Archive for March, 2018

Memories of my youth: Germans

March 17, 2018

This set of pictures brings back memories. It was March or April of 1971, and I was deployed to Crete, supporting an Army training exercise — Sergeant ASP (Annual Service Practice with the Sergeant missile).

It was a multi-national operation, and there was a group of German Air Force aircrew down, with their C-160 transports, the ones that look like a twin-engine C-130. Heading up their operation was a LtCol, Oberstleutnant. I was a junior Captain.

The German pilots were very friendly. They had all trained at Williams AFB in Arizona, and had a fondness for Mexican food.

I met the Oberstleutnant on the ramp, and of course I saluted. He, being a laid-back pilot, stuck out his hand to shake. I pulled down my hand from the salute, and reached out to him. Meanwhile, he had brought his hand up to return my salute. So I brought my salute back up, just as he was reaching for my hand. A couple cycles of this and we got into synch, laughing like mad.

Much later, that became popular among politicians

Great people, the Germans, and yes, many of them looked like those pictures.

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Oatmeal Gulash

March 5, 2018

This was inspired by a recipe my-brother-the-geologist brought back from a stint in Austria. Yes, gulyas is Hungarian. And yes, it’s eaten all over the old Austro-Hungarian Empire. For those who like recipes, here’s one from The Guardian (be sure to read the comments).

The baseline recipe is slow-cooked beef (shanks, chuck, etc), deeply browned onion, and tablespoons of assorted paprikas. The meat shreds down, and the onion disappears. Makes an excellent dinner. And you have leftovers.

Setup: 1/3 cup of stone ground rolled oats, one cup of broth, two dinner teaspoons of potato flakes, about a quarter-cup of gulash, very little salt. Cook for 10 minutes or so, depending on the exact style of oats. Add the gulash a minute before you take it off the stove, and the potatoes right at the end.

Results: Most excellent. Just enough gulash/paprika flavor to give you a spicy breakfast.

Rating: *****

UPDATE: adding Golden Curry and shred cheese helped a lot

UPDATE: So, the original dinner was goulash over pasta. There was leftovers there, as well. Chopped up goulash and pasta added to the oatmeal was very good, but added half a pound of weight.

Nine Years

March 5, 2018

This blog started on March 5th, 2009, nine years ago. Will it make it to ten? We’ll see.

Cancer Report 19 Feb-1 Mar

March 1, 2018

As with much of life, things get worse until they get better.

On the chemo front, the last three weeks were a battle between me and my blood pressure (systolic down to 84 at times), and the associated side effects, like vertigo and grey-out and “hold him down while I administer IV fluids.” There were also intestinal issues, and limb swelling, and all the other stuff I’ve talked about earlier.

On the myeloma front, my blood markers are all down, essentially into the normal zone.

Today, the oncodoc decided that since we could not be sure that the benefit was worth the cost, the game was worth the candle, that the rate of return was worth the risk, we might as well pause for a month to let me recover and see how things are developing.

“We’ve driven the markers down 99.9% and we’re continuing to beat you up, and I’m not sure that beating you up some more will do any good.”

So, right now, for a while, I’m pausing the chemo. I won’t bounce back immediately, but slowly recover normal functions over the course of the next month or so. Continuing to take the bone-strengthening pills (they don’t count as chemo) will help.

End of March I get another bone biopsy and another MRI, which are the gold standard on these things. That’s when we will know, and that’s when we will make plans for maintenance.

Meanwhile, MJ won’t have to interrupt her teaching in order to drag my body to class and to Spokane multiple times every week.