Posts Tagged family

A funny quote for my uncle, Hal Rubinstein

“. . when we consider a stallion of the century, we refer to Rubinstein.”

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Argentum

My brother and I play computer games together every week or so. I find it to be a good way to keep in touch. Not only is it an activity we can do together to drive conversation, but it’s fun!

The latest excitement is that, playing as a team in Starcraft, we made it from the Copper league to the Silver league. It’s basically the automated system saying to us, “You’re not good, but you don’t suck as much anymore.” Hooray!

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55

Today would be my mom’s 55th birthday.

Half of my parents & grandparents died of cancer in their early to mid fifties. Of Ruth, Sam, and me, will we all escape that fate? Will treatment improve much in the next few decades? We’d better hope so.

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In Tennessee

I’m currently in Tennessee, after a last-minute trip to Boston. In case you hadn’t read it on my mom’s health blog, she died on Tuesday night shortly after we’d all arrived. We didn’t really see it coming–she’d been in the hospital with a fever before, she’d had infections before, but this time the combination of cancer and pneumonia overwhelmed her. None of us realized it was so dire until the last minute, and we arrived at the hospital just in time to see her. She, however, was not awake, and she probably never realized that this was the end.

Her funeral is on Tuesday. After that, I’ll be back in Berkeley finishing up my dissertation.

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Relatives on websites

My great-aunt is an actress. You’d know her best as the exorcist on Poltergeist. But I’d never noticed who else she resembles until now.

Kim Jong Il totally looks like lady from Poltergeist (Zelda Rubinstein)

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When do you break out the camera?

I visited my sister and her husband in Irvine this past weekend. Of course, I only took pictures on the day we went to the San Diego Wild Animal Park, but I still got some good pictures.


Ruth


Todd

Of course, when I was most excited, I forgot entirely to take pictures. At the park, they did a little presentation where they brought out some animals to interact with select members of the crowd, and some dude got to have a hyrax jump around on his shoulders! I was intensely jealous. For those of you who don’t know, a hyrax is an adorable little rodent-like rock-jumping critter. I saw some in Israel last summer, and I took as many pictures of them as I did the whole rest of the trip. For instance:

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(from Israel)

I also got this video of a young hyrax making a clumsy mistake. Damn, they’re cute.

(from Israel)

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Two weeks in Tennessee

I was in Tennessee with my family (save for my sister) for two weeks. I didn’t take as many pictures as I probably should have, but I’ll share what I’ve got.

I went on a few hikes with these folks

including around a green Tennessee valley
cut for pictures

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Promised report: run & hike

2 Sundays ago, I did a fund-raising 5K run for Multiple Myeloma, in honor of my mother. I was pleased with my running (I didn’t stop to rest, this time), but more importantly, I raised an astonishing amount of money on my mom’s behalf.

I hadn’t expected other people to donate much (I really do hate asking for donations), but the total donation was $370! (No, that’s not $370 factorial, though that would be an impressive donation.) Thank you very much for your help! That, and not the running, was the real triumph. I am astonished and impressed to get so much support for Ellen.

Thank you!

In other news, I also went on a hike to Mt. Diablo. It was very nice, and pleasantly green for California. I’d recommend it to anyone. Here are a few of the better pictures.

cut for large images

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Multiple Myeloma Race for Research

As you may have heard, my mother has the sort of bone cancer known as “multiple myeloma.” I’ll be running in a 5K fund-raising race on Sunday, April 5. I always feel awkward asking for donations, but I thought I should at least inform people of the opportunity. If you want to help support multiple myeloma research, you can donate through my mom’s team here: http://321cure.themmrf.org/site/TR/RaceforResearch/General?team_id=1500&pg=team&fr_id=1030

EDIT: To donate, click the “join team” link on that page.

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Life and Death

It was pointed out that I haven’t posted in a while. That’s true.

Grandfather

My paternal grandfather died last week. I didn’t know him that well, and that’s mostly his fault. I asked him about his life, but rarely would he tell any stories. He was an army clerk in WWII, and he got to fly over the Himalayas in an army plane, but that’s about all I heard of it. Only this weekend, meeting his friends, did I find out that he had friends. Apparently he was a pool shark and a skilled golfer, in addition to the avid TV-watcher I knew.

At least I got to see lots of family. I saw my cousin (my only first cousin) for the first time in a decade. I met relatives I didn’t know I had. I walked around Pittsburgh with my grandmother and learned Pgh history with my uncle. The biggest shame was that my mother wasn’t there, since she was getting treatment in Nashville.

Mother

Speaking of my mother…. I think I mentioned she has multiple myeloma, a sort of bone cancer. She first found out about it three years ago, and after a marrow transplant from her brother David, she was okay on maintenance drugs for quite a while. However, this fall, the indicators of the cancer began to rise, and since then she has been through an increasingly taxing series of treatments. She hasn’t been in remission since then, despite going through the standard state-of-the-art treatments, including lose-your-hair hardcore chemo.

And now, despite her recent treatments, the protein they use to measure the cancer has begun rising again. The chemo has damaged her marrow, reducing her blood cell counts, so she needs platelets and whole blood transfusions, but still the cancer keeps coming back. Now she’s looking into trials and other programs, including at hospitals outside of Tennessee. This has turned out to be much harder than any of us hoped–there are stories of people who had much simpler treatments and went into nice long remissions, and I guess she’s not that lucky. But she and my dad keep fighting and trying all the options, and if anyone can beat this, she can.

Me

Meanwhile, my life goes on. I go to Pittsburgh for a funeral and end up attending swing dancing with live music. Here in Berkeley, I’ll have a busy weekend, with social events, dancing, hang gliding, and a visiting potential student. Maybe I’ll even squeeze in some work on my thesis.

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