Saturday, October 27, 2007


Monday, my brothers and I had a meeting with my Dad's oncologist. I like our Doc. I like him a lot. It wasn't an easy conversation. The reality is sobering to say the least, and yet Dr. W. handled the situation with grace and empathy. I listened to him gently explain the prognosis and patiently explain the oft times confusing diagnosis. He is my age...37 years young, and is dedicating his career, his life really, to this most hideous disease. I have great respect for him and really can't adequately articulate how much I appreciate his bedside manner, his professionalism and personal attention to us in the most difficult of circumstances.

Fast forward to Friday night where I attended a 70th birthday party in honor of my father in law. There I was approached by a friend of my father in law, a man I know of, but don't know well. He too is a doctor. He inquired as to how my dad was doing. It took me back as I'm not certain that he has ever met my dad. I gave a short answer, assuming that he was inquiring out of concern for Tony and I.

"So," he said, "how long is it going to take? When is he going to die?"

I think I was in such shock at the boldness of his inquiry, that I fumbled around for an answer. And then I walked away in utter disbelief.

Not that my dad's condition is any of his business, but if he was going to ask about him, he should have tried to have some tact or at the very least, some respect for what Tony and I, not to mention my dad, are going through.

The more I think about it, the angrier I get. Angry that he would be so brazen, so arrogant, so obtuse. But more angry at myself that I couldn't come up with a wise comeback to put him in his place. Something like "Gee, my crystal ball seems to be broken today" or better still, "I don't know, when do you think you'll die?"

I'd like to take this man on a walk through the infusion room at the cancer center. I would introduce him to the bald headed beauty who rocks her new baby while the noxious chemo drugs feed into her veins. I'd show him the young children receiving chemo, their faces puffy from steroids, their eyes glassy from pain meds and anti-nausea drugs. I'd point out to him the many faces and families affected by cancer, the stress so evident in their weary smiles.

And if he was really lucky, I may even introduce him to my dad. I'd show him how he smiles through the pain even with tears staining his cheeks. I'd let him watch my dad tease his nurses and cheer on other patients. I'd share stories of his bravery, of his positive attitude and tenacious will to keep fighting even though his once strong and vibrant body cannot outwit the errant cancer cells.

And finally, I would remind him that cancer does not discriminate and it could just as easily be him spending 8 hours every other week with an IV in his arm. I might tell him about all of the horrible side effects the chemo brings and how even his own body will betray him, of how at times he will wish for the relief that is death. But then again, I have more tact than that.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Reality Check

A few years ago my sister in law lost her dad to cancer. I remember watching her go through this tremendous trial. Many times I worried what to do to help her, what words to say or what act of service might ease her burden. She didn't talk about her dad a whole lot. I didn't know if her silence came from stress, or sadness, or possibly out of simple respect and honor for her dad.

Going through this same trial now, I am beginning to understand how she may have felt. I read my cute niece Carlee's blog this morning and felt the tears wash over me yet again.

I find it difficult to talk about my Dad. Sometimes the words elude me. And yet my brain is running at warp speed. I find tears in my eyes on most days. And yet I rarely give in to the intense emotions beating against my heart.

Those closest to me tell me I am strong, that I am coping well, that I am positive and resilient. But I am none of those things. What I am is overwhelmed.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Gratitude Check

Every now and then my life kind of stresses me out. Okay, who am I life is complete chaos right now. But I recognize that when I focus on being positive and grateful, good things happen to me. Studies show that people who express gratitude are happier, which can cause them to think better. Research also shows that when we are thankful we are more resilient. It's almost as if gratitude acts like a shield against stress.

With that in mind, each night I try to remember a moment or two during the day that made me happy. Something that made me smile or laugh, something that lifted the darkness from my heart, even for a brief moment. While there are many things rolling around my brain which I feel a need to write about, today here are a few things which have brightened my week.

1. I have a habit (Tony would call it a bad habit) of walking around the house in nothing but my undies and my shoes. My closet is on one end of the house and the ironing board is on the other end of the house, so sometimes when I need to iron my clothes, I get all dressed (shoes, unders, jewelry) and walk to the other side of the house to iron my clothes. Once the clothes are pressed, I slip them on and then walk out the door. I have a system and it works. Tony and the kids always make snide remarks reminding me that I need to wear pants to the grocery store, etc. Monday I was rushing to get out the door to get Miles to Primary Childrens for his eye check up. I put on my undies and my clogs and marched across the house to iron my clothes. Tony couldn't contain his laughter when he saw me.

"What? You don't find this sexy?" I smirked

"You do realize it's supposed to be high heels and a thong, right?" he answered.

Whatever it was "supposed to be", it sent me out the door laughing.

2. Cole has been sweet on a girl in his class for over a year. I think the attraction is mutual and he is always full of sweet stories about his first crush. But lately he has been talking non stop about another girl...we'll call her "Susie" for the sake of this blog. Susie this, Susie that, yada yada yada, blah blah blah. Finally I say to Cole "What about "Jenny?". I haven't heard about her for awhile...I think you kind of like "Susie".

"No mom. "Susie" is just my back up plan."

Nice. I still laugh every time I think about it. Wonder how "Susie" would feel knowing she's second string.

3. Rachel, the Note Fairy, has resurfaced. Leaving little notes for me all over the house. On Sunday she made place cards for all of us for dinner with a little note tucked inside. I just can't explain how happy my heart is when I put my hands in my pockets and find a little love note from her, or when I open the drawer to brush my teeth and find a picture from her. I miss that little bug so much because her schedule is so crazy and she is rarely home. Having a note from her is like having a little piece of her to carry around with me.

4. Today as Tony closed the door to leave, Miles dissolved into a pile of tears. I scooped him into my arms and tried to console him, but he would have none of it. Finally in desperation, I called Tony on his cell and asked him to talk to Miles. Sounds silly, but as soon as Miles heard Tony's voice on speaker phone, his tears stopped and he squealed and giggled while patting at the phone. I love how he can so easily be soothed by the sound of his daddy's voice. I love that he recognizes that voice and knows it well. Simple, but it brings joy to my heart.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Sweet Slumber

To say Miles is not sleeping well would be an understatement. For the past month or so he has been waking two to three times a night, rising at the blessed hour of 5:30 am and trying desperately to give up naps. I'm lucky if he gives me two half hour cat naps each day. I'm tired, he's tired, and we're both grumpy.

When Tony and I built our house we decided not to install a lot of bathtubs; I hate to clean them, don't really love soaking in them, and shower curtains kind of creep me out. We really only have one tub, which is a large whirlpool bath in our master bathroom. The expanse of the tub makes it difficult to bathe a baby in, so Miles has been bathed exclusively in the kitchen or laundry room sink until a few months ago. Since that time he has been a shower baby.

Everytime I turn the shower on he gets excited and starts pounding on the glass door. We get in together and I scrub him first, then set him down on the shower floor to play while I clean myself. He LOVES the water and gleefully crawls in and out of the stream, splashing and opening his mouth to catch errant droplets. He is so happy in fact, that usually I get myself out, dry off a bit, and bundle up in my robe before I retrieve him.

Today was no different. He happily played while I shampooed. I jumped out, brushed my teeth quickly and grabbed a towel to bundle him up in. I opened the door and found him sitting right beneath the full stream of water, completely sound asleep. Just for a moment I wondered how much hot water was left in the tank...I mean this kid REALLY needs a nap. And even though crawling back into my own bed was very appealing, the mommy in me quickly scooped him up and felt guilty for leaving him, though it was only for a minute.

I fully expected him to wake up having caught his five minute power nap, but when I layed him down to diaper him, he sighed and threw his arms up over his head. He was out cold. I carefully lay him in his crib, not wanting to risk waking him by putting his clothes on. I added an extra blanket to ward off the morning chill and quietly watched as his features softened in peaceful slumber.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

The Dirty Mistress

I awoke early this morning around 1:30 am and found myself all alone in my big king size bed. I stretched my arms out wide hoping to find Tony curled up on his side. I left the comfort of my warm quilt and got up to check for him, but found the house quiet and the kitchen light still on. He was gone, out again, enjoying the company of his girlfriend: a 22 pound, scandium aluminum mountain bike, with a single gear and twenty nine inch rims.

Over the past six years I've grown accustomed to sharing my man with her. I take small comfort in knowing that there is only one of me, while at any given time he is courting two or three other "women". We have the pretty road bike, a titanium Lightspeed with golden tires which highlight her beauty at high speed. Then there is the dark green Niner One 9, a single speed Mountain Bike. Not to be out done by the Raw color Niner Air 9 (pictured), a geared Mountain Bike. Every time I turn around, it seems Tony is upgrading models, or switching out her parts, investing in the latest and greatest. He is fickle, and has easily owned a dozen of these little beauties. I can hardly keep up with their names, let alone the saddles, pedals, and components he buys for her. But gratefully, he hasn't yet turned me in on a new model.

His wardrobe advertises his love for her. Our mailbox is flooded with magazines all about her. We take her on vacation with us. Heck, we plan vacations around her. What free time he has is spent either with her, talking about her, or dreaming about and planning his new acquisition. I wonder if the other girls hanging in our garage feel a wee bit envious when he chooses the other girl to ride. I wonder if he worries about giving each of them equal saddle time. At least he spends equal time in keeping each of them groomed and pretty. I've witnessed it myself...using a toothbrush to clean the hard to get spots, gently lubing the chain, carefully polishing the frame with Pledge until it sparkles; a cleaner set of bikes has yet to be found.

Up until this year, Tony was pretty careful about the time he spent with the dirty mistress. I usually only had to share him on weekends and for after work rides. But this year he discovered the beauty and peace of mountain biking at night. The first time he took her out for a midnight spin, he came home gushing about the cool mountain air against his face, the brilliant stars lighting up the canyon sky, and the peaceful quiet, with only the sound of his own heartbeat as background music. The moon was full that night, and he described his adventure with such passion that it almost sounded romantic. I admit to feeling a bit envious. There are very few things that would keep Tony out until 2 in the morning, and while I'm sure he enjoys the camaraderie of his buddies and the post ride chill at Village Inn, it is her company that he craves.

And so it goes. Once or twice a week, Tony will tuck our children in, kiss me goodbye and quietly head out into the night air to enjoy a few hours on his bike. While I miss the warmth he brings to my bed and the steady rhythm of his breathing as he sleeps, I really can't blame him for taking this time with his other girl. She brings a passion to his life that I cannot. She eases his stress, she clears his mind, and his anxiety is washed away with each stroke of her pedals.

He returns to me refreshed and anew. He is home and he is present. Ready to be fully engaged in our lives. She helps him to be a more attentive husband, a more patient father. I see how happy she makes him during a thrilling ride with the boys, but I also recognize that she takes the brunt of his frustration after a grueling day at the office. Sure there have been many days when I have rolled my eyes or felt despair at his insatiable need to ride. But we seem to have reached some kind of balance. Maybe it is that I have finally come to realize that she is not the enemy, but rather we are playing on the same team. She helps me by helping Tony. He is simply a healthier, happier, more complete person for having her in his life. And I am grateful.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


Okay, so I've been tagged a few times and I'm always too pre-occupied or lazy to respond. But I've had a bit of a whirlwind week and I don't trust my emotions well enough to actually write a new post. it is, and I'm tagging some of my new blogging friends.

1. Best thing you cooked last week.

Turkey breast, mashed potatoes and gravy. We had my mom and Tony's sister over for Sunday dinner.

2. If money, time and babysitting were no object, where would you go and with who.

Italy and Spain with my sweetie pie.

3. When was the last time you cried.

About 30 minutes ago. My girlfriends husband called and asked how I was doing. When I told him "fine", he responded "liar". I know he "gets it" because he's been there. I'm grateful for my tender-hearted male friends.

4. 5 things you were doing this month 10 years ago.

Enjoying my sweet one year old son Cole....his first word was bird.
Working part-time for my pop.
Putting in our yard at the Curlew Circle House.
Traveling to San Diego to take Cole to Sea World and the Zoo.
Helping Tony start our business.

5. 5 things on your to do list today.

Take Mr. Miles to the doctor to see about his ears. Maybe an infection.
Schedule Rachel's birthday party at the Lion House.
Write a Thank you Note to my momma and my sweet friend Michelle.
Find a babysitter for Saturday Night.
Buy new jammies for Miles.

6. 5 favorite snacks

Barbeque Potato Chips
Chips and Salsa
Diet Coke (not really a snack, but more of a food group)
Home made chocolate chip cookies

7. 5 Bad Habits

Diet Coke.
Wasting time on the Computer
Falling asleep before Prayers
Making a mountain out of a molehill (that one's for you babe)

8. 5 favorite foods (food again? makes me hungry)

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Nachos from Porcupine Grill
Cafe Rio Salads
Did I mention mexican food?

9. 5 Places I've been

US and British Islands

10. 5 Favorite Memories

My Wedding Day
My Honeymoon in Hawaii
The births of my sweet babies
Finding out I was pregnant with Miles
Trips to Maui with my kiddos

10. 4 People I'm tagging

Melissa C.
Rachel J.
Christine B
Jenny S.

I'll come up with a better post tomorrow....or maybe I can get Melissa to write one for me since she's become an obsessive blogger. Just Kidding Mis, love you.