Packing up my saddle bag

Rainy, rainy day here.  Just as well, so that I am not tempted to exchange my chores for a walk outside.  In two days we are hopping on a plane, and I’ve got lists of things to take care of.  Stop the mail and papers, refill prescriptions, pack, clean the house, do the laundry, make a carrot cake for Jem’s birthday, take Pete’s guitar to the luthier for a repair, drop the dog at camp (aka:  the kennel). Unfortunately, I must take frequent breaks from all this bustle, as my ankle swells up like a water logged sausage when I am on it too long.

All of this preparation is so that we can make our annual pilgrimage to Marfa, Texas for Thanksgiving.  It’s going to be extra special this year, as I was born on Thanksgiving in 1959.  This year my birthday will once again fall on that particular holiday and I will be hitting the half century mark.  We will be joined by all three of our children as well as three of my siblings and most of their kids. Everyone contributes beer, food (including my brother John’s famous chile) and wine.  Margaritas are on the house.  My husband David makes a very fine Thanksgiving feast, replete with a free range turkey.  My contribution will be some of the side dishes and I’m a whiz at doing dishes as well.  Actually, almost all of the adults who will be present have worked in restaurants and we’ve covered all the jobs from dishwashing, busing, serving to chef–so there is never a shortage of qualified help (and we’re all good tippers as well). Our assorted spawn will take turns djing; exposing their parents to a wide range of musical styles, including our son August’s own hiphop recordings. Soccer will be played, bikes and scooters will be ridden, and at least three of our party will play a round or two of golf at the Marfa course–“The Highest Golf Course in Texas”.

And I’m preparing to bask in all that warmth from the sunshine and my gathered family.  I don’t know how much time I will have to write in the next week, but I will certainly post some photos.  Until then, wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving.  To life!

Some of the gang last year- photo by Greg Owsley

12 responses to “Packing up my saddle bag

  1. Have a great birthday and Thanksgiving! My birthday is also on the 26th… I LOVE when it falls on Thanksgiving. I will be heading to NC to spend the holiday with my family. Just found out on Wednesday that my mom’s SCLC has spread to her liver, bones and brain, and I am so glad we had planned on heading home. Safe travels to you and yours.

  2. Kim, I’m so sorry about your mom, but it is good that you are heading home. It will be bittersweet, I know, but happy birthday and Thanksgiving to you as well. Linnea

  3. Linnea,

    Thank you for writing and wising you a wonderful birthday in Texas with family. We just had a “thank you” celebration dinner for many of those who helped us over the past 9 months, since we found out about Stacy’s diagnosis of NSCLC Stage 4. Stacy’s mother, Nancy O’Connor, hosted it in Sacramento, CA, about an hour north of us, here in Berkeley, CA. There were 27, those who cooked meals, hugged us, gave us sage advice about what to do next, helped us hang hammocks, cleaned out our fridge, took out garbage, and on. One of these fine people was Karen Rothblatt whose best friend, Alison Jacks is the sister of Tyler Jacks, whose lab Dr. Alice Shaw worked at in Massachusetts. That is how we started our journey to now, with the good news this past week of the 40% shrinkage overall. Feeling the blessing of your life extended and my partners, and sending thanks out to the all who helped make this happen. Wonderful travels, Heather

    • Heather, sounds like we throw the same sort of parties (we’re big on lots of people and hammocks both). I am so pleased that Stacy is doing well; those of us on trial with positive responses has been growing, and there is real comfort in numbers. Happy travels to you as well, and maybe one of these days we’ll all be in attendance at the same party. Linnea

  4. Linnea, My wife was recently diagnosed with stage IV Lung Cancer and like you she’s a NON Smoker, otherwise very very healthy. We are very interested in pursuing the ALK test with Dr Shaw. Do you have any thoughts on how I can fast track the process? A quick background; we are awaiting results from the EGFR test for Tarceva. Please feel free to email me @ or call me 714-981-2900.. To you I say keep up the fight, you are an inspiration and I will pray for your continued heath and well being!

    • Dave, I am somewhere with intermittent internet access–I will email you as soon as it is more solid. I appreciate your good wishes and I will answer any questions I am able to. Linnea

  5. Dear Linnea,
    I just wanted to send you some birthday wishes from Stockholm. You seem to be a well-equipped party-family! I’m very inspired by reading your words, you have a very distinctive way of telling your story. The lifes we do live, also with this disease.
    I’m so happy for you and your success!
    Wish you all the best, Anja.

    • Thank you so much Anja. Kind of nice when your birthday falls on the same day as a food filled holiday–a ready made party. I like the idea of wishes from Stockholm: my fantasy birthday was to go to Sweden and drink some vodka from from an ice cup in an ice bar. Maybe someday! Love, Linnea

  6. Happy Birthday Linnena, I recently discovered your blog and I have been thinking of you non stop. My story is a lot like yours; BAC-NSCLC – lower left lobe (7 cm – ha). (It was discovered Thanksgiving Day 2006). I had the lower lobe removed in December. All margins and lymph nodes were clear. Then June of 2007 a CT scan showed the cancer had spread to both lungs. Stage IV (although my oncologist refuses to talk in stages). I went through 6 infusions of chemo (that cisplatin was hard to handle) and following that the cancer was stable. Until May of 2009 – now I am on Tarceva with high hopes although I do not have the EGFR mutation. During the days I do quite well but the minute I lie down I start coughing and my lungs rattle.

    My kidney functions are off so I have been taking Nettle Seed tincture – I wonder if that would help your liver? Check it out on line. Also I have a chopped habanero pepper and crushed garlic sandwich smothered in butter everyday and 4TB pureed Asparagus morning and night. I think these is something to all of that and as you know believing is half the battle.

    Happy Thanksgiving and thanks for your blog – it is friendly, informative and very well written. All the best, Melanie

    • Melanie, thanks a lot for contacting me and for the birthday wishes. I’m happy that we have met; sorry that it was under these circumstances. Sounds as if our stories have a lot in common. I have to laugh about the habanero sandwiches. My husband is always pushing hot peppers and garlic in my direction–and habaneros are his favorite (he makes great beef jerky with habaneros). I will definitely check out the nettle seed.
      Three years in you are beating the odds–keep up those high hopes. And as you don’t have the EGFR mutation, perhaps you should consider being tested for ALK or K-RAS. Anyway, Happy Thanksgiving to you! Linnea

  7. I would love to meet you for a birthday-drink in Stockholm (even if I would prefer a warmer place than the ice-bar…..)! If you decide to realize your travel-fantasy, just let me know! You are more than welcome to join me for my 40th in January! Atleast ageing has aquired a different flair, since the diagnosis….. Take care, love Anja

  8. Anja–I will likely be a no-show in January (but happy 40th!)–but one of these days, I will come to Sweden and we will meet. Love, Linnea

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