We are women. We are beautiful.

IMG_6980.PNG

 

Women are vicious creatures.  We are skilled, ruthless warriors.  We compare.  We compete. We devour. We destroy.

Whoa, what’s this have to do with the title? A little too pessimistic? Overly dramatic maybe? Well then take this scenario:

Another woman walks into the area you call “your zone.” She’s not only beautiful but her 6’0″ frame is that of total perfection. She’s intelligent, articulate (of course fluent in at least 5 languages), hysterical – a natural born comedian, interesting, always knows what to say, bold yet good natured, compassionate, nice smelling, her voice is hypnotizing and everyone around her stops, looks and listens (she’s a freaking human stop sign)

What do you (ahem, fellow women) do? We already know the men’s response (insert visual of a humping dog.) If you’re honest you’ve likely had a few responses.  I’m about to out us.  Ready?

  1. You look at her standing there in her perceived perfectly created state and hate her disgusting existence.  Just because. Nothing should be so perfect.  You don’t even want to get to know her. She needs to be despised.  And besides, she’s likely rotten to the core…you know these things and will slay her before she can contaminate the rest of mankind.  Sword drawn. She will not get past you.
  2. You look at her immaculately kept physique and know that you are a frumpy bug that she can easily spear with her 4″ Jimmy Choos.  You are suddenly inadequate in her presence.  A troll that needs to slink back under the bridge you crawled out of earlier that day. Your true nature is revealed in her presence and it is painful. You know you can’t destroy her but maybe if you gathered enough other bug-like trolls you could make her life miserable enough that she uses her Jimmy Choos to propel herself back up on the cloud that she descended from.  She is not welcome in your underworld.
  3.  You look at her and realize you just laid eyes on the most beautiful, coolest, celestial  creature to suck air.  Your heart does little flip flops with each tap of her manicured nails and toss of her mane. You MUST become her BFF because you will become JUST like her (pure osmosis people.)  You then observe and copy her every move.  The you that was you exists only to become like her. She will either make you her faux friend (i.e. ego boosting slave) or get a little creeped out because you’re acting like a total psycho.  If the latter happens you call her a stuck up bitch and often resort to #1.
  4.   Warning, this is only reserved for the wise and mature women who are comfortable in their own skin:  You look at this fellow woman who has all of the same beautiful parts as you do and appreciate the things that make her uniquely her.  You realize that you are on the same team sharing the same struggles and opportunities. You are not threatened or made uncomfortable by her because you’ve accepted the fact that you’re pretty damn awesome yourself.  You offer sincere friendship and connect with her human to human (unless she is having reaction #1, 2, 0r 3 to you. Then you punch the crazy bitch out.)

Imagine if every. single. woman. approached each other every. single. time. implementing #4.  Our woman world would be strong. United. Familial simply because we had vaginas.

Now, I’m not talking about the toxic, nuclear waste material woman. Of course we need to set boundaries (fortified military grade perimeters) refusing to allow her manipulations to infect us. I’m referring only to the above scenario where a perfect lamb enters the scene and we are instantly hell bent on search and destroy missions.

We sleep with another woman’s husband and justify it (sorry, not sorry I have zero tolerance for this one.) We take the side of men over our female sisters. We judge.  We blame.  We attack. We accuse…each other.  Girls it needs to stop.  We need to start acting like women. We need to support one another.  Accept each other. Love each other.

Contrary to popular belief, I’m not perfect. Not only am I sporting a big, black, bulky, awkward, surgical boot but I’m currently testing out natural deodorant (because cancer sucks.) I’m sweating up the pits of all of my shirts. This girl sweats. A lot. And I’m staining the pits of my previously nice white shirts (yes, gross.)

 

IMG_6985

These pits are a white shirt grave yard

I’m intimately aware of each and all of my (many) flaws and imperfections.  And right now the people in my daily world are aware that I have a sweating problem and unfortunate choice in foot ware.

If Miss Perfect were to come into “my zone” right now I may be a tad uncomfortable.  But only for a minute.  Because the one thing life has taught me is to embrace each other. So I’d reach out and give Miss Perfect a sincere, warm, moist hug.  If she tried to spear me with her spiked heel in a desperate attempt to escape, I’d employ my bulky, impenetrable, black boot.  I’d wrap my arm pits around her and hold her tight for several minutes (just until it got a little creepy awkward.)  

She’d literally feel the love and know that we are on the same team. We share the same sword and I do not need to draw mine on her.  We have our own battle wounds that life  inflicted and through understanding we help to shield each other. I’m not threatened of being speared with her Jimmy Choos because I have my own and they’re pretty fine.  I don’t need to be her because I like who I am.  It fits me well.  And I appreciate who she is.

We are women and we are beautiful. Together.

 

Sleepless and too old for slumber parties

I didn’t sleep last night. Not one single second.  Not because I feared waking up naked or finding myself the unfortunate owner of poorly drawn permanent marker body art because I was the sap who tapped out first.  You had to attend at least one slumber party (usually all female) to understand the previous statement. If you didn’t and don’t then slit your wrists now. There’s no hope for you. 

No I was awake, wide awake. All.Night.Long because pain is a bully and doesn’t let sleep or anything else (I vaguely remember loving food) play on the playground. 

Pain is all consuming. A violent force demanding attention. I usually like to throw something at it and tell it to shut up. But there comes a point when you’ve reached (inhaled, snorted, chewed) the maximum allotted pain meds before all breathing is fatally suppressed, slathered yourself in every imaginable essential oil blend, prayed, praised, and ugly cried before you realize, “Damn, this is here to hang out for awhile.” 

But thankfully this isn’t my first rodeo and I’ve learned a few things along the way.

First, feel it (whatever it may be. For me, now it’s pain.) Acknowledge it. Admit it’s there because all the denying is simply that…denial.  Take a look at my toes below. See those pins? Denying the pain would be like denying the fact that those pins are in my toes.  Stupid, yet people insist on stupidity. A simple “shit this hurts” should suffice.
 
Second, walk through realizing that the victory has already been won in Christ. That’s the truth!  The truth always trumphs the fact (so suck it pain.) Among all of the goodies we freely receive with a simple name drop, I believe anything we personally endure we now have super-powered-authority-victory over. So guess what? I may have had to experience countless hours of extreme pain but know this…when I lay my hands on someone pain will get its ass kicked!

Third, there’s something about praise that causes pain and other uglies to flee…eventually. Recently I could only croak out, “I can just praise you Lord, I can just praise you Lord, I can just praise you Lord.” Even though I took redundancy to a new level and barely whispered, it was enough because He saw my heart. He knew I chose to praise through the intensity of the pain. 

So as the sun rises with my MS Contin, Oxycodone, bath of essential oils and praise in my heart all on board, I feel as if sleep might finally say hello. And I plan to close my eyes and tap out without any concern because I’m in good hands!

He who watches over Israel and 40-some year old women still traumatized from pre-teen sleep overs never slumberes or sleeps ps 121:4

A Good Egg

I mentioned in my previous post that a beautiful person in my life, my Mom, was recently diagnosed with aggressive stage three breast cancer.  While I’m not going to give very much attention on here to this topic [because cancer sucks and doesn’t even deserve the single mention I just gave it] I do want to honor my Mom.  In fact, this honoring is going to continue well into May and Mother’s Day.  So Mom, sorry but you’ll just have to deal with the attention.

Things have not been easy these last several months for our family.  When one member is hurting, the entire family unit hurts.  But true to our nature we try to heal the hurt with humor.

It all began with a head shaving party lead by her son-in-law, Mr. Pavlov.

IMG_4019

Dear Lord what am I doing?!? Remember, I’ve been a good Mother-in-law….

IMG_4020

OY VEY! Deep breaths….

IMG_4032

Serious work

IMG_4027

Offering support. Don’t worry Mimi, that ear will grow back besides, you have two.

IMG_4037

The incredibly happy look and large smile worn by Mr. Pavlov is concerning.

So who knew that there’s this whole show-your-support-and-shave-your-non-cancer-head thing that people do?  My daughter and I, who are descendants of Rapunzel (I’m convinced of this fact) began to get twitchy over the nobel notion.  Just as we were about to make the huge sacrifice of losing an inch or two (I mean  an entire inch…that counts for something!) these beautiful people decided to go full blown commando shaven.

IMG_4076

These two are pretty super and just incase you didn’t know…this is actually the real Superman.

IMG_4077

Two strong women

    

It seems certain members of our tribe have developed a fondness for her numerous wigs. With each new wig comes the “ooooo” and “Ahhhh” and of course the mandatory sampling of the goods. Test driving the wig starts by yanking it off of her cute, bald head, running to the nearest mirror and usually ends in front of a camera phone. Yes, we are deplorable and social media rules.

IMG_4158

Sometimes you gotta strike a pose, vogue and steal your Mimi’s wig

IMG_4576

The wig knows no gender….

And when she finally lost her eyebrows we, of very-little-eyebrow-drawing-on- experience, were there to hook her up with brows.  Hey, that’s what family is for right?

IMG_4524

She’s very trusting….wonder if she prefers The Joker or Spock?

Life has a way of throwing surprise parties and when it does you want to surround yourself with people who really know you and will support you.  People who not only say, “I’m here for you during the good, the bad, the ugly” but also who back up their talk (which can be so meaningless) with hard core action.

My dad is the Arnold Schwarzenegger of action.  He has been like a mother hen caring for his chick during this nasty ordeal.  Anyone who knows my Mom quickly realizes that he has his work cut out for him.  The “chick” is strong, determined and independent.  Rest or taking it easy is not something that comes naturally to her.  She created the term “burning the candle at both ends” and goes until she can go no more.

IMG_4222

Yet another Chemo day and Dad is never far away.

Mom valentines day

Valentine’s Day is not ruined by Chemo day and fatigue thanks to Dad.

And when she finally crashes, he is there as he said he would be.  These are the people you want in your corner when the battle rages.

Talk is cheap. Words are just words unless they are backed up.  Sadly, people disappoint.  I’ve had my share of disappointments recently and it is the sucky behavior people throw at you that causes you to truly appreciate and value the good eggs in your life.

IMG_4526

Two of my favorite eggs. My brother always did look more like her!

And I’m holding onto mine a little tighter….

I love you Mom!

A girl interrupted.

I was walking into work today deep in thought.  My mind was mauling over the previously mentioned “baggage” that 2015 is starting off with.  We, as a family have some serious decisions facing us.  I’m talking the heavy stuff but desperately wishing for the “paper or plastic?” decision making variety.

Let’s table the decision talk for awhile and face some facts.  My beautiful Mom was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer.  I’ll write more about this later but  she is a general in her faith and one of the strongest women I know.  It’s pretty sad when the “patient” (i.e. Mom) is telling the family member (i.e. Me et al.)  “I’ll be ok.”   We should be the ones encouraging her and yet, true to her nature, she continues to protectively care for us.  She has begun the long treatment process (below) while we try to be useful…if nothing else we provide the sick, distorted, dysfunctional humor to distract and deny the facts.

10613130_10205020963945963_1975686620980015663_n 10850143_10204984370551151_1356563922420882413_n IMG_4007 10898001_10205221064508352_2771343182887767214_n

But decisions are to be made and I was deep in thought.  I was also being slightly pessimistic and maybe even a little pissed over the tendency of humans to meddle in the affairs of others and create unnecessary talk.  With this talk comes wildly incorrect information and by the time it’s repeatedly circulated it becomes difficult to find even a nugget of truth in the muck.  So yeah, I was pissed.

But God understands His creation and unconditionally loves.  He is good.  This fact I know regardless of the storms around me.

In His unconditional love and understanding of my extremely pessimistic thoughts I heard a voice belt out,

Now that’s the optimism I love!!

I chuckled as I appreciated the sarcasm and then looked up to see if God Himself had appeared in the flesh to deliver me this message.  And he did.  In the form of His human creation.  A man, who was exiting the hospital and who I had failed to notice due to my self preoccupation, stood before me smiling from ear to ear.  He repeated again,

Now that’s the optimism I love!

Keep it up and maybe we’ll get somewhere.

I paused and began to laugh truly appreciating the humor of my God.  I was also at a total loss as to what in the heck this seemingly nice man was talking about.  Just as I began to wonder if he was a Psych ward escapee he saved himself with,

It’s sixty degrees out right?!?

I mean you’re not wearing a coat so it must be warm! We can hope!!

I looked down at my body clad only with thin scrubs and a lab coat just as I felt the negative temps and wind hitting my skin.  Oh yeah, a coat! Of course!  I never wear one when I’m in the hospital.  I don’t have a place to keep it and carrying it around with me all day? Not an option! So I have grown accustomed to rapidly scurrying across the parking lot before I turn into a human ice block.

Now it all made sense and I couldn’t help but marvel at the perfectly timed interaction.  My God, what a God!  I am truly thankful that He knows us and uses everyday occurrences to speak.  I am always willing to be a girl interrupted…by God!

I am not God (shocking, I know) but in my humanness I’m going to speak.  To all of those people who like to meddle, gossip, and delight in the misfortune of others…I feel sad for you.  Sad that your life is not full enough to enjoy.  But they say a picture is worth a thousand words and I believe my daughter actually says it the best…

IMG_4151

Live your own life and forget about the lives of others unless you can actually offer sincere help.

Cheers!

Goodbye 2014.

And I can’t say I’m sorry to see you go.  In fact, I thick my foot got prematurely lodged in your backside trying to hurry the process along.  I will spare you glorious readers the “Oh how my year sucked” details but here is one highlight.

My knee decided it no longer wanted to straighten.  I know, insane right?  A hinge joint deciding it no longer required to comply with the anatomical rules of operation.

IMG_2353

But nonetheless I found myself in the ER (above) with a stubbornly flexed knee.  After two ER docs and about 10 ortho residents and a few fellows had their manipulative way with me, I was told to follow up with the Attending surgeon.

Much to the disappointment of all the young ortho bucks, I guess the attending would get to be the one to exercise his virility and unlock the beast.  But I would like to thank a particular ortho resident.  His extremely hairy chest and gold chain beating on it with each forceful manipulation helped to momentairly distract me from the pain and I’m convinced, kept me from passing out.

I mean first, that much chest hair? Not my thing.  And secondly, how in the heck could that chain beat so freely and with such force without getting caught in all of that bush?  It was truly fascinating.

Clearly he was unaware of my voyeuristic activities or the fact that he was grunting and sweating.  I can only imagine what the scene looked like from another angle.  It would have been comical had I not been every shade of the rainbow and about to vomit from pain.

IMG_2364

But enough about hairy chested residents.  My temporary ride above sucked and I gained new appreciation for my legs and for the support of my family.  My daddy (above sporting the look of worry) is truly a one-of-a-kind wonderful man and second to none.  He has always been my hero and I shadowed him relentlessly as a kid and would probably continue to if it wasn’t so creepy.   But let’s face it, good men are worth shadowing.

IMG_2378

It was love at first perma skin mark between me and the ortho attending.  He had me at “GA Yes.” Rather than spreading my legs and contorting me into the various pretzel formations that his younger, inexperienced counterparts attempted, he decided to give me good drugs and take care of business arthroscopic style.  And the fact that he marked the correct body part to invade was a huge bonus for this girl.

IMG_2381

Someone should’ve told anesthesia to keep the good drugs running because when I finally came to pain had been playing on my playground for awhile.  And anyone who knows anything about pain knows that once it gets ahead of you it is game over…pack your bags….time to find a drug dealer and shoot up heroine.

IMG_2390

I spent much time on the couch during my recovery.  And as all mothers can confirm, our children are never far away.  I’m extremely thankful for the rare occasions that I’ve been able to poop in private.  In fact, my bowels literally shut down when there’s not a kid competing for attention.  We’re taking full blown constipation until a child returns to get things jump started again.  I think I’ll require bowel retraining when they all leave for college.

During one of my many moments on the couch I happened to look over and there was under ware clad Tres lighting up the room with his moon.

“Laughter doeth good like a medicine” (Prov 17:22) and I had much medicine that day.

2015, you’re starting off with some baggage but I believe that you have the makings of greatness in you.  So goodbye 2014, don’t let my foot cause you too much discomfort on the way out….hello 2015!

The pelt between my legs…

IMG_1373

The pelt growers

…has been growing for several weeks in anticipation of the infamous Brazilian wax.  My con-artist, er, I mean lovely daughter talked me into enduring this procedure with her under the guise of “bonding.”  When a mother works 40+ hours a week, “bonding” is one of those trigger words.  Ya’know the kind of word that will get the results that the user desires. In fact, all of my lovelies have picked up on the effectiveness of this lingo.

My youngest will often approach me with his best impression of a basset hound and say,

“I want to spend quality time with you.”

HOW can a living, breathing, Mom (because sometimes I am a Zombie) refuse these words?  Often this quality time ends with a purchase from the iEmpire via it’s hedonistic app store.  We have joined the cult with our iPhones, iPads and iMac but I digress…that’s for another day.

Back to my daughter and her need for bonding which, I knew would involve doe, rae, me but never expected the activity I would be spending it on.  I think the conversation went something like this:

“Mom, I haven’t seen you all week so let’s spend some girl time bonding”

“Um, yeah, ok sure.  Sounds good.” [thinking along the lines of shopping, movie, lunch, maaybe a massage or mani/pedi]

“Awesome! So I was thinking we’d get a Brazilian wax.”

chirp, chirp…crickets.

“Mom?”

“ANNNDD you know what that involves right?”

[rolling her eyes] “Of coooourrrrse!”

Now, I have been waxed and sugared downtown before but I have never indulged in the Brazilian style.  I figured I’d leave the hairless cat impression to the porn stars.  I’m a 40+ yr old mother of 3 who can still wear a bikini.  As long as that bikini line doesn’t look like Chewbacca is trying to escape….Kudos to me!

But you see, we hard-working, guilt driven parents do things for our kids that normally, if we were home, we wouldn’t do.  Take this scenario back a few years when I was with these lovelies 24/7 making food from scratch (HA, joking for literary drama – I loathe the kitchen).  My response to having course hair, that is more rooted and intrusive than dandelions, yanked out from my sensitive Netherlands would quickly be a,

“HEEELLLL NOOOO!”

But fast forward 4yrs and I found myself laying on a table exposing all of my seed planting ground with my legs sprawled open in the “Frog” position.  I’ll spare you the gory details of how the technician applied hot wax in areas that I’m convinced have never seen the light of day…not even at the Gyno’s office.  Of how once hardened on my sensitive inner folds, this wax (referred to as hard wax) was ripped off piece by piece at speeds that resembled those of a turtle while I panted, twitched, squirmed, sweated profusely, foamed at the mouth, and finally heard myself asking for a “Break.”

A break that I never received because the technician smiled politely and kept going saying something about needing to get the wax off.  I think I passed out at about this point because desperation set in as I thought…wait, no seriously, wipe that polite smile off your professional technician face….I wasn’t kidding….I need a freakin’ break!!!

Me, needing a BREAK from painful stimuli?  What is this unfamiliar madness? I have a mutant sky high pain tolerance and am often referred to as a tank.  Childbirth, tattoos, weird piercings, self injections, invasive medical procedures, joint manipulations (the list goes on and on) were mere blips on the pain scale of tank Beth.  But this….this…hard wax Brazilian broke me?

When I finally came to I found myself laying on my side while she expertly kneaded my buttocks like a mound of dough trying to get the wax to “set” in the eye of the black hole.  When she stopped the kneading to position a hand held fan between my cheeks for “optimal setting,” I decided passed out was a good state of existence.

A short time later my daughter and I tramautically hobbled out of the spa looking like we rode one horse too many.  It didn’t take long to come to the conclusion that all future bonding time would be free of wax and spread eagle nudeness.

We decided to leave the extreme pelt removal to the taxidermists and porn stars.

 

The nose knows….

Image

So much to say and so little time.  In fact, I’ve neglected this part of my world lately and hope to return for more than a quickie (although I do love quickies).

Like many of you who live in the North, we are experiencing extreme cold with temps in the negatives and I hate it.  Every cell in my body (that has not been frozen) is revolting. Yes, I know everyone hates this weather so you may be asking what makes me special, different or gives me any more complaining rights?  I’m glad your raised the question.  You see I have a built in thermometer, barometer, and if I push it even a weathervane.

I can thank my father for passing down this special mutant power.  It is none other than the Italian Schnoz or Schnozolla.  It’s special powers can be seen in the above photo where it is lit up that “it’s too freaking cold” kinda Rudolph red.  Like a thermometer, it has built in degrees and bystanders can accurately gauge temps based on the color and dripping (yes, dripping because flaming discoloration wouldn’t be entirely accurate so our ancestors had to breed in nasal discharge) of the Schnoz.  The color change in arctic weather is unavoidable somewhat like Pinocchio and his lie growing Schnoz.  Nothing can prevent the transformation.  Not make-up, not scarves and sadly not even the salvation of all…Starbucks (I was on my second cup).

We inheritors of the Schnoz have an unspoken understanding, a language if you will.  As I pass another flaming red Schnoz soon on the verge of open faucet, I nod and smile.  I look the other way as the coat covered wrist swipes across the nostril catching the drip just in time.  Now the awkward part arises and that is what to do with the snot smear?  If it’s cold enough the snot smear usually freezes solid and can be chipped off.  If not, a quick wipe with the other hand or across the jeans usually does the trick.  Again, I look the other way providing privacy during this sensitive time.  Told you.  It’s the whole unspoken language/understanding thing.  Sometimes I offer a tissue although I often find the stash living in my deep coat pockets (because deep pockets are a must for people of the Schnoz) have become crumpled and disgusting looking.   I try to avert my eyes from all the facial Rudolph going on but like a guy trying to pry his eyes off of big boobies (something I’ve never encountered) it is challenging.  So I get it guys, I get it.

Notice my daughter who is sitting beside me suffering exposure to the exact same temperatures.  Her nose is perfectly unchanged and non-dripping.  She can thank Mr. Pavlov for giving her that cute little button nose.  And I can thank my dad for being a walking thermometer as my kids gauge their need for a coat on the color of my nose.   I pretend not to hear them when they can say,

“Yep, it’s cold enough for a coat, Mom’s nose is red.”

The nose knows.  And those of us with the all knowing Schnoz know that winter is not easy, for Italians.