Jenster's Musings

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Plum Larapin, Y'all!!

The menu for last night's "Southern" Wine Club at our house:

Various cheese and crackers

Hot Creole Crab Dip and sourdough baguette slices

Fried Green Tomatoes on Creole Sauce and melted mozzarella on top

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo on Rice

Peach Cobbler and Homemade Whipped Cream

Pinot Grigio

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Friday, August 29, 2008

They're Home Again

The kids have a four day weekend. I'm not sure why the school does this, but they start on the Monday before Labor Day, go for four days and get four days off. Maybe it's the district's way of easing them into school.

You may find this hard to believe after I rejoiced and sang praises and danced in the streets, but I'm really glad they had today off. It could be that I missed them while they were at school and I'm just so happy to have them here with me. Or it could be that I'm tired of getting up so early and welcomed a day to sleep in.

But the real reason I'm ecstatic they have today off is because we're hosting wine club tomorrow night and I need some slave labor to clean the house!

What? Is that so wrong??

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Just Another Oncology Appointment

I got to see all my friends at the White Russian's office this morning. I was almost sad when he said, "Everything looks great! We don't need to see you for another six months." Not the, "everything looks great," part. The, "we don't need to see you for another six months," part.

I did something a little different today. When the nurse weighed me I didn't tell her I'd be much lighter the next time she saw me. I've said that every single time before and I think I just jinxed myself. So I didn't say it out loud, but I was definitely thinking it.

The doctor and I discussed changing from Arimidex to Femara because I do have a lot of joint and muscle stiffness, but after I'm up and about for a few minutes I loosen up. He thinks that could be residual from the Taxotere treatments I received nearly three years ago. I think it may have to do with the weight. Most likely it's a combination of a few things. Since my symptoms are not arthritic-type pains he doesn't think its the Arimidex so I'm still on that. Which I'm good with because I hate changing medications unless there's a really good reason.

And how funny is this. He walked in the examination room with a huge smile on his face and asked excitedly, "Are the kids in school yet?" It made me laugh and I answered in kind, "They went back on Monday!" Then I realized he doesn't get to ask that question very often. I know he has young patients, but I've never seen anyone close to my age in there. And I'm not really all that young.

Would you believe I purposely avoided going near Starbuck's today? I did. Swear and spit. And I didn't even miss it. I did take an alternate route home and that was kind of fun. I saw this tiny, little sign that said something about "historical" with an arrow so I followed it because I'm a major geek that way (she says geekily proud of the fact). I got lost. But I didn't mind because it's a gorgeous day, I had great tunes and the scenery was beautiful. I'm not exactly sure what the historical thing was, but I enjoyed myself and I knew eventually I'd come upon a road I thought I might possibly know. I did.

I would have loved to keep driving around, looking for more historical stuff (it's EVERYWHERE out here), but I had to come home and let Sookie out. She's been a little depressed this week with all her people gone so I had to show her some love. On a side note, she's getting awesome with a frisby! I'll try to get some pictures of her stealthy self jumping high to catch the disk later this week. Good stuff, Maynard.

Now I need to clean the house and do laundry. Ugh!

I think this may be one of the lamest posts ever. If you stuck it out, thanks for hanging with me til the end.

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Monday, August 25, 2008

Ye Olde Tale, Part II

But woe to those who didst sing praises and dance joyfully in the morning, for their joy wast turned to sorrow. Though Jenster, wife of Todd, son of Phillip, was gladdened in her heart as her children departed the conveyance of saffron from whence they came, she wast overcome with despair at the multitude of scrolls those in governance over the learned places deemed she should writ her name upon. Verily, the sorrow didst continue at the command Jenster, wife of Todd, son of Phillip, shouldst make haste to the market place and thereby give a goodly sum to the merchant in exchange for bindings with which to hold the scholarly scrolls and the tools with which to document the knowledge learned by her children. Yea, though she rent her clothing, donned sackcloth and covered her person with ashes, her mourning was turned back to joy for by the next time the sun didst rise much toiling wouldst be finished so she could then enjoy the fruits of her labor.

And so it was.

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Ye Olde Tale

And it came to pass in those days that a decree was sent throughout the land stating all children shouldst return to their scholarly pursuits. And so it was the offspring of the house of Todd, garbed as was appropriate to their station, boarded the conveyance of saffron which wouldst carry them to places of learning. And thus there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth upon the carriage. But lo, the women rejoiced, singing praises to the Lord and joyfully dancing in the streets.

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

My Week in Review

SUNDAY


Katie sang in the band Sunday evening so I went to watch. Before the service I sat outside, visiting with Ben and his Katie and watching some hot air balloons in the distance. When I walked back out after she sang I saw one of the balloons fairly low just on the other side of the freeway the church is next to. To get home I had to drive the same direction as the balloon, but when I went under the overpass the balloon was gone. It just disappeared. But as I wound my way up and down the hilly road I saw it in a neighborhood on the left. Not over the houses, but parked in the midde of the street. I nearly cried when I realized I didn't have my camera with me. Thank goodness for camera phones!


MONDAY


Taylor and I picked Katie up from her friend's dairy farm where she had spent the night and drove 30 minutes through the country to the DMV so he could get his driver's permit. He's been eligible for it since he turned 16 in April, but we finally got around to it. Except when we showed up we found out they're closed on Mondays. Needless to say, Taylor was disappointed.


TUESDAY


Learner's Permit, Take II. Taylor and I tried it again. This time they were opened and Taylor did fine. The DMV only takes checks or money orders. No problem. Except there were no checks in the checkbook. Thankfully there was a Rite Aid right next door and I was able to get a money order there. And no. Taylor did NOT drive home.

That evening the kids and I drove into Philadelphia where I laughed my butt off at the Broadway production of Spamalot. (Sadly, it appeared to be reattached the next morning.) I've always been a fan of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, but the play was even better. I laughed so hard I cried. Especially every time they would say a line that's quoted in our house regularly. Run away! Run away! or It's just a flesh wound, or I'm not dead yet! or, well, I could go on all day. But I won't.


WEDNESDAY


Not much exciting on Wednesday. In fact, nothing worth mentioning here.


THURSDAY


My friend, Joy, told me about a used book store no too far from here last year. She works at the preschool and is starting back up on Monday so we finally got together and drove the 20 minutes or so to check it out. It was fantastic! I spent way too much on way too many books (I'm afraid to say how much I spent on the off chance Todd actually reads this). The best find was seven of the eighteen Amelia Peabody books I don't have yet. Which would be any of the Amelia Peabody books other than the first one as that's the only book I had until Thursday. And if you don't know who Amelia Peabody is, she's a lot like Evie in the Mummy movies. Victorian Egypt, British female with an unusual fondness for all things Egyptian, smart, witty, finding herself in unique scrapes... After the book store we found a great Italian restaurant and deli for lunch.

Thursday evening my Little Homies came for a sleep over. That would be six 13-year-old girls in the basement. Finished basement. (Why do I always feel bad when I say the kids were hanging out in the basement?)


FRIDAY


There are those who say I'm crazy. They may be right. Yesterday I drove those six 13-year-old girls, along with Taylor and Kristen, to Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom in Allentown. They all ran off as soon as we hit the gate and I parked myself in a beach chair with my book. It was a long day, but a fun one.

And I nearly forgot, yesterday (Friday) was my second year bloggeversary. I can't believe I've been rambling on about nothing for two whole years and people still actually read my drivel. Amazing!

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Monday, August 18, 2008

Starting Over

I've done Weight Watchers (this time) for a week now. I've counted points and managed to get some exercise in here and there. I drank a lot of water and tried to choose fruits and veggies over non-fruits and veggies. And what do I have to show for it?

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I'm already one-third of the way to my first goal! Oh, if I could only lose five pounds every week. I may be optimistic, but I'm also realistic. I also know this is mostly water weight. Do I care? Nope! Five pounds is five pounds, baby.

So I'm starting again. Five pounds lighter. And next week? I'll start again. A little lighter than this week. And so on. It's part of my "one week at a time" strategy. Maybe this time it will work!

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Saturday, August 16, 2008

I Heart Clouds



How fabulous is this picture I just shot from my backyard?

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

I Can't Believe I Said That!

Yesterday I turned on the 5:00 news to see a horrific sight. You may have even seen it on the national news. A large, luxury condominium complex in Conshohocken was destroyed by an 8 alarm fire. Apparently it had been going on for quite some time when I started watching and by then two entire buildings were completely leveled and a third was in blazes. Thankfully the first two buildings were under construction and not occupied.

Unfortunately it went on to severely damage three occupied buildings leaving 400 people homeless. Eleven firefighters were injured, but at this time I don't think any of the injuries are serious. It's amazing to me that not one resident was injured in this tragic fire. Sadly, there were animals who were not able to be rescued - pets whose owners weren't home at the time. The firefighters did manage to rescue the majority of the pets, however, and the animals are waiting to be reunited with their owners. It is heartening to know how the community has stepped up. Several hotels and private homes are taking in the displaced residents with special consideration given for pet owners.

So as I said, I turned on the TV and was greeted by these tragic scenes and do you know what came out of my mouth? I seriously don't ever talk this way and I'm still stunned I actually said this. Taylor looked at me in obvious shock because I don't think he's ever heard me say something like this. As soon as I blurted it I wanted to take it back. I clapped my hand over my mouth and felt shame and not just a little embarrassment. Some of you may speak this way on a regular basis and I'm in no way judging. It was just so out of character for me and I'm a bit concerned as to what this says about me.

I said...


Are you ready...


Please don't judge me...


I said...


Golly Gee!


Seriously! That's what I said and I wasn't being cutesy or silly or anything! I said it with all the feeling of terror I had in my heart!! Who talks that way??

When Taylor recovered from his shock he said in his best Eddie Haskell voice, "I know. That fire is not very neato!"

****


Channeling Sandra Dee aside, today is day four of Weight Watchers: The Senior Project to the Follow Up to the Sequel, Part VII. So far so good. I feel confident that this time, THIS TIME, I'm going to lose all the weight I gained on chemotherapy and various treatments and surgeries since then. And maybe another 10 or 15 pounds. What's different this time? Well for one thing every morning I've committed my eating and exercising to the Lord and so far I've succeeded.

Another difference is my reward system. Every single time I've been on a diet (for lack of a better word) in the past I rewarded a certain amount of weight loss with a food I'd denied myself. Not so this time. This time I'm getting my hair cut after the first 15 pounds. I'm not talking about just a trim and I certainly won't be denying myself hair color because it could take a while to lose 15 pounds and there's no telling how many kids I would scare in the meantime. But when I hit the first 15 pound mark I'm getting my first real hair cut since it's grown out after losing it all. I think I know how I want it cut and it's proving to be pretty good motivation.

I did have a dream last night that I weighed in (which is kind of odd because I'm doing W.W. online and not attending meetings) and I lost 30 pounds my first week! If that were the case I could get my hair cut AND, oh, I don't know. I haven't thought forward to my next reward. Any good ideas?

Alright. I'm off to eat some yogurt and get in some exercise for the day.

CIAO, friends!!

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Sunsets and Amishland

The other day I noticed these gorgeous thunderclouds past the field across from our neighborhood so I snapped some pictures:











AMISH CAR WASH




This is the third time I've seen this and it cracks me up every single time. A horse and buggy at the car wash??







AMISH TRANSPORTATION FOR MINORS



Did you see those rollerblades??

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Monday, August 11, 2008

New Beginnings

If someone were to ask me what my favorite day is I would normally answer "Saturday". I do love Saturday. Somewhere in my archives I mentioned I love Saturday so much I would marry it if it would have me and I weren't already married. But right now I think Monday is my favorite day. A fresh start to the week. A chance to do better than last week.

If you're depraved enough you could probably go through my blog and figure out how many times I've started Weight Watchers in the last two years. If you're my friend, please don't waste your time. Just trust me when I say it's a bunch. But I'm starting again today.

Last Thursday I wrote this post and I'm pleased to report that I've been more disciplined in my study and time with God. I'm already reaping the benefits. Look at the verse that jumped off the page of my Bible and fairly smacked me upside my head.

Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.

Proverbs 16:3


It's nothing new or revolutionary. In fact it's something that I know as sure as I know my name. But for some reason it was a total "Ah Ha" moment when I read it this morning. I wrote it on a note card so I can refer to it at any given second. Like when I want to eat M&Ms instead of something with fewer points. Or when I want to read instead of cleaning the kitchen. Or when I want to watch TV instead of taking the dog for a walk. Or when I want to surf the net instead of writing.

I have the feeling I'm going to be referring to this note card several times an hour.

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Saturday, August 09, 2008

All Together Again

This morning I jumped in the car, opened the sunroof, started my favorites playlist, ran through Starbuck's, and set the GPS for Katie's camp in Maryland. Karen (Todd's GPS) took me through green, rolling hills and a patchwork of various crops, mostly tall corn, before leading me over the Susquehanna River and into the campground.

I arrived just in time to witness three kids being baptized in the pool, one of which is a Little Homie of mine. Thankfully another one of my Little Homies had the good sense to defy the rules and take her cell phone so the dunkee could call her parents. Since they'd come to watch I only had four girls to drive home instead of five.

Now, I know first hand how, um, uh, well, how should I say... annoying middle school girls can be. But I also know first hand how much fun they can be. They had me giggling the entire way home.

I dropped the other three girls off at their houses and then brought Katie home. Todd was on his way to our humble abode after working the tech booth at a funeral and for about five minutes we were all in the same dwelling at the same time. Then Todd and I ran to Lowes where we picked up a patio table with four swivel chairs for eighty bucks!!! So not the set I want, but how could we go wrong? It will eventually be our back up when there's too many people for one set. But I digress.

After running some errands we came home to relax in the living room with both the kids and the dog. I promise you Sookie was the most content she's been all week. Then again so was I. Yes, it was only a week, but I missed Katie so much I could hardly keep from speeding on may way down this morning. Oh wait. I didn't keep from speeding. But whatever.

Anyway, it's just nice to be all together again. It makes me happy!

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Thursday, August 07, 2008

I Love It, I Love It Not

I can never decide if I love summer or hate it. I don't welcome the heat and humidity, though this summer hasn't been bad at all. I love the beginning of summer. A respite from early mornings, hanging out with the kids, the promise of fun things to do. By the same token I love the end of summer. A respite from the kids, hanging out with my homies, a structure to the chaos.

The biggest problem I've had with summer since I started staying home is the lack of routine. Everything suffers, but nothing more acutely than my quiet time. When the kids were younger it was easy for me to blame it on them. That was back during the days when they were up early and demanded much more attention. Now I'm the one demanding attention so I can't use them for an excuse anymore.

Right now I feel like a total poser. I've been a Christian for a long time now so I've learned how to talk the talk and even look like I'm walking the walk. If it weren't for my loathing of drama I would have made a great actress.

My Distance-Between-Me-And-Christ litmus test is my thoughts more than my actions. Generally my actions belie the turmoil in my head and my heart. I become more judgmental, but I keep those thoughts to myself. I become less patient, but... okay. Maybe this one is seen by my family. I become more hateful in my head. I find myself desiring more in the way of possessions. Jealousy, envy, and a whole host of ugliness take up residence in my heart when I'm far from God.

Being a Christian is a responsibility. It's my responsibility to be a good example to my children. Um, I think they're doing way better than I am at the moment. It's a responsibility to my friends - iron sharpening iron and all that. I have my Little Homies to think of and women in and out of church as I embark on an incredible Women's Ministry adventure.

I've always sort of wanted an icthus (Christian fish symbol) on the back of my car. I'm certainly not ashamed of my beliefs so shouldn't I let everyone know? But do you know what's held me back all these years? I've always said that Christians do the most harm to Christianity. What if I had a Christian symbol on the back of my car and yet drove like a demon? What if I lost my patience with the person in front of me? That happens way more than I like. I don't want to damage anyone's tenuous faith and sometimes all it takes is a "Christian" doing something less than Christ-like.

Well now I find myself living less than Christ-like and it's not just a moment. Oh, I'm not doing anything bad. I'm not leaving my husband or beating my children or drinking in the closet or, well, you get the idea. But I haven't been spending time with Jesus like I need to. My tank has been on empty for a while now and I'm cruising on fumes. But those fumes eventually run out.

When summer is over I'll have my daily routine. I'll be back in home team and studying the Bible with other women. I'll have my morning quiet time over coffee and things will be as they should. But school doesn't start for another two-plus weeks. I can't wait that long. So this morning I did what I should have been doing all summer. And that is I did NOTHING until I'd spent some time with God. Well, that's not entirely true. I did let Sookie out. THEN I spent some time with God and His word. I gave the reigns over to him and yet I felt more in control today than I have for a long time.

I love that God is such a gentleman and doesn't push himself onto us. When I'm so weak and undisciplined I almost wish he'd push just a little, though. Oh, I feel the nudges of the Spirit when my conscience twinges, but that gets easier to ignore over time. But more than God's polite and patient ways I love that He's right there, arms open and waiting for me. Every.Single.Time.

After thinking about it I've decided I really do love summer. Especially now.

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Monday, August 04, 2008

Waterfalls

While was saw very little in the way of rain on Oahu, there was quite a bit of intermittent rain on Hawaii. Never enough to ruin the whole day, but we drove through a couple strong showers as we made our way around the island. The rains engorged the rivers and streams and turned the otherwise gentle and picturesque waterfalls into something else.

This is what Rainbow Falls is supposed to look like:



This is what we saw:



Hard to believe it's the same waterfall.

This is what Pe'epe'e Falls (pronounced peh-eh peh-eh, just so you know) is supposed to look like:



And what we saw through the rain:



All total I took around 1,000 photos. You should be glad I stopped when I did. But frankly, I'm ready to move on.

One thing I forgot to tell you was that we ran into our neighbors at Pearl Harbor. They have a daughter, also named Katie, who is a year older than ours. The girls had been texting each other because the other Katie's family was staying about a mile down Waikiki Beach and they thought to maybe get together. It just wasn't going to happen. When we went to Pearl Harbor we were in the very first group and who should also be in the group but the other Katie's family. They were leaving later that afternoon. What are the odds?

Okay. Moving on...

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Waipi'o Valley

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Sunday, August 03, 2008

A Little Good

I used to hate grocery shopping. I really, truly hated it with an unbridled passion. There were so many other things I would have rather been doing like weaving a basket or giving the fish a bath. But since Director of Purchasing was one of my job titles the chore fell to me.

You can read the rest at Mothers With Cancer

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Northwest and Northern part of Hawaii

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Kilauea Volcano

We flew to the Big Island on Saturday and just played around on Sunday. Monday, however, we set out on our first adventure. We drove down the western coast around the bottom of the island and into Volcano National Park. I'm only including a very few of my pictures, but I think you can get a pretty good idea of the different ecosystems and beauty of Hawaii.



(Please ignore the spelling error(s) in the photo titles!)

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In Between Islands

I still have beautiful pictures from the Big Island to share. Incredible vistas, valleys, waterfalls, HOT LAVA STREAMING INTO THE OCEAN - very Hawaiian scenery. But I'm going to take a quick break.

***


I have hundreds of new posts in Google Reader. I've been trying to get to them, but it's so overwhelming. I'm very sorry, my bloggy friends, but I'm going to wipe out all the posts and start from scratch. Otherwise I'll make myself crazy. I hate to do it, too, because I worry I'll miss out on the most important or provocative post in the history of blogdom. I guess I'll just have to get over it.

***


My friend, Kris, and I took our daughters and one of their friends to see Mamma Mia yesterday. Kris is an ABBA freak, man. Not freak as in she dresses like them or has a shrine dedicated to them. Just that she has all their CDs and knows all the words. She's seen the Broadway play and this was her third time to see the movie. She cracked me up because she sang every word to every song.

The movie itself was a lot of fun. Very cute movie! It is rated PG-13 for good reason so I wouldn't take young kids to see it. But that's just me. I kind of pushed the envelope for Katie who, I hate to say it, is much closer to 14 than 13 (but that's several other posts for several other days). But I was okay with everything.

***


Katie goes to church camp for a week today. Once again I'm glad she has this opportunity. My emotions are all over the board with it, though. Part of me is looking forward to having a Katie break (you all know how much she talks). Part of me knows by Wednesday I'm going to want her back home. Part of me is looking forward to having just Taylor for a week. Part of me is hoping he and his friend pick this week to go camping for a couple days. I can't seem to light on just one "feeling" about this whole thing.

It's sort of like school. I love when school gets out and then I always look forward to school starting. I think I would totally dig year around schools. But nobody with the power ever consults me about this.

***


Poor Taylor is the only one of his friends who can't drive yet. Even Kristen has her license now. He could have gotten his permit three months ago, but he hasn't "studied" for it enough, according to him. Maybe this next week...

***


So far I've thoroughly enjoyed Todd working from home. Sookie likes it, too. She spends half her day in the office with him or right outside the door, laying in the sun streaming through the big window above the stairs.

***


I'm so excited I get to go to church today. I've missed three weeks and it's totally thrown me off kilter. There's a lot of exciting stuff for women going on right now that I will definitely be writing about later.

***


Geesh. I really have nothing to say. Actually, I have a lot of things to say, but this isn't the time to get into any of them. Yup. I've been pondering life's meaning again. Or something like that.

I'll try to get the rest of my Hawaii pictures up tomorrow.

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