Not only will this journal entry feel like a mish mash of topics and activities, so do our lives. For Erin school is gradually winding down. Last Friday was Field Day, which apparently involves mayhem, loud squealing, and a variety of relays designed to transfer water onto the participants. I didn't attend, but my friend D'Anna sent me these two pics of Erin resting between events. I loved it because she captured Erin in a rare un-posed moment and then turned around and got the Erin gleam.
We did try to take it easy on Saturday, but Sunday was another story. Our Day of Rest found us listening to Erin sing and ring with the children's choir and children's bell choir at church before she and I slipped out of the sanctuary (pre-sermon, oops) to dash up to Garland for Aunt Elisabeth's Business Debut with Mary Kay Cosmetics. That's right. My sister has become an MK Commando! When we returned to Bryan Sunday evening (3.5 hours each way, for those of you trying to imagine the dimensions of our day), we brought Aunt Kat and Emma with us.
Monday brought the beginning of a new era, with the first (of many) social opportunities for the new Mystic '97 girls soccer team. We had pizza (and a few other dinner additions with healthier content), several rounds of four-way Mancala, and a lot of giggling and bonding. I slipped away after about an hour to join Walter and members of the PNC (Pastor Nominating Committee) who were simultaneously celebrating the victory of hiring a new pastor and the, perhaps larger, triumph of dissolving their committee, having fulfilled their mandate.
Yesterday Erin rode Napoleon and produced buckets of sweat in the 90+ degree weather. Napoleon seems to be behaving better, although I wouldn't consider him the politest horse I have ever met. He can't seem to keep his mouth to himself, so Erin has to keep a constant eye on his head. In contrast, Jericho, behaves almost all the time, but is not yet ready to perform as a lesson horse. He has conquered most of his fears, but when he does get scared he bucks. Oh well, I guess we'll stick with the lesser of two evils--if it's nip and buck, we'll stick with nip.
After cooling down, resting a minute and grabbing an early supper, we headed to the softball game for her penultimate game this season. After a tough first inning, the Volcanoes settled down. Erin fielded cleanly, but had a tough time getting her throw down last night. Her bat didn't leave her in the lurch though. She made contact both at bats, grounding out to second her first time up and hitting a sharp grounder right inside the third base line and out into left field the next time. Through a combination of aggressive base running and fielding mistakes, she ended up on third. She really thought she had hit a triple.
Just as we began a new era with the Mystics, tonight marks the end of an era with Erin's rec soccer team, the Red Hot Chili Peppers. This afternoon we will head over to the University rec center for indoor soccer, rock climbing, swimming, and who knows what else. This big party is just a warm up for tomorrow when the Buengers (and the rest of the Luquette women, Moo, Aunt Elisabeth, Annabelle, Aunt Kat, and Emma) head to Port Aransas for a pre-summer beach outing. Hopefully, we will return with everyone's appendices (and other essential and non-essential body parts) intact (See the 06/17/05 entry in the archives if you have no idea what I'm talking about).
Since we are leaving on vacation, I feel some obligation to set up a trip for you, so that you don't languish at home. If you are in the mood to travel, let's go.
Today on the Vickie Travel Channel, you will visit with three children who have been in the game as long or longer than Erin. We'll start with Sarah from North Carolina. Sarah is close to Erin's age and also has a fantastic older brother (getting ready to leave for college next year). She had a local relapse after being NED for quite a while, but she responded exceptionally well to treatment and (I think) is now just watching and scanning, rather than treating. Next is Zachary from Florida. Zachary has been at this a very long time. . .long enough to move out of childhood into the early teens and put his parents in that unique dilemma of celebrating his life, while the having to put up with the natural antics of a junior high kid. Harrison has one of the first neuroblastoma websites I started visiting. His family really puts the face of joy on everything they do.
The final place I'm sending you today is to Laura's place. Laura died right before Christmas last year and her corgi Kirby died this April, also from cancer. You may be thinking about skipping this destination because of the pain of looking in on someone who has died. I encourage you to stop by anyway. Laura's mother is a gifted writer and ably captures much of the emotional and psychological gamut experienced by cancer parents and a very gentle and sensitive way.
If you have made it this far, you might also want to go to the movies. Remember Penelope? Her father has spent the time since I last sent you to her website trying to convince pharmaceutical companies to release potential treatments for her on a compassionate basis. The Wall Street Journal picked up the story and shortly after that the following video appeared on MSNBC