Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Woo-Hoo Wednesday - Awards Out the Wazoo Style

Well, a big Woo-Hoo since last Wednesday that I received yet another award! And if that wasn't enough, then I got another! And then another. If that's not worth a whole Woo-Hoo post, I don't know what is! Thanks to Darian Wilk's Woo-Hoo Wednesday spot for the chance to talk about my writing woo-hoo's each week.

I received the Versatile Blogger Award from Cindy Dwyer at A Reason to Write. Cindy is a kindred spirit who hates spiders and loves cheesecake. Holla! Thank you, Cindy! It's the first time I've received that particular award.

Then, just days later, I received the Kreativ Blogger Award from Trisha Faye at Trisha Faye - So many books... so little time. Trisha had given me a shout-out previously during her A-Z challenge as one of the blogs that made her laugh, bestowing me with the letter M for Moment of Laughter. I was so honored then and am just as honored now to be recognized by her. Trisha, I thank you with all of my heart!

Just when I couldn't have been more shocked already, I got the notification from Melody Lowes at Meanwhile, Melody Muses that she was giving me the Sunshine Award. I had not received that one yet either. I literally blushed when I read the message. I just couldn't believe it and have such gratitude for the kind words and nominations. By the way, Melody, what on earth is Rhubarb Punch? I hate to say it, but it sounds awful. But since you answer in your questions that it's your favorite, I'll trust that it's good.

Since I already won the Kreativ, I won't do the whole thing with that. I will do the rules (loosely) the first time I receive an award and then I will thank-n-link after that. But, since I am obligated to tell all of you seven things about myself as part of the rules for the Versatile Blogger Award, here we go! Cool! I love lists...
  1. I love lists. Wait, I already said that. Oh well, I'm counting it.
  2. I am typing this like a slovenly man, with my pants unbuttoned and unzipped - to let my fat breathe. I know, I said in another post that I wasn't a slovenly man, but I have my moments.
  3. I am fairly certain I will turn into a Larry the Cable Guy joke - the grandma with the walking farts. I think this because I seem to get more flatulent the older I get and I'm sure there will be less and less control as I approach granny stage.
  4. I think of funny Facebook posts, Twitter tweets, or blog subject matter and laugh to myself about it out loud in public places. People look at me like I'm crazy. They could be right.
  5. I lean more toward hoarder than neat freak, but if you give me 24 hours notice before you come over, you would never know it. By the way, the rule is 48 hours for in-laws and other parental units.
  6. I recently joined a church where I am the minority. I don't think they've realized I'm white yet. (Don't get your panties in a bunch over that comment either - we all love each other and kid about it - they get my humor, thank you, LORD! :) I've never felt so loved and accepted anywhere.
  7. My dream is to make enough money writing that I can hire a personal assistant to do all of the things I don't want to do so that I can write more - like housekeeping, accounting, cooking, brushing my teeth... okay, I will probably still have to do that last one myself.

Now, to nominate 15 blogs (recipients, link-n-thank, put up badge on your site, tell seven facts about yourself, nominate fifteen blogs & notify them). Fifteen! Fifteen? Thankfully, there are no "under 200 followers" rules or anything like that and my reading list is quite diverse, so here we go (another list of my favorite peeps - yay!):
  1. Jeannine Bergers Everett - mobyjoe cafe
  2. Rachel Thompson - Rachel in the OC
  3. Gabe Berman - The Fruit Fly Strikes Back
  4. Louise Gallagher - A Year of Making a Difference
  5. Michelle - Motley News
  6. Beverly Diehl - Writing in Flow
  7. Cara Lopez Lee - They Only Eat Their Husbands
  8. Lynne Favreau - Lynne Favreau
  9. Claire McAlpine - Word by Word
  10. Becky Green Aaronson - The Art of an Improbable Life
  11. Karen Anderson - Before & After
  12. Judy - Life... Minute by Minute
  13. Jodi Aman - Heal Now and Forever
  14. The Girlfriend Mom
  15. Claudette J. Young - Claudsy's Blog

For the Sunshine Award, I have to answer the following questions, which is easy. Let's do this thang!

Favorite number: Three. Don't know why, but it just is.

Favorite Non-alcoholic drink: Very cold root beer.

Facebook or Twitter: Facebook. Rachel Thompson, sorry, but I am still a bit of a Twitter idiot. Although, I am learning.

My Passion: Writing, no doubt about it. I have an upcoming post scheduled already about that very thing.

Favorite pattern: Sleep patterns. Especially that deep sleep stage, which I rarely achieve.

Favorite Day of the Week: Friday. Even though I don't party anymore, I work from home, and we don't have friends over for Parcheesi, I still feel that exhilaration of Friday night. I don't even know what Parcheesi is, I've just heard about it. We do have pizza and movie night with our girls on Friday, so yep, it's Friday.

Favorite Flower: Ones that take care of themselves. I like Peonies, or as my girls call them, "Panties."

Now, I must nominate 10 people for the Sunshine Award (Recipients, if you haven't received this award, link-n-thank, put up badge on your site, answer the questions, nominate ten blogs and notify them). Please note, I get my sunshine in a lot of ways, so like I've said before, these are quite diverse! I like to highlight writers who deserve a nod, even if they are not necessarily in a genre I read. I am shouting out to several of my tribe members (imagine tribal drums in the jungle announcing your arrival) as well. So much talent out there!

  1. Suzannah at Write It Sideways - Writing advice from a fresh perspective
  2. Mike at Perception is Reality Corner
  3. Will Pep at Low Budget Dreamer
  4. Mumchic - Mumchic
  5. Peter Kevin Connell - Today in Heritage History
  6. Constance Wallace - Legends of Green Isle
  7. Ruth Hill - My Devotional Thoughts
  8. Veronica Scott - Wreck of the Nebula Dream
  9. Elle Amberly - Lost in Your Time
  10. Tricia & Siana (team bloggers) - 2 Girls on a Bench
I was also tagged in My Really, Real Reality and answered 10 questions about myself in the comments, if you care to see my musings there.

Oh my gosh, I actually did it! And believe it or not, I have people left over to honor. Be on the lookout! You could be next. One thing about being connected to a writer is that you never know when you might be highlighted! Be on your best behavior, now ;0)

Monday, May 28, 2012

RIP, Adam Dobereiner, PFC

On this Memorial Day, Helen has allowed me to share some pictures with you of her brother, Adam Dobereiner, who was KIA in Afghanistan in November of 2011. This is the first Memorial Day for Helen's family and I want to find every way possible to honor and support them in sharing Adam's memory with the world.

Some of the following photos were taken by Helen and family, some by the National Guard and some were taken by the same photographer who did Helen's wedding, a man named Eric. These pictures have touched me so much and I look at them every now and then, just to stay in touch with what Helen must be feeling and to associate with her immeasurable pain and sorrow. I cannot walk in her shoes, but I can share her story. Through that, we can all be a part of who Adam Dobereiner was and give him the glory he deserves for his ultimate sacrifice.

If you read the letter Helen wrote after Adam's death, you will know that
this picture was taken on Adam's 21st birthday.
Helen drove three hours just to share this special moment with him, then turned around
and drove three hours back home. That's the true love of a sister.

A prayer for Adam at the funeral.

Words to describe a hero.

I asked Helen to explain the significance of the hand prints. She explained,
"So you have a casket, the casket goes into a vault. My mom got this vault where if you put your hand print on it, it leaves the hand print....well, it was to cold that day and the hand prints weren't Adam's favorite color was lime green and so we all put lime green paint on our hands and put it down....this is the grandparents, siblings, nieces and meant a lot."

Somber faces of a family in shock.

Presentation of posthumous medals to Adam's mother.

My girls' half-sister is Helen's step-daughter, Marlee - here, she is
hugging the stone in remembrance of Adam.

The streets were lined with people as the hearse carried the casket.

You can see the intense respect for this duty.

Helen and her mother wait for Adam.

Adam's niece tries to understand where "Unca Ag-um" is.

Adam's father.

Ann Marie and Helen, Adam's sisters, both serve our country as well.

As Helen touches the flag, she also touches our hearts.

The church was filled to capacity.

Adam's sisters struggle to say good-bye, but only for now...

Adam's sisters hold hands for strength.

My God, how has this happened? RIP, brother. We will see you on the other side.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Remembering A Fallen Soldier

For Memorial Day, I could not think of a better way to honor a fallen soldier than by sharing once again a post from this past November. It was my 9th blog post, so I didn't have much traffic then. I would expect a few more comments at this time. It's not a humorous post. It's heartbreaking. A Facebook friend got the worst possible news. Her brother was killed in action in Afghanistan. Please revisit my post containing the letter "Dear Baby Brother" she wrote and posted on Facebook after his death. It is the most sobering memorial I could possibly offer up to remind you to honor our fallen soldiers and I'm happy that she has once again given me the permission to share this.

As you consume your burgers and beer this Memorial Day weekend, please think of Adam Dobereiner and the family left behind, consumed in their own very different view of this holiday weekend. Serving our country was never so real a concept to me as when I read Helen's words during this time. Emotions of grief, anger, and sorrow have been expected and she has been kind enough to let me share her raw emotion with the world. Reads, shares, and comments are certainly appreciated in order to bring honor to Adam.

RIP Adam Dobereiner, November 21st, 1989 - November 18th, 2011

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Woo-Hoo Wednesday

I almost forgot that I was participating in Woo-Hoo Wednesday. As part of my most recent quest for putting more gratitude for others in my life, my last post about a helpful Walmart employee was a woo-hoo for sure. And woo-hoo that it's getting shared a lot on Facebook, which I find fascinating. I've had little sharing of my blog posts on Facebook and this time it was shared at least four times! Woo-hoo! Everybody relates to a love/hate relationship with shopping.

Woo-hoo that I sold another Great Pyrenees puppy last night (getting picked up tomorrow) which only leaves me with three little butterballs to love until they find new homes. I am thankful that good people are buying my little fluffy babies because I love them so much and want them to go to good homes.

Woo-hoo that I am going to be featured as a guest poster on next month. It's my first guest post and I'm super excited about it. Beware, though, it's not humor! (I know, gasp!) It will show that I am a multi-faceted writer, however.

Woo-hoo that I have decided to write a book. I'm starting with a shortened version I will be entering a contest with and then I'm going to expand and turn it into a book. It's time.

Woo-hoo that God has awakened me to this beautiful weather every day and that my family and I are happy and healthy.

Woo-hoo that I love to write and people love to read it. I'm flattered by all of the recent attention and couldn't be more grateful to my readers for the shout-outs and awards! Thanks, everyone. You mean a lot to me, truly!

Monday, May 21, 2012

I hate you! No, I love you! My Recent Trip to Walmart...

Yesterday, I received a shout-out on Lisa Gradess-Weinstein's blog, The Mixed Up Brains of Lisa Weinstein, and that, along with the Kreativ Blogger Award and the Liebster Award, has made me think a lot about recognition. I will have more posts about this in the future and some of you will like what I have to say and some of you may blast me for it, but for today, I want to say thank you to her (hugs, girl!) and pass along my shout-out... to a Walmart employee.

I seriously doubt that "Ian" has a blog, but by golly, I'm in a public forum with my cyber-megaphone and he deserves this shout-out, so he's getting it.

Ian, if you are out there and you have any friend who reads my blog, I hope they will send you this link. Let me tell you how I feel about Walmart and how you changed my view, if only just for one visit.

Walmart makes me cry. I loathe Walmart. Wait, that's not accurate. I love Walmart - until I get to the checkout line. Here's my routine:

The Plan Before:
  1. Go in with a list of 10 items.
  2. Proposed time-frame for shopping is one half hour.
  3. Plan to spend around $60.
  4. Go home and be happy.
The Reality After:
  1. Bought 80 items, most of which were loosely on the list in a category, and ten of which were impulse buys, "I didn't know THIS existed!"
  2. Shopped for two hours, my feet are killing me, and I'm ready to cry already from exhaustion and the realization that I've wasted half my day.
  3. Spent $200 and can't possibly have her put $140 worth back for me and hey, I need this stuff. Then, try to figure out right there in the checkout line what I can cut out of the budget this week (gas or electricity?) so the trip doesn't bust my bank account.
  4. Go home beat up and depressed, filled with regret and self-loathing, thinking, "How could I have done this AGAIN?"
You get my drift. I do it over and over, several times a month. It's torture.

By the time I get to the checkout, I have a mixed sense of fear/wonder about what kind of checker I will get; slow, chatty, not chatty enough, rude, poor bagger, etc. As a result, if I don't have too much, I hit the self-checkout. Ian, this is where you come in.

Every time I use the self-checkout, two things happen. First, it tells me repeatedly to put things in the bagging area when I already am doing just that, and second, it locks me out and I have to get The Overseer to come help me. I don't know what self-checkout-counter-line-helper-guy's real title is, so for now, he's "The Overseer." It's usually a woman who could not seem less thrilled to be anywhere but there, helping anyone but me, and who parks herself behind that counter and doesn't budge unless absolutely necessary.

Ah, but today was different. Ian was working and I swear, Ian has magic Walmart pixie dust. I checked my items without it frustrating me even one time, and instead of me having to say, "Excuse me, I need some help here," I was interrupted by Ian approaching me and asking me if everything was going okay. I was so shocked that I thought maybe he thought I was stealing and he was approaching me for a shake-down, but then I realized that he was just... just... being polite!

I could scarcely believe it! I observed Ian as I continued checking myself out. He walked around and checked with each customer to see if they needed any assistance. Then when he saw that everyone was taken care of, he went back around and asked if people would like to donate to the Children's Miracle Network. As I exited the area, he thanked me for shopping with them and bid me a wonderful day. I eyed his name tag carefully, for these acts would not go unreported.

I had only spent about $100, hadn't shopped until I dropped, and was sprinkled with fairy dust by Ian of the Vandalia, IL Walmart and I had to tell somebody about it! I looked around. Line manager, busy. Customer Service counter, huge line. So I came home and got right on Walmart's site and found a way to contact Corporate to compliment this man for going above and beyond the call of duty.

Ian, because of you, I left Walmart without a tear in my eye, without a cloud of depression, and instead with a spring in my step. All because you made a difference in the end-user experience. My husband hates the self-checkouts because he says they take away jobs from real people, but no machine can replace an Ian. My hat is off to you, sir! You have done your job well. I told Walmart to give you something - recognition, a raise, or a promotion - and I truly hope you get it.

Tell me, Everyday Underwear followers, who have you recognized lately?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

I Think I'm Being Followed

When I started this blog, I had no expectations. Really, I didn't. I wasn't sure if anyone at all would read it, much less care about the content, appreciate me as a writer or as a person, or leave even one comment. Boy, have I ever been pleasantly surprised. Shocked. Stunned, even.

I have made new friends, garnered valuable advice, and have learned that being followed is not a bad thing after all, if you're looking at it in the right light. The lighting is good, here in Everyday Underwear. You bring light to me and I hopefully reflect that light back to you in some way.

There's no looking over my shoulder. There's no paranoia. I don't hear footsteps behind me and wonder who's there. I like being followed. I write, people follow, and good things happen.

It is always a welcome surprise when I receive an award. This means somebody found my work to be worthy. If I ever get to the point where I go, "Oh crap, not another award," then I might as well put away the laptop because I will have become an ungrateful shlumpadinka. I promise I will not do that to you.

This week, I received the Liebster award twice in one day from Jeannine Bergers Everett and Claudette J. Young, both excellent writers. This tickled me pink! These awards do mean a lot to me, especially when they come from writers I truly respect. I feel like Wayne and Garth of Saturday Night Live's Wayne's World: "I'm not worthy! I'm not worthy! I'm not worthy!" But apparently, I am worthy. Thank you, ladies, I am honored to be given this award by the two of you. Bloggy lovin' fist bumps to you both!

Now, to give the award to others is not an easy task. This particular award is for small blogs with under 200 followers. Some of the blogs I'd like to spread the love to don't list how many followers, some have already received the Liebster, and some have too many followers to qualify. I am not one to follow the rules strictly, so here is a list of blogs I enjoy, regardless. I enjoy so many, there will be plenty of people to give awards to in the future.

The first one does qualify and so I am officially naming Crazy Lady with a Pen's Darian Wilk as my official first recipient. Bonus that today is WooHoo Wednesday on her blog, so I got to woohoo about my award while giving her one also! Darian also has Monday Madness, Teaser Tuesday, and Thursday Tidbits, in case you're interested. Giving this award to Darian made me want to give a shout-out to a couple of other veteran writers who have creative weekly or regularly posted items:

Kelly Hashway does Monday Mishmash and gives us an idea of what's on her mind and asks you the same question. She has too many followers to "recieb the Lieb," but I still wanted to give her a shout-out.

Stacy Green does Thriller Thursdays and sends a chill up your spine. She's already been Liebed, but again, gets a nod from me!

Maureen Doallas has All Art Friday. I think you can guess what the subject matter involves. Again, you have too many followers already, Maureen, but I likes ya!

Sue Ann Bowling keeps Jarn on my mind with her regular postings of Jarn's Journal. Guess you'll have to read her 'Homecoming' blog if you'd like to know more about Jarn and all things Alaska! Sue Ann, I can't tell how many followers you have, but you deserve a plug for your dedication in promoting your work. Even if I never read your book, I will never forget your name, your Jarn character, or the book you are working on because you put it out there like clockwork to keep me thinking about it.

Another newbie I'd like to give a nod to is my friend Donna Zerrusen who has a faith-based blog called E-quipping Essentials. She is a really encouraging and wonderful person and an amazing photographer as well. Donna, I am passing on the Liebster to you as well!

I have many other faithful followers and friends to honor... don't worry... you guys are on my list and I will get to you. Cara Lopez Lee, I may have to create an award just for you! You and Lynne. And Claire. And Beverly. And oh crap, I LOVE YOU ALL!

Liebster award winners, do this:

  1. Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog.
  2. Link back to the blogger who awarded you.
  3. Copy & paste the blog award on your blog.
  4. Reveal your 5 blog picks.
  5. Let them know you chose them by posting on their blog.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Ma'ams-o-gram: Take Two, with a Twist

I cannot promise this will be my last post about boobs, but honestly I'm about to declare May 2012 as "Boob Month" on my blog. I thought this post would be the last one about boobs, but then I saw the controversial Time magazine cover and I might have to talk about that in the next post, I'm not sure yet. I'd be interested in hearing your opinions more than giving my own and I'm sure it's a hot topic in the blogosphere.

Now, back to my boobs! I went for my follow up and I have to say that I was pretty worried. This time, they put me in a special consultation room with a reclining chair for me to undress and wait and I immediately thought that meant they were most likely making me comfortable for the inevitable bad news. Then a lady who looked like she held an important position came in and told me not to be concerned if they did send me for the ultrasound after the new images, that it still would just be precautionary. I was sure I would be going. I was worried.

Being the sheeple (I read that term for religious people the other day and I love it) that I am, I of course thought that I should say a little prayer in my head before the "photo shoot" (another term I read today and love, thank you Cheryl) and that's when it got weird and I sent myself into another laugh attack. I cannot believe the idiotic prayer my brain chose.

It went like this: "In the name of Jesus, I just give this test to you today and I put my breast in your hands..."

Then it hit me. I busted out laughing. Oh my God, I just asked Jesus to grab my boob. I couldn't even finish the prayer because I couldn't stop giggling. I hadn't said it purposely that way in my head, but again, curse my sense of humor! That's how it came out without even thinking! How could I have possibly worded that prayer any worse? Then my mind went crazy.

Would God see the humor in my prayer? I hoped so. Or am I just headed straight for the fiery dungeons because my mind works that way? We're made in His image, right? So He's gotta have an awesome sense of humor. Don't be mad, Jesus. I didn't really mean to ask you to grab my boob!

I imagined Jesus hearing my prayer and doubling over with laughter, then straightening, facing his Father, and saying, "Can I, Dad? You did a great job on that pair." Then Jesus would laugh hysterically while saying, "I'm just messin' with ya! Oh, I crack myself up! Grab her boob! Like I would do that! Ha ha ha haahhahahaaha!" while God gives Jesus a "Don't you even think about it" stare and taps his toe in disapproval.

"Young Deity, go to your room!"
"Gosh, Dad, I was only kidding, gah!"
"Don't take my name in vain, young man!"
"I didn't, I just said, 'gah,' - I didn't mean you!"
"Don't give me any lip, young man."
"Jeez, Dad..."
"And don't take your own name in vain either!"

Somebody's probably really going to hate this post. I almost named it, "Jesus, Please Hold This Boob." Hey, I'm a Christian, but I am as real as they get. Deal with it, or go read another blog. Your hate mail will be "returned to sender".

Thankfully, I composed myself before the tech came to get me. I was relieved that it was only one breast this time. She positioned me and then funny part number two happened. She said, "Okay, now I'm going to have to just twist your breast for these just a little bit."

Great, she's literally giving me a titty-twister. Fellas, I know that even you have had a titty-twister at some point around fourth grade, but Lord Almighty, when they're squashing it AND simultaneously twisting it, crap-a-tootie! Finally, she finished and I went back for "the wait" while the radiologist looked at the images. I got to freak out again when she came back and announced "He said we need some more views using another paddle."

Great. This paddle has a circular thing that looks like the underside of a cup holder that isolates the area better. Then she got out a ruler and started taking measurements! I giggled again, thinking, "Okay, I know they're big, but really... it's no Guinness World Record or anything." I decided to keep that joke to myself. I didn't want to laugh because she was trying to be precise in pinpointing the area of concern and I didn't want more images and thus, more pain. Still, it seemed like she was making blueprints out of my boob measurements. Weird.

After a second long wait in the reclining chair, my reading of National Geographic was interrupted with word that all was well and I should come back in a year. I said, "What! I went through all that for it to be nothing?" She informed me that was a good thing. Everyone keeps asking me what it was and I don't have the slightest idea. All I know is that it's not of concern and really that's all I need to know right now. My concern is to figure out how to pay my 20% for the second mammo, radiologist, blah, blah, blah bills.

Whatever it was, I put it in Jesus' hands and it turned out okay after all, so I guess he did appreciate my sense of humor.

I do have a question for you women. I've had many, many people tell me they have had to go back a second time in recent years, since technology is better at detecting things, and then it turns out to be nothing. Have you noticed this with your mammograms if you've been getting them for a while? I think they need to streamline the process a bit so they're not unnecessarily causing women everywhere to be "stressed about the breast." Your thoughts?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Ma'ams-o-gram

It's that time of year again. The time of year women love to hate.

It's time... for the yearly check-ups. You ladies know the ones I'm talking about. I'm talking about getting poked, felt up, internally scraped while a duck-bill holds your hoo-ha open, and getting your boobs smashed. Yes, it's female check-up time.

The pap. The mammogram. The horror.

A lot of women call their breasts, "The girls" and I like that term. I think I first heard it used by Stacy London on What Not to Wear. I'm thinking at this stage in life, however, my girls have become "The ma'ams." I'm no spring chicken anymore and I hate being called ma'am, but really it is more fitting.

Let's just say that you're walking down the street with a nice shirt accentuating the positives. Would you be comfortable with a man ogling your "girls"? The term "girls" makes me think of my daughters, so this makes me feel just a tad bit uncomfortable.

Now, think about the same situation and as you pass a fellow sporting a nice gray suit walking down the street, he acknowledges your bosom with a nice tip of his hat and, addressing each boob separately, he smiles and says to the left one, "Hello, ma'am," then looks respectively toward the right, but doesn't look directly at it and says, "and good day to you also ma'am!" This is of course unrealistic, so let's just say that he then leaps onto a lamp-post and dances on down the street singing a song about beautiful women like a Fred Astaire movie, while glancing back at you adoringly. Pfft. Fantasies. They're so crazy!

So, first on my agenda this year is the mammogram, or as I now call it, the "ma'ams-o-gram." I've only been forced to endure this torture for a few years now and I have to say that I don't like it. I don't like it one bit. First of all, you have to go topless in front of strangers. If you've already gone to the gyno for the other check-up, then you've already been felt up by the doctor, now you have to expose yourself to a stranger and get your boob smashed in a vise. This does not equal fun in my book.

Also, I've talked about the boob thing recently. They're big. It hurts! And for those of you who haven't gone through this yet, do you know what they tell you as they're smashing it in the vise to get the images? "Tell me when you can't stand it anymore." They mean the pain.  I honestly wonder if a boob has ever exploded on them because somebody had a high pain tolerance and forgot to cry "uncle."

Not only are you half naked with a stranger and getting your boob mercilessly flattened like a panini, just at the moment you're about to pass out from the pain, they tell you this: "Now lift up your chin as high as you can." If foreign countries aren't using this as a torture method, they really should be.

Imagine me, humor writer, with the boob in the vise, in pain, and then instructed to look up, thus increasing the already searing pain to eleven. Yes, the pain goes to eleven. I envisioned in my mind what I must have looked like and thought about what a funny picture it would be for my blog and I busted out laughing right when she was taking the picture. Sure enough, it was blurry and she had to do it AGAIN! Oh Lord, what had I done? Curse you, sense of humor!

I'm pretty sure this is the look:

or this:

As if that wasn't bad enough, there was a wrinkle in the first boob picture, which had gone swimmingly, and she had to do that one again, too! Are you seeing where the word "horrors" came in? Fellas, do they have ANY sort of test where they smash your winkie flat? I didn't think so. If there is such a test, please alert me so that I can become a technician.

"What do you do for a living?"

"I smash wankers, that's what I do. And I love my job."

Now, at least my ma'ams-o-gram wasn't lengthy, I thought, and I was in and out of there in a half an hour flat. "You'll get a paper in the mail next week," they proclaimed. I took my free gift (a manicure set and two Hershey's kisses, only one of which was eaten upon arrival at home that night by a child; I knew I should have eaten them in the car... "My boobs got smashed, those are MY chocolates!") and I was on my way.

So yesterday morning when the phone rang and I saw who it was on the caller ID, I knew it wasn't good news. Sure enough, they need to take another look because they "saw something, which could be nothing at all, but we need some more views" and then they might send me to the hospital for an ultrasound right after if it still looks suspicious after the doc looks at the images.

She was a lovely woman on the phone and did her best to encourage me that it could be nothing, could be just a fluid-filled cyst, etc. but of course you know from past posts that what I heard was that it could be just a tiny little skull and crossbones we need to address. Fred Astaire, where are you now to sing and dance for me?

I assured her that she was talking to the right person and that no matter what it is, I will find a way to laugh about it and that I will probably blog about it too. And of course, I am.

So my follow-up is tomorrow. I've had many women tell me "Oh, I had that happen too and turned out to be nothing." However, I am realistically looking at the fact that I know two women in stage 4 breast cancer as well. Plus they never came up with any result on my throat problem. What I thought were ENT troubles gave the doc no concern, but other symptoms like the choking and voice change did, so she ran bloodwork and I had a thyroid ultrasound done, which both came back fine.

Thought for the day: I'm either dying of throat-breast cancer or I'm fine, either one. No matter. I'm going to keep on living my life and writing until the day I die. I know it can be done because I actually followed someone who did that very thing. Such respect I have for her. She died of the same rare breast cancer my aunt has.

You know what they say, no pain, no gain! In all seriousness, go get that ma'ams-o-gram, ladies! It could very well save your life and that is worth all the discomfort.

Please send good thoughts my way for my testing tomorrow and you have a wonderful day!

Monday, May 7, 2012

To be (profane) or not to be (profane)… that’s the F'n question:

Okay, holy roller friends and new acquaintances, hold on to your Sunday hats. I admit it. Although I’ve cleaned up my act quite a bit, I used to cuss like a sailor. And sometimes, I still do. I can lapse into Andrew Dice Cindy if I don’t watch myself. I could make a great Mafia wife or construction worker if I were so inclined. This can be a problem.

I have to determine (sometimes in a fraction of a second) when, where, and/or whether or not profanity is appropriate. Appropriate? Is it ever appropriate? It probably isn’t necessary, but alas, there are those times when I am overtaken by a particularly strong urge to let loose with an “appropriated” string of dirty words that would make my grandmas blush. Thank goodness they’re both dead. I don’t mean that I’m glad they’re dead, I mean I’m glad they’ll never hear it. You know what I mean!

It’s funny how I’ve changed through the years. I wasn’t a big curser when I was little. It isn’t like my parents walked around the house dropping the F-bomb. I rarely heard cussing at home. I think the shift came in high school when, for a short time, I hung out with some tough girls who used profanity like running water. My profane reign lasted a good 20 years and then, like so many other things in my life, I lost the urge to remain, well… profane.

I did not, however, become a goody-goody and I highly suspect that I never will. God knows this about me and he deals with it. I don’t try to fake it with him either. It’s no use with a deity. They’re smarter than that. They know your deepest, darkest secrets, even if you try to hide them. I know that “God is always with me,” so I try to keep my mouth from going afoul, but old habits die hard sometimes. Addictions are, meh, pretty easy. Control of my mouth, not so much. Good thing I’m held accountable by an even higher power… my children. How is it that they can make me feel like they’re the parent and I’m the child when I slip? It’s just not fair when your children parent you better than you parent them.

When a fellow respected writer, Rachel, asked me when I was going to guest on her blog, I asked her to tell me more because I had never guest posted before. She replied, “You have NEVER guest posted? Holy crap. You're so f***ing talented.” I giggled like a school girl at her comment, not because she used a curse word, but because she used the F-word as an adjective to describe how talented I was. I took it as the high compliment intended. I’m not just talented. I’m talented with effing emphasis.

She didn’t use asterisks in her word either. I wouldn’t expect her to! That wouldn’t be Rachel. Rachel cusses when she feels like cussing and that’s fine. I love Rachel just the way she is. I’m real. She’s real. I like her a lot. I told her she is my Princess Charming, asking me to the ball (to guest post) for the first time. She got a kick out of being deemed “PC.”

I appreciate Rachel’s profanity frequency as well. She doesn’t detonate F-bombs multiple times in every sentence for no good reason like my car mechanic. Honestly, I don’t think he knows how to formulate a sentence without a curse word in it. It’s as though he must insert them or he feels like he isn't using proper English. It’s effortless; a craft he’s mastered after years of practice and fine-tuning.

He’s cheap and good and honest with me, so I deal with it. Sometimes he doesn’t even charge me if it’s a really small repair or he doesn't find a problem I’m having him check out. Maybe that’s because of the boobs and all, I’m not sure. Here’s an example of a typical conversation with said mechanic:

Me: “Looks like it might rain today.”

Mechanic: “Yeah, I’ve gotta get the f’n lawn mower out before the f’n rain comes. I’ve got too much sh** to do around this G**damn f’n place to put it off.”

Me, giggling at the mastery of his curse placement: “Well, you’d better get it done then. Call me when you know something about the car.”

In my own writing, I’ve decided not to use curse words. I could. I want to sometimes, but it’s quite rare. Eliminating it from my writing is just a personal decision I’ve made for me and me alone. There are plenty of other authors, bloggers, and writers out there who pepper each piece freely with their own personal spice. I can hear it, I can read it, and I sometimes say it, but I don’t ever really feel the need to use it in my writing, so I just don’t, and that is all.

I tend to curse the most during times of panic, like these times:
  1. The toilet’s water supply line decided to burst in my bathroom at 3 a.m. I was home alone with no idea what to do and couldn't even tell where the water was originating. It was spraying wildly everywhere and seemed to be coming out of the floor somehow… yeah, I let ‘er rip. I must have looked like a raving lunatic in my pajamas in the middle of the night in the back yard trying to turn off the main water supply valve at the well, frantically screaming obscenities at the water Gods while my bathroom filled with water. Who knew you could just turn it off behind the toilet? Certainly not me. I know now, though! I sure know now...
  2. The time I was on my way to Christmas dinner and a pickup truck slid on ice, played tag with a semi, then came at me in “You’re it!” fashion and bounced off of me on his way to the ditch, I let loose with a scream of clear obcenity with the kids right there and closed my eyes for whatever happened next. It was all fine in the end, nobody hurt, and Santa still brought me gifts, but it might have been a Billy Bob Thornton Bad Santa, I’m not for sure.
  3. And just the other day, when I decorated my own finger with dripping molten lava (okay, I’m exaggerating, but it felt like molten lava) from a glue gun while doing a craft project, yup, I did it again. The glue melted to my finger! I mean, come on! Yeeeow.

I’m not perfect and I hope nobody expects me to be perfect. If nothing else, I’m a true work in progress. Pretty appropriate description for a writer, isn’t it? What’s my WIP? Me.

Keep it clean, but tell me… what’s the habit you love to hate about yourself? I love it when you tell me I’m not alone or a freak, so come on, humor me. I’ve humored you. It’s only fair.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Excuse Me, But Are Those Real?

Have you ever had somebody ask you whether a part of your body is real or not? I have... more than once and more than one body part.

I wish it were something really interesting, like that I lost my arm in a shark attack and got one of those "realistic" prosthetic arms like the one in Soul Surfer, but no. That's not what we're talking about here. Let me just set a few points straight about good old Cindy Brown.

  1. My boobs are real.
  2. My teeth are naturally straight.

I do not mind when people ask me about these things. Let me tell you what bothers me. It's when people ask me, I tell them the truth, and they argue me and tell me that I'm lying.

I used to get the boobs question a lot. I'm pretty sure it had something to do with the fact that I went to bars a lot and people with high blood alcohol levels have loose lips. That, or people are just really impressed with my melons. Nowadays, you're more likely to find me in a church than in a bar and I have to say that I have never had a person come up to me in church and say, "Praise the Lord, honey, are those things real?" My theory is that church people are just too chicken to ask what's really on their mind.

I'm not one of those chickens. If I want to know something about you, I'm going to ask. That sometimes gets me in trouble, though, because people are not only chickens themselves, but they're used to other chickens and they'd rather peck at the truth and speculate about it than to actually come right out and ask a person about a detail like that. Like I said, ask me anything! Just don't argue me when I give you the answer. I actually got into a fight one time about whether or not my boobs were real. It was a man and he completely did not believe me. He insisted that they couldn't possibly be real and that I was lying. That really ticked me off! I'm rather proud to naturally sport what people would pay $10,000 to fake!

Maybe it's because I have a skinny waist. Maybe it's because of good genetics. Maybe it's just a blessing some days and a curse on other days, but my bazongas are above average large for my body size. I can't even get my bras at Wal-Mart or JC Penny's. I have to go to specialty bra stores where strange ladies who specialize in such things actually break out the measuring tapes and analyze your proportions with mathematical accuracy. There's a formula. I don't know it.

All I know is that my mother took me for my bra intervention with these people before Oprah did it on her show ("You get a bra! And you get a bra! And you get a bra, too! Everyone gets a bra!") thinking I was a 36C like I always had been and was shocked when they told me I was actually a 34F or G and that even at the specialty store, it was not easy to find a 34F/G. It's easier to find a 38 or 40 F or G. Apparently, this is not a common size unless you pay big bucks for silicone implants and your stage name is Cinnamon Buns.

Men, just be glad you don't have this problem. And ladies, don't go bustin' my chops because I'm revealing my bra size or you think I'm bragging. They hurt when I run unless they're miserably locked and loaded, the bras are expensive, and there has to be enough substantial rigging so that they don't flatten out or sag (because they're real, so hello, they don't just stay all perky that way naturally). They're not all they're cracked up to be.

[whispers] Also, very small children stare at them in a way that makes me uncomfortable. I know what they're thinking. They're tiny little versions of the men at the bars, except to them, it's the ultimate milk bar!

If I buy a shirt that fits my boobs, the waist is too big. If I buy a shirt that fits the waist, the chest is too small and I feel like I'm wearing a Kevlar vest. I like to tell people that I'm going to open up a specialty store someday named, "Big boobs, little waist!" for freaks of nature like me... and strippers. Except there won't be as much cleavage in my line as there would at Frederick's of Hollywood, you know, 'cause of my holy roller status and all.

Number two reality check about Cindy Brown is much simpler. Again, good genetics, I suppose. I have perfectly straight teeth and have never had braces of any kind. They just grew that way and I'm happy about it. I've had people argue me on that one also. "You had to have braces. Teeth aren't that straight naturally!" Oh yes they are, idiot. In my case, they are. Boobs too! Take that!

On the other hand, the time I had bright aquamarine eye color, I admit was contact lenses that I paid good money for. And wouldn't you know it, only one person asked me, "Are those things real?"