A Blend of Life, Family, Awareness & Tales

Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

Pedicure.

“I want to polish your nails, Mom.”

For just a second I flinched. It was the beginning of summer, flip flop season and I didn’t really want to walk around with toes like that… Wait a minute, I thought to myself, Toes like what?

Toes painted lovingly by my 10 year old daughter? Toes with slightly crazy colors? Toes with designs I would never think of or dare to paint?

What would people think of a 44 year old woman wearing such a pedicure? Suddenly I realized who was going to see my toes; a bunch of moms like me at Target on a Tuesday morning, or maybe at the school gym during my son’s basketball practice. Who cares what they think? (Well, I did.) But I realized I cared more about what my daughter thought. Weren’t the thoughts flowing through her head and heart more important than what a bunch of strangers think of my polish choices? And again, who really cares what someone thought about my nails, if they even noticed them at all.

I had quite an “aha” moment right there. Since when was worrying that someone may find me a little eccentric more important than allowing my daughter the joy of doing something special for me? How often had I said no to her doing my hair or makeup or makeup because I might leave the house later? The time we spend together is so much more important.

Right then and there I had an attitude adjustment.

“I would love for you to do my nails, sweetie.”

“Really?” She sounded astounded. “You’re sure it’s ok?”

She ran to get the polish and by the time she returned, I decided she would do my nails the entire summer.

This was the first, and I thought it was marvelous!

This was the first, and I thought it was marvelous!

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And the second also very fun!

Fun for a vacation to the North woods.

Special for a vacation to the North woods.

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Photo pre-clean up, but you get the idea!

So I have to say, I was a little self conscious of this one, only because it was worn to my Grandma's funeral. Grandma would have loved the artistry though, I am sure.

So I have to say, I was a little self conscious of this one, only because it was worn to my Grandma’s funeral. Grandma would have loved the artistry though, I am sure.

Probably my favorite!

Probably my favorite!

Although this one was awesome too!

Although this one was awesome too!

 

Geometric!
Geometric!
And lastly, the one my daughter calls the

And lastly, the one my daughter calls the “Galaxy.” It was a beauty.

I’m going back to boring old single-color nails for the fall. They hardly ever peek out anymore now that the weather has gotten cooler, but they had a good run. If I am lucky she will offer to do my nails again, and you can bet there will be no hesitation from me.

Grandma.

Today I lost my Grandma. Actually nine of us did, and 10 more lost a Great Grandma. We each have our own memories. These are mine.

She was 91. I was lucky, I had her in my life for almost 45 years.grandma and grandpa

Grandma was always a part of a set: GrandmaandGrandpa. One’s name always went with the other. They were married nearly 70 years, and still living at home together until recently when Grandma became ill.

Grandma was a beautiful woman and a woman of great faith. She attended church every week, the same church her entire life. She married Grandpa in the same church as her mother, and both my mom and I were married there as well.

There is a story that a football landed right in her lap at a Green Bay Packer game. I believe she was at the Ice Bowl.

My earliest memories of Grandma are at their house on the farm. In the kitchen with it’s painted white cupboards, I would beg for cookies from the cookie jar, or a piece of red licorice from the shelf highest up.

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She always had the radio on, an old one that only played AM stations. It seemed to perpetually play Paul Harvey.

When I “helped” Grandpa with the cows, Grandma always put plastic bread bags over my shoes and secured them with rubber bands. That way I wouldn’t get manure on my shoes when I went out to the barn.

When mom and dad went on vacation, I always stayed with Grandma and Grandpa. They would take me to Ponderosa for dinner and if it was Saturday, we would watch Lawrence Welk.

Grandma and I often explored the attic or she would let me try on her sparkly clip on earrings. She often brought geraniums in the house in fall. Go ahead, break a branch of geranium and take a whiff. Every time I smell that smell, I think of her, probably because Grandpa and I had a record of hitting and breaking them with a stray ball thrown in the house.

More recently, my husband and children have gotten to know “Great” Grandma. Their memories are different, whether at Christmas or the family wiener roast, but plentiful. I am glad they all had the chance to receive her love and feel her hugs just like I did.

Goodbye Grandma. I am sure you are in Heaven watching over us.

Kidneyversary.

Sixteen years ago today I donated a kidney to my Dad. I am not looking for kudos because believe me, it was not a selfless act! This benefited me as much or more than anyone else including my Dad. Seriously, who doesn’t want a healthy Dad and happy Mom?

I wanted to share, because today is our Kidneyversary (it’s a word, trust me), and also because I wanted to remind everyone the importance of organ donation. I am not an expert on organ donation, but I do know some basic facts. If you want more scientific data, go here for a start: organdonor.gov

There are some organs you can donate while living, like I did. That is known as a live donation. Other organs are available only from cadaver or deceased donors, and you need to make your donation wishes known for it to happen. No matter the donation, it is vitally important. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service, 18 people die each day in the U.S. because of the shortage of donated organs. The good news is that on average 79 people per day in the U.S. receive potentially life-saving organs.

My story is simple, my Dad needed a kidney and I learned there was such a thing as live donors. (The most common donations come from cadavers, but the success rate is better from a live donor.) Most of us are born with two kidneys, but we can live fine with one. I didn’t see how he wouldn’t get a live kidney. My Mom offered hers immediately, but learned she was not a match. I volunteered, but he was concerned about me going under the knife for him and wasn’t crazy about the idea. Nevertheless I can be stubborn, so I went in to get tested to see if I was a match. Low and behold I was a pretty good one, and was finally able to talk him into it.

Kidney donation back in 1998 was a little more barbaric than it is now, so I am left with a 10 inch scar and am missing a rib, but today it is usually done with a laparoscope and a small incision. The scar doesn’t bother me at all though, I am actually fond of it. Other than the scar (and the missing kidney and rib!), I am physically no different than I was before. I did what I did to make my Dad healthy, so he and my Mom could be happy and grow old together. What I had no idea would happen was the emotional change in me as well.

How do I best explain the feeling I had? I don’t know. The closest I can come is to say, “I stopped giving a shit.” I really did.

I stopped thinking that my job was my identity, which was good because at the time I was in sales and not very good at it! The man I loved lived across the country and it seemed insane, but I decided we needed the relationship to work. It did, we are married and have a beautiful family. I spent more time with my family and friends. I tried to say “no” more often to things I really didn’t want to do. I tried new things. I decided I needed to write.

So today my parents are healthy and happy, I have a wonderful family and friends, I am fortunate that the work I do is work I like, and I write. Is my happiness due in a large part because I donated an eight ounce chunk of me? Heck yeah it is. Donating my kidney changed my life, and better yet it saved a life.

Please consider donating your organs, whether as a live donor or after you are gone.  As of today, there are 123, 252 people in the U.S. waiting for an organ. If you choose to donate, it is a no-brainer that you will forever change the lives of others, and the pretty cool thing is that it will probably change yours as well.

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One Wish.

One Wish.

If I had one wish, it would be a wish for a cure for Type 1 Diabetes (T1D). It would allow my daughter to go to the park, or school, or wherever she wanted without worrying if she brought her test strips, her ‘poker,’ insulin, fast acting carbs, and extra supplies of all kinds. It would allow her to go to a sleepover without her mom. It would allow her to go to college without us worrying that she will check her own blood sugar at two in the morning or worse yet, not wake up. It would allow her to have a baby without constant monitoring and worrying about her unborn child. And finally it would allow her to grow old some day without the worry of heart disease, blindness, kidney failure or any of the other complications that are often caused by T1D.

One Wish.

It might be selfish, that if gifted one wish, I would spend it on my daughter. But this one wish is for the eighty people in the U.S., half of them just children, who are diagnosed each day with T1D. Nearly 30,000 people in our country alone each year are added to the 3,000,000 U.S. citizens that are testing, injecting, counting and treating all day every day. A cure would potentially eliminate the nearly $15 billion in T1D healthcare costs racked up in the U.S. each year. (JDRF)

Just this past week, I was put in touch with a mother hours before her son was diagnosed. They had not yet gone to the doctor, and after communicating with her I was 90% sure her son had T1D. I imagine she still had hope that what she had read, the signs that her son was showing were simply coincidences, it couldn’t be something that would happen to her son. Truly I wish they hadn’t been added to the T1D family.

One Wish.

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It was the theme of this year’s JDRF Gala in our chapter. I didn’t come up with the theme, but what a beautiful one it was. I am a member of our Gala planning committee, so I can say I am proud of what we accomplished again this year.  Our one beautiful evening, with the help of countless volunteers, donors and bidders, raised

$450,432

Yes, you read that right, nearly a half a million dollars that will be used to not only improve the lives of those with T1D with better working technology and insulin, but also used for research that will one day lead to a cure. These dollars were the result of a collection local people and businesses and their generosity. The gala committee itself is diverse, and what an honor to be included. It was so fun to see one another at this grand event after months of planning. The donors, which ranged from local firefighters to a coach that lead our university to the Final Four this spring, are heroes in my book. We even had a beautiful young woman willing to share her T1D story with all of us, and I can say that more that once my eyes filled with tears with not sadness, but with all the hope that came with this evening.

One Wish.

So yes, I have one wish. A wish that we could all come together some day and say, “Remember when we used to plan that big party to raise money for a cure for Type 1 Diabetes,” and maybe someone new in the crowd would say, “Diabetes, what’s that?” That is my wish.

I really enjoy this video, and was so pleased to see it at the gala last night.

Thank you to all the Gala Committee members. It has been a true pleasure working with all of you, and look forward to next year. Plus last night was a blast!

 

Cosmo.

I love my husband with all my heart, but I can not even begin to understand the obsession our dog has with his feet.

 

Why do I let them do this to me?

Why do I let them do this to me?

 

Cosmo (the foot-licker), is a relatively new member of our family. He’s been with us for about 1 1/2 years, but we couldn’t imagine life without him.

He’s 16 pounds of comedian, security, trash collector, personal trainer, detective, food critic, squirrel and friend all rolled into a fluffy white package. He loves fruit and vegetables, and has a nose for chocolate (I do know the dangers of chocolate for dogs and do not feed it to him!). He occasionally gets into my purse or my little girl’s diabetes bag and snags snacks. Does he eat them? No. He hides them in the corners of our couch, laundry basket, in our bed, even in my husband’s briefcase. I wonder if he is storing them away for leaner times?

He is always ready for a walk and he is always excited to see me or any member of the family. He misses my Mom and Dad when they are away and is ecstatic when they return. He has been loyal to us since the day we met.

When Cosmo joined our family he was three years old, and we didn’t know much about his past. We quickly learned he despised other dogs, with the exception of puppies. Walking him through the neighborhood was stressful, he barked at everyone. It has taken a long time, but he is becoming tolerant of some dogs and has even made some friends. It warms my heart to see him wag his tail at a dog, as it was such a rare occurrence in the past. Don’t get me wrong, he still has several dogs that are the enemy (in his mind), and he really is not concerned that many of them outweigh him by 50 pounds or more. He barks like a fierce warrior and it drives me crazy, but I’m not losing hope for him.

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So as I watch him worship a foot, or patrol our windows, or stash a granola bar I smile. We have our own little quirky dog, who while not perfect, is perfect for our family.

Finished!

It has been a long time since I’ve been here.

Where have I been you may or may not be asking? Well, I have been raising my kids, working a little bit, and probably wasting a lot of time. It’s been five years in the making, but I am very proud to say one thing did get done:

I finished my first novel!

I’ve been celebrating for about a week, but have a feeling the tough part is ahead of me. First of all, no one else has read it yet.

Is it good you ask? Well of course it is, and my children are the smartest, best behaved, sweetest in the world. (I may be a little biased.) So now I have the hard part, submitting it to someone who knows what is a good book.

What do I do next? I need to have an editor look it over, write a summary, find an agent, etc.

Do I know what I am doing? Not really, but I am learning quickly! I’m not naïve enough to think my first book out the gate will be a winner, but I still have fantasies that it will be! No matter the outcome though, I am really proud of myself. I finished a novel which contains 50,000 words that are all mine, written in a document that tells a story that has never been told before. I’ve created people who I sometimes forget are fictional. I even slipped up once and shared an anecdote with my family, forgetting that the person in question was simply a figment of my imagination.

The more I write, the more writing is becoming part of me. I am finished with my first book, but have only begun my life as a writer.

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