Finding Strength

The latest excerpt from my book, The Journey of My Jugs, is an account of one of the many post-diagnosis appointments. When I received the dreaded diagnosis, I sat alone in the doctor’s office and promised myself I would have someone by my side for as many appointments as possible.

~

I went into the clinic at 11 a.m. I had to fast before this procedure, and I was completely parched by the time the appointment started. Adlai sat next to me, and I realized how important it was to have him there. I almost started bawling in the waiting room. Tears welled up in my eyes as they have done many times since I was diagnosed. I wondered if tear ducts dried up.  Maybe I have an overactive tear-maker. There was a large, wheezing woman who sat across from us. I wondered if she had to fast. I wondered if she was just as thirsty as I was.

The phlebotomist called my name and asked for my birthdate. She took me back to a small private room. The chair was so high my feet barely reached the floor. She started asking what the weather was like probably because she could sense my fear of needles. “3-2-1 little stick,” she said.

Little stick my ass. That hurt. How big was the needle? It was less of a pin prick and more like a burning gouge. Maybe my veins were upset too. My whole body felt ravaged, so I imagined my veins were affected too. Every fiber of my being was trying to hold it together, still trying to grasp the devastating news and the positive in all of this.

I walked out with a small, white, gauze bandage around the gouge. Adlai was sitting alone. The plump woman was gone. He noticed the tears running down my cheeks, so he played a cat video on Youtube. I stopped crying, and started giggling at the kitties doing silly stunts. I looked at him and smiled. “Thank you,” I said softly. “I love you.”

“We’re going to get through this. Be strong. I know you have it in you, but you have to be the one to find it,” he said.

~

Throughout my journey, he always had the right words, or the right cat videos to help ease some of the pain and the stress.

Does anyone else use cat videos for a laugh?

 

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One Lovely Blog Award

one-lovely-blog-award

I am honored to say I am nominated for the One Lovely Blog Award by http://rantingalong.wordpress.com/. There is a haiku at the end that expresses what writing is for me.

The rules for the nominees are:

1.  Thank the person who nominated you for the award.

Thank you rantingalong for nominating me for the this award.

2. Add the One Lovely Blog logo to your post. Done

3. Share 7 facts/things about yourself.

  • I don’t have children, and I don’t want children.
  • I have lived in five states.
  • I don’t like red meat.
  • I love movies and books that are scary and twisted; thrillers and psychological thrillers.
  • Breaking Bad is my all time favorite TV show ever in the history of TV. American Horror Story is a close second.
  • I love writing for magazines because I get to explore many topics. (Thank you to the editors I work with.)
  • My family means everything to me.

4. Nominate 15 bloggers you admire and inform the nominees by commenting on their blog. There are many amazing blogs out there, this is difficult.

The blogs is am nominating are:

http://cookingwithawallflower.com/

http://ryanlanz.com/

http://healthyhealedandwhole.com/

http://storytimewithjohn.com/

http://darkyblue.wordpress.com/

http://robertokaji.com/

http://damyantiwrites.wordpress.com/

http://margaretbenison.com/

http://mytwosentences.com/

http://danieljamesmoore.wordpress.com/

http://maggiemaeijustsaythis.wordpress.com/

http://kelsieengen.com/

http://kimkoningink.com/

http://joshuamswenson.com/

http://nhwn.wordpress.com/

One Lovely Blog Award Nominee Haiku

A labor of love—
I search for expressive words
Always be writing.

Have a great Wednesday!

~Nicole

A Morning Boat Ride

This past weekend was awesome! I had a little time to breathe and I enjoyed spending time with my wonderful husband. The past several months have been incredibly busy. I have spent much of my time attending different events, interviewing people and writing articles for a variety of magazines and the newspaper. I am not complaining about all the freelance work, but it’s nice to spend time with the man I love.

Saturday morning, my husband ousted me out of bed earlier than I like to rise on the weekend. I think it was around 7 a.m. After coffee and cereal, Kashi of course, Adlai hooked up the boat trailer to the Jeep and we rode to the boat landing in Wabasha. Mississippi River, here we come!

The weather was perfect. It was partly cloudy and the temperature hovered around seventy degrees. I was so excited to do some reading. I brought three magazines and a book that I never got around to starting. I read a copy of the magazine, Outside. It listed several of America’s best small towns to live in. It was fun to daydream about moving somewhere new. I am such a dreamer, and I love to experience new things. Some days I would love to move and other days, well, I love where we live.

I read Outside magazine.

I read the latest copy of Outside magazine.

While I enjoyed the toasty rays of sunshine and reading about small towns, Adlai cast his line in the water in hopes of catching a fish. It’s funny, he is an excellent hunter. He deer hunts during all three seasons, bow, shot gun and muzzle loader. We always have deer in our freezer, but as for fishing, well, he has some work to do. Needless to say, we didn’t have a fish fry Saturday night.

He changed out the fishing lures at least 20 times throughout the day. He has more lures than I have shoes!

Fishing with Top Water Popper Frogs.

Adlai fished with Top Water Popper Frogs on Saturday. He had lots of hits, but none to bring home.

We spent several hours out on the water and before long our appetites started talking. We battened down the hatches and skimmed the water around 50 miles an hour. Adlai slowed down through the no wake zone and we passed the National Eagle Center and Slippery’s Restaurant and Bar. We have been to both places, but chose not to go to either while we were out and about.

We passed by the National Eagle Center in Wabasha.

We passed by the National Eagle Center in Wabasha.

Slippery's Restaurant.

We passed by the famous Slippery’s restaurant from Grumpy Old Men.

After we made it through the no wake zone, it was back to 50 miles an hour. I am not crazy about going that fast, in fact, I prefer the trolling motor. But, Adlai is a great boat driver and we made it to our destination in one piece.

We docked at the Pickle Factory and locked up the compartments of the boat. We walked up the shoreline and found ourselves enjoying the air conditioning inside the restaurant. We scanned the menu and decided we couldn’t leave the Pickle Factory without trying their famous fried pickles. It sounds odd, but these dill pickles were tasty!

Fried pickles from the pickle factory.

We enjoyed a new treat on Saturday…tasty fried dill pickles with ranch dressing.

I was only going to eat one or two, but I think I ended up eating four. The fried outer crust was sinful and salty. The fried batter encased dill pickles that were hot and started to become saturated and slightly mushy. You know when you cook zucchini just a bit too long. It is no longer crisp and crunchy, but slightly soggy, in a good way.

Since I splurged on the appetizer, I opted for a salad as my entreé. I ordered the Craisin and Chicken Salad with a raspberry vinaigrette. It was delicious. The romaine lettuce was fresh and crisp. The Craisins were plump and the perfect shade of cranberry. The chicken was diced to perfection. Each cube looked like someone had painstakingly cut up a beautiful chicken breast and left the scraps for the dog. Then, the sliced almonds added the right amount of crunch! Mmmm, delish!

A tasty Craisin and chicken salad.

A tasty Craisin and chicken salad.

Adlai, on the other hand, ate a pulled pork sandwich with homemade potato chips. He said it was really good. I have to trust him on that because I don’t eat pork and have no desire to. I don’t like a lot of meat. In fact, chicken, turkey and fish are about all I can take. And, I eat meat in small doses. The chicken on the salad was my first bit of meat all week.

Pulled Pork and homemade potato chips from Pickle Factory

Adlai enjoyed a Pulled Pork Sandwich with homemade potato chips.

After lunch, we made our way out to Lake Pepin where Adlai could fish a bit more and I could continue reading. By this time, it was about 1 p.m. The sun was hot and there were a lot more boaters out on the water making it choppy. The boat rocked back and forth and the breeze picked up. We tried to anchor in a few places, but the anchor wouldn’t hold us.

Lake Pepin

After lunch, we went out on Lake Pepin for more fishing and reading.

We decide it wasn’t much fun to drift into shallow waters, and the choppiness of the water was even less desirable after fried pickles. So, we headed back to the boat launch and left the Mississippi River with a day full of memories that we will treasure for a lifetime.

Have you ever tried fried pickles?

 

Moms Make a Difference

Moms (& Dads) Make a Difference

I love Huffington Post! I frequent the Style, Women and Travel sections often-sometimes more than two or three times a day—they post new things, I can’t help it. And today, like many other days, as I was searching for reading material, I found something that made me smile and I wanted to share.

To preface this little gem of an article I found, I thought I would give you a little peek into my childhood. To start, I was that kid who did a little bit of everything. I started playing t-ball at the ripe ol’ age of 5. I took up volleyball as soon as it was offered in grade school. I ran in Little Olympics. I learned to play the violin, briefly. I was in Brownies and then Girl Scouts, again, briefly.

By the time I graduated from grade school I had been team captain and MVP in most all the sports I participated in. In junior high, I gave up the violin and started to play the flute. I was the first chair flute player (and an athlete) and things were going my way.

But, the one thing I remember most about all of my accomplishments was my mom. She was behind me every step of the way. Don’t get me wrong, my dad was present and accounted for too. He was the one who pushed me to be better, but my mom, my mom thought I was a superstar at every event no matter how well or how poorly I played. She was is amazingly supportive!

We never had a lot of money, but my parents could always afford, new shoes and the proper attire for each sport or band concert.

When I was in high school, I focused on volleyball. I stopped playing everything else and played volleyball year round. My mom traveled to almost every volleyball game that I had. During some months of the year, she devoted almost every weekend to traveling to away games, packing lunches, making cookies and other goodies for the team.

And, my senior year, the girls I played volleyball with had been together for a long time. We were a strong team.  We made it through sectionals and then to state. It was a huge accomplishment. And my mom was one of the few who put together goodie bags for all the girls who played. Her and a few other moms decorated our lockers, traveled to the games and cheered the loudest!

I know it isn’t Mother’s Day or my mom’s birthday, but I had to give a shout out to my best friend and mother. I love you for who you are and who you helped me become. Thank you from my heart to yours!

Take a minute to read this Huffington Post article and go give mom a hug!

Was your mom an awesome cheerleader?