Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas Wrap

Team Immel hopes you had a Happy Holiday! Thank you for all of the Christmas cards, emails, phone calls, texts, Facebook posts, blog posts, gifts, goodies, good wishes and holiday cheer! WE love and appreciate you all!!! Your friendship and support are our greatest gifts this holiday season, and every day!

We were snowed in for 2 weeks here and weren't able to drive up to Washington like we do every year to spend our holiday with my aunts & cousins and 2nd cousins on Christmas Eve in Buckley, or my brother and his family, including my 3 year old niece Ella, for Christmas morning in Kent, or my Grampa, Aunts, Cousins, and 2nd Cousins on Christmas afternoon/evening in Enumclaw. But we were safe and warm and together here at home, with my mom, for our first White Christmas in Beaverton, OR! It was nice to not have to drive from place to place to place. To just be. To sit and relax. Nap. Play with our new toys and gadgets. Make french toast for breakfast and to go see a movie later that night (Marley & Me).
Spencer was so happy and excited about Christmas that he even let me take a photo of him, SMILING!!!
I love this shot of him and Simba....and this was taken with Kaelin's little digital camera she got last Christmas because I left my camera at the Klings house on Christmas Eve! Talk about panic!!! (Berit was so nice to bring it over later that morning!! Thanks Berit!!!)
Simba even had a stocking, with a peanut butter bone in it! (his favorite!) We laughed so hard at him trying to get it off his tongue and nose!!

Due to basketball tournaments early in the month and then the snow, we were unable to get a tree. We had planned on going green and "renting" a living tree but we couldn't get into Portland to get it. So on Christmas Eve, I got creative and threw something together. Somewhat of a "Redneck Christmas." I either get the prize for "Most Creative" or "Lamest" but it was all I could come up with at the last moment. AT least we saved some dough and a tree it's life. Check it out, I stacked our piano bench on top of my cedar trunk and then a file box on top of that. I put my green table cloth over the top and then placed our Poinsettia on top. My mom strung little rice lights and i covered a cardboard star with foil and hung it from the ceiling over the tree.LOL It will be a tree to remember won't it? It looks really lame from the street! I'm so embarrassed! It will come down tomorrow night after my dad and Ginger come over to exchange gifts with us. I'm going to make them Maple Salmon, Crash Potatoes, Steamed Asparagus and bread. One of our favorite dishes. Thanks to Paris for the Salmon recipe!! We use it ALL the time!!

My mom was a huge help this year. I haven't had a lot of energy or stamina lately and haven't been feeling very well since I got sick at Thanksgiving. She totally picked up my slack. Making my cookies. Wrapping my presents. To name but a few things. She even made her own wrapping paper! Check out the newsprint with the stamped turtles and glitter on it! Way to go green!

We really scaled back this Christmas but the kids were very thrilled and happy and didn't seem to notice. Dave and I weren't supposed to buy each other gifts, but he dodged that clause by making my gift "from the kids". I need to get a photo of my gift before I can tell you the story, but it was shiny and sparkly and pretty. :)

I hope you all had a memorable holiday full of family and love and laughter and peace.


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Twas the Night Before Christmas...

Happy Christmas Eve to those near and far.
We are snowed in for the holidays, but just had a wonderful dinner with our neighbors, The Klings. Berit, Steve, Haley and Mason filled in beautifully for our family! We had a great night of eating, playing Wii, talking, laughing and beating them in Cribbage!

Now on to wrapping presents and getting a good night's sleep!

Here's a fun photo of the kids from last year...

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Snowapolooza 08

I got a kick out of a story I read in the Oregonian newspaper today, where the writer referred to this storm as "Snowapolooza", "The Snowpocalypse" and "Snowmageddon" 2008. I loved that. Never have we seen a White Christmas quite like this one in the Pacific NW, nor will we EVER see one like this again! We've been snowed in pretty much for 11 days now. P-town is just not equipted to handle snow like this. I think we have 3 snow plows for all of the Portland Metro area. Can you imagine? I bet those boys are busy!

In our neighborhood, we have about 15 inches, maybe more and more is expected tonight. Chains are required to drive. Portland has pretty much shut down for the last 2 weeks now. Which is not good timing for the holidays. Our plans to drive up and spend the holidays with my brother and his family in Kent and with the cousins, aunts, uncles and my Grandpa in Enumclaw, WA have been foiled. We're not going anywhere anytime soon according to the forcasts. Oh well. We will manage. Thank goodness we have shelter, warmth, food and each other. So many other people less fortunate are really suffering through this weather. My heart goes out to them.

We were going to "go green" this Christmas, to save money and the environment. So we didn't put up lights and we found a place where we could "rent a live tree". We could't get downtown, so we are without a tree. But we've gotten pretty creative with a poinsettia! Memories in the making. "Remember that Christmas when it snowed so much we were snowed in for 2 weeks and Santa had to put our presents under a poinsettia?" :) Memories! I'll never forget the Christmas when we lived in Hawaii when I was a kid. My dad built us a tree out of some boards. It was painted white. It had shelf like things where we set Xmas knickknacks and candles on it. I don't remember any other Christmas trees growing up, but I remember that one, clear as a bell.

I hope you all are making wonderful memories too, for when all is said and done. That's what it's all about. We might not always have the "live" version of our loved ones, but we will always have the memories of them for as long as we can remember with our hearts and minds. Enjoy your holidays and make it memorable.


I'll leave you with some photos from our neighborhood...

Our house with my mom's PT Cruiser, "Leon," in front of it...
The view as you look up the street at Forest Hills Park from our driveway...
The view from our driveway as you look down the street...The park around the corner where Simba loves to play ball...
Spencer, happy that he hit his target with a snowball....
His target (his sister!), not happy with is aim...
A tree in our yard...
My mom's car parked in front of our house (all photos taken on Monday, Dec. 22nd)...
Simba wondering where his ball is? It's lost in a snowdrift!
Simba prior to losing his ball...proof that he's the Happiest Dog in the World!!!
The fire hydrant at the end of our street, just before you turn the corner to the park...
Stay warm, dry and SAFE!!! xoxoxo

Friday, December 19, 2008

Snow Bound

Wow. What a week! Winter Break was supposed to start officially after the kids got out of school today, but they haven't been to school for 7 days due to the weather! It's been cold and it's been white!! School was cancelled for the whole week, so my kids got 3 weeks instead of 2 off for Christmas and they are psyched. So many things got cancelled and postponed. Like the Christmas concert, Revels, at school. The Write Around Portland Anthology Release Party and Reading. Gymnastics training and meets. Martial Arts. Basketball practices and tournaments. Acrobatics Dance practice. Support Groups. Christmas Parties. Plans to go Christmas shopping and get our Christmas tree. Lunch and coffee dates. You name it!

We've all enjoyed ourselves though. I must say that I had all of these plans to get so much done, but I've really just relaxed and hung out and slept in and played in the snow and on Facebook and watched movies (Napolean Dynamite and I Am Legend) and read books and did crossword puzzles and make dinners and actually sit down all together and eat as a family! It's been sooo nice to have everyone home and not rush around from sport to sport to sport etc for a change. Life is good!

My mom and I did manage to get out and start and almost finish our Christmas shopping on Thursday when the temps rose and the snow melted (in between storms). She also baked my holiday cookies for me and also made her own wrapping paper and wrapped her presents and sent out her Christmas cards! I have no excuse.

I've been neglecting my blog and emails too and to those of you who are waiting to hear from me...I am sorry! I've been having to share my time on the computer with 4 other people in my house 24/7 and like I've complained many times before, just when I sit down and get on a roll answering emails, my pc boots me out and it takes me at least 5 tries before I can get back on and by then I am so pissed I walk away. It's so frustrating! I miss my marathon sessions of email answering and my clean, organized inbox. I can't keep up anymore and it overwhelms me! I love that I can get Facebook on Ruby, my trusty smart phone, but I haven't figured out how to get my emails to forward to me. You can always email me to my phone directly at and I bet I can get back to you better that way!

Kaelin and I snuck out this afternoon and saw the movie Twilight for a second time. I liked it better the second time! We came home just as it was snowing again. Spencer has a friend over for a sleepover tonight and we're hoping for an indoor soccer game tomorrow. Other than that, we're trying to figure out if and when we can get up to Kent, WA to my bros and gramps for Xmas and how long we can stay. With school being cancelled all week, Dave's HS girls team hasn't practiced for 6 days! That's unheard of! And they were supposed to get some time off around the holidays, but looks like that already got it. I'm afraid they will be practicing when we would be traveling. So who knows.

I hope to get together with HS friends if we go up and DAve's team is playing in a Hoop tourney at Riverside HS in Auburn starting DEc. 30th, so we may go up there then too. Or instead. Depends on the weather!

I'll leave you with some photos of what we've been doing since being Snow Bound:I also need to thank a dear sweet lady from my support group who braved the snow, cold and ice and drove over a whole bunch of holiday goodies for my family and I! Thanks Carolyn! You are so nice, thoughtful and kind and we really appreciated it! What a nice suprise!!!!!
I hope you all enjoy the rest of your week and the holidays!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Happiness is....

Hope you all enjoyed your day as much as Simba.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A Taste of Winter

Pure Bliss in a child's eyes. To a child, there is nothing better than waking up to a snow day! We went to bed last night (after going to Toys R Us from 11pm-12am! The best time to shop!) and woke up in a winter wonderland! Very dry, cold snow. We have about 4 inches on the ground right now and it's not supposed to go away anytime soon. School has been cancelled tomorrow, very much to my children's delight. The temperatures are very cold. In the teens. Supposed to be 10 degrees on Thursday. For us Oregonians, that's COLD and we're not used to all of this snow and cold! They are saying that school may be cancelled all week. And there was only 1 week of school left before the Christmas holidays! Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Luckily I had gone to the grocery store and stocked up, but at some point, we're going to run out and have to venture out. So much for getting our tree. At least I will be stuck at home and have lots of time to deal with paperwork, laundry, cleaning etc! (That is if I can drag myself away from the computer and FACEBOOK!). My mom has been making my Christmas cookies for me and Kaelin has been helping! Too bad I don't have my Christmas cards, might be a good time to do them! Oh well. It wouldn't be a card from Team Immel if you didn't get it for Valentines Day or Easter. Right?
Here's a snowman that Spencer and the boys across the street made. I've had some people commenting on it, saying it looks like the Pillsbury Dough Boy costume Spencer wore for the school play! (Stay tuned for more photos on that...) Spencer had to stand guard, as Simba, the Happiest Dog in the World, happens to be a snow eater! He kept trying to eat the snowman's nose! (He likes carrots!)

I had the kids pose with the dog, thinking that this might make a good Christmas card photo. I'll keep trying all week, as I'm sure we'll have lots of photo ops! Simba is a total snow dog! He loves the snow! He stood at the door and cried when we came in. Wanting to go right back out. I think he had the most fun of us all!

Other happenings from this week...

Here's a photo of Grampa and Grannie (Dave's mom and step dad) in front of an art project Kaelin did hanging on the wall in the performing arts center at school, just before Spencer's 8th Grade play, "Not Saint George."

The play was hysterical!!! OMG those 8th graders and their humor! Alot of current popular event stuff was thrown in there for comedy, like Sarah Palin, America's Next Top Model and High School Musical. I can't even explain it. It was so out there and so darn funny. We were rolling on the floor. Here's a photo of the whole 8th grade cast...
amd 2/3 Pillsbury Dough Boys (kinda look like Casper the Ghosts huh? Or Frosty the Snowman without the hat.)

And here's all three of the Dough Boys, plus the Cookie MOnster and one of the "Fairies" (all of the big, athletic, jock boys were dressed as the fairies for the nutcracker music and did their ballet routines on trikes!)
I missed my writing group this week due to the play. :( So I don't have any writing to share this week.

If the snow doesn't put a damper on things, we have the Christmas Concert, "Revels", on Thursday night and I have my Write Around Portland Anthology Release Party on Wednesday, December 17th, where I will be reading my piece "Tell Me a Story." For anyone that wants to attend, it's from 6:30-8:30pm at First United Methodist Church, 1838 SW Jefferson Ave. (at Goose Hollow Max stop). The event is free and everyone is welcome! You can purchase the books there, or they will be available at Powell's afterwards.

I hope that you all are safe and warm inside your homes, with your loved ones snuggled in close. Enjoy the time and make some memories!!!


Friday, December 12, 2008

CA125 Results are back

here is the note from my doctor:

Hi Shauna. The CA 125 is overall stable. There was a very slight change from 45 to 56. As per the graph we looked at, overall this small change is not likely to be significant. I do not think we have to make any changes to our plan for a CT scan next month before the next appointment with me. As always, if you develop worsening pain, or any new symptoms or concerns, please let me know right away.

I hope you have a very nice holiday with your family.

Best regards,


She doesn't think it's significant but I've had a bad feeling for awhile now. This bums me out. :( Nice to have a break, but then the chemo isn't blasting the cancer and keeping it in check. I can feel it inside me. Sucks.


Favorite Foto Friday

My brother's dog, Gimli, last Christmas. LOL This ought to get us in the Christmas spirit huh?

Off to see Spencer play one of three Pillsbury Dough Boys in the 8th grade play, "Not Saint George."
Hopefully I'll have more photos and stories to tell after today. Kaelin has gymnastics tonight, Dave has another Hoop Tourney at Southridge HS this weekend and Kaelin has hoops this weekend.

We really need to get started on Christmas. Just not in the mood this year. Have yet to get a tree, put lights up, organize Christmas cards, decorate, buy a single present or bake cookies. Sigh. Maybe the play will slap me upside the head!

Have a great weekend friends and TGIF!!!


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Facebook, Laundromats, Dr. Appointments, Writings and Pillsbury Dough Boys


Ok. I've been neglecting my good friend, my trusty blog and all of you out there who check in on me! I've been down with the flu (twice! Guess that's what happens when you get TWO flu shots! LOL) since Thanksgiving, but have also become quite addicted to Facebook! (love that I can access it on my smart phone, "Ruby"!). I have had so much fun reconnecting with old friends, co-workers, and classmates! Some friends all the way back to 8th grade! People that I thought were lost, are now found! Friends that moved away when I was in 10th grade (waving at Kathy!), friends that I hadn't seen or heard from since high school and college. I'm loving the connections. My life is all about connections and relationships now. And I am so thankful to be able to speak to all of these people and tell them how I feel about them. What they mean/meant to me. How they affected my life. It has given me a new light inside. I have this need, this hunger to connect. To reach out and touch, and to hold on for dear life. I don't want to let go. I know I'm driving people crazy (get a life already Shauna! Some of us are trying to work and be responsible/productive! Not professional playdaters!). But it's like a drug for me. I crave it. I need more. I can't stop. It feels good. And it's an escape. A distraction. I forget for awhile that I have cancer, because I'm kind of living in the past. Works for me, ya know? LOL So thank you all for being patient with me and humoring me. I feel so isolated sometimes. And I need to get my fix!!! You can blame my friend Jo, for "pushing" Facebook on me! LOL (Thanks Jo, I love my favorite cup-o-Jo!) Add me as a friend, you'll find me under "Shauna Berglund Immel".


Another reason I've been MIA - with the flu came lots of laundry. Especially bedding. The extra stress on the appliances was too much for Mr. Dryer to handle so he kicked the bucket. My step father in law (thanks Wayne!) and Dave tried their best to fix it, but it wasn't saveable (is that really a word?). So I spent a great deal of time and energy at the local laundromat on both Friday and Saturday nights. You'll be shocked to know that laundromats are not open 24 hours (they close at 10! and I drove to 3 of them to check!) and that they are EXPENSIVE and that there is no where to sit. (see, my mom came to visit! Remind you of that "Friends" episode with Ross and Rachel?) You also might be shocked to know that I brought my camera with me and documented my time spent there! LOL

Hey, I you talking to me? I resemble that remark! LOL

One thing you may not realize, doing laundry at the laundry mat is hard work! You have to pile all of those dirty clothes (like every piece of clothing you own after a week!) into your car and drive them there. Haul them in and out of the car and "the mat." You don't need anywhere to sit, because there is no time to sit! You get your stuff loaded (which is work!), you have to get quarters and then you realize you forgot laundry soap and dryer sheets, so you have to use quarters to get that. And then by the time you do that, all of your 7 loads have been washed and you have to work your tail off to get them into the dryers and then you need more quarters and then they start getting dry and you start folding and folding and folding! They finish all at the same time!! And then you have to reload the car. And then haul them into the house and then put them away! Whew!!! I've developed a whole new appreciation for doing laundry and I will NEVER complain again! I promise!!! Speaking of can't complain...I can't complain about my hubby! He went out and suprised me with a new dryer from Sears! I think he was afraid he was going to have to start doing it! No more Friday and Saturday nights spent at "The Mat!" Although it's nice to get all of your laundry done in one fell swoop, it's nicer to do it at home. Our new dryer arrives tomorrow! I'll have to think of a good name for him. I've been naming things lately. My Blackberry phone is names "Ruby", my mom's old car that I'm driving while the Jeep ("Hunter") is in the shop, is named "Rosie". Any suggestions?

Dr. Appointments:

Had my monthly appointment with my oncologist today. Drew my blood for the CA125 test and flushed my ports (I have a double port-a-cath inserted into my left chest wall, above my heart for infusing). When you don't use your ports, you have to flush them monthly to keep the flow open or whatever. Had a nice talk with my doctor. Told her about the flu and how I was concerned it was my cancer taking over my insides. She said that we need to be aware of that and keep an eye on it but that since so many others got sick, that it's likely the flu and not my cancer. I told her how worried I was about my intestines. I've had increased pain in my abdomen and under both ribs and bloating and trouble eating very much at a time and digesting food etc. Which is no big suprise since the cancer was in my intestines and they removed 12" of my intestines. But also, a stomach virus will cause inflamation and pain, especially with compromised intestines! I asked her if there were any tests to check the intestines because they don't show up in the CT scans or PET scans or MRIs or Ultrasounds. The only way they can tell is to cut me open surgically and that's not advised. So we don't know. We just keep an eye on stuff. The kind of cancer I have forms a glaze of cells along the linings of my abdomen and intestines, not a big mass, but a layer. Which is not good for the self esteem, when you add layers to your abdominal wall, and it's not muscle! She said my last CT scan was Nov. 18th, so she wants me to do another one the 1st week in Jan. and then meet with her again the 2nd week and start chemo again then. Probably the oral chemo, pill form (Zometa?). You take pills one week, feel iffy and then feel bad and have a week to recover and then repeat. I have plans to go out of town to the beach with my friend Loni (since 8th grade) and Paris (friend for about 9 years now?) and Sam (Paris' sorority sister who lives in Gig Harbor!) the 2nd weekend in Jan. and then my bday is Jan. 20th and I have plans with my UCLA college friends (Sheila, Joni, Rachel and Phil) to go to San Francisco the weekend of the 24th. So I'm going to try and push off starting chemo until the end of January if my CT scan and CA125 comply. I asked the Doc how she thought I was doing...really. Considering. Compared to the odds. Statistically, etc. She said she felt good about me having a break but that considering my history, that I will never be able to have very long breaks from chemo. And she thinks that I'm doing better than expected. So I'll take that and run with it. My friend said something to me tonight that put things into perspective (thanks Kathy!). I told her I was still fighting. But that I was getting tired of fighting and that fighting was getting harder the longer and harder I fought. And she said "The longer you fight, the longer you are winning." That really slapped me upside the head. Makes sense. So I'm adopting that as my other slogan, besides "I CANcer*vive." She said I could! Now all I need is an agent. Any takers? I could be the next Lance Armstrong people!!! The doctor also suggested I talk to my counselor again (I think my tears gave me away, ya think?). Hey, a girl can only keep a stiff upper lip for so long! (A Facebook fix would have averted that by the way!).


Don't know if the Writing Group outside the workshop is working for me. Too much visiting and chit chatting and commenting on pieces besides just the writiing itself. Seems like we spend more time hearing back stories and life histories than writing. It's a long drive and a big effort to go for not getting more than 20 minutes of writing in in a 2 hour block. I'll share what I got down last week. They are all incomplete...

12/5 10 minute write prompts:
1. My worst nightmare...
2. The best holiday ever...

The Abyss (or The Deep?)
by Shauna Berglund Immel

I'm sound asleep. The kind of deep sleep you get to if you can stay asleep long enough to venture there. Where you are still, except for the quiet whispers of your breath, falling in rhythm with your heart beat. Your eye lashes flutter so ever slightly, tickling your cheeks like butterflies on flowers. You are at peace. Safe and secure in your dreams. Where you get to travel to magical places and visit long, forgotten first loves. You relax deeper into the comforts of your breath. You are floating in a suspended state, like being on your back in the ocean, looking up at the clear, blue sky as the rolling waves gently rock you deeper to sleep.

Suddenly, your safe haven is shattered by an uncharted storm. You are startled awake with fear. Your gentle ocean turns tumultuous. It churns as Tsunami-sized waves toss you about. You are no longer floating on top of the water, but are going under. Gasping for breath. Choking. Drowning. There is no escape route. No one to help you. You call out but no one comes to save you. You swallow more water and your lungs fill with liquid as you sink deeper and deeper towards the abyss. Your eyes burn with terror as you try and make your way through the darkness.

Just when you think you can't hold on, you break the surface and gasp for breath, coughing up salt water. You sit straight up in bed. Your heart pounding so fiercly, you fear it will pound right out of your chest.

You look around. Confused. Disoriented. Am I asleep? Am I awake? I'm asleep. Wait, no... I'm awake. Let me pinch myself. Yep. I'm awake.

My worst nightmare ever? I'm pretty much living it.

I'm awake.

12 minute write prompts:
1. A pet
2. Most Memorable Vacation...

A Dog's Tale
by Shauna Berglund Immel

He came into our lives, very unexpectantly. We hadn't planned for him. After two of the greatest dogs had come and gone from our lives, we weren't looking for a replacement just yet. I had only brieftly mentioned to my family, two Christmas' ago, how "if and when we ever get another dog, it would be a Labradoodle." And I had put it in the back of my mind while I had more immediate things to deal with, like cancer and chemotherapy.

My husband must have taken it to heart, because not even two weeks later, he pulled up to the curb to pick me up from a long day of infusing and curled comfortably in his lap, like it was made for him, lay a 9 week old Labradoodle puppy! Probably the cutest puppy I had ever laid my eyes on. It was love at first sight. And by the looks of it, my husband shared the same sentiments.
As I got into the car, the puppy calmly crawled over to my lap, and gently settled in. As if he knew that that is what I needed and maybe all I could handle at the time.

My husband must have known I needed something soft and cuddly in my hard, cancer filled life. Maybe we all needed something to remind us to live in the moment. To live each day to the fullest. To be happy for what you have now and to find joy in the little things.

The Pillsbury Dough Boy:

Spencer will be playing one of the Pillsbury Dough Boys in the Catlin Gabel 8th Grade production of "Not Saint George" this Friday! More on this later! Thanks to Grannie and Grampa for making this costume possible!!! xoxoxoxo

This should give you all enough reading material for a few days while I get my Facebook fix! LOL