Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The big bad wolf and the 3 little pigs

I have a new version of this story. I am not the neatest of people - I tend to move from one thing to the next and not really care what I leave in my wake. I eventually clean things up and I am not a pack rat but having things "just so" is not very high on my priority list. Unfortunately I think I bred this into my children. Like little chicks (or little piggies) they are following right in their mother's footsteps.

So here we are - the three little pigs - going about our day with smiles on our faces (and messes in every corner) when suddenly the very neat and tidy wolf comes in from his home office. He takes one look around and with a huff and a puff questions what in the world we have been doing all day. It is then that the piggies hop to it and start tidying things up (but not without a few complaints from the little piggies).

I feel bad for the wolf. He works so hard all day and all he really wants is a clean house - not much more than that. I am not quite sure why it is so hard to comply with this request. I could blame my own mother - I followed in her footsteps and my poor father would come home from work and all he wanted was a clean house too - but with 8 children running around that was almost an impossibility. I wont blame her though - I take complete responsibility for my actions. This is my New Year's resolution. Try to re-program myself and my children to leave a place in proper order. Wish me luck - 41 years of programming is hard to undo.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Morning

The first look at the tree.

Have you ever seen someone so excited about socks?

Double snuggies

Jack - jumping up and down and crying at the same time because he got a cell phone.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

We went to church last night and I just loved our priest's homily. We have had a lot of rain here lately and he mentioned how most of us have been going about our business getting ready for Christmas when many people woke up one morning to massive amounts of mud. Just like in life - we sometimes are confronted with mud. Annoying or frustrating ......or devastating mud. It is dirty and ugly and not easy to avoid. He reminded us that we ALL have moments with mud in our lives but we also have someone with us to help us deal with it. How wonderful to know that we are never alone. Christmas takes that sometimes seemingly unreachable God and makes Him this very accessible beautiful and perfect baby. God reached out His hand - He let us see it - He only wants us to grab hold and trust.

I hope your Christmas is full of trust and faith and love. I hope this next year you find your path free of mud. I hope every minute of every day feels like a miracle and a chance to do amazing things. Merry Christmas my friends - I am unbelievably thankful for every one of you.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

D Day

One year ago today my life changed forever. The lives of my family were changed forever. The reality of this past year will fade - especially for everyone outside of my house. Life will go on and other things will happen - on both sides of the scale. I think back on the person I was a year ago and I am so thankful for the person I am today. Gifts are wrapped up in funny packages sometimes. I hope my children will look at life with new vigor and courage. I hope they love, and love strong. I hope we all remember to embrace the now and be thankful for every moment. Once again I am thankful for all of you - I have learned through this last year not to be timid with love. If I see you - be ready for me to hug you - that is just the way life is now. I am thankful for my amazing husband who has not only loved me through this incredibly hard journey but has also embraced the "new" me. I didn't know a year ago that God was giving me an incredible gift but I knew he would be with me no matter what happened. He walks with all of us and Christmas reminds us of that.

Monday, December 20, 2010


There is something about dressing up and going out that makes me feel good. Don't get me wrong - I like staying home in my jammies too - but when everything comes together nicely it feels special. In these parts we rarely dress up - we are more inclined to wear jeans and a fun top to parties - but once a year I am lucky enough to get invited to a dressy event and this year I felt like celebrating a LOT. I was with some friends when I bought this dress and one of them told me I looked "alive". That was all it took - I had to have it. It represents how I feel - alive. And not just alive.... ALIVE!!!! I was probably a bit over dressed but I didn't care. The dress looks like a present - God gave me this life and the best gift of all is just being here. I may not dress like this every day - but this is how I feel every.... single ...... day. Don't be afraid to get out your "special" shoes or the good china. Live. And live well.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


This past weekend I went with some girlfriends down to LA to shop for Christmas. Because we have very limited shopping around here it was fun to spend a couple of days just walking around shops and malls with eyes wide and a look of awe on our faces. We were also able to meet up with our wonderful friend Julie who moved away a few years ago. The husbands stayed with the kids and for once everything went very smoothly (no one was sick etc). I had a wonderful time enjoying new restaurants and scenery but mostly I enjoyed my friends. We had a very nice surprise on the way home. We were stuck in traffic for hours and to make the time go faster my dear friend Joy pulled out a manuscript she had been working on. It was called "A year in the life of the Village". You see we call our little group "the village" for many reasons - you will have to read the book to find out more. We laughed and cried as she recalled the events of this past year. I was not the only one with struggles this year - we were all tested - our friendships and our faith were tested. Fortunately we have all become stronger in both. Joy is such a gifted writer and to hear things from her perspective was a wonderful window into her world. She changed all of our names so it almost sounded like we were hearing a story about other people. I can't wait for her to finish it. I know our lives will always be connected. I have a feeling we may not all live near each other forever but the thread that binds us is strong and will hold true.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


I am a kid again. In the last few years I have had a hard time getting into the spirit of Christmas. The whole gift giving dilemma - the busyness of parties and social gatherings - the constant eating. There is nothing like the thought of a short life to get you to appreciate all of the little things. I feel like a 5 year old again. Filled with anticipation. I am loving the smell of the tree - the beauty of the ornaments. I like that I know all of the words to the Christmas songs when I turn on the radio. I love the cozy fire, a warm sweater and the Christmas lights on our street.


The celebration of Christ's birth.

The offer of a second chance.

I know all about second chances. God has given me (and continues to give me) second chances and for that I will celebrate. I will celebrate His incredible love for us all. I will celebrate His unimaginable gift. When I watch my children's faces Christmas morning I will know He is watching all of our faces - and I hope on my face He can see immense gratitude.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Butts and Bellies

So at some point over this last year I seem to have lost my butt. I am not sure exactly when it happened. I noticed it awhile ago when my pants were not quite fitting right. I do have a theory of where it went though.... I think it migrated to my belly. I now have a flat butt and a round belly....

I would like to blame menopause and Tamoxifen but I am hoping it is just due to the lack of exercise and too many cookies.

I will keep you informed as to if I can remedy the situation. I hope it is not God playing with me because I coveted my dear friend Suzanne's butt for so long..... hmmmm.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Just a Dream

I have found lately that this past year sometimes feels like a dream. Did it really happen? The hard edges have worn off already and when I remind myself of what we all went through I am surprised. Nine hour surgery... what? Seriously? Days where I couldn't get off of the couch? I didn't really do that did I? My children scared half out of their wits? - no way. Sometimes it just feels like I decided to cut my hair really (REALLY) short and eat a whole bunch of cookies. As I look back it certainly was no more than a hiccup. When I started the "hiccup" blog I was hoping it would live up to its name but now I can look back and say with certainty that life does carry on. I just have a whole lotta dear friends now :)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Best of both worlds

So I do actually read other people's blogs quite often. One of my favorites is the Noble Pig - I get great recipes from her and they are usually easy. I was making pumpkin bars with carmel frosting and crumbled bacon on top (yum) but I didn't cook the carmel frosting long enough. It ended up runny. I started over but kept the carmel in hopes of finding some other use for it. If nothing else I could put it on ice cream. BUT I found another great recipe on Pioneer Woman (great site) - sticky buns. I used the carmel from the first recipe to make them. Delicious!!!! Thanks Joy for sharing these blogs with me!

If you are wondering why they are on a paper plate it is because I brought them to my plastic surgeons office today.... If you want me to make you some you better start workin' on that medical degree :)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

"Thanks" "Giving"

I have so many BIG things to be thankful for this year - you all know what they are - but here are a few of the small things.

Clean sheets - the smell, the feel - ahhhhh.

Mail - I love getting the mail - email - regular mail. I don't care what it is but it feels like getting a present.

Comfortable shoes - when your feet are happy so are you.

The warmth of the sun on your back on a cold day.


Hot coffee in the morning - (hand delivered by your husband - the best!)

Happy Endings - I hate reading books that don't end well - I need them to be nice and tidy and good.



The feel of a good piece of chocolate as you bite into it, feel the snap, and let it melt on your tongue.

A working car.

The joy of giving someone something - a gift, time, labor - and watching their face as they enjoy it.

The smell of my husbands clothes.

The sound of my extended family on the other end of the phone line.

Hugs from my children that last a bit longer than expected.


What are you thankful for this year?

Monday, November 22, 2010

My Amazing 3 Day Journey

It started in a flash of a morning last Thursday. Throwing too many things into the trunk of Stephen's car and hitting the road for our 6 hour drive down to San Diego. A group of four friends - all with different experiences but a common goal - a cure for breast cancer. Stephen and Todd have both been touched many times by this disease - Todd's Grandmother, Stephen's Grandmother and Mother and their beloved dance teacher - Pat Jackson - all struggled with diagnosis, treatment and fear. Some of them survived - some did not. I lost my mother at a young age to breast cancer and battled this past year to become a survivor. Suzanne - was only recently touched by this disease on a personal level this year as she watched me struggled with (and helped me through) the process of beating breast cancer. The boys were veterans to the Susan G Komen 3 day walk - Todd was participating for the seventh time (he has either walked or crewed it every year) and Stephen had walked it several years ago. Suzanne and I were virgins and had no idea what was in store for us.

We spent the afternoon laughing until we cried - those would not be the only tears shed over our journey. Stephen drove the entire way down and stood up out of the car with sciatic pain - oh dear - not a good way to start out.

We woke up at 4:45 on Friday morning with a spring in our step ready to take on the day (after several cups of coffee). We threw on everything we could that was pink and made our way to Del Mar Fairgrounds for the opening ceremony. It only took a few bars of music for the tears to start flowing. We honored those who we have lost to breast cancer and celebrated those who have survived. We were reminded of why we were there. It took awhile to get going that day - so many people. Think traffic jam on foot. Over 4 thousand people walked along the coastline in the longest pink parade you have ever seen. We were lucky that day - no rain. The weather was perfect for walking and the scenery was beautiful. 20.5 miles. It took us 9 hours to reach camp at Mission Bay. I stopped by the medical tent at our last pit stop because my knee was bugging me so much. The boys were in pain (multiple areas) but Suzanne seemed to fly through without injury. I was worried we would not get through the next day.

Saturday morning we woke up to rain and wind. We dressed for what we thought would be a very wet day. Multiple layers, ponchos and grocery bags duct taped to our shoes and legs. Again it was slow going but we were all in a hurry to get through the day. We were cold and wet for hours. Our feet were soaked by the second pit stop even though we had the grocery bags on them. Pain started to set in in areas we didn't know existed. By lunch time we had walked 10 miles but it felt like 30. When we arrived at the lunch site I almost started crying because they were nice enough to bring buses for us to eat our lunches on - finally a dry, warm place. After lunch we headed out again - by this time Suzanne's knee was giving her all kinds of grief and she walked with a pretty severe limp. We headed out along the beautiful coastline into roaring winds and a torrential downpour. All we could do was laugh. Our ponchos were flying over our heads, we couldn't see because the rain was hitting us so hard and all 4 of us looked like we needed walkers. It was comical. Throughout all of this I didn't hear one complaint. People of all sizes, shapes and ages walking along side each other putting on a happy face. Hundreds of people were along the route cheering us on in the rain. Offering us candy or drinks. I couldn't believe how much support we had and it made it that much easier to keep going. What we were doing was bigger than the weather.

By day three we were ready to be done. Suzanne's knee was still a mess but she wanted to hobble through. We had more rain and it was much colder. Somewhere around mile 8 I started to lose it. I had a blister the size of my baby toe (on my baby toe), my hips, knees, ankles and feet were screaming and I was tired. Tired of being wet. Tired of walking. Tired of pain. I had often wondered why on earth they made people do this 3 day walk. Why walk 60 miles in 3 days? Now I know why. When you get beaten down to a point where you think you can't go on - be it blisters and pain 3 days into a walk, or your second to last chemo treatment, or the loss of a loved one who was taken from you too soon - you find that with determination, and perseverance, and support and love - you can go on. You CAN make it to the finish line, you CAN get through the treatment, and we CAN find a cure.

As we neared the finish line I was full of simple relief. I was looking forward to taking my shoes off and preparing myself for what was sure to be an emotional closing ceremony. I was taken aback when I walked through the finish line to a booming party. The music was blaring and everyone - EVERYONE - was smiling and high fiving us. Looking us in the eyes and yelling things like "Great Job!" - "You did it!" - "Thank you!" and " Congratulations!". It took me a minute to realize I was walking though a sea of hundreds of fellow walkers - people who had just done what I did and were there to cheer the rest of us on. It was the first real moment where I felt like I not only conquered this walk but conquered cancer. It felt like those people - who didn't know me - were high fiving my efforts in my fight to beat that disease. And I cried. I cried like a baby.

We made it through to the tent where we picked up our shirts - grey for crew, white for walkers and pink for survivors. On the back it says "invincible".

After everyone made it through the finish line we formed a parade into the closing ceremonies where family and friends were waiting. They separated the "pink" shirts from the white and grey shirts. I hugged my friends and went with the other survivors to the top of a hill. I didn't know any of these women I was standing with. They were all ages - from 26 on up. All with a common bond. I looked down on that sea of white and grey and I was overwhelmed with gratitude. So thankful for all of those people who walked. Thankful for all of the people who supported those walkers - thousands and thousands of them. Thankful for my donors, my friends, my family. It hit me how big this thing is. It hit me how we can to anything if we work together.

I thank all of you for supporting me. Everyone has different gifts and you all are helping us find a cure for breast cancer. I especially want to thank Suzanne, Stephen and Todd for experiencing this journey with me. We had quite a ride - lots of laughter, lots of tears and lots of pain. But in the end we helped raise more than 10 million dollars (in San Diego alone) to help find that cure. You are amazing, amazing friends.

I am already planning my next 3 day walk. I wish everyone could experience the ups and downs of this adventure - it is truly life changing. We are not done yet. I have 3 people I know right now who are finishing or are in the middle of treatment. We need to do everything we can. We WILL find a cure.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

We're off!

Heading out tomorrow morning for our full day of travel. Waking up at 4:30 on Friday morning to start our walk. I will be taking lots of pic along the way and can't wait to share with you my experiences! Signing out until Monday! Wish me luck!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


During the opening ceremony at the walk we are able to write down the names of loved ones we have lost to breast cancer. If you would like me to honor a loved one of yours please leave their name in the comments of this post and I will be sure to get their name up there. :)

Monday, November 15, 2010

What to wear?

We are figuring out what to wear as we walk this coming weekend. This is my PBAC tank top I am planning on wearing at least one of the days - paying tribute to all of you who donated to the walk. I know that several people donated to the walk but somehow did not make it on my page - if so - thank you so much and I am sorry your name is not on my list (the list came straight from Susan G). Please let me know if this happened to you so I can thank you properly! Thank you also to those who have kept me and are keeping me in your prayers. I know times are tough these days and this might be one of those years where your gifts come in ways other than monetarily. I appreciate it all so much - the encouragement, support, and love. I will have you all in my heart as I walk. When I don't think I can take another step it will be you that lifts me up and carries me to the finish line.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Danish Pancakes

For several weeks now Julia has been asking if we could go to Solvang to have Danish pancakes for breakfast. Today we finally conceded. These are not the round donut type cakes - these are crepe style pancakes that just melt in your mouth. It is hard to slow down when you eat them - they are so good. Of course we had to walk around this little tourist town but it was such a beautiful day and to just linger and stroll down these quaint streets was fun.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


I am usually very careful about what I say and rarely let things come out of my mouth that I regret ....but. The other day after a very high stress day and a few sips into my Friday night cocktail something flew out of my mouth that I didn't even recognize. It was ugly. It was gross. It was shocking. And it was directed at a friend of mine.

How quickly I wanted to scoop it back up and shovel it back into my mouth but as we all know words are one thing we can't take back. I can try and analyze why I did what I did - alcohol, stress, release - but in the end there was absolutely no excuse for what I did. I was instantly remorseful and embarrassed and sick to my stomach. I felt small and flawed and unworthy.

The most amazing thing about this story is that my friend forgave me. In the light of that I am truly humbled. She was much bigger than me. I know the words I said hurt her - they stung like that thorn on a rose - but she forgave me. It made me realize how I tend to judge people by what they say and that perhaps I judge too quickly. We are all human. Conditioned to make mistakes. All we can do when one strikes us is learn and grow and try not to repeat them. I will see things in a different light now - knowing that there is ugliness in all of us and on occasion it slips out.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Well, we are leaving a week from tomorrow for the walk. How worn in do my shoes look? I think I am in trouble. I have found my biggest challenge in training for this walk has been finding the time to actually do it. It is not like you can walk a long distance in an hour - you need several hours.... in a row. I am not one to have a lot of extra time on my hands. Somethings is always cooking. We will see if I can get a good long walk in this weekend. If you see me out and about give me a honk!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Puffer Fish

Julia wanted a puffer fish for her birthday... Not barbies. Not a new outfit. Not something easy. Just a puffer fish. So.... I learned what I could about puffers. I set up an aquarium in her room while she was at school hoping I could surprise her when she came home. I went to the fish store and purchased 3 puffers (just in case ya know). I found out that they are not nice fish - they are the bullies of the tank. They like to bite - even your finger - and they bite hard. They don't eat regular fish food - they eat worms and shrimp and need to have snails in their tank to help them groom their "beaks". I really love my daughter - did I say that already? Anyhoo, she was surprised and delighted to see her fish when she got home.

Unfortunately, though, I pulled a "Nemo". I mistakenly put the filter in backwards and when we came home from church on Sunday there were only 2 fish to be seen. The third was wedged in the filtration tube - I mean wedged. Certainly dead. "I am so sorry Julia". Dad came to un-wedge the fish for his toilet burial but when the fish popped out he started swimming. He lasted a day but the trauma must have been too much because this morning he is belly up.

Julia and I will be taking another trip to the store for a replacement. Fortunately they are fresh water puffers and cost very little. I feel obligated to replace the little guy since I not only killed it but made it suffer - so sad. And now you know.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Double Rainbow!

Today we were blessed to see the sky turn orange and have a complete double rainbow in our back yard. I couldn't get the whole thing on my camera (unless I video taped it ;))..... what does it mean?LOL

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

We did it!

I finally reached my donation goal for the Suzan G. Komen walk! Thank you all so much for your support and generosity! Last Friday we held a "dance party" class to raise money and I would have to say it was maybe the most fun I have ever had at the gym! The energy was great and we had a couple of VIPs in the room - Dr. Wonderful and Liz (my nurse navigator). They were awesome and I can't believe so many people gave up their Friday night to come support us! The training will be going into high gear this weekend. I have noticed over the last couple of weeks that it is taking a LONG time to get my stamina back. I have heard that this happens sometimes. Chemo knocks you down for a year - or more. I am not going to let it. Mind over matter right? 60 miles - here I come! The walk is on the 19th of November and runs through the 21st. If you live in the San Diego area come cheer us on!

Monday, November 1, 2010


Friday, October 29, 2010


Costume day at school - we have a spy and a trash can - the weekend begins!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Special days

We all have special days - birthdays, anniversaries, holidays. Tomorrow is my birthday - 41 (holy cow). Somehow this year I am not really aware of it. It used to be a big day - last year it was a big day. I usually like making a big deal out of it - any reason for a party - but this year it isn't quite the same. This year I am looking forward to June 14th 2011. That will mark one year of being cancer-free. It is almost like starting over - with year 1. I will be dancing on the ceiling next June when I can say a year has gone by. 41 is good - I have had one heck of a ride during those 41 years and I am glad to have had them. Every year I get from now on is a complete gift. I have had several people ask me what I want for my birthday. I really can't say - because I already have everything I could ever want.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Almost there!

OK peeps I am SOOO close to making my goal for the 3 Day for the Cure walk! Only $170 to go! Help me spread the word and make it this final stretch. The walk is in less than 3 weeks! I will be thinking of all of you while I walk and appreciate all of the wonderful prayers and good wishes I have received this year. I never would have done so well without you! I love you my angels!

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Yes we snuck away. We have been in Los Cabos, Mexico for the last week celebrating being cancer-free! It was a dream vacation in all respects - endless amazing food and drinks - miles of white sandy beaches - horseback riding - baby turtles. I was with my two beautiful children and my sexy (can you say Marlboro Man?) husband. Dream come true.

You may have caught me dancing on the news tonight - KSBY did a spot on our gym and the Susan G Komen fundraising we are doing. If you are around next Friday come join me for a super fun dance party at the club!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Second Act.... part II

I think I can officially say my "hiccup" is over - this one anyway. I am sure there will be more throughout my life and I hope to learn from them. Right now I am learning to enjoy this calm, eventless, low stress time and be grateful.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Hop on that horse!

Well, I was suppose to team teach a BodyFlow class today with Suzanne but ended up going solo because her son is sick. I know she felt really guilty throwing me in there but I think it was a blessing. I was worried how my body would react physically and if my chemo brain would actually remember choreography. I felt good all the way around. Physically it felt GREAT to teach an hour class (I may crash later) and fortunately my memory isn't completely shot from the chemo because I remembered all of the choreo. Now if I could just get some nice cuing out of my mouth that would be something. I think determination is 90% of any battle - fortunately I am very head strong so I have that going for me :)

Saturday, October 9, 2010


Complete and utter bliss. Just finished taking/teaching my first class back at the gym and it was AWESOME!!!!! I was surrounded by so many amazing and loving people who lifted me up and let me fly my first time back. I wish I could bottle what I am feeling right now because everyone deserves to feel this way. I would never sell it - just give it away. If you were there today - thank you. You have no idea how much it meant to me to have all of your beautiful, smiling faces looking back at me. My fellow instructors - you amaze me every time. This was a HUGE marker for me. A sign that life is back to normal now. I wont forget October 9th and the sea of pink in our sweet gym.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


We all have them - just some we can see more obviously. The ones on my body will remind me over and over again of the things I learned this year. They will tell me it is not the outside that matters but the inside. They will remind me of how much faith was required when my life was put in the hands of my surgeons. I will be reminded of my husbands gentle touch and caring heart as he nursed me back to health. I will remember the anguish on my children's faces when they thought I was in pain and their relief when they knew it was over. I wont forget the incredible love that poured over me from close friends to mere acquaintances. I will always be aware of God's mercy and love as He healed me. These scars are not a "badge" for what I did - they are a beautiful and permanent reflection of what others have done for me.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Negative energy

I just don't have time for this in my life. As a result I typically surround myself with positive people but on occasion we are forced to be around someone who is negative. I have one person in particular right now that just gets under my skin. I am not quite sure why I let this person get under my skin - usually I can ignore it. It is a good challenge for me to try and rise above and not let this person bring me down. I know from experience that this person will never change. I know that my life is good and perfect just the way it is. The question is do I take the path of least resistance and just let this person be who they are going to be to avoid confrontation? Or do I walk away from doing something I love in order to avoid this person? Or, do I confront this person when the need arises and tell them they are bringing everyone around them down? Thoughts?

Friday, October 1, 2010

Shallow Hal

We watched this older movie again the other night - just happened upon it while channel surfing. I have to say that I think it is a great movie - I also think that for the most part it is true. I believe most of us see inner beauty shining through and that is how we judge outer beauty - except when we look in the mirror. Isn't it true that when someone does something mean or obnoxious they tend to look a little ugly? Doesn't your picture of them change? I think that happens the other way too. Once you get to know someone their physical aspects sort of fade and you don't notice their frizzy hair or a few extra pounds - you notice their incredible smile and their shining eyes. It is too bad we don't have mirrors that reflect what other people see in us. That way we could adjust our attitudes - not our clothes and hair - to make ourselves look better.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Here it is. October. I can't believe it starts tomorrow - where did the summer go? My goal this month is to try and dispel fear surrounding breast cancer. I had several "scares" before the real deal turned my life upside down and I would imagine most women will, at some time in their life, have to face the unknown when a lump or abnormality is found. Our diagnostic tools are getting so good and they are finding so much more than they used to.

It is from the time that someone tells you there "might" be "something" there until the time you find out what it is that makes you a bit crazy. Questions swirl around in your head. What would I do?

The fact is you would just do what needs to be done. Your survival mode kicks into high gear and you just do it. Sometimes I wish I could summon that attitude at will - treat every side of my life with the same passion that I had to kick cancers butt. It is quite an amazing thing to realize how strong you can be.

So don't worry about it. Don't wallow in fear. Just do your self breast exams, get your mammograms and move on. If that bridge comes - you will cross it - and the other side might just look a little prettier.

Friday, September 24, 2010

8 week count down!

Holy cracker box! I only have 8 weeks to get my bootie in shape for this walk - yikes! I also have 2 weeks to get in shape to start teaching again. I am a little freaked out about being on the mic again. I have this fear that I wont know what to say and get stage fright (hard to imagine I know). I hope it is like riding a bike because 9 months is a long time to take a break from anything. I think "rusty" wont even begin to describe my first few times out.

I have developed a habit of making baked goods to bring to my doctors appointments. I guess it was something I could do to take up the time I would have been working out. Dr. Miracle thought I was just doing it to make everyone else fat while I wasn't working out..... maybe subliminally I was. Oops? Even so I am now well equipped to have a hardy supply of sweets to sell at our next bake sale fundraiser!

Thursday, September 23, 2010


I have had a couple of people tell me lately that they feel funny reading my blog. Like they are peeking into my windows or something. I do keep a few things private but for the most part my life is an open book. When I was younger I wanted to keep up the facade of being perfect. I would worry about what others thought of me. I used to lie often - sometimes without a reason - just to make a story more interesting or to get myself out of trouble. It was a lot of work to keep those walls up and remember the stories I had told. It was tiring. A waste of energy. In reality we are not perfect. We screw up. There will always be someone richer, smarter, prettier, younger, more talented, etc. I figured out awhile ago that most people just want to know that they are normal. Have something in common with someone else. So why hide our insecurities? We all have them.

Back to the voyeurism. I think it is easier being a voyeur with someone you don't know. I love reading other people's blogs - I don't feel like I am peeking. It is a bit harder reading about someone you know. It makes you feel like your relationship with that person needs to be more intimate. Well here is a nice bit of info for you. I have no idea who reads my blog. I don't know if you read it once a month or 4 times a day. So, have at it. Peek all you want and when I see you again I will never know the difference. On the other hand if you do want to have a deeper relationship with me I am open to that too.

Monday, September 20, 2010


Here are a couple of links to Julia's performance - if you can get past the fact that John recorded it sideways and just listen you can hear her but the video is not great - I will try and post the better one when we get it.

I gotta feeling



I have been sporting the "biker babe" hair lately and going without a hat. Yes my hair is perhaps 2 centimeters long but I really don't care anymore. I haven't colored it or anything yet but warm weather was enough to help me let go of my "security hat" and venture out.

This past weekend we went to Julia's talent show and a local BBQ where we saw many people we knew. Some of them have not seen me in a long time and it was fun to see their faces. The more people I talk to the more I hear that this year has been rough on many, many people. People are facing challenges they have never seen before. A look of relief was on those faces as they saw that I was OK. My hair growing back - color in my skin - mostly looking healthy. If she is OK than I will be OK too.

As we head around the bend towards 2011 I am encouraged that we will see changes for the good - remarkable changes. I am already planning my New Year's Eve bash to send 2010 packing and never look back.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Good Morning World!

And Happy 40th Birthday Sally!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Moving on

Well kids I am back to running carpools to and from music lessons and sporting events. Jack had his first appointment at the orthodontist office today. Julia will be performing in a talent show this weekend. I helped a little with the decorating of an outdoor fundraiser and I am making bracelets to sell to raise money for Susan G. Almost back to my usual busy self minus the working out and teaching.... life is moving on.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Life Rearranged

I am a guest blogger on this amazing and inspiring blog - Jeannett helps to raise money for all kinds of charities and shares stories of inspiration along the way. You will find it hard to stop reading and checking back in with her blog. Her own story is a reminder that we never know what hand we will be dealt - it is what we do with that hand that defines us.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


I was thinking last night how much we categorize and label ourselves into little boxes. It is how we make assumptions and draw conclusions. Our language getting in the way. Who is to say that someone who has never been to church or opened a religious book doesn't have stronger faith and a more solid relationship with God than someone who spends their whole life studying and pursuing their religion. I love the fact that we are all unique. We all have a different way of looking at things and we all have different relationships - especially with God. For some of us faith comes easily and for others the need for proof is almost overwhelming. For some of us life comes easily and for others it is always an uphill battle. The way we work on the inside is so different even though we are all people - like the innards of a watch. Over the last few months I have really come to understand that there are people out there that I will never understand and I shouldn't even try. They are just different than me - and that's OK.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Best advice ever!

I saw Dr. Miracle today because I had a bit of swelling in one side. We are watching it for now and it should be fine but the best part is he told me not to do anything like vacuuming, washing dishes etc for awhile - hee hee! The bad news is that until I see him again in 3 weeks I am not allowed to work out at all. Big BUMMER. I am trying to look at the big picture - realizing in the scheme of things this is not a long time. I am so grateful that everything has had such a good outcome. I am blessed - especially since I don't have to do any housecleaning :)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

My home is on fire

From the time I was born until I was ten years old I lived in a very rustic cabin in the hills above Boulder, Colorado. It was called Sunshine Canyon. It was a very magical time in my life where imagination ran my days - playing with my sisters outside in hills covered with wild flowers and trees. We had goats and a pony and we saw deer almost daily.

Two days ago a large fire started and now over 90 homes have burned. The smoke has covered the city of Boulder with ash and soot. The sky is orange and everyone's eyes are burning. It is 0% contained and threatens many more homes - some of which I know the owners.

My "cabin" has long been gone - torn down to be rebuilt as a large custom home - but my memories make me sad to think of those hills in flames. Please say a prayer for those people who have lost their houses and for the firefighters who can hopefully get a handle on this situation quickly.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Fountain of youth

So, I finally peeked and I am so happy. I feel like chemo robbed my body of 10 years. My skin looks older and my body is not nearly as toned (hopefully I will get that back) but the good new is that Dr. Miracle took that one part of me and made it look 20 again. They are not too big or too small and most definitely remind me of a younger version of myself. It brought tears to my eyes because it doesn't feel foreign - it is something I recognize. I feel whole. There must be magic in those hands:)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Miracle worker

Surgery went GREAT yesterday! We got a late start but Dr. Miracle finished in record time. I woke up with a pretty little granny bra on with gauze underneath that so I am not exactly sure what they look like yet but from what I can tell they are beautiful. Much softer than the expanders and I finally slept last night on my side and didn't feel like there was an egg underneath my arm. From what I can tell they look pretty natural. I have two drains in but they should come out next week. I will have to write later after I see the final product but I think Dr. Miracle should sign his name on his masterpiece. :) Grateful and amazed!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Chapter coming to a close

I wish I could express the joy I am feeling knowing that tomorrow will be my last step in this process. I am hoping the recovery is quick so I can get on with sharing everything I have learned in the last 8 months with all of you and many more along the way. It may sound strange but I would not trade any of this in. It has helped me grow exponentially. It has increased my faith ten fold (and I never thought my faith could). It has helped me to love deeper and trust stronger. The beauty it took away on the outside was brought to the inside. I hope I continue to grow and learn - but more importantly I hope to give and to share. I have not walked in your shoes, but I hope through this blog you have walked a bit in mine, and I hope you feel grace.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Half way to go!

With school in full swing and my final surgery only days away November is fast approaching. I am a little over half way there on my goal to raise $2300 for the Susan G. Komen 3 day walk. According to my virtual personal trainer I should be walking 5 -8 miles every weekend day and 3-5 miles during the weekdays (not happening.... uh oh). After I recover from surgery on Friday I will be hitting the pavement as often as I can to get ready. I plan on doing many walks in my future - not just Susan G. Komen. We need to find a cure as soon as possible and the more people we have working on it the better. Every $5 and $10 count so spread the word!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The other side

In the last month or so I have had the privilege of speaking to (and getting to know) 3 beautiful women who were recently diagnosed with breast cancer. All three wanted someone to talk to who had been through it. I feel blessed to be the one who was recommended to help them walk this journey. I had some breast cancer angels along the way who helped answer all of the silly questions that kept me up at night. I hope that I can bring them some peace. Some comfort. Some encouragement. I have said before that every journey is different, and we all walk different paths, but sometimes knowing that someone walked a similar journey and came out on the other side stronger can lift you up. Stay strong and have hope my new friends.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Hair update

Before my hair fell out and after I shaved it.

After it has started coming back in!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


I had my pre-op appointment today for my final surgery! I am so excited to be almost done..... DONE! I have to admit that I have been a bit of a bear to be around just because this waiting around drives me crazy. I am so close. It is like the last 20 minutes of an 8 hour drive - always the hardest. I know by October I will be able to teach again and I can not tell you how happy that makes me. October - Breast Cancer Awareness Month and also my birthday. I can't think of a better way to celebrate!

Monday, August 23, 2010


So I had this idea (that I ran by Liz) that I wanted to teach fitness classes to the doctors and nurses and staff where I received all of my treatment. I thought it must be so hard coming into that job every day and dealing with people like me. Lots of stress. I imagined that they must feel so busy that they probably just run home after work and never get that wonderful release that comes from exercise. Liz scheduled a meeting with with the powers that be and today was that meeting. We discussed different possibilities of when and where. The funny thing though is that they thought that if I mentioned the word "exercise" people would not come. I should use words like "relaxation" and "rejuvenation". I may start them out that way with some light yoga and breathing but once they are hooked I am going to kick it into gear a bit. Fortunately Liz is the only one in that office that reads this blog and I know she wont tattle on me.

I hope it works out. I would love to pay a little of what I received back.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Hair Fairy

Dear Hair Fairy,

I am trying very hard to be patient with my hair growth. I am so thankful that you recently helped Victoria Beckham and Carey Mulligan design the newest and hippest style that I can try and emulate. Please keep it around for at least a few months so I can grow my hair with them and stay the cool cat that I think I am. If you feel compelled you can magically grow my hair faster in my sleep - I promise to leave you money under my pillow.


Monday, August 16, 2010

Great Weekend!

My darling sister in law, Paula came to visit us this past weekend and brought two of her kids. We were also blessed to have "Grandele and Nonno" here as well. It made for a wonderful weekend of outdoor movies, beach, fantastic dinners and wonderful conversation. Thanks for such a great time and finishing out the last weekend of summer with us. The kids start school on Wednesday.... geeeeeeesh!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Flip Side

I have been on Tamoxifen for exactly one month today. I have not noticed any side effects except hot flashes (and that is good - the list is long). I had a brief hiatus from them after chemo and before I started Tamoxifen but they have come back with a vengeance. They don't usually happen during the day (which is nice) but they hit me all night long. I have come up with a system though. If I roll one direction I will be all covered up with blankets and if I roll the other direction I have no blankets on at all. Thus starts the cycle, every night. Over and over again I am rolling and rolling.

I am looking at it this way. I am getting more sleep than I did when I had young babies and that is a good thing. It is only heat waking me up and not someone screaming requiring me to get out of bed and feed them. It only lasts a few minutes. It is well worth the end result if it keeps cancer away.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Music to my ears

About 3 weeks ago Julia was asked to join a local youth rock band. They were in a bind because their female vocalist left, their lead vocalist was on vacation and they had a few gigs already lined up. With some cajoling we convinced her to give it a try. She attended long practices and in 3 weeks learned 12 songs she had never heard before. Julia is a country girl and this was a rock band. This music was very unfamiliar to her. She learned songs like "Old Time Rock and Roll", "Blue Suede Shoes", "Rockin Robin", and an Ozzy Osbourne song "Crazy Train". Yesterday they performed for the first time with Julia as their lead singer at the local Chili Cook off. They were a marvelous hit! I am proud she stuck with it even though there were a few times she wanted to quit after practicing for hours. They are still a bit rough around the edges but I think in time they will be very polished. She will perform again this Friday at a local Deli and I will be sitting back with a smile on my face because she is happy.

I also have a hair update - coming along! It seems to be very similar to my pre-chemo hair and I wasn't expecting that. I was expecting very curly hair of a different color but this hair is straight and ashy blond (my base color before Todd works his magic on it). I am going to schedule an appointment with him in early October and trot around town without a hat as my birthday present to myself :)