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Friday, November 28, 2008

Giving Thanks and Black Friday.

I am a bit late in my Thanksgiving post. The holiday was mellow for us. We went to my parents with my sister and her kids and my grandma. (My sister's husband is still in the border patrol academy and can't come home for the holidays.) After a great dinner that my mom, sister, my son and I all contributed to, we watched the little ones dance to Michael Jackson's Thriller and Billie Jean videos. Three year old Hawkins could give Michael a run for his money. He is quite the dancer! I might have been out there dancing with them and reliving my preteen obsession with Michael Jackson! Then we went to my in-laws for dessert and home to play Rockband as a family. It was a great day and I am so happy to be healthy to enjoy it. Two years ago, I was so sick from my first round of chemo that I could barely eat.
This morning my mom was sweet enough to go stay with my sister's four kids so that she and I could go hit the stores. We missed out on a few things but the deals that we really wanted we managed to get. We ran into several people we knew, which is always interesting at 5:00 in the morning and all of us in hats, glasses and sweats etc. I even debated not saying hi to an old high school friend because I looked like I had been out camping or something!!! LOL! But I am glad I did because he and his wife stood in line with me and my sister and we kept each other entertained. Seemed like we were in line for 20 minutes but we were laughing etc., which is saying a lot at 8:00 in the morning on Black Friday! Next year I won't have my "lil" sis here to go shopping with me and mom so I am glad we made our mark today!

I still have a few items to get but Christmas for the kids is just about done. Even got a new sweater for the dog that I gave him already.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Friends forever

Tara and I have known each other since junior high. She moved to the Seattle area after a year or so of hanging out together. Back then we were mainly roller skating and breakdancing. Boy that dates me, doesn't it? We have remained close over the years. I attended her high school graduation, she was in both my weddings and I was in hers. But the last few years we haven't been able to see each other. She now has 3 boys ages 2-almost 7 and the last two times I was in Seattle she was out of town.

So once I told her I had cancer she told me as soon as I was up for it she was coming for a girls weekend. I know it was difficult for her to be so far away while I was in treatment. We finally got our weekend a few days ago. We had planned to go roller skating but the only place in the area was closed for remodeling. We hung out at the hotel pool, drove around to our old neighborhood and hang outs, and talked and talked and talked (and ate and ate and ate). I stayed at the hotel with her and we chatted about the old days, what has gone on since then and talking about kids and spouses. One night my family went to dinner with us and came back to the hotel to swim. It was a great weekend but way too short!

I am blessed to have such a wonderful friend that still considers me one of the most important people in her life even after 24 years of living hundreds of miles apart.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Mary Jane Johnson

We have lost another wonderful woman. Mary Jane Johnson used to babysit my sister and me way, way back when. Jill, my sister, was good friends with her daughter Stephanie. Her son Brian and I were in the same grade.

Apparently, last June, just months after retiring, Mary Jane collapsed at her home. They discovered she had breast cancer that had spread to her bones, liver and brain. She spent the last months of her life in a care facility. She passed away on Tuesday.

She had a heart of gold and treated us like her own kids. I have not seen her in many years but it saddens me to know that she is gone and to know that this awful disease is what took her from her family.

There are angels among us and she is now one of them.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

School pictures

Finally got the school pictures scanned in too.

Picture Time

We get family pictures taken every two years. Here are some from today.

And here is the one from two years ago just days before my first surgery. What a difference two years can make for a family. But life is great!!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Great story about an animal's love

Anyone who has pets will really like this. You'll like it even if you don't and you may even decide you need one!

Mary and her husband Jim had a dog named 'Lucky.' Lucky was a real character. Whenever Mary and Jim had company come for a weekend visit they would warn their friends to not leave their luggage open because Lucky would help himself to whatever struck his fancy. Inevitably, someone would forget and something would come up missing. Mary or Jim would go to Lucky's toy box in the basement and there the treasure would be, amid all of Lucky's other favorite toys. Lucky always stashed his finds in his toy box and he was very particular that his toys stay in the box.

It happened that Mary found out she had breast cancer. Something told her she was going to die of this fact, she was just sure it was fatal. She scheduled the double mastectomy, fear riding her shoulders. The night before she was to go to the hospital she cuddled with Lucky. A
thought struck her...what would happen to Lucky? Although the three-year-old dog liked Jim, he was Mary's dog through and through. If I die, Lucky will be abandoned, Mary thought. He won't understand that I didn't want to leave him. The thought made her sadder than thinking of her own death.

The double mastectomy was harder on Mary than her doctors had anticipated and Mary was hospitalized for over two weeks. Jim took Lucky for his evening walk faithfully, but the little dog just drooped, whining and miserable.

Finally the day came for Mary to leave the hospital. When she arrived home , Mary was so exhausted she couldn't even make it up the steps to her bedroom. Jim made his wife comfortable on the couch and left her to nap. Lucky stood watching Mary but he didn't come to her when she called. It made Mary sad but sleep soon overcame her and she dozed.

When Mary woke for a second she couldn't understand what was wrong. She couldn't move her head and her body felt heavy and hot. But panic soon gave way to laughter when Mary realized the problem. She was covered, literally blanketed, with every treasure Lucky owned! While she had slept, the sorrowing dog had made trip after trip to the basement bringing his beloved mistress all his favorite things in life. He had covered her with his love.

Mary forgot about dying. Instead she and Lucky began living again, walking further and further together every day. It's been 12 years now and Mary is still cancer-free. Lucky? He still steals treasures and stashes them in his toy box but Mary remains his greatest treasure. every day to the fullest. Each minute is a blessing from God. And never forget....the people who make a difference in our lives are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards They are the ones that care for us.

If you see someone without a smile today give them one of yours! Live simply. Love seriously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

And one time at band camp...

Last night a small group of old friends from marching band got together since a friend was in town. We spent four hours of chatting up and laughing. It is amazing what we have all accomplished and it is amazing of how much we are still the same. It certainly didn't seem like 20 years had passed. We all fell back into teasing each other etc. I had forgot some of the crazy things we had done back then. April and Jesse had to remind me of some of the crazy things we did in drum corps. (How could I ever forget lifting Matt's car half way into the band room!?!) And I found out things from back then that I didn't know - Chelsey having the bus driver do a "cookie".

Many people hated high school but we had some great times and great bonds. We all drifted apart over the years, some more than others. I think we realized last night that even though we have gone separte ways and most of us don't even play instruments anymore, we can still stay in contact 20 years later. The core of who we were 20 years ago is still there today. We may be counselors, teachers, construction workers, military, business owners, government employee, parents and even a few cancer survivors but we are still the same kids inside that we were 20 years ago. Expect now we can all drink together legally! And we have overcome the cliques, attitudes and fears of being a teenager.

I could ramble on forever about my wonderful high school friends but I will post some pictures instead!

Morris and Bryan
Chelsey and Melissa
Sara, Trina and Morris
Angie and her little boy

Todd and Chelsey

Trina and Sara

April and Jesse

Saturday, November 8, 2008

More party pictures

Princess Trinity

Some of "my girls" (Cami, Patti, Kris and Jan) and Geoffrey

Lil Scotlyn and me (She loves her Aunt Jenn! And I am so
blessed to be here to see her grow!)

Okay I guess she loves her mommy too as you can tell from
picture of my sister Jill, Scotlyn and myself.

Mom made me polish off the champagne! (Buddy Steph is
looking on.)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

All better party pictures

Me with my parents
Me with my 98 year old grandma - two time survivor

Me with two of my kids - Geoffrey and Trinity

Me with my wonderful husband - Alvin

Monday, November 3, 2008

Two years cancer free

Saturday was my anniversary of my first surgery and thus the day I became a survivor. My mom and dad held an "I'm All Better Brunch." for me with friends and family who have been so supportive of me over the last two years. Everyone said a few words and we toasted to me and the other survivors there. It was an emotional morning and so wonderful. I will post pictures soon. Everyone went home with a champagne flute with a pink ribbon on it and they have to save it for the 5-year party, the 10-year party etc.

Thank you so much to my mom for organizing such a wonderful event. Thank you to all who attended and who continue to be there for me!

Sunday, November 2, 2008


I love Halloween and wanted to share pictures from pumpkin carving, Trin's costume and our work costumes.

Scooby Doo and BSU for Trinity

Geoffrey's "rose" -

Dakota's Yoda

Go Big Blue!!!!

Dorothy and Toto

Big Naynay with Mostyn, Claire, Geoffrey, Trinity and Hawkins

Here are some work pictures. Our department theme was Clue. I was Miss Scarlett and my office was the billiard room. We won the overall contest and I won for best costume/performance!