Jenster's Musings

Saturday, February 28, 2009

I'm Still Around

My poor mother had to call me today because I haven't been keeping up with my blog so she didn't know what was going on with me. Sadder words have never been typed! So I'm going to give you a bit of random...

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We had Chinese food the other day and check out my fortune:



Todd was pretty smug when I read it to him because every time I complain about my weight or any other cruddy side effect of having cancer he says pretty much the same thing. This is the part where I usually say something flippant and roll my eyes, but Mothers with Cancer lost one of our own last night so I'm going to embrace these simple words and be grateful for what I have.

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This upcoming Friday I am going to the spa with my friends; Kris, Laura and Sheri. Last year for each birthday we chipped in and bought a gift card for a one hour massage and we're finally getting around to cashing in on them. It's going to be exactly like Sex in the City, except there will be no sex going on and the spa is actually in a pretty rural, yet quaint, little town. But there will be four exceptionally beautiful and fashion savvy women. Really.

Laura made the reservations for us, but we each had to call in and give them our GC number. So I called and gave my number to the receptionist and then I took a deep breath and said, "I have a rather embarrassing question to ask you." She was very nice as I told her I had breast reconstruction a couple of years ago and am unable to lay on my stomach. My obvious concern was that I wouldn't be able to get the massage. After relaying the information to the massage therapist she came back and told me it wouldn't be a problem.

Here again I would like to complain about the inconvenience of cancer, but I remember Lisa and my fortune so I won't.

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Sookie is much better. Poor, neglected dog.




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Todd, on the other hand, is still sick. His fever broke a week ago and his doctor put him on a steroid dose pack to clear the chest congestion so he could breathe, but he's still under the weather. He's going back to the doctor on Monday and I just hope he doesn't have pneumonia because: A) He has another business trip next week and he gets to visit his brother's family; B) He's tired of feeling miserable; and C) I don't do well with sick people in my house.

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We had a little taste of spring yesterday. It was delightful. First of all, I have instituted a new "below freezing" rule which says if it's not below freezing I'm not driving the kids to the bus stop. Now the bus stop is only a half a block away and it's not the walking in the cold weather I'm opposed to. It's them standing there for 20 minutes in the below freezing temps that I don't like. Let's face it - I'll always be a Southern California beach girl at heart. But yesterday morning it was around 38 - well above freezing.

And when I opened the back door to let Sookie out it smelled wondermus. I don't remember this smell in California, but you Southerners know exactly what I'm talking about. The smell of early spring. It's in my top ten favorite smells ever, maybe top five.

It was just nice to leave the house for some Homie Hang time and not have to bundle up like Randy in A Christmas Story. But guess what. We are now expected snow. Not just a little, either. Depending on who you listen to we could get up to 10 inches of snow between tomorrow night and Monday morning. Of course, I'll believe it when I see it.

I have mixed emotions here. On one hand, we've had a lot of snow events this year, but no measurable snow to speak of. It would be nice to have one good sledding snow. On the other hand I'm ready for spring. I'm ready to have the windows open and take the dog for walks without freezing.

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There is much more random in my life, but this is all you get today. Who knows? Maybe I'll write more tomorrow!!

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Friday, February 20, 2009

It's All Good

Praise be to the LORD, for he has heard my cry for mercy.

Psalm 28:6



As some of you so graciously pointed out to me, it is now Saturday. Life is mostly good with a little of the not so great thrown in to keep things interesting.

When last we met I told you I had nothing going on after I picked the kids up from play practice at 5:30. Wednesday night I should have been using my time to clean the kitchen, put the stuff back under the sink, catch up on laundry, go through the junk pile (really "pile" should be plural, maybe even the plural of plural, but I don't want you all to know what an incredible slob I am) on the counter and that sort of thing. Instead I was curled up in the big green chair trying not to move for fear my head would explode (a common happening for migraine sufferers) and ended up going to bed between 9:30 and 10:00.

Whilst I happily snoozed and dreamed of a clean kitchen, healthy puppies and chocolate that makes you lose weight the phone rang. Looking at the clock as I picked up the receiver, I was not pleased to see it was 4:00. It was Todd. He had left Princeton at 2-ish because he felt so horrible and didn't want me to freak out when I heard the garage door open in the next 15 minutes or so. "Just go back to sleep and I'll see you when you come down. I'm going to hang downstairs with Sookie and probably snooze on the couch."

So I rolled over to go back to sleep, but all I could think about was all the stuff in the middle of the kitchen floor and the nasty dishes and the junk piles (we've already established the extent of this). I thought I'd had until Friday to get the house back into some semblance of order! Todd is not a demanding man and I thank God daily for that, but seriously the kitchen looked condemnable.

Finally I dozed off for another 30 minutes or so until my alarm went off and I came downstairs to the man and the dog curled up on the couch, blissfully asleep. I hated that he had to come home because he was sick, but it made going to work on Thursday so much easier on me for worrying about Sookie.

Todd went to the doctor that day and he was diagnosed with a severe case of bronchitis - which we already knew. He had a horrible case of pneumonia several years ago and ever since then he's been terribly susceptible to bronchitis. Sookie wasn't eating, drinking or taking her medicine so he took her to the vet and had her admitted for IV fluids and antibiotics.

Thursday night was another one of those nights - work late; pick up Katie and Shelby at 4:00; get home close to 4:30; leave at 5:30 to get Taylor to play practice and Katie to voice lessons by 6:00 (I like taking Katie to voice, though, because I sit and read for 30 minutes); go from voice lessons to the church for band practice because Katie is singing Sunday night; leave band practice and pick up Taylor at 9:00.

Friday mornings are when I get to hang out with my Homies. I always come away revived and had really been looking forward to my weekly refreshing. BUT... I hadn't been able to do my laundry or clean or anything so I skipped the Homies and tried to catch up on laundry. I didn't finish, but I did make a significant dent.

Todd was home with bronchitis; Katie ended up staying home from school with a sore, scratchy throat and major head congestion; Taylor texted me from school (bad Taylor!) asking if I could come pick him up because he felt horrible, but he decided it was allergies and he thought he could probably make it the rest of the day; Sookie was at the animal hospital. It was like the plague or something! Happily, though, I picked up the Sookster and she is back to her normal, hyper self. She's eating, drinking, jumping, playing - all that stuff and her nose is wet! She is on a ton of medicine and they're still not sure what caused the fever, but I'm happy she's doing so much better.

Which brings us to today. Sookie is good. Katie is good. Taylor is good. My kitchen is CLEAN. No junk piles and no dirty dishes. The laundry still isn't caught up because Taylor did his laundry all day and it's too late for me to start now. Wine club is in an hour.

The only bad thing in the mix is Todd. Well, HE'S not bad, but he is bad sick. Now I've mentioned this several times before and I'll say it again. Compassion is not my thing. It doesn't matter how many times I take a spiritual gifts inventory, compassion is always looooooow. (That means really, really low.) But even I feel bad for him. His fever will hardly break and he says he feels like an elephant is sitting on his chest. He was really looking forward to getting together with the neighbors this evening, too. I guess I'll just have to have a good enough time for both of us!

So life is much better today, just as I prayed it would be. Todd shouldn't have to travel for a few weeks and hopefully he'll start to feel better ASAP. I sure am glad God is more merciful than I am!!

Here's an aside. Taylor loves shock value. Really a lot. He was waiting for Kristen to come over this afternoon and she was bringing a sack of sugar that she's going to have to take care of for a class she has at school. He said they were going to decorate it together. "What?" I asked. And he said, "When Kristen gets here we're going to make a baby together." Oh yes he did!! Those exact words!! Not something a mother wants to hear her 16-year-old say! I have no idea where he gets that sort of behavior.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wake Me Up When It's Saturday

I am usually proud of the fact that I'm pretty laid back and don't let things stress me out too much. But to say I never stress out would be such a lie. This week, for example, has pushed me nearly to the breaking point. This morning all I wanted to do was crawl back into bed with the covers over my head and cry until I fell asleep. But who has time for such behaviors?

Todd has had a crazy insane travel schedule since the beginning of the year. Every week he's been somewhere other than home. Not the norm for his job which I'm very glad for, but it's made for a less than great January and February.

I've always had admiration and sympathy for single parents, but that admiration and sympathy has grown ten-fold. Both the kids are involved in their school plays, Katie acting in the 8th grade play and Taylor doing stage crew in the high school play. Unfortunately, their practice schedules are not compatible with each other. If it weren't for my friend, Kris, picking up Katie and Shelby (Kris' daughter) on the late nights I think I truly would be insane by now.

So not only am I working all day and then running the kids here or there, Sookie is now sick. Poor baby. She has another fever virus or something. So far they've run blood work and it all came back good except for a high white blood count, but they have no idea why she's running the fever. I'm boiling her chicken and trying to get her to drink water and take pills and watch her every time she goes outside to make sure she's still taking care of her business. Between my worry for her - she hasn't shown much in the way of improvement since Monday - and the thought of whatever tests they're going to run if we have to take her back in that we can't really afford right now, I'm stressed.

Which brings me to last night. Cleaning out the refrigerator, I poured two small containers of old spaghetti noodles down the garbage disposal. All of a sudden gross water started filling up the sink. When I'd try to turn on the disposal it would make a funny noise and water would come back up into the sink. I had all manner of disgusting things sitting out on the counter that I couldn't get rid of because the sink was backed up. I was afraid to run the dishwasher and again, the cost of a plumber made me want to curl up into the fetal position and rock back and forth while gazing without focusing into the corner.

I finally just left it, ignoring the stuff all over the place. I decided I'd go to bed early and work on it in the morning. But Taylor was working on a project and needed my help with the printer so I didn't get to bed as early as I had hoped to.

This morning I called the garbage disposal people and the lady tried to walk me through checking the disposal. She told me to plug up the other side of the sink and plunge the drain slowly. I tried. Disgusting, chunky water splashed up all over me. So it was decided I needed a plumber. I called my neighbor, Laura, to see if she could recommend a plumber and her husband, Bill, answered the phone. He ended up coming down and took the pipes apart.

Guess what we found! Scads of chopped up spaghetti packed in the pipes from the disposal to the elbow. He cleaned them out, put everything back together and voila! I have a working sink again!

Since I didn't have to wait around on a plumber today I was able to make it to my biannual oncology appointment. It was such a nonevent. Blood pressure - good. Blood work - good. Everything else - good. Every time I go I think to myself, "The next time I'll weigh X-amount of pounds lighter." It hasn't come true yet. In fact, I weigh more every single time. That's bad! But nobody there seems to care. They tell me I look great which probably has more to do with the fact I was seriously the only person in there under 80 today.

In the grand scheme of things I don't have much to be stressed out about. But all of it adds up and I think I'm doing fine until just one more thing and then I snap. As of this moment I don't have anywhere I have to go after I get the kids from play practice at 5:30. (One of the only nights they actually had it at the same time). Hopefully Sookie's medicine will start to kick in and she'll show marked improvement by tomorrow. Maybe I'll even get the kitchen cleaned up. And before I know it Saturday will be here and I can sleep in and Todd will be around to help run people to their places and Saturday night we'll go hang out with the neighbors for wine club and all will be right in my world again.

And before somebody asks - no, I haven't been praying for patience. I learned not to do that a LOOOONG time ago. :o)

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Sunday, February 15, 2009

A Philly Flyer Fantasy...

I love this commercial...

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Friday, February 13, 2009

The Slacker's Way Out

Gretchen over at Jewels In My Crown has done my job for me today. She posted THIS interview of me so if you came here hoping for something new you can just hop on over and check out her blog. She asks the best questions!! I'm with His Girl. I feel like a celebrity!!

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

WHOO HOO!!!

Check out my ticker!! That's right, folks! I have reached my goal! The generosity of people is overwhelming.

Thank you to all of you who donated and thank you for all your prayers! Keep them (the prayers) coming, please!!

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Light and Shadow

I've been playing a little bit with my camera, trying to get a feel for how to use light and shadow. Here's my favorite "Hope" picture:



The trees across from the bus stop. I could kick myself because a week ago at the same time of the morning the colors were so vibrant! Hot pink, magenta, neon orange - and me without my camera.



These next few aren't particularly pretty or anything, but I like the shadows.





This is my favorite of the "shadow" pictures. It's Sookie's bushy tail.

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Sunday, February 08, 2009

Just A Few Things

I finally got a donation button put on my sidebar, but I can't figure out how to put my progress indicator over there. So I will try to get one of those tickers like Sing 4 Joy has on her blog at some point this week. I am thrilled to say that I've received over $1,800 so far!

Did you notice my new picture? I think my family thought I had lost my mind as I shoved the kitchen table around so the light and shadow would be just how I wanted it. Oh, and the big cup of hot cocoa with all the whipped cream I made just for the picture. Of course I had to drink it all, too. Isn't that the prettiest cup? My sister-in-law, Rachele, gave it to me for Christmas. And it holds a ton of liquid, too! It doesn't get better than that.

Todd and I went to New Balance in King of Prussia mall yesterday and bought two pairs of shoes each so we can start training in earnest. New Balance is a Susan G. Komen sponsor so not only do my shoes have a cute little pink ribbon, but we received a discount as well. Todd's not so lucky because his shoes don't have a ribbon on them.

I've decided I don't want to be Mother of the Year anymore. It's too much work and it's not any fun. I think the fact that I made it an entire month AND I have two teenagers is quite an accomplishment in itself. I'm also pretty sure the fact I've been rethinking having children - even though it's nearly 17 years too late - takes me out of the running. They haven't been bad or anything. They just require too much of me. Do I look like a waitress? Do I look like a personal chef? Do I look like a cab driver? Do I look like an ATM? Do I look like a personal secretary? Okay. So I probably do look like a few of those, but that's totally beside the point.

After nearly record breaking cold weather we got up into the mid-fifties today! It smelled like spring and was divine! Except the snow has all melted and our side yard is one big mud puddle. Brady came over and the dogs ran around attacking each other. And of course my dog had to jump up on Bill and Laura with her filthy muddy paws. What a little brat. Todd had to give her bath after all that fun. But the worst part about all the melted snow is finding all the thawed out poop. Ick!

I'm watching the end of the Grammy's. I thought it was a pretty decent show tonight. Jennifer Hudson sang flawlessly with that beautiful, robust voice of hers and had a hard time holding it together when she finished. My heart just hurt for her, poor thing.

So there's a little smattering of what's been going on around here. Happy week!

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Mused by Jenster :: 10:28 PM :: 13 People musing:

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Monday, February 02, 2009

Reaching A Goal Or Two

Todd and I have been talking about doing the Breast Cancer 3-Day for a couple of years now. Last year I knew three women who did the walk in three different cities, our own favorite, Gretchen, being one of them, and they gave me the courage to go all the way. So on Saturday Todd and I signed up to do the Breast Cancer 3-Day in October. That would be 60 miles of walking over a period of three days. That would be approximately 20 miles of walking a day. Of walking. Twenty miles. In one day.

As if that's not daunting enough, we also have to raise $2,300. Each. That would be $4,600 for both of us.

Friday night while we were just chillin' with the fam Todd looked at me and said something to the effect that $4,600 is a lot of money and it was up to me to decide whether we would do it or not. I told him we could make our choice after the meeting the next morning. But I realized I had already made my decision. I need to do this for so many reasons.

There is, of course, the big picture. 85% of the money raised goes directly to the Susan G. Komen Foundation and every advancement in breast cancer research, treatment, education and prevention in the last 25 years has been touched by a Komen for the Cure grant. This alone is worth the walk to me. The difference in breast cancer treatments between 25 years ago and when I was treated almost four years ago is staggering. While everybody wants a cure to end the disease for good, advancement in treatments are welcome by all who have to go through them.

In the last three years I have met more women who have the disease, so many of them young women with children still at home. Cancer isn't fun at any age, but the side effects of treatment for a pre-menopausal woman can rob her of the normal aging process and causes early onset osteoporosis, arthritis, and a whole host of other issues usually reserved for older women. I don't like it and I know these other young women don't like it either. So again, I want to stop this disease in its tracks.

But I have a couple personal reasons, too. For one thing, it will help me get into better shape. It will force me to walk and walk and walk some more. It will also force Todd to walk and walk and walk some more and I'm looking forward to just hanging out with him without a TV or other distractions (like my computer).

Even more than that, though, is that I feel like I have to do this for my own self. I need this challenge. I've spent so much time as a patient or being limited in some way and it's time to prove to myself that I am neither anymore.

Which brings me back to the fund raising portion. The whole point of doing this is to raise money to eradicate breast cancer. The 3Day website has some great tools, one of which is the ability to download your email contacts, edit one of their generic letters and send them all off. Todd, being a lets-do-this-thing-right-this-very-second-and-not-wait-another-second kind of guy sent out his emails Monday night. By Tuesday afternoon he had exceeded his goal thanks to some very generous friends!

He also dusted off his blog, Jenni and Me, wrote his post and made me all sniffly. One read of that post and you'll see why I like him so very much.

I'm now at the part where I hit you up with my request. I ask for your prayers. Pray that I can raise the rest of my goal; pray that Todd and I will stick with our training regimen; pray that we walk the 60 miles with no blisters or any other maladies; pray for all the other walkers; and pray for a cure.

Of course, if you would like to help me reach my goal that would be great, too! You can click on the button at the bottom of this post and it will take you to a donation page. I'll also put a button up on my side bar and just keep it up until the walk.





Help me reach my goal for the Philadelphia Breast Cancer 3-Day!

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Sunday, February 01, 2009

It Is What It Is

This morning in church our pastor asked us what the shortest verse in the Bible is. I shouted out, "Jesus Wept". Brian said, "No, it's pray continually." So I sent him an email when I got home:

Pray continually - 15 letters
Jesus wept - 9 letters

I'm just sayin'.


He replied with:

1 Timothy 2:12


I grabbed my Bible, looked it up and proceeded to laugh my head off.

I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.

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