Wednesday, October 29, 2008



It was a crazy insane time getting packed and shoving everything into a storage unit. The adventures included:

- Cold front and freezing temps the day we were moving into the storage unit
- The storage unit being inside on the second floor, around two corners and down a long hall!!
- The elevator in said storage unit being TINY and oh btw the door would not stay open (makes things hard when you are carrying a heavy box!!)
- The dishwasher flooding
- Getting stuck on a rooftop in the pouring rain (no, not kidding)
- Other things I'm sure but I can't think of them atm...



I am sitting at home in Hawaii!!!!

It is so quiet here... I can't even hear cars. Just the wind in the trees behind the house. And the birds. Adam is at work, but I have a list about a mile long to tackle, beginning with getting a shower and then getting a pedicure! Then I have to buy a car, find a new place for us to live, change my address, unpack, clean this place, and plan a wedding....... sheesh! All good things though. It's nice when your to-do list is full of great adventures.

I'll be back later with pics and more. Right now I gotta get that shower!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Two Years

October 19, 2006.

I woke up and went for a jog, as I would any other normal day. Got to work, through emails, started on projects... around 11:00 the call came. "Ms. New, I have the results of your biopsy. It's positive for cancer." In that moment, my world collapsed to the size of a pin head. I said, "I have to call you back..." and hung up. I sat there stunned for a moment and then dialed my mom's cell. As soon as she answered, my throat closed up and all I could choke out was "Mom..." She knew. I didn't have to tell her. She said, "Oh my god, it's cancer. I'm coming to get you." I could tell she had started to cry too before she hung up the phone.

The rest of the day was a blur of helplessness. We all wanted to do something, anything, but there was nothing to do, really. Adam left work early and came over and my mom and aunt were at my apartment too. We started researching and making phone calls to family. I knew I would have surgery and radiation, but no details were certain - even the extent of the cancer could not be known until they opened me up and took some lymph nodes for biopsies.

The weeks between my diagnosis and my surgery were some of the hardest of my life. The uncertainty, the fear of the unknown, the feeling of helplessness. The grief. Though I had assurances from doctors and surgeons that I would almost positively NOT die from thyroid cancer, I still grieved the loss of my health, a vital organ, the enormous change in my life, my innocence. Even now, I have my moments: occasionally when I set my medicine out for the night, or when I have to go back for yet another doctor's appointment -- a lifetime of appointments!

I found the tumor myself. I walked into the bathroom with a glass of water, about to get in the shower. I took a drink and caught sight of myself in the mirror - a small lump on my neck as I swallowed. I had an ultrasound, which came back showing some calcification around the lump - a worrysome sign. So I had a needle biopsy, which I was completely unprepared for. They are sometimes done without any anesthetic, which mine was, by my endocrinologist. He did three passes with three different needles - basically (for lack of a better description) stabbing each needle in a number of times and then using this special suction that collects samples from the nodule. I got a hematoma and had a huge bruise on my neck. I rode the metro home in shock.

That biopsy came back inconclusive and I had to go have ANOTHER - this time with local anesthesia and guided by ultrasound. It was, in many ways, more unsettling than the first. For one thing, I had to go to Washington Hospital - to the Cancer Center. Walking in there felt unreal... I don't belong here! I'm only 26, I'm too young for this! I would be back there many times for surgery, scans, radiation and follow-up appointments.

It's been two years since that fateful day of my diagnosis. I can honestly say, fully knowing how glib and trite it sounds, that cancer was a blessing in disguise. The reasons why are posts in and of themselves. Suffice to say that anything serious and difficult rewards you with comprehension, depth and gratitude... as well as in other quiet and unspeakable ways.

I won't go so far as to say that cancer was a gift. Rather, to borrow from the lovely Kris Carr, cancer is my guru. A google search tells me that a Guru teaches how to find the way home to God. Indeed.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Deadly Cute

Dear internets,

I am about to show you the cutest thing ever. It is so cute that you might perish immediately upon seeing it. If this happens to you I accept no responsibility -- YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

Scroll down to see TEH CUTE.

Try not to squee too loudly, you might disturb the blogs next door!

This tiny deer was delivered by Caesarean section at a wildlife hospital after his motherwas killed by a car. Little Rupert, who is so small he can fit in an adult's hand, was bornafter vets failed in their battle to save his mother.

"teh cute... i has it"

At just six inches tall and weighing just over a pound, he is now in an incubatorin the intensive care unit at Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital in Buckinghamshire. He has only recently opened his eyes. Les Stocker, founder of Tiggywinkles, said: 'Rupert's mother had very severe injuries. We brought him out and got him breathing and then he went into an incubator on oxygen.He is now being fed by a tube.'

Tucked up: Rupert in an incubator. Try not to snorgle your COMPUTER!!

Staff are optimistic Rupert, now five days old, will make a full recovery.'Deer are very, very tricky but this one has spirit. He's an extremely feistylittle guy and quite pushy,' Mr Stocker said.


Wednesday, October 08, 2008

'Sup y'all

Adam finally called me from Turkalurkadurk yesterday evening and even though our call was dropped no fewer than five times, we managed to talk for almost 30 minutes! He says I will never be able to tell the internets where he is (boo!) but he assures me it smells bad (everywhere) and is hot (constantly), but he is eating well and likes his accomodations better than staying in a CONEX shipping container. As much as it sucks, I think he kind of likes playing GI Joe, kwim?

As for me, my cute little cafe table and chairs will be gone tonight, and the coffee table will be gone tomorrow, and hopefully my dresser and wardrobe will be gone by this weekend. Then I think it will really start to sink in that I am OMFGMOVING! Cause, you know, I'm still hanging around all weekend eating bon bons instead of packing or something useful. I rawk.

What's new with you?

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


As it would happen, final impressions being as lasting as first, DC will forever be seared in my brain in crisp, cool fall tones under an impossibly blue sky. For some reason -- most likely because I'm leaving and it is the only poignant thing that could happen -- DC is wrapped up in an autumn that couldn't be any more perfect.

I am able to ignore the noise, the metro and the absurd crush of self importance, because the leaves are crunchy beneath my boots and the monuments are gleaming patriotically among the trees, and every day the trees are changing and the mornings are cold enough to need a scarf.

It is bittersweet that I will be left with this romantic vision of DC in my heart. I walk silently on my lunch break past the Vietnam Memorial to wander along the tree-lined paths by the Reflecting Pool. The geese and ducks that were just babies a few months ago are already grown, but they still flock together down the grassy hill and into the water, and they form a pretty picture gliding across the image of the Washington Monument in the pool.
The other day I was struck by pangs of sadness, fondness and preemptive nostalgia at the thought of leaving. I guess three years is still not enough time to become jaded at the sight of the White House or the Capitol Building.
Yes, DC, I will miss you. I can't help but feel affection for your grandeur, your puffed up optimism and patriotism, your celebrity politicians and the crush of people drunk on the energy of influence that courses through your streets. I wish I could become infected with the whole being-a-part-of-it vibe, but I have always felt somehow that I don't belong in this beehive of global power. Perhaps another day in the future, my life's path will bring me back...

I will miss the Cherry Blossoms by the Tidal Basin, the Presidential motorcades with armed snipers hanging out the windows of SUV's, the Washington & Old Dominion Trail. I will miss the crisp fall, the changing leaves and the bunnies hopping across my path when I'm jogging as the sun comes up. I will miss the Smithsonian, the Kennedy Center, and the little Asian man that plays that funny instrument at the Ballston Metro. I will miss coming to work at the State Department every day and the sense of excitement and wonder at my involvement in world events.

Yes. DC, I will miss you...

You think your gym is hardcore....

"The gym at FOB Gibraltar in Afghanistan. The soldiers have only a handful of major modes: fight, exercise, clean weapons, eat and sleep. Their gym is slap in the middle of three mortar pits, and one mortar is even set up inside the gym. (Several smaller mortars are not in pits, and were set up after the 81mm mortars started having “hung rounds,” which means the mortar bomb gets stuck in the tube and does not fire.)"
Mike Yon is doing some interesting reporting from Afghanistan these days. You should check it out even if only to see the pictures. The quote above and pic are from one of his posts.
Adam wasn't at an FOB in Afghanistan, he was at a huge military facility where I worry less about his safety. As for where he is now....... supposedly it is safer than Afghanistan even though it is one of the most dangerous places on earth.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Last Set of Kansas Pics

I'm at a loss for words lately - the only thing running through my brain is about moving! I guess I could tell you that Adam went back on deployment again yesterday for the next few weeks. Supposedly he is going to fly here on his way back to Hawaii the last week of October to help me move! But we won't know for sure until right before... love that, right?! He's in an undisclosed location, and it's NOT Afghanistan so I'm calling it Turkalurkadurk. Hehe. I actually know where he is this time, though - ha. But I can't say! Maybe when he gets back I will be allowed to tell you. And you'll all be like ooh, weird! Wonder what THAT was like.

I'm selling all my furniture - anyone in the DC area want any of it?!

OK, so these are the last of the pics I have...

You have to click on this first one - it's my favorite. The cross-eyed kitty. I think his name is Richard Parker?? But I'm not sure. He was definitely my favorite cat.

Mary in the garden by the side of the house... Deep midwestern Kansas, a place called GODdard, if you would believe it, and of course these people have some VERY Catholic values. That's how come Adam has like 17 aunts and uncles (NOT including their spouses) and like 80 first cousins. I mentioned to you before that Adam was even in the seminary before, right?! I like to tell people that, I think it's kind of cool. He left that life to find me :)

Here are the kitties - that's the cross-eyed one on the left, then Butterfinger and Snickers.

I have no idea why I am showing you this pic of the vehicles... but look at all those trees! Adam planted those, he likes to remind me over and over again :)

This is the front of the house as you drive up.

And the side of the house... that first pic of the kitty was on the back porch. Which Adam and his brothers built! With their bare hands! He likes to remind me of this too!! :)

Friday, October 03, 2008

Just one comment on the VP debate....

The word "nuclear" is pronounced noo-KLEE-er.



It's NOT noo-QU-lur, I promise you.


Trust me on this.... I'm kind of an expert on WMD (double-yoo-em-dee).

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Totally Fine. Too fine, in fact.....

Several people have emailed asking if I'm ok - I guess you can't leave up a post like that last one and then have radio silence without people starting to wonder whether you've gone all Thelma and Louise or Sylvia Plath or something... I'M TOTALLY FINE!! :)

I have been in MUCH better spirits the last few days! I actually woke up Monday morning feeling all fine and chipper and what? I barely even REMEMBER blogging about being down in the dumps! Don't get me wrong, I'm still totally freaking the hell out because OMG I'm MOVING to a SMALL ISLAND with nothing but TWO SUITCASES in THREE FREAKING WEEKS!

I decided to stop worrying about the church and the wedding until I get myself securely installed on said island... did you know there are NO pretty catholic churches in either Oahu or Las Vegas? I shit you not, Adam has been driving all over the island looking at churches and besides the cathedral which neither of us wants to spend A THOUSAND DOLLARS reserving, we are at a loss. I've got half a mind to go ahead and get married in Kansas, 5,000 of Adam's family members and all, just because they actually have pretty churches that do not cost a cool grand to get hitched in. In all seriousness, those exhorbitant fees seem like extortion to me and I think they should be ashamed of themselves before God and the Pope.

Anyway, enough about that because I'M NOT THINKING ABOUT THAT RIGHT NOW! I have enough other things to think/worry about with the move that I do not need that stress right now on top of it!

I have furniture to sell and reservations to make and packing to do and just way too much to worry about!!! I'm feeling too calm and collected to have this much to worry about. Shouldn't I be running around like a chicken with my head cut off right about now? I'm totally not! Which scares me because I really need to get on top of all this shit!

Right now I'm off to get blood drawn. I'm so sick of getting stuck with needles, I swear! I see my endo for the last time on Monday and he's going to tell me what the next steps are so I can make sure I get the right follow up care at my next doctor. I'm supposed to have another scan here soon. I'll have to do it probably with a military doctor? Who knows! Just add it to the OMFGMOVING list! Whee!