Monday, July 30, 2007

The Tale of the Furious Woman

Facing a Monday morning, after a semi-sleepless night in a way too hot house, a lady mentally went through her day. She knew, before even thinking about it, that she had a lot to do.

The anxious wife/mother wanted to get the laundry to the laundry room, so that while the first load or so was in the washer, she could sort the rest of the laundry, and fold the load of white laundry left over from last week. The plan was to then continue with the laundry throughout the day, while making meatballs with the meat that will need to go into the freezer if it is not used in the next day or so, and spaghetti sauce. In the midst of all this, the lovely lady also wanted to straighten up a few rooms in the house.

Alas, plans don’t always go how we want them to. First of all the house was very warm, through NO ONE'S FAULT, and the woman and her son anxiously await the arrival of the “rescue team” to wave their magic wand. (The air conditioning isn't working right.) The woman’s husband, who also happens to be left in charge of his work place this week because of the boss’s vacation, placed the call to the “rescue team” and relayed the information to the woman.

The lovely lady arose this morning, while thinking about all of these things, got ready for the day, and took the sheets and pillowcases off of the bed to wash them.

Off to the laundry room we went… * sniff * sniff * sniff * The lady curled her nose as she entered the laundry room. “Oh my,” she thought to herself, “could the litter box need cleaning out?” A quick glance inside the box confirmed her suspicions. With the sheets still in her hand, she opened the washer to put them inside, and saw her eldest son’s jeans in there. After a quick sigh, she opened the dryer to move the dungarees to their next step. Alas, there was a slight complication, as the dryer was already full with more of the eldest son’s clothing. In the meantime, the lovely lady was still holding the sheets with one hand and had scraped her leg against the ragged end of the full clothes basket that someone had placed on the floor in front of the dryer, that just happened to be holding MORE of the eldest child’s clothes.

A normal mother would be thinking, “how sweet of him to be doing his own laundry and saving me all that work” but the lady’s mind hadn’t exactly gotten to that point yet. Since the clothes in the basket were clean, she moved the clothes from the dryer into the basket and the load from the washer into the dryer, and then FINALLY the sheets went into the washer. WHEW!

At this point, the lady was more than a little exasperated, so she went into the kitchen to get a drink of water, and noticed crumbly stuff all over the counter. Another quick glance around the kitchen exposed dirty dishes that had not found themselves into the dishwasher, and dried egg dribbles and salt along with other unknown substances on the cooktop. A look over to the table led to yet another annoying sigh, when she noticed Saturday’s newspaper and boxes of snacks scattered about.

The lady shook her head and escaped to the den of her home, where she entered the cyber world for a little while in an attempt to ward off the level of fury that was quickly rising in her. When the dryer and the washer both dinged, indicating that they were finished with their cycles, she returned to the laundry room.

Again the stench met her and she wondered why no one else had bothered to clean out the litter box. She knows that she did it three times last week and was wondering if everyone else’s thoughts were to just “let mom do it” and that made her a little angry. After putting the sheets into the dryer, the lady wanted to begin folding all the other loads (four to be exact) that needed folded. Ahhhhh….the countertop on which she lovingly folds her family’s things had dried food and stains on it. She knew that she has told her older son repeatedly that he can eat in there (because he NEEDS to watch TV while eating and there is a small TV in there), but he must clean up after himself. Of course, he ALWAYS claims that he doesn’t eat in there anymore and when he does, he ALWAYS cleans up when he’s finished. Getting a few paper towels and the spray cleaner put another delay in the folding process. When she finally sat down to fold, she noticed that NO ONE in her family had bothered to take their individual baskets to their rooms and put away their clean and folded laundry from the week before. IN FACT, the three males of the household had even gone so far as to get items of clothing out of their baskets, but had never bothered to put their things away and return their empty baskets. Oh gee…that really infuriated the lovely lady.

As she folded the loads of laundry, she haphazardly tossed the clean and folded things into the appropriate basket, taking no special care to keep anything neat and tidy. With each toss of a pair of socks or underwear she became angrier and angrier, vowing to quit doing anyone else’s laundry until they learned how to do their part. She had worked hard to create a system and it was working as long as everyone else DID THEIR PART, which really wasn’t much. The madder she got, the hotter she got, and the sicker to her stomach she got from the litter box smell. Poor kitties…it’s not their fault that they have no clean place to go potty. At this point, the younger son enters the laundry room and announces that he will take care of the litter box. And he also asks for his basket of clean clothes. He realizes quickly that his mother is about to quickly go off the deep end.

The woman made a decision. She will not do any more laundry that day and will refuse to do anymore PERIOD until everyone has put away their clean clothes and returned their empty baskets to the laundry room. She will also not venture back into the laundry room until the floor is cleaned of the food stains and crumbs.

After that decision, the lady entered the kitchen and again saw the messes. She shook her head and walked away. She really would like to make meatballs and cook spaghetti sauce, but didn’t want to, yet again, clean up someone else’s mess before she can begin.

It would be safe to say that right now she is going through an internal struggle.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Class Reunion Time (But Not Mine)

We spent the evening at Ted's class reunion. I will state from the outset, that I really did not want to go, but never said anything to Ted. I knew he wanted to go because his good friend Ron is here from Texas, for the reunion. Having been in charge of a couple of class reunions myself, I know what all goes into the planning of one of these events, and Ted is the kind of person that you need to plan for, but still shake your head about.

Yes, my dear husband Ted just YESTERDAY paid for us to go. And the cut-off date was over TWO weeks ago. Can we say "procrastinator?"

This is probably a good place to mention that Ted and I did not graduate the same year, but we did go to the same high school. We are a year apart school-wise, so I know quite a few people in his class. Our high school (back then) graduated around 300 or so each year, so you always knew the people in the grade before you and the grade after you.

Anyway, as I said, I was really not interested in going. When I found out where it was going to be held, I sort of rolled my eyes, but thought to myself, "it'll be will really be okay" and just kept hoping that it would be.

We have a local pond/lake that many people used to frequent years ago. I was only there once and when you're only 12 or 13, your standards aren't very high, so I thought it was okay back then. It was a LAKE, darn it, and that means that when you get in to swim, you can't see your feet. It also means that there may be fish in the water, or worse yet, SNAKES, or maybe even something else. Way back then, there was a small concession stand, but I swear I don't remember any restrooms.
Over the years, fewer people went to this small lake and I believe it even closed down for a while. Then someone bought it and tried to "bring it back" but wasn't very successful. Several years ago, another guy bought it and really put the money into it. Apparently he added cabins and a very small golf course, a nicer concession stand, hopefully some decent restrooms, and a lodge.

And that's where the class reunion was. On the way out there, I even commented to Ted, "they sure as heck better not have port-a-johns because I will NOT use them." Ted is somewhat familiar with the guy who owns the place now and said that he would surely have something decent. Okay...we'll see about that.

We pulled into the place and for the first time in decades we both saw the little lake, and some cabins up in the woods. Hmmm....not too bad. They even had some decent, but small, buildings around. Well...this may not be too bad. All cars are to stop and check in at the main building, which was really rather nice. I said that we were there for a class reunion and she told us where to park. We rounded the building, and to say that I was SHOCKED was an understatement!

The parking lot was just fine, but I was very impressed with the lodge! It looked like a big log cabin type structure from the outside, with a big porch all around, and some fires and little torches lit for ambiance. WOW, was all I could say. On the porch they had round picnic tables with seats too. Eventually we made our way inside and I was even more impressed. There was a nice entryway, and REAL RESTROOMS! The tables and chairs they had inside were nice, and they had a fireplace that you could see from both sides. There was a kitchen there too, although the food for this event was catered.
I was just very pleasantly surprised. I'd heard that it was nice at this place, but everyone's standards are different. However, it WAS nice.

Before I get too far into the pictures, though, I need to mention something. After Ted finished working this morning, he went out and bought himself some shirts. He had said that he didn't have a decent shirt to wear tonight. My darling, dear, sweet, wonderful husband is a rather conservative man, and would prefer to fade into the background whenever possible. I respect that. So when he came home and showed me the shirts he bought, I just sat there with my mouth open. It's not that I didn't like them (I did), but I never in a million years would have imagined that he would have chosen to wear shirts like those he purchased. Ted is a pocket t-shirt kind of guy.
Just when you think you know someone, they go and pull something like this.

After we ate, everyone had to go outside for a class photo, and even though Ted ordered one from the photographer, I took a few myself. Of course, I couldn't get a good one with everyone actually IN the photo. That's why I'm a teacher and NOT a photographer.
Earlier in the evening, I took some pictures. This is Ted, Ron, and SugarBear. SugarBear has a real name, but I still can't call him by that. He'll always be SugarBear to me. They all three look like they're having a great time, and they did.

I rarely permit myself to be photographed, but I just went with it tonight, hahaha. Here is a picture of Ted and me, along with Nora and Ron, and yes, I have their permission to "publish" it. Of course last week when Ron and Nora were here and they gave me permission, Ron was feeling "no pain" if you get my drift, hahaha. He wasn't like that tonight, but I mentioned that I was going to put it in the blog and he didn't say no.
As with any class reunion, it's interesting to talk to people and catch up with their lives. I'm so impressed with a couple of women from this class, who in recent years, went to college and became teachers. In reading through the information that many class members sent in to be put in the directory, many people have certainly gone on to do wonderful things with their lives. I was once again impressed.

Some people have really changed, like the guy who grew up down the street from me who FINALLY visited a dentist! This guy was a smoker and drinker from WAY back and would think nothing of using every swear word created and invent some of his own, and told me tonight that his oldest son is a PREACHER out west. He started laughing when he told me and said, "I'm not sh*tting you!" Of course he had a smoke in one hand and a beer in the other when he told me this. Then there was the guy and his wife who came up from Columbus for the event, and he still looks like he just stepped out of GQ, and his wife is still beautiful and in shape. When he hugged me, I could feel the ripples of the muscles in his back. (I know, I know, too much information, hahaha). Several of the women looked better than they ever did in high school. There were quite a few that I didn't recognize until I looked at their name tags.

Now I'm glad I went. There were even a couple of people there from my graduating class because they had married someone in this class, so it was nice to catch up with them too.
All in all, it was a great evening and we really had a good time.

Thursday, July 26, 2007


Let me start out by saying that I don't like to shop. The idea of walking around from store to store, rack to rack, looking at things, and trying things on is right up there with a visit to the gynecologist, followed by a tooth extraction.

Unfortunately it's something that can only be avoided so long.

I prefer to do my shopping online, and even then I have to be in a certain mood, and be ready to move quickly, because the small window of opportunity is just that...SMALL. I can be in the mood to shop for as little as 2 minutes, or as long as 15. There's no way to determine how long the stars will be aligned properly.

One day the end of last week, I decided (on a whim) to stop in a local clothing establishment. I glanced at a few racks, yanked out two pairs of capris and two tops that matched. I paid for them (I know, I know..."you didn't try them on???? NO, I DID NOT!), then took them home.

Once I was here at home, I tried them on, and decided that neither outfit was quite suitable for work, which is why I purchased them in the first place. It took almost an entire week to pull myself together enough to go BACK into this particular store and return them. In fact, I swear that if I really wasn't looking for something to wear to Ted's class reunion Saturday night, the original items would still be in their bag, along with the receipt, lying on the bench at the foot of the bed.

So this morning, off I trot to the store, talking myself into this errand the entire way there. I arrive, park the car, and head inside. I know deep down in my heart, that I really should find something to wear to Saturday's event, but maybe I'm just in denial, because I'm really not too thrilled about going. Anyway, within 5 minutes I find 3 possible tops to wear with white capri pants that I already have.

Okay, this is where I'm real proud of common sense kicks in. YES! I occasionally have bursts of common sense and today was one!

I TRIED THE SHIRTS ON! Can you believe it? Me??? The person who hates to shop, actually tried them on while I was there!

I hated all three of them.

And to top it off, in the midst of trying them on, I felt that shopping "window of opportunity" closing quickly. I knew I needed to get out of there, and get out of there FAST.

I left the dressing room, put the items on the rack where you put things that you don't want and went up to the desk and told the woman that I was returning the items that the other clerk had taken from me.

Fortunately, she could see that I was not in a mood to fiddle around, and she went to work. She asked for my credit card and that was fine. THEN, she asked for my phone number, with area code.


"Why do you need that?"

"For advertising purposes."

"I don't want to give it to you."

"We don't give it out."

"I don't care. I'm not giving it to you."

Then I get the look. Oh well, give me the look all you want, you're not getting my phone number.

Nosy pains in the butt.

My transaction is finally finished, and off I go. The desk is at the back of the store, so I have to walk through the merchandise to get to freedom, uh, I mean the door.

The manager of the store is walking around and in that walk from the desk to the door, I hear her talking to a couple of customers.

"Are you looking for something to wear on vacation?"

"No. I've already been on vacation."

"Where did you go?

"Mumble mumble mumble"

"Oh, I've been there. I don't like it there."

On to the next victim.

"What can I help you find today?"

"Nothing. I'm just looking."

"Are you on your lunch break from work?"

"Yes. I've been working a lot of overtime and need to get away for a little while."

This sort of indicated to me that the manager might know this woman, but I was wrong, as I found out with the next few questions.

"Where do you work?"

"***** ***** Auto"

"Are you a sales woman there?"

"No, I work in the office"

"Why are you working so much overtime? Are they open longer hours now?"

"We have some people off, that's why."

"Oh, well you can spend all your overtime money in here."


What a NOSY manager, and what idiot customers for answering all the questions. Is no information sacred anymore??

The whole experience rubbed me the wrong way.

I'm done with that store. For good.

One more thing..."No, I DON'T want a ******* charge card. How many times do I need to tell you that?"

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Pepina's Vet Visit

Last Monday Pepina went in for her annual visit to the vet. I was very curious to hear what he said about her. She is 16 months old, so she is pretty much full grown now. He said that she has a very healthy coat, her teeth are in good shape, her kidneys seem fine and her eyes and nose all look great too.

He said that we are obviously taking very good care of her. That made me feel so good. We try to take the best care of her that we can, and it seems to be working out. Okay, we can even go so far as to say that we spoil her.

She weighs 12 lbs. 6 oz. and he said that her weight is good, but he said that she is about at the top of the chart on weight and to not let her gain much more. I told him that she probably did weigh a little more than that, but she has lost a little because of how she and Marina chase each other. They can run through here and you would think that we had a herd of buffalo! They will bounce off the cold air register occasionally when they are going so fast that they can't negotiate the turn in the hall. It's hysterical.

I think the world of our vet. He talks to our girls like they are the most special cats in the world. He makes us feel like we are perfect "parents" to them. He always comments on how beautiful they look too. I don't care if he does it for every patient he has or not, but he sure makes us feel good about what we're doing for Pepina and Marina.
"P" got two shots and her leukemia "blast" and she was pretty much out of it for the rest of the day. That's totally typical, so it wasn't anything to worry about. Marina just couldn't understand why "P" didn't want to play, and she kept trying to bother her. We tried to keep "MiMi" away from "P" but it didn't always work.

Anyway, we have two very healthy cats, and we're happy about that!

Monday, July 23, 2007 July

I woke up at 4:30 this morning from a nightmare. Well, I considered it a nightmare, anyway. I was dreaming that it was Christmas Eve and we were leaving for my parents' house, but I had forgotten to get them any gifts. Not so much forgotten, but just ran out of time. I was hysterical because I was unprepared and didn't know what to do.

Christmas was my favorite time of the year when I was young...what child didn't like Christmas?? However, as I've gotten older, I dislike it more and more each year.

We put too much pressure on ourselves to get through the holiday season. First, I feel like I need to find the perfect Christmas cards to send out, and enclose the perfect holiday greeting letter. If we're hosting a holiday gathering, I have to serve the perfect meal, and the house has to look perfect, including all of our perfect decorations, and especially our perfect Christmas tree. The outside has to be lit up absolutely perfectly because people drive by and look at those things and make comments. Of course we can't forget having the perfect assortment of Christmas cookies, each and every one baked to perfection.

Of course there is also the matter of finding the perfect gift for each person, in the perfect size and/or color, and then wrapping the gift perfectly. Did I get the right thing? Did I find the right size box for it? Did I wrap it so that it looks pretty?

And all of this is going on while I'm working full time, trying to stay on top of things at my job.


I would love to boycott Christmas some year. No cards, no baking, no gifts, no gatherings. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Sigh....not gonna happen.

Instead I'll just keep trying to come up with ways to beat the system. Hahahaha...yeah, right, like THAT'S gonna happen.

Every time we go down to the basement, and go into "the concrete room" (the storage area) and we see all the Christmas decorations that I've gathered throughout the years, Ted and the boys cringe, and Ted feels obligated to say something along the lines of, "What are we going to DO with all this stuff??" or "We're not going to bring ONE more Christmas item into this house!" or "There's that tree you bought, that I have NO idea what you're going to do with."

(Okay, so my weakness was Christmas trees. I probably have about 12 trees but only a couple of them have ever been put up. I always have big plans, but run out of time. Maybe some day.)

Some year I would just like to enjoy the holiday specials on TV, attend some holiday concerts, go out and see everyone else's lights, things like that.


Guess I better start thinking about my holiday lists, sigh.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

I am SO Blessed

I just came in from the pool, and while I was lying there on a raft, looking down at the pattern of the pool liner, my mind began to wander. I looked up at the back of our house, then just put my head down, closed my eyes, and thanked God for all I have.

Ted and I and the boys live in a beautiful house...we basically designed it, so it's just what we wanted. We have a swimming pool that we just love using. We are definitely blessed with material things.

However, it goes way beyond that. Today is my birthday, and that always makes me feel a little more introspective. Almost 2 years ago, I was really struggling, health wise. That chapter is now over with. Although Ted has been having a lot of trouble with his right knee these days, it's not something that is life threatening. Along with Joey and Alex, we are so fortunate to have our health.

We are surrounded by family and friends that we love, and who truly care about us. That is so important...we rely on these people for support and offer our support to them when they need it.

Speaking of friends, just the other night I called a very good friend of mine. We hadn't spoken for a while, so it was sort of a "catch-up" call. Ted has always said that he doesn't think I take a breath when I talk on the phone, but for this particular call, he actually heard me not only breathe, but he also heard SILENCE while I was listening! The best part was after the phone call ended though...he asked, "So what did you two talk about?" And I replied, "Not much" and he looked at me dumbfounded.

"You mean you talked on that phone for TWO AND A HALF HOURS and you didn't talk about anything???"

Hahaha...that's what friends are for. You can talk that long and not really say a whole lot. It's important that I note at this particular moment that I did NOT question the length of time we talked. I knew it was that long. End of subject.

So yes, I feel blessed to have friends that I can talk to for TWO AND A HALF HOURS and not say a whole lot.

We have other friends who are here from Texas right now and we are so fortunate to be able to see them. It's been 10 years since they've been here, but Ted went down to see Ron for a long weekend 7 years ago. Maintaining long distance relationships can be difficult but it is SO worth it! And the funny thing is, you just pick up right where you left's like they were just here last week. They were over here last night and we had a WONDERFUL time!
We are also so very lucky to have such wonderful family members. With A.P. and U.T. (and Niece Holly too) so close, we can stop over at each others' homes as often as we want. Patty and Tim were here last night too, and that was great.
In fact, after being inside for most of the evening, we eventually made it out to the back patio and had a little fire in our small fire pit. It was very nice. Something about a fire...makes everything a little more intimate.
Yes indeed, I am VERY blessed...with a beautiful home, a pool, a healthy family, good friends, a job I usually love, and of course two wonderful felines.

Can life get any better?

Friday, July 20, 2007


Yesterday morning I met with my oncologist, Dr. R. He's a good guy and I like him. But the person that I REALLY admire in his office is Janice, the woman who draws the blood...otherwise known as a phlebotomist. She is EXCELLENT! She knows exactly where my only good vein is and can get it on the first attempt all the time now. It took a few visits to perfect this part of the visit, but now it's great. About a year and a half ago my mom gave me a few of those little hand warmer packs and right before I'd go see Dr. R, I would open one up, activate it, and put it on my "good spot" and warm it up for Janice. When I ran out of them, Janice got some, but yesterday she was out of them. We went to Plan B then, and put a warm, wet paper towel on my arm. It worked, thank goodness. She and I have our routine down now....she uses a butterfly and I hold the empty vials while she gets started, then we trade as they fill up.

My numbers were good yesterday. In fact, my platelets were higher than they've ever been. They usually run a little low, but yesterday they were RIGHT ON! What a relief!

When I saw the doctor, he was very pleased with the numbers and how things are going for me, so after our long discussion, he said that I am now moving to the every 4 month plan, instead of my current every 3 month. YEAH!!!

Dr. R also told me about testing that they now can do on colon tumors. It was approved for breast cancer a while ago, but has just very recently been approved for colon cancer. It will test the tumor and determine if you are high risk or low risk for developing colon cancer again. If you are low risk, then Stage 2, like I had, will not need chemo or radiation. If you are high risk, then you will need chemo and/or radiation. I asked if there were still any slides of my tumor at the lab at the hospital and if they could be checked to determine my risk. He said that I've already been through the chemo, so it really wouldn't make a difference as far as that was concerned. But I mentioned that if I am HIGH risk, then I would possibly have colonoscopies and CT scans more often to keep a closer eye on things. He said that the insurance company may not cover the cost and it's pretty expensive. Then he said that he would have his office manager check on it. It would just give me some peace of mind.

Dr. R also mentioned that he had seen Patty, my sister-in-law, recently. I told him that I recommended him to her and he was pleased. He said that she was very fortunate and that if she had waited another 6 months to have her colonoscopy then the outcome would be a lot different. As it turned out Patty doesn't need chemo or radiation at all.

I also told him that whatever he paid Janice, wasn't enough, because she is SO good at doing her job! On my way out, I stopped by to tell her that it would be FOUR months until I saw her again and she was happy for me (probably for herself too!)

It was just a relief to get that visit over and done with. Each time I know that he probably won't be giving me any bad news, but still it's just the idea of seeing him that gets to me.

Thursday, July 19, 2007


Yesterday I went by our church while I was running errands, and noticed that the big tent was up for the festival. I thought to myself, "Wow, they're putting that up early...the festival isn't until mid to late July!" DUH...IT'S THIS WEEKEND. Where have I been?? The summer is almost over already. It can't be! No. I'm in denial now. Seeing that tent up was a rude, and I do mean RUDE wake up call. I was still thinking it was June, sigh.

Later this morning I have an appointment with my oncologist. I get really wound up when these appointments are getting near. I only see him every 3 months now, but still I guess it's a reminder of where I've been and I'm always afraid that I'll get bad news. I'm almost 2 years out from my cancer, and that is great, but I'm not taking it for granted. I just want this appointment over and done with, and then I can relax for another 3 months or so.

We have good friends coming from Texas this weekend. We're really looking forward to seeing them, as it's been a LONG time. They were here 10 years ago (and a lot of things have changed since then!), but Ted went down to see Ron back in October of 2000. Ted doesn't like to fly, but he flew down there for a long weekend. He handled it okay...not great, but okay. Ron does NOT fly, so they will be driving, and he is more comfortable doing all the driving himself, so it will be a long trip. The last time they came, it took them 22 hours, so we'll see if being a little older changes that at all, hahaha.

We want them to stay with us while they're here. We have a pretty big basement, divided into 10 rooms (yeah, I know, that's a lot, but they all have a purpose). One of the rooms is a big bedroom, and we went down the other night and straightened it up. We hadn't done anything but store various furniture in it since we moved in, and it was time to organize it. We also needed a mattress and spring set, so I called our wonderful furniture salesman at our wonderful nearby furniture store and took care of it all over the phone! I really didn't want to go there, because chances are I would have purchased more than just a bedding set. There are a couple of other things that we need, so I would have spent a lot of time looking and a lot of money if I had shown up there. Our salesman is terrific and he was able to do it all on the phone. He knew the last bedding set we had purchased and I said I wanted the same thing. He even talked to the delivery team and although they already had a full day scheduled, he explained the situation and they fit us in. In fact, they were here at 8:10 THIS MORNING to deliver it. One of the delivery men was here the day we got all the other furniture delivered right before we moved in, and commented about that. (Again, another story for another time.)

Anyway, we're pretty much set for Ron and Nora and hope they arrive here safely sometime tomorrow. It will be so nice to see them!

My mom and dad came over Sunday to use the pool, and we could only find one water wing for mom. Somehow she survived. Getting her situated on the raft was a challenge, but we did it. My dad took it all in stride. I'm just glad that they came and enjoyed the pool.

I was up a good part of the night due to the thunder and lightning and hard rain. The storm lasted a LONG time...supposedly we're getting more storms today. We could definitely use the rain, that's for sure. We were very lucky that our power didn't go out during the night, especially since I had my alarm set to get up for the delivery people. Can you believe it? Something actually went my way!

Enough ramblings for now...I just want to get this oncology appointment OVER WITH.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Oncologists (Cancer Story, Part 5)

My wonderful surgeon, Dr. P, had asked me which oncologist I wanted to work with. I gave him the name of one at a hospital about 30 miles away. This particular oncologist had treated my father-in-law when he was in that hospital. Unfortunately my father-in-law's case was pretty advanced by the time he sought medical treatment and he passed away 6 weeks after being diagnosed. Anyway, I had heard wonderful things about this particular oncologist, so I was hoping we would hit it off.

Apparently, this guy had an extremely heavy case load at the time, so he referred me to his partner, Dr. V. My mom went with me to the appointment. As a retired RN she would undoubtedly think of questions that escaped my feeble brain, and she was another set of ears for all the information we would be given.

Oncologtist #1, Dr. V finally came into the exam room. She appeared to be young, beautiful, possibly from India, with a slight accent. She seemed knowledgeable in the field of oncology. HOWEVER, her bedside manner, for lack of a better term, needed some serious work. There had been a question of whether or not I would need chemo because of the tumor being staged at level 2 and not having gotten into the muscle or lymph nodes. Naturally, I was hoping that chemo was not going to be necessary, but according to Dr. V, it was something I should have. She told me so matter-of-factly, that it irritated me. She probably tells 10-12 people a day that they need to have chemotherapy, BUT hopefully I will only hear something like this ONE time in my life, so don't make it sound like it's not a big deal, BECAUSE IT IS A BIG DEAL. She also sounded like she was reading from a textbook when she told me the kind of chemo I would need, 5FU, and made it all sound like it was nothing to deal with. Yeah, I wonder how many times SHE went through chemo.

We left there with an appointment scheduled for the following week, and a LOT to think about. A few days later I cancelled the appointment. I was not comfortable with her at all, and I didn't feel like she would be treating me as an individual.

Oncologist #2 was someone local that I had heard some good things about. Again, my mom went with me and things were going fairly well during the actual appointment, until this man said, "You are aware that I only do radiation, right?"

"Uh...I guess we are now."

Then he asked us to wait a minute and left to call a colleague about my case. He came back and mentioned another oncologist who did chemo. This was another man who came to our area one day a week. I told this Dr. S that I would like to see the chemo guy, Dr. R.

Oncologist #3, Dr. R seemed kind. He was very thorough in what all he told me and how my cancer was usually treated. He discussed 4 different options with me. Two of them were clinical trials that involved wearing a bag of the chemo mixture and having it go in through a port, 24 hours a day, 48 hours at a time. I put my hand up at that and told him that I already had ONE bag hanging from me and that was enough. He mentioned 5FU, like Dr. V had. Because my veins are so terrible, he said I would probably need to have a port put in. Oh wow, how much more fun can we have??

Then my mom asked about chemo in a pill form. That was indeed an option. He gave me all kinds of facts and figures about the type of chemo and then said that basically that the xeloda (pill chemo) would give me the same results as 5FU (IV chemo). I listened to everything and then said, "This is pretty much a no-brainer, I'll take the pills."

I had another appointment a week later and started the pills. I took them twice a day, every day for two weeks, then had a week off. Each dose consisted of 6 pills. I was SO fortunate! There were a lot of possible side effects, but I felt like I could handle them. I did NOT get mouth sores, thank goodness. I did NOT get nauseous. However, I did get tired a lot. My skin became very VERY dry. My hands and feet became sore. My hair thinned out a fair amount. But everything was tolerable.

Every three weeks I had an appointment with Dr. R and got my next set of pills. When I would go in there, I would have to go back to the chemo room to get them and I would see other patients, hooked up to IVs, and thank the Lord above that I was not there with them. Had it been my only choice, I would have done it, but I was fortunate that there was another option for me.

I had a total of six rounds of chemo, and when I took my last pills (January 29, 2006), we celebrated by going to a nice, local restaurant.
Whew! I was now ready to move on and get ready for the colostomy take-down.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Summer Days

Sometimes it's just too much to handle.

One day blends into another.

I ask, "What day is it?"

(When you're a teacher and it's summer you don't have anything BIG going on, you sometimes forget what day it is.)

Everyone else here in the house wants to slap me when I say that.


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Marina's Vet Visit

Mimi (my new little nickname for Marina) went to the vet today. She had to get her last kitten vaccines and the leukemia blast. It's just like taking your child to the pediatrician, I swear. She now weighs a whopping 3 lbs. 14 oz. and is doing quite well. However, he would like us to wean her off of milk.

She loves milk. When I give her a treat, I put some water in a little bowl for her. She will go up to the bowl, look at it, look at me, and give me those eyes that say, "but where is my milk?" And I give in and pour a wee little bit of milk in the water. She practically attacks it then. She even tries to drink the milk as it's coming out of the jug.

I set up the appointment to have her spayed. She'll have it done on August 24. Ted will have to take her because they want her there between 7:20 and 7:30 in the morning and I will already be back to work and will be at school by 7:00. They told me that no one will be there at the office to drop her off that early, so it will have to be Ted. That works out though. I don't want her to associate ME with that horrible procedure! I'll just pick her up at the end of the day.

Pepina (also known as Peanut) gets to go for her yearly exam next Monday. I'll be anxious to hear what the vet says about her. I'm wondering if she's getting too heavy, so he'll let me know.

Okay, enough cat talk for now!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Our Sons

Joey and Alex.

Different as night and day.

Joey was 3 1/2 when Alex was born. Of course Joey didn't come to us and say, "How about a little brother or sister folks?" He was perfectly content being the only child. We always knew that we wanted at least two children though, possibly more.

Alex came along and life really changed. It wasn't just double the kids, double the work. It seemed to be more than that. However it was worth all of it. Oh yeah, toss in Joey being in the hospital with pneumonia and bronchitis when Alex was 2 1/2 weeks old. That was a little tough. And I was taking a class at the time too, and was starting to get behind on a few assignments. Oh well, it all worked out.

Joey was a little jealous from the beginning. Sorry, Joe. That wasn't the intent.

Just when I would be ready to pull my hair out because of the fighting and screaming they'd go and be cute together, and actually seem to like each other.

I still remember the day I took this picture. It was in early October 1994 and I had put up a big spider web on the front porch. They were so excited about it. The sun was behind the house, so this was in the shade, and that made the colors nice. The weather had been really cooperative and we hadn't even pulled up the flowers yet because we hadn't had a frost yet. This has always been one of my favorite pictures of the two of them together.

This picture was taken on Easter morning 2006. They really weren't too happy that it was "picture time" but they tolerated it. Alex is on the left, Joey on the right. They looked so thrilled.

We've really been blessed with two great sons...we are so fortunate.

Flash forward to July 2007.

A little scary, huh?

I love these boys...never a dull moment.

Monday, July 9, 2007

It's HOT

It's HOT outside. I've been working around the house all morning long. I'm taking a break. I'm going to go outside and float. Ahhhhhhhhhhhh

I might even swim while I'm out there.

I feel so bad for Joey, out there working in this heat today. Right now it's 88 degrees. He'll feel awful when he gets home. If he's weed eating throughout the county, he'lll feel really bad. If he's painting, he'll feel even worse.

Okay, when he and Ted get home from work, I won't rub it in that I was able to get into the pool this afternoon. That would be downright cruel.


Saturday, July 7, 2007

Names Can Be So Important

I read a certain blog on a daily basis. I enjoy the humor that it contains and the woman is an absolutely fabulous photographer.

She occasionally mentions her best friend...Hyacinth.

When I first read that name, I thought to myself, "How goofy is that for a name?"

That lasted about 5 minutes, because then I fell in love with it. Eventually we found out more about Hyacinth, and there was a finally a picture of her.

She looked exactly how I pictured she would...refined. She has short, dark hair, very fashionably cut. She wears dangly earrings and has a neck that is at least 24 inches long. She has gorgeous eyes and a beautiful smile. She has children that she homeschools. In fact Hyacinth and Ree (the author of the blog) both homeschool, and at least once a week, they do it together. I know Ree has four kids and I believe Hyacinth has three, but I could be wrong.

Hyacinth. What a gorgeous just exudes confidence.

Recently there was a link to Hyacinth's blog, and when I clicked on it, I just froze. I couldn't believe it. I was devastated.

Hyacinth isn't her real name.

Her real name is Cyndi. Imagine that. I wonder what her middle name is.

Maybe her online persona is Cyndi and Hyacinth IS her real name.


She'll always be Hyacinth to me.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Update on my WONDERFUL SON

Alex....bless his heart. Yep, I dun somethin right with that young'un.

He just called. He couldn't find marshmallow creme at WalMart, I hate WalMart.

He said he was in our local grocery store parking lot. He was going in there, just to get the marshmallow creme.

This is a MALE, who couldn't find something at the one store he was going to, so he has now gone to ANOTHER store to find it.


I'm just so proud of him.

(And don't spoil this feeling for me, by saying that he just wants to drive around, hahaha, because I know that he really just wants to do the right thing!)

Freshly Licensed Driver

I'm beginning to have a new outlook on this teenage driving thing.

On Tuesday, I took Alex to take his driver's test. Talk about stress. Not on him....ON ME. When Joey took his test way back when, I sat and wrote while he took it. I couldn't turn around and watch. It made me way too nervous. I decided that I wanted to again preserve my thoughts and feelings for all time by writing again while he was testing. I asked Alex if I could share my writing on my blog, and he said I could, so that will be coming up soon. I know better than to ask Joey...the answer would be a resounding NO! So I won't even go there. These two boys are as different as night and day.

Alex passed his test! We are so very proud of him! We couldn't go directly to the BMV because we didn't have his social security card with us. Ah yes, the elusive social security card. Okay, this is a story for another time too.

Let's jut say that Alex actually did get his actual license on Tuesday and immediately had some errands to run. He wanted to go to the bank, stop by his friend Tim's house and then stop at "the grandparents' place." Okay, that worked out, but I was still on pins and needles. How are parents let us drive without cell phones, I'll never know! Of course I had told him that he was never to talk on the cell phone while driving and absolutely NEVER answer the phone while driving. At one point the phone rang here and I saw on the caller ID that it was the cell phone, so I answered in a semi-panic. He was so sweet...he was sitting in the Rite Aid parking lot and just wanted to call me. He said he was doing fine, and everything was going great. And he made it home a little later on, all in one piece.

Yesterday Ted and I went to Sam's Club. I know, I know...I really didn't think we'd be getting there anytime soon, but it worked out. Of course no trip to "the big city" is complete without getting a meal at a restaurant that we don't have in our community. My new absolute favorite restaurant is Bravo!, an Italian place. They have the most delicious olive oil that you dip your bread into...and the bread...well, they give you two kinds! You get foccacia and ciabatta bread.

Okay, as usual, I digress.

While we were gone Alex was going to the mall to get a pair of athletic shorts. He was given instructions to call us on our cell as soon as he got home. He did...what a great kid. He REMEMBERED! Last evening he went over to A.P. and U.T.'s and eventually called and said they were going out for ice cream. U.T. had him drive their car, and Big Mar (pronounced mare) was with them. Mary is A.P.'s mom. They were taking her back to the rehab center/nursing home after getting the ice cream. U.T. has always enjoyed driving, but apparently was ready to let someone else chauffeur him around. Alex did just fine. And ended up getting a "gig" out of it, hahaha. A.P. still can't drive due to her recuperating from her surgery a couple of weeks ago. Next week she and her sister need to meet with the administrator of the rehab center/nursing home to see about moving their mom into the retirement side of the facility. She's finished rehab and is adjusting SO well to having two prosthetic lower legs. A.P. asked Alex if he would take her over there for the meeting on Tuesday, and he wholeheartedly agreed! Anything to drive....

Alex and Joey want to have a family cookout on Saturday. They have been asking and asking. I kept putting them off. They really don't realize the work that's involved to pull this off. I finally told them that I just didn't want to go through all of that. They said that they would do everything. Yeah. Right. I know how that works.

Surprise, surprise. They came up with the menu. They did all the inviting. They are getting out the things that they need. They will do the cooking, except the grill work. They WILL do the cleanup too, although they haven't agreed to that yet. Alex told me what he wanted to fix, and I mentioned this morning that I needed to go to WalMart, I hate WalMart, to get a bunch of stuff for this shindig and he said, "I'll go. I mean it Mom, I'll go to WalMart!"

Okay, this driving thing may work out yet...I told him that I would have to make a list of stuff and since he was going there, I would have a few other items on the list that do not pertain to the cookout. He said that was absolutely fine. we go. He did not utter one single sound of complaint, and Joey just sat here with his mouth man. Joey certainly knows when to keep his mouth shut. He knew if he said a word, he'd be asked to go too. If he stays quiet, he sort of fades into the background and we forget he's here in the room with us, hahaha. Yep, he knows how to play the game alright.

Alex left for the bank (I had to write him a check so he could pay for this stuff) and WalMart. I told him to call me when he got there. He did. And bless his heart...since he has actually been in the store, he has called 6 additional times, SO FAR, asking where certain things were. (and he's not even out of the grocery department!) He is NOT pulling the typical male trick of just coming home without things and then saying that he couldn't find them. I love this kid, hahahaha.

Yep, this license thing may be worth the increased insurance costs yet.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

4th of July

Alright, go ahead and call me a geek. Whatever.

One of my favorite movies of all time is "1776". I was never even familiar with this show until after I graduated from high school in 1976. At the time I was dating a guy (from our RIVAL school, I might add) who was involved in band and plays, like I was. His community always put on a play during the summer and he was usually involved with it, so if I wanted to spend any time with him, well, I had to get involved too.

The production that year was "1776" and there were many male roles, but only two female rolls. Now don't start jumping ahead here...I did NOT try out for one of the female roles. Being that I was not FROM this particular town, I wouldn't have had a chance in H*LL of getting it, so I did the next best thing...I played in the orchestra! And here I thought I would never get my trumpet out again. It was actually fun, sort of showing off my talents (cough cough) to a small group who had never had to deal with someone from their rival town, hahaha. I was accepted very easily into the group. Of course it didn't hurt that the guy I was dating was very popular with all of them.

Each night I played in the orchestra and listened to the entire show. There were certain songs that I really enjoyed and looked forward to hearing and playing every evening. Being that the year was our nation's bicentennial, everyone was into anything even close to patriotic, so each performance was well attended.

Not only did I thoroughly enjoy the entire experience, but I also learned a lot about our nation's birth! Until that time, I had no idea that Benjamin Franklin wanted our national bird to be the TURKEY! Nor did I realize that Thomas Jefferson played the violin. And it was a surprise to me that so many people didn't like John Adams. There are countless other things that left me thinking, "huh? I didn't know that!" (I was also a little surprised at the sexual innuendos spread throughout the movie, but hey, I guess they needed to get their fun somehow, right?)

Unfortunately for me, I've rarely had the opportunity to use any of this knowledge in a rousing game of Trivial Pursuit or anything else, but at least it's in my knowledge base, hahaha.

And let me interject an important sidenote here. Not ALL of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were in the movie/musical. My several greats uncle (through my dad's side of the family), Abraham Clark of New Jersey, was a signer of the original Declaration of Indepence, but for some reason HE was not made into the STAR of the show. Hmph. (I'll have to speak to someone about re-writing that little bit of history.)

Imagine my surprise when I learned that "1776" was not only a Broadway musical, but also a ... MOVIE! Eventually it came on TV and it was shown every Independence Day, usually around 11:30 pm or so (and I'd fall asleep half way through it), before the days of the VCR! When VCRs finally became affordable necessities, a very good friend of mine (thank you M!) video taped it for me because it was on one of those "pay" channels that we didn't get, but she did. Then I was able to watch the movie any time I wanted!

That makes it so convenient, but there's just something about being able to watch a movie at the same time other people are watching guess what I'm doing at 10:00 pm tonight? Yep, I'm tuning in to Turner Classic Movies and watching "1776"!

Uncle Abraham is seated in the above picture. If you look at the 5 men standing at the table, you will see a group of men sitting behind them to your left. Starting from the first seated man on the right, behind the men who are standing, Uncle Abraham is the fifth man, going left. He has dark hair and you can barely see his face. There is a gentleman standing behind him to the left. (This is the famous painting by John Trumbull which hangs in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda.)

Monday, July 2, 2007

A Small Town

Something good came out of a horrific tragedy this past spring. On April 16, 2007, a gunman went on a shooting rampage at Virginia Tech University, in which 33 people were killed. What a sad, SAD occurrence. As a parent I can't imagine what the families of each and every student who attends the university was going through. We all prayed for the victims and their families and continue to do so.

But as I said, something good came from this massacre.

Many years ago, in a previous life, I was very fortunate to be selected by our local American Legion Auxiliary to represent our high school at Buckeye Girls State. This is a week long experience in which girls who have just finished their junior year in high school get together and are divided into cities, and elect their own government officials from city mayor to an actual governor. The week is filled with activities and learning experiences like no other. Being thrown together with people you've never met before can be a daunting experience, but most of us did pretty well. I became friends with a girl in the same "city" as I was (Sullivant City...this actually meant that we all lived on the same floor of a dorm). "T" was from a small town in the county to the south of mine. Anyway, "T" and I became friends and stayed in contact for a while after leaving Girls State, but as often happens, life sort of gets in the way, and relationships can fall to the wayside.

This past April, when our local newspaper was full of reports about the Virginia Tech incident, a local reporter interviewed a parent of a VA Tech student who was NOT injured in the tragedy. He knew this parent personally, and when I read the article in the paper, I saw that the parent was ..... "T"! I mentioned this to one of the teachers I share a room with (as we always begin our day by reading the local newspaper online), and said that I had to figure out a way to get in touch with her. From the article I learned where she lived, what she did for a living, and that she had at least one child. In my free time at work, I began researching her, and it wasn't easy. I suppose that I could have done it very simply by calling the newspaper and speaking to the man who wrote the article, and since I know this man also, it wouldn't have been a problem, I'm sure. HOWEVER, I'm a little stubborn at times and just knew that I could do it myself.


We've exchanged a few emails and she just let me know that she will be coming to Ohio next month and we'll hopefully get to see each other.

(Yes, this is all going somewhere, so just relax.)

The town that "T" is from is pretty small. The 2005 population estimate is 352, yes, that's three hundred fifty two.

There is one main road going through the town.

How do I know this, you might ask?

Back in the mid 1980s, I went with my mom and dad to a cousin's funeral in Pennsylvania. We went there, attended the funeral, spent some time with the family, then left for our 2 hour trip home. Once we got out of Pennsylvania and West Virginia, dad decided to take a "back" way home. He was familiar with the roads of eastern Ohio, so Mom and I just sat back and relaxed.

My dad has not always been the patient man that he is now.


We approach the town that "T" is from and I mentioned it to my parents. "Remember my friend "T" from Girls State? This is her home town coming up."

We rounded a curve and right there was the quaint, little, quiet community.

To paraphrase Paul Harvey, "and now for the rest of the story."

This darling little town was having a celebration, like most small towns do. Pioneer Days, Railroad Festival, Moonshine Festival, River Days, Pumpkin Show, etc....typical reasons to have contests, food booths, a queen, and of course....


We turned that corner and got right behind the parade. There were no side streets to go down. There was no way to pass the entire parade. My mother burst out into laughter, and my cackles weren't far behind. My dad, however didn't find the situation amusing. He mentioned a few choice words, and that just made my mom and I laugh even more.

Being that he had done the parade thing before (when he was running for county sheriff), he was somewhat familiar with the whole process. I told him to turn off the air conditioning, roll down the windows, and just wave at everyone sitting out on their porches.

My mom told him to relax and enjoy it because there wasn't A THING HE COULD DO ABOUT IT. It just wasn't worth getting his blood pressure going sky high.

He mentioned a few more choice words.

Mom and I continued to laugh.

No side streets. We were trapped. Caught behind a parade. I told dad that he should just pretend that we were IN the parade and that might make it a little easier to handle.

I never knew that it could take 15 minutes to go less than half a mile.

Actually it was a nice way to spend 15 minutes on a June evening. And dad has since recovered.

Sunday, July 1, 2007


Oh Alex...I know if we dig deep enough into your skull we'll find blonde roots SOMEWHERE.

Last night I was in the den at the computer, typing up the grocery list. This is where I tell you that I am the luckiest wife in the world because Ted does the weekly grocery shopping. He gets up early on Sunday mornings and is usually at the store before 7:30 am. Actually he has turned into a "morning person" over the years and wakes up early every morning, bless his heart. It's also nothing to hear him say at 9:00 pm, that he's going to bed.

Anyway, it was around 10 pm last night, Ted was in bed, the boys were in the living room watching a movie with the lights turned off, and I was in the den doing the grocery list. I have a template of categories that I start with each week, and just do my thing with it. It really helps to have that template saved. I did this once I found out that Ted went through the list in the order I wrote it out. If I had something from the meat department first, then dairy department, then frozen department, then dairy again, that's the order of how he got things. Don't ask me why because I have no idea. Maybe he's afraid of forgetting something....I don't know. But using this template really helps. I even go through the weekly ad online and put each item on the list under the appropriate heading. The first time I did it, he made a huge fuss over it and I couldn't tell if he was making fun of me or being serious. He finally said that he was SO serious. Okay, I can keep this problemo. So that's why I do what I do. It's the least I can do if he's doing the shopping.

Last night while doing the list I remembered that we didn't have anymore napkins in the napkin holder on the table and we were about out of paper plates in the cupboard. (We go through paper plates like crazy and usually get the 500 pack at Sam's Club, but I don't see a trip there in the near future. It's about 30 miles away.) As I was adding things to the list, I asked Alex to check the closet and see if we needed napkins and paper plates. While I was typing away, I heard him go to the closet and open it up.


"Negative? What does that mean? We don't have any in the closet or WHAT?"

"Negative as in we don't NEED any."

"Then why has the napkin holder on the table been empty for a few days?"

"I don't know."

(I swear that's the first phrase an infant learns...the ever famous "I don't know")

"Okay, please put napkins out on the table and put paper plates in the cupboard."


I really love his acquisition of vocabulary...he's brilliant, isn't he? This is the same kid who will answer the phone NOT using the standard "hello" phrase, but instead say "Front Desk" or "Yo." What a sense of humor.

Throughout all of this, Joey is being very quiet, so as not to attract any attention to himself for fear I would ask him to do something, like check on the status of some other item. Smart man.

I finally finished up the list and told them both that if they had anything to add, to write it in the appropriate category. Then I took the list out to the kitchen to put it where Ted would see it, and to get a bottle of water to take to the bedroom with me. I was off to take a shower and go to bed.



I had made pizzas for dinner (you know, the whole thawing of the bread dough, rolling it out, fitting it into the pan, dealing with a huge mess, and all that) and of course, being a Saturday night, no one will clean anything up without being directed to. So there was an empty cookie sheet that had held a pizza earlier in the evening on top of the stove. (I figure that if I go to the trouble of making all that stuff and cleaning up the mess to the point of serving the food, then someone else can clean up a little after it's eaten. Maybe that's not the best way to think about things though...hmmmm...)

A messy, greasy, empty pizza pan.

With a 12" tall stack of paper plates on it.

"ALEX! Please don't tell me that you put this big stack of paper plates here. This isn't where we keep them and you know that. Do you really think that this entire stack will fit in the space in the cupboard? I DON'T. And whose brilliant idea was it to put them in this greasy pan?"

The response was a very defiant "I don't know, Mom."

I put the top 4" of paper plates in the cupboard and told him to get the others and put them back in the closet, except for the bottom couple which had absorbed the grease. I told him to throw them away.

At 16, he should have a little common sense. At least you would think so. I'm telling you, later today, I'm checking his roots.

And if this is the worst thing he does throughout his teenage years, we will be SO FORTUNATE!!!

I love you Alex!