Jenster's Musings

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

We Interrupt Our Regularly Scheduled Program...

Hello, Friends!! I'm home. I have much to tell about my week in Arkansas, but it will have to wait. Today, April 30, is Taylor's 16th birthday. We're not doing much in the way of celebrating today, but we will later in the week. So for today I'm mainly just posting pictures. That and maybe weeping just a little, tiny bit as I look at the pictures.

"Uh-oh, spaghettio!"

"There's not a better lunch than cheesepuffs and oreos!"

There's a handsome boy!

Dapper Dan

For those of you paying attention, you are right. This is not Taylor. But this picture was in with Dapper Dan and I couldn't resist posting it. "There's no place like home."

Two cheesy grins on the Durango-Silverton Steam Train.

Contemplating life at Mesa Verde, Colorado.

Mowing in the shade.

"Macho, macho man."

You can't see it, but Taylor has Katie in a headlock in this picture.

Ah... This is what life is all about.

Taylor & Kristen before Winter Ball.

Mused by Jenster :: 5:04 PM :: 15 People musing:

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Hasta, Sayonara, Ciao, Later...

First things first, though.

Here is the infamous Taylor's First Day on the Job picture:

Now on to the business at hand.

I will not be around for the next week. Tomorrow I'm leaving on a jet plane. Don't know when I'll be back again. Oh wait. Yes I do. I'll be back next Tuesday.

My sisters, Terri and Michele, are meeting me in Little Rock from Fort Worth and Albuquerque (or parts thereabout) respectively. The plan is to paint my parents' kitchen and living room and then celebrate their 55th anniversary on Saturday with them.

As excited as I am about this little reunion, I'm a little scared as well. These are my big sisters. The last time we were all three together was when I was going through my scans before I started chemotherapy. Here I was, waiting for the technician to call me back for a brain scan, my life in total crisis mode, and they're arguing about what they're going to find. Here's an excerpt of the conversation:

Michele: I wonder if they'll find anything.

Me: Ha. Ha.

Terri: Oh, they'll find something. Jenni has a brain. It's just really small.

Me: Ha. Ha.

Michele: Teehee.

Terri: Or maybe it's just wired different than a normal person.

Michele: Heehee.

Terri: Giggle.

Me: You guys are hilarious.

But since I am fairness incarnate I will tell you something nice about them. Terri got married when she was 18 and she and David lived in an apartment in Elk City, Oklahoma. We had gone to visit them for Easter and her nice thing was that she nearly broke the bank on my Easter basket. We're talking chocolate out the wazoo. And a lot of chocolate and marshmallow yummies. Priceless stuff when you're eight.

Michele was 16 and she had beautiful, long, dark brown hair. It really was her crowning glory. She and I shared a bed while we were at Terri's. Apparently I had a little too much chocolate and marshmallow because it made a subsequent appearance. All over Michele's beautiful hair. And her nice thing was that she didn't even get mad!!

Turns out it wasn't all the candy, but a horrible case of the flu. I barely remember standing nekkid from the waist down in the bathtub in the middle of the night because stuff was flying from everywhere. After the spewing stopped and I was cleaned up I passed out. THAT I remember because, frankly, it was kinda cool. I was standing in Terri's room - the room my parents had been sleeping in - and I was looking at the knob on the dresser. Then everything went black, starting from the periphery and working it's way in. I said, "I can't seeeeee..." and passed out.

Yeah. Good times.

All joking aside, I'm really looking forward to being together. We always have a good time with lots of laughing. Crying-type laughing. [Note to self. Consider purchasing Depends.]

I will also be seeing a few of my friends while I'm there. Since this is all about family I won't get to see everyone or even a lot of people. But there are a few I refuse to travel all that way and not see. I'm very demanding that way.

One of my friends, Rhonda, will probably be coming over on Friday to help paint. Todd refers to her as my partner in crime because I was encouraged in several of my home improvement projects by her. Here's an example of what I mean. This is when I was going to paint the office.

Todd: Don't pull off the wallpaper. Kilz it because the walls weren't sized before the idiots put it up so you'll pull off wallboard just like you did in the dining room and the bathrooms.

Me: Yeah. That's what I was thinking.

Next day:

Rhonda: So are you going to pull of the wallpaper?

Me: No. You know the problems we've had with wallpaper before.

Rhonda: Yeah.

Me: Still... It wouldn't hurt to just pull a tiny bit to see if it comes off easy.

Rhonda: Okay. (Said with great fervor and enthusiasm)

Me: It seems to be coming off alright.

Rhonda: Mine, too.

Me: Let's do it!

Rhonda: Okay!!

Bad idea. It was put directly onto the wallboard except for a few places where they had Spackled something - the spots we tried. So we made three times more work for ourselves than we would have had we just primed the wallpaper first and then painted.

But I digress. My whole point of this post is to let you know I will probably not be posting for the next week, nor will I be commenting on other blogs. But what a post I'll have when I get back. And neither my sisters nor my friends have blogs and won't be able to defend themselves because I have control over the comments. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!

Now I leave you with a few pictures of the cutest puppy on earth. Or at least in this house:

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Mused by Jenster :: 3:18 PM :: 28 People musing:

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Sunday, April 20, 2008

They're Coming To Take Me Away...

Katie and I were eating ice cream cones the other day while discussing good nutrition. She said she was going to work the ice cream off in gym the next day. I said I was going to work it off in bed that night MEANING IN MY DREAMS. The kids started laughing and Todd snapped his head up and said, You mean it's that time of year already? Yeah. Funny guy.


That same afternoon was Taylor's first day at his new job. The grocery store didn't pan out, but he did get a job with a lawn care service. Four of the six yards they worked that evening were in our neighborhood, one of them right next door. So while he was using the trimmer I snuck out behind our shed, humming the Mission Impossible theme, and took a picture of him. I don't think I got a picture of him on his first day of school, but by golly I got a picture of him on his first day of work.

I was soaking in the tub when he got home and didn't actually see him until the next morning. But he told Todd one of the guys asked him if that lady taking a picture of him from behind the shed was his mom.

Friday night we went to dinner with our friends Dave and Barb. We were talking about my exceptional stealthiness and decided it would have been hysterical if I'd gone across the lawn and said something like, "Does my big boy need some water?"


Yesterday was the Women's quarterly brunch at church and it was, as usual, exceptional. Now I can hardly wait until June! I have to find new friends to sit with, though. Some of the ladies at my table were rather boisterous and we got in trouble. When you're quiet and subdued like me those wild women can be a bit overwhelming.

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Mused by Jenster :: 8:45 AM :: 17 People musing:

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Friday, April 18, 2008

Puppy Poop Ponderings

Sookie Dookie

I never thought I'd write a post about poop. It does seem to be almost fashionable in some circles, but I thought I was above that type of potty humor. Au contraire, mon frere.

When I took Sookie out the other morning to do her business it was about 31 degrees out. I was fascinated when I saw the steam coming off the gift she left for me. It was a steaming pile of poop!! Seriously. I mean, I've heard derogatory remarks like, "You steaming pile of poop!", but I'd never actually seen one.

That same afternoon I was telling my neighbor, Laura, about it. Laura is Brady's mom and she said she'd noticed the same thing. It just goes to show that you can reach the ripe old age of 30 or 40-something and still learn something new.

Another thing I should really just keep to myself but won't is that I'm always put in mind of a Play-Doh press. You know the little toy you put the play-doh into, push down the lever and it comes out looking like a log? Her tail sticks straight out while she's working and she even pumps it a couple times at the end.

Some of you are probably cringing, wondering why in the world I would write about excriment. I have no idea. Others of you - I won't name names (Matt, Ben, Taylor) - are probably thinking, Finally! A worthy post!

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Mused by Jenster :: 2:22 PM :: 15 People musing:

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

One Month To Live

The current series at our church is based on the book One Month to Live, Thirty Days to a No-Regrets Life written by Kerry & Chris Shook of Fellowship of The Woodlands near Houston, Texas. I confess I haven't kept up with my reading, but the title resonates with me because, well, I've kind of been there.

Okay. So that's me being dramatic. I was never told my life was over because I had cancer. Life as I knew it is over - or drastically different - because of the cancer, but I'm among the healthy and living and plan to be for a very, very long time. I still have another 50+ years to hang out with Todd and future grandchildren and great grandchildren to spoil. So while I can't imagine what it would be like to know I only have a set time left on this earth, I know first hand what it's like to be faced with my own mortality.

I never thought of my breast cancer as a death sentence. My brain just doesn't work that way. But it's not because I'm afraid of dying. I know who I belong to and I know where I'm going when I do pass from this place and it's better than anything I can imagine. And I've got a really good imagination!

In those low moments, however, when I stopped to really think about what I was dealing with and the realization that I had no guarantee, I was sad. Again, not sad to meet up with friends and family who had gone before me and see Jesus face to face - what an incredible thought! My sadness was at the thought of breaking the hearts of the people I love the most and how it would affect the lives of my children.

People talk a lot about how a brush with death changes their perspective and I can see how that's so. I don't think my perspective ever changed, though. I don't love Todd and the kids any more than I did before my diagnosis. How could I when I've always thought them the most precious gifts I've ever been given? I don't see any more beauty around me than I had before. My world has ever been full of the most incredible sights and sounds and tastes and smells and textures. Appreciation for God's handiwork is nothing new to me and, in fact, is something I've had in me since I was very young.

There were times I would wonder, "if I don't beat this thing will I have any regrets in my relationships?" I always came back to "no". My family knows I love them, there are no unspoken words between us. I don't have any broken relationships or anyone I feel the need to forgive (that's a post for another day). Who knows, though. There may be someone reading this who thinks otherwise. But as far as I'm concerned that aspect of my life is okay.

Still, one can't go through something like a life threatening disease and not change in some aspect. There are plenty of negative changes - physically, mentally, emotionally... I could probably write reams on the unpleasant changes. Oh wait! I think I pretty much have over the last year and a half. But there are usually positive changes, too.

I've narrowed my life goals and actually feel as though I maybe have a real purpose beyond raising my kids and providing comic relief when things get too somber. And I think that's what the book and it's companion study will be pointing to. Living your life for God and following His will for your life with passion.

That's exactly what I want to do. Run down that path with reckless abandon. Except for the fact I can't run. Just thinking about it makes me tired. Unless there's a Venti White Chocolate Mocha with Whip at the end. Then I could probably at least skip.

Give me a year or so and we'll see where I am then. Hopefully I won't be sitting at the same place, still writing my list of goals. I want to be checking them off, baby!!

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Mused by Jenster :: 9:49 PM :: 20 People musing:

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Monday, April 14, 2008

It's Like I'm Famous Or Something

Mama P over at PasstheZoloft has real writing gigs at Good Housekeeping and Baby Center under the name Andrea Frazer. Today she wrote a very nice post about my blog and linked me. True to Mama P fashion, the title of her article shocks and says it all:

Forget the “mom job” - Mommy’s getting her nipples tattooed! You can read it by clicking on the title.

Thanks for the very kind words AND the linky love, Mama P!!


Mused by Jenster :: 9:46 PM :: 14 People musing:

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Six Word Memoir Meme

I was tagged by Seaspray, who was tagged by WhiteCoat Rants, to do this meme. I've seen this one around and I always find it interesting. But reducing an entire life into six words is no easy feat. So I'm doing a "last three years memoir".







Here are the rules:

1. Write your own six word memoir.
2. Post it on your blog and include a visual illustration if you want.
3. Link to the person that tagged you in your post and to the original post if possible so we can track it as it travels across the blogosphere
4. Tag at least five more blogs with links.
5. Leave a comment on the tagged blogs with an invitation to play.

So I tag Becky, Shauna, Deb, Katybug, HisGirl and Sing 4 Joy

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Mused by Jenster :: 7:44 AM :: 23 People musing:

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Saturday, April 12, 2008

You Know...

...that feeling when you pull on your jeans and they slide up a little smoother, they button and zip a little easier and when you sit down you can breathe a little deeper?

What's that like???


Mused by Jenster :: 8:27 PM :: 16 People musing:

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Spring Rains...

Today promises to be a gorgeous day here in the Philly area. It's only 8:00 and already it's in the low 50's, beautiful and sunny. The high is supposed to get to 70. Since I began with these stupid hot flashes 70 is about as warm as I like it.

I love the sights, smells and sounds of spring. The green hills, the blooming trees, the fragrant flowers, the singing birds... it all works to fill my heart with joy. Somewhere in this blog I said it doesn't rain right up here in Pennsylvania. If you've ever been in a Southern spring rain you know exactly what I'm talking about. The spring rains in Arkansas were nearly a spiritual experience to me. They're very high on my list of my favorite things in life.

for days like today. A gentle, drenching rain is one thing. Severe storms with hail and tornado threats is a completely different thing. I don't miss that type of weather one bit.

Last week a tornado ripped through the area where we used to live - where my parents and our very good friends live. Thankfully not only was no one hurt, no one we know had any damage. Today is another go around, though. If you're the praying type, please pray for safety in those areas. Selfishly, I have specific people in mind. But prayers for anyone in the path of destructive storms is the ticket for today.


Mused by Jenster :: 8:01 AM :: 10 People musing:

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Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Just a Quickie

For those of you who prefer a quickie as opposed to a longie (Katybug) - I'M TALKING ABOUT POSTS, PEOPLE! Just a few things.

1. I called my endocrinologist Friday to see what the results of my thyroid biopsy was. She felt horrible because they hadn't come in yet. She called the hospital but never heard from anyone. I told her I really didn't care but everyone else did. She doesn't work on Mondays so she called me today to say the results were fine. So there's that.

2. Taylor has an interview with the local grocery store tomorrow. He even got a hair cut yesterday so as to make a decent impression. I will be very surprised if he doesn't get hired because they are desparate for employees. Still, a prayer or two wouldn't go unappreciated...

3. Sookie is still cute. She met our neighbor's puppy, Brady, yesterday. We got them both from the same rescue shelter and the owner thinks they may have been at the same foster home. Whatever the case, they were hysterical. They thoroughly enjoyed playing with each other. Brady's mom, Laura, and I will be planning more play dates.

4. I have a few serious things to blog about - not serious, but you know. Serious. As in not frivolous. I just have to actually take the time to get my thoughts from my head to my computer. Don't hold your breath.

5. That's all folks!

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Mused by Jenster :: 9:44 PM :: 14 People musing:

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Monday, April 07, 2008

The Play is the Thing

Friday night was Katie's theatrical debut in the very funny play Lagooned. She played the jogger and did a great job. She can jog like nobody's business! A couple times all she did was trot across the stage saying, "One, two. One, two." But the best was when the smelly old guy who had been marooned on the island for ever got a little close and told her he was lonely:

She smacked him with the boogie board for getting fresh. Todd and Taylor gave each other knuckles over that one.

Here's the entire cast applauding the directors (teachers):

And you know me and architecture. I LOVE it! The play was at the 8th grade center - the oldest school in the district. Look at the embellishments:

Todd picked out these beautiful roses for our little thespian:

Lucky for me she thinks her room is too messy for them (and she would be right) so I get to enjoy them in my entry way.

After the play I took Katie, her friend Shelby, Taylor and Kristen to a local diner with the most glorious desserts. And this time Katie reminded me to get pictures BEFORE we ate them!

Chocolate Mousse Cake:

Peanut Butter Cup Cake:

Oreo Cake:

She has caught the acting bug and can't wait to try out for next year's play. They don't do musicals until high school and she's already excited about that. She just bought the soundtrack to Wicked and is hoping the high school puts that one on in a few years.

Speaking of Wicked, she's decided to save her money until she has enough to pay for her own Broadway ticket - I have to pay my own way. What I just told her, however, is that she and I are going to go for her birthday in October. Not that I want to go. I mean, why would I want to spend a couple days in New York City and take in a Broadway musical? But I'll do it for her. Because that's the kind of selfless mom I am. *sigh* The things I do for my children...

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Mused by Jenster :: 12:35 PM :: 20 People musing:

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Friday, April 04, 2008


I have much to blab blog about but no time at the moment. Maybe I can get some good writing (*snort*) done this weekend.

Katie's play is tonight and we're all excited. She doesn't have a ton of lines, but plenty for her very first play.

Sookie continues to pull me in as I kick and scream, "I don't want a dog!" I keep thinking of how I can't do this and I can't do that. But my perspective is starting to change a bit. Beside the fact she's the most adorable creature and a pretty good girl are the perks I'm getting.

I got a Bissel hand held steam cleaner (I think you can figure that one out) and a long-desired food processor (I've been having to make her food while she's taking the medicine for the parasite). I also see hardwood floors beyond just the entryway in my future.

I noticed yesterday at preschool that the kids act just like she does. So I figure her "human" years to be somewhere between two and three. I kept finding myself clapping at the kids like I do her when she's doing something she's not supposed to do.

So I'll leave you with more Sookie pictures. I'm pretty sure the novelty will eventually wear off and I'll find something else to post. But here she is for now.

This is her ignoring me because she's curled up in a chair she knows she's not supposed to be in. Like if she doesn't look at me I won't see her or something.

And here's a nice portrait:

And a head shot:

Mused by Jenster :: 2:07 PM :: 21 People musing:

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Wednesday, April 02, 2008

What Day Is It??

Sookie has turned our world upside down. What a big surprise. She's a very good puppy, though! The vet figures her at somewhere between three and four months so we've decided to make her birthday December 15. Todd thinks we should make her birthday December 11th since that's my mom's birthday. I suppose I should talk to mom about that. She might be offended. Then again, she might like sharing her birthday with her youngest granddaughter.

She does have a parasite - very common with shelter dogs. The problem is we can't get her to take her medicine. She's too smart. BLAST! I'd much rather have a dumb dog. Kind of like I think dumb kids are easier to raise. We didn't do well in that department, either.

She does go to the back door when she has to "eliminate". We had some accidents at first, but she's already got the hang of it pretty well. I think she's needier than either Taylor or Katie ever were. If I'm trying to clean the kitchen (HA!! ME!! Trying to clean the kitchen. That's funny!!) she comes in and flops on the floor with a huff and then whines because I'm not paying attention to her. She will have to get over that very quick. But she's just so stinkin' cute I end up giving in. AND I DIDN'T WANT A DOG!!

For being so fuzzy she doesn't hardly shed. I hope that's the way of it forever and ever.

On a completely different note, I was listening to the radio on my way to pick up Katie. It was on a station that plays a little bit of everything and "Billy, Don't Be A Hero" came on. I was very excited because I had that 45 when I was a kid. Such a catchy, fun sounding song. Except as I started singing with it I burst into tears. What a sad, sad song. I mean, I knew it was sad when I was a kid but it didn't affect me like it did yesterday. Because I was just a kid.

The baby is sleeping right now (next to me) and I wonder if I can sneak away to wash my face, brush my teeth and get dressed. I would really like to take her outside in something other than my jammies.

OH!! Do you remember this post from last year? It's that time again. Yesterday morning I got up early and made a delicious and nutritious breakfast for the kids. I haven't brought up the subject of Taylor moving out yet, but he may be getting an actual job so I see it as a definite possibility eventually!!

Okay. I see my window of opportunity to do something other than sit by the baby swiftly closing. I'm off to throw on some clothes.


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Mused by Jenster :: 9:51 AM :: 18 People musing:

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