Sunday, September 13, 2009

Be Well. Be Happy. Find Joy.

I received a call this week. It was one I was not expecting, but was always expecting. You'll know what I mean as you read this. A very dear friend of mine has breast cancer. What was going to be a simple lumpectomy has become something much more invasive. Immediately, I am concerned. Worried. Scared. Usually conversation comes easily to me. Here, I do not know what to say. What do I ask? I can already imagine what's going through her mind. 2,500 miles away, I can't bring a casserole. I can't take over her carpool duties. I can't run some laundry or clean up her kitchen.

I can worry, but really, what help is that? I can call with support. I can hope. I can reach out. But I cannot solve this. For a "fixer" that's really a problem.

As many of you know, I am an ardent supporter of healthcare reform. I am believer in the power of electronic health records. I am shocked by the disinformation spread by the Republican party (hello, death panels? Sarah Palin go home) to defeat potential reforms that would ensure that individuals who are diagnosed with serious illnesses do not go bankrupt nor are they ever classified as "pre-existing conditions."

I know my friend will receive exceptional care. Of that, I have no worries. I cannot say that for other women who are experiencing this same diagnosis right now. I cannot say the same for even myself, who, as a self-employed individual pays ridiculous premiums that continue to rise to a point that I wonder how long I can keep it going.

So my point, as I write this, I guess is this. If anyone can help me find the words I need for my friend, please share. And if any of you were wondering about healthcare reform, please look into it further and do not listen to the amazing inaccuracies being spread thanks in part to large volumes of cash from insurance company lobbyists that are finding their way into the coffers of many elected officials (Democrats included). But know that whatever you decide is fine by me.

And, finally, I truly wish for health and happiness for all of us, and that we all enjoy long, productive lives filled with laughter and joy.

Be well and be happy and be joyful.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Celebrating the End of Summer

As school begins anew tomorrow, I have to reflect on the past 10 (yes, I HAVE been counting) weeks. It's been a long summer. Between myself and my husband (and actually mostly my husband) we have attempted to work while also entertaining our three kids. No day camps, no special outings, no vacations. My husband's position was re-engineered (I don't care what you call it, it means the same thing) and he is job-hunting. So this was a no-frills summer break. As a result, my family learned a few things (perhaps you have encountered the same thing):
• Teenagers are moody, BUT they sleep in late. Thus, you save money on breakfast, which they miss entirely, and lunch, which they miss frequently, but they make up for it in snacks, iTunes and sleepover feasts.
• Teenagers do not require a great deal of supervision, unless there is nail polish and/or sleepovers involved.
• Teenagers do not enjoy babysitting younger siblings, and will complain vociferously if requested to do so.
• 11-year-old boys are very active. Like from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. active. They also are very very hungry. Always.
• 11-year-old boys do not stay on task for more than 45 minutes. Break that across an 18-hour day and it's no wonder my husband was surly by the time it was 5 p.m.
• 8-year-0ld little brothers do whatever their big brothers do, even if it results in them being grounded or put in timeout.
• 8-year-olds eat only slightly less than their older brothers, and even more if sugar is a main ingredient.
• Guitar Hero will keep a group of five or more boys busy for more than two hours, but there will be at least three full-blown arguments over who plays which instrument.
• Little brothers will cry unless they get to play drums.
• Otter Pops are the best invention ever. Better than Popsicles. Better than Fudgsicles. Almost as good as water balloons. Almost. And thank you, Albertsons, for always having the big box on sale.
• Water balloons are a great event. For about 15 minutes. These innocuous little latex fun bags also require a heap of dry towels and five threats about cleaning up the aftermath.
• The pool is the best place to spend a summer night. Just pack up dinner and head for the pool. Three hours go by in a flash, and it gives the house time to cool down.
• Ceiling fans. What did we ever do without them?
• Scooters. What did we ever do without those?
• Backyard overnights in the REI tent: Genius. All you need is a tent, a flashlight, snacks and a couple of little boys. Easiest overnight EVER.
• Yahtzee is a good family game. And nobody can cheat. Can't say the same about Monopoly.
• Microwave popcorn is the greatest invention of the 2oth century.
• Homemade cupcakes are more delicious than anything found in any bakery. Same with brownies.
• Watching Paul Blart Mall Cop with your kids kills brain cells, but you make up for it in laughter.
• Colored pencils + paper = I have more artwork than my walls can handle. BUT my daughter perfected her Simba in the process.
• Target is the perfect resource for...just about everything.
• It would have been great to have been able to get out and get away, but instead the kids learned that summer is long, frequently hot and often boring. They also learned that they like to draw; they can ride their bikes further than ever before; that CVS has the best selection of cheap candy; that staying up late is fun; and that their parents love them very, very much.

So, basically, they learned all the things we already knew. Because we've all done the same exact thing.

Back to school!! YAY!!!

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