Friday, December 28, 2007

christmas vomit


At the risk of sounding like a third grade "theme paper" - remmeber those? - I'd like to indulge in a little written therapy. The drive to Canada was pretty uneventful, as was the 2 days we spent at my inlaws, aside from the fact there were 31 of us the house - a 1400 sq foot farmhouse thank you. However, as was the case last year, Christmas at my mother's has ended with vomit. For the second year in a row, Ceilidh has her head in a plastic trash can vomiting all her Christmas goodies. At least it's pretty with all the red and green. She's not the only one this time. All 4 neices and nephews have had it, now my BIL, pregnant sister, and mother are ill as well. I have the freedom to write this b/c I am the only one not in bed. Delightful.
My mother is watching my sister's kids while they're on break yet thought it was okay to send them over for the break immediately following a night of fluids expoding from the front AND the back door of their weak and pale little bodies. My nephew has accomplised a feat previously unfamiliar to me - both his vomit and *** smell the same. Unholy, but the same odor. How is that possible? Add to the fun, R has a pinched nerve in his shoulder and has been in bed on percoset trying to recover from that record pain after trying to find a clinic or doctor that would see him since our insurance is out of the country. I'm looking forward to the insurance claim and paper work when we get home. But, that's a blog for another day.

Anyway, time to go rinse buckets and make tea. Happy holidays.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I hate technology. That's a little ironic since I am dependant on my computer to produce and post this blog, but today, I hate technology. I hate when things don't work the way they're supposed to. it makes me crazy when even someone who knows more about it can't make it work. That's all. Too frustrated to say more. It wou;dn't be fit to read - you'd have to do a chemical eye wash if you read what is stomping around in my brain.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Rick Mercer


This post is from RICK MERCER- check him out: rickmercer.com . I used to watch him on a show called "this hour has 22 minutes" - a precursor to the Daily Show, but it ran in Canada so I'm sure you've never heard of it. He's witty, sarcastic, intelligent - everything I wish I could be. : ) I did not write the blog, but I really enjoyed it.

You'll note Fairfax has more in common with its' neighbor to the north than you may have thought. I've heard Canada referred to as America's attic - you forget it's up there, then you check it out and realize there is tons of cool stuff you either forgot about, or didn't even know it was there. So, enjoy Rick's take on how Torontonians (sub Fairfax for Toronto) reacts to a few flakes.

Canadians love to talk about the weather – always have, and always will. It's what we do. We have always been passionate about the weather, but we have never been hysterical about the weather, and certainly we have never been afraid of the weather. But suddenly, that seems to be changing.

Now first, I thought this was a Toronto thing. Because when you move to Toronto you realize pretty quick that when it comes to the weather there are two parallel universes. There's what you hear about in the media, and then there's what you see out your window. You can wake up and turn on the news and you can see a lead story about a snow storm that slammed the city, how there were three-hundred accidents between 5 and 9 AM, how no flights took off. And the reporter on the scene is so panicked he sounds like he's reporting live from the bottom of a collapsed mine shaft. And you think, "Oh my God, I had no idea, those poor people." But then you realize: hang on, I'm in Toronto, then you look out the window, there's three centimetres of snow on the ground and the kid across the street is walking his dog in his T-shirt. And you realize, there was no snow storm. There was no weather bomb. There were flurries. And then, it got windy and then the entire city ground to a halt.

It's why I invented the word "Torontarded." Good word, comes in handy, believe me. But before the rest of the country gets all cocky, know this: weather hysteria is spreading across this nation like some sort of demented low pressure system.

We don't have forecasts anymore - we have weathertainment. And it's all designed to scare the hell out of you. Cold weather and snow is now reported like a plague of locusts or raining frogs. Problem is, it's not a sign of a coming apocalypse – it's just business as usual in Canada. But tell that to the crowd at the Weather Network. You listen to them for five minutes, you wouldn't leave the house for five months.

This is the true north strong and free, and cold, and wet, and icy, and dark – sometimes all at once. It's why God invented long johns. This is Canada. We have winter. Life sucks, get a toque. And embrace it.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

cheesy! i know


I don't post forever, then twice in a day? What is that about? I couldn't help myself. I was working on a project that took a little longer than I anticipated, so I spent a little extra time surfing. My blog friend Farah had been tagged by her friend Katie, and i couldn't resist. I am a sucker for lists - ones I create or created by others. Embarrasssing to admit, but I love to fill out forms. Maybe it's part of my OCD but I LOVE filling out forms. Their organization is a thing of beauty to me. SO, when I saw the following, I was compelled to cut and paste. With no further ado, here we go...

Four jobs I have held in life:

Maintenance at a Nuclear Energy production plant
Lobster fisherman
Stockroom at Accelerated Christian Education Warehouse
Waitress

Four movies I have watched more than once:

The Mummy
Princess Bride
Dodgeball
Raiders of the Lost Ark

Four Places I have Lived
Cape Breton Island, NS, Canada
Long Island
Detroit
Washington DC

Four of my favorite foods:

Lobster
Homemade mac n cheese
REAL NY pizza
Bread in any of it's incarnations - right Amber?

Four places I would rather be:

England - see my last blog : )
NY
at my Nanny's (my grandmother - not the other kind of nanny)
Egypt


Four hobbies I engage in regularly:
Reading
Movies
Cooking
Eating

if you've read this, you've been tagged. : )

funny to me

I love the BBC. I love BBCA America. I'm am so enamored by all things British, I dream of opening a used bookstore in some obscure little hamlet like Twice Brewed some day. (It's a real place) Honestly, I wouldnd't be surprised to someday be on the mission field there. Now, since most of you who are reading this know me & my family, let me be very clear - I HAVE NO IMMEDIATE PLANS. I'm thinking way down the line - there are no resumes posted - I don't even have a passport.

That being said, I thought I'd share a clip form one of my favorite shows on BBC - Extras. Ricky Gervais - the guy who is not Sir Ian Mc Kellan in the clip - is the creator of The Office. So, you know he's funny.

So, please to enjoy.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

insomnia & gratitude


So I'm back to not sleeping again. I can't fall asleep, then when I finally do, it isn't for long. Or worse yet, my stupid nightmares come back. Dr. L adjusted my meds - first time since radiation ended - so hopefully, it'll get better soon.

Sometimes, the insomnia a good thing. I've sorted through some family issues, prayed for all of you, especially my pregger friends, planned what I'll pack on my trip home for Christmas, and written about 20 blogs in my head. I've reviewed what I'm thankful for - inspired by many of your lists : ) - been ashamed of things I've put off improving, and renewed my determination to stick to WW points.

Sometimes it's not so good. I have re-acquainted myself with my hatred of all things financial, plotted ninja attacks on my B-I-L who has done almost irreperable emotional damage to my sister and their kids, worried about the things my kids are exposed too, dwelt on my shortcomings as a wife, mother, pastor's wife, employee... all the things that in the light of day I keep in perspective, but at 3:26 a.m. is an abyss I slide into. Thank God the sun comes up around 7.

I have Ambien, but, even though - according to the manufacturer - it's non-habit forming - it's not how I want to fall asleep every night. Whether my body would depend on it, my mind would, and that's the part I can't get to sleep. No problem with a tired sleepy body, it's my mind I can't get to shut off. Any way, enough whining. I think I'll work on getting some of those 20 odd blogs out of Drafts.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

home again, home again, jiggity-jig


Okay. I'm back.

After a week in Dante's Seventh level of Hell, it is so good to be home in the land of wall to wall people, over priced housing, plethoric traffic, inordinate bureaucracy - furiously fast-paced Northern Virginia. I spent the week at my sister's house - a place that would mortify her and horrify you if I described. In the event she should ever discover my blog, I will not elaborate beyond the words "kitty litter, wheelbarrow and the woods". My apologies to Druids, hippies and Vice President Gore acolytes everywhere.

Monday, November 5, 2007

off the grid


It's been awhile since I've posted and know many of you are not sleeping at night as a result. I'm sorry. I've got a lot of family issues right now - feel more like a fireman than my job title of Ministry Assistant. I'll be back after I put out fires at my sisters house in Michigan - I enjoy catching up on your blogs even if I'm not commenting. So, keep up the writing - you're a pleasant diversion.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

what lies beneath



My younger sister is going through a hideous divorce that has become Jerry Springer worthy in the past couple of weeks. It started out just Lifetime movie worthy, but my brother in law has developed the super power of transforming himself into "White Trash Man" so it's escalated to a whole new level.

It's gotten me thinking about why my marriage has survived all these years. Not just survived, but thrived. Both my husband and my brother in law were raised by decent, hard working people who loved God and their family. In fact, both my sister and I met our husbands in church. They did half their dating at our house. My husband actually married them. The strange thing is that the guy she's divorcing is so far from being the guy she married. That guy was gentle and kind, thoughtful, helped with the house work, remembered birthdays, anniversaries, & tolerated her evil cat that hated everyone but her. This guy stood up his daughters - who waited an HOUR for him on their front steps thank you - only to show up at the event with his most recent girlfriend. This guy has done things that sound like they're torn from a National Enquirer headline.

The whole situation is difficult to grasp, but it's also a cautionary tale for the rest of us. He didn't wake up one morning, transformed during the night into Bizarro Husband. It was a series of choices over the past several years that have brought him to this point. The impact of those baby steps has taken him away from being the Original Husband and brought him to this place. The Butterfly Effect. A ripple in a pond. The clich├ęs are obvious. There are so many deep, philosophical tangents this post could go. But, honestly, I'm not up to it. I don't need to go off into an existential rant on the impact of personal choice and the effect on everyone your life touches.

I've been struck lately by the current societal trend of a general lack of personal responsibilty. Nothing is our fault. Celebrities get away with DUI's, racist rants, and worse. "It's the papparazi." "There was no one to tell them "No"." "No one helped them set boundaries" "Fame was too much." Everyone has an excuse - it's just that most of us don't get the press coverage.

I think the bottom line is for us all to remeber to guard our hearts. Nobody plans to be a chain smoker or an alchoholic - or a serial adulterer. But, it doesn't just happen. My Pastor warns us not to let a foothold become a stronghold. Don't take for granted if your marriage is "working" or that you're in a "good place" today. It's a lot of work. A lot of work. But it's so worth it. It's those little choices, every day, that little drift in your conscience that make all the differnce.

I have this poem in a folder on my desktop entitled "for my funeral". I'm not morbid, and believe me, I have no immediate plans, but this my favorite e.e. cummings poem. I am not romantic - that would be Roy's gift - not mine - but this poem is perfect to me.

I carry your heart with me

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in my heart) i am never without it (anywhere i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done by only me is your doing, my darling)

i fear no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true) and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows (here is the root of the root, and the bud of the bud, and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows higher than soul can hope or mind can hide) and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

~ e.e. cummings

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

you remember it's a dog, right?


I've been out of the loop for awhile - we had 2 weeks of fun with friends from out of town, and I have had a hard time putting together coherent thoughts worth blogging. So, I dusted off a draft that's been sitting around for a couple of months, polished the turd, and here it is for your reading pleasure.

Don't get me wrong - I love my dogs. Yes dogs - thanks to my husbands' previously undiagnosed mental illness, we have two. Took me 15 YEARS to talk him into the first one, 6 months later, we have a second. But, that's a blog for another day. My problem is with people who forget they are pets, not family. Again, don't get me wrong - grooming for my dogs costs more than my hair cuts, and they sleep on my bed. They enjoy treats, have sassy, color coordinated collars and leashes. But they are pets. My wonderful sister was here a few weeks ago with her dogs - a Greyhound and an Italian Greyhound. The full size greyhound was great. The little one, although not mean, does not know he is a dog. I'm not sure my sister remembers either. We've talked about it, and it's become a bit of a family joke. Now she's pregnant with her first child, and I am fascinated to see how this will develop and her dog has to take second place to the child. Really. This is going to be a change of Biblical proportions. It's actually quite funny. I'm the oldest sister and had kids first, so, obviously, I got to make all the parenting decisions & mistakes first. Now, I get to watch the circus from the stands instaed of being in the center ring. Not that I'm anywhere nearly done - my girls are teens so I'm about to catapult into that madness - but it's interesting to watch.

Monday, September 24, 2007

what is that feeling?


What the heck? I have that "It's about to happen any moment" kind of feeling and I don't know why. I keep waiting. And waiting. It's annoying. It feels like something significant is just ahead. Not necesarily to me personally, but something that will significantly impact my life. Like I can see the outline in my peripheral vision. Like I should see the signs and be able to put the pieces together, but I'm not quite there yet. It's not really an ominous feeling. I'm not nervous about it. And still, the feeling persists. It's out there. Can't say I wasn't warned. : )

audio prozac


I'm in love with an Old Navy sweater commercial. Actually, I'm kind of indifferent towards the sweaters, and it filled with attractive women, not many guys, so whatever, what I really love is the song. It's Ingrid Michaelson's The Way I Am. It makes me smile every time I hear it. James Taylor has the same effect. When PMS is particularly heinous Roy discreetly pops in a James Taylor CD, a few minutes, a little "Sweet Baby James" and "In my Mind I'm Gone to Carolina". "The Way I Am" is my current audio prozac. It's simple, kinda light & artsy, and it's wonderful. It's one of those songs that I can honestly say I really like the words and the music. Usually you get one or the other. Check out Girls and Boys. It's a great CD.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

good day to you


Yesterday turned out to be a really good day. Not that I was expecting anything unpleasant or for it to be a bad day - I really didn't have expectations at all. It just turned out to be a good day. Why is that post-worthy? I'm glad you asked. : ) I guess it's really not. But I'm posting it any way. I spent the morning at a mini seminar at church, and spent the afternoon at a cheesy community festival, second in lame-ness only to the last parade I went to in my hometown that was made up of 4 cars, a fire engine, the homeliest Festival Queen outside the Far Side, and a terrifyingly enthusiastic clown pelting bystanders with Jolly Ranchers. But you know what? The day - and the festival - was great. We went to dinner with the same friends who had invited us to the "festival" & we had a nice, relaxing time. My girls were at an all day event with friends, so R & I got to just be a couple all day. That doesn't happen often.

The people-watching alone was worth the trip. Any time you're feeling low, take a few minutes to be utterly shallow and look around. You are not "the fattest/worst haired/worst parent/pet owner...(insert current guilt/struggle here). You'll feel so much better. Then tell Jesus you're sorry & blame me for being a bad influence. Plus there was free ice cream and free cotton candy. They could have been playing accordian music full blast and it still would have been great. Seriously - free ice cream AND free cotton candy? What magical land is this?

There really wasn't anything outstanding about the day - (besides the free diabetic-coma-worthy snacks) The seminar was informative, the festival cheesy, but we were with good friends and the weather was perfect. We finished it off with great food at a nice restaurant. Nothing spectacular, but it was a really good day. Hope you get to have your own version of yesterday really soon.

Friday, September 7, 2007

sigh

This post has been difficult to write. I've actually been trying to compose it for days and have re-written it anout 12 times. The anonymity of my blog is limited b/c most of my "fan base" (hee hee) okay, readers, are my friends.

I let down a friend last week & I feel really lousy about it. Don't get me wrong, she's a good friend and I know she isn't upset - I know she still loves me : ) - but still, I hate this feeling. It was one of those times where I had to choose between my husband and my friend. Hmmm. It's brought up the whole issue of friendships between my husband & me. As a Pastor's wife, I have many friends, yet very few friends, know what I mean? Fewer still for him. It's complicated and wierd. Kinda like being the proverbial pretty girl that no one asks out 'cause everyone thinks she's busy or too cool for them, but sub "busy and holy" for "pretty and cool." : ) Most of the time, (ceratinly not always) if someone invites us out or over, they need to talk to my hubby about something. "My (wife, daughter, son, boss, mail man, gynocologist, dog walker) is driving me crazy!" Or, "So I have this friend, right?..." I really don't mind - I accepted it a long time ago. It's in the job decsription somewhere. The hard part is, in ministry, I'm out of practice of having real friends. It's also part of the job description. You construct a tidy little fence around your family, and guard it with all your might. Like in every profession, there are things about ministry you just don't "get" unless you are a pastor or pastor's wife. As an added bonus, every unguarded word & stupid thing you do is up for scrutiny. That is not a completely unreasonable thing for people to expect. With leadership comes responsibility. All that to say, it's hard to be relaxed and have genuine friendships because you can never be yourself completely. I am SO grateful I married my best friend or I'd have lost my mind a long time ago. Every stupid, and I have some doozies, thing I have said or done, R has witnessed or had relayed to him in living color. And he's okay with that. He knew what he was getting when he married me, and he knows I almost didn't marry him because I didn't want to be a "Pastor's Wife". I so don't fit the profile. But again, that's why he picked me. Bottom line, my friend, I'm sorry I pooped out on plans with short notice. You are a good friend and you deserve better. Again, I know you are over it, and think I am ridiculous for blogging it, but it's important to me to make it right.

This post is rambling and ridiculous, and I'm pretty sure I'll delete it shortly after I post it, but what the heck. It's post it or dump it. I don't want to see this draft again.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

what just happened here?


My kids went back to school today. So did the rest of Fairfax, I know, but my kids going back is important because they are my kids. One daughter started High School - ugh! - and the other started Middle School. Naturally it got me thinking of my own High School and Jr. High experience. We went from being the average Catholic family in a very - almost exclusively - Catholic community to be being ultra conservative Christians. No more movies, rock music, and don't even think about school dances. Can you say awkward? How about outcast? I don't blame my parents for how much I hated those years - at least not any more. Rather than stand up for what I believed - none of those rules incidentally - I chose to blame my parents. The fundamentals of what they believed, God as Creator, Savior, and the promise of a home in heaven based on my faith in Christ not on the "good" I could do, were and still are, real to me. It was just the other "stuff" that I had a hard time with. And it's also when I lost my mom. She's not dead, don't get me wrong - she just completely immersed herself in this new faith, and my Mom disappeared. I still had my mother -she did the laundry, meals, booked dentist appointments, but my Mom was gone. Vanished. Almost overnight. I used to come home from school and stand in the kitchen and talk about the inane details of my day, things I'm sure were ridiculous to her, but she made me think they were important. Suddenly every conversation carried immense weight. It all revolved around the Bible and what kind of witness I had been that day. This was at a time that I - arguably - needed her more than ever. I was a teen for crying out loud. I needed my Mom, not just a mother. It's a huge difference. I am determined it will be different for my girls. We've done "Best Thing/Worst Thing" since my oldest was in K-5. It's an easy way to start a conversation and find out how the day went even on days there isn't much to say. Believe me, there have been lots of days where the answer was Lunch/Math - always in that order.

I know I am old and not cool anymore - like I ever was - and I have the power to punish : ), but I want my kids to know they can talk to me about anything. Seriously. I know I am naieve and there are things I won't know until their kids tell on them, but it's important to try. It's also where people like my friend Ber come in. It's good to know they can ask her things they're too emabarrased to ask me, and know she'll not only give sound advice, but protect their confidence unless they're in danger.

Right now, I'm the old lady among a lot of my friends, and I hope we're a good example. Not that I think for a minute I've got it figured out or we don't embarrass ourselves on a regular basis, but I hope that at least somewhere along the way, they see us and think, "I look forward to that". My oldest told me this afternoon her French teacher toatlly mumbles, she had lunch with Jenny today but won't tomorrow because her lunch period changes like, everyday, a kid in her French class and his dad got stopped by a motorcycle cop on her way home from school and the boy looked like he wanted to cry, she has PE first period - "oh MY GOSH - so Gross Mom", and she saw Lauren today but only said "Hey" because it was kinda wierd and so they didn't stop to talk. Best thing? Lunch. Worst thing? There wasn't one, but it would have been Math if she had Math today. Anything interesting in that list to you? Me neither. Isn't it awesome?

Thursday, August 30, 2007

crazy techs and lemon juice


I had a sialogram this morning. Never had one? They're awesome. First you need 3 bouts with parotitis(mumps) collapsed salivary glands and a deflated duct. Sounds good already doesn't it? Add a scraped fender (my fault) in the parking lot, an hour and a half wait in 3, count 'em 3 different waiting rooms, and a tech that chats you up by telling you how much he hates A. Women (we're all hormonal and crazy, that's why the psych ward is full) B. Religious people (especially Christians 'cause they're so damn preachy and steal old people's money) and 3. Immigrants (learn the language). We have a winner! It's all the makings for a craptastic kind of day. All that's missing is a surprise visit from my MIL then I could die with my life complete. The procedure itself is a hoot. You lie on your back and slide until your head is hanging off the exam table. Then they insert a tiny metal rod into your salivary duct. For someone like me, that's tricky 'cause it's collapsed. So you get syringes of Real Lemon concentrate squirted into the duct. Then they probe and probe until, get this, they mimic the pain of the parotitis! "Does that hurt enough? Does that feel like it? Am I in a good spot?" If nothing else, it's given me greater compassion for my friends battling infertility. Huh? What? Well, I don't know a lot about IVF, although I'm quite confident no one is squirting lemon juice in their hoohas. They do however, spend insane amounts of time in crappy waiting rooms with magazines from the Reagan era, lab techs who treat them as another patient instaed of a person, and have other, non-citrus unmentionable fluids squirted in and around them. >: ) I'm inspired to pray more faithfully when they have even a routine check. And now, I'm going to go watch crappy daytime with Sophie - somehow that's very theraputic today.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

active or passive

"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." John Lennon

This has been a weird year. I have been in a funk for awhile. Not really depressed, not really lonely, just a little lost. In fact, I feel like I haven't actively participated in my own life. I am just now realizing how pervasively cancer took over my life. Maybe because I (literally) could not think clearly when I was in the middle of treatment, there are so many things that happened in my life that I was there for, but don't really remember. There's a great story about me lost in a fog at Safeway over choosing flowers for my friend Jill. Or like re-financing my house. I remember sitting in Shawn's office, but God as my witness, I didn't know what my mortgage was until a few months ago when I checked back in and asked. What an unpleasant surprise that was.

It feels like a cop out to blame it all on the cancer. Spend 15 minutes on the 9th floor at Fairfax Hospital, and you'll see why I can say without false humility or trying to portray myself as a martyr that I have NOTHING to complain about. I didn't have chemo so I didn't lose my hair, I wasn't constantly nauseous, and my radiation was far less invasive than most. I had complete freedom at work as far as sick leave, and was never once made to feel like I was taking advantage if I left work early when I felt bad. Those of you who know me understand and believe when I say my husband was amazing throughout it all. He's the person everyone wants around when there's a crisis. He's human Prozac. Nothing fazes him, nothing offends. My girls were patient and understanding and made me endless cups of tea. So why am I complaining? I guess I'm just now processing the whole ordeal. It's bizarre. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I live an ordinary life and something as out of the ordinary as cancer has no place in it. Not because I "don't deserve it". I've never once felt "Why me God?" Honestly, why not me? If we all got what we deserved, we'd all be in trouble now wouldn't we? It's just too big a deal to fit into my suburban, PTA mom world.

All that to say I need to get my house back in order - literally and figuratively. I neglect my housework somewhat during the summer b/c it's too nice out to be inside cleaning. It's nothing a rainy Saturday (or houseguests coming) wouldn't fix. I'm back on points, (hello Weight Watchers), back on my elliptical, started attending (ok I've only gone 1 week, but it's at the butt crack of dawn so I want credit) an early morning small group Bible study to get my spiritual house back in order. We put ourselves on a budget that will get us out of debt (except our house - welcome to northern VA) in 5 years. I think getting structure back into my life will help me feel connected again. This is going to be a good year.

Friday, August 24, 2007

brain ache


I decided I hate money. There's a lot to be said for those communists/socialists and the whole communal property thing - if you can get past the breadlines and godless society elements. Seriously, finances stress me out. All our bills are paid, everything is current, & I'm not in any danger of that changing but I'm obsessing about money right now. Maybe it's because I've got 4 years before my oldest heads off to college, maybe it's because I have a sister 2 inches from losing her house, maybe it's four friends who've had to declare bankruptcy in the past few years - only one of whom can blame irresponsibility and foolish choices - not really sure. It's ridiculous - this is far more stressful to me than cancer was. That's not right. I have friends who have endured divorce, buried a child, lost jobs, have special needs children, or live with chronic pain. I've had solid, practical advice for my sister who has been seperated from her husband since Christmas, & had to really count every cent she spent. Now, I'm looking at having to apply that advice to my own life and I don't like it. How shallow is that? I know we'll be fine, I just need to change my mindset. I chose to have a good attitude & trust God when I found out I had cancer, now I need to have that same attitude again. It's just a lot harder this time. I guess I'm more shallow than I thought.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

vacation - argh




So we're headed off to Disney World this weekend. I'm not looking forward to it. I know - what the heck is wrong with me? It's the happiest place on earth, right? We haven't taken a family vacation the past 2 years because my health was an issue, so I thought this would be great. The kids have wanted to go since they were fetuses. I booked the trip for heaven's sake - it was my idea to go this summer. What was I thinking? It's just too much. Lines, park hoppers, fast passes, "insider tips" like always choose the line on the left because it's usually shorter... it's insane! I feel like I just joined a cult and don't know all the lingo yet. Vacation is supposed to be relaxing. The Normandy Invasion didn't take this much forethought and advance planning. Oh well. It's my own fault. I'm a control freak and I married the most easy going man since the invention of the Y chromosome. "It's fine Tracey", "Why are you so stressed?", "By the way Trace, I can't find our flight reservation and confirmation... any ideas where I might have put that?" AAGGGHHH!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

cancer schmancer revised - sort of


So in an amazing turn of events, it turns out I am cancer free. The "hot spot" in my neck turned out to be nothing more than a renegade lymph node. It was "irritated" - which, in its' defense, if someone tried to burn the crap out of me with radioactive pills I'd be ticked too - by the radiation. I tend to think attempting to boil my own ear on Mother's Day - accidentally or not - also played a part. Either way, it resulted in a false positive.

And more importantly, let's not under estimate the element of the massive amount of prayer that's been offered on my behalf. If anyone has been healed by the power of prayer, I'm definately a candidate. Not the "slap on the head", "BE HEALED IN THE NAME OF JE-SUS!" kind of way, but in the quiet prayerful supplication of my friends and family. I had a friend tell me tonight she has prayed for me every morning on her walk since I've been sick. That is incredibly humbling.

So, to all of you who prayed, even once, I thank you. My humble, and deepest thanks.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

daddy issues




For all of us with "dead dads" - that one's for you Jill : ) - who still miss them, and still wish they were here to fix stuff from plumbing issues to family crisis', this is for you. (Thanks to Post Secret for the post card above.)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

simply canadian

I've been following the trial and subsequent conviction of Conrad Black. Have you? I thought not. I'm not surprised, even though it's been front page news in both the Washington Post and NY Times. You see, Black is Canadian. Or at least he used to be Canadian, and it's the used to be part that has become so significant over the past few months.

To give you a (very) concise background on Black, he's what they call a publishing & financing mogul in the biz. He's married to Barbara Amiel, also Canadian, a prominent journalist - (it's okay, I know you've never heard of her either). Amiel has been an outspoken critic of the Liberal party (our last Prime Minister was leader of the Liberal party - you're really lost here aren't you?) for years. Powerful & wealthy, living extravagant lifestyles, they've been big news. He's been suspected shady dealings in the past, even brought to court by some, and has made quite a name and fortune for himself on both sides of the border.

Here's where it gets complicated. Black was convicted - in Chicago (some of the business dealings he's been involved in over the years involve newspaper conglomerates here in the US) on 4 of the 12 counts he was tried for - he'll potentially serve 35 years. Adding insult to injury, Black announced he's now seeking to get his Canadian citizenship back. Now. He wants it back. Why at this point? you may ask. Don't worry, we did too. Turns out, his convictions carry significantly lower penalties in Canada, making him eligible for parole much sooner. Hmmm...

We Canadians are an tolerant people. Cultural generalizations are dangerous, but I think it's safe to say that we are very accepting of both culture and lifestyle whoever & whatever you are. Canadians are open minded - we're more of a "mixing bowl" than a "melting pot" - individual cultures are embraced but not necessarily assimilated. We don't have the tension in race relations the US struggles with, ours is an English/French thing that, like race relations, goes back many years, in our case, to the days of Upper and Lower Canada before we were even a country, so we ocassionally feel superior.

However, some things are an affront to us. We balk at hubris. Black personified this in ways few other Canadians have. I know, there's Celine Dion, but she defies explantion on so many levels I need a chart and laser pointer. You see, Black denounced his Candian citizenship to accept the title "Lord" from the Queen. He turned his back on being a Canadian. He's not the first, won't be the last, but his flagrant dismissal of it as something so trivial that it could be tossed in the bin isn't something quickly forgotten, or forgiven. As a nation we are often enamored by all things British, but we like that they're over there & we're on our side of the pond over here.

Black's treatment of his Canadian citizenship is a little like being a "starter wife". We we're good enough to get him set and on his way, but suddenly were't sophisticated enough. A little shabby - nouveau riche if you please. "Lord" gave him credibility as well as a title, and tied him to the Establishment with hundreds of years of power & authority. Consequently, there is little compassion for him in Canada. How the mighty have fallen. Certainly Amiel's past criticism of the government has not endeared them to the powers that be, and many of the shareholders most hurt by Black's dealings have been Canadian. We're a young country with a long memory.

It's unlikely that citizenship will be granted any time soon. Even if the current Prime Minister, Steven Harper, wanted to, he lacks the power to single-handedly restore citizenship to a convicted felon. Our Immigration policies aren't that "open door", thank you.

Black's sentence will be handed down in November by the court in Illinois. I'll be watching this story as it continues to unfold. This should be interesting...

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

17 years

So I got away for my 17th wedding anniversary. We were married on Friday the 13th, 1990. I KNOW - most of you reading my blog were in utero at the time - SHUT UP! "Friday the 13th!" you say. "Aren't you worried about bad luck?" Nope. I'm far more afraid of Independant Baptists and they were a far bigger pain in my nether regions than an unlucky date on the calendar. Although, we did lose our reception location, the beading fell off my dress, the photographer eneded up in the hospital and the videographer got in a car wreck on the way to the reception... but I digress. Another blog for another day.

We really weren't planning anything since we -(okay I'm) having mini strokes every time I think about the fact I'm only 4 years away from having a college freshman for a daughter - so we weren't planning to spend money. Hence, we've been a little more concious of what we're spending - not necessarily more responsible - just more aware. oops. How it is possible C is 14 and will be a 9th grader in a few weeks is beyond me. I know that's what all parents say, but I'll save that for another blog.

I had a hard time finding an anniversary worthy (read decent & not scary and unclean) hotel room and was reminded by my good friend D, "Don't worry, hotel sex is hotel sex". Good point. We spent a wonderful Friday evening walking around downtown Charlottesville and took our time coming back Saturday, stopping at a couple of wineries and famers markets wandering around - really just enjoying being together. It was nice to be together and be just another random couple. Just being anonymous is SO refreshing. The ministry we're in is the most low-key & the least demanding of any ministry we have ever worked in as far as what is expected of "A Pastor & His Family, Vol 1", but I am always concious of being "a Pastor's wife". When someone is rude & I'm tempted to explain to them that rude people make babies Jesus cry, the little voice in my head reminds me. Not that I come anywhere close to being the poster child, but at least I'm aware. Think of what I'd be without that voice. Yikes. Poor R.

Anyway, just the most refeshing 24 hours I've had in a long time.
After a perfectly lovely evening and day that followed, we came home to an amazing surprise. Our daughters had made a beautiful anniversary dinner for us. Canon in D was playing when we walked in the front door (from our wedding - like everyone else ever married in a Baptist church), and the girls were dressed up and ready to host our evening. They had prepared the dining room with candles and soft lighting, set the table with my best china and crystal, and prepared a wonderful dinner complete with menus. They had even laid out a suit for my husband and a dress for me so we'd be sophisticated enough for the "restaurant". They served appetizers & salad, a choice of 2 pasta dishes for dinner, and even choices for dessert. They wrote us poems and sang (hilarious thank you!) - it was the most Cleaver family moment I have ever been a part of. If you know me, you know I'm more Sharon Osborne than June Cleaver - so fun. I spent my last anniversry recovering from surgery & providing my own night light after radiation, so the bar wasn't set very high this year. It got an E (all my fellow Harry Potter nerds will know what I mean) far surpassing anything I hoped for. I've had anniversaries where we've spent more more, done bigger trips, given each other gifts, or spent more time alone, but this one will stand out no matter what comes down the road.

Now I ask you - What is your favorite anniversary memory?

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

a new low blow

I just finished reading my friend B's blog and was struck once again by how similar our situations are with our in-laws. in fact, it may be one of the reasons we first became friends. We both hear the tap of cloven hooves every time our MIL's approach.

I too have never "measured up". I was told days before my marriage that she already had 2 daughters and that was enough. Hubby was told he was marrying beneath him. For years this bothered me. She was my MIL for heaven's sake - my husbands mother, someone part of my family. I knew all the MIL jokes, but naively expected that it really couldn't be that bad. HA! We're rebellious, (rather I am and am dragging him down with me), selfish, materialistic - all things they perceive us to be, which if you knew us is not true. We have our moments where any of that could be true, but certainly not as a lifestyle. Last summer things hit a new low when they made my kids feel inadequate. One daughter was embarrassed in front of a group for not having a real Bible, & the other was sent bad to change because she was dressed inappropriately.

Then, this week , we stumbled into a new low. She called to ask if we went to church Sunday. Did we go to church Sunday? R is a Pastor for crying out loud! At first I laughed because it was such a ridiculous question. Was she serious? Sadly, yes. Then, I started to simmer. I have an amazing husband who has poured himself unselfishly into every aspect of his life, including ministry. He works so hard! He is the most unselfish person I know, and serves the Lord with a passion I admire and envy. He's just so darn good, if I didn't love him, I'd find him hard to take. : ) He serves wholeheartedly, not because it's his job but because it's who he is. But, because our ministry model is so different from theirs, to them, it isn't ministry at all. For them to disparage what he does offends me at my core.

I long ago came to grips with their attitude toward me. Whatever. But, when the criticism moves to my husband - their son - or my kids - their grandkids - we've crossed a line. It's really more of a moat than a line actually.

I realize I'm venting. I just read my friend J's blog about why we blog in the first place. This has definately been a therapy blog. It's ceratinly not to impress you with my literary stylings or my quick wit. In fact, it's likely filled with typos, run-on sentences & too much personal information since I'm typing late at night in a bad mood. There's been so much to blog about this week like the SIL who in the 17 history of my marriage has never been to my house to visit, but now that I live outside a "cool" city, is going to house sit for us the week we're OUT OF TOWN. Are you frigging kidding? (A little Canadianism for you there.) The list could go on, but you'd think was making it up.

Argh! Enough. I'm going to spend time with my husband and kids WHO ARE AWESOME and make myself get into a better mood.

Oh. Happy 4th. >: )

Saturday, June 30, 2007

loss

I've been prepping for camp and then trying to re-adjust to society since I escaped, so I just now read my friend J's post about how she processed the loss of her baby. I've never experienced her loss, so I won't pretend to understand. It's not loss, it's death. Saying with nice words doesn't make it easier. My Mom whispers things like "She's got cancer" "Her husband had an affair" as if whispering makes it less true. I'm sorry J sometimes felt alone. I remember sitting in the airport waiting to fly home for my Dad's funeral wanting to slap the faces of the happy people all around me going on vacation, taking a business trip, whatever. I couldn't understand how they could go about like everytihng was normal. I wanted to scream "WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? MY FATHER IS DEAD!"
The pain of losing my Dad doesn't compare to losing a child, but people still say the most assinine things thinking they're helping. That much I can understand. That may be the single good thing that came from my father's death - the realization it is so much better to just say "I'm so sorry" and then just SHUT UP. Some people never learn. Or they're just flat ignorant. Like the woman at my father's funeral who told my mom - "You're young. You'll find someone else in no time." WHAT? I think the worst part of the grieving process is the unforgiving timeline others assign to you. Once they're done grieving we're supposed to be done too. I've had too many friends kiss babies good bye that they never got to hold. On behalf of those of us who've never known that unique agony, let me say "We're so sorry." And now I'll shut up.

Friday, June 29, 2007

8 things

Okay, since i am inept & stil figuring out the whole blogging thing, and since I haven't linked to anyone else's blog so I'm floating out herein the nether regions alone... here's is my list of things I'm confident you lie awake wondering about concerning me.
1. I am the dorky friend that responds to the dumb "Do you remember..." & all the other fill-in-the blank surveys on MySpace & facebook. I don't know why, but I am compelled to answer.

2. I am intimidated by everyone. Everyone. Seriously. Even if it's just one thing - you're smarter, cooler, have better hair, thinner - I'll let you pick.

3. I've always wanted to live in England and open a little shop. Especially a bookstore. Maybe when we retire, it's what we'll do.

4. I really like being Canadian. I realize we're like America's attic - you forget it up there, but when you go up there, you realize there is all this really cool stuff you didn't even remember or know. I loved growing up on an island, and I sometimes miss the way of life I had growing up.

5. I don't regret giving up my career for my husband and kids. I gave up a good job opportunity at a TV station 18 years ago to follow my husband, and was a contented stay at home Mom while my girls were little. It's not the life for everyone, but it's the life I chose, and it's been good. I've had many people criticize me for setting feminism back 30 years, to which I say "Wow. I am that powerful?"

6. I'm ridiculously proud of my husband and kids, although I am also aware we are a 'typical' American family.

7. I miss my Dad every day. He was my hero. He died in February 1991, 7 months after I got married. He loved my husband, and it helps to know that, but I sill feel cheated that he never got to be a Grandpa. He would have been amazing.

8. When I was little I wanted to be an archeologist. My hubby and I plan to do one of those "vocation vacations" where you get to try another career for a week, so I'll actually get to try someday. I can't wait.

Thus concludes the brief lesson on me. Now, for a little mischief...

Saturday, June 23, 2007

cancer schmancer

So it's back. Like a lame sequel to a movie you didn't really like the first time... Anyway, I've had a couple of days to process, and I'm okay. I was more diappointed than surprised to get the news - I had that "fishbone caught in my throat" feeling a few times over that past few months, and I got a glance at a report with "malignancy" stamped on it, so... disappointed, naturally. Shocked? Nah. It's so random. I think I've mentioned before, cancer is so extraordinary an event, and I live what I consisder an ordinary life. I'll never be on Oprah for some amazing deed or God forbid some Lifetime movie where I'm the victim, no - hero, wait - is there a differnce on Lifetime? I think I'm more likely to show up on an episode of Cops than anything. >: )

Anyway, cancer schmancer - my life is good. My surgeon (brilliant, personable, & quite funny) pointed out that for me this diagnosis is more an issue of 'quality of life' than 'quantity of life'. It isn't going to kill me, and HALLELUJAH! I don't have to have *@&%@*# radiation again, there's no chemo, so I really have a lot to be grateful for. My husband is, as always, amazing & supportive & good to me (that's why we marry our best friend girls - teach your children well), and I have friendships that go deeper than I realized. They offer prayer support you usually need to impose on a family member for. And though some like Ber are a million (well it may as well be - thanks freakin texas) miles away, I take huge comfort in their prayers & commemnts. Their blogs have made me laugh out loud, and have made me cry - which you know, crying is not my thing. From Ralph, to First Ammendments and toddlers praying for me - how could I not be encouraged and see the immense amount of good God can bring out of this?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

header

How amazing is my new photo and artwork? A very exclusive designer out of Amarillo, Texas created it for me. It's a photo of Cape Breton - the island I grew up on, and a Celtic knot symbolizing eternal life. It was a really nice surprise. A gift, really. Thanks Ber.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

hmmm....

I have my MRI & CT scans this afternoon. I'm not worried about it. I'm a little leery of the MRI becasue of the whole claustrophobia thing, but that's all. Either my faith is stronger than I thought or I am WAY more shallow than I should admit. Either way, I feel okay about the appointment. Mostly I feel very unworthy - I'm serious - not trying to be a martyr or pious & humble - because of how seriously my family & friends are taking all this. I have neices and nephews (their parents too) fasting for me today. Little kids. Elementary school children in 3 states and Canada. That is almost too much. I've never been sentimental & I am the least compassionate of my sisters. I'm more of the "okay, how do we fix this" or "what's the next step" than the "let's talk about it" or "let me hold you while you cry" person. I can do that with my kids - no problem, but with others - not so much. Maybe it's a firstborn thing. So, I am incredibly humbled by the sincere, open hearted way they are praying for me. As loud and obnoxious as I can be, I'm uncomfortable with being the center of this much attention and 'real' feeling. I'm pretty sure I'll regret this blog about 10 seconds after posting, so I guess I'd better click and let it go...

Sunday, May 20, 2007

so i had a bad day

Okay, I finally admit it. I'm not fine like I keep saying. I think it's safe to say I hit bottom, quite literally, last Sunday afternoon. After a restless night with my constant insomnia puntuated by a series of nightmares about my husband and children, I had a decent morning at church only to have a well meaning individual stop by the Media/Tech (Video Toaster Room) to encourage me for an HOUR after service yesterday. I came home, tried to participate in my family life only to slip while carrying a pot of potatoes I had just taken off the boil, and landed full force on my elbows. Starchy potato (or is it potatoe) water makes an excellent heat conductor when mixed with human hair, so I have a lovely blister on my right jaw line and the entire back of my right ear is another disgusting weeping blister. I am actually quite fortunate - it could have been much worse. Needless to say, I took to my bed of affliction soon after. Later, I came downstairs to get a fresh cold pack for the burn, took out my diamond stud earring Roy gave me as part of a set for our anniversay years ago, and left it on the counter. It was pinching the blister, so I was a little side tracked and failed to put it in the little dish I keep by the sink for just such an occasion. R came home, tidied up, and yep, swept it into the disposal, and that's the end of that. Totally not his fault, and he - as is typical of R - felt bad for me instead of being annoyed with me for being so irresponsible. Now, I am trying to be Joseph or Job and not let what's happened TO me not happen IN me - see, I listen to the sermons - and I'm confident this will be a really funny story someday. Sunday wasn't that day. Pretty confident today could be, and as I climb out of the pit, I'm choosing to see the glint of sunlight above me as reflecting off my martyr's crown, and not a chamber pot.