Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Second Coming

I would have thought that was going to happen before we ever had an I-Mac in the house.

One more thing I was wrong about!

We have a sleek I-Mac sitting in front of me this very moment.  The keyboard takes some getting used to.  It doesn't have that loud clicking sound of a traditional PC keyboard, and the actual board is extremely thin.

It's cool!

I'm back online in style, and DH finally has the computer he's always wanted....an early birthday gift to himself.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Dead Computer

At the library.

Our Computer was pronounced dead last night at 8:16pm.

Computer, we knew ye well.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Undecided

Politics, politics everywhere....

So my support forum is all abuzz about last night's campaign. They are mostly Obama supporters, so there is a lot of McCain bashing going on. There are Republicans on the forum, but most of them steer clear of the political threads.

Then Assistant Village Idiot has a ton of posts about last night's debate which are fairly objective in their views. Then I read this quote:

"Democrats are going to vote for Obama, Republicans will vote McCain, Undecideds
are obviously not paying attention."


Like a stake to my heart....I say.....like a stake to my heart.

I am paying attention. Really I am. The problem is that I used to vote based solely on themes like this:



Which is not to say that I'm Catholic, because I'm not, but that being pro-life has made me choose some candidates over others with that issue as the deciding factor.

I am pro-life, but I have "lost the faith" in that as a deciding factor in this election cycle. I don't ever see Roe v. Wade being overturned. I don't believe that Obama and McCain are going to do anything striking in regards to abortion. The next few years are going to be overshadowed by the wars we're involved with and the financial mess our country is facing.

So...how does that impact my vote?

I like McCain's focus on cutting spending. I hate his willingness to even talk about going to war with Iran. That saber-rattling from him, and the administration, drives me crazy. We have enough on our plates to deal with...trying to intimidate a maniacal leader in Iran seems like waving meat in front of a starving cougar. It just feeds into Ahminejad's,"America is out to get us!" propaganda.

I like Obama's willingness to try diplomacy first.

On the other hand, I watched an interview in which Obama was asked why, specifically, he should be president and be the right person to deal with our current crises. He fumbled around, started going off-topic, and the interviewer called him back to the original question. Obama paused and said that he felt he was good at getting people to come together and work on things.

I felt like I was watching a job interview for middle management: "So, Mr. Obama, why should Acme Enterprises hire you? What are your strengths?"

I was not impressed.

McCain doesn't want to raise taxes and wants to make Bush's cuts permanent. I'm not usually for raising taxes, but this doesn't seem like the right time to make those tax cuts permanent. We have to get income from somewhere to pay down our debt and fund this bailout.

Obama wants to raise taxes on every family making over $250,000. He says that 95% of families will have relief.

That doesn't make sense. Most families that make $50,000 or less, which I would think are the vast majority in America, don't pay any real income taxes.

Ask me how I know.

I know because we do our taxes each year ourselves, and we fall into that category. By the time one takes standard deductions and factors in various credits for having kids, the amount owed is $0, and there is usually a refund involved.

Not that I'm complaining or anything. :-)

I just don't buy the smoke and mirrors of "relief for working families".

So...yes I am undecided. There are serious issues, more than the ones I have mentioned, that I care about which are not fully represented by either candidate. They are equally important to me.

It's not that I am not listening...it's just that I don't like what I am hearing.

Do You Have An Implicit Bias?

Here's a test from Harvard meant to measure what subconscious leanings you might have in this election cycle.

https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/demo/featuredtask.html

I came up neutral...which makes sense because I am torturously undecided at this point.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Providence

Our house was broken into over the summer. The kids' Wii and all of my jewelry were stolen. Our insurance company, USAA, was really great about working with us and getting a claim check out to us very promptly. We replaced the boys' Wii, but the rest of the money, about $1,000, we stuck into our savings account.

Because I was still in the thick of treatment when school started this year, I wasn't able to get my old job back, which follows the school calendar. It is a physically active job that requires a lot of travelling and being on my feet for several hours each day. I wasn't up to it so I had to reluctantly tell my boss that she would have to hire someone else. boo hoo for me and my boss...she really wanted me back.

Anyhoo...

Despite the negatives of being robbed, we were happy to have the extra cash to put into savings to see us through the next few months. I plan on looking for a new job, or possibly getting my old job back, in January....when I won't be so tired, and hopefully not as bald.

Today I dropped the car off to get checked out because the annoying "check engine" light came on this week. We had this happen to another car, and it turned out to be nothing. Bad sensor.

Well..not so lucky today. Our Corrolla needs a new catalytic converter...oh....and some new brakes too. Total price for parts and labor--$1150. ugh.

On the bright side....even robbery has its silver lining. We have $1000 dollars more to deal with this than we would have before some thug broke into our house.

So even in the craziness, there is always something for which to be grateful.

Thanks God.

Though next time a winning lottery ticket might be less traumatic than a break-in.

I'm just sayin', if You want to work in mysterious ways....y'know I'm open to some other possibilities.

:-)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Searing Truth

I participate in an online Breast Cancer support forum. It has been an immense help to go back and forth with other women my age who are going through treatment. The forum boards can be deadly serious, wildly crazy, political, hilarious....like just about any internet forum with little moderation.

Over the past week, one of the posters on the forum wrote that her 3-year-old son had died during Hurricane Ike along with his father, her ex. The boards overflowed with an outpouring of support and sympathy for her. Offers to help out. Expressions of grief.

Eventually, it was discovered that not only had this woman's child not passed away, but she didn't have one....and probably had never had breast cancer.

It was all a false identity......shocking but true.

This created something of a dilemma for the members of the forum, which consists of hundreds, if not thousands, of people. Those who were in the know tried to keep from publicly outing this person, out of a fear that she might be mentally ill and harm herself. Many private messages were sent back and forth, which expanded the amount of people who knew the truth, without publicly flogging this individual.

The problem was that members who had not been on the forum for a few days, and also new members, had no idea what was going on. They continued to post on the death announcement, conveying their condolences. Many were wanting to send cards, and even gift cards to help out financially.

Finally, someone made up a new account and anonymously detailed the whole story, listing all the evidence and exposing the deceit in all its glory....proven by the deceiver's own, very contradictory, posts from the past year.

Many people were upset about the public unmasking. They were worried about this individual and felt that letting everyone know would make her do something drastic.

I had started out feeling that way, but then came to the conclusion that the only way to have this person end her charade was to keep it public. If everyone knows the truth, her power to possibly scam members for money disappears.

The question I ask now:

Is there ever a time to keep a truth like this hidden?

I have come to believe that when an individual has harmed a community that they have been a part of, that only full truthfulness before that community is acceptable.

I've seen it happen in churches and in families.

When we try to hide the full truth because we are concerned about the individual, we inevitably harm the community they are a part of. When someone has issues with honesty, leaving things unspoken and partially hidden allows them to find a shadowy corner to cultivate their schemes and cling to the lies with people who are not informed about the entire truth.

Yet, when the whole truth is revealed, they must either capitulate, or run from the searing light of honesty, looking for a new community to infiltrate....beginning anew their cycle of deception.

The light of truth can be harsh, but also enlightening.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Why Can't I Be a Dictator?

My in-laws are celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary in a few weeks.

No big party, just a weekend with their two childrens' families.

The "supposed" gift for the 4oth is listed as "rubies".

Rubies.

Yeah, well that's not happening unless I can get my MIL some ruby lipstick, and my FIL a ruby tie.

We want do something special for them, but they are the type of people that already have everything they want and refuse to give ideas about what else they might like: "Oh...you don't have to get us anything. Just being here will be enough."

I came up with the fabulous idea that we should hire a photographer to come out and take a large family portrait of all of us together. I know that my MIL has wanted to do a casual version of this in the past, but something always went wrong, or there were always other extended family/in laws at family gatherings. And how do you tell other people you don't really want them in the family photo?

Anyway....so I have this great idea....and now I am running headlong into one of my personality quirks whereby I am annoyed when other people interject complications into a project I am working on.

Trying to include my SIL in the process, has created "discussion" that I didn't anticipate.

Debates about which photographer to use. Debates about which day to have the photos taken. Debates about whether we should tell them we are doing this. Debates about how maybe this is too complicated and we should do something else.

And I know that when I tell my MIL...it will continue the process. I will have to listen to her tell me how we shouldn't spend the money, or how she wants to pay for it, or how we shouldn't have gone to such trouble.

And I will have to bite my tongue with my in-laws, who I love very much, but who annoy me when they won't let us do a simple thing for them.

Life would be so much easier if everyone would simply do what I wanted them to without arguing about it!

:-)

Monday, September 15, 2008

British Islamic Law?

This article describing Islamic sharia courts given power to make rulings in Britain is disturbing on many levels, and hard for me to conceive of as an American.

As it stands, such rulings fall under a voluntary form of alternative arbitration between those who agree to seek the sharia court's rulings in domestic disputes, divorces, financial issues, and community disputes.

Still, it doesn't take much imagination to conjure up situations in which native-born British citizens, who happen to be Muslim, could be denied British rights.

How would this scenario impact minors of Muslims? Would the children of Muslim families be caught in the clutches of these courts because their parents seek resolution there, as opposed to being protected with the full force of British law?

The article relates an example in which property inheritance is divided according to Islamic law, in which the males receive twice as much as the females of the family. What would happen if four out of the five siblings agree to arbitration by the sharia courts and the fifth refuses, instead preferring British law? Will the majority win out because they can bring forth their family's religion as an arguing point that this is what their deceased parents would have wanted, thereby forcing the fifth sibling's rights to be discarded?

More disturbing than the legal entanglements, which are bound to crop up, is the concept that any country would, even slightly, set aside its sovereign legal system to accommodate another system which is bound to contradict it, not only in content, but in spirit.

Hello...Britain? Is anyone paying attention over there?

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

A Worth-It-All Moment

After picking up the kids from school, and getting them started on their homework, I usually ask about their day.

Today The Rationalist described a race in PE between two third grade classes. He won first place for distance and time. It was some sort of timed relay in which individuals were eliminated and he was the last man standing.

That wasn't the worth-it-all moment, though I am happy for him.

The worth-it-all moment was when Intuitive Monkey looked at him and said, "That's really great, J--! Good job!"

They have become such good friends lately, not that we still don't have the occasional WWE Smackdown take place in our house, but they seem so much more cooperative.

Just this morning I heard Monkey ask The Rationalist to help him with something in his room, and instead of teasing him, The Rationalist matter-of-factly said, "Sure."

They are growing up so fast.

I can hardly believe it at times.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Peter's Mother-in-Law

There's a story in Luke 4:38-39 in which Jesus heals Peter's mother-in-law.

It's brief:

Jesus left the synagogue and went to the home of Simon. Now Simon's
mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked Jesus to help her.
So he bent over and rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up at once
and began to wait on them.

I've always been slightly irritated by this story. This woman has been sick for who knows how long, Jesus comes over, heals her, and then she gets up and starts taking care of everybody....waiting on company immediately after recovering.

It bristles against my feminist leanings.

Men.

Always expecting us to take care of them.

I understand Peter's mother-in-law, now.

I woke up today feeling the tide turning in my typical, week-long suffering from chemo. I was still physically weak, but I had a mental alertness and an energized will to get out of bed and do things....anything. It had been a restless night of achy joints and inconsistent sleep, but I knew the worst was over. Instead of laying in bed, waiting for DH to get up with the kids and get them ready for school, as he has done during my bad days, I sprung out of bed and decided to make pancakes for everyone.

I felt well enough to be of service to someone else. I had a desire to care for my family because I haven't been able to when I have been in the depths of side effects. I wanted to wait on them out of gratitude and love for them.

So.....I won't read about Peter's mother-in-law with a haughty sneer any longer.

I get it.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Last Chemo!

Tomorrow is my last chemo treatment of Taxotere and Cytoxan.

I will be so ecstatic once I get past the next week of suffering and start the recovery process without having to be knocked down again a couple of weeks later.

Overall, I have been OK, but I have felt much weaker due to becoming slightly anemic. My red blood count has gone down consistently after each treatment. Last time I was a 10.2; below 12 is considered anemic. My counts will probably go down a little more, but hopefully not too much. If they get close to an 8, I may have to have a blood transfusion...which I do not want.

Monkey is getting better and actually made it to school today...but now the Rationalist has a slight fever, says he feels funny, and is starting to form blisters inside his mouth...joy. Despite all my efforts and reminders to wash hands, not share food, and keep their distance from each other, I couldn't keep it from spreading.

The main concern now is to keep me from getting it. I'm given tons of steroids during chemo which suppresses the immune systems ability to fight infection. That, combined with the damage my body takes from the chemo itself, puts me in danger of infection. The chemo can also cause mouth sores and blisters on its own...so getting this little germ my boys are carrying would be bad news for me.

I'm praying a lot...and plan to not leave my bedroom for a week!

I probably won't post for a while again.

I'll be too busy trying to get through this last gauntlet.

The good news is that when I get back to regular posting, I won't have to whine about hating chemo.