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 ...