Thursday, July 25, 2013

Long overdue  - what's new with Team Martha

First - life gets better every week!  That doesn't mean neuropathy has gone away, it means that I'm dealing better with it every day.  I'm finding that when my mind and/or hands are occupied, I don't notice that my feet, hands, and legs hurt.  Take THAT, neuropathy!  And what a great excuse for staying busy!

I went in this week to get my port flushed.  A condition of membership in the Port Club is the obligation to either use your port to draw blood once every five weeks, or get it flushed so blood doesn't clot in it.  This was my first time to just get it flushed, and it was so nice to sail in, say hi to everyone, get it taken care of, and leave again in fifteen minutes instead of staying the whole day for infusions.  At the UTSW blood malignancies treatment center, they make you feel like such a member of the family that at least ten of those fifteen minutes were spent hugging the team and catching up on what's new with them.  I hope everyone who has to go through this kind of treatment is lucky enough to work with such a great team.   

I go back again several days next week for a series of tests, and then hopefully we declare victory next Friday and celebrate beating lymphoma.  In the meantime...

'Down' time is now book time

I still run out of steam every day about 3 p.m.  I used to take naps, but that resulted in not sleeping well at night.  So now I just plan to read from 3 to 5 p.m. every day, and I'm rapidly catching up on a year's worth of reading as well as getting a good night's sleep again.  It's really changed my reading habits, as for the last 10 years my reading was usually dictated by grabbing the latest corporate must-read in the airport on business trips, plus a couple of won't-admit-I-read-them beach books on vacation.  Now I read what I really WANT to read!  So here are my best shares from my weeks of reading (yes, I'm being honest, some beach books are included):
- The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green: a 2-hanky read but very well-written.  The friend who recommended it didn't tell me it was about two teens with cancer, but it was very true to life.  Worth the read for anyone, and a must-read for anyone wanting to understand how a young family member going through terminal cancer feels. Best line:  "the world is not a wish-granting factory."
- Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple:  basically a beach book, but laugh-out-loud funny and ultimately a story about a mother-daughter relationship.  A friend from Seattle said it was twice as funny if you're from Seattle, but what I did understand was pretty darn funny.  Made me want to visit Antarctica.
- Life After Life by Kate Atkinson:  loved the writing style. 
- The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman:  great story, well written.  Came out last year, should have read it earlier.
- The Round House by Louise Erdrich:  also a book from last year, wish I'd read it then so I could have re-read it many times since. 
- The Dog Stars by Peter Heller:  this book really shouldn't be on this list as I did read it last year and absolutely hate apocalypse stories, but despite that I reread it again last week.  Maybe it's the need for human companionship which haunts me. 
- The Night Angel Trilogy by Brent Weeks:  my friends know my secret vice is science fiction, and one of my sons introduced me to Brent Weeks last year when I got fed up waiting for George R. R. Martin to figure out how to kill off another 100 great characters.  This has the depth of story of Game of Thrones with a lot less wading to get into the action.

Next up on the iPad is an equally odd assortment:  And the Mountains Echoed (Hosseini); the Ocean at the End of the Lane (Gaiman); the Secret Keeper (Morton); and Bad Monkey (Hiaasen).  Send suggestions and your favorites!

And oh yes, I promised you pictures of my adventures in pottery class - so let me share this shot with you:

No, that's not me -  I wish!   that's Rachel, who has taken pottery classes for eight years and who is what I want to be when I grow up.  She is in my class just to get the wheel time, and gives me pointers.    I accidentally erased the pictures of my own humble pottery offerings, most likely a Freudian slip, as I still haven't made it to the pottery wheel yet.  First I have to complete a set of 5 pots by 5 different hand-built methods, then a set of three pots by a single hand-built method, then next week I get to build a box by hand "to really get the feel of the clay."  Apparently it's another three weeks before I get to use the wheel. 

Here's another advanced-level potter taking classes with me:  she's into sculpture, which wasn't on my radar but looks like a lot of fun and I might give it a whirl during my freetime sessions.

So more to come!  And yes, retirement is just as much fun as you think it is.  (Actually, it's more fun, but I don't want to rub it in.)

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