Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Accidental Terrorist

Sometimes I get caught up in an idea and never really stop and think, "Wait.. it's an idea, but is it a GOOD idea?"
My Christmas Cards are a great example of this. This year I accidentally sent out Terrorist Christmas Cards.

It all started two years ago, when in my holiday panic I grew increasingly frustrated with our attempts at a family picture.  After five separate failed attempts to get a picture with everyone looking at the camera, I gave up.  So I sent out a holiday card with a picture from the Christmas before.  We were all wearing our new hoodies on Christmas Day, it was hilarious and it made me laugh.
Then I had this idea that maybe we should take our hoodies with us on vacations and take pictures of us in our hoodies at exotic locations.  It would solve the problem of trying to get everyone to smile and look at the camera.   But it doesn't really translate, case in point, our 2015 Christmas Card.
 All that is missing from the pic is some guns and we are full fledged terrorists.   I had this realization after I had the card designed and paid a couple hundred dollars for printing.   I was the one who said, "Yes, this is the pic I want on the front!!!"  I'm in love with the design, I'm always a sucker for Blue and White, and I thought our picture on the front was hilarious.  Then after I started to address them, I realized... "Oh my goodness, Aunt Edna is going to think we are terrorist."   Then I wondered... what if everyone is going to think we are terrorist!   

But I sent them anyway...  I just added a note:  PS We are not terrorists.  

Monday, November 09, 2015

Happy Halloween 2015

I swear having a little girl is like having your own Barbie doll to dress up.  Last year when she told me she wanted to be Mary Poppins for Halloween, I jumped at the chance, because c'mon she is ridiculously adorable.
 She loved all the posing, she loved dressing up, and she loved singing Mary Poppins songs while wearing her costume.  
 As for Mr. Boy, he is too cool for most stuff these days, except he loved this loose interpretation of his favorite condiment, A Sriracha Bottle. 
As for the dogs, this year I wrestled them into costumes that made me laugh, but they hated them. 
I swear Zeena Warrior Princess is going to eat my face off.  Zoey seemed pretty happy to be a football player, but she did not need the extra padding, she's got plenty of her own padding.
Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 09, 2015

Five for Friday: Tumor Humor

I did it, survived surgery on my brain.   The whole magnitude of what I had done really didn't hit me until yesterday.   I'm still a little freaked out that I had people messing around inside my head.   The tumor was removed successfully, it was bigger than anticipated, but all is well.  Pathology results in a week or two.

Here are five thoughts rolling around my head:

1.  I've had surgery multiple times, it's awful every single time.  Painkillers are my new best friend and rehab sounds like a luxury vacation.  The downside of painkillers is that it makes me feel like I have a brain cloud.  I can't think straight and I've had a good time reading through my texts that I sent those first few days.  Here is my blanket apology for everything I said, "I'm sorry for the things I said while on painkillers."    You know the pain is bad when you decide that pants are "too heavy" and you just step out of your pants and leave them all over the house.  Also, this is the worst puzzle to do while on painkillers.  It's holographic and it made me so mad, I cried and tried to throw it away.  I think maybe I was projecting my frustration on the puzzle a little bit.

2.  Highlights of this last week has been getting daily texts and videos from friends and family.  It's been my favorite and I love watching them over and over.   This is the best part of living in 2015.

3.  I tend to be an overachiever in multiple areas of my life.  So when the Neurosurgeon gives you a timeline for recovery, I figured that I'd be able to a super star and recover about the half the time.   Turns out I'm just average at healing and healing right on the doctor's timeline.

4.  Right after I woke up from surgery, I was convinced that I was in an airport.  No one could convince me otherwise.   I was so mad at myself for having brain surgery at an airport kiosk and kept thinking, "The guy over there is selling Chips and Soda.   I really should be more responsible and make better choices.   No one should have surgery in an airport, responsible people have surgery in a hospital."  
5.    I'm incredibly lucky and have never felt so loved.  My house looks like a flower shop and we have had meals brought in every night.  I'm so incredibly lucky and have been surrounded by so many great people.  I think Stacey Kramer summed it up best.   Watch this four minute TED talk, that pretty much sums up how I feel. 

Thank you everyone for the well wishes. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

On this week's episdoe of "Tumor Talk"

I'm supposed to be having Brain Surgery today, but unfortunately or fortunately, it was postponed for a few more weeks.  I've been absent from my virtual life lately because I've been really busy trying to live my life to the fullest as one is prone to do when they were convinced they were dying.

Confused?   Let me back up...  I have a bump on my forehead that never went away.  I didn't think much of it until I realized that it's tender to the touch and it is growing.   I knew something was not right because at every cat scan or x-ray, a crowd would form in the observation area and you could see the techs mouthing the words, "What is that?" to each other.  Some would come in and touch my forehead and then look at the scans and try to compare them. 

Unfortunately, I have what they consider to be a brain tumor, but it really is a skull tumor.  It's a tumor in my skull growing out from my forehead (a horn! a unicorn horn!)  and is growing out from my skull into my brain.  If it wasn't growing both outwardly and inwardly, I'd be tempted to keep my horn around.

It explains a lot, I've had some headaches and some symptoms that I'm hoping will go away.  No one in the medical field will actually admit it's a Unicorn Horn, but I think we all know that a bony mass protruding from one's forehead is really a horn. I can't wait for my magical powers to show up.

The unfortunate thing about this tumor is the fact that the original CT scan suggested this was a secondary tumor from Metastatic Breast Cancer, which is the same disease that stole my mom. For five days I was convinced I was dying and I'm not going to lie it was terrifying.  Bottom line it's not breast cancer, and for that I'm incredibly grateful.  I still don't think I've recovered from that week. 
There are many good things that have come out of this, one of them is that Mr. Man has been my rock through all of it.  We have utilized the phrase, "Let's pretend that tomorrow doesn't matter."  and gone on adventures.  One night it led us to a last minute concert where we danced and sang our troubles away with a favorite band.   Another night it led us out to dinner and ordered Lobster, the most expensive item on the menu.  There is a lot of small stuff in our life and it's true, we don't really need to sweat most it.
I refer to my brain tumor as "my horn," and feel in some ways like I'm a host.  I've taken my tumor out to fancy dinners, to the beach, and to Alaska.   I kind of feel like I should make a scrapbook and present it to my Neurosurgeon and tell him, "I made a scrapbook of all the places I took my tumor!"

Humor is the only way I know how to cope with all of this, so I'm cracking jokes to everyone's dismay.  I'm going to be fine, I know it.   I'm supposed to be having brain surgery today, but since I'm not, I'm going to take my tumor on another adventure.  After all life is short and some days you have to live like tomorrow doesn't matter.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Our Ultimate Super Mega Summer Hit List

We are well into our Ultimate Super Mega Summer, though it has been a rather sleepy summer as Mr. Boy undergoes treatment.  We have an average of five doc appointments a week and so our list isn't as outlandish as it could be.

Summer Bucket List
Donuts on the Beach
Go to Robin’s Basket  (aka Baskin Robbins)
Eat Pizza at a Pizza Place (No delivery!)
Randy’s Donuts

Jurassic World
Inside Out
Fantastic Four
Ant Man

A Pool Party
A Beach Day
West Side Story Movie Night
Our Cousins
A Mission
Chandelier Tree
Bid Farewell to the Silver Lake Reservoir
Natural History Museum
Discovery Cube LA
Lolli and Pops
Siracha Factory

Ride Bikes
ReDo Mr. Boy's Room
Drink Butterbeer and Read Harry Potter
Put in a Swing
Bake a Pie
Watch Deadliest Catch

The Best Donuts in Los Angeles

The Trip of a Lifetime!

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

You gotta try this! Best Neapolitan Pizza in LA - Midici

14612 Ventura Blvd.
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403

We have found our new favorite place to eat in Los Angeles!  We loved this place so much we have been back twice and it's where Mr. Boy wants to go for his Birthday Dinner! 

To read my full review...   Click on over here to BurbankMom.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015


According to Greek Mythology, Sisyphus, was punished by being compelled to roll an immense boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down, repeating this action forever.

My son is my personal hero.  My son has very painful arthritis yet, for the most part, many folks wouldn't necessarily realize just how sick he is.  He puts on a good show, he hides his stiff hands, masks his pain, and stretches his sore and stiff limbs discreetly.  It affects his everyday life greatly, it takes him a lot longer to do simple things, and he is unable to tie his own shoes anymore.  His hands won't cooperate.
A few weeks ago, he walked into the doctor's office and pronounced he had enough of monkeying around with medications, he looked right at the doctor and said, "Pull out the big guns, I want you to give me your best stuff."

So they did, and Mr. Boy started chemo treatment.  It's been rough, he is exhausted all the time and falls asleep mid sentence sometimes. The hardest part is just when he feels better, it's time for another dose.  He takes it every week and it is beginning to feel like groundhog's day around here.  It's a constant cycle and it's a mental game to keep him going, keep us going, and do it week after week.
The good news is that is working, we see little improvements here and there, and today they could actually see a measurable improvement in his mobility.  We joke that he is Sisyphus, pushing a boulder up a hill all week long and just when he reaches the top and pauses to take a deep breath and enjoy the view, the boulder is back down at the bottom of the hill.  Time to start pushing it back up the hill, but we are hoping one day we can stop pushing that boulder up the hill and enjoy the view at the top of the hill for the rest of our lives.   We have hope for the first time in a long time, and that is a gift, to have hope that we can,  Hang On Pain Ends. 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

How to have your own Ultimate Super Mega Summer!

I love summer!  That should be a surprise to no one.  Ever since we had our remodeling summer, I've tried to make a big effort to have a kid friendly summer.  (My kids remember the remodeling summer  as our 'Home Depot Summer", since we pretty much spent all our free time in Home Improvement stores. It was also the summer we were mistaken for being homeless. )

I get this question all the time, "Why do you love summer so much? Don't the kids being home make you crazy?"   and I've had several people ask me how to have their own Ultimate Super Mega Summer.  Here's the truth, my kids make me crazy, but I love not having to pack lunches or waking sleeping children for school a lot more.  When they get a little nutty, I have tricks to distract them.

1.  Have a Routine  
My kids know when they wake up, they have chores to do.  Beds are made, rooms are tidied and they tackle their daily list.   Cereal... it's what is for breakfast every day during the summer.  When the kids were little, I put milk in a tiny plastic pitcher, perfect for little hands to get their own cereal.   Yes, sometimes they make a mess, but it can be wiped up pretty easily, and they know to do it.  My kids also have to do a worksheet or flashcards in the morning.   Once the chores are done, they get a little time with their screens. It's a great motivator!

2.  Make a Summer Bucket List
We make a list of all the things we want to do during the summer on the last day of school.  In my dreams, it's a cute thing we put on our wall, but the reality is it's a piece of paper with my notes on it. Some of the items on our list are super simple, such as "Eat Popsicles!" or "Play Hide and Seek."  Every week we try and pick 2-3 things from it to check off the list.   This year my family made a goal to find the best donuts in Los Angeles, so there are lots of donut shops on the list.

3.  Set out a craft
This was a paper craft, costume wearing is optional.
Every week, I try to have a craft that I leave out.  Sometimes it's simple as a shiny new box of sidewalk chalk.  One week it was watercolors, which I left out on the deck.   Sometimes it's a little more elaborate like these bubbles in a bucket with a lid.   Whenever someone says, "I'm bored" they are told to either work on a craft or grab a bottle of Windex and wash the windows.   I'm not kidding, I hand my kids a bottle of Windex every time they say they are bored.   I haven't heard an "I'm bored" in about two years.  Other activities we've done is a tub of flour for them to dig buried objects in, kinetic sand, playdoh, etc. The key is rotate them week to week.  I have a pinterest board full of this stuff.

4. Have a read aloud book
Every summer I pick a book to read aloud.   You have to find a time that works for you, but for us it's the last half hour of the day before Mr. Man comes home.   We have read the Wind in the Willows, The One and Only IvanFarmer Boy, Ribsy,  and this summer we are reading Harry Potter.  Harry Potter is new for AK, but Mr. Boy is happy to hear the story again.

5.  Have fun!
Summers, like Popsicles don't last forever.  
"...but the biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make while doing this. I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of the three on them sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages 6, 4, and 1. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in a hurry to get on to the next things: dinner, bath, book, bed.  I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less.”-Anna Quindlen

Friday, May 29, 2015

Five Things For Friday - May

1.  Binge watching should be an Olympic sport.   It takes a certain stamina and skill to be able to successfully binge watch TV shows while being mostly functional in your daily responsibilities.   Mr. Man and I have been binge watching Game of Thrones and I've been obsessed for the last few days with "The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt".   I'm happy to report that Mr. Man and I completed Game of Thrones in two weeks.  If I really hunker down and ignore my children, I think I can finish The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt by tonight!

2.  I'm exhausted and running on fumes... I think I need to get at least six hours of sleep at night.  See #1.

3.  About a year ago a friend of mine told me about a project she was developing called the "Waste Not Nut."   It's one of those things that sounded interesting but as the week wore on, I kept noticing all the things I would use it for.   It helps you extract all the last bits of your favorite products, and cuts down on waste.   Also, I use it for Mr. Boy and keep his body wash and hair gel primed and ready to go.  His grip is pretty diminished due to the arthritis, so it makes it easier for him to use his products.  I love it and it's a new favorite.   Her product went live on Kickstarter this week, so you'll have to check it out!

4.  We are working on our summer bucket list and I believe this summer our quest will be to find the best donuts in LA.  It's a tough job, but someone has to do it.   One of the things on our list is to visit The Chandelier Tree.  I'm kind of toying with the idea of making a copycat version in our backyard, but it might scare the deer.

5.  Speaking of the deer,  these two babies arrived on the "Back 40." (aka Behind the Back Gate)  The one in front is Lucille (Lucy) and the one in the back who looks like he is scowling at me is BB.   Named in honor of BB King since they were born on the day that he passed away.   They are so cute, fluffy, and they mew like kittens.   I just want to squeeze them so bad, but I am trying to be respectful of their space.  Plus Mr. Man made me promise that I wouldn't try to bring them in the house and raise them as my own.   Boo.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Save your face!

I've never been graceful, I'm pretty sure my brother hogged all those genes along with the dimples.  So a week ago I found myself tripping over my own two feet and falling face first down our back porch stairs.  I was getting ready to head into the office and had that moment where I thought "Oh no! Do I land on my laptop or my face?  Wait, I haven't backed up this week!"   I chose face, which was the wrong choice in retrospect.  I hurt my shoulder and my shattered my phone.

My priorities got a little screwed up and I put saving objects before saving myself.  Can you see why I need "The Year of You, The year of Me"? I actually made an appointment to get a new phone before I made an appointment to get my shoulder checked out.  I actually looked at my dangling arm and said, "That's not so bad.  Holy crap, what am I going to do about my phone!"
When I finally relented that I was hurt I headed into see a doctor only to find that I had dislocated my shoulder.   They couldn't even get me to move my arm into position for an x-ray, the pain was that bad.  They gave me a shot for the pain and most of the rest of the visit is a blur.  I do remember them telling me that to put the shoulder back, the pain would be just like when I was in labor with my kids.  Then I panicked and said, "Wait stop!   I don't do that!  Stop!  I don't do labor!  I adopted!"

Everything happened really fast, another shot and there are people that are holding me tight and in position as the doc slides my arm back into place.   I let out a scream that can only be described as primal and the pain was blinding.  Everything went white for a second.

As soon as I caught my breath I started telling the nurses, "You guys are fools, complete fools for having children.  That was STUPID painful and if you said this pain was like labor, I don't really understand why you would do that to yourself.  Oh my goodness, don't ever get pregnant.  I mean it, that was crazy painful."

I remember saying those things and having the thought, "Wendy, please stop talking.  Really, stop talking.  It's time to be quiet."  I'm pretty mortified that I said that and texted every pregnant friend I know. "You might want to think twice about Labor.  It's crazy painful and I'm pretty sure it's a bad idea."

Obviously, the lesson we learned here is 1.  Do not use your face or body to break a fall.  2.  I get very, very opinionated and chatty on pain medication.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

April Fool's Day - Congrats! You are going to Chore Camp!

It's April Fool's Day!  This year I'm super excited for my kids to get home and see that they got mail.  Good news!  They've been accepted to Chore Camp!  They will get to polish up on their housekeeping skills and even visit other camps to clean while the other campers are out swimming or canoeing.     My favorite part of this is the quote on the brochure from Teddy, Age 10.  "My favorite part of camp was when we got to clean up the mess that the kids in the other camp made while making s'mores."  

You're kids can also get acceptance letters today too!  You can get the brochure here.  I printed mine on Cardstock to really make it seem legit.

This looks like it was a prank back in the day, but everything linking back to it was broken and I couldn't find it on the Disney site anywhere.  So I found a pic of an acceptance letter and created my own.   You can get the acceptance letter here to customize.  Chore Camp Doc here. 

In other news, I can't wait for Mr. Man to open his Basketball bag and realize he only has a pair of AK's frilly socks to wear for his Basketball Game tonight. 
And AK had a little trouble with her cereal this morning as it was frozen into one solid lump!
Happy April Fool's Day to you and yours!   

Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Heartwrenching Part of the Last Year

It's been a year since I took Mr. Boy to the doctor for what I thought was Fifth's Disease.  A little over a year since the doctor said, "My spidey senses are tingling, this isn't Fifth's Disease."  She was right and a few days later we were asked to come in to meet with the doctor for the test results.  That was the low point of 2014. 

Inconclusive Auto Immune Disease, resulting in Arthritis, Photo sensitivity, and a fiery red hot cheeks.  He also overheats easily like he has a bad radiator and absorbs zero Vitamin D from his diet or the sun.  We've ruled out the Lupus, Lyme, and a 100 other things.  They say if Mr. Boy is the first to have this illness he will get to name it and it's starting to look like he needs to start thinking up names.

 It's been a year of tests and lots of hospital visits.  The good folks at UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital have taken good care of us.   In many ways I feel like we are no closer to figuring this out than we were a year ago.   Some days I wonder if voodoo might be just as effective.  For now, he takes a cocktail of medicine to keep him stable.  At the end of each hospital visit, Mr. Boy is usually asleep in the backseat before I pull out of the parking structure.  I put on my big sunglasses and let the tears fall that I have been holding in all day. 
During these appointments I have to put on a brave face, because I know that he is watching me  and looking for reassurance.  This is not Mr. Boys favorite and he is frustrated too.  He had to retire from sports, he just can't move like he used to.  It's been an adjustment, but he adapts for the most part like a champ.  He still has his bad days and questions "Why Me?"  but can you blame him? 

Another round of testing is on the horizon, Mr. Boy has mixed feelings about this.  Hates the needles, but likes the idea of finding a treatment. I'm in awe with the grace of how he has handled himself.    For now, we are open to any and all suggestions, no matter how far fetched. And as always good thoughts and vibes are appreciated. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Five Things for Friday

1.  I'm obsessed, obsessed I tell you, with the podcast Serial.   It's a podcast that chronicles a murder and each episode makes me come to a different conclusion.   I find every excuse to pop in my ear buds and listen to another episode. I even listen to it while I am walking around the store.  I'm wondering what other podcasts I'm missing, so fill me in on what you are listening to.

2.  We have been fighting over the leftovers of this Lettuce Wrap recipe for the last few weeks.  I have been know to eat these for breakfast on occasion, and they are low carb, fairly low cal, and delish.  I use lean ground turkey breast instead of ground chicken because it's something I usually have on hand. 

3. I just finished the book "The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat" and loved the characters like they were old friends. I laughed out loud on multiple occasions and shed a tear as well.  I didn't want this book to end and kept putting off reading the last few chapters, I just didn't want to see the story end. 

4.  I've got Summer Fever real bad.   A recent trip to the beach and a couple days off school for Spring Break have given me a taste of our summer personas.  I can't stop dreaming of our Ultimate Super Mega Summer IV.    I love that my kids are already thinking about it too and are keeping their eye out for our annual "Summer Read by the Pool Book."  They have also come up with lofty goals for the summer such as "Find the best donuts in Los Angeles."  I'm so completely done with school projects and studying for tests.  I dream of homeschooling, but we all know I'd be the worst at it.  I would totally count watching "Deadliest Catch" as a unit on marine biology and watching The Amazing Race as a geography lesson.  My kids would graduate with a diploma that would only prepare them to compete on a reality game show and would be useless in the job market. So for now, we will stick with traditional education and count down our days until our next "Ultimate Super Mega Summer."

5. For the past few months while I do the dishes and clean up the kitchen I've been putting on the Webisodes of "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee."  It has made a tedious chore 100% more enjoyable and it's the perfect thing to watch when you are only 80% paying attention.

Let me know something that you have been loving lately in the comments below. 

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

The Year of You, The Year of Me, The Year of Imagine Dragons

Last month I unveiled my 2015 project "The Year of You, the Year of Me".  A year of focusing on making myself a priority.  When on an airplane, they advise you to put your oxygen mask, and that's what I'm doing here.

The goal is to live my best life in 2015.  I want to seek out adventures, become healthier, and have internal peace.  As soon as I hit publish on my first post, an email popped into my inbox inviting me on my first adventure.   It was almost comical at how instantaneous this was.   Of course, I hemmed and hawed over how I would have to juggle some logistics with the kids.  Mr. Man stepped in and said, "You won't regret this, just do it, after all,  It's the Year of You."
So, I celebrated my official kick off of "The Year of You, The Year of Me" by dropping the kids off at school and meeting up with my pal Cim.  We attended a secret show for one of my favorite bands, Imagine Dragons.   It was amazing, just Cim, myself, and 298 other superfans watching a full concert that was being filmed for an online event. 

For the remainder of the month, I did very "adult things."   I interviewed doctors, set up doctor appointments, and worked with a therapist to forgive my mom for leaving me behind.   I have my first physical in 12 years booked for April and I feel so grown up.   Next thing you know I'll be talking about Metamucil and how my bad knee acts up when a storm is rolling in.

This month, my goal is eating my five fruits and vegetables a day.  Anyone game to join me?

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Bad Muchacho

I shouldn't be allowed in public without a chaperone.  Truly, I will do almost anything to amuse myself.  It doesn't matter if I have an audience or not, I just can't help it. 

Recently, this has been exacerbated by a marathon of my favorite show "Impractical Jokers".   They dare each other to do stupid or silly things and make fools of themselves in public.  Somehow, I think I'm their long lost 5th member.

As part of the "Year of You, Year of Me" project, I've been working on getting doctors appointments set up for myself. (aka being an adult)  One thing on the list is to find a real doc for Mr. Man and I.  We've been seeing a doctor who is mediocre, bills us incorrectly, and because his schedule is always full we end up seeing the other doctors in his office.   Most of them graduated from the "Medical School of the Caymans" and regularly seem a little hungover.   They are also terrified to actually write a prescription and love to refer you to a specialist.  "Thanks Doctor, but I'm pretty sure my sinus infection, is not a rare tumor, since you know I had a cold last week and I get the SAME SINUS infection every year around this time.  I'd rather try antibiotics first before a CT scan and seeing an Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist."

I mentioned to one of my kid's doctors that I needed a new primary doctor for me and asked for some suggestions.  His big advice was to interview doctors, just like I did with my kids pediatricians.  So I set up interviews and met with three doctors who have a concierge type practice.  One of them is perfect and it's not who I would have chosen initially, but during the interview we hit it off.  Interviewing the doctors was a genius idea.

However, during the  interview with the second doctor,  I could tell pretty quickly he and I were not going to gel.  I decided to abandon the questions I'd prepared and ask him some things off the cuff strictly for my own amusement.

Moi:   We established that you have same day appointments unlike my other doc.  Does this mean I can get my prescriptions at "The Target" like regular folks?  Or will I have to continue to stock up when I go to Mexico?

Moi: This one time I was in Mexico, I had a cough that wouldn't quit, so they gave me a pill called, "The Bad Muchacho."  I swear I didn't even get a runny nose for at least a year after I took it. I was healthier than a horse for at least 365 days.  Do you know if there is an American equivalent?

Moi:  Sometimes I can't afford to take a real vacation, so I take what I call a Valium Vacation.  It's similar to a Staycation, but I just take some Valium and lay in the sun.  Do you think I could get a doctor's note that excuses me from work during that week?

Shockingly, that doctor didn't have any room in his practice to take us on as new clients.  He promised to call when a spot opens up, but I'm not gonna hold my breath waiting around for his call.

Disclaimer: My questions were hypothetical and not an admission of drug use, buying drugs across the border, and/or using Valium for recreational use. I do not advocate taking a Valium Vacation or taking a pill called The Bad Muchacho.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Four Years Ago I Lost My Mom

Sometimes when I need a little extra strength to stand tall, I put on a pair of my Mom's shoes.
Four years ago today, my mom succumbed to Breast Cancer.   It was and is still so hard.  To be completely truthful, my relationship with my mom was complicated.  I loved her, she was my biggest cheerleader, and incredibly optimistic.  She also drove me nuts and my parents had some belief systems that sometimes strained our relationship. With all that being said, I miss her.  I miss her a lot.  

I still want my mom to be here, to be a Grandma, to be my friend, to tell me it's going to be okay.  I had no idea when she died, my family, in a way, would died with her.  My mother is probably horrified at the current state of the family and our infrequent interactions.  (The exception being my oldest brother, who is my best friend.  In spite of the fact that he hogged the dimples and good genes,  I still love him.)

As part of The Year of You, The Year of Me, I vowed that I would dump some of my emotional baggage that I've been hauling around.   I need to confess that while I miss my mom terribly, I have been so mad at her, I could hardly see straight.   I've been stuck in the anger stage of grief and just can't seem to move forward.  

She had Breast Cancer three years before her death and while she had surgery, she chose not to treat it with chemo or radiation.  She chose to go against the advice of her Oncologist.  She gambled and she lost, which resulted in my loss.  I lost my mom, my kid's lost a Grandma, and I lost my family as I knew it. I've been furious with her and her choice.

So, at the beginning of the year I decided it's time to move forward, to let go of the anger and leave my emotional baggage at the curb.  Someone else can have it, I don't need it anymore.   I've been lugging that around for a while now and I'm really tired.   With the help of a therapist I've been able to gain an understanding, a new perspective on my mom's choices.  It hasn't been easy and there have been many tears shed, but it has all been worth it.  

I have a new appreciation for my mom that I didn't have before.  She was a vibrant person whose life wasn't easy.  She spent most of her life swimming upstream while wearing hot pink lipstick.  She made the best of it.  Her Mama Bear instincts are legendary and I vividly remember the principal of my elementary school telling me, "I'm going to have to call your mother, but truthfully she terrifies me." (You can read the infamous Mama Bear story here.)

Last night I dreamed about her for the first time in a long time.  We were floating on rafts and I had been holding on to a rope tied to her raft.   She looked at me, smiled, and mouthed the words, "Let Go."  I hesitated and then she nodded and smiled.  I let go of the rope and she drifted away out of view, while I floated back to shore.  My kids, my husband were all there on the beach waiting for me to return.  

Today, I will celebrate my mom and honor the good things I inherited for her.  I will honor her vibrant spirit, put on some hot pink lipstick, and live my life to the fullest.  Just the way my mom would want me too.