Saturday, March 01, 2008

March weekend

Today Ryan woke up with a migraine - uh oh. He took his Immitrex (sp?) and is in the darkened guest room right now, trying to sleep it off. Hopefully within two hours he'll feel much better.

The plan for this weekend is to spend a little time today at C&P (about to leave!), to run an errand at WaMu (Tessa and I are going to go - she's going to ride her bike, and I'm going to walk beside her with Shep...wish me luck! It's about a mile and a half round trip and I'll have my hands full.), and then it's gardening, gardening, gardening.

We're going to break ground on the new garden, and go up to West Seattle Nursury to buy extra compost (we don't have enough) and fertilizer, to prep the soil for planting. It's going to be back breaking work, but I swear it will be worth it. We also have a truckload's worth of mulch (free!) that we need to spread on our other beds. It will be a busy day, and at the end of it all we'll be tired, but hopefully in that satisfying way. We'll have a quiet family night together, and I even envision board games. We'll see!

Sunday, we'll go to church (the subject is happiness, and references the Dalai Lama's thoughts on happiness, and I'm particularly intrigued and hopeful that I'll walk away with something interesting) and our friend Bryona is coming (Graham too, I hope). Then, the Farmer's Market....and then we have no plans. I like the no plans part as much as the other parts.

And now, off to the day. Fingers crossed that Ryan's meds work and the migraine disappears quickly!

Friday, February 29, 2008

Parenting opportunity

Ryan and I chatted about the pre-K conference yesterday.

Both of us said that we were surprised. The Tessa that we are used to is bubbly and outgoing, not particularly shy.

But the signs are there, too, and we had not been paying close enough attention.

Our daughter is the way that all children are perfect. She has her drama queen moments, and she's perfected whining, etc., but she is a great kid, and I couldn't imagine any other child for my own. This was a little wake up call to me to see her as she really is, and not as I might perceive myself or as I project ideas on to her.

Tessa and I had a nice little talk about it yesterday. She said that she feels funny when she's watching the other kids play at recess and she's not sure what to do. She said that the other kids are nice to her, and she likes school, but that she doesn't know what to do at recess. We talked about ideas, abstract and concrete, for getting around this. When I left school today, Tessa was sitting at Kate's area, and the two of them were making art together and talking about playdates together. I suggested to Tessa that she should ask Kate to play with her at recess, and Tessa thought this was a good idea. I guess this needs to be taught! I am very interested to hear what Tessa says when she comes home. This will not be resolved overnight, and Tessa may forget today when it's recess, and that's okay. Hopefully she'll remember the heart of what we talked about, and it will help her to not feel "funny" about those times when the kids are playing together and not doing a specific task like making letters or singing songs.

I will coach Tessa to help her to feel more connected at school, and to give her the skills to make new friends. I will also accept her for who she is: slow to warm up, a bit shy at times, an observer. Those things are also wonderful parts of her, and I love them just as much as I love the bubbly girl that I see most often at home.

The teacher pointed out that I can not protect Tessa from all pain, and that she will have to learn on her own timetable. I know this is true, but I can't help but want to announce to each child that Tessa is special, amazing, smart, funny, kind, etc. Of course this would be interfering in the highest degree, and would probably label Tessa a weirdo because of her mother's interference, and I'll never do it. Tessa will have to figure this out on her own, and all I can do is talk about it on occassion, without drawing too much attention to it, and it will work itself out.

Ryan pointed out that when the kids get to know Tessa in kindergarten, even if it takes a while, they'll learn how great she is, and as she goes through school with them she'll pick up friends along the way, at her own pace. She has dozens of friends and a few close friends already, so she's got a great head start.

Phew. This parenting business isn't for sissies.

Thursday, February 28, 2008


They never cooked all the way through. I guess I didn't soak them long enough...? They looked plenty plump etc, and they'd been in the slow cooker for perhaps 6 hours, but they have a slightly crumbly texture. GRRRRRR.

I added water to the "cooked" baked beans, baked them an additional 1.5 hours, and still they're better but not fully cooked. I've given up for the night, and added a cup of water and set them in the fridge. Maybe they'll absorb the water overnight and be good to go tomorrow?

Hey, Granny, send me a message. What do I do now?!

(We ate grilled cheese for dinner. Sigh.)

Pre-kindergarten parent teacher conference

Today was my first parent teacher conference, with Tessa's preschool teacher.

The great news:
The teacher classifies Tessa as a "bright, empathetic, compassionate child who is absolutely ready for kindergarten." Tessa has the fine motor skills, the basic knowledge (letters, numbers, etc.) with very few exceptions. (For some reason she didn't identify a rectangle or the number 10, both of which we can correct with little work.) We'll work on writing her last name, and on lower case letters, but overall, she's ahead of the curve. Her artwork is "near the top of the class" as well. Tessa follows instruction well, is a great helper in the classroom, takes responsibility, learns her academic lessons well, and picks up new knowledge and skills well. When there is a structured activity, she excels; she participates well and raises her hand to answer questions and volunteer information at carpet time.

The thing that caught me a bit off guard (though when I think about it, it isn't too surprising) is that Tessa does not engage with the other kids at school, and is mostly an observer, especially at recess. She doesn't jump in to play with the other kids, appears shy, and really holds back. She doesn't appear to be making friends on her own, and this can be really tough for kids in kindergarten. I think that Tessa has so many friends from babyhood that she's never had to work at making a friend, and for this reason, she hasn't developed the skill. The teacher said that it's a developmental thing, and that I couldn't really help Tessa with it, other than to talk to her about it. The one thing we CAN do is invite school kids for playdates, etc. Tessa particularly likes Kate at her school, and they have some things in common, so that is an obvious choice, and we'll invite Kate to play soon. It's not that Tessa doesn't play well with others, or appears unhappy at school, or is snubbed by other's that she just holds back and doesn't engage, and she does this enough that she's quiet and the kids don't even notice after a while.

The idea of Tessa standing around at recess, simply observing, not engaging or playing, gives me a bit of a stomachache. The teacher isn't worried, and I know from observing Tessa with her friends at home that she's capable of interacting extremely well with other kids, but obviously this is something we need to work on. We will! The teacher pointed out that everything can change in a year, and I suspect that will be the case.

Granny's beans

As I was prepping them today (since Tessa was at Anna's I thought I'd get making dinner out of the way), I remembered some things. Granny always put some apple cider vinegar in hers, as well as some dry mustard. Funny how these things can come back to you.

The beans are in the fridge now, and they'll go into the oven around 5pm so we can eat at 6ish. I'll do a simple green salad with some blood oranges in it for a side, and voila', dinner is ready.

I'm afraid to look up the points - the beans and onions are fine, but maple syrup and bacon? Uh oh. If they're as good as I remember, I'll have a hard time keeping my portions small, too.

It's misty outside but I'm determined to put on old jeans and shovel bark mulch after Tessa's pre-K parent teacher conference.....

Lifestyle side effect

Here's a side effect that I hadn't thought about.

It's halfway through the "garbage week" (our collection day is Monday). Usually, by now, our garbage can out back is half full; usually by the end of the week we have to push down on the garbage to get the last bag in. This week, it only has half of a bag of trash in it (brought out before it was full because it was stinky). We are cutting down on the stuff that is going into landfills - hurrah!

It makes sense: we're not buying things that we don't need right now, and since we don't really need anything, there's no packaging to dispose of. I'm making so much of our food from scratch, I'm not generating garbage from packaging. The vegetable scraps go to the worm bin or compost, the junk mail goes to recycling. The farmer's market doesn't have much packaging; the fruit is sold by the piece and not in plastic boxes. I'm even being intentional about using plastic tubs (Tupperware style) instead of plastic bags, because the tubs are re-usable. When I send Ryan to work with a lunch for microwaving, he uses a microwavable dish that's ceramic with a plastic lid (I don't microwave plastic); his carrots or whatever go into a tub not a bag.

That's pretty cool. I'm doing it to save money, and to cut back on how much stuff we consume, and it's WORKING!

We're about two weeks in on this lifestyle shift. We'll see what happens next; I'm certain that there will be a lot of tweaking, but I know we're on the right track.

And as for me, I'm not shopping for pleasure at all. I'm reading a lot (just finished "Sunstroke" by Tessa Hadley), I'm planning a trip to the Seattle Art Museum (where I am a member), I've been going to yoga classes, I've been frequenting the library and reading all kinds of gardening stuff, I've been drinking tea from fancy little-old-lady teacups in my living room, I've been having friends over or visiting friends. I do not feel deprived by this lack of shopping. We have what we need, and more, and I've got some pride that I'm not adding to the consumer production of stuff. (Want to know why? Go to in case you haven't already. It's eye opening, interesting, informative.)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

All this food

My whole life is food centric right now. Have I gained five pounds yet?!

Most of the food I'm making is healthy, Weight Watchers-y stuff. But the berry cobbler (frozen berries) that I made tonight wasn't. It was delicious, though! Our neighbors came over for dinner at our invitation (after all, we did have a whole chicken) and so at the last minute I threw together the cobbler...yum. The chicken took an extra 45 minutes to cook because I crowded it with vegetables (oops) but nobody complained too much.

The leek soup was ho-hum. I used the broth for the base of the chicken stock (leftover chicken carcas - this time with yellow onions, celery, etc!) because it was so dull, but I think it will really liven up the chicken stock.

The beans are prepped, ready to be turned into Granny's Baked Beans tomorrow. I have a blue "pot" to cook them can't be as good as Granny's brown one, but I'll try.

All this food talk/thinking/prepping/cooking/cleanup is exhausting. Enough already! But hopefully I'll get into a groove where it takes up less of my time.

Dinner updates

Tonight's plan: roasted chicken (stuffed with lemon, onion, and rosemary) with winter veggies (parsnip, carrots, leeks....roasted beets on the side, drizzled with a touch of honey and herbs...).

Tomorrow's plan: Granny's Baked Beans. I don't have my Grandma Goddard's recipe, but here is what I remember. She had a special little brown crockery pot used only for the purpose of making baked beans. She also had a woodstove in the kitchen, and she'd simmer the beans on top of this woodstove, stoking the fire occassionally. (She also had a regular stove, but as a kid I was fascinated by the old fashioned one.) She used a slab of bacon, not the pre-sliced, pre-packaged stuff, and she used maple syrup that she'd buy on trips "back east" to Toronto. I don't remember the details beyond that, but I remember that they were DELICIOUS and a real treat. I'm making them for our family's dinner tomorrow night....hopefully Ryan & Tessa's love of bacon and maple syrup will compensate for their distaste at beans! I got the slab of bacon at the farmer's market, and I got the beans there, too. Today I'm pre-soaking the beans in the crock pot, as that's a 6-8 hour step, and then I'll bake them with the other ingredients tomorrow.

I'm also making a leek soup for lunches and a side dish for the rest of the week; it's a recipe from "French Women Don't Get Fat" and it's proported to be delicious, healthy, and slimming. We'll see.

Today Tessa went to her five year check up, and all systems are working well (no surprise to me). She got three shots, and cried for a moment while snuggled in my lap, but soon wiped her tears and smiled for her treats (a pencil, lollipop, and treat for each shot) from the nurse. As a treat for her shots, and for registering for kindergarten (to mark the milestone), I offered to treat Tessa to lunch in the Junction. Azuma (sushi place)? Lee's (Chinese/Asian)? Elliott Bay Brewery? Jak's (we could split a hamburger there)? Capers (deli stuff)? Buddha Ruksa (Thai)? No, no, no, Mommy. McDONALD'S! At first I said no. I hate their stuff, it's unhealthy, etc. But then I thought "do I want to be that kind of mom?" and the answer is "no." We went to McDonald's, and invited Jenny & Zoe to join us. Tessa delightfully said, "I got to come here one other time!" and that made me feel a bit better about the decision - it's NOT like we do this much (maybe once a year). They gave her a toy with her happy meal, and it wasn't something she liked, so she gave it back, so we didn't even add it to a landfill or have one more piece of clutter enter the house. And her enthusiasm over the whole thing was enough for me; it was the right thing to do this time. I've got an upset stomach as a result, but it WAS worth it, and I'm drinking ginger tea this afternoon to compensate.

Tessa and Zoe are playing, and I'm on the computer here a moment before doing chores. The sun is shining, and the girls played outside a bit. I hope we get good weather this weekend so that we can break ground on our garden. This week I'm reading about composting and soil mixes for vegetable gardens....wonders never cease.

That's all for now - off to laundry!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


It is officially time to register. That means that it is officially time to choose our preferences for Tessa's school. In Seattle, there is a lot of parent choice for schools, but there is no guarantee that we will get our first choice.

Our choices are:
Alki Elementary (2.2 miles away)
Gatewood Elementary (1.1 miles away, and our reference school)
Pathfinder Elementary (about 1 mile away, an alternative school)
Lafayette Elementary (about 2 miles away)
Schmitz Park Elementary (about 1.5 miles away)

School choice is very personal, and we know many West Seattle parents, none of whom rank the schools the same way. It's a combination of values (some schools offer exemplary Spanish, or art, or special ed, or social-emotional development, or reading, or writing programs...not one school offers all of these things equally); educational philosophy (traditional, alternative, or in between - how do you believe children learn best?), and other factors like building amenities, love or dislike of particular individuals, proximity to home, bussing availability, etc. Academic rigor is, of course, always of concern and interest.

I believe that Alki is neither traditional nor alternative; I believe that they offer a very nice combination of social-emotional development with academic rigor.

My list shows my conflicting values....these schools are each very different, and some parents might love one school but hate the others.

But I have decided. I feel that we are very likely to get into one of our top two choices. I'm trying not to get my heart too set on Alki, as my first choice, because we are not a shoe-in. It's impossible to predict whether we'll get in, as it's based on who is ahead of us (students with siblings at Alki, then students in the Alki reference area, then students who live closer to Alki than we do), but we know others in our neighborhood who got into Alki in recent years, so that leads us to be hopeful about that choice.

Tomorrow, after Tessa's 5 year check up, we will take her to submit her paperwork for kindergarten at the South Enrollment Center. Maybe afterwards I'll treat her to something to mark the occassion - an ice cream or something. I'm actually relieved to get rid of this paperwork, and to have the process out of my hands. I've done tours, I've held countless conversations with others, I've researched, I've debated....and now it is done. What happens next is out of my hands, whether I've made the right decisions or not.

I look forward to hearing (in April, I believe) where Tessa has been placed. Until then, I hope not to think about it, and I'm glad to not have to fit in all this research into my life any more!

Dinner - Spanish Fritatta

Onion (organic, Farmer's Market)
Olive Oil (organic, TJ's)
Potatoes (organic, PCC)
Eggs (organic, PCC)

Simple, simple food, seasoned with a little salt and pepper, and topped with salsa - yum. I'll serve some fruit on the side, and I think I'll steam some broccoli, as we had salad at lunch and Tessa prefers broccoli. We had some light sour cream and salsa left over from something else, so we're topping the dish with this combo.

I estimate the entire meal, with apple slices on the side, to be about $8, or $2 per serving (Ryan will take leftovers for lunch tomorrow). This doesn't make me the most frugal person in the world, but for healthy, pesticide free, hormone free, organic, responsibly farmed food, I think it's impressive.

This diet is providing more than our share of fruits and vegetables per day. For the first time in a while, I'm very certain that I'm hitting my minimum five servings per day without trying. I'm serving fruit at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and we're having veggies with lunch and dinner (usually one serving at lunch, two or more at dinner; in a soup like yesterday's, there might have been four servings of veggies included, all simmered down).

Speaking of yesterday's soup, it's gone. Ryan had his for lunch today, and I took the rest to my parents, to share with them and also with my brother. Today Tessa wouldn't touch it - strange kid. Mom, Dad and Mike seemed to like it, though. Mom is doing well, walking much more than last time I saw her, and in seemingly good spirits. She is anxious to be doing more, and to be up and about, and to get rid of pain meds, but all things considered, I think she's making excellent progress. I have been enjoying our visits together. Today I was able to help by prepping the crock pot dinner my mom had planned, and it made me happy to help her in this small way (I didn't like the image of her up on the leg for two long as she cooked, but she wanted to help my dad out, as he's been doing a fantastic job of playing chef AND caring for her AND working).

Speaking of cooking, I feel like my whole life is revolving around food right now. I pray that this is temporary. The planning is not automatic, the ideas are not automatic, the style of cooking isn't yet familiar, the budget constraints feel tight, and I have a lot to learn. I'm forging ahead, though, and we're hitting some good notes.

As a routine, I'm trying to do one egg dish a week (that was tonight), one vegetarian or close-to-vegetarian dish per week (this week it's Granny's baked beans....with bacon...breaking my family in slowly), one roast per week (I'm lazy this week and I'm replicating last week's chicken), and Friday night pizza (Ryan & Tessa's favorite. The roast gets stretched for a couple of meals - chicken on top of salads, soup stock, etc. Most of the meals make leftovers for lunches, but I'm also roasting turkey for sandwiches because it's easy, cheap, and done without weird processing like other deli meats. I imagine a lot of stir frys - I'd better get some beef in this menu soon or Ryan is sure to rebel. ;-)

Okay, off to fill out Tessa's school paperwork. Time to sign up for kindergarten....

I have another loaf of bread baking, as I left the rest of ours with Mom & Dad, too.

Update on my ring...

...and major kudos to Menasche in West Seattle.

I just got a call from Jack Menasche in West Seattle from Menasche Jewelers. They are going to fix my ring, free of charge, standing behind their work.

I am so grateful to them for taking care of my ring, and for dealing with this situation in such an honorable way. I am not in a position to buy jewelry these days, but I'm telling you, if I was, I'd send all my business there.

If you're looking for new jewelry and live locally, check them out. Beautiful pieces, super people.

Thank you!


Today we're going to visit my mom. We'll bring along some lentil soup for her and dad's lunch, we'll get in a nice visit, and we'll go swimming at the pool (Tessa and I will, that is). Then Tessa and I will go to Molbak's, which is a SeedSaver outlet (heirloom veggie seeds) and pick out some things for our garden before heading home again. Tonight's dinner will be a simple fritatta (Spanish Potato Fritatta, topped with salsa, with a side salad) because it's simple and fast. I didn't buy enough market potatoes (only one pound of Peruvian Blue, which went into yesterday's soup) so the potatoes today are from PCC; next week I'll get them at the market.

My mood is rather ho-hum blah. Bah humbug. I'll snap out of it; I always do.

Last night I went to bed at 8:30! I don't know why I was so tired. I got up at 7:30, for a whopping 11 hours in bed. I wonder what the deal with that is?

Monday, February 25, 2008

Lentil Soup

I don't usually cook with beans...or lentils. I'm trying both. Healthy, inexpensive, and very good for the environment; a great source of protein and fiber. Diversity in our diet.

Today when shopping at PCC while Tessa was at gymnastics, I was talking to a lady in the produce section (she was wondering how I was going to cook "all those leeks"). She, in turn, told me about a lentil soup recipe that she swears makes "people who can't stand lentils start to love lentils."

She said....

A couple of turns of olive oil in the pan; add chopped onion and garlic. Add chopped leeks, and saute until softened; season with salt and pepper. Add "french blue-green lentils" (the type, apparently, being very important), and chopped potatoes, and simmer in chicken broth for 20 minutes. Finally, add carrots or other vegetables, simmer an additional 10-20 minutes, and serve.

I'm adding more farmer's market sausage from Sea Breeze Farms on Vashon, because Ryan and Tessa aren't quite ready for hard core lentils. The amount of sausage is quite small compared to the total quantity prepared, but hopefully will add the zing that they seek.

From the farmer's market:
Kale (which I'm adding as cooks down beautifully in soups and adds a green element)
Potatoes (Peruvian Blue, at Tessa's request)
Carrots (Nantes sweet)

The chicken broth is home made from farmer's market ingredients.

From PCC, organic:
blue-green lentils

It's simmering away right now. I'll serve it with some fresh fruit slices, and some home made bread. I ran out of honey so I substituted molasses in my last batch, and it's quite good...the molasses was an acceptable substitute.

Speaking of honey, it was really expensive at the Farmer's Market, so I got it at PCC. Maybe next time I'll break down and get the Farmer's Market stuff, but right now budget is more important.

I bought MOST of my groceries at the FM this week, and I'm happy with that...

Since writing my last post I've had some anxiety about what a negative Nellie I am, and how people will perceive my whining. I'm trying to come to terms with those thoughts, hoping that nobody will judge me too harshly. I'm still working on all fo this positive stuff. I'm still trying to be a good little homemaker, feeding my family nutritious, delicious, organic, healthy home cooked meals. I'm trying to find pleasure in it. I'm trying to remember the slow foods movement. I'm trying not to remember that Tessa is watching a Clifford movie so that I can cook.

(In my own defense, she played with Jessie all morning, then I picked her up and went straight to Anna's to pick up Anna. Beth arrived her to pick up Anna, and they went out the front door and we went out the back door to gymnastics. I shopped while Tessa was at gymnastics, and then we came home. It's not great 1:1 time with Tessa but she's beenhaving a fabulous, kid-focused day anyway. Tomorrow we're going to visit my mom, and so I'll get lots of 1:1 with Tessa and I'll take her swimming.)

Edited to add: I just tasted the soup; I'm letting it simmer for a few more minutes, but it's done. YUM! I hope Tessa doesn't complain about the texture, because I don't have a backup plan. I'm serving it with the bread, but also fruit - blood oranges were on sale, and Braeburn apples, so that's what we're having. Tessa will like bread and fruit, at least, and worst case scenerio she can dip her bread or eat just the carrots from the soup or....?

Also...we discovered "real" baby carrots at the Farmer's Market. Not those weird machine processed ones that pass as baby carrots all over America, but real honest to goodness ones, with tops and roots and such. And the best part? They taste GREAT. Tessa loves them, and took pride in telling Anna today that they were "real" carrots. I love sharing this journey with a child who is (mostly) open to the process. Now, wish me luck with lentil soup....

Tessa Soup Update: First comment was "Ewww I'm not eating that." Then, minor fits. Then, she started eating it. Then, she cleaned her plate until "Look Mommy, I can't eat more, I can't even pull in my stomach any more!" Funny enough, the part she wouldn't/couldn't eat was the sausage, because it was "too spicy," but the rest got gobbled up. Next time, I will make the soup minus the sausage, and see how the family likes it. If it didn't have sausage, it would be healthier AND cheaper, and though it's made with chicken broth I'd still count it as a vegetarian meal for our purposes. (If you're a vegetarian friend of ours, never fear, I'd never pull that stunt on you and I'm capable of "real" vegetarian food, but since we're not trying to become vegetarians, it's close enough for us.)

And here's a diet tip. My home made bread is rather large and square, so a regular thickness slice is much larger than a slice of store bought bread. So, for dinner tonight, I cut two pieces, quartered them, and put them on a plate for sharing. There were three pieces left at the end of the meal, meaning that the three of us shared a mere 1.25 slices of bread, and walked away sated. Go figure! I think that the trick of piling it up on a plate was what did it - we could reach for more than one piece and not feel deprived.

And it is a good thing that we like the soup; we'll be eating it for days. It made 8 portions.

(I like the fact that it's dinner in one pot. There were a LOT of veggies in that pot, so I didn't even make a side salad, which would have been a nice fresh complement, but I didn't fee, l like it, and it wasn't nutritionally necessary.)


This morning I visited my therapist.

I refuse to have a stigma associated with that statement. I suffer from depression, and I've experienced some very difficult times in my life, and I have some things to work out as a result of it. I will NOT be ashamed of these facts, despite societal pressures to be sweet and nice and um, not depressed.

Anyway, I saw my therapist. She pointed out that I'm mourning all of the changes in my life, and that it's no wonder that I struggle sometimes.

She pointed out that despite my best efforts, I'm still encountering the side effects of cancer on a daily basis.

Yes, daily. How's that for depressing? In addition to all of my fears about it returning, I struggle with some pretty basic stuff. I burned my finger on a pan last week - a tiny mark - and now I can't fit a ring over my finger, because I'm having mild lymphaedema. I can't put my left elbow to my head; when I lift that arm in certain ways, it hurts me. I can't carry Tessa on my left side, because it's not strong enough. I can't sleep well. I have hot flashes at night. My bones ache. I have osteopenia. My cholesterol is climbing. I have to take handfuls of drugs to fight these issues, and they all come with side effects and concerns.

Sorry if I'm bringing you down, but I think since I'm honest here I'm going to be honest here.

It's not pretty, is it? It's not nearly as nice to think about as my desire to have a vegetable garden, to pursue issues of spirituality, to enjoy sunny days. I do those things too, and I want to do those things more often, but I've got this other side to deal with. It's not pretty, it's not okay, and it's part of my life.

And I mourn that. I want to be PollyAnna (unfortunately, this is true) and I try my hardest, only to have these other things bang me down again. I am reminded a million times a day of my disease and how it impacts me. I'm not done, and I haven't moved on.

And this doesn't even touch on the cosmetic issues, and how ugly I find my own body.

Me, the granola girl, with implants. Covered in scars. Uneven. Me, the woman who took pride and joy in breastfeeding my daughter for 15 months, reveling in the femininity and nurturing in such an action...I don't even have nipples. Not real ones, and not fake ones. Nothing but scars.

I know, it's not all about boobs, it's about what's on the inside, and I like my new curls, and I'm glad that I'm (mostly) keeping the weight off, and it could be worse because I could have lost a leg, yada yada yada.

But let's face it, folks, it could be a lot better. Most people don't have to deal with this kind of crap, and I do. And those who deal with it generally deal with it much later in life. Not so for me.

I don't focus on it all the time, and I don't write about it every day, but let's get real. This is my life, and it impacts me, too. And I'm mourning that, and struggling how to deal with it.

In 2007, Melinda, a beautiful woman from the YSC boards, died. This weekend I met a Melinda with the same general physical characteristics......and it was hard to focus when talking to her for all my thinking about the other Melinda.

And the wondering: will it be me? Will this be my fate? How will my family cope? Will Ryan be able to manage being a single father? Will Tessa lose her joy if she loses her mother? Will my legacy be one of pain and loss if I die young? Will the pain at my loss overshadow what has gone well in my life, parenting, and being a wife and daughter?

Please don't answer these questions; they're rhetorical. But I need to be allowed to say them. I need to be allowed to mourn without being told "it could be worse" or "at least you're lucky that..." or "oh come on you'll be fine, I just know it." Yes, it could be worse, and there are others worse off than I am, and in many ways I'm very lucky. But NOBODY knows if I'll be fine, adn there is no way to find out.

It could be better. I wish things were easier. I wish I didn't have to struggle daily with these physical effects, and I wish my thoughts were easier.

Having these thoughts sucks the joy out of a lot of things. With every milestone (birthdays, holidays, seasons) I can't help but wonder if the next time the milestone comes around, I'll be in chemo again, winning or losing. That's no way to live. I'm working on working it out, but let me tell you, it's not easy.

So I'm mourning, and I hope that by mourning I can let some of it go, let some of it heal. I'm hoping that by saying some of it out loud, acknowledging my pain, that I can find ways to ease my pain.

I'm waiting.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Out of touch

Tonight I watched The Oscars with friends. Man am I out of touch - I hadn't seen them at all! The only one I HAD seen was "Once" (which I saw with my mom-in-law last spring or thereabouts), and it won for best song.

Tessa had a great day today, as hoped. We went to church, went to the Farmer's Market, planted some flowers in pots for the yard, and hung out. Ryan had a coughing kind of day, with a headache induced from his persistant cold, but he's doing better tonight.

My small amount of gardening today was lovely, out in the sun with the dirt smelling fresh and sweet...but it's also a reminder o fhow little I know. I love the results (makes me want to run outside right now to see the flowers!) but I am concerned that I don't know nearly enough to grow an entire vegetable garden. I'm not giving up, but I have a lot of ground to cover between now and then. I'd like to break ground next weekend, if at all possible; this week I'd like to go to Molbak's to buy some Seedsavers heirloom seeds. (I'm learning that heirloom seeds are more flavorful and promote greater biodiversity than other seeds, which are often genetically altered, commercial, and promote poor farming practices. Who'da thunk?)

I have a 9am doc appt tomorrow so I'd better get to bed right now....