Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Is It Really Too Much to Ask?

We're maintaining an eight game lead over the evil empire, and the TV network over here is NOT IMPORTING the games. Are you kidding me? This is classic ball, people!!! But no, we get every other MLB game under the sun, we get pre-season football out the wazoo (who watches football in August?!), and we get the Little League World Series. Oh, and we get enough WWF Raw to make you puke.

Sigh. I have never missed my MLB "Extra Innings" package and my Tivo as much as I do tonight. I need me some Varitek, people!

Okay, that's better.

Three Things

So I woke up this morning sore from head to toe. I could barely reach over to the clock because every fiber of every muscle in my back was screaming in protest. I quickly convinced myself I had the flu or pneumonia, until, about a split second after I had this conviction, I remembered I had worked out with weights yesterday for the first time in almost three months. OH. And, OW. This made today's run interesting, but we got a good three-miler in, despite my almost non-stop complaining about this body part and that. We're still on track for the Munich 10-K, which takes place on October 14.

According to my "Donut of Hope," we have made it 5% of the way through the RLBT. Yeehaw! I'll take it and go from there.

Here are the latest pages of my Survival Guide. For my monthly benchmark, I am using our debt reduction plan. Here's the two-page spread, followed by close-ups of the left and right sides. On the right page, our projected monthly debt totals (in order to be 100% debt-free by the time the Gutsy Dad returns from his business trip) are listed on the left, with spaces for the actual debt totals to be added on the right. You can also see the "story" of our debt reduction, which is hidden on a journaling tag on the left page. (All we've got left is the two cars and my graduate degree, all of which we consider "respectable" debt; nevertheless it will be very exciting to kiss it all goodbye.)

These last three photos are the opener for the next section of the Survival Guide. I've been writing down all the cute, new things Jillsie does, so I can track them for her Papa in a section of the book called "Moments & Milestones, Month by Month." An example of the monthly spread will follow in September, when I can post August's calendar.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Happy Anniversary!

Recently, the Gutsy Dad and I celebrated the 5th anniversary of our 2nd wedding, and ever the class-act, he had these gorgeous flowers delivered to me at home. Thank you honey, they were--and still are!--gorgeous. Until I can send you cookies, I hope these pictures brighten your day:

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Music of the Month

One of the ways I know I am going to get through the RLBT is by singing. Singing great songs has ALWAYS lifted my spirits, particularly in the car (don't we all just sound awesome when we sing while driving?), and particularly with the music turned up so I'm really IN it.

There are certain CDs and songs that will always bring me back to particular places and times when I hear them. Keith Urban's album "Be There," for example. Whenever I hear any songs from that album, I am instantly in Gig Harbor and trying to get through hubby's first RLBT (technically it was just an LBT; only 12 months, not 15...) Or, pop in Patty Griffin's "1000 Kisses" and I am in Austin and trying to get through hubby's year in Korea. (This album, incidentally, is currently off limits to me due to the songs "Long Ride Home" and "Making Pies," which induce tears within just the first few measures.)

Anyway, point is, I've been thinking that small rewards, monthly, would be really fun. I've joked about a shoe-of-the-month club or a handbag-of-the-month club, but this could take a serious toll on the bottom line. So, I think I will do a CD-of-the-month club with myself instead. We can all use more music in our lives.

During a recent browse-a-thon on amazon.com I stumbled upon the Indigo Girls' latest album. God, I love these gals. I am always impressed by people who can actually write music...I am so in awe of that talent...to be able to put notes and words together in a new way and to create something that someone else would want to sing and remember... incredible! Anyway, when I was at an Indigo Girls concert last year in Seattle (while pregnant and with a group from the Junior League, no less--we were by far the straightest people there!) I remember thinking at the start of every song "I LOVE THIS SONG!" and then just being astounded that one group could write SO MANY really good songs.

And they have done it again. When I heard the samples of "Despite Our Differences" I knew I would have to have the CD and I would listen to it and learn it and love it and sing it.

And I was right. It arrived yesterday, and I cannot get enough of it. It's just gorgeous. And, honey, if you are reading this: "I believe in us and I believe in love."

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Inflammatory Breast Cancer

My sister-in-law sent me this link, and I really felt it deserved attention. I, for one, had no idea this kind of breast cancer existed, and I was really moved when I read that it can often go undiagnosed in women who are in the "strange things are happening to my boobs (i.e. pregnant or nursing)" phase of life.

Read below, or cut and paste this URL to read the article at its source, where it was posted by "WhyMommy."


Here's what WhyMommy says:

"We hear a lot about breast cancer these days. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetimes, and there are millions living with it in the U.S. today alone. But did you know that there is more than one type of breast cancer?

"I didn’t. I thought that breast cancer was all the same. I figured that if I did my monthly breast self-exams, and found no lump, I’d be fine.

"Oops. It turns out that you don’t have to have a lump to have breast cancer. Six weeks ago, I went to my OB/GYN because my breast felt funny. It was red, hot, inflamed, and the skin looked…funny. But there was no lump, so I wasn’t worried. I should have been. After a round of antibiotics didn’t clear up the inflammation, my doctor sent me to a breast specialist and did a skin punch biopsy. That test showed that I have inflammatory breast cancer, a very aggressive cancer that can be deadly.

"Inflammatory breast cancer is often misdiagnosed as mastitis because many doctors have never seen it before and consider it rare. “Rare” or not, there are over 100,000 women in the U.S. with this cancer right now; only half will survive five years. Please call your OB/GYN if you experience several of the following symptoms in your breast, or any unusual changes: redness, rapid increase in size of one breast, persistent itching of breast or nipple, thickening of breast tissue, stabbing pain, soreness, swelling under the arm, dimpling or ridging (for example, when you take your bra off, the bra marks stay – for a while), flattening or retracting of the nipple, or a texture that looks or feels like an orange (called peau d’orange). Ask if your GYN is familiar with inflammatory breast cancer, and tell her that you’re concerned and want to come in to rule it out.

"There is more than one kind of breast cancer. Inflammatory breast cancer is the most aggressive form of breast cancer out there, and early detection is critical. It’s not usually detected by mammogram. It does not usually present with a lump. It may be overlooked with all of the changes that our breasts undergo during the years when we’re pregnant and/or nursing our little ones. It’s important not to miss this one.

"Inflammatory breast cancer is detected by women and their doctors who notice a change in one of their breasts. If you notice a change, call your doctor today. Tell her about it. Tell her that you have a friend with this disease, and it’s trying to kill her. Now you know what I wish I had known before six weeks ago.

"You don’t have to have a lump to have breast cancer.

"P.S. Feel free to steal this post too. I’d be happy for anyone in the blogosphere to take it and put it on their site, no questions asked. Dress it up, dress it down, let it run around the place barefoot. I don’t care. But I want the word to get out. I don’t want another young mom — or old man — or anyone in between — to have to stare at this thing on their chest and wonder, is it mastitis? Is it a rash? Am I overreacting? This cancer moves FAST, and early detection and treatment is critical for survival.

"Thank you." -- WhyMommy

Now I Know My ABC's...

Here's my latest (or, more accurately, most recently completed) project--an alphabet book for Jillson. Here are some views of the outside.Here's a peek inside. Some letters are on little cardstock squares you can pull out of the paper bag openings, others are glued onto the pages, and a few are tucked under the flaps created by the tops of the bags.The whole alphabet is as follows (and, yes, it does feature a lot of dairy):
A is for Annabelle
B is for Boat
C is for Cheese
D is for Denali
E is for Ethan
F is for Friends
G is for Giggle
H is for Hydrangea
I is for Ice Cream
J is for Jillson
K is for Kiki
L is for Lydia
M is for Mommy
N is for Nina-Nina
O is for Outside
P is for Papa
Q is for Quark
R is for Red Sox
S is for Shoes (and Schnecke)
T is for Tilly
U is for Uniform
V is for Vicki
W is for Wedding
X is for X-ray
Y is for Yogurt
Z is for Zephie

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Happy Birthday!

So, Jillson's first birthday was over a month ago, but I thought it was about time we got some pics up here from her spectacular day. The first thing that happened is that we arrived in America; and what a journey it had been! Here's Jillson enjoying her first boatride on the Barbara W. She liked the feeling of the wind blowing through her hair, and she shrieked like a dolphin.When we got to the island, we got to see Meme on the wharf. Jillson was about ready to get out of her lifejacket, but she was being such a trooper about it.Jillson's first Toro ride!The next morning, Jillsie had "birthday breakfast" in a decorated booster seat, thanks to a marvelous birthday package from Aunt Vicki!Here's the birthday girl (please note the You Are Special Today plate and the Birthday Train on the table) with her birthday cupcake!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


Whenever I see Jillson's new little curls, all I can think of is wings. I love them so much, I'm really not sure what to do with myself, and I'm pretty sure Jills is sick of me oggling them. When I was little, I used to lament having to go to school with "wings." Having my hair stick out was so uncool. But I've got to say, my little girlfriend, your wings are ultra cool and super cute, and Mommy simply cannot get enough of them!

The Single Mom's Survival Guide

I've decided to scrapbook a survival guide to help me get through these 15 months. In it I will have countdowns and calendars, lists and goals, pictures and tributes to the things I love, etc. The idea is that I will be able to use it during the RLBT as a motivational tool and pick-me-up, and then it can serve as a memory book of this incredibly challenging time after we make it through. I had fun making this cover from some new supplies I found at a discount store while we were in Maine. I love Reny's!This is the first page, where I have listed dozens of things, like margaritas and lattes, good friends and netflix, that I know will help make the time go more quickly. (I think if you click on the pictures you can see a larger version and see the details.)The next spread is my weekly countdown. I love these colors. Stacy Julian would be so proud of me. COLOR! COLOR! COLOR! (And I'm pretty sure the Gutsy Dad might get excited about the use of our 8.5 x 11 page protectors!)I'll use these little 1x1 squares to mark off the weeks, and when I'm done the page will just be a pretty paper-quilt, checkerboard-like thing. Tomorrow I get to adhere my first little square. WOO HOO!Close-up of the weekly countdown.

Saturday, August 11, 2007


Your absence has gone through me
Like thread through a needle.
Everything I do is stitched with its color.

-- W.S. Merwin

Well, folks, the Gutsy Dad has reached his destination, and the RLBT has begun. It's been two days, and so I have done the dishes from the last meals we shared together, and I have done the loads of laundry that had his things in them. These simple chores are always so painful to me because they scream "HE WAS JUST HERE!" I find it so unfair that he isn't here right now and won't be for a long, long time.

Jillsie looks for him in the evenings, smiles her flirty smile, and says "Papa! Papa?" in her sweet little voice.

And of course it has been pouring rain, and the car needs servicing, and my stroller is locked in the trunk of the other car and I can't get it out, and the yard maintenance dude mowed everyone's lawn but mine, and yadda yadda yadda, you can see I am not lacking for things to complain about? It's alright, it keeps me busy. I believe I've accomplished more in the last two days than I have in the last two months.

I am relieved that the dreaded goodbyes have been said. When it is not so fresh (and therefore will not drive me into hysterics) I may write about it some more. Until then, I am focusing on happiness. I am pleased to say the dizziness is gone, but I am still on the prednisone which of course quadruples my emotional freakiness. This, too, will get better in time.

More soon--the phone ringeth, the dogs barketh, but the baby sleepeth, and I think I might be able to scrap a few pages...