I know that whatever I get my husband for Valentine's Day, he really just wants one thing, and it's not found in a box of chocolates.
I know that whatever I get my husband for Valentine's Day, he really just wants one thing, and it's not found in a box of chocolates.
There was a time, however brief, that I possessed a chest. It may not have been bountiful, but it was not board-like, either. The first sign of increased cup size manifested itself shortly before the birth of my daughter and lasted through a single suckling year. The bounty returned with my second child. Twenty months later, it is beginning to recede again as my son cuts back to a 2- or 3-times-a-day nursing schedule. Of all the things I’ve lost, I miss my boobs the most.
Talking to kids about cancer is not an easy thing, and both times cancer has struck my family (my father and my sister-in-law), I struggled with how to maintain a balance between truth and too-much-truth. And, unfortunately, I'm not alone in my struggles as I don't know a single family who hasn't been touched by cancer in one way or another.
To help parents deal with such a difficult and often emotionally charged subject, PBS will be airing a new episode of Arthur called The Great MacGrady on Monday, October 19. In the show, Mrs. MacGrady, the school cafeteria lunch lady, is diagnosed with cancer, and Arthur and his friends all deal with the news in different ways.
There will be a free advance screening of Arthur's The Great MacGrady this Sunday, October 18, 2009 at 2pm at WGBH's Yawkey Theatre in Brighton (One Guest Street). Following the half-hour show will be an hour-long panel discussion and Q&A called “When a Child Knows Someone With Cancer: Helping Young Children Cope with the Cancer Diagnosis of a Loved One”.
Those interested in attending must RSVP to wgbh.org/arthurscreening and the event is only open to guests over the age of 16.
Last weekend, ten friends and I willingly let ourselves be led into the woods and chased by men with chainsaws.
It was great fun.
I don't normally "do" scary (just ask my husband who has to listen to me whimper through PG movies), but I've been curious about the Lakeville Haunted House ever since I lived nearby and could hear screams coming from the woods. But, I never had the nerve to actually go to it.
But, living away from the screams that start up every weekend in October has made me brave, and so I agreed to go during the opening weekend of its 18th year.
From the vampire who sidled up to me and started growling in my ear, to the freaky clowns, blood-stained victims, witches, zombies and ghosts who popped out throughout, I spent my time alternating between screaming, jumping, and giggling madly. At one point, I just buried my face into my sister's back and walked as fast as possible.
The only thing that saved me is that the ghouls are not allowed to touch you. And, when I became overcome with fear, I'd remind them, "YOU CAN'T TOUCH ME!".
But, that didn't help me when our small group approached the witches and were told to line up in groups of two. "But I'm alone!", I wailed, as my husband was home watching the kids.
"Oh, that's ok, m'dear," the witch cackled sweetly. "We'll kill you first."
The Lakeville Haunted House is open Fridays and Saturdays until the 30th of October, and if you can get down there by Saturday the 17th, download the $3 off coupon which will save you on the regular $13 admission. I love that this Haunted House operates as a non-profit with volunteers who spend their weekend nights scaring people; the proceeds from the Haunted House are donated to a bunch of local organizations.
Plan to spend some time, especially if you chose to go during the much-busier weekends close to Halloween. Visitors are grouped into small pods and spaced out for maximum creepiness, but this does mean you may be waiting a while to enter the woods. Dress warmly, wear good walking shoes and hope you make it out alive! And leave the kids home unless you really, really enjoy sleeping in their bed with all the lights on for the next five years.
Is it some sort of Darwinian impulse that keeps me from sharing the details of the house I am trying desperately not to fall in love with? I am a mass of contradiction. I feel like shouting out about it, and at the same time, I harbor a Gollum-like tendency to curl up around the property, shield it from the gaze of the world, stroke it tenderly and hiss:
"My preciousssssss.....my owwwnnnnn."
It's not like there is tons of competition in the town we are moving to. It's not like flocks of people are going to suddenly in the next 2 months (two months!!! AHHHHHHH!) move en masse to Aroostook County, Maine.
So. What the hell is getting my panties in such a bunch?
Maybe some of it is information overload. We saw 12 houses in the space of 9 hours. Houses in town, houses in the country, houses with crystal chandeliers, houses with scary, homicidal dogs, houses with apple trees, houses surrounded with farmland and nary another house in sight. I've learned about dug wells; drilled wells; septic tanks; the best foundation for the area (poured concrete); the pros and cons of metal roofing, and fireplaces; the wonderfulness that is the pellet stove; flood plains; waste disposal; heat zoning; the drawbacks of forced air heating;
Hmm. fast pulse, shortness of breath...panic attack coming on...
It's just a fucking house.
I'm healthy, if neurotic. So is my husband. (Healthy I mean). My daughter is happily tearing apart her room while I type. Our lease here runs out in August. We have to move by the end of July. Breath. Great. I just burned the fuck out of my lip with my green tea which thanks to my blasted travel mug is still scalding hot after ten minutes. Ah pain. The head cleanser.
Things are slowly falling into place. Daily, something is done to get us closer to our goals. We were approved for a mortgage. That's good. Dr. Science is one test and some paperwork away from obtaining his Maine medical license. That is also good. We have our passports all ready for our trip to the Netherlands at the end of June for Great Oma's 90th birthday. We have tickets. This is good.
We have 17 days between the time we return and Dr. Science's first day of work in Maine to move. That's...bad. We haven't made an offer yet. Also bad.
For those of you not in the know, the whole "this is good/bad" thing comes from the years in medical school. Particularly, from working in the ED. Things get down to basics very quickly when you have a short time to get results. So looking over a patient, one says..."he's breathing...that's good. He doesn't have a pulse. That's bad". It reminds you where your priorities should lie.
Right now it is...make the fucking offer already.
And be vewy, vewy quiet...
Cross posted at Rock the Cradle .
("My Ultimate" will run most Tuesdays and will feature any topic that hops into my head. The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the other New England Mamas. . . although they should).
I have found my poison for the summer.
It is called "Grape Lemonade" and this drink brings me back to those days of. . .well, those days of never, since if I had discovered this when I was younger, I'd probably be sleeping in a gutter somewhere right now.
Grape Lemonade and I met at Providence's Parkside Rotisserie & Bar. He was sweet but came on strong. I needed to watch myself around him because he would've had me singing Sweet Caroline and high-fiving everyone at our table if I'd spent too much time with him.
He's gone now and all that is left is a memory. I just wish this memory could remember what went into him so that I could recreate his magic myself.
(so far, I recall that this drink had Three Olives Grape Vodka, lemonade and possibly sour mix; if I hear from the fine people at the Parkside, I will update you all. Don't say I didn't warn you).
Warning: You Tube clips in the post below may use strong language and definitely refer to puppet sex.
I'm going to ignore.. for the time being only (trust me I will get to it) .. the latest blogger relations kerfuffle involving monster consumer brand J&J, and instead focus on my recent interactions with a different monster.
The puppet Kate Monster from Tony-award winning musical Avenue Q.
Yesterday, my husband and I saw Avenue Q at the Colonial Theatre in Boston. I knew it would be funny. I just didn't realize how funny. Even David, who thought Rent was like Friends only on Broadway, laughed his ass off.
If you have a chance to see this show, go. The underlying theme, much like the Sesame Steet of which it is a loving parody, is quite optimistic, if also realistic. The music is terrific.
More importantly, the spirit of the show leaves you up on life. Which may be hard to believe of a show with key numbers like "It Sucks To Be Me," "Everyone's a Little Bit Racist," "The Internet is for Porn," and "Schadenfreude" but is nevertheless true.
Before I saw the show, I wondered if I would find the visible puppeteering distracting? Would I watch the puppet? Or the actor? To the credit of the performers, it is seamless. You watch both. And neither. It's weird, but you simply watch the character as it is portrayed by the puppet and the person.
And then there's the hot puppet sex....
Best line of the show? There are so many, but I think I have go with Trekkie Monster from " The Internet is For Porn."
Before starting my consulting business in 2004, I spent 10 years working for Internet filtering companies, building and promoting software to protect kids from unacceptable Internet content. And my husband and I spent the better part of the weekend dealing with a porno-spam hack on one of my blogs. So I can absolutely believe that for many 'Net users, it is all about "Grab your dick, and double click."
Enjoy the clips.
("My Ultimate" will run most Tuesdays and will feature any
topic that hops into my head. The views expressed here do not
necessarily reflect those of the other New England Mamas. . . although
Many women spend a lot of time worrying about their butt: Is it too big? Too flat? Too wide? Does my ass look too big in these jeans? (don't answer that too quickly, mister).
I daresay, though, that many women do not spend much time thinking about their colon. This is a shame since colorectal cancer strikes an equal amount of women as it does men. The kicker? This cancer is one of the most easily prevented cancers.
Last September, I thought a heck of a lot about my colon because I had a colonoscopy. Although the general recommendation is that people start getting colonoscopies at the age of 50, I was told to start ten years earlier due to a family history of this disease. Some people should start getting screened as young as 30 depending on their risk factors.
The idea of getting a colonoscopy scares a lot of people. I've talked to many whose reaction is, "There is no way anyone is sticking a tube up my butt!" So, when I had to get one myself, I decided to write about it so that some people could learn what a real procedure was like.
In honor of March being National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month (NCRCAM for 'short'), I will republish my posts from September for those of you who are still thinking, "There is no way. . .".
Day One: The Prep (written at about 8:30 pm, the night before the procedure)
I've had a few disgusting things happen to me in my life: I've had two non-wiggly baby teeth knocked out of my mouth by a sadistic dentist who didn't use Novocaine;
I've broken my arm and watched as the doctor squeezed the two bones back together;
I've had my bladder partially fall out of me;
I've given birth three times. While these were beautiful events, what comes out after the babies arrive is NOT pretty;
I've also had, like most people, the common stomach bugs, morning sicknesses and snot-filled, allergy-ridden springs.
But, nothing could quite prepare me for tonight.
I'm preparing for my first-ever colonoscopy and thought that the worst part of it would be the procedure in the morning.
But, after fasting all day long and then drinking 80 ounces of somewhat thick, salty-sweet liquid, I've changed my mind.
I am dreaming of food and, inexplicably, unable to watch anything on TV but Top Chef and The Food Network. I almost licked the television screen when they made a muffaletta, despite the fact that I rarely eat any meat.
I'm dreaming of food even during the "cleansing", which is pretty remarkable.
Oh, the cleansing. If you've ever told anyone they are full of shit, well, think again, because you are too. Yes, you are full of more shit than you think is possible.
I am astounded by this, and hungry. And probably 10 pounds lighter. Wait, let me go check that one. . .
Nope, dammit, exactly the same weight. How is that possible???
OK, all appears to be quiet in the belly region. I'm off to bed to dream about muffaletta and bagels and goat cheese and french fries and ice cream.
Day Two: The Procedure (written around 6:00pm)
After yesterday's post, which was full of poop and woe, I feel kind of silly posting tonight.
I think I get it now. . .prepping for a colonoscopy: kind of yucky; having the actual colonoscopy: as easy as taking a nap.
Seriously, once the sedatives were put into my body, I disappeared into la-la land, waking only to think, "Oh, this must be the beginning", but hearing the doctor say, "All done!"
I had planned to chat throughout the entire procedure, a la Katie Couric. Instead, I probably snored.
Once I had regained consciousness, I was relieved to hear that all looked good---one polyp was removed and will be biopsied, but this is apparently pretty common. I was on my feet and scarfing down an egg-and-cheese bagel sandwich before Fairly Odd Father's car drove us out of the parking lot.
One benefit of the fasting? It allowed me to see what a flat stomach looks like. Either that or I hallucinated due to lack of food.
I am a bit worried that yesterday's post may have convinced some people never to have a colonoscopy, so I will attempt to re-convince those of you who feel this way.
First, fasting isn't THAT bad. You can eat popsicles, jello and drink soda! You can feel virtuous, like "my body is my temple and I will not eat for a whole day!" Plus, after I got through the night, I was no longer hungry in the morning (that is, until the bagel sandwich appeared in front of me).
Second, here is a tip for drinking down glass after glass of HalfLytely (the stuff that will 'cleanse' your system): pretend you are in college, at a bar. Grab your glass like a shot and drink it all---yes, all 8 ounces at once (you know you could do this at one time). As soon as the glass is empty, grab a piece of lime and suck it. The lime wipes away all the nasty taste from your mouth, plus you can almost pretend you just drank a tequila shot. If the fasting is going well, you'll be a bit dizzy anyway, so the illusion of drinking is there. If you repeat this every ten minutes, you will be finished with the solution in less than an hour and a half.
Third, make sure you have NO responsibilities after 6pm. Lock yourself in your bedroom and keep the path to the bathroom open. Watch TV, read, play on the computer, whatever. Light lots of candles in the bathroom for odor control. When you feel the rumbling, run for the bathroom. Repeat this until the rumbling quiets down. I was still able to get a decent night's sleep, with minimal interruption.
Finally, schedule your appointment for first-thing in the morning. My appointment was at 8am, and I was out of the hospital by 9:30. Just get it over with before you have too much time to wake up and worry about it.
All joking aside, do me one favor: ask your parents when they had their last colonoscopy, and if you are 50 or older (or as young as 30 with family history), ask yourself. The procedure is so easy, mostly painless (even the cleansing was pain-free; it isn't like having diarreah because there are no terrible stomach aches or gas) and quick.
Colorectal cancer is a horrible, terribly painful disease, and yet preventable with regular screenings. I lost my dad to it when he was only 62 years old, and that was because he let too much time pass between his appointments. Don't let too much time pass for you.