When It Rains It Pours

RainI wish I looked this cute when I was standing in the rain.  So many feelings and tears in the world.  I want to hide in my shell like a turtle.

I will be having a small surgery Saturday to remove an abnormal mole and the surrounding area off my face.  Eek!  I know. I’m completely freaked out about it and can’t seem to relax.  I’m ready for it to be over with.  Hopefully by this time next week I won’t be crying because my face is unrecognizable.

Halloween Dilemma

Clown

Me as a clown who apparently liked to stretch.

My dream and my husband’s idea of hell has come true!!!  We’ve been invited to a costume party as in all three of us has to wear a costume.

Hubby with a voice dripping of disgust and despair, “It is a costume party.”

Me, “YES!!!”  Jumping up and down clapping. “YES!  OMG!!!  I’m so excited!  I know you are Mr. Grumpy Pants right now but I am so excited!!!  I’ve been wanting this for forever.”

Hubby, “A costume party?”

Me, “YES!!!  I live for things like this and you HATE them.”

Now, my friends, the plotting begins.  What shall we be?  I have a Janis Joplin outfit and he would be my Mercedes Benz or my Jimmy Hendrix.  I have witch costume and he could be Jack Nicholson.  I have a hippy outfit and he could be my hippy lover or my conservative lover I have on the side but hide from all my hippy friends so I don’t get kicked out of the commune.  Oh the possibilities and he will hate every single one of them.  Help!!

 

Our daughter is going to be Peppa Pig dressed as a bat with bumble bee wellies but that is a story for another day.

Putting Action Behind the Ribbon – Teal Ovarian Cancer Version

Let’s be honest here for one second.  We all know Cancer Sucks!!  Am I right?  Of course, I am.  It’s a curse.  People like to spend their time pimping out the ribbons and the colors for us to “raise awareness.”  Is there a person in the U.S. above the age of 14 who does not know cancer exists?   If so, I want to live in their idyllic world.  I’m not against the ribbons and the colors.  If you have lost someone or watched someone suffer, it feels good to do something in honor of their memory or their struggle.  I get it and have the ribbon paraphernalia to prove it.  I’ve lost close family members and watched others suffer from cancer; my grandma, several aunts, uncle and my sister to name a few.  I’m not some cold-hearted wench against people trying to make a difference.  I was extremely close with my Great Aunt Katherine when she went to the hospital for her cancer when I was 12.  I remember vividly every single time I walked in and out of her hospital room as she slipped further and further away from us and writhed with pain.  It was my first cancer experience.  It was painful to watch.  Cancer Sucks.ovarian-cancer-ribbon-magnet

The problem I have is with it stopping at ribbons and colors.  That is not enough.  Raising money for some organization which may or may not be giving the money towards finding a cure is great if it makes you feel like you are doing something.  I’m not knocking those actions.  I am calling for people to do more.  If we really want to do something about ovarian cancer, we have to step it up.  I’ve made a list of suggestions:

First Step: Early Detection

Get regular (as in yearly) exams with your gynecologist.  The American College of Obstretrics and Gynocology guidelines suggest women over 30 who have had 3 consecutive negative (as in clear) PAPs only need one every 3 years, however, regular bimanual pelvic exams and clinical breast exams can detect serious issues.  If it has been more than a year since your last exam, call today and make an appointment.  Now is fine.  I’ll be here when you get back.  In fact, make the appointment, tweet/instagram/Facebook about it challenging ALL the women in your life to do the same.  The next best thing beyond prevention is early detection.

10390550_794585033905184_1453109993065814459_n Second Step: Prevention

I realize we can never be sure what does or doesn’t prevent cancer.  Sometimes it is genetics and there is not much we can do about genetics.  The only aspect of genetics we can deal with is to test for the BRCA1 and/or BRCA2 mutation.  A woman’s lifetime risk of developing breast and/or ovarian cancer is greatly increased if she inherits the harmful mutation in BRCA1 or BRCA2.  We have heard about the cases where some women after discovering they have the gene had their breast removed and/or a hysterectomy.  This is a drastic decision and one I’m positive they didn’t come to lightly.   With my family history, I have considered the test which is expensive for me but have not yet gone down that road.  While I still weigh this heavy decision, I do feel there are habits we can adopt which will help with prevention.  The catch-22 with this topic is we can’t prove you prevented cancer just because you don’t get cancer.  You might have been a person who wouldn’t  have gotten it anyway but I like to err on the side of caution.  I would rather not get cancer and will do what I can now.

Heath and Eating Habits

I recommend yogurt if you can for the good bacteria it introduces but other fermented foods such as Kombuchi is wonderful for your health.  Fruit and garlic are good for your bodies Ph balance and bacteria health.

Kegels.  Your body will weaken as you age.  Happy Happy Joy Joy.  Doing kegels lessens your chances of urinary accidents and improves your sex life.

Having an active sex life helps lower your chances.  If you are not in a relationship or otherwise active, there are other ways to reach the same result.

If you notice anything out of the ordinary with any part of your private area, discuss it with your doctor.  You will never regret over worrying but you will regret if it  turns out to be something and your chances would have improved with a quicker diagnosis.

Feminine Care

Women, we need to refocus our attentions on our feminine care.  The vulva (outside part of the vagina usually called the vagina but the vagina is the inside tube part of your organ)  may be washed with no-frills soap and thoroughly rinsed with hot water.  The vagina should never be washed with soap.  It needs to maintain a certain Ph level to promote healthy bateria and deter unhealthy bacteria.  It goes without saying don’t be douche.  Seriously they are never a good thing.  It totally screws with your Ph level.  HealthyHooHoo has a line of feminine freshness products free of harsh chemicals, fragrances and parabens.

Please consider getting a menstrual cup and/or using cloth panty liners.   My pads are Pink Lemonade.  Another great place for pads and The DivaCup is Lunapads.  Many friends recommend the Luna Cup or a menstrual cup like the SckoonCup.  The Word of Nerd has a fantastic post on Cloth Pads.

If you do use tampons, change them frequently.  If you use pads, only use them as long as you have to and change them frequently.  I must tell you to read this article at Naturally Savvy by Andrea Donsky before choosing this option.  She explains the toxin issue so much better than I ever could.

Cotton underwear is best.  Your privates need air.  Let your vulva breathe.  At the very least, consider going commando at night to give your privates time to air out.

imagesThird Step: Now we talk Awareness

Before you give, know the organization.   I like Charity Navigator.  You can see exactly how an organization divides up its money, how much is spent on programs, fundraising and paying their head honcho.  I know some people can get hung up on a CEO getting paid $300,000 but if the organization brings in over $300 million it is really a drop in the bucket and I am more concerned about where the bulk of the money is going.  Information is power.  What is important to one person is less important to another.  Know your organization and give where you feel most comfortable.

The ribbon color for ovarian cancer is teal.  Wear it proudly if you feel called but please when asked share more.  Talk about early detection and prevention.  Do not partake in buying teal items from businesses where no money is going to a legit organization or even worse businesses such as conventional tampon and pads makers whose products they are unwilling to share what is in them and are unwilling to prove they are not toxic or harmful to vaginas across the country.

Full Disclosure:  I have not been asked by any of the companies, blogs or links I have provided to write this article. In fact, there are many more products you can find and I hope you do search for the right and SAFEST products for you.   I receive no kick back from this article.  I am simply an average Jane who feels passionate about this topic.  I don’t have a medical degree.  I’m not a scientist.  I search for information and share it.  I suggest you do your own research.  Let this be a jumping off point to learning more about being proactive in your health.

Picking a Lunch Container

Who knew it would be so freaking hard to pick a lunch container?  Not me.  The lunch pail was easy (sort of – I choose two because I couldn’t pick).

Baby Bug wanted the Owl one and I picked the Cow one.

But how do I decide what to put inside my adorable lunch pails?

I love the idea of a metal lunch box.  I’m not sure how easily my toddler can open one by herself.  Motor skills are not currently her strong suit.

Several of my friends recommended these easy lunch boxes.  They are supposed to be BPA-free.  I went with the last one here because of price.  I figured we can upgrade as I become comfortable with making lunches.

What is your favorite lunch box?  I would love ideas for the next time I have to buy.

Full Disclosure:  I am an Amazon Affiliate.  If you link to Amazon through my website and buy, I might get a small kickback.  I put all my Amazon monies into our adoption fund.

 

Carpe Diem and Other Lessons Robin Williams Taught Me

Carpe Diem.  Robin Williams introduced me to this concept and more over my lifetime. I feel this completely irrational connection to a man I never met.  In many ways, I feel I grew up with him.  His body of work rode perpendicular with my life occasionally turning to intersect and knock me off my course.   As I mourn with rest of the world, I reflect on the lessons he taught me.

1.  Zany is Funny!  Nanu Nanu

 Growing up on a farm can be isolating.  I spent my share of time outside or reading but at night I would escape to other worlds via the TV.  We got our first TV when I was 5 and a year later in 1978 Mork and Mindy aired.  Robin entered my world as a crazy alien living in Colorado.  It was like we were practically neighbors with me being in Kansas.   Everything about the show was ridiculous.  He arrives in an egg.  His luggage arrived in a second egg.  He mostly dressed like a 70’s toddler.  He was observing the world and I got to learn right along with him.  The voices, the energy, the physical comedy – all perfection and relatable for a young impressionable gal.  I wanted to make people laugh because he made me laugh.

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2.  Make Your Life Extraordinary

Dead Poets Society arrived right in the middle of my angst filled teenage years.  I loved literature and drama. DPS had both.  The movie was the main reason I chose to stick with theatre as my college major.  I wanted so badly to be able to touch people with my words the way Robin could.  He could make you laugh and he could make you cry.  I recognized his unique ability and I wanted to share it.  The difference is Robin could seize the day.  He was able to throw himself into any role with complete abandon.  I cannot.  For an actor to be able to give a great dramatic performance, they have to be able to open up the door to the pain they store in their soul.  Robin and I both suffered from depression.  This little pebble which hides under your skin needling you from within.  Others can rarely see it.  In fact, many never realize how much another person suffers until it is too late.  I was afraid if I opened the door to my pain it would swallow me whole.  I would never be able to recover.  Robin was able to open his tortured soul and craft it beautifully for others.  DPS gave me the hope I would be able to reach extraordinary heights.

Quotes from a scene in Dead Poets Society:

“Seize the day.

Because we are food for worms, lads.  Because, believe it or not, each and every one of us in this room is one day going to stop breathing, turn cold and die.

Carpe Diem.

Make your lives extraordinary.”

3.  Your move, Chief.

When Good Will Hunting debuted I was 2 years post college.  I had lived on an Indian reservation, lived in Las Vegas and done a lot of partying.  What I hadn’t done is start living.  Where Dead Poets Society and inspired me, Good Will Hunting showed me I was failing.  Like the main character, Will, I was an orphan who had locked up my demons and thrown away the key.  The demons never stay away for long.  They slip under the door and plague you when you least expect it.  After realizing I couldn’t be the great actress I dreamed of being because I was unwilling to face my demons, I lived an ordinary existence.  My hope was if I could out live them.  If I ignored them long enough, they would leave, right?  Wrong.  I tend to be a smart ass and deflect all seriousness as a way to protect myself from the truth – I’m a fraud.  A big fat fraud living in fear of failure and in fear of losing myself to the darkness I’ve been keeping at bay.  If I couldn’t make my first dream come true, why didn’t I pick another?  Or why didn’t I make my first one work?  It was up to me after all.  Needless to say, this movie made me think.  It did not move me to action.  My demons were still winning.

4.  It gets easier!

“We got to tell everybody.  We’ve got to remind them.  We’ve got to remind them how good it is.”  Leonard (Robert DeNiro)

“How good what is Leonard?”  Dr. Sayer (Robin Williams)

“Look at this newspaper.  What does is say?  All bad. It’s all bad. People have forgotten what life is all about.  They’ve forgotten what it is to be alive.  They need to be reminded.  They need to be reminded about what they have and what they can lose.  What I feel is the joy of life.  The gift of life.  The freedom of life.  The wonderment of life.”

The crux of depression is when you are in depression you can’t see how depressed you are.  By the time you get to the point where you no longer care about anything else in the world, it is beyond your ability to make good decisions for yourself.  I know.  I’ve been there several times.  Occasionally a bout will creep up on you in rapid sneak mode and before you realize what is happening you are curled up in the corner sobbing because your shoelace broke.  In many ways, the catatonic phase some of the patients in Awakenings were experiencing is much like depression.  A depressed person can’t see the good.  They can’t remember joy.  I didn’t see Awakenings when it first came out.  I saw it much later.  It broke my heart.  I knew the feeling of helplessness to a disease.  The inability to fight an enemy you can not see.  There are moments when you have depression where it does suddenly lift.  You are filled with life and joy.  I want to wake up like Leonard(DeNiro) and remember the joy.  Or in truth be more like Robin’s character and stop hiding from the world.  There are many ways we block ourselves off from life.  Whether it is a disease/ailment which others can see or a hidden demon blocking our way, we each get up every morning and fight the good fight.  All we need to know was said by Eleanor(Julie Kavner to Robin’s character, Dr. Sayer, “It gets easier.  You don’t think it will but it does.”

Jumanji_poster

5.  Finish the Game.

“I’ve seen things you can’t even imagine.  I’ve seen things you can’t even see.” Alan (Williams) in Jumanji

Robin taught me these lessons.  It is up to me to use them.  His death should be a wake up call to our society.  Depression is real even though we can’t see it.  The people who suffer are good people who deserve to be helped and saved.  There is a stigma in our culture to steer clear of any reference to mental health.  It causes many sufferers to hide further and anguish alone in their pain.  It is time for us to have open arms to help heal those of us who struggle to work through the emotional baggage we carry.  I often hear the phrase misery loves company but I feel it is misunderstood.  People don’t want to be around miserable people.  I hear folks boast all the time about the miserable negative person they finally unfriended on Facebook and how good it feels.  No, misery loves company because it can’t get any company and it is lonely.  When I’m depressed I purposely push my friends and family away.  I can be down right hateful.  It is my confused way of asking for help.  The next time someone you love is acting in a depressed or miserable or hateful way try to get closer to them.  Love them more.  If they are depressed, they can’t see what you see.  Let them know it is ok to get help.  It is ok to reach out.  The bravest action is to reach a hand out for help.  Match their bravery by grasping their hand and leading them to help.   Once you start a game of Jumanji, you have to finish it with all the players.  In life, we need to remember it is not a game of Solataire.  We must finish the game by working together.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1-800-273-8255  Your call is free and confidential.

The Benefits of a Low-Tech Summer

Feels strange to finally be sitting down and paying attention to my blog.  This month I celebrate my 8th year of blogging.  I have to admit I have not been feeling it lately.  Or should I say I’ve been feeling all those years weighing on me.  I’ve changed tons in the past last 8 years.  The blogging world has changed in the past 8 years. I chose to take the summer off from most my techie avenues with the major exception of Fitbloggin’14.  I discovered there were some terrific benefits to stepping away from my usual blogger ways.

1.  Freedom!  Taking the pressure off myself to not worry about writing felt good.  I still tweeted out a few gems which I’ve included in this post.  I mean if you get a chance to take a picture with Rhinos who are doing the nasty how can you not take a picture and Instagram it?  Rhinos

Rhinos getting it on or as I told my daughter, “Awww…look at them hugging.”

2.  Bonding – Being on the road with my daughter for almost a month was everything I thought it would be(exhaustion, tantrums, laughter and cuddles) and it was many I didn’t expect(bonding, being banned from a fast food restaurant for life, bonding and more bonding).  I thought we were close before we left.  I was wrong.  Getting away from all day to day distractions gave us the chance to interact on a whole new level.  I have a whole post I want to write on this subject.Kansas

Yes, I bought this shirt.

3.  Completion – I’m getting projects done.  I’m made a list of all these 1/2 completed projects I have had piling up in the corners mocking me.

UFO

Directly after entering MO and heading to St. Louis I saw this UFO.  It was flying like you see a kite weaving around in the air.

Very unusual.  I was not abducted by aliens – that I know of…

4.  I got a chance to re-read all the books of one of my favorite authors, Diana Gabaldon, before her new book came out and the STARZ TV series based on her Outlander series premiered.  The show is amazing!  It premieres Saturday, August 9th on STARZ.  They are currently showing it for free through the STARZ website.

LowTechSummer

There were many benefits to a low-tech summer but those were the most important.  This summer was exactly what I needed to reboot my creativity.  I feel as if I’m coming out from hibernation.  An excessively long hibernation.  What did you do this summer?

More than Just a Dog

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Othello 2005- 2014

This week we made the painful decision to let our dog, Othello, go.  He got diabetes last month and we have been trying to control it with insulin but he started refusing to eat and when they don’t eat you can’t give them the insulin.  We were even making him fresh chicken and he refused to eat it.  Othello was a dog who would never refuse any food.  The past week he seemed to deteriorate fast and the vet confirmed our fears.  Othello was ready to move on.  I lay beside him in the cry room at the vet office, buried my face in his silky smooth fur and sobbed.

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Othello came into my life when I desperately needed someone to care for.  My husband wanted him thinking he would be his dog but Othello made it clear from day 1 that he only had eyes for me.  I tried not to fall for him because my heart was already hurting from the infertility struggle I was fighting.  I was in so much emotional pain.  Othello refused to give up on me and would be within feet of me at all times.  If I got up to leave a room, he got up and followed.  If I was sitting down, he was sitting beside me or on top of me.  If I was sleeping, he slept between my ankles.  It was like he knew I needed someone to be there for me before I even knew I needed someone.

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Was he just a dog?  Not to me.  He gave me unconditional love and companionship.  When I cried he would curl up with me and place his paw on me.   Every dog has a different personality.  My other dog, Saphron, is more cat like.  She allows me to live in her house.  I have no doubts she would trade me to someone else for some chicken.  Othello would never trade me for all the chicken and Kong toys in the world.  He suffered major separation anxiety when we were apart.  It was so bad I started having a pet sitter come to our house when I vacationed.  He was much happier in our home when I was gone than at a kennel.

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Enjoy your final ride Othello!

Othello gave me so much more than I gave him.  The phrase Man’s Best Friend might be cliche but only because it is so true.  The pain I am in will fade.  Some day another adorable puppy who is all legs and ears might tug on my heart.  For now, I mourn my friend, my companion, my dog.

Toddler Kisses

Since my daughter was first in my arms I’ve kissed her tons every day.  Her chubby hands, tiny feet, dimpled knees, round cheeks, etc.  With the exception of private parts, I’ve kissed her about everywhere.  I have not kissed her on her lips.  I don’t know I ever made a conscious decision about this but it felt like that might pass germs or something so I avoided it.  Lately my 2.5 year old has began to kiss me but she only wants to kiss me on the lips or if I get a booboo(owie) she will kiss it.

Last night I said, “Sweetheart, I would like you to kiss me on my cheek right now because I’m sick.  I don’t want you to get my germs and get sick.”

She said, “I want sick, too.” and pouted.

So sweet and funny.

It had me wondering though.  Do other parents kiss their kids on the lips?  I didn’t start out with an opinion about it either way.  I have no recollection if my parents and I ever kissed on the lips.  I was too young to remember.  I do remember I would kiss my grandpa because we had this whole joke thing going where I would kiss him with my puckered fish lips.

I did some googling and learned this has been a recent controversy – just search Jessica Alba or Will Smith(apparently a pic of him pretending to kiss his son on the lips caused an uproar).  Really?  Some of the backlash says it is sexual.  I completely disagree.  A peck on the lips is not sexual.  Intimate?  Yes.  The same way holding hands with someone shows you have a close relationship.   If the amount of intimacy you have with your partner only consists of a peck on the lips and hand holding, you might need to spice things up.  A peck from my husband would say the opposite of romance.  It would say I love you but not tonight honey I have a headache.  Even on TV all romantic kissing involves the tongue.  There is no tongue action happening with my toddler.  She likes to sneak in and give me a quick peck.  Innocent and sweet.   Honestly I bet this controversy is only in the US where we like to make every single thing about sex.  Just look at all the hoopla about breastfeeding pictures.

I didn’t initiate this gesture.  She did.  It makes her happy and giggly so I go with it.  As usual my daughter finds a way to make me question myself about topics I never even knew existed.  She is determined to make me a better person whether I want to be or not.  I think she enjoys making me squirm in my own discomfort.  My mother is having a good old time watching me get my payback for not being an easy child.

Do you kiss your kids on the lips?  Do certain cultures do it more than others?  Now, I have all these questions I’m just dying to  answer for this silly topic.

 

New Tradition

For the past few weeks, I’ve been making pancakes every Sunday morning.  The twist is my daughter gets to pick the shape of the pancake.  Yesterday she requested her best friend and a circle.  I like how she mixes something really hard with something really easy.  I started to say, “Honey, I can’t…”  I stopped and realized I don’t like her to say can’t or not even try.  My job as a mom is to practice what I preach because we all know she is watching more than listening.  So I tried.

#SundayPancakes

 

Her best friend lost two legs and an arm in the flip.  I told my daughter it was a puzzle and she got to put on the arms and legs.

Complacent Much?

The other day I washed my truck’s back window.  This may seem like no big deal but for me it was an eye opening experience.

My back window’s cleaner fluid dispenser is either broken or empty.  I haven’t the mechanical ability to even consider fixing it.  So for months my back window has been accumulating layer after layer of dust and pollen.  Parts of the day it is not even unusable to watch for traffic and I have to resort to using the side mirrors or turning and looking.  Every time I would stop for gas I would forget or there would be no windshield cleaner stick or no water in the bucket.

On Monday I started to pump gas and it was as if the heavens shined a tiny spotlight on the windshield wiper stick and angels sang.  I gleefully cleaned the window.  As I started driving around I was in awe of my perfectly clean window and how clearer the world was to me.  I started singing “I can see clearly now the rain has gone.”  It was in that moment I realized just how much I had adapted to my old and dusty windows.

NewSUV

How often in our lives have we allowed things to simple be and instead of cleaning or fixing we adapted to our circumstances?  Adaption is an awesome tool but sometimes it can lead you into a trap.  The trap of complacency.

I went home and wrote down a list of areas in my life where I feel I have been complacent.  At the top of the list is my relationship with God.  It has been rocky in the past few years and instead of working through my frustrations and feelings I have simply gone through the motions.  I am vowing to work more diligently on my relationship with God.

Next was my weight.  I seem to focus on it but am not getting anywhere.  Obviously I need to shake up what I’m doing and try new things.  I plan to spend the next month totally revamping my approach to my weight loss.

Another area of concern is my blog.  I have really struggled with my blog in the past two years.  Going from talking about infertility to being a mom was a difficult transition.  I love my blog being about me but I’m getting opportunities to share about causes I care about.  I’m going to spend the next two months focusing on revitalizing my blog.  It might result in a closing this blog and starting a new one or simply updating this one.  I need to squeeze some new life into my blog so I can love it again and not feel like it is simply something to do.

Do you find yourself becoming complacent about areas of your life?  What areas?  How do you find the motivation to get it back into gear again?  I could use your advice and inspiration.