Sunday, September 29, 2013

My Favorite...

Although I do love the spring, with all the flowers and plants just starting to emerge, I think I like fall the best. 

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Just a quick hello... let you all know I'm still here.  I thought I was getting back into the routine of blogging and writing posts on a more consistent basis, but I guess I was mistaken.

Here are a couple of phone pics from the weekend.

I'm not sure Little Miss is cut out for soccer, but perhaps yoga instruction is in her future.
 Yesterday was my 40th birthday plus one.  This picture was taken on Sunday at my in-laws house.  Again this year, I had to work hard at not repeatedly crying all day with the various texts, facebook messages, happy birthday songs, and cards wishing me a happy birthday. It's a beautiful thing to feel so abundantly loved. 
Love is always bestowed as a gift - freely, willingly and without expectation. We don't love to be loved; we love to love.

Monday, September 16, 2013


I think I've mentioned it before, but here I go again.  I'm not a fan of going to the doctors, never was, and now, it's even worse.  Today I had a routine visit with one of my many doctors.  What does that word even mean?  Routine?  Right now I feel like nothing in my life is routine, routine as it once was anyway.   I'm still making my way back and some days it feels like being content with this new life is in the distant future.   

Anyway, sitting in the doctor's office, filling out paperwork yet again, and rehashing the events of the past year and a half is not fun.  For several days before any appointment I can feel myself starting to tense up and stress about it.  This doctor was someone I happened to be meeting for the first time.  I wondered, "Would she have all my information?  Did she read my chart?"  It's already an unsettling feeling sitting there in a Johnny waiting for a doctor, but then  not knowing whether or not she will surprised by the 6 inch (yes, I actually measured it) scar across my chest, where my breast used to reside, is even worse.  Thankfully when she came in she knew my story.  

Throughout all my appointments, I'm afraid to exhale.  If I just take it as a routine, typical appointment, I'm expecting the other shoe to drop and be caught off-guard.  The visit, however, continued as a routine appointment, and all is well.  I even had good blood pressure, which is generally unheard of for me at any doctor's office.

Repeatedly, I am faced with the 5 year remission thing.  It replays constantly in my head.  "If the breast cancer is going to reoccur, it will most likely come back within 5 years.  Cancer survivors are living up to 5 years after diagnosis.  You will be taking tamoxifen for 5 years."  Some days I have no idea how my nerves are ever going to make it through the next 4 years.  There is no option, however, and there is no other way, other than to walk through it, just as I have up until this point.  On the days I am forced to look back and rehash the intruder, walking through it feels a little more like crawling.  But, somehow, each time, I make it to the other side.

Then, I remind myself of all the people who never have a return visit from the Big C, survivors who move forward and have routine appointments at the doctors for the rest of their lives.  I am more likely to be one of those people.  
And so, I do my best to carry on as I once did, with contentment, joy, faith and hope. 

The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine.

Thursday, September 12, 2013


...for a surgeon.  I was going to title the post with "Shopping for a Surgeon", but I figured I'd lure you in first.  

It's no secret that I have been looking into reconstructive surgery to help regain some symmetry and give me less aggravation with wearing clothes.  Although I found a plastic surgeon that I really liked,  my caring, compassionate, competent, intelligent, adorable former :( surgeon suggested I go with someone more local.  So, because I respect him so much and he has always steered me in the right direction, I decided to make an appointment based on his referral.  

Well, I'm sad to say that this time,  he sent me the wrong way. Basically this surgeon lost me at "hello".  We spoke for a total of about 3 minutes before she left the room to retrieve her camera and I already had three strikes against her.  

They are as follows:

1. Please talk to me like I am your patient and not a fellow plastic surgeon who understands and comprehends your jargon at record speeds.

2. Please do not remind me that my breast cancer was at an advanced stage.


3. I also don't need reminding that the Tamoxifen I am taking can cause blood clots that "could be fatal and" I "could die".  I'm thinking there may be a more tactful way for you to back up your reasoning for stopping the medicine two weeks prior to surgery.

Keep in mind that these were the initial 3 strikes.  There were several more beyond these after she came back into the room.  

Basically, this particular surgeon was not a good match for me.  Honestly, I'm not sure she is a good match for many.  I was mostly disappointed with her lack of compassion.  She spoke to me as though I was part of a science project, one that she was hurrying to put together hastily the night before it was due.

I'm not really sure what my point in writing this post is...probably mostly to vent.  But, also to remind us all that we are in charge, we make the calls, we need to advocate for ourselves.  If it doesn't feel right, question it, look deeper.  Go with your gut.

I scheduled my surgery today with my original choice.  It definitely felt right...

"You have to master not only the art of listening to your head, you must also master listening to your heart and listening to your gut."

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

More Summer Stuff...

We found a new local butterfly garden to visit this year.  I had heard about it from a few people and then I saw a coupon on Groupon for it, so it was a no brainer.  

It was nothing fancy and the outside was kind of run down, but the butterflies were BEAUTIFUL, the prettiest I have ever seen.  

I guess the month of July is when the population peaks, but even when we went at the end of August, there were plenty to see.  

 The colors of many of them looked as though they were painted.

 One of these butterflies attached itself to me when I walked in and it stayed on my shoulder most of the time as I walked around.  When it opens, it is a beautiful blue butterfly, a blue morpho apparently. 

 Little Miss capturing some of the beauty.
 So, if you're local and you're looking to see some beautiful butterflies, check out the Butterfly Zoo next summer.
Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Movie Night...

For the past three years, we have had a back to school outdoor movie night.  Victor made a big movie screen and the movie is projected onto the screen with the sound coming from some big ole speakers.  Every year I set out to take pictures and then the 50+ guests come and before I know it, it is dark and it's too late to try to photograph anything.  I did, however, snap a few shots before all our guests arrived.  

This year's movie was Wreck It Ralph.  

 In addition to the candy bar and popcorn, we serve chili, hot dogs, corn bread, lemonade, Sangria and other adult beverages.  Guests brought a garden salad, fruit salad, chips and salsa, drinks and ice cream treats.
-I downloaded the printable banner, water bottle wrappers and candy bar wrappers for free from this website.  
-For the signs, I downloaded a picture from the web and used picasa to design mini signs.
-Free downloadable tickets found here.  (I uploaded it onto Picasa and added the date and "Thanks for coming"

2012 Movie Night Here if you're interested.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Forty Three Years

Yesterday my parents celebrated their Wedding Anniversary.

Forty-three years ago, these two people said "I do" and I am grateful they did. 

Their marriage has been filled with three kids, 5 grandchildren, priceless memories, and life's share of ups and downs. Happy Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad. May you blessed with many more years together that are filled with more ups than downs. I love you! xo 

Marriage is the highest state of friendship. If happy, it lessens our cares by dividing them, at the same time that it doubles our pleasures by mutual participation.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Back to Summer Stuff...

When we were away last week, we had an impromptu picnic at the beach, complete with take-out...Panera for the kids, twin lobster rolls for Mom and Dad.
 I actually prefer the beach at this's so peaceful when the crowds are gone.

 Little Miss had her own dance party.

And then E had to climb the lifeguard chair (of course-he's part monkey).

 It was a lovely evening at the beach.
To go out with the setting sun on an empty beach is to truly embrace your solitude.

(of course this was not the case with two rambunctious kids, but one can imagine...)