Monday, December 28, 2009

The power of positive thinking

This guest post is from one of my favorite bloggers. Please repost this on your blog and, more importantly, send out some love to a lady and a fella who have been paying forward all this time.

My name is brandy. And I have a blog.

And a plea.

I use my blog to showcase the crazy I meet everyday, share the stories of the kids I teach and document my love for tequila, dairy products and the abdominal muscles of Ryan Reynolds. Rarely do I talk about personal issues on my blog- as personal as the dude that I adore (who I actually met through my blog- single ladies, let that be a very good reason to blog, the possibility of meeting someone as wonderful as my man), but I need your help. And it involves my dude.

He’s a guy who made math comics for my class, so they would love learning about addition. He’s the kinda guy who sends my friends gift cards when they are having hard times, who remembers every story I ever told him, who was the first person I celebrated with when I got a teaching job. He’s the guy who sent flowers to me at school- dozens of my favourite pink roses just because he loves me. He’s a guy who has spent a year patiently explaining (and re-explaining) everything there is to know about football during the important games when silence is preferred. He’s made me word puzzles and comics and stayed up late playing Scrabble with me (even though I beat him almost every time). He’s listened to me cry about school and family and jobs. He is everything I never knew I needed and everything I always knew I wanted.

The holidays have hit us hard. He’s recently been told he may have something called multiple myeloma- an incurable cancer, that gives a person an average of five years of continued life. Though this news has came as a shock, he continues to be exactly who has always been- spending his time worrying about me, rather than worrying about himself. He’s the most selfless individual I know- (he stayed late on Christmas Eve to work, so his co-workers could leave early) and a post like this would never be something that he would promote or encourage but when I’m overwhelmed and feeling helpless, the blogging community has always given me tremendous support and comfort, two things I desperately need at this time.

As I write this, the future is uncertain and we aren’t sure what’s happening. He’ll need to see an oncologist soon, to verify what’s going on in his body. My hope is that everyone who reads this think positive thoughts and if you are a person who prays, could you add him to your list? (You can refer to him as ‘brandy’s hot awesome dude’). If you don’t pray, please keep him in your heart.This cancer is only a possibility and I believe that the prayers and positive thoughts of people can make sure it never becomes a reality.

I want to give a big thank you to the blog owner who scraped their original blog plans and graciously put this up. My goal is to get as many people as possible to see and read this post. If you are reading this and want to help, copy and paste my plea into your blog or send a link through twitter, so more people can keep him in their thoughts. I would be so very grateful (even more grateful than I am to my friend who first showed me the picture of Ryan Reynolds on the cover of Entertainment Weekly. If you haven’t seen it, google it. You. Are. Welcome).

I realize this all sounds dramatic, a Lifetime movie in the making- but this is life. Right now. And I’m throwing away any hint of ego and am humbly asking for you to pray or think kind thoughts. If you are able to pass this on, thank you and if you know anything regarding MM- please email me (my email is on my blog). This isn’t a call for sympathy or a plea for pity. It’s just one girl hoping you can think positive thoughts for the person she adores. If my current heartache provides you with anything, let it be with the reminder that life is short, love is unbending and no one knows what could happen next. Maybe it is silly, but I really do believe that positive thoughts can make a huge difference. Thank you for reading this and if you haven’t already? Please tell someone you love them today.

I did.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Misadventures in the kitchen, part 1,000,000,000

So my weekend project was to break out ye olde crock pot and try out a curry butternut squash soup. Step one was washing out the crock pot, which has been in my basement since I moved in (my kitchen is roughly the size of a postage-stamp). Well, I forgot about the laundry detergent that mysteriously spilled on top of it many months ago (hi, I'm gross) and had since congealed, settling in the middle of the lid, which I'd placed upside down on top of the pot itself. In the intervening months, a small cave cricket unwittingly wandered into the mass of goo and died. Mmmm.

So I go upstairs, wincing all the way, and get to work, first setting the lid aside (too icky, not yet prepared) and tackle the easier task of cleaning out the crock pot itself, which only had a small amount in it. As detergent does, though, it was very sudsy and slick. And, I might add, smelled just delightful. (Truly! Tide Lavender, a lovely scent, even after months in a crock pot!) So I wash and wash and it's seeming to rinse a bit but not to my satisfaction. So I decide to get all 11th grade chemistry on its ass and decide to rinse with vinegar to cut the slick feel. All I have is balsamic vinegar. I use it anyway. It works! The pot is now squeaky clean. I rewash with dish soap to get off the vinegar and it is all set to go.

Now for the lid. I wipe out as much of the goo (cricket and all) as possible with paper towels. Then I set to work just as I did with the crock pot, being sure to use the balsamic vinegar followed with dish soap. Success. Or so I think. I look again at the lid (which is clear glass) and see that there are some suspicious bubbles lurking under the handle. Continued rinsing only leads to more slickness and the bubbles are still there, multiplying the longer I rinse. I get a screw driver to remove the handle so I can rinse things out proper. (Quite the handy homemaker, I think, patting myself on the back.) The screw, however, is made of pewter or something, so my screwdrivers (yep, I tried two different ones) only served to mangle the screw and loosen it not even one little bit. So I leave it alone, tell myself I'll deal with it later and commence to the peeling of the squash. (You may know the pain it is to peel a butternut squash.)

So, two squashes, two apples and an onion later, all peeled and chopped, all while sitting on the couch in front of the TV with a large cutting board and big bowl for scraps (again the kitchen, she is tiny). I prepare the broth and spices and pour it over the chopped goodness and, tired, put the lid on the top of the crock pot without so much as a perfunctory final rinse. It'll be fine, I tell myself.

At this point in the process--all contents in the crock pot set on cook, dishes done--I had completed watching "Will You Kill for Me?: Charles Manson and the Manson Family" and was powerless to stop watching "Jonestown Revealed" which began right after the macabre Manson special (I joked to myself: What's on after this? Waco? And it was!). Anyway, cults are fascinating from the safety of your living room, aren't they? Or are remnants of laundry detergent slowly being released from the lid's condensation, leaching into your curry butternut squash soup as you watch 909 Jonestown residents being forced to drink laced Kool Aid? Are you your own Jim Jones, brought down by stupidity rather than mania? I couldn't help but wonder. Then I brushed it off, I was just tired. Things get a little doomsday when I am tired and watching horrific things on television.

I awoke early to turn off the crock pot, the contents now softened and simmering on low. I mashed up the squash and apples and decide to have a morning mug. Not bad. The first sip is okay as is the second. By the third sip, the nutmeg and cloves have made themselves known by being delicious also making your mouth kinda numb they way they do. Yum! I have yet to blend the soup, though, so it's not an even puree. (I thought using a blender at 6 am would be uncool.) So, though a little chunky in a way that doesn't work for any soup involving squash, the flavor is, I believe, pretty good.

But, on the metro, I start to feel a little weird. Not bad, per se, but just kind of cleaned out from throat to stomach, oddly sanitized. You know, like detergent does. Yipes! I remind myself that I am still very, very tired (up late cooking and up early eating) and that Jonestown really was a very scary thing to watch, particularly after Manson, and maybe I am carried away? Should I eat something else? Should I NOT eat something else, lest the poison use the new food to be more absorbed in my system??* But I should calm down. I am just carried away, all caught up in tiredness and cults, right?

Right, according to Nancy, the friendly woman at the Poison Control Center who assured me that I was probably just fine. That, unless I had some real, immediate symptoms including an incredibly painful throat and inability to swallow, then I should have nothing to worry about and can continue to enjoy the batch of soup. I was nonplussed. She kindly offered, "You could have something else, though. Maybe a bug?"

I doubt she meant the cave cricket.

[Props to this lovely gal for the recipe.]

*a rudimentary understanding of science truly is worse than no understanding at all

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Our salve (salvation?)

I had a headache yesterday from about 5 pm until I went to sleep after 1 am. I couldn't do a thing at work--aside from look at hoping vainly for updates that were far too early to come. That and listen to Yes We Can over and over again. And talk to coworkers about the evening's probable, hopeful outcome.

But here's the thing: I was in a great mood. I was excited until I was tired. For weeks I'd imagined how the evening would play out: with (oh please oh please) a victory giving way to me finally allowing myself to acknowledge the too-good-to-be-true happiness that had been welling up with each promising poll. And imagining that happiness, that this is too good to be true but it is nonetheless. And my shoulders would relax and I would stop holding my breath.

It turns out, though, that watching the win was a slow, hard-earned process. Was Virginia going to disappoint, were the polls wrong? ALL the polls? And so we watched and waited and my shoulders were up by my ears and my head felt fuzzy and pounded. California came not as a surprise but a relief all the same. And a leap toward 270. And then we got it. And Virginia was the one to put us over the top. Our henceforth purple Commonwealth. God bless.

And my head was still fuzzy and instead of the cathartic weight being lifted, pulling the smile from ear to ear, the much anticipated wash of relief didn't come. Another weight, the weight of transformational reality settled around, trying to get into my head, my heart. And as we watched Lewis and Jackson the tears found their way out and the truth sort of got in, but it's still not in, not all the way.

But I don't mind. I look forward to the full realization. Because, guess what, people? This news is good. I kept thinking last night about other galvanizing events, things that brought people out of their homes and caused them to share raw emotion and the list of events was bad, bad, bad. Watching our first African-American US President last night, welcoming our first Black First Family, what crossed my mind is our nation is sharing this historic event. We are participants and witnesses, not victims. Because this: our coming-together was not to share a tragedy. This was not a terrorist attack, this was not a natural disaster that pulled a city from our map, this was not some crazy killer staining Blacksburg and taking all those innocent kids' lives. No. This, this event that had us all tuned in, all watching was happy and positive and good. Truly good.

And maybe realizations like that don't come like simple happiness, a perfunctory drop of the shoulders. They come through a slideshow of what we've seen and what we see may be different. It comes as promise. It comes as a salve.

He did not say, "If you're not with us, you're against us." He said, "I'm your president, too."

And all I kept thinking was it's such a shame this good news isn't good for everyone. I hope and believe that, in time, for most people, it will be. Because he's our president. The whole country's. And we all have a lot of work to do.

Feeling much love, much humility and indeed much gratitude.

Love to all,

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I voted! I voted!

Armed with my (California) driver's license, voter registration form, voter registration card, mail to my current (sister's) address in Virginia from the following: bank, credit card company, health insurance, pay stub from VA employer and retirement account company. I was DETERMINED to get to vote.

Armed with my wad of I-live-and-pay-taxes-in-this-commonwealth evidence, I stepped up to the booth. She was like, "Your voter card alone is sufficient." "Oh, okay, here you go," fumbling to remove the card from its envelope and purse in one hand, wad in the other, with my new voter permit pass in between two fingers I was directed around the check in station into the actual voting room. Nary a line to be found. The beauty of showing up at 9:45.

It was very exciting choosing Obama-Biden, and Warner and Moran. And voting to maintain our parks. And getting the sticker. And the free cup of coffee from Starbucks because of the sticker.

I love that we can choose our leaders. Especially when the leaders I choose become the leaders. Yes We Can!

I'll be doing cheerleading jumps in my office if any of you need me.

Hope you're voting is as easy and fun.


Thursday, October 02, 2008

Please vote

The voter site that always reminds me of those old Madonna PSAs

Obama's Voter Registration Site

Virginia State Board of Elections

NOTE: You CANNOT fully register online in Virginia (I just learned this painfully near the deadline), so if you think you have time, you don't. You have to MAIL in your reg form with proof of residence and they have to receive it (postmark?) by Monday (THIS Monday).

Do it, people.

Now-in-Virginia-Details-to-Come Starpower

Monday, August 25, 2008

Funny girl

Suie's older daughter, the two year old, wanted yellow underwear. It occurred to Suie: Do they make girl's underwear in yellow? Because all I've seen is pink, purple and Dora.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Some people are soooo into themselves

Being a Friday afternoon and just now enjoying delicious leftover fried sampler goodies from IHOP, I find it necessary to let you know about my positive effect on those around me. Not only are they enjoying the new shade o'brown my lips have been sporting, the green and brown shadow combo on my eyelids has been a bit of a hit as well. Add my new silver hoop earrings and I am a vision. A vision, I say.

Going through security this morning (everyone with the most top secret clearances like Secret Agent Starpower here must), I placed a box of my belongings on the belt to go through the x-ray machine, noticed the box tipped over as it went in, and proceeded to catwalk-walk through the metal detector. Alarms did not go off. But the security lady did, "Who puts water in something electric?!" Seeing liquid dripping on my things I conceded, "Sorry, I forgot that was in there. There wasn't much."

I did in fact forget that I had a mug with about .00005 ml of water in it for the jade samplings I have been trying to get to root. Oops. She continued, "WHO PUTS WATER IN SOMETHING ELECTRIC?! SOMEONE PUT WATER IN SOMETHING ELECTRIC. OH MY GOSH, WHAT A MESS..."

I didn't hear the rest. I gathered my belongings and sauntered away, wondering what all the fuss was about. Maybe she's the one with PMS around here.