Tribute on the Golf Channel

I’ve shared so much of the journey of the days following my father’s death this year that I wanted to share this in case any of you might want to watch it.  You’ve all been so supportive and encouraging to us and I’m so appreciative. The Golf Channel is airing the World Club Championship highlights tomorrow (12/8) at 4:30 (eastern). It was the last tournament my dad played in and he passed away on the flight back. There will be a tribute to my dad in the programming. I’m nervous, excited, sad, thankful and hesitant all at the same time. I’ll be recording it so we can watch it together as a family tomorrow night.

If you happen to miss it tomorrow it will re-air on Thursday 12/29 at 2:00p (eastern).

 

Today I will be…..

….Iron Man (or Iron Girl I guess). Gicela made me these jeggings as a joke but I actually love them. I will be a superhero today if I complete one task: make it to Costco…..it’s only 5 miles away but it seems like 100.  It’s all relative. Compared to how I felt yesterday, today I am Samson. I’m going to wear my jeggings too.

Cram THAT up your cramhole Cancer!

 

I didn’t even have to spin the “Spin-spiration” wheel….Boo puts it on Iron Man every morning anyways.

Almost R-Rated Elf on the Shelf Outtakes

By popular demand……a second round of Elf on the Shelf for us adults. If only Boo knew what happened to her poor Elf when she goes off to school……I’ll be able to share these with her in about 20 years. Make sure to visit the PG-13 version and the kid-friendly version too! Apparently I have a sick sense of humor because this could go on ALL day….I think chemotherapy is making me evil.

elf6

Crack is Whack El

 

elf7

Good Time Elf

elf8

Flat Tire Elf

elf9

On the Rocks Elf

 

 

CLICK HERE to visit all the Elf on the Shelf posts THAT EVER WERE. 

The Traveling Shirt

It was a morning full of doctor visits….three to be exact. A self portrait with my go-go-gadget arm:

 

 

After chemo first thing I had a visit with my regular doctor. It was humorous in the waiting room because the visitors there aren’t used to seeing someone with a mask. Everyone treated me like I had ebola…..and sat accordingly. I might wear a mask for the rest of my life….everywhere I go….if I can get THAT much personal space:

 

My sister sent me this shirt to wear……it’s her “sisterhood of the traveling shirt” t-shirt…..like the movie, her and her friends have passed it back and forth since 2006 and written milestones on it. I get to write on it now and send it back:

 

 

Since I get intramuscular injections….it takes longer for the chemo to absorb into the bloodstream so I usually have a few hours before I start to feel it. It’s like a race for me……fit in whatever I can right afterwards. Today I stopped at the thrift store on my way home to see what furniture they had in:

 

Once I got home I was able to do a little bit of work sorting out some fabric scraps before I started feeling crummy…..then I had to lay down until tonight. I’ve got to take a few days off now before I can work on my new project of moving into the new office area. I’ve got big plans for it: pretty repainted furniture, a chandelier, larger desk areas for Lisa and I and a project table. The old office will become a writing nook for me and playroom combo for Boo…..it seems like a ton of work right now but it will get done eventually!

 

 

My HCG levels are moving in the right direction….just too slow….so somethings up…..the MRI scans this week will tell us more! For now I’ll just be patient and work on my Li’l Journal Project and design some new dresses from my lair of rest : )

 

Don’t forget! Choose Joy!

XOXO,

Ash

The Journey

I don’t know why I chose to write all this down last night…I guess it chose me. Sometimes I can’t stop it from pouring out…..so much so I kind of just type frantically so I can get it all out before it disappears into thin air **poof**. I was thinking about a conversation that Gale (my MIL) and I had on the drive to Loma Linda Friday about the night I went into surgery 6 weeks ago. She was telling me about the phone conversation when my FIL Barry called her (when I should have been coming OUT of surgery):

Barry: It isn’t good. They are doing an emergency hysterectomy right now.
Gale: What?! So she won’t be able to have a baby?
Barry: Gale, they are working……to save her life.

Every time I think about that conversation I get the wind knocked out of me a little.  You know, that feeling like you feel like you might cry but it’s just like a big gasp for air? I can’t believe how much I took for granted as I went in…..almost like I was invincible…..and how much trust I had put in those doctors. I remember being rolled into the OR and the radio was on.  They had been waiting on the confirmation of my blood type and I was saying “oh please, like you would ever need blood.” I just took it all so lightly. They put a mask on my face and it was like a game to me: yeah right, they can’t get me to fall asleep…..3, 2…..(lights out). What I wouldn’t give to be a fly on the wall when all that changed. I wonder what the doctors said when they realized I was bleeding uncontrollably…..was it “oh sh@t” or was it a calm “we have a change of plans.” I keep meaning to ask Dr. R that.  Will this be a story they recount in the OR from time to time? “Remember that young girl we operated on with the crazy tumor who almost bled to death? And she thought she was going to Olive Garden right after surgery? Ha….if only she knew.”



I often think: what if I hadn’t made it through? My family and friends don’t like to talk about that…..but I talk about it all the time. It’s only natural to think about  it. I think about who would have read my diaries first. I think about how I should have cleaned out my underwear drawer….you KNOW you ALL have that “last resort” underwear that you hope no one ever sees. I think how easy death would have been for me…..I would have never even known really. And I think about how devastating it would have been for my family. I probably would have opened my eyes and my dad would be standing there welcoming me to heaven. That wouldn’t have been so bad…..that’s why I’m not scared of dying. However, I live for my loved ones……and I really love being here: I want my mother to have a daughter, I want my siblings to have a sister, I want my husband to have a wife….and most of all I want Boo to have a mother.

I imagine my dad talking to God saying “here’s the deal…..you don’t want her here yet….first of all, she’s going to be super mad….second of all, you’ll want to send her back for a while, I guarantee it……and she’ll tell ALL your heavenly secrets…..on her blog.”


I cry a lot in the shower or when I’m driving by myself. It all comes flooding out. But it’s never a sad or scared cry…..it’s an overwhelming emotional cry. Many times I find myself saying “thank you God, thank you” and I feel like my heart is going to cave in.

Gale said in the car: you’re different now. you seem happier than you’ve ever been before.

I DO feel happier.
I feel lighter.
I see the bigger picture.

Someone wrote me the other day saying that my journey has been helping with their anxiety. I had to write back: “I wasn’t always like this.” I feel like I’m leaving out a huge part of the story. I struggled with a lot of things in my early 20s. I had severe anxiety and panic attacks. I’ve struggled with ADHD and social anxiety. I have very addictive tendencies and I was very aloof about them. It took me a long time to unlearn a lot of things.  But I wouldn’t change a thing……I know everyone says that…but it’s true…..I tell myself: anyone who is the least bit interesting has a past. I could write a very colorful memoir…..although I’m not sure I’m ready for my mother to read it yet. I only wish I knew back then what I know now: that life doesn’t have to be as hard as we make it.



The one big turning point for me in my life (before all of this current stuff) is when I learned to embrace “the dark side”…..and I did that through journaling. Journaling became my life for a few years (you can see some of them here). I would be on a corporate jet with clients and I had no problem pulling out my journal and crayons to write down a quote or something I wanted to remember. I glued bits and pieces of my life into notebooks trying to sort things out and figure out who I was. I turned sadness, anxiety, insecurity, and anger into a creative process. I collected questions, random facts, quotes, people, words, receipts, websites, photos and drawings.  I didn’t write in order. I skipped pages. If I didn’t feel like writing I would just draw a map of where I was or write down what I had for lunch.

Among other things, you’ll find that you’re not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behavior. You’re by no means alone on that score, you’ll be excited and stimulated to know. Many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now. Happily, some of them kept records of their troubles. You’ll learn from them — if you want to. Just as someday, if you have something to offer, someone will learn something from you. It’s a beautiful reciprocal arrangement. And it isn’t education. It’s history. It’s poetry. – Catcher in the Rye

I slowly became less anxious, I stopped worrying about what other people thought about me. I spoke up and welcomed the consequences. I became more compassionate and I sought out people that were real and interesting. I cut ties with people who were toxic. I became obsessed with memoirs and movies and when I connected with something in them, I wrote it down.  I read all of Sylvia Plath’s journals and underlined so much I might as well have underlined every word.  I met Johnny Cash in a dream. I went to see a Dolly Parton concert.

Have I lost you yet?



 

“I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.” -Oscar Wilde

I read every John Steinbeck book and cried when I read the last one because he’s dead and wouldn’t be able to write another one. It was so final. I made lists of memories from when I was younger. I interviewed my grandparents and wrote down their stories. I spoke up at work and soon realized I didn’t belong there. My manager and assigned mentor asked me to “please attach an Advil” when I emailed him.

“I’m fine. I just threw up in my mouth a bit.” -from the movie Dodgeball

I re-evaluated my life and quit my job. Brett and I moved to California and I found out I was pregnant…….and then, just like that:

I never wrote in a journal again.

It just ended. I can’t explain it  but that’s how it happened. Of course I’m skimming over the story but this post would be 400 chapters long if I kept going. But maybe that’s the whole point…..maybe I’m not supposed to leave out parts of the story and that’s why this type of post has chosen me. I guess…. we’ll see.

“When you look back on your life, it looks as though it were a plot, but when you are in it, it’s a mess: just one surprise after another. then, later, you see it was perfect.” -Schopenhauer.

****

And then I think of my new friend Jenny. I’ve only known her for a short time….I met her through her mother Debby and we’ve only chatted through email. But I know I met her for a reason and I know she’s already had a huge impact on my life. I think about her all day long and wonder why we met….when God is going to take her home so soon. Two days ago she made a point to tell me “sure it’s short, but at least we got to know each other, and for some reason we are supposed to know each other.” And then…just like that…..she’s no longer able to physically email. I wonder how she’s feeling. And then I wonder if we have similar handwriting.  I wonder what her drawings look like (she’s an artist). If anything could make me lose faith it would be this….but I won’t. I think of my dad greeting her in heaven and how welcome he’ll make her feel. He’ll know we had a connection.

“I by no means have given up on life, I still have days ahead of me but they are different. The life that I am living here are coming to an end and I am still enjoying what breaths I have left in my body up until that place where Steve Jobs kept saying “Wow”. I have accepted the life I was given, I have learned to cherish what wonderful things that have come my way and share it with others.” -Jenny Swett

*****

Out of all of this……I have a new project I am starting:

The Li’l Journal Project

I’ll be mailing journals all over the world one-by-one to random people…..if you get one all you have to do is complete one page….in any way you like. You can add a quote, write a letter, draw something, paint something, paste a photo, insert a leaf inside, embroider a page, staple your business card to it etc. Then you pass it on to someone else. As people receive them they can share it on the Facebook page…..and I’ll share some on the blog too. You can read about those before you. It will be fun to track the travels of each journal. Once they fill up there will be an address to send it back to so we can scan in pages to share.

I hope that the journals will become thick and worn and full of history. I hope that those who randomly get them can learn something from the people before them.

 

Journal 1 will go to Jenny and her family since she’s my inspiration:

 


 

The rest of the journals will be mailed all over the place. I need some addresses overseas so if you are overseas and would like to start one let me know through the contact form your address….I’ll choose from random. (we have have been flooded with addresses, thank you all so much for your interest! We will choose from the list we have now, thank you!) I’ll start with five of them this week and add more slowly as we go. I’ll post more soon about the whole project soon. XOXO, Ashley

Sponsor Spotlight and Giveaway – Stella & Dot

 

 

We are very excited to have independent stylist Kelly Wenzel of Stella & Dot as a new Lil Blue Boo blog sponsor! We love Kelly and we love Stella & Dot!

A little bit about Stella & Dot:

Stella and Dot, an Inc. 500 Fastest-Growing Company, is a San Francisco based social selling company that creates flexible entrepreneurial opportunities for women. Our boutique-style jewelry and accessories line is available exclusively through in-home Trunk Shows by Independent Stylists and online. Our one of a kind collections are designed by celebrated New York designers and featured in Gossip Girl, In Style and Lucky Magazine as well as on the wrists and necklines of today’s hottest celebrities. The Today Show, Wall Street Journal and The New York Times have praised Stella & Dot for our innovative social shopping concept which brings together the best of ecommerce, social media, personal service and passionate earning to create the ultimate home based business for today’s modern woman.

Our Mission:

TO GIVE EVERY WOMAN THE MEANS TO STYLE HER OWN LIFE.

We get great joy out of designing irresistible jewelry. And yet, jewelry is just the tangible expression of something much greater we are creating. We have a vision of the world where STRONG WOMEN LIVE BOLD and joyful lives. They know what they want and they work for it. They inspire each other. Passion and joy are their best accessories.

 

Here is a great VIDEO you can watch to learn more about Stella & Dot. Now lets take a look at a just a few of the things they have to offer!


What to wear this holiday season….add sparkle to your holiday style and take your look from day to night!  Fabulous holiday gifts (half the collection is under $50) that come gift ready in 3-5 days! Seriously loving the Caroline Pendant Necklace from this look…

 

 

[Read more…]

Suspicious Activity

Went to Loma Linda today for another checkup with Dr. R. My mother-in-law Gale went with me…..I call her my “scribe” because she always asks all the good questions and remembers every little detail. Every time I step into a doctor’s office I get “white coat syndrome”: I start sweating (my eyebrows start first), my blood pressure goes through the roof and I forget everything I was supposed to ask (even if I wrote it down) and I don’t hear much of anything. So…I either need a scribe or a tape recorder….but a tape recorder wouldn’t be my advocate like Gale is! I have Gale repeat stuff back to me when the doctor leaves the room and I scrawl it down so I don’t forget…..and she seriously sounds like a tape recorder….she remembers it word-for-word…..this is my secret “how annoying that I have to write this stuff down” handwriting that no one is ever supposed to see:

 

 

So, my HCG levels aren’t coming down as fast as they should be. Apparently they should be down in the hundreds by now…..and they are still around the 2,000 range.

Dr. R had another radiologist take a look at my MRI scans and he said my liver looks suspicious for metastases. I love that they use the word “suspicious” as a medical term……it sounds very suspicious in itself. The high levels might be due to the cancer on my liver…..that it’s too dense and may need radiation. Anyways, early next week I’ll have another more in depth MRI focusing just on my liver….that will tell us more. They can’t do a biopsy because the liver would bleed and lord knows I don’t want to lose any more body parts!

When we first got to the doctor’s office the nurse asked when my last pap smear was:

Me: 2009, I think.
Her and Gale: 2009?!?
Me: Um, yes….my favorite doctor retired and I didn’t feel comfortable going to anyone else yet. Anyways, I’m not sure why this is relevant….they just removed my cervix. There’s no more “pap” to “smear”.

There was a little concern about my weight loss. Oh, apparently I should have told my primary care physician that I have cancer. Who knew? I told Dr. R. “I can only see one doctor at a time…..don’t you feel lucky?” They win, I have an appt with Dr. Y on Monday right after my chemotherapy. “Hi Dr. Y….I haven’t seen you in a year, here’s a stack of medical files just in case I need you.” That was a hilarious call with the appointment desk:

Appointment desk: And why are you coming in?
Me: Oh, I just want to chat with Dr. Y and update her on how I’ve been doing lately.

After Loma Linda, we drove a little farther down the 10 to visit Gale’s nephew Cole who was flown last night from Hawaii to a rehabilitation facility in California. It just worked out perfectly that we got to see him. Cole was in a very bad car wreck in Hawaii a few weeks ago. Cole has a long road ahead of him and we are praying for a full recovery. I know the flight was so hard on him and his mom and Mark. He opened his eyes when we were there though and looked straight at us! I could see him in there…..I truly think it will be just a matter of time before he is responding more and more. Any prayers that were coming my way……please, please send them to Cole. Dear God, I won’t ask for anything else, just please heal Cole.

We passed this place on the way to see Cole…..I think my long lost twin may own it (and it has a drive through). Maybe “she” will relocate to Palm Desert:

 

 

Right now I’m addicted to these Dare Maple Leaf cookies that my hubby’s office neighbor Kim gave us. Brett brought them home and said you have to try these….they are the best cookies ever. I was skeptical….because I do eat a LOT of cookies. But seriously, they might be the best cookies ever. Now I just have to find where to buy them. I have to ration the box so it will last longer.  Let me know if you see them in a store so I don’t have to buy them online!

 

 

I’m resting now after a long day……and watching Real Housewives reruns…..my favorite line of all time: “Who’s gonna check me Boo?” from Atlanta’s Sheree.

Who’s gonna check me Boo?

I just like saying that.

 

XOXO,

Ash

P.S. The Choose Joy bracelets sold out but we ordered many more!  I’ll let you know when they are back in the shop. Check out the Choose Joy page if you haven’t had a chance yet. Have a great weekend!

18 Elf on the Shelf Ideas (An Elf-Sized Photo Shoot)

18 Elf on the Shelf Ideas (An Elf-Sized Photo Shoot) via lilblueboo.com

 

I decided to do Elf on a Shelf this year. It might be the only year I ever do it so I’m going all out. If you haven’t heard of Elf on Shelf, it’s a little elf that you move around every night and your kid has to find him in the morning. During the night the elf supposedly flies to the North Pole to report to Santa….which is why he’s in a different place every morning.

 

18 Elf on the Shelf Ideas (An Elf-Sized Photo Shoot) via lilblueboo.com

(Mr. LBB found our Elf on the Shelf at Barnes and Noble)

Some people just move the elf around every night to a different location……others put together extravagant scenarios as to what the elf did during the night when he returned from the North Pole. I guess you could classify me as the latter of the two.

Oh, and each family is supposed to name their elf….ours is named Buddy.

Elf on the Shelf Ideas - Martha Stewart Elf

Martha Stewart

Elf on the Shelf Ideas - Getting into Mom's Mascara

Getting into Mom’s Mascara

Elf on the Shelf Ideas - Playing Cards

Playing Cards

elf5

Snow Angel

elf6

Graffiti

elf7

A Date with Barbie

elf8

Syrup is a Food Group

elf9

Cheerio Donuts

elf10

TP’g the Christmas Tree

elf11

Emailing Santa

elf13

Miniature Elf Footsteps

elf12

Stuck Outside

elf14

Camping with Barbie’s RV

elf15

Copying Bum

elf16

Packing Lunch

elf17

Drive in Movie

elf18

Trying on Doll Clothes

elf19

In the Freezer

 

 

CLICK HERE to visit all the Elf on the Shelf posts THAT EVER WERE.