Tuesday, July 31, 2007

I laughed, I cried. Seriously.

Saturday morning. Mamma Loves and I decide that breakfast was so yummy Friday morning that we would stay in and eat again. Lounge about. Rest. I thought I would straighten my hair. She caught up on some news on CNN. We had a lovely morning and thought we missed nothing.

I am a complete tool. The session on messing with your blog template? The one that I didn't think I would go to because I'm not using a default template, I'm using one of Zoot's? That session? Was totally led by Zoot. I could have easily gotten an answer to the mystery of the disappearing header and footer. I could have learned how to put sidebars on both sides. I could have gotten a chance to chat with Zoot a little more. Stupid description of the session used her real name. There you go, my one Blogher regret. And I regreted it. Banged my head against the computer when I realized it. Oh well, I'm getting a new design soon anyway. Still . . .

Lunch was my own little slice of hell. Mamma Loves had turned me onto a special luncheon that she was attending held by AOL Body. It was led by a life coach who shall remain nameless. She was going to teach you how to organize your household and family. Great. I just wanted to eat lunch with Mamma, so I signed up. I meet Jenny on the way in, and as we are heading to the tables, I look over the railing down into the main ballroom and see Mamma sitting down there, having lunch not with the life coach. It was too late to turn back, and I had to just sit. Jenny had a place saved for her at an otherwise full table, so I took a seat between some other people I didn't meet. For the next 45 minutes, which felt like 18 hours and 24 minutes, I sat and listened to a very excitable woman tell us that we need to have a family meeting. Children need to do chores. You need to be organized. Running a household is like running a business. The worst part though was that I was the only one who looked bored. Not bored. Tortured. Like little shrimp forks were being poked beneath my fingernails. Until Jenny's table began chiming in that they already do everything that Mrs. Excitable is suggesting and yes, it all works smashingly well, thank you. Then it was like the little shrimp forks were poking out my ears. Mamma claims it was payback for Slackermommy and I ditching her in the Storytelling session since she was all the way in the front and had no exit route. Dirty dirty pool, Mamma.

After lunch, we all headed to the Art of Crafts. I'm such a non-crafter. I can make nothing. I find scrapbooking to be a huge waste of time and space. Knitting makes me want to poke my own toes with the needles. Crafting to me means making a bunch of stuff that you have to dust later and will fall apart in a few months. No thanks. Other people's crafts though? Delightful. I'll shop on Etsy all day long and dang if Girl can't make miracles out of paper and fabric. The point though, is that Amy Sedaris was going to be on the crafting panel. Amy Sedaris.

Sitting all in a row were Lena, me, Slackermommy, and Izzy. We were not good girls. On the crafting panel were Smiley, Girl Who Made Her Own Dress, Techno Crafter, and Amy Sedaris. I have to admit, that by the end of the session, Smiley made me smile just by looking at her. She is the most genuinely infectiously happy people I have seen in a long time. But to start off, it was all too funny.

About 5 minutes in, Slackermommy leans over and says, "This is just like that Saturday Night Live skit . . ." and that was all it took. From that point on, everything was freaking hysterical. The seriousness of the crafters and the people who commented (ah, the glorious mic passing) juxtaposed with the obscure, offensive, and absurd Amy Sedaris was, in fact, just like a fabulous SNL skit. Except that we weren't supposed to be laughing.

Then Girl Who Made Her Own Dress tells us that her boyfriend taught her how to knit. Lena and I can't help ourselves.

"Did she say boyfriend?"
"I'll bet he did teach her to knit"
"Think he has a lot of nights out with the boys?"
"Yep. Lots of knitting circles."

I'm wondering about now when we are going to get kicked out. At one point, when the panel was answering a question, Amy simply repeated everything that Girl Who Made Her Own Dress said, except messing up all the technical jargon. I needed a tissue I laughed so hard. Except when the sweet Girl Who Made Her Own Dress began to explain the Creative Commons, and five minutes later when she was still listing off the variations of the protection (you can have this but don't sell it, you can have this but only borrow it, you can't have this, you can have this and only sell it on Tuesdays, you can have this and sell it if you donate the proceeds to the Make Stuff Out of Cans Foundation), I wanted to chuck my shoe at her.

At this point I feel it necessary to let Whymommy know that she wouldn't have approved of any of this. We misbehaved. We laughed at innocent panel people. And Amy Sedaris made her standard racial jokes and talked about pot a lot. It was the only fraction of the day that I didn't miss you. Because you would have totally kept me in line.

The last session was The Politics of Inclusion and Exclusion in Online Communities. That about covers it. Yep. Maybe I napped. I can't remember.

Elizabeth Edwards gave the "keynote" that evening. Which means that she answered questions. More pass the mic. And more overtones carried through the sound system every time someone spoke. I must have looked completely spastic with my hands flying to my ears every 3 minutes or so for fear that my eardrums would bleed any second.

I really like Elizabeth Edwards. I would like to have heard her speak more than answer questions. I'm not even kidding that someone asked her why search engines made you use a pull down menu to search blogs. The look on her face was priceless when she realized that she was supposed to make up an answer to that.

My favorite question of the night though was from Kelly who blogs at Reclaiming the F Word. I'm not even going to try and quote it because I will get it wrong. However, the "F Word" is faith, and she is all about the religious left having a place in politics. Amen, sistah. I could go into a whole post about how sick I am of religious equaling conservative and Christian equaling Republican. My own denomination is splitting themselves apart over what fundamentally are socialital issues, not spiritual ones. It makes me sad. Instead of me talking about it though, you should really just go read Kelly. She rocks.

The cocktail party on Saturday was far superior I thought. Mainly because I had plenty to eat. Yummy appetizers. Canapes, if you will. Because I was wearing my Team Whymommy shirt all day, more people just came up and spoke to me. I couldn't believe how many people knew what it was. I thought the shirt would give me the opportunity to tell people about Whymommy and her website, instead, everyone I talked to already knew. Amazing.

I did have a moment that usually follows copious amounts of alcohol, but I can only blame on hormones this time. When I met Karen, I tried to thank her for all the time she spent making sure Whymommy was comfortable in Second Life so she could participate in Blogher. I did thank her, and then burst into tears. That about summed it up though. Brimming right there on the surface, all weekend was the absence of my friend. And I missed her. And I hated why she couldn't be there.

So if I seemed a little distant, a little standoffish, or a little hard to reach, just know that you might have just talking to the part of me that wasn't there. It was hanging out with my bud. In spirit.

I left the cocktail party and walked back to the hotel alone. It was a beautiful night, and there were fireworks, which made the end all too perfect.

All in all? Fabulous weekend. Fabulous women. Fabulous roomie. I would love to go again next year. Me, Little Bird, and Momma (not to be confused with Mamma Loves who is the fabulous rommie). My momma. I think she would really enjoy the conference, and heaven knows I'll need help with Bird.

I'll have to get one of Kristen's way cool slings. And there will have to be pumping and dumping. And I will remember to pass out my damn cards. And Whymommy will be there.

I'm already counting on it.

Untangling my thoughts

Upon reading my post about Friday, it crossed my mind that I was too negative. When in truth, I had a really good day. The sessions were a bit of a let down, but it was more in general really. I think what bothered me overall about the sessions was this:

  • The audio was torture. The mics were equalized completely wrong for women's voices, most of them were too hot, and the speakers and the audience didn't know how to use them. Covering a mic with your hand when it is feeding back is terribly ineffective, people.
  • The topics were far too broad to try and facilitate a conversation in a room of 50-100 people. For a 90 minute session that centers around discussion, I would have only one speaker, and three main points. There were too many people that wanted to comment on each topic, and the panelists were often just left to sit in the front of the room hoping that their mic didn't start squealing. Plus, a discussion means that you go back and forth between commenters, and that didn't happen so that everyone who wanted to say something got a chance.
  • In reality, panels could have been run more than once so that if there were two you wanted to attend at the same time, you would have another chance to get to one of them later.
  • The panelists didn't seem to know from session to session whether or not they were supposed to talk or moderate.
When I started thinking about why I went to Blogher, I realized that it had less to do with the actual panels and sessions, and more to do with making connections. Blogging is not something that my real life friends do. And I have wondered on more than one occasion why I do it. Connecting with other women who understood that was a great experience. Being able to ask the question, "Why do you blog?" and get honest answers was wonderful.

I think I even answered my own question. I blog because I love to write. I love to tell stories. I write because it helps me organize my feelings. Writing is cathartic. It is entertaining. It is freeing. I can say things with the written word that I would never be able to find the words to speak. And I blog because I enjoy the community it has created.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Friday, the day I prove I have no attention span

Yes, there will be a day by day play by play. Because WhyMommy asked for details. Be careful what you wish for.

The W kept weaving itself in and out of my good graces. Dirty room, but quickly corrected. Booger on the bathroom wall, but oh so comfy bed. By the way, I cleaned said booger off the wall just so that Mamma Loves wouldn't think I put it there. It was totally nasty.

Friday morning, we dined in our room. The breakfast was really yummy, which it should have been since for 2 of us it cost a little over $50. As Deb pointed out, there were no coffee pots in the rooms, which was a total bummer. And Chicago? Do you sell no Diet Coke anywhere? What is with the crazy Pepsi monopoly?

The first session I attended was about finding and writing about your passion. Christine Kane was speaking, and since she is a singer/songwriter, I thought I would learn something here. Not so much. I did learn that there is a slightly hyper woman blogging about travel and drag racing. And she brought props. As the conversation bobbed about the room and people basically started asking if they could have help finding their passion, I nearly nodded off before I realized that they were missing the point.

All of these personal bloggers were looking for something more. Some sort of validation that they had a passion when all they needed to see was that their passion is their life. Their families. Themselves. And what on earth is wrong with that? Unless you really like drag racing, and then by all means, blog about drag racing.

In a way though, I did find my passion in that session. I found Liz. We were sitting a person apart from each other and realized it only when we both made a comment. We ever so briefly interrupted the session with what was almost squealing, but we are both too mature for that. Muffled squeals only.

Mamma Loves went to the naked blogging session and had great discussions about how women everywhere were preserving history, or herstory, with blogging. We are passing down our stories and leaving trails of legacy with every entry we write. Even if they are about port-o-potties. Then at the end, everyone got a bag full of sex toys. I'm not sure how that connection was made, but somehow it was. So at lunch, I was surrounded by people pulling out who knows what from their silver gift bags followed by rounds of laughter. I laughed too, but mainly at myself because I had no clue what most everything was. If it wasn't shaped like a penis, then I was clueless. And I'm okay with that.

The next session was the Art of Storytelling. I almost fell asleep just typing that. I sat next to the beautiful and funny Slackermommy. We tried to be good, really we did. Instead, the note exchange went like this:
"This is boring."
"Wanna slip out?"
"Is that rude?"
Then we bolted. Headed up to the Yahoo! internet cafe and ate Jelly Bellys. Or at least I ate Jelly Bellys. Mmmm. Sugar.

Session number three was on writing reviews. Since I want to do a good job for Izzy over at Props and Pans, I thought this would be the place for me. What I learned here is that I'm really glad I write reviews for Props and Pans and no one else. Izzy allows us to be a little snarky, a little irreverent, and a lot ourselves. I did manage to make a pointless comment and give out our url to the crowd, tell what we were doing, and in doing such, snag the card of a woman who would like for us to test drive cars. Nice.

Rounding out the day was a session on The State of the Momosphere. I think if I took myself and my blog way more seriously, this session would have made more sense to me. What I learned here was that there is a blogger I have been seriously missing out on, and she is Lena at The Cheeky Lotus. Other than that? I was uncertain about what all of the hubbub was about. Ads on blogs. High school cliques. Traffic and stats. And oh, did you know that some people comment just so that you will go to their blog? That little fact made me cringe because someone had just said to me earlier, "Oh, Canape. I see your comments a lot." Um, yeah. Just so you know, I do that because I have something to say and not because I care if you read about how I tucked my skirt into my panties.

The fact is, Blogher was a little cliquey. But so what? There were hundreds of women there. Did someone really think that we were all going to be best friends before we left? There were women who had been to conferences before who had prior relationships. Did someone really think that they were looking to ignore their old friends just so that they didn't seem cliquey? There were women I wanted to meet and hang out with, and I did just that. I didn't hang with them exclusively, and I didn't feel bad that I didn't become part of their "group." Then again, I've never been one to be in a group. Most people were really nice when you got the chance to talk to them. Even Kristen had a conversation with me when she had a minute, when she easily could have stayed put inside the comfort zone of the women she was already friends with.

The cocktail party was outdoors, cool, breezy, and generally much more quiet. Hoorah. I could talk to people and hear what they said back to me. It was delightful. Christine Kane played about three songs which I didn't listen to. I heard later that she had only agreed to play if people listened and were quiet during her performance and she probably only played three songs because people were still talking. That made me chuckle. It's not an unreasonable thing to want when you play, but it is ridiculous to expect that to be possible at a cocktail party. Cocktail party = wallpaper music. You aren't even in a bar. You are on a rooftop with hundreds of women and free booze. No one is going to be quiet and listen to you. She should have just turned the gig down, or offered to do an indoor concert that people would elect to attend.

I really enjoyed talking to Redneck Mommy. A lot. Kind of made me want to move to Canada and just be pals. But for now, I'll just continue stalking her on her blog.

After that, the evening sort of faded out because my blood sugar crashed. As I was sort of crumbled on the floor, waiting for dinner, a couple of people offered me Luna bars, but no one asked if I wanted to go eat with them. I thought that was pretty strange. It worked out great though, because I got to have a nice dinner with Mamma Loves and Jenny from Absolutely Bananas. She has joined the growing list of women that I lurve.

After dinner, I crashed in the room. I heard about the wild parties that carried on into the evening, but Little Bird and I needed some quiet time and rest. So we headed back each evening around 11:00 to hang out with some silence and big down pillows, recharging our batteries for the next day. Because the days were getting better all the time.

At least there were drink tickets

Thursday was a long day. I arrived at the airport in what I thought was plenty of time to also get a massage at the mini spa across from my gate. Just a 15 minute head and neck massage. Carrying around these boobs isn't easy on the shoulders.

After I was finished, I went over to my gate, and found that it had no mention of my flight whatsoever. Since I was cutting it close, I got a little panicked. When I finally found the right gate, there was no one boarding anymore and they had closed off the walkway to the plane. There was no attendant. It was 10 minutes before takeoff. I got a little more panicked.

I could just hear the conversation I would have with Mamma Loves. "Gee, you'll have to go on to the hotel without me. I missed my flight because I was getting a massage." I was mortified at my stupidity. Little did I know there would be more of that to come all weekend.

Turns out, I hadn't missed the flight. It was delayed. Getting to Chicago on Thursday was apparently the most challenging thing in the universe for everyone. Mamma Loves' flight was canceled, so she was due in even later than I was at this point. Nothing to do but wait. And miss dinner. I'm really bad when I miss a meal these days.

When Mamma Loves and I finally met by the baggage claim, it was just like meeting an old friend. Not that she is old. Or me. It was just like meeting a long time friend you haven't seen in ages. That's better. We got a cab and sunk down into conversation as if it was something we did everyday. I will never get tired of saying how much I love her. Smooches to Mamma.

Upon our arrival at the W, we walked into a dark lobby filled with loud house music. In what was to become a theme throughout the entire weekend, I could so not hear what the girl behind the counter was saying. We got our keys, went up to our room, opened the door, and walked into someone else's room. Complete with someone else's stuff, an unmade bed, and trash all over the dressers.

I go back to the front desk and am told something to the effect of "my roommate has already checked in." Yes. Yes she did. Five minutes ago, with me. We need a different room, or a lesson in your decorating style. Because "lived in" is not exactly an interior design motif I've heard of many hotels adopting. She apologizes, offers us complementary something or another - I had grown weary of asking her to repeat herself over the thumping bass and drums - and gives us another room.

A quick change of clothes and brush through the hair and we are up to the Whiskey Bar for the pre Blogher get together. Just a few bloggers who have made friends online, getting together to meet each other before the sessions start the next day. Just about 150 bloggers in a bar with a capacity of 35. And it was dark. And the bass and drums thumped. And I could hear no one.

I stuck it out for about an hour. Drank a few San Pellingrino's. Moved to a bench in the corner and ate pretzels. Smiled and nodded at people whose mouths moved while they were facing me even though their words were crushed between thumps before they could ever reach my ears.

I met Izzy and Deb that night, and only got to admire how lovely they were. No conversation. Mrs. Chicky, Pundit Mom, Latta, Karrie, and Jessica also said something to me, but I have no idea what. I watched the name tags to see if Liz had picked hers up yet, but after she had, I realized it was too dark to go around and put my nose down to people's chests to see if I could make out what their name tag said.

And have I gotten across how I really could not hear? I cannot pull one person's voice out of a cacophony and focus on it. My ears will not do it. They never have.

With that, I retreated to the silence of the room. I called Guy. I bawled my eyes out, and proclaimed that I had made a big mistake in coming. I couldn't talk to anyone. I don't fit in a big group of women. I'm boring. Throw in fat, ugly, and I really miss WhyMommy, and you have the complete hormonal meltdown.

In his own Guy way, he talked me down from the ledge of self-pity. Just wait until tomorrow. Tomorrow will be better he told me.

Snuggled into the most comfortable bed I have ever slept in, I could believe him.

And the next day, I met plenty of women who had just the same feelings about the Whiskey Bar. Minus the hormonal meltdown of course.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

I never even felt the breeze

I'm home. With my sweet Guy. Thank goodness. Even with all the wonderfulness of the trip, I missed him so much. Yes, I'm a sap.

The overwhelming feeling I had about Blogher was exhaustion. I was so incredibly tired at the end of each day. Actually, by around noon. Or possibly midmorning.

I'm still sorting out what I want to write about and what I want to keep to myself about the weekend. I learned quite a bit about this idiom and the people using it.

As is with life, the highlights of the weekend were the people I met. Mamma needs to just be my next door neighbor. She was the best roomie ever in the world, and now I get to say that she is an awesome friend too. I love her to pieces and miss her already.

Meeting Liz was like finally seeing an old friend you hadn't seen in years. I didn't get to hang as much with her as I would have liked, but that was the way the whole weekend went really. There were too many people, too much to do, and too little time.

My junior high moment of the weekend was meeting Zoot. I don't know why I love her so, but I do. And I was totally shocked to find out of how many of the people I was hanging with didn't know who she was. My first conversation with her was simply introducing myself. Then I realized I hadn't thought of anything to say, so I just told her I was socially awkward and wanted to say hi. Nice. Saturday night, I knew I had to be less idiotic because I really wanted to snap a picture with her. It possibly went better. I did get my picture. Hoorah.

It surprised me how many personal bloggers I met that I didn't know about previously. I'm looking forward to restructuring my Bloglines and keeping up with some of the amazing women I met this past weekend. Linky love to come later. I'm too lazy now.

Oh, and I totally had to pee every half hour all weekend long. So when I admit that I tucked my little knit skirt into my panties not once but twice on Friday, parading my hot pink behind through the lakeshore terrace, you can know that it was twice out of the 38 times I went the bathroom. The ratio is completely important. Because if it was twice out of three times that I had gone to the bathroom, then I would have totally looked like an idiot. But twice out of 38? I'm still smoooooooth.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

One in eight is one too many

Reposted from Toddler Planet. If this is something you have never seen before, please post it on your blog. If you don't have a blog, please email it to every woman in your address book. And if you haven't joined iBakeSale yet, please do that too. We need to keep fighting this battle right along with WhyMommy.


We hear a lot about breast cancer these days. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetimes, and there are millions living with it in the U.S. today alone. But did you know that there is more than one type of breast cancer?

I didn’t. I thought that breast cancer was all the same. I figured that if I did my monthly breast self-exams, and found no lump, I’d be fine.

Oops. It turns out that you don’t have to have a lump to have breast cancer. Six weeks ago, I went to my OB/GYN because my breast felt funny. It was red, hot, inflamed, and the skin looked…funny. But there was no lump, so I wasn’t worried. I should have been. After a round of antibiotics didn’t clear up the inflammation, my doctor sent me to a breast specialist and did a skin punch biopsy. That test showed that I have inflammatory breast cancer, a very aggressive cancer that can be deadly.

Inflammatory breast cancer is often misdiagnosed as mastitis because many doctors have never seen it before and consider it rare. “Rare” or not, there are over 100,000 women in the U.S. with this cancer right now; only half will survive five years. Please call your OB/GYN if you experience several of the following symptoms in your breast, or any unusual changes: redness, rapid increase in size of one breast, persistent itching of breast or nipple, thickening of breast tissue, stabbing pain, soreness, swelling under the arm, dimpling or ridging (for example, when you take your bra off, the bra marks stay – for a while), flattening or retracting of the nipple, or a texture that looks or feels like an orange (called peau d’orange). Ask if your GYN is familiar with inflammatory breast cancer, and tell her that you’re concerned and want to come in to rule it out.

There is more than one kind of breast cancer. Inflammatory breast cancer is the most aggressive form of breast cancer out there, and early detection is critical. It’s not usually detected by mammogram. It does not usually present with a lump. It may be overlooked with all of the changes that our breasts undergo during the years when we’re pregnant and/or nursing our little ones. It’s important not to miss this one.

Inflammatory breast cancer is detected by women and their doctors who notice a change in one of their breasts. If you notice a change, call your doctor today. Tell her about it. Tell her that you have a friend with this disease, and it’s trying to kill her. Now you know what I wish I had known before six weeks ago.

You don’t have to have a lump to have breast cancer.


P.S. Feel free to steal this post too. I’d be happy for anyone in the blogosphere to take it and put it on their site, no questions asked. Dress it up, dress it down, let it run around the place barefoot. I don’t care. But I want the word to get out. I don’t want another young mom — or old man — or anyone in between — to have to stare at this thing on their chest and wonder, is it mastitis? Is it a rash? Am I overreacting? This cancer moves FAST, and early detection and treatment is critical for survival.

Thank you.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Stop looking at me, Swan!

Tomorrow I leave for Blogher. I should be doing laundry and packing. Instead, I am here. Writing. There are a lot of should be's that I could list. I'll refrain though.

I don't spend a great deal of time in the sun. I had summers of high school that I spent at the pool slathered in baby oil. Now, I prefer to use some sunless tanning creme and not look 50 when I'm still in my 30's.

However. There are some days, when laying in the sun just feels good. Toasty warm.

My father-in-law stopped by today. He wanted to go to the pool. I thought it sounded like a dandy idea, so I packed up my book and my sunscreen and met him over there. After a nice easy couple of laps, I got out, dried off, and applied my sunscreen.

Then I read. For about an hour. Another couple of laps to cool off, more sunscreen, and a little more reading.

What I didn't realize was that I wasn't getting the spray-on sunscreen all over. I was just sort of creating stripes on my body. Remember Adam Sandler's Billy Madison and the smiley face on his chest created from sunscreen?

Tomorrow, I will have to get on a plane and meet people I "know" but have never met. And I have the most random sunburn you have ever seen.

I look like a cross between a woman and a red zebra. A drunk woman and a red zebra because my nose failed to acknowledge any sunscreen was ever applied to it.

So Mamma? When you are looking for me in the airport tomorrow, I'll be the drunk looking stripey woman. Not sure? Just check the tops of my feet to see if they are beet red. That will be me.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

More than Diet Coke is a whole lot

It would be nice to say that I am a person who likes to plan. That I like to know what to expect in life. It would be not as nice to say that I am a control freak. That I like to know that circumstances won't surprise me.

There is one time in my life that I can say I let go. I let the unexpected in, trusted someone else, and never looked back. It is the best decision I ever made.

Two years ago, there was a man I knew I like hanging out with. A man who made me laugh. A man who was a musician on the side. A man whose real job I couldn't even explain at the time. He was a good guy. He was a better guy than the other guys I was seeing, but he had baggage. And he was older than me. By about a decade.

One night, we sat in his car after a casual dinner of comparing divorce notes, lawyer fees, the prospect of dating again, and life upheaval in general, he turns to me and says,

"I want to tell you something, and it will mean that you will either never want to see me again, or quite the opposite. I think we would be good together."

What did you say?

"I think that we would be good together, and I want to see it happen. I want to be with you."

There was no real conversation. I stared out the window in complete disbelief while he went on about the life he saw us having together until he finally said,

"You are scaring me with your silence. Have I made a really bad mistake here?"

I don't have anything to offer you. I'm young, all I have is a house, a low paying job, and a bunch of dogs. You don't want me.

And then he began to list my assets. None of which were financial. And none of which had to do with my boobs. It is a list that I hold dear to my heart and have never shared with anyone. The list feels like little secrets about me that only he saw, and that only he made me see about myself.

And I knew that I loved him.

And a year later I married him.

And a year after that I'm even more sure than ever that it is miracle we found each other, and that he is a gift to me. He restores my faith.

Happy anniversary, Schmoopinator. I love you more than Diet Coke.

July 24, 2006

Saturday, July 21, 2007

So now that's done

Well that's it. I finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows at about 6:30 this evening. It took me about 5 hours to read, which is quite ridiculous. I tried to slow down, simply because I didn't want it to be over. I just couldn't help myself though.

There are a couple of questions I have that are left unanswered, but it's a strong possibility that Lovely will be able to fill in the blanks. She gets all the details.

I'm not going to talk about it here just in case you haven't finished reading it. I will only say that I wasn't disappointed in the story. I was only disappointed to have it end.

My granddaddy and I used to send them back and forth in the mail along with the Tolkien books. He read the first three Potter books before he died, and when the fourth one was released, I was so sad that he wouldn't be able to finish the story with me. He liked them. Not as much as he liked Tolkien, but he liked them.

And so now it is all over. Until, of course, I get to read them to my children. And then it will all begin again.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Harry Potter black out

This is it. I won't be back until I'm done reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. There is just too much cropping up on the internet and I do not want to see any spoilers. At all.

My copy should arrive in the mail tomorrow via Amazon. I will proceed to sit down and read it until its end.

Then I will cry a bit.

Team Whymommy Gear

There are finally some shirts ready to go via cafepress.

These are not to raise money for anything; they are being sold at the base price. They are only to upgrade your already stylin' wardrobe, and promote awareness of IBC and our darling WhyMommy.

I apologize for not having them done in ample time for Blogher. I am a total loser for that. However, if you really do want one for Blogher, you could order it today and have it shipped to your hotel. Which is what I am doing.

If you aren't going to Blogher, we will miss you greatly, but I hope you will buy a shirt anyway so that people will stop you and ask questions. We want for more and more people to be aware of IBC. Raising awareness is one of the most important jobs we have. That, and keeping WhyMommy in good spirits.

Major thanks to Izzy for fixing the logo for the shirts. She rocks my socks.

Give a little. Get a lot.

I am tired of asking people to part with their money. After six years as Executive Director of an incredibly worthy non-profit, beating down doors for donations, writing grants, and scraping up publicity, I don't want to tell you where, why, or how much to give. I am just reluctant.

However, I am not reluctant to shop. Especially online. I know I am not alone. Dear T has her debit card number memorized she uses it so much online. So asking my friends to sign up for iBakeSale doesn't seem like much.

For all of those Team Whymommy members who have emailed saying that they just wish they could do something, here it is. Go here, and sign up. When you shop online, go here first. There is somewhere that you shop, I promise.

Whymommy doesn't want us raising money on her behalf. I totally understand that, and respect it as well. There are so many good causes out there, that how can you really tell people where to send their hard earned cash? What is close to my heart may not be close to yours, and that is okay.

One thing I think most of us can agree upon though, is that there needs to be more awareness and more research for Inflammatory Breast Cancer. That is why I have signed up for iBakeSale
and will have 100% of my cash back rewards donated to Inflammatory Breast Cancer Research Foundation. They are "committed to finding the causes" of IBC, and I think that is so important. Wouldn't it be so much better if we could prevent IBC, thereby circumventing the need for a cure? Don't get me wrong, the cure is of utmost importance now, but I'm thinking long term here. Prevention. What if another never has to hear the words, "You have inflammatory breast cancer"?

Here is some of the nitty gritty. You sign up here. You choose which charities you would like to receive your donations. If the charity you like is not listed, you can add it. You choose what percentage of your cash back rewards goes to charity (and yes, I will be all judgey if you don't choose 100%, so don't tell me if you don't), list your shopping preferences, and you are done. It is that simple.

You don't have to choose the IBC Research Foundation. You don't have to choose only the IBC Research Foundation. It is up to you. The point it, here is an easy way you can do something. If you are going to shop online, then sign up and give back.

Bonus? If you select a 501(c)3 organization, which IBCRF is, then you can deduct your donation from your taxes as well. Win win.

You don't have to be a blogger to sign up for this. All you have to do is shop online. And I can't think of any of you that I know personally that don't shop online. So please sign up. Give to the IBC Research Foundation or to the charity or charities of your choice. It's so easy.


This is part of a blog blast for Parent Bloggers Network today. They do some swell things in the blogging community. Besides, I wouldn't ask you to do something that I haven't done myself though, so you know I really think it's a good idea.

If you have trouble getting links to the stores, try clicking the "Nordstrom" button at the top of the page. As a side note, iBakeSale has an incredibly fast and nice support team who will email you back in about 2.5 seconds if you have any questions about their website.

I'm going to shop now.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Blogme in 10 seconds

The 10 second introduction as suggested by Mocha Momma. I guess the first thing I should say is that I take way too long to say things. People get impatient waiting for me to finish stories. Read fast so I won't have broken the rules please.

I love to laugh. I will laugh at anything. I will laugh when I'm nervous. I will laugh when I feel stupid. I will laugh just to fill up silence.

I'll be one of the ones not drinking which means I won't break into annoying stories that only I think are funny. Or at least not as often.

And according to the post below, I'll be the one with the giant smile on my face because I have the prettiest Little Bird in the world tagging along with me.

Looking forward to meeting you all. Not looking forward to having to choose between seminars. They all look delicious.

More than 1000 words

Little Bird has started to look like a real person. A little baby. There are words that describe how it makes me feel, but I don't know what they are yet. Maybe they are just too personal for even this space here. I can say that I love that little bird. That little baby.

She lay perfectly still while the ultrasound tech measured her. She measured 13w1d, a little big. Momma reminded me that Bro and I were both long babies. Tall people in the making. That will be fine with me.

When it was time to check the heartbeat though, Bird squirmed and squirmed. Which made me laugh. Which made Bird squirm some more, and when I stopped laughing, she had turned herself over and was completely mooning us. With a couple of pokes, she turned back over, but you could tell it was reluctant.

Little Bird already showing her butt. That. Is a vote for nature over nurture if I've ever heard one.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

It's a good thing I'm too salty

Cleveland, Ohio, is a strange place to take a vacation. However, there is a surprising amount of fun to be had there. Too much for just one post.

Guy has a good friend that lives near Cleveland. He calls him Damize. Damize is one of the most interesting people I have ever met, and his wife is one of the nicest. Just getting to hang out with them was a great part of the trip.

The thing is, they live in a small town in Ohio, outside of Cleveland. The population there is about 22,000. The average attendance to a high school football game is about 18,000. I'm not even kidding.

Damize grew up in this town, and his wife in the next town over. Aside from a stint as road manager for Yes, he has lived there all of his life. And yes, I just said that he toured with Yes, as in Owner of a Lonely Heart Yes. Strike a pose with me now. No no. Whank!

Back to Damize. He toured with Yes, has famous musicians texting him at all hours, and yet, is a thoroughly small town dude. It's quite fascinating. The thing about him is, that even in his small town, he has done really cool things.

Like train tigers. Again. Not kidding.

Each year, the high school gets a new baby tiger as their mascot. We were lucky enough to meet this year's little squirt. She was a 2 week old baby whose mama didn't want no part of mama-ing. She was one ticked off little gal. Her eyes weren't even open yet, but she could already scream and showed us how well she could.

While at this strange part farm part refuge place where the little baby was living, we parked next to a zebra, walked past some llama, and got screeched at by tropical birds. Some of the animals we saw are possibly animals you have seen on Letterman or Leno.

We also met one of the previous tiger mascots. He is 850 pounds. I crept over to the fence to see if I could peek into the shaded are where he was "napping." And by "napping" I mean that he was laying in the shade pretending to sleep with his HUGE eyes wide open and staring at me like a tasty snack.

The sign on his fence read, "I can make it to the fence in 1.8 seconds. Can you?"

It was quite a surreal feeling, knowing that the cyclone fence between me and the 850 pound tiger was really only a suggestion. Had said tiger really wanted to eat me, he would have began his meal in 1.8 seconds. Flat.

I backed away from the fence, laughing nervously. Damize said, "So you saw him?" To which I replied, "Yes, and he saw me."

We left shortly thereafter, but not before Guy tried to smuggle out the cutest otter you have ever seen.

I can't hear you for all the eggs

There are strange bugs in our bedroom.

"It's only a few bugs, Schmoopie."

"Three is almost an infestation, isn't it?"

"No. It is not."

Resume typing and silence.

"What if they crawl in my ears at night and lay eggs?"

Heavy sighing.

"They won't do that.There isn't enough room in there with all of your many brains."

I have to stop typing now. My ears itch.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Pieces of me, parts of her

Blogging as journaling. It was the concept that drew me to this medium. I have always been a journaler and was more disciplined about it when I knew that someone was reading. When all of this began, it was Whymommy that was reading. It kept us in touch, and I got to vent knowing that the words would be read by someone who would not judge every letter of every word.

Letting it all out in writing has been cathartic for me. Since my songwriting has slowed almost to a halt, blogging has taken its place. A weekly open mike night has been replace with Bloglines, and drama filled bands have been replaced with groups like Props and Pans and Team Whymommy. It has been a good shift. A comfortable one.

The thing about blogging though is that it isn't journaling. Letting it all out here invites anyone to read it. Invites anyone and everyone to cop a squat and get to know me.

This little corner of the internet has become a big enough part of my life that I made a decision last Friday. My momma has not known about this blog. I considered it a "private" place, which is funny now that I think about it. Since it is certainly not "private," it began to feel deceptive not to share it with her.

So I shared. Even though I knew there were posts where I vented about family, got pissed off at God (again), and said some pretty frank things about how I felt right at that moment, I shared. Sent her the link.

And then I got scared.

What if she got angry? What if I hurt her feelings? What if she hated the whole thing? What if she scolds me for being a potty mouth? What if she doesn't get that sometimes I let my fingers fly and hit publish just to get it all off my chest?

These fears of being less than my momma would want me to be came creeping out from somewhere deep below. They are my own fears. They are not supported by anything that she has ever said or done to me.

After hitting send on the email to her, and after wiping the sweat from my palms, I sat back and had a little chat with myself. Self, I said, do you want your mother to know you? Or do you want for your mother to know the pieces of you that you give her?

I'm a grown woman. Isn't it time that I let her know me? Isn't it time that I stopped worrying about what she will think if she knows that I smoked in my 20's, hated my first marriage, and just might not believe in heaven or hell?

After all. She has always told me that she loves me unconditionally.

Boy, am I putting that one to the test.

The thing is this. I've always wanted to be close to my momma. At the same time, I've never wanted to let her down. Besides, she probably knows all this stuff anyway. That momma instinct.

And one other thing. As our family grows, I'm sure there will be lots of baby postings. I'm going to be a bona fide mommmyblogger for whatever it's worth. She should get to see those.

Journal. Archive. Family history. Blog. Whatever it is, I'm glad she's here.

I'll try to warn you Momma, when I'm going to write a steamy post about some great sex with Guy. You can skip those posts if you like.

And for the rest of you, Momma has a blog too. You can visit her here if you like. She'll inspire you though. Remember, she's the Reverend Momma.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Boobilicious Roundup

For Whymommy's reading and giggling pleasure, I present the meager Boobilicious Roundup. Maybe this will inspire more boob posts. If so, then we'll round them up again at a later date. For now though, I give you the quality (not quantity) boob posts for Friday the 13th.

Jennifer at Playgroups are No Place for Children My Cups Runneth Over
Jessica at Oh, The Joys Her entire collection of posts on The Girls
Bon at Crib Chronicles The Postpartum Body (I'm tossing this one in here because it fits the theme and is a great post, but it's not exactly all about the boobs. Because Bon is more dignified than most.)

So that is our trio of posts this week. Lucky for us, OTJ can keep Whymommy reading about boobs through her entire 6 months of chemo.

It's never too late though. Give us some boobage. You know you want to.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Because of you. And you. And you.

There was nothing that I thought I needed, but so much that I received. Guy showed up with roses anyway. Because I didn't need them.

The morning was spent with a good friend and sweet little girls (and JD too).

The early afternoon was spent finding love and support splattered all over my computer screen. There were emails, a card from Boo, a post at the board which shall not be named, a voicemail from Whymommy (who on this day, was thinking of her friend if you can imagine that), and the ever wonderful comments.

The late afternoon was spent introducing Lovely to the yumminess of gelato. And then at the pool swimming with Guy and Lovely and watching the two of them construct intricate noodle apparatuses and float each other through the water.

The evening was spent at our favorite Chinese restaurant giggling over spicy mustard and Lovely's creative use of chopsticks.

And now I sit on the bed, sandwiched between husband and dog, reflecting on the day.

As a day goes, it really wasn't that bad. So, thank you. All of you. Each of you. You are so incredible.

And yes, Whymommy. Soon, we will start toasting this day as the day we overcome fear. It will be the anniversary of your fight and a date for my first baby. A bittersweet day to remember innocence lost, things we didn't want to learn, and finding hope where you don't expect it.

Life preservers

It's almost 9:00 AM. That means Whymommy has been actively fighting cancer for almost 30 minutes now. Her first chemo treatment started at 8:30 this morning. That. Is the most important thing happening today. If you haven't yet, please stop by and leave her a cheer.


Today is Cleatus the Featus' due date. Last night, as I was giving Guy a much deserved back rub, he asked me what I needed for today. The answered surprised both him and me.


Are you sure? He wanted to know. Flowers? Do you need to go out to dinner?

"No. It's going to be fine."

And it is fine.

There is this little ache in the center of my chest in the spot where Cleatus always tugs. I know especially today that it will be there, and so today, when he tugs as my heart, I will just say "hello," and "I miss you too."

Guy told me that he knew I was sad, and that he was glad that it wasn't the drowning sad. I am glad too. I have a lot of life preservers though. Andria and Girl have both wrapped their internet arms around me. And Bach. Sweet wonderful Bach arrived with flowers in hand this week and reminded me that she is sorry she didn't get to meet him too. And I couldn't thank her properly in person because I didn't want to cry right then.

Little life preservers.

Andria is right. This is not just any other day.

But I will be okay. Me and Little Bird will sing a song to Cleatus, and then, we will get back to the healing and the hope.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

My mother is beautiful

I don't remember what my mother looked like before her mastectomy. I do remember what the swimsuit that she wore to Destin the summer before her surgery looked like. It was green and blue. A floral print. It had white trim. I thought it was beautiful. I thought she was beautiful.

Our neighborhood had a pool. There was a big red barn that had been converted into a clubhouse, and they had added a pool and tennis courts. The pool had a bridge over it that you could hide under, hang on, and if no grownups were watching, you could jump off of it. We loved to go to that pool in the summer, and Momma would take us whenever she could.

When I was 8, I wanted to go swimming. I wanted to go to the pool and jump off the diving board, hide under the bridge, and pretend like I was having an umbrella drink at one of the two cement tables anchored underwater in odd little cubbies off to the side of the shallow end. I wanted my mom to take me swimming.

She did at first. Momma didn't have reconstructive surgery. She took the scar where her breast used to be, thanked God for her life, and moved on. She was only 40. She had a very good prosthesis that was the same size, shape, and weight as her remaining breast. Her bras had pockets that this fake boob would slide into, helping her to feel like a complete woman when fully clothed.

It didn't take long though for Momma to not like going to the pool. Rather for Momma to not like putting on a swimsuit. Her prosthesis was water proof; that wasn't the problem. The problem was that when she looked down, she saw one breast, and then the indentation of where the other one should be.

The prosthetic breast was tucked safely into the pocket of the swimsuit where it never touched her flesh directly. And this view she had, of her one breast and one scar, was not one that she enjoyed seeing.

After another afternoon of begging to go to the pool, she finally told me that she didn't like wearing a swimsuit. I innocently asked why. And she told me that she didn't like having only one breast. She told me about how she felt about how she looked in the swimsuit.

My momma didn't feel like a woman. She didn't feel pretty anymore. She felt incomplete.


You have always been beautiful. I don't remember you with two breasts. I know they were there. I know I leaned on them in church to take a nap. I know I cried into them when I decided I hated school in the first grade. I know you fed me with them. I know they made you feel more like a woman. But these are things I know now, not things I understood then.

What I knew then, when I was little, was that you had one breast and one scar. That is how I knew you, and I thought you were beautiful. I thought your fake boob was cool, and sometimes I would sneak into your closet and pick up the one you weren't wearing. I would turn it over and feel how cool the fake skin felt on my own skin. I was fascinated by this thing that was part of your femininity.

And it is. It is like makeup. Hair color. Shaving your legs. It is only something extra that makes you more feminine on the outside. It enhances your beauty, it doesn't define it.

I always saw you as a beautiful woman. The woman I wanted to be like when I grew up. And I know that I told you I thought you were pretty. But I'm not sure you believed me.

I will have to tell you again. And again. Until you know that I am telling the truth.

I hope that when my child looks at me and tells me that I'm beautiful, I will remember the way I looked at my mother, and know that they are telling the truth.

Monday, July 09, 2007

5 Little Monkeys, sittin' on their knees, p-r-a-y-i-n-g

Because I know the bottom of your heart is just a phrase - there really isn't a bottom to any of your hearts - I ask another favor of you.

Leave here. Go to Jessica and remember Whymommy's words of positive comments and no pity. Jessica's husband was diagnosed Hodgkin's Disease today.

They have 5 Little Monkeys - triplet boys and twin girls. Jessica writes about their life and posts some of the best baby pictures on the web. If you don't know this family already, you should start here. You won't be sorry. They are an incredible family.

I ask you for this because the outpouring of love and support you have shown the capability for is amazing, and I know that it uplifts and supports. So if you can fit another person in your thoughts and prayers, I hope it will be Jon.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

G is for ginormous

This weekend I went to visit the bra nazi. You know the place. A real bra store with bras that can double as bullet proof vests, and everyone is fitted, every time.

I have worn the same bra daily for about a week now. I am aware of the grossness. I don't have another one that fits now. Hence my trip to the bra nazi.

This woman, in her mid 70's, has owned the Pennyrich Bra Patch for years. She can fit anyone any size, including women with less than 2 breasts. She is the go to lady for all your boob needs. The only thing you have to watch out for are the days when she is anxious to show your her custom fit bra. Without warning, she will hike her shirt above her head to show you how well her bra supports her coniferous breasts. I have seen this more times than I can forget. And I have tried to forget.

This trip to the Bra Patch was different though. There was a younger woman working. She understood my desire to wear something that kept me from being a hunchback, but yet that was still pretty. She sympathized as she measured my pregnant breasts, saying "And you'll only get bigger from here." Comforting.

Honestly, it was the most painless trip I've made to the Bra Patch, but I have to say that the saleslady lost major points with me when she said, "Back when I was pregnant, I was happy just to finally fill out a B cup." If I had swung around fast enough, I could have taken her out with my left boob. Right across her temple.

I'm glad I didn't though. She fully redeemed herself when she returned to the dressing room with the most beautiful bra I have owned. She said, "This is a new line we are carrying. They make bras especially for small women with a large cup size."

Small women. I am rarely, if ever, called small. Since the ninth grade I have worn baggy tops to hide my breasts. I was embarrassed at their size and uncomfortable with the attention they drew. My baggy clothes left everything else hidden and made me look heavier that I was.

I decided I love this woman. And the bra she brought me. Of course the second bra is far more utilitarian, but I'm alright with that.

My friend T told me a few years ago that I should be happy I have these girls. Show them off she said. So I bought some camisoles and then proceeded to wear big baggy shirts over them. The girls and I have never made peace really.

I always wanted to be a person first and a woman second. My chest has been a stumbling block in that area. I have hated the way it overwhelmed my figure. I have hated never being able to buy a dress; only separates that were 2 sizes bigger on top than the bottom. I have hated never being able to go braless, not even around the house. I have hated trying to go braless and then bounding down the stairs only to have the girls try to rip themselves off and alternately slap me in the chin.

I thought (and I know what you all told me . . .) that maybe, just maybe, the girls were plenty big and wouldn't need to grow when I got pregnant. Not so much.

But there is a treaty on the horizon. I am learning to make peace with my body. I am in a relationship that has been amazing for my self esteem. I am learning to respect the changes my body is making in preparation for this Little Bird. I am looking forward to breastfeeding. Put these puppies to good use.

I will be thankful for what they will give to our child. Be thankful for their health and, um, vigor. Be thankful that G isn't the last letter of the alphabet in bra land. Ginormous indeed.

Calling Team Whymommy. Care to pontificate on your boobs? Do so anytime this week, leave a link here, and we'll round them up on Friday for some weekend reading while Whymommy recoups from chemo treatment #1.

Remember, the only Team Whymommy rules are positive thoughts and no pity. Bring on the funny.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Baby Doogal

With the reassuring swish swish nightly, I have found myself actually thinking about what kind of birth would be best for the Little Bird. How is this Bird going to hatch?

Guy feels strongly that it should happen in a hospital, so at least that much is settled. Beyond that though, there seem to be so many decisions to make. So much information. And so many opportunities to doubt myself.

I've bought a book. One book. It's about natural childbirth. I haven't started reading it yet.

I've contacted a doula. A few doulas. One that I like as much as you can like a person through their emails. I haven't met with her yet.

There is plenty of time. Of course, when I look back in January and review my archives, I will laugh at that statement I'm sure. There is plenty of time.

I have a sneaking suspicion that yoga is going to take a strong role in labor and delivery. This comforts me as it took a strong role in my healing this year too. The suggestion to try yoga came from my friend Girl.

Speaking of Girl the Great, on July 5, at 11:29 PM, Girl gave birth to Doogal. He is beautiful little boy. He is my July baby, and I cannot wait to watch him grow up.

You see, back in January, there was a mom, a pregnant mom, who was not scared to reach out to me. She didn't worry that she would say the wrong thing. She didn't worry that she wouldn't know what to say. She warned me that she was crazy, and I said that crazy didn't scare me. She isn't, by the way. I wanted Doogal to be the baby I would wait for in July. She welcomed me along for the ride and has been a wonderful friend ever since.

So it is with a very full heart that I welcome little Doogal. A healthy, happy, July baby boy. Thank you for sharing, Girl.

Now, can you teach me how to give birth?

Friday, July 06, 2007

The best medicine

As I checked out at the doctor's office yesterday, I handed over a check for our portion of the eventual delivery of our baby. My hand shook a little as I did it, knowing that there is always a chance we might not make it that far. Being confidant enough though, I paid.

It feels early to do that. Last time though, I was already registered for all of my classes. I had bought maternity clothes. Guy and I were furniture shopping. Last time, this would be the last week I would be pregnant. In one week, we would say goodbye.

In a moment of what can be my frustrating penchant for reality, I asked,

"If we don't end up having a delivery, will this money be refunded or applied as a credit to our account?"

She looked at me blankly and said, "What do you mean?"

"If for some reason, something goes wrong, and we don't end up having this baby, what happens to the money I just gave you?"

She said through an inhale, "We try not to think like that."

"I'm not trying to be morbid, I'm just asking a question. It's not like I expect anything bad to happen."

And I laughed. Because it was funny. This poor girl had just been hit with the most morbid question of the day simply because I'm an annoying penny pincher. I was asking the question because I'm cheap, not because I expect something bad to happen. And her reaction was funny. And with me laughing, she could lighten up a little.

These things that I think are funny, and the things that make Guy laugh, are not always considered appropriate. We think it is hysterical that our Little Bird looks like a wrestler, or even more like Strongbad, as Karaoke Diva pointed out. Probably not everybody does.

But we like to laugh. Laughter heals pain. Sharing something that is funny keeps you connected. Laughing flat out feels good.

Laughter, however appropriate, runs in the family too. Yesterday my daddy and I had a good laugh at the fact that he may not be able to button his shirt, but at least he has never put his pants on backwards. When my mother broke both of her feet at the same time, you had better believe we got some laughs out of that one.

Life is funny. It has to be if you are going to enjoy it, because sometimes it sucks.

As Cleatus the Fetus' due date approaches, I waver between joy at this pregnancy and sorrow at that loss. During our schmooping time last night, I told Guy that I was probably going to be sad this coming week. He rubbed my head and told me that was fine, just don't go off the deep end.

And I laughed. Because looking back at how deep the deep end was, and how strong he had to be to pull me out, I am amazed. And the thought of going back there now makes me laugh. I wouldn't do it. Not to him. Not to me.

As we sat in the hospital room the evening of December 28, I couldn't get the last ultrasound image of Cleatus out of my mind. A baby that has stopped growing at 9 weeks has a large head. We sat there, neither of us quite ourselves, and I said,

"Well, with the size of that head, at least we know Cleatus was going to be a smart one."

Guy flashed a wicked grin at me and replied, "Yeah, but he wasn't going to be much of a runner."

And with that, we dissolved into laughter. Connecting with each other in the sadness through the healing power of funny love.

One of the many great things about Team Whymommy is all of the bloggers that I am reading for the first time. Right after finishing this post, I clicked over to check out I Can Fly, Just Not Up. Her tagline? The Crisis of Today is the Joke of Tomorrow. Amen, Heather.

Now I'm off to find an inappropriate boob joke to send to my BFF.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

You can take the crazy off my chart now

I really do have a pretty terrific doctor. Today was my appointment for the paranoia ultrasound. The ultrasound scheduled between 9w2d and 12 weeks. The one to make sure that Little Bird is still chirping.

The doppler has been great. Guy and I snuggle up and find that little "swish swish" before we go to sleep at night, and it is the most calming sound in the world. Especially now that I'm sure that what we are hearing is a heartbeat.

Hearing is one thing. Seeing is quite another.

When I arrived today, the nurse that I like brought me back. We weighed (still no weight gain - don't get that one at all, because, I mean - HoHo's) and took my blood pressure.

Through the roof.

My blood pressure is typically so low that Guy worries about it. He'll poke me and ask if I'm still alive after they take it. I'm just laid back I guess. But today it was sky high. The nurse wanted to know if I was anxious. Um. Yes.

Sweet nurse had me lay on my left side for 5 minutes to see if we could bring it down. I closed my eyes and thought of my Guy, schmooping my little head, and said my yoga incantation to myself. After the 5 minutes, it was back down in my normal range, and we left to do the ultrasound.

I saw a new doctor today, and I got a glimpse of a downside of being in a practice with multiple doctors. New Doc had no idea why we would be doing another ultrasound during the 10th week when I had no bleeding or cramping. If, of course, she had read my chart, she would have. It was alright though, I just let her wonder, and said hello to the stirrups.

Here is what we saw:

Little Bird looks like he's wearing a wrestling mask. I almost laughed out loud right in the office. Had Guy been there with me, I'm sure there would have been much laughing. I just couldn't explain to New Doc and Whisper Nurse (who unfortunately replaced Sweet Nurse), that I thought our Little Bird now looks like a member of Los Straitjackets.

Or, you could say that he looks like my Bro. Which would be all too fair. People say that his second child is virtually a clone of me, bless her heart, so it would only be right for at least one of my kiddos to look like my Bro. Who, in fact, looks like a wrestler. He is about 6'4", I don't know how many pounds, but dear word it's mostly muscle and girth. He's bald, sports a goatee, and could scare the paint off walls if he wanted to. Except that he's a sweetheart.

So if Little Bird ends up looking somewhat like Uncle Bro, I guess that's okay with me. As long as he has his father's eyes. And nose. And smile. And shoulders. And legs. And voice.

Keep chirping, Little Bird.

Vote for it

I'm sure there are still some people who we haven't reached in our Team Whymommy campaign, so I invite you to jump over to Sk*rt and vote for her story there. With enough votes, it will move to the front page where more people will see it.

While you are there, look around a bit and you will find a nice collection of all the things that women like you (well, most of you anyway) find cool on the internet right now.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

I shamelessly danced like Edie Brickell

My inbox is full, and I'm thrilled. Thank you so much to everyone who has responded to the call for support. Whymommy's wall is wide and tall and strong, and it's not just because of Mamma's ass. It is because of each and every one of you. If you have posted or added the button and you don't see your name on the roll call over to the right, please let me know. I don't want to leave anyone out - I want Whymommy to know about each and every one of you.

In the meantime, two bloggers who I have obviously famboozled, have awarded me with the Rocking Girl Blogger Award. Kami over at The Kelson Krew and Unplug Your Kids have both bestowed the coveted pink button upon me and my little space here. To both fine ladies, I say thank you so very much.

The funny thing to me is, that in another life, not so long ago, I was actually a girl rocker. My Fender Rhodes, my pink paisley Stratocaster, and all of my angst, were on display at all the local clubs around midnight on any given weekend. Now, I put my angst here, have traded my rock instruments for a grand piano, and I play new age music for a crowd that gives you peanut brittle and asks for your autograph. And yes, Bach, the audience is mostly old people! Like 50 and older!

I couldn't be happier.

That's the thing. When you are rockin', you are in a groove. The music is flowing, you are in sync with the crowd, and you are in sync with your band. Every sense is involved, sight, hearing, smell, touch, taste, and you are in tune with your world.

I would say, that's right about where I am now. In my world, there are people who love me, and there are people I love. There is work that I love doing, and there are people with whom I love working. There is a heartbeat for our little bird. There is an extreme amount of happiness in my life, and for that, I am grateful. And there is not a soul who knows us who can deny that Guy and I are in sync.

In this kind of groove, there isn't much that can phase me.

And now for the fun part. This is my favorite kind of award. The kind that gets passed on to the recipient's picks. My picks are:

Mamma Loves because she rocks it even in a port-a-potty. Quite literally.

Miss Zoot because she quite clearly rocks. To the point where I wonder if people just assume that we all know that, and so they skip awarding her anything.

Karaoke Diva because she rocks out a blog title that is a song lyric every time. It amazes me. Plus, her tag line is "My life is so perfect, I crap sunshine and kittens." I laugh every time.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Celebrations now and to come

Momma went for her 3 month check up at the oncologist yesterday. Life is a 3 month cycle for her now. The first 2 months are fairly worry free, and then it is time to go back for blood work and scans. And possibly she feels some twinges in her abdomen. Or her energy level is waning. Or she just feels off.

The week or two leading up to that oncologist visit are not fun. We just want to go ahead and get answers. What is her ca125? What do her scans look like? But she has to wait for that appointment, which is typically about 10 days to 2 weeks after all the lab work.

Seeing as how my brother answered his phone yesterday by skipping the traditional "hello" and just telling me that they were in Shoney's listening to the love song of me and my high school boyfriend ("The Flame" by Cheap Trick, of course), I figured there was probably good news.

Her ca125 is 15. Her scans are clear as a bell. They were celebrating at the best restaurant they could in that tiny town.

Hang in there, Whymommy. These are the visits you have to look forward to. Good news followed by hot fudge brownie sundaes.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Little bird says swish swish.

The doppler is here.

We have a heartbeat. I feel good.

June Perfect Post Awards

Dude. I was so supposed to wait and post this on Monday. It fits right in with me getting this whole nominating thing wrong every month though. Just wait until next month. I'll do something really stupid then. Changing the date and bumping up now.

I've had a hard time figuring out what to say about my nomination for the June Perfect Post Awards. I chose a post from a blogger that I just recently started reading. Although I had been to her website before, it was earlier in the year, and I was in no shape to read about little Shalebug.

Something brought me back though. And I did read. And I'm glad.

Neat Feet, my pick for Perfect Post this month, is full of memories and realizations. The picture of Bug's foot is hard to look at, and Redneck Mommy knows that. But what I get from that picture is how deep her love went. And how it she learned to love him right down through his toes.

I think what I really love about this post though are the connections that are made. From mother to child. From mother to mother. From child to child. From family to family. The connections weave in and out of the people in this story just like I envision Redneck Mommy's love for Bug weaving through him, into every tiny crevice. I don't know if that makes any sense.

Besides, who really cares what I have to say about the post? You should just go read the post yourself. Grab a tissue on your way over though. It's a tearjerker.

For more good reading and perfect posts, go visit Lindsey and MommaK who kindly sponsor the Perfect Post Awards each month.

We do these things

Feeling helpless is my least favorite feeling in the world. I am a doer. I like having a goal and a method to get there. It doesn't bother me to be the boss, and it doesn't bother me to be a part of the team. Whatever it takes to complete the task is fine by me. I just love taking the steps to completion and getting it done.

When someone you love has cancer, there is nothing you can physically do to help them reach their goal. You can't take the pain for them for a day so that they can get some rest. You can't take every other chemo treatment for them so they can have longer to recuperate. You can't reach inside their bodies and rip the cancer out with your bare hands. You can do nothing in the active sense of the word.

I remember when my mother had cancer for the first time. She had just turned 40 a few weeks before her diagnosis. I was 7, and my brother was 11. It was Christmas Eve when they told us. In the weeks after her surgery and the months of chemo following, the walls of her room were covered in pictures, posters, cards, and letters. Each children's Sunday School class had made a poster for her with brightly colored flowers, rainbows, and stick people in varying degrees of detail. She cherished those posters, and knowing Momma, she still has them.

There is this gnawing guilt that I have been too casual about cancer. My first mammogram was on my 30th birthday, and I only half joke about the lovely perky C cups I will get when the time comes. When Whymommy asked me about getting a mammogram, I told her with no family history that she might as well wait until 40. She wouldn't be getting breast cancer.

That was only weeks ago that those words came out of my mouth. Whymommy getting breast cancer was so far off of my radar. It couldn't possibly happen to her. There is no family history. She is healthy. She has two small children and a wonderful husband. She is my friend. There is no way she will be the 1 of 8.

Then there is the fact that Whymommy is a peer. She is close in age to most of us. She is a mother. We all relate. We all feel the reality of it could happen to us. And while I've known for years that it could happen to me, there is nothing like it happening to your best friend to make you wish it couldn't happen to any of us.

So these things that we do. These posts that we write. The buttons that we post. The emails that we send. These things are for Whymommy. And they are for us. As living, breathing, caring human beings, we need to do something. We need to come together and give the collective, "Cancer, you will not defeat our friend without fighting all of us too."

We need to do this because we care. And we need to do this because we know that were we on the other side, we would hope someone would be there for us too.

And we need to do this because only a couple of us had ever even heard of Inflammatory Breast Cancer before last week.

So we fight with our buttons and our posts, and we send our good thoughts and our prayers. We do these things for Whymommy, and we do them for ourselves. Our community.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Project Numero Uno

So one of the fabulous women on Team Whymommy is organizing a project. It is a secret project, but I can say that anyone can participate.

If you have known Whymommy for 3 days and only through her blog, you can participate.

If you have known Whymommy for 3 weeks and only through her blog and email, you can participate.

If you know Whymommy, Widget and Little Bears' mom, and know her kids possibly better than you know her, you can participate.

If you know Whymommy through a moms' group and know her mostly as a wife and mother, you can participate.

If you know Whymommy the scientist, and you understand what she's talking about when she talks about space, you can participate, and I'm impressed.

If you have known Whymommy for years and remember things about her that she would never want to see in print, you can participate.

Everyone. Everyone can participate. And it can be a simple or creative or complicated as you want it to be.

If you are willing, please send an email to teamwhymommy AT gmail DOT com and the organizer will send you instructions. She is wrapping this up on July 10.