Thursday, February 26, 2009

Prayers, please.....

Sometimes we can become so involved with the busyness of "living" that we fail to recognize the frailty of life. Until it smacks us in the face and we are left blindsided.

Last Saturday was one of those times.

My cousin brought her 10 year old daughter to the Dr. because of a nagging cough. After she'd made the appointment her daughter mentioned that "there was this lump on her neck..." By the end of that very same day, Bridgette was hospitalized in the pediatric ICU with a tentative diagnosis of Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Stage IV.

My cousin looked at me with tears in her eyes and asked "How can a person wake up one morning and everything is business as usual - and by the time the day is done, their whole world has been rocked to the core?"

I didn't have an answer. Hugs were the best I could do.

Further testing has shown that there are tumors in her lung, pancreas and ovaries. She starts chemo today. I've been down this road. Too many times. It sucks. (sorry - that's the only word that seems to fit.) Four times I've stood at the bedside of someone I loved and watched them pass from this world to the next. Three of those times were preceded by the roller coaster ride of cancer.

All I could think of when I got the news was.... Strap your self's time for another ride.

There is room for guarded optimism here. One must always cling to hope. But I'm scared. For Bridgette who is much too young to have to fight a battle that even the strongest of adults fear. I'm scared for her parents, Tracey and Mike. This is their firstborn. Their little girl. They are in anguish.

But I cleave the knowledge that we serve a loving God who will see them through this trial. Whatever the outcome, He will be there. There will be a lot of times along this journey where there will be only one set of footprints. But it will be a long journey. And their lives will never, ever be the same again.

Please pray for Bridgette...and Tracey...and Mike.

If you would like to follow her story - go to the Caring Bridge website.

And hug somebody you love today.

Monday, February 23, 2009

A Bit of a Whiner Today....

As of Friday I am now juggling a third job. I was hired as an Executive Assistant to the president of a new company that places foreign students in American colleges. It's only 10 hours a week so far but may involve some travel. I'm also doing my health aide job which is another 48 hours and then substitute teaching when they call. Why? Bills, baby. Bills. And get this....our house and cottage are both paid for. Our cars are paid for. I have no credit card debt. It's the darn health insurance, property taxes and college tuition that have me floundering! And then those bills you can't avoid. The ones that heat your house, light it up, allow you to converse on the phone, and blog.....
I just can't imagine how people are managing that do have outside debt. Especially those that are getting laid off from their jobs....

This sure isn't what I pictured for my "golden years".

As a stay at home mom for 21 years, being back in the work force has been a stretch for me as it is. For so long I was used to tending my nest - planning good meals for my family....keeping my house neat and organized....being on top of all the little things like sending birthday cards out on time, shopping for my groceries when the stores were empty (ever try to shop on a weekend?)
Now everything seems to be done in fast forward with no time for fussing.

And then there's that darn thesis that will be my nemesis for the next 10 weeks. Will there be any breathing room? I sense of period of immense stress.

But I have determined that this too shall pass and by May I'll be breathing much easier. Maybe even living in our new house.

So I have to be careful not to mindlessly chew away my stress. Hubby came home Friday with so many fresh veggies that we could barely fit them all in the fridge. And we have to eat them all while they're still fresh. This will be a good thing.

This afternoon I have to go for a "colonoscopy consultation". Why in the world do I need a consultation? I know what they're gonna' do. Just do it for goodness sakes.
I'm not looking forward to it but I'm 51 and it's time. Middle daughter just wrote an article for the hospital she works for (she's the editor and PR person there.) It was all about colon cancer being a silent killer....and the importance of screening. She sent it to me and made me promise to go. So I am.

Anybody out here been there, done that? It's not at the top of my list of favorite things I want to do....

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?

Oldest daughter came over Monday. She was sick and I guess no matter how old they get, there's something about being at mom's house that makes things a little better. So she's laying on the couch sound asleep and I'm typing - fixated on the computer, putting the final touches on my thesis proposal.

After a little while I hear rummaging around in the kitchen and assume that her appetite must be back. This goes on for sometime when I hear her voice (from the couch) asking "Is that you, Mom?"

" mean it isn't you, Rachel?"


I jump up and run to the kitchen just in time to see a squirrel nose diving at my sliding glass doors - trying to get - OUT! Of course we both do the obligatory girl scream and hop on the couch. (As if that will afford us any protection lest the little rodent decides to attack us.) I grab my cellphone and call hubby.

"There's a SQUIRREL in the HOUSE!"
"Let him out."

Gheesh. Men are so daft sometimes. Like I'm going to walk over to this critter and just open the door and say "Here...let me get that for you." He runs into the living room and disappears. I grab a large stick and wait. Not that I plan on whacking the thing. Just for protection. You case he attacks. I saw the movie "Christmas Vacation"...

Hubby tells me to phone him back when the squirrel is outside. So daughter and I sneak over to the door and slide it open about 8 inches. Mind you it's 27 degrees outside. Then we sit on the couch so that we can see into the kitchen and wait. With the stick. Just in case.

After about a half an hour he runs toward the door. He pauses, twitches his tail a bit and then runs out. We slam the door behind him.

Never a dull moment over here! The only way I can figure that he got in was the evening before when I was lighting a fire in the wood stove and the draft backed up and started letting smoke into the house. I opened the door for about 10 minutes to clear the smoke out. Yes, we have a screen door on the slider, but it was on the other side and I figured it's winter....there's no bugs or anything. Wasn't thinking squirrels!

That means the night before when all the kids were here for was the squirrel. And all night while we were sleeping unaware upstairs - he was in here. Ewww!

Anyway - that was my drama for the week.

Thirty-one days till Spring!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day....

Last night I walked into the house after being gone on my two-night "away" job. Sometimes hubby keeps the house nice and neat while I'm gone. More often than not, it's in a bit of disarray. I was braced for the worst.

Since I knew we would be babysitting dear little grandson this evening (Valentine's Day) I knew hubby and I would not be going out. I was a little sad. All day as I was caring for my patient in her home, her TV had been droning in the background. And every talk show was capitalizing on Valentine's Day. My dear hubby is not *sigh* a hopeless romantic. While he can be sweet and tender and caring - he's not the best at recognizing the few special days each year that I would like just a tad of some sort of romantic overture (like on our anniversary...or Valentine's day.)

So as I was saying - I was prepared to walk into a less than tidy house, drop my suitcase and start fixing dinner. instead I opened the door to find a trail of rose petals leading through the kitchen. I followed the trail and it led to a beautiful vase filled with nine roses. The trail kept going. So I followed it up the stairs and into our bedroom. There on the bed was another smaller vase with the remaining three roses.

I was floored! This man who comes home from work every day with overalls on, a dirty Carhart jacket and greasy hands (I'm married to a mechanic) had bought me a dozen roses and took the time to make it fun for me to find than and had made the bed while I was gone! (Did I mention the house was clean too?) What a guy!

So I called him and said I thought maybe our house had been broken into...because there were flower petals all over the place. We both laughed and he said he'd be home soon, and that we'd be going out to dinner.

I'm reveling in all of this. Because it doesn't happen that often!

If only men knew how little it takes to please a woman. At least in the romance department.

I'm still smiling.....

So is he.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Another "AHA" Moment in the Teacher's Lounge...

So I'm sitting there eating my lunch in the teacher's lounge today...mindlessly leafing through a magazine. I had my turkey sandwich, skim milk and apple before me feeling quite smug. Then I decided on a whim that the cream of broccoli soup they were serving sure looked good - so I popped into the cafeteria line and got a small cup. Somehow I justified this in my mind. Don't ask me how - but at the time it seemed to make sense.

Back to the magazine. Just as I'm finishing the last bit of my lunch and daintily brushing the crumbs off my lap, I turn the page and see an article about making good lunch choices. And smack dab in the middle of the page is a picture of two lunches. Both are 340 calories. One is a half of a turkey sandwich, a bowl of tomato soup, some grapes and an Oreo cookie. The other is a bowl of cream of broccoli soup. Nothing else.

I closed the magazine, let out a big sigh and cursed the cream of broccoli soup under my breath. If I'd only THINK about what I eat before I eat it and learn to make better choices. Eating to stay healthy - and lose weight - doesn't have to mean deprivation. On the contrary - wise choices leave us a whole lot more to eat.

I found this great article on Spark People. It contrasts several different 300 calorie meals. What an eye opener it was for me! I know it will be for many of you too. For me...I like to eat. Always have. Always will. The thought of nibbling on cottage cheese and celery for the rest of my life is an impossible notion. But after looking at these 300 calorie meals - that I'd been "giving up" for my crap food - I have a different attitude.

Check it out. You'll be amazed!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Icy Fun.....

I haven't been here lately....It's not that I have writer's block. Quite the opposite as a matter of fact. I've been pounding away on my crummy thesis. The last hoop I have to jump through before I'm awarded that elusive Master's Degree I've been working on like...forever!

Actually it's not even the thesis itself that has kept me so busy. It's writing the darn proposal (which is about 10 pages in and of itself.) I'm writing about art advocacy. You know...why the arts are important and should not be the first thing layed on the proverbial chopping block when budget cuts are made. Timely this rough economic landscape we're living in right now. It was the only thing I could think of that I'm even subtly passionate about.

Once the proposal is submitted and I get the okay to proceed - I have to pound out about another 80-100 pages by the end of April. I SO do not want to do this. But if I want to graduate and get permanent certification in New York state....I must.

Okay. Enough of that gibberish.

Last night I put my bathing suit on.

Winter white


In a bathing suit

T'was oh so tight.

It wasn't a pretty picture. I went to my sister-in-law's for a pj party. There were 5 of us gals. We kicked the men out and then sat around the kitchen table and ate and laughed and ate some more. Then we went out side in the 13 degree temperature and hung out in the hot tub. The water was steamy and delicious but the air was frigid! My hair had mini icicles forming on the wet ends.

At one point two of us decided to be daring and hopped out into the snow. We were going to make snow angels. But it was so darn cold and we sunk in the snow up to our knees. We made a quick U-turn right back into the hot tub. Funny thing - at the time I wasn't even thinking about what I looked like. Blubbery thighs and all against the snowy back drop.

I thought about it this morning though. And decided that I don't want to get too comfortable in this body. You see...I gained a lot of weight fairly quickly when I met hubby 7 years ago. Like about 30 pounds. And up until recently, I've always viewed it as temporary. As in - not who I really am. But like I said - I'm starting to feel like I belong in this chubby little fat-suit. And that's not such a good thing. Because then I get complacent. And complacency does me no good.

I guess it's time to get serious.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

A Few Random Thoughts....

I've been thinking lately. About all the wonderful people I've "met" through blogging. We've got kind of a network going here!

There are blogs I visit faithfully and others that I'll visit because they left a comment on mine. Often they become regular reads too. Some I visit because I see their blog name in someone's side bar and it piques my curiosity. Or I'll read a snippet of their most recent post in that same sidebar and I have to read more!

For whatever reason - I feel like I know a lot of you. And I've started to value you as friends. Does that seem strange? In this techno-savvy cyber age we live in...we can form a relationship with someone we've never met face to face - and probably never will. You guys have given me great advice when I've asked (and even when I haven't!) You've cheered me in my successes and encouraged me in my failures. Some of you have even prayed for me. Thank you.

I've tried to return the favor whenever I can.

Which brings me to my most recent thoughts. I'll back up first though. Most of you "know" Pattie. If not- go visit her blog! Pattie went AWOL on us for about a month. Which is fine. Life happens and we get sidetracked sometimes. But a lot of us were worried. Why did she stop so abruptly? Did something happen? As in something bad?

I tend to be a worrier so my thoughts were heading in scary directions. And I got to thinking....what if something really bad happened to one of us. No one in blogland would ever know! I suppose for some the anonymity of blogging is a welcome thing. It allows us to open up our lives in candid ways that are for the most part - quite cathartic. But I recall reading once in an article about blogging (when the phenomenon was still quite new) the author said that there is a great unrest in blogdom when someone abandons a blog. I didn't understand at the time...but I do now.

I'm NOT getting down on Pattie for not posting for a month! Honest! It's just that I started worrying and I wasn't prepared for that! I didn't think I could actually worry about someone I'd never met.

So here's what I'm gonna do. If I ever decide to hang up my keyboard and retire from blogland, I'll let you know! I write the obligatory "good bye" post. In the meantime, I may be MIA sometimes for a week or two as I pound away at this thesis of mine - but I promise I'll not go away for good with out a goodbye. Which I have no intention of doing anytime soon!

And if I ever just disappear with no warning - send me an e-mail. I promise to reply...and if I don't....well....then I guess you can worry.

Well - there's my philosophical 2 cents on a cold Sunday afternoon.