A dream I’ll always hang on to


Ready for the Oscars

Haven't seen A Single Man, The Blind Side, Precious, Crazy Heart, The Informant!, The Last Station, The Messenger, A Serious Man, or Invictus yet though.  And none of the Best Foreign Film nominees.  I might've managed to see all the contenders had the Olympics not been on, although most of the above are barely out on DVD.  Luckily, planes have great entertainment systems these days.  You can get about 1.5 films in a cross-country commute if you don't listen to music (which I do since it's perfect for previewing new cd's).  Also, I watched non-Oscar movies, like Whip It!  What an awesome debut directorial effort by Drew Barrymore.  Love the soundtrack too.

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" I said to him that Zululand sounded fine, but that every man has a map in his heart of his own country and that the heart will never allow you to forget this map."

This is a sentiment so tenderly and matter-of-factly stated, and so pure in its simplicity.  It is how I felt on my recent trip to the Philippines.  This is the sentiment I couldn't explain to the hubby, that despite the squalor and miserable circumstances we were now viewing, I sustained a deep passion for the land from whence I came.

"She loved her country, Botswana, which is a place of peace, and she loved Africa, for all its trials…I love all the people whom God made, but I especially know how to love the people who live in this place.  They are my brothers and sisters…"

Early in The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, I was captivated by Alexander McCall Smith's simple lyricism and was surprised to find he'd authored 60 works, from criminal law to childrens' books.  I picked this copy up from the Friends of the Library bookstore, on the recommendation of an English teacher volunteer.  So I suppose this is up my alley, but I wouldn't have guessed so.  What I love is the distillation of the ordinary into something quite true and touching.  There's something here like your favorite great uncle reading to you as you sit in a large, comfy chair drinking hot chocolate, dreaming of sitting under a large acacia tree, seeing the dry wind in the lions' manes…

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To do list

What I'm supposed to do today and until it gets done:

Call the court (due a month ago)
Bake snacky cakes (always due)
Order books and wine shipping containers online (due two weeks ago)
Fill out Disability Retirement and Social Security Forms (due 4 years ago)
Do taxes (due April 15th)
Read and edit Dad's book (due 2 years ago?)
Create spreadsheet of Joey's scooter rebuild – parts/cost (due a month ago)
Fill out rental applications and call agency to request appointment to view a property
Start packing stuff up for imminent move
Pay timeshare maintenance fee (due 2/28 but I'm sort of pushing it to see what'll happen) 
What I'll probably do today, because I'm a bum:
Watch the Coco Chanel movie I've had for a week
Call the court
Bake snacky cakes
Read books from library or Dad's book
Figure out how to send Redwood seedlings and bottle of wine to the Philippines
Go for a walk
Post on blog

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Wine therapy

Another rain-soaked week. Another day of procrastination with making that phone call to the court HR lady about the "final separation".  They want to make sure I don't collect unemployment.

Thinking I should blog every day, the way Carolyn does.  So what did I do today?  I'm listening to Naomi's Breathe mix, boiling artichokes, roasting mushrooms, making dinner, baking apple-cranberry muffins.  I read some cancer articles.  I checked out some books at the library (a couple I'm thinking of sending to the uncle).  Where I'll find the time to read, cook, start packing up the house, etc. is beyond me.
Cancer Is Not A Disease - It's A Survival Mechanism Anticancer, A New Way of Life, New Edition Making Mischief: A Maurice Sendak Appreciation The Wall Street Journal Guide to Wine Windows On the World Complete Wine Course

I think I've lost it.  I've bought over a case of wine in the past week, ostensibly for my uncle in the Philippines, who's very into wine.  I had great interest in wine until I got sick.  Chemo drugs compromised my liver and alas, no more days of wine and roses.  Being around an enthusiastic wine lover reminded me of the joys of wine, and now I think, to hell with it.  I should drink a glass now and then, maybe every other day?  This week I'll be "saving up" in order to drink a bottle with snacks on Sunday–the Oscars.  Corny, I know.  I'll probably have the worst hangover after three glasses.  
I may have to start a wine closet at the next place.  I'd like to drink some nice wine before I go.  When I go, I'd like to leave a collection behind that someone will thank me for, every time they open a bottle.  I enjoy that idea quite a bit.  It calls to mind the time my friend and I raided her parents' wine cellar when she was lashing out at them for something I can't even recall.  We drank three bottles of wine, each one over $75 in 1977.  I bet they never even noticed, they had that many bottles.  The fact I remember that says something (what, I'm not sure).  And then there are the wine-soaked adventures with Jules…
I just saw a little piece of Oprah's show featuring the movie critic Roger Ebert.  I didn't know he'd been battling throat cancer for four years and can no longer eat, drink, or speak.  He communicates via his computer, utilizing voice conversion software.  Apparently he's now cancer-free.  Kudos to him and his wife for digging in and refusing to give up.
Back on the cancer front, Carolyn reminded me of a drug called Tovok (aka BIBW-2992) from German company Boehringer-Ingelheim.  Some of Tovok's Phase III trials for non-small cell lung cancer have primary completion dates within the year.  One study (LUX-Lung I)  will hopefully be completed this month.  This is important news for people (like yours truly) taking first generation EGFR (epidermal growth factor receptor) inhibitors Tarceva and Iressa, as Tovok is an irreversible inhibitor.  Unlike first generation inhibitors, the hope is that irreversible EGFR inhibitors will overcome lung cancer's aquired resistance (through a secondary gene mutation) to the first generation drugs. It's supposedly effective on gene mutations not sensitive to Tarceva and Iressa (about 5 mutations), and on an additional front (HER2).  Another drug in trials with Tovok is BIBW 1120 (Vargatef), which I know little about but is being tested in second and third-line settings (people who've had two or more chemo courses) for lung cancer.  The UC Davis oncologist I saw felt Tovok was the most promising new treatment for a greater patient population (besides the EML4-ALK translocation wonder drug PF-02341066) than is currently served by Tarceva and Iressa.  Now, for affordable genetic mutation testing…and to hang in until the FDA approves it (it's been fast-tracked).

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