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Monday, July 26, 2010

I'm liking my hair

I'm enjoying having hair again. I"ll probably never have much more because I'm liking it short-short. One advantage is that I can change it up much more easily short-short. Meanwhile, since I must, must, must get off my doofus and accomplish something today, for your viewing pleasure, I leave you with

Sunday, July 25, 2010

One year ago today...(part 2)

I got the results of my path report.

It still makes my stomach clench to think about that day.

In fact, that entire week was horrible.

After a long, horrible week of no sleep, not eating, hoping for the best but expecting the worst, I got the phone call while at the BG/Otsego Soccer Tournament.

This weekend was tourney weekend again. It was so much more enjoyable this year. In fact, I don't remember much of last year's, other than where I was when I got the phone call and, almost word for word, what was said. When I did my shifts taking admission at the gate, I could barely count or make change. I was actually sort of worried about working this year because my brain just doesn't work as well as it used to, but compared to last year, I was brilliant.

I've got a lot more to say about this past year, but I'm burnt out, a little sun burnt, and quite tired, so, although I'm sort of drained at the moment, in general these days,

Friday, July 23, 2010

I run...

I was just thinking the other day that I'd like to get a running shirt that says something along the lines of "I run for those who can't."

Then tonight as I was looking for music to add to my ipod to listen to while I'm running, I stumbled across this song, which I hadn't known existed.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Thought for the day (07/22/10)

"You can throw in the towel or you can use it to wipe the sweat from your face"
--freely paraphrased from a Gatorade ad

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Good News about lymphedema

Lymphedema is annoying. One's odds of having problems with lymphedema increase with lymphectomy and even more with radiation of the lymph nodes, both of which apply to me.

However, there is no way to predict if or when symptoms of lymphedema will show up; furthermore, once one is symptomatic, damage is done and one is more likely to have future problems. Treatment is annoying and time consuming and not all that highly effective. In moderate to severe cases, massage and wrapping need to be done twice daily. Therefore, it is best to avoid lymphedema if at all possible.

In the past, women were told to baby their arms, to restrict activity, to avoid exercise. Common sense says that this is not logical, since the lymph system only moves fluid through muscle contractions. New research shows that exercise, while not improving symptoms also does not make them worse.

One way to minimize the chances of lymphedema is to avoid injury or infection to the limb. Another way is to wear a compression sleeve like I normally do, especially when exercising, flying, or driving long distances. An ounce of protection is worth a pound of cure, I guess.

So, I wear my sleeves. If anything, they remind me to pay attention to my arm, to not cut off the circulation by carrying heavy things on that side for long periods, to notice any swelling, etc. I don't mind wearing them. They aren't hot. They aren't any more annoying than other items of clothing that most women wear on a daily basis that I don't have to or won't wear, so I guess it's a fairly even trade (you guys can have your bras, hose/tights, heels, and artificial fibers; I'll take my sleeves any day).

I go on a semi-regular basis to have my arms measured and to check in with an occupational therapist who specializes in lymphedema. I saw her today, and my arm is smaller than it was, appears to only be swollen in one specific area, and otherwise, for a hot humid day, looked great to her. In fact, officially, I do not have a diagnosis of "lymphedema."

So, maybe as long as I pay attention to it and am careful, perhaps this is one bullet that I'll escape.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

One year ago today...

...I first started down this path.

I'm not even sure what to say beyond that.

What a bummer of an annual exam that was!

It's been a freaky week, flashing back to last year.

Sort of makes me want to puke, just thinking about that week.

Thought for the day (07/20/10)

The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is that one comes from a strong will, and the other from a strong won't.

~Henry Ward Beecher

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Thought for the day (07/14/10)

Once you shift your focus from yourself to others and extend your concern to others, this will have the immediate effect of opening up your life and helping you to reach out. The practice of cultivating altruism has a beneficial effect not only from a religious point of view but also from a mundane point of view; not only for long-term spiritual development but even in terms of immediate rewards.
---Dalai Lama

Friday, July 9, 2010

Body Drama

Have you seen this book? My goodness! Had it been around when I was younger, my life would have been quite different, that's for sure. Who knew how many different types of ta-tas there were?!?! Or, even more shocking, pages 118-119 with 24 pictures of ho-has.

I never knew about stretch marks and what cellulite really was when I was young.

No, seriously, this book is a must have for anyone with young women. It might be a must have for anyone with young men as well. It certainly doesn't make womanhood either glamorous nor mysterious.

And the pictures aren't re-touched, that's for sure, which is why it might be a good book to have lying around for guys to look at. These aren't models' boobs.

If nothing else, the information on how to make an emergency pad could be invaluable.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A sign of the heard it here first...

In celebration of my new normal, I have agreed to let Tynan try homeschooling again next year. It's not "pure" homeschooling, as he'll be enrolled in a public, online charter school; however, he won't be spending his days in a classroom "waiting patiently," which is how he has described his last school year.

The plan right now is that his father will be nearly 100% in charge of his education until such time as the husband is gainfully employed. All schoolwork is to be 100% completed by the time I return from teaching. I am not to be bothered by this at all. Tynan shall prove his worth, so to speak, by reading at least 1/2 of the required novels before school starts.

When (notice, dear readers, I say when not if) his father becomes gainfully employed, we shall revisit the plan; however, if it means enough to Sir Tynan, he will either (a) agree to going to someone else for "home" schooling or (b) become independent enough that he will go to school with me and either work in my office or in a hallway, without whining, procrastinating, or otherwise being a negative ninny.

So, we'll see. The adequate public school is right down the street, and will be quite sad to see him leave, I'm guessing, after seeing his state achievement test scores (significantly above the school and district average). Should staying home not work, then he can be enrolled in a matter of 30 minutes on any given day.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Getting My Girl On, part 3

Today was girlio day with Sophie.

While I can't say my teen years were terrible, I also can't say that I appreciated them for all they were worth. I mean, can any of us? Looking back, though, it does seem that at 13 girls are standing on the edge, ready to spring into life. I dunno, I can't really find a good metaphor. But they are so full of life, energy, hope, dreams....or maybe not quite. Maybe a workable metaphor would be more along the lines of a piece of fruit, on the verge of being ripe...although maybe that's too sensual to use in relation to my sweet niece.

Anyway, she's just entering a wonderfully exciting phase in her life, and it's enjoyable to watch. It's even more enjoyable because, ultimately, I have no responsibility for her success or failure. That burden lies on the shoulders of her parents.

After a decent sleep in this morning, we headed out to an early viewing of Eclipse. Not really my cup of tea, parts of the story make my skin crawl, and I'd be horribly upset if I weren't able to remember that it's really just fiction. Reading Tolkien didn't make me believe in Orcs and rings that lead to addictive behaviors. Reading Nancy Drew didn't make me able to shrug into clothes. So, I'm assuming that Eclipse won't harm Sophie. At least my big boys came home from seeing it appalled at the behavior of the guys. Overall, though, it was a more enjoyable film than the first two in the series. I dread the last, but this was watchable. It was also my favorite book, I think. They all, all but the last which I think is an abomination, blurred together.

After Eclipse, we had a wonderful lunch at Poco Piatti. We started with artichokes and hearts of palm; next, Sophie had calamari and I had Shrimp Saganaki and salad. It was awesome! While we were waiting for our food, I gave Sophie a bracelet to commemorate her coming of age, so to speak. I'm not normally touchy-feely, but this just seemed like an OK thing to do. The food, though, was probably more memorable.

We concluded the day by spending a couple of hours at Plato's Closet. I'd post the picture I took of her that we sent to her mother....Miss S dressed in multi-green satin hot pants, a rather risque top, and 4" heels....but I'd need permission from both her and one of those people mentioned earlier who are, ultimately, responsible for her outcome:) In the end, she made some really wise, yet fun, choices, and I also sprung for some light, mind-candy summer reading. Of course, for my own child, I chose something totally different. But then, I am responsible for his outcome. I am soothing my conscience with the assurance that the wonderful school Sophie attends, her highly literate and well educated parents, and the house full of quality literature that she lives in will serve her well, and will offset the crap I gave her today.

One difference between my boys and Miss S that I noticed today was that I can barely, just barely, get my boys to try clothes on. Only under pain of "I will NOT buy that for you if there is any chance in HELL that we will have to return KNOW I stink at being able to keep track of receipts..." will my young men enter changing rooms. Yet, today, Sophie spent quite a bit of time in the changing room, trying on item after item after item. Meanwhile, during that time, I was snapping pictures of various tee and polo shirts and texting them to my boys for their approval. In the long run, that's so much easier than actually bringing the boys shopping with me.

How did we live without such technology? How would my life be ever so much diminished without my girlio? Good questions to ponder.

Independence Day 2010`

I suppose on some level, this entry should be about how on this July 4th I'm free of cancer and regaining my independence. But to be
honest, I haven't thought about that at all today. Instead, what I keep thinking about is what a wonderful community I live in.

It well and truly is the absolute best in the nation.

Hyperbole aside, I do live in a wonderful community. On the surface, it doesn't look like anything special. What makes it so wonderful is the people within it. This is very apparent over the July 4th holiday.

It's cool enough that the Boy Scouts go around town and put little American flags in the tree lawns, but also for the last few years, the holiday has started with a July 3rd Hog Roast at the home of Brenda and Roger. Every year, it gets larger and more people are involved. There's a core group of men who prepare the hog the night before, including splitting it down the center. This is usually accomplished with the "assistance" of quite a few young helpers, mostly boys, who find the idea of using a hatchet and hammer on a several hundred pound dead animal quite fascinating.

The following morning, many of the same men start the roasting. Later in the day, friends begin to gather, each family bringing a dish (or more than one) to share. At the height of food-heaven, there are at least three grills going, not counting the roasting pig flesh, and two large tables of food, ranging from veggies to hummus to salads to desserts. Kids of all ages play all sorts of "traditional" kid games....pick up games of kickball and football, soccer, kick the can, cops and robbers...and some games invented at previous hog roasts, including the ever popular one where two children each hold an exercise ball and run pell mell into each other. That game is always fun, until someone gets hurt and some parent puts the kabosh on it. The swing set is always swarming with the younger set, and there is always a kid or two, or three, or four or more on the side wall of the yard, which also happens to have the Preamble to the Constitution inscribed on it in sidewalk chalk for all to behold. I don't think I've ever seen a significant child squabble.

The adults mill around, tending grills and children, quaffing cold beverages of all sorts, including the adult sort, and doing what adults do best: talking. At some point, instruments are brought out.

What makes the whole thing incredibly representative of our wonderful community is that for that one night, we become a village. Children are tended to by multiple adults. Older children tend younger children. Adults flow seamlessly from group to group. Regardless of marital status, religious (or not) background, family size, race...about the only thing everyone has in common is a progressive political bent, but to varying degrees. Everyone pitches in to make sure that the magic works.

And work it does. Here are two examples: 2oo people, at least 1/3 or more children, and only one bathroom. But that's never an issue. Magic or miracle, you decide.

Example two: At this year's Hog Roast, the teens in my family (my own two plus the two cousins) were ready to go home; I was tired; my husband was willing to leave; the two 10 year olds were NOT ready to leave. Nope, no way, not at all. It was just fully dark and the kids had been looking forward ALL DAY to playing cops and robbers in the dark. ALL DAY, mom, ALL DAY, and you want us to leave NOW, JUST WHEN IT IS DARK, THAT'S NOT FAIR!!!!!
A friend who also had two children who were going to play cops and robbers in the dark stepped right up and offered to bring the two 10 year olds home when she left with her family. Magic.

As if that weren't enough, the very next day, July 4th rolls around.

Many of us wander back over to the Hog Roast for pulled pork left overs. In years past, we've spent the afternoon of the 4th at Brenda and Roger's, hanging out with friends, eating left overs, people showing up throughout the afternoon and evening with side dishes, kids continuing to romp. This year, however, with the cousins (and my husband's sister, their mother) in town, my family hung out at home. Grandma and the Uncle came over. The kids slept most of the morning and then chilled for most of the afternoon, playing ladder ball, football, and soccer in the yard, eating popcicles, and hanging out. The adults chatted on the patio until it got too hot and humid and we moved indoors. Normal stuff.

As darkness approached, most of us headed over for the fireworks.

I think Bowling Green has the most spectacular fireworks in the world. I'm sure there are better shows, but few places offer such a wonderful atmosphere. For at least 13 years, we've sat in the same spot, on the same hill, with the same people. The kids have simply grown up doing this. It's expected. It's tradition. We don't see some of these people at any other time of the year. Just on the hill beside the Rec Center at the fireworks. Of course there are many other places to view the fireworks, and I'm pretty sure most people go to their own favorite spot each year. I love to be on the hill, though. Kids play frisbee and catch at the base. Little kids roll down the hill. As it gets darker and darker, more and more people gather, most sitting in family pods on blankets. Kids running around, visiting with friends, making new parents anxious, then BAM! The first firework goes off and everyone scurries back to their spots to settle in and enjoy the show.
This year, a local church's bells also played patriotic music during the first and last parts of the show. Nifty.

This was a special year because, like so many communities, including several around us, Bowling Green didn't have the funds to provide a fireworks display; however, we didn't let that stop us. As a community, we pulled together and said, "This will not do." There were jars in nearly every store for donations of change. Churches worked to raise funds. There was a Facebook campaign. Local businesses donated money. Individuals donated money. We needed $16, 000 and we raised $16, 195.49. On top of that, Bowling Green also won a $10,000 grant from Liberty Mutual to help fund the fireworks.

Because that's how we roll. We are awesome. Our community rocks.

As for my family, we walked home after the fireworks, and some friends came over for ice cream. Sixteen kids and six adults. Believe it or not, there were left overs.

Now, at nearly 2:00 a.m. there are three kids settling into the family room, one asleep on the living room floor, and three man-size teens upstairs ready to sleep. In theory, those three were supposed to be sleeping in a tent in the yard, but it's too hot.

So, while the focus of July 4th is on "independence," in truth, for me at least, the observance of this holiday is about inter-dependence. None of this great weekend could take place if we were independent from one another. It's our connection, our interdependence, that makes this all work. We have to become dependent upon each other to make life work smoothly.

To be dependent, we must be able to trust that others will do their work and they must be able to trust that we will do ours. We must be able to trust that others will look out for our best interests and we must look out for theirs. We have to be able to believe that the roles we all play are necessary and equally important.

Beyond the history, beyond the "My country 'tis of thee," beyond the obvious "begone, ye British overlords" what July 4th means to me is interdependence day...a day to express the connections and ties within this wonderful community.

Oh, yes, and I completed my second 5K race, too.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Getting My Girl On, part 2

Sophie is here. I wore a dress. We have already watched one chick flick and have two more cued up for tomorrow:)

Monday: Eclipse, lunch, and shopping.

Wonder if we can slide mani and pedis in there somehow.....

More later, sweet peeps.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Thought for the day (07/03/10)

"Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections, but instantly set about remedying them - every day begin the task anew."
Saint Francis de Sales