Thursday, November 1, 2012

I Got My Nuts From a Hippie...

Post-Halloween regrets? Well, I ate a whole bag of Brach's Autumnal Mix Candy Corn. The weighty little bag never made it out of my glove compartment. And I forgot to take a photo of the pumpkins with green nipples, so I owe you one for the collection. That was over the course of the week, though. They were really good, too. I love sugar. Sugar loves me back, but with a sneaky, enabling motive. I am so proud of myself for not plowing through a bag(s) of frozen Snickers this year. Like the last 36 Halloweens.

I also pre-programmed every single broadcast of VH-1's Quadrophenia Special on Direct TV for the next few weeks. File under HELL YEAH I WANT TO INTERRUPT. I just can't take the images and stories of Sandy's legacy. This hurricane and the aftermath.  It's horrific. I'm just too squeamish for real life. I'm going to go get lost in The Who whenever I can Anyway... Anyhow... Anywhere.  And if that means pre-programming a one-hour special to appear on my TV a few times a day, I'll take it.

This is the year of Quadrophenia, and hopefully a lot less people will ask me what my license plate (since 1988) means.What is it about Quadraphonia? It charges me and calms me and carries me back to the beach - The Hamptons, but that was quite a summer. Quadrophenia is in my bloodstream... Pete's recorded sea runs through my veins. And there's nothing in life a little Live at Leeds can't cure. Even the Summertime Blues. Although I'm kinda mad at Pete for not writing more about In the Attic with/and Rachel Fuller in his memoir. In the Attic is just so freaking brilliant. Go download Rachel Fuller's version of Joni Mitchel's "Blue" on iTunes or The Fratelli's "Got My Nuts From a Hippie" . And of course now I cannot get that song out of my head 'cause I got my nuts from a hippy in a camper van Saturday night.... but that's alright, yeah that's alright...

Note to those who see me driving around singing my head off - this week's melodic obsession: Katy Perry's "Firework". After watching the viral video of Katy perform with the sweet autistic girl, I downloaded the song and now it's completely taken over my brain. I'm even sketching it out on the harmonica.  Be afraid. Be very afraid....'cause baby you're a Firewooooooooork....

Schzophrenic?  I'm bleeding Quadrophenic.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

So what do you want... a medal or some new and improved silicone boobs to pin it on?

16 year ago today I hit Hyperspace and landed in Ithaca. I was 30. I was single. I had hair. I knew basically no one. I wanted to have fun Nuff said. All the better to "restart", turning over a new leaf - a Cornell loose-leaf (pretending to be a Cornell student made me feel less conspicuous) at the crunchy cool cafes, and meeting people who really do become family. Wow, I hope they know that.

Today, to celebrate that game changing, life-altering leap of faith, I am glued to the televised Wrath of Hurricane Sandy while cursing our own crappy storm windows. I hope we don't end up needing what we don't really have. It's been a cozy day at home with The Who Live at Kilburn on DVD, and Jimmie Johnson's magical day at Martinsville Speedway. And I am getting back into beading, I spread years of beads and silver and tarnishing silver spacers and bright findings and rusting tools (and candy wrappers?) out on a sheet on the warm carpet and I got myself into a "make something beautiful" state of mind. What hurricane?

And I missed my dad.  This is his favorite time of year to visit me - when he wasn't heading to Lake George, he was piloting the Dadillac to the Finger Lakes.

Wow. 16 years ago today, I waved a long, heartbreaking good-bye New Paltz, and moved what belongings didn't make it into a storage unit to my new Ithaca address on street I had never seen before. It had a crooked stop sign and limited parking options. But my room (read: space) was funky cool and kinda round and I had nice sunset view. And I was only 5 hours from my dad. Welcome to Ithaca.  I spent my first night not even knowing the name of the street I lived on. I didn't  know whose mattress I was "borrowing" either. 16 years ago today, it rained. And I had a new area code.

Since I moved here, I've made friends upon friends upon friends and lovers and more friends and lovers and maybe friends' lovers - so maybe a few enemies - but most importantly, I made peace with my decision to put the past behind me and move on.

Happy Sweet 16, Dad.

My Sweet 16, 1982

Thursday, October 25, 2012

When Pets ARE the Costume! | PetMeds Blog

Sorry, buddy, we ate all the candy.
How about some yummy raisins? Or this fly swatter?
or even better...  and it NEVER gets old... courtesy of The Onion

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Happy Birthday, Lisa!

Today is my sister's birthday. She's older than me, that's all you need to know. She's also smarter than me. And she has a better voice. And she has an awesome daughter (of legal drinking age???), something I will never have. I'm sure at one time I wanted one - a daughter, I mean - but right now I'll just settle for having (a) life.

Because today is also the day I celebrate the 7th anniversary of my last "drip trip" in 2005. The last afternoon I sat in hospital recliner with bright, (how'd you like a) Hawaiian Punch pink poison snaking into my hand via plastic tubing, my hair already gone gone gone, and the chemicals in the concoction turning my blood ice cold. I can't remember the name of that one chemical, but I call it the "brain freezer" and I still cringe when I remember that surge of icy discomfort course through my (then) 96 lb body. And I still get phantom pains on the top of my hand where the chemo nurses sought a few good veins.

October is a big month in our family. We celebrate life. And we blow out a LOT of candles - well my sister does anyway... :)

Happy Birthday, Lisa.  I love you from the bottom of my (younger) heart.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Skipper & Slouch - The Golden Years

Here we are.  Me and dodger.  Dodger and me.  In the backyard.  I'd always wanted a backyard.  And a dog like Dodger to enjoy it with.  And that towel.  I really love a well-made towel.

Oliver's still in PetMeds "I'm too sexy for my rabies tag" mode - having our own blog at 1-800-PetMeds is awesome  but it's going to his stinky little head. (Are you following them on their journey to stardom?)  But I gotta say, the 1-800-PetMedsVitachews seem to be working wonders on my little ten year old comet. Zero to sixty across our land when he sees a squirrel.

Welcome to a life - or what I remember to write about it - that might make you smile, cry, share, support, change a twenty, hug your mom, adopt a dog or two, get a mammogram... whatever moves you - I hope I can make a difference - anyway, anyhow, anywhere.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Whaddya You Wanna Be When You Grow Up?

First and foremost, if you are not following the Adventures of Skipper and Slouch, you are missing out on some serious cuteness. As Mick Jagger cooed "if you really want to be my frieeeend..." please subscribe to my newest creative outlet on PetMeds Blogs. I feel like a mime who falls in the forest does he make sound?  (or something like that).

Second, if you see those people from Complete Makeover Home Edition, could you please send them my way?  Basically I would really love office/work/crafts/relax/scream space. And it would be cool if someone could hook up my stereo while they were here. Then I can start selling some of my massive CD collection and designer clothes and bags and old books and shit i just don't need anymore...cause I'm saving up for an RV and you can't stop me. Anyone want to make me an offer on this OOP Best of Tim Curry CD?

No, really... I am really trying to trim down everywhere.  New motto is "if it won't fit in the RV, I don't need it." I'm working on my future... more or less. Maybe not that paint scheme.

But I hear the road calling!
Don't give me that "wrong number" shit...

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Summer Sunday and a Year...

This weekend I drove five hours to hug a friend - two friends actually!  And it was totally worth every mile.  Although it may not feel like it right now... I'm fighting the ache to be at The Glen - less than 20 miles from where I write at this very moment - under this Fat Old Sun on a Summer Sunday in the beautiful Finger Lakes... oh oh driver introductions... jeff gordon looks awesome... cute kids...

So I've psyched myself up for Race Day here at Porcupine Farm, watching it on TV, lovin' up my boys, catching up with my laundry, and ya know what?  I can do this... be here now and not ache to be somewhere else. I am really trying to work on that. Focus on now... not then, not when, no blame, no excuses (except chemobrain... I am totally allowed to use chemobrain!), and no expectations... well maybe low expectations because I like being pleasantly surprised. And my "low expectations" for today (thinking how sad I would be to not be at the race) are nicely waxing into the sights and sounds of ESPN - oh wait - National Anthem... nice flyover... great driver (and CUTE BABY!!!) close ups... engines started... radio chatter... I'll actually be able to see the "bus stop" battles... and I can kinda see our farm when the Goodyear blimp shares its photos! 43 drivers, 90 laps, driving 5 hours - more or less. A lot can happen in 5 hours. (and if Clint Bowyer wins this race, that would be something!)  And a lot can happen in 30 years.

A good friend is going through a tough time, having to make decisions no suddenly-single, ridiculously hard-working, amazingly loving mother should have to make in a world that hurries by so quickly. We've been friends since 1984. We met at summer camp - only 15 miles from where we were able to reconnect just yesterday - along the Delaware River. I'd actually been planning this for months... but planning is such a relative term... so this past Friday, I plugged a Narrowsburg, NY, (or was it Beach Lake, PA?) address into the GPS and started my engine. I made ipod shuffle my Magic 8 Ball and headed off to see my friends... "you and I have memories, longer than the road that stretches out ahead", "people hurry by so quickly, don't they hear the melody", "makes much more sense to live in the present tense", "the queen of light took her bow and then she turned to go", "the closer i am to fine..." - I write all my driving "playlists" down in case you need the script (read: movie rights).

I'm sure there are 1000 ways I could've been better prepared - like getting over my fear of food, considering I plunked myself down right in the middle of a huge food festival - but I didn't think about that.  Sure, my 2002 CR-V (129K) is prepared for the Zombie Apocalypse - bottled water, Luna Bars, sunblock, bug repellent, blankets, tarps, towels, bungees, flashlights, pillows, a tent, hand-me-down copies of New Yorker (great article on Linguistic Forensics last week!), more bungees, some folding chairs, fake flowers, a pink feather boa, The Illustrated Stories of Hans Christian Andersen (great tattoo ideas), and extra wiper fluid.  See, I'm totally prepared.

I just wasn't prepared for the complete overwhelmosis of my own insecurities from the past 48 hours. I felt useless. I got homesick.

And it totally broke my heart to see this just-turned 4 year-old so profoundly - and understandably - sad... confused tears turning her eyelashes into dewy little flower petals that not even my pink feather butterfly fascinator could dry. Helpless, helpless... there was nothing I could do to make Sunny Lemon Tina smile. Even worse, there was little I could do to relieve my friend's pain. I hate that feeling.

Long story short (if you're still here)... in lieu of attending a race, I got to hug Heather. And I got to hug Abby. And those two hugs alone were worth the five hour drive. Sunny Lemon Tina will be okay... and so will I.

You're probably thinking "ummmmmm, where is she going with this?".  To tell you the truth I have no idea... I just know that I will "never spend my guitar or my pen".

Maybe someday I'll write about it.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Bring on the Dog Days of Summer!

So what did I do my Summer Vacation?  I stressed myself into a cotton candy corner worrying about balancing work and play. Work wins. Now that I am a student at PetMeds University, majoring in Freelance Writing, with a minor in Blogging, I eat, sleep, and breath glucosamine for joint health and Omega 3 fatty acids for healthy coat and skin. :) Don't get me wrong - I am floored and supremely flattered. I am also a disorganized procrastinator who is too hard on herself, and being an ADD-saddled perfectionist doesn't help.  I just need to get over it and get back to my commitment to "strive for progress, not perfection" (thank you, Pinterest!)

It's new work, fun work, educational work... but work is work, and anything with a deadline makes me sweat. Like hot flash sweat. So PLEASE just read/subscribe/justify my existence on this planet by diggin' my 1-800_PetMeds blog and pass it around to your friends so that maybe they can be on The Ellen Show someday. 

The Adventures of Skipper & Slouch

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Adventures of Skipper and Slouch Revisited

I've got performance anxiety. Meet the newest member of the 1800PetMeds freelance team... AND... wait for it... PetMeds blogger!  Me... a blogger...on the PetMeds Team ??!?!!!!???  This is so "pawsome" (baaaaad), and I get to create practical, web-smart descriptions for various pet products (I know the specs for the Solvit Waterproof Rear Bench Seat Cover by heart!) and I can be all bloggety (okay, braggety) about my boys through cute photos and more fun product reviewing and stories.'s like Dodger and Oliver's "Adventures of Skipper and Slouch" is going public - if having more than three followers is "going public" - as I chronicle their crazy adventures. That is so cool... I just hope the boys don't go getting big heads about it. I'll try to keep the "pawpawrazzi" at bay. 

I'm just so nervous... I mean look at my own blog. How terrible of me to leave you all hanging after actually walking the 2-Day AVON Walk for Breast Cancer in DC with my sister - a completely life-changing experience that I am STILL having trouble describing through my keyboard. Got a few hours? Let's take a walk and talk... and watch for Team Cupcake Head to rock the house/sidewalk in NYC 2013.

Right now, though, I'm warming up to go through the doggy door of freelance writing and I don't want it to hit me on the butt on my way in.... so, deep breath...  new moleskine... remember  that "well begun is half done"... and somewhere over some rainbow is a feeling of success. SQUIRRRRREL! 

For pictures worth a million words, click on the photo of the exhausted Winston Sisters to the left (to the left, to the left...)

*Sap Alert* - Thank you to an awesome friend who made this opportunity possible...because that's what friends do... they care, they notice, they applaud, they cheer you on and they open doors you were too afraid to even approach. Thank you so much for encouraging me to "stop saying can't" in more ways than one.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

... and, boy, are my arms tired!

There aren't even words to describe... yet.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Thank you Natalie Dee for nailing it this morning. You chose a really pretty pink. Which reminds me...

poo poo in a tutu
Only a few days left until the BIG WALK.  Four months of "training"... walking, fundraising, worrying, prepping, and generally trying not to buy anything and everything PINK.

I think my sister may have beat me to it, though... this is like prom/first date/Dana's first date/HS play/Dana's HS play for get the idea. Lisa has cornered the market on PEEEENK. She's even blinged up Mr. Hankey for the Walk (note the awesome tiara!).

So this is my last minute GOING OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE AND ON A REALLY IMPORTANT WALK donation sale/plea.

this is not photoshopped
Just click HERE so you don't miss out!  Every dollar gets used and reused and then used again because for every one breast saved, two more are touched... or something like that. (Sorry, I'm exhausted and I haven't even laced up my awesome PEEEEEENK sneakers yet.)

On your right... this is me at a gym (or some kind of minimalist exercise facility). I know y'all think I have mad Photoshop skills, but this one's for real. If you've already donated, THANK YOU for your support.  If you haven't, WTF are you waiting for???  Our little two-person team Winston Cups: Hope & Diamonds has already raised over $12,000!!!  Every little bit helps... it really really does. CLICK HERE NOW!

If you're just catching on... go to and check out our groovy web site dedicated to the walk.  I'll get caught up on the  Honor Roll page after the walk...

Wellness Village, here we come!!!!!!!

Can I get a "Hell Yeah"??? And then maybe a nice Epsom Salt bath and foot massage....

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I Want Her Job

Skirts and Scuffs: NASCAR In Heels: Track Chic: What stands out in this picture...Ingrid's shoes! Credit: Debbie Ross/Skirts and Scuffs Two weekends ago Skirts and Scuffs resident phot...

Thursday, April 19, 2012


I got by with a lot of help from my friends!!!

Wooo hoooo awesome swag gym bag on its way to me and many many thank you's to get out to others. 

Wow, I am soooooo blown away. And I don't want to stop. Keep it coming... please... don't let my reaching my fundraising goal keep you from donating... just click here. Every single dollar is appreciated, used, reused, and you've probably lost more than that in the laundry. Just sayin'...

Hello, My Name is Chemobrain!

Nippleless should be recognized by spell-check.  I don't want a hyphen. I want a descriptor.

Just sayin'.

I've been trying to think of a new word for "survivor" in regard to having had breast cancer. Something that underscores early detection (as the miracle discovery of  2 different types of cancer in 7 tumors total was a result of my very first mammogram at 39 (blah blah blah...)

then there was my first double mastectomy (really owie boo boos and lots of decorative gauze... I could've won Project Runway with my tenderly placed adhesive strips),

and my bi-weekly drip trips to the chemo cafe... and of course, my new inflatable boobs...

and early menopause (my 40th birthday present was the not having to ever have a period again) - oh, and for the record, going through chemo and menopause at the same time, in the winter, will have you bald and naked in the snow in the front yard. Making snow angels. I call it ChemoPause.

Then there was the secret delight of losing hair in places I really didn't mind losing it.

I could start peppering my speech with lines like "Was your chemo cocktail that deep fuchsia hue of a Rubellite Tourmaline, too?" and "Wasn't it great to not have to shave you legs for 4 months?" and see what kind of responses I get.

Oh, and "Did you earn that pink ribbon or did it come from Oriental Trading?"

I can't just walk around topless and let the wounds speak for themselves, and you can't really SEE chemobrain... but I am part of some "new normal" group.

I just don't know what to have printed on the name tag.

Can I legally have my name changed to Chemo Brain?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Goodbye Yellow Brick Podunk Road...

I love the Ithaca DMV. The ladies there make a mildly profound administrative task such a pleasure. My driver's license expired on my 46th birthday last week and I waited, of course, until the last possible minute to get it renewed. So I took the gorgeous Finger Lakes afternoon off work, having practiced my next ID smile in the mirror all day, cursing having a birthday in March. March birthdays suck when it comes to photo ID's. I'm never tan. Anymore. And I'm always wearing a scarf.

Strangely, while I was excited to not have to look at the current horrible, little picture of  pre-diagnosed, sick, skinny Stephanie with the stupid black hair and zit-from-nowhere anymore - it's amazing how much can happen in eight years - was officially changing my address. Having left our old house on Podunk Road only three years ago, my driver's license still reads Podunk Road.  I love that. So at the Ithaca DMV, on my 46th birthday, I waved one last good-bye to Podunk Road. My new official identification card will read Arden Road. But can I still be the Podunk Princess?

From Park to Arden...? Meh. Arden doesn't even mean anything, but it sounds pretty. It's often a name of a person or a place. The only Arden I ever knew was the sister of our creepy landlord in back in New Paltz. She was nice, though. So is Arden Road.

In a few weeks I will see my new driver's license and say hello to a post-cancer, salt and pepper (read: gray), short-haired, funkily bifocaled, dangerously make-up-free, middle-aged woman with a HUGE GRIN and Springy PEEEENK scarf..

And a little lip gloss. Like a true Podunk Princess!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Top 5 Products I Wish They'd Bring Baaaack

These WERE a few of my Favorite Things:

1. AVEDA Self Control Hair Wax - I am sadly "waxing poetic" over the cancellation of my favorite hair styling product - the one that was shaped like deodorant and did indeed confuse a few house guests. Aveda Self Control is the Holy Grail of hair styling products. I used to work at an Aveda salon (in the 90's when it was still Aveda). I became a Self Control Junkie, sporting my freshly cut pixie, smelling like Jorst's signature "purefume" goodness, and knowing that my superpowers could be found in a 2 oz. stick of solid hair magic. I never ever dreamed that AVEDA (now Estee Lauder) would pull the plug on this desert-island product.  I recently saw a single (new) stick on ebay for $199.  I offered the woman fifty bucks and she turned me down.  I swear if I ever make a million dollars (or more), I am going to buy every last stick on the planet.  If there are any left. (*end note - that stick went for a grand total of $56.00 - she coulda just taken my $50...)

2. Pacifica Indian Coconut Body Wash.  At Sephora one week. Gone the next. This perfect signature coconut scent exists in every other format, including a solid perfume.  And almost every other scent they produce has a body wash.... so what happened?  I don't want the Indian Coconut perfume (well, maybe the spray of you're wondering what I might want for my birthday).  I want the body wash.... I want so much natural tropical splendor in my suds, that the only thing missing is the Jamaican rum.  And the palm trees. I still scour the shelves at Ricky's when I'm in the city... hoping to find that one last, dusty jug.  *weeps silently*

3. Coconut Flavored YooHoo.  A gift from the gods. Mother's milk from MobilMart.  Oh, how I miss it.

4. Old Navy Cami Tops without the shelf-bra. Newflash!  Post-mastectomy women covet them.  At six bucks apiece, I haven't worn anything else under my clothes since I went through breast cancer in 2005.  They slide on and up like tube skirts (so no arm lifting necessary) and they provide a comfortable, almost necessary, snugness that reconstructive surgery begs for even years after sutures are removed. They came in a myriad fashionably normal colors (so it was okay if a strap showed from time to time) and they lasted (well, the quality declined over the years, but I hung in there). I could wear them all the time, with or without anything over them and they made me feel GOOD.  Well, I recently went to order new ones... at six bucks each, the white ones are worth replacing every few months... and they don't make them anymore.  They put a "shelf bra" back in them - an itchy, jock strappy strip of elastic that just messes with my implants. I beg you, Old Navy, please... I just want my daily "go-to" snug, soft, tank top/bra/nightshirt cami back. In white, black, brown, pink, ocean, berry, slate, hunter, navy, violet, and lime.

5. My old eyeglass frame company Planet I discontinued my favorite style. Ugh. Picking new eyeglass frames is like picking a husband.  You're committed, man.  And I ain't no spring chicken. I'm almost into tri-focal territory!  All the better to see my handsome hubby, though.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Snow Day

Snow Day at Porcupine Farms isn't really a day off.  It's just more time to deal with the snow.  And firewood.  And the wood stove.  And more firewood.  And ashes.  And wet dogs.  In the ashes.  And I get wear my Carhartt and smell like Aspen 'cause everything I own smells like my ass been coddling the wood stove.

Isn't this what husbands do?

In truth, I am spending this snow day writing about that husband because he isn't here right now  hee hee... I devote today to Chris, the husband who has put up with me for over 11 years.

The one who still leaves me love notes in my "regular routine" early morning cabinetry... the one who packs me a healthy lunch (so he doesn't have to deal with my bottomed out sugar levels at the end at the day)... the one who says "honey, you look so sexy sometimes"... the one who still has my PMS programmed on his Palm Pilot even though I haven't menstruated in 6 years.  He still stocks up on chocolate, though.  He rubs my aching feet when his hurt more.  He picks up pizza in blizzards.  And he is the one who reassures me that everything little thing is gonna be alright. Oh, and he lets me love Bobby Labonte.

This is why I want to thank him for his supporting my decision to take part in the Avon Walk with my sister.

There's a part of Chris that cringes when he sees "pink ribbonism"... my new pink iphone cover or a pink ribbon tote bag, or pink pens and paper.  I don't blame him.  It sucked for him too.  And for the last few years I consciously tucked many of my tell-tale apparel and key chains and magnets banners and return address labels and tic-tacs and dog collars and license plate frames and tattoos (well, I can't really hide my tattoo, but that's different) away.  A new beginning for us as a married couple where the "new normal" for us wasn't patient/caregiver.

He helped me through breast cancer.
He helped me bury my father, his best friend.
He is my mirror (I could use a shave).
He is Santa Claus at the SAL in T-Burg.
And he is probably blushing like crazy right now!

So, Chris... thank you for letting my repressed inner "peeeeenk" come back out so that my sister and I can make this happen.

Thank you letting me go down this rabbit hole with my sister as the Mad Hatter.

Evolution of My Knockers

This is a good one to file under "Be careful what you wish for."

...and please get a mammogram if at all applicable.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

When Love Comes Knockin' At Your Door

You're gonna see - and probably hear - this phrase (ahem, song title) a lot.

File it under "Couldn't Plan It Any Better".

To understand the journey my sister and I have been on over the last 40-50 years is to realize that as difficult as some of our childhood situations may have been, we do share some happy memories... and on the list of funnest happy memories that haven't disintegrated with aging brain cells is a hazy duet performed at the family piano.  The song? The Monkees' "When Love Comes Knockin' At Your Door".  I don't know if I was even old enough to understand the words. But I love the Monkees. Enough so that my sister - in another grand act of sisterly love - took me to see Dolenz, Jones, Boyce and Hart at The Riverboat in the Empire state Building for my 10th birthday (read: she was 16)... but I digress...

I can't remember if we did it for fun, or for Henrietta, or because our parents "had company over".  Did we even practice?  To this day that song reminds me of bopping my head to my sister's piano chords and sharing a "wow, she really loves me" moment, and it has been on every mix tape we have sent to each other over the years.

And now we really are Knockin'... as in Avon Calling...  and it's gonna be a magic carpet ride, so little girl now don't you run and hide... oh wait... here.  Although THIS is even better! (Lisa... acoustic guitar... hint hint).

Friday, February 3, 2012

That's a Mezzuzah, Not a Bill Holder.

We live waaaaaaaay out in the country.  So far out in the boondocks that at night the stars look like they're actually on the horizon, and you don't have to squint to see them.  You may get skunked while taking a midnight pee in the yard (my husband did), but otherwise you could feel like you're in Night of the Comet... except for the 80's hair... anymore...

Apparently, though, we do not live far enough out to prevent the Jehovah's Witness boys from knocking on our door. This isn't like taking an elevator to 11-C, ringing a bell, and delivering some Moo Goo Gai Pan for a three dollar tip.  These boys have to walk and walk and walk... or bike... whatever... then they TRESPASS (yes, we have "no trespassing" signs, but they may just be to keep jealous hunters off our fertile land)... and for what???

They walk because they are devoted, to say the least.  Or maybe they just have no where to go, being all dressed up and everything, so they look for events to crash.  No, I think it's the latter. Or, as I find out later, it might be my husband's lemonade because he likes to offer them refreshing drinks and chat about God.  Did I mention my husband is an angel?  More on that later... can't talk about angels or they may send me away...

I, on the other hand, get annoyed when they come around.  The dogs start barking (actually every dog on the road starts barking),  I have to make sure I'm "decent" before I see who trekked up our driveway ('cause I didn't hear a car)... more than not, I do have to add some sort of item of clothing to my homebody self, and I get aggravated that I have to be rude and say "no thanks".  I mean, DID YOU NOT SEE THE MEZZUZAH?  Maybe the fuel delivery people think it's a bill holder, but true religious zealots should know.

So how is what they do different from what I am doing right now for our Avon Breast Cancer Walk team?  Aside from walking AFTER the soliciting, how is asking for support for Winston Cups: Hope & Diamonds any different from walking one's feet off to bring you an important message from our sponsor?  In just 90 days, my sister and I will dress alike (probably something pink and blingy instead of starched and white). We will carry a message of HOPE. We will drink lemonade squeezed from the lemons of strangers (or mixed by fellow lovers of Countrytime). And we will walk and walk and walk and walk and walk and walk to deliver that message.  And hopefully, someone's life will be saved because of it.

I may have just opened a Pandora's Box, but my point is this...  when life hands you lemons, make lemonade slushies.  Add little umbrellas!  Use decorative glasses!  Just don't count on the Jehovah's Witness guys to bring the rum.  Or egg rolls.

Can I offer you some tomato sauce?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Tasted Like Chicken

End note regarding our birds, Tommy and Aja Remastered.  

They drove me bonkers so we gave them to a local Montessori School teacher I know.  Kinda like Paddington Bear, a whole classroom of kids can now look after them. And our house is so much cleaner!

I didn't want you to think we just disposed of them in some horribly unforgiving manner (like at 400 degrees for 30 minutes). Actually I kinda like them. Until they started squawking. Incessantly. With no discernible tunes or prose to admire.  Not even a few notes of 'Tommy'... or those infamous five notes from Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Tommy and Aja Remastered taught me so many valuable lessons, though... 

1. Own a Dyson.  Especially if you have black carpet/rugs within ten feet of the cage.

2. Relationships are hard. Birds hurt.  The bite, they squeeze, they scratch your delicate hands to shreds.  When all you want to do is pet them.  "Here, birdie birdie birdie... shit!" is not a great way to start a relationship.  

3. Be the last one to leave the house in the morning or my husband will leave the radio turned on for them.  Talk Radio. All day.  No wonder they were so cranky.

4. If you're buying a pet just to name it something cool, get a fish. Or name all the woodland creatures in your back yard.  It's amazing how quickly Mr. Skunk will become a regular and Mama Dear will bring friends.  You can name the whole tribe... after dead rock stars or South Park characters.  They like that.

5. The golden rule... stay the hell out of PetSmart.

So, thank you James and Virginia, and Elizabeth Anne Clune Montessori School in Ithaca, for giving them what I could not... Budgie Love.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

45 Days!

While we're on the subject...

Let's take this moment to also honor a real Winston Cup champion and supporter of good causes.  Maybe even mine if I can get the nerve to contact his PR people...

I think you all know his name by now.

If not, it's stitched into his belt.

45 days 'til Daytona.


Avon Calling: Hypocrite in a Pink Ribbon?

Okay. I know why I've been stressed. But now I know why I am IN IT.

I've been struggling to rally. To fund raise. To be part of the Crusade ('cause quite frankly Jews shouldn't be crusading anything, especially with a capital C). I hate asking for money (my Dad is laughing his arse off in Heaven right now). I don't even like Trick or Treating!  I'll just buy my own candy, thanks.

I've been "pink ribboning" it for six years now.

IBCA Walkathon 2005
Being a survivor from the Class of 2005, I've supported/been part of YSC (Young Survival Coalition), LBBC (Living Beyond Breast Cancer), Feel Your Boobies (thank you Leigh for being such an inspiration that I am drinking hot cocoa from my now-collector's FYB Bistro Mug at this very moment!), ACS (American Cancer Society) Relay for Life (honored to be the keynote speaker at a kick-off dinner, it is the spark that created my video), and , of course, most dear to my heart, CRCFL (Cancer Resource Center of the Finger Lakes) - formerly the Ithaca Breast Cancer Alliance, I served on their board of directors for three amazing years, and was floored when a photo of my bandana-headed, bald self graced the back cover of their new brochures. (Click photo to enlarge)

I have a fucking pink ribbon tattoo. I opted not to have nipples. I could write a book about making the world a "mastectomy-friendly" place - heavy doors and high shelves suck, and a crammed clothing rack is forbidden fruit.

I've just been having trouble getting around the "finding a cause and a cure" part. Don't get me wrong... I am all about awareness. And access to treatment for those who need it, and of course medical research - I am a poster child for early detection. And I feel horrible for the people who suffer.

But why this Avon Walk? Why now? Why not crusade to find a cause and/or cure for drunk driving, or murder, or suicide, or child abuse, or war, or misread x-rays, or nicotine addiction? What about Fracking? And why oh why didn't we think of The Winston Knockers as a name! (Hellloooooo.... Avon calling!)

I feel like a hypocrite raising money for a non-local, mega-corporate, glossy covered foundation (SPF 15 please)... even if it is a kinda cool brand with some pretty good products. I do like the Skin So Soft line.

Then I realized... This one is not about me. I am IN IT for the person who let me name the team. The one who chose a tear-jerker photo for her fund raising page. The one who introduced me to National Lampoon and NRBQ and pot. The one who is getting ready for this walk like it's her first date.

I am walking for my sister. She has my support to support me.

And I need to let people know that this one is for HER. Her invitation to have me walk my feet off with her made me feel so honored, so appreciated, so "sure!", so cognizant of the fact that I will be walking in the memory of way too many people that aren't here to bore you with a blog.

If someone wants to honor me, cool... but as the "survivor part" of the Winston Cups: Hope & Diamonds team, I really really want to honor her.

For honoring me.

I love you, Lisa! Just please, no pink boas...

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Rejected Team Names

1. Does This Pink Ribbon Make My Ass Look Fat? (shortened to DTPRMMALF to fit on bumper sticker, travel mug, mouse pad, and baby bib.)

2. What Curse? (Ha! Take THAT, Hope Diamond!)

3. Who's On Second? (this is about what I was feeling by Day 2 of the Pick a Name Game)

4. Dick's Picks: Washington DC -May, 2012 (two from the vault, you know)

5. Quadroboobia (although two are saline)

6. Which One's Pink? (oh, and by the way...)

7. Yetta Lester's Sugarless Cookies (still the best band name ever)...

Of course, the one we did pick (Winston Cups: Hope & Diamonds) may lead to a lawsuit, but publicity is publicity!  Bring it on...

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Winston Cups: Hope & Diamonds

What the heck (read as Vott Dah Hake) did I just get myself into?

My sister asked me if I would be her other half for a team for Avon's major breast cancer awareness walk in DC this May.  Of course I would! What a great way to bond with my sister while raising awareness for breast cancer!

Maybe get a little PR for the whole Hope Diamond / Harry Winston thing... this could be fun!

What curse?  Our father, Richard Winston,
putting the Hope Diamond on a model.  1958?
Well, I am exhausted already.  Just deciding on a team name consumed my every waking  moment for three days.

Of course we have to wink/nod at the Hope Diamond (did I mention we have connections to the Hope Diamond, our great uncle being Harry Winston and all?) and me being the breast cancer survivor, I wanted to get kinda cheeky (refer to my victory flag pink ribbon tattoo post) and suggested The Winston Cups. My sister, the team captain and total-under-appreciator of NASCAR, proposed Hope & Diamonds... but I can't contact a past NASCAR Winston Cup champion (you see where I'm going with this?) for support when I sound like some Park Avenue princess... oh wait....

It's like trying to pick a band name.  We veered into odd territories for a few days... Quadroboobia... pitched possibilities via facebook posts... did I mention my sister is a G cup?  We took a step back, reviewed our goals, and finally decided on.... *drum roll*

Winston Cups: 
Hope & Diamonds

On location: yet another diamond reference...
Support Winston Cups!!!

I can walk 39 miles... I walk that in one race weekend at Watkins Glen.  I will start training tomorrow. When those snow squalls stop.  And if it turns into 36 miles of unstoppable hope and 3 miles of incessant whining, at least we can say we did it!  Did what, I still have yet to learn.  I hope there's a bubble bath at the end of it. And Swedish Fish.

I'm already exhausted and I haven't even opened my first legal document. Or raised a dime.

39 miles. Me and my sister. Hahahahahaaa!!!!

Dear Mr. Labonte...