Saturday, November 23, 2013

Thankful #16 - Aunt Virginia

Thankful # 16...

I am not smarter than my scanner, and it scanned the pic as a 8x11, so forgive that.  This is Aunt Virginia and Uncle Lloyd circa 2002.  They are at the park area of the Nauvoo Mormon Temple sealing.  Us non-Mormons got a tour before it was dedicated as sacred and closed to the non-believers.  Evan was about 2 months old, and he toured it in the Baby Bjorn carrier.  My cousin Keith's daughter was about 6, and she was madly in love with tiny baby Evan.  It was pretty cute, as I recall.  She was thrilled to feed him a bottle and hold him.  It was probably one of my first trips with Evan and without Tom.  He worked every.stinkin.Saturday for years!

Thankful # 15 - the Great River Road

Thankful # 15 - the Great River Road

 The part that holds value to me is between Hamilton and Nauvoo, IL.  It is family, Thanksgiving, Christmas, family reunions, cousins, the bakery and fudge on my mom's side of the family.  It is Tastee Freese, the Palmyra pool, the railroad tracks (now gone) behind Grandma & Grandpa's house, sleepovers with Kristy, Susie and Jenny, and the Cabbage Patch Kid that lives on a shelf in my boys' room on my dad's side of the family.

Today, it was Aunt Virginia's visitation and funeral.  Sad, but a blessing as well.

Becky, my sister, and Dave, my brother, gathered at the church.  It's not easy getting the 3 of us together anymore, with our 3 spouses, 8 kids, and 5 jobs across 500 miles.  It was so good to hang together for a bit.  It was a wonderful time to spend with my 4 cousins and their 3 kids.  But they were not real interested in pics at their mom's funeral.  Totally understandable.  They did take a family pic for the annual Christmas card.

Uncle Lloyd's memorial bench outside the Methodist church in Nauvoo.   Virginia had Alzheimers, and had been in a nursing home for several years.  While she was there, Lloyd developed liver cancer and passed away.

. While we were in that neck of the woods, we stopped to see my dad's family an hour south of Nauvoo.  I found Grandma and Grandpa.

 And a kiss left for Howard and Georgia.  Howard and Grandma were siblings.  If I remember correctly, I ended up with a recliner with wooden spindles on the side that was Georgia's.  It would have been my living room recliner when Evan was a baby.  I think my church has (or maybe it's had by now) it.

Marilyn is Howard and Georgia's only daughter.  All three stones are together, so an easy find for those of us who only make cemetery pilgrimages every 5-10 years.

And the cousins, Susan and Kristy.  We are cousins twice removed, I think, but nobody ever told us that.  Their mom and my dad are first cousins.  Jenny was killed in a car crash in May of 1999.  My daughter was going to be named Elizabeth, a middle name she and I both share.  Tom laughed but agreed to it when we were just dating.

I also got to see Jeanne Beth, a first cousin, bud didn't snap any pics of the two of us.  That only leaves Ken in Kentucky as the only first cousin we didn't see that weekend.

I love God's beauty in nature, and while the trees were brown and the sky was gray, it is still some of the prettiest road I have driven.  And the family it represents is priceless.

Thankful # 13 - Produce Co-op

Thankful #13 - the produce co-op.  I am a co-op newbie no more.  And I have eaten some of everything pictured except the mushrooms and cranberries.  The bananas and apples were gone in no time flat.  The pineapple and oranges went into smoothies.  The sweet potatoes, asparagus, brussel sprouts and some carrots got baked with salt, pepper and olive oil.  The cranberries will get cooked next week.  I am working on expanding my food horizons, slowly but surely.

Next order is in early December, then not again til January, but looking forward to those.

Thankful # 12 - Heat

Thankful # 12 - heat from any source.  It turned cold - in the teens, and I am glad to sleep with a furnace on the other side of the bed, and a heated mattress pad so the bed isn't so cold, and the hot water heater that never runs out, and the furnace, and the car seat warmers, and the hot chocolate while watching Flag Football in the cold, and and and...

Thankful #11 - Yard Crew

Thankful for a yard crew.  A neighbor was headed to run errands & drove by while I was working on the yard while it was still warm.  She gave her son a choice of errands or helping me, and he opted to help me.  I was most appreciative.  He mowed/ mulched the whole yard, and only let me buy him a soda.  I knew I would be in deep trouble with Colby if his leaves were gone when my boys came home from the afternoon out, so I raked what was in the driveway into the side yard, and made a smaller pile to play in.  While I was cleaning up around the swingset and the last of the raking, these 5 kiddos came walking down the street. and asked if they could help me.  Well, of course you can, and then you can all play in the leaf pile!

I am thankful for good neighborhood kids who are willing to help.

Thankful #10 - Down Time & Visiting

Thankful # 10...  Down Time & Visiting

Don't ask me what possessed me, but I spent several hours deleting stuff from the computer.  It was kinda fun to go through and remember ancient email threads, and delete them so I could find whatever it was I was looking for.  Sometimes it's the simple things that make me happy.

Scout popcorn was in, so Colby and I had to deliver to the neighborhood.  It drove him crazy, but I thoroughly enjoyed a little gab time while delivering stuff.  And thank you for supporting the local kids.

Thankful Day #9 - Alabama

Thankful #9 was a splurge on tickets to Alabama at the Fabulous Fox, and a night in the city away from the kids.  Ooh, lovely!

 So it's not quite the lights of Broadway, it's still pretty cool!

Yep, Row E behind the Orchestra pit.  On the floor.  The VIP package got us dinner at Powell Hall.  The steak place across the street serves better food, I must say.  It also got us t-shirts, water tumblers, posters, and cloth grocery bags.

  Did I mention 5th row?  Loved them then, love them now.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Thankful Day 8

Thankful Day 8...

Tom said I should be thankful for the 3 debonair men I live with.

I said I am thankful to be caught up with all these Thankfuls.  I know why I don't blog daily, trying to catch up with and write a bit more about what I have posted on Facebook.

Maybe it's that there was a lot of help sorting Scout popcorn tonight, and many hands made light work.  Which also means that we will be delivering popcorn this week, if you ordered any.

Maybe it's that 3 of us have a boatload of new socks and undies today.  It's a sadly exciting day when you get to pick your own new socks out at the store, and get to trash all the old ones.  Cause I don't match old and new socks, and both boys were down to about 4 pairs each anyway.  Hey, it IS the little things in life!  And since I took care of that chore today, Santa won't bring them socks for Christmas, as that isn't a fun gift at all.

Colby is thankful for toys and food.  I am thankful he made one of his first Lego projects from start to finish while I have been blogging tonight; they make Tom and I crazy! I would love to type a great story about how giving and thoughtful he is with this project of 30 Thankfuls of mine, but he's not.  Life is about toys and food, and I am okay with that from him.

Thankful Day 7

Thankful Day 7... for my mom, and her birthday this week.

She got to spend it with my brother, sister-in-law, nieces and nephew in Texas, so it was a big treat for her.  My nephew sang to her at Cracker Barrel, where he works.  Life is good for Grandma!  My niece is marching in the band for their Friday Night Lights football game, and football is a religion in Texas.

I love you, Mom.

Thankful Day 6

Day 6... thankful for conversations in the dark.

The kids have always talked more in the dark.  In the car one night this week, or in their room at bedtime when we would sit as they drifted off to sleep, darkness always seems to make their day spill out of their mouths.  Neither kid is really chatty about who did what at school, so getting them to tell me about their day, their thoughts, their friends, is a treat.

Thankful Day 5

Day 5... thankful for healthcare, as an employee, recipient, and family member.

It is good to be back at work earning a paycheck.  It is good to have days that I get to do something really cool and remember why I like my job.  I'd tell you more, but there's this pesky HIPPA thing.

Recipient - you know plenty about if you are reading this!

Family member - got to spend some time on that side of the hospital bed this week, too.

None of us quite know how Obamacare is going to play out in the long run.  Good?  Bad?  I don't know.  Glad for what we have had is the best I can offer.

Thankful Day 4

The eye candy that is God's creation in the spring & fall.  Nobody likes Daylight Savings time changes, but I had a beautiful sunrise and sunset both in my rearview mirror traveling to work and home.

These are from the Family Camp at Camp Joy in Carlyle a few weeks ago.  Bet it's even prettier now.

Thankful Day 3

A month of thankfuls, day 3.

We skipped church & got up early for this:
Colby is toward the left, in a red vest.  Evan is next to him with the dark green sash.  Tom has a red neckerchief.

I don't know anyone in the left pic.  Right pic, Tom is near the blue stripe on the Rams head.  Colby is in the red vest next to him, and Evan next to Colby.  And yes, the flag is 40 yards long.  225 kids and adults to carry it.

Scout Day at the Rams dome.  They played the Tennessee Titans, but lost 28-21.  The Scouts had a good time getting on the field and presenting the flag, though.  I have to comment about sportsmanship, though.  The boys stood on the edge of the field waiting for the flag presentation for over 30 minutes while the players were warming up.  All of the Titans came by and gave the kids High 5's while they were waiting.  The only Rams player that acknowledged the boys was the mascot.  And when the Titans took the field, we boo-ed.  That is not what I want my kids to learn from pro sports.  You don't have to like the opposing team, but don't be openly rude to them.  But maybe I am just too sensitive.

I am thankful for all that the flag represents, for the lessons the boys are learning in Scouts, and for the opportunities the Rams have given them this year.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

A month of Thankfuls Day 2

Thankful for my gynecologist.

Really, a post all about that?

Really, yes.

Dr. d (yes,  a lowercase d)  came recommended by the highest form - the lunch table chatter on midnight shift - about 15 years ago.  Back before I needed birth control.  She has walked me through the boyfriend, husband, abnormal panic-inducing pap smear 2 months into married life and the week of Thanksgiving, Kid 1, infertility, lousy infertility drugs and a rogue ovary, Kid 2 in God's time, uterine ablation (best thing EVER!) and back to just the yearly exams.  And for the first time in a year, I got to keep my shirt on!  Hey, there's nothing normal there to feel anymore; why bother?

More than the history, or maybe because of it, she took the time I needed today.  When was the last time you spent over an hour with a doc?  Face time, eye contact, not computer contact, a hug and kleenex.  She asked the hard personal stuff, and wasn't interested in hearing "fine, we're ok."  Not just how am I, but how is Tom, and how are Tom and I together.  And those boys she yanked outta me - how are they, too? What body parts still work?  What can she help us with?  Not just intimately, but emotionally, cause this certainly stresses a good marriage, and crushes a shaky one.

When I voiced frustration about my arm and the treatment of it so far, she offered to ask around and get back to me.  And at this point, I am willing to drive to the city daily (again, ugh!) to deal with it.  When she asked about hot flashes and I said no, I'm cold, she didn't want to wait until I saw rad onc in December to check thyroid function.  She's seen enough to understand my frustrations thus far, and she gets it without having been through it directly.

Thank you for letting me seriously delay your morning, Dr. d, and for calling my bovine scatology.  I needed that! I asked for a larger chunk of time when I made the appt, but didn't know we'd be there that long!

Now, if only the Primary Care folks were that good...

Friday, November 1, 2013

Pinktober Politics - A month of Thankfuls for this season of Thanksgiving Day 1

Whew, so glad that Pinktober is over.  I have tried to stay away from retail for several reasons in October, pink Swiffers and vibrators being two of them.

Marie Claire has an article here from 2011 that speaks to my feelings.  You know I am cynical by now.  Buy pink if you like pink, but please don't do it thinking you are helping us, cause odds are that you are not, despite your best intentions.  Please donate money for research to a charity you have researched and trust.

20% - 30% of us Stage 2's will have a recurrence within 10 years.  10 years from now, I am still not 50.  My baby will be a senior in high school.  Please skip Awareness, and move on to Research.  The number of women and men dying from breast cancer hasn't improved much in the last 20 years.

Ann from "But Doctor I Hate Pink" has two great posts (ok, I could get lost for hours - and have -  in her blog) about men and their nuts and the absurdity of Breast Cancer Awareness, and life from a metastatic point of view.  Really, I am aware of breast cancer, and was long before I was diagnosed.  And I gotta admit, I am still highly paranoid about mets.  I'd be lying if I told you I wasn't.  Chemo didn't kill me.  Mastectomies didn't kill me.  Radiation didn't kill me.  Mets, now that could kill me.

Spend your money wisely, Folks.  Do you want to know where I have found help?  The American Cancer Society gave me a wig (hated it, but it was free) and a million or so hats, and some nice make-up.  I haven't seen a thing from Komen.  I love the idea of their walks and the sisterhood, but I can't pinpoint a single thing in the last 11 months to point directly back to them.

Soapbox now put away.