Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A New Stove for Beth, and a Tom Update

That's Tom behind my old Kenmore stove. My 60 year old Kenmore stove. Yup, it was made in the 1950s, and came with the house. It's worked well until recently, when it finally just gave up and went to Stove Heaven. I loved that stove, with it's double ovens - I could cook and bake forever on that grand old dame.

But it was not to be. The ovens were suddenly misbehaving, and one of the burners refused to light. It could be fixed, but the cost of repair was much more than expected.

The timing was perfect - our tax refund arrived the same week. Funny how they were just about equal, our tax check and the price of a new stove. When one door closes, another opens . . .

So here's poor Tom, wrench in hand, disconnecting the old gal the morning of new stove delivery. And - because our old Kenmore had lasted so long - we decided to buy another Sears Kenmore, even though we're not planning on cooking for ourselves sixty years from now.

As for Tom, he's doing well. Thank you all for asking. We were really excited to learn that the last CT scan a few weeks ago showed that some of his tumors had regressed 70 per cent or more, while others showed a slightly smaller shrinkage. His oncologist was quite pleased, even surprised, but very encouraging.

An unexpected complication was that Tom came down with a severe case of shingles five weeks ago. His oncologist quickly prescribed medications to help him get past the worst of it, but unfortunately those meds caused him side effects of mental confusion and disorientation, so he had to discontinue them.

Shingles pain varies from patient to patient. I had them last year, and had minor pain and itching. Tom's shingles were much worse, and his regular dosage of morphine didn't touch the pain he was experiencing. He was given a different pain medication, but that caused extreme dizziness, so he couldn't take that either. In the end, he's pretty much just toughed it out. He still has occasional itch and pain, but for the most part it's subsided to an almost-ignorable level.

The past few days he's been feeling better, and has been putzing around the house doing little wifey-requested chores, mowing the lawn, a bit of painting, and has been out and about on errands. He paces himself, and often squeezes in a mid-afternoon nap.

More good news - at the last weigh-in, he'd gained seven pounds! This is the first time in a year that he's gained weight. We're thrilled that all his hard work trying to eat all the right things has finally paid off. "All the right things" includes daily Haagen Daz ice cream, and only Haagen Daz, because it has such high calories - 270 calories per half cup serving, more than any other ice cream I've been able to find. Of course, that means that I have to ignore this ice cream every darned day, since it wouldn't take me long to put on the 30 pounds I've lost since my stroke.

When my friends Robert and Lori tell me to Stay Strong, they have no idea how important that good advice is to me . . . especially when the Haagen Daz is calling my name!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Finally - My 50mm Has Arrived

Been taking some time off from blogging, as we finalized taxes - my favorite thing to do, besides cleaning the kitty litter boxes. But now that they are done, I can do more fun things - like play with my new lens and knit more stuff.

After waiting for nearly three weeks, Norman Camera finally had a shipment of Canon lenses arrive, and Tom picked up my replacement 50 mm. Haven't had much of a chance to play with it yet, but will be trying it out soon and will post some pictures here. The photo at the right is with the nifty-fifty, but the darn baby booties kept falling over every time I tried to shoot them (after all, they're meant to be filled with baby toes), so I had to move fast to catch them before they flopped over. Definitely not my best shot, but I've been promising friends I'd show off my latest skills - if that's what you can call knitting booties - so here 'tis. They've been donated to charity, as will the next couple of pairs, as I play with the pattern and try some different ideas.

I was hoping to shoot Tom this evening in the waning hours of sunlight, but he was a bit too tired to model for me. He's been doing well - considering he's been fighting a bad case of the shingles - and has only needed an afternoon nap each day. The weather is supposed to be beautiful tomorrow, so we're hoping to get outside and enjoy the weather, with models Tom and Streak, his nextest-best friend (I rate first, thankfully . . . )