Monday, December 31, 2007
Their Kind of People or Totally Geeking Out.
I have a confession to make.

I love National Public Radio.

I think the addiction began sometime during my post-graduation stint as a travelling OT, when Monday mornings meant an hour long commute to an Ocala clinic. Morning Edition kept me company on the way to work, and All Things Considered saw me home.

When we moved to Phoenix, I discovered that their NPR station offered talk shows all day long.
Honestly, I'm surprised that my children didn't grow up thinking that our radio had only one station that worked.

My husband's not much better. He indulges me in Saturday does of Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me, Car Talk, and the Prairie Home Companion. He's been a contestant on Wait, Wait (and won, thank you very much), and faithfully plays the Sunday Puzzler every week on the way to church, emailing his answers in later in the week in hopes of mentally duking it out with "Puzzle master" Will Shortz and claiming the much-coveted NPR lapel pin and deluxe Scrabble set.

The acquisition of iPods has opened up a whole new world of on demand NPR. Splendid Table. A Way With Words. PRI and BBC programs galore.

Can you see where this is going?

Yes, our children have succumbed as well. The TQ, of her own volition, called into A Way With Words to ask Martha and Graham a question. She was selected to go on the air, and I was called by the show's producer to set up a time for her call in.

I commented to the producer. "You know, when my daughter was selected for your show, she told me, 'Wow, Mom, I guess this makes us a family of huge nerds'.".

"Maybe", replied the producer. "But you're our kind of people".

True enough.

My sister shares some of my NPR obsession...especially for the StoryCorps project. So, as part of her (and my) Christmas present, guess who got the last slot in the Orlando StoryCorps tour?!?!

I am ridiculously excited about this.

We're currently debating who should be the interviewer and who should be the interviewee. In the meantime, I could use your help.

What would you ask me (or my sister) if you were interviewing me for the project? Leave your questions in the comments. Maybe I'll answer them on the blog in preparation for the January 17th appointment.

  posted at 7:24 AM  

Sunday, December 30, 2007
Week in review
Well, as one might surmise from the appalling lack of posts, the last of '07 has been a whirl of gaiety in our little corner of the world.

Not too long after our Universal adventure with Mike and Heather, Steve and Laurie arrived with most of their crew to celebrate the holidays with us (yippee!). Because I'm lazy, and because Laurie has much better camera that I (trying hard not to covet), you can see us getting crazy at the Mouse House and Downtown Disney here. Some members of our church family blessed us by hooking both families up with park-hopper passes for the day.

This was NOT the type of company that starts to get "fishy" in three days...we loved having our friends here and were not ready to have them leave. Steve even encouraged Dave to clean up the landscaping in our front yard...Merry Christmas to me!

One of my favorite gifts this Christmas was getting the opportunity to sing one of my favorite duets, "A Strange Way to Save the World", during Christmas Eve service. Because I was too sick and exhausted to sing last year, it had been almost two full years since I had been able to make that kind of offering in church. It was a triumph and a was being able to not base my Christmas outfit on the hat or scarf I had to match.

The Moodys hit the road Thursday, and so did I...but this time to St. Pete to spend the night with my sister. We cleaned out her closets (part of my gift to her), and caught a movie. I then swung by Tampa and grabbed my nephew for an overnight with the cousins.

My other sis came Saturday to pick up my nephew. Her in-laws came over as well for an Italian feast that we tried out from a Rachel Ray cookbook I got for Christmas. Not to be completely annoying, but YUM-O...stick enough butter and cheese on anything and you've got a recipe for dinner party success.

The tree came down today...along with everything else. We still need to clean before we have company over to see in the new year tomorrow night, but we'll be able to spend New Year's Day in Sarasota without the holiday tear down hanging over our heads. The TQ and I headed out on a "date" to relieve the melancholy of our suddenly naked house. Thai food, a movie and coffee, not to mention her company, made for a great evening. It makes me look forward to the day that she's not just my daughter, but my friend as well.

I'm not sure how we'll ring in the new year tomorrow night, but you can bet it'll be better than my adventures in toxic chemotherapy last year. Talk about your hangovers...

God is good. All the time.

Happy New Year.

  posted at 9:51 PM  

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Thursday Thirteen: Virtual Gifts Edition
Gifts I would give, if money (and reality) weren't an issue:
1. For my Friends and Family--a cure for cancer. You all (my co-survivors) were amazing this past year, but I never, never, never want to do this again. No one else should have to, either.
2.For my husband--a quick and miraculous recovery from the hurricane that has been the last year or so of our lives. I can't fix it, but I will be here along side you as we dig out!
3.For the TQ--a secure knowledge of who you are in Christ, and how amazingly intelligent, talented and beautiful you are. It'll make piloting the teen years oh so much easier.
4.For my Roo--a passion to pursue your talents for the Lord, especially in the area of music. If I could figure out a way to make your practice time more joyous, I'd do it in a heartbeat.
5.For the Princess--a magic wand that you could wave and end your battle over the evil Finger Sucking Dragon. Then we'd definitely go and get your ears pierced!
6.For my Little Guy--a sledgehammer to destroy the wall that keeps whatever is in your head from being expressed by your mouth. You're working so hard in Speech and we're proud of you. We cant' wait until everyone understands you as well as we do!
7.For Sally-- A time/space portal that starts outside of your door and ends outside of mine. Barring that, a really, really kick-butt job for your dh here in Florida, complete with a HUGE relocation package! I MISS YOU!
8. For Laurie--I get to have you here for Christmas! I'm hoping that's a pretty decent gift. Just in case it's 'bout a tropical cruise with the rest of the wildside girls (with in-room Starbucks delivery)?
9.For Susan--a pink room, of course! I'll come and help paint, and even sew the curtains for you.
10.For Amy--Fabulous reviews for your new book (due out in April). BTW, I got the proof today and I'm SO excited....
11. For Beck--A couple of hours to sit on your porch and sip some of that sweet tea (splenda in mine, please), a way to make your mom's coconut cake calorie free, and your own personal organization and decorating guru.
12.For Heather--Clean scans from here on out. Also, a lunch date IRL...we are going to make it happen in 2008!
13.For Kristin--An amazing new house in Colorado. Congratulations on your WA house selling so quickly!

  posted at 3:58 PM  

Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Wordless Wednesday
True confessions--she was really being Hannah with Baby Samuel for AWANA Bible Character
Night, but she looks awfully darn Christmas-y, doesn't she?
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  posted at 9:48 AM  

Tuesday, December 18, 2007
I'm glad someone appreciates my talents
'Tis the season to bake goodies.

I made the Orlando to Sarasota run today to deliver some yummies to my dh's parents and pick up the wheat that the trust Magic Mill and Bosch will turn into Grandpa's daily bread. I love to bless my in-laws this way, after all, they have done so much for us.

Skimming Rebekah's blog, I can see that she's been baking, too, much to her son's sweet appreciation. Beck, I don't agree that scratch goodies would breed any contempt for their less complex relatives.

Today's dialogue points to this...keep in mind that almost EVERYTHING baked in our home is from scratch (with the exception of doctored cupcake mixes).

Princess: Mom, have you decided what I get to bring to the party tomorrow?
She has a holiday party with her resource teacher tomorrow after noon and has been assigned to bring sweets. She also knows that I have a freezer stocked with no less than six types of cookies (not all me...I exchanged with my sisters).

Me: Um, no. I thought I might make up a cookie plate. Did you want me to make up something special?
I confess I offered this with a sense of dread...I'm tired after a busy couple of days and I need to pick up the house and stock the pantry for our incoming company. However, I'm also thinking, "How sweet, she appreciates mommy's baking and would like something special to share with her friends".

Princess: Yes, I thought you could pick up DUNKIN' DONUTS. Should we get them tonight or on the way to school tomorrow?


  posted at 3:59 PM  

Monday, December 17, 2007
There's not many presents under the tree this year...
...but that hasn't stopped my kids from thinking that Santa came early! Sunday, my oldest two were treated to a day at Universal/IOA by some friends, and today, my college buddy's husband (a Universal employee) treated us ALL to a day of park hopping. The last time dh and I were at Universal, IOA was in concept stage, and I was a few months pregnant with the TQ!
Talk about VIP treatment. We had signed business cards from a park manager allowing us all to hop in express lanes for rides at the nearly empty park. For the rides that M worked at (our host) we actually got to skip the express lanes in favor of the VIP/Backstage tour waiting rooms and saw some of the behind the scenes areas of the parks. We even had coupons for huge discounts on food and merchandise.

Posted by PicasaYou can see from the happy faces that a good time was had by all, especially the grown-ups who got to have all of the fun and none of the financial pressure that usually would arise from buying five tickets into the parks. Thanks to M and H for a HUGE blessing and a delightful day with you and the boys.

  posted at 9:03 PM  

Sunday, December 16, 2007
She got Bibbiti Bobbity Boo-ed!

Ahh...Grandparent Power. Some one's Grandma (my father's wife) was down from NY this weekend. We went to the Marketplace at Disney because she wanted to find a shirt for her daughter. Instead, she found this place. Despite them "strongly recommending reservations", Grandma D managed to snag her a walk in...with NO waiting! The next thing I knew, my Princess was sporting an authentic princess 'do (and makeup) complete with sparkles from her Fairy Godmother's wand. She was positively paralyzed with joy. I was paralyzed at the price of a royal 'do ...but then I'm not a fairly grandmother...I mean, godmother. But then I suppose that is exactly what a Grandparental Prerogative is.

We'll see if this magic lasts past midnight. They do up the girls' hair with so much stuff that it hasn't moved all day, despite her playing outside in a bounce house! She insisted on sleeping in it, tiara and all, in the hopes that she could wear it again tomorrow (well, she said until Wednesday when she has a party with her resource teacher at school, but that would take more magic than even Disney could muster).
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  posted at 8:58 PM  

Kitchen Elves

My older children rock the kitchen. One of the ways that I've gotten so much baking accomplished this year is that they've been willing to shape and bake the cookies that I've mixed up. Sometimes (like for last night's soccer party) I just hand one of them a recipe (in this case the TQ whipped up a pumpkin cake) and let them rip!

My little guy SO wants to get in on the sous chef act. He reacts to my starting up the Kitchen Aid much like a cat does when it hears the can opener...."I help! I see! I smell cookies!".

We had our new friends E and her son K over this week to make some cookies. The littles did "splatter paint" icing on molasses cookies. They looked very arty and our helpers were so proud of themselves.

On Friday, I started up batches of Grandma's M&M cookies. My little helper was again at my side, so I decided to forgo perfection for a fun memory, and let him "decorate" by placing the candies on the tops of the cookies.

He took his role as pastry chef very seriously. We even practiced counting as the candies went on the cookies. He was more than a little sad when the job was done, but a little sample of the fruit of his labor went a long way towards cheering him up.

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  posted at 8:36 PM  

Wednesday, December 12, 2007
It's official...
...we still are going to need a large shovel to dig ourselves out from under the financial assaults of the last year, but...

We only own one house!!

Thankful doesn't even begin to express how relieved we are.

  posted at 2:19 PM  

Pray for Kate
A hat tip to Heather for letting us know about Kate's surgery today. Please be in prayer for her, her surgeons, and her family.

  posted at 7:59 AM  

Kinda Wordless Wednesday
This was taken last Saturday right before the girls and I left for the Ladies' Christmas Tea at church (it was pretty much a bust, but that's a blog for another day). Of course, the day before the tea, I realized that neither one had any winter dress clothes that fit, resulting in a whirlwind shopping trip that morning. I'm so thankful that my oldest seems to have a natural bent towards modest clothing.

We ended up our morning at the beauty shop, where both were washed, clipped, and blown dry. I thought the end result was pretty respectable.
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  posted at 7:57 AM  

Tuesday, December 11, 2007
A Cancer Whine
Before I even begin, let me say that Heather has it's a gift to be here. Not to mention my own personal peccadilloes can't begin to match the sufferings of my Savior. I can't argue with that kind of perspective.

Still, indulge me.

Even eight months post treatment, cancer treatment is the gift that keeps on giving. A few examples from this week:

No stamina--I was on "no lifting" last week due to port removal (hooray) but that equated to no vacuuming and no heavy cleaning. While my family is pretty terrific about keeping the place picked up, there was some pretty nasty stuff to clean up (especially since we made both latkes and homemade marshmallows Sunday--eek!). It took me all day to catch up Monday, a job that might have taken four hours before treatment(okay, I have a bigger house now) and I'm so stinking deconditioned that I was sore this morning. Boo. Hiss. I also find that the five o'clock "arsenic hour" is tougher to deal with than ever.

No memory--My sweet neighbor had a flat yesterday and needed me to pick up her children from school. Thank goodness she handed me the kid's car pick up cards--because I couldn't remember her name to save my life. It took me the rest of the day to pull it out of the recesses of my brain...and this is someone who babysits my youngest child. I also forgot that I told my dad (visiting from NY this weekend) that we'd have an all family gathering this Sunday, and also gave my older kids permission to go to Universal with friends (so who gets disappointed by my stupidity?) Needless to say, every Sunday is an exercise in frustration as well as I grope for names of people who have introduced themselves multiple times.

On the positive side, when I went to wrap some gifts today, I uncovered a few things I had tucked away months ago...less to finish shopping for.

I think the worst thing is when my deficiencies collide. I feel so much better than I did during active treatment, therefore I forget that I have a hard time keeping up with BC Heather's schedule and expectations and bite off way more than I can chew. Then I scramble to keep up and fall on my face.

You think a year like the last year would have taught me not to operate in my own strength. Either I'm a slow learner...or the chemo brain and post-cancer fatigue is striking again.

  posted at 5:33 PM  

Thursday, December 06, 2007
Random Photo Thursday, a house update, and a shout out to my best friend.
I'm not sure how I forgot to gloat about the UF-FSU game...but here's the kids with the sign that the Princess made while we were watching and waiting for our pizza to be delivered.
What do I do all day?? Often random acts of crazed volunteerism. Yesterday was shopping for materials (hooray for Old Time Pottery and a JoAnns liquidation sale) and making corsages/boutonnieres like a crazy elf. Won't they look festive against the middle school advanced choir's black uniforms??

Another random act of crafting/volunteerism. Our soccer coach found these online retailing for $14.95 + s/h each. Egad! A little practice work, a few Michael's coupons (paint pens are pricey!) and tah-dah!. Final cost (without labor, of course) $2 each.
The house: Seems that as of, oh two days ago or so, Maricopa county was declared a declining area. Now our preapproved buyers are no longer approved for a full amount loan. SO, they're reshuffling financing to make our % towards closing their down payment. Should be done by Friday (please, please??). I'll feel better when this is really all over, as we wired an obscene amount of (all) our money to cover our "negative equity" balance to the relocation agent. Keep praying, will you please?
A shout out: Sally, as I painted all of those ornaments, I can only think that ten years ago, I would have NEVER believed in my artistic ability enough to even attempt to draw a soccer ball, much less think my lettering was good enough to put on anything. Thank you for being the best art teacher and confidence booster ever. I love and miss you!
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  posted at 10:40 AM  

Tuesday, December 04, 2007
Because I'm still not allowed to liftor bend today...
Sally sent me an email version of this...and it turned up in Susan's blog as well. Grab your favorite holiday beverage and join in!

Christmas Meme

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Mostly wrapping paper, but the tree hugger in me cringes at the consumption! One of these days I really am going to buy a bunch of holiday fabric on sale and sew up lots and lots of reusable gift bags...

2. Real tree or artificial? Artificial. We love the smell of the real ones, but hate justifying the cost. AND this year I "super couponed" and got 40% off of the HUGE tree at JoAnns, an expense I can totally justify! We also have a tree in the dining room (gingerbread men and "kid" ornaments) that my sister got doorbusting on Black Friday.

3. When do you put up the tree? If we're not out of town (or getting ready for chemo!) it goes up on Black Friday. This is totally my husband's thing, and an idiosyncrasy that I adore, as it means that I do very little work in putting it up....I'm the aesthetic consultant and chief bow maker.

4. When do you take the tree down? Usually New Year's Day.

5. Do you like eggnog? In coffee...but I prefer a Gingerbread Spice Latte (nonfat and sugar free, please...hold the whip).

6. Favorite gift received as a child? A horse for my Barbies to ride. (This was actually a Channukah present). (Favorite gift as a grown up? Having the house in Phoenix off of our hands!)

7. Do you have a nativity scene? While my collection no where near rivals my sister in law's (Where do you put them all??), I have my beloved Willow Tree collection and lots, and lots of child-friendly versions as well. I think we have a set in almost every room, and several on the tree and the walls.

8. Hardest person to buy for? My grandparents. Actually, most of the people I'd have the hardest time buying for we don't tend to exchange with...we do charitable donations instead. That makes it easy--and enjoyable.

9. Easiest person to buy for? My kids.

10. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? One piece Strawberry Shortcake PJ's ...I was almost fifteen at the time, and was totally mortified when my mom made me model them for the offending relatives.

11. Mail or email Christmas cards? Snail mail. I love pictures, too, and updates.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? Charlie Brown...but only because my husband loves it so much.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? It depends. This year I got a late start. I don't really like to shop, so that doesn't help.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Yes, I'm super picky when it comes to bath products, so I've recycled fragrances that I don't like versus trying to return them when they go on super sale after Christmas.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? I'm a cookie monster. My sisters and I are all fab bakers! Of course, I love Starbucks at this time of year, too...

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? Clear. I don't even really like colored lights outside. I'm a pretty understated person.

17. Favorite Christmas song? I Wonder as I Wander. I learned it as a little Jewish girl in elementary school chorus, and it was probably the first time the truth of the gospel tugged at my heart. I still remember all of the words.

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? I love both...but I love being home more. I love the fact that I'm in Florida and (almost) have the best of both worlds. It would be perfect if Sally and her crew would just move into the house for sale across the street.
19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Yes.

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Well, it would be an angel (we have a wonderful one from Southern Living at Home) but our new tree is so tall that it bumps the ceiling, so Gabriel is hanging out in some lit greenery on top of the entertainment center. I actually have a beautiful gold and white bow on the tree in the living room, and a Christmas plaid bow and a gingerbread man (yes, I'm obsessed...I keep them in my kitchen even when it's not Christmas) on the tree in the dining room.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? I usually let them open one the night before...but I don't do PJs every year!

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? People so overwhelmed by the "shoulds" of the season (I should give this person a gift, send out cards, bake, decorate....) that they miss out on the wonder of the incarnation.

23. What I love most about Christmas? Advent! I love the season of anticipation and the beauty of contemplating the miracle of God become man.

And more from Sally:

Don't be a Scrooge!!!
1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Either but I'd prefer a holiday treat from Starbucks!

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? "Santa" gifts are in the stockings (or under them) unwrapped. They keep the kids busy so dh and I can stay in bed an extra half hour or so!

3. Colored lights on tree/house? White

4. Do you hang mistletoe? Depends...were the Scouts out selling it while I was shopping?

5. When do you put up your decorations? Black Friday

6. What is your favorite holiday dish? I'm not picky...and sushi taste yummy no matter the season!

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child: My mom remarried when I was in the third grade. We had our first tree that year (my bio father is Jewish). It was quite eclectic, because we didn't have many ornaments and filled in the gaps with stuffed animals, bows, cookie cutters, etc...we loved it.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? What?? Santa isn't real??

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? It depends...see above.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree? The living room has family ornaments, the kids' personal ornaments, souvenirs from our vacations, etc. The dining room tree is all of my treasures that the kids have made, plus my obsessive gingerbread collection and some cute red hearts from last year's IKEA sale.

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it? Love to visit, wouldn't want to live in it!!

12. Can you ice skate? Yes, but not well.

13. Do you remember your most favorite gift? Our second Christmas together, dh and I splurged on a "real" tree, and my mom and I stayed up half the night making bread dough ornaments and cinnamon applesauce ornaments for it. We tied plaid bows on the branches and lit it with white lights (of course). We spent hours that would have been better spent studying for finals just hanging out and enjoying that tree!

14. What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you? Advent and the miracle of the Incarnation.

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? My Mom's pumpkin pie

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? We have a literal library of Christmas books that we pull out every year only in December. I also love our annual Channukah celebration...I've been known to fry up over twenty pounds of latkes!

17. What tops your tree? A bow.

18. Which do you prefer giving or receiving? Giving.

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song? I Wonder as I Wander. See above. O Holy Night runs a close second,but only if it's sung well!

20. Candy Canes? They make cute decorations

21. Do you feel Christmas is too commercialized? Yep...that's why I love Advent so much!

  posted at 8:01 AM  

Monday, December 03, 2007
Still waiting on the contract (there were some paperwork glitches)
But the big news around our house is that I've gone wireless!

Yes, the venous port came out this morning at Moffitt.

Everything went fine, but I do wonder why they don't sedate people for this. Even for a seasoned medical geek like myself, it's a little disconcerting to have a surgeon tugging on your chest wall and cauterizing your flesh just inches away from my nose (ick). Trust me, a little IV sedation would have gone a long way.

On the plus side, my restrictions are minimal (no bending at the waist for two days, no lifting anything over ten pounds for a week (always interesting with a small child in the house). The pain is moderate, but tylenol and ice help.

It's hard to explain how overjoyed I am to have the port gone. Don't get me wrong, it was a blessing not to have my peripheral veins destroyed or to have to undergo multiple sticks for each IV, blood draw, chemo, transfusion, etc. But it was also a constant reminder that I was a Cancer Patient. Despite the upcoming (and ongoing) scans and checkups, being "wireless" means that this season is truly drawing to a close.

AND, the dh just called....he's running late because the contract is printing!! Am I the only one who finds significance in the fact that God would wrap up two major life issues in the same day?
We're not without scars (I think our finances bear as many as my body does!) but we're still standing.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

  posted at 4:39 PM  

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I'm a work in progress, a stay at home mom of four, a beloved daughter of the King.

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