Friday, December 3, 2010

going to be in the Big Apple tomorrow?

I wish I was!
I would meet up with you for the
Martha Stewart Holiday Craft sale.

"Dozens of artisans and crafters, including many
Martha Stewart company employees,
will be selling their handmade projects and crafts.
We guarantee you'll find a gift for everyone on your list!"
Martha Stewart Holiday Craft Sale - Martha Stewart Crafts
12:00 noon-6:00 p.m.
Starrett-Lehigh Building
601 West 26th Street
(between Eleventh and Twelfth avenues)
9th Floor
New York, NY 10001

Have a way good time!

p.s. feel free to purchase me anything...
I am sure I would love everything!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

December is here!

I am grateful for magical events!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I'm baaaack and how to make a decision {Ch. 1}

I am content.
{for today}
It is raining outside...
it would be lovely if it was white fluffy snowflakes piling up,
but I, too, like the rain.
A lot has happened since I last posted.
I went to good ol' New Orleans and healed my lungs.
Realized a few days into July that I hadn't coughed-
time to celebrate, indeed!
I spent one additional month with our girls, regaining my strength and
walking our southern belle grand pup then returned home to a follow-up internal sonogram/ultrasound -- is there a difference?
I didn't need to do this; really, I chose to have it done
to close the chapter entirely on the book of my health happenings of May, June and July.
A new school year calendar was laid out freshly before me.
I wanted to be entirely confident I wasn't going to have a repeat episode of May so I confidently went to my appointment the Friday before school began.
That book was not closed.
Oh, no it was not.
It was thrown wide open when it was discovered I had a new, larger cyst.
Not good.
I have never had one previous to my May episode; thus, my dr thought it a fluke.
Usually a female has ovarian cysts for many, many years; not me.
The technician couldn't believe I wasn't curled up on the floor in a ball of pain.
Ummm, no. I wasn't in any pain at all.
Is that a blessing or a curse?
Hard to decide.
When my dr received my results her office called to set up an appointment to discuss with me my "options". I wondered and pondered what those options would be. I asked many a teacher, friend, neighbor. No one had had an experience like mine, which I did not find comforting. Everyone had either had super heavy periods {not me} or very sporadic periods {not me, as regular as can be}.
I just kept thinking, roll with this, Mari.
Just roll.
A week later I was in the dr's office and she said they were definitely going to take out the cyst.
Then I was given the option of having everything taken out.
Rewind. Please repeat. tubes.utures.and.cervix.removed
when I have totally normal, regular periods?
Oh, the book was open, wide open, with many an unwritten chapter ahead.
But I don't want this book.
I don't want to be a character in this novel.
I don't want to be the leading lady in this role.
No, no, no.
I decline.
I politely decline.
I vehemently decline.

How does one make such a decision?
She, my outstanding dr, that I years ago had waited three years to get into her practice,
stated, "Hormones or cancer."
Excuse me?
She said one needs to make a decision based on their family history; if cancer runs in the family tree, most women opt for everything to be taken out as there isn't a test for ovarian cancer.
I grabbed my right side and resolutely proclaimed,
"I am keeping my right ovary."
Then I inquired, "Why would I have my right ovary taken out
if I will have still have my left one?"
She said, "I am taking out your left ovary no matter what."
I gasped, "You said you were taking out the cyst,
you didn't mention my whole entire left ovary was coming out."
I then grabbed my left side and said, "It could have given me our children."
I absolutely thought sitting on that table I was only going to have my left ovary removed
and we would be done.
She said to take a week and think about it; to talk with my family.
I said they will 100% want me to do what I feel is best for me.
I asked her what I could read, where could I look up the research,
whom should/could I talk with regarding this monumental decision?

She again explained that there is no correct answer.
Each body responds differently and there are no predictors.
One doesn't know how their body will respond.
*this was very, very hard for me to digest*
Give me something to research, people to talk with; some concrete information;
please point me in a direction to understand all this so I can make a decision.
Hormones or cancer.
I declared, "No doubt, God is a man."

My doctor did prove correct in the next six days as I asked anybody
[practically everybody]
what they would do:
left ovary only or the whole she-bang?
If cancer runs in their family, especially women whom have lost a loved one to breast cancer
{and I, incredibly sadly, had my eyes opened in this, so many; far too many, each one is too many!} or a father to cancer they did not hesitate, not even for a second.
They ALWAYS responded to get all of my female organs removed.
No question. No hesitation. Do it.

We have other things in our family tree; but, very, very fortunately, not cancer.
I really was hanging onto my my right ovary...
to have natural menopause.
I cannot emphasize this enough; I was having regular periods on a regular schedule.
I had not had nor experienced any perimenopausal symptoms.
WHY would I have all my organs taken out?
why, why, why?

And...I would experience "traumatic surgical menopause".
My understanding, of course I am not a doctor, but again, my understanding,
is the moment you are on that surgical table and they snip your ovaries,
you experience an abrupt hormone withdrawal
[estrogen, progesterone and testosterone].
Not an easy decision to make.
No gradual transition into menopause.
Definitely a life changing decision and obviously no turning back.
And no real answers.

Where oh where is my crystal ball?!

Then, about on day three or four of my decision making week,
our youngest daughter called and said,
"Mom, you are going to go into menopause someday.
It could be gradual or sudden. You don't know that either.
You could have only your left ovary removed and then you could have a cyst grow in your right ovary, as this may be in your system and then you will have to go through another surgery. The greatest risk of surgery, Mom, is anesthesia and opening the body cavity (infection). Why not get it all taken care of now?"
And..."There is no test for ovarian cancer so why not get this taken care of and never have to worry about it?"
I said, "Because cancer does not run in our family. WHY would I do this to myself?"
Then she, with her master's in neuroscience quietly replied, "Mom, you have your sister and your mother and her mother, your maternal grandmother. That is not a large sample size!
Just get this taken care of. Completely."

When I returned to my gynecologist seven days later, I replied resolutely,
without hesitation, "I am going to have it all taken out."
Finally a decision.
Dr asked, "Final answer?"
I felt good about it.

Now let's get the show {or surgery} on the road.
Let's do this!

I must mention also, and some may find this embarrassing but I am fine with it because I had no one to discuss all this with so I am putting it all out there for you or anyone you know who may go through this, I also have bladder incontinence. When I was formed in my mother or when ever these things take place, maybe puberty, I have had a tipped uterus.
From the first time I went to a gynecologist before we were married I was told I had a tipped uterus. It has tipped all these years onto my bladder, resulting in my bladder incontinence.

I had asked my dr, Dr E, at the first appointment if I had a total abdominal hysterectomy, could I please also have Dr H, a urogynecologist, fix my bladder? Mrs Dr E had referred me to Mr Dr H three years ago and I had undergone a series of bladder function tests.
Dr H said I definitely needed my bladder reattached.

This honestly is also what tipped me into choosing to have everything removed; get it completely taken care of, all of it.

Now to schedule the surgery(ies).
Tricky, as each of the two involved surgeons have different surgery days of the week!
Heads up--if your dr's office calls and says they need to reschedule you please try to be patient and understanding!
I knew one of the doctor's was going to have to cancel their patients for that slate of time I would be in surgery. No one wants to upset their patients by changing schedules and both my doctors are sought after as people travel to be treated by them.
Um...both also kind of have big ego's.
They are great at what they do but which one was going to change her or his schedule? sister had given me an incredibly generous gift for my birthday back in April; to go to Old Quebec. I had suggested we go in the fall. Everything was a go for us to have our passports stamped on September 19.

This, my second appointment with Dr E, was September 8.

I didn't mention our travel plans as they said I needed to get this surgery done.
I was rolling with it, remember?
No stressing.
Go with the flow.

I thought it may take a week for them to coordinate everything.

Three business days later, Monday, September 13, my two dear friends Linda and Deb, were here visiting with me and as I was explaining all this to them, my cell phone rang.

It was L, the scheduler from Dr E's office, and a former student and she said, "You went after your appointment and had a chest x-ray, mammogram and your blood work. You are cleared for surgery. How about this Thursday?"

This Thursday, as in 60 hours?

I was slightly a flutter.
My mom and sister who were going to take a turn each to fly out and take care of me live on the west coast which involves plane tickets and the purchase thereof. Last minute is expensive.
L said, "I have secured an O.R. and Dr E is on board. WE will not know until we confirm first thing in the morning with Dr H's office."

Was I going to Old Quebec on Sunday, September 19
or to the operating room on Thursday, September 16?

Either way I was packing a bag!

to be continued...

p.s. it is still raining....awaiting a dusting of snow.

Monday, June 14, 2010

have summer off...will travel

Packing my bags for a trip!
Letting my lungs heal here or there...
time to go there.
I have already sat here, coughing, for four weeks--nuts.
The downside to traveling?
Missing my Mr R!!!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

let the good times roll

If I was going to go camping,
this is my way to enjoy the great outdoors!
Cute, cute!
Fun, fun!

Monday, June 7, 2010

my mom is going to camp

I told my mom yesterday, "It's like you are packing for summer camp!"
kinda. sorta. to a degree.
She is having knee replacement surgery tomorrow.
I am so proud of her!
She will then go to rehab for two weeks--
that's where the summer camp comparison came in.
Please say a prayer tomorrow for my Mom, Ellie!
Good luck, Mom,
we love, love, love you.

Friday, June 4, 2010

a celebration

After 18 days my fever has broken!!!
Someone mentioned it is June.
I am time frozen on May 17.
My voice is weak and I am still coughing a lot
but I have the whole summer ahead to heal as today is the
last day of the academic year.
{obviously I am at home-boo.}
Many have asked what happened.
After a ba-zillion tests, of all varieties,
they believe that while I was severely vomiting
after the ruptured ovarian cyst,
I aspirated particles into my lungs.
An unfortunate side effect I am now experiencing is
my stomach, esophagus and tongue are torn up
from the super strong meds and steroids
making eating. very. painful.
But aren't I lucky this is all it is?
I am indeed.
And for that I am celebrating our bodies;
whatever is going on with them, good and bad,
because it is the only one each of us has.
Come to the party, the table of gratitude, joy and celebration,
and as Kool & The Gang say,
"Bring your good times, and laughter too!"
{And happy summer vacation!}

Saturday, May 29, 2010

the Arlington ladies

I think this is amazing.
I, too, want to be an Arlington Lady.
What an honor to honor our fallen heroes.
Their mission: to ensure no solider is buried alone.
The full article is here:

Friday, May 28, 2010

bumper sticker

When I went to the doctor this morning,
yes, I am still running a 100.6 fever-ugh-
and was walking in for my appointment,
a lady had this bumper sticker on her vehicle.
I inquired where she had purchased it.
Not that I would have the energy to actually get out of the
car a second time on the way home and purchase one,
But Mr R could on his way home from work.
She replied that she had had them made on Thursday.
I was thrilled!
I want to be sensitive here, but many times I feel people
{including me} don't "get it" if "it" is not in their
region or neighborhood.
That she had taken the initiative and
had them made was a boost for my spirit.
She offered me one and I was lucky a have a few bills
in my wallet to offer her.
She said, "Here, take these and help me share them."
I am not happy with BP.
Is anybody?
But I also don't want to punish my local gas station,
so it is a fine line, isn't it?
And who knows what else BP makes that I consume.
*I want anybody in the Gulf region who reads my blog
to know we are aware and we do care!*
Anyone want a bumper sticker?

Bill explains...

I saw this CNN John King interview with Bill Nye, the Science Guy.
Bill, Bill, Bill explains a complicated process,
BP's {naughty word=BP} 'top kill' effort in a simple manner--
thank you Bill.
He also addresses some very important points, so, in his language,
"Please consider the following."

Can we even wrap our brains around this?

I am so, so sorry.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

front porch gift

Thank you for all the e-mails and texts inquiring of my progress.
{I did not post for that reason but it sure is nice; thank you.}
I am on the road to recovery but so many attacks on the
body at once is whew, wham bam.
I have always tried to set the example to our girls
to offer specific offers of help rather than the generic,
"Let me know if I can do anything for you."
Gosh, has it been returned ten fold.
Our daughters, my mom and sistah have been wonderful
in their love and support from afar.
Yesterday, these are three texts I received from a darling friend:
"Does a little chicken soup from Panera sound good?"
"Or maybe some fruit...something cold?"
Then came, "Or anything...a fruit smoothie?"
I thanked her so much but replied that
her texts and kindness' were the best treats.
Well....when we stepped out last night to go for yet another sonogram,
I found this container of Gerber Daisies on our porch from her
--what a cheerful, happy gift!
May we all be blessed with caring, kind people
in our lives and may we reach out and extend ourselves likewise.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

gifts of nature

I am sick.
I have been sick since last Monday; eight (8!) days ago.
No one wants to hear each others bad germs stories
but I will tell you that last Monday
I moved all the elementary students out of the room
in record time before the eruption began
--that is not the visual education a child
needs to gain nor keep in their minds eye.
[I was on the opposite side of the room and no way was there
time for me to get across the room and to the ladies room.]
In all this time alone, as I haven't been able to
read or look at a computer or television screen,
I have had plenty of time to reflect and I am sure grateful for a body.
Being under the weather, fighting a fever for all these days,
sure helps one appreciate their good health.
Cheers to good health.
I have also thought of those disabled or ill with serious diseases
and how much more challenging life is for them
and their caretakers.
Bless all of you and may I be even more patient
in my teaching and in life and more willing to serve you
and walk in your shoes and beside you.
I am grateful for the sweet birds around our home;
their chirping and their songs of communication.
Do birds sing out of joy, just as we may hum or whistle?
I adore our backyard bunnies and the rabbit nest/clutch.
I am grateful for an awesome husband who brings
{and eats with me!} Popsicles.
Even if he took half a day off go golfing!
shhhh; do not tell him I told you that.
Life is good, life is great,
especially when filled with love!
Then it is waaay good.

Friday, May 14, 2010

a third graders public service message

I adore this painting I saw hanging in the hallway by a third grader.
This group made public service messages in art class.
I truly believe her message,
"Treat others the way you want to be treated."
Notice, too, the latest accessory...ducks!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

the tip of the iceberg

something significantly larger;
colossal even.
{photo one, flickr giladr; photo two, google}

Friday, May 7, 2010

looking into the eyes of a potential storm

This was on the news last evening, forecasting for today.
"Oh bother," Pooh would say.
Currently this is what is headed our way--until 11 pm,
all that bright orange {not good}.
You can see our states outline if you squint your eyeballs.
[sorry these are so blurry or did you think you need glasses?]
We are now under a severe warning...
and a tornado watch.
Come on and admit it...
a snow storm is much more predictable than this!
Plus, when its snowing,
one can lounge in front of the fire, cuddle, roast marshmallows
and watch the falling snow
rather than huddle in the basement during a tornado
all the while sirens are blaring and the wind and rain
are thrashing around.
And in the former scenario,
Pooh could enjoyably eat honey from his honey jar
and Tigger could be flouncy fun, fun, fun
cuz he's the only one,"Grrrrr."

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

the fields are ready

Outside school today, on the way home,
I saw Farmer Brown out in his fields.
{If you look carefully he is on the ground
trying to fix his piece of farm machinery;
a never ending task for farmers.}
Our new school is in the background, to the left--it is huge!
But only a tiny portion shows in this photo.
Out my window, to the left, on the main {country} road to the school,
{I had pulled onto the side rode so as to not hold up any traffic
taking the photo of Farmer Brown--because there is so much traffic
as you can see-lol} another piece of equipment is being
hauled from one field to another a few miles down the road.
A new planting season is upon us!
{if you enjoy fields like we enjoy fields, please notice the curve
at the end corner of the field--love it!}

Monday, May 3, 2010

Tis Mr. R's birthday week!
{flickr photo by molly_mualla}

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

learning and knowledge

Good luck to both our girlies whom each
have a final tomorrow!
{photo, i think, by flickr Clifford}

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Remember this--
very little is needed to make a happy life.
~Marcus Aurelius
{flickr photo}

Thursday, April 22, 2010

celebrate the earth

"The materials of wealth are in the earth, in the seas,
and in their natural and unaided productions.
~Daniel Webster

{photo I took on the beautiful North Shore of Oahu}

Saturday, April 17, 2010

for my oldest, with love

You have climbed a mountain the past few months
--such a full plate
{all amazing}
and accomplished it well.
Now, sleep, sleep, sleep until Monday morning.
We will not text nor call.
Sweet, restful dreams.
[google image]

Thursday, April 15, 2010

number crunching

Today is a "numbers" day.
Lots of numbers swirling around in pretty heads.
Tax day, yes, for all in America.
For me...
it's my birthday!
Thanks to my Mom and Dad for having me,
loving me, teaching me right from wrong--
not just when it's easy but {hopefully} always or most of the time.
And to be thoughtful, kind and compassionate.
I have much to learn but am grateful for
what I have experienced thus far in this journey of life.
I hope I can continue to find and fulfill the measure of my creation--
whatever that may be.
Celebrate each breathe, day and moment
as each one is a miracle!
{photo by Anthony Peters}

Monday, April 12, 2010

I adore spring everywhere, but my favorite spot
to welcome and enjoy it each day
is just outside our bedroom window!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

goodbye spring {temporarily}

This is what we saw and heard on our
local television weather/news last night at 10:30.
We were told we would be awoken in the night by these
four elements of the severe weather forecast.
It had been a whopping 85 degrees
so the house was quite warm and due to the impending storm
we could not open the windows.
Who is going to crank on whole house air conditioning
for one evening? No one I know.
So the night was uncomfortably warm and unsettling.
Luckily, when we awoke, the storm had fizzled
on cue over our area, which is just fine!
As I mentioned, it was 85 yesterday; currently 45 degrees,
which is a little chilly after the past few days.
I came home from school, promptly opened the windows for fresh air,
and with that, I am going to take a nap!
[photo three by flickr sakura*aya]

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

and today...

A neighborhood flower fashion show!
Pinks were well represented as well as the
show popping oranges.
The first tulips of the season=joy!
And amazingly, the daffodils did not freeze in last weeks snow.
There is beauty all around!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

a blossom a day

I could not believe my eyes!
This photo I took this afternoon is the same tree
I posted first yesterday.
{evidently, warm temperatures induce rapid flowering.}
Also on today's walk, I discovered fresh, pink buds on these trees.
Spring is blooming!

Monday, April 5, 2010

new beginnings

On my walk this afternoon after school
I kept stopping and admiring the tree buds,
in all their varieties.
We are experiencing unusually high {I think record breaking}
temperatures in the 80's and it has been a joy to be out in the sun!

going for four

How we loved being Cameron Crazies for two years
while Mr R was in grad school at Duke.
Goooooooo D-U-K-E!!!
{although J had Butler in the final four--congratulations!}
[graphic from duke passion crazy site]

Friday, April 2, 2010

Dark Friday, Bright Sunday

"Each of us will have our own Fridays--those days when the universe itself seems shattered and the shards of our world lie littered about us in pieces. We all will experience those broken times when it seems we can never be put together again. We will all have our Fridays.
But, Sunday will come. In the darkness of our sorrow, Sunday will come. No matter our desperation, no matter our grief, in this life or the next, Sunday will come."

"I think of how dark that Friday was
when Christ was lifted up on the cross.
On that Friday, the Savior of mankind was
humiliated and bruised, abused and reviled.
It was a Friday filled with devastating, consuming sorrow.
I think of all the days since the beginning of this world's history,
that Friday was the darkest."
"But the doom of that day did not endure.
The despair did not linger because on Sunday, the resurrected Lord burst the bonds of death.
He ascended from the grave and appeared gloriously triumphant as the Savior of all mankind.
And in an instant the eyes that had been filled with ever-flowing tears dried. The lips that had whispered prayers of distress and grief now filled the air with wondrous praise, for Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, stood before them as the firstfruit of the Resurrection, the proof that death is merely the beginning of a new and wondrous existence."

"We will all rise from the grave.
Because of the life and eternal sacrifice of the Savior of the world,
we will be reunited with those we have cherished. On that day we will know the love of our Heavenly Father and will rejoice that the Messiah overcame all that we can live forever."

Death is not the end of existence.
Because of our beloved Redeemer, we can lift up our voices,
even in the midst of our darkest Fridays, and proclaim,
"O death, where is they sting?
O grave, where is they victory?"
{1 Corinthians 15:55}

"May we live in thanksgiving for the priceless gifts that come to us as sons and daughters of a loving Heavenly Father and for the promise of that bright day when we shall rise triumphant from the grave."

"No matter how dark our Friday, Sunday will come."

"He is Risen!"

This message was shared in our home this past week
by our "Home Teachers",
in our case a father and son from church who every month
visit with our family, see how we are doing and share a spiritual thought.

Of course the message is not new.

But it sure gives us an anchor of faith and hope
and redeeming love, doesn't it?
Happy, glorious Easter!

{material from Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, october 2006}
[flickr photos by photomato; bpbp Brian Peterson; F-2]

oh happy day!

Happy Birthday, Jessica!
Skiing upon fresh powder today!
And a concert tonight~
Happy Birthday!!!

{flickr photos by butaho, McMormick Kitchens, and trondjs}

Thursday, April 1, 2010

I won?! No fooling

I could hardly believe out of 275 entries
I won a gift certificate for a purse
from designer Aki Takada of Oktak.
To say I am thrilled is an understatement!
Her bags are limited edition, handmade and beautiful.
The question posed:
"What is the most interesting thing one might find
if they snooped inside your handbag?"
My response?
"Notes I get to keep when students pass them.
I never read them but they are saucy, I am sure!"
Now the difficult part...
which handbag should I choose?
Which would you choose?