January, 2010

...now browsing by month


Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

So this is what it feels like to work full-time?!  It’s Friday, around 7:45, and I’m in my PJ’s.  :)  Surprisingly, I’m quite content.  I’m watching “Jeopardy” with my padres and pups (including baby Indie).  Sure, part of me longs to be out and about, meeting new people and celebrating youth, but this’ll do for now.  There’s a bowling alley near my office (wow, it feels weird to write that—”my office”!), and every time I drive by, I tell myself, “I have to get a group of people together so we can bowl”, and after I drive a few more miles, the thought is gone.  By the time I’m home, I’m so tired I just relax with dinner, wine and my fam. Remember, it’s been seven years since I’ve worked full-time (yup, seven!! Twinbrook Florist was my last full-time gig.).

And now it’s Saturday.  I couldn’t even finish writing my entry, I was so sleepy!  I’m really enjoying working though.  It’s my first office experience where I don’t check the clock every fifteen minutes, probably because I’m challenged with interesting tasks.  I’m helping with the content of a new website they’re creating, and I assist with various jobs around the office.

Geez…this is ridiculous.  Now it’s Sunday.  I had writer’s block.  :)  It was a wonderful weekend.  You know, I have to take advantage of my weekends now since I’m working!  hahaha Notice how many times I reference the fact that I’m working right now?  I guess I’m pretty proud of myself.  Last night I went to see the US Army Men’s Chorus.  Rachel had read about the concert, so we drove to Vienna to check it out.  My guy (remember how I wrote about hearing the chorus previously and one of the men sang “Precious Lord”, my favorite hymn?) sang a solo, and his voice was just as I remember it.  The song couldn’t compare to “Precious Lord”, but I didn’t think a church was a good venue to yell out what songs you want them to sing.  :)  Thanks to Rachel, I have a recording of him singing it, so I can listen whenever I desire.

Today I met Connor, the newest addition to the Horio family!  He was born about two weeks ago, and boy is he a good-looking baby (see photos below–yah, of course I took photos!  You should know that about me by now. :) ).  Maya and Brant are going to be such wonderful parents.  Connor already has an impressive wardrobe and a very stylish nursery, complete with a mural of a mountain in Hawaii (painted by his father).  He seems like quite the little cuddle bug, and he’s a lucky boy to have a big, loving family surrounding him.  I can’t wait to hang out with you again, little buddy!! (oh, and you too, Maya and Brant and Grandma. :) )

Getting back to last night’s concert, the most moving song was one they saved for the encore, “Battle Hymn of the Republic”.  I tend to get emotional with most patriotic music, and their version was simply gorgeous.  Now I think I’m especially emotional because patriotic music makes me think of Tiso.  He found out last week that he will be deployed to Iraq, not Afghanistan.  We’re planning on having a big party for him out in Vegas.  I think I better get him to give me some tips on poker before we head out!!  :)

Here it is, 10:30 PM Sunday night, and guess what?  It’s about bedtime.  This whole work thing feels surreal in many ways.  Not surprisingly, I’ve been pondering work and jobs, etc.  This is the conclusion I’ve come to:  I do not want to bring work home with me.  I do not want to have incredible responsibilities.  I want to come home and play with my pups, visit my family, hang out with my children (someday :) ), catch up with friends. I want to make money.  Do I have a lack of ambition?  Am I merely average?  Or am I enlightened?  These last five years were not wasted years.  In fact, they were quite formative.  My priorities are set.  But I still ask myself, should I be doing more?  I always thought I’d be a professional, deeply involved in a career. Right now I am at a loss with regards to my future.  What is it exactly that I was meant to do?

I also feel torn.  I know my mom teases me about it (and frankly, I think she gets a little disgusted by my worrying), but I feel guilty leaving my dogs all day, especially in the winter when there’s no light to shine down so we can play when I get home.  They’re my best friends.  They’ve cuddled with me and helped me through five years of some pretty crappy times.  They’re used to me being home.  I don’t know if I wrote this before, but apparently Jameson had a very difficult time when my mom and I were in Seattle.  He obsessed about reflections and chased streams of light that filtered through the window.  He still does this, although they tell me it’s not as bad as when we were gone.  I could never be as good a friend to them as they’ve been to me, although I’m pretty sure that’s true with any pet and his owner.  :)  Still, I owe them.  I owe them walks and cuddles and playtime.  They still get this, but it’s limited now that I’m at work during the day.  Don’t worry…I’m not becoming crazy or hysterical or anything.  I’m not living my life for my dogs, but I miss them and I feel guilty. Imagine what I’ll be like when I have my own child!  :)  It might be hard to understand how attached I am to Jameson and Guinness.  Just remember that I’ve been home with them for about four years.  When everyone was at work, they kept me company.  Our relationship is indeed symbiotic.  I need to somehow figure out how to balance a job with caring for them.

OK, enough about that.  Considering it’s now Tuesday, I think it’s time I wrap up this blog post!  Tomorrow I go to my dermatologist so she can take out the stitches in my leg (she removed the margins from that irregular spitz nevus last week).  Thursday I go to see Dr. Orloff…I’ll let you know how everything goes!

One last thing.  Andrew, I’m sure you received this as well…last week I got a letter from the Hutch giving information on a new study about survival after bone marrow transplants.  One section read “…though you know better than anyone else the toll that your illness and treatment have taken, the comparison of your experience to those who have not gone through transplant may be unsettling for some of you.”  Well, that’s all I needed!  I skipped the rest of the letter and headed right for the study!  How long am I going to live?Here’s some of what the study discovered:

“Before bone marrow and stem cell transplants became standard therapies, hardly anyone survived blood cancers.  Today, a new study shows, 80 percent of patients who have transplants and survive their first five years go on to survive for at least another 15 years….the study also shows that survivors continue to have a lower life expectancy than the general population.  In the general population, people who are now 20 years old would be expected to live to an average of about 77 years, and people who are now 60 years old would be expected to live to an average of about 80 years…a group of five-year survivors who are now 20 years old would be expected to live to an average age of about 60 years, and a group of five-year survivors who are now 60 years old would be expected to live to an average age of about 74 years.”

Hmmmm…I never really thought about how the transplant would change my life expectancy.  I figured if I lived to the magic number of five years post-transplant, I was in the clear!  Of course, all these numbers are relative.  Every individual is different, and your overall health is important to take into account. Here are some positives for me:  I don’t smoke, I exercise (well, not too much right now, but when I get paid, I’m planning on buying a Healthy Heart pass to use at the county rec centers), I eat well, I’m not a big drinker…you get the idea.  Despite that, I’ve been exposed to toxic chemicals, radiation and a transplant, and all of those things can result in complications later in life which might account for a shorter life expectancy.

Nevertheless, I’m not worried!  Honestly…I think the study is interesting, but statistics are statistics.  It’s informative to read and then it’s time to move on. So I’ll continue moving on and building my life.  Go with the flow, forever my motto.

Haaaaappy New Year!!

Saturday, January 2nd, 2010

Happy 2010!!  So, what do you think?  What does this decade hold for you?  Any New Year’s resolutions?  I’ll admit I haven’t thought too much about any for myself.  I guess I pretty much know what’s most important:  starting a career, getting in shape, finding a date. :)

I’m excited to report that I’ll be working with my neighbors this month as they expand their foundation to support breast cancer research and treatment:  https://www.side-out.org/.  The foundation brings awareness to breast cancer though the sport of volleyball, and teams throughout the country raised over one million dollars in October, funds that will go to further research and support for patients.  I’ve learned a great deal about the foundation simply by talking with my neighbors, and I know working with them will be a rewarding experience.  Despite the fact that it’s a one-month trial basis, I’m nervous.  My time is no longer completely my own, and thoughts about new responsibilities weigh on my mind.  Yes, to put it simply, I’m scared to start working.  Certainly, part of me is looking forward to it, but this exact second, as I type, I’m feeling overwhelmed.  Nonetheless, it’s a pretty darn good way to start the year.

For so many years, I felt sad around New Year’s.  I’m not sure why, although I know part of it has to do with the fact that it marks the end of the holiday season.  I’ve also been known to resist change, and what presents more drastic change than a brand new year?  Last year and this year, I felt differently when New Year’s came around.  It’s cliché for health crisis survivors, I know, but I’m just happy to be around for another year!  From a rooftop in Seattle watching fireworks over the Space Needle to the warmth of a friend’s home in Virginia…I think I rang in both years fittingly, and I’m looking forward to making some remarkable memories this year.

I hope everyone is enjoying their first days of 2010!  Do you feel like you’re in need of a little inspiration to jumpstart your year?  I came upon this website the other day, and I wanted to make sure I shared it with you:  http://www.teamwinterblog.org/.  Have you heard of her before?  You have to watch the video; Winter’s story teaches us strength through adversity, an appropriate theme to encourage positive thinking and acting in the new year.  In another post on the website, I read that her father passed away in March, 2009.  Despite the tragedy of the situation, I am so uplifted by Winter’s dedication and courage.

After watching Winter’s video, you can check out the photos below, ones taken by my friend, Elvira.  She posted them on facebook, and they were so gorgeous, I asked if I could post them on my blog to show all of you.  So, bask in the inspiring story of Winter and the incredible beauty of our country (as seen in Elvira’s pics), and smile.  2010 is a clean slate, and you can write whatever you want as you continue to work on the story of your life.