Friday, May 23, 2008

100% Cancer Free!

My mummy, the fighter, has been battling stage 4 appendix cancer for the past few months. It is a rare, painful and often swift cancer.

After meeting with an oncologist who gave her no chance, we found the most wonderful blog. Carolyn Langlie-Lesnik started after her own grim diagnosis and triumphant survival. The lack of information about appendix cancer spurned Carolyn to begin the website.

Without Carolyn my mom would not have a chance. Carolyn is an angel on earth.

The appendix cancer website lists various treatments and doctors that specialize in the rare cancer. This is where we found our Boston specialist.

Yesterday my brave mummy endured an almost fifteen hour surgery and came through well.

Today my mummy is 100% cancer free!

100% cancer free!

100% cancer free!

Happy tears are now replacing the sad tears.

Thank you to my sweet neighbor, bus stop buddy and fellow blogger Ruth Dynamite for honoring my mummy in her blog today! Please take a peak at Ruthless in the Suburbs

Thursday, May 22, 2008

F#@%** Baggies

Those tiny Innocent looking plastic baggies are everywhere. Folding tops. Zipped tops. Teany-weany. Big enough to hold a horse.

In my kitchen I have an entire drawer dedicated to waxed paper, tin foil, trash bags and those little baggies. A few new bags have recently slid into the drawer.

We all know that wasteful plastics are essentially not good. The create harmful pollution in the manufacturing process. Can leach into our food. Once they are discarded they will stay on this earth for somewhere close to a glazillion years.

It is no secret that I use cloth bags for gift wrap. These bags can be used over and over and over again without creating any trash. What about cloth baggies for snack too?

"Duh", to quote my nine year-old self. I was wrapping gifts in reusable plastic bags but I was wrapping my kid's snacks in disgusting plastic.

I dug around in my gift bag collection to find a few small cloth bags to be promoted into the kitchen. Two girlie-type bags and one more Little Guy-friendly bag.

These new baggies are used everyday. Pretzels and snack time. A washed apple for the school picnic. Popcorn smuggled into the movie theater. After they have been used, I just toss them into the washing machine.

Easy smeashy!

Note to my friends Kim and Heidi who have called me to ask about how to make their children's lunchboxes greener. I know I promised to make a couple of snack baggies for you. That would require figuring out my new $9.99 sewing machine and getting off of my butt. Soon, OK maybe soonish I will get on that project.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Geography Lesson

A few months ago I learned about "stalker software" that can be attached to a blog. No, that's not really the name. It just feels like I am being a stalker when I check the site.

I truly write my blog for myself. My sweet readers are just gravy. I don't have any interest in checking to see how many people look at Gruppie Girl or how long they stay. Those things aren't important to me. One feature that I do enjoy checking is the map feature.

There is a cute little map icon on the stalker software site that allows me to see where the past 500 readers hail from.

I play well in New England, New York and New Jersey. Many of my readers come from the west coast too. In fact, I have readers from 49 states. Sorry Utah.

Maybe if I type the word "Utah" enough some friendly Utahans (is that what they call themselves?) will give Gruppie Girl a read. Utah Utah Utah Utah Utah!

Many of my readers hail from Ireland, Spain and Australia. All places that I would love to visit someday.

More readers are from the UK, France and Italy. All places I visited in my junior year of high school during one of those whirlwind student group tours. I loved every second of my trip and would love to relive it.

Southern Canadian readers come back to visit often. Personally, I have only crossed the border into Canada once on. It was a do-nothing afternoon in New Hampshire with a college boyfriend. He apparently misunderstood what the word "arete" meant...the octagonal red sign wasn't a clue...and were were briefly detained by the mounted police. Eventually we arrived a played pool all afternoon with a French speaking couple. Obviously, my boyfriend had no grasp of French.

Then there are cities and countries that have proved to be a geography lesson for me.

Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. I can point to it. Nah, nah de boo bo...

Hyderabad, India. Right near the middle of India.

Auckland, New Zealand. Near the northern tip of New Zealand. And a place I learned a lot about in my reading education classes.

Cairo, Egypt. My uncle and his family were stationed there for almost four years in the nineties. He brought back photos of a golf course with a view of the pyramids in the background.

Singapore. Think far, far east.

Zagreb, Croatia. Start in Italy and swim north east to arrive in Croatia.

Warsaw, Poland. We have a family friend form Poland and quite a few of Girlie's friends are originally from Poland.

How's that for a silver lining? I spend my days blogging away about finding my balance in life between being green and being a yuppie and here I am a little more worldly.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Pimpin' Out the Kids

Today I pimped out the kids. Yeah. I said it. I'm not above pimping them out for votes.

I wiped their little faces and even put a tie on Little Guy. Then, I brought them to my local polling place to wave and hold up signs.

After Little Guy's graduation (nursery school), we went back out there to grab the after high school crowd. Little Guy waved and smiled for almost an hour. All of the teenaged girls waved back and giggled. A few of the high school boys waved. All of of the bus drivers waved (Little Guy loves school buses). Most of the adults waved too.

Who can say "no" to a wanna-be mayor disguised as five year-old redhead?

Now, I wonder how many of those waving people voted in favor of the skimpy budget? Fingers crossed.
UPDATE: We won the battle, but lost the war. In the polling place where I pimped out Little Guy, the yes votes in favor of the budget won. Unfortunately, in the other pollling places, the no votes won.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mummy Update

Thank you, thank you to everyone who has kept my mummy in their thoughts. It has been a tough few months for her.

After having severe stomach pain, mummy went in for exploratory surgery. During the surgery the doctors discovered that mummy had stage 4 appendix cancer. A rare, intrusive cancer that isn't well-understood.

A few weeks and a few complications later we headed to an oncologist in Boston. This oncologist told us that the cancer spread throughout the pelvic cavity and chemo would be in order. The chemo would hopefully slow the cancer's spread, but it wouldn't cure the cancer.

The devastating visit with the oncologist brought us to the internet. (I officially love Google) Hubby found an angel named Carolyn who has survived appendix cancer. She actually beat appendix cancer!

Carolyn started a blog to help spread information to others with rare appendix cancer. An angel I tell you!

Carolyn said that most oncologists have no idea how to effectively treat appendix cancer so they treat it like they would treat colon cancer. It is so rare that most oncologists never see a case of appendix cancer. Just what mummy's oncologist said.

The blog outlined different treatments and even included a list of doctors who specialize in the treatment of appendix cancer. Once of the doctors was located in Boston. We were ready to travel to the ends of the earth and we only had to travel the twenty-or-so miles.

The family visited the appendix specialist and he decided that mummy was a perfect candidate for a radical surgery. During the surgery, the doctor removes all non-essential organs like the gallbladder, ovaries, spleen, etc. Every visible cell of cancer is removed. Then, warm chemo solution is circulated throughout the pelvic cavity. Theoretically, after the surgery, the cancer should be gone.

This surgery is our chance. The chance that we have been praying for.

We booked an appointment for a week from Thursday. The 22nd.

Thank you for everyone's thoughtful emails, calls and thoughts. I appreciate all of them dearly. I truly believe that all of those thoughts and prayers brought us to the appendix specialist. Please continue to keep mummy in your thoughts.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Lay Like Broccoli

My eating habits are slowly...slowly evolving towards becoming more local and sustainable. I want my kids to get the connection between the earth and their food. The only stumbling block is me and my black thumb.

Yesterday I was browsing through the nursery with a store credit burning a hole in my pocket when I stumbled upon vegetable seedlings. I always thought that you had to buy vegetable seeds and grow them from there. Super intimidating. Did you know that you could buy baby vegetable plants? Already growing plants. Who knew?

I'm not ready to try my hand at an entire vegetable garden. What if all of the veggies die and I'm out $200? Do gardens attract crazy bears? Perhaps a small container is the way to go.

Feeling motivated, I blew my entire store credit on a green beans, cucumbers, red peppers, red lettuce, salad blend and spicy pepper seedling. Some organic potting soil and a big pot rounded out the list.
After planting a few of the seedlings in my new, large pot I realized that I seriously underestimated how much space I would need. Not wanting to dig-up the lawn that I have spent endless hours trying to get it to grow, the only other logical spot was my front yard perennial garden.

Flowers and veggies living together in harmony. In might be strange, but I'm crossing my fingers for my little experiment to work

Thursday, May 8, 2008

A Tree Grows in Gruppieville

I like trees. Some may even call me a tree hugger. Now that the fact has been established you should know that I detest the Black Walnut tree.

Right on the property line, my neighbor has a huge Black Walnut tree that drops thousands a stain-filled nuts in my year every fall. The branches hang over their garage. Picture the thousands of black and oozy nuts tumbling down the garage and thudding into my yard completely missing their side of the property line.

Every day this fall I filled dozens of wheelbarrow with black walnuts in a futile attempt to save my lawn and bushes. My hands were black for months. Ultimately, the evil tree won.

In my own yard I have one little, sad tree. A young Black Walnut. It must not have developed enough to produce nuts, but I am sure that they are coming sometime soon.

All winter long I gave the tree the evil eye hoping the snow would end it's short life. No luck. So I did what any mother would do and let my four year-old have at it.

Little Guy may only weigh forty pounds, but give him a hammer, some pliers and a few sticks and he can sure take care of a tree. Ultimately Little Guy took down two branches and a large strip of bark than circumnavigated the tree.

Fast forward to last weekend. The local nursery was having a tree sale. $150 for a beautiful, nut-free Flowering Bradford Pear. It flowers in the spring, only grows to about twenty-five feet and does not produce nuts. Did I mention that it doesn't make stainy nuts?

After visiting the nursery hubby and I visited the big box hardware store for a few screws. (get your mind out of the gutter) There before us was a huge row of Flowering Bradford Pear trees priced at $9.98.

$9.98!! As much as I love to support local businesses, I could buy fifteen trees for what the local nursery was charging for their sale price.

Long story short, the local nursery charged me $30 in delivery charges and gave me a store credit for the rest of the price. Anybody need some mulch?

Oh yeah, I little tree isn't a Black Walnut like we thought.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Stay Wee

Growing-up, my parents liked to push on my head and exclaim "stay wee." They didn't want me to grow-up and I could never understand why. Growing-up was so exciting. New Experiences...what could be better?

My Little Guy turned five on Saturday. Now, it's my turn to push on his little strawberry head and tell him to stay wee. I really mean it.

During one of my head pushing sessions Little Guy asked if he could start to eat ice cream for every meal. Then, he surmised, he wouldn't grow and could stay little forever. I wish.

For the birthday party update, my KISS rule worked smashingly. Two hours and I was done. No cleaning, no cooking, no decorating.

Hope over at A Little Imagination made the most beautiful cake ever. I asked her to KISS and this is what she came up with. Creative people blow my mind.

Instead of goodie bags, I skipped the waste and instead gave each child a Mr. Birthday book. (Thanks for the idea Jen!) The indoor jumpy place cleaned-up after the party and even corralled the gifts.

Even though I may have overdone the jumping...skinned my elbow...tweaked my neck...A wonderful time was had by all! Indoor jumpy places weren't created for just the five year-olds to have all of the fun.