Category Archives: Everyday Life

March came in like a LION

Many of you know that the beginning of March usually brings a birthday list of the 34, or whatever age I am becoming, things to do over the course of that aged year. This year it was absent as March came in like a lion for us And knocked us off our feet.

It all started back in February, though if I’m being completely honest further back than that, with a mole. A mole the size of a dime about 2 inches from knee on my left thigh. It was starting to change a bit. It was getting puffier, scaly, it would bleed if I scratched it and when I hid it with a band aide it would leave a mark on the band aide once it came off. 

When I was able to get in to see my doctor we made the decision to remove it and took care of it later that week. It was sent to pathology as is the practice now. After a week of not hearing, I put it out of my mind. Then one Friday I got to school and had a lot of missed calls on my cell phone- naturally it was an evening when I should have turned around to get the phone once I realized I had forgotten it. The message simply said that the pathology report came back and that she was sorry and that it was melanoma. To be honest, I didn’t know what that meant. I knew in my heart it wasn’t good but I didn’t really know what it meant. Of course I turned immediately to google (not my best decision I know) discovering that it was a form of skin cancer and not necessarily a good kind. I phoned Nate immediately, crying as I tried to tell him what I had found out, him trying to calm me down as students were entering my room for a rehearsal. I made the decision to keep it to myself until I knew more, as I said I had only been told it was melanoma there was still a lot to find out like what stage it was in and what the next steps where. I didn’t want to worry anyone yet as I only knew what it was and that I was heading for an appointment with a surgeon. 

I had my appointment at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre on March 7, less than a week after my 35 birthday, hence why there is no list- my mind hasn’t been in a place to put one together quite yet, it’s been a bit occupied. Anyways, I met my surgeon who would be removing more of the infected area and had a once over to make sure there wasn’t any other areas I needed to be concerned with. As the appointment progressed I learned more about the issue. I tried to think back to the last time my upper knee/thigh saw sun – as sun exposure and burns are a leading cause of melanoma. It was being put at a higher stage than I had thought it would be. Walking in I thought it might be a stage II and maybe one of the sub levels, but alas I was greeted with a stage IIIb. I nearly choked on my tongue. The doctor told me though that they couldn’t be 100% sure because of the way the original biopsy was done, which meant a bigger and deeper removal of the infected area and the removal of some lymph nodes for testing. I saw that as some optimism. 
I received my call about a week later that the surgery had been scheduled for March 29 with the lymph node mapping on March 28. 
My surgery was a week ago. I’ve been at home now since the 29th as it is a day surgery, it amazes me that it can be done in a day. I’ve been resting and recovering and watching a lot of Netflix. The surgery went well and the pain and discomfort have been decreasing every day. Each day without pain medication is a victory for me, especially because it is a day without dizziness. Each day I am able to do more things, like get out of bed, get on and off the couch, go to the bathroom by myself, get something to eat, and be in positions other than being horizontal. Though today I discovered I can’t quite get dressed all by myself yet as I cannot bend down enough to put on my left sock due to where the lymph node incision is.  

This has been made easier because of our amazing support system that has come around us and been there for us. Ella has been taken care of and loved by her Mama and Pa (grandparents). We have been cared for by our friends and family with meals lovingly prepared, messages, cards, flowers, phone calls, care packages and visits. People came around us that we weren’t expecting and have been so supportive and caring. Our church has been such a support for us with prayer and meals and phone calls. The love we have been shown by all of these folks is more than I ever imagined, that is the silver lining in all if this, and I don’t know how I will ever be able to thank them enough.   

It isn’t over yet. We find out on Thursday if the surgery got it all or if it has spread- the lymph nodes will tell them that. Fear sometimes creeps in and takes hold of me when I think about the possible results. I want it to be finished. I’m praying for it to be finished.

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These Hands…

Thesehands

These hands belong to one of the most amazing woman I know.  I use to sit and watch these hands make the most amazing baking creations, while they would pass me a spoon to lick in secret. These hands would let me knead the dough or add the sprinkles or ice the butter horns. Wondrous family meals, followed by snacks, followed by a little night lunch, just to make sure no one was ever left hungry, was prepared by these hands.   As pages would be carefully turned  on the family photo albums, these hands would be pointing out and sharing each new adventure.  These hands would trace the line of the family tree sharing something that had just been found out. In the evenings as we gathered around the table, these hands would deal a deck of cards to play a friendly card game.  These hands would cover her face when she got laughing too hard, especially when our golfing went so horribly wrong.

These hands  could take a little paint and a canvas and with a few brush strokes turn it into a piece of art.  These hands would work magic with a needle, thread and sewing machine.  I saw pieces of limp, uninspired fabric transform into elegant masterpieces with the guidance of these hands.  When I was a little girl I would sit in the corner of her sewing room and watch these hands at work and marvel at what would happen and I wished one day I could do only a portion of what these hands did.  During summers these hands would embrace whatever craft I suggested. Decoupage, air brush painting, stencilling, ribbon embroidery, tie dying, rug hooking, needle point, or mop doll making.  And those hands did each one with grace.  These hands were patient as they guided me through my attempts at crocheting and knitting, putting in stitches and taking them out again and again.  These hands taught me to sew and what was possible on a sewing machine.  These hands taught me the finer side of embroidery, the even stitches, the perfect knot, the back sides being as neat as the front.

These hands were loving.

These hands were some of my most favourite to hold.  They meant comfort and love and caring.  These hands would hold on tight when there was a sense that I needed the extra support.  These hands would wrap around me after a bad dream or in a warm embrace.  They would brush my hair aside after something sad. These hands have cupped my face in a moment of despair telling me that I was her perfect princess, that I was just the way I was suppose to be and to heck with all those others.

These hands held my baby girl, loved my baby girl.  I gifted my baby girl with part of her name and made it part of hers – Anne. Anne which means grace.

I held these hands for the last time on Sunday, when I went to say goodbye. A hard good bye.  These are my Grandma’s hands.  My Grandma said goodbye to us all and left for Home on December 22.  I know one day I will hold these hands again, but until that day, I will hold onto each one of these memories and never let them go.

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Sewing Room Clean Up

As Ella put it, “Messy Mommy.  Clean it up!” about my sewing room and how it might have spread out into the main basement area.  I will admit that I wasn’t really enjoying being in there work at all so I mostly avoided it.  But once Ella and Nate got on to my case I realized I better clean the mess up.

With Nate’s help we pulled EVERYTHING out of the sewing room and sorted through it.

These are the bags of fabric I had around, from projects that were finished but I just didn’t put away – this is also embarrassing but its time people know the truth.

This pile here is projects.  Either cut out and bagged and ready to go, or fabric and patterns that need to be cut.  There is a middle pile that I didn’t take a photo of, it was of just cuts of fabric and scraps.

After 2 evenings I was able to sort it all and get it put away in a more orderly fashion and one that I can actually work with.

Now I’m down there quite a bit puttering away on projects that I’m enjoying and enjoying being in the space again.

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Italy: School Trip

This March I was fortunate to be a chaperone on the school travel club’s trip to Italy.  It was the first one we had ever taken and I knew it was an experience of a life time. For months leading up to the trip I didn’t think I would be able to go.  Simply because I didn’t know if I could leave Ella and I am not the best flyer.  But as Nate and my parents said, it was a chance of a lifetime.  So I went.

After long plane rides and long layovers (Calgary – Toronto – Frankfurt – Naples) we landed in Naples and immediately began our adventure. Herculaneum and Pompeii were amazing to see, I can’t believe how they were buried under ash from Mount Vesuvius.  Then we were off to Rome for a couple of days.  My head is still spinning from all we saw in Rome.  The Colosseum, Imperial Rome, the Spanish Steps, Circus Maximus, the Vatican, and 5 or 6 Basilicas.  On our way to Florence we made a stop in Assisi.  I had the best time in Florence, we were given some free time to go around and explore and the group of girls I was with was amazing.  Loved them.   From Florence we went to Jesolo and would take a water taxi to Venice.   Venice was so busy as it was Good Friday the day we were there, but what a place it is.  I was terrified about getting lost.

I saw things I never thought I would ever get to see in my lifetime.

Italy 2015

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How Embarrassing, 3 Months? Really?

Photo by George Hodan

Photo by George Hodan

It is embarrassing to think that its been about 3 months since I’ve been on the blog.  Good intentions lead my goal making for this year, trying to write something at least once a month, but some how LIFE had other plans for me.  You know the saying, “Life happens when you make other plans.”  Nothing bad, mind you, but life, busyness, too much of everything got in the way.

Thankfully, I don’t think I’ve had a school year like this since, oh, I first started teaching – that very first year about 10 years ago.  This year once Christmas break finished it was a steady roller coaster.  It felt just like a roller coaster too.  One minute I was climbing that slow, jerky climb to the top, knowing full well that there was going to be one heck of a drop on the other side.  Slowly, painfully it climbed, it was torture.  The top couldn’t come fast enough because on the other side was an easy descent – just incredibly quick – often I would blink and it would be over A couple of twists and turns and loop d loops thrown at me and then another monstrous climb.  And once March hit, hold on to your socks, Jen, it is going to be quite a ride until June.  Often I felt like the dandelion in the picture above, just holding on as the rain was pummelling me.

There was little time for anything, and I mean anything.  From March to June I was busy, almost every evening with one thing or another as well as on the weekends.  On evenings or weekends I was at home, I was prepping or working on something for upcoming events/classes/meetings OR I was passed out on the sofa from exhaustion.  I missed out on time with Nate and Ella and Molly and that was too much for me.  God bless Nate for picking up the slack at home, and not once complaining about it.  (Though, between you and me, I think it means i’m going to have to keep pretty tight lipped come hunting season this year.) Anyways, I wasn’t very fun either and I looked a little worse for wear – lets just say I tried a lot of anti puffy, dark circle removing eye cream, still trying to find one that works.

When June came, I felt better.  I was sleeping, really sleeping, not just a couple of hours here or there, but for 6-8 hours. That is practically unheard of for me.  Probably because I was trying to catch up on months of sleep depravation.

This upcoming school year, there are some changes coming.  I am reclaiming my time, my family time, my priorities and putting somethings on hold or aside.  It will be healthier.

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Merry Christmas

molly christmas card

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December 25, 2014 · 5:11 am

Where has the TIME gone?

So its December.  You probably already know that.  For me, I’m still having trouble grasping that.  Its December. Where did September, October, and November go exactly?  It really does feel like yesterday that I was going to the introduction days for the start of the school year and now I sit here on December 13 and wonder how we got there.

It has been an incredibly busy 3 months.  Busy like I cannot remember in past years.  The school year has had its challenges.  We went through some changes this year, including a new mark book/attendance system, live grades, each student having their own computer to use, Google drive for assignments, then google classroom, new policies and a few more things here and there.  The learning curve has been steep to say the least and free time spent recuperating from the busyness.

Our Ella is 18 months now.  Which means she is walking/running all over and at least ONE EYE has to be kept on her at all times, otherwise you could have an entire egg cartoon dumped on the floor, “uhh ohhh.”  She is quite busy and down time with her is reading the same book over and over again – which isn’t a bad thing at all.

I have been working on some quilting projects, just seems I can’t show you them quite yet.  Most of them are for the guild I belong to and are for end of the year challenges that have to stay a SECRET.

I have been working on a couple of projects here and there that I seem to go back and forth between, just getting little bits done at a time.  This is a block from Elizabeth Hartman’s Fancy Fox.  I took a class on it this summer and have been slowly working on a fox here and there.  I’m using Kona Cottons, Liberty of London, and Essex Yarn Dyed Linen in Chambrey.  I’m loving how they are turning out.  Can’t wait to finish the skulk of foxes.

I really have missed writing on the blog and have started many posts, but have gotten taken away from them for one reason or another.  I hope to write more in the remainder of the year and into the new year as well.

 

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