December 2014

Lets see… it has been a hectic year.

My son graduated Basic Combat Training for the National Guard at Fort Jackson in April; got his American citizenship; went to Fort Lee for his AIT; graduated from that in July. He is now back in Kansas, and planning to get a job close to his girlfriend’s school.

My daughter moved in with me last December; graduated high school in May (she had finished in December); started at Niagara College (Culinary Management) in September; moved in with her boyfriend in October. She is doing well in school, I am very proud of her progress.

My mother got her own place in June; has been volunteering a great deal and seems to be doing very well.

Anthony and I adopted (well, fostering to adopt) another dog, Lisa; our oldest cat, Hiss, passed away in October; I fostered 4 kittens in November, and decided to keep 2 of them (a boy, Goober and a girl, Gabby; siblings, black short hair); moved half way through December and I am getting ready to go on a trip January 2nd.

Oh! Mustn’t forget that I started a new chemotherapy treatment at the end of May, then 5 minutes into my 2nd treatment (June) I went into anaphylactic shock, was unresponsive (code blue) and spent the next two days in ICU. That was interesting! I couldn’t continue with that therapy, which is unfortunate, because the ONE treatment I completed did wonders. Who knows, it may have gotten rid of the cancer if I was able to do the entire schedule of treatment. So the cancer is still in me and we will be discussing the next step in January. This time is has moved to below the diaphragm, which I believe takes it to another level, because it is now in a new part of my body. It has always been in the left axilla (neck and underarm on the left side); and in my lungs. This time is was seen in my pancreas, spleen and possibly liver.

Well, I am still keeping a positive outlook and hoping for the best. Lets look forward to 2015 and see what it will bring.

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Son’s BCT Graduation

I was able to get to my son’s Basic Combat Training Graduation at Fort Jackson, SC, on April 16-17/14.

I left home at 7pm on the 15th, and drove through the night. It was a long drive, but I enjoy driving, so it didn’t bother me too much, until about hour 9… I do not have cruise control which means trying to keep my foot at the right angle to maintain a legal speed. My knee started to hurt pretty bad. I only stopped for gas & pee breaks (which I tried to do when I stopped for gas). I stocked a lunch bag with snacks for the drive, to save myself some money, which meant I did not have to pay the prices of service station snacks.

I arrived in South Carolina behind a Coach Canada bus, that I had been leap frogging the whole way down. It was kind of entertaining. I also saw the same truck from Allentown, PA a few times on my way down. On the way home, I was sort of traveling with 2 SUVs, one from New York (followed right into Buffalo, not sure where they went after I got off) and one from Virginia (also last seen in the Buffalo area).

I arrived at the base a little after 8am on the Wednesday, Family Day. I found Hilton Field easily and wasn’t too far back in the parking lot, I was able to find a seat rather close to the front of the bleachers. Even though I did, I was not able to get any pictures of “quality” because the bleachers were rather far back from the field. Luckily I found some pictures on their facebook page. My son got his American Citizenship during the Family Day ceremonies; he is very proud of this and I am very proud of all his accomplishments.
I got to meet a few of his battle buddies and I took him and one friend to the little “mall” on base for some Taco Bell, which his friend waited for his family to arrive. It was a good afternoon spent with my son and his friend. I left them at the mall for a little bit and went to check into the motel room (which was about a 3 minute drive from base; couldn’t have planned it better if I knew the area)! I freshened up a bit, I had just drove 13 hours and also hadn’t slept since 7:30am the day before… then went back to the boys young men, and his friend’s family was there. I got to briefly meet them, then my son and I spent some time in the car, while he fiddled with his new phone/tablet. We eventually went to a bowling ally on base, where we grabbed a bite to eat and relaxed.

The next day was the graduation, and I was up and left the hotel by 7:10am. Got to Hilton Field by 7:30 and luckily I brought a blanket, it was pretty cold! The graduation ceremony was rather brief, as they do not do each soldier separately. My son said he was watching for me to arrive (I drive a rather bright orange car, it stands out, ha ha), but I was actually there before the soldiers! After the ceremony, people were allowed to cross the field to find their soldier. This proved to be a difficult task, I did not find my son until after his friends had already left, so I was unable to get pictures of him with his friends, in their dress attire.

After the ceremony, I had to sign a paper saying that I would not let him do various things on our trip to his AIT; including drive! This kind of bothered me, because I had hoped he could drive for a bit, so I could rest. But the American government says that their new soldiers are too precious a commodity to allow then the dangerous job of driving.
We went for lunch at a wing place he’d been dying to go to; caught the new Captain America movie, then headed to Fort Lee, Virginia. It was a long drive and my knee started to hurt again, so we had to stop for gas anyway, so we found a hotel for the night and got a good night’s sleep. We were back up and driving by noon, and arrived at the base in enough time to get to the registration building… IF we knew where we were going!
We drove in circles for 2 hours, having gotten directions from 3 different people on base… and finally found the Fort Lee Welcome Center and just got a map! We arrived at registration at the same time the bus arrived from Fort Jackson, so he still got there the same time his battle buddies did. He stood in line for registration for about an hour to an hour and a half, then he had to do check in to his barracks; then I had to go in and sign him out for a weekend pass. We got to spend some more time together, though he did spend most of it on his tablet. I had to laugh, because I was told so many times that the Army would change my son. Nope, same kid.

I took him back to the base the next day earlier than he wanted, because I still had a 10 hour drive ahead of me. With stops, I made it in 12-ish hours. There was one area that the traffic was barely moving, it was driving me insane! So I got off the highway, and the traffic “in town” was worse! crazy people, ha ha. I had to get gas anyway, so I did that and got back on my way. I was close to the home of an online friend at that point and if I has known, I would have tried to get a hold of her. Oh well, I may go down to visit son again, and I can plan better and try to get in some visits with my ravelry friends.

It was a lot of driving over those 5 days, but I enjoyed myself and I got to spend time with my son. I don’t think it could have been a smoother trip. I look forward to the next time I see him.

Jairen in uniform

Graduations on the Horizon

I have two wonderful children, who since 2006 lived in Kansas with their father. He moved there for work.
My son moved back in with me shortly after turning 18; returning to Kansas to join the National Guard.
My daughter is almost 18 and is now living with me. 

They both have graduation ceremonies this year. One in April (in South Carolina) the other early May (in Kansas).
To get to South Carolina for my son’s graduation from Basic Combat Training, it will be a 13 hour drive (each way). The trip to Kansas is a 20 hour drive (each way). These trips will require car rental, gas and motel stays. Driving is the more economical choice as I am not the only one traveling and the healthier choice, due to my lowered immune system from the cancer I live with.

I am unable to do this on my own, and therefore am hosting an indiegogo fund raising event.

I am asking that even if you are unable to donate, please share this information with anyone and everyone, because someone may be able to help. All help is appreciated and if I happen to raise more money than I need, I will be donating to the local food bank to help other children reach their potential.

family

Been a while…

Wow, almost a year since I last posted. It has been an eventful year. What year isn’t eventful? Even if it is only a few events in your year, it can still be considered eventful.

I was just thinking about stuff … Life, my past, my children, my present, my future. I have had some crap times in my life (as we all have, to varying degrees); I have done and said things that I likely should not have; I have made so many decisions (again, as we all have). Yet, considering where I am now in my life and thinking about where I could be… I have no regrets.

Sure, there are things I would love to change, things I wish didn’t happen or had happened differently, but I am a happy person. In my happiness, I realize that if I could change things I have done/said or things were different in any way it is very likely that I would not have the happiness that I am lucky enough to now have.

A little while back, I was at a store, looking to ask a question about a product sale. I was standing by the customer service desk, but not in line. I kind of wasn’t sure if I should be asking my question there or elsewhere. Two other people came up and got in line, before I had made a decision as to where I should be. The gentleman who was now at the front of the line, looked at me, still standing “by the line” and said that I had been there before him and that I should get inline in front of him. I told him I wasn’t in a rush and it was no big deal. He insisted, I thanked him and stepped in line. He commented that if it was him, he would likely be upset/mad if people did it to him. So I said that it would not be worth my anger, that it was such a trivial thing, to get in line before other people… He seemed in awe when I said that, so I continued, saying that I had learned in my life that I would rather be happy, so I don’t let such things bother me anymore. (I can admit that on a bad day, no one wants to step in my way in line or anywhere else, but for the most part, I can let it slide). He asked how I could have come to this realization at my age… saying he was in his 50s and he has not yet gotten there.
In our brief conversation, I learned that his wife has dementia, which is understandably difficult on him. He said that he spends a little time in a local park before going to work and before heading home each day, that is his quiet time and it allows him a little coping skill. He said he hadn’t gotten to the park that day, and found himself being rather short tempered compared to the days he stops at the park.

As I said, he seemed to be in awe of the way I decided to be stress-free, at my age. I can not remember exactly when I decided to not let things bother me as much as some people do. But I do know that as the years pass, it becomes easier and easier. I also become more thankful for this ability.

I think that we all have this ability, somewhere in ourselves… some find it, some do not. For some, maybe it got broken or lost somewhere or taken from us. I understand stress, anxiety, depression. Been there. I have suffered (and still do) from anxiety & depression and stress is just a part of life. The difference, I think, if how we learn to cope. Sadly, some people are not able to learn how to cope… by no fault of their own! I am not saying that I think some people just don’t want to learn or anything… I know that for some people, anxiety and depression are all consuming. I just thank whoever/whatever that I have been able to learn from my own anxiety/depression.
I can only hope that I can help those around me, even if only for a short time or only a small degree.

I don’t know how to help everyone. I don’t know how to explain how things work for me. I just know that I am happy and I wish the same for everyone around me.

Lazy Unemployed Drain on Society? I think not!

There are a large number of unemployed people who qualify as a drain on society. There are also a large number of aging unemployed who are unlikely to be hired anywhere, because of their age and inexperience with today’s technology. In my opinion, they are really at no fault for not being able to gain employment.

I have been off work since November 2006, due to my cancer. Having been expecting to be off work for 6 – 9 months, this 5 year-bit is both annoying and shocking. I have gotten bored and a little stir-crazy lately.

I started babysitting the kids my daughter babysat in the summer, when their mom went back to work. Most recently, I have started a paper route. I am also building an apartment for my mom.
I have a neighbor who has asked me to paint their living room. I am trying to clean up the outside of the house I live in (the yard). I have also started some seeds inside, so will (hopefully) have a garden this summer, filled with lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, turnips, red peppers, pumpkins and broccoli.

I am still doing my crocheting, when I haven’t got the physical energy to do the other things, or when I’m in too much pain.
My disability has to do with my immune system. Since I work in retail, and when people are home sick from work, they seem to enjoy shopping… meaning they are coughing and sneezing all over my work place… meaning I in turn need to take time off work because I am sick… so much so that it is not worth being back at work.
Due to my various treatments, I now have other physical issue that would now make working difficult and/or painful — carpal tunnel, arthritis, bursitis, nerve damage (those are the diagnosed illnesses; there are others that are yet undiagnosed).

Yes. I am unemployed. I am on a disability pension. But I am not lazy, I am as productive as I can be, when I have the energy.

Looking Back @ 2011

OK, last year wasn’t a bad year, but it certainly had some bumps in the road.

Highlights: Chemotherapy. Daughter’s summer visit. Son’s high school grad. Road trip to Kansas. 2 week long hospital stays. Move across the street. Start babysitting job. Allergic reactions to no-idea-what.

So, now I will elaborate. From March to August I was on the COPP regimen. I had to postpone this treatment for a week at the beginning, because I helped my mother move my grandmother from Dundas, Ontario to London, Ontario (she’s got 6 kids and my mother and I were the only ones doing anything). Throughout this treatment, I had 2 reactions of my face swelling and 2 or 3 times broke out in hives. One time the hives lasted 3 days, and I was covered head to foot! It was not determined if these reactions were due to the treatment or something else. Though I will say I never had these types of reactions before this treatment or since finishing it.
My son graduated high school in May, the BF and I drove down to Kansas to be in attendance. I thought the road trip was fine. I enjoyed myself, but the BF seems to stress over things he doesn’t need to stress over. My daughter came back with us, for her summer visit.
I ended up in the hospital for the 1st week of June, right at the beginning of my daughter’s visit. I had some sort of infection, but they couldn’t find it.
I was also hospitalized the 1st week of September for a week. I went into Urgent care with a fever of 105F and they decided I could stay.
I got tired of arguing with previous landlord about the mold on the windows, so I moved. I was lucky enough to find an apartment across the street, with a different landlord. This one is willing to fix things in this place. It is an old house, I am in the upper unit. I have three bedrooms, one of which is our craft/art room.
Daughter had gotten a babysitting job while she was here for the summer, after she left, I let them know I was available, if they still needed someone. After a while I got a text asking if I could babysit while they went shopping in the US (its great being so close to the border). After that, they asked if I was willing to babysit during the day, since the mom was going back to work, after the maternity leave. So, I am now babysitting two great kids from 1-4 days a week.
And to end the year off, I get a call from my mother just before Christmas about my grandmother’s husband being more than rude to her (my mom), telling her that she does nothing for my grandmother, telling her she “steals” grandma’s money, that he could do a better job than my mom is doing. So my mom said “do it”. He took her on a road trip 2 hours away from home without taking her medications, without taking her adult diapers, without knowing her daily routine! He took her out a few more times the same way. He would also take her out without her walker, which she NEEDS! Then, he up and leaves (he lives in Florida, not with his wife!), leaving my mom to get grandma’s sugars back under control (she is diabetic) and such. When he leaves, he takes the bank card to my grandmother’s American bank account, the account that he is supposed to be depositing money monthly and where she also gets a pension deposited. He took it for his own personal use. So, at the end of all this, my grandmother is now considered a “crisis case” and has been fast tracked to get admission to a nursing home AND my mother is coming to stay with me, until the basement apartment in this building is completed for her.

New Year’s Eve was spent lounging in bed with my sweet BF, watching movies. We were sleeping shortly after the new year came in… we’re old ya know, ha ha.

We are making plans to get healthier (slowly) this year, as well as save money in every way we can, to put money away for a trip for the two of us to a WARM destination for February 2013 (our anniversary), hoping for Hawaii.

URGENT HELP NEEDED, from my friends

Update: Wednesday, August 10, 2011 – 11:05 AM
I have just made full payment to son’s tuition account.  Thanks to two friends who were so very kind and generous and myself, deciding groceries can wait; his tuition is paid in full.
I am also going to start sending him (fingers crossed that I can afford to do this) $50 a month, to cover a small amount of the costs of him living in his friend’s dad’s house. I will be doing this along with paying back the two generous people who came forward quickly to help in this situation. I can not thank them enough.

Θ∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞Θ∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞Θ

I hate to do this, but my son just informed me (Monday evening) that he needs $602.50 by this Friday for his college tuition or he can’t go.

He lives in Kansas; his father moved there for work, and has recently been kicked out by his father. He has spoken to his father about this, and has told me that his father doesn’t seem to care that this money is due Friday or he can not attend school.

I have no problem with paying for his schooling — IF I have the money! Unfortunately, I have a whole $140 of spending money for the rest of this month…. notice it is only the 8th! I will be sending him $100 of that money.

I am asking for assistance from my overly generous online friends. I am not asking for a handout, that is not me. I am asking for a loan of any amount you can afford. I will pay you all back! My plan is to pay back in the order of the offers I receive. I will even post a username/first name/number with the amount, date, time on my blog, to keep track of this, also to show that I am paying people back and the order they can expect their money back in.

I know this is a tremendous request, but I really can not think of how else to raise this money in 3 days!

I thank everyone who even takes the time to read this. I appreciate all thoughts and prayers as well.

Leave a comment or email me at purplej3nn <at> live <dot>com (or if you know me personally, call me)

I’m not a Contractor

As I have previously stated, I am not a contractor or anything like that. But I do know a few things about a house, that I thought were general knowledge… or that seem to be general knowledge, to me.
For example:

  • there should not be drafts around windows
  • there should not be condensation on/between windows
  • there should not be mold on windows
  • there should not be cigarette smoke seepage from the apartment below me
  • I should be able to open my windows for fresh air, with usable screens (not allowing bugs, birds, squirrels into my apartment)
  • floors should be FLAT
  • doors should open/close
  • windows should open/close
  • window sills are not homes for birds/squirrels
  • flushing a toilet should remove waste from it

These are only a few examples of things that are issues in my apartment, that I am quite sure should not be. I do know more things about houses, buildings, etc. Some of these things I learned from family members who are contractors, some I learned from reading, some I learned from home improvement shows. I have interest in these things, and I think most people should have a general knowledge of some of these things, like how to remove the cap at the bottom of the sink trap/drain, so they can retrieve a lost ring or something like that.

Since I am low income, I realize I can not afford to live in a brand new house (nor would I want to), but I think it is reasonable to want to live in a home that is healthy to be in, one that does not depress me or frustrate me. Being depressed and frustrated does not lend well to being healthy. I have various health issues that are being compounded by the world around me.

Ideally, I would just win a lottery, so that I can buy a house where I can get things fixed/done the way they should be, so that if I have to deal with these problems, I know it is my own doing, that I do not have to wait on someone else (who is not capable) to fix things.

I am making a plea to both Bryan Baeumler and Mike Holmes, I know you are both generous, caring individuals. I am in need! In need of a home that is not compounding my health issues. I am willing to work (when able), I am willing to do fund raising, I am willing to EARN my home. The problem I currently have is that at the rate I am going now, I will never be able to buy my own home. I do not ‘qualify’ for so many programs because even though I am low income, I do bring in more than most (for a single person), but I do have two kids that I have to have room for, when they visit.
I am willing to have a home where it will be conducive to helping others. I like being able to help others, I want to be able to help others who deserve/need help.

PAIN

As most know, I am a cancer patient. This brings with it various other ailments. But what some don’t know is that I also have pain in my arms (not exactly sure what from, *specialist* appointment is in November) that is sometimes just in my arms, sometimes goes down to my hands and into my hands.  When its really special, the pain will travel from shoulders/back (sometimes even neck) down my arm, through the elbow (where it is usually the worst) down the lower arm (where it feels like my arm has been smashed in a car door) into my hands and even my fingers!

I also suffer from migraine headaches, but I am so used to them, I can often ignore them. When I get a migraine I will have a ‘minor’ headache for 3-4 days, Tylenol and such won’t help it, then it will *blossom* into the migraine.

From my chemotherapy I get random stabbing pains in my arms, legs, sides. Since my first lung surgery I will get an odd pain, that to me feels like a serrated knife running along my one rib, like someone is trying to remove it. that pain is random, lasting only seconds, but can come every few minutes, to every few hours; continuously for hours, all day or once every few months!

Right now, I have the arm/shoulder/hand pain on the left the arm/hand pain on the right, a migraine, my toes hurt for some reason, almost every muscle in my body aches, I also have hot flashes. Oh, and to top it off, I am having dizzy spells.

I have no pain medications right now, don’t know what to do about the dizzy spells, not much can be done about the hot flashes … I just want to dig a hole and crawl into it. I want to hide from the world and tell everyone to leave me alone.

Well, that was my rant. I am going to go to bed now… yes, it is only 9:15 am, and I only got out of bed at 8 am, but what else can I do, when I am in pain like this?

No Dogs Allowed

I walk my dog along a stretch of grass that borders a local factory. There are signs there that say “No Dogs Allowed”.
Similar to this sign:

I do not quite understand this. I understand that they don’t want dog poop on their property, I wouldn’t either. But I do clean up after my dog, so I think the sign should be more like one of these:
   

THESE make sense to me.

While out this morning, I had a security truck pull up honking his horn. This Security Officer does not bother to get out of his air conditioned  truck, he merely points at the sign that I am walking by. So I point to the leash I have in hand (the dog is very obediently walking right at my side, on the edge of their grass, so that he is not walking on the road). He again points to the sign, so I pull out my poop sacs. He again points to the sign, so I just shrug. I am thinking “get your ass out and talk to me”. So he proceeds to shrug and drive off. SO, obviously, he really wasn’t too concerned with my dog on the grass.

I could understand if I was walking away from my dog’s steaming pile of feces OR if my dog was digging their grass OR my dog was in someway damaging their property, but he was just WALKING on the grass. He hadn’t even peed on a pole at this point! I often pull my dog away from the piles of dog feces left by other dog owners, along this patch of grass (that stretches 3 blocks). It  really is an ideal space to walk dogs, but I beg of all other dog owners: BE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR DOG! I am as responsible as I can be,I know I am not perfect. But I clean up after my dog as often as possible (there are times, when he is not feeling well, when I am not able to clean up after him),I stop him from peeing on people’s flowers, I only allow him to pee on poles, trees and fences.

I get so fed up with people telling me that MY dog is misbehaving, when their dog is the one jumping on mine and mine is merely defending himself, or reacting in kind. I have a well behaved dog. He can walk off leash, next to me, only leaving my side to “do his business” and occasionally to check out another dog, an interesting smell or a child that he wants to play with. I have a large dog. This does not mean that he is uncontrollable, this does not mean he is viscous, this does not mean that your small dog is a better behaved creature!

Yesterday, I was walking my dog through the local carnival, when a police officer approached me, to let me know that no dogs were allowed. He was so nice about it. He let me know that he didn’t agree with the rule, but that he was required to “let me know”. I will not say what his exact word were, but needless to say, he thought the rule was ‘garbage’. There were other dogs there, and I am sure he told their owners as well. As he was telling me this, a young lady approached me to ask if she could take a picture of my dog. I am not sure why, but he’s a ham, so he gladly sat for his picture to be taken. While walking around, to get where I was allowed to have him (since I was actually trying to get past the street carnival to the bank on the other side), I had SO many people with small children approach me, asking if they could pet my DOBERMAN! I was so proud of Jake and his laid back demeanor, he was totally loving the attention and was a model dog at this event.
There were other dogs –large and small– that I saw who were pulling and jumping, and here is my “unruly, scary Doberman” strolling at my side with a goofy, panting grin on his face, loving the sun and the activity around him.

There are people in the neighborhood, who are not really dog people, who have gotten to know Jake, who adore him. They marvel at how well behaved he is, how patient he is (I can stop to talk to anyone, and if he gets bored with sniffing while waiting, he’ll lay down until I am ready to continue our walk), and how friendly he is.

I love my big goof ball… wouldn’t trade him for anything. I will continue to remind myself that he is a good boy, he is a reliable friend and that he is NOT what others seem to think he is.