Wednesday, November 21, 2012


I am thankful for many things.

I am thankful for a loving Heavenly Father, and his Son, my Savior, Jesus Christ.

I am thankful for family and friends, and a husband who honors his sacred covenants.

I am thankful for science and the advances in breast cancer treatment over the years.
I have breast cancer. I was diagnosed in May 2012 with invasive ductal carcinoma, or IDC, the most common type of breast cancer.
Strangely enough, I didn’t feel like my world was falling apart when I found out. The surgeon was positive about the pathology report. My hormones are all good (positive for estrogen and progesterone, negative for HER2neu). None of my lymph nodes appear to be involved, the tumor is not attached to the chest wall and, while the tumor was large, it is the type that responds well to treatment.
I’m thankful that if I have to have cancer, this is the one to get.
I feel strongly that I will beat this disease. I feel that Heavenly Father is with me in this. I have a strong faith in eternal life and am not afraid to die of cancer. However, I am a little afraid to live with cancer.
At first, I didn’t want to tell anyone about this. In fact, while I was getting the diagnosis I didn’t tell anyone in my family or friends. If there was nothing to worry about then I didn’t want anyone to worry.
Of course, once the results were in I called my parents and brothers and told a few close friends. Rick told his family and children. I still didn’t want to tell everyone, and made sure (I thought) that Rick understood this. Unfortunately, Rick’s idea of not telling anyone and my idea of not telling anyone are miles apart. We had a family move in next to us in the campground we stay in during the summer. It wasn’t quite this blunt, but almost; “Hi. We’re the Haydens, Rick and Joyce. Joyce has breast cancer.”
I knew that some people would need to know – leadership at church, bosses at work (I’d JUST started my new job) and I’d already told my family, but I hoped that the general public would not know right away. While I am very happy to know that people care about me and want to make sure that I’m alright, the thought of constantly answering the question “How are you?” and sharing the information as I learn it was a bit daunting to me. I preferred to keep it all to myself and let information out as and when I was ready.
To that end, when I started my chemotherapy (the surgeon and oncologist both agreed that reducing the tumor before surgery was a good idea – and it worked!) I waited until the second cycle to get my head shaved and started wearing a wig. Now, mind you, he wig wasn’t just a wig, it was a completely different look for me – from redhead to blonde, and from long to short with bangs. Who doesn’t change up their hairstyle once in a while? I still didn’t need to say anything about it being a wig and why.
I started four cycles of AC (Adriamycin and Cytoxan) and by the end of those sessions I was more willing to be up front about what was happening. The first cycle didn’t affect me to terribly badly. I had some nausea, but not as extreme as I feared. The steroids didn’t really kick in right away, and the aches and pains were kept at bay very easily with a combination of pain reliever and Claritin.
By the second cycle I was starting to react more strongly. The “’Roid Rage” I experienced was off the wall and surprised both Rick and me. I was also starting to have some problems with taste, i.e., everything tasted like metal, yuck! And the frustrating thing is that I can smell everything and it smells wonderful. I remember what food is supposed to taste like, but it just never got there. The aches and pains were getting a little more severe, along with some fatigue. I would walk a couple of blocks and feel as if I’d walked miles. Thinking became difficult, too. Everything I did took two to three times longer because I had to keep checking and rechecking myself to make sure I had it right. At home I sometimes didn’t give myself the time to figure that out and got impatient, and made some doozies of mistakes, too.
I’m grateful for forgiveness.
By the third cycle, at the end of July, I was a little more accepting of the fact that I couldn’t power through all of this, and willing to take it a little easier. At this time, I was also willing to let more people know what was going on. I stopped wearing my wig and wore caps and scarves to work and started talking about it to the friends I’ve made there. I began attending some support groups at The Victory Center in Toledo and found that being understood by people who’ve been down your road is a pretty good feeling.
I’m thankful there’s a place where I can go and just let my hair hang down, so to speak. I'm thankful my hair is growing back in.
In September I started my next set of chemo, Taxotere. And this year I walked in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure as a survivor. I’ve done these walks for years, starting with the Revlon walk in Los Angeles about 15 years ago. Once I moved Ohio I didn’t have anyone to walk with me so I stopped for a while. It was good to be back on track again. The office has a team that participates each year.
The Taxotere, in a word, kicked my butt!! I lost taste almost right away, had some more regular nausea and sores in my mouth. My skin started getting really dry and flaky, my fingernails and toenails felt bruised and tender, and my bones just hurt. I get tired really easily and it takes a lot longer to get things done. And the brain farts! Sometimes I wonder if I can string two, uh, what were those things, again? oh yeah, words! together. Also, we discovered that I’m allergic to it so I had to take even more steroids for that.
My final chemo was on Nov. 15, exactly one week before Thanksgiving. I might not have all my taste back by then, but I’ll really enjoy the dinner. It’s nice to be around family on holidays like this.
In my childhood Mom and Dad would pack up the kids (myself and two brothers, Victor and David) and travel over the river and through the woods to Grandma’s house, mostly in Ohio. We’d get up hours before dawn and try to arrive in time to see the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Mimi would have the turkey roasting and had made the pies the day before so the aromas when we got there were just awesome! Dinner was between whatever games were on that day, and dessert was late in the evening. Most of the time it was just us with Mimi & Grandpa and Anne & Denny, my mom’s youngest sister. A couple of Thanksgivings all of the aunts, uncles and cousins were there, too, and we had a blast.
The day after Thanksgiving my grandparents treated us all to a movie. As an adult I now appreciate the rest it gave them, but it was a wonderful treat for us all. We’d go home on Sunday loaded down with turkey sandwiches and great memories.
On Dec. 5 I will be going in for surgery to have a total mastectomy. I’ll be home the next day, recover for about a month and then begin radiation treatment. I don’t yet know how much or how extensive it will be. Then, six months after the radiation is complete I will have breast reconstruction. At that point, God willing, this journey will be at the end of its road.
I know that I will never be free from the shadow of cancer. For the rest of my life I will have to be hyper vigilant, but as I said earlier, I have a testimony of a loving Heavenly Father. I believe in the eternity of life; that even when I do die I will be with my family.
I am thankful for my life.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

What Would You Do?

If money was no object and you didn’t have to work for a living, what would you do for a living? Understand, sitting under palm trees sipping fruity drinks with umbrellas in them is not an option. Staying home and taking care of families – young kids, no kids or parents – is.

The ancient Chinese philosopher, Confucius, said “Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.

For a 20-year time period, from 1960 to 1980, researcher Srully Blotnick conducted a study of 1,500 middle-class Americans. They were divided into two groups – the first group consisted of people whose primary goal was the acquisition of money and then use that money to do what they wanted. The second, significantly smaller, group consisted of people whose primary goal was to do what they enjoyed and wait for the money to materialize – thus a smaller group indeed.

During the study about 30% of the participants dropped out and of the nearly 1,100 members remaining in the study, 83 had become millionaires. Only one of the 83 came from the larger group – the group with a money-driven focus.

In speaking about our small group, Blotnick says “The fact remains that the overwhelming majority of people who have become wealthy have become so thanks to work they found profoundly absorbing. The long term study of people who eventually become wealthy clearly reveals that their ‘Luck’ arose from the accidental dedication they had to an area they enjoyed.” He continues, “In the long run, it was their work which made them rich.”

It has been reported that people who enjoy their jobs earn up to 25% more than those who don’t. Their enjoyment of work makes them positive, upbeat, hard workers who are generally seen as more promotable.

On the other hand, blogger and career counselor Marty Nemko writes in his posting “Do What You Love and Starve?” that very few people actually make money following their bliss. His suggestions to career contentment are to choose a job that:

     isn’t too hard or too easy
     has a boss who’s kind and helpful
     involves an ethical product or service
     requires a reasonable commute
     pays reasonably well and offers benefits
     doesn’t require 70 hour work weeks
     and offers opportunities to learn and grow.

All of us would quit our jobs tomorrow to follow our dream if it would make us rich. But the reality is it won’t. My purpose for this talk today is to MAKE YOU THINK! What are my talents and how can I use them to have, if not a wealthy life, a more fulfilling life?

When I was a kid I wanted to be an actress. I wanted my life to be dramatic and I really enjoyed being on stage in front of an audience. Even though I was encouraged by family and friends to pursue my desire in college, by the time I finished high school, though, I’d had enough.

I basically fell into the legal secretarial field and quickly became adjusted to working.

I still wanted to make a big splash and moved to Los Angeles where I hoped being in the midst of the entertainment capital of the world I would take advantage of opportunities. I was in a couple of movies as an extra and did some community theater. Participating in church plays and programs and all of that was fun and exciting, but I couldn’t figure out how to make any money at it.

And then, an epiphany! I realized that as a stagehand it was my job to be supportive – to make the actors look good and the production seem magical and effortless. Nobody in the audience saw me, yet I was still filled with the same joy and happiness as if I’d been the star of the show. As an extra it was again my job to support the actors and make the movie or tv show look good.

I saw that I used that same skill to make my attorneys’ jobs easier and help the company profit. I could then take the money I earned and use it to do something I loved. Maybe this kind of wisdom comes with maturity, but just maybe sometimes we achieve our dreams in unexpected ways.

When I started working at my present job, I became a member of Toastmasters and found I could put all of this together – I could be in front of an audience and, hopefully, entertain them and as a bonus, help others realize their dreams.

How do you find out what you love? One place to start is to ask the following questions:

     What would I do if my doctor told me I only had two more years to live?
     What would I do for free – anytime?
     What do I enjoy doing when I have nothing I need to do?

Albert Schweitzer, noted philosopher and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1952 said: “Success isn’t the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.

In other words, if you didn’t have to work for a living, what would you do? Now, do it!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Do you know what the three most popular resolutions each year are? (Answers below.) Do you make resolutions? Did you know that almost 50% of the people who actually make resolutions drop them by the end of the first week? Maybe they’re going about it the wrong way.
Think of it like this: How can you get to where you’re going if you don’t know how to get there? Once upon a time there was a young man who had just graduated college and wanted to start his new life in a new town. He walked down to the bus station, went up to the ticket window and asked the Ticket Master for a bus ticket. The Ticket Master said “Where would you like to go, son?” The young man said “I don’t know. Just give me a ticket to somewhere.” Needless to say, he didn’t get a bus ticket.
I know a handy-dandy method of getting your bus ticket for your new future.
Have you ever heard of SMART goal setting? SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Action Oriented, Rewards, Timely and Tangible.
Specific is the What, Why, and How of your goal. WHAT are you going to do? WHY is this important to do at this time? What do you want to ultimately accomplish? HOW are you going to do it? Use action words, write it in the positive and be precise.
Steven R. Covey suggests you ask “What one or two things could I change that would significantly increase my happiness?” Be honest with yourself and examine your intent, motive and desire. Make sure it taps into one of your most important values or relationships in life. If it isn’t something you are really passionate about you won’t have the motivation to follow through later. Limit yourself to just one or two New Year’s resolutions.
If you can measure it, you can manage it! There is an old saying that says “what gets measured gets done.” It is vitally important that your goal is measurable, otherwise how will you know you’ve achieved it? Keep track of each small success you make toward reaching your larger goal. Short-term goals are easier to keep, and small accomplishments will help keep you motivated. Instead of focusing on losing 30 pounds, say, focus on losing that first 5. Keeping a food diary or a symptom journal may help you stay on track.
Your goal is action-oriented when you focus on actions that are in your direct control. It’s OK to have goals whose outcome you can’t directly control, as long as you are clear about the actions you need to take to do your part in the process.
Ask yourself why you want to achieve it. Break your goal down into smaller steps that stre-e-e-etch you just a bit. Too difficult and you set the stage for failure, but too easy gives no boost to your feeling of self-worth. Set the bar high enough for a satisfying achievement! For instance, resolving to never eat your favorite food again because it bothers your IBD could be a bad choice. Strive for a goal that is attainable, such as avoiding it more often than you do now.
Give yourself a reward as you meet the steps to achieving your goal. This doesn’t mean that you can eat an entire box of chocolates if your resolution is to diet. Instead, celebrate your success by treating yourself to something that you enjoy that does not contradict your resolution. If you’ve been sticking to your promise to eat better, for example, perhaps your reward could be going to a movie with a friend.
Set a time for the goal to be completed. Without setting a time you don’t really have a clear destination in mind. Giving yourself a deadline keeps you motivated to continue the steps.
A goal is tangible when you can experience it with one of the senses, that is, taste, touch, smell, sight or hearing. Sometimes it helps to see a list of items on paper to keep your motivation strong. Develop this list over time, and ask others to contribute to it. Keep your list with you and refer to it when you need help keeping your resolve.
Why is it so important to set goals? “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Jim Cathcart, a noted professional speaker, once said, “Most people aim at nothing in life and hit it with amazing accuracy.” We do what we want to do, don’t we? I know I do.
When we set a goal for something we want we expect a certain outcome. This changes our brains. Researchers have long been aware that if you expect a medicine to work, it often will, even when it’s a sugar pill. Jim Fannin makes a living teaching people how to achieve their goals. His clients have included Alex Rodriguez and Tiger Woods. He has them visualize doing exactly what they want to be doing.
Imagine what it will be like to achieve your New Year’s resolution. What will you feel like? How will this affect other people in your life? Visualizing these answers will help keep you from giving up on your goals when the demands of your life intrude.
So, before you buy that ticket for your journey to success, Specifically identify your goal. Measure your success along the way. Create Action by meaningful statements. Reward success. Give yourself Time to achieve your goal. Make it Tangible by writing it down
The three most common New Year’s resolutions are 1. Lose weight; 2. Save money or get out of debt; and 3. Develop healthier habits.
My goals for 2011 are: to lose weight, save money and become a public speaker. I do have them written down SMART-style, and will be reporting on them throughout the year.
Where are you going to go this year?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I Believe in God

I believe He hears and answers our prayers.
Matthew 7:7-8
Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
On the evening of Monday, Aug. 30, my sister-in-law, Linda Lundberg, was having difficulty speaking. Victor Lundberg, my brother, took her to the ER where an aneurysm was discovered.
Doing some research on the internet, I found that the threshold for actively treating an aneurysm was 10mm, which is about the size of a marble. I don’t know how big Linda's was, but was told it was “large” and the doctors seemed to be impressed at its size.
She was immediately sent to Washington Hospital Center in Washington, DC. She went into surgery on Tuesday where they attempted to place a stent to reduce the pressure on the blood vessel. That didn’t work so they sealed off the blood vessel, which stopped blood flow to a portion of the brain. The brain works really well at creating new pathways to get the blood and information it needs to function and the message that I received was that doctors were cautiously hopeful.
I heard about this early Tuesday morning, as she was going into surgery. I immediately called my brother, Victor, and asked if he wanted us to say prayers on her behalf, and submit her name at the temple for the prayer roll. He said yes and soon after I put the call out to my friends via Facebook and email (love the internet). Many people responded that they would pray.
Unfortunately, during or right after the surgery Linda suffered what initially was termed a massive stroke. Her entire right side was paralyzed and the prognosis for her recovery was bleak.
By Tuesday evening Linda was recovering and it looked like the stroke wasn’t as bad as feared. She was starting to get some movement in her arms and legs. Wednesday morning she was actually wiggling fingers and toes and Wednesday afternoon she sat up in a chair! The stroke was downgraded to mild.
At this point she progressed rapidly. The aneurysm has affected the speech center of her brain and she does have difficulty getting the right words out and completing sentences, but she can make herself understood. Her blood pressure has been very low and they did an angiogram Sept. 13 to view the brain and found the aneurysm is shrinking (good), blood is finding its way around the blocked artery (very good) and her blood pressure is now stabilizing (excellent!). She even moved to intermediate care from ICU about the 17th of September. She walked the hallway twice and played some balloon volleyball.
From what I understand, the doctors have been astonished at the remarkable recovery that Linda has shown, and at her fortitude and determination at getting herself well. I’m sure she feels like things aren’t happening quickly enough, but everyone else is amazed at what is happening.
Linda was assessed by her neurologist on the 21st and deemed “ineligible” for in-patient rehab. She went home on the 22nd! They’re trying to get in-home physical therapy for her so she doesn’t have to travel too much. She still gets headaches and needs 24/7 care. Not nursing care, but someone to keep an eye on her.
I, personally, have a new testimony of the power of prayer. I knew prayer worked – I’ve had prayers answered for myself and seen them answered for others – but sometimes we become complacent in our testimonies. We know the truth, we know that God lives and He answers our prayers, but sometimes we forget what a miracle that is.
I hope I don’t forget. I hope I always remember the goodness and love that is God and keep these with me always.
Matthew 21:22
And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Spring Spree for All

Summit County, Ohio Metroparks hosts two Spree for All challenges each year; one in the spring and one in the fall. I participated for the first time in this spring's event and have submitted my request for a lanyard and pin.

The Spree for all is accessible to everyone - walkers, strollers, wheelchairs and even cans can navigate the trails. Some are paved, most of the ones that I did are wide, flat, gravel paths. They're all beautiful and fun to do.

The "Spree for all" trails are often a portion of a larger trail, such as along the Ohio & Erie towpath, and have turnaround signs for the 1/4, 1/2 and 1 mile walks. I went ahead and walked the whole path or trail where it was available, and if that felt too easy for me then went on to another, more challenging trail.

Alder Pond
I started early in May at Goodyear Heights Metro Park. The designated trail there is around Alder Pond. Along the edge of the pond, a cattail marsh provides a wildlife habitat. The pond supports sphagnum moss and yellow birch trees, muskrats, nesting Canada geese and Mallards. Late spring is a great time to view snapping tirtles, some up to 20 pounds, basking in the sun. The park's woods are home to owls and other wildlife. Sounds of the street do introde on the edges of the park, but it's still bucolic and relaxing.

For a good energetic walk I like the Piney Woods trail, a more challenging 2-mile trail through the woods and up and down some fairly steep hills. Some days you even see a few deer. The trial is named for all the pines once planted in the, but they are now giving way to other species including black cherry, oak and tulip trees.

The payoff at the end.
Next I checked out Gorge Metro Park. Now, this is a challenging walk. The designated Spree for All path here is paved and leads to the dam and resulting falls with its picturesque backdrop, but I walked the whole 1.8 miles of muddy, root infested, rocky, ankle-twisting trail and had a great time! I want to go back and take the spur that leads to Mary Campbell cave, where a 12-year old girl was held hostage by Indians from 1759-1764. Fans of geology and rocks would love this trail.

Gorge trail.
The Gorge was cut when glacial debris blocked the former route of the Cuyahoga River (near present-day downtown Akron) and caused the river to find a new course. Today, the rushing water flows over a shale riverbed, between ledges made of sharon conglomerate sandstone. Oak, black gum, tulip and yellow birch trees are common in the woods that cover the valley walls. The trail winds up and down and shows the different layers of sediment in the Gorge.

Close to work in Akron is the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail, which has several trail heads each about a mile or two long. I walked from the Mustill Store and Memorial Parkway trailheads. Portions of several of the original locsk remain, and at one stretch the path was built straight through an old lock. The hinges for the doors are still there.

The O&E Canal was built in 1827 and can be directly attributed with the growth of Akron. In a single mile between Akron and the Little Cuyahoga river 15 locks (or "steps") were used.  This canal helped make it possible to ship goods from the Great Lakes to the gulf of Mexico via the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. The canal was abandoned after the flood of 1913. the section through Akron is a little over 9 miles long and stretches from the Cuyahoga River to the Little Cuyahoga River.

Finally, I went to Cascade Valley Park in Cuyahoga Falls and walked the Overlook trail. Since that's a very eash 1/2 mile loop to the cliffs overlooking the Cuyahoga River, I also walked the Oxbow loop connected to it. I enjoyed it very much, but didn't read about it first so I wasn't prepared for the 115 steps that took me back UP to my car! Whew! The views are awesome and even though the actual overlook is closed off, some intrepid hikers have managed to overcome the barriers. I thought I handled the height pretty well myself, but got a bit queasy close to the edge.

The fish in the river here are prey for belted kingfishers and great blue or green-backed herons. Beautiful white trillium grows in the floodplain woods each spring beside wild ginger and several types of violets. Summer and fall wildflowers also flourish, illuminating the landscape.

All in all, it was a very enjoyable spring. I've been to a few other trails and parks in the area, and will post about them soon.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Father's Day

I know it’s late for Father’s Day, but it’s been a busy week for me.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I lucked out with my parents. I am totally blessed. Today I want to introduce my dad, Dave Lundberg. When you first meet him you might think he’s, shall we say, taciturn? A reserved man, he doesn’t put himself forward. That doesn’t mean he’s shy, by any means. Once you get to know him he warms right up to you and is just as friendly and gregarious as you could want. It’s just that when he’s quiet, he’s really quiet.

Both of my parents love reading, but I get my almost insane love of books from Dad. (I can’t stand it if I don’t have a book to read nearby. Even if I don’t have the time, just the fact that it’s available is enough to calm me down.) He was a technical editor for many, many years. All of my English grades I got from doing my homework with him. Somebody told me once that Dad’s dream job is owning a bookstore.

During the 50s, when I was just a little tyke, he was in the Air Force and was stationed in Germany. He translated Russian back then, and after he finished his education in the States he worked at NSA for several years, also translating. Cool, huh? My dad – listening to the enemy. I didn’t realize this for a long, long time, but one of his best buds, whom he met in Germany, was an analyst for the CIA.

He still keeps up with the Russian and attends classes and lectures and events presented by expatriate Russians. Has a lot of fun.

He also is very involved in the VASA Order of America, a Swedish American Fraternal Organization. VASA began more than a century ago as a benefit fraternal society for Swedish immigrants to the United States. It was named for Gustav Vasa, the first King of modern Sweden. Today the organization provides members a means to share their rich heritage with fellow Americans and learn the lore and traditions of the “Old Country.”

My dad has been retired for a few years now and he and my mom are enjoying it very much. They’ve gone to several family reunions around the country, and attended a few Air Force Squadron reunions in the US and Europe. For their 50th Wedding Anniversary a few years ago they took a cruise along the Volga in – where else? – Russia.

Happy (belated) Father’s Day, Dad. Thanks for being the great guy you are.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Great Blessings

We had some sturm und drang this past weekend! Boy, howdy!

Rick is working for a trucking company out of Findlay, OH (western Ohio south of Toledo). On Saturday he had a load going to Holland, Michigan so I rode along. The company allows immediate family ride-alongs.

On the way home I was sleeping in the back and Rick went through some terrific t'storms as we drove past Perrysburg. As he got near a rest area he heard a voice whisper to get off the road until "it" passes and wait a while. So, we waited about 15-20 minutes. The weather was very windy with lightning all around us, but not directly overhead.

He turned on the weather radio and we heard that a tornado had touched down 3 miles east of Perrysburg - at about the same time we were driving through - and that the tornado was moving east towards Oak Harbor!

We got home around one a.m. and it had started raining. The lightning was right above us. When it cracked the thunder was instantaneous and the sky was as bright as noon. It was blinding.

We listened to this for a while and around 2:30 it was really intense - then the wind stopped. Rick said we had to get out! and at the same time we heard the sirens at Davis-Besse nuclear plant and around the area. We took off, thinking that at least we could hide in a ditch if we couldn't run away. There was a couple in the camper next to ours and they told Rick the next morning that they saw us leaving and decided to go to the shower house themselves. We didn't see any funnels, but apparently one did touch down near the plant.

There were 51 tornadoes in the midwest that night, and I think we had five in our area. Rick drove back up to Grand Rapids and Holland a couple of days later and said that Dundee, MI, another area that was hit, had a lot of debris on the highway and some of the buildings near Cabela's were damaged.

If I had not gone with Rick on his delivery on Saturday I would have been in the camper by myself - freaking out. If I had been safe, Rick would have stopped in Dundee (at Cabela's) to sleep that evening and from what he could see when he drove by that area, the path of the tornado came through where he usually parked.

We both feel that we were saved - if not from death or destruction - at least from panic and fear. We both had a great desire for me to ride with him on his delivery Saturday, and that is not typical. Because I was with him he didn't stop overnight at Cabela's and he did hear the whispering to get off the road for a while and be safe. The tornado went right around us at the campground. The only damage was 3" of rain. The weekend before, Memorial Weekend, there were half a dozen tent campers in the trees and that whole area was a pond Sunday morning. Wow.

I thank my Heavenly Father for His love and blessings.

You can’t sit around and wait for the storm to be over. You’ve got to learn how to dance in the rain. ~Unknown

Monday, May 17, 2010

Monday, Monday...

Well, you can tell it’s a Monday. And today calls for some chocolate therapy.

Because we live so far from where I work I drive in once a week and room with a lady from church Mon-Thurs. We live in Oak Harbor, Ohio – near Toledo. I work in Akron, Ohio—120 miles away. Rick is driving truck now and he’s gone all week long, too. My alarm went off at its usual time – 5:00 am – and instead of hitting snooze, I turned it off! I woke up again at 5:50 (I’m supposed to be pulling out of the driveway at 6:00) and I still had to shower, dress, pack my clothes and pack my food. We just had too much going on this weekend and I didn’t get any of my pre-trip done yesterday.

I did take the time Sunday night to make my lunch. (Usually I don’t) As I was packing my cooler I managed to remember not to pack the lunch away but keep it separate. I thought as I took it out of the fridge, put this in your lunch bag now and put that by your purse or you’ll forget it, but I was in panic mode and focused instead on packing the cooler and getting it out of the way. Half way to work (an hour down the road) I noticed I didn’t have my lunch bag on the front seat with me. I wondered if it had been tossed in the back by accident – then that sinking feeling filled my stomach! I left it sitting on top of the fridge. A salad, Spanish Rice and a hard boiled egg! Oh yuck!

Now, if I were living a normal life and driving a normal commute it would be no big deal. However, I’m not home for a week, and Rick is gone for the week as well. That food is going to be quite aromatic by the time I get home and Rick has a very sensitive sense of smell. Oh horrors!

I called some friends – John and Carol – who live nearby and asked, if I sent a copy of my key would someone go over there, throw the lunch out in the dumpster, open up the windows and freshen the apartment for a bit? In between his laughter John said no problem.

Then, just because I was so late leaving this morning it started to rain when I got to the turnpike and I was delayed even more. Luckily I didn’t have any pressing work this morning, but, still, it’s not cool to show up late on a Monday morning. As I went out at lunch to get a copy of the key made to send to my friends – I couldn’t find my car keys! That’s the only set we have (even if Rick had a set – he was on his way to Plano, IL) and I know I had it in my hands when I got out of the car. But I had to get something out of the back seat to take in to work and guessed I had dropped the keys there by mistake. As I left for the parking lot at lunch I stopped at security and told them what happened. They dispatched one of the officers to help me open my car. Once I got to the car I tried to see if I could find my keys in the back seat anywhere. Nope. I checked my purse one more time (even though I’d gone through it all at my desk when I discovered I had no keys) and found them! I suspect that in my distraction I put them in the wrong place and they fell into a corner that I didn’t reach into when I looked earlier. Whew! Crisis averted!

This isn’t the worst Monday that could have happened, but it’s not one I want to repeat again. Like I said, chocolate therapy. A big, 2” brownie with frosting, walnuts and caramel. Yum! (I’ll be walking all week long to work that one off.)

How was your Monday morning?

Monday, May 10, 2010

On Mother's Day and Birthdays

This was to have been a celebratory weekend. Rick’s birthday was Saturday and Mother’s Day was Sunday. This year I received a special card from one of my Sunbeams who said I was “the best teacher ever!” Now, that’s something worth celebrating!

I called my mom, but they were at my brother David's celebrating with his family (wife Amy and nephew Joshua - see their blog "Dave & Amy's Journey"). They visited my other brother, Vic and his wife Linda, on Saturday. I miss being near them all and participating in family gatherings . Rick and I don’t live terribly far away, but our visits are usually reserved for the big holidays so we can have extra time to travel and visit.

The older I get the more grateful I am that my parents are who they are. Generally they did a good job raising all three of their children (myself and my two brothers, Victor and David). As for my faults and issues, they’re the product of my own choices, not theirs.

My parents raised us to be independent, self-motivated, clear-thinking individuals. (Like I said – my issues are my own, not my parents’.) We were given chores to do around the house and yard and were expected to participate in them as a family and we had family dinner every night. I have fond memories of us gathered around the table, passing food back and forth and sharing the happenings of our days. One memory stands out vividly. We were having hamburgers for dinner and my brother, Victor, was holding his in his lap between bites instead of putting it on the plate. Well, we had a dog, Max, a dachshund, and he just couldn’t stand it any more and decided most gratefully to accept the kind invitation my brother was giving him – by taking it out of his hand, almost taking a finger with it! Now, Max wasn’t the best trained dog in the world, but he wasn’t the worst either, and I defy any dog to withstand that kind of temptation.

My mom was – and still is – a very creative woman. She sewed almost all of my clothes and some of the boys’. When I got big enough, she taught me as well. Between them, she and my grandmother taught me to knit, crochet, embroider and needlepoint. I still enjoy those crafts today. Nowadays my mother is a very accomplished quilter and has won prizes in quilt shows around the nation, as well as teaching and leading workshops. You can find her at

My dad is now retired. While I was growing up he was a technical editor in the government and in private industry. For several years he and my mom worked together running a typesetting business – but then desktop publishing started to intrude and dad got into other businesses, finally retiring as an employment counselor.

I feel pretty lucky to have the parents I have.

Saturday was my husband’s birthday. He just started a new job this past week, driving trucks (big rigs) for a company in Findlay, Ohio and ended up driving home all day Saturday. He actually didn’t mind it too much. He had time to sleep in on Saturday and not rush or worry about delivery, so he was going to enjoy the ride. He got up all rested and refreshed, the weather was clear and he was looking forward to a good day driving. I’m sure you can guess that things didn’t go as planned (well, they never do, do they?). He went to a truck wash and got his rig cleaned, and then couldn’t start it up afterward. He called dispatch and they found him a mechanic in the area, who showed up almost right away. He checked a few things and got it started, and Rick started tooling down the road again. I must say, we are both impressed with this company.

Needless to say, once he got to his delivery, and dropped it off, it was much later in the day than he intended. He finally got home around 9:00 that evening.

Through it all Rick was in a pretty good mood. He was really grateful that he broke down at the truck wash instead of at his delivery. Plus, he really liked the countryside he was driving through in SE Indiana and SW Ohio. Lots of nice woods interspersed with huge farms. He kept calling me and telling me about how great it all looked and how much he likes driving around and seeing the countryside. Even though he was working on his birthday, at least it was something he enjoys doing (for the most part. Thursday night wasn’t so hot.)

In a couple of weekends, when we have some time to celebrate, I’ll take Rick to his favorite place – Cabela’s – for elk burgers and some (window) shopping. Rick is an AVID fisherman and hunter and he really enjoys spending hours in that store checking out all the fishing gear, boating supplies, hunting clothes and camping equipment. He’s worse than I am in a book store!

This has turned into a much longer entry than I thought it would be, but I had a lot to share. I am truly grateful to my Heavenly Father for my family and my friends, especially my parents. I want you all to know that I love you and appreciate all you’ve done for me. I’m stubborn and thick-headed, but eventually I learn the right things. Thanks for hanging in there with me, and here’s looking forward to many, many more lessons to learn! Love you all.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Today is the first day ...

Today is the first day of my blog. I've been thinking of this for a while now and thought it might be time. My entries will be completely random and I hope people enjoy them. Please leave comments and suggestions. I might try them some day.

I work in Akron, Ohio and lately have been walking in Goodyear Heights Metropark nearby after work. It's a lovely park and has miles of trails. There are three marked trails: Alder Woods (1.4 miles), Piney Woods (2 miles) and Parcourse (1.8 miles). Alder Woods circles the pond/marsh, a lovely place to spend a lazy afternoon. The trail leads across the marsh on a small walkway and it's refreshing hearing the birds singing and wildlife rustling in the grasses. Of course, it is an urban park and there are lots of cars whizzing by, but it's still very serene in the park.

Piney Woods is a bit more strenuous and has some very steep hills. It'll get your heart going, that's for sure.

The third trail, Parcourse, has 20 stations along the trail for things like jumping jacks, knee bends, chin ups, push ups, you get the idea. This is the hardest trail because of the exercises. And it has running sections, basically the middle mile or so.

I've done each once, and combined Alder and Piney Woods trails once. It's still nice and cool in the evenings, so the walks are fun to do. I hope I get myself fit enough to enjoy them in the heat and humidity of summer as well, so I can keep this up. I do have the option of joining the gym here at work for a very affordable rate, but while it's so nice outside I'd like to stay out as much as possible.

The people I meet on the trail are very nice. Almost everyone nods and smiles and a few say "hello" when we meet. Lots of people have dogs (I love dogs!) and I get to meet some of them. That makes it more fun.

Well, enough for now and I hope to see you again soon.