Wisconsin Lutheran College seen from Froedtert Clinical Cancer Center
November 6, 2023: Wisconsin Lutheran College seen from the third floor of Froedtert Clinical Cancer Center, Wauwatosa, Wisconsin.

Another Week: Number 46

by | November 12, 2023

Our first week on Standard Time started promisingly. After I mowed the leaves while listening to the Bears-Saints game (our TV antenna doesn’t get CBS 2 Chicago), I came back indoors to the smell of cooking. Amy had been navigating our kitchen with the rollator her friend Wendy lent us, and she cooked herself a pot of soup with onions, spinach, chickpeas, and broth. She ate a good helping of soup, then asked for another.

On Monday and Tuesday, though, there was a new turn. Amy is anemic. An off week has been added regarding the chemo treatments in her head, and the Taxol in her chest port has now been discontinued as the suspected cause of her low blood counts. On Wednesday, she took a genetic blood test to find out if she’s a fit for a new drug.

The more immediate challenge has been her diet and regularity. She’s not eating much at all, so her digestive process is kind of on furlough. We’re cautiously experimenting with prune juice, MiraLAX, and so on. In between, she’s fairly weak and sleeping a lot.


Quiz Lady (2023)

I saw in my Google News feed that Quiz Lady was the most popular movie on Hulu, so I started it on my laptop while Amy was in the Day Hospital at Froedtert getting a bag of blood on Monday. After a while, she nodded off, so I stopped the screening and we resumed it later on our TV at home.

Quiz Lady stars Awkwafina as Anne, a reserved and nerdy single woman who’s a devoted fan of a Jeopardy-esque game show called Can’t Stop the Quiz, hosted by Will Ferrell. Her loud and messy sister Jenny (Sandra Oh) pops back into her life because their gambling-addict mother owes $80,000 to a loan shark. Jenny soon decides to coax Anne into competing on the quiz show in order to win enough to satisfy the debt.

It’s a good-natured, silly movie full of sound and color and slapstick — but it’s not very funny or engaging. It just keeps moving through its exaggerated motions for an hour and 39 minutes.

Amy fell asleep again at home before it finished. She didn’t miss much.


American Symphony trailer

Since first seeing him on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, Amy has had a deep affection for Jon Batiste. More recently, she read Between Two Kingdoms, the memoir chronicling the cancer odyssey of Suleika Jaouad, who Batiste married in 2022.

On Thursday, among our regular browsing of YouTube videos, I included the trailer for American Symphony, a Netflix documentary about Batiste coming on November 29.

Glancing over at Amy, I saw it was hitting her hard. “First time I’ve cried through this whole thing,” she said.

I expect we’ll be re-subscribing to Netflix one day soon.


Austin City Limits: Margo Price/Molly Tuttle & Golden Highway

Friday night, playing TV roulette, we launched the PBS app on our Roku and clicked on Austin City Limits, the greatest music show in the history of television. Waiting there for us was a recent episode featuring Margo Price and then Molly Tuttle & Golden Highway.

We’ve been Margo Price fans since Midwest Farmer’s Daughter seven years ago. Her latest album, Strays, was released last January, and now she has a memoir out called Maybe We’ll Make It. Still, this ACL performance was beyond our expectations. It’s a rocking, audacious, celebration of being yourself.

Molly Tuttle was a perfect complement. I’ve seen her a little bit previously on YouTube, and she’s an astonishing guitarist. Austin City Limits does a great job showing how musicians play their music, but I couldn’t have used some tight close-ups into Tuttle’s picking hand, because laws are being broken there.


Albert Brooks: Defending My Life (2023)

Rob Reiner‘s new Albert Brooks documentary was released Saturday night on Max, and we started watching it seven minutes later. We’ve been huge fans of Brooks since being introduced to his work by Steve Dahl in the early 1980s.

Albert Brooks: Defending My Life takes a very standard biographical approach. Reiner interviews Brooks in a booth at Matteo’s Restaurant in Los Angeles, and they work chronologically through his life and career with plenty of clips and archival footage included in the 89 minutes.

It’s a brisk thumbnail summary and would make a fine introduction for anyone unfamiliar — but it’s over too quickly, and there aren’t a lot of big insights or revelations. We do get to meet Albert’s wife and kids. Also, as with most of these bios, there are celebrities you would not expect to be commenting on the subject — Alana Haim, for instance.




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