Sunday, September 30, 2012

It's On

October is 13 hours away.

This makes me happy.

I love Halloween in an unnatural way.

I think it's that it's the one major holiday that we get to ourselves.  There's no emotional baggage.  No expectations of family gatherings.  No obligatory things we feel compelled to do.  Just fun, just for us.

I guess that's probably why Halloween gets bigger and bigger around here every year.  Why the planning for costumes starts happening over a year in advance.

I knew going into it this year that it was going to be entertaining.  I had no idea how much.

In a lot of ways, we copped out this year.  Bought the majority of the costumes this time around.  Still on the hunt for one piece, which is sure to be the funniest of them all.  My husband's costume may just be funnier than the Wizard of Oz year where I forced him to be a flying monkey.

Just remember in a few weeks that this one wasn't my idea.  Not at all.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Lost & Found, Maybe

Have you ever just lost yourself?

I'm not talking about losing motivation for a specific goal or task, I'm not talking about forgetting to work out or falling off the wagon of that latest diet you're on.  I'm not talking about sleeping in for a few days or wearing the fat pants for too many days in a row.

I'm talking about lost.

Completely gone.

Bye. Bye.

I'm talking about going through such a profound loss of yourself that you don't even know who you are anymore.  That you go from being a vibrant, energetic, passionate person to just not caring about any of that anymore.  That you stop even trying to find joy in what you used to.  That you barely manage to go through the motions.  That you stop even caring about putting on the show for everyone else.

I'm talking about there.

Have you been there?

I have.  I was there for a long, long time.

I'm still there, to be honest, though I'm trying to find my way back to myself.  Fortunately, I have a few friends who seem keen on kicking my ass about it.  Who refuse to just let me be complacent and unmotivated.  Who want nothing more than for me to find my passion again.

It's hard to explain to those of you who don't actually know what the last few years have been like for me.  I've been called melodramatic by those who don't know.  Every so often, I feel compelled to explain myself to one of them, to sit them down and tell them what has actually been going on, as opposed to the distractions in my life that I write about here.   I need to not feel the need to explain myself.

I know that this place I've been in is justified.  I know that I'm strong just for surviving the hell I've been through.  I know that I'm doing this all for the right reasons.  I know that it's not fair for me to expect other people to understand why I am the way I am sometimes when I refuse to tell them.

I know all of these things, objectively.  In my head, I know them.

Then someone calls me a drama queen and I want to scream at the top of my lungs that they have no idea what the hell they are talking about.  But I don't.  I stuff it deep down inside, and then I probably don't leave the house for a few days again.  I can't trust myself sometimes around other people.

That's just one of the things I lost when I lost myself.

I can't trust myself.   I thought I could.  I thought that my intuition was dead on.  I thought I could read people.  I thought that I could trust my judgement.  Now, I know that I can't.

I was telling a friend about how when my world stopped spinning last year, I was in a really good place.


I had four books in the works.  I'd just been featured on BlogHer.  I'd had several articles picked up by other places.  I was gaining fans every day.  I was planning extravagant meals and inventing recipes and taking amazing pictures and sharing them on my recipe blog.  I had launched a doula blog and was reaching a whole new audience.  I was going out with friends occasionally and loving every second of it.

I was good.  Really good.


Then my world imploded and I stopped caring about all of it.  Stopped.

I wrote, but it was different.  I was writing as a tortured soul, refusing to let anything too real out.  I didn't just stop inventing recipes and taking pictures, I stopped loving to cook.  Some days, I didn't cook at all.  Okay, most days.

My camera sat.

The books sat.  They are still sitting.

I didn't submit anything to anyone for a very long time.

I let the other blogs go.

I got up and dressed most days, I put on the happy face when I could stomach it, did what I needed to for the kids.

And that was all.

I stopped loving MY life.

I've been in some really dark places for a while now.  I'm starting to see the way out now.  I'm starting to find myself again.  Sometimes I need a kick in the ass to do it.  To remember what I love.  To remember my passion.  To remember who I am.

I spent a hour and half in the trees yesterday, walking on bridges and along rivers, watching the birds, looking for lighting and angles.  At the urging of a friend that I'm doing a guest photography post for, I was out there.

And I was happy, really happy, doing what I love for the first time in a really long time.

I think I found my passion again.

A message from Dad while I was there. 
I'm just about done with shooting for this guest post, stay tuned.  It might end up being something amazing.

Thank you all.  You truly have no idea how much you've all helped me just by being here.  xoxo

Thursday, September 27, 2012

We Must Do Better

I'm sitting here sobbing.  Again.

My heart breaking all over again as I re-read the story written a year ago.

This beautiful little girl, dancing on a stage, as the cancer rages inside her.  The story will end soon, that much I've known all along.  I've read this before, and it is no less tragic the second time.

My heart aches for her family.

Please, if you haven't already, go follow Mary Tyler Mom.  She needs our help to tell this story.  Donna's story, just like the story of every life touched by cancer, needs to be told.

As September is coming to a close, and Childhood Cancer Awareness Month about to be over and done with for another year, I feel like we're doing a great injustice to these children.  We talk and talk about awareness as though that's enough.  I dare you to find someone who doesn't know what cancer is.  Awareness isn't really necessary.

Having a real conversation about the treatment of cancer in children is necessary.  Having a real conversation about what it is like to care for a sick child is necessary.  Reading stories like Donna's is necessary.

We must do better.

The statistics are horrifying when you really look at them.

Every day, 46 kids are diagnosed.  Two classrooms full of kids.

Every day, 8 of those children will die.

Over two thirds of the children who do survive the cancer will grow up to have significant medical problems as the result of the treatments.  Chemotherapy is toxic poison and does permanent damage.

At diagnosis, about 20% of adult cancers have spread.  At diagnosis, about 80% of childhood cancers have spread.

We've made huge strides in treating breast cancer and many other adult cancers.  The FDA approves new cancer drugs all the time, but only one new cancer treatment drug has been approved for use in children in the last 30 years.


Pharmaceutical companies have figured out how to create erections and lengthen eyelashes and given us countless other lifestyle medications.  The drugs that could fight childhood cancers?  Not as important.  Saving kids' lives isn't a profitable enough business, certainly not as much as the vanity of adults with money.

Speaking of lifestyle, it's implicated in the vast majority of adult cancers.  Diet, smoking, drinking, sun exposure, all contribute.  Many adult cancers are preventable.   Most childhood cancers are spontaneous, arising without the influence of lifestyle choices.  It's just the luck of the draw.

3% of the National Cancer Institute's budget goes to childhood cancers - that's every type of childhood cancer combined.  The American Cancer Society spends less than 2%.

Many people out there would rather turn a blind eye to all this.  Pretend that things like cancer don't happen to otherwise healthy children.  It's easier to go on with your normal life, certainly, if you don't think about these things.

It easier if you don't see pictures of a little girl twirling on a stage, knowing that she'd never dance again.

We can't stick our heads in the sand.  We mustn't.

We must do better.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

On being real

I woke up this morning with a heavy heart.

I knew what day it was, I'd been dreading it for a while now.  It's been a year since we lost her, and somehow that seems impossible.  There are times that so much has happened that it seems like it's been forever since I saw her last, and other times I swear that I can see her out of the corner of my eye in the places and times where she should still be. The hair, the laugh, unmistakably her.

Then I remember the wise words of a friend, spoken to me earlier this year on the first anniversary of my father's death.

You will never ever have to be here, right here, again.

Grief is a process, and though it's not in any way, shape or form a linear one, it is one that eases with time.

That friend of mine, in the same place I am today, is right.

We have to get through today, and then we never have to do it again.

My tribute to her, this afternoon.  A project I'm doing with my girl scouts.  I'm having them paint a frame, then taking a picture for them to put in there.  A memory of this time together, not unlike the one that still hangs beside my oldest daughter's bed.  I hope we make her proud.

This picture always makes me smile.  I miss her.

In that place I'm already in today, the first thing I read this morning was a post by a blogger I follow.  Strike that.  A writer I follow.  She mused about how maybe she dwells too much, how she lingers in the bad places too long.  I have been told that I do the same by those who mean well.  To her, and to myself, I say this:  so what?

I can assure you that whatever I've written here has been yet a fraction of what my heart wants to say, and that I've toned it down for the masses.  The truth is that no one really wants to know what it's like to be dragged through hell.  No one really wants to know how much loss hurts, and how grief can sneak up behind you when you least expect it and punch you in the gut.  No one really wants to know how deep betrayal can wound you, because they'd prefer to live in the fantasy world where things like that don't happen to real people.

This writer and I, we share a lot in common.  Far more than I can say with any degree of certainty given that we've never met.  I have a feeling though that she knows exactly what I mean here today.

Life isn't all about rainbows and unicorns.  Life isn't only the good.  If we write only about the positive, aren't we being a bit disingenuous?  I'd argue we are.

I write about what is real.  The good, the bad, the ugly.  Take it or leave it, this is me.

Monday, September 24, 2012

When life hands you tomatoes...

This post is probably going to be super random today, so just try and do your best to follow me.  I haven't had enough coffee yet, and my to-do is is too-damn-long.

I have a Brownie meeting tomorrow.  I should totally plan something for that.  Like, before then.  Yeah, I'll get right on that.

I am hosting a jewelry party in 11 days, and my house looks like a bomb went off in it.  Everything needs cleaned, the carpet needs shampooed, the windows are scary and we actually have cobwebs.  Of course, I could completely just work those into my Halloween decor if I can get my shit together fast enough to decorate the house too before the party.

Consequently, I did the only rational thing to remedy the situation, and started painting.  Because that's so obviously the best way to spend my time.

This is what adult onset ADHD looks like, my friends.

Oooooh, shiny.

For reals though, everything in my house needs cleaned.  All of it.  I need to get my ass in gear.  And, clearly, I need to learn the primary lesson from this whole pneumonia/asthma ass kicking session.

I cannot get sick.  Ever.

In my infinite wisdom, I also scheduled a blood drive as the same day of the jewelry party.  Which means two things.

1) I'm demanding WAY too much attention from people twice in one day.

2) They'll get drunk faster and I won't have to buy as much wine.

Maybe I did plan that right after all.  Just maybe.

Shhh, it'll be our little secret.

I also wanted to share a little piece of random awesomeness about my life. I've written about my cat before.  Well, he's not my cat.  He freaking hates me, and I'm pretty sure he's just counting days until I die.

This little cat bastard has decided that it's his life goal to drive me completely insane.  He's torn up my couches, ripped up the carpet, shredded my screens and sheds every.where.  He hides in the bathroom doorways and attacks me when I walk past.  He bites my toes at night while I sleep.

He hates me and the feeling is mutual.

A few mornings ago, I woke up to a present.  He's an indoor cat, so his hunting opportunities are few and far between.  He'd be the cat that brings me disemboweled mice if he had the chance, I just know it.  But he can't.  So he's decided to do the next best thing.

He steals my tomatoes off the counter, carries them upstairs, then shreds the crap out of them.  Bites chunks out, peels the skin off with his claws.  Then he leaves them wherever he pleases when he's done destroying them.


WTF is wrong with this cat???

Glad he's not my animal.  He's clearly got issues.

Seriously, though, leave my damn tomatoes alone you little bastard!

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Sunshine Award

Sometimes when you wake up in the morning after a long and emotional night, you just need something to make you smile.

I woke up this morning, not wanting to get out of bed at all, and checked to see if I had any comments to moderate.  Such is the life of a blogger, right?

I had a few, one of them from Happy Little Feet, informing me that she'd bestowed upon me The Sunshine Award.

I needed that today, thank you.  :)

Now, for the rules.  There are always rules...

Awardees are supposed to answer the following eight questions, then nominate ten other bloggers.

1. What is your favorite Christmas/holiday movie?  It's a close tie between National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation and A Christmas Story.  I still laugh in all the right places, and they both remind me of my Dad.

2. What is your favorite flower?  For a long time, I would have said it was tulips, but my taste in a lot of things has evolved as I've gotten older.  For now, I'd have to say peonies.  We can get them in huge bunches at the farmer's market this time of year.  Love.

3. What is your favorite non-alcoholic beverage?  Coffee.  Hands down.

4.  What is your passion?  My family first, writing second.

5.  What is your favorite time of year?  Fall.  The colors, the chill in the air, the holidays without emotional baggage.  I love it all.

6.  What is your favorite time of day?  Dusk.  The few minutes right before the sun sets.

7.  What is your favorite physical activity?  Yoga.  Unfortunately, it's too expensive.  I've tried doing it at home, but it's hard to find your center and channel inner peace when the kid uses your downward dog as a choo choo tunnel.

8.  What is your favorite vacation?  A real vacation is something I haven't had in a really long time, so bear with me.  My idea of perfect is sitting on a beach somewhere, toes in the sand, listening to the waves roll in. Over sized sunglasses.  A trashy novel.  A drink with a tiny umbrella.  And not having to worry about anyone else in the entire world.  Let's go.  Who's coming with me?

Here are the bloggers I've chosen to nominate for this award!

A Lot of Layers

My Owl Barn

We Band of Mothers

The Real Housewife of Santee

Mommy and Love

Nerdy Apple Bottom

Chopper Papa

Big A Little a

Life as Leigh Sees It

Not Blessed Mama

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Things That Piss Me Off Tuesday - alert the media

Holy crap you guys...I'm actually writing this on the day I am supposed to this week.

The way things have been going lately, that might never happen again.  Enjoy it while it lasts.

Little Birdies
I've had such an up and down week that my head is spinning.  Literally, spinning.  I'm dizzy.  I need to cut my blood pressure medication dose in half because I'm practically passing out every time I stand up.  You know how in cartoons, those little birdies show up and fly around someone's head?  Yeah, that's me right now.

Getting Old
I painted yesterday, for about six hours.  I went to my happy place.  Anyone who knows me well, knows that painting walls is like therapy to me.  I lurve it.  What I don't love, apparently, is the going up and down the ladder for six hours.  My knee in particular is not loving that.  So much for ambition. Ambition is the tool of the young.  Now, I'm like eh....that wall doesn't need to be finished today, does it?

I need to dye my hair.  Badly.  It seems like every time I dye it anymore, it lasts for a shorter and shorter length of time.  The mousy brown hair with silver streaks pokes out almost immediately, telling the world that I'm not really the ravishing auburn locked Irish lass that I pretend to be.  That I want to be.  That the box says I can be.

When you get old, other shit starts happening.  Literally from one day to the next, I realized that I needed to start moisturizing my neck.  WTF?  I put lotion on my legs and arms for most of my life, sure.  Splurged for the good face moisturizer for about a decade now.  But my neck?  That's just the thing that connects my head to my body.  I never paid much attention to it until last week when it started to look like a damn turkey wattle.

Gobble, gobble, father time.  Gobble, gobble.

Don't be checking out my wattle.

Facebook Page Bullshit
So, I don't claim to be some internet guru or anything, but I've been around long enough to know how ads work online.  The companies pay YOU for running their ads on your page, because your visitors drive exposure for whatever crap they are peddling.

Except for Facebook.  In their infinite wisdom, the powers that be at Facebook have decided to stop placing posts from fan pages in the newsfeeds of their fans.  I'm lucky if a third of my fans see whatever I post.  For a price, they'll send it to everyone WHO ALREADY FOLLOWS ME.   Like small fan pages for bloggers and home based business have advertising budgets.  Like Facebook isn't running ads that they already profit from on my page as it is.

If you are a fan of mine on Facebook (and you really should be), please, please, please go to my page and click the drop down menu on the cover page and select "show in newsfeed".  

I love you guys, but I can't pay for ads.

Those people
You know them.  The people who never have time to actually help with anything, but sure find the time to bitch about it.  Those people.  The ones that exist just to be a pain in the ass.

If you don't like how something is done, do it yourself.


Drama Queens
They are the ones that post vague things on Facebook that cause people who know them to worry.  But never give you more information.  Or, when they do, 35 comments later, turns out that whatever they were freaking out about was not a big deal.

My personal favorite are the ones who declare that they are too busy for Facebook, and that they are going to cancel their accounts....except they are always on Facebook and never cancel their accounts.

Stay or go.  No one freaking cares, in case you didn't notice the lack of response you got last time you threatened to leave.


Just shut up about it already or I'll defriend you.  Better yet, I'll throw you on my acquaintance list so you don't drive me insane anymore.

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Liebster Award

It's award season, y'all, and I'm not worthy.

Just a few days after getting the Versatile Blogger Award, I got another one....the Liebster Award.  This one was bestowed upon me by the amazing Molly Field of Grass Oil.

Is it just me, or does anyone else always think of the unsinkable Molly Brown when they meet someone named Molly? With her, though, it totally makes sense.  This Molly is just as unsinkable, which is a good thing considering how much time she spends on the water.

If you aren't following her yet, you should be.  Mostly because she is fantastic.  She is such a prolific writer that I just marvel at her posts sometimes.  You should also follow her because she's asked me to do a guest post.  I'm taking my camera out today, right after I finish this up, to start on that project for her.  And I'm so damn excited about it I could pee my pants.  For reals.

Here are the rules for this latest award I've added to my collection:

1. Each person must post 11 things about themselves.
2. Answer the 11 questions that the person who gave you the award asked.
3. Create 11 questions for the people you are giving the award to.
4. Choose 11 people to send the award to.  Link and notify them.
5. No tag backs.

11 Things About Me

1. I can juggle.  Total bad ass juggling too.  You should see it.  It's amazing.  It's also good to know that I can always fall back on that circus career.

2. I once raced a cop in my Dad's Thunderbird.

3.  I hosted birthday parties when I worked at McDonald's in high school.

4.  I worked in a science museum in 9th grade.  I've always been a huge nerd.

5.  As a result of #4, snakes, spiders and scorpions don't freak me out at all.

6.  Eels do.  Scariest animals on the planet.

7.  I love to cook, but I hate cleaning the kitchen.

8. I beat the devil in the original Guitar Hero game, but cannot play a real guitar.

9.  I really wanted to be a marine biologist.

10. I hate Caillou.  Whiny little turd of a child.

11. I just bought a gallon of paint.  This makes me really freaking happy.

11 answers to the questions I was asked

1. Are you a dog, cat or bird person? Why?  Oh, easy.  Dog person.  Mostly because right now I want to send my cat to the moon.  I can tolerate jerk-off cat behavior from a nice animal, but I'm pretty sure this one wants to destroy me.

2.  Favorite ice cream presentation - hard packed or soft serve? Cake cone or sugar cone?  I'm a purist, and I love a good hard packed ice cream.  I tend not to be a cone person at all though, and get it in a cup.

3. Favorite time of day - dawn or eventide?  Easy.  I love, love, love the magic hour when the sun hangs low on the horizon at the end of the day.  Everything takes on a warmth and glow that is almost surreal.  And sunsets?  Don't get me started.  Sorry, my photographer is showing.

Just last night.
4. What do you like most in others?  Authenticity.  Good, bad or indifferent, I love people who are honest with themselves and others about who they are.  Fed up with the liars and the fakers of the world.  Show me who you really are.

5. What is the most frustrating part of your craft?  I'm going to answer this one twice.  My craft that most people see is writing, and by far the most frustrating thing is that I refuse to let myself write about the things I really want to most of the time.  Lots of self-censoring going on.    My other real passion is photography, and I don't have nearly enough time for it.

6. What do you do for exercise?  I chase a 4 year old.  A lot.  I coach a soccer team.  Of three and four year olds.  So there is that.  On the occasions I make it to the gym, I'm holed up in the corner on the rowing machine.

7. What is your favorite personal quality in yourself?  I have to give the same answer as #4.  I'm authentic.  I don't pretend to be someone that I'm not.  Never have, never will.  Take it or leave it, this is who I am.  I've always been pretty comfortable in my own skin, and I think that's pretty special.

8. Is where you are right now in your life where you expected to be?  Not in a million years.  I was supposed to have a fabulous job in a bioethics think tank in D.C.  I was supposed to maybe have two kids by now, and I was supposed to be perfect at balancing everything.  Cancer showed up, kids came early, that career got derailed, and I don't live anywhere near D.C.

9. What would you change, if you could, per your answer above?  This one is easy.  If I would have had any idea how things would play out, I would have dropped out of law school when my husband was diagnosed with cancer.

10. What is the greatest sorrow you have ever experienced?  This is one of those things I am going to self-censor.  A close second in my life was losing my father to cancer.  Watching him weaken and deteriorate but fight like hell.  He softened, he loved more, he wanted so badly to beat it.  I am grateful for the time I spent with him, and I miss him every day.

11. What is your greatest joy?  My babies.  They are funny and smart and talented and goofy and the center of my universe.  I adore them.

11 Questions for Future Liebsters

1. Why did you begin blogging?
2. Did you always love to write?
3. What is something you are very talented at, but people might be surprised about?
4. What is your favorite season and why?
5. Do you play sports?  Which ones?
6. What is your favorite meal to eat?
7. If you could spend an entire day with anyone, who would it be?
8. If your house was on fire, and you had time to grab one thing, what would you take?
9. What was your first car?
10. What is the last book you read?
11. Where is your dream vacation?

11 People I'm Awarding
1. The Black Tiara
2. Abandoning Pretense
3. Spicey Mom
4. Diapers...or Wine?
5. You Know It Happens At Your House Too
6. Unikorna
7. Suburbia Interrupted
8. Life on Peanut Layne
9. Unconventional Wisdom
10. A W.R.I.T.E.R.M.O.M.
11. Martha Stewart Doesn't Live Here

Friday, September 14, 2012

Things That Piss Me Off Tuesday - the who am I kidding edition

It appears that I just need to change the name of this series.

I don't even know when I actually wrote it on a Tuesday last time, but it's been a while.

I'm actually trying to channel positivity and all that kind of nonsense, so I'm not sure I'll be as snarky as you all are expecting.

Unless it's not working, that positivity nonsense.  Then this will still be really freaking funny.

My Tendency to Flail
So, earlier this week, I decided to be a girl.  I wore a cute skirt and a white shirt.  It was quite nice, and completely outside of my comfort zone.  I try, really try, to stick to my uniform of black shirts and denim.

I took the kids to school and dropped them off, all glamorous and shit.  Then spilled coffee all over myself.

I am pretty sure I'm allergic to white shirts.

And I do all my own stunts.

This is the part of parenting I'm not looking forward to.  Although, I'll ensure that my kids are never rotten little shitheads. I spent a hour at a neighborhood park this week, and resisted an almost constant urge to go yell at someone else's children.

If you're in high school and still hang out on top of the play structure at the park, you need to grow the fuck up.  You also need to figure out how to speak without using that word, just in case you ever want to get a job.  Or a girlfriend.

It always drives me insane when kids that are way too big decide to wrestle or play tag while there are tiny little kids who should be able to play without getting trampled around.  When they run around dropping f-bombs and calling each other assholes and dickheads constantly, I want to tackle them myself, duct tape their filthy mouths shut and drag their pathetic wanna be asses to their mamas.

F-bombs are supposed to be dropped only by the actual adults who know how to work with that word like the linguistic art form it is.  Duh.

The ungodly smell in my car right now
I drive a trash heap on wheels.  Truly.  It doesn't look so bad from the outside, that minivan of mine, but the inside???  Wow.

I've really wanted to get it detailed for a while now, but then I reason that it's not worth the money.  It would be back to it's trashed status within hours.  There was not one, but three tootsie rolls firmly adhered to the carpet last time I cleaned it out.  And someone opened the tube of sunscreen, then shoved it back in the seat pocket without the top on.  Yeah. Stick your hand in that.

I can tolerate it most of the time...but the last week or so is too much.  I don't even know where the smell is coming from.  I can't see or find anything causing it.  Good lord.

I'm a little concerned because I have a friend who went through this, only to have them find a dead mouse in the air filter.  The mouse that had squirrelled away almost half a bag of skittles in.the.air.filter before he met his unfortunate end.

I really don't want a decomposing skittle loving mouse in my car.  Is that asking too much???

Maybe it is.

I should probably set the bar a little lower.

Slow Ass Trains
This one is going to make so much sense to anyone who lives here.

There is just an unspoken truth in this town.  If you need to get anywhere in a hurry, are running a little late, or someone in your car needs to pee right now, you're going to get stuck by a train.

I've been stuck by the same train three different times at three different intersections before.

Trains here don't just go forward slowly, they back up.  Then pull forward.  Then back up.  Then pull forward.  Then stop.  Sometimes for a few seconds, but never when there is somewhere you need to be.

Hopefully wherever you need to go is somewhere in town, because you know that you can call them and let them know that you're stopped by the train and they will understand.  Anywhere else, forget it.

Choo choo.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Versatile Blogger Award

I won!  I won!  I'd like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has made this award possible.

First and foremost, I'd like to thank the wonderful and lovely Lillian at It's A Dome Life for presenting it to me.  She's awesome and talented and an amazing artist.  Go check her out.  You won't be disappointed.  


Next, I'd like to thank everyone who hasn't given me an award yet.  

Hurry up, already.

I'd be remiss if I neglected to thank all the people out there who drive me crazy or entertain me and force me to write about them.

And you all, my readers.  You're only like the best fans in the whole wide world.

Here are the rules:

  • If you are nominated, you’ve been awarded the Versatile Blogger award.
  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and include a link to their site.
  • Copy and paste the award to your blog.
  • Share 7 random facts about yourself.
  • Nominate 15 bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly and include a link to their site.
  • Let the other Bloggers know that you have nominated them.
Here are my 7 random facts.  I have to tell you, this is the kind of stuff that keeps a girl up at night.  I've just got so much weirdness that  I couldn't decide which 7 won the narrowing contest.

1) I'm extremely afraid of food poisoning.  I will throw out anything that smells remotely bad.

2) My sense of smell is almost entirely shot, thanks to allergies.  This complicates #1 up there.

3) I loathe wearing shoes.  Even in the winter, I lean towards mules and boots.  I love me some heels, but a regular plain old shoe?  No thanks.

4) I just bought a pair of shoes today.  Jury is still out.

5) I'm like half a point away from being declared legally blind without correction.

6) I withdrew from calculus in college.  Because I was failing.  

7) I am a huge dork.  I stopped trying to fight the dorkiness a few years ago.  Embraced the dork side.  You don't know the power of the dork side.  See what I did just there, with that Star Wars reference???  Told ya.

I could literally go on for days, listing my quirks.  There are that many of them.  

Instead, I'd rather share some of the best bloggers out there I know and love.   And yeah, there are more than 15.  I don't follow rules well.   

In no particular order....drumroll please...

They are ALL awesome.  Go show them some love!

1) Happy Little Feet - real and funny, and she makes she's my hero.

2) Oh, Boys - gorgeous and probably my long lost relative.  we have to be related.

3) Brady Bunch on Crack - amazing.  that is all.

4) Cerebral Milkshake - some of the funniest stuff online.

5) Mom Running on Empty - inspirational to those of us who want to run, but don't.

6) The MFP - she is the princess.  enough said.

7) Wyatt Zoo - total supermom and a fabulous photographer.

8) I Want a Dumpster Baby - i could write novels about the things i love about her.  just go.

9) If Only She Had Applied Herself - one of my first internet blogging buddies, funny as hell.

10) World's Worst Moms - my kindred spirit.

11) The Misadventures of a Bi-Polar Girl - brave and powerful, she is amazing.

12) Coldblooded - tells it like it is, and doesn't hold back.

13) How I Learned to Wear a Dress - my favorite feminist.

14) A Tea Tray in the Sky - one of the best writers out there.  raw, real.

15) Carpool Goddess - making motherhood laughable and livable.

16) Homespooled- talented at everything and she shares her gifts with the world.

17) The Madness of Mommyhood - sarcastic and funny, touching and deep, just love.

18) Austin Blood - the man of the hour, and he's worth it.

19) All That Jazzy - quite possibly the cutest baby on the internet.  and ron jeremy.

20) Dedicated 2 Life - an inspiration to so many.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

...and then the world would be better

When we were on the way home from the last soccer game of the day yesterday, my husband was playing on my phone in the passenger seat.  He figured out how to live stream football games to my phone, and since I am the one with the unlimited data plan, he has to use my phone.  Right?

As we drove further away from Denver, back towards the sticks, the coverage went from 4G to 3G pretty abruptly, which resulted in his videos getting messed up.  Lots of buffering.  Lots of whining by the man in the passenger seat with the first world problems.

He jokingly said that if the entire world had 4G, it would be a better place.

Which might be true and all, but I guess that wouldn't be the first thing I'd go to as a way to improve the overall status of the world.

I'd be more likely to request world peace or the end of hunger or the availability of basic medical care or the end of oppression or a cure for cancer.  

But that's just me.

That last one, it's hitting home today.

Cancer is an asshole.

Like, all the way through to it's core. It's just evil.

There are far too many people in this life that have been touched by it.  I learned of another yesterday.  In the past few months, too many people I love have lost someone to it.  There's a little boy, sick and beaten down by it this week, refusing to let it define who he is.  Who wants nothing more in the whole wide world than to just be a preschooler right now.

It's been a very emotional week for me in terms of all this.  Writing the post about Lance brought back all kinds of memories of the hell we went through, and even after all these years it is hard to revisit.  That's the thing about cancer that those who've never been touched by it can't understand.  Once it's been in your house, in your life, in your family, it never ever leaves.  It's always there, lingering in the background.

You've lost that sense of invincibility.  You've been forced to let go of the idea that you will wake up tomorrow and everything will be okay.  It might not be.  And there is almost nothing that you can do about it.

I dreamt about my dad last night, surely because of what I went to bed thinking about. These days, that's when he seems the most real to me still.  When I can hear his voice and see his smile.  I miss him more when I wake up, but it's worth it.

If you aren't following her already, I urge you all to find Mary Tyler Mom on Facebook and share her journey.  Her little girl, Donna, left this world too soon.  In celebration of her life, and in an attempt to let people know what it's really like to have a sick child, she has documented their experiences.  Their pain.  Their victories.  Their struggles.  Their agonizing choices.

Sheila is amazing.  Her strength and resolve to fight this fight with her little girl is breathtaking.  That she now continues to tell Donna's story and ensure that her life and death will not be in vain is an inspiration.  The Huffington Post is featuring her stories, one each day this month, and with each day my heart breaks a little more.

It's because I know how her story ends, and I know that each day's post is one day nearer.

I've never met Sheila, and I never had the chance to meet her beautiful little girl.  Still, she has touched my life, and she should touch yours too.

I urge you to find her and follow her and fall in love with her.

I also ask you to consider donating to those organizations who actually fund cancer research.  We gave to Stand Up To Cancer this weekend.

I stand up for my Dad and for Trey and for Donna.  For those who are gone, for those just diagnosed this week, for those fighting for their lives.

Who do you stand up for?

Friday, September 7, 2012

Things That Piss Me Off Tuesday - the "I'm really getting bad at this" edition

I suck.  Obviously.

A couple weeks in a row now that I've neglected my weekly rant.  I'm three days late this time, which makes sense if you know what kind of week I've had.

Which brings me to the first thing that pissed me off.

This Week
Yep, you read that right.  This whole week has just gotten under my skin and irritated the hell out of me.  I kid you not, I have been to at least one doctor's appointment for at least one person every day this week.  One involved an xray, one a biopsy, one an emergency referral to another doctor, one a blood test.  Then there was the holy shit you need to go to the emergency room right now crap that transpired yesterday.

Good times, y'all.  Good times.

I got to have a ton of blood work and an EKG and a CT scan.  When they think you have a blood clot in your lung, doctors start to kind of freak out a little.  I'm fine.  Mostly.  A little traumatized by the whole experience, but mostly just pissed off at why this happened.  I probably have a blood clotting disorder, thanks to the wonders of genetics.  And I'm old.  Which means I am certain to get yanked off my birth control pills today once the OBGYN catches wind of what is going on.

Which is just freaking fantastic.  I really wanted to evaluate birth control options.  Again.  It's my favorite.

That, and I also need to send a shout out to the makers of Augmentin.  Thanks for saving my life and all, getting rid of the pneumonia that was kicking my ass.  For reals, that's good.  Woot woot.

However, I'm really not a fan of all the hell my body is going through as a result of these nasty ass horse pills.  I'm sure that's how the medications work.  It's like a giant roto rooter for your digestive system, purging everything bad from your body, leaving you helpless and miserable, scanning every single building you're ever in for the nearest bathroom.  I have exorcised the demons.  Repeatedly.  (and yes, you have to say that in your Robin Williams voice)  Still, glad to be alive.  Whatevs.

After I got home from the hospital last night, my husband thanked me for not dying.

Turning Left
No, I'm not Derek Zoolander.  I can turn left.  It just takes forever sometimes.  You see, I came from SoCal, the land of the traffic signal.  There are lights at every intersection.  Like, even out in the middle of BFE, California, there are still traffic signals.  Here, in the wonderful land of Colorado, there aren't.

It's my fault.  We bought a house in this tiny subdivision on the edge of town.  We aren't far from one of the major highways that form a boundary for the city.  It's a two lane, undivided highway with a posted speed limit of 60mph.  Our access point, as you've probably guessed by now, has no signal.  Normally, it's not a big deal.

Except at 7:45am during the peak of rush hour when I have to turn left there to get my son and his friend to school.  Then it can take forever just to get out of the neighborhood.

It's good they have each other to stay occupied, those boys.  Them and their awkward middle school senses of humor.  Their bizarre inside jokes that are funny only to them.  Their goofiness.

Hey, I have a question for you!!!

What's the only thing worse than one boy playing his trumpet in an enclosed vehicle????

Yep, you guessed it.

Two boys playing trumpets in an enclosed vehicle. 

If you see me and wonder what the hell happened to me before 8am that could possibly wear me out that much???  Now you know.

Now you know.

Okay, so this is a broad sweeping statement and could encompass so many things.  Mostly though, I am thinking about my asshole neighbor.  The HOA prez.  The one I torture for fun.  The one who doesn't have kids.  Or a soul.

That asshole.

I have been spending time in another neighborhood lately, since my soccer practices are held there.  This neighborhood is nicer than mine.  Bigger houses, more expensive.  Everyone has a gardener and I'm pretty sure that no one who owns those houses cleans their own toilet.  This is how the other half lives, people.

In front of many houses in this nicer neighborhood???  Basketball hoops.

Where actual children are allowed to play in their own front yards.  Where physical activity is encouraged.  Where parents may actually play in pick up games with the neighbors and interact with one another.  And no one bitches about their property values dropping because there might be, gasp, evidence of small people nearby.

Neighbors of mine with kids got a hoop.  And a letter from the HOA.  Screw you, dickwad.

I'd convince more of my neighbors to go to the HOA meetings and vote to change the bylaws about this, but if there is one thing I am more resistant to attending in this entire world than a PTA meeting, it's an HOA meeting.

Thursday, September 6, 2012


Every so often I laugh at strangers.

It's probably not a good thing, but I can't help myself.

I'm not writing a book on how to make friends and influence people, here.

Nooo, no.  Not at all.

I was at the park a while back with the boy and on the phone with someone else.  Talking about how I needed to start planning meetings and practices.  Probably seeming a little overwhelmed, since that's how I generally operate.

Another mom who had overheard what I was talking about asked me how old little boy is, as he climbed up the rock wall.

Asked me if all those things I was talking about were for him.

No, I said.  Not just him.  There are others.

This mom, clearly freaking out watching my fearless child climbing on whatever he could, asked this:

How many others?

Three.  Four total.

Wow, she said.  I'm not sure when having four kids became something so awe inspiring, but it did.

Then she asked their ages and genders, clarified that I was talking about all their activities.

I gave her the quick summary.  In any given week, we have 6 soccer practices, 3 games (one team I am coaching), boy scouts (for which my husband is a leader), two girls scout groups (one of which I run), and my youngest daughter just started First Communion classes.  In my infinite wisdom and abundant free time, I am homeschooling those lessons.  Then there are the instrument lessons for the oldest, and impending middle school sports schedules.  Plus play dates and preschool and volunteering at school whenever it fits in.  I didn't even mention this blog (or the other ones) or my Facebook page admin duties.  (Mostly because I was already planning to write about her).

Her chin hit the floor sometime about halfway through the list.

She asked me what everyone asks me.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Dear Lance,

You don't know who I am, and I am fairly certain that you don't care.  We've never met, even though it feels like I've known you a long time.  In fact, I'm absolutely sure that you'll never catch wind of this message I'm about to write to you.  I'm not sure that anything I could say to you would matter right now, as you watch the illusioned world you created fall apart around you.

But I'm going to say it all anyway.

Because I need to. Because there is a side of this that isn't going to be talked about enough today.  Because right now everyone is focused only on the lies you told to the sports world. Because there is a whole different dimension to the betrayals.  Because there are people out there who seem hell bent on defending everything about you.  Who immediately rushed to your side, decried those who spoke out, some going to far as to accuse everyone else of being liars, who have slammed those brave enough to blow the whistle.

Everyone else isn't lying.

You are.

Then again, it seems like you always have been.  That's what I take issue with here today.

I needed you to be who you pretended to be for all those years.  I needed you to be the guy that can inspire hope.  I needed you to be the guy who came back and beat cancer, who defied the odds, who became a father, who realized the fragility of life and the importance of family.  I needed you to be that guy.

I never cared a bit about the damn bike.  It wasn't important to me.  I didn't look up to you because you won races.  I didn't want to root for you because you seemed unstoppable. I never much cared about who crossed that line first.

I cared about you and your life, about your cause and your mission. I cared about all that for another reason entirely.

I cared because a few months after you won your first Tour de France and the world started to notice you, my husband was diagnosed with the same thing you were.

I cared because the only other person we'd ever known to have testicular cancer died.

You didn't die.

You fought, you survived, you thrived.

You gave me hope.  You gave my husband hope.  You gave our family and friends hope.

You got married to your beautiful wife just a month before we married, and the timing of your story paralleled ours for so long.  Your son, born just days after my husband's surgery, gave us the hope that we could overcome the side effects of the treatments.  That we could still have kids.  That sperm banking and all the cost and humiliation involved was worth it.

We could beat this.  We could still have the future we planned for.

I still didn't care about the bike.

Then I got pregnant before my husband started his treatment and we thought maybe we got lucky. It was a miracle.  And it was, until I heard the words spoken by a man in a white coat in a dark room that no pregnant women ever wants to hear.

Your baby's heart has stopped beating.

In my sorrow, all I could do was be grateful that we'd banked that sperm.  Even if we could never get pregnant again without help, we had that hope to hang on to.

You helped make that happen.  You and your wife and your son gave us that hope.  The hope we clinged to even more after hearing more words that a young married couple doesn't want to hear.

The treatments have done too much damage.  You won't be able to get pregnant.  Be thankful you saved sperm.

We had kids, by the way.  Without help, and plenty of them.  Turns out that the doctor was wrong.

Then, one day in the fall of 2003, I got a bill in the mail from the cryonics lab.  Now the parents of two, we had to decide whether it was justified to keep paying for storage of sperm.  I held that bill in my hand and cried.  Even though we'd been able to get pregnant without help before, would it ever work again?  What if we wanted more kids and couldn't have them them, if the prior pregnancies were flukes?  Miracles?

I didn't want to let that hope go.

As I held that bill in my hand, ironically in that very moment, a story on the news broke.  You'd left your wife, the woman who had endured your training schedules and long times away from home.  The woman who'd undergone the hell of IVF multiple times to get pregnant with your three children.  The kids?  You left them too.

You didn't just give us hope to have kids someday.  You gave us hope of normalcy, of stability, of family, of the silver lining on the dark cloud.

Then, just like that, it was gone.

Within weeks you were dating rock stars, though you'd show your true colors even more a few years later when she got sick and you left her too.

About a year after you left your wife, I planned my husband's 5 year survival party.  You know as well as we do that if you can make it to five years out with a clean bill of health, you're as close as you'll ever be to cured from this disease.

I bought everyone that came to our celebration your yellow rubber Livestrong wristbands.

I bought them because I thought that in addition to showing support for my husband, we were funding research.

Only your organization had quietly stopped funding research.  Places like Radio Shack and sporting goods stores still pushed them happily at customers who wanted to do the right thing. What most people thought was an organization devoted to cancer prevention and research had really evolved into a well-oiled public relations machine for the benefit of one person.


How much money have you raised under false pretenses?  How many people like me have given what little we had to a man who misled everyone about what it would be used for?  How can you possibly explain the huge reserves your foundation possesses and the small amounts used for actual programming?  How are you going to justify the lucrative personal contracts you signed through the contacts you made using this PR machine?

Sure, you started Livestrong with the best of intentions.  Or at least I hope you did. Back when you were in recovery yourself and no one knew who you were.  Back before those dollar figures were dangled in your face and you started chasing greed on wheels.  I want to think it at least started for the right reasons, even if you steered it off course over the years.

Now, today, that foundation with it's automatic association to you, has been built on lies.  People donated to you because your were this so-called inspirational athlete.  You were the guy who won seven times.  People gave because of who you were and what you'd done.  Except it was all a lie.

I don't care at all about the doping scandal except for the part where it affects people who are better people than you are.  You know them, all those former teammates and assistants and reporters who tried to out you in the past.  Who you turned your rage and revenge on.   The people that donated to your foundation without knowing who you were?  Yeah, they are better than you too.

You cheated.  So did most cyclists.  I'm not one of those naive sports fans who believes that you will all play fair.  You will, I assume, at some point start pointing fingers yourself.  Once the truth comes to light and you can no longer deny it, you'll turn on everyone else. That's what you do.  The difference between you and them?  You were the kingpin of it all.  With the elaborate schemes.  With first dibs on everything.  With the most weight to throw around, with the highest level of unashamed intimidation.  You didn't care about ruining other people's careers and lives.  You stepped on anyone you had to in order to climb to the top.

No one else, nothing else mattered to you.

And that's the part that I just really don't understand.  You'll have to forgive me for this.  I just can't wrap my head around how someone who has walked the path of cancer, who has escaped death, who has overcome insurmountable odds can care so little about other people.

You make it look good, you send out your videos online, you wrote that inspirational book.  You take a great picture for the press.  You seem like the good guy.  Deep down, though, you're not.

And the world is about to learn who you really are.

You're a guy who leaned on those you needed most until you didn't need them anymore, then you discarded them.  You're a guy who manipulated and used and skirted the system in any possible way you could.  You're a guy who told blatant lies to the world for over a decade, then pretended to act surprised when reality came raining down on you.  You're a guy who takes other people's money and figures out a way to twist it and shape it to your benefit.  You're a guy still trying to distract the world from the inevitable truths that are coming to light with each day.

And, to me, you're just a disappointment.

There have been many who've said that we shouldn't idolize athletes, that it's wrong.  That it places impossible demands on them to be somehow perfect in a flawed world.  I would argue they are absolutely correct.  I never wanted you to be perfect, I never expected you to play fair, I never wanted you to be a record breaking cyclist.

I never cared about the bike.

What I cared about, what I expected was for you to be a good guy who went through the same hell we did and made it to the other side with your integrity intact.  Who saw the fragility of life.  Who valued those people you should.

You failed.

And it had nothing to do with the bike.


Monday, September 3, 2012

Hey, Bic...I've got some news for you

In the category of stupidest marketing schemes ever, we have a few new contenders....and one that still boggles my mind.

Way to go, Dr. Pepper.  Seriously.  I would have thought that after this whole ad campaign garnered them a ton of negative press last year that they would have re-thought it.  I'm not an expert on this kind of stuff, but I can virtually guarantee you that the vast majority of the diet soda market is composed by, wait for it, women.

We are the ones barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen, after all.  And, at least in the minds of the geniuses at Dr. Pepper, our simple little female minds (and wallets) wouldn't ever be offended by commercials that tell us we're not good enough to drink their soda.

They air these asinine commercials during football games for the most part.  I watch football, and I know more women who also watch it than don't.  The idea of the football widow doesn't really exist in my world, she became extinct sometime around the day when we stopped wearing tailored dresses and pearls to vacuum.

Instead of welcoming the half of the population that actually does the freaking grocery shopping, they've decided that pissing us off is a better approach.

Good job.

I've never quite understood the need to target men or women specifically when it comes to things that we both use with regularity.  I mean, I can get behind the notion that there's no need to sell tampons to guys, but I'm pretty sure we all use razors.

Except for the guys who like to look like yetis and the women who claim to be European.

If it removes hair without completely jacking up my skin, I'm good.  I don't care what color the handle is.  You aren't going to get me to pay more by trying to sell the idea that this pretty pink razor will make my showers orgasmically wonderful.  Honest.

Which is why my husband and I buy all our razors from the intelligent, economical and funny as hell people at Dollar Shave Club.  If you haven't heard of them, you should check them out.

Then, a week or so ago, these came out.

Apparently I have spent my entire life mistakenly using manly pens. For shame.

For shame.

Here's the thing, Bic....even with my ovaries and boobs, my favorite color is green. Blue is a close runner up.  I'm not going to buy a pink pen because you think I need it.  I'm good.

Pretty sure ballpoint pens aren't something that need to be gender specific.

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