Sunday, October 31, 2010

Saturday, October 30, 2010


As October winds down the pink is slowly fading from view I can't help being relieved.  Every pink ribbon is a gut punch and reminds me of how many people I know affected by this horrible disease.  I don't need any reminders.  They are ever present in my head.

My mother-in-law died when my husband was 16 from it.
His grandmother (paternal) had it when she died at 94.
One of my friends is in remission (thankfully it was caught very very early)
A coworker (from a previous job) has had 2 battles with it.
A friend's mom died from it. 
My great aunt (grandma's sister) died from breast cancer.
Her daughters have battled it.
I have had more than one scare myself.  I have had 2 surgeries to remove (benign) lumps and tissue.  I have had mammograms every year for 10+ years (some years 2 or 3).  I have had cysts show up-and disappear (or that would have meant surgery #3).  Every month I worry I will feel something.

I am scared one day it won't be benign.

I think pink all year-not just October.

October is Breast Cancer awareness month

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Advice to myself

A few days ago, Kelle at Enjoying the Small Things posed the question "What would you tell your 13 year-old self?"  This questions has stuck with me over the last few days and here is my response.  I chose each of these, no matter how silly some seem, because I know by changing them it would have had a serious butterfly affect in my life:

Dear Self;
Grow your hair long.  Trust me. You hate your hair now.  You will hate every single hair style until you grow it out.  Start now.  Put it in barrettes or pull back the top into a ponytail during the long awkward stage (and it will be long.)  Growing your hair long will give you more confidence.  It will fit your tendency to sleep until (and past) the very last second possible to get to school.  It will solve so many problems.

Wear your contacts.  I know they are new.  I know that the doctor told you to wear them 1 hour today-and increase by 15 minutes each day until you can wear them 12 hours--which is an impossible feat for someone in school.  Ignore him. Wear them all day.  Take them out when you get home, if you must. Carry your glasses as a back-up (but you'll probably never wear them outside the house again.)

Do well in school.  I know-that's what the parents say.  I know you can barely do the work or study and get decent grades.  But you have a brain.  Use it to really excel in all classes.  It will make your choices later easier.  Math and science are tough, yes. But you have a brain and eventually you will see they are fascinating-even if they don't have a plot like books do.

Take Spanish-not French or German.  Also, become an exchange student.  Do it.  You want to.

Pay attention to the world around you.  The parents expect you to learn about the many career choices, life skills and street smarts at school or on your own.  You need to take charge of this.  Tell them what you need to learn.  Make them take you to colleges to visit.  Explore careers.  Microbiology, Meteorology, Astronomy, Radiology, Computers, physical therapy, etc.  Learn how to invest.  Learn everything you can.

Talk to both parents about issues.  Dad doesn't really talk to Mom much.  He says things that are not really 100% true.  He thinks he knows what is best for you.  It isn't always.  It will backfire on him..and ultimately you-so prevent it by making sure YOU talk to each parent about stuff.  Don't assume that one agrees with the other just because "he or she" says so.  Usually one lacks information.  Decisions might not always change-but I know some will.

Exercise and eat healthy.  Go to the doctor and request inhalers for your "mild" asthma.  Life will be so much better. No more 3 month colds.  You can breathe when you exercise.  Try out for the cheerleading squad this year.  You will make it.

Go to a college away from home.  Ignore Dad.  He only wants you to go "there" because he gets a discount.  It's a great school-but you need to get away (see below) and experience college life more.

Date him.  Then move on.  Move on.  You need more time.  You need to experience life more.  You need maturity.  I won't lecture here-just trust me.  If you do nothing else I say--do this.

Don't get involved in/with drama llamas.  High school girls are awful.  Don't let them in your head.
High school is not like the rest of your life.

Stay in touch with your friends.

Save money.  Spend wisely.  Don't get in debt.
Invest a bunch in Apple, Inc. 

You are beautiful.

Have fun.

What would you say to your 13 year-old self?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Fragmented visions

When I was young (some time under 9), I traveled with my grandparents to visit my great-grandmothers several times.  My grandfather's mother lived in a house with hardwood floors.  It was very clean, very neat, and shiny.  There was a big porch out front.  This is about all I remember, except my grandfather's brother lived with her.  My memory is a little fuzzy-but I have clear pictures of "Uncle Bob" standing behind my great-grandmother's chair.   I clearly remember him standing there. Looking at me.
In my memory he moved once.  He moved-took a couple steps to come around the chair and was immediately reprimanded and returned to his standing position.
My memories are truly only a brief snapshot of that time.  I was a young child.  Perhaps the reprimand makes it stand out.  Uncle Bob didn't really stand there the whole time. But that's what exists in my memory.  What also exists in this memory is the fact that I knew he was different-but couldn't figure it out.  He looked like he wanted to play with me-but wouldn't/couldn't.  It's hard to explain.  I knew he wasn't "normal" but no one told me why.  I knew he was "slow" He was shorter-not the height of the men in my life (over 6 feet)-taller than my friends-but not tall enough for "an adult." I think I was kind of nervous/scared around him (perhaps because of how the adults acted)

I saw him another time.  He lived in an institution (?) after his mother died when I was 9.  We (my grandparents and I) visited him there.  I remember he came out and was happy to see us.  I remember pepto-bismal walls  That's it.

Fragmented visions.

I know I used to have more memories of him.  I would list him in my list of extended family.  I would ask how he was.  I visited him before age 9 several times.
I was sad when they told me he died 18 years ago.
Sadly, time has erased most of the few memories I had.

I never knew he had Down Syndrome until 3 years ago-looking through old family pictures.

October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Things this week that...

Things list week that caught my attention:

1)  A man walking his dog using a Segway.  A Pomeranian.  That he had to pick up half-way down the trail (A 2-mile portion of the Montour Trail)

2) A woman on a cell phone walking while pushing her large dog in a stroller.

3) A Ten-dollar bill blowing down the street (Mine now!)

4) Actively avoiding 4 accidents because other people
-ran a red light (He got tired of waiting for it to turn green and went anyway-even thought it was the  opposing traffic's turn.  where was he going?  The Sub shop on the opposite Corner)
-Looked only one way before pulling out into traffic
-Pulled into my lane (in the spot my car was currently occupying)
- once again someone runs the stop sign at the beginning of my street when I am turning in.  The cops could make their monthly quota here on my short, out of the way street.

5) I think my brother and mother drunk called me last night-giggling over some foreclosures "I should buy" in Florida.  I am not sure which is worse-that they were drunk-or that they weren't.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A simple reminder

It is no secret that marriage is tough.  I used to think once you married the guy you didn't have to continue to do anything-that once the ceremony was over we all lived happily ever after.
Now as a grown-up, I know that one has to put effort into maintaining and growing as a couple.  It is easy to let things slide, to put off "us" time and give in to the grind of daily life.

Lately, my husband and I have had a lot of difficulty.  Not marriage ending difficulties-but more stress than a couple should deal with (infertility, money, he is out of work and the job search is not going well, illness and more).  We are very different in expressing our feelings.  He is quiet and reserved.   I am not.  I like to snuggle.  He tolerates it.  You get the idea.  There are fleeting moments when I wonder how he really feels.

Then, out of the blue, something happens to remind me that he may not say the words or like cuddling-but he shows how he feels in other ways.

This was waiting for me when I got home after my book club tonight:

Porch Light

My husband thought about me-and that it was dark-and turned on the porch light.

This is not the first time.  In fact, every single time I leave when it is light out and return when it is dark-the porch light has been turned on.
Every. Single. Time.

I can't say I have done that for him...

Thanks for the reminder, honey.  I love you, too.