Supporting a Friend

Last week I inadvertently learned that someone I care about got a bad result from a mammogram. I know of several people dealing with or victims of breast cancer. The very suggestion can strike a bolt of fear straight into your heart. My dear friend, Linda, from California died from it a couple years ago. My friend, Jane, is a survivor but still at risk. My friend Anita is fighting it right now – just had her last of 6 chemo treatments. The sweet voice of an angel, Lari White, went to sing with the rest of the angels today because of it. Cancer sucks.

My friend was trying to be cavalier about it, saying she was sure it was a mistake and that the next round of tests would surely prove that she is OK. But let me tell you, those several days between hearing that bad news and waiting to go to the next appointment are hell. It is on your mind every minute, and the drive to the radiologist for over an hour, by yourself, can be excruciating. Sitting in the waiting room looking at the other women there, some with a scarf or ballcap instead of hair, a lady with her husband grasping each other’s hands tightly and looking upset, the young girl with her mom, both staring at their cellphones because talking is too embarrassing…..your own worried thoughts…..it is HARD.

I wish I could have gone on that drive with her. She has literally no one else in her life to go with her and help. But I am several states away and I’m not driving because of my own health issues.

I knew she was supposed to go for the next test Monday and asked her to call me when she got back home or even from the radiologist office if she needed to talk. But she didn’t call. So THAT worried me. I waited a long time but finally called, as worrying accomplishes nothing. We ended up talking for a very long time. She really needed someone to talk to and I’m glad I could be supportive. It was hard, tho. I wish I could have been there to give her a big hug. I wish I could have been there to drive her to that appointment. It really sucks to face all of that alone.

Altho some people truly don’t like dealing with such personal things with other people around – they want their privacy, they want their dignity, they say they don’t want to worry anyone – some people really do need a friend with them. It may not seem like much to you, to go see the doctor – no big deal. But if you know of someone facing cancer or a serious illness, PLEASE reach out to them. Don’t just say, “If there is anything I can do….” Tell them that you will drive with them to the doctor or lab or whatever appointment they may have. Don’t let them go alone. And if you just can’t make time or be nearby to go with them, call them and let them talk for 3 hours. And call them again a couple days later, as often as you can. It is important.

Winter Again – Ugh!

It’s getting cold here at night and snow is expected tomorrow morning. They are predicting a dusting up to 5 inches.  I’ll go with the dusting, please.    I am a summer loving  girl and surviving winter to me means staying comfortable and warm. My kids don’t like the cold, either. We tend to stay indoors as much as possible once the temps get below 50 degrees.

My go-to comfort foods during the winter include meat loaf and mashed potatoes, chili, and homemade soups.  There is nothing nicer on a cold winter day, than the fragrance of something yummy cooking in the kitchen, or something like bread or cookies baking in the oven. The kids even mind helping. Yes, I tend to add a little weight during the winter eating all of this comfort food, but I will shed it in warm weather when I am more active.

I live in fuzzy socks and usually can be found in my robe (even over my clothes).

I used to have a fireplace.  That was really cozy and warm and I miss having one.  This has been a very cold winter so far, so I’ve had to add a space heater, electric blanket and flannel sheets.  This makes it difficult for me to get out of bed knowing I will freeze when my feet hit the cold floor.

Music Lessons for Aidan

Even though my son does not like the music class they have at school, he loves his music teacher, Mrs. Sparks. She has a tough job keeping a classroom full of 9 year-olds focused on learning the words to a few songs and also introduce them to musical instruments.

Aidan loves to sing along with songs he finds on YouTube and anything he hears on the radio while we are driving around town on errands. I think he has a good voice, and Mrs. Sparks has suggested that I arrange for private music lessons for Aidan. She thinks he should play the piano and learn to read music, which will help if he decides to do more with his voice.

That is pretty much what I’ve been thinking, too. He should learn how to play an instrument and read music, and although I thought he might like to learn to play the guitar, I had not really considered how important it can be to know how to play the piano or keyboards first.

We don’t have a piano here at the house, but I think I can get a digital keyboard that would be OK for beginner lessons. I’m not sure if I can find a music teacher to come to my house and teach him on the keyboard, or if I will have to take him to the teacher’s house for the lesson and then he can use the keyboard at home for practice.

Thinking About Summer Camp for the Kids?

February is when we have a big Camp Fair for parents thinking about summer camp for their kids. It is sponsored by the free monthly parenting magazine, Nashville Parent. They’ve been hosting this Camp Fair for as long as I can remember living here in Nashville even before I had my own kids!

I was lucky to be able to attend sever different types of summer camps while growing up. New York State has a huge selection of camps, from overnight camps in the mountains to day camps closer into the City.

For my kids I am thinking about going someplace very different from Nashville, such as at the beach in Florida or maybe in the desert. I heard about the Hummingbird Music Camp in Jemez, New Mexico from our school’s music teacher. New Mexico is a long way from Tennessee, which makes it ideal for what I want my kids to experience this summer. And it is a music camp, art camp and chess camp, along with all the traditional overnight summer camp activities like hikes and bonfires.

My thought is to fly into Albuquerque, rent a car, and drive the kids to Hummingbird Music Camp on a Sunday, when camp starts. There is a full day of Sunday Activities for arriving campers and their parents. Then, I will drive back to Albuquerque and stay at a nice resort, do some sightseeing and shopping, and visit a dear friend from college who moved there right after graduation and has lived there ever since.

Denise married her high school sweetheart, who was from New Mexico and his parents moved the family to New York.when he was a senior. After they graduated from college and got married, they moved to Albuquerque where she got a teaching position in the public schools and he took a sales job with a computer company.

They are one of the few couples that got married right after college and are still married today. How cool is that? I would love to spend some time with time and catch up on everything while my kids are having fun at the camp!

My Dear Friend, Richard Fagan, at the Bluebird Cafe

photo Richie at the Bluebird

Finally got a photo of my friend, Richie, at his last show at the Bluebird Cafe. Richie has been fighting cancer for the past couple of years, but he was determined to do a few more shows around town while he is able.

The Bluebird Cafe is famous for it’s small, intimate setting for songwriters. They have a strict policy of no talking while the music is playing, and you must stay seated so you don’t distract attention from the artist performance. I agree with the policy – to talk during someone playing their music is just plain rude to both the artist and the rest of the audience.

Richie has a lot of hits to his credit. He has been writing and playing music for over 50 years! If you are interested in his music, just search on YouTube for Richard Fagan to hear some of his songs in his own voice. There is a lot of information about Richie on Wikipedia, too.