Breasts

17 May

I am no Angelina fan.  I can’t get over that weird stage she went through with Billy Bob Thornton.  Creepy.  However, she is brave and I am impressed with her sharing her masectomy story.  How many women do you know that are so defined by or attached to their breasts that they are mortified with the thought of losing them?  You know, when the breast cancer topic comes up over a few glasses of wine?  We’ve all been there and each woman’s feelings are understandable.  But, cancer is nothing to f…around with.  And this gene Angelina has is a doozy.

Maybe she will do more than raise awareness.  Maybe she will raise acceptance and help dispell the fear or denial that can be associated with the possibility of carrying this gene.  Maybe, loosing a breast or two will not seem so defeminizing and instead will seem more empowering.  Breasts are great, but they are not great enough to hold onto if it is a risk to your life.

One of my dearest friends has the BRCA1 gene and so did her mother and so does her sister.  This is scary stuff.  My friend fought breast cancer the hard way…a year of chemo, surgeries, radiation and more.  Not fun.  Scary.  She kicks ass and is tougher than nails, but it definitely sucked and sucked hard.

She is encouraging her sister to take Angelina’s route so she doesn’t have to go through chemo and radiation in addition to surgeries.  This is tough, but the whole point of all our modern technology and information is to help people, to prevent suffering, to be one step ahead of disease.  This is a good step and Angelina is ballsy for doing it and ballsy for sharing.  And since I am sure she still looks amazing and gorgeous, maybe more ladies will fear less about the vanity portion of a mastectomy and think about getting it done before it is no longer a choice.

Pierce this

16 May

TIme flies and I am obviously flakier than I thought.  Whew.  Time to get back in the saddle.  It’s easier to write when I do it every day.  For great advice on this check out Stephen King’s On Writing or Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird.  Anyway, Princelightningbolt has started letting the big, plug holes in his ears close and has been pestering us for a nose piercing.  Oy.  How many holes does this kid need in his head?

Sirskatesalot and I have donned some awesome hairstyles, piercings and tattoos (including blue hair, green hair, shaved heads and more).  So, we agreed when we decided to have munchkins, that as long as our kids had good grades, were respectful, healthy people, we would be lenient about their appearances and any alterations thereof.  Big sigh when Princelightningbolt requested earrings (not one like when we were growing up, but two…I guess now one symbolizes things he doesn’t represent, but two is cool).  Then plugs.  EEEGGGAAAAAD.  On we trotted toward a hooligan looking teen.  Mostly keeping quiet.  He’s a good kid, afterall.

Then, the nose piercing.  We put him off for  a long while and then this weekend came and he was so persistent and we felt we had to uphold our agreement.  And…ah, basically, teens win around here and parents lose.

After Princelightningbolt forgot his ID and we made our second trip to the tattoo parlor, I filled out paperwork and hoped it was sanitary in there.  Princelightningbolt went back with a gal covered in tattoos including her hands, chest and neck, plus plugs about 2 inches in diameter.  I don’t judge.  I swear.  Remember I have spent the past two and half decades with skateboarders.  But…this is my baby.

After about ten minutes, Princelightningbolt came out and said, “Mom, you don’t know how badly that hurt!” and then described the six inch needle she threaded through his nostril, the blood and the view he had of the needle as it slid down by his chin.  I was smiling from ear to ear.  I don’t think he’ll do the other nostril any time soon.  But, if he does, I will take him and I will keep my mouth shut, mostly.  Because in the whole scheme of things, he rocks at what is important and this other shit is purely about expression.  Those that will judge based on piercings and outward expressions of teen angst are boring and missing out on some cool kids.  As cliche as it might be, Bernard M. Baruch was dead on: “Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”

Overflowing

6 May

You know that feeling when you look at your significant other, you family or your children and you are overflowing with love?  These moments can be quick, fleeting even, but they are powerful and it is significant to recognize them.  I have had a few of these the past two weeks and I feel happy to be overflowing with love.  But, I did not understand the power of the term “overflowing” as applied to inanimate objects until yesterday morning.

We were having a garage sale to raise money for our Relay for Life team, so I had to wake up at what my running pal affectionately calls, “The crack of f…”  Sirskatesalot had already headed out in the dark for a mountain bike race.  I wandered around the dark house for a minute, looked out the back sliding doors and thought the pool looked weird.  But, it was the “Crack of f…” and I did not have my contacts in and I had not had coffee.  I went into the kitchen, filled my cup with joe and stared out the kitchen window into the back yard for a moment to get my bearings.

I wondered why I had agreed to get up this early after all and sipped my coffee…and the pool still looked weird.  I squinted and tried to focus.  Back to the sliding doors, I noticed the hose was in the pool.  Then a moment of clarity. “Holy sh.., the pool is overflowing!”  I turned off the hose and investigated.  A large puddle by the side of the house where the pump is, but other than that, no damage.  Whew.

Later that morning, I texted Sirskatesalot to check on the race and told him hose was on and “Ooops.”  I am the most forgetful, so I understand.  I set the kitchen timer when I turn on the hose or a sprinkler because I would flood our entire street if I did not have a reminder.  No harm, no foul…Lucky us I didn’t wake up in “a beautiful pea green boat” with the Owl and the Pussycat.

Then, yesterday evening, Sirskatesalot and I had an couple hours without teens so headed out  to dinner.  On our way there, I brought up the overflowing pool and commented, “Good thing I woke up just an hour after you left or it could have been bad.  Surprising how much the pool filled in only an hour or so.”  Sirskatesalot responded that he had turned the hose on Friday evening at dusk and the water had been running for over 12 hours.  We are overflowing with love, gratitude and gratefulness that our bedroom is high and dry and our pool is full.  Sirskatesalot is very thorough and if he had been home, he probably would have patched any overflow with shoe goo or duct tape.

Hopefully your weekend was overflowing with fun or at least entertainment.

Snack Bar Duty

1 May

I have found a small, itty, bitty, teeny, weeny positive to my new, limited time on the trails…More of my friends want to run with me now!  I guess I used to be intimidating, but now that I am a slowly recovering peg leg, they flock to me.  Well, not really flock, but maybe two have trickled in.  This is fun.  A new batch of buddies to share the trails with.  Last week we did about 75 minutes of trails.  We laughed, we paused for texts for NCL and phone calls from realtors about escrow and we sweated and enjoyed a gorgeous morning.  We plan to do it again.  I guess this reinforces the notion that I can get it all done in an hour (see previous post), but it also shows me how many more amigas I can share this with if I am doing an hour or so instead of 2.5 hours.  I guess I have more sane than insane friends (but, J and K, you are the dearest insane friends ever!!!).

I worked the snack bar this evening for Princelightningbolt’s track meet.  Some brilliant filmmaker needs to do a documentary on high school sports’ snack bars.  Seriously.  What are the differences in menu, volunteers and overall success for various sports.  Why?  I was the chef for pasta bowls, quesadillas and anything involving chili and cheese.  While this sounds disgusting under normal circumstances, when you have spent 5-7 hours at a track meet, outside in heat and cold and God knows what, this food sounds and tastes delicious.  And if you can volunteer with a crew of cool people, this can be fun and hilarious…what is not to laugh at with rubber gloves, quesadilla makers (yep, these trump my George Foreman Grill), hot dog machines and green container parmesan cheese?  Can you make a meal of that?  Oh, ya, canned chicken, too.

For chili nachos and chili dogs we offer two kinds of cheese to chose from…shredded or smooth nacho cheese. When the lines were long and the people in line impatient, we somehow resorted to shouting, “Does he want shredded or liquid cheese on his nachos?’  Liquid cheese?  Nasty.  Who would choose that option?  Lots of people, apparently.  I gobbed spoonfuls of nacho cheese onto canned chili nachos, hot dogs and who knows what over the course of a few hours.  I think Michelle Obama may need to have a talk with these folks.

Ooops. Do Over.

29 Apr

I guess my consistency goal has already gone to shit.  Arg.  I had high hopes and good intentions.  I can’t even come up with a good excuse.  Sad.  I need a do over.

The Walking Wondergirls held their second bake sale for The American Cancer Society on Friday.   We tried a different grocery store this time and set up camp.  The manager was nice and most of the patrons.  But, there was a difference in the clientele. It was palpable.  Weird.  There is only about 1.5 miles between this store and the last one where we held a bake sale a few weeks ago.

At the first bake sale, people smiled and acknowledged our teen girls.  If they didn’t want to buy a treat (at a very, very reasonable price…especially for all home baked goodies),  they donated. They were generous and appreciative for our girls’ effort.  They asked questions and told stories. Cancer affects everyone.

This past Friday was very different.  The girls had to work for it and work hard.  People turned away, sometimes ignoring the girls completely.  There were some friendly folks, of course.  Many smiled or participated.  But even when the girls were asking, “Want to help us fight cancer?”  Many scampered by with their heads down and said, “Not today.”

I realize the economy sucks and life can pull you in many directions emotionally and financially, but come on!!!  “Do you only fight cancer on Saturday?  Not Friday?”  I kept my mouth shut, but these were my thoughts.  At least smile and toss these girls a quarter.

What has happened?  Are we so bombarded with solicitors and pan handlers that we think all are scammers?  Are we so jaded that six teen girls, with clear approval from the store manager, cannot raise money for a good cause?  I’m being dramatic, they did raise some money, but the vibe was weird.Maybe it was too hot. I just think a smile and some recognition goes a long way for everyone.  Don’t pretend someone isn’t there and rush past.  Acknowledge him/her and say, “Good luck.  I wish I could help.”  Something.  Anything.

We had some bright moments. One British grandma said she was delighted to see teens doing something productive and for a good cause.  She was proud of our girls.  I am, too.  They have raised nearly $500 to fight cancer so far and are gearing up to hoof it around that track for 24 hours in only one month. These girls are part of an event that raises over $400 million annually to help cancer patients and cancer research.  I wonder what the nay sayers at the market are doing to make a difference?

Here’s a link to Relay for Life. Get involved!

http://www.relayforlife.org/learn/index

Friday

25 Apr

Is waiting for Friday a bad way to live?  I am all about making the most of each day, having fun, squeezing the life out of it…but once spring fever sets in, I am kind of a mess. Even though I am appreciating each day, in the back of my mind, I am just waiting for Friday to arrive.  When the alarm goes off Monday morning, I literally think, “Only four days until Friday” before I am even out of bed.  This is a terrible way to live, but it does kind of give you a short term goal…make it to Friday.  And if I get through to enough Fridays, it will be summer!  I live for summer, the beach, the unscheduled time, the late nights, the visitors, the fun.  I am counting down.

Is this not like working toward a long term goal?  Work through Monday, Tuesday, Wed…and you achieve your goal of Friday!  Whew.  I used to like goals.  I was hyper focused on them and achieved  many because I was focused.  I enjoyed the satisfaction, but not the process.  I’m more focused on the process now…probably a little too much because I hardly even make grocery lists, I haven’t seriously trained for a race for over three years (although I have run plenty…I just haven’t trained properly…totally different experience), and I refuse to clean my car..to the offense of my neighbors…

Today is Wednesday, I am going to focus on Thursday for all it has to offer, but holy lands, I want Friday here already.  Doesn’t just saying, “Friday” make you smile?  Try “summer” and you will be smiling for hours.

Sunday

22 Apr

This consistency thing is going to take some getting used to.  I don’t have my groove yet.  So, this post may be rusty and disjointed…warning you ahead of time.  How’s your foray into consistency?  Hope it’s going well.

Sirskatesalot gave a talk at the gallery where he couldn’t attend opening night a few weeks ago (see post “In Absentia”).  Our family went and lots of friends and some other folks.  It was fun to see him with his works in the gallery and nice to feel the support…After about an hour of hanging out, the camera started rolling and Sirskatesalot was on the spot.  Take 1 and only 1.  He answered questions and explained a little about art, his history, his process.  Impressive and engaging.  I am not biased.  I even asked a question or two.

Some of the fun was seeing him in action, in his element, relaxed, alive.  The other fun part was hearing from friends how impressed they were with his presentation when they normally just know him as another dad on the track or at dance or at a party.  One of the coolest parts of the day was driving home with a van full of kids asking questions.  And one big, hairy teenager who was surprised and proud of his pops.  Princelightningbolt saw a side of his pops he had heard about, but not seen first hand.  He wondered if that is where he gets his public speaking skills (“Pegging Those Teens”).  Yep.  I think he inherited that gene…and not from his mother. Teens proud of parents are kind of rare, so kind of exciting…

We had a great family dinner over the best ever mac n cheese from the Pure Flavor cookbook (buy it, it is worth this one bitchin recipe!).  Luckily, I’m meeting two new running pals in the morning to run it off.  I hope your weekend was fulfilling and that you are being consistent.  I’m going to keep on keepin on…I think it will get easier…and hopefully (for all our sakes) better, soon.

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