Voici Tribute Thursday: The LaBorde Famille

Here they are in Mourenx, France, not Paris, because there are other locations in France besides Paris. Who knew?

It’s Tribute Thursday, ya’ll. That’s when I try to remind you that there are amazing people in the world. Meet the LaBorde Famille! I say famille because they’re French. When we were a new family at Abernethy Elementary, I used to notice Shonda dropping her son Josson off at Steven’s first grade class with a crazy cute baby glued to her side. Then, I heard the baby’s grandparents speaking French. I was thinking, bummer. She looks really cool and I’d love to be her friend, but if I tried to speak French now after a million years, I might hurt myself. Unlike me, Shonda is graceful and soft-spoken. So it took me a while to realize she wasn’t French. Her husband Julien is totally French. Like in an Oh yes, I wear a beret, carry baguettes and sip espresso from the Eiffel Tower kind of a way.

Fast-forward through elementary school, baby Zevry is in k-garten and our boys are headed to middle school. Our families have been friends straight through. The day Brian and I had the dreaded meeting to map out a cancer treatment plan, the kids were playing at Shonda’s. The kids didn’t know about cancer yet. When we came to pick them up, Shonda’s face went blank. The kids looked at us and knew something was wrong. We told them we had to talk to them. The first thing Steven said was, “Oh God. Tell me it’s not cancer.”

The LaBordes stayed with us through the whole mess. They brought dinner over and ate with us (Yes, baguettes were involved.) Shonda dove in head first helping organize the auction. And, Julien sat with me through chemo and drove me over there when I couldn’t see straight. They sent me a card signed by everyone in the family. But those kids! Josson was so supportive to Steven and me. He always asked how I was doing and took time to make fun of my hair and no hair. One day, Zevry screeched to a halt when he noticed I was bald. “Where’s your hair?” he said. “I don’t have any. Can I have some of yours?” I asked. So he ran around looking for scissors when Shonda stopped him!

I’m looking forward to many more years of drinking wine and whiskey (That’s right, Julien. I’m a slow drinker, but I’m still in!) Thanks for being such amazing friends to us through sickness and home projects. We love you and hope to re-enact your engagement on top of the Eiffel Tower one day.


1- After almost 12 years of bodily torment, we got a new mattress. Seriously, camp sleeping on gravel is more comfortable. Very excited to have a new one.

2- It’s freezing cold, but sunny. Score: 1-1.

3- Steven’s team won their first bball game last night. There’s hope after getting pummeled by kids who eat steel for breakfast last year.

Three T’s: Tribute Thursday for Trina


Our boys were in the same kindergarten class. How could I not notice Trina walking in with her super-cute hair and retro wool jackets with buttons the size of Red Flyer wheels? One day, she asked if I wanted to join her and another mom named Heather for Saturday walks. What? I’m getting asked by the cool mom? Sweet! Of course, I said yes. Trina, Heather and I became fast friends like our boys.

The kids moved on to different schools; Heather moved to the East Coast (She’s back now!); and Trina and I stayed friends through it all. Trina is the most deeply caring human ever. I’m serious – she stays up at night worrying. And, she’s supremely detail-oriented. She doesn’t just throw a party. She throws a Martha Stewart party, where every detail of a room has been thought out. (Point of order: There’s an ice hand jutting out of a punch bowl and a melon “brain” on the table at Halloween.) So when I got cancer, she dialed full-Trina power to high.

For starters, she cut my shoulder-length twirly hair short before chemo. One day, chunks of my hair fell in my soup at a restaurant. So Trina buzzed it all off for me. Then, she cried. When I balked at making smoothies, she made me a case with little labels on each one that said: “I love you!” It’s so cool being loved by a smoothie, let me tell you. Then, she mobilized an army of friends to raise money for us. She kept calling me and saying, “Your friends” because every time she asked someone to help, they donated more and did so much more than she expected.

Thanks to Trina and all of our friends, we stayed afloat all year through cancer. The best part was the money raised allowed me to go to acupuncture and my naturopath – both critical to my success getting through this. But the best part: every friend of mine is now a friend of Trina’s. I hope I can be as good of a friend to all of you as Trina is to me. Thanks for everything Trina! I love you and your not-so-little-anymore boy too. (You too, Ed!)



1- Is this not the best sign ever?

2- Still happily slammed.

3- Tomorrow is Friday.

It’s Tribute Thursday: Here’s to Xena the Warrior Princess


Something overcame me in the fall of last year. I couldn’t stop thinking about my dream dog. The thing is, I didn’t even want a dog. I wanted this dog. Ever since I met a bull terrier  named Plait in Copenhagen in the ‘80s, I had been obsessed with those pointy dogs. So I started looking online and couldn’t stop until I found Xena, the Warrior Princess. She had produced 20 puppies and needed to retire. I was ready to retire after one. Her first re-home didn’t work out since Warrior Princess eats chickens. When we went to meet her, Xena stuck her cone head in my purse, then sat on my lap. That was it. Soon after, cancer struck, and she knew it. That dog stayed by my side through every minute of treatment. Now that cancer’s over, she shacks up with everyone else! Seriously? I have to have a fatal disease to rank special attention around here? Thanks to Christine, Xena’s original mommy, for loving her so much and taking such good care of her. Thanks, Xena, for taking care of me.


1- Now that Livvie has officially gone to Disney, I can say my dad’s famous words: “Every day can’t be Disney World, you little creeps!” I’ll probably leave the creep part out. Livvie came home toting souvenirs for us all and stories. Thank you, C, L and E for taking Liv with you! Lucky girl.

Fresh from Disney with a lighted ice cube. Everyone needs glowing cubes.
Honey, I Shrunk Carol Burnett into the Little Mermaid!


2- My pal David had successful surgery on his back. Quick, send him positive Frisbees that he won’t need any more surgery and that his excruciating pain is over.


3- Stumbled across the best radio station ever – 107.1 www.kzme.fm. It’s all local all the time. We’ve got some serious music talent in this town.

All-new levels of wiped

Every time Brian goes out of town for a length of time, I bow down to single parents everywhere. How do you do everything, be everything, all the time? It’s been that kind of week. My car won’t get out of park. Unless you’re making out, it’s not a useful situation. Somehow, we’ve all gotten out of the house…daily. Even the dog’s out of sorts. Today I caught Lazy Dog standing on a side table like a show dog. Meanwhile, her skin allergies are raging. The house is a mess. Blah blah. But still, all of this has only produced a sore neck and stress headache. I heard myself telling my acupuncturist Tracie how happy I am to have normal pain.


1- Check up with radiology/oncologist today. So far, looking good. Really loved seeing everybody at Good Sam radiology. They took such great care of me.

2- Work is still coming in. In another post, I said I got new work. That doesn’t mean full-time employment, mind you. I’m still a freelance copywriter/brand strategist. So that means I am always looking for work from clients who don’t take the word “free” literally.

3- Brian’s coming home tomorrow, yes he is!

On your mark!

Karen Lenore rocks! Look what she did – made all of these t-shirts and donated all the materials. Martha Stewart’s got NOTHIN.’


Get ready. Set. Walk! That’s right, Team AC/DT (Abernethy Cancer Dream Team) is going to tear up the asphalt! We are going to walk so fast and beat the clock during our untimed race. Pretty sure there won’t be any Olympic fist pumping action with all those people. Plus, wearing a mullet wig might cause me to walk into a pole. As for fundraising, we didn’t even remotely hit the insanely high goal I set ($10,000 – what was I thinking?!) It should have been more like $1,000 because we’ve raised $400. This is going to be a blast.



1- When we went to Livvie’s back-to-school night, this was on the wall. I stood there gulping for air like an out-of-tank goldfish while Livvie barked: “Do not cry, Mom! It’s WEIRD.” If anything can make cancer worth it, that can.

2- Got my first booking for 2014 to talk at a radiation/oncology meeting for Legacy. I am so excited about this because the people at Legacy are incredibly awesome. They made the whole cancer experience more positive than negative.

3- It’s the weekend! So go have yourself a good one!

Crossing the first day finish line

ImageSeptember is intense. Steven went to his first day of middle school; Liv, first day as a fourth grader. I burned through so much energy being annoyingly happy at drop off, I’m beat now. I’ll bet thousands of parents go to bed with visions of their children’s homework dancing through their heads.


1- Nothing says romance like the Prince of Puke. In honor of our 18th wedding anniversary, Brian got us tickets to see John Waters. Can’t even WAIT! The promo says he’ll discuss turning some of his films into seasonal children’s classics. Serial Mom is a no-brainer.

Image2- All through cancer, Brian and I would go get coffee and check in with each other at Grand Central on Hawthorne. So it was especially cool to walk there today and have coffee with 85% less ringing in my ears and 85% more body hair. The lady behind the counter is a cancer survivor and super nice.

3- Both kids went to school well prepared and happy. They came home excited. If only that feeling would last all year. So proud of them. May they have a year folding in and being just like the kids who don’t have parents with cancer.

Done! Done! Done!


About 20 minutes after my last radiation, I went to pick up my kids at my bud Julie’s house. They had cider and champagne waiting – so nice! Steven was super emotional and made a toast saying: “Thanks for being so strong for us.” Livvie cuddled up next to me. I told them it’s okay to be kids again. Then, they ran away and hid.

Even though cancer is over, I’ll probably keep blogging. Not sure about what exactly. Probably my warped view of the world. In the meantime, I’m unplugging for the rest of the week. See you next week.


1- One of the leaders at radiation called me about a speaking engagement, then stunned me saying: “Every day, we looked forward to the sun coming in. That’s you.” That is so incredibly nice. I almost bawled. If I thought of myself as a planet, I’d probably pick Uranus. Ew. That sounds totally wrong. I like the sun better.

2- Look what me bestie Lisa did. Then, she took me to Barefoot Sage, the opium den for feet. Thank you, Lisa! She’s been there every single step of the way. I didn’t even know it was her birthday yesterday. So HAPPY BIRTHDAY, LISA! You’re so not off the hook.


3- Steven’s friend J said my hair looks like Will Ferrell’s. I’m worried it will fuzz straight up like a Q-Tip. I’d love to have Will Ferrell’s skin right now. I’ll bet he doesn’t look like he stuck his man boob into a vat of acid.


4- I am so grateful to everyone who sent cards and flowers, called, donated money. You have no idea the impact every thing you’ve done has made. Thanks to you, I had enough power to defeat cancer. Thanks for helping me stick around for Brian and my kids. I can only hope to be as good of a friend as you all have been for me. Thank you.

Back awaay from the keyboard

And the oven. And the car. Five weeks of radiation has finally taken its toll. Yesterday, I sent out an email to everyone I know, including the entire elementary school list, vowing to: “increase the changes that another family will get breast cancer.” Nice. While I was at it, I  spelled my own Race for the Cure team wrong. No wonder I didn’t get interviews for those senior copywriter jobs.

Now I’m in a mood. It’s a perfect day outside, but I’m sad because I don’t feel like going out there. Brian said: “There will be a whole lot more perfect days because you’re going through this right now.” That’s true. For now, my skin is absolutely destroyed to the point that everything I do sends shards of breathtaking pain through my chest. Plus, I can’t let my arm down because the skin will touch each other, which is freaking blinding. Monday is my last day of full-area radiation. Then, I get another week and two days of a different kind of radiation. For my next act, I put biscuits in the oven and entered 15 hours. It’s Einstein day here at the Sturkies.


1- Went to the 99W Drive-in with the family last night. SO love that place. (Despicable Me 2: Excellent. Grown Ups 2: Seriously. Beat me.)

2- The kids discovered the Vine app and keep making mini movies. I might not ever see my phone again.

3- I caught the biscuits before they erupted into flames. So thankfully, I’m the only one well-done around here.

The word “awaay” was an intended typo, in case you thought I was at it again.