So I have to say I am sorry for leaving you with the most boring two posts and not updating this week.  I have had an insanely busy 2 weeks and little time to blog… sadly.

These last two weeks were a lot of fun.  I will give you a brief run down of some of the events.    Last week 6/17-  Thursday night I went to a Vogue shopping event where 10% of proceeds went to Breast Cancer Research.  I capitalize here for emphasis.   It was actually a great event.   A perfect way to start the night for sure.   My friend Leslie went with me and some of my family members were selling some goodies.   A great crowd showed up for this event actually too and it was inside a furniture store – The Golden Triangle.  From there we went to dinner at Hub 51 and decided to go home after as we knew we were in for a long weekend.   I am thrilled at that choice because by then (1130), I was dying to see Daree!!  

I can’t quite remember last Friday night, but I had a fabulous time at the great benefit for the Piven Theater Company last Sat 6/19 at Rockit, then to my friend Dave’s birthday at Vertigo (they finally got some lights and seats- I had vowed to never go back because it was literally so dark you could walk right into someone in front of you and not know he or she were standing there.  Plus there was nowhere to sit and the crowd was super annoying.  This go around was fun and just perfect lighting and seating).  From Vertigo we went to Underground (another of which I vowed to not return to) for the after-party for the Piven event.   I have to be honest here and say I had an awesome time. I danced and played and laughed and smiled. Loved it.  Even met a super cutie (not Piven, although I did speak with him and he is adorable.  The bad thing about Piven is that the girls swarm him and he thrives off of it.  I mean, he is so likable, so cute, so witty and so relatable that I was surprised by how much he seemed to love the vibes of the midwestern girls fawning).  

Sunday was Father’s day and I spent the afternoon and evening with my dad in Barrington- both the old and new (explanation to come later).   Monday was my Father’s 63rd birthday so my brother and I took him to what we call “The Red Door” (aka Rosebud on Walton), for a delicious and lovely lunch.   Perfect.   For dinner we (and some others) ate at the The Gage on Michigan Ave.  An odd choice by my step mother because it was loud and not easy to park, but a nice dinner nonetheless.   My uncle flew in from DC which was a great wonderful surprise to all of us.  Tuesday I finally had a night to myself (me and my babies of course) and vegged at home.  

Wednesday June 24th was a night my friend Howie and I had been planning for a few months.  I had a job meeting that morning (details later), and a hectic day, but an awesome one.   We planned a benefit for Alexi Giannoulias (IL State Treasurer running for Obama’s senate seat).  The event went really well and we raised over $30,000 for Alexi.   Thanks to all those who came and supported.  

Thursday was an event for Justin Oberman (running for LT Governor), at District.  The event was nice and after a bunch of us went to Adobo for more margaritas (my favorite in Chicago).  See pics here…Adobo

Classic

Classic

Living & Laughing

Living & Laughing

Then to Four Farthings for Thurs night Karaoke!!  I sang TWO SONGS!!!  I have the WORLD’S WORST VOICE!!  I loved every minute of it.   I sang Pour Some Sugar On Me- I know so typical and cheesy, but also you have to admit, the perfect karaoke song.  I also requested to sing O’ Lamour by Erasure- one of my all time favorite songs!   Instead I was called up to the stage and A Little Respect came on and I belted out every word!!   All good- I mean, Erasure rules!!!    Anyhow, from there the crew broke apart and some went home.  I went to a friend’s house for a brief visit.  This part of the story is amazing.   I am skipping most of the details, but suffice to say that I went home and realized I either lost something or left it there.  The next day I searched everywhere- my house, my car, stalked my friend to make sure he looked for it.   I decided to just simply go over to his house and retrace my steps (even though I knew he was at work and I would not be able to go inside, I thought it would be worth it to check as my lost item might be on the street!   This item is vital to me!).   So, I did just that.  I walked the exact same route to and from my car as I did the night before and low and behold, I found it!!!!    I could not believe it.  There it was, sitting in the side of the street- not even dirty!!!  YAY!!!   If you had seen me in that moment, the smile on my face would have looked like I belonged on another planet!    What a terrific feeling.  

Anyhow, friday 6/26 my girl friend Rebecca came over and we had dinner at Riverview  in Roscoe Village (best salads ever) and hung out.  Needless to say, the action of the night came from Daree.  He decided to pick up a dead bird and try to eat it.  I had to fight him tooth and nail.   There was no chance I was able to pry his mouth open… I tried my hardest!!!  My only option was to push on his neck as hard as humanly possible until he dropped it.   I did it and he would not drop it!!!  My girl friend and I were both screaming and Daree was not letting up!  I finally managed to think fast and had a zip lock in my bag.   My friend handed it to me and with all the love I have for Daree, I managed to push on his neck just hard enough to make him open his mouth, I held it open and reached in and grabbed the dead bird and threw it out!!   This entire process was unreal.   I am not a girlie girl at all… but I am definitely not a dead animal lover.   I am in fact, a total baby when it comes to bugs and dead creatures.   So this, for me, was hugely scary.  The fact was though, there was no other option.    No one was there to help.  I did not expect Rebecca to do it.  This is my dog and I had to suck it up and take care of business.   That is exactly what I did.   Oddly, we were both shaken up after that (not odd), but I felt such a huge sense of independence and strength after that.  Being able to handle that, even though we all freaked out, was really oddly comforting.   I mean, we all know when push comes to shove, we will do whatever it takes for those we love.  I knew Daree would get very sick if he ate the bird and for me, there was no hesitation.     In any case, it is moments like those that I feel like I could tackle anything.   

Lastly, Saturday night I had dinner with my good friend Marni who I had not seen in WAY TOOOOO LONG!!  So we went to Bob San and gabbed away.   So much fun to be with Marni- from start to finish- and what a finish!   We had a mellow and delicious meal of cucumber salad, sashimi, edamame and white wine.  I had reisling- Bob San has my favorite Hirschbach (spelled incorrectly I am sure) Reisling and she had Sauvignon Blanc I think.   At dinner, we sat outside initially and then a little rain brought us inside for the remainder.  Once inside, the man (cute single guy from Cali) at the table next to us started talking with us and ended up inviting us sailing with him.  Now Marni is married, but we both felt flattered.  The Cali guy left and actually came back to our table after he said goodbye to us and already had paid his check) and asked us to come sailing with him the the next day.   Was really sweet.  Sadly we both had plans… From there we went to an Imerman Angels Event at LaSalle Power Co.    The event was a success and I will always support my boy Jonny Imerman!!!   Love you Jonny!!   Marni and I ran into a bunch of people and ended up out and about a bit more only to end up late night with Cheetos and Combos (Marni had none).   I was disappointed in myself for eating the junk food!!  Little food and lots of wine leads to Cheetos (my favs) for me for some reason… No mas!!

Today I spent lunch with Carly and dinner with Jodi and stayed local.  Ate at Victory Banner and Riverview.  I am quite content and geared up for a great week ahead.  A lot of events and good weather ahead.   Truly, I do not want the fireworks to freak my dog out too much.   One of my hugest stressors is when Daree ( or one of my animals) gets freaked out.   Fireworks are AWFUL for animals and I think people need to be educated on that.   I hope that if they understand the effect on animals, people will not set them off.   They are illegal, but in Roscoe Village, it is almost as if every single household ignores that and sets off hours of em… I am planning ahead to get the hell away from Roscoe!!    Not sure where to, but hopefully a family member will help out with Daree bear.  

Daree my love

Daree my love

All in all, summer has begun and it’s heating up.    I’m excited and ready.   My goal is to learn to live in the grey a bit more.  I am such an all or nothing girl- ie, either I am all about a diet or totally eat whatever I want, either I work out 7 days a week or none at all…. I know you get it…. So, my goal is to be able to find a gentle balance in all areas- work, dating, health, friendships, family and more.  I feel more sure now more than ever that life is short and I want to live it up while I can (that’s why those Cheetos come to mind when drinking).

Carpe diem,

MBK

Delicious DIRT. By MBK on June 7 2009

My animals are my true loves.    In the spirit of blogging with a purpose or to help others,  I have decided to blog about some of my MANY experiences at vets, Daree’s health and overall animal behavior- well my animals’ behavior.   I know a lot of people who struggle going through their animals’ health issues.  I also know a lot of other people who have yet to experience sick animals- so lucky.  No one ever mentioned to me when I got these animals 13 yrs ago (cats 13 yrs ago. Daree 12.5) how hard it gets when they get older.   Truthfully, I never thought about it until this year, this hard year.      img_0867

The journey I am about to write about, although super intense, has been only a small fraction of my life with Daree.   I have spent literally 12 years and 4 months with Daree.  We have grown together, loved together, played together, eaten together, danced together, slept together, made friends, lovers, families together.   Daree is the love of my life.  The apple of my eye, the mac to my cheese, the peanut butter to my jelly.  Daree is my angel.

Currently, I am trying so very hard to live in the moment with my Daree bear! He is puppy-esque, playful, more loving and cuddly as ever!!  Background, my baby, who is now 12.5 yrs old officially was diagnosed with terminal cancer  5 months ago.  Daree has had several surgeries over the years, many of which have saved his life.   He is a massive trouper – the most resilient creature.  img_0306

This whole thing started in 2006 with NO CLINICAL SIGNS.   Daree was and still is puppy-like.  He had NOT ONE SIGN that anything was even remotely wrong… But, we discovered his tumor after we went for a few routine check ups where one thing led to another and we found out after blood work and ultra sounds, that Daree had a liver tumor the size of a grapefruit.   Immediately I scheduled surgery for the next day and his liver tumor was removed in Nov of 2006.  It was encased and was malignant and we were told Daree would be fine.  He recovered easily and was back to himself within the week.  He later got pancreatitis and was re-hospitalized, but fully recovered.  I could finally breath again.     img_0115

As a precaution, I repeated ultrasounds every 2-3 months from then on.   The worst news came last yr (2008) when a new tumor grew in his liver.  We immediately scheduled surgery and Dr. Robbins called me from the operating table only to tell me it was inoperable… I was devastated.  The surgeon, Dr. Mitch Robbins (the best there is), said if he tried to take it out, it would kill Daree.

Dr. Robbins called me a few days later and gave me the option of trying a chemo embolization surgery on Daree.   The idea behind this procedure (used in humans often), was to go inside his vein to the tumor and inject him directly with strong chemo to kill the tumor.  Then they were going to embolize the vein (basically cut off the blood source of the tumor), so the tumor would not be getting fed and eventually die.

This procedure was a miracle.  They went inside Daree’s leg, inside his vein, into his liver (through a vein), and blasted it with chemo and then embolized it.  The surgery took 6 hours.  Daree was under for 7.  It was very scary, but it worked and although the recovery was AWFUL, it was worth it.  Daree was back to his old self within a month and a half and was playful as ever.   He did develop pancreatitis again, but stayed in the ER until he was all clear.

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After this procedure, we did ultrasounds every two months to assess if the tumor had shrunk from the direct injection of chemo and the embolizing of his blood source to the tumor.   The tumor did shrink and seemed to have died out.

It was not until 10 months later that of one Daree’s routine blood tests was elevated.  So we did another ultrasound and discovered the tumor had grown.  It shrunk for months and then within 2 months, grew to almost double its size.

I had not felt that type of utter hopelessness in my life.   I was never so shocked either (as were the doctors).  Since we knew we had exhausted all our options (and could not re-embolize), it felt hopeless.   I begged the surgeon to find some other option.   I spent days crying.  Feeling terrified and sad.

Somehow, I pulled myself together, with the support of my family and friends.  I decided to enjoy every minute of Daree’s life to the max.   He is my baby, my love, my partner, my best friend, my cuddly teddy bear.   There’s nothing more special to me than the smile on his face when he turns back to see if I’m there or when I look in the back seat and see him smiling away.

I guess it is cathartic to write this all out.  But, I do hope my sharing my story shows you that being a diligent pet parent is important.  I hope it also shows you (and me), that a diagnosis should not stop you from living and living well.   Everyday with Daree is a true joy for me.  I would not trade one minute.   I would not trade reaching into his mouth and pulling out a dead bird (I did that tonight), I would not trade the 330am wake up calls Daree (very rarely) gives me for a walk.

My life with Daree – rich, happy, smiley, lovely, beautiful, full, content.  Daree’s brothers are an enormous part of it (saving for future posts).   Bottom line, the peanut gallery is truly peaceful. It is tough to describe with words, but just hearing Daree breathing next to me and feeling his sweet super soft fur, well, that’s all.

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Let me know if you have any questions and or health issues with your pets.  I would be thrilled to refer you to the spectacular cast of doctors who have been so wonderful to my babies.

Well, I love that within my family, now my mom, my cousin and I are all blogging.  I remember when I started thinking about blogging and I knew no one who actually blogged.  Now, several of my friends and members of my family are blogging. 

My cousin is a professional writer and her blog is the epitome of what I wish my blog was.  My mom’s blog poses the idea of her being too old to blog in each post.  We all know she is far from old and quite interesting.   The bizarre part is the modesty, doubt, and or insecurity in each post of which the basic premise is, “who really cares what I say”.   Of course the people reading it are interested.  So stop with the modesty and own what you are doing.  

The reality is, and finally some of my  family members are seeing it, that blogging is an outlet, a forum, a platform.   Blogging can be anything and everything.  Blogging allows us to put our thoughts, feelings, questions, issues, stories, and more OUT THERE.    The idea of one or one million readers is the ultimate.   The fact that we do not see our readers on the daily, in my opinion (and who really cares about my opinion anyhow), makes it easier for people to express themselves so freely.   

So, Mom- the answer to your question is- people actually do care.  Well, maybe they don’t care… I do!   Regardless, everyone seems to play it off, but people will read it. “If you build it, they will come”.   In the beginning, people pretended they were not into Facebook, then they did it with Twitter.  The reality is, people may not have the time every day to read blogs, to IM, to email, to twit… but when they do have time, people will explore the web, the blogs, the social media sites with passion; whether they admit it or not.

I am writing simply to say that I am still so moved by Barack Obama.    I just finished watching Brian Williams’ Inside The Obama White House.  I literally laughed, cried, and was engrossed almost the entire time.   I actually watched it twice.   And it was two hours… 

I have to say that although this post is probably boring beyond belief, that I am still so inspired, so moved and so excited by our new president and his amazing staff.   I feel so very privileged to have gotten to work on the campaign and in fact, it makes me want to get involved even now.   

The real inspiration and reason I became so passionate about social media was the Obama campaign.   Even now, the president’s cabinet uses social media tools on the daily.   Sadly, people still choose to bicker about the real impact of social media and or still don’t see the value.   My approach has been to engage with them and try show them how valuable social media is.  I decided today that I can not quite do that anymore.  It is becoming clearer everyday the value social media carries and for those who refuse to learn about it, well, all I can say is, talk to me next year and we will see if you still refuse to roll with it.  

What I love is how Obama’s team is so progressive, so candid, and so real.   I love how even four months after inauguration day, I am still so inspired and so moved by our new president.  I never imagined politics and the first family to be so truly invigorating.   Can’t wait to get more involved in some respect and see how things continue to evolve.

GO B.O.!!

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