Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Poor Ignored Blog

Sigh. It happened again. Hiatus.

Well, I've been BUSY, people. I will actually post my dad updates to the blog in the coming week - I was sending out updates on a daily basis to family and friends.

Short-story, Dad is hanging in there and doing as well as could be conceivably imagined after his surgery. It is still a long road ahead but right now progress is great though we still have some unknowns.

Lots else has happened too but I've got some catching up to do first.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Hasn't ANYONE Had Tongue Cancer Twice?/Heading to MSKCC

Jeez.

I like to think I'm a pretty internet-savvy sort, and in the over-sharing world we live in, you would think that with a good online search there would be an overwhelming volume of stories of people who have gone through the same thing my dad is. But there aren't.

The reality is that there may not be a lot of case studies in the public because there aren't that many cases. I've found a Livestrong chat group for survivors of BOT (Base of Tongue) cancer and have signed on just to see if I can find out any more info. We just need to be armed with any questions and as much experiential info as possible.

Now...the good news (at least for now)! After a number of conversations with my Dad...and good friends, and kind contacts, and referrals, and research, and ultimately a conversation between my dad and his current doc...we have landed on a doc that we will be meeting with at Memorial Sloan Kettering. He actually has expertise in Rehabilitation of Head & Neck and the potential robotic surgery my dad may need. He sounds like a perfect fit. Let's hope so.

My dad, true to form, was worried about going to NY for treatments. After all, it's not like it's 20 minutes from his house, like New Haven. He'll need help. And that is ok. I told him it's the last thing he should be thinking about. We just need to go where someone is going to know what is best for him. The closest center that makes sense is MSKCC.

On another note...perhaps unrelated, but maybe not...O woke up with a crazy nightmare last night. Like, to the point where he asked to stay with us for awhile. He never does this. He refuses to discuss it with us - he "doesn't want to talk about it" - but needless to say, I think my empathetic boy has picked up on something going on.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Yesterday Was a Bad Day

FAIR WARNING: I am going to wind up talking about my father's ordeal with his cancer recurrence in the coming months. For the few folks that actually read this, you're going to wind up seeing more than might want of that, and less about the kids and food and entertaining anecdotes. But that is okay, it is life, my life. I just need to get it out. If you don't want the details, I am not offended if you don't read, and you don't need to feel compelled to comment. I know you're there. xo

---
Well, for me personally it was just kind of a bad evening. For my dad, it was a bad day. He went to the chemo doc Tuesday, and it was "that visit" where you get the worst possible case scenario. I could tell it wasn't great news because he didn't call me. When he has good news, he calls me right away after an appointment. (ie: Monday, when his PET scan revealed that the cancer was "contained".

He needs to get a second opinion. It will be all about that for the next few days. Research, outreach, recommendations. Finding someone who has actually dealt with this - which is not easy.

I had a call with a friend Tuesday (who reads this...) who made a very good point. It's not good until it's really good. She is right. I think I was reiterating what my father's POV was in protecting me and my feelings. Staying positive. Perhaps a little pollyanna. I think I was just needing to simply keep my chin up. But things change quickly, don't they - as I mentioned in a recent post.

More details on what is exactly happening in the next post, as the progress keeps changing every hour, it feels like.

Monday, May 10, 2010

His Heart Shows

Last night, we were having a simple risotto dinner cooked by C, to tie up a sweet, relaxed Mother's Day. We were listening to the radio, and The Bad Weather came on. C noted that Jack White had recently invested in some massive studio in Nashville, and he wonders if it is okay based on the horrible flooding down there, considering that Kenny Chesney's home is likely to be condemned. He commented that since it's not really a flood zone, he wondered if people would even get any insurance money to rebuild.

Green/AP

O spoke up and asked what we were talking about. So we explained to him about insurance, what happened with the flood, and why it could be hard for people to rebuild. (I know, he's not even six, we likely go a little far sometimes with the explanations.)

So then he offers to open up his piggy bank to help out. "I have a lot of money in my piggy bank - we can send some to those people." So we said, yes we could, if he really wanted to. Of course, I think he had the impression that he could half-build a house with "all the money" in his piggy bank.

So we talked more about donating, and money vs time. And that sometimes volunteering time was as or even more important than donating money. If he wanted to build something, we can look into groups (I was thinking Habitat for Humanity) that build houses for people, and we can see if we can volunteer. Would he like to do that? And he said yes.

I think we all need to listen to our children at that age, before things affect them too much. They can teach us so much, and give us a very good reminder about priorities now and then.

Friday, May 7, 2010

The Upside and the Downside of the Last Two Weeks

I'm not going to stress about blogging. I'll tell you that right now. But I guess I am owing a catch-up since going AWOL about 2+ weeks ago. Well, there's been some reason behind it.

First, work had been somewhat slow. Which is kind of a bummer, always gives me pause and makes me question if I am doing the right thing. But I come around, and I know that I am, and remember that the economy is still crappy, and things change quickly.

And they do.

Last week I got one new client, and two new possible clients. Plus, an existing client that I adore has allowed for slightly higher comp. Nice! Feeling like my mojo is running a bit. Very good stuff.

And then, I get a call from my Dad. He has a spot bothering him in his throat, and he is going to get a biopsy. On my birthday. Which is really just coincidence, and I'm all for sooner rather than later with that stuff, but the messed up part is that it was 12 years ago that he told me he had cancer. So...what the heck. Okay, well, we don't know anything yet.

I'll fast forward. They are squamus cells and will need treatment. But, the good news is that it looks like it may be less invasive than last time, probably no surgery. He's had an additional PET scan to determine the extent of what he is dealing with today. At any rate, we are waiting to see. No pity, please, Dad hates that. He'll attack it with both barrels, and he'll beat it. That's the only option, and I know it's the way he views it.

So...I've had other things on my mind. Which is ok.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Proof a Five-Year-Old is Smarter Than Most of Us When it Comes to Ecology

This week O's teacher sent home some worksheets and activities for the kids to do around Earth Day. Not homework, really, but activities to make them think about the planet and our effects on it. Which of course made me smile.

So there is a "blank" picture of the Earth, and the activity asks to draw things that are beautiful about the earth. So he drew flowers, water. :)

Then it says, flip over, and on the back, draw something showing one problem Earth has. He drew a dumpster, and "garbage". He said he drew an old TV that someone threw away, and a banana peel.

So I figured it would make sense to take the opportunity to explain the difference between those two types of "garbage". I explained that a banana peel is a fruit, so it comes from the Earth - it's a natural product that will simply decompose back into the soil, and the Earth will use those nutrients to grow other things.

I then explained the old TV, on the other hand, was man-made, with plastic and glass and metal. And those pieces don't break down into the Earth. So that becomes the waste we don't know what to do with, and why we have a problem.

So he looked at me, and said, "so why do we throw our banana peels in the garbage?"

(Dramatic pause as the adult realizes she'd better step up. Now.)

I attempt explanation. Well, we don't have anywhere to put them. The right thing to do is compost that stuff. That means we can collect it in a composter under the sink, and then transfer it to the garden. We're going to make our garden this weekend...would you like us to start doing that?

Yes.

Okay, deal.
I'll report on how it goes.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Limbo

I know it's Friday and perhaps some of you think I have Louis Prima or something playing in the background and I'm making everyone bend under a broomstick. But, no. That's not what I mean.

Limbo. Stuck between earthly life and heaven, technically, no? Analogy in 3, 2, 1...

Earthly life. Which is a good thing if you are thinking about our environment and doing all the right things that go with it. If you are thinking that you have daily drudgery, well, things can always be worse. Right now I'm in a little slow patch, which is actually (other than financially) ok now and again. I feel like it clears my head. I get to clean up (mentally...no I did not ask you to look at my house at the moment), organize, see friends or catch up. Things like that. Yet, missing a little something.

Heaven. Let's say this is the perfect state. For me that would be an ideal balance of something that challenges my head, inspires good thinking on a daily basis, and brings in enough cash to make things easier and buy new shoes while maintaining the home office situation, spending some time with kiddos, and keeping any commuting or travel to a minimum/non-existent state.

Tall order, perhaps. But I'm willing to wait. It will come.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Food

I like food. I like shopping for food. I like feeding my family and friends. I'd do it all the time if I didn't have to worry about making a living or any nonsense like that.

We hosted Easter this past weekend and experimented with a few new recipes. Success! I think I have a couple new "regular" dishes.

It's not hard. Cooking, I mean. It's the one thing in life that is very easy NOT to fall into a rut for me. And with more of a focus on organic and ingredients and evolving what we eat to even healthier than what we do now.

We have one rule about eating in this house. You have to try it. My kids are good about it. I'm not sure if that's because they are wired that way, or whether it's because both Chris and I are good examples, or whether my food is actually tasty. But for the most part, they comply. Okay, O does, regularly.

I wonder. I wonder if there is a place for someone who is NOT a trained cook or chef to have a point of view on how kids eat. How families eat. Would people care? Will I be talking to myself? Hmmm.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter...Bunny?

Today was Easter, and we host our family (families) each year. The crowd changes for a variety of reasons, mostly for the my family/your family rotation that just about any married couple deals with in some form or fashion - we were happy to have friends join us as well this year.

Tried some new recipes. Went with a Tyler Florence recipe for pulled pork in the oven, and I have to say...holy cow, I am making THIS again! Pulled pork, fantabulous. And the ham was good. And my MIL's lasagna. And my mom's rice pie for dessert. And like twenty other things. We have enough for for the week, I think!

O woke up CRAZY early today...this is the kid we need to drag out of bed every school day, and sleeps past 9 on the weekends quite frequently - yes, a bit odd for a 5 3/4-year old - wanders in our room at 6:45! Ugghhh. If he wasn't so cute. Really.

I always take a family photo on Easter. (Okay, this is the second year in a row. But it is a new "tradition".) Unfortunately I didn't get around to it until after my children had chocolate cake. You can see the residual damage on O. Lesson learned.

And yes, I am a super-dork and make us all coordinate. Note I said coordinate...and not "match". Very different. This retains some modicum of self-respect. Loved G's dress. Let me squish those almost-not-baby-limbs of hers. Yum.

I know. I am still working on post frequency - I'll rally!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

My Own Little Droid

Everyone who knows me well knows that I am a Mac user, an Apple fangirl at heart. Since my early agency days when I was plopped on a blue iMac, and then a black Macbook, I fell in love. The side of me that loves all aesthetic nuances and ease of use just becomes happy. I'm writing on a MacBook now - the smallest, in white.

On the mobile side, I've had iPhone envy for some time. But if you know me well, you know I also have a pretty feisty practical side. My husband has a corporate discount with Verizon at work, and since we have our two phones, one for our nanny, and one for my mom...and Verizon actually does have better coverage in our area...I just haven't been sold on making the iPhone switch. It would mean switching us all over at the same time. So, I got a Blackberry when I started freelancing. Make that FIVE phones, since I didn't want to drop my old mobile # yet.

Well, a week and a half ago, I made the jump (after talking about it forever). I got a Droid. I lovvvvvvve it. It's very easy to use. It's not so thin and sexy as it's Apple nemesis, but coming off a Blackberry Curve, it feels like I advanced a decade. I've forwarded the old mobile number, so we're down to four phones again (well, physically, anyhow). It's got the slide-out keyboard but I find the touch screen simpler. I have small hands.

I haven't changed the alert yet. It sounds like I have a small Stars Wars character with me at all times. The kids get a kick out of it. So do I. "Droid" makes me giggle a little, still. I put a purple case on it so it looks at least a little more girly. Photos are great, apps, mail accounts easier than the Blackberry - must have something to do with that Google thing.

Next, Google Voice! I'm aiming to chop at least one more phone line off my bills. Will keep you posted on that adventure - so far I've assigned it to the wrong gmail account. Don't ask.

Monday, March 15, 2010

I love No Junk Food Week

If you've read this in the past, I've mentioned a few times that I love food. Cooking it, eating it, finding new ways to play with it, trying new things out on the family.

I have progressively been getting more green and eco-conscious about my food. I only buy organic meats now that I am certain have no hormones etc, have started buying bulk to omit all the packaging, and am trying out all sorts of new leafy green veggies on the family. More vegetarian meals in the mix. With good results all around! I've also figured out how to shop in Whole Foods without it costing a stinkin' fortune. It's do-able.

(On a side note...if you have not seen Food, Inc. - you should. I think it should be required for all Americans, like requiring people to also work either in retail or food service/hospitality in their teen years so they learn how to treat people properly.)

To borrow a phrase from one of my clients, everyone is on a different place in their journey toward being aware of how they eat and what they eat, and how what they do in this area affects the environment.

So, needless to say, I was thrilled to see O come home with a No Junk Food Week flier from school, and a "contract" that he has to fill out this week with a healthy snack a day. Sweeeet.

So far we've got guacamole for yesterday (yes, I helped him spell that one) and today he wrote down cheese for his morning snack he brought to school. I wonder if this is stressing anyone else out...we are lucky that we both grew up on "real food" so we try to take it a step further in our house. It's a journey.

Last week they all were asked to bring in empty cereal boxes - so I gave him one of the worst we've had in the house - Corn Pops. 12g sugar a serving. (Then they gave them blocks to illustrate exactly what that meant.) One of the highest in the class. So we picked some new cereal this week - completely his choosing, after label-scouring - that had just 7g of sugar in it. Much better.

Can we make it No Junk Food Month?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

We have a Swimmer!

Mr. O has been taking swim lessons, as I've mentioned before.
I had started to have a little angst that my 5-year-old was not swimming yet. This past November (during the blog hiatus) in Aruba, we got both he and G the Konfidence vests - which I have to say, were stellar. Kept them upright, actually got them comfortable in the water. I think it made a huge difference when it was time for lessons.

Now G wants to jump in the water too!

We took this last week.

video


We are so proud.
So is he!

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Something Good Parts

Let's just gloss over the week, mini-recap includes interesting flux with clients, income, blah, blah, blah. Nothing overwhelmingly terrible by any means. Whatever.

And for some reason I've gotten all sorts of scraps from social media in the last 24 hours from folks I know who CAN'T WAIT for this week to end. Really. Ya know...don't rush it. I'm going to guess that something good happened this week. You wouldn't have wanted to miss it, right?

My week ended on a wonderful note, actually, if I focus on my morning - a really awesome "something good". For the second time this school year, I went in to read to O's kindergarten class. Our selections: The Lorax, by Dr. Seuss, and Clam-I-Am - a Seussian approach to learning about the beach and all its associated creatures. Clam-I-Am was all fun and good, but I was pretty pumped in my newly reinvigorated green-ness to read The Lorax.

I love some of the connections the kids make, what goes through their heads, what they raise their hands to share.

"I have trees that fell down in my yard from the snow." Well, yes, but maybe some of those trees were old and that happens sometimes. But you didn't cut them down yourself, right?

"I like Paris." Really, have you been to Paris? It's very nice there. "No, but I am going when I am 12.". Good planning. Send pictures!

"I saw a dead bird once." (Mmmm....okay. Can't say I was prepared with a reaction for someone else's child to discuss death.)

Amidst all the sidebars, they all seemed to engage, to get the lesson that "UNLESS someone like you...cares a whole awful lot....nothing is going to get better...it's not." Tonight it occurred to me it would have been stellar to bring some seeds for everyone. So...maybe that's an idea for another time, it's not like they could have gotten planted today anyhow.

Enjoy your truffula trees today, everyone.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The G2 Summit

G has turned 2! I know, she was barely walking the last time I told you about what was up with her. She is a bit of a mini-me, which is reinforced by at least one or two people weekly, and she has personality to spare. Demanding, silly, lovable little tiny girl. "Tiny" is one of her favorite words...she always raises her voice when she says it: "TI-nee!"

We had a family birthday party this past weekend. A Dora extravaganza. Please, por favor.

She was the star of her own show, looking lovely in purple and brown and a very, very special crown that was handmade by her older brother and held in place by a rhinestone headband (thank you, Crewcuts).

And now...introducing new technological leaps to LMWL...flip video! (Drumroll)

A fantabulous cake, with Dora and Boots on top. She is still at that age where all the hullabaloo over candles on a cake looks a little nutty from her perspective, I believe. Did not want to blow them out. Our big girl.

video

See, at least I have evolved in the last 9 months. Multimedia!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

It's been way too long, friend.

No, not you. I think I'm speaking to myself, here.

I told myself that come 2010, I would be back on the blog. Things have been up and down around here but honestly, it's all good. The short news is we are all healthy and we have the two best kids on the planet (well, they are mine, I am allowed to say that). So what's new in the last (gulp!) 9+ months?
  • We have a C of O for the house! This is recent news. Oh yes, you'll hear more about the house.
  • O is in kindergarten! Officially 67+ months old, as he puts it. Still my little old man, my baby boy. Much more of a boy, with boy things and boy sounds.
  • G is turning TWO this weekend. Seriously. She is a mini-me, cubed (poor thing). Such a trip - demanding, hilarious, goofy, dramatic. Beautiful.
  • C is still a great husband. :-)
  • I lost some weight. (I did have a 20th yr reunion last July, people.) And hell, it was time to ditch the baby-weight anyhow. Not a lot, but it doesn't take much on my frame.
  • I like to cook even more than before. Trying lots of new recipes, techniques, ingredients.
  • I'm trying to be greener, inspired by a client of mine. Buying in bulk when I can, reusable items, watching waste.
  • I have an updated client roster...yes, still consulting (woohoo! I AM NOT GOING BACK!). This is mostly what's been keeping me distracted. They are inspiring, wonderful and unique in different ways...I'm very lucky. And good people, most importantly.
So, stay tuned, if you still have any interest. I still don't shut up all that easily.
xoxo
N