Jenster's Musings

Friday, March 30, 2007

I Hope She Takes Me To The Awards Show



Katie tried out for a solo in the Spring Choral Concert about three weeks ago. We found out yesterday she was given one of the solos!!

She has one of those full, rich voices that you don't hear very often in the 6th grade and we love to listen to her sing. For the variety show last year she sang Voice of Truth by Casting Crowns and I was blown away. I couldnt' believe that voice was coming from my baby. Of course, I suppose I could be a little bit biased.

So now I'm faced with the question, "What will I wear to the Grammys?"

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Thursday, March 29, 2007

THAT'S SICK, YO!

Or wicked awesome! Or bad dope!

No, I'm not talking about illness, evil or drugs. It's rock talk for cool! Or hot! Or crazy insane!

No, I'm talking about the weather or a mental state.

I'm talking about Guitar Hero II - a video game in the same vein as DDR, but instead of dancing on a floor mat, you play a fret board on a little plastic electric guitar.

Taylor's birthday is at the end of April, but the video store down the street was closing and they had some sweet deals, including Guitar Hero II. It was his idea to buy it for him as an early birthday present.

Lucky for me he has to go to school and has a busy social schedule. I am pleased to report I have graduated from Easy to Medium. I ROCK!

NEAR DISASTER

Feeling unusually maternal this morning, I offered to throw a frozen chocolate chip pancake in the microwave for Katie while she was getting dressed. "Yes, please," she called downstairs, the pleasant surprise obvious in her voice.

I placed it on a nice white plate and set the microwave for 30 seconds, just like the directions said for one pancake. My back to the kitchen, I had no idea the first floor was filling up with smoke until Katie came down.

So now I'm thinking I may have set the timer for 3 minutes instead of 30 seconds, but I really don't think so. I'm not usually THAT scatterbrained.

Whatever the reason, the pancake now looks like a small, black paving stone and I think my plate is ruined.

Time for new dishes!!! WOO HOO!!



LAST, AND PROBABLY LEAST

I went through and organized our small pantry yesterday. Doesn't it look nice?

I bought a bunch of plastic bins from Target, took everything out of the pantry, threw a bunch of crud away, filled the bins, placed them back on the shelves and voila!!

Very happy with myself, I was. Until I turned around and saw this:

Now there's no room for this stuff. Time to get creative...

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Winter? Summer? Spring?

Jen’s Law is the law that says if you are in a hurry at Target and you pick the shortest line, only after unloading the entire cart will you realize that either a) the cashier lives an alternate reality where efficiency is determined by the length of time it takes a person to perform the simple task of dragging an item over the scanner; b) the person in front of you with two items is arguing with the cashier about the $.03 difference between last week’s flyer and the price tag; or c) a combination of both. Meanwhile, all the long lines are moving at a much faster rate. And if you decide to take your stuff off the belt so you can move to another line, only after you’ve reloaded the cart will you realize the other lines now resemble I-95 during rush hour. I hate that law!

After my adventure in Target yesterday, I ran into A.C. Moore for a few little things and it made me very sad. It made me sad because I really wanted to go to Hobby Lobby, but the nearest one is in Virginia – a little far for me to drive for a decorative box.

It doesn’t seem possible that it was only a little over a week ago when we had all the sleet. Yesterday got up into the lower 80’s. It was nice, but I’d like a bit of spring, please. We’re supposed to be back to the mid-60's for the next week or so - which is still above normal - and that's the kind of weather I like best. Upper 60's, lower 70's, open windows, no air conditioner. That's what I'm talkin' about.

I did have the windows open yesterday because there's no way on God's Green Earth I'm going to turn on the air conditioner in March. It's unseemly. We have a huge side yard and after dinner Katie and some of her friends congregated there for a little game of softball. I sat in the empty dining room with my eyes closed and a smile on my face, listening to their screamings and giggles and good natured taunts and I thought, Life is good.

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Monday, March 26, 2007

Nekkid in Long Beach AGAIN!

Todd had his conference in Long Beach again last week. And guess what? He arrived with NO CLOTHES! Bwahahahahahaha!!! This was NOT my fault, however. (If it was my fault I wouldn't be so openly gleeful.) He called me when he got to the hotel to tell me his luggage hadn't made it with the plane. Trying to be encouraging, I reminded him at least he knew where he could get some new clothes. I'm sure it was only because he was tired from flying all day that he didn't think the comment was funny.

His parents live about 20 miles or so from Long Beach so he spent the weekend with them. His father bought a really nice HD TV a while back, but he won't pay the extra money for HD cable. Somewhere between $5.00 and $11.00 a month. LOL

I'm happy to say he's on his way home from the Philadelphia airport as I type and am I ever glad. I think he's a little hesitant, though. With all my alone time these past several days I've figured out what I want to do in the dining room. He should just be thrilled that I didn't decide to start on it while he was gone like I usually do! And some of you know how my home improvement projects go from a simple paint job to pulling off paneling and tearing up linoleum. I don't see much in the way of destruction where the dining room project is concerned, but I could be wrong.

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Saturday, March 24, 2007

It Keeps Getting in My Way

A mastectomy is an amputation plain and simple. An appendage, if you will, has been removed from the body. Obviously it's not as traumatic or life altering as the loss of a limb, something you rely on to perform every day tasks. I don't know of many women who use their breasts to perform every day tasks. At least not personally.

One does have to learn to adjust, however. Some of the more chesty women I know who had one breast removed had balance problems at first. Their center of gravity seemed to be skewed directly proportionate to the size of the breast removed. I was not what you would call a buxom woman to begin with so I never had the problem of veering off to the side while trying to walk a straight line. Well, not because of that, anyway.

I noticed it when I reached across my body with my left arm but that eventually became "normal". Nowhere did I noticed the loss more acutely than when I was trying to sleep. I'm a tummy sleeper and I had to learn to hold the pillow just the right way so I wouldn't roll to the left. As with all things, I finally adapted and it became second nature.

Now that I've had the reconstruction I find myself having to "reach around" my left breast which seems so funny to me. My pre-BC boobs very seldom ever got in my way. But last night was the first time since the surgery that I decided to try sleeping on my tummy. It didn't last long at all. I'm back to square one and am going to have to retrain myself again.

On A More Serious Note

I know you all have heard about Elizabeth Edwards' metastasis to her bones. No matter how good a prognosis a breast cancer patient has (or any cancer, for that matter) there's always the fear of spread lurking in the deepest recesses of your mind.

I have a particular mechanism that is both beneficial and detrimental to me. I push unpleasantness so far back that sometimes I don't even realize it's there. It has served me well over the years and helped me to deal with things rationally and straight on. But holding big, scary things in means they're just going to grow until they break out eventually.

I broke like a water main when the Edwards made their announcement Thursday. I desperately hurt for both of them, their worst fears being realized. And I cried for me and every other woman I know - and those I don't - who have been cursed with the disease. So many strides have been made in breast cancer treatment, but there's still not a cure and that's a scary thought.

Several people have said they need to quit the campaigning and focus on their family. That is certainly what I would want to do in the same situation. But we all deal with things so differently and it could very well be that keeping her focus on something other than her disease will be just what she needs. Not that focusing on her family isn't a good thing - it's vital. But focusing solely on the family only brings your own mortality closer to the surface.

Regardless of personal or political beliefs the Edwards deserve our thoughts, our prayers and our admiration. They are both a good example of strength in the face of adversity.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

We Ain't From Around Here

As I mentioned in a couple previous posts, we had sleet all day Friday. An attempt was made to clear the driveway, but it was an unsuccessful mission. The snow shovels just bounced right off the thick layer of ice. At first it wasn't such a big deal because very few people in the neighborhood had cleared their drives either. But by Sunday we were the only ones with a car stuck in the garage. They apparently know all about salt and that sort of thing. After school on Monday the kids got out there with shovels and an ice chipper and managed to get enough of the ice out of the way so I could at least get the car out. Now most of it has melted, though there are large patches in shady areas that will probably be here for a while. Next year we will be much better prepared! I'm sure the "locals" have gotten a good chuckle out of the nincompoop Southerners.

******

Taylor's school had a bomb threat this morning. This is the fourth bomb threat in the district since school started and it's always the same thing. A threatening letter is found in a bathroom. As a parent it's always very disconcerting to hear that your child's school has been evacuated, or in this case the buses were averted before arriving, because some punkarsed idiot wrote some big scary words and threw the entire school into a panic. I do appreciate the efficiency of the school district, however, and as aggravating as it is I'm glad they take these things seriously.

I got the first text message around 9:00 saying, Bomb threat. Come get me. I'm scared. My first thought? Yeah, right. He's trying to manipulate. My second thought? What if he really is scared? My third thought? He'll try it again if he's serious. So I texted back that I knew about the threat and he was safe where he was.

I didn't hear back from him for another hour. The tone had significantly changed. Please come get me. I'm bored. So I asked what he was doing and he said they had the entire 9th grade in the Senior Center's auditorium. There was a movie on and kids were allowed to listen to their iPods and text and all that stuff. So I went to get him. There was a steady stream of parents picking up their kids and I asked the staff if it was more of a help or a hindrance. I was told it didn't matter either way, but I think they were relieved to be getting rid of so many.

Oh. And he admitted he wasn't really scared. He was just trying to play Mom. Silly boy. He should know better.

******

I'm starting to show the effects of the prednisone. My face and neck are flushed, I am ravenous and nothing is quite satisfying, and I look just like a puffer fish. I don't consider myself overly vain, but I do want to wear a sign around my neck explaining the reason for my moon face and gluttonous tendencies. The worst part is that I'm STILL getting blisters. I think the steroids are trying to do something, but they haven't stopped the process altogether.

So today I was sent for blood work. We know it's vasculitis, but we don't know why and if we can find out why we may be able to treat it better. My dermatologist is totally baffled and the lab order he gave me yesterday looked like a novella. I was pretty sure they were going to need a lot of blood to get all those tests run.

Because of aforementioned bomb threat Taylor was with me. He sat in the waiting room listening to his iPod while I went back to be leeched. When I came out he asked how it went and I told him, "I bled and bled and bled for them." His face turned almost white and he showed me his iPod. The random song that happened to be playing was "Bleed For Me" by Saliva. Kinda creepy, huh? I mean the coincidence of the song title, not just the fact that there's a band called Saliva and they have a song called "Bleed For Me."

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Monday, March 19, 2007

Long Beach

I’ve been feeling rather nostalgic lately so you can expect to read about some defining moments of my life over the next few months. I’m not so sure today’s post actually counts as a defining moment, but the memory signifies a major turning point in my life.

Two years ago at this time Todd and I were in Long Beach, California. He had a conference there and I tagged along as I often did with his business trips. Todd had flown to Chicago the previous Sunday, taking with him only a carry on bag for his one day meeting on Monday. The plan was I’d bring the rest of his clothes with me since I’d be needing the big suitcase anyway. Our flights met in Salt Lake City Tuesday and then we flew to Long Beach together.

It wasn’t until we got to the hotel that I realized I had completely forgotten all his clothes – the business clothes he was going to need for three days of meetings. I don’t know why I laugh in these situations, knowing he’s going to be less than pleased. But I do, and I did, and the more I laughed I think the angrier he got, which only made me laugh harder. So we walked for literally miles, looking for some type of clothing store. The only one we found was a West Coast Chopper’s store and he didn’t think leather pants would be appropriate. Turns out if we’d only turned right at the corner we would have run into all kinds of shops within a block of the hotel. It all turned out fine and he ended up with some nice new clothes. So I think I actually did him a favor.

Thursday was St. Patrick’s Day and we took my very Irish friend, Sheila, out to dinner and had a wonderful time. Friday evening we had dinner with other friends, John and Cathy, laughed until we cried, walked around Long Beach and saw one of the dumbest movies I think I’ve ever seen (Constantine). Saturday was another day of hanging out with John and Cathy and their three beautiful girls and Sunday we flew back home.

It was a great trip, a carefree time, and the memory will forever be precious to me. We had no idea that the following week would set things in motion that would drastically change our lives. Two life-altering events that were completely separate yet have become one experience to my mind.

It’s hard for me to describe the feeling of frenzy that happened after that. It was like being caught in a whirlwind and before we could jump out and calm down we were picked up by a devastating tornado, spinning us in two different directions.

Week 1 – Todd is given the opportunity to interview with a similar-type company near Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.

Week 2 – Todd interviews with the company in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.

Week 3 – Todd and I both fly to Pennsylvania to get an idea of whether or not we’d even want to move there.

Week 4 – I have my yearly gynecological appointment and a lump in my left breast that needs checking.

Week 5 – Todd accepts the new job and resigns the old job.

Week 5 – I’m diagnosed with breast cancer.

Week 6 – I have a left mastectomy.

Week 8 – Todd moves to Pennsylvania.

Week 10 – I start chemotherapy.

Our trip to Long Beach had absolutely nothing to do with these things, but in my mind I view it as the last page in an easy and nearly perfect chapter of our lives. Sort of that last deep breath before you plunge into the frigid water, but at least then you know what you’re about to get yourself into.

There were times when I thought we were spinning out of control, and I suppose we were. But that was okay because even then we knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that God WAS in control. And I see our little getaway to Long Beach – visiting with good friends we don’t see often; several hours of responsibility-free solitude to read; time to reconnect as a husband and wife, not a mom and dad – as a gift. Like a last little vacation before starting a new and grueling job. And THAT’S why the memory of such a seemingly insignificant trip means so much to me.

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Saturday, March 17, 2007

Napolean Dynamite Scenes

I posted this clip in reference to my "Erin Go Bragh" post. I wasn't able to find a clip of "Your mom goes to college", but here's one of the "cage fighter" scene:

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ERIN GO BRAGH!!

cute myspace layouts



Taylor and I played at a new-to-us website - www.phonezoo.com - last night. We downloaded free ringtone after free ringtone to our phones, assigning different tones to different Caller I.D.'s. Then we'd make them call us and giggle.

These are the ringtones I assigned:

Katie - Brown Eyed Girl - no explanation necessary

House - Our House - again, pretty obvious

Taylor - Sweet Child of Mine - The intro to this song is one of the first electric guitar rifts he learned and I hear it over and over and over and, well, you get the idea.

Todd - Sexual Healing - Um, yeah. This was all his idea and he actually pouted when I made other suggestions. I went ahead and assigned it to him, but have since changed it. I can just see it now. I'm in my ladies' bible study, we're in the middle of discussing deep, spiritual matters and all of a sudden we hear, When I get that feeling I need sexual healing. And I have no doubt that he would call me at 10:00 Friday morning just so I'd be there and all the ladies could hear it.

I changed it to Ants Marching by DMB because he's a huge Dave Matthews Band fan and I can handle that one in public.

Taylor had even more fun than I did. Here's what he assigned:

Me - The following scene from Napolean Dynamite:

Deb - I'm trying to save money for college.
Kip - Your mom goes to college.

Todd - The following scene from Napolean Dynamite:

Kip - Napolean, don't be jealous that I've been online chatting with babes all day. Besides, we both know I'm training to be a cage fighter.

If you haven't seen this cinematic delight (sarcasm) these don't make much sense. But to a teenage boy who is an N.D. fanatic it's "freakin' hilarious".

And the one that Todd kept making him play last night was Peanut Butter Jelly Time from Family Guy. They don't even watch that show, but they were hysterical, dancing around to this ridiculous song.

So that was my exciting, icy Friday night.

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Friday, March 16, 2007

The End of a Week

Even though the standardized testing for the kids ended yesterday I still got up to make breakfast this morning. Sort of a last hurrah for the kids. Todd said I should write up a contract to the effect of I, T-Money, promise to move out of the house within two weeks of graduating high school and place it on his plate, but I didn't do it.

I fried a pound of bacon and ate nearly half of that pound myself. I also had two Pillsbury Grande biscuits. And I learned this nifty little Weight Watchers trick. If I don't write down what I ate then I can't keep track of those points so it's like I never ate them. Sweet!

I went to THE Mall yesterday. When I say THE Mall, I mean King of Prussia Mall, the second largest in the country. I don't live to shop like some women do, but I did buy a few pairs of pants and a blouse and it made me very happy. While trying on some clothes in a very small dressing room the husband called. He asked if I would go to Costco for some essentials (beef jerkey, cheese balls - that sort of thing) since I was in the area. Still on my Proverbs 31 high, I agreed. I loaded up the cart, got to the checkout line, and found out I couldn't write a check because MY name isn't on my card. The ATM ate my debit card a few weeks ago and I haven't replaced it and I don't have an American Express. So I had to leave empty handed.

Two days ago our temperatures were near 80. It was lovely. We've had nothing but sleet all day long today with no end any time soon. I've been impressed with the way they keep the roads cleared here when there's a "winter precipitation event", but it's not so easy to keep them safe when it's sleet. The schools were dismissed two hours early and most offices in the area closed early. I'm quite happy to be in for the day. If only I had the energy to make some chocolate chip cookies. I could eat as many as I want since I learned my new trick.

I'm looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow morning. Todd has said he'll get up and make breakfast for us and I'm more than happy to let him. I just hope I remember to turn off my alarm tonight.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

We Have a Diagnosis -- Finally!!

I just wanted you all to know that I got up and made a good breakfast for the kids again this morning. That's two days in a row! And I didn't say anything snarky before T-Money left.

My dermatologist called me yesterday to tell me that these annoying and rapidly spreading blisters are a type of vasculitis. I may have done medical transcribing for a while, but beyond being able to spell it I didn't know what it was. So I looked it up. I wouldn't suggest that for anyone who is less than an optimist.

This is the overview given by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute:

Vasculitis is an inflammation of the blood vessels in the body. In vasculitis, the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s own blood vessels, causing them to become inflamed. Inflammation can damage the blood vessels and lead to a number of serious complications.

The list of what organs and vessels vasculitis can attack is rather lengthy and some of it can lead to horrible things, even death. Mine, thankfully, is not quite so serious.

It is a consequence of six months of chemotherapy and a result of my immune system attacking the skin around the incision from my surgery in December. Even though my white blood counts had been good for a year or so before the surgery.

It's treated with high-dose steroids so last night I took 40 mg of prednisone and will slowly taper off over the next nine days. You know that 2.8 (or excuse me, Dorky Dad, 3) pounds I lost yesterday? I'll probably see it again next week and even more the week after. But that's okay. I'd rather be fat, happy and blister free. And I'm just glad to know what the mystery blisters are.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Weight Watchers - Week Two

I'm happy to report I lost 2.8 pounds. Even knowing the sweater I had on last week probably weighs 2 pounds in itself, I'm happy. Sadly, though, as she was writing down the weight loss I was trying to think of how to dress even lighter next week.

Hey. Whatever works.

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So Long Mother of the Year

Taylor catches the high school bus at 6:55. Most mornings I’m still asleep at this time. I wake up enough to hear him call out “goodbye” from the door as he’s leaving, to which I reply “rmpsghs”, which loosely translated means, “Goodbye, Dear. Have a nice day at school. Be sure to bundle up as the wind chill is below zero and make good choices!”

But yesterday, whatever chance I had at Mother of the Year slid from my tenuous grasp with one simple conversation:

T-Money: Terranova testing starts tomorrow so you need to get up early and make me a nutritious, well-balanced breakfast.

Mama-J: *snort* Yeah, right. You think I’m going to get up before 6:00 just to cook you some sausage?

T-Money: It would be kind of nice to see you in the mornings instead of hearing “rmpsghs” from your bedroom when I tell you goodbye.

Mama-J: Okay. I’ll be sure to wake up enough so that I can clearly enunciate as I tell you goodbye.

T-Money: If you don’t get up to make me a healthy breakfast I’ll do poorly on the test and I’ll end up living at home forever.

Mama-J: So you think 5:55 is early enough?


Actions may speak louder than words, but it’s usually my words, not my actions, that get me into trouble. I was the consummate Proverbs 31 woman this morning by getting up and cooking sausage, baking croissants, cutting up fruit and pouring milk. He even called me blessed. And then:

T-Money: Thank you for making this very yummy breakfast.

Mama-J: You’re welcome. Does it meet your pre-test requirements?

T-Money: Yes. I’m sure I’ll do very well now that I’ve had all this brain food.

Mama-J: Good. When are you moving out?

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Sunday, March 11, 2007

Samurai Fly Swatter

There’s a big, hairy, buzzing fly in our bathroom who keeps hanging out in the skylight frustratingly out of reach. Todd used to call me Samurai Fly Killer, but I’m afraid I’ve lost my mad fly killing skillz. I was given the name when we lived in our first house and, while always pretty good with a flyswatter, impressed the pants off Todd one particular evening.

Our bathroom was a small, L-shaped affair. Looking into the bathroom you saw the double vanity and mirror which spanned the length of the room. As you walked through the door the wall was on the left and the shower on the right. The toilet was immediately past the shower.

On the night I speak of the lid to the toilet was up (the seat was down because I demand it always be so), the lights were on and the flying behemoth was smacking against the mirror like an angry berserker. My feet apart, knees slightly bent, I wielded the fly swatter in both hands and gently rocked, ready to spring in an instant. I patiently waited at the threshold, willing the pesky insect to come to me.

The annoying pest finally made his break, only to encounter my swatter of doom. Not only did I hit the fly in mid-flight, I threw him back into the mirror at such an angle that he bounced off and fell right into the toilet where I neatly flushed him away. No fuss, no muss. It was very impressive if I do say so myself – which I do.

I’m afraid there’s nothing to be done about the crazy fly trying to escape via the skylight. Instead I’ll just wait for his sad little life to run its course and then vacuum him up when I find him on the floor some day.

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Friday, March 09, 2007

Make Her Stop, Please!

I love my daughter. I really do. She is always ready with a hug or a kiss and she tells me the things I like to hear like, "You're the best mom, ever," (which usually means she wants something, but hey, I take what I can get).

But the child is seriously driving me nuts. She walks in the door after school and I say, like any responsible parent would, "Hi Honey. How was school today?" And then it happens. She just starts talking and I can't keep up, probably because I'm not doing caffeine very much any more.

Here's what it's like:

School was really good today. Autumn and I are going to get beetles when we're old enough to drive and mine's going to be that sparkly blue color and I think it probably will be a convertible so I can drive to the shore with the top down which should make you happy because I'll have to put my hair up or else it will be whipping in my face and I won't be able to see when I'm driving and that's not a good thing and Autum's not sure what color she's going to get but it's going to have Tinkerbell everything in it because she really, really likes Tinkerbell and I think she might even be obsessed with Tinkerbell because in her room there's Tinkerbell pillows and Tinkerbell statues and Tinkerbell blankets and everything Tinkerbell and, well, yeah.

Notice the lack of punctuation? That's EXACTLY how she talks. But wait. She's just taking a breath. Let's see what she says next, okay?

The boys on the bus aren't very smart because they keep doing stupid things and the bus driver makes them sit in the front and all the girls get to sit in the back because, you know, girls rule, and when the boys were sitting in the back they got into these Mentos wars and I turned around to tell them to stop and someone threw one at me and it hit me right above my lip and it hurt and I told them they were acting like booties and I saw the Mentos on the floor and some of them were saying, "Hey, give that to me," and instead I stepped on it and crushed it and they were all like, "I can't believe you did that," and I was like, "Well I did so what are you going to do about it", which pffftttt, they're not going to do anything about it and besides they have to sit at the front of the bus now anyway because they can't act their age and OH MY GOSH I saw a picture of these shoes I want cause, yeah, they're so cool and they're green and they're Sketchers and do you know how much Sketchers are because I really like them but I know you're going to tell me to save my money and that reminds me I think Shelby and I are going to start a baby sitting service this summer but we have to take some classes to teach us how to be good babysitters and her church is going to have them at some time in the near future and is it okay if I go to it because I think it would be good for me and then I can start making money and saving for things like these shoes and books and movies and that sort of thing and OH I cried when Megan and I saw Bridge to Terabithia and I even knew what was going to happen because I read the book but I think the movie was actually better which is kinda weird because the books are always better and we WILL own that movie when it comes out on DVD even if I have to buy it which shouldn't be a problem because between my allowance and whatever money I make babysitting this summer will be plenty so, yeah.

As she sucks in air for the next round I grab my book and jump up from the chair, saying, "I'd love to hear more but I have to go to the bathroom. Get a snack and start on your homework." This usually works well because when I come back out she's either working on her homework or she didn't have homework and she's leaving to go play at so-and-so's house.

The other day she was home sick from school and the little angel shared her mogus with me. Only I got it worse. So I sat in the chair, shivering with chills and wishing with every fiber of my being I would just throw up and feel better already, staring at her with glazed eyes begging silently for her to please stop talking. Finally I said, "Katie, honey, dearest daughter of mine. Please, for all that you hold dear and sacred, PLEASE STOP. Between the fever and your rambling I'm pretty sure my ears are bleeding."

Blessedly she stopped. And how's this for sweet? I fell asleep in the chair and felt something on my legs. I looked down and she was covering me up with a little blanket.

It's really easy to think about how much I love and adore her when she's at school. But at 4:00 this afternoon I'll be steeling myself for the barrage that's about to hit me.

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Thursday, March 08, 2007

I Think I Figured It Out

I've wondered for a while why I love the picture I posted yesterday. Technically I should be mortified by it. I'm bald for one thing - and not by choice. I've established I have no make up on. I'm wearing some silly, but extremely comfortable pants I made eons ago. I'm just not looking my best. Sounds like the kind of photo that should make me cringe with utter humiliation every time I see it.

I finally realized it stirs an emotion in me that very few pictures do. This was taken almost two months after Todd had moved to Pennsylvania and he was coming home to Arkansas every other weekend at that time. Obviously, I was going through chemo and those two weeks between his visits were so hard. I tend to push unpleasantness to the back so I don't have to deal with it, but it's always there, unconsciously winding me up. It was almost like I was holding my breath for the whole two weeks.

But when he got home I could exhale. My happiness was completely genuine instead of being marred by my sadness. And cuddling with him on the couch was pure, sweet joy. So much so that Taylor could even feel it, which is why he took the picture. In his words, "You guys look so cute." LOL

I suppose, also, it reminds me of where we were and where we are now, which is so much better.

Thank you for your sweet comments instead of, "Oh my gosh! You look like a freak!" :o)

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Mused by Jenster :: 8:22 AM :: 9 People musing:

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Who's Who??

Because I'm not feeling particularly whitty today - in fact what I feel like rhymes with "whitty", but this is a PG, maybe PG-13 blog so I won't say it - I thought I'd just post one of my favorite pictures. I can't really say why this is one of my favorite pictures. Not only do I have no make up, I don't have any hair, either. But this photo always makes me smile.



I'm the one with the blue shirt on. :o)

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Mused by Jenster :: 2:33 PM :: 12 People musing:

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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

I saw the dermatologist today. The one I called a quack because he didn't pick up I had shingles. Except for that the medicine should have just about cleared me up by now and I'm just as diseased as I was last week. So I went to see him.

He's fairly certain I don't have a virus, though he learned a long time ago to never say never. Generally, however, viruses only last a couple of weeks and I've had these lesions for over seven. But he took a fluid sample from one the more "ripe" blisters. He also took two more biopsies - one of a blister and one of the skin next to a blister.

The original pathology pointed to a blistering dermatitis and requires more testing to narrow it down. Because I presented as such a pathetic loser, he put a rush on the pathology so hopefully we'll know by Thursday exactly what I have and can treat it accordingly. In the meantime I'm to keep up with the shingles medicine just in case.

This affliction has become my thorn in the flesh. Between the move and settling and adjusting and surgery, etc., I had shifted my focus away from God and onto anything and everything else. Why I did is beyond me. Even in the midst of the darkest period of my life I had a peace and a joy and a hope that I've not felt lately. And I've no one to blame but myself. So as frustrated as I've gotten with this uncomfortable plight, much more good than harm has come of it.

I also went today for my first weigh in at Weight Watchers. I didn't budge an ounce. Let's just say for illustration purposes that I weighed 115.5 last week. I weighed 115.5 this week as well. I tried not to be disappointed, but I was. I'm hoping I'll make up for it next week and lose like 15 pounds! Or five. Or even two. I'm really not so hard to please. Give me half a pound, please!

I've been in such a blah mood today that I didn't even call my mom to tell her about my appointment. I'm sure I'd start crying as soon as I heard her voice. So Mom, if you're reading this, that's the deal. I'll call you tomorrow when I'm in a better place. :o)

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Mused by Jenster :: 8:12 PM :: 14 People musing:

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Sunday, March 04, 2007

February Reading

My February reading was pitiful with only three books completed.

1) The Queen's Fool - Philippa Gregory

If I had to choose my favorite reading genre it would be historical fiction. Philippa Gregory's Tudor series very nicely fits that bill. She has an incredible way of taking historical events and weaving them with a fictional story without compromising the facts. With each book I read I become a bigger fan of her's.

The Queen's Fool covers the span of time from right before King Edward's death to the death of Queen Mary. It's told from the viewpoint of Hannah, a Jewish girl from Spain pretending to be first Protestant, then Catholic - depending on the monarch - who has The Sight. Robert Dudley comes across her when she's 14 and takes her to be King Edward's fool. When Edward dies she's sent to Princess Mary, who then becomes queen.

This series is a fascinating look into the lives of the Tudor Court which was as fickle and corrupt as any government has ever been. It also tells the interesting fictional story of Hannah Verde who becomes Hannah Green and includes a bit of romance, which never hurts a book.

2) Grave Peril - Jim Butcher

This is the third book in the Harry Dresden Files. If you've never read these books, but have watched the SciFi Channel show, you don't know what you're missing. The books are infinitely better. And if you don't know, Harry Dresden is a Private Detective in Chicago who does some consulting work with the Chicago PD. What makes him interesting is that he's a wizard and the cases he works on are inexplicable. And yes. I watched the X-Files religiously for years.

3) Beyond Temptation - Mary Reed McCall

I bought this book for two reasons. One reason is because Mary frequents one of the same message boards I do and I always like what she has to say. I figured I might like her books. The other is because I like medieval era books and they're far and few between.

This is the first in a series about Templar Knights. It starts on Black Friday, which was October 13, 1307, when King Phillippe of Frances rounded up the Knights Templar and had his priests conduct a horrible and false inquisition.

This book is historical romance, so while there's an interesting bit of history involved, the romance is the main thing. The hero, Richard de Cantor, is a Templar and returns home after five years away. His emotionally unstable wife is being cared for by her cousin, Lady Margaret, who was sent as penance for a scandalous indiscretion. I don't think I'm giving anything away when I tell you the wife dies, Meg and Richard both mourn, and fall in love.

They encounter numerous obstacles - both past and present - and there's a bit of a twist at the end that I never saw coming. Looking back I can't believe I didn't see it. But I'm glad I didn't because I love a good surprise like that.

I enjoyed the book very much and am looking forward to the next one. Mary's writing is very reminiscent of Julia Garwood's historicals, but it's a bit edgier and has more history. And I love me some well-researched history!

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Mused by Jenster :: 6:50 PM :: 14 People musing:

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Format

I finally spent a little bit of time on the blog. Not a lot, mind you. But enough to fix the margins so the entire post is visible on big computers and I added some blog links to my side bar.

I'm sure that will be the extent of my "blog work" for quite some time.

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Mused by Jenster :: 6:46 PM :: 3 People musing:

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Saturday, March 03, 2007

Help Me With My Format

I usually post from my laptop and I like the way my new margins look on it. But when I'm on the actual desktop they're too wide. So I need you guys to help me. Which works better for you all? Narrow margins or wider margins.

Thanks!

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Mused by Jenster :: 10:52 PM :: 4 People musing:

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The Wine Club

Todd and I went to a neighbor's house last night for the newly founded Wine Club and had a blast. Including us there were five couples and we thoroughly enjoyed their company. It's a crazy, irreverent bunch and I think we fit right in.

One of the women has a wine club book and we're following that. Every month is a different wine and each couple takes a turn hosting. This month's wine was Cabernet Sauvignon and the host picked 2003 wines. We each brought a different region, i.e., Napa, Sonoma, etc. Then the host prepares either a meal or appetizers that are suggested for that particular wine.

After we'd all sat down at the table we were each given a wine tasting form and a bottle of water. One of the women read from the book, describing what we were to look for as far as aroma, color, taste, etc. With the bottle covered the host poured the first wine and we all went about the business of smelling, swirling, smelling again, tasting, commenting, and taking notes. Todd, not being a big fan of wine, took note of the yuck factor of each wine.

After all the wines had been sampled we tried to figure out which wine was which, including which one was the ringer - the one wine that didn't fit into the category. I'm not wine savvy in the least and didn't get any of them right. I've not been much for red wine, which is a shame because that's where the health benefits are. But Todd and I both liked the first wine we tried last night so I may pick up a bottle of that the next time we grill steaks (Chateau St. Michelle 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon).

Better than the wine and the delicious food we had last night was getting to know these neighbors and laughing until it hurt. I've likened this neighborhood to Desparate Housewives sans the designer clothes, murder, mayhem and yummy lawn boys in the past, but I've changed my mind. This place is way better.

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Mused by Jenster :: 4:45 PM :: 4 People musing:

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Friday, March 02, 2007

Another Long, Rambling Post Much Ado About Nothing

I have removed the comment verification feature because so many people are having problems posting. I’m hoping this will take care of that.

I had Katie unload dirty dishes from the dishwasher last night. I thought I had run it before I left for the doctor yesterday, but I discovered this morning I was wrong. She even said a couple times, “Are you sure these are clean?” To which she heard, “Yes! I’m sure! Now leave me alone so I can continue playing on my computer!” Maybe I should stop washing the dishes before loading the dishwasher so we’ll know for sure. Don’t worry, though. We’ll have used the dirty dishes and washed them before any of you will be coming for dinner. Promise.

It’s only 9:30 and already the outside temperature is 54. Nice. We’re having a lot of rain, too, which is fine because I can’t go anywhere today. The promise of spring and the rain makes me miss Arkansas. There’s always something about a particular region that makes it special and the pleasant thunderstorms of the South is one of the things I loved. Not the torrential downpours and tornado threats, but the good, drenching rain with the slow rumble of thunder in the distance. We had a ranch style house with a wonderful long porch along the front and a covered deck in the back. So when it was warm enough I would open the windows and let the fresh scents and the relaxing sound of the rain permeate the house. LOVED IT! While I’m very happy with our new house, it’s a Colonial and I can’t have opened windows if it’s raining. Oh well.

We’ve been invited by some neighbors to join the wine club they started last month. Todd and I aren’t big wine drinkers, but I do enjoy a glass now and then. Besides, the “meetings” include food. Good food. I’m sure I’ll be using all my Flex Points tonight at our first one. Also, these particular neighbors are just plain fun. I’m sure we’re going to have a great time. And no, not a drunken great time. Homey don’t play that.

I saw the White Russian yesterday (my oncologist) and I feel much better about everything than I have for quite some time. He was swamped, but he sat patiently while we discussed all the stuff that’s going on. While I’m nearly positive I’ve had a couple estrogen surges, there’s no proof. The only time my estrogen levels have been checked in the last long while has been while I was getting the Zoladex injections. So in order to have my ovaries removed I’d have to be tested for the BRCA gene. A person can’t just say, “I want genetic testing.” You have to go through counseling and they determine if you’re a good candidate. Because I have such a limited family history of cancer, I’m probably not a great candidate. It’s possible they won’t even test me. And I don’t want it anyway.

Because I have no breast tissue anymore there is no concern that estrogen will cause breast cancer. DUH! My chances of ovarian cancer are no higher than any other woman’s and I’m actually lucky in that I’m being followed closely. My tumor markers are checked every three months and if there’s ever a spike then I’ll have diagnostic testing. So even if my ovaries ARE working and I’m producing estrogen, it’s not a horrible thing for me. He’s going to keep an eye on my estrogen levels and if it turns out they are working, then I’ll maybe have them removed later. But it’s not the urgent matter I had been lead to believe. So I’m not going to be having any more surgery any time in the near future and what a relief that is!

He took a look at my blisters and said, “Oh. You have herpes.” Okay. That’s not really what he said. He said shingles, but you know, they’re part of the herpes family. Didn’t I say I thought it was a virus? Though it doesn’t present like classic shingles so he said it could be some other variation, but he’s certain it’s a virus. So now I’m on Valtrex, the same medicine in the genital herpes commercial. It makes me a little dizzy (dizzier than usual) so I had to forego my bible study this morning. :o(

Have you ever seen that old Cheech and Chong movie where the Middle Eastern guy is telling the hair dresser to “Take my hair piece”, but it sounds like he’s saying herpes and the hair dresser is saying, “No way, man. I don’t want your herpes.” “But I eenseest you take my harpese.” “I don’t want your herpes, man.” Yeah. Can you imagine how often I’ve heard this banter in the last 24 hours??

The White Russian was impressed with my boobs. From a very clinical standpoint, that is. And I proudly showed him the mole that used to be on my belly, but complained about the faint stretch marks that also made the transfer. I won’t be getting nipples until sometime in the fall and I almost blurted that Todd suggested I just use gumdrops, but thankfully stopped myself. I did tell the nurse who weighed me that I’d just started Weight Watchers and I was going to be a shadow of my former self the next time she weighed me. She was nice and feigned interest.

Sally and I really bonded yesterday. I love her. I think she loves me, too. Today is our one week anniversary. If I wasn’t so muddled I’d take her out to lunch.

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Mused by Jenster :: 10:33 AM :: 9 People musing:

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