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Hey, Karl here.

After a couple of voicemails left for Lisa and not hearing back, which is unusual for her, I called the Dude a little bit ago and found out the reason. She’s not going to be returning phone calls any more, nor emails. No more Tweets from her.

She’s in the final, final stages now, people. So out of her mind with pain and drugs that she often doesn’t even recognize her husband or children. Dude says it’ll be “lucky” if she makes it through the weekend, though he also says it’ll be luckier if God takes her away sooner. She’s that bad.

I’d been riding her to get a “last post” done, but it doesn’t look like that happened. There’s a fragment of a post she was working on, which I’ll post here soon, but there won’t be any more posts from Lisa beyond that.

Those of you that live locally to Lisa and her fam, I know Dude and the kids would appreciate any meals brought over, since the last thing on Dude’s mind is cooking dinner right now. Everything is on hold now, just waiting for the final moment, and Dude is doing everything he can just to keep it together.

He says that the kids are taking it much better than he is.

My heart is just breaking. From here on out, I won’t be posting updates about Lisa on my blog…I’ll keep you posted here, of course. I’ve been getting an inordinate amount of traffic and email from you folks hoping to hear news. I answer it all, but it may not be instantaneous.

If you’re of the praying sort, pray that Lisa doesn’t suffer much more. Pray for her family.


The Open House From Hell

by Lisa on August 21, 2008

in Kidz

What the teacher is, is more important than what he teaches. ~Karl Menninger

Every year since Cam has been in school I go through the annual Open House at the elementary school which happens at the end of August.  Cam is attending Junior High this year so I only had to attend the third grade Open House for Teenie.  Well, last night was the 2008-2009 Open House.

When the notice came home with Teenie’s class assignment she was a little disappointed by the teacher she was assigned to.  I asked her why and she told me the teacher yells at her students a lot and she is a very loud yeller.  Teenie also told me this teacher could be heard yelling not only from the halls but from other classrooms…she is that loud.

Knowing that my child hates to be yelled out and is pretty sensitive about yelling, I wasn’t feeling warm and fuzzy about this teacher and I hadn’t even met her yet.  Yet I went to the Open House with an open mind.

Then I met the teacher…Mrs. K.  I introduced myself to her and she immediately directed me to a bunch of sign-up sheets.  Like, “Hi Mrs. Kelly…please go to the sign up sheets and sign up for A, B and C.”  O.K. whatever.  Then I looked at the first sign-up sheet.  It listed dates and times for Parent-Teacher conferences at the end of the first quarter…that take place in NOVEMBER!

Hello?  November?  How am I supposed to know what my schedule will be the week of Thanksgiving?  We didn’t even start school yet.  So, she’s a little anal retentive I thought.  On to the next sign-up sheet.

The next sign-up sheet was for the Christmas party.  The CHRISTMAS PARTY that takes place the third week of DECEMBER, like when we have the possibility of having snow on the ground.  There I am standing there in shorts and a T-shirt, trying to decide what my child is going to bring in for the class Christmas party that takes place in DECEMBER.

I really wanted to make a scene and tell the teacher my kid is Jewish but considering we just had her baptized Catholic I realized that would have be really wrong but come on.  Planning the Christmas party before the school year has even started is a little extreme, isn’t it???

So, then there was one last sign-up sheet and I thought “oh dear God, is this going to make my head spin?” Sure enough, it not only made my head spin but I think my head actually lifted up off my shoulders and rotated.  This sign-up sheet was for the VALENTINE’S DAY party that take place in FEBRUARY 2009.  Here I was signing my child up for an event that takes place next year!  I don’t even know if I’ll be here next year and I’m committing my child to bringing in potato chips!!!

After I finished making all of these commitments for the year I found a chair and waited for the teacher’s presentation which she made all nice and neat in Power Point.  She gave us her classroom rules and explained that she would spend two weeks on the rules because she must CONTROL our children.  She said it like they are mutant savages that we have failed to discipline.

Mrs. K. then explained the Agenda Books our children will bring home on a daily basis that contain our children’s daily homework assignments.  If our children do not have a “good behavior” stamp in their agenda book we are to ask them “why” and we are to call the teacher.  As parents we are to sign the agenda book and as a reward we get a smiley stamp as a “thank you”.  Oh boy, I’m excited.

The school year hasn’t even started and I HATE this teacher.  Thank GOD my child is very well behaved, extremely smart, has an IEP in place because she is in the gifted program, follows rules to the “T” and has always been liked by her teachers.  Otherwise I would dread this school year.  The amount of homework she will have to do as a third grader is INSANE but she’s a good student so it won’t be a problem.

Why does a teacher feel the need to be such an insane bitch to a class of third graders?  Unfortunately for her she’s got the parent from hell in her classroom…that would be me.

She wanted all of the parents to stay and fill out a bunch of paperwork before they left but I wasn’t feeling good so I told her I had to leave.  She said, “Oh, let me get you some water!”  I thought, “Lady, if water can cure cancer then you are in the WRONG profession!”  I mean, I was only standing there in front of her with a turban on my head, pale as a ghost.

Don’t get me wrong, I am very, very, very supportive of teachers but this one, this one?  This one is completely off her nut!


What A Day

by Lisa on August 4, 2008

in Dude, Kidz

Sunday was more than I could have imagined it to be, more than I could have dreamed and every thing I hoped it would be. There aren’t words to describe what happened to the four of us but it was extremely powerful. I’m still soaking it all up today.

Thank you for all your well wishes. It was truly an amazing experience to renew our wedding vows in the church and to have our children baptized at the same time. At the end of the ceremony the Monsignor said a healing prayer that left me in tears.

So, today I’ve been relaxing and thinking about what a wonderful day our family had.  One that brought us closer to God. One that we will never forget.


Twelve Years Ago

by Lisa on August 3, 2008

in Uncategorized

What a happy and holy fashion it is that those who love one another should rest on the same pillow. ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

I’m sitting here drinking my daily morning cup of coffee and Dude is sitting on the couch reading the Sunday paper.  Cam is laying on the floor playing her Ninetendo DS and Teenie is watching Spongebob Squarepants.  Both kids are begging for Dude to make homemade Belgium Waffles and for me to make Cheesy Eggs simultaneously.  Ah, a typical Sunday morning at our house.

In a few hours all four of us will be out of our pajamas and dressed up.  The girls and I will wear very pretty dresses and Dude will wear a suit.  It will probably be the first and only time we will look this special.  Thank God there will be pictures.

As Dude and I are going over last minute details of everything happening today we make Cam practice the Lord’s Prayer just one more time and pray that she remembers how to bless herself at her baptism.  It then occurs to me that this weekend is our anniversary…

Twelve years ago this weekend Dude and I had our first date.  He invited me to his house, the house we live in today with our two children.  I remember going through his CD collection to find out what kind of taste in music had and how he scored MAJOR points for having all of the Rolling Stones albums in his collection.  We had very similar musical taste which was really important to me because there’s nothing worse than being in a relationship with someone who listens to music that you detest.

Dude also scored high points on our first date because he made me dinner and served it on his (well, now it’s ours) backyard deck.  He grilled hamburgers and served them with a mini-fixings bar, potato salad and baked beans.  It wasn’t a gourmet meal but it was the way he made it and the way he served it.

I remember how relaxing it was hanging out with Dude and how much fun he was.  I also remember how big this house seemed 12 years ago when it was only him living here.  Now that there are four of us that fill these walls it seems so tiny but it’s gone from just a house to a home.

Twelve years ago on our first date Dude told me he saw himself as a father.  He told me he couldn’t wait until the day he has his own children so that he could do all the fun things fathers do with their kids.  There’s no doubt that he’s done his share of that with Cam and Teenie.

When I look at Dude today and think about that weekend 12 years ago my heart and stomach still get that fluttery feeling that I had when I pulled up in front of his house that day.  That excited, “Oh my God, I’m going to have my first date with DUDE!” feeling.  I love him more today than I ever could which tells me that having my marriage blessed is the right thing to do.

Having our children baptized today and including them with our marriage blessing just brings us closer together spiritually.

Imagine if I never had those flying toasters


Disney - Part I

by Lisa on May 14, 2008

in Disney World, Dude

If you can dream it, you can do it. Always remember that this whole thing was started with a dream and a mouse. ~Walt Disney

Ah, finally some peace and quiet to reflect on seven days with my three favorite people in the entire world: Cam, Teenie and Dude. I learned so much about all three of them on this trip. What I learned from them was far more valuable. Now that we are home I see how much closer we are which is priceless.

The trip started out sort of rocky as some of you may have seen if you were following me on Twitter. You see, I had set such high expectations that we were going to have a fantastic time, happy time, wonderful time while smiling and laughing if it killed us for seven days. There would be no arguing, no tears, no meltdowns. Everyone would act like perfect little fairy angels and Tinkerbell would sprinkle us with pixie dust if necessary.

This was my dream trip, right?

What usually happens when you set such unrealistic, high expectations for everyone around you? Usually you are let down. Our family learned this the hard way on the Rock N’ Roller Coaster. That’s right, Aerosmith almost took the Clusterfook family down on Day One of Disney with their roller coaster in Hollywood Studios.

Dude insisted that all four of us, Teenie the eight yr. old included, go on the roller coaster that goes from zero to 60 mph in 2.8 seconds. When you mention those statistics to an eight and 11 year old tweens who are safety obsessed, no thanks to their OCD mother, they tend to be gun shy about going zero to 60 mph in 2.8 seconds.

The girls refused to go on the roller coaster and Dude had a nuclear meltdown that made him walk out of Hollywood Studios. I was flabbergasted that my relaxed, chilled-out Dude had a meltdown over a roller coaster. It wasn’t about the roller coaster though. The girls and I sat by the Rock N’ Roller Coaster for about an hour and waited for him. When he finally returned he told us that he was disappointed because he had these expectations that all of us would go on every ride together.

Those unrealistic, high expectations…let him down.

Once we worked it all out it was 3:00 PM and 92 degrees so we called it a day and went back to the resort.

The resort. Oh my God, it was gorgeous, tranquil and serene and yes, we were at a Disney Resort. We stayed at the Coronado Springs. I chose the Coronado Springs for a few reasons. It has a lobby that looks the lobby of the resort Dude and I stayed at when we went to Cancun.

The resort also has a Spanish and Ancient Mexico theme so I wanted to recapture some of that for us and to give the girls a feel for what our resort looked like in Cancun. Although Dude and I needed time together to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary they felt left out…I thought the Coronado Springs would be a nice touch.

Plus the pool has a really cool water slide that they spent two hours at a time on.

At EPCOT I displayed my excellent parenting skills when Cam repeated “I’m hungry” 20 times. “I’m hungry, I’m hungry, I’m hungry, I’m hungry…”

“Cam, I’ve acknowledged your hunger. Please stop repeating it. I get it. I’m not purposely starving you. If you repeat it one more time I will make you eat fish in Norway.”

Now, I’m not exactly sure why fish in Norway would be some kind of punishment but I really thought it would make the “I’m hungry, I’m hungry,” stop. Unfortunately the only way to stop a truly starving child in EPCOT is to stop at a pastry shop in France and feed her chocolate cake for dinner. I am now the epitome of good parenting. Sign me up for Parents Magazine.

Just kidding on the Parents Magazine. I’m over that bullshit piece of fluff. Want to know what real parenting is about, just ask…I’ll tell you all about it.

Anyway, while Cam and Dude had the cake, Teenie had chocolate mousse. I had creme brulee. I believe by the time we entered Japan the sugar coma set in. I remember seeing a lot of Hello Kitty stuff and wanting sushi. We were really tired and hot so we found a spot in Germany to watch Illuminations: Reflections of Earth…Fireworks. The fireworks were cool.

So by the end of Day Two in Disney my body felt like it was going to shut down on me. I was so exhausted that I went to bed thinking that I wouldn’t get out of bed for Day Three and the rest of my family would have to go to Magic Kingdom without me.

And now I need to get to bed and get some rest…so more about the trip in my next post…

Picture: “Hannah Monteenie” - Teenie with Pal Mickey, in her Hannah Montana tank top and hat waiting for the bus.


I’ve been flying high on the “Disney Vacation” buzz for the past week with lots of false energy. Now the fatigue, lack of energy and crawl-to-the-bed tiredness is back. Something has to give and I think I really need to evaluate every thing I’m doing like sleep, nutrition and activities. I truly don’t want to bore you with the way my body has gone south like an 80 year old woman.

I really want to tell you how you rock. The Disney raffle ended at midnight on Sunday and Miss Ann has announced the winners. The total amount raised was $4864.87! That’s enough to completely cover our trip. Cam and Teenie are going to have the time of their lives if I have to take 10,000% of the RDA of Vitamins B6 and B12 each day!

Thank you…from the bottom of my heart.

And thank you to those people who have been donating directly to me.

A special thank you to Karen at Karen Sugarpants for sending me this exquisite gift. I’m starting to love the mailman, I’m telling ya! (Click on picture to see it up close)


She found this great necklace at Inspired Gemstone Creations and I thank Robin for including such a kind card.

So, you have voted and the results so far are on the classic Minnie ears for the flight to Disney. Oh, you think I’m kidding? I most certainly plan on wearing ears in the car on the way to the airport, in the airport and on the plane. If anyone says one word to me, just one word…and just dare them to look at me funny.

It also looks like the vote is leaning towards the longer length wig. It should be fun at the consultation on Saturday.

One last thing before I crash to the ground. In yesterday’s post I mentioned that my child “hated” China and someone mentioned in the comments that a little tolerance would be nice so I felt that I should clarify a few things…even though I did this in the comments.

I’m a responsible parent and I’m not about to defend myself as a parent to the internet because it’s not necessary. “Hate” is a very strong word and a very strong emotion. I believe I mentioned that in yesterday’s post and to my daughter, however the discussion with Teenie was in much more depth. I teach my children about tolerance, patience and understanding for all people. I teach them about diversity because that is exactly how I was raised by my mother.

Teenie is eight years old and gifted. I have an IEP from the school district to accommodate her learning needs because she’s more intelligent than the grand majority of her peers. I don’t say that to impress you or to brag about my child. I mention it because she understands a hell of a lot more than most eight year olds understand about the world so having a conversation about China, the environment, how products are manufactured, the conditions people work under and what’s in those products is something she can understand…on her level.

In frustration Teenie wants to boycott all products made in China not by my suggestion but by her own accord. It’s a very difficult thing to do which makes her more frustrated. Especially when she wants a new pair of Hannah Montana sunglasses…Made In China.

At no point am I teaching either child that Chinese people are bad people. In fact I’ve tried to explain that the Chinese people live under the rule of Communism and many times have their voices and opinions oppressed by the government. I did my senior project for my undergraduate degree on the very subject last October.

In teaching them the truth about the world they have a better understanding about how lucky they are to live in the United States and in my house where I allow them to have choices. Hey, I have to get my parenting angle in somewhere you know.

So, if in the discussion with my children I have taught them some kind of intolerance for people who are different or intolerance for different cultures then I’ve completely missed the mark. Report me to the DHS or something because quite frankly I think I’ve got it right…much more so than most parents or we would not have so much hatred in this world.

(Getting off the mommy blogger soap box now.)

Now, can we all go back to the gooey love-fest we were feeling when we started this post? After all, it is you who restored my faith in humanity, kindness and giving…


fruitysquirt.jpgProducts made in China are cheap through the exploitation of the workforce. Every time we shop, we are driving the nail further into the coffin of American manufacturing jobs. ~Joe Baca

I’m done with China. I’m done with anything made in China. I’m done. Seriously, this will make you cringe.

All week Teenie has been bugging me to go to Michael’s Craft Store because she wanted to buy some pussy willow branches. I’m linking Michael’s Craft Store because they should be absolutely ashamed to be a part of this story…ASHAMED!

Since all four of us needed things we decided to go out together and stop at several different stores. Once we were all in Michael’s Craft Store we separated. Dude was with the girls and I went off on my own.

I found a great Disney scrapbook I can use for our trip and God help me, I just became one of those scary scrapbooking mothers. WTF?

As I was saying…

Michael’s Craft Store doesn’t sell real pussy willow branches grown right here in the United States however they have horrible, plastic, fake reproductions made in China. That’s right, we have to import pussy willow branches that look bad. My daughter was crushed but that’s not the bad part of this story.

Teenie found some stickers that she wanted and Dude took her to the cashier. As they stood in line she saw all of the “impulse” items. You know, all that little crap you don’t need but grab just because you are standing in line. Well Michael’s Craft Store, a craft store, sells candy. It’s not candy you can use for crafting either but crap candy made in China.

China. Candy made in China. Except Dude didn’t realize the candy our eight year old daughter chose was made in China until we were in the car and I started the Spanish Inquisition.

She started spraying liquid into her mouth and I was like, WTF?

“TEENIE! What do you HAVE???”

“Fruitt Squirt, Mommy…you squirt it!”

“Teenie, gimme that NOW!”

So, I discovered it was made in China but that wasn’t the worst thing. The ingredient warning was the most alarming.

Allergy information: This product may contain traces of dairy, egg, gluten, soy, peanuts, treenuts, fish and seed.

Back the truck up. FISH? FISH in candy? Chinese fish in my child’s candy? Chinese eggs in my child’s candy? Seeds??? Seeds in liquid spray candy?

Where the hell are they making this crap that there could possibly be traces of fish, eggs and seeds in a fruit flavored spray candy? I totally flipped out and threw a fit in the car.

When we got home I went to the web site listed on the label and damn near had a seizure. Kids Brands Inc. distributes this crap not only to Michael’s Craft Store but to Toys R Us too. Someone needs to choke the crap out of the webmaster of Kids Brands Inc. Please tell me you didn’t come close to having a mental breakdown too.

Meanwhile, I had to break Teenie’s heart by taking her candy away and giving her $2.oo back.

Her response was classic, “I hate China!”

I told her that “hate” is a very strong word and emotion and she said,

“Well I’m never buying anything made in China ever again!!!

She may be eight, but she’s very wise. Imagine if we all followed her lead…


A Few Things…

by Lisa on April 16, 2008

in Cancer Sucks

If you can dream it, you can do it. ~Walt Disney

First of all, I’d like to thank everyone who commented yesterday. Reading all of your comments left me so emotional that I couldn’t respond. I was really touched by what each and every one of you had to say.

Thank you for sharing lessons and ideas. I think one of the things I’m going to do is take a lot of the lessons and make a scrap book with them. I’m not terribly crafty however I know I can come up with something wonderful.

When the time is right I will make some videos for the girls however in the meantime it’s time to use the video camera I purchased a few years ago. It’s hardly ever been used. I want them to have as many memories on video as possible. Of course you realize this may subject you to some more videos much like Look Ma, I Got A Tiara but in much better quality.

Now I must clear up any confusion there might have been over an off-handed comment I made on Sunday in my Disney Update post. At the end of the post I made mention about doing my taxes and the hope that I wouldn’t have to use your donation money to pay for anything.

Please let me clarify…I procrastinated in preparing my federal taxes this year and every year I’m always afraid I’ll owe money. Every year I go through this and every year we get a refund no matter how small it may be. Every year the refund is just enough to cover our real estate tax bill and we get it just in time to pay that bill. So, while other people are able to use that money for other things, my husband and I use our federal tax refund to pay our real estate taxes. We have done this every year for the past 11 years.

In fact the Economic Stimulus check we will receive along with lots of other Americans will go towards the first real estate tax bill we received last month. We will pay the late penalty and then pay the tax. I wonder how many other people will use that check for bills as well.

The last thing I want to talk about was my doctor’s appointment with the medical oncologist yesterday. Actually, I’ll save that for tomorrow’s post because that will take a post in itself to explain the details. Plus, I haven’t fully wrapped my mind around it…it’s that mind blowing.

Basically, I need to get my ass in gear and start treatment as soon as possible which means my family has to go to Disney yesterday. My husband and I are extremely grateful for all you have done to make it possible for us to take our daughters on that trip, a trip we’ve been dreaming for over three years.

We understand that some people were getting together to donate flyer miles and other things but I have an aggressive cancer that needs treatment as soon as possible.

At risk of making some people angry my husband and I decided to do what’s best for our family, our daughters and for my health and we had to plan our trip to Disney accordingly. We were able to plan the trip exactly how we envisioned it at a very reasonable price.

See, we wanted to give our two daughters the entire Disney experience where they could stay at a Disney resort, you know where everything is Disney. That’s part of the magic. We wanted to give them a week away from the harsh reality of what they’ve been through for the past four years, after all they are ages eight and 11.

So, I hope that people will understand the decision that Dude and I had to make. I also hope they will understand what we wanted our daughters to have in taking them to Disney.

If, God forbid, this is the last vacation our family gets to take together then I want it to be the most memorable vacation ever…