Friday, January 23, 2009

jouvenile fun

lately my parents and i have been taking care of my nephew j almost every weekend. though we are sad about the reason why we are seeing so much of him, we are so glad to be able to build relationships with him.
we have had some good fun together lately too, just me and him. he loves maggie and gets a kick out of watching her run around and chase things. we have gone to the park a couple of times, gone shopping, watched movies, cooked and grocery shopping has never been so fun as it was a couple weeks ago!...okay, i have to elaborate on that a little...we went to whole foods, which if you have ever been there you know that they carry 'whole' foods and some pretty wacky items. the seafood section was an absolute amazement to him because he had never seen a whole fish at the store or a whole crab, live lobster, whole chicken or anything in it's somewhat 'natural' state. we went down the asian food section where i was getting some nori for sushi, and he saw some crazy sea urchin looking thing and BEGGED me to buy it for him because "i love this stuff. i eat it all the time" he said. yeah right!! i know the type of food this kid eats and it certainly isn't sea urchin. we then went to the book section of the store (i tried to find a cookbook to no avail :( ) where apparently he had been NEEDING every single book we saw. i couldn't contain my amusement any longer when he picked up a certain book and wanted me to purchase it for him. here's the dialogue:
j: oh man aunt k, i NEED this book. i have been looking for it everywhere!
me: really? THAT book?
j: yeah! it's so good and i have been wanting it for a long time. will you buy it for me?
me: do you know what that book is about?
j: no, but i really need it!
me: j, do you like to eat?
j: (with a look of 'um, duh! of course i like to eat!') yeah!
me: well, that book is about NOT eating.
j: silent, but his face is quizzical....then he speaks..WHAT?!?!? (in a tone that spoke for itself)
me: yeah, i don't think you want that book. maybe when you are older and your liver is dying from preservative overload and cholesterol....
the book was about doing a fasting cleanse for your liver! :) he was such a crack up. we spent about an hour and a half at whole foods looking at everything. i think he has a crush on the cheese sample lady,too.
it's fun to see the world through kid glasses and experience things in a different way. he is still my family, mind you, so he does have quite the ornery side! :) he certainly is a cutie though and i just love spending time with him.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

5 years later

i just realized that it has been 5 years to the day since my cancer mis-diagnosis. i'll never forget the events of that week and how they impacted those around me. my poor parents who didn't quite know what to do or think; and seth who was in the doctor's office with me when i was told my tumor had become cancerous. my friends didn't know what to say to comfort me, and my employer and teachers were thrown for a loop.
i had been diagnosed with a prolactinoma 7 years prior and had tried different medications to treat it, only to find that what didn't make me sick didn't shrink the tumor or was too expensive. i knew the health risks of not undergoing further treatment and kept a watchful eye on symptoms that would suggest my tumor was getting larger or was creating more problems. in january of 2004 i started experiencing some eye pain and my right eye was almost constantly hurting and blood-shot. this was alarming since the tumor sits right above the optic nerve and optic blood vessels. one major side effect of having a pituitary tumor is that you have the possibility of going blind or severely harming the nerves due to it's location. with this concern, i went to urgency care to get it checked out. one thing lead to another, i had an mri the next day and that evening they called me in to share my results...'but be sure to bring someone with you' they said. sheesh!! it was then that i knew something was up and that there was cause for greater concern. seth went with me and was holding my hand as the doctor explained that the tumor had become cancerous and that they were going to need to start treatment. he made an appointment for me to see a neurosurgeon on friday of that week to discuss my 'treatment options'. it was a pretty somber and frightening week. i withdrew from school, went on disability at starbucks and canceled all of my other commitments. i had peace throughout everything that the outcome of all of this would be good, but it still didn't calm my immediate fears of loosing my hair, having brain surgery, etc.
the end of my sureal week came on friday when the neurosurgeon told us (my parents were in the room with me this time) that he had consulted with other doctors and didn't feel that the tumor was cancerous. at first i was shocked and wondered if he was wrong. then i knew that it was the peaceful outcome God had promised me. the fear and anxiety drained out of my parents' faces and we were all glad to hear the good news. it was this event that served as a 'wake-up call' for me regarding my handling of the tumor issue. God very loudly and almost audibly told me that this was His problem to fix and that He would take care of it Himself. all other health matters were up to me to go to a doctor if i wanted, but for this He asked for my faith and patience. ever since, i have done just that. no worries about my tumor-only prayers lifting up my concerns to Him to address. He may never take it from me or allow me to seek medical treatment, and that has to be okay with me. in fact, it IS okay with me. it's such a great release to say 'i'm not dealing with that. God will take care of it if He wants to'. my doctors hate that response i'm sure, but i know i'm doing what i have been told to do by my Great Physician.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

a new leaf

regardless of your flavor of politics, inauguration day should be a hopeful day. having a new president and all that he brings with him is a chance for our country to come and experience something new...TOGETHER. no one knows exactly what the future holds. not democrats. not republicans. not independents either. i hope that the people in this country who are not 'for' our new president can get over their reasons for not liking him and be positive about the opportunity for a fresh, new perspective. i have not always been in favor of President Obama, but pastor john bishop put it in perspective for me a few months ago. he stated that as Christians we know (because the Bible tells us so) that God is in control and that no matter who gets elected to the White House, they are carrying out His will.
there are a lot of celebrities and whatnot out there who are taking a pledge to serve the president and his causes during his term. why this hasn't happened before is beyond me...personally i think it's a bunch of hype. HOWEVER. today i am making my own pledge. i have a tendency to be very judgemental (as if i could run the country any better??) and very partisan. starting today i am hoping to change my mindset about our government and be more positive and supportive. i would like to challenge all of you to make your own pledge regarding this presidency and how you are going to support it or try to be positive about it. being negative, nagging, whiney and otherwise a 'downer' is not productive. we are AMERICANS and we are all in this together. let's act like grown-ups and get over our differences and serve our God by serving, willfully and cheerfully submitting to, and honoring our new government.
i will speak constructively about our government
i will see President Obama as the man God has placed as the head of our human government in the USA
i will make my voice heard on subjects i am passionate about by voting and writing constructive letters to those in power...not by whining and berating

Sunday, January 11, 2009

it's now 5:59 am and i have important information

soooo, in my insomnia i have been bouncing around A TON OF BLOGS, catching up with people i didn't even know i knew :)

one big theme i saw on almost every blog,even my friend sam's, has been the cpsc testing and ban of certain children's products starting feb 10th. there is a lot of mis-information out there. i went to the government website and copied this straight from the legislation itself:
The new law requires that domestic manufacturers and importers certify that children’s products made after February 10 meet all the new safety standards and the lead ban. Sellers of used children’s products, such as thrift stores and consignment stores, are not required to certify that those products meet the new lead limits, phthalates standard or new toy standards.
The new safety law does not require resellers to test children’s products in inventory for compliance with the lead limit before they are sold. However, resellers cannot sell children’s products that exceed the lead limit and therefore should avoid products that are likely to have lead content, unless they have testing or other information to indicate the products being sold have less than the new limit.
Those resellers that do sell products in violation of the new limits could face civil and/or criminal penalties.
When the CPSIA was signed into law on August 14, 2008, it became unlawful to sell recalled products. All resellers should check the CPSC Web site ( for information on recalled products before taking into inventory or selling a product. The selling of recalled products also could carry civil and/or criminal penalties.
While CPSC expects every company to comply fully with the new laws resellers should pay special attention to certain product categories. Among these are recalled children’s products, particularly cribs and play yards; children’s products that may contain lead, such as children’s jewelry and painted wooden or metal toys; flimsily made toys that are easily breakable into small parts; toys that lack the required age warnings; and dolls and stuffed toys that have buttons, eyes, noses or other small parts that are not securely fastened and could present a choking hazard for young children.

let me break this down into more palatable chunks, because i know there are questions about this, and i have been reading about these requirements at my job:
  • second hand/consignment stores are still able to sell children's toys as long as the toys do not fit into the category of 'likely-to-be-unsafe' toys/products.
  • there are product lists on the cpsc website that you can reference to see if your toys are safe or are likely to contain high levels of lead.
  • this does not apply to all clothing (often sheets, blankets, bedding and sleepwear are treated with fire retardants. these chemicals can contain lead, so some of these items can/will be on the naughty list)
  • home crafters that place products on ebay, etsy and wherever can still do so as long as they can show traceability for their products safety should such documentation be requested (ie: i buy a hand made wooden rattle from a retailer on etsy. that retailer needs to be able to show me that the stain/varnish they used on the rattle does not contain lead)
  • you didn't hear this from me...but trust me, knowing the business i am don't want your kids playing with most of the toys out there anyway. MANY of them are VERY dangerous. that's all i'm going to say on that topic.

please check out this memorandum that was placed on the cpsc website to clarify your questions:

if you are concerned about any toys or products that you currently have, you can purchase home lead testing kits at sears, ace hardware and online. they are not expensive and can help you get rid of dangerous toys. also, like i mentioned above, go to the cspc site and check out their listings and warnings. there is so much helpful information on that site for things that you didn't even know you should be worried about. it's definitely a site that every parent should check often.

PLEASE pass this information on to parents you know. let your local second-hand/consignment shop owners know that you will be counting on them to be open feb 11th!!! these government agencies are not bull-dogs. they are trying to protect your children from harmful chemicals that no-good, careless, greedy, socialistic countries have put into your children's toys to gain a profit.

let's work together to make this a win-win situation. as gi joe said " now you know...and knowing is half the battle". GO JOE! :)

up at 4:04am

well, it is pretty darn early here on the west coast. currently a little past 4 am...i am not tired. aargh. a small side effect of my medication is that sometimes i experience insomnia. it has been better lately but right now it might as well be noon! :)

just thought i'd share that with you all!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

human trafficking on nbc

i have a friend who is working on the front lines to end human trafficking in developing countries. i received this information from her via email today and wanted to share it all with you so you could become a little more educated about this horrible trade of human lives.

Law & Order tells a compelling story of child slavery in New York on Wednesday night on NBC at 10 PM/9 central.

Two detectives on the show are investigating a double murder when they uncover and a child slave trade ring between Haiti and New York. "This is one of those rare episodes that touched everyone who worked on it," says Executive Producer Rene Balcer about what he calls probably the most powerful episode of the season. Rene told Free the Slaves, "Even our crusty thick-skinned editors were moved to tears by the ending. It also opened a lot of eyes to the present-day, modern-world reality of slavery and indentured servitude.
I would urge everyone who, as a result of this e-blast, watches the episode to call NBC thanking them for allowing the writers and producers of Law & Order to shine a spotlight on this issue." [NBC Viewer Services at 212-664-5740]Getting slavery into the mainstream is a core goal of FTS. We're thrilled that one of the most popular TV shows in history is highlighting slavery. The producers of the show were inspired to write the episode, "Chattel", after reading 'A Crime So Monstrous' by Ben Skinner. Ben traveled around the world researching slavery and visiting FTS' partners including in Haiti. The show illustrates some of the psychological complexity of working with the victims of slavery who have spent years living with deprivation and fear.
Keep in mind, the episode is not a documentary so when you hear Sam Waterson say there are no anti-trafficking statutes in New York – thankfully that is no longer true. In fact, New York recently passed an anti-trafficking law and is one of 40 states that have criminal anti-trafficking statutes on the books. But only half of those states have victim protection laws to help the survivors of slavery. You can find out more about child domestic slavery in Haiti [the restavek system] and what FTS is doing with partners to combat it here:…FTS is featured on the Law & Order website:

although this episode is not based on any particular case, please take it to heart. the only thing worse than the actual atrocities is learning about them and doing nothing to stop it. visit the websites listed above, along with to learn more about how to help slaves, former slaves and the people who are working to free them.

Monday, January 5, 2009

first day back

today was my first day back at work after 2 months off. all in all it was a good day. nobody asked me intruding questions, and i didn't get any weird looks from people. at first i was kind of timid setting up my computer for the day ( starting all of my software programs and logging into our phones and whatnot ) and forgot how to log into one of the programs. i ran through some options and then figured it out by a big girl. i remembered all of my passwords which was quite amazing!!
when i opened up my main database, i discovered i had 236 emails in my inbox! luckily most were either junk or so outdated that i knew someone had already handled them. it took me about an hour and a half to weed through them all and get caught up. later on i did assign myself some emails from our main work queue to handle and i think i completed 3 or 4 emails (i only worked 4 hours today). i did take 2 phone calls, which made me feel very apprehensive. they were easy ones though and both required me to transfer them to another department for assistance. i was a little slow answering the phone and multitasking, but i know it will come back to me soon! :)
please continue to pray for me as i make the transition back to work. i told my roomie tonight on the way home from small group that i didn't want to go to work tomorrow...she laughed :) but in all seriousness, i have never been a person who likes to be super structured at work and i hate the 40 hour work week. i was not created to be this typical american worker so it is really frustrating for me to get up in the morning knowing that i have to put in a day's work when there are other things i would rather be doing. i know i was very spoiled and fortunate to have this time off, and i definitely needed it, but it just showed me how i am not cut out for the standard daily grind. until God provides something different though, i need to be grateful to have a job, go to it willingly and enthusiastically every day.