Tuesday, April 28, 2015

What I've Been Reading

I've been on vacation so I read on the airplane and at the pool.
This first book was for book club. I think I've read it before. It's a book I could not put down. The mother agrees to take her young daughter to Iran with her husband to visit his family. In 2 weeks they will be home. He holds her hostage and it takes a lot longer than 2 weeks for her and her daughter to return to America. What she goes through is unbelievable, it was written in 1987 and I am not sure how much of that might go on now.

Harlen Coben is one of my favorite authors.
There are so many twists and turns in his books....as the story goes on you find out the characters are connected and and 'who done it'.

THE GLASS CASTLE is a memoir, another great book.
Parts of it are so hard to believe. The parents are very dysfunctional so the children aren't always sure that their life is not normal. This family moves many times, usually in the middle of the night and lives in rundown houses, often without running water or electricity. It's intriguing to see how the 4 children grow up and how some of them turn out to be 'normal' and others just can't.

These are all great books!
Have you read any of them?
Tonight we're discussing NOT WITHOUT MY DAUGHTER and having a chili tasting party. I am looking forward to it. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Greetings From Sunny El Paso, Texas

We arrived at our hotel Friday on a warm, sunny, afternoon.
Today is our last full day here. 
The temperature has been perfect - high 70's to mid 80's. I am not looking forward to going home to 40 degrees and clouds. waaaaaaaaaaaahhhh

I am taking advantage of the sunshine and pool this afternoon. 
My mom always liked short hair, she'd probably like this....as long as she didn't know why it's so short.
Try to ignore all the wrinkles...maybe we can just call them smile lines. 

It's time to get back to the pool!
Thanks for checking in on me!!!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Some Of The Things I Find In Thrift Stores

Wonder why I peruse the thrift stores? 
There are a couple of reasons.
1) I am frugal
2) You never know what you will find

Such as this art.
Was it made with a face mold? or someone's actual face?
Yuk....who wants that slimy stuff on their face???
It looks like torn stips of fabric were used...or paper? I think an old sheet would do.
It's a nice deep shadow box frame. 

Here's an interesting, huge, carved wooden coffee table.

Only $400,probably worth it. 
I wonder where it came from.

These table skirts were manufactured at my former place of employment. I quit that factory in 1990 when I moved and got remarried.

Nope, I did not buy any of the above items.

Do you find interesting things when you're thrifting?

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Throwback Thursday & I Love/Hate Options

Deb from Sharing Interests shared this photo on facebook and I LOVE it.  We both want to look like this again, my hair is shorter now and hers is longer. (1996)

Yes, I have a love/hate relationship with options. I HAVE to have options, yet I hate having them. SOMETIMES I wish I didn't have so much clothing, purses, jewelry, shoes, etc. Actually I have considerable pared down my pants and capris....I am retired and don't need that much! Tomorrow at 12:35 pm we will be in El Paso and the temp should be about 70 degrees. **smile** But when we leave our house it will be about 45 ...... clothing layers, here I come. I have been packing all week....taking things out, putting things in...and I'm still not done...... the bedroom floor is covered with suitcases and clothing. I say I don't need anything new...but then I buy something. I have some things to return, I'll take care of that when we get home.
It's going to be 75-85 during the day and 50-55 at night. Do I need a pair of jeans for at night? Will we be out in the evening? What if I don't feel like wearing the shirt I have packed for that day??? I need to bring some extras. I know I'll need a sweatshirt or sweater for air conditioning. Since I've been on my wonderful new meds and my BP is low I am often cold. 
Do you have problems packing like I do? Michele (who is going with us does....makes me feel a little better). Kev will pack tonight and it will probably take him 15 minutes...how I envy men.
I slept in today and am taking advantage of not having to be at radiation at 9:30 so I NEED to shower and get dressed.
I might schedule some posts for the next few days.....have a good weekend. I plan to!!!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

I'm Giddy, I'm Excited!!!

Last night I was so happy with anticipation that I could hardly stand it. I felt like a child who's waiting for a birthday party, the gifts, the cake and ice cream..... Like a schoolgirl waiting for her first real date to arrive......like a 6 year old watching for the ice cream truck to stop in front of her house.  My last radiation treatment was scheduled for the next day. I felt like I would be free....free to get up when I want....free to get dressed if and when I want... and free to stay home all day if I want. Oh, I could hardly wait, Silly? Maybe, but sometimes it's nice to enjoy the simple things in life.

And now it IS over, I've completed 33 treatments, the last 5 were boosts, the only thing I was able to notice that was different regarding the boosts was the machine's positioning. Yes, my breast is sore, it is uncomfortable when I wear a bra,  but now it will start feeling better! Yay!!! The bad sunburn feeling will diminish. **smile**

 There were now bells, balloons, or confetti but I did get a card and 2 small pins from Carol and Leah,the EXCELLENT nurses who saw me every day. They said they will miss me  and we hugged.
 After I opened and read the card I did shed a tear. They are great and I will try to visit when I am there.
the inside of the card they gave me

Remember this about cancer!!!

Today was a wonderful day....not just b/c I finished my radiation treatments, but the weather was fantastic!!! I raked the leaves out of nearly the whole flower bed next to the house. Then I sat on the deck with my book and finished it....you know that is almost heaven to me. I also decided to clean the bathroom so it's clean when we come home next week. I have most of my clothes packed, still need to get my carry on packed, figure out what I am wearing (it's always difficult when you travel from 50 to 80 degrees), and pack a few other last minute items.

Thanks for stopping by...........time for the never ending task of folding laundry....you know the feeling...I am sure.

Monday, April 13, 2015

3 Cards and Birthday People

Here are some of the cards I made at today's stamp a long by Carolee. She has one every month, 5 cards for $7. I try to go every month, it's about the only stamping I do.

It might be hard to tell, but the one in the middle has balloons on it. I think I covered up the balloon ends. I couldn't post my favorite one, because it is going to my sister for her birthday later this month.

Finally a nice day today, but I wasn't able to get outside. When I got home from stamping I wanted to finish 2 cards for my great radiology nurses and then it was time to make dinner. I attempted (my first) to make a shepherd's pie, low sodium.  I think I will be eating alone b/c Kev took grandson J for a haircut, no one else has time too ....and he can hardly see b/c of his long bangs. They usually stop at Dairy Queen after haircuts.

Here he is with his Godmother on saturday. He'll be 10 on wednesday, I don't dare tell you how old Deb turned on Sunday.

If the good weather holds out I want to get a few things done outside tomorrow afternoon.

Have a wonderful week!!!!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Changing The Subject

Soon, very soon I will have completed 33 radiation treatments. I am not going to say it was a piece of cake (it kinda was) but I will say it was not as bad as I thought it would be.
The last 5 days have been the worst, I feel like I have a bad sunburn. I lotion up about 4 times a day with Aquaphor, Maiderm, or Norske's from the doctor's office. On tuesday I will have my last treatment. YIPPEE!!
More good news I forgot to share: I received an official phone call last week and was told I do not need the lifevest anymore. It is so nice to have a 'naked' back. I will have another ECHO in May and hopefully we'll see more improvement then. 
Did you know that the radiation goes through the chest and can affect the back shoulder area too? I didn't. I have a red, rough, itchy area on my shoulder and the nurses said it was from the radiation...so I lotion that area too....not an easy task.
Yes, it IS time to change the subject from my cancer to something else, anything else!!!!
And here is my new subject: El Paso, Texas. On friday we fly out with a layover in Vegas (last year the power went out on the layover) and then onto El Paso. Kev is bowling in the national tournament and the team he is on now takes their wives. The temps there have been in the high 70's to low 80's. It will feel HOT to me...but I'll deal with it. The weather prediction for the time we will be there us sunny, sunny, sunny (insert a big smile). The only problem I anticipate will be keeping my radiation burn covered. I am a tank top type of gal but instead of tank tops I'll be wearing t-shirts or nicer, not low cut tops. I can't wait to get away! I will hang out with Kev's boss's  wife and we'll have a rental car if we need it. I plan to sit by the pool with a book for a lot of the time. I think Michelle says there are places within walking distance, I'll just go with the flow.  On wednesday night we'll return home, I am not sure if there is any sightseeing planned. 
Last year we went to Reno for the tournament and it was just before I started chemo, this year the trip is right after I finish radiation....appropriate???

In the meantime I think I will be able to get outside here and get the leaves off my flower beds.
Have a great week everyone!!!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Shopping, Shopping, Shopping

Thursday I was busy. 
First I had radiation. Then I stopped home for about 15 minutes....next I was off to buy lunch for myself and 2 grandsons. The 2nd thursday of the month is Bookmunchers at their school. They read to me and then we eat. I have a suspicion that the main reason they want me to come is for the free lunch I bring. Oh well....
Next I took some clothing to the children's consignment store and did some shopping. 
Mid afternoon I had an appointment to be a part of a panel discussion about pharmacies. We were paid cash for that :-) I like to participate when I qualify, cash is good!
I still had some shopping to do so I stopped at Hobby Lobby and picked up a file box and some 12 x 12 hanging files. I started to organize my scrapbook papers in it and then put it in my tote, but it took up more space than my current system....so....I am returning the file box....IF I can find my receipt. 

I've had my eye on this bracelet for about 2 month....it was not cheap, each part (band and metal plate) are purchased separately at a price I'd like to pay for the whole bracelet. The unique gift shop is going out of business and Everything is 60% off so I broke down and picked it up.  I drive by the store every week day and have only stopped one other time. Yesterday I got the bracelet for myself and a couple of Christmas ornaments (70% off) for the grands. 

Of course I stopped at the thrift store and here are my 'goodies', all for $4.23.....no, that is not a typo. The denim ones did not fit (I didn't have time to try them on) so I returned them today and found a different pair. That store charges $1 for capris. The black ones are almost new and were $2. They are kind of a pain with the two sets of buttons in front...no wonder they were at the thrift store...but they fit nice and I needed some capris for our trip to El Paso. I have enough capris now....SO KEEP ME AWAY FROM THEM ALL THE CLOTHING AT THE THRIFT STORE!!! The white socks are for Kev and the pink ones are for crazy sock day for my grands. The metal colander will go in my 'junque' garden.

'Spose I should find something to do and get off the computer.
Happy weekend y'all. 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

All The Best People Are Born In April

....and of course I am one of them. 
Just ask my grandson if I don't have 'awesome sauce' poured all over me. 

One of my granddaughters had a birthday earlier in the month. She always gets her gift late because I don't mail it. I will see her at the end of the month for her dance recital and give it to her then....that is, after I purchase it. 
Next are 2 brothers in law, we don't see much of either but I do like to wish them a Happy Birthday.
A couple of days later is my bff at Sharing Interests and Life. We're not exchanging gifts but hope to go out for a birthday dinner. A few days later is grandon J's birthday, on 'tax day'. He already started celebrating....he got his gift from his aunt, we had birthday cupcakes (in my Easter post). He wanted several books from Scholastic books at school so that's what we gave him. It looks like I'll be spending part of his birthday with him at school, it's grandparents day. I wonder if I should bring a treat??? I'll ask him later.
Our son in law's birthday is this month too.
Next is my oldest grandson...he'll be 15...it seems like just yesterday I was bawling on the phone when my daughter called to tell me he had arrived. He'll get his gift when I go to the dance recital.  
And then it's my sister's birthday....wonder what she wants???
Last, but not least, it's MY birthday!
I think my dad's birthday was in April too. 
May has a few birthdays too, but it is not as bad. Mom's birthday is the day after mine...but she is celebrating in heaven again (with her son and mother). Another granddaughter has a May birthday.
I better get shopping!!!!


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Exactly One Year Ago

April 8, 2015
It’s been exactly one year since I was diagnosed with breast cancer. One year ago in March I felt a lump in the upper part of my right breast. I hoped it was not, but feared it was, cancerous. My mammogram was already scheduled so I waited the 3 weeks for that and my annual physical exam. That was the start of many doctor appointments, tests, and a roller coaster ride. I remember where I was and what I was doing when I got the call (even though I have forgotten a lot of the bad days during and after chemo).  I was at work, sitting at a different desk in the office, when I answered the call from the doctor’s office.  I already knew it was cancer but had to wait for the official diagnosis.  I listened, and then briefly put my head on the desk. I didn't cry and went back to work when the phone rang again. I really never did get angry at God, break down and bawl, or feel sorry for myself. That’s just not me. I did cry a few times….mostly because I was afraid of the unknown.
Yes, I've been through a lot this past year; many ups and downs…. I don't remember it as being a bad summer….I am thankful that I was able to do many things that I wanted to do.  It’s far from over and won't be over until my days on earth are done. I've had lots of side effects; some have gone, others linger on, and any number of others could appear in the future. There are many, many more breast cancer champions who have been through much worse than me and some have had an easier time with it. Every single case is different, but yet the same.  I appreciate sharing with other cancer champions but I don't want breast cancer to define me. It is a part of me….and I am made up of many, many puzzle pieces. I belong to an elite club that I'd rather not be a part of. It is surprising how many women do belong to this 'club'. Parts of my life have been forever changed.
This past year I have been uplifted in prayer by family, friends, and friends whom I have not even met. Beautiful and thoughtful cards have graced my mailbox and made me smile to know so many care. I have received gifts, hugs, rides to doctor appointments, and kind words.  I have made friends with others who have fought this terrible disease. People have stepped up to physically help me with what needs to be done. Kevin did his part and remained as quiet as ever.
I am not sure what will happen next, I am still undergoing radiation treatments and have issues with my heart (that is improving).  My prescriptions have quadrupled and I'm not sure if I'll be on all of them forever or what to expect.  I am ordering a medical ID bracelet.  I have been doing what I have to do. I am a fighter and will continue to do so. I am not special, lots of people have health issues more serious than mine…I do not want to be put on a pedestal…but I do like knowing that I am loved, cared for, and not alone. 
God is with me always. I am thankful that he has given me this body and is healing it ….he told me that in a dream at the beginning of this fight. I was straddling a log that was above a body of water and inching my way over to the other side. As I worked my way slowly across I slipped and nearly fell (I don't remember how many times- 1 or 2) but I did not fall off. I made it to the other side. When I woke up I knew it meant that I'd make it…even with my congestive heart failure and low ejection fraction slowing me down I made it! I'm happy and I feel good!

“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”                                                                                                            Deuteronomy 31:6 

ain't no model....but I said I'd do it.
 Here's my pink mohawk.

I certainly hope I won't be writing about my health so much in my upcoming posts. I thank everyone for your prayers and comments.

Monday, April 6, 2015

I Hate Grass and Other Easter Stories

No, not that kind of grass......if you abuse it I suppose I hate it...but I really don't think about it. What do YOU think of Easter grass? I hate it and never use it. It gets all over the house and the candy sticks to it. So my deprived grandchildren get plain baskets with just candy and a few little gifts. After the egg hunt their baskets had more candy. I was surprised when an extra boy showed up with my SS. Never fear...........I found an extra basket and threw in a handful of candy....sorry no gift though, and then proceeded to hide it (like the rest). He seemed OK with that and never knew I didn't know he was coming.
Our weather wasn't too bad; it was chilly but no rain or snow so we were able to have an egg hunt. I really enjoy hosting that. I keep my eyes peeled all year for small gifts and 'new' Easter baskets. I especially like the ones that are like ice cream pails. 
Grandpa hid the eggs and the kids searched.......hey, what is that mom doing out there??? Guess I need to enforce the rules about 'No moms in the field.'

Two of the older boys (11 and almost 10)

Another mom giving hints....OK, those are 2 of the younger boys.
Pretty bad looking lawn, huh?

 Kevin's children relaxing.

Three of my grandsons and their cousin.

We celebrated grandson J's birthday a little early. His aunt and cousin won't be able to come to his party............IF mom has one. He baked his and helped decorate his birthday cupcakes...not knowing they were for his birthday. 

Our son in law always sleeps when he comes over. He's part owner of a bar and is up late at night. Some of the kids had snacks while watching granddaughter M play a game.

Since I can't have ham (too high in sodium) and hate to cook sit down dinners I decided that we'd have a cook out and just make hamburgers. Of course Kevin didn't think I'd have enough hamburger so he bought more....guess what we had lots of leftovers...and I even gave some away. Why doesn't he lever listen to me???? He better be in the mood for leftover hamburgers this week!!! Everyone brought a dish to share, except SS....guess I better start talking to him. Why do single guys think they get a freebie???

We did have a nice Easter, too much food, visiting with people I care about, got to see some of my grands.....and it sure was nice after everyone was gone. 

Have a great week and send us some warm weather........still too cool here. 

Saturday, April 4, 2015

So Sweet But Yet So Disruptive.

As I said in a previous post I am feeling really good, back to normal (except for occasional  lightheadedness), and addicted to chocolate once again.
Since the beginning of my journey I have lost about 30# and I like the way I look now. When I was getting chemotherapy last summer I lost my appetite and had to force myself to eat, Not anymore. I didn't eat any chocolate, I was able to walk right past Kevin's candy dishes and barely look at the chocolate. The only sweets I liked were fruit snacks. 
One side effect of the chemo was the absence of pain in my knees, especially my left knee (with a bakers cyst, damage from an auto accident, and arthritis). Now I take Anastrozole and one of it's side effects are painful joints. Sometimes my knees wake me up at night from the pain. My left knee is really stiff and painful when I get up from a sitting position (nothing new) and I limp around for a few steps.
 AHA! I had a revelation last night.....I think when I can't fall asleep.
I think it is the sugar consumption that is adding to my pain. I can feel that my knee is more swollen now than during chemo. Cancer also feeds on sugar. Ok, so now how do I cut the sugar??? Or more truthfully how do I stop the CHOCOLATE???

When I do I will feel better and not gain my lost weight back. 
Yesterday I filled 100 Easter eggs with candy for our egg hunt on Sunday.....well....I had to eat some of the chocolate.  I really am addicted to chocolate *** sad face***
I have done a very little research on natural remedies.
Some of the things that are good for cancer and arthritis are the same: green tea and turmeric. One of my pink sisters is taking Matcha tea (green tea) so I may try that. Lemons are in the news as good for cancer, I do put lemon in my iced tea and water....need to research that more. If I can find natural remedies that are deterrents for both it would be WONDERFUL.....so I want to put some more time into researching these subjects.
If any of you have any insight please leave a comment.


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Happy Easter Craft

I made these little (3-1/4") gift boxes for my two radiation nurses/technicians. 

 I'll fill them with candy and take them on friday.
They've done little things for us so I want to reciprocate.
I also picked up a "You're Special" mug for Miss Bunny (the receptionist - I posted her picture in an earlier post). I'll fill it with candy also and take it tomorrow. 

Not much else is new here.
It's almost the weekend...have a good one!!!