Sunday, February 26, 2006

Haiku for Writer's Club & Update

Death Awaits

You haunt me in my slumber
Be gone leave me be
I will wake to live again

I have never attempted a Haiku so I thought I'd give it a whirl for the Writer's Club. Haiku is a Japanese poem with seventeen syllables, 3 lines of five, seven and five. The writer's club is a fun place to be creative. Every two weeks you get choices of pictures and you can express what you see by writing a poem, Haiku, or short story.

On my side bar is a precious little girl that has been fighting cancer. I have followed her journey and am thrilled to report she is now cancer free! AMEN She has surgeries to go through to help fix the damage of the cancer, so she still needs our prayers. You go Rebekah!

I'm going to commute with Dave on Monday, because he works where Michelle lives. She has her 1st apartment and wants me to see it. She's taking me for a girl's day out! I get to experience Dave's 4 hour per day commute. That's $450/month in gas here in ole California and that's with every other Friday off. Eighteen months and counting for Dave's retirement. WooHoo!

Saturday, February 25, 2006

A Day of Unexpected Joy!

You know how you make plans to just play? You never quite know if it will be fun, you might have to cancel or you just get too busy to go. Well we had an absolutely perfect day! Dave decided he would like to try ice skating this weekend. Yup, you heard me, ice skating. My first thought was should a 48 year old man with twigs for legs be doing this. Then I thought should a 44 year old with temperature issues be at an ice rink.

We woke up both in good moods, the day was free and it was a sunny 70 degrees, with snow still on the ground in the shade. The poor snow trodden daffodils were even standing up in full bloom. The planets aligned and so ice skating it would be. We went up into the pines and found the quaint little town with a indoor rink. I was layered well and Dave was as excited as the kids there. Dave was a natural, he never even fell. Every time he went around I waved and never took my eyes off him. I am so proud I married such a fun loving, adventurous man. We never stopped smiling. :)

We left and the sun was so warm we stopped for lunch at a grill and ate outside. Coconut shrimp, potato skins, onion rings and a burger. Wow did I pig out! We came home, put on the sweats and watched a DVD.

Never forget to just play!

I put pictures in Flickr, they are not very good because he kept moving. lol

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Michelle, My Belle

This is Michelle, my 1st born, when I was the age she is now. She was the best baby and was an easy toddler. I had always dreamed of this little girl. She started to change after the divorce, became more defiant. When I had to sit her down and explain her mommy's illness, I crushed her world.

Instead of going into a total withdrawal state, like her younger sibling, she stepped up and became my rock at 10. I spent four years thinking I had MS and played it down to the kids and my boss because she was only 6. At 10 she was told I had ALS and we became a team. She learned to, pump gas, write a check, use the ATM, cook and do laundry. We did it together, but she was slowly losing her childhood. I had a fixed income and no child support so she was exposed to budgeting and worry. In the grocery store she would always say "that's not on our list mom." Eventually at 13 she would have me wait in the car so we would stick to the budget and I would not get too tired. We had a guy to do the yard, someone to fix the van, help with some meals, housekeeper and a flaky ex-husband into drugs and alcohol. She would see me fall and cry as she saw I was ok. She learned to give shots and death became an obsession. Not what I would call great, but we had fun despite it all!

Then the crap hit the fan as puberty began! She hung in there in the beginning, but I watched the anger rising. She had youth group and God, but counciling she fought. One day in Kmart, early morning, Michelle and I needed a few things. As we searched the isles, I had lost my bowels. I had sweats on with elastic on the ankles, so it was not going I was at first horrified, but thought Michelle would be mortified. Most kids don't even want to be seen hanging out with mom. I turned to her and said " I just crapped myself " and she was concerned for me, never embarrassed. We giggled and then she said "you stink, we gotta get you home." She sent me to the car, filled the list, paid and she was just 12 years old. She helped me into the shower, put my pants in a bag, lovingly rinsed me off and got me clean clothes. She kissed me and said "all better." She was awesome!

She wanted her father's love desperately, even though he verbally abused me and let her down at every turn. His passion was wrestling, so she became a wrestler. She was 4'11, 115 lbs, 36D and wrestled mainly boys. I hated it! They would bite her and sneak in illegal moves to avoid losing to a girl. She was so good that in high school she took 3rd in the women's state championship. She became aggressive, angry and talked like a sailor. Her dad coached her with anger, aggression and a foul mouth. Gee, huge mystery there! She was so filled with anger, Jess and I became afraid of her. She still was my soft hearted angel, that was slowly disappearing behind growing walls of pain. I had to ask her to leave, for my health and Jessy's anxieties. We remained bonded in a way that no fits of rage could take away.

She lives 3hrs away, but we talk often. We share the superficial and the deep. She says everything good about her came from me and she still holds my face in her hands to kiss every spot on my face :) She has a hard time accepting Dave, she felt replaced. I don't try and bring them together, because it is not needed. She likes Dave and is happy for us, but her and I have a relationship rich with history we keep for ourselves. I still won't let her visit if she is PMSing, she can't use the "F" word at my house, she must not just call about her life and she can't just use me to vent (drama at a minimum). LOL

My First Love

I shall never forget the first time I held
you close. You had a certain smell that
filled my senses and never left my soul.
I felt a fierce power to keep you safe, yet
vulnerable with an overwhelming love.

I saw everything for the first time through
your beautiful eyes, as we taught each other
the wonders of all that life had to offer. We
were never apart, growing closer as the years
went by.

I broke the trust you had in me, breaking your
heart in two. I left you wounded and scared, like
a bird with a broken wing. You let me help you
learn to fly, but fear became a wall you could
not get by.

You grew strong in time, but your walls grew higher
and your anger turned on those you held dear. Your
loyalty stayed true, your love continued to grow.
I pushed you away knowing that bond would always be.
I taught you all I know so you could fly, as it was
always meant to be.

I will love you forever my precious child, even when
we are apart. You are a woman now out in the world
alone, I will never forget your heart so true. I will
cherish you forever, always remembering the joy
of my first love.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Our First Snow

This is looking out my kitchen window. Yes, those are fake poinsettias left over from Christmas in my window box. They look better than dirt. lol
This is the canyon behind my house and there is a hiking trail for different views. I'll post the other pics in Flickr. Dave went out with the camera so I could see too :)

The snow is falling silently throughout our three day weekend. We were like children on Christmas morning, filled with joy at the sight. We just had a week of 70 degrees and all hopes for snow were fading, even the daffodils were peaking out of their stalks. We laughed, as big black Manny was all covered in white, little Nikki jumping like a bunny, in snow up to her neck.

As night drew near Dave built a warm fire, as we settled on the couch with our three DVDs. Oh, don't forget the big bowl of buttered popcorn and blanket to cuddle :) There is just something romantic about being snow bound.

We don't get more than six inches and it melts really quick. My sympathies to those who are dealing in feet and not inches, may your winter be safe!

Friday, February 17, 2006

Kitchen Make Over Done!

Click on for better view!

Dave re-finished cabinets to original splendor, built counter with ceramic tiles and added an antique copper tin back splash. Oh yeah, that bossy contractor choose floor tiles, so poor dave got stuck building an end piece (lip) to match cabinets...oops! Very hard too match! The table was our old one, but re-done using black. Most everything was Home Depot and Wal-mart. We work really well as a team, but Dave has the hard part. "Hire contractors" you say, bite thou tongue! Dave thinks that is the 8th deadly sin. LOL You did good babe :) Now about that bad!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

I'm Feeling Rejuvenated :)

Dave and I had a really nice four days. We did not want to go out of town to celebrate. We are more relaxed at home. We have had a lot of stress this last month, between our "adult" children ( I use that term loosely) and needing to finish up the kitchen, we needed a break.

When you are well into your forties, swinging from the chandeliers does not fill four days. We improvised by running errands, saw three DVD's, went to dinner/ movie and finished up the kitchen. Lynne and I decided to free up Dave's time by helping me to do things Dave does, like grocery shopping, filling medications and dying my hair. He loved this Valentine gift so much, she offered to keep on doing it every month :) Lynne is the greatest and Dave let her help, which is big for him. Dave can do it all, he is amazing and is always doing something. I know more will need to be done as I progress, but I want a husband not a care giver. We agreed to always hire help when needed. I have a housekeeper and gardener that have been with me for many years and it really helps. Now if I could just get him to not turn my pink underwear grey, we would really be rolling.

Last night we gave cards and chocolate delights to each other. Dave barbecued two extra thick Rib-Eyes, baked potatoes w/sour cream and asparagus. We felt rejuvenated and very happy! We were blessed by 70 degree temperatures for our weekend( don't be envious, we should get snow this weekend). The song on my blog is one of Dave's favorite artists and I'm dedicating it to him. I'm really lucky to be loved by this man!

Our new kitchen would be done, but the bossy contractor (me) had to come up with recess lighting and make over our kitchen table. We had an old round oak table in our new European coffee cafe' kitchen. We sprayed the base black, sanded the top, added fake grooves (to look like planks) and revarnished. Tada, French Country.

I entered my second Writer's Club entry at This is very scary to put such emotion in a poem, but very healing. I'm green, but my blog buddies give me so much support, I'm loving it!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Four Days to Celebrate!

Since Valentine's Day is on Tuesday, Dave and I are making this weekend our anniversary/ Valentine celebration! Most of our plans consist of just focusing on each other and four days of nothing rated PG ;)

We married on the island of Kauai on 02-14-04. It was on Tunnels Beach (Bali Hai) at 5:30pm (it was unusually deserted). We had a minister, Lynne and her husband and a Hawaiian singer(in full Hawaiian garb). The singer was a child in the movie "South Pacific" and sang all the songs from the movie including" The Hawaiian Wedding" song. I wrote the ceremony and we each wrote and memorized our own vows. We had a touch of rain just before our vows and a sea turtle in the surf that watched it all. We were all hugging after the ceremony when the singer said " you will have much luck, look." In the sky above us was an awesome double rainbow! Dave and I walked through the surf overwelmed with our beautiful ceremony as we were met by a gorgeous sunset. It was perfect :)

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Wednesday Smiles

This baby hippo was washed away in a Tsunami in Nairobi and lost it's mother. It ended up stuck on top of this turtle, who was happy to be his new mom! I read this and had to share!


The Perfect Husband----

Several men are in the locker room of a golf club. A cell phone on a bench rings and a man engages the hands free speaker-function and begins to talk. Everyone else in the room stops to listen.

MAN: "Hello"
WOMAN: "Honey, it's me. Are you at the club?"
MAN: "Yes"
WOMAN: "I am at the mall now and found this beautiful leather coat.It's only $1,000. Is it OK if I buy it?"
MAN: "Sure, ..go ahead if you like it that much."
WOMAN: "I also stopped by the Mercedes dealership and saw the new 2006 models. I saw one I really liked"
MAN: "How much?"
WOMAN: "$110,000"
MAN: "OK, but for that price I want it with all ! the options."
WOMAN: "Great! Oh, and one more thing . The house I wanted last year is back on the market. They're asking $950,000"
MAN: "Well, then go ahead and give them an offer of $900,000. They will probably take it. If not, we can go the extra 50 thousand, if it's really a pretty good price."
WOMAN: "OK. I'll see you later! I love you so much!!"
MAN: "Bye! I love you, too."The man hangs up. The! other men in the locker room are staring at him in astonishment, mouths agape.....
He smiles and asks: "Anyone know who this phone belongs to?...."

1.. You walka pasta da bakery.
2. You walka pasta da candy store.
3.. You walka pasta da Ice Cream shop.
4... You walka pasta da table and fridge.
You will lose weight! AND...... CONCERNED ABOUT TOO MANY CARBS IN YOUR DIET? For those of you who watch what you eat, here's the final word on nutrition and health. It's a relief to know the truth after all those conflicting nutritional studies.
1 The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.
2. The Mexicans eat a lot of fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.
3. The Chinese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.
4. The Italians drink a lot of red wine! and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.
5. The Germans drink a lot of beers and eat lots of sausages and fats
and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.
CONCLUSION Eat and drink what you like. Speaking English is apparently what kills you.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Tags for the Week

I have a few tags I need to post this week so I thought I'd put them in one entry!

For Tara Dawn

What were three things when you were little you wanted to be when you grew up?
A Nurse
A Ballet dancer
A Teacher

You can live one day over again from your childhood. What day will it be?
Snow Skiing- I did it alone, felt free and loved the crisp air flying in my face :)

You have two minutes (and a mover with you if you need heavy lifting help!) to grab 5 things from your home before it morphs into a polka dotted hobgoblin and hops a way. What will you take?
My animal's
file cabinet-with important papers in it.
My Sleep Number bed
The crocheted bedspread my mother started, her mother tried to finish.

You have to paint one quote on your kitchen wall. What's it going to be?
"kiss the Cook" or "Happiness is a journey not a destination"

What is one thing you want to have accomplished by the end of this year?
Making our new house's yard, dog and disabled friendly.

You are moving to the moon for one year and can only bring one flower with you. What kind will you bring? None, because I would forget to water it and it would die.

You just received word that aside from one flower, you can also bring five books with you too!Your choices?
A bible and 4 books I would love. I don't usually read a book twice.

For Chris

What is on my playlist right now?
Unforgettable- Nat King Cole
The Very Thought of You- Rod Stewart
Somewhere-Barbara Streisand
Georgia on my Mind-Willie Nelson
Only Hope- Mandy Moore
Wind Beneath My Wings- Bette Midler
Fallen- Alicia Keys
Amazing Grace-Faith Hill
At Last- Celine Dion

Because This made me think!

15 years ago, I:
1.Was trying to work as an account manager for Apple Computer, while hiding my illness from the boss.
2. Trying to raise two young girls with very little energy.
3. Lost my boyfriend of three years. I told him what my disease would be like and if he can't stick with me til the end, go now. He went.
4. My Rock, my grandma was diagnosed with colon cancer.
5. I left my 20's behind and turned 30.

10 years ago, I:
1. I was catapulted into retirement, which I hated for at least four years. It took that long to get used to not working.
2. My kid's had their childhood altered and learned to be self-sufficient.
3. I was given my best friend, Manny (my black lab/cocker/border collie mix)
4. I worked very hard on a relationship with God.
5. I was 34 and my ALS was not progressing as the doctors thought (SLOW).

5 years ago I,:
1. I asked my oldest to leave, the anger was too scary for Jess and I.
2. I lived in a house I bought on my own.
3. Jess was seeking approval from wrong crowd, so I got her to play volleyball and kept a watchful eye on her.
4. Learned public speaking and about the bible. I'm not part of a church but am close to God.
5. I was 39 and won the Pan-American Trial's gold metal for a spot in the Disabled Olympics in Alcapuco Mexico. It was for sailing.

3 years ago, I:
1. Met the man I would marry on the Internet. Married on Kauai beach on 02-14-04.
2. Jess met the man she would marry in high school.
3. Started water therapy because the dying was not happening, so I went with it.
4. Dating and falling in love was a blast! We went rafting on one of our first dates.
5. I was 41 and that dam ALS was hanging in there,but I was getting stronger.

1 year ago, I:
1. We bought our retirement dream home, in the pines near a lake.
2. Watched Jess marry and give birth.
3. Took Dave's 82yr old mom on her first real vacation to Kauai.
4. Fixing up current house to sell.
5. I was 43 and hitting the gym.

4 months ago, I:

Friday, February 03, 2006

My Take on ER and ALS

ER for dramatic purposes choose to show ALS from the worse end to the beginning. This episode did not show how it really gets to the hard part. It did not give enough awareness to how many people it affects, but they did show hope. This is only a part of me, but I thought you should know what it looks like in me.

The way ALS attacks the body is the same in each patient, however each body handles the attack differently. Mine started at 29, with a feeling of being slightly off balance (needing to hold the railing in 3inch heels while doing stairs). A weak bladder, my fingers weakened (dropped things) and my speech was just a tad slurred. Over the years these things progressed to, slurred speech (badly when tired), too much saliva (sometimes it goes down the wrong pipe), a very bad gait and occasional fall (I use a four-wheel walker w/brakes), my hands will not straighten, thumbs are very weak, I type with two fingers (one remains on shift key), I take pills for bladder control which helps dry up saliva and take medicine for charlie horses. The only other symptom which is widely unknown is the ability to control emotion, when I cry its "the ugly cry" and when I laugh its until I cry (or pee, lol). I have no physical pain and take very few drugs (just drugs for effects of ALS, not for ALS). This is really amazing for 16yrs and I do realize it will keep going, but quality of life is most important and I have that in abundance.

They tried to put me in an electric wheelchair five years ago and it is in my garage to this day patiently waiting. I have a strong grip, just weak fingers so I can drive but I can’t button or zip. When you fight ALS by working out, eating right, getting rest, it fights back. Your body is under physical stress and that has come with an array of small setbacks like, a rare skin disease and migraines. So mental stress can make it go into a fatigue melt down mode. I get rid of stress by saying what I think and try to keep drama out of my life (not easy to do with our kid’s).

I will accept a feeding tube and maybe even a ventilator as long as I can communicate. I am not scared or angry, because I have so much. Dave is retiring at 50 and opting for less income so we can keep good medical and have home care. We have 19 months to save, sell our current house and have no mortgage on the second one. Dave is nervous, but if we pull this off, Dave can spend quality time with me, not be my primary care giver and not ever lose our dream home. I bring in a good income, but if I were to pass I need to know financially he will be fine.

There will be a cure one day and I’m fighting to see that day. One in one thousand people will get ALS, but because most pass in 3-5 years, public awareness is key. I thank James Woods and the people at ER.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

John Scalzi's Photo Shoot and a Reminder

Your Monday Shoot:
Things You Have Other People Probably Don'tGot something weird around the house that you figure is unique to your personal environment? Perfect. Get the camera:Your Monday Photo Shoot: Take a snap of something in the house you're pretty sure other people aren't likely to have in their house. Pets and people are not included (we're pretty sure your pets and kids aren't in most other people's houses). For this photo shoot we're looking at things -- strange objects, curios, odd keepsakes and just generally weird stuff.

I have a very unique faux fireplace and mantle we built for our hunting lodge/office. It's a mural.

REMINDER! Tonight is the ER episode about ALS at 9pm west coast time on NBC. This is a public "diary" of a family whose 3 year old is fighting inoperable cancer. You will get into their hearts, minds and souls as they share their joys and sorrows. It can sometimes be very difficult to read. Hopefully it can also be very rewarding and uplifting to you and others. It is their goal that others may find some peace in what they read here.

This was an entry by Rebekah's mommy. 10% of ALS patient's inherit the disease!
Saturday, July 23, 2005

Cancer, ALS and a Lot of Emotions
I wrote this about a month ago, but didn't post it right away. I guess now is as good a time as any to post it. By the way, I was able to get to see my aunt this week. I took Sarah with me while Grandma M watched Rebekah.I'll warn you up front that this post may make you cry. It is tough for me (Frances) to write, but it is on my heart. Read on at your own risk.The last time we were in the hospital for chemo, I went out to the nurses station to ask a non-urgent question. There was a nurse there (from a different area) that was chatting with a couple of nurses on the floor. She was talking about someone she knew (I assume a good friend or relative) who was recently diagnosed with ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig's disease). This individual had said that he wished he'd been diagnosed with a brain tumor instead, because at least with a brain tumor there is treatment and the hope for cure. With ALS, there is no cure. This hit WAY TOO CLOSE to home for me. Cancer, with the possibility of treatment and cure, is much better than ALS, with no cure and only the ability to treat symptoms. This story brought tears to my eyes and many thoughts to my heart. We should be thankful for a cancer diagnosis with possibility for cure. Those of you who know me (and my family) very well, know that ALS runs in my family. My dad died of it 6 years ago, my grandfather died of it, my great grandfather died of it and many other family members have died from it. Because of that, I have a 50% chance of getting it some day, if I live long enough. It can hit anywhere between age 30 and age 70. What you may not know, is that in May of this year my aunt was diagnosed with it, too. As if I (and my family) didn't have enough to deal with emotionally in Rebekah's cancer, this is one more burden for us to bear. She, likely, doesn't have too many months to live. I struggle with wanting to spend some time with my aunt, but not wanting to spend time away from my girls to do it (and can't really take Rebekah with me). It is one more big stressor in my life. In many ways, I have to push it out of my mind in order to just cope.Tonight, I was watching an episode of Doc where a young dad was diagnosed with ALS. It just brings so many thoughts to my mind. Thoughts of my dad. Thoughts of my aunt. Thoughts of Rebekah's illness. Thoughts of the possibility of getting ALS myself and what that would mean to my family. Thoughts on the statement "I wish it was a brain tumor".It reminds me that there are many people in the world in worse situations than I am in. Although my world seems like a wreck and so overturned and everything is overwhelming, I need to be reminded that we have hope. Our God is the ultimate Healer. He can do all things. He can bring Rebekah back to wholeness. Even if we wanted to only look at earthly wisdom, the doctors are hopeful that treatment will be successful.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Poem for the Writer's Club


For so many years we have gone through life
swallowing our feelings of loneliness
only to leave us in the depth of our dreams
taking us to that special place we never want to leave.

We have dreamt of love and companionship
that seems to escape our waking hours
we throw ourselves into our responsibilities
hoping it will fill that special place reserved
in our hearts.

We hate to wake from our dreams to find
reality coming like the rising of the sun
Why are we afraid to jump off that cliff
and take the chance, are we not worthy
of our dreams.

We have grabbed one another's hand and
have jumped off the cliff, feeling the warmth of
the sun and that special place in our heart
is now overflowing.

I will meet you in my dreams.