Friday, December 18, 2009

*sigh*

I have to say that Traci's funeral was wonderful. I am incredibly pissed off at myself for not coming to Chicago to see her when I could hug her, see her smile and hold her hand. But I shall get over it. It's just that from now on, when the opportunity presents it's self, I'll be sure to take it.

Nicole from our message board wrote a lovely letter and Beth read it. It shared the relationship that we had with her. Then people started coming up to talk about Traci. They were stories of fun and laughter, just like Traci. There were others who were there who had never met her, except on message boards and gamming sites. There was her boss who talked about her avility to make the most mundane tasks fun and interesting. And afterwards, people were cming up to Beth comlpimenting her and the group of women.

And it made me think.

We hold a special relationship. We've known each other for 6 years or so. That's a lot of time. And even though it's mostly through technology, it's still a valid relationship. The internet, for all it's problems, has also created wonderful things. And this was a true testiment to that.

So now everyone goes back to their lives, a little sad, a little changed. We settle in and are more aware of the fragile life. We understand that the friendships are forever and that we need to feed them by any means to keep them alive. And we remember.

I keep thinking things like "What World Shimmy Do?" or WWSD? *giggle* She'd like that. I also keep thinking of the play Our Town and how the woman looks back to when she was 12, after she has passed away. I sense a Shimmy on my shoulder at times. Pushing, giggling, instigating and supporting me.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Crying and laughing

I've been doing a lot of both the last few days. Mostly I feel like I am searching for something and I can't quite find it. I guess it would help if I knew what I was searching for.

At any rate I am off tomorrow to go to Chicago for Traci's funeral. I could kick myself silly for not making time to get there before this. But I'm going now. Never take it for granted, ok?



And if you could, keep Alison in your prayers. She has to have surgery tomorrow on her teeth. She's 7 and has permanent teeth that are stuck because the baby teeth won't fall out. Poor kid is going to be in some pain.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Don't Postpone Joy

Thursday night I was laying in bed watching TV with Pete. My phone rang and a woman said "Hi this is Becky." My mind searched for a Becky and I told her that I didn't know anyone by that name and she must have the wrong number. Then she called me my message board name.
So while my mind was still trying to recover from that she said "Traci is dead, she was hit by a train." My heart dropped. I was in disbelief and I froze. She started explaining and then had to go after asking me to post the news on the message board we're a part of. I hung up and stared at my phone. I tried to explain to Pete what happened and stared. I went on the message board and sat there, refreshing the page. I was sure that it was a hoax, so I waited about 15 minutes before I finally decided it wasn't a hoax and I needed to post the news.

That was 4 days ago. I still can't look at or hear a train without getting sick to my stomach. I know that I need to ride one soon though so that I can get over that feeling. I can't bear to see her smiling profile picture on Facebook without crying. I think it's because I can hear her smile. So I keep looking at it. I pull out the black boots that I have from the closet and stare at them because she loved boots and they remind me of her. I drank a nice dark beer Friday night in her honor, she would have been proud.

Oh yeah, I've never shook her hand, gave her a hug or looked at her eye to eye. All of our interactions have been through mail, email, texting, calls or the private message board we belong to. I can honestly say that if it wasn't for her and the other friends I have on there, I would not have gotten through some of the toughest times at work and in my personal life in the last 6 years.



I don't know what else to say about her. If you want to read about her go here or My Eclectic Mess or Camp Chaos or her finace's blog at Rockbottom To Redemption . You'll see that she was much loved and will be greatly missed. I keep thinking that I suddenly get this great inspiration to write something that will be all healing to everyone. To her fiance, to her 18 year old son, to her soon to be bonus kiddos, to her friends. But nothing seems comforting. Nothing seems to fill in that place that was her.

My one saving grace in this is that is was happy. She had her ups and downs in the years that I've known her. Some really really ups and some really bad downs. Last Thursday she was happy. I can only hope that she is at peace and that someday the rest of us will find peace too.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Traditions

I'm losing my left big toenail. And interestingly enough, it's a tradition. When Pete and I were married I wore these awesome shoes.

I loved them. My feet however, did not. I think I traipsed around Centennial Lakes about twice that day which comes out to about a mile. And it was .9 of a mile too long. Even though I took the shoes off after the ceremony, my feet were done. D.O.N.E. By the end of the night I wished for a fairy to come carry me off to bed.

Over the next couple of months I lost the nails from the 4th toe on each foot. Nice huh? I've never lost a nail before, so it was an intresting progression.

In September Pete and I went to Woodside Cottages for the weekend for our anniversary. It was lovely and secluded and we had a great time. Only, I opened the heavy wooden bathroom door on my left big toe. It pushed the nail back and caused me pain. Then I noticed bleeding. Since I hada pedicure and dark polish on I didn't see under the nail.

We came home and I neglected my pedicure for the next month. Then, one day, I took all the polish off. And there, under my big toenail, was evidence of the injury. I'll spare you the details, but it's not a pretty sight. I will say that Pete is anxiously awaiting the loss of the nail. If for no other reason, than so that he no longer has to hear about it each time I see the ugly nail.

So, there it is. Our wedding/anniversary tradition. I can honestly say I'm a little fearful of next year.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The dilemma

Ok, so I've been following The Pioneer Woman for a few years. I like her writing style and her sense of humor. Oh, and her use of butter. Butter is a good thing despite what Pete says. Or my doctor. Anyway, Ive got a dilemma.

I agreed to watch my 7 year olf niece and 4 year old nephew next weekend. Yes I did. I did it so that my sister and brother in law could go to Vegas. And so that they would really owe me BIG TIME. *insert evil grin* So I've been thinking this whole time how I could do all these cool auntie things with them all weekend and we'd have fun and we'd giggle and laugh and play. Then I realized that the book signing for the Pioneer Woman falls on the same weekend.

*sigh*

I just read that people are standing in line for 4 hours. 4 HOURS! to get their books signed. I've never been to a signing before, is this how they all are? So I could skin the signing and cry, pout and generally be grumpy all weekend. Or Pete (he really did offer) could run around the biggest mall in the US chasing a 4 year old and a 7 year old for $ HOURS while I stand in one place to get a signature. I have visions of Pete running around with a kid on each shoulder like a sack of potatoes while I stand. Or Pete calling me to say that he was lost, but the kids were looking for him (because that is what kids think when they run away from their caregivers...) Or all sorts of wild things that could happen inside that mall.

I know, it all sounds silly, right? 4 HOURS for a signature.

But, she's the Pioneer Woman.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

I miss it

Pete's sister took a trip to the Grand Canyon last weekend. Actually they drive a car to Scottsdale for someone and then flew back. This morning I looked at her pictures. I miss it. I miss Arizona. I miss the saturated blue sky. I miss the red rocks of Sedona. I miss the cool drive in the canyon down to Phoenix. I miss the landscape of rocks and vegitation springing out of nowhere. I miss the carved out gecko's in the freeway overpasses. I miss the warmth of the sun in the winter. I miss the people and the places that I hadn't yet had time to explore. I think I actually ache for a vacation there.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

I'm blank

I want to write. I sit and stare at the screen. I think all lofty thoughts. Only nothing comes out.

*shrug*

I guess it's just that way sometimes.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Without even thinking

I did very well this morning and had my whole wheat waffle with peanutbutter for breakfast. And it did the trick. Then I started working and got really into it. The working, I mean. About 9am I got a call from the girls downstairs to come down for birthday celebration. We went down and there was coffee and doughnuts. I took a chocolate covered old fashioned and kept the tea I was drinking.

Then I ate it.

Without even thinking.

I was shocked about 3/4 of the way through it, but figured that I had eaten that much, I may as well eat the rest. So I did. Only to find out that my little doughnut adventure cost me about 1/4 of my daily calories.

One quarter.

I was amazed later that I sat and ate that doughnut without even thinking about what I was doing. It really shows me how I mindlessly eat sometimes instead of eating with a purpose.

Monday, October 26, 2009

ME ME ME

I joined another gym. Pete and I did so good 2 years ago. We were going to the gym almost daily and working out and feeling good and losing weight. Then spring came and planning wedding and Pete's Dad dying and motorcycle season and it all went to hell.

In the last 18 months Pete has gained all the weight back that he lost and I gained the weight back. He's not happy and frankly I'm not happy with me. I've done everything that I can to support him losing weight again. Then I realized that the one thing he did for me 2 years ago was to lead by example.

So I started walking again Saturday. I'm going to walk on the treadmill every day that we don't go to the gym. And today is the first gym day. No Matter What.

Livestrong.com
I'm addicted to this application on my phone. It tracks the calories eaten and the exercise done for the day. It gives you a percentage your daily intake so show how much you've consumed. It really put the whole thing in perspective for me. I enter everything that I eat and really think about what I'm putting in my mouth.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Pulled back in

I tried so hard the last couple of years to be me. To do what makes me happy. I thought I had found a balance between family and me. Although my Mom would make comments about me not attending things, I let them roll off my back and went on about my business.

I feel like I'm getting pulled in again. My Mom wants everyone to make more of an effort to go over to see my Grandma more often. To check up on her and spend time with her. I have no issues doing that. Only I know that other people won't do the same. So I'm at that point where I feel like the weight of it all is on me. I need to remember that I do my part and not worry about others. I need to rememeber this. I need to remember to not lose myself in this also.

Just now, I realized that it also worries me about caring for Mom and Dad should the need arise. Will the weight of the care fall onto me?

I need to keep myself in all this. Remember my resolve to make me happy.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Family Ties

I was just out of college and job seeking. It was difficult. I completed an internship over the summer and was talking with my internship supervisor about how to job seek and what tools I needed. He told me that I should immediately move away from the area and my family. That I needed independence that I wasn't getting by returning to the area that I grew up in.

Thankfully I did not take his advice. I realize that sometimes family can be a detriment to people. I realize that independence is a skill that everyone needs. However, those things don't have to come at the expense of a family who cares about you.

I am tied to my family. For better or worse as they say. Though they may irriate me, hurt me, insult me, they also love me, support me and are my family. I cannot turn my back on them. I will not turn my back on them.

I love them. Deeply. For the things that they have sacrificed for me. For the things that they have done because of me. For the love they showed me. For the encouragment they gave me. For being my family.

My last grandparent is in the hosptial as we speak. Honestly I'm barely holding it together. Of all my grandparents, I am most close to her. I lived with her for three years. I love her. I don't know what I'd do without her. I need prayers for her. For my Mom and my Aunt. For me. I need prayers for me.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The people they can become

I really believe that sometimes we have to have enough faith in someone to let them become who I know that they can be. Does that make sense?

Somtimes the people in our lives are so battered and bruised that they are fighting for their life. Not that they are in danger of being killed. More like they are in danger of letting go of all hope inside them and letting go of the dream for a good life. They've been fighting with themselves, with others around them, bad influenses, for so long, that they don't know how else to act. They don't know how else to just be.

They need someone, anyone to believe in them. To know that inside of them is a better person just waiting to come out. Someone who is happy to live life. Someone who fights for the right reasons, not just to fight. Someone who learns that people can be nice. Someone who thinks that caring about others is a good thing. Someone who not only needs believing in, but also believes in others.

I've seen it in my life. Lived it. Believed in someone. Watched as they grew. Watched as they changed. And saw the benefits from it. Saw the life that arrose from all that fear and fight. It's a magical thing. And yet I know that there are those out there who may read this and not understand. Sometimes you need to believe in someone else. Not just for them, but for yourself. You need to give the benefit of the duobt so there are no "what ifs" lingering on into old age. You need to know that you did anything and everything for that other person so that you did anything and everything for yourself.

Like I said, it's a magical thing. One that not everyone experiences, but those that do, are touched forever.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Peace for K

I grew up thinking that my Mom's cousin was my aunt. And in all fairness, it was kind of the truth. You see my mom's cousin (let's call her K) was orphaned in her teens. So my grandparents took her in and raised to adult. So she is kind of an aunt.

Anway K married out of high school to a successful man and they had babies. Three babies. A daughter and two sons. The older son was a year older than I and the younger son was my sister's age. We spent countless holidays running around my Grandma's basement, bowling, playing pool, poker and other things. The older son used to tease me and call me Stacy. Years later we laughed about it.

On Chrsitmas one year when I was in junior high we got a call that the sons had been in a 3-wheeler accident. The older son was fine. Although the younger son was wearing a helmet, the footpeg hit the side of the helmet and crushed his skull. Life changing. Depressing. Sad. He would spend 10 years in a coma. Growing up, but not alert enough to realize it. My 'aunt' was crushed.

The older son had his issues. Drugs, alcohol, partying. One fall day in college I was walking to class and looked up to see him. I smiled at his easy smile and said hi. We chatted on the way to the campus and I leared that he had gotten his life together and gone back to school. I walked away that day thinking "good for him!" That next summer, over the Fourth of July, he was in a car accident after drinking and was killed. Again, life changing. Depressing. Sad. And my 'aunt' was crushed all over again.

Less than a year later, the younger son died. He never came out of the coma, but suddenly died. And my aunt, she had to live the accident and all that it entailed over again.

Somewhere in there she and her husband divorced. I suppose that it was meant to happen. A marriage is going to have ups and downs, but they had experienced more than their share of downs. Not to recover from them all as one piece.

K moved on. Found a place to build a house. You see, she and her exhusband had received a settlement from the 3 wheeler company from the accident. And yet, she was sad to live off a settlement that meant that her son was gone. So she built a house to live in and continued working.

Then she met a man. Someone who was nice and caring and loved her. They married and things were well for a while. Then they stopped coming to family gatherings. When they did come he had wild conversations about religion and the bible and refused to see any other point but his. They withdrew farther and farther so that the family really didn't know what was going on.

That man? He has been having a 'mistress'. It's supposedly not an affair because it's all about the bedroom. However, they go to parties and such together. He talks to her about his 'awful wife'. And he...well he hurts K. Once again she is shattered. Depressed. Sad.

So for this day and the days to come, my prayer is that she finds some peace. If anyone deserves it, she does. She's taken more hurt in her life than any one person should have to. I don't know how much more she can take and I don't want to ever know that it was too much. I wish her peace. Peace for K.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

JRNYGRL

If you saw this on a vehicle license plate, how would you interpret it?

I'm hoping it comes across as Journey Girl. Not because I like Journey. Well, actually I do.

Coincidentially, my Mom called last week one night and when I didnt' answer she didn't leave a message. When I called her back she said it was nothing big. Then she said that she had been watching a DVR'd episode of Oprah and Journey was on. She wanted to know if I remembered going to the Journey concert when I was 13 with Michelle. OF COURSE I remembered. It was like the single coolest thing ever to go and I know that they didn't want me to go in the first place.

Anyway, I keep thinking about what kind of license plate I want for my motorcycle. I want it to represent that I love to embrace the journey. Only the best thing that I can come up with is JRNYGRL.

So weill people think I am a Joruney geek or what?

Monday, October 05, 2009

Work and dinners and soup!

I'm so incredibly proud of Pete. He was chosen for a job. It was a thankful time for both of us. I think the time he spent on unemployment was a tough time for both of us. It's one thing to be low on money and another to be low on money when one is out of work. It's not that we were destatude during that time. It's that there was expectations on both sides that lead to hurt on both sides. I think we've both learned from the experience.

He's been back to work for a week now and we're getting used to it. We get up at the same time and while he is showering, I'm lazing in bed. While I am showering, he is eating breakfast and relaxing. We leave at the same time and come home at the same time. It's nice really and I love coming home to share our days. Only we've been very bad about dinners. We eat out way too much. I planned on going grocery shopping on Sunday to get things for dinners that could be put in the crockpot, made ahead or easily done. In the car on the way to a party we were discussing food. And I learned that Pete doesn't like soup!

First of all, how can you not like soup? It's c compact meal in a bowl. It's all the good things mixed in with some warm broth to soothe. It's flavors and textures and everything. Secondly how could one live with me for 3 years and have food made for him for over 5 and never tell me that he didn't like soup! He finally admitted that he'll eat it, but that it's not his favorite thing. So, I had to redo my game plan for dinners a little and get things that were less 'soup-like' for him. Although I decided to start making a pot of soup on Sundays that I can use for lunches all week. It will give me the best of both worlds!

Friday, September 11, 2009

September 11

I am one of those people who empethizes greatly. I get embarassed for a teenager in a teen movie who is made fun of. I see someone cry and I usually cry also, because I can feel their pain. So when 9/11 occurred I was a mess. I didn't pernally know anyone in the towers or on the planes. I wasn't near New York or DC or PA. I didn't have friends ro family in the service or a firefighter/police. But I was a mess.

I haven't ever shared this with anyone. For three years I lived with my Grandma. She would go to Arizona each winter and I'd have the house to myself. When she was gone I slept on the couch. Every night. Partly because I felt too far away from the front door to know if something was happening in the middle of the night. Partly because I didn't want to be in my bedroom with no one else home. It made me feel safer. When 9/11 occurred my Grandma was in Europe on a trip. I was sleeping on the couch. And it almost solidifed my need to sleep on the couch in the house by myself. In years since then, I struggled with feeling safe enough in a house by myself to sleep in a back bedroom.

The days and nights following 9/11 were horrible for me. I was feeling every feeling that was shown on TV. I was glued to the TV, news and radio...I needed it all. Yet I was so horrified that I wanted desparately to turn the TV off and just be. Maybe if I was in a relationship or my Grandma was home, I'd have handled it differently. Maybe if I had something to talk to about it for days on end instead of coming home to an empty house it would have been different. I remember not being able to sleep. Watching news channel after news channel and feeling anxious. Even now, all I have to do is close my eyes and I am there.

So today, 8 years after this I am in it again. I feel, see, hear all the same things from that day.

And with that, I ahve to sign off. There is breaking news that there is something suspicious in DC...

Friday, September 04, 2009

Giggling and Food

There is a blogger named Pioneer Woman. And I love how she writes, photographs and mostly cooks. So I'm stalking this cookbook and plan on attending this book signing in November. I'vbe never attended a book signing. Hope it's cool!

Yesterday Alison and I went to the party store where we intended on getting some balloons for my parent's anniversary parrty. $80 later we walked out of the store. Yes, I bought $80 of party decorations. Don't tell anyone, ok? Anyway, on the way home Alison and I were playing rock paper scissors while Pete was driving. BUt my shoulder got tired of leaning back to her and I stopped. Next thing I know she is in the back seat playing it...against herself. I asked her how she was doing and she said good. Then she admitted that it was always a tie because it was too hard to do different things with your hands. Ah, the lessons a 7 year old learns.

Can I just say that I am in love with her giggle? Is it possible to be in love with a child's giggle? I hope so, because I am. It's so light and airy and the smile that goes with it even makes Pete smile. Gosh I love that giggle, I hope she never loses it.

Moblog

You know how journals turned into weblogs? And then weblogs turned into blogs? Well I can now do blog entries on my iPhone with an app I found.

So blog is now moblog - moblie blogging. Get it? *sigh*. I hope it's not just me that found that cute and funny. In my defense this was about at 3:36am this morning when I couldn't sleep. Yep that's what I'm going with. Lack of sleep.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Karma bites and I shouldn't feel guilty about it

First let me say that I think I have opened this blogger page to add an entry about 4 times in the last week. I just drew a blank everytime I opened it. I'd close it out, and then while waiting to fall asleep I'd think of something cool to write about. Only it was gone by morning. Oh well, easy come, easy go...
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I had a best friend in high school. She was the opposite of me (I wonder if opposite friends attract like oppostie couples?) I was shy and sweet and a little innocent. She was outgoing, loud, bright and fun to be around. But our friendship worked. We hung out doing everything together - sports, classes, summers... Then we decided to go to the same college and live together. She was what I thought would be my forever friend. The friend that you'd have at 60 who knew everything about you.

Only it wasn't meant to be. What I can see now that I'm removed from it all, is that she wasn't a nice person. She'd do things to get ahead that were cruel and mean.

One summer I told her about the job application I put in and the intereview I had at a shop near my home. She asked more about it, in what I thought was happiness for me. Well I never got called about the job after the interviewer said that I was perfect for it. And a short time later, my friend was always busy. Turns out she applied for the job after I did, sweet talked her way in and worked there for the summer. I ended up getting a job that was a little farther away from home, but paid a little more. When the job she had quit, saying, 'didn't work out' I suggested her for an opening where I worked. She started working, but then quit because 'it wasn't working out'.

In college she would meet new people easily and I'd end up hanging around them too. I found out that she was talking behind my back to a lot of them. We'd go to different dorms and she'd party (I didn't drink then) it up. When it was time to go home I'd help her get safely home across campus. Only she was verbally and physically abusive. She'd yell at me for telling her what to do. She'd hit, punch and kick me. One time she tried slamming my arm in a heavy door. I had bruises for weeks. She'd apologize the next morning.

She'd have her boyfriend in our room constantly. His roommate didn't like her so they were always over at our room. They'd being doing the deed all. the. time. Finally one night I asked her not to keep doing that and she said it was her room too. She and said boyfriend ruined many a quilt of mine in their nightly sessions by using it to clean up with. Yuk. But she'd deny it to my face and say that it must have been something I'd spilled on it.

She read my journal. Then deicded to use the things in their against me. She told everyone about it in the dining hall one day when I wasn't there. She was mostly mad that I knew that her boyfriend slept with another friend of ours before they became exclusive. She confronted that friend in a big group one day - turning her anger on her, instead of the boyfriend.

She never came back to school second year. We had planned to live together, only she never showed up and never told me why. Then she called asking me to keep an eye on her boyfriend.

I had it by then. I was done. College went on and I made many friends and had a great time and graduated. Then moved home again to job seek. I'd run into her or her family now and then, but they'd snub me. At one point I felt like I never ever got to say to her all the things that she did hurt me. I never got to tell her how badly she treated me. And I never got to tell her that I must have done some things wrong too and was sad that the friendship ended like it did. I sent her that in a letter. And never heard from her.

Karma's a bitch

This friend is in the news. Like on the TV at 10pm in the news. She's a high school teacher for a living. And she reportedly harassed a student about his supposed sexual orientation. The sad part is that I can see her saying the things that were reported. I can see the sneer on her face. The smile on her lips and the tilt of her head. Maybe because I've been the person on the other end of that, way back then. Maybe it's because I can still feel the sharp sting of the inmpact of her words. Maybe it's because I'm a wee bit happy that she is finally getting something for what she did to me.

And there is the guilt. In no way should I be happy about someone else's misfortune. But a small part of me does.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Picture Post

The beautiful place we stayed at while at the Lake of the Ozarks. We had the whole top floor. It was spacious inside and bigger than our townhouse at home! Although much more dangerous to get to.

This is the wonderful view from the deck at the condo. The best part? No mosquiots. I'd love to sit out at night and watch the sun set to this. It was equally beautiful in the morning. Most mornings when we were there it was foggy and we watched the sun burn off the fog.



This is me. Somewhere in Missouri. Obviously pre-accident. I was having such a good time. It's incredibly powerful to know that you've driving a motorcycle across a whole state in one day. It was beautiful out and I was loving the time we were spending riding with the new places to see.


Pete and his 'happy place'. I think this was a huge stress reliever for Pete. He was so wound up from the accident and feeling guilty and trying to make sure that I was ok. He needed an outlet to have fun in. This did it. He took one round in that car and the smile never left his face from then on. He was like a little kid. It was so cool to see him like that and I'm glad that he got to enjoy some of his vacation.

Pete's bike - after his bike troubles. The shifter broke - the spline stripped away. So he has one vicegrips on the stripped control and one attached to that vicegrip. The only bad thing about it was that he had to shift his whole body over to the right and then his hip back to the left to shift. It was tiring for me so I'm going to have to go with it was tiring for him also.

So that's some of the fun we had in the Ozarks. I'd go back. But I'd go in a car and in the fall sometime to see the leaves change.












Thursday, August 13, 2009

Quite some time has passed.

Normally after a good vacation I come back here, post some pictures and tell some stories. Normally. Only this time I hurt myself on day 2 of the 10 day vacation. And it dampened my vacation fun and relaxation greatly.

I did learn though. I learned that my husband is fiercly protective out me. Not that I didn't think he was that before, but it was shown to me in living color this time. I learned that he will leave all his emotions pent up inside and they will overflow at some point in tears while looking at me. I love that man. I learned that he will lovingly dress me when I can't, worry about me when I don't and love me no matter what.

I learned that I have friends who are wonderful. Who will take me to the ER in a strange city without thinking twice. Who will offer to take my bike home with no want or need for repayment. Who will stick by me and try to make me as comfortable as I can be, in my injured state.

I learned that I have a limit when riding my bike. That sometimes I get hot, tired and antsy to be where we are headed. I learned that I am no match for a steep gravel hill. I learned that I can fall off a motorcycle and do it in such a way that will limit my injury. I learned that I have much to learn about riding motorcycles.

I did not however, learn to fear motorcycles. I will ride again as soon as my arm/shoulder heals. And there will be other vacations at other times. And when I feel less mad at myself for making the choices that I did, I'll post some pictures from the vacation.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I can hardly wait

Like a child at Christmas I can hardly wait. In about 24 hours I'll be offically on vacation. Glorious vacation. Don't get me wrong, I like my job most days. There are times when it's really rewarding. On the other hand I firmly believe that everyone needs time off to recharge. Time off from the daily schedule to just be. Time away so that when you come back you are fresh and new and ready to hit it head on.

Come to think of it, I believe this about most things. I think we need time away from TV to live, time away from the PC to live, time away from others to be in our own head, time away from family so that you realize what you miss. Time away/distance is not a bad thing.

And I'm in some need of it.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Crying

Why is it so hard for women to realize that they cannot do it all, all the time?

I cried last night. I finally told Pete that I felt overwhelmed with all the things that we had going on. That I am racing to get done whatever it is I am doing so that I can get to the next thing, only to race to get that done and move on too. Work things, family things, fun things, me things. All of them involve me hurrying to get them done. It overwhelms me and I can only do it for so long before I break. Last night was it. I just cried. Maybe I needed the cry too, but I needed to let Pete know how I was feeling. I need to be better at letting him know that sooner.

So the new plan is to take it easy this weekend. Tonight we are doing NOTHING. Tomorrow Pete is going with the club on a day ride and I am doing NOTHING. Sunday I need to run some errands for the trip, but more NOTHING after that. I need to re-charge mentally, physically and emotionally.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Busy


Lately I've been working for the weekends. I think there's a song somewhere from the 80's that talks about that. Only I'm living it. And while I love my weekends, it makes the weeks go by so much faster. It feels like it was only April and suddenly it's the end of July.

My group hosted the campout last weekend and it was a lot of work. We went to a wonderful place down south by the Mississippi River. It was actually a marina and we camped in a little area by the boat launch. It was quiet, peaceful and nice.




Until we figured out that the mayflies had just hatched. Yuk. There were millions of these bugs by the river. They're harmless. They're kind of pretty. But at the end of the night they die. Yes, they die daily. So when I got up to use the bathroom the next morning this is what I saw. Yuk. They had to use a leaf blower to pile them up and shovel them. Did I mention Yuk?























We went to the national eagle center with the group and had a presentation on bald eagles. It was pretty cool to see an eagle up that close. Then we got to take pictures with our bikes and the bird. Can you say Chirstmas Card? lol


Then we drove into WI and found an overlook that was really cool. Picture number 2 for the Christmas card. lol

















And I attended my first Pow-Wow. It was really cool. Pete is such a talker that he chatted with a man sitting next to us about the ceremony. Toddlers to elders danced in the ring. Bright costumes, natural costumes, some animal heads...a lot of different things. It was really interesting to watch and listen.






















Busy weekend, but a lot of fun.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Recharge

I think I figured it out. This out of sorts thing. Not the reason behind it, but rather how to cure it.

Actually now that I think about it, I may know the reason behind it and how to cure it.

I exhausted my vacation hours last year. I was down to less than 20 by the end of the wedding hoopla last fall. Between days off for illness, days off for wedding, days off for fun...I had not many days off left. We can carry over 240 hours at the end of each year. Pre-Pete (aka "when I had no life") Iused to carry over about 150 or so each year. My goal was and still is to get to the 240 hours one year so that I can carry it over, accumulate more during the year and take a month or so off in the summer. Dreams...

Back to the last year...I used a lot of hours. When it came time for the wedding I didn't even take a full week off. Because honestly, it freaks me out when I see that FTO balance drop below 100. Weird. I know. 100 hours is 2.5 weeks off. And I really only need 40 hours to get to my emergency leave should I need it. But when the balance goes below 100 I get a little anxious.

Because of my anxiety about this I've spent the last year really thinking about the time that I take off. I haven't taken more than 4 days off at a time. And for most days that I do take off, I end up working 4-10 hour days so that I don't have to take FTO hours.

To put it simply...I need a vacation.

I'd love to take a week and just do nothing. NO planning for motorcycle trips, no work, no housework, no places I have to be...well do al that and not feel guilty about not doing it also. But that's not going to happen. I have a week vacation planned later this month, but it's an actual trip with friends. So no mindless vegging about going on then.

My plan is to take a day off next week to veg. To lay about in bed and watch the reality shows that I have saved up on Tivo and that Pete hates. To read the magazines on the floor by my bed. To finsh the last Twilight book that I've been reading for several months. To crochet. To...uh...do nothing important all day long. I need to re-charge my mind, my soul, my emotions and my body.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Out of Sorts

I'm feeling a little out of sorts lately. Almost like I can't quite find my center. Maybe it's because I'm so busy all the time that I never just sit and 'be' with me. Life is still good. Just a little off.

I've noticed that I do a good amount of thinking sitting on my motorcycle. I'm totally aware of my surroundings and what is going on, but I'm also thinking a lot. Porcessing things and wondering about others. It's kind of like going to church. Maybe I need to ride more often and it will help me find my center.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

S.....L......O.......W......

For whatever reason I'm down to blogging about once a week. Partly because I'm working long long days the beginning of the week so that I can take Friday off and have a nice long weekend when we go camping. Partly because we haven't been doing much interesting. Partly because when we do go on interesting rides, I'm busy controlling a motorcycle and can't take pictures like I did last year.

I do know that in three weeks we'll be leaving for the annual run.

I'm excited, nervous, happy, freaked out, worried, psyched up, and all that...

LOL

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Friends

I spent the morning in a little church, in a little town about 90 minutes from here. Not where I wanted to spend my morning, but I was happy to do it. In the end, I was glad that I did it.

One of the Dry Riders died Sunday. He fought the fight that so many seem to fight - cancer. While his fight was good, it is over. His wish was to have as many bikes at his funeral as possible. So I worked late Tuesday night and I'm working later tonight and I'll work late Thursday.

I sat in the pew of that beautiful little Catholic Church and watched as friends and family surrounded him. I listed the priest speak of him and his wife and their journey. I couldn't help but silently think that part of my journey was to attend this funeral. Part of my journey was to be called back into the matters of faith. So I prayed to God and hope he listened. I prayed for the family who has one less memeber, the friends who will miss him and for myself. I felt comforted in the little beautiful church.

Afterwards several of us talked about what we wanted for funerals. One wanted a huge upbeat party, no quiet funeral. I know what Pete wants because we've talked about it in all our long talks by the lake at our favorite place. Then someone asked me what I wanted and I realized that I didn't know. It's not that I don't know what I want, it's that I'm stuck between what I think I want and what the Church says is proper. The more that I think about it I realize that funerals are for the living, not the dead. Therefore I want what will make those left behind comforted.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Kids

Ever since I was young I've loved kids. I grew up thinking that I'd be part of a family full of children. Then I realized that life isn't always what you plan. Some days I'm ok with that. Other days it's not that easy. So, I 'borrow'. I borrow children!
















Friday it was Alison. She's 7 years old now and I have a hard time thinking that she is really that old. This is the little baby that I held in my arms the day she was born and promised to love her and play with her always. We went to the MOA for the day. We rode rides, ate at the Rainforest Cafe and then went to Build-A-Bear. While we were riding the rides she kept telling me not to take any more pictures because the ride had started. At lunch she was disappointed because other kids were having the birthday song sung to them. When they came out to sing to her she positively shined. Her smile was so big!

Then there is Grant...




















Grant LOVES trains. He east, sleeps and thinks about trains all the time. Last week he was in the basement playing with a set of trains down there and found a Thomas The Train box. He was so excited that he told my sister he found a Thomas box. He's since carried that box around the house and talks to Thomas on the box. His next favorite thing is having people take pictures of his trains. Then he wants to see them and stare at them on the preview on the camera. I have pcitures of Thomas on the table, on the plate "eating" my food, "drinking" from my glass, in the air, on the ground... You name it, I have it.


Then he does things like this. All the other kids were running around and playing in the pool (he doesn't like water). He got his littel chair down, pulled it out in the driveway in the shade and just watched. He was content to just be outside with everyone.





Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Spreading my Wings

Each morning while I dry my hair, my mind wanders. This morning it was thinking about what my Mom will say when she sees me riding the motorcycle without a helmet. While working through the senerio in my head I came to realize that I might just need to have to say something to her. Then I think back to the time right after Pete and I got engaged. How he almost left me because he didn't want to cause trouble between my family and I. How I almost lost the love of my life because my Mom wasn't happy with my decision.

It makes me sad all over again. Extreamly sad.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Questions of Faith

Pete and I went to see Angels and Demons last night. I cried.

I was so 'in' the movie that I never noticed time passing in reality. It's not often that happens for me. But for this one it did. I learned about my faith. I learned some interesting things that I should have learned long ago. And maybe I did, but just forgot. I learned more about why people dislike Catholics. I'll never ever understand the hate, but the dislike of the basis of the religion I can somewhat understand.

One of the characters is speaking to the College of Cardinals about joining faith & science. He says something to the effort of the Catholic Church is not asking time to stand still, it's asking science to stop, take a breath and consider the ramifications of what they are doing. That speech resonated in me. It bounced around my head and I could at once understand it.

At the end I cried. Not because of the outcome of the movie. The end so reminds me of my Grandma Laura. I tried to explain to Pete about how envious I was of that absolute faith in the Church and in God. The faith that He will provide or the Church will provide. The faith that He or the Church will make everything right as it should be. The faith that everything is within Him and the Church. Pete pointed out that you don't need to go to church every day to be faithful. And I believe that. But I think at my core I wish for a simpler existence. One where worries and troubles and prayers are given to God and never thought about again. I don't think it's within me to do that, but I wish for it.

Then it made me wonder if I was on my our journey of faith. If my bracelet was telling me to embrace the questions that I have about faith and learn more about the Church? I find so much comfort in the tradition of the Church. However, I can't reconcile the teachings of the Church from thousands of years ago with the present day's findings and accomplishments. Therein lies the heart of the issue with me and faith.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

What's cuter than cute?

Little girls playing softball of course. Alison is almost 7 and in her second year of ball. Pete and I went to watch a game and man are those girls cute. I have to say that all but one hit with pitches, not the T.




Isn't she cute? She got a really good hit her first time up and ran those bases wonderfully.



She played the second base the first inning and made all kinds of friends with the players that landed on second base. It was great to see her interacting with other kids - ones that she didn't even know. She's usually so shy around new people when she is with the family. It's great to see her aquiring that skill on her own.


And what little kids sports game would be complete without playing around? This inning she was more interested in the bench than what the team was doing.
Cute!

OH! And guess what? On the way to her game I reached 1500 miles on my bike! 4 weeks and 1500 miles rode. I think I might like the motorcycle.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Full Circle

A year ago Pete bought his bike and we looked for a group to join. Partly because Pete wanted to have people to ride with. He's always one for riding, no matter the time of day and wanted to make sure that there were others like him. Partly for friendship. We each had friends coming into this relationship, but not the kind of friends that we did things with. So we found the Dry Riders and joined.

The first outing we went to was the Gun Run (heretofore called the Range Ride). And it was a lot to take in. All new people and learning who they were and how they fit in. Shooting different weapons and that cold morning ride out to the Hutchinson Airport. If you look back I believe I have pictures from it.

Saturday we headed out again for the Range Ride. This time Pete was riding his bike and I was riding mine.







We had all kinds of fun. We rode out from the airport again and all the bikes lined up there and under the tree at the range are pretty cool. Someone has pictures of all of us by the bikes with various weapons. I'm sure we look like hellions.
The guys were shooting trap by the lake. Although Pete thought they looked like a firing squad. To be honest, I sort of agree.
And in true man fashion, it took a gaggle of them to search for a screw. I know that you think there is a joke somewhere in there, but it's true. They were searching for a tiny tiny screw for a sight on one of the shotguns. Eventually they found it, but could never get it out of the grass.
So, we've come full circle.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Embrace The Journey

Embrace The Journey.

I keep thinking of this. I had a lot of time to think this weekend either riding my own bike or on the back of Pete’s.

I thought that embrace the journey related to the idea that you can’t always control what’s going on in your life, but you can go with the flow and hope to learn something.

I thought that embrace the journey related to the idea that you have difficult situation and stopping to really see where you’re at in life may lend you clarity.

I thought that embrace the journey related to the idea that I shouldn’t be afraid of trying something new, I should embrace the unknown.

This weekend I realized another embrace the journey. You know how you’re having a good time in life and you somehow overlook how good it is? How fun it is? Then later you look back at that time and you realize just how good it was, just how fun it was. From now on I want to embrace the journey TODAY. I want to live in the moment where I realize that life is good. Life is fulfilling. Life is amazing.

I don’t know if I’m explaining it right. I do think it comes down to living in the moment and not worrying about the next hour, the next day or the next week. About really being present in your own life. Really being aware of what you are doing and others are doing and taking it in. And not only taking it in, but making it your own.

Memories are good, but living the moment is better.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I'm dreaming

Dreaming of log rides into the sun on a summer days.
Dreaming of laying the mini-camper listening to the birds, the breeze and voices in the distant.
Dreaming of sitting by a fire listening to people talk.
Dreaming of seeing new sights and new places and lots of picture taking.
Dreaming of getting up with the sun, cool and bright and wondering what the day will bring.

I'm dreaming of summer.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

My first solo

I love Pete. I love that he is my rock, my protector, my bodyguard.

Ever since I got my cycle license he's ridden everywhere with me. And I appreciated it. I'm still working on getting going when you have no arrow on left turns. I still take a little more time on starts. I go slower than most cars on turns and curves. And through it all, Pete is behind me. He prtects me from irritated drivers. He gives me the space so people aren't crowding me.

Today he got up with me a rode with me to work. Before he left he said "Please don't solo too far." I giggled. It really would be my first solo. Kind of like when someone is lerning to fly a plane - the first solo is a big deal. I took my lunch and drove over to my sisters house to chat with her. I solo'd. And I did great!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Motorcycle...continued

I have bags! Good bags. Saddlebags for the motorcycle. I was worrying yesterday because I asked the dealer to install the bags and put the license plate on the back of one of the bags. Was I making the right decision to punch through the bag with the plate? I knew that I didn't want it on the fender because they'd have to put holes in the fender. So the bags was the only other option. It worked. They look awesome. So now all that I have to worry about is the front controls. They should be in soon so they can be installed.

It's going to get nice next week. The week that I start my month of really not being able to take any time off or leave early. So I told Pete that I'd be riding around the circular drive at work ever break I got!

Monday, May 11, 2009

I have no pictures...

Usually when we ride with the group to some motorcycle function, I'm taking pictures the whole way. I come home and I have scenery pictures, riding pictures, party pictures...usually too many to count.

Only this time I have no pictures.

Firstly it's because...I RODE MY OWN BIKE! I rode for the first time in a group with the rest of the club. It was so cool. I did pretty good - kept up and didn't have any issues. The one time I killed it, I got it started again so that no one really noticed. And if you could see me know, you'd see a smiling woman with the print of goggle eyes already. In other words, I've been out riding so much with my glasses on that my eyes and the surrounding skin are white and the rest of my face is tanned. I've been putting on sunscreen daily now.

When we did get to the outing, I pulled out my camera to take pictures...and my battery had died. I use it so little in the winder that I don't think I've charged the battery since we went to Texas in January.

So no pictures. You'll jst have to take my word for it - happy day!

Friday, May 08, 2009

My Romantic Husband...

Sometimes he just surprises me and my heart melts for him all over again.

We went to Dulanos Pizza last night for first Thursday. I don't know how it started or why, but every first Thursday in the spring, summer and fall, people with all kinds of motorcycles come to see and be seen. We got there early and got a good spot where most of the bikes come in. We went in and ate a pizza and by the time we got back outside it was packed. Awesome seeing that many bikes. Just think, next month I'll be adding to the number by riding mine down there!

It got to be about 8:30 and we headed out. On the way home Pete stopped at our favorite place. The place where we got married. He sat me down on a park bench and got out his phone. I thought he was going to be texting. Only he played this song:

Just you and I,
Sharing our love together.
And I know in time,
We'll build the dreams we treasure.
We'll be all right, just you and I.

Just you and I
Just you and I
Sharing our love together
And I know in time,
And I know in time, W
e'll build the dreams we treasure.

We'll be all right,
Just you and I.

Chorus: And I remember our first embrace,
That smile that was on your face,
The promises that we made.
And now, your love is my reward,
And I love you even more,
Than I ever did before.

Just you and I
Just you and I
We can entrust each other,
With you in my life,
With you in my life,
They'll never be another.

We'll be all right,
Just you and I.

Repeat Chorus

We made it you and I.

*sigh* my heart melted. It's the first song we danced to after we got married. And he looked at me the same way that he did when we first danced to it. I fell in love all over and thanked the universe for bringing this wonderful man and I together.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

The sun calls me

I'm sitting here, at my desk, taking a little break. And all I can think of is to be outside. I am so in love with riding that motorcycle. There are so many emotions and thoughts that play into that. It's something that I set out to accomplish and did. It's something that I never ever thought I'd do, but I did. It's freeing. It's a self confidence booster. It's like flying. It's powerful to know that I'm riding this machine. It's personal - me, myself and I. It's all those things and more.

There is a story behind my bike. Last year it was purchased by a woman who took her Rider's Edge class. She loved it, customized it and rode it a lot, even though it was late in the season. Then she traded it in for a new bike, a bigger bike. She so loved the idea of riding that she decided to work with Harley and creat a book about women riders. I was encouraged to write to her about buying her bike and telling her my story. I've been compsing an email in my head for the last few days and finally sent it off yesterday. She wrote back and loved that I bought her bike - that it lives on for a new rider. And she wants to put me in her book. How cool is that?

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

What should I name her?


2008 Harley 1200 Sportster. 3008 miles. Customized with pegs, bars, seat. And will be getting windshild, bags and forward controls. What should I name her?

Monday, May 04, 2009

100 miles

Yesterday Pete and I drove about 1.5 hours west of our house. To a small town airport. To pick up a motorcycle. When we got there, I spent about 15 minutes riding around the taxi-ways, getting used to the bike. I think Pete was more nervious that I was. He watched for a little bit and then left the area. *grin*

I spent made sure to go about 45 on the straight taxi-way (sans airplanes..) so I'd know what it felt like to go that fast. Wind in my hair, for I forgot my helmet for this little ride. Face in the wind, for there is no windshield. And smile plastered on my face! It was fun. Then I played around starting and stopping so that I could get the clutch down.

And I was ready. *breath in, breath out*

I suited up with helmet this time, gloves and that ever presant smile and we took off. We were both worried about having to go through town and all the stoplights, but I did it. Then the back country roads and getting that little 250 bike up to 55 miles and hour. Smile on, hands gripping the handlebars. Vibrating away from the motor trying to stay up to speed. Wind, lots of wind. Side wind making me lean to left or right. Going into the wind and my helmet lifting off my head (I needed to make it tighter). All the while smiling. I did it.

We'd stop at a stoplight or stop sign and Pete would pull up next to me. And any stranger would have had to look twice to see who's smile was bigger, his or mine. I did it. I rode on the streets with my husband behind me all the way. I can't wait to do it again. I can't wait until I have my bike, one that fits me and that I buy. I can't wait until he and I can ride side by side, in the sun, smiles all the way.

I truely have embraced the journey.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Rider's Edge


Ohh I was scared. I think I told you that before. But I was more scared to take this motorcycle class than I was to get married. I don't know if it was the fear that I just wouldn't be able to 'get it' and ride a bike or if it was the fear of doing something stupid. But I was scared!
We got there on Saturday morning, suited up and started to ride. They taught us from rolling the bike to using the clutch to actually riding. I came home Saturday and I kept saying "I can drive a motorcycle!" Thankfully Pete was nice enough to keep indulging me and smiled everytime I said it.
Sunday came and it was srizzling. And I was fearful that it would rain during the test and I wouldn't pass. We kept learning and practising skills. Finally the testing came. And although I did the skill right before that, when it came time for the test, I went out of the lines. And I was SURE that I had failed.
We went onto the next skill and I did well. Although my stop was long, but in my defense it was raining. The last skill was a curve and I went long on the time it took to complete.
But, I PASSED! I am a licensed motorcycle driver! Yay me!
Honestly, it was the best thing for my confidence. I have a skill that not everyone does and I did it on my own. So I'm now on the hunt for a motorcycle.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

No relief

My mom is negative. I had such high anxiety going into the appointment. High. And when the counselor came in and said it was negative I expected some big sense of relief to wash over me. But there wasn't any.

So it's both good and bad that she is negative.

The good is that we know the BRCA1 & BRCA2 are not carried by my mom.

The bad?

Well given oral history of my Dad there is not quite enough to test Kim and I. One of our aunts is currently in treatment for breast cancer. The counselor asked if we could ask her to come in for testing. Now any other aunt that Kim and I have would likely not even think twice. This aunt? She is upset with my dad who is the executor of my grandma's estate and they are not speaking. So she didn't even want us to know that she had breast cancer. There is no way that she would agree to testing. So basically Kim and I could have a chance that we have it from our dad's side.

The genetist is pretty convinced that my mom is a carrier of some breast cancer gene, but one that they cannot test for yet. Apparently there is possible testing for a BRCA3 & BRCA4 in the works. So if something comes in, they will call my mom in for additional testing.

In the meantime, it means that Kim and I need to have yearly mamograms and yearly MRI's, usually spaced 6 months apart. The counselor will help see that our doctors order this and insurance pays for it. When we hit 45, they recommend that we seriously consider tomaxafin for prevention. It has it's own side effects and issues.

So although I don't feel a great sense of relief, I fee better.

Oh, and my Mom banked her blood with the U of M. So if she is not here and some test comes along, we can access her blood for testing to see if there is genetic history for the disease. Thanks mom!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Wrench In The Plan

My inner dialogue is no longer just that. Today it's a freight train running through my mind. Instead of a wuiet dialogue, it's almost yelling in big fat letters. And I indulged today - caribou Coffee and Cherry Limeade from Sonic. I felt like I deserved it.

The wrench in my plan - Dad's side of the family. All along I've planned it out. If Mom is positive, then Kim and I are tested. If she is negative, then it's over. Only yesterday I realized that we charted Mom's history, not mine and Kim's. So if Mom is negative, we need to chart Kim and I to see if we should still be tested. I hadn't planned on that. It never entered my mind. It plays into my dislike of the unknown. My dislike of having a plan in myhead, working it out and then something new enters and my plan has to change. I'm struggling. Today, I am struggling with the additional knowledge and wondering how to plan it out.

I still think that my Mom is positive. And I'll be pleasantly surprised if both Kim and I are negative.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

T minus 1 day

and counting.

Tomorrow is the day when we learn if my Mom is positive for the BRCA mutation or not. And honestly, I'm scared. Scared because no matter what it will change our lives. And if she is negative, it doesn't necessarily mean that Kim and are are negative because of a history of cancer in my Dad's family.

I know that everyone deals with this differently, but I can't figure my Mom out. When we initally met with the genetic counselor, she made statements about it being more than Kim or I thought about. We told her and the counselor that we had been thinking of it. But I don't think she had. Not at all.

When the test came back so quickly I figured that it was positive. And still today, knowing nothing else, I'd bet that it was positive. My Mom finally got the bill from the insurance company from the testing. Instead of $3700, the lab charged her insurance a little over $500. This made her think that it was positive. Only because the intial testing is for the Jewish 3 spots. I don't think that she had thought this previously and I think it shook her. She called to tell me this so that I'd be prepared. I think I'm as prepared as I can be.

And it didn't stop there. She is upset that they stopped testing aftger the inital test (if that's really what occurred) because then she won't know if there is cancer on her Mom's side (the Jewish side is my Grandpa). I told her that it doesn't matter. Once you're postive, you're positive. It's nice to be able to figure out where it is, but not always does that occur. She said that it wasn't fair because she couldn't let her Mom's side know of any increased risk. I tried to tell her that it's not her responsibility to inform all of her family of this. She simply can say that she is positive and they may want to think about visiting a genetic counselor. Again, I think it's a matter of her wanting the power to say that she has this and inform everyone about it and tell them what they should do. She lives for situations like this in some odd sense, it give her pleasure.

So here I sit. This result looming over me like a cloud. It colors all my decisions lately. It makes me wonder about life and how it would change. It almost stops me from thinking of the near future because plans would change dramatically. I want it done and over. I want to know, but yet I like the innocense of not knowing.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The familiarities of church

Attended a funeral today. A young woman died in her sleep leaving 2 teen daughters. Our friend/their grandmother, will be raising them. It's not only a huge shock, but a substantial change to everyone's life. And I wish them well.

I keep telling people I the Catholic Church is familiar to me. That I take great comfort in the rites that go along with a Catholic Church service. I was reminded of that today. The standing, sitting and kneeling got to everyone else. Muttering and not understanding when to do what. Only I took comfort in it. It was familiar and gives me peace.

Afterwards Pete and I talked about religion. He asked if I was 'done' being a Catholic and I told him I wasn't. I don't always agree with everything that the Church does, but I still find comfort in it. We talked about attending services and he asked why I didn't. And I told him that it didn't fit into our lives and I didn't always want to go alone. He shocked me by saying that all I had to do was ask. For a long time I thought he may be an athiest. But I realize that he just doesn't fit into one religion. He believes many different things and doesn't conform to one.

I sat and thought about how comforting it was to pray. I know that I can pray anywhere, not just in chuch. But I think I'm going to take Pete up on his offer this weekend and see what happens.

Friday, April 10, 2009

What was I looking for?

I finished the book last night. And it left me uneasy and honestly disappointed. I sat and wondered why I was so damn disappointed. I think that I was seeking answers from the book. Something that would point me in the direction that I needed to go. And I never found them. Instead it raised mroe questions about what to do, how I should feel and things like that.

Then on the news last night this story caught my eye. The lead doctor seems to imply that women are needlessly going through mastectomy surgery. And it made me mad, what he said. There is a lot more to medicine than physical. There is a huge emotional and mental side to medicine. And while I understand that he doesn't want people to go through with surgeries that they don't need, you can't deny the mental part of it. When my mom was diagnosed with cancer she was offered a lumpectomy. However, the lump was far in on her chest wall and my mom had just made up her mind that she was going to do the double mastectomy. After testing the cancer, they found that it was agressive, but early. Why live in the fear that not all the cancer was removed with a lumpectomy? And live in fear you would with that knowledge.

Pete and I talked a lot the last few weeks. I am so very lucky to have him. To have someone to share my thoughts with. Although it's a new thing for me to share with someone and I sometimes struggle with it. He is there to listen to me, to hold me, to ask me questions and to support me.

So it's 5 days from knowing my mom's results. It's interesting because I haven't told anyone at work. When my mom was diagnosed with her cancer I didn't tell anyone for about 6 months. Even then I told Stacy when I was out visiting her mother's day weekend and she asked me to stay later. She was shocked and it felt good to tell someone finally. I realized later that I never told anyone at work because it was my cancer free place. It was the place where no one talked about cancer, drains, reconstruction, chemo... Then it started to feel like a secret and I had to share. But I rememeber that feeling of having a safe haven. It's much like that now. I have this safe place that I don't have to give information or tell how I'm feeling.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Surprise!

A year ago May, Pete and I bought the Harley. When he was looking at bikes, we talked a lot about what we wanted to do with the bike. Where we wanted to go, things to see and whether or not to join a club. Initially I was resistant to joining a motorcycle club. All those images of bad biker dudes played out in my head and that's just not me and frankly not Pete any more. He knew of a few clubs in our area that would be ok and we talked about them.

Pete put a deposit on the bike and we ended up at the dealer for one of their fundraising events. While there, Pete notices a guy walking around with a Dry Riders patch. He stopped him and started talking to him. Within a few minutes though he was whisked away to talk about his bike and I listened and chatted with this Dry Rider guy and his wife. Honestly I don't remember what we talked about. Other than the fact that they said they did a lot of camping. I kept thinking that it couldn't be much fun if he was riding his bike to camp outs and she had to drive a car with all the stuff (naive, huh?)

Anyway we exchanged numbers and went our separate ways. I couldn't tell if Pete was more excited about the bike or the club. Pete got the bike and I encouraged him to call the guy about joining. We were invited to the range ride at the end of May. And I can tell you that it was the most fun I had in a long time. The people were interesting, fun and so welcoming! It was amazing.

So Pete and I asked to prospect for the club. And we jumped in whole heartedly. We attended everything, every event even though the summer was filled with other obligations and planning our wedding. We met lots of new people, saw more of the state than I had ever seen and made new friends.

When I think about it, I tell Pete and we are lucky. Lucky that fate or God or something placed us in the dealer that day to meet these people. They have supported us in hard sad times, celebrated with us in joyful times and welcomed us into their lives. We are lucky. Very lucky.

Last night Pete and I were at the monthly meeting for the club. The full members were out of the room for quite a long time discussing the membership of someone who had completed the year of prospecting. When they came back they shocked Pete and I by having voted us in a little early. We are Dry Riders!!! I'm sure my face was all colors of red and my smile was all teeth. But mostly, my heart was full from the people in our lives.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Pretty Is What Changes

I keep thinking it over and over in my head. What does it mean? Is it that the only thing that changes in you if you have profolactic surgeries is your beauty? Is it that if you have the surgeries and go through all this, you're still the same person, but your idea of beauty changes?

I got the book yesterday. Pretty Is What Changes by Jessica Queller . I drove home and spent about 3 hours reading. And it was familiar, the reading. I can lose myself in a book quickly and race through it. About page 24 Pete asked me if I learned what I needed to learn. And it was then that I realized that I was looking for guidance in some sense from the book. Learn what to do from her choices and decisions in the book. At page 70 I realized that she had much the same relationship with her mom that I had with mine. Just a tumultuous relationship that ebbed and flowed and made life difficult.

Then I realized that I was racing through the book. It's what I usually do. Read quickly, not to get the book done, but to emerse myself in it. I tried to slow down and take in more.

Then I read a line that really hit me. She was upset that the clinic she was at kept refering to her as a patient because it was a cancer clinic. Then they explained that once you test positive for the mutation, you are considered a cancer patient. What a powerful label. Not powerful in a good way, but powerful.

I'm half way into the book. I had to stop last night so that I wasn't drownding in the subject. It really brings me down. I did learn that there is a message board called FORCE = Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered. Part of me wants to check it out and the other says that it will be more information than I can handle.

Monday, April 06, 2009

It looms over me

Sometimes it consumes me. Consumes my thoughts.

When everything else is silent and my brain is still.
When I look at the calendar.
When I hear an emotional song.
When I see the words 'breast cancer'.
When I think about my Mom.
When I'm in the shower.

It's all I can do to think of how my life would change. Of what would change in my relationship with Pete. Of what I'd have to go through. Wondering if I'm negative will my insurance still pay for increased preventative testing.

I know that the counselor said that my life would change even if the tests were negative. But I can't see it. I know that it's a strong factor in my health already. I know that there may be a day that I hear those words and I've prepared myself for the diagnosis. I've prepared myself to be vigilant in the fight to catch it. I can't see how my life would change if I was negative.

And I think of my mom. If she is positive will her life be any different? She's had a double mastectomy already. Her doctor has already suggested a hystorectomy. How would her life change?

I think of my sister and I cry. I cry because she has two beautiful children who need her. Her life would be truned upside down if she was positive. Would I feel guilty if she was positive and I was negative? I know that I would. I already have guilt issues. My heart races wondering if I could put her before me? Would I, could I take the bullet for her? I can only think of the eyes of her children and know that my guilt would eat me up.

I'm fearful today. I'm plagued by questions that run through my head like a deer. Darting here and there, quickly.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Sun

I need to look for something good. Something that is going to tell me that the world will be ok. Or rather my little part of the world will be ok. I chose the sun. It's finally out today. It's still cold, but sunny.

The spring sun is so warm. I don't know if it's the angle of the sun or the closeness of the sun, but it's warm. And I think that my favorite thing is to lay in the car where the sun shines through and heats up and doze. Of course it's the middle of the morning and I'm actually at my desk. So laying in the car right now isn't going to happen. But I can dream.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

There, but for the grace of God, go I...

In other words, that could be me.

Sometimes it's so easy to pass judgement on others. I think that we, as outsiders feel like we have the whole picture. Sometimes we do and sometimes we don't. Sometimes when we're not in the middle of something, dealing with it all the time, we think that we have all the answers. Sometimes we do and sometimes we don't.

I'm struck lately with how much I learn as an adult. I'm not talking about learing math or english or science. I'm talking life lessons that I wonder if I've passed over previously. It took me a long time to learn that I can't please everyone and I have to please myself. It took me a while to learn that I may be scared to do something, but I'll regret the not doing it more than I would have been scared doing it. I've learned that I can't always control my destiny, but I can make the best of my present situation and learn for the future. All lessons that would have made my life easier a lot sooner had I learned them previously.

I've learned another one. I can't judge someone's desision, when I've made a similar decision myself. It was kind of like a smack in the face, this lesson. But a clear lesson. Crystal clear. And while it's nice to know that I'm not the only one who made a decision like this, a hard decision. It makes me sad that others go through the same hurt that I did. It also makes me question why I made the decision and other little decisions around it.

I know I'm being a bit criptic here. And well, it's intended to be so. I don't regret my decision, but I need to look forward from it. I need to not sit in wonder of whether or not it was right or what others would have done. I need to be more in the present, not the past or the future.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Today and only today

I live for today. I can't worry about tomorrow at this point, I need to focus on today.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

It can't be good right?

That's all that I can think of. It can't be good. It just can't be good.

My arms are shaking and I can hardly type.

My left eyelid is twitching and it won't stop.

They've already called my mom to have her set up the appointment to hear the genetic results.

All I keep thinking is that it can't be good to be this fast.

My eyes are watering and I really don't want to cry here at work. I hate crying at work.

It can't be good. The first test they would do is for those with Jewish heritage and it's the simplest test as it's specifically in 3 areas on the gene and they know about those for sure.

All I can think of is that it has to be positive because they knew exactly where to go. Where to look.

I really want my eye to stop twitching.

Chasing Friends

Have you ever felt like you were chasing a friend? It's hard to describe. In one sense it's as if you're working harder at being a friend than the other person. In another it's that you're worried about the friend and they keep pulling back from you. In another it's as if the new life created by your friend doesn't include you and you seek to maintain what you previously had.

Does that explain it?

I currently feel like I am chasing a friend. Like she is so guarded and pulled back from the world that we once inhabited together that I can no longer find her. Yet she is reight before me. I am so worried about her and how she is doing that I seek any little bit of information to assure me that she is ok. Yet the little bits keep getting smaller and smaller.

It's frustrating. It's almost hurtful. And yet I let it continue. I don't know if it's the person-helper in me. I don't know if it's the fact that I really hate to lose friends. I don't know if it's because I'm prideful about not giving in. But I do know that I let it continue, almost as if I am addicted to it. As if it's my current drug of choice. That the little bits are just the little hits that I need to continue seeking the drug.

I need to let it stop. I can't be responsible for others. I can offer to help, and I have. I can let her know that I am here for her, and I have. But I cannot be responsible.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Waiting...

When we met with the genetic counselor I know that it was going to be a long 30 days. We're going on 7 of the 30 days. And while I'm not letting it overtake me...yet. It's back there in my brain.

I had hoped to get a book that she recommended. Pretty Is What Changes by Jessica Queller. It's the story of a 30 something who is tested for the mutations and what happens after that. I had hoped that it would be something that would keep me occupied. I revel in reading and don't get to do much of it anymore. I wanted to escape to the world that she lived in when she was tested. I wanted to read her feelings and see her reactions.

Only the bookstores around here don't have the book in store. And if I had ordered it, it would have been the hardcover version and the soft cover comes out 4/7/09. So I'm waiting. Waiting for the book and waiting for the test results.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

My Genetic Journey

A little over 11 years ago my Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was a small, but aggressive cancer located on her chest wall. Something that a self exam would have never caught. But it was caught early and she has been in remission for 10 years. Her story is a lengthy one. One I'll get into later.

After she was diagnosed, my sister and I attended a genetic forum on the breast cancer gene. At the time, they were newly investigating the gene and pushing for people to get tested. However, there were lots of repercussions to the testing. They recommended that you go to another state and use a fake name and pay for the test yourself. They said that employers, insurance companies and others would discriminate against you for the positive result if they found out. They said that radical surgery was the only way to go if you tested positive. All in all, the forum was scarey. In the end my sister and I decided that we would be vigilent about testing and detection. And I have spent the last 10 years getting mamograms and doing self exams.

But yesterday, we decided to be tested.

My mom's doctor was suggesting testing and honestly my doctor had asked me about it a couple of times. It seemed that all the planets were aligning making the time to test now. And to be honest it scares me to my inner core. But knowledge is power, right?

So in about 4 weeks we'll know if my mom is positive. If she is, my sister and I will be tested. Then we take action. Whatever that may be. All I know is that I have to get my thoughts, worries and expectations out in written form before it overtakes me.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Worried...Scared

Next week Kim and I are going with my Mom for Genetic Counseling. There is a strong family history on my Mom's side of breast cancer and some isolated occurrances on my Dad's. My Mom's doctor is recommending counseling and possible testing for her and potentially a historectomy. Ovarian cancer is highly linked to having mutations in the breast cancer gene. If my Mom has the gene, it likely that she would end up with ovarian cancer at some point.

Kim and I are going along to see if counseling and testing may be appropriate for us. And this is where is scares me. Since My Mom was diagnosed in 1997 I've been vigilant about preventative care and screening. And in my head I have a plan of what I would do should the tests be positive. Simple plan and because I've thought about it for so long, it scares me less. I'm well prepared for this.

On the other hand testing positive for mutations in the breast cancer gene could mean so much more. Screening and increased testing could fall by the wasteside and mastectomy and historectomy come into play. Scarey. I may not 'need' these body parts but, they somehow identify me as a woman. Much like styled hair and make up do now. And with those things come a whole new set of medical issues.

So I'm worried and scared, but trying to not obsess about it...trying.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

I am so remiss

At least I think I am.

I'm hoping that it means that I'm lagging behind. That I haven't done something. That I need to get caught up.

If it means something other than that, disregard remiss and insert "behind".

What this all means, is that I haven't been blogging much lately.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Facebook

I'm addicted. I'm just going to admit it.

I resisted for so long this thing that everyone was talking about. Then one day in January I decided to join. Pete and another person were my only friends. Then I found friends from a message board. Since that time I've found cousins, friends from high school , friends from my sister, Pete's family...

And I'll admit, I play some of the games. I love the spot the difference where you try to find the differences in the pictures. It's addicting.

And I loaded it on my iPhone.

It's almost like a drug...it calls to me often throughout the day. And I give in, repeatedly!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The rollercoaster

...and we're on the downswing again.

Pete's aunt Frankie thought she had a stomach virus in January. They ruled everything out and saw a mass in her abdomen. She went in for surgery on 2/6/09. However, the mass was invasive and they just closed her abdomen back up. She started chemotherapy immediately. Only the family has reported that it's not working. So she's in hospice, being kept as comfortable as she can.

And while I've never met her, I met her husband Dickie. He was here when Pete's Dad died in April. Wonderful man. We took him around the Mall of America and out to lunch. While he was sad when he was here, he was also a wonderful spirit. Calming and generous with compliments and light-hearted teasing. I can't imagine the pain that he is going through.

So prayers for Frankie please. And keep Pete in your thoughts too. If she passes away, we'll be making the trip to see them and it's going to be a hard one without his Dad.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Driver's Training

I'm going to admit it. I'm a little freaked out. Like rapid heart rate and red face freaked out.

For Valentine's Day I got a reciept from Pete. I know. How romantic, right? Only it is. Kind of.

The receipt was for payment of the Rider's Edge Class at the Harley dealer. Which is like drivers ed for motorcycles.

Breathe in, Breathe out.

Yes, where was I? Ok, so my goal since last year has been to learn how to ride. And I want to, really I do. Only last year there was so much going on that if you told me I needed to add one more thing to it, I may have jumped off something. Or out of something.

Since that time I've sat on so many bikes and who knew that motorcycles fit a person kind of like clothes. There are different heights and widths and length of pedals and foot pegs and handlebars. But I think I found it. The one that seems to be made to fit me: Victory Vegas Low . I sat on a beautiful one at the motorcycle show and it just fit me. It was comfortable. It's definately one in the running.



Anyway, about the heart palpatations... So I got the receipt for the class and Pete's kiss and kind of forgot about it all. Then I got a call. The facilitator calling so I could pick out my day to attend. Yikes. It's uh, real, isn't it. So she rattled off dates and the first one was about a month away. Now considering that there is still snow on the ground, that one was out. And the next one wouldn't work because I had previous committments at work. So as my heart beat like a quick drum, I chose the second one in April.



Now I have about 60 days to read the book for the permit, take the test and pass it. Man I feel like I'm 15 all over again. I always wanted to feel younger, just not that young and not in the rapid heart beat kind of way.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Clicker Training

You know those clickers that dog trainers use to train the dogs? The annoying ones that almost have the double click to them? The ones that they hold behind their backs with one hand while they command to the dog? You can get them at any pet store. This one shows you what they're like. They must be pretty well liked because a lot of trainers use them.

You know that my husband has the iPhone, right? And honestly there are more applications for that thing than dollars in the deficit. He will often times pick it up and browse applications when he can't sleep and doesn't want to disturb me. He's found some cool racing and fishing applications. He had a Zippo lighter that I hold up in the car every time a 70's rock ballad comes on. He has a flashlight/strobe light that is kind of cool looking.

Anyone see where this is going?

My husband tried to clicker train me this weekend.

Let me repeat, My Husband Tried To Clicker Train Me This Weekend.

I'd be doing something that he liked: picking up, getting him something to drink, driving him around, paying for lunch, kisses...anything he liked and he tried that clicker thing on me. I kept telling him YOU CANNOT CLICKER TRAIN YOU WIFE! But it didn't seem to matter. He'd get this big smile on his face and click than dman clicker application on his phone.

My husband tried to clicker train me...and it didn't work.