New Beginnings

As we enter into the new year, Mr D and I have some ideas for where we wish life to take us. I use the word “ideas” rather than “plans” because as much as we hope these ideas pan out, there are certain components that remain out of our hands.

When we moved here to our present house 10+ years ago, it was like a dream come true.  We had both always dreamed of living in a log home and here we were,  living our dream!  It came with a private, yet not remote, setting surrounded by tall cedar trees, and a salmon spawning creek all on five acres.  Each time I drove up and the house came into view, I marveled that this was actually our home!  I truly figured we would live out our remaining days here.  We were happily content.

Log Home

Somehow we didn’t foresee a time in the future where we would grow old(er) and find the upkeep too much.  In all truthfulness, I think I might have refused to discuss this with Mr. D when it first became apparent.  I might have even went so far as to refuse to ever move!     I might as well confess right now, I would never win any awards for being the silently obedient wife.  On the one hand, it sounds so comforting to rely on, and trust, someone else to make all the final decisions in my life but on the other hand,  OMG I don’t think so!!!  For those of you who follow the bible version of “Who Rules This Home?” let me assure you that God and I are tight with this — He  totally understands my desire to call the shots be actively involved in the decision-making.   All He asks is that I work on being open-minded and continue to practice good communication skills.  So we’re cool!

Now to get back to the house.  Yes, I was a bit on the reluctant side when Mr. D first began explaining the need to downsize.  Since he has 10 years on me,  I hadn’t, as of yet, experienced the physical drain trying to keep up with all the work.  But in the meantime, we did something really cool — we took a trip to Costa Rica — and then two more!  We both found we were growing attached to Puerto Viejo, a  small town on the Caribbean coast,  so when the discussion rolled around yet again, we began entertaining thoughts of selling our home and belongings, and relocating to Costa Rica.  How cool is that?

sloth hanging from a tree

We’ve actually broadened our possibilities to include Ecuador as well. But reading about a place and experiencing it first-hand are two very different things!  We hope to visit and see for ourselves during our next trip down.

Mt Cotacachi, Ecuador

We’re both excited at the possibilities, while at the same time, acutely aware of the obstacles we face in making this a reality.

Too often as we get older we lose our dreams and ambitions and we settle for a mediocre existence.  Mr D and I hope, as we plow ahead, our “ideas” will indeed become “plans” and our dreams fulfilled.  2012 certainly has possibilities!

Posted in Aging, Life, travel | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

End of 2011 and More

In January of 2010, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  At the time, I dealt with this as someone who had been told by their dentist that they needed to have their wisdom teeth removed.  I accepted the diagnosis, scheduled surgery, and put it not the calendar as if it was nothing more than a tooth extraction.  Well, that’s not exactly true, I contemplated removing both breasts just to put my mind at rest but in the end, I had only one removed.

Life resumed and I convinced myself that working hard each morning to disguise my missing breast was no big deal.  It was only a breast for God’s sake, not my leg or an eye!  With the cancer gone, I could return to life as usual.  The problem was that, life wasn’t “usual” and each time I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror I was reminded once again that cancer had stolen a part of me.  No matter what words I spouted, having only one breast DID matter.  It took me 7 months to accept and verbalize this to my family.

After much research and one horrible consultation with a much respected surgeon in Seattle, I chose to go out of state for breast reconstruction.  A lot of folks, some of my family included, thought this was a bit of an overkill but, for the first time, I was completely sure of my decision.  I had spent weeks conversing with other women from all over the United States who had decided on the Center for Reconstructive Breast Surgery in New Orleans, and I had had several phone conversations with the staff at the Center and I knew without a doubt I was making the right choice.

Right before Thanksgiving 2010, Mr. D accompanied me to New Orleans.  I met Dr. S for the first time at my pre-op appointment and I immediately felt at ease.  I really can’t say anything more than these doctors are AMAZING.

   Dr. DellaCroce FACS, Dr. Sullivan, FACS and Dr. Trahan have been named “Best Doctors in America.”
As part of a nationwide survey by “Best Doctors Inc.”, over 30,000 doctors in more than 40 medical specialties were asked: “If you or a loved one needed a doctor in your specialty, and you could not treat them yourself, to whom would you refer them.”

No “god-complex” like the Seattle doctor I consulted with, just down-to-earth, compassionate doctors who, within minutes,  can make you feel as if you have known them forever.  I also decided to have my remaining breast removed to assure I would never be dealing with a repeat of BC again. Five hours in surgery the next day, followed by a 4 day hospital stay where I was pampered, well-cared for, and enjoyed meals fit for a queen.

I was well aware that I would need at least two surgeries due to the type of reconstruction I had chosen, so in February 2011, I returned with my daughter, Brianna as my caretaker.  This time it only required a one night stay.  The next three days were spent in the French Quarter enjoying the beginning of Mardi Gras.  How cool was it that I could have had so much fun with my daughter on a medical trip designed to put “Mother Humpty” back together again!

I have to say that I may be leaving out a few pieces, probably the biggest is the recuperating from major surgery.  Emotional moodiness and exhaustion can linger for weeks if not months.  I know Mr D was worried at one point when I explained that I really couldn’t see a need to get out of bed every again!  At the time, I remember I couldn’t, for the life of me, understand his concern.   Well, if his concern wasn’t enough, tickets having already been purchased to Costa Rica surely did the trick!  Very smart move on my part to have made these plans.

What a difference this vacation to Costa Rica was in comparison to the summer before!  Whereas it’s one thing to dress with one breast here in Washington where we most often dress in layers, it’s a whole other experience in Costa Rica where everyday is 80 and humid!  If I didn’t think I made the right decision to go with breast reconstruction before, my time in Costa Rica solidified it!

I never really anticipated a third visit to NOLA but one day, I just decided to ask Dr. S what he thought.  I’m very glad I did, because that man can do the most amazing things.  The way he sees it is that since he has to have fat to sculpt the new breasts, he might as well make sure he’s removing it from areas that will enhance our overall look.  I went down believing I would be having some simple tweaking but came home feeling like a princess.  It’s hard not to think of these doctors as artists!

I had one last decision to make — previously I had chosen “barbie boobs” meaning I had breasts with no nipples.  Gotta say, I loved ‘em!  As a tried and true hippie at heart, bras have always felt like a torture device and as we all know, Barbie does not need bras!  I had heard many nipple reconstruction failures and I knew I wouldn’t be going that road but there was another option — tats!  And, not just any tats but 3D nipple tattoos!!  So, as Vinnie (my tattoo artist) would say, I now have “cherries on them cupcakes!”  Yes, indeedie!

So, I am ending 2011 with all breast reconstruction behind me.  I am thankful for all the wonderful brave souls who went before me and returned to answer a million questions, encourage and support me.  It goes without saying that I am extremely thankful for Dr S and the other docs who have devoted their  lives to putting women back together after breast cancer.  I’m also thankful for my family and friends who understood.  Goodbye 2011.

Posted in Health, Life, Personal | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

Liebster Award

Thanks to Shoes on the Wrong Feet

for granting me the

Liebster Blogging Award

Thanks

The blogosphere is mega-huge, one report says 152 million in 2010.    Of course, this number includes “dead” blogsites — blogs left dormant, no longer attended to — and “zombie” blogsites — those bloggers who haven’t posted for some time but eventually will return.  But with thousands (actually tens of thousands) of new blogs started every day, that number is probably not too far off, so it is easy to see how blogs can go unnoticed, especially the “small time” blogger.

The Liebster Award is an award giving by bloggers to bloggers.  It allows fellow bloggers to recognize and promote a few of their favs (those with under 200 subscribers) and in turn, they do the same.  It’s a great way to discover new sites!  So a big thanks to Shoes On The Wrong Feet for listing me as one of her current  favs.  Please take time to check out her site, too, where she will keep you entertained with Husband and her two sweet boys, Cody and Conner.

The rules of the award are simple: once you receive it you must pass it on to five other blogs that you enjoy and also give a mention to the person who awarded you in the first place.  I’d like to highlight five bloggers who I found when they commented on my site after being Freshly Pressed — ones in which I am thoroughly enjoying and, in my opinion, deserve recognition for a job well done!

  1.  FickleFolly – So interesting to read about this young American woman’s experiences living in Korea.
  2. The Baker Bee – Yum!!  Ya gotta see some of these recipes.  But, perhaps, the bigger bonus here is meeting Buggie.
  3. f-stopmamma – A glimpse of Amy’s life through the lens of her camera — check it out!  Wow!  This lady has some talent!
  4. livinglearningeating – Introducing an adventure-loving vegetarian who does the most amazing things with veggies – let me just say Chocolate Chip Lettuce Leaf Pie … how can that not pique your interest?
  5. ViveVivir – I won’t apologize for including yet another travel blog.  This lady knows how to capture it!

Thanks again to Shoes On The Wrong Feet for the nomination and another to the Five Bloggers above for taking the time to comment on MY site and, in doing so, gave me the opportunity to find your site.

Posted in Personal | Tagged , | 3 Comments

20 Random Facts to Entertain Your Gray Matter

Figure of a man sitting upon a question mark.Humans produce about 10,000 gallons of saliva in a lifetime. Saliva is required for taste—until food is dissolved by saliva, we cannot taste it.  (Now if we could just figure out how to digest our food without saliva, we may just have discovered a cure for obesity.)

It is illegal for men to wear strapless dresses in Miami, Florida. (Come on, Miami! Really?)

Upon five minutes of waking, 50% of a dream is forgotten. Within 10 minutes, 90% of it is forgotten. (And if you’re older than 65, chances are your entire dream is forgotten within seconds of arising.)Tiger

Tigers can mate up to 50 times a day. (Brings new meaning to the women who lovingly refer to their man as “tiger”.)

According to Italian researchers, women who eat chocolate regularly have a better sex life than those who do not. They also had higher levels of desire, arousal, and satisfaction from sex. (You have to wonder about those folks who tried to make us believe chocolate was bad for us.)

Mandarin duck couples stop liking each other after their nest is built. (This is similar to some Hollywood marriages.)

In Australia, Speedos are called “Budgy Smugglers,” a term which is derived from the name of a small parrot, the domestic budgerigar. Apparently, the body-hugging swimwear looks as if it is attempting to conceal a parrot when viewed from the front. (This needs no comment.)

Monkey sitting on a toiletThe average person spends 3 years of their life on the toilet. (And that’s just the “average!”)

Continuing at the current rate, 360,000,000,000 graphics/videos will be uploaded to Facebook in 2011. (No big surprise there.)

During your lifetime, you will eat 60,000 pounds of food — roughly the weight of about 6 elephants.  (Are you kidding me??)

The dot above the “i” is called a tittle.  (I sure don’t remember any of MY teachers asking if I had checked my paper for tittles.)

An earwig (or pincer bug) has two penises, but favors one or the other like we do with our hands. (How clever!)

A glass bottle takes a million years to decompose. (Recycle, recycle, recycle)

The average bra size today is 36C, ten years ago it was 34B.  (I guess I should have been born 20 years ago)

The only primate to hibernate is the pygmy mouse lemur of Madagascar, discovered in 1994.  It weighs just over an ounce, is extremely promiscuous (its testicles are bigger than its brain) and falls asleep at the drop of a hat. (Some women would contend that this testicle/brain ratio is the same for all males in general.)

Two men back to back in a duel fight.Herrings produce air bubbles from their rectums called F.R.T.’s that are louder than a jet engine. (All I can say is, I’m glad I don’t hang with herrings.)

Dueling is legal in Paraguay as long as both parties are registered blood donors.

You can marry a dead person in France. (The real question is “Why?”)

More than ten people a year are killed by vending machines. (Think, rage.)

You share your birthday with about 9 million other people in the world. (Doesn’t seem quite so special anymore, does it?)

Posted in Life | Tagged , | 8 Comments

Forever Thankful

Today my son, Timothy, is 28 years old.

 In 1987, at the age of 3 1/2, Tim joined our family by way of adoption.


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“Born not from our flesh, but born in our hearts,     

You were longed for and wanted and loved from the start.”  ~ unknown

Feliz Cumpleaños, Timoteo

Amor de tú madre y padre

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The Best Is Yet To Be!

I somehow managed to cram all my kids’ birthdays into a 6 month period of time, so from the end of July to the beginning of December, we are in pretty much in “party-mode.”

Thirty-five years ago, on this very day, I delivered my first-born – Deidra, aka DiDi during her early years.  Petite and precious.

Baby DeidraSomehow the years flew by and she grew older.

Toddler

It wasn’t long before our family grew.

Three small children

Three young childrenHere’s Deidra’s rendition which included her her big brother Sean.

We were obviously a happy family though I have some concerns about Dustin’s physical health — he seems to be a bit “disjointed” or perhaps he just has to go to the bathroom.

But Deidra wasn’t all “fun and games” — oh no, she won awards too … like this one:

Not to brag but I do want to say that she went on to win this award many times in her school career.  Such proud moments for us as parents!

So Cute!

So stylish!

But once a chatterbox, always a chatterbox!

You really haven’t changed, you’ve just become more of yourself.  That is really what were all trying to do; become more of ourselves.”  ~ Oprah Winfrey

Happy Birthday!

We love everything about you!

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Starring the One and Only … Mariah Day!

On October 17, 1980 I had the most amazing home birth.  Just Bruce and the kids (Sean, 13, Deidra, 4, and Dustin, 2) along with my friend Andy, who came as my coach.  Having now had three hospital births, I can honestly say this was the most enjoyable.  Yes, I said “enjoyable.”  There was no rush to pack last minute items, frantic call to the doctor, uncomfortable ride to the hospital or birth center, and most of all no unfamiliar faces, unnecessary requirements, or rules to follow.

Dim lights, warm tea and pleasant talk was the environment for my labor.  As Deidra and Dustin fed me ice chips and soft music played in the background, I very comfortably and easily gave birth to the most amazing little new daughter, Mariah.  Everything about her was perfect!

She has continued to amaze me through the years and I delight in her experiences, her choices and her compassion but she will forever be our  “Drama Queen.”

 

Blonde haired girl in bathing suit on the beach.

Young woman with sunglasses

With niece, Kali.

 

Gorgeous!

with smiley mask

So cute when you were little,

and so beautiful now!

 

WE LOVE YOU, MARIAH!!

Hope your birthday is full of marvelous surprises.

 

 

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