Friday, June 13, 2014

All Clear

Yesterday was a very trying day.  I started out attending a User Group meeting for work and spent four hours listening to the speaker talk about next iterations of software development.  Some very cool things on the horizon, but I couldn't get it out of my mind that I needed to be at Froedtert at 2:00.

I needed to go back in for another biopsy; this time a stereotactic biopsy.  Ultimately that meant lying on a table face down while I was squished, poked, prodded, cut and pinched over about an hour and half time frame.  I could say it was the single most painful experience of my life.  It wasn't, but it made me extremely uncomfortable, and it hurt.  Plain and simple.

After the biopsy they did yet another mammogram.  This was the fifth in three weeks.   I hadn't anticipated having to go through this when I decided to not cancel my appointment.

After the biopsy, my husband and I took a ride to Mequon to pick up a new used jeep...something he can use to occupy his time.  

After that, and a quick pizza for dinner, we headed to the football meeting where we tried to accomplish something for the Fest and this upcoming season.

Last night was awful.  It was painful to lay on my back and either of my sides, and I tossed and turned most of the night.

Today was extremely busy at work.  It was my interns last day, so I was trying to wrap up his tenure while finishing our company newsletter, created a couple of blasts for next week, and worked on the football team lists.  

The call from Froedtert came in at 10 am this morning and I thought it was just the nurse checking in on me.  That's how the call started.  How do you feel?  Is there swelling?  How about bruising?  Any blood discharge?  My answers:  I'm sore; yes there is swelling; yes there is bruising; yes there is blood.   Then she hit me with we have the results.  I was sick to my stomach and thought the worse.  I thought she was buttering me up.  Then she told me the test was benign and we don't need to see your for six months.  I was beside myself.  I hung up and immediately called my husband.  I felt incredibly relieved.

We had cake this afternoon that took my intern completely by surprise.   I knew we were celebrating him and wishing him well.   I was also celebrating me.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

5 Minutes in a Moms Head

I read this article today (5 Minutes in a Moms Head) on the Huffington Post.  It made me take a step back and think about everything I have going on in my head.  I realized that I need to sit down in a room with pen and a notebook and write down everything I need to remember.  Not just things that I need to do, things that I need to remember to remind my husband to do, or my kids to do, or my boss to do.  Things that I need to do at home.  And at work.  And with the football program, or my blog, the books I'm attempting to write.  I have notes about the pictures I want to post and those that need to be cleaned up before I post them.

I keep calendars.  Lots of them.  On my phone.  On my wall.  In my email.  On my desk.  In my head. I thank the makers of Post-It notes for allowing me to use those little yellow dreams that often get misplaced or tossed or shoved in a folder to never be seen again.

My to-do list is long; a few pages at least, a book at most.  I take great pride when I'm able to mark of one of the hundred things I need to get done on a daily basis.  Fast forward a few days, and my to-do list looks like it was attacked by a 4-k'er armed with smelly markers and a box of 64 crayons.

Last week I attended a Lunch and Learn put on management in my office.  It was based on a book called "Getting Things Done" by David Allen.  It's about the art of stress free productivity and organization and he focused on organizing not only your email boxes but voicemail and the hundreds of post it notes, to do lists and calendar entries any single person may have.  First and foremost, in email, you need to create folders.  He told us, much to my internal giggling, that your inbox should always be empty.  When you see something come in, if you can't easily answer the email/question in two minutes or less, you should move it to a folder (to do, to follow up on, to keep for future get the picture.)

After the session I was ready to tackle my work inbox that houses, at last glance, 4,609 emails.  Yes, you read right.  Keep in mind, there are only 75 that are marked as new that I really need to file, follow up on or delete  I'm a firm believer in hanging on to emails incase I need to CMA.  In layman's terms...that's COVER MY ASS.   In addition to the 4,609 emails at work, there are hundreds in our home account and thousands in an account I use for Facebook, LinkedIn, Amazon, Blogs, Recipes, Job Searches, Event Management, and my boys high school Gridiron Club.  

I asked a question during the session about sent file...should you organize those?  Answer was, no.  It's not necessary.  Interesting thought on that and one that I'll explore after I clean up the inboxes.

As for the Huffington Post article today, I agree with it wholeheartedly.  As I was writing this entry, I added another six items that I need to follow up on, and I saved two articles I need to read at a later date.

Good lord help me.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Oh Happy Day!

A nurse from the cancer clinic called today and gave me the all-clear.  All samples were benign, but they may want to go back in and take a few more samples as precaution since they don't believe they reached the original spot on my left side.  I'm still thinking positive and breathed a sigh of relief when the call came in.  I won't know for sure until sometime early next week.

Next up...follow up appointment in six months.  I will never, ever miss another doctors appointment again.  Work can wait; health cannot.

I'd like to jump for joy, but I'm stuck at work on this beautiful June day.  Needless to say, I'll be driving home with the windows open and the radio blasting.

Have a great weekend all!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Day After

One day post biopsy and I sit here wondering what the results are going to be.  The radiologist was pretty certain she would have to go back in again and take another sample.  She didn't say it was a bad sign, just that she was in the wrong place and that the spot looks a little deeper.

A call from a nurse today resulted in finding out that Froedtert was without power this morning, so I don't anticipate hearing anything until Monday.  It's going to be a long weekend of waiting and wondering.

My husband is my rock.  He was at the hospital with me, albeit in the waiting room and unable to delve further into the inner sanctum of the breast care center.   It made me think of the day our oldest was born.  He was waiting with me, then was ushered to change into scrubs and I was taken into the OR to be prepped for my first C-section.  When he came back to the original room, I wasn't there and he flipped out.  Literally, going to kill someone freak out.  He took the nearest orderly and pushed him against the wall and demanded to know where I was taken. Thankfully, my doctor heard the ruckus and calmed him down.

I'm keeping positive knowing that worrying isn't healthy and this could all be just a precaution. One of two things will happen.  I'll find out there is nothing wrong and I'll move about my day, or I'll found out that there is something wrong and I'll tackle it, side by side, with my husband, kids, family and friends.

Monday, June 2, 2014

When Reality Strikes

For nearly the last four years, I have put off the inevitable.  I didn't schedule a mammogram.  My doctor put in the order at Froedtert, and it just sat there.  Every year I've gone in for my physical and he's mentioned it.  I always put it off.  I blamed work. I blamed my schedule.  I blamed the kids schedule.

Last year a friend of Doug's and mine was diagnosed with breast cancer and subsequently had to go through radiation and chemo.  Even that didn't convince me I should actually make my appointment.  

A couple of months ago another friend, one that I've been friends with for the last 15 years, had a scare and had to have surgery.  Then a second surgery.  It really hit home.  I scheduled my appointment, and as the day got closer, I started to make excuses.  I've been swamped at work.  Ryan had surgery scheduled.  Shawn was just getting home finishing his second year of college.

Needless to say, the morning of my mammogram, I hopped on the expresssway and started to go into work and was going to blow off the appointment.  I ended up getting off and swinging back to the hospital because it's about time I take care of myself.

It was the morning of May 23rd, two days after my youngest's knee surgery.  I had two interviews scheduled in my office, and we were leaving for our cabin promptly at 3:30.  I didn't have time to go, but I did.

On Monday, May 26 at 11:34 pm I received an email with a MyChart new test result.  I saw this email at around 3:00 am Tuesday morning.  It confirmed that they think they found something.  Four somethings.  I needed to schedule another mammogram and possible ultrasound.

Needless to say, I couldn't sleep the rest of that night.  I didn't wake my husband, I just laid in bed thinking about how stupid I was for waiting.  I called Froedtert Cancer Center on Tuesday morning and they said they couldn't schedule the new appointment until my doctor put through the order.  I sent him an email...the order went through the system at 4:29 pm on Tuesday.  I picked up the phone to call the CC and schedule the appt and they were closed for the day.  The next morning I had 8 am, 9 am and 10 am meetings, so I wasn't able to schedule anything until 11:30.

I made it through last week just wondering what was going to happen.  My first appointment was scheduled for this morning at 8:45 am, the second at 9:30.  I was there at 8:00 hoping I could get in early.  I did, and after two more mammograms and a dozen pictures, I was sent back to the waiting room to wait.  They needed to do the ultrasound.   

Fast forward to 9:45, and I was in there waiting yet again.  One full ultrasound, waiting, then the doctor came into to do a live ultrasound.  Fast forward to 10:30 am and the diagnosis is undetermined.  I have to have two, possibly three biopsies this week Wednesday.

Tomorrow is my 44th birthday.  I like to think I'm stronger than most people, but I sit here wondering what Wednesday will bring.  My kids wanted to give me my presents early tonight, I said no...I wanted something to look forward to tomorrow.

It could be nothing. It could just be a little spot on both sides.  I won't sit here and worry about something I cannot control.   I'll go through the night tonight attending my youngest's track banquet...I'll go to work tomorrow and Wednesday morning and get through my super busy days and hopefully keep my mind off the important things in life.  I'll celebrate my birthday, at home with my husband and kids...because that's what matters in life.   And I'll never, ever put off attending an appointment again.  

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Wait

No parent should ever need to take their child into surgery.  As we sit here waiting for Ryan's surgery, I think back to the others we've gone through.   Ryan had tubes put in twice and his adenoids taken out before he was 18 months old.   Fast forward 11 years and we were again faced with a surgery on Shawn's broken leg.

The year after, two more surgeries for Shawn and then one for Ryan after a baseball cleat to the face.

Let's not forget an 11 day hospital stay for Doug with a dozen procedures including emergency back surgery.

This never gets easier. In the big scheme of things, the number of surgeries isn't too bad.  It's hard understanding that since the only two surgeries I've had were when the boys were born.

As I watch Ryan sitting in bed watching Sports Center and laughing a Vines, it makes it easier to know he's going to go under the knife in less than an hour.

I love this kid with all my heart and know his demeanor and sense of humor will have him on the road to recovery in no time at all.  Love you Magoo.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


I've been inspired.  I've been writing.  Alot.  I finally decided to sit down and tackle the book I always wanted to write.  I have no idea if anyone will read it, and that's ok.  It amazes me how the words flow when I do have a few minutes to write.  Thankfully, there has been no writers block.  Yet.  I know it's inevitable, which is why I take every spare moment to write; even if it means jotting down ideas in a notebook I keep on my desk that houses my to do list, or writing in my Notes app on my iPhone at 2:00 am when I can't sleep.

There were moments in the past where I have had great aspirations of writing the Great American novel.  I don't know where it came from, but it's always been in the back of my mind.  I said above it's ok if no one reads it... who am I kidding?  I want everyone to read it.  The fear of rejection is firmly sitting in the back of my mind, but as the words flow, it doesn't scare me any longer.  There will be people that don't care for my writing style.  I hope there are others that love it and decide to share it with their friends.  I've been making a list of who I would like to read the draft.  There are quite a few friends that I think will understand exactly what I am saying.  I'm hoping they laugh when I laugh, and cry when I cry, and that they are critical enough to make sure I'm not making a fool of myself.

I'm hoping to finish the rough draft by mid summer.  I think it's achievable even with life getting in the way.  Sit tight.  I might tap you for a critique.

Monday, April 28, 2014

The Push to Finish Strong

It's the push.  The push for my kids to finish out their respective sophomore years strong.  With a sophomore in college and a sophomore in high school, their lives couldn't be more different or more similar.  One is focusing on trying to pick out the right classes in the right order so he can move on with his life, while balancing a full class schedule, clinical education sessions, art projects, football practice, weightlifting practice and his fraternity.  The other is focusing on his current classes, which are just a small stepping stone to the next level, while balancing track season, weightlifting, deciding whether or not to try out for baseball, anticipation of a job, football camps, a drivers license and next football season. Add to that encouragement from mom and dad to start thinking about that next level and the possibility of playing college football and picking that right college.

When I think back to my sophomore years in high school and college, they were definitely laid back.  At least in my eyes. I knew that I wanted to go into accounting (which never happened) and was anticipating getting my drivers license while balancing classes and track schedule.  My sophomore year of college was much different.  I came home after a year at UWW.  It just wasn't for me.  I went to MATC for a year, lived at home and worked a 30 hour a week accounting no less.  My parents didn't push me.  I was the fifth of five kids and by the time I graduated high school I knew I wanted to go to school, but I wasn't quite sure why.  When I think back, I should have finished what I started when it was right in front of me.  It took me 17 years to finish college.

The amount of stress that children, both young and adult, is overwhelming.  Sure, they have downtime.  The play video games, they hang out with friends, but the pressure to succeed is always there.  At least in my kids minds.  My husband and I pressure, I mean encourage, our kids to succeed.  There is no reason why they shouldn't succeed with the tools they have been given.   I saw Pinterest post on Facebook tonight that said "In 100 years we have gone from teaching Latin and Greek in high school to teaching Remedial English in college."  Where have we gone wrong?  Have our standards of education been simplified over time?  Are we now ok with barely passing to get through life?

I hope that the lessons I've taught, and my husband supported and taught on his own, are taken to heart by our kids.  Like most parents, there are days that my kids think we are the enemy.  We push them to succeed... but we encourage their failures.  Not on purpose, but we know that they only way they will learn is by trial and error.  I truly believe that they know that we do this out of love.  When they have children of their own, I hope the lessons we've taught are morphed into lessons of their own.

We've built a solid foundation for our kids to grow and thrive.  It hasn't been all lollipops and butterflies.  There have been trials and sacrifices. But I know for certain, they know we love them, unconditionally.  And we can't wait to see them finish out their respective educations and go on to great things.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Struggle, Stress and Resolve

It’s 3 a.m.  I’ve struggled for the last hour to get back to sleep.  But, I can’t.  Yet again, I am tossing and turning, unable to shut down my brain.  Why?  Because I am stressed about work.  And money.  And the fest.  And about a thousand other things.  Really stressed.  I’m so stressed that I can only think to write down what I really want to say — the real truth I’ve been needing to say — and vow to myself that I will get back on track tomorrow...

Why tomorrow?   Because I am so unbelievably swamped at work I don't have time to get organized.   I could use a couple of days at home, away from the office, to get back on track.   Anyone that works in an office understands that.   I need that quiet time, to not be interrupted by my email, or the phone, or the steady stream of staff that walks through the door from the entrance past my desk a hundred times a day.  Those couple of days will end up being this weekend, most definitely on Saturday, possibly on Sunday.

I'm in the middle of launching a new website that was grandfathered to me when I started my job.  I was given little to no direction and it's been as task that is exhausting at best.   Everyone had an opinion.  My intern has done quite a bit of work, but he's green and his solution to everything is sending out requests to the world for commentary.   That means everyone wants a say in the flow of knowledge or design on the site.  I finally put my foot down and stopped that madness.  I don't doubt I'm walking a fine line and will probably be 'talked to' about my attitude. 

Couple the site with designing and crafting new collateral for sales, a half dozen tradeshows that need e-blasts created and sent off to non-existent lists, and building a social media strategy above and beyond the LinkedIn only one my boss wants is exhausting.

Fast forward five hours and I am now sitting in a ‘Writing for the Web’ class, and trying to multitask through emails about work, donation items for the fest and polishing my resume.

The money stress comes naturally.   I'm at a point now that I am truly frustrated by my lack of salary given my experience and education.  I know I am worth more.  My family sacrificed so I could finish my education and I should be much further ahead than I am now.   My family deserves that.    I'm at a point I think I need to look for more, yet again.  I'm sick of struggling week after week.

The stress over the fest has been an annual undertaking for the last six years. I take on way too much and am at the realization I will do what needs to be done and will ask for forgiveness later.  Thankfully, I have people willing to help…but they will be leaving when we leave as well, so getting younger parents to volunteer and be passionate about this is a struggle.

It’s time to take a step back and reevaluate what is important now, and what can wait.  This weekend is going to test my resolve.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Growing Up

At some point in time in the last five years, my kids grew up.  Really grew up.  As 44 looms on the horizon, I've become the mom of one adult and one near-adult.  How?  When? Why?  I don't know.

It seems like just yesterday we were going to youth soccer games and t-ball games, laying on the floor building Lego's houses and garages, coloring Power Ranger books, assembling 500 piece puzzles and learning to ride bikes without training wheels.

As the years progressed, soccer was overrun by high school and college football, t-ball games turned into Little League, then freshman, JV and Varsity level games, Lego's morphed into CAD designs at school, coloring turned into college level Art classes with trips to Chicago, Milwaukee and Madison art museums and puzzles turning into running for a class office position.  Bikes are a thing of the past and have been replaced with four wheel drive trucks and snowmobiles that go 80 mph comfortably on the lakes, up to 110 mph when the ambition strikes, and jumps that end up breaking handlebar risers.

My husband and I joke that we have no idea what we will talk about after our youngest leaves for college.  We are involved in our kids lives to the fullest extent.  We join clubs, we help run programs, we started a traveling baseball team just to get our youngest some greater exposure.   We spend hours after work running around to practices; helping run the clock and announcing plays at the games, and hours on the field taking action shots of throwers in track, baseball and football players.  I honestly have no idea on the number of hours I've spent on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights downloading, editing and uploading hundreds of pictures to my Facebook page.

Two years ago when our oldest went away to college, we traveled on Saturday's.  We went to nine of twelve football games just on the off chance he'd get in to play.   That same year, our Thursday nights were spent at the football fields in the Greater Metro area, watching our youngest play; then we did the same thing on Friday nights watching every other kid play.  This past season we went to Thursday and Friday night games to watch our youngest play, and traveled to eight of ten games.  This coming season we assume we'll be going to Friday night games, and will travel to ten of ten college games (hopefully more!) with the furthest being a seven hour drive.  That seven hour drive will be done after a Friday night game.  Four and half on Friday night leading into Saturday morning to our cabin; the rest done in the morning Saturday to make the 1 pm start.

As my oldest finishes his second year of college and my youngest finishes his second year of high school, I know for certain I wouldn't change anything.  I love being involved in their lives.  It feels good to get random texts during the day, or pictures or jokes that brighten my day.

I know for certain that my husband is of the same mindset.  Our kids are our world.  As they grow up, I will certainly soak up every minute I can get and will make sure that I continue to encourage good memories, even if it means sending a box of goodies to college to make my oldest smile, kiss my youngest good morning and good night every day, and will attend every track meet, baseball and football game without reservation.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Type A

Sometimes I wonder if I have OCD, ADHD, and procrastination tendencies.  I mentioned earlier today that I love to read just about everything.  My mind works in mysterious ways that I can't quite follow. I pop from platform to platform, activity to activity and volunteer for just about everything.

I start crossword puzzles I don't finish.  I play games on my phone and Kindle that I never win.  I go from reading a book on marketing campaign generation to one on dystopian societies to an article on bullying.  I've tried to learn to crochet; I've spent time doing needlepoint and making quilts.   I started a blog a year ago and it was put aside.

I'm pushy when it comes to getting things done with the kids sports teams.  I'm obsessive about it.  I want to make sure that lists are created and updated mainly for my own use; usually because I'm the one sending out dozens of emails over the course of a season.  I like being in charge.

A typical day in a work day starts with checking my personal social media feeds.  Today, I did that and more.  I checked my work social media feeds; updated my blog (new!); checked my work email;  adding 200 contacts to an eblast feed; built six sell sheets with copy including content and images; checked social media; grabbed a bite to eat; read a chapter on my Kindle; added another 150 contacts to the same eblast feed; approved website content I put in the hands of my Intern; avoided the pregnant woman at work (again); approved three invoices for payment; purchased new images from Shutterstock; took pictures of two new mascots; designed a backdrop for an upcoming show; worked on fine tuning my social media campaign; avoided the pregnant woman (yet) again; checked social media; talked to my boss about a two hour meeting we are having tomorrow.  Then I hopped in the truck, came home, picked up my husband, grabbed Chinese for dinner, took my hubby home, got gas, went to my youngest's school and waited for him to finish practice; checked my social media feeds; read three pages on my Kindle; drove home; fed the kid and sat down to get some prep work done for tomorrow.

As I sit here prepping for tomorrow's meeting, I've checked my social media feed; checked Amazon for any free books; answered some PM's on Facebook; added some more contacts to the eblast; edited some content; sent a few emails; and now writing this blog.  

After I hit publish, I'll go back to work for another hour; will watch Idol results, then Ridiculousness, then I'll read until bedtime and then I'll read for another hour or so.

Do I have OCD or ADHD? Probably not.  Do I procrastinate. Yes.  Some of my best work happens when I procrastinate.

I think I'm just Type A.

Information Overload

I read.  A lot.  Books, blogs, magazine articles, posts, tweets, texts, content, collateral, newsfeeds.  It’s in my nature.  I read at home.  I read at work.  I read when I’m waiting to pick up my kid from practice.  I read when we head to our cabin, and when I’m waiting in a drive through, and at the doctor, and while I’m cooking dinner.   In 2013 I read 115 books.  You get the picture.

Lately, I seem to be on information overload.  I’m sure my husband thinks I’m an information junkie.  I’m tied to my phone, and my Kindle, and information that has nothing to do with me.  When I sit down at my desk in the morning, I open my work email.  Before it even loads, I head right to the internet and open Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Gmail, and Amazon.   Then I open two Facebook work accounts, two work Twitters, Pinterest, and Google Plus.   Then I go back to my email.  I must note, though, I had already looked at my email before 7 am.  That’s on my phone.  My work account, our home account, a gmail account, and my kids accounts.    I’ll be honest.  I don’t read everything in my email.  If its Facebook notifications, or LinkedIn notifications, or Groupon, or Amazon or Google Alerts, they get deleted, or saved elsewhere.  In the six accounts I have on my phone, there are 507 unread messages, most of which have been scanned and marked as new so I can go back to them.  In the next month or so, that number will double.  Although it’s only April, we are leading into planning for the upcoming football season.  I send out emails to about 200 parents on an as needed basis.  That blog is for another day.

Back to information overload.  Because I read so much on social media platforms, I get caught up in the feed (aka drama in some cases).    I’ll admit it.  I get caught up in my friends lives.  I want to know what’s going on.   I’ll mention something to my husband and he gives me this blank stare that basically says “I don’t care”.  I get that.  I really do.  Why I am so fascinated by what goes on in other’s lives amazes me.  Sometimes I think I should be a Gossip Columnist.  I would rock that job.  If you could see me when I scan feeds I shake my head and chuckle quietly.  The ups and downs of a single person astounds me.  No one has that much drama in their life.     And, honestly, why do people find it necessary to have conversations via Twitter?  Isn’t that what texting or PM’ing is for?  What could you have possibly said in 16,000 tweets?

For now I'll continue reading.  I will, however, make a conscious effort to avoid (reading) the drama.

Capturing Memories

Originally posted 1/19/14

As I was going through some pictures for a project that my husband are doing, I came across pictures spanning about 20 years.  You know those pictures...of your kids when they were little; of yourself when you were smaller; of vacations, and games, and holidays, and dogs, and friends and family and babies born over the years.  It's opened up my eyes to everything that we have seen over the length of our marriage and how important it is to capture those memories.

One son is a sophomore in college pursuing Studio Art and Education degrees, while playing on a college football team and being involved in a great fraternity. The other, a sophomore in high school, secretary for his class, who is getting ready for this years track and baseball seasons, which will lead into next years football season and ACT tests and college visits.  Both boys grumble when I try to take pictures of them.  I find that the only time they truly cooperate is when they aren't looking, or are on the field, or dressed in snowmobile gear where I can't get their true expressions.  The number of pictures I have where one of them is flipping me the bird to be funny is quite comical. It's sort of our thing.

I found a picture from the first day of kindergarten for our youngest and realized that I definitely need to get back on the horse and commit to going back to WW and truly spend some time exercising. I'll admit it...I looked damn good.  I have all the support in the world; someone who will try with me and never criticize when I go up, and not down, in my weight loss.  That being said...what happened?  Life happened.  Too many quick meals on the fly on the way to baseball and football games.  Pictures make me remember what I was like before and how I'd like to be again.

We have been lucky enough to take several vacations every year.  We've been to Atlanta with the kids; and Orlando.  And my husband and I have been to Las Vegas multiple times, and Tucson, and Bristol.  More often than not, though, we travel north and go to our home away from home.  Thankfully, we all love it.  Snowmobiling in winter, relaxing in summer, and the boys heading there to hunt in fall.  Someday we will call that home and vacation will mean coming into the city.

I've taken hundreds, if not thousands, of pictures of various sporting activities over the years.  Little League games, high school games, youth and high school football games, and now college games.  I love it.  I love everything about it.  My pictures aren't perfect, but they create memories not only for my husband and I, but our boys, their friends and their parents and our friends.  There is something satisfying when you see your son helping another boy on the field to get in the right location before a play; or capturing your kid jumping on the line trying to deflect an extra point; or getting the shot of the perfect throw from 3rd to first, or throwing someone out at 2nd from home plate.

Over the length of our marriage, we have been blessed with six dogs calling us family.  CJ, Barney, Goose, Camo, Stosh and Bella.  CJ was a wedding gift from me to my husband and Barney followed the year after.  They each passed at 13 years old, a year apart.  Camo was the victim of cluster seizures and we needed to put him to peace.  Goose passed away, on  his own, after suffering a broken heart when Camo passed.  Stosh and Bella are currently laying our floor snuggling each other.  Thankfully, we have pictures and videos of all of our puppies.

We have thousands and thousands of pictures saved on computer hard drives, external drives and flash drives; we also have half as many hard copies of pictures from early in our marriage.  I love sitting down and running through memory lane.  Some day I'll gather the boys and my husband together and we'll sit down and go through each of the boxes and try to make some sense of the jumbled mess of those memories.  We'll get lost going down memory lane; come to; and start creating the next 20 years of memories.


Originally posted 4/3/13

I strugged whether or not to post this blog tonight.

Last night I saw several posts that another student at Hale passed away yesterday.  It makes my heart ache with all of the children that have passed in the last year.    I didn't know her, but I knew of her brother.  What frustrates me is the speculation of what happened.  Frankly, it's not of my business what happened.  If you were close to her or your children were close to her, I apologize, and I am sorry for your loss.

After all of these children died, I saw multiple posts from friends and acquaintences talking about the good times: how they would be missed, times they spent together at sleep overs and joking around in class, pictures of dances and gradeschool.   What I cannot grasp is how some of the posts seem less than honest - I know that sounds terrible, but if you felt this way about a certain person, I hope that you have been telling them while they were alive.

I can only imagine what the kids at school are going through with her passing, or that of the two boys who perished in the fire recently, or the senior that died in the hospital with his family at his side.  I don't claim to know anything about the circumstances of what surrounded their passing and that of the other kids that died this year.  My kids were friendly with several of the kids, but no best friend relationships.  They took it hard knowing their classmates were gone.

All too often we take advantage of our relationships and forget that our loved ones, our family and friends need to hear that you care. Whether it's tagging them in a picture, sending them a birthday card or leaving a treat on their desk; tell them.  I'm not saying that it's necessary to shower them in kisses or buy their attention, it's the little things.  I'm guilty of it.  I forget to call my brother on his birthday or forget to say thank you to a coworker for helping me with a project.  Seeing what has gone on recently, I plan on making a bigger effort with my family and friends.  I always tell my kids and my husband I love them and give kisses and hugs when I leave family parties.

Hug your kids.  Give them kisses.  Praise them.  Yell at them .  Punish them. And then hug them again.  It's all done out of love.

Reflection's on the Past

Originally Posted 3/29/13.  

              This morning I woke up feeling a little sorry for myself.  I was wishing that we were at our cabin, enjoying this last weekend of snowmobiling. Yes, there is snow still in northern Wisconsin despite these beautiful temperatures.   For the last four or five years we have forgone going to Easter dinner with our family, and instead spent Good Friday through the Monday after Easter prepping our sleds for summer.  This year, schedules changed with our oldest in college, our youngest in track, and vacation days that are light due to my husband's recent illness and our various trips over winter.
                While at work this morning keeping myself busy with preparing contracts, working on spreadsheets and reaching out to various promoters, I got to thinking about family.  Not just my immediate family, but my extended family, in-laws, nieces and nephews, cousins, aunts and uncles and friends.  That lead me to thinking about my Uncle D who passed this week, which in turn led me to thinking about my grandma that passed this past December and my Aunt L who passed last year.  That led to me thinking about my dad.  Dad’s been gone almost 10 years.  May 16th to be precise.
                Dad was stubborn.  He hadn’t gone to the doctor in years.  He stopped taking his blood pressure medicine, and I truly believe he thought the doctor was the devil.  I saw my dad on the Saturday before he died.  It was May 10th. My husband and I took the boys over to my parents’ house for our weekly visit.  Dad seemed fine.  He was sitting in the family room when we arrived and he smiled when we walked in.  He was good to the boys, giving them pennies or just sitting in the room watching Brewer games with them.  After our visit, I gave him a hug, told him I loved him and he said the same.  The next day, I called my mom for Mothers Day.  She wasn’t home; she had gone to brunch with my sister and brother-in-law.  I talked my dad briefly and asked that he have mom call me when she got home.  Before hanging up, he told me he loved me.  That was the last time I talked to him.
                That week, my husband and I were going on a trip to Charlotte to see the All-star race.  Our flight left Wednesday as planned.   Thursday I called my mom to let her know we were safe and sound and she told me that she and dad were going to their place in Wisconsin Dells to cut the grass, but they would be home Saturday.  We chatted briefly, I told her I loved her and that I would call when I could.  My husband and I had a great time on vacation. We visited race shops, had long lunches and dinners and had a stress free and child free vacation.  (The kids were with my in-laws).  Saturday, while at the track, I called my mom.  My husband had forgotten to set the VCR to tape the race and he wanted to make sure that he had it taped.  I asked what she and dad were doing and she said nothing, just watching the race.  We were flying home the next day, so I told her I would call when we got home.
                Sunday, our flight was late and we didn’t get home until around 6pm.  While unpacking, my sister, brother-in-law and mom showed up at my house.  I didn’t think twice about my dad not being with them; he wasn’t one to go out for dinner or to go for rides to see us.  My neighbor walked in with my mom, and I didn’t think anything of it.  She and I were pretty good friends; she was a Nurse at St. Luke’s.   The boys were playing upstairs in their rooms with my in-laws.  After a few minutes, my mom walked over to me and told me that she needed to talk to me.  I brushed her off and continued to unpack gifts we had gotten for the boys, my in-laws and my parents.  After a few more minutes, she grabbed me by the shoulder and told me ‘daddy is dead’.  I nearly crumpled to the floor and passed out (which is why my neighbor was there).
                Dad passed away on Friday.  This was Sunday.  Before they had gone to the Dells to cut the grass, mom had gone to the grocery store.  When she got home, she told my dad that they both needed to get haircuts, and said he couldn’t, he needed to the doctor.  Remember, the devil?  Dad was begging to go.  Mom drove him there and during his exam, our family doctor had found a cantaloupe sized mass in his colon.  Doctor told mom to get him over to the Hospital; he needed to be admitted right away.  They were scheduling surgery for the next morning.  Fast forward to Friday and dad was to have the mass removed.  He never made it to surgery.  He had a heart attack and died before they even cut him open.  I like to think that he didn’t want to put mom, or the rest of our family, through chemo and the sickness.  That’s assuming it was cancerous.
                After many angry conversations, countless tears and pretty much twisting her arm to tell me, mom finally confessed that when I called on Saturday all my siblings were at the house.  Of course they were, dad was gone and they were prepping for the funeral.  She panicked and wasn’t sure what to tell me.  My siblings convinced her not to tell me he was dead.  They wanted me to enjoy our vacation.  They thought for sure I would have jumped the next plane home.   Damn right I would have.  I wasn’t given that option.  She swore my siblings to secrecy and for lack of a better term threatened my in-laws into not telling my husband or I that dad was gone.  (Later on, after conversations with his brother, he said that he did know, and had picked up the phone no less than a half dozen times to tell me).
                I struggled with this for years.  Anger directed at my mom, anger directed at my siblings, anger at my dad for dying.  I’ve come to terms with all of it.  I was happy that I was able to talk to dad the weekend before he died.  I’m glad I am able to remember him with a smile on his face and not, what I’m convinced would be, a terrified man who was dying.   I’m happy that my husband and the boys were able to see him happy as well.  Hugs, kisses and handshakes are what we all remember.
                Unfortunately, I don’t see my siblings much, but I do talk to my sister a few times a month.  My oldest brother is estranged from the family; my youngest brother is struggling with his own life.  My middle brother and I talk to a few times a year.   Thanks to Facebook, I know what’s going on in my nieces and nephews lives, and they know what’s going on in mine.  I have yet to meet my great niece and two great nephews, but I hope someday I get that chance.  I follow what is going on in my cousins’ lives and my aunts that post.
                Thankfully, I am close with my husband's family.  We get together when time permits.  They attend the boys’ games and we see each other at dinners and birthdays and holidays, or even when we just stop by. 
                I don’t know when I stopped being close with my family.  I assume it was when I grew up. Holidays used to be fun; we would all get together and sit around for hours playing games and ate wonderful meals that my mother prepared.   Now holidays are taxing at best.  We all bicker at each other and complain about what so and so is doing.
                This Sunday we will be with my husband's family.  Twenty two of us joking and laughing and enjoying each others’ company (mostly).  Will we bicker? Probably.  Will we complain? Maybe.  Will our youngest get questioned about his accomplishments in track?  Possibly.  Will our oldest get grilled about how college is going and what was up with ex-girlfriend? Most definitely.  That’s what families do.
                I’m still feeling a little sorry for myself that we won’t be up at the cabin, enjoying this last weekend before the trails close.  It is our last weekend before the baseball season goes into the Sunday double headers.  The last free weekend our oldest would have before papers and essays are due and impending finals.  The last free weekend before our youngest has outdoor track meets.  All I know is that although we aren’t at the cabin, we will be home.  All four of us will be under one roof.  I’m ok with that.
                Happy Easter to you and yours.  Enjoy your day however you choose to spend it.

Friday Ramblings

Originally posted 3/22/13.

As I read posts on Facebook and blogs from friends and strangers, I think it's time to put something on paper/screen.    No doubt the blogs that follow will be one-topic oriented.  For the time being, this is a mash up of what's rattling around in my head today.

Most of my friends, all of my family, and possibly the patients in doctors’ offices and parents at baseball practices, know I am a book NUT.  If I could read all day long I would.  For the last year I've been thinking about writing.  Growing up, I was the biggest non-creative person in school.  Ideas would never come to me.  Stick figures were pathetic.  I would hide in corners and not want to be involved.   My career path has pushed me towards marketing.  Writing, public relations, photography, design, event planning...all creative.  Couple that with my innate need to organize and be in control, and it's me in a nutshell.  My husband will laugh at that comment. Me being in control. 

So, back to writing.  Would I love to write the next Hunger Games?  Absolutely.  What about Fifty Shades of Gray? (After my kids are out of the house).  Definitely.  I know I am a better writer. Do I think it will happen.  Doubtful.  Wait. Scratch that.  Maybe.  Why not me?  It has worked for other writers.  Now if I could only come up with that one great idea.  (Hint, hint...throw me an idea and I’ll include you in the credits and give you a piece of the pie).

One thing I would love to write about would be shit my friends/colleagues say.  But, to be safe, that one will be shared with only my closest confidants.  And it certainly won't have that title.  If and when I decide to try to get it published, then I'll share it with everyone.  By then it won't matter who I have offended.  Sorry. Not sorry.  Those of you that are privileged enough to get ranting messages from me that help keep me off the ledge, I thank you.  You know who you are.

Lately, my husband and I have been thinking about moving. Not today, not tomorrow, but sometime after our youngest is settled in college.   We absolutely love northern Wisconsin.  The peaceful winters, the slow pace, the thought of retiring somewhere we both are comfortable enough with calling home.  Obviously, job security stands in our way, as does college tuitions, selling our house and making the plunge.  Add to that our commitments to the boys activities and it all is a little overwhelming.   I wonder what it will be like when we do move and things slow down.  I'm sure he will coach or work with the snowmobile club and I know I'll be involved in something, even if its substitute teaching at the grade school or be involved with the PTA. As for the PTA, I'm sure I'll tell them they are doing it wrong.  To say I'm overbearing is an understatement.  Looking forward, the cabin may be the perfect place to write a novel.  Now if I could only win the lottery so I could actually write full time.

When our oldest left for college, I was hoping things would slow down.  I have been waist deep in the boys’ football programs, and baseball programs and track, recruiting and helping the boys get into a top college, and sometimes my sleep suffers.  But yet I keep going.   My husband called (s) me nuts for being so passionate about things that no one seems to care about but me.  I get frustrated often when people won't volunteer to help our/their kids programs and then they question (complain) about how my husband or I handle things.   I say if you don't like it, step up and do something about it.   I have an extensive range of friends that have stepped up to help, and believe me, they'll get used (haha).

I have a friend at work (yes, I do have friends) that is younger than me.  She embraces everything she does.  I laugh with her constantly because she has no filter and doesn't think twice about posting an embarrassing photo, blogging about the crap she finds at Walgreens or her passion for ring pops.  She is my inspiration for this blog.  She's had a tough six months since her mom passed away, and I've become a shoulder to cry on when she needs to vent.  She's a shoulder for me to bitch about stupidity.

There are things I would like to say about processes and procedures and the way things are run, but I'll save that for another day.   I have days where my patience wears thin, but I just move forward.  My husband is the king of passive aggressive behavior and has leaned the fine art of pissing people off without them knowing he caused it.  It is quite comical.  I wish I could embrace some of that.  He is my biggest fan, and if and when we decide to move, and I do or not decide to write a novel, become a photographer, or plan a hundred events, I know he'll be there cheering me on.

As the year goes on, I'll write about sports seasons, snowmobiling, books and anything I can dream up.  Anyone that really knows me knows that instead of writing this blog, I would love to be on my sled in northern Wisconsin enjoying this last week of the season.

If I have offended anyone in this or of you think I'm nuts and have nothing good to say, go ahead and delete me from Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.  I won't be offended.  It will just make room for others.

Peace out.