I went with Stephanie and AK to the dr’s today with mother. This is the oncologist who will be doing Mom’s radiation.

Stephanie had to leave before he really did anything. (He got Mom’s medical history.)

He said there is a mass in her neck and asked if anyone talked to her about it. Then he looked at the scans they did on Monday.

He said there are seven masses, probably all cancerous.

He said the mass in her neck may not have been there four weeks ago. The cancer is that fast growing. I’m pretty freaked out.

Chapter done

I finished the chapter for the Civil War book. I’m very glad it is finished.

I sent it in today, a whole two days early!


Dad had an angiogram today. It was supposed to tell us that everything is fine and there is nothing to do.

Instead, what it told us was that of the two stents they put into his head when he was in the hospital at the beginning of the year, only one works.

Now my dad didn’t have a stroke until both of those arteries were so clogged that one of them didn’t show on an MRI and one of them was open a string’s worth.

So one at whole flow and one at none is not bad.

But the fact that one stent collapsed is bad.

The fact that one collapsed says to me that another may collapse. It says that Dad will likely die of the other’s collapse.

They said it was too dangerous to go in and open the stent that collapsed.

So they are sentencing him to death as soon as the second goes.

I would guess that the infarction (tiny stroke) was a symptom of the stent collapsing.

We’ve had five months with Dad that we wouldn’t have had normally. The doctor said that the survival rate of the stroke Dad actually had (rather than the one they thought he had at the beginning because he was so much himself) is 30%. After you survive, of course, it’s whatever comes after, stroke or not, that says whether you survive.

I love my dad. I hope the second stent doesn’t collapse. But if it does, I hope that it’s when he’s in PT or OT with someone else and that he’s gone immediately. Or maybe not. Maybe I hope he’s asleep, no matter whose watch it is on.


Exactly what have I been doing to get my publications up, since I mentioned that I needed publications “desperately” in my last post?

I wrote and had published an online review of a book of poetry from a small press. The review had two grammar errors in it. (Oops.)

I wrote three articles on themes in Benjamin Franklin’s work. I heard they got them, but haven’t heard if they are going to use them. They may not be or they may be and just not have told me yet.

I wrote an article on Gulliver’s Travels. Though the proposal was accepted, they turned down the article, with no clear indication of why. I think I know, but I could be wrong.

I wrote an article on missionary women and their reproductive lives for an encyclopedia. That’s due at the end of the month, but I sent it off two weeks ago. (Hey, I was ahead on something!)

I wrote an article on the language of rape survivors. That’s due May 1. I sent it in in March. I haven’t heard from them on it, so I don’t know if the actual article was what they had in mind. Some of the sources were old; of course some of the sources were foundational, too.

I wrote a creative nonfiction piece on growing up in the south after desegregation. It turned out (though I didn’t know it) that I had been in a very significant area. We’ll see if the work is what they were looking for. (They wanted it asap but once they received it they said they’d read it in a few weeks and get back to me in a month or two. That was after offering editing help.)

I am writing the chapter on American history.

And I have a book contract for a book due October 1. I’ll be busy with that this summer.

I turned in a proposal for an essay on Jane Austen this summer. It was accepted, but I don’t know that the essay would be and I’m going to be very busy with the book. We’ll see. Sometimes having two things to get done helps get both of them done and sometimes it doesn’t.

That’s a lot of work to be doing/have done since Thanksgiving.

I wish I had more to show for it.

If I could get very efficient, there are about ten more places I might be able to get published. The problem is, of course, that you have to write the thing and then see if they want it.

I even found a place that will publish the book I want to write. However, I told R that I would finish up my commitments before I make any new ones.

That will take me a while.

Half way done

I have a chapter due next week and I am halfway done. I wish I were completely finished and just revising, but I am not.

I am hoping to write some more tomorrow and this weekend. I’ll be at my folks’ house, though, and that generally keeps me busy. But I’m going to try to finish three more sections by midnight on Sunday, which will leave me only one more section to finish after that.

I want to be able to revise the work, but I have to have some down time and the thing is due a week from tomorrow (or today, depending on where you are).

I’m learning a lot, but I have a lot more references than I was expecting because I have so many different subjects. I’m hoping I can write a short introduction that is fairly coherent about the whole thing and two section introductions that are very short along with a conclusion that is fairly short…. Maybe I only have three more sections and then those things.

I am enjoying the learning and even the writing, but the research process is slow and I’m not an expert in any of this. I’m so glad I’m not doing the “really important” sections in my chapter. I was going to touch on them anyway, but now I think I’ll just let it go. I’m going to be pushing it to get all I want to get done in the word limit.

For example, I can have 5,000 words in the primary sources. I’ve culled and culled and I have 20,000. Obviously I will be cutting tremendously from that. Right now I am pulling out of that 20K only the work that I cite exactly. So I will probably be able to limit it to 5,000 without any problem. The works won’t be quoted in as great a detail, but I think that is okay, too, since the point was to support the arguments made in the chapter itself.

I was crazy to take this on, but I hope I get done, get the chapter done well, and get published. I need publications. Desperately. If I am going to get a teaching job at a four year school.

My Mom

My mother has been diagnosed with breast cancer. She found a 2×2 lump in her breast.

The good news is that it is early.

The bad news that the cancer is invasive. It has already infected her lymph nodes.

They are planning to do chemotherapy, a lumpectomy, and radiation, in that order.

The doctors are going to do a full body scan next week to make sure that the cancer isn’t anywhere else in her body.

My Dad

My dad is getting better.

He was able to walk the long walk from the curb into the house, and up the five steps by himself. He got himself into and out of bed and into and out of the bathroom.

He is much better.

Weekend Funny

A man, who had garnered a lot of wealth in his life, wanted to take it with him. He talked to God about it and finally God told him, yes, he could bring whatever he wanted.

The man decided that checks, cash, and savings bonds wouldn’t work, so he transferred most of his assets to gold, packed his suitcases, and got to take them with him.

When he arrived at the Pearly Gates, St. Peter said, “Wait. No one brings anything in.”

“No,” the man said. “God told me I could bring this. It’s really important to me and I didn’t want to be without it.” He opened his suitcase so that St. Peter could see his amazing treasure.

“Pavement? You brought pavement?”

This joke brought to you from Dr. B at my son’s congregation.

Blessings and Absolution

Working on a chapter on the Civil War. I cried as I read about Father William Corby who prayed over the entire battalion and gave them absolution before the battle of Gettysburg. It is said that everyone, atheist and Catholic alike, fell to their knees as he made the sign of the cross.

His is the only statue at Gettysburg honoring a chaplain.

Job Interview

I have a job interview on Monday and I am nervous.

One of my colleagues at a school I adjunct for said I am over qualified. I am. I actually didn’t think they would even interview me because of that. But they did. And I am thrilled.

I have to teach a thirty minute lesson in the middle of someone else’s class. She’s been asked to move her classroom and give up time for her students. Thank you, DJB, for doing that.

When I had the first interview I was a little ambivalent. I think I was protecting myself to not get my hopes up too high.

I am still a bit ambivalent, but only because I will leave lots of work undone at other schools if I get the job. (I’m working lots of pretty strong adjunct hours.) I do have a syllabus and book for the class I’m not teaching, though, if I don’t go. Hopefully they can find someone else who feels up to doing it, if I get the job.

I like trees, but there are limits.

I don’t want one growing in my lungs, like this guy had.

As Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper found out, he often had chest pains, and was coughing up blood.

An X-Ray showed a new growth in his lung, and doctors were certain it was a cancerous one.

Fortunately, when they dissected Artyom’s chest, it was decided to cut out a small piece first, and to carry out an express biopsy test. The doctor made an incision in the lung and saw… a fir tree.

Job interview

Last night when I got home from running errands and eating at James Coney with R, I had a phone message. CC3, with whom I had a phone interview a week ago this past Monday, had left a message saying that they wanted an interview.

I am not sure it will really be an in-person interview, because I am supposed to teach an actual class a lesson and they said I would only be there two hours. But I guess a class is an hour and then an interview is an hour, so maybe.

I am very excited and nervous about the whole thing.

I don’t know what lesson I am supposed to teach. Am I supposed to fit it in with what they are doing? Or am I supposed to make up my own?

I would like to do a description lesson, because I think that would be fun. But in an hour, I don’t think I will be able to get that done in a positive way. It’s a three-lesson lesson.

So I am thinking it would be fun to do the definition lesson with Tim McGraw’s song. “Find out who your friends are.” It’s a song that gives examples of what someone who is a friend would do. Bringing in the music would be good. And then we could listen to the song, take notes, and discuss the illustration part of the def/ill paper in a fun and interesting way.

The lyrics show that the song also says what someone who isn’t a friend will do. That’s a good part of the illustration idea, too.

So for developmental writing, they are working on a single paragraph. What would an illustration paragraph look like? That’s something to think about. Glad I came and wrote here.

Dad and Strokes

Just found out my father (age 68 and previously very healthy) had another stroke, an infarction, within the last two weeks. It was a tiny stroke so the damage was small. However, there weren’t supposed to be any more strokes since they cleaned up the two arteries.

New Orleans

I’ve been in New Orleans for most of this week working.

Friday R flew in and I took Saturday off. Friday night and Saturday we walked around the French Quarter. We learned the service is S-L-O-W at restaurants. I think it’s supposed to be that old world cache where everyone sits and talks around their meals. But since it was just the two of us and we were together already, it was freaking annoying.

I learned some good stuff at the conference, including getting lots of ideas for my writing in the health sciences course that I will be teaching in the fall.

I gave my paper and was not lynched. I think they were so surprised by what I said they didn’t think to grab the rope. But it was interesting. Thankfully I had brought my notes with me so I was able to answer the serious objection in a timely and effective manner.

The conference was fun.

New Orleans… was there. I’d say about a quarter of the businesses in the French Quarter were closed. That was a place not hit by Katrina. Didn’t see a lot of the rest of the town, so I don’t know how it fared. But I know the recovery has been very slow.

Handicapped Access

One thing I am just beginning to realize is the limits of handicap access. The place that most caused me to sit up and take notice (after my parents’ two story home) was their church. Handicap access means more than a few parking spaces and cut-out curb, or at least it ought to mean more than that.

The church where my parents have attended for years opened a new worship center today. They have 8 spaces for wheelchairs or walkers. This is in a church of 2000 at least. Probably more.

And their new worship center has space for 8 wheelchairs or walkers.

One was taken up with the video camera.

One space was available, but there was someone sitting in the seat next to the space, so that you couldn’t sit with your handicapped family member… Basically, there were no handicapped spaces left when we arrived 10 minutes before church started.

I parked my dad’s wheelchair at the end of a row that did not have a row across from it. That meant that while people had to go around his wheelchair, he wasn’t blocking aisle access. I assume the opposite side of the room had a similar situation, so technically there would be room for ten wheelchairs.

If you ignore the fact that the baby boomers, like my daddy, are aging and more likely to need those spaces, there are other problems too.

First, all the seats are in the back. How many of those people used to sit in the front, would like to sit in the front, but can’t because to sit in the front they would have to block the aisle? I don’t know. But it’s something to think about.

Something else to think about is the fact that most churches nowadays forgo songbooks and use the overhead projector (if they do congregational singing of any kind). But, when people stand up to sing, very common at my parents’ church, the person in the wheelchair cannot see the words. For older songs, this might not be an issue, although even high-singing churches (like the Church of Christ) have many people who need the words for the songs. So the lack of visual reference might not be an issue for older songs… But what about when the congregation is learning a new song? The people in the wheelchairs can’t see it.

Now, I’m hoping my dad won’t be in a wheelchair forever. And probably most people who are in wheelchairs are older…. But think about a teen in a wheelchair. Do they want to come to church and sit in back when all the rest of the teens are in the front? A handicapped teen could not come to my son’s church, because all the teen functions are on the second floor and there are no elevators.

Yes, curbs that let people who are having trouble walking or who are in wheelchairs get up and in are great.

Handicap parking with space for pulling a wheelchair up are wonderful.

Bathrooms with doors wide enough for wheelchairs are essential for these folks. Those are now mandated by law. But they aren’t really enough.

I never knew what all was necessary or useful for a person temporarily or permanently confined to a wheelchair.

Private bathrooms or family bathrooms are also good. What would I do if my dad needed to go to the bathroom at church? I can’t go into the men’s bathroom and my dad cannot get to the toilet on his own.

Places where they can sit without blocking the aisle is good too.

At a restaurant, it would be good to have tables that are a bit bigger than average to allow them to park their wheelchair underneath the table without hitting everyone else.

Stairs anywhere are bad. My folks’ home has four stairs into the back and twelve or so into the front. My dad can’t come in the front door. He has to have metal ramps up the back and one of the ramps isn’t a perfect fit, so you have to bring Dad up backwards and “bounce” him over the last bit. If you bring him in forward, he’s liable to bounce onto his face.

It’s something I noticed today.

Don’t we want our churches to be as friendly to people wanting to come, even people with mobility issues, as possible?

Sadness balances understanding

One of my all time favorite bloggers is retiring as a blogger. I can’t even comment on his last post to tell him I will miss his writing.

Before it goes away, you have a chance to go read the amazing things Varifrank wrote.

I’m going to be going through my blog and cutting and pasting the best of his work to the posts that talked about them. (Unless he comes here to tell me I can’t.– Don’t, please.)

I’m thinking he’s thinking things like this:

I spent the morning at an old friend’s grave
Flowers and ‘Amazing Grace’, he was a good man
He spent his whole life spinning his wheels
Never knowing how the real thing feels
He never took a chance or took the time to dance
And I stood there thinking, as I said goodbye
Today is the first day of the rest of my life

I’m gonna stop looking back and start moving on
Learn how to face my fears
Love with all of my heart, make my mark
I wanna leave something here
Go out on a ledge, without any net
That’s what I’m gonna be about
Yeah, I wanna be running
When the sand runs out

Cause people do it everyday
Promise themselves they’re gonna change
I’ve been there, but I’m changing from the inside out
That was then and this is now
I’m a new man, yeah, I’m a brand new man
And when they carve my stone, they’ll write these words
“Here lies a man who lived life for all that it’s worth”

I’m gonna stop looking back and start moving on
And learn how to face my fears
Love with all of my heart, make my mark
I wanna leave something here
Go out on a ledge, without any net
That’s what I’m gonna be about
Yeah, I wanna be running
When the sand runs out

by Rascal Flatts

don’t mind if you’ve got something nice to say about me
And I enjoy an accolade like the rest
You could take my picture and hang it in a gallery
Of all who’s who and so-n-so’s that used to be the best
At such’n’such … it wouldn’t matter much

I won’t lie, it feels alright to see your name in lights
We all need an ‘Atta boy’ or ‘Atta girl’
But in the end I’d like to hang my hat on more besides
The temporary trappings of this world

I want to leave a legacy
How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love? Did I point to You enough
To make a mark on things?
I want to leave an offering
A child of mercy and grace who
blessed your name unapologetically
And leave that kind of legacy

I don’t have to look too far or too long awhile
To make a lengthy list of all that I enjoy
It’s an accumulating trinket and a treasure pile
Where moth and rust, thieves and such will soon enough destroy

Not well traveled, not well read, not well-to-do or well bred
Just want to hear instead, “Well Done” good and faithful one…

Nicole Nordeman- Legacy

I wonder when we first bought into this
So satisfied with status quo
Have we convinced ourselves that this is all there is
Well all that is within me says we were meant to break free

Live like there’s no tomorrow
Love extravagantly
Lead a life to be followed
Goodbye ordinary
Goodbye ordinary

We were never meant to compromise
Settle for mediocrity
This life was never meant to be a waste of time
Well all that is within me says no more just existing

Live like there’s no tomorrow
Love extravagantly
Lead a life to be followed
Goodbye ordinary
Goodbye ordinary

No more complacency
No more just settling this time
Goodbye to atrophy
For we were meant to be alive

Live like there’s no tomorrow
Love extravagantly
Live like there’s no tomorrow
Love extravagantly
Lead a life to be followed
Oh, Goodbye ordinary
Goodbye ordinary

The one I first thought of, though, was Don’t Blink by Kenny Chesney.

Don’t blink
Just like that you’re six years old and you take a nap and you
Wake up and you’re twenty-five and your high school sweetheart becomes your wife
Don’t blink
You just might miss your babies growing like mine did
Turning into moms and dads next thing you know your “better half”
Of fifty years is there in bed
And you’re praying God takes you instead
Trust me friend a hundred years goes faster than you think
So don’t blink

Enjoy the ride, Varifrank. Your thoughts and your words will be sorely missed.