Germ Warfare

It seems simplistic to ask people to wash their hands both after using the restroom and when they have a cold, but you'd be surprised at the percentage who don't. Eerie huh?

It makes me wonder how I got this nasty chest cold......but do I really want to know? I've been traveling this past week and I'm sure I picked this up somewhere along the way. As I sit here about to hack up a lung I ask you, do you wash your hands when you're sick? Honestly, I don't remember to as much as I should so I'm guilty as charged...but I definitely wash them after using the restroom.

How about you?

Be honest...

No, Really, I'm Happy

Is it possible to feel genuinely happy for someone's fulfillment of a particular dream you once had? I ask as a friend of mine is on the precipice of embarking on a journey I once made, excpet I never made the destination. Truth be told I very much hope she does so she can realize her dream. The dream of becoming a mother.

I had a hysterectomy at 26 due to complications from Endometriosis. I was never able to have kids. Did I want them? Absolutely. It was a cruel paradox that I, lover of all kids, kindergarten teacher, child psychology major and Aunt extraordinaire could not. After several years of marriage my husband I made the decision to adopt, and after diligently completing everything from home studies to birth letters we found a potential birth mother. It was a partially open/legal adoption in that the birth mother would chose us, meet us and exchange photographs of her child to be until a certain age at which point it would become closed. I was excited at the possibility of fulfilling a lifelong dream and as the months progressed I broke cardinal rule number one; I became emotionally involved. I ignored pleas from those around who suggested I stay guarded as the excitement of becoming a mother became all encompassing. By this time we were subsidizing her medical costs and anything pre-natal related. The rose colored glasses were firmly affixed as the months progressed and it was at the end of her 8th month that I broke cardinal rule number two; I had a baby shower. I received precious gifts from well meaning friends and family who, while sharing in my obvious elation, remained cautiously aware that things could go awry. And they did.

I got the phone call in the newly transformed nursery. She changed her mind. She was keeping the baby. And as I sank to the floor, hugged my knees to my chest, rocked back and forth and sobbed I felt a pain of loss unlike any other I have ever experienced. I'm not sure how you can mourn something that was never yours to own but trust me when I say you can.

Fast forward 8 years. My friend (who also can't have children) got a call that may very well change her life. And you know what? In my heart of hearts as I sit here and cry I truly hope it does.

Who Do You Write For?

Writing a blog is a very interesting endeavor. Everything from the subject matter to the descriptive writing comes from within and you can usually get to know any given individual after reading his or her blog for a while. It's intriguing how certain blogs cater towards specific audiences as, collectively, we write not only for ourselves but for you, the reader. Bloggers share varying degrees of their persona; some choosing to hide behind the mask of anonymity while others divulge even the most intimate of details. Still others fall in between the two sometimes showcasing great amounts of personal flair while safely hiding behind a moniker not their own.

This had me wondering...where do you fall and who do you write for? Do you write your blog for your own catharsis or are you blatantly marketing yourself to the general public? I suppose some of you are neither and elicit curiosity with tales of your own reality called life. Wherever you fall do you ever long to be on the other side of the spectrum? I have sometimes wondered how much freer I'd write if not so many knew of my identity, however, I'm happy straddling the thin line between selfless expression and cautious candor.

How about you?

I Give You Take Until I Break

I've come to the conclusion that some people are just born takers. No matter how much you love, care about, tolerate or humor them they never seem to find the motivation to change. Of course, true change has to come from within so suffice to say that all of my efforts to coax this friend out of their narcissistic ways was in vain. But try I did. I gave away my heart for mere scraps that consisted of fragmented affection given on, at best, an erratic basis. Where I was freely demonstrative they were haphazardly cautious, reciprocating my abundance of love with limited allocation. I reached the highest highs and the lowest lows as a direct result of this person's egocentric nature, for when they withheld emotion I tried that much harder to attain it and when they dared expose themselves I begged for more. It was as if I craved the drama that surrounded our relationship only feeling truly valued when it played out.

But all that changed.

Ironically, my awakening came on the heels of being forgotton on perhaps the most notable holiday to express one's love. But let me quantify love. Its not always love insofar as incurable passion or sexuality rather love expressed by platonic yet palpable friendship, compassion and kindness; qualities both missed and missing in this individual. Where I was looking for a simple phone call, card, or gesture of appreciation for my expressions I was met with perhaps the harshest of all afflictions. Indifference. What I finally realized is that this was nothing more then an interpretation of our dynamic as a whole. I didn't matter. I never did.

And that hurt.

So I set into motion a series of events and initiated closure in a situation I never deemed myself capable. I don't know what will come of this but I do know that I've not felt this much clarity with regard to this relationship in far too long. Yet sometimes clarity does nothing more then remove the facade leaving the heart vulnerable. But wounds heal.

And then maybe it won't hurt so much.

Mmmmmmm....good!

In honor of Valentine's Day I made some delicious heart shaped brownies and colorful chocolate chip cookies. To make them look extra special I enclosed them in a pink heart shaped box filled with pink tissue paper.
Here's some of the goodies used

Yummy!!

Look they are heart shaped brownies!!

The first layer is the cookies.......


In go the brownies...Tada!

I used a fudge brownie recipe that is delish! I also used a baking pan with little heart shapes instead of round..but you can use silicone hearts like the ones above. Here it is in case you get the urge.....

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
2 tablespoons water
4 packets (1 oz. each) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® CHOCO BAKE® Pre-Melted Unsweetened Chocolate Flavor
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Directions:PREHEAT oven to 350° F. Grease 13 x 9-inch baking pan.COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Microwave sugar, butter and water in a large, microwave-safe bowl on HIGH (100%) power for 4 to 5 minutes or until mixture bubbles, stirring once. Add Choco Bake; stir. STIR in eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. Stir in vanilla extract. Add flour mixture; stir well. Stir in nuts. Pour into prepared baking pan. BAKE for 15 to 20 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out slightly sticky. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars.

The Greatest Love of All

There is no greater love then to love oneself. It is perhaps the hardest quest yet by far the most rewarding. Without loving who and what we are it is virtually impossible to love another. So even if you have that special someone to share wet sloppy kisses and candy hearts with please join me in recognizing the greatest love of all; self love. Snackie began this tradition three years ago and I am following her lead.
In keeping with this annual shin-dig, I'd like to share a few things I love about ME!

  • I'm compassionate beyond measure
  • I have a huge heart
  • I always try to see the best in people
  • When I say I love you I mean it
  • I love with abandon
  • I'm generous to a fault

Now it's your turn. What do you love about yourself? Don't be shy!

Feel Your Boobs!

This post is dedicated to all of YOU who sent me well wishes these last few days. Your comments and e-mails lifted my spirits and helped me endure so many hours of uncertainty. In the aftermath of such enormous emotional upheaval I am left in a constant state of gratitude. You hear how heath scares alter one's outlook on life.....well I am proof that this phenomenon prevails.

If there's one thing I am left with it is the absolute certainty that I am one of the lucky ones. I am blessed beyond measure as the minutia of all the negativity I was carrying around pales in comparison to being told I am healthy. I realize I am still reeling and that my behavior is very much a product of my elation, however, I hope to always posses some semblance of graciousness for all that I have. Likewise, it is imperative that I bring to all of you the early warning signs of potential breast cancer. I found my lump doing a self exam so I urge you to examine yourself monthly so you can become familiar with your own breasts. Alternatively, you could entrust a certain someone with the responsibility of marking potential change. Go ahead, ask! I don't know much but I'm certain your significant others won't refuse this request! Trust me when I say you will be able to determine idiosyncrasies in breast tissue if you are accustomed to having/giving yourself monthly exams. Admittedly, I didn't give this much credence as I never knew what an abnormality felt like, but once I became familiar with my own body I was immediately able to notice a change.

There still exists the possibility of having to remove my tumor as it could pose problems in the future, however, I am keenly aware that I face none of the struggles I was bracing myself for. Thanks, again for your support and please, please, please be adamant about checking your own breasts - the life you save could be your own.

The Lump

There are no words to describe the myriad of emotions experienced after finding a lump in your breast. You hold your breath, hope it was your imagination and when reality finally sinks in you do one thing. Panic. When your breathing resumes a cold shiver runs down your spine as you feel tears begin to swell in the corners of your eyes. You think about life; how you've spent it and who with and as the sobs unfurl you talk to God and begin to bargain for your life.

You go to doctors who palpitate your entire body looking for clues to the etiology of The Lump and answer carefully the seemingly endless array of questions. You begin to wonder what you ate, drank or did to create this and immediately vow to eradicate all of the above if only everything would be okay. They mark The Lump with a miniature road map so radiology knows where to look. Once at radiology you desperately look for answers in the eyes of the technician doing the mammography. You interpret every word she says as a sign that some thing's terribly wrong and when she says you need to stay you're certain. You go through more tests. You know you're being spoken to but the words, like air, seem to fall around around you; falling on deaf ears and broken hearts. You go through motions you only fully contemplate the enormity of once you're in the safe confines of your own home.

The radiologist comes in and begins to speak and even through you can hear you search his expression for any clues of what's to come. He tells you you have a NON - malignant tumor. You ask him to repeat himself and when he does you weep. You think about life, how you've spent it and who with and as the sobs unfurl you talk to God and thank him for the rest of your life.

You Never Know....

Wednesday I felt something odd.

Thursday I wasn't sure.

Friday the doctor felt a lump.

So I have another doctor's appointment Monday afternoon to get both a manual check and a mammogram.

I'm trying so hard to be grateful.

I'll let you guys know...

Grace In Small Things

At the risk of sounding cliche' gratitude is paramount to maintaining perspective. Even now, as I'm feeling a bit down, I struggle to find objectivity in everyday life - but I'm going to try. Taking a cue from this site I am attempting to single out a few things I can be grateful for today. Here goes:

  • Southern California winters are tres' mild - it was 78 yesterday
  • Maxi dresses are in style - perfect for *fat* days
  • My nephew thinks I am amazing
  • An entire bag of Pop chips has only 350 calories
  • My trainer is cute
  • 31 days until my birthday - I'm still here
  • My DVR is full
  • Diet coke with lime
What are you grateful for today?

Miss Manners is M.I.A.

People scare me. No...seriously, the things they do never cease to amaze me. This is where I tell you that these people are so vile that I would never associate let alone befriend them, right? Wrong. This is where I sheepishly admit that I'm calling out my own peeps. Before you start in on what a savage bitch I am let me tell you that what I say to you here is no revelation to said friend as I've relished all these lovely details on her already, k?

So we're sitting outside yesterday afternoon as it's nearly 82 degrees in January and hello? who sits inside on a day like that? Well, I was in the midst of a long diatribe about my recent blood screen as some levels came back perilously close to unhealthy so, as you can imagine, I was having my own private pity party. I mean first the recession and then my blood levels? But I digress...ah yes, we were sitting there enjoying the sound of my voice scenery, my story just about to reach pivotal proportions and bam she whips out her phone and begins to dial...as in talk to the hand but instead of the hand there's a pretty pink razor in my face. I just sat there, my mouth agape with that are-you-fucking-kidding-me-I-can't-even-believe-you-just-did-that
look upon my face. SO. Freaking. Uncool. I just sat there and stared at her while she finished dialing until she looked up with that look of wide eyed innocence and asked if I was okay. Ummm...hi...you did not just ask me that did you? I told her how rude she was and she apologized, put the phone back and asked me to continue. Nah. Moment ruined. I just said no worries (I lied) and moved on.

Am I the only one who sees this as a merely symptom of what's wrong with the human race? Are we all so self-important that we need our cell phones at our disposal in the midst of interpersonal conversation? Evidently so. I mean, I use my cell just like the rest of us but never have I blatantly interrupted face to face dialogue to make a call. Call me old fashioned but I think doing that is sign language for F-off.

I mean really, next time just tell me I'm boring.

V Day or D Day?

I have a conditioned response to Valentine's Day. Even two weeks out I am beginning to feel the inevitable let down that transpires every February 14th. While I know much of my perception isn't reality based they say perception is everything so where does that leave me?

I think my cupid phobia began somewhere around grade school. I recall liking a particular boy and, being that it was around Valentine's Day, wanting a coveted Valentine from him. I already knew that I was going to create a fabulous card of my own and my plan was to present it to him before school. The day came and somehow the opportunity never arose to approach him before class so I waited until recess. Breath held, I marched up and bestowed upon him my pretty pink treasure. It is around this time that Valentine's Day, as I knew it, would forever be changed. For instead of reciprocating with one of his own, he proceeded to show his buddies, share an evil laugh and walk away. My little 8 year old heart would never be the same.

And so it began that Valentine's Day was evil.

High school only perpetuated this awareness. It came in the form of a flower exchange where students could send roses to other students. Anticipation of this cruel and unusual annual V-Day tradition nearly killed me as I knew no matter how much I wished none would come bearing my name. And as others around me giggled at the number of boys who sent them flowers I pretended not to care that my predictions had, as expected, come to fruition. What's really tragic is that I actually considered sending myself something so I wouldn't look so pathetic. Sigh. My 13 year old heart would never be the same.

And so it remained that Valentine's Day was evil.

After graduating college I became serious with a guy. I was completely enamoured by him and just as they say, love is blind, so was I. He ran a restaurant so I chalked up his nightly drinking to socializing and schmoozing. It wasn't until Valentine's Day when he proceeded to get falling down drunk, voice all of his misgivings about me and our relationship and throw up on his dinner plate that I saw there might be a problem. Instead of hearts and flowers I got tears and insults. My 23 year old heart would never be the same.

And so it is that Valentines Day is evil.

You may wonder why, at 39, I still find Valentine's Day so unappealing. After all there have been positive experiences, but scars of yesteryear prevail over the roses and romance I later came to know. I've learned along the way that expectations surrounding Valentine's Day accrue nothing more then disappointment.

While I may be the Valentine equivalent of Scrooge I still love a good romance.....I'll just celebrate it the other 364 days of the year.