Saturday, June 19, 2010

Two Pink Ribbons

How do you label courage?  Over the past two years, two of my dearest friends have battled and survived breast cancer.  They march on and tackle life a day at a time.  They don't look back and they take no prisoners!

Some days, it's hard to hold them down.  They are like "energizer bunnies" and they think they can do absolutely anything.  Or, remember the old Timex watch commercials - takes a licking and keeps on ticking!  That pretty well describes these two remarkable ladies.  I cannot tell you how much I admire these two women.  They are amazing!

When they each shared their news, we cried, got it out of our systems and then we all rallied and started tackling life together.  Shortly after one of them found out her news, her sister, over 600 miles away was also diagnosed with this awful disease.  They had their surgeries on exactly the same day, over 600 miles apart.  They shared their stories of chemo and hair loss and the overall change in their whole being.

One of the special things we did together, was a "buzz party" for each of the ladies when it got to the place that the hair remaining on their heads looked like continents.  Never turn three women loose with electric clippers, appetizers and a bottle of wine.  It's a good thing we were going for a clean cut!

On the down days, I was their cheerleader and shoulder and positive attitude coach.  There were even days when they were up and I was down and they did the same for me - and I wasn't sick.

Next month, these two wild and crazy survivors are taking a trip together and it is one that is very special, as it was the door prize at a recent survivors dinner that they attended.  Maine, look out.  They are coming your way!  Laughter and hilarity are in abundance when these two get together.  Portland, Maine is in for a real treat!

Ladies, you have no idea how much respect I have for the two of you.  You are both incredible, strong, courageous, survivors.  I love you both!  How do you label courage - the two of you!  Have fun in Portland and please, don't break the lighthouses!


I Love You, Daddy!

This Sunday is Father's Day.  What are you doing?
There's the commercial approach which is:
a card
a tie that will only be worn once, if at all
a shirt with a catchy phrase on it that he will wear with
          pride when you are around
a hat
new fishing pole

Yes, I got my daddy a special gift, one that he specifically asked for, but I'm not telling, because I know he is going to read this.  What we ALL need to remember is that our dads have been giving to us their whole lives and I have my special memories to prove it!  I know there are other people reading this, and you can all reminisce with us if you want, but Daddy, from here on down, it's just for you.

Daddy, these are the gifts that you have given to me:

Sitting on your shoulders so I could see a parade and going to the fireworks on the 4th of July at the little park at the edge of town.

Going carp fishing with you at the lake at the cemetery and thinking it was so cool that you used a bow an arrow to fish with!  And walking around in that cemetery.  I never looked at them as creepy places.

Camping!  and camping in the rain because rain always, always found us, even if we were in a drought area!

My first attempt at homemade chili with about 50 too many pepper corns

A cocker spaniel named Taffy, a crazy boxer, a wire hair terrier named Brady, and of course Red Dog and Snuggles.

You and me babysitting for the baby bro and having to "de-stink" him and his room before mother got home!

Playing in the snow and you pulling me on my sled and snow so deep that the drifts were over the top of the fence.  Making playdough rockets while we sat and watched tv in the house on Southern Blvd.

Fishing in the rain and you putting me in some weird smelling army green raincoat thing with a screen on the front of my face.  I think you got it at the Army surplus or something.
Your repeated efforts trying to teach me how to bait a hook - I still use needle nosed pliers because I don't like to get the worm guts on my hands.

Fried boloney sandwiches with mustard!
Limburger cheese - still can't stand the stuff.
Eating smoked oysters straight out of the can with a pack of saltines and some mustard on the side
The Bratwurst Festival! and the Crawford County Fair!

Having to tell you in Kansas that I was going to have to go to the bathroom in Colorado so that you would be sure and stop.  Driving through the Badlands, car troubles, fishing for trout with corn, Mount Rushmore, more camping in the rain and being in a 10x10 umbrella tent in the middle of tornado season on top of a hill in Cheyenne (and we can't leave out the part about watching the portable black and white tv and watching Neil Armstrong).  Cheyenne Frontier Days.

An airplane ride with some crazy people in Florida, going on business trips with you and Mother and getting to see New York City and seeing Ben Hur at the theater in New York, King of Prussia, PA, real pizza and Shirley Temples in New York, Valley Forge, Monticello, sleeping on a pallet in the back of the station wagon and driving late into the night!

Learning how to drive stick shift and the stop light on Far Hills Ave.
The old blue station wagon with the slipping gears that had to be whacked back into place when we stopped.
Good Old Days and Good Old Memories!

The list is endless and I have them all saved forever in my internal scrapbook, but 3 really special memories are the look on your face when you walked me down the aisle 35 years ago, and the look on your face when you saw each of your grandchildren for the first time.  All of my memories are special,  but those 3 are priceless and I won't ever forget them.

Today is your day, and we are all going to party around a feast of hot dogs, hamburgers, bratwurst and all of the trimmings.  But today is not about the food, or the presents or the fact that we're all in your living room.  It is about you and the legacy of love that you have given each of us and that we are honored to receive.  Most of all, Daddy, you gave me, your time, your attention, your devotion, your gratitude, your patience, your unconditional love and the best gift of all - you gave me You!

I love you, Daddy!

Flesh Colored Crayons

First grade for me was an interesting experience and the first exposure to cultural awareness.  Aside from the fact that we moved and I was in 3 different schools, I had my first memorable exposure to OCD at the hands of one of my first grade teachers.  I'm sure her heart was in the right place at some point during her teaching career, but I totally didn't like where she was going with some of  her concepts about life.  Pretty good analysis for a fledgling first grader, don't you think!

I am a glass half full person, the "God gives you lemons - you make lemonade" philosophy all the way.  I am a  problem solver and moderator and have been my whole life.  I was always taught that if you really want to accomplish something, you can make it happen through faith and hard work.  So, imagine my frustration in the first grade when this crazy teacher told me I couldn't color one of the handouts because I didn't have a flesh colored crayon. Everybody knows that the "special" colors only came in the Big Boxes.  Like most of the kids in the class, I wasn't privey to the Big Box.   Being that lemonade personality, I came up with a plan and I took an orange crayon and just colored very lightly on the page.  Hey, I thought it was a cool idea and I got to color with that select group of kids that had the Big Box!  It was a cool idea until that insane OCD excuse of a First Grade Teacher released her fury on me and snatched my coloring sheet away and scolded me in front of the whole class.  Back in those days, kids didn't talk back to anyone, but especially your teacher, so I kept my jaw clamped tight and my fury inside.  My picture looked good.  I stayed in the lines and everything!  I was an artist!  How dare she!  Humiliation and public embarrassment humbled me at the tender age of 6 and all because of a stupid crayon!

Some 10 to 15 years later, Crayola came to my rescue and renamed that stupid crayon to "peach" because they realized that not everyone's skin color was the same.    Duh!  There was another crayon renamed as well.  Indian Red became Chestnut.  Prussian Blue was renamed Midnight Blue because the country of Prussia didn't even exist anymore.

To this day, I still love the smell of a fresh box of crayons, and I still love to sit and color.  There is nothing like being the first one to use a box of those wonderful sticks of color with the fresh point and the unsoiled paper.  Did you know that crayons are even in the top 20 of recognizable smells for adults!  You can't sit there reading this and tell me you wouldn't be able to recognize the smell of a good crayon.  It's right up there with that fresh pot of coffee and hot cinnamon rolls in the oven.

By my age, you would identify me as a grown-up, but by my secret hobbies, I'm still a little kid.  On a dreary day, it would not be unlikely for you to find me in my office, content with my 96 count box of Crayola Crayons and a coloring book that I bought at the dollar store.  As far as flesh colored crayons are concerned, if you want that cowgirl to have a blue face, hey honey, GO FOR IT!