This blog is for Jim Marventano's family and friends to review his status and updates while he goes through treatment for Stage IV Colon Cancer. We can beat it together!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Nothing special

There's nothing particularly special going on around here.

It's a sunny humid afternoon. I can hear my kids outside, running around, screaming and laughing with the other neighborhood kids.

I worked on the corrugated boat for the Vince Lombardi Cancer Clinic this afternoon and it's coming along nicely. I worked with my friend/PAC associate Vicki. It was a lovely afternoon of chatting and gluing corrugated.

Jake pooped on the potty three times today. Yippee!

Rachel had a field trip today to one of the little local hospitals. She said her favorite thing was seeing a plastic skeleton.

I start school to be a Certified Nursing Assistant on June 2. Yeeps!

The kids talked to Jim Sr. on the webcam today to wish him a Happy Birthday.

Some days "nothing special" is rather nice. We don't have to celebrate anything. We don't have to commemorate anything. We don't have to be anywhere and we don't have to do anything. The kids had ham sandwiches for dinner and they are fine with that. I'm drinking a lovely bottle of Shiraz. It's just good to have days like this.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Fun/Good Things

Once again the blog seems a bit negative, which isn't a very accurate depiction of our every day lives.

So here's what's new and exciting in our world:

1. We had a fabulous Easter weekend. My folks were here and we took the kids to the American Club for Easter brunch. Rachel and Jake acted like ANGELS for an hour and a half! It was really quite impressive how good they were. They got to meet the bunny. I have mentioned how much I like the American Club before. They do nothing half way. It was a well thought out event. The Easter Bunny was in the halllway outside the dining room so the kids weren't all swarming around a couple of tables. Each kid got a cute stuffed animal. They had nice music. And the buffet was AMAZING, complete with ice sculptures. I ate a deviled egg in honor of Jim. Rachel ate around 1600 shrimp in honor of him. Jake ate a lot of cinnamon croissants...but I think he just liked those...not necessarily in honor of Jim. :)

Our friend Lisa also organized a fabulous Easter Egg Hunt. There were over 600 eggs for 24 kids. Needless to say, it was pretty awesome. It was a sunny, beautiful afternoon.

2. I finally have all my paperwork and shots completed for nursing school. Yippee! If I made it on the waiting list in time I should get to register next week. If not, I have to wait till fall.

3. We got a webcam so that we are more easily able to talk to Mimi and Papa in NY. Thus far the kids are so wound up every time we talk to them that they sort of ruin it. They fight over the camera, yell, put things right up to the camera. I'm hoping that eventually they'll calm down and be able to actually

4. Our summer is shaping up nicely. We have a trip to NY planned, a trip to northern WI planned, and a fun weekend with our group planned. Last summer we did this trip with our group the weekend before 4th of July. It was a mosquito nightmare!!!! So this year we're trying Labor Day weekend up north. That'll be 10 adults and 12 kids at my parents house. (Plus my parents!) Should be a good time. Last year it was a bit rainy. Hopefully this year will be better weather! Rachel is also going to do summer school - cooking classes!

5. I got to ride on a Harley! I am dating a new guy. He's fun. He got thrown to the wolves on Saturday - met my parents, the kids, and most of my friends. It was only our third date. That was a heaping dose of suburbia for him, so who knows if I'll see him again. ;) He only met the kids for a second (I have a rule - they aren't allowed near my kids), and I introduced him as my friend. Rachel got a salty look on her face and said "How come I don't get to ride on the motorcycle?" ... well ... motorcycles are for grownups. She didn't look impressed.

6. Jake is still in the throes of potty training. He's very excited because he gets a major prize when he poops on the potty. Of course all this excitement and the prizes have NOT inspired him to actually GO on the potty, but I guess it's good that he's fired up about it.

7. Rachel has her spring concert coming up. She's excited about that. She's learning money, GEOMETRY and FRACTIONS at school. Bear in mind, she's 5. She's in *kindergarten*! But I guess starting them early is a good thing...and she seems to be getting it. Amazing.

8. Spring has sprung here in WI. It's beautiful. Dad helped me break out the VW the other day. The kids and I have been cruising a few times. It's nice. I got our new license plates - they say
FUN 4 3
I thought it was fitting. It's just the three of us now. I like to think we're a good little threesome despite the fact that we should be a foursome. I chose the license plate as a reminder that we are still a great little family unit, and we're going to make the best of things.

9. Half marathon training is a disaster what with all the eating I've been doing, but I keep trying. Nevermind the fact that the half marathon is in two weeks and I can still only run 4 miles...

10. We are doing well. There are lots of laughs and lots of love in our household. I do have days that get me down, but I am very blessed to have my two kids, fabulous family, and myriad amazing friends.

Monday, April 06, 2009

It's a sh*tty reason to have a great party

I went to the funeral for my relative that passed away this weekend. It was my first funeral since Jim died. In some aspects, it was harder than I thought it would be. In some aspects, it was easier.

One thing I have to say for my family - when push comes to shove, the Fergusons know how to pull it together as a family. Over the years there has been conflict. But come on, what family doesn't have conflict? We Fergusons are intense group of people, and as I may have said in the past, there is no "Medium" setting for the Fergusons. We are either set to "Stop" or "Full Speed Without Second Thoughts or Looking Where We're Going".

We view moderation as a silly notion for the weak.

It was good to memorialize such a strong member of the family this weekend. People have a tendency to paint a picture of the person that died that is so rosy that sometimes it doesn't actually resemble who the person was in life. Well, this was a very realistic memorial - the laughs and the fun were in recognizing how very intense we all are - how intense my relative that passed away was. The stories and the Jamesons flowed. It was fun to hear stories about my father and my uncles when they were kids. And to see how some of the craziness got passed on to me, my brothers and my cousins. Being with one of my brothers and my cousins was a delightful treat.

I felt such sadness for my relatives that are left without their loved one. Of course he was a loved one to all of us, but when all is said and done, the rest of us get to pack up our things and go home to our normal lives. Their lives are permanently altered. It's not the funeral or the weekend that is the hardest - during that time you're completely numb. I think I have mentioned a number of times that I honestly barely remember a darn thing about Jim's memorial service. I know people came to my house after, but I have no idea who. I know my friends made all the food and made every single one of the arrangements. I was just so stunned I was lucky I knew my own name. It's the time after the weekend. Everyone goes home. The house is quiet. Reality starts to set in. You go to pick up the phone to call your loved one and realize it's not an option. You wonder why they are taking so long in the bathroom and realize that they are actually gone.

Everyone says things like "You are so strong" and you smile and say "well we do the best we can"...because honestly, what other option is there? Of course we seem strong - we're like robots. We just trudge through life for a week or a month or a year with blinders on. For our own mental stability, we switch to autopilot and hope for the best.

This weekend was a blessing. To see family. To laugh, tell, and listen to the stories. To connect with the people we love. My friend Lisa put it best: It's a shitty reason to have a great party.

I am wishing my family all the best - whether we're going full speed ahead or running on autopilot at this point. That's the best thing about family. We help each other through. We do what we can when others need it. We memorialize someone special and recognize that being a Ferguson means being someone exceptional. I've always said "It takes someone special to love a Ferguson" - but in return we have a lot of passion, intensity, and love to offer. Our family motto (coined by Jim) is "Hey, watch this!" (typically followed by a trip to the hospital or landing behind bars...). The real Ferguson family motto, the one on our family crest, reads "Dulcius ex asperis" - "From the bitter comes the sweeter". If anyone knows the true meaning of that phrase, it's a Ferguson.