Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

                                                           Happy New Year to everyone!

May 2011 bring everything you want! Health, happiness, success, love.....

I haven't thought of any kind of resolution yet for the new year, but I hope it will be a good one for me!  ONLY HEALTHY THINGS FOR ME PLEASE
That's mostly what I want.  Health.  And a little happiness if it can be managed :)

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Despite being Jewish, I do love the Christmas holiday and spirit of the season!


And for those who won't be celebrating the Christmas holiday, some Chinese takeout to make it a special day!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Welcome back to the good and the bad

Welcome back!  I'm sorry for the break in posts.  Things have been a little crazy around here.

Why?  Because I relapsed.  But it's kind of good news?  This is pretty weird guys.  I've been getting radiation to my brain for the past couple of weeks and apparently it isn't a big deal.  What????  I was devastated at first, obviously, hence the not posting on the blog thing, but I guess it just isn't that bad of news.  I saw my doctor yesterday and he seemed to think that the radiation I'm getting will kick my tumor to the ground and then he wants to take a break from chemo in general (which he had been talking about before I relapsed).  I guess I'm just a little confused as to how this isn't really changing anything except adding radiation to my treatment plan.  And a little confused because of the tumor in my brain.  It's smaller now so I can process things better, but I had a rough few days at the beginning.

So the good news is that life continues probably as usual.  Which is weird, because having a tumor in your brain is such a big deal, except that for me it isn't?

I guess otherwise I don't really know what to write except that I'm still trying to process all of this and process it in a good way that's positive and all.  I mean, guys, look at my life - gut leukemia, brain leukemia, and it isn't a big deal?  WTH???!!!!

On the other hand, the weather has been freezing but we did get snow.  Yay!  I love snow.

Hope you're all getting ready well for the holidays, and I'll see you all back here soon.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Site momentarily unavailable....

... will be back in business soon.  Sorry folks!  Just a bunch of stuff going on.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Well, I'm still having computer problems, so for the time being everything is status quo.  BUT, I did pass my GREs!  I got a 1200 composite, including a 550 on the math.  Yay!  Now I just have to write a couple of essays and get those turned in.  That has to happen by December 1st, so I guess the fewer distractions I have the better, right?

And a happy belated birthday to my grandpa!  He's 95!

Saturday, November 13, 2010


My laptop has some kind of problem.  I start it up, it works fine for a few minutes, and then the screen goes black and I can't do anything!  According to the error report I was able to get back once, it's something with the graphics reader.  Unfortunately it won't stay on long enough for me to do anything about it!  It's only been a couple of days and I'm going to keep working on the problem, but I'm starting to think I may have to say goodbye to my poor laptop!  Luckily we have other computers in the house I can use, but until my laptop is fixed there may not be many updates on here.

GRE on Tuesday!  Can't wait for it to be over!

Monday, November 8, 2010

GRE Update

I took another practice test today.  The verbal stayed at 710 and I got a 5 on each of my essays.

The good news from math?  Up to a 540!  YES!  Amazing what a couple of weeks of studying can do for you!

Random question for the universe: why do I get junk mail from a group called "Americans for Limited Government" on the email account attached to this blog?  Did I ever write anything that would make anyone think I'm in favor of limited government?  If I did, I'm sorry.  I don't feel that way.  I don't think the new health care bill went far enough (meaning I'm all for a single payer system) and I think Wall Street needs more regulation.  When I open up my spam folder and see a bunch of emails from Americans for Limited Government I want to call a bunch of takeout pizzas to their headquarters and make them pay for them.  That, or put flaming dog poop on their doorstep.  One or the other.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Guys, I'm so busy these days I don't even know how I have five minutes to upload these pictures and write a simple blog post.  Someday when I have time I'll write about everything I'm doing.

It was my job to carve the pumpkin this year, and my dad helped a little, like cutting off the top:

It had a really thick skin so we had a really hard time cutting it.  I was exhausted afterward!  Who knew that carving a pumpkin was so much work!

I found a really cute cyclops pumpkin template, and it didn't turn out too badly if I may say so myself:

Eventually we stuck it on our front porch and put a little votive candle inside to show the 15 kids in the neighborhood who trick or treat that we were open for business!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

First tutoring session

K, my literacy learner, and I met for the first time on Friday morning at a local library.  I think we're going to get along really well.  She's a little shy but seems very sweet.  It sounds like her home life isn't the greatest.  Her mom passed away when she was eleven and now she lives with her dad and at least two of her six (!!!) younger siblings.  She doesn't see some of her younger siblings because she doesn't get along with their moms, so she stays away to not create any drama.  Despite this, K is cheerful and very ambitious.  She really wants to go to college and be either a nurse, a psychologist, or a judge.

I was curious to hear her read out loud, so I brought a few young adult books with me from our extensive collection, intending to have her read just for a couple minutes to get an idea of what she needs to work on.  She picked a "you be the judge/you be the jury" version of the Lizzie Borden trial.  It's a good book for an 18 year old with a low reading level because it goes over all of the facts of the trial in detail, but using simple language.  K did a great job reading, better than I was anticipating based on her information sheet.  She can read most short, common words easily but has trouble with longer words.  She doesn't do much sounding out, sometimes switched nouns to verbs (murderer vs murdering), and sometimes doesn't understand what she's read.  But like I said, she reads a lot better than I was anticipating based on the information I was given.   She wants to improve her reading and spelling and work on her cursive. 

K wants to continue reading the Lizzie Borden book, which is pretty cool, considering the fact that I just randomly picked it out for her to read a few paragraphs.  We ended up reading a few pages and it looks like we'll be reading the whole book!  I have a bunch of ideas for other things to work on in our next session.  I'm very excited about working with her!  She's really motivated and really wants to learn, so I think we'll be able to accomplish a lot. 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

New activities!

Monday was very exciting.  I had my first "in school residency."  I'm volunteering with an organization that provides a lot of different tutoring services for kids, including sending you into the schools to work in classes on their writing.  I'm working with three other people in a fifth grade class and, funny story, their teacher is married to a girl I went to elementary school with.  We're doing writing conferences with the kids.  They write something, we get them to tell us about it, read it to us, and then give them suggestions for making it better.  We aren't correcting grammar or spelling, just getting them to do things like add more detail, be more creative, explain things more.  It was a lot of fun!  It seems like a great class of kids.  They're creative, smart, well behaved, curious.  I think this is going to be a really great opportunity to learn more about being in a classroom environment.  The teacher, Mr H, even said that we're welcome to come up with our own lesson plans if we want.  It wouldn't be a very involved lesson plan, I'd pretty much just give them a writing topic, but you know, it's still practice, and I'm still getting time in a classroom.

On Monday I also got assigned a learner from the literacy organization I'm working with!  Since I'll be tutoring an adult we call the person we're working with a learner rather than a student, to keep the relationship on equal footing as a partnership rather than as a teacher-student thing.  My learner, K, just graduated from high school but according to my information on her, she only has a beginner reading level.  That means that she reads somewhere between a kindergarten and second grade level.  She has trouble sounding out words, doesn't read much, and is scared of writing.  How kids like this just get passed through the system without getting additional help is completely beyond me.  A beginning level reader has trouble filling out basic forms!  How can a teacher think that's okay?  You have to give her credit, she must be very clever to have done well enough to be passed through her classes despite her low reading and writing levels.  I haven't met her yet but we set up our first meeting, which will be on Friday morning.  I guess I'll find out more then!  At our first meeting we'll mostly be getting to know each other, going over her long term goals and what she wants to work for the next year.  I'm a little concerned that her dad is going to try to be too involved.  When I called to set up our meeting she wasn't there so he set up the meeting place and time with me.  She is 18, still living at home, and she just finished high school, so it's normal that he thinks he should still be in charge of his little girl and her education.  I'll just have to make it clear to her on Friday that I'm working with her, not her dad, and that she and I will decide things together.  I guess we'll just see how it goes on Friday!

I'm really excited to be doing things that matter, and not just filling my day with "stuff" like going to the pharmacy, going grocery shopping, whatever.  I'm actually doing things that make a difference, doing things that I like, that are connected to my future education and career plans.  It makes me feel like my life is on play again instead of being stuck indefinitely on pause.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

I used to be friends with someone.  In fact, she was one of my best friends.  Eventually I decided that she was not worth the effort it took to continue being her friend and I let the friendship lapse while I was in France.  I was tired of listening to her complain about everything - how hard her life was, how she didn't have time for anything besides medical school, the fact that she never called.  Basically, after several years of self punishment trying to be friends with someone who will always put herself first to the point of not caring about the problems of others, I realized that no friendship is worth that kind of treatment.  This is someone who, while I was in the hospital getting chemotherapy when I was first diagnosed six years ago, complained to me about how hard it was for her to study for the MCATs and told me that I "had no idea what she was going through."  She was right, I didn't  I was far too busy fighting for my life to have time for anything as serious as the MCATs.  This is someone who couldn't be bothered to call me during the next several months while I was getting treatment because she was too busy with school work.  And even before I got sick, this is someone who made a big stink when I asked her to drive me to the pharmacy to pick up medication when I was so sick I could barely speak. 

I don't know how I put up with her for so long.  When I look back on our friendship it's a series of hurtful events that made me feel bad about myself.  I guess I'm just a glutton for punishment.  That and the fact that cutting her out of my friend group at that point would have created serious drama.  Or maybe I was constantly searching for her approval, for her to break down and do something that proved she was a good friend.  I honestly don't know.

Fast forward to this past spring, when a couple of friends came to visit me.  They had just seen this other girl and told her that I was sick again.  Her response?  She already knew.  She already knew, yet she had said nothing to me.  No phone call, no note, no message passed through these other friends.  Nothing.  No acknowledgment that we had ever been friends or that she had any kind of emotion regarding my situation.  Remember, this is someone who wants to be a doctor.  Can you imagine having a doctor who is either so emotionally constipated or so socially awkward that they can't pass along a message of "hope you get well soon?"  !?!?!?!

I really wish this didn't bother me, and that I wasn't still thinking about it and nursing these angry feelings.  It makes me angry, and it also really hurts.  Even though I don't want to be her friend anymore and haven't for years, it still hurts that she couldn't bring herself to say something to me.   Her inability to say anything makes me wonder if she ever cared about me at all.  She certainly didn't show it when we actually were friends,   I wish I weren't hanging onto these feelings.  It's bad for the spirit.  I can't help the way I feel, but I really wish I were over it already.

The more I think about it, the more I think back on her behavior over the years, I think she's one of those people who just can't deal with cancer.  She probably can't deal with mortality and illness.  That, and she's completely self involved.  And yet she's a doctor.  

A lot of cancer patients lose friends when they get sick because they just can't handle it.  The cancer makes them uncomfortable and scared because they have to confront their own mortality.  I am very lucky to have wonderful friends who have stuck by me through the ins and outs of this disease over the years.  I should try to concentrate on them, rather than on people I didn't even want to be friends with who ignored me when I got sick again.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Practice makes perfect

This GRE thing is turning out to be more of a pain in the butt than it should be.  I signed up for a class that was supposed to start run Sundays 12-3 and Wednesdays 6:30-9:30, but then I got a call from the Princeton Review says in the class had been canceled because I was the only one enrolled.  I was welcome to enroll in another class starting tonight.  The hours of the class?  Tuesdays and FRIDAYS from 6:30 to 9:30!  Who in their right mind would sign up for a class on Friday night rather than a class on Sunday afternoon?!?  Anyway, I decided not to enroll in that class and to just do an online review instead.

I also took my first practice test!  I was pretty happy with my verbal, I got a 710 (out of 800), but the math didn't go quite as well.  I got a 450!  That is very typically me.  I'm terrible at math, like really, really bad.  And at this point I've forgotten everything I once knew...errr... sort of kind of knew.  Well, the average composite for my program is only 1000, so I'm not freaking out.  Yet.  Although I did freak out a little when I was taking the math test and realized I had no idea how to answer half of the questions.  Really, only a little.

At least now I know what I have to work on!  Read: all math skills I should have learned (and remembered!) since I entered kindergarten. 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Straight Lines

I went to another training session on Tuesday, but this one is to work in the public elementary schools helping the little kiddies with their writing.  As part of the training they showed us a video of a third grade teacher working with a few different students on the writing and revising process.

The teacher is working with this kid and asking him to underline or circle parts of his personal narrative that illustrate important ideas.  So the kid takes his ratty old Number 2 pencil and starts drawing these haphazard, very crooked, going all over the place lines, and then decides to add on a "roof" and turn them into circles, which are also haphazard and all over the place.  Not to mention the fact that his handwriting was barely legible.  His narrative was absolutely wonderful - lots of description, an excellent effort for an eight year old.

I had to stop myself from laughing!  In France this kid would have earned himself a punition.  In France all the kids have pencil cases fully stocked with pens in all different colors, erasable pens, white-out, highlighters, scissors, rulers, calligraphy pens, erasers - you get the picture.  Writing in pencil is generally frowned upon, pen is standard.  One time I told the kids to write in pencil because it's easier to erase if you make a mistake, and the teacher came back in the room and yelled at them for not using pens!  If kids have to underline anything it takes 5 minutes because they have to pull out their ruler, line it up exactly, and then draw a perfectly straight line.  And of course by third grade (CE2 in France), the majority of kids have beautifully formed, impeccably neat and always legible cursive handwriting. 

I love America.  Way to value creativity over conformist handwriting and straight lines!

Monday, October 11, 2010


I am so busy lately!  Between literacy training for a couple hours twice a week, either Gilda's Club or bollywood dancing on Tuesdays, and French group on Wednesday, my evenings are booked solid.  Add to that my usual routine of appointments (two last week, two this week).  Then we went to see my brother play this weekend (they won again!  Up to 5-1 on the season and my brother continues to play well), and I just signed up to start volunteering for an hour once a week in one of the local elementary schools.  Plus starting my GRE class in a couple of weeks.  Plus my application for grad school.  Plus..... I can't even remember anymore.  Do I have other things to do?

Unfortunately my GVHD is acting up, which is stressing me out a little bit.  I'm getting more dry, thickened, discolored patches of skin.  Mostly they're just little dots, but it's happening despite applying steroid cream every day.  I'm going to go up to twice a day.  I'm also having some gut discomfort when I eat and a little nausea.  I'm hoping the solution is to eat smaller amounts more frequently.  Today is Day One of the smaller amounts more frequently experiment and so far it's going well.  I'm just hoping I can get the symptoms under control before I go see my doctor on Friday so that he won't put me on steroids.  Steroids are my enemy. 

AND I've been super tired recently.  No need to look too far on that one, but of course I always say "why am I so tired?"  Guess I'm not as totally ready for a full load of activities as I thought.  Fatigue is the most common complaint post-transplant, and I've had two, so I guess that means I get to complain about being tired twice as much?  Hahaha.  I know this is a problem, I should have anticipated it, but it still bothers me that I'm not fully recovered from transplant yet.  Or even worse, that this level of fatigue might be my new normal.

But it's really great that I'm getting out there and doing more things.  I'm very excited about starting my new volunteering programs!  I just have to make sure that I don't take on too many things, that I keep my activity load manageable so that I can fulfill all my commitments and not make myself sick.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Shame on you, NFL

Those of you watching the NFL may have noticed the influx of pink everything this weekend as part of the NFL's annual campaign to "raise awareness" about breast cancer.  To quote from their press release, during the month of October every NFL game will feature:

» Game balls with pink ribbon decals used for every down
» Players wearing pink cleats, wristbands, gloves, chin straps, sideline caps, helmet decals, eye shield decals, captains' patches, sideline towels and quarterback towels
» Pink coins used for the coin toss
» Pink sideline caps for coaches and sideline personnel and pink ribbon pins for coaches and team executives
» Officials wearing caps with pink ribbons, pink wristbands and pins and using pink whistles
» On-field pink ribbon stencils and A Crucial Catch wall banners
» Pink goal-post padding in end zones
» A Crucial Catch pink glow necklaces for all fans attending the Bears-Giants game on Oct. 3

After the game these items will be autographed and auctioned off, with all proceeds benefiting the American Cancer Society.  You can also buy special pink team shirts and other merchandise, and an unspecified portion of the proceeds go to breast cancer charities.  Special pink trading cards with facts about breast cancer will be included for free when you purchase a pack of trading cards.  Gatorade carts will feature pink ribbon stickers.  Players and teams will supposedly be involved with different special events and fundraising things.  At one of the games this past weekend 125 breast cancer survivors were on field during the singing of the national anthem.  One player, whose mother died of breast cancer, will be donating $1000 for every reception and $5000 for every touchdown he scores during the month of October.  Oh, and there's this website that mostly encourages you to buy or bid on things but also includes a helpful reminder to schedule a mammogram and the opportunity to sign up for ACS fundraising walks.

Notice anything missing?

The NFL itself isn't donating a single cent to anything breast cancer.  All of the money raised by their campaign comes from the fans.  Only a percentage of the profits from the pink team merchandise goes to breast cancer, and I would be absolutely shocked if that percentage is higher than 20%.  My guess is that it's closer to 10%.  I'm not sure where the rest of the money goes, but someone is going to be profiting off of the general public wanting to help breast cancer, whether it's the NFL or the teams or the manufacturer I don't know.  Not to mention all of the good publicity the NFL gets from "raising awareness" about breast cancer.

But what are they doing, really?  A stupid pink whistle doesn't do a damn thing for breast cancer.  Pink goal padding in the end zones?  Pink glow necklaces?  Seriously??!?!?!!  How on earth does that help?  I just find it irritating,  A woman in my young adult support group, who is a sports writer and breast cancer survivor, says she watches football to forget about breast cancer and hates being bombarded by it all month long.  I highly doubt that this will convince more than a handful of women to go get a mammogram.  I wonder how much money this will actually raise.  Who is going to bid on a pink game ball, even if it is autographed by Tom Brady?  Let's be real here!  Are that many people going to buy pink t-shirts?  I really don't think we're talking about large sums of money here.  This is a completely self serving, nearly meaningless campaign, an opportunity for a bunch of meathead football players to prance around the field in pink cleats and think they're doing something meaningful while the big wigs in the NFL corporate offices pat themselves on the back for turning this into a profit.

Meaningful would be distributing cards about self breast exams.  Meaningful would be donating proceeds from ticket sales to organizations that sponsor mammograms for uninsured women.  Meaningful would be donating money out of the NFL's well-padded pocketbook to research.  Meaningful would be raising awareness about breast cancer in men, because hardly anyone ever talks about that.  That's an issue that actually needs some awareness raised.  Meaningful would be taking the money used to manufacture all of this pink crap and donating it to a breast cancer organization instead.

Not to mention that breast cancer, and cancer in general, isn't just happy pink chin straps and wrist bands and ribbons on football fields.  It's people getting sick, going through painful mastectomies and reconstruction, going through the hell of chemotherapy, and dying.  Yes, we've made a ton of progress and more and more women (and men) are thriving after cancer, but the bottom line is that people are still dying.  No amount of pink merchandise can take away the pain of diagnosis or the loss of a breast or the loss of a loved one.

So shame on you, NFL, for trying to profit off of cancer patients and staging a publicity stunt in the name of breast cancer awareness.  Shame on you for getting everyone else to spend money and not giving a dime for a good cause.  Shame on you for being a bunch of selfish, greedy profiteers.

P.S. Don't get me started on that idiotic facebook thing about where you put your purse.  I've been ranting about it all day.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Back to school?

A couple days ago I was bumming around online, looking at degree programs I might be interested in, when I saw a date that shocked me.

December 1st. As in the application deadline. As in two months from now.

It hadn't occurred to me that I would have to apply for next year's graduate programs right now!

My brain went into overdrive immediately and I hurriedly searched the application requirements. The normal things were listed: application form, personal statement, letters of recommendation....

GRE scores.

It DEFINITELY never occurred to me that I would have to take the GRE in the next couple of months! I would definitely want to take a prep class (I am not motivated enough to study on my own and need to have someone make me do it), so I looked into class dates and test dates and how long it takes to get your scores. It's doable in two months, but barely. My test scores might arrive a few days after the December 1 deadline, but I'm assuming that wouldn't be a huge problem.

So I can get the application in on time, my doctor wants me to enroll in school and live a normal life, but I hadn't totally committed to this program yet. It's a one year masters in education with certification to teach, but I was also thinking about getting a masters in public health, a masters in social work, and every now and then I still toy with the idea of being a doctor before the idea of spending the rest of my life in a hospital makes me convulse in horror. Sorry Dad, the most recent relapse has firmly nailed the lid on the coffin of your dream that I would be a doctor.

I decided to commit to the idea of going back to school to be a teacher. I'm passionate about the idea of educating and preparing youth for their futures. It's something that really speaks to me. If I change my mind after a few years, I can always go back to school. Very few things in this life are permanent, you can almost always change your mind.

Now I have to decide what level to teach, elementary or secondary? I loved teaching elementary students in France. I love working with kids, I find it pretty easy to come up with teaching methods that work well for them, and it's a good fit for my personality. I've never worked with older kids, but I like the idea of working with high school students, especially teaching high school science. I do worry that after ten years of thinking like a young child I might be starved for adult conversation and company, but again, I can always go back to school.

I also have to decide on a program. There are two universities close to my house. Let's call them School A and School B. Both have post-baccalaureate routes to teaching certification. School A has the masters with certification that I wrote about above. School A is also a much more prestigious school in general and therefore has a smarter student population. School B is considered to have a better school of education. School B, however, only has a post-baccalaureate certification in teaching, not a a masters with certification. At School B I would essentially be taking the undergraduate teaching major curriculum but not getting a degree after doing all that work. I don't like the idea of going back to school and not getting an actual degree at the end of it. I know someone who is doing this program at School B and she says she loves her professors, but her fellow students are kind of dumb undergrads. Call me a brat, but I don't like taking classes with people who aren't as smart as I am. That's what I did last fall when I was taking classes (at School B, actually) and it was frustrating for me. School B does have the advantage of being a much more complete preparation because you're taking the full undergraduate teaching curriculum, and at School A it's a condensed one-year curriculum, but I can always take more classes as a continuing education kind of thing if I feel I need them. Also, I already have two years of experience in a classroom, so that has to count for something.

So I decided to apply to School A's masters program, and that basically made my decision of teaching at the elementary or secondary level for me. Because it's only a one year program, you have to have completed subject-specific course work (math, science, history, etc) in previous degree programs. I don't have enough credits in anything to be certified as a subject teacher in high school, definitely not as a science teacher! So elementary school it is, and I'm actually not even sure I have enough subject course work for that either. I have to submit my undergrad transcript for evaluation by the program.

I'm really happy with all of these decisions. The more I think about it the more excited I get, so I know I made the right decisions. I'm also glad that everything has to happen so quickly, especially the GRE stuff, because it means I just have to do it and I don't have time to think about it. Now I just have to figure out what to do about recommendation letters written in French!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I like this picture, but I'm not sure about all the brown I'm using for the colors in the blog itself. I'm not a big fan of the color brown, it's so drab. Unfortunately, it seems to match best with the picture.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

New look!

Blogger Template Designer = Best Toy EVER!!! I literally just spent a couple of hours playing with it. There are infinite design possibilities! It's amazing! Next time I have ADHD chemo brain I am totally playing with this thing. Who am I kidding, I'll probably keep playing around with it all day today, and tomorrow, and maybe the next day... basically, don't be surprised if the look of my blog changes frequently over the next few days. I'm not sure if the colors are a little garish right now, but I'm craving bright colors these days because fall has finally come, and with it the grey, rainy weather! I need brightness!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

My brother didn't have as exciting of a game this week as he did last week, but his team did win, so they are 3-1 for the season!

I'm feeling better today. I had a bit of a chance to rest, and my crazy chemo brain has finally finished. Chemo brain is an unfortunate side effect for many patients that makes it difficult to concentrate, analyze, remember things... I've had some not-so-major memory problems from chemo before but the crazy chemo brain I get when I have IT chemo and Vidaza in the same week is insane. I feel like I am completely ADHD, unable to concentrate on anything, unfit for anything besides curling up in a ball on the couch to watch TV. Glad that's over!! Hopefully I won't have those scheduled on the same week again. The results of my lumbar puncture on Monday came back leukemia-free so I'll be able to taper off the IT chemo.

Another busy week ahead! I'll be starting training to be a one on one literacy or ESL tutor with a local nonprofit. I haven't decided yet if I want to tutor for literacy or ESL. I have a lot of experience with ESL from when I was in France, and I enjoyed it, but I'm not sure if changing to literacy might be a nice change of pace and also more useful in the future.

Sorry for the boring, business-y update. I'll try to be more interesting later this week!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Wanted: A day when I can actually sleep in!!!

I'm tired. I've had to get up between 7 and 7:30 every morning for the past week (it seems... might only be five days). I'm sure to many of you working folks that sounds like a luxury, but I'm used to getting to sleep until at least 9 AM. I have cancer, give me a break!

The weekend would normally be a good time to sleep in, but I spent an epically long day in synagogue on Saturday because it was Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, when Jews atone for our sins. This is perhaps worthy of it's own post, because although I sat in services for hours on end, it didn't do a lot for me. Honestly, how much can I possibly have to atone for? I spent most of the past year in a hospital!

Not only do I have to wake up freaking early for the rest of this week too, including Saturday, but it's a mega-treatment week. I had a lumbar puncture with chemo yesterday (no leukemia found in the spinal fluid, yay!), chemo from now through Saturday morning (at 8 AM so that we can hit the road for my brother's football game), and ECP tomorrow and Thursday. At least these all involve sitting in chairs, which is hopefully conducive for napping.

Good news from the weekend: my brother had a great game! Yes, he rejected the cultural heritage left to him by Sandy Koufax and played on Yom Kippur, but apparently G-d smiled on him and he ran back a blocked field goal attempt 75 yards for a touchdown, had an interception, a blocked pass, and several tackles. That G-d, such a jokester. My brother skips services and has a great game, I sit through them and get nothing spiritual out of it at all and a couple of completely ridiculous sermons to boot. That'll teach me to try to be a good Jew!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

This is amazing

I literally cannot stop laughing!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

I've had an interesting few days. I got an email from the Directrice of V School with some news. One was that they apparently sent me a package of drawings the kids made for me that I never received, which was really disappointing. I have received similar packages from my other schools, in addition to all the drawings the kids made for me while I was there, and I treasure all of them. I hate La Poste!

She also said that they are going to have an American assistant this year. Last year they had a local person teaching English, not an assistant, so the position still belonged to me, in a way. I was devastated when I read it. I wanted to curl up on my bed in a ball and cry. It's the final nail in the coffin of the experience I had in France for two years - it's really over. Someone else has my position now and she'll be the American assistant. All the kids will run to give her bisous when she walks into the school yard, she'll get to chitchat with the other teachers at recess, she'll shop at Monoprix and my bakery. Someone else really will be living my French life. MY French life. They are MY schools, MY students, MY coworkers, MY friends!

I was really feeling lousy, so I had a little discussion with myself (we're pretty good friends, me myself and I). I had a good time in France, but that isn't my life right now, and I'll never be able to have that exact same life again. Even if I get back to France someday it's extremely unlikely that I'll be an assistant in that same town and working in the same schools. It was great while I was doing it, but it's over now. Not on pause, over. On the positive side, I'm still in contact with a lot of my coworkers and those are friendships that will last a long time. They won't like me any less just because there's a new American in town. The kids obviously still remember me, and I can keep buying their love by sending them more packages of candy. I'll always have the memories of my time there, but I have to redefine my relationship to this place that means so much to me.

It's been very hard for me to let go of my time in France, harder than for most people because my situation changed so drastically once I got back to the US. I was yearning for a time when my life wasn't dictated by treatments and doctor's visits, I was independent, blah blah blah, I've written about this before. I think I'm okay now with another American taking my spot. I've come to terms with the fact that I won't be able to get back a life that was over a year ago. I can't get back the past. All I can do is work on the future.

And in my future I foresee a trip to France! Like I've said before, probably after the New Year, maybe April-ish? I should start planning now if I'm serious about going!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Shanah Tovah!

Shanah tovah means "good year" in Hebrew. Rosh HaShanah, the Jewish New Year, starts tomorrow at sundown. Rosh HaShanah, along with Yom Kippur, is one of the high holidays - the two major Jewish holidays. It's a time for reflection and introspection, where we think about the year that has passed and resolve to make changes for the coming year. It's also a time of joyfulness and hope; we made it through one year and hope for all kinds of good things in the year to come. It's traditional to eat apples dipped in honey to symbolize a sweet new year. Honey cake is another sweet treat that many people enjoy at this time. Sadly, I'll be skipping the honey this year because of the risk of botulism.

And like all Jewish holidays, you're supposed to spend a considerable amount of time at the synagogue for religious services. Services are punctuated by the blowing of the shofar, a ram's horn, which can be seen and heard here. Yes, the shofar has broken through on youtube!

The sound of the shofar is supposed to call us to repentance and reflection. Isn't it a haunting sound? The shofar is my favorite part of the service.

Also an Eid Mubarak to all! I love it when everyone's holidays coincide. It reminds us that we're all more the same than we are different.

L'shanah tovah, and may we all be inscribed and sealed in the Book of Life for a good year!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Saturdays at the Big House

Guess where I was today?!?!

If you guessed the largest stadium in the US, you would be correct! Michigan Stadium, home to the University of Michigan football team and affectionately known as The Big House because it is BIG, was recently renovated and rededicated this afternoon for the opening game of the season. Official capacity is 109,901 and today we set an all-time attendance record of 113,090! That's a lot of people! (and a lot of germs!)

We've had season tickets to Michigan games for several years now. Unfortunately now that my brother plays college ball on Saturdays this is the only game we could go to, but it was worth it to come for this game! Michigan won 30-10 over Connecticut and looked pretty solid overall. The quarterback is amazing - he runs, he throws, he IS the offense. You can see the renovated press box and new luxury boxes above the traditional bowl shape.

There's nothing like sitting with almost 115,000 screaming fans in the wind, rain, sun, snow.... you name the weather, I've watched a football game in it. It's such a vital, life-affirming experience. You KNOW you're alive when the kid behind you is jabbing his knee into your back and you can smell the Jack Daniels the guy next to you smuggled in while the band is blaring "Hail to the Victors" and the student section is screaming like banshees!

These are all pictures of the marching band from the pregame show, and taken on my crappy cell phone camera. I was too busy during the game to take pictures of the guys playing! The band marches down the field in a big block M, then they separate and the team runs out between them under a banner that says "Go Blue! M Club Supports You!" Check out our seats! We're on the 30 yard line now!

I also got to meet Rick Snyder, the Republican candidate for governor of Michigan. I bent his hear a little about health care. He had some good things to say, and I was excited to meet The Nerd!

For the rest of the fall I'll probably be going to some of my brother's games, which are significantly less exciting, but we're hoping that he'll have a good season for himself. At least at those games when the weather gets bad we can go sit in the President's Box where they have free food and drinks. Small time football programs definitely give you a few more perks!

Thursday, September 2, 2010


Instead of worrying about my real health problems, I usually get derailed worrying about weird, fake, paranoid health problems that have absolutely no bearing on anything important. It's a delightful vacation.

My teeth, for example. I worry a lot about my teeth. I'm sort of obsessive about flossing and brushing and using mouthwash. I worry that they'll just start falling out! I mean, it could happen, right? I bite into a nice, crunchy Greek salad one day and find out that the olives weren't properly pitted and crack! Out falls part of my tooth! I also worry about them being too sensitive, about gum recession, how white they are, how despite three years of braces and wearing a retainer at night for years they still aren't as straight as they should be ... but mostly that they'll just start falling out. Totally normal thing for a 26 year old to worry about, right? Needing dentures and fake teeth?

My other paranoid fear is my skin aging. I remember the days when I had a smooth, unlined forehead. Now my forehead is full of fine lines! I should have started using anti-aging products ten years ago! Why didn't I stock up while I was in France? Half of the space in every pharmacy there is devoted to anti-aging products! Now it's probably too late to reverse the damage and I'm going to end up with the skin of a 60 year old while I'm still in my 20s! I'm really good about my skin care - I wash my face every day no matter how late I get back from wherever, and I always wear at least SPF 30 sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays, every day, no matter what the weather.

So, I decided that there's no time like the present to try to prevent new lines from forming and try to minimize the appearance of the fine lines I already have. When I was at Target a couple days ago I bought Olay Total Effects Revitalizing Foaming Cleanser. It's too early to know if it's making a difference, obviously. But then, I did a personalized skin care quiz thing on the Olay website just now, and according to them I treat my skin like garbage! They said that in addition to everything I already do I should be using toner, two different face washes, moisturizing twice a day and using some special anti-aging eye cream to reduce puffiness and dark circles! I have to go back and buy more products! Obviously that's exactly what they want, for me to spend more money, and of course the products they recommend are a little more money than I feel like spending on skin care. Or is it? I mean, can you really put a price on clear, youthful looking skin?

In any case, I like trying out different face washes and moisturizers, so I can at least have a little fun with my bizarre skin aging paranoia. Anyone have any tips for helpful products or brands?

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Someone else is living your French life

I'm pretty sure there used to be a blog with this title, but I can't find it anymore. So to the anonymous blogger who came up with the great title, thank you.

I think the original blogger meant the title to reflect the feeling that many expats in France have that their life there isn't what they thought it would be and that someone else is living the amazing, idyllic French life you thought you would have, complete with gorgeous boyfriend and perfect apartment overlooking the Seine, whereas your reality is more along the lines of a 9m2 former maid's room and long, lonely weekends.

I dealt with my own share of frustrations in France, but overall I had a great time. Now that I'm back in the US, everyone in France is living MY French life. It's la rentree, the time when everyone goes back to school and work, so so the fact that "my French life" is most likely over, or at least on a very extended hiatus, is on my mind a lot. I would be so g for one last run in with my monster class, or another altercation with the agent comptable, or even getting stuck in a transportation greve (strike). I find myself nostalgic for the bureaucratic garbage, the brain dead idiots in Picardie, my yogurt stealing neighbor, teaching, my coworkers, my students, being able to go to Paris whenever I wanted... the list goes on.

I'm insanely jealous of everyone in France. I'm fully aware that it isn't a perfect life, and I know there are plenty of problems one encounters living in France, but that's the life that I want. Everyone in France is living my French life. If you live in France, no matter how miserable you are, I WANT YOUR LIFE. Sadly the chances of anyone willingly exchanging lives with me are very slim, but if you're up for it, we can arrange something! My mom will cook you dinner every night, if that helps sweeten the deal. She's a fantastic cook. She also likes to bake :)

So guys, when the going gets tough, just remind yourself that there's a girl in Michigan who wishes she were dealing with your tough goings. On the other hand, I know that there are probably people who are, in fact, miserable enough that they wish they had my life. At least I have a good health care policy, a roof over my head, and food on my table every day. Sadly a lot of people can't say that.

On one level, my point is that we should all try to be more content with what we have because there's always someone worse off (and wouldn't it suck to be the person at the bottom of that list who really is the worst off?), and there's always someone who is jealous of you and wants your life.

On another level, I really am saying that someone else is living my French life and I would like it back, please. Hand it over.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

How the Kindle makes bibliophilia worse

I love books. I have always loved books. I used to beg my parents to read me my favorite stories over and over again. We aren't really sure exactly when I began to read because I would memorize books so quickly and be able to recite them by heart. I was the kid who was always reading under her desk during class. I never thought it was a problem until my last year teaching in France when I caught one of my students doing it. My first instinct was to think it wasn't that big of a deal, until I realized that it would set a bad example for the other kids to let him get away with it!

I still don't think it's a big deal.

My parents got me a Kindle for my birthday before I went back to France for a second year because I had trouble finding books in English in my small town, and even in Paris you aren't guaranteed to find the book you want. What an amazing present!! As long as I am somewhere with wireless I can get almost any book I want. It's amazing! One of my favorite features is the free sample feature. You can download the first several pages of a book for free to see how you like it before you buy it. I love it. I love being able to try out books.

I'm afraid I've become a bit of a Kindle addict! Real paper books don't interest me the way they used to because I love my Kindle so much. That's terrible. I know there are some books I could never read on a Kindle; any Jane Austen, for example. But I have several paper books that I need to read and have been meaning to read, and for some reason they just don't make me want to read them the way my Kindle makes me want to read. I also have books I've been meaning to order from Amazon that I haven't ordered yet because I'm so captivated by my Kindle!

Then there's the ability to browse for books! I can always have new books! All the time! I can look through hundreds of books a day! Their enormous store is always open! I can sit in bed and look for books! It's amazing! This is another reason why I don't want to read the paper books that I already have in my possession but have yet to read. I'm kind of addicted to looking at new books all the time! I don't know if it's the appeal of being able to look at all those different books all the time, or the idea that there might be something better out there.... I really don't know. I just know that I'm hooked on Kindle, and I may have been spoiled for real books forever!

One of my favorite books when I was a kid was a book of American tall tales that my mom's graduate adviser gave me. By far my favorite story was, and still is, the tale of John Henry. Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox are pretty cool too, but John Henry holds a special place in my heart. My friend Get Yourself Connected and his tale of machines taking over railroad work that used to be done by men reminded me John Henry and the great folk songs about him. The Boss has a pretty mean version of one on his album We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Jackpot! .... or not

This week is chemo week AND photopheresis week, so I'm going in to the hospital every day for infusion. Yesterday I thought I had hit the cancer center jackpot: when I got to infusion I was sitting next to a cute guy who looked like he was my age! I can probably count on one hand the number of times I've seen a patient my age at infusion!

I was so excited, but he was with the nurse, so I decided to wait until she was done to say anything to him. But it turned out she had been taking out his IV because his infusion was done, and he stood up and left before I could even get out a simple hello!

Can't a girl catch a break?!?!?!?!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Meet the Wigs

A few weeks ago I went to the wig bank at the cancer center and picked out a couple of wigs. These are the first wigs I've ever gotten in my whole six years of treatment. Usually I wear scarves.

Meet Aubrey!

Meet Karen!

As you can see they are very different from each other! My natural hair is dark and curly, so they're both quite a change for me, Aubrey in particular. I've also never had a hair cut as cool as either of these - the cool bangs, cool layering, etc. Usually I go pretty basic - long layers, some face framing, and that's it. The last time I had hair that long I was in high school! I prefer Aubrey; she's a little more fun, and looks better on me. Who would ever have guessed I'd look good as a red head?

I decided to get some wigs because I thought they might give me a little more confidence when I'm out in public or meeting new people. I've only worn them a few times since I got them, and the first couple of times I think I was more self conscious than I am just wearing a scarf! I was worried that the wig would shift and look funny on my head, or that it was easy to tell I was wearing a wig, that it looked terrible on me, that the hair was tangling, etc. I hadn't gotten wigs previously because I'd heard that they are itchy and hot, and because I like accessorizing my outfits with scarves. Turns out wigs are indeed itchy and hot! But I do like looking a little more "normal" when I go out in public. I blend in rather than standing out.

The other reason to get wigs is that despite the Rogaine my hair doesn't appear to be growing back. Reasons that my hair isn't growing back yet are: still waiting to grow back from the chemo I got eight months ago (unlikely), the chemo I'm getting now (which shouldn't affect hair growth), and hair gvhd. I know a few girls, all around my age, who have hair gvhd. One is totally bald, one has extremely thin hair (thinner than mine is now) and doesn't wear a wig, and one who has thin hair and wears a wig. Rogaine does say that it takes a few months to work, and I've only been using it for two, so there's still a chance that I'll see some regrowth in the next couple of months. I can also try a higher dosage of Rogaine and see if that helps (buy Rogaine for Men instead of Rogaine for Women. Because obviously my life isn't already embarrassing enough!).

I can't tell if my hair is growing back or not, but I am starting to lose a little bit of hope. I haven't totally given up, but I think it's best if I start trying to get used to the idea of being mostly bald forever because it's going to take a long, long time to get used to. I hate the idea of my hair never growing back. I really don't mind being bald for a few months; I understand that it's a necessary evil when it comes to chemotherapy and getting healthy. I comfort myself with the knowledge that it will grow back. But what if the hair loss is permanent, what do I say to myself then?

Of course, in the grand scheme of things, if I have to sacrifice my hair to stay alive, it's a small price to pay. It's just a really, really sucky price. I miss my hair. I miss washing it, running my fingers through it, the way I look with my hair, I miss it blowing all over my face when I roll the windows down in my car. I always liked my hair. Not to mention, if I thought I'd have a hard time finding a guy who would put up with the cancer thing, it'll be even harder to find someone who will put up with cancer AND permanent baldness. Imagine coming home to someone who looks like a cancer patient every day. I can't blame anyone who doesn't want to sign up for that.

It makes me extremely sad to think that I'll probably be mostly bald for the rest of my life. That every day I'll wake up and put on a wig, and then take it off at night. That I'll never see my natural hair again.

A small prayer to the universe: Can I have my hair back please?

I guess until then, Aubrey and I will be spending some time together. It is kind of fun to play dress up with wigs, but I really hope it isn't something I'll have to do forever.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Apparently I'm really old

Last night at French conversation group I brought up this article from the New York Times about the phenomenon of 20somethings taking longer to "grow up" - be financially independent, getting married, having children, starting a career. I actually didn't think it was a very good article, but that is beside the point. I was sitting with a woman in her late 30s, a guy in his 40s, two college students, and one guy who just graduated from high school and is starting college in a few weeks. I summarized the point of the article, and the high school kid says "yeah, that's a big problem for my generation."

I looked at him and exclaimed "how old do you think I am?!?!" I know that to a 17 or 18 year old a 26 year old seems ancient, but let's keep in mind that the article was actually about my generation, not teenagers!

Kind of a hilarious story, right? I had a good laugh about it.

You know what else makes me laugh? I saw a recent picture of my French ex and he got fat and ugly! Bwahahahahaha. I'm sure it's super bad karma to be happy about it, but he was a major jerk, so I am getting a hefty dose of satisfaction out of his ugliness and weight gain. This one will make me smile for a long time!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Michigan's East Coast

I spent a wonderful weekend near Tawas City with two lovely ladies from my Gilda's Club young adult group. There are a lot of inland lakes in this area and one of the girls recently bought a house on Round Lake.

The Sand Lake firefighters were having some kind of special weekend, featuring Fireman Burgers, games for kids, and a fireman water balloon fight! Unfortunately we missed out on that one.

There was also this funny Budweiser car at the festival thing.

In the evening we went into Tawas to wade in Lake Huron and look around at the town. It didn't take too long, there's only one main street!

I hadn't been to Lake Huron before, so I crossed another Great Lake off my list of lakes to visit. I've now at least seen all of the Great Lakes!

Although Tawas is small, it does have possibly the best store ever:

I didn't actually get fudge or ice cream here, but I had to take a picture of the sign!

My friend and her husband have a pontoon boat that we took out to the sand bar that divides Round Lake from Indian Lake, set up some chairs, and took turns enjoying the sun and kayaking across the lake.

Looking over the sandbar into Indian Lake. Indian Lake was several degrees cooler than Round Lake.

This is how we set up the chairs - yes, we were sitting in the water.

Kayaking. I'm in the orange kayak!

It was a great weekend! So relaxing, and I was really happy to kayak again, I haven't kayaked in years! The only kind of weird part was that there was hardly any cell phone reception in the area. I had no idea places like that still existed!

Friday, August 13, 2010

What a week!

I had a busy week this week! Of course now I can't even think of what it was that kept me running around so much, but I felt like I was going non-stop. I think it's because I had trouble sleeping and was really tired all week. Why am I still awake right now?

I'm off to northern Michigan again for the weekend! Going to Tawas with some friends. It's a cancer chicks weekend. Pictures and stories when I get back.

Now off to bed!

Sunday, August 8, 2010


My doctor told me last week that my total maintenance chemo plan will last for two years. That means I'll be getting treatment until May 2012.

So I'm stuck here for another two years. I love my doctor and nurse, the hospital and all the staff here and have no desire to get treatment anywhere else. I feel that the team here is the best fit for me and I'm in the best place possible.

But.... then there's wanderlust I can't seem to get out of my system. Being tied to a specific place because of treatment frustrates me. It makes me feel like my life is not my own, that I have no self-determination, like someone - or something - else is in charge instead of me. I should be in charge. It's my life. It isn't only the idea that I want the power to determine where I go, but I love going different places and experiencing new things. I'm stuck in a rut here, living in the house I grew up in, in the same room, in the same bed I've had since I was six (yeah, I know, time to get a new one).

Part of the way I've been dealing with being stuck in treatment again is by imagining what I will do when I'm done. I like to think about going back to France, or different degree programs in different cities I can do. Above all I think about going back to France. It has almost a mythic quality for me. It's a place where I wasn't sick, where I was completely independent, totally in charge of my own destiny, working and traveling and doing all the things normal 20somethings do. I've never had that experience in the US. I spent most of college in treatment or recovering from my first transplant and then I ran off to France. In the US I feel perpetually stuck in adolescence. I can't even enroll in classes and do something productive with my time while I'm stuck here because I have to go to the hospital for so many different appointments. It would be too difficult to schedule. Maybe next semester or next year? And I know I could take online classes, but that isn't that same. I want to go OUT and do things, not be stuck in the house all the time.

I'm just disappointed. I need some change. I am going out and doing things, meeting people, but that's also a frustrating experience because one of the first questions anyone asks is "what do you do?" And I have nothing to say to that. I usually say that I recently got back from teaching English in France, but that was a year ago now. It just reminds me that the majority of the world is living and doing productive things and I am not. It's embarrassing, and yet another reminder that my life has taken a totally different path from anything I ever thought it would.

Everyone join in loud and clear: THAT SUCKS.

Guess it's time for a new two year plan. I like to mope about my problems for a couple of days and then get on with things, make some positive changes. Right now I'm moping, and tomorrow I'll regroup. France will still be there in two years, right?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Summertime in Northern Michigan

Views from our balcony over the west bay

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Some history on Old Mission Peninsula

This is a terrible map that I lifted from Wikipedia, but let's pretend it's a good map for a second. See the bay up where the "pinky" of Michigan is? That's Grand Traverse Bay. It's separated by that little red line, the Old Mission Peninsula, into the East and West bays. Traverse City is on the west bay, right next to the Old Mission Peninsula, and the other peninsula between Lake Michigan and the West Bay is the Leelenau Peninsula. Old Mission Peninsula is where the wineries we visited are located. Got it?

On Saturday we drove all the way up Old Mission Peninsula to visit the Old Mission Point Lighthouse and found a bunch of very interesting historical sites while we were there. The residents of Old Mission are really proud of their history and very keen to preserve it.

The lighthouse was built in 1870 and decommissioned in 1933. Did you know that Michigan has the second longest coastline in the US? Alaska has the longest.

Michigan has the most lighthouses of any state! Some are still used but are now automated, some have been reopened as museums, and some have been abandoned. Many of the abandoned lighthouses have dedicated groups trying to raise money to renovate them. If you're familiar with the Gordon Lightfoot song "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald," you know why lighthouses were so vital on the Great Lakes. It was an extremely important shipping route with lots of dangerous shallow shoals, bad storms, and little islands. Lighthouses played a vital role in keeping the sailors (and cargo, of course) safe.

This was taken from a mud flat close to the coast. See how shallow the water is here?

In the same park as the lighthouse is the Hessler Log House, a log cabin that was built between 1854 and 1856 by Joseph and Mary Hessler, some of the first white settlers on Old Mission. They have a really nice audio piece that explains about the cabin and the household items that have been put in it. It's like a mini-museum of the lives of early settlers in this part of the country.

This one was taken behind glass so it isn't very clear but you can see the sort of household implements they would have used. The stove was used mostly for heating. Settlers usually put the kitchen in a separate building or in a separate room so that the house wouldn't get too hot in the summer.

Next we went to the Dougherty House. Reverend Peter Dougherty arrived on Old Mission in 1839 to provide education and religion to the local Odawa and Ojibwa (also known as the Ottawa and Chippewa), who had signed a deal with the government to give up their land to be settled by whites. The house was built in 1842 with help from the local tribes.

The house has been continually used, either as an inn, private residence, or storage, since it was built. The Old Mission Peninsula Historical Society is currently renovating the house and preparing to open it as a museum. We were there on a Saturday so there wasn't any work going on, but I did get to snoop around the property and take pictures.

The back of the house showing the summer kitchen and the storage shed. You can see the ongoing renovation work. There are still a lot of old barns in the area so they often use period wood from those old barns in restoration work.

The outhouse. They made a big deal out of the fact that it's a three seater - two adults and one kiddie seat. One of the few three seaters in Grand Traverse County!

Next stop was the replica of the church and school that Dougherty and the Native Americans built together for his mission work. Eventually the mission was moved to the Leelenau Peninsula on the other side of the bay and the church was moved there too, log by log. If I remember correctly that church still stands and is still used.

Next to the replica of the church is the Old Mission General Store, which has been in this building since 1839! It's very cute on the inside, kind of dark, very old-timey and rather cluttered with things like old lanterns, coon skins, candies, and their homemade cherry salsa and preserves.

We also stopped briefly at Haserot Beach, a small, very picturesque beach located pretty far up the peninsula. You have to know about it to end up there.

There was also a cute playground for the little kids there.