Monday, June 30, 2008

Tag, I'm It!

My friend D at Rigel's Zoo tagged me. I'm supposed to give six little known facts about myself.

Are there really six little known facts about myself? Don't my friends and family know everything already? I'm sure I'm an open book! Everyone knows I'm not a cat fan. Everyone knows I get migraines (though hardly ever anymore!). Everyone knows I refer to my husband as "Himself" and that I'm crazy about him. At least, I hope they know that!

I'll give it a try.

1. I like listening to screamo rock music. My favorite is Underoath! I love their passion for God and for hurting youth, but I also love their music!

2. I love to play volleyball, but I'm not very good at it. Mainly I just stand in one spot and cheer for everyone on my team. Occasionally, I get a hit in, but at least I can score points when it's my turn to serve.

3. I would love to live in a desert mountain by the beach. I'm sure it exists somewhere! I've always been torn between my love of the Pacific, the coolness of the mountains, and the beauty of the desert. I guess I need three homes.

4. I feel more comfortable speaking in front of a group of junior high kids than in front of adults.

5. I don't like driving over bridges. I'll do it and it doesn't keep me from crossing them, but I stay in the middle and pray the whole way over. I thank God for the new bridge over the St. John's!

And lastly -

6. I really don't care to have people touch the top of my head. Thanks, Bro!

And I tag . . . BT. You can leave it in the comments.

BA . . . leave it in the comments.

Phyllis in the Ukraine . . . if you can find time!

And Phyllis in TN. I know you'll make time! :-D

Saturday, June 28, 2008

No Plans

Yesterday, my son encouraged me to give up planning. Since none of my plans had worked when he said this, I was inclined to agree.

Is there a way to plan for spontaneity?

Kelly is probably in Maine right now, heading for Prince Edward Island. We packed almost her entire wardrobe in a carry on bag plus a small bag! Rolling up your clothing really works.

Of course, she would not leave without her Grandma's quilt. She uses it not only to keep warm, but as a snuggly.

We all do! She's made one for each of us.

It fit in her small bag which will be at her feet on the plane. I hope she gets some sleep on the 7 hour drive into Canada!

We miss her already.

Friday, June 27, 2008


While budgeting, there are areas in our spending we try to reduce in order to make ends meet. Some areas are easier than others. For example, I have given up lattes at Starbucks. It was easy to do once I began the diet to reduce my migraines, but I surely miss them! Another example would be magazine subscriptions or cable television. We haven't had cable for years and we don't miss it. In fact, we can't even tune in the local channels; our TV is pretty much a monitor for DVDs and videos.

One area we don't skimp on is lawn maintenance. There's nothing more depressing to me than an overgrown lawn or unkempt yard. (That word is spelled correctly. The Spell Checker says so!) Plus, Himself would work hard in the heat all week long and then had to work hard in the heat to mow the lawn and trim everything on the weekend! It's worth it to me, and to him, to have Brandon P of Lawn Enforcement do it every week.

It's also worth it to me when we find things like this in the yard:

This visitor was in our boxwood bushes in the front planter. I was standing at the kitchen window and I noticed him as he LEAPED from the rosemary to the boxwood. In case you've ever wondered, snakes can jump!

My guess is he was after one of these:

We have lizards everywhere. In fact, one of the things that crept us out about Florida (besides the fact that things in the water could eat us) was the fact that when you walked past any shrubbery, it rustled. It moved.
Brandon, where are you? Come quickly, please! It's also creepy when it turns its head to look at anyone moving.

Get thee back to the rosemary! And then get thee out of my yard! That is, after you've reduced the lizard population. That's fine. Where oh where is an R when I need them?

I especially hate when I'm walking across the back yard and one of these black racers zip through the grass ahead of me. A little warning would be nice!

I've included this video because it was amusing. This is what I sound like when Glenna puts the camera on a different setting and doesn't put it back to normal.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

How to Walk a JRT

After a day at the fair and a dip in the Pacific (intentionally or no), it's time to care for the animals. Two of the dogs had become ill while I was there. One, sadly, didn't make it. The third, Tank, has so far been fine and may possibly be carrying a litter.

This is how they give Tank a walk:

The nine year old fires up the golf cart. The Dad holds the leash. Off they go!

After a tour around the five acres, Tank is properly exercised. Don't let the hanging tongue fool you. She still has plenty of pep!

For my final evening in California, they took me out for some authentic Mexican food. First the Pacific, and now this. Could a visit get any better?

Monday, June 23, 2008

Beach Bliss

After a day at the fair, we had to run an errand in Oceanside. Mark went right up I-5, which of course runs right along the beach. I quietly asked, "Do you think we could possibly stop at the beach on the way home, just long enough for me to put my toes in?"

Taylor exploded with excitement. I guess it's been a while since she put her toes in the surf, too! She had gone to Hawaii, surfed, came home, and was soon diagnosed with cancer.

Mark graciously agreed. We knew we wouldn't stay long as there were horses to feed and dinner to attend. A moment was enough!

On the way home, we went along the Pacific Coast Highway. Mark doesn't know how to drive slowly enough, so I grabbed what pictures I could as we were speeding along. I tried to capture shots to show my children what I love about the beaches in California, specifically in Oceanside and Carlsbad (Leucadia is my favorite, though).

Along the coast, most of the buildings have some kind of beach scene painted along the sides.

This is a little beach hotel or restaurant. I couldn't tell because we were going too fast.

Like Park Ave here in Winter Park, or Rodeo Drive, or El Paseo in the desert, there are shops and restaurants that line the street. Unlike the previously mentioned places, you can show up in flip flops and shorts, or even stop by the place on your bicycle. If you're not hauling a surfboard, a bicycle is the preferred mode of transportation.

This was my absolute favorite surf shop: Off Shore Surf Shop. It's listed on the side of this building, with Harbor Fish in the front. I don't think I ever bought more than a bumper sticker, but how I loved going in there!

Hello, beautiful. It's so very, very good to see you again! I've missed you . . . .
Ok, I'm not talking about the guy obviously. I'm talking about the wave in back. Look at that beautiful form! Look at the curl! Look at the power in the wave! We had just passed many, many surfers. Mark didn't want to stop there, though.

So hello, good friend! I want to be next to you . . . from my head, for my heart, for it's true . . .

A pink beach cruiser. More waves forming in the back. I couldn't wait to get out of the car at this point!

This is the family, heading to the surf. My shoes were left in the car since I knew I wouldn't be needing them at this point. I looked like a total tourist, but I didn't care. I knew the truth! I was coming home to the beach I knew and loved, body surfed, boogie boarded, frisbied and smash-balled.

Here, I'm looking to the right and facing NORTH. My world is right once again. You can seen the jetty sticking out, and on the other side of that are the surfers. Yes, that is a person sitting in the sand. We didn't have to worry about thinks like lice. Sand fleas maybe, but not lice. LOL

Come on, Taylor. Let's go say hello. At this point, there was a smile on my face that didn't leave until I went to bed.

I still remembered the power and timing of the waves. We were only allowed up to our knees (wisely) so I would watch the wave crash and yell, "Back, back, back!" when I knew it would come up way past that, even though we seemed to be far enough away.

The Pacific is powerful. I was just at the Atlantic yesterday and it was a gentle lap-pool compared to the Pacific. I know it can get pretty gnarly with hurricanes and all, but the Pacific has such beautiful form and grace. It also seemed much cleaner. It was definitely colder!

My friends, BA and ML, think the Pacific is freezing. I found it completely refreshing! Had I been in swimsuit with fins, I would have dove right in for hours. BA, it's honestly warmer than Rock Springs!

Yesterday, the Atlantic was like bathwater. It was not refreshing at all. Atlantic, I have tried to like you. I have. Could we simply remain acquaintances?

This picture is for you, BT, so you know exactly where we were. The only things missing were you and Kazebee!

In my hand, you see the rocks that caused me to be searched at the airport. I didn't care.

While my back was turned, the Pacific reminded me that it was still a force to be reckoned with. It came up behind me and gave me a playful boot to the bottom!

I didn't mind. Truly. I still love you and respect you, my beautiful Pacific.

< ------------------------------South. North ------------------------------------->

Here you go, Mom. My foot and Mark's foot, and we're not even kicking each other. He's a great man, Mom. His family is great, too. And, we all miss you!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Del Mar Fair

I expected to see many changes when I went back to San Diego. I wasn't expecting them to change the name of the Del Mar Fair, though! It's now called the San Diego County Fair. When Tay was released from the hospital and we all had a day of rest, we decided to go to the fair for Father's Day.

We were greeted at the gate by cheerleaders. Ugly cheerleaders.

When my brother Mark told them they were ugly, they immediately broke into, "U - G- L- Y, you aint got no alibi you ugly, you ugly, your mamma says you ugly!" I guess they had heard that before.

On one of the showcase stages, I saw this trio of teens playing some rock. I took some pictures for Ty and listened for a while. They weren't all bad, but all of their songs were simple three chord progressions and the drummer rarely, if ever, used his toms. As you can see, not many were watching. :-) There were a few behind me in chairs, but very, very few. Reminded me of the old Definite Zero days!

Mark and Taylor decided to hit the rides. Deb and I stayed on the ground, thank you very much. Last time I went on a roller coaster I was heartbroken to discover they now make me sick. I love roller coasters so much! What a disappointment.

We stopped and played a few games. Here, Taylor managed to win their smallest prize (you have to trade up as you win). To our disappointment and the carnie's embarrassment, they handed Taylor a hair scrunchie.

I respectfully asked if they had a small prize that wasn't a hair scrunchie. The woman looked at Tay, realized what she had done, and said, "No, but here, don't worry about it." She gave us a nice little penguin instead. :-)

Mark and Tay on yet another ride. She also went on the wavy slide, but her second time up the steps exhausted her. She was content to be wheeled around after that.

When we went back past the band, they were still playing. I was amazed! The drummer still wasn't using his toms very much.

After the rides and a snack, Taylor was up for looking around at all the things for sale. That's where we found this jewel:

We also stopped to look at some dance studio because Taylor loves to dance. While they were watching the dancers, I was looking at all the San Diegans. How many Chargers jerseys can you spot in this photo? It was wonderful to see Chargers and Padres everywhere!

This couple was too cute not to photograph. I told Mark that he and Deb would look like this in another 30 years. He said it wasn't going to happen.

Don't you just love her beaded hat band and their western shirts? Her ribbons are so colorful!

Lastly, I spotted this guy and asked if I could take his picture. I explained how much my girls loved Roxy clothing, and they would be thrilled to know about the food. He said something like, "Ooookaaaay." Does his smile look nervous to you? Do you think maybe he thought I was trying to find a fella for my girls?

Tomorrow, I'll have pictures of the biggest thrill which happened after the fair!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Cancer Sssstinks

My visit to San Diego was wonderful and difficult. I arrived on a Tuesday, and Taylor wasn't released from the hospital until Thursday. She had been there two weeks.

This is how she got to meet her Auntie after almost five years:

While in the hospital, she contracted a bacteria that was evidently picked up from one of the other children in the hospital, passed from one of the nurses. They made anyone and everyone wear a gown, gloves, and mask for their own protection; Debbie was already exposed and didn't wear anything.

It turned out this was all overkill. I wore this getup for approximately four hours before I received permission to take it off.

Taylor received a couple of prayer quilts. I snapped a picture of the bottom of this particular one:
This church makes prayer quilts for children in the hospital with cancer. As they lovingly tie the finishing knots, they pray for the child who will receive it. The incredible thing about this particular quilt is that it was worked on and prayed over by a woman named "Wally." Wally worked with my mother over twenty years ago. God is good.

Unmasked, posing with my sister-in-law, Debbie. She had also been in the hospital two weeks! She won't leave Taylor, and who can blame her. Some of the children only get to see their parents on the weekend because of hardship. That would be incredibly, indescribably hard.

When you're nine and you have cancer, you receive all sorts of visitors! You never know who will show up! On the day I was there, the umpires for the San Diego Padres (GO PADRES!) came by and gifted the children with their choice of build-a-bear and outfit. Taylor wanted a cheerleader puppy, of course.
They even helped her dress her. Nice bunch of guys!

Here are some more visitors and a nurse in the background. The little girl in the back is Nina, Taylor's homeschool friend. The older man attempting origami is Hitch; I'm guessing she knows him from some acting she's done, since they spoke in movie terms.

Other friends are second family to Taylor. She was never bored for long!

At the Ronald McDonald house, parents can stay close to their children and receive a free meal for dinner. We walked over and had dinner while Tay was sleeping. Everyone is greeted and made welcome.

This hospital really tries to make the children feel loved and cared for. The grounds are beautiful and friendly. Still, it's hard not to hate the place when you're nine and you have cancer.

This picture is for Bekah R. She loved the pillow! She exclaimed that it smelled so wonderful.

When you're nine and you have cancer and your Auntie comes to visit, you get to do origami. This is the zoo and the buildings we finished from Tuesday to Thursday! We were getting pretty good at it towards the end, there.
I never thought I had the patience for origami and kept wishing Kelly were there to do it for me, but you find you can do lots of things when your niece is nine and has cancer.

This lady was nice. She did something with Taylor on the computer. Don't ask me what because I don't understand it.

This lady is also nice. She's putting magnets on her pressure points. Don't ask me why because I don't understand it.

When you're nine and you have cancer, you speak medical jargon and know the name of every pill you take. You also take a LOT of pills. You also know whether or not they have side effects. If they do, you run from them. Or you try to put off taking them as long as possible. Especially the ones that make you throw up.

A little girl's vanity, complete with surgical masks in case she ventures out in public when her counts are low. Which counts? Her blood counts. Ask her which ones and she'll tell you in medical jargon exactly which numbers are safe.

"My 3 wishs are to be a National Champion for Country, Hunter, Dressage Saddle Seat Equitation, Hunt Seat Equitation, and showmanship is one wish. Then I would like to be a famous actress. Then my last wish is to be helthy as can be."

Dad shaved his head when she did. She had plenty of hair left, but was tired of it shedding constantly. It's already growing back. Dad's is coming back with gray in it. (It's about time, Bro!)

Soon, very soon, it will come back and look like this:
Because, you see, Taylor's cancer is already dead and gone. Now she just has to get through the treatments to kill any dormant cells.

For the next two years.

It isn't right to be nine and have cancer.

It stinks.


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