The Battle with the Insurmountable

I guess I should have actually done more on my list yesterday; I maybe wouldn't have been so overwhelmed today. Do you ever feel like you have insurmountable tasks ahead of you? If so, please share. Sometimes it seems like I am the only one who feels the crush of so many obligations.

But wait, didn't I just have cancer a year ago? Didn't I just say how silly some of these things I used to worry about were? Yes...

But it's also FUN to worry about some of these little things, too...that's the thing. There is a joy in being so normal, and the rewards of all of these tasks are definitely so real.

I love the feeling of a clean house! I also love cleaning my house...I love it when my horrifically old carpets feel clean. I LOVE looking at my garden and seeing the results of my labor...I love thinking about the renovations we have done in our heinous house. I LOVE seeing my children do well in school, or in their activities...I LOVE exercising, and the release of emotion it brings to me.


I don't love it when my house is insurmountably messy! I don't love my carpets, no matter how much I clean them. I DO NOT love thinking of my 1 full acre of buckthorn and weeds and heavy, compacted clay soil...which I have to labor over to make those gardens. I DO NOT love arguing with my children to bring them to practices, or to work with them on their school work...and I do NOT love trying to fit in enough exercise on a day that already seems so super full.

So today...I have all of these things swarming around in my mind, plus packing for Mackinac (packing always throws me into a full fledged panic attack...) That = the Insurmountable feeling.

Last night, though, as I was beginning the battle with the Insurmountable -and thus, wasting my time watching The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Charlie's Angels, and a horrible other show called Royal Pain - (all on Hulu...mind you, I have NEVER ONCE seen these shows in my life, so why last night, when I should have been either sleeping or starting to make the Insurmountable less so?) I had a thought. I was sore from having torn out a bunch of buckthorn, and a little frustrated that the hours of work looked like nothing in the sea of weeds that is my yard.

Someday, I am going to look up and it will all be gone. I'll look for the next buckthorn, and it won't be there. It's that little plant here, and that little plant there...lots of pulling and lots of soreness, and lots of days and hours, lots of little steps, all done without much initial satisfaction. But someday, all those little steps will have done something so enormous - will have transformed my whole yard, and my life, along the way.

And so it is with the heinous house and it's renovation...and even the smaller battles with the carpets and the cleaning, and the packing...and the largest battle of all - parenthood. Little steps, each day...transforming my whole life.

I guess it is time to get started!


What should I do? I love this quandary

Today I am totally in heaven...swim practice has been cancelled (duck poop in pool, I imagine), and I have nothing on the calendar at all for the next two days, as long as refrain from promising things to the kids. I LOVE HAVING AN EMPTY CALENDAR! It is one of my most favorite things in life.

  • carpet cleaning (puppy accidents, potty-training accidents, dying kitty accidents, and general life accidents)
  • packing for our trip to Mackinac Island (Mom and Emma are going with the Brownie troop...I can't wait!)
  • writing thank you letters and emails for my GENEROUS FRIENDS and supporters of the Breast Cancer 3-day
  • going over to my sister-in-law's house, and then my brother-in-law's house to check all of the family members for their lice infestation (I am a lice expert as we had it during October of 2007...and I am the only one in the family who can either recognize it, or see something so small).
  • getting the house in order for me to leave, and just cleaning it up in general
  • spending time with the kids, stimulating their brains so that they don't turn to mush over this summer vacation

and I probably will do some of these things...but certainly not all of them. If I was a gambler I would guess I would stick with my strengths and carpet clean and straighten up the house. Then I would force myself to pack (horrible at packing, can't make a decision, become paralyzed with my indecisiveness, and then have panic attacks at how much time I am wasting packing). Then I will call my family out of guilt and do a lice check. Hours later...

But wait! The phone is ringing! I'm making plans with friends! So off to a splash park we go...at least I can chalk this up to quality time with kids...


Night out at The Loving Touch...tomorrow!

Come join us at The Loving Touch (new pool hall owned by the owners of the WAB, in Ferndale), tomorrow night - Wednesday, June 24th!!!

And if you can't come...you can still bid on our many fancy auction items!

To place a bid, send an email to nnn3day@gmail.com. In the email, please include
  • the item # and description
  • your highest bid
  • your name
  • your phone number
  • the team member you know (to possibly facilitate delivery)


Darling Children

Mrs. Lucken has had a week. I was expecting the first week of summer vacation to be a little tumultuous, what with the endless quarrelling and various sibling abuses I have come to expect during those first weeks, but I was not expecting to be fitting in numerous hospital visits during the week, too.

Actually, and (I can't believe I am saying this) luckily, Emma jumpstarted summer vacation by having a few ER trips of her own...our first (and second) ER trips ever as parents. I say "luckily" because 1) it got us used to fitting in hospital runs 2) although she was kicked in the head during a soccer game, she was fine and 3) the amazing fall on her bike opened up our early summer schedule (can't swim until she gets a scab...and with this gigantic gash, it could be up to 3 weeks of skipping those 8:30am swim practices).

Quick discussion of bike accident: in a very un-Emma moment, she was TEARING around the cul-de-sac at the end of the Lane, spun out on gravel, and must have fallen *just so* on her knee to split it open. She had a deep gash in one place, and probably 12 long cuts from sliding on the gravel. She's usually a more cautious child...I was actually happy to see her being a little bold with her bike. She's been riding the thing for years - and riding a two-wheeler since she was 4- so I figured it was about time. I think this fall has put an end to her very short career in bold biking, though.

So I was anticipating a more relaxed start to summer - only one swim practice each day, and getting the house in order finally - but my dad's body had other plans as he landed himself in a hospital about a week ago for a procedure, and then again last week for pulmonary embolism(s) in his lungs. So, in between swim practices and meets and sibling quarrels and trying to catch a breath after the crazed end-of-the-school-year sprint, I was visiting my dad several times a day. Thankfully he sees an oncologist (mine) on this side of town, and so was stuck at Beaumont (right down the street), instead of across town, which would have made these visits much more difficult.

Still though, the stress of figuring out what was wrong, and trying to figure out a way to get Mr. Carroll to slow down and take care of himself instead of conquering the world of economic development in Detroit, was a bit much. You'd have thought I was killing him by offering to bring him something to eat (since he hates hospital food), and that the doctor was killing him by admitting him to the hospital (instead of trying to get him well). My dad prides himself on not being able to be held down, though...so it was a battle.

And Mrs. Lucken doesn't do well with stress (cue yelling and crying fits in the privacy of her own home; well, not too many, but lots of intense discussions). I wish I dealt with stress well, but no. And I don't do well with lots of non-stop-action, and this week entailed a LOT of non-stop-action.

HOWEVER, I do VERY WELL with sweet darling children, and I saw a lot of them this week. There were plenty of the expected sibling battles this week, but interspersed with those battles were many, many, many moments of children helping out and pitching in to help this family run smoothly. I was nearly swooning with joy when:
  • Emma carried a giant laundry basket upstairs and folded all of the laundry, AND put it away.
  • Katie took it upon herself to conquer a to-do list I made for myself - which included vacuuming the entire house!
  • Nathan got into vacuuming and yes, my 3.5 year old was vacuuming the house before I carpet cleaned (because I decided the start of summer meant the end of pullups for Mr. Cubby Bear, and we had some accidents).
  • Darling daughters made cards/stories for their Bubba
  • All children helped with manic jumping in the car on a moment's notice...and all children barely complained when each day I had to cancel the one fun activity I had planned.

Making me feel even more like I had reached my own personal utopia - they did all of these things without me even asking!!!! Darling children...


Road Rally!

I have wanted to do a road rally since seeing pictures of my parents having so much fun with their friends...back in the early 80's! SO obviously, I'm excited for this event this weekend...

And it is not too late to join us!!!!!! See the flyer for more info, and please come! (You don't have to know all the people...I don't know many at all! We'll have fun.)



Let today go down in history as a day when Mrs. Lucken really, really, did more than she ever thought or wanted to do. I'm not terribly good at running my life at top speed and enjoying it...but today I did an incredible job (if I do say so myself).

Here's the rundown (boring to read, but this must go down in the annals of Pam history):
  1. Mrs. Lucken, with her husband's help, got child #1 and child #2 ready for school in record time, packed her car up with miscellaneous items for the day, and took off in time to get child #1 to school at 8:20am
  2. Mrs. Lucken then took child #3 to Target, where we picked up the "buddy snacks" for the swim meet later that day, as well as some snacks for the meet, sunscreen for wacky recess, and a last minute addition of a bathing suit for Emma (she has outgrown all but 2...and with daily swimming it's good to have more).
  3. child #3: drop off for darling mother-in-law to watch
  4. Wacky Recess with Child #1: follow class around, hold things, and give general assistance. Sunscreen, and bathing suit!, come in very handy as Emma had forgotten to pack one a couple of hours before when I suggested it. So many water activities and messes with shaving cream and eggs.
  5. Stay for lunch with child #1 and friends - added this into the plan. Enjoy dance party with 3rd and 4th graders despite the fact that I was the only mom visibly dancing *and badly.
  6. Drive to sister-in-law's house...help mother-in-law clean up the garden there in anticipation of nephew's graduation party in one week. A gardener cannot let her gardening skills go unused in a place which requires it so badly! Stay too long - 2 hours, weeding, dividing plants, spreading mulch. Praise child #3 for being so so good and patient.
  7. Pick up child #3 early from school. This is a bad parent move! but husband has unexpectedly taken the car in for service and can't pick her up...she's in spanish and it is the end of the year. How much work are they actually doing on a Friday afternoon? Nothing that will keep her out of her 1st choice college. and Mrs. Lucken needs to get some exercise today. yes, I picked up my daughter early so that I could get in some exercise.
  8. Mrs. Lucken drives home. It is now 3pm. child #3 is asleep in car and will remain so for a while. Mrs. Lucken quickly plants the orphan plants and pieces of plants from sister-in-law's house and tells #1 to get stuff ready for soccer.
  9. Ingenious move-which-also-proves-to-me-I'm-taking-weirdness-to-the-next-level (as if dance party, shoveling mulch for someone's garden when she doesn't even really care if that work gets done, and picking child up early for my own exercise doesn't prove this) - I decide that as time is running out and I need to exercise AND water the plants, I will move my rebounder out to the garden and JUMP ON MY MINI TRAMPOLINE WHILE I WATER MY NEW TRANSPLANTED PLANTS. No telling what my neighbors think of me now...but if they saw me gardening in my boots, shorts and tank top last summer with my bald head, this can't be much worse. Katie's kindergarten teacher thought I was a grandpa gardening in our yard when she strolled by! get in 10 minutes of jumping this way.
  10. #3 wakes up, yelling. I take him inside and run to the treadmill, where I get in another 12 minutes of exercise, while yelling commands of what to pack for swim meet.
  11. It is now 4pm. shower in 3 minutes, pack final things and get to swim meet by 4:20.
  12. Time at swim meet...kind of fun. Enjoy having kids who are all one year older. Swim meets aren't total misery anymore.
  13. 9pm. Come home, eat only real meal of the day.


(I guess when I look at it, it seems like such a normal day...but what I can't believe is how much fun I shoved in unusual places, in a day that was non-stop activity - dance party, fun with timing, trampoline, even a teeny bit of planting. good job, mrs. lucken.)


Bothering...and how much I hate stupid cancer

I was really, really lucky to meet my husband, and to have him be as dedicated to me as he has been since about the 2nd minute after we met. Bill was out of town for work this week - only 2 days! - and his absence made me realize how much he takes care of our children, and how much I rely on him for emotional support (let's just call all of that bothering him. It's what I do all day long, it's my greatest talent...and this week, having no one to bother was hard!)

I know that I am LUCKY that he has been so dedicated, because oh-my-goodness do I bother him so much every day... I expect him to help with the kids, I need him to be my sounding board on just about everything, and he has to do this while keeping his job by which he supports our family. The poor guy has been holding 2 full-time jobs for all of these years - being my boyfriend-and-then-husband, plus actually working his real job. A woman really notices that when the person she bothers is extra busy and not around.

My stupid BRCA 1 status and breast cancer has not helped matters much, etiher...now on top of normal bothering (and on top of the fact that he can't help but know he has married totally damaged goods and spent all of this energy staying married to someone who is genetic garbage anyway), I've added cancer bothering to my repetoire. At least once daily, I call him with, "Please tell me you don't think I'm going to die." "Please tell me I will get to see all of my children graduate from high school and college, get married, have babies, blah blah blah."

My cancer bothering has been ramping up lately, as cancer is just all around me, as much as I don't want it to be. If I am not thinking of my own, it is coming in the mail (newsletters), it is coming over email (all the cancer events are in full swing now that the weather is nice), it is on facebook, it is even in random magazines (one had the audacity to have on it's cover -
NEVER GET BREAST CANCER! WHAT HEALTHY WOMEN MUST DO NOW! It was just a very bad blurb for a very good cause, getting people to join the Love/Avon Army of Women) Worse than that, it is popping up - again, and more of it - in the people and things that I love as well.

I am so sick of cancer!!!!!!! I hate having this stupid gene, and I hate more that my dad has it, and that my friend's dad has it, and that cancer is stealing moments from all of our lives. And I HATE that my darling cat has it, all over her little fluffy body. Her breast cancer is back, in several spots that I can feel and see, and she is coughing, and one of her pupils is bigger than the other, etc. Aside from the misery of losing her, seeing her have this is a horrific thing for me - I get the intense misery of seeing cancer grow right before my eyes in a way you don't necessarily get if your cancer is inside you, under clothing. So then, I am miserable that her end is coming, but I am also extrapolating that not only my cancer could be growing, all red and black and purple in spots in my body (don't know what color it is, don't want to google it to find out - that is just sick- but hers is making her little breasts all red and black and purple and mishapen), but also that it is doing the same in my loved ones.

NO, I do NOT want to go to therapy to make myself at peace with cancer ripping apart my life, or other people's lives. I do not want to be at peace with it! I want it to go away, and if it won't, then I want to just do my daily duties to make life a little nicer, to hold stupid cancer at bay, and other than that - to just ignore it. If it IS going to steal moments, I'm not going to let it ruin the moments I do have by thinking about it. I don't call this avoidance - because every day I do things to fight cancer - I call this optimizing my life.

That's why I am writing about it here. I do not want to keep bothering Bill about it, now that I had a chance to realize how much I do it. I don't even want to talk about it! I want to get it all out of me and live this day like cancer doesn't even exist. We may not be able to be victorious over all of these individual cancers, but I can have today.


and on that note, I have to ask Nathan to not drink water simultaneously with cancer cat, from the dog/cat water bowl! I'll ask nicely, and do this not because she has cancer, but because that is just disgusting! and he knows it too, but I've been writing this post for a bit too long for him. But I do feel better. Now time for some gardening.


WISER Sister Study - treadmill provided

The University of Pennsylvania is planning a study to test whether exercise might reduce breast cancer risk among women who are at an increased risk due to family and personal medical history. This study is specifically for women aged 18–40 who have NOT had cancer.

See this flier for more information...you visit the University of Pennsylvania twice, but you will be provided with an in-home treadmill.