Monday, August 30, 2010

1st day of 3rd grade & other stuff i missed

where did the summer go people?
well, even with visiting hospitals all over the countryside & a little jaunt to hollywood to balance things out, it's over. i had so many other things that i wanted to write about, enjoyable moments were fleeting & i didn't even write about Z's final report card or his test results bc well, shit just got in the way....

STAR student report, i'm not sure why it's all in caps, but ok...for english/language arts Z ranked just above proficient!!! thank you, thank you, yes, we are very proud! after a hellish 1st grade with bull*hit teachers & school programs, 2nd grade helped tremendously! i think we would have been satisfied with basic (330-349) but he got 353 & yes, those couple of points were a bonus.

& you know although 1st grade teachers lied & said he wasn't good in math either, Z scored 415. fyi, that's advanced as in higher than proficient! talk about vindicated!! i really, really, really wanted to send a copy of this to the old school [along with a note that said "bit*hes"!]

ok, onward to 1st day of 3rd grade now that we've talked about that...

Z didn't even fret, not one bit. [again i wonder if we're related bc i had a dream the previous week about going to class & not doing my homework & i'm the only person in the house that isn't going to school!!!] we'd been doing the countdown for sometime & B starting school the week before kinda prepped us too, so Z was just like whatever crazy ocd mom!.

the morning of he got up, got ready, had breakfast - all no big deal. we started walking to school when i realized OMG we hadn't taken the front door official first day of school pic!!! so we had to go back & do that, then we had to run to school.

we knew Z's teacher's name, but not the room #, so we had to go to the front of the school to look that up. as we searched to find the classroom [which was harder than it sounds bc i didn't realize but the map we looked at was posted upside down] we heard these weird sounds but ignored them only to discover that was the new bell system & Z was late for line-up. yah, way to start the new year!

the teacher caught us though, asked if we were looking for her so Z joined in line with the rest of the kids. as each kid walked into class she said good morning & welcomed them, then they started their day. even though we weren't allowed in the class, this teacher seems much friendlier than last year's.

Friday, August 20, 2010

walking in LA - day 3 & 4

on thurs we got up & finally caught that bus down to santa monica pier. we didn't expect it, but they dropped us off right at the mall...

we were there for the pier though, but then we saw cafe crepe. i've never had crepes before but B has & said they're yummy. they have both sweet & savory types, we ordered a salami panini & a spinach/feta crepe - WOW, good stuff!

the pier was even more of a tourist trap than we expected. i know our entire trip was based on that, but this was uber. Z had a good time on the rides though, it was very carnival like & tons of school camp kids. yes, of course Z found a girlfriend, that's what the boy does, a little girl in a skirt with boots [hussy!].

we headed back to the mall to find something for dinner. we stopped at a japanese place & had some hors d'oeuvres [yeah, i totally had to look that up!], then we walked around some more checking out all our options. we finally decided on thai, then after a relaxing meal we bused it back to the hotel.

on fri am, our last day there, Z asks me where's the soap to wash his hands...really? we've been ALL over LA & hollywood, been on various buses & now he decides to wash his hands?

we considered heading over to china town, but then decided we were tired, achy & blistered from all the walking & will save that for another trip.

the trip wasn't what either of us would really would like to have done, but considering the circumstances it worked. i think it's rather funny that although i'm borned & raised CA girl, all our site seeing was completely new for me too.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

walking in LA - day 1 & 2

by the time all the planning, organizing, packing, etc was done we were wiped & definitely needed a break. we actually got out of the house before noon [yah for us!] & arrived at the natural history museum just in time for a late lunch.

i had shown Z websites of our planned schedule before we went to make sure it was something he wanted to do & this was at the top of his list. unfortunately [for Z, but excellent for me] the spider pavilion was closed. that was ok, bc we saw enough bugs & other creepy crawly things in my opinion. Z really liked the diorama halls & the bird exhibits too, he wasn't as impressed with the gem displays though. i remember going to gem shows when i was a kid & loving it [add that to the list of nerdness].

then right about 5pm we headed over to the hotel bc why not experience LA traffic? it really wasn't THAT bad though. there was a mall right next to our hotel so after checking in, we went over there to check it out. as expected it was snobville, so we didn't stay long & decided to take the bus over to santa monica pier for the evening.

that sounds like a good plan, right? we thought so except the bus doesn't go that way after 8pm so i guess it was good that we didn't go down there & get stuck... so we ended up eating dinner at the mall's food court.

the next day we did catch the bus, downtown to the farmer's market & we walked over to the la brea tar pits. oh but first we interrupted some filming [dang tourists!] was hot so we didn't even look at the outside exhibit. i had read somewhere online to not bother with the museum, but we enjoyed it. [maybe bc we got in free with our military discount or maybe bc it was hot outside...]

Z being an 8yo boy listened to the guide more than i expected him to & when he wasn't he managed to not destroy anything or disturb anyone so that's a win in my book. the outside display wasn't as stinky as i had expected it to be or maybe i had just grown accustom to the smell.

right next door to the tar pits is the LA Cty Museum of Art which i really would have liked to have gone to, but i knew Z wouldn't be able to handle it, so we'll have to save that for another trip. instead we ran to the bus & headed back to the farmer's market for lunch. we didn't even go inside, we had lunch at du-par's well, Z had breakfast...

then we jumped back on the bus & headed up to hollywood blvd. it was weird & crazy, with tons of people & i think i don't ever want to go there at night, especially not alone. we walked around a bit, then went to madame tussauds. Z wasn't very impressed with anyone other than iron man & wolverine [i was impressed with wolverine too] & yes, of course i got a pic with r.pattinson but they should have had him as edward. B had a few inappropriate moments as any marine should with a few female stars & in case you were wondering, we pretty sure the wax figures have nips.

just as we were about to enter Ripley's some guy off the street asked Z if he wanted some cocaine. i'm not joking, the guy was though & Z's pretty sheltered so he asked "what's blocaine?". I told him the guy was crazy & reminded him not to talk to strangers.

this was probably Z's favorite spot on the blvd; it was full of weirdness. after this we bused it back over to the farmer's market & looked for a place to have dinner. we didn't walk around it before, so one would think a farmer's market would you know, have lots of fresh fruits, vegetables & such for sale, but this was more of a food court.

we tried the cajun place & got some alligator; it wasn't bad, a lot like chicken with a cornmeal breading. we were still hungry so then we tried this other place, the was some sort of flatbread/dough thing with hamburger like meat & stuff on it, really good. i'm gonna have to look that pedeh thing up!

finally we headed back to our not so glamorous although one would expect it hotel for a night's rest.

Monday, August 16, 2010

taking procrastination to new levels

we knew B was only going to have 1 week between summer school & fall & we kinda sorta tried to plan something, but it didn't happen. the most probable vacation would have been back to chicagoland to visit B's mom & fam, but tickets were pricey. we even looked in to last minute deals, bc that's totally our thing - non-planners extraordinaire!

beings that wasn't going to work, we looked for fishing spots for the boys. B didn't want anything too close or too common & under the time constraints wasn't really able to find anything that fit the bill. then we looked into going to northern CA, beautiful, cooler weather, but um, long drive & we didn't have a full week, more like 5 days. next we looked into something more along going to LA for a couple of days & catalina island for a couple of days.

i had been wanting to take Z to some of the museums & la brea tar pits for years, so that worked, but then whoa, catalina not for the unemployed. nor is it family friendly. virtually impossible to find a place with more than 1 bed, they suggest you rent another king size room at $200+ a night [sure!] or the flip side is a space/cabin with beds everywhere [ie living room] at $150+ a night.

so by sun we had a plan of LA/Hollywood/Santa Monica; only we didn't have a hotel. looking on our own wasn't working so B tried priceline & although i really dislike mr shatner, it worked we got a room at the hyatt for ~$130 a night.

then we found out parking was $24 a day
& when we got there we found out internet was $4 an HOUR

Friday, August 13, 2010

another valley trip, the eventful one

Z stayed with my mom, B & I headed down to the valley. we didn't rush to beat the heat, mid-july there's no beating it...we were on the freeway by 10:30 & my mom gave me grief about being so late & here i thought we were doing well.
honestly she doesn't understand what it takes to get this family out the door before noon.

we hit town & went directly to nana's house. we went in & my first stop was to gather the albums we'd left behind but someone had been through them; they were no longer all in the same place & some pics were missing. i decided to take every photo & album i saw. i wasn't taking them for myself, only taking them so they wouldn't be lost. i'm going to scan them & email out to everyone, later i'll worry about what to do with originals.

i went through nana's kitchen items, her mocahete was gone but i found her old tortilla roller. it has a chunk missing out of it now, like someone hit it against something. i gathered more clothes for nana also, items that i'd seen her wearing lately, hopefully they will make her more comfortable.

it was really hot [duh!] & we hadn't eaten anything so B & I decided to go have lunch which was a good idea bc i'm even more emotional when i'm hungry & that was definitely an emotional situation. it was a bad idea bc when we returned i noticed the front screen door was locked although i knew i hadn't locked it when we left. seconds after we entered the house the alarm went off.


i went to the neighbor's house, but they didn't answer.
i called nana's caregiver & she said she didn't know how to disarm it & for me to call my uncle [a$$hole one].


i call & luckily his wife answers [probably bc he's on the other phone with the alarm company]. so i tell her i'm at the house getting the pics & clothes for nana although i was there just a little bit earlier when i returned from having lunch someone came & set the alarm. she laughs & says "oh it's you!"

yeah, me [& the popo is on the way]

then she says "well we had to set the alarm bc someone broke in & stole a bed out of the front room. & they told us there was a truck out in front of the house."

yeah, the bed belongs to cousin C she probably came for it, it's her bed & the truck is B's truck. [yes, the popo totally showed up, it was so NOT awesome]

so we had to show the officer our id's then he wanted to come inside to check out the house & dang if B hadn't already started dis-assembling the f-ing alarm so it was all hanging down with wires everywhere & a chair under it! but we got away with it, i mean they let us go & didn't cart our a$$es off to jail...that would have been funny, i mean sucked, well both really.

once he left & all was settled with my aunt B & I decided we were done with this crap & we needed to leave. that is until we looked at the alarm & noticed it still said it was armed - F. so i had to call my aunt back & tell her we needed 2 things: 1)how to set the alarm when we left, but more importantly, 2)how could we get out of the house?

oh & in between those phone calls i found out someone said nana was being released from the facility & coming home. so then i had to call my uncle B somewhere in the middle of the alarm & popo & aunt/uncle conversations to find out wtf was going on bc really i didn't want to take things if she's coming home & i thought we all agreed it was safest for her to not????

my uncle B tells me a relative stopped to visit nana at the center but she wasn't there, how that turned into nana coming home i don't know, but it was his daughter [ME] that had taken nana to her house for a couple of hours.

does my family need to work on their communication issues or what?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


first we went to visit cousin C & baby C at children's hospital. baby C had gone longer than ever before since his last check up & he did well on this one too! there was a little bit of growth but not much & they don't have to come back for a few months again - YAH!

then we went to visit nana. i knew my uncle (a$$hole one) was supposed to visit today, but the way the day went we were headed that way about 3:30ish. that gave them plenty of time to get up here, visit & get out.

i brought nana some things so the boys went in first while i checked everything in. when i got to the room i realized there were too many voices & my assumption was wrong, they were still there.

they talked with B, asked about school & such while i spoke with nana. my aunt talked with me some & i showed nana the clothing & stuff i brought her. about 1/2 hour later or so they left. my aunt walked past me, but my uncle actually stopped & shook my hand, then he gave me a hug.

i was shocked.

my aunt came back & hugged me as well, then she asked me what my child's name was.

Monday, August 9, 2010

the flying tick story

at nana's house we also checked on her dog. although she had recently been dipped we could tell she had a couple of large ticks on her.

if you've never lived in the desert, um ticks are not normal there, they are texas size. it's quite disgusting.

so, yup, the doggy had a couple of fat ticks on her that you could see her black hair wasn't laying properly bc something was in there. i pulled off a couple of the them, but she didn't like that so she walked away from me.

i left her alone & just talked to her from a distance & slowly she returned & i decided it was best just to pet her. so i'm talking to her & stroking her with my hands on either side of her until i notice stuff flying in the air.

at first i thought it was just clumps of hair, maybe even skin, but then i notice little brown ticks moving to the edge of her fur.


the flying things were ticks!!!!!!!!!!!!!


i was petting her & giving them wings to fly!

needless to say i made some awful screaming noise & totally scared ME & she was all "what?what?what?" & i had to tell her i was being attacked by flying ticks, to which she had the gall to laugh at me!

so a bit later we were walking around the backyard & i kept on stepping on little sticks & things that would kick back up & touch the back of my leg & force me to scream again...

holy crap what a day

Sunday, August 8, 2010

the empty house

on sat cousin ME & i went to nana's house to pick up a few things for her. the lady at the cancer place told me we should go get nana's favorite items from home, bring what we could to make her comfortable in her new surroundings.

it was kind of weird, ME & i have only recently reacquainted, prior to this we've hardly seen each other in 20 years, but we picked up like nothing. it was nice, like old best friends, we caught up on so much personal & family stuff.

when we got to nana's we walked the backyard, so many memories back there: all the parties over so many years, the lemon tree my uncle ralph planted a few years ago before he died, the fig tree that i [tried to] cut steps in so my dog Bobo could climb the tree with me, the pomegranate bushes & the chinchi bugs making noise, the sheds with who knows what in them.

i took pictures of everything. we walked through the bathroom finding items from our childhood still in there. in nana's bedroom we gathered a few items to take with us. in the kitchen we opened the cabinetry & drawers, i took a picture of nana's silverware. in the living room we gathered a few other decor items & found some old albums. ones i had never seen before, very old, all the kids are children & even pics of my grandpa. i found out he was in the military, he went to okinawa. there was even a pic of him & on the side it said "kadena air station" - i've been there!

we picked out clothes for nana, a couple pairs of slippers, her pillow, an afghan my mom made for her, a plastic flower arrangement she likes. things to hopefully make her happy, or something in the arena of happy i guess would be a better choice of words.

it was weird to be in that house & know nana wasn't coming back, heartbreaking actually.

Saturday, August 7, 2010


on fri when my mom & i went to visit nana she was sad, she even started to cry. she told us my uncle was going to rent her house out, that she wasn't going home.

it was so sad.

we couldn't really say anything as we didn't know what his plan was, we could only tell her she couldn't go back home bc it just wasn't safe for her anymore.

what i hadn't mentioned in my email to uncle B was that Dr F was appalled nana hadn't previously seen an oncologist, he said it was a standard follow up when a tumor was located. then when i spoke with the lady at the cancer place, she had the same reaction. she asked who was nana's dr at the hospital back in oct, she wanted somebody's head. she said nana had been failed, someone somewhere along the line dropped the ball & sealed nana's fate.

there's a part of me that thinks my uncles knew this.
that they may have chosen it.
to be free of the burden.

when we left nana she was worried she was going to moved & lost. i can't imagine what she's going through.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

the smile

hold on to this moment for future reference:

yesterday morning i left the house early to be with Nana at her appt. i got up & dressed & left before the boys got up. i said bye to B then went over & kissed Z on the cheek. although he was sleeping, in response to the kiss his little cheek puffed up as he smiled.

i'm going to hold on to that & remember it the next time he brings home a behavior note!

Monday, August 2, 2010

the diagnosis

what i wrote to Uncle B after Nana's appt:

Nana has Stage IV pancreatic cancer. Dr F suggested chemo, a light dose that wouldn't kill the cancer but it would slow it's progress. The light dose shouldn't cause hair loss & the nausea/vomiting should be much less than regular chemo. Without the chemo the anticipated timeline would be 3 to 6 months, with the chemo treatment it could be from 6 months to a year. He also said she could stop the chemo at anytime if she decided it was too hard. We asked Nana & she said she would like to go through with the therapy. I'm sorry but I forgot to ask how many treatments he suggested.

There is an oncologist in EC, that Nana could see for the chemo, or she can begin therapy with Dr. F.

Dr F said Nana will need to have 24 hour care. The past few weeks she's spent in the hospital her legs have weakened & she can barely stand much less walk. The social worker at Dr F's office is helping us with looking into options (home health, hospice or facility care) down in the valley, but we really need to talk with the entire family & decide what's best for Nana. If she goes home (the home health/hospice options) she can't be alone & she will require more than a regular caregiver as her health declines. We need to decide if it be better/safer for Nana to be in a facility & if she's going to stay in a facility would it be better for her to be in the valley or near the hospital for the treatments?

The good news is Dr F said over the next couple of weeks Nana's body will adjust to the stint. She should gain some weight, get stronger & hopefully go back to doing more things for herself at least for awhile.

that's it.
this is real.