Tuesday, August 31, 2010

September is...

Wear teal this month to support ovarian cancer awareness.
To show your support for Nancy, Aunt Doris and other women with ovarian cancer, you could...

... wear your ovarian cancer awareness bracelet... Don't have one? Click here https://co.clickandpledge.com/advanced/default.aspx?wid=34702

...or button.
Or you could...

...bake some teal cupcakes to share at work

...paint your house teal

...or wear some teal lipstick!
You might also consider...

...riding a teal bike

...or investing in some teal underwear
You might also want to ...

...dye your hair teal...or maybe paint your fingernails ...

(Color is called "Teal the Cows Come Home")

and... don't forget your teal toes! http://www.tealtoes.org/

Let's each do our part to help make other women aware of the early symptoms of ovarian cancer this month...they are listed on the right side of this blog page. GO TEAL!!!

Monday, August 30, 2010

It's Back to MMC for Nancy

Just wanted to let everyone know that Nancy is back in Maine Medical Center. She was admitted yesterday through the ER with a multitude of symptoms and in quite a bit of pain which, stoic as she is, she had tried to live with since last Thursday. At first we thought that maybe one of her kidney stents had become dislodged but that is not the case. Seems she has a really bad urinary tract infection that may have spread to her blood; that will be ruled in or out after 48-72 hours. In the meantime, she is resting comfortably now (thanks to pain meds) and is receiving antibiotics through her port to kill off the infection. Both her oncologist, Dr. Small, and her urologst were in this morning and have assured her that this is not cancer related, so she is relieved. She doesn't want everyone to worry. She looks good, is comfortable and is resting in bed with her laptop and books. She'll need to take it easy and let the antibiotics do their work and then, hopefully, she'll be home again soon.

The doctors plan to replace her kidney stents, which is a routine procedure, but they will not do that until after the infection has completely cleared up...probably on an out-patient basis.

Nancy is in room 558A in the Gibson Paviliion; her bedside phone # is 297-662-7701.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

On the Road to Texas

As many of you know, Hank is on the road to Texas. He left Thursday, August 26, and, with stops, plans to be there in time to pick me up at the airport in Dallas on the evening of Wednesday, September 1st. The "big event" - the delivery of our new (and long-awaited) Casita camper - will be on Thursday September 2nd. Then, Hank and I will begin the long drive back to Maine with our new Casita (the word "Casita" in Spanish means "little house"). We can't wait!
Hank stopped the first night in Pennsylvania, the second on the Virginia/West Virginia line, and the third (last night) in Nashville, Tennessee. Today he is taking a day off from driving to enjoy Nashville; he'll get back on the road to Dallas tomorrow, stopping overnight tomorrow (Monday) night in Little Rock, Arkansas.Hank has already called twice this mornng to share his excitement about being in Nashville. For those of you who don't know Hank very well, I should explain that he has always loved country music and knows all the words to the old country songs. (He keeps this pretty quiet but has has a good voice for country music; I love to hear him sing!) So...getting a chance to spend all day in Nashville today means a lot to him. The first time Hank called, he was at the Elvis Exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame.He just called again to say that he spent three hours at the Hall of Fame and loved it. This time, he was calling from B.B. King's Blues Club on Music Row. He was having a cup of gumbo, listening to live blues, and, I think pinching himself to make sure he was really there!

I'll try to add more "posts from the road" as Hank continues his journey and, with my laptop, as we drive home together through Arkansas, Tennessee, the Virginias, Pennsylvania, New York, and finally New England.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Home from Japan

I was so excited last night when the phone rang and a tired lttle voice said, "Hi, Nanny". It was Taka calling to tell us that he, Toshi, and Tomo had just gotten home from Japan. Taka was still confused about what time it was and whether he should go to bed or not...helping the boys adjust to the 11 hour time difference should make life interesting for Rob and Tomo for the next few days. Taka and Toshi spent the summer with their grandmother ("BaBa") Umeyo and their grandfather ("JiJi") Tokuhide in Wakayama, which is in southeastern Japan in the Osaka/Kyoto/Kobe area. And, they got back to Brooklyn just in time for "Dada's" birthday today. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ROB!!!

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Lots of short posts tonight. I know that many of you are wondering how Nancy is doing so thought I should update the blog. It has been two weeks since Nancy's last chemo and she is scheduled for her next one on September 9th, two weeks from now. The side effect that has been the most difficult for her is fatigue. She tries to do what she has to do in the morning because she is usually drained by afternoon and has to rest. It's amazing, though, how she manages to keep going through it all. She has visited Mom in the hospital almost every day and spends a lot of time after that reading and resting on the couch. She still holds her title as the family's best cook and manages to bake when she has the energy...this week she made Grammy Boocock's favorite cake recipe and brought it in to Mom. Nancy continues to make us laugh out loud with her stories...her resilience is amazing!

the Cat with 9 Lives

Mom suggested the name for this post. She has been in the hospital for a week to have a cardiac catheterization and, yesterday, to have a stent placed in her heart. She is feeling much better after the procedure and, at 89, told me that she thinks of herself as the "cat with 9 lives". We're all very happy that this "cat" is feeling better and will be home soon. Way to go, Mom!

for Karen

Posting this photo in response to Karen Chadbourne's comment on the 8/12 post about "Dinner With the Girls"...and we did remember where we were: Barnacle Billy's at Perkin's Cove in Ogunquit. Great day with Claudia and Karen at Wells Beach followed by dinner. The only thing we missed doing this time was singing at the piano bar at the Front Porch (next summer, right, Karen?).

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Our Talented Niece

from today's Portland Press Herald
August 25, 2010
For Scarborough Girl, A Dance of a Lifetime
By Beth Quimby, Staff Writer

Arianna Lawson, 16, of Scarborough has an invitation to study at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow, the feeder school for the Bolshoi Ballet. She and her parents are scrambling financially to make it happen.
She is also trying to figure out how to make it to Moscow this fall, where she has been invited to study at the prestigious Bolshoi Ballet Academy, the feeder school for the Bolshoi Ballet. The Scarborough teen learned less than two weeks ago that she had been offered a spot – and now she and her family are scrambling to make it happen before the academy opens in October.
“I just want that push, that demand of excellence from the best teachers in the world,” said Lawson.
The offer came after Lawson danced for more than a month at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy Summer Intensive Program in New York City. The academy – formally known as the Moscow State Academy of Choreography – has been the training ground for many of Russia’s greatest dancers.
The New York program has been offered for the past two years through the Russian American Foundation, a nonprofit organization that promotes cultural relations between Russia and the United States. Lawson missed the original auditions for the program but managed to get accepted on the strength of a video she sent in.
The program serves as a six-week tryout. At the end, academy teachers offered a place to a few students at the Moscow academy, a fact that Arianna was unaware of until she received the letter.
“I was extremely surprised,” she said.
Arianna faces a grueling experience. Only a handful of Americans attend the 237-year-old institution, which trains students with a hands-on method of instruction in a style of dance called the Vaganova method. The academy enrolls about 700 students, with 10 percent coming from foreign countries.
There are no language interpreters and Lawson speaks only a handful of Russian words – most of them profanities picked up from her summer instructors, according to her mother.
She will dance beside the Russian students, who take a dim view of their American classmates, and will live in a drab dorm with unpalatable food. There are no academics.
“The Russians believe if you want to dance, that is all they want you to do,” said Michelle Lawson.
Arianna, who has traveled outside the country only once to visit Canada with her family, said she is up to the challenge.“I am tough enough to do this,” she said.
The Lawsons say their daughter’s talent seemed to spring out of nowhere. Neither of the parents has dance background, and their younger daughter, Micayla, 14, could not be less interested. But from the first class she took as a preschooler at Small Steps School of Dance in Scarborough, Arianna was enthralled.
Her friends and teachers at Portland School of Ballet say they are thrilled for her. Her acceptance by the Bolshoi reflects well on the whole school. Lawson has been part of the Portland Ballet’s CORPS program, training three hours daily. CORPS students may also take their academics at Portland High School, although Lawson has been largely home schooled.
“She is strong and flexible, a beautiful dancer who has all the qualities that you need to go to that top level” said Leslie Gibbons, director of development at Portland Ballet.
Nell Shipman, associate artistic director and resident choreographer at Portland Ballet, said Lawson is a dancer who continues to grow and improve.
Lawson danced the main character of Olivia in the Portland Ballet production of the Victorian Nutcracker a couple of years ago.
“Technically, she works really hard but is able to turn on the charm when she gets on stage,” said Shipman.
Her goal, if she goes, is to clinch a contract by the end of the year to dance with the Bolshoi Ballet.
“Then I would stay there for three years with the company,” said Lawson.
If the Bolshoi offer doesn’t work out, she will audition for other schools. She said she is certain what she will be doing five years from now.
“I want to do dance,” she said.

Arianna is the daughter of Hank's brother, Paul.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Got Fruit?

We have so many peaches on our trees this year that the branches are literally breaking. Hank has propped them up with 2 x 4's until we can pick more of the fruit. The weather has been very warm and sunny this summer so the peaches are early...and abundant. If you stop by, bring some bags and plan to pick!
Hank has already canned almost 50 jars of peaches. They'll taste great when the snow is flying in January!
The apples are not far behind...they are really early this year too...almost ready!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Does anyone remember this?

School bells ring and children sing,
"It's back to Robert Hall again."
Mother knows for better clothes,
It's back to Robert Hall again.
You'll save more on clothes for school.
Shop at Robert Hall.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Back to the Beach

Hank and I walked Wells Beach yesterday...wanted to do that one more time before school starts... I thought everyone might enjoy this virtual beach walk along with us:
Looking down the beach from the center....but those of you who grew up on this beach already knew that, didn't you? So, just close your eyes and remember...the sounds of "Soldier Boy" are drifting down from the Casino, you smell popcorn and salt marsh, your feel the wet sand between your toes...are you there with us yet?

ice cream cones at Forbes...

This is our friend, Karen, who was busy getting ready to return to California from Wells Beach for another school year....she flies back today and we'll miss her!
Karen was busy cleaning the cottage and packing so she asked if I would put a list of books she loved on the blog for her (in response to the Aug. 7th blog post about books). Here is the list, with Karen's comments in red:
K. Stockett, The Help a must!
J. Walls, The Glass Castle awesome!
K. Hosseini, The Kite Runner 4 stars
J. Berendt, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil 4 stars
K. Edwards, The Memory Keeper's Daughter
S. Gruen, Water for Elephants
K. Follett, Pillars of the Earth 5 stars!!
W. Young, The Shack 4 stars
T. DeRosnay, Sarah's Key 4 stars
M Zusak, The Book Thief 4 stars
C. Cleave, Little Bee 4 stars
A. Diamant, The Red Tent Wow!!
Have a safe trip back, Karen...see you next summer!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Who needs a lawn...

...when you can have a yard full of sunflowers?
This house is at the corner of Gray Rd.(Rt. 100) and Falmouth Rd. in West Falmouth. As I drove by it all summer, I thought the yard was full of weeds. And then they bloomed...into a whole yard of sunflowers! Beautiful...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Help with Comments

Reminder: You have to complete the "word verification" step before your Comments will post on the blog. A large, brightly colored nonsense word will appear on your screen. Just retype that word in the box provided and hit "Post Comment". Hank was having trouble today but his comment went right through when he did this. I know that having to type a crazy "deformed" word into a little text box is a pain, but it does keep automated spam off the blog. Hope this helps because Nancy and I really enjoy reading the comments:-)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Wells Beach

"She walked on, comforted by the surf, by that one perpetual moment of beach-time, the now-and-always of it." -William Gibson


Nancy looked so sick in yesterday's photos (she was really just half-asleep), that I wanted to post a better one of her this morning...so she doesn't kill me!!!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

chemo today

Nancy had chemo today...the fourth of six monthly infusions in this current round of treatment. She is home safely and feeling OK so far...just a little tired. These aren't very flattering photos (Nancy usually looks much healthier, and prettier, than this) but they are the only ones from today so will share them with Nancy's permission. Two more rounds of chemo to go and then...hopefully...remission.

Dinner with the Girls

Dedicated to all "the girls"...you know who you are!

"A group of 40-year-old girlfriends discussed where they should meet for dinner. Finally it was agreed upon that they should meet at the Ocean View Restaurant because the waiters there had tight pants and nice buns.

Ten years later, at 50 years of age, the group once again discussed where they should meet for dinner. Finally it was agreed that they should meet at the Ocean View Restaurant because the food there was very good and the wine selection was good also.

Ten years later, at 60 years of age, the girls once again discussed where they should meet for dinner. Finally it was agreed that they should meet at the Ocean View Restaurant because they could eat there in peace and quiet and the restaurant had a beautiful view of the ocean.

Ten years later, at the age of 70, the group once again discussed where they should meet for dinner. Finally it was agreed that they should meet at the Ocean View Restaurant because the restaurant was wheelchair accessible and even had added an elevator.

Ten years later, the girls once again discussed where they should meet for dinner. Finally it was agreed that they should meet at the Ocean View Restaurant because they had never been there before."


Saturday, August 7, 2010

What Are You Reading?

Here's a topic that I hope will encourage some responses...good books. Summer, especially for those of us who work in education, brings extra time to read and lots of sunshine to do it in. Like others. I seem to get in a rut and read the same authors over and over. I'd love to hear what you've read recently that you've loved and get some ideas for new authors or books to try.

For "beach reads", I usually grab a good thriller from one of the following authors: James Patterson, Tami Hoag, David Baldacci, Sandra Brown, Sue Grafton (love the main character, Kinsey Millhone), Tess Gerritsen, Robin Cook, Patricia Cornwell, et al. Any other good mass-market/paperback thrillers you've read lately and would like to recommend?

Lately, I've been wanting to read more historical fiction...any suggestions of good individual books or series would be appreciated. I spent an hour looking the other day at the library but wasn't sure what to choose without a recommendation. I did just pick up Diana Gabaldon's An Echo In the Bone, which I know will be good - love the time travel element in her stories. Her books are long and take forever to read (a good thing) so I think I'll save that one to read in the truck on the way to Texas and back (to pick up our new camper) later this month.

This week, I also bought the first two books of the Millenium trilogy by Steig Larsson: The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo and The Girl Who Played with Fire. Nancy and I plan to share these... we'll buy the third one in the series, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, when we finish the first two.

So...book talk...bring it on! What are you reading right now? earlier this summer? What would you recommend? You can use the Comment button below to join the conversation!

p.s. I took the photo on our screened porch yesterday morning. Rob is re-reading Atlas Shrugged (God bless him for that!), Hank is reading the James Patterson novel, and The Girls from Ames was a recent read of mine.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Blogging for Dummies

I was at the Falmouth Library yesterday looking for some good new summer reads. While there, I browsed through the "New Books" section and came across a shiny-new yellow and black copy of "Blogging for Dummies". I dragged it to a table in the reference room to see if I could find some tips to improve our blog. Among the tips to increase blog readership:

1. "Create a niche with your blog. "
"It's Always Something" is kind of a generic "keep in touch, family memories, what's-on-my-mind-today, stream of consciousness, internet therapy, Nancy's cancer" blog. How's that for a niche?

2. "Write 2-3 new Posts a day to keep your blog followers interested."
Are these people serious? I can hardly find the time to write 2-3 posts a week. ..and it's summer!

3. "Work to develop a 'voice' on your blog."
I think I've already got a voice, thank you...just ask Hank...sometimes he can't get me to shut up:-)

4. "Include images with your posts."
Excuse me, but who was up at 3:00 o'clock this morning taking digital photos of Oreo's on the kitchen table?

So, check back often for new posts in the next few weeks. Hopefully, I'll find both a niche and a voice by then!

These could be bad...

OK...it's the middle of the night, 3:00 a.m. to be
exact, and I am awake thinking about these cookies. Actually I was thinking about them...now I am eating them. Found these little goodies in WalMart today and have now realized that they taste just like Girl Scout Cookie Mints...yum! This could be bad...

Sunday, August 1, 2010

An Evening in the Wizard's Forest

The only thing left to ask is, "What will our Gourmet Group think up next"??? Great time with great friends...enjoy the photos!