It’s that time of the year when invitations are mailed and caps and gowns are donned by teens and adults, eager to embark on the next leg of their human journey. I experienced my own graduation of sorts last week. On Thursday, I had my bi-annual check-up with my Oncologist. (My visits with Dr. B. have steadily been reduced from weekly to monthly to quarterly to bi-annually.) For awhile now, I have been pleading with the good doctor to allow me check in just once a year, but he has consistently and politely denied my request. It’s not that I absolutely hate going for these check-ups. I do have blood drawn and they run two separate tests. Once the results are determined to be “normal,” there is a sense of peace that comes from knowing that I remain cancer-free. However, these appointments have a way of hurling me back to a time, not so long ago, when I was a full-fledged cancer patient. So, twice a year, I beg to “graduate” to just an annual visit. After checking my chart (along with my perfect grades and attendance), Dr. B. granted me my wish. My next appointment is May 6, 2010.

Congratulations to all the graduates this season, from preschool to medical school. Woo Hoo! (That is me tossing my cap into the air!) Life is sweet!

Spring Spruce-Up

Spring has sprung and the race is on.  I live in the Midwest where we do experience distinct seasons. During the months of December, January and February there is a respite from outdoor chores, other than occasional snow shoveling. Life tends to slow down and we retreat inside, where it is toasty and hot chocolate flows freely. Once the calendar flips a page to March, life’s pace may kick up a notch, depending how warm the month is. By the time April appears, complete with its blossoming flowers and frequent rain showers, many evenings and weekends become devoted to the yard gods. The grass begs to be mowed every four to five days (I actually cut it every six or seven), and the landscaping screams for a little spruce-up including dead-heading, fertilizer and a fresh blanket of mulch.There are shrubs to trim, weeds to pull and new garden specimens to purchase and then insert into the ground. My fake clay pots, which have been barren for several months, beg for new flowers to contain and nurture.

I work at a maniacal pace to complete these yearly tasks before THE HEAT SETS IN! I sweat like a man and therefore abhor doing heavy labor once the temps and humidity rise. By the time our city begins to feel like Houston, Texas (where I spent eleven very uncomfortable summers), I am safely tucked inside with the A/C running and a tall glass of iced tea in hand. This year, I will have to brave the stifling air and mow the lawn, however, there just might be a chance that I may escape the bulk of this weekly chore. Junior has been behind the mower a few times now and exclaims that “this is fun!” (I will remind him of that statement once the novelty wears off.) He mows while I run around the yard with our new gas weed-whacker looking like Joanie Depp as Edward Trimmerhands! Together,Team Joan and Son, get the job done in no time. I get a beautifully manicured lawn and Junior learns a valuable lesson in hard work and responsibility. Soon, I should be able to entice him into washing my car.