Friday, December 29, 2006

On The Road Again ~

My oncologist told me all this "living" is going to make me pop like an overstuffed vacuum cleaner bag.  I told him I wasn't so sure that was a great analogy! 

I ran out of steam Christmas evening. Stick a fork in me. I was done. Pooped. Toast. Down for the count. I got this horrible cough, a sore body, a fun rash, and a fever too!!  I just didn't want to move!

I came back from my brother in law's parent's house. (I have been going to Christmas dinner there since I was 16!!) Crawled into the shower, climbed into bed...and oh yes, you guessed it..... I did not come back out to play until Thursday afternoon. I'm still not fully "recovered" and again my oncologist says to me I just need to high tail it back to South Carolina and get into bed because my immune system just "isn't what it needs to be to fight infections".  Ha ha. He doesn't know me very well!!

Honestly though, it's a three hour count down.  At 10:00 am we are on the road again and starting back to South Carolina. My sister and family will come and celebrate the New Year. They will return back to DC, January 3rd.

I am almost completely packed.  However, I need an extra bag or two.  It must be all the gifts! 

Geez, I hope we still have room for the dog and the kids!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas!

Wishing You
Yours A Very Merry Christmas!!!!

1:41 am Pamela, David, and I are all awake and wrapping presents. 
Nothing like crunch time!!!!!

I'm A Survivor!!

Today, it's been five years since my cancer diagnosis!! 
I am a five year

Saturday, December 23, 2006

The Princess Takes The Metro, Plays At Houston's, And Does Philadelphia Too ~

I wasn't really thrilled about taking the Metro...and why didn't that guy talk louder so I could hear what stops he was approaching??  All in all, I got on the Metro to Rockville. The "trip" was uneventful and I was able to reconnect with my old friend, Beth  Oh no she isn't old in age!!  I've just known her since we were in diapers.  Matter of fact, we are only ten days apart.  We grew up with only one house in between us.  Our mothers used to sit on the front lawn with a blanket and just watch us play. Like I said, we were able to reconnect after a few years and I was thrilled to see her. Not to mention, meet her adorable son, and quite comical husband!!! 

I was off to Houston's on the Pike after my visit with Beth. (I decided the time spent with her was too short!! Next time, we'll have to make a day of it!) Michelle  planned a little "shin dig" for "the girls".  I could't imagine a better way to spend an evening out! Me and "my girls".  Oh and Ronny! (Ronny always has an invite extended to him...and ONLY seems to show face when he knows he's going to be the only gentleman present!!!)  Houston's isn't very PATRON FRIENDLY by the way.  So we won't EVER be going back there.  However, Barbie, Heather, Michelle, and I....Ohhh and again Ronnny had great food, talked about old times, and laughed loudly. You can't get any better than that!! Sue joined us half way through dinner.  I love Sue Bee!!  She's one of the nurses from my office.  Seeing her was like having a breathe of fresh air, a hundred times over.  THAT was long over due!!  Our "party" later moved itself to TGIFridays, where Jose was much more accomadating.  He even carded me!!  I could have kissed him! We had a few festive drinks, but called it an early evening (for us anyway). Our RING LEADER (Barb) had to work at 7:00 am, Michelle still had to get me back to the base, and I was Philly bound come morning.

Philadelphia here we come! My cousins Rachel and Jesse were fortunate enough to be born on the same day.  How my cousin Marsha managed that, I don't know.  But, she did it.  We went to Philly to celebrate their 15th and 21st birthdays and to visit with the relatives too!  Traffic was miserable.  We were in the car for four hours. It was a beautiful day though, and once we unloadedand got settled....who could complain!! The time spent with my family was amazing. There were moments of uncontrolled belly laughter where I thought I was going to fall over.  Irreplaceable! I always wonder why we didn't take the time to have more of these moments while we were growing up...but I don't suppose it matters now.  It only matters that we are taking advantage of the time we have together now.  I love that!

We left Philly around 8:30 pm.  Somwhere around 10:00 pm my tummy was telling me I wasn't very happy.  I suppose it was all that good food my aunt served us!!! (Damn, that chopped liver!!!)  Plastic bag in hand, window opened.....I heard my oldest niece tell the other two kids something about Aunt Rene isn't feeling well.  It really wasn't the words she was saying so much as the tone she said it in that caught my attention. It made me realize she actually GRASPS what is going on with my cancer.  THAT was painful.  It made me cry. Sigh.

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve. It is also something far greater than that.  However, you have to "stay tuned" if you want to know what!!

If I get my angel wings tonight and I don't see you me at the breakfast table, ok??

I love y'all so much!!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

This Is What I Get....

From being outside with Ranger Rick and all the forest creatures. Or maybe it is from running around everywhere with my sister and the kids and not going to sleep early like I should.  Or perhaps it's from spending a few nights out late, gracefully swallowing a few fruity drinks too many.  It's probably a combination of all of the above. Not to mention, my compromised immune system. But oh my, I have a very bad cold!!!!!!!!!!

It's 3:08 pm. I have my big ole Clemson sweatshirt on with my flannel pj bottoms. I'm brewing some hot tea.  My sister just left to get cough drops for me.  It would be nice to snuggle into bed and go back to sleep but I still have Christmas cards I need to stamp!  Stop looking in your mailbox!!  I haven't sent them out yet!

You're thinking that maybe now I regret not slowing down and taking it easy?? Nope, not even a little bit!!!  It's all worth it. Like I always say, live in the moment. The moment is all we have.

Monday, December 18, 2006

"You're Kidding...Right???"

Remember the reports you used to have to write when you were in Elementary school?  You remember, What I Did For Christmas Break or What I Did During Summer Vacation?

Yeah, well here you go.

Where I've Been This Last Week 
1)  Back in Montgomery County!!
2) At the horse stables to watch Sarah ride.
3) My brother in law's parents house.
4) Panera for lunch.
5) My Germantown Office to hangout with Michelle.
6) The BX for Christmas lights.
7) A Family Cub Scout Meeting.
8) Watching Over The Hedge and preparing (yeah right) pizzas for a night with just me and the kids!
9) Bailey's Grille with Red (Heather)
10) Round trip in the Suburban on base in search of Georgia the dog. (No, I didn't catch her!)
11) In the passenger seat of Ranger Rick's truck being rescued because I was alone in the pitch dark in a park while my sister, and her family, and their friends, were recreating The Blair Witch Project unknowingly.
12) Ruby Tuesdays for dinner with MaryNell and her gang.
13) Sunday School
14) TGIFridays with Lolly and Rhoda and Pamela and the gang.

Ohhh did you want some details on # 11??  Ha ha.  I thought you might!!
Marynell is my sister's best friend. Her husband is Lance.  Their children are Caroline and Jacob.  The "plan" was a surprise since the kids had not seen each other in a while. We all met at a park in Virginia. It worked out perfectly. The day was beautiful!  The kids were so excited!!!! So they planned to do some geocaching through the park. For those of you that don't know what that is, it's a scavenger hunt with a GPS.  Off they went. But not before Marynell and I made jokes of them never returning...since I decided to stay back at the picnic bench and enjoy the sunshine.  Time rolled by quickly, I was sort of surprised.  But the sunset was gorgeous and Barb kept me well entertained on the phone.  I only wish my sister's call had been as entertaining.  We have Nextel phones. So we use the two way radios. (Follow below)
Pamela: Rene we're on our way back to you...well at least I think we are.
Me: what?
Pamela: We're not exactly sure where we are. Do you know how to get back to you??
(I hang up my other cell phone with Barb.)
Me: You're kidding....right??????????? Me who is totally geographically challenged??
Pamela: I'm sort of kidding. Can you yell so I can tell what direction we can hear you?
(I yell her name.)
Me: Did you hear me?
Pamela: Yes I think so. I'll call you back.  I don't want my battery to die.
Me: Ummmm ok.

So, I'm only a little worried at this point.  It isn't totally dark. However, both vehicles are locked.  There aren't any lights at this park.  I don't have a coat or socks on and the battery on one of my cell phones has just died.  I've now decided I've seen one too many horror movies. Pamela calls back.  It's "official".  Their lost and really don't know how to get back onto the path to where I am. Their GPS has died.  I'm in the pitch black park alone and some lunatic is going to get me or a bear is going to eat me!!!!!! I call my friend Bruce for comfort. He is so amused by the entire situation (asking me aren't both Dave and Lance pilots??) he asks me if I've ever seen the movie Deliverance....and starts laughing at me!!!!  Heeeeellllllllllllloooooooooo!  Not funny!

I decided to walk to the vehicles instead of sitting at the picnic bench.  I felt safer there.

Pamela: You ok?
Me: No I'm going to freak out.
Pamela: Well we just walked into a cemetary.
Me: No you didn't...
Pamela: Yes we did. Ohhh wait...someone is driving by we're going to flag them down....
I tried to radio her, but it wouldn't go thru.
Pamela:Someone is going to tell us how to get out of here.  I'll call you back when I know what is going on.

When I hung up, I leaned against the Suburban not feeling so glass half full.  I didn't really think I was going to get mugged or eaten by an animal.  Or that my sister and company would never find their way back.  I was just in the dark and alone and scared.  I didn't like it, at all.

Forty more minutes went by, at least. Then, I saw head lights. A truck pulled up to me, rolled down the window and said "Ma'am the park is allright??"
With a cracked voice I  answered "I realize that but my sister and her family and friends are out there lost..."
He was a Park Ranger. He insisted that I get in the truck with him.  He knew exactly where the cemetary was and explained that this actually happenend quite frequently.
I was shocked at the distance we drove. Across a bridge, over water and into that cemetary.  He turned his blue lights on and got out of his truck....minutes later nine faces walked towards me. I couldn't have been happier to see them!!!!

When I first started writing this entry it was about comfort and familiar territory. I suppose in some sense it still is about that.  Either way,  I got the "lesson". Though it is ok to have our safe havens, we need to walk off the path sometimes too.  We need change.  We need to feel afraid sometimes so we are able to be gracious and grateful. We need to feel pain, so we can celebrate true happiness. Call it growing pains, accomplishment, or simply a small step forward in this big journey of life. No matter what you call it, take some close friends along for the ride.  I imagine the time spent off the path this time around was well worth it!!

Hey Marynell ~ are you satisfied???????????????????????????? Ha ha ha :)

Monday, December 11, 2006

She's A Barbi Girl ~

There are moments in my life that are just perfect.  Moments I'd like to hold onto and capture forever.  Moments that I simply breathe in and think to myself, life does not get any better than this. As I sit here typing this, I am fighting back the tears. I want to share everything about my weekend. Shout it out loud, every detail... no matter how small and trivial it MAY seem... so you will understand how precious the time is we have, how important our loved ones are, and how quickly the moments slip away.

Barb has been my best friend since I was 20.  We've hit some rocky roads along the years, as friendships do.  However, no matter how much time has gone by, we always seem to pick up where we left off. Our motto is "five dollars, a cup a coffee, and you and me".  Meaning...we don't need much when we're together to have a good time.  She's part of that whole "home" thing for me...if you had not figured that out yet!

Barb and I spent most of the weekend together.  It was time together that was much needed.  Saying that I was content, joyful, happy....UNDERSTATEMENT.  She just makes it easy to be me.  I can talk about the cancer and she doesn't get freaked out. I can cry and she doesn't feel like she has to say a dozen things to "fix" me. She knows when I'm pushing myself too hard and asks me if I should start taking it easy.  I love that!!!!

So...we went to a candle party, we did some shopping, we had some latte's and some wonderful cinnaminny pastry things, I visited with her Dad for a while, we listened to some terrible Christmas music that she loaded on her ipod (all the songs were making fun of REAL Christmas tunes), we blasted the heat in her truck and we laughed and talked about old times, we went to a few different restaurants and ate great food, and we spent Saturday night in serious STYLE....Karaoke and tossing back shooters with obscene names until last call!  ;)  I think our cab driver would have happily driven us for free if the giggling would have stopped on the ride home!

(My doctor would not be so proud of me right now!!!!)

When we woke up Sunday morning, which I should say required a gallon of coffee. (I normally NEVER even drink coffee). There was still quite a bit of laughter. 
I'm even laughing now.  We decided the next night like that will be same time next year.  We're not quite as young as we used to be.  Well, at least Barbi isn't it.  Ha ha.

OK ~ time to exhale...tomorrow is a new day and I need to make some space to take in the moments!!!!!!!

I love y'all so much.

Hey Barbi ~ thank you for absolutely everything. I love you!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, December 9, 2006

Present And Accounted For!

I'm here! Or I guess I should say I'm back!  Did you miss me?  Phew!!  I am tired!  Let me tell you...there's been some serious "festivities" going on over here!!  It's been a blast!  There were even a few flurries here last night.  The kids were so excited they put on all their new winter "gear" running outside awaiting the first "storm!  You should know, they have never lived anywhere where they have seen this will be a HUGE first for them.  Does that explain their excitement??!!!!!!

Pamela and David are away for this weekend.  The kids are with their grandparents.  I spent most of the evening out. No juicy details.  Ohhhh.....there are some....I'm just not telling!!!  Ha ha ha.

Originally, I was going to title this entry "A Few Of My Favorite Things".  However, narrowing "it" down to only a few would be near impossible.  Especially since, the last few days were just overwhelming with happiness. So here goes.

 * children singing christmas songs
 * snow flurries
 * belly laughter
 * full moons
 * pink sunsets
 * hot chocolate & oreos
 * hot tea
 * beautiful horses (and a beautiful niece who rides them!!)
 * dancing just because
 * fuzzy socks
 * saying a prayer before dinner
 * kitchen "duty"
 * taking a nap
 * smell good candles
 * being back in familiar territory
 * being with your closest friends

Now, other than a little "incident" that happened after eating at Red Robin on Wednesday.  My tummy has been feeling mighty happy.  Speaking of the incident... tossing cookies at a Wal Mart is no fun. I'll spare you those details too!  :)

This is an email I recieved earlier in the week....

I'm sitting here with my girl scout troop having the time of my life. There are 5 girls at my stamping table painting t-shirts and singing Christmas carols. One of the girls shouted "Who wants to be a girl scout leader when they grow up?" and they all answered with a resounding "Yes!" I can tell you are having fun up there because you aren't journaling as much - they must be wearing you out! I miss you and I keep thinking about your offer to help with the girls and wish you could be here to share their joy. Keep having fun and making memories - they are truly the only things that last a lifetime!

I have the kindest souls in my life!  Can't wait to see you when I get back Julie!!

I need to tuck in now.  It's late and I have a full weekend planned!!!!!

I love y'all so very much! xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox


Monday, December 4, 2006

On My Pillow...

I went out to dinner Sunday night with Barb to the Macaroni Grill.  It's one of our "places" to go. The food is fabulous. However, I do have to say we have an issue with the service at this particular one.  Anyway, after appetizers, laughter, and a couple of wonderfully delicious drinks. We packed up our dinners and decided to call it night.

I walked in the door around 9:50 pm. Pam & Dave were still awake.  I was a little tipsy.  I said goodnight. I went upstairs. I really WANTED to sleep. I continued with all my night time "rituals" best I could...and just as I was about to climb into my bed, I noticed a little piece of paper on my pillow.

It was handwritten note from my nephew telling me goodnight since I wasn't home when he went to sleep! A little "love" note from my nephew!!

This morning when I thanked him for it, I told him I would keep it forever.

I really will you know...keep it forever.  I already have it tucked away in a special place.  :)

I'm off to sleep, again!!

Ohhhhh before you go to sleep tonight...please, please, please, please say some extra prayers for a little guy named Nathan and a friend of mine, Pammy.  Both are battling cancer as well!!!!


Lyrics To A Song ~

Life Means So Much
Chris Rice

Every day is a journal page
Every man holds a quill and ink
And there's plenty of room for writing in
All we do is believe and think
So will you compose a curse
Or will today bring the blessing
Fill the page with rhyming verse
Or some random sketching

Teach us to count the days
Teach us to make the days count
Lead us in better ways
That somehow our souls forgot
Life means so much
Life means so much
Life means so much

Every day is a bank account
And time is our currency
So nobody's rich, nobody's poor
We get 24 hours each
So how are you gonna spend
Will you invest, or squander
Try to get ahead
Or help someone who's under

Teach us to count the days
Teach us to make the days count
Lead us in better ways
That somehow our souls forgot
Life means so much
Life means so much
Life means so much

Has anybody ever lived who knew the value of a life
And don't you think giving is all
What proves the worth of yours and mine

Teach us to count the days
Teach us to make the days count
Lead us in better ways
That somehow our souls forgot
Life means so much

Every day is a gift you've been given
Make the most of the time every minute you're living

Saturday, December 2, 2006


Mother Nature sure did decide to take it down a few notches!!   Baby, It's Cold Outside!!!!! Of course, my Dad says I'm now thin skinned since moving to the south. But, I'm not so sure about that!!!  It really is cold out there!

I always hear people say when you're faced with adversity or tragedy something inside of you drastically changes. Maybe it's attitude or faith in God....but "something" no doubt. And for me,  that's been extremely true.

Let me explain....

There was a cat in my room around 9:45 am....and it mattered to me! (trust me this will make sense when you are finsihed reading this entire journal entry!!!)

I walked outside today and definitely got a taste of the cold air right away.  It sort of sucked my breathe away.  It wasn't uncomfortable. It was actually a bit welcoming!! Ohhh and the air smelled like that wonderful it's about to snow smell.  I love that smell so much.


My sister, and the girls, and I went shopping.  Elizabeth had her hand wrapped around my pinky while I was pushing the cart. Her delicate little hand.

When we arrived back at the house Daniel had beautiful tulips (pinkish white), that he and my brother in law picked up for "the ladies".  

I know, I know...many of you are thinking SO WHAT!!! What I'm trying to tell you is if you would have caught me at the age of 20....I'm not so sure I would have noticed any of these situations or sentiments.  OK and if I had, I am not certain they would have meant anything to me!!!!!!  

As far as the cat being in my room.  Sarah's cat Faith was missing the previous night.  It was gut wrenching.  We all went to sleep with tears in our eyes and knots in our stomachs not knowing where Ms Faithers had gone.  So when I woke up and opened my door and she scampered into my room. I couldn't have been happier!!  

Years ago if it wasn't about me, it just didn't matter. The kitty mattered!

So much matters now.  Living life with my eyes wide open.  Paying attention to what actually matters.

Life Means So Much.

Friday, December 1, 2006

Laughter Really Is The Best Medicine ~

At the height of laughter, the universe is flung into a kaleidoscope of new possibilities.  ~Jean Houston

I wonder if the kids have any idea how their laughter not only fuels me, but ignites me as well!!

I feel like I have more energy now, than I have had in the last two years.

It has to be something in their laughter....
or maybe it is just their terrific HUGS!!!!!!!