Letters to Holly

Friday, February 1

Good News

Dad's lymphoma is apparently only limited to his lymph system. No cancer in any organs. However, the pathologists disagree on what kind he has. One is attending a Texas convention this weekend and may take the biopsy with him. He won't know for a week perhaps. Until then, the Super Bowl party is so very on.

We lost power from an ice storm, and we might not get it back until midnight. Your Sis is with me in Asheville. Here's how accustomed Your Parents' cats are: The silver one meets me at the door now.

The season premiere of Lost was kick-ass.

Picture of the Day
Russian missile launch, I think.

Thursday, January 31

Pins. Needles.

A lot happens today, and I'm helpless to move any of them along.

We'll know what Dad has tonight. They sit down with the doctors around 5, and then they'll call me. We already know that Dad has some good news about this; this isn't the worst-case scenario. But what Dad hears tonight will literally affect the rest of his life, and that's daunting.

Today is the deadline for the comic contest, and the ever-possible slam-dunk proposal that will knock mine out of contention might still be out there. I've seen some art by the guy assigned to draw the comic, and I'm not sure what I suggested would work with his cheesecake style. I could try to write to his strengths, but my proposals don't immediately shout "cheesecake."

The new season of Lost starts tonight. The "enhanced" rerun of the season finale last night was brutal. The pop-up information was meant to win over new viewers, but was so dense that it doubled the amount of information they had to process. I don't know how new people could process it. We couldn't watch the whole thing, and, for the second night, we watched American Idol.

Today will drag by like some horrible dragging thing.

Picture of the Day
A new pic from this year's Indy film.

Wednesday, January 30

Good News

The system didn't save my response to your comments earlier, and I wanted you to know I appreciate your regards. And the Star Wars link.

My Mom called me last night to say that the doctors called them with the results of My Dad's MRI and announced "there's nothing between his ears." It was great relief to My Mom, who needed some good news. We've already talked about a possible Super Bowl party at their house (doesn't hurt that they have HDTV), and both seemed up for it depending on the diagnosis on Thursday.

Your Sister has another cold and is relegated to the sick bed.

Stupidly, I'm already planning my next step for the comic contest, as if my progression is a lock. I should hear something by Monday.

Picture of the Day
Maybe so.

In the News
Giuliani's campaign may take on epic stature as an example of how to blow an early lead by going into cruise control. Once again, the Democrat candidate won more votes than the leading GOP candidate, but more Republicans voted overall. Edwards and Rudy are to formally quite the race today. I don't get the theory that Edwards's endorsement would cement the race for Hillary or Barack. He's not doing that well to wield such alleged power.

The McCain win is interesting for what it does to the mighty talk shows. The major voices -- Limbaugh, Hannity, Coulter, Savage, Drudge, Bennett -- have made their bones by riling up their fanbases against McCain. He's considered too moderate for their ideal of conservatism, and he's been the anti-Bush since the 2000 campaign. Now, however, he's the front-runner, and they find themselves on the fringe which ruins their notions of political and cultural savvy. They backed the wrong horses, and they have to eat crow.

Tuesday, January 29

Things Happen in Batches

Dad is still undergoing tests to determine just what variety he has, but the doctors said he has Stage 4. This means it's spread throughout the lymph system. There's no sign yet that it has hit any organs though. Already, they know his lungs are OK (I don't know how this is possible; he's smoked for 40+ years) . The tests he has today through Thursday (CT, MRI, PET) will verify there are no tumors in organs, but the blood work already suggests there are none.

Mom is taking it hard. I'm not sure she understands that Stage 4, while daunting, doesn't mean he has the worst diagnosis. If this is Hodgkins, he's still in good shape. If it's not, he's still potentially salvageable. There's no way to know until Thursday night, when the doctor sits down with them. They know that treatment wouldn't start until Monday at the earliest. He is cycling off antibiotics as they're making him nauseous, and he needs to eat. He's already pretty thin (132 pounds at 5'6"), but he can pack on pounds over the weekend. I'm hoping to throw him a Super Bowl party at his house (just us four) so he'll have a reason to eat all day.

The best thing now is that Dad is still up and about, eating, and spreading the news through his church's prayer lines. Mom says he's already decided to pursue all the medical options, which is a relief. We've argued over science vs. God before. Also, Mom has now put her foot in the pro-stem cell camp.

Other Stuff:
1) Your Sis went to the eye doctor after suffering a localized headache. The doc says she's OK despite the laser pointer. The moron who lives across the street is known as a harmless dumb-ass, and the school isn't postponing the fire drill. There's little likelihood this will develop beyond Sunday's stupidity.

2) I sent off my superheroine submissions yesterday and received the automatic email receipt. I slapped together 6 proposals and should find out before the end of the week if I'm one of the ten semifinalists.

3) The next local play auditions are this weekend. The director asked me back in December to read for it. I don't think I can commit to this now. I may audition just in case, but my heart isn't in it. Still, it might be a needed distraction.

Picture of the Day
This looks like a good idea right now.

In The News
The State of the Union address was weak, weak, and weak some more. The first third as a list of pie-in-the-sky bill proposals, the next third was a defense of the Iraq policy, and the last was a broad appeal to come together and play nice. I was nodding off, and I usually love these things.

+ + +

The Florida primary is today. Finally. This is make or break for Giuliani, and he's banking on the already submitted absentee ballots to give him the win. He's polling in third place.

Monday, January 28

An Odd Weekend

On Friday night, we visited Kathy and Travis and another couple for what Kathy is calling Cuisine and Conversation. This will be the first of four monthly meetings where we gobble grub and sit around answering questions from a book of them. It centers on spirituality, and it's not as stuffy as I worried it would be. It went fine. The next nights will probably move from house to house.

When I got home I found a message from My Parents. Dad officially has lymphoma. A Friday test and a Monday exam should tell us which kind it is. I looked it up on WEBMD, and read all the varieties of Hodgkin's and non-Hodgkin's and survivability rates and treatments. I think we'll know by the end of today which kind it is and what medicine they'll consider. Dad, except for the lymph swelling, says he's OK. He's still going to work, still getting groceries. He unfortunately is a prime candidate for lymphoma: He's an older male who worked around chemicals all his life. He may also have used black hair dye (a strong precursor). We'll know more later in the week, and we'll visit him this weekend, maybe watch the Super Bowl with them.

We watched I Am Legend Saturday night. It's a strong movie that has almost nothing to do with the original novel, and Your Sister is a bit obsessed with both now. We talked about the film throughout the weekend and then hit Blockbuster to rent the first two film adaptations of the story: The Last Man on Earth and Omega Man. It appears that the Will Smith movie is based more on those two films than the original novel. We watched Last Man Sunday night, and it's a surprisingly good, cheapie horror film starring my beloved Vincent Price.

But what happened earlier that night was really strange. I picked up Your Sister from the school around 6:45 so we could drive for pizza and the movies. She was standing outside talking on the cell phone, and as she hopped in the car, she said someone from the house across the street was aiming a laser sight at her. She was warning the remaining teacher in the building. I stopped the car out of sight and called 911. We told the officer what was going on, and as we waited for him to arrive, Your Sister noticed people were leaving the home.

We drove back around through the parking lot, told the last teacher what we were doing, and drove in front of the house. Your Sis wanted their license plate numbers, so I turned around in the road. They saw us and hastily hopped in a truck to leave. We parked in the road to get the number of another car in the driveway and to keep them from leaving. The truck pulled into the school parking lot and drove around to the back of it, obviously to hide. The cop car pulled up next to us, we told him about the truck, and he gave chase. With the other car's number, we drove after the cop, saw him pull over the truck, and we parked in the lot to wait for him. He drove up a few minutes later and said he was going to talk to the folks at the house (who had not left yet). He said we didn't need to do anything else, and we left for dinner. Your Sis called the principal and suggested he follow up on it.

Later in the night, she remembered the school has a fire drill tomorrow, and she wants to request it be canceled. We don't know if that sight was attached to anything, and it may have just been dumb rednecks playing with toys. But we're in mountain country with a high percentage of gun ownership and a disproportionate number of dumb yokels. Why not play it safe for a few days? Along with pizza, she downed a few beers to calm down. I can't blame her. I suggested she wear a different jacket and hat and drive to school just to be safe. She was standing in the dark, and there's no way they could have seen which teacher was out there. But now they might be stupidly offended that we called the cops on them. Oh, and we drive past their house every day.

Picture of the Day
The spacesuit of Apollo 13 commander Jim Lovell.