Sunday, January 31, 2010

The President's Car

On Friday, I took the boys to McDonalds for dinner. As we sat in the drive-thru line, Victor pointed out to me "the President's car! Look! It's the President's car! It has the President's flag on it!"

He was pointing to a white Chevy Caprice with an American flag sticker on the back.

I gently explained that I didn't think it was President Obama's car, and that the American flag belongs to all of us, and any of us can put a flag sticker on our automobile. But, I said, I'm so glad you know what the flag looks like.

He was disappointed. Resigned, he noted a skull and crossbones sticker on the Caprice's door and said, "I guess it is a pirate car."

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


From the bathtub, Jeremy advises,

"Victor! Be nice to your brother. Don't spit in his eye!"

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sarah Goselin

On Friday evening, the phone rang. The number was unfamiliar, so when the lady calling asked for "Mrs. Swindlefun," Jeremy asked who was calling, please.

"Sarah Goselin."

I don't know anyone by that name, so he asked if she knew me from school or church or . . .

"I did not call to talk to you, Sir!" she snapped. And she hung up the phone.

This is where it gets interesting. Jeremy googled the phone number and found several accounts of this same lady calling other women and having identical conversations with their husbands.

Weirdy, weirdy.

The number is 704-999-9668, if you want to look it up.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

New Experiences

Today I did three new things.

1. I purchased a can of beets.

2. I chopped a leek.

3. I cooked quinoa.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Liz's Question

My sister Liz asked me if my cancer is gone or in remission.

I don't know.

All I can say is that there is no visible sign of it.

Also, a while back, Katrina asked how I found the cancer.

In September 2008 I started having severe abdominal pain in the lower right side. I thought I might have appendicitis, but a doctor told me it felt like an inflamed ovary. The pain came and went every other week or so, and I thought it was just my body adjusting to not nursing anymore.

When I had my annual ob exam in February, I hadn't felt any pain in a few days, but it had been severe the week or so before. Also, lying in bed, I had felt something--a big bump or lump--on the right side of my lower stomach. I mentioned it to my ob, who thought it might be fibroids.

An ultrasound showed it to be a very large ovarian cyst. It appeared to be fluid-filled and unremarkable except for its size (about 15 cm long). The blood tests showed elevated CA 125 (a cancer marker), but it was not high enough to raise alarm bells. My doctor thought it was a normal cyst, and said cancer was a far distant second given my age and family history.

The surgery, however, revealed highly invasive cancer cells in the cyst. Fortunately, they were all contained in the ovary. You know the story from there: a second surgery to stage the cancer, getting a port, chemo, pulmonary embolisms, lots of help from everyone.

The moral of the story is, if you have severe pain that wakes you up at night and keeps coming back and requires huge quantities of Advil Liquigels, go to your doctor and get it checked out.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

All Clear

I just finished my three-month post-chemo checkup. I'm pleased to report that the CT scan and exam showed no cancer AND no blood clots in my lungs, and my CA 125 was 8.

Perfect! Here's to a good year.

Friday, January 15, 2010


I happened to look in Zeke's mouth today.

It turns out that sometime in the past seven and a half months, Zeke acquired all four of his two-year molars without anyone noticing.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


I just got my first post-chemo haircut.

My hair is super-short, but it actually looks like I did it on purpose!


Monday, January 11, 2010

By Jer: Grand Reunion with an Analog Friend

Growing up in a small town in the years just before the whole Internet thing happened, new music was a special treat. It required a personal connection to someone in a bigger town with a better source of music than MTV, and if you grew up in Boron, you basically didn't have one. Because...who moved away? Much less to somewhere cool.

In 1992, my friend Dan Benedict went off to college. After several months, he generously sent me a tape (yes, children, a tape) of awesome music. I don't think I ever told him how awesome it was. I had some tapes, but this one dominated.

Dan wrote an album cover with band names and song titles. Sadly, the paper album cover disappeared way before the tape. Some of the bands had a distinctive sound, like Ministry and Jane's Addiction. I bought some albums the tape sampled, they were great.

But there was one song from that album I loved and had no idea where to get it. The lyrics, as best I recalled when like this:

You make yourself so beautiful
You make yourself so so beautiful
And I feel, feel I'm gonna
Set my self on FIRE

As a teenage boy, I felt the song perfectly stated how it felt to be with a girl you liked. Yeah, I never actually doused myself in gasoline, yet the sentiment was so accurate. I loved it. I loved the bass introduction, I loved the raw vocals, I loved energy and the yelling.

After I lost the tape, I still wanted to hear the song. It was one of those songs that you think of when your mind is empty, even for years and years. On my mission. Riding my bike. Driving to California. Trying to sleep. It was just kind of always there, as part of the background noise in my head.

So Saturday night I was cleaning the bathroom with headphones, when I suddenly realized that I HAD to hear the song; it was quite intolerable in this day and age that I didnt' have a copy. I went to Google and entered all the lyrics I could think of. I had done that several years ago and come up with squat.

Then, result number 12. I had it.

The album: "13 Songs" by Fugazi. Total mind blower. Even though I love Minor Threat, and I recently discovered Ian MacKaye's more recent post-post-punk effort, The Evens, I'd never really tried Fugazi.

Funniest part is, I had already put "13 Songs" on my player, as homework for myself to expand my knowledge of the post-punk classics. I had had this song in my pocket for months.

The song, which I was sure would be called "I'm gonna set myself on fire" is actually called "Margin Walker", yet another reason I hadn't found it previously. I found it on my player, and cranked it up.

It dominated the earth. I remembered the lyrics instantly, and loved them. I played it three times in a row. I felt like that guy in the eBay commercial who is reunited with his old toy boat.

I was so happy, I woke up Cyndie to tell her the great news. She tolerated my enthusiasm for a successful internet search like the genuine pioneer stock that she is.

This is it. To most of you, it will be a screamy, sophmoric irritation. Others of you will bore me with reasons other Fugazi songs are better or whatever. Yeah, it's not MacKaye singing, I know.

Few of you will enjoy it, but I think it is brilliant.

Margin Walker

Cute . . . but only the first time

After lunch today I said to Zeke, "Come on! Let's go read some books!"

"NEVER!" he replied (with a darling smile).

"Never, never, never, never, never, never, NEVER!"

It was hilarious. But only this once.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


Victor plays with cars and trucks and trains and jets all day long. His cars have conversations with each other.

For example, I just overheard:

Red Beetle: Excuse me, do you know the way to the conference room?

White Turbocharged Jetta: Yes, I do.

How does that even come up in his fantasy world? I guess he wants to grow up and go to meetings.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Zeke's Birthday

Zeke turned two on Christmas Eve. We had a nice lunch party of Hebrew Nationals, spinach salad, and cake. I even thought of some presents for him: Lightening McQueen slippers and a ball.

I wasn't sure what to do for his cake. I was thinking about duplicating the seven levels of the candy cane forest, when my sister Liz reminded me of the Four Elf Food Groups:


Candy Canes,

Candy Corn,

and Syrup (the frosting was maple buttercream--delicious).


Tuesday, January 5, 2010


Victor came running up to me while I was watching the news tonight. He was very excited.

"Mom! I cleaned the stuff off your bed! I smoothed it all! I forked it with my big, clever hands!"

Hmmmmm. It was worth a look.

Sure enough, he had taken my coat and scarf off the bed and neatly draped them over a chair. Then, he pointed to the large stack of folded towels that he had successfully moved from the bed to the dresser.

"I forked them!" And by way of illustration, he bent his elbows 90 degrees, with his forearms extended parallel to the floor.

Now I know that "forked" means "to move something in the way a forklift would move it."

This is Victor with his Christmas forklift. It's another winner from the Bruder toy company.

Monday, January 4, 2010


Yesterday was a big day. It was Victor's first day of Sunbeams. How marvelous!

When I picked him up at the end of church, he was wearing a green paper crown with "I am a child of God" written on it.

Me: Wow! What have you got?

Teacher: Tell your mom what it says. "I am a . . . "

Victor: KING!