Sunday, October 26, 2008

Deep in Thought

Something happened recently at work where my mind began to go into overdrive about why certain people do things. I found myself trying to figure out a motive for such childish behavior in a work environment and this began a spiral of thoughts about why people are the way they are. I believe most people are the way they are because of their life experiences. Obviously the type of home you grow up in plays a large part in that. Still when we become adults we become redefined as we make a home and family of OUR choosing. So many of us raised to feel that who we were was reflected by the home we had or the family we presented to others, were set up to feel like failures. I was raised to think that when you married someone if that was a nightmare, it was of your choosing and you had no choice but to endure it. In my forties I broke free of those chains of thought and began to search for the me who had been lost living with someone who was not right for me. It was a long and difficult journey to get where I am today. Still, I do not feel that defines me as much as being a cancer survivor. I have lived with the rollercoaster of anxiety and fear, and yes, hope for thirty years. During that time I also went through leukemia with my only child, who also, thankfully, is a long term survivor.

Perhaps because the treatment, that I had back then, was so intense and the physical results life changing, my life never was the same. I had my spleen removed which left me immune compromised. I have had skin cancer and now am dealing with another. I have had heart surgery and that opened another set of issues and medications. This is my life and I am grateful for it.

I cannot imagine what it would be like to be a normal person, although I strive to live my life as normally as I can. I never allow myself to think what my life might have been like because my son was only three when I was diagnosed. My thoughts were for him and wanting him to be taken care of by his mother. I have often wondered if taking him to the radiation clinic predisposed him to leukemia.

Life goes on. Each day I get up and go to work and I do all the things that a normal person does. However, not a day goes by that I don't find myself having this thought "Thank you God for another day." I don't think many people ever have those thoughts. I think the passing of days goes unnoticed. It's expected. With me, over the years, I have learned not to be so anxious. I have come to accept that whatever will be will be. I have learned to appreciate nature and people and acts of kindness to a degree that many people never will.
For that I am grateful. Life is good. Smell the flowers!

Friday, October 24, 2008

A Friday Off..... can I get a woohoooo

Today I am so happy because I took the day off....with pay. These are the days that make working so very sweet. I have an appointment with a skin surgeon and will find out today just when she will remove this undesirable thing on my back and how much time will be involved. I am not scared but I am concerned about discomfort while working. I just filled out the six long pages of information and consent, which deal primarily with my insurance. She accepts my primary but not secondary insurance. That should simplify things a bit unless my company changes providers which could happen.

I made an appointment and got my hair cut today. She cut it shorter than she had eight weeks ago. The back is fine but my "bangs" are too straight across, I like them whispier but by the time I could see them they were too short to change. I will go back in a few weeks when they have grown out and have her fix them then. My hair grows very quickly. Having shorter hair makes it so much easier to get ready for work in the morning. I find as I am aging I am wearing more make up. To be honest, if I were not neurotic and financially impaired, I would be having botox. Ironic that my weight gain over the years has not concerned me as much as wrinkles and other facial imperfections. I guess when I stare into the mirror I focus on those things.

Looking at the time I need to get a move on. I will be relieved when I close the chapter on this and know that, at least for awhile, I will be safe again.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Fall Has Arrived

The past few days have been very warm but it's cool and breezy at night. Ideal for sleeping conditions if it weren't for the rooster living next door. This rooster is waking up the entire neighborhood. The neighbor is a problem neighbor and a complaint has been signed by us and another neighbor with a few others considering doing the same thing. I really hate it when people drive you to have to do these things. I would much rather have a congenial relationship with neighbors. Since we have lived here for six years she has woken us up at five thirty one morning when she decided to mow her grass, put four ducks in her yard which fight and wake us up, had her then eleven year old son back her car out of her driveway which he lost control of and hit my car. She was furious when I called the police after she pulled the car back in her driveway and ran in her house. Her mailbox which was run over lay on the ground to provide evidence. The police told her she was lucky we didn't press charges but she seemed annoyed that we made her pay for the repairs rather than allow her friend to fix our car. Said friend fixed her car after an accident and the paint does not match. She went to court and got a variance to erect a six foot fence. I opposed this but she testified she had a handicapped child who needed to be confined for his safety. The fence she erected is more like eight feet tall and was never closed while her child who seems perfectly normal plays in the street with the other kids. This fence is also on a conservation easement which the variance stated could not have the fence on. It goes on and on. My husband has videotaped the activity of this rooster, who is annoying as can be each morning and the tapes are viewed by other neighbors and some township officials I believe.

I go to the skin surgeon next week. Not for the surgery, just to get things set up. The bills from the procedure and biopsy are rolling in. Oh please Mr. Obama, some national health care help. We need it. Two people in our home working, I am covered by two policies and still what I must pay out of pocket prohibits me from getting all the procedures I should be.

I am tired and going to make a soothing cup of herbal tea, watch Grey's Anatomy and get into my weekend mode. One more workday. Work was great today. We had a baby shower/luncheon for a lovely couple who both work with us. One of our coworkers, Lemont has a catering business and his fried chicken is mouth watering. He made a pork shoulder too. Instead of a cake we have banana pudding for dessert. Enjoyed by all. I work with quite a cast of characters and we have a lot of laughs. Life is good. Happy Halloween from the Shelties

Sunday, October 12, 2008

A Final Goodbye to AOL Journals........

A long time ago AOL screwed over their journalers. Beautiful, lovingly maintained blogs that were a joy to read were defaced by the company when they ran ad banners across the top. Since AOL was never able to offer broadband, only dial up, one had to pay for broadband AND for AOL. To slap ads on top of journals that were being paid for was adding insult to injury. There was a wonderful community of bloggers. People who were a huge crossmix of the country. I loved it. I made friends with these bloggers. Many of them got angry when some of us made an exodus to blog spot. Some of them tried to change over to blog spot but it was difficult and they gave up and went back. Now, after all this time, AOL finally tells them NO MORE BLOGS. Sorry but your journals will no longer be supported here. More blogs for blog spot who hosts them for free. How can that be you have to ask yourself. Maybe now, finally, I can just cancel AOL altogether. Why should I give them any money when I am paying for broadband? I will tell you why I have done it. There were a few chat rooms over the years that I went to.
Most of these chat rooms have become so full of verbally abusive people that there is no pleasure in trying to converse in one. AOL has failed miserably in controlling them.
I remember when no one considered being online without AOL. How they have fallen.
What gets me is all the victims they left behind. All the blogging community that supported Pam, our friend, through her cancer ordeal. Her daughter kept her blog online and her screen name. Sorry for her that unless she can figure out how, that blog will be lost. By the way AOL gave NO Instructions on how to save the blogs just a link that contained no information. Another AOL faux paus. I am sorry for all the people who derived so much joy from the AOL journals, myself included. We paid for something and we suffered for having used it.
Life goes on and I helped a fellow AOL journaler get set up with a new home here on blog spot.
Another thing in life that will be gone, something that at one time meant so much.
AOL I think you have put the last nail in your coffin.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Circle Of Life

I was thinking today about how some thirty years ago I knew everything. I know now that I will never live long enough to know even a portion of what I would like to. As a cocky nineteen year old I had a job at McGraw-Hill. Within a few months I went to the head of our department (bypassing the two supervisors over me) and told him my talents were being wasted. I would finish processing my orders and then help the other women do theirs. They begged me to slow down and I would become irritated wondering why they were so lazy. I could stay up half the night and still work faster than them. Life has taken me down a few pegs now. When I was at McGraw-Hill (publishing part of the company) I was the baby of the department. I was already married and had owned and sold a business with my then husband. Let's just refer to him as "the former significant other". I had just purchased a home and my how the world was mine. My department head put me up for a promotion and before you could say "I'm outta here" I was in my new job as the assistant to a customer service representative who was a one person department running their education /development customer service orders and keeping the salesmen under control. Shortly into that job I learned I was pregnant. Trust me, no one was more surprised than me and I even argued with the doctor. When I heard the baby's heartbeat I tried to question if it might be an echo of my own. NO. I was delighted but it took a long time before I realized that I would not be able to work again for a long time. There were no day care centers at that time and if there were other mothers who babysat in their homes I didn't know of any. I began to get ready for a stay at home job which at the time became my joy. I became a Tupperware demonstrator to make some money. That could be done in the evenings when my baby was safely in his own crib. Sometimes I feel that the modern working moms are missing some precious moments that they shouldn't have to. In this day and age you would have to be independently wealthy to surive with children on one income, at least in the Northeast. Anna Quindlen said it best when she said that we could have it all BUT not at the same time.

This picture drawn by my friend, Diana, so precious

Years later I found myself back in the work force. How the tides of turned. Life who I once ruled, kicked my butt. I am now one of the oldest women in my department. I laugh as they tell me about their struggles to find Mr. Right, give them support through the bad break ups and check out their MySpace pages. I even succumbed to pressure and made one. It pales in comparison to theirs. I am no longer the sexy young thing of my youth. In place of that though, I have learned so much from the knocks of life. I am more compassionate. I am still friends with my dearest friend of that first career job, Monica. She left soon after I did and had a career in a local government. She turned 70 in the spring and let me tell you she is still one sexy mama. She laughs when I ask her how she put up with me. The nineteen year old know it all who gave her (mother of four) marital advice? She laughs and winks. Life is so interesting and I hope I always find it so. Even if I do need more than eight hours sleep.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Wanting to make it easier

I have a coworker who has only been with us about a month. He is originally from Atlanta. When he came to New Jersey it was with the hope that he could find some medical treatment for his father who had the worst form of leukemia. In New Jersey there is a Cancer Institute and it is wonderful. For reasons I do not understand this young man's Dad ended up in a place I have never heard of. I guess it is possible they were doing some kind of experimental drug trial. He was urged by many people to move his father but that did not happen. Three months ago his brother went into New York and was killed in a motor vehicle accident. Two weeks ago he lost his father and the last person left in his nuclear family.

This is a nice young man. There is discussion and the men in our group feel it is best left alone. The women feel a card needs to be passed and a collection taken. The young man who knows him best says that he would be embarassed by the attention. Last week we had our meeting and my heart ached as he broke down and had to leave when he began to talk about what he had gone through. He is in pain. I want to help him but it's a fine line. He told me they did some genetic testing as his grandmother died from the same disease his father had. His tests came back that he doesn't carry this gene. I was relieved for him. I try to say hello, offer him friendship in a way that will be acceptable to him but I hope he knows that others do care.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Running Without Scissors

Today found us up before 7 a.m. thanks to crazy lady next door who has the rooster. Our township has no ordinance against having barn yard animals. This lady had the rooster and her ducks roaming onto my yard but the board of health ordered her to confine them to her yard. She has done that. She was also requested not to let the rooster crow before at least 8 a.m. So far she has told the town that she purchased a special cage that prevents the rooster from seeing daylight and she lets him out at 9 a.m. :::Insert eyeroll.::: The township official told me he had no knowledge of any such cage. I assured him that my husband is out videotaping the rooster's activity in the morning. I could post the clip here but I keep my blog free of certain language. He has actually started a blog about said rooster under the guise of looking for rooster recipes. The colorful character is downstairs right now making his French pot roast that melts my heart. If that weren't enough he will be preparing creme brulee'. Be still my heart.

But I digress....once we were up this morning we decided to go to the grocery store and do a few other things. My mother's computer was a mess before we straightened that out last week but her printer was out of colored ink. I mentioned that and he agreed we could go there first and find out exactly what cartridge was needed and take care of that. We got her old cartridge information and headed to Staples. En route I remembered I hadn't eaten breakfast. We stopped at Eli's Bagels. If you have never been in the North you cannot appreciate what a great bagel is like. These bagels were still warm and I had low fat vegetable cream cheese on mine (a sesame seed my favorite.) Rob had a cinnamon raisin and his was so warm the butter was dripping down. After we consumed these, and I composed myself after having a foodgasm in public, we proceeded to Staples. How I long for office supplies. Don't ask cause I really can't explain but I find them very exciting. My darling, ever observant, spotted them first: heart shaped paper clips. They are wonderful. I have such a thing for hearts. It was a mix and match display with paper clips that were stars, hearts and even feet. Also push pins and the other kinds of paper clips. You could fill a container divided into four parts for $5.99. I got some very colorful pushpins for work in our work color of orange and my favorite chartreuse green. I got a big package of paper for my printer and we got the ink cartridge. I whipped out my Staples Rewards card and the coupon we had received for our last ink cartridges we had turned in. "Does it get any better than this?" I thought as I clutched my new office supplies.

We headed to the grocery store where we got some food and then headed home to put it all away. After we did that, we decided to go back to my mother's with the new ink cartridge. I remembered that her speakers haven't worked in a long time so I unplugged mine to see if they would work there. Yes, they did, and I just gave them to her. Later today or tomorrow I will get another pair. They are not expensive and this way she can HEAR the music along with the power point presentations she receives.

Rob invited my parents over for dinner tonight. They have had his pot roast provencial before and loved it. You know Rob is a wonderful husband, step-father,son,brother, brother-in-law, son-in-law,uncle, cousin and friend. There's nothing he wouldn't do for anyone. (I confess there are times when I wish he would say "NO.") Sometimes when people are like that, it's easy to take that quality for granted. Today I thanked him on the way back from my parents. When you work hard all week it really matters when you give up your leisure time to do nice things for others. I know he will be blessed for all he does but I just want him to know how much it means to me also. I'm going to have to keep him. :)
* Picture top right is of our new sofa and you can look through the opening into the kitchen and see ze little chef at work. Notice Duffy also snuck into the pic.:)

Friday, October 03, 2008

Not so Hot so

Went to work this morning and once there I began to feel a tad green around the gills. First came the headache, then the stomach ache and when the chills began I threw in the towel and my compassionate boss allowed me to leave. I was actually having a productive wave before the plague hit me. Three people fell ill ,to whatever this is, this week. Strong burly young men and I was afraid it was going to catch up with me and then boom!

Being an intelligent woman you would think that I might come home and have a nice bowl of soup. Sounds logical right? With my intestines causing me pain and concern I opened a new bag of chips and had a handful with some onion dip. While this may seem strange I have to tell you about my grandmother. My grandmother would have prescribed french fries. She swears they cure stomach ailments. If they fail then she will make her homemade potato soup. Yes, I am serious. Her daughter ,my aunt, eats tunafish sandwiches or leftovers for breakfast. My mother will keep a cake until it is gone and when it gets dry and hard she will pour milk over it and have it in a bowl. I come from a long line of untraditional eaters. I might go for weeks where I have cereal or eggs for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch and a traditional dinner....however when I begin to feel ill or the stress overwhelms it's time to do some junkfood binge eating. In the words of grandma Birdie (that WAS her real name I swear) "I just can't help it." If we are what we eat I must be the sweetest person on the Earth.