I have this friend, Groundhog

He and I have known each other since the early 70’s.  I have no idea what really connected us back in church youth group…I, at one time, thought maybe it was because we are both only children…but, I don’t know…it’s deeper than that.  We never had any of the boy/girl type complication although there was a little while that I thought he was really cute…and then I just thought him to be my adorable best friend.  We went to different high schools – he could have gone to my high school but he had a vision and ended up at the technical high school.  We went our separate ways after my graduation in ’74 and his in ’75 and we lost contact with each other off and on.  When I met Gena, Groundhog fit right into the triangle.  They both loved tropical fish…I, of course, didn’t like tropical fish…and of course, I was the one at home alone when one of the mama fish started giving birth and the babies were being eaten…that’s terrifying blog material for another day.  We all traveled together to Cincinnati one time to see a Red’s game….she and I went to visit him one time when he was in Cincinnati at the bible seminary.



She and I went to visit him in Abilene, TX when he went to the college there.  He was an usher at our wedding



Again we went our separate ways……and again we reconnected.  He is the one who actually inspired me to start blogging – in those days it was over on Xanga.  There is no one on this planet who could be more my opposite…there are so few things that we agree on that a rare moment when we both say yes – gets written on the calendar.  We used to argue – I like to say debate – over EVERYTHING!  He is a libertarian and I’m a moderate liberal and all the garbage to go with that…he is a strong Christian man…I’ve backslid into calling myself spiritual.  I trust him with my life and I think the feeling is mutual.  I have his back.  period.



His mom passed a few years ago.  She was his rock.  I didn’t see his mom often after we all went our separate ways – but when I did see her, I adored the way she would look at me with a smile and gently say, Nina.  He has now moved in with his father who has dementia.  Doing the right thing?  Perhaps.

I awoke at 5:30 this morning – I don’t do anything at 5:30 in the morning other than sleep.  I picked up my IPAD and went to google+ and there was a 16 minute video he had posted.  A video taken from 8mm of him as a youngster.  One little scene of him as a toddler at a park and his mom calling to him and he began to run to her and she swept him up into her arms.  It hit my soft spot very hard.  Everytime I think of him today, I tear up.  I can’t imagine the day when we don’t have the relationship we have…when one of us is dead.

Until next time…

The breakfast of champions….


I have shared a couple of these blogs on my page recently.  Actually I can’t remember now how I found her wordpress page…she has a wonderful take on dementia and alzheimers and should be a regular read for anyone who is living with someone with the disease.  I have a 6 degrees of separation with the author although I didn’t know it when I started following her.  I worked with her father-in-law for many, many years – he is a Lt with the Newton, Iowa Police Department and I was his dispatcher and loved to tell him where to go on a daily basis.  I love these small world events!


Here’s my breakfast.  He made me the juice this morning with Kale, spinach, cabbage, carrot and apple.  It is actually quite tasty and I find the more good green food I eat, the better it tastes.  Next to my juice is my 1000mg Turmeric from Dr Piva, my chiropractor and acupuncturist, my starbucks from my keurig and my great protein two handful almond breakfast.

I sometimes wonder if the universe brings the people with cancer diagnosis together.  I recently learned a friend of mine now has a cancer diagnosis.  We have been messaging each other with the details of our individual cancer fights…and our disbelief that this could happen to us.  She is a fighter and these little connections with like minded friends really helps keep the attitude positive and like a 3 mile walk – keeps me energized.

It’s a beautiful sunny day today!

Until next time…..

It probably not kidney cancer that will get me….

I was sitting “indian” style on the exam table in the ER on my 59th birthday when the doc told me that I have a large tumor on my left kidney and it is most likely malignant…but first we need to get this diverticulitis abscess taken care of.  He and Jenny were in the room with me and they had, what I believe, was the typical reaction to learning someone you love probably has cancer.  I’m not sure what I felt…my immediate reaction was well, okay, guess we will have to deal with it.  The thought also crossed my mind that I probably won’t realize my big fear of the girls having to deal with dementia and me.  His mother has very few, if any, real lucid moments.  Gena’s mom just entered a nursing home because the family was no longer able to safely care for her and her dementia.  I just never wanted my family to have to live with this burden.  But I also didn’t want to live to be 91 years old, sad, depressed, hurting and unable to die because I was so afraid…. and be completely lucid. After they moved me to my room that night, I had my shock meltdown with an angel of a nurse.  Because of pain and medication, it was several weeks before I had another “I’m not ready to die” breakdown.  I called upon my girls to talk me down off the ledge that night.  For the most part, I’ve felt genuinely positive and strong until I woke up Sunday morning…I was totally pissed off.  I think because my dreams have been angry and frustrated, my sub conscious may be dealing with some thoughts and emotions that I have not allowed to surface. I belong to a Facebook kidney cancer survivor’s group.  I decided that I was going to stay off the internet and allow my emotions to occur by what is going on with me and not the worst case  percentages found on the internet.  For the most part, I’m getting positive feedback from this survivor’s group and I’m sure I will appreciate them more when I’m actually going through surgery, physically recovering and living with the pathology. Yesterday, Jenny reminded me that I still have better than a 10 percent chance that this isn’t cancer – but due to the size, it is highly likely.  She reminded me that the doctors have said they believe it is contained in my kidney and not metastasized …. that the fact is kidney cancer probably won’t be what kills me… and she pointed out the fact that I could be walking around the pond, slip, hit my head on a rock and drown. I have not worried about that before!!! Until next time….


That’s the way I’m feeling tonight. My fitbit stats for today are embarrassing..of course, he is out walking the dog on her third walk of the day…and his!  Not only did I not move around today but I ate 3 pieces of peanut butter fudge and a chocolate chip cookie at the auction house tonight.  While I’m not really regretting the decision I made at the time, the sugar high now has me irritated.  That probably makes no sense at all.  I’ve been off the sugar for quite some time – and the way I feel now is exactly why I’ve given it up!  While I used to hate the weight I was carrying around and what it was doing to me – now I’m pretty sure I can feel the sugar granules scraping through my vessels.  That was a bit dramatic..but I’m so foggy I had to google granules to see how to spell it.

Which leads me directly into old age and forgetfulness.  I haven’t driven a vehicle for a couple of weeks…I know…that’s weird…I had to go to the post office today and I needed to use the windshield wipers to get the mist off the windshield and I couldn’t remember how to turn them on.  The entire trip to the post office had me RUMINATING on what is wrong with me – OMG – is this the first sign of dementia.  I tried to reassure myself.  I’m pretty sure that if I was driving down the street and it started raining, I would have done what I always do – by rote – I would have turned on the windshield wipers.  But just the fact that I tried to twist the little dial which activated the back wiper instead of clicking up or down on the huge lever that sticks out of the steering column had me questioning my mental health.

This windshield wiper thing had me messed up a few months ago when I couldn’t remember how to uses the delay twisting thing on that huge lever that sticks out of the steering column.  The one that has little lines to indicate if you want the wipers to swish fast or slow.

Jenny…if you are reading this – I’m perfectly fine – do not worry for a moment about me babysitting Jax 3 days a week but I think it is time to turn his car seat facing forward so he can help Grandma find her way around!


Until next time?

Flashbacks which I like to call flashbangs….

I have said to people grieving…many times…hold on to your memories they can’t be taken away.  I’m always afraid it sounds trite. ((of a remark, opinion, or idea) overused and consequently of little import; lacking originality or freshness.).  When it comes from my thought process, it is what I hold onto…it is what I want to believe.  But, now, I’ve known so many folks who have/are dealing with loved ones with alzheimers or dementia that I fear the memories can be taken away.  I hate to think of it and the torture relived because I’m sure the memories drawn up from childhood for these victims are not just the great memories they would like to remember; but, perhaps reliving the bad things too….in an endless cycle.  I hate it the thought.

As my mind continues to heal from the stress and anxiety of the past, I seem to have many more flashbang memories of my childhood.  The good thing about being of sound mind, I can either remember them with a smile or remember the bad things, deal with them and move on.  I’m not caught in a cycle, so to speak.

This morning I walked into the kitchen and saw his drinking glass sitting beside the sink… as I have seen many times and I immediately flashed back into walking into the kitchen of our childhood home and seeing my mom and dad’s drinking glasses sitting beside the sink.  In those days, we reused a daily water glass because dishes had to be washed by hand and now it is no consequence to me to drink from a glass and put it in the dishwasher – then get another one and another one.  But he likes to have a glass on the counter for drinks of water.  The one thing only he knows is that it is not uncommon to find several half filled glasses in the refrigerator where I have stashed them so I have some cold water available.  Half empty/half full depending on your perspective.  I wonder if this irritates him.  He has made comments about my little collections of empty glasses in the fridge.  But he moves on.

When I was a teenager, I used to put on my swimming suit, take my sheet and sunglasses and go to the backyard and bask in the sun for a couple of hours.  I loved laying under the sun and feeling the warmth tan my skin.  I believe it is an addiction..plus as my friend, Kim, always said.  Tan fat looks a lot better than untan fat.  It is one of the great flashbangs that I remember often…in fact, as I dabble in in meditation or just relaxation during a massage, this is where I go.  I have perfected the memory and it doesn’t take long for me to totally relax and be able feel laying the sheet on the grass, I can see the large oak tree, the brick fireplace my dad made to burn garbage, the flower bed to my right and Lennie Rae’s house behind my head.  It is my happy place…it is my happy memory…it is one of those memories that I am so afraid I will lose.

Until next time….

Waking up in a different bed!

My non-traditional life or should I say my pre-retirement state of mind or should I say having my “stuff” in two completely different houses in two completely different states is obviously messing with my psyche.  When I awaken and stir, I don’t know where I am.  Am I in Iowa or am I in Missouri.  This can happen more than one time a night.  Talk about out of whack…a couple of weeks ago when we were in Florida, I added that complication for 5 nights.  I’m not in Iowa, I’m not in Missouri….OH.

The only other time I’ve had this nocturnal confusion was after my dad died.  Every single night I would wake up…not know where I was and think I was on a ship.  One of the things going on in my life which sent me to counseling.

I wonder if this is how people with dementia or alzheimers feel when they wake up without the assurance that once their brain kicks in, they will know where they are, what year it is or who they are.  I’m going to say it probably is and I’m so sorry for their fear!

Until next time…