. Just a little headache-y during the infusion. Sometime in August I will get another PET/CT scan to look for metastatic sites, so fingers crossed until then. The infusion center at the local hospital will be moving in August to a new location, which I hope will include more comfortable chairs, both infusion ones and regular chairs for the family. Probably not though.

Not much else to report from here, so here is the bumper sticker for the day–“Beware. Karma has a wicked sense of humor”

Posted by Redhead at 11:11 AM 5 comments

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Us vs. Raccoons

We have those miserable destructive creatures, raccoons, making nightly visits to our garage, through the cat door. They pull everything off the shelves to get to the dry cat food container, spill it all over the floor and then s*** all over the garage. Last week we contacted a pest control business, and they started on Monday setting have-a-heart traps. So far no joy. It is complicated, as we have to shut the garage cats up at night so they don’t get caught in the traps themselves, and they are all pretty wild, of the four only one will let me pick her up, and that’s probably because at 15+ years she’s too slow to get away. Then we have to spring the traps in the morning before letting the cats out of their (garage) prison. I saw part of “over the hedge”, an animated movie about suburban wild animals, and the main character is a raccoon, which I did not find amusing whatsoever.

Only one more chemotherapy cycle (as far as I know now) scheduled for next week. My hair is now more fuzzy as it grows in — I call it my tennis ball hairstyle. The second wig I got, where I went to a store rather than ordering from a catalog, is much more comfortable and a better color match. It is a sort of long shag style. I still flinch when I catch a glimpse of myself, with or without the wig. I have a sort of phantom sensation that my hair is still there. I feel like it is brushing against my face or neck, for example, and then when I put my hand up I find nothing but fuzz. Weird.

I have been e-shopping some lately, as I don’t have the energy to go to the mall. My latest find is a new quilt for the bed. Nothing like lying in bed for hours staring at nothing much to reveal the tattered-dy bits of the bedroom decor. I did scrub the bathroom to high gloss last week, I was sore for two days afterwards, but boy did I appreciate it the next night as I was on the floor “worshiping at the porcelain throne” so to speak. I need new throw rugs in there, I found.

The only topic left to explore here is the weather, and I will spare all of you that. (It’s hot.)

A thought for the day:” People are more violently opposed fur than leather because it’s easier to harass rich women than motorcycle gangs.”

Posted by Redhead at 10:32 AM 2 comments

Friday, June 24, 2011

I vant your blooood

I had to get two units of blood transfused last week, it took 5 hours, but I feel a lot less tired for now. (I’ve donated blood lots of times, but I never thought I would need some myself.) White cell count really low too, I’ll probably get a bone marrow booster (Neulasta) for that next week. From what I read online, it can be pretty grim for a few days afterward, but I don’t want to get an infection and have to be hospitalized. Meanwhile the advice is for lots of hand washing, staying away from people with colds or the flu, washing/cooking food thoroughly, and staying away from crowds. That pretty much rules out trips to WalMart on several levels.

My hair is growing in and so I have this fine white crew-cut all over my head. I hate it, and try my best not to see myself in mirrors.

But all in all the chemotherapy is going pretty well, with only minimal nausea and so forth. And the insurance is now covering 100% of costs, as we have met the catastrophic limit for out of pocket. Yay! Just as an example, the two units of blood + infusion came to $1500. I am really really grateful to Blue Cross.

Bumper sticker of the day: “There’s no time like NOW to postpone doing stuff.”

Posted by Redhead at 9:50 AM 2 comments

Sunday, June 19, 2011


There have been entire summers when we didn’t have a thunderstorm the entire season. And then there is this summer.. ..
thunderstorms and torrential rainstorms regularly. Last night was a real hide-under-the-bed storm at around 1 am. The horses were out and I was standing on the back porch with my mega flashlight trying to see if the beasts were under the old barn, out of the rain at least. So of course they were “hiding” under a tree and were soaking wet. They were visible only when the lightning flashed, and so N and son C put on slickers and went out to round them up. First step was to corral the dogs into their stall, lured there with a hot dog since they too were quivering from the continuous thunder and lightning and wanted only stokes. Then he opened the big barn doors and the horses nearly knocked C down getting to their stalls. They shut the doors and came back in and the thunder still roared, up until 4 am. Nobody got much sleep.

Today’s forecast was more of the same, so we left them in the barn, and it never rained a drop, and thundered not at all. Still we left then in tonight, and the biggest storm is due to hit shortly. I’m using the Macbook so I don’t lose the entire post should the power go out unexpectedly. Around midnight the neighbors decided to treat all of us with fireworks, and I am sure the horses now think they are doomed to be violently assaulted every night. Since this is the county, none of this is illegal; just poor manners.

The thunder is getting closer and I will soon have 3 chicken cats trying to squeeze into little balls under the bed, they hate the noise so much they won’t even come out for treats.

Bumper sticker for the day: “Oh NO! Not another learning experience!”

Posted by Redhead at 1:15 AM 1 comments

Friday, June 03, 2011

Still hanging in there

I didn’t intend to let my posting here slide so long, but I didn’t want this to become a long harangue about breast cancer treatment, and yet there is little I think about except the next step in my treatment.

Last week we went to a local antique mall and I found something neat. There was a wooden box, about twice the size of a cigar box (dating myself again) with an inlaid design on the top and there on the front, the initials of my name (MH). It was only $40 and I never thought twice about getting it. When we got it home, I wiped off the dust and crud (carefully) and when I got to the bottom, I thought I saw some writing. Turns out there was an inscription in ink, barely visible through the scuffing and staining, that said “V. M. Hartley, (a date in April), 1858.” Because I do genealogy stuff myself, I looked up the name in the 1850 census records and found a Virgil and Matilda Hartley in a county near ours, just over the line in PA. His occupation is listed as “carpenter”. How about that? The inside of the box has a lip for a tray, which is missing, and I would say it most recently has stored hand tools; but probably it was intended as a flatware box. I haven’t been able to find any significant event associated with that family, like anniversary or wedding date or birthday, but I’m still looking. Lots of new genealogical data is showing up on the internet all the time. I’d like to find a way to bring up the ink inscription (I tried UV light and it doesn’t help) so I can trace it out on paper and keep it with the box. For now it sits in regal splendor on my dresser and holds some jewelry in boxes. A neat find.

Mostly what I collect is fountain pens. I may have written here before about the types of pens, and some of the best ones I have found were at garage sales and flea markets, but I think over the years there are a lot more collectors and fewer pens to go around. I watch Antiques Roadshow all the time, and I have so far never seen a pen there, which is great, because that might encourage new collectors. The best thing about collecting pens is that I can store a lifetime of pens in a shoe box. I pity those who collect bulky stuff, like china or weather vanes and so on, they end up with half their stuff stored in boxes in the basement for lack of room to display all of it. My only problem is to keep writing with a few at a time, so the ink will flow. I can understand why ball points were such an instant hit, back around WW II, blobby and smeary they were, because they wrote right away, no wiping or blotting needed, and no need to find a refill ink bottle. I had my father’s fountain pen I used in elementary school, until I dropped it somewhere on the sidewalk one day when I was dashing home to avoid a rainstorm. I went over every inch of ground I passed, but I never found it. I have an identical pen now, but it isn’t quite the same, you know?

The washing machine is playing a tune now so I’ll leave you with today’s bumper sticker: “Any small object when dropped will hide under a larger object.”

Posted by Redhead at 12:07 PM 3 comments

Friday, April 29, 2011

Running on empty

I don’t know how frequently I will be able to post here. My weekly chemotherapy for breast cancer is very tiring and it makes me truly ill, many side effects one after the other, for several days afterwards. I still see all of your comments in my email, and I appreciate that I am going through this with support from all of you who comment. The chemo has been two cycles so far, with 6 or 8 cycles total. They have had to change my treatment plan because the first program was well on the way to shooting my liver down in flames (slight exaggeration). But the weekly herceptin treatment (monoclonal antibody) will be continued for a full year. Yeah me. I will try to keep in touch here, and hopefully I will be able to report that the treatment was a complete success against any potential metastases. And it is possible that the side effects will wind down somewhat once my body is more acclimated to feeling like s**t all the time.

Meanwhile, carry on…

Bumper sticker for the day: “Boldly going nowhere”

Posted by Redhead at 8:06 PM 3 comments
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divided loyalty

If I give up on blogspot, and migrate here instead, will anybody read my posts? I only have fewer than a dozen readers who “follow” me, and all the rest are channeled in by blogspot as people who are surfing blogs to earn readers for their own blog. The blog here looks better, I think, but what does that matter if no one reads it? Divided.

Hello world from Random Micro Thoughts

This is my first attempt at using WordPress.  I have been blogging for 7 years on Blog Explosion ( but have not made the decision to move completely over to WordPress.  Nevertheless, I have activated this account in case I change to WordPress (with a lot of help).  I may check out using, too.  You are welcome to view my blogspot blog, and leave a comment that you got there from here!  Thanks!


Welcome to After you read this, you should delete and write your own post, with a new title above. Or hit Add New on the left (of the admin dashboard) to start a fresh post.

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