Why I Stride

Since today is World Pancreatic Cancer Awareness day, I thought I’d write about why I stride.  Stride of course refers to Pancreatic Cancer Action Network’s annual 5k called Purple Stride.  This Sunday, as we’ve done since 2015, Team Deb Force Five will be off to the races at the Broward-Palm Beach Purple Stride.  While it will be my first as part of the event team, it will also be our second Purple Stride without Debbie, which brings me to why I stride.

I remember the day clearly.  I had travelled with work to Orlando to present for the first time as part of our Military Roadshow. It was a pretty big deal and I was super excited.  We were driving up as a group and heading back that evening.  The presentation went swimmingly, so I spent my afternoon getting caught up on work.   And then my husband called, hysterical..   I was convinced something had happened to one of our kiddos.  When he finally calmed down, he told me the devastating news that Debbie had been diagnosed with stage iv cancer.  Instantly, my knees went week and I started to slide down the wall as I too started to cry.   At that point, the origin of the cancer was unknown, but the prognosis was dire.

At the time of her diagnosis Debbie was 40 years old.  She wasn’t a smoker, she ate exceedingly healthy and was an avid runner.  She didn’t fit the profile for a pancreatic cancer patient, but I think that’s the message.   According to a a recent study, pancreatic cancer will be the 2nd deadliest cancer by 2020.  Lung cancer is projected to remain the deadliest cancer.  While other cancers have seen a decrease in mortality rates, pancreatic cancer has not.  Researchers pointed to a combination of factors as to why mortality rates for pancreatic cancer have not declined.   Risk factors including an aging population, the relative growth of high-risk minority populations (African Americans and Ashkenazi Jews) and the underfunding of pancreatic cancer research.

Debbie was committed to finding a cure and research for better patient outcomes.  She was an avid supporter of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and the work they do to drive pancreatic cancer research.  Unfortunately, this can’t be done without money.   Pancreatic cancer patients and their families, like Debbie and her family, deserve better outcomes.  They deserve a survival rate well over 9%.

31095811800_5ab1fa7ee3_o

We lost Debbie almost two years ago, but some days it feels like it was yesterday while others it feels like it’s been years.   Even still Goalielocks asks why they couldn’t do more for her.  I stride because I’m committed to ensuring that pancreatic cancer patients and their families have better outcomes.  I’m committed to helping drive research forward.  This disease has stolen so much from so many.  It certainly has from me.

You can support PanCan and Team Deb Force Five in Debbie’s honor: http://support.pancan.org/site/TR/PurpleStride/PurpleStride?team_id=14831&pg=team&fr_id=1573

Advertisements

TMinus Seven

It’s tminus seven until Jake, and my brother and his wife head to Scandinavia for an epic adventure.  Jake and I spent our morning picking up a few last-minute items from Kohl’s. It’s going to be in the 40s-50s, so a light jacket should suffice.  Since we live in Florida our fall wardrobe for Scandinavian weather isn’t quite up to par.

After Kohl’s we headed to Barnes and Noble.  I’ve been reading book after book as I work my way through the top 500 fiction and non-fiction books.  I’m currently reading One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez, but should finish it in the coming days.  It’s delightful this far, quite the departures from Tolstoy’s Resurrection.  I’d highly recommend both novels.  For the trip, I bought Stieg Larsson’s Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Since paperbacks were 3 for $30, I was seriously tempted to by several books.  I behaved and walked out with only two.

51AA0MWoCIL._SX277_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

In addition to Larsson’s novel, I picked up a book on Swedish grammar.  I love DuoLingo, but I needed to read through the grammatical rules.  Every night I try to spend at least 30 minutes practicing Swedish before reading for the last hour before bed.  I don’t expect to be fluent, but I hope to at least be able to communicate in Swedish while in Stockholm.  As an aside, there isn’t DuoLingo for Finnish or Finnish grammar books at our Barnes and Noble.    Please see video below for what I imagine I’ll sound like.

Debbieandboysatpurplestride

I am super excited, not just for the trip, but for November’s Purple Stride.  This year I’m unable to run due to my left ankle, so I’m taking on a different role.  For this year’s event, I’m happy to announce that I am the Team Chair.  I’ll be in charge to driving team results and recruitment.  Those of you on the fence of joining team Deb Force Five – now it the time to join.   If you’re not in Florida that’s okay!  You can join us as a virtual strider.   Join by clicking here.  I’ll leave you with one of Freddy Mercury’s iconic live performances.  I, for one, cannot wait to see the Queen movie coming out next week.

 

It’s Been Crazy

It’s been crazy around these parts hence the several month hiatus from the blog.  While the kids went north this summer, the hubby and I worked.  Oh and I tore my posterior tibial tendon, which has been so much fun.  Needless to say I didn’t do much this summer but work and elevate my leg.  Now I’m bootless, scooterless and ready to write!

IMG_5039

I did take on a new, super girl like identity as the summer ended: Scooter Girl.  You know like Avril Lavigne’s skater boi just older, with a boot and a lot less coordination.  I spent eight weeks in a boot and on my glorious scooter.  Whoever invented the scooter, also known by its significantly less sexy name as a knee walker, is my hero.  I can’t imagine having to spent eight weeks in a boot and on crutches – I wouldn’t have gone anywhere.  The scooter was a complete lifesaver.  It helped, of course, that my scooter was pimped out with a basket, a cup holder (how else would I carry my coffee), a memory foam padded knee pad cover and a bell (thank you KB.)

While I was on the scooter, I noticed that people were much nicer and helpful.  Even the snowbirds near me were sweet – amazing.  It was, however, a little demoralizing when a woman in her 80s told me she had been in the same boat and that I’d be okay.   She was so sweet.  Seriously, the snowbirds were sweet and if you lived in S. Florida you’d understand how amazing that really is.  It also sucked having to put on a cast bag to go outside or take a shower.  Having a cast during rainy season isn’t awesome.

The scooter also got us VIP entrance and upgrades at a couple of concert.  I definitely was not  looking forward to being on the law at an amphitheater with my scooter.  However, nothing was going to stop me from seeing the Imagine Dragons or Lindsey Stirling and Evanescence.   I think maybe that’s the lesson in all of this.  No matter what life throws at you, don’t stop living.  P.S. The Imagine Dragons with shirtless Dan is a must see show!

IMG_4805

Thankfully, I’m off the scooter as the craziness of hockey season is in full swing. I did have a scooter buddy at the beginning of the season, but I’m happy to report we’re both off our scooters!   It was a challenge to fit my scooter and their gear in the car.  Not too mention it’s tough to navigate the rink and find a comfortable viewing place for the games. I’ll admit that the bell prevented several potential collisions as I glided down the ramps at Ice Den.  Fortunately, the breaks on the scooter were quite effective.

IMG_5179

Perhaps the hardest part of the boot life is the inability to really exercise.  For eight weeks I was relegated to water workouts only.  We don’t have a pool at home, so I was at the mercy of traffic and the weather.  It’s been tough to be outside my normal workout habits.  It’s also tough to be passed in the pool by a geriatric swimmer, but I digress.  I’m still not cleared to run or do Zumba, but spent sometime on my TRX this past week.  It felt amazing.

At any rate, it feels good to back at the blog and bootless!

P.S.A.

While I won’t be able to run this year’s Purple Stride, I am still captain of Team Deb Force Five and am taking on an expanded role at the event.  Please join the Fight by joining Team Deb Force Five as a participant, donor or virtual strider!  Together we can help PanCan double survival rates by 2020.  Here’s the link:  Join Team Deb Force Five

Wanderlust

Wanderlust is defined as a strong desire to travel explore the world. Growing up I have always wanted to travel the world, but travel is expensive and so are kids. When I was young, we weren’t rich (weren’t poor either) and didn’t travel often.  If we did travel, it was normally within the state.   We took an amazing trip to California when I was thirteen.  This trip remains one of my favorite memories from childhood.  In addition, I was fortunate that my parents sent me on a couple of amazing class trips.  My goal growing up was to travel the world and see the sites.  Our last trip, Norway, fed my soul and reawakened my wanderlust. Moreover, it awakened the wanderlust in my kids.

There’s nothing better than exploring our globe and our heritage with the ones you love. Now that I’m getting older and have more money, I’m starting to see the future I’ve always wanted. A future that included exploring the world with my family and seeing all that this life has to offer. I’ve been so excited that this “future” is starting to become a reality.  Moreover, I relish the opportunity to share these experiences with my family.

wow-cover

After traveling to Europe in high school, I fell in love with European history, architecture and art. The opportunity to traipse around the continent is a complete dream.   Norway was a complete dream as it combined my love of European history with my own heritage.  Moreover, it was made even better by the presence of my entire family and grandma.  For as long as I live, I will never forget the look of wonderment on my Grandma’s face as she looked up at the mountains and hills on the Kongevegen in Borgund.  You can’t script a moment better than this.

f28e1aaf089d034e93734f43c559d5c2

I cannot wait for my next trip!  The future I have always wanted and worked so hard to get is close at hand.  Words are not adequate to describe how hard I have worked to get from the ground floor to where I am now.  Countless hours and years of dedication to achieve the results I have achieved and make my future possible.   All of my adult life, I have been working towards this future.

paulo-coelho-quote-1200x628

As much as I love travel, I enjoy sharing these experiences with friends and family more.    A belief that travel and exploration is inconsequential and a needless expense has stalled my vision for the future. As the wind was knocked from my sails, a crushing pain has taken hold in my chest. The realization that what is important to me does not matter to the one I love most has been a crushing blow.  Nonetheless, I’ll pick up the pieces and move forward my plans for the future somewhat altered, but still intact.

 

 

Moving On

Today was Goalielocks’ moving on ceremony marking the end of a fantastic three years at Logger’s Run Middle School.  Since day one he has flourished in Middle School enjoying the academic offerings and his many friends.  It was apparent tonight how much he enjoyed his school and how well he got along with his classmates.  Of course, for me, it was bittersweet as it marks the end of one stage and the beginning of another stage.  It seems like just yesterday he was graduated from preschool and now he’s off to high school.

IMG_3730.jpg

The ceremony itself was at his future high school in West Boca.  We found out yesterday that he has been offered a spot in the medical academy at West Boca with all of his friends.  He was absolutely ecstatic to learn that he’ll be continuing his school journey with the vast majority of his school friends.  We waited until tonight at dinner to give him the good news.

IMG_3730

We waited patiently in the hot, sauna of a gym for ceremony to start.  They started “Pomp and Circumstance” as the graduates filed into the gym.  Maybe it was the contacts or both our bad vision, but we didn’t see Goalielocks walk into the gym at all.  Once they had sat down, we didn’t seem him either.  Naturally, we started to panic a bit.  After a few minutes of concern, my hubby decided to go down and see if we could find him.

He headed down towards the entrance and start chatting with the principal and the police officers working the event, who assured him he was there.  The hubby headed up the other bleachers to try and find him to no avail.  Finally, the principal let him walk down the side and he found him.   Now we could relax and enjoy the show.

As I watched the video with Goalielocks tonight, he quickly pointed out that we actually got him on video.  How we missed him in the first place is beyond me.  Like I said it could be the contacts or the blonde hair.  Nonetheless, it was a fabulous night to celebrate the accomplishments of middle school while looking forward to the challenges and opportunities of high school.  

 

Long Weekend

It was a glorious long weekend of no plans and no obligations.  We sent the Mayor to Key West on Friday for the weekend and he had an epic time.  As for the rest of us, we took advantage of the stormy weather and stayed in and relaxed.  It is hard to believe we only have four days left of the school year.  This year has seemed like a sprint.  Especially the last six months!

This year has been an absolute sprint with trips every month through April (could have used a May vaycay.).   In between the trips, we had a health scare with Goalielocks and possible surgery.   His procedure ended up being delayed because he had a bad cough, which made it too risky for him to go under.  Not even a month later, we were in an ER in New Hampshire with a suspected brain bleed.  Fortunately, the good folks at Mass General were able to quickly rule out the brain bleed, but his recovery would still be lengthy.

We ended up back in the ER in the beginning of March when his headaches changed in severity and type.  Unfortunately, he’ll experience headaches and other post concussion symptoms for the next six to twelve months.  We made it nearly two months before brining him back to the ER for suspected appendicitis.  Fortunately, it wasn’t appendicitis.  Unfortunately, it took a costly visit to the ER to confirm he had a virus with symptoms that mimic appendicitis.  Needless to say, it’s been exhausting and expensive.

I’m ready for some downtime and calm.  (What is that even?)  This Wednesday, we’re headed to West Boca to watch Goalielocks’ Moving on Ceremony.  We’ll officially have one in college, one in high school and one in middle school.  Despite my reticence to let them grow, time continues to march.  It’s a bit bittersweet as he’s absolutely loved his time at Logger’s Run.

Excitedly, we’re back to our normal summer pattern since we have no grand plans this summer.  Goalielocks and the Mayor will be headed North to spend the summer at Camp Grandma and Grandpa.  We couldn’t be more excited, nor could they.  Goalielocks cannot wait to be reunited with his former goalie coach, who is now at MEGA.  While they’re in Minny, they’ll be able to spend time with all of our family. Also, this will give me a break from the endless begging for a sailboat.

The Mayor, as you can probably see in the pictures, had an epic weekend in Key West with Capt. Rob and E.  He loved every single minute of it from being on the water in the driving rain to trying his first oyster!  Yeah, an oyster! I haven’t even had an oyster.  (Don’t judge me I grew up in the Midwest.) They spent their nights on a docked sail boat and spent their days exploring Key West.  Due to the inclement weather, they were some of the only people around.

Boy oh boy, this first period of hockey is amazing.  We still have four minutes left in the period and it’s already 2-1.   This series should be incredible and hopefully for hockey fans everywhere it goes to seven games!  Just a quick update here, I uploaded my pictures and the period has ended in a 2-2 tie!  I cannot wait to see what the second period will bring.

Terrific Tuesday

I don’t know about you, but I for one am glad that this terrific Tuesday is coming to a close.  Today was just one of those days.  There were several times I wish I could have disappeared out of a room today.  In all honesty, it could be the lack of sunshine and blue sky that has me over today.  Admittedly, we’re quite spoiled with sunshine in South Florida.  The past week, however, has been absolutely dreary.  It is driving me and everyone else here bonkers.

images1

Of course, a lack of sleep could also be to blame.  After all the excitement of last night, I got to bed much later than I would have liked.  #damnbird. Meanwhile, our rescued baby bird is living the high life in her protected and cushy enclosure.  As the hubby and I look for places to bring her, Goalielocks and the Mayor have been plotting to make our house her forever home. #notgoingtohappen.  Thankfully, the little birdie is doing well and is safe and sound.

images

There was no playoff hockey tonight, so it has been a quiet evening for me.  I get these athletes need to rest, but selfishly I don’t want to wait for game 7.  Tonight’s game should be epic.  There’s nothing better than game 7 playoff hockey!  Since I’ll be up late tomorrow evening, I’m heading to bed a little early tonight.

Already?

Already?  Really weekend just like that you’re over.  It seems like just five minutes ago it was 6:00 pm on a Friday night and the work week was behind us.. Yet here we are, nary a blink the eye has gone by, back to Sunday night and the beginning of another work week.  Although we accomplished as lot this weekend, it feels like we made no progress. I could definitely use a third weekend day to make me more productive around the house.

fullsizeoutput_2dfa

In exciting news, we continue to add-on to our new tank.  In case you missed it, we’ve installed a 120 gallon saltwater aquarium in our living room and our remodeling the room accordingly.   Saturday we added a kole tang, macro algae for the refugium and a couple of coral frags.   Thankfully, the new creatures are acclimating to the tank very well.  Both the frog spawn and green star polyp corals have opened up, which is exciting.  They’re small frags, so we’re anxious for them to grow and cover more of the rocks.

Goalielocks is leading the project for the aquarium as he is the marine expert in the household.  We’ve had several freshwater aquariums and a nano saltwater tank before, but this is still a major undertaking.  Maintaining a saltwater tank is a lot more complex than maintaining a freshwater system.  Nonetheless, Goalielocks is well prepared.  Moreover, the tank is really starting to take shape and look great.  We’re anxiously waiting for our paired clownfish to host in the anemone, but they’re taking their sweet time.

i-dont-always-love-playoff-hockey-oh-wait-yes-i-do

In other news, playoff hockey continues to be great.  The games have been high-octane and thoroughly entertaining.  Tonight the Vegas Knights, the first expansion team to reach the finals, won the Western Conference title and are advancing to the Stanley Cup. Not for nothing, but the Florida Panthers’ missteps clearly had a positive impact not he Knights.  After all, it was not too long ago that the Cats fired Gerard Gallant (huge mistake) and sent him packing in a taxi.  Then they dealt both Reilly Smith and Jonathan Marchessault away as part of the expansion draft.  Along with Lars William Karlsson, these two gents make up the Knight’s lethal top line.  Needless to say, they’ve had a pretty good season.

32977016_10211313693413304_8327074089449553920_n

Tomorrow night the action will be back in D.C. as the Caps take on the Lightning in a must win game.  The puck drops at 8:00 pm, so I am assured another late night.  With the adrenaline of playoff hockey, who can sleep right after a game ends? I know I can’t.  It would be nice to have a Florida team in the Stanley Cup Finals, but I’ wouldn’t be disappointed if the series went to seven games.  I know, I know I’m a little greedy, but the hockey has been outstanding and I don’t want it to end.

Really-the-bachelorette

In non-hockey news, I have to wish my Great Grandma Brown a very happy 102nd birthday.  You read that right, she’s 102 years old. For context, when she was born we were two years into World War 1.   When I think of all the changes she has witnessed in her lifetime I’m astounded.  I can’t fathom how much our world has changed in the 102 years she’s been on this earth.  It’s an incredible thought.   Moreover, she still lives independently with her little dog.  I hope I got her genes.  Please join me in wishing her a very happy 102nd birthday.

32928300_10212109041347255_7983044997131796480_o

I had thought about going back to the daily prompt and writing about narcissism tonight, but I just didn’t have it in me tonight.  I thought hockey, saltwater aquariums and my great grandma would be infinitely more interesting. I’ve written about narcissists before anyway and really don’t wish to give them anymore airplay.

Wow, almost forgot there was this huge wedding this weekend. I didn’t get up to watch it.   Don’t get me wrong, I like the pomp and circumstance, but I am not a morning person.  Later that day I watched the highlights on Hulu.  It looked like a beautiful event.  Of course, the single best picture of the day was of David Beckham.    Who else watched the wedding?  What did you guys think?

David-Beckham-Royal-Wedding-2018-Pictures

Late Nights

I love playoff hockey, but the late nights get tougher with each passing year.  This year’s playoff run has been full of drama, fun to watch and a little gross (thank you Brad Marchand.). Admittedly, I’m sad that my Wild didn’t make it past the Jets in the first round.  Nonetheless, there are several Minnesota boys to support in the conference finals.   Of course, as I’m writing this I have the Mayor to my left – cheering on the Lightning and Goalielocks to my right cheering on the Capitols.    This makes for an interesting game experience.

My favorite moments of this playoff season are Dustin Byfuglien manhandling two players at once like they’re a toddler.  The man, pure and simple, is a beast.  He’s unequivocally one of the players to watch during the conference finals.   Check out these awesome clips of Byfuglien being Byfuglien.  The first clip even includes a nice view of Fleury’s ear tickle on Blake Wheeler.  Yeah, you read that right.

I can’t wait to watch the Jet vs. Knights game tomorrow night.  Both teams are incredibly fun to watch.  Plus between the the Knights’ amazing pre-game entertainment and introductions, you know with these two teams you’re going to get a fast paced, physical game. As for now, with the Caps/Lightning game winding down, I should probably head to bed.

P.S. I thought about posting the infamous licking video, but honestly can’t bring myself to give that guy any publicity.

Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day to all the wonderful mothers in my life and the blogosphere!  I spent my Mother’s Day relaxing at home with our boys and puppies.  Hubby made me a wonderful breakfast of crepes, an omelette and some bacon.  It was sinfully delicious!  The crepes were spectacular with cloud berry jam, whipped cream and fresh berries.  On the second crepe, I had blueberry jam that we bought in Norway on it and it was delicious.  I’m not quite sure what we’re going to do when we’re finally out of Norwegian cloudberry and blueberry jelly.  I guess we’ll just have to go back and buy more!

We spent Saturday night at the amphitheater in West Palm for the Alan Jackson show.  To be clear, I’ve never been a country music fan.  In fact, I wasn’t originally planning to go with Goalielocks and the Hubby to the concert.  At least, not until I got the guilt trip from Goalielocks, who reminded me that I had no problem going to the Foo Fighters with Jake. I, of course, reminded him that I love the Foo Fighters….  Nonetheless, I accompanied them to the concert last night.

Fortunately, the weather held out.  I purchased seats under the roof of the amphitheater just in case the meteorologists happened to be right.  They weren’t, but the assigned seats were nice.  We had a great view of the show and weren’t fighting the crowds on the lawns.  As for the show itself, both LeeAnn Womack and Alan Jackson didn’t disappoint.  I’ve heard many of the Alan Jackson songs enough to know the words.  Moreover, they bring back fond memories of my mother-in-law, who enjoyed his music.

While I don’t enjoy their music, I would have had to be deaf to not hear how talented they are.   LeeAnn Womack has some lungs!  Surprisingly, that’s not even the Tito’s lemonade talking.  They were legit.  I’m not converting to country, but enjoyed spending the evening with two of my guys.

We faced time my mom and grandma today to wish them a very, happy Mother’s Day.  It would have been nice to be up in Minnesota with all of them.  After a late night last night, we decided not to do to brunch on the water.  This decision was reinforced by the weather outside, which brought us heavy rains all day.  Apparently, there’s a low pressure system of the southwest coast of Florida that may develop into a tropical system.  Oh joy!

It’s time to head off to bed and recharge the batteries before starting another crazy week.  To all the mother’s out there, I hope you had a wonderful day.  To the beautiful mother’s in our lives, who have felt the excruciating pain of losing a child, today we send you our love and strength.  Lastly, for those whose mother’s have passed, today we send love your way.