my world

My World

For tonight’s blog, it’s all about giving you a glimpse in my world through the share your world challenge.  It’s one of the challenges run here in the blogosphere that make for fun and interesting reads while also connecting you to others bloggers.  So here it goes.

If you were having difficulty on an important test and could safely cheat by looking at someone else’s paper, would you do so?   I’m not good at being bad. So no I wouldn’t cheat because know I’d get caught.

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What things in nature do you find most beautiful?  I love the beautiful sunsets that light the Florida sky.  Also a top the items I find to be most beautiful are flowers, the beach, the fjords, mountains and waterfalls.   The Norwegian countryside was beyond beautiful.  Neither pictures nor words can adequately describe its beauty.

Complete this sentence: When I travel I love to…  I love to stay in the neighborhoods and experience the city or country as a local.  Consequently, we stayed in AirBnB’s in both Bergen and Oslo while travelling throughout Norway.  These accommodations were in the neighborhoods away, but not too far from the tourist sights.  In Oslo, our apartment had the cutest nest like area over the kitchen where the younger two boys could sleep.  Fortunately, they loved their little area.  Goalielocks had a similar room when we were in Bergen, which he also loved.  Nevertheless, the point is I want to be immersed in the culture of where ever I have traveled to.

What inspired you or what did you appreciate this past week?  This week I was heavily inspired by my dear friend Debbie, here family and our friends.  Months of hard work culminated with the Purple Stride event Sunday morning.  After the event, I was looking to see updated fundraising totals on the site and noticed a quote from Debbie. Here’s here quote that as a part of her keynote speech at the 2016 Broward Palm Beach Purple Stride event.

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My first PurpleStride was in 2015. I wanted to complete the 5K as my own personal challenge. Being able to attend my second PurpleStride this year in 2016, was about showing that patients can live, cherish the moments they have in their lives, teach others to celebrate their own lives and to remember the gifts of those lives that are no longer with us.”

Tonight’s song comes to us courtesy of Tom Petty.  Enjoy “Learning to Fly!”

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Friday Afternoon Bowling

Friday Afternoon Bowling

Today I spent my Friday afternoon bowling at a team building event for one of our business partners.  On the heels of yesterday’s BBQ for our team, bowling and building relationships with our business partners was awesome.  Truly,  I spent a good part of my week building relationships and on employee engagement.  Is there anything better?

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Unequivocally, one of the things I love about my job is the people I work with.  Some are on my team, but many work across the organization in the departments we work with daily.  Silos are the greatest danger to any organization.  Make it your mission to remove silos from our place of employment.  Make it your mission to make positive relationships with the people that support your department, but may work outside of it.

 

That’s all I have for career/work advice tonight.  Let’s talk about the bowling.  I’m awful.   Truly I don’t have enough fingers on my hand to count the gutter balls I threw today.  Consequently, during our second game I switched to bowling from my left hand.  The first ball I threw left handed resulted in (gulp) a gutter ball.  I promptly followed it up with a right handed spare.   Thereafter, I alternated between the hands in resulted in a score that was double my second game.

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In fact, in game two I even led for a moment.  Albeit a brief moment.  For that brief moment between the 2nd and 3rd frame of game 2, I was in the lead.  Since this never happens, I simply had to take a picture of my amazing accomplishment.  Unfortunately, I followed it up with some more gutter balls before netting another spare and two strikes.  You can only imagine the awesomeness of my post-strike strut.

My AD and I had joined the white team.  There were five teams and we rocked it.  As sure as I was that I would torpedo the team, we killed it.  We had a blast!  It was such a great opportunity to meet new  people, connect with those we know and build positive relationships.  While I will never become a professional bowler (cue the small violin here,) I look forward to my next bowling trip my colleagues.  Special thanks to our friends TE and NM for the invite.

Tonight’s song “Smooth” by Santana ft. Rob Thomas.

Purple Haiku

Purple Haiku

In honor of Pancreatic Cancer month, I wrote a Purple Haiku.  I am by no means a poet, so please be kind.   Cancer is an insidious beast.  Nine years ago today, cancer took my grandfather from us.  My Grandfather lived a good life, but he wast was still taken far too soon.  Like Debbie, my grandfather’s cancer impacted his digestive system (colon) and had metastasized to the liver.

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I go Purple, including purple streaks in my hair, because raising awareness for pancreatic cancer can and will save lives.  Moreover, I advocate for meaningful research like the work the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network does because this is how we will find a cure.  Importantly, the goal of PANCAN is to double the survival rates of pancreatic cancer patients by 2020.  I am proud to support this cause for Debbie, for her family and for all of us.

By the way, if you’re wondering how you can join or support Team Deb Force Five, you can do so by clicking here.  So without more delay, here is my first attempt at a Haiku since high school.

Wage Hope

Now that you are gone
Our hearts are empty and broke
Grieving we wage hope

Purple stride is here
training has made us faint
yet we won’t give up
 
We run in purple
your spirit energizes us
record time is ours
 
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Finally, the song for tonight is “Believer” by Imagine Dragons.

Faint.

Goalielocks & Debbie

Goalielocks & Debbie

Goalielocks & Debbie actually sounds like the name of a television show, but its actually two of my favorite people for whom I’m eternally grateful.  Goalielocks always had an affinity for Debbie.  He loved her like a second mom.  Moreover, he had a profound respect for her.  He was devastated when she was diagnosed.  He actually knew before us as he had figured it out from comments TK had made at school.  However, he didn’t mention anything to us until after we had told him.   It was hard for him to wrap his head around the fact that she had done “everything right,” but was diagnosed with stage iv cancer.

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He didn’t understand how someone who didn’t smoke, drink, eat poorly and exercised regularly could get cancer.   My mother-in-law was diagnosed with Stage IV triple negative breast cancer in 2011.  At the time, Goalielocks was in fist grade. Undoubtedly, it was hard for us to tell the kids that their Grandma was so ill.  Nevertheless,  it made sense to him.  I’m sure that was weird to read that, but stick with me here.  Once we finished talking, Goalielocks said “it makes sense given she smokes, drinks, doesn’t eat right and doesn’t exercise.”  Strangely, as a six year old child, he had a pretty good handle on major diseases and their causes.   He was sad, but since the diagnosis made sense to him it wasn’t as scary.

Flash forward four years and the tough questions were coming our way.  While he could make sense of his Grandma’s diagnosis, he couldn’t wrap his head around Debbie’s.  Truth be told, I think many of us felt similarly.  It didn’t seem fair that someone who had followed all the rules ended up with this diagnosis.  Since the diagnosis didn’t makes sense based on behavioral patterns, the diagnosis was very scary.

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Cancer is a scary disease.  Debbie, however, showed Goalielocks and all of us what true strength was.  Moreover, she showed us what it means to be brave, to persevere, to love, and to live fully.  We were honored to be able to help their family while Debbie was on hospice.  Consequently, my boys spent a lot of time with her those last weeks.  In what was the most difficult season of her life, she continued to show us all what it means to love selflessly, to live fully and be brave.  I am forever grateful for the time my kids, the hubby and I were able to spend with her.  While her neither her diagnosis nor her passing make sense to us, she will forever serve as our inspiration to love selflessly, live fully and persevere.

There’s only thirteen days left to the Purple Stride Event in Broward-Palm Beach.  While we’re still $4,000 away from our goal, I am hopeful we can close the gap in the coming week.  To join our team or donate in Deb’s honor, please click here.  Currently, there’s no panacea for Pancreatic Cancer as survival rates remain around 7-8%.

Tonight’s song  “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”

demand better

Demand Better

One of PanCan’s most powerful slogans is demand better.  Demand better for patients and for survival.  Pancreatic Cancer is now the 3rd leading cause of cancer related deaths in the U.S.  By 2020, pancreatic cancer is forecasted to be the 2nd leading cause of cancer related deaths surpassing breast cancer.  Meanwhile the 5 year survival rate for pancreatic cancer has increased from 7% to 8%.  While the increase is welcome, the survival rate for pancreatic cancer is still way too low.

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The diagnosis of pancreatic cancer to anyone’s friend or family member is horrifying.  What I respected so much about Debbie is that she lived her life fully not allowing the disease to define her.   I’m grateful to have had her in my life and for the example she set.  Additionally, she was the epitome of grace under pressure.  In the midst of her treatment, she was committed to making the future brighter for all pancreatic cancer patients.   Our commitment to the cure steadfast driven by her absence, which is felt profoundly by all of us.  I promised her that I would never give up the fight that I would always wage hope as her proxy.

Join us or donate to Team Deb Force Five here.

The beginning

The Beginning

Tonight I’d like to take you you back to the beginning of our story with John and Debbie as I continue my posts of gratitude.  When we met John and Debbie, we were still playing rec league hockey up at skate zone in addition to travel.  I know exactly what you’re thinking and you’re right.  We were absolutely crazy back then.  TK had just started skating and was an impressive player out of the gate.  The hubby knew instantly that he needed to make the jump from rec to travel.

It wasn’t until our first year of peewee, however, that TK and Goalielock’s ended up on a team together.  We had incredible group of kids, parents and coaches.  To date, that season remains as one of my favorite and most memorable seasons.  Debbie was our manager and as always was on top of everything.  She did an incredible job!   She organized our out of state tournament to Boston, which ended up being a magical albeit blizzard filled weekend.

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For us, Boston almost didn’t happen.  The year before Goalielocks’ peewee A season, we started our own business. It was a huge, scary leap for the hubby and I.  The November of our peewee A season, hubby took a tennis ball to the eye in a freak accident that left him out of work for weeks.  Can you imagine the stress?  We had no employees, as finding qualified help in S. Florida is like finding a needle in a haystack, and the business was starting to gain momentum.   Honestly, I was ready to put him in a bubble.

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No sooner had he gone back to work when he had a run in with a SUV and an unscrupulous driver in our neighborhood.  I’ll never forget when he called me from work to tell me he had broken his arm and he was driving to the doctor.  He’s absolutely crazy and did in fact drive himself, with a major break to his dominant arm, to the urgent care.  At the time, Jake was a sophomore in high school and not yet able to drive while the younger two were still in elementary.  To complicate things further each of the boys was playing travel hockey at the time with scattered practice times all week long.

I met hubby at the urgent care where they had tried to convince him to take an ambulance to the hospital.   There was no way my hubby was going to pay $500 for an ambulance ride 1.5 miles down the road to the hospital!  I picked him and got him into the ER right away.   Fortunately, the Bethesda West ER was incredible and took care of him immediately.

Hubby was in incredible pain and was having trouble recollecting what happened.  There was no way I was comfortable leaving him in the ER.  As this craziness was transpiring, our boys were still at school and After the Bell.  Thank God for the John and Debbie!  They had become neighbors when they moved into the Canyons a few months previously.  John and Debbie were our knights in shining armor.  They picked up the kids, fed them and even helped with homework.  Honestly, I cannot tell you what we would have done without them that day.

While we were in the ER, it was determined that hubby would have to be admitted to the hospital.   Moreover, he was scheduled to have major surgery on his arm the following morning.  Hubby was getting some new hardware!  When I went to pick the boys up from John and Debbie’s house, I was a hot mess.  They were so kind.  I left their house to bring the boys up to see the hubby in the hospital.

Fortunately, Hubby’s surgery went well.   His blood pressure was quite low due to the morphine, so he wasn’t able to get out during the day.  Once again John and Debbie came to the rescue taking care of our boys.   Through the afternoon and early evening, his blood pressure stabilized and his pain became manageable.  The doctor wrote the discharge orders with the caveat that he could urinate post surgery.  Oh boy, the struggle was real.  They brought him something he could use bedside, but he was having none of that.

He was finally able to go, so I started to help him un-tether the cords, unplug the IV and take off the blood pressure cuff.  This created a problem as we were at a hospital that serves a largely geriatric population and therefore uses bed alarms.   Long story short, as soon as I took up the blood pressure cuff, we set off a code blue.  As I walked towards the door to see what all the commotion was, I quickly realized that we were the commotion and they, meaning all the doctors and nurses on duty, were coming for us as they responded to the code blue.  I greeted them at the door to tell them he was simply trying to pee.  The nurses laughed and apologized for forgetting to turn off the bed alarm.  Thankfully, he was able to pee and he was discharged from the hospital.H

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It was weeks before the hubby could drive again and my mom wasn’t able to come down until a week later.  In the interim, John and Debbie were instrumental in helping us function as a normal family.  They helped us with school and hockey.  We couldn’t have done it without them and are forever grateful to them.  While we were always at ready to return the favor, it was always a favor you didn’t want to return.

You never want your friends find themselves in a health emergency.  I never in a million years thought that in less than six weeks, they’d need us just as we had needed them.  I’ll never forget March 4th, 2015.  I had caravanned up to Orlando for our employee roadshow where I was one of the presenters.  This was my first time presenting to the group, so naturally I was petrified.

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No sooner had we finished presenting, when I received a call from my hubby who was hysterical.  I was petrified.  Quickly, I walked out of the meeting room into the long windowed hallway that ran the length of the building.  I thought something horrible happened to the kids while I was in Orlando, so I was terrified.  Once he was able to collect himself, he told me that Debbie had been diagnosed with stage iv cancer.  My heart stopped as I collapsed back against the wall falling to my knees as I began to cry. 

At this time, they only knew that it was stage iv cancer and they needed our help.  We were going to be there for them in anyway they needed nothing more had to be said.  The “Meatloaf rule” went into full effect that day.   Today I’m grateful for the beauty of friends that become family.  For the type for friends that our always there at life’s lowest moments as well as life’s highest.  By the way, John even helped the hubby regain strength with some intense weight exercises.

 

 

In sixteen days, we’ll be running the Broward Palm Beach Purple Stride event in Debbie’s honor.  Please help us wage hope by joining us or donating to Team Deb Force Five.

Tonight’s song: Forever Young

Days of Gratitude

Days of Gratitude

I continue my days of gratitude posts today in honor of my friend Debbie.   Today I am grateful for the time were able to spend with Debbie and her family.  Moreover, I’m grateful that we were able to help them in their time of need.  When a friend is faced with a devastating diagnosis or prognosis, what we call the “Meatloaf  rule” goes into effect.  Meaning whatever you need, we’ll do.  There’s no “but I won’t do that.”

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Last March after Debbie had gone into hospice, we were helping clean and bleach the floor.  She was going to hire something, but there was no need since we could all do it.  Admittedly, we like to keep things light in our house and love making people smile and laugh.  Naturally, we had to find a way to make them smile and laugh.  Unfortunately, for all of them it resulted in a sight they cannot unsee.

 

As we prepared to drive over, the hubby took his battered pair of jeans and cut them off as high as they could go.  Oh yeah, he  made himself some daisy dukes.  You should know that my hubby suffers from the disease no asatall. He proceed to put on the shortest pair of shorts I have ever seen and we drove over.

When we got to the house, we knocked lightly so as to not wake Debbie.  John answered the door and Luke’s choice of wardrobe hit him like shock and awe.  He was clearly transfixed and mesmerized by the sexiness of Luke’s legs.  We entered the house and his family lost their ish.  When Debbie had woken up from her nap and came downstairs, her reaction to hubby was priceless.  She was laughing so hard, although I’m sure there was a shock and awe moment for her like John had experienced.  Nevertheless, we had succeeded.   Truly, you couldn’t help but laugh as you looked at my hubby in his sexy daisy dukes scrubbing the floor.

I’m so grateful that we were able to lighten the mood for awhile.  I should say (allegedly) that  the hubby did put on some basketball when he and John made a Home Depot.  I can’t believe John wouldn’t want to be seen in public with the hubby in Daisy Dukes!

As a reminder, our Purple Stride event is only 17 days away and we have a big hill fundraising hill to climb. You can join our team or donate to the cause at Team Deb Force Five.  Lastly, I’ll share a piece of advice I gave one of my kids tonight.   Life is way too shorts to let squabbles or arguments simmer.  As conflicts arise with people that matter, deal with them timely.

Tonight’s Song Disturbeds cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s “Sound of Silence.”

National Eat Your Kid's Halloween Candy Day

Happy National Eat Your Kid’s Halloween Candy Day

Guess what day it is!  Not only is it hump day, we’re over half way there, it is National Eat Your Kid’s Halloween Candy Day.  A little known holiday that’s a bit of mystery outside of the parenting circuit. Nevertheless, it is a very important one.  As a parent, we’ve earned the right to pilfer their candy.  If we left it to them, we’d only get the raisins, pencils or pennies.  We can’t have that nonsense!

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Back in my day, you hit the mother load when you got a full size candy bar in your bag.  Oh how we have raise the bar!  Goalielocks came home with several king sized bars last night.  Could you have imagined that back in the 80s and 90s?  If this seems excessive, it is.  However, it does help mitigate the loss of candy to National Eat Your Kid’s Halloween Candy Day.

 

In order to mitigate the extra calories, I headed back to the Barre for more fun.  It was another fabulous class. Truly,  I can’t recommend Adam’s class highly enough.   Let me tell you, Xtend Barre is a lot harder than it looks.  I felt the first class for almost a week!  You can imagine my horror when I got to class and the dreaded Bosu was back.   Literally, the last time I did the class on the Bosu, I couldn’t laugh, sneeze, cough or move for like 5 days.  It hurt my abs to simply exist.

Unfortunately, I’m battling a nasty cold.  I am praying that I’m done with the coughing fits before the pan of tonight’s class hits my abs.  Otherwise, sweet mother of Jesus,  there will not be enough Aleve in the world to cure my ills.  If I’m looking at the bright side, the good news is that class is superbly effective.  I guess that’s what keeps bringing us all back now isn’t it.

Tonight’s song “I Want Candy” by Bow Wow Wow

 

Gratitude

Gratitude

Gratitude is not only the greatest of all virtues, but the parent of all others.” – Cicero.  I drove to the rink to watch my youngest play to hockey games today with a heart full of gratitude.  First of all, the game was at home – a total godsend.  Secondly, there’s nothing better than watching your kid play the game they love.  No  matter how we hockey parents feel, we’re still gonna show up at the rink to watch our kids.  It didn’t hurt, of course, that they won both games.  Excitedly, the Mayor had the game wining goal in the 2nd game.

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Yesterday, during the torrential rains of Tropical Storm Philippe, Goalielocks and I went to Dick’s and PetSmart.  While driving to the store, we started talking about the current state of youth sports.  For instance, when I was growing up most kids played multiple sports.  In contrast, today’s kids are specializing in one sport by age 12.  Moreover, the cost to play for today’s kids has become astronomical.  In order to stay competitive, many kids play on tournament teams, attend clinics, take private lessons and go to camps.   This, however, comes with an extremely colossal price tag that puts youth sports out of reach for many.   This was mind blowing to Goalielocks.  As we drove home last night, I think Goalielocks understood how lucky he’s been having played travel hockey since 2011.

My heart is full with gratitude for the boys’ opportunity to play hockey.  Our boys have been playing travel hockey since 2011.  In the year since, we’ve had incredible experiences with their teams.  Moreover, the boys had the fantastic opportunity to travel with their teams to Boston, Minnesota, Ottawa, Washington D.C., and Quebec.  This season we will be travelling to Chicago, Atlanta and Boston.  Needless to say my boys’ are extremely excited for these trips.

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There are many things that fill my heart with gratitude, but none more than the incredible people in my life.  From my parents and in-laws, to my brothers, my hockey family, my friends and my work squad, I am lucky to be surrounded by incredible people that make my heart sing.

Lose Yourself

Lose Yourself

Is it my or when you see the phrase lose yourself do you start singing Eminem’s driving anthem.  The song is just as current today as when it was released 15 years ago.  I wrote last night about trademark, which goes hand in hand with our identity.  In Eminem’s song he talks about losing yourself in a music and giving it all you got.  In life, we must give it all we got – we owe ourselves that-, but we can’t lose ourselves in the craziness.

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Life’s circumstances can make it hard to stay true to ourselves, but we have to persevere through the challenges.  If you’re like me, life has thrown you more than a couple of curve balls. In fact, if your 2017 has been like mine, I’m sure your wondering why the hell the curve balls won’t stop!?!?!  Am I right?  I think we’ve all been gifted more lemons this year than available vodka resulting in an unfavorable lemon to lemon drop ratio.  It’s a sad state of affairs when that happens and it needs to change. 2018 do you hear me?

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As we march towards 2018, 2017 has shaken many of us to our core – myself included.  Grief, stress and disappointment are not the most fun combination in the world.  Yes, I know captain obvious here…  Grief, as I’ve found, can surprise you and completely envelop you if you let it.  It creeps up when you least expect it amplifying other negative emotions.

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Consequently, I was writing my blog last night when it dawned on me.  I’ve drifted away from who I am as a person.  I had to started to give in to the bulls%#t allowing others to define how I feel about myself and the world.  Fuck that shit (sorry mom!)  It was a liberating experiencing last night and left me feeling empowered.  Truly, sometimes knowing is half the balance.  When I realized that I had started to let the trials of life and people in it impact my trademark and my identity, I knew exactly how it fix it.  You gotta love those Eureka moments!

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Undoubtedly, writing is cathartic for the soul.  While this blog started as a means of coping with grief after losing Debbie in March, I’ve learned a lot more about myself than I had ever anticipated.  Meanwhile, here we are seven months later and I sill cannot bring myself to write about the experience of losing her.  Unquestionably, it is a gradual journey and someday I’ll be able to share those experiences here.  Nonetheless, here is what I do know.  Life is too short to wallow in the weeds letting life or others impact our positive outlook.  At the end of the day, we own our mindset as much as we own our identity.  Don’t let anyone take that away from you ever no matter how tired you may be.   Only you can protect your identity (and prevent forest fires.)