Friday, May 2, 2014

Making Sense of May

So May. Here we are again. 

I am tempted, some days, to say “May” like Jerry Seinfeld used to say “Newman”, this month of double awareness.   I don’t know why some days the weight of this gets to me, that NOW WE NEED TO BE AWARE OF NF AND BRAIN TUMORS. I can’t remember the last day I was NOT aware, so, what’s with May?

Especially since so many of my friends are in both of these communities, social networking is overflowing with awareness facts, pictures, graphics, etc.  I find that inspiring, motivational, depressing, and overwhelming all at the same time.

See why it is hard for me to even pick out a paint color? I am perpetually conflicted. 

 Reading through my blog from last year, where I describe our family’s journey…ugh. I know that was an important thing to do, but it is way past “merely a flesh wound!” , if you know what I mean.   If you want to know what life is like with NF and brain tumors (and why I am scary), that’s a pretty good place to start.

But I had a thought today while running, once I got to a quiet side street where I was not just thinking “yikes, another landscape truck? Dodge! Dodge!” (meaning my action, not the truck brand).  Today is gorgeous. Spectacular. Right now it’s about 63 degrees and brilliantly sunny, the forsythia are blooming and the flowering trees are flowering, I could hear birds chirping and squirrels scratching at trees (I double checked, I had a moment of worrying that it might be a larger woodland creature, but no, just a squirrel). It was GORGEOUS.  I don’t like running, and today I really felt tired, but the beauty of the day just hugged me.

Two days ago it was 43 degrees and raining here, like Noah digging out plans for an ark kind of rain.   Roads are still closed by us due to flooding (I toyed with the idea of adding a mile to the run to go SEE the flooding, but then my body told my brain to shut up and head back home).   This winter was epic, even by the standards of the northeast, we had so much snow, my early perennials were very late this year because the gardens were buried under 2 feet of snow until March.

Youngest child & dog, walking ON TOP of 15 inches of snow. Cold. Cold cold cold.

The dark, the cold, the endless precipitation—it was a tough winter.
my viburnum after storm #493

I don’t know what May is like in other parts of the country.   But here—well, in another week or two we’ll be past the danger of frost and I can plant annuals in my flower pots.  Our yard finally needs to be mowed for the first time this year. Everything that was brown and frozen and ugh is now alive and lush and beautiful…

Not fully grown, my evening primrose are still only an inch off the ground, the butterfly bush is just getting its first green buds, the hydrangea and viburnum are just showing where their leaves will burst forth in a few weeks. By the end of May, this potential green will be realized. 
my viburnum today, buds galore!

In Jersey—and much of the northeast, I figure-- May is a month of rebirth, of everything finally emerging from winter and bringing relief and hope that summer really is around the corner.  Winter (especially this year) is so long and so hard, it makes us appreciate so much more when spring finally comes.  The air just smells good today.  The birds sound so happy (the winter was so quiet).  I am so happy that May is finally here!

I had this thought, while running, a thought that having both Brain Tumor and NF awareness in the same month is really so meaningful…because May is so much a month of hope. We’ve had terrible losses in May, terrible grief over friends we love, lost to these two awful things…but there is still hope in the midst of that…hope that our love and memory for these children and adults can fuel our work for a cure.

Brain tumors and NF are both scary frozen wastelands a lot of the time. Nothing about either is nice…BUT within the communities that have grown around these dastardly beasts there is hope and love and a sense that we are moving towards summer.  Right now we may only see potential for a cure, for treatments that work without destroying a child’s future, for understanding the cellular mysteries NF and brain tumors hold…

But just like my viburnum and my hydrangea, that potential WILL come to fruition. I really think it will—and the hope and new life and green and sunshine of May are a WAY better time to think about these awful things, to see them in the sunlight of hope. 
By August the sedum this owl is guarding will be taller than the owl.

Ok, that sounds maudlin, but I really don’t mean it that way.  If both months were in February I would have to hide under my bed.  Having May be the awareness month for both of these things that have truly changed everything about our family is in some ways a blessing.  The beauty of this month can be a hopeful lens through which to present and understand the realities of brain tumors and NF.

We appreciate the green and warm and sun so much more after the awfulness of the winter we had.  And after the awfulness of rather a lot of the last almost 10 years, I appreciate the hope that is fostered in this month of May.

Next Tuesday is MRI day. We may be basking in sunshine or once again hoping for that potential yay to find us again…I don’t know. But I am trying, fighting against my wintry self to see the hope in each day of May, instead of the painful reminders of what’s past…to see the hope.  

Live. Hope. Find a Cure.


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Story of a Wall ...or, Expectations Adjustment 101

This is the story of a wall.
It looks so non-threatening in this picture. Don't be misled. That's about 5 hours of frustration there.

Not THE Wall (although I have been known to say Hello? Hello? Is anybody in There? rather too often). 
Just A wall. 

Well, technically 6 walls.

Six walls with a carefully applied wallpaper border. And navy blue paint with white stars. And light blue above the carefully applied wallpaper border.

See, back in January I had Ambition. Ideas. New Year’s kind of goals.  Remember that? Ok, since one of those goals was “blog more often”, and I made that happen all of twice, this wasn’t such a long ago post. 


But I am STILL determined to keep chipping away.  This wall (walls) represent starting.

The room is VERY small. You would think this would speed the process along. Not so much.
I have used an exacto knife, a scoring tool, 2 chemical wallpaper removers, extra strength vinegar and water, a sponge, a spray bottle, a spackle knife, and an actual wallpaper scraper thingie (which despite my resistance to paying $8.39 for a plastic thingie, actually does work the best).  Me vs. the Wallpaper was not a pretty battle, and now my son’s room smells vaguely like Italian dressing or Easter eggs, even though I haven’t worked in there in two plus weeks.  I just haven’t had time with my work schedule. 
note the oozing detritus of my despair falling upon the stars. Gah.

Yes, it’s April. Yes, there is still an awful lot of glue stuck to that wall.  Yes, I need to get brillo or something to get the rest of the scunge off the rest of the wall. 

BUT I STARTED. After 2 years of wanting this to happen, I started.  And instead of being demoralized by the fact that global warming is happening faster than I am taking the baseball wallpaper down from my now college-age-son’s walls, I am trying to at least muster a feeble woohoo!  for getting started.

Admittedly, this is lame. But instead of Pinterest-y photos of all the creative huzzahs I’ve gotten done, I’m keeping it real, AND trying to not get too down for the pace of this LONG overdue project.
Also, I had to convince the dog that tiny scraps of wallpaper wafting down are NOT in fact a snack.

Adjusting my expectations is honestly an ongoing project for me in EVERY ASPECT of my life, to be honest.  Expectations are killer in so many areas.

But getting started is a win, even if it’s not “finish the now 18 months late wedding sampler” or “finally sew those old shirts into a memory quilt” or “paint something!”  or “write poetry again”.   Scraping wallpaper IS a win, because I am so often paralyzed by my expectations into doing nothing except wandering in circles. 

I do have to say, as someone who finds it hard to part with things from my children’s childhood, about 10 minutes of hacking away at the baseball players (one of whom looked weirdly like Mark McGwire, obviously BEFORE we knew he was Captain Steroids…and another who looks like A Rod…hmm)…10 minutes and my nostalgia was covered in minute particles of sticky paper and unpleasant thoughts about how Pinterest was a FAIL on telling me how to get this stuff down.

Now I have a speck of a hope that maybe, MAYBE over the next month I can actually have the room prepped (oh, the spackling I still have to do, and priming…) and THEN finally paint it some neutral clean color. Just in time for Mr. Biohazard to come home for the summer.  Sigh.

So the wall(s) are my story for today. I finally started this project that has been bothering me for 2 years. Ok, so we were a little consumed with other stuff over a lot of the last 2 years, but getting started on these walls (and thus on transforming this into a more grown up room for my son) is my win. It’s not pretty, it’s not creative, but it’s the win I have.

Now if I could just get things together enough to wash my rugs…stay tuned for THAT exciting post. ;)

(and note of disclosure, even THIS post was written for a week before I managed to upload the picture of said wall...ergh)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Of Olympic Sweaters , Tutus, and Running

So while the first 2 blogs back were written with energetic new year enthusiasm, this one was more like pushing an air conditioner up 3 flights of stairs. You know you have to, but oh, it is so heavy. This has been written for more than 7 weeks…but today I needed to revise and publish in light of Self Magazine mocking a brain cancer survivor in progress for running in a tutu, placing tutu wearers on a “BS Meter” as perpetrators of a “lame fad” .   Yes. I needed to revise & publish today.

Did you see the official US Olympic opening ceremony uniforms? Way back in February...did you see them?

They are all the greatest kitschy moments of early 80s nouveau country patriotic chic rolled up into one Flagtastic knit celebration of a sweater.  If they had a faux Amish child or a goose with a slate blue bonnet, they would be an absolute time capsule.

They are awfully awesome.
Everytime I think about them, I chuckle.

And you know, as much as I chuckle about them, even now, nearly 2 months after the opening ceremonies, I see Ralph Lauren might be a genius.  As every other country came in to the Sochi arena in variations on svelte athletic clothing ala a Nike showroom, the US contingent came bounding in with jubilant energy, making a Great Entrance in that Fandango of Flagtastic Fabulosity.  There was NO mistaking who the US athletes were.

Admittedly, I kind of like weird clothing. For someone who wears black yoga pants and a plain fleece of some sort most of the time (or conservative and serious teacher clothes), this might seem improbable. But I find funny clothes weirdly empowering.

When I ran my first half marathon (and second and third), I had to wear the argyle skirt, and a blingtastic headband. And armwarmers that say “If Found On Ground, Please Drag Across Finish Line” .  
I might not be fast, but my clothes are FESTIVE.  Same thing for the Turkey Trot this year, I wore a Turkey on my head. Santa 5K? A bedazzled t-shirt and a Santa hat.  Had to do a last minute number at our Coffeehouse last year? I pulled out an Uncle Sam hat and I was good to go.

And you know, these silly outfits make people happy, which is contagious. Happy strangers yelling, “HEY, great skirt!” as you shuffle by, or “Love the turkey!” as you sip from a plastic cup at a water station…well, it just makes me smile (and in the case of running, forget just how unpleasant running often is).

In hindsight, I think Ralph Lauren secretly knows this Power of the Somewhat Amusing Outfit. Make your competitors laugh so hard that you get a head start? ;)  Of course, when the Amusing Outfit is used to represent your country, and worn by like, 400 athletes next to you,  that makes a STATEMENT, but…those sweaters (and their matching hats) are so awfully awesome.  I am REALLY hoping one ends up on clearance somewhere. $595 is just too much.

There is something very freeing and empowering about Committing to Silly Outfits.

I have only just started to be open to this kind of commitment in real life.  Ok, so a LONG time ago I had an embroidered Alice in Wonderland Disney shirt I wore a lot .  And I did wear a paper American flag in my jacket lapel for years. And ok, so I wear a Squid of Power named Sassafras and a small silver elephant named Rodney.  And I do love things with crazy patterns, when I’m not wearing variations on black.  I get you, Ralph!

And after seeing the brouhaha which erupted today after Self magazine mocked runner Monika Allen for wearing a tutu in the LA marathon…  (read the story here)I am realizing more why silly clothes matter.

Self has kind of apologized. Ish. Mostly because Monika is a cancer survivor in progress, she ran that marathon in that “froufrou” (Self) tutu WHILE ON CHEMOTHERAPY. And she makes those tutus for Glam Runner, to raise money for Girls on the Run, a group dedicated to getting 8-13 year old girls out and running and making healthy choices.  The editors of Self (helped by the viral ire of facebook and the interwebs) have sort of realized that maybe they were jerks.

But they don’t seem to understand that their jerkiness goes WAY beyond the fact that this mighty lady in the Wonder Woman shirt and tutu is a cancer patient and works tirelessly for young women.  By snarkily commenting that the tutu wearing runners are part of some BS lame “fad”, the writers at Self place themselves firmly in the middle school shallow hierarchy of Cool As Defined by Someone’s Narrow Version of What You Should Wear, or how you should look, or how you need to present yourself to be able to participate fully in life.

THAT is what they should be apologizing for.

I just spent several days substituting in middle school.  Trust me, the shallow hierarchy of cool really should Stay in Middle School…as I beat a hasty retreat back to high school. Phew!

See, I’m a little sensitive because I carried my lowly place on the hierarchy of cool with me for a long, long time.  Let’s just say that a gangly, weird haired, glasses wearing, uber Caucasian, freckly gal who likes musical theater and sci fi didn’t quite have a place on the ladder, if you know what I mean.   And people were not afraid to let me know that I looked like a nerd. For years I let my insecurities about my appearance have way too much of a hold on my brain. 

For a long time those insecurities kept me from trying to run. When I did start running (as a 37 year old!), I ran on a field where no one would really see me….in long baggy capris and a big t-shirt, trying to camouflage my out of shape-ness.  It took a long time (and some helpful reading) for me to realize just by TRYING to run I am a runner. What I look like is irrelevant; on race day real runners (ie anyone at the start line!) don’t care. Nobody cares how you look! 


But  sometimes, occasionally, that lying beast of ugly rears its head again.

I’ve always had more clothing hang ups than your average telemarketer gets during an 8 hour shift.   
1.      Until I was WELL into my 20s I would not wear sleeveless shirts, because my arms were so white, and freakishly long.
2.      I wouldn’t wear flip flops or sandals because my toes were weird.
3.      No yellow, I look like a dead fish.
4.      I thought I was an extra large until I was about 25… clothing I bought as a freshman in college I wore just before giving birth to my first child.  (I’m not teeny, but XL was camouflage, plain and simple).
5.      EVERYTHING I wore had to match match match. Perfectly. Like, socks, underwear, pjs…perfect match, or I’d be really uncomfortable.
6.      Yes, I was insane. And I wonder why my kids are so OCD?

This all made SO MUCH SENSE back then. But really, it was just about fear, somehow. Control. Controlling how people saw me. Being invisible or something. Whatever. It’s ancient history.  But not so far off from what Self magazine implied in mocking women who wear tutus to run.  We need to squelch joy. Real athletes don’t wear tutus.  Lame. BS. Snarkysnarkfest.

Again, MY BS Meter is going crazy.  Get me a tutu, QUICK!!

I’m glad to say I got over the sleeveless thing, I’m uber-Caucasian, so what? And eventually the sandals thing (I remember my first pair of sandals, I was so nervous about wearing them, and they were fisherman style, my toes were still invisible).  Now flip flops are my friend ALL summer, and I LOVE sandals.  
I even bought a gold sweater last year. I still probably can’t wear true yellow super well, but I might try, why the heck not?  And I try to wear things in the size that fits, whatever that letter or number may be.  Insane-o-matchy? Done. It’s too much energy.  I consider a day a win if I remember to wear matching shoes. Like, shoes that Match Each Other.

one needs a feathered headband for chemo day (2013)
Funny, too, because my second born loves sequins, animal print, neon…all fashion that screams HERE I AM!!! I think some of this is due to her visual impairment (she can see this stuff), but some is because she has ZERO hang ups about clothes. She does a happy dance any time she finds an outrageous piece of clothing to wear.   I can only get her to try ANY athletic thing by promising blingtastic fashion.  Win!

I feel like Ralph Lauren would appreciate my G’s enthusiasm for color and pattern, even if he cringed a little at her penchant for neon.  She is always true to her own aesthetic, never caring a blip about what others think.  But based on Monika Allen’s experience, I know Self magazine would not approve of G’s ebullient style. And THAT is what they need to apologize for—for limiting women. For saying we win a space on the BS Meter for NOT meeting Self’s  narrow definition of what athletes are supposed to look like. 

Real runners know that it’s NOT what you look like…it’s what you DO that makes you a runner. One foot in front of the other…you  ARE a runner. Walk breaks? Still a runner. Cramps and have to stop? YOU ARE A RUNNER.   

Mile 9, finally heading back to Philly...Rock n Roll Half Marathon 2013.
And I never put up pictures of myself. But today, I am.
Note my festive skirt. And it does make me go faster, Self Magazine. Each year I've worn it
I've shaved 2 minutes off my time--and I'm not getting any younger. snapSNAP.

Your outfit does not make you an athlete. Heck, I wore track pants for years before I ever exercised. I felt very legit as I sat on my couch. J 

And really, running is one of the most inclusive sports out there. All you have to do is show up and move. Fast or slow. Just show up and try to keep moving. Nothing else matters.  You CAN do it. Shame on Self magazine for taking a moment of celebration and mocking it because it's not how the "cool" runners dress. Kudos to Ralph Lauren for celebrating the fun and humor and joy of athletic achievement. If the greatest athletes in our country can rock out in Flagitudinous Fashion, why the heck can’t we everyday women trying to run rock a tutu?

So I will be procuring a tutu for my next race (yes, I can’t help myself, I know I’ll sign up again), I will speak out in support of the Glam Runner ladies and their awesome efforts to help girls have a truly authentic healthy self, and I will keep looking for those Olympic sweaters & hats on clearance at TJ Maxx.   Heck,  I kind of hope I’m NEVER on the hierarchy of cool, if cool is defined as bland conformity.  Bring out the sparkles and the super hero t-shirts, and let’s run on!

**As a side note, the Tutu Wearing Guy we used to see in Philly tended to finish the race in 1:30.  If that's not legit, I don't know what is. So guys, you can wear tutus, too. :)

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Another Perspective

Another perspective.

So…I have to blog something that I know people will disagree with. I have to, because I teach my 12th graders to speak out, to not be cowed by public opinion when there is something they believe in that needs to be spoken.

Today I saw something that made me think, and realized I have to practice what I preach. Ugh.
Seriously, I've had a silly blog written for 2 weeks and haven't posted it. Ugh. But this...just wrote itself.
So please, if you read this, just hear this as a different perspective. Not a judgment, not a rant, just a perspective that I think sometimes is missed…a perspective that comes from my faith tradition, but also from my role as mom to two NF children, one with a moderate case, one with a severe case, wife to a man with NF, and advocate for kids with NF.  Everything here really is meant to be said with great respect and lack of judgment: if it comes across otherwise, please forgive my clumsy use of language. I truly just want to present a perspective that isn’t always spoken.

And I get that people may very well have the opposite opinion. That's ok.
Can you tell I hate stirring the pot? sigh.

Anyway, I saw an online article today about a family that used a new technique called pre-implantation genetic screening before  IVF to make sure that they had a child who does not have NF.  (Boy-born-free-of-potentially-deadly-gene-thanks-to-IVF-screening)Embryos were examined, and the one eventually implanted was found to be NF free. The family is very happy with their child (which makes sense, children are a huge blessing, and this family obviously thought long and hard about how best to have their family). Doctors are pleased that the "controversial" selection process worked so seamlessly.

And I felt...uneasy.
I just felt troubled by this process, the selection process, I guess. Because where scientists see NF the disorder FIRST, I see my NF children, children who by this process would not have been born.

I get it, I do, the fear parents have when one has NF, the knowledge that even a parent with a mild case can have a child with a more severe case. I have that t-shirt in blue, pink, and purple.  And I understand, heck, I work very hard to fund research to make NF NOT destroy my children.  We’ve had some close calls in this house.  Really close.

This week was MRI week for my child with the severe case of NF. We compared this scan to the one that showed massive tumor progression in an inoperable location in May 2012. I get how bad NF can be.
And yes, my children have endured suffering. This is the worst part of parenting, seeing my children suffer—but I also see them thrive, and succeed, and bless others. I see them laugh with friends, sled down a hill, go to school, dance in the Nutcracker…heck, my second born danced in the Nutcracker (in the way she does) 4 days after brain surgery.  And when she was up there being a Lead Gingerbread, her hair carefully arranged over the surgical incision, and with all the little kids twirling around her, I didn’t see NF. I saw my child.

Yesterday my youngest got her back handspring alone for the first time. I saw my child, not NF.
When our little buddy calls for G to help him with his chemo, even DURING HIS CHEMO we see this riotously funny and spunky kid, (and often his cat), NOT NF.

When G’s friend pins her latest nail polish design on Pinterest, we see a hugely styling and creative kid, not NF.

When a friend out west sings his heart out at karaoke, we see a boy with the voice of an angel, not NF.
When we hung out with our friend Sandra, we laughed, we watched Sponge Bob, we ate ice cream, we saw her amazing heart and spirit in everything she did, even as NF took her from us.  We saw HER, not NF.

All of these children…well, that’s what I see. That’s my perspective. 

There’s no such thing as life without pain. Well before I had heard of NF, LONG before I could spell it, I had pain in my life. Much of my own life journey has been trying to focus on the joy in life. My children are joy. Ok, they drive me insane, too, but really—their lives better the world. And they love life.
At teacher meetings this year, my youngest daughter’s teacher told me this: that my R had said that yes, sometimes NF and brain tumors are hard, but because of them our family has gotten to meet such wonderful people, such kind and amazing people, such great friends.  Her teacher got choked up telling me this, and honestly, I was …well, what do you even say to that? A few weeks later at home my R said the same thing to me, her head tilted to one side, her crazy hair loose around her face. “We are pretty lucky, mom, we know so many great people because of NF and brain tumors.”

Yes, we are.
An NF mom once said to me that her NF child sometimes felt sad when he saw the tagline END NF. He took it personally.  I think that’s kind of the same moment here—I understand why families may want to make this choice, and I do not judge them for it—I just see this through the lens of a different perspective—I see MY NF children as not making the cut in this process.  I would hate to have lost them to NF before they were even born.

And while we will NEVER stop working for better treatments, for more research, for a cure (my brain is dizzy some days from reading about MEK inhibitors and bRAF this and that) —we hold on to this perspective that sees the person first: with all that may entail, the unique, amazing, mighty, funny, loving, compassionate, persevering kids and adults we know and love…and the disorder second.  My husband has said that his experiences with NF have made him the man he is today—one who never judges by appearance (EVER), one who is always ready to help, to lend a hand, to show compassion, to work hard for his goals.  I hope and pray my girls get to grow up…and be like their dad, and the other amazing NF grownups we know.
That said, I better go work on stuff for our next fundraiser, our Coffeehouse for a Cure…FOR NF! 

Thanks—I know folks may vehemently disagree with me, and I respect that. I hope that folks can respect this perspective too.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Enter Reality, Stage Left...

Well then.
Two blogs In The Same Calendar Month, full of promise and resolve and perhaps a little bit of this:

la la la la laaaaaaa!
Yes. I was wearing yellow in those blogs, free of my high school friends agreeing that yes, yellow makes me look like a dead fish. And I can leap and dance and leave a trail of rainbow sparkles. Yup.

So then I hit post, and as if on cue, my old buddy Reality showed up.   He has lots of eyes and tons of grippy little arms and teeth. Oh yes, he does bite. Ahem.
My buddy, Reality.
He can do all the hand motions for YMCA at the SAME TIME, but that's about his only positive attribute.
Sometimes being positive and proactive is really, really challenging. I find that the challenge increases in direct proportion to me stating publicly that I’m going to be positive and proactive. I guess it’s like saying to the world “I AM GOING ON A DIET!” and then going to Costco at Free Sample Times when every sample is deep fried or sugary cream filled goodness. Or both. Alas.
I promise that this isn’t going to just become a weekly dose of existential crisis.  I just know when I read really positive proactive cheerful blogs I generally have a moment of whoa. That person has it so together. I JUST WANTED TO ELIMINATE ANY CONFUSION ABOUT THAT HERE. So. Not. Together. I figured I should acknowledge that post my blogging of light and energy and huzzah, Things Hit the Proverbial Fan. Those things were not smiling stars, those things that hit the fan. Although really, they’d stop smiling pretty fast if they whomped into the Vortex Windtunnel Fan-tasmic .

This week was way full of the Reality that tends to shut me down.
Trying to practice "don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good" this pic is blurry and rushed--and posted, not procrastinated. But this is how it looks. And yes, that is actually what I'm wearing right now. Sans actual green guys.

Work, home, medical yikes (scan week for my baby, who is WAY old enough and WAY observant enough to get that scans Don’t Always End Well--although thankfully, hers did end well), devastating medical  news for 3 friends of ours, heck, even a lot of rainy days…this week was way more Boo than booyah. Waaahaaaaay more boo.

So the question becomes What Do I Do when my ol’ friend Reality crashes with my attempts to change the reality of my responses?
I have to admit I did finally open my Cadbury balls and yes, there was at least one brief marathon of Hoarders watching. BUT I have also tried in those moments of intense anxiety or frustration to breathe. Just. Breathe. To try and focus. To try and NOT jump immediately to scary (harder than you might imagine. Ergh.)

Baby steps. It’s all about baby steps, even if those steps are sort of tangled up in my many armed friend (who never travels alone). 
How do you all deal with intense stress or chronic stress/frustration situations?  I have tried slightly reducing my caffeine again, I am still exercising (4.1 miles run today! Woo! Only possible because of midterms at school, but I’ll take it), I am trying to read cheerful books, I am trying to breathe and pray in those moments of Tripping the Ugh Ughtastic. But what do you all do? 

Reality is with us, too much sometimes. Some people carry Reality so gracefully, not like my zombie shuffle. What is their secret?
So the truth is out. The rainbows end somewhere. But really, I guess THAT is where the work begins.

And I still have more Cadbury left—voila! the stars are smiling again. ;)