Dare to Hope

Have you ever been sooo close to something that you really want or need that you are *almost* afraid to hope for it? 

I’m so there.



These past few weeks I've really been struggling.  There has been an enormous amount of stress in my life, at times becoming too much to bear.  I’m working on reducing some of that stress but only time will tell if, when, and how that will be done.  There are a few people in my support system who have really been there for me recently and through the past year and a half.  I can’t thank you enough.  Others have only contributed to my current state of mind and I find myself withdrawing from them.

It’s commonly said that cancer can help you define who your true friends are.  The ones who will be there for you through anything no matter how difficult that thing is.  There have been times through my treatment course that I have felt completely abandoned by those I never expected it from.  That hurts more than I could ever express.  I thought I had forgiven…

Recent events have brought all that hurt and anger to the surface again.  People who weren’t there for me have been more than eager to be a full fledged support group for someone else, for something that is not a health/life threatening situation.  Where were they when I was too weak and sick to dust or run a vacuum?  Too tired and confused to make a complicated LID meal?  My mom reminds me that some people just can’t handle this kind of thing…  That doesn’t make it hurt any less.

I thought I had forgiven… I learned I still have a long way to go.


Dreams [Day 30]

Today’s Topic: A Dream for the Future

Wow. My 30th and final day of this challenge!  Although I slipped up once or twice and just didn’t have the time to post, I’m pretty proud that I was able to stick to it for the most part.  I will say I am glad to be done with it and back to just normal blogging mode!

So a dream for the future… seems slightly redundant after yesterday’s post but here goes…

My biggest dream for the future is to get married someday to a very special person.  It’s the one dream I have always had.  Seems like such a simple thing to most people… Why not dream big, right?  Well that is my big dream and has been for as long as I can remember.  Anything else I have wanted I've been able to make happen through work or proper planning.  This is one thing I can’t make happen.  The control freak in me doesn’t like that too much.


Wishin’ & Hopin’ [Day 29]

Today’s Topic: hopes, dreams, and plans for the next 365 days

The next 365 days… A lot can happen in a year.  One year ago I was prepping to get my radiation… yes, a lot can happen  in a year.

Plans: October brings 10 days with one of my favorite people!  Eva is coming from Germany and we have lots of girl-plans up our sleeves.  Another weekend will bring time with another favorite that will involve some wine and a movie about cows.  Then “Halchristmagiving” will be held on Halloween – this is our family “Christmas” party where we also celebrate Thanksgiving and Halloween because my grandparents are leaving for Florida.  I plan on moving sometime in the next year… where, when, and into what is TBD.  I plan to celebrate New Year’s, Valentine’s Day, St. Patty’s Day with special people and I plan to celebrate my birthday with a renewed perspective.  I plan on training next summer to run a 5K and possibly to walk in my 4th 3 Day 60 mile event.     

Dreams:  I dream of lowering my stress levels.  I dream of a fabulous vacation with someone special.  I dream of finding that someone special. I dream of purchasing a home.

Hopes: I’m sure we will fast forward through the holiday months but I hope that everyone can take a moment to remember the meaning behind these very special days. Sometime in the coming months I will be scheduling my 1 year scans… my hope is that those come back clear of cancer, this time with no uptake in my thyroid bed or lungs and that I don’t have to go hypo or go on the LID.  I’m also hoping that very soon I will be getting some good news to share with all of you…  I guess you will have to stay tuned to find out!


What’s In… [Day 28]

Today’s Topic: What’s In My Purse/Handbag

  • Pink awareness bracelet that reads: “Imagine life without breast cancer”
  • Teal awareness bracelet that reads: “Thyroid Cancer Awareness www.thyca.org
  • Pink & green pen that reads “www.iamthecure.org” and changes sayings in a little window box when you click it
  • Pink Pilot pen with a pink ribbon and pink ink [a new fave]
  • C.O. Bigelow Mentha Lip Tint in Magenta Mint
  • Nikon CoolPix S210
  • 1 hair clip and 3 bobby pins
  • 1 coupon for $2 off a PF Chang’s frozen meal [super yummy]
  • Cell phone
  • Johnson’s Soothing Naturals Moisture Cream
  • Pink ribbon bedazzled knit cap
  • The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson paperback
  • Wallet
  • Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure volunteer shirt

Did I mention I worked the Race for the Cure today with my mom and cousin?  Congrats to all the runners and walkers – thanks for coming out to support a great cause!r4c3


Habits [Day 27]

Today’s Topic: My Worst Habit

I would have to say that my worst habit is procrastinating.  I do it all the time.  In high school, I studied 5 minutes before the test.  In college I would write 10 page papers the night before they were due.  One time when I was writing my 20 page Religions of the World paper the night before it was due, my computer crashed.  I had not saved the document the entire time I was writing. Seriously.  After a small panic attack I rebooted and miraculously found the rescued document there good as new.  I learned to save every 5 seconds after that fun instance but somehow it didn’t break procrastination habit.  Its why I still buy the card on the way to the wedding or run the vacuum minutes before company arrives. Is it stressful? Sometimes.  But so far I've always come out on top.  I still got A’s on my tests and papers and I still make it to the wedding, smiling with card in hand.  So is it really that terrible?  Maybe one day it will come back to bite me but until then…


Horrid [Day 26]

Today’s Topic: Your Week In Great Detail

I have no desire to recap my week here.  First, it would take too loooooong.  Second, I would have to omit quite a bit for various reasons: legal reasons, personal reasons, privacy reasons… and third, I've had 3 panic attacks in the last 24 hours and I have no desire to repeat any of that.

This week in one word: HORRID

Every area of my life seems to have gone to hell in a hand basket.  Work, family, health, personal… it all pretty much sucks.  If you have been reading along this last year you know some of what I am going through.  If you are one of my close friends you probably know more of what I'm going through.  If you are my parents you know most of what I'm going through.  And if you are one specific person, well I think you know all of it, or at least more than anyone else that isn’t me… although I don’t think you read this blog so? 

Anyway, as the saying goes: If you don’t have anything nice to say…


Dilated [Day 25]

Challenge Topic: Your Day In Great Detail [some items omitted for privacy]

My alarm went off at 4:30 am and I snoozed it until 5am. [my neighbors have to hate me!]  Then I went in the bathroom to discover one of the kids had left a “surprise” just outside the litter box. [bet you $10 it was Gilbert!]  I hopped in the shower, threw on some clothes, started my coffee and then started work at 6:30am. [work details omitted because of HIPAA]  On my lunch break, I booked the Four Points Sheraton in Niagara Falls, ON for an upcoming girl trip – it was a great deal on Orbitz.com plus they have their price assurance thingy!  Then I sent emails out to potential 3 Day 2011 teammates to remind them to register with CURE2011 for $35 off their registration fee..  and sent another email out to the book club peeps asking them to vote for book options for upcoming months.  I also entered us to win free books for the club on bookmovement.com and was accepted to be a book reviewer at booksneeze.com.  Oh and I ate some turkey chili with finely shredded cheddar for lunch.  I worked some more and called into a meeting.  Then my mom showed up to take me to my eye appointment. 

Ok… it must be said that I hate eyeballs.  They completely gross me out.  The eye chapter in anatomy was brutal for me!  It also must be said that I have never been to the eye doctor4 Hours After The Appointment! before.  Therefore, I was nervous and anxious all day leading up to my 3:30p appointment. My appointment started with the reading of the letters on the screen thing and then I was brought to an internal waiting room. When I was called back to the exam room I met Dr. R for the first time.  She looked at my eyes with the bright light and then put these horrible numbing drops in them.  Those do not numb, they hurt.  Then she stuck thin strips of paper into both of my eyes and left them there for 1min to measure my tear production.  Then those came out and this green dye stuff went in. [which also hurt] After that, they dilated my eyes [which, as evidenced in the picture, are still huge 4.5 hours later] and she came back and did a regular eye exam.  She made some notes and then said, “Well, you definitely have dry eyes.”  As to the Sjogren’s diagnosis… she said that my eyes aren’t severely dry as is usually seen in Sjogren’s patients, however, it is entirely possible that I am in the early stages of the disease.  My Rheumy will have to take that into consideration with my blood tests and such to decide ultimately if i do/do not have it. [I have an appointment with him in 2 weeks]  In the meantime, Dr. R gave me a pamphlet on dry eyes and some lubricating eye drops to use twice a day or as needed.  She also mentioned Restasis might be a good option for me [you probably have seen the commercials].  She said that actually stimulates your tear ducts to produce more tears and that it can be very helpful for Sjogren’s patients to use before their ducts are severely damaged.

So then mom and I left the appointment and met up with dad at Applebee's for some dinner.  Mom was driving because I couldn’t see straight at all.  Even at dinner I had to keep my sunglasses on because the restaurant was too bright!  I had the Oriental Chicken Salad followed by a brownie bite sundae – YUM!  Then dad drove me home and now I'm typing this blog.

Ok so I know this wasn’t GREAT detail but seriously, do you need to know things like how often I brushed my teeth and for how long?  You got my total recap with many details of my eye appointment and that will have to do!  Time to rest the eyes – night all!

Eyeballs Are Yucky

Just giving you a heads up that my Day 25 post may be delayed.  I am *finally* getting my Sjogren's eye tests done this afternoon.  You know, the ones I told you about way back in July?  Anywho, they sounds pretty extensive, painful, and just plain yucky so i'm not certain if I will be able to see after my 2.5hr appointment in order to post. And this post happens to be one you can't post ahead of time...

Ok, now that i'm just going into nervous ramblings... prayers from 3:30-6:30p please!


You Give Me Fever? [& Day 24]

Weeeeeellll… its been an interesting past 24-48 hours that's for sure!  Remember waaaaaaay back on day 2 & 3 of the challenge where I was complaining about being sick and possibly having strep throat?  Here’s a recap of what happened…

On or about 20 days ago, my mom did a rapid strep test on me and it turned out weakly positive sooo I was a responsible doobie and went to my doctor’s office to see the PA [my doc was off on vacay…very important factoid for later].  The PA didn’t believe me when I said I wasn’t feeling so hot and thought I had strep throat but she did a rapid strep test and a strep culture just to appease me.  I say she didn’t believe me because she looked at my throat and said it didn’t look red and my temp wasn’t high enough. [it was running in the 99^ range for about 4-5 days… on a non-sick day I tend to register about 96^ so 99^ is high for me]  Anywho, she did the rapid and said it came back negative and that she didn’t expect anything from the culture but I would be notified if anything turned up.

Fast forward to two days ago [Sunday night].  I get a call on my cell from a number I don’t recognize so I let it go to VM.  I check the message to discover my doctor saying he needed to discuss my recent test results with me.  Enter fear and panic.  I can only remember having the throat culture done… but in recent months I have had blood tests done by the rheumy.  It has to be the culture… but what did they find?!  Of course my mind goes to the least likely thing – they found more cancer.  The doc says he will call me on Monday. 

Monday night about 7pm I got a call from my doc.  He says that when he got back from vacay on Friday, he found that my culture results had indeed come back positive and that he was very sorry that no one had informed me of this. Then he asks how I'm feeling and I say good.  And then he says because my strep infection went untreated there is a slight concern that I might develop rheumatic fever.  Then he explains some symptoms I have to watch for and that rheumatic fever usually develops 3-4 weeks after the initial infection.

Say what?! Seriously all I have to say on that one is FML.

On a brighter note… Day 24’s topic is: Where I Live

I will make this brief… I live in southwest Michigan and I have for my entire life.  The summers are warm and humid because of the lake.  The fall is absolutely beautiful with cool crisp air, the smell of apples, and the colors on the trees.  Winters… well I hate winter.  Its cold and it snows… it snows a lot because of the lake effect off lake Michigan.  I’m about a half hour away from the beaches and lake and about 3 hours away from Chicago or Detroit.  Last I knew, my city of Grand Rapids was the 2nd largest in the state behind Detroit.  Its a nice place to live overall… with the exception of the winter months… which last from November through April here.  We are probably the #1 reason Florida is so populated during that time.


Videos [Day 23]

Today's Topic: A YouTube Video
I’ve been addicted to YouTube lately.  There are several videos that I've watched over and over again – ok so maybe I need to get out more.  I’m going to share a few of my favorites with you rather than pick just one.
This one is just too funny – starts with the news story and then… well you will see!
And in honor of the GLEE season premiere TOMORROW… this is one guy being his own glee club (slightly amazing):
And a little Gaga fun… see also Mammogram posted earlier this month… sing it boys:
And my all time favorite YouTube video… it makes my heart smile and cry all at the same time and even just hearing the song on the radio makes me smile:


30 Day Challenge – Day 22

Today’s Topic: A Website

Ok you get a 2-for-1 deal today because yesterday I didn’t post.  So for today’s topic… the website I'm choosing to write about is: www.the3day.org.

This site is the center for all information you could ever want in relation to the 3 Day.  You can learn about the 3 Day, find a Get Started meeting near you, get spectator information, register to participate in a 3 Day event, donate to a participant, and learn more about Susan G. Komen for the Cure.  If you are a registered participant, you have access to training information, fundraising ideas, team resources, events calendar, online check in, and the all important message boards. And then you have your team and individual fundraising pages.  My individual page for the 2011 3 Day is: www.the3day.org/goto/christina2011 and our team page is www.the3day.org/goto/pedicures2011 – if you are interesting in donating or in joining the team, just go to one of these 2 pages!

I am on this website nearly every day during the 3 Day season to check on new donations coming in or to read up on the message boards.  Speaking of which… we had our first 3 Day 2011 team info meeting this past Wednesday!  We are kicking off the season early and our first official planning meeting is coming up quickly in October!  We are so excited for next year!

30 Day Challenge – Day 21

Today’s Topic: A Recipe

Ooooh there are sooo many good ones to choose from!  You do realize that our team has done 2 cookbooks as fundraisers over the last 3 years don’t you? [sidebar: I have some copies of Cooking Up A Cure, volume 2 still left for purchase - $10+ donation!] Ok, so maybe I will pick a recipe or two that correlate with a specific memory of mine… from last Christmas.  I was hosting Christmas dinner at my house for my parents, grandpa, and Aunt Pam and Uncle Bruce.  I cooked a turkey [my first – and quite tasty I might add!], made stuffing from scratch, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie… the whole works.  Since Fall is almost officially here, I'm going to share the stuffing and pumpkin pie recipes – both of which are fairly easy and quite delicious!  Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday so I'm really looking forward to these two things!

Best Stuffing Ever [from Cooking Up A Cure, volume 1]:
24oz Unseasoned Stuffing Mix
1/2 c. Butter
1c. Celery, chopped
1c. Onion, chopped
1c Mushrooms, chopped
1/2c. Walnuts, chopped
1lb Sausage, cooked & crumbled
1 can Cream of Chicken Soup
16oz Applesauce
8oz Crushed Pineapple
3oz Orange Marmalade
1.5c Water
1/4 c Melted Butter

Place stuffing in a large bowl.  Sauté onion, celery and mushroom in 1/2c butter. When cool add to stuffing.  Add walnuts, cooled sausage, applesauce, pineapple, marmalade, water and melted butter.  Stuff in 14lb turkey immediately before cooking [see turkey cooking instructions for degrees and times], or place in a large baking dish and bake for 1hour at 350^.

Turtle Pumpkin Pie [from Cooking Up A Cure, volume 2]:
1/4c plus 2tbs Caramel Ice Cream Topping, divided
1 Graham Pie Crust
1/2c plus 2tbs Pecans, chopped, divided
1c Cold Milk
2pkg Vanilla Instant Pudding
1c Canned Pumpkin
1tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
8oz Whipped Topping, divided

Pour 1/4c caramel topping into crust and sprinkle with 1/2c pecans.  Beat milk, pudding mix, pumpkin, and spiced with whisk until well blended.  Stir in 1.5c whipped topping.  Spread into crust.  Refrigerate 1hour.  Top with remaining whipped topping.  Drizzle remaining caramel topping over the top, and sprinkle with remaining pecans just before serving.


30 Day Challenge – Day 20

Only 10 days left!!

DSCN0071Today’s Topic: A hobby of yours

I have lots of hobbies… reading, writing, cross stitching, DSCN0081scrapbooking.  The one I probably enjoy the most these days aside from reading is scrapbooking.  When I’m doing the 3 Day we usually plan 1 or 2 scrapbooking events and even though we are busy running the event, its probably when I get the most done in my books!  This last year I finished my 2008 3 Day book and I love it!  I’ve also gone to a couple weekend scrapbooking getaways with friends because lets face it, you just get more done when that is your only focus for 3 days straight!  Basically I love pictures and memories and this hobby combines both of those things!


30 Day Challenge – Day 19

Today’s Topic: A Talent Of Yours

Once upon a time I felt like I had a talent or two. I wanted to be an artist, a singer, an actor, a writer… Real life took over and I've found that time to cultivate talent is very hard to find.  I rarely do any of the things I used to love to do.  Of course I still write.  That’s a practical skill peeps seem to need these days.  But the last time I acted in anything?  I guess it was in college.  Last time I drew anything?  Other than the doodles on my meeting notes, that was probably high school.  The last time I sang… well that is a bit of a touchy subject these days…

I started singing in junior high choir.  In high school I was in the “show choir” auditioned group for 3 years.  I was in the musicals and had the leads my junior and senior years. [you can see photo evidence in this post]  I went to Blue Lake to be in their summer camp choir program and toured in Europe with their international groups for 2 years.  I sang in church a lot, at weddings a lot… and a few years ago, I recorded a CD with all the profits from sales going to the 3 Day.  I loved singing.

Did you catch that… loved. Past tense.  Last year I found “Bob” and everything changed.

I had a tumor on my thyroid that was squishing everything in my neck and it had to come out.  Unfortunately there are a lot of structures in the area of the thyroid – I never really thought about how much goes on in a tiny little neck until then.  Seriously take a look at just a few of the pieces! thyroid Anywho, Bob decided he was going to go nuts.  He squished that thing called the carotid artery, he squished my trachea, he squished all those lovely things surrounding him and caused me to be dizzy [from decreased blood flow when i would move just so], made it difficult to swallow, and on occasion made my voice hoarse.  Ah yes back to the topic of the post right?  Almost.  See when they took Bob out they had to be veeeeeery careful not to damage the tiny little thing called the recurrent laryngeal nerve or RLN for the sake of blogging. Its a tiny little nerve that runs ridiculously close to the thyroid gland and although the picture above has it in a lovely shade of yellow, I was assured that it indeed not that color in the body.  In fact it’s the same color as pretty much everything else in there… PINK.  So during surgery they hook up a car battery and shock the little sucker into full attention so they can see it very clearly and avoid cutting the thing.  Ok so that was a bit of an exaggeration there but they do send currents of electricity through it so it stands out.  My neck was a bit of a mess when they got in there to poke around and my RLN did a lot of “flapping in the breeze” as my surgeon put it.  He says he left them both times [yup, i had 2 surgeries remember] in pristine condition and I would have no trouble singing again….

I believe him, I really do.  in my Thyca group at Gilda’s Club I've met several other survivors who can barely speak above a whisper.  My voice hasn’t even been squeaky.  When I've tried to sing, it’s not that I can’t do it… its just not the same.  I know I have to work it back into its original condition and that takes time.  But sometimes when I'm singing, the wrong things vibrate and make me start coughing uncontrollably.  Its frustrating [and on some days, downright depressing] when I try to sing something I've performed so many times before and I break down into a coughing fit because of the vibrations.  There is no way to predict them or prevent them that I’ve found.  So many people are starting to ask if I'm going to sing again publicly, I just don’t have an answer except to say… not yet.

I will get there… someday.


30 Day Challenge – Day 18

Today’s Topic: My Wedding: future/past

Well I definitely don’t have a past wedding to discuss but future wedding… that’s a good question.

I used to think about having a big wedding.  Now, I have seen many friends stress so much over their wedding planning that I'm seriously considering elopement.  It’s not that I don’t want family and friends there to share the day but I can’t justify the expense, the stress, the focus on the favors instead of the marriage covenant… So I have thought about going to a tropical resort with a few close friends and family… or to a little chapel somewhere… or maybe keep it in town at my home church but keep it very small and understated. 

I don’t really know, I have some ideas but no grand dream wedding planned in my head.  I think that its something that has to be decided between the two people in the couple too so I don’t think its fair to my future husband to demand something I decided all on my own. I’ve never really dreamed about how the wedding or reception would look, I've always daydreamed more about the marriage itself.  I think that’s the most important part.


30 Day Challenge – Day 17

Today’s Topic: An Art Piece

Since I love art in all forms I'm not going to choose just one piece to write about.  So what am I going to write about? 

A little thing called ArtPrize.

What is ArtPrize you ask?  Its only the biggest public art competition in the world!  And it happens right here in the city of yours truly!  Basically, anyone can enter a piece, anyplace can be the venue, and anyone can vote on the winner… and the winner just happens to win $250,000!  It runs from September 22 – October 10 so pieces are already being installed around the city. 

Now I am ashamed to say I didn’t take an official tour last year BUT I saw many of the pieces driving to and from the hospital. This year I’m hoping to rope a friend or two into taking a tour of the pieces and casting our votes!  I know of at least one person who has a piece submitted so I have to go out and show my support! 

If you are in the area or are looking for something fun to do on a weekend trip – consider checking it out!


Love this!


30 Day Challenge - Day 16

Today's Topic: A song that makes you cry [or nearly]

I thought really hard about what song to put on here... there are so many that can hit you just right and make you bawl like a baby!  One that gets me pretty much every time I hear it is The Christmas Shoes by Newsong.  Just click on the video below to listen if you don't already know the song... you will understand why.


30 Day Challenge – Day 15

Today’s Topic: Your Dream House

I’ve actually been thinking about houses a lot lately.  I currently live in an apartment.  My place is nice BUT has some drawbacks.  The two things I dislike most about my current situation are:

  1. I have no laundry IN my unit – I have to haul my unmentionables up and down 3 flights of stairs to the basement laundry and then pay with my firstborn child to have my clothing cleaned just so-so.
  2. My 2nd floor neighbors like to chain smoke on the balcony. I like to enjoy the fresh, clean air provided by open windows.  See the problem?

So I got a bit ahead of myself and decided it was time to move out.  I found an AMAZING deal on a brand new ranch style 3bed, 3bath condo with attached garage for under $40k. No i’m soooo not kidding you.  The economy and housing market in Michigan is still terrible so my GRAR search for a 2+ bedroom condo for under $80k [I luuurve a bargain remember?] turned up too many matches to list.  Anywho, I got myself all excited to attend open houses and then I checked my lease…  If I were to move out this month I would owe approximately $6,000 just to break my lease agreement unless I had to move more than 50 miles away for work.  That would net me a penalty slightly less than $900.  Sigh.  Dream smashed… until at least May.

My current dream home would definitely be a bright, new, beautiful condo.  I would choose a condo because I don’t have a lot of time for yard work and I absolutely hate shoveling.  I also don’t need anything too big because I don’t want to spend all my free time cleaning!  I would want 2-3 bedrooms, 2-3 bathrooms, kitchen with new appliances including a dishwasher, living room, dining area… and most importantly a laundry room!!


30 Day Challenge - Day 14

Today's Topic: A Non-Fiction Book

The Quiet Room by Lori Shiller & Amanda Bennett. 

This book was simply UH-MAZE-ING.  I read it in 2 days. Literally.

Its the story of Lori's life and her spiral into madness as schizophrenia takes over.  If you have ever wondered exactly what someone goes through when dealing with psychosis this is the book for you.  It is absolutely heartbreaking to read what she and her family went through.  Some of the chapters are written from Lori's perspective while others written by her family, nurses, doctors "fill in the blanks" for the periods of time Lori isn't able to remember. 

I don't think I can fully describe how fantastic this book is so I'm just going to say...

You just need to read it... Now!


Stand Up 2 Cancer

A Note from Management

gilbert sullivan

Dear Mr. Gilbert,

While we fully appreciate the fact that you are of the male sex, we feel it is our duty to inform you that you are, indeed, a 9-lb cat.  We will no longer tolerate you stinking up the bathroom worse than an adult human male. 

You have been warned  -

The Management
[aka: Mom & Chloe]

30 Day Challenge - Day 13

Today’s Topic: A Fictional Book

Yesterday was the start-up meeting of our new book club so I just so happen to have material to write about! [by the way, book club name suggestions are currently being accepted] After picking a date, several potential members had last minute conflicts so it was up to the 3 of us that showed up to make the decision on our first book.  [We did have some suggestions from the other girls]

Our first book choice: The Girl With the Dragon Tatto by Stieg Larsson.

Unbeknownst to us at the time, this is a long-ish sort of book - about 700 pages in my newly purchased paperback edition.  Maybe not the best choice for the first monthly read but we are pretty excited about it.  The reviews on Amazon.com are mixed but most people seem to love, love, love this book.  There is also the movie version so it can't be a total flop.

Either way, i'm excited to start this and the whole new book club adventure.  At the very least it should keep me on schedule to read at least 12 books this year!


30 Day Challenge – Day 12

Today’s Topic: Something you are OCD aboutDSCN0165

Wow – this opens a whole can of worms!  Let’s see… where should I begin?

Well first I shall divulge my closet which not only has only white plastic hangars which face the same way but is also color coded and organized by sleeve lengths. Then we could talk about my DVD collection which is mostly organized alphabetically with the exception of the Disney and Musical genres – those are also alphabetical but within their own locations and categories.  My CD’s are also alphabetical although I hardly ever look at them because of my iTunes…  Now we move onto my books… These are organized by category and then by size – alphabetical looked to chaotic because the sizes were too different.  And then the pantry… this is organized by groupings [groupings include: soups, snacks, dried goods.. you get the idea] and everything is faced like a grocer’s shelves.  I have 4 calendars – although I do admit that only one of them has really everything that I need to know… 

So now that you know my affinity for all things orderly and neat, some of you who have actually been to my home might be laughing right now.  Sure I start with the best intentions in my closet, DVD’s, books… BUT… life happens meaning things get a little messy from time to time.  I’m ok with a little messy… but I feel a whole lot more relaxed when things are in their ‘correct’ places.  Maybe I’m just a teensy bit control freakish rather than OCD? 

I know one thing, I've been a LOT more go with the flow like over the last year.  When things are taken completely out of your control – especially something super important like your health – you kind of learn to just let go!


30 Day Challenge – Day 11

Today’s Topic: A photo of you recentlyDSCN1560

The most recent photo of myself that I have is…  taken this weekend by my cousin Noah who is 4yrs old.  Yes, I gave up my digi cam to a 4yr old and I absolutely LOVED the results!  With the exception of a stray finger in nearly every picture, I think little Noah may have a knack for taking pics!  This one of my Grandpa is probably the favorite of the bunch… DSCN1546

The most recent one I have of myself that I took was also from this past weekend and actually has my face in it – i’m holding my cousin Ethan [Noah’s brother] who just turned 1yr old this summer… love those kids!DSCN1533


On A Personal Note…

Today was just not my day.  Things started out great with me getting up with my alarm… ok, I snoozed only 4-5 times… but I was still up before 6am and out the door before 6:30am.  I got in the car knowing I needed to get gas but pretty sure I could make it to work on the fumes I had left.  [Its 24 miles to get to work and gas is always cheaper there.] So I'm driving and about 5 miles in my gas light comes on and I know I can make it to work… and I do! 

So I'm sitting at my desk and planning to get gas on my way home when one of my employees asks if I want to go to Taco Bell for lunch.  I brought some homemade chili in my lunch but… I heart Taco Bell.  I go to reach for my work bag to see how much damage I can do at lunch time and discover… my wallet is just not in there!  My first thought is, well I will just stick to the chili then, easy decision! 

My second thought?  Total panic: how in the heck am I going to get home??

So I do the only thing I can think of to do – I call my dad. Yes, I am 30-something and my dad still comes to the rescue!  He promises to work something out and email me back.  So I tell my employee I'm not going to Taco Bell with her and the reason why… the girls all thought it was pretty hilarious that I was stranded at work… ok lets face it, I thought it was slightly hilarious too! 

I was then offered a bailout by my employees.  Did I ever tell you that they are THE BEST?! 

Thanks to them, I made it safely home.  I owe them. Big time!

30 Day Challenge – Day 10

Today’s Topic: A photo taken over 10 years ago of you

Hmmm… well back in the dark ages we didn’t have digital cameras so my options are very limited!  Here are a few old school pictures I already have scanned in… The one where I’m blonde.. its 1996 and I'm playing Dorothy in The Wiz… the one where I have black hair… its 1997 and I'm playing Maria in West Side Story.  Ok, go ahead… mock away!

Dorothy and the Scarecrow WSS 001


30 Day Challenge – Day 9

DSCN1524Today’s Topic: A photo you took

Ok so I'm a day behind on the 30 day challenge already… challenge: fail.

To make up for it I will post a few photos I took this weekend while off celebrating my grandparent’s 60th wedding anniversary! I’m not going to be too wordy with this one.  These were all taken at my grandparent’s summer place up north…  Happy Anniversary Grandma & Grandpa – Congratulations and we all love you!!



30 Day Challenge – Day 8

Today’s Topic: a photo that makes you angry/sad

Grandma 001

This photo makes me sad… its the last photo taken of me with my grandma before she lost her battle with breast cancer.  She passed away literally a few days after this was taken after fighting for over 4 years.  It was June 1998. 

She was an amazing woman.  She raised 5 children and loved beyond words her 11 grandchildren. She showed amazing grace and kindness to everyone.  She loved to laugh but most of all, she loved to see her family laughing.  My [future] kids will never know her and I fear that my memories can never do her justice.

When we lost her, a piece of me was lost too… BUT…DSCN1421

Because I lost her, I signed up to walk in my very first “breast cancer walk” that fall… and have signed up for one or more every year thereafter.  The names of the events have varied -  Making Strides, Race for the Cure, Relay for Life, The 3 Day – but the reason for doing them remains the same.  Losing her made me become a fighter, to stand up for everyone who has to deal with this disease and to keep fighting for a cure until one is found.  I thank her for being there to make me who I am today.

I miss her every single day.


30 Day Challenge – Day 7

Today’s Topic: A photo that makes you happyPF Trip 015

This photo was taken in the Smokey Mountain National Park 6 years ago.  This area is probably my most favorite area in the US – at least out of the places I have been to so far.  I think its completely beautiful there and oh so peaceful.  I love this photo in particular because of the woods, the rocks, the water… the fact that it was a completely accidental find in the middle of the woods.  It takes me back to that place every time I look at it and I almost feel like I'm on vacation all over again.  Maybe its time to plan another trip?


30 Day Challenge – Day 6

Today’s Topic: 20 of my favorite things

Ooooh I feel like this is going to be an easy one!  Here we go:

  1. Fall
  2. Mexican food
  3. books
  4. popcorn
  5. music
  6. family
  7. Indian food
  8. new sheets on the bed
  9. mountains
  10. the sound of water
  11. apple orchards – the smell mostly
  12. flowers
  13. scarves
  14. sweaters
  15. my kitties
  16. rainy days
  17. sunshine
  18. movies
  19. hugs
  20. coffee


30 Day Challenge – Day 5

Today’s Topic: Favorite Quote

“I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish he didn’t trust me so much.” – Mother Teresa

This has been my favorite quote for a while now. If you have been following along with my journey since – oh – about May 2009, you can probably figure out why.  I have been through an enormous amount this last year.   Every time something else came up I would think it was more than I could take, but it wasn’t.  If you talk to most other 30-somethings out there they haven’t had to face their mortality.  We are a lucky few who were picked to go through things that no one would wish on their worst enemy.  When you get to the other side, you are changed no matter how hard you tried to remain “normal.”

To sum up my life these last 15 months: I wouldn’t want to go through any of it again but I am stronger having gone through it.


30 Day Challenge – Day 4

Status: I feel like crawling under a rock and dying… ugh I hate being sick!
Today’s Topic: Your Favorite Book

Ahhhh books… I simply adore books!  The real kind.  I will never, never, ever be a “nook” or “e-book” reader.  I know some of you are probably writing that down and will quote it back to me later.. but seriously, I hate reading anything book length in electronic form.  AND I already spend waaaay too many hours reading electronic documents for my job and the various web browsing I do for fun.  I appreciate the look, the feel, and yes even the smell, of paper books. 

And then there is the recent declaration I made to a friend [after margaritas and sangrias mind you]… ‘I will have my personal collection of books long after books no longer exist in the paper form.  And since I will have one of the very few collections of these things called ‘books,’ I have a duty to collect many different genres and to collect books that other people probably wouldn’t.  I mean really, do you see serious book collectors having shelves full of “chick-lit?” I think not!  Therefore, I will have a most valuable collection that people will be clamoring to see… but of course they could not touch because the paper might crumble… so we will have glass cases surrounding them…’

Did I mention the margaritas?

So, out of the few hundred or so books lying around my house [no, I'm not exaggerating] which one book would i call my favorite?  I can only think of one book that I have read multiple times and would still want to pick it up again today.  It isn’t anything in the Twilight series or the Harry Potter series… it isn’t one of the “classics” in my library… it is Scarlett: The Sequel to Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With The Wind. scarlett

Now, this book has been ridiculed as being completely off base from the original Gone With The Wind [which I have also read and didn’t enjoy nearly as much as the sequel] and the author has been called sub-par, but I just love this book.  Ok, maybe it goes back to the point I made Day 2 about being a sucker for a good love story and it just didn’t seem right for Scarlett and Rhett’s love story to be over… or maybe it’s because it appeals to my love of travel and the cultures of other places and people… and ok maybe it has a lot to do with my love of a good love story!  If you haven’t read it, love the story of Gone With The Wind, and aren’t someone who gets caught up in the tiny details but can let yourself get swept away into the story… then check it out, its a good read.