Tuesday, December 30, 2008


My old friend Marty Schlabach (yes there is a nice pun/play on words, in the title) came to visit today. He wanted some help with a set of wooden blocks for his granddaughter - Emma. We had a great time etching the letters on this set of blocks he made. You would have definitely laughed out loud at us as we tried to figure out what 40 letters to put on the sides of the 10 blank blocks in the above picture...... not counting the flat boards. How many of which letters? Don't forget that there are three A's, two M's, and one each G, R, O, P, and E! --- yes we did notice that spells grope! That is a total of 50 letters actually, so we needed to figure what additional letters we wanted so Emma can spell lots of words. We want to leave the blanks so they spell out a nice crossword pattern for display. A check of the internet to figure out the relative frequency of the various letters in the English language. And when we got all done and thought we had them perfectly laid out, we etched them carefully keeping track of which letters and how many we had done..... got to the end ---- one blank side left over????? It took another 10 minutes to figure out what letter should go on that last side.

Thanks Marty for lunch, for the extra set of blocks I can etch for Maya, and for the great - if somewhat confusing - afternoon!

Monday, December 29, 2008

First real treatment done!

Above and below are pictures of my new friend! Once again, that's not me. You can see the laser lines that help them align me in the machine properly. When turned on, the machine projects a beam of radiation into my body - seems like about 10 seconds each? The really cool thing is that they actually project the beam 12 times. Each beam goes through at a different angle all around the neighborhood. The drawing below is a diagram of half of the steps. Each beam causes some damage to all the cells it passes through. But the area they really want to zap extra hard is the small (red) area where all the beams cross. That area will get 12 times the radiation of any other area, causing less damage to the parts of me I want to keep, and more damage to the parts of me that I'd just as soon be rid of! Pretty clever if you ask me!
Just a note that I found my camera that has been missing for about 2 weeks, so I'll try to get some actual shots of the machine.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Maya Christmas

This box was an immediate hit - especially with Nonnie Linda providing the go power. Linda ran out of steam before Maya did! Robotic Elmo took a while longer to warm up to, but eventually a hug was in order! Check out Robotic Elmo here. He is somewhere between wonderfully cute, and a little on the scarry side!
Thanks to Dawn Knox for the pictures!

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Christmas Top

As a guy with a huge collection of spinning tops, this is an especially good story.

One Present: Christmas Top Spins for 140th Year

As people all over the country consider the implications of scaling back their holiday shopping this year, they might be interested to learn about a little boy, born during the civil war, whose love for one simple present has lasted more than a century and is still being celebrated today

DEER PARK, Wash., Dec 08, 2008 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- In Deer Park, Wash. this Christmas, a six-generation family tradition will mark its 140th anniversary. The small brass top David Linsley received as his only present when he was 6 years old has been spun on Christmas Eves since 1868.
The tradition began in Red Wing, Minn. where Dolph Linsley bought the spinning top for his young son. It was David's only present that year. He treasured the new toy so much that he began a personal tradition of spinning it every year on Christmas Eve. This year in Deer Park, Wash., the Forman family -- descendants of David Linsley -- will celebrate the 140th anniversary of the Christmas top.
When David died in 1937, his son, James Linsley, continued his father's annual holiday ritual. The top went to James' daughter, Ruth Linsley Forman, in 1974. Since Ruth passed in 2004, her husband of 60 years, Robert Forman, continues spinning the top on Christmas Eve at family gatherings with children and grandchildren.
The top is tarnished and dented with age now, but still reflects the fine craftsmanship of another generation. The spinning Christmas top is featured in "One Present," posted on YouTube.
There have been only two years when the top did not spin on Christmas Eve. David's family was completing their move to Litchfield, Minn. on Christmas Eve in 1904. David and his hired man unloaded three teams of horses and a pair of mules in the winter darkness. Driving their stock through Litchfield's main street, the mules woke the village with their braying, but the top was still in transit, packed deep in one of the wagons. The other time was in 1959, when James and Martha traveled to Rockford, Ill. for a holiday visit with the Formans and forgot to pack the top.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Sharing some pictures from Maeve

Maeve says she got bored and spent some time experimenting with Photoshop. Some very cool results below.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Three Thirty Three!

This has been the year of the machine! Starting last December with the DaVinci robotic surgery system, I have met lots of very cool high tech machines. Today it was the Oldelft Simulix-MC ... one part of a system to figure out where to aim the radioactive beam that will presumably kill off that little colony of cancer cells left over after last year's surgery.

I was positioned on that table in the bottom left of the picture. A bean bag chair like device was placed under my legs.... legs are kind of nestled into place, and then a vacuum pump draws all the air from the bean bag, leaving a very sturdy mold that will allow them to place my lower half in exactly the same position for each of the 35 treatments. Unlike a lot of medical stuff these days, when I'm done, they can let the air back into the bag, and use it over again to help save someone else!

The table then rises and rotates into position with me in between the upper and lower arms in the center of the picture. The head above is an x-ray machine, and the black and white box below is the receiver/plate holder. If you look to the far left, a vertical white box with a small red window near the top puts out a laser beam that strikes my right side just above the hip... another laser beam from the opposite corner of the room, targets my left hip, and one above lights up a spot on my stomach. Jill, the technician, gives me three small tattoos at the spots where the laser beams hit. The combination of these marks, and the leg mold, will align me properly every time!

Several X-rays are then taken, and later in the day, I am carefully aligned in a CAT scan machine at another hospital in town for corresponding CAT scan images. Highland hospital's CAT scan machine was out of order today. Lucille has brought along my leg mold!

Over the next few days, with the help of computers, the CAT scan and the x-rays, will be used to create a program that will precisely target my cancer. Starting in about 10 days, 35 radiation treatments will damage all the cells in a very carefully mapped and confined neighborhood. Healthy cells will recover over the weekend breaks, and after the treatments. Cancer cells, with their rapid growth and reproduction, will not be able to recover so well, and will end up in pretty bad shape, unable to continue their process.

A strange process of killing off part of me so that the rest of me can go on enjoying this fabulously wonderful life with which I have been blessed!

Thank you to Dr. Liu, Jill, Lucille, and to the folks at Strong Hospital willing to cover for the broken CAT scan machine at Highland.

The title???? My 333rd post!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Never read a book in your booth!

One of the rules of selling at craft shows is to never read a book in your booth. These neighbors were neither in their booth, nor reading, so I guess they were OK????

Saturday, December 06, 2008


Our neighbor across the aisle makes great boiled wool hats and handbags.... click here.

Who even knew about boiling wool?
Detail shown above!

Friday, December 05, 2008

This could go on for a while!

Two of my favorite people -- Maeve and Maya in their matching Exeter shirts!
Maeve is hoping she is starting a family tradition!

Monday, December 01, 2008


No pictures today, but I want to update you on the BIG C.

Prostacint scan revealed absolutely nothing. The good part of that is that whatever is in there is very small because this scan is pretty sensitive! The bad part is that with a rising PSA, there is definitely cancer somewhere, and the prostacint scan did not give them a definite location.

The next step is 7 weeks of radiation treatments in that neighborhood where my prostate used to reside..... that being the most likely location of the bad guys!

Currently waiting for approval from my insurance company. Next Thursday, (if approved) they will make some sort of jig that will hold me in the same position for each of the 35 Zaps!

I presume I will start going in for treatments around the 15th? ---- finishing around the 1st of February? Will keep you posted!