Thursday, November 25, 2010


I've noticed many of my Facebook friends have posted each day for what they are thankful.  Though I have been rather preoccupied lately, I have at least been thinking each day as I see these posts what I would write.  And now, I think it's time I did. 

1.  I'd like to start with my family.  I have a large extended family that I have the advantage of seeing often.  We always have a great time together--cooking, laughing, playing...there are lots of great memories to relive and infinite new memories being made.  The fam is so big now we usually only see the whole group at the big holidays, but it's treasured time.  This Thanksgiving and Christmas will be a little surreal because my grandmother will not be with us.  She passed away in May.  To her husband, her four children and eight grandchildren, she was the heart of the family.  I know we are all a bit worried about how it will feel to be without her.  But I know that she will be there.

2.  My husband, of course, is a GINORMOUS reason to be thankful.  He's doing so well.  I can't wait for his PET Scan to bear that out.  We only have two more treatments now.  It doesn't even seem possible now.  August seems so far away.  But he's going to be just fine.

3.  Our new house is a pretty big reason to be happy.  Those two bathrooms, you know.  I know that it's also scary because we still don't have anyone to take the little house, but I have faith that it will all work out. 

4.  Brian and I both have great jobs that are pretty secure...I suppose one even more than the other. We both love what we do and come home tired every day, but it's because we have worked hard to make the world a better place.

5.  We have some pretty awesome friends who have been there for us--whenever, whatever.  Especially mine.  Thank you for letting me whine.  Much love.

6.  Our two dogs and cat are pretty cool.  We actually really lucked out in the pet selection department.  I know I complain about DamnitBadger, but he keeps life interesting!  Bear and Azalea just rock the house.

7.  Our in-laws.  I think we both lucked out in that area.  One or both of us could have had a crazy family to contribute to this union. 

8.  TCU football.  I am a rather proud alumnus as most people can attest.  What a great show they have put on the last few years!

9.  My new car, Pearl.  I love my new Xterra.  We bought her in August.  She is beautiful. 

10.  The travel that I have experienced.  Brian has taken me to many wonderful places that I might not otherwise have seen.  He took me camping for the first time. 

11.  This blog.  It's been an emotional few months and having the ability to express myself here is a big reason to be thankful.

12.  My wogs.  When I get out there and do them, my wogs really make me feel good and I can't wait for life to settle down just wee bit so I can get back in the habit.  Especially since my first 5k is Dec. 4th.

13.  My running coaches from Luke's.  Tracey, Janet and especially Kim.  They have helped me so much in my quest to be more fit.  I hope I don't disappoint.

14.  My education.  I have always loved school and I went for awhile.  TCU took good care of me as did HSU.  I am most proud of the masters degree though.  That sucker was hard! 

15.  TX Country music.  I love that we have our own brand of music around here.  Some of my best memories with my friends are these concerts all over the state. 

16.  My brother.  We've been through so much together and I count him as one of my best friends.

17.  Christmas.  I love everything about it...especially the music.  Including that people start decorating before Thanksgiving...though right after Halloween is a little early even for me.

18.  The food I'll be eating with my family on Turkey Day.  I'm sure lots of families put on a good spread, but my family knows how to cook, y'all!  I dream about it for months!  And we love it so much, we usually do a repeat performance for Christmas a few weeks later!  The turkey, the stuffing, the potatoes, the pies!  And me?  I rock the family's special cranberry salad recipe.  Except for this year since my kitchen is still packed up.  I'm kind of bummed about that.  I'll get to do it at Christmas though.

19.  My smart phone.  LOL. I love technology.  It has a Kindle on it!  I think that is so awesome! On vacation this year at Tahoe, I read 4 books on my phone! 

20.  Facebook.  Speaking of technology...I love being able to stay in touch with so many friends--old and new. 

21.  Learning new things.  I realized today as I was picking out wine for Thanksgiving that through my friends and experiences with them that I have learned a lot over the last 2 years just about wine.  I know what a Mal-Bec is and what points mean.  That might not seem like much to some people, but when you used to feel ignorant about such matters and now you don't so much, that's pretty cool.

22.  My Leave It To Beaver childhood.  My parents are pretty amazing people and they gave my brother and me a great life.  We never wanted for anything.  We still don't .  I am so grateful for them.

23.  My new furniture.  Seems silly maybe, but before I got the new sofa, chair and tables this year I had never had new furniture of my own. 

24.  The doctors treating Brian.  Can't believe I got this far without remembering to mention the 3 reasons my gorgeous husband is thriving today.  Dr. Arnouville, Dr. Collins, and Dr. Redrow.  Dr. Arnouville--thank you for taking that little mass so seriously.  Dr. Collins--thank you for the no B.S. approach and for getting the biopsy done so quickly.  Dr. Redrow...well, I don't know if I have the words.  You are a man of few words and that makes Brian respect you all the more.  You tell him what he needs to know and therefore what he needs to hear. 

25. The freedom to list all of these things I'm thankful for in the first place.  Thank you to all of those who have given me the luxury. 

And thank you to all of you read my ramblings.  I appreciate it more than you know.

This Time of Year

Many of my Facebook friends have posted their thankfuls daily this month.  While there are countless things for which I am thankful, my family always tops the list.  We have a large, fun-loving extended family that makes a point of getting together for Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Anything else we can manage with about 40 total of us is bonus. 

This is my mother's family.  My grandparents were married for about 60 years.  Nonnie and Grandpa (also known as Groucho to the rest of the family and most of Bridgeport) were the Leave it to Beaver kind of parents and grandparents.  I knew a TV Land sort of childhood.

And so it seemed my grandparents must be immortal.  Until late April of this year.  Nonnie's health had been gradually declining, though I think if you had asked any of the 8 grandchildren we would have been in pretty big denial.  I am the oldest grandchild and I am 35 years old.  Surely we would always have our grandparents.  God had been so good for so long. 

Nonnie went in to the hospital for what we were assured would be a procedure that would actually make her condition better.  Her balance wasn't very good, things like that.  This was supposed to help.  Only it didn't.  On my mother's birthday, her mother went into a coma from which she would not return. 

We are a close family.  We are.  But there are many things that we don't hash out.  This has been one.  Still too painful.  I have had many friends and acquaintances lose a grandparent.  I have always had the deepest sympathy for them, but I have had no clue about the enormous, raw, gaping hole it leaves in your life.  Even 6 months later.  

Our family reunion this summer with my grandmother's side of the family was great fun as it always is, but a huge part was missing.  It was so surreal.  Grandpa was there, so you just kept looking for her.  And you almost saw her.  Her mark on the family is that strong.

I see pictures of her all over our house and my parents' house from past family celebrations--Christmases, weddings, anniversaries.  I still cry nearly every time.  I thank God every day she was at our wedding, and I'm so sad that she won't actually hold our babies with me instead of holding them in heaven before I do.  

So this time of year, I am up before 5 am on Thanksgiving because while I can't wait to see the family at lunch, I am heartbroken that Nonnie won't actually be there.  I know she will be there because she created this family with my sweet Grandpa (who will be there, thank goodness), but forgive me if "in spirit" just isn't the same.  I'd rather be able to hug her neck the way I used to.  I don't mean to be selfish. 

I just wish that this time of year that I could turn back the clock. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Accentuate the Positive

Well, I'd really like to make this a gritch session.  I REALLY would.  But you know something?  It wouldn't help anything.  It wouldn't help us close on the house one second faster.  It wouldn't help me get well one minute faster. 

So, I'm giving as much of this frustration as I can to the universe.  I pushed myself so hard that I made myself sick.  Got me two extra days of "vacation."  Whoo hoo.  I've been so bored, I can hardly stand it.  Though I must say that I really do finally feel rested.  Can't remember the last time I exercised, but I am actually rested.  Ah, the miracle of antibiotics. 

My 5k is Dec. 4th.  I'm not sure how I will handle it.  I need to wog so much and yet the thought of it makes me tired.  I got an email from my coach, Kim asking me to meet with her this weekend to run for just a little while.  I think I will...though heaven help me. 

The now delayed closing of the house should be giving me a migraine, and while I am pretty upset about it, thankfully I've been able to keep three things in mind.  1.  Our financial guy, Phil, a high school friend of Brian's and Brooke, the best realtor ever, have done everything possible to make this happen smoothly 2.  the people who control the closing on this house now are faceless and nameless (to us) and therefore kind of hard to stay upset with and 3. we will eventually get into the house--it just may not be when we want.

Plus, we have some other things to focus on.  Brian's PET Scan is today!  Today we get to see how well his chemo has been working all these months.  Now, we won't know the results of the scan until next week, but I just know it will be great.  Pretty exciting stuff! 

And Thanksgiving is this week.  We have 26 coming to my parents' house.  Good thing I have plans to work out with Kim this weekend.  The eating is always good at our house.  It will be really good to see everyone.  Some of the fam I haven't seen all summer.  How time flies. 

So you see, I could gritch, but we have too many things to be positive about even in the midst of all the chaos.  I love the power of positive thinking...and the gift of amazing people in our lives. 

Monday, November 15, 2010


I feel like I'm off the tracks....I've missed 3 potential workouts...including an official run practice on Saturday.  And I'm at the point where I could just stop because it's easier.  I could tell myself, "It's ok if you don't wog this week.  You're moving this weekend, and you can catch up next week at the new house." 

But what if I don't start at the new house because I'm already out of those good habits?  It doesn't take me long to convince myself that at 5 am my bed is a much nicer placer to be.  Now, once I kick myself out of bed and get moving I can get it's just the initial motivation needed. 

I hurt all over from packing.  I would probably feel better if I would get out and move those muscles and clear my mind.  I really do enjoy that time out there all to myself.  But I have to get tough with myself.  Even if it seems like I deserve a little slack, I can't give myself an inch...I will take miles and miles.  I love laziness. 

Not only do I have to get back on the tracks, I have to try to start running.  My coach, Kim, will be back next week at Luke's, and even if we are moving this weekend, I have to take that hour and go run with her.  That hour means a lot to me. 

As Scarlett O'Hara, one of my favorite characters from literature (a heroine and villainess at the same time) famously declared, "....tomorrow is another day."  I will be out there in the morning, wogging away, so help me.  I cannot be derailed. 

It's as if the wogging takes a detour, then one by one all the dominoes will fall.  I'm juggling so much at the moment.  I have to keep it all in the air.  If working out at 5 am every day is the lynch pin, you know where you can find me tomorrow and every day after. 

Plus, you should see what it's doing for my legs. 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Love is All Around

Sounds so cliche, doesn't it?  Love is all around. 

But I've been thinking a lot about it today.  I got a giant hug from my four year old nephew at 7 am this morning.  His innocence and joy was a privilege to experience--even at that hour.  We drove down a big hill this morning and he exclaimed, "Wheeeeeee!" all the way down.  At the bottom he giggled and said, "That was fun."  I've got to get one of those for myself.  Can't wait for Brian to be well.  (insert grin)

My border collie, Bear, has been my faithful companion for eight years.  He has a capacity for love and understanding that doesn't seem possible at times.  He loves Brian almost as much as he does me, and he worries over him now, constantly checking on him.  Bear goes a little overboard sometimes.  We can only guess that's what he's doing; all his needs seem to have been met and he doesn't treat me the same way.  It's Brian he pesters.  We can't really recall, but we don't think he was so attentive to Brian before he got sick.  Now he's constantly under Brian's arm.  Of course, Bear's also trying to work in an extra game of Frisbee whenever he can and he knows Brian is more likely to play a second game than I am...

Brian and I dated for a very long time before we married.  A little over twelve years actually.  And while that may seem excessive and sometimes seemed ridiculous, as I received the sad news today that another good friend's marriage did not survive, I have to wonder if it actually wasn't pretty smart on Brian's part.  We certainly know each other well.  I know that there are some situations that not even 12 years can prepare a relationship to survive, but I hope that time gives us an education and a motivation to work through difficult patches. 

We are certainly experiencing a difficult patch at the moment, but in this case we are only closer as a couple.  I'm so grateful. 

Love is all around.  I am fortunate enough to be completely wrapped up in husband, my dog, my nephew, my friends, the rest of my amazing family....if that's not God, I don't know what is.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Waka Waka Wogging

This week has been hard so far, y'all.  I've been up, I've tried to be at 'em, but even my shins hurt pretty badly and I never do as well on my own.  I really hate Mondays because I take Sundays off, and it's hard to get back into the rhythm even after missing a day.  I push myself pretty hard on Saturdays--especially this past Saturday...Mondays are not my idea of fun.

But, I wog on.  It's important.  Overall, physically I feel better.  Certain female aspects of my life have changed dramatically as a result of the exercise and after the struggles I have had with that monthly, uh, let's say experience, that's reason enough to keep on keepin' on. 

I did add my music back in Monday.  I had been wogging without it because as a normally cautious person AND a cop's wife, I am hypervigilant.  Being distracted by music opens you up for a possible attack from behind or the side--even at 5 am in a familiar area.  That's part of the reason why I like the cardio program on my phone even though it seems a little less than accurate at times (though with me it seems generous...with Julie, Silent Nigel seems stingy with his mile and calorie count...go figure.) 

And the music is my inspiration for writing today.  I have carefully chosen music on my little mp3 player.  It's all's supposed to get me moving and keep me moving.  One more reason to wog early in the morning...if I sing a little, no one will look at me strangely.  And it would be strange.  Michael Jackson's "PYT" isn't so pretty as I'm huffing and puffing along, but it's fun for me.

There is a decent hill that I wog up now three times as I have lengthened my workout this week.  It's tough, y'all...not all that steep, I suppose, but the incline is a steady rise.  Not fun.  I would love to be able to run all the way up the hill before we leave the neighborhood, but I'm not sure it's a realistic goal.  The hill goes the length of the block.  It makes my calves and the backs of my thighs burn, but I finally found what moves me on up that hill each time. 

On my mp3 I have the World Cup song from this year by Shakira; it's called "Waka Waka."  Now I have no idea what that means.  I don't really care.  It makes me giggle a little because it makes me think of Fozzie Bear from the Muppets.  What I know for sure is that booty shakin' South American gets me to shake my own booty up that infernal hill every time.  Even when I think my calves and thighs are going to explode. 

Plus, the lyrics as odd as it sounds are rather inspirational...look 'em up.  She sings about picking yourself up when you fall down and how it's your day if you are willing to believe it.  The lyrics go on to talk about how it's Africa's time.  It gets me to thinking about how there are people who couldn't get out and wog even if they wanted to.  Cheez-o-rama?  Perhaps.  But at 5:15 am who doesn't need a little cheezy inspiration? 

Hey, I'm a middle school English teacher.  Whaddya want?  I look for beauty where I can find it. And y'all, on Monday morning, I found it in a Shakira song from the World Cup.  Waka Waka Wog on, Baby.

Dear Amy

Dear Amy,

Today is Brian's fourth chemo treatment.  He's sleeping beside me in his chair as the medicine slowly drips in.  That medicine that is making him so tired and yet so much better at the same time.  I'm so glad he's relaxing today and taking the time to sleep.  It's uncharacteristic of Mr. Vigilance so I know how tired he really is.

So far this has been all you promised me it would be.  Each treatment makes him more weary though he tries so hard not to let it show and he continues to work just as hard as ever.  Just like you.  He does admit at least that he's worn out, but he really doesn't like it trying to keep him down.

Some of the side effects have been a whole new world of discomfort that through trial and error we have learned to lessen.  You made so many aspects of this so familiar from the beginning.  It was still scary as hell, but we never felt like we couldn't make it through.  Thanks mostly to you. 

He gets to have his Pet Scan in two weeks to see the progress he's made in the past few months since this wild ride began.  His signs of fighting back are subtle.  He's worn the cancer bracelet I bought every day.  He rarely wears a hat on his now bald head.  Badges of honor in an odd way. 

Our partnership is titanium strong and it's been almost unspoken.  He rarely wore his wedding ring before for professional reasons (no reason the bad guys needed to know he has a family) and now he never takes it off. No one can know what that really means to me.  If the man never says "I love you" again but wears that ring every day, it will be heard loud and clear. 

We still have two treatments to go after the Pet Scan.  We still have to get moved next weekend.  We have so many new adventures still to experience just in the next few weeks.  Brian has a birthday on the 11th.  My 5K (the Jingle Bell Run) is on the 4th. 

I just wanted to take a minute and tell you my friend that I think about you often and how much you helped me to not be afraid even when I didn't know what else to be.  Thank you for giving us your wisdom and me the courage infusion I needed. 

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Extreme Wogging

It's Saturday morning once again.  Time to go meet up with my 5k friends and see how my week went.  I only missed Wednesday this was raining and cold.  Urgh.  I was glad I stayed in bed that morning.  And I had every intention of hitting the treadmill that afternoon...but, the faculty meeting ran pretty long and then I found myself locked out of the workout room.  I could have hit the track, but by then I had convinced myself that it had been a really long day and I deserved one day off this week.  So, I went home and collapsed in a heap in the chair instead.  Didn't feel particularly good about it, but I was back at it on Thursday morning.

I never get as far on my own as I do with my coaches on Saturday.  I am up by 5:15 am and out in the neighborhood, but I still like to be at school early.  So I will stay out just as long as I can to make it feel like I have accomplished something (usually a little over a mile and a half) but not so long that I can't still get to school by 6:45.  I know I need to let that go.  There is no need to be at school that early.  My new goal is to  really work on staying out longer on the wog and stay longer in the afternoon at school if necessary.

today the goal was to RUN for 12 minutes total.  Not all at one time, but total.  I made it FOURTEEN minutes!!  How bout them apples?  I thought at times my lungs would explode or my legs would fall off, and I nearly cried a couple of times, but I made it.  Julie called today extreme wogging.  She was right!  Kim is such a patient and wonderful coach.  And it's a pleasure to have her in my head on my daily wogs.

"Keep those arms up!"  "We're going to run for two minutes beginning in 10 seconds....ready?"  She's always there, even when she isn't there. 

It was very cold this morning.  As I am still struggling to get my endurance, it was not welcome.  But, I suppose it could be summer and I could be suffering in the heat.  I'll take the cold, thank you! 

I'm pretty tired now, but once again would not trade getting up before the sun on this Saturday morning for anything (even though it did cross my mind briefly at 6 am to stay under the warm covers). 

It's hard to explain, but every time I find the energy and courage to get out there and wog, I feel like I am fighting my own fight.  And I feel like I am winning.  I would not trade that feeling for any extra moments under the warm covers, to be honest.  This is has been an interesting part of the journey that I didn't expect, but it's some of the best scenery so far.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Being There Is Not Enough

Last night it hit me like a ton of bricks.  Just sitting beside Brian holding his hand really isn't enough anymore.  Especially right now.

You see, we found out last night that the new house appraised for the value we needed, so we really will be moving in just a few short weeks.  He's scared to death because we are keeping the little house we live in now and will be leasing it.  Owning one house is mind-numbing enough.  Owning two is positively petrifying. 

My knight in shining armor is a worrier by nature anyway...well, except when it comes to lumps he ought to have checked out around his collarbone, but I digress...(just kidding, sweetie!!) He worries about money and the people he loves.  He doesn't so much worry about himself.  He is selfless.  And that is the truth. 

So, when it comes to spending large sums of money at once, he is rather reluctant and apprehensive...who wouldn't be?  Especially when there isn't a bunch more money lying around to make up for it.

I would say buying this house has been along the lines of double root canals for Brian with odd moments of euphoria thrown in.  He can see the fun in it; he's just able to put all the practical stuff first.  Me, I put all the fun first and the practical stuff in when I have to.

Last night when Brooke called to tell us about the appraisal and I could tell he still wasn't as happy as I was, I told him how proud I am of him and how glad I am we are together.  He looked surprised by that and I hated that.  I do not want him surprised by those statements!  But I realized that I must not be saying them enough. 

I am so grateful for that man.  Every hour. Every day.  I have been since the day I met him.  And dumb ol' cancer hasn't changed that a bit.  I am so proud of him--the work he does, the love he gives me, the fight he puts up against cancer, the logical arguments he provides...he is the best gift I have ever received. 

When Brian was diagnosed, I went right out and bought a bunch of Hallmark cards that I planned to leave around for him occasionally when I thought he might need a smile.  I haven't pulled them out as often as I planned (obviously).  I was shopping that day next to a lady buying a bunch of cards for her nephew, newly shipped out to Afghanistan.  Neither of us really knew what to say to each other except that we would both be praying for each man's safety. 

Just being there isn't enough.  But I hope that Brian knows that I get up and wog because of him every morning, fighting my own kind of fight.  I smile every day because I get to be his wife, not some other schmoe's.  I am an awfully lucky woman...and I gotta go now before I get too emotional all over the keyboard...holy snickerdoodles.