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New York Yankees fans in Portugal: 4

Boston Red Soxs fans in Portugal: 0



From Cute Overload. Think Gilbert and Sullivan’s “I am the very model of a modern major general” meets “adorable baby bunny”.


I am the very model of a bouncing baby bunny butt
I’ve bounced across the continent, from port to park to Pizza Hut
I know the whole Glossary, and I quote -isms Cute-icle
While standing on my two front paws, in manner most anerable

I’m very well acquainted, too, with matters controversial
I comprehend what ticks you off, both social and satirical
I clarify the Where and Why of issues touching all of us
From literary inchworm to domestic hippopotamus

I’m practiced as a pilot and like Lindbergh I can navigate
From bunway to the bayou, from the Midwest to the Golden Gate
I’ve sampled every pudding type from cantaloupe to coconut
I am the very model of a bouncing baby bunny butt!

Can detect that I’m in Portugal, and give me appropriate headings. However, I can’t read them. Good thing WordPress knows I’m American and speak only English, no matter what internet line I’m connecting on.

My question to Renn is, what was it about topless beaches that tipped you off? Is there something about you that we don’t know? Surely you’d never hide anything from the internet!!!

So far, Portugal seems to be a pretty nice place. I haven’t taken any pictures (don’t worry, I will), or had much time to look around, but tomorrow the afternoon is free from meeting stuff, so I’ll go out and see the country, or at least the Lisbon region, then.

In the meantime, I’m am now quite familiar with the local conference center. It’s nicer than the one last year, but if only I could be spending a week seeing the country…

To those of you that guessed other places, wish I could be there too. Especially Barcelona. I’d love to go to Spain. John and I had originally planned on flying him over after the conference and then spending a week in Spain, but my mom’s surgery date hadn’t been scheduled when I had to buy tickets, and it just wasn’t worth the risk that I’d miss it. Oh well, some other time.

France and Italy, too, would be lovely to visit. Some day.

Wow, Renn! Here I was trying to come up with completely non-specific hints to make this last a whole week, and you get it already? How’d you bribe Amelia?

Yep, I’m in Portugal. Enjoying seafood, beaches, warm weather, nice winds, and lots and lots of talks on viruses.

The conference is going well, but I’m trying to figure out how I can enjoy more of this country while still putting in suitable face time at all the talks. Or at least a good number of the talks.

So far, I’ve mostly just been enjoying the local culture, walking up and down the beach, eating food, drinking (good lord can virologists drink a lot of beer). We get Wednesday afternoon free, so I may be able to go out and enjoy myself more.

Good times, and the first time I’ve ever been to Europe in general. If only I’d been able to extend my trip, or fly John over, so we could travel a bit, this would have been perfect. As it is, I can report that conference centers in Portugal are pretty much like the ones in America.

Anyone got any must-do or must-see items in Lisbon?

The beaches are warm, so there is (I suppose, if I were willing) the possibility of topless beaches. There’s lots of seafood and old architecture.

My talk went well, and my poster session will be over in a couple of hours.

Keep guessing. 🙂

Here’s some hints:

I’m connecting through London.

There will be beaches.

This was my fifth trip home in eight months. Before that, I hadn’t been home in two years. John and I only make it home for the holidays, and my parents had come to visit us for Christmas 2006. So it’s been a bit of a change, to say the least.

Being home was…interesting. Good. Heartbreaking. Sad. Comforting.

I was glad to be there, taking care of my mom. She actually recovered fairly quickly, but still wasn’t supposed to lift anything or drive, so I kept having to snatch things out of her hands when she tried to carry a computer or lift a stack of plates to set the table. And drove her around, did the cleaning and cooking, and just generally helped however I could. And prepped the house for guests, and then stripped all the beds and everything when they left. I felt rather like someone’s in-home help, but I guess that’s how I felt I could fight the cancer. Not fun, but at least useful.

I sorted through $51.91 worth of pennies. I’ve got 1942 penny that’s in pretty good shape if anyone’s interested. I went through, and threw out most of, all the school stuff that had been saved by my parents or myself since sixth grade. I filled an entire trash can with the paper. And emptied out a lot of bookshelf space for them to use.

I helped dry out the basement when one corner started to flood again. An aunt and uncle came to visit, and all the basement floods seem to occur when there are house guests. So of course it happened, but was thankfully minimal.

So it was a vaguely productive week. And it was nice to be home.

Except it wasn’t home, really. I don’t know why this time felt so different, but I just felt like I was a guest, a visitor, not someone who lived their any longer. It probably speaks well of John’s and my relationship that home is here in California, but it was sort of heartbreaking to sit around and watch my parents and Amy and the aunt who lives in town converse, while feeling sort of on the edge of it all.

Still, being home was good. Spending time with my family was good. Taking care of my mom was good. Seeing the extra relatives who stopped by was good. Even seeing Amy was good.

I didn’t kill her–I’d really like to believe she was just sort of taking the week off since I was there to pick up the slack. More likely, I think I was giving my dad a huge break, but I’m trying my best to believe the best of Amy. I think she does help out a lot in her own way, but I think she (and I and most people in my generation) can be a bit self-centered at times. Not that she doesn’t think of others, but just that self comes first a lot of the time. I dunno. It hasn’t been the easiest year for her, living at home while sorting out her life post-college. She and I get along great here in California when she visits, and over the phone, but maybe we’re just destined to not get along in Iowa.

All in all, it was, as I said, an interesting week.

We won’t be going home again until Christmas time, since plane tickets are so pricey right now, and I’ve used up about all the vacation time I’ve got.

However, I am about to leave home again. This time, for a conference. In Europe. It’ll be fun times, as I’ve never been there and the trip is somewhat free for me. I also get to give a talk and a poster, so that will be a good experience.

I leave Friday, and get back the following Saturday. I make no promises about updating between then and now, or during the conference, with any sort of regularity, but we’ll see.

I’ve got to engage my brain before Friday, at the very least. It only occurred to me today, Monday, that taking my passport would be a good idea. At least it doesn’t expire until 2013.

January diagnosis:

T4 (size of tumor)
N3 (number of lymph nodes involved)

July post-op pathology report:


Celebration, anyone? Someone crack open the bubbly!!

It’s good to be home again, feeling like I can help.

At the same time, though, I sort of feel like I don’t fit in. Amy’s been living at home for the past year, so I’m the only guest. It’s a weird feeling, almost feeling left out within my own family. But I guess that’s what happens when you move 1800 miles away. Hrm.

I think part of it is that I’m just a bit thrown every time Amy says something in a tone I interpret as being pretty rude to my mom, and my mom doesn’t seem to mind. Maybe it’s just that Amy and I are only close when there’s lots of space and time between us so I tend to take a lot of what she says in a tone that she doesn’t necessarily mean. Or take offense when she’s continuously running off and leaving me to do everything, or insisting on something like cheese in the eggs I’m making when I’ve already stated I don’t like cheese in eggs. Bah. But she has been helping to take care of my mom (at least I assume) for six months now, so maybe she’s just taking a break while I’m here to pick up the slack. Regardless, our continued existence in close proximity to one another is going to be a bit precarious.

Especially when she showed up upstairs this morning wearing a Duke shirt. I refrained from growling, but only barely. Stupid Duke.

We get along much better with the 1800 miles between us.

Anyways, the trip has been good so far.

My mom’s got energy and is doing well. She’s not taking the Vicodin anymore except at night. She says a double mastectomy is by far less pain and agony than a gall bladder removal (her’s burst a couple of years ago). I suppose everything is relative, isn’t it?

The drainage tubes are a hassle–if she leans too far to one side or forward, the stitches pull and hurt. And they’re just a pain in the patootie to carry around, although she’s now sporting the fashion statement of a fanny pack to tuck them into. We’ve been referring to them alternately as her hand grenades and her six-shooters.

Lots of people are stopping by to drop off flowers or food. I prefer the food, especially when it’s dinner and not dessert–less cooking for everyone that way. And we have quite enough flowers now, thank you very much! That said, though, the raspberry and white chocolate cheesecake that someone brought by yesterday? May be just about the most delicious thing I’ve ever eaten.

I haven’t done much. Mostly I’m sitting around reading, working on stuff from work, poking around on the internet or doing sudoku, and dropping everything the moment my mom decides to try to pick something up. She’s not supposed to lift anything larger than 5 lbs, but she hates to feel useless so we’ve got to keep a close eye on her. We tell her we’d rather have her feel useless for a bit than prolong her recovery time by separating the skin that’s supposed to be healing together.

My goal this week, other than being hands and feet and answering service and maid and cook for my mom, is to sort through all the stuff that I left here when John and I moved to California four years ago. There’s stuff I’ll never need again (calculus notes, anyone?), stuff that should probably be saved, and stuff I may want to take back with me.

My current task is sorting through the 34lbs (so not kidding, sadly) of pennies that I collected while in high school and college. My dad collects coins, so I’m currently sorting all mine to look for the rare ones. It’s a lot of pennies. A. Lot. Then I’ve got to find a bank that’ll take them, count them and bag them for me, hopefully without charging me a fee, and hand me a nice stack of bills instead. Judging by the weight and some internet googling, I should have $45-55 in pennies. Figure I’ll use it to take John out for our anniversary (which is tomorrow) when I get back to California (which will be after tomorrow). (Love you, honey!!)

I’m almost done, and it’s only taken me two days. Whee.

Ok, better go do the breakfast dishes. And clean the house before Pam and Beatrice (my in-laws) drop by. My mother hates having her house appear dirty to guests, but there’s no way we’re going to let her clean it.

Good thing I love my mother more than I hate dusting.


July 2008
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