Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Stuff 'N Nonsense

Zhu Zhu Update ---> After I emailed the buyer with my sincere apology and explanation of what happened, I got a message from her through ebay asking why she had not heard from me. WTF. I told her that I had emailed her on December 23 and forwarded that email to her. She was completely rude to me and told me she hadn't checked her email, that she had only checked her messages through ebay. All this despite the fact that I again told her I felt horrible for what was a true oversight. I told her I had hoped she would be a little more understanding and that I hoped she had a BLESSED new year.

In other words I was trying to bite my lip.

Honestly, I just hate that everyone is so quick to see the worst in people. Good grief ... it was a fricken honest mistake. I understand that she is upset that she didn't have the gift by Christmas ... they ended up being for her grandkids -- she is a Grandma. Had this happened to me and had I received an honest explanation from the seller, I would have understood!

I would have panicked ... but I would have understood!

I guess that is what it comes down to for me ... I'm so sick of negative people. Good grief -- HAVE A BLESSED NEW YEAR.


On to a more positive note --->

Good news!

We found out yesterday that our therapy center has hired a new speech therapist. She is coming from our local school system ... not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing. The speech therapists in our school system seem to have a different approach to speech therapy than our last speech therapist did.

We shall see.

Prior to the departure of our beloved speech therapist, she sent us this note ...

Payton and Nika have been wonderful girls to work with. Their growth since I first saw them has been absolutely fantastic. You both have been so active in therapy and with implementing activities! I truly appreciated being a part of your team.


Remember Kristen? Her sister -- Kim Van Meter -- is a published harlequin romance author and journalist. She has a column in The Oakdale Leader ... and for her last column, she wrote about the many blessings that Kristen, Scott and Ethan have received this holiday season.

Stuff ‘N Nonsense - The Spirit of Christmas
By Kim Van Meter
Staff Reporter

Miles away in a different time zone, where snow buries the yards and Old Man Winter takes up residence for a wintry season, the true spirit of Christmas blossomed in the bosoms of total strangers to the benefit of those close to me — my sister, nephew and brother-in-law.

First, I have to give a little back story. I’m the oldest of four siblings. One of my sisters — the second oldest — moved her family to North Carolina in order to send my nephew, Ethan, to a special school for children with Down Syndrome. This was a huge shock to the family as we are all California-born and bred and the thought of uprooting was something we couldn’t understand. But my sister Kristen had become a voracious advocate, not only for Ethan but for every child with special needs and she wanted to do the best by her son, even if it meant selling their home and starting a whole new life away from everyone and everything they’d ever known.

Two weeks after they’d arrived in North Carolina, Ethan was diagnosed with leukemia. Separated from family, alone and scared, my sister did what she always does when faced with adversity — she persevered.

Again and again.

My nephew went through three years of chemotherapy where his hair fell out and caused awful sores to erupt in his mouth that bled constantly, severe reflux, and aspiration. Most recently he was diagnosed with autism, a sensory processing disorder, and Tethered Cord Syndrome.

At 8 years old, Ethan is nonverbal and only recently started to walk, thanks to the discovery of the tethered cord (another instance where “Mama Bear” Kristen went after and found the cause of her son’s issue) so up until now, she has had to carry him on her hip even though he weighs as much as the average second grader. Oh, and did I mention that my sister has rheumatoid arthritis? Yeah. And there’s more.

At one time my sister was in banking. She loved her job and she was good at it. But Ethan’s medical needs swamped her available vacation time, sick and personal days. She could no longer hold a job. Her husband, Scott, became their sole support.

A month ago he lost his job.

Chalk another one up to the tanking economy.

They were barely making it before and now…the outlook is grim.

Kristen broke down in tears. They were going to lose their house.

It’s been years since my sister could afford Christmas. Frankly, with the daily struggle to care for Ethan and juggle his mounting medical bills, it was the least of their worries.

But this Christmas my sister and her family were blessed.

First, their church delivered a fully decorated Christmas tree right to their door.

Second, a friend wrote a compelling blog post about my sister and their plight. Presents started to arrive for the whole family, which were delivered last week to tears of gratitude.

And I realized, this was the true spirit of Christmas. Not the presents specifically, but the outpouring of support and love from strangers who opened their hearts and their wallets to help a family who is being beaten down by life through no fault of their own.

I wish I had the resources to smooth the road my sister is traveling but I don’t. I can only send what I can and offer my shoulder to cry upon. I can listen and share her tears but I can’t take away the pain, frustration and despair.

If only I could.

My sister personifies grace under pressure. She’s kind, generous, and stubbornly loyal. She’s the kind of person who takes what life has given her without complaint and then goes after the positive like the Mama Bear she is. She doesn’t accept defeat. She doesn’t quit. She doesn’t allow anyone else to, either. Yet, when she said in a tear-choked voice, “I can’t take any more…” I nearly lost it for her. There’s only so much one can take. And my sister had reached her limit.

I’m so humbled and grateful a group of strangers did what I could not — and not only gave her a Christmas to remember but buoyed her belief that life is good and there are unseen blessings out there, waiting to add joy to our lives, if even only briefly.

So here’s a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has given selflessly this season. Let us all pay it forward with acts of kindness. It matters and it counts. Sometimes more than we know…

Sidenote: I encourage everyone to read the blog post on my sister and see the pictures. They’ll bring tears to your eyes. Click here for the link.


How many times have you made a New Year's resolution to exercise and lose weight? Umm ... I have ... several times.

And here I sit ... not exercising and weighing probably the most I have ever weighed.


For reasons I'll explain later, I have totally been inspired to start running. As in training to run a 5K, or a 10-miler, or a marathon. Ha -- riiight.

*snaps self out of it*

Must be positive. I hate running. Seriously -- hate it. My husband tells me I don't even know how to run. Whatever -- he can kiss my arse.

But I want to love running. I want to have that sense of pride that you get when you finish a 5K. I want to be a part of the camaraderie.

Thus ... January 1, 2010, marks the beginning of Operation Couch to 5K. I have been fitted with running shoes and I am ready to start training.

Care to join me? You have three days to give yourself a pep talk, get your gear and get ready ... because we are going to do this!


  1. Bethany...on the running thing...stick to it, no matter what! I started the couch 2 5K program in August and I was just like you....HATED running...with a passion! Yet for some reason I got this idea in my head that I wanted to start. So I started. I went running faithfully, no matter what. Even in the rain I ran. I knew if I missed a run, or put it off then it would be too easy for me to keep doing that and I wouldn't end up finishing. Well, I finished, and I was sooooo excited to say that I could run a full 5K without walking. It was just awesome! That was Oct. It is now December and I am still running, and I'm in fact now running 10K 3 times a week. Who knew! Annnndddd...come spring I will entering my first 1/2 marathon. I can't wait!

  2. I'm in! Can't wait! We are going to have so much fun!

  3. I started Couch to 5K a year ago. It was a dumb time to start, Fall in Minnesota! Sorry, but if I'm not diehard runner (yet) I'm not going to be running through the Minnesota winters! LOL I don't remember why I didn't start it again in the spring. I know there was a good reason though. I'm sure of it. Now THIS year...this year I'm going to do it again. Starting as soon as the snow melts! Also, if you haven't found it yet, there is a GREAT website online to download metered music to use for pacing. It's GREAT music to run or walk/run to as you work your way through the C25K program. http://www.djsteveboy.com/groovelectric.html

  4. I am right there with you about the negative people - so tired of them.

  5. Oh yeah...there's podcasts with the C25K program. Look for them...they're by Robert Ullrey (don't have the link right now). They tell you when to walk and when to run so you don't have to bring a watch.

  6. School therapists are definitely different that therapists with a more medical approach, but as long as they are open to the more medical approach they should be fine. Our SLP came from school and is one of the best now in the medical SLP program.

    I am in on the C25K...I think. Have to get the shoes still! I went today and they were so busy and then I had to leave to get Loren.

    Oh, and thanks for posting Kim's article. :)

  7. What a beautiful article by Kim...so excited!

    What wonderful news about your SLP. :)

    Sure, I'll do the Couch to 5K with you...except without the 5K...just the simple pleasures!

  8. Great post! Just stopping by to wish you a Happy New Year and let you know that we started a fan page on FB in anticipation of our launch!

    Hope to see you there!

  9. Hi,

    I found your blog today and thought I would say hi.

    First, the article about Ethan and his family si beatuiful. I run a small autism support group and together we supported one of our members with groceries for the holidays (nearly $400). It was a great feeling to touch someone's life who is so close to me.

    And the 5k? I started walking/running just last month. So I'm with you on this! I think I could run a 5k in another month or so...just basically worked up to running a full mile without walking (a first since high school).

    Great blog!


  10. If you want to love it - it will come.

    Sorry about the grumpy granny - just remember she doesn't know you and your wonderful family - just the e-bay version of you.

    Take care & happy running!


  11. hey Bethany Im without computer, but wanted to wish you the best for this next year. blessings.

    and i have been consuming the lastest trend here in Monterrey for loosing weight, and are products made with Alcachofa and I think the right translation is Artichoke. I have loose 3 kgs, and one jeans size, so if you can find something made with that, i ve been using a drink in the mornng and a soap for bath, and really is working WONDERFUL!

  12. Bethany...I truly enjoyed your post tonight. Not so much about what you encountered with grumpy granny and her unempathetic attitude, but there is a reason for the bumper stickers, "Mean People Suck", right? Kim's article was an amazing tribute to her sister...thanks for sharing it. As for running...you go, girl! If you're looking to shed some l.b.'s, running is the way to go. Just be patient and stick it out...if I can do it, so can you! Happy New Year to you and your beautiful family :)