Thursday, December 06, 2012

Excitement abounds

It won't be long till Daughter and the grands will be here. Thirteen days and counting. So much to do, so many places to be before then. I can't wait to see them. I'm sure they have grown (it's kind of hard to tell on skype). And Daughter said she would be here for a few days so we will get to see her too. So very excited.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Christmas cards

I'm getting ready to send out Christmas cards (I know, don't you all faint now), but I realized that when I ordered them I made a mistake on the back and put "May your and your family". Two yours? Where was my head that day? Oh well, I'm not going to toss them, as the front is just gorgeous, using a picture the wreath that we hang in the foyer. Next year, I'll do better. (maybe?)

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Happy Birthday Pan

It's your birthday, birthday, birthday.
It's your birthday and you're 48 years old.
 
You don't look that old. I'm sure it has something to do with the Peter Pan complex. I'm just glad I have been able to spend the last 23 birthdays with you and look forward to spending that many more.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Pictures and trips

     I so need to download the Thanksgiving pictures and post those of the food. Wow, was it great and I even got to bring some home. Between Pan and I, though, that turkey didn't make it much past two days.
     Hard to believe that Christmas is going to be here before long. Most of the shopping is done. Still need to think of something for Pan. What I wanted is on back order until several months past the holidays. Speaking of which tomorrow is his birthday and I need to pick something up for that as well.
     Today MiLady is leaving for John Hopkins. Our thoughts and prayers are going with her. I need to remember to call my son and see how he is doing.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Holiday and eom

Seems like this past week has gotten away. The Thanksgiving holiday (which was fantastic at my sister's house) and the end of the month billing at work. Then again there are the afternoon skype sessions with Indy. He has had the flu this past week and has been really down. Haven't heard from them in a couple of days. Guess I will have to call today to see how they are all doing.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope this posts finds everyone having a wonderful Thanksgiving Day and that each of you have lots to be thankful for. I know I do.
 
1. A husband who gets me and likes me anyway.
2. Children who make the sunshine in my life.
3. The fact that even though my family is scattered, that technology is such that we can keep in touch.
4. Fairly good health and nothing life threatening.
5. Good friends.
6. A job I really enjoy.
 
Can't get any better than that.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Wandering thoughts


Since I won't be working tomorrow, I'll probably head into work shortly. I really don't want to have to come in on Friday either. Besides who knows where we might be. ddpuppies and bear's house come to mind. Speaking of them, we have their names for Christmas this year. I really need to start thinking of something to get them.
 
The windmill is mom's backyard. I just love the rustic look as it stands among the greenery.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A family that studies

together is fun to watch. Indy is suppose to be practicing the piano, but if you notice he is staring off (at the television), while the Princess and Daughter are hard at work trying to get their homework finished. I wish Indy would take note of the fact that they get their work done and then get to do fun things. Sometimes getting him to do his homework is worse than pulling teeth.
 
Still, it is great that Skype is available and that I can still participate in their daily lives even though they live several states away now. And it is most amusing when they call and we all end up watching television together (Indy turns the camera toward the tv). A way to be there without actually being there.

Monday, November 19, 2012

I wonder


Looks comfy, doesn't she? But I wonder just how she managed to get herself out of that chair. Guess ddpuppies or the bear must have helped out. Or maybe it is just that I don't think I could have gotten out of it without some help. My legs aren't as long as mom's. And I know that ddpuppies would have had a hard time. For goodness sakes, she got stuck in a tub when we went up to SC for Nuke and Milady's wedding. (She was dressed and was trying to make a point).

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Things to remember

Was talking to Nuke and Milady last week. Milady had been commenting on the fact that Nuke doesn't really laugh. You know the kind. The ones that make your chest hurt and can be heard everywhere. I had spent some time explaining that unfortunately he takes after me. We can find a lot of things amusing and will even smile about a lot. But, it takes something extraordinary to shake a good laugh out of us. One should never open one's mouth when they have a story to tell.
 
After talking with Milady, Nuke got back on the phone and I suddenly remembered the conversation I had with mom just a few days before. It goes something like this (I'm paraphrasing):
 
"So mom, I hear you don't have cable, Internet or home phone right now."
 
"Yes. I remember when I enjoyed the silence. Not so much anymore. I don't want to sit around and read because I'll go to sleep too early."
 
"Why don't you watch one of your DVDs?"
 
"I can do that?"
 
"Well, yeah!"
 
Needless to say when I relayed this conversation to Nuke, I swear he must have bust a rib he was laughing so hard. And I guess it's really hard to be believed when this kind of thing happens. I'm in so much trouble.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

In a Christmas long, long ago


Pan found Yoda hiding among the Christmas decorations in the Home Depot galaxy. There were Snoopys, snowmen and even several Santa's but only one Yoda. It must have been the force that brought the two of them together. So now he has a new home and I have to admit that if he is facing your direction, it is kind of creepy.
 
All things aside, the Bug is going to pay big time for this. As it was her that sent me the original photo from the HD in her neck of the woods, which predisposed Pan to got searching for one in our neck of the woods. BTW he is taller than the box and has to be put together. There were many an unsavory words dotting the living room the night Yoda came home.

Friday, November 16, 2012

The lone Marine


My sister has this lone Marine standing at attention in her garden next to the flag post. You can't miss him as you drive up to the house. I love this statue and what it represents. I look forward to many years of seeing him as I visit my sister and her husband.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Sunshine on my shoulders



The top photo is the other picture I had made into an 8x10 (I think I said 8x11 on the post about it, but they are really 8x10's). She looks so happy and relaxed and I love the bare feet while she is all dressed up. And Indy really got into the posing. I'm hoping that Daughter will be sending me his "James Bond" pictures soon.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A very special birthday wish

To my mom. Happy Birthday mom. I hope you enjoy your day. And I hope the boys won't drive you to distraction with all their singing and playing their instruments for you. Love you lots.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I am man, hear me roar



I just love the one of him on the top of the ridge. It is another that I will have to have blown up and framed. I'm going to run out of room on my walls before long. I may just have to invest in my own private gallery somewhere.
 
And aren't the two of them just so sweet together? Well, at least while mom was taking the pictures, huh? They aren't always this compatible. The colors on the trees look awesome against the blue of the sky. Daughter did a good job.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Picture perfect



I just love the photo of the two of them sitting on the rock. Next time I have enlargements made that one will definitely be on the list. I love the one of just the Princess but it was so dark and I am not sure I'm liking how it turned out when I tweaked it. At least you can really see her lovely smile.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

It's all in the pose



And somehow she manages to make them do exactly what she wants. Good parenting skills or blackmail? Guess I will have to ask her. I recently got a coupon from Shutterfly for two free 8x11 prints. One of the ones I had printed out was the one on the bottom of Indy. They came out great so I guess I will now have to buy frames for them.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Up in the mountains



Daughter and the grands are lucky to have such a beautiful place to take pictures and daughter has a good eye for posing. She also can manage to get them to let her take the pictures with a smile or something resembling a smile on their face. So for the next few days, I'm going to share pictures that she has taken.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Halloween up north

The Princess

Indy and Daughter

Haven't they grown? The Princess isn't that tiny little girl anymore. She's turned into a full-blown beauty. And it won't be long before Indy is taller than his mother. He's already at her shoulder. Daughter makes a striking viking (oh look, I rhymed, hehehehe). I don't want to mess with her while she is toting that battle axe around.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Time and Space

It has been a week since Halloween and I can't figure out just where the time has gone. Sometimes I feel like it just slows down to a crawl, but before I know it a week passes. Like now. And it has been a crazy mixed up week. I am sure everyone had been watching the news to see who would end up being president. I know Pan and I did. At least until I started falling asleep on the couch, so I had to wait until yesterday morning to find out.
 
Pan spent last weekend on Skype with the Princess trying to go over algebra with her. (another brain moment, did I cover this already?). Then yesterday she texted me to help her out with another problem. Hope I told her the right thing. I just don't remember that much about algebra anymore. Pan swears he is going to drag out his college math books and start boning up algebra, trig and calculus. I haven't seen them though. Maybe this weekend, right?

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Getting ready for Christmas

 
 
I'm so pleased with myself getting these done and ordered in time for the holidays. I originally just ordered the one on the right for the Princess because she said she needed a new phone case. But when I was telling the Daughter about it, she started laughing and said she needed on to and would take the case with the pictures (we had bought one at target the day before I got the email from shutterfly). Pan decided we really needed to get the Daughter her own with pictures of both the kids on it. I concurred, so the one on the left will go to the Daughter and the one on the right will go to the Princess. Thank goodness Indy doesn't have a phone yet.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

The end is nigh



 
 
The foyer complete with jacob's ladder and it's very own crystal ball. Lights which spin skulls across the wall, a plasma light, fog machine and a cauldron full of candy.
 
A better picture showing the new light illuminating the giant spider. Again the little kids were just delighted with the spider and wanted to go over to check it out.
 
A spooky candle shines its light on the tombstone it guards.


Monday, November 05, 2012

Eying the sites & a lit up Pan




It is so funny that it is the little ones who are truly just mesmerized by the display. Not scared, just curious as to what everything is and how it works. Once they reach about 10, they are terrified and don't want to come up.

Pan really got into the act this year by "designing" his very own light up shirt. Unfortunately for him, he bought a shirt for cooler weather and it was in the 70's. He couldn't wait to get it off. Next year he had better make two. One for warmer weather and this one in case it is cooler.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Pics from the tripod


 
 
The only way to take pictures of the lights is with a tripod. Finally got it set up and was not disappointed at all with the results. Just with the fact that I forgot to charge up the batteries.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Decorate and they will come


 
 
It was a slow start this year. I believe it had something to do with the big Halloween to-do at one of the churches in town. I was starting to get concerned that this  might be the last year that we go all out, but by 7 o'clock the crowds began to show up . Several hundred dollars of candy and several hundred children later, we were all pooped. 

Friday, November 02, 2012

More Halloween


 
This year Pan's best friend was able to join in with the celebration. Hiding behind the web wrapped skeleton, he helped out by pulling the line to make one of the guests of the graveyard sit up, as well as keeping the bubble machine filled. 

Thursday, November 01, 2012

A new month and some pictures

Setting up

 
Pan took the week off, but he didn't set up until the afternoon of Halloween. But it gave him more time to go through all of he decorations and electronics to make sure everything was in working order. This year the new toy was a light which shone an eerie green light on the graveyard. I think I'm going to have to suggest that next year we get a small fog machine to put in the graveyard as well. We already have one in the foyer. but I really think the light would be even creepier with the addition of fog.


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

Halloween
Scary     Fun
Frighting     Laughing     Looking
A day of excitment
Candy     Children     Bags
Sweet     Colorful
Treats
 
A diamante poem to celebrate :)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Dreams

Simply write down a full account of a dream you’ve had recently.

I don't know if it is the upcoming All Hallows season or just the weather, but frankly I have been dreaming, Alot....
 
Most I can't remember, some I really don't want to ever remember and some are just not memorable at all.
 
Still recently, I did have one that I do remember and I think the cat is the cause. Will explain this more after the dream.
He was the main character along with some feral kittens that somehow managed to get in the house. Cat is, well, cat and part mouse, part dog and thinks he's human. So he was rather intimidated by the tiny furballs and they so enjoyed hiding from him and then jumping out when he was least expecting it. On and on it went all day. When Pan and I finally came in, you could feel the relief flooding off him. That is until we just sat down and watched.

 
Not much in the way of a dream, but it did seem to go on forever. And I think it was probably due the fact that he was being a pest all night. Wanting to knead, snuggle and play. I wanted him to get his just desserts and the only way I could accomplish it was through dreaming.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Monday, Monday

Yesterday I told you about Pan taking this week off. Now I will get a chance to find out what it will be like when he actually retires. We are not going anywhere, staying at home, playing domestic. I sure hope I survive the week, lol.
 
That's almost scary... just in time for Halloween. Of course, two of the days I will be at work for half a day, so it shouldn't be to hard, right?

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Tomorrow starts

Pan's vacation. I know that it seems like he takes on all the time, what, with our trips to Vegas, Orlando and such, but those are only vacations for me. They are business trips for him. But this year he is managing to take two weeks off. The first was in June when we took the grands to Universal in Orlando and now this week.
 
Now he will have time to plan how the Halloween decorations are going to be put out. Still, he won't put them there until the day Halloween treaters are coming. Don't want to give anyone in the neighborhood any ideas and then outdo him. Talk about a Tim Allen complex, hahahahahaha.
 
He has picked up a few extras for this year, mainly in the lighting department. I really wanted to get the remote control spider from Edmund's Scientific. Maybe next year. And, of course, I will be posting pictures once the big day has come and gone. Probably next weekend sometime.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

This time last week

I was at my mom's house while Pan was spending the day with his dad and mom. He got a great picture of the two of them. I really need to get it from him, get some more ink for my printer and print it out, have it framed and give it to them. Especially since Pan's dad gave me a wonderful, but early Christmas present.
 
Pan's mom is now in a home specializing in Alzheimer care. It's been rough on the family and they have been trying to slowly clean out the house which their dad is still staying in. One of the things that Mom P and I have in common is knitting. One of the things that is filling up the split level home is yarn and books. Dad P gave me a chance last week to go through all the books and yarn, taking what I felt I could use. I came home with enough yarn to make several (like 10 or 11) articles. I even managed to locate a couple of those yarn by the pound skeins which will go to the Princess as a gift from Dad P.
 
That has been another thing that has kept me pretty busy this week. Sorting them all out and trying to find a place to store them. That and trying to clean house for next week, lol.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Whoops

The days have gotten the best of me lately. Must be the Halloween season coming up next week. MUST do better. It's just sometimes I can't think of anything to put down into words. Even with prompts to help me along. Like today. Mind is a complete blank. In fact, this is the first time in two days I have even been on the computer for anything other than reading.
 
Speaking of reading, I just finished Rick Riordan's newest book, "The Mark of Athena." Any of you that follow the Percy Jackson stories have probably already gotten and read it. I know, I know.... really more of a book for a pre-teen than for an aging adult. But sometimes I just need the entertainment. They are a fast read, but still with twists and turns to keep your interest going.
 
I think the only problem I have with this newest book is... Percy and Jason. You come to love Percy in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. Then you are introduced to Jason in the first of the "Heroes of Olympus" series of which "The Mark" is the latest. Herein Percy and Jason meet. So which is it going to be?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Homework possibilities

Monday through Wednesday and some Thursdays, I skype with Indy to help him with his homework. It's a great way for us to stay connected and keep up with what he is doing. I also get to lesson to him practice his piano and watch movies with him when he has completed his work. At least his work is something I don't usually have trouble with.
 
The Princess on the other hand.... She called me with help last week. On algebra. Come on, it has been 30 years since I have done algebra. I was okay with the formulas, but then came the variables and theories. I was calling Pan in a panic. She that it was funny and spend the time laughing at me.
 
But I am glad to see that I am not the only one. I was telling my boss about it and he let me in on the fact that he went through that with his daughters, only to decide that at some time they would have to figure it out themselves, because he couldn't remember. Oh, that sounds so familiar.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Back to my regularly scheduled something

or another. hahahahahaha.....
 
I have been busy trying to get my digital scrapbooking supplies organized. I want to be able to do a quick search to find something without having to look through every folder I have. Once I finish that I will be back onto my vacation book. After which I think I will take one of the genealogy folders and start a book on that.
 
Speaking of which I missed with the family reunion in Mississippi this past weekend. I have never been and only learned about it last year. Maybe next year Pan and I can schedule some time to visit. But I do want to buy at least one of the books that they had available there. One is a collection of letters written during the Civil War. How cool would that be?

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Pokemon madness

Yep, I broke down and bought the new Pokemon game Black/White 2. I got the Black but will probably buy the White eventually. I don't know why I like the games so much, other than they are mindless fun. And I can compete/trade with the Bug, who got me started on them. On my original Black version, I am just shy 13 pokemon from having them all. And I have nearly 100 of them at level 100. Okay, I've got to get back to battling the gym leader.....

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Busy Weekend

In just a few short hours we will be heading over to spend some quality time with Pan's dad and my mom. Dad G was so excited to hear we were coming and taking them out to dinner, I just hope that Olive Garden still has their 2 for $12.95 special going on. It's not that I am cheap (okay maybe I can be), but when we eat there, mom ends up taking half her dinner and half my dinner home to eat later in the week. This way she can get nearly a week's worth of dinners out of it. LOL.

I must remember to take my camera and try to get some pictures to post. And get some pics at the Olive Garden so that I can start scrapbooking those memories as well. Just wish I had thought of it sooner while Pan's mother was joining us.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Eating fetish

What is the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?

Some soup in Hong Kong that tasted and looked just like Pepto Bismol. Never did find out what it really was. Maybe I just didn't want to know.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Resemble who?

What famous person do other people tell you that you most resemble?

Use to be Linda Carter. Haven't had any compare me to a famous person lately. But I definitely do not look like Linda Carter any more.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Unhappiness just a frown away

Do you feel that children should be sheltered from unhappiness?
Absolutely not. And there really is no way to do so. No matter how happy you try to make them, there is going to come a time when they are just going to be unhappy. It is better to help them deal with it and explain that it is a part of growing up.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Restaurant Reveal



 
Not so much a reveal because I'm not going to let you in on where this gem of a pub is located. Great service and the cozy atmosphere where we can play NTN while dining, has made this a favorite haunt for many a local in the area. It is definitely our favorite place to dine.

Monday, October 15, 2012

A home away 3

Continued from yesterday:

Next up was California. And to be perfectly honest. I don't recall that much about the place. I do remember playing hopscotch, falling and getting a concussion. I remember that Bug had to be taken to a hospital around Sacramento for some tests one time. They gave her some medicine to make her sleep, telling mom and dad she would be out for some time. She woke soon after getting in the car to go back and it was like watching a little drunk. I'm sure that if she remembers it at all, she doesn't have fond memories.

To be continued sometime in the future when my memories catch up.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

A home away two

Continued from yesterday:
 
The house in Arkansas is the one I remember the best. I don't know why. Maybe because until dad retired it was the one place we lived the longest. It is also the house in which I had the chicken pox, measles and mumps. All the childhood diseases. We got the best Barbie furniture and clothes ever while living here. Mom made everything. The clothes with wonderful detail and dressed with loads of lace. Furniture made out of milk cartons and beer cans. It was padded and upholstered and no one in the world had a matching set.
 
There was teen club across the street where my friends and I would play. Behind it would be broken bottles of varying colors that we would gather, pretending they were exotic gems. There was also a chimney back there with a few bricks that were loose. We would remove the brick, put in our gems and replace it. We definitely had some good times.
 
To be continued

Saturday, October 13, 2012

A home away

Draw, label, and share the layout of your childhood home.

I have done something similar in the past so instead of drawing and labeling a layout of my childhood home (there were a few), I think I'll take this moment to reminisce about some of them.
 
When very young, possibly even before ddpuppies was born, I remember sitting at the kitchen table with my dad, each of us with a cup of "coffee." His was, mine was warm milk with about a tablespoon of coffee added to give it some color and make me feel like I was special.
 
I think it was also around this time, I remember walking into a living room with a Christmas tree that must have been 100' high. Now, I know it wasn't but I was so little.
 
To be continued

Friday, October 12, 2012

A scent of the past

As I walked into the room, I noticed a light scent of something in the air. I stood there racking my brain trying to figure it out. It was a scent that I should have been able to identify immediately. There, a light breeze blows it over this way. The air conditioner fan must have turned on. Still, I cannot place it. Where I have a smelled it before?
 
It is bringing back memories of an small, old house where the rooms just seem to run into one another. We had some fun times in that house. Or more importantly in the yard, where a magnolia tree scraped the sky and bamboo held our own private jungle. A walnut tree perfect for climbing and spiky walnut husks that dug into the skin.
 
Still the scent eludes me. It is from that place and time, I just know it. But I cannot seem to identify it. I must move on, people are staring at me wondering what my problem is. It is rather silly for a grown person to stand and stare into the distance.
 
Maybe tonight I can relax at home and ponder the meaning of the scent. That is if I remember it or remember this moment in time.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Leave, Leaves, Leaving

Write a blog post inspired by the word: leaves

Well, it doesn't say what kind of "leaves" and the beginning of the fall season always brings about the children leaving. Always such a sad time. Very melancholy (Indy's new word). Daughter shows up or we have to meet half way and then we watch as she leaves with the kids. I do like when she gets to spend a day or two here before she leaves. We don't get to see much of her anymore.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

I need a fall up north

Fall is here! List your top 10 favorite things about this Fall season.

Can't think of any write now other than at least it is in the high 60's in the mornings. Still by 10 a.m. it is back in the 80's.
 
But if I had to write about what things bothered me about fall, it would be:
 
1. Still too hot.
2. Isn't it ever going to cool down?
3. It sure gets foggy around here in the fall.
4. Kids running across the street without looking.
5. The grands have to leave to get back into their own school :(

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Irritation abounds

Tell us about the last thing that irritated  you.

Pan's friend was over a couple of weeks ago. He's spending more time over here since he and his wife are living apart right now. Not a problem. He keeps Pan company watching the movies I just truly hate.
 
BUT.... he keeps using my coffee cup. The last time he was here, I asked him if he was still a guest or not. He looked at me funny and said "it depends. What's the difference?" So I told him "if you are a guest, you ask before you touch anything. If not, clean your own glass if you can't find one, instead of using my coffee cup."
 
He's says he's no longer a "guest." But we will have to watch and see, won't we?

Monday, October 08, 2012

They’re smarter than they look!

Write about a time your child was on to you.

My kids (and grandkids) are always on to me, so I'm going to share a story when Scamp showed my parents just how much he was into them. (mom, I'm sure to get some parts wrong, just correct me).
 
Seems dad asked mom if they were going to be cooking the roast on the grill that night. And she decided that she would cook it inside. Dad heads out to the patio, beer in hand (I am sure) to sit and relax. A little later Scamp heads into the house to, well you know, and when he came back out he told my dad "mamma said to get your rear in the kitchen and get the roast."
 
Now anyone who knows my dad, knows that is going to set him off in a big way. He goes storming into the house yelling at at mom, wanting to know what she means. She did say she was going to cook it inside. She is puzzled, until they both head outside and see Scamp laughing his a$$ off.
 
That has always been one of my favorite stories. Guess it always will be.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

It's all so overwhelming

Share a moment when you felt overwhelmed.

Small overwhelms are felt daily such as right now when I know I should be vacuuming, cleaning the toilet or some such activity instead of sitting here writing on my blog. But I can usually ignore the small ones.
 
Then there are the mid-range overwhelms, usually at work when I have three or four people wanting something from me while I am in the middle of something else. Little harder to ignore.
 
The really big overwhelms are when something happens and I cannot control it. When the kids left for another state; when I have to return them at the of their visits. These are times when I can't ignore and sometimes feel like I don't want to go on. But I do and thankfully.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Plaids of all kinds

What comes to mind when you think of the word ‘plaid’.

Stripes in varying degrees of size and colors all intertwined with one another in straight lines vertical and horizontal. I've been seeing a lot of plaids in my efforts to clean up and organize my digital scrapbooking kits.

Friday, October 05, 2012

The new and the old

So many of the television shows I love are meeting their demise. Eureka is already gone. This is Fringe's last season. Warehouse 13 and Haven seem to be on their last leg. More and more are being replaced by reality shows. I wonder who makes that decision? Most people I talk to are not into reality shows (or maybe they just can distinguish between them). I'm glad to see the Big Bang Theory is still on. And I do want to catch Elementary and Arrow. I'm wavering on Arrow though as I really would have thought Justin Hartley would have had the roll.  

Thursday, October 04, 2012

The house


Mother bellows for the children to come to breakfast before the day begins. Father is already on his way out to tend to the fields below but he will expect the rest of the family to join him shortly. No one is spared from the hardship of gathering of the harvest. He knows that each will do their best, as he had done for his father before. Each year the crops had been smaller and withering sooner, but it seems this year has been extremely bad.
The drought had been going on for many years now, just enough rain to provide for the family and even that was dwindling.  Soon, he ponders, they may have to move on. But to where? This has been home for several generations of his family and thought of leaving wrenches at his heart. Still he can’t just stay and watch his family shrivel one by one as the shortage of food continues.
Soon, he thinks, very soon. He had heard of work in a mill up north where he had cousins living. They would put the family up for a while. At least until he could get on his feet. Mother would not be happy, he knows. This has been her home for more years than she would like to let on. She will get over it. She is a strong woman, practical. And once there the children would have the chance to attend school regularly. She’d like that idea.
That evening after supper, he broaches the subject with her. He smiles, as she reacts just as he assumed she would. Then reasoning took over and she began making plans about what to take and what to leave. They just couldn’t afford to take everything with them. As soon as those decisions were finalized, a date was reached. They would be leaving on the third Monday of next month. That would give him time enough to get a letter to his cousins and get a reply back.
Sunday before was spend packing and loading the wagon that they would haul behind the aging vehicle. It groaned and creaked as they started, but managed to pull the load. Father watched out of the rearview mirror as the house shrank in the distance. He wondered if he or any of his family would ever see the place again.
This once stately home now lies in disrepair, crumbling under the weight of time and weather. Father nor his children have traveled back to see the old place. And soon it will be lost along with the stories contained within

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

The shoe has it

When you play Monopoly, which figurine do you usually grab?

I never really thought about it before, but yeah, I always try to take the shoe when I play Monopoly. Or the top hat. Makes you kind of wonder if there is something to it huh? Both are articles of clothing. I think most people would probably pick the car. Speed thing. What would you pick?

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Oh the snack of it

I don't eat many snacks. Mainly because when I start I tend to over-indulge. Not good when you have to keep track of your blood sugar. And I definitely don't keep them in my drawer at work. I do keep a protein bar in my purse for emergencies (like when I work later than I expect and can't make it home or out for lunch).

Monday, October 01, 2012

It's raining

and I love it. Now I wonder why I'm not still snuggled up in bed with a good book and a hot cup of coffee, instead of sitting at the computer playing Words with Friends with mom and writing this post. Yesterday was like this, too, and Pan and I played Marvel Ultimate Alliance together so that he could get the achievements for playing two people.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Dream Date

I dream a lot. A whole lot, in color, in b&w, and all shades between. Usually I try to forget my dreams and usually I am successful. Until recently, all the characters in my dreams were unknowns, sometimes even myself. I rarely dreamed about family and friends. That is beginning to change and it makes it much harder to slip out of the dream mode of thinking into the awake mode of thinking.
 
Just the other day, I had one about my beloved Pan. And an ex-friend. I have not spoken to M in several years. She really hurt me, deeply, and I do not forgive easily. Oh, back to the dream.
 
I don't know how I found out, but someone must have told me, that M had continued to email Pan even after our severed friendship. Not such a big deal, why would I care. She and Pan were friends too. But this same person must be the one who told me that she had bought them both tickets to Hawaii.
 
Again, so what? Pan would never consider traveling with her leaving me at home. That is until I confronted him about it and he told me he was going. I was devastated. I wasn't worried about him having an affair. But just by agreeing to accompany her, he had broken something in our relationship.
 
About this time my clock went off to take a pill and trying to reclaim the dream and change the outcome was forever lost. But I wonder, what turn it might have taken, had I continued to sleep? Do I even want to know?

Saturday, September 29, 2012

My kind of torment

When I came across this prompt from Brain Candy, I just couldn't resist. It reminded me of something I had done when I was much younger (at least in my 20's, lol).

If you could have anyone locked in a room so that you could torment them for a day, whom would you choose, and how would you torment them?

The four year old child was just so obnoxious. His parents had taught him "big" words to use just so he would sound smart. "Eradicate" the fly instead of "kill the fly." That one really stuck, because why in the world would you teach a four year old various ways of saying kill. But there were others as well.

I took it upon myself to bring him down a notch. Okay a 20 something picking on a 4 year old, not cool. Still it was entertaining and extremely funny to watch him get upset everytime his parents told him how smart he was.

I would do the same all the time. Tell him how "smart" he was, but made it sound like a really bad word. It is hard to write how it sounded, but it went something like "Oh, Bob, you are just sooooo smart," putting a sneer into my voice at the end.

Yep those were the days. I would never consider doing that today, because 4 year olds today are really that smart.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Pet Peeves

Have you ever been setting at home waiting for a utility repair or a new large appliance? All of us have at one time or another. But when I was talking to the Bug the other day, it came up that she had to get home to wait on the ac repair. They had given her a window of one hour. Which is better than the four hours you are normally expected to wait, but still.

Don't they understand that unless we go to work, they don't get paid. I can't think of any other business where it is okay to make someone wait for a product or service (except maybe a doctor's off , but generally it is only 5-15 minutes). It really annoys me that I have to take time off to have some work done. Sad thing is, we let them get away with it.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Move


“What? What was that you said?”
She must be hearing things because she could have sworn you were talking about moving. And not just moving like across the street or across town, but several states away. She didn’t know what to say or if she should say anything at all especially since she had actually heard it from someone else already.
You just assumed that she would blow a gasket and start another fight, taking it badly to the extreme and you seemed genuinely surprised when she didn’t. Why is that? She had always come to your defense, always backed your decisions. Though she does have a bit of a temper and tends to make her suggestions sound more like demands. Is that what caused this sudden rush to get away? Or is it because you know you have been living off her and her husband without contributing either monetarily or by helping around the house? Most likely it was a combination of both.
You could see it in her eyes as she realized that the two of you have been arguing more of late or so it seemed. But she really thought it would work itself out in the end, apparently not. So while she didn’t like the idea of you moving so far away, she could understand your desire to try and make it on your own. Again if you looked hard enough you might have been able to see the thought processes whirling in her head. ‘Make it on your own?’ while moving in with your dad and his wife. Yeah, right. She didn’t say that but oh she wanted to.
Soon enough the day came. Tears welled up in her eyes whenever she would look at you or the children. The children. How she was going to miss their laughter, banter and arguing throughout the house. And as you and your father packed up the truck and your car, she held tightly the little boy that would no longer be a bright star in the day for her. She was also remembering all the good times that passed between the two of you. Not just recently either, but throughout your life, wondering if she would ever experience that again with you.
Before long the vehicles were packed and it was time to head out. Time had flown so swiftly and you were about to take flight on a new and different adventure. One that did not include her. Would you ever regret that? Would you ever wonder what might have been if you had stayed? But the time to change your mind had passed and there was one last hug goodbye before embarking on your journey.
So with her head leaning against the warm chest of her husband and tears freely falling now, she watched as your car turned the corner. Her hope was that with this separation, the two of you could reach some kind of reconciliation. And she wonders when she might see you again.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A letter from MiLady

I'm sure Nuke updated you when I left the hospital a week ago, but I wanted to let you know what's been going on since then. They tried to release me the day after surgery, but I was not able to tolerate oral pain meds yet, so I made them keep me 2 more days until I could. Imagine that! Less than 24 hours after major surgery and they wanted me to go home! Not happening.....I want your readers to know that they are their own best advocate for their health, and the doctors don't always get to call the shots. If something isn't right, don't be afraid to speak up.
Once I got home, I felt better....sleeping in my own bed, not being poked, prodded, and squeezed every 4 hours makes for a good rest. This past Friday (and today to a lesser extent) I was/is having problems regulating my calcium. Either they damaged/removed my parathyroids when they removed the thyroid, or the parathyroids are "in shock" from the surgery. Either way my calcium is trying to get too low. I'm having a weak, shaky type feeling.....very similar to low blood sugar, except no matter what I eat or drink the feeling doesn't go away. So, I called my Endocrinologist and she upped my calcium until I can get in to see her on Thursday.
She wanted to see me Wednesday morning, but I'm due back at MUSC to see my surgeon for a follow-up and to get my pathology report. We'll know what stage my cancer is then. I'm hoping for no more than a stage 2.....I don't know how I'll react if it's stage 3. My CT results from last month don't show anything suspicious below the neck, so I am reasonably sure it hasn't metastasized.
Hopefully I'll also find out if the cancer is familial or just sporadic. Keeping my fingers crossed for sporadic, and that I haven't passed it on to TiMon and Brindel. There is a history of cancer on my dad's side of the family (throat-dad, colon cancer-g-dad,and a great-aunt who had some sort of throat cancer), but no one except me had MTC. Lol... I always have to be the "special" one. Anyway, my general outlook has improved since I got through the surgery. Hopefully it will continue to improve after the path reports. I'll keep you posted.
Love to you and Pan!

Was I in control of my day?

Never Stop Smiling & Utopia ©Laitha's Designs; Scraplift from April Showers
I think these prompts were timed with the days I work. But in answer to the question, yesterday I was in control of the day only insomuch as that it did not interfere with my boss' designs for my day. He's not demanding, so I pretty much can work at my own pace in my own time. Just as long as I get it done. So in that respect I do have some control.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

I wished I could have skipped housework

Never Stop Smiling & Utopia ©Laitha's Designs; template by MJAJ Designs
That is so silly, I have so little to do without the kids here. Make a bed, wash a few dishes, vacuum. But no matter what I really hate housework. More so than most I believe (that should have gone on yesterday's list huh?)
 
Still most got done and I spent the rest of the time, on the computer, reading a book or playing pokemon again. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Thyroid Awareness Month


September is Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month. Did you know that thyroid cancer is the fastest increasing cancer in the United States? Throughout this month, Bite Me Cancer will post helpful information about thyroid cancer as well as inspiring stories of survivors.
My own daughter-in-law was recently diagnosed with a rare form of thyroid cancer that can only be treated with surgery. I am going to see if I can get her to send me her thoughts, feelings and reactions to this news throughout the month. And how she and Nuke are dealing with the situation.

Now its up to you to do the research, check out the advancements made, and support you can provide. Soon, it may be someone you know.

I believe

Never Stop Smiling & Utopia ©Laitha's Designs; template by Connie Prince
That I can make a difference.
That I can live up to my potential.
That I can make people happy.
That I can be me without compromising myself.
That I can be happy, in and of itself.
That I am a really intelligent person, capable of holding a conversation without feeling embarrassed.
That I have a strength to work through any adversities that may plague me throughout my life.
That I can say no, if I really needed to.


Sunday, September 23, 2012

If I could change yesterday would I?

Never Stop Smiling & Utopia ©Laitha's Designs; template by Connie Prince
Don't think so. We spent the weekend with our parents. Tom with his family (he's probably wishing he could change it). But me... I like spending time with mom talking about anything that happens to strike our fancy. We have alot in common. She is so well rounded (in the intelligence department, not in girth) that any conversation we have is both educational and entertaining. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Through the lens

Flights of Fancy ©Cherie Shields; Shades of Reality ©Laitha's Designs; scraplift from poohbear
The last gift I received was the 300mm telephoto lens Pan bought me for my birthday. I'm so excited to have it, now I just have to make the time to put it to use. About the only time I use the camera these days is when the young'uns are here. But with this bear of a lens I'm going to have to do more with it. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

The pressures of the day

Flights of Fancy ©Cherie Shields; Shades of Reality ©Laitha's Designs; scraplift from Julie Wells
Yesterday was a work day and about the only pressures I get from there are from the reps. Who are always demanding the same thing week after week. Usually because they lose what I have given them. Yesterday was no different. Guess I had best be grateful that was all there was.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

3 minute fiction - The Nurse

NPR's All Things Considered has this contest where you can submit a short story that can be read in 3 minutes or less. They are judged and the best ones are put up on the site. I think they are up to round 9. Anyway, I'm not a writer and I will not be submitting mine but thought I might still try my hand, push my bounderies, so to speak, and put them down here. So from round 2 (bolded is what you had to use) here is my 3 minute fiction:

The Nurse

The nurse left work at 5 o’clock dreading the moment when she must exit through the throng of reporters surrounding the doors inquiring about her patient.

All she could think about was why they felt it was their duty to follow and hound her with questions she could or would not answer. She had not taken this job to be a celebrity or even to have her 15 minutes of fame. She wanted to be a nurse so that she would matter, so she could take care of people, ease their suffering.

Can’t they just leave her alone? No, they are the most insistent of people, grasping for the least bit of gossip or juicy news that can be publicized throughout the country and most probably the world. She shook her head thinking about the young man ensconced in the bed on the third floor. He was much like her, all he wanted to do was make people happy with his talent. But then, maybe he enjoyed this kind of adulation. She would have to ask, she supposed.

Shunning the crowd as she pushes her way through, she finally makes it to the safety of her vehicle. But as she looked up to put the key in the lock she notices a sad, gangly young man leaning up against her car.

“What is it you want?” she sighs exhaustedly.

“Please, ma’am, how is he doing? You see, he is my brother. He has been trying to keep the family out of his limelight, but if I tried to make my way up there…. You can see what would happen.”

Giving him a little hope but no real information, she asked him to meet her at the 5 and Dime around the corner during her break the next day. This would give her some time to think.

As morning dawned, she made her way through the reporters once again. Stopping at various rooms to check up on her other patients, she finally ended up at The Room. Taking a breath, she walked in, sat down and started a conversation. She explained about meeting the young man the day before, asked about the relationship, and, of course, how he was doing. Getting a satisfactory answer she then began preparing for her meeting later that morning.

Time flew as she kept herself busy and before long she began her trek to the 5 and Dime. As she approached she could see the young man sitting at the soda counter with a cup of coffee in hand waiting for her. He stood as she got there and she handed him a bag, telling him to go change.  When he returned from the restroom, he looked just like your ordinary, everyday orderly that no one would take a second look at.

With a smile of a job well-done, it was time to make their way back to the hospital with heart-pounding anticipation as to whether they would make it through. And oh, yes, they did, with a pat on one another’s back they made their way up the third floor. Then seeing the look on her patient’s face as he gazed at his brother, made her realize that it was all worth it. Both would be fine in the times to come.

But throughout her life, she would always wonder just what it was the gangly young man saw in her that made him trust her?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

OMG

Halloween is just a month away; Thanksgiving, two; and Christmas, just three. I'm so not prepared. Are you?
 
Give me at least 6 more months to prepare... :)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A day older and not a penny richer

is how I feel, lol. But the fact that I am still here is something to celebrate. So I will continue to feel a day older and no more than that.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Thyroid Awareness Month


September is Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month. Did you know that thyroid cancer is the fastest increasing cancer in the United States? Throughout this month, Bite Me Cancer will post helpful information about thyroid cancer as well as inspiring stories of survivors.
My own daughter-in-law was recently diagnosed with a rare form of thyroid cancer that can only be treated with surgery. I am going to see if I can get her to send me her thoughts, feelings and reactions to this news throughout the month. And how she and Nuke are dealing with the situation.

Now its up to you to do the research, check out the advancements made, and support you can provide. Soon, it may be someone you know.

Everything, nothing

It's hard to answer some prompts when they are actually meant to be answered when the day is done. So I am going to take a guess about what went perfectly about my day. Let's see.... It's Monday. That's a good start. Except Monday is my Sunday, which means I will be going to work tomorrow. That's fine, I like what I do. Indy will be calling me to help with his homework, which means listening to him read for 15 minutes. That's always a bright spot. Now if he would just pick books appropriate for his age. By that I mean words that he can actually pronounce.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

My boss threw a gala

of a retirement party for one of the employees. It was really nice of him to do so, even if he couldn't be there. He was getting his daughter settled into college in California.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Last words spoken aloud

were to Pan as we started to fall asleep. "I love you." It's the last thing we say to one another every night. Great tradition, if you ask me.

Friday, September 14, 2012

A message from MiLady

Received this Wednesday night:

Hi Mom,

One last night then we leave for MUSC. They want me there at 5:30am! So I told Nuke that we have go drive down the day before (3 hour drive one way) because I wanted a good night's sleep before surgery, and being woken up 2-3 times a night while they check my vital signs. Of course, if I'm lucky, they'll give me some good drugs and I won't even care or remember. :-)  I should be packing, but I really don't feel like doing it. I wish I knew how long I am going to be there. Since it's such a long drive, I probably won't see Nuke again until they release me (of course he's staying for a while after I come out of surgery, but then he'll go home). I hate that it's so far from family and friends.

I'd be so much more comfortable here at the hospital I used to work at because I know most everyone there. I'll be truly alone at MUSC once Nuke leaves. OMG, I sound like a drama queen, but it's really how I feel. I've not been away from Nuke for more than a day since we got married. I really will hate being away from him, family and friends, and my fur babies. It feels like time is dragging, yet speeding up at the same time. I mean, time is dragging because I'm ready to have this over with, but all too soon Friday will be here and I'm not ready to be so isolated. I don't even know if I'll be able to talk after they're done. I lost my voice for a few days after the first surgery. Nuke thought it was funny, and installed a "Stephen Hawking"-like program into my laptop.....it was too funny! I swear, you and Pan have warped his sense of humor...it's so great! One of my sisters told me I found the perfect man for me, and she is right. You've raised a wonderful son, and I want to thank you and Pan for that.

Well, I need to pack, and then try to sleep some so I can drive. Nuke's still on night shift, so he can sleep while I drive. Nuke will call you after I'm out of surgery to let you know how it went.

Much love to you and Pan!
Hope to hear from them soon.

UPDATE 7:05 a.m. CST: MiLady is now in surgery. Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers.

UPDATE #2 9:09 a.m CST from Nuke:
She's out and in recovery. Dr.  said everything went well! I should be able to see her within the hour.
 

How can you be stressed

when Friday is the first day of your weekend. Well I guess it is possible. One of the kids may call with bad news, that would be stressful. Something may happen to Pan, definitely stressful. But I'm going to stay optimistic that today is going to be stress free.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Free Time

what a concept. Actually I will spend my free time today either scrapping or reading. My two favorite pastimes. Probably scrapping since I have just finished reading the six books I purchased less than a month ago.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The computer I use the most

depends on what I am doing. If I am at home, I normally use my desktop. The monitor is bigger. But if I am traveling or just don't want to head back to the computer room, I use my netbook.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A word from MiLady about Thyroid Cancer

It hit me last night. I started feeling pretty depressed while I was home alone (NavyNuke being on 3rd shift). I began to wonder what toll 4 surgeries in less than 10 months would have on my overall health. Then the fears set in.....my one great fear/terror is to be (or to still be is more accurate) intubated after surgery. I've worked in hospitals, and I've seen people being tied down/restrained because....even while under sedation, they know that tube is down their throat. Then when they lessen the sedation to see if you can breathe on your own (tube still in)....just thinking about it is stressing me pretty badly. I can't tell Nuke how I'm feeling, he'd stay home every night with me until the surgery, but I refuse to be the reason he doesn't pass the class he's taking.

He's wanted that class for years, and now that he's finally in it, he can't concentrate on it fully because he's worried about me. So, to keep him from worrying more, I'm keeping it all inside me and acting like it's still no big thing...just an inconvenience. Same with my mother and sisters......if I even give them an inkling of how I feel now they'll start to panic. And of course, I'd never, ever tell TiMon and Brindel. Mommy is the rock that they know they can depend on, she'll always be there. They know I have cancer, but of course I downplayed it.

Mom (Tink), I appreciate you letting me hijack your blog a little. Even though it's public, you know I'm picturing you here while I'm telling you these things. I know I can lean on you a little for support, because you won't break down like the others would. You and Pan would just tell me funny stories while I cry and laugh on your shoulders.

I love you both! (And don't worry....Nuke doesn't read your blog....he's too busy studying and worrying. :-)  )

Host of favorite gadgets

I love gadgets. Have drawers full of them. Some I have posted pictures of here. Some I haven't. I just recently bought an avocado pro, but haven't gotten to use it. Supposedly it preps avocados faster and replaces 5 kitchen tools. You can open, pit, slice, scoop and mash the avocados, all with the same tool. I'll let you know if it works when I get around to using it.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Thyroid Awareness Month


September is Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month. Did you know that thyroid cancer is the fastest increasing cancer in the United States? Throughout this month, Bite Me Cancer will post helpful information about thyroid cancer as well as inspiring stories of survivors.
My own daughter-in-law was recently diagnosed with a rare form of thyroid cancer that can only be treated with surgery. I am going to see if I can get her to send me her thoughts, feelings and reactions to this news throughout the month. And how she and Nuke are dealing with the situation.

Now its up to you to do the research, check out the advancements made, and support you can provide. Soon, it may be someone you know.

I intentionall wasted

Wednesday, August 29, reading. Reading scrapbooking lessons, blog posts, just about anything to keep from doing something else. That is until Indy skyped to do his homework.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Money, money, money.....Money

Ex-son-in-law owes us some money. Don't really care at this point and time. We really like the guy (as does his ex-wife, but only as a friend). Though it did come up in conversation recently. Daughter and the Princess were discussing the fact that her dad (the xsil) "loaned" her the money to buy some  special tennis shoes she needed for volleyball. He wanted to teach her a lesson about money. Well, being that we were in a car together, Pan and I couldn't help but overhear the conversation, especially since the Princess didn't think he was being fair. Our solution..... Tell him to deduct it from the money he owes us (maybe that would be a good lesson for him, huh?)

Saturday, September 08, 2012

My life would be easier if

I just let it. Come on, we are all responsible for our lives and if we want them to be easier all have to do is "make it so." I think I will start working on that immediately, just as soon as I get up from my nap.

Friday, September 07, 2012

A Note from MiLady on Medullary Thyroid Cancer
Here are some FAQ’s on the FB site for Medullary Thyroid Cancer (MTC), which is what I have. As to how I feel about it, and/or dealing with it….I’m just educating myself about it. Since it’s not causing me problems (didn’t even know I had it until I went to my ENT for something else) it doesn’t occupy my every waking thought….yet. J  I’ve always been a pro-active person when it came to my health. When I got the diabetes,  I kind of “threw away” what I knew about it from my grandmother having it, to read up on new treatments, new ways of dealing with it. When I found out about the BPD-DS that could put my diabetes into remission, I researched it for a year before I did it. Now I have this MTC and once again the researching begins. I’ll send some more thoughts, issues, reactions from family and so forth soon. I don’t want to overwhelm you all at  once. Thank you for putting this on your blog for me!

MTC FAQ’s

What is Medullary Thyroid Cancer?
 
MTC is a carcinoma of the connective tissue (the "C" cells) within the thyroid. A good definition exists in Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medullary_thyroid_cancer
 
Medullary thyroid cancer is completely different than the more common papillary and follicular types. Medullary thyroid cancer is usually not classified in terms of differentiation because it does not arise from the thyroid cells themselves, but rather from the specialized "C-cells" that are in between the thyroid cells. These C-cells are also sometimes referred to as parafollicular cells. They are found mostly in the upper and middle parts of the thyroid and they produce a substance called calcitonin which can serve as a marker for medullary thyroid cancer. Although we know that calcitonin is somehow involved in the body's regulation of calcium, we do not know its exact function. We do know that people who have had their thyroids removed surgically, do not require replacement of calcitonin for normal function and a healthy life.
 
There is an excellent introduction to MTC that you should read, written by Melissa Hays, a member of this group.
 
My Dr. does not seem to know much about MTC, what should I do?
Medullary Thyroid Cancer (MTC) is a fairly rare form of thyroid cancer, and because of that, many doctors (including many oncologists and endocrinologists) have little to no experience with the disease.   One of the most important decisions you can make in your cancer care is to choose a doctor who has a deep understanding of this particular disease. Therefore, it is a best practice in MTC care to seek initial treatment at an MTC Center of Excellence.
 
What is an MTC Center of Excellence?
An MTC Center of Excellence is a medical facility that has a focused practice in researching, diagnosing, and treating Medullary Thyroid Cancer. Doctors at these centers routinely see dozens of MTC cases and are typically involved in the latest research, conducting and monitoring clinical trials, and formulating treatment protocols.
 
A partial list, in random order (Needs EMEA/APAC contributions)
The University of Michigan’s Multidisciplinary Thyroid Cancer Clinic,  Anne Arbor, MI
MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
NY Thyroid Center at Columbia University, NYC, NY
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Hospital, NYC, NY
Mayo Clinic, Rochester MN
Massachusetts General, Boston, MA
Johns Hopkins, Baltimore, MD
Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH
Siteman Cancer Center, Univ. of Washington, St. Louis, MO
Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT
 
What kind of Dr. should I see for MTC?
Care for Medullary Thyroid Cancer is typically managed by a multi-disciplinary medical team. In many cases, an Endocrinologist coordinates care with the necessary surgeons, radiologists, and oncologists to see that you are getting the best care.
 
Is MTC serious?
MTC is a serious disease. Left untreated, it can be a fatal disease. Surgery is the only way to cure MTC if it is treated before it escapes the thyroid. There is not currently a method to "cure" metastatic MTC, although with proper treatment and management, a patient can lead a long and healthy life. There is significant progress being made on pharmaceuticals to control the growth and spread of MTC.
 
Will my children develop MTC?
Medullary Thyroid Cancer can be hereditary, or can be sporadic. With the sporadic form, your children are not at any greater risk than anyone else of developing MTC. However, with the hereditary forms of MTC (know as MEN2A, MEN2B, and  familial MTC), blood relatives of the patient (children, grandchildren, siblings, and parents) should be examined for MTC. Therefore, it is very important that MTC patients undergo genetic testing to determine the root cause of their disease.
 
What parts of the body can MTC affect?
If MTC is diagnosed and treated while still contained within the thyroid, typically only the thyroid and perhaps the parathyroids are affected. However, in many cases, MTC is not diagnosed until it has grown outside of the thyroid and into the lymph system. MTC is typically a very slow growing cancer, but it tend to spread to distant locations fairly efficiently. While the different forms of MTC act slightly differently in where and how quickly they spread, it is not unusual to see MTC metastasize (spread) to the head, neck, and chest lymph nodes, bones in the ribcage, spine and pelvis, as well as in liver and lung tissue. these metastatic sites might be minuscule (even too small to "see" on an image or scan) but they contribute to the overall tumor load a patient must bear.
These microscopic metastatic sites are often managed through observation and are acted upon only when they become large enough to be intrusive.
 
How do I know the "Stage" of my MTC?
A complete description of staging and nodal involvement is available here: http://www.springer.com/cda/content/document/cda_downloaddocument/0-387-29014-1_thyroid.pdf?SGWID=0-0-45-314789-0
 
Age is not a factor in staging patients diagnosed with medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC).  MTC staging is determined by the size and distribution of MTC tumor cells:
o    Stage I Thyroid Cancer - The diameter of the tumor is no more than two cm (less than an inch wide). No cancer was found in regional lymph nodes or distant sites in the body.
o    Stage II Thyroid Cancer - The spread and the growth of the cancer may be qualified in two ways:
§  The diameter of the primary tumor has grown and ranges from two to four cm. No cancer was found in regional lymph nodes or distant sites in the body.
§  The primary tumor is larger than four cm in diameter has started to grown outside of the thyroid. No cancer was found in the lymph nodes or other parts of the body.
o    Stage III Thyroid Cancer - The spread and the growth of the cancer may be qualified in two ways:
§  The tumor can be any size and may have grown slightly outside the thyroid.
§  The tumor has spread to lymph nodes around the thyroid in the neck but not to distant sites.
o    Stage IV Thyroid Cancer - The most advanced stage of thyroid cancer is differentiated in to Stage IVA, Stage IVB or Stage IVC depending on where the cancer has spread to:
§  Stage IVA - Cancers in this stage have grown beyond the thyroid gland and have spread into nearby tissue. Cancers in this stage may have also spread to lymph nodes in the neck and upper chest, but not to distant sites.
§  Stage IVB - The primary tumor has grown into the spine or into nearby large blood vessels. The cancer may or may not have spread to lymph nodes, but has not reached distant sites.
§  Stage IVC - The thyroid cancer has spread to distant sites, but may or may not have grown outside of the thyroid or into the lymph nodes.
 
How does MTC treatment differ by stage?
The type of treatment your doctor will recommend depends on the type and stage of the cancer and on your overall health. Listed below are "typical treatment plans". however, your doctor may have reasons for recommending other treatments. Don't hesitate to ask him or her questions about your treatment options.
 
Most doctors advise that patients diagnosed with medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) be tested for other tumors that are typically seen in patients with the MEN 2 syndromes, such as pheochromocytoma and parathyroid tumors. Screening for pheochromocytoma is particularly important, since the unknown presence of this tumor can make anesthesia and surgery extremely dangerous. If they are forewarned, surgeons and anesthesiologists can medically pre-treat the patient to make surgery safe.
 
o    Stages I and II: Total thyroidectomy is the main treatment for MTC and often cures patients with stage I or stage II MTC. Nearby lymph nodes are usually removed as well (central compartment or modified radical neck dissection). Because the thyroid gland is removed, thyroid hormone therapy is needed after surgery. For MTC, thyroid hormone therapy is meant to provide enough hormone to keep the patient healthy, but it does not reduce the risk that the cancer will come back.
Because MTC cells do not take up radioactive iodine, there is no role for radioactive iodine therapy in treating MTC. Still, some doctors advise giving a dose of radioactive iodine to destroy any remaining normal thyroid tissue. If MTC cells are in or near the thyroid, this may affect them as well.
 
o    Stages III and IV: Surgery is the same as for stages I and II (usually after screening for MEN 2 syndrome and pheochromocytoma). Thyroid hormone therapy is given afterward. When the tumor is extensive and invades many nearby tissues or cannot be completely removed, external beam radiation therapy may be given to try to reduce the chance of recurrence in the neck.
For cancers that have spread to distant parts of the body, surgery, radiation therapy, or similar treatments may be used if possible. If these treatments can't be used, vandetanib or other targeted drugs may be tried. Chemotherapy may be another option. Because these cancers can be hard to treat, another option is taking part in a clinical trial of newer treatments.
 
Recurrent cancer: If the cancer recurs in the neck or elsewhere, surgery, external radiation therapy, targeted therapy (such as vandetanib), or chemotherapy may be needed. Clinical trials of new treatments may be another option if standard treatments aren't effective.
 
Genetic testing in medullary thyroid cancer: If you are told that you have MTC, even if you are the first one in the family to be diagnosed with this disease, ask your doctor about genetic counseling and testing. Genetic testing can find mutations in the RET gene, which is seen in cases of familial MTC and the MEN 2 syndromes.
If you have one of these mutations, it's important that close family members (children, brothers, and sisters) be tested as well. Because almost all children and adults with mutations in this gene will develop MTC at some time, most doctors agree anyone who has a RET gene mutation should have their thyroid removed to prevent MTC soon after getting the test results. This includes children, since some hereditary forms of MTC affect children and pre-teens. Total thyroidectomy can prevent this cancer in people with RET mutations who have not yet developed it. Of course, this means that lifelong thyroid hormone replacement will be needed.
 
If your genetic testing shows that your case is sporadic (no gene mutation caused the cancer), ask your doctor to test the tumor tissue itself for mutation. In rare instances, even though the cancer occurred sporadically, the tumor cells mutate and begin behaving like MEN2A tumors. This is rare, but important to know as the treatment plan will be different these cases.
 
How do I know my doctor is following the right treatment plan for my MTC?
The American Thyroid Association has published guidelines for the treatment of Medullary Thyroid Cancer.  It is available for download here  http://www.thyroid.org/professionals/publications/documents/MTC_Guidelines.pdf
 
What is calcitonin and what role does it play in MTC?
The parafollicular cells (the "C" cells in your thyroid that MTC affects) produce a substance called calcitonin which can serve as a marker for medullary thyroid cancer. Post-surgery, any remaining cancerous cells will usually continue to produce calcitonin, and that become an indicator of the speed at which remaining cancer cells are multiplying. Doctors follow calcitonin levels to calculate the calcitonin doubling time (CDT). This is used as an indicator, along with another test for CEA, of the volume of remaining MTC cells and how quickly those cells are multiplying. Although we know that calcitonin is somehow involved in the body's regulation of calcium, we do not know its exact function. We do know that people who have had their thyroids removed surgically and who have no remaining parafocular cells, do not require replacement of calcitonin for normal function and a healthy life.
 
Can MTC be prevented?
There is no known cause for sporadic MTC,and therefore it is impossible to prevent. However, the spread of familial MTC can be controlled by performing prophylactic thyroidectomies on the siblings and offspring of known MTC patients, thus preventing those relatives from developing familial MTC in the future.
 
How come MTC was never found in my body until now?
MTC often lies undetected. In sporadic MTC, unless an unusual lump or pain is felt in the neck area, MTC is often not diagnosed until the patient presents with a lack of energy, or digestive issues that are caused by the increased level of calcitonin in their bloodstream. Sometimes a routine blood test will show increased CEA, and that will lead a physician to the MTC.
 
Familial MTC is often detected by testing as a result of a relative discovering they have MTC. When genetic testing shows that a person's MTC was caused by a genetic issue, the geneticist will inform all the family members that might be affected and instruct them on how to proceed. This often results in the discovery of pre-cancerous conditions or undetected, operable MTC that has not, up to that point, been an issue. Families receiving these instructions should follow them carefully in order to prevent future issues with this disease.
 
What is CEA, and what does it mean for an MTC patient?
CEA, or Carcinoembryonic Antigen, is a substance that may be made by advanced MTC that should be tested for in the blood along with calcitonin. CEA can also be used as a marker for possible later recurrence of disease. More aggressive MTC often make more CEA.
 
Why are Calcitonin levels important?
A blood test to check the level of calcitonin in the blood should be done in patients with an established or suspected diagnosis of MTC. It can also be used as a screening test for patients with a family history of MTC, who are at risk of developing the disease. Calcitonin levels can be used to estimate how much cancer is in a person's body, as well as monitor for persistent or recurrent disease after surgery (as a tumor marker). Depending on the initial calcitonin level, additional radio graphic studies such as a CT scan of the chest, neck, and/or liver may be ordered. Calcitonin is NOT produced at a standard rate by different patients with the same disease. In some patients, their MTC emits very little or no detectable calcitonin while in others, a great deal of calcitonin is produced by the MTC. More important than the volume of Calcitonin present at any given moment  is the rate at which that volume increases over time. This is calculated at the Calcitonin Doubling Time (CDT).
 
What is CDT (Calcitonin Doubling Time), what does it mean for an MTC patient, and how is it calculated?
The monitoring of calcitonin levels play an important role in the follow-up and management of patients with medullary thyroid cancer.  Calcitonin Doubling Time is the measurement of the increase of an individual's calcitonin level over a long period of time, typically a rolling two year period starting at the lowest measurement post-surgery.  Calcitonin doubling times of > 2 years seem to be associated with a better long term prognosis then those < 6 months. A CDT Calculator is available here: http://www.thyroid.org/professionals/calculators/CDTC.php
 
How do medications treat MTC?
Unlike the “differentiated” thyroid cancers (Papillary and Follicular Thyroid Cancers) that are cancers of the iodine-seeking thyroid cells, MTC is a cancer of the “C” cell, a connective tissue that does not attract iodine. Therefore, radioactive iodine (RAI), the prevalent treatment for papillary and follicular thyroid cancer post surgery is ineffective for MTC.
MTC is treated medically, surgically, and radiologically. In terms of medicinal treatments, there are primarily two forms of medicine – traditional “chemo” treatments, and “targeted pharmaceuticals”.  There are also a number of medicinal approaches to treating symptoms and side effects encountered by the MTC patient, but those are varied and are standard approaches that won’t be covered in this answer.
·        “Chemo” treatments - There has been limited success in the use of systemic chemotherapy to treat patients with metastatic MTC. The most prevalent traditional chemo tried for MTC is doxorubicin, and has shown very limited response. Some work has been done to position the doxorubicin within the MTC cell using magnetic micro particles, again with limited success.
·        Targeted pharmaceuticals – The most current research is focused on targeted pharmaceuticals that address MTC through a function known as “growth blocking.” The most advanced research is investigating the mechanism by which cells “communicate’ that they are to divide and multiply. This research focuses on the VEGF receptor and with Receptor Tyrosine Kinases. The idea is to interrupt the communication pathway so that the MTC cell does not divide and multiply. Progress has been made on this mechanism over the last two decades and in 2011, the first drug using this mechanism was approved for MTC treatment. That drug, generically known as vandetanib, and marketed by Astra-Zeneca branded as Calpresa, has shown promising results in clinical studies and is now available to the general market via prescription. Calpresa is not a “cancer cure,” it is a cancer growth blocker, interrupting the growth factors that trigger the cancer cells to divide and grow. Scientists are also investigating other ways of doing this such as:
 
o    Lowering levels of the growth factor in the body
o    Blocking the signals inside the cell that start up when the growth factor receptor is triggered
o    Blocking the growth factor receptor on the cancer cell
 
Most of the treatments developed so far work by blocking the signalling process. Cancer cells are often very sensitive to growth factors. So if we can block them, we may be able to stop cancers from growing and dividing. Growth factor blockers (inhibitors) are an exciting new way of treating cancer. Scientists are working on developing new inhibitors for different types of growth factors.
 
How often will I need  blood work and scans done?
The frequency of blood work and scans depends on your doctors assessment of need. Usually, after surgery or radiation treatments, doctors like to see patients, perform blood tests and order scans more frequently. Sometimes these are done monthly (particularly blood tests and doctors appointments) until the doctor is assured that the disease is stable; then the tests can be scheduled every 3 or six months. Scans are usually done every 3, 6, or 12 months, depending on the doctor's assessment of your particular case.
 
How am I going to pay for all the things associated with MTC?
In many parts of the world, health care is supplied through a centrally funded government program and at little to no direct cost to the patient. In other countries, like the US, health care is funded by public and private insurance plans. Depending on your own personal  financial needs, costs of a serious health care  issue might be funded through employer benefit plans, the Medicaid program, Medicare, or private insurance plans. For those still left with large expenses, most medical facilities will establish a long-term payment plan for the remaining balance.
 
Will I be able to work full time with MTC? 
Each case is different. Depending on when your cancer was discovered, the staging of the disease in your body, your general state of health outside of cancer, age, and many other factors, MTC can be a "small bump" on the road of life, or a major detour. Many MTC patients take short term disability leave from work during their initial treatment (which might include surgery, external beam radiation, and medications) to allow their body to heal and adjust to life without a thyroid, then return to work part time or full time, depending on their financial needs and speed of recovery.  For others, it signals the time to retire, focus on their health, and enjoy some family time.
 
What is my life expectancy with MTC?
Again, each case is different. However, MTC is a cancer you can live with and manage. There are many MTC patients who are in their second decade of managing this disease. And as time continues, progress is being made on new treatments and methods of dealing with MTC. For a newly diagnosed patient, the most critical decision you will make affecting your prognosis and life expectancy will be choosing a treatment center. Going to an MTC Center of Excellence (see above) for you initial treatment, surgery and followup will give you the best opportunity for a long and healthy life.
 
Where can I find more information that has the facts about MTC? What are more sources of information about MTC that I can access online?