April Photo Challenge

And just like that….April is over and done with. Four months already on the books for 2018, and here we are again with PJ’s photo challenge. April’s prompt was One Person and I admit I didn’t really think about this until…..um….yesterday!

But, today I rallied and went through the April photo folder to make anything something work.

One Person: Entrepreneur
He’s my One Person and we’re going on 38 years this July. God knows we’ve been through a lot together. Nine moves, two daughters, four dogs, four cats (two not really ours, but The Golfer “abandoned” them to move to Florida!), and two grand girls. And now, the latest challenge….cancer…which has racked up two surgeries, 8 months of Bell’s Palsey, radiation and daily oral chemo. But he’s a fighter and we’ll face it together. As Rachel Platten’s song “Stand By You” says,
Even if we can’t find heaven, I’m gonna stand by you.
Even if we can’t find heaven, I’ll walk through hell with you.
Love, you’re not alone, ’cause I’m gonna stand by you.

One Person: Peanut
The One Person who made me a Nana for the first time in 2008. Our original pocket rocket of a grand girl is now nine years old and one of the loves of my life.

One Person: Twix
And right on Peanut’s heels is her sister, who never ceases to amaze with what comes out of her mouth! Her personality is much, much larger than her little four-year-old frame. Definitely another love of my life.

Cabo’s One Person
I guess that would be me. Other people do help take care of him, but I’m the one he seeks out most often when he wants to play, or go outside, or sleep at my feet, or just thinks someone should be paying attention to him. Nothing thrills him more than when it’s time to throw the ball! He was Entrepreneur’s idea a year ago this month….so I would have company after he’s gone. So, he’s now in this with me for the long haul!

One Person: Old Man Winter
Yes, now I’m grasping for ideas. Old Man Winter has finally released his strangle hold on middle Missouri and Spring, with all her muses, has finally arrived. That means the windows are thrown open to let in the warmer air and scents of blooming trees and bushes. I have a Korean Spice Viburnum under this window, and the scent that’s drawn into the house through the window is heavenly.

I’m closing with what just might be the most famous “one person” quote of all time.

To the world you may be one person; but to one person you may be the world. ~Dr. Seuss

Check out the Photo Blogging Challenge over at PJ’s and enjoy who other’s featured as their One Person….Or would it be One People? 😀
(P.S. He’s a bit behind, so you might give him one more day before you look for his PBC post.)

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Photo Blogging Challenge: Simple

Simple is such a complicated term. It seems to take great effort to simplify life, live simply or even enjoy simple pleasures. So, when PJ threw out the prompt of Simple, I had my suspicions this would not be as simple as it sounded.

I should have gone in so many different directions with this prompt. Directions that could have been wildly creative. But that would have involved simplifying my overly crowded schedule to actually take time to put creative thought into this month’s challenge. And, that didn’t happen. So, when I opened up my February 2018 photo folder, I simply had to shift gears to adapt what I had to the theme! So, here goes…..

Simple 1
A simple, single valentine’s rose. Simple beauty to bring a smile.

Simple 2
The simple joy of spending time with Twix is one of the highlights of Entrepreneur’s life right now. To be able to do something “normal” like teach a golfing lesson to a grand girl is something he values.

Simple 3
Who needs complicated technology for entertainment when simply playing with a dog offers so much enjoyment?

Simple 4
This showed up in my last post, but I think it personifies how simple things can bring great joy. The simple art of swinging can be so much fun…especially when one is only four years old! And, her expression brought a smile to my face as well. And reminded me to enjoy these simple moments before they are gone.

Simple 5
Seeing new life pushing through the mulch is a simple pleasure for me every year. I so delight in seeing my daffs make their appearance just when winter starts to get the best of my attitude.

Bonus!
Cabo is a lot of things….and simple may not be one of them. But, his insistence in sitting in my lap reminds me to stop and enjoy the simple things in life. Because, 50 pounds of puppy in my lap keeps me from getting up to do a bunch of other stuff when I should be chillaxing!

All in all, this prompt was a good reminder to try and stop making life so complicated. It is truly the simple things in our lives that should be the most valued. For more simplicity, head over to PJ’s to see how others interpreted the prompt. 

I encourage everyone reading this to consider joining PJ’s monthly photo blogging challenge. The themes are fun and offer lots of creative opportunities with a 30-day deadline! No one needs to be a professional photographer, and we all get excited when someone new joins in the fun. The only requirement is five photos…that’s it! How simple is that? The next theme will be posted at a ‘lil Hoohaa on March 1st. Why not join us next month? It’ll be fun.

An unconventional Valentine’s Day

Today is our one-year anniversary. Most people speak of this in terms of relationship status. But today marks a very different anniversary for Entrepreneur and me. It was one year ago today, Valentine’s Day, when he went into surgery to remove a cancer mass in his brain.  Not exactly what you would put in a Hallmark card.

One year ago today, we were waiting for him to get out of post-op recovery. With my support system at my side, the minutes drug into hours until I could lay eyes on him.

And then next 10 days in the hospital were spent getting him stable enough to begin the long, hard road to recovery. I can say, without a doubt, these were the scariest days of my life. The cognitive deficit due to post surgery swelling was disturbingly real. And there were very few reassurances those first crucial days.

Looking back, 2017 sucked. This event forever changed our lives and derailed many of the the plans we’d been formulating for our retirement years. The surgery was difficult enough, but the aftermath has presented challenges that have left me with a loss as to how to overcome.

Targeted radiation to the area of his brain affected by the tumor gave way to 6 months of Bell’s Palsy. Oral chemotherapy is taking its toll with the challenge of providing nutrition to combat the fatigue. He left the hospital with high expectations to rehab and regain his strength and abilities. And he was on track for a remarkable recovery. One year later, he most definitely has impressed his physicians and surgeons, but when the oral chemo is actively destroying any gains, being optimistic and proactive becomes harder and harder. It grates on us mentally, psychologically, physically and spiritually.

Our support group is awesome. These people are the shining light in the middle of this dark journey.

I admit, I took for granted this would simply be a bump in the road. I expected him to rally and overcome obstacles like he’s always done in the past. But, nothing is a given anymore.

One year out…..he’s still part of our lives. He’s trying hard to push through the destructive effects of chemo so he can spend as much time as possible with his daughters and granddaughters. There is so much to live for.

But, there’s been a shift in perspectives. Gone are the aspirations of us having an active, retirement lifestyle. Every day is a struggle. Every day is a gift. Many cancers can be put into remission or destroyed completely. Not renal cell cancer. There is treatment, but no cure or remission. His scans have been clear over the past year, which is a blessing and cause for hope.

Entrepreneur would like to engage and live whatever is left of his life to the fullest. I’d like to say we’re not letting this get in the way, but that would be a lie. No matter how much we say this condition is not going to get in the way of living life to the fullest, the reality is….it’s in the way. If fact, it’s set up a roadblock that seems awfully difficult to get around. As long as he’s on oral chemo, his stamina is reduced and the usual effects of the drug are ever present.

The new normal.

Entrepreneur does not like his “new normal.” This type of chronic cancer steals joy and steals hope. And I’m not sure how to deal with these feelings or help him to overcome the feelings of loss of a meaningful life. I would love nothing more than to focus on enjoying whatever life is left….it’s just so much harder to live it to rather than to say it. I pray for an advancement in the treatment of renal cell cancer…..an immunotherapy treatment that would help combat the relentless destruction of the body from oral chemo. Clinical trials are underway for new ways to manage this cancer…but….and this is the cynic in me….when the chemo pills cost the insurance company upwards of $5K per month, where exactly is the incentive to find a cure?

So, today, Valentine’s Day, is especially poignant this year. It not only marks the one-year anniversary of brain surgery (two thoughts that should never, ever be combined), but also serves as a reminder that nothing in life is a given. Stop letting trivial arguments get in the way of spending time with those you love. Put aside those family disagreements and ask yourself….if you were in my shoes…just how important those petty irritations and grudges really are.

Happy Heart Day and may those your love know how much you care about them today and always.

Monday Grand Girl Spark

Grandkids bring you into a sweeter, slower present. They show you the future at a time when a lot of your friends are thinking about the past. And they take you back to childhood–theirs, the Parent’s, your own: a three-time admittance to wonderland. ~Adair Lara

Peanut and Twix….our grand girls! Peanut is 9 years old and Twix just turned 4 years old. And not a day goes by where I don’t look at them and feel deeply thankful they are in my life.

Over these 9 years, neither of these girls have experienced a day care facility outside of a Pre-K program. Peanut and her Mama moved in with us when she was 4 months old while then-husband was deployed overseas. Upon his return, they moved to an out-of-state Army base, but were back under our roof when he decided to try college, and Peanut’s Mama took on the role of breadwinner. Peanut went happily to preschool and spent time after school at Entrepreneur and my office about a quarter mile from the school. Twix arrived in 2014, but a divorce disrupted plans and Peanut, Twix and their Mama continued to live with us for another 2 years while regrouping their life direction. Once Mama was stable in a better job, they moved into their own home. Entrepreneur and I moved our office into our home and Twix assimilated into our routine from the day she was born. An arrangement that continues to this day. Preschool is on the horizon for her in a few months, but until then, she is with us five days a week from 7:50am until 5pm.

I’d be lying if I said this didn’t come without challenges. But, I’m not sure I’d want it any other way. To, essentially, have the opportunity to co-parent with our daughter in raising our grand girls has been an experience many grandparents will never have. Granted, some may never want this experience! But, we’re gluttons for punishment looking at it as a rare opportunity to create a tie that binds us to them for the rest of their lives.

Some day in the near future, Twix will spend her days in preschool and then off to kindergarten. Entrepreneur and I will be more free to come and go without worrying about car seats and nap schedules. Our interactions will be limited to occasional family meals, special events, holidays and the periodic sleep-over at Nana and Papa’s house. And, of course, whenever school is not in session! But we will always believe we gave them both the best possible start in life by being spoiled loved and nurtured by family on a daily basis during those developing years before heading off to school.

Annie at McGuffy’s Reader hosts a blog hop every Monday called Sparks. I’m finding that reading everyone’s “Sparks” is one of the highlights of my week. Her philosophy its simple:

The negative energy of the world has become thick and oppressive. Social media has become a part of this dare, negative storm. There is an obvious, universal need for more positive energy and peace. And, we can be a part of this affirmative change.

Also blog hopping with Sandee’s Awww Mondays over at Comedy Plus.

It’s my birth day!

Yep, today is the day my mom brought me into this world. And this year’s birthday is a big one. How big? Well, I’ll leave that to you to try and figure out, but I’ll leave you a few clues a little later.

First, I’ll share a four generation photo from waaaay back when with Great-Grandma Olive, Grandma Maida, Mom Thelma and…Me! Sadly, my GG passed in November of the year I was born so I never really knew her at all.

The year I was born was a busy year. Here’s just a few noteworthy events….besides my entrance. 🙂
* Super Glue was invented
* NASA….National Aeronautics and Space Administration was formed
* Explorer 1 was sent into space to measure radiation in earth’s orbit. It orbited earth more than 58,000 times before it re-entered the atmosphere in 1970
* The Hope Diamond was donated to the Smithsonian Institute
* Bobby Fischer won the United States Chess Championship at only 14 years old
* Elvis Presley was inducted into the Army
* The Hula Hoop was invented

My first birthday

A few other tidbits of info:
* The average cost of new house was $12,750.00
The top song for January of that year was At The Hop by Danny & The Juniors
* A new, 8 cu ft RCA Whirlpool refrigerator cost $118.00
* A gallon of gas  cost 25 cents

It’s strange what I remember about my early years. I still remember the address of the house I lived in until 2nd grade….6202 E. 96th Street. One of my first memories is one of me and my cousins watching The Wizard of Oz on the TV; that would be the black and white version on a black and white set.

Have you figured it out yet? If so, you know it’s sorta a big one. One that I’m having a little bit of a hard time wrapping my head around!

Looking back at my life fills me with a lot of emotions. Are there things I regret doing or not doing? You bet. Were there aspirations that never materialized? Yes. Would I do things differently, given another chance. I’m not sure…maybe. What I am certain of is that my life has turned out pretty good so far even though it was not the road I saw myself traveling. Besides, I’ll drive myself crazy playing should of, world of, could of at this point in time.

So, I’ll now focus on trying to make the best of the next 365 days…knowing I’m not promised one more day, much less an entire year’s worth of days.

However many years a man may live, let him enjoy them all.
~Ecclesiastes 11:8

First Spark for 2018

Over the holidays, I missed a couple Sparks and Awww Mondays with Annie and Sandee, but hope to get back into  a routine now. That said, I’m already a day late to both link-up parties for this week! 😀

I hope everyone’s new year is off to a grand start. Let’s all try to do our part to spark some positivity in our world.


It’s not what we have in life,
but who we have in our lives
that matters.
~J.M. Laurence

Linking up with the bog hops for Sparks at McGuffy’s Reader, and Awww Mondays at Comedy Plus.
  

Big dog; puppy brain

Hello everyone, it’s me (Cabo) again. Mom seems to be really busy with stuff….I think it’s something called the “holidays.” So, I’m taking this opportunity to post for her.

I’m officially 8 months old today! It seems like furever ago when I joined my family. And, as you can see, a lot of changes have been going on! I went to see my friends at the doctor’s office and they told Mom I weighed 48 pounds. And….then gave me two treats! It’s always fun when I walk in the door and meet other furry friends.

Summer was a blast. Mom got me a baby pool! And there’s these water spouts that pop up out of the ground in the yard that are soooooo fun to run through. One of my favorite things to do on a summer night was to make Mom wait outside while I jumped to catch fireflies in the air. She laughed a couple of times, but I think she got tired of waiting on me to do my “business.”

I have TWO girlfriends. One of either side of my house. Ellie is a shepherd/boxer mix and she can keep up with me. But, she came over one day and tried to run off. So, we don’t get to play with each other much anymore. Good thing everyone likes to throw the ball for me.

I’m trying to be a good pupper…really, I am. But, to be honest, I had a few fails the past couple of months. Mom planted some really great-smelling flowers in September and I just couldn’t help myself. In fact, I helped myself to them all over the patio…dirt and all. That didn’t go too well for me.

A couple days ago a tree appeared in the house. I’m not sure what to do with it since every time I sniff it, I hear that word, “No.” And now it’s all lit up and doesn’t much look like a tree anymore. Mom has found me a couple of times with a pine cone in my mouth. I honestly thought the basket of smelly pine cones were free for the taking. Evidently not.

Oh well, happy 8 month birthday to me! I hope everyone has warm and wonderful holidays….whatever those are.

Before I get back to chewing my sticks in the yard, Mom told me about a blog hop called Awww Monday over at Comedy Plus. Just thought I’d pick a photo for her and add it to the fun.