Friday, December 17

Best Christmas Present Ever!

Today was the last day before Christmas break. Yep, school's out for 2 whole weeks! What on Earth will we do? I'm thinking, sleeping in, snuggling on the couch, and eating our hearts out with all the goodness around sounds pretty darn good to me.

Oh, and I guess we'll celebrate Christmas, too. :-) My kids are 6 and 9, and mostly still believe. Personally, I hope they try for a very long time to make me think they're believers, because it's all so much fun!

I got the best Christmas present ever yesterday. I had my regular 6 month check up with my oncologist. Lovely lady, very smart and about my age, so we get along smashingly. Anyhoo, we did the blood work (which I had to go in twice for, with 4 pokes total!) and the clinical exam (you know, the part where you strip and they feel you up a bit) and then got to sit down and talk about the state of things. Blood work=normal. Clinical exam=normal. My complaint of being exhausted=normal with 2 small kiddos and tons of volunteer work. She doesn't have the magic bullet for weight loss yet, but I guess I'll give her a pass on that one. :-)

At this point in the visit, I always start asking tons of questions about this drug or that treatment or this test, and whether or not I should have had in the past or have it now. (Does any of this sound familiar, or am I just a nut?) Any breast cancer patient worth her salt counts down the days until her 5 year cancer free anniversary (or cancerversary, for those of us on YSC). Mine is due this summer. So, we started talking recurrence risks, etc. Turns out, for my particular type of breast cancer, the highest risk of recurrence has already passed me by! It helped that I had a bilateral mastectomy and all those horrible chemo drugs and radiation. So, on the bell curve, I'm on the tail, and that tail has a recurrence risk of 2-5%.

Image: the Frisky

Not only that, but those yearly MRI's I've been forking out so much money for? Turns out they really don't do me much good anymore, and she didn't think I needed them. At least not on a yearly basis.

At this point, I'm seeing myself doing the hula on Hawaii with all that extra cash I'll have in my pocket. :-) Not really, but those darned things are so expensive! And now that I'm on an individual policy, those costs really add up. Yep, I was feeling pretty darn euphoric. A hug and a Merry Christmas, and I'm out the door.

On my way out, I shared the elevator with two lovely ladies who had just finished their appointment with my oncologist's partner. They were both older, but I assumed the older of the 2 was the one in treatment. Oh no! The younger one was. (Young being relative, as she had to be in her 60's.) She looked just like I looked when I first started this whole crazy rollercoaster ride-- nervous, worried, tired, confused.

Image: PsychCentral

We started talking on the way down. She had just completed her first chemo treatment last week. I asked her if she'd noticed her hair falling out yet, and she hadn't. The look in her eyes was one of such sadness. I remember that oh so well. Losing your hair is the surest sign that you are sick, whether you feel sick or not. It's such a defeat, or at least it felt that way to me. I told her to shave her head as soon as it started to fall out, and to make a mohawk before she shaves it all. That image made her smile, and it made my day. I swear, if I could spend my day talking to newly diagnosed women, listen to their fears and concerns, and help them understand that the journey is filled with sorrows and joy, and that they will get through it, I would be a happy camper.

I left the office knowing I'd probably never see that woman again. I can only hope that seeing someone who's gone through it and come out the other side healthy, happy, and strong will make her believe she will do it, too.

Happy Holidays to you and yours. May your journey bring you more joy than sorrows, and more strength than you knew you had.

Wednesday, December 8

So very disappointing!

As anyone who's read my blog in the last 2 years knows, I'm a bit of a liberal. Since moving to the state I currently reside in, I've become a "bleeding heart" liberal in comparison to the reddest of red states. Nothing here has really changed.

I am not sure now what to call myself. I'm not embarrassed by calling myself liberal, or progressive, or Democrat. OK, I'm now admitting that, after the last 2 years, I'm embarrassed to call myself a Democrat. I'm not a Democrat, at least not the kind that is parading around Washington D.C. these days.

In my state, in my district, we actually elected a Democrat to the House. He lasted 2 years. Why? Because he was really a Republican in sheep's clothing. (And, he wasn't nearly as crazy as the guy he took over for.) He voted against the Health Care Reform bill (because he didn't think we needed reform), against the stimulus package (because we couldn't afford to spend more $ and balloon the deficit), and voted FOR everything the Republicans backed. Now, he would tell me he was just representing his district as best he could, which may, sadly, actually be true. But I didn't vote for him come election day. Why? Because he wasn't representing ME. And as far as I see it, most of America's problems right now stem from too many people voting AGAINST their best interests. Yep, I'm talking to 99% of you who voted Republican. I'm pretty sure that many people aren't wealthy beyond all imagination.

Yesterday, as all the hubub was going on in DC with the tax cut "negotiation," I was listening to my beloved NPR with interest as they broadcast the President's press conference. And then I listened with disgust. Not only did he negotiate with idiots about things he didn't need to negotiate with, he stood at that podium and got visibly angry with any Democrat or liberal that is disenchanted with him and his Administration's accomplishments!

All I can say is that he must be living in some bubble if he is unaware of why anyone is upset with how he's handled things so far. I understand his stance that he's been in crisis mode for 2 years, mopping up the Republicans' mess. I get that. What I don't understand is why he hasn't fought for anything that I thought he believed in. Why didn't he get more involved in the health care debate earlier, fighting to keep a public option in the debate for at least a while? Why would he think he needed to give these billionaires more tax breaks to get funding for unemployment? Why not actually have a fight over anything? We do not always need to "make a deal" right away. We should be having fights over things that are important. But we haven't lately, and it worries me.

I'm reposting Keith Olbermann's "Special Comment" from his show last night. I don't always agree with him, but he is spot on in this clip, and I sorely wish the President would listen.

If we don't change how our government is taxing and spending (and they are not doing these things in the way most people think they are), then we as a country are doomed to failure. It is inevitable. I just hope we're ready for the fall.

Wednesday, November 3

Great Gratitude

Today, I'm thankful for the Zac Brown Band. Yep, that's right. I'm thankful that this band exists, and for their music. It makes me forget my worries, transports me to another place. Especially their song "Where the Boat Leaves From." While this video isn't actually a video, it still has the song, and I thought you might all like to hear it. :-)

They also play "Toes" which is a great song as well.

I know, being thankful for a band is a bit strange. But here's the thing: without music, my life would not be as full. I've loved music my whole life. Piano lessons, clarinet, flute, oboe, and piccolo. I've played them all. (Some better than others. :-)) And this particular band just has a great sound. Zac Brown (the lead singer) also reminds me of my brother-in-law.

So, whenever you hear these songs, remember to take a moment and be in your favorite place. That's where I am whenever I hear them.

Monday, October 25

Permission granted!

Halloween is almost here. I have to admit, it's not one of my favorite holidays. It's never a day off, it's something you have to do after dark (usually when it's cold), and my kids can't seem to get enough of it (which means they're bouncing off the walls ALL DAY until they can go out and get candy!)

The other day I got an interesting e-mail. Our neighborhood has a ton of community activities, and really does feel like a small town rather than just a planned community. (If I were childless, I'd live elsewhere. But with kids, this is an ideal place to raise them.) Anyhoodle, the e-mail was from our "Town Manager" letting us know that our neighborhood was going to hold Halloween Trick-or-Treating on Sunday this year, just like the surrounding city will.

What?! I was unaware that this had to be a sanctioned activity. I realize that these days there are people who are afraid to go door to door in their own neighborhoods, for fear of the boogeyman. (While I understand some people having this problem, most people don't, and it just seems silly to ruin Halloween because you don't know your neighbors well enough! And that is another post for another day.) There was even a letter from the Mayor of our fine City, directing residents to forego trick-or-treating on Saturday (October 30th) and plan to do it on the actual holiday.

I realize Saturdays are really the best day for this kind of activity, it's just not the way it's done! Your kids are supposed to stay up late, eat a ton of candy, get stomachaches, and head off to school in a sugar daze the next day! And we parents are supposed to "test" the candy every now and then, to make sure it's "safe" to eat. That's the way it works, people!

While I've been ranting about how things should really be done, I wonder if anyone out there feels differently. Do you? If so, I'd love to hear your side. I'm interested in other opinions, and it might even give me a chance to change my mind.

On the lighter side, I'll leave you with a photo I found while going through chemo. It really makes me smile every time I see it. I hope it does for you, too.

Happy Halloween!!

Photo credit:

Wednesday, October 13

Brain games

These days I'm spending alot of time at my kids' school. Thankfully, not because of their behavior. :-)

I'm the Parent Faculty Organization President. (We aren't the PTA, because that organization requires groups to pay a membership fee to be called that. And we don't want to spend our fundraising dollars on a name.)

It's been a fair amount of work so far, but I'm loving it! I like knowing what's going on there, and knowing that I'm doing my part to make it a better place to learn.

I'm learning alot, too. I'm learning how to organize and motivate a group of volunteers. Sometimes that doesn't go so well. I'm learning how to work well in a group, and not just take everything on myself so it "gets done right." Mostly, I'm learning how to juggle a million things at one time. I'm hoping that it looks easier than it is, or we'll never have another volunteer take this position on. :-)

I'm also learning that my brain doesn't work like it used to. Chemo has changed me. It has changed my brain. I have a really hard time focusing on one task for too long. I can't seem to remember things for very long, so everything has to be in written form, either by me or whomever I'm dealing with. And I seem to get easily confused, requiring me to go back to re-read things to re-understand them. That one really drives me nuts!

Before chemo
Photo credit: National Geographic

My doctor has had me doing Sudoku and word searches to keep my brain active and try and reduce my symptoms. I don't know if it's working. Some days I feel back to normal, and others are so hard for me to get through, knowing that I'm not the same. The frustration gets me worse than anything else. My hope is that I'm getting better at hiding my issues, so others can have confidence in my abilities.

After chemo
 Photo credit: Hailey & Heather's Blog

If anyone out there has suggestions for me, I'd love to hear them. Have you had similar issues after chemo? What did you do to get your brain back? Was there a way I could have avoided this problem? Please make a comment, and let's start a conversation.

I promise, I'll remember to comment back. I just have to write it down...

Wednesday, October 6


If only the power of one little color could change the world!

Before I had cancer, I knew about the pink ribbon and Breast Cancer Awareness month. I even purchased some things touting the pink ribbon, and never once looked to see if they were even donating money to a cause related to it.

But after cancer, every October is a dread. Or, as most of my cancer friends call it, Pinktober. Why is it a dread? Why am I not excited and happy to see so many people behind a movement to raise awareness for such a devastating disease?

Because I think by now we're all AWARE! All this pinkwashing has absolutely nothing to do with curing cancer, or finding a cause. It's a ploy to make everyone feel better, like they're able to do something to alleviate the devastation it causes in nearly everyone's life somehow. It gives people a purpose, and a channel for all that angst. But it doesn't do a damn thing about a cure!

The thing that really gets me is that now you can't get away from it, even if you wanted to. I mean, here I am, sitting on the couch on Sunday night, watching an NFL football game, and what do I have to look at the entire time? PINK! On the football players! I mean, give me a break, people! Is this really helping to find a cure? (I mean, thanks, New England Patriots' Laurence Maroney, but even you must realize wearing pink gloves on the field isn't helping anyone.)

And, to top it all off, my birthday falls in Pinktober. So, it turns out that I've been blessed to be diagnosed with the cancer de jour, and their chosen time to celebrate it is my birthday month.

I need to get away from all this. I need to be able to get rid of my anger. I need to be a part of something that's actually trying to find a cure, rather than making hoards of money off this thing and perpetuating the campaign.

Does anyone really believe that a cure/cause will ever be found now? There's so much money at stake, so many Races to run, so very many patients to treat. Why on Earth would anyone want to rock that boat?

Tuesday, October 5

Sanitizer needed ASAP!

Ah, yes. The campaign season is certainly in full swing. And I'm already sick of it all! How about you?

I'm usually eating up every little sound byte of political information, so this is an unusual year for me, to say the least. I am sick of all of it, though, because I'm amazed at how strange things have become. The Republicans are, as ever, on the side of the uber-rich. And still regular folks vote for them. The Democrats have no backbone, and just want to be friends. (And in my local race for Congress, the Democrat is the best Republican one could ever ask for.) So nothing they've done in the last 2 years has truly been progressive. Everything has fallen just a bit short of the goal.

So, to say I'm crestfallen, or depressed, or just plain concerned about the way things are going is an understatement. As I've alluded to in previous posts.

Today I read something that not only made me sad, but confirmed my tendency to assume money wins all in American anymore. The LA Times had a small article about how much money the healthcare insurers are giving to candidates this fall. And guess what? They're giving to candidates in the GOP. Why? Because they want to repeal SOME of the rules in the newly created healthcare legislation. The ones that make it illegal to put caps on payment for sick patients, or the ones that require insurance companies to cover children. (Well, some of them have already fixed that, since they stopped selling policies for children, they no longer have to follow that rule.)

The one rule they want to continue to have on the books? The one mandating every American to get healthcare insurance, of course! This actually is a sticking point, as most GOPers want to repeal healthcare reform legislation altogether. The mandate means insurers have a HUGE batch of new enrollees. They say they need them to keep costs low. But remember that insurers made HUGE profits last year? The biggest profits EVER? I'm sure after they buy donate to those GOP campaigns, those same candidates will start changing their tune about what to repeal.

As I always say: Follow the money and you'll find the puppetmaster.

On the bright side, I always enjoy a little of  "The Daily Show" no matter how bad it seems. And, I think everyone needs a bit more of this:

Just sayin'.

Monday, September 27

Something I'm thankful for

Today I thought I'd write about something I'm thankful for. There are really so many things, too many to list here in one day. So, it might turn out that I write something I'm thankful for fairly often. I hope that's ok with you. In fact, I hope it inspires you to write down something you're thankful for, too. :-)

Today, I'm thankful for coffee maker.

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "What? Her coffee maker? What in the world would make you be thankful for that so much that you'd write it in a blog?!" And maybe you're right.

But I know every morning when I get up, I can make myself the best latte ever, without spending money or driving in my car to get it. It was a Christmas gift from my husband. (For background, he and I decided a loooong time ago to forgo giving each other gifts at Christmas.) He was dubious that I would use it. Boy was he wrong!! I think I've used it every single morning since I got it. Well, except for the 2 weeks I didn't have the filter and had to wait for it to come in the mail. (My husband made coffee while I was gone, and threw away the filter!)

I feel good knowing that I used to spend a pretty penny on Starbucks or Moxie Java or Tulley's (my all-time favorite!) I feel even better knowing I don't have to feel guilty about drinking coffee every day, when I'm still looking for work. (My husband doesn't say anything, but I know some days he's sensitive about money being spent. I would be.) I feel good giving my compost something it loves. (Coffee grounds, people!)

So, for today, I'm so thankful to have such a useful appliance taking up valuable space on my counter.

What are you thankful for?

Monday, September 20

Healthcare and my future here

You all know by now that health care is something I'm passionate about. I do not understand why Americans think we're #1 in the world, when nearly half of all countries in the world have healthier people than we do (according to the World Health Organization.) I realize there are a number of reasons for that, one of which is our abysmal lifestyle here in the States. But we could slowly change that for the better, if we'd just try to.

Anyhoo, if health care isn't your thing, you probably won't care about this clip from The Daily Show recently. You should care, and should research this topic on your own. Our health care system is a massive drain on our economy, and on our main street lives. Jobs, wages, possibilities of moving up in the world. All of these are related to the cost of health care in America.

One of the blogs I read almost daily, Momma Politico, posted a lengthy clip of Bill Clinton on The Daily Show. It was fabulous! But, I wanted to post just a portion of the interview, because in it Mr. Clinton talks about health care, and brings home my point about the costs. Thanks for posting, MP!

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Exclusive - Bill Clinton Extended Interview Pt. 2
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

When smart people realize that America could be better, I hope we move in that direction. Right now, I have a very negative view of America's future. In that, I guess I'm not unlike most of the TeaBaggers. (Yikes!) I am angry. Angry that we haven't wanted to do better. Angry that those in power continue to manipulate the masses, so they can keep their money and their power. Angry that the masses are so uneducated about everything that they don't even realize they are being manipulated. Angry that they vote against their own interests time after time after time.

So, when a poll comes out asking if you are happy with the way the country is moving, or happy with the job this Administration is doing, I probably end up in the same category as all those angry TeaBaggers. I want more! I want Obama to man up and fight for what's right, not compromise from the middle to the right. I want Americans to be educated. I want us all to have a better life.

I voted for Obama, and I'd do it again. But I'm not happy with what he's done, mainly because I believe he squandered the momentum he had. We could have so much more right now, but he wanted to get bipartisan support. He was more worried about making people happy than he was about doing the right thing.

Politics is a nasty business. I know. And every day I get more and more discouraged by the whole theatrics of it all. And when my husband and I sit down and talk about what we want to do after the kids move out, one of the first things we agreed on was considering a lengthy stay abroad. That is SAD! I want to be proud to be here. Proud to live in a country that's tolerant, and works towards ideals that every person be free. Freedom isn't just about religion. It's about the ability to make something of yourself. Unless things change, and the religious right settles down and stops trying to become a theocracy, I don't feel we have that here anymore.

My eyes are open. I hope to see the change we need soon.

Thursday, August 19

Therapy anyone?

Last night, my son was invited to go to a baseball game with his very bestest friend. He hates going with me, which is why I haven't been able to go to more than one game this year, but with his friend, he was thrilled. What gives? Momma's not good enough for ya? Ok, I know I would prefer to go with a friend over my Mom, but it makes me feel old.

Anyhoo, my husband was supposed to be at a meeting, but it got cancelled, so my daughter and my "girl's night" got shut down. Bummer, too, because girl's night around here usually involves a really good girly movie (Princess Bride) and some junk food. Oh, and snuggling on the couch the whole night. It's loads of fun!

My daughter wanted to go see Grandma, so we hoofed the whole 3/4 mile to Grandma and Grandpa's house, dog in tow. It was a gorgeous night. We had a lovely visit until... my Dad brought up politics. Well, to be fair, he brought it up, and I went totally ballistic about what he was complaining about.

You see, I'm a black sheep. My whole family believes some very strange things (to me, at least) and I have a really hard time keeping my big mouth shut. Anyone else have these issues? The good news is, it's mostly just politics and religion, so there's lots of other stuff to talk about. And I just can't be calm about something I passionately believe is wrong, even though I KNOW I'm not changing minds here.

The part that will soon require therapy, well, the most recent part anyway, is that I found out my Mom is a birther!

You read that right. She wants to see Obama's real birth certificate. And when I walked into their home, Fox "News" was on. They claimed they just wanted to see more about the last combat troops leaving Iraq, and that no other station was carrying the info. Then I turned to CNN, and whadaya know? It was also broadcasting about the last combat troops leaving Iraq.

My Dad was a lifetime Department of Defense employee. He's a Vietnam Vet, and still has issues related to his war experience. He's a staunch hawk, and thinks we should always carry the bigger stick. (Imagine what he must have thought when his oldest daughter nearly joined the Peace Corps and started wearing Birkenstocks!) My Mom and Dad were engaged right before he went off to war, so she's lived through some trying times as well.

At 35, I should know better than to get involved in a political discussion with anyone in my family, but damnit! I hate listening to people I love regurgitate the trash they hear on tv and think it's the truth! I'm sad that I feel like such an outcast in my own family on these matters.

And, more than anything, I wish there was an easy place to go where you knew you'd hear the truth. There just isn't that place anymore. Journalists get press releases and copy and paste their stories. "News" organizations are bought and paid for. The internet is full of crazy stories trying to pose as truth. It's insanity!

There are those walking around these days wanting "their America" back. Well, I'm not one of those people, but I want the America that I was taught existed. The one that was tolerant, and free to discuss important topics with each other using facts and truth, not scare tactics and blatent lies. The older I get, the more I wonder if it ever truly existed. Maybe it was all just a dream.

Friday, August 13

My Lucky Day!

Today is Friday the 13th. I know most people think horrible things happen on this day, but not me. Friday the 13th has been a historically lucky day for me in my life. How?

1. My husband was born on Friday the 13th. (He was also born breach, which makes me believe his Mom doesn't exactly think of this date as very lucky. :-))

2. Our first date was on Friday the 13th. (Double date, to be exact. We saw "Ghost.")

3. We got married on the 13th. Not a Friday that year, but it has fallen on a Friday since then, and I always feel it's a bit more special then. On our honeymoon, we met a few couples who chose to get married on Sunday the 14th, to avoid the possibility of their anniversary falling on a Friday the 13th!

4. I love to flip the bird to anything unlucky, just to tempt the fates. :-) (Not really, but I didn't have a 4th.)

So, in honor of this lucky day, I'm including a link about weird Friday the 13th things. Superstitions we still cling to, even though we know better. Right?

Tuesday, August 10

Oh me, oh my!

I've got to get something out in the open right now: I LOVE food! I love eating it, of course, but I also find that I love reading about it in any form. I have a list of blogs that I browse regularly, and most of them are food blogs. I won't name them here, because I'm sure there are so many others I just haven't found yet. :-)

Why do I love reading about food? Is it because it soothes my soul? You know, that comfort thing? Is it because the people who write said food blogs have a knack for photographing the food in an artful and tasteful (see how I did that?) way? Partly.

My son and I went to the library (or Library! in my neck of the woods) yesterday and checked out a bunch of books. When we got home, we were looking through each others finds, and he noticed something very odd. Most of my books were cookbooks. I have a TON of cookbooks in my cupboard in the kitchen, just waiting for me to break one open and try a new recipe. Why do I need to look at yet more cookbooks? Because it makes me happy.

We ended up sitting down together, looking through one of the cookbooks, and trying to decide the best, yummiest recipe in that darn thing. It was a hard choice, but made harder because there weren't any pictures of the food! Really? If you're gonna write a cookbook, please take the time to print photos of each and every recipe in there, so that we readers can drool over, and fantasize about, the food!

So thank you to every foodie blogger out there, who's taking the time to make their food and posts so tasty to read over. And maybe someday I'll try my hand at taking photos of all the yummy treats that I make for my family. If nothing else, it will make my smile.

Saturday, August 7

Mosque at Ground Zero? I didn't think so.

This is sort of an addendum to my last post, since Newt is also against a Muslim community center being built 2 whole blocks away from the site of the World Trade Center attacks.

Sam Seder, my hero.

Friday, August 6

Hypocrisy rules the day

I was thrilled to see U.S. District Chief Judge Vaughn Walker rule Proposition 8 in California Unconstitutional. Hooray! It seems that he read the Constitution after all. Not like those that were for Prop 8 in the first place.

Take Newt Gingrich, for example. This man had his hey-day already, running Congress (basically) for years, and making that stupid "Contract with America" that seems to have made it wrong to discuss any opposition to what our government is doing, be it engaging in wars or cutting taxes on the rich. I always thought questioning the government's actions was patriotic. Silly me!

Newt's got a YouTube video out to explain the need for Prop 8 and the horrible "activist judges" that strike down unconstitutional legislation. Funny, I never hear complaints about "activist judges" when they agree with him. Anyway, here's the video:

And, of course, he had to go on the O'Reilly Factor back in November to explain why we need to save marriage. Here's the video of that:

Newt's own words, according to Think Progress, are quite hilarious. He says, "Judge Walker's ruling overturning Prop 8 is an outrageous disrespect for our Constitution and for the majority of people of the United States who believe marriage is the union of husband and wife." Apparently, the Constitution is a sacred and holy text, unless it doesn't jive with your religious and homophobic beliefs.

What I really want to know is why is gay marriage so dangerous? What does it do to me? How does it affect my marriage, or my life? No one can answer that question, which makes me suspicious of their motives. Nearly everyone my age couldn't care less if the LGBT community was allowed equal rights. Marriage seems like the least they should receive.

And when people (like Newt) complain about the danger gay marriage poses to marriages in general, I say what about divorce? Now, as I see it, that's the real danger to marriage. And Newt's had 3 wives so far! From my perspective, he's a threat to marriage more than my gay friends and neighbors.

I can understand if there are some who believe that my views are wrong. But those beliefs are not religious in origin. My beliefs about equal rights are from learning about what America was founded on -- Freedom! Equality! I do not believe that our govnernment should be deciding anything moral. That's a religious thing. It seems that many have forgotten that there is a separation of Church and State (supposedly) in this great Nation. Many people talk about how the Founding Fathers were Christian. Actually, not all of them were, but that's another post for another day. Even if they all were, they specifically wrote the Constitution so that the government was not allowed to choose a religion for the people. They are not supposed to favor one religious belief over another.

If the Tea Party and the Republicans have their way, though, the Christian religion will be the theocracy of America. And their blindness to the hypocrisy of that is astonishing!

BTW, if you want to let Newt know your thoughts, you can find him on Twitter. His handle is @newtgingrich.

Mine is @CancerMommy. I'd love to hear your thoughts, too.

Tuesday, August 3

Gotta love Colbert!

I stumbled upon this gem this morning, while hopping through the blogs I read.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Word - Ownership Society
Colbert Report Full Episodes2010 ElectionFox News

As some of you may already know, I don't watch the news anymore. It's depressing, not relevant to my life (think flooding in Afghanistan), and not really news. There is only the obsurd need of "journalists" to give one political side, and then try and give the other without looking like a "liberal news organization." It's insanity!!

I get my "news" from sources like Colbert and Jon Stewart. (All without cable or satellite tv! Yes, free tv and the internet and I'm still well-informed!) These shows (The Colbert Report and The Daily Show, respectively) actually do the job of fact-checking. Yes, it's all for a joke, but it's not hard to find the funny in what's been going on in America for the last 10 years. Probably longer. And the fact that comedy shows are doing a better job of finding the truth than the news organizations is very, very sad.

Monday, August 2

Family visits ARE fun!

My husband and I moved away from all our family about 12 years ago. At the time, it was solely to follow a job (for him) and, we figured, after he got some experience, we'd come "home." 12 years later, we both agree that moving away was one of the best decisions we've ever made. He and I became closer as a couple, were more confident in our parenting abilities without constant "advice" from my 2 MIL's, and have a much better quality of life due to the cost of living differences.

That said, we love having company! None of my husband's family visits much, so when his stepsister decided to bring her family over for the weekend, we were thrilled! Her kids are around our kids' ages, and we adults get along smashingly. Between floating the river, swimming in our community pool, and zoo visits, we got those kiddos good and worn out. The adults even got to stay up late and drink beer, without interruption!

Could those kids be any cuter?!

There were, of course, a few incidents between kiddos to handle from time to time. Thankfully, no blood was shed, and no feelings truly hurt. So, all in all, I'd consider that a good visit. :-)

I guess my thoughts today, reflecting on our visit, are that family is nice to have around, if only in small bursts. I try hard not to worry too much about those in the family who are a bit toxic to me and my family. (Yes, we have some toxic relatives, don't you?) I try equally hard to nourish the relationships with those who bring me and my family joy. It's not something I would have spent much time thinking about before cancer, but now I really focus on starving the bad and feeding the good in my life.

And yes, that even goes for family.

Friday, July 23

You are what you eat

John Robbins had a great post on HuffPost this morning, and I had to share it with you all. I don't know who he is, but he makes some great points about factory farming in America.

As some of you may know, I have a newfound fear of regular food found in America. Whenever possible, I make my own food (instead of buying processed), and buy the ingredients from a farmer's market (LOVE my downtown Boise market!) or from the organic section at the grocery store. (Yes, I'm aware that "organic" doesn't necessarily mean healthy, but it's better than eating all the chemicals sprayed on foods these days.) I also try my darndest to buy grass-fed beef and organic, free-range chickens. The reason? All the antibiotics they feed these animals to counteract the deplorable conditions they are forced to live in and die in. Have you seen Food, Inc?

This is the part of the post that really makes my skin crawl:
"According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, only about 30 percent of the antibiotics used in the U.S. are administered to people to treat diseases. The other 70 percent, the vast majority, are administered to U.S. livestock, primarily to compensate for the unnatural and unhealthy conditions of factory farming."

The overuse of antibiotics has led to resistant bacteria, which actually kills "between 70,000 and 100,000 Americans" each year, according to Mr. Robbins. These poor souls might have been saved with readily available antibiotics before the new resistant strains had been created.

It just doesn't seem like the prudent thing to do to myself or my kids, constantly ingesting toxic chemicals and antibiotics we don't even need. It's not just bad for the animals and the land, it's truly bad for our bodies and our health! I sure wish more people felt this way. We could have ourselves a food revolution!

As for now, I will continue to shop the local farmer's markets and (gasp!) the local health food stores (where, before cancer, I thought only hippies and weirdos shopped.) It's too bad I had to get a devastating disease to make me realize how unhealthy I truly was.

Monday, July 19

Just call me Marshmallow

I have a problem. I'm sure I'm not alone, but it still seems so wrong. But, my friends, to you I will bare my soul.

I have a 9 year old son. He's a great kid, super smart (of course!), and super cute. But sometimes, like any 9 year old boy, he does things he shouldn't do. Mostly this involves talking back to his parents. Yes, he does other naughty things, but the talking back really grates on my nerves! And it usually earns him a chance to be grounded-- ie: no friends, no video games, no computer games, etc. My son decided to earn this opportunity this last weekend, just for shits and giggles.

The problem with the timing of this punishment is that I was in charge of a large portion of volunteers for a Criterium bike race happening in our neighborhood the next day. That means that I was at the race all day, plus my husband was threatened with his own punishment if he didn't take a shift to volunteer during the race. It was alot of work!

Why is this a problem with grounding my son, you ask? Because normally he would be restricted to our house. We brought him to the race (because he's not quite ready to stay at home alone) and, since it was 100 degrees, bought an icey treat. (His sister got one, too.) Some punishment!

And today, Monday, Mommy had to put a floral arrangement together and deliver it. Which means the kiddos were obligated to go with me. Add on top of that we woke up and had no milk. (I think some milk goblin drank the last of it while we all slept.) So breakfast was nearly non-existent. We tend to eat cereal and I have to have my coffee in the morning, WITH milk. Since my son has been good, doing his chores and acting all innocent and sweet (and I REALLY needed my morning latte!), I took them to Starbucks and got a drink and donut.

I'm so awful!! What kind of punishment is it that you get treats and special stuff? I don't think I'm cut out for grounding my kids. I have a terrible short-term memory. (Thank you, chemo!) Plus I just don't do well once the kids start acting all sweet. I tend to have endless talks with them about feelings and how they have a choice on how they react to situations. You know, all mushy mushy. What I really need to start doing is being "the hammer" like my father. I had a healthy fear of him as a kid, and actually still do when he gets upset. Not that he ever did anything he shouldn't have, but he was a military man, and had a bit of a temper. As do I, which may explain why I punish first, then feel bad and ease up after the kids bat their eyes at me.

God, I hope my kids turn out to be good people! I hope I'm not raising a couple of manipulative creatures, able to turn any situation to their advantage. That would work great, if I wanted them to grow up to be Wall Street brokers. I'd rather they become doctors, or join the Peace Corps. Although one would be much cheaper for me than the other.

Wednesday, July 14

My mistake

Me: (Looking lovingly at my beautiful daughter in my arms) "Sometimes I can't believe your Dad and I made something so beautiful."

LiLi: (Giving me a quizzical look from my lap) "YOU didn't make me, Mommy! I was just born!"

God, how I love 6 year olds!

Have a great day!

Thursday, July 8

We're baaaack!

Yep, back to reality around here. I'm not sure I ever wanted to leave the beauty of the Florida Keys. I mean, would you want to leave this?

I didn't think so!

As far as we could tell, there was no sign up any oil or tar on the beaches or ocean surrounding Southern Florida. Who knows if that'll last, but for now things are as gorgeous as they've always been. So, if you're jonesin' for a trip down South, get your behind in gear and get down there! The locals are in desperate need for the tourists to come hang out for a while, and you'll be given all the hospitality they can muster.

After a ton of relaxing and hanging out, coming home was very disorienting. We went from all the chaos of end-of-school doings, to absolutely nothing, to "what on Earth are we going to do with the rest of the summer?" Oh, and don't forget the ever-popular "I'm bored, and there's nothing to do and no one to play with." (Love that one!)

It's been an adjustment for us all. And after spending 2 glorious weeks in the tropics, and all that togetherness, my husband and I are jonesin' for some Hawaii time. This, I realize, is both sad and horrible. I mean, we got to spend 2 weeks enjoying the warmth and beauty of South Florida. We may never get to visit again. There was ocean, beaches, and warm breezes caressing our skin. (As well as some amazingly quick no-see-ums that ate us alive one night going from the car to the hotel!) But there's one thing about the Florida Keys that we weren't aware of before we visited-- it is most definitely a boat culture. Not alot of soft, warm, sandy beaches to be had there. Tons of seashells! Especially on Sanibel Island, where there's so many shells, there IS no sand! (If you ever go visit there, you MUST go to Pinocchio's and have the Sanibel Crunch ice cream! Delish!)

See, I love Hawaii. It's laid back, mellow, gorgeous, and if all I want to do is read a book and lay on the beach, no one thinks that's weird. I suppose no one in Florida thought that was weird, either, but the vibe just isn't the same. I drug my husband to Maui for our honeymoon, much to his shagrin. He wanted to fish in Alaska. For our HONEYMOON!! Anyhoo, ever since that trip, he's a complete convert. We plan nearly every vacation around the ocean and beach, and have been lucky enough to visit Hawaii and most of it's islands already. This coming January, we'll be taking our kids with us to the Big Island. Lots to do, and yet, we can just hang out at the beach and I'd consider that a successful vacation. I feel a bit guilty extending our holiday vacation after the kids are supposed to be back in school, but not guilty enough to change our plans. :-0

This is by no means an ad for vacations in Florida or Hawaii. (Although, if I did get compensated for doing such a thing, that'd be great!) This is, however, a gentle nudge to get you to think about where you'd like to visit. Is it the beauty of the coast? Or maybe the vastness of the open range? Whatever you dream about, take the time to make a plan. Don't wait until the kids are gone, or you've got more money saved up, or you're retired and have time. I've seen more people than I can count say those exact things, and as soon as they finally decide they're ready to hit the road, something dreadful happens and the best laid plans are toast.

After any illness, most people re-evaluate what's important to them. My husband and I decided we really wanted to travel-- alot! Since my diagnosis, we've been to Disneyland 4 times, Disneyworld once, Hawaii, Florida, and Paris. (My husband's been to Costa Rica and the Caribbean without me, but that's a longer story for another post.) We've visited family, and saw Jimmy Buffett live on Waikiki. Our savings account may be less than we'd like it, but we have so many stories and experiences that we don't mind so much. Life is for living, and hopefully we'll be able to live life out loud!

Friday, June 4

Big dreams

The blog will be silent for a few weeks, while me and my family are off on vacation, trying to reconnect with each other. It's been a hard few months around our house, lots going on and not alot of connecting happening. Nothing that a few weeks of complete and utter togetherness can't fix, right?

We are going to visit the Florida Keys and, hopefully, see some pristine beauty. I've been trying to track the oil migration, and so far things sound fine where we're headed. But you just never know, and frankly, either way it will be an experience for me.

I tend to find myself in strange, coincidental situations on vacation. On my honeymoon, while driving the Road to Hana, we encountered a lady climbing up from under a bridge (and a steep hill) in complete hysterics about her friend falling down the waterfall. Her body was later found in the ocean a few miles down the beach. I've been visiting my parents in Maryland for the hurricane (I can't remember which one now), and for the sniper (now that made for interesting choices on where to go visit!) And now we're headed near the scene of the biggest environmental disaster in America's history. Either way, I figure we're in for some interesting conversations!

So, we'll bring back some photos. I hope they will not be photos of what the Keys "used" to look like!

For now, I'll just leave you with a photo of my precious daughter graduating from Kindergarten today. A few tears were shed, but I know I cry at everything, so why not at your daughter's graduation?

Monday, May 31

Remembrance Day

I've always thought that Memorial Day could be better served with a better name, but I can work with it. :-)

My family and I are spending a relaxing holiday weekend at home, visiting friends and getting ready for the last week of school. Why we must go back to school after the unofficial start to summer is beyond me, but I don't get to make the rules.

I hope you and yours are enjoying this holiday weekend as well. Please remember to take a moment out of your festivities to truly remember the reason for the holiday. Give thanks for all the soldiers past and present that do such a tremendous job on their missions. While I have not always agreed with some of those missions, I have always admired the ability of servicemen/women to do their jobs honorably. And I have also equally admired their families for all the sacrifices they have given to our country as well.

Thank you, veterans and soldiers, for all you do!

Wednesday, May 26

Bloggy luv

Every morning I read through a few favorite blogs. They really don't have much in common: some are political blogs, some are cooking blogs, and some are random. This morning as I read through the list of them, I realized the ones I look forward to the most are the random blogs. You just never know what you'll find when you get there, and I tend to get some great conversation starters from them.

One of my favorite "random" blogs is June Cleaver Nirvana. Holly is a Mom of 3 boys, and always has something to say about those kiddos. She has random stuff on her blog, like Potluck Mondays, What's in Holly's Fruit Bowl Today?, and Commenter of the Week. LOVE it!

So, for the record, I've got a bit of a blogger crush on Holly. Love the stories about the kids and Mom life, love the randomness of what she chooses to post, and just wish I could be a bit more like her on my own blog. Alas, I'm not much of a writer, and I don't even think anyone reads my blog. It is, however, the best place for me to work through my thoughts on various things. Hopefully someday I'll say something here that resonates with someone out in webville. But maybe not, and that's ok, too.

Every now and then I'll be posting about some of my favorite blogs. Feel free to click on over to them, check them out, and come back here and let me know what you like/dislike about it. Or even share your favorite blogs. I love finding out about new places, new ideas, and I know there are so many out there that it's hard to find all the good ones.

Now I've got to come up with a good name for these posts, so you will always know what I'm about to talk about. I'm open to ideas from you guys. What do you think it should be called? Bloggy luv? Good bloggy things? (Martha Stewart might sue me over that name!) I'd love to hear your ideas, and I know that there are more creative people out there than me!

God knows you all don't want to hear about cancer ALL the time!

Monday, May 24

LOST, and how I've been there already

Well, now everyone in America seems to be talking about the LOST finale. I was a late adoptee of the show, but loved it, and watched the last episode AND the Jimmy Kimmel show after. (I even had to run out and buy a new tv so I could watch the show last night, but that's another story for another blog post!)

As I was surfing through my regular web haunts, ahem, I mean, blogs, I kept reading everyone's own interpretation of the finale and the show. (One of my favorites is Jane's over at This Week for Dinner.) I love reading what others thought of what it all meant! I don't know if I have an opinion on it all yet, I think I'm still mulling it all over.

One thing that strikes me as I read all these opinions, however, is that I've already been where all the characters in LOST were. Not literally, of course, since I'm not dead yet. But I have had to face my fears, and think about my life. I've had to be "awakened" in a sense with my diagnosis. I took time to re-evaluate my life, what I'm doing with it, how I'd like to change it, and started making changes. And the great thing is, I didn't have to die to do it!

I sometimes feel like something's been taken from me, with my awareness of just how fragile life can be. But other times, I see it as a true gift. When someone you know passes away, there is always a reflection of your own life, and a realization that it is not something to be taken for granted. There are the moments where you think to yourself, "I need to appreciate every day, every person, in my life." My advantage is that I truly do think these things every day since I was diagnosed. I take time to listen to my friends and family, and to tell them just how important they are to me. It's something that has made my life more meaningful, and certainly more colorful.

Have you had these same feelings? Do you feel like you've had an awakening? Or maybe I'm just losing it a bit, now that LOST has left. I'd love to know anyone's story. Post your comments and let's talk.

Monday, May 17

New and improved... hopefully

Welcome to the new Cancer Mommy site. The old site was being changed in a way I didn't much like. That is, it was going to start charging me $$ to have my little community there. So, I switched to blogger. I don't know yet how much things will change, as I'm still figuring out the whole blogger thing. Anything new is a challenge, right? I hope to have things up and running very soon, and I hope I still have readers that make the switch!

Thank you so much for your patience, and for your interest. Well, at least enough interest to switch your bookmarks to the new site! :-)