Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Remember, Bald is Beautiful!

OK, everyone. Now, I try not to come around too often with my grubby little hand out asking for money, but brace yourself because this is one of those times. No pressure, no obligation, but I would like to tell you about an organization that I think is great.

Some of you who have been reading about Finn's journey for awhile, which is probably most of you here because I don't know who else would be reading this site, will recall that last year, Eamonn shaved his head for an organization called St. Baldricks.

March 17, 2007: Finn, Eamonn and Declan post shave.

Well, this year I volunteered to be on the organizing committee and Eamonn is once again shaving his head for donations. There is talk that Declan also may shave his head, but don't bet the farm on that one.

Anyway, I'm a big fan of St. Baldricks. This will be the third year here in Eagle and the goal this year is $35,000, which is a lot for a small-ish town like ours. It will be a huge achievement if we make it!

St. Baldrick's began as a casual conversation between friends and is now the world's--THE WORLD'S!--biggest volunteer-driven fundraising program for childhood cancer. In eight years, events have taken place in 18 countries and 46 US states, raising over $34 million, and shaving more than 46,000 heads. Thousands of volunteers shave their heads in solidarity of children with cancer, while requesting donations of support from friends and family.

The money goes to hospitals for pediatric cancer research. Nationwide Children's Hospital, where Finn was treated in Columbus, and Denver Children's are both recipients of St. Baldrick's money. They also award research fellowships, which I didn't know until a few days ago. Anyway, it's pretty cool to think that the very programs where Finn was being treated, and was a part of a study, receive the funds we're working to raise.

Last year we found out about the event just days before and Eamonn figured he's have time to raise only $100 or so. Instead, thanks to our faithful CaringBridge readers, he raised $1,115 in just two days! That was crazy and overwhelming. So this year we're shooting a little higher--$1,000.

If you're so inclined to sponsor this year, you can do so directly from Eamonn's St. Baldrick's page. Ooooo, hope that link works.

In other St. Baldricks news, my role on the committee is to do promotion. Nothing like going out and grandstanding about myself. . .I mean Finn. So today the local newspaper was here to talk about the fundraiser and Finn's journey so far. I'll post links to the story when it runs, which may possibly be next week. A photographer is coming on Sunday. Excellent. I plan to lose 20 pounds before then so I don't look fat on camera.

Friday, February 22, 2008

One Day I'll Learn

You know all those annoying little toys that come in kids' meals, goodie bags or from machines at arcades? All that cheap, horrible stuff? Well, it piles up after awhile, you know? And what am I supposed to do? Just let all that crap accumulate until we're overcome by neopets, monster trucks, Chicken Little figurines and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? I tell you, I can't take it.

So every few months or so, when the boys are at school, I make a sweep through their rooms and through the various and sundry boxes of junk that are around and get rid of whatever seems to me that they haven't played with in awhile.

And no matter how long a toy has sat idle, unloved, and un-played-with in a drawer, it never fails that right after I throw something away, and I mean right after, someone goes looking for it and all hell breaks loose because, of course, they can't find it.

Case in point: Today was trash day. I did the Annoying Unused Toy Sweep on Wednesday and everything went out in the trash today. At 3:30pm, I picked up Finn and his friend, Jack, from school. Jack was coming over to play. As they ran to the car, I could see something green cluctched in Jack's little paw.

Me: "Um, what have you got there, Jack?"

Jack: "It's an Inja Turtle!"

Finn: "Yeah, and we're going to play Inja Turtles this afternoon!"

Much excitement and discussion on the way home about how Finn would go up to his room, get his Inja Turtle, which came in a kids meal about a year ago, and they would play.

Oh dear Lord. Finn's Inja Turtle went out in the trash this morning.

We got home and Finn ran straight up the stairs yelling, "I'm going to get my Inja Turtle!"

He hadn't touched that freaking thing for months on end and then the day, THE DAY!, I throw it away, he's looking for it? What are the odds here?

Of course, he couldn't find the Inja because it's on its way to the landfill in Wolcott. Fortunately, I was able to turn them into "real" Inja Turtles by tying bandanas around their heads, and I never had to confess my sins of illegal Inja dumping. But that was a close call.

Which reminds me of other similar incidents that are much more public and embarassing. It usually involves being at a restaurant and one of two things happening:

1. Your child gets up from his chair briefly and in a very loud voice says: "Mommy, do NOT eat my food while I'm gone!"
2. Your child gets up from his chair insisting he is finished. You eyeball the leftover cheeseburger and fries, or nuggets and fries. Should you or shouldn't you? Of course you shouldn't, but you do. Then, just seconds after that last cold fry has disappeared down your gullet, your child reappears: "Where's my lunch?" And despite your protestations that your child insisted he was done so you ate the leftovers, you still feel like a heel. Especially when people at surrounding tables hear. So sometimes you go back and buy a second lunch. And eat the rest of it, too, because they weren't really that hungry to begin with.

A totally unrelated funny comment:

Finn: "What's a turtle dove?"

Me: "A bird."

Finn: "No. It's a bird with a shell."

Me: "Of course. How could I be so silly?"

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

20,000 Questions

Actual questions Finn asked me in the span of time it took to drive from our house to gymnastics--about a 10 minute drive. I'm not posting any of my answers because I rarely get to answer before he asks the next question, making it a moot point.

  1. Why is the sky blue?
  2. What are clouds made of?
  3. Can I sit on a cloud?
  4. Who owns those horses?
  5. Why is the road muddy?
  6. How do you spell gymnastics?
  7. Why am I five?
  8. How many years 'til my birthday?
  9. Can I have a Hot Wheels cake?
  10. Are we going to Gypsum?
  11. What's that smoke from?
  12. What do they make at that factory?
  13. When will we ride on an airplane again?
  14. How come Dean and Michaela live in England?
  15. Can we go to Costco and eat samples?
  16. Why do I have to wear glasses?
  17. Will people make fun of me?
  18. What happens if we're late to pick up Declan?
  19. Can we go to the library?
  20. Why do we have to go to the post office?
  21. Why did that snow fall off our car?
  22. Why did you buy me trains?
  23. Why wasn't I at your wedding?
  24. Was Declan at your wedding?
  25. How old were you when I was born?
  26. How old were you when Declan was born?
  27. How old was Daddy when I was born?
  28. How old was Daddy when Declan was born?
  29. Will my Webkinz be angels in heaven?
  30. Will Kirby be in heaven when I get there?
  31. Why do I have to get old?
  32. Why did you sign me up for gymnastics?
  33. Why do we have to wear clothes?
  34. Why do I have to wear a coat?
  35. Why is the snow melting?
  36. Can I watch TV when I get home?
  37. Can we play trains?
  38. What happened to pa? (his word for his old pacifier)
  39. Who has pa?
  40. Why did I trade pa for trains?
  41. Can I eat candy when I get home?
  42. Why did I get candy for Valentine's Day?
  43. When can I drive a car?
  44. Do I have to go to college?
  45. Why do I have to go to school every day next year?
  46. Why does Declan have to go to school every day?
  47. Are we late?
  48. Do we have to drop off the milk?
  49. Why did you get me a Webkinz for Valentine's Day?
  50. Why did you choose the bulldog?
  51. Can I take my Webkinz to school for sharing?
  52. Are we the last people here?

I've forgotten what the rest were. I think I had an aneurysm halfway to our destination. I'm not sure who drove us home.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

I Wish I Could Call in Sick

If it wouldn't expose me as a sniveling whiner, I'd call my mother and ask her to call the companies I work for and tell them I'm too tired to work tonight. And then she'd also need to call Declan's teacher and tell her I'm too tired to ice 50-odd heart-shaped cookies for the Valentine's Party tomorrow. I'm also too tired to go to the Valentine's party tomorrow. But I'm the mother coordinating the party, so I guess I should be there.

Why? Why? Why am I so tired? Because I spent last night in a hotel with Finn Rooney who persisted in bouncing off the walls until nearly 10 p.m. making it difficult for me to do my client work until after he finally fell asleep. Then he proceeded to snore, snort, flail and generally thrash about in his bed for most of the night so that when I did finally get to go to bed, I woke up every 3.2 minutes or so.

We went to Denver on Tuesday for Finn's bloodwork and IViG. It was cloudly in Eagle, but dry. By the time we made it to Vail, we were in a full-on snowstorm that lasted until Georgetown, which is typical. As we crested the last of the foothills of the Front Range and dropped down into Denver, Finn looked around and said, "Why is it spring here?" And it did look really funny to me, too, and it seemed bizarre to think that we got in the car and there were several feet of snow at our house and then we were getting out of the car and didn't even need coats. It was like a weather time warp or something.

Finn's counts are good: ANC = 2700. I can't remember if I wrote about this before, but we had his eyes checked in November because his chemo nurse felt like he was squinting. So I took him to WalMart and the doctor (but now I wonder, how qualified was this guy???) said he was fine. But Finn's squinting continued and his teacher even commented on it. So yesterday the oncologist checked Finn's eyes and felt he saw something that wasn't quite right. We were able to squeeze into an appointment at a pediatric eye place (I'm sure "eye place" is the technical term they prefer to be referred to as, don't you?).

Lo and behold, Finn does indeed have a problem with his eyes--astigmatism. The doctor said he felt this is something Finn would have had regardless and is probably unrelated to the chemo. Good--something I can finally not blame on cancer. I'm sure cancer is relieved.

So The Mighty Finn will be getting glasses. Depending on the moment, he is either happy or unhappy about this. Tomorrow, depending on the snowstorm that is supposed to come through here tonight, we'll go to Glenwood and pick out some glasses. I can't even picture Finn with glasses! He's very worried people with make fun of him, like Arthur's friends did in "Arthur's Eyes." Why, oh why did I show him that video yesterday at the clinic? Now he's all paranoid. I'd better to hide the episode of Little House on the Prairie where Mary gets her glasses and all the kids make fun of her. . .that is until she realizes Miss Beadle also wears glasses. I don't understand what difference it really makes because was Miss Beadle really that cool? I guess to Mary she was. And I definitely don't Finn to see the LHP episode where Mary's glasses start a prairie fire! He'll be out on the sidewalk assassinating ants with his glasses all summer long.

At any rate, after both clinic and eye appointments were finished, we would have been driving home from Denver in the dark, which just isn't my bag, baby. I hate to sound like a big wuss, but driving around in the wilderness where big things like deer, elk and bighorn sheep leap off cliffs at you and you wipe out trying to swerve on snow covered roads, well, it's just not my thing.

I talked to a very unhelpful young man at the American Cancer Society who claimed I had never left him a message on his voicemail and that's why I didn't have a hotel room, and I had to fill out a new release form (which I had never filled out to begin with) before he could make any phone calls to any hotels, yadda, yadda, yadda. . .I actually had to cut him off in the end and hang up on him. I know that sounds mean because the ACS has been very helpful in the past, but this guy was decidedly unhelpful and I was out of time to sit there and listen to him blather on.

I ended up making my own reservation and we stayed at a very nice Hampton Inn and Suites. When we got there, it was like the country cousins arriving in the big city. Finn walked in and was saying, "Whoa! Wow! Look at that!" And on and on. You'd think this child had never stayed in a hotel before let alone traveled internationally on multiple occasions. He ate dinner at the desk in the room, ate popcorn in bed and watched movies on the portable DVD player while I worked, and ate a gourmet breakfast of Sugar Corn Pops and a biscuit. He was so overwhelmed by his journey that he didn't know what to do with himself. What a letdown he'll face when he wakes up tomorrow back in his own bed.

Which actually sounds really good to me because the 50-odd heart-shaped cookies are still there waiting for me. Mom?

Friday, February 8, 2008

One for the Record Books

Now, I know we live in Colorado and everything, and that snow is a big, big, really big part of what goes on out here. If people aren't skiing or snowboarding or snowshoeing or snow mobiling or taking part is some other kind of winter sport, they're talking about it, discussing it, analyzing it, etc., ad nauseum.

But this year the Vail Valley is having record-setting snowfall, even here in our little banana belt of Eagle many feet of snow have fallen. Fortunately, because we live in a planned unit development, very little snow has been shoveled by us. Last year, on Finn's site, I printed the Snow Shoveler's Lament, which is a hilarious take on shoveling snow in snowy climates. I printed it tongue in cheek. This year I could print it for real.

Anyway, thought you might like to see some pictures of exactly how much snow we do have:

First, the garage roof. This is the east side of the roof, which has a lot less snow than the west side of the roof, but I couldn't be bothered to go outside and take a picture as I am still in my pajamas. Seeing people on roofs shoveling snow is a major occurence. Eamonn explained to me that building codes here require calculations for "snow load." I hope our builder did his calculations correctly.

Next is Declan in our backyard. These backyard pictures were actually taken last week. . .before several additional storms came through.

This is Finn when we went sledding over at the school. The school kids had made a giant snow ball, which is now an ice ball, and partially hollowed it out. Finn thought it would make a great seat.

In other excitement this week, Eamonn's cousin, Eamon, who is a pilot for Net Jets, flew into Eagle on Tuesday and Finn and I got to go to the private part of the airport for the rich and famous and see Eamon's plane.

Finn ate his lunch in luxury and then proceeded to tell Declan all about it later, making him exceedingly jealous on purpose. Ah, siblings.

And now, I must run. Even though I had planned to go skiing by myelf today, which is always preferable because of the way I crash around on the slopes, I have now been convinced to take Declan and one of his friends with me, both of whom, I might add, are far better skiiers than I. I hope I live to tell the tale.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

All About Me

It occurred to me that even though I've been writing on Finn's page for nearly four years, you might not know a lot about me. And who doesn't want to know about me? Ahem. I'm sure that there are a few things you've been able to deduce over time. That I'm a slightly chubby, neurotic, germaphobe mother of two who likes to put off until tomorrow what she should be doing today, likes to eat popcorn then exercise fanatically and then weigh herself and wonder why she hasn't lost anything. Things like that.

So here's a little bit more about me. Because I'm sure you won't have any inner peace until you know these details about me. Feel free to post your own "about me" in the guestbook! I don't want to hog the limelight.

I am infamous for:
Driving off with things on the roof of the car. Cordless phones, cell phones, sippy cups, cups from fast food restaurants, medicine cups. I also forget to close the hatchback on the car sometimes—I figure it out when I look in the rearview mirror and marvel at how clean the glass suddenly is.

My favorite color is:

Favorite season:
Winter—which makes no sense because I’m always cold.

If they made a movie about my life _______________________ would play in the starring role.
Meg Ryan. Or maybe Jody Foster if she permed her hair. I used to get comments that I looked like Meg Ryan. That was when I was younger. And weighed less.

My favorite food is:
Popcorn. King crab legs. Chicken and noodles.

My favorite country I’ve traveled to is:
England. Followed closely by everywhere else I’ve ever been.

In my spare time I like to:
Travel. Read. Research things on the Internet—like where I want to travel. I might go the distance and put “ski” on this list now, but that makes me sound kind of athletic. Which I’m not.

My favorite kids’ show is:
Scooby Doo. I find myself watching it even when there aren’t any kids around. . .I also like Max and Ruby.

My all-time favorite musical group is:
Depeche Mode

It is disturbing to me:
That I know all of the lyrics to the High School Musical 2 soundtrack, but I have no idea of the policies of the various presidential hopefuls.

My favorite smell is:
Coffee shops. Woodburning fires (in the fireplace, not in the hills near our house like a forest fire) on a cold fall day.

When I smell ______________________ it reminds me of_________________________.
Camay soap. . .my Grandma.

I always forget to:
Clean the boys’ ears.

If someone looked under my bed, they would find:
A pile of books, a box of videotapes (BBC America mystery shows for heavens sake—get your mind out of the gutter!), picture frames in a bag.

I procrastinate when I should be:

My least favorite household chore is:

I secretly ____________________________when no one is looking.
Eat cookie dough

My all time favorite book is:
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. I know, total trash. I’m currently rereading it for about the fourth time. Why couldn't I have chosen some classic literary work?

My favorite movie is:
The Parent Trap (the original!)

Last movie I saw in a movie theater:
The Waterhorse

Last movie I watched on video:
Flags of Our Fathers—actually only saw the first half last night. I estimate it will take six months for us to finish it.

Lately, I've been watching __________________on TV.
Well, not a whole heck of a lot because of the writer's strike. So I got some DVDs from the library, which include: The Vicar of Dibley (absolutely hilarious English sitcom) and, I'm not making this up, The Winds of War. Did I really think Jan Michael Vincent was that hot with his pants hiked up that high? Some really terrible acting, but in the 80s, I loved it. I wonder if I'll sink even lower and watch North and South next.

If I could have one wish answered, it would be:
There was a cure for cancer. (Right behind that, having TiVo.)

If I could be a fictional character, I would be:
Claire Fraser (from Diana Gabaldon’s trashy Outlander series) or Miss Elizabeth Bennett

I know all the song lyrics by heart to:
Paradise by the Dashboard Light, Meatloaf. “Well I remember every little thing as if it happened only yesterday. . .”

I absolutely cannot:
Knit, crochet or do other crafty things with yarn. It makes me sweaty and nervous.

If I had my life to do over again, I would change:
Not a darn thing. Well, maybe the size of my thighs.

Friday, February 1, 2008

It's a crazy blogging world!

Oh my word! There are so many of you Mighty Finn followers who were bloggers all this time and I didn't know! It's a secret world and now I'm in it! I belong! Anyway, I've spent the last day surfing through everyone else's blogs. I realize I have a looooong way to go to get up to blogging speed!

Today I had one of those days where everything was procrastinatable. I realize that's not actually a word, so I'm officially introducing it here. And the definition I'll assign to it is: Adjective. As in "procratinatable activities." Meaning you could do certain activities (like work, fold laundry, prepare taxes, etc.). And probably should do said activities. But no one is really checking up on you so who the hell cares? Just wait a few more days until panic mode sets in.

So with a whole bunch of procrastinatable activities on my list, I decided I would go skiing after I did one non-procrastinatable activity--open a business bank account. Eamonn has only been, um, suggesting I do this for the last 11 months and I couldn't stand to see the vein in his temple bulge out any further so I thought I'd oblige him. Then I was actually supposed to meet him to go skiing during lunch. But he got called away to an inspection so we couldn't ski. So I called Tara who also had conflicting plans. I considered skiing alone, but it was snowing, the weather was gray, not blue and pretty, so I went home and decided to go snowshoeing on the golf course.

Now, when I think of freezing to death in the snow, I picture it happening out in the Colorado backcountry somewhere--not on the golf course surrounded multi-million dollar homes (in which we do not live). I set out on my little jaunt and immediately realized that I was completely overdressed. I had dressed for skiing and never changed gear. So about 1/3 of the way around the golf course, I had to disrobe. Not completely of course, but I did remove my hat, mittens, hand warmers, neck gaiter and coat. I left on my long underwear, fleece, ski pants and boots with footwarmers, and of course, my snowshoes. I was freaking sweaty in the dead of winter on a golf course.

I do wonder if anyone was at home in these multi-million dollar homes I was trekking behind. Because if they were, they got quite a show. First, I fell down a snowbank that was taller than I was. I know we live in Colorado, but my word, we are having an unusually snowy winter. I was actually on the golf course for awhile, but after slogging through knee-deep powder for awhile ("awhile" = 30 seconds) I needed a break and tried to cross the 5 1/2 foot snow pile to the recreation path. I made it. Just not on my feet. It's not so pretty when you get all tangled up in your snowshoes.

After I stopped sweating so violently and my pulse went back down below 200, I was ready to tackle the golf course again. So I cut through someone's yard. And got caught up in snow that came halfway up my thigh. That's when I thought, "This is it. I'm going to be stuck here until the spring thaw. Sweating and yet frozen all at the same time."

I'm starting to think that maybe I'm not an outdoors person. It almost makes me want to stop procrastinating.