Monday, April 24, 2006

We are Off

This a link to the other Web Cam. Keep looking. You might see us. Don't fret, if I can post I will. We will be taking pictures like crazy. Thanks for all your good thoughts and prayers that have helped us arrive at this spot in our lives.

Venice, Here we come, ready or not...........................

Less than 24 Hours to Go

We leave Seattle at 6:30 a.m It is 2:30 pm in Venice. We arrive in Venice at 10:oo am on the 26th. We are getting more and more excited. Mom said I had to unpack 1/2 of the stuff I packed, Including the 9 maps and the 7 guide books. Here is the real irony. I need to find a book to read for me. Oh, well I am sure I will come up with it. I am sure it is here somewhere.

M-E has a big presentation today and then a spelling test and then...... We will be on that plane and life will be grand as we head to the Grand Canal.

The link is to the Canal........

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Thoughts on the Passion Play.

I was only one of many 8th grade parents that dreaded but looked forward to the Passion Play. It was the first real moment when we realized that our St. Joseph's experience was winding down.

As every parent knows, being part of St. Josephs requires the heart and endurance of a Tri-Athlete (like Ms. Marion). You a have to be on top of things, ready for another flyer and request for more of your time, creativity and money at any moment. It is a pattern that becomes very familiar after awhile. You learn to line up the Jog-a-thon donators, the paper buyers, and the script consumers. You learn to put the E of E on your schedule along with First Communion and Grandparent's Tea. You smile when you see the kids in their Teddy Bear costumes or the 8th graders in their robes.

Watching the Passion Play was one of those special St Joe's moments. Most of us have seen the play many many times but Sunday the 9th was different. They were our kids. They were the boys that never could keep their fingers out of their noses, the girls that had their feelings hurt, the kids we all love. The kids that won and lost soccer games, volley ball games and track meets. They are "our kids", the ones that have been described as " Difficult". "High Spirited", "A Challenge"

But when they walked into the church, in brown robes, barefooted and chanting they took a step toward a bigger part of their lives and made us both proud and cry. I want them to know that they touched the hearts of more than parents and teachers. I was sitting with Whitney's little brother Parker,grade 2. He was watching in his own kinetic way. He was tuned in enough to know that the story he was watching was that one told by the Stations of the Cross mosaics we have in the church. He was trying to follow the story on the walls and watch the play. Parker was very curious about the Crucifixion. He asked how Jesus died, how long it took, why that would kill someone and why they put a sponge in his mouth.(He does not miss much.) We quietly discussed the physiological causes of death but I gently pointed out that Jesus only had to be on the cross for 3 hours. I explained that it took some people days to die.

Parker was upset that Jesus left the church dead. Hesaid, "He comes backs to life doesn't he!" I assured him he did but that we had to wait three days. He pointed out that the stations and the play both end with the death. I did not have the presence of mind to point out that the rest of the church points up to the life that was resurrected.

Thanks 8th graders. I am sure that Parker and I would never have had that moment. Thanks Ms. Marion and Mr.Savauge and Mr. Boyle and everyone else that worked and worked and prayed and hoped for a good result. It has been a challenge but it has been worth it.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Trip Preparation continues.

It is different this time. We have been here for so long and not been able to leave town for any meanful amount of time that it seems unreal. I have none of the pre-trip anxiety at either work or getting the house ready. I will clear out the fridge, make sure the cat has enough food. Sadie goes to Mom and Dad's tomorrow. I know what I am taking and have the suit case. The mail will be held. My neighbor will pick up the paper. He will take out the garbage. The house will be clean when we return. The neighbor's will be watching the place. Everyone knows I am leaving. The focus is shifting to simply enjoying this time away.

The fact is we made it here and we will strive to make it beyond here. I had dinner with Tracy Henze and she and I discussed my unending fears about remission. She remained me that we had and would do everything to keep this thing from coming back but that in life there are no guarantees.

This I will guarantee. We will be in Venice right now a week from now. I will be stalking Venetians and asked forgiveness in 153 churches. We will be looking for a small establishment for which to have snacks and drinks before more stalking. I am determined to have the group invited for dinner in a palazzo or two. Because remember, I know where they live, I have the maps. Did I mention we are going to try and see Pride and Prejudice. I found the entertainment section of the Venice newspaper.

Oh, Favorite line from THANK YOU FOR SMOKING : This is the greatest country on the face of the earth because of its endless appeal process.............

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Easter Thoughts and Preparations


Mary-Elizabeth and Whitney are with my parents. Dumped them at the train and off they went. M-E had to take her higher dose of Methotrexate and her mother failed to send any Zofran. I guess this was a good way to practice for our trip. Note to self. Pack all the drugs.

We are planning to build good memories. Despite all my endless hours of research I think we will spend a good deal of time taking a vaporetto to a stop, getting off and see what we find.

Easter, the day of celebration after long days of deep contemplation. Make a Wish trip. 10 days of no cares after 21 months of deep concern and contemplation.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Fine Restaurants.

This is were we are eating at some point in our trip. It is simply a requirement.

We Will be On our Way a Week from right NOW

It has come to my attention that I am more excited about the Venice Trip than Mary-Elizabeth. I would prefer to just consider myself, more educated and prepared. I have had an extra 6 months to think about it. So let's see I have watched

On the Wings of the Dove, Casanova, Two versions of the Merchant of Venice, 2 versions of Death in Venice, Venice/Venice, Summertime, and several travel shows. I have read, City of Falling Angles, two mysteries by Donna Leon (set in Venice) In the company of the Courtesan, Venetian Affair, Water Mirror, Thief Lord and several I can not remember. I have read every travel book on the subject and have webcams as part of my favorites. I have located all 153+ churches and the best fabric/paper/book store. I am going to bring home, I hope, a Ferro. The front piece of a gondola for the garden. I am looking for a book called Ponte d Ponte, about all 435 bridges in Venice. I might try and find the author, he lives there. So.......... I have read every article in the last three years on how do do Venice right. I have made up a song to help remember all the Doges................................

Hummmmmm

Monday, April 17, 2006

Ode 1.9 To Thaliarchus by Homer 6 BC

See Mount Soracte shining in the snow.
See how the laboring overladen trees
Can scarcely bear their burdens any longer.


See how the streams are frozen into the cold.
Bring in the wood and light the fire and open
The fourth-year vintage wine in the Sabine jars.

Oh, Thaliarchus, as for everything else,
Forget tomorrow. Leave it up to the gods.
Once the gods have decided, the winds at sea

Will quiet down, and the sea will quiet down,
And those cypresses and old ash tree will shake
In the storm no longer. Take everything as it comes.

Put down in your books as profit every new day
That Fortune allows you to have. While you're still young,
And while morose old age is far away,

There's love, there are parties, there's dancing and there's music,
There are young people out in the city squares together
As evening comes on, there are whispers of lovers, there's laughter.

Who knew Homer still had some wisdom to share. I have been reading more poetry outloud to M-E she has the soul of a poet. She hates to write long things so this is a great form for her.

She and Whitney headed on the train to Eugene. They have arrived and are in bed already. We will be leaving a week from tomorrow. Excitment builds.



Saturday, April 15, 2006

Make A Wish


I love these people. They do make wishes come true in lots of different sizes. We had our send off party on the 13th. We met at Red Robin and were greeted by "RED" a bevy of balloons and a very accommodating staff. We were joined by Tara and Keith our volunteers.
They had our tickets and itinerary. They had buttons, books, handy travel things. But most of all they were excited for us.

These are such dedicated people. They live their lives in a very special way. Tara works for World Vision and is going with a group to Honduras to build houses. She is taking a group of their child sponsors to meet the children they sponsor. Keith is working on not working while handling 4 or more Wish kids a months. He has a whole network of company's that help him. Skyway luggage will help any family. I believe that Rick Steves is the source of the books and travel accessories we received. Red Robin gave us a great meal.

I was impressed with how much they give of themselves. Their time and their enthusiasm. All they ask for is a report and our pictures.

I am now at the packing my bags in my head phase. I may start this week-end.........

Monday, April 10, 2006

It's Three in the Morning in San Marco's and their are puddles

If there are floods, it should be as the full moon approached. April 13th. It is close. We shall see. I love this web cam because it has the best shot of where the water should be. Keep an eye.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Peaking into Other People's Battles with Childhood Cancer

As a friend comes home from Iraq and everyone prepares to greet him, I am reminded of the World War II soldiers that would just never really talk about their experiences. They would not delve into those painful and sometimes unthinkable things they had seen. We will never really know what it was like to be on the beach at Normandy or behind enemy lines. We will never understand the horrors people found in the concentration camps. We can read about it and we can listen and we can empathizie but we can not know.

I have been looking for the blogs of others in my situation. Moms of kids, caregivers of kids. I have been gathering the stories and following the tales. It is interesting and sometimes scary to find a blog where a similar situation is developing or where the story ends. I don't quite know why I keep looking. I guess I need to see how others handle this situation.

There are several, Rose, she died on February 13, 2006. Her parents left the blogging world, leaving only her obituary and pictures of her "fancy car trip" There is Diane whose daughter also died about 6 weeks ago. She continues to struggle with her loss. She is in so much pain right now. Her husband also died sometime back of cancer. She has a son and a world of hurt swirling around her. There is mother, who calls herself lizard Eater (not a pretty name). Her daugher is 8 months old and had two tumors removed from her kidneys but post surgery things are looking up. There is Lise, a mom with Leukemia, they live around here. There is Kate, she is done with her treatment and has been ALL free for 5 years. All of it is mindboggling and very worrisome.

Reading their stories give me a glimpse of the despair other's have as well as that feeling of helplessness. It is so hard to know what to do for anyone that lives so far away but to know so intimately their pain. The link will take you to a blog. She is a good writer. She will make a great minister someday.



Success comes in lots of Forms

Yesterday was M-E's last volley ball game. Her team was late in arriving from St. Joe's. They had to forfeit the first game and had to win both in order to make it to the playoffs. Both games were very tough. M-E stepped up and did a great job. She made several points and was starting to show glimmers of her old self.

Ms. Marion was very upset that the girls were late. I grabbed her by the shoulders and reminded her that is was just a game and that things worked out. Well they did.

She has also been fretting about the amount she set for her goal for the Lymphoma and Leukemia run in June. She had enough to participate ($3500) but has set a goal of $10,000.00. She just received a very large donation (750-1000) from some one she did not know. She thought it might be from some of the readers of this blog.

Thanks to whomever donated the money. It makes M-E feel great, it makes Ms. Marion go into the water less reluctantly, it make the Boyles and myself smile.

Lots of good things happen from strange and places. Thanks to everyone.

Now we are worried about the Passion Play this afternoon. First performance 5:30 St. Joes.

Friday, April 07, 2006

If you Make it Pink, No will notice anything else.













No one notices the cut off legs, or the irregular edge or the imprefect flowers. that is the Magic of PinK.

I think we are really going!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have read about, talked about, mentally planned for it, looked at it (It was beautiful this morning) Lots of people in San Marco's, lots of boat on the canal, lots of activity. I am beginning to believe we are going to make it.

Six months had made such a difference. I went to M-E's volley ball game. Her serve is steady, she had some good hits. They lots but then someone has to do so. She has a solo in the Passion Plan at school the trip homework is going to be manageable.

For History:
Teacher: Just have fun, learn, know that you will have a special understanding.
Mom: I will make sure they: memorize all the doses, identify and find each item in Venice that was stolen and determine it's place of origin.
Math: Just go and have a good time.
Science: I suggested we bring back some Canal Water. Mr. Newman sent home 13 collection vial's. Can you see us getting stopped at customs with toxic waste
Religion: We will be lighting a candle in all 152 churches.
Art: See all masterpieces.
English: Finish reading. Keep a journal.
Spanish: See if the Italians know it.

We are going to Venice. I am getting so excited. Now if I could just come up with a few converters? Does anyone have one I could borrow for a couple of weeks?

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

I Hate When I Worry


Night time is supposed to be a time of sleep. Sleep is the great escape, until the dreams come. The mixed up dreams of people from long ago. The intermingling of the old with the new. The wanderings back to old houses. They are familiar but not the same. Snow, old cars, some shiny some rotting. Waiting for permits to remove them??????? Maybe I have been a lawyer too long. Old doctors and old houses. Trying to get a project done and not being able to do so. I don't know. The bed is totally mixed up, Sadie growled all night at me when I moved.

I have been back on the Web, looking for other parents with similar situations. Bad Sally. Bad Bad Bad.

As we progress through maintenance I have more time on my hands to review and re-discover that lost year. I have been editing the blog to remind myself of what happened to pass it off the first few months to a family in the midst of the process. I realize that what we needed was a guide. A resource parent that could be on our journey with us. This realization came from a young lady named Christine that is now spending time with M-E. She had ALL when she was 6. She is working on hooking up survivors with newly diagnosed kids. She made me realize that that was what we needed. I have spoken to another mother who wants to be involved.

Maybe that will help with the worry.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Healing Ceremony News

Well we are going to Chinle. Today's link is to the Hotel Site. There are three hotels. Mostly nice and accommodating. If you don't want to travel with your dog, you can pick out a rez dog from the parking lot. There are lots to go around.

So here is the deal:

The ceremony begins on Friday A.M.with the untimely death of a lamb. Then the making of the blood sausages. No one has to make or eat them. Just an event you might want to consider. I am sure you won't have this chance again. I am not sure what happens then but on Saturday we spend the day with the Medicine Man. Belle calls it a "Cultural Day" Time with him, explanations of how all this is going to work and what is going to be done and why. During this there is the preparation of big food. Big cooking for lots of people. Lots of tribe members, some friends, some strangers, lots of feasting. Then in the evening, we enter the Hogan for the actual event. It lasts a couple of hours.

As I mentioned before, Belle said we could not stand the three days in the Hogan. It would have killed the adults and defeated the purpose.

Everyone is invited. There is no way to fly to Chinle. Albaquequy or Phoenix with a drive via rental car is the only way. We are driving from Phoenix to Chinle on Thursday morning and back on Sunday. M-E and I are going to fly down on Wedneday and do some swimming. We are coming back on Monday. Trying to get a bit of rest.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Nightmares

I just awoke from a bad bad dream. It was June and we went to the clinic. We had our appointment and then were told that we would not have any ablility to contact anyone for a month. The fellows were rotating out and had one really bad case to work on that would take all their time and the new guys would not be in until July.

I could not believe that we would be abandoned like that and was upset, to say the least. Now the reality is that we don't go to the hospital more than once a month and very seldom speak to anyone but they are a very important part of our lives.

Well, I have a big project to finish today. Hemming robes for the 8th grade Passion Play. The first performance is at St. Joes on Sunday at 5:30 p.m. All the 8th graders are in it. M-E is hoping for a solo part. I will let you know.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Always Read the Manuel


I discovered that my camera takes little movies with sound. I don't know if I can put them here but let's see. I wonder what else it does.

No, it failed, but we had a great time in Portland. I put a few of the other pictures here.