Saturday, December 12, 2009

Happy, happy , happy

Reasons to be happy:
1) First snow day of the school year.
2) Josh had his first night of snowboarding and is going again today. Nothing better than that for Josh!
3) Andrew home for three weeks after finishing, successfully I might add, his first semester of college. He has grown up so much.
4) Tree up, wreath up, and even a few presents wrapped.
5) Only one week left of work and then two weeks off.
6) Johnny has one more cycle of chemo!
7) Barb has only one week left after years and years and years of giving to the children of this community. Happy Retirement Mrs. Garrard!
8) The governor did not cut the additional $127 per least not yet.
9) Shade is extremely happy to have the snow to play in. Pooh has a plow so that makes snow A-Ok with us.
10) No worries of cancer for me this holiday season. Worrying is WAY overrated.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Cheer up!

My sister yelled at me for having a depressing blog. So here I am to cheer it all up! Let's talk about Michigan economy/educational crisis. Oops...not so fun either.

A Goshen College student was hit by a train this morning. He was drunk on the train tracks. It was not Andrew. I believe the student is going to be ok, last the news said. Goshen has tracks that run right through the campus--Andrew crosses them every day. The headline made my heart skip a beat when I read it.

Andrew is almost done with his first semester of college. Much tougher than he thought--especially with balancing a sport. But I think he is still happy. I know he will appreciate not having anything to do all break, although he is going back to help at a baseball camp his team is sponsoring over vacation.

Tonight is our first boys' basketball game. No Andrew to watch. That is fine with me!

A gift arrived in the mail for Jim today. Glad he wasn't home to see it. We never get each other anything big--just try to surprise each other with those things we say we would like some time or another. His something came today. Still have all the other shopping to do, although I did get our $10 gifts for the white elephant exchange for Ginger's side of the family.

The prediction for some snow tonight has been altered...looks like just rain and wind. Which means Shade will probably need drugs.

Really looking forward to Boyne for New Year's Weekend.

Hope this is more cheery than me saying I am not dead. I think that is pretty cheery, right? : )

Love to you all--and feel those boobies, ok?


Sunday, November 29, 2009

I'm not dead.

When you write a blog about cancer, you really need to post every so often or people might think you have died. I have not died. I have just found Facebook and Farmville to mess with.

Anyway, you know I will be back eventually. I just am too busy harvesting eggplant, and looking for cute boys from the Class of 1980. Facebook does that to you.

Christmas is just around the corner. Thanksgiving was great, but I want to remember NEVER to leave up there at 2 AM as I can't sleep before hand, and when Jim is ready to sleep and it is my turn to drive, I can't keep my eyes open. Andrew did drive one leg this trip but that was from 7-9 PM on the way up, so that wasn't so tough. Also, remind me to tell Josh he MUST sleep before we leave as he was Mr. Crabby Pants the entire way home.

But it was fun.

I am ok...feeling a bit anxious about Andrew going back to college tonight after having him for four days. He is worried about his grades and with exams coming up, it is doubling. But he is doing just isn't as easy as high school was.

Off to cyber shop.


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Making stuffed peppers

Loading my car with groceries today--on this glorious fall evening, I was thinking about cancer and the research I read today. And I realized that I am no different than any other cancer survivor. It can always come back.

But I told myself that I have to live like it won't. No other choices.

Going to make stuffed peppers at my husband's request.

That is what life is about, if you carve away all the other stuff.


Saturday, November 7, 2009

I don't believe them any more.

I am deliberating in my mind if I should no longer belong to some of the informational list servs that keep me in contact with ACC survivors. Today, another ACC breast cancer sister informed us that she has numerous lung mets. I do not know her whole story, but this is such disturbing news. My doctors paint such a great picture--as did her doctors--when in reality, this crappy cancer shows no mercy--including time.

It just sucks.

But, I am not going to die today from this disease, so what choice do I have but to just keep on keeping on.


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Catching up

Cough. Sniff. Sneeze. Cough. Cough. get the drill. Stayed home one day last week with fever and the worst achy body I have had in years. Not sure if it was the flu, but it felt like a mild case at least. Should have stayed home another day but since my fever was only 99, and I was standing, I went to work. Anyway. Still coughing and now feel like I have a cold. Flu then cold. Doesn't seem fair.

I have been neglecting you dear ol' blog--yes, there is another woman...Facebook. I still LOVE blogging because I love writing but the nice thing about Facebook is the day to day interactions. The best thing about Facebook so far has been the memory trips she sends you on...I hooked up with some life time friends and have been smiling ever since. But, here I am, old faithful.

I do not believe I have shared what I think is amazing news in the cancer research field. It probably won't help me if I need it, but scientists have FINALLY discovered the gene that causes ACC. This is helpful in that ACC is often not diagnosed correctly at first, and now finding this specific gene will help, and secondly, those same scientists are saying that they can target therapies to turn "off" this gene in terms of treatment. I got an email about this not too long ago and then researched it myself....the scientists seem really excited so I am as well!

Andrew, who will NOT accept my as his friend on Facebook, has also banned me from talking about him on here. Seems someone at his college must have been surfing and found this site. I think it is funny. Poor Andrew. His mom never leaves him. BIG baby he is! Josh has no issues with me on Facebook, but probably will soon.

Football season is over so Jim is back to hunting for a few days. He starts basketball Monday at the middle school so it will be short lived.

Yesterday I baked an apple pie (yes, from scratch) and it was ok. The best part was the REAL whipped cream I made. I almost screwed that up howeve--didn't realize you need to add sugar but I did before it was too late so all was yummy. Even Josh liked it--he put it on brownies since he has aversion to fruits and veggies. (yet he is one skinny dude) I also made Chicken Ala King--which is a big deal because I have tried before and could never get a good gravy going. It ended up being pretty good!

Ok, the hunter is home so off I go.

Much love from boob central--


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Dancing with NED and my new purse.

Schwew--what a busy weekend. At the last minute, Andrew decided he wanted me to come to his first "real" college baseball game (mainly because he is tired of driving and wanted a ride home) so early Saturday morning, I drove to Goshen and watched a whopping 7 hours of baseball. The Mapleleafs played Kalamazoo Valley, and I froze my patoot off, seeing as I wasn't prepared with enough warm clothing. The coach started the "varsity" team the first game, which they won, 9-3, and then the second game he switched all the players out, so Andrew didn't play. The team lost 20-12, which is why it took so long. Andrew played very well at short the first game, and did a nice job cheering the second game. I eventually went to my car I was so cold.

So, after freezing through two games, I finally brought him home for the night...and am currently finishing his laundry. He had three loads crammed into one small laundry basket...I am sending back a bigger one. He is definitely an expensive kid. This morning we went out to breakfast, then he needed a haircut, and then wanted his favorite bourbon chicken and strawberry/banana fruit smoothie from the mall...geesh. He is really doing well with HIS money at school but more than makes up for it when he comes home. This is his last week of fall ball so he is looking forward to having a lot more free time each day. Next Friday he is home for Fall Break for five days.

Although I didn't go to Johnny's golf outing, I heard it was a MAJOR success. That is wonderful news. The generousity of this community is so overwhelming. Jim said there were so many great friends there...people came from all over. I hope this helps Johnny and Pam pay off those medical bills. I just can't imagine what people do without insurance, as Pam has very good insurance but still loads of bills.

I forgot to say that I went and bought my new Vera Bradley today. I figured I would have heard by now if I wasn't NED (no evidence of disease). I ain't taking it back if I jumped the gun regardless! : ) When Ginger and I were at Dr. Ansari's office for me on Tuesday we probably counted at least 12 different women with Vera Bradley bags. I wanted to ask them if they bought them since they were NED? : )

Joshie needs to get on so off I go.

Love that Joshie.


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

If I had known

that I would not get my xray results today, I could have saved a night of worry. I thought for sure he would know as soon as I saw him; nope, gotta wait until the scan is read. So, tomorrow and the next day will be a day of being terrified every time the phone rings. He told me to call late tomorrow if I wanted to know...but I can't do that either. Too scary. So, as long as there is no call, all is fine. Frizzle. Hate this part.

On the good side, my blood work was all normal. I actually felt good about that as my new ACC sister who has liver mets said her mets actually DID show up in her liver blood work, which is unusual for ACC. So, a victory for that part at least.

I won't give you the details of the xray tech--you know how I read everything into what they say and how they look at me...but yeh, I walked out thinking OMG, she is freakin' out at what she sees...

Typical worry.

Ok, just wanted to get that all. My next appointment isn't until April. Please slip a prayer in for me if you can.

Love to you all--


Monday, October 5, 2009

Holy cow, I am a wreck.

Heavy sigh. I wish I could express this nervous feeling I have into words but I can't. Tomorrow is Dr. Ansari, a visit that could be dreadful, or wonderful. No control here on which it will be. I will have a chest xray and bloodwork--routine--but it has been 7 months since my last tests and as every cancer survivor fears, the routine scan will not be so routine. I think I might be overly sensitive to this scan because of the recent events with many ACC breast sisters who have learned they have mets after supposedly years of clean scans...and the other part of this is that from what I have read is that the aggressive ACC tumors often (well, sometimes) show up within the two year span. Well, I am just out of my two year time frame and want it to be CLEAR. I want to be the lucky one.

I continue to hope and pray that I am beating this but if I am honest, I continue to be scared every day. Prayers tonight would be appreciated. I want to be NED forever.

And, I need a new purse dammit! This pink summer one ain't getting it.

Love you all--please think of me!


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Could we be any busier?

Hello. Can't believe it is Sunday already. I woke up yesterday and thought I had to go to work--best feeling in the world when you realize you don't.

Work has been incredibly busy. With Jim coaching football every night until 6-7, working from 5:30 a.m.--4:00, and also working out kids in baseball, we never see each other until we tumble into bed! As I have mentioned before, I am on the negotiation team a new teachers' contract, plus we have a new School improvement process that has required night meetings as of late. I too feel like I am working two jobs--for no extra pay! But it is all good...just tiring. I must give a shout out to Crazy MIL and FIL--they take care of Johnny one week and on non-chemo week they stop by my house and I usually come home to a clean kitchen and at least one less load of laundry to do. This week, John cleaned my linen closet. How nice is that? I think Ginger likes to stay really busy --1) to keep her mind off of negative things and 2) I think she would go bonkers just staying at home, and 3) because she is such a great person, she loves to help out her kids. I am sure she is stopping by Pooh's too. (don't think Danny gets left out...he has an awesome "nanny" who takes care of the house too--Aida's sister Lucy!) So, we are all very lucky.

I had the best surprise this week. I won't go on and on about how broke we are (but let's put it this way...we have 99.00 in our savings account) but paying bills literally makes me nauseated. This week, I was making sure all my electronic payments were good to go and realized I am a full month ahead of schedule on our mortage. (ok, for you savers, you probably don't think this is a big deal) but it was for me! So I basically get to skip a payment and get to use that to pay off some credit cards bills. Such a nice surpise when that happens!

The other good news is I think Andrew will be coming to Sunday dinner today. He went to Michigan State to see Kaitlyn this weekend and figured he would get up early and head here first before heading back to Goshen. He also wants his dad to give him some BP--he, again, thinks he is in a slump, since he went 0-4 in his first scrimmage game. He is one of two freshman who started for varsity so he is pleased with that, but really wants to earn his keep. He said he played well defensively. Anyway, regardless, I am excited to see him!

Was reading my numerous list serves (I belong to one for general breast cancer, Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma, and Colon cancer) and was pleased to read that Irene, a member of the colon cancer one, is celebrating 10 years post-diagnosis of colon cancer with mets to the lung and liver. She says she has been "bald and pukey" over the years but is doing great and living her life. And, on my ACC site, the ACC research foundation is now sending out a newsletter about all the breakthroughs they have had. Unfortunately, they still have no chemo to help, but are getting a better understanding of how this crazy-a@# tumor develops and grows. I really, really wish they had a chemo to help just in case...

My other kid, Joshua, continues his busy social life. He was really struggling on his pre-calc homework, but kicking bootay on tests...where he knows he has to take his time! Geesh. The kid could probably be over a 4.0 if he would just SLOOOOOW down. Loves his AP Pysch class. As usual, he is still sleeping on this foggy Sunday morning.

Today Jim and I are going to get flu shots. I should drag Andrew with us because I know he won't get one at his Health Center...maybe his coach will make them?

Tuesday is Ava Christine's birthday. She is celebrating her second birthday up in heaven with her Gram. Thinking of you, Jamie. Ava is still close to all of our hearts.

Love to you all--


Sunday, September 20, 2009

Peace of mind

Dr. Ansari's office called Friday and we have to postpone my next appointment until October 6 because he will be out of town. So I can put off worrying for another week or so. Good news in my book.

Another scary ACC/breast story has reached me. Mets to the spine after a year of clear scans...Susan's back kept hurting to the point she couldn't walk so she had a test and there is a tumor (or more) on her spine. Crap. She also had clear margins and an encapsulated tumor to start with, which is about the best you could have. So there is no telling with cancer.

Cancer sucks.

On a good note, Andrew came home Friday night and we stayed up late talking and I finally got all my questions answered: he sees himself staying there four years; his favorite class is the Bible class; he doesn't always get up for breakfast but gets a smoothie from Java Junction, a coffee shop in his dorm that he can swipe his meal plan card for; it is NOT a dry campus although it is really really really supposed to be, which I thought was very interesting; two players on his team are married and three are engaged; he and his roommate get along fine--in fact, when Andrew was lamenting about some baseball issues (lack of hitting) Luke explained the story of Job to him, so Andrew now has a poster on his door that says "PLAY LIKE JOB" which he hits as he leaves his room everyday; roommate reads the Bible nightly and has helped Andrew with class; still thinks everyone is "the nicest people"; misses Kait; um...I think there is more but those were the biggies.

Jim and I bit the bullet and went and got two new phones for the kids on the Verizon network. Andrew had horrible service in Goshen on Nextel and Josh has wanted Verizon for some time, so we are now paying for two phones we won't be using. I may just break the contract with Nextel but will have to see how the costs work out. Jim and I are taking it down to him today...I will admit, i want a phone like it as it has the keyboard and I can fly when I text!

Happy Sunday to you. Appreciate your good health and worry free days, people. You never know when peace of mind is rocked. But also NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER give up.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Uh-oh--scratchy throat?

Jim is singing in the bathtub. Poor guy's arm is so sore from pitching baseballs to kiddies. He is such a hard worker.

Very nervous that I am coming down with the respiratory crap that everyone is dealing with at school. Both kids and teachers are falling like flies. My throat is scratchy and sort of, that cough is coming on. I am drinking lots of Vitamin C...just cuz.

Now Jim just came out of the bathroom wearing my pajamas. Granted, they are sort of unisex but he is still making me laugh. Josh is at the volleyball game and better get home soon.

Andrew's doing great. Is still not sure about whether he will be on the jayvee team or varsity. Right now he is the leading shortstop for varsity but the regular season is not until Spring so a lot can change. He felt he was in a terrible batting slump but now is batting ok--5th in terms of average of all the players so that bodes well for varsity I would think. He still doesn't call...his cell phone reception is horrible I might actually get him a new carrier and phone as it is not acceptable that I can't call him. Even texting is a problem. He is deep into homework and I had to proof a paper last night at 10:30. I decided he didn't learn a thing in high school. At least he did indent his paragraphs this time. : )

Time for my shower. Just stopping by to say hey. Almost one week until that chest xray. Sigh. But I won't think about that today, Rhett.


Thursday, September 10, 2009


Cancer weighs heavily today. An ACC/breast sister was told by her doctor that when ACC/breast metaticizes to lungs (which hers did, three years after dx) it becomes very aggressive. She is terrified and seeking info. Nothing I have read says that...but obviously, you can go from Stage I to Stage IV in one routine x-ray! CRAP. My only solace with this stupid cancer is that it is supposed to be slow growing and NOT aggressive.

Secondly, my Velvet, who I met online, passed away yesterday. I honestly cried. She was so amazingly positive, living with Stage IV breast cancer for EIGHT her bones, her brain, lungs, etc. She was so funny and brave and inspirational and just amazing. She truly was one who made me stronger throughout this.

On one good note, I was looking at an ACC site and a list of recommended ACC doctors and my doctor from U of M was one of them. Of course, he is a head and neck doctor, but at least he knows ACC.

Heavy heart today. It will get better. It usually does.


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

What? I forgot??

Please let me point out that I totally forgot that Monday was my two year cancer free anniversary! Yes, it was two years ago that the bad ol' boob was chopped off.

Rather amazing that I forgot the significance of the date. Of course, I remembered later, but was pleasantly surprised at how far I have come. Well, at least until the worrying starts in next week with my chest x-ray looming.

But until then, Happy Cancerversary to me!


Monday, September 7, 2009

Summer's last hurrah

After a long weekend camping, here we are on another eve of school. Not having Andrew to deal with will be easier, but I do miss the little (tall) guy. Saw him for one night camping but it was actually about 10 minutes total...he was too busy playing dodgeball, etc. He did say he really likes Goshen; his teachers are the "best" and "amazing", particularly his bible teacher. He had a quiz today on the 27 books of the old testament.

Camping was fun, as always. We don't do much but sit around and look forward to the next meal. We kept things simple this year. I made a big pot of chili Friday and then on Saturday all the Niles families had a HUGE potluck. I think there was close to 130 people there from Niles at our little potluck. Good food. You would never know we were camping with the yummy dishes everyone brought. Sunday we had shish-kabobs over the fire and filled in the rest of the meals with hotdogs, etc. Danny and family came down for the afternoon and the kids had a great time.

It rained last night so I slept really well. Shade was able to fall asleep to the raindrops without freaking out on us. I have the fan and the air conditioner going so she doesn't hear much outside the trailer. (I often run the furnace at the same time to keep it somewhat less damp.)

Oh GAWD! Today when we got home I was putting things away in my medicine cabinet in the bathroom and I looked at the window screen and there was this brown thing clinging to the screen. My first thought was a frog, but when I looked closer it was a freakin' BAT. AGAIN! I had a minor cardiac infarction and froze--telling Jim to get in there. The bat never moved so he was able to grab it with a towel and get it outside. He is convinced it is the same bat from the first time. Regardless, I am still shaking that image out of my head eight hours later. But Jimmy is my hero, once again.

Today was "read my old pathology report again" day. I do that about every 6 months. Today I researched p63 and p53 tumor markers, and got confused. I know the p53 expression is indicative of a poor prognosis, but that was never mentioned in my report but it's "family" member, the p63 WAS mentioned. I did learn that some 85 percent of all breast cancers have the p63 marker. This is when I shouldn't do research. : ) We do have a new member on the ACC site who is a doctor and he has been amazing in HIS research. He has ACC salivary gland but is doing a lot of research about the disease in general so the sharing of his wisdom has been very valuable.

So, September is here. School is here. Life continues and life is good.


Saturday, August 29, 2009

College boy. 1/2 an empty nest. And even the bat is gone.

Andrew and his entourage (Jim, Molly, John and Ginger) left for Goshen College this morning at the crack of dawn---finally got dorm keys around 9:30 after an amazingly efficient check in process. The frosting on the cake was the yummy muffins, cinnamon rolls, bagels, juices, coffees and glass bottled soft drinks they provided to all of us...students, parents, and the occasional grandparent and sibling. I swear every important person at that college was working...we talked to the dean of student life, the dean of financial aide, the head honcho admissions person, etc. They just all were helping.

Moving into the dorm room was easy peasy chicken weasy. I think Andrew had ten different people helping him carry his things to his room so it took no time at all. Andrew is on the second floor but it was only about 5 steps up the way the building was built. He was the first to arrive so he ended up picking the bottom bunk and after some thought, chose his desk. Compared to all the girls' rooms I have seen, and even some of the boys on his floor, his room is a bit "plain." I've included some'll be relieve to know his bed looks a lot better now...he forgot his pillow, which we went home and got, and I have also switched the bedding around. Ginger wanted it all to match so his quilt was turned upside down but I thought it looked hideous (the quilt is about 15 years old) so he doesn't match the purple blanket but it does look better. He also now has a small table that his alarm clock sits on.

How pathetic is his closet? When we went back to get the pillow we got more clothes, some posters (notice the Tin Cup poster==you can't see his Hoosiers poster), more food, etc. I didn't take enough pictures but at least there are a few. I was also lucky to snap one of Josh in Andrew's closet, scratching his deodorant sticker! (Josh couldn't escape me!!!) Also, look at the pretty view he has! The parking lot in the distance is where his truck is.

Anyway, one last thing. We had a bat in our house the other night sans Jim, so of course, every one ran around panicked and the bat disappeared into the basement. Jim wisely brought in a tennis racket and tonight, while I was typing this, the bat came flying up and all around the family room. Tyler Fisher, if you know him, is my hero. He went after the bat with the tennis racket but then suddenly got really freaked out, so Jim stunned the sucker and was able to get him off the top of a cupboard--using a towel of course. So even the bat has left the nest.

Well, I survived Andrew leaving. He is only an hour away so that helps immensely. I honestly think I am more sad about not having Kait around... : (

Ah well, it's why we raise them.


Mom of a Mapleleaf.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Tick tick tick. Clock is ticking.

I have been lurking on Josh's Facebook (Andrew banned me) and I am sooooooooooooo jealous of all the girls' dorm rooms! The pictures are fabulous. Obviously, hot pink and black are the colors of the year. I tried to look closely at all of the pictures to see little things that Andrew would need...I did see some Wonder Hangers, which I did purchase prior to the lurking. (However, I am not sure Andrew needs them for his lack of clothing choices.) Andrew's bedspread choice is an old cotton quilt that he likes--he didn't want anything new--but Kaitlyn also just gave him a great crocheted quilt in purple and white so he will have that too. The two of them are going out for a nice dinner tonight. It is going to be very tough on them since they have spent so much time together for the last two years. We will miss seeing her everyday too!

I still have some things to get for Andrew (yes, I will be doing the shopping Thursday night). I know for sure we need a surge protector, some jeans that actually fit him (he is finally gaining some weight), at least one extension cord, school supplies like binders and folders, more toiletries, etc. We haven't even tackled the food/snack issues yet. I will get that stuff down there. The plan is to bring sort of the minimum on Saturday...and then see what his roommate has...and then we will bring the rest on Sunday. We have meetings with advisers on Saturday, and then on Sunday we return for a brunch with the students and then we will attend church, too. Andrew says we don't have to come but nuh uh, I am going!!!!! Right now, I am in denial that he is leaving. What an exciting time for him.

NHS Freshman Orientation is done--check! Always good to get that over with--it went very well and most freshmen were successful. I saw a few meltdowns of girls with their moms..."don't wallk with me!!!! I can find it!!!!" etc.

Off to go check out the varsity band. Tonight is their last night of band camp.

Friday night brings Viking football! I believe the girl's basketball team is selling port-a-pit chicken at the tailgate so make sure you stop by to support them. We have a really good chance to beat Coldwater--finally, an opening game that we should win. Go VIKES!!!!!!


Friday, August 21, 2009

It's Friday and I'm not happy????

Happy Friday night. Try not to laugh at this, but I am sort of disappointed it is Friday just because work has been so busy(like I don't take a breath busy) and I leave each day with a feeling of accomplishment. I definitely like work better than housework and as I glance around at the ever-increasing clutter--work sounds better!

I got a hair in my craw to strip my bedroom's wallpaper. But I don't want to put any time into it so I peel off sections at a time. And of course, the sections come off in tiny pieces. The wallpaper is ancient--the paper comes off pretty easily but the glue is still there. A few nights ago Josh decided to "help" and all on his own, Googled what to do. So at 10:00 at night, he is in my room with soapy hot water paint rollering water on the walls. He said he would do the entire room for 50 bucks. Yes, that lasted one panel as the tiny flecks of paper wouldn't come off.... but now we have a deal that the just wet the walls an hour before I come home from work and I will work on the rest. So far we have about 1/100th of the room done. Jim just shakes his head at me. I know I should be using DIF, or a steamer, or vinegar, or whatever, but like I said, that would require effort and thought and I just like picking at it.

Another scary thing is Andrew has become extremely likeable. I wanted to continue to be happy that he is leaving but now suddenly, he is NOT fighting with his brother, he does his chores without being asked, he laughs, he jokes, AND he finished a book already for his English class. We are down to a week from tomorrow in the countdown.

Yesterday, and this may have something to do with his good mood today, he went to a workout with his Goshen teammates at Goshen. In his mind, he feels like he has a good chance to start. He felt he hit the ball well-- he hit the 396 sign marker. Success really motivates Andrew so I glad it went well for him. He wasn't perfect--said the coach hits grounders like no other--but he seemed challenged by that. I am so pleased. He also got an email from his R. A., who is one of the players that we met on his last recruiting visit so he is happy about that.

Next Friday is our first football game. It will be nice just to worry about Danny and the team==not my own kid. We are feeling pretty confident about the season--the schedule is a bit different, and making the playoffs is feasable. Plus, some good returning kids. Can't wait!

Today I attended a meeting about our Instant Alert system that we will be using in Niles. It will allow all kinds of messages to be sent to your email, your cell, your home phone, etc. Messages like school cancellations, event reminders, etc. It was cool to see all that we will be able to do.

Freshman Orientation is Monday night. Always fun to see the new kids, although they crack me up because most don't want to appear that they know nothing...and then there are the few who panic that they don't think they can handle it. Our goal is to have them know where to show up the first hour of the day, and where their lockers are. This is the Class of 2013 for those of you keeping track.

The kids saw Johnny today and said he is doing great.. TGIF for him.

Goofy pain under my boob is back...doesn't scare me anymore but still have no clue what it is. I am a month away from my next set of scans. Yes, obsessive worrying is about to commence I am sure.

TTFN...Harry Potter is calling me.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Count down starts. GO to the FIGHTING TOAD, too.

Insomnia has invaded the over 40 female in this household. I have not slept for more than a few hours the last two nights. My mind is thinking about all of things I need to take care of at work, and with the addition of my iced tea addiction, caffeine is also the culprit. I fall asleep for the most part...but by 1:00 AM, I am up, talking to the kids and petting my dog.

Andrew is pleasantly pleasing me these days. Wonder if he is beginning to appreciate the ol' 'rents? I brought some boxes home today from work to help him get organized. Still need a power strip and bathroom items. And I am sure some other things. He actually went out and bought himself a $9 backpack. Nine days 'til he leaves.

I am on Harry Potter 3 now. Also reading a Sandra Brown book. I go from smut to magic with the flip of the page.

Johnny's port is infected. Please visit Pam's site and say hello. It helps so much...even if it is just a "thinking about you." I can't wait for Friday for them. then they have about 8 days of normalcy. And you do appreciate "normalcy" with a cancer diagnosis.

I have met another lady on line who is in her young 30's that was recently diagnosed with ACC in her salivary glands. Just after surgery and as she prepared for mega-radiation, her two year old son was diagnosed with cancer. I can't remember the type but the tumor was in the belly area, and although it was caught early, he has to go through chemo. I just shake my head and admire all cancer survivors--and my goodness, your child??? (If I already wrote about this, I am sorry)

Gotta get Josh's chaffuer directions to the fair. That would be Dominick.


Friday, August 14, 2009

The taboo subject.

I am not allowed to talk about you know who's you know what that he/she had done today. You know who has no interest in having his/her health issues broadcast on my blog. However, I will say that his you know what was clean as a whistle and the you know what went very well. He, or she, said he/she would like to do it once a month so he/she can detox the you know what.
Got that?


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Summer is over...or is it?

Today is the last official day of summer break for me. But this year, I am making the purposeful decision that I am still of vacation but just have to go to work from 7:30 until 3 or so...that way, summer won't end. Then, when the kids start, I will officially be back to work.

As always, I am always sort of glad to go back. I love my job. This is going to be an exciting year as we have a new assistant, and Josh is now firmly established as a junior. And, best of all, I only have ONE kid to get up in the morning!

Andrew is at Cedar Point for the day/night. He doesn't know this yet, but this really needs to be his last hurrah for the summer as the money can't keep flowing out of the ATM like it has been. He used his own money but I told him I would pay him back if he was a good boy. How is that for bribing? I can't figure this child out...he is never home but claims we don't let him do anything...he says he is bored at home at that is our fault...OMG. I guess this is the way kids transition to college because 3 months ago I was weepy thinking about him leaving and now they are tears of joy. And I think he feels the same, but a wise person suggested to me that it could be ANXIETY that is causing his bad attitude when it comes to the family. Jeesh. It never gets easier.

Josh on the other hand is just a delight. He has me busy reading Harry Potter Book 2 and is so pleasant to be around. I am writing this as proof that he is a nice kid. If he Sybils on me his senior year, I will know it is related to just getting older.

Jim started Job 2 yesterday as a freshman football coach. Gosh, what long days for him. He goes from work to practice until 9 PM. Yawn.

I got my answer about the WalMart parking lot from Johnny. It is employees. I guess there was a complaint that they were taking up the good spots so they now have to park way out yonder. I didn't imagine there were so many cars. Mimi also answered my Riverfront walking question but since I haven't been back there, it doesn't matter.

I am not liking to have our air on all day and night. I really prefer a fan in the window at night but it's too dang hot. Last year around this time I had my power shut off--remember that fiasco??? My my. time to go. No coughing or chest pain these days.


Friday, August 7, 2009

No such thing as a free lunch.

Just a quick post.

My ads are gone. Yes, it was too good to be true. Google Ad Sense decided one of two things: my ads have invalid clicking or my blog is associated with another site that has invalid clicking. What that means is this: They decided that I had too many clicks from the same IP addresses (or that the other site did). Which is really the truth, so I can't be mad, although one day I had only 9 clicks which is less than I had had in the past, but what the heck, they're the boss. In the fine print of all of the ad contracts we signed, it does say that you are not suppose to do anything to cause "invalid clicking" because, if it happens, they can cancel at anytime. Something triggered them to realize that I had invalid clicking. The really bad part of it is that I lost all my money that was saved up on the account...almost $300.

For me, this is no big deal. Yes, I give my money to charity (although this time charity might have been the Andrew Brawley College fund) but now I am so paranoid about the same thing happening to Mimi so I quickly warned her. But Mimi has had intense ad clicking since the inception of her blog, so there shouldn't be red flags. My blog's intense clicking just started so there probably was a red flag. I am not clicking on Mimi's ads until she gets her first check, as I do not want to be associated with her blog for fear they will cancel hers for being related to a site that has invalid clicking.

Just proves there is really is no such thing as a free lunch.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009


I just have to post this as it is rather ironic. Do you remember me writing about the GIANT who I had to stand behind at the Billy Joel/Elton John concert? (See my post from July 19)

So, today, Jim is watching TV in the living room and I am in the kitchen. He yells "Come here come here come here!" and there, on the TV, is the Giant!!!!

His name is Jared Allen and he is a football player for the Minnesota Vikings. To ensure that it was him, I did some google research and sure enough, it was him. He even talked about going to the concert in some of the articles about him. This guy is quite popular and quite good (pro-Bowler) it looks like--crazy, fun loving type of guy...and into hunting (he has a hunting hat on as you can see. I took this picture because I wanted to show people how big he was, but this doesn't do his size justice) Like I said, Pooh on steroids.

So, when you are watching football this season, and you hear all kinds of stuff about the intensity of this guy, you can rest assured he is a nice nice guy who knew the lyrics to every single song that Elton John and Billy Joel sang.

When you know the world's greatest athlete and his world's greatest wife, nothing impresses you too much, but I will say that this guy was fun and standing behind his giant self was just part of the experience. (And yes, that is the hottie girlfriend who I think wore about 9 inch heels.)

A small but GIANT world.


Inquiring minds want to know.

I have a couple questions that have been hanging out in my brain. If you know the answers, please let me know.

First of all, if you are a Wal-Mart customer, have you noticed the number of cars that are parked in the parking lot, near the road? They don't appear to be shoppers. I am so curious as to why they are all parked there. Any ideas?

Secondly, we walked down by the Riverfront and are curious as to the mileage that a loop on the side walk is...yes, there are markers but they make no sense to us. The markers have different colored arrows and a number by them but don't seem to equate to mileage at all. Hmmm. Any walkers out there?

Also, yesterday I become a member of Sam's Club. I am a true adult now. But now I need advice. I was there for about 20 minutes and wasn't sure what the big deal of belonging you all save money by buying bulk? Is that it? Is meat cheaper? Better? I just walked away thinking it wasn't that big deal. But I know people love it and go there often. So help me love it.

I am obsessed with making fudge these days. I make Brooke's recipe (a secret family recipe) but wouldn't mind trying another just to see if it can hold up to Brooke's. I am headed to the food network to see if they have any intriguing recipes. The funny thing is, except for licking the spoon, I don't really eat much of it. (Brooke is Matt B.'s girlfriend in case you were wondering. We love Brooke. (Crazy FIL calls her "Crick"--as in "crook" as in a small river, like a brook.)

And, at the risk of sounding like a crazed fan, I am ticked off that Paula Abdul is not coming back to American Idol. I do NOT LIKE KARA. Grrr. I may not watch. : )

Ok, off to lunch with my wonderful friend Betty! Can't wait to crack up and have good conversation.


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

An 11 year undertaking.

Good Afternoon. I got up at 11:00 this morning and I am proud of it. Not really. I feel like a teenager but I was up late reading and our dog was pacing all night for some reason. She was anxious about nothing.

Ok, 11 years have passed and I have finally read Book 1 of Harry Potter. I could never get into it before but I started it Sunday night and finished it is the wee hours last night. It was quite entertaining, so much that I will probably now read the second one. I know, I am somewhat of an anomaly but at least I have now read it. Josh is so proud of me.

Josh is at MSU and although he says he is bored, I think he is enjoying it. His roommate is from Battle Creek Central and it sounds like they are getting along nicely. So nicely they ordered a pizza last night to split. I will go pick him up on Thursday. He said he isn't homesick but being away from home has made him appreciate home. This is Josh's first "camp" so to speak and I am so glad he is liking it enough.

Andrew got his game schedule from his coach this week and he has 62 games in the spring--including a week in Florida. : ) He does have a few games this fall as well.


Monday, August 3, 2009

Take Two on the experiment

Ok, the experiment failed. But now I am trying Mimi's suggestion of one post a day. Let's talk about sunshiny things.

I love puppies. I love caramel corn. I love to sit in the sun at the beach. I love to read late into the night. I love sleeping in when it rains.

Perhaps now I will have less depressing ads. Oops, there is that word depressing. You know the computer will pick up on that! : )


Saturday, August 1, 2009

An experiment

I am going to do a little experiment today to see if the ads pick up strange words and then decide what ads to put on our sites. I am sore of tired of "lung cancer diagnosis?"

I will try to be as random as possible:

pottery collecting
Lake Michigan
Young Americans
fois gras
Michigan State
Babe Ruth
painting your bedroom
Wonder Hangers (I did buy some of these yesterday)
Crayola Markers

Let's see what that brings. Hee hee.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Doctors and parenting. I think I need drugs.

I've decided I have a terrible case of "white coat syndrome." Went with Jim to his doctor's appointment and shook like a leaf (my mom's saying) the entire length of the appointment. It went well; Jim liked the doctor and the doc didn't freak out about the lump in his side. They are going to "watch it", (where have I heard those words before???) and then if it grows too much I guess we will go to a surgeon. Jim said the doc debated but said it was really rubbery (good), moveable (good), and smooth edges (good). Funny, the night before, I had told Jim all those things. Again, credit must go to my University of Google medical degree. Anyway, he had and EKG, etc and is now scheduled for the colonoscopy next Friday with the same doctor who did Johnny's. I figured he would be extra diligent and not take anything for granted with Jim. Jim talked to Danny last night and Danny will be going in as soon as football season is over--now we just need to see what Pooh is planning on doing.

Andrew is ready for college and we are ready for Andrew to go to college. If you have smallish children, appreciate them 'cause they do grow up and become MONSTERS. : ) I love the kid dearly but it is time...

Joshie is going to journalism camp Sunday through Thursday and is so excited. He is delightful that way. I just spent the morning trying to download the camp packet and it took forever 'cause my printer is all jacked up. You are probably wondering why Josh didn't do it--well, probably because he is NEVER home and I like to be prepared. Andrew's Goshen adviser called last night (he wasn't home) but told me that he is sooooooooo on the ball about getting all the paperwork, etc. in to come to Goshen next month. Of course, that would be ME that is on the ball. There is a part of me who wants to stop helping--just so he can figure out how good he has it. I also thought about telling him he can't take the truck he calls "his"...wouldn't that rock his bada#$ attitude. Ha! And how about figuring out how to pay for his books? Hmmm... not so bada#$ anymore I bet.

Parenting can suck big time.

On the bright side, well, I can't think of anything that bright, except that Johnny has worked for three days now. That is a victory!!!

Keep clicking those ads...each click is worth about 50 cents on average. Amazing. As Pam told Jake, "it's the great American way."


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

One organ is clear.

This is going to be a short post but I want to say that:

I have no signs of cancer in my cervix. How's that for putting it out there??? With all the cancer talk and worries, I am doing a happy dance at that good news. All you cancer worriers understand the small victories. And no, I wasn't worried but getting the all clear is a reason to celebrate.

And my goodness, I hate to benefit from Pam and Johnny's cancer fight right now, but this clicking business is making me a profit as well. I think I made over $12 today alone. I can't imagine Pam's profits, as she had people checking in from, and I mean this literally, ALL OVER THE WORLD. Just what those advertisers want too.

Jim's doctor's appointment is tomorrow. I accidentally scared Andrew about's a long story...but I felt during a particular conversation we were having that he needed to know about Jim's lump in his side. Andrew got extremely upset...which he never does....but I felt I needed to tell him for many different reasons. He is ok now and I don't regret telling him as he is a bit self-centered these days-- but he took it much harder than I intended. I spent a half hour back peddling and trying to tell him it is most likely nothing. Sigh.

Headed to bed to read for awhile and then wonderful sleep.

Thanks for clicking and visiting. Mucho adore'.


Sunday, July 26, 2009

A nice Sunday

As you can see, I added new ads to my blog. Didn't know you could do that! I appreciate you clicking and also urge you to click on Pam's site. They will be using the money to help with expenses related to Johnny's travel for the liver surgery.

Today is the official first day of no baseball. Andrew lost yesterday (blessing in disguise since the team that beat us KILLED us and we would most likely have no chance at state) Now I just have to do laundry to get all of his various uniforms ready to be turned in tomorrow at his banquet.

We are starting Sunday dinners at MIL and FIL's again today. Potato soup is on the menu (at Jim's suggestion). Perfect for a hot summer day. : ) Jim talked to Johnny this morning and he sounds much better. Relief.

Josh went to Relay for Life last night and hasn't gone to sleep yet. He is acting like it as well. Jim is mowing the lawn. Andrew is sleeping, as always, after a night of poker at a friend's house. The life of a teenager.

My chest pain is definitely better, as is my cough but both are still there. I am deciding it is allergies. And I really think they might be from my basement since I have ignored the laundry for most of this week and things are better.

We are trying to cut costs in our house and just cancelled all our movie channels. In doing so, I cut WGN, which carries the Cubs. That lasted for about two days. Just got them back on, but was able to do so without adding the expensive stuff. I am happy with the Food Network, HGTV, and the locals...

Tomorrow I am going to Kalamazoo to see my parents. Work is looming!


Saturday, July 25, 2009


I feel like it is super early--it's already after 9 AM but I am the only one up. Josh and I were up with Psycho Dog at 2:30 AM (I was reading, he was watching some TV show) when the storms hit so I think it was after 3 when I finally fell asleep. I think Andrew needs to be up for his game so that is the only reason I am up. Stoned little Shady is outside, experiencing wet grass and gray skies in her stupor.

Today is Relay for Life. If you have ever attended, it is a very emotional experience whether you have had cancer or not--and with cancer, ...well darn, it's achingly hard. But sometimes a good cry is good for the soul? Anyway, we are not sure if we are going. There is a part of me that feels I MUST go and the other part scares me to go. Then I have feelings of overwhelming gratitude to the people who work so hard for it. I imagine after Andrew's game we will go. I am proud to get survivor t-shirt and the luminary lighting is amazing. I hate being conflicted. I guess I will know tonight what I need to do.

Today is the regional championships for American Legion baseball. I think we play a team from Blissfield, but luckily our regional is here in St. Joe so no travel for us. (that is a first) If you recall, Blissfield is the team Andrew's 16 year old team beat to go the to Michigan State championships (and then later the World Series) so we know they are very, very good. Plus, if I am right, they were runners up for the high school state championships this year. Ameican Legion World Series is in Fargo, North Dakota so that would be really interesting if we went that far! : )

Thanks to you who keep clicking on my ads on this blog. I am up to almost another $70 just because of your clicking. Mimi, you should put ads on your blog...I would click all day and you could use the money for whatever is needed, or donate it. It's a very easy gig and why not "use" the advertisers?

Finished Stalking Susan and have now started a Stephen White book called Missing Persons. Jim just finished for the fourth time, the third Harry Potter book. He is now going to read the Half-Blood Prince again.

I am considering taking another class soon.

Must get Andrew up. Here's to a day of energy and calm stomaches for Johnny.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Now I get to worry about Jim

Worry wart here.

Jim got his doctor's appointment for Tuesday. They did not ask him one question about his medical history so the receptionist who told me that the doctor would look it over and then they would call didn't know what she was talking about. Unless, and I doubt this, maybe me telling her about Johnny led to a discussion with the doctor and he said get him in.

I am less worried about Jim's colon than I am about this lump he has had for about a year now just below his boob, if he had a boob. He has strange lumps in his body...I think a doctor years ago told him another lump was a fatty lipoma so that is what I have been thinking it was. But now, it of course scares me. It has also grown and isn't rubbery like I want it to be but does feel like the fatty lipoma on my neck. Sheesh. Either way, he is seeing a doctor so...I can't even think about it!

My cough comes and goes but isn't getting worse. What is worse is this upper chest heartburn. Don't have it in the morning...just as the day goes on. It is decent when I am laying down...oh hell, who the hell cares!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (remember, I write this down so I can remember when things happen...not just because I am insane)

I also learned yesterday, my Uncle Bill, my dad's sister's husband has colon cancer. I think he is in his early 80's. Do not confuse this with Uncle Bill Brawley! Rumors would spread like wild fire, wouldn't they?

Andrew actually took Josh and his friends out for pizza. He must have been hungry to do anything nice for his bro.

Reading a new author--Julie Cramer. Book is called Stalking Susan. Another mystery.

The Discover Card people called me today to encourage me to use my card more. I wanted to tell them we were on the verge of bankruptcy. How nuts is that.

Jim was able to give blood for the first time yesterday for the Ava Christine blood drive. I was approved to give until I got to the question about tattoos. I thought I had gotten my areola tattooed in February, but it was actually last August (thanks blog) so I just missed being about to give by about a week. Next year. I think Jamie was pleased with the turnout. She has to know that none of us will ever forget Ava angel.

Ok, need to quit hacking at this.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Today the battle begins! Johnny is already kicking cancer's ass as we speak. Hopefully, Crazy MIL is playing lots of BrainAge on her Nintendo DS and Pam is reading wine magazines. Johnny is probably talking fishing with some older gentleman. Regardless, the bad cells are getting KILLED.

Shade woke me up this morning in an anxious fit. Have no idea why. But that was at 4:00. I was still up when Jim got up at 5:30 but feel back asleep and didn't get up until 10. Oops. I have a lunch meeting today with our administrative staff so I am heading out soon.

My job this morning was to get Jim a doctor's appointment. Jim is suddenly very interested in this, which is understandable. Besides the colon issues, he has had a growing lump near his rib cage/breast area. This whole time we have been thinking it was a fatty lipoma, as he has a another in another spot--and he has had this for years but now it has gotten our attention. Instead of going to my doctor, we decided it might be better to go to Johnny's doctor so we get the same doc to do the colonoscopy, etc. As we know with me, getting doctor's appointments is never easy as JIM has to be the one to set the appointment up. Luckily, the receptionist said getting into Dr. Al-Fahdl is fairly fast--I am assuming he is new. Pam loves him therefore I love him. Anyway, Jim will call this afternoon. I tried to tell the receptionist about Johnny and why we were in a hurry and she understood, but still couldn't take Jim's history from me. Ok. He will call tonight.

Jim hit a deer yesterday and did $1000 worth of damage to his car. That was according to Tyler's. Another body shop in Niles said it was $2400 worth. I didn't even ask. We are going to Tyler's.

Still coughing and chest hurts. It has to be allergies.

Love to all. Please pray that strongman Johnny has few side effects from this chemo.


Monday, July 20, 2009

The beat goes on.

Good morning. I just spent the last hour reading over old posts from two years ago as I prepared for my results from Dr. Ansari. I am sick to my stomach with anxiety for Johnny and Pam--I know a bit how they are feeling and can't help. I wish I could but I can't. But I can say this. Dr. Ansari will have a plan when they are done and then the battle begins.

Two years ago yesterday was my diagnosis. And here I am still worried. My chest does not feel as bad today because I haven't coughed as much but it was killing me last night. Luckily, I sleep well.

I promised Josh I would take him and his friends to Cici's Pizza today. I want to get some new sheets so I am headed to Target--lots on sale.

Please, please, please bring some peace to Johnny and Pam today!


Sunday, July 19, 2009


Good Sunday to you.

Thursday was a busy day. I had my doctor's appointment with Dr. T--which was uneventful. I did tell him about my coughing and he couldn't offer me much more than "take Clariton and 'forgedda 'bout it', which is what he said. He said my lungs sounded "great" and that I had some clear crap running in my nose--but everything else was fine. However, I must say that his words did NOT reassure me as I am still sort of wheezy and my chest hurts a bit and I keep coughing. I did buy some Clariton (goodness, is that stuff expensive! 24 pills was $20 at WalMart) and am on day 2 of it. Still coughing and chest hurts, and my throat hurts a little too. Andrew is also taking the Claritin for his runny nose--I know this could all be allergies but it is so scary and of course, I have seen a million ads for lung cancer, lung cancer symptoms, etc. I also notice that when I am sitting down it is sometimes hard to talk--like I can't get air in. Could just be my fat belly squeezing something but it is bothersome. I am also having all kinds of wierd aches and pains everywhere...never a day without worry. I am seriously thinking about taking Xanax until these things subside. I just feel so edgy.

I am obviously sensitive to Johnny's issues as well. In fact, Dr. T asked me how I was doing with the whole cancer thing so I told him about Johnny. Because of that he decided that, to further ease ANY fears that I might have, I should do the whole "blood in stool test" using these little cards. I am NOT concerned about that for me...but what the hell, it can't hurt. I appreciated his concern for my "sensitivity" (his word) to the cancer issues but haven't done the stool thing.

After the doctor's appointment, off we went to Chicago. Concert was marvelous. We sang lots and stood the whole time. I had a GIANT of a guy standing in front of me that looked sort of like Pooh--just on major steroids. This guy was so nice though--he and his buddy were with what I called the "Kardashian sisters"--two really cute dark haired hotties that weighed about 100 pounds tops. We were actually sore from standing so much and felt like we had performed. Our seats were awesome and it was just a nice night. Thank you my Lonnie, as always.

This weekend Andrew's baseball team won the District tournament for American Legion baseball so his season continues. He plays again this coming Saturday at what is called the "Zone", or regionals. If they were to win that, he would go to the State Championships, which is the following week. Andrew had the game winning hit in the semis, so it was an exciting night. Once he is done playing, he has to start conditioning BIG TIME for college ball so he hopes to keep winning. : ) I just sent off a check to Goshen to take care of his tuition that isn't covered by scholarship. Good to have that done!

Jim and I are getting old...we have taken to going for a nightly drive to look for deer. It is crazy how many deer are out by Johnny and Pam's house around 9 PM. We just put the car in park and watch them. Last night, there was another car doing the same thing. I do not think I could ever shoot one--but don't blame those that do since I have seen the damage they do, plus the surplus of them is not good for the food chain.

Johnny hears from Dr. A tomorrow about his PET/CT scan and what the plan is to get chemo started. I just feel good about the PET report so hopefully, chemo will quickly be started. Please, tonight, say extra prayers that Johnny and Pam have strength to get through the appointment and that the news is good. They are in such good hands but getting there is the worst part...they will leave armed and ready to fight!


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

C is for Chicago tomorrow.

You are probably wondering why that little drop of blood is my new icon photo--well, as I looked for a saved picture of me I found it and thought she was so cute. Her name is Ruby and she graced our halls at NHS during a recent blood drive. No, it isn't me in the costume (HA) but I still think she is cute so what the heck, she will be my photo.

Wow, it is suddenly really hot and humid. We do not have the air on today--I swear it makes my cough worse. My cough is still around...most of the time I think it is sinus issues but still get scared. UGH.

Tomorrow is a busy but exciting day! In the a.m., I have contract negotiations, then a doctors appointment for the annual annoying exam, and then Jim and I, along with Johnny and Pam, are going to see Elton John and Billy Joel in Chicago. Our blessed Berrien Springs angel got the tickets for us and we are so excited! Our angel wanted Danny to go too but he has football camp and feels he needs to stay back here--and, yes, that is the responsible thing to do I am sure! I think Pam's sister and her husband are now going so it will be lots of fun! Weather looks good. The concert is at Wrigley Field and Lonnie says it is 4 hours long so it will be a late night. I hope the night allows us all to forget about the c word if even for just a few hours.

The other good news of the day is I finished two of my classes that I have been taking. I just have to get them mailed off. Then I have to decide the next one I am going to take. The two I just finished were about motivating the unmotivated student (ironic it took me 10 months to get it done) and the other one was about stress relief. Most of my stress this summer was worrying about gettting that class done so now I have one less thing to worry about so I guess the class worked. (that is a joke)

Made yummy fudge the other day. Still eating it. I almost doubled the recipe. Thank goodness I didn't.

I bought Ginger a Nintendo DS game with the Brain Age game and she is as addicted as I am. She called today to say her brain age is 26. She is an overachiever!

When I post next I hopefully will have some pictures from the concert. I also have to get Jim that doctor's appointment SOON.

Love to you all. Keep praying and sending out positive vibes! Anything is appreciated!


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Relay for Life is July 25

Hello all. We are doing just fine today. Sunny, light breeze, won a baseball game, and we have a family cookout this afternoon. We are enjoying today!

My cough is not worse, but still there. Andrew has the same cough so maybe we just have some allergy bug or something. I still have some chest discomfort but minimal. As usual, cancer continues to scare and loom, but as I tell myself, "I am not going to die today." It always sucks.

Cubs are winning. Another good reason to enjoy.

I need to make an appointment for Josh's driving test but I suppose he and I are going to have to go out and practice some more in my car.

I have a busy week this week--two doctors appointments (dentist is one) and two sessions of contract negotiations. I think I am back at work one month from tomorrow. Time has FLOWN.

I also have to get Jim in to a doctor. I think I may try to get him in to Johnny's internist, and then have him schedule the colonoscopy with the same doctor who did Johnny's. Jim has not been to the doctor in at least a decade I would guess.

Relay for Life is coming up...hope many of you can attend.


Saturday, July 11, 2009

Cough again--still--crap.

We had a nice storm this morning and I was forced to drug my dog at 6:00 this a.m. but went back to bed and slept until noon! Very rare for me but we all must have needed it as Jim just got back up too. Of course, he was out with the brothers carp shooting (don't ask) and didn't get home until almost 2:00. He said it was very fun and they laughed a lot. I hope it re-energized them to see that Johnny is the same Johnny and will remain so!

At the risk of sounding like a whiner, I am coughing chronically again. Been going on for about three weeks. You know how that scares me. I told myself to quit drinking ice tea (I think that bothers me) and that didn't help, and I thought going up north would get me away from what ever allergen was bugging me and that didn't help, and now I am home and it continues. I will say I do have the lovely PND from the sniffer, but I am not sure. I have my lovely annual exam on Thursday with my family doctor so I will mention it. I am absolutely terrified to have a chest xray so I hope he can just look in my throat and say "you have a cold dearie" and not insist on an xray.

Josh got Jim the funniest, most crude t-shirt from the Cubs game. Jim had to act like he thought it was the most hilarious thing on earth but says to me"where can I wear this?" Gotta love Josh.

Speaking of my Joshmeister, I didn't mention that he FAILED his driver's test up in the UP. I have permission to talk about this from him so I am not humiliating him without his knowledge but yes, he ran over a pylon in the parking test and never even got to go on the road. Those of you who have kids know the agony of this with a young driver. In his defense, he WAS driving the biggest car we own, the Suburban, so that was a big problem. But the sad thing is, in his practicing, he was doing so well...way better than many adults can park. He just sort of panicked. So, now we schedule one down here and he takes either my Malibu or Ginger's clown car. (it is really really small) Poor Josh.

As mentioned in previous UP blogs, we all paint bricks on the barn when we are up there and Josh painted a big red F on his...with a car driving over a pylon. I did a brick for Andrew that read Goshen College and also one for breast cancer--complete with my favorite phrase 'feel your boobies" and "save 2nd base." I should have taken pictures before we left.

Must get ready for a few grad parties today--and Andrew has two baseball games tonight, If I didn't mention it before, we have decided that his wrist is fine. Dr. B wanted us to do an MRI to see if the tendons were messed up but Andrew says they are fine so we cancelled. Hope it doesn't come back to haunt us. So he plays with the bone fracture that Dr. B said was nothing to worry about.

More later. Keep praying for good reports for Johnny and some calmness for the whole family. Thank you much for that!


Friday, July 10, 2009

The Fighting Toad

My brother-n-law Johnny was diagnosed with colon cancer two days ago. There are some spots on his liver as well. He turned 43 yesterday. Pam, who many call Mimi, has started a blog to keep us all posted. The blog is called www.the Please visit, say lots of prayers, and give them as much support as you have given me. We will have prayers around the world!

I am numb about all of this. I just can't stand to know what they are going through. Johnny is so strong so I am less worried about him than I am Pam and Ginger. Both are two of the strongest people I know--and I know will fight this--but it hurts me to know the pain they are feeling. No one should have to feel this way. It honestly feels like someone has kicked you in the stomach and you can't breath. They are at the oncologist right now so we will know more later. Ginger and John are on their way home from the UP on Sunday. Please please please send Pam your love via her blog--it was amazing how everyone's thoughts helped me heal.

We had a good week in the U.P. but I am not up to writing about it right now. I will be back.


Monday, June 29, 2009

Fractured wrist.

Yesterday, Andrew broke his wrist. Uh oh. The knobby part of the outside of his wrist was hit by a pitch and his reaction was quite obvious that it HURT. But he finished the game and on the way home he said "I want to wait 24 hours but I think my wrist might be broken." It was slightly red and a tad swollen so I said ok, we will wait. But then about 4 hours later he put on his flip flops and said "will you take me to the emergency room?" So, yes, we did, and yes, it was. It is just a "chip fracture" and it is in a temporary cast until we see the orthopedist on Tuesday. My googling has learned that it should be 4-6 weeks in the best case scenario...and surgery in the worst. I asked for a copy of the xray to expedite the process with Dr. Balint, his ortho., and you can see the piece of bone that chipped off...right next to the ulna. It looks very minor to me but what do I know?

So, no baseball for awhile, which is ok, since we are going on vacation this coming Thursday anyway. But Jim is terrified it will some how affect fall ball at Goshen. Dr. Balint has treated Andrew two times before for sports injuries (same broken wrist during football) and a torn something in his throwing arm...) and he is fantastic, so I am not worried. Luckily, they squeezed us in tomorrow since Dr. B is leaving for vacation Wednesday as well.

Other than that, still doing laundry. Excited to get away to the UP--to read, sleep, and of course eat. : )

More later--


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Summer time!

A couple people asked me for the link to Goshen's website...I have given you the link to the baseball signing page....scroll down and you will see Andrew. Also, his roommate is Lucas Hucker if you want to check him out. He'e a very nice young man.

Ok, today it is Pool Day! I have told Sheryl I would be over for how many summers now? Ten probably? And today we are going! Weather is supposed to be hot hot hot so that makes it perfect. This morning I dug out the old bathing suits and although I think I may have worn it once since losing the boobie, this is definitely the first time I have worn it since reconstruction was finished. I don't think anyone will be able to tell; but fake boobie is definitely a bit smaller than the other. But it does its job--putting mounds in the suit like it should. I am one white woman so I feel bad for everyone there who I will blind..............gotta wear the sunscreen though. Days of frying are over for me.

Someone left our refrig door open all night...not happy as everything is sweating, but luckily not ruined.

I must admit that I watched Jon and Kate last night although I had sworn I was NOT going to...I am so ticked off that they didn't do counseling, or try harder, or whatever. Like it is ANY of my business...I didn't watch the first half but then Josh was watching and both Jim and I got sucked in. I will say this...I thought they were pretty candid...I just want to know WHY they didn't go to counseling, although I suspect the answer is that Jon said "GET ME OUT OF HERE!" and has no desire to save the marriage. Anyway, I doubt I will watch the show much now but maybe it could be a story of how to be good parents who are divorced. Yes, I am giving this way too much blog time.

Not much else here. A new sister on the ACC/breast site from Germany is now telling us that the doctors in Germany INSIST that chemo is a must with ACC/breast. Starts to make you second guess everything. Hmm. It never ends.


Monday, June 22, 2009

Parent advice


If you are a parent, please read this carefully:

Make your kids hang up their wet towels.

That is my piece of wisdom for today.

Now, on to other important things. Like what should we have for dinner. I am sort of into making pasta salads these days. I may try a new recipe. Josh of course won't eat it but that isn't anything new. Both boys have games tonight--Andrew is in Decatur and Josh is home. I may not go to either of them.

I realize it is really, really hot out, but I actually feel like it is finally summer. So no complaints here.

That is all for now. AGain, follow my advice and make those kids hang up those towels. Otherwise, you will want to scream at the top of your lungs EVERY SINGLE DAY OF YOUR LIFE.


Friday, June 19, 2009

I love a rainy

two blogs in a row. I am on a roll.

Shade is living the life of a junkie. With all these storms, she has about lost her mind so we had to give her another pill today.  WILL IT EVER BE SUMMER??

Did some thinking about Andrew's registration yesterday and I don't think I expressed how well it went.  I was so impressed with the personal service we got.  I think back to my orientation at Western and what a fiasco it was--especially when it came to choosing my classes. I remember being in the dorm room in 100 degree weather trying to even read the darn catalog.  I did ok, but after four years of being at WMU, I think I graduated with about 40 credits too many--in other words...took the WRONG classes a few times.  Many have spoken about the benefits of a small school and for Andrew, I think it should be a good start. I am not naive to think that he may not enjoy it, but he sure seems happy now.  (there was one girl there that was NOT happy she had to go there--she wanted to go to Bethel but ended up at Goshen as they have a top-rated nursing program)  Also,  and this was really strange, there was a incoming freshman there who was about 7 months pregnant.  So, I had a feeling she had to fudge a little on the whole premarital sex "agreement" that all Goshen kids have to sign.  I am NOT being judgmental...more power to her to show up and continue her education...but based on the Goshen College "community standards" it was just a surprise.  Also, while there, Andrew saw another basketball player from Portage Northern who he played against. So in actuality, there are about 5 kids there he knows from previous competition. Small world.

I really, really, really need to finish a class I have been working on for about 9 months.  Yes, we get a year to complete it but I have very little left to do so why am I procrastinating. I think that will be my goal for early next week.  

i need to go rescue Jim, who is battling Crazy Shady upstairs. I keep hearing him yell Ouch!  Dammit!  which means Shade is clawing him because she is so afraid of the thunder and lightening.  

Love to all--


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Goshen registration

Today Andrew had registration at Goshen College. I must say it went quite well. He quickly figured out that there was a 60-40 ratio of girls to boys...many athletes were at this session and he actually ended up sitting by his future roommate at lunch. Very nice young man but sort of quiet. Andrew DID venture out and went to talk to other kids--I was proud of that--and ended up making some friends already who are in his dorm. His session with the academic counselor went really well; he and I had looked over some classes awhile ago and had a tentative schedule sort of figured out and the counselor was thrilled at what we had done. Although he does have an 8:00 MWF, he is done at noon and only has one class on Tuesdays. Thursdays are longer because he has that one class, plus a freshman seminar, and then a biology lab at night. But overall, it looked ok.

He took a placement test in Spanish and said he would be lucky to be allowed to take Spanish. He said it was crazy hard--but everyone agreed with him so we shall see. (I remember the same thing from my placement test--in fact, I walked out of mine!) Again, he left there excited and very happy with how nice everyone was. However, now that he is home, he is back being a grouch and complaining that we don't let him do anything...ugh. August 29 can't come fast enough right now!

I personally am excited to go shopping for his dorm room stuff. He does have bunk beds, which is sort of interesting. I am thinking he should probably be on the bottom bunk since he is 6'3" and his roomate is about 5'7"...but who knows. They both have refrigerators--but I think Andrew is going to get a microwave. The rooms are carpeted and I am still really pleased with how clean everything was/is, especially the bathrooms! Oh, also, we didn't know this, but the dorms are air conditioned! And they have their own thermostat so that is nice.

Despite his crappy attitude right now, we had a really good day.

Ok, time to hit the showers and get prepared to read my book, I am trying a new author--Lisa Unger--and so far, so good.

Much love!


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Letting go.

I am going to whine a bit today so be prepared. I must say that Control Freak Molly Elizabeth Brawley is not doing well with the "letting go" of my 18 year old son...and he ain't doing too well dealing with me! I want him to be the good little boy that never questioned what we said. Advice is welcome--short of shooting him, how did you experts handle the so- called adult in your house? Curfews? Chores? Money? UGH. Really not much else to say about that but dang, I'm ready to ship him to Goshen NOW.

I am now waiting for the plumber to arrive to install a new water heater. We thought about attempting to put it in ourselves--for about 10 seconds--and then called our local plumber. I have no idea what it is going to cost, but we have water all over our basement from the leak--the thing is over 20 years old so in my research, I think we got our money's worth in terms of that. I hate when installers are here...half the time I feel like i should entertain them by watching and asking questions when I really don't care. : ) Just make sure no leaks and plenty of hot water.

On the good news side, our softball team was crowned State champs this past weekend. It was very exciting and the girls are incredible! They represented Niles so well. Also, this weekend was opening ceremonies for Sportsfest, a regional all-star Olympics or sorts. Andrew was selected to play on both the football and baseball teams. Tonight is baseball...if they win, they play again Thursday. Then Saturday is the one football game. Josh has a Niles Nuts game with Jim tonight...I will go to Andrew's game at Bethel College, although I hear the rain is coming.

Yesterday I had a six month check up appointment with Dr. Nancy in Kalamazoo. She was my surgeon if you recall.I was quite shocked when she told me I no longer needed to see her. I honestly thought I would see her forever. She said that "I graduated" and that Dr. Ansari should be doing breast exams every 6 months now instead of her. Not sure I like that, although driving to Kalamazoo was a pain. So, I guess that is a good thing.

I do not feel well today. I can't shake a queasy stomach for some reason. This has been going on for about a week, off and on.

Today we start interviews for our new assistant principal. Busy!


Wednesday, June 3, 2009


Ah, I am remiss in my postings. Life is slowing down just a bit so here I am.

Graduation is done. High school baseball is done. I have 7 days left to get up until I am on vacation. (yes, I do have to work some in the later summer but it won't be at the crack of dawn so its not so bad)

We have finally landed on July 5 to head up north. If you are a creeper, please don't rob my house. It is armed and alarmed. : )

Andrew thinks he is Mr. Social and has no responsibilities these days. He will hate it when I am home and give him a to do list. Come to think of it, Josh seems to think the same thing.I think both have stayed up way too late so far and sleep in way too late as well. Teen-agers.

Andrew did learn about his roommate. He is from a very very tiny school of 90 boys (I think around 90 girls too) and graduated with a 4.0. That is a good sign for Andrew! He is an infielder and a pitcher for the Goshen baseball team.

Craving hot dogs on the grill. Jim is giving a baseball lesson right now. Josh is asleep on the big comfy couch and I have no clue where Andrew is. I need to put a GPS beacon in his car so i can locate him.

More later...enjoy your night.


Friday, May 22, 2009

He's done.

Love him. love him, love him! He is now officially graduated. Now on to college and a little bit of reality.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

It's hard to have an 18 year old when you are a control freak.

Hi everyone! Long time. Two weeks to be exact. Crazy.

Let's see. Andrew no longer attends Niles High School on a daily basis. He was exempt from all his finals, which is probably a good thing, because if you could die from senioritis, he would be six feet under. Geesh. I won't mention the number of conversations we have had about "finishing strong" and doing it for pride, integrity, etc. Umm... his response is..."are you kidding me?" Tomorrow is the Honor's Reception, where he will receive his Honor Cords, National Honor Society Cords, and his Board Scholar Cords. The Class of 2009 is filled with many honor students. More than half. They truly have been a great class, and there has been very little "I can't wait to get out of this place" attitude--in fact, just the opposite. What really, really nice kids they are. Then Wednesday night is Baccalaureate, and then Thursday is the big night--Graduation, followed by Project Graduation.

Beckie Hamm recommended a book to me called Belong to Me by Maria de la Santos and it was such a great read! The writing was so poetic...good story line too...reminded me of Jody Picault. Read it if you can.

Josh is going to go to journalism camp this summer at Michigan State. He is excited, as are we. It's expensive, but we will figure it out. He is going to be the Sports Editor next year.

I set three goals this morning: get both bathrooms clean, and my bedroom, by noon. Yes, I was successful. I still have the ping pong table mess all over the place--still working on the photo spread for Andrew's party, and now Jim has me working on something for Senior Night for baseball.

A new ACC breast cancer sister from Germany logged on to the ACC site and is telling us that the German doctors ALWAYS recommend chemo for ACC/breast. While I know there is no research out there that I know of of its success, it makes me pause to think "should I have?". But then the others all say NO--in fact, one woman says she got leukemia from it...and a heart condition. She is cancer free, however.

Pulled pork sandwiches for dinner tonight.

Love to you all--and thanks for stopping by. It is good to hear from you.


Saturday, May 2, 2009

Getting stressed. But it's all ok.

It was a stressful week at work--so many meetings to sit through when I really needed to be in my office, door shut, working on the master schedule (which is what teachers teach what classes on what day). Friday afternoon was the first time I could do that and I ended up working until after 5 and forgot to pick up Josh from practice. Working until after 5 doesn't seem like much of a big deal to the rest of you, but getting to work before 7, staying up late and attending freezing baseball games makes for a grumpy Molly. : )

I went to Gordon's today and bought lots of yellow and white paper products for Andrew's graduation party. The tent we rented is yellow and white striped and I think navy is too dark so we are going with the yellow theme. May is going to be super duper stressful I predict as I have to finish the master schedule, plan graduation (which is almost done), get my own child graduated, and have his party. Schwewee. Thank goodness for my in-laws!

I am playing phone tag with the admissions counselor at Goshen. I am just going to have to call her from work. I never do that --always feel guilty on work time, but it is so hard to get ahold of people! Did I mention that Andrew and I tentatively chose his classes? That was an interesting process. With it being such a small school, there is not a lot to chose from but in a way, that makes things easier. He is taking his first Bible class....has to take two while he is there. I think it will be good for him.

Josh is doing really well with baseball. This week he is home so I will see a few more of his games. Andrew has eight games this week--finally--most teams have played almost 20 games and we have just played 11 I think--and it showed vs. St. Joe. We now have only two losses, which to many is a surprise, but Jim has always said that this group of kids is pretty darn good. We do not have the pitching we had last year but hitting wise we are much much better so it sort of evens out. Enough boring sports talk.

Tomorrow is the Senior Athlete Recognition dinner. We are looking forward to it but we also have a bridal shower for a Brawley cousin so it will be a busy day!

I am addicted to iced tea--last summer it was sweetened but I am going for just the clear, crisp taste of regular now. Yum.

Beep beep. Laundry is done. Off I go.


Saturday, April 25, 2009

Wind and rain

Hello. A little disappointed in the weather today. Too many storms! Cancelled games and a crazy dog are the result.

Josh still isn't home from the Coldwater tournament. Andrew just left for Kait's and Jim went to Vota's house for a cook out. I am just too tired. With the storms at night I don't get any sleep because of the dog. How ridiculous. Last night I put her down stairs and Andrew locked her in a room to leave him alone. We did better that way.

My house, since Spring Break, looks like a tornado hit it. The ping pong table is filled with thousands of pictures, uniforms, newpaper clippings, UGH. I need summer to get it all taken care of.......

Andrew bought a book yesterday called "How to Survive your Freshman Year in College." It is just a book filled with pieces of advice from college students. He is almost done and I am on Chapter 8. It is a super duper easy read and I recommend it to anyone going off to college.

It's sort of amazing how I haven't been complaining about any crazy symptoms lately, isn't it. Amazing what a clear scan will do for you. Other than being TIRED all the time, I feel great. Shade and I need to take a walk.

That's all for now. Hope all is well with the world.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

2009 Outstanding Youth Leader--my kid

Today, Andrew was named the winner of the Berrien County Outstanding Youth Leadership award. To say he was totally shocked was an understatement. He is standing here with Margaret Clayborn and her CEO from Lakeland Hospital. Andrew wins a $1000 scholarship. There were 14 students nominated. A girl from Dowagiac was named the winner of the Outstanding Volunteer award--get this, she designs her own line of purses and donates all the proceeds to a charity. When Andrew read her profile, he said "she will win." Little did he know, there were TWO awards and he got the other one! I've also posted a picture of Andrew and Zach Payne, the other Niles nominee.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

He's a Maple Leaf

Andrew signed his Letter of Intent today. Finally, the process is over. Coach Vota is on the left, Andrew, and then Coach Keister, the head coach at Goshen College.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

A few prom pictures.

The first picture is of Andrew and Kait, and Sarah and Zach. Are they not beautiful people? I love the second picture, even though you can't see much of Kait's dress (and Andrew is squinting) I will post more later.


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Lemon custard isn't my first choice.

Hello. Break is officially over. It was a good break, although my list still remains long. I did finish some things for Andrew's graduation party and had a delightful time with Josh and my dog, not to mention the husband. We just went to Sonny's for dinner tonight. Have to pick Andrew up at the airport around 11:00 tonight. I just checked his flight status in Atlanta and he is awaiting take off.

I am being quite crafty with this graduation party stuff. Ok, so that is an exaggeration but I am painting a box thingy to put cards in. And I am still all sticky from spray adhesive from the photo collages I am making. We found the funniest picture of Josh. When Niles went to state in basketball back in 2000 the boys shaved their heads for Uncle Matt, who was also bald. Josh looks hilarious in this one picture. When you come to the party, you will have to look for it among the million others.

Today I was craving a custard filled donut and Krispy Creme was calling me when I was in Mishawaka being crafty. I went in to get one, and the girl behind the counter said they had none. But the boy who waited on me said "How many do you need?" I said six, and six original. So he takes the chocolate covered ones and inserts custard for me. I was excited but then realized when I got home that is was lemon custard, which isn't horrible, but still not what I was hoping for. Jim then came home and was THRILLED I had bought them, as he too was having the same craving. Needless to say, the donuts are all gone now, despite the lemon addition. Josh ate up all the originals I believe.

I think we have seven weeks of school left when we get back. Amazing. I have so much to do when I get back but although it is insanely busy, it flies by. UGH. I just got that "gpong back to chaos" feeling in the pit of my stomach. It will be ok, it always is.

Haven't heard from my ACC/breast sisters--I am assuming everyone is just living their lives like I am.

Love to you all--and Happy Easter, of course.