Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Cookies

On Friday evening, December 10th, my very good friend, Pam, invited me over to her house to have a mad cookie baking night. We ended up making several different types and Pam gave me a new recipe for the coup de grace, oreo cookie truffles. When I brought them home, Lewis proceeded to rename them "crack balls" because he said they were as addictive as crack.(not that he would know anything about that but, anything that I make that he absolutely loves is called "crack" whatever, as in the hash brown casserole that I make every holiday is AKA "crack potatoes". Anyone with a teenage boy will understand how they rename EVERYTHING!!!)

Here are a few pics of that night. Please excuse my hair. I must have gotten bedhead when I pulled my scarf off my head.

Here I am rolling the easy pecan balls and getting them ready to go in the oven.

The finished product! They taste just like Pecan Sandies. YUM!!!!

Here I am again spooning out the haystacks. These were okay, but I doubt I will make them again. They did get consumed, but let's be real. If it's chocolate covered it's a done deal in my house.

Finally, Pam with the be all to end all, Oreo Cookie Truffles!! After making these together I know I made at least 6 dozen more in the days leading up to Christmas. Jessica even made them using Sugar Free Oreos. They were mostly consumed before they even made it to the cookie tins.

So, just in case anyone wants to know how to make these delectable goodies here is the recipe! Enjoy!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I Think I've Ate Too Much Chocolate.....

and my tummy hurts. I've ate and I've ate and I've ate tonight. Ooooooh!!!!! I'm going to get sick, I think.....

Jessica is getting all of this awesome candy from work. "Ms. I've lost 79lbs" won't eat it. She sure doesn't get her willpower from me. The issue is, she brings it home and gives it to Lewis and I. Lindt Double Chocolate Truffles, Ferrero Rocher Chocolate Hazelnut Candies, Hershey's Dark Chocolate Bars, and the list goes on......

It started with dinner. I fixed Sloppy Joes. Slack I know, but I had the first one and gosh, I hadn't had a Sloppy Joe in ever so long and it was sooooooo good.

So I ate another.........

and, uh, I ate another.........

and I ate a Hazelnut Candie.....

and another.......

and a Hershey's Dark Chocolate......

and another......

and a Lindt truffle......

and another.....

and another.....

I think I'm gonna get sick. I don't eat much chocolate......really.......ask anyone that knows me.......I don't.

Boy, I sure know how to go overboard.

My last final is Saturday. So is Jessica's. We are going at 9AM. Phew, one semester down. I can't look forward, it all seems too far away. I can only look at right now. I definitely have three "A"'s, I'm hoping for a fourth, but will probably get a "B". I'm happy with that. Signed up for all of my classes for next semester and already ordered my books and will pick them up Tuesday. So has Jessica. We did not procrastinate this time. Unlike my last paper I wrote Monday night, at the last minute. Plus, I changed my mind three times about the subject. That's why I hadn't wrote in a week. I just didn't have it in me. I had six papers due since Thanksgiving.

See, I overdosed on papers too, not just chocolate....excuses...excuses....

Jessica thinks she has 2 "A"'s and 2 "B"'s. She will officially be in her Sophomore year in January. One year down for her.

I think it would be kind of cool if I can catch up with her, and maybe we can finish together.

Maybe looking forward isn't such a bad thing. Maybe you have to eat too much chocolate sometimes to remember when to say enough. Maybe you can't appreciate the good times if you didn't have bad to make them good. Make sense????

Nah, doesn't to me either. I think what I'm trying to do is justification. Oh well, it's Christmas time, that's justification enough.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A MeMe Tag and A Big Thank You!

Over the last few months I have picked up a few new blog followers. One of those followers has been especially supportive, leaving comments and tagging my blog of which I am very appreciative. Jennifer, I want to thank you for being so kind. I should probably come out to Oklahoma and help you clean your house or something nice, but if you could see mine then you would know that housework isn't my strong suit. It's like my mom always says, "your dad didn't marry me for my cooking skills (said with a wink!)". Butch may have married me for my cooking skills (he went from a 32 waist pants to a 42) but he didn't for my housekeeping skills. Oh well, we all have our faults.

Anyways, a few weeks ago Jennifer wrote this post tagging me. At that time, I was too preoccupied with the biopsy deal to respond. Now I am catching up.

5 Things Meme

5 Things I was Doing 10 years Ago:

1. Working as Claims Rep/Customer Service Analyst for TRICARE
2. Organizing a Christmas food drive at work for the needy and without thinking drove into THE worst neighborhood in Portsmouth to deliver to a family. I'm talking, this development was so bad that the ambulance wouldn't go in there without a police escort. I just didn't think about it until I was already there, and my car was surrounded by these great, big guys (who were probably a bunch of drug dealers) wanting to know what I was doing in their neighborhood. I explained why I was there, and they helped me carry the food in to the family. When I left and pulled out into traffic, I immediately burst into tears. Butch was terribly angry with me for not thinking and going there at all. Oh well, I was doing a good deed.
3. Mom to a 9 year old! Gee, where has all the years went?
4. Still missing one of my best friends, Gwen, who had moved back to Georgia the year before. I still look out my kitchen window and wish she was back across the street.
5. Ten years younger(36) and on the downside to forty, not fifty!!!

5 Things On My To-Do List Today:

1. Go to my last English class!!!! YIPEE
2. Stop by the grocery store for borax and bread.
3. Read two more chapters of my Developmental Psychology book. BLAH
4. Get more wood in from the backyard to inside the house. It's supposed to get cold this weekend and I still haven't turned on the gas to my furnace yet.
5. Fix the Christmas tree lights that Jessica hooked up too many on one circuit and blew a fuse somewhere. I'm not gonna complain, because she did put the tree up and decorate it.

5 Snacks I Love:

1. Montery Jack and Jalapeno cheese with crackers
2. Fritos
3. Brach's Maple Nut Goodies
4. Kraft sliced cheese
5. Ham & Cheese sandwich

5 Things I Would Do If I Were A Millionaire:

1. Buy the new 2011 Mustang in Black.
2. Pay off all our debts and my loved ones too
3. Not work, but I would volunteer.
4. Travel
5. Set up a scholarship fund for college for older women that are returning to get their degrees

Isn't this just a sweet car!!!! Oh, I could see myself getting all kinds of tickets in this baby!!!

5 Jobs I’ve Had:

1. Electrician
2. Medical Insurance Clerk
3. Medical Claims Analyst
4. Medical Claims Trainer
5. Tax Preparer

5 People I Tag: (That I know will respond)

1. Sarah
2. Lisa
3. Katie
4. Meagan
5. Curvy

Monday, November 30, 2009

How Can One Truly Study.....

When their cat is intent upon helping? When I am at home my cat, Tommy, is somewhere close by. When I go to bed at night, he is either on my pillow being a pig, with his paw touching my face, or under the covers fighting with the dog on who gets to sleep closest to me.

When I study, he is right besides me, or on my lap trying to push my book out of my way, or trying to sit on the laptop. Tonight he kept trying to grab my pen with his mouth and yank it out of my hand.

Notice his paw on my arm.....

You just can't get any closer than this!

Right now he is draped over my shoulder. Crazy cat!!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Lot To Be Thankful For!

I had the biopsy on Friday and got the call today. IT WAS BENIGN!!!! I am so grateful and words can't even begin to describe the relief I felt. When I got the call, I was told that Dr C wanted to speak with me, which of course made me EXTREMELY anxious, but she got on the phone and explained what the findings were and I immediately cried. I just couldn't help it. There are a few other issues that I have, namely lymph nodes all over that are enlarged, so I will be following up with my hematologist/oncologist, Dr. D for that. I already see her every six months due to an another ongoing issue, so that is not really a big deal. The mass in my breast may have to come out at some point, especially if it continues to grow, and I will be monitored every six months with additional mammograms and ultrasounds. That is okay. I can handle those and at least I know that Dr. C will be following those findings. I will say this. If I ever have to have another biopsy, the next time I will insist on being knocked out. This deal of having a biopsy while being awake, sucked, if I may put it so bluntly. I won't go into any great detail, but uncomfortable was putting it mildly.

On another note, Jessica and I went to see Butch yesterday and he is stable. He had a cardiologist appointment and since he hasn't had any more problems with chest pains and his heart, we are going to stay on the path that we are currently on, which is medication management. He is back on his anti-psychotics and is doing as well as to be expected. Since we were there yesterday, we are not going down for Thanksgiving. Two trips in one week is just too much. We didn't usually spend Thanksgiving together anyways, as when he was able, he was usually with my dad hunting in years past. We will be going down on December 5th, since the facility is having a covered dish luncheon for the residents and their families to celebrate the holiday. We will also go down on Christmas morning to exchange gifts and we will probably go out to eat at the local Chinese restaurant there in town, since that is the only place open on Christmas day. I guess that will be our new tradition, Chinese on Christmas but that is the way it is. I am just grateful that Jessica will have her dad one more Christmas.

Jessica and I made a pact on the way home yesterday, and that is that we will be spending more time focusing on the simple things that Christmas brings. I guess it's like my favorite holiday special says in The Grinch That Stole Christmas (the original, of course)

"And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more." - Dr. Suess

That will be our focus this year. It's not about money, it's not about stuff, it's about the people you love and what's in your heart. One night we will set aside to go out and look at lights on people's homes, like we used to when I was little, and when Jessica was little. Another day, we will set aside to make Christmas goodies, and yet another, we will watch all the Christmas specials and movies that we love. I think we will sit around in our p.j.'s and drink eggnog and eat junk. But isn't that what the holidays are all about? Watching Christmas Vacation, The Grinch That Stole Christmas, A Christmas Carol, and my all time favorite, It's A Wonderful Life.

Anyways, we have everything we could ever truly desire. We have each other. We may not have a lot of money, but we have a roof over our heads, clothes on our backs, and food in our tummies, which is a lot more than others. We have family that loves us and we love them. It may not be what some would call normal, but what exactly is normal?

Sitting here tonight, I guess I'm a little nostalgic with what all has went on the last few weeks. I want simple. I want the box with nothing in it but a little love, and that's going to be our Thanksgiving and Christmas this year. My ham just came out of the oven in preparation for Thursday, Jessica just told me I'm the best mommy in the whole wide world and I got the best news from Dr. C. What more can one ask for?

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

P.S. Thank you to everyone that had us in their thoughts and prayers. I received so many comments, calls, emails, and cards that it makes one stop and realize how many people that they truly have that care about them. A special thank you to my mom and my childhood best friend, Janet, who was there in the waiting room while undergoing my biopsy. I couldn't have been as brave without you both. I love you. To my brother, Scott, thank you for listening. You always understand. Again, I love you all! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and new Mammogram Recommendations

As reported on the news yesterday, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has recommended reducing mammograms for women under 50. Here is the link for the full article. Here is another link for the members of this task force and their credentials.

Obviously, with what I am currently going through, anything that I can possibly say about this will be skewed by my own personal experience. I do have some questions, since I see from doing a quick online search tonight, that this is turning into a firestorm with the recent health care debate.

1. Who appointed this task force and when? The findings that I keep coming up with is this is not a group that is appointed by the government. Yet another link here. Maybe it's late and I'm just damned confused.

2. How long has this study been going on?

3. From reading tonight, the same data has been used by several different groups besides the government task force with different opinions. Why is the task force coming to a different conclusion than the American Cancer Society considering that they both used the same studies and data? Here is the link concerning this.

4. Will this same task force look at other screening procedures and will they be making further recommendations over all?

Gosh, is it more expensive to pay a little for early detection or perhaps pay more when it is full blown metastasized cancer? How about the human loss to families?

I guess since I'm under 50 I should just suck it up and not worry about what's in my right breast. Of course today, I have been optimistic. Yesterday, was a different story as I posted then. I suddenly feel like I'm bipolar since I have been playing the waiting game. One minute up, next one down. From what I have heard, this is normal. Would I say that it's been stressful? HELL YEAH!!! Gee, I would rather have the stress and know, than to have stuck my head in the sand and not know.

Please, please, please comment me and let me know your thoughts!!! I don't care if you disagree, I am fine with that. Where do you stand on this issue?

Edited to Update:

This post helped a lot. Another good link was here. I couldn't have said anything any better. Explains how the stats were used. Considering that in the U.S. there are 74,281,974 women between the ages of 25 to 64 as of the 2000 census and three percent of women will potentially NOT be diagnosed that figure would be 2,228,459. I guess 2 million plus people just arent' worth it, huh?

Monday, November 16, 2009

It's been one month and I am MAD!!!

I woke up this morning, not in the best of moods. I wasn't really sure why, but deep down I must have known.

It was another night of not being able to sleep. At 1:00AM, I finally broke down and took an Ambien to try to get some sleep. It worked for approximately five hours. That is about as long as it lasts anymore. 6:41AM and my eyes popped open. Lovely.

I didn't want to go to work. The sun is shining. I wanted to be at home and not stuck behind a desk. I know I'm whining, but I can't help it right now. I'm lucky to have a job. Any job. Really.

I'm mad that it's another week that I'm having to wait for an answer. Stupid rain storm. Stupid doctor's office that had to be in downtown Norfolk where it always floods.

I kept brooding and thinking. I do that too much. Think, that is.

I looked back on the blog to the day that I found out that I would have to see a surgeon for this lump. One month ago today. October 16th. I'm still waiting.....

If I was brave, I would take a razor blade and go in there myself. That's how bad I want to know. I want this thing out, like.....well yesterday.

Every twinge, every ache, I am afraid. Afraid that it is something ominous lurking around in my body. I try to keep my thoughts positive. It is hard to do when you are dealing with the unknown.

I don't know what else to say right now. I have a lot of school work that I could be doing. The semester ends in less than four weeks. I'm not doing it though. I should be writing a paper for English. I have three due this week. I'm procrastinating. I have a test in Medical Terminology tomorrow. I haven't even begun the chapter. It is on Oncology. Yeah, like I really want to do that one. I still have an "A" average in all four of my classes, for the moment at least.

I think when I get off work at 2:00PM, I will go home, change into some comfy clothes with no bra, and sit on my porch in the sunshine for a little while. Oh, that's right, I will definitely get some sun as Lewis had to completely cut down one of my Bradford Pear trees in the front yard. It looks weird without it.

I want sameness. I want my tree. I want an answer.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Storm Chasers

Today I was woken up by a phone call from my work telling me there would be a 2 hour delay due the the storm. While I was on the phone I looked out the window to see what the damage was and I found this.

Yes, to my surprise one of our beloved trees was broken, it didn't completely fall down but it looks weird with what is left so Lewis will be cutting it down this weekend along with another tree in the back yard that doesn't look like it'll survive another bad storm.
Thankfully, about 20 minutes after receiving the first phone call I received a second saying that work would be closed for the day. Lewis and I figured since neither one of us had to work we would go exploring. Here's what we found!

Yes that is someone's backyard!

This is during low tide and normally little boats can go under that bridge!

Soooo glad this isn't our front yard!


This is a golf course!

There are FIVE FOOT DITCHES in front of those fences!

And last but not best friend was on the way to get me so we could go to the store and she didn't realize that the water was about 5 foot deep. She called me freaking out and Lewis and I had to go rescue her. Thankfully once out of the water her van started up but it was still a very scary experience.
So as of 7:49pm the rain has stopped but the tide continues to roll in. The wind is somewhere between 50 and 70 mph. Lewis talked to his mother who lives about a block from my work and the power is out and the streets are still completely flooded. I'm crossing my fingers that we'll still be out of work tomorrow!

Our Weather

If you haven't seen the national reports showing our local weather here in the Norfolk/Virginia Beach area, here is a little clip as to what is going on.
This is in the city I live in, Portsmouth. Jessica works in the area that is in this video. At the 1:31 time frame, that is filmed right in front of the law office she is employed at. You will see the big, white circular building that is right across the street. There is no way she could have got there today. As of right now, 4:10PM, we have had between 8"-13" of rain in the last 24 hours. High tide is coming in now and is expected to be at about 7.5 FEET above normal.

Jessica will be posting pictures here soon. One of our lovely Bradford Pears in our front yard has split and is down. Hopefully, this will be the extent of our damage.


Due to the inclement weather that we are experiencing here in the Hampton Roads area, my biopsy has been postponed another week. At this moment, I have nothing else to say. What I would like to do is throw a good old fashioned fit. It's not going to help anything though. I knew this was going to happen.

The way my luck runs, the friggin sun will be out in the morning.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thank You!

No matter what your political leanings, I think it's agreed that all of our veterans deserve a giant THANK YOU!!!

Go here to see some more of our four legged friends greet their human parents home from their military duty.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Forty Years Ago......

I looked like this.......

and Sesame Street looked like this.......

Some things change but some things stay the same. Forty years ago, I was sitting in first grade at Dillwyn Primary School, Mrs. Dunnavent's class. A big television was wheeled in and my entire class got to watch the debut of a new children's show called Sesame Street. I had always enjoyed Captain Kangaroo (Bunny Rabbit was a personal fave) and Kukla, Fran and Ollie. This was certainly a new thing. Learning and t.v. all at the same time.

It was certainly different in those days of 1969. I was attending a school that was not yet intergrated. That would come in 1970. Virgina, and that particular part of the state was the last of the holdouts as far as that would go.

Girls had to wear dresses to school. Pants were only allowed on the coldest of days, and you had to take them off when you got to school, wearing them under your dress.

If you misbehaved, going to the principal could mean a tail whupping. I never got into trouble unless you counted the time that I slammed the classroom door and I had to stand there and open and close it fifty times correctly.

That was also the year that my teacher commented on my report card that I was not reading with "expression". Yeah, like what six year old does? I remember crying over the comment and in turn wanting to show that teacher that I could read with "expression". By the end of the school year I was the best reader in class. By my second grade year, I was the only child to be allowed to go to the library and pick out any and as many books that I wanted. Looking back, that comment really did me a favor. It broke my little six year old heart then.

Funny the things you never forget. Happy Anniversary Sesame Street!! You sure have aged well. Please let me in on your secret.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Two More Weeks

Well, that's the news tonight. I have to wait another two more weeks for a more definitive answer.

I really liked Dr. C today. She was really to the point. She is a no nonsense kind of person and I respect that. To make a long story short, the breast biopsy is scheduled for next Friday, November 13th and along with the breast biopsy, she is also doing a biopsy of the lymph node under my arm. The lymph nodes are swollen, so I guess just in case, we will find out if there is lymph involvement instead of having to wait. I wish that it was this Friday, but she is going out of town until Monday and since she only does biopsies on Friday, well..............the 13th is the soonest.

Once the biopsies are complete, we then have to wait on the pathology report, which takes 3-4 business days. She said either herself or her nurse will be calling me. After working in the medical field, I already know that if I get the call from the nurse, the news will probably be good and if I get a call from Dr. C. well, the news will probably be not so good.

I'm trying to keep my spirits upbeat, but to be honest, it is hard. This waiting is driving me crazy. I had to break down last week and call my primary care M.D. for something for sleep. The lack of sleep was making things worse, so I did that, and got something for those nights when I'm still tossing and turning at 4AM. I also called today and asked for a refill of Lorazepam, an anti-anxiety med. I hate to use it, but I haven't had to in many months, and it's not like I depend on it all the time. It just helps take the edge off when I'm having one of those panicky moments that seem to hit quite unexpectedly.

So, that's where things stand tonight. Yes, I have had a few tears today. I'm sure I will have many more in the days to come. I just hate how things will be fine one moment, and I will have a little hiccup the next. I have been told this is normal. I want this over with, but no matter how much I push and stress, it is not going to change a darned thing. I may as well buckle up and hold on for the ride. Personally though, this is one ride where I want to shout "Please stop the car and let me out!!!" Guess I can't do that, huh? But I sure would like to.


If this is nothing like everyone keeps telling me it is, then why do I have to go see the breast surgeon???????

Can anyone please answer that one?

I can't even look forward to having my boobs played with by some hot, good looking guy. Dr. C. is a lady. Shoot!!! I just can't seem to catch a break.

I will update later with what I find out, although I don't think I will have any real answers today.

Which brings me back to again, why do I have to go?

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Here We Go Again

Well, it's 6:46AM and I'm blogging about my woes. I got a call from the facility this morning and Butch has been readmitted to the hospital with more chest pains. He was just in there in September with a heart attack. I am currently unaware if his enzyme levels are showing a heart attack or if it's just unstable angina. I don't know yet. I guess at this time, I don't know what road we are going down as far as a possible cardiac cath vs stent vs bypass. I can't keep letting this go on, so I will let the physicians make this decision. I do know it is dangerous with his blood clotting condition for him to have cardiac bypass and this can also effect his dementia. When his father had bypass many years ago, he suffered a stroke afterwards that left him in ICU for three months with many long term issues.

I feel very torn. I was just there yesterday, and spent the day with Butch. He seemed in a pretty good place for the moment, but I do see signs that we are getting ready to go back in a downward phase of his dementia. He is getting anxious and edgy. It's hard to explain unless you know him well.

As far as my upcoming appointment with the breast surgeon, I have just been counting down the days until I see her. My appointment is Wednesday, and no matter what, I can't put it off. I may have to depend on Jessica to be in N.C. with her dad if they do proceed with a surgical option. It will do both of us no good if I don't get some kind of an answer as far as whether or not these masses in my breast are benign or malignant.

I was just thinking last night about posting, but my mind has not been in a good place. I'm not making any plans for even next week, because I need to see what this is all going to bring. I have been trying to keep my thoughts positive, as I have read that 80% of biopsies are benign. I hope for once my luck will be good. Maybe I can manage to be in the 80% and not the other 20%.

Jessica herself, has been out of work since Tuesday. She was diagnosed with an Upper Respiratory Infection, which has since turned into bronchitis. I was afraid it might be the flu since she was not getting any better but when she went back to the doctor yesterday, they did do some blood tests and it is NOT the flu. Thank goodness! She has been miserable though and now Lewis has it too. That's what he gets for kissing on her when she is sick!

On a lighter note, when I went to NC yesterday, I took Lewis' sister, April, with me and her daughter Kaitlyn too. Kaitlyn always likes to see her "Uncle Butch" and she was as cute as ever. On the way down, we kept passing cotton fields and we were trying to explain to her about cotton. We told her that her clothes were made of cotton. I actually stopped at one point and ran out into a field and picked her a cotton boll so that she could see it. Later, at Wal Mart, we were strapping her in her car seat and she popped out with "My shirt is made of cotton candy!!" We got so tickled and said "Not cotton candy baby, just cotton, like on Q-Tips and cotton balls!" She is something else. I can't believe she is only going to be three next week.

Well, I'm going to try to lay back down and get a little more rest. Please send good thoughts my way this week. It going to be hard from all ends. I'm trying to stay positive, yet also prepare myself in case in doesn't turn out the way I want. Why can't life only bring one issue at a time? My shoulders are not quite broad enough to tote this load. I know, take it one step at time.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Our 100th Post - 100 Random Things About Us

Jessica and I decided that an appropriate post for our 100th post would be 100 random things about us. The first 50 are about Jessica. Here they are!

· I’m left handed

· I love the Twilight series

· I have the mindset of a 40 year old

· I’m scared of heights but love roller coasters

· I have a tattoo of a pink lotus flower on my back

· I got my tongue pierced at 13

· I can be very shy

· I’d rather stay home and watch a movie then go out to a party

· My hair color is constantly changing

· I’m deathly afraid of spiders

· I’ve probably read the Harry Potter series 10 times

· I didn’t get my license until I was 19

· My favorite color is purple

· I’m constantly worrying about making other people happy

· As I’ve gotten older I’ve started to dislike mayonnaise

· I truly did hate school and I’m glad I can go to college online

· I made the dean’s list my first semester of college when I thought I was going to fail

· Lewis and I are like old Mr. and Mrs. Hubbard

· I want a Nikon D40 but I’m too cheap to buy it

· I cheered for 11 years and loved it. I quit because I couldn’t tumble.

· I could probably kill a super big gulp in 10 minutes

· I could eat cheesy spaghetti every day for the rest of my life

· I hate when people argue about politics

· I hate people who bash Obama, keep your opinion to yourself.

· Some people say Kaitlyn and I look alike as babies even though we aren’t related by blood

· I love my music loud

· I’ve never known what it was like to have a real family because my dad’s side sucks and my mom’s side is really small

· I’m the only grandchild/niece on my mom’s side

· My favorite Yankee Candle is “Good Morning” but it has been discontinued

· My favorite Disney movie as a child was the Little Mermaid

· I love reading MckMama and Snarkymommy

· I’ve already got my wedding planned in my head and I’ve even picked out the bridesmaid dresses on David’s Bridal. No we aren’t engaged.

· I met Lewis in art class my freshman year of high school

· My favorite show is One Tree Hill

· I love cloudy/rainy days

· I really don’t think I take good pictures

· I’m scared to grow up

· It doesn’t take much for me to cry

· I love arguing with debtors on the phone at work, it’s funny

· I hate being late

· I secretly pray my dad will either live or be in his right mind enough to walk me down the aisle one day.

· Sometimes I wish I was still in elementary school

· I have very bad anxiety around large crowds

· I love my middle name, Hope

· My daughter will be named after a character on One Tree Hill, Peyton Elizabeth

· Lewis and I each sleep with a big box fan in our faces

· I have green eyes

· I worry about my mom a lot

· I drive a 1996 Toyota Camry

· I’ll never understand why Jon and Kate are famous, they aren’t the only ones with eight kids.

Now fifty things random things about me!

- My middle name is Louise after my mom,Frances Louise, who in turn was named after her cousin, Mary Louise.

- The first blog that I started following was Adventures In Everyday Life

- I was attacked by a dog when I was three and can still vividly remember it. I was very afraid of dogs and that is why we didn't get a dog until six years ago. I finally relented and am very glad that I did. I love Kasey to pieces!

- I want one more fast car in my life. My dad had a variety of fast cars over the years (Chevelle Super Sport, Plymouth Road Runner, Pontiac GTO, Chevrolet Camaro)and nothing gets my pulse racing more than hearing an engine rev.

- I watch very little TV. Usually news shows.

- If I was gay, I would have a terrible crush on Rachel Maddow. I think she's hot and smart.

- I HATE tomatoes. Something about the texture grosses me out.

- I love fried liver and onions. If I go out to eat and it's on the menu, it's what I will order.

- I no longer drink soft drinks. They are waaayyy too sweet anymore.

- I was the youngest person in my high school graduation class. I skipped the eleveth grade and graduated a year early. I have never regretted it.

- I prefer to drive a stick shift over an automatic.

- I love dancing around to music. I always think of that quote from the movie Working Girl "Sometimes I sing and dance around the house in my underwear. Doesn't make me Madonna. Never will."

- My all time favorite movie is Gone With The Wind. I've seen it too many times to count. I know all of the lines before the characters say them.

- My favorite book is "The Stand" by Stephen King. I hated the movie though.

- My brother is also my bestest(I know, not really a word) friend. He was the first person I called last week when I was told I would have to see a surgeon. He also understood me when I said I suddenly have the desire to rip of my shirt and show my boobs to some random stranger. I know, I'm not right.

- Jessica is the one thing in my life that I am most proud of. It is an honor to be her mom.

- I am afraid of the day that I lose my parents. I once heard that you are never really an adult until they are gone. I can't imagine my life without them.

- I stress over everything.

- I smoke. I am going to try to quit though. I have quit several times in my life but it is a major stress reliever for me. I try to hide it though from most people. I probably would have choked someone if it hadn't of been for that at times.

- I love coffee. I drink a 24oz cup everyday. I use a half of a teaspoon of sugar and a generous dollop of half and half. I used to drink much more but had to cut back.

- I want to travel out west before I die. I want to go to Colorado. I want to go up on Loveland Pass. I have never been west of the Mississippi.

- I loved going to New York City! Went there six weeks before 9/11. Everyone should be able to go to New York at least once in their lives.

- When I was a little girl, I thought lightening bugs turned into fishing worms. My mom lied to me so that I would let the lightening bugs go and told me that they would go underground and turn into fishing worms(because I like to go fishing with my great-grandfather). I had just learned about caterpillars turning into butterflies, so I never questioned her. I was a dumb little kid.

- I love roller coasters. I hope I never get too old to ride them.

- I have three piercings in each ear but now only wear one earring in each ear.

- I have matching scars over each eyebrow. The left came from the dog attack, the right where two little boys were chasing me in first grade and I fell down on the rocks and split my eye open. I remember the school principal taking me to the doctor and getting it stitched up and on the way home, he had to stop by the bank and they gave me a lollipop.

- I didn't get braces for my crooked teeth until I was 18. I got them off at 20. Best $2000 I ever spent.

- I was 26 when I got married.

- I was 26 when I had Jessica

- I was always attracted to older guys. It was no surprise to anyone that I married Butch, who was 15 years older than me. I don't think I will ever get married again. One is enough.

- I'm funny about the way I do laundry. I always sort the clothes by color and then by whether or not they need to be washed in cold or warm water. I like to fold things in a particular way too.

- If I had a dream job it would be to help families of loved ones with dementia. I felt like I had to blindly find my way down this path until I met Susan with the Alzerheimers Association. I would like to repay her kindness by passing on what I have learned.

- I am very liberal. The older I get, the more liberal I get.

- I talk in my sleep.

- I can snap my toes.

- I am almost always late, but I am trying to get better. It drives Jessica nuts.

- I have a particular way that I load the dish washer. The dishes must be rinsed first. Everything has a certain place in there in a certain way. It has been hard letting Jessica take over the cleaning of the kitchen.

- I always shower, never take a tub bath.

- I had a pony when I was a little girl. I never got to ride him though because he was too mean and would bite.

- I can play the clarinet.

- I love the smell of wood smoke.

- I don't know what my hair color is anymore. I have been dying it since I was about twelve. I know there is gray there because I can see the roots. I think it's kind of mousy brown.

- I am not a religious person. At times I wish I was but truthfully I'm not. It doesn't make me bad though. I still celebrate religious holidays for the spirit behind them. It makes me mad when someone judges me because of this. If you are so Christian, then you shouldn't be judging others.

- I love looking at family pictures. It doesn't matter if I know the people or not, I find looking at pictures fascinating.

- I also like going through old cemeteries and reading the headstones.

- Butch and I never went to the movie theater together. I have only seen three movies in the theater in the last ten years. Two of them were Harry Potter movies.

- I have ran out of gas in my car over the years too many times to count. I have also locked my keys in the car once with the car running.

- I sing in the car to the music, really loud! I can't carry a tune though.

- I talk to myself, and I answer myself too. I know, it's a sign of a weird person.

- It was harder to come up with fifty things than I thought it would be!!! Phew! Over! Done!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Appointments, appointments, and more appointments

The weekend was easier than expected. My mom and I went to see Butch on Saturday. No, we did not tell him anything as I don't want him to get agitated. It is just not necessary. I will tell him more as the need arises. I keep hoping that ultimately there will be nothing to tell. That's my story and for the moment I'm sticking with it.

I have had several calls this morning. Leslie, the breast care coordinator, called to set up my surgeons appointment. She called at 8:03AM and I was awake, but was still snuggling under the covers with Kasey. She is such a warm little dog!! I love her. Gave her the name of the doctor that was recommended, who by the way will only take you if you have never seen any other surgeon before because she doesn't fix other doctors screw-ups. The ball is now rolling. She called me back by 9:30AM to say that my appointment is for Wednesday, November 4. That is only a little over two weeks away. I was expecting something much further out, but I guess Leslie wanted me seen this week. Dr. C's(this is what I'm calling her for right now)office is putting me on a waiting list in case of any cancellations. Personally, I think if this things been lurking around in my body for two plus years, what's another two weeks, but anyway......that's where we are with that.

I have an appointment with an attorney for Friday afternoon. I need to get some personal things in order and this has made me want to get that ball rolling as well. Butch made some statements to me ironically this weekend that really got my mind whirling. Something to the effect of "well, if you died I would sell the house and Jessica would have to take care of herself". Can I just say WTF?!?!?!?! I know he isn't mentally competent, but still......I guess somewhere along the line the old issue of "Janice just wants your check" has been put in his mind and this popped out. First off, your so called check isn't enough to pay everything, that is why I have always worked. Furthermore, I also want to keep the house because it is my child's only home and I want her to have it one day. That's what I thought we worked for. Personally, I could walk out the door of that house and what I want out of it would probably fit in my car and his statement really, really pissed me off. I know it shouldn't, but it did, and coming on Saturday after Fridays news, it just threw me for a loop. Kind of one of those out of the blue statements. Soooooo, whatever assets that I do have, I want them to benefit my child. End. Over. Done. Enough said.

I get to see the dentist this afternoon for a routine teeth cleaning. Gee, one of my other favorite things in life. I guess I will put off that crown until after the first of the year. The money just won't be there, at least right now. Got the copays coming up for the looming surgery and so forth, so the tooth will have to wait until after tax refund time. That's ok though because I really wasn't looking forward to the crown and I think the filling is doing fine the way it is.

Other than that, I didn't do a whole lot this weekend. Went to a lovely 50th anniversary luncheon for a friend's parents at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Portsmouth on the waterfront.

The weather sucked, but the room we were in(see pic) overlooked the river and it was cloudy and blustery, but all in all a nice afternoon. I guess that's one milestone I will never celebrate. Probably lucky to have made it to twenty. It made me a little nostalgic, but really it's not like my marriage was all wine and roses. Sometimes, that's what's so hard is that it's nice to be alone but then again there are times that I miss having someone else around to share things with. I guess you can't have it both ways, and maybe I'm just meant to be alone or alone with the kids, I should say. I like having grilled cheese, or ham and cheese sandwiches for dinner. I like not having to answer anymore about where I'm going or what I'm doing or how long I'm going to be. I like not having to cook dinner every night or feel like I'm responsible for somebody else's happiness. I'm just saying.....

So, that's where we are today. Tomorrow, I don't know. I am taking this one step at a time, one minute at a time for right now.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Fall is here!

About a week ago Lewis and I kept Kaitlyn for the weekend and we decided something fun for her to do was paint a pumpkin for her Nana!

We had to take her shirt off otherwise the paint would have gotten on her new clothes! Thankfully it wasn't really cold yet.

Friday, October 16, 2009

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

I am posting tonight with a heavy heart. I don't know what to say other than I found something a few weeks ago, which resulted in a visit to my physician. She ordered additional tests and they were performed today. After four and half hours in the Women's Center and five different sets of diagnostic mammograms and ultrasounds ending with the radiologist himself performing the last, I was told that I needed to see a surgeon. Yes, I have something that is not supposed to be there in my right breast. Ironically, it was not the lump that I first found, but another that was lurking much deeper and in a different part.

I am hopeful that it will all still turn out okay, but I also realize that I must put some type of a game plan in place in case it doesn't turn out how I want it to. I am scared. I have been up and down ever since I was called back the third time, while watching everyone else around me get the "All's good, you can leave now" spiel. Laying there on the fifth go round with the physician, I held back when he told me to get dressed and to meet him in his office. I knew what was coming. I knew the news was not good. Actually, even though I had thought I had prepared myself prior to going today, I just have been having a feeling that this was coming. I don't know why. I can't explain it. I wish I knew what made me feel this way.

I had wanted to post about this since I went to the doctor last week, but I had only told my daughter and my brother. I didn't want to worry anyone unnecessarily. It seems like ever since I went in, I have been surrounded by something daily about breast cancer. Duh!!! It is October, it is Breast Cancer Awareness month. What ever did I expect? I even had someone comment me on Facebook yesterday, who's wife is currently undergoing chemo for breast cancer. It prompted me to write him back and ask him why did he comment me now? Other than the initial invite, and I think I did comment him when he posted about his wife, we had had no contact. He said my profile had popped up and something just made him comment me. He was so sweet and kind to write back, especially considering he was home taking care of his wife yesterday. So Scott, if you are reading this, thank you and Andrea for taking the time and for announcing something so private, which was part of what prompted me to act when I did. Normally, I tend to push things like this to the back and not think that they are important. I'm glad I didn't stick my head in the sand this time.

I am fine AT THIS MOMENT!! Five minutes from now, I don't know. The tears keep coming at some very unexpected times. Why am I putting this out there? Well, maybe if I do, someone else will read it as well, and it may prompt them to not put off something that is so important. I haven't disclosed all of the details here and probably won't for the time being, but writing on this blog always makes me feel a little bit better. I know that I am not alone. I have Jessica and Lewis. I have my parents. I have my brother, Scott and his wife, Felicia. I have wonderful friends who love me. I also have friends that I have met online and who follow my blog. I love each and everyone of you from the bottom of my heart. I know in the coming weeks, that I may need you in different ways. Ways that I may not even be aware of right this minute, but I know that you are there.

This is a path that I never wanted to go down, but I must. I know the cure rate is good, so that makes me feel a little better. I know that I will be seeing an awesome breast surgeon. I have heard wonderful things about her and my hope is that in the end, it will be just a small bump in the road. I guess that is life. Those twists and turns, the mountains and the valleys. Last week I was up on a mountain, the highest point in West Virginia in fact. Here is a picture of me Sunday on top of Spruce Knob, elevation 4,683'.

Tonight, I am in the valley. I will be up on that mountain again. With that smile. I promise.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Cooking Fit

I have been kind of slack in the posting department for the last two weeks due to midterms and the start of two more classes. I did have a slight cooking fit almost two weeks ago. Thought I would share a little about that burst of energy.

First, I went to my mothers on a Friday evening as her brother, my Uncle Lynn, was coming in with his wife, Jan, to see my mom. She had requested that I make my homemade chicken pot pie. I cheated a little by using a pre-cooked chicken, but she said it was still yummy. I didn't get a picture, but I did get a new camera that weekend, so therefore, I did manage to get pictures the rest of the weekend of what else I cooked.

I had been dying to try out another recipe from Our Best Bites which was the apple dumplings and were they ever easy and delicious!!!

They probably would have been better served with vanilla ice cream, of which I had purchased, but they were so tasty alone, the ice cream never made it out of the freezer. I don't really eat too many sweets, but I could have licked the platter on this one.

Later that afternoon, I got another crazy yen for homemade pizza. I have been on something of a roll/bread kick, so luckily I had some yeast and decided to try to make my own dough as well. I searched around online and found a 10 minute dough recipe and here is the finished product!

This pizza cost approximately $3.00 to make and it was so dense, one slice was extremely filling. I ended up eating two slices and freezing the remaining slices. The frozen slices were just as good, and really much better than your typical frozen deal, I think I will have to make this more often, to just keep some in the freezer for those nights when there is nothing for dinner or perhaps a little late night snack. I probably could have rolled the dough out and made two pizzas out of this recipe but I wanted a thicker crust for a change. I'm usually a thin crust pizza person, but the taste of this dough was awesome! It's terrible, but I love raw dough. Sometimes, I would rather eat dough, than the finished product. I know, kind of gross, but I'm sure I'm not the only person to like raw dough and batter.

The weather has turned cooler here this week, so I'm thinking this weekend maybe I can try some kind of crock pot recipe. A big pot of vegetable soup would be good. I guess I will figure it out once Sunday gets here.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Butch's Birthday

Butch's sixty-first birthday was last Thursday, October 1. Lewis, Jessica and I went to see him and we took him out to a local restaurant for dinner. His recent heart attack sure hasn't effected his appetite. He got a seafood platter and ate everything on his plate. We then had the staff bring out a chocolate cake with chocolate fudge frosting for dessert. He was in heaven!!!!

He was very clear that day which was nice. It was one of our most pleasant visits in recent memory. Here are a few pictures.

Jessica and Butch - Butch used to always say she didn't look like him and it used to always make me mad. There is no denying that child!!!

Jessica and Lewis - One day I'm gonna burn that shirt that Lewis has on. It has Popeye on it and it is soooooo ugly!!!! I think he wears it just to piss me off.

A nice picture of Jessica, Butch, and myself. We never had an official family portrait done and we have very few pictures of the three of us together. Jessica and I are going to have an extra print made of this and enlarge it for Butch for Christmas. I think it will look nice in his room.

Well, I have a lot more, but very little time. I did make an 83 on my midterm for Medical Terminology. I wished it had been higher but it was a very difficult test. I am happy with it. I had made a deal with myself that I would be happy with anything over an 80. I still am carrying an A average in all of my classes. Will start another class next week. Gee, can't wait! (said sarcastically)