December 30, 2009
Here is a picture of our beautiful white fluffy flakes falling from the sky on 12/29/09. All of the snow that you see on the bench fell within a few hours. Those white spots are the snow flakes falling!
December 29, 2009
Oregon has several new laws which go into effect beginning this Friday, January 1, 2010.
The one which will impact drivers the most is the new “Hands Free” law. You can be fined $140.00 if pulled over for holding your phone while talking and driving. The same goes for texting.
House Bill 2377 prohibits all drivers from using a mobile communication device while operating a motor vehicle. A mobile communication device is defined as “a text messaging device or a wireless, two-way communication device designed to receive and transmit voice or text communication“.
“Under the new law, if you are over the age of 18, you may use a wireless device if you are using a hands free accessory that allows you to keep both hands on the wheel while you are driving. Drivers that are under the age of 18 may not use a wireless device in any case except specific situations such as an emergency or farming or agricultural operations. For other exceptions to the new law please use the link provided below to read the bill .” http://www.leg.state.or.us/09reg/measpdf/hb2300.dir/hb2377.a.pdf
Also, you can be pulled over and fined for not having your seat-belt on in a parking lot. That goes for children. So the best thing you can do is enact a special rule for your car. State calmly and firmly, ” This car doesn’t start unless everyone has their seat belt buckled.” Then don’t say another thing, just sit there facing front with your hands on the steering wheel until each passenger buckles their seat belt. Once everyone is buckled, say enthusiastically, “Thank you! Now we can go ….. ( shopping, to the movies, out to eat) “ . You fill in the blank. You will see that it won’t take long for them to comply easily and regularly.
While you are at it, please make sure that your childs car seat is properly installed. Please pay particular attention to the booster seats. I was shocked to learn that most of them are unsafe and actually can cause more injuries according to a recent recall. In Kansas our local Fire Station personnel would check car seat installations for free. I don’t know about here in Portland. I do know that if you purchase your childs car seat from Segal’s near Teal and Murray in Beaverton, they will give you excellent service and make sure that your child is safe. http://segalsforchildren.com/
I have not ordered anything from the following website, but it contains info on hands free devices. www.handsfree.com. I understand that Best Buy is getting very low on its selection.
December 28, 2009
Well, here I sit in the Treatment room ~ read that Chemo room~ at the Cancer Center. Today I am very cranky. For some reason, I never sleep well the night prior to my chemo. I choose one of my favorite seats in what was a quiet area of the treatment center and had just started to nod off when a group of three people came in and sat across from me.
The two men had very deep, sonorous voices and they woke me up immediately. I was not happy because my drugs made me sleepy and I wanted and needed to nap! So I gathered all of my things from the little Chemo nest I had made and moved them to a far area of the treatment room where it was quiet….. Again I nodded off and was just dreaming when … a new arrival right across from me … a visitors cell phone began to ring loudly… She not only answered it but proceeded to talk in a loud voice for many minutes. Sleep again was interrupted…. The visitor was with a sweet elderly lady that I have seen several times before and I like her. It is because of this ‘chemo-kinship’ with her that I do not send a stern look to the insensitive visitor! I send a sweet loving smile across the aisle to this elderly cancer sister who knows what has happened, but cannot do anything about it. I admire her fighting this illness at her advanced age. I cannot tell if she is winning or if the cancer is winning, but she looks more tired than the last time I saw her.
I then tried to doze back off after a carefully executed trip to the restroom. Not an easy thing to accomplish because you must first remove your blankets, being careful to not disturb the drug access to your port (you don’t want to pull out the lines), get out of the recliner, find your shoes, get up (be careful – you might be dizzy) and take your chemo drug holding ‘tree’ with you as you make it to the restroom. It is really fun to not get all tangled up in the chemo drug lines while in the restroom. Then reverse the process and return to your place and try to get settled once again. OK, I thought, I am so weak that I think I can go back to sleep….. I get all settled in again for a nap… when… you guessed it… another interruption……
A new patient comes in with her husband and daughter. They sit right next to me and make plans to play cards during the wifes chemo delivery! Reclining with my eyes shut tight, I think , “Ok, that should be OK.” but it isn’t! The husband is an expert at shuffling the cards and he does so many times noisily. Normally it wouldn’t bother me, but today Portland Firefly is cranky and tired. Now, there is no way that I can sleep. If I fall asleep, I’ll be awakened shortly by the noise of the rapid-firing shuffling cards.
I am really tired and really cranky at this point. I resist the urge to let out a great sigh and scream ”Auuyggh!!!” ” People, quiet down. I’m sick! I need to sleep and you are keeping me awake!” I envison throwing a ‘toddler-type tantrum’, but I take the high road.
Instead I think of (what I consider to be ) a wonderful solution. There are two types of people in this room… The ones who just want their drugs and want to rest while getting them; and those who want to ‘party’ while here. As I look around the room, I see that most of us want to rest… but it is the few who want to party, that are making it impossible for Firefly to rest.
I decide that the room needs to be divided into two areas –the ‘Quiet’ Zone and the ‘Party’ Zone. I pass my suggestion on to the chemo nurse and eventually send a long email to the person in charge of such things here at the cancer center.
Over the years, I have found that it does no one any good to just sit and complain. If you have a suggestion, then write it down and see that it goes to the correct person. If they can do something, they will, if not… then I have done what I could to remedy the problem.
Gosh, I sure hope that they take my suggestion under careful consideration.
Portland Firefly is feeling much better after coming home and having a good nap and a nice dinner! Now to wait for the side-effects to begin…. I wonder what new experiences will ‘thrill and delight’ me this week?!
December 24, 2009
Portland Firefly wishes all of you a very Blessed and Merry Christmas.
December 23, 2009
Several weeks ago I mentioned that my friends and I were going to go and see the December production at the Broadway Rose Theatre, The Winter Wonderettes. Saturday was the evening for the event.
We arrived at my girlfriend’s house where we were served a four course dinner prepared by a personal chef. But prior to the meal we had to put on our “Portland Firefly made white poinsettias”. Yes, they were large and beautiful and we had to wear them somewhere on our person. Three of us choose to wear them in our hair, three wore them at their neckline and one brave soul who had just had carpel tunnel surgery wore hers on her cast! Yes we were the cause of conversation at the theatre but we were having a great, zany time. It was at the theatre that Portland Firefly came up with the term ‘White Poinsettia Society’ since so many strangers were asking about us! Everyone else was ‘just attending the theatre’; we were making memories!!!
Oh, the show…. It was even more than I had hoped it would be. It was laugh-out-loud funny throughout most of the show. The four women were very talented and their voices were well matched and it was a cute story. I think that we have just created a winter tradition of friendship along with ”The White Poinsettia Society’!!!
NB: Usually Portland Firefly pronounces the word ‘poinsettia’ as though the last ‘i’ doesn’t exist. However, for this event, we were ‘required’ to pronounce the word poinsettia sounding out the last ‘i’ completely. Oh, BTW both pronunciations are correct.
December 22, 2009
One of my girlfriends teaches an ESL class to Japanese and Korean women. When she walked into the classroom the week before Thanksgiving, they asked her if she knew how to cook a turkey. She said yes and then proceeded to generously invite them over to her house to cook and eat Thanksgiving Dinner on Wednesday since she already had family plans for Thursday.
Of course they agreed and as she began to think about it, she realized that it had been many years since she had cooked a turkey dinner. As we were talking about the menu she asked me for my suggestions. I told her how I usually plan my time line for cooking the meal and mentioned that she should be fine since she has a double oven. But she doesn’t have two ovens. She just has one and she was inviting three foreign women to help her prepare a large difficult meal and had no idea of their cooking abilities.
It was then that I suggested that she have them over on Tuesday to make the seven pies that she had planned to teach them to make. That got me an invitation to come on over and help!!! And so on Tuesday morning, there were five of us, making pie crust from scratch and teaching them how to roll it out. One of the women was an accomplished baker and had made pie crusts before. I don’t believe that the other one had ever made anything from scratch - she was more than a true novice – but she was willing and wanting to participate. It took her at least 30 minutes to roll out and pinch up the sides of her first pie crust!
I love to cook and to bake and so I had the opportunity to show them two ways to flute the edge of the pie crusts. Then we mixed up the pumpkin pie filling and filled the pie crusts. Because we only had one big oven we could only bake 4 pies at one time; and pumpkin pies take a long time to bake ~ about an hour. This created a problem for my friend as she had an appointment prior to the time the first set of pies were done baking. I offered to stay and finish up ‘the baking of the pies’ so she could go on her way. That is what I did and there were seven beautiful pumpkin pies cooling on her countertop when I left her house late that afternoon.
Wednesday was the big day for cooking the rest of the dinner. We saved the crescent rolls for the children to make and they had a ball rolling them up into their familiar(to us) crescent shape. Everything went amazingly well and we sat down to eat a beautifully prepared meal with ten of us at her table. It was very special to be able to share our Thanksgiving with three foreign families and I think that they appreciated all that she did for them.
It was really a lot of fun.
December 20, 2009
Tomorrow, December 21st is the shortest day of the year. It should brighten up your spirits a little to know that the days will only be getting longer from now on. And maybe even our days will be brighter, too! So even if tomorrow is the first day of winter, it can only get better.
December 19, 2009
In France there is a tradition that revolves around beggars purses. This appetizer is named after the beggars purses because they look like little purses. Another Portland Firefly Recipe.
For 8, you will need :
8 cheeses (I like the baby goudas) or chunks
8 squares of filo dough or wonton wrappers
8 12″ pieces of non-plastic ribbon or string
Put the unwrapped cheese on the dough. Put a dollop of mustard on top of the cheese. Bring the corners up together and tie with your ribbon. Bake in 325 degree oven for 10 -18 minutes (watching so they don’t burn). These charming appetizers can be made ahead an hour or two if needed. Every time I serve them, they are a hit with both men and women.
December 18, 2009
A few days ago I wrote that my head was aching and that has been known to be a precursor to my hair falling out. I knew the signs, but since my hair has just started to grow back in, I didn’t want to believe that it would really happen a second time. Well, I was wrong.
Wednesday night when I was washing my hair, I kept getting hair in my mouth. “Oh, no,” I sadly thought. “I was told by more than one person that it would most probably fall out, but I wanted to believe that I was different.” My head hurt so much… it is so tender that I cannot even touch my hair without my head hurting. Imagine barley touching your hair and the dull aching pain radiating into your head.
So I got out my trusty hair cutting scissors and started cutting my new 1 inch curly locks (well almost locks). My hair fell into beautiful tiny crescents on the sink and counter. I have never had curly hair before and I really hated to cut it off. I was after all just starting to get used to it and now I had to cut it off.
The reason I choose to cut my hair really short (almost completely off) is because when it starts to fall out, you have hair everywhere. It gets in your eyes, in your mouth, in your toothpaste, on your clothes, in the bed, on your towels on the computer and is really a mess.
But this time I do not plan to go to the beautician and have my head shaved like I did last time. I have been through this once and right now I am less willing to lose my hair than I was the first time. I guess that means that I am much better than I was last time! And you know I am!!
December 17, 2009
Don”t forget …. Today at 4:00pm … Ultimate Survivor Casting Call at New Seasons Market in Happy Valley. Please see my prior post(12/13/09) for links to applications and information. Good Luck!!!!
December 16, 2009
SantaCon is a mass gathering of people dressed in Santa Claus costumes parading publicly on streets and in bars in cities around the world. The focus is on spontaneity and creativity, while having a good time and spreading cheer and goodwill.
December 15, 2009
I have had a few very vivid dreams over the last several months. I think they are one of the side effects of the Chemotherapy I am receiving. This is one side effect that I don’t mind. Usually I wake up feeling as though I have had a really ‘hard sleep’. That would be one where you sleep extremely soundly and long and wake up feeling refreshed and energized, but a little groggy from the long sleep.
I had one such vivid dream last week with the corresponding deep sleep.
In this dream I was in a brand new ( white with pretty blue trim) boat like a water ski boat. I was alone in this little boat. It was calm when I got into the boat, which was in an enclosed lake. The lake must have been something like the one in the Jim Carey film Truman.
It was mid-morning as I bid farewell to the boat handler, and I set out from shore with no particular destination in mind except that I was to meet some friends in a few hours. I didn’t make the rendezvous with my friends.
I had a real struggle with the elements during that entire day and almost drowned several times. There was wind, large waves that filled the boat with water, I was tossed overboard into the lake and had to climb back into the boat. Then I was almost thrown off the front of the bow, but caught hold of the railing and tried to pull myself back into the cockpit of the boat. This is when I almost capsized the boat doing this. The boat was almost at an 90 degree angle in the water with me hanging on to the bow railing for dear life. The entire cockpit of the boat was filled with water when I righted it and climbed back into the safety of the sinking boat. Yet somehow I managed to restart the motor and headed the little craft toward shore.
Finally I was able to limp my battered boat into a busy dock about 8:30 that night. The dream was so vivid and so real. I was exhausted and my arms and hands hurt not only in the dream but — they actually were hurting when I woke up. The events of the dream stayed fresh in my mind for many hours and there were little things that occurred during the next several days that brought the dream easily back into my consciousness.
Wow, those Chemo drugs are strong!!!
December 14, 2009
Now it is Sunday night and tomorrow will be two weeks since my last Chemo. I am feeling well and have enough energy to accomplish most of the things that I want to do each of the last three days.
But as I sit here typing, I notice that the top of my head is hurting. I recognize the aching and I am saddened by what it most probably means for me. I recognize the aching sore head as the precursor to my hair loss last March. You may recall that I was off Chemo for eight weeks prior to my trip to Spain in November. I restarted Chemo two weeks ago. When I asked my Chemo nurse if I might lose my ‘just-growing-in-again’ hair as a result of restarting Chemo, I was told with that sad, knowing nod ”Probably, most do.”
I have only gone out in public twice with my very short hair and my head was cold both times. Now it is too cold outside to venture out without a head covering. But it is one thing to choose to wear something on your head because it is cold out and having to wear something on your head because you have lost all of your hair.
I’ll just wait and see if it all falls out again, but all the signs are there. Even my eyelashes are bothering me! And they just grew out long enough for you to see them!!!
I was so hoping to keep it. Especially for Christmas….
December 13, 2009
Koin Local 6 newschannel is conducting a casting call for people who want to be a member of the Survior Reality TV Show. The show is filmed in remote but beautiful locations and each week one person is ‘voted off the island’. The idea is to be in the final two so that the TV audience and the ‘voted-off’ cast members can choose you to be the winner of the million dollars!!!!
If you think you have the people skills, stamina and know-how to join this cast, then you should go to the New Seasons Market in Happy Valley this Thursday, December 17th at 4:00pm. You MUST bring a completed application with you as applications WILL NOT be provided at New Seasons.
Though the eligibility states to send your application with a photo and copy of your passport or proof that you’ve applied for one, in the case of the Open Calls, you do not need to provide those items. If you bring those items to the Open Call, KOIN Local 6 will include it with your application materials, but you will not be disqualified if you don’t have them.
You can download an application here : http://www.koinlocal6.com/sites/koin/pdfs/survivor/Survivor_Application.pdf Please note that the Application is 20, yes 20 pages long. The application as well as the game is not for sissies!!!! It also looks like you need to submit a 2-3 minute video.
You can go to this web site for a little more info: http://www.koinlocal6.com/content/survivor/default.aspx
Or you can go to this website: http://www.cbs.com/community/search/sitesearch.html?hitsPerPage=10&lang=en&query=survivor
GOOD LUCK and please let Portland Firefly know how you did!!! www.PDXFirefly.com
PS: Can you make fire?
December 12, 2009
If you are a regular reader of Portland Firefly’s blog, you may remember that shortly after my diagnosis of Primary Peritoneal Carcinoma, I chose to have a device inserted into my upper chest wall to facilitate the administering of my Chemotherapy drugs. This device is called a Portacath.
A short surgery was required to install the portacath. The portacath is a device that is inserted under the skin in my upper chest wall. Attached to the device is a tube which runs (also under my skin) up toward my neck and is then inserted well into my Vena Cava which is the main artery leading into my heart. It is very ‘science fictiony’ and I only experienced minor discomfort for a few weeks after it was installed in my body.
The reason for having a Portacath is it provides a means of administering the Chemotherapy drugs without having to put a needle into my vein every time. It also provides a ‘port’ for my weekly blood draws. Since my cancer ~Primary Peritoneal Carcinoma~ is so aggressively deadly I will be on Chemotherapy probably for most of the rest of my life. My blood will also need monitoring at least several times a month.
Even though I have excellent veins, the numerous continuing needle sticks that my illness requires would cause them to collapse and become scarred in a short period of time and so the Portacath offers a very real solution to just one more problem associated with Cancer patients care and treatments.
There is a special bent needle that is inserted through my skin, into the portacath. The nurse then flushes the line to be sure that there is no blockage. When I have my blood drawn, the nurse then draws out the amount of blood needed for my lab tests and then she once again flushes the line to keep it clear for next time. When I have my chemotherapy, the IV drugs are administered into the end of the portacath and when I am finished, the needle is withdrawn (pulled out) and a tiny bandaid is put over the spot in case it bleeds a little.
Here is a picture of my portacath. You can see the place where the bent needle is inserted into the device (which is under the skin of my upper chest wall). I am holding the end where the blood is drawn out and this is also the place where the chemo nurses insert the tubing to administer my Chemo drugs. I am so very thankful for this modern advancement in medicine as it truly has made my cancer life a lot easier.
December 11, 2009
Recently a friend asked me what products I use. I have given the names of several of them in my previous posts on Skin Care (I – VI). But I have not mentioned the name of one particular line of products that rate right at the top.
One time when I was visiting my daughter in West Hollywood, she made an appointment for me at a Beverly Hills Salon. That was fine with me!!!! I felt really special going to a Beverly Hills Skin Care Salon. I was impressed with their beautiful expert nurse, Joy and she has ‘the most beautiful skin’ of anyone I have ever seen in my life (and as a flight attendant I have seen lots of people).
I walked out with several of their high quality products and I have continued to use them ever since. Now, I know that you are sitting on the edge of your chair wanting to know the name of the salon and their products….
The name of the salon is Leaf and Rusher; www.leafandrusher.com. The one product that I never want to be without is their Rapid Resurface which is their microdermabrasion in a tube. I love their high quality products and value the information that was given to me at my consultation. If I lived in the area, I would be making appointments there several times a year.
Here is a picture of the nurse who has the most beautiful skin in the world!
December 10, 2009
H1N1 Preventive Methods
December 9, 2009
Chilling cold drafts are a part of the Arctic cold spell we are having here in Portland. There is one easy simple thing that I have done for years to keep the cold air from entering my toasty warm home. I put a rolled up towel under the bottom of my outside doors to block the cold air from coming in under the door. Try it. It is amazing how much cold air creeps under your doors. It also works in window wells. A rug also works as well.
December 7, 2009
Last week, Portland Friefly started a year-long series of Chemotherapy. I have been on Chemo ever since my diagnosis last March and I had a little break from Chemo when I took my trip to Spain. I was not looking forward to the upcoming year-long ordeal, but I am tring to take it one treatment at a time. And that is what I did last week for the first session.
I am now receiving only one cancer-killing drug ~Taxol~ but there are several other supporting drugs that are administed through the IV during each treatment. These supporting drugs help to prevent immediate ill-advised side-effects, such as nausea, rashes, constipation, etc.
In the past, I have usually had 3 days before I started feeling the unwanted side-effects of the Chemo, but this time it was totally different. It was almost as though I had received a different drug (which I know I didn’t). Within a few hours I had a horrible headache which didn’t go away for days. Then the next morning, I started in with nausea (which usually doesn’t come on for 3 days). And shortly after that, my joints and bones began hurting. I had shooting pain and also a sharp constant ache mostly in my legs, but also in my arms and other parts of my body. I had to take ‘big gun’ pain pills for several days and I eventually had a reaction to those pain pills!!! Aghuuuugh!!!! If it isn’t one thing it is another! I thought that I was doing great until I served a dinner where I forgot to set out part of the meal for my guests! Chemo brain!
Today, I am just sort of tired and not wanting to do much, but since the sun is shining, I’m going to force myself to get dressed and go out and do a few errands.
December 1, 2009
This Thanksgiving there was a big family reunion in the Midwest; only Portland Firefly was not invited! The reason for this non-invitation is that the reunion was for my former husband’s family. Of course my children attended as did all of their paternal Aunts, Uncles and Cousins. Which left Firefly “home alone” over Thanksgiving.
Enter Guilt…. Well sort of…. On the part of my Daughter…. Actually this reunion was in the planning stages prior to my devastating diagnosis in March and we did not even know if I’d be here in November. I really did not have any issues with my children going to be with their Dad and paternal Grandparents and Family, but I wasn’t looking forward to not being able to cook and celebrate with someone. I actually ended up having two invitations and two more ‘back-up’ plans, so the situation was well covered here in the Pacific North West. but, again I digress!
I had just arrive at my Wednesday night event when my cell phone rang with my Daughter on the other end. She asked where I was and informed me that I must be home within the next 30 minutes because she was having ‘something’ delivered to me. I suspected the best… she often sends flowers to me… and I was correct. I told her that it was impossible for me to get home in that time and anyway, I had just arrived for the evening and couldn’t leave. I suggested that she have the flowers ~ opps~ the delivery~ made to my sweet next-door neighbor as I knew she was home not feeling well and she would probably enjoy the flowers ~ opps ~ the delivery~ until I could get them the next day.
Arrangements were completed and I enjoyed my evening which I’ll tell you about in another post. The evening was even sweeter for me because I knew something lovely was waiting for me when I got home. Because she was not feeling well, my neighbor went to bed early that night, so I had to wait until Thursday morning to go and see what had been delivered.
It was THE MOST BEAUTIFUL Fall arrangement that I have ever seen! As yes! Guilt can be a wonderful thing!!!