Come on over…

My dear friends and followers,

I am taking this full virtual-space (Cancer Together; What do I do now?) and add it to my other blog-bowl;

 Have Fun With It

to create a big messy gooey life recipe.

I offer you a spoon and hope you will dip in and take some tastes.

I am excited to also introduce to you a new blog on my passion; Preserving that mysterious and wonderful time called “childhood.” Please take a peek and send others.

 Only One Childhood

This space will stay open offering my hand and heart as a continuous life preserver holding to you as you return back to posts.

You will

find those pieces of HAPPY 

you feel you have lost

buried

under the

cancer brick load.

I understand and acknowledge YOU.

Thank you for allowing me

to hold on to you

as my life saver.

I hope you will continue on my journey and enjoy…

Have Fun With It

One little Marguerite

If you would ask me what my favorite flower is

it would be a white Marguerite daisy.

Daisy

I have never told this story to anyone before.

It was in a High School art class.

You know the elective that all your friends sign up for to have a social period.  We were to bring in a real flower as part of a project. I forgot until the day it was due so ripped a white flower from off of a bush in our backyard and brought it to school wrapped in a wet paper towel.

For the assignment we were to fold a 12 by 18 in. white construction paper in half then over to the side to open into four rectangles. We were to draw our flower in each rectangle realistically, in abstraction, in cubism, and in a unique view point.

The teacher insisted that we sit for 15 minutes and study our flower and if we goofed off we would receive detention. And then she set the white egg timer clicking the time and sat down. There were a few snide comments and some giggles but soon a hush fell over the classroom.

Have you ever taken 15 minutes and stared at one flower?

 It is a long time…

At first you look at it and your mind takes a picture and you think, okay I saw it…

And then you move in to take a closer look. It was a white Marguerite daisy, I found out later. It did not have five loopy bright colored petals with a bright yellow circle center that most of us doodle on paper and gets made into a giant sticker to stick on the rear of Volkswagen Beatles. 

Every single petal narrows to the end that attaches strong into the center then tapers out to a curve which cups just a tiny bit at the end.

Each petal has hills and valley ridges that stripe the petal which change the white to different shades.

When the petals stretch out they overlap because it is crowded.

The petals feel like silky fuzzy paper.

The inside has hundreds of little curly balls clustered together and grab to a center orb.

They appear yellow but when you look closely they are a variety of golden earth tones which also change in the light.

The flower has a green stem made of long strands of vein like fibers and at the jagged end, where it was ripped from its life source, is an opaque white center that drips fluid.

At the top underneath the white petal umbrella is a star shape cup made out of green leaves with points at the tips. This cup tucks the entire flower perfectly inside to hold it upright.

The timer went ding. The chatter resumed. The class bell eventually rang and we left. I completed the assignment in a few weeks.  I loved that picture.

I grew up with a mother who spoke to flowers and a father who spoke to animals. They did not only model reverence for earth’s gifts but to be enamored by them. 

But 15 minutes with a Marguerite daisy converted me.

I believe I finally saw God as an artist

and I have been in complete admiration ever since.

The night when everyone slept

Have you felt

alone

anger

pain

loss

desperate

defeated

deserving

nauseated

manipulated

humiliated

clumsy

stupid

judged

embarrassed

abandoned

betrayed

starved

denied

rejected

sad

sick

broken

cut

taken from

not good enough

doubtful

uneasy

stuck

deceived

destroyed

beaten

banished

burned

bitter

repentant

alone

sorrowful

 doom

despair

encumbered

tired

hurt

afflicted

undeserved

untrusted

uncomforted

terror

shock

hopeless

misunderstood

put down

not heard

diseased

darkness

misery

fallen

failure

stripped

unappreciated

disappointed

sorrow

mad

frustration

scornful

shunned

unloved

forgotten

harm

lost

imprisoned

empty

weary

oppressed

dirty

bad

unworthy

frightened

wounded

silent

like crying…

“Yes”

Jesus felt

      everything…

mid-

night,

next to

knotted roots

of

gnarled

olive trees

while

an angel

held Him,

and

cried too.

 

I am NEVER alone!

Who is your God?

sun-coming-through-clouds

Who is your God?

What is He or She like?

Do you talk to Him or Her?

A friend and I were discussing God over dinner after she had offered grace before we ate. She had grown up Catholic and felt it was easy to pray to Mary because she was comforted by Jesus’ mother. But when talking to God as a child she used to feel intimidated like he was too omnipotent to be bothered by a little dot on the earth, which was her. But since then her relationship with God has changed. The discussion began.

Who is your God?

What is He like?

Do you talk to Him?

We both believe in a similar male God that looks like a man but contains all power over the universe, and we both believe that love is the first and most powerful law of the universe.

But what came out of the discussion was the influence our dad’s played in establishing a relationship with that “Father Figure” in heaven. It had a huge impact on both of us.

When she mentioned her first impressions of the scary God, I told her that I never ever felt that way about God. I explained that the reason was because my dad was such a kind, loving, soft-hearted father to me that I carried that father figure model clear up to the heavens, beyond the clouds to my God in Heaven. According to my belief He had those same characteristics as my own dad but on a grander scale. She agreed that her father had also been a positive influence in her own life and was also what influenced her new relationship with God as she grew older.

Isn’t that interesting. Our dad’s relationship with us on earth influences how we feel about our Father in the Heavens.

That is pretty powerful and a big responsibility.

We both enjoy talking to God every single day.

And we both believe he listens to our prayers and guides our lives.

Thanks dad’s who love their children so we learn to love GOD.

(I also ask God to give hugs to my dad and mom up there, too.)

Snoring brings out my evil twin

I am so clever to write a tongue-in-cheek blog post about my grandchild and his ability to torture his parents through lack of sleep. https://jennifercalvertedwards.wordpress.com/2017/01/24/why-fight-the-battle-of-wits/

I pat myself on the back for being wise and experienced about “handling” sleep deprivation with little tots and giving silly solutions to make us laugh at something that is real.

But there is no laughing as I try to find serious solutions to my own sleep deprivation dilemma with a grown up spouse that has loud, gross, strange, and a plethora of sounds emerging from his throat every single time he sleeps…and I don’t.

When the snoring first began I was a patient, dear wife and gently tapped his little shoulder on occasion to gently nudge him to switch positions. He would and I would peacefully nod off…sometimes!

As years went by the shoulder shaking and poking began.

He would say, “What?” In that groggy sleep voice, and I would whisper through my teeth, “Stop snoring!”

No amount of pushing, nose plugging, head moving, or pillow covering can muffle the sound of snoring. It is surround-sound magnified. It is like a sonic boom that moves and shakes the windows in our house and shingles on our roof every single night.

Over the years solutions would show up. Several plastic mouth guards through catalogs that you mold in hot water. A chin thing, scammed from facebook, that was expensive and I think could also curb extra chin fat but seriously choked. (No refund) Higher pillows, a sound machine, and the hole in my ear getting larger because my finger gets deeper and deeper, but nothing easy or free ever works…

It gives me evil thoughts…no lie.

Last night I could feel the vomit welling up in my throat as I listened to a new sound when the uvula took on flem and saliva as dance partners in the back of his. He choked and squeaked moving fluids around from the back of his mouth then burst out air every 7 seconds. I know it was seven because I counted. He was in dream land and solidly sleeping. I was not!

Gees, I’ll take Pip’s opera yelling and early risings over this any day! He’s two. A man’s throat should know better for heavens sakes!

I have felt the bed lift when his diaphragm gasps in a full on snort, and have it thump down again when he blasts out air from his throat shooting the cough drop he fell asleep with on his tongue, clear across the room to hit the mirror. NO LIE!

Sometimes he squeaks air in like he is breathing through a coffee straw and then chokes and gasps, coughs a little then blows air out. (Who knows what is being hacked across the room…I block that from my mind and simply don’t look in the morning!)

He bellows air in like scraping metal boxes over a cement floor and then blasts air out over and over and over. You can honestly hear it rooms away.

He has woken himself up by his snoring and he laughs at such a rare and beautiful talent.

Oh dear God, he’s got Sleep Apnea!

Do ya think?

My poor darling must not be getting a good sound sleep each night with all that stuff going on! Poor thing.

Oh, I guarantee he’s sleeping just fine. I know I watch.

Yep…sleep deprivation is a sign of torture.

The sounds of snoring are high, oh so very high on that list!

I slept clear across the house with my pillow over my head and a seat belt on.

You be the judge

On December 1 of 2016, I joined in with a que of people getting their foreheads stamped ‘Bad Mood’ as I shuffled into the city courthouse assembly hall praying to be exempt while serving Jury Duty. Random people slowly would get up, purposely look at all of us pathetic non-exemptees still seated, and smirk while they got their special wet wipe to clean the “bad mood” stamp off their foreheads. They received their check-mark that they fulfilled their duty, and left to go on with their day.

I did not get off so easy. I was voir dired  and accepted for a civil case which would begin Dec. 7 and anticipated until Dec. 15!

HA!

I celebrate and put on the production called Christmas with 16 people anticipated to come stay at my house for the holidays. Is that not a good enough exemption?

They did not even take that bait. 

The day of the trial we were walked through special locked doors by the judge’s  clerk who would be our “lock and key” for the time we were there. We were taken up to the seventh floor and then locked into a room with a table, chairs, a view of buildings and two bathrooms. The jury sat in silence staring at phones. We were not allowed to speak about anything to each other, so at first we did not. I, of course, pulled out treats to share because I am a mother and that is what we do when there is a gathering…(I promise I did not pull out my  signature sugar cookies decorated with sprinkles at this time just “safe” clementines that could go through the metal detectors with out freaking everyone out.)

The trial began. Eight of us listened carefully the first day to the Plaintiff Attorney present the reasoning behind the case. We examined the plaintiff closely and watched her every move. The defendant attorney the same. All the people she brought were closely seated and perfectly dressed.

As we watched we did what normal human people do.

We began to judge and critique. We looked at hair styles. We looked at clothes. We watched how people would talk with their hands, or look down, or speak softly or assertive. We began to dislike some of the witnesses while like others. We began to question and wonder and ask ourselves why. All done privately within our own minds.

We would walk back and forth from the court room to the jury room to the court room to the jury room without speaking a word to each other about anything involving the case.

And then deliberations began and two jurors were dismissed. The six of us could finally break the silence.

We tentatively voiced our opinions. Some said yes for the plaintiff some said no. Women against men; at first. We talked and evaluated and tried to recall all the information given for support and for defense. We disagreed often. We agreed sometimes. We allowed everyone to speak. Always gave respect even if opinions did not match. This went on and on and on for days.

Then, a very unique thing began to happen between us. We began to feel weighted down by this taken-for-granted job called “jury.”  We began to understand the severity of this huge responsibility that we did not plan for.This was not a social event sharing cupcakes; which we did. We were making a decision about peoples lives. All this was up to what we said! What we decided would directly affect an outcome that would be costly and challenging and personal.

WE WERE THE JUDGES. (*gulp)

And all of a sudden we stopped talking so much. We were pensive and careful. Our casual judgments and critiques became more thoughtful. We got along better. We were sensitive when emotional outbursts arose. We respected opinions even if we were not all in sync. We really really examined as best as we could. And then we tried to make the right choice which we would all agree. This is not easy. But we still all felt terribly anxious. After the verdict was given, the judge came in to speak with us in the jury room and allowed us to ask questions. He acknowledged and understood personally the magnitude of the position we held and how we were feeling.

The outcome is not important. What is clear to me is being a judge is sensitive business.  We often judge quickly without thinking carefully. At least I do.

I learned a lot with jury duty and I have to say I came away with new eyes.  I have a whole new respect for the judicial system in this country. It is a huge responsibility to judge another human being.

I feel none of us is truly qualified.

Out with the old…

img_3319IMG_3321.JPG

Yesterday I walked out of this cancer center for the last time. It will be emptied out and boarded up in two weeks. There is a brand new top-of-the line modern  cancer facility sparkling clean and ready on the other side of the hospital which has been in the works for years. “Good riddance.” my husband commented last night when I told him about the change. “That place was a dive.”

Yep, it really was.

But I still felt sad.

This was the place I came that dark day when I met my oncologist for the first time.

That automatic sliding door I walked through, I don’t even know how many times. I stretch my arm out and point to the door like I had magic powers and the door would open.

It opened every single time.

I lived through a plethora of emotions and ailments walking through the walls of this old place;

anger, terror, sorrow, fatigue, exhaustion, elation,…aches and pains, bandages, nausea, hair loss, strange illnesses, low white blood counts, radiated, and so many I can’t even list…

I sat behind the curved windows in those green chemo chairs wishing and pleading this was a nightmare that I would someday wake from.

I never did wake up.

It was real.

I met people who had real courage.

Some lived long.

Some lived short.

But we lived facing cancer.

Yesterday I began reminiscing to an infusion nurse as I completed my appointment. We both began to get teary eyed.

I pointed one last time at the automatic door to magically open for me. It made that whoosh sound and a blast of New England winter air filled my lungs. I stood there looking at my cancer center.

The one which held my story.

I hated it.

I loved it.

When my car was retrieved from valet I got in, turned the corner and sped away. I pretty much cried on my way home every single time I left that building.

Today I cried one last time because it grew to be my familiar cancer home with my cancer family there.

They will still be there when I come back.

But not where my story began…

Change is good.