Jenster's Musings

Thursday, May 31, 2007

A Little Bit of Ben and a Tiny Bit of Jerry

Katie and I were at the grocery store the other day and saw these tiny, little Ben & Jerry's containers, complete with their own plastic spoon in the lid. They were so cute so we, of course, had to buy a couple.

Supposedly they're one serving, but I thought the regular size Ben & Jerry's was one serving. And the spoon is so tiny - about the same size as a baby spoon. I guess if you use the spoon they provide you would eat as many bites as a regular spoon in the regular size Ben & Jerry's.

They're a novel little idea, but I don't think I'll be buying any more. You just start to enjoy the ice cream and then it's all gone!!

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Mused by Jenster :: 4:22 PM :: 14 People musing:

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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

It All Makes Sense Now

While at the grocery store this morning I saw a woman wearing a pink bandanna on her head and a pink breast cancer bracelet on her wrist. I was drawn to her - being of the same sisterhood and all - but I debated whether or not I should say anything. Then I remembered when I was obviously going through treatment and how it made me feel when women would come up to me and tell me it would get better.

So I walked up to her and said, "Excuse me. Are you a breast cancer patient?" She said she was and when I told her I went through what she's going through two years ago she lit up. She grabbed my hand and looked me over and said, "Oh. You look wonderful!" Instead of my usual, "Oh, please. I need to lose about 50 pounds and I feel like I look much older than I am," I just said thank you.

We chatted a little bit about chemotherapy and what her side effects have been. After a few more treatments she'll start radiation, though she wants a break in between so she can enjoy the beach just a little this summer. In her words, "Even if I can just feel the sand between my toes and smell the salty air. I don't need to get a tan."

We said the usual, "nice talking with you," thing you say when you've been chatting with a complete stranger. And then she grabbed my hand again and said, "Thank you so much for talking to me. I've been feeling discouraged and you were just the encouragement I needed." I patted her hand and told her it was my pleasure.

And as I walked away I realized this is what it's all about. I'm not going to touch the masses. But because of my experiences I'm going to make a difference - even a teeny tiny one - to a select few women over the course of my life. And there are a select few women who have and will make a difference for me.

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Mused by Jenster :: 12:54 PM :: 23 People musing:

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They're ALL Home Today!!

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Mused by Jenster :: 9:24 AM :: 4 People musing:

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Sickies In My House

I have two sick boys at home with me today. They both have a sinus infection and bronchitis.

It's very sad for them because I am NOT a good nurse. I'm very low on the compassion scale. Oh, I feel bad for them, but I'm not going to wait on them hand and foot. Which right now isn't even an issue because they both have taken some mighty powerful cough syrup and are asleep in the family room while Tora Tora Tora plays on the T.V.

We were supposed to have a late lunch with some friends yesterday and then see Pirates of the Caribbean III. We had even watched the first two so as to refresh our memories! Instead we all laid around and watched Freaky Friday and then chilled for the rest of the day.

While I don't hold their illnesses against them, they are boiling my vibe. My day runs on a type of schedule and having someone else here messes with my mojo. I always used to think of myself as spontaneous, but obviously I'm not. I don't do well with a change to my routine.

So my plan is to keep them as drugged as possible today and then send them on their merry way tomorrow.

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Mused by Jenster :: 1:30 PM :: 10 People musing:

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Friday, May 25, 2007

All Our Goings On

Tonight was the high school band's banquet and dance. Of even more importance - tonight was the night Taylor met his girlfriend's father for the first time. He's met her mother and step-father, but never her father. We were supposed to drop him off at the school where he'd meet up with her, but she called him and said she and her dad would pick him up and bring him home. He nearly freaked! Dad turned out to be very nice, though, and Taylor seemed to be on his very best behavior. I hardly recognized him!

Todd has been hanging out in the basement all evening because it's nice and cool down there, so Katie and I watched Pirates of the Caribbean. Sometime tomorrow or Sunday we'll watch the second movie before going to see the third in the theater Monday.

We were supposed to host this month's wine club tonight, but one of the neighbors took pity on me at the beginning of the week and offered to host this month. What a relief that was. Last weekend I was wondering how in the world I was going to manage with everything that was going on, but Kris came to my rescue. She's going to get an extra special something floral tomorrow night!

As for all my stuff, I'm much better than I was last weekend. I still have a long way to go, but I'm not half as miserable as I had been. I was scheduled for a D&C and endometrial ablation this next Thursday, but I've cancelled that until my skin is cleared up. I'm just afraid it's too weak right now and I don't think it could handle another trauma of any type.

My dermatologist has gotten me in with the specialist a little earlier. Now the appointment is in July instead of August. But I am on the cancellation list so I may get in earlier. He's also trying to get me into a Grand Rounds program near Allentown. That's where a panel of about twenty doctors examine you and go over your complete history and brain storm until they figure out what exactly is wrong with you. Being the dermatological freak that I am, I'm a great candidate.


I've been having a horrible time focusing on anything. I've started three different books in the last week and never managed more than a chapter or two. I think I may have found the right read, though. I picked up His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman yesterday and have started the first book. His Dark Materials is a Young Adult trilogy which starts with The Golden Compass. The Golden Compass is being made into a movie staring Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig.


And that's my weekend in a nutshell. I hope you all have a wonderful Memorial Weekend and please remember our soldiers, past and present.

Mused by Jenster :: 9:19 PM :: 11 People musing:

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Anniversary Gifts for the Discriminating Buyer

Whilst looking for an excuse for Todd to buy me jewelry the other night I decided to check out an anniversary gift guide. You know, one of those lists that have a specific gift for each year, both traditional and modern. Our 19th anniversary is in a couple of weeks and there is no traditional gift to celebrate that year. Bronze, however, is the modern gift. I can't think of any bronze jewelry I want.

Some of the traditional gifts seem a little silly, like the first anniversary is paper. In my mind I picture Todd tearing out a sheet of college ruled and giving it to me. Not so romantic. But I imagine when the list was made nice paper was somewhat of a luxury. Five is wood (like a piece of wood for the fireplace?) and six is iron (makes me think of golfing). Again, probably not exactly the gifts that were meant.

The truly funny gifts are under the modern list.

4th - Electrical Appliances. I'm sorry. A man should never, NEVER give an electrical appliance for an anniversary gift.

24th - Musical Instruments. What if you don't play a musical instrument?

26th - Original Pictures. Of what?

32nd - Conveyances. Like bikes, buggies, skateboards, scooters?

1st - Clocks
15th - Watches
31st - Timepieces. Is anyone else confused? Does that mean either a clock or watch is okay?

41st - Land.

42nd - Improved Real Estate. Does that mean you build a house on the land you gave her the year before?

Here's my personal favorite:

44th - Groceries. I'm not kidding!! That's what it says!!

48th - Optical Goods. I think 47th should be hearing aids or something.

And in honor of 46th - which is an Original Poetry Tribute - I've written this little poem:

I gave you a blender when four years we reached.
"I wanted some earrings," you said through a screech.

Twenty years later you got a kazoo.
You explained in great detail what you wanted to do.

I framed some old photos when we hit twenty-six.
You seemed less than happy with all of those pics.

I bought you a bike 'cause the list said I should.
After thirty-six years I thought that was good.

Five years later some land did I buy.
"With a beautiful view of the lake," said the guy.

The following year when I went to break ground,
the sinkhole swallowed the bulldozer down.

I brought you some groceries two years ago.
I finally found out just how good you can throw.

I'll buy you new glasses when we hit forty-eight.
I'm sure you're going to think that is great!

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Mused by Jenster :: 12:45 PM :: 18 People musing:

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Fantastically Fun Field Trip

Katie's class, along with a couple other 6th grade classes, went on the best field trip I've ever heard of yesterday. They had chartered buses drive them to Penn's Landing in Philly where they got on The Spirit of Philadelphia, seen on the right. On this cruise they had a DJ, a lunch buffet and an open "all you can drink" soda bar.

After sailing the Delaware river in much better style than General Washington, they got back onto the chartered buses "with bathrooms just like on an airplane only bigger. Smellier, too." They took a little historical tour of Philadelphia and then returned to the school in the late afternoon.

When the paperwork for this field trip came home a couple months ago I asked Katie if she wanted me to go or not. I told her she wouldn't hurt my feelings if she didn't want me to go. I would understand. I lied, though she doesn't know that. It hurt my feelings just the teensiest bit when, after thinking for a moment she said, "Well... If there wasn't going to be dancing it would be okay." But more than anything that made me laugh. She was right. I'm sure I would have humiliated her.

I let her take my older digital camera and she promised to protect it with her life. She brought it home in one piece and after downloading the pictures I decided to share my favorite out of the entire bunch. The one picture that to me says, "Philadelphia. You know you want some!"

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Mused by Jenster :: 12:31 PM :: 17 People musing:

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Monday, May 21, 2007


I am in the midst of a parental dilemma. Taylor has hair issues and I’m trying to be a good mom, letting him be himself. **rolling eyes**

He’s 15-years-old and likes his hair on the long side. The front of his hair slants down over his eyes and he’s constantly doing the Shrek 2 Prince Charming thing. You know where he turns his head left and down for the momentum he needs to throw it back to the right and toss his blonde locks to the side. Or as I tell him, “You look like Farrah Fawcett when you do that.”

Todd has been on him for the last several years about his hair and Taylor would very reluctantly (read be forced to) cut his hair short. I finally told Todd to leave Taylor alone. It’s only hair. He’s a good kid and we should be proud of him, girlish hair notwithstanding. I’m of that whole pick-your-battles philosophy and frankly, in the grand scheme of things, long hair on a boy just isn’t worth arguing over. We need to be taking this time of peace to stock the armory, so to speak.

I’ve taken to reminding Todd that he had longish hair when he was in Junior High. He had that whole Southern California Sun Bleached Surfer Boy thing going on. It just seems a little hypocritical to me.

I think Todd worries Taylor will be wrongly judged because he has long hair. That maybe teachers will think he’s a stoner and other parents will think he’s a punk. And I wonder how much of his problem is how it reflects on him as the father. Don't we all as parents do that more than we care to admit?

The conflict I’m having is that, while I do firmly believe it’s only hair, I don’t like it. I just don’t think he looks good with long hair. But he’s enough like me that I know for a fact if we bug him about it he’ll keep growing it out, even if he doesn’t like it, either. (Just one personal issue I need to work on)

I will give him this, though. When he’s playing bass guitar in the band he looks kind of cool. Like a real rocker. LOL! Maybe not so much in this picture of him playing air guitar on Mother's Day, but you get the idea.

(BTW - the wallpaper you see in the background is temporary. But that will be for another post on another day.)

Let me leave you all with another Taylorism. This would be a typical comment on any given day:

He had a school band concert the other night and was wearing dress pants, dress shirt, tie, etc. Right before he walked out the door he said, “Yeah. I look like I had a swirly in the sexy toilet.”

**Edit** Actually, what he said was "... I had a swirly in a toilet full of sexy." Don't know that it makes any difference, but there you have it.


Mused by Jenster :: 12:22 PM :: 22 People musing:

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Blog Buddies are the Bomb!

(Do people still say that??)

Anyhoo - I great big THANKS to all of you who had such gracious comments for me on my less than chipper post. I'm a little on the embarrassed side because that was the first post on my blog for quite a few people. I really, really, REALLY hope they come back!!

Physically I'm about the same. Emotionally, mentally and spiritually, however, I'm much better. It's amazing what a little (or a lot) of crying, praying, venting and a Vicodin will do! And the optimist in me is back full force. I'm saying I'll be significantly better by the long weekend.

I am working on another post about Taylor's hair. It's sure to be riveting and make you all feel a little better about your lives. I know. To quote Mr. Wonka, The suspense is terrible. I hope it will last.

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Mused by Jenster :: 9:58 AM :: 6 People musing:

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Saturday, May 19, 2007

Petri Dish Additives

I now have two more things to add to my ever-growing list of physical complaints. I have developed patches of itchy rashes in various places on my body and I started another bleeding episode. Seriously. I couldn't make this up if I wanted to. Which I don't.

I'm not feeling particularly brave or strong or humorous right now. I'm just feeling tired and discouraged and sorry for myself. Each malady by itself is not such a big deal, but the sum of the individual problems is miserable.

The new rash is probably a reaction to all the medicines I'm on. If that's the case then when I finish the medicines the rash will clear up. So that's not such a big deal.

The bleeding is unexpected but not a horrible thing, either. I'm scheduled for a D&C and endometrial ablation at the end of the month so this won't happen again. I was just kind of hoping this wouldn't happen again before then.

I know this is understated, but cancer sucks. Each and every problem I've had in the last two years is a direct result from having cancer. The rashes and blisters and thrush are all because of what chemotherapy did to me. And the bleeding is from the medicine I'm taking to prevent a recurrence.

Don't get me wrong. I'm very thankful I live at a time when there are these medical resources available to me. And what I'm "suffering" is nothing compared to what a lot of people are going through. I would endure this every day for the rest of my life if it meant I wouldn't have to watch my children become gravely ill or injured or worse.

Even so, I just want to be normal. I want a normal day where I do normal chores and plant flowers and run errands without a thought. I want to be a mom to my kids and a wife to my husband. I want to congregate at the corner with the other neighborhood moms to discuss Desperate Housewives and swap recipes. I want to go more than 15 minutes without itching, tingling, burning, hurting and be conscious all at the same time.

I know eventually this will all clear up and I can go about the business of living. Optimist me says it will be within the next week or two. Pessimist me says it's already been five months of one thing or another, what makes me think it's going to end any time soon.

Instead of giving all my cares and fears and sadness to God today I've held on to them to aid me in my pity party. I guess that's pretty stupid after all the comfort and strength and peace I've received from Him. I know firsthand how gracious He is and yet I chose to just be sad and miserable today. Thankfully His mercies are new every morning and tomorrow is a new day.

Whew. While writing my thoughts and feelings is therapeutic, it does NOT make for entertaining blogstuff. I promise not to post anything in this frame of mind for a long time to come.

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Mused by Jenster :: 6:54 PM :: 19 People musing:

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Friday, May 18, 2007

Fungal Petri Dish

If it's truly darkest before the dawn, then I think things are about to brighten up. That sentiment may be a bit misleading since my current ailments aren't devastating or life threatening, but this is my blog and I'll be as dramatic as I want.

Last Thursday I called the dermatologist's office to tell them I'd suffered another flare up of the vasculitis and they prescribed another 14-day course of prednisone. We had planned to walk in the Philly Race for the Cure Sunday, but blisters on the inside of my thighs changed that. When I woke up that morning I was vaguely aware my tongue was a little swollen, thinking maybe it was a reaction to the steroids. Later that afternoon, however, I looked in the mirror and it was fuzzy.

Generally a fuzzy tongue and itchy teeth come from drinking too much. But I hadn't been drinking and my teeth didn't itch, leading me to the conclusion I had thrush. I became well acquainted with that lovely little malady every time my white count would crash after chemo. Using my stellar powers of deductive reasoning, I deduced a low white count. A call into my oncologist's office got me a prescription for a delicious -- or not --Nystatin swish and swallow and an appointment later in the week.

Tuesday morning was a call into the dermatologist's office explaining that the steroids were doing very little, I was insanely miserable and I knew I had a low white count because I had thrush. GET ME INTO THE SPECIALIST BEFORE I'M NO LONGER RESPONSIBLE FOR MY ACTIONS!! My ravings got me another appointment with the dermatologist, thankfully that very day.

** WARNING ** This next bit may include more information than you ever wanted to know and may be particularly unsettling if you are not of the femalian persuasion.

The blisters on my abdomen aren't bothering me. There may be one or two that sort of flare up, but they're not bothersome. They seemed to have cleared up fairly well. It's the other blisters that are driving me crazy. The blisters that are covering my hoo-hoo; the blisters that are in the crease where the leg of my underwear rubs; the blisters all over the fleshy, inside of my upper thighs.

As a rule I don't expose my personal parts to male dermatologists. They're supposed to treat acne, for crying out loud. But I was so miserable that when he said he would have to take a look and he'd like another doctor in the office to look I told him to bring the entire staff and the occupants of the waiting room were welcome as well. I just figured we could tell the pizza-faced teenagers out there it's an STD and scare them away from sex for a long time. In hindsight I'm glad he declined bringing in everyone. My embarrassment is better limited to as few people as possible.

He found the new blisters very interesting and determined they were different from the vasculitis blisters. The other doctor came in and she, too, found the blisters interesting and did not think they were the same as what I have on my abdomen. They both believe my vasculitis is under control and I've now developed a horrendous case of folliculitis. While the thought of yet one more thing is a little depressing, the good thing is folliculitis is fairly easily treatable.

He decided he needed to biopsy one of the blisters to make sure it is folliculitis and to determine whether it's bacterial, viral or fungal. As he was cutting out a portion of my flesh he asked, "So is this the third or fourth biopsy we've done?" I told him that he had done two biopsies on three separate occasions so technically this was seven. He said he only counts each event as one biopsy, but when I told him I count each cut and I get more sympathy when I say "seven" as opposed to "four" he said, "Seven it is, then."

After that I was prescribed oral antibiotics and an antibiotic lotion. The doctor is now working on getting me into a specialist within the next couple of weeks. Hopefully it will all be gone, though, and I won't have need of the new doctor. But I'll probably go anyway just because of all this hassle!

We then get to Thursday and my appointment with the oncologist. I prefer the dermatologist's office because you don't get weighed there. But whatever. Vitals were taken, blood was drawn and then I saw the White Russian. My WBC was actually in a pretty good range and the doctor felt that was due to the steroids because it was obvious it had been low. He examined my mouth and thankfully I didn't gag.

He then asked me if I had a yeast infection. Dang it all, but I'd been ignoring that niggling thought. Between the blisters and creams and ointments I just wasn't sure and I didn't want to go there. But then it all made sense. Thrush is caused by a fungus. Yeast infections are caused by a fungus. Folliculitis can be caused by a fungus and I'm betting mine is.

I'm just a giant, festering fungal petri dish!


Go ahead and make your jokes about fungus growing best under a pile of manure. Ha. Ha. Are you finished? Can I continue, please? Thank you!


Other than my regular medications I am now taking a steroid, an antibiotic and an antifungal. Pretty much all my bases are covered, unless the biopsy comes back and says it's viral. And really, with the way things have been going for the last five months it's a distinct possibility.

The anti-itch creams and ointments help a little bit, but when things get really intense an ice pack seems to help the most. I sat the other day with a bottle of frozen water between my legs and that gave quite a bit of relief. The only problem is that you can't exactly walk around with a frozen water bottle between your legs. Or I guess you could, but it would be very awkward. My mother-in-law suggested Depends with an ice pack. But I think the ice pack would still be a bit bulky. So now I'm thinking Depends with a bag of frozen peas! But I wonder - do I tell my family where those peas have been or keep it my little secret?

The last several months have been so frustrating that I'm afraid to get my hopes up. I should know the biopsy results by Tuesday and will be glad if it really is folliculitis. That's so much easier to treat than vasculitis. And I know I should be getting relief from all my fungal ailments in the next few days. It's been so long since I felt normal that I wonder if I'll recognize it.

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Mused by Jenster :: 10:55 AM :: 16 People musing:

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Ten Things About Me

A little while ago I was tagged by a few bloggers to write 10 Things About Me. Thinking of ten separate things about me that you may not know is not easy. One or two I could do. But ten? Nevertheless, I’m giving it a go. So here are ten things about me.

1. When I was young I was very agile and very fast. I don’t think Todd believes me when I say that, but it’s true. When I was in kindergarten I was playing a type of tag with a bunch of kids. The side of the cafeteria was Home and if you made it there without getting tagged you were safe. So I ran for that brick wall as fast as I could – which, as I’ve already told you, was pretty darned fast. I looked behind me to see where the closest “it” was and when I turned back to the wall, there it was. I ran full speed into it. Knocked me clean out. Once the goose egg on my forehead stopped growing I looked like a Klingon. I still have a tiny bump from that little adventure.

2. I have a floater in my head. Not a floater as in, “Ew! You backwashed and now there’s a floater in my soda!” A floater as in I-ran-into-a-brick-wall-when-I-was-five-and-most-likely-chipped-a-tiny-fleck-of-skull-that-has-been-floating-around-my-head-all-these-years-and-likes-to-rest-on-my-ear-drum. What’s fun about this little guy is that it causes a sort of vertigo. Nothing dangerous. Just when I lean my head to the left I get a little dizzy. And I like it. It’s fun. Kind of like a big dip on a roller coaster. Every night when I get into bed I say, “Whoo!” and throw my hands up into the air as everything spins around me. Good times.

3. I was born three months after the Watt’s Riots in the same general area. I suppose that’s not really very exciting since the riots were over by then. But what is exciting is that my pediatrician was the same pediatrician that some of the L.A. Lakers used, one of which was Jerry West. We know this because my mother saw him at the doctor’s office. Frankly, I don’t remember. I realize there’s no connection between the Watt’s Riots and L.A. Lakers, but my birth and infancy seem to run together so it’s all related to me.

4. When I was about 14 or so I nearly had my face split open in a surfing accident. What little bit of pride I have is telling me I should stop my story right here and let you use your imaginations. I’m sure whatever you can think up will be better than the truth. But the truth of the matter is it happened in my friend’s pool. She and another friend were trying to climb on her brother’s surfboard. I had my back to them and happened to turn around just as they both fell off the back, causing the surfboard to shoot straight at me. Thankfully I saw it and quickly leaned back into the water. The tip of the board just grazed my eyebrow, causing a totally gnarly black eye, dude.

5. My Mother-In-Law gave me a job at the law office she worked at when I was in college. The two attorneys in the office were less than human, but I enjoyed the job and MIL taught me a lot. Because of that I went into paralegal studies and ended up working as a Legal Secretary/Legal Assistant for eleven years until I quit work to nag my children full time. The last law office I worked at was the large law firm Bill Clinton partnered at before he became the governor of Arkansas*.

6. While most children my age were singing things like Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and Jack and Jill, I was singing Hey Jude. It was the first song I ever sang.

7. I still have the tonette I received in my 6th grade music class at school. I drive Todd crazy by following him around the house saying, “give me a song,” and then attempting to play it. Either that or “Name That Tune.” Periodically over the last 19 years the little flute has mysteriously vanished, only to be found by me in the oddest of places. Poor Todd. There’s no escaping me.

8. I have an older cousin who was a stunt girl. She did a lot of movies with Burt Reynolds and was Cheryl Ladd’s double in Charlie’s Angels, just to name two of her many credits. At that time I had a friend with a huge crush on Shawn Cassidy (I was a Parker Stevenson kind of gal, myself). So I told her I was sure my cousin could get a small token from him. That was a total lie because I never even talked to my cousin. But anyway, I took some of my sun bleached hair out of my head, taped it to a Tiger Beat poster, scratched a signature and gave it to my friend. She was so excited that I couldn’t keep up the lie. After about two minutes of her screaming I fessed up. I think that cold dose of reality was a favor to her. She went on to be a neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins.

9. In high school my friend, Cindy, and I used to go roller skating at the beach nearly every day after school. We went from Torrance Beach, down to the Hermosa Beach Pier and back again – probably around 8 miles round trip. Any wonder I didn’t have a weight problem at that time?? On one of our trips there was a volleyball game going on at the Hermosa Pier. Wilt Chamberlain was one of the players. He always looked big on television, but in person the guy was huge. Huger than huge! Enormous! Cindy is 6’2” without her skates, but she was a petite little thing next to him.

10. When I was a senior in high school several of my friends and I went to Pasadena on New Year’s Eve. We had lawn chairs, sleeping bags and coolers full of sodas and food and set up camp on the Rose Parade route. We had marshmallow wars with the cars cruising the boulevard and played silly games like charades and I think maybe even Duck, Duck, Goose. We got to see all the floats the next morning, but we were too far back on the route to see the bands. It was fun and a great experience, but not one I was willing to do again. I enjoyed sitting in the stands with my parents when I was younger much more.

* Please do not read as support for Bill Clinton. I've had issues with the man long before he was president that have nothing to do with politics.


Mused by Jenster :: 7:52 AM :: 20 People musing:

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Still Thinking

Now that I've consumed mass quantities of coffee and had a shower I am in a better position to actually think. So I'm going to tell why I chose the blogs I chose.

Radioactive Girl - Tori is a young wife and mother of four (one set of twins) who battled thyroid cancer. She has an incredible attitude and her optimism shines from her posts. She does all kinds of fun things with her kids like bike riding (for great distances) and baking - she's a great mom. So when I read her blog I think about a lot of things. How similar our lives are. How different our lives are. What a good mom she is. How I wish I was half as athletic as she is!

For My Good and His Glory - This blog used to be called "Playing Ketchup", but April has since changed the title. And the new title is perfect. Her posts are always deeply spiritual and thought provoking - even if she's just talking about a day she spent with her family. Somehow she always manages to praise God in every thing she does. She's a great inspiration and I'm blessed to have found her blog.

Throw the Book at Me - Jodi is the little sister I never had. I'm fairly sure we are somehow related. We even look a lot alike. Well, we both have brown hair. She likes the same words I do like spelunker and Hoodia, she likes a lot of the same books I do AND we're going to go to Cape May, New Jersey someday and show some ankle. I always think about something fun when I read her posts!

No Surrender - This woman is amazing. She's a five year breast cancer survivor who is now in treatment for a whole new cancer*. She has been a constant source of inspiration and encouragement for us ladies who frequent and going through this new battle with her is quite an experience. So yeah. I think A LOT when I read her blog. Like, Wow! She's incredible!

Waiting for My Real Life to Begin - Swishy makes me think all kinds of things. Things such as I should have ordered the diet soda with the burger and fries; Don't try taking pictures of people in cars while driving; What's really going on with Meredith and McDreamy.

*Thanks, Deb C, for the correction.


Mused by Jenster :: 1:39 PM :: 6 People musing:

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The Thinker

Romance Reading Mom nominated me for The Thinker's Award. I find this hysterical in light of the fact that I can't think of anything to blog about! Which I suppose means I should decline the award, but since I can't think of anything to blog about I'm going to keep it. This gives me a little more time to think of something.

Here are some thinkers that make me think deep thoughts and some that make me think silly thoughts. And some make me think deep AND silly thoughts:

Radioactive Girl
For My Good and His Glory
Throw the Book at Me
No Surrender

Your turn, Ladies. Go forth and tag some Thinkers...


Mused by Jenster :: 9:58 AM :: 3 People musing:

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Saturday, May 12, 2007

She's an Angel

I have a young friend named Krista who has a heart the size of Alaska. She's a college student who is the total embodiment of God's love.

She knew I had hit a bit of a rough spot so she offered to do something with me this past week. We decided we would drive to the nursery on Thursday morning, pick up some flowers and then come back to my house to plant them out front.

Unfortunately, my body had other ideas. I had to call her Thursday morning and cancel our plans. She was, as usual, sweet and understanding and I hung up the phone thinking, "I just love that girl!"

When Katie got home from school that afternoon she came in carrying a bouquet of beautiful tulips and a delicious looking coffee cake. They had anonymously been left on the front porch.

My knowledge of rocket science is limited to the fact that rockets go up, but it didn't take a genius to know where the gifts came from. I sent an email to Krista asking about it and she plead ignorance, but I know better.

As you can tell from the photos, I couldn't cut into the coffee cake fast enough. It was only after I'd cut two pieces (for myself and within a span of about 10 minutes) that I thought to snap a picture. And, as good as it looks, the coffee cake is about a bajillion times even better.

Katie helped me arrange the tulips in the vase and then snagged one as payment for carrying them in the house. Aren't they lovely?

You know, it's commonly thought that older people should be examples to younger people. But I'm telling you, Krista is an incredible example to me! I want to be her when I grow up!!

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Mused by Jenster :: 11:29 AM :: 15 People musing:

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Just Some Stuff

The Bragging Corner

Katie's school choir concert was Tuesday night. If you will recall, she had one of the seven solos. Two of the solos were boys and Katie was the only female alto solo.

Other than one of the boys who struggled with his solo (but he exuded confidence so he gets props for that) all the kids did a fantastic job. I was amazed at their talent and the ease they sang their parts with.

I won't go so far as to say Katie was better than the other soloists - because she was the only alto she was different. But I was truly stunned when she started singing. I hear her around the house, in the shower, etc. But I don't ever hear her like that. She has such a rich, powerful voice with a natural vibrato. Even the parents around us (who had no idea she was ours) gasped in amazement. I think even Simon Cowell would have been impressed! LOL

She sang in the variety show last year and did a great job. But the growth and improvement over the previous twelve months has been tremendous. I'm excited to see where she's going to go with this talent.

Anniversary Celebration

As I said in THIS post, Todd came home from work early to help me celebrate. I was upstairs when he came home and as I walked down the stairs I saw these on the entryway table. Ten red and two pink roses. Aren't they lovely?

It was a beautiful day so we opened the sun roof and drove about 15 minutes away to a quaint little mountain town with a casual restaurant that I've wanted to eat at since moving here. Moccia's Train Stop. It's nothing fancy, just a diner in an old train station. But the food is delicious and it's a fun place to go.

After lunch we drove around and enjoyed the gorgeous weather and beautiful countryside, finally coming back home to relax with our current reads. It was about as perfect a day as it could be. Can't wait to see what we'll do next year!

Exciting Softball

In complete contrast to the previous Saturday's softball game (THIS post) this past Saturday's game was exciting. It was a neck and neck race to the end. Great hitting, good pitching and fielding, the way a softball game is supposed to be.

EXCEPT, I was extremely upset with the first base coach at the end of the game. Here's the deal. It was the bottom of the sixth, a runner on third, two outs and we needed two runs to tie. Katie was at bat. Talk about pressure! She smacked the ball and ran like a jackrabbit to first while the other runner came in for another home run.

I will admit I'm not a baseball/softball expert. Not even close. But I do know enough that if you're at the bottom of the last inning with two outs and two more runs needed to win the game, you should be a little conservative. Instead the first base coach sent her to second while the ball was still in play. Stupid, stupid, stupid! She was thrown out at second and that was the end of the game.

I'm not saying her team would have won had she stayed on first base. That's not even the point. The point is the possibility was taken away by someone who should have known better. And the worst part was that Katie started crying when she got out at second because she felt like she lost the game.

Other than that it was a fantastic game and a lot of fun to watch. The girls are improving by leaps and bounds with each game they play. Hopefully tonight's game will be just as good!

Change in Plans

In case you haven't noticed, I've taken the ticker for our Hawaiian vacation off of my blog. Todd and I made the decision the other night to postpone the trip until next summer. My vasculitis is still spreading and not showing any signs of letting up. I have an appointment with a specialist. IN AUGUST! Our fear was that I would still be too uncomfortable to enjoy the vacation so we cancelled the plane tickets and the hotel reservations.

As sad as I should be, there are definite pluses to this decision:

1. My friend, Cigi, who lives in Honolulu will be gone for most of the time we would have been there this summer. Her daughter is graduating from college in Washington State and I only would have gotten to see her the day before we left. So this way I'll get to spend a little more time with her next year as she has no children graduating at that time.

2. The high school youth group is attending a national conference (Christ In Youth) during the time we were to be gone. This way Taylor will be able to go and we can plan around it next year. Of course, every time someone would ask him if he was going to CIY he'd say, "Let's see. It seems like there's something going on at the same time. What was it? Oh yeah! I'm going to be in Paradise that week!"

3. Todd is probably going to go to CIY as a chaperon. Which means Katie and I get a girls' week, including an overnight trip to New York City. Or maybe we'll decide to go somewhere else. Who knows? Whatever, it will be nice to spend some time with just her.

4. I have at the very least another 52 weeks to fit into a smaller swimsuit! No bikini for me, though. I don't want to make the other women there jealous, you know.

The kids took the news extremely well. They both understood why we made the decision we did and said it was no big deal. They'll just enjoy it next year. WHEW!

Last And Maybe Least

I apologize for the length of this post. This is what I get for slacking in my duties as a blogger. Can't promise it won't happen again, though.

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Mused by Jenster :: 1:44 PM :: 9 People musing:

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Monday, May 07, 2007

A Little More Monday Fun

Here's another funny video by these guys called "So Smooth".

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Mused by Jenster :: 4:05 PM :: 5 People musing:

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A Little Monday Fun

I have lots of things to blog about, but I'm trying to be responsible and all that - pffft - so I don't have time for a real post. In honor of Mother's Day I thought I'd leave you all with this little video gem.

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Mused by Jenster :: 12:56 PM :: 11 People musing:

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Thursday, May 03, 2007

I'm a Survivor!!

I am officially a two year breast cancer survivor today. Last year on this day I received a bouquet of one pink and eleven red roses from Todd and the infamous "uniboob cake" from two friends, Amy and Lisa.

This year to celebrate I'll be receiving a Venti White Chocolate Mocha from the lady behind the counter at Starbucks. I'll have to pay her for it, but I don't mind. It's my thought that counts.


I just got a call from Todd (11:00) and he's coming home from work to spend the day with me to celebrate the anniversary. So now HE gets to pay the nice lady at Starbucks, making it seem more like a gift for me.

Given my recent trips down memory lane, I'm sure it's no surprise to any of you that I've posted about the day of my surgery. A few readers have griped about the lack of **Kleenex Warning** so I will tell you now to read at your own risk. I don't think a tissue will be required, but I'm trying to cover my bases.


Early in the morning of May 3, 2005, Todd and I headed off to the hospital. My sister, Terri, was waiting for us at the entrance to the admissions waiting room and when we walked in my friends Beth and Rhonda were there. By the time they called to take me up to surgery there were ten of us and we kept getting into trouble. The poor little old volunteer lady kept getting on to us for being disruptive.

Finally the pre-op nurse came to get me and I felt just like J Lo before a performance. The nurse was the stage manager telling me what was going to happen; Todd was my personal assistant, carrying my bag; and the other eight people were my posse. My entourage and I followed the nurse to the next floor where she very patiently waited while I gave everyone a hug and some reassurance before heading back to pre-op.

Todd and I let the nurse lead us to the staging area where she asked me when the last time I ate or drank was. The words just split out in a rush. “I had two glasses of wine last night to help me relax but then I read I wasn’t supposed to have any alcohol 24 hours before or after surgery so I then drank 40 ounces of water in less than 20 minutes! Did I totally ruin everything?”

This she found highly amusing. “It’s hard to be relaxed when you’re spending the entire night in the bathroom, isn't it?”

This place really knew how to throw a party. After changing into the height of hospital fashion, the nurse brought me some Reglan and a Valium. Todd asked if he could have some as well but she just laughed him off, though she did admit family members should be given something as well. I considered offering him mine because I knew before long I would be blissfully unaware of anything. But I was stingy and kept it all for myself.

After the IV was placed she gave me Versed and I got that old Ramones song I Want to be Sedated stuck in my head. According to Todd – and I’m not sure I believe him – I was singing the song as they wheeled me to the OR.


At this point in my story I was peacefully slumbering so let’s visit the waiting room, shall we? By this time there were about 15 people out there, including my mother-in-law who had brought an XXL bag of peanut M&Ms for me, but my peeps couldn’t hold back. In fact, when we were in the admissions waiting room they had been accusing me of being a lousy hostess as I had no snacks of any kind for my soiree. So they all ate MY M&Ms in MY honor and decided it was MY hips that would show their indulgence. I’m guessing there was a collective sigh of relief from the other patrons of the waiting room when this particular gang left.

When Dr. Abraham was finished in the operating room she went to the waiting room to talk to Todd. She told him everything went well, it was definitely cancer, but she felt confident it was all removed. The sentinel lymph node and four axillary lymph nodes were tested in the operating room and appeared to be cancer free. The breast tissue and the nodes would be sent to pathology for more sensitive testing, however. Not precisely what we wanted to hear, but the best prognosis in a bad situation, nonetheless.


While I thoroughly enjoy the feeling of going under, I’m not so keen on the return to consciousness. At the very first instant of awareness I just want to go back to my happy place. Unfortunately the recovery room Nazis, I mean nurses, won’t let you sink back down into oblivion.

Struggling to surface from my drug-induced haze, I could hear someone talking to me as if they were on the other side of a long tunnel. She kept calling my name and asking how I felt. I’m sure I kept telling her I was fine, but she didn’t seem to hear me. Finally after what seemed like forever I managed to open my eyes and mumble somewhat coherently.

I had gone into surgery that morning fairly certain I had a malignancy, but not one hundred percent sold. There was a still that small part of me that was hoping for the best. My answer came in the form of the nurse patting my arm and saying sympathetically, “You’re going to be just fine, Honey.” It may have been that I had prepared myself for the worst, though I suspect it was more due to the physical, mental and emotional numbness from the anesthesia. I merely smiled and croaked, “I know.”

As it turned out, there were cancer cells found in two of the five lymph nodes which required eight chemotherapy treatments instead of four. Having a breast removed turned out to be the easiest part of this whole ordeal. Probably because of the amazing variety and copious amounts of drugs they gave me.

Some days it seem like it was another life time ago and other days it seems like it was just yesterday. Regardless, I'm thankful both my mother and I can wear the title "Survivor" (she's a one-year survivor) and plan on doing so for a very long time to come.

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Mused by Jenster :: 8:02 AM :: 27 People musing:

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Happy Taylor's Birthday To Me!!

Every October when the girl's birthday is closing in Taylor tells us what he wants for Katie's birthday. So I'm going to tell you what I got for Taylor's birthday!

I was given a sign by God the other day. Not just one sign, but two. First I received an email coupon for 10% off any Barnes and Noble purchase. An hour or so later I received a B&N email about Lynn Kurland's new book, When I Fall in Love. I may ignore one omen, but not two. So I had to order the book. But the problem is you don't get the free shipping unless you order at least $25.00 worth and it was just a paperback. Being the financial sophisticate I am, I ordered:

Not Quite a Lady by Loretta Chase - the fourth Carsington book;

Charming the Prince by Teresa Medeiros - a new author for me;

Surrender to a Wicked Spy and One Night with a Spy by Celeste Bradley. These are part of the Royal Four series. Unfortunately for me, I ordered the wrong book because I already own Surrender. No biggy, though. I'll just take it back to B&N and get the one book of the series I don't have. (Note to self: be sure to check which book you need before going to B&N.)

Anyway, after school on Monday the kids got excited because there were two boxes on the front porch. Taylor was certain it was some kind of present for him. Too bad for him they were my books.

Then yesterday I received an email from Mary Reed McCall, informing me I won an autographed ARC (Advanced Reader Copy for you non-readers) of the third book in The Knights Templar series - The Templar's Seduction. I don't ever remember winning anything before!

I made sure everyone knew last night I had won this book. I whooped every 30 minutes or so just in case they'd forgotten. Finally Taylor said, "You had a really good Taylor's birthday, didn't you?"

I certainly did!!

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Mused by Jenster :: 1:40 PM :: 4 People musing:

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007



Katie had a softball game on Saturday. Oh. My. Gosh. It was the longest two-and-a-half hours of my life that I'll never get back. This was an away game with another league that has different rules. For example, they don't have a run rule or a time rule. Which meant that we sat there and watched girl after girl walk around the bases. One hour after the game started we were only into the second inning. And if that wasn't bad enough, Katie pulled a muscle in the first inning and spent the rest of the game in the dugout. Todd said watching the t-ballers laying in the dirt and picking daisies on the other field was infinitely more entertaining. I'm thinking watching grass grow would be infinitely more entertaining. Actually, I think I did see grass grow.

To make matters worse, I woke up early Saturday morning with a wicked flare up of the vasculitis. I'd thought it was going away but apparently not. So I was miserable during the endless game and couldn't wait to get home for the anti-itch medication that knocks me out. In hindsight I wish I'd taken the medication before the game.


Yesterday was Taylor's 15th birthday. We celebrated by going to the Cheesecake Factory last night. Such a bounty of yumminess. Each of us ended up bringing home a good portion of our dinner and a slice of cheesecake. Guess what we're having for dinner tonight!

We may still have some years left before we can call him a man, but he's certainly not a little boy anymore. There's a huge part of me that misses that little boy. But at the same time I'm thoroughly enjoying the person he's becoming. Most of the time, anyway. He is still a teenager, after all.


Somehow I managed to read three long novels during the month of April. Some of the best books I've read in quite some time. They are all from the Mark of the Lion trilogy by Francine Rivers. If you're into inspirational historical fiction at all these are a must read. In order they are:

A Voice in the Wind

Echo in the Darkness

As Sure as the Dawn

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Mused by Jenster :: 10:55 AM :: 13 People musing:

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