Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Woman Credits Vaginal Removal for Bright Christmas [Listen] | News 92 FM

I've recently done an interview on Houston Radio regarding my surgery last December. It's my first experience with such a thing and for twenty minutes of interviewing, this is what aired:

Woman Credits Vaginal Removal for Bright Christmas [Listen] | News 92 FM

Now I have to say the title gave me fits of laughter. I hate to give you my visual but it involved my legs spread wide with a christmas star shining bright from the void that was once my vagina. I am giggling right now as I type this. Cracks me up.

Okay, but in reality, if anyone is interested, I actually have a vagina. I call it a Million Dollar Vagina. Oh yeah.

If you have any questions, feel free. I'm all about sharing the information. Next month is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month and I have a give away. If you are interested in getting in on the fun, then when you go to the interview link, click on the tweet it or the facebook share it and encourage your friends and followers to get their annual pap smear and follow up on the results. Let me know you've done this and I will put your name in for a special drawing at the end of January.

Oh and stay tuned for another interview...this time t.v.! Can't wait to see the headline on the next one!

peace and love

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Like my friend, I have been unable to process the events in Connecticut this past week.
Unlike my friend, I have not been able to put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard.

I hope she doesn't mind, but I would like to share her words with you.

peace and love,

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Someone else's words

When I was looking at quotes on grief, trying to use someone else's words to express what I could not say myself, I found this quote. This Rob Sheffield expresses perfectly how I felt when I got sick and had to 'let go of all sorts of independence I thought I had, independence I had spent years trying to cultivate.'

“I was helpless in trying to return people's kindness, but also helpless to resist it. Kindness is a scarier force than cruelty, that's for sure. Cruelty isn't that hard to understand. I had no trouble comprehending why the phone company wanted to screw me over; they just wanted to steal some money, it was nothing personal. That's the way of the world. It made me mad, but it didn't make me feel stupid. If anything, it flattered my intelligence. Accepting all that kindness, though, made me feel stupid.

Human benevolence is totally unfair. We don't live in a kind or generous world, yet we are kind and generous. We know the universe is out to burn us, and it gets us all the way it got Renee, but we don't burn each other, not always. We are kind people in an unkind world, to paraphrase Wallace Stevens. How do you pretend you don't know about it, after you see it? How do you go back to acting like you don't need it? How do you even the score and walk off a free man? You can't. I found myself forced to let go of all sorts of independence I thought I had, independence I had spent years trying to cultivate. That world was all gone, and now I was a supplicant, dependent on the mercy of other people's psychic hearts.”
Rob Sheffield, Love is a Mix Tape


 “The pleasure of remembering had been taken from me, because there was no longer anyone to remember with. It felt like losing your co-rememberer meant losing the memory itself, as if the things we'd done were less real and important than they had been hours before.”
John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

“It's so curious: one can resist tears and 'behave' very well in the hardest hours of grief. But then someone makes you a friendly sign behind a window, or one notices that a flower that was in bud only yesterday has suddenly blossomed, or a letter slips from a drawer... and everything collapses. ”

“The tears I feel today
I'll wait to shed tomorrow.
Though I'll not sleep this night
Nor find surcease from sorrow.
My eyes must keep their sight:
I dare not be tear-blinded.
I must be free to talk
Not choked with grief, clear-minded.
My mouth cannot betray
The anguish that I know.
Yes, I'll keep my tears til later:
But my grief will never go.”
Anne McCaffrey, Dragonsinger

“Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak knits up the o-er wrought heart and bids it break.”
William Shakespeare, Macbeth

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Aunt Jean

These are pictures of my Aunt Jean.
She is my mom's younger sister.
She has battled lung cancer and the effects of the cure for the past eighteen months.
She departed this earth yesterday, November 26, 2012.
She was 71 years old.
It is difficult for me to put aunt jean into words.
She knew how to have a good time.
Aunt Jean Having a Good Time!
Michael, myself, Julie, and Aunt Jean
Aunt Jean didn't have any children, and my mother had seven. If the above picture were not quite so blurry, you would probably be able to read the fear and/or frustration that comes with having your house taken over by the noise and needs of small children who do not belong to you.  I have a difficult time remembering much about my childhood, but I remember this trip to Florida to visit aunt Jean and uncle Ron. I remember eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on her front porch after an afternoon of swimming. I remember the hunger, that unique hunger that was only experienced in your single digits after hours of swimming. I remember wearing my two piece swimsuit, the green indoor/outdoor carpet under me, eating my sandwich from a paper plate with my tupperware brand plastic cup full of milk. It was pure childhood bliss.

Sister, Sister
 My mother is a year older than her sister. Their houses are across the street from one another. They were two peas in a pod. They would sit on the back porch, of either house but mostly mom's, and they would drink coffee and smoke fags for hours. Then they would drink wine and smoke fags for hours. They talked and shopped and argued and made up and did all the things that sisters and friends do. And then aunt Jean got sick and mom did all the things that sisters shouldn't have to do, but they do out of the deepest love when there arises the deepest need. It's a tough thing to watch from afar when there is nothing you can do to lighten the load. I am impressed with their sisterhood.

Aunt Pat, Aunt Jean, Gail, Nana, Mom & Me
 When I was 13 years old, we moved to Florida, just a few blocks from Aunt Jean. At first it was hard because she wasn't used to kids. We lived with her while mom shopped for a house. But then we all got used to each other. I remember curling her hair with the curling iron. I remember her giving us special chocolates from England, one at a time! She encouraged me to save money. She would say, 'just $20 from each paycheck, save just $20'. And even though I did not save $20 from each paycheck, her voice was always in the back of my head saying 'just $20 from each paycheck'. She was a saver. She worked hard and she saved money. Her money and what she could buy with her money were important to her. Everyone who knew her knew this about her and some would perhaps think it crude to say, but she told me this herself back in April. She wanted her things to go to someone who would appreciate them as much as she did, who understood their worth. She didn't like the idea of someone possessing her things who did not understand their value. I'm not sure what to say about this, as I struggle always to disentangle myself from material items, while at the same time long for pieces of myself and those who came before me to pass down to my daughters. As if my grandmother's china can hold the spirit of my grandmother in a teacup and saucer. Yet, when I hold the teacup in my hands and put it to my lips, knowing that she did this same act, it feels sacred to me. So what is the worth of a housecoat that can feel like a hug from someone who isn't there anymore? What is the value of looking up on the wall and seeing a crucifix that you know someone you loved looked upon every day of their life?
the Butler's way back in the day

 This is aunt Jean's immediate family. Her mum and dad, her two sisters and her younger brother. Don't they all look rather hip? I especially love my mom's look, there on the right. She reminds me of Samantha Steven's twin sister on Bewitched. So beautiful.
Uncle Ron & Aunt Jean
When I see old pictures of Uncle Ron and Aunt Jean, I think they must have led a pretty wild life in their younger days. They are always laughing, smiling, partying it up. Uncle Ron died about 15 years ago. Aunt Jean never even dated again, as far as I know. She lost a little bit of her sunshine when she lost him. After he died, I would dream about him occasionally. I would always tell her about the dream. I think she liked that. It felt like I had a nice visit with him. In the dream, I knew he was dead, but he would just come and tell me he was doing alright, not to worry. It was really nice. I hope I get to see Aunt Jean in my dreams. I hope they are together and they pop over to my dream to tell me they are doing alright...partying it up.

Peace Out
Susan Jean

Saturday, November 24, 2012


People ask me 'how are you doing?' and they say it in that sincere way that means 'I know you haven't been doing well, so how are you doooinngg?' and I smile and say I'm good, how are you doing? and they ask their question again, 'yea, but how are you really doing?' and I have to say 'really, i'm doing great'.  It's always the same little dance. and when i stop to think about it, it's strange that its always the same rhythym.

I was looking at some pics on facebook this morning and there was a really good one of my brother and his wife and I thought 'I saw him in August, in Tennessee'. This thought got me to thinking about my trip to Tennessee and I suddenly realized how much better I feel now than I did only three months ago. I have tons more energy, I don't feel so creaky in my hips; I have all day energy now!

I had to stop and meditate before the rest of the house wakes up.

Today's centering thought was about letting go of trying to arrange your life. Let go of the need to be right all the time, or to convince others of your way of thinking. We're not just talking religion and politics here; but the everyday stuff. I am going to try really freakin' hard today to live it. Wish me luck.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving and Harold's in the Oven

Harold is IN the OVEN! Wooo!
When my littlest was teeny tiny she LOVED to be in the kitchen with me. She has helped me with every Thanksgiving turkey since she was three years old!

here she is at 5
Isn't she adorable with her little apron? Her aunt bought that for her and she wore it out. I have it tucked away in a chest with other cherished items that she has temporarily outgrown. I know when she is older she will be glad to get them all back.

Every year I do the same turkey recipe. Wolfgang Puck's Brine Roasted Turkey. It turns out the perfect turkey, EVERY time. And after eleven years of not so good turkeys, it is a real treat.

My little one was perfect for helping me because her little hands could easily fit between the skin and the tender breast meat. She could shove that sage butter under that skin like nobody's business. Then I would drizzle the olive oil on top and she would massage the John, Tom, or Harold (yes, we have to name them first), like he had booked an hour at Massage Envy. She says 'It's my favorite part'. But she says every part is her favorite part ;)

Just now we were in the kitchen together, I was chopping the garlic and she had just started chopping the sage for the butter when the room instantly smelled like Thanksgiving and Christmas all rolled in to one. I looked over my shoulder at her and there she was, as tall as I, using the big-girl knife, and smelling like a holiday. The past eight Thanksgiving mornings flashed before my eyes and I burned another memory right into my spirit. The special place where you keep all the very best ones. And I am so thankful.

She's gone back to bed for now. She will help me again in a few hours with the Best Damn Dressing ITW, and the potatoes, green beans, sweet potato casserole, and everything else. And everyone else will be up and music will be playing and we will be laughing and I will stress a little and they will make me laugh again and it will be a great day. But there is something special, almost sacred, about preparing the turkey with my youngest and getting it in the oven in the quiet of the morning.

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving; and remember that giving thanks can be done every day, with or without a Harold!

Peace and love,

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Almost as bad as Facebook

Good Sunday Morning :)

It is a cool crisp morning here in East Texas; don't let the sunshine fool you, it is c-h-i-l-l-y out there! I am always awake first on Sunday morning. I like to get a cup of hot tea or coffee, sit down at the computer, catch up on the blogs I like to follow, and now and then even type a few words myself. I've discovered the worst thing I can do, if I want to put words on the screen, is to scroll through Facebook first; if I had any creativity when I got out of bed, Facebook eradicates it. Good Lesson.

What prompted me to write this morning? weird dreams. It has become very commonplace for me to dream about people dying. People I know. People I see almost daily. It isn't usually the main plot of the dream, it's just a happenstance. Then I wake up and I'm freaked out and have to check with that person to make sure they are okay (as if I'm suddenly clairvoyant or something). At least that's how I used to respond, it's old hat now. Which is strange because the first 40-something years of my life I maybe dreamed about death twice.

I am pretty sure it's because I had to think about my own death over the past year. Death isn't such a foreign concept to wrap my brain around anymore; I think that is why my mind doesn't mind going there anymore. Odd.
Talk about odd, last night I dreamed a very tall man, about 15 feet tall, put on stilts to be even taller. Then he tried to kidnap my daughter. She was only three years old in the dream, so I had to save her. Then John Stewart was playing a gameshow that looked like a one person Family Feud, but only the intro. Then he drove a motorcycle into the audience dressed as Evel Knievel. Then Gary from Nike called to talk to my husband and his son about a deal they were putting together. (still dreaming)

Well the house is waking up and I need to put on my fuzzy socks.

Have a great week! Don't forget to buy some good candy for your neighborhood ghouls :)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

A Poem By Me

Sometimes when I lie in bed awake
my thoughts turn to the night you shared your secret with me

My heart fills with a sadness soul deep
and I squeeze my eyes shut and try to go back in time

I try to get there before the hurt
to protect you, watch over you and never leave you

Every time I am still too small and
I open my eyes knowing I was not there for you

Saturday, September 29, 2012

the grind

I've been cleaning for hours and hours.
The inside of the microwave is now clean, the top of the stove is now clean, the cupboards have been steam cleaned. The kettle has been rubbed down with alcohol and is shiny as new.
But I look around and the house is a wreck.
I wish my house had three less rooms.
It would be easier to keep all clean at once.
I wish I could get rid of everything I wanted, with no one else's input on the matter.
I would get rid of the corner desk, the large dining table, the lazy boy.
Having to discuss your entire life with someone else can be taxing.

I need a road trip. I need to hit the wide open road, drive with the music at full blast, singing out loud, eating twizzlers with the window rolled down. I need a destination that is cool, by the water, somewhere I can think.

I've been too busy to think.

I need to call my mother. I haven't talked to my sister in weeks. Friends have been put on the back burner.

And October doesn't look easier, every weekend is booked. I am putting together a company picnic. What was I thinking? I will be glad when November gets here, maybe I can slow down.

Alright, dinner is almost done now, I have to go.


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Too Much Thought for a Saturday Morning

I've worked with the same people for more than twenty years. They know who I am, they know my character, they know my set of values. In part, I know how to act because of their expectations of me.

When I am around my family, they know who I am, they know my sense of humour, they know my particular rhythm. In part, I know who I am because of what they think of me.

I know that some people are weighted down by the expectations of others. I understand that sometimes the family we grow up with can put us in a box and breaking behavioural patterns that were set long ago can screw things up, etc. blah blah blah. But I am talking about values and expectations that make us better people.

I am talking about defining your boundaries. I am talking about knowing where your line is drawn. I am talking about being the daughter your mother raised you to be. This is a common saying of a friend of mine and I simply love it. It reminds me to be strong, to be smart, to work hard, (and to clean the house for Pete's sake!).

If the people you surround yourself with know where your lines are drawn, know your personal set of values, know your boundaries, then it is mighty difficult to step over the line. There would be disappointment and possibly feelings of betrayal if you start breaking your own code of ethics all willy nilly like, right?

But maybe your life has changed so much, and in such a way that you have forgotten who you are and what you stand for; maybe you no longer spend forty hours a week with people who expect you to act with the integrity they've always known from you.

Maybe, at the same time, there is someone new in your life you want to like you. Maybe their values aren't the same as yours, and you forget that you once stood for something in the eyes of your family. Maybe your wife has to remind you to be the man she knows you to be.

We all need a reminder to be our best selves. The self who has taken the lessons we've learned in our life to heart because they were hard earned. Hard earned lessons that taught us to be better human beings, and to be better to others.

Don't be afraid to remind those you love to be the best they can be; having expectations of others can be a good thing for both of you. Remind yourself to be the daughter your mother raised you to be, the mother your children look up to, the wife your husband cherishes. It doesn't have to be a burden set upon you by others; use it as a compass when navigating the harder decisions that come your way. It can help you stay true.

peace and love,

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Is it Christmas? My Birthday?

I've seen my share of movies this summer. I've seen Bernie, Magic Mike, was when I went in to see Spiderman that I was knocked over the head. You see I had my ticket in my hand and I opened the glass doors and was hit with that blast of cold air that feels so good in a Texas July. The lobby is full of sensory stimulation. The carpet is psychedelic the neon lights are overpowering and the smell of popcorn and that stuff they call butter permeates the building. I was ready to see the new version of Spiderman when I looked up and there was a ten foot poster hanging from the ceiling against the side wall of the lobby that caught my eye. I wasn't sure what it was at first, but I was pulled forward by an unseen force. I started walking slowly towards it, looking up....I could hear my children saying "mom"? I couldn't speak, I just kept walking towards this giant poster, I stopped at the foot of the poster and without further words my daughters had caught up to me and they were staring too.
Then a great big smile broke out over my face, because the very movie theater we were standing in was going to have a Special Event, and they were going to put my favorite movie of all time on the

Did we attend?  YES
Was it everything we had hoped for? YES
I am sharing one of my many favorite dance sequences with you from Singin' in the Rain. The athleticism, the stamina, the pure muscle control...well, it gets my heart pounding just watching.

Donald O'Connor and Gene Kelly

Before the actual movie began, they showed an interview with Debbie Reynolds. She was delightful and she said they did 40 takes of the Good Mornin' routine, then Gene (who also co-directed the movie) put the first take in the movie. I got the sense she wasn't too fond of Gene Kelly. He was rather a perfectionist and of course, was much older than she. I had a feeling that in the words of Lena Lamont, she cain't staind 'em. However, she adored Donald O'Connor, and who wouldn't.

It's been several days now and I still have the music and dancing in my head. It is definitely an outing with my girls that I will never forget!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

2 Y's U R 2 Y's U B

I am at the retreat right now.
I came over here this morning to make sure it rained here and to meet with my brother in law to give him the nieces.
We had a grand time last night. We wii'd with the Just Dance 2. The littlest niece beat me everytime. I'm very bad at Just Dance, but that's not really the point now is it.
So I'm at the retreat with just my eleven year old.
I have run her a bath outside and she is out there right now while I am in here listening to Don McLean sing about Dylan replacing Elvis as the king.
I had to talk her into it....she doesn't see what is so special about taking a bath outside.
But I'm wiser than she...I know she will look back and know what a treat it was when her mom made her take a bath outside.
she let me snap a pic!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

la la

So three people this week have commented on my blog in person. It's weird when people I know and see daily are reading my blog. Mostly it was anonymous readers from France and Ireland and my handful of followers. I didn't think to ask how they even know about it.
I will try not to let it affect the way I write, or my thought process. Although I admit, right around the time I had surgery I told my mother about my blog (I thought it would be a good way for her to know me even better), and I went through and "edited" a few of my posts. So yes, having one's mom read what you write does affect a bit of what or how one says something. Delana from du Jour knows this, give me a sec to find her old post about that...okay, I searched diligently and couldn't find it. BUT I remember reading one of Delana's posts from when she wrote about her mom and her mom was completely upset about it.

It's like when I used to bead. I could bead for hours as long as it was for me. As soon as someone asked me to make something for them I blocked up...I was bead blocked. Being creative for your own sake is a beautiful thing.

Speaking of beautiful things, I have completed a course in transcendental meditation. It has only been a week and it has improved my life. I am rising easier earlier, I am weaning off the pain pills (i've had two halves of a vicodin over the past 5 days), and I feel happy.

Right now my girls are in the other room with their cousin singing on the wii. I love listening to that stuff from the other room. So sweet.


Monday, June 25, 2012

How was your day, God?

I  have a Facebook account. A lot of people say things like "Pray for my Aunt Lucille" or "pray for me" about this or that on their Facebook accounts. It got me to thinking.
I consider God to be my heavenly Father. A lot of people I know feel the same way.
I understand that He wants us to have all good things, just as our earthly parents want the best for us.
But the way I see it, is that He's equipped us with everything we need to succeed. Stop bugging the crap out of Him for every single little thing. I mean if I called my earthly dad 10 times a day asking him for stuff or asking him to intervene for things in my life I can assure you he would become irritated very quickly and quit answering the damn phone at all. Seriously, could you imagine?
So if you are one of those people, think about it...then cut it out.
Have you ever heard the phrase "Use the good sense the Lord gave you"? Thank Him for everything, and if you are gonna call Him up ten times a day, then offer Him something of yourself instead of taking all the time.
I mean does anyone ever ask Him how He's doing?
ungrateful brats.

p.s. if you feel the need to give me a lecture on any bit of what I just said....don't.

Beat the Heat

Several things on my mind tonight.
One is the fabulous lunch I had today.
 Aidan inspired me with all her talk about summer melons. I was in the grocery store and there it was, a big wedge of East Texas watermelon. Wrapped in saran wrap for a buck twenty-six. I had to stand outside to eat it; watermelon juice running down my arms and covering my face.  I felt like this:
The sun was shining down on me....i had to stand in the sun to eat the watermelon...that's a given. It was so super delicious!

the heat has begun, at 6:20pm today it was 102F. But I say if you are already complaining about the heat it's gonna be a LONG summer. So go eat some watermelon and suck it up. You're in Texas, Baby!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Music and stuff

I have good taste in music.
It's true.
and I like a wide variety. I think that's important when you listen to music to enjoy variety. I like Dave Matthews, Lyle Lovett, Lily Allen,  Adele, Eminem, Yael Naim, Sting, Lady Gaga, Dwight Yoakum, Mumford & Sons, Counting Crows, OK Go, I could go on and on and on and on.
Often my daughters introduce me to new music. More than a year ago they were listening to this tune and it really caught my ear. Now I'm a fan of She & Him. Although the video is F R E A K Y...which just makes me like them more.

Zooey Deschanel and M.Ward

Weird, right?  But great song and Zooey is Adorable. :)
go enjoy some.



I am hidden away at a secret retreat.
My daughters came by...I fed them strawberry shortcake and sent them on their way, not to be seen for three more days!
My retreat has silence. Blessed silence.
It also has an outdoor old fashioned cast iron bathtub. Like this
 well, sort of like this. only its east Texas, and there's a privacy fence around it. But you get the idea. It's very freeing to take a shower or bath outside. Sitting in the tub, looking up at the sky with the dogwood branches overhead. It is heavenly.

I spent my days watching Don Draper; loving him for being so good and disappointed he could be so bad...ok, I really liked him when he was being bad too. That's the allure of Mad Men.

I don't exactly know what smexy means, but one of my daughters labeled this picture with the term. I don't know how they intended it, but to me it's like sexy and mm mmm at the same time.

I had a great three days. I read, I listened to music, I hung out with Don.

Sometimes the pleasure of life can be multiplied if you can just be alone for a spell.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Diamond Jubilee

from my family archive
Congratulations on Her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee

We've had this picture in the family photo box for decades. As Prince Charles (with his hand in the water, how cute is that?) was born in 1948, and Princess Anne (in the pram) in 1950, I'm guessing this picture was taken in early 1951. By this time, George VI (in the sexy skirt), was having serious health problems. He had a lung removed in September of '51 due to cancer. Perhaps this picture was taken in May during Festival of Britain. Although that would make Anne only nine months old and she looks a bit older sitting up in the pram.

I really don't know how this picture came to be in our family photo box. As far as I know we are of no relation. Although I can't help but wonder if Princess Margaret is hiding another pram behind her (see the wheel?) and it must be, no doubt, one of my predecessors.

Did you know that Elizabeth I was never expected to be Queen? She was fourth in line to the throne. So she was raised with her sister Margaret (the one hiding my great-someone), her mum, and her dad; and it is said they were a tight knit family. It wasn't until she was about ten years old that her father became King and thus she was next in line to the throne.
I think its interesting the only one smiling is the queen mum. Everyone else looks like they are wondering why on God's green earth are they posing for this picture and who is that person with the camera? 
Perhaps one of my relatives simply asking the Royal Family to say cheese :)

Sister Sister

It's 5am and I haven't slept but a few winks all night long. I've recently come off a sleeping aid, Ambien, and I've had two weeks of sleepless, tortured nights. I thought I was past it, with my three good sleeps in a row, but here I am wide awake. However, that is not the point of my post today, it is merely the reason I am beginning it so early in the day!

I've been lying awake thinking about my daughters. I recently went on holiday with the two eldest, and I can tell you they are really something else. Being in such close proximity with the two of them for five days of hotels, airports, etc., they are really something to behold.
They are 28 months apart. When they were small girls and my mother would come to visit, she would say, "Do they always get along so well?" In fact it was a question I was asked frequently. The answer is yes; its not to say they don't have their disagreements and I know they annoy each other now and then, but the truth is they have a sisterly love that really shines.

They adore each other. When they've been apart, they can't wait to see each other again. They hug hello. When they separate (even if it's just for a few hours) they say "I love you". They make me so proud.  I know the next five years are going to hold challenges for these two. Each of them trying to carve out their own lives while doing their best to hang on to each other. One of them inevitably having a serious relationship whilst the other feels left out. But I am not worried because I have seen their love in action, I have seen their support for one another and it truly amazes me.


We flew to Seattle to visit MY sister. She was turning the big 5 - 0 and wanted us there to celebrate with her. So there we were, sisters and sisters.

We had a brilliant time. We started in Seattle and did all the touristy things we were inclined to do, the flower stalls at Pike Place Market were my favorite thing to see. We drank gallons of coffee, walked for miles, climbed hills meant for mules and steps as tall as the pyramids. And all of that was before we left the city!

After two days of Seattle we drove north toward sister's home. We found raging rivers to picnic near, serious bridges to cross, and a waterfall at the end of a treacherous hike. (Okay, it was only treacherous for me).
deception pass
raging river (and sisterly love)

 I had to make this picture bigger so you could see Maggie standing to the left of the falls; it gives you a better perspective on how big it is. After hiking through the woods for a little over half an hour, it is really a sight to behold. We were all alone, no tourists, no empty coke cans, no signs saying stay off the grass, it was amazing. And to think I almost missed it.

We had a grand time and I am so glad I got to spend time with my sister and my daughters.
Happy  Birthday Sister!

Saturday, May 26, 2012


sometimes i have nothing to say.
sometimes i have too much to say.

so much is different.
I've lost my muchness.
we could've had it all.

my knees were far too weak
to stand in your arms
without falling to your feet

but love is a losing game
what a mess we've made
no one wins

how can you change who you are
halfway through the play
how is everyone supposed to know
you aren't who you say

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Family Photos

Here are some pictures my friend took of the family back in November, right before I went into the hospital. I should have some retaken as I am much svelter now, haha, but they are very special to here they are:

Sweethearts since 1988

My Sweetheart

My Faith

My Peace
My Joy

Monday, March 26, 2012


The past few days have been total hell. My bones hurt. My skin hurts. I feel awful. I started taking pain medication again tonight. It has helped a little bit, except its left me a bit emotional.

I've looked up my statistics and I have a 23-61% chance of making it another five years. My chances decrease from the 61% because my cervical cancer reappeared within the first year. They increase from the 23% because of my age, my otherwise good health, and my good mental health.

So I ask God, what do you want me to do with the time that I have? I ask myself, what do I want to do with the time that I have? God's been rather quiet about the entire situation, but I've got three trips planned already this year. Florida, Washington, and Tennessee.

And maybe God hasn't been as silent as I think. Twice in the past week I have been put in the path to help someone going through rough times. I was able to listen with an open heart and encourage with love and understanding. It felt different. I've always been a "good listener", but it's different now. I understand from a new place in my soul. And as life is paid forward, the preachers wife brought me a fantastic dinner this week. Hmmm, weird circular thing that i've put together, but i'm a bit doped up so just roll with it.

I listened to a bit of Oprah's Lifeclass with Inyanla Vanzandt this evening. She said in order to stop the pain you've got to quit telling the same story. I'm going to go and listen to the entire webcast because we can all do with less pain.

Peace and Love,

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Nuts and Bolts

This is my second week back to work...part time. Well, hardly any time really. I am working 2-3 hours per day; setting my own hours. It's been really hard this week. The ups and downs are really making my head spin.

The Nuts and Bolts:
I have to wear "appliances". They look like this:
 plus this:  for Jack (he's the colostomy stoma) and
like this:
plus this: for Jill (she's the urostomy stoma).

So every other day, I pull the wafer off, apply a skin barrier (it's like an alcohol swab that leaves my skin sticky) and then attach the pouch. The wafers are about $12 a piece and the pouches are about $9 each. I'm lucky enough to have insurance, so it costs me much less.

It has taken me the past three months to decide these are the appliances for me. I have gone through several spills and several wafers that pulled my skin off. Of course the ones that work the best are the most expensive. Also, I should really be using a pouch that looks like this:  for Jack, but I can't bring myself to empty the pouch quite yet, so I use the disposable (sorry mother earth).

When I was researching stomas and ostomies before my surgery, everything I found showed a stoma to protrude from the stomach about an inch (I looked at pics to show you, but seriously, I HAVE a stoma and they make me cringe!), but in reality, my stomas are both flush with my skin. They don't protrude at all. I thought this would cause a problem with draining into the pouches, but I was wrong. It all seems to work quite well, most of the time.

The Ups and Downs:
So some days its really easy, nothing to it.
And then there are days where everything is a struggle. Getting out of bed is a struggle, getting dressed is a struggle, and I just plain feel awful. It's the days that I physically hurt that are the hardest. It becomes too much to put a smile on my face and feel cheery when my insides feel like they've been pureed. But I know if I just hang on, in a day or two I will feel better again.

The first ostomy surgery was done in 1776. The collection of waste was taken care by a sponge with an elastic bandage. (My sixth grade teacher told me not to show my stupidity, but I have to say that I didn't know they had elastic in 1776. Sorry Mrs. Andrews). I am so blessed that this surgery saved my life and I live in a day where the inconvenience is very minimal. I don't have to worry about odor, I don't have to worry about the pouches showing through my clothes, I don't have to worry about the complications that were life threatening only 50 years ago.

Well, that is enough for today.
I am securely fastened in my coaster car with a clear view of a bright blue sky as I am currently on my way up.

Peace and Love

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Dude looks like a lady

Just as I thought I would pass away with boredom, my sister arrived to save the day. I picked her up from the airport on Thursday evening, the weather was a warm and breezy welcome for her, as she came from the chilly northwest. She was just here with me in May whilst I was going through chemo and radiation, and now she is here to get me out and about and comfortable with my appliances in public. I've had one incident, while I was driving, and had to pull over and change an entire appliance. This was good for figuring out exactly what I need to carry in the car with me.

We went to the movies last night and saw Tyler Perry's Good Deeds, it was a good movie and I really like Tyler Perry (as a man, not as Madea). Anyway, I think it's really funny when I use a public restroom. I stand like a man to empty my pouch into the commode. I can't help but wonder what the other ladies think, as they can see my feet. I have to say there are a few silver linings to these ostomies;  I never have to sit on a public toilet again (!) and I can sit through an entire movie without having to leave and go to the restroom. :)

We moved my middlest college student home on Sunday. Her lease was up and she didn't want to renew until she knows what her sister wants to do. So she is going to drive back and forth to school for the next 2 1/2 months. Her brother was in Houston on business so he came by to help load the heavy stuff and we all went to eat at the original Ninfa's in Houston.

Moving Crew
The food was amazing and we were all so hungry after all those trips up and down the stairs, hauling boxes, etc. I went home and slept for 15 hours!

Tonight we are going to Houston to listen to live music. It's supposed to get up to 78 today. It's going to be a beautiful evening.

Peace and Love,

Friday, February 17, 2012

Ya Miss Me?

I'm sorry its been so long since my last post. I've been asked to make an appearance; and I've had a few things jumbling around my head, so why not?

First, I am doing rather well. All the docs say I am ahead of the curve :)  Which is a delight because I've always been quite average; a B/C student, quite average looks, etc. So there you go.

So now the dust has settled, I no longer feel like I am in the midst of a battle for my life. The war continues, but there is a sweet calm for now. I am managing these silly looking pouches attached to my lopsided stomach twenty-four hours a day, I take 6-8 pills a day, I stay hydrated, I've started exercising, and now I am quite bored to death. (probably shouldn't put it quite like that).

I have swept the same floors every day, washing the same clothes, the same dishes, the same toilets, I am so over it. I don't know how retired people do it. So this week, to be quite honest, I have had a difficult time getting out of bed. What's the point, really.  And what an awful way to feel when I've been given a second chance at life. I tell myself that it is part of the cycle of my healing. I know it is just a phase and I will soon pass into another one.

I talked to my place of employment yesterday about my return to work. I would like to start part time in March and work my way up to full time by April. They are creating somewhat of a new position for me, actually they suggested exactly what I thought they would; they have many outstanding in-house projects that have not gotten finished due to lack of time. Things like new job descriptions, job evaluations, writing new policies, cost analysis, etc. etc. I am the worst about starting a project and not finishing it. I have one curtain panel over my dining window and have not started the second. I painted 3/4ths of the dining room. I sanded one drawer panel in the kitchen. I started tearing down the wall border in my bathroom. You get the idea. So it looks like I will be growing as a person over the next few years as I learn to start AND finish a project. Maybe it will be easier as I will be getting paid for it?

Peace and Love,

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


The hardest part is putting my feet on the ground. Putting clothes on. Leaving my bedroom.
My bedroom has become a sanctuary. My down comforter giving me warm comfort. My soft pillow, my firm pillow, my microbead pillow, my hug-a-bear pillow for coughing. My glass of water beside my bed. I can open the blinds and let the sunshine in and close them when night falls. I have the t.v. remote close at hand.

I think I let it slide from sanctuary to prison cell sometime in the past week. I noticed it on the 30th, because when it came time for bed, I had already been lying in bed for so long that my body ached. So on the 1st, all determined, I got up early, did my therapy, took a shower, put on real clothes (not p.j.'s) and faced the day head on. Pass! Then on the 2nd, I got up early and had my hubby take me to the wal mart to get fabric for my youngest (she got a sewing machine from Santa!). As soon as I got home I undressed, went to bed and never came out of my room again. Fail. So today I am trying again. I got up early, I had really gross oatmeal from a package that you add 1/2 cup of hot water to, yuck. I have on pj's, but I'm at the computer and I'm typing and I am not in my bedroom. I have two doctor appointments this afternoon and my friend is coming to drive me. I am glad because I think she is just what the doctor ordered.

peace and love,