Monday, February 28, 2011

Do we use the internet as an excuse?

Ever hear someone say "what happens on the internet stays on the internet"?
Think it's a load of bullshit?  I do and I'm really bothered that people think that what happens on the internet doesn't have any affect on the rest of our lives. Anyone who has been cyber bullied rally hates this mentality.   If you cheated on your spouse while in Vegas do you really think that will stay in Vegas?

Bullying a child isn't ok.  Does it become ok because it's online?  Does that make it any less hurtful to people?    What about people who do it from work?
I'll admit, I've check LiveJournal and other online sites from work.  But then again I never "trolled" or harassed people online because I was bored at work.  What's more so is that I never said anything in a public forum admitting I was doing this at work.
What about the girl who posted something about her teacher on her public FaceBook and was expelled?  Do you say that it doesn't count because it's online and shouldn't be taken seriously?

Think of it this way, if someone is working and in their down time leans out their window to insult the passers by is it ok?  Would work find that an acceptable use of company time?  Would a good excuse for why they don't have to stop be "I don't care because my boss does it too?"
What happened to accountability?  If I walked into the building and lodged a complaint with HR would I be seen as being vindictive?  Would you accuse me of trying to ruin their life just because they insulted me?
 Probably not...then why should online be different?  Is it ok to say it online because you think you are anonymous (you really aren't) and can be spineless about things?

If someone was bullying your child and you reported it to the school and the bully was pulled aside and got detention (or whatever it is they do these days) would you blame the child (or the parents of the child) who was being bullied for speaking up?  No, you expect people to be responsible for their actions when they do something they know is wrong.

Why do we allow the internet to be an excuse for doing things we wouldn't do in any other setting?   And why isn't it ok to report people for doing the wrong thing?
If you have bad service at a restaurant do you complain or fill out a negative comment card?  If you do complain is that ruining someone's life?
Back to our window analogy; if the person got in trouble for yelling out the window would you blame the person who reported her, or the person who was yelling out the window?

Actions have repercussions whether online or off.  People need to learn to be accountable in both situations. And instead of assuming someone else will take care of it why not say something yourself?  If you saw a crime going on would you report it?  Because sadly there are so many people who would just assume someone else would do it.    

Don't be afraid to rock the boat to do the right thing.  To teach your children the right thing.  And to hold people accountable for their actions online and off because the internet is not an excuse for you to be an asshole.  If you wouldn't have the guts to do it or say it offline then don't use the internet to be a jerk.

We often refer to thinks as "online" and "real life"  when in truth online isn't really a fake life and shouldn't be treated as one.  People end up with a false sense of anonymity and use that to be pretty nasty to others.  You wouldn't walk around and act that way to people in public but online offers you the safety of your home to be a complete jackass to other people.
If you have the need to be a jackass keep in mind there will be people who report your behavior and hold you accountable for the things you say.  What you write out there in cyberspace is more tangible then you think and a whole lot harder to deny.

Cyber Laws for your state

Saturday, February 26, 2011

What to make for a second baby?

No, not mine.  But a member of my family is having another child.  Since they have most of what they need there isn't a registry.  Since my crafting has taken a back seat for a while I was itching to make something.
I had this adorable blue and grey Old Navy sweater that tore.  Instead of fix it I decided to turn it into a set of baby pants.  I found a great tutorial for making baby pants from T shirts.
My sweater that will be re-purposed.

The project was fast and easy and reminded me how much I love to craft. They came out pretty well and I think I did a good job of matching the stripes up.  I even have plans to make Garrett some summer shorts out of dish towels.
The finished product

Friday, February 25, 2011

Free or Cheap Fridays: Craigslist and Freecycle

Kids stuff is expensive, especially since they outgrow their clothing and get bored with toys so quickly.  Even if you don't have children you can find some great things on Craigslist and Freecycle.
It doesn't cost anything to be on either of the websites and you can browse what other people have posted or even put up a request for something specific.

Craigslist has been a great way to buy and sell things for Garrett and even myself.  When he was done with his baby swing we sold it and made some money to stick in his college fund.  I found a great Little Tikes play castle being sold for $20.  They can retail for $80 or more.  Besides their for sale section they have a Free section.  I've scored a brand new pair of Havanias flip flops that retail for about $20. 
If you're more adventurous you can check out the barter section and barter with people to exchange items and services (such as landscaping, plumping or graphic design).

The there's Freecycle.  We ended up with some many things we know other people could use but wouldn't really want to pay for.  I got so many samples of formula even though I was breast feeding.  Through Freecycle I was able to donate them to someone who needed it.   You can automatically post your "OFFER" and see if people are interested or wait until someone makes a "WANTED" post asking for a specific item.  You'd be really surprised what you can get through Freecycle.  Someone posted an offer for a frog pod for the bathroom, I jumped on it and it's great for storing tub toys. 
When I needed a scrap book I posted looking for one and was surprised that several people were willing to give me one.

You'll be surprised at what other people in your community are willing to give you for little or no money.  And when you're done with an item you can pass it on to others. 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A day is never just a day

There's always so much more going on.  Just being a mother clutters my mind on most days.  Garrett has energy that just doesn't stop and if I could only bottle that energy I'd be rich (and skinny).  I worry about being able to keep up with him after my surgery.  Even with my mother coming in to help I know that I'm not one to enjoy sitting still.
Ben and I sat down and decided that we should change my surgery date.  We both had worries about having it done in winter (especially in New England).  Now we're planning to do it in the beginning of September.  It's still 6 months away but it would be 3 months sooner then the originally proposed date.
In good news we did find out that our insurance will cover up to $1500 a year for post mastectomy bras.

There's so much to think about.  It seems that Garrett has picked up on this and climbed into my lap to snuggle me. 

Friday, February 18, 2011

Shabbat Shalom

One of the things I fondly remember from my childhood is Hebrew School (especially since I recently reconnected with a Hebrew School friend on Facebook).
We'd love Garrett to have the same experiences but joining a temple right now has been cost prohibitive.  He's also a little young for services.
I decided to do something I haven't done in many years, lighting candles on Friday night and saying the blessings.

For now it's something small but as he gets older he'll learn more about his Jewish heritage. Plus I admit that I missed the glow of the candles every Friday night.
Our little Shabbos setup

Garrett really enjoyed the challah

Free or Cheap Fridays: Facebook fan pages

Facebook can be annoying.  People posting too many things about Farmville or pictures of their kids (I know I'm guilty of the latter).  There is also an upside to all those Facebook fan pages; you can get some great coupons and free samples from them.

Groups like McCall's Patterns have a pattern of the week that you can buy for $2.99 that week (instead of the regular $15-$20).  Origins lets you get a free sample for liking their page.  They tend to change their samples fairly often so you can get new samples all the time.
Just friend the Origins page on FB to get this freebie
One of my favorites is the Bath and Body Works page.  They constantly have coupons for free items.  I've gotten a small candle and a 2oz bottle of their new lotion. All for clicking that little like button.

One of the great things about Facebook is that if you get tired of reading their pages you can hide it from your feed and choose when you want to read their fan pages.  Just make sure you check back for all those great offers.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

My first red lipstick

Today I showed myself I have courage and was brave.  I bought and wore red lipstick.  Much like Geralyn Lucas it seems to be my badge of courage, my war paint.

Today I met with the plastic surgeon.  I was expecting an older man (being that he's a cancer survivor).  Instead I met Dr. V who couldn't be more then 10 years my senior.  He was easy to talk to and handled things with the right balance of matter of factness and humour.  He answered all my questions and joked around with me.  He laughed at the idea of me getting blue star areola tattoos.  "We can do that if you really want it" he said. 
He didn't say a word when I showed him the pictures of the boobs I want, until I made a joke about it being soft core porn.  He laughed and said that he's seen it all and hadn't even noticed.  Ben had to point out it wasn't porn but an Italian film (Cemetery Man). 
I feel very comfortable having him as my plastic surgeon.

My MRI went about as well as a breast MRI could go.  The tech and I had a good laugh because my breasts wouldn't fit through the hole on the table and she had to practically tug them through.  I made jokes and had her laughing pretty hard about it.  She felt bad but it was too funny not to laugh at.

There's so much to think about, type of implant type, size, nipples...
Things that you wouldn't think about on a regular day.  But I have my red lipstick.  I have courage and with that I can do anything.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A moment in the mirror

While I'm getting dressed I stop and look in the mirror before putting my bra on.  My breasts are large (38I) but they're mine.
I look closer, they're pendulous (isn't that a word used to describe breasts on 80 year old women), they're uneven.   My left side is a decent bit larger then my right.
They aren't perfect, but again they are mine.  I wouldn't mind perky breasts.  I'd love for them to be even and fit into a bra the same way.  But this wouldn't be my breasts perfected, there will be nothing left of my former breasts. 
I'm just not sure if I am psyching myself up or out.

I'm chatting with my friend Ali about my surgical options.  I accidentally referred to them as "mipples". I joked that if people call the "foobs" then I can refer to them as "mipples" (mock nipples).
We had a good laugh about it but when the joke dies down I put my hands on my chest.  It's cold and my nipples are sticking out.  It used to annoy me when my nipples got hard and looked like they could cut glass.  Now I don't know how to feel about them.  One one hand they are mine, on the other they could potentially kill me.

Thursday is the plastic surgeon and my MRI.  I have a notebook full of questions for the doctor but the one question that scares me the most isn't really for the doctor...what will I do if they find something in the MRI?
I will endure.  I know that. I remind myself that. And I take a deep breath and face tomorrow.

Versatile Blogger Award

 Samantha over at She's Not Broken...She's Just a Baby honored me with this award. 

Part of the "deal" of receiving this award includes these rules:

1. You have to Thank the person who awarded you and link them back in your post.
2. Tell everyone 7 random facts about yourself.
3. Pass the award on.
4. Contact each blogger and let them know you’ve passed the award on to them, and let the “giver” know you accept the award.

Oh man, 7 things about me...

1: I'm only 5 feet tall.  I never got any taller than that.  At least I can hem my own pants now that I learned to sew.

2: I've battled Anorexia.  People laugh because I'm not skinny but before they diagnosed my diabetes I was so frustrated with my weight I would often stop eating for a week at a time. I am very aware of what I eat now but often forget to eat just out of habit. 

3: In college if I got drunk I was known  for taking my bra off and putting it on my head and saying "Help me Obi-Wan, you're my only hope."

4: I'm afraid of large dogs.  It's gotten better, but in 2006 I was bitten by a large dog and it still makes me nervous.

5: I have custom makeup.  My skin tone never matched any brand I could find.  I had a custom blend made by Prescriptives.  Even though they no longer have any locations I have my recipe and can still order my makeup from them.

6: I can tune out children's toys. A friend once asked me if I found a particular toy annoying and I wasn't sure what they meant.  I just tune it out after a while.  It helps me keep what little sanity I have left.

7:  Would anyone notice if I made any of these up?  I wonder about that because I'm running out of things about me that are even remotely interesting.

When I think about versatile bloggers one person comes to mind, Ali over at The Craning Gap.
She is one of the most versatile people I know.  An amazing, wife, mother, friend, baker, seamstress, writer, artist, photographer...the list goes on. I'm more then happy to pass it on to her and her versatile blog.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Congratulations to the winner of the Starbucks gift card!

Congratulations to Allika.  She won the $10 Starbucks gift card. 
I'm looking forward to doing another giveaway in the near future.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Day In The Life

Recently Tales of an Unlikely Mother challenged everyone to do a Day In The Life (DITL).  It's been years since I've done one, I used to do them all the time when I was in college and on the Photo Service staff.   We went out to the Berkshires this weekend to see my in laws so I figured it was a perfect time to do a DITL.

 I wake up to this sight.  Both my boys are sacked out.   I got up and used the bathroom.
 By the time I get back into the room my boys are waking up.  I love the bed head.
 After we take a few minutes to wake up and say good morning to Nana and Grandpa we have breakfast. 
 I run downstairs to start the diaper wash.  I also tell my Mother In Law that the washer is covered in lint.
 We went out to run errands.  When we got to the mall we realized it was lunch time.  Garrett is enjoying his disemboweled Subway sandwich.
 And misunderstands the point of "running errands".  We let him walk around the mall for a bit to work off some energy.  It isn't very crowded.
 We pass a place that does hair cuts for kids.  He needed one pretty badly so we stop in to get his hair cut before running our errands at Target (which is in the mall).
 We get home and find not only did Nana put the diapers in the dryer but she has started to fold them.  Randy is checking it out.  Poor dog is terrified of the baby.
 Garrett grabs a snack and chills out with Grandpa.  Running errands is tiring work.
 There is a snow squall outside so we hang out inside for a little while longer.
 Then it's time to feed the horses before we head out to meet Garrett's god parents for dinner.
 Garrett enjoys dinner at Panera with "Uncle" James and "Aunt" Glenda (who didn't make it into the shot).  We spent 3 hours chatting and having fun with Garrett.
 Back to Nana and Grandpa's.  It's snowing again and you can see the string of lights up on the Jiminy Peak ski area from their house. 
I'm tired and head right to bed. 

My Valentine's Day read

Ben and I aren't big on Valentine's Day.  In fact the past 2 years I've made it very clear that I don't want to exchange any sort of gifts.  I've always felt that appreciation should be given year round.  Ben is wonderful about that, he'll come home with a little treat or flowers if he knows I've had a rough day. 
It's easier to not have to worry about getting something for Valentine's Day, but I think we both love that we both feel the other appreciates them all year round.

So last night when I told Ben I wanted to get a book for the Nook he asked me if it was for Valentine's Day.  No, I wanted to get "Why I Wore Lipstick To My Mastectomy".  Since Garrett has been born I haven't had much time to read but I, I needed to read this.   Last night I read through about a third of the book.  Geralyn Lucas so wonderfully expresses the way I'm feeling.  She uses the right amount of seriousness, humour and candidness that make her relatable.

Once I'm done I'm having Ben read this.  I'm also recommending it to my mother and other family members.    Now I just need to get myself some red lipstick.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Free or Cheap Fridays: A Valentine's Day freebie for YOU!

I've raved about Swag Bucks before, this time you are benefiting from my Swag points.   I'm giving away a $10 Starbucks gift card that I got from searching the web.  I post all the time about how I'm able to get free or cheap things and I wanted to show you just how easy it is to get a great freebie online.  Consider this my Valentine's Day gift to 1 lucky reader.

So what do you have to do to get an entry?
Just follow my blog and comment on this entry.

Want even more chances to win?  Here's how:
1: Follow me on Twitter and Tweet about the giveaway
2: Follow me on Facebook and post about the giveaway
3: Post about it on your own blog or website

Make sure to leave a comment (with a link) for each entry so I make sure you get all your chances to win. 

I'll pick the winner on Monday at 7pm EST using the Random Number Generator and post the entry on Tuesday morning.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Today I learned that I am not alone

It pains me that anyone else has to go through this but at the same time I'm finding there is an amazing support system for me already in place.
While seeing my OB/GYN the other day I decided to visit the Breast Cancer center in the building.  I spoke to a wonderful social worker who has been sending me websites and other resources.  I've begun talking to people on message boards and finding other bloggers who have told their stories.  Many of whom are just as young if not younger then I am.
I also learned a new word.
PREVIVOR: A person who is not diagnosed with cancer, but has survived the predisposition, or higher risk, of cancer due to a genetic mutation and/or strong family history. After being armed with this information, a previvor can make informed choices prior to a cancer diagnosis.

And here I am, making an informed decision.  I'm still met with questions about why I'm choosing to do this.  I take one look at my husband reading to our son and know exactly why I'm doing this.   It's going to be a difficult road both emotionally and physically.  Just getting to the surgery is going to be trying emotionally.  I'm very lucky to have a supportive husband and family.

I hope I can help others by writing about this in my blog, just like seeing so many other stories are already helping me.

Let me just dive right in to it

I have the BRCA2 Mutation.  According to all the testing and paperwork I have an 84% chance of having Breast Cancer by the time I'm 70.  My mother had Breast Cancer in 2008.  Her birth mother died at the age of 36 from Breast Cancer.   I don't want to take chances.

This November I will be having a preventative Bi-Lateral Mastectomy. I've known about the genetic mutation since 2008 and since then I always knew I'd do this surgery.  I'm no longer breast feeding and it was time to go to my breast surgeon and discuss it. 

There are worries and questions and in a true to myself nature I have purchased a new notebook to keep notes, thoughts, questions and even pictures about this surgery together.  I'm getting a lot of the "why are you doing this? You don't have cancer yet" responses from people.  There is no guarantee that even with regular testing they'd catch something early enough, or be able to cure it.  I'm not willing to take that chance when it comes to my health and my family. 
I have contacted a social worker and will be joining some support groups.

Since writing has always been important for me I will chronicle my journey through this.  We'll be setting the official surgery date soon (we wanted to make sure our timing worked when it came to family because I will need help for at least 2 month post op).

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Just when I thought life was boring.

Last night I was thinking how wonderfully boring my life is.  We have playgroups and play dates.  We have dinners out and family time together. 
The this morning I woke up to this horrible barking and it wasn't coming from the dog.  I have never heard such a sound come from my son's mouth.  I knew what the sound was but he was running a very high fever and was having trouble breathing so we got dressed and went to Children's Hospital Boston. 
Rocking a hospital johnny with Koalas in spaceships

We're so lucky to have a wonderful hospital so close by.  They're not only great with children but they are very comforting to parents as well.   Garrett was dosed with steroids and fever reducers and is now home watching the puppy bowl.  You can hear the croup cough when he laughs.
Today will be full of snuggles from mommy and daddy and lots of Tylenol and Motrin to keep his fever down.  I guess this is what happens when I say life is boring, it throws a little excitement my way.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Blog Hop

I decided with my Free and Cheap Friday series I should join the Frugal Friday Blog Hop

Check out the other blogs linked here for great money saving ideas.

Free or Cheap Fridays : Rewards Cards

They take up room in your pocket and are annoying to carry around but boy do they save you money.  Just about every store has a rewards card, if they don't offer you one you can ask about it.
I only have 1 rule about rewards cards: Don't pay for them unless you shop at that store frequently.  Most stores are free but occasionally you find places, like Game Stop, that make you pay for their rewards program.

From Babies R Us to Sephora you can get rewards cards just about anywhere.  Plus if you download the Key Ring app for your smartphone you can easily see what current offers and coupons they have and even use them right from your phone.
The 1 on the right side indicates and additional offer or available coupon.

When I signed up for the Panera card I got a free coffee drink.  Gymboree sends me coupons that I use on sale items (and save even more).  Sephora gives you a free gift when you get to either 100 or 500 points ($1=1 point) you also get notices about giveaways for beauty insiders (their name for the card holders).  My points don't expire so even if I don't get makeup very often I can still get a freebie. 
My favorite card has to be the Godiva rewards card because it gets me a free truffle every month.  Just go in, show them your card and pick out which truffle you want.

Even my health insurance company has it's own version of the CVS card which helps me save even more money on medicines (since they are tax deductible) I may buy and keeps track of what we buy to make it easier to submit to our flex spending account. 

It doesn't cost anything to sign up for these and with my Key Ring app they don't even take up any extra room in my pocket. From coupons to freebies to member exclusives it just makes sense to take the 2 minutes to sign up for these cards.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

What my posts would look like in real time.

I thought it would be interesting to write a post that shows all the distractions and work I do when I try and take a few minutes to write up a blog entry. (started at 9:40am)
Dog just jumped on my lap demanding snuggles, which reminds me I need to start the laundry.   I'm about to get up when Garrett climbs onto the couch disturbing Aloysius who is none too happy and runs off growling and barking back into his crate.
I'm lucky that I have my laptop in the living room so I can see everything going on while allowing me to get work online done. 
right, laundry...need to get that started...ok laundry in the machine.  Need to make the bed.  Where is my tea? dog decided to stay in the bedroom
Garrett is a good independent player so I know I can probably get 10-15 minutes at a time to do something. 
He's pulling something on the drying rack.  Darn, wet bags need to get put away.  couch got moved over, dog now wants out of the bedroom
I don't know about other SAHMs, but I'm running around all day doing little things. 
living room is a mess of toys, need to clean this up.  While bending to clean under the mega blocks under the couch Garrett decides he wants a horsey back ride. We all got distracted by Doctor Who.  Oh yes, there's my tea. I just put all those toys away and now he's pulling them out again.

I realize it is now 10:04am.  I've been running around for almost 30 minutes. I'm exhausted.  Someone give my toddler the memo.