Thursday, May 31, 2012

24 Ways to Know You've Been Married 24 Years

1. You can't think of anything your spouse doesn't know about you.

2. You text each other grocery lists instead of love notes.

3. You text apologies after an argument. And remind him to pick up dog food.

4. You know exactly what to say to annoy each other.

5. You annoy each other just for the entertainment value.

6. One (or both) of you doesn't bother to close the bathroom door anymore while peeing.

7. You know he can't hear you, but you start talking to him from the other room anyway. And get mad when you have to repeat yourself.

8. You started your marriage with traditional gender roles. Now he does the grocery shopping because he's better at it. And the cooking. You have the sex talks with your sons.

9. You have at least one kid you can't get to move out who really should have moved out two years ago.

10. You used to look deep into each other's eyes and declare your undying love for each other. Now you discuss how much is in the checkbook and what you need from Lowe's.

11. You used to have little people who asked for your food. Now you have big people who sneak your food and raid your chocolate stash after you go to bed. And then put the empty bags and boxes back in the pantry so you'll think you still have food.

12. Speaking of bed, you used to spend the night in each other's arms. Now there are two cats and a dog on your bed and sleep actually is more alluring than sex.

13. You have a bedtime and your children don't.

14. Your husband's mid-life crisis is a bright red convertible that he plans to pass down in the will to whichever child actually moves out at some point.

15. You annoy each other just because you're bored.

16. When you first got married, you attended rock concerts or drove to the beach just to get away for a weekend. Now, a date is dinner out that you cut short so you can get home to let the dogs out. Because your kids won't.

17. You have totally different interests. His interests bore you and your interests bore him.

18. 24 years ago, you couldn't stand the thought of being away from each other for more than a couple of hours. Now, you never have the house to yourself and dream of an exotic vacation. By yourself.

19. You stream videos on your laptop while he watches sports on television so you can be in the same room without wanting to kill each other.

20. When you first got married, you wore sexy underwear that matched. 24 years later, you wear three year old cotton underwear that is a size too small and pray you don't get into an accident.

21. Fun in bed now consists of getting in some extra reading time.

22. He agrees not to tell you you've gained 20 pounds if you agree not to ask him, "Do these jeans make me look fat?"

23. You're driving a 12 year old car with 150,000 miles on it. Because it's paid for and the taxes on it are cheap.

24. You'd marry him all over again, despite all of the above. Or because of it. Because 24 years later, you still know he's the guy that's perfect for you.


Friday, May 25, 2012

Our Dogs Hold Hands

Here's an awwww moment. Justin and I were both immediately on it with the iPhone cameras.

Please don't take her away from me! I LUV HER!

They follow each other around all day and Jack tries to herd Charlotte, even though she is technically the "herding" breed.

Charlotte is bringing so much joy to our household. Jack is no longer lonely. He waits for her before he will go out. She won't go out without him. They play at who is more dominant and, because Charlotte is half his size, usually ends up with a head full of saliva and ears that look like they went through a wringer.

I'm feeling as if we have reached our animal quota. I don't want to be one of those people that the city discovers with the urine smell so overpowering they can't enter the home without masks. I think two cats and two dogs will do it for us at the moment.

Charlotte was in the right place at the right time with the right personality. Now, if I can just teach her that 6:00 a.m. is an ungodly hour to get up to pee!

Happy Memorial day weekend to everyone. I hope you are either at the beach or at least eating barbeque, but please take time to remember why we have this holiday and those that have given their lives for our freedom. There is no way we can ever repay the debt we owe our service men and women.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

My Own Ruby Slippers

Shouldn't we all have a pair of these?
The other day, I had a doctor's appointment. For me, this is a huge event, preceded by extreme planning - what to wear, how long to allot for the hour long drive if it is raining and there might (might???? hahahaha!!!!) be traffic, what meds to throw in my purse, kindle or book I might finish if they are ever running late (never with this doctor), should I bring my sewing...

I never cancel appointments with this doctor or even reschedule them. And with the distance, you would think I'd never get there. Because an agoraphobic, neurotic mental patient usually has trouble getting to commitments five minutes away. An hour? In a 12 year old Jeep? Usually, I'd be searching for a new doctor. But, I've belabored how much I love my doctor before and why he is so worthy of ditching my fear of the outdoors for the hour long ride and the eighteen wheelers on the two land road through the mountains of West Virginia.

After the appointment, which ended in a referral to a specialist that hasn't been set up or rescheduled three or four times yet, I spent the hour back noticing that I was getting very anxious to get home. And I wondered whether that is true of most people. When you get done with whatever you have planned outside, are you pushing yourself to get back inside?

I had two errands to run before coming home, both at the end of my trip. I convinced myself that I could do them, stopped off at the first store, made it to the second store, and then drove the last mile to the house. And stumbled up the steps with my bags, so incredibly glad to come home. And also incredibly glad that I had nowhere to go for the next two days.

I didn't realize this, but agoraphobia is not actually a fear of leaving your house. It's a fear of situations from which you might not be able to escape. Why this should include wide-open spaces, I have no idea, but it makes sense that after having panic attacks in crowds, at the mall, in traffic, all situations from which it is difficult to extricate myself, my fear of going out seems completely normal to me.

The difference between agoraphobia and claustrophobia is that claustrophobia is the fear of small, enclosed, confined spaces. It's way more specific. And it isn't related to the fear that you are going to have a panic attack. Agoraphobia comes about because you've had panic attacks in certain situations. In my case, I've had panic attacks in so many different situations that it has become more safe for me (in my mind) to just not go anywhere. And then when I do eventually manage to get myself out of the house, I find that I actually enjoy it, unless a situation presents itself where I am unable to escape. Like traffic. Or the mall. (The mall is the 10th circle of hell. I'm pretty sure that Dante would have added it if there had been malls when he was writing his Inferno.)

But back to the original question. Do all people start getting anxious when they are getting close to home after being out? I know people are usually glad to get home, but I can feel myself actually rushing when I know I'm headed away from whatever it was I was doing and heading back to my safe place. Which is different from my happy place, which only exists in my head. And Cabo.

I suspect that it's not really normal to have this kind of anxiety about the final destination of returning home and I suspect that most people do not rush the way that I do to get there. 

I think I would be pretty good if I was able to have everything I needed delivered, including healthcare (oh, those housecalls!), and never actually have to go anywhere. Justin often teases me a out how much I use online shopping and "taking things for a ride around the country." I have become an expert in seeing if I can get free shipping so I don't have to go out.

Of course, there are exceptions and things that I do like to do. I like to visit friends. I like to go to the embroidery group events. And I like the occasional lunch or movie with my husband or kids. But I still find myself rushing to get home.

As Dorothy said, "There's no place like home." I can see all kinds of uses for those ruby slippers.


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Did You Ever Have One of Those Decades?

You know how people will say they are just having one of those days? Or weeks? Or months? Or even years?

I think I'm having one of those decades.

On the one hand, there are some really neat things happening in my life. I joined the Embroidery Guild. I've met some new people and think some are potential good friend material. Joey got to sit in on his very first IEP meeting and that was totally cool. I'm going to the beach and will spend a whole week with my parents next month. And then Justin and I are going to Gettysburg in August.

On the other hand...

Do things ever all of a sudden just crush your spirit to the point where you wonder what the hell hit you? Last year, I kept saying I couldn't wait for the year to be over because it was the worst year of my life. And really, it was a bad year. We lost Justin's dad. My mom was going through horrible treatment for metastatic cancer. My best friend's breast cancer had come back. So I figured that 2012 had to be better, right?

Fast forward to 2012 and holy cow, can we rewind the clock or something?

Malea's cancer is now stage 4 metastatic breast cancer and is in her lungs, pleura, and her neck. She is undergoing extreme chemo again and is having horrific pain. I don't know what to do to help her, but the best thing I can do is be her friend and just be here for her.

And, as I try as hard as I can to handle how bad things are for the woman who is more like my sister than my best friend, I am also having some health problems of my own. Some vague and unrelated symptoms have come together to a point that I am starting to think something might be really wrong - like possibly needing surgery wrong. Again.

Since moving to Winchester, I've had two major surgeries. Gall bladder in 2007 and hysterectomy in 2010. I think the hysterectomy has caused more problems than it solved and that is what is worrying me now. I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow to see what the hell they think might be going on.

Right now, I am terribly frustrated with myself. I'm angry that my body is breaking down on me again when my best friend needs me so much.

And between feeling like crap and worrying about her, I just can't seem to get myself together.

I spend more time in my pajamas than in clothes. And speaking of clothes, I keep having to go buy bigger ones, which is also depressing the crap out of me. I'm finally into the old lady section of the store, looking for pants with elastic waistbands. What the hell? In my mind, I'm still 16 and weigh 105 pounds and am too skinny. In reality, my pants size is in double digits.

I'm exhausted, but I can't sleep.

I can't get off the couch. Except to move to the recliner.

I'm not getting the sewing done that I would like to get done. I'm not reading the massive amounts of books I usually read. I am trying more than usual not to go out the door. Last week, I had something scheduled every single day and it freaked me out.

I'm not writing nearly as much as I used to. And I miss it. I've lost my rhythm and can't seem to get it back.

Yesterday, I got caught up watching a movie and didn't even shower until noon. I used to shower when I got up first thing in the morning because I didn't feel like the day had really started until I had a shower.

I know, this sounds like major depression. Except I don't think it is. I don't feel sad so much as I feel frustrated and angry. I want to feel better. I want Malea's cancer to go away. I want the three stress free days at a spa that we had planned.

I wish I had something pithy and interesting to say to end this post, but I'm just too tired to try to come up with something that smacks of wisdom.

All I know is that I wouldn't want to be 16 again. I like being in my 40's. Except that bad things are starting to happen all around me and I'm not sure I'm mature enough to handle it all.

So, I guess the way I will end this post is to say that things will get better, hopefully. And to stay tuned for a giveaway.  (I know, right? You weren't expecting that!)

If you would like to help my friend with her medical costs, please go to Save Malea. She is back with her regular insurance, but she still has costs at the center every week. Every penny helps. A huge thanks from me if you are able to help or if you have helped in the past.


Friday, May 18, 2012

Bragging and a Video!

I just have to take a minute to brag about my 15 year old son, who did an awesome job last night in his final concert in the high school band.

When Ben was in tenth grade, he was in the same band and they went to NYC for a competition. Apparently, some of the concert band players this year had older siblings who also went and they wanted to play the Broadway rendition of The Lion King that Ben and his classmates saw while they were in the city.

Here is the band, with Jamie playing bongos in his final performance with the high school band. He will be taking other electives next year, so I am very glad I had my iPhone and was able to catch his last concert. If you are interested, you can watch the other three videos.


I have other video I'd like to upload, but I'm not sure that my new (female) dog humping my (male) golden retriever is within their You Tube's terms of service. Of course, I'm pretty sure that You Tube is where the adolescent boys all go for the 2012 version of pornography these days.


Enjoy! I surely did. I only wish I had sat closer so you could see Jamie play, but he is in the last row, right to the right of the band director and directly behind him.


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Today I'm Over There!

I finally got my stitching blog up and running with updates on my current projects. Please click on the The Next Best Stitch and wander around. Take your time, enjoy, and feel free to leave comments on how I can improve the site.

I hope to be back to writing more humorous, snarky things shortly. Life has a way of taking a toll on the humor portion of the brain.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

ANOTHER Kidney Stone? Really? Seriously?

It's 2:46 a.m. and all of the house is fast asleep. Except me.

I have this pain in my lower left side that started about the time I went to bed. It's an excruciating kind of pain that makes me want to scream, except then I'd wake up the whole house and there's nothing worse than a house where no one got any sleep.

I've had this pain off and on several times. The first time was on Thanksgiving Day. I had stayed home while Justin took the boys down to his mom's house. My parents hadn't moved to South Carolina yet, but my mom was in the middle of her chemo and I suspect she wasn't up to having Thanksgiving last year, although it's the middle of the night and I may be remembering that wrong.

No, I take that back. The first time I had this pain was when I was eight months pregnant with Joey and thought I had gone into labor. I should tell you that story sometime.

I do remember that the Thanksgiving pain last year came and went for several hours before ending in a crescendo of myself clutching the baby gate and screaming so loud that Jack came trotting to see what the hell the woman who pets him less than the man that lives here was hollering about. You've got to hand it to animals. They just know.

The pain eventually passed, in one way or another and I finally felt better. I missed Thanksgiving, but I remember Justin cooking Thanksgiving dinner for me on another day.

I got this same pain again sometime after New Year's and this time I went to Urgent Care because I thought for sure that something was going to rupture and I really wanted to be near a morphine drip when it did. After taking blood and urine and my vitals, the doctor was 99% sure I had a kidney stone because of the intensity of the pain and the blood in my pee. He sent me over to get a CT scan just to be sure and of course, it came back inconclusive. So, he left it at, "You had a kidney stone, probably." I love a man who commits.

Tonight, I went up to bed around 10:00, anticipating reading a little bit more of The Hunger Games on Joey's Kindle before falling asleep at 10:30, as usual. Since I discovered melatonin, going to sleep hasn't been a delayed nightmare for awhile. Now I get the nightmares after going to sleep (side effect), but I'd much rather have nightmares in my sleep than a nightmare getting to sleep. We got the kids and the animals all settled and read for awhile. We turned out the lights and I could tell that Justin was out like a light almost immediately. And then the pain hit.

I tossed.

I turned.

I rubbed my side, massaging, hoping it was something that might, you know, shift if I pressed hard enough and travel its way to its final destination.

Justin's phone rang and he turned it off. It chimed a voice mail. He got up and checked it. He came downstairs for awhile and worked.

I tossed. And turned.

Justin came back upstairs, got into bed, fell right back to sleep. He never knew I was awake because I had no desire to go to the emergency room.

I had to work progressively on not moaning and then not screaming. I went to the bathroom a couple of times and tried to pee.

The pain finally got so bad that I snuck downstairs for a double dose of my regular pain medication, hoping to knock myself out. I went back to bed. The minute I laid down, the pain hit again. I immediately bounced back up out of the bed and came downstairs and read some more of The Hunger Games on the Kindle while trying not to scream.

And I drank a lot of water, hoping to pass what must once again be a kidney stone. I debated waking Justin up and asking him to drive me to the ER, but since it is so much like the last time that it would be a waste of time and then he would be exhausted too. I have no desire to have the bright glare of medical land hitting me in the face at 3:00 in the morning.

I'm pretty sure the pain meds have finally kicked in or I passed the son of a bitch the last time I peed, because the pain has gone from a 10+ down to about a 7. Probably not down enough to sleep yet though.

The kids have to be up at 6:30. At this point, what's the point of going to bed?

Besides, I think I'm making Joey nervous about borrowing his Kindle to read the trilogy I downloaded for him because he asked me tonight if I liked the story and how far I had gotten. And then he suggested that I go to bed early and read like he does. (Not transparent at all, Joe. Not transparent at all. Good thing you're charming!)

So I'm up to part II in the book, I've been back and forth to the bathroom four or five times, I think I'm actually up later than my oldest son, who rarely hits the bed before dawn is on the horizon (which is around 4:30 these days - I now realize why we have daylight savings time, because otherwise it would be starting to get light in about a half hour or forty-five minutes).

But the pain has lessened for whatever reason and I am very happy about that. The daily, chronic, pain in the ass pain of fibro is one thing. The feeling that someone got angry at me and cut me with a very large, very sharp knife in my side is quite another.

Unfortunately, I don't think I'm anywhere near low enough on the pain-o-meter to actually go to sleep. Maybe I'll try to get a little farther through the book so that Joey will know he will eventually get his Kindle back.

P.S. On a side note, I have been working diligently on setting up my stitching website so I can stop boring stitchy people with my rather questionable writing skills and the people who are interested in the minutae of my boring life with my stitching. You'll note two new links on the right hand side of the page. The Heaven and Earth Designs link is for a specific project I am working on that displays only works in progress by that designer so that we can all encourage each other to keep going. (Because they are BIG. ASS. PROJECTS.)

The second site, The Next Best Stitch, is my new site and so far, I have managed to get pictures of most of my completed work and works in progress up. All that remains is for me to set up a tab for Love Quilts and actually put up a post and it will be all ready to go.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Best Kind of Mother's Day

When I was a teenager growing up in Vienna (Virginia, not Austria), my bedroom was directly over our front porch. The porch had an overhang which was directly under my window and I liked to climb out onto the overhang and sit on summer evenings. Sometimes my best friend who lived behind me and spent most of her time at my house and vice versa would sit out there with me. It was a good vantage point for 4th of July fireworks, but it was also a great place to people watch.

We also had a pretty mature tree in the front yard with awesome climbing branches. When my cat would escape, she would inevitably run right for the tree and claw her way up and then my dad would spend two hours cussing and trying to coax her back into the house. I used to climb that tree too and just sit and watch the neighbors coming and going. The tree was better because I could hide behind the leaves and imagine that no one knew I was there. I was "invisible." (Although I suspect my mother knew where to find me.)

I saw a lot from my vantage point in the tree and on the overhang over the porch. One set of neighbors had a messy divorce and one day all of the husband's clothes were all over the front yard. When things went south, I would come home from a date and find the wife in her car watching the house to see what her husband was doing. Sadly, they had a small son at the time. I babysat for them one time and they paid me $8 for New Year's Eve - prime babysitting time for teenage girls and usually fairly lucrative - and never asked me back because I spent the entire night on the phone with a friend and they couldn't get through to check on the child they later traumatized with affairs and divorce and visitation and stalking each other. $8 for New Year's Eve. They were hammered when they got home, but that's no excuse.

I had a kind of idyllic childhood. We moved every 18 months when I was little, as my dad kept getting transferred (not the military - he worked for Honeywell and they kept promoting him), but in 1977 we moved to Vienna and when the company wanted to transfer him to Texas (or somewhere equally unappetizing), he said, "I'm not moving my kids again" and found another job. So, I consider myself a Virginia native and that I grew up in Vienna.

We didn't live near any of our relatives (maybe by choice on my parents' part), so the little nuclear family of Mom, Dad, brother and sister was all there was. I have a lot of memories of growing up, going to high school, dating, spending the summers in long canasta tournaments with my best friend from behind my house, running through the hose, lying out on the back deck in a bikini slathered with baby oil for the best tan.

I remember the traditions my own mother established when we moved to Virginia for holidays, since we didn't have extended family to gather with. Christmas Eve was board games with my parents and brother (the one day a year) and brisket that cooked for 6 hours and came out of the oven falling apart that Mom would put out on a platter with cheeses and those little tiny bread slices and vegetables. Christmas Day would be the big turkey dinner. There was mistletoe in the foyer and a big tree that we would go out and cut down ourselves.

My parents made an effort to give us memories that we would take with us for a lifetime and, even considering the awful state of my memory today, I have fond memories of those teenage years. Later, my brother would rebel and there was lots of yelling and anger and sadness, but that came more after I left for college than while I lived at home and so there are a lot of good memories.

For these, I have my mother to thank.

Justin gave me a Mother's Day card today that says, in part, that I am "the heart of the home." I don't know how true that is about me, but it certainly was true about my own mother and I can only hope that my kids have as many good memories of growing up as I do about my own childhood. My mom truly is the glue that held us all together as a family.

I have done many things differently with my children. Part of it is due to my mental and physical difficulties. My oldest son once wistfully mentioned that we never did anything together as a family. That's not entirely true, but we did do more together when they were little than we do now. As teenagers, they have their own lives and they want their privacy and their freedom and we are trying to balance that with them needing to be a part of the family we have created. I don't know how I've done in the "mom" department, but I know my boys love me and I know they are empathetic, polite, respectful, and downright solicitous of how what they does will affect me. I know they love me. I know they care about me. Even if they don't spend time with me on a day to day basis, if I ask if they want to go out for breakfast or have dinner out at the local Italian restaurant, they are right there. If I say I want to go to a movie for my birthday, they go, even if it's not something they would see if they were choosing what we were seeing.

I started this post talking about how climbing that tree in my front yard as a teenager made me feel "invisible," but in a good way. Sometimes now, I feel invisible in my own house with my kids going so many separate ways and Justin working so much. I wonder if they would notice if I wasn't here and suspect they wouldn't so much until the laundry wasn't getting done and the glasses weren't getting down to the dishwasher. But I also know that when I go away, they are relieved when I come home. And that must mean that I'm not as invisible as I imagine myself to be.

I am blessed with three wonderful boys who care about me. I am blessed with a mother who raised me right. And I am blessed with a husband whose mother did an awesome job raising him.

All I want for Mother's Day is exactly what I have. And that's the best kind of Mother's Day anyone could ask for.


Saturday, May 12, 2012

May 12th is Fibromyalgia/ME Awareness Day

Do you know anyone with fibromyalgia? Chances are you do and you don't even know it.

Because its invisible.

But it still hurts. A lot. All of the time.

Please do something nice for your fibro friends today.


Friday, May 11, 2012

One Last (Hopefully) Stitchy Update

Just one more stitchy post until I can figure out a name for my new cross stitch blog. Thank you everyone for your ideas. I really want to include the word "domestic" in the title, but blogger keeps telling me none of my various combinations are available.

I dragged myself out of bed this morning and wasn't sure I could make it to embroidery club, but I knew I would be really sad if I didn't make it, so I forced myself to get up and get going. And here is the result!

I have a finished name tag! So thrilling. And the techniques I learned will allow me to finish the two Christmas ornaments I've got upstairs that I wasn't sure how to proceed on.

If anyone has experience with blogger, could you let me know? I really need to figure out how to find a name that is actually available. Is it possible that all of the name combinations are taken? Is the blogosphere full already? Scary...

I'm planning on a DMV trip tomorrow with Jamie, as we didn't get there last week. Not too thrilled about going to the DMV on a Saturday, but a promise is a promise and I know he is anxious to start learning how to drive Justin's sports car so he can wait until we go to bed and sneak it out to impress all the girls. "Hey, baby, wanna ride?"

I'm a little scared that he wants to learn to drive a stick shift. Ben never had any interest and still doesn't, which enabled us to keep our insurance costs down. Justin is insisting that he will start Jamie out on the sports car and teach him to drive the standard transmission from the get go. It is a good skill to have, but I worry about that car, because if something happens to it, Jamie's going to feel just awful and Justin will probably ground him until he's 50.

I should be cleaning bathrooms, since my cleaning person is out due to rotator cuff surgery and won't be back for probably another 3-4 weeks. I've been keeping up with the downstairs pretty well and have done a good job of cleaning the half bath every week, but just thinking about the upstairs makes me groan and find something else to do as quickly as possible. Upstairs is our master bath with soaking tub and standing shower and I can no longer reach across the tub to clean it. Overall, bathrooms are the reason I have a cleaning person to begin with. A 45 minute bathroom cleaning session will put me on the couch for 2-3 days.

Which is why I keep bribing Jamie to clean his bathroom and wipe down the surfaces in my bathroom. I have to get my perfectionistic tendencies under control and be glad that he's willing to let me hire him.

I think I'll just hermit and stitch, even though I have no idea if it is a hermit and stitch weekend!


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Help, I need a Title!

Just a short request. I am starting to work on my cross stitching blog and I need a title! It has to at least have the word "stitch" or "stitching" in it.

Anyone have a title for their blog that they ended up not using? There are so many that it may be hard for me to find something I can use! I'm being held up by lack of what else is new?



I will keep putting names into blogger until I find one that isn't already taken.


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words - Or Something

When you get down to it, every day life is kind of boring. You get up, you shower, you get dressed, you go about your day with your to do list. My to do list is generally not very long because of the fibro, but it always has one or two things on it.

But what I have realized in the last few months is that every day boring life? That's your life. And how many people can say they are really living their lives? How many are in the present moment? How many are telling the people they love how important they are and hugging their kids and stopping to smell the roses?

My life has recently been going through a series of decisions - what will I do with my blog, what do I want to focus my time on, what needlework projects do I want to work on. I need to pick up a prescription and get the new dog a pretty collar with some bling, because she's a girl and all girls need a little bling. I need a bubble wrap envelope so I can ship off my quilt square. I need to take Jamie to get his learners permit. I need to send my mom something for Mother's Day.

And while all of this mundane stuff is going on in my life, something much more life shattering is going on in the life of the best friend I have ever had.

As most of you know, Kaiser told her there was nothing more they could do for her metastasized cancer back in January. She found a holistic clinic that takes care of her as a person, not a number, and she and her husband proceeded to fund raise. Things were going okay. She looked healthy. She felt good.

And then things fell apart. In the last two weeks, it was determined that she has pleurisy in one lung and that the tumors in her lungs were not going away. And then the blood work came back and the cancer has spread to the tissue around the lungs.

A PET scan was scheduled. She had that on Friday. The pain was getting so bad that she couldn't breathe. Isn't it amazing how much we take breathing for granted?

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of spending the day taking Malea for bloodwork, for her IV treatment at the center, and to the pulmonologist, where they pulled 500 cc's of fluid out of her left lung and assured her that the pain would be gone within a couple of hours.

Instead, the pain has been getting worse. She can't find a comfortable position. She can't lie down or sit up. Her pain management is almost zero - I don't know why. She can't cough or sneeze or laugh because the pain is excruciating.

A call to her pulmonologist determined that she shouldn't still be in pain and that since she is in so much pain, it is most likely coming from the tumors that are clustered along her sternum and in her lungs. A CT scan has been scheduled for tomorrow and the PET scan results are in, but the report hasn't been written yet. The doctor told her today on the phone that there were "new findings" on the PET scan, but that she wasn't able to tell her what they were until the report came back.

None of this is good news. Malea is of course really scared and I am beyond scared for her. Right now, it is raining hard and it feels to me like the earth is crying with me because I am so anxious for her.

If anyone can beat cancer, it is my friend. But she is going through all of the what if scenarios in her mind right now and fighting back the fear that she won't be here for the birth of her first granddaughter in August. We are staying positive and believing that things will turn around.

But for now, my plans are on hold because I can't focus on them. I find myself staring off into the distance, sometimes with tears on my cheeks. Sometimes I find myself sobbing and Justin has to come and hold me until I can catch my breath. Sometimes I find a cat and lie down and just listen to him purr.

We had plans to go to the beach this week. We were going to have a girls' trip, just the two of us, to feel the healing of the ocean. Then we thought we could make plans once the fluid was drained, but she's in more pain now than before they did the procedure.

I want to give her a couple of really good, stress free, obligation free, cancer free days to just be herself and relax and enjoy the ocean or the lake or the mountains. It's the one thing I really, really want to do. I am praying that a miracle will appear and very, very soon.

Right now, I hate cancer with the passion of a thousand burning suns. It doesn't care who it picks on. It doesn't care that it ruins plans and causes horrific pain and suffering and it doesn't discriminate. It takes children. What kind of world are we living in when children die of cancer? Who is to answer for this?

Why is there no cure for this insidious disease? And why does it seem to be slithering its way into my life by striking the people I love the most?

The next time you are stuck in traffic, or in line at the grocery store, or your kid is driving you crazy, think about how lucky you are just to be able to breathe. I know I will.


Sunday, May 6, 2012

OMG, I Need to DO Something!

Just a couple of quick pictures. I know my blogging hasn't been really awesome lately, but, in my defense, I've been sewing my fingers to the bone trying to finish this:

Hearts and Flowers by DJ's Dreams

I promise, this will be the last time you see this piece.

Finally, finally I can say I am done with my first Love Quilt square and I am so very pleased with the way it turned out. I wasn't sure if the "LOVE" in the middle or the roses around it were going to show up, so I'm happy to see that they did. And luckily, it was all in one of my two favorite colors (10 points and a metal chicken if you can guess the other), so even while I was cursing the complexity of the pattern, I wasn't too unhappy to be working on it for so long.

And on another happy note, I have also finished my name tag for the Embroidery Guild:

Design by Betsy Morgan

Not to worry. That red border will be all covered up when I get the proper amount or cording sewn on around it.

The back of the name tag
I'm quite pleased with the way the back turned out and semi-pleased with the way the front turned out. I had originally embroidered a row of purple butterflies on the bottom, but when I realized that the name tag would be so large that birds would probably see it as a huge target when I went out with it on, I tucked the row of butterflies under. And that seems so...wrong. I may end up making myself another tag in different colors and with more butterflies. Like, at least, one?

I've also made a couple of decisions about where I'm going with this blog thing and the whole writing thing. Obviously sewing has taken precedence in my life lately and so I have decided to start a cross stitch blog and start posting my sewing on that site. I have not even sat down to figure out a title yet, so that's still in my head, but for those of you who have no interest in my sewing passion, you will be able to go back to reading only about the weird things that happen in my life. For those of you who just want sewing, you will have a place to go. And if you want both, feel free to click on both, once I get the sewing blog set up.

I've also decided to revisit the manuscript I started a year or so ago with the though that I might some day have a big enough blog audience to attract a publisher. I know that Jenny Lawson and Jen Lancaster are the exceptions, but if The Bloggess says that everyone has a story to tell, then I'm not going to tell her she's wrong.

And I have also started thinking about another children's book that Justin and I have discussed several times, using a different illustrator. I met the wonderful children's author and poet, Carolyn Wolfe, recently and read her new book, The Unhappy Little Dragon: Lessons Learned. I will be reviewing her book for her this week on this blog and I am hoping to collaborate with her on my new/old idea, as well as a glimmer of an idea that popped up on her Facebook page last week.

So, I have a lot of ideas and not much motivation, but I am hoping to gather enough energy to put some plans into place and actually make some kind of career out of the writing. And spend heavy duty amounts of time on the needlework passion. We'll see how things go.

Stay tuned...


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Love Quilt Square, Update 3033; New Family Member!

This is where I was before I picked it up yesterday. I got almost all of the spaces in between the new cream colored squares done last night, but I am too lazy to go all the way downstairs to take a new picture.

After I finish this bit, I have to add a few decorative hearts inside the new squares in dark pink (the theme is hearts) and do a backstitch around the design inside of the border. There is some other decorative embellishment, but I think I am probably going to stop with the border backstitch because this project is starting to frustrate me and stitching is supposed to be fun.

My next square will be a simple design that is not so time consuming. I am sad that I have been unable to work on my other projects or start anything new because I have to get this finished in time for the deadline. Hoping to have it done by the end of the weekend. Which may not be possible because...

Meet our newest family member. This is Charlotte, the royal border collie princess. We will be getting her from our vet (who raises and trains border collies) tomorrow. She came to visit yesterday for a few hours and fit right in. And she adopted me as her person, which is so totally awesome. Jack loves me and all that, but he is definitely Justin's dog and Justin is Jack's "person." This little girl is four years old, is the half sister of the number one border collie in the world, is calm, quiet, non-neurotic, and had Jack calmed down within an hour. She ain't taking anything off of the psychotic nut job that is our golden! (Relax, Jack, I still love you!)

I figure it will take a day or two for us to adjust to each other. Max has already adopted her as a member of the family - he will accept anything that breathes and allows him to get as close as possible - Kylie, probably not so much. I think she will not take as long to warm up to Charlotte as she did to Jack though. Now that she's come out of a two year, self-imposed hiding after we brought Jack home, I figure another dog is probably not going to send her back into a snit. Especially this dog, who didn't bark once the entire 6 hours she was here yesterday.

Today is board meeting and guild. We will be finishing our nametags at the Guild meeting and I will be very excited to come home and take a picture to post for you. Not so excited about the board meeting, since it is Apple Blossom weekend in Winchester (a huge deal in our little town) and we are expecting a crowd of 250,000 people streaming in. This morning's event is a walk which begins at the retirement home where I go to the meetings and I am concerned about a lot of traffic and lack of parking. I am glad I will finally get to eat a meal in the restaurant where Ben waits tables though.

Tomorrow, the kids are off of school for Apple Blossom (yes, another day off - do they really even go to school?) and Jamie is now officially old enough to get his learners permit. God help me, I will be spending my Friday afternoon at the DMV. Please God, let everyone else in Winchester be attending Apple Blossom tomorrow!!!

Hopefully, I will have two completed pieces to show you the next time I post. I will also have a million pictures of the animals, because the kids won't let me put them in the pictures anymore. *Sigh*


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

How To Treat a Telemarketer

We have a "home phone" which we never use, now that all of us have our own little smart phone gadgets. What our house phone is good for is routing telemarketing calls. I don't know why we are on anyone's list, but somehow our unlisted number gets a good many calls for political candidates, auto insurance, credit card offers, people trying to sell us stuff.

The calls always start out automated and then, if you are interested, you can either push a button or wait for a real person. Justin has gotten kind of creative in seeing if he can get us taken off of various call lists.

Profanity is the number one way to get rid of a telemarketer.

Here is number two:

Caller: Hold on for an amazing offer to decrease your credit card rates!

Justin: BRAAPPPP!!!!!

Real Person: Good morning. My name is Ashley (it's always Ashley). Would you be interested in lowering your credit card rates?


Real Person: (Weakly) Excuse me?


Real Person:

(Talking in the background: What is that? I don't know!)


Real Person: Hello?


Real Person: Click.

By this time, I am laughing so hard, I am crying. I have to admit it. I peed a little. And immediately changed my blog topic.

(This post brought to you by the magic that is my husband. I've never wanted him more.)