Friday, May 23, 2014


This post isn't about me so don't get your panties in a wad. Also, if I caused you to have bad visions in your head or nightmares with the title...that's your fault. Hey society today doesn't believe in self accountability.

I didn't know how prophetic the image on the right would be when I posted it on Rhonda's Facebook wall yesterday. With the challenges she is going through I thought it would brighten her day and it did. 

We parted ways as usual in the morning but we were excited for a special day. I would pick her up from the Juliaetta Elementary school and proceed to the Quality Inn at Clarkston, Washington for a luncheon to honor area Valedictorians/Salutatorians. It was SUPPOSED to be Dillon's day.

We had a stop to make before the event and that was to look at different landscaping rock. I have this bright idea that I can start and complete a project on the farm before Dillon's graduation party while doing farm work, helping Rhonda, and having a meeting thrown in. I love pressure.

Then Rhonda's phone rang on the way to look a the rock. It was a call from a doctor. The good news is that surgery dates can be set, the bad news is one of them is May 30th which is Dillon's graduation party and the other is July 3rd. As she ended the call (you don't hang up a cell phone) the tears began.

I'm thinking to myself "OK Robert, let her get some of it out and don't screw things up and make it worse." We were almost there and she pulled them puppies up with a look of determination.

I drove through the lot to find the rock piles and we saw what we wanted...fractured rainbow rock. We both loved the colors and thought it would go well in the area we wanted it in. 

Onward and forward to the luncheon.

Rhonda needed to talk. The more she thought about it the farther she leaned towards the 30th. She joked that I would have to place a faux Rhonda in the chair at graduation. I said that would be  easy, I would just get a blowup doll. Great, I got her laughing and the tears were from that instead of sorrow. 
Pulling them up even tighter now.

It was a great event and it was good to see people there that we knew. The four Kendrick kids were sitting together and we hurried to get a table (in the back so I can people watch and take pictures).

Afterwards, we congratulated kids and parents then headed to Home Depot and URM to shop for project supplies and party supplies.Stop for petrol and on to work and home. On the way we made another joke about the blowup doll being a stuck. It will be the R n R...Rhonda Replacement.

Rhonda stayed at the school to catch up on work and wait for Logan while Dillon and I received the load of rock. Mission: Finish before Rhonda comes home! Five yard of rock doesn't seem like much but when you are trying to sling it around it's like a never ending gobstopper. Baby scoop to the rescue. I used it to do the major spreading and then it was shovel and rake. Mission accomplished.

I was mowing the windbreak and Dillon was raking grass when Rhonda came home. I finished my pass and drove to meet her by the pump house. 
She definitely had a sparkle in her eye and a smile on her face.It looked awesome and Dillon, Logan and I reveled in her happiness.

Then it was time to pull them panties up a little more.

We broke the news to Dillon and Logan that Rhonda will have surgery on May 30th...the day planned for Dillon's graduation party. We will have to cancel it for that day, but we will have one. Probably on July 4th, multiple celebrations.

Pull them up even higher and tighter...Rhonda will miss Dillon's graduation.

When we put things into perspective, it is more important to have Rhonda around longer than just one party or event...even if that is a big day for her first born. As parents, our focus has always been on our boys with no equivocation. They are the center of our life.

While this does break our hearts we know that God has a plan and it is not always for us to see or understand at times. We are both sure that the understanding will come. For now we need to focus on Rhonda and her being successful.

That was Thursday, May 22nd exactly one month to the day when we learned of the news about Rhonda having cancer. Today we head to Spokane for an MRI to help the doctors make sure that the proposed surgery is what is needed and nothing more.

So grab a cup of coffee, put on them big girl panties and face life with a sparkle in your eye and a smile on your face. There are always people with more and bigger problems out there and we are very fortunate to have caught this early and for the tremendous support Rhonda and our family has received.

Besides, I might just have a replacement sitting next to me at graduation with an amazed look on her face wearing nothing but panties. Probably not, but maybe that's an image you can work up in your mind and have a laugh at today.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


It's amazing how one simple word can change your life and perspective. Cancer is one of those words.

Life just can't stop in mid stream. Since Rhonda was diagnosed with breast cancer in April many things have taken place. All of the seed is in the ground which is a great feeling. Dillon and I traveled back to Hartford, CT for a scholarship interview that he was successful on, and of course Rhonda had more tests.

The mental toll that takes places is indescribable. Not only for Rhonda, but for the whole family. Is there more cancer? What procedure should I do? Lumpectomy or Mastectomy? Am I letting everyone down? What about financial issues? The list goes on and on.

There is good news and hope...BREAST SUPPORTERS! Yeah, this is tongue in cheek but you can either laugh or cry. Rhonda and I are both ones that find sadistic humor in many situations. I've tried to make up words to go with BRA but I haven't had any luck. Maybe - Blair, Rhonda Activists! It just seems a little limp and danglely.

While Hillary Clinton said "It takes a village," we are finding out "IT TAKES A COMMUNITY and/or FAMILY." What we discovered is how large that community/family really is. It is global! The support from friends, co-workers, and even strangers has just been too amazing to describe at times. Overwhelming is a good word.

Back Row L to R: Emily Fredenburg, Jackie Kohler, Vickie Witt, Rose Norris
Middle Row: Heather Anderson, Rob Hoffman, Connie Reid, Dr. Park, Angie Tweit, Dawn Quigley, Suzanne Brammer,
Tracy Cooper, Shannon Heath, Morgan Heier, Chelsea Henson, Denise Silflow
Front Row: Melissa Eichner, Kandy Mccleese, Kim Cirka, Jan Patterson, Angie Cannon, Connie Hedler, Jessica Clemenhagen. Front & Center: Rhonda Blair
My last blog was about "Pink Tractors" which was done right after Rhonda's initial visit with two cancer specialists. We picked up a T-shirt with a pink tractor on it for breast cancer support. After I posted, the comments and support that came in was mind blowing.

Rhonda and I joked the day she wore it to work that there needs to be a special day for Ta Ta Tuesday. Well, it stuck and with her telling that story to the staff at the grade school which led to the main reason for this blog.

Without Rhonda's knowledge they designed and ordered T-shirts. Now I like wearing pink. So does Logan and to some extent Dillon. But Rhonda....loathes the color. Being an athlete she associated pink with things over the top feminine. I get it, it's kind of like Chevy or Ford, you have your favorite.

So last Tuesday May 13th the BREAST SUPPORTERS sprung their surprise on her. Pink T-shirts with black ribbons on the front...and they know she doesn't like pink which makes it funny. The special part was on the back...TEAM RHONDA!

Rhonda called me to tell the story and it brought tears to my eyes. A small community is like a family. Most of the time life goes normal but there are times of arguments, jealousy, etc. Kind of like the petty stuff that takes place with siblings that makes parents go crazy. But like a family, when the chips are down, the wagons are circled, and they stick together. Rhonda's co-workers at the Juliaetta Grade school have been the BEST BREAST SUPPORTERS ever.

Rhonda is a "newbie" in the community. Now that I think about it, it's been over 20 years. However, I grew up here and know many of the staff from years gone past. My sixth grade teacher, Emily Fredenburg is still there. A classmate from the class of 1987, Angie (Hoisington) Cannon is a teacher and was the only one who signed my yearbook when I changed schools. A member from church who had kids a few years younger than me, Vickie Witt works there. Connie (Groseclose) Hedler was a cheerleader when I was in grade school and a mother when I was an AAU basketball coach to her son and my brother. My high school English teacher Suzanne Brammer. Dawn Quigley who's first year teaching second grade was when I was in third. Watching Chelsea Henson, Tracy Cooper and Jessica (Silflow) Clemenhagen grow up. Melissa Eichner whose husband farms and I coached her son in AAU. Kim Cirka who's son and Dillon were close high school friends. Denise Silflow who I like to tease when I go to The Dubliner in Washington, D.C. Angie Tweit who we have spent many a year together toting our sons back and forth from kindergarten to state basketball. There is a long, intertwined history with most people in a small community. GREAT BREAST SUPPORTERS!

Like I stated earlier we found out we have a large family/community. Support rolled in from around the world. Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania, England, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Canada, Romania, Ireland, and all around the U.S. Many have been to our farm or we have visited them. These folks are also GREAT BREAST SUPPORTERS!

Then yesterday Rhonda received a card signed by people (I should use the word friends) in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. My life has been intertwined with many of them through different capacities. What made this special to both Rhonda and I was the word "FAMILY" on the return address.

Yes, we are a family. Small communities, the CALS family, The Eisenhower Fellowship network, Idaho Grain Producers Association, the National Association of Wheat Growers, and the Nuffield Scholars network are more than ever a part of our life and family.

I am reminded of a joke my father told me many, many years ago (he wasn't the most PC or diplomatic person mind you). "What is the strongest thing in the world? A brassiere, it holds up two milk factories." Now you understand my tongue in cheek title BREAST SUPPORTERS, THEY DEFINITELY ARE STRONG!

We call them Ta Tas, melons, knockers, headlights, gazingas, etc. Many jokes have been made about Dolly Parton's "endowed figure." Whatever we call them and no matter what jokes are made, it has definitely provided a different perspective of "the girls." But one things is certain, no matter what procedure Rhonda decides on "TEAM RHONDA" WILL WIN! Why??? She has amazing BREAST SUPPORTERS in her life!