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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

My Wonderful Husband (Not pictured below!)

Here is a picture of the turkey that Dion cooked for Thanksgiving. It was an 18 pound bird, and along with that he made stuffing and gravy from scratch. He really outdid himself this holiday and I was so proud of him. I told him later that I was nervous for him since it was his first holiday meal. He, on the other hand, quietly went about his way in the kitchen. There was no stress, no fighting, no nothing this holiday, which was wonderful. Everything seemed to fall into place the way it was supposed to. I made a broccoli salad and chicken salad for the pre-meal grazing, and I also made sweet potatoes that I have to say were quite good. All in all I have to say that this was a wonderful weekend. I couldn't have asked for more.

Then on Friday we went to the Holiday Stroll downtown for the parade, live Nativity, shopping, eating, and lighting of the holiday lights on the stores (we didn't make it to that. Claire fell asleep in my arms during the Nativity reenactment, and since it was getting cold and we had walked downtown, we decided to leave.). The streets were filled with people, and one of my cousins I saw down there said that the event was in Country Living magazine and that's why the crowd was so big. Anyway, it was neat to run into people I knew downtown enjoying the night like we were.

Ok, I have to stop for now because I have to go into to work to talk to a parent who is constantly late in picking up her daughter. Her defense is that she's only a few minutes late. I don't think she went to law school, but I could be wrong.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

A Tribute to Bill

I spent last weekend in Delavan WI trying to support my dear friend as much as I could. Bill was her dad, and after a short short fight with what the doctors to believe was Mantel Lymphoma, he passed away. Bill was 65 years old. He and Julie (his wife) had spent some time living in separate household so Julie could retire from the school district she had invested so much time in. They saw each other on weekends and holidays, but finally, after a few years, they were able to live under one roof again. They had just began taking trips, visiting family and friends in between the jobs that both of them held. Bill was very active in their church and was a huge factor in the remodeling of their church. He was active in the American Legion, and really I don't think he spent any time just relaxing. Bill was very important to many many people.

5 weeks before he died, he wasn't feeling well. He was anemic, and after testing they found his spleen was grossly enlarged. He started out in the Janesville WI hospital, but was moved to Madison after the doctors scratched their heads, not knowing what was going on with Bill. Madison continued with testing, including two bone marrow biopsies, booth coming back negative. But Madison was convinced there was some sort of cancer in his body, most likely going through his blood since his symptoms had become systemic. A PET scan was done, and it showed his enlarged spleen, along with two nodes lighting up. They did a biopsy of a node the next morning and that afternoon, Bill left his body.

I have never been to a funeral that captured more of a persons essence than that one did. It was so obvious how much he was loved by all people that came into contact with him. The church was packed, and extra chairs had to be brought in. I cried for his family, I laughed at memories shared at the eulogy, and was amazed by it all.

Some things for you to ponder....

Bill died on Veteran's Day...he was a vet and it was VERY important to him.

Bill's was the first funeral in the new sanctuary of the church that he played an intricate role in.

The day before he died, his other daughter gave birth to his second grandchild.

In the last year Bill had pushed Julie to make improvements to their condo. New carpet, wood floors, cabinets, appliances, just to name a few things.

Bill will be missed by so many people. He was the true definition of love thy neighbor as thy self.
He would give the shirt off of his back for anyone, and you certainly would not forget him when you met him. I can only hope to instill those qualities in my girls, and try like heck to follow it myself.

Til next time, Bill.

Back to Halloween

I have to go back to Halloween like I said I would to tell you what Dion's costume was, and how the day panned out for him. Actually, I have to go back to the day before Halloween where he told me that his whole team were going to be pirates for Halloween. That's wonderful and all, but Dion lacks in the pirate gear category in our closet. And being a guy, he gave me a day notice to whipped something up for him. On his behalf, I volunteered to find things for him, but none the less, he was strapped for time.

I went to the Salvation puffy shirts, no vests, no nothing. I can't imagine there are people out there who don't donate pirate gear, but that seemed to be the case. I went to Wise Penny, which is another thrift store. They had underwear (ewww!) but no pirate gear. I went to Family Dollar where if Dion were about 8 years old he would have been set. Ok, on to Target. Nothing. On to Walmart. Good lord, nothing again. I would have to put together an outfit of sorts, which is what I did.

Fast forward to Halloween morning where Dion looked oh so pretty in the clothes I bought him. A nice puffy shirt from the ladies section, along with stockings (ladies), capri's (ladies), a red bandana (gender nuteral), and a black shirt (guys) to be cut into a vest. He was hot to trot.

He got to work and was a little confused when his team members were wearing red shirts and jeans, until they put on their homemade face masks. You see, about 6 years ago, Dion posed for a picture in the catalog. He wore a red shirt and jeans.

Pirate gear...$60

Gas money spent on going to 5 different stores...$1,783,983

The look on Dion's face when he figured things out....priceless.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Flu Season

It is here. The dreaded flu season. You may be wondering if I got a flu shot this year, and to that I give a hearty HELL NO! We'll see if this year goes better than last year, and I can just hear it now....The flu shot is for influenza and not for all strains of the flu...blah blah blah. I have heard that over and over and I don't care what anyone says, the first year that I got a flu shot, I was sicker than a dog. Coincidence? I think not.

Today I went into one of the grade schools during lunch time and saw a poor little boy with a mammoth garbage can with a little puddle of vomit by him. I felt so bad for him. But here's the thing, the school put in these foam Purell dispensers and I think that instead of using soap & water, and then the Purell, they are just using Purell. Now, I performed a very scientific test minus the lab coat at work during one staff meeting. I had one person wash their hands with soap & water, one person use a sanitizer, one person use just water and the last did nothing. Before each person did what they were supposed to do, I had them put on this lotion that is supposed to represent germs. After they did their thing, we used a black light to see who had the most "germs" on their hands. It was gross. The hand sanitizer person's hands were covered in "germs" making one wonder how much that stuff actually does. The soap and water hands were the cleanest. So that is why I think we are going to have even more sick kids and staff this year with the new Purell dispensers. In my professional non-lab coat opinion.

On another note, Dion is out of town so it's the girls and I this week. And then we are like ships in the night. I will be heading out of town for the funeral as Dion is heading back to MN. I will drop the girls off at daycare and he will pick them up. I don't know if I will be back Saturday or Sunday yet. I still have to decide.

Now I must go. I have to get Claire into bed.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Another Claire Quote

I was in bed with Claire one night (no, not the bubble gum nipple story again) and I was laying down on the pillow. Claire was doing something or talking about something in the bed, so I lifted my head up to look at whatever she was talking about. Claire did a double take at my face, then asked after a moment,

"Mommy, why do you have two smiles?"

Referring to the nice double chin I got when I lifted my head to look at her. That happens to everyone, right?!? RIGHT?!?!?

Anyway, it was funny and I laughed at it. She's got an odd sense of humor that she is not even aware of right now. Gotta love it.

Monday, November 13, 2006


It's been a while since I last wrote and I think I am going through some sort of withdrawal. We can't have that, now can we? Let's see....some things that have happened....

Carol went home last Friday, the same day we got 4-5 inches of snow. But she's doing so much better which is wonderful to see.

It seems that the girl's ear infections are cleared up and I only have a few more days of my antibiotics for my sinus infection.

I spent a wonderful two days last weekend at the Edge Life Expo on healing with a friend of mine. As time passes we find more and more things that we have in common, and more and more things that we have the same opinions on. She's been a blessing.

One of my close friend's dad passed away this weekend from what they believe was a very aggressive form of lymphoma. It was about 5 weeks total from when he started feeling bad to this weekend. It's so sad and heartbreaking. I last saw him at my friends graduation last May. Both he and his wife were always wonderful to me, and, well, I don't know.....I know that he has moved on and is fine, it's what is left behind that makes me grieve. I will be going down to the funeral this weekend. I have always thought of Tricia as being like a sister to me, in fact there were always people who asked if we were sisters. I know that there's really nothing I can do for her and her family but be there, and that is what I intend to do.

Ok, some of my own demons that I am facing. Well, not really demons I suppose, but issues that I am trying to tackle. The biggest one is trying to figure out who I am now that treatment is done, now that I have faced cancer and won, now that I have the rest of my life to live. I guess one of the questions is how do you move on? But I have asked that before and I have not figured that out yet, so let's move on to another thought. I am also trying to figure out if I am on the right track, if I am where I am supposed to be. How does one know? I have no clue.

I don't think I am the same person in some ways as before I was diagnosed, but in some ways I think I am. Isn't that clear as mud? I don't know. I will have to think some more about that, but any insight you may have would be helpful because I feel like I am going no where fast.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Why Kids Make Me Laugh

I did some sub work yesterday and we have the mats our for somersaults, and as it turned out, a vicious game of leap frog (I had more little kids land on my back and head then get over me. Kindergartners have short legs). But as one little girl was doing a somersault, another little girl said,

"OOOOOOOHhhhhhh! I see your underwear!!!!"

(She was wearing a dress)

And so as not to make the little girl feel bad, I said that everyone wears underwear, to which the second little girl said,

"My mom doesn't."

Yikes. Try not to laugh, try not to laugh, you're going to laugh, run away! Run away!

So I did.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Little Kids Are Strong

I was kind of dreading today. I knew what we had to do, I just wished that the problems would have resolved themselves before today, but they didn't. We had to take the girls to the clinic today. Yup, the GIRLS, both of them. So made made it into a family adventure of sorts, with three out of the four of us knowing what was ahead. Not that Nadia didn't know we were going to the doctor, she just really doesn't care all that much. Claire on the other hand, immediately started crying, and continued until we got the the clinic. She settled down in the waiting room, then the fun started.

We were called back for vitals (Claire weighs 37 pounds, Nadia weighs 33), temp, weight, blood pressure. Wait, correction, we got Nadia's blood pressure, but I could not peel Claire's arm away from her chest to get hers. The nurse gave in and we went to the exam room. Claire was fine until the doctor walked in and all hell broke out. I asked the doctor if he wanted to look at the ying or the yang child first. We went with Claire. She refused to let him look in her ears, which is why we were there in the first place. I tried to hold her down on the table but got kicked a few times. In the meantime, I was telling Dion to get Nadia out of there so she didn't get scared too. We can't let the easy doctor child be swayed by the difficult doctor child!

He gave up too and went to get extra help. So, while the nurse and I held Claire down, the doctor checked her ears. Right ear infection. Big surprise.

Then it was Nadia's turn. She practically turned her head for the doctor to look in both of her ears. Left ear infection. Another big surprise. You can imagine how fun this house has been the last few days with two children both with sore ears. Poor kiddos.

So while it was a draining experience, I am glad we got them both in to be treated. But in all honesty, I could go another year or so before we have to take Claire in again. I have no clue on how to make the experience a little less stressful for her. I am sure she remembers how often I had to go to the doctor when I was diagnosed, all of the times I had to stay in the hospital after surgery, all of the outpatient things I had done, then you throw into the mix all that my mom has been going through, and I guess it is no big surprise that she has white coat syndrome. I just wish I knew how to make it better for her.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Update on My Mom. AKA: Carol

Happy Friday! Yahoo! Yee-haw! Zip-a-dee-do-da!! We have no plans. It's really just another Friday in the Flaska house of doing a whole bunch of nothing, which is actually very good for us right now. We have had a few pretty busy stressful weeks as of late and I really don't mind sitting here and just blogging the night away. I should tell you though that last night I fell asleep at 8:30 (in Claire's bed with her), woke up at 11:00pm and came downstairs to watch a little of the top 100 80's songs, fell back asleep at about 11:30pm and got up at 7 the next morning. Guess I was tired. Anyway, the update....

Carol has been in a nursing home for the past week trying to get her all healthy again. She is battling a huge infection in her incision but the wound vac seems to be doing its job. I was there for one of the dressing changes, and I am pretty sure I saw quite a bit of the inside of my mom. Poor Carol. The plan of attack right now is that she will go back to the doctor next Friday and if all is well (or well-er...I know, not a real word) she will be going home. But she will still go to the dr's office to have the vac dressing changed 3 times a week, until it is healed well enough I suppose.

I have to say that the home she is in is very very nice. A lot of really nice staff are working there, and sometimes I have lunch with Carol, which is interesting because in high school I worked in the dietary part of a nursing home. Why is that interesting? Ok, you got me, I suppose it's not, but it sure does bring back some memories of my youth. Like one time, I dumped a whole cart of trays on myself. The wheels got stuck in the gap in the elevator and KABOOM! Pureed food, whole food, drinks, everything came a crashin' down on me. That happened once and never again. But those are stories for another time.

So Carol and I got to talking about people who by their actions or words really deserve to have something happen to them where their faith is questioned, or they fear for their life or a family members, blah blah blah. I don't mean to sound like a vindictive person, but you know the saying, what goes around, comes around. Carol tells me not to worry after I had told her a story about someone in my life who is the biggest thorn in my side. She tells me that you don't need to wish for something to happen to them, that God will take care of it. We were both silent for a moment, reflecting on God and what He can do and such when Carol says,

"Makes you wonder what we did that was so horrible."

That made both of us laugh, but to a degree, it does make you wonder. Karma, fate, destiny, revenge, chance, what does it matter? It happened and so we deal with it, move on, and try to be a better person.

Ok, enough of that, the last thing I want to say is that I am dying to post about Halloween and Dion at work because it is a story of all stories, but I am waiting for a picture so can get enjoy the moment with a visual. So hang in there, I will get a photo, and there will be story telling in the near future. Man, it's a good one, I still am laughing about it. You're curious now, aren't you? Good. Stay tuned...or return to my blog, or whatever. You know what the hell I mean!!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Is There Hope For The Future?

I witnessed something that kind of bothered me today. A 15 year old was asked what his address was, and he didn't know. Actually he said he didn't really know it. He was serious. He looked like your average 15 year old kid, there didn't seem to be any disabilities that I could tell, although I suppose there could have been. But man, I am kind of worried about our future generations. How will they ever get home if they don't know their address?