Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Little Things ~ May 28, 2013

I'll get to the nitty-gritty, rode hard and put away wet, rest of the story about my TACE Procedure at UCSF in my next post, but today is for celebrating simple pleasures.

Wednesday ~ May 22nd

A splendid day in SF, our airbnb flat (https://www.airbnb.com/) was off the scale. We're going to return there when I have a repeat performance at UCSF in late June. We logged 3 miles around the Cole Valley and Golden Gate Park, discovered a great Thai restaurant called Ploy II on Haight and the Ice Cream Bar across the street from our aerie. We had mint chocolate chip, but did you know there was such a flavor as roasted strawberry and goat cheese? We didn't try it, but the girls sitting next to us said it was amazing.

We spent hours in the late afternoon sun
reading on the chaise under the window

Friday and Saturday ~ May 24th and May 25th

Friday morning we busted out of UCSF and headed to familiar ground. Glad to be home but felt like refried poop. Couldn't get comfortable without anti nausea meds and Oxycodone. They say "better living through chemistry" but this took it to a whole new level. What brought me back to the living was Angel Pagan's walk off, inside the park home run, to win the Colorado game in the 10th.

Angel Pagan
Open link to watch this little miracle: http://soa.li/MERiuGU

Monday ~ May27th

New critters in the hood. Rod was sitting outside reading when a small herd of young weasels started playing tag around the greenhouse and our sheds. Neighbor Susie caught a couple of them on film.

Tuesday ~ May 28th

We had rain most of the night, a delightful surprise that settled the dust and gave all the plants a bath. Today was my first venture outside since getting home. It was warm so we had coffee and strawberry apple smoothies on the deck. I put on my sandals and toddled about the yard taking pictures. I must be on the mend.

 Potato Tree
 When you look out across our pasture
 freshly mown
 you understand why we call it home 
Raindrop Diamonds on Blue Spruce

Now I must pay tribute to the most caring man in the world. He's been at my side through all of this: he makes me laugh, rubs my shoulders, gives me pedicures, makes sure I take my medications, cooks amazing food, and has developed an infinite patience with his slightly cranky bride.

I am blessed beyond words. This afternoon he made a vat of beef stew and sourdough/parmesan biscuits. Be still my heart!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Thursday Treasures ~ May 16, 2013

We had to be in Petaluma early this morning for an appointment. After breakfast we decided on a walk at Shollenberger Park. There's a gentle 2.2 mile loop around the marshlands and along the Petaluma River. It is a great place for a leisurely walk and bird watching.

Cinnamon Teals and Tealettes
Our list today included: Canadian Geese (they should be renamed Sonoma County Geese as they no longer commute), swans, egrets, redwing blackbirds, stilts, avocets, mallards, cinnamon teals, northern shovelers, white pelicans, bank swallows and greenback swallows.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Album of the Heart ~ Undated Entry

To Miss Flora

Is there one pleasant word or passing thought,
The joy of which you fain would cherish
Then why not here without alloy,
Preserve them where they will not parish
Within the Album.

Fond recollections of the past,
Our present troubles oft dispel.
Where e'er in life, our lot be cast,
Kind memory throws her magic spell,
Around the Album.

Would you then from memory's store,
Retain one golden drop of pleasure.
The names, the works, of Friends of Yours
Preserve and ever fondly treasure,
Within the Album.

The lithograph "Dreaming" is from a painting by Brussels native Joseph Coomans (1816-1889). It's from an book I was given entitled "Famous Pictures" published in 1902. 
"The dream of Joseph Coomans' Pompeian maiden is evidently one of those which come by day to young ladies not insensible to the sentiment of love."
I just opened the book to a random page and there she was, the perfect vision for the poem to my great grandmother from the mysterious Gideon. 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Album of the Heart Series ~ Dated 1872

This lithograph is the first page of Great Grandmother Flora's commonplace book. The poem below was simply signed by "W". My guess is that it was written by someone in her family. Flora was only 13 at the time and these are definitely words of advice.

The Miniature
Two pages back, Dear Flora, 
A miniature. Behold!
The morn of life, the Aurora
Where two hearts are now unrolled.
The man has seized with pleasure,
The lockets from the maid,
While the casket, where the treasure
In safety once was laid
Is still in her own keeping
As hopeful now she waits,
While in each bosom sleeping
The thoughts that seal both fates.
So Flora is your young life,
Your heart a treasure shrined,
Will guard you mid the dangers rife
In you the true path find.
Go seek this path, this treasure,
To learn where you may rove,
Make life a Holy pleasure
And win a mother's love,
No richer Boon to child e'er given
than Mother's love
A Gift from Heaven
The world without will spread it's snare
Wherever you may roam.
Trust not the world, tis false. Beware!
Your Safety ~ Mother ~ Home
Then if in future years you bear
The name of Wife and Mother,
Your mother's Counsels you will wear,
No need to seek another.
For round you like a radiant Crown
It's shield and guard will be
A source of Joy that you will own
Through life and in Eternity

Friday, May 10, 2013

The Game is Afoot ~ May 10, 2013

I was notified on April 22nd that I'd been accepted into the UCSF Liver Transplant Program. I'm at the end of a long line of folks waiting for a new liver, but I am in line.

Since my diagnosis in January I'd been having a problem with insomnia, something I'd never experienced before. The mind just keeps grinding away on nothing in particular so falling asleep and staying asleep became a nightly challenge. 

Since receiving word of my listing I've been sleeping like a baby. Sometimes stress is not always obvious until it manifests itself physically. Knowing what's ahead has made a huge difference. I didn't realize how big the elephant in the room was until he left the building. It's amazing what some good news and a little rest will do for your energy level, outlook, and sense of humor.

The Sun lit tree
The Sunlit Tree
It could be 15 months to 2 years before I reach the top of the transplant list so interventional therapy is my first stop. On May 23rd I'm having a transarterial chemoembolization or TACE done at UCSF. My first overnight ever in a hospital. Oh Boy!

What it's all about:
Tumors thrive on highly oxygenated blood from the hepatic artery and blocking that supply may slow it's growth or kill it. For me this treatment is a bridging therapy to keep my tumor within eligible size parameters. It's a minimally invasive procedure performed by an interventional radiologist.
  • First, a chemotherapeutic agent is injected, via a delivery catheter, into the hepatic artery that provides the blood supply for the tumor.  Localized delivery of the agent, rather than systemic, drastically reduces the toxicity and side effects associated with chemotherapy. Amen to that!
  • Second, embolize or block the hepatic artery by infusing it with blocking agents, delivered through the same catheter. The dual effect is to poison the tumor and to cut off the oxygen-rich blood supply essential to its growth. The embolization of the tumor also increases the effectiveness of the chemotherapy, creating a synergistic effect between the two.

I've always been one to get up in the morning and choose a positive attitude. Nothing's going to change that. As far as I'm concerned this cancer is only a speed bump and I still rule the road!

Hoodwinked Fairy WALL PRINT - 8x10
Fairy ~ Magic and Mischief
We look at this time as a gift for exploring the world around us. We're ready for whatever is ahead. Right now we're planning on spending a great deal of time on blue highways in the months to come. Ruby and the Lily Pad are pointed north for the first adventure in late May.

Field Trips - large 16" x 24" paper print - rustic inspirational travel collage word art, orange yellow summer blue road adventure
Field Trips

Once again I must thank the brilliant minds of Etsy artisans who have always had the right stuff, no matter what the theme, when it comes to illustrating my blog.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Album of the Heart ~ March of 1874

Here is one leaf reserved for me
Among all the sweet memorials free;
And here my simple song might tell
The feelings thou must guess so well.
But could I thus, within thy mind,
One little vacant corner find,
Where no impression yet is seen,
Where no memorial yet has been,
Oh! It should be my sweetest care
To write my name forever there!

The entry is signed with a simple elegant "E"
The poem is from Irish poet Thomas Moore (28 May 1779 – 25 February 1852).  He was a man of many talents: a singer, songwriter, novelist and entertainer.  He led an interesting and well traveled life, though not without controversy.

Research reveals that this poem was written in the blank leaf of a "lady's commonplace book". The tradition of keeping a commonplace book is one that goes back for a number of centuries. Essentially it is a book that is used to organize and keep memorabilia that is devoted to a particular subject, a commonplace book often served as a means of family members passing on valuable information from one generation to another. Great grandmother Flora's Album of the Heart is by this definition a commonplace book, a term new to me. 

Friday, May 3, 2013

A Day at the Beach ~ May 1, 2013

We realized Tuesday evening that Wednesday was a free day: no doctor appointments, no promises to keep. It's going to be hot in Sonoma County so  we're thinking a day trip to Santa Cruz fits the bill. It will be cool on the coast and Rod wants more road hours learning the secrets of Ruby the Explorer so there you go!

A vacation is having nothing to do and all day to do it in ~ Robert Orben

We left home about 9:30am. As soon as we're off the Golden Gate Bridge we turn right and head south through the Presidio. We got into Santa Cruz about noon and decided to check out the Boardwalk. I'd never been there and it'd been decades since Rod's last trip. We parked nearby, had a great lunch El Hermoso Mar and then toddled across the street for a walkabout.

Boardwalk Architecture
We didn't know it until we got there, but May 1st is opening day for the summer season. Fortunately for us the park was only partially open due to ongoing repairs and construction. It was great to be able to look around without crowds.  
The Coaster to Nowhere ~ still working on this puppy
We next walked out to the end of the pier. Families with strollers, itinerant musicians and rafts of seals floating in the sun brought smiles and conversations with strangers.
There are a number of restaurants and retail shops on the pier, but this one caught our attention. All the five basic food groups, eh? We bought a half pound of dark chocolates: including molasses squares, mixed nuts, and salted caramels.

Oh Baby!
 The view at the end of the pier

We started back north about 3:30, but not wanting to get into San Francisco for the commute hour, we decide on a stop at Ana Nuevo State Park. We did a little exploring, but want to take some of the longer trails next time we're in the neighborhood. It's gorgeous and uncrowded midweek.

View from the Pond looking West
The Pond

The reserve is home to herons, mallards, kingbirds, pelicans, egrets, black phoebes and yellowthroats to name a few. Ana Nuevo's plants and wildlife depend on this valuable freshwater environment to thrive. In conjunction with adjacent and nearby public lands, the unit permits the protection of important regional ecological corridors.

Cultural resources include the remnants of a prehistoric Native American village site and a number of structures from the 19th century Cascade Ranch which included a creamery. The cow barn was built from remnants of an old pier salvaged after a storm, the timbers are pretty impressive.

The Creamery

Back on the road, the next up was Bob's Produce just south of Pacifica. We'd seen it on the way south. We brought home artichokes, tomatoes, pasilla peppers, melon, squash and a flat of the biggest strawberries I'd ever seen (the kind you see dipped in dark chocolate).

The drive home from San Francisco was smooth and sane. Got back in time to tune in the Giants game and watch them once again pull the fat out of the fire. A great day and an excellent adventure.