Thursday, December 14, 2017

Movin on.....It's the holiday season

Good morning! It snowed a bit and we are chilled in the northeast! Oh well, this is almost winter, right?

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How are things? hmmmm......

Well, the big leftie had his second experimental treatment on Monday. He tolerated the infusion well. He will do anything to go into remission. The guy is a warrior. Nothing will stop him from achieving his goals. It's been tough for him as he has watched his friends pass him professionally. Sadly, there is nothing he can do except be patient, continue therapies, and hope for the best. Hey, it's a season of miracles....let's work toward one.

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While he was receiving his 6 hour infusion in the chemo lab, I was humbled again by the number of people who had permanent IV ports and were attached to chemotherapy. They were making the best of it. Each person had a chemo buddy to keep their spirits high except a few people who were alone. I had to pray for them and again hope for the best. The nurses were upbeat and terrific, but the overall atmosphere was somber. Again, these people are the heroes, not the players who do not stand for the national anthem.

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What else is going on? Wellll... I have absolutely no Christmas shopping done. My gifts remain in the store. It's too late to order online. Yeah, I know that they promise delivery but I am still waiting for a gift that I ordered on Cyber Monday. I tracked it and the package sits in a UPS terminal 5 miles away.

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Dad's UPS delivery man said that they are so backed up. Tractor trailers drop off packages each day and they cannot keep pace. And so, even though online shopping has been appealing, there is no guarantee that the gifts will make it by Christmas.

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This year we are going "light". Why?

Well, in the past, I filled the tree with gifts and packages. The stockings were full and we were merry. But something has happened in the BPM household for the better. We are less consumer oriented and more focused on others and the true meaning of Christmas.

Yes, in the past, I tried to keep Christ in Christmas, but the kids would nod, say a prayer and move on to their Nintendo games. I would buy a cake that said "Happy birthday, Jesus," then we sang the birthday song....the kids with their cousins would move on to the next game without a second thought.

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Now, after spending time in chemo labs, praying for health, watching others suffer, the kids have done a 360.

The big leftie said that he did not want any presents this year. He wants the money that we would have spent on him to be donated to the ALS ice bucket challenge. Tink wants her gifts donated to an impoverished elementary school in the inner city. Such a paradigm shift from someone who's Christmas list always started with "peace on earth", then a "Dell laptop." Yep, they are morphing into pretty terrific community minded people...yippee!

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Gone are the days when we would take up Santa's time to ask for the latest and greatest technological toys and games. Yep, this is a good thing....and yes, to answer your question, there will be gifts under the tree. However, they will useful gifts like socks, boots, underwear, and toothbrushes.

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As for me...I don't want anything, except for maybe socks...and a package of $50.00 bills. That's it. Oh yeah...and peace on earth.
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With that said, I should go to the gym. Dad's office party is tonight and it will be the third party this week. Image result for tired of parties gifYes, being merry and festive can impact the mind, spirit and body...especially the body...I had  a leftover party pizzelle for breakfast yesterday....and have been caught with powdered sugar on my sweater....come is the holidays and powdered sugar can be brushed off without any evidence of cookie eating....

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Speaking of cookie monsters....listen to this one.....

Fade to black.....

I had the tennis girls over on Tuesday night for some Christmas cheer and reindeer games. Those gals are so competitive and had to win. I had prizes from the Dollar store. Someone won a screw driver, a ball of twine, a ball of rubber bands, and Christmas pencil. Yes, they worked hard for those prizes.

Anyway, it was 15 minutes before the party was to start and I was placing food onto the dining room table when I saw it and screamed.

There, in front of me was my 7 pound white maltese pup on the dining room table eating the chocolate Christmas cookies. Yep, he has never done this before and had the evidence ensconced in his white beard. He has turned into a cookie monster!

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Horrified, I knew that chocolate was toxic for dogs and called the vet immediately. She told me to bring him into the animal hospital for an emergency visit. Mind you, the kids were working and I had 20 people arriving in 10 minutes. I called dad who quickly left the office and grabbed cookie monster and took him to the vet.
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As dad drove away, the first group of partiers arrived at the door. All I could think of was cookie monster and would he be OK. Would my homemade chocolate caramel cookies cause kidney and liver failure in my baby pup? Oh the horrors....and I waited and waited with a smile on my face. All I could think of was puppy....then I got the call.

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The doctor induced vomiting (just like the Emergency room when someone overdoses on barbiturates).....Cookie monster literally tossed his cookies and returned home for a kiss and lots of hugs from his BP momma. He was going to be OK, however, I could still see the chocolate evidence in his beard as he licked my face. Ugh, when does the worry stop?

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Oh, probably never....which is good and bad. Someone once wrote (let's call him/her anonymous)..."Worrying means that you do not trust God." Hmmm...something to consider. Maybe I am not a worrier, just a writer who is overly sensitive and concerned about people and animals....yeah, let's go with that....

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Got to work!


Friday, December 8, 2017

Movin' on...It was a Thanksgiving without ice cream

Good morning! I am sorry that I have not posted, but I have been preoccupied by....stuff....more stuff...and a bout of the stomach flu! Yep....Here are the details....

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Fade to black....

Work has not been bad. I only have one course to finish then I start three in January. Sadly, there are other "tasks" in my job description that never go away.  For example, one of my duties is to fill the incoming class with students each January which means I have to interview all qualified applicants and determine whether he or she can succeed in my program.

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I rarely turn qualified people down unless I see a few red flags, which I have in the past. When my decision is overturned, which the admissions committee can and will do, I watch the now-student fail because they cannot handle the rigors or the pressure of the major. It's sad, because the ill-equipped student is now in debt and does not have a degree to show for it. The committee believes that people should be given an opportunity. However, after a few "misses", they now see the wisdom of my denial letters. By the way, I still have two more spots to fill, so I continue to interview.

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Next, the big leftie's experimental drug was finally approved by insurance, so he has infusions every Monday. I am around for those days and sit with him in the chemo infusion lab. This therapy is an unproven chemotherapeutic drug which purportedly causes remission of his MG. It has worked on a group of patients, so he is now part of a study and collection of data. Praying for success....Amen.....
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Now, we are closing in on Thanksgiving. It is always my pleasure to host family and friends in my home. I have the room, so, let's get together and celebrate. Turkey Day is one of my favorite holidays since there are no gifts, just the presence of the people who matter the most...and so.....

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I had a list the length of my arm. Incrementally, I began to whittle away at the chores. The table was set a week in advance. Crystal and china were washed and placed with care at each place. The napkins matched the table cloth (which I ironed....yep, I know how to use an iron) and I placed them in holiday napkin rings.
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I went to the grocery store, Costco, the liquor store, dollar store, and Amish Market. The Amish roasted my turkeys, so I had one less worry on Thanksgiving. Now all I had to do is make my sides and desserts. Life was good!

Or so I thought...remember, this is BP mom reporting activities.....I never go through a holiday or big event without issues....ever.....remember the year that I was hosting Cookie fest and walked into the grocery store three days before the event with $12.00 in my pocket? Yeah, that was a good one....

Ok, Thanksgiving is now here. I got up early, chopped some veggies, and headed to the holiday boot camp at the gym. After all, I read somewhere that the average person consumes over 4000 calories on Thanksgiving, so I was ready...mind, body, and spirit.

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After the workout, I arrived at the house ready to finish the sides...chop, saute, roast, salt, pepper,'s two o'clock, time for a shower, glass of wine with guests arriving at 4 pm for apps and holiday cheer....I am ready for 22 people....let the festivities begin!

Then it hit.....

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Real hard....

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The room spun....I was light flashes.....

Huh? What? Not today???

I begged my body to feel better. "Come on....BPM...this is your love this. You live for this...what the heck!!"

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Down I went.....there was no coming soon as the guests arrived, I ran to the bathroom and lost my holiday cookies.....

There was no coming back. Yep, 22 people in my home ready for a great dinner and gathering and I was.......

a no show.....

What happened BPM? Did you send them home? To Denny's? IHOP?


They stayed and dad, Tink and the big leftie took over.

From my bedroom, as the room spun, I could hear laughter, some singing, and lots of cheer. This make me weakly smile as I was happy that they were still able to celebrate. BP Grandmom and Tink were the only ones who were brave enough to venture into my bedroom. I have to get them something special for Christmas and not the stomach flu....

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Back to the party.....everything went well. Food was consumed. Wine was flowing, laughed....this was good, I thought.
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The only glitch was that dad forgot to pull the ice cream out of the freezer for the pie. I would have tried to help, but no one wanted to catch what I I stayed away.

Here is what I learned....this is my silver lining....

Thanksgiving lessons:

1. You don't need a big fancy meal and ice cream to have fun with the people that you love (and like)
2. I am not needed to make the holiday successful. There are others who are happy to step up and create a special day.
3. I am blessed to have a terrific group of people surround me who did not care that they did not have ice cream for their pie.
4. I really like Thanksgiving and missed being there, even without ice cream.
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And so, the nausea is over....and I am back...sort of....the next post.....

Christmas lights....yep, never without a glitch.....


Monday, November 13, 2017

Movin on....give me your money!

Good afternoon! Sorry that I did not post more this week, but it has been pretty chaotic....yes, more chaotic than normal.
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So, what's up? Well, not the northeast temperatures. It is downright frigid here AND we attended an outdoor fund raiser last night that put frost on our noses and toes.
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Really? A fundraiser?

Oh yes....

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There is an organization in my town that helps individuals with cancer. They buy wigs, offer massages and facials for pain management, pay for rides to and from chemo, and sponsor nurse navigators. I attended one of the fundraisers years ago and did not like it. It was stuffy....what do I mean by stuffy?Image result for rich people gif

Well, it was a formal event where people wore tuxedos and gowns. If you know me, you know that this is not my scene. I am casual and like my fundraisers that begin with "beef" and end with "beer." This was not the case. So, it was one and done. Plus, I attended the fundraiser alone since the tickets were so expensive and attire was formal, there was no way Dad was coming along.....
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Fast forward ten years and BP Grandmom has to see an oncologist and needed chemo. She was greeted at the cancer center with all kinds of gifts, gift certificates, and the wig voucher. Knowing that she was going to lose her hair was awful for her. She is a private person who prefers to keep her business to herself. When a person loses their hair from chemo, the body screams "look at me! I have cancer...." Then people start rubbing their head or make stupid comments like...."hey, it won't be the cancer that kills you. My Aunt Effie was hit by a bus after her last clear Pet Scan....know what I am sayin'?" Yeah, we know.....Image result for rich people gif

And so, the wig was styled to look like BP Grandmom's own hair and her confidence was restored.

As I thought about the fund raiser and the organization, I felt that I should reach out to the committee and thank them for their generosity and kindness. Plus, I now knew where the money was going and it was not to build a wing on a hospital or into the salary of a highly paid nonprofit CEO. In my letter to the Chair, I told her that if she ever needed assistance, I would be there by her side and promote the cause.Image result for fund raising gif

And so, my volunteer work with this organization began and I do not regret it...although Big Sis might....Yep, I pulled her into the committee work too. At first she was reluctant, then she got to know the good folks and their selfless acts and she was in....Of course, I was not done. I also pulled Tink, Dad, and Big Sis's girlfriend...Oh yeah...and I am still not done....Image result for pulling a person gif

On to the was outside at a winery. Mind you, the temperatures never got above 40 degrees. However, the committee planned for it and had fire pits. fire places, portable heaters, blankets, and scarves. People were told to dress for the outdoors. And so, once we were set up, which took a few days, the party was on.Image result for outdoor party gif

Rather than having it catered, the organizers brought in food trucks, which were a great idea. All of the food was portable. One truck had won an award for its food....multiple types of tater tots...that's right....a tot truck....I had to try them even though I don't like potatoes (I am probably the only person in America to dislike potatoes.). I have to say....the tots were a-maaaazing! Yep, best tots I have ever eaten and will probably wear them on my thighs for the next few months.  The were calorie worthy, if you know what I mean.....Image result for food trucks gif

For dessert, we had s'mores. Yep, the organizers had put together packages of marshmallows, chocolate, and graham crackers. They also had bamboo sticks and we sat around the camp fires and roasted marshmallows. It was a truly fun night.Image result for smores gif

The best part was that Tink and Dad volunteered. She sold raffle tickets and he parked cars. They loved it. I loved that they supported me and the cause. It was such a family affair as Betty, Wildcat, Dr. G also attended the event. All in all, it was a success and we made lots of money for the cancer patients.

Now, can we sit back and relax? The answer is "nope!" We have to plan next year! My vote is to keep it as is and forget about the high heels, pearls, and sparkling attire. Give me a s'more with a glass of wine anytime and I will follow you anywhere...I mean it.....I love food and naturally, a glass of squished fermented grape juice.Image result for fund raising gif

Now it is Monday and I have to get ready for class tomorrow. I decided after last year's course was a dismal failure that I would revise, revamp, and re energize the content to add some sparkle and glamour. I think this is what millennials crave as opposed to good old fashion discussion on theory and content. They would rather look at their computer screens than debate the pros and cons of theory and practice. And so, I spent several months during the summer working on leadership 2.0 and still have students staring at me wishing for an earthquake that would suck me into the basement of the building.
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Fine! I will keep my leadership theories and concepts to myself and continue to preach to the open computer screens. After all, it is their money and if they decide not to participate and listen, then they might as well dig a hole and bury their cash. Image result for fund raising gifI don't want to hear another word about how expensive college is. After all, you pay a huge tuition bill and then choose not to listen or participate.  To me is is a foolish investment. In three weeks when the semester is over and they have a low attendance participation grade, I will finally hear their voices as they complain to me that they did not receive full credit.   Yep, this is my life...... to the gym....


Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Movin on.....Time for a telethon

Good morning! It's Tuesday so I am headed to work and class. What's going on? Got to make this a quick one......

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As you know, the big leftie is struggling to regain his health and vigor, which come back slowly with MG. He is doing everything that he can including speech therapy, exercise, eating right, meditating, and trying to get enough sleep. However, since he is on prednisone, he cannot sleep. I find sleep to be one of the most therapeutic methods to regain strength and health but when a person cannot sleep, issues arise. Now that we gained an hour, everyone's sleep patterns are off...especially his. Image result for im sick gif

With that said, we are still waiting for his insurance company appeal to come through. Currently, it is week four and the appeal is sitting on someone's desk at Independence Blue Cross. So, what are his options?Image result for letter of denial gif

Option 1: Wait for the appeal to be granted. This can take months. In the meantime, he continues to have problems swallowing and speaking.Image result for letter of denial gif

Option 2: Be admitted into the hospital and he can have the medication be given to him there. He would also have to have other treatments. Now, however, he wants to get this medicine as soon as possible.Image result for letter of denial gif

Option 3: Pay for the medicine myself. Image result for no money gif

Yes, option 3 is out there. As I see him struggling, I am considering it more and more and more....The cost is the price of a used car. Basically, I would buy the used car and take a hammer to it and destroy it. This is fine as long as I know that it is money well spent. Do I have this kind of money? Hmmmmmm.......Let's consider this.....

Think, do I find this kind of money? What to do...what to do.....

More options!

Option A: my usual find...sofa cushions. I would check under my sofa cushions as well as my neighbors. naturally, I would ask them.
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Option B: I could do what two college students did to me on Saturday afternoon which was to ring my doorbell and ask for money for pediatric cancer. Who does that??? Yes, who knocks on a grouchy old lady's door when she is semi enjoying a rare Saturday afternoon at home and sweetly ask for the contents of her purse to save children from cancer??? To follow up on that question, which grouchy old lady who was trying to enjoy a rare Saturday afternoon at home gives complete strangers the contents of her purse to allegedly save children from cancer? You get one answer on that last question.

Option C: Have a telethon like Jerry Lewis's to solicit donations to save the big leftie's voice....Yes, I watched the JL telethon every Labor day weekend and donated money....who didn't? Just a quick note...he was pretty grouchy in his 90's, donchathink?Image result for jerry lewis telethon gif

Option D: Rob a bank....Yep. I have never considered this option before and will probably eliminate it from the list. I would have to wear a mask and it would wreck the hair. Plus I would feel claustrophobic. Also, I am one of the unluckiest people, so I would get caught before I left the bank, be tackled by the security guard, and possibly hit my head and knock out my teeth. My mug shot would have a black eye, missing teeth, and flat hair. it would go viral in seconds. Can't take the chance on this one.....too vain, ya know?
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Option E: Wait out the insurance company and be supportive. Send a zillion prayers to heaven and offer a hundred novenas to St Jude, patron saint of lost causes and St. Rita, patron saint of the impossible. Image result for no money gif

Option F: Try to revive the money tree in the backyard. Yep, it died years ago when I had kids. Image result for money tree gif

Perhaps I could use a combination of all options. After all, the best ideas often come from the whackiest minds. My mind is one of the whackier. Image result for no money gif

OK, 'nuff said. We are playing Jeopardy in class today. There are dozens of vocabulary words and what is better than engaging them through a game? Yet, this can backfire since I happen to know that none of them actually read the assignments before coming to class. How do I know?

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Well, they stare at me for two hours, do not answer my eloquently posed questions, and are working on either their Facebook pages or buying shoes while they are supposedly listening to my monologues. Wish I could get them to speak....but the reality is that I have a class full of introverts. Image result for teachers gif

And you know introverts; they hate to speak. Soooo, Jeopardy may fail today in a big way. In fact, I might look back on this class as an epic fail...just like when I grew my bangs out....another epic fail.
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OK, gotta run......