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A Turkey Leg Cures All

When I look at this picture I can't help but love my husband. It's not the giant turkey leg he's gnawing on, it's not the goofy expression on his face, it's not the fact that we are both Disneyland nuts... It's just that he lets me be me and I let him be him. Life isn't perfect. We aren't flaw-free. We certainly do not have a marriage without any faults or arguments. But when I look at this picture, I think of how he loves me and that no matter what hits our door, we'll find a way to work it out, together - possibly by beating it to a bloody pulp with a turkey leg.

Justin is the kindest man I have ever known. I love him for everything that he is and I love him for everything he is not. Sure, I am not as into Star Wars, Lord of the Rings and all that tech mumbo gumbo as he is, but he's not into my fashion craze... So doesn't that even us out?

Most of all, I just adore his heart. Even in the middle of a stupid fight, he looks as me with absolute love and acceptance. He gives me a sense of security in our marriage that I have never know in a relationship. Good thing I married him, eh?

A happy couple we are.


I hate cancer

My dad has been diagnosed Multiple Myeloma for 4 years and 5 months. Originally, they had no idea what kind of cancer it was, because he was carrying two types of cancer - Myeloma and Lymphoma. He had been complaining about a soar back for many months, he had tried Kaiser doctors, chiropractors and herbs. It was when he saw an acupuncturist, who told him that he had something very wrong with him, that the real studies began. Through rigorous bouts of chemo, the Lymphoma was killed, but the Myeloma held-on.

In the summer of 2002, my dad went through a stem cell transplant of his bone marrow. Out of 6 siblings, not one of them matched his bone marrow, so he couldn't have a transplant. Do you know what a stem cell transplant involves? Well, in order to get a good sample of bone marrow that isn't infected, the doctors practically kill you with chemotherapy, take the sample and send you home (in a clean, sterile, environment) for a month to come back to the hospital and start again. This happens three times. When it is time to spend a month at the hospital for the actual transplant, they actually bring your cancer count down so low, through chemo, that you can barely do anything. It's not a pretty picture.

So, my dad went through all of this with the hope that it would put him in remission (although there is no known cure for Myeloma) or it would give him a large extension on his life. It worked. At first, it worked. Aside from making my dad extremely tired and weak for a year, and probably forever, his counts did go down and were barely visible. He also went on an alternative medicine doctor's high frequency machine that has helped keep his counts down. It's funny to see the doctors become baffled by this, because for all intensive purposes, his counts should have been higher.

But, not long after we lost the breast cancer battle with Mitzi and with Justin's uncle, Ron, we are here, again. My dad's cancer is back. He has refused to do any further treatment, but he did buy a better high frequency machine. We're going to see where that takes him. We have the luxury of time on our side. Myeloma is not a fast cancer, as far as cancers go.

I don't want to be here, again. I don't want to lose my dad. There's too much that's going to happen that he needs to be there for. I have always been and will always be a true "daddy's girl." He is my buddy and we have a relationship like no other. The really strange thing is that no one in my family is talking about this. Maybe they're all feeling what I'm feeling - like if you say it out loud, then it exists, but if you say nothing, you don't have to deal with it. I know my mom isn't saying anything about it, because she told everyone that dad was in remission - which is impossible to declare so soon and really at all with Myeloma, in general. I don't know why my sisters aren't saying anything. Well, I guess I expected that from Jacqui, because she tends not to deal with stuff head-on. But I think that we're all just so scared, so tired, so very, very tired of cancer. It has claimed the lives of so many loved ones. To watch someone lose a battle with cancer is literally watching them wither away to just a shadowy figure of the person they used to be. This cannot be the way my dad goes. He's too good for that.



I run the Creative Communications Team at my church, Crossroads (www.crossroadsfremont.org). We have successfully created many mailers and a total of 5 bi-monthly newsletters. Until now, any editorial errors have been minor and overlooked. That was until the July/August 2005 issue reared its ugly head. On the front page, we mention several summer classes being offered. In the description of the Bible Basics class, it reads "During this course, we will take a look at the 66 books that COMPROMISED the Bible." It's suposed to be COMPRISED. D'oh! Uh... Oops?


A Black Fly in Your Chardoney

I have spent some time with Alanis - I think as a nod to nostalgia, brought on by that looming reunion. It really bothers me when people misuse words and screw up their grammar (which I will admit I am not perfect at, but it is still a pet peeve of mine). So, I have decided that - after the incorrect use of its and it's, your and you're - I would have to say my second-place distaste goes out to those who mistakenly use irony as an unfortunate coincidence. Which really leaves that black fly line hanging-out for a clearer definition, or I just don't get how it's ironic.

Unoriginal thought for the day: Ms. Morissette's song should be renamed "Unfortunate."

Allegies Schmallergies

Ok, so I always thought that you would know about allergies you have to certain foods pretty much from birth. Apparently not. I mean, I knew my oldest sister, Jacqui, has a bad reaction to shellfish and this girl I work with, Tisa, who is highly allergic to peanuts. (Tisa's lips swell and react if you just put a tiny bit of peanut butter on her lip.) So, I thought - well, you just know and you avoid those foods. I have pranced throuhg life, seemingly unaware that I am allergic to some kind of Chinese Mustard mixed with something. Some clients of our took us to Roy's in Carmel - where the food is amazing - and I ended-up with swollen, blistered gums, lips and inner lips that were burning from the mustard. Now, I have to look into this concoction, so I can avoid it in the future. Luckily, it's not severe - nothing an antihistamine and some water didn't clear-up. My lips are still tingly, though. This is probably merely noteworthy for my own information and not really interesting to you. Just beware that you can suddenly have an allergic reaction to something you did not expect. I just always thought it would be an allergy to a kind of person.

Oh, and an even more disappointing side-note: I apparently cannot handle cappuccinos anymore. Blasphemy!


Wicked Stepmother

The Luau
Originally uploaded by BeanTipton.
What's the deal with the stepmother reputation? Why do we get the bad rap? I mean, sure it's fun to depict them as evil and nasty for fictional purposes, but there are those of us who really don't deserve the negative connotations. Ok, the stepmother in Cinderella deserves the bad rap, but c'mon! She locked Cinderella in the tower and broke the glass slipper!

I digress...

I have been a stepmom for a little over a year. I have had the chance to see Luke a total of 5 months in the past year. I have gotten the chance to see him change, grow and develope a cute little personality. This is the fun part.

I don't recommend part-time parenthood for anyone, but if it happens - make the best out of it. The best advice I have ever gotten was from my dear aunt Mitzi (who is no longer with us). She told me that the best I could hope for would to be his friend. That, in time, Luke would respect me for all the work I have done on his behalf, but that I can not replace his mom, nor should I ever try. While I think that Mitzi was coming from a very different palce in life, being a single-mother for the majority of my cousin's childhood, she did help me to take a step back. I never thought that I would take the place of Luke's mom, but I never thought to approach it as a friend. Of course, doing this with a 4-year-old is more like being a big sister, but when I relax a little, we get along famously.

Now, I just get to wait, patiently, for those inevitable four words that will come with time - "You're not my mommy!"


Get thee to a reunion!

I didn't wake-up this morning just dying to write a blog, but recently I got in touch with an old friend from high school - Scott Parejo - and his blog/website is so interesting. I think it's interesting because it's about his life and he's very candid and witty. Not too unlike my good friend, Jen - another high school friend. So after reading some of Scott and Jen's blogs, I am re-inspired to use this blog to say stuff that I don't usually say.

Check out Scott's website at scottparejo.com and Jen's site at 8junebugs.blogspot.net.

We were at the Star Wars premeir (of course I was, you do no know who I'm married to, right?) and I ran into this girl, an FHS junior. Her name was Amanda and she was in the music program, which, unless Foothill has changed and received more funding than I know about, means she's in the band. I can't explain it exactly, but she was so Dawson's. Every word that came out of her mouth was like a chance for her to use her extended vocabulary. It was like talking to a walking thesaurus. If you think I'm making fun of people who like to use "big" words, think again. I am talking about that person who uses exaggerated words, just to have an average conversation. Her manner of speaking took me right back to high school and it left me thinking... Maybe I don't really want to go to that reunion after all.

In August, Foothill High School class of 1995 is having their 10-year reunion. Ok, first - shut up! Am I am that old? Second, I thought that I would be excited to go and I was, until I looked at the list of people who have registed on the website. There's nothing wrong with these people, but I just don't know them. I never did. So, why am I thinking about going to a restaurant I hate, to mingle with people I don't really know? Can someone please explain what happens if you don't go to your reunions?