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, May 28, 2009

Jim's 40th Birthday

Today is Jim's 40th birthday. I can't believe it. Here we are. The life we were aiming for, but with one major component missing.

Goodness gracious I do miss him. We all do. I would have wanted to have a big party. He would have wanted to have a small party. We would have had a small party, because more often than not, I deferred to Jim. Sometimes I wonder what we would be doing on any given day. Today I wonder if he knows we miss him. I wonder if he can see the party - a cookout in the backyard with a few friends and neighbors. Kids running all over the place. That was Jim's kind of party.

I didn't overindulge today, but we did hit Culvers for some greasy burgers, rootbeer and frozen custard in honor of Jim.

He really was the best, wasn't he? If we improve as we age, I imagine that Jim would have been about perfect at 40. He was perfect to me - at 25, at 30, and now, at 40.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Visit to Iowa

Okay, first I should clarify: the night I overindulged, nothing actually *happened* - I didn't dance on a bar, I didn't do anything my kids or parents would be embarrassed about. (Although I am...) I just drank too much, felt sad about my life circumstance, cried, got sick, and moved on.

This last weekend we went to Iowa for Memorial Day weekend. It was my first trip to Iowa. It's not a real vacation hotspot, but it was a perfect trip for us. This was among our first adventures as a little family. We went to visit my college girlfriend Darcy, and her family. I packed the kids up and we drove to the middle of nowhere southeast Iowa. The kids were *amazing*. Granted, I had snacks out the ying-yang, and heaven knows nothing motivates my kids like food. But we enjoyed a five hour drive free of whining, fighting, complaining, or even asking how long was left in the car. We stopped twice. Jake's self potty training venture has been hugely successful. He rode diaper free, with no accidents, for five hours. Cool!

We had a fun weekend with Darcy, Rob, and their three girls. And you know what we did? Nothing, and it was great. The kids played in the backyard and enjoyed the swingset. We had a bonfire every night. They chased fireflies, played with squirt guns and rode bikes. We ate s'mores, gorged on Darcy's homemade potato salad (yum) and Rob's awesome grilling, drank a few beers and just watched the kids play. We talked, and talked, and talked. And then we talked some more. It was nice.

The drive home was equally as impressive as the ride there, especially given that a portion of I-80 was closed and I took a rather lengthy detour (read: lost) through a city. I'm not sure, but it might have been Moline, IL. In any case, the kids we fabulous and I was grateful for that.

I try and remind myself that Rome wasn't built in a day. If I can't remind myself I am fortunate to have friends who will pick up the slack and remind me that not every day is perfect. This was a perfect weekend, though. This is the kind of vacation I hope my kids remember: having fun, chasing fireflies, eating s'mores and enjoying friends.

Thanks, Dar and Rob, for a lovely weekend.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


As I've mentioned many a time, moderation is not my forte. It isn't for any Ferguson, truly. There may be those of us that can moderate what we eat or drink, how much we exercise or our tempers. But you'd better believe that all Fergusons struggle with moderating some element in our lives.

I run around with a pretty cool group here in Kohler. There are no dummies in this group. These are people I sought out because they are interesting and fun, smart and witty. Make no mistake, when crisis breaks out, these people know what to do. Sometimes I wonder and laugh about why they hang out with me. Because when I've had it up to my eyeballs with kids and the house and the everyday mire that seems to be my life, I don't do what they do. They would make lists, sit down, evaluate, reevaluate, meditate and pray. You know what I do? Head for the bar and drink too much. Gotta tell you, it's not the best coping mechanism. Especially since like most Fergusons, I easily let go of my temper when I've been drinking.

This weekend was a total bomb in terms of my behavior. I let loose on Friday like I haven't in a long time. I paid for it on Saturday. As I laid there sick yesterday, I wondered why I seem to be the only one that can't cope with everyday life. Because my life isn't harder than anyone elses. If we have even a modicum of control over our destiny, then you'd think I'd want to get a handle on mine. I think I've been trying to do that, but right when I think I've got a few things under control, I let go of it all and have a night like I did Friday. It's almost like I'm afraid of getting control. Maybe if I get control of my life I'll have to...what? Be responsible? Stop drinking? Try harder? Do things I don't want to do, like edging the lawn? I'll have to...commit to something or someone for more than 10 minutes? Give in and admit I need help even if I do have it together? Stop eating Doritos straight out of the bag?

I am feeling sorry for myself. I miss Jim. Lately I've been angry at him for not being here. Because if he were here I'd never have had a night like I did on Friday. (Yep, easy to blame him when he's not here!!!!) Yesterday I spoke to my mom in tears, told her what I had done, and she pointed out that everyone has their own stupid way of dealing. Yes, some people are truly at peace and don't overindulge in anything. But most people have *something*...they bite their nails, they overeat, they buy (or steal) trinkets that they won't use, they smoke...whatever it is, almost everyone has something. It doesn't make mine any more excusable, but it does make me feel better to know I'm not the only one.

When Rachel has a bad day I always try and tell her "Tomorrow is a new day. Only you can decide how it's going to be." I can't control anything but my own behavior. So tomorrow is a new day. I will decide how it's going to be. I am going to pull myself up and try again. Moderation: look out. I'll catch up with you yet.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Family Motto

As I'd posted before, our family motto is "It's good to try something new". Rachel wanted me to try some potato chips yesterday. She used the family motto on me! I had to laugh. It also reminded me of something she said to me a couple of weeks ago.

She didn't want to try some new food, and I reminded her of our family motto.

Kate: Rachel, remember our motto? It's good to try something new.

Rachel: {Big sigh} Mom, why can't our family motto just be "Don't eat food that falls on the floor."?

I laughed till I had tears in my eyes. I guess that's a good family motto, too.