Sunday, December 29, 2013

Clean Up Surgery Day 3

Commuter Husband used the above to bandage my chest.
Today was just plain bad luck. I woke up this morning and started eating a banana in order to take my pain medication. I could tell something was not right. Very soon I was vomiting ... for hours. No fever. I have a stomach virus. Commuter Husband called the Plastic Surgeon who prescribed a phenergan suppository. By mid-day, things had settled down and I slept until evening.

I just awoke long enough tonight to take a shower and put on fresh bandages. The incision is 18 inches long with a small 1/2 gap on my breast plate. The cut looks long and red. I do believe the excess skin and tissue is gone. There is some swelling which is to be expected. Commuter Husband remarks "It looks better than last time."

I just took my first pain killer of the day with some toast. Back to sleep ...

Friday, December 27, 2013

11 Months Post-Op: Clean Up Surgery Day 1

Under the influence of two of these pain killers right now - feeling loopy.
Commuter Husband and I arrived at Presbyterian hospital this morning at 5:15am. I was home by 12:30pm.

Women who have a mastectomy often have dog ears. I posted about this on November 3 CLICK HERE. My insurance did cover the surgery as part of the Breast Cancer scope of services.

My Plastic Surgeon removed my dog ears this morning. I am fondly calling this Clean Up Surgery. I have not seen what it looks like under the lengthy bandage that runs from under one arm pit across my entire chest to the other arm pit. No drains required this time which is good. I am feeling quite sore, resting in bed and popping the pain killers today. Commuter Husband is patiently taking care of me. Thoughtful friends entertained the boys this morning and another sweet friend brought us dinner for tonight. I will be able to shower Sunday and expect to be well on the way to recovery next week.

The desired end result is a smooth, flat chest and under arm area without the skin flaps and "bumps." I will have a much longer scar but hoping the scar tissue is not too bothersome. Stay tuned.

The last part of this journey will be genetic testing which I am still working on whether insurance will cover or not. 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Days with Family

Being together is the theme of these days together. Simple and uncomplicated.

Lazy Sunday
We took the day off from skiing and many of us stayed in pajamas all day. Brother and I grew up watching 42 and then playing all our adult life. This dominoes game remains one of our favorites. We have now taught Oldest Son (Age 13), Youngest Son (Age 11) and Oldest Niece (age 12) to play and they have embraced this tradition. They can accurately count the dominoes, predict other player's strategy and dish out the smack talk!
Our make shift 42 board - ha! 
Youngest Niece finds another way to play with the dominoes!
We have eaten well too. Sister-in-Law made a scrumptious roast chicken and rosemary potatoes with Commuter Husband assisting where he could. I sipped hot chocolate with Baily's - so yummy.
Kitchen Help :)
Tasted as good as it looks!
Monday and Tuesday - Back to the Slopes
We got back to Crystal Mountain to ski Monday. Brother, the five kids and I "survived" Monday. The morning brought rain - not snow - so we were all damp and some wet to the skin. The afternoon had very limited visibility due to the snow coming down. By 2:15pm the sun peeped out and the snow stopped but then we had strong winds knocking over the younger ones. All of this on runs with a shallow base and icy top. The are no wimpy kids in this family - I can vouch for that for sure!

Tuesday made it all worthwhile. Brother and I took Oldest Son, Youngest Son and Oldest Niece back to Crystal Mountain for a third day. We had sunny skies and a new, albeit thin, layer of snow.

Youngest Son decided to strap on skis and leave his snow board behind. He is the only one of our crew to both ski and snow board - so characteristic of him! While I managed to keep up on the Blues and pick my way down a small Black, Oldest Son and Oldest Niece can now traverse the mountain faster and better than me. Brother took these two older kids up and down the more challenging runs until even Brother said his legs were done for the day. It was a good day on the slopes with family.

Stuff piled up during our peanut butter sandwich lunch
Youngest Son, Oldest Son, Oldest Niece and me with Mount Rainier looming behind us.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

White and More White

The design in grass shows pattern from rolling up the snow.
Our December 20th arrival in Seattle was surprisingly white. As I finished my afternoon conference calls, I watched the flurry of activity in front of my Brother's house. My Sister-in-Law was shoveling snow off the driveway with the help of Oldest Nephew (age 16.) Oldest Son was hurling small snow balls displaying his baseball skills. Youngest Son along with my two nieces, Oldest Niece (age 12) and Youngest Niece (age 9) where rolling large snow balls to build snow forts.

Then we had more fun with the white stuff today. Brother and I took Oldest Son, Youngest Son, Oldest Niece and Youngest Niece to Crystal Mountain which is about an hour from Brother's house. The conditions were far from perfect but we had a fun day anyway. It is a family tradition to ski and snow board together. And I have now skied in Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Idaho, New York and Washington!
Getting everyone equipped takes some effort.
Cousins with Mount Rainier behind them.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

I Yell At My Kids ... Sometimes

This morning. Not a good morning. We have those on occasion.

I called Car Pool and told them "We are running late and I will take boys to school."

The boys were bickering, things that needed to be done were not done and I YELLED - really loud and mostly at Youngest Son but Oldest Son got some smack down too. On the way to school, we all three apologized for our part of the morning meltdown. We discussed each infraction and how we can do better. I honestly confessed that I may yell again but I will try to do better. I dropped the boys off with 5 minutes to get to their classes. I said "Have a nice day!" and we all looked at each other sheepishly and with half grins. I then dialed into my work conference call as soon as I drove off campus and tried to sound pleasant and professional.

We are far from perfect. While I have chosen this life and the chaos that comes with it, I still get exasperated from time to time. Commuter Husband and I both work full time at stressful jobs and we have to get everything done that comes with maintaining a household and raising kids in a fixed number of available hours.

I opened Facebook this morning and saw a link to Killing Off Supermom by Lisa Quinn.

My favorite line "I would like to publish my own magazine called, "Half-Assed".

She starts with a list

  • "The beds are rarely made unless someone is coming to visit" CHECK - Commuter Family also practices this bed making policy.
  • "Sometimes I yell" DOUBLE CHECK - think I covered that above ...
  • "My closet is a disaster" CHECK - I am actually considering hiring someone to help me clean it.
  • "I feel guilty that I work too much" - TRIPLE CHECK - but paying the bills seems prudent.
  • "... cannot afford to go organic right now" - see bullet above, the "working too much" is paying for my increasing grocery bills because I have decided to go organic!

The irony of my choices is that I am a bit OCD (self-diagnosed) in that a messy, unorganized house makes me anxious - just ask Commuter Family. However, I have decided that life experiences are worth the anxiety. We will continue to travel, invite people over, be lifelong learners and participate in fun events. We will definitely continue to put time with the people we love as a priority over a perfectly orchestrated life.

And ... I will probably yell at my kids and husband sometimes too ...

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Venezuelan Scrambled Eggs - Perico Venezolano

Me: "Do you want me to make ... for breakfast?"
Youngest Son: "No, I'll cook my own breakfast."
Me: "Well, okay."

Youngest Son just studied Venezuela in his Spanish class. I watch him as he brings up the recipe on the iPad and goes to work:
Preparing Ingredients - we did not have any onions so Youngest Son made due ...
Start cooking the bell peppers 
Break the eggs - fish out the shells :)
Add the tomatoes
Measure out the spices
Pour in the eggs
Modify the recipe by including some cheese 
Plate it up!
Serve up the first one 
Eat one in right hand while making next one with left hand 
So good (but would be better with onions says Youngest Son!)

Recipe from
2 tablespoons oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 bell pepper, finely chopped (red, green or yellow)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tomatoes, seeded and chopped
6 eggs, lightly beaten
salt and pepper (to taste)

1 Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high flame. Add the onion, bell pepper and garlic and saute for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the onion is softened and translucent.
2 Add the tomatoes and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes to reduce the liquid somewhat.
3 Reduce heat to low, add the eggs, salt and pepper and cook, gently stirring the eggs occasionally to scramble them and just long enough to cook them through while keeping them soft.
4 Serve with bread or arepas and a slice of fresh cheese.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

A Family History of Sorts

Today we are putting away our Chanukiah. As Commuter Husband and I clear off the candle wax from 8 nights of kindling the lights, we are reminded of what each one means to our family.

I used the term Chanukiah intentionally over Menorah. A seven branched Menorah represents the seven days of the week and the burning bush. The Menorah is described in Exodus 25:31-40 and it is now the emblem of Israel. The nine branched Chanukah candelabrum was created to celebrate the Macabees' victory over the Greek Army. When the Macabees entered the Temple Sanctuary, the Menorah only had oil for one day. The Miracle of Chanukah was that this oil lasted for eight days until more olives were pressed to extract the pure oil required. The Chanukiah has eight branches to represent those eight miraculous days and one more branch for the Shamash, the lighter candle.

Commuter Husband's Chanukiah before we met - no frills and practical - kinda like Commuter Husband.
My Sister-in-Law gifted us this first family Chanukiah and piece of art. Ruth Block is an international acclaimed artist from San Fransisco Click here to learn more.. I LOVE this Chanukiah.
This Chanukiah announces the addition of Oldest Son to our family in 2000.
And then came Youngest Son in 2002 - this one has lost its center Shamash.
And what Modern Jewish Family does not have an electric Chanukiah?
These next photos show Commuter Husband's favorite Chanukiah as he said today "I feel like God sent us this Chanukiah." In 2008 to 2009, we were living on the Pacific Coastline of Mexico. In April/May 2009, all of Mexico literally shut down due to the Swine Flu. Even in the USA, my client would not allow me to enter the Plano building having come in from Mexico. So we decided to take a road trip to La Manzanilla which is south of Puerto Vallarta. During our week there, we wandered into an art gallery. We saw a Star of David dangling from something ... upon closer inspection we realized it was a Chanukiah! In a country with a 95% Catholic population, we found this piece of Jewish Art  by a local, indigenous artist. Or maybe it found us ...

For more on the La Manzanilla trip Click here for two April posts and Click here to see posts through May 9

The boys gave me this Chanukiah a few years back - classic.
This Chanukiah marks Oldest Son getting older ... 
And this Chanukiah replaces the somewhat broken baby Chanukiah (see above) for Youngest Son and whose themes are representative of his Hebrew Name.
This Chanukiah is our most recent addition and the colors are so appealing. It sits next to Oldest Son's Bar Mitzvah Tzedakah Box. Below are 3 Kiddish cups: my Woman of Valour, our Israeli Kibbutz Laton and Youngest Son's Bris. The round silver ball is my travel Shabbat Candle set with a scene of Israel etched on it - opens up to hold two candles.
We informally invited a few neighborhood friends over for cookies and milk and to help us kindle the 8th Night - Our Family History in Lights ...

Friday, November 29, 2013

Tweeners, Teens & Thanksgivikah!

Neighbor Girls brought the centerpiece over for our table - the other side has a real apple!
When we are in Dallas, we host Thanksgiving. We always run the Turkey Trot in downtown Dallas and we invite family, neighbors and friends for a feast. This year had added oomph since it is also Chanukah. And this year our house of 14 did did not include a child - for the first time. The youngest in our home was 11 years old which is officially a tweener. We also had five teenagers and a college student.
I mixed my Mother's 1960's gold & white plates, Commuter Husband's mother's water glasses and our everyday dishes to create an eclectic table. 
Jewish and Christian prayers were recited before we filled our plates with turkey and stuffing along side the latkes and kugel. We arranged the tables to all sit together with wine for the adults and organic sparkling apple cider for the non-adult and non-child crowd. Kids bantered while the adults discussed the philosophy of  higher education in England, Germany and USA.
Thanksgivikah Red Velvet Cup Cakes - courtesy of Neighbor Girl (age 11.) 
Commuter Husband thinks this is a fire hazard. I think it is perfect.
After dinner we kindled the lights of the 2nd night of Chanukah while Oldest Son recited the prayers in English and Hebrew. We had another first this year: a White Elephant gift exchange. It was a fun way to share the tradition of Chanukah gifts with our tweener and teenage crowd who did not hesitate to make the big steals!

The holiday wrapped up around 10:15pm when that final piece of the puzzle was placed in our traditional Thanksgiving Day puzzle!
Woo Hoo! A collaborative effort throughout the day. We purchased this puzzle last Summer at Mesa Verde just for Thanksgivikah 2013!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Thank Goodness for Pie

All families have their own kind of disfunction. Ours is no different. No matter how hard we try, it seems we can never leave for a camping trip without Commuter Husband and I wanting to do bodily harm to the other.

We have been camping many, many times through our 18 years of marriage. Oldest Son and Youngest Son both crawled at campsites. You would think we would have this particular transaction conquered. But alas it is not meant to be.

Each trip has its own set of circumstances. I will not go into all the gory details but our targeted leave time of  2:30 pm was in actuality 6:15pm. During that time we had to make seven (!) unexpected stops to complete various tasks. One errand included purchasing new windshield wiper blades because it was raining and our visibility was nil. 

By the time we hit the road, the atmosphere of the overly loaded Expedition was tense indeed. The boys wisely focused on reading and playing video games. 

Then I spotted the sign. Bakers Ribs. In addition to the bad moods, none of us had eaten dinner. With as few a words as possible, I navigate Commuter Husband to the restaurant. I announce "Pie" as we pull in to the gravel parking lot. Youngest Son looks up and yells for joy. 

We eagerly wolf down our scrumptious BBQ sandwiches and fried okra. The boys bite into their chocolate pies.  

Youngest Son sincerely announces "We should do this more often." 

Given the past five hours of angst, Commuter Husband totally cracks up at this remark and we all look at each other and break a smile. 

Youngest Son naively asks "Whaaaat?"

All families also have that one person who brings laughter and comedic relief. Thank you Youngest Son.

(Private Note to First Cousin Once Removed: they finally got their promised pie!)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

For Parents of Teenagers

Beautiful Daughter.
Commuter Husband and I are the parents of a tweener and a brand new teenager. We worry about the next five to eight years as we parent them into young men. Some days are wonderful. Some days are just plain awful - ask Commuter Husband and Youngest Son about last night's Spanish assignment which prompted Commuter Husband to send the teacher an impassioned email!

One of my BFsF (the one who had the heart procedure a couple weeks ago) has an 18 year old Beautiful Daughter. Beautiful Daughter was the sweetest baby and a delightful little girl. However, Beautiful Daughter's teen years presented many challenges to her and consequently to her parents.

Beautiful Daughter just got her acceptance letter to Texas A&M and this is what she felt ...

Every person I've come in contact with has made me who I am, but the one person who helped me get to this point the most was my mother. I never could have navigated this journey to college without her, and when I was sick, she was the one who pushed me forward to make sure I didn't lose my shot at this dream. At times I felt like I couldn't even finish high school, but she never stopped believing in me. So thank you Kare Bear. 
  • Thank you for all the late nights you helped me study. 
  • Thank you for letting me do what I needed to, even when it was hard for our family and people thought you were wrong.
  • Thank you for homeschooling me. 
  • Thank you for putting me in Karen Dillard.
  • Thank you for all the preparation you did starting when I was so young. 
  • Thank you for making me participate with Duke TIP.
  • Thank you for reading over my essays.
  • Thank you for finding me a wonderful tutor. 
  • Thank you for spending endless hours researching to make sure I was prepared and had the perfect resources I needed. 
  • Thank you for staying up to type my papers after I wrote them when I was too tired to even open a laptop. 
  • Thank you for putting so much time into getting accommodations for me at school.
  • Thank you for coming to take me home on days when I just needed to be with you.
  • Thank you for always fighting for me.
  • Thank you for being so patient with me.
  • Thank you for never giving up on me when so many others did.
You are the perfect mom for me and one of my closest friends. The Lord has a great sense of humor, and I thank him every day for giving me you to raise and challenge me. I love you so much.

I have been fortunate to watch this Beautiful Daughter show her beauty inside and out. She gets it from her mother.

Thanks to Beautiful Daughter for giving me permission to post her writing.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Lieutenant Colonel, Infantry, Battalion Commander

My Little Brother and my nieces - the soldier and the father.
After graduating with a political science degree, my Little Brother enlisted with the United States Army. He went in as a regular soldier and earned his way into Officer Candidate School. My grandmother (who helped raise us) died while he was at OCS and we waited to tell him because we knew he needed to focus and stay the course at OCS

Little Brother soon went through Ranger training which had three phases. I met him at DFW airport as he transitioned from Phase 2 to Phase 3. He was 20 lbs lighter and we both teared up upon seeing each other. He earned his elite forces Ranger Tab.

He spent an incredible year as aid-de-camp to a three star general which afforded him the opportunity to be in the White House with President Obama and meet with the leader of Puerto Rico among other once in a lifetime experiences.

I have visited him at the approximately ten places he has lived except one. I did not visit him while he was in Iraq for 15 months. His wife was left alone in upstate New York, Fort Drum, to care for children ages 8 and 5 and a sweet baby girl.

My Little Brother has over 20 years of service now and leads a Recruiting Battalion in the Pacific Northwest as a Lieutenant Colonel

I am continually impressed with this Little Brother and the choices he makes for his country and his family as a soldier, husband, father, grandson, uncle and brother. Oldest Son and Youngest Son know and love their uncle. He is the uncle who skis with them and plays basketball with them and proudly wears a United States Army uniform.

This was written about my Little Brother. It pretty much says it all.

"You're a Soldiers leader and I and my Soldiers always knew it and appreciated it. Some people are great leaders, some are good men, very few are both."

My Little Brother is not alone - not by a long shot. There have been and are many soldiers in all branches of the military protecting our freedoms. There is not a word big enough to convey our gratitude ...

Saturday, November 9, 2013

The S in BFsF

Brunette BF, Blond BF and I all wore one of these in our version of Friday Night Lights at Alvarado High School.
I hesitate to use the popular BFF because it seems so singular. However, there really is no one BFF for me. I am fortunate to use a plural version: Best FriendS Forever (BFsF).

Earlier this week I attended the funeral of the mother of one of my two best friends from Jr. High and High School. Brunette BF and Blond BF have been my best friends since we were 12 years old. That calculates to 36 plus years. The three of us grew up together and each chose different paths upon high school graduation. Currently, Brunette BF's daughter is expecting her first baby, Blond BF's daughter is in college figuring out her life path and I still have an 11 year old grabbing my hand to hold. We are lucky when we see each other more than once a year but there have been years with no face to face interaction. It does NOT matter. We are still those young girls whose core remains same and we share an understanding and love of who we each truly are on the inside. I know for a fact that these two beautiful BF(s)F would do anything for me. Last night we grabbed three precious hours to catch up. We are each grateful and focus on the time we do have versus the time we do not.

This morning Oldest Son had the privilege of be one of those honored at the Bar Mitzvah of one of his BFsF. Oldest Son and Jewish BF met when Oldest Son kept biting Jewish BF. They were two years old. The Temple Emanu-El Preschool director said either they will be best friends or worst enemies. Fortunately in 2002, these two year old boys chose the former. Jewish BF told this story in his D'var Torah (lesson interpreting bible text) today to illustrate the presence of G-d everywhere who puts people in your path in mysterious ways indeed. Jewish BF talked about how they will be best friends forever. Jewish BF then called Oldest Son to the bimah to help lead the Kiddush, the prayer over the wine (or grape juice in this case), and the Ha-motzi, prayer over the Challah (braided bread.)  Oldest Son has a gift more valuable than he can possibly understand at 13 years old.

Like my BFsF and me, these two boys have already chosen different paths. They have different schools, different areas of focus and different day-to-day friends. It does NOT matter. When they are together, they are just two life-long 13 year old teenage boys enjoying the time they have and knowing there will always be a next time.

Jewish BF and Oldest Son at Temple Emanu-El standing together on the bimah in front of the ark. Not pictured: ridiculously proud parents holding back tears!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Gift

Past Couple Months

Commuter Husband and I have had particularly tough work schedules recently. Commuter Husband has been traveling all over the country to conduct employee meetings and I have been putting in 60+ hour work weeks.

6:23pm Last Night - Commuter Husband sends me a text that he is leaving Houston

After working 13 hours, Commuter Husband then drives 4 hours from Houston to Dallas to arrive home well after bedtime.

6:24pm Last Night - I text back ...

... the back gate out, the security system out and fridge in garage is out ...

It was all true. Oldest Son and I had to clean some items out of the warm fridge - ugh.

10:15pm Last Night

Commuter arrives home. He resets the breaker which restores all our "out" stuff.

3:00am This Morning

My alarm goes off at 3am so I can prepare for a 7am meeting. I drift into the kitchen and Commuter Husband hands me a cup of coffee. I ask why is he up? He responds "To make you coffee." And he heads back to bed ...

5:45am This Morning

As I shower, I try to figure out when I can get gas since I know the tank is down to 38 miles. I am calculating if I can get to downtown and then back out to Plano for meetings.

6:05am This Morning

Commuter Husband nonchalantly tells me he put gas in my car last night - that would be after arriving home at 10:15pm!

A surge of relief and love swept through me. I looked over at Commuter Husband with tears in my eyes and said I love you (with meaning.) To have one less thing to do in a day where I had 12 work meetings to manage on 5 hours of sleep to was a gift - truly.

Monday, November 4, 2013

3am Every Monday Morning

Commuter Husband gets up at 3am most Monday mornings to drive to Houston. And he then works a full day. I know it is hard. He does it to have one extra night with Oldest Son, Youngest Son and me. He gets to "tuck in" in the boys - yes we still do that ...

I talked with the father of one of Youngest Son's friends this past week. He also does the Houston commute weekly. It is a Commuter Family lifestyle for some ... perhaps for many.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

9 Months Post-Op

I had my 9 month check up with the breast surgeon. It was a short visit. All is good. She said come back in a year. I asked "Why?" She replied that she usually did follow ups for a couple of years. I politely declined and she had no problem putting me on an "as needed" status. I have one less thing on my to do list and one less bill to burden the medical system. But most importantly there are way too many other women who will truly need that appointment with my breast surgeon - sadly.

I scheduled my gynecologist appointment this week. I am nervous. I will feel much better when that pap smear comes back clear.

Now I have a bit of a Rant ...

Mastectomy without Reconstruction (Simple Mastectomy)

Mastectomy without reconstruction or "simple" mastectomy is removal of the breast tissue and overlying skin including the nipple/areolar complex, via an elliptical incision, usually leaving a transverse or oblique scar.

Whilst post operative photographs are usually readily available as a resource for women undergoing breast reconstruction, there are often few images available for women undergoing mastectomy without reconstruction. The multiple images below demonstrate the varied cosmetic results that may follow simple mastectomy, related primarily to operative technique and the body habitus of the patient.

Cosmetically sub-optimal folds of flesh at the side of the body or 'dog-ears' are frequent following mastectomy. Redundant skin and fatty soft tissue at the outer end of a mastectomy scar can be unsightly and uncomfortable. 

I have some excess skin and small dog-ears. On the advice of my breast surgeon, I have an appointment with a plastic surgeon. If it is a simple procedure to remove then I may consider doing it. If not, then I can definitely live with my bumpy chest.

I did get slightly agitated when the plastic surgeon's nurse advised that insurance would not likely cover the procedure if I decided to proceed. I asked "Why?" She said they do not usually cover it "just to improve how it looks." I do not quite follow the logic of how a full breast reconstruction would be covered if I asked for it right now but removing some excess skin would not? Pretty sure both fall into the category of "improving how it looks." I am also certain that there is a significant cost differential. So tomorrow I will call my insurance case worker and discuss with her. It will be interesting to hear what she says.

The glorious thing about breast cancer awareness is that typically everything you could possibly need is covered by insurance including life saving treatments, camisoles to hold your drains, physical therapy, special bras and multiple types of reconstruction. It does not feel right that the same level of coverage and attention would fall short for women who decide to go breast-free. There are amazing plastic surgery techniques to reconstruct breasts with beautiful results. So how can there not be surgical techniques to avoid or insurance coverage to fix what you see in those photos?

Monday, October 28, 2013


Commuter Husband, Oldest Son, Youngest Son and I watched Blackfish on CNN last night.

Me: "You know we are never going to SeaWorld again."

Oldest Son: "Yeah, I kinda got that idea."

Through the years Commuter Husband and I have made small choices to demonstrate our views on the treatment of animals. While living in Mexico, we opted not to swim with the dolphins. We have stopped going to the circus. The boys know why we have made these choices because we told them when they were 6 and 8 years old. Now we will not go to SeaWorld again. Oldest Son was not surprised.

I did the research last night. I read many of the rebuttals from SeaWorld and official comments. Nothing in their published rhetoric changes my mind.

We are definitely not animal rights activists; I am much more passionate about other causes. However, we will continue to look for ways to respect all living things. Small steps, one person at a time because it is the right thing to do.

This is where they belong ...

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Unexpected Gifts

Yesterday, I did what friends do. I was simply present. The reality of the last half of adult life is that it includes many doctors, hospitals and funerals. We are taking care of our own bodies which are just starting to age as well as addressing the ailments of our parents and grandparents.

And it is okay. There are many gifts in these kinds of days.

BFF's Husband and I spent the first half of the day in Baylor hospital's comfortable waiting area. I was juggling client conference calls on my iPhone and work emails on my laptop. In between, I received my first gift.

I have known BFF's Husband since college and that would be 30 years! We discussed how each of our jobs are going at the moment. Then, we talked about politics including Wendy Davis's campaign for Governor of Texas, the Republican Party far right leadership situation and the impact of the abortion provisions of Texas HB2. The interesting part is that I often avoid talking politics with BFF and BFF's Husband because through the years I keep moving more and more to the liberal side of issues and not all my friends (old and new) are there with me. The truly fascinating part is that my BFF's Husband's comments, thoughts and opinions had much more in common with mine than I would have ever imagined. I so appreciated and enjoyed his insights and honest dialogue and his openness to my views. While waiting for BFF to come out of her surgical procedure, a slice of time was our gift and we used it to share our minds in intelligent conversation.

The afternoon was spent with BFF in her hospital room discussing the successful procedure, sharing a heart healthy lunch and catching up on life. BFF and I turn 50 in 18 months so we used this time to plan our birthday blow out. We have the venue, entertainment, theme, location, food and drinks planned! My second gift was this conversation about celebrating life. BFF's Husband pointed out to us the irony of having this conversation in a Baylor Heart and Vascular hospital room. BFF and I looked at each and smiled - exactly!

The third gift is love. This love is why BFF sat with me in a breast surgeon's office last December as I learned what my options would be to rid my body of cancer. This love is why I was at the hospital while my friend's heart was fixed.

Over the next 30 years we will likely share doctor visits, hospital waiting rooms and graveside good byes. Thank goodness I do not have to do it alone.

Friday, October 18, 2013

An Open Mind

Turkish Prince, Youngest Son, Artist Friend's Daughter and Turkish Daughter explore with light, color, shadows, movement and touch. 
I have a friend who takes me to places I would not think to go. My Artist Friend helps me see the world in ways I would not consider. Tonight she lead us to Aurora, a free contemporary art exhibit, in Dallas Art's District.

Our dear Turkish Friends are visiting: Turkish Father, American Turkish Friend (Noah's 11 year friend for the last 9 years), Turkish Daughter (age 8) and our Turkish Prince (almost 4.) We all ventured into the perfect Texas night to view the lights, music and videos.

Youngest Son "I don't get some of this stuff." That is good. Art can make you feel or think or consider thoughts that are outside your comfort zone.

Art opens your mind. An Open Mind is a beautiful thing.

Perhaps this photo is slightly artistic ... for me anyway. Turkish Prince skirts behind Artist Friend's Daughter as Youngest Son embraces the moment.
Imagine "Singing in the Rain" and these umbrellas opening and closing to the music ... hear the snap of the nylon? This installation made me feel happy and unable to resist twitching to the beat as I thought of Gene Kelly jumping in the puddles.