Friday, October 31, 2014

Trick or Treat

I am sitting here at my keyboard thinking of all the Halloween costumes that I have made over the years.   Courtney had a Strawberry Shortcake costume that my mom bought for her in 1983- the year we moved to Reston.  If I think about it, that was only her second Halloween in the US- the first being in 1978 when she was 8 months old.

Aside from that one commercial costume, all five kids wore home made Halloween costumes.   October was always a crazy, busy time for me.  Doing all of my usual mom stuff, plus making costumes.   I  am pretty sure I have them all in a Rubbermaid container in the basement.  

Even in Australia I made costumes.   Then,we came back to the States and   I sewed fewer and fewer costumes.  When I was down to making costumes for only two kids, it hit me really hard.   I felt so lost and sort of blue.   My babies were growing up.  Another step towards their independence.  

Then, no more costume making.  For the kids at least.  Nick and I have gone to a couple of costume optional parties.  Ours are home made, but not necessarily home sewn.

I don't seem to have a lot of pictures of costumes in my computer.  I know I have a lot needing to be scanned.

I think that this will be our first year without a real pumpkin.   We bought a plastic one at Target.  It has a face carved into it and also has a little light.  No pumpkin guts.  No pumpkin smell in the kitchen.

I am going to place a few pictures of our past pumpkins- recent past.

I have one cousin with a Halloween birthday, one Halloween grandniece turning 8 today,  and now another relative- another cousin's grandson was born today!

Trick or Treat!

Pumpkin manicure


UU Chalice

Democrat/ Pumpkin
2014 Pumpkin

Thursday, October 30, 2014


Maine Lighthouse as we approached the Maine coast

You would think I would have this
 blogging thing figure out by now, but I still find myself getting all confused when it comes to loading pictures, positioning said pictures, and then figuring out where the writing goes.

I spend several hours putting together a book (online) of cruise pictures.  There was an option to put text with the pictures, but since I wanted to get done before the next century, I decided not to.  We can write on the pages and make notations of what the pix are of if need be.     
 The picture below is one of the beautiful sunsets we saw when we were out at sea.

You can see the album online for a limited time- maybe a month.  Click here to see the link.

Looking at the ship from land.  This was taken in Bar Harbor, Maine

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A few of the professional pictures from the cruise!

As we boarded the ship

Sisters on Formal Night.  Me on the left and my sister. Carol, on the right

Arriving in Portland, Maine- the "other" Portland
At the Captain's Reception.   The captain is Norwegian and when I told him one of my children was born in Tromsø. he said he had lived there for 17 years!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

It's all about the curry

This evening I cooked dinner.  I cooked chicken with leeks from the garden, flavored with broth, coconut milk and mild Thai curry.  And Jasmine rice, of course.  It smelled and tasted wonderful.  It reminded me of my mom.  We used to talk on the phone every day, my mom and I, and every day she would ask what I was cooking for dinner.  The answer was almost always "chicken".  I cooked it a million different ways, but we really had a lot of chicken dinners.     One evening, my mom came for dinner.  Since having my mom for dinner felt like a special occasion, I made something that the kids loved and that I didn't make very often.  I made a big pan of lasagna.

My mom said that the lasagna was good, but she had been looking forward to one of my chicken dinners!

Tonight, after Nick and I finished eating, Nick complimented my dinner (chicken), and said, of the smell and taste, "it's all about the curry".    I miss my mom.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Home from the cruise!

Just a quick note here to say that I am home after being gone for 8 nights.   We had a great time!

I took well over 300 pictures, so it will take time to go through them and decide which ones I want to post here.

I took a notebook and planned to journal on the cruise.  I did a little bit of writing, but I have gotten so used to using a keyboard to write, it was difficult.  Also, we were so busy, going to shows, people watching and taking naps, that I didn't have time to do much more than that!

Happy that I went, and happy that I am home!

Passing under the Chesapeake Bay Bridge heading for the ocean!

As we were leaving Baltimore Harbor, I noticed that we could see the building at Johns Hopkins where I had my brain surgery!

Carol and I arriving at Portland, Maine

Our ship, from the dock

Monday, October 13, 2014

My sister is taking me on a cruise!


8 Night Canada & New England Cruise


 Sailing Itinerary

16-Oct Baltimore, Maryland  4:00 PM
17-Oct Cruising
18-Oct Portland, Maine  11:30 AM  7:00 PM Docked
19-Oct Bar Harbor, Maine  8:00 AM  6:00 PM Tendered
20-Oct Saint John, New Brunswick  7:00 AM  4:00 PM Docked
21-Oct Halifax, Nova Scotia  10:00 AM  7:00 PM Docked
22-Oct Cruising
23-Oct Cruising
24-Oct Baltimore, Maryland  7:00 AM

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Battle of the Brain Tumor

 This was not written by me, but it pretty much sums up the brain tumor experience.

© Cynthia Beck

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Recovering from brain surgery

I find it hard to believe that less than 4 months ago I had brain surgery.  My skull was cut open and my tumor was removed.  I woke up wearing a gauze turban/ bandage.  My head was full of staples.  I had needles and tubes and monitors all over the place.   And I survived.

I feel so much better than I did before surgery with the constant headache.  My throat is mostly better.

I just feel like my old self.   It's hard, I am not really my old self, yet.   I do things, go to the gym, drive around, shop, see people. work a little.

I am so used to being really energized by all the running around and business.   Now, I feel energized when I start out, but I find that I tire out pretty easily.

Monday I spent the day in D.C at a workshop.  Learning how to use an IPod among other things.   I took the Metro from Reston to Foggy Bottom on the Silver Line.  That's the first time I have done that.  It's amazing to look down and see all of the traffic crawling by on Rt.66 as we fly along!  After getting home (also on the Silver Line), I went to the chiropractor.  I had plans to go to dinner with my sister, but by then I was totally exhausted and couldn't do anything.

Tuesday morning I went to the dentist and got my teeth cleaned.   I was going to take a class at the gym called "Silver Sneakers"- for us senior citizens.  I couldn't do it.  I was so tired and head-achy.  I felt like I was coming down with a cold.   So I rested for the rest of the day.

I have learned a new term/ expression since being diagnosed with a meningioma.  "Barometric Head"   A lot of us meningioma folks seem to get them.  It is a fullness that feels a bit like the beginnings of a sinus infection or a really bad cold.  It happens when the weather is changing and the barometric pressure is changing too.  It's not very fun, but at least it is temporary  Needless to say, Tuesday I stayed at home all day.

Today I made a house call.  I went to see a mother and baby I had helped last week.  The mom looked so much happier and relaxed than last week.   Things are improving and she will do great.   I love standing next a a mom as she lies down and relaxes at the baby starts to nurse.  She had not tried this before, and the look of joy on her face as she said "this feels good", was heart filling for me.

After that I went to my sister's and fell asleep on her sofa while watching TV.

So I guess, even when I feel good, or great, my whole body is readjusting.  My brain is growing new cells to fill in the space where the tumor was.  The rest of me counts on my brain to work.  So when I am tired, I suspect my brain is telling my body "hey, you are still recovering"

I have all sorts of lumps and bumps on my head that are new to me.  My skull has topography!  And it itches!

Feeling stuck

I clip coupons.  I believe that if there are coupons for the things you buy, you should use them.  Nick doesn't like to use them because they are often confusing.  Well, they are.  I had a great coupon recently that was for 10% off of your entire purchase at Target.  Well, it actually said   10% (maybe it was even 20% I don't remember) off "Up and Up" labeled products.  I had no idea that was a product name.  I know now, it is the Target store brand.   So, yes, coupons can be confusing.   On the other hand, there was a coupon for Tide (which we use) with a great discount on two bottles and your get a $5.00 gift card too.  Well, it was a smaller size bottle than we usually use, but when I compared the price with the bigger bottle, the smaller ones with the coupon came out to costing less ounce for ounce.   Right now we are down to the last drops of dish soap.  I have coupon for Ajax dish soap for 89 cents for a big bottle.  Seems like a great deal. 

I am sitting here thinking about all the things I would like to do.  That I know would make me feel better and more energized.   Chores.   I want to clean and vacuum and dust and scrub floors and bathrooms.  Empty trash cans.   But, I just sit here.  I play solitaire on the computer.   I check email.  I check it again- as if anything world-shaking will have changed in 5 minutes, or if it had, what could I do about it anyway.

Yes, I am feeling blue..   Once again, our income seems to go so fast I wonder how we will cover our expenses.   As always, I know that we will get through this and everything will turn out alright.  But in the thick of it I worry and feel responsible.  

Yesterday, I moved some large branches that have fallen across my front garden.  Some have been there for months.  I love my front garden.   I worked really hard on designing it and having it put all together.  Nasty sticks and branches look awful there.  It looks better now.   I am overwhelmed by how much needs to be done to have the yard looking really nice and neat.  And then you have to do it all over again.

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.  Yes it is.

I love my husband so much it is impossible to say.  He is my friend.  We share the same taste- mostly- in British drama.  We have the same values about the important things- like how we raised and are raising our kids.  We both feel the same anxiety about our children when they are struggling.   We struggle too.

Nick tries hard, I know.  He makes a conscious effort to keep the kitchen clean and dishes done.   He has gotten some nice grass to grow in the front yard- nothing short of a miracle!  And I made fun of him for sitting and pulling up the weeds.  It seems to have worked.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Vanity I suppose

For lack of a better word.  Vanity.  Most of the people I know, care about how they look.  At least when they are going out with friends, or even out  just to the store.

I tend to be very casual in what I wear around the house.  I never wear a bra in the house unless we have company.  But, even if I am wearing bleach stained jeans and a stained up t-shirt, I want to feel clean and reasonably groomed.  If I skip a shower, I feel really grubby.   If I take a shower but don't wash my hair, same thing.

I have joked that it must be hard to be a real beauty because when you start losing your looks you start loosing your identity.   I never thought that I was any kind of great beauty.  I knew I was attractive enough to get the attention I wanted when I wanted it.

I read a funny thing on Facebook the other day.  It said "if only I could be a skinny as I was when I thought I was fat".     Boy did I ever used to be self conscious because  I had what I now know were curves.   Then I just felt fat.

So, yesterday evening I went to a meeting at my sister's place.  I looked around the room thinking how old all the people there were.  I certainly didn't belong with these old people.    Well, guess what?  I do.  This is my tribe, the silver haired, hearing aid set.  Oh yeah.

This morning I went to the gym to meet up with my new trainer and work out a plan.  I have not been in months because of my brain surgery, so I am re-entering slowly.

I went in feeling all pleased with my workout clothes, my water bottle, and wearing my sneakers.

I worked in the elliptical for a while.  Then I met with Kate, my trainer.  The place where we were talking has a big wall mirror.  When I looked in the mirror, at first I wasn't sure who I was seeing in there.  A tired looking, puffy face.  A face with ridges from my c-pap and the puffiness from not getting enough sleep.  Plus I need a hair cut, so I feel shaggy.

Yes, I have entered a new stage in my life/ development.        I am getting old.  I am aging.  Everyone can see that.  And I am surprising myself.

I also feel that I am entering into the stage where most conversation revolves about one's health.  We all go to the doctor more and have more issues that just linger

I have a friend who was diagnosed with lung cancer recently that has spread into one breast.  She is getting a port put in and will start chemo.

Another dear dear friend has discovered something "in situ"   She has breast cancer over 20 years ago when she was still breastfeeding.  It was so sad and difficult.  She had chemo and lost all of her hair. Now, next week, she is having a double mastectomy.  I am so sad that she has to do this.

Another friend is having a hysterectomy, not sure why.  But that's another part of the train ride. 

I know some tricks to help me be beautiful.  Make up..  Enough sleep.  Eating well

Okay, I am falling asleep here.  Gotta go.  Good night.