Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Bad news

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

I have no picture today. Also no humor.

Today I learned that my beautiful wife Shannon is dying. I think I’ve known it for quite a while, but there was always what I considered to be a reasonable chance of full recovery. No more. Our doctor gave us the word this morning that our hope is gone.

Here’s what I wrote to my family this evening:

Dear family,

By now all or most of you have heard today’s news regarding Shannon’s condition, but I wanted to share this again just to make sure we’ve reached out to everyone who would want to know.

This morning, Shannon’s doctor spoke with us and let us know her cancer has progressed to the point where she has only a few remaining weeks to live. Her chest cavity and belly have been filling with fluid, which they have been removing and testing. Today the test came back positive for leukemia. The doctor says it appears the chemotherapy isn’t reaching beyond her blood and bone marrow, so it doesn’t seem stoppable. Even if they could stop it, she no longer has the strength to recover.

Shannon has fought this disease with incredible strength and determination. She’s the toughest woman in the world. She’s done everything right, but she’s now very tired and it appears her fight is nearly over. Our children are all coming within the next few days to be with her one more time. She remarked several times today that she doesn’t feel like she’s dying, so I think we have a great opportunity to spend some happy hours with our children and granddaughter.

My emotions have been very strong and somewhat bitter today as we’ve notified family and tried to come to grips with our situation. I have never felt so brokenhearted and hopeless. I know peace will come, though, and Shannon and I are determined to live happily until the very end. We’re grateful for the year that cancer treatment has added to her life. It’s been a very happy year and I will always treasure the fact that I was able to spend every day of it with Shannon. Our memories are nothing but sweet.

My secret plan was to run away together somewhere when we got the news that the end was near and just live out the rest of her life doing things she loves. Alas, that’s not possible now. She’s too sick. So I plan to fill her remaining days with family, happiness, and love, love, love. I know she would love to hear from any of you via email, phone calls, or visits. She’s still feeling well enough to talk. I’ll let you know when that’s no longer something she can do.

As always, I’m deeply grateful for the love and support we’ve received during the past year. We truly feel wrapped up in your love. I know we’ll continue to need it in the days to come.

If everybody is willing, I’ll start sending out daily emails again. It helps me to reflect and focus and I’ve heard from several of you that you value the information. If you absolutely don’t want to hear from me every day, please let me know and I’ll find a way to get you off the distribution list.

We love you all.



There’s nothing I can add to that. My heart is shattered. My life is over. I have no idea how to continue without Shannon by my side, holding my hand, encouraging me, lying next to me at night, and loving me. I’m starting to understand the feeling of suffocation grieving people describe, and the suffering has only just begun.

For now, though, we’re still together, she’s still alive, and we still have each other. I’m bound and determined to make these last days sweet ones for her. Help me, Loyal Readers!

That’s all for tonight. Help me.

Dry ice

Friday, January 17th, 2014


Here’s a glass full of bubbling, boiling water. Kind of. It actually contains dry ice. I believe I mentioned several days ago that my brother Chris sent us a Christmas gift of meat and other stuff from the nice folks at Omaha Steaks. Since Shannon has been in the hospital so long, we haven’t had a chance to cook and eat any of the stuff. However, I did spend a bunch of time over a few days playing with my dry ice. That’s the block of dry ice there in the background.

Actually, it turns out there’s not a lot of things you can do with dry ice. I broke off little pieces and put them in water. Then I  . . . umm . . . broke off more little pieces and put them in water. Actually, that was it.

Greetings from Duarte, California! Shannon came this afternoon via air ambulance and I drove. We had a couple hours’ notice, so I got everything packed back up, drove over to the hospital, picked up Shannon’s stuff, and left for Duarte about an hour before she did. And . . . I beat her! She called me just before she got on the airplane and I was 99 miles away from here. I got to the hotel, checked in, got into my room, and Shannon called again to let me know she was on the ground. I finished unpacking, went over to Rubio’s for a delicious fish taco dinner, went to the nearby Trader Joe’s for a bit of browsing and the purchase of some delicious-looking orange creme soda, and got the call from Shannon that she was safely ensconced in her room. So I came over to the hospital.

I have a lot of confidence that they’re doing the right things here already. They’ve started testing her blood, they’ve done a chest x-ray, and they’re doing a CAT scan tomorrow morning. Then they’ll probably do the bronchoscopy and figure out what’s going on in her lungs. Then she’ll start getting well. Simple!

My trip was uneventful. I didn’t need to make any stops, so I didn’t. The traffic going towards Las Vegas was heavy, but ours was just fine up until the last couple of miles, and even then it moved. So it was a good day.

I miss Mark already. I really hope we’ll be home soon.

No work was done again today. Tomorrow for sure. I have nothing else to do now but work and be with Shannon. And sometimes both at the same time. Life’s good.

And I’ll leave my Loyal Readers with this exciting Morrowlife Employment Agency job opportunity: detective rat!

See you on Monday.

iPad unboxing

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013


Here’s LRN4 finally unboxing her new iPad. That’s LRN2 there in the background. My Loyal Readers may recall we bought it about a month and a half ago and she bravely refused to open it until Christmas. Even though it’s not technically Christmas yet, we opened our gifts yesterday, before LRN12 left for her other grandparents’ house for a couple weeks.

It’s going to be a bit of a quiet Christmas, though, what with us having no presents to open. We’ll work around it, though, and have a great day.

The season has been great so far. The Loyal Readers arrived late Saturday night as scheduled. We’ve had a great time together. LRN4 spent all day on Sunday at the hospital getting red cells and platelets, so we spent the day pretty much hanging around and chatting. Clifford was feeling a bit sick that day, so he kept to himself. LRN5 started feeling sick Monday. She’s been in isolation since then. By this evening, she was starting to feel a bit better, but she’s still not back up to snuff. Very sad for our wonderful guests.

We had dinner with our in-laws tonight. They had invited their local missionaries to eat as well. One of them turned out to be the daughter of some good friends and neighbors from Virginia. What a surprise! She seems to be doing well and enjoying her time in Las Vegas. Had a nice time at the get-together too.

And that’s about it for this beautiful Christmas Eve. I’ll leave my Loyal Readers with this shocking holiday food violence news: gingerbread village showdown!

See you tomorrow.

Yellow pink

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013


Here’s a yellow-pink rose. Great Art courtesy of the exclusive iPhone-cam, taken (surprise!) at the City of Hope’s rose garden, and part of my famous Garden series.

I’m out of rose pictures now. In fact, I may have used this one before (although I couldn’t find it after a quick search, so there’s at least a possibility it’s unique). Never fear, Loyal Readers, we’ll be back at the City of Hope in no time, unfortunately. In fact, we’re going back on Thursday, but just for a one-day trip. I’m a bit worried about the time of that trip, in fact.  This is a holiday weekend, and it doesn’t look like we’ll be getting out of there very early. LRN4 has another bone marrow biopsy scheduled, so if I was to guess our departure time, I’d say it’ll probably be about 4:00 PM. Possibly the worst time to leave on one of the worst days of the year. We expect a long, slow trip back home. We could always stay overnight with Betsy and Bob, I guess. I imagine the Friday morning traffic out of Los Angeles might be a bit better than the Thursday afternoon traffic. What do you think, Loyal Readers?

Plus, we have company coming on Friday afternoon, so we can’t be home too late that day. Thursday night’s probably the best for us.

Wonders of WordPress today, by the way. I didn’t get a post done on either Monday or Tuesday. I have an excuse! I’ve been working like a dog on my iOS app. Up Monday night until about 2:00 and Tuesday night until about 3:00. I seem to be the most productive after about 9:00 PM, for some reason. So when it’s crunch time, I like to just stay up late and get the work done. So I just didn’t blog.

But everything’s going pretty well for LRN4, so never fear, Loyal Readers. She’s still getting tired very easily and has been basically feeling kind of run down, but she reports this morning (Wednesday) that she’s quite a bit improved. I’m frankly a bit worried about how this next round of chemo will affect her. Maybe it’s just because she’s out of the hospital and away from the City of Hope this time, but she seems a bit weaker than after her previous chemo treatments. They say that stuff has a cumulative effect on a person and I can see what they’re talking about now. Plus, she’s still taking the Nexavar, which, according to their website, is known to cause serious weight loss and fatigue, along with the hand and foot pain she’s going through. We’re really hoping she can discontinue the Nexavar after taking it for two months. It has a pretty good chance of keeping her alive if it doesn’t make her completely evaporate first.

But she’s doing well, as I mentioned at the start of the previous paragraph. As well as can be expected, anyway. Just a little weak and extremely thin.

Made a pretty big breakthrough on the app on Tuesday. By the time I went to bed at 3:00 Wednesday morning, the app was generating a passable Student report. I wish I had a better eye for design so I could make it prettier, but the data are all there and I think the code I wrote can be reused fairly well. I probably need to move the reusable parts into a class of their own, I guess, but it’s otherwise in pretty good shape. My next task will be to make it save the report with a unique name, email it out, and then delete the report from the device to eliminate disk clutter. It’ll just regenerate reports whenever the user wants to see them; they take almost no time to produce and I don’t want to get into the overhead of searching for files when their shelf life is so short anyway.

And I need to get back to work, so I’ll leave my Loyal Readers with this exciting Morrowlife Employment Agency job opportunity: purse-snatching bear!

See you tomorrow.

Ellis hall

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013


Here’s the main hall for immigrants on Ellis Island.  This is one the second story of the building.  They brought people in on the ground level, had them drop off their luggage and walk up the stairs and get in line.  They’d eventually make their way to the other end of the hall to those desks way down there, give their names, and – assuming they appeared healthy and sane – become Americans.  It’s a little more complex these days.  At least it’s a little more complex to become a legal American, anyway.  Great Art courtesy of the exclusive iPhone-cam, taken at Ellis Island, and part of my famous Architecture series.

Not much new to report tonight, since I used the Wonders of WordPress in the early afternoon today to write yesterday’s post.  So I’ll keep this one brief too.

LRN4’s doing fine.

I’ve finally started making progress on the iOS app again today.  I’m slowly coming to understand Core Data and NSXMLParser, but it’s been a long road.  I’m feeling a whole lot better about my status tonight than I was this morning.  So there’s that.

Spoke with both my mom and dad yesterday.  It was good to talk with both of them, and they’re both apparently doing very well.  Also spoke with LRN23 this evening, which I always enjoy.  Along with several other family members, he’s been great about keeping in touch throughout LRN4’s illness.  I can’t tell you how much those phone calls mean to me, Loyal Readers.

We just finished watching The Long, Long Trailer, a movie from 1954, starring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.  It’s silly and corny, but we’ve loved that movie for years.  We got it from Netflix yesterday.  It’ll go back tomorrow, sadly.  Highly recommended, even for us Lucille Ball anti-fans.  She’s actually pretty good in it and she practically never whines.  And their car is beautiful!  I want one.  My birthday is less than 11 months away, Loyal Readers!

Time to flush PIC lines.  I’ll leave my Loyal Readers with this exciting Morrowlife Employment Agency job opportunity: glow-in-the-dark sheep!

See you tomorrow.