Wednesday, August 30, 2006


I know of many people who are so very afraid of change. They fight it until they can fight no more. They refuse to accept it, they are angered by it.

In all of my cancer crap, I have become fond of change, very much the opposite of how I used to be. I see it as a way to try something I might not have tried before. I see it as a learning experience, albeit maybe not always a fun one, but something new. Something different. A change in the daily routine, a way to shake things up a little bit. A way to remind myself that I am still alive and that things affect me in a way that they should, and not because I am dying.

Maybe it is because I have been through so many changes in the past year that it just doesn't bother me like it used to. There is something to be said about remaining on ones comfort zone, but I say to hell with the comfort zone now-a-days. Stability? Nah, who needs it? Ok, that last one is a reach, but you get what I am saying, right?

I have decided that I need to mix things up a bit in my life. One of the ways that I am going to do such mixing, is by pursuing my writing of children's books. I have a handful of stories typed up, but I have no clue what to do with them now. I need illustrations for one, and for two, I guess some kind of representation would be helpful in my crusade. So here's your challenge. Rack your mind a little bit and see if there is someone that I could get in contact with, someone to help get the ball rolling for me. In the meantime I will be heading out to our local little bookstore and pick their brains too. This is actually something that has been stewing in my brain for a few years, but I guess I haven't been ready to embrace this change until now. I am ready to run with it.

How To Impress People

Easy. Make sure when you reach into your purse to give said person a pen, that it is covered in Devils Food chocolate cookies. You know, the kind with a marshmallow and cookie center. That is one sure fire way to do it.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Breast Cancer, Beast Cancer

I find it interesting that a lot of people do typos with breast cancer, and end up typing beast cancer. And beast cancer it is. Some days it is a beast that takes up my whole existence, that's all I think about, that's all I worry about, that's all that I hate.

Other days, it seems like a little blip in my life, something I can look back on and say, "thank God that's over". But most days, it's just there. Kind of nibbling in the corner of my mind, wanting to take over, but unable to because of me. It takes almost all of the energy I have to keep cancer at bay, to keep it from controlling every aspect of my life. But I do it. Somehow. I do it so I can live. Now, that's not to say that I don't have some days that are bad, because I do. Some days when I can use all of the power I have and cancer still wins. But I think these days are healthy too. They remind me of what is important. They remind me that I am human and not just a pin cushion, a statistic, a lab rat.

Other things that I keep in mind is that it could have been so much worse. It could have spread, it could have been too late. A lot of people say that it's never too late. Don't say that to a cancer patient who has it in their bones, lungs, brain. That is a sad sad thought to me, and even more sad is that it could have been me, but it also still can be me.

Sigh. I have just been called for dinner. My lovely husband has put together a nice Italian meal, and it smells just wonderful. I am just happy that I am here to smell it.

As Much As I Want To Keep The Last Picture The First Thing I See...

I have had a big big dilemma with this blog. I love to write, I love to post post post, but I don't want the picture of Chris and I not the first thing I see when I go to my blog. But alas, all good things must come to an end. So be it.

Let's talk about last Friday a little bit, shall we? Actually, we should back up to Thursday when we had some storms roll through town. Dion was out to eat with work and I was at home with the girls. He was at least an hour away, so the issue boiled down to what if the storm got worse without much warning? So I took the girls and their dinner downstairs. I had to do a little cleaning up since things were a little messy from our garage sale this summer. So for two hours we sat downstairs, and the girls loved it. Now I had a mission.

Friday I decided that I would make the basement as child friendly as I could, in hopes that eventually the girls could have all of their stuff downstairs and we could have our living room back. The girls played as I put together metal shelves, and unlike the first set of shelves I put together a few months back, I had relatively no issues. I finally pulled my junk together and didn't put the shelves on backwards, used minimal naughty words, had very few injuries, and actually was not afraid to put things on the shelves when I was done. Not too shabby.

After assembling the metal shelves (2 sets of them) I had the job of moving all of our tools from the ledge in the stairwell of the basement, downstairs into the storage room where the magnificent shelves now resided. Up the stairs, down the stairs, up the stairs, down the stairs, hammers, nails, screws, drills, saws, straight edges, man, we have a lot of tools! How come we don't build more things? The whole process took me from 10am to after 5pm.

Ok, so remember when I said I was trying to stop biting my nails before? I still am, and the only way that I am able to do that is by putting fake nails on. And no, not the kind from a salon, the kind from Walmart that cost about $9, since that's about all of the money we have right now. So there I was with my pretty little nails, putting nuts and bolts into the shelves, moving tools, and when does a fingernail pop off? Well, of course it is when I am zipping Dion's tool bag closed, the last thing I did in that whole endeavor. Can you even believe it?

Friday, August 25, 2006

And Here He Is......sigh...Chris Daughtry

Wow, not only can this boy sing his little heart out, but man! Yummy!

So here's what happened. Dawn and I went out to eat and met her daughter's boyfriend who had the tickets. He said he did a little better than he thought, ummm...yeah he did! 10th row center seats 3 and 4. Awesome. Then he had these little patches with the tickets. I thought it was very nice of him to get us some iron-ons...until I read it and it said "After Show". Backstage, baby! I will never forget this night as long as I live. It was a once in a lifetime type of thing because when would I ever be in a room with all these guys again?!? Unless of course they realise that I really should be on tour with them as not only their personal gawker, but also as the one who shoos away anyone I deem necessary. They wouldn't even have to pay me, all they'd have to do is sing a little ditty to me three times a day. That's all. Oh, I have to mention too that when Ace threw his little cap thing into the audience, the girl right in front of us caught it. I should have used this extra weight of mine in my favor and tackled her. Ahhh....shoulda, coulda, woulda....

I am still in awe.....

Ok, so here they are, not really how I wanted to upload them, but what's a person to do.
We have Bucky, Ace, and Elliot in these shots. They were all very very friendly, and it was totally fun to see them in person. What about the other ones? Well, sorry to say, they weren't there. Except Katherine, she was there for a few moments. But it didn't matter, for I got my picture with my boyfriend (s) and that's all that mattered.

Thursday, August 24, 2006


I am going nuts! Yes, I did go to the American Idol concert, oh and yes we got row 10 center as seats, and oh, I almost forgot, yes we did get BACKSTAGE PASSES!! That's right folks, pictures and autographs. I am trying to post pictures, but for some reason it is not letting me. Now I must get back to crying....

Monday, August 21, 2006

All Is Well

After blood work, a chest x-ray, and an echo, everything came back F-I-N-E fine. Thank you thank you thank you lord! I had an interesting experience with the echo which scared me and I thought for sure something was wrong. But it wasn't, my heart still loves me. But after my appointment with my oncologist (have I mentioned how much we love him?) he decided to have one more blood test done to test my hormones. We don't have those results yet, but it's not a big deal really.

Sigh. It's hard to use so much of my energy on these cancer checks. You brain wanders too much, you start thinking, "Ok, what if....then I will have to......" thoughts, which are just a waste of time because it is what it is what it is, nothing else. On the brighter side, I was able to see some of my staff buddies from Mayo, which is ALWAYS nice. I enjoy chatting with them, and miss that on a regular basis. And I also felt better when Dion complained about the crazy elevator people who don't let you off before plowing their way through, which is something that I may have complained about a few times.

I did talk to my doctor about my weight gain and he said sadly that it is most likely from the study I am in, chemically induced menopause. That sucks. I am in it for another 3 years. I will have to figure things out.

Ok, on to other things. Some funny things that made me laugh....
  • Nadia was eating fried chicken and peeling the crunchy skin. She said she was taking the paper off.
  • There are way too many naked men statues at Mayo, one of them watched us eat breakfast.
  • My doctor said to me today, 'Well, some people are just weird" to which Dion was behind me nodding. That wasn't too funny....

Hmm. I guess that is all of the funny things I can think of right now. Sad. I think I am just really tired. After we got back into town I went to the YMCA for my massage appointment, which was wonderful. I smell like a candy cane right now because of the oil she used. Awesome. What a perfect way to end my stressful day. Now, it's time to chill on the couch with the girls. Later!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

The Runner In Me

The part of me that likes to hide mentally from things that I feel are just too much, always rears its ugly head before a check up. Like now. There's nothing more that I want to do right now then just leave. Not for a long time or far away, I just want to be alone. I want to get away from everyone and everything, not because I don't love my family, but I am useless right now. I am not an effective mother, wife, or even owner of pets in the moment.

When I was in college, I used to get into my car and just drive when things got to be too much. Of course gas back then was about a buck a gallon, rather affordable. Oh how things have changed. I can't just run away from what I am thinking right now, I have responsibilities. I would like to say that Dion and I are going to sit down and talk about this, but we have been avoiding each other probably for that very reason. We are not mad at each other or anything like that, but we have traveled this road for the past 2 and a half years. I think to talk more about this would put me back to the time of the misdiagnosis, and I can't go back there right now. I am speaking for myself, but I believe Dion feels the same way.

Just when you think you have a pretty good handle on all of this cancer crap......

Why Do I Blog?

I blog for many reasons. To vent, to share, to complain, to update. There are many reasons why I do it. But I guess the main reason I do it, is to say things that I can't for whatever reason, say outloud. Somehow it is so much easier to write about stool samples, fissures, colonoscopies, than it is to talk about it.

Now I will admit that I do not put everything into this blog that I think about. Surprising, I know. But there are some things that completely belong in my head at the moment. Time might pass and I could feel ok about writing about it (like my post "Something You May Not Know"), but it may not. That is the beauty of blogging. It is totally in my control, and I can change what I want, like this color and font style, but more than anything, it is a free way to work through some of my issues, as opposed to going to a head doctor. As long as I can continue writing, I think I will be fine.

Blogging is a pretty neat world. There's lots to read about, lots of people to meet, lots of stories to hear. Take a look around. You might see one that you put into your favorites and check on a daily basis.

The Power of A Mother. NEVER Cross One!

I had a fantabulous idea of going somewhere yesterday since it was a little chilly, looked like it might rain, and we needed to get out of the house. So I went on the jolly old internet and found something in Woodbury called the Lookout Ridge Indoor Playground. It was $5.33 per child to get in, but it was for unlimited time. And by God, we played and played and played until it hurt to move. But let me back track a little bit to the beginning.

When we first walked in, to the right was the whole Huck Finn type set up. To the right were two rows of chairs, and then some tables set up. Every single parent/grandparent that were sitting there, looked like they were waiting at the DMV for hours. Seriously. No expressions, no talking, no nothing. I looked at the guy who we paid and I said, "All they always like this?" He said yes. Man, not us! We were going to have fun at this place. When we first got there, we only had about 6-10 other kids there with us. Perfect. And no one over 12 is supposed to be in there and I think that was followed for the most part.

Anyway, we jumped right in. I took the girls up the little rock wall thing to go down the slide, not knowing that a little boy was right behind me and ended up sliding into my neck. We were off to a rough start, but the girls were having a blast.

Dion and I would do tag teaming with the girls, so we both ended up running around a lot. I think we motivated some parents though, because then I started to see parents going in and doing the goofy things we were doing. I ran into a dad, who informed me that the set up was kind of hard to do as an adult, and he was right. The girls loved going into the bouncy area, but as time went by, older kids started coming the the park. Now, on the bouncy thing, there are rules of, no flips, no climbing on the netting, no jumping from the entrance, and no one over 47 inches. There were some kids in there who were doing all of those things, knocking down kids, including mine. So I walked up to the netting and said,"

"I am pretty sure you are not supposed to be doing flips, and I KNOW you are taller than 47 inches."

Their response? "Yeah, but it's fun."

Nice parenting, folks. I loved how some of the parents just sat there, I suppose trying to keep the drool from falling from their mouths, or maybe contemplating how they can run the world, or maybe both. But I will say that the bigger kids came out of the bouncy thing after that and were careful if they went back in. I was ok with that, as long as my kids weren't getting hurt.

I went around the corner and saw Dion standing there with a look on his face and he tells me that he went around the corner and saw a kid putting Nadia into a head lock type of thing, but he wasn't sure if it was intentional, or how they came down the slide. Mental note: keep an eye on The Little Crap With a Red Shirt (to be called TLCWARS from here on out. Interesting what the acronyms spell).

Nadia decided to go back into the bouncy and TLCWARS is in there too. I stand on the outside watching, and TLCWARS has a look in his eye, and tends to bounce pretty close to Nadia. He was watching to see if I was watching the whole time. I pretend to turn around and walk away, and do a quick spin in time to see him bounce right at Nadia's feet, trying to knock her over. I walk up to the net and say/kind of yell the following,

"Hey! Are you trying to knock my kid down?!?"

He stopped, luckily for him. I had Nadia come out and we went to another area of the park. Time passes, and I am now with Claire running around. She has made a friend with this little boy who kind of looks like Urkle, but they're having fun, running around playing. They go into this one area that as a parent, you have to go into the whole Huck Finn structure, around a tree, and through some rock wall type things to see the area that your child has just gone. I did that and saw Claire playing with Urkle. I went back out because she looked like she was coming out. I waited. Nothing, so I go back through in time to see TLCWARS with his hands covering Claire's mouth, and Claire struggling. Oh, the gloves came off. I didn't kind of yell, I yelled.

"HEY! Keep your hands off of my kid!!!"

He dropped his hands and I went up to the mesh and put my face as close as I could to him.

"Do you understand me? You stay away from my kids!"

He looked at me.


He nodded. I have never felt anger quite like that. This kid was probably 5, but I didn't care. You don't come between a kid and their mother, you will suffer. I wanted to pull TLCWARS out of the structure and find who he belongs too, but that probably would have landed me in jail or gotten a lawsuit slapped on me. Man was I mad! Unfortunately, Urkle started to play with TLCWARS, so Claire couldn't play with him anymore. She did alright with that because TLCWARS really scared her.

Well, besides Mama Bear having to make an appearance, the place was awesome. I don't think a lot of people know about it since it was never really packed with kids like Chuck E Cheese gets, which was nice, and you had to be under 12 to play, which was even better. There were no games to play, which meant the only extra money we spent was on crackers, sodas, and juice. So, if you have a kid and come to visit, maybe we can make the little roadtrip to Woodbury and do some serious playing. Or we could sit and pretend that we are at the DMV, since it seems like that was the thing to do if you were a parent. Nah. You can't hold me down......

WAY up high with Nadia

There's Dion WAY up high

The little kid section that the girl's tried and moved out of quickly.

Here's one side of the contraption. There's Nadia crawling up the rock wall thing.

A nice "keeper" of Nadia

Claire and I coming down from WAY up high

That's Claire and I WAY up high.

Jumping beans!

Now there's her smile!

Wee!!! Not to be confused with "Us!!!"

Claire looking at the waterfall over the fence

Nadia made the wish of "I wish I could smile a tiny bit more"

Friday, August 18, 2006

It's A Public Restroom, But Come On!

I don't get it. Why do you suppose, when I used the restroom at Target, that a woman who was actively using the toilet, did not close the door. Seriously. Granted, the door wasn't wide open, but it most certainly was not closed. I would understand if the person was special needs, or elderly maybee, but I saw her. I washed my hands two sinks away from her. I glanced at her repeatedly out of the corner of my eye. I don't know what I was looking for. I guess just to see what type of person pees with the door open. And it was a person wearing white pants and a striped shirt. She also knew the person who came into the restroom as we were leaving. Interesting. Imagine if that person had walked in a few minutes earlier...

"Why hi Sally! Fancy meeting you in the bathroom with your stall door open! Nice undies!"

People, if you live by me, please never let me walk into a public bathroom to see you peeing. That's all I ask.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

6 Month Check

I realized today that I will be off of work for the next 5 days, including the weekend, and I thought to myself, that really rocks. Then I remembered why I was going to be off of work for so long and that is because Monday I will be at Mayo all day for testing and a re-check. I was talking to a friend today and said that I wasn't really nervous for my appointments on Monday, but I didn't know if that was a good thing or a bad thing. I guess it could be both. Good because I guess I am getting more comfortable with the thought/phrase "I HAD cancer". Bad because I don't want to be vulnerable like I was that first appointment after my biopsy. I promised I would live the following phrase:

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

And I feel myself getting almost too laxed about cancer. You know, when you let your guard down and are knocked in the gut again, just because you got too cocky.

Anyway, Monday is bloodwork, chest X-ray, my last echo (yahhhhooo!!), and then we meet with the doctor. Somewhere in there we are going to hit Quizno's because their Prime Rib Sang-witch is delicious. I recommend it as follows:

white bread
saute onions
two squirts of honey mustard

absolutely mouth watering. In fact, my mouth is watering right now just thinking about it. Mmmmmm.....sang-witch......

So think of me on Monday, and Dion who will be with me, and for the love of God, go get a Prime Rib sang-witch from Quizno's!

Two People Made Me Laugh Hard Today

Person number one:

"So are you excited to go back to school?" I asked one of my college kids.

"Yeah, I'm transferring this year from Rochester to Mankato" said college kid

"Is this a good thing?" I asked him.

"Yeah, Rochester is.....well, boring."

"And Mankato is.....?"

"Funner." replied my college kid.

Funner. I laughed pretty hard at that one. Ahhhh....from the mouth of our future. But seriously, he has been one of my best employees in my 5 years at this job. He's a lot of fun, and the only guy so you can imagine all the crap he gets.

Ok. Person number two:

The scene setting.....My lead staff was voicing her concern about her granddaughter who was being a little sassy.

"I don't want your lip!" lead staff said to her granddaughter.

"Yeah, and how would you even get them off of her face anyway?" said another child.

And THAT is why I love working with kids.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

My Fingernails

I am trying really really hard, again, to stop biting my nails. I have noticed that Claire has started following in my footsteps, and I don't want her to. So there you go. I am trying again.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Something Only A Few People Know

I was diagnosed two years ago, I was eight months pregnant with Nadia. Claire was 18 months old, and we had quality time together, time to get to know each other, time to love each other. I remember when we brought Nadia home, Claire seemed so big. In reality she was still just a baby.

What you may not know though, is that it has taken me almost this long to bond with Nadia. There was a part in my heart that didn't want to bond with this new baby, knowing that I may not be there to watch her grow. I didn't want her to miss my love, my touch, me. I was very reserved when it came to Nadia, and have been until the last 6 months or so. Now, this is not to be confused with me not loving Nadia. I do. And I have. With all that I am. I call her my "cancer catcher", I love her smile, her laugh, her little pouty lip. But I am starting to feel like I am in a position where I will be able to watch my girls grow, watch them go to school, watch them turn into beautiful women.

Sad that I have wasted these past two years, but there was no way around it. There was no way to get into my brain and "get over it", as someone once said. I still have the fear, maybe not daily, but it's there. But at least I have my kids back.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Another Year Gone

We did it. Again. We survived another year of the Shuffle, but not without some pain. My feet are killing me. But I will keep this short as I am working with three hours of sleep, and my own thoughts somethimes confuse me. So, here are some facts about the Red Wing Mississippi Shuffle that you are dying to know.

  • This year we had 74 teams participate in the Shuffle.
  • There were over 7500 Luminaria bags this year.
  • Last year we raised after all was said and done, about $139,000, this year, as of now, we have raised about $143,000. Keep in mind that some money will still trickle in for the next few weeks, so the total will probably be even more.
  • I had 13 Luminaria bags out there for me, I collected them this morning and they will be going into my cancer box (my Rubbermaid of all my cancer stuff...test results, balloons, cards, wrist bands, everything is in there).
  • Because of the population of our county, and how much money per capita that we raise, last year we ranked 8th in the nation with the American Cancer Society, we just may have beat that this year.

So there are some fun facts for you to ponder. I had said before that I thought this year would be something special, and it was. What I hadn't planned on was all of the resurfacing emotions of the loss of my friend Annette. She had a lot of bags out there, all with love and grief. I spent a good amount of time crying and hugging her family when the bags were all illuminated. I know she was watching and right in the middle of all of those hugs. She had to have been.

I am pondering joining the volunteer program for the Shuffle for next year. I want to do more. I need to do more. And speaking of doing more, thanks to all of you who donated to me this year. I raised a lot more money than last year, which of course is the goal. And I also have receipts to copy and get off to all of you for your taxes. I can't thank you enough. I hope you know how important you all are to me, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

This is Kjurstin and Mikes nephew. I just thought it was a cute picture

Me with 3 whole hours of sleep

The geese were a little out of control. That's our neighbor Kjurstin and her son Dewey in the back. Claire and Dewey are good buds

The sunrise this morning

Dion, Skip, and the fire

More bags

One of three risers full of bags

Some of my friend Annette's bags, she died this past Jan of pancreatic cancer at 32

Dion's hand written bag to me

Another bag

Another bag

Another bag

Another bag

One of my bags, with one of my grandma's bags behind it

After the lighting of the Luminarias

Our neighbor Mike showing off his socks

Shufflers on the track

We had a pink bat raffle to raise extra money.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Today's The Day

The Shuffle is today. I got up at 4am to go with our neighbor to set up tents, haul wood, and basically claim our territory for tonight. That's pretty early in the gosh darn morning. We were there until 5:15, and I crawled back in bed at about 5:45, and Claire crawled into our bed at 6:15. It is going to be a long day.

Dion's mom was going to come up to watch the girls for us while we did the walk, but called last night and said she was sick. Dion and I really want to stay the whole night together because it seems like every year something happens and Dion has to go home for the night. No, wait, I think Dion stayed the whole night last year, but anyway, I called my mom and asked if she could stay with the girls, and in true Carol fashion, she will.

I will be turning in about another $150 making my total $1059!! Dion and I together brought in $2059...not too shabby folks! I think maybe next year the girls might be old enough to stay down there with us, but we'll see.

Ok, I have to find another tent, since Dion was right about the one that I set up this morning (it was missing the rain fly and it wasn't the tent I thought it was), and I have to get some other things together, so I must go. Like I promised, I will be posting pictures some time this weekend after the grand event.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

I am not quite sure what Claire was doing in this picture, but her expression really made me laugh.

Our little J-Lo

They don't quite fit

Nadia wearing what looks like low-rise shorts, but in reality, they are the shorts from one of my old Cabbage Patch Kids that she found.

The Female Lumbergh

I had some issues with my cell phone so I dialed 611 to get some help. If you have seen Office Space (the movie) you will understand this, if you have not seen it, well, maybe it will still be funny, but I can't guarantee anything...

I kid you not, the girl that helped me said the following...

"I can go ahead and call you...."

"You can go ahead and delete the message...."

"Sometimes if you go ahead and turn the phone off, it will clear the system...."

"After you go ahead and delete the message, if the icon is still there, you can go ahead and give us a call back...."

"...then call us and the tech people can go ahead and figure out what's going on with your phone...."

"So Peter, I need you to go ahead and make sure you have the cover sheet on your TPS reports."

Ok, the last one is a quote from Office Space, the lady didn't actually say that to me. But, she did leave the following as a message on my voice mail....

"Hi Sue, this is (worker's name here) from (cell phone company name here). So you can just go ahead and delete this message."

She rocks!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

The Zoo

We spent the day at the zoo. It was fun, but I tell ya, it's no Milwaukee Zoo. We'll try Como zoo next.

Just missed her giving a hug to the goat.

Water break!

Nadia brushing a goat

Claire and friend

How cute is this little guy?!?

Nadia giggled every time she fed a goat

Feeding time!

Watch out....they spit!

Hot camels

What can one say about this?

The duy-fin show