Thursday, December 30, 2010

Who Knew?

So evidently I'm not the first "wogger." 

Julie and I met this morning for a workout date and breakfast.  I'm borrowing her book, No Need For Speed by John "The Penguin" Bingham, a writer for Running Magazine.  As I was reading, I discovered that he writes about "wogging."  Dang it.  Not as an original thinker as I thought. 

He's a very inspirational guy, and he really makes one feel better about being a "wogger."  He combines waddling and jogging to get wogging, in fact. 

He started running several years ago after deciding that he could no longer live a life of inactivity.  He began slowly and advocates that slow is perfectly long as you are moving.  This has been my philosophy from Day 1.  I believe The Penguin and I would get along swimmingly. 

He's helped me think through some things today as I read.  I've felt a bit discouraged lately.  Running just isn't happening for me.  I can walk like the wind, baby.  But running just does me in if I try to go for more than a minute or so at a time.  It worries me a little bit. 

My workouts are still very satisfying.  My pace is still pretty quick, and I know that my workouts are doing me good.  But I still would really like to run more. 

So as I read, I found new inspiration.  A new plan.  I really do like the activity part.  And that in itself is a little miracle, honestly.  I've never been what you would call a fan of exercise of any kind.  But I actually miss it when I don't get to do a workout.  Now, the feeling is still pretty fleeting, but--it's there.  That's BIG, y'all. 

Tomorrow begins the new plan.  I may be even slower than before for a little while.  But I'm going to get there.  I'm not sure why I'm so slow.  But what I do know is that for the first time I have found an athletic endeavor that I don't want to quit...even when it's really hard. 

I like the way it feels when I get in the groove...even though it's only a really fast walk right now. I  like the way it feels when I finish....especially on the days when I didn't really want to get out there at first.  I like the way I feel for hours afterward...all bright eyed and bushy-tailed, full of energy. 

It would be easy to quit.  It's not going the way I want it to and/or the way I thought it would by now. I'm not doing as well as my friends are.  Everything in my history points to me quitting and acting like it was running's fault that this relationship didn't work out...not mine.  But I'm staying put and working it out. 

Huh.  Who knew? 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

To Protect and Serve...and Endure

Dear Jillian,

Thank you for your life and service to the people of your community.  It was much too brief.  From what we can gather from the news, you are the hero you dreamed of being. 

But I want you to know that you were a hero the moment you put on your uniform. I believe you knew that.  That's why you were answering the call last night.  Domestic disturbance.  Sounds so innocuous, doesn't it?  What you and all other officers know is that it is potentially the most dangerous situation you will ever walk in to.  But you didn't let that deter you.  You had a job to do.  Probably just a report to take, right?  It's rarely "just" anything, is it? 

Jillian, I am perhaps more in awe of your choice in careers than many other high achieving young people.  But let me explain.  You are a beautiful, intelligent, exuberant spirit.  You could do whatever you like, and you chose law enforcement in your own community.  What a tribute to those around you.  From what I see on the news, you knew from the time you were in middle school you wanted to be a police officer and you achieved your goal.  Thank you for choosing such a challenging profession.  It required more of a commitment than I know you hoped that you would have to give, but as an officer you knew it might come this. All officers do. 

I know that I could not do your job. I considered it.  I decided instead that my commitment to the community is to support an officer like you.  It's been almost 14 years now.  Some things are easy.  I finally don't mind moving his gun if it's in my way.  For years, I wouldn't touch the thing!  If he's going to be late because a bad guy has just been arrested and has to be questioned, then dinner will be a little late, or I will be dining alone.  Every year Brian makes his pilgrimage to Washington in May for Police Week.  (This May it will be in part in tribute to you, Jillian.)

Some things I never get used to.  How vilified the police still can be for what seem like the smallest things.  How painful it is when an officer dies, no matter where they are in the country.  How senseless and cyclical the crimes are that you all deal with.  Praying I never get "the call" again. 

Brian was in an accident several years ago on his way home from his shift.  His partner called was 3 am.  We weren't married yet, but I was the only family Brian even had in town.  Problem was--I wasn't in town. I was 5 hours away in Lubbock.  I stayed as calm as I could, but I can't imagine the panic and pain of your family; Brian was "only" hit by a drunk driver who neglected to see the big police cruiser he was driving.  He was home from the hospital the next day and so was I from my trip. 

Of course I got a whole other kind of call with Brian's cancer.  But I guess he has an angel like you will get to be now looking after him.  He wasn't seriously hurt in the car accident and looks like he's beat the cancer as well. 

Jillian, I know that if every time a bell rings an angel gets her wings, you probably already have yours.  I can't think of anyone who would object. 

So, Jillian, I know that whoever they give you to look after up there is in good hands.  You will be missed terribly down here, but you do good work.  It's proven.  You will continue to protect and serve.  Peace be with you, Officer.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

All Right, All Right, I'm Going, I'm Going

I had planned on doing some kind of exercise today.  I really did.  As I picked up the house last night, I even picked out clothes and put them aside on the top of the dresser so they would be there as a little reminder. 

But when the alarm went off for Brian to get up this morning, my head was hurting again and the migraine that I recovered from yesterday was epic.  I had no big plans to bring it back today.  And my shin splints were acting up a little.  I figured maybe instead of wogging, I could do some pilates or (gulp) Jillian or even find some yoga to try on the FIT channel later on today. 

But Grandpa is in the hospital so I might have to go to Bridgeport and there is a lot to be done in the garage.  And I do have a few errands to run. 

Get the picture?  Excuse City today.  And I had a nice wog yesterday (except for the fact that dang Silent Nigel didn't record and I had to guess about how far I went.  Annoyed!). 

But as I sat here this morning about 7:45 with my coffee and fired up the computer, my dog Bear, who I occasionally take wogging with me and did the Jingle Bell Run with me, sat at my feet.  He kept looking at me as if to say, "Aren't you forgetting something?  Shouldn't you be getting dressed, Mom?"

I sighed heavily.  "Yes, Bear.  Too right."  I dragged myself off the couch and put on the clothes I set aside last night for the workout I promised I would do.  I bumped into Brian who was getting ready for work.  He grinned at me.  "Going for your wog after all?" he asked.  "Yes," I sighed.  "Bear guilted me into it."  "Good dog!"  Brian praised him and off I went.

It's a gray day out there today, but immediately I got a grin.  My neighbor, Christina's dog, Bullet snuck out as she was trying to leave for work and decided he would like to come with me instead.  I practically had to walk him to his front door to get him to stay with she and her dad before I could wog on.  Ha.  :)

As it was a little later in the morning than I am usually out there, the neighborhood was awake.  It's garbage day, so one by one, the neighbors come to the curb to deposit their bags.  The charm of this neighborhood for me isn't so much the homes (though they are beautiful) but the friendliness of the people.  I have no doubt that had I met more of the people in my old neighborhood they would have been delightful, but I like having the contrast since I didn't. 

Brian just called and told me that I have to go wait on the plumber at the little house tomorrow to fix the leaky toilet, so I guess unless I wog much later in the morning, it's not going to happen.  It's a good thing I listened to my Bear dog today. 

Monday, December 27, 2010

Man, I Hope It's Just PMS

This Christmas has been difficult. Despite the miracle of Brian being finished with his treatments and our beautiful new house, I've had a hard time not crying most of the time. 

I was up at 3 am on Christmas Eve...unable to sleep again.  I don't know what it is about holidays this year.  I did the same thing on Thanksgiving. 

I waited as long as I could and I started baking.  I didn't want to wake Brian up with the smells of what was cooking.  And then most of it wasn't great.  Still figuring out my oven.

Christmas always seems to slip away from me.  I never find time to get out and look at lights on houses.  I don't have friends over for eggnog--or other drinks.  I don't find the time to bake cookies.  I barely found the time this year to watch some of the holiday movies.  I didn't get down to look at the Christmas tree downtown where Brian proposed three years ago now.  I got my tree up as soon as I could and have been listening to Christmas music for as long as I can.  That's about as far as I got this year.  Or as far as I have I gotten in the last several years. 

I love this time of year; it's the prettiest...all the sparkling lights and beautiful music.  I love finally getting to see the whole family.  Usually it's been awhile since I've seen them.  This year it had been almost 7 months since I had seen everyone together.  Brian had been diagnosed and had all his treatments in between the time we had seen everyone. 

I just can't shake this sadness that occasionally descends.  I guess I shouldn't really be surprised by it.  It's been an emotional year.  I just wish I felt like I did Christmas "better."

I don't know exactly what I even mean by that.  Maybe begin some traditions for Brian and me. Like the breakfast casserole I made for Christmas Eve morning.  I'd like to figure out my oven so I could bake some goodies for the neighbors rather than doing fruit baskets...though I know it's the thought that counts. 

I am looking forward to starting at our new church we've picked out. It didn't work out for us to go during Christmas. I know that will help me feel like I am "doing Christmas better."

I hate being all emotional...whatever the reason is.  I've had more headaches lately, too.  I hope it's pms.  But I guess I can understand why with the crazy year, good and bad, we've had why I might be a little off the deep end. 

The Great Escape...and Recapture

Today I got to spend some quality time with my sweet next door neighbors.  They have two beagles, both eight years old.  One is blind, poor dear.  She has a genetic condition.  Her name is Bridget.  She gets around extremely well and her companion, Bonnie, takes good care of her. 

Our boys, Bear and Badger, haven't been as nice as I would like--especially to Bridget and Bonnie's mom and dad, Janet and John.  (Don't you love all the alliteration?)  Badger just has a thing about fences. 

So today after dropping off a holiday basket of fruit to the neighbors and visiting awhile, we thought how nice it would be for Janet and John to meet the boys face to face.

As I returned to the house, I met not only the boys, but the cat looking for me in the front yard. 


I hadn't locked the front door.  I did have my keys, just in case, but as I was just walking back and forth between next door, I wasn't worried about locking the door. 

So, I don't know if I didn't shut the door well enough or if Badger has finally learned to open round doorknobs.  You see, he's a pro with handles. 

What I do know is, all three of my little dears met me in the front yard.  Fortunately I was able to corral everyone again without incident.  They just wanted to see what Mom was up to.  Bear and Badger were very helpful in herding Azalea--what good brothers they are! 

We talked to the neighbors through the fence too so hopefully next time the boys see Bonnie and Bridget and Janet and John they will be sweet. 

I have to say I prefer they speak to the neighbors from the fence than unattended in the front yard.  It's a little more organized.  And little Miss Azalea, she can wait until the neighbors come to her house. 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

We Made It

Dear Brian,

Tomorrow is the day.  You are finished with your chemo!  I can't imagine the relief you must feel.  You can move on; we can move on. 

Your hair can really start to come back in.  The peach fuzz you have now is cute.  You've been so patient with the side effects you have encountered.  I know how much you want that port out.  Hopefully it won't be long now. 

You've been so brave, making it look so easy when it couldn't have been.  You refused to slow down when you had every right to.  You had the support and the time, but it's just not your style.  Working and being as normal as possible was the best was to survive.

And survive you have.  Survive we have.  Seems a strange way to be closer to you than ever, but I think you would agree that we are. 

I hope I've been help enough. I worry about that.  I've written about it before but we've never really discussed it before.  I've worried that just fetching your lunch on chemo days doesn't feel like much.  I know that isn't really ALL I do for you and have done for you through this, but I just want you to feel like you have all the love and support you could possibly need.

Without feeling smothered of course.  No charity cases here.  But the dinners from our friends at school were pretty nice, weren't they?  I know that they always seemed to be on the perfect nights; I was just too tired to even think about what I might fix and a sandwich or cereal would be fine.  But you needed to eat better than that, and the angels made sure we did.

I can't wait to get on with our lives now.  This house is pretty big.  Let's see about adding a little Horned Frog or two.  We aren't spring chickens, either one of us. 

I know it's odd, but I can't help but wonder if I would be as involved in the running at Luke's and trying new things if this had not happened to us.  I'm grateful for the opportunity though if I had to do it all over again....well, you know...

So much mortality this year.  Nonnie going to heaven.  You getting sick.  It's so raw and painful and yet, we get a happy ending. 

A beautiful new house, jobs we love, our health back. 

Just promise me that when you don't feel well or notice a lump, no matter how small next time you will have it checked out right away. 

I have to admit, I kind of like that each Christmas will be your cancer free anniversaries.  Like an extra gift that you don't think you need to ask for each year but it seems like such a given but isn't a guarantee--life. 

I love you. 

Go Ahead, Badger...Take It...She'll Never Know...



So, I solved the Christmas Tree Mystery awhile back.  It seems that my friend Cyndi was correct. Or at least partly.  Azalea must not loathe Badger as much as it seems.  Or she loathes him so much it gives her the most pleasure to see him get into trouble so she just helps him as often as possible. 

The feathered ornaments have stayed on the tree because I have finally moved them up high enough, away from everyone's reach, no matter which theory you subscribe to. 

One day I walked into the living room because I heard strange chomping noises.  Sweet Bear, the smart one, was with me.  I knew he was innocent.  There was Badger in the middle of the floor in front of my beautifully illuminated Christmas tree eating one of my plastic apples.  Azalea was sitting calmly under the tree on the tree skirt, practically grinning like the Chesire cat. 

We've been without incident for a week or so.  They have played together pretty peacefully.  No more ornaments have disappeared from the tree. 

Last night after I went to bed, I was reading my book and Bear was sleeping beside the bed.  Brian was at the other end of the house in the den watching tv.  I heard a strange sound...crunching again sort of.  It could have been Brian, but I know that in this big ol' house, I can't hear him when he's in the den. 

So, I finally got up to take a look.  I found the cat sitting calmly watching from the side of the room as Badger ate my sunglasses.  Now, my sunglasses were on the table in the living room.  So he had to have taken them from the table.  He did not find them on the floor and think, "These would be a tasty treat!"

The cat must be pulling the strings.  She is enjoying watching him get in trouble just like human siblings.  I imagine the conversation went something like this...

Azalea:  Hey Frisbee Breath.
Badger:  Huh?  Who me?  Huh?  What?  Who me?  Huh?  What?
Azalea:  Focus, Bone Breath.  I know where you can get something good to chew on.  Interested?
Badger:  Serious?  Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah
Azalea:  Shhhhhh....Gah--you have to be quiet.  It's a secret.  You don't want Mom to hear you, do you? 
Badger:  I don't know, Cat.  You got me in trouble last time...
Azalea:  I'm trying to make up for it.  You don't want to let me make up for it?  It's a really good chew toy.  Nice and crunchy.
Badger: Well, ok.  Where is it? 
Azalea:  Over here. On the table.  See right there by Mom's purse.
Badger:  Oh, yeah!  That looks nice!  Very crunchy looking.  Thanks, Azalea. 
Azalea:  Don't mention it.  No.  Really.  Don't mention it. 

It's difficult to stay mad at DammitBadger.  He's so cute and he's always so sorry at the time.  Plus I have complete faith that Azalea will be waiting patiently, plotting her next evil scheme...just like a good little sister does. 

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Merry Christmas, Nonnie

I don't know if I can write this one, but I'm going to try. 

Merry Christmas, Nonnie.

Today was so much fun, wasn't it?  It was so great to see everyone finally! I don't think everyone had been in the same room together since this summer at the family reunion.  Before we all knew Kelli was pregnant with Casen.  Before we knew Brian was sick. 

Now Brian has his last treatment next week and Casen will be here in March. 

Claire turned 20 today.  Can you believe it?  She used to be the baby.  Now it's Colt until Casen gets here.  Seems so strange.   We decided this year that we would only bring gifts for the little kids.  Things have changed so much and yet they have come full circle.  Now we are all adults and we are watching their children exchange and open gifts.  I only feel a little left out because we don't have kids of our own yet. 

Nonnie, you were there.  In every smile.  In every laugh.  The football game was on and the boys were glued to it.  We made the turkey, potatoes, and stuffing...just like always.  The cranberry salad didn't set up very well in my pewter bowl, but it tasted good.  And you were there.  The tree was decorated with the ornaments that I made for you and Grandpa. 

Grandpa looks good, huh?  A little tired, I think, but I'm really proud of the way he's hanging in there.  He misses you so much.  Today was challenging for him.  He loved having everyone over I know, but it meant you were only there in spirit....and most of the time, that's just not good enough, you know? 

The kids were all very well behaved and looked so cute.  I know you were proud of them.  Jace was so sweet sitting at his place at the table for all that time, waiting patiently for his lunch. 

Thank you so much for the shadow boxes and the jewelry.  I know that Aunt Susie and Mom put them together and it was so special.  But if you hadn't kept it all, we wouldn't have it to remember you. 

I have your ring that you wore every day after you gave your big diamond to Mom.  I didn't know it was expandable.  :)  Good buy! 

We all enjoyed the chance to choose some things that belonged to you to take with us.  You are with us all the time. 

Christmas will always bring you back to me and make the ache a little deeper at the same time, but I wouldn't trade a single moment of the big family Christmases you gave us. 

My absolute favorites are the ones when I was a little girl and you lived out on the creek.  I've spent my whole life trying to recapture the magic you created at Christmas in that house.  The best answer I have is all the time you had for us.  The movies we watched, the fires in the fireplace, hot chocolate.  And each cousin felt like we were your favorite child and the only kid in the world.

How did you do that? 

Merry Christmas, Nonnie.  Love you.

This Thing Inhales Profusely!

One of our housewarming gifts was a super duper vacuum cleaner from my in laws.  My sweet little house had hardwood floors, and we didn't really need a vacuum.  Although I have to say that with the dust/dirt battle we constantly fought in that house, perhaps a steroid-inhanced sucker like the one we just we received might have just done the trick.

Our new house is 80 percent carpet, so a vacuum was a must.  I bought a basic one at Target, but had yet to get it out of the box.  I keep the house tidy, but aside from the leaves the dogs keep bringing in, we just needed a little sweeping on the kitchen tile and in the bathrooms.  Then my in-laws brought in the big guns, and I really didn't need the little one I bought.

I'm hoping that Target will take mine back with no receipt.  Store credit is cool with me.  I practically live there. 

Tonight I decided the floors could wait no longer, so I asked Brian to assemble the Assault Weapon for Carpets.  Dutifully, he got to work and before long I had a super duper sucker ready to work on my carpets.  He gave me a 10 second tour (because that's all I would listen to) and away I went.

Chores are definitely not my favorite, but floors are a total drag.  Never liked sweeping.  Not crazy about vacuuming, but of course tonight it's new and fun again. 

For one, the vacuum, though it's surprisingly quiet for being so large and effective at it's job, scares the snot out of DammitBadger.  Mwahahahahahaha. 

Bear's not crazy about it, but he takes a more practical approach.  He knows if he stays well behind me, there's no way the scary monster machine can get him.  Then eventually he gets bored and goes to another room.  Badger is too busy scaring himself to think clearly.  So he runs around barking at the scary monster machine and when he gets to close to it, jumps back about four feet like he's been electrocuted.  The cat's not a big fan either, but it's not as funny to me because it's really kind of expected, isn't it?  She runs like a thief in the night from hiding place to hiding place when you get too close. 

It's been so long since I've owned a vacuum (oh, wait...I've never actually owned a vacuum) that this is the first one I've had with no bag!  When it was time to empty the chamber the first time, I successfully removed it from the machine and I brought it to the kitchen toward the garbage can.  As I asked Brian if he knew how to open it, I pushed the red button.  Whoops.  Yeah, THAT red button.  I didn't dump it all, and at least I was standing over the tile when I did it.  I'm more of a learn by doing kind of girl.  Brian patiently went and retrieved the broom and dust pan, shaking his head and I replaced the chamber on the vacuum and prepared to attack the next room.

I made it to our bedroom where I discovered that this is such a powerful vacuum, it sucks up tube socks! Whoopsie!  Fortunately I was able to get them back and the vacuum was completely unharmed. 

I thoroughly enjoyed my cleaning experience and in a few days I'll get out our awesome new vacuum and fluff up the carpets again, leaving nice tracks as evidence of its skills.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Run for the Roses

Well, I did it.  I Ran for the Roses, baby.  My brother, David and my sweet Kim were there with me.  Of course, my very fit brother left me in the dust, but that's ok.  As Kim says, "No matter how slow I am, I'm faster than my couch."  That's the sign she and her husband hold up for her daughter at her triathalons.  And if that's not a tee shirt, it ought to be.

I didn't dread going to this one like I did the Jingle Bell Run, so I must actually be sucked in to this whole thing for real.  The Jingle Bell made me so nervous because as a perfectionist, I want to do beautifully and it's taken me awhile to understand that getting off the couch and on the road is the biggest part.  The rest is really just gravy.

I wasn't nervous this time and I had a goal--My wish on my shooting star a few days ago. 

And it came true.  I can share it with you now.  I wanted to do better than the Jingle Bell time of 50 minutes.  Today was really hard.  It was so cold and I was sure there was no way that I could make it come true. I hadn't taken the time to eat anything this morning, so I had no energy, but I also had nothing to regurgitate if it came to that.  I did better with my stretching but I did it a little early.  I'm learning.  I'm learning. 

As bad I felt, Kim was keeping time on her watch and we had 15 minute miles for the first two. I couldn't believe it.  But in the last two tenths or so I just wanted to sit down and cry I hurt so bad.  But ever persistent, even as gentle as she is, Kim insisted that we were going to run across the finish line. 

Her husband finished quite a bit ahead of us (of course) and was there taking pictures of us.  He went with us down to the finish as an extra cheerleader. 

I was disappointed that it seemed my time wouldn't improve, but I would finish another race.  I didn't spend my first Saturday of Christmas vacation on the couch.

Kim picked up our pace and we started to run to the finish.  "You see that clock?"  "No," I whined.  "Well, I do!"  Kim sang out.  I looked closer at the finish line.  It said 46 minutes and something.  I blinked my eyes.  Couldn't be.  I looked again.  It changed to 47 minutes.  Holy snickerdoodles!  I was going to make it!!  And I was going to be running when I did it!!

When I hit the finish line, the clock was just over 48 minutes.  That means the chip on my shoe should show 47 something since I was about 20 seconds or so behind the starters of the race. 

I did it.  My shooting star gave me my wish.  I gave me my wish.  My next race is in a few weeks.  It's the Jiggle Butt on January 7.  It's for girls only and Julie and I are pretty excited about it. 

When I got home, Brian took my number and put it on the refrigerator next to my Jingle Bell number.  I didn't think of myself as a runner until today.  A runner--just a slow one. Well, maybe still a wogger.  But that's ok by me.  I'm still faster than my couch.

I'm looking forward to the next 9 to 5 at Luke's in January.  I'll actually miss the first meeting because of the Jiggle Butt Run.  I don't know where this wogging adventure will take me next , but so far I like where I've been.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Hello Neighbor...

It's a crazy time of year.  I don't think anyone can deny this.  As serene as I want to feel, that's probably as crazy as I actually I am.  Between trying to get school finished for the holidays and not having even started my Christmas shopping and our big family Christmas party being this Sunday, I'm a little frazzled. 

Brian and I were warned that he might experience what they call chemo brain about now...where he gets a bit forgetful.  He's honestly done very well, just as he has with all his other symptoms until today.  He forgot he had a function to attend after work and we made plans with friends.  Fortunately they were very understanding about it; the previous engagement was important for Brian.

I went to Target right after work to get the last gift for my Secret Santa and pick up one or two other little things (found an adorable sweater and a new bottle of wine to try). 

When I got home, I let the dogs out as I usually do and took my packages into the kitchen.  I went back to the front door to plug in the Christmas lights; we have them plugged in right outside the door for easy access.  But the door shut behind me when I leaned out to plug in.  Can't let the cat out, you know. 

So I turned to go back in after plugging in my purple and white homage to the Horned Frogs (yes, my Christmas lights are purple and white), but I had a problem.  The door was locked.  SNICKERDOODLES! 

Ok, you have two very expensive degrees.  Think Blondie.  How are you going to get back into your house. Your phone is on the kitchen counter and every window and door is locked. 

I went around to the backyard where the dogs are still waiting for someone to come and play with them.  "MOMMY!" You can almost hear them yelling as they pick up their frisbees.  No, not right now, fellas.  We have a problem.  I don't suppose either of you grabbed a key on your way out?  No?  Ok.....think...think....

I tried the windows, both doors in the back.  Nothing.  Though I am pleased to tell you that the back of my house is locked up just as tight as the front of my house.  I even tried taking off a screen of a window and getting in.  Nope. 

Well, the next door neighbor is home.  We haven't actually met, but there's no time like the present. 

I went next door and rang the door bell.  My beautiful neighbor, Christina, answered the door. 

"Hi, I'm Heather. I live next door."  "Hi!" she says.  "Um, I have a bit of a problem. I hope you can help me..." 

She let me borrow her phone to call Brian so that he could run home before his meeting and let me in. 

"Brian?"   "Yeah?"  "Um, I locked myself out of the house."  "Well, how did you do that?"  "Honey, how do you think I did that?"  He laughed and laughed.  "I'm on my way." 

Christina and I had a very nice visit while we waited.  We have quite a bit in common, including having moved from the same general neighborhood and tiny house into beautiful big homes on this quiet street.  She was very understanding about locking myself out; she said she and her husband did that too not long after they moved in to their house, too. 

Brian did eventually get home to let me in and then he was on his way to his meeting.  And I have a new friend.  Christina may even get up and go running with me. 

Man, I love it here.  Good thing I have a sense of humor about myself. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Stars At Night

I tried to wog yesterday morning--truly I did.

I have a 5k this weekend and I need all the practice I can get.  But it's difficult to arise bright eyed and bushy tailed at the right time when you "accidentally" set the alarm for 5 PM instead of AM.  Whoopsie.

So, instead I woke up in a panic at 5:45 AM and had to prepare for my school day, sans wogging.  And it was a special day, too.  I had to fulfull my obligation to the library with my book fair dare.  The kids bought $2000 worth of books, so I dressed up as Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer.  Possibly just as well I didn't have time to wog.

So, last night I made sure the alarm was correct and just as planned, I was off into the darkness minutes after the alarm went off at 5 AM...just had to brush my fangs first and dress for the cold weather.  Morning breath and huffing and puffing do NOT go together...just sayin'.

Anyway, I was actually able to run quite a bit.  I was pretty proud.  I was doing pretty well with my breathing.  I was pretending my Kimi was right there with me..."Ok, ready to run to the light post?"  Yep, let's go.  I got to my light post and turned to go back the other direction and do the rest of my route.

The cold was slapping me in the face and making my eyes water pretty badly.  And sometimes I still cry a little. I'm not sure why.  I guess it's all the stress leaking out.  I've just become accustomed to it.  Anyway, I was headed to the big loop I do, looking up at all the stars in the cold, clear sky when I saw a shooting star!
In the city!  At 5:20 in the morning! 

Y'all, I just about lost it!  I kept running and talking to the sky.  Saying thank you to whoever sent me that star.  My Nonnie maybe?  I don't know.  I should probably also tell you that the star is my favorite shape.  Now I know that those stars are not actually star-shaped, but it didn't really matter to me.  It just seemed like the simplest but most wonderful little miracle just for me.

And my wish?  Well, I know I can't really tell you, but I did keep it wogging-related.  I don't need much these days.  Pretty blessed, you know. 

When I got home, Brian stirred and asked how I did.  I was still glowing and told him about what I had seen.  "Oh yeah, there was a big meteor shower last night."  My face fell a bit.  Oh, maybe I didn't get a sign after all.  Just a meteor shower.  And then I decided that no, it was special if I wanted it to be.  And Brian agreeed when I thanked him for being a 5 am buzz kill.  "Oh no!" he said.  "It should be over by now."  Yeah, try and back track, buddy.  So, that's my little miracle for today.

So if I get two wishes on that star today, let me wish for a similar, simple miracle for you, too.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Oh Mother

I have mothers on my mind today.  Specifically mine.

As Sunday and our big family Christmas draws ever nearer, I know that she has her Mama on her mind.  I have mentioned that this is our first year without my Nonnie.  So far my mother has been the picture of Southern grace and strength, just as she was raised to be and has raised me to be.  I can't help but wonder what she's like on the inside.

Let me tell you what she's like on the outside. 

I have never wanted for anything in my entire life.  I have always been made to feel beautiful, intelligent, and even when I didn't want to be, she made be strong.  I can think of countless examples of when she made me feel like the most special person alive, but a random memory popped into my head today on the way home from school today as I listened to Christmas music.

How many times was the woman "volunteered" for jobs when she wasn't even there to speak up for herself?  Not that she would dream of refusing, another inherited trait from her own gracious mother.  When I was in 2nd grade, I wanted a good role in the Christmas program.  And I was smart enough to know how to get one.  So, when the teacher wanted girl volunteers who already had white leotards at home who could be divinity candy in the program, I fibbed and said I did.  My mommy would get me a leotard.  I knew she would.  And guess who was divinity candy in the Christmas program that year?  Yours truly.  A divinity candy with a slightly guilty conscience, I'll admit, but a better role than just the chorus!

She was room mother, Choir Mother extraordinaire, chaperone--you name it, she did it with a smile.  I hope she loved it as much as I loved having her there for every moment.  I still get to see her every day as I work with her.  Awesome enough but even better when a girl needs lunch money!

I hope that I am half the mom someday that my mother has been to me.  And as we work to get through this next milestone, I know that not only will Nonnie be there with us, she is even more of proud of the family she made.  And I can't think of one reason she shouldn't be. 

Thanks Mom.  For all of it. 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Making a Difference

If someone asked him, Brian would probably say that the best part about his job is making sure bad people can't hurt good people anymore.

Yesterday when he came home from work, he found out that a very bad guy that he and the rest of his unit had robbery cases on will probably not see the light of day for at least three decades. 

The last four months have been nothing like we could have ever imagined.  And one thing that people are always surprised about is that Brian has continued to fight crime and protect the innocent throughout his illness.  We are fortunate in that he does the Superman thing from behind a desk these days instead of from behind his Kevlar vest every day.  His desk job does make the treatments a little easier on him.  But he takes his turn at being on call at night and on the weekends, just like the rest of the guys.  Sometimes on those nights, the phone rings constantly and he must go in more than once in a night to interview suspects.  No rest for superheroes. 

Brian was born to do his job.  It is as much a part of him as his arm or his leg.  To see him making a difference and the happiness it gives him as he begins to move past this terrible period in our life means so much to me. 

He's very excited about the future as well.  He cannot wait for the Superbowl though I think he could care less who comes to play.  As the AFC team will be hosted in Ft. Worth and ESPN will be setting up shop in downtown, there will be lots of buzz and excitement in our fair city soon.  Brian's friend has set him up with a plum overtime spot working with a fire marshal. They will be responsible for anything from fake merchandise to overcrowding in bars.  Brian will have to file the cases on the offenders. 

His birthday is this Saturday.  We'll celebrate by going to the Pat Green concert at Billy Bob's with friends.  Reliving a little of our youth.  LOL.  We've gone to Pat's concerts for a lot of years now in a lot of different places.  A lot of great memories.

Brian's been able to stay busy throughout his illness, that's certain.  He's making a difference in the world, solving crime for robbery victims, keeping the city safe from invading Superbowl fans, and inspiring me to continue to make a difference wherever I can. 

Back At It

5:00 am.  I opened one eye and sighed.  I'd been awake off and on for about half an hour.  Do I really feel like wogging?  Is it worth it? 

Get out of bed, lazy bones!  One foot on the floor...might as well go all the way now.

It's my first wog in the new neighborhood. 

My old neighborhood was filled with sweet, tiny little houses packed together lovingly on gently winding streets.  I wogged up and down, up and down, admiring these tiny abodes built in the early 1950s. 

The new neighborhood is quite a bit different.  The lots are large as are the homes.  They are newer.  There are lovely, mature trees gracing the lawns.  As you turn into the subdivision, you feel as though you have entered a secret place.  That spell becomes even more powerful on foot. 

Granted, in the dark at 5:15 am, it's difficult to fully appreciate the true beauty of the area, but it's still magicial somehow...and bittersweet.  I started this wogging journey in such a different place.

I do love this new neighborhood; I just wish we had sidewalks.  At least I had the choice in the old neighborhood.  It's a little nerve-wracking, even so early in the morning that I have to be even more vigilant to be sure that I don't get squished by someone half-asleep on their way to work.

I even used Nigel this morning to try to map out some kind of a route.  I only managed a little less than a mile this morning, but now that I know where I want to go, tomorrow I can increase how many times I do the route.  This morning, I'm sorry to tell you that I only worked off two peaches.  Sigh. 

So, when I got home tonight, I got the whole family out for another short walk.  I don't know how long we actually walked, but the boys had fun and I got a little more exercise. 

I signed up for a 5k next weekend benefiting the BISD Rose Parade Bands.  I'm once again not sure how to feel about it, but I'd like to see if I can do any better without Bear.  Even if I walk most of it, I'm giving money to a great cause and it's one more 5k that I hadn't done before. 

Some day I will be more of a runner than a walker.  I keep reminding myself of how much better I feel when I do this and let that help me out of bed when I'd rather curl back up and try to sleep for 5 more minutes. 

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Christmas Tree Mystery

I dearly love to put up our Christmas tree.  I look forward to it all autumn. This year to go along with the new house, we bought a new tree.  I'd had the previous tree for quite a few years and it was going to look a little puny in the big ol' living room. 

I went with a pre-lit 7 footer.  Pre-lit!!  Whoo hoo!  Picked it up for $99 at Garden Ridge at 6 am on Black Friday.  Totally worth it. 

As beautiful as the tree is, as it larger than the last one that means we need more decorations.  I picked up a few new ones at Pier One...some feather angel wings and some feathery owls. 

And even as I bought them, something told me that perhaps these were not the best choices for our household. 

I have told you before that in addition to our two darling dogs, we have a princess cat.  She has always had an affinity for our Christmas tree as well.  When she was tiny, she climbed it.  When she was a little older, she took her cat naps among the packages on the tree skirt.  The kitty loves her tree.  She has been known to bat a low dangling ornament  off the tree and on to the floor.  Sometimes when I'm cleaning I will find a stray bauble in February that has been chased way under a piece of furniture.

This year hasn't been much different than any other.  Azalea makes her nap bed under the tree on the skirt. 
The living room is the playground of the two dogs and the cat (when she isn't napping.)

And now to the mystery...

The feathery ornaments keep finding their way off the tree and onto the carpet in different places.  I purposefully placed the ornaments a little higher on the tree with the cat in mind.  I thought I had them high enough on the tree so that none of the pets could get them.  And yet I have found them on the floor three times now. 

The suspects? 

Azalea, the princess cat who believes the tree and everything on it belongs to her.  Feathers drive her bonkers.  Boas, my slippers with feathers, my Mardi Gras masks--anything with feathers drive her crazy. 

DamnitBadger, the crazy dog who believes that everything and everyone is a toy.  The cat is one of his favorite toys.  He's never really bothered the tree before, but there's always a first time.

I hesitate to even include him, but Bear, the perfect dog is also a member of our family.  He hasn't wanted anything to do with our Christmas tree since he was a puppy.  And last night he was way too tired after our Jingle Bell Run to take an ornament from the Christmas tree. 

I couldn't tell you which little sweetie I think is taking the ornaments.  I think it may be a team effort...

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Jingle All the Way

Well, I did it.  Took me 50 minutes.  But I wogged my way through the Jingle Bell Run tonight.  My coach, Tracy and Bear did it with me.  My friend, Julie, is getting so good at the running that she was 15 minutes ahead of us.  (Show off.)  (Just kidding, Julie!  So proud of you!) 

I was pretty cranky at first.  I won't lie.  I didn't know how to feel about any of it.  I hadn't exercised since Thanksgiving morning.  I know some people give me credit in the exercise department for moving, but I don't, really.  I knew that running would not really be an option because I was so out of practice.  I did try.  I just didn't get much running done.  Sigh.  Well, I suppose the important thing is that I got out there in the first place and I finished it.  I'll try not to be so hard on myself since I've had so much going on. 

Bear would have loved to have run more.  I guess he can go out with me here in the new neighborhood when I start on Monday.  He had a fantastic time.  I was a little worried about him; the other dogs worried me.  Some dogs are just not friendly!  That's not cool because my sweet dog loves everyone! 

Bear did find himself a girlfriend.   A pretty little King Charles Cavalier Spaniel.  She was a beauty; I'll give Bear credit--he knows quality when he sees it. 

Ultimately, I had a really good time and I feel like I did well.  I don't know if I'll take Bear again; I was stressed out with watching out for him around all the other dogs...especially that mean Doberman girl.  Grrr.

I'm proud that I followed through with this even if I didn't run it.  It was important.  Part of my fight...against my stress, against all of it.  And hey, I got to walk right past the stretcher and defibrilator at the finish line...didn't even need it. 

I'm looking forward to the Jiggle Butt in January...and I'm considering doing the Run for the Roses later this month.  I don't know if I'll make 5ks a habit, but I do intend to get back into the habit of wogging.  I have missed it.  And the competitive side of me won't accept 50 minutes as my "best" time. 

So, look out world.  Here I come.  Jingling all the way.


Brian's 5th treatment was this week.  5th of six. 

I didn't take the day off this time to sit with him, but I had to be there when Dr. Redrow told Brian about his pet scan. 

His weight is good; fortunately his appetite has stayed normal despite losing taste buds.  His initial weight loss was one of the things that scared me the most. 

His blood pressure was up a little, but I expected that; he was nervous about what we would hear about the scan.  What would our future hold? 

Dr. Redrow came in, his usual, unflappable self and declared that the scan looked good.  After these next two treatments, Brian would be finished.  A death sentence commuted.  A sigh of relief that comes from the toes. 

It was wonderful to see Brian look so happy.  No matter how supportive I try to be, as I have said many times, ultimately, this is his fight.  And it looks like he has won. 

His last treatment will be on Dec. 22.  What a Christmas gift that will be. 

The 5th treatment was very long; his port was clogged and so he had to be "unplugged" with some liquid draino type stuff before the sweet nurse could get him started. 

The guys in the office took care of his lunch for him this time and he took his nap.  A nice long one.  The sleep of a man who knows he will live to fight another day.

I won't have school on his last treatment and though it's clear he can handle going on his own, I want to be there for his last one.  We've been such a team through this, I don't want to miss the last one.  I think I'll bring a champagne bottle to pop in the parking lot when we finish. 

It's not a persistent, pervasive thought, but I do sometimes think about relapses.  It scares me more than I can tell you.  I know I wouldn't be human if I didn't think about it. I know for now I just need to be thankful that we've got Brian healthy so we can start focusing on other, fun things. Like our house and starting our family...I just don't like stuff sneaking up on me. 

Happy Valley

Missed me?  I've been consumed with the process of moving into our beautiful new house. 

It's been quite an undertaking.  It's all coming together though.  Poor Brian is very tired from the physical part of the move.  Me too, come to think of it.  Good thing we bought that new bed...what sleep we get is most restful. 

Our families helped us get into the house; a holiday weekend isn't the best time to put the touch on your friends.  It's kind of hard for your family to refuse you...even if it is deer season.  We didn't have electricity or water until the Monday after the holiday, so that presented a bit of a challenge, but we worked around it.

Our first night in the house was Monday, but it seems a year ago already.  We had a little trouble getting the satellite service installed; that will be remedied tomorrow, fortunately.  It is a hard thing to come between a man and his remote.  Brian has been patient, however. 

The phone service is still on the fritz, but I still haven't had time to get to the bottom of it.  The phone company recommends that you "troubleshoot" yourself before they send a technician out.  Sigh.  I don't wan thte extra expense, so I'm fine with it, but just finding the time to "troubleshoot" almost makes it worth it...whatever it costs.

We have a wasp problem.  As we sit watching our basic dish service in the den, one wasp will fly around the room.  I am the resident wasp ninja.  I stealthily sneak up on it as it buzzes Brian's head and I swat it out of mid-air with my fly swatter and I get it on the floor and give it another couple of good whacks to make sure it's good and dead.  My dog, Bear, is rather sensitive and is worried that the swatter might be turned on him, so he hides and waits for it to be over.  (P.S. there is no way that swatter would EVER be used on that dog, no matter what he did.)

We can't figure out where the wasps are coming from.  Today I killed about 10 of them.  They seem to originate from around the fireplace, but from there we are at a loss.  I am looking forward to the wasp barbeque we are going to have one evening soon as it will be quite cold in the next few days if that is really where they are camping out.  I'm just hoping that they don't come swarming out into the den all at once when we light the fire. Can you say nightmare?  Even the wasp ninja can't handle more than one or two at a time. 

We met our neighbors last night.  Oh my goodness.  I can't imagine nicer people if we had hand picked them.  We got a welcome basket from one neighbor!  I can't wait to bake goodies for them for Christmas.  I have always wanted to do that for my neighbors and just never have bothered because I never bothered to know my neighbors.  Now here in Happy Valley, I can't help but know and like them. 

So, that's what we've been up to the last 10 days or so.  Hope things are good in your world!