Wednesday, March 31, 2010

There Are a Lotta Holes in the House Today!

Last year was so full of "changes" that we simply could not get them all done. Last November (click here) I mentioned that 2009 was a year of remodel projects.

We moved the laundry upstairs to the main floor. We had a new roof installed. Then Doug the Plmbr and Roger the Cabinet Maker finished the bathroom remodel.

Early onset of winter prevented our final project --- installation of new energy efficient windows. This 1960s home still had its original single-pane glass. No storms. We decided it was time to update to energy-efficient windows and chose these constructed by Gerkin. Gerkin manufactures the windows in the nearby City. So we're "twice-green". New energy-efficient windows...AND we purchased them close to home.
Last fall, with one thing and another, and with arrival of ten inches of snow in early December, our contractor had to put the windows in storage until spring. He had previously assured us he could install even in cold weather but with snow drifts several feet deep all way around the house, it was a no go. Until now!

Well, Folks! The temps today are predicted to be in the 70s with no wind! A perfect day to do this job! Hubby and I have removed all drapes/blinds and the installation crew is here as I type.Brothers Jeff and Paul of Ahlers Home Improvement began with the large window in the living room. Here's the "before". Even as I type the new window is in place but I'll wait until we have the curtains back up before I give you the "after". (And also the "after"!)
They're lookin' good, both inside and out!

I'm really excited and can hardly wait to see the final result.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Self Disclosure and Geometrical Progression

It's always slightly startling to me when readers leave lovely comments...I'm not exactly the most profound person in the world. And frankly, since last year's chemo, I feel my brain is even less than it was. My written words seem more stilted, even when I edit and re-edit. I am a victim of "Chemo Brain" as we cancer patients call it.

So when Greg, over at Gospel Driven Disciples gave me the Beautiful Blogger Award I was a bit surprised. And humbled.

According to the rules I'm supposed to share seven interesting things about myself...and nominate seven other beautiful bloggers.

Seven interesting things!? Hey, I'm just a farm girl from Iowa...a bit on the white-haired side...I grew up in the Sixties! Vietnam era! Hippies! I never became a was too busy.

Interesting things? Here goes!

#1 - I once toured the Denver Broncos' locker room. Eat your heart out, Guys!

#2 - My first job out of high school was working for "the" Howard Hughes. I never met him. I never even saw him. When he visited the plant we were instructed to stay out of certain areas where he would be touring. I never inherited any of his millions/billions.

#3 - My assertive/aggressive personality is entirely the fault of growing up in the midst of four brothers - two older, two younger. My personality is their fault, entirely. Blame them, not me! SOMEone had to keep them out of trouble and the task fell to me. It warped me, it did! The blame for who I am today can be layed squarely at their feet. Not my fault. Nope! Not!

#4 - Speaking of my four brothers, as children we learned to swim in the Little Sioux River. By half-drowning. Multiple times of half-drowning. Without adult supervision. We were a hardy bunch.

#5 - Books were one of my favorite things growing up. I don't suppose Walter Farley's Black Stallion series or Zane Grey's westerns count as classics, do they?? Perhaps Marguerite Henry's Misty of Chincoteague?

#6 - Having grown up on a farm I know how to grab a chicken from the pen, chop off its head, clean it (either cut up or whole), and have it ready for dinner. I said I "know how"...I don't think I care to do it these days. But I could if I had to.

#7 - I believe God called me as a young child, under the age of five...and I grew up in the church...but I was astounded in my twenties when I first understood the theology of John 1:1-3 and John 1:14. The eternal divinity of Christ was the most momentous understanding of my adult walk with God...that Jesus was the incarnate God, the Creator. It astounded me and caused a great spiritual thirst in my heart to know more.

Wow...get me talking about "self" and I could go on. But I must stop.

As for nominating seven others? I enjoy reading a variety of blogs, some of which include Yiddle (my artist/geek daughter), Mennonite Girls Can Cook (yummy farm cookin'), Wrestling With An Angel (poignant and heart full), Spousal Care Giving (the heart of a care giver), Beauty for Ashes (sometimes intensely deep and sometimes just plain fun), Iron Sharpens Iron (a new blog, two in tandem), and finally, to challenge those who think more deeply than I, Taste That Which is Good. Of course, there are a lot of other good blogs out there...Debby, a fellow cancer survivor; Bill of Wasilla, Mrs. Spit, and the list could go on.

(P.S. even tho the "rules" says the seven bloggers are to pass it forward, they need not feel guilty if they's like a giant chain letter...if seven nominate seven ad infinitum...well..the geometrical progression would be 7x7=49, then 343; 2401; 16,807; 117,649; 823,543; and by the time the award was passed forward seven times, the potential would be 5,764,801. That, Folks, is why Uncle Sam has made chain letters through the US Post Service illegal. And that, Folks, is also why you should never "forward this email" to everyone in your email address book.

Headin' to the kitchen for oatmeal and a second cuppa.

Hope your day is a good one.

Monday, March 29, 2010

I've Been Struggling With the Dreaded "T" Word

I have only one word for you today! This week I've been struggling with the dreaded "T" word. Yep, Taxes.

Turbotax led me down a rabbit trail first time around. Or perhaps it is that I led Turbotax down a rabbit trail and I couldn't seem to backtrack to where I had erred. So I began again...from the very beginning...being very careful to read every question, every explanation. Aaargh! I think this time I did everything correctly.

Taxes shouldn't be so complicated.

Remember, Citizens! Every time a new law is enacted, whether it be taxes or other, it means a new level of bureaucracy! New rules. New penalties. New cost to the taxpayer.

And once a new law is enacted it is terribly difficult to "undo" what has been "done". As in the case of taxes.

It won't get easier.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

In Which I Give You a Not-So-Instant Replay

Oh, dear, I try to not make this a Cancer blog, but now and then I give a not-so-instant replay of where I have been and where I'm going. I will try tomorrow to post something of more benign interest! *smile*

Diagnosed with ovarian cancer in January 2009 during routine gall bladder surgery. Ovarian is only a tenth as prevalent as breast cancer with approx. 19,500 new cases diagnosed annually in the USA. Its symptoms are mostly silent but looking back I can recognize them. Vague abdominal things. Onset of gas. Slight but ongoing discomfort under the edge of the right rib. Abdominal bloating...I couldn't find a pair of jeans that fit. If they fit around the abdomen they gapped six inches at the waist.

Ten days after the gall bladder surgery I had debulking surgery by a Gynocologist/Oncologist (having a Gyn/Onc do this surgery is extremely important in terms of staging). Forty-three staples top to bottom. He did his job well, removing 95 percent of the visible cancer and also my ovaries (uterus was already gone in 1985), appendix, omentum, and all the usual, including scraping the nodules everywhere they had spread to surfaces throughout the abdominal cavity.

I was sorta proud of those 43 staples, telling my young(er) friends that with their metal piercings they had nothing on me! One nurses' aid came into the room with multiple piercings and I pulled up my gown to show her my own! She was duly impressed. *smile*

I'm certain (and I'm the one who should remember!) that the surgeon removed my intestines from where they resided, scraped them clean, and (for the sheer fun of it...medical people like to retain a sense of humor) tied them in three fancy surgical knots (not unlike those balloon animals tied by clowns) before returning them to my body.

I'm convinced of this little ruse on his part because my guts protested mightily and refused to do their duty. Even after bodily functions returned, they felt taut and spastic, especially when lying down at night. I recognize now that they had been freed from their original moorings and had to settle back into place (probably sending out much scar tissue in the process! Ugh). Eventually, after weeks/months, they regained a feeling of normalcy. I still like to sleep with a little tummy pillow.

Recovery from debulking surgery was difficult with a 65-mile ambulance ride one week later back to the hospital with ilius (blockage). That was a frightful thing but another 6 days had me home again.

The slow recovery from surgery delayed chemo a bit. Then because I was being placed on a clinical trial and because my veins gave me such a fit in the hospital, they put in a Power Port. (So, effectually, I had received three surgeries, one major, two minor...gall bladder, debulking, Power Port.)

Before my first chemo, and because I was on the trial, I had an MRI and CT which declared "no metastasis to brains or bones" before chemo began. That was my first "good news".

On the clinical trial I had six sessions of carbo/taxol/Avastin-placebo with many delays due to low white blood counts. That meant daily shots of Neupogen several times at our local clinic to bring my white blood count back up. For months I avoided germs like the plague. No pun intended.

The toughest part of chemo were those first months. My body was still recovering from surgery and the chemo was hitting it with heavy-duty body-slams which had me a bit wobbly on my feet and spending many days on the sofa doing my routine of "staring at the ceiling". 64 years I endured well...and was able to negotiate many daily two-mile walks with Hubby (I should call them saunters for we walked slowly) and even a few trips around our small town on our bicycles. The chemo induced slight neuropathy or tingling and numbness to the pads of my feet and toes.

Then came six months remission. My previously straight white hair came in so curly and thick some friends thought it was a wig. How's that for a laugh.

In November 09 I intuitively began recognizing recurrence...a slight discomfort under my right rib returned. That discomfort is what first brought me to the gall bladder surgeon who took photos of cancerous nodes throughout my ab cavity, including the surface of the liver. I recognized this recurring feeling and was certain myself that the nodes were returning.

My intuition was confirmed when my CA-125 began a slow rise from its bottom "norm" of 40 and reached 151 by January. I asked for and received a CT/PET (my first PET) which showed hot spots in three very small locations, including the surface of the liver. (My intuition was correct after all.)

Because of the recurrence I was dropped from the trial and the Onc was able to unblind my file. As I had suspected I was on the placebo. My chemo all along had been carbo/taxol with a placebo instead of the trial drug Avastin.

We got a second opinion at Mayo which was done very quickly because I hand-carried all my records, surgical reports, path slides, path reports, CT scans/reports, all previous blood results, everything. They gave me another complete blood work up there and I was able to have a consult. The Mayo doc visited with us nearly 45 minutes, agreeing with everything he saw prior, and discussing future chemos, going over his recommends. (By the way, by having all records with me, and needing only a current blood test, this consult cost around $450 which I thought very affordable. It was very reassuring to family doc initiated the appointment for me, Mayo contacted me with a list of what records to bring from all my doctors.)

Took the Mayo info to a Cancer Center closer to home than the trial clinic and began a new series of chemo.

I know that many in recurrence wait until their CA-125 rises to high levels or until "symptoms" or until CT scans show enlargement or until their Doc gives them a "go ahead". I know in many cases this is because of the toxicity of the drugs to their personal well-being... that they may have endured much more severe side-effects than I did. And so the decision in their case to delay a second series of chemo until symptoms become more pronounced may be the better route.

But in my case, I am happy to be on chemo again in this earliest stage of recurrence. And I'm happy to add "real" Avastin and not a placebo to the mix.

Right now I am doing the following:

Week 1 - carboplatin (carbo) 500; paclitaxel (taxol) 144; and 700 Avastin ... (plus all the other stuff...tylenol, decadron, benadryl, zantac, aloxi for prevention of nausea, inflammation, etc.)

Week 2 - just the taxol (plus the other stuff)
Week 3 - just the taxol (plus the other stuff)
Week 4 - Free week, no chemo, consult with the Onc

Then begin the series again. We will do that for at least six months, all things going well. Since beginning this new series on March 12 my blood tests have continued to show reduction in my tumor marker (CA-125).

Side-effects? Hair loss again. No aches, no pains, no side-effects other than feeling high on the decadron. Just call me the Energizer Bunny!

I seem to need less sleep than ever before in my life. Could happily do with 6 hours sleep and an occasional day-time nap. I'm certain some of this is the decadron, but I was also feeling this well during the previous six months of remission. I continue to feel well, lots of emotional, mental, physical feelings of well-being.

The trauma of that first six months and the fear of recurrence the second six months have been replaced with acceptance, humor, and "living in the moment" rather than worrying about the future. I suppose that's easy to say...I am 65. After all, I should expect some kind of potentially serious health issue at my age. But many women are diagnosed young. My heart goes out to them and I pray that they have long and good lives.

While I would (obviously) prefer not to have Ovca, I am grateful for many things:
  • The gall bladder surgery which led to my diagnosis.
  • Referral to a Gyn/Onc to do the debulking. He had nil bedside manner, but he was a great surgeon.
  • No infections of any kind after the three surgeries.
  • A faithful husband who hovered over my care.
  • Love and prayers from my dear children especially my daughters, Mom, siblings, all my family.
  • That I was diagnosed Stage IIIc rather than having waited another 6 months and gone into Stage IV with metastasis.
  • The care of good RNs, both locally and at the previous Cancer Center in Omaha.
  • That I live within two blocks of the clinic where I am receiving my current treatment.
  • That Mayo Clinic affirms my first care was excellent.
  • That this series leaves me feeling normal...better than normal.
  • That God is good, no matter what. He has caused me to rest my life in His hands and I know He walks with me wherever I go.
  • For this day. This day...Today.
My ovca cancer friend (a 6-yr survivor) gave me this scripture just before going in for debulking surgery and it was a mainstay for me, reading it over and over again in the hospital for needed assurance:

Isaiah 43:2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.

I am not consumed. I live (and walk) by faith. I pray that you, too, have peace throughout your walk whatever it is and wherever it takes you. Life in this world is a hard journey and God calls us to walk with courage and faith, no matter where the journey takes us.

See...I told you this was a "not-so-instant" replay. *wry smile*

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Wrestling is Not Always Sport

Now and then, when I have read something particularly interesting or creative on someone else's blog, I will link here. Usually it is because their words prompt a post of my own and I want to give them due credit.

But today, I'm not posting anything of interest...except that I hope you will go read some of what Greg Lucas writes. I won't tell you his focus, nor topic. Just go and check him out. Simply click here.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the same comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

You Can Have a "Secret Garden" of Your Own!

Sometimes I enjoy life in "miniature". My collections include pretty bottles of buttons, jars filled with tiny button-size sea shells from a Maui beach, and a glass container of dice of various sizes and colors. And, of course, bottles of more buttons. So this past weekend when my daughter brought me this tiny terrarium she made from a light bulb I was tickled with its tiny form and beauty.

Daughter found instructions online to take apart a burned out light bulb. (She advises you wear gloves and safety glasses and follow instructions here.)

Once the bulb has been cleaned it is an easy (ahem!) process to layer gravel, charcoal, and plants. In this case a tiny bird has been added to the scene.

While this light bulb terrarium is as tiny and as cute as can be, remember that you can use any kind of glass container of any size to create a terrarium of your own. Check here or google to find good terrarium instructions.

They really are rather simple to make and so delightful to the eye. For a kid project, select a larger jar with an opening large enough for them to handle with ease. Terrariums can be any size and shape but whatever container you choose, they're Fun!

Be prepared to enjoy a summer garden scene weeks before summer gets here!

Have fun!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Upon Which A Great Disappointment Descended Upon Me

A great disappointment (minorly speaking) descended upon me this week...

You know I like to knit. And you know I love wool yarn. And if you are a knitter you know that wool yarn is not only lovely but also can be quite expensive.

This week our local consignment shop had a very large bag of (as yet unmarked and unshelved) wool yarn. It sat near the counter when I first walked in the store. There were skeins and skeins! Some with labels which clearly labeled the lovely yarn as "Wool".

So I took a closer look.

And I saw multiple mouse droppings scattered on this skein and that skein. I surreptitiously took a little sniff. Yep, mouse smell.

I had to walk away. Perhaps I will go back and bring home a skein or two and soak well and rinse and lay out to dry. Maybe.

Disclaimer: Please recognize that I recognize that this "great" disappointment is of the lesser kind of this's not exactly a "great" catastrophe in the grand scheme of things eternal. For in the grand scheme of things eternal, this is but a momentary thing. I do know how to keep a proper perspective on things of life! )


Monday, March 22, 2010

Flying Higher Than a Kite

I think I need to cut back on my drug usage. I need to talk to my Oncologist!

I did that once already. During my weekly chemo treatments they give me benadryl which almost immediately puts me to sleep in the chair. I don't like that...I'd prefer to spend the time reading or knitting or conversing. So I asked for less benadryl and they cut back by 50 percent. That's a significant cut. It still makes me sleepy during treatment but at least I function when I leave the place.

I also think they could cut back on the decadron that they give me as an anti-inflammatory. This drug keeps me flying high for the next several days. Folks, I don't need to fly THAT HIGH!

"How high?" you ask? Read on!

Friday I had chemo. Later Friday and daytime Saturday and early on Sunday we hosted up to 20 people of all ages in our little house. Family from Oregon, South Dakota, Minnesota and here at home as well.

We had kids upstairs and in the basement rec room, good visits in the living room and around the kitchen table, plenty of playing with babies, lots of conversation. It was a good time. A good time with family.

Now here is the weird part. This is how high I was flying. By Sunday 1 PM everyone had left, including Hubby who had headed to the City. Within four hours I had the house tidied, the kitchen mopped, the living room vacuumed (including corners and edges), two loads of clothes washed and folded, sheets washed and ready for the bed, the dishwasher filled and emptied.

I have to tell you that this is not NORMAL for me! Even before cancer I would have been tired and would have taken a long nap after such company time.

This morning I called the clinic and left a message for the Onc, asking if I can cut back a bit on Friday when I do my next treatment! Just a little bit! I don't mind the physical boost and I'm happy to awaken this morning to a clean and tidy house. But perhaps we could make do with just a wee bit less decadron!!?


Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Titanic ... in 1001 Pieces!

Normally when we pick up a recycled jigsaw puzzle at the hospital consignment shop we are not surprised to find a piece of two missing.

However...this morning...with lotsa family visiting, we put this 1000 piece Titanic puzzle together in only a couple hours. AND we found one EXTRA piece...a duplicate. Now I wonder who bought a NEW puzzle and found our piece missing from their box.

With multiple toddlers in the house organization has disintegrated into various piles of toys, blankies, toys, blankies. But the Moms/Dads are super good with their kids and we're enjoying them all. The older kids (boys) are doing a great job, too, of admiring babies as long as no adult notices them doing so. If that happens, they pretend complete indifference.

McDonald's McMuffins and donuts for breakfast, Pizza for lunch. Chinese for supper. Makes cooking a lot easier.


Friday, March 19, 2010

It's Spring Somewhere. I Can Tell!

I can "assess" the weather in other parts of the country by the fresh produce available at the grocery store. We live where winter is not conducive to fresh veggies.

This week's special is lovely, young tender shoots of asparagus. We'll be harvesting our own come May/June but right now we're eating this!

Asparagus is an early spring crop and loves those first days of warm sun. Somewhere spring/summer has arrived and the first shoots of asparagus are popping up daily. The stalks shoot upward and then, as warmer weather arrives, they will branch out into wide ferny arrays which are quite pretty but not very edible. Harvesters cut them before they reach that ferny stage and ship them to us. To eat Fresh. Yum!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Someone Invent This For Me. Please!

Someone needs to invent a keyboard that one can take to bed. I'm thinking something "remote" such as special mitts that allow the fingers to "strike" the keys in mid-air.

Having spent my working years typing zillions and gazillions of documents my fingers sometimes "type" along as I am thinking. I think I could type my dreams if I had an invention that would translate my "typing" into a word document.

My sleep cycle has changed. Six months ago while I was off chemo, my nights were restful and quiet. Now my mind just chatters on and on and I awaken, look at the clock, roll over, do some more tossing with more chattering inside my head. My dreams have become verbose and I cannot stop them.

These chatterings are usually topical. Last night I can't tell you all the kinds and types of cake plates I thought of ... milk glass ... with handles ... removeable plates of different sizes that could be simply placed over the handle. Surprisingly, there was no cake. My dreams have not progressed to "high calorie" but maybe that will happen.

I hope one of you will invent this "typing" invention so that you can make a zillion bucks and I can at least come up with a useful blogpost after a night of tossing and turning.

At least I seem to awaken refreshed and ready for the day, so perhaps all is not lost.

Today's word: Verbose - containing more words than necessary...such as in most of my posts!
*wry smile*


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Is This What You Call "Pretty in Pink"?

You may never had reason to notice. But I have. And I got a mite perturbed about it today.

It seems every women's clothing store on the planet has its "pink" know, a lovely display of "pink" blouses, sweaters, purses, bags, pink bracelets, etc...all of which is to remind their customers that they are "supporting breast cancer research". Businesses who sell to women know it is a good marketing idea to be on board in fighting this disease that affects so many. And so they sell "pink".

I'm glad to see businesses do this. Mine is not breast cancer...but I'm happy to see the interest and emphasis on research that will mean more lives saved amongst my breast cancer friends. I figure whatever research benefits them will eventually benefit other cancers as well, one way or another.

But today I became a little peeved. I was looking for a couple new hats or scarves with which to cover my once-again bald head. Today I was standing in front of this long wall of "pink" items, each one bearing a cute girly slogan of some sort or other, all of which were intended to lift the spirits of those who deal with breast cancer or which could be worn by family and friends of those who are fighting this disease.

But you know what? Not a single, solitary stitch of head gear for those of us (breast or other cancer) who go bald for months while we go through chemo! Not a single stitch!

The least they could do is include a head band or a baseball cap or hat or square scarf of a size to tie as a bandana. Of any color! Wouldn't ya think!!!!!!

Disclaimer (or reassurance to the fact) ...I do have a wig and a number of hats, caps and scarves but I wanted to add a new cap or scarf to my headgear. (I did manage to find a great cap in red at another store...on sale!)


Monday, March 15, 2010

My Image Has Improved...Just Call Me Henry

A year ago when I lost my hair (thanks to chemo) I was astounded, embarrassed, and a mite bit traumatized to realize that I looked more than a little like Gollum of Lord of the Rings. Especially if I put my fingers behind my ears and snarled. Which I did once, creeping up behind Hubby while he was brushing his teeth. (I made him clean up the resultant toothpaste spatter on the mirror. You can read what I wrote about that in April of 2009 by going here.)

About that same time one of my friends who was also going through chemo thought she looked like Uncle Fester of TV's The Addams Family. I don't know which was worse, being mistaken for Uncle Festus or Gollum! It's probably a toss-up!

So this week, with my newly buzzed pate, when Hubby told me that I looked like "Henry" of the old comic strip fame, I jumped at the chance to get away from the Gollum image. I'd forgotten about Henry! I hadn't seen him since near childhood. I couldn't even remember what Henry looked like until Hubby googled for an image.

I have to agree with Hubby. My new "Henry" look is much preferred over my last year's "Gollum" look. Nicely shaped head, he has, that Henry.

Don't you agree?


Saturday, March 13, 2010

Today I Fought the Dragon. And He Did Not Slay Me

My blog is eclectic if nothing else. Rather like my decor.

I like to write. I'm usually a klutz at face-to-face but in writing I can back up, edit, rephrase, try to make my words say what I really want them to convey. And so I write. About numerous subjects.

Today I'm writing about my chemo. I won't be offended if you click elsewhere. You have my permission to do so. Not everyone wants to read about cancer.

My ovarian cancer was diagnosed a year ago during routine gall bladder surgery. Mine is stage III-C which means cells occurred throughout my abdominal cavity but had not yet metastasized (invaded) into bones, lungs, brain. Which, believe you me, is a good thing.

That month I had one major surgery and two minor and was in the hospital a total of 13 days. One of those minor surgeries was placement of a Power Port just below my left collar bone. It's a marvelous thing. Many hate their ports. I love makes accessing for chemo or blood draws easy.

A year ago in February I began six sessions of heavy-duty chemo every 3 weeks. During that time I was on a double-blind clinical trial (GOG-218) using a third drug (or placebo) in combo with the carbo/taxol. After six sessions the protocal was that my group was to continue with only the trial drug Avastin (or placebo).

By December mild symptoms of discomfort and a rising tumor marker in my blood told me that I was recurring. A PET scan January 8 verified that my intuition was right on. By protocol my recurrence meant I was dropped from the trial. My doc was able to unblind my records and tell me that I had been on the placebo and not the trial drug Avastin. Again, my intuition had been right. I had never believed I was getting the Avastin for I had none of its symptoms...high blood pressure, bloody nose, etc.

With the recurrence I am back on chemo. This time I'm taking the carbo/taxel along with Avastin. This time my treatments are weekly but with lower dosages. I get the three-drug combo on Week 1. Weeks 2 and 3 are taxol only. Week 4 is free, no chemo. Then we start all over again with Week 1. That was today. Doc says I will probably continue this for six months provided blood tests and scans show this drug combo is working.

I still have my Power Port and it is my friend! The nurse inserts a short needle thingy (I don't know what it is called!) through the skin into the port. It's as simple as plugging an electric cord into the wall socket. Just like that! It's done. There is a momentary sting...hardly enough of a sting to even say "Ouch!" And then infusion begins. The session is usually several hours long because different drugs go in at different times. Decadron. Benedryl. Zantac. Aloxi. Carboplatin. Paclitaxel. Avastin. Saline flush. (not necessarily in that order) I usually spend the first hours reading or chatting. Until the benadryl is administered and then I take a nap. I asked them to lower the benadryl and they did, but it still makes me sleepy and I can't hold my eyes open any longer.

I like to get the recliner next to the window. I can see Nurse Diana's door from there. And I can chat with whoever is in the window chairs for blood or shots or blood pressures. That is, if they want to chat. I'm careful about invading personal space.

Lesser dosages mean no more than a couple twinges of bone pain with Week 1. No symptoms whatsoever on Weeks 2 and 3. Other Than Hair loss! Yep. Hubby helped me buzz my head this week after it had thinned to patches. My curls were gone. My scalp hurt. It was a mess. I just wanted to be rid of it.

No, I won't complain about hair loss. At least until the eye lashes fall out...which I figure will be within the next three weeks sometime. Then I might complain. A little. A tiny bit. Eye liner will help but only if you stand at least six feet away from me and have poor eyesight and are deluded into thinking eyeliner looks like lashes!

This year cancer seems not so traumatic. I'm not stressed about it. I'm surprised, really, that it does not psych me out. It's as if the trauma of it all occurred last year. The shock, the struggle to sink this into my brain...the statistics, the possibilities, the what ifs, the whyfors, the why me? I've already gone through all of that and come out on the other side. I'm quite aware of the possibilities ahead of me...I just am not going to spend every waking moment obsessing about it.

I'm come to grips with it, really. I've said my prayers. I've done the tears. Now I continue in prayer and thank God that I feel well today. And presumably tomorrow. I'm convinced that the Creator God, who made us all, has my days mapped out for me (Psalm 139:16). Whatever the purpose of all this, I know that it is for my good (Romans 8:28) and for His glory. Right now, in this world, we do not see all of it to its fullness. It's as if we look through a dirty stained glass and see only dimly, but when all is said and done, when we arrive in God's presence, we will see it all clearly (I Cor. 13:12) and we will see that God's sovereign will is perfect, always and forever.

In the meantime we live. And we enjoy the step in front of us, the task in front of us, the people beside us, the world around us. I do that with joy. I hope you, too, are looking at the joy of life. And living it well in the knowledge of the goodness of God.

The dragon? You have to go here to read about the dragon and about my meeting Sven the Dragon Slayer.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Upon How I Enjoy A Lovely Antique!

I'm still playing with my treadle sewing machine Singer 66-1, aka Elizabeth Redeye by myself and now by you. I finally bought some sewing machine oil and oiled the machine this evening.

This machine is precision machined and after oiling, Oh! does it runs smooooth! A flick of the wrist on the handwheel and it purrs. I mean it Purrs! But so silently one would never hear.

The old vintage Singers are simple to maintain. A single drop of oil at every moving part. That's it, Folks! Unless, of course, you jam a needle against a button or zipper hard enough to put the thing out of timing, but frankly, I've been sewing on this and other machines since I was 10 years old and I've never had to adjust the timing. This is not an automobile, after all! This is a Singer with a Capital S! And this particular model has never suffered a recall by its manufacturer...even if it did sew though my thumbnail once.

Basically, with vintage machines, just read the manual and oil where directed. If you don't have a manual, open up the machine everywhere that you can open it, and put a single drop of sewing machine oil on each moving part. You can click on the photos to see what I mean...I've marked key areas with a green arrow. (You can usually google your Singer and Model number and find an online manual or instructions.) You can click here for one informative vintage Singer site.

Now and then one might become a bit frustrated if the needle has been placed in backwards...which I confess that I have done...but that is easily remedied by reading the manual for the particular machine...not all machines are the same in this respect.

I changed my mind on the fabrics that I will be stitching together. So last night I cut some extra to go with them. I'll show a pic when I get them assembled.

I need to get this posted...I'm off to do my chemo this morning. And this afternoon I'll be napping...the Benadryl, you know. Later I'll have all kinds of energy...the steroids, you know.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Mushrooms! Cheese! Do We Need Anything Else?

Who would think that "ingredients" would be worthy of a blog post? Most times the blogger presents how-to photos of some delicious recipe...most of which are fattening to boot. So I vicariously enjoy a lot of recipes via blogs. Sorta like eye candy. Enjoy the chocolate without the cals.

Today Dandy over at Spontaneous Clapping made me almost fall off my sewing stool (which I use instead of an office chair). She's reviewing some of the specialty shops in the Ferry Building in San Francisco. Bop on over there and tell me that you aren't dying to try some of the fresh mushrooms and the cheese! Oh, My, the Cheese place! Today's post is here.

Dandy promises more tomorrow. I'm hoping she sends out samples via Uncle Sam's mail system...skip the photos...just send the samples.

(she said with a hopeless grin)


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Elizabeth Redeye, a Story of Friends, Grandmothers, and a Singer From Long Ago

Nearly thirty years ago my mother's house burned to the ground. A handful of photos, tucked inside a tin container, survived. One of those photos sits on my desk, its edges blackened, its color faded. In the photo my brother, home from Vietnam and sporting a new beard, stands at my mother's ironing board, pressing a shirt. Yah, apron or no apron, he's macho, but he knows how to do a mean press. (Click on the photo for a closer look) Behind him against the wall stands her sewing machine, a handsome Singer treadle Model 66-1 in its tiger-oak "drawing room cabinet". Fanciful decals adorn its black paint. That photo is all that remains of that machine. (The rest of these photos are of Elizabeth Redeye, the real subject of this post.)

I learned to sew on that machine, beginning with doll dresses and progressing to dresses for myself. Once while treadling at a furious speed I sewed through the tip of my thumb, breaking the needle. The lesson was well-learned and thereafter I kept my fingers a safe distance from the pressure foot.

The left side of the cabinet held five drawers hidden behind a vertical door. I often rummaged through those drawers, fingering half-used spools of thread or admiring the metal attachments.

My mother showed me how to lay fabric out on the dining room table and to hold the pattern in place with heavy coffee mugs. Later, in Home Economics class, I learned how to straighten the grain of fabric, press properly, and make a variety of seams. Even after I moved away from home I sewed most of my clothing. First on a black Singer sewing machine purchased at a thrift shop. Then on a vintage Kenmore purchased at a neighbor's auction.

Then I began making quilts. And I began finding vintage Singer machines at yard sales. Several of them! I had become a "collector". And I learned how to take them apart, clean and oil, and adjust a fine stitch.

About 1999 I met a fellow quilter in Ohio via the internet. We emailed daily, chattering about our quilts and various other things in our daily lives. I admired her bold use of bright batiks and she exclaimed over the precision of my piecing. We each love our vintage Singer machines. She named her 1948 Singer 201 "Cecil Faye" in honor of two grandmothers. I named mine "Leona" after its previous owner, an elderly neighbor.

And then my Ohio email buddy sent a photo of a Singer treadle she had purchased in years past. I oohed and aahed and admired, for it was almost a duplicate of the one upon which I learned to sew. She had named the machine "Elizabeth Redeye" (Elizabeth for the eight Elizabeths in her family tree and Redeye for its red decals). And then that woman (who loves stirring up trouble) made an offer which I was certain I would never be able to accept. She said that if I ever showed up on her doorstep in Ohio the machine was mine. At that time I lived in California. As much as I coveted (yes, that's the word!) that machine, the 2600 miles that separated us just seemed too much.

Then, on that fateful Tuesday in September 2001, I was visiting my daughter in Minnesota when the Towers fell. She and I spent the next several days glued to the news. Although the airlines were shut down for days I managed to board my scheduled flight on Saturday and flew home to California. The fellow seated on my right, a New Zealander, had been near the World Trade Centers. He had been evacuated from his hotel and had lost everything...luggage, clothing, computer, passport. He had to acquire a temporary passport at the NZ consulate in order to return home. He was shaken. Who wouldn't be? Our world had changed. We all changed. Over the next two years I experienced an unsettling, a feeling of having lost control over the events of my life. I went about my days with a small nag of trepidation affecting all that I did.

In the midst of all this ensuing uncertainty a thought came to me. I would drive to Ohio. I could take control of this much of my life. I would go off on a 2600 mile adventure and do it by myself. My hubby gave me his blessing to drive his shiny silver pickup to my friend's house and home again. (Trusting soul, he!)

When I showed up on her doorstep my friend had a welcome sign on the front lawn. We laughed as we met each other face-to-face for the first time. We had a long list of things to do during the three-day visit. We made a trip to a nearby quilt shop in a barn, a huge place with tall rows of bolts of fabric, a paradise for quilters. She cooked her favorite chili. We played on her quilting machine. We had tea with a group of other Ohio quilters that we had met online. We laughed and giggled and played with fabric.

In our emails my friend's words had been witty and full of anecdotes of family and home. I had imagined her voice as a slow drawl and instead her words were quick and as wise and funny face-to-face as she had been in her emails. I met her family. I met her cat. We toured her flower garden. She showed me the finely crafted cabinet her wood-working hubby had made for Cecil Faye, her Singer 201. Oh, my, that man knows how to work wood. Drawers galore. Wide sewing surface. Cecil Faye is much loved.

And my friend presented me with Elizabeth Redeye. The machine was simply gorgeous and only my best manners kept me from jumping up and down with excitement. She, her husband, and I managed to load Elizabeth into the back of my husband's pickup, making certain she was stable and secure, protected from the elements under the topper for her long journey.

My 2600-mile trip home was an adventure in "I can do it". A silver-haired grandma, driving a shiny pickup toting a vintage Singer treadle, radio blaring loud, pumping my own gas, reading maps, guzzling coffee and diet Pepsi, braving heavy traffic in large cities, proving nothing to anyone except to myself.

As I pressed westward I imagined the women who traveled at yesteryear's pace in wagons drawn by horses or oxen, their scant sewing supplies tucked in a trunk or perhaps ready at hand to sew a few stitches at a moment's notice, stitches that might provide practical things as well as things of beauty. I thought of trail dust and of precious belongings left behind or cast aside as wagons needed their loads lightened. I felt a kinship with these women, knowing that life today brings its own hardship and travail.

Elizabeth Redeye now sits in my living room. She is a reminder of the generosity of a friend, of my sewing past, and of lives long past of grandmothers and great-grandmothers. It is good to sit down with Elizabeth, to quiet the noise of daily life to a soft hum, no louder than the noise of a treadle sewing machine. This week Elizabeth will be sewing together more squares of fabric for Project Linus. Her previous owner, in Ohio, is a PL coordinator and the product of Elizabeth's efforts will be mailed to Ohio.

(The age of vintage Singer sewing machines can be determined by the Serial number. This particular Model No. 66-1 was manufactured somewhere around 1910 or soon thereafter. The original instruction manual is "Form 7876 Reissue March 9, 1911". The oak parlor cabinet, or drawing room cabinet, as it was called is a Model 21.

This particular cabinet has a spring-loaded lift mechanism. Touch a small button on the front of the cabinet and the machine lifts to its sewing position. Pretty nifty. Tucked away in the drawers are a complete set of attachments for fancy sewing...a subject for another time.)

Monday, March 8, 2010

Preparing You For the Elizabeth Redeye Mystery!

I went down to the library this weekend and sat with four quilting friends around a quilting frame. These quilters have been meeting faithfully for years and they've quilted many a quilt. I join them now and then. On the way out the door I noticed this yellow tape. Some heavy chunks of ice had fallen from the high tile roof. Sure glad I wasn't standing there when it happened!
The sun was shining so when I got home I left the garage door open to let in the solar energy. It looks like some Neighbor Kitty found the open door and thought the hood of the car was a cozy place. Kitty padded here and there, leaving gray kitty prints all over the hood.

This afternoon I took my little jar of sourdough starter out of the fridge and mixed it together with flour and water. Tomorrow morning I'll put a small amount back in the fridge and I'll add more flour and water to this and let it sit overnight again. Wednesday I'll toss it in the breadmaker with the rest of the necessary ingredients and make some bread. I'm no expert at sourdough so I don't follow any standard formula (some of those bread artisans take their craft seriously! I'm just out to make a loaf of bread!). See that Pyrex bowl? The glass lids can be inverted and the bowls can be stacked which makes for nice storage in the fridge. You can read about my love for Pyrex bowls here.

And now, the Mystery! The Redeye Mystery! Tomorrow I will tell you about Elizabeth Redeye and about her trip from Ohio to Iowa riding in the back of a silver pickup.

To tantalize you a bit I will tell you Elizabeth Redeye is a gorgeous and well-kept lady. We will have many photos tomorrow.

And if you have any idea as to Elizabeth's real identity, leave a comment!


Saturday, March 6, 2010

Wherein I Speak of Sven the Dragon Slayer and of the Dragon Himself

Yesterday, while sitting next to him, I listened as Sven the Dragon Slayer introduced himself. I had read about Sven but had never met him before. We were both waiting for blood draws for our respective cancers. Sven calls his cancer a "Dragon". And he offered to give me a sword with which to fight my own cancer. Sven looks like a Dragon Slayer. He's big! He looks as if he could have been a mighty man in the day of Dragon Slayers.

At first I was taken aback because my mind treats words literally. (I can't help's the way my mind works.) It often takes some cogitation on my part before I can jump from the literal to the poetical. It's not that I "dislike"'s just that sometimes it takes a few moments to shift my mental gears to the poetical mode.

You see, when he mentioned his Dragon, my first thought was, "No, this is not some flimsy literary game, this is Cancer. Cancer with a Capital C. Cancer is Cancer. Cancer is not a dragon. To think cancer is a "dragon" is to make a game of it and it's a silly game in my estimation." I didn't speak those words, but that is what I was thinking.

Do you see how my mindset can be sometimes seen as rigid, inflexible, and a real killer of conversation? I kill a lot of conversations that way. You'd think by this time of my life I'd have figured this out and stop such killings. But, no, the killing of conversations is an ongoing thing in my life. Maybe someday.....

And so, by the time I cogitated about Sven's naming of his cancer as the "Dragon", the phlebotomist had drawn his blood and Sven had left and gone home. I wasn't able to respond. I hope to see him again for he is known to be a Dragon Slayer in the local cancer community. You can read about him in the City paper. Sven has dealt with five different cancers in the past eight years. He's fought bravely and he's fought alongside others fighting the same Dragon. But in the moment, I was not able to mind is slow.

Later that afternoon (I told you I was slow) I remembered Revelation 12:9 wherein we read, "And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him." And it clicked.

That "ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan", is the same who deceived Eve in the beginning. Adam's disobedience to God (and obedience to Satan) brought death, disease, and destruction upon us all. Cancer is simply another part of that death that comes to us ever since "the fall". Living in this time and place we're going to deal with death until Christ puts a final and complete end to the work of the Dragon and to "death" itself.

I'm reminded of Rev. 21:3-4 wherein Jesus tells John in regards to His final destruction of death: "..... Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away."

In the meantime we wait. We fight the Dragon, that ancient Deceiver, that ancient Accuser of the Brethren (Rev. 12:10). And we fight with the Sword of the Spirit (Eph. 6:17). And we live in the great hope in Jesus' promise that there will come a day when the Dragon will be no more. Death will be no more. Cancer will be no more. And we will dwell in the presence of our Lord.

(Disclaimer: "To all who love the gentle, talking Dragons of modern literary device, I am not speaking of such dragons. Nope. I recognize poetry when I see it." she said with a wry smile. )

And Today's Word of the Day: Cogitate - transitive verb: to ponder or meditate, usually intently


Friday, March 5, 2010

Wherein I Toot a Horn for KAMUT!

KAMUT! Yesterday I promised to tell you about Kamut!

I kinda like its name..Kamut! Natural sounding! Ancient sounding! Apparently the Kamut growing today originated with a handful of kernals obtained in the Middle East.

You can read about Kamut in the Sunday Great Falls Tribune, June 07, 1946. Just click here.

Look at this comparison of kamut (left in the photo) and red winter wheat. Look at the size difference! And the color! Doesn't that golden grain look lovely and full of goodness!

Kamut is a close relative to durum wheat. It's about the same shape as a wheat seed but a Kamut kernel is more than twice as big. And more golden in color with a nutty sweetness that makes the best pancakes in the world (at least that's the propaganda I feed my grandchildren while they are chowing down). Now I maintain that my recipe is the best but you can try kamut yourself by looking for Arrowhead Mills Pancake and Waffle Mix. Or check Bob's Red Mill for kamut flour. And no, I have no affiliation with either of these businesses whatsoever. I'm just explaining where you can buy the product and try it for yourself.

According to some websites, many people who are wheat intolerant can eat Kamut with no problems. ( I don't know if this is true or not but if you have wheat intolerance at your house, you might check this out further. )

Since Kamut is not readily available locally (check your local health foods store) I order it in 25 pound bags from Wheat Montana. The local big box store stocks their bags of wheat but so far I haven't seen the kamut on their shelves. Perhaps I could ask them to order it. Shipping is not cheap when I order it direct.

Besides pancakes I use this grain in bread, cookies, and cinnamon rolls.

I hope you get a chance to try it. I know you will be impressed with its golden goodness! And if you use this when you make pancakes for your grandkids you can make the same claim to fame as I ... the best pancakes in the world! And they'll think you're the best granny (or gramps) in the world! Trust me. Kamut Rocks!

I want to say again that I have no affiliation to any of the above-named businesses...except I love to see their products on local store shelves.

P.S. I want to thank Debby for this link to youtube about Bob Moore's Red Mill company. Kudos to Bob for his ethical thinking in regards to his employees. He GAVE the company to his employees in February 2010. Hmmm...wish I had been working there!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Perhaps He Was Only Stretching a Bit.....

I need to add something to my last post...Rather than say the fellow "lied" to me, I should have and will say that he "stretched the truth". Perhaps he did this out of a slight hope that some patients might not lose their hair. Perhaps he "knew" that I already "knew" the answer to my own question and he "knew" I was wanting just a little bit of hope for just a little bit longer.

For whatever reason, I do highly respect the medical people who take care of me. (Nurse Diana is the Best!) And I am grateful that such medical care is not only available but that it is also just down the street. My previous chemo sessions were 65 miles down the road, fair weather or storm. Being able to do this within walking distance of home is a Godsend. (And, hey, I figure losing my hair once again is the least of my worries. It's a nuisance in terms of scarves, hats, etc., but not the most tragic circumstance in the world. I like to keep that in perspective for myself and for you.)

As for today? Several tasks are on my unwritten list today. Hubby has a black wool coat that needs the sleeves shortened. I know how to do that. I promised I would get that done so he can be wearing that coat. Before July. He won't wear it in July. Nor August, September, October. That is a cold-weather coat. Once March is past he will not need it again until cold weather. Right now we are experiencing day temps above 40 F. There will be folks out and about town today in their shirt sleeves. You wait and see!

Tasks on the unwritten list for today:
  1. Shorten sleeves on black wool coat.
  2. My sewingroom/office/craft room needs cleaning.
  3. I will be meeting with a young fellow later today who wants to get his driver's license. We're talking through the instruction manual together. And having a good time visiting while we do that.
  4. A small stack of fabric is waiting to be stitched together into a child's quilt for Project Linus. My email buddy in Ohio is a Project Linus coordinator and I will mail the quilt to her. I want to use my treadle Singer 66 to do that stitching. It's a lovely machine.
  5. Pork chops are calling from the fridge...they want to be ingested later by Hubby and myself. Today they will have their wish. (whoever heard of personified pork chops?)
  6. We volunteer as advocates for an individual and I need to finalize a many-page report with a March deadline.
  7. And, hey, at the top of the list is my intention to enjoy every moment of this day. Beginning with coffee.
Tomorrow I will tell you about KAMUT! With Photos! You may never have heard about Kamut! But tomorrow you will hear and see.


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Aaargh! Do We Do This AGAIN! Or "How He Lied To Me!"

That man sat there, with a slight smile on his face, his eyes squinting every so slightly and he plain out and out lied to me.

No, not my Hubby. I'm talking about my new Oncologist. A month ago he and I reviewed a list of "possibles" in terms of new chemo treatment. He picked the one at the top of the list and said, "We'll do this one." Actually it included the same drugs as before -- carboplatin and paclitaxel or carbo/taxol for short. Added to this duo would be a new drug, Avastin, which is currently being used with recurrent ovarian cancer and carries some vague promise (yah, another promise!) of efficacy in holding cancer cells at bay.

This time round, we're doing lesser dosages more often. Small doses weekly vs. high doses every third week.

So I sez to the Onc, "How about hair loss?"

He sez, "Oh, perhaps a bit of thinning."

I knew he was lying then.

I have proof of it this week. Proof by the handfull.

Funny thing. It's not nearly as traumatic this time round as it was a year ago. I actually feel rather matter-of-fact about it. Frankly, I could go bald for the next 20 years if I could feel good and live my life for those 20 years. Hair is the least of it.

Other than the hair thing, I feel really well. I have plenty of energy and I wake up every morning in a good frame of mind. No aches, no pains, no nausea. Only the hair issue. (Well, my white blood count is down but shots take care of that.)

I've heard of worse side-effects. Chemotherapy can consist of any number of drugs and any combo thereof. Some can cause major damage to the kidneys, liver, heart...not to mention "chemo brain" where your thinking gets a bit askew, a bit less than yesterday's sharp thinking. No, I don't mind the hair's just such a nuisance with all the scarves and caps and hats and drawing of eyebrows and adding eyeliner to sub for loss of lashes. It's all such a nuisance...except at shower time. Then it's easy and I can see why men shave their heads.

I do sigh a bit, though, when I look at old photos and see that lovely mop of smooth, straight, white hair that sat atop my head. I sure did have a nice hair-do.

Time for breakfast...oatmeal with raisins. Coffee.

Go hug your hair!

Added late today! Blood test today. Results? My CA-125 has gone down considerably under this new series of chemo. That's good news, Folks!

Monday, March 1, 2010

On How I Went From Mucus Green to Baking Stone

"Mucus Green?" you ask. No, its not germs, colds or phlegm. I'm talking bathroom remodel! Which is finally nearing its completion!

For the most part the "hands-on" stuff, such as gutting the room and replacing everything...that kinda stuff...was accomplished by Doug the "Plmber" (as his personalized license plate calls him) and Roger the Handyman (aka as cabinet-maker). My role, of course, was to stand back and make countless suggestions and changes as they worked. (Doug and Roger are patient fellows!)

That interval of time between gutting and reinstallation seemed the perfect time to paint. So I went over the handfull huge stack of paint chips from the paint store and picked out what seemed like a safe, neutral, medium shade of "sand".

It's so difficult to choose color! In the light from the window brown turns to green. And under a flourescent, green turns to gray. And with an incandescant bulb, all turn to mush. So I took a flying leap, picked what seemed "safe", brought home a $22 gallon of paint and slapped a sample up on the wall....a sample large enough that in the light of day, when dry, would give us a "preview" of our new bathroom color!

My sandy color should have been named "Mucus Green!" Can you believe it took days for me to decide that, no, we're not going to use this...we are going to toss give away this $22 can of paint. My frugal nature just about gave in, but in the end good sense prevailed.That can of paint is out of the house. A friend will be using it to paint closets in his rental house...I think.

Since mucus green was not my ideal of bathroom decor, I decided to try a safe "off-white". The idea was to finish the painting before Roger installed the cabinets. Makes it a whole lot easier if you can slap that stuff on the walls without worrying about the edges of cabinets, countertops, mirror, etc. So paint away I did...just in time. The cabinets went in...the vanity in place...all was well.

Or so I thought. It seemed quite lovely...except that we needed sunglasses to enter the dazzling brilliance of that room. Squinting in radiant beams of light while trying to put on makeup just didn't work. We kept two pair of sunglasses on the for him, one for me. But it just wasn't working!

So here I am...trying a third time. With a paint called "baking stone". You may or may not be aware that color has "value". The value of a color measures its darkness or lightness. I'm certain there is a Murphy's Law that states something like this...."The value of a color will be directly proportional to the area covered." In other words, a little paint chip will appear much lighter than the same color painted on a large wall. I didn't know that. When I slapped paint on the wall I realized that "Hmmm, this is darker than I thought. "

You know what! I'm liking it. And I can leave my sunglasses in my purse for "out-of-door" adventures.