Setting a pace

Jan 31

Woo!  I’m back. Cruising with my sisters and mom was awesome.  There were many quotable moments.  We laughed, we toasted, we enjoyed each other.  It was awesome. Coming home is great too.  I missed my trio, and they rocked it while I was gone.  They are all tired, as you are when the rhythm changes, thus we soaked in a minimal activity level and a lot of quality time in the last twenty-four hours since I came home.  They must have really worked on their car-singing while I was gone too because the four of us gave some enviable performances as we drove around today.  Greta wore a perfectly styled mis-matched rockstar outfit to church today and is — poof — old enough to play Just Dance by herself on the Wii.  Maren big-sistered through the day: two made beds, an organized doll house, a game here, a make-believe there, a double bubble bath.  I just now (at 9:45pm) got around to unpacking my suitcases.  Life is busy but life is good.  Very good. I made it back from vacation with my hair which, on Day 27 into a new chemotherapy drug that causes hair loss, is not a given.  My hair is actively shedding, I would say, but not at a rate that I’m ready to buzz it.  On this drug, it’s possible that my hair may thin rather than fall out altogether, so I’m going to hold off on buzzing it for now.  It’s winter and I’ll take the warmth while I can thankyouverymuch.  Treatment number four is tomorrow, and since this treatment is going on “indefinitely” and I have more than two-thousand weeks until my eightieth birthday, I’m hoping to be on this treatment a long time.  I’m imagining the assault on my follicles is representative of what the chemo is doing to the cancer cells, so I’m all about some potency.  Go chemo go!  Brad leaves for a short (and rare) work trip tomorrow, and his request is that he still gets to be on duct tape duty for me should the need arise.  (Duct tape duty means he tapes my head with duct tape and peels it off to pull out the last tiny prickly hairs after...

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Jan 25

I saw the sunrise twice this week.  The first was the morning after the snow day; remember my last blog, where I pontificated about my love of snow days? I had several friends level me with withering stares (as only good friends can do) after they read that one: snow days are less awesome (and even downright stinky for some families), so sorry if my love of them rubs you the wrong way.  (I do just really love them; I can’t help it.) The morning after the snow day, Maren came clamboring into my bed before sunrise to say that she did not get to have a snowball fight or make a snow fort the prior day.  Those two things had indeed been her number one wishes the day before, but as our day evolved I figured an epic sledding outing was the same difference.  Not the same thing in the mind of my eight-year-old, however. She was cheerful enough about it, not whiny or needy or complain-y.  She approached me with an attitude of,  “Bummer, I should have managed my expectations better.”  (Sometimes she is so very eight, and also so very mature at the very same time.) My thoughts filtered through my brain as follows: “Oy kid.  I worry that you are spoiled.” “Hmmm.  This is not a real problem.” “It’s (very) early.  She totally has time to play in the snow before school.” “That sounds like fun.” “I want to be the kind of mom who says yes instead of no.” “I’m in my cozy bed; I wonder if I text Fun Neighbor Family if her kids will go outside too, and then I could stay in my cozy bed.” ::Commence text to Fun Neighbor Friend:: ::Get text reply that Fun Neighbor Kids are still sleeping.:: “Okay, so my choice is clear.  Put on my Super Mom cape, and go in the snow right now, or say no and stay in my cozy bed.” “Hmmm.” “It would be inconvenient and cold.” “But I choose to believe I am Fun Mom.” As if on cue, Greta bolted into the room and scrambled up on the bed.  Her face is intent–always: she wants to know the daily plan....

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Evolving my days

Jan 20

Today’s snow day was perfectly timed.  Snow days are such  good reminder for me of unexpected blessings, willfully set-aside to do lists, and spontaneous creative fun. We did appropriate snow day things today.  The kids decided what we should do.  I elected to serve the brownies before the lunch (and I never do that).  She played in the snow.  We had marshmallows and hot chocolate.  They had mutually agreeable loving sisterly playtime; when I see this I feel I have spotted a unicorn.  After a failed commute (he’s fine, it’s the traffic that was miserable), Brad stayed home and I enjoyed his presence as he worked from home.  We played board games.  We squeezed our day of freedom for everything we could, and I think we all feel refreshed tonight.  Brad and I even went on a mini project-ing date this evening, so we really rounded out the day with fullness and fun.  Yay! Those to do lists, right?  Sometimes they are TO DO LISTS, and they’re like mocking me as they sit undone.  Like item number seventeen: empty Christmas laundry basket.  Said laundry basket contains almost every thing I got for Christmas because I haven’t taken the time to actually put it away.  (Oddly, I use items from it: wear the shirt, color in the book, use the lotion, etc., and then I put it back in the basket as if this is a permanent solution.  (Note to self: Jen this is not a good strategy.)  Also a factor is that as I haven’t written a thank you note yet, having it in the basket is a to do list in and of itself.  And also, I enjoy writing thank you notes, so it’s not a burdensome task.  And obviously since it is a month after Christmas, I am trusting that the givers in my life are really *really* good at giving me grace in all areas, not just thank-you-card-writing.)  Oy vey, tell me I’m not the only one with a Christmas laundry basket. Right? Good grief I feel like I am babbling, which is kind of awkward, but it also kind of accurately reflects how I’m feeling so I’m going to go with it and not delete everything I just wrote. One...

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Opening the door

Jan 11

I’m in the chemo chair today, and I’m actually being a little anti-social (rare for me in the infusion suite), because I have so much to catch up on.  Just now I renewed  my website (the hosting and domain registration were set to expire/disappear forever approximately 25 hours from now.  I learned what “hosting” and “domain registration” mean a few days ago.)  I’m telling you I am barely on the internet at all; three years ago when I set it up (with lots of help from a stranger friend) I’d hoped to learn more, but it hasn’t been my priority.  When I sat down with my friend for help with this, my friend looked at my computer’s desktop and began twitching at the disarray.  That’s sort of representative of how I feel like I’m dealing with the important-but-not-energizing stuff in life.  I’m getting it done, but barely.  There’s lots of disarray. Some of you have said, “What can I do?”  It’s a hard question for me to answer. Last week while I took Greta to gymnastics, a friend/neighbor came over and took down all of my outdoor Christmas decor.  She had messaged me a few days prior to tell me it was happening and so I could leave my storage bin(s) in the garage so it was ready for her.  When I got home, it was all done; it was even put away in the correct spot in the basement storage room.  It was so refreshing to have a job that would have taken Brad and/or I hours finished.  Thank you for such a practical and selfless gift. Because of my past experience with various chemotherapies, and the knowledge I’ve gained about the value of my village, I’m trying to be a better help-ee by creating routines and systems in my house that can be aided by another.  If you were to do something for me this week, these are the kind of minutae tasks that are going to be back-burnered for me, but it would feel good for someone to get it done.  (Brad is super-willing and able to do these things, but it’s not life-giving for him to do it either.  He can do it, but I don’t...

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A few snippets

Jan 09

Last night was the first time in 90 days that I didn’t end the day by taking a handful of oral chemo pills.  My symptoms from that chemotherapy drug should wean away soon.  I’ll be glad to be in the sun/daylight without breaking out!  The photosensitivity has been no joke.  I wore a 3/4-length shirt on the sunny Midwest December day we drove home over winter break, and as a result of the sun coming through the windows while I was driving, I broke out a rash that was almost hive-like on my forearms.  For this outdoors girl, I will be glad to be able to be in the sunshine! I think my toes might be healthy enough for the first time in more than three years for me to have a pedicure.  I think I am going to try to squeeze one in before my new chemotherapy treatment starts on Monday; this chemo drug will be bad for the toes, so I have to do it now if I’m going to do it.  Is that crazy? If your kids interact with my kids at all, please be super-duper thoughtful in what you say to your kids about my health.  I realize I’ve flung the door open wide with my blog and over-sharing on the internet, but it is intended for the adults in my world.  If you want to know what to say to your kids, I can email you and/or blog on that topic if there is enough interest.  I need Maren to be able to talk about all of this on her terms, and having it brought up on the playground by someone other than her is not in her best interest.  Thanks for helping us with that. I’m moving forward with things that bring me joy.  Taking the cue from my last blog and new inspiration, I am working on quotes (a long-held passion) to hang and write and design and display.  Do send me quotes (mine or other sources), verses, or other snippets that you think should be in contention.  If you have graphic design or art skills please feel free to apply them on my behalf.  (Haha!)  It’s good for my brain to work on this...

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