Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Still ...

PS. If you have a second, send up a positive thought for Blaine this afternoon. He's going in for a root canal on a tooth ..... in a location that the dentist told him previously "they could never get to, in a million years". He can't open his mouth wide enough due to scar tissue and radiation for them to reach this tooth easily, and short of the doctor using a crow bar and dynomite, we're a little curious how they're going to make it happen. Promises to be a fun day in the dentist's chair for Blaine!


Still cutting.

Still pasting.

Still dragging archived links and photos over.

Still working up my nerve to attempt this fancy search and replace script that one of my readers was kind enough to force her computer-savvy husband to write for me .... (I feel pretty special about it, to be honest)

Thanks for not giving up on me ...

In the meantime, if you're just dying for something to read (which I highly doubt, what with, you know, you guys have LIVES and everything ....) here is an old update of mine that will, at the very least, give you something to pass the time for ten minutes ...

Long Lost Art of Letter Writing (at least how it applies to Kendrie on treatment ...)

Monday, September 28, 2009

Lunch, anyone?

Sept. 28 is a good day to head to Chili’s and have a margarita, some fajitas and maybe even some molten chocolate cake.

That’s because Chili’s restaurants across the U.S. will donate 100% of their Monday profits to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The date is also the culmination of Chili’s Create-A-Pepper to Fight Childhood Cancer campaign, which runs through the month of September.

Chili’s has raised more than $25 million so far in its 10-year, $50 million pledge to the research hospital. The donation will be the largest from a single partner campaign in St. Jude’s history. The 2008 campaign raised more than $6 million for St. Jude.

Throughout September, Chili’s patrons design chili pepper coloring sheets for display at restaurants; buy T-shirts and customized keys; and make online donations. The program started in Memphis in 2002 with seven Memphis-area Chili’s, but the chain took the promotion nationwide in 2004.

Chili's and St. Jude opened the Chili's Care Center, a seven-floor, 340,000-square-foot facility, in 2007. It is the first medical building on the St. Jude campus to bear the name of a corporate partner. Chili's is the flagship brand of Dallas-based Brinker International (NYSE: EAT).

Based in Memphis, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is a leading pediatric treatment and research facility focused on children's catastrophic diseases. It employs about 3,300 in Memphis.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

So very cool

I'm sure it will be her favorite of all time:

Purple Rock and Roll.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Well said

Extremely well-written .....

The Savages

I would comment more, but I'm too busy cutting and pasting.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sacrifice the limb to save the life

I'm going to be MIA around here for the next week or so.

I received a reminder yesterday that due to my old photo storage site shutting down, the first five year's worth of my journal entries will become the internet equivalent of a boat anchor in about four weeks. That's when the storage site (that I have faithfully paid for, every single month, since November of 2003, not that I'm freaking BITTER or anything) is being shut down and all my photos along with it.

I thought I had dodged this bullet by upgrading my storage site, but I found out this week I had not.

The photos have actually been saved, but they will disappear from my blog forever if I don't manually change the url addresses of almost two thousand photos ... one by one .... by hand .... individually .... manually .... yes, I know you know what the word "manually" means, but I feel the need to drive home the point. Do I really want to spend several hundred hours poring through my archives and changing each address? No, no I do not.

So at this point, I feel my options are threefold:

1) Accept that the blog entries themselves aren't going anywhere and learn to live with almost two thousand little red x's, where the photos for the last five years should be.

2) Accept that this blog has run its course, do nothing, and shut down the site. Then spend the time I normally spend writing here doing other things (Blaine: "Kristie, let me introduce you to the vacuum cleaner!" .... and relieving myself of the anxiety I feel when I have nothing to blog about.

3) Accept that I need to be a little more proactive about transferring my content over to a site of my own before it is all deleted. This is the option I am most seriously considering, but I have to get all my ducks in a row, so to speak, before I can move forward with this plan.

So excuse me while I spend the next few days (FINALLY! This is what I get for procrastinating .....) transferring the remainder of my blog archives over from Caringbridge. And hope that the web design team I'm consulted can really and truly save everything as easily (although not cheap ...) as they say they can.

I don't want to quit blogging. I enjoy doing this. I consider it my personal journal and love the fact my children's childhoods are being documented in this way.

But I have to be realistic about the time and money I'm willing to put into this. This is not a business blog or a blog for money or a blog for ads or a blog that really accomplishes anything besides for my own pleasure .... its just my silly little personal blog. For now, I'm sacrificing the limb (updating for the next week or two) in the hopes I can save the life of the blog.

Please excuse the absence.

Monday, September 21, 2009

I can tell a lot of time and thought went into this

Kellen: "Mom, for Halloween, I need you to get me a belt and a sword."

Kristie: "Um, ok. What are you going to be?"

Kellen: "A dude with a belt and a sword!"

Saturday, September 19, 2009

It is done. And I feel better now.

We attended our high school's first home football game of the season last night. It was a fun night, seeing old friends, cheering for our team .... they had a Hall of Honor presentation ... fireworks .... Brayden sang in the school-wide choir .... marching band ..... marching band ........ marching band .......

With the new "band instructor helper person" there ...... who caused me a knot in my stomach every time I looked over at him. I think this is a perfect example of karma, and how what goes around will usually come right back around and bite you on the butt.

After the band finished up the national anthem before the game, he was standing by himself in the band section of the stadium, a mere fifty feet from me. And I could easily have avoided him, ignored him, just gone on my merry way. But, he was like a shiny distraction, in the corner of my eye, and I couldn't get past it. I kept looking over, wondering, "Would he recognize me? Would he even remember me? Would he remember what a jerk I was to him?"

Have you ever walked around town with a stain on the boob of your shirt, and it bothers you? Even though nobody else notices, and nobody else cares, it's all you can think about? And you can't even concentrate while you're having a conversation with someone because all you can think about is the giant stain on your boob and how you're wondering if they're noticing but they're just too polite to say anything and in the meantime you're missing the entire conversation because you keep telling yourself nobody cares but you know and YOU care and its soooooo uber-distracting????

Yeah. It was EXACTLY like that. Only not at all.

Finally I gave up, and walked over to him. Held out my hand, re-introduced myself, apologized for being such a jerk (also known in many circles as "immature, self-absorbed teenager") in high school, and told him I was happy he would (possibly ... clearly, the plans for his place at the school are not my business) would be teaching my son in beginner's band.

He looked at me, smiled, and hugged me. We chatted for a few minutes.

He was so much more gracious than I ever would have been.

Thank you GOD that it is done, and I can move on without being embarrassed to run into him again. Because its highly likely, and (repeat after me) I just LOVE living in a small town!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Because I am the best football mom EVER!!

I am so proud of my son.

Here he is, catching a pass to make a two-point conversion in tonight's game:

It's really a shame not all boys are as lucky, to have a parent like me, to take such awesome photos of their accomplishments. Truly, have you ever seen such wonderful photography skills????

No, I didn't think so.

On second thought, that might be my son. Or it might not. It's so blurry, who would know?

Can anyone even tell??

No, I didn't think so.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

"I think it would be cool to learn an instrument"

Updated to add: Jeanette, you're right ... I don't even let my kids drink out of public water fountains, so the thought of them sharing a mouthpiece on a rental instrument makes my heart stop. :)

Its a brand new instrument, on a rent-to-own basis. Kellen is the only person who plays it; he carries it to and from the school each day. Which is a bit of a hassle since we walk, but maybe the money we save on gas can go towards the saxophone ... who knew they were so expensive??? I shudder to think what bigger instruments must cost!

I'm not sure if I mentioned previously, but Kellen quit piano after a year and a half of lessons.

It liked to have killed me.

Not because I think he was any kind of prodigy, but because, as you might remember from when I blogged about it here, music was such a big part of my life growing up, and then I quit, and have regretted it ever since.

I played for seven years before quitting, and Kellen had only been at it a year and a half, but I know that at some point, at some time in the future, he will regret it too.

Typically, like thousands of parents before me, I got tired of the "practice or else!" routine. I tried reason, I tried begging, I tried demanding, I tried bribing. Nothing worked.

What bothered me even more is that Kellen actually loved playing the piano, and would have happily continued lessons as long as I would have let him .... he just balked at practicing. So I balked at paying for the lessons. Clearly, a lose-lose situation, so after several months of fussing and arguing, we agreed he could quit after the spring recital last May.

Kendrie is plugging along, but is also starting to be pretty lax about practicing, which discourages me. But again, the choice is hers --- if she wants to continue lessons, she has to do her part, which is the homework.


Last May, shortly after Kellen quit piano, he brought home the "elective" form for middle school this year. He had already filled it out with the classes he was interested in taking and needed me to sign it so he could turn it back in.

Although I have talked to the kids about my experiences in junior high and high school band, and how much I loved it, until this happened, I was still surprised to see that he had selected Beginners Band.

"Really?" I asked, "You want to take band?"

"Well, yeah," Kellen replied, "I think it would be cool to learn an instrument."


Deep down, I'll admit, I was thrilled. Maybe he really loves music, and piano just wasn't his gig. Hopefully the year and a half he took lessons will give him a wee bit of a foundation for band. If we're lucky, it will be a great group of kids, with a great director, and this will be the beginning of a wonderful, lengthy hobby/skill/talent.

Or, maybe he'll quit after one year, and all that instrument rental money will be in the toilet, who knows?

But school started, and band started, and so far, so good.

I had gone in on "Instrument Rental" night and met the director. I mentioned to him that I had played in this same school band twenty-five years ago ....

He knows my old director, the one that I loved so much.

I got excited, talking to the current director. He seems like a nice guy, and I started imagining Kellen doing the same things I did so many years ago, in the same band, and loving it as much as I did.

I imagined him practicing on the same football field, and marching in the same stadium. I imagined him having early morning practices, just like I did. I imagined him marching up and down the streets of our small town, just like I did.

Man, I LOVE living in a small town!!!!

Every day after school I ask Kellen "how was band today?" and the first two weeks of school, he had a good report every day. Then apparently the director had an illness in his family, then had some health issues himself, and missed quite a bit of school. Kellen started saying, "We had a sub" way more than I liked, and a few days were "free time" to read or visit or whatever. I understand these things happen, but I couldn't help but hope something would change. I want Kellen to love band just as much as I did ....

Then, Kellen came home last week and said, "We had a new sub today who knows a lot about music. He's going to be a sort of helper for us."

And I thought, "Oh, good! I'm glad to hear that!"

"How did it go? Did you like the helper?" I asked.

"Yeah. In fact, he said he used to teach at this school and he might know you." Kellen stated.

"He might know ME???" I asked, wondering who on earth ............

"Well, that he might know some of our parents, if any of our parents were in the band ...."

I sat for a minute, thinking ....

Wondering .....

Realizing ......

Aaaaawwwwwwwwwwwwww, no. HECK, no.

Yep, it was the same director who took over for my beloved director when I was in high school. The director who I was such a little obnoxious shit towards, and am ashamed to this day of how I treated him. I have not spoken to him since high school, but have oftentimes envisioned the apology I will make if I ever encounter him again.

Looks like I just might get my chance.

Man, I HATE living in a small town.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

SPT September 15

Lelly's Self-Portrait Tuesday Challenges for the month of September (2008) are following a "Because of a Blogger ..." theme. Last week I featured Lori of "I Can Be Right, Or I Can Be Happy" and how because of her, I was able to spend a great mother-daughter Breakaway weekend with Brayden at the end of the summer.

This week's "Because of a Blogger ..." actually comes full circle, and highlights the very blogger who introduced me to the SPT Challenge. In fact, this week's SPT is in a sense, a follow-up to one of the first SPT challenges I ever posted, which was to highlight myself doing something that I love.

I posted an entry about how much I love to scrapbook, but "wah, wah, wah, I'm so sad because I don't have any scrapbook friends here in OKC, my life is pitiful ..... world's tiniest violin .... " blah blah blah

And my {quasi-new} friend Alisa from "That's Life, Enjoy It" promptly left me a comment, and then promptly got off the computer, walked over to her phone, and called me to tell me we should scrapbook together.

I barely knew Alisa at that stage, but she, too, had fallen off the scrapbook wagon and was looking to get back on. And then she mentioned Lori also scrapbooks ....

and our little scrapbooking tri-fecta was born.

We've been meeting monthly for evening crops, and I've been enjoying myself immensely. I'm grateful for their new{ish} friendships .... (since we've been scrapping for eight months now, I guess they are no longer new-friends, but just friend-friends, right?) We eat, we chat, we get better acquainted, we discuss our girls, who are all in the same grade at school, we eat some more, and we scrapbook.

Thanks to Lori and Alisa, I was even confident enough to help the girls at our Breakaway Weekend make Friendship albums for themselves:

(and yes, that is my thumb in the photo, holding the album, so it is there TOO a self-portrait!)

We've had probably a half dozen other moms and ladies either join us for a month or two, or talk about joining us. But they don't. Not because we're obnoxious or we stink or our food is bad (at least I hope that's none of it!) but because we all have a tendency to get sidetracked and busy with this thing called LIFE.

But guess what? Life doesn't slow down specifically so you can do the things you enjoy.

Merry Maids isn't going to call me and offer to clean my house so I can scrapbook.

My kids aren't going to offer to cook dinner, or drive themselves to football practice or soccer practice or choir practice, so I can scrapbook.

The principal of the elementary school isn't going to tell me not to volunteer so I will have more time for scrapbooking.

The errands won't run themselves, the laundry won't do itself, the shopping won't buy itself, and the blog entries won't write themselves.

I'm grateful that "Because of ..." Alisa, who picked up the phone and called me, and then called Lori, that I was able to scrapbook once again. To remember that its not only important, but OK, to make time for the hobby I love.

Bonus points is making new, really cool friends while I do it.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Only me, people ... only me

Every year around the time school starts, I schedule my yearly physical. It's always such a fun time, sitting on that table, butt naked (except for socks because you know darn good and well I'm not walking around in that office barefoot -- that's disgusting) wrapped in a paper vest and drape, both the size of mini-napkins, neither of which adequately cover the area they are supposed to, waiting on some person I've never seen before to violate my private parts in the name of medicine.

Well, not really. It's not that bad. It's certainly not something I look forward to, like the funnel cakes at the State Fair each year, but also not something I dread, as much as I dread the dentist (which I have to do TWICE a year, man, that really blows.)

Because we live far enough away from the military base, I see a civilian doctor. In fact, I am a patient at a family practice clinic that is overseen by medical doctors, but which is run primarily by residents. They rotate in every year and only stay twelve months, doing a "residency" or "internship" or whatever on earth its called.

Since I'm lucky enough not to have any chronic conditions, and I haven't been sick in a long time, I've only been to this clinic twice before, for my two previous annual physicals. Both times I saw a different doctor and I get notices at least once a year that my primary care doctor is changing ... in fact, I don't even pay attention to the name anymore. I figure if and when I call for an appointment, they'll know who I'm supposed to see, and quite frankly, as far as my own healthcare is concerned, I have no physician loyalty. Just get me an appointment with somebody -- anybody -- and I'm happy.

So I went last week for my annual physical. Blood pressure check, pulse check, weight (ouch!) etc .... the nurse was entering all my information into the computer, asking if I had any problems, had my health changed, what kind of medication was I on ... etc. You all know the drill.

Then she looked at the computer screen, glanced at my chart, and said to me, "I see you've never had a pap smear done at our facility. Do you need to have one today?"

And I paused ..... "Are you sure? I'm pretty sure I've had one here."

She looked again, then looked closer, "No, there's no record of a pap smear here anywhere. Not in your chart OR in the computer."

I sat for a second, stymied. Yeah, granted, I don't go to the doctor very often, but I am pretty vigilant about the yearly exams I need to get like this one.

Then I said, "No, I know I had one here. In fact, I'm positive. I remember because the doctor who saw me last year was SO NERVOUS when he did it! His hands were shaking, and he was sweating like crazy. I remember thinking I must have been his first pap smear ever! In fact, I almost felt sorry for the guy, he was so nervous about doing it."

"OK," said the nurse. "I'll go and check in our lab archives. If you had it, it will be there. Just wait a second while I go see, and the doctor will be in to see you in just a minute ...."

(Famous last words, right, before you sit there, covered by napkins, for another half hour .... hence the reason I always take a book into the room with me. I might be sitting there cold and naked, but by golly, my mind will be occupied!)

Sure enough, just a few minutes later, the doctor walked in.

The same doctor as last time.

And he turned to me, shook my hand, and said, "The nurse said you said I was really nervous last time. I'm sorry. I promise you I've done a lot of pap smears since then so it will be fine today."


The nurse wound up finding my pap smear results from last time, so that was good. Because it's extremely difficult to stick your foot in your mouth when they're in the stirrups.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

You guys rock. No, seriously. You do.

As I mentioned in a previous post, September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Specifically, today, Sept 12th, is Childhood Cancer Awareness Day.

As you might recall, last week for Kendrie's birthday I asked anyone who was able to donate ten for ten to CURE Childhood Cancer --- $10 for her 10th birthday, to celebrate her recovery from cancer, and to help fund research for improvements in pediatric cancer treatments .... always with an eye towards a cure, of course.

A few days ago, I received this e-mail, from Jann Jones of CURE:

"Good afternoon:

The donations are coming in and I would love to know the story. We feature “why people give” stories in our blog and on our Facebook page and I would love to hear Kendrie’s birthday story!

Jann W. Jones
Development and Operations Assistant
1835 Savoy Drive
Suite 102
Atlanta, GA 30341
770-986-0035 ext. 25 (office)
770-986-0038 (fax)
CURE Childhood Cancer"

I donated ten dollars --- many others left comments saying they had donated as well. I don't know how much we collectively donated, and I'm sure it's not as much as some of the large-scale fundraisers that people do with CURE.

I don't even care. Every dollar donated is a dollar closer to a cure, and I want to thank you for that.

I might just make this an annual tradition, and donate a dollar for Kendrie's age every year on her birthday. Keeping my eye on the prize, however, will be the year none of us have to donate because childhood cancer has been cured.

That, my friends, will be a sweet birthday gift, indeed.

Until then, you rock. No, seriously. You do.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Hidden Mickey Moment #1

My blogging friend Lori, who I mentioned in my "Because of a Blogger ...." SPT earlier this week, has another skill besides hosting awesome mother-daughter retreats. (Well, I'm sure she has many skills, but this is one that she talks about publicly on her site.) (On second thought, that doesn't sound quite right ... never mind.)

She is an all-things-Disney-guru. She is a plethora of Disney vacation know-how, and from this point forward in my life I will never plan a trip to Disney without consulting her first. She knows every secret, every shortcut, every tip .... I actually think her frontal cerebral lobe is shaped like Mickey Mouse.

She also has a running bit on her blog about "Hidden Mickey Moments". That's what she calls it, when she finds the quintessential Mickey shape of ears and hat together, unexpectedly. She finds it a lot -- a lot. Probably because she's constantly got Disney humming along in her subconscious. Me? Not so much.

Sure, I like Disney .... I've been to Disney ... we watch Disney movies ....

But I had never found a Hidden Mickey Moment, until today. It should come as no surprise that I found it on my desk, considering how much of my day, life, very existence is sucked away by this black hole called the internet.

I suppose it should also come as no surprise what items comprised my Hidden Mickey Moment.


I don't know whether to laugh, or be ashamed. Most likely I'll laugh --- that's what too much caffeine does to me.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Why we don't play with matches (warning, graphic ....)

Although I can rush to assure you that no-one was playing with matches. Or lighters or torches or flame throwers or pyrotechnic devices of any kind. It was an honest-to-goodness, no-fault-of-anyone, nothing-more-than, ACCIDENT.

An innocent accident that can happen when a child (in this case specifically, my 11-yr old nephew, Landon) trips and falls into a fire during a Labor Day celebration at the lake. And a burning plastic water bottles sears to his arm and continues to burn, and his hand and knee suffer the most damage.

So no fault -- no blame. But still, how scary is this???

Things to be grateful for:

That it was not worse.

That we still had an ice chest full of water sitting on the patio to immediately submerge his hand in. Not the most sterile on the planet, but cold ... and full.

That honestly, it was an accident, and no one had to feel guilty for causing the injury through carelessness or disregard for safety.

That he has a 12-yr old female cousin whose first instinct was to scream her bloody head off and alert the adults, one of whom (me) saw it through the window and couldn't quite make my brain work as quickly as my eyes.

That he has an 8-yr old brother who helped pull him from the fire.

That he is still here with us, only a little worse for the wear, and when enough time has passed, he'll have an awesome story to tell about "remember that time I was on fire?!?!"

And on a much, much, MUCH more selfish note, I am grateful for the amazing freaking BOKEH I am getting with my new birthday lens, 50 mm 1.8. Check out these pictures! (assuming the content doesn't turn your stomach .....)

I love birthdays and new photography toys!!

Most of all, I love Landon.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

SPT September 8

OK, so now I have a dilemma. When Lelly of Lelly's Musings quit blogging, and therefore quit updating her weekly SPT Challenges at the beginning of the summer, I thought I was being smart by going back and doing her challenges from 2008. Then, last week, she popped up with a current challenge for today. So now I don't know whether to continue following the 2008 challenges, or change again, to the current challenge, but what if this is a one-off and she doesn't do another one next week, then I'd have to change back AGAIN, and then I would be so messed up, and people would be all hey, is she doing this years, or last years, although I doubt anyone cares, but really, its so confusing, although in all honesty if this is my biggest problem ........... oh wait. It isn't.


I've decided to continue posting the 2008 challenges, at least for a while longer. Mainly because I already had the next two weeks in mind and why on earth would I do extra work if I don't need to?? Please don't suggest anything inane like personal growth or self improvement or any crap like that.

So, for the month of September, the SPT Challenge theme is: "Because of a Blogger ...."

This week, my "Because of a Blogger ...." features my fellow blogger and friend Lori, from I Can Be Right, Or I Can Be Happy. Lori and I attend the same church, but I think we first met through our daughters, who attend school together. This year, with the girls going into the 7th grade, she blatantly stole from another friend of ours had the great idea to host a Mother/Daughter Breakaway Weekend for six of the girls from their middle school.

The goal of the weekend was to spend some quality Mother/Daughter time together, but in a social setting so the girls wouldn't be so quick to turn up their noses which would be more fun for everyone. We did makeovers, ate out, ate in, ate junkfood (there was a lot of eating, now that I think about it) played games, sang karaoke, made scrapbooks and keychains, did a book club, tye-dyed t-shirts, etc. Lots and lots and lots of fun.

And in between, we also snuck in a bit of life-skills training, appropriate for pre-teen girls. We had breakout sessions, led by the moms, on subjects ranging from body image, to nutrition, to the importance of friendships and family relationships, to the damage that gossip and hurtful word can cause .... etc.

Lori worked her tail off to arrange accommodations, both overnight and for our activities, plan menus, make reservations, arrange a jam-packed schedule chock-full of fun activities, provide door prizes, and all the other good stuff that happened that weekend.

Like me, Lori is NOT a touchy-feely person, but I can honestly say that weekend we had laughter, tears, prayers, hugs, and more laughter --- and all for good. The girls, I believe, enjoyed themselves immensely. Brayden has the photo below from that weekend framed and hanging in her bedroom. The moms felt, or at least *I* felt, that we {{hopefully}} made an impression on the girls about what kinds of situations they might encounter in their upcoming teen years, and {{again, hopefully}} gave them a few resources and ideas for how to handle whatever might arise.

Most of all, I think the weekend served to reinforce the girls' friendships with one another, which we all know is crucial to surviving middle school intact. I agreed to attend the Breakaway Weekend for that reason .... to encourage Brayden in these relationships with girls who I think would be supportive, helpful friends to her. Ironically, I came away with reinforced friendships myself, with the other moms.

Lori included.

So thank you, Lori ---- because of you and your hard work, it was a great weekend.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Don't say I didn't warn you

Scene in the kitchen, Thursday evening:

Kristie: "Blaine, look at this. Is this a tick?"

Blaine: "No, that's just a mole."

Kristie: "I don't have a mole there ... I think it's a tick."

Blaine: "For pete's sake, it's too small to be a tick. It's teeny tiny. If it was a tick, it would be all puffed up with blood. It's a mole. Or a scab or something."

Kristie: "I probably have Lyme disease."

Blaine: "You are so overdramatic. Besides, when would you have gotten a tick? You don't even LIKE the outdoors."

Kristie: "Probably from the lake last weekend. When I went behind that tree to pee. I'm telling you, it's a tick."

Blaine: "For the last time, it's not a tick. And why did you pee behind a tree? That's totally not your style."

Kristie: "It was that or walk all the way back up to the cabin or pee in the lake and quite frankly, it was too cold to get wet. Quit trying to change the subject .... let's focus on my Lyme disease."

Blaine: "For the love of God, it's a mole."

Scene in my bathroom, Friday morning:

I'm 42 years old and familiar with my own body. I do not have a mole there. I tugged on it .... it came off .... and its legs were moving. A tick. Tiny, yes, and not engorged, which according to Wikipedia, means it most likely WAS a deer tick and I will be keeling over from Lyme disease any minute.

In the meantime, we are going to the lake again this weekend. Open notice to anyone going with us --- I refuse to pee behind a tree again and become all tick infested and court Lyme disease. So if you're swimming near me, I suggest you do so with your mouth closed.

That's all I'm saying about that. You have been warned.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Ten for Ten

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away .... (well, ok, central Georgia) there lived a fair princess with her family.

She was pretty stinking cute.

A few weeks after this photo was taken, the princess woke up one morning, and she had cancer.

That pretty much sucked.

What followed for this young girl and her family was two+plus years of chemotherapy treatments, all of which have been chronicled on this site. Here is a brief summarization of a few of the numbers of her treatment, as taken from the journal entry written about her off-treatment party:

"A few other fun things we did: I filled a jar with M&Ms to represent the number of chemo pills Kendrie took during treatment, then we let everyone take a guess and gave the jar to the person who guessed closest: The winner: (no cheating involved, I swear) my nephew Dalton …. the actual number of pills: 2121.

We also posted a few questions to see who might know the answers (it was funny to me that the other ALL mom at the party said to me, “You know, those questions were pretty easy” --- for her, I’m sure they were, ha!)

1. Number of ambulance rides Kendrie has taken: Two.

2. Number of days she has been inpatient during treatment: Twenty-five.

3. Number of times she has been stuck in the chest, arm, or leg, for flu shots, peg shots, arac shots, blood draws, or chemo: 115.

4. Number of blood transfusions she has received during treatment: Eight.

5. Her preventative antibiotic, Bactrim, she takes in a liquid form. How much has she taken over the past twenty-six months? Three and a half gallons."

Why am I telling you all this today? Two reasons ...... One, did you know September 12th is Childhood Cancer Awareness Day, and that September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month? No? You didn't? Yeah, sadly, most people don't.

Here are a few facts, taken from the internet,which will hopefully help enlighten you:

Following is some information on childhood cancer in the US:

1. In the Citizen's Briefing book presented to President Obama upon his inauguration, childhood cancer was voted by the American people as the #5 Health Care issue. See Page 16

2. Cancer is the #1 cause of death by disease for children, killing more than asthma, diabetes, pediatric AIDS, congenital anomoalies, and cystic fibrosis combined.

3. 46 children are diagnosed with cancer every day in the US.

4. Each year, 3000 children die of cancer in the US. 1 in 5 Children with cancer will die.

5. Every year, 35-40,000 children are in treatment for cancer.

6. September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Most people have never heard of this.

7. Less than 3% of all cancer research money goes to childhood cancer.

The one I love (which of course in this case, clearly means HATE) is that one in five children diagnosed with cancer will die. That's 20%. While I'm so thankful that number is much lower than it used to be, it is still unacceptably high.

Twenty percent.

Think about your child's class at school. I'm guessing around 20 kids, right? Now imagine the principal told you four of those children, picked at random, would be dead by the end of the school year, just for showing up to class.

Would you send your kid to school?

Think about your child's football, or baseball, or soccer team. Ten or fifteen kids, right? Imagine three of them will be killed on the court or on the field this fall. Would you let your child play?

I'm always amazed (and dumbfounded, and really pissed off, if you want the truth of it) when I hear someone say, "I'm so lucky .... I've been blessed with (insert number here) healthy children and I count my blessings every day."

Guess what? I was blessed with three healthy kids, too.

Until one of them woke up one morning with cancer.

Don't think it can't happen to you.

It can.

It does every freaking day for forty-six families in this country alone.

And reason #2 I'm telling you all this?

Because the beautiful princess we talked about in the beginning of this story???

She turned TEN yesterday.

Thanks to advances in pediatric cancer treatment, and a whole lotta LUCK, she wasn't one in five.

I mention luck to put something else in perspective ..... the 20% of kids that DON'T beat cancer???? Yeah, guess what ---- their parents loved them, too, just like I love Kendrie, just like you love your kids. Their parents followed doctor directions, and had faith, and said prayers, and did everything they were supposed to do, too. Sometimes, whether people want to believe it or not, cancer beats us. Not because we didn't wish it hard enough, or fight hard enough, or pray hard enough, or believe hard enough ............ but because the luck wasn't there. Nothing more.

Geez, that's freaking depressing.

While there's nothing we can do about luck, there is something we can do to help ensure it isn't a big factor anymore ----

Donate to childhood cancer research.

CHILDHOOD cancer research.

The best organization I know for this is CURE Childhood Cancer. I know the director of this foundation personally ..... her son is a pediatric cancer survivor. They are doing their best to help fund research for PEDIATRIC cancers, something the American Cancer Society does very little of. (And I'm not typing that to open up a firestorm of research donation statistical mud-slinging .... type any comment regarding that and it will be deleted from this site, I promise you .....)

A few facts about CURE, taken from their website:

"What exactly does CURE fund?

Research into the development of “targeted therapies” – that focus only cancer cells and do not harm surrounding healthy cells. Targeted therapies are critical to ensuring that patients are spared the devastating and often life-threatening “late effects” caused by current conventional therapies

Basic and clinical research

Training of future pediatric oncologists and researchers through the fellowship program at Emory University School of Medicine

Emergency financial assistance for families stricken by childhood cancer

Professional development and continuing education efforts for nurses, family support team members, and others caring for children with cancer

Innovative programs that address the critical and urgent needs of patients and their families, such as meals to inpatient families, outreach at the time of diagnosis, and bereavement support"

So here's what I'm asking you to do....

Please, in honor of Kendrie donate ten for ten.

Ten dollars in celebration of the fact she turned 10 years old yesterday.

I don't advertise on this site .... I've never tried to sell anything. Occasionally I will highlight fundraisers that I think are worthwhile.

Today, I am asking you to donate ten for ten, and to make a difference.

Because every child deserves to cook s'mores at a restaurant for their birthday:

Every child deserves to make a wish for the upcoming year ..... to HAVE an upcoming year ....

Please, go to CURE Childood Cancer and donate, in honor of Kendrie, in awareness of Childhood Cancer Month, and in preparation for the forty-six kids who will be diagnosed TODAY.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Raindrops on Roses and Girls in White Dresses

Really, Julie Andrews is pretty much the antidote for anything, isn't she? This might be old news to some of you, but Blaine and I just discovered it and have watched it at least ten times today. I don't care if you're feeling a little blue, you can't help but watch this and smile.

And if I'm ever in a train station and somebody busts out with this, it will be pretty much the best day of my life.

Julie Andrews in a Train Station.