Saturday, October 9, 2010

Tribute to Mom

So now, as my kids would have said years ago, I've 'dissed' my father publicly yesterday...oops.  It was a mild dissing though.  8-)

My mom on the other hand was pretty amazing when we were growing up (and still is!).  After the divorce, she pursued higher education and achieved her masters degree.  She then proceeded to snag us back up from our grandparents house and raised us.

All my friends thought she was the 'cool' mom.  She was very lenient and pretty much let us do whatever we wanted to (within reason).  We were good kids so that was fairly easy on her.  (I think  My friend Connie would come over to spend the night and my mom would let us have her big bed to sleep in and I remember once Connie and I were throwing grapes into each others mouths and laughing so much it hurt.  The two of us were always laughing.  Once we even got asked to leave a store because we were laughing so much.  They probably thought we were high but really we just found humor in everything.  Connie was my best friend growing up and I think fondly of her often.  Another story for another time.  8-)

Well, back to my mom.

She taught us that we could do anything that we really wanted to do.  I never felt limited when it came to accomplishing something because I knew that if I just applied myself that I could do it. 

She taught us that God should be the center of our lives no matter what we were doing.

She taught us that we could count on her during the hard times.  I remember several times in my life that she helped me when I was sick. (Remember Arkansas fever, Mom?)  She drove all the way from TN to AK to take me to the hospital when I was running an unexplained fever.  I was 18 or 19 at the time and we had just moved to Arkansas and I was too sick to take myself and my husband was working all the time.

She taught us to love each other.  My sister and I fought all the time growing up.  Just give two teenage girls only one phone and you'll see what it was like for  She continually encouraged us to love each other in spite of our differences.  Yeah...that worked.  We love each other a lot now.  Of course, it is easier after you have grown up.

She taught me the value of friendship.  She is my friend.  I know that I can always count on her just as I would a best friend. 

She is very fun loving and outgoing.   I like to go places with mom because I am shy and she is outgoing.  So all the pressure is off of me to do or say anything to anyone.  8-) 

Anyway, you get the idea.  She was the stable part of our lives growing up.  She loved us and through loving us taught us to love those around us.  She  helped us become strong and independent women.  I believe that my sister and I owe a lot of our success in life to her.

Thanks for the good genes, Mom!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Who Am I?

I was looking through the 'My Documents' folder on my computer this morning.  Such a random tangle of things.  There are letters to people (some that I never even sent...that's pretty typical), medical analysis that I had done, Donna Word's eulogy to my dad, stuff about our daughter, Myranda (who died in 2007 of Cystic Fibrosis), a standing grocery list to make shopping easier, a list of groceries that were in our freezer at one time (HA, lots of use for that now), a weight chart, and a "Who Am I" document that I started when I was feeling my mortality for some unknown reason last December.   

I guess today, if anyone dies, you can just look in their "My Documents" folder to see what threads were parts of their daily lives.

My "Who Am I" document talked about all the jobs I've held in my lifetime, my children, and where I came from.  But all of that still doesn't tell who I am.  Some days, I still don't think I know who I am.  We are just an amalgamation of all of our life experiences, I believe.  We are what God makes us into if we have followed His direction and path all of our lives.  We also become what the people around us shape us into.  If they are untrustworthy then we fear to trust.  If they are loving and giving, then we develop kinder traits.

Well, you get the idea.  The simplest thing can change us for our entire lives.

I remember, when I was five, my parents were divorced.  When my father was leaving us at my grandparents, I remember that I had been playing in the dirt and was really a mess (apparently) because I ran over to give my father a good-bye hug and he said I was too dirty to hug.  Since that time, I've been fastidious about cleanliness.  I am sure that he never gave that comment another thought but it changed me forever.  I always felt that to be accepted, I had to keep everything clean and in order.  I had to always be ready for any hug that might be given.

I'm pretty much over that  You can ask my husband....I have become much more relaxed.  I only have to clean the house once a week now.  8-)  His constant acceptance of who I am (no matter what state I am in) has changed the damage that my father inflicted. 

Well, it's time to go clean the bathrooms now.  8-)  HA!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Adjusting to Hardships

I am now truly a picture of how we (as humans) can adjust to anything that is hard our lives.  Throughout this blog I have whined and complained and moaned about how tough these chemo treatments are, how bald my head is, how adjusting to all these changes are so tough...blah blah blah.  (Sorry, that was the whole purpose of the blog.  I normally have nothing to say about anything...)  I have adjusted to the Taxotere chemo treatments now to a point where it isn't an all consuming 'thing' in my life.  (Today anyway) YEAH! 

(Wait, did I hear someone say, "Yet, here she is talking about it again...sheesh.")

I promise...when I leave this blog, the last thing on my mind will be cancer and chemo treatments.  I get a whole week to praise God for feeling good.  LOL  (Unfortunately, since you don't follow me out of the blog, you don't get to enjoy that part...sorry...)

I chose the heavy dose of Taxotere every three weeks (as opposed to a lighter dose every week) because I wanted to have more good days than bad ones during the treatment and so far that is working out fairly well.  I am now in the "Thank you, Lord, it feels good to be alive again" stage instead of the "Lord, why don't you just kill me and get it over with" stage.  LOL 

My oncologist keeps reminding me with every visit that the AC chemo (which starts around Thanksgiving) is going to be a lot worse than the taxotere chemo.  (Nothing like fear of the unknown to keep you  The day of (and for about twelve days after) the taxotere treatment I keep could it get worse?  Then I have days like today and realize that it probably could get a lot worse.

OK, in a week, when I'm going through my third treatment, I may get a little whiny again.  HA!  Feel free to steer clear of my little blogging rants then.  8-)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

What Do I DO?

I have a career in Integrated Scheduling.'re asking "WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?"

Not really that  All projects for my company must have a 'plan'.  A 'plan' is a schedule of events that keep the project on task.

I used to have to build schedules.  Now I teach other schedulers how to build schedules, help them with tool problems, and give them training.  Some days are fun.  Some...not so much.

I also create a visual each week of how all the schedules are doing with something called "OPP Diagnostics".  These are a kind of 'health metric' for the schedule. 

There are two major parts to the OPP Diagnostics.  The errors and the warnings.  This week I was praising all the schedulers because they were all green in the error part of the diagnostics.  First time in two years, they finally achieved MY goal.  Amazing.  However, the warnings were still showing up with some red and yellow.  In the same email, I encouraged them to work their warnings now that they had their errors cleaned up.

One scheduler writes me back "We ignore warnings."


I can see how my work day is going to go.  HA.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Health Insurance

My company's health insurance is changing for next year.  I work for Boeing and they are worried about having to pay the 'Cadillac Tax' because of O'bama's new health care bill.  (Thanks, Dude!)  Cadillac Tax is "an excise tax on premium insurance plans that would be used to offset the estimated $940 billion price tag for health care reform."

( See full article from WalletPop: )

Currently my health insurance pays 100% on most everything and I am just responsible for a $200 deductible and a $15 copay per visit.  I don't have to pay for either of these because we also have Tricare as a secondary insurance.  So, other than $30 for a three month prescription (or less depending on whether it is generic or not), we do very well with our health insurance. 

Now they are talking about lowering the percentage that they pay and charging us more for the health insurance.  Oh yeah, that makes sense.  (NOT)

I am finding out that cancer is a very expensive disease.  Before Cancer (BC in my head) I only went to the doctor to get prescriptions for refills.

I won't bore you with the specific details but suffice it to say, we've gotten through two surgeries (breast and port) and gotten the bill for one chemo treatment and we are up to $58,816.43 that they charged to my insurance company and the insurance company has only had to pay $17,280.77.  (Which is still a nice chunk of change but amazingly lower than they were charged.)  The good news is I don't have to make up the difference.  (Really...that wasn't the specific details, I promise.)

Next year, if they only pay 80%, then if one chemo treatment costs $6386.78 (which is what the insurance company  pays now) then I will have to pay $1277.36 of that amount.  Luckily I only have one treatment currently scheduled for the new year.  I should be done by the second week in January.  But still....THANKS O'Bama.  Health insurance was one of the things that set my company apart from working for other companies.  They just lost that edge.

Don't get me wrong...I appreciate that people who have no health insurance will now get a chance to go to the doctor but it is frustrating as I try to prepare my family for retirement that they keep sucking money out of me to pay for everyone else. 

OK...totally selfish outlook.  Bad me.  I know there are people out there who haven't had the opportunities that I have had to succeed in life.  I am glad they are getting help but every time the government 'helps' someone, it would be nice if I didn't have to pay for it.

Monday, October 4, 2010


I've been in this house for the last 9 days.  I definitely have house-itis.  (Yeah, house-itis isn't really a word but I KNOW you get what I mean.)

I don't leave because this is the season of colds and flu and I am afraid of getting sick on top of being sick.  (Note for any new readers...I was diagnosed with breast cancer in July and am now going through Chemotherapy to make sure they kill any cancer cells that are remaining in the blood stream...more fun than a barrel of monkeys, I can assure you.)

I am looking forward to this weekend because I go see Nancy to get my pedicure and manicure (She usually does my hair too but there really isn't anything for her to work with up there right now.)  This time I'm gonna see if she can shape up one of my wigs so I have some actual hair to wear.  8-)  Right now I hate my wigs but am hoping she can make me love them.  (Good luck with that, Nancy!)  There are very few people in the salon when she does my hair so I don't worry about getting sick there plus my white count should be on the rise by the time this weekend rolls around.

I have several hats and do-rags to wear out in public though so I am not totally without acceptable head wear. 

Anyway, back to the house-itis...

I've always considered myself a 'homebody'.  I loved to be at home.  Of course that was when I was AT work all day five days a week.  (Right now I still work but it is from home...)  I loved to come home and be home.  I hated it when we'd have to do shopping runs on the weekend. 

NOW...I can't wait to walk out that door.  Sometimes, I go out and sit on the patio just to leave the house.  How pathetic is that??

I shake up the scenery inside the house by picking different rooms to sit and work in during the day.  I never sit in the living room during the day because that is where Tom and I relax in the evenings.  I sit in the office in the morning when the heavy duty work for my job is going on.  Afternoons are a little quieter so I move myself to the guest bedroom where there is a tray for my work computer to sit on while I sit in the bed.  (I am usually pretty wiped out by afternoon so this also allows me to stretch out while I work and get some rest to my body even if not my mind.)

I believe that I just may change my thinking about wanting to be at home in all my off time after these next few months.  The outside world is looking pretty good right now.  HA! 

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Nadir and Autumn Chills

I really have no theme today.  I normally start these with one thought in mind but I've been sick the last couple of days so I don't really have one big thought to fill this up with.

I have been in what they call 'Nadir' for the last few days.  This means it is the point in time between chemotherapy cycles in which I experience low blood counts.  Basically no energy and just feel like saying 'ugh' about everything. 

I'm feeling quite a bit better this afternoon so I thought I might try a few thoughts.

It has definitely turned into fall here in Alabama.  We opened the windows this morning all over the house and enjoyed the brisk fall-like feeling. 

At one point, I went out to the mailbox and found that my scarf from Coldwater Creek had arrived yesterday.  (oops...too tired yesterday to walk out to the mailbox...see how I'm improving!!  I walked all the way out there today.) 

It was very cold in the house by this time so I put the scarf around my neck (I already had sweats, warm woolly socks, and a sweater on) and put on my new leather coat that we got a couple of weeks ago and came modeling it in to my husband. 

"What do you think of my new scarf, honey?"  I ask him.

He gives me a sideways glance while still working at his computer.  "I think if it is too cold in the house, we should shut the windows."

I told him that would be nice and continued to wear my coat and scarf for a while until it warmed up after he shut the windows.

So much for the fashion