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Archive for the ‘Gardening’ Category

I am SO excited. I feel like a kid on Christmas morning. My eldest daughter, Victoria, has agreed to a college visit palooza during April school vacation week. It’s not that she wants to go that has my heart a-singing, but the fact that she and I will be spending a whole week together doing so. She has her heart set on art school, so we are visiting Mass Art and SMFA in Boston, RISD in Rhode Island and NYU, Pratt and Parsons in New York. All that time in the car together – just yum, yum, yummy. And maybe she’ll even ask me my opinion on the colleges – even yummier because I always have a point of view and just love to share!

It’s such an interesting journey being a parent. When my girls were young, I sometimes hid in the bathroom to get some peace and quiet from the constant ‘Mom, look at me, look at me’ (Lisa, thinking of you!) and the ‘why’ to everything. And then the middle school and early high school years descend when they really don’t want to spend time with me, their friends being so much more important. Advice can be greeted with eye rolls and comments about me not understanding, as if my 54 years on this earth count for little to nothing. God only knows what they are learning from each other, thinking at 14 they have all the answers.

And then the most beautiful thing happens, they start to come back. At least that has been my experience with my eldest, Victoria. And now I can’t get enough of being with her. Beyond school, she works at Michael’s, takes art lessons, has a boyfriend, drives herself everywhere and is the independent person I wanted her to be. But spending uninterrupted time together is just so precious. I am watching this girl grow into a woman and I am just so proud of her and I feel so blessed that she is in my life. So given all that, we’ll probably fight and bicker the whole time, but you know what, I am determined to enjoy that, too!

And what of my return to work? I have very happily enjoyed my first three weeks. It’s been great to reconnect with everyone and the work I am doing is fun (am I allowed to say that about work?) and gets my mental juices going. I have felt very supported by my company and my new boss is just the most wonderful person I have ever, ever worked for (are you noting this, John for my mid-year review?!?!?!). Going to four days a week after Easter, adding Monday from home.

I am starting to feel quite excited that Spring is inevitable and yesterday I put on my new black with white polka dot wellies and headed out in to the garden to see what might be happening. Not much, to be truthful but sooner or later something has to grow!

Love to all,
Amanda

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Even when they don’t leave the house! Yesterday, Victoria set off for the mall and about an hour later, our carbon monoxide monitors go bananas – danger, danger, evacuate, evacuate they scream at us, frequently, very loudly and at high decibels. Having never had this happen, we were unsure what to do, except put our hands over our ears and rush around the house in a pickle. After getting our act together, we call the fire station which is literally down the road and in they sweep, husky men to the rescue. Just what is it about a fireman in uniform? Is it the color yellow? Doubtful. Is it all that equipment hanging from their belts? Hmm. Is it visions of YMCA running through my head? Hmm again. I warned Sarah she was in for a treat but at only 14, I think she thought I was in the midst of a weird middle aged fantasy! No acknowledgement from me on that score, no indeedy! A little disappointed though as two of them looked like they were just out of high school and the other was older than Steve with a similar middle aged spread.

The carbon dioxide culprit was determined to be Victoria who had sat in the garage with the engine on, garage door closed, texting, playing trivia crack and generally doing whatever teenage girls do before she left on her trip. Perhaps if Steve won’t wear the Captain Kirk outfit, he might be more amenable to a fireman’s suit, tool belt ‘n all?? Or perhaps I’ll pay Victoria to do it again? Sigh.

Love to all,
Amanda

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Check it out at http://www.youtube.com/user/sequinofkindness! I am featured in Episode 6, which you can either watch in it’s entirety or in shorter segments that are labelled as to their content. I discuss how I am spreading the energy of love, peace and connection through my  “You’ve Been Flowered” program.  Enjoy!

If you happen to live in Chelmsford and want to see when it’s on the telly, go to http://www.chelmsfordtv.org/schedule.

And here, also, is a picture of me being attacked by wolves from my visit to the wolf sanctuary this week (they are really just after the food in my hands!).  More to come on the trip.

Love to all,
Amanda

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Hairy Tail, Part I

One of the things I most enjoy about the holiday season is our Christmas Tree. It adds sparkle and light to my holiday spirit. We don’t do much decorating around the house, either in or out, as I am much too lazy and Steve is rather bah-humbug about the whole thing. But my one effort to let the neighbors know we do posses some seasonal joie de vivre is the tree. I used to insist on a real one but eventually my tree hugging nature, combined with the chore of picking pine needles out of the rug for months after, drove me to agree to Steve’s pleading for a plastic version with lights already attached (I hear some of you out there screaming in protest!). He subsequently purchased what must’ve been the cheapest and thus puniest tree he could find in Target in the January sales.

The thing has lasted us two years but this year has received a serious onslaught in the form of ‘dearest’ Peanut, yes, the cat that got stuck behind the wall 20 minutes after arriving home from the shelter. Of course, my purrfect baby, Lulu, would do nothing as heinous as climb the tree, knock off all the ornaments, eat the tree, bend all the branches and knock the ornaments off again, right after we have replaced them. No breakable items have been dispensed from the storage boxes this year, leaving room for all the lollipop stick non-breakables the kids made in elementary school. My poor tree looks ratty tatty and the whole thing exudes an air of unkempt loneliness. I am not mirroring this I hasten to add, but do somehow feel as if my sparkle will have to find it’s mojo from another source. I have included a few images below to provide pictorial representation of the whole sad story!

Hairy Tale, Part II

On Monday I had a shower which I know sounds like just the exciting type of information you’d choose to read about in a blog! But there is a whisper of new news in this as I actually washed my hair! Is there much to wash? No. Did I do it anyway? Yes. I used my most expensive shampoo and then also conditioned the fuzz as you have to pamper the little baby shoots. It felt SO comforting to return to a familiar routine as for the 48 years pre-chemo, I have always washed my hair first in the shower.

Hairy Tale, Part III

And last, but not least in this series of hairy tales/tails, Victoria passed her driving test yesterday. I think I was more anxious for her than she was and now I am even more anxious than she is at the thought of her heading out alone. Luckily her first solo flight will probably be to Michael’s where she works, which is just 5 minutes down the road. As my friend, Eileen, whose daughter passed today, texted “now the worrying begins in earnest”.  And as I replied “ain’t that the truth”!  Another parent/child right of passage bites the dust.

Love to all,
Amanda

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So yesterday I had my TV interview about You’ve Been Flowered. It’s a taped affair and the guy who is the technical editor for the show (whose Grandmother I once helped with her garden!) won’t be back until next week, so not sure at this point when the grand reveal will happen.

I’ll tell you one thing though, I LOVED doing it! It was just so much fun. Afterwards, Barb, the host of the show, the Sequin of a Kindness, told me I was a natural and even if she says that to everyone, I totally bought in to it! I am thinking I’ll change careers and become an official interviewee, swanning around giving my opinion to anyone who cares to ask. I’ll be a professional celebrity, sort of like Kim Kardashian but older, balder and wearing more clothes. I’d not be able to recreate her champagne glass on the butt photo shoot, but I could certainly balance one on my left boob. Heck, if it hadn’t been deflated, I could’ve balanced a whole champagne bottle, accompanied by canapés! That would certainly get me interviews, I think.

I will obviously attach the link to the show once it comes out, but in the meantime, if you know of anyone looking for someone with an opinion who loves to talk on camera, give me a bell!

On a separate note, a big call out to my Boston work buddies who outdid themselves again with a wonderful care package that I received this week. I got a mug that says “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning how to dance in the rain…”, along with a beautiful hummingbird ornament and a brand new Kindle with a wonderful lime green case. You really are an amazing group of people and it is my privilege to know you. Thank you xxxx.

Love to all,
Amanda

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This post contains an accounting of my chest expansion and subsequent issues, so if you work with me and would rather be thinking about my beautiful green eyes as opposed to the activity below my chin when we next meet, please feel free to pass by this post. If you are brave or curious enough to continue, congratulations and here goes.

At surgery, if there is a chance that one might need radiation, the final silicone implants are not used, but expanders are put in as placeholders. These expanders include a port and balloon type containers that are filled with saline solution. The port allows for the injection of extra fluid, thus expanding the site in preparation for the final implants. The side that is to be radiated requires extra liquid as the skin shrinks during the procedure. Well, my plastic surgeon seems to believe that all good things come in large handfuls. Having already watched 34B/C disappear in the rear view mirror, at my last appointment, he gave me extra, extra on the left side as that is where I am to receive radiation. I felt so large and lopsided that I was worried that if I walked too fast around a corner, I might topple over and need help getting upright again. I could take a second job as a personal flotation device for a few small children needing help in the pool but due to rudder imbalance, we’d just keep flapping around in circles. Well, you get the picture and luckily for all concerned, there are none included with this post.

So I go to my first radiation planning session and everyone who sees my chest goes ‘oh my’. We go through most of the planning when the decision comes down from above that we are going to have to rebook as my girls, particularly Dolly on the left, are now just too damn large and the laser beam keeps getting cut off at the pass, so to speak. I get sent back to plastic surgery, having to see someone different as my regular Dr is, luckily, at a conference. ‘Oh my’ says the nurse when she checks things out. ‘Oh my’ says the plastic surgeon when he gets a look, followed by ‘are you going for va va voom?’. Categorically NOT. I think they look fine on Ms. Parton, but that’s where they can stay. Luckily, what can be created can be rent asunder and he was able to deflate, giving me back some balance and dignity.

I had my follow-up radiation planning session today and all went well. I start on December 1st and will finish in early to middle January. I wish for many reasons, including health care costs, that it could all have been finished this year but it’s the gift that just keeps on giving. The hair continues to sprout but patchy, not uniformly and today I felt the beginning of little hairy prickles on my legs. The eye brows and eye lashes have stayed the course for the most part and hopefully they are now out of danger.

So that’s the excitement to date!

Love to all,
Amanda

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Today felt like paradise to me! The weather was just stunning for November and I actually had enough energy to do my pottering, a snip here, collecting leaves there and taking pictures along the way. My love of the earth and the wonderful space I have created in my garden are such a gift to me. I am full of gratitude today as after all, how can I be anything else but joyous when there is such beauty in every day life. Pictures below.

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