Monday, November 26, 2007

Roger comes home!

My stepfather, Roger, was discharged from the hospital in Flagstaff, and is now resting comfortably at home in Sedona. I am sure their cat, Sabu, has been glued to his lap since he arrived. Roger seems to be healing well; they are going to spend a few weeks focusing on his eating and drinking, and then they will see his oncologist for a prognosis.

If they prescribe a treatment including some chemo, but with a good life extension, Roger may decide to do it. If they say "chemo, but it will only get you six months," he may not choose that path. Of course, we hope that he can grab every spare moment of life possible, but not at the cost of his comfort and happiness. So we wait to see what the doctors say, and in the meantime, he focuses on getting his appetite back on track.

That's it for now! We are so happy he is home. My mother said he looked better the minute he walked through the door. Good luck to Roger, and to Nurse Mary! =>

Friday, November 23, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving 2007!

This Thanksgiving, we spent a lovely day with a large group of our friends in Virginia. The event was held at Donna and Kurt's house in Great Falls, and included the Matrangas (Greg, Dina, Caroline, and Alec), Ben Smith, Morgan (Kurt's daughter), Grayson (Donna and Kurt's sweet baby boy), Marcia and Jim Moran, Marta and Dario, Kurt's mom Bev, and Janet and Tina Kutchmanik and their mom.

The group cooked enough food to sink a large boat, and we ate like fools. The meal was outstanding, and it is so wonderful to hang out and Donna and Kurt's place. There is a lot of room to roam, a kid zone for the little ones to run around, a TV room, a large kitchen, and enough tables and chairs for 20. A great time was had by all!

This was Fiona and Grayson's first Thanksgiving, so the room gave thanks for them, in addition to many other wonderful things. =>

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Roger's surgery - update

My stepfather, Roger, had surgery today for colon cancer that has been afflicting him for weeks now. The doctors started out thinking that he had a heart issue, but it turned out that his heart was as fine now as it was after the small heart attack he had 20 years ago. This time, it was colon cancer.

My mother called last night to tell me that they found cancer in the local lymph nodes, as well as all around the other lymph nodes inside of him. This is not good news. This basically means that Roger will just go home and wait to take his leave of us. I feel so bad about this - for us, for my mom, for Roger. Roger is very zen regarding his demise, so I am not worried about his mental state. I do worry about how much pain he will be in, and cross my fingers that the doctors will ply him with good meds.

I feel sad for our family - losing him will be very hard. Roger is funny, smart, curious about the world around him, always quick with a helping hand, and is a very sweet guy. I hope he fights it as long as possible, so we can selfishly have him around for as long as possible. I hope he is ready to have me videotape him to bits, because when I go visit them in Sedona, AZ, I will come armed with a video camera.

Please send him your thoughts and love.

House of plague and pox

So this past weekend, Rory came down with the stomach bug that has been afflicting the children in the girls' daycare center. Craig was off riding, and the girls and I had gone to Wegman's to conduct a pre-Thanksgiving shop-o-rama. On the way home, Rory said, "Mommy, I want to go home," which she never says - she loves being out and about. Upon arriving home at 10:00 am, I offered her a snack, which she declined. She never declines snacks. I offered her fruit snacks - her all-time fave - and she said no. That's when I knew we were in trouble.

She started vomiting at 10:00 am, and had about four episodes that day. Fiona started up at around 6:00. Craig started up at 9:00. I was the lone man standing - and thank heavens SOMEONE was, because who would have come over to take care of four diseased sickies? I vote no one!

I got it Monday night, but only got sick one. Not too bad, but I felt lethargic all day Tuesday and didn't go to work. No sense spreading it around! Craig has been super tired since he got hit on Saturday night, the poor thing. The girls seem loads better

Hopefully, we are all on the road to recovery.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Fiona is 9 months old!

Happy 3/4 of a year to Fiona! In the past month, she has started crawling, pulling herself up on everything, cruising (mildly), and babbling much more. Here are her 9-month baby stats:

Weight: 25 pounds, 7 ounces (95 percentile)
Length: 29 inches (90 percentile)
Head circumference: 46.5 cm (95 percentile)

We call her "Wee Fee," but she isn't very wee. =) Fiona continues to be a wonderful, happy, smiley little thing. We took away her pacifier a few weeks back, and even that wasn't too challenging. She can't quite feed herself bits of food yet, though toys
seem to have no problem winding up in her mouth. We are about to start feeding her more table food (cheese bits, bananas, etc.). She currently drinks three 7-oz bottles a day, plus three 4-ounce jars of fruit, grains, and veggies. She also eats Cheerios and other small, dry, cereal-type things.

Fiona is a true gem. Rory (mostly) likes her, and enjoys making her laugh and giggle. And Fiona thinks Rory is the bees knees. Who doesn't! =>

Thursday, November 8, 2007

We lost a good friend

Tonight our family lost a wonderful friend, Reese Livingston - a smart, kind, wonderful, and truly insane human being. He will be sorely missed. I can barely describe how much he will be missed. Rarely in life do you befriend someone with such a big heart and a magnificent sense of humor. We feel for his wife, Jessie, and their families.

Reese will probably be best known by his friends for his twisted sense of humor, which included joke-telling, physical humor, and all-out craziness. I have a memory of a picture of Reese that my dad took. In the picture, Reese had thrown himself onto the ground in front of someone's private plane, as though it had run him down. His humor was very in-the-moment, and always brilliant.

I am sad that my girls will never know him, but I have many stories with which to regale them. Reese was afraid of babies, afraid that he would drop them, but I forced Fiona into his arms this past July. He probably only took her because he was afraid that *I* would drop her if he didn't. => It didn't last long - perhaps 30 seconds - and she was back over to me.

For the people who saw Reese regularly, such as my dad, I don't know how you will get over his loss. A light has gone out.

Reese, we will miss you like hell.

His obituary, as printed in the Hartford Courant, follows.

Maurice "Reese" Livingston
LIVINGSTON, Maurice "Reese" Maurice "Reese" Livingston, Glastonbury, loving husband and best friend of Jessie (Sussman) Livingston, born in 1946 to Gertrude and Alvin Livingston, died on Wednesday (November 7, 2007). A graduate of Dwight Morrow High School in Englewood, NJ, Reese was a consummate businessman first for Domino Sugar, then Fort Howard Paper, and later for Ober-Read Associates. In 1993, he founded RJ and Associate, Inc. Reese always had a joke or story to tell, a warm smile, loved everybody, had a gentle touch, a passion for life, and was a friend to all. He is survived by his wife of 38 years; his mother, Gertrude; his brother, Leon and Leon's wife, Zena; his sister-in law, Alice and brother-in-law, Ed Mannix; and several nieces, nephews, cousins, and great-nieces and great-nephews. The funeral service will take place on Sunday, Nov. 11, at 11 a.m., at Louis Suburban Funeral Home in Fairlawn, NJ (201-791-0015), with interment to follow.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Like the Virgin Mary in a Grilled Cheese...

Describing this could be tricky, so stay with me.

My all-time favorite hockey team, the Hartford Whalers, left Hartford in 1997. Before they joined the NHL, they were part of the World Hockey Association (WHA), an alternate North American league. The Whalers had several logos; the one used most was a capital W with a harpoon through it (celebrating, I suppose, New England's whaling history). The other, less-used, logo was Pucky the Whale (the whale with the "ers").

So fast forward to 2007. The Whalers are long gone, and in 1999 I started attending Washington Capitals games with my friend, Mark Maddrey. I typically get the same dinner at every game - chicken fingers and fries. Boring, yes, but they're actual white chicken - not pressed chicken particle board.

So at the Friday night game, here we were, sitting and eating our dinners. I had eaten my fries, and was starting in on the chicken. There was one piece left, and I spun it around and WHAT did I see? A Pucky-shaped piece of chicken!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Happy Halloween!!!

We love Halloween in our house! I decorate (a bit), we carve pumpkins, and this year - Rory's first real trick-or-treating expedition - we had her try on her costume a few days early, so she wouldn't be freaked out by it. She was a spider (she loves them), and Fiona was a chili pepper.

Here are a few photos:
one of Rory in her costume (hitting the streets); one of Rory, Fiona, and Nihal (our neighbor); and one of Fiona being spicy. Fiona's costume had quite a headpiece, which I wasn't expecting, and I almost fell over when we put it on. Hah!

Interesting note: after walking up and down the street once (gathering no candy), Rory spent Halloween Eve removing candy from the distribution bowl, and placing it into our jack-o-lantern (which we had cut a few days earlier). She would then carry it back, handful by handful, and put it back into the distribution bowl. I hope the neighbor kids didn't mind slimy candy!