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Archive for November, 2014

It’s that time of year I like to remind everyone about the North Pole…
This site is fun and fantastic.  Your kids will love it…stories, games, visit the reindeer, write a letter to Santa.  There is enough to keep them busy for hours.  For big kids, there are recipes, shopping and fun information.  Check Santa’s route on Christmas Eve.  I’ve been visiting it for years.
Put on your desk top over the holiday season.
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“Wanna see my boobs?”

“Not right now.” I put down her bag and glance up to see Clarice’s face stricken with disappointment. “Later,” I promise her. “You should lie down and rest. I’ll make us some lunch.”

As she meanders toward the sofa, I escape to the kitchen and begin making as much noise as possible in case she is inclined to continue conversing with me. I do hear her call my name twice, “Maggie?  Maggie?” She stops, convinced I haven’t heard.

I think Peace at last. Thank God Almighty. I’m happy for her, but I’ve heard enough about boobs to last a lifetime. Before Clarice’s obsession with her unequally sized orbs, I thought of breasts as simply a body part, not an accessory which had to be worn and displayed in any particular fashion. Of course, I’ve been known to wear mismatched earrings just for fun.

It was all Jerk Jack’s fault. That is officially his name forevermore – Jerk Jack. Clarice dated him briefly, albeit long enough to provide him with an opportunity to laugh at her physical uniqueness. He coined the phrase “Clarice’s out of whack rack”, which amused no one but him. Clarice started saving for surgery the week she dumped him. She spent months researching her options and locating the most sought after plastic surgeon. She was fixated with her breast asymmetry, the surgical options…enlarge the left or reduce the right…and daydreamed non-stop how perfect she would look after.

We had been friends for years, and I wanted to be supportive, but as her roommate, I was a captive audience to every ‘boob’ thought that popped into her head. After six months, I wanted to sell a vital organ to provide the remaining monetary shortfall and whisk her off to the hospital – stat. Thank God, her mother finally came through and slipped her $3,000 in an envelope over lunch with us one day a month ago. When Clarice hurried to the restaurant’s ladies room…I’m sure to look at her bosom…this dear, sweet woman whispered to me, “Maggie, I’ll be so happy when this is over.”

And so now it was. I had picked her up at the hospital this morning, and she was unexpectedly quiet on the drive home. Drugs ― gotta love em.

I peek into our living room and think she is sleeping. Lunch is ready and as I’m wondering what to do, she has sensed my presence and speaks. “I’m awake, and I’m hungry.” I feel guilty for thinking ― an entire sentence without the b-word in it. This is progress. She shuffles after me to the table. “Grilled cheese and tomato soup, my favorite. Thanks, Maggie.” I know it’s her favorite. She likes to dunk her sandwich. We concentrate on eating. “Is it true we’re getting snow tomorrow?” she asks.

This question takes me by surprise. “I did hear that. We’ll have to check the weather channel.”

“Snow would be great”, she says, before reconsidering. “I’m sorry. I know you have to work in the morning.”

“No, I actually don’t. I took off to take care of you.”

“But, you took off today.”

“Are you anxious to get rid of me?”

“Never, and I appreciate it. If it snows, we can drink hot chocolate and read all day.”

“We can do that if it doesn’t snow.”

“So true,” she laughs.

We continue making small talk. I brew tea while Clarice tells me funny stories she had forgotten about during the many months her brain was intoxicated with all things akin to breasts. She is becoming the real Clarice again. I suspect she is making a conscious effort for my benefit. As I drain my teacup, I order her, “Get up. Let’s go have a look at your girls.”

She shakes her head at me, “No, you don’t have to. I know you’re sick of all this.” She points to her chest with both index fingers and shrugs. “I don’t blame you. I’ve been ridiculous.”

“Well, maybe you have, but it would be crazy not to show me those babies right this minute.”

“Are you sure?”

“Do I have to beg?”

I follow her down the hall to the bathroom. Turning around, Clarice says, “Have you ever noticed how much my ears stick out?”

*******************************

On a serious note, after I wrote this, I became curious and researched breast symmetry .  Turns out it is rare – hardly any of us has it. We are almost all unequal in this department. However, if the difference in size between left and right is significant, it does indicate a higher risk of developing breast cancer. If there is more than one cup size difference between the two, your risk of breast cancer is reported to be 50% higher. Not any definitive assurance of this happening, but something women should be aware of. Surgically correcting the situation for cosmetic reasons does not alter the risk.

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No Room For Me

NO ROOM FOR ME

Our roles were hideously reversed in an unexpected and perverse turn of events.  He’s the planner. I’m the impetuous “don’t worry about it” free spirit.

It’s 5:00 am and I’m five months pregnant, trying, with no success, to sleep in the passenger seat of my 74 Datsun Z.

Three Mile Island was about to blow and we had escaped Middletown with our lives, departing early for an actual scheduled vacation in New Orleans. For the first time in my life, I had suggested calling ahead and making a reservation somewhere south on I-95. It must have been the blossoming of my new maternal instinct. For the first time in his life, my husband said “No.”  He reasoned there are motels everywhere on the interstate.

We started driving twelve hours ago, intending to shorten the next day’s travel by a mere few hours. Nine hours ago, 8:00 pm Eastern Standard Time, I said, “Maybe we should start looking for a room?”

He was searching through static for a new radio station. “I still feel really fresh. I’d rather drive until I get tired.”  Famous last words, as my mother used to say.

Around 10:00 pm traffic began to noticeably thin. He felt my concern and reassured me, “Just a little while longer.”  I longingly noted the motels on the green directional signs at each exit as he sped past them, the glow of their enormous signage also hard to miss. Over and over, this illumination faded in the rear view mirror, plunging me repeatedly into the blackness of the road and my mood.

Five hours trapped in a bucket seat is an unpleasant affair. He should have anticipated what was about to enfold.  He knows how irritable I get when I’m tired.  Fifty miles further down the road, I demanded a room.  At least he was wise enough to acquiesce…wise or frightened.

The next exit had three acceptable motels. By that, I mean the lights were on.  I was alarmed when the first and second had no vacancy and distraught when this scenario repeated itself at the third. My husband seemed genuinely surprised. We drove to the next exit, and the next, the one after that, and every single exit and motel that existed on southbound I-95. Relentless, we did this for the next four hours.  There was no talking in the car, except once when he asked if I was willing to sleep in the car at a rest stop. My entire body was craving a bed and when I answered him, silence again permeated the tiny interior of my shrinking car.

Around 3:30 am, I suggested we alter our route and head east into Savannah.  Surely, if we left the highway, we would find a room. Savannah was still more than hour’s drive, but I was willing to wait if a soft, pillowy bed was assured.  Besides, I love the city.  At our next exit, I told my husband to ask the motel clerks if they could help us call ahead to Savannah for a reservation. I expected a successful outcome.  He was gone a long time.

Returning, he opened the door and settled himself into the driver’s seat.

“Well?” I asked.

“There are no rooms in Savannah.”

“What?”  I believe I was shrieking. “How is that possible?  That’s crazy.  Did they even try to help us?”

“They said there are a couple of big conventions in Savannah right now and there is not an available room in the entire city.”

As I was struggling to absorb this bit of ridiculous information, he added, “Actually the clerks said we wouldn’t be able to find a room between here and Jacksonville.”

“Jacksonville?” I repeated stupidly.  “That’s in Florida.”  He was quiet.  It wasn’t like I needed confirmation of this fact.

We were driving back up the access road toward the interstate when a miracle occurred.  Down the hill, at the motel we had just left, there was a couple loading luggage into the trunk of their car.  Light spilled out from their open room door.  I momentarily thought, ‘Who the hell gets up at four in the morning? I haven’t even been to bed yet.’ I yelled to my husband, “Stop the car.  Stop this car.” The man with the room was about sixty feet away. My husband followed my gaze, completely stunned when I started pushing him to get out of the car. “Tell them we want their room.  We’ll pay them whatever they want. Quick before they leave.”

He looked as though I had just asked him to commit murder. “Are you insane?  I’m not going to do that.”

“I’m not insane. I’m a pregnant woman who needs to sleep ― in a bed!  Get out of the car right now.”

As he spent precious seconds arguing with me, I watched the couple close that open door and drive off.  I don’t know what I expected?  He was not a man with an adventuresome spirit…except for this unfathomable night when he didn’t want to make a reservation.

At 5:00 am, we pulled into a crowded rest stop. That’s when I discovered I couldn’t recline my seat because our luggage was packed behind it. I tried to recall whose idea it was to drive a two-seater all the way from Pennsylvania to New Orleans. I’m sure it was his.

We had a beautiful room in the French Quarter, canopy bed, balcony overlooking Rue Chartres, elegant and expensive…the way he liked things. He was so excited to be back in New Orleans.  He wanted to take me out and show me everything that very minute. I said, “No.” and went to sleep in that gorgeous bed.  He sat in the lovely chair and read a book until he thought it was safe to wake me.

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Hiatus

I would love to tell you I have been on a long, luxurious vacation, but I have not.  For those of you who may have missed me, I had a relapse of my mantle cell lymphoma. That actually began late last fall and, for reasons I won’t bore you with, I didn’t begin treatment until March. That was the bad news.  The good news is I was given a new drug called Imbruvica which began to work so quickly, I was pain-free in a few days and in complete remission again in three months. The drug has very few side effects. I did not lose my hair for the fourth time. There is no pain, no rashes, no mouth sores. The only thing that does bother me is being a bit tired and wanting to take naps. When this drug works, the protocol is to remain on it indefinitely. It is so new, no one knows what would happen if I went off of it and then needed to go back on. They are still gathering data on results.

This has not exactly been debilitating, at least not for the past few months, and I have been working.  I could have posted before now, but I have been rather slothful, and mightily challenged to motivate myself. I hope to remedy my indolence by whatever means necessary, although I haven’t come up with any full-proof ideas for doing this. I won’t be posting daily, but my goal is to post at least weekly.

Now, I do have a story to share on a new post – No Room For Me.

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