Today I have 3 friends at MDAnderson in Houston.
I met Scott online. I asked a question on Twitter about Crossfit. He answered. We discovered a handful of mutual online friends thanks to how small the WordPress community is. A few months later he passed out following one of his workouts and they discovered brain cancer. They operated. He recovered. Then they actually moved to Texas so now I consider us not only online friends - but also neighbors - and I've enjoyed getting to know him and his wife via IG and Twitter.
One full year of chemo - with no side effects - and in February of 2015 he celebrated having beat the disease.
Last week he started having numbness in the left side of his body. Two days ago they found a new tumor. Unoperable. He posted the scans from MDAnderson.
He has a wife and 4 kids. Is in better shape than 99% of people I know. He's an amazing survivor; I've never read any public statement with even a hint of victimization. He's going to beat this. I just know he is. He just has to.
I bought my second house from Linda and her husband Mike. My ex-husband still lives there. Over the years Linda became like an aunt --- or even -- like a mother--- to me. Although I think of her more like a dear dear friend. I guess technically she's old enough to be my mom but she's one of my favorite people to hang out with. She's optimistic. She's vivacious. She's a dare-devil! We had plans to sky dive together this May in celebration of my oldest son's 18th birthday.
Today she is at MDAnderson having the last of the inflammatory breast cancer removed. She's already had a mastectomy on one side and they found more cancer afterwards. Her heart was damaged by the chemo so they've had to wait 6 months for her heart to get strong enough to handle more chemo and surgery.
Her Dr. in San Antonio basically told her they couldn't do anything for her. MDAnderson has an entire department dedicated to Inflammatory Breast Cancer and they're going to beat it. I just know they are.
She just has to.
I met Lesli when I walked Hannah to her new classroom. We were having a tough year. We were dealing with lots of family trauma - to include a new school for all the kids. We turned the corner and there stood Lesli.
Standing tall and proud and eager to meet Hannah - she greeted us with her infectious smile and bright shining eyes. But you couldn't mistake the obvious sign of what was on her plate. She was 100% bald and wore a sign around her neck saying she was recovering from cancer and couldn't give hugs.
Sure made my harried morning getting all the kids to the new school seem... inconsequential.
Lesli was battling Ovarian Cancer. I can't remember all the details but it had been a long battle and she was on the road to recovery. And then - the spring semester came and one day Lesli wasn't there. She wasn't going to be coming back. Her cancer had returned. Hannah and I went to visit her at the local hospital. I even ended up staying one night with her a few months later to help her out following a procedure. She had done SO MUCH for Hannah during the short 6 months that she was her teacher. She was a source of constant joy, a safe place, and a positive force in Hannah's (at the time) very stressful season of life.
The next school year Lesli came to my house and celebrated "Mimosa Monday" in which we raised our glasses to the start of a new school year and Lesli's first year fully retired.
Shortly thereafter they moved to Houston. To be closer to her family and to continue her treatments at MDAnderson.
Last month they found out her sister also is battling cancer. I met her sister Michelle when Lesli was here in the hospital. I thought, when I sat back and listened to Lesli and her sisters chatter and giggle, "I hope that's me and my siblings when we're in our 40's!" They're a wonderful family and it saddens me that this is now on Lesli & her sister's plate.
Today she is at MDAnderson getting chemo. I pray she can beat this. She just has to. They just have to.
I'm 39 and can no longer count on two hands how many people I know who have survived or succumbed to cancer. Knowing that 3 of my friends are at MDAnderson today leaves me feeling a little off kilter.
I've been online my entire adult life.
The first time I remember climbing on the WWW, it was 1994 & Royce purchased, then set up, our home computer & a new modem. After unpacking it, we connected the phone cords and waited for a connection. (Well there were a few more steps than that - if you can imagine dear young readers but you can read up on that over at WikiPedia).
While waiting to get online we opened up our little booklet that came with our AOL 3.5 floppy and said, "Who in the world has time to go to all these websites?" It was a book with a complete index of the web. (Or so it said - how would we have known if it was true or not?) There were about 200 sites listed. It took about a minute or so to connect to the internet, depending on the phone line of course. And the modem. And the processing speed on your desktop.
Fast forward to 2015 and the norm is much different. You pull your phone out of your back pocket and push a button and boom - the internet - right at your fingertips!
It makes me wonder what life will be like for my grandchildren. It's my goal to never lose touch with the inventions of tomorrow. And at the same time I long for the days when there was nothing to do. Nothing to read. Nothing to know. Except to lay and wonder about the blade of grass you found yourself staring at while you were laying in the park on a warm summers day, just listening to the sounds around you and being ever so present in the moment.
I'd think about that more but I need to go write some marketing copy for a newsletter that then has to have the HTML tweaked and some of the CSS formatted so that when it ships out it can be read on whatever mobile device the subscribers use to check their email. Because my job as a writer these days is a far cry from my original goal of being a staff attorney for Ms. magazine, working in NYC, changing the world for all the little boys and girls growing up in the new 21st century.
My friend, Cindy, and I have been taking on small web projects. Tweaking plugins. Customizing theme installs. Crafting out infographics. Fun, small projects that do not completely wear us down by the end of the process.
We both have worked in the large WordPress agencies and have been involved in large builds for clients such as the National Parks Service, blog management for Realtor.com, and so on. We've seen our fair share of six-figure sized projects (gone awry) and we really have no interest in working at that level again. I can't speak for Cindy, but for me - personally - those projects are just too exhausting.
So last week a friend asked us to quote out a web app his client wanted built. It's a very cool idea, not a new idea - but a cool idea. Having already sat on huge system builds I knew we were looking at a $50-60k project, with a 5-6 month time frame, if it was to be built correctly. I talked to Cindy and she and I both said, "Ugh...no thanks." We really don't want that kind of work. It's drudgery to be honest. And, since all I can do is PM & help with QA Testing (quality assurance), and manage things from within the Admin (I never ever go into the codebase as a best practice for a non-developer) I know that the bulk of the work would be on Cindy.
I emailed the client to let them know we weren't interested, but that I thought the project was around a 6 month/ $60k project and I'd be happy to refer her to some reputable WordPress developers and/or small agencies that I thought would better meet her needs. I also warned her that anything under $30k meant the developer didn't know what they were doing, and anything over $100k was probably in excess of what could be done on a $50-60k project.
She wrote back and said she was surprised at the honesty and willingness we had to pass on the project.
The same day I quoted a prospective client a retainer package, billing him at $75/hr for blocks of time each week. He wrote back and said he really thought we were overpriced and he'd keep searching. I told him, "Good luck finding our expertise and efficiency at a better rate. Remember - you get more than you pay for with us, and less everywhere else."
I won't apologize for charging $75/hr after working for the agencies who were actively billing my time at $150/hr and Cindy's time at $150-$175/hr.
My 15yo is an awesome kid. I know people who complain about their kids all the time but I have to say - I don't have any trouble with my 15yo. He's compliant, he's respectful, he's responsible, he's caring, confident, kind, and (for the most part) honest. I mean he's not perfect, but we've actually already survived his early rebellious years and there isn't a thread of that left in him. He's so cool!
So last weekend he walks up to me with a shot glass and a cup. He says, "Mom wanna take a shot of pickle juice with me?" He was so excited about it but I said, "No way that's disgusting!" Seeing the look of disappointment on his face I, of course, was overcome with Mom Guilt, and agreed anyway.
And this is where Mom Guilt fails mothers all the time. Our gut instinct says, "NOPE." But we say, "Oh....stop being such a nilly willy and have some fun."
I take the shot glass - shoot it back - and while doing so notice that my 15yo did NOT take his shot.
And then the most awful feeling comes over me and I realize... OMG.... that was NOT pickle juice. That was JALEPENO JUICE!!
15yo proceeds to hand me the cup he was holding - that I thought was pickle juice - and says, "Drink this - hurry!" It's milk. He came prepared!! He KNEW I would go along with this little game of his!
OH MY WORD!!! Teenage boys!!!!
And yes - we both laughed so hard about this that our sides hurt. It has to be one of the funniest things this kid has done in a long time.
It's been 3.5 yrs since I left my marriage and moved my children 3hrs north of their father. It's been hard on them, but they're all coming back around to themselves. It's nice to see my 15yo expressing the silly, fun, adventurous side again. For a long time, he's kind of hidden that away from the world.
You may not think you have it but I bet you really do.
Thoughts coming soon... but I'm kind of confused as to why this would be added to core when it's ... already always included with any install... and no one uses it... and post types are going away... and the end user experience with the whole thing is conflated and annoying anyway. Unless your Matt Mullenweg who has a really slick blog but then you'd expect Matt to have a slick blog that works well with CPT's and the PressThis bookmarklet....
But I digress.....
When people get divorced, lines are drawn. Which side you choose to stand on can have a huge impact on one or both of the divorcees. More likely the one with the deeper emotional investment and commitment to the relationship - even in spite of failure.
This is something I've been pondering ever since a friend hired my ex-husband to shoot her wedding photos.
Logically, I understand why she hired him. He took their family photos before. He is a good photographer. She has no real beef with him.
You say - go for it - don't let the ex win this one. The thing is, I legally cannot. Read my decree and you'll understand. When I explained to my friend the conflict she said she was simply too busy to search out a suitable photographer - it simply is what it is.
To that I say: wedding photographers are a dime a dozen while a true friendship should always be protected above and beyond everything else.
I guess we weren't really friends.
That said, if I were able to attend her wedding, perhaps I should call up her ex-husband and ask him to be my date. He's is smoking hot, a P90X model, sexy as hell and hey - he was always cordial to me in the past.... It's not really my problem he was abusive to her, right?
Or....do we actually have a responsibility to consider the feelings of our close friends and family members in matters such as these? Sure it's "her wedding" and not about me. But - when she hires my ex-husband to photograph the wedding she's invited me to ... it does have a little bit of an impact on me, so my feelings on the matter are valid.
So THIS is how this all works? Wow it's so much more simple than I had imagined.
In Fargo, when I finish a thought, and hit "enter" my cursor goes to the next immediate line. If I want double spacing between the lines, I have to hit enter twice.
Like every other writing program I've ever used. With the exception of WordPress and Medium.
And that's why I'm here.
Because of double spaces.
I'm going back to school sometime this year. I started all the paperwork this week and, actually, everything is moving really fast. I'd like to get enrolled for Summer II if possible. (It's too hot in Texas to do anything else besides sit by a pool and read school books anyway, so - seems like perfect timing!)
I need a place to keep track of all my To Do things. I'm going to use the Fargo Outliner for this.
Wish me luck!