Wednesday, December 8, 2010
You are moving right along. Depending on how you count it, you are almost through the first leg of your journey. When measured by time, you are only a little more than half way through chemo but it feels as if you are much further along...thirteen of sixteen treatments are behind you. Chemo is close to being a thing of the past. You've weathered it well. Now that you are nearing the end and looking ahead to what will come next, I can sense the panic rising. Take a deep breath and let's talk it out.
Surgery. The day you walk into the hospital the you you've always known but leave something far different. I will not lie. It is going to be challenging. Knowing what will be taken from you...well...it won't be easy. You will cry. You must allow yourself to mourn. Fear, doubt and disgust will rush to the surface. You won't want to look at yourself. Yet you must. This will be the beginning of a new you. What you do, how you react, where you let it take you will be a choice. I've been listening to the cries of your heart. I know your greatest fear is that you will not be able to accept the changes. That you will in some way revert to the "old you" that never felt adequate. The you that believed you were always less than. But you must remember that was the "old you". The you that didn't understand the peace that comes with self-acceptance. The you that was always looking outward for affirmation rather than looking within. The you that worried about the opinions of others. That girl is no more. She grew up. She learned how to live. She found peace. She found happiness. She finally realized that while she would always value the opinion of others, she valued her opinion of herself more. That is who you are. That is who you worked so hard to become. That is who you will always be.
Today is the day to begin the healing process of your tomorrow. No need to wait until the "ugly" is staring you in the face. Your body is strong and will most likely heal quickly. Your mind is equally strong. Embrace the fact you truly love yourself. You understand what it means to accept your strengths and your weaknesses. You know you fall far short of perfect and you realize that is perfectly okay. Believe in yourself. Refuse to listen to self-doubt and negativity. Focus on the fact that you have come so far. Rely on your faith and keep your eyes always upward. For if you do, you will be just fine.
With all the self love I can give,
Friday, December 3, 2010
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Thursday, November 4, 2010
I guess cancer could qualify as one of those moments. It would by no means be a stretch to say cancer equals one tall glass of barf juice...juice from the most rotten lemons. Having a flask of this foul but potable liquid shoved in my hand, I had no choice but to swill, swig and swallow. Here is where it gets interesting. I have a major gag reflex. Try as I might to chug-a-lug, all I did was heave and hurl. I decided it was time to protest. To kick up my heels and revolt. Not willing to drink alone, I called in the troops. Life's libations are more easily tolerated when shared with friends. If nothing else, they could administer CPR lest I begin to drown in my own regurgitation.
I've written much bemoaning the loss of my hair...another sour, rotten, old lemon. I will not lie. I hated the idea of being bald. Yet after throwing a fit or two over the unfairness of it all, I began to feel better. One point to note, do you not find it interesting how ugly begets ugly? Not only would I be poisoned in an attempt to banish cancer cells from my being, but my appearance was going to take a side trip to the land of grotesque. I was forewarned of all to come....mottled skin, broken (if not loss of) nails, puffiness, weight gain (every girl's nightmare) and of course the mother of all horrors... total loss of hair. And by total hair loss, they meant hair on head, eye lashes, eye brows, hair on legs...although this one is by no means a negative. You learn to miss hair you didn't even realize you had. But I eventually came to terms with it. What the heck. It's only hair and it will grow back. Besides, I received some good news. My course of treatment would allow me to "keep" my hair through the first 12 weeks of treatment. Three months as a baldy was WAY better than six. The first round of chemo would only cause my hair to thin and only to the point of being noticeable by me.
Well, "Life" must have gotten wind of the insurgency to come and planned its own form of retaliation leaving me hairless from the get-go. Leave it to me to be different. To experience side effects unlike the norm. Always marching to the beat of my own drum, I must say this was one time it would have been nice to have been a conformist.
Seeing this as only a minor set-back and by no means interpreting it as a battle lost, I forged ahead with my plans to laugh in cancer's face...literally. What did I do? I took my jar of "jungle juice" and threw a party. I called it my "Buzz Me, Baby" party. With friends and family to witness the moment and my sister to "do the deed", I took control of the uncontrollable and shaved my head.
Suddenly, the bitter elixir forced upon me became sweet. With every laugh and embrace, my happy stick grew by enormous proportions and I had an overwhelming urge to extract more juice from the lemons. Rather than throw the yellow orbs back out into the universe, I was ready to squeeze the life out of them giving me lemonade to spare. That night tears were shed and laughs were shared. It was a night filled with bittersweet moments. A night of making the sour sweet.
Just so you know, I do believe when life gives you lemons you should make lemonade. It may not always be as simple as "add sugar, water and stir" but I'm proof it can be done. Maybe not on your own, but as another old saying/song goes "I get by with a little help from my friends". As corny as this may sound, when life shoves lemons in your face, let the love of family and friends be your sugar and laughter be your "stir stick". Dilute the bitterness with faith and house it all in a pitcher of prayer. Everything...and I do mean everything...goes down easier when following this recipe.
With love always,
Friday, October 29, 2010
Documenting this journey is very important to me. Blogging...writing... has always been and will continue to be my therapy. But life must be lived. So...if you are interested in reading my blatherings, check back from time to time. I'm beginning to get a handle on things (bah ha ha) and will be posting again very soon.
Before I go, I want to share a "????" moment I had while receiving one of my latest treatments. It validates my reasons for refusing to permanently document anything while in a drug induced state.
A "Did I really just say that?" occurrence:
Believe it or not, I welcome Fridays. Friday is treatment day. My reasons for embracing this day with open arms are simple to me yet some might find them odd. Then again, many find me odd in general. My number one reason is a much needed 3-4 hour nap. I've found the most annoying side effect of chemo to be the inability to sleep. Until a week ago, the most consistent sleep I got was during my treatments. I've since discovered a way to ensure a good night's rest giving me much more energy and an overall feeling of "wellness". Even still, who doesn't love a good nap. A mega dose of Benadryl via IV accompanied by Ativan takes me directly to dreamland. Within 10 minutes of the meds coursing through my veins, I'm a goner. Friends and family take turns transporting me to and fro each week and we always share a few laughs over statements and proclamations made during those 10 minutes. I rapidly descend from reasonably normal mental faculties to those somewhere close to what is considered deranged. The interesting part is in spite of my inability to govern what I say, there is a part of my mind that is able to comprehend and remember the absurdity of it all. Even as I make my nonsensical statements, in the deep dark recesses of my mind I'm asking myself "What the heck???".
In addition to all the drugs, treatments require I be given large quantities of fluids. As we know, "fluid in" means "fluid out". My naps are always interrupted by the need to relieve my bladder of the enormous burden. Ever the independent girl, I argue with anyone wanting to help me find my way to the restroom. I stubbornly and drunkenly navigate my way through the chairs of other patients, dragging my IV tower along, doing my very best to focus on not tripping over the wheels of the tower or my own two feet. Most days I succeed. How I actually maneuver the act of "going potty"...well, I don't really know. What I do know is that I perform the act with my eyes closed. And it is dark when my eyes are closed. So very, very dark. So much so that I made this proclamation to gal pal, "K" upon returning to my chair.
The words were said with much excitement and conviction as I was sure I had just discovered something unique and grand. Let's just say the words were said with as much excitement and conviction as can be exhibited through slurred speech. I remember "K" chuckling while my mind waged an internal war over whether or not this made any kind of sense. The "real me" kept urging me to shut up and stop the insanity as I know I'm not that dense while the "drugged me" thought it was the most profound statement ever made. I didn't know whether to pout because I wasn't being taken seriously or to hide my head in shame. Before a decision could be made, the mental war was over and I was fast asleep once again.
This is but one of the tiny things that keeps me laughing each day. I believe the ability to laugh at oneself is the key to a happy life. Thank goodness I find myself funny whether anyone else does or not. I guess that means I can relate to my own sense of humor. For now, I can chalk up my self-induced chuckles to the effects brought on by drugs. Not sure what excuse I will use when chemo isn't part of my daily life.
Until next time...
Monday, October 11, 2010
Roughly a year ago, I wrote a post based on a prompt from one of my best blog pals, "h.b.". Through various prompts and challenges, "h.b." laid the ground work for us to do some soul searching in an attempt to think about who we are and where we are going. Being the deep thinking, soul searching type, I jumped in with both feet and participated in many of the challenges. My favorite prompt explored the subject of touching people's lives...it's not who you touch but how. I suppose it is more than fair to say being diagnosed with Stage 3 cancer causes one to consider their role in this world. "Have I...do I...make a difference?" Now there is a question. Even in that soul searching, cancer free moment of a year ago, I dug really deep with this one and poured my heart out in these words:
"We all have them. Those times that forever leave a mark on our hearts...our souls...our being. Be it a good or bad time, it shapes and molds the person we become. Much of the impact it has on us is defined by how we approach that moment and the choices we make regarding it. I've had many such moments. Big, huge, earth moving moments. Marriage, children, divorced parents...a divorced me. Children moving away and then returning. The death of someone very dear. Some of these were cause for celebration and others were the cause of much pain. But through them all, I learned more about me and became stronger and hopefully wiser as a result.
But not all defining moments are as enormous in size. There are also the little things that can affect us. Little chance moments such as an encounter with another person that leave us with a life lesson all because we crossed paths. There can be inspiring moments of awe and wonder. And there can be misunderstandings or misguided intentions that leave us in a position to choose how we will move forward and whether or not we will allow it to cause harm or good to a relationship.
Lately I have been facing many defining moments. Times that are testing my character and my strength. I'm facing decisions that are almost impossible to make as there is really no good answer. Some days I feel victorious in these situations and other days leave me struggling to not feel defeat. But I am most thankful for these trying times. I know that even on the down days, I am building strength. God has given me the ability to rise above by trusting in Him. And I'm learning with each test and working harder to be a more positive influence."
How odd that I seem to be in much the same position now as I was then. It is exactly as they say...oh how things change yet they somehow stay the same. At that time I faced difficult decisions...they were my defining moments. Now, I'm in a battle for my life...probably the most defining moment anyone could face. The big question is how will this defining moment impact my world?
Every day... every moment... I get to chose how I will tackle this challenge. I have a choice in how I live... how I fight... how I love. I believe my decisions will in some way impact others. If nothing more, they will leave a mark on those who love me and are fighting along side me. I can only hope to be a positive influence. To make a difference in some tiny way. I have no idea what that difference will be or how it will happen. It could come through a chance encounter or it could be much more significant. Whatever it is, I want to be mindful of the fact that each and every decision I make could in some way impact another. When reflecting on past moments and opportunities, I recall many with feelings of happiness ...others I relive with shame and regret. Those are the ones I wish I could call for a do-over as I feel certain I wasn't the positive influence I desire to be. But I have a chance to be different. To be better. To use this challenge I face for something good. I'm hoping to take a negative and make a positive. I want to make a difference.
Monday, October 4, 2010
Sweet Ker-bear, I hope you don't mind that I share your story. It is too cute for words. I know you possess an incredible ability to laugh at yourself so I feel certain you will approve of my decision to share. Thank you for the laughter! Love, Mom
My diagnosis came on a Thursday evening. I didn't share the news with Keri until Saturday. Those were two REALLY long days. I refused to tell her over the phone and there was no chance to make the 3-hour drive to Georgia until Saturday. My mom, sister and I drove to Athens and broke the news. As expected, tears were shed and many questions were posed. But Keri is her mother's daughter. It wasn't long before she found a way to deal...to do her own compartmentalizing and strategizing. She began writing (yes, my baby girl has her very own blog) and set about training for 5k races to support Breast Cancer Awareness. It's her way of being proactive...of doing something.
Several weeks later, the news that had rocked our worlds had settled into the role of old news. Keri was home for a visit and we were sharing idle chit-chat. It was during this time I had one of the best giggles of my life. This is the jest of the story she shared...
Keri is like me in more ways than one. One particular trait we share is being Chatty Cathy's. We share what's on our minds with any and all who will listen. Talking is our therapy. We are open books. When she was in the early stages of processing the ugliness of the "c" stuff, she was telling numerous friends at school all about my diagnosis. She told them I would receive 6 months of chemo and would then receive a full vasectomy...
Uhhh, yep, my girl got the slicing and dicing of certain body parts mixed up! She had me slated to undergo a procedure I don't think I'm equipped to receive. The best part of the story is she shared this with several people before someone finally corrected her. All I can say is she now knows the difference between the snipping and clipping of one body part and the removal of another...she now knows it's mastectomy with an "M"!!!
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Yes, that was honestly where my mind went. Not only have I confessed to being a troubled soul whose first concern was over the loss of her hair...preceding with great significance the question of whether or not she would die...but I must also admit to unbelievably ridiculous feelings of guilt and stupidity. All those thoughts...all that mind-numbing-drive-me-completely-crazy chatter only lasted a few minutes in reality. However, it felt like an eternity passed before I was able to regain control of myself. Once I settled the wild, animalistic panic that had taken hold of me, I was able to come to this conclusion...cancer does just happen. Okay, so I know there is more to it than that.. that there are medical reasons why it happens. I'm referring more to the aspect of who it happens to, not how it actually happens. I'm just one of many. I will never know why it happened to me and quite honestly, I don't need to know. Worrying about the why is nothing more than a waste of time and energy. It was time to bury the questions brought on by fear and guilt. It was time to get down to business.
Maybe I'm an odd being or maybe this is the way it works for most in this situation. I don't know the answer as I've not addressed this subject with many who have been in my shoes. But I process things very quickly. I compartmentalize, strategize and realize what is beyond me. I assess the situation and take control of what can be controlled and let go of the rest. I create a business type atmosphere in my mind and I set about doing the job at hand. For this task, the process began by creating a team. My Power Posse.
The team came into being the night of my diagnosis. The first board meeting was held at my friend, "L's" house. She and my friend, "K", were there to cry with me. To be with me as I made necessary phone calls. We prayed together. And we even laughed together. "K" is a nurse and she became my first line of defense. I thrive on information...knowing what to expect...and she gave me what I needed. She is also a great spiritual and emotional supporter. She has all but carried me through some of life's tougher times. She was a definite posse member. "L", well, "L" is my pal with whom I push the boundaries. She shares my love of adventure and we have survived many what-should-have-been-unsurvivable adventures together. To say we leave trouble in our wake is an understatement. We are the modern day Thelma and Louise. Although I don't know who would be Thelma or who would be Louise. (All I know is I wanna be the one who slept with Brad Pitt!!!) Well, fighting cancer was going to certainly be an adventure. I knew I needed Thelma???...or Louise???...by my side. The Power Posse was 3 members strong... "K", "L", and me. I was a member by default. With charter members defined, it was time for rules to be made. Here are the only rules I felt were needed at the time:
1) It's all about me.
2) Any emotion is fair. Expression of said emotion is always allowed. BUT regardless of that emotion, the rules state we must end all emotional "moments" with laughter.
3) I WILL look like crap. We bust on me....then work like mad to make me look cute.
I know, number 3 is sooo irrelevant in the grand scheme of things but all I can say to that is refer to rule number 1. It's all about me and I was as obsessed as hell with how I was going to be physically affected by chemo. I suppose I should have added rule number 4 stating rule number 1 trumps any and all other rules.
My Power Posse has grown tremendously in number since that first night and the rules have been slightly amended. I'm not sure how large the Posse has become. What I do know is we are all fighting the fight together. We are doing what we can to keep laughter alive in a situation where it could easily be suffocated...maybe even suffer a torturous death. Not a day has passed since that first night that giggles and grins and gut-busting guffaws have not been part of my day. What a blessing. What a treat. What a way to live. And as of that first night, I am living like I've never lived before.
Today I wish you laughter and smiles...sunshine and happiness...a life full of living!
Until next time...
Monday, September 13, 2010
It was a typical Thursday night and I was alone at the office attempting to make up for all the hours missed due to my recent run-in with bronchitis. An unknown number appeared on my phone yet I felt sure of its origin. Continuing to shuffle papers as I answered the call, I assumed it would be the results of my recent biopsies. I had no worry or concern about the results. The only troubles I felt my future held would be the scheduling nightmare I would most likely face in trying to have the annoying-but- what-I-knew-would-be-benign lump removed. A big believer in never worrying until there is something to worry about, I had convinced myself all was well. This time, the power of positive thinking failed me.
After only a few words of greeting from my doctor, the "C" word was spoken and from that point on, the conversation was a blur. Words like "invasive tumor", "highly suspected lymph node involvement", "chemo", "skin involvement", "full mastectomy", "radiation", "oncologist", "urgent".
Each word carried a sting...a bite...yet I was numb to it all.
I remember using my fist to stifle the sobs as I sucked up the tears that wanted to break free. For some unknown reason I needed to stay in control of my emotions...to grasp every word being spoken...to be in control of an uncontrollable situation. I remember thinking how often you hear of one's inability to process bad news as it is delivered and this was definitely bad news. In that moment it became critical to my existence to get the facts straight. I felt like a child yet wanted to act like an adult. My mind was spinning at an alarming pace but I was fighting with everything in me to bring it back to a steady place.
I was alone. No one was there to share the burden of recording the facts. It was up to me and only me to take care of business.
I asked the doctor to repeat her words over and over. I wrote them down and repeated them back to her, making note after note of what was said. Upon returning to my office the next day, it was painfully clear what I had done. One Post-It note after another was scattered across my desk, each one saying the same thing. In sorting through them, not one could spare me the ugliness of what was to come. Each held the same horrid verdict... I have breast cancer.
In hindsight I remember so little, yet I remember so much. So many odd thoughts passed through my mind and I find it utterly fascinating where the human mind will go when faced with such earth shattering news. As I hung up the phone, I began pacing the hallway, finally allowing the tears to flow. Words came tumbling from my lips, but I have no idea if I was successful in forming coherent sentences. I kept running my fingers through my hair, wondering how quickly it would begin to fall out.
And I began to wail.
I'm sure the mourning was over far more than the loss of my hair, but it was the catalyst that pushed me over the edge of the cliff into the abyss where only heartache, sorrow and irrational thinking dwell. I could think of nothing else. No thoughts of death. No fear of pain. No concern for the eventual loss of my breast. I just desperately wanted to keep my hair. Strange, superficial thoughts. The only thoughts my mind would allow in that moment.
That was four weeks and four days ago. A lifetime has been lived in those thirty-two days. So many doctors visits, too many tests and scans to count, poking and prodding, needles and biopsies, port-a-cath placement and two chemo treatments... all this and more has filled my calendar. My world has been turned upside down and shaken equivalent to that of a magnitude 9.0 earthquake. But through it all, I have found peace. The fear from that first night has been replaced with an acceptance...a willingness to work with the hand I've been dealt. My faith has always been a huge part of my life and God has come to my rescue once again. An enormous amount of information regarding my treatment has afforded me the chance to know what to expect in the upcoming months. To summarize, 24 weeks of chemo, a full mastectomy then radiation. The side effects have been spelled out. I don't like them, but I can live with them.
I honestly don't know the state of my prognosis. I've been made aware the journey will be a rough one but the expected outcome should be positive. I know no one can know for certain what the end result will be. Anything can happen. But God gives me hope. He gives me peace. As one of my favorite songs says, though He may not calm the storms around me, He will give me Perfect Peace. As for now, I rest well in the fact that hope is alive and in knowing that God is with me each step of the way. This road has been traveled by many. Sadly for so many women, it is not a journey unique to me. My wish is to fight the fight with grace and thanksgiving for all the good in my life. You see, I've discovered a truth. When faced with the worst, one can discover the best. That dreaded "C" word, while as ugly a word as can be spoken, has allowed me to see how truly blessed I am.
Friday, August 6, 2010
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
This year I've been working out hard and eating right (the majority of the time) giving me a little confidence that I would have a few more options when it comes to swimsuit selections. At least that was my thought several weeks ago. Summer has resuscitated my waning social life. Warmer weather means outdoor adventures, late nights hanging out downtown, barbecues and travel. And you know food and alcohol are part of this equation...a very big part. In spite of my efforts, I find myself in the same position I'm in each and every year...one where I fight back swear words (a fight I always lose) while struggling to cover my enlarged tush with a few tiny little strings. You see, a bikini is the only real option I have. I know. I know. Where oh where is the logic in that???
Take this one-piece suit for instance:
One would think this would be a sure fire way to cover the nasty remains of my most recent nosh fests. But let's face it, many one-piece suits come across as frumpy and do nothing more than remind me of my grandmother. At least on my body. So often I see women in one-piece suits and think how amazing they look in them. Not once do I think of dear old granny when I see THEM in a one piece. But each and every time I give one a try...yeah...well, I have horrible flashbacks of Ruby Lee (my grandmother) at the local pool, sporting her granny suit complete with floral swimming cap. While I love my grandmother dearly, I don't exactly want to recreate her fashion folly.
(Sidenote: I hate to totally rag on her but my sweet, adventurous, totally out there grandmother also wore a nose plug and swimmies...the blow-up flotation devices children wear on their arms. She couldn't swim a lick but wasn't about to let that stop her from jumping off the high dive. When the swimmies didn't fully do the trick of helping her bob back to the surface after her less than attractive swan dive, she added a duck shaped float to her arsenal. Try to imagine this spry lady in all her childlike safety garb taking a complete leap of faith into the deep end of the pool only to have the duck float surface many seconds before she did, sputtering and flailing about in her attempts to keep herself afloat. We were eventually banned from the pool as the lifeguards tired of rescuing her. In hindsight, I think I now know where I get my spunk!)
I will admit today's versions of the one-piece are a far cry from what grandma wore. This one is cute and actually kind of sexy. It does in fact provide coverage without being a total snore. But it just doesn't have the desired effect on my body.
Then there is always the option of the tankini...a hybrid of a traditional one-piece and a bikini.
To most, this is the perfect solution. Gone are the confines and restrictions of a one-piece as are the excessive skin-baring fears brought on by choosing a bikini. And let me say, if I could look like this...
...all my problems would be solved.
I don't look like that. And I never will. Through the years I've taken a hard cold look at my body. I've learned to embrace the good, the bad and the ugly. When it comes to any clothing choice, I work hard to find the best solution for all my positives and negatives. As for swimsuits, I lean toward this...
For the longest time, I could never figure out why a bikini actually looked better on my less-than-svelte figure. I've even solicited the opinion of several friends and they tend to agree. Then one day, I had that "aha" moment and I realized EXACTLY what it is. I'm short-waisted. Without a longer torso to create those nice, sexy lines, I look like a pudge ball in anything that covers my mid-section. I have a large top and an even larger bottom. Something needs to delineate the ending of one and the beginning of the other. Simply put...without a belly-baring bikini...I look like a walking, talking mass of boobs-on-butt!
So there you have it. My reasons for baring it all...err, almost baring it all... in the summer. Trust me, it still isn't a very pretty picture but what's a girl to do?
Hope everyone is having a wonderful summer and soaking up some rays! Catch up with you soon!
Friday, June 4, 2010
Home repairs, car issues, mounting bills, to-do lists that rival the length of the Appalachian trail...all of it keeps piling on. But at the end of the day, I take a good hard look at what must be done and realize it isn't all that bad, especially if I take it one task at a time. It could always be worse. I've come to appreciate the adage that basically says: If I were to throw my troubles into a pile with everyone else's, I would quickly retrieve my own. That isn't the exact verbage but you get the point.
Personally, I think my erratic heartbeat is caused by nothing more than excessive caffeine consumption prior to exercise as the problem seems to only arise on days I've guzzled more than my fair share. Then again, my heart also seems to race when I make eye contact with a few hot, buff, studly men at the gym. AND, it will skip a beat when one of them actually smiles at me. But it always returns to a regular rhythm....cause a smile is all I get. Can't blame a girl for dreaming, now can you? ;-)
In other news, I'm heading to Atlanta to rescue my daughter's car from airport parking. The child was fortunate enough to go to Canada to visit her boyfriend's family. As her week long visit was coming to a close, she made the decision to stay for the summer. Ahhh, to be so young and carefree! His family helped her find a job and she is getting the experience of a lifetime. The plans to retrieve her car fell through and it is now momma to the rescue. But isn't that what moms do? Ride in and save the day? Her spontaneity has had me shipping boxes of clothes across the border and now bailing out a vehicle that has been locked up for almost a month. Fees have been mounting daily. I can only imagine...and literally cringe...at the thought of how big this bill will be. Just another example of how life creates an never-ending stress test.
Before I go, I have a favor to ask. For all you blog friends who live in the Atlanta area...if you see I'm AWOL from the blog scene longer than usual, please come rescue me. I fear I may still be aimlessly wandering the rows and rows of parked cars looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack. I plan to pack a snack just in case I get lost.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
You are who I dream of...
...the way my luck has been going lately...
YOU are the one I will most likely get...
A bad-a$$ medieval punk who does nothing more than leave hell in his wake. (Looks like someone missed his bi-annual dental visits. *shudder*)
Guess I should take up a sword and fight my own battles. What do you think? Think I can become a bad-a$$ medieval wench who rushes into combat and comes out victorious??? I'm thinking a little dragon slayin' is good for the soul.
Happy Hump Day and may all your demons forever be banished!
Friday, May 21, 2010
Before I go I want to share this picture I found in photobucket when lurking around recently. Doesn't it just scream "good times" and tropical places??? Ahhh, if only I was heading for warm sandy beaches........
Here's to a weekend of sunshine and smiles! Cheers!
Friday, May 14, 2010
I suppose you are wondering how in the world mergers and acquisitions apply to a Friday blog post. Shouldn't I be celebrating the fact another work week has come and gone? Aren't Friday posts supposed to be filled with the anticipation of all things good the weekend will bring? Isn't it a time to party it up with a little Friday fun? Well, you guys know me. I have this need to be different, to stray from the expected. So...today I choose to forgo the standard Friday fare and make an announcement. I'm planning my own merger & acquisition! What does that mean? I'm planning a total blog re-do and I felt it only fair to warn you of the upcoming changes. So here goes...
When I started this blog roughly a year and a half ago, I had not a clue where I would go with it. Honestly, I never in a million years expected anyone would ever read my ramblings. And that was okay. I merely wanted to record my feelings, my trials and triumphs, as I settled into a new way of life...the life of a single empty-nester. I had no intention of creating a crafty blog. I wasn't comfortable posting my layouts. I was timid and shy with regard to sharing them. Yeah, I'm sure you all are rolling your eyes and thinking I'm full of bull with that statement. How can a girl who writes about fat feet, big boobs, marathon pee sessions and gyno exams from hell ever be timid and shy? Well, I ain't lyin'!!! I had a very hard time putting my creative side on display. But I finally put my big girl panties on, sucked it up and posted a layout. From that point on, this blog seemed to take on a life of its own and it's self-imposed chartered course seemed to be crafty in nature. That was where I was at the time. Now my life is on a different course. My days are filled with different activities and my goals are constantly being redefined. Where I once spent my spare time commuting to see my man in Atlanta and filling the gaps with all things related to scrapbooking, I am now settled into a life in my own hometown working on strengthening my mind and my body. My focus has shifted and that is what brings me back to the mergers & acquisitions.
Several months ago, I started a different blog where I wrote about single life. I've always said writing is my therapy and my "other" blog was exactly that. By writing, I sorted through the break-up of my 3 year relationship/engagement, wrote of the craziness of internet dating and even told of a whirlwind romance that didn't end so well. It was a relatively anonymous blog as I felt the material wouldn't be well received by everyone. It served a purpose at the time but that time is over. I've now made the decision to merge the two. This will be my one and only... the landing spot for everything "me". The good, the bad, the ridiculous...it will all be right here. And you can trust it will be a massive hodge-podge of everything ranging from fashion to home repairs, dating highs and lows, family fun, self-acceptance and there could even be the occasional crafty creation. My strategy of bringing the two blogs together is an attempt to merge the varying aspects of my life. I realize I have been unknowingly living a double life of sorts. I've separated the single girl from the other girl...the real girl. I've found myself wanting to write of various events in my life but unsure which blog warranted the post. It has become a little too much for even me to handle. It is time to "merge" the different sides of me in order to "acquire" a whole and complete me.
As you know, life changes. People change...and people come and go. I was married...but he left. I was a mom....then they grew up and set out to make their own way. I was engaged...now I'm not. Through it all, friends have come and friends have gone. This is life....my life. I entitled my blog Takin' Life One Day At A Time for a reason. I've come to realize, life isn't, nor will it ever be, constant. The only sane way to ride this buckin' bronco called life, is to take it as it comes. To not worry about tomorrow. Simply live for today. Each day brings its own challenges and rewards and I don't want to miss a thing by fretting over what the future will bring for it will certainly be different, maybe even the polar opposite, from anything I think it might be.
My life is fun, challenging, boring, overwhelming, exciting, normal, anything-but-normal... my life is all these things and more. My life is good and I want to write about it. I have made some amazing friends in blogland. You guys have supported me, encouraged me, laughed at/with me, cried with me, offered cyber hugs and brightened my world with each and every comment. I hope you will hang with me as I revamp my blog and continue to take life one day at a time.
Thursday, May 6, 2010
Several weeks ago, Keri sent me a link to sign up for daily Shop It To Me Sales Alerts. The link offers the chance to pick from various shops/designers and receive daily notices on their reduced items. Being a lover of all things fashion related, I jumped on it. Nothing like a little fashion escape to make every day a little brighter. Stores and websites like Piper Lime, Blue Fly, Urban Outfitters, Banana Republic, J Crew, and many more were on the list. Even high-end designers were an option but I thought it best to stay within the boundaries of my budget and selected those that are more reasonably priced. No need to be tempted by things I could never afford.
One of my favorite shoe gurus is Steve Madden...always hip and fun. Today, I thought I would share a few of my Steve Madden faves from a recent sale alert. Note: my absolute-favorite-think-I-might-just-have-to-buy-them pair are the last two...C-U-T-E!!!
Notice there is a commonality among the shoes...they all are rather "chunky". That would be the style I am most drawn to. Guess it comes from having "chunky" Fred Flintstone feet. The additional umph of a hefty shoe helps dwarf...ok, only slightly minimize...my ginormous feet. One lesson I learned a long time ago, dress for your body type...or in this case, for your foot type??? Let's just say, I do everything I can to downplay my abnormally ugly, pudgy appendages. Way cool shoes definitely help!
By the way, while I have a closet full of shoes (I quit counting when I crossed into triple digits) I tend to wear the same few pair over and over. When you work at an auto restoration establishment, you get more than your share of crazy stares when you wear your "fun" shoes to work. So I just go for functional. But you can bet I pull out the good-time-girl shoes when going out.
Hmmm, now that didn't sound exactly right. I'm thinking I just labeled myself something not-so-nice...
Monday, May 3, 2010
I suppose you are wondering what I DID do during all that time. I ooh'ed and ahh'ed over everyone's creations, helped pull together co-ordinating items for my scrapping friends, spent a nice little chunk of change on new items at the sweet little scrapbook store we visited and laughed until I hurt. Oh yeah, I can't forget to mention all the food I consumed and you can bet chocolate was devoured in enormous quantities! With my hands idle, I HAD to do something...popping M&M's seemed to be the best option!!!
Hope you all had a wonderful weekend celebrating National Scrapbook Day! Wishing you a week of sunshine and smiles! xoxo -L
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Ellen has a RAK that includes all these goodies:
There is also a giveaway on the Cuttlebug site for this baby:
Go to THIS post on ellen's blog for all the details of how to be included in both drawings. Hurry now! I know you would hate to miss out on all this loot!
Monday, April 26, 2010
This weekend was a time of friends, family, food and fun! Saturday, my baby girl turned 20! Sunday, I turned...another number. LOL! I've always thought it a really cool thing to have back-to-back birthdays with Keri. Once the party starts, it seems to go on and on and this weekend was no exception.
It began Friday with lunch-time margaritas (me), dinner with dad & step-family(her) and late night dining and drinking with friends (me). Saturday was spent hanging around the house reminiscing then hosting a dinner-and-game night for Keri's special day. At the too-late-for-me hour of 1:00 am, I finally crawled in the bed for a few hours of shut eye before my day rolled around. Lunch with friends and family followed by a convertible ride made for a really nice day. We closed out the weekend with a fun movie at home saying farewell to another year of birthday hoopla.
The only bummer to it all was a nasty allergy attack accompanied by a migraine on Sunday. Not so much fun but it didn't totally get me down. I only had to spend a few hours in bed nursing the headache and simply chose to ignore my swollen, watery eyes and stuffy nose. Now, Monday is here and I'm drinking cup after cup of coffee in an effort to stay awake and focused. While some would argue I'm getting way too old for this (me being the ring leader of that argument), I hope the tradition continues as it is THE best way to spend a birthday!!!
To Little Miss Ker-Bear, I hope you had a wonderful weekend and thank you for making your mama feel so special! I love you!!!
Monday, April 19, 2010
Detour - "an indirect or roundabout procedure, path, etc.".
This weekend I visited the Howard Hilton. It's that time of year...a time to relax and recharge at my little home away from home. Due to a major rock slide on I-40, my usual route was closed and I had to follow an alternate path. One of the things I cherish most about driving on a Friday night is the time afforded me to reflect and unwind from my busy work week. As I was making my way west late Friday through meandering, mountainous back roads, the thought struck me as to how often life is filled with detours. Those moments when life as we know it gets turned upside down and we are forced to take an alternate route. The last few years of my life have held one detour after another and I find myself facing a change of plans once again.
While experiencing all the deviations from my planned life course , I have learned detours can be rather scary things. Much like my Friday night commute, any new way of getting-where-I'm-going is foreign. Unsure of turns required and unaware of upcoming bends in the road, I am forced to travel at a slower pace. The same principle applies to life events. When taking an unfamiliar path, I must slow down and pay attention. I can no longer drive on auto-pilot. The comfort of the familiar is gone. I must rely on maps and road signs for direction on the highway, looking to friends and life experience for direction in life. Of course modern technology offers mapping systems to "talk" me to my intended destination, but a GPS for life is yet to be invented. Even if a modern miracle occurred and I was able to map my life's course of action by pushing a few buttons, the mapping systems are rarely updated with detour information. When roads are closed, the traveler finds himself lost and confused...a place I've often found myself when meeting life's roadblocks. A great amount of faith and a good sense of direction are needed to "motor on".
There is, however, an up side to having my world shaken and stirred. Detours do not mean defeat. The goal, or intended destination, can still be reached. Occasionally, an altered plan is easily spotted and life continues. Other times, more thought and ingenuity is required to map a new path. There are even times the change allows me the chance to consider the path I am on. Do I need to go where I'm going? Or is another road... another city... another location meant for me? Maybe I shouldn't be traveling in the first place. It could be I am already right where I need to be. Detours can alter and/or validate decisions. My encounters with alternate life routes have provided opportunities for growth and a chance for improved self-awareness.
I've traveled some dark and scary roads and certainly hit a few potholes on my back road journeys. I've also come to appreciate that some of the back roads took me through scenic areas I would have never had the chance to enjoy were it not for the change of plans. Then again, there were also times I couldn't wait to get back to familiar territory. This time I have no idea which path I will take. I need to map a course of action and just go with it... see where it leads. Regardless of where I land, I will do what I always do and keep on truckin'.
So today I raise my glass to life's detours. May they prove to be pot-hole-free-panoramic by-ways that get me back to the well-lit-smooth-sailing highway of life. Cheers!
Friday, April 16, 2010
I must admit, I considered a few of your suggestions and followed through with the most common one. I did indeed have a drink...or two. It was then I began to fully appreciate Sandi's suggestion to add laxative to his tea! After downing a cocktail or two, the idea took root and began to grow into an obsession of sorts. Fantasies of Mr. Boss Man spending his day perched atop the porcelain throne felt like proper penance for my recently acquired bald spots...a much better plan than my original one that had me serving a life sentence for murder. Seemed a road trip to my local pharmacy would be just the thing...but I decided against it. Upon second thought, I realized I don't really need another excuse for him to be crabby and intestinal issues would certainly send him down the I-hate-the-world-so-I'm-gonna-make-your-life-hell path. Good news is, with the stress of our "big" meetings behind us, he has returned to the boss I know and only sometimes love.
Hope your weekend is filled with all things good! Later! -L
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
In all seriousness, I truly love the guy. But today, let's just say I don't like him so much. He's one of those people (see THIS post) who needs to contradict your every word. Me wrong. Him right. No matter the subject. Even if I regurgitate his words verbatim, I'm told I'm wrong. Wouldn't be a problem except I've been creating loan restructuring agreements per his specifications the past few days. I'm beginning to develop bald spots where I'm pulling my hair out... slowly... painfully... while growling and calling him not-so-nice names under my breath. The final straw came when I typed his hand written notes EXACTLY as he wrote them and was told "Huh-ney! You just don't have a clue, now do you?"
Hmmm, wonder if he has a clue of the hidden dangers of telling a stubborn, over-achieving, hot-tempered, perfectionist she doesn't have a clue? I'm just sayin'...
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Then it happened. I returned to my call offering an apology for the interruption. I'm so sorry but Rob just brung muffins... I stopped mid-sentence...held my breath in hopes I wasn't heard...then laughed my butt off!
Dang, that isn't even a word!
And yes, I did just type "dang". Guess there's no denying where I come from!
Oh, by the way, after my horrifying but humorous slaughtering of the English language, I had a muffin after all. I think my will power went out the window with my ability to speak proper English.
Monday, April 5, 2010
Friday began in the most awesome of ways...sunny skies and temps in the low 80's. After the horrifically snowy, frigid winter we had, I was thrilled to finally feel the heat of a blazing sun on my skin. The warmer weather afforded me a lovely little convertible ride to Georgia. Two hours of wind whipping through my hair and singing along to the radio at the top of my lungs...ain't nothing better for the soul. Never mind that my silly dancing-behind-the-wheel moves and my waaaayyyy-off-key vocals left many a confused and bemused traveler in my wake. Kinda forgot with the top down my antics werre exposed for all the world to see. Didn't bother me one teeny tiny bit! What did bother me was the enormous amount of pollen polluted air I inhaled as I zoomed down the highway. Can we say puffy, watery eyes accompanied by painful sinus pressure and nasty nasal congestion? The result was a beautiful allergy attack. Swollen eyes and runny red nose...simply beautiful!
My mother's house is in the rural town of Toccoa, GA. Not much exists in this lazy little town. At least that's how it appears to this big-city dwelling urbanite. Actually, Asheville, my hometown, is considered a small town by most people's standards, but I would argue it is a major metropolis when compared to the likes of Toccoa, GA. Up until last year, my mom was a life long resident of North Carolina. Given I've only been to her new house once, I got lost....several times. One reason is I can't see worth a darn at night. Another is the roads aren't marked very well and street lights are non-existent in her neck of the woods. Not to completely shift blame, but the directions I was given weren't exactly accurate. Growing up in a backwoods, countrified area, I'm accustomed to directions based on landmarks. The kind where you turn up yonder just a little ways past the baptist church and travel on a piece til you git to the dirt road on the other side a' the creek then make a left after the second hay field. Again, I am a country girl by definition but Oh. My. Word! I can't always tell a hay field from any other field, especially not in the dark! And will someone please tell me where one field ends and another begins? What exactly delineates the two? This was the manner in which I was told how to find the needle of a house in the sea of hay stacks. My favorite was being told to "Turn between the two white fences..." Well, I never found two white fences. When I later questioned this fact, I was informed the fences may have moved but the road was still there. ?????????
Several wrong turns and backtracking of roads later, I finally arrived and was greeted by the smell of something heavenly and delicious. There is something ultra "homey" about the scent of any baked good wafting from the kitchen. The sweetness envelops you like a warm hug and reminds you of that old saying "There's No Place Like Home". My mom is a fantastic baker! Absolutely fantastic! People far and wide request her cakes. Friday night, however, was not her night. I've dubbed it The Night The Cake Came Alive! Having already made a scrumptious strawberry cake...my brother's favorite...she wanted to add a chocolate cake to Saturday's line-up. The baking cake was what lured me into the kitchen. I hovered over her with a spoon at the ready as she mixed the butter cream frosting. I had to have a spoonful to savor while the chocolate layers cooled. Her icing was the smoothest, creamiest I've ever tasted. I could only imagine how good it would be once slathered all over the chocolate yumminess of the cake.
Seems I wasn't destined to find out how good it really would be...at least not in the traditional cake-eating sense. Through some misfortune of fate, the layers didn't fully release from the pans. With great painstaking effort, we reconstructed them to what we hoped would be "stable" layers. As mom began frosting the bottom layer, we began to think we might have pulled off the save of the century. If we could succeed in transferring the next two layers, all would be well. Layer number two. Ummm...kinda, sorta made it. With crossed fingers, Mom added the frosting in hopes it would serve as the glue that would hold it all together. Again, so far so good. Then came layer number three. Carefully and oh so gently we placed it on top of the other two. It was then that disaster struck. The cake suddenly sprang to life and began to creep. From the center outward the white of the frosting began to meld into the mocha colored layers creating an ooey-gooey mess. The cake platter on which it rested could not contain the molten marvel. I tried valiantly but unsuccessfully to wrap my arms and hands around it in an attempt to keep its intended circular shape. The result was an ooey-gooey ME! All I could do was laugh and lick myself! Hmmm, that doesn't sound exactly right but you know what I mean. After all was said and done, I wasn't feeling so well. I may in fact have consumed the equivalent of half a cake. Who really knows? I went to bed that night with my sweet tooth sated and a seriously upset stomach. As I lay in bed listening to the defiant rumblings of my tummy, feeling my hips growing with each and every gurgle, I prayed my retro workouts would in some way off-set the damage I had done...hoping like heck Billy Blanks and Jane Fonda wouldn't abandon me in my hour of need.
So ended day one of my weekend get-away. This is but a mere prelude to the zaniness of Saturday. I'll be back with a few more stories later this week. In the mean time, here's a fun little challenge. Make like me and cover your hands and arms with frosting then lick til your hearts content. I can promise you it will be fun but I can't promise you won't need a few Tums!
Monday, March 29, 2010
When I first began to indulge, I drank from the styrofoam cups provided at the office. That only lasted a short while. First of all, they are too darn small. Secondly, the lightweight properties of these cups have no thermal benefits resulting in cold coffee in a hurry. So I went in search of the perfect travel mug. Not only would I be able to enjoy piping hot coffee at my desk, I could now brew a pot before leaving home and enjoy a mug on my daily commute.
Enter the perfect travel mug. Perfect for everyone except a lame-ass like me. While it fit every one of my requirements...large, thermal and cheap...it fails miserably in a few critical areas. I suppose I should cut it some slack as it might actually be me that is failing.
I awoke a bit early, eager to try out my new "toy". I quickly got ready for work, taking a little less time to apply my much-needed makeup. I even chose the no muss, no fuss pony-tail as I wanted plenty of time to prepare the perfect cup of coffee.
I meticulously measured out the grounds, filled the reservoir of the coffee maker with water and stood anxiously waiting for the pot to fill. Do you know how freakin' long it takes a damn Mr. Coffee to brew? Drip.........drip..........drip. Holy Mother of *****! I guess I'm used to the mac-daddy Bunn variety at work that fills a pot in mere seconds. Okay, so I might be exaggerating just a bit but it is certainly speedier than my version at home. And yes, the coffee maker is programmable and yes, it does have a Pause 'n Serve feature, but we are talking about me here. You know as well as I do I never think far enough ahead to have programmed the darn thing the night before nor do I think rationally enough to use the features that cost me a few extra bucks. Lesson learned. Eventually, the cycle was complete and I could fill my freshly washed travel mug. With cup in hand, I set out to start my day. I felt like such a grown-up!
Once situated behind the wheel of my car, I followed my morning ritual of situating my belongings. First order of business, neatly stash a handful of work papers in my tote oh so perfectly placed in the passenger's seat, followed by my purse and lunch. All that remained in my grasp was my Zone bar breakfast, a banana to chase the bar and my piping hot mug of joe. I proceded to place my lovely new mug in the cup holder in order to chow down on the chocolate zone bar. Nothing better than chocolate in the a.m. Well, color me frustrated! It didn't fit! Not to be derailed in my attempts to be a real-life-coffee-drinkin' commuter, I precariously perched it in the holder in a manner that was somewhat reassuring that it would survive the ride. Sure enough, it did. However...
I was now cutting it close to being on-time (something that happens all too frequently) so I practiced my mad driving skills. You know, the kind where you zoom in and out of traffic all the while praying like hell you don't get caught. I whipped into my parking space rather proud that I would walk through the door of my office just in the nick of time. I grabbed my tote, my purse and my lunch, trying to toss both my purse and my VERY large tote over my shoulder. In so doing, I slightly bumped the gingerly planted mug. It tipped sideways and I found myself sitting in a sea of coffee. Being new to the whole concept behind the idea of "travel" mug, I had not fully snapped the lid shut. In my defense, I had tightly sealed it before leaving home. But I had to live up to my new cool, grown-up ways. Just in case anyone happened to be looking as I darted in and out of early morning travelers, I continually took sip after sip from my mug. One hand on the wheel. The other clamped around the mug. All the while knowing the image I was projecting...busy, important professional. A little too caught up in looking like a big shot, I forgot to close the cap when I finally placed it back in its resting spot. Again, lesson learned.
Beyond Day One
Since that day, I have learned to program my Mr. Coffee. Fresh java awaits me each and every day. (Disclaimer: While I did learn how to program my coffe pot, I have to confess I no longer brew my own coffee. Leah is our resident coffee meister and maker. All I must do is "pour"!) I also never put the cup down in the car without being assured it is sealed. Yet one lesson remains to be learned. Do NOT. I repeat do NOT, ask me how I do this. We are talking about me...Lisa...the klutz of all time. It would be a waste of your valuable time to try to solve this mystery. Not a day goes by that I do not end up sporting that lovely hazelnut aroma by way of a few coffee stains. Yes, my friends, somehow...some way...I spill coffee on myself. Either I drool, I don't swallow fast enough, I tilt the mug too far????? Who the hell knows! It may even have something to do with the fact I was born before the invention of sippy cups. Isn't a travel mug nothing more than a grown-up version of a sippy cup? Actually, I like that excuse. Completely removes all burden of blame from my already overly burdened little shoulders. But when you consider the fact 2 year olds can master the skills required to drink from the toddler version...... *sigh*...... Let's just say it isn't a flattering picture of me either way you paint it.