Saturday, December 27, 2008
We'll manage to have a fun day though, playing with our Christmas Legos, games, and dollhouses. Rich is currently working on building Sarah's Dollhouse, having finished Mira's yesterday. Well, finished as in assembled. We'll wait on adding the gingerbread until it is painted, and painting will wait until all are built and the girls decide on colors and the shingling will happen after that, but the first order of business is actual playing. I'm actually a little jealous as two of the houses have milled hardwood floors already installed and the siding is size appropriate. Then again, I get to play with all 3 and help each girl paint & I can sew them bedding and curtains - even more fun playing with them than just working on my own dollhouse!
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Everything here is ready for the holiday. Cookies and bread and all sorts of yummies for tonights Christmas Eve Dinner - you should have smelled the house yesterday, especially when we had the dried fruit stewing with it's lemon peel, cloves and allspice, and the rye bread with it's grated orange peel, cloves and ginger. Heavenly. Even better was having the girls 'help'. Natasha and Sarah can both claim a dish as being 'theirs.' Never thought I'd be handing duties over so quickly but it's wonderful having them in the kitchen. Yes I took photos, and no, you probably won't see them until I make my December album after Christmas.
Need to wrap a few presents with the girls yet. The Traditional Polish dinner will be mid afternoon. No guests this year, just cozy with us as my parents are with my sisters family in Georgia preparing much the same meal - how comforting is that? Family presents will be exhanged this evening under the tree & by the fire. Probably not soon enough for the girls, espcially as they did some of their own shopping for family members this year.
After that, church. Mira is old enough that we'll be able to attend the late service this year with it's beautiful pre-service music. Actually, we've realized that as full and warm as the church gets combined with all the excitement of the day, she'll actually sleep through either service. So we may as well go to the late service where Natasha will be acolyting and I'll be helping with communion. A beautiful way to end the day, bringing focus back to the reason for the celebration.
Wesoyich Swiat! Merry Christmas!
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Yesterday I was in the living room and heard a snap. then the tree started to fall. Luckily a small table caught the top, keeping the entire tree from hitting the floor or we would have lost more ornaments. My neighbor helped prop the tree up so I could wipe up the water underneath the tree and the lego base plates - had to dismantle much of the lego village we build every year to get at the water. Then we managed to loosen the bolts, lean the tree into the corner, and tighten everything again. It's still standing with a small cutting board wedged under the bent part of the base to keep it level and all our handweight/dumbells weighing it down, just in case.
Turns out the 'crack' I heard was the baseplate of the stand giving way. Rich thinks there was a stress problem with the steel, and that it wasn't high enough guage. Ok, so we did have all the ornaments on 1/2 of the tree, given that it was in the corner. And it IS a heavy tree given that it has been drinking a gallon of water a day. Still - did it have to fall on the ornament side? At least 50 ornaments fell off, and we lost a good few, though at least 20 breakable ornaments on the floor and table were unharmed - only separated from their tops and hangars still on the tree. We collect ornaments every year and everyone here has ornaments from when they were babies. Each and every one holds memories of Christmases past. Thankfully none of the 'vintage' ornaments broke. I do remember buying the ones that broke - a large raspberry, a golden walnut, a sparkly plum -half of which is still missing, somewhere in the tree I think! A beautifully shaped golden and glass ornament, one of the old old old gold glass balls that glitter from way inside the tree, and a few others. The ones that make me saddest are the glass ball handpainted with a Polish scene on the inside (If I'm not mistaken it was actually made in Poland) and a heavy glass ball, painted with a snowy night and a santa-hat wearing cat atop a chimney. That one must have hit the edge of the table as it was quite thick. And the little white church with steeple and gold windows and doors that Rich & I purchased together was smashed too.
When Rich came home at lunch to survey the damage I joked about wanting to buy a package of clear glass ornaments and put the crushed pieces of ornaments inside and hang those on the tree. You know, I just may do it!
Ramses is doing well. We decided that as his cancer is an agressive one and not curable, we couldn't risk making his last few months miserable with surgery and chemo. We're told the average GOOD, quality of life time he might get out of that would be 6 months, and that is IF he goes into remission. As when he was ill last Spring, his back legs have started to not want to cooperate, making getting on & off the couch & beds difficult at times. Dr. Allison thinks he probably has an infection somewhere, so we'll start him on tuna-flavored antibiotics today to help with that. Otherwise he is asking for wet food several times daily, going outside to explore on nice days, doing his business quickly on nasty cold days, and cuddling and purring and generally being happy. I believe he knows - sometimes he just sits on my lap looking seriously into my eyes. The drooling irritates him too but getting his chin wiped and head scratched generally sets him purring again. Having this extra time with him is a gift we all appreciate.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Remember last spring when Ramses went through all sorts of tests, but ended up only needing 2 teeth pulled? (they were very very infected). When we came home from Thanksgiving he was again drooling blood onto my comfortor. Scared my poor best friend who had been watching the cats over the weekend. Thought, "Ok, it's that tooth Dr. Tom told us to watch out for." As it was I just couldn't squeeze it in to call for two days, so finally last Wednesday I dropped him off so he could be seen while I was still running around with the girls activities. We have the most wonderful caring vets.
That same Wednesday, Dr. Allison called back with the news that his remaining teeth are perfect, not even tartar present, and he's 13-14 years old! He has a tumor on his palate, looks like a HUGE canker sore, and deep. I agreed to some X-rays which came back clear, and his lymph nodes feel good. She gave me some faint hopes and we sent off a sample for biopsy. Unfortunately due to various reasons I didn't have much hope for the faint hopes, but they helped me hold it together for the girls this past week. We really haven't said much to them while waiting for test results, but he is receiving extra caresses and wet food.
Ramses was actually down a pound in weight, and now I realize that when he looked up at me in the kitchen the previous week he was not asking for fresh water (as he often does) but for wet food. Since being on the wet food he appears to have stopped bleeding from the lesion. He still drools about as much as some teething toddlers, but otherwise he is still himself, if not a little more affectionate after finally getting over being mad at me for bringing him to the vet in the first place. If you don't receive a Christmas Card this year it'll be because he has occupied my lap every night and I haven't the heart to put him off.
So, to today's news from Dr. Allison. It is mouth cancer - squamous cell carcinoma. Which is usually agressively invasive. They can surgically try to take as much as possible, but due to location know they will not get it all. Then we'd need to try Radiation or chemo. In the end, this would only buy him time. How much, no idea. I certainly don't want him to suffer more just for a few months. It's really hard to think about making these decisions when the only change you see is drool. We'll be finding more in the next few days as we hear from the internist who participated in his care last Spring who also happens to have an interest in oncology. Natasha has a band concert tonight and Rich is out of town, so we'll wait until Wednesday to start talking to the girls. Wish me luck, I cry at sappy commercials so this will be tough. And I've had a week to process some of the info.
Until then, any loud purring you hear would be that of Ramses getting extra loving and head scratching.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
We spent Thanksgiving at the White Eagle Restaurant (wonderful dinner, pierogis, sigh) with family, celebrating my Aunt & Uncles 50th wedding anniversary. It was lovely catching up with everyone and watching the 8 second cousins go from sitting across the table staring at each other to running up & down the (wide) hall outside the banquet rooms to pouting that it was time to go home. Hours later.
The rest of the weekend?
- Our standard stop Dollhouse/train store is gone gone gone. So sad.
- Lego store stops (yes, multiple!)
- Running Grandpa around on the playground, heehee. We ALL slept well that night!
- An EARLY morning for breakfast at the Walnut Rooom at State Street Marshall Fields, oh all right, Macy's. Of course we the first in line. Aren't we always? Tradition is lovely.
- Visit with Santa
- American Girl Place where Natasha could scarcely catch her breath.
- Free Michigan Avenue Trolley Ride.
- Christkindlmarket at Daly Plaza for potato pancakes and applesauce, bratwurst, hot spiced Gluhwein and keepsake mugs. Shopping the booths for pewter oranements and more.
- Playing games with Grandpa and building Fairy houses for Oma's Fairies.
The list? I lifted it from Amanda (look for her blog over on the right, she's the sweet friend who occassionally posts, hint hint you family who are reading!) who lifted it from Heather's blog. The things I've done are in bold/italic and I have to echo Amanda's thought that some of the things NOT bolded are not all things I would want to do. You 'll know which ones. How about you?
- Started your own blog
- Slept under the stars
- Played in a band. YES, Marching band does too count!
- Visited Hawaii
- Watched a meteor shower
- Given more than you can afford to charity . More than I thought I could afford. Doesn't count though.
- Been to Disneyland. World, not Land.Twice.
- Held a praying mantis
- Climbed a mountain. Does on a barely there path count?
- Sang a solo. Just not in public!
- Bungee jumped
- Visited Paris
- Watched a lightning storm at sea
- Taught yourself an art from scratch
- Adopted a child
- Had food poisoning
- Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty (well, as far as you can nowadays)
- Grown your own vegetables
- Seen the Mona Lisa in France
- Slept on an overnight train
- Had a pillow fight
- Hitch hiked
- Taken a sick day when you're not ill
- Built a snow fort
- Held a lamb
- Gone skinny dipping
- Run a Marathon
- Ridden in a gondola in Venice
- Seen a total eclipse
- Watched a sunrise or sunset
- Hit a home run
- Been on a cruise
- Seen Niagara Falls in person
- Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
- Seen an Amish community
- Taught yourself a new language
- Had enough money to be truly satisfied
- Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
- Gone rock climbing
- Seen Michelangelos David
- Sung karaoke
- Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
- Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
- Visited Africa
- Walked on a beach by moonlight
- Been transported in an ambulance
- Had your portrait painted
- Gone deep sea fishing
- Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
- Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
- Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
- Kissed in the rain
- Played in the mud
- Gone to a drive-in theater
- Been in a movie
- Visited the Great Wall of China
- Started a business
- Taken a martial arts class
- Visited Russia
- Served at a soup kitchen
- Sold Girl Scout Cookies (with my daughters)
- Gone whale watching
- Gotten flowers for no reason
- Donated blood, platelets or plasma
- Gone sky diving
- Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
- Bounced a check
- Flown in a helicopter
- Saved a favorite childhood toy
- Visited the Lincoln Memorial
- Eaten Caviar
- Pieced a quilt Halfway there? My mom is great at this!
- Stood in Times Square7
- Toured the Everglades
- Been fired from a job
- Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
- Broken a bone
- Been on a speeding motorcycle
- Seen the Grand Canyon in person
- Published a book
- Visited the Vatican
- Bought a brand new car
- Walked in Jerusalem
- Had your picture in the newspaper
- Read the entire Bible
- Visited the White House
- Killed and prepared an animal for eating
- Had chickenpox
- Saved someone's life
- Sat on a jury
- Met someone famous
- Joined a book club
- Lost a loved one
- Had a baby
- Seen the Alamo in person
- Swam in the Great Salt Lake
- Been involved in a law suit
- Owned a cell phone
- Been stung by a bee
- Read an entire book in one day