On the Naturopath: LOVED her. I truly felt that with all the emotion I have been feeling lately, feeling guilty about what I've been eating and doing would be the LAST thing I needed to feel...and I was so sure that was what my 2 HOUR APPOINTMENT with the Naturopath would entail.

No, no, no! I couldn't have met a nicer person if I made it my mission to find one. We actually spent nearly the whole appointment talking about larger issues...and the last five minutes on the other stuff, which amazingly, was so the way to go. I found that she freed me up, by talking about my life, so that now I do have the reserves to think about other things - like my health.

And, as Bill suspected, she did not tell me I was total garbage...on the contrary, she seemed to think I was doing everything right. WHEW.

Update on Hope: Did I ever mention here that our puppy has cost us THOUSANDS of dollars? Yes, it is true. Please consider that, if you are considering getting a pet! (And yes, we did consider that beforehand...) Aside from the bee allergy and emergency medical treatment for her near-death experience, our wonderfully crazy animal had a surgery 2 weeks ago to see what was up with a GIGANTIC LUMP on her throat!

She was running around a day later. Galloping, actually.

Anyway, apparently, she may have ingested some sort of foreign body which then caused a reaction...draining of fluid, an infection, and then more fluid and a strange tissue build-up in the pocket made by the infection. The veterinarian made a 7 -inch incision! in her neck, removed tissue about the size of my clenched fist, and we are hoping it doesn't come back. YES, that's right! It could come back!

Precious was the site of D, though, when Hope came home after spending the night at the vet's office after the surgery. She was so happy to see her crazed sister.

Update on kitten: spayed today. Precious cat. Still miss my Nanners so much, but am finding Nyx to be such a nice antidote to cat-missing. She is similar, yet different - fluffy like Nan, but all black to Nan's tabby colorings. MORE affectionate, if that is possible - but she can't meow! That is a HUGE change.

I miss the crazy meowing of my darling Nanners...but she wasn't doing much of that in the end anyway.

Update on children: All truly number one. Emma is becoming a bit of a striker! instead of a defender, in her soccer career. After no goals all season (she played defense all last season) - 3 games and 3 goals last weekend.
Kates is loving swimming with her pals, and also has made up for her slow start with reading by reading everything she can get her hands on - doesn't matter how difficult it might be. Also, fiery Kate has received no fewer than 5 treasure slips for excellent behavior at school this year - and it's only October!
Nathan is loving school...missed 3 days of it due to a cold and his mother's obsession with recuperation...but can't wait to go back. Will be a Tiger for Halloween due to his obsession with the song, The Eye of the Tiger.

Update on husband: I miss the guy. He had to restart his whole implant procedure for his front tooth, making him a crabby guy...and then he caught some sort of virus. I can't wait for him to come back soon.

So now, you can see that I'm not only miserable and suffering around here. I save some of the heightened emotion for this blog...but mostly things are just good and wonderful, with some extra sadness and freaking-out thrown in for good measure. I'm coming to terms with everything, though...and feeling some spunk returning.

I knew it would...and that it would just take a little time.

And now to corral all of the individuals in my crazy household - children to dinner, crazy puppy from whatever she is barking at outside, check on anesthesia kitty...etc. etc. endlessly.

SO precious

This little girl, leaving notes behind for her Mom, Dad and Sister!


Dreading...the Naturopath

Going to see the Naturopath tomorrow! I'd rather dig a 6 foot hole and cover myself with the dirt I dug up...and I just might.

Oh Naturopath, I already know what you are going to say...lose those extra pounds, eat less dairy and carbohydrates, exercise more...and being who I am, I will only hear that I suck. And I'll go into some downward spiral of chocolate-eating which may never, ever end.

THE THINGS I DO FOR MY HUSBAND>>>>the exact same person who made fun of me for my vitamin-purchasing binges at Whole Foods Market when I had only about two dollar bills to rub together (one of them his), in my early twenties! You see, dear Naturopath...I used to be even better at all of these things than I am now, but something calamitous happened to stop all of that. Actually 3 such calamities, which stress me out and send me into chocolate fits, and prevent me from doing whatever I want all day long (or at least I think they do)!

Oh yes, I know mothers - don't we all?- who manage to run triathalons, and conquer the worlds of birthday parties right alongside their blossoming careers...but oh, I am not that mother! 10 years of whining and emotional tumult have gradually worn away at my steel exterior, making my exterior as lumpy as my inside always was! Oh well.

I'm just hoping that the plummeting self esteem that will be felt all over Southeastern Michigan tomorrow will somehow ressurect itself in time to try to fit in a run and a healthy dinner...sometime in the next month or so!


P decides to speak

Years ago, or even as recently as earlier this year, I thought it would be easier to deal with the death of a loved one if you actually had a chance to say goodbye - as opposed to arriving home from Mass to find your mother dead on the floor. The shock of something like that is just so crazy...and the guilt of a 12 year old girl who didn't kiss her mother goodbye is a pretty hard thing to handle.

I was wrong, though. Maybe I was not wrong about the goodbye part - it is good to be able to say a sort of goodbye - but I am not sure anything makes it easier to deal with the death of a loved one. I think the sadness, and the loss, and even the shock are ALL still there, even if you sort of had a clue that the death was coming, and even if there is a small window for a goodbye.

Even though my Dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in late January, and I spent much of February in a haze of research, and pain (2 kinds - I had a surgery of my own in January, and another in February...and then there was the emotional pain of my Dad's diagnosis ), I was still not ready for his death in August. I don't think ANY of us were. I know I was at least expecting there to be some sort of lengthy decline, some chance to spend time with him, to take care of him, and to say things people might say to each other when they are about to be separated forever.

My Dad had other plans...or maybe he just didn't know what was happening...or maybe larger things were happening over which he had little control...but my expectations were totally off. We went from a June filled with a random surgery, an infection, a Dad who was mad at me for babying him (at least a little - he didn't want to spend a minute in the hospital and so all of my efforts to make him comfortable and to help him to have a better time only bothered him), to a July where he was too busy to see me at all - even for my birthday - (though we did run into each other in our oncologist's office), to the end of July when he got word that his pancreatic cancer had metastasized...to August 5th. It was as if we were fast forwarding through his end-of-life scenes, and all of the scenes were condensed into about two.

I know my family members were all shocked by the speed of his decline - not to mention his coworkers and friends. I wasn't even sure when I made the call to my aunts that it really WAS nearing the end - I was just afraid to have his brothers miss out on it if it was, and went with a gut instinct. I even feel guilty - like how could I have surprised them like that! - but then I remember that even I had absolutely NO IDEA what was happening, so this guilt doesn't belong to me.

Then I feel guilty like I should have KNOWN...how does a daughter have no idea that her Dad might be dying in less than a month? And I need to remind myself that I wasn't even given access into his life for that month, really. He was running, running, running...doing things that I thought were so absolutely and totally stupid - croquet club, and his dumb cottage, and travel for his f$*&ing job, and never paying really good attention to his situation, and refusing to let me be the one to pay attention to it. He refused to let me go to chemo with him. He was a total snot when I tried to help him when he was in the hospital from his ridiculous surgery. He couldn't be in town for even my own birthday, his stupid social life was so important to him (while the rest of us had to change all of our plans around for his birthday, every year).

OR was it? I think of what I read in the book hospice gave us (really, gave my Dad and Nancy...I only had a chance to sneak a glance). There was a distinct part in it which noted that the dying tend to withdraw from the world 2-3 months before death. So maybe it wasn't his fault, or my fault, that I wasn't able to be around him, and to take care of him more. Maybe it was just the way it was meant to be.

But HOW could that be the way it was supposed to be? No one wants to watch her father starve to death...which is what essentially happened. The problem is, I had really no choice. I was given no access to the situation when there was something I could do, and then when I tried to help, I was also pushed away, and then it was too late. My sisters and I were on the phone for days and days in June and July, trying to figure out what was going on...but we had no real access, and so it took all of us by surprise.

Worse than all of these things, to me, is the question that remains to me. Did this take my Dad by surprise, too? If so, how horrible! How horrible to not be able to say all of the things that you might want to say, before you leave your family! And if not, if this wasn't such a big surprise - then HOW HORRIBLE! How horrible that he had nothing that he wanted to say to us!

And I feel guilty either way - either I should have forced access, so that I could have figured out what was going on and TOLD him, and MADE him talk to me (I should not have taken my cues from him, I should have forced my own way) OR, I feel guilty that I was not the type of daughter that deserved a goodbye.

And so, if it was at all possible, I'm left feeling JUST AS BAD from the death of my father as I was from the death of my mother. Can that just mean that death is horrible, all the way around, or can it be that there is a better way to do it?

All I can say is this: I WILL NOT leave my family without some sort of knowledge about how much they meant to me...my children AS WELL AS MY HUSBAND. If I have even a slight warning that the reaper is coming my way, I'm going to shower them with my memories, notes of my love, and wishes for their future. If my sibling asks, "Is there anything you want us to say to your children?" I won't say, "The Lord will take care of me"...I will say, "Tell them I loved them, and will love them, endlessly. And the pile of notes I wrote to them is in this storage facility...because I didn't have enough room in my house for the thoughts I wanted to share with them."

I do hope that my Dad finished things how he wanted to finish them...and I know that we made his last moments as special as we could. It is just a little heartbreaking when you feel such unreciprocated feelings...and when the conversation is unequivocably over between a daughter and her father, before it was ever even started.

A conversation with myself

P: Oh, Mrs. Lucken, you should really spend more time on here. You could use the therapy!

Mrs. Lucken: I know, I know...but I'm really tired of being that sad person complaining about things all the time, or the mom who has something cute she wants to remember her Cub saying, or the breast cancer survivor. Plus, time is so precious these days, and I feel like if I waste any of it, I'm sad for having wasted it. I actually have a sheet of paper in my kitchen where I am keeping track of how I am wasting my time, so that I don't make the same mistake the next day!

P: I hear ya. However, it isn't like you are going to see a therapist soon...and your husband has little patience for the tears. So start writing.

Mrs. Lucken: Hey, hey! He's a good guy! He just wants me to be better, and has a very low tolerance for depressive episodes before he starts freaking out.

P: Well, whatever. You have some grieving to do, so get to it. You can become rah-rah Pam again sometime soon, but you've got to be sad Pam first. You have a right to it, you know.

Mrs. Lucken: Well, how about YOU write? I'm the one who has kids and pets and a husband to worry about. If you want to be all self-actualized and delve into your grief, you go right ahead!

P: FINE then. I think I will.


Uh, Mom...

Me, yelling at Hope, after she jumped on the stove to eat brownies from the pan: HOPE!! Get DOWN! Stop acting like an animal!

Nathan: Uh, Mom...Puppies are animals...


Cozy Bear

After an exhausting round of MarioKart, Nathan sprawled himself out on the floor.

"Can somebody snuggle up with me?"

Well, I guess since there is no one else home, I'll do it.... :)


Another funny forwarded email...and by the way, I'm not having problems with my upgrade...


Dear Tech Support

Last year I upgraded from
Boyfriend 5.0 to Husband 1..0 and noticed a distinct slow down in overall system performance, particularly in the flower and jewelry applications, which operated flawlessly under Boyfriend 5.0.

In addition,
Husband 1.0 uninstalled many other valuable programs, such as Romance 9.5 and Personal Attention 6.5, and then installed undesirable programs such as NBA 5.0, NFL 3.0 and Golf Clubs 4.1.

Conversation 8.0
no longer runs, and Housecleaning 2.6 simply crashes the system.

Please note that I have tried running
Nagging 5.3 to fix these problems, but to no avail.

What can I do?





First, keep in mind,

Boyfriend 5.0
is an Entertainment Package, while Husband 1.0 is an operating system.

Please enter command:
ithoughtyoulovedme.html, try to download Tears 6.2, and do not forget to install the Guilt 3.0update. If those applications work as designed, Husband 1.0 should then automatically run the applications Jewelry 2.0 and Flowers 3.5.

However, remember, overuse of the above application can cause
Husband 1.0 to default to
Grumpy Silence 2.5
, Happy Hour 7.0, or Beer 6.1.

Please note that
Beer 6.1 is a very bad program that will download the FartingandSnoringLoudlyBeta.

In addition, please do not attempt to reinstall the
Boyfriend 5.0-program. This is an unsupported application and will crash Husband 1.0.

In summary,
Husband 1.0 is a great program, but it does have limited memory and cannot learn new applications quickly.. You might consider buying additional software to improve memory and performance. We recommend Cooking 3.0 and Hot Lingerie 7.7.

Good Luck ,

Tech Support


Why you should not have 6 pets, if you are going to have 3 children...

Once you are finally sleeping through the night with children, DO NOT go out and add to your aging pet family with puppies and kittens. Learn from my mistakes! (Just kidding, we love the kitten and the puppy...they are just SO. MUCH. WORK.)

Last night was a perfect picture of how I have made my life more complicated...by having 3 children and 6 pets...

10:30pm - We are finally all in bed after Grandma Nancy's birthday party, and the excitement of having Grandma Nancy spend the night.

11:00pm - Nathan is still awake, after a little catnap at the party. Madeline doesn't help issues by coming onto the bed for her nightly affection.

11:45pm - Mom is finally asleep...after taking out the garbage, the kitty litter, the recycling, taking all the pets out, etc.

12:30am - wakeup #1: kitten. Nyx (Greek goddess of night...I guess it was a good name?) wants to play!

1:30am - wakeup #2: Nyx knocks waterbottle off nightstand, onto Dagny. Stainless steel waterbottle. Loud and now I'm worried about my old girl.

1:47am - Hope is barking in her cage. As she has an infection and has been vomiting her antibiotics, I'm worried about her and let her outside. She takes long enough to come back in that I have time to clean the kitchen.

4:00am (estimated, so tired by now) - another escapade by Hope. This time I do laundry.

5:10am - UH OH, I'm all wet. I guess I forgot to put a Pull Up on Nathan last night! We wake up, change his clothes, change my clothes, change as much of the bed as I can (Bill is out of town and all the kids have come into the room to sleep, as is customary when they miss their Dad).

7:00am - UP AND AT 'EM! Time to start the off to school rush!


What did I do today?

Tonight I was talking aloud, as I nearly always do...to myself or to anyone who might be listening. I was wondering WHAT I had done with my day, because each day starts with high hopes and then it seems at the end like I have accomplished very little.

This time, two of my children were listening, and luckily their opinion of me is higher than my own opinion...while I felt like I did nothing, here is what Emma said:

"Well, you helped someone with breast cancer, so you did a good deed...

you saved energy by driving the carpool...

and you made sure your children were well-educated, and well-prepared for the day."

Nathan then added his two cents:

"And at least you and Daddy were beautiful."

WOW. I was going to say, "I did 6 loads of laundry, cooked dinner, and returned the cans and bottles to the store..." but it sounds much better the way YOU say it, kids!

I feel so blessed with these darlings...and I guess it is OK if I'm not out conquering the world on any particular day, if I can have this love at the end of it!


Before I do, though...

Here is the picture. I know when I go to read people's blogs, I am always scouring them for pictures that show what things LOOK like...it's the pictures into the lives that I appreciate. And so here's a picture into my life and my sadness. This is at Natalie's birthday party, just three days before I lost my Dad.
Also, if you still have a Dad...sit next to him, for me. I wish so much that I could still do that, even if it was only to be near him in his suffering. (And I know that is selfish...it is better for his suffering to be over.)


I thought I was sad about October - the girls fully established in school, the weather (cold mornings, warmer afternoons, cold evenings, rain, 4 changes in clothing/day for me) and the end of the garden. Those things are sad...and sadder still is that in two days I will have lived 2 months of my life without my Dad.

I hate the way time stretches you away from loved ones...I can feel it stretch and I notice the days as they fill in, putting more days between today and the day when I last had him on this earth. I resisted this passage of time so strongly at first. In the first days I made a calendar of every single thing I did the month before my Dad died, and everything he did - trying to figure out how all this had happened so fast, and how we could have spent any of those days apart.

And it was sad, looking at those days, but that was how it was (how it is) - you live your own lives, and the days just pass. We weren't in the habit of seeing my Dad very much - he loved his job and he also wasn't the kind of person who loved hanging around soccer fields or swim meets or homework tables. And I was/am...in trying to make up for my lack of some of those things in my childhood I embrace the boring moments with my kids (most of the time). I at least want to BE THERE for everything...even if it isn't always totally thrilling for me.

So now, in my effort to always be there, more days are passing...from the last days of being with my dad, from summer and my time with the warm weather, from my garden in 2009. Nathan has had his first two school playdates, the puppy is full-grown, we've had a new kitten for a couple of weeks, new school pictures go up on the wall.

So I'm conflicted. I still feel those twinges of pain - when downloading pictures from my camera, I still can't erase the pictures of my Dad sitting on our couch at my niece's birthday party. He couldn't stand up to sing for her, or eat cake, but he sang from the couch. When I look at my playful new kitten I think she is so cute, but I still don't see any way she'll ever mean as much to me as Nan...and I want to look at pictures and think about those moments with the individuals who either formed my life, or brought so much companionship to my life. Time is stretching though...and I need to start living again too.

I guess I can't be all that sad about October, then. The time is going to keep stretching me away from my parent (and my pet), just as it did before. There's no going back to change that. The only thing that I can do is to make all of these days really worth something to me. If they are going to keep marching on, and I am going to keep noticing them, I want to notice them for the good, and not for just the passage of time.

So, Autumn, let's see what you have to offer.