Monday, April 11, 2011

Good news, sad news, good news, sad news

It's been a good news, sad news kind of day.

The first good news: I am coming up on my 5-year anniversary of my breast cancer diagnosis. Since we are leaving for Vietnam, I decided it might be a good idea for me to have an appointment with all my providers just to get clear on what I should/could be doing to maximize my chances of staying NED (no evidence of disease). So, the doc I saw in my Surgical Oncologist office tells me, "You have done everything you can possibly do". I think she meant it in a good news kind of way.  She went on to say that, according to the most recent research, I should take 81mg of baby aspirin per day and fit more yoga into my schedule.

The first sad news: I was planning to meet my friend, Lisa, for lunch after my appointment. Of course, I forgot to bring her cell phone number with me and I wasn't able to reach her. I thought that was the sad news. But then she called to tell me that her friend's daughter died last night. I'm pretty sure Jane was seven at the time of her death. It's just plain not right. My heart goes out to Jane's family and all of her friends and family.

The second good news in-that-weird-kind-of-it-could-be-worse-news way: My friend, who has been in treatment for breast cancer off and on (but mostly on) for the last six years, was in Seattle for scans today. The purpose was to discover how her current chemo regime is managing her metastatic cancer. Stable! This is the second set of scans that have been stable. Of course, this means stay-the-course. Not, unfortunately, "Hey - have a chemo break!"

The second sad news, which is actually also good news (and in NO WAY compares with the news about Jane), is that we took our goats to their new home tonight. This is sad news for me. I loved having the goats and I have been looking forward to Mei-Mei's impending delivery (May 6th due date) and my first goat birth. And, the goats are going to such a good home. They have loads of fresh forage and tons of space at their new place. They join Oreo and Ginger in their new home at the Morgan's. There was a little crying when we left (mostly me and Mei-Mei), but it all went really smooth, considering.

All this serves to remind me that life goes on. While we are in Vietnam, people we know and love will get sick and recover. Some may not recover. Some will fall in love, have babies, move, find new homes, have significant birthdays. And we won't be here for any of it. The weight of what we are undertaking is felt today.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Love the one you're with

In preparation for our first garage sale (this weekend, remember!), we are talking and thinking a lot about "stuff" at our house. An American family of four accumulates quite a bit of stuff. And, we really don't get to take it all with us.

Some of it is easy - we simply won't need winter things where we are going. And, for the kids, they won't fit into anything we have now in two years, so storing it isn't a question. I have come to really appreciate these simple decisions. Some of it is more complicated. How many stuffed animals a person needs is answered quite differently depending on if you are the momma or the child. Questions of mothering ethics abound. A few months into the school year, we had head lice (arrrgh - a story for another time). One of the recommended "treatments" is to put all soft furnishings (stuffed animals, for example) into airtight plastic bags. The kids each have a favorite animal they sleep with so we washed those in the really, really, really hot water and bagged up the rest. The bags went into the basement and the animals have now enjoyed a rather extended stay in basement quarantine. Of course what I want to do, is sneak them all out of the house. But is this the right thing to do? In the middle of this quandry, I overhear Elia telling her favored stuffy that soon she won't have to sleep all by herself because all her stuffy friends will soon be released. Hmmm.

We are talking a lot at our house about "things we really, really, really love". That is the criteria that we are trying to communicate. Some things we really love, but we aren't going to take them with us - we have untold number of special sticks, rocks, and other items from nature that we all collect on our adventures. They are in the car, they are in our house, they are in our garden, they are in our rooms, they are everywhere. Truly. By sheer quantity, it is apparent that we really love these things. Either that or we're all a little obsessive/compulsive and will soon qualify for the hoarder television show that a friend recently told me about. I have no doubt that our apartment in Vietnam will quickly collect nature objects from our new adventures. But what about the ones we have now? I am thinking one major installation in the garden somewhere. Andy Goldsworthy ( will be our inspiration. It's a nice idea. If the reality is not a last minute dump in the woods, I'll post a picture.

Last week, I had the kids go through their drawers. How many shirts does a kid need? Unless it can be worn for school, the kids were asked to narrow down their clothing to their five favorite. Five favorite short sleeve shirts, five favorite shorts, etc. It was pretty painless. But then I look at my closet and Andrew's closet. There certainly are more than five things there. Is it fair to ask the kids to winnow if we are not? They will have school uniforms and, therefore, will not need as many clothes, is the answer I am already formulating to the question which will certainly be asked.

We are all having to look at stuff and our relationship to it. I imagine this to be a conversation that will continue throughout these next couple of years.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Luggage, Part 2

The luggage is in. Pretty quick shipping from LL Bean. And, free shipping right now. Gotta love that. So, this is what we get to take. Look at all that room! It almost feels like too much - it is taking up our whole living room after all. The problem I can see with these duffles is the seeming lack of structure. We do have some small art pieces that we want to take and it is hard to imagine that they won't slip right out and get smashed. I am thinking bubble wrap, packing tape, wrapping inside a towel or sheet or other piece of clothing, and then more tape. The bags also feel super thin. It's a little hard to imagine that we will arrive with everything intact after three changes. Images of my underwear tumbling around the tarmac in Seoul flash through my head.

Now that the bags are here, I am ever more antsy to clear house. Today I packed two boxes for storage. I know, I know, if I can pack it away now, do I really need it at all? I continue to sort and price items for the first garage sale. Did I mention?! Join us on Asher's and my birthday for Moving Sale #1! Saturday, April 16 and Sunday, April 17, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm. Help us move some stuff out! You know you want something....

And, oh yeah! The bags did come from Vietnam. I tried to have a laugh about it with the local postal worker, but I don't think she was quite with me.