Jenster's Musings

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Ah.... Sookie

Here's our new beautiful girl. We agreed on Sookie (a character from Gilmore Girls and also a line in an old Dwight Yokum song). She's very slowly warming up to us and has yet to venture past the family room and breakfast nook. She seems particularly fond of being under the table. Could be the crumbs, I suppose...





And this would be Taylor in his new room:

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Mused by Jenster :: 4:39 PM :: 32 People musing:

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Friday, March 28, 2008

Catching Up

Okay. I've only got a little time to tell you what's been going on. I'll start with Wednesday. That was my trip in to Philly to have my tattoos touched up and the hair under my arms zapped into oblivion. The ride into the city was pleasant and uneventful. I'm telling you, give me some good tunes and a minimum of stupid drivers and I am one happy woman.

Ylena did the tattoo touch ups first. I asked her if she ever had any strange requests for smiley faces or Celtic knots or anything and she said no. Which is a good thing because all she knows how to do are circles. But she does that really well. I am a bit surprised at how real things are starting to look. It's the first time in nearly three years that I think I look "normal". Oh, I still have funky scars and will for some time, but I look less like a doll and more like a real person. AND there is no more yak belly hair.

Which leads me to the laser hair removal. Ayechiwawa that hurt!! Not the breast part because there's not really any feeling there. But the underarms! Cripes!! Though not all of it. I would think, "this isn't so bad" and then ZAP! I could actually hear the hair frying! And oy, the smell! Burning hair has quite the nasty odor. She did the left armpit first and just when I didn't think I could take anymore she put an ice pack under there and moved to the right side. That side didn't seem to be as bad and I think it's because of some strange nerve sensations since having lymph nodes removed from the left a few years ago.

I go back the first week in May for my second session. I may be less than thrilled at the thought of more sizzling pain, but the end results are well worth it. No more shaving or Veeting for me!!

The drive home from Philadelphia wasn't too bad except I was behind some bonehead who had to be drunk or high or something. Nobody drives that bad. Seriously. He nearly hit the center divider a number of times until he moved into the right lane. Then he kept driving on the shoulder, swerving back into his lane and over compensating by veering into the left lane. I was relieved when he took an exit, but then felt guilty I hadn't called 911 because he was dangerous.

Thursday was my thyroid biopsy. Radioactive Girl had given me good advice and an idea of what to expect and I was thankful for that. The unknown and speculation is always much worse than reality.

I laid on a table with my head back as far as it would go, the ultrasound technician on the right and the radiologist on the left. She pressed the wand onto my neck while the doctor poked around with his finger to figure out where he wanted to go in. He had me turn my head as far to the right as I could and then he sprayed the area with a freezing agent. So freezing that it kind of burned. Then the real fun began.

I didn't feel the needle going in, but I could feel it inside, fishing around for the right spot to extract the questionable cells. The ultrasound tech told me not to swallow or talk. Don't you know after that I had an insane urge to swallow. The doctor took two samples from one nodule and two samples from another nodule. In between samples the tech would say, "Now swallow as much as you can!" Which was funny because it's really hard to swallow on command and that's why she was saying it.

The doctor kept saying, "This just doesn't look like anything to worry about. I really think these are complex cysts." There was a pathologist in the room as well to make sure he was getting enough cells for the samples, but she couldn't say yay or nay. I'll get the final word near the end of next week, but I'm not concerned at all. I've had these things for ten years and they've hardly changed a bit. Which makes me wonder why I went through the pain and hassle in the first place. But I just figure it's my little jab to the insurance company. (Hope they don't read this!)

Afterwards my neck was a little sore and I'm kind of bruised, but nothing terrible. It's uncomfortable to yawn and, just like the swallowing thing, makes me want to yawn all the time. But it's over with and I hope to never have this done ever again. I did get that Venti Decaf White Chocolate Mocha with Whip, though!

Now for the really big news! I have succumbed. We're picking up our new puppy in about an hour. A Norwegian Elkhound mix from a rescue shelter. She's a very cute and fluffy little thing. I have to admit I'm getting a bit excited. If for no other reason than I'll have cute pictures and fun stories for my blog. Hopefully fun for me as well as you. Now if we all can only agree on a name.

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Mused by Jenster :: 1:13 PM :: 12 People musing:

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

What Kind of Flower Are You?

I high jacked this bit of bloggy fun from PJ over at Bits and Pieces.



I am a
Sunflower


What Flower
Are You?




When your friends think smile, they think of you. There is not a day that goes by that you can't find something good about the world and your fellow human.


Boy, would I love to be thought of this way!!

How about you? Go take the test and then tell us what kind of flower you are and what that says about you. Go on. I'll wait...

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Mused by Jenster :: 10:09 AM :: 21 People musing:

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

More Nothing

Today was my first day back at work since spring break and the kids' first day back to school. To say this morning was crumby is an understatement! After more than a week of sleeping late to all of a sudden getting up at 6:30 - or 5:45 if you're Taylor - was, in the infamous words of Jeff Spicoli, gnarly, dude.

****

My family is conspiring against me to get a dog. I don't want a dog. Don't get me wrong. I love dogs and have had several in my lifetime. They're wearing me down, however, and I'm pretty sure we'll be owning one soon. As long as I'm not the one getting up in the middle of the night with it or cleaning up the backyard is all I'm gonna say.

****

I'm reading the most excellent of books! It's called Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin. It's a medieval (1172) mystery in the fashion of CSI - two of my favorite genres all mixed in together! Here's the back blurb:

In Cambridge, four children have been murdered. Wrongly accused of the crimes, a small community of Jews threatened by Catholic mobs is given sanctuary by Henry II. To assist in proving their innocence, he summons an expert in the science of deduction and the art of death. She is Adelia, a prodigy from the Medical School of Salerno, and an anomaly in a medieval world, who is forced to concel her identity and her purpose from England's grave superstitions and condemnation. One man willing to work with her is Sir Rowley Picot. His personal stake in the investigation makes him an invaluable ally - and in Adelia's eyes, a suspect as well. From navigating Cambridge's perilous river paths to penetrating the dark shadows of the Church, Adelia's investigation will not only reveal the secrets of the dead, but in time, the far more dangerous ones buried by the living.


Now if I only had time to read more...

****

Tomorrow I go back for the tattoo touch ups and my first laser hair removal treatment. I'm so excited about never having to shave/Veet my underarms again.

****

Thursday is my thyroid biopsy. I'm seriously not concerned about the results. I've had these nodules and calcifications for at least 10 years. I AM, however, a little freaked out about the actual procedure. Todd is taking off work to go with me which means I'm getting a Venti White Chocolate Mocha out of the deal so I suppose it's not so bad. Besides, Radioactive Girl gave me the scoop on what to expect so I know it's not going to be as horrible as it sounds.

****

I'm listening to my iPod and 100 Years by Five for Fighting is on right now. If I listen to the lyrics it will make me cry. Not because they're sad. They're just, I don't know... So very, very true.

I'm 15 for a moment
Caught in between 10 and 20
And I'm just dreaming
Counting the ways to where you are

I'm 22 for a moment
She feels better than ever
And we're on fire
Making our way back from Mars

15 there's still time for you
Time to buy and time to lose
15, there's never a wish better than this
When you only got 100 years to live

I'm 33 for a moment
Still the man, but you see I'm a they
A kid on the way
A family on my mind

I'm 45 for a moment
The sea is high
And I'm heading into a crisis
Chasing the years of my life

15 there's still time for you
Time to buy, Time to lose yourself
Within a morning star

15 I'm all right with you
15, there's never a wish better than this
When you only got 100 years to live

Half time goes by
Suddenly you're wise
Another blink of an eye
67 is gone
The sun is getting high
We're moving on...

I'm 99 for a moment
Dying for just another moment
And I'm just dreaming
Counting the ways to where you are

15 there's still time for you
22 I feel her too
33 you're on your way
Every day's a new day...

15 there's still time for you
Time to buy and time to choose
Hey 15, there's never a wish better than this
When you only got 100 years to live


****

I've become addicted to Sudoku. I hate it, but I can't stop myself. I have to do two or three puzzles every day and then I dream about it at night. The other night it was like a cross between Hollywood Squares and the beginning of the Brady Bunch with faces and numbers or numbers and faces or something. I don't know, but it plagued my sleep all night long.

****

I slighted Ben in my telling of how the boys scared the girls last Thursday, but only because I didn't have all the details when I wrote that post. Ben's part was rather devious and I believe Jesus warned about people like him. He went down to the basement and told the girls he needed to use the computer for something. Then when Taylor was scratching and knocking on the basement windows and the girls were freaking out, Ben was their hero. First he told them it was only the wind, then he said he'd go check it out and when he came back he told them it was just the wind. Nothing to be scared about. So he got them a little worked up and then lulled them into a false sense of security, priming them for Taylor's entrance. And he seems like such a nice boy, too.

****

The girls that spent the night were my little homies. Or K Squad Unit Fresh as Taylor calls them. We had been talking about the last days of Jesus' life the previous two weeks so Thursday night we watched The Passion of the Christ only after getting the parents' permission. A part of me was hoping either the parents would say no or the girls would change their minds. But no such luck. And it actually turned out to be a very good thing. Intense, but good. And after the movie was over they decided to watch Hairspray. lol

****

There's a two-inch gash on my good coffee table in the living room. Not a scratch that I could maybe rub out, but an honest to goodness gash. I just wish I knew how it got there so I could make myself feel better by blaming someone. But no one has any idea how it got there. The hand-me-down coffee table in the family room is fine. The really cheap table is fine. The good coffee table? Not so much.

****

I'm terribly behind in my bloghopping. Now that I'm feeling better and things are getting back to our regular routine, maybe I can catch up. But right now I think I'll go take a little nap...

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Mused by Jenster :: 1:50 PM :: 17 People musing:

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Haphazard Thoughts

I have weighty issues to discuss. Deep and meaningful subjects. Is there anything more significant in the life of a Christian than the celebration of Easter? And yet... this post is neither weighty, nor deep and meaningful.

This is who I think of every time I look in the mirror. If you only ever heed one piece of wisdom from this blog, may it be this. Do NOT wax your lip after you've blown your nose countless times the previous several days and already have a bit of a raw spot. Because if you do you just may rip the delicate skin off and end up looking like you have a port wine stain under your nose. And make up only does so much.

This past week was our Spring Break so Thursday night three 13-year-old girls spent the night with Katie. Half our basement is finished and that's where they hung out and slept. Sometime around midnight I heard giggling so I got up to tell the girls to keep it down as Todd had to get up early for work. What I found was Ben and Taylor conspiring against the chickies.

Taylor went downstairs and told the girls he had to put his backpack away in the unfinished side. While he was over there he unlocked the Bilco doors and then went back upstairs. He then went outside, around to the back of the house, through the Bilco doors and put on his Scream costume. Then he ran back outside and started knocking on the basement windows. This freaked the girls out so they ran back upstairs to the main floor. Taylor then went back down into the basement with all the lights off and just stood there. When the girls came back downstairs and turned on the lights he scared the bajeezers out of them. Katie was so mad she whacked him in the stomach with a baton. Meanwhile, Ben and Taylor were cracking up. He told Ben the baton hurt, but it was worth it.

So when Todd left for work Friday morning he banged on both Ben and Taylor's doors, saying, "This is payback for keeping me up last night!" To which he was told, "It was worth it!!"

Late Friday morning I drove the girls to Shady Maple Smorgasbord and we stuffed ourselves silly. It's the biggest buffet I have ever seen. I know where we're taking the in-laws the next time they come to visit. My Father-in-Law LOVES a good buffet. Here's a picture of the girls in the parking lot:



Trust me when I tell you all four of them are beautiful. But I won't be putting pictures of them on my blog for safety reasons. Sorry.

On the way home guess what we passed? Sonic, Wal-Mart and the church from my Road Trip post. Here's the covered buggy parking at Wal-Mart:



And here are pictures of the church:






And the skinny house:



Oh! Look at the time!! We're on our way to On The Border with some friends for dinner so I gotta go!!

Have a happy and blessed Easter!!

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Mused by Jenster :: 3:29 PM :: 16 People musing:

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Whiny Wednesday

I still feel like ca-ca, though less than I did yesterday. I took Nyquil last night and had drug-induced dreams of Anne of Green Gables arguing with me about sudoku puzzles. If that doesn't make for a fitful sleep I don't know what does.

The kids ditched me today for their friends. I can't imagine why they would rather play with buddies instead of hanging out here, listening to me blow and watching me fall asleep in the chair. But whatever.

I finally managed to do a little grocery shopping yesterday, but before I could put the food away I had to clean out the fridge. I pulled out six or seven containers of some kind of ancient consumable and placed them on the counter so I'd have room for the good, edible food I had just purchased. After that I needed a nap so I just left the crud on the counter. When I went up to bed at 8:30 last night they were still sitting on the counter but I didn't have the energy or the care to do anything with them. This morning they were suspiciously gone. And I can't find the containers which leads me to the conclusion that Todd didn't actually empty them, but rather he threw them away. Not just the mystery matter inside, but the actual containers. Some of them were really good containers. But do I care? Not really. Because caring takes energy and I have none.

Which is why the wreck of a house I'm existing in doesn't bother me. I'm just looking forward to my date with Nyquil tonight and hope I don't dream about a vicious red head with a penchant for number puzzles.

**Addendum**

I have confirmation that yes, Todd did, in fact, throw the containers away. As pertains to the house he also informed me he's staying at the Marriott Courtyard tonight. He's a funny guy!!

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Mused by Jenster :: 4:23 PM :: 22 People musing:

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Monday, March 17, 2008

A Monday I Like

First of all -
video hosting



I hope you're all wearing green. Otherwise you might get pinched. Unless you're into that kind of thing...

Second of all -

It's the first official day of Spring Break!! I didn't have to get up early! Poor Todd, though. He still has to go to work. I did wake up long enough to tell him goodbye.

Third of all -

Katie was up before the rest of us and made both plain and chocolate chip pancakes. She's an awesome pancake maker, a skill she must have gotten from my mom because she sure didn't get it from me.

***

Because I'm still fighting this crud I didn't go to church yesterday morning. So I had church with Beth Moore. It was great.




Katie ditched youth group last night to stay home with me and we watched North and South. *sigh* Her squeal of delight when they both finally came to their senses was worth it.

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Mused by Jenster :: 10:33 AM :: 20 People musing:

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Saturday, March 15, 2008

One More Thing

As Taylor was sitting next to me on the couch this evening he hit my shoulder with his noggin. And I said ---

You butt headed me!

And then Todd had to pause the movie because I started laughing so hard I was crying, which is contagious, and pretty soon we were all hysterical.

And Taylor's all, "Mom called me a butt head!" And I'm like, "I meant head butted!" And Todd's going, "That's Mom for you." And Katie's totally, "Stop or I'll wet myself!"

Yeah. Good times.

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Mused by Jenster :: 10:11 PM :: 10 People musing:

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I Forgot To Mention

To those of you who turned me onto Google Reader I'd like to say

image hosting

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My Sacrifice

As I pulled a reheated cup of coffee out of the microwave this afternoon the handle painfully burned my palm and fingertips. I'm afraid I muttered a less than righteous expletive as coffee splashed all over the counter and floor, but I did manage to keep the cup from crashing on the linoleum. I also saved the majority of the coffee and am enjoying it as I type.

Right before this incident I had decided to blog about this morning in an effort to bring a little sunshine into the otherwise gray lives of my adoring fans. And by gray I mean cloudy. The Weather Channel said it was cloudy where both of my fans live.

The slightest touch to my finger pads sends excruciating pain shooting up my arm, rendering me nearly unconscious. And yet here I am, typing away. For you, my dear readers.

If that's not sacrifice, I don't know what is.

The annual community Easter egg hunt was this morning at church. Taylor had to be there at 9:00 and I was supposed to help as well. But I woke up this morning with left-sided congestion and an itchy sore throat. That alone wasn't enough to keep me home. The fat and fuzzy tongue, however, was. All my colds I've had these last several months have apparently whittled my immune system down a bit again. I know it's not terribly bad, but I didn't think it would be wise to hang around upwards of 300 little kids with as many runny noses.

We stopped at Wawa on the way to church so I could pick up milk and donuts for the homebodies and breakfast for Taylor. This is how he secured our purchases:



They made it the rest of the way to the church and then home without incident.

I'm starting to feel faint. A body can only take so much pain. I'd better lay down for a physically healing nap. I just felt it was important to get this news to you first and to let you to know I put you all before my own needs. Because that's the kind of girl I am.

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Mused by Jenster :: 2:33 PM :: 11 People musing:

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

ROAD TRIP!

The kids and I took a quick trip to Arkansas this afternoon. Or at least it seemed like it.

I worked at the preschool until 3:00 this afternoon and then picked Taylor up from a school club meeting. We met up with Katie at home and then left around 4:00 for a three hour adventure.

Before we even walked out of the house, however, I traumatized my daughter. Again. Taylor had her upside down over his shoulder and this would be the conversation:

Me: Taylor! Put her down!

Katie: Yeah! Put me down!

Taylor: Teeheehee…

Me: I mean it! Put her down now! She's going to scuff the door with her shoes!

Katie: What about me? All you care about is the door?

Taylor: (After putting Katie down) Mom only cares about the door! Tee hee!

Me: Giggle.

Katie: Huff!


We then jumped in the car, opened up the sun roof, plugged in Taylor's iPod and headed for Morgantown with an ETA of 4:30. It was a beautiful drive through rolling hills and by old (and I do mean OLD) farms and historic houses. Taylor actually fell asleep in the back while Katie and I occasionally broke the companionable silence with a little chatter. It was lovely.

Just before 4:30 we arrived at our initial destination, the Morgantown Sonic. That's right, folks! We drove 21 miles just to eat at a mediocre fast food dive for a little taste of home. And thoroughly enjoyed it. I was so excited I texted my friend, Beth, in Arkansas and sent her a picture of Katie eating cheese fries in the front seat of the car.

When all our vittles had been consumed we went to the Super Center Wal-Mart across the parking lot. Sonic and Wal-Mart in one trip? It doesn't get more Arkansas than that! What a grand time we had perusing the aisles, trying on sunglasses, waxing nostalgic. So I texted Beth and sent her a picture of Taylor looking at posters.

Why, oh why didn't I have my real camera with me?? The one difference between this Wal-Mart and every other Wal-Mart I've ever been in was the covered buggy parking at the side of the parking lot. Seriously!! But don't you fret yourselves. I shall return with a real camera in hand because it was most definitely photo worthy.

After our grand tour of Wallyworld we drove through Dairy Queen to get the kids yummables for the trip back home. Katie ordered her usual – a Scooby Doo nose, better known as the Dairy Queen dilly bar. That's what she called it when she was little. In fact, my parents took her to DQ when she was about 5 or 6 and she told them she wanted a Scooby Doo nose. So that's what my dad ordered for her. The girl working the counter was one smart cookie because she figured out what Katie was talking about.

Finally, we headed for home. In one spot there was a beautiful white spire visible above a copse of trees so I took a detour to see it better. What a gorgeous old church it was. Again, curse my lack of camera! I pulled into the parking lot to turn around, but had to park so we could all dance to Every Time We Touch by Cascada. Oh. My. Gosh. It was hysterical! I'd never heard the dance tune before but somehow we all ended up doing the same "party boy" moves in perfect sync. Todd happened to call while we were all getting our groove on, but we were laughing so hard we had to hang up.

As we drove back to the main road we passed such an interesting old house. It was a two story stone house that looked normal straight on, but from the side you saw that it was only about 20 feet deep. So many things for me to get a picture of when I go back!

It was a great condensed version of a road trip and made us feel like we were back in Arkansas for just a little bit. It's the simple things in life, you know.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Hashimoto!! Gesundheit

Today was yet another doctor's appointment. This time it was with my new endocrinologist. Well, fairly new. This was my second appointment with her.

The reason I need an endocrinologist is because I have half a thyroid. When Todd and I had been married two years (I was 24) I saw the gynecologist for my annual checkup and he noticed a lump in my throat. (This is the part where people always say, “didn’t you tell him he was looking at the wrong end?") He mentioned a few things it could be, but the word that stuck out was “cancer”.

Todd’s parents were in town at the time because his grandfather had just passed away. Of cancer. His grandmother was dying. Of cancer. When the doctor mentioned the possibility of cancer it was all I heard. He set me up for some tests to determine whether the growth was benign or malignant.

I drove back to my house only to find Todd and his parents were at his grandparents’ house with the rest of the family. I tried to call him, but the line was busy. So I called my mom. My parents still lived in California at the time and were visiting my sister and her family in Oregon. I called my sister’s house and talked to my nephew when he answered the phone like there was nothing wrong. But as soon as I heard my mom’s voice I broke down. I couldn’t talk.

She asked several questions to which I managed a sobbing “no” in reply. Had Betty died, did something happen to Todd, were Todd and I in a fight. Finally I took a deep breath and told her I had a growth on my thyroid and the doctor mentioned it may be cancer.

Being the good mom she is my nerves were calmed in no time. So I hung up and tried calling out to the grandparents’ house again. This time I made it through and told Todd what the doctor had said. The family was so immersed in cancer at the time that it made him physically ill.

His mother called my doctor to get more information. Poor guy. He felt horrible when he heard what all we were going through at the time and how the mention of cancer – however remote the possibility – had frazzled me.

So began the myriad of tests to determine whether it was a benign goiter or a malignancy or something else. Each test came back inconclusive which meant another test and then another. I think I had at least four different tests. The morning we were getting ready for the last of them my father-in-law called to let us know his mother had passed away. I believe it was 11 days after her husband.

It was finally decided that I needed to have the right side of my thyroid removed and a biopsy performed. Thankfully the results were negative. It was just a plain old, run of the mill goiter.

For years I didn't have to take any medicine as the left side seemed to function just fine. Then one day while sitting at the counter at my folks' house (they had since moved to Arkansas) my mom commented on my swollen neck. I hadn't even noticed, but after she said that I realized I did have a bump to the left of center where my thyroid is.

My family quack doctor at that time said I'd have to have the other half removed without even running any tests and scheduled me to meet with a surgeon. Todd called my gynecologist and told him what was going on and he was not happy with my doctor. He sent me to his surgeon who ran some blood work and performed a sonogram. He decided I didn't need surgery, I needed an endocrinologist.

So we were referred to the Nutty Professor – the best endocrinologist to ever have walked the face of the earth (though I know Radioactive Girl will disagree with me). He diagnosed me with Hashimoto's Syndrome. My thyroid levels were all within normal limits, but my half a thyroid was working so hard to keep it that way it had become swollen. So now I take synthetic thyroid to keep my levels up without taxing the left side.

In addition to the Hashimoto's Syndrome I also have nodules, the largest of which is 1 cm. Some of them have a bit of calcification, but they've been that way for the last ten years. Still, given my history and the fact that breast cancer can spread to the thyroid, the doctor and I decided it would be a good idea to have a biopsy.

Is it just me, or does the thought of somebody jabbing a long needle into my neck sound icky?

Every time I have my thyroid levels checked I wish against wish and hope against hope they will be low, giving me a great excuse for not losing weight. Never, ever, ever has my wish or hope been granted. In an effort to combat my fatigue, however, she did increase my medication up to the next dosage today. Now I have visions of having all kinds of energy, living in a perfectly clean house, losing weight and realizing my dream of looking great in my swimsuit this coming summer.

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Mused by Jenster :: 8:34 PM :: 20 People musing:

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Monday, March 10, 2008

Did I Mention...

A couple of months ago the director of my preschool asked if I would be coming back next year and if I was interested in the possibility of being a lead teacher. Those who think just anyone can be a preschool teacher are sadly mistaken. It takes a special person to be a good one and I was flattered she has that kind of confidence in me. I, knowing myself better than anyone, understand my gifts lie elsewhere.

I told her I would talk to Todd, pray about it and get back to her. So I talked, prayed and got back. It wasn't an easy decision because: a) I love those kids. Each one of them has wormed his or her way into my heart; and b) I hate to disappoint people. But my reply was that I would neither be a lead teacher nor an assistant next year.

I'm blessed in many ways and one of those ways is that I don't HAVE to work. The extra money is nice – and with college looming ahead it would be helpful – but at this time it's not a necessity. Another way I'm blessed is I have a husband who supports my quest to be an author and a speaker. In fact sometimes I think he wants to see me published even more than I do.

So I told Kelly I wouldn't be back next year because I wanted to concentrate on writing and speaking. It seemed like such a ridiculous reason. For one thing I'm only working 7 hours a week. For another thing it sounds so pretentious. It's very easy to start thinking how ridiculous my desire is and who would ever want to read anything I write or listen to anything I might have to say.

To actually acknowledge these things as a career is almost embarrassing and to me it just sounds like an excuse. But each and every time I start thinking that way somebody – many times one of you – says just the right thing to encourage me and make me think that maybe I'm not crazy. Well, not in this matter anyway. I've finally come to the place where I truly believe with all my heart this is the path God wants me on. And because I believe this is where I've been led it's starting to be a little easier to say.

There's another reason I have decided not to work at the preschool next year. I've known this in the back of my mind, but didn't want to admit it to myself because it sounds so, I don't know. Whiney? Definitely pathetic. But the gig is too physically demanding. (I’m sure you can now see why I didn't want to admit this.)

I spend a lot of time standing up, dancing around with the kids, sitting in very tiny chairs which means trying to extricate myself out of very tiny chairs, getting on the floor to play blocks or trains or whatever and struggling to get up. This never used to be a problem with me and it sure is humbling now. My body behaves as though I'm an elderly woman. I thought I would get used to it, but even now I'm fatigued and sore by the time I get home.

So I'll continue working at the preschool until the middle of June and then I'll be done. Part of me is very sad because, as I said, those kids are just something else. Even the little rascals are precious. But I truly believe God is leading me down a different path. And writing is so much less strenuous.

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Sunday, March 09, 2008

Midnight Observations

While I love having more daylight, I hate "springing forward". That lost hour of sleep in the morning and all. Last night I tried to change the time on the clock I got for Christmas and I couldn't figure it out. I pushed this button and that button, but all I managed to change was the alarm time. So I handed it to Todd to let him have a go. After a few minutes he asked where the book was and there was no way I was going to rummage around the files. I told him we'd worry about it later since his clock had been moved forward.

After I plugged it back in he remembered the time can't be changed on this clock because it's linked to the atomic clock in Boulder, Colorado so it changes itself. Very nifty. The only problem was that instead of sleeping I kept glancing at it to see if it changed. Of course it didn't change until 2:00 (or actually 3:00) a.m.

I finally fell asleep, only to be woken by Katie who had had a terrible nightmare. She was still trembling from it so I told her to get in bed with us for just a little while. I scooched over and she climbed in. She lay on her side with her back to me and I spooned her and rubbed her back to calm her down. I felt something on my feet and it took me a few minutes to realize it was HER feet. What happened to my little girl? Now she's so tall her feet reach all the way down to mine!

About an hour of laying still and listening to the sounds of sleeping people on both sides of me was all I could take. I walked her back into her room and tucked her in like she was about seven. THEN I feel asleep. Again. And boy was it hard to get up this morning!! Thankfully we go to the late church service, though Taylor worked all three so Todd had to have him there early. Guess I shouldn't complain...

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Mused by Jenster :: 3:22 PM :: 15 People musing:

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Saturday, March 08, 2008

Quoting

I'm seriously concerned at how much I like this show.

Todd while watching Gilmore Girls this evening.

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Mused by Jenster :: 8:42 PM :: 7 People musing:

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Friday, March 07, 2008

HAPPY FRIDAY!!

I love Fridays. Truly love them. So much that if I weren't married and I could marry a day, I'd marry Friday. If Friday would have me.

I got to hang out with my homies this morning and that alone makes for a great Friday. After that I met my friend, Beans, for coffee and had a great visit. This evening was supposed to be wine club night, but we've postponed it for a couple of weeks and tonight we're just getting together for pizza.

So in the spirit of Becky and Dorky Dad, I leave you with this haiku

Friday is the best
The day full of fun with friends
Tomorrow I'll sleep

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Mused by Jenster :: 4:06 PM :: 14 People musing:

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Thursday, March 06, 2008

Neat Freak in Disguise

TODDY'S HOME!! TODDY'S HOME!!! It was a long week-and-a-half and we're so glad it's over!!

Since he's been either in a nice hotel or at his brother and sister-in-law's, and therefore has become used to cleanliness, I decided he should come home to a nice, clean room and bathroom. (I'm pretty good at redirecting responsibility and tonight is no different. Those of you who don't know me will probably think this is a good excuse. Those of you who DO know me will know the lie for what it is.) Because our guest room is currently being used by Ben I'm having to pile stuff up in our room so it's been a bit messy. (Never mind the messiness before Ben moved in. If I think hard enough I can give you a reason for that, too.) But no longer, unless you look in my sitting room. It's still a disaster. That's my project for next week.

In recent years I've discovered something about myself. To look at various parts of my house one would think I have a problem with clutter. But at heart I'm actually a neat freak. For example, when I'm picking up I want to start by cleaning out closets and drawers and cupboards. But when I do that I end up with a much larger mess before running out of steam. Or I start a project like that when I'm on a timeline and then up totally stressed out. Not today, though. Oh, my fingers itched to empty all my dresser drawers and get rid of non-wearables. But I curbed my urge and just put away, put away, put away.

Cleaning my bathroom leads me to a little whine. I'm very happy with my house. It's a nice size - not too big, not too small - we see it as a blessing and we try to bless others with it. The only thing I don't like is our bathroom and our small closets. We have a decent size shower and a lovely jacuzzi tub, a double vanity and fairly good storage. But there is very little counter space. On the other side of the wall are two small walk in closets with a considerable lack of area.

If their common wall is the vertical line in a "T", the horizontal line is a wall that is shared by a floored attic. Some day I want to knock out that wall and redesign both the bathroom and the closets. I want more counter space in the bathroom and a separate room for the commode. And in my closet I want shelves specifically for purses! Doesn't that sound nice??

Do you like your closet? If you could change anything about it what would it be?

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Mused by Jenster :: 6:02 PM :: 18 People musing:

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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

The Perilous Lake Perris Portent

AKA Lake Perris – The Misadventures of a Teenage Jenster

A couple of months ago while perusing my favorite blogs I made the mistake of mentioning to His Girl that I'd been to Lake Perris before and it was, in fact, where I had gotten into the worst trouble of my life (please don't correct me if I'm wrong about that, Mom). Did you know you can't just throw out a statement like that and expect people to forget?

Just so you know, there were no sex or drugs involved, though I do believe there was a substantial amount of rock 'n' roll. And those of you with no children may not see it as such a big deal. Those of you who are parents, however, will probably shake your head at my stupidity and mutter things like, "if my child did something like that she'd find herself in a high security boarding school until she was 30."

So without further ado, here it is. The infamous Lake Perris story…

***

The church I grew up in was full of campers. My dad was the Wagon Master because: a) we did a lot of camping and he knew how the California State Parks worked; b) not only did his truck have a CB, it also had a PA system which he used for camping announcements; c) his daughter (me) had mad whistling skills and was able to get the attention of everyone in a ½ mile radius; or d) he was the only one who offered to do it. I’m not sure which. When I was 14 he chose a campout at Lake Perris, a man made lake in Riverside County.

Not only did my best friend, Cindy, come to church with me and even joined when I did, she also came on nearly all the church camping trips. She was tall and thin while I was short and not as thin. We had one thing in common, though. We were both flat as boards and not the kind of girls who inspired thoughts from older boys, lascivious or otherwise. Kathy, however, was 16 and built like the proverbial brick house. At 5' or so, she was even shorter than I was, but she had solid curves in all the right places and the French bikini she wore the entire weekend looked exactly like it was supposed to.

Now Kathy only ever came to church or a church activity when she was in trouble for something, which means she was a fairly regular attendee. It seems to me this particular weekend her reason for being there came in the form of a stash of pot found in her locker at school, but it could have been anything. Because she was a bit of a rough girl, a lot of the kids would hardly give her the time of day. My mother - being high on the compassion scale - told Cindy and me to be nice to Kathy. So Saturday morning after breakfast we invited Kathy to come down to the beach with us. She seemed genuinely pleased to be included and came along.

After a while of tanning, talking and listening to that devil music (I have to blame something for my actions) we headed to the bait shop for sodas and a snack. Three guys around 17 or 18 came out of the bait shop and jumped into a ski boat. I don’t believe they even saw Cindy or me, but six eyes landed on the French bikini we were with. And by the way the French bikini started walking, she noticed them as well.

You can see where this is going, can't you? I imagine some of you are sitting there, glued to the screen, nearly breathless with anticipation as to what will happen next. "No, Cindy and Jenster! Don't do it! You're good girls!" Actually, I can't imagine that any of you are quite that riveted, but it's fun to pretend.

The guys asked Kathy if she wanted to go for a ride in the boat. And this is where it gets a little foggy. If memory serves, she didn't even consult Cindy or me and she just jumped in. As an afterthought we were invited to tag along.

For years after the "Great Lake Perris Debacle" Cindy and I argued vehemently over whose fault it was. Easily it was Kathy's fault because she just hopped in the boat with these guys she didn't know. But as far as our participation in the scandal - who pushed who? Now that I'm older I can see we were both probably right. I always argued that I tried to talk her out of it but she happily went along with Kathy and she always argued she was the voice of reason while I just blew her off.

I think we both were screaming on the inside, "Nooooooooooo," but on the outside we didn't want to appear foolish or uncool. Not only that, but I think we both felt a responsibility to Kathy and neither one of us could leave her to her joy ride alone. So much to my everlasting shame, Cindy and I went on the joy ride, too. I use the term "joy" loosely because I can tell you neither one of us enjoyed it. Kathy, on the other hand, was having the time of her life.

I have no idea how long we were out on the lake other than it was too long. We finally pulled up to the dock and I know Cindy and I were greatly relieved. Though I do have to say for the record, the guys were actually very nice and never did or said anything inappropriate. But I hear axe murderers look suspiciously like nice guys.

When we got out of the boat all I could think of was getting back to the campground. The boys were locals and offered to drive us up to the campground in the back of their truck. Fine, fine, whatever. Just get me back to my people! OH! And drop us off at the entry. I don't want anyone seeing us with you! As we walked to the truck I heard my name. I barely recognized the voice as that of my father's. Can you say "busted"?

Up until that time I had never been afraid of my daddy. Since that time I've never been afraid of my daddy. In that moment -- I was a little afraid of my daddy. He had this glazed, crazy look in his eyes I'd never seen. I had received a few spankings in my life and I deserved all three. If ever a spanking was called for it was that day, but I didn't get one.

** And for the record, being spanked DID NOT MAKE ME VIOLENT. I'm a lover, not a fighter. Except that I do kick Taylor in the shins sometimes or pinch the tender underside of his arm to get his attention. But that's another post. **

I quickly changed directions and walked toward my dad and the other people that were with him. I was in trouble and I was humiliated in front of half my church. It's all a bit of a blur now, but I remember walking back to the campground with several people. You know in the historical-type movies when the villagers chase the outcast out of town? That was sort of how I felt. But instead of being chased out of town Cindy and I were being chased back to our camp site.

Apparently the entire group was out looking for us. And if that wasn't bad enough, the park rangers were looking for us as well. One of them even asked if we could be out on the lake. "Oh, no," said my mom. "Jennifer would never get into a boat with complete strangers." Yeah, I would have thought the same thing.

The worst part of all of it, though, was when Cindy and I were sitting in the back of the truck (with a shell on top, a couch that made into a bed, a built in cassette system, carpeted and with curtains – our little camping oasis). My mom was telling us how worried they had all been and how disappointed she was in our behavior. I remember thinking, "Oh, please! Just beat me now! It would be so much easier to take than this guilt!"

It was bad enough that Cindy and I did something so stupid. But to do something so stupid in front of half the church was horrible. And it wasn't just my parents who were worried. Oy! I'm embarrassed just thinking about it and it happened ten years ago. Or twenty. Or nearly thirty. Whatever!

I have had a little experience as a parent with the anger that turns into worry that turns into relief that morphs into righteous indignation, but not on this scale. If I think about it too much I am surprised at the mercy that was shown to me when I really didn't deserve it.

Oh, I was punished. Grounded, maybe? I don't remember. I try to block unpleasantness from my conscience. Part of my "ignorance is bliss" theme. But a lesson was learned by all that weekend. Cindy and I learned that we really needed to stand up for ourselves. The church learned that "Little Jenni" wasn't nearly as good as they thought. My parents learned their youngest was more adventuresome than their two oldest. And Kathy learned that wearing a French Bikini could open doors. Or something.

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Mused by Jenster :: 9:42 AM :: 25 People musing:

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Monday, March 03, 2008

Racing Days Gone By

This morning I registered the four of us to walk in the Philadelphia Race for the Cure 5K on Mother's Day. We'll be walking with team H4J - to be explained in a later post. Today I'm writing about a very special past race.

Every October from the year 2000 on, the church we attended in Arkansas participated in the Little Rock Race for the Cure. It was women only and each year we'd come up with a new team name, design t-shirts and make a big deal out of it. We'd also grow in numbers.

Our beautiful team captain, Kathy, started all of this because her sister in Texas had breast cancer. Sadly, we unexpectedly lost Kathy to a freak accident in July of 2003. After that Cindy and I co-captained 2003 and 2004.

My diagnosis was April of 2005 and it seemed awfully ironic. Two and a half years previously my childhood friend had been diagnosed so I had started walking for her. Never once did I think I would ever be wearing a pink t-shirt along with all the other survivors.

When October of that year rolled around I was still in treatment and really struggling with my white count. My last three treatments were each delayed a week because my counts were too low to handle the chemo, so there was no way I would be allowed amongst the sea of 40,000+ people and swarming germs.

The team continued, however, and they walked in my honor. My friend, Rhonda, designed the t-shirts. She and my friend, Beth, were the ones who coined the name "G.I. Jen". They thought it fitting to call the team "G.I. Jen's Platoon."

Here's the front. And no, it's not your eyes. The picture is a bit blurry.



And this is the scripture I chose for the back.



My sister, Michele, flew in from New Mexico to take part in the walk and afterwards we all met up at the church for a breakfast the men cooked. I sorely missed the walk that day, but the support from this incredible group of people was humbling. I didn't feel worthy, but at the same time it filled me with such joy.

We moved to Pennsylvania a month after the Philly Race in 2006 and I had some strange skin affliction last year which prevented us from walking. I can't begin to describe the excitement I feel about being involved again and the gratefulness I have that I'm healthy enough to do it! I've missed it.

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Mused by Jenster :: 12:08 PM :: 20 People musing:

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Sunday, March 02, 2008

Jenster's Log

Jenster's Log
Friday
2008 February 29

1400 hrs – Pick offspring up from educational establishments and deliver them to designated launching site.

1430 hrs – Chat with several friends who, upon hearing I was not only void of children but husband as well, turn a visible green. Enjoy the smug feeling more than is acceptable.

1530 hrs – Stop at the grocery store for mostly healthy consumables.

1600 hrs – Put away the less than healthy consumables purchased at grocery store. Determine it's too early for a glass of wine so opt for a diet soda and salt and vinegar chips.

I realize it was 5:00 somewhere, but being all alone and drinking in the afternoon seemed so wrong.

1615 hrs – Catch up on emails, blogs and message boards.

1815 hrs – Contact spouse. Glad he made it to his brother's house and enjoys the twins. Talk with the twins. They don't talk back.. Give appropriate affection responses to spouse.

1830 hrs – Change into jammies. Pour a glass of wine to go along with dinner of feta stuffed olives, flour tortillas and spinach dip.

1845 hrs – Enjoy dinner. Finish up on computer.

1930 hrs – Watch Becoming Jane. Already congested so determine not to cry and end up more stuffed up.

2200 hrs – Mull over movie while aimlessly scrolling through TV channels. Take ice cream out of freezer to soften a little.

2300 hrs – Chat on-line with Sing4Joy and His Girl. Laugh hysterically.

2345 hrs – Remember ice cream on counter. Say goodbye to the girls.

2400 hrs – Drink milk shake. Play on computer.

0100 hrs – Head upstairs for bed.

0130 hrs – Turn off light.

***

Jenster's Log
Saturday
2008 March 1

0930 hrs – Get out of bed. Start coffee. Watch Clean Sweep. Play on computer.

1045 hrs – Read Bible. Drink coffee.

1100 hrs – Eat everything bagel with cream cheese while watching Session 7 of Beth Moore's Daniel.

1230 hrs – Write a post about today's Daniel session.

1300 hrs – Contemplate staying in jammies all day. Realize this is not an option because a Netflix movie must be retrieved from mail box. Head upstairs for shower.

1415 hrs – Receive phone call from spousal unit. Enjoy the chat, though it makes me miss him. Not good as this weekend is all about my enjoyment.

1430 hrs – Check emails and visit a few blogs. Get mail. Start a load of laundry and prepare a lunch of chef salad with a bottle of lemon water.

1500 hrs – Eat lunch while watching Elizabeth: The Golden Age.

1700 hrs – Watch "The Making of Elizabeth: The Golden Age". Fascinating. Sniff polish remover in an effort to open nasal passages. Seems to work.

1800 hrs – Read Written in Silk.

2000 hrs – Eat dinner, watch something mindless on TV and play on the computer.

2100 hrs – Continue to watch mindless TV. Paint toenails. Consider sniffing polish remover again, but decide breathing isn't worth the burning sensation.

2230 hrs – Eat ice cream. Watch HGTV. Fantasize about several home improvement projects.

2330 hrs – Watch Saturday Night Live in bedroom.

0100 hrs – Turn off TV and lights.

***

Jenster's Log
Sunday
2008 March 2

0800 hrs – Receive courtesy wake up call from girl child. Smile. A lot.

0815 hrs – Make coffee. Read bible. Play on computer and watch Good Morning America.

0930 hrs – Eat breakfast of everything bagel with cream cheese and another cup of coffee. Peruse Springhill Nurseries catalog. Wish flowers in my care didn't always die.

1000 hrs – Shower and get ready for late service at church. Spawn scheduled to arrive at designated landing location (church) before service. Smile. A lot.

1100 hrs – Leave for church.

1130 hrs – New ETA of 1230 hours. Worship.

1230 hrs – Transportation vehicles arrive as scheduled. Children tired and cranky. Happy to see them.

1300 hrs – Eat lunch with kids while listening to stories about the weekend. Smile. A lot.

1400 hrs – Children off to take showers. Receive phone call from spousal unit. Miss him. Wish he was home.

1500 hrs – Everyone hygienic. Plan is to lay around the rest of the day, watching mindless TV or agreed upon movie, possibly sleeping in the process.

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Mused by Jenster :: 3:03 PM :: 14 People musing:

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What A Hangover!

It's obvious I can't be left alone for an entire weekend. I have no self control and now I'm paying for my weekend of debauchery.

I over-indulged with too many salty foods. Feta stuffed green olives, Salt & Vinegar chips, peanuts... It's going to take gallons of water to flush all that salt out of my body. My eyes are swollen, my tongue is swollen, my fingers are swollen. I don't think I'll weigh myself tomorrow.

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Mused by Jenster :: 9:23 AM :: 8 People musing:

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Saturday, March 01, 2008

Keeping The Best Company

As I've mentioned previously, my Homies and I are currently doing Beth Moore's study on the book of Daniel. We watch an hour session on DVD where Beth talks in depth about one specific chapter of Daniel, going through different corresponding scriptures in both the Old and New Testaments, explaining some of the more confusing aspect by going back to the original Hebrew or Aramaic (Interestingly, Daniel was written partly in one and partly in the other), and sharing fascinating facts about the Babylonian culture of that time (which also corresponds to our culture). Then we have five days of homework in which we delve a little deeper into the scriptures, contemplate personal applications and gain more understanding. When we meet again on Friday we go over certain homework questions and watch the video for the next session.

Since I missed Home Team yesterday the leader, Ann, dropped the DVD off so I could watch it this weekend. I just finished watching it and I was overwhelmed. In the video Beth Moore is not only teaching these lessons to a camera, she's teaching it to a packed auditorium in her church. Each week she invites a group of women from different churches to sit on the stage with her. This week was Beth Messiah, a Messianic congregation in Houston. She invited them to give the Shema, what they call one of their watchwords.

It gave me chills and I ended up in a blubbering pile of goo on the floor. First everyone stood up and faced East toward Jerusalem. Then they sang the Shema in Hebrew and it was so beautiful. I only recognized Yeshua and Adonai, but I understood it was a praise to God and to the Messiah. Then they recited it in English. Here's the translation:

Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One. Blessed be His name, whose glorious kingdom is forever and ever. Yeshua the Messiah, He is Lord.

I'm not entirely sure why I was so moved. Maybe it was because it was spoken in Jesus' language. Or maybe because my soul was so happy to be getting nourished. Most definitely it had something to do with being in the presence of God.

Can you tell I'm thoroughly into this study?

***

On another note, we had a very thin layer of snow last night before the temps rose and it started raining. All night long. Now it looks beautiful outside, though it's in the low 40's and very windy. But there's no snow for me to shovel! (As if I would have anyway.)

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Mused by Jenster :: 12:23 PM :: 14 People musing:

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