Whoa Nelly!

No, this is not the beginning of a new chapter in my life; this is the beginning of a new book!
That first book is already closed, ended, and tossed into the seas;
this new book is newly opened, has just begun! Look, it is the first page! And it is a beautiful one!

― C. JoyBell C.

    So yesterday was a smack back into reality. I had been feeling really awesome over three weeks….so when I got chemo yesterday I just felt like ack. Part of it probably had to do with lemonade and dairy products. I didn’t even think about it when I had a bowl of cereal yesterday morning or when I ate cheese in my salad. Ack! It might have also had something to do with the steroids. I really despise that stuff. Makes me want to crawl out of my skin and run to Canada at mock 10 with my hair on fire. Of course, all night I had hell with hot flashes. I’d wake up soaking wet, have to turn the fan on high, and fall asleep all to wake up freezing cold. Today I am just tired from not sleeping. I am SOOO glad this will be over with. So the new plan, once this is over, is to go in and have a complete body scan and an MRI. The MRI is to make notes where all the scar tissue is in my leg. That away when I have my other scans it won’t alarm them to be cancer and it’s also the first place they look for it to come back. Then I get a CT of my chest. If it’s going to come back, it will most likely come back as lung cancer. Not inside my lungs, but the tissues on the outside. Every three months for the first few years I will have to come in for blood work and a check up on my lymph nodes. Every six months for 5 years I will do the scans. I really pray and hope that it doesn’t come back. I hope I’ve had enough chemicals poured into my body to just eradicate any idea of it thinking about coming back.

    Today is laundry day. Have quite a bit of it to get done. I think I’ll make some breaded pork chops and mashed taters for dinner. Make up some yummy homemade gravy and a nice garden salad. Top the plates off with homemade apple sauce. Looking through my bread recipes and decided on some yummy rolls. I want to coat the chops with panko and use cowboy seasoning. We are almost out of it and I decided to try and find it on the internet to make our own. It took a while to find the actual rub. The kind we use has coffee and cocoa in it with cinnamon. Here’s what I found:

Spice Rubbed Cowboy Chops

Serves 6-8 using 1/2 of the spice rub mixture

6-8 pork loin chops (each 3/4 – 1″ thick, about 2.5 lbs)

Cowboy spice rub:

1.5 tbsp smoked paprika

1 tbsp chipotle chili powder

1 tbsp brown sugar

2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder

1.5 tsp garlic salt

1 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground black pepper *

3/4 tsp kosher salt, or to taste *

The stuff is excellent on pork. It is one of the dry rub Dan uses on baby backs. Stuff is sweet, smoky and spicy. I think I even have everything on there. Since I still have the container of the other stuff, I’ll quadruple the recipe and use the left over container to put it in. The best part about making these rubs yourself means you do not have to deal with the extra crap they put in it. There is another one that is sweet and spicy that is similar to cowboy, but uses chipotle and cinnamon in the mix. I like the cowboy one because it reminds you what the cowboys would have on them if they were out on the range. It pairs excellently with pork.

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Wintering Conflict and Judgement

I wish I could tell you how lonely I am.
How cold and harsh it is here.
Everywhere there is conflict and unkindness.
I think God has forsaken this place.
I believe I have seen hell and it’s white, it’s snow-white.

― Elizabeth Gaskell, North and South

    There is something that has been in the back of my mind since yesterday morning. My daily routine involves grabbing my cup of coffee and sitting down to see what is going on in the lives of others. As I was scrolling through the feeds of Facebook, I saw someone like the update from a group page. The update talked about how they had created a private group in which its members can join to discuss various topics concerning that group’s theme. They created the group as private to weed out others who want to persecute and put them down for gathering together and sharing ideas, thoughts, etc. It left a sour taste in my mouth.

    Why do people feel the need to be judgmental? What is there to gain in causing a rift in conversation over various topics? I can understand friendly debates. That is where two differing sides sit down over coffee and share what each believes. That to me makes the most sense. Rather than having a heart full of contention, just sit down and talk about it. Are they afraid that somehow they are going to be converted? Seriously? People in this world should not have to hide the things that they believe in. We should be beyond creating groups in private to avoid the wrath and condemnation of others. Even people with “like” beliefs don’t always share the same thoughts and ideas. As a result there is contention among them. It leads to nothing but conflict. I am the opposite. I hate conflicts. I would rather sit down and learn about the other side from them and their points of view. Decide for myself if it is something I believe is right or wrong and move on with life. I feel like w limit ourselves to new friendships and relationships because, “We can’t befriend them, they are of the devil” or “Stay away from that person, they are homosexual”. It just frosts a snow cone hip high to think about all the people out there who get in the middle of these groups of people to shout and condemn them. The nicest and most interesting people I have met are people who do not share the same opinions as me…except that coffee is good.

(stepping off pedestal)

    Talking about conflict. I have been faced with confronting one of Bear’s teachers. Her music teacher of all people. I hate conflict. I was trying to piece the words together so that they were not forceful or attacking. To make a long story short she ridiculed Bear about her purple saxophone. Basically told her it was a piece of crap. Now to give her the benefit of the doubt, I was not privy to the conversations. I just know that it really upset Bear. Yes, we know it’s not the 1,000.00 saxophone I wished we could have bought. Even with it on sale, it stretched our budget. Thankfully we had a little extra help from grandparents to buy it for her. She doesn’t take it lightly. Would I expect her to take it to a professional audition? No. It’s not the best in the world, but it gives her a place to start. I don’t feel that it was ok for a teacher to put a student down based on the cost of her saxophone. She didn’t do it once, she did it on several occasions. I feel that this is a time for Bear to experiment and dabble in music. She should be encouraging this, not putting her down over the color and price of an instrument. So, my resolve was I decided not to talk to her about it. Instead I decided to write her an email. Kindly explained what the saxophone means to Bear and asked her please not say anything further regarding the cost. Pretty much told her if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all. I haven’t received anything back, so hopefully she read it and it won’t be an issue.

    Ugh conflict. This weather is a complete contradiction to Spring….lol Yesterday afternoon the wind came in and all night it sounded like a hurricane going on. Woke up this morning to a partial snow covering. It’s still flurrying and blowing around. The roads do not look fun. Eventually I will have to get out and buy some more milk. I’m thinking about making chili and letting it simmer all day. Perhaps some cinni rolls also.

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My Turn!

I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would always greet it in a garden.
-Ruth Stout

    Today was my turn to get kids off to school. Dan has hurt something in his chest area – we are thinking separated ribs. A couple days ago he was lifting weights. Then yesterday he was headed into the office when a piece of paper flew out of his hands. When he bent over to pick it up he got this excruciating pain in his chest. I feel really bad. He can’t get comfortable sitting or laying down. When he got home he laid down on the couch and didn’t move or get out of his uniform until he went to bed. I personally think he should go get it checked out….but he’s a guy. I know he felt awful about missing Bear’s concert last night.

    Speaking of the concert, last night the two local middle schools and Chamber’s from the high school did a pre-contest concert. They had judges there to score them and help them get ready for the competitions after spring break. I was really amazed at the Chamber’s band. That is the band Bear will be playing in starting next year. It is really hard for freshmen to make it into. Last year the group was invited to Texas. This year they are going to Branson, MO. I guess they compete against other school from across the nation. They also get to go to clinics. Besides that, Branson is a fun place to be a tourist. I thought that would be awesome if Amanda is going. I have a close friend that lives there!

    So what is on the agenda? Hmmmm……

    Mother nature sure has a sense of humor! She introduces Spring with beautiful 70 degree weather and then pulls a fast one on us. I guess it is supposed to be cold and snowy this weekend. Of course, the snow is not going to be but a few flakes here. I won’t complain. I have repeatedly said we sure could use the moisture. I’m just itching to get some things done outside. I know in all reality that isn’t going to happen until next month. The kids will be on Spring break next week and I get the joy of starting my last round of chemo. I don’t know if we will do much next week. I’m sure we will do our traditional Easter activities. I hope the weather will be nice enough to get up to the zoo and stretch our legs. We could use some nice fresh air. I guess I could be evil and hand two of my kids a shovel and tell them to clean out their rooms.

    Shoveling out rooms…. Sometimes I think we need a huge dumpster out front. We have been here too long. We are starting to accumulate things. I had to laugh. My sister gave Bee a large trash bag full of clothes from her daughter. Last night we FINALLY went through them. I had to laugh. Some of the clothes were clothes we had given Shauna that were Bears. The nice thing about Shauna is she hardly gets dirty and takes good care of her clothes so they look like they were hardly used. I still have a tub of clothes to go through. Bee really enjoyed the larger sized sporty pants that she could wear to bed. She is like her mama. She likes to wrap the pant bottoms around her feet.

    Well that didn’t answer the question did it….. Hmmm…. Ok today I think I will do some picking up cleaning around the house. Just maintenance cleaning. I should probably pick something for dinner. It’s supposed to be yuk this afternoon so teriyaki is out. We had fajitas last night so Mexican is out. Maybe I’ll make the family a nice spaghetti dinner. I think I’ll bake up some bread sticks or fresh bread. Add to it a nice salad… Sound good?

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If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.

-Anne Bradstreet

    Yesterday was a very pleasant day! I love my mornings. I have missed a few times of getting up when I need to, but not by much. Getting up at 7:00 is starting to become normal and I just wake up. Next week I will push that back a bit. I enjoy talking to my bestie. Sometimes we talk on the phone and others we skype. Skyping is much better. Doesn’t require you to hold the phone and my phone won’t cause us to hang up because the battery is dead. I was really wishing I could have a super power. I mean I know I’m super awesome (evil grin). I think If I could have a super power it would be: having the ability to transport ones self over long distances. I wished I could close my eyes, think of a place and when I opened them, I’d be there. I would certainly visit her often. She has been going through a really hard time and I just want to be there to give her a hug. I’ve taught myself that a hug can be the most uplifting thing in the world. I also just wished I could take her for a drive for a day. Stop at a coffee house along the way and enjoy coffee and getting the heck out of dodge. Wishful thinking…

    When I crawled out of bed, the first three or four steps were really painful. I had it in my head that I was going to start walking to Bee’s school to pick her up. It really isn’t that far. Less than a mile round trip and only a slight incline. How hard can that be? YIKES!! My Right bum muscle and that thing – tendon?- in your quad that attaches to your knee on the under outside… I could feel that when we were done walking. This morning my foot hurts and my quads are screaming. Both sides. Isn’t that crazy? Just when you think you can conquer the Incline, you realize how much you have to go. By the way, my goal is to be able to just walk the incline before summer is out. It sort of feels good. Instead of walking three days a week I decided we will start with two. Then work up to three. I really want to get back into plyometrics and yoga as fall starts.

    Track starts in two weeks. I know Bear is excited. She plans on doing triple jump, long jump, 50m and hurdles. 50m dash and hurdles will help her on her jumping. She is really close to breaking the long jump record for the area, and she has her eyes focused on that. I didn’t get to go to her meets last year. I got to go to the big one, but the others I was too yuk to go. I look forward to watching her this year.

    With the week starting to wind down into the weekend, I checked the weather. Today’s high should be 61. The next four days in the 20s. Lo0oks like we are expected to get a rain/snow mix over the weekend. If it manages to get warm I want to get outside and see what I can do in the back yard as far as raking goes. If not, then I will have to wait a week. I have a few other things I can do, like go through Amber’s clothes and of course work on the bathroom. I don’t know why I hate bathrooms so much. Either way that bathroom is going to get super cleaned.

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You Should Smell Like Dirt!

In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”

― Margaret Atwood, Bluebeard’s Egg

    I love this quote! HAPPY SPRING everyone! This is my most favorite day of the year! First day of Spring! It’s a signal that the earth is waking up and a new season of growing is upon us. Not just growing flowers and all things that are good, but also a time for renewal in life. Today also happens to be Dan and I’s anniversary! Hard to believe. Where has time gone? It feels like just yesterday my belly was full of butterflies as we made preparations. There have been highs and lows, but I’m thankful we both continue to work hard on our relationship. After this last year, I don’t believe anything can really tear us apart. A year ago, cancer wasn’t even in the picture. I had my bone biopsy, but we really didn’t think it would yield anything major. My husband has done an amazing job of going far above and beyond what most men would do. I am a lucky girl.

Ok all the mushy good stuff aside, I’ve had a fairly good week. My two goals have been cleaning the bathroom (the kind of clean that leaves you smelling like your cleaner) and the laundry room. I got the laundry room done yesterday. I have to sit and laugh at all the empty bottles of soap that were in there. For the longest time I had a hard time going up and down stairs so laundry fell on Dan and the kids. It’s only been recent that I can carry a laundry basket down the stairs. Besides the soap containers there were piles of lint all over. It actually cracked me up. So I made a trash can out of a half broken laundry bucket. No more lint piles. I also removed the shelves so we would have more room in there to move around. The shelves were crammed with blankets. I decided to put them in an empty plastic container. Most of the blankets are keepers – baby blankets or special made blankets. I’m glad that is done. The shelving unit can go to the garage.

I have actually grown to like our house. If it were our own there is so much I’d change, but for now, we try to make do with what we have. The hardest part is there is no storage. We have a small hall closet and personal closet space. Oh wait! There is storage under the stairs. That is filled with boxes of books, Christmas stuff, and four tough boxes of army gear. The garage has some shelves, but not much. There is just no place to stuff, stuff. I guess it keeps us from collecting too much junk. I do need to get into Amber’s room and bag up her clothes that don’t fit. All three of my kids are growing again. They are collecting clothes for the middle school. I think tomorrow I will bag the clothes up and have the kids take them in Friday morning. Today they were collecting books. Wished I had known. I have a ton of books sitting in boxes under the stairs.

So the other night I had issues falling asleep. Keep drinking iced tea after 6:00pm and can’t seem to get to sleep… I decided that I’d start researching Medieval castles. The other day Amber asked if we could make one in minecraft. She wanted a REAL castle with jousting grounds. I told her sure. Then I thought about it and decided I knew very little about them and I should do some research. She it totally into that time era. She likes to take Sav outside with his leash and “ride” him while jousting. She has found things in the yard that would make excellent jousting lances. Just this morning she was telling us how people were punished. Really got into the details of it. I was sitting there sipping coffee thinking about being quartered. Ouch! I told Dan that this year we are going to take her to the big Renaissance festival. I think she would really enjoy it! Might even try to coheres her Aunt Shanna into making her a costume to wear. Of course, it would probably have to be a knight’s costume. Any ways, so I researched castles and looked at other minecrafter castles for ideas. Someone mentioned the best place to start is to use graph paper. So, that’s what I did yesterday during coffee time.

    It has everything she asked for and then some. Now the task will be putting it into the game. We had started on that yesterday when she got home from school, except the scale I used was larger than I thought. Each square on paper equals two minecraft squares… It got so big that when you looked at it from above, you couldn’t see the entire layout. This involves a lot of counting, and bless her little pea picking heart, Amber kept asking me questions. So when I thought I should have been done with the outer walls…I was way off. I got frustrated and thankfully the rest of the family came home. It was time to quit and go make some dinner. I am going to try today but keep at a 1:1 scale. I feel that today is designated no tasks, therefore I will only commit to dishes.

Dan is only working a half day. He is going to pick me up for lunch. Then we’re going to go buy stuff to make sushi. Of course, we are going to go buy the Hobbit. So it’s suhshi and a movie at home. The problem with going out to eat is we can’t seem to find a place we want to go. We are such awesome cooks that I’d rather spend the time together in the kitchen than going somewhere and being disappointed with the food. I know Bee is super happy we are getting the Hobbit. She loves the LOTR series and now the Hobbit will be added to it. It will be a nice evening either way!

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Flight – Changing Experience

This last weekend was a really good weekend! Friday night Andrew stayed with a friend so the Dan, the girls, and I decided on pizza and movies. I picked Seven Psychos, Flight, and the new Ice Age. Ok Seven Psychos was dumb. Get the idea, but it was dumb. Flight… At first I really didn’t like the movie. I have always liked Denzel Washington as an actor and the movies he has been in. I just didn’t like this movie. It wasn’t until Sunday Morning I realized why.     Sunday Morning I woke up at just before 6:00 in the morning. I got up and downed three glasses of tea. Felt like I was going to throw up so I crawled back into bed and watched the sun rise. I laid there thinking about what an idiot. Really, Kimberly? For the past year I have been doing this ritual. It started back when I was on my third round of Adria and Cisplatin. When I’d start to feel better I knew I could look forward to Friday nights. I’d have a few drinks, spend time chatting with Dan or playing video games. I like to drink Jaguar Bombers then sip a few beers. J bombs have energy drinks in them. This of course would get me to feeling energetic and just damn good for a few hours. If I was being really honest, I’d tell you that I refused to take pain medication because I didn’t want to mix alcohol and pills. So this ritual was awesome to me. It gave me something to always look forward to. A sad pathetic reward to getting through the week.

    About a month ago I think it changed from a ritual to a habit. Something else changed… I started getting hang-overs. I never had them before. I know part of it has to deal with my age. You can’t drink like you are 20 in your 30s. I also realized that it was sort of an anxiety if we didn’t have our usual Friday nights. I’d get half upset. This past Saturday Dan and I talked and decided that the direction with drinking is going to down a road we have traveled many times. That road never leads to anything good. I am the kind of person that has to set a limit or goal in mind to stick with something. So we decided no more drinking till June 22nd. Why that particular date? It’s the first day of summer. Gives me time to try and start a new routine and focus on more important things. I know how and why I got caught into this trap. It’s easy when you can enable someone else into doing something they can’t say no to. I know it’ll be hard when he drops hints to say no, but no it will be. Not to mention how expensive it is. We easily drop 40.00 a night on alcohol. That times 4 nights (sometimes more) a month… 120.00 that I can save up and put into my garden. So far we’ve given up sodas (which amounts to 60.00 a month) and now drinking. As hard as it is, that’s almost 200.00 back into our budget to go do things.

    Speaking of things, thanks to our Saturday night I never was able to get the back yard weeds cut down. It looks like it’s going to be a beautiful day outside. I suppose I could try and use the week whacker myself, but I’d rather Dan does it. I bet I could at least get out there and get all the garbage picked up. Get the lower areas raked. But first, I need to get the bathroom cleaned. It is screaming to be cleaned. A few loads of laundry to get done, also. I wished it would stay in the 70s so I could at least hang clothes out on the line. I was really hoping the weekend would be nice and warm so we could hang clothes out. I decided that today I’d start getting up earlier. I’m not used to having to get up before 8:00 in the morning. When you are on chemo, you have no set bed time. Well since I’m a three weeks from no longer having anymore, it’s time I started getting back into the habit of getting up and getting kiddos off to school. Come May, Dan will be working his new job (if not sooner) and I need to be up early to get everyone going. I will also need to be up early to care for the garden. I have always liked getting up about 30-45 minutes before everyone else. Nice hot cup of coffee, meditating and praying, and spending quiet moments deciding what I will do with my day. If the weather stays warm, I am going to start walking down to Amber’s school to pick her up. I can take Sav with me, I know he loves to go for walks.

And Spring arose on the garden fair,
Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere;
And each flower and herb on Earth’s dark breast
rose from the dreams of its wintry rest.

~Percy Bysshe Shelley

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Springing Forward

If you are depressed, you are living in the past…

If you are anxious, you are living in the future…

If you are at peace, you are living in the present.

Springing forward, that is our new quote. Dan found it on facebook. I don’t remember if there is an author to that quote, but I liked it.


I think we’ve seen the end of snow storms…praying for rain!

I didn’t really feel the time change. I guess maybe it is because we were having too much fun last weekend. What I do notice are the changes outside. The pine tree out front is loaded with little birds making their nests. I’ve started seeing the red tailed hawks more often and the antelope have arrived at their summer grazing grounds. The weather is starting to warm up. With the exception of Monday, the entire week has hit the upper 60s. My body is springing into it’s time to garden mode. I’m ready to garden this year!

I have drawn up plans for the gardens. I’m hoping this year won’t be as hot as last year. Last April we bought an A/C because the temps were reaching upper 80s. The first tsep to the gardens will be cleaning them out. Since I was on yukie chemo last year, we let the garden go. Partially because I couldn’t be out in the sun and it was so hot. The other part was being so darn sick. This year, however, will be a different story. I have learned over the past years of what won’t grow here and what will. Once we get the yard cleaned up, we can get some poopoo dirt and mix it into our starving parched soil. The biggest cost of this will be water. I’m still devising a plan to conserve water but effectively water everything. I also think I’ll drag my green house out and move it over to the garden. I got this idea off of pintrist to use toilet paper rolls to start seedlings. They are biodegradable and a great way to reuse something we throw away. Now if I can just get everyone to save them.

Super awesome idea!! You can find it HERE

I honestly look forward to getting up in the early hours and working in the garden. That’s always a peaceful place for me. I also want to work on some fairy houses with Amber. I think she will enjoy that little project and I’m sure her imagination will flourish at the idea. Speaking of my Bee… Lately I’ve been trying to really spend quality time with the kids doing the things they enjoy. With Amanda and Andrew it has been playing minecraft. That is a really addicting game to play. We use the xbox on the 60 inch TV so all four of us can play, but most of the time it’s just Amanda and I. Andrew has gotten into playing Guitar Hero, so we rock out in the evenings. Little Bee and I got to go to an Avalanche game this past Sunday. If there is one thing I have learned about Bee it’s that God gave her 2 million words to use in one day. Normally it drives me crazy, but I realized that everything she has to say is important to her and if we don’t listen to her now, later on she will find someone who will listen and that someone might be less than par. So as painful as it is…I’ve learned to stop what I’m doing and just listen.

Besides gardening and kiddos, I am excited that on the 25th I will start my last run of chemo!! I for some reason thought this coming Monday I started. I guess I’m so used to when you hit that point of feeling better it is time to start again. I still have another week of freedom to go. I will hit my last treatment in this series on April 8th. That is exactly 364 days to the start of this whole mess. What is even more exciting is that my close friend and sister in my heart is coming that next week. That might change a bit as we can’t decide between April or May. I think it’d be awesome if she came down when we started the real garden work. I love doing “hard work” projects with her. She keeps us laughing and makes them fun. That and when I miss her after she is gone I can go into our garden and remember the fun time we had…and fun is an understatement. Everything we do together turns into a crazy adventure.

Speaking of adventures…

Next week is Dan and I’s anniversary. Crazy to think we have been together this long! I know for quite a number of years the roads turned into a wash board with huge obstacles, but no matter what we continue to try and give our all to each other and our family. I had an opportunity to return to work. The assistant store manager quit. I was so excited that I’d be able to go back to work. But in that excitement I had blinded myself to reality. The reality is I’m not going to be able to make it work. Living in two different states is just not an option and I’m not willing to pull my kids out of the schools they are attending. They are in really good schools and most importantly, they are excelling for once. That was my main reason. The second reason came from looking how far we have come as a family. There are no more fights and not more anger here. Sure we squabble from time to time, but for the most part we have learned how to communicate with each other that does not require yelling. We learned how to listen first, ponder second, third answer. Things are still very tight in the budget, but we’ve had worse times. I think towards the end of summer, when the kids go back to school, I’ll start looking for a job. This summer I’ll be busy with kids and the garden. Give myself some time to heal up and get back on my feet.

Well, I should get my body moving this morning. My number one goal is to clean out the fridge. I try to do that every so often. It’s a bit empty because we were at the end of payday period. Tomorrow we will fill it up after we go grocery shopping. Hope to spend the weekend cleaning up the back yard.

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