Friday, June 26, 2009

In Honor of and in Memory of...

I apologize in advance for how long this post is. However, I ask that if you read any of my posts, you read this one. It would mean a whole lot to me!

For those of you that know me, you know my sweet beautiful mother (MAW as my husband likes to call her) has had breast cancer on and off for the last 25 years. She got sick this last time in December of 2003. She chose to have a double mastectomy and, Praise the Lord, has been healthy since.

During her recovery, we found out that my Aunt Fees (that's not her real name, but it is what I have always called her) also had breast cancer. It was really hard to watch my mom nurse her baby sister to health while they both struggled with the same awful disease.

Fast forward a few years, my mom has improved, however my Aunt still was struggling. One Friday in November 2006, my mom called me to let me know that she had just admitted my Aunt into the hospital. The chemo had made her dehydrated. I wasn't to worry. My mom told me they were going to give her fluids and that I should pray, but not worry.

The very next day (Saturday) I received another phone call. My Aunt was not doing well. The doctors were telling us that my Aunt was in "her final days". Holy heck, how did that just happen!

I visited my Aunt in the hospital on Sunday and we talked and joked around. I secretly hoped the doctors were wrong. She seemed to happy and healthy to me. Either way, I went back home to my family.

On Sunday evenings, we always watch Extreme Makeover: Home Edition together as a family. This particular show focused on a young woman with breast cancer and her relentless support of the American Cancer Society Relay for Life. I considered telling my family that the show wasn't on that night just so I didn't have to watch it. However, when my son came in the room and asked me if we were going to watch "our show" tonight, I smiled and hugged him and told him that "yes, we are".

I was really moved by the show, but didn't really have a lot of time to think about it. The next day (Monday), we moved my Aunt into hospice. She had taken a noticeable turn for the worst, and I wondered if the doctors were right. All afternoon there was a parade of people coming to see her. By the evening, she had stopped talking. She was only blinking and squeezing hands.

I waited until everyone had left and walked into her room. She smiled and told me to come sit down. I realized that she was just choosing not to speak earlier, but that she still could. She told me 3 things:
1) She was very proud of me and everything that I had accomplished.
2) She told me that I was beautiful and that I looked like her (not my mom). This made me laugh out loud :)!
3) She told me that I would make a difference and that I would figure out how to do it.

I kissed her, told her I loved her and went home. By the next morning, she truly was not speaking. I had had my last words with her. My precious Aunt Fees had passed away on Tuesday, November 14, 2006.

I immediately got involved. For the last 3 years, I have walked in the American Cancer Society Relay for Life. For the last 2 years, I've led my own team! For those of you that don't know what the Relay for Life is, it's a 12 - 24 hour event where different teams come together and raise money to fight cancer. The event is usually held at a stadium or other place where each team brings a fund raiser and commits to having a walker on the track at all times. The event usually lasts all night long. It can become uncomfortable. But, you know? Cancer is uncomfortable. I can do this!

Our Campbell County Relay was this past Saturday and Sunday. Here are some of my pictures from the event.

This is my co-leader Tami. She had a new turquoise phone that I kept making fun of because it looked like a teenagers phone. Tami and I actually went to high school together, work at the same place, and go to church together. We've become quite good friends through all of this. She is a fundraiser machine!

This was one of our fundraisers. Each year, we partner up with a company called Little Monkeys. Little Monkeys donates one (or more) of their "bouncy things" to our event. We charged $2 a slide or $8 to be able to slide as much as you want. We kept this thing opened until 2:00 in the morning! Let's just say it was a hit!

As you can see from this picture, it was HOT!!!! Here are 2 of our team-mates cooling off under our team tent.

This is my sweet boy decorating a luminaria bag in honor of his Grandma (MAW). I loved that they let the kids do that this year! Just for the record, he is that wet because of the iced towel around his neck. Although he liked the towel because it made him look all "sweaty and manly". Boys!?!?!

This is Colin behind his luminaria bag right before the ceremony started.

During the luminaria ceremony, the track is lined with all of the lit luminaria bags. The lights are completely dimmed and they read the names over the speakers. It is a very prayerful beautiful ceremony.

Like I said earlier, the relay runs ALL NIGHT LONG! My sweet boy begged me if he could come with me this year and stay all night. I told him as long as he was good, he could stay. At one point he looked at me and told me he was tired. I turned my back on him for 5 seconds and turned around to this precious site :).

Thank you for reading.
Love, K

P.S. - My family has been through genetic counseling, and we do not carry the breast cancer gene. However, given my family cluster, I'm still at a much higher risk than the normal to get cancer in my lifetime. I beg each of you to do monthly exams! I do my exam on the 27th of every month (since that is my lucky number). If you are 40 or over, please talk to your doctor about getting a mammogram. I can assure you it doesn't hurt as much as cancer might!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

So Guess What Happened to Me Last Night?

Yep! And I hadn't even made it out of the garage at work! Go figure. But you know what else? I already got a phone call today from the other guy's insurance company. It looks like they are taking responsibility and sending out an appraiser tomorrow to pay for the damages. I love when these things work out :)!
I promise to post something good tomorrow!
Love, K

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I'm Having Work Life Balance Issues...

I am working on a great post for later this week. Until then, enjoy this :)!
I Love My Job!
- a lost Dr. Seuss poem
I love my job, I love the pay!
I love it more and more each day.
I love my boss, she is the best!
I love her boss and all the rest!
I love my job and it's location,
I hate to have to go on vacation.
I love my furniture, drab and gray,
and piles of paper that grow each day.
I think my job is really swell,
There's nothing else I love so well.
I love to work among my peers,
I love their leers, and sneers, and jeers.
I love my computer and it's software,
I hug it often though it doesn't care.
I love each program and every file,
I'd love them more if they worked awhile.
I'm happy to be here. I am! I am!
I'm the happiest slave of the Firm. I am!
I love this work, I love these chores.
I love the meetings with deadly bores!
I love my job - I'll say it again!
I even love those friendly men!
Those friendly men who've come today,
In clean white coats to take me away!!!
I should be out of the looney bin by Thursday. Until then, my friends!
Love, K

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Story of My (Work) Life

How many managers does it take to change a light bulb?

1) "I want a detailed memo about this issue till tomorrow's morning."

2) "You were supposed to have changed that light bulb last week!"

3) "We haven't got a policy on that."

4) "I am on my way to a very important meeting, so we'll discuss it some other time."

5) Three. Two to find out if it needs changing, and one to tell an employee to change it.

Around here, it's usually # 4 or #5 :)!

Have fun!

Love, K

Monday, June 15, 2009

Meet Oliver...

I wanted to share my cat with you for this week's Life is Funny carnival. You know the rules, but if you need a refresher course, check it out on Wendy's blog.

This really is my cat. A few people I have shown this first picture to, do not believe that it's my cat. I did not get this picture off of the internet. I found this little gem of an animal under a dumpster at the local supermarket when he was only a few weeks old. He stole my heart and hasn't given it back.

One day, I was going down the stairs to the basement to change my laundry around and there he was propped up at the bottom of the stairs. He looked quite content. I figured he'd move, but I had time to run back up the stairs to grab my camera. By the time I got back, he was still sitting there.

I think he might have blinked once or twice, but I don't believe a single major muscle was moved. I have no idea why he likes to sit like this or why this little corner of the basement is so fascinating. I don't pretend to understand what goes on in the mind of cats.
One last point I want to make. He really isn't as fat as he looks in this picture. I've tried telling him that this is not a flattering pose, but he could care less. He's a boy cat and apparently boys don't care about camera angles. He weighs 11 1/2 pounds which is a little larger than most domestic house cats, but my vet is not worried, so I'm not worried.

Just to prove that it really is my cat, I thought I'd add some more "action" shots. To be clear, unless there is food involved, this is as "action" as it gets. This is his favorite place to watch television/sleep.
In this "action" shot, he's mad at the world and getting ready to kick some tail because there's a piece of paper stuck on his nose.

Here he is guarding the back yard. Or he could be sunbathing, not sure. Either way, the sheer excitement and intensity of this "action shot" just exhausts me.

Now this one is a "real" "action" shot (in theory). Here, Oliver is on his way to the moon in a rocket ship (aka the box my new tub came in). Doesn't he look thrilled? He's a good furry brother (aka shuttle commander).

Now, all kidding aside, the one thing other than food that will make Oliver get excited is running water. I always assumed that cats hated water, but mine must be part fish. I had started my bath water the other night and walked away to only find this when I got back. He will hide out under the vanity until I close the door and get in the tub. Then he sits on the side of the tub and stares until I let him dip his paws in. Before long, I have a cat in the tub with me. Go figure!

For next week's Life is Funny carnival? How Yo-yo got her name. Hint...don't let the peaceful, tranquil, Oliver-like picture fool you.

Love, K

Friday, June 12, 2009

Surprise Wedding Reception

Along with my love of baking and music, I also love theater and acting. There is a group based out of New York City called ImprovEverywhere. They are an improv group that will randomly show up in fun and interesting places and bring shear joy and chaos along with them.

Most of their "missions" are hysterically funny. They've done everything from staging a broadway musical in the middle of a mall food court where almost everyone around them was in the dark about what was happening, to placing a fancy bathroom attendant in a local McDonald's bathroom.

They've also done some missions that are just completely touching and special.
My favorite mission ever is called Best Game Ever. These guys turned a normal little league game in California into a major league sporting event, complete with super-fans (with belly's painted), printed programs, vendors, and a big jumbotron. The game was covered "live" (not really) by NBC complete with Jim Gray and Charlie Todd as announcers. Those little boys will remember that game for the rest of their lives.

That mission made my heart warm.

It might be the mood I'm in today, or just where my head has been for the last several months, but this last mission also made my heart smile. They staged a surprise wedding reception for a random couple that got married at the city building.

This is one of the actors congratulating the happy couple and telling them that the mayor is giving away one free wedding reception each day. Would they be interested? They said "let's go!"
Check out the video and then be sure to read the background notes.
With everything wrong with the world today, I love being able to make a random person happy. I know nothing about this couple, but they now have one of the best wedding stories ever.
Love, K

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Guess what time of year it is??

I have always had pretty good performance reviews. Although, I seriously don't like having to write them or receive them.
Love, K

Monday, June 8, 2009

I've Been Busy!

In case you missed me last week, I was busy! I was out of town for 3 days for my work, and my beautiful step daughter got married on Friday evening. This is their wedding cake that I made for them (in my spare time last week).
The cake was inspired by our recent trip to the Butterfly show. I handmade and hand painted all of the butterflies with fondant. The bottom later is French vanilla bean with blackberry filling, the middle layer is lemon pound cake with lemon curd, and the top layer is strawberry with strawberry mousse. There wasn't any cake left :).
I'll show more pictures later in the week. Now, I need to get caught up on my work email!
Congratulations Jes and Art! We love you!
Love, K

Monday, June 1, 2009

There's a Mouse in My Piano!

What I'm about to tell you is absolutely 100% true. If it weren't Monday and time for Wendy's Life is Funny Carnival, I probably wouldn't admit it, though. You know the "rules" by now, but if not, you can find them on her blog

This past weekend, I was working on the never ending kitchen renovation project. I promise it's getting close and I promise to share the before and after pictures when it's finished.

I was on the kitchen floor grouting the new tile I put in last week, and kept hearing a noise from my living room. I wasn't sure what the noise was, but assumed I wasn't in imminent danger. I forgot about it after a bit.

About an hour later, I decided to take a break and sat down to watch a TV show in the living room. There it went again. It sounded like a "plink" on my piano.

I waited a few minutes and it happened again...."plink".

I turned off the television and waited.


I walked over to the piano and started to study the piano keys. I hit a few notes and figured out that whatever it was, the "plink" was a high E Flat. (Yes, I can play the piano. My dad was a music teacher, and I didn't have much of a choice :-)).

I was staring intently at the piano when my husband walked up behind me.

Him: "Honey. Are you ok?"

Me: "Not sure."

Him: "Honey. What are you looking at?"

Me: "I keep hearing a noise. It's an E Flat. But the key isn't moving up and down when the noise happens!"

Him: "Well, maybe it's a mouse." He says this rather calmly like I wouldn't care if there's a mouse living in my piano.

I just stared at him.

Him: "Watch out! There it goes!!!"

Me: I punched him. Hard.

Him: "Honey. Have you thought of lifting the lid to see if it's a mouse?"

Piano: "Plink!"

Me: I stared at him.

Him: "Honey. Or, you could just plug in my cell phone so it won't keep making that noise."

Yep! That's right! I spent 1 hour and 20 minutes of my life worrying about the mouse that was playing Beethoven's 5th in my piano only to not see my husband's cell phone sitting on the piano telling me it needed to be plugged in!


Love, K