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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Dear Cancer, F*** You. Sincerely, Me (And Everybody else)

I hate cancer.
No.  I F***ING HATE cancer.
Yeah.  That's much more like it.

Why all the ire?
Cancer sucks.  Great big donkey balls.
I have seen too many people I love, and just too many people in general have cancer.
I have an Aunt who just had a total double mastectomy.
My dad had skin cancer.
My grandfather did as well.
My great grandmother died of cancer at the age of 92.  It wasn't her age, but the cancer that finally did her in.
My mom's family is riddled with cancer.
My mom is a breast cancer survivor, as I have written about before.

I'm just hitting the tip of the iceberg, too, if I were to really delve into all the people I know that cancer has touched with its long, ugly, gnarly, blackened fingers.
Right now, I have a friend who is about to start chemotherapy for breast cancer.  She is a wonderful person.
She isn't post menopausal.  She isn't even in that age range.   Her body just decided to turn against her.
What are we, as women supposed to do?  I look in the mirror all the time, and note that my chances this becoming my future are very high.  Very.
There really aren't a lot of options if this is likely your future.  You can go the preventative route.
We have another good family friend who did just that.  Her mother, one of my own mother's very best friends in life, had breast cancer.  She passed away at a much younger age than she should have.  So, her daughter decided not to wait for this to be her future.  The Drs suggested a preventative double mastectomy, and she did it.  She wanted to be sure.  Its becoming common to take such steps, too.
I could do genetic testing, find out, and go from there, but the kind of cancer that runs in our family causes more than just breast cancer.  I couldn't lop enough organs off to stop everything that will try to kill me, if I am predisposed.
My friend who just started her fight has two beautiful boys who are close in age to The Big Girls, each one of hers being a year younger than mine.
Now, they have to watch mom go through cancer treatments.
No child should need to watch that.
Moreover, no child should have to go through cancer treatments themselves, but it happens all the time.
Yes, I am filled with anger and questions because of all this.  The big question, though, is what do we do from here? How do we stop this?  So much money is being thrown at a cure, but what about the cause?
Has it always been this bad and we didn't know it, or are we killing ourselves somehow now?
Something needs to be stopped.  Somewhere, we need to recognize what has changed to cause our bodies, our breasts that are meant to sustain life, in to weapons that will take it in an instant.

I'm not sure where the answer to all of this lies, but someone, somewhere, must.  We have to do something.  I love all of the beautiful survivors that I have in my life, but I don't want to add any more people to the list of those touched by cancer.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

So Afraid Of Screwing This One Up

When we first moved to this area, we knew very little about it.  We knew no one here.  We picked this particular area because of the schools.  I have to admit, most of the schools in the county (and everything here is run by the county) suck.  I mean suck big time.  In perusing the schools, I found a pocket of a few schools that looked great.  The community reviews for the elementary schools were good.  The academic scores were good.  The Great Schools rating for the middle and high school was even good.
So, when I happened to find a house for rent that hit the school track we wanted, we jumped on it.  I mean jumped on it like drove two hours down here from where we were staying while calling the rental office before it opened in the morning so that we could be the first there.  Then putting in our app the moment we left the house to get first dips.  We decided to stay here, too.  WE bought a house that hit the same elementary and middle schools, but go to a different high school.  The zoning here it totally screwed up, trust me.
So, when I started looking into the other high school, I started getting worried.  I started talking to parents and teachers, and now I am totally freaked out.  In the process, I started talking to parents about this middle school, that was supposed to be great.  Turns out, not so much.
The middle school scores well, but there is a reason.  Apparently, this is the most strict middle school on the planet.  I have been told repeatedly this is not a nurturing place.  At all.  I know for sure a couple of teachers were reprimanded for telling kids to shut up.  I had a teacher who happens to work at the high school that freaked me out tell me she would never let her kids go to this middle school.
That sounds awesome.
Not.
So, I started looking for options.
The Biggest One is supposed to be there next year.
Private school is out.  We are poor, or at least way too poor for that.  I don't even think a scholarship would be enough, unless it was a full ride.  Although, if I could, there is one I would totally be down for starting tomorrow for all The Girls.
Anyway, the other option is magnet.  There are a few she can still apply for.  The deadline is tomorrow. There are four, with 3 of them being arts based.
One in particular sounds like her.  It has a focus on visual arts, creative writing, theatre and theatre arts, dance, and so much more.  I mean, it seriously sounds like her.  There are big comic book style art images on the main school website.  She would be there for a long time, and not have to transition any more, something that is difficult for her.
There are two dilemmas, though.  First, she doesn't know anyone who will be going there.  This is a huge problem.  She finally has a few friends and she doesn't want to leave them.  We won't make her, either.  The Biggest One has a very domineering personality.  She is also very sensitive.  Honestly, she puts up this mean bossy front as a way to keep people from hurting her.  Kids are cruel after all.  She has some good friends now, though, who like her just the way she is.  They love a lot of the same things.  Even if there are just 4 of them, that is enough.
The second is that while this seems like it would fit the Biggest One, right now I do not see it as a fit for Middie.  This school is for grades six through twelve.  So, I would have Middie and The Biggest One going to two different schools.  I'm not sure I like that, either.

Honestly, I'm so conflicted right now it isn't funny.  I want to do what will be best for her, but I have no idea what best is.  As a parent, my biggest fear is screwing up a major decision for her.  You want to get everything right, but so much of parenting is a crap shoot.  You roll the dice and you just hope that you are making the right decision.  Unfortunately, you don't find out until much later, if you ever really know.
This decision is was too important to screw up.
So, in the next 24 hours, we have to either apply or not apply.  We have to knowingly send her to a pack of wolves, or knowingly take her away from her friends.
Life is hard.
Parenting is hard is really hard sometimes.
Knowing that you might screw up for your kids is nearly unbearable, and it hurts just thinking about it.  Seriously.
I think I'm going to go snuggle with her and hope that somehow, someway, one of those snuggles produces the right decision for her.  That's all I got.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

If You Have to Hide To Be Hatefull, Don't

I was saddened to learn today about the passing of Cassandra Lynn Hensley.  You might have seen it on TMZ, or somewhere else on the web.  She was a Playboy Playmate, a beautiful girl, and also an acquaintance.
We actually had a mutual very good friend, and it was through this friend that I met Cassandra.  All three of our families made a very memorable trip to Disneyland once.  Yeah.  I went to Disney with a Playmate.  Not, I'm sure, the first think most people think of.
That is reality, though.  She wasn't all done up in her makeup and such.  She was there with her daughter and we were celebrating a birthday.  Again, reality.  People who are in the public eye are still real people, with families, husband, children, etc.
Cassandra wasn't perfect, but back to the whole reality thing, no one is.
So, when I began to see articles about her online, I was shocked at the horrible things people were saying.  I do mean horrible.
This was a tragedy.  Regardless of how it happened, it was still a tragedy.
When Cory Monteith died, people wept.  They celebrated his life on television multiple times.
However, when a beautiful young woman died in a seemingly similar manor, the claws came out.
The anonymity the internet provides let people rip her to shreds, just because.  Probably because they are jealous of her beauty.  Probably because they made a lot of assumptions.  Probably most of all, though, because they feel the need to dig at other people to make themselves feel better inside.

These people didn't know Cassandra.  Admittedly, I didn't know her well, either, but to think of being so disrespectful to anyone who died like that just blew me away.

Those of you that wrote the nasty comments, so vile and full of vitriol, should look deep down inside yourself.  When you do, I hope those comments make you feel as ugly as you looked online.  You are shameful trolls.
The first one of you who is perfect, who hasn't ever made a mistake can be the first one to condemn her now.  Go ahead.  By all means.  Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

I don't see any rocks flying.

Cassandra was a daughter, a wife, and a mother.  Many people loved her dearly, and those people are hurting.  I mourn for her loved ones.  I am saddened by the tragedy.  I pray that none of you find yourself in a bad situation, and pass.  Should you, I also pray that no one is so disrespectful to you in death that it would hurt your family as they try to move on.

Cassandra was a beautiful girl, inside and out.  I hope she has peace now, and I hope somehow her family and loved ones can find peace as well.

Friday, January 3, 2014

I DARE You to Protest Me

I got a really interesting email from my local Girl Scout Council today.  Apparently, someone out there is trying to make a stink about how Girl Scouts supports abortion.
Right.
Totally.  We talk about it every day.  I personally try to sneak in as much about abortion into our curriculum as I possibly can.  I teach them how to plant a seed, and then deceptively tell them its ok to pluck the seed if it sprouts up when you don't want it.

No.  Wait.  We DON"T do that at all.  In fact, one of the things that I LOVE most about Girl Scouts is their policy of having no policy.  See, Girl Scouts keeps that idea that some conversations are better left to each family, and have no place in Scouting.  This topic being on of them.
That makes me happy as a parent, not just a scout leader.
Girl Scouts adheres to the basics, supporting your community, growing up to be a strong, self confident your lady, things like that.  Everything else is left up to each parent.

The email I received in a way, let us know that people might try to talk to us about these views at cookie booth sales.  The letter said that we didn't need to talk back, but we could if we wanted to, and it give us a direct link to the online post causing the stir, as well as the real information on the official policy.  Basically, it let us know that we may encounter protests.  At a cookie booth sale.
Seriously.
No.  Really.

So, here is what I have to say to all those who might want to protest.
1.  Leave my girls alone!!
You want to see me go momma bear, go after my cubs.  (I know we aren't Cub Scouts, but I thought that would be cute here.)  Every single one of the girls in my troop becomes mine the moment they join.  You will not harm them in any way, that includes scaring them.  Nope.
2.  If you do want to engage, you engage me.  Just me. I will respond.  I will be prepared.  I will let you know in no uncertain terms that you are not only ignorant of the truth, but totally absurd for believing that Scouts would actually teach something like that.
3.  Recognize that the entire purpose of Girl Scouts is to raise strong young women who will stand up for themselves and what they believe in.  The Biggest One is a prime example.  Since she is mine, I'll let you try this one out.  Go ahead and tell her that you think Scouts is teaching her to murder children.  Then, be prepared for the wrath that ensues.  In that moment, I'll give her a pass on respecting her elders.
4.  One other "little" belief you may have missed is that we support God and country.  I think you will find, at least in this area, that many of the families of my girls are rooted in the Christian faith.  So, you are totally barking up the wrong tree here.

Some people have lost sight of Jesus in the name of Christianity.  If you think for a moment that the right thing to do is to go after a group if Girl Scouts in regards to abortion, then you may as well go join the Westboro Baptist Church.  That is their mentality.  If you think for a moment that it is ok to scare small children, then you are the one who deserves judgement, not a parent who is working to help her child go to camp.
What you need to do is sit in on a Scout meeting.  See what we really do and who we really are.  My girls are awesome.  The other ladies I work with are awesome.  My goal at every single meeting and in between is to do anything I can to support them in reaching their full potential.  I want them to learn.  I want them to grow.  I want to see the amazing people that they will become.

I hope they are all life long scouts and are always just as proud of the organization as I am.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

I Know We Just Met, But....

I try really hard not to judge by first impression.  I'm not perfect, though.  As hard as a try, I often end up being judgmental in certain situations.  I am, like many things, a work in progress.  So, while I would like to say that upon first greeting, I liked 2014, which just started, I've got to say, its coming in like an a**sshole.
Last year was  pretty sucky for us.  My husband got his dream job, and because of a medical conditional that is part of his 20 years of service to our country, lost it.  He fought hard to get the condition fixed, a shoulder surgery.  In fact, he fought since before he retired.  A year after he retired, he was finally acknowledged by our esteemed government and the VA.  Finally, he could get fixed.  Then, we lost our insurance.  Again, our beloved government saw fit to play take back with the benefits he earned and was promised.  The government is playing bully and has decided to pick on Veterans, and we seriously felt it last year.  Sadly, (I swear I didn't mean for this to turn into a political rant) they aren't done yet, and have even decided to start to screw with the guys who are still in.
Anyway, The fantasticness of this past year didn't end with just being on the losing end of a Congressional Budget (Thanks, guys!  I'll see you at poll time!).  The Biggest One managed to break her wrist.  Not just break it, but blow it out to the point that the specialist was totally impressed.  Yeah. That's my girl.  Oh, and to make it better, she did it just walking in Chuck E Cheese.  Just walking.  She fell, and Boom!
My Husband did finally get his surgery.  While good, as he won't be in  pain anymore, it is costing us about a million half dollars.  Ok.  Not exactly, but let me assure you, our medical bills, between three kids, one of whom like to break bones, and a husband who is breaking after all of his years in the military, are making me sick.
So, needless to say, I am pretty thrilled to be done with this year, and have been seriously hoping to see bigger and better things in the new year.
However, 2014, thus far, in the very limited time we have had, hasn't been great.
The Littlest One has a massive cancer sore in her mouth.  It hurts.  A lot.  She cries.  A lot.  She can't eat and wants to be held.  Yes, I have meds for her, but getting her to let me do anything that she suspects is like medicine is akin to trying to throw a cat in the bath tub.  It hurts all of us and nothing ever really gets accomplished the way we want.  Yesterday, I managed to get some of the numbing medicine in her mouth, but I have no idea where it went or what part of her mouth it touched.  Then, she tried to throw up on me.  So, I gave up.  Regular kids acetaminophen is a two person job with her.  One person has to hold her upside down while the other administers.  Ok.  We don't exactly hold her upside down, but you do hold her in a horizontal position with her head slightly tilted down so that she HAS to swallow, unless you want pink slimy vomit on you.  Your choice, of course.
I don't actually have two people here who are qualified to do that, either.  My Husband's computer crashed.  Actually, the power port on his laptop came loose.  His laptop right now is imperative.  I neglected to backup a copy of something that I was working on for the school, and that I have to get to a printer asap.  So, he took the computer and ran to his family's house so that our BIL (and resident family computer guru) could fix it asap.  So, we didn't even get to spend New Year's Eve together.  He took Middie with him, who also got sick on the way.  Then, the computer didn't even get fixed because the port couldn't be soldered back in, it needs to be replaced.
Do you see the awesomeness going on here?
Seriously.  This all needs to go. Now.  I think I'm going to give all this another day, and just pretend this today is part of last year, too.  Hopefully things will begin to be a tiny bit better by then.  I know the old superstition about whom ever you are kissing at midnight is who you will be kissing all year.  I'm just hoping that doesn't also translate to having a super sucky time at midnight means a whole year of suck.  Been there.  Done that. And totally ready for less suck and more good stuff in the coming year.  No.  We are just going to say that 2013 was the a**hole year, and its going out painfully and slowly, like the true a**hole it was.  I refuse to let it take 2014 down with it.  No.  We are kicking that a**hole year to the curb and going to make 2014 better, one way or another.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

I Need to Get Back

So, I abandoned my blog for a while.  I'm not sure why, but I'm unabandoning it with a very honest post.
I think of this blog in many ways as my outlet, when I just need to anonymously vent about all things related in any way to parenting, or even my life.

We have hit a new chapter in parenting, and frankly, I need to share out of nothing but sheer frustration.

The biggest one is 10.  I had no idea that 10-12 was so freaking difficult.  It is.  If you have girls, when you get to this age, if you don't drink, you will, and if you do drink, have someone start watching you to make sure you don't get out of hand.  The stage is that hard.

This weekend, we had a big troop sleepover.  I'm not sure what started it, but something, somewhere set off a chain reaction with the big one that set off an atomic bomb of attitude, with a mushroom cloud of nasty behaviour that could be seen for miles.  It was off the charts.  I haven't seen her this bad since the last time her dad deployed and it got super ridic.
I'm seriously at a loss.
I managed to make it through the night.  All the parents in my home saw her behaviour.  I apologized.  I vented a little.  They empathized, but mostly, I was embarrassed and frustrated.  There was nothing I could do in the moment with 20 girls in my home who needed to have a good time, and 1 who was determined not to.
So, the dealing with it came the next day.
Yesterday, for the first time ever, I made The Biggest One scrub the toilets.  Seriously. I vowed a while back that this was the next direction her punishments would be going, and I stuck to it.  Taking things away seemed to be doing nothing.  Her arm has been broken (a story I need to blog about to catch you up anyway) for a while and she already lost out on her archery lessons until that is healed.  So, I really needed a new effective deterrent that I could go with.
Now, let me say that it was totally supervised, and frankly, I don't think there is anything harmful about cleaning a bathroom, at all, but at the age of 10, it sucks big time.  She hated every single second of it with a passion.  When we were all done, I ask her if she ever wanted to do that again.  It was a resounding no.  Then I told her to consider it every time she opened her mouth to be rude, every time she wanted to stomp out of a room, and so one.  From now on, the response would be to clean a toilet.  If you have crappy behaviour, you get a crappy punishment (see what I did there).  I feel it fitting.
Now, one of two things will happen, it will help some and she will think before she acts, or we will have the cleanest toilets in the world.  Either way, I win.
In all honesty, though, I'd much rather clean the toilets my self and have a daughter with improved behaviour.  Really.  In fact, I'll even take that for Christmas.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

She Is Going to Get Me Put In Jail

As we all know, or at least those of you who read my occasional blogging and those who actually know me in real life, The Biggest One is a bit of a klutz.  I'm being nice there.
I say it a million times: I love her just the way she is.  She is, though, very absent minded and ditsy at times.  She is very intelligent, just ditsy.  It really does work that way, I swear.

Last night, she managed another of her special moments, but one of the kind where she gets hurt.  We now live in a split level ranch home.  There are four stairs that go up to the bedroom area of our home.  I was up in that hall way with The Littlest One, and I told The Biggest One, for what had to be the 10th time, to get ready for bed.  She turned and started to walk down the stairs.  The next thing I know, there is a massive thud, and she is sitting at the bottom.  I did the momentary freak out while trying not to let them know I was freaking out thing.  I ask if she was ok.  She was startled and a little scared, but seemed to be mostly ok.  I ask her what happened.
She said she didn't see the bottom stair.  She just missed it.  Just like that.  Oops.  Didn't realize there were four there.  That kind of thing.  So, she crash landed at the bottom.
These things happen with her.  They do.  The problem is that she hurts herself sometime.  This time, she landed on her wrist.  It hurt.  It didn't swell.  It didn't seem to be too painful, just painful when she used it.  I told her to go to bed and it should be fine in the morning.  Also, please bear in mind that this kid is a total wimp and over exaggerates any injury to the millionth degree.  Seriously.
So, this morning, her wrist still hurt sometimes.  Again, only when she used it, etc, and mostly when people were around.
Now, don't get me wrong, if it turns out she has some kind of tiny hair line fracture, I'll feel terrible, but I really think she is ok.  She didn't want to use her wrist, though.  She wants to be careful, swearing that it hurts.
So, I had no choice but to write her teacher a letter.
The moment I started writing "Last night, she fell down the stairs" it hit me.
This kid is going to get me thrown in jail one day.  As much as she falls down, misses stairs, etc, you would think I beat her.  She, though, beats herself up.
I groaned.  I wasn't sure how to write the letter to make it sound least like an "I beat my child" letter.  While it certainly isn't true, I don't want anyone to think that, and this teacher, since this is only the second week of school and she is new here, doesn't know us well enough yet to know, this is just The Biggest One.
More than likely, she will ask what happened, at which time The Biggest One will get to tell this very dramatic tale about falling down a whole flight of stairs, and how she lay there, not sure if she should move, if she might have had a broken spine from the fall, and on and on.  Then, hopefully her teacher will get it.  The drama is all there.  That's just who she is, and again, I love her just the way she is, dramatic jazz hands, missed stair injuries, and all.