Monday, December 29, 2008

You Gotta Know When to Hold 'Em, Know When to Fold 'Em

I enjoy gambling. Seriously.

Give me a slot machine or a blackjack table and some "extra" money and I'm having fun.

I do not enjoy losing when I gamble.

I think I've found a way to win even when I lose.

I have this friend and we bet on football games. Regularly.

Every Sunday. He won't bet against the Giants, I won't bet against the Eagles.

The winner each week wins some form of alcohol- beer, wine, Bailey's- and usually some other equally pleasing item or action.

I'm not gonna lie, I've acquired a pretty fair amount of alcohol during this season.

The past week or so the terms have changed. With the passing of our friend and co-worker the terms of the bet took on a new meaning and it's something I'd really like to share.

I cannot take the credit for this idea but I will absolutely carry it on.

Each week the loser has to donate $10 to a charity of the winner's choosing. It's completely win-win for all involved.

We add in bet sweeteners. Things like a drink at happy hour or a batch of chocolate chip cookies. But the real value is found in that donation.

The real value comes from the fact that each week a charity of one of our choices will receive a donation because we decided to make a friendly wager on a game.

This week the Eagles beat the Cowboys. No. Wait. I'm sorry. This week the Eagles trounced the Cowboys and then, while they were down, stepped on their face masks and smashed them into the turf.

Yeah, the Eagles won. And now they are in the playoffs.

This week the Alzheimer's Association of America also won. That was my charitable choice. That horrendous disease slowly killed my grandfather. We are so close to ending this disease. I firmly believe that. We are so close to preventing this disease. We are moments away from it and any penny that can be thrown their way helps!

This week, because it's the season of giving and our friend and co-worker passed away a week ago today, the American Heart Association also won. Donations were made in honor of our co-worker and in honor of my friend's nephew who both died way too early of heart related problems.

I really enjoy gambling. I don't do it often, especially in a casino setting. I really hate losing- at anything. In this case, when the terms are as charitable as they have become, I don't mind losing so much because I know that someone, somewhere, is winning.

Tonight, in the spirit of giving and with the upcoming playoffs I am encouraging each of you to place your own bets and learn to love gambling in the way I have.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Moments of Mess

Christmas day has passed and it was wonderful.

It went fast.

I feel like we just put out tree up and that was weeks ago!

Today is the first day that I am home for a full day and not running off to a family party or some place else.

At some point in these past 5 days my house was clean. At some point in the last two days my house was cleaned, again.

Today, my house is not clean.

Today, my house is a mess of new furniture and Diego trains and Mickey Clubhouse. It is a mess of dolls and strollers and play-doh. It is a mess of Christmas presents and Christmas joy.

I hate the mess. I loved sitting on the couch last night and looking around at everything nice and neat- except the furniture mess since we're still putting that together! I loved seeing the toys neatly arranged around the tree and looking at my floor and being able to see a clear path to my kitchen and dining room.

Now, I sit on the couch and I watch my son play a new Wii game from the comfort of his sister's new Dora chair and I watch my daughter wander aimlessly through the sea of toys looking for just the right one to entertain her and also piss off her brother at the same time.

And I love it.

Yes, I'd love for all of this to be put away. I'd love to have already gone through all of our old toys and given them away- which is the plan for this week. I'd love to have my new dining room set completely together and our hutch filled. I'd love to have the floor vacuumed and the living room and kitchen looking neat.

I don't think it's realistic. Or maybe it is and I'm just not ready or willing to do it right now. I'm tired. Christmas and a co-worker's death all in the same week can take a lot of out of a person. Maybe it all comes back to that.

Is cleaning the mess really all that important? My kids are loving playing with all their new toys. I'm enjoying getting to watch them do it and help them. Isn't that how it's supposed to be? Isn't it supposed to be about enjoying this time? Loving these moments and worrying about the mess later?

It is.

It is about enjoying the laughter. Enjoying the smiles. Enjoying the sharing and the sometimes not sharing.

The mess will get taken care of- it has to. The furniture will be complete. Everything will get done. Right now it's about the mess. Right now it's about the fun. It's about enjoying and remembering that these moments are not going to always be and when we have them we have to seize them.

Sometimes the messy moments are the best.

My daughter just put Dora in time out- I can't imagine why or where she would have gotten that from!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Heavy Hearts and Heads

We lost a teacher at work yesterday.

He was a gym teacher and a coach.

It was sudden and tragic.

It happened in school, after hours, while he was alone.

It was an unbelievably sad day today.

We spent the day talking with the kids and praying. We celebrated a mass in this teacher's honor. We did all we could to keep the kids together and calm. We did all we could to keep ourselves together, as well.

I spent a good amount of time with a number of girls that I used to teach and currently teach. They were upset- as they should have been. Devastated. They were working through their emotions. Their tears brought on my own tears. They opened themselves up to me and shared their emotions and feelings and hurts. They trusted me and for that I am honored.

My shoulders were soaked with tears. My heart heavy with sadness and hurting for my lost co-worker and for those of us left behind and for the pain of each of our students.

I am a firm believer that those who pass from this Earth go somewhere exponentially better than what we have here. I believe in heaven. I believe in God. I believe that things happen for a reason and we may not always know or understand that reason but there always is one.

Death sucks. Big time.

It sucks for those of us left behind. It sucks for those of us who mourn and cry and deal with our loss. It sucks.

I firmly believe that our loved ones that pass are in heaven finding joy greater than anything we can experience here. While we cry and mourn and sit in sadness, they are enjoying all of those things and people that they loved here on Earth.

Death sucks for those of us left behind. I said those words over and over again today.

One of my former students put her head on my shoulder and released her pain and sadness. She cried. I cried. It was silent except for tears. Her head heavy on my shoulder.

I wanted more than anything to take her pain away. I wanted more than anything to tell her that tomorrow she will wake up and this will all have been a horrible dream.

I couldn't.

It's hard. It has to be. It get easier. But right now, it's hard and sad and it just plain sucks.

I put my daughter to bed a few minutes ago. I hugged her a bit tighter tonight. I sat in the rocker in her room, as we do every night, and she put her head on my shoulder. On the same shoulder that had accepted so many tears earlier in the day.

Her head was heavy. Heavy with sleep and love.

All I could think of was the day that her head became heavy with sadness and tears. I ached to be able to make sure that she never experienced what the kids did today at my school. I ached to be able to assure her that her heart and mind would never be full of sadness and anger.

It's impossible. The pain has to come . It has to be hard. It sucks but it has to be that way sometimes.

I try to remember that without the sadness we may not be able to realize how wonderful the happiness is.

I try to remember that sometimes it's the sadness that lets us know we're alive and human.

I try to remember that sometimes it's just going to suck and those are the times that we must lean on each other, no matter how heavy our hearts or heads may be.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Tossing the Time Away

In the midst of falling snow and the smell of fresh cookies I did something that I have been putting off for quite some time.

I threw away all of the baby bottles in my home.

My daughter has not used a bottle since she was roughly 10 or 11 months old. The bottles have been sitting in our kitchen cabinet since the weeks before she was born. I had no problem ridding myself of the nipples for said bottles but I could not bring myself to toss the bottles.

Until today.

I don't know why. I'm not really sure what compelled me to hurl each and every single one of them into the empty garbage can. I just know that when I was done- a mere 20 seconds after I began- I wanted to cry and I had to hold myself back from diving into my garbage can to dig the bottles back out.

I piled more garbage on top them to make sure that I did not fish them out. I baked more cookies. I took my kids out in the snow (THAT was an experience!!). I talked to friends on the phone and online. I straightened up a bit. I did all that I could to keep myself away from the garbage can.

I did not have to throw them away. I could have put them in a box and put them away until the next baby comes along. I could have tried to donate them. I could have just left them.

Something made me throw them away. And then immediately question it.

What if we have a third baby? What if I just jinxed myself and I end up pregnant? ( SO NOT GOING TO HAPPEN!!!) What if someone else really needed them?

And the other side.

Why didn't I do it sooner? What was I waiting for? We may not have another baby. People don't want used bottles, even if they were just to hold the liners. Why was it such a big deal?

I don't think it had anything to do with a third baby. I don't think it had anything to do with the fact that any time I see a newborn or a picture of one my ovaries actually skip a beat.

I let go of the last piece of my daughter's babyhood. Well, ok not really, but kind of. Those bottles made me think of those early days. They reminded me of how far we've both come. They made me smile each time I opened the cabinet and sometimes they even made me a little misty.

Next week we're potty training the girl. It's time. I would love to be able to start the new year with two kids out of diapers. After that the crib will go. She's been speaking in full sentences and is growing at an incredible rate. The months have flown by and yet at points seemed to go so slowly.

She has gone from my teeny tiny preemie to a toddler and before I know it, a little girl. Today, I threw away her bottles and I felt like I was throwing away a little piece of myself and her. I guess the reality is that I wasn't throwing away a piece of either one of us, just making room for the new stuff to come.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

It's A Wonderful Life

Sandi over at A Widow for One Year has been talking about her least favorite movies and some of her favorite things. I'm going to take a cue from her and talk about my favorite movie.

Growing up my mother loved the movie It's a Wonderful Life. And I mean seriously loved it. Like watched it whenever it was on. Would talk about it. It was the ultimate for her.

For me, I'm not sure whether I disliked it because she liked it so much and I couldn't possibly like anything my parents liked or if I disliked it because I just didn't get it. Either way, I couldn't stand the movie. I would watch it but more often than not I would pout my way through it.

I can wholeheartedly say that is no longer the case. It's a Wonderful Life is probably my favorite movie of all time. I could watch it constantly. It never, ever, gets old for me. It's a staple at Christmastime. It's a staple when I'm feeling down and like everything is going wrong. It's a staple when I need something to watch and there is nothing else.

It just is the movie for me.

I'm showing it to all of my classes this year. I think it works in very well with the theme that I'm running through my classroom this year, which is based on the Last Lecture. I think they go hand in hand and I want my students to start grasping the concept of being a good person and living a life of kindness and selflessness. Plus, it's a total bonus that I get to watch it 4 times a day- at least!!

There are so many points in the film where there are lessons to be learned and little gems to pick up but my favorite part is the end. It's those moments when every single person steps up to help out George Bailey. It's in that final moment when George reads the quote from Clarence that gets me. It's that quote that had held the most meaning for me as of late.

"No man is a failure that has friends."

It's not about how many friends or who they are. It's not about how much money they have or what kind of Christmas gift they give you. It's about them being there. It's about them caring about you.

It's about you caring for them. It's about you being there for them. It's about the fact that all of the money and fame and things can disappear but in the end it is the friendships that are still there that matter the most.

There are times in our lives when certain friendships mean more than others. There are times when friendships end, never to begin again. There are times when they fall to the wayside only to be resurrected when a need for help or companionship or simple friendship arises.

There are the friendships that are stronger now than they ever were. There are the friendships that are new and fresh and still in those learning stages. There are the friendships that span a lifetime and are deeper than the deepest abyss.

It does not matter if there is only one friend or 10 friends- they are what make us rich.

I would love to hit the lottery. I would have loved to hit that big Mega jackpot last week. I did not. But the friendships that have been cultivated and that are just beginning and are older than my time- those are the things that make me rich.

The people that have been there when it was needed and when it wasn't- those are the people that make me wealthy.

The friendships are yet to be found and those that exist forever in my heart and mind are what keep me from falling.

"No man is a failure that has friends."

I am a wonderful success because of those I call my friends. And I am eternally grateful for the Wonderful Life that I have been given and get to live each day.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Ending the Cycle

So, I hit a deer the other day.

This is my third. But it's my first time actually hitting one.

The previous two times the deer ran into my car. Seriously.

The first time I was in high school in my dad's MASSIVE Volvo and the deer ran into the passenger side and then over the hood. It was surreal. The damage wasn't horrendous. The deer lived. I drove around the gas station pumps three times because I couldn't remember which side the tank was on and I was completely freaked out. Finally the attendant had to stop me and talk me "down".

The second time was about two years ago. I was pregnant with the girl and I was on my way to work with the boy in the car. Deer came bounding out of the woods in the early dawn and slammed right into the front passenger side of my van. Then the cop who showed up decided to try and be funny and asked my son if Santa and the Reindeer were coming early this year! WTH?!?!?

This time, it was Bambi. Or so my husband and co-workers like to think. I saw the first deer bound across the road. I should have stopped. I know better. I've lived in NJ too long not to know how deer operate- where there's 1, there's 92 more! I didn't stop.

I didn't see the next deer until it was too late. I swerved, or tried to, and got it's head.

Yeah, I know. It's head.

I now have a dent that matches the exact shape of a deer's head on my bumper on the passenger side. I don't know if the deer lived or died. I kept driving. It ran off.

I was pissed. At myself. At the situation. At all of it. Just pissed.

This isn't really about the deer. It really isn't about the incident. It's about what the incident made me think of.

Deer #2 came right at the beginning of my bad luck, sort of. I had already been diagnosed with my medical problems when that second deer ran into my van that morning. I had already gone through the first round of radiation but I was still waiting on finding out about any possible physical abnormalities with my unborn daughter.

For me, Deer #2 is like a marker. It's when I remember things really starting to go downhill. Or at least it's what I associate with all of that.

When Bambi ran into my car the other morning, or rather when I ran into Bambi, after my anger subsided, after I blew off steam with my husband on the phone and my friends at work, I began to think. I began to think that maybe this was the beginning of the "bad" again.

I began to feel that dread. I tried not to let seep in too much. And actually as soon as I started feeling it I said something to a good friend of mine. I told him that I was worried this was beginning all over again. That this was kicking it all off. Things were going so well and now, this deer was bringing me down again.

His words?

"You've completed the cycle. It's done now. You've come full circle. You started with a deer busting up your car- which you no longer have- and now you're ending with a deer busting up your car. That's it. You. Are. Done."

I couldn't get there on my own. I was wrapped in the negative. I was engulfed in the two years ago and the journey that has since occurred. And I was scared. I could not do all of that again. I would not.

He brought me back to what I've been trying to live- the positive.

Then he made jokes about deer all day and hung pictures of Bambi on my classroom door and on my desk. While another friend informed me that hitting a deer is supposed to bring immense good luck. I tend not to believe him but he assured me that within a week I would experience incredible luck and have something happen that is beyond wonderful.

We shall see. I am grateful for them.

I am deathly afraid of deer. I will not get out of my car if there is one on my lawn when I pull in at night or during the day. I do not think they are beautiful. I think they are everywhere and I find them annoying. And I am completely and totally afraid of them. I won't go into why, but just know I am completely serious in this.

They scare the living shit out of me.

That deer hitting my car drew up every fear that I have had. That deer made me angry and sad and worried and scared. That deer dented my car and tried to take away something that I have work so very hard to get to- my positive, more happy self.

And I almost let it.

Stupid deer.

I hit a deer the other day and I almost let it ruin my day and dictate how my life was going to go from here on out.

I hit a deer the other day and I immediately assumed the universe was out to get me and my life was beginning a downward slope.

I hit a deer the other day and I was reminded that I need to find the positive in everything that happens.

I hit a deer the other day and ended the cycle for good. Positive from here on out, no question.

Stupid deer, I may be afraid of you but I won't let you crush me.

Just my bumper.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Rambling Randoms

I'm in the mood for some randoms......


I've decided that the supermarket just brings out the crazy in people. Or maybe it's just me. I stopped at a supermarket last night on my way home from practice and it was one that I don't normally frequent so I figured I was "safe". I walk into the produce department and there is woman with three containers of Strawberries open in front of her and she is picking the best berries from each container and putting them into one.

This struck me as odd. And wrong. Maybe it was me.


My entire house is decorated for Christmas except for the outside and our banister on our steps. I just cannot muster enough energy to get those last two things done. It's eating at me.


I found out two weeks ago that a co-worker of mine allowed students to bad mouth during class. My new nickname is "Beast From the East". I have no idea why. At least it replaces the ever popular Satan that the kids took to calling me.


I did an hour of Yoga yesterday followed by some erging and now I am in unbelievable pain. I just keep telling myself it's good pain. And then I cry. Or lay on the floor in one of my co-worker's offices.


I have something that I've wanted to say to someone for awhile but I can't say it because it would ruin our friendship but if it's true then it could help them. It's eating me.


My kids are getting a ride on Dinosaur for Christmas from my sister and it's going to take all of my will power NOT to get on it and ride it.


Normally, I write out Christmas cards and then slip pictures of my kids inside and send them out to everyone. This year I think I may have to break down and do the picture card. I just don't have the time to write out all the cards. And I think I'm taking the kids' pictures myself rather than shelling out the cash for professional shots. I'd rather use that money for bills or food or gifts.


I think there is something living in my husband's car. I refuse to drive it. I kind of miss it. It's like my little escape from minivan madness!


I set my oven on fire this weekend. With turkey grease. This was not the first time. It won't be last. Everyone got a good laugh out of it.


My daughter got her first haircut the other day. I took pictures during the haircut. I took pictures before the haircut. I did not take any pictures AFTER the haircut! D'OH! Take my word for it, it looks really cute. REALLY CUTE.


I went to my high school reunion on Friday night. It was interesting. It was also fun. It was nice to see everyone and catch up. It was funny to see drunk girls say all the inappropriate things that we never could say in high school.
Quote of the night came from my carpool partner and friend: "E= MC F*&K You!"


I have NO IDEA what to get my husband for Christmas. Usually, I can come up with something fun and creative. This year? I got nothing.

Suggestions welcome.


My husband's friend is one of my FB friends. He reports all of my status updates to my husband. Then my husband comes home and asks me these weird questions because 9 times out of 10 his friend gets the status COMPLETELY wrong. I find it annoyingly funny.


We've been using a Religious Advent Calendar with the kids since Advent is about preparing for the birth of Jesus and not about little chocolate morsels. Once of the first days of Advent the Scripture quote of the day talked about the Virgin. I had to re word the quote because I had no idea how exactly I would explain the concept of a Virgin to my three year old.


I feel like I have so much more random crap to share but I'm sure you're bored at this point so I'll leave you with this (one of my former students told me about it and I have not stopped laughing at it!!):

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Finding My Niche

Niche- A place, employment, status, or activity for which a person or thing is best fitted.

It took me close to 5 years but I finally found something that I love, in a place where I love it, with people I love.

I found my job niche. For the time being.

I have been studying hard to become a counselor and I still want to be but the road of ahead of me is quite long. This does not mean that all the work and effort is for nothing. I am not giving up. I am continuing on the same path with the same voracity. It's just that now I have this other thing, this other part of my life that finally makes sense. That finally fits me.

"Life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful." This was the quote of the week on a Church bulletin board by me.

It sums things up perfectly.

Life is not perfect. Pieces fit together nicely sometimes but often I've had to shove them in and make them fit where maybe they weren't supposed to. The puzzle is not nearly complete and all of the pieces are still not in the right spot but they are getting there.

A friend of mine has a puzzle hanging in her kitchen and the bottom rows of pieces are missing. I must have asked her a million times why the pieces aren't there and she always gives me the same answer, "The puzzle wouldn't fit in the frame if I left them in and I really wanted to hang it on the wall so I took them out."

Isn't that kind of how life is?

The puzzle pieces don't always fit but we want show it off and live it to it's fullest so we do it without all of the pieces.

Today I began my coaching job. I'm coaching a group of young women rowers. I am not the technical coach. Meaning I am not the one teaching the mechanics of rowing. We have an Olympic coach doing that! I'm doing more of the training, academic advising, and personal coaching.

It's been a day. I left my house at 5:45 this morning and got home around 7pm tonight....this will be par for the course. I love it.

I hate that I'm away from the house and my kids and my husband so much but these young women want to be there. They want to learn to row. They want to grow and compete and win. They want to become stronger versions of themselves.

They want to find their niche. For the time being.

I was worried that this team wasn't for me. That this job wasn't for me. I was worried that I wouldn't mesh well with the other coach.

We compliment each other.

I have found another spot that I can call my niche.

I have been searching and seeking and grasping for pieces of where I belonged outside of myself and once I stopped looking so hard and so crazy, I found them.

It's like the lost pieces of jewelry, of which I have two (shhhh, don't tell my husband!), they are always in the last place you think to look.

I finally stopped looking and just started thinking and doing and being and I found.

*Little bit of Brain Vomit for your day. I only slept 2.5 hours last night.*

**That last part was not the brain vomit. The post is the brain vomit in case you missed that!**

Monday, November 17, 2008


I was in the supermarket today. It appears that many of my interesting encounters and overhearings occur in the supermarket.

Today was no exception.

I was alone in the supermarket. That almost never happens. I had meandered through the store with no plan for the week's meals. I hate doing that. Even working on the fly I was able to keep my bill within $5 of my budget.

I had found all that I figured I needed for lunches and dinners this week and I was checking out. Because my children were not with me I was able to hear things around me. I was able to hear the silence of the checker as she slowly rang up each of my items.

I was able to hear the lead cashiers talking about their weekends and who was working until what time.

And I was able to hear the customer at the lane next to me and behind me. I don't know how this topic came up. I'm not sure if the cashier asked this customer how her day was or if there was something wrong. I really don't know.

All I know is that this woman's, the customer, daughter had just had a miscarriage today. She was sad for her daughter and her son in law. I was sad for her daughter. The cashier was wonderfully compassionate.

The woman went on to talk about her daughter and how she wasn't that far along, just over 10 weeks. She went on to talk about how hard she was taking it. She then started talking about ultrasounds and dopplers. And this is what upset me.

She began going on and on about how she blames ultrasounds and the dopplers. She blames the doctors. She blames the medical field for her daughter being so devastated.

Her words:
It's too early for ultrasounds. It's too early to hear the heartbeat. These doctors are getting people's hopes up and then killing them when they have a miscarriage. We shouldn't be doing ultrasounds and dopplers this early. It isn't right. We shouldn't be getting so many, either. Who knows what they are doing to babies?! When I had my kids ultrasounds weren't even really around.

I paid. I looked at her. I left. Upset. A little angry.

I wanted to stop that woman. I wanted to offer her my heartfelt sorrow for her daughter. I wanted to let her know how sorry I was that her daughter had to go through a miscarriage.

And then I wanted to go off on her.

Her ignorance angered me. Her opinion made me want to scream and cry all at once. Her words hurt me in some way.

If her daughter had not lost her baby would the ultrasounds still have been too early? If her daughter was not suffering this terrible loss would hearing the heartbeat have happened too early?

No, of course not.

If her daughter had started bleeding and the ultrasound showed a viable beating heart, would it have still been too soon? If her daughter had been exposed to radiation and an ultrasound at 6 weeks showed a living being growing inside, would it still have been too soon?


I get it. I do. This is woman is upset. Her daughter is hurting. She is hurting. She lost a grandchild. Her daughter lost a child. I understand that we speak out of pain in ways that we wouldn't normally speak. I know that we often look for people and things to blame when sad and senseless things happen.

I understand all of that.

I just was so upset by this woman in the supermarket. I was so upset by her words that, while understandably motivated by pain and sadness, were in so many ways ignorant.

Ultrasounds and dopplers saved mine and my daughter's lives.

Ultrasounds and hertbeats are incredible to here. They do give hope and sadly sometimes hope is taken away when what is meant and wanted to be seen is not.

I don't know why I took these words so close to heart. I mean I do know why, but they brought me to a point where I've wanted to cry. She was not speaking to me. She was venting and sharing and I overheard. Imposed. Eavesdropped.

I was nosy. Maybe I shouldn't have been. The words were not meant for me. She was not looking to upset anyone. She was expressing her grief as she is entitled to do.

And now I'm expressing my anger and sadness.

I hurt for her daughter and the pain, both emotional and physical, she is experiencing. I hurt for her and her anger at losing a grandchild in the making. I just hurt.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

In Awe of it All

Do you ever just stop and say, "Wow, when did this all happen?"

I'm not talking about marriage, kids, mortgage, bills, work, etc.

I had that moment. Sometimes I still do have that moment but not nearly as big as the first time I had it.

I mean, one day you're just laying around or doing something simple, mundane, ordinary or maybe it's extraordinary, and you stop and realize that where you were days, weeks, months, a year ago is so completely different from where you are now that you are in awe of how you got there.

I'm not speaking of awe in the sense that you are amazed at your strength and skill. Or that you are fascinated by the fact that you are an incredible person and you've muddled through some crappy shit as well as some happy stuff, too.

I'm not speaking of the awe that comes with the first birthday of your child. That moment when you are transported back to the room and that second that they put your child into your arms for the first time. Not the type of awe where you cannot believe it went by so fast and your once precious infant is now becoming a little person. Not that type of awe.

I mean the awe where all of a sudden you are laying on your couch, cruising facebook, avoiding lesson plans when BAM it hits you- EVERYTHING is different from what it once was and you cannot for the life of you remember actively changing anything.


God, I was sad last year. I was miserable. I wanted change so badly. I wanted it to be instantaneous. I wanted it then or I didn't want it at all. I wanted all the crap to stop. I wanted to be happy. I wanted to stop hurting. I just wanted it change.

I was sitting at lunch with my kids and my parents yesterday and my mother put down her burger, looked at me and said, "You look so sad. What is the matter with you?"

I stopped. I thought for a brief moment. I felt like crap- sleeping has not been kind to me lately and I'm averaging like 3 to 4 hours a night, plus I was just coming off the stomach flu. I had a headache because my three year old is a true three year old and talks and sings incessantly- and it's wonderful- but loud. I was frustrated because my daughter, who would eat dirt on a spoon if I offered it to her, would not eat her hot dog because she wanted her brother's bagel. But I was not sad.

For maybe the first time in a long time I could wholeheartedly and confidently say I was not in the least bit sad. I told her so and just said I was tired and didn't feel well- the God's honest truth.

I am not sad.


I've written about how lucky I am. And I am. I've written about how things are looking up. And they are. I've written about how things aren't always sunshine and roses and teddy bears. And they're not. All of that tonight, while laying on the couch, slammed me.

In a good way.

Sometimes the path we take to get to where we are sucks such big donkey balls (yeah, I said it) that we cannot see where we are going because we're so focused on the crap right in front of us.

I could not see where I was going until I got there. Or at least until I stopped for a moment.

I spent the day out at a football game today. A year ago, I would have found every excuse to get out of it to avoid having to be outgoing and social.

Last Friday night I went to friend's house to just hang out. A year ago, I would have canceled at the last minute to avoid having to make an effort at something that could hurt me.

This past Friday I told a really good friend of mine why a joke he pulled on me, while a little bit funny, actually hurt me quite a bit. A year ago, I would have bottled that and saved it for later.

I am not in awe of my changes. I am not in awe of how things have come out. I am not in awe of any type of strength. I am in awe of the fact that I've stopped and now I see where I am.

I am in awe of that fact everything is so completely different and maybe not so completely right but so different.

I am just in awe of it all.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

At 28 Years Old

At 28 years old I can say I've experienced, survived, been, done a lot of things.

I won't go into the extended list.

Yesterday, at 28 years old I was not so sure that I could I say I would be cancer free tomorrow or for the rest of my 28th year or beyond.

Today, at 28 years old I can say after my first mammogram and an ultrasound, I am CANCER FREE!!

My scans came back clean. I go back in 6 months and I still need to tackle my pain but there is no Cancer in my breasts!

I can't think of a better reason to celebrate tonight, tomorrow, and the days that follow!

Thank you to all of my friends and family who have prayed, shared words and thoughts with me and been there for me. You have NO IDEA how much it has meant to me.

Thank you.

Friday, November 7, 2008


I wanted to update all of you.

You've been so kind. So many of you have offered wonderful words of encouragement and prayer and thoughts.

I am so grateful.

Apparently, the second opinion was a good idea. Duh.

I'll talk about what held me back later. You know part of that.

WELL, not to knock on my OB/GYN but she sucked wind on this one.

I saw my primary. He is the perfect balance of doctor and friend and comedian.

He was dumbfounded at my OB/GYN's decision. Regardless of what she found. I am young and more action should have been taken.

He did an exam. We talked. He did some more exam.

He found a lump.

Not a cyst. Not nothing. A lump.

PS-I totally hate that word. Lump. It's kind of like p@nties. LOATHE that word!!

He found a lump somewhat near to my discomfort. The lump itself is not really painful, the area around it is.

He found a lump just centimeters away from where the cyst is. The same place that my OB/GYN looked and didn't find anything.

Maybe it wasn't there initially. Maybe I needed to wait these two weeks or so for it to be found. I won't visit that right now.

My doctor found a lump in my right breast.

I had a chest/rib x-ray just to be sure and get a picture of what's in there.

I have an appointment for the first available mammogram and ultrasound. Tuesday morning.

I have many feelings about this. Right now, I'm not ready to put them out there.

I've talked about them a bit. I've shared them a bit. I've been distracted since yesterday by work and friends. I plan to continue the distraction into tonight with a mini girls night. Then again, tomorrow, with Playhouse Disney Live, aka Hell in the Meadowlands!

I'm sure in the downtime thoughts will invade my mind and that's ok. I'll take them as they come. Just as I'm taking this as it comes.

I have to say I feel better. I feel as if I'm doing something. I feel as if I'm being pro-active. I am glad that I got the second opinion. Duh.

It is what it is and we move forward now. On to the next step.

It's a journey. Maybe not a journey I was planning on but it's here and now. And it is what it is.

Thank you.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


We have a new President-Elect.

Barack Obama will be our President come January 2009.

Tomorrow he plans on opening his transition office.

Tomorrow he plans on appointing his new chief of staff.

Tomorrow he plans on getting to work on the Change he has promised.

I voted for that Change.

I voted for the promise of Change.

I voted for the unending possibilities.

Tomorrow Barack Obama better start making good on his promise to me and all of the people who also voted for that Change.

I firmly believe he will!

I am unendingly proud to call myself an American tonight.

I am unbelievably excited for the Change that is coming.

I was impressed by McCain's concession speech. I am proud, tonight, to stand by him as an American. I was impressed by his words and his promise of solidarity and unity as we move forward for Change.

I am excited for what tomorrow and all the tomorrows bring.

Change is no longer on the horizon. I truly believe it is here.

Sunday, November 2, 2008



It's such a simple word in so many ways. And in so many others, it's so very complicated.

I found my first Endocrinologist on a recommendation from a friend. I trusted this friend. I still do. I believed she was guiding me to someone who would really help me. I instantly liked the doctor. She was nice. Had a small office and an extremely kind office staff. She took her time with me. I handed her my trust willingly.

She told me I was infertile. I trusted her.

She told me to discontinue my birth control because it was making my disease and symptoms worse. I trusted her.

She told me that surgery was on my very close horizon. I trusted her.

When I called to let her know, 6 weeks later, that I was pregnant she informed me that she had zero experience with pregnant patients, especially those that had been exposed to radiation. She told me that my baby could be in danger because of the radiation. She told me that I needed to find another doctor.

I didn't need her to tell me that last part. I trusted my gut and had made the decision to find another doctor as soon as the stick read 'pregnant'.

I went through another Endocrinologist before finding one that I felt truly comfortable with. Before finding the one that would tell me that I didn't need to have my throat slit to find relief from my disease. Before finding the one that would lay it all out for me and explain things clearly and plainly.

Before finding the one that I trust, completely.

I first met my gynecologist when I was 19. I was scared. I was nervous. I did not want to be there. I was a little weirded out by the fact that not only was she my gynecologist now but she was also my mom's and my mom's friends gynecologist. But her couches were really comfortable and she was incredibly nice. I trusted her instantly.

I kind of had to. She was going somewhere that required complete trust.

I am alive because of her. Without her my first pregnancy could have ended badly. Without her my second pregnancy could have ended in a much worse way. She is the reason that my daughter and I are doing so well after a tumultuous 7.5 months.

I trust her with my life. With my children's lives. I put my faith into her and what she tells me. I have no reason to doubt her.

I was not completely ok with leaving her office last week without an order for more tests. I was not completely ok with being told to come back in two months. I was not completely ok with her un-decidedness about where my pain and discomfort were coming from. I was not completely ok with how the whole appointment went.

But I trust her. I do.

I waited a week. I knew that my monthly visitor would be making an appearance and maybe all of this was due to that. Maybe it was a pre-cursor to that. She had even randomly suggested that, after suggesting that I might be pregnant.

I really did not think so. I really did not believe that what was going on in my breast had anything to do with what was going on, or what was going to go on, in my reproductive region. I felt more. My gut told me more. I told all of you that.

But I trusted her. I still do.

I trust my gut more. I trust the fact that my monthly friend has come to visit and I am still in pain. Moreso that a week ago. I trust the fact that in the shower this morning when I went to wash my armpit and right breast the pain was more evident than it has been. I trust that I am not ok with waiting two months.

I am getting a second opinion. I am calling my primary and going to see him. I am demanding tests. I am trusting my gut. I am trusting what is within me. I am trusting what I know right now.

And I feel like I'm cheating on my doctor while finally being true to myself.

I was not ok when I left her office. I had to convince myself that I believed what she said. I had to convince myself to trust her.

And I do trust her.

I just trust me more.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Spooktakular Randoms

Happy Halloween Everyone!

In honor of this spooktakular holiday lets do some randoms......

If you know me from the FB you know last night around 8pm I was in line at Wal-Mart buying pumpkin carving kits. What you don't know is what I was outfitted in.

Hot pink flip flops.

Dirty sweatpants.

Bright Red 2007 Phillies T-Shirt.

Dark Blue Fleece.

I have no shame.

The best part? I was dressed better than most of the people that were standing in line with me.


I found out the other day that a guy I dated, briefly, in high school got married.

To a guy.

A Hot guy.

The pictures were GORGEOUS!!


My Starbucks' cup this morning had the same quote as the one from last week. I thought that maybe they just produced sleeves and sleeves of the same quote and they hadn't run out yet. I bought coffee for a friend this morning, too. His cup, totally different.

What are the odds?


I've decided that if my husband were to ever leave me I would rather he leave me for another man than another woman.

I've found this to be the consensus with my co-workers, as well, about their spouses.

Your thoughts?


Everyone around me is pregnant. Literally. Two family members. 4 or 5 friends. All of them. PREGNANT.

I am staying FAR away from my husband. And I may double up on bcps each day!


I started my Christmas shopping this week. Because FYI Christmas is less than 60 days away. Actually as of this moment right now, Christmas is 54 days 16 hours and 50 minutes away.


Election day is Tuesday. Not only am I excited to bring my son into the voting booth with me but I get the day off! Bonus all around!!

Make sure you VOTE!!


With Christmas being so close and all, I've started the Christmas music.

That's right. You read that correctly. It puts me in a good mood so I play it!


I was up until 12:30 this morning making cupcake pops that look like pumpkins for my kids to take to daycare today. Then I got up at 4:30 to go to work. I am tired but running off some MAJOR caffeine.


Do you remember when it used to cost $20 to fill your tank and you thought that was a lot? Last night it cost me $40 bucks to fill my mini van and I was so happy that I almost got out of the car and kissed the gas attendant. Almost.


I didn't pay a cent for either of my kids' Halloween costumes this year and I am so unbelievably happy about that. I cannot even tell you!!


After wallowing for a week, I've been doing pretty good at staying positive. Actually, staying neutral. I don't think about it. Or I try not to and it appears to be working.

I keep busy and when I think about it, I try to be really positive.

What I've discovered as an added bonus is that I have some of the most wonderfully supportive, funny and compassionate friends and family in the world. I knew that but this whole experience has just reaffirmed it. I am incredibly lucky.


We were supposed to go apple picking with friends this past weekend but it rained all day Saturday. We had a party instead. I am so glad it rained.


I am really looking forward to Thanksgiving. I love the food. But this year we're taking the boy into the city for the parade and I cannot wait. This was something I did as a child with my dad and cousins and I loved it. I want him to love it, too.


Truth be told, I am not looking forward to tonight. I can't wait to see the kids all dressed up in their respective, free, costumes. But I really don't feel like Trick or Treating or dealing with the candy high that will inevitably ensue!


Have a great weekend! Happy Halloween! Happy November! Happy Thoughts all around!!

Monday, October 27, 2008

30 Minutes

I cannot allow myself to sit and think about whether or not I have cancer for the next two months.

Do you know how freaking crazy that will make me?!?!


I cannot allow myself to NOT sit and think about whether or not I have cancer for the next two months.

Do you know how really freaking crazy that will make me?!?!

Have you read Leendaluu? She's great. She's funny. Smart. Tons of great things to share. I really enjoy reading her. She left me a comment the other day advising me to set aside time each day to think about what's going on and then move on.

At first, I thought that was crazy. I'm going to schedule time to think about cancer and worst case scenarios? I shouldn't be worrying.

Uh, yeah, all I've been doing is thinking about it. It invades my thoughts. It invades my days and nights. It has wrapped itself around my brain, my heart, my soul.

And it is making me CRAZY. I cannot do this for the next two months.

So, I've decided. I've made a decision.

I am giving myself 30 minutes each day. I get to dwell for 30 minutes. I get to think. I get to wallow. I can use my 30 minutes to research. To talk. To just focus on it.

Then I'm done for the day.

Will this work every single day? No, of course not. I'm pretty realistic about it. There are going to be days where I will not be able to erase the thought of what could be from my brain. And I am hoping that there will be days where the thoughts won't even enter my head.

It's kind of like dieting. You cannot deny yourself completely because then you binge and it all ends badly. If I keep myself from thinking about it completely for the next two months I will break down. It will make my head explode.

30 minutes a day.

And there's more.

I need distractions. I need something other than what has always been there to keep my mind from everything new. I'm getting up and moving. I'm turning over a semi new leaf. It's about reconnecting with my physical self.

I've been offered a coaching job. Coaching rowing for underprivileged girls. I've decided to try and financially swing a gym. Probably a place like Curves, nothing major.

I cannot change the fact that I might have cancer. If it is there then it's there. That's it.

Plain and simple.

I cannot dwell on it, either. I have to live.

So, I am going to.

30 minutes a day I get to dwell and focus. For the other 1,410 minutes I am going to do my very best to live.

Friday, October 24, 2008

It Is What It Is

I have to say thank you so very much to each and every one of you who sent me an email, called me, text messaged me, commented, im'd me, facebooked me, etc. Your words, your thoughts, your prayers, everything has meant so very much to me and I am so grateful and honored to know that I have your support and kindness. I am blessed to have such wonderful people in my life! Thank you! I cannot say that enough!! THANK YOU!!

Have you ever seen that episode of "Friends" where Phoebe is on hold because the warranty on her phone is running out and her phone is broken? She is waiting and waiting. Skips part of what's going on with the other friends because she doesn't want to lose her place in line.

That's how the past few days have felt. I have a feeling, if I allow it, that's how the next two months will feel, too.

I saw my doctor. Part of me thought I was going to get in there, she was going to check me and look at me and say, "You're so silly to be worried! Your breasts are perfect!!"


I currently have a 1cm cyst. Nothing major. Nothing great. The concern is that the discomfort, pain and tenderness I've been experience is not related to the cyst. She's unsure of what it's related to.

So, we wait. 2 months.

Not great news. Not terrible news.

Not completely sure how to feel.

I have relief. I feel as though it's temporary.

I still have fear. I cannot live in that.

I have worry. If I allow it, that will consume me.

I am doing everything in my power to be as positive as possible about this. I am doing all that I can to remember that she did not tell me that I have cancer. But she also did not tell me that I do not. I am doing all that I can to put this into the recesses of my mind until December 22nd.

But it's hard. It's hard to live with knowing. It's hard to think about what's there and what could be there. It's hard because I have a feeling and I hate the feeling. I have this feeling that it is something more. It is in my gut. It is in my heart. It is in all that I am.

I don't know why.

I do know that I cannot live that for the next two months. I cannot live each and every day thinking about what could be growing. I cannot live each moment full of worry.

It gets me absolutely no where.

Today is what it is.

There is something. I am not crazy. There was a reason I checked myself and there is reason for each and every thing that results.

It is what it is and I will deal with it as it comes.

I will not allow myself and my life to be completely consumed by this. If I do that than I am not really living. I am simply surviving and I cannot allow that.

Everything changed when I did that exam and it will keep changing but I will not live in worry until the next big change.

I will just live because it is what it is and right now I cannot change that.

Irony Much? Foreshadowing?

This was on my Starbucks' Cup this morning.

Can we laugh at cancer? Is it funny to lose your breasts? Am I crazy to have to humor when I lose my hair? Should I ignore the giggles while receiving chemo? What if I nudge someone and sneak a smile, even though I have no eyebrows? Is it inappropriate? Don't be offended, it beats waxing!!
~Julie Wade~

The irony of it all and the fact that I'm going to get checked today does not escape me.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself!

So, I've thought about how to begin this post 42 times today.

I've thought about the title.

I've thought about what I wanted to say.

I've thought about the fact that there probably was going to be no flowery language this time around.

I've thought about the fact that I wanted to interject humor because I use humor to deal with everything.

I've thought about wanting to interject awareness.

And now I'm here.

And now I'm just going to write. I'm just going to tell you.

Monday night I couldn't really find much of anything to watch on TV so I turned to my trusty TiVo. I LOVE the suggestion folder on TiVo. Most times. Lately, TiVo has been recording QVC and the music channels for us. I have no idea why. It's like that episode of King of Queens where Spence's TiVo records all shows that lead to everyone thinking he's homosexual. (Not that there's anything wrong with that!)

I digress.

I turned to TiVo and my suggestions. I passed over the endless Dora, Yo Gabba Gabba's and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and found "Why I Wore Lipstick to My Mastectomy". I watched this when it originally aired and I decided to watch it again. I liked it the first time.

So, I watched. And I cried. And I enjoyed it again.

Went to bed that night and decided that I should do a self exam on myself. Especially since the last time I did one was, oh, 3 years ago. (PS- TOTALLY should be done every month!!!)

My left side was fine. I never know what I'm feeling but it hasn't appeared to change so I guess it's ok. Right?

On to the right.

I moved into my armpit. And that's where it all changed.

I don't know what I felt. I don't know if it was a lump or a mass or what. All I know is that it was PAIN. I mean really.

Tender. Hurt. Pain.

It went from under my arm to my right boob. And damn, it hurt to be touched. So I stopped touching it.

I asked the husband to checking. Assuming he had these soft cotton ball fingers. Uh, yeah, no such luck. He tried to check it. He tried to feel, as well. Again, pain.

I made him stop.

I slept.

The next morning I called my doctor. Of course she was closed for the day. Of course. I spent the day in waiting. It gave me time to think.

A week and a half ago the husband and I were in bed. Just laying there. It was probably the first time we had been in bed together, awake at the same time, in weeks! We were laying there and he rested his head kind of in my arm pit/on my shoulder. I had to make him move. It hurt so bad. It was painful and not in my shoulder. It was painful in the spot where it would be painful a week later during a random self exam.

Today, I called again. I got through to my doctor. My always overbooked but fabulous doctor. She got me in on Friday afternoon.

And now I wait in a holding pattern. I sit. I think. I try not to think. (That's actually not so hard.) I stay here and await Friday.

I have no expectations of Friday. Sure, I'm worried. But I know that I'll probably walk out of the doctor's office with a script for a bunch of tests and scans. I'll be in the same place that I am now, waiting. But at least my doctor will be involved.

I share this with you because any thoughts and prayers you can send would be wonderful. Appreciated more than I could ever say or express.

I share this with you because each and every one of you should be checking yourself. You should be doing your exam. You should be making sure you're ok and clear. And you should be telling everyone you know to do the same. Men included!! My grandfather had Breast Cancer.

I share this with you because I wanted to. I needed to. And I'm glad I did. I hope just one of you walks away from your computer and checks yourself. If that happens than sharing this fulfilled it's purpose.

So, go check yourself!

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Green and Gold

As a teacher I often think of the impact I have on my students. How will they remember me? What will they remember about the times they spent with me? Will they remember me at all?

I have the teachers that left their impacts. My second grade teacher I'll never forget because we, as a class, made her cry due to a poor performance at a school wide Stations of the Cross service.

My first grade teacher still keeps in touch with me through a teacher that I work with. She was one of the kindest nuns I knew.

My third grade teacher? We sent her into retirement. But she loved each and every one of us dearly. And made sure we knew it.

My sixth grade teacher got me in so much trouble at home that I had to write a letter apologizing for me behavior. I still maintain, to this day, that I did not talk or cause problems NEARLY as much as she claimed. Seriously.

My Senior year English teacher. Well, now, she's the one that got me to love real literature. She is THE teacher. The one I would thank if they shoved a video camera in my face on the street and asked me about that one teacher that had an impact. She had the ability to laugh with us and teach us at the same time. She was, is, strong and kind. She was scary, yet completely approachable.

Today is not about any of them.

Yesterday, the former Athletic Director and gym teacher from my high school succumbed to Pancreatic Cancer. She fought the good fight, as so many do. She saw Europe. She spent time with her family. She lived. And then she died.

I have fond memories of Fetrow. I also have not so fond memories of her. She could be a total B and she could be your very best friend. Most times it was the perfect balance.

She constantly wore these kelly green sweaters with yellow turtlenecks. Those were our school colors and if ever there was a proponent of our school it was Fetrow. She lived and breathed what we learned and stood for. And did it in green and "gold".

We made fun of her for that ensemble. She knew it. Most times she laughed right along with us.

She was the only person I knew that would order the Fish Sandwich at McDonald's- with extra Tartar Sauce!! Even now, as I laugh about it, I am dry heaving at the thought and memory of the smell of that sandwich.

She would talk of her children, endlessly. Share their travels and lives with us. She loved them completely and totally. She loved us, as her students, completely and totally. She shared with us her weekends. She spent endless hours at school. At sporting events. At other schools. At meetings. At the pub.

For those of us who were athletes she was our biggest supporter and sometimes our biggest enemy.

She went to bat for me. She stood up for me. I was a freshman. I was not doing well academically. Actually I was sucking wind. But I was doing well enough that I could still play basketball. I was a starter on junior varsity and a swing up to varsity on a regular basis. I was being groomed. The principal pulled me aside one day after class. That day would be my last game for at least two weeks. I was on academic probation because of my grades. (PS-the principal HATED me. Literally. Thought I was worthless.)

I informed the AD, Fetrow, that I was done for at least two weeks. No more practices or games. She did a little investigating. Apparently, there were girls on the team doing far worse than I was. They were allowed to play. There was no probation for them. Fetrow saved me.

I was back on the court in a week. I was back in practices. But, I was also in study hall. I was watched. My grades were coming up or she would take me off the team. She went to bat for me. It's what she did. It's why she was there.

Later that year when my parents went to surprise me with a jacket for basketball she made sure Varsity made it on the back rather than junior varsity. She built me up so that I would make it. She was disappointed when I allowed fear to overcome me and I left basketball.

Two years later when I "beat up" another school's mascot she stood up for me again. She defended me as the mascot and encouraged me. She commended my school spirit. She laughed and made sure I always had the equipment I needed.

The last time I saw Fetrow I was pregnant. She was driving around in golf cart on campus. Now that I think about it, it was probably just a short time after that when she received her initial diagnosis. She was wearing her green and gold. She was busy at a soccer game and a tennis match. But she stopped. We talked. She was excited that I was having a baby. She was genuine. She asked if I was playing any sports or anything like that. I laughed, looked at my protruding belly, and said 'not right now'.

That was it.

Fetrow wasn't the teacher that had the greatest impact on me. But the impact she had was important and memorable. And I will never forget the green and gold. Her green and gold.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Number of Your Days is Great

I've been having trouble writing lately. I really don't know why.

Things are pretty good. I think of things and I start posts and then I hit save and never return to them.

Some of them are crap. Some of them have the potential to be good. And some, well, I don't know about some them- they're gibberish!!

I have close to 600 items in my reader. I am reading. Slowly. Commenting is a bit hard but I'm trying. Even if you don't see me, I'm there.


I love TV. I have made this known before. I really do enjoy TV. I always have. It's a bit sad how much I enjoy it. I can almost always find something to watch.

I have been a fan of ER for quite some time. Since Dr. Greene and Dr. Ross. Since Carter and Weaver. Since the beginning. This is ER's final season. I'm a bit sad about it.

I watched it the other day, after my other favorite medical drama (Grey's), and it appears that Abby Lockhart has left the show. As she was leaving she did a voiceover of a reading from the book of Job.

I'm not familiar with Job. I have not really read much of it. Job had a hard time of things.

Abby Lockhart, the character, read part of chapter 38 and it just stuck with me. I don't know why. Maybe it was how she read it. Maybe it was because it was the show. Maybe it was simply the words.

It stuck with me.

It struck me.

I looked it up and I had to print it up. I love it. And I cannot fully explain why.

There is just something about it that touches me.

I cannot find the words right now to say much of anything. And that's not for any reason in particular. The words just aren't coming right now. It bothers me. I have to be patient, though. When the words need to come out, they will.

For right now, I'd like to share these words from Job that shook me:

Have you entered into the springs of the sea
Or walked in the recesses of the deep?
Have the gates of death been revealed to you,
Or have you seen the gates of deep darkness?
Have you understood the expanse of the earth?
Tell Me, if you know all this.
Where is the way to the dwelling of light?
And darkness, where is its place,
That you may take it to its territory
And that you may discern the paths to its home?
You know, for you were born then,
And the number of your days is great!
~Job 38:16-21~

I love all of it but the last two lines are my favorite. So hopeful.
We have so much to live for. So much to give to one another. So much to learn from one another.
And so many days to do it.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Dear Significant Other of Someone Else,

If you knew what he said about you I have to believe you wouldn't be ok with it. If you knew that he called you weak and told others that you were not a good mom, I have to believe your heart would break. If you knew that he said you have no idea how to care for your children and that you have no idea what family is like, I have to believe you would be outraged.

I have to believe these things because I had all of those reactions and more when he said those things.

Does he say those things to you?

Does he share with you his views on women?

Does he share with you that he's told people he really does not care for you but wanted a second child?

Do those things ever come up in your "home"?

Are you ok with that?

I have to believe that if he has the cojones to say those things to strangers than he says them to you as well.

Those words have the power to kill. They have the power to sear and hurt. They have the power to crush one's spirit. And they have the power to induce nausea and sadness for a person that I've never even met.

Maybe you're ok with those word, these sentiments that he is perfectly ok with sharing. Maybe you feel that what he has to say is accurate. I hope not.

I hope I get to meet you one day. I don't know what I'd say but I hope I get to meet you. I hope I get to speak with you for even just a moment. Just an instant to see that you're ok. A second to see that you're not being crushed by his words. A wrinkle in time to see that he hasn't broken your spirit. Anything to let me know that maybe, just maybe, he is not the total and complete asshole that he has revealed himself to be to me.



Dear Cuz,
What will it take? When will the lies end? What needs to happen for you to see?

Does he need to physically hurt you for you to finally walk away? Aren't his words and lack of actions enough?

Does he need to take you completely away from your friends and family before you can see that maybe it's just not right? Isn't enough that you haven't spoken to half of us in more than a year?

How long will you wait around for him to grow up and start treating your right?

When will it go from 'it's complicated' to 'it's over'?

It's so hard to sit on the outside and see what is happening. It is so easy for me to say I see where and when and how it all went wrong. It is so easy for me to see what he's doing and what you're ignoring. It is so easy for me to watch, yet it is so unbelievably hard.

You deserve more. You will not end up alone. You will find what is right for you. He is not.

You are not like her. Her life is not your future. There is a lifetime of happiness and joy waiting for you. I just wish you could move beyond the beast and see it.

It will be hard. It will be the saddest you've ever been. It will be life changing and depressing. But it will be exactly what you need and exactly what is supposed to happen.

Why didn't you call him? OR did you? Why didn't he show up when you were hurt? Why wasn't he there and don't tell me that you didn't bother to call. Nothing lines up anymore. Nothing makes sense from you and I am afraid of what you are hiding.

Living in hiding is no way to live. It is not living.

Come out of the hiding. We have always been here for you and always will be. He's not worth it.

You are.



Dear You,

I know. You're not worth it. I won't get roped in again.



Dear Readers,

Thank you for sticking around. Thank you for reading and commenting. Thank you for just being and sharing. I've been silent lately. I've been sporadic in my blogging and my reading. I am grateful for each and every one of you.
Thank You


Mountain Momma

Friday, October 10, 2008

It's in the Reactions

I've talked about positive thinking before.

It's all related to him. I blame him for not allowing me to wallow for nearly as long as I used to.

I also thank him.

October 27th is fast approaching. It will be one year since I was in a major car accident that changed everything.

I have passed other milestones along the way from other events. My daughter's first birthday. The one year anniversary of my last radiation which also happened to be the end of the time limit on my "not allowed to get pregnant" time. The one year anniversary of starting a job that I am finally happy in.

Other milestones will come over the next months.

I've been thinking a lot about where I was a year ago and what the past 12 months have brought. I was in such a different place. I was such a different person.

I was on the cusp of change waiting for it to come. I hadn't realized that I needed to make change happen. I had to bring the change to me.

Thank God I did.

I get to the end of my work week and I think about the weekend ahead. It makes me tired. I think about the fact that my husband won't be home with me and I'd really just like to sleep until 11. I know that won't happen. I think about the past week and the good points and the not so good points. I think about how tired I am. I think about the break that I want. The stoppage of time that will never come.

I get to the end of my work week and after I've wallowed momentarily, since I can't wallow for much more than that any longer thanks to him, I am excited. The prospect of moments alone with my children. The idea of hours spent with family sitting around the house or out and about. The notion of sleeping past 4:45am. All of it excites me.

The more and more I think about where I was 12 months ago and where I am now the more I see how the power of positive thinking really works.

Things are not always roses and teddy bears. I still have bills(too many) and I work too much (sometimes). I still have those days where I just want to stay under the covers all day and not face the world. Those moments of sadness and depression that were ever present and constant one and two years ago are few and far between now but they do still make appearances. They just don't get to stay as long.

Every school has students that are total pains in the ass. Every teacher has kids that sit in their classroom and make them want to re consider their career choice. It is what it is. But what I'm finding is that it's all in how you approach these kids. It's in how you handle them and deal with them. It's how you react to them.

I've been teaching for more than 5 years and I'm just learning that. I'm learning it because it's universal. It's applicable to every aspect of life. It's necessary to understand for every part of who we are and what we encounter.

It's all about how you respond. It's in how you deal with things. It's in how you react.

My reactions have changed over the past year. Every time something would knock me down I would become a bit more defeated. A bit more wallowing would ensue.

It's not like that anymore. The reactions are different and that makes everything else different.

I feel like I've painted this picture of pure and total happiness. It's not. But it's pretty good. Things are on an upswing and I'm planning on having them continue.

I get to the end of my work week or I hear the alarm at 4:45 and I'm tired. I want to sleep. But I am so unbelievably grateful for that exhaustion because it means that I've reacted in ways that have kept me active and positive. And plus, I'm awake and alive.

Who could ask for more?

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Sometimes It's Just About Surviving

I haven't been posting regularly. Things are just so busy. Busy good. But busy, nonetheless. I've had a lot to say, just not a lot of time to say it!! Hopefully, I'll be getting into the swing of things again soon!


Today, two friends and I took our kids to a large, giant, festival about 40 minutes from where we live. We were looking forward to a lot of fun and time outside.

We got both those things.

We also received an extra added bonus which I'd like to share with you.

Between us we have three kids- my two, and one other. My one friend doesn't have kids yet. We opted to bring just my double stroller and figured that the boy would want to walk everywhere. Which he did.

What we found, though, was that he wanted to walk on his own and be a "big boy". I get that. He is all about independence nowadays. (If only he'd independently stop pooping his pants!!) Needless to say we had hand holding issues. Meaning, we wanted him to and he didn't want to.


There were a TON of people there. Seriously. Most of the streets were shut down so people could walk right down the middle and the sides were lined with different vendors. Well, the middle, the sides, everywhere was FULL of people. It was really like standing in line and shuffling along. Having a child "free" and unwilling to hold your hand was not only annoying but also frightening.

You just never know what's going to happen.

My friend happened to bring a "leash" or tether for her child. She had planned to use it in case her child didn't want to be in the stroller.

Now, I'm not a fan of these. At all. The image bothers me. The idea of my child on a leash upsets me. I just don't like them. I've seen the cute ones that look like backpacks and have teddy bears on them. I've seen the coiled ones that look like phone cords. I just don't like them.

My friend's child never really wanted to walk or run, unless we were on the playground, so the leash was unnecessary. Or so we thought.

The boy had wandered a bit too far, one too many times. My heart couldn't take it anymore. My nerves were shot. My friend offered to tether to the boy while I pushed the stroller. She made it a game. She made it so that she and the boy had matching "bracelets". He LOVED it! Didn't even realize that he was "attached" to someone and when he noticed it, he played with it.

I was not completely ok with the leash BUT I was much more at ease with him on it. I was much more comfortable knowing that there was no way a stranger could easily walk away with him. I was calmer knowing that I didn't have to stop every 20 steps to make sure I knew exactly where the boy was. I was just feeling better about the whole experience.

We were walking through part of the festival when I passed two young women, childless at that moment. These two young women looked like they were early to mid 20s. If they were married, their significant others were not with them. And if they had children, they were not with them either. My friend walked ahead of me and the stroller with the boy right next to her. As they passed these two young women one of the women decided it was her God given right to pass judgment, out loud, on us as parents, "Your kid on a leash! That's real nice! Ridiculous, who puts their kid on a leash?"

I stopped.

I literally had to wrap my hands around handle of the stroller so as to stop myself from turning around, pulling her greasy, stringy, hair, ripping off her giant "bug-like" sun glasses, and screaming at her. I turned to my other friend and said, "Did you hear her? Did you catch that?" She hadn't. She missed what Dirty McJudgy had to say about my son on the leash. I filled her in, as loudly as possible knowing full well McJudgy was right behind us. And then we walked away.

I don't know what bothered me more, the fact that she felt it was ok to let her opinion, her judgment, be known in such a loud and obvious manner. Or that 6 years ago that might have been me.

I have always expressed my thoughts on child leashes, tethers. I may have even expressed them in the same manner that McJudgy decided to express them. I may have been that bitchy girl at the festival or the mall who decided it was her God given right to pass judgment on the parents who felt that the tether was necessary. I hope not, but I can't say for sure.

I used to feel that tethers were used because parents could not control their children. That clearly, they had no discipline and never ever listened. I assured myself that I would never leash my child like a dog.

I had also assured myself, in my pre-parent days, that my children would be potty trained by age 2. We all know how well that's working out for me!!

Today, I had to use the tether on my son. I think we used it for maybe 15 minutes. He got a kick out of it and I was able to relax and know that he was right next to me. I was not happy about it but it was necessary. It was not my first choice but it worked really well and I am grateful that my friend had it. I'm not running out to purchase one of my own. I did it because in the excitement of the day the boy was overwhelmed. He listened very well, on and off the leash. He was on best behavior. He just was so excited to see everything that he would lose himself in the moment. I didn't want to lose him at all.

I got a glimpse of myself, the much dirtier and stringier version, today. A blast from the past, if you will.

I had grand ideas before I had kids. I had these notions that while it would be hard, it would also be roses and buttercream filled chocolates (my favorites!). I knew that my kids would never experience the terrible twos. (My 18 month old has recently decorated our lovely walls with shades of crayola green and blue.) I was convinced that I would be that mom who had the spotless house and never more than one load of laundry to do. (The pile outside my laundry room is scandalous and my house FINALLY got cleaned today for the first time since school started!) I really thought that it would be different and never once did I stop to consider what it would REALLY be like.

I really wanted to stop that young woman and let her know I was just like her. I wanted her to see that while she thought it was close to child abuse to have my son on a leash, it was a protective measure. It was about making sure I left the festival with the same amount of kids that I showed up with. It was about staying sane and safe. It was about surviving and sometimes parenting is about just surviving.

I wanted to make her see.

I couldn't. It's not my job. My job is to be the best parent I can be. To care for my children in the best way possible. To protect them as best as I can while also giving them confidence and independence.

My job is to recognize that the girl walking by who has no idea about anything else doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things. I have to be able to look myself in the mirror each day and I have to be able to say that I did my very best and what was right for me and my family.

Putting my kid on a leash or tether was what right for me today.

I'm ok with that because he's home with me and not lost. I'm ok with that because we had a good time today. I'm ok with that because I received a picture of what I once was and I was able to see what I am now.

I'm much happier.

And now I know I don't have to get a dog, I can just put the boy on a leash and he's more than happy to chase after frisbees and tennis balls! :)

Saturday, October 4, 2008


The best part about this?
Not once do they say "Go vote for X or Y."


Tuesday, September 30, 2008

My Greatest Risk

I was talking with someone the other day about taking risks.

The background isn't overly important but essentially this person was worried about the results of a risk that they really wanted to take. They were worried about the possible fallout. The possible negative associations and consequences.

All things that are completely normal to think about when considering risky behaviors and choices.

My thoughts for them were that the possible positive outcomes, possible positive consequences were so much better than the possible negatives that the risk was worth it. It was worth taking that leap, that jump and putting yourself out there.

No question.

I am not a huge risk taker.

I definitely don't make stupid risky choices, such as driving with no seat belts or driving after tying on a few. But I have made choices that I guess some would consider risky.

My biggest risk?

Probably carrying and giving birth to my second child.

I will never forget the well meaning nurse who, after hearing my entire situation and all of medical issues and circumstances, posed the question to me, "Is this really a pregnancy that you want to carry on?"

Yes, seriously. She, in a roundabout way, was asking if I wanted to keep the baby or possibly consider abortion.

I had been exposed to high dose radiation, as had my baby. I had a fairly serious medical condition that would require constant monitoring- weekly. This condition would also threaten my life and the life of my child. It was not a positive situation that I was in. It was so far from ideal that it resembled life alteringly bad. Her question was not unexpected. It was not meant in a mean way. It was matter of fact. It was honest. It was what she felt to be appropriate.

I was taken aback. There was a brief moment in my mind after that second line popped up that I wondered if my child would have 4 arms and be missing life sustaining parts due to my exposure and illness. There was a moment of question, of fear. But it quickly dissipated.

I looked at her, caught my breath and answered, "Yes, of course it is."

I wasn't completely sure that we were ready. I wasn't completely sure that I would be able to handle the weeks and months ahead. I wasn't completely sure that this wasn't going to kill me or the life inside of me.

But I was sure that as soon as that second line popped up I was having that baby. Regardless of anything else.

I was high risk. I saw doctors almost every week of my pregnancy, sometimes twice or three times a week. I landed in the hospital a few times for monitoring and had more blood drawn than I care to remember. And I peed in more containers than anyone should EVER have to.

The possible positive outcomes of my choice. My decision to have our baby. Which was never really a choice. It always just was. Those positives FAR outweighed any possible negative. Any possible chance that could happen.

That life FAR outweighed everything else.

I took the risk. I risked everything and yet it was nothing. It was exactly what it was supposed to be.

Risks are scary. I was terrified during my ENTIRE pregnancy.

Risks are stress inducing. My blood pressure went up and hovered somewhere around 190/100 for a good portion of time.

Risks are fabulously rewarding. I have a gorgeous carrot red haired child that most days is one of the most fabulous gifts I have ever received.

She is my greatest risk.

What is yours?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Please go and read this .

Share it. Keep it. Whatever. Just read it.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Doing It All

A very good friend of mine informed me the other day that I could not "do it all". I needed to stop worrying about everything else and everyone else and just stop for a moment.

She's right.

I hate that.


Why can't I do it all?

Why do I feel like I have to?

I'm the only one who does it right. I know exactly how I want things done and when and if I leave that up to someone else, it won't be done the right way.

Think I have some control issues?

I have a lot on my plate. All of us do. I don't care if you work outside the home or you work inside your home. I don't care if you have 1 kid or 5 kids. We all have a lot on our plates and more often than not it's too much.

What do we do about that?

Do we make the plate smaller? Weight Watchers suggests that you eat off a smaller plate so as to keep your portions smaller and thereby trick your brain into thinking you're eating a lot because your plate looks so full. Is that the trick with all we have to do, too?

Do we get rid of something or not pick from what is offered? How? What do I get rid of? Grad school? Work? My PPD group? What do I throw away? Certainly not my kids.

There is no simple solution. There is nothing out there letting us know how to do it all and still stay somewhat sane. There is nothing out there that helps us figure out what to let go of. What to give up.

It is not an option for me to make my plate smaller. I am a perpetual "overeater." My plate needs to stay platter sized so that when the new things arise, I have room for them. It is not an option for me to not tackle something. And I hate when I decide to tackle something and I have to either hand it off or postpone it.

Again, do we think I have some control issues?

Clearly, I need to learn to say no. I need to learn to say enough is enough. But I can't. I don't have it in me. I feel as if I don't do it, who will?

I don't think I'm alone in this. I have to believe that there other people, moms, dads, whomever, out there who feel the same. Who believe that they can and have to do it all.

Being busy makes me feel good. It lets me know that I'm getting things done. That things are getting accomplished. That I'm productive.

But I'm still mastering the balancing act. I'm still working on keeping my platter steady in one hand while I take on a few more things in my other hand.

I know that I can't do it all. I hate that. I know that I need to delegate. I know that others are perfectly capable. I know all of this.

Why can't I just do it? Why can't I just accept it and let others tackle something? What is stopping me?

Do you feel like you can do it all? Do you feel like you are? How do you handle it?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Brain Vomit: Age is more than just a number

*Disclaimer: This is quite the disjointed post. I think I got it all out. I think I said all I wanted to say. I think I conveyed in a way that I wanted to. But I also think this is all brain vomit. Enjoy!*

I'm young. I know that. Compared to my co-workers. Compared to some of my friends. Compared to some moms out there. Compared to a lot of people I'm young.

So what?

So, I feel like I get judged based on my age. I feel like people look at me in a different way because of my age. I feel that people don't take me as seriously because of my age.

When I started my current job the women who work in the office thought I was a new student. This was also the case at my last high school teaching job. Personally, I don't think I look THAT young but who knows?!

Last night was back to school night. Normally, I loathe back to school night but last night was not so bad. I'm having a lot more fun this year. I'm enjoying myself and my job and I think that makes a HUGE difference! At any rate, last night the parents have the opportunity to come in and go through their child's schedule and meet their teachers. Each class is brief. We give a short presentation, answer a few questions and move on. Nothing too exciting.

The look I get from parents bothers me.

They look at me as if to say "she's way too young to teach my child."

They look at me as if to say "she could not have the experience required to really handle a classroom full of kids."

They look at me as if to say "what could she possibly know about theology?"

Or maybe it's all in my head.

Maybe it's my insecurities.

Maybe I'm imagining it.

Maybe not.

I had a parent roll their eyes at me last night. Literally. She rolled her eyes and shook her head as I described a year long project we're working on. As I talked about ways that her child could gain extra credit. She almost stopped me in my tracks.


I don't know if she was shaking her head because she thought my ideas were ridiculous.

I don't know if she was shaking her head because she knew that her daughter would never attempt the extra credit project I was suggesting.

I don't know. But I do know that I wanted to walk over to where she was sitting and punch her. I wanted to scream at her, "What the hell lady?!?!" I wanted to ask her what she found so ridiculous that she had the balls enough to sit there and roll her eyes and shake her head at me.

But I didn't.

I packed up my room. Chatted with some friends. Headed home. I drove and thought about how people perceive me. I thought about what those parents must have been thinking as they sat in my desks and hung on almost my every word. I thought about the fact that at 28 years old I've been teaching high school for more than 5 years and teaching in general for closer to 7. I thought about my age.

Weird, right?

I don't know if my parents- meaning my students' parents- judged me based on my age. Part of me thinks they do. They don't bother me nearly as much as the other moms out there that I think judge me based on my age.

I've encountered moms that won't take my advice or thoughts on a particular subject because clearly, I'm too young and couldn't possibly know anything about childrearing. It doesn't matter that I've managed to keep two children alive for close to 4.5 years (including pregnancies). It doesn't matter that my kids have run the gamut with problems, illnesses and experiences that have given me new wisdom on things. It doesn't matter that before I had kids I was a nanny, a baby sitter, a pre school teacher.

What seems to matter to them is that I appear to be far too young to know anything. Or at least that's my perception.

Why do I think this? What makes me feel this way? Why do I care?

I think this because I've watched as moms have asked advice on something and listened to what I've had to say and then ignored it. Until another mom, older than I, gave them the same advice.

Maybe that's a trust thing. Maybe it's a comfort thing.

I'm not sure why I care. I guess it's because I feel that I've got a lot in me in terms of experience and knowledge and know how. I've got a lot to share. I'm a lot more than a number.

But maybe it's all me. Maybe I'm perceiving wrong. Maybe I'm paranoid. I really don't know.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Finding the Words

I diffuse situations with humor. Not all situations, but a lot of them.

I sometimes have a hard time finding the words. Great, right? This from the person studying to be a counselor. Here's the thing though, I can find the words for strangers or for people I don't know all that well. Finding the words for friends is harder for me. It's almost impossible sometimes.

I have a friend who is hurting. She is struggling. She is having a hard time getting back to work. She desperately misses her kids. She wants to be home with them more than anything. Her pain is palpable.

I have no idea what to say to her. I offer her my shoulder. I offer her my "condolences." I offer her whatever compassion and friendship I can. She is miles away. My words, because they come in the "written" form hold so much more weight for me. I feel they should be perfect. I feel they should carry with them relief and love and kindness.

I think they carry bits and pieces of those things. But I do not think they are perfect. I do not think they convey how much hurt I feel for her. I do not think they hold the weight I want them to hold.


This is not the first time or the only time I have felt that my words do not carry the magnitude that they are meant to carry.

I don't know how to present my words so that they convey what I want them to. I don't always know what to say. I know that sometimes that is ok. But I still feel like I need to be able to come up with the right words. Come up with the words that will help. Come up with the words that will comfort.

How do I do that?

How do you come up with the words?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Happy Hour Revelations

I spend a lot of time on here bitching. I spent a lot of time everywhere bitching.

I bitch about my kids and how they annoy me and I need a break.

I bitch about my husband.

I bitch about my job.

I bitch and complain. Complain and bitch.

Today I went to Happy Hour with my co-workers friends. It actually was more like Happy 3 Hours, but whatever.

I love my job. I really do. I love where I work. I love my students, even when they are total shits. I love the people I work with. I really am very happy at my job. That being said, there is always something to bitch about. There are always negatives. I just choose not to focus and harp on them. I really enjoy what I do. I hate getting up in the morning but I don't hate going there.

Spending an extra three hours with the people I work with was wonderful. I've had jobs where an extra three hours with my co-workers would have been painful. Just not the case anymore.

We laughed. We shared. We talked. And it wasn't all about work. It wasn't all about our students. It wasn't all about our jobs.

It was about us. It was about being friends. It was about community and family and bonding. It was fun and I was a little sad when it ended.

Four of us were left in the end, three of the four of us are actually pretty good friends. The fourth fit in perfectly. We parted ways and each of us went to our respective families and homes. Each of us departed and began our weekend.

I drove through the rain and thought about the past week and the conversations and experiences I've had. I thought and thought. I do that when I drive. I get lost in all of it. I get lost in my head as I listen to music and drive.

I realized something.

I am so damned lucky. Seriously. Lucky. Fortunate. Blessed.

I am so grateful.

I have the most wonderful people in my life. My husband has the most wonderful people in his life. We are blessed to have to the individuals that we do in our lives, both separately and together.

I drove home, walked into my house and was greeted by both of my kids wrapping themselves around my legs. Again, lucky. Definitely not annoyed. Those hugs wipe away any possibility of annoyance.

I listened as my son regaled me with stories from his day at school and presented me with a giant life sized portrait of himself, with 42 eyes on it. Again, lucky. And a little creeped out by the eyes.

I watched as my daughter danced around in her mismatched outfit of extra clothes because clearly she had somehow soiled the dress my husband sent her into school wearing. I laughed at her pigtails that her teacher had put in. I sat on the floor in my kitchen and she snuggled into my lap. Again, lucky.

I read over text messages from my day. Responses from a text I sent to a bunch of friends letting them know how grateful I was for them. Many of them inquiring about my mental well being and my alcohol "status". But all of them returning the sentiment. Again, lucky. And amused that they all think I would either need to be off my gourd or drunk to text them something heartfelt, rather than my normal BS texting.

One set of messages was from a friend I've known since I was 5. We lead totally different lives. But at the same time we lead very similar lives. We have been friends, in some capacity, since kindergarten. We have drifted together and apart. We have shared ups and downs. We've shared weddings(both) and babies(mine) and divorces(hers). And for her, I am lucky because I know when we come together it is as if no time has passed. We are back in my parents basement having sleepovers and watching "Dirty Dancing".

It is incredible to me the paths that we walk along and the people that accompany us. Some starting off with us and staying for the long haul. Some drifting off never to return. Some coming in and going out and coming back in. All of them important. All of them impactful.

You know, I bitch and I moan and I complain. And I whine and I vent and I bitch. I do it on here. I do it at home. I do it at work. I do it in the supermarket. But God, I am so freaking lucky. I cannot believe it took a Happy Hour, time with friends, laughing, enjoying each other's lives, to really awaken that in me again.

I forget. I don't see it always. I ignore it because sometimes the crappy shit, the annoying stuff, the whining is just easier to deal with. It's just easier to have. It's just easier to live within.

I cannot always promise that I'll remember how lucky I am. I cannot always promise that the bad stuff won't take over. I cannot always promise that I won't bitch and moan and complain. Because I know that those are promises I would never be able to keep.

I can promise to remind myself often of how lucky I am. I can promise to let those in my life know that they are valued and I am so grateful for them and I am better off because of them. I can promise to try and stop myself when I see the negative trying to overtake the positive and I will do all that I can to reverse it.

And I can definitely promise that there will be many more Happy Hours, or three, in my future.

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