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I need a little more Kermit in my life

I started reading Jim Henson: The Biography.  The very first chapter describes a scene between Kermit and a little girl singing her ABC’s on Sesame Street, a scene I remembered as I was reading about it. I’ve seen that – it’s adorable.  Still, I read to the end and burst into tears.  You know, like anyone would.

That’s normal, right? (I’ve been a little stressed lately.)

The Riley Report

Five weeks ago, Riley had his first x-ray after finishing chemo.  His last x-ray was on Halloween, and it showed clear lungs.  This one was not clean.  They took three pictures, and on one of them, they could see a shadow that they were pretty sure but maybe not but probably is a lesion.  So Riley’s cancer metastasized.  When we got his diagnosis at the end of last summer, they told us that with the amputation and chemo, his odds were 50/50 that he’d be cancer free in year.  Looks like Riley fell into the wrong 50.  They couldn’t tell us anything else (like how bad, how fast, how much longer) without a second x-ray, so that brings us to today.  His second x-ray was this afternoon, and while there’s still only the one spot, it has grown by 38%.  That only brought it to 2cm, so it shouldn’t be affecting him yet.  The vet says it probably won’t bother him until it gets to 5-7cm or unless more appear.  We started the metronomic chemo (low doses by pill) yesterday, in the hopes that it will slow the growth.  Our next x-ray is in 7 weeks.

John is upstairs trying to make an L-shaped cut into a porcelain tile with a hacksaw, I just finished cooking Riley some chicken, and he’s hanging out on his dog bed looking at me.  (I feel judged – I’m not being entertaining enough.  Or I’m in trouble for not giving him the chicken yet. It’s too hot, buddy!)

He’s still okay for now.  We are, too.

Bathroom tile breaks sometimes

John and I bought the bathroom tile yesterday morning, and then we spent today actually laying it down.  We have completed a very (very) important step in this mini bathroom remodel.  First, we did the layout.  We needed to know how many whole tiles we could use and how many (and how much) we’d have to cut.

Not sure why we didn’t put that one missing piece in – maybe I figured we had the idea?

From another angle:

Oh, hey, there’s the piece. Camouflage.

Then we picked them all up and started actually setting the tile with mortar and stuff.  I helped (a little).  Once all the whole pieces were down, John started cutting the other pieces to fit and oh dear god that is one of the WORST noises ever in the whole entire world.  Also, one of our three boxes of tile had a whole bunch of tiles that kept breaking and NOT along the line John was trying to cut them.  Very irritating.  And I’m shuddering just remembering the noise of the tile cutter.  My skin is crawling.

Here are all the tiles actually glued down.

All those little spacers kinda make it look like Arlington Cemetery in there.

The only pieces missing are the two up near the shower.  One will be whole, but the other has to be cut in a L shape – that’s going to be difficult.  Almost certainly beyond the capability of our cheap little tile cutter.

Then we’re going to paint (still deciding on a color – suggestions?), put the molding back on, grout, put the quarter-round back on, put the toilet back in, and oh yeah – we still have to buy a replacement vanity and sink.  So it’ll probably be a couple more weekends before we’re done.

Relax, dude

Riley is getting jumpy and nervous in his old age.  Since the weather was so nice today, I tried to take him on a pleasant outing to a nearby park.  I was sitting on a bench, he was on the leash – usually, he’ll settle down and people-watch.  Not today.  I gave up after about 20 minutes of whining, pacing, and nervous drooling.  We came home and settled on the deck, still in the sun, still enjoying the weather, but no strange people or animals.  Or so I thought.  He settled down immediately, but was startled out of a nap and onto his feet by a trio of geese who decided to announce their presence directly overhead with some very loud honking.  He looked completely freaked out.  Poor little guy.


Cute animals are the cure

Had a rough week (or two)?  I did.  This should make you feel better.  It’s working for me.

From reddit.

The news

Item 1: Riley slept through the night (possibly because we did), so there are no incidents to report. Yay for sleep and yay for not having to clean anything up!

Item 2: We finished Breaking Bad last night. Good ending, but I have to admit to feeling a little disappointed. Too much build-up, I think. I’ll probably feel better about it with time.

That’s all the news there is to report.


We had another sleep-deprived night, thanks to Riley.  He got up in the middle of the night, John let him out, he brought him back upstairs, and then Riley wouldn’t relax.  He’d lay down for a few seconds and then pop back up and stick his nose in my face.  I’d get him to lay down again and he’d pop right back up.  After a few minutes of this, I took him back downstairs and outside, let him get some water, and then brought him back up.  Same fun dance.  The only way I could keep him down was by petting him, but I can’t pet him and sleep, and the second I stopped petting him, up he went.  So I put him in the crate.

He had to go in the crate because we went through this on the night before last (Tuesday night).  Riley got up in the middle of the night, I let him out, I brought him back upstairs, and then he wouldn’t relax.  He did the whole lay down, pop up and bug me, lay down, and bug me again thing, so I took him back downstairs and outside, and then I left him downstairs for the rest of the night.  I heard him get a drink of water right after I let him back in.  Then, when we came downstairs yesterday morning, we found a river of pee, like the Amazon of accidents.

To prevent that from happening again, we tried to limit his water intake and keep him near us so we’d know if he needed to go out again, and that’s how we ran into last night’s sleep-deprived disaster.  No accidents, but no sleep.  So instead of leaving him loose downstairs, I crated him.  We crated him during the day yesterday, and we’re doing it again today, but we really don’t want to have to crate him day and night.  He’d be in the crate, alone in the basement, for 18 hours every day (or more).

Bottom line: we don’t know what to do.  A pet sitter/dog walker would only give him a half-hour break or so in the middle of the day, leaving him with basically the same number of hours in a crate.  We’re seeing the vet again Monday afternoon for the next x-ray and an exam, so we’re holding out until then.  Sleepless (either from worry/unhappiness about the dog in the crate or from the dog bugging us) until then.

A discerning palate

Riley still isn’t eating enough, and because we’ve been giving him so much good stuff, he turns up his nose at plain old boring dog food now.  Seriously, I didn’t put anything interesting in his food and he didn’t eat anything for nearly two days.  Tonight, though, he got a very good meal.  I call it Salmon a la Riley.

He was quite happy with his dinner tonight.  And he’s been cruising the kitchen for more.

No more, I’m begging you

It’s not supposed to snow in March!  We got another 5 or 6 inches today.  It’s over now, and we shoveled most of it just before noon.  I think Riley is tired of it, too.  We were playing out front, and when he was done, he headed to the house at a fast trot (a hop-trot really, since his trot doesn’t look so horse-like anymore).  Sadly (for him, hilariously for us), he found a slick spot on the edge of the driveway, lost his footing, and faceplanted into the snow in the front yard.  He’s not hurt, just embarrassed.  Now we’re all hanging out in front of the fire, working and napping and dreaming of summer.

In progress

I didn’t take a before picture.  Oops.  Yesterday, we took out the toilet (fairly straightforward) and the vanity (not so straightforward) and ripped up the linoleum floor.  The vanity had been put in around the existing plumbing, when the house was built, so it wouldn’t just come out after we removed the valves on the hot and cold water pipes.  We had a choice – cut the pipes or cut the back of the vanity.  John chose to cut the vanity (we’re replacing it anyway).  Also, the cold water pipe kept on dribbling water even though the water was turned off to the whole house.  So, you know, that was fun to keep cleaning up.  But now there’s a big empty space where it used to be.

I’m waving at you. Say hi!

And there’s a toilet in the office.

Today we measured and cut the backerboard (what the tile will be glued to) and John glued it down to the floor.

You can see the hole where the toilet belongs.  (There’s a rag stuffed in it – apparently that’s necessary.  I’d rather not wonder why.)  The shop vac is where the vanity goes.  I took the picture standing just outside the shower.  Next we buy the tiles.

Guess who’s trying new things

John and I started a mini bathroom remodel this morning that is turning out to be a bit more complicated than expected.  Not a lot, and I’m certain it’s still within our capabilities (or John is certain, which is enough for me), but it’ll take a little longer.  I’ll have some pictures tomorrow.  We went to Home Depot this morning to pick up some things and came right home to get started.  There were a few things John had to do that he didn’t need my help with, so I busied myself with the music selection.  I tried a bunch of existing genre stations I wasn’t in the mood for and then decided to create one based on “Modern Nature” by Sondre Lerche (which you may recognize (I know Mom will) as the song played over the credits of Dan in Real Life).  My new station (which is on John’s Pandora account – I’ll have to create it on mine) is AWESOME (in an indie pop/rock kind of way).  And I discovered some songs I like very much.

“Hard Luck Tom” by The Silver Seas

“The Show” by Lenka

“She Moves In Her Own Way” by The Kooks

Oh, the guilt!

I skipped posting yesterday (and Monday, I think), and I just can’t live with myself.  I was doing so well!  All but two days in January, and then all of February….until this week.  This week has been hard.  Not enough sleep (thanks, Riley), too many meetings and not enough actual work at work, other stuff – I would like a vacation, please.  One where John and I can be quiet together and read and sleep and play on the internet and watch TV and not have to talk to other people or work or think about house things.  I don’t see that in our future.  There’s too much to do.  But it’s not like we’re not having ANY fun.  I mean, the Moulin Rouge sing-along was pretty darn fun.  Oh, dudes.  I won a can-can contest.  For reals.  Although I’m sure it helped that not one of the three contestants actually knows how to can-can.  But it was fun.  And I have proof (in the form of very grainy pictures from far away).  That’s me in the middle.

Not a snow bunny

To add insult to injury, it snowed again for much of today, and more is planned for most of tomorrow.  Shoot me now.  We’re only supposed to accumulate an inch or so, but that’s one inch too many for me.  Spring, where are you?  Please hurry!

Bring on the caffeine

I’ll be drinking all the coffee my stomach can handle today.  I’m SO tired, and it’s all Riley’s fault.  He woke up at 3:30 this morning and wouldn’t settle back down, so John kicked him out (it was his turn).  The damage was already done, though -  both of us had checked the time.  It’s hard to go back to sleep when your brain is chanting, “The alarm will go off in an hour and fifteen minutes.  The alarm will go off in an hour and ten minutes.  The alarm will go off in an hour.”  (It’s Tuesday – John has a boxing class at 5:30, so we wake up at 4:45.)  I did manage to go back to sleep (and to start snoring, judging by the oh-so-gentle nudging I got from John), but I dreamed of waking up the whole time.  I kept dreaming that the alarm was going off and I was getting up.  In one dream, I got up at 4:15 and started getting ready, then realized it was 4:15 and went back to bed.  That didn’t actually happen (I think).  Then when the alarm finally did go off, my eyes were cemented shut.  It was horrible, and all I wanted to do was go back to sleep.  I’m going to a Moulin Rouge sing-along at a local movie theater with some friends tonight – I’ve been looking forward to it, but I was seriously considering backing out this morning so I wouldn’t have as many hours between right then and my next chance to sleep.  We already rearrange our lives with our sleep schedule in mind (early mornings mean early bedtimes mean early dinners and son on) – I shouldn’t be canceling social plans, too.  I’m the idiot for agreeing to go out on a school night, but come on – it’s a Moulin Rouge sing-along!  So I’m going.  But I’m about to have a third cup of coffee (or, as my coworkers like to call it, cream and sugar with coffee).

My birthday outing

(My post title sounds like a Scrubs episode.)

My birthday present from John (aside from a heart-shaped Boston cream donut and tickets to see Three Dog Night in May – that’s going to be very cool) was a day in DC doing tourist-y things, something that we’d been talking about doing for a very long time.  The main attraction (and what gave him the idea) was this traveling Puppetry in America exhibit on display in the American History Exhibit from now until mid-April.  Among other things, it has muppets, so we went to see Scooter, Bert and Ernie, Oscar the Grouch, and Cookie Monster.

I love the muppets.

From there, we headed for the National Gallery of Art, but our nasty habit of getting there shortly before it closes lives on.  We saw the Art of Byzantium from Greek Collections exhibit, a couple of American landscapes (Lake Lucerne, Spirit of War, The Voyage of Life paintings) and ran up against 5pm, so we headed for dinner.  Where, you ask?  Ethiopian, of course!  We went to Meskerem in Adams Morgan for the first time in years.  The food holds up, but the restaurant could use a facelift.  Then it was back to our car and home to rescue Riley (and more birthday cake for dessert).

The weather was perfect, and it was a beautiful day.


More about today tomorrow.  For now, this.

(It was a good day.)


I don’t care.  Leave me alone.

That’s what I wanted to say all day at work today.  Nothing bad happened – it was mostly a normal day, but I didn’t really feel like engaging with anyone.  Go away, everyone, I don’t care.  Leave me alone.  I just want some quiet time.

Luckily there’s a weekend in my immediate future.  :)   And an outing!

Balloons are fantastic

Birthday balloons!

These are from my team.  They arrived shortly after I got in this morning.  Then they sang Happy Birthday (they were goaded into it by someone walking by).  Then they took me to lunch (and told the waiters it was my birthday, so there was more singing) where I had to deal with this indignity:

Don’t ask what’s wrong with my face. It got stuck that way.

Then I got back from my lunch and was greeted with these:

After much confusion (the card only said “Surprise!”) and many texts, Mom finally admitted to sending them.  So I’ve got LOTS of balloons.  Mom’s are coming home with me.  I’ll probably take my work ones home tomorrow.

I think my favorite rendition of Happy Birthday so far was Gaby and Corey’s (sorry, Dad – yours is classic (for us), but hers is cuter).  It comes complete with cha-cha-chas at the end of every line.

It’s been a really nice birthday so far.  I think I’m going to have to reschedule my birthday dinner for another night, though.  I’m completely stuffed from lunch, and I really want lots of Indian food.  I don’t have it in me to enjoy that tonight.  But hey – that means more birthday time for me!

I’m not a weirdo, I swear

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but we live in the very definition of suburbia.  Cookie cutter homes, sidewalks, kids, schools, playgrounds, the same shopping centers with the same grocery stores every two blocks.  Completely developed, practically overdeveloped, and looking to do more.  So imagine my surprise when I see two people riding horses on the bike trail overpass near the house.  Who’s got horses around here?  And where on earth do they keep them?  And will they be my friends?  I should have abandoned the car and chased them down.  Because you know how much they’d want to be my friends if I did that.


Hey.  How’re things?  Yeah?  That’s good.  Same here.  Work?  Yeah.  Never changes.  Mm-hmm. Alright, well, I’ve gotta go…yeah, you, too.  See you later.

I don’t want to keep having that conversation.  But neighbors, you know?  What can you do?