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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.

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

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OY VEY! Deep breaths….

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Serious work

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

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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?

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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.

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Yet another Chemo day and Dad is never far away.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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…

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

Cheers!

The pelt between my legs…

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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.

 

A bearded dragon, dirtball gets her glow on

I am still (procrastination) in the midst of digging up some old photos from my distant past to post on this blog.  While doing so I couldn’t help but notice how young and ultimately perfect my skin was (these photos were taken prior to the whole photo shop cult revolution.)  I became distracted (procrastination) and focused on the lack of lines and wrinkles in my 20-year-old skin.  So I did what any reasonable 40 some-year-old woman on a budget would do.  I stopped digging up pictures (procrastination) and scheduled a chemical peel.

Yes. I. did.

Have you ever had one?

I never did, that is, until last week.  I called my friend who is a Nurse Practitioner in a cosmetic Med Spa practice and blubbered on and on about looking more like a hyperpigmentated (thanks to years of sun worshiping) road map than a human.  She talked me off of my delusional, dementia cliff and scheduled me for a chemical peel.

I didn’t know what to expect.  I am a virgin when it comes to any type of cosmetic intervention.  But I trust this woman.  She is extremely skilled and I knew that my aging face, which was about to have the top layer fried off, was in talented hands.

The peel itself was pretty benign.  She painted a few items on the skin to prepare it for the peel.  Of these, the acetone was the most awkward (as in sucking my breath away) and I had to breathe through my mouth.  Then came the application of the chemical to peel the skin.  A burning sensation occurred (similar to a skin burn) but it was alleviated by her convenient little hand-held fan and as long as the fan was on my face, all was good.  If the fan were to get repositioned off of my face….yeeeouch, it burned!

The entire ordeal was over pretty quickly.  Not like a wham, bam, thank-you old, aging skin ma’am deal but not hours and hours either.

She told me I would shed my skin layers and the under skin would be beautiful and glowing.  I thanked my talented friend and went on my way to await my shed.

Shed?!?  Well, molting like a reptile is more like it.  I had skin hanging off of my face like a bearded dragon.  I turned all sorts of colors (mainly red) and peeled like a banana.  In fact, I was a dermatillomania’s (skin pickers) ultimate dream come true!!  I don’t have any abnormal neurotic tendencies (shut up, I don’t!) but man, I couldn’t stop peeling myself.  Each layer that came off was irresistible and unbelievably soothing!  And I could see the GLOW of the SMOOTH skin below.

I admit that I had to call my friend a time or two in semi-panic mode because my FACE was FALLING OFF! She reassured me that I had a load of stuck on sebaceous cells, oil and other crud (nice, I’m a dirtball) that was reacting to the peel and being removed.

Because my skin reacted so well, I looked like a freak.  And this freak had to go out in public with my patchy, scaly, red, pavement kissed looking skin.  By the third day I was sick beyond vomiting of the gawking and rubber necking that occurred each time my face graced the public.

Mr. Pavlov was amused and humored by the situation I found myself in – with no one to blame but myself.  It was day 3 post peel and we went out to lunch.  HEY, food is my weakness.  I will do anything, look anyway, and go anywhere for food.  Don’t judge.  Our waitress approached the table and the encounter went something like this:

Waitress looking down at her pad:Hello, my name is….can I get you something to dri…(now looking up) OH MY GOSH, honey WHAT happened to your face?!?”  

Me (very serious): “He (pointing to Mr. Pavlov) beats me.”

Waitress: gasp. silence. looks toward Mr. Pavlov

Mr. Pavlov (drinking water): sputters. chokes then regains composure. smiles and replies “Yes I do. I beat her.”

I laughed and the waitress, who is breathing again, realized that I was teasing.  I know, I know.  Abuse is not something to joke about.  I get it.  BUT I just couldn’t help it.  Besides, she (very loudly) ASKED!!!

It is a week later and I have healed and although it is not the face I wore in my 20’s, I am totally loving it.  The lines are less noticeable and my skin looks smooth like a baby’s non-soiled butt.  The sun-scorched, hyperpigmentated areas crusted and peeled off much like I imagine it would if I could use Mr. Clean’s magic eraser (the chemical peel for your house) on my face.

I will fight age.  I will kick and scream.  I will not give in.  And I have decided that from time to time I am ok with becoming a bearded dragon and being called a dirtball as long as I can get my glow on!

And if any of you aging locals want to get your own glow on without breaking the bank….hit me up and I’ll give you my friend’s practice information.  ‘Cause when you’re having your face blow torched, you want to be in skilled hands!!

I go to NYC and return a versatile blogger

It seems that while I was on the road again attempting to survive in NYC (there is a Bronx zoo fugitive Cobra on the loose people!) I was nominated for a blogger award.  I owe Captain Obvious at Devastating the Obvious a word of thanks for this nomination so go on over to http://josiahblacksblog.wordpress.com and show the man some serious love.  His blog is like Wikipedia on steroids.  You won’t be disappointed.

Now for the rules because incase you haven’t figured out by now, everything in our world has rules.

  1. Share 7 things about yourself
  2. Pass the award along to other deserving blog recipients
  3. Link the award to the recipients

7 things about me, myself and I (if you’ve been around here for my posts you may already know some of these):

  1. I am a hopeless night owl.  I have tried to reform but my biorhythms are genetically altered for the night.  I abhor the mornings and now have come to accept that I always will.
  2. I am addicted to Tea…not just any cup of tea made any ‘ol way.  It has to be perfect and I have perfected my own cup of happiness.
  3. I am an oral hygiene freak. No tea stains here 🙂
  4. I intentionally got myself thrown off of a jury (don’t judge it was going to be 12 weeks of service!!)
  5. I love foreign languages and can read and write in Hebrew
  6. I’m a book nerd and would rather read than almost anything else, including eating which is a close second.
  7. I am dangerously impulsive

Share the award with other blogs and link to the recipients:

  1. Fairly Candid – A photographer who gives interesting narrations of her subjects.  It’s better than people watching!!
  2. The Gerichs Ohana – A cute blog that leaves you smiling thanks to little Sydney and her awesome mom captured photos. 
  3. The Purvis Tribe – A truly versatile blog with a little bit of everything…photographs, design, parenthood, humanitarian efforts.
  4. La Vida Dulce – as her intro states, this girl truly knows how to savor the sweet things in life one cup at a time and I enjoy reading these caffeinated posts!
  5. The O show – Capturing the reality of life via video, amazing pictures and stories.  

Now, I’m slighty traumatized from my recent NYC bodily fluid bus trip so if I missed anyone that I should have mentioned please don’t hate.  I’m sure you incredible bloggers out there have received many of these awards so it’s all good right?!?

I hope you enjoy these above blogs as much as I have.

Montana, like I KNOW you’ve never experienced.

Spring is approaching which means so is the time to plan our summer activities and vacation. Yes, that’s right.  I do not have our summer trips planned  because I procrastinate, a total fly by the seat of my pants type B.  I blame this personality trait on the Radon.  I blame everything on the Radon.

Radon?

 It all began in the summer of 1982.  The Steel Mills were booming and 13 weeks of vacation were the norm.  My dad jumped up and down when he discovered that 13weeks were his for the taking.  My brother and I were on summer break so our parents decided to pack up the 1970 Buick Skylark and embark on a cross-country road trip to…..Montana.

The Skylark blazing a trail of glory in the West

My dad was a man on a mission.  He drove long and hard and much of the scenery was a blur.  I can still recall my mom saying “Oh, kids look at tha…” but there was nothing to look at except squashed bug guts on the window.  Whatever she had attempted to show us was a speeding haze left behind.  

During Dad’s space  travel, I became very thankful to Wall Drug and the dedication to highway advertising that this company maintains.  The “Have you dug Wall Drug?” and other variations of roadside billboards were, if nothing else, predictable.   Even with a Buick space shuttle cruising at the speed of light, one could effectively read these expected signs in advance.

The Buick taking a quick rest while we rested inside this remote cabin

We made it to Montana in a mere four days.  Dad was proud.  Mom was haggard and I’m surprised that none of us developed bladder infections from the lack of pee stops.  Mom laid down the law.  She made it known that on the way home we WERE going to SITE see by getting OUT of the car!  We WERE going to take as long as we required to enjoy this unique trip even if it meant stopping at every statue available….even the ones of cows. 

One of the many cow statues we "milked"

But there was a reason for Dad’s impatience.  We had reservations at “the mine.”  I’m sure it had another name but I only knew this place as the mine.  It was a family operated business located in Bolder, Montana. 

Out of towners, like us, stayed on-site in small apartment style homes for as long as one’s budget could manage. I recall that the place was critically small and seriously deficient in the privacy department.  But most frustrating to my stuck up on a mountain in the middle of nowhere child mind was the TV.  The man in the main home controlled the TV and we had to watch what he watched.  He, like all males, loved to channel surf and we had to ride his satellite wave.   There’s nothing that makes you want to hurl yourself off the mountain peak than getting interested in a movie only to have the channel changed mid-way through. Which is why, to this day, I will dismember anyone who attempts to channel surf in my home…twitch, twitch.

My brother, the Buick and the "abode"

This little abode lacked in just about every department imaginable and I’m surprised that we managed to stay as long as we did without killing each other.  The lack of…everything was overshadowed by hours upon hours of unlimited access to….The Mine.

THE MINE

My mom discovered The Mine in a newspaper article.  The article claimed that after breathing in the mine’s air, individuals with incurable aliments became well.  She was desperate.  I was in horrible pain (thanks Arthritis) and nothing the medical community had to offer was helping.  Looking at these pictures I quickly gathered, I do remember those awful days.  The swelling, the stiffness, and the inability to feel anything except terrible pain.  Desperate times call for desperate action and some special air!  The medicinal property in the air was Radon. Radon was golden. Radon was good. Radon was safe.

My mom, brother and me with the mine staff getting ready to enter the elevator

Radon was deep underground so deep underground my family of four went, like sheep to the slaughter in a rickety shaft elevator to our  mine destination. Here, in the dank darkness we spent 12 plus hours of Radon sucking fun… each. and. every. day. for. weeks!  I just have to comment on the photo above because looking at it now my mind is screaming RUN, I can’t believe we experienced this wonder of the world. Notice the sign about No smoking in the Mine (to the left partially cut off), and the 12 passenger shaft elevator limit but if one began to question or have any inner doubts then  the conveniently placed quote above the elevator reading “Happiness is to be pain-free” erased all fears.  Radon was the proposed ticket to pain-free happiness.   

Out of extreme boredom I took up cards.  I became quite the lil’hustler and could beat anyone (but the Chinese tourists were the most fun) at poker and Rummy 500.

Learning the game in our abode

 

In the mine...breathing.

Thankfully cards were not the highlight of the trip.  We left the mine behind and toured the beautiful west during the eight days it took us to get back home.  It was a trip to remember and one I hope to do with my family minus the radon exposure, of course.  Out of all the trips I’ve experienced as a kid, this one was by far the best and the most memorable….

Buddy, the psycho horse

Me and the bro OUT of the car with Mt. Rushmore

 

Me, Mom and Bro with Mt. Rushmore

 

Dad, bro and the Buick with the Mountains of Montana

 

We even stopped for Tee Pees

 

Dad, me and the roadside scene

….Along with Mt. Rushmore, The Battle of Little Big Horn, The bad lands, Trail rides on wild, crazy horses, Grand Canyon (Which they let me SLEEP through but I heard a lot about!!!), and statues of cheese,  I think the public health alert released within the last 15yrs stating that Radon is dangerous to your health and should be avoided along with the recommendation for home Radon testing and subsequent removal somehow added to the memories.

We went underground in Big Sky country to suck Radon.  That ain’t right.