Buster and the Hard Stuff

It’s been a hell of a week.

I put the photo of the best moment at the top of this post. Cosmic Charlie and Carrie Chandler (two thirds of Carrie Sue and the Woodburners). They were wonderful and did my heart SO much good. We wholeheartedly recommend them. Long live the mighty Rosebowl.

OK, here goes. We woke up Monday, no, wait, Tuesday, in foul moods. Not irritated with each other but definitely not pleased with the world. Teri had invited us to her Rotary meeting and that’s where Charlie and Carrie played. As I mentioned, they were great and it was nice to chat for a moment too. Live music forever.

Ernie had dropped me off pretty close to the Lake House. I used Joe (the shillelagh) and was doing ok although it was a harder walk than I expected. And as someone with mobility issues I must say that the toilet in the Lake House is possibly the lowest I’ve ever rested on. I was quite amused but managed to get up. I headed outside knowing Ernie would catch up but I got just a little ways and realized my legs were not working the way one would expect one’s legs to work. I leaned against the wall. Teri ran to get a chair and a truly kind woman named Linda stood with me, kind of propping me up while Ernie ran to get Red Rider (the walker). I just didn’t expect this so I was a bit freaked out. I thanked Linda and made it to the car with Red Rider but it wasn’t easy. I was, of course, in tears by that point. We were supposed to head over to Carle so Ernie could get platelets. Instead he raced me home and got me in the house because I didn’t think I could navigate Carle at the moment. He got his platelets but when they tested him again, his count was even lower. Geesh.

Yesterday we headed back to Carle. I got to the doctor’s office for the appointment but I mustn’t have looked on top of things as the nurse offered me water. Lord she was kind. She’s one of our favorites. I know I complain here and there about Carle but there are some extraordinarily kind folks there, particularly in the Cancer Center and Vasireddy worlds.

Yesterday was a great day for clouds…view from the Cancer Center valet parking

The Pod Gods must have known we needed a break because we got POD FOUR!!! Pod Four in the Infusion Suite is just is a bit more private and quiet and that can make a huge difference. He was just getting Keytruda so we were out before noon.

Unfortunately I am still having difficulty walking much. Getting upstairs last night was harrowing. Today there’s stuff I need to get done but I’m trying to focus on both of us relaxing and calming down a bit. Deep breath in, deep breath out. Deep breath in, deep breath out.

On the up side? There are MULTIPLE baby Busters!!! Damn, life is good despite the hard stuff.

Also, we are extraordinarily touched by the folks that have donated blood in Ernie’s Blood Drive (which goes through noon tomorrow). Truly. I’ll write more later but it means a lot to us. He heads back for a six hour infusion (only two hours for platelets, the rest is an infusion for his immune system) on Monday. Funny how your perspective of what is important changes as you move through life.


Oh, wait, one more thing. You gotta admit…. Buster and the Hard Stuff would be a great band name. I mean I still want The Cynthias who will cover all my favorite songs but I really like Buster and the Hard Stuff for originals.

Buster II is recovering from the woodchuck attack. We’re not asking which woodchuck did it.
Hoping to have some Jon Byrd news soon!

In which I have chip regrets and ponder Johansen and Lightfoot

I beg you, do not EVER let me eat horseradish cheddar cheese potato chips again because as delicious as they were (I love horseradish) they almost killed me. Ok, that’s a bit extreme but they really knocked me and my stomach out for a good day or so. Who is to blame for this? Why, ME! I looked at the ingredients, I knew there was garlic and onion. Sigh, I know better but it was a gloomy Sunday afternoon and I was curled up watching the David Johansen documentary and horseradish reminds me of Ceal. So. Yeah. Upon rising the next morning I promptly made Ernie throw the rest out and spent a good part of yesterday huddled on the couch.

The Johansen doc though? Ohhhhh, MAN is it good. I just utterly loved every second. I grinned through the whole thing. Ernie liked it but not quite as much as I did. I think it’s brilliant. At one point Johansen reminded me of Olney (the curiosity and intelligance), another time of Cab Calloway (the innate performer). I’ll put him on my list of folks I’d like to have over for dinner. Highly recommended and you can do a free preview of Showtime for 10 days or something like that if you don’t have it (note to self: don’t forget to cancel). It’s both hard to believe and also very easy to believe that he is the last of the New York Dolls.

I loved it.

That’s L.U.V.

When I was about 12 I got a radio as a Christmas gift. It was just the right size to rest on the towel rack in the bathroom when I took a shower. The two songs I remember most from that period are Rikki Don’t Lose That Number and Sundown. Either one of those songs brings me right back to being 12 years old.

I was sorry to hear Gordon Lightfoot passed. Ernie was a huge fan of his. He and Owen saw him last year at the Virginia. I think the show was rescheduled something like three times between his health and the pandemic. I’m glad it finally happened and that my two boys were there.

So, one Doll standing and Lightfoot is gone. But the seasons keep changing and spring flowers are blooming. The passage of time of time becomes more and more fascinating to me the older I get.

Off to St. Louis tomorrow.


Top photo: Ernie’s beloved tree peony

Love and grief, house concerts and platelets

It’s been a long week or whatever particular unit of time you want to use. I feel as though I’ve been underwater. Yesterday was long and yet I couldn’t sleep last night. I must have turned my pillow over fifty times. Not a restful night. Lots of sad, strange dreams.

On top of everything else I developed a really strong pain going down my left leg. Normally, with the spinal stenosis pain, it lessens if I sit in a comfortable chair or lie down. Not this one. A few days later I was seeing an orthopedic PA for my knees so I figured I would ask him about it. He was very sympathetic, said it was coming from my spine and agreed nerve pain is awful. When I asked more he said, “Oh, I just do knees, you’ll have to talk to someone else.”


Yesterday we spent what felt like a million hours at the cancer center. Ernie’s platelets are still not as high as Barnes wants. We got Pod One, but it was quiet enough as we were there later than usual. It was 45 minutes before he finally got the infusion going. Then an hour for the platelets and although I know a watched bag doesn’t empty….lord it seemed to take forever. Then a flush, then wait for half an hour so they can take blood again. We got the results last night and I didn’t bother telling Ernie that it hadn’t gone up much because I knew he’d be upset. So, sure enough, they called this morning. We’ll head over again tomorrow. Crossed fingers. I hope it works, we’re supposed to head down to St. Louis on the 22nd.

I’m still grieving Peter Cooper of course. I see a picture of him and just wonder how on earth he can be gone. I’ve been thinking a lot about how you grieve everybody differently, even if it’s equally intense and painful.

I have also been looking back at our house concerts with Peter. I always say that we don’t have favorite house concerts; they’re like children, we love them all. Of course there are differences though. Concerts with Peter and Eric, and then Thomm, had a special glow about them. Some artists keep to themselves more than others. Peter and Eric just divided and conquered the room even before they started playing. Here is Eric sitting on the stairs eating dinner with Teri and her friend, Elaine.

Heather always made a special moon cake for Eric, in honor of his song Tranquility Base.

My thoughts continue to be with Peter’s family, Charlotte and Baker, as well as all the many others that loved him.

And me? Well, the Tramadol is kicking in. Ernie’s putting a few more ornaments on the tree. Listening to the Red Beet Christmas album (highly recommended).

Onward. Onward with love.