Friday, January 31, 2014


Phew. It's Friday. And January is almost over. One-twelfth of the year. Done. Just like that!

Like most of the country, we've been freezing. I don't know if we are having one of the worst winters ever, but it might be the worst winter I've lived through. And we've got more snow coming in. On Saturday. Then next Tuesday. And maybe next Friday. Some models predict 18" from today through next Wednesday.

At least it's not 18" in a day. Or an hour. Because it feels like maybe that is how this winter is going.

I think most of us in this house are suffering from winter blues, and being housebound. Except my husband. Who is suffering from what-is-normally-a-one-hour-commute-is-even-worse-in-bad-weather.

It hasn't been like Atlanta. My poor heart hurts thinking about how some people slept in cars, on the road, kids sleeping in schools. Oh my.

But I am so over winter. I would like some sunshine and warmth. A beach and an ocean full of bath-temperature water wouldn't hurt. And maybe a babysitter to play with the kids while I just be.

Alas, since that isn't an option, I've been knitting and crocheting a lot. I've also spent a good deal of time decluttering this house - because it is long overdue! Since I'm a kind of hoarder and really good at justifying keeping all of the things, this has been a mental challenge for me, as well as a physical challenge. Several bags of garbage, recycling, and donation have been filled and moved. This will be an on-going project so I might be blathering on about it. I apologize in advance for that!

But today is Friday. I'm going to try to balance getting a lot done with also relaxing a bit. And enjoying Friday!

Whatever your Friday is bringing, I hope you are warm! And that you have a good weekend!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Date Night Adventures

Hubby and I
 So. Forever ago I made a bucket list. That list included going to a taping of Wait Wait Don't Tell Me. I love this show. Just love it. If I can't catch it on the radio, I listen to the podcast.

This year for Christmas, husband got me tickets to a taping. These tickets sell out pretty darn quickly. Apparently, my husband tried more than once to get them, but they go so fast! When I opened the gift I squealed a bit. And had to start counting down the days.

But then we realized that the taping was the day after my nipple procedure. But, I was hoping that I'd be okay enough to go, because tickets are hard to get, I really wanted to go, and the tickets were already bought. Also, I wasn't going to delay surgery because that slot was hard to get, I really wanted to get it out of the way, and it was already scheduled.

Now. I look like yesterday I went in and had a large breast enhancement. I didn't, but I have quite a bit of gauze covering me. It looks like a lot of boob under my shirt. Not just boob, but like uneven, weird shaped boob (I apologize right now if this is too much information, but alas, this is how it works).

More husband and I
I changed outfits like 4 times before leaving in an effort to not make anything obvious. I settled on jean skirt, cute sweater and a fashion scarf. Think Kirstie Alley in Look Who's Talking Now. Time was running out before I had to leave. A kind neighbor was driving me to the train station - the plan was I'd train it downtown, husband would grab me from the station and we'd eat quick subs, and head to the show.

Minutes before she came to get me, a filling in one of my teeth popped out. While I was brushing my teeth. Which, for real, is completely unfair. Shouldn't stuff like this not happen when brushing your teeth? Thankfully, the nerve must not be exposed because it doesn't hurt ::knock on wood:: but I was slightly frazzled because, um, a piece of my tooth (even though it was filling) fell out and I was sporting fankenboobs. My kids assured me I looked fine. The filling fell out of the back of a tooth so no one could tell, and they assured me I looked "normal" in my sweater and scarf.

Phew. Friend came. Got on train. Did I mention it was snowing? And kind of nasty? And while I was on the train I noticed that some pretty major accidents/incidents were happening that was causing traffic to not move very much?

Yep. I got to the train station, but husband didn't. He was sitting in traffic. And slowly inching along. We talked - should I go straight to the theater via taxi, wait for him, grab food, not grab food?

The stage! Squee!
I won't lie. I felt so frazzled! This is NOT the date night I wanted. Alas, I sat at the train station for about 30 minutes, he made it, and we rushed to the theater.

We got in, got in line, ate our subs while standing in line. Because, people, this is what 14 years of marriage looks like - date night might mean eating subs while standing in line for a show because that's just how it goes LOL!

But we got in and everything calmed down for me. The show started (about 30ish minutes after the ticket time but it was fine). And it was perfect!

The show rocks even more in person than when you hear it on the radio. I loved every moment of it. The panel, Peter Sagal, Carl Kasell, everyone was awesome. We laughed, we clapped, we let out the occasional oh-no-you-didn't-just-say-that gasp. It. Was. Great.

Peter, who rocks.
Did I mention that it was great? ;-)

Then the show ends, they say a few things they needed to repeat for editing (which is kind of funny to sit through). After that they answer a few questions and then? Then? Then you get to go on the stage and say hi, take pictures, get autographs of the panel, Peter, and/or Carl. Seriously? Awesome. The only thing that could top it? Is if Carl recorded the message on my answering machine.

Carl Kasell and me!
I was as giddy as a school girl meeting my tween crush. It was awesome. And everyone was lovely. Though, honestly I didn't get to talk to Peter and Carl much ... we were almost last in line and the theater needed to close up soon. Let's be honest, even had I been first, it's not like I would have had a conversation with them. Because I was too busy geeking out over getting to, you know, just say hi.

I also said hi to the panelists: Amy Dickinson, Luke Burbank, and P.J. O'Rourke.

My new bff Luke and I
Luke thought I looked like a grown-up version of his niece, who is obviously a very adorable girl! Then he pegged me to be in my mid-20's. Oh yes, I will bring that up 1,949,285 times the rest of this week .. "and oh, he thought I was in my mid-20's! Can you believe it? Crazy!" Amy wondered if in fact I might be her niece as well. Seriously, can I just lie and say I am both of their nieces? Aunt Amy and Uncle Luke ... that could work right? And it doesn't make me seem like a stalker, right?

Then it was time to grab a souvenir (or two) and head home.

Naturally, I'm wondering when I get to go back and do it again. Though, when we go back, I'd like to do it without frankenboobs or a piece of a tooth missing and without bad weather. I don't think that's too much too ask?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


So. Today. Today I'm get to go to the hospital for a small procedure, one I'm happy to be getting done (not that I am happy about the situation that put me here).

But alas, today, I will have nipples added to my foobs.

I debated talking about it. It is awkward to say the least. I imagine half of you are cringing right now.

Nipples. Nipples. Nipples.

There, I just thought I'd throw that out there several times to maybe make it less awkward. Or maybe I only made it more awkward. The beauty of blogging - I can't see your face right now. So even if this is making you cringe beyond belief, I can't see it. {Fear not though, I'm cringing a bit over here too).

I remember two summers ago I mentioned, in a casual conversation, that my super hero nickname should be "Brandie, the nippleless wonder." It was my way of joking about it, taking the pressure off of it.

At that point, I had expanders in but was still struggling with the loss of my breasts. I was in chemo, bald, with these weird expanders that were sort of the shape of breasts, but not really. I hated seeing myself naked. I hated looking down, to those ill-shaped foobs, huge scar line and no nipple. I think the no nipple was the worst part. I hated it. I still hate it. It just looks wrong.

So I joked about it, to help me. I will never forget the look on a few people's faces. (And I don't blame them. I shouldn't have said it, but at the time the line between appropriate and inappropriate was pretty blurry).

"Um, wait, you don't have nipples?" 

Oh. Um. No. No nipples. No areola. No real breast tissue left.

Alright. It's not something I thought about either until I was in that spot. I didn't think much about nipples, aside from when I was nursing my babies. I didn't know that during mastectomies nipples can also be taken. Or sometimes left.

Probably because we don't much talk about nipples.

So here you go. Nipples.

I hate not having them. Tomorrow, my plastic surgeon is going to give me some. Though, small ones. Yes, I specifically discussed with him how I didn't want them to be too big and I didn't want to do this if it meant they were going to be obvious to the world.

I still won't have areolas. That will come later. A tattoo artist will hopefully give me some lovely ones after I have healed from this procedure. Then, reconstruction will be 100% complete for me.

{side note: not everyone who does reconstruction has nipples and/or areolas done. Which is great for those who don't want to do it. I happen to be in the want to do it camp, so I am. But, there is no right or wrong way to do (or not do) reconstruction.}

I hope it's not too painful. I won't be put under, just some local anesthesia. My husband is taking me. And I've avoided doing as much as possible for the next 2-3 days just in case it hurts, or it's tender, or whatever. Though, poor husband is taking me downtown Thursday night. It's a Christmas present. He bought tickets before this was scheduled. I think I'll be fine, but if I'm wearing a huge chunky sweater, it might be to hide any swelling or something !

So, here's to getting nipples. And now it's time to think of a more permanent superhero name ;-) Please feel free to leave suggestions for me! 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Falling Down

Christmas is over. New Year's is over. The holidays have passed and it's time to return to "the real world" - as if somehow spending time with your family celebrating the old year, the new year, religious holidays, traditions old and new, is not a part of the real world (which, is a depressing thought in itself).

And so here we are. Time to fall down. Down into a huge pit, a dark hole. I'm ornery, anxious, jumpy. Sleep is hard to find, but once I get into bed it's so darn hard to get out of it. I don't have a lot of desire to do anything.

What? Did you think I popped out of bed and began being productive? Cleaning in between educating the kids, playing games with them, cooking healthy food, laughing lots and waiting anxiously for husband to return home from work before sitting down to a lovely family meal. Then end my day peacefully with a bit of crafting before climbing into to bed to cuddle with the husband and spend a few minutes reading a book before nodding off to peaceful slumber?

Well, okay, people who really know know that that isn't how my day goes. I've never lied about this. But sometimes, I think people really think this is my life.

In truth some days I get a lot a done, some days I get next to nothing done. Sometimes I don't even grade my children's schoolwork (I simply write an ok at the top and put it in the to-be-filed pile. Not the important stuff though. And no, I don't think everything I make them do is equally important). Sometimes I cook. Sometimes I reheat leftovers. Sometimes I tell them to have a bowl of cereal (but only if husband isn't coming home for dinner because I have to draw that line somewhere).

Some days I feel really sad. Like deep down to the core sad.

Most days I don't feel good enough. Not good enough to be a wife. Not good enough to be a mother. Not good enough to be a friend. Not good enough for anything. I can't imagine how people could like me, let alone love me. I can't imagine people wanting to spend time with me.

And yes, people who are (well, were) close to me have told me "You're so difficult to get along with," "you can be quite bitchy sometimes," etc.

Well, sometimes I am. I know that. I don't claim to be perfect. But it still hurts to hear it said to me, so flippantly, like I'm lucky those people will even bother to talk to me given how difficult I am.

This all combines with the social anxiety I have. I know, some might be shocked to hear this. I overcompensate for it a lot (and usually end up then being too loud and talking too much because I'm trying to hide the fact that just talking to people sometimes makes me wants to throw up).

I'm pretty positive at the end of most nights around people that I've said the dumbest thing at the party, been the most annoying at the gathering, and probably should just not even leave my house.

Which is interesting because I also love to talk to people. Mostly one-on-one. That's not so scary. Unless I'm a complete idiot. And the other person can't help fill in my awkward pauses in which I'm trying desperately to think of something to say that isn't the most idiotic thing to come out of a human being's mouth ever so I stand there. Silent. My brain racing. Frozen.

Fun times I tell you. Fun times.

 Wait. Where was I? Oh yeah. Me. In a hole. A dark deep hole. In which I feel utterly useless and a waste of space.

{Here's where I interject, before someone reads too deeply in this, I'm not laying in bed all day. And I'm not, you know, suicidal or anything. I say this because sometimes tone on the internet can't be heard and once before I posted I was sad and someone called me worried. Which I appreciate the caring.}

But my goodness. I'm trying to so hard to get out. It's just not that simple, not for me anyway. I'm feeling anxious about changes coming later in the year, which doesn't help. I also ran out of one of my supplements (magnesium). I just started it in November and I think since running out, it was helping me a lot more than I was giving it credit. A new bottle is on the way, but I had to order it on-line and the bad weather is delaying it some (plus I waited too long to get it). Also, I may need to retrain my brain on what is realistic expectations of myself. And I'm tired. Which makes everything feel worse.

Basically, I'm in a perfect storm of feeling pretty darn blah.

Sigh. There it is. I'm not really looking for answers, or pity for that matter, just. This is real life. This is my real life - the days in which I'm feeling pretty good and upbeat and am baking a million cookies, and the days in which I feel stuck, down, worn out.

Friday, January 03, 2014


Every year at midnight I take pictures of my kiddos. Yes, even when they were babies and sleeping. It's one of my favorite things to do.

Some day, when they aren't with me on new year's, I hope they will take a picture and send it to me. I suppose they won't, as they all aren't nearly as excited about this tradition as I am, but I can still hope!

Anyway, without further ado, I present this year's photos!

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Jan 2

Today the last of a snow storm moved through the area.

We got about 12 inches of snow total - it snowed from Tuesday until early afternoon today. Some places not that far from us got 18"+ and this is the storm that is hitting the East coast.

At dusk it looked so gorgeous looking out the patio door into my back door. The sun was setting and just a bit of sunshine yellow was showing through houses and trees.

I tried to open the screen door, but it was stuck because of the snow.

I didn't want a picture with the screen showing, but I took it anyway. And I'm glad I did. It was a lovely moment that made me smile.

To those of you still digging out, hope you're there soon. And to those of you still getting dumped on, hope you are warm and don't need to leave the house!


Wednesday, January 01, 2014


Here it is. The first day of 2014.

I can't lie, I have a great feeling about this year. Having an awesome new year's eve is helping that along. And even though we drove in some not friendly (snow, wind, cold temps, slick roads) weather tonight, I've still got a great feeling.

Yesterday morning, before bright and early even started, we all packed in the car for a whirlwind trip to Cincinnati, OH.

Giants ... er, windmills
It's a roughly 5.5 hour trip (though we took slightly over 6 hours with some bathroom breaks thrown in). I brought along some knitting, in a gorgeous teal color that I can't wait to show you all when it's done.

I flipped through radio stations {side note: Indiana really needs to work on their radio stations. I was unimpressed both coming and going}, chatting with the husband, thought about Don Quixote. It was a good and uneventful drive.

lunch fun!
We headed into Cincinnati and treated the kids to a nice surprise: lunch at Tom + Chee. We saw this place on Shark Tank and all thought it sounded interesting, and since we were going to be in the area, why not stop by and check it out? It was good! A great concept! Took us a while to get a seat because a lot of people go and the sitting area is roughly the size of a postage stamp. But we nabbed a table and happily ate away.

Then off to see our friends - who we don't see nearly enough (though I could say that about all of my friends). Some relaxing, hanging out, chilling.

Onto last night in which we had a fabulous evening. Lots of laughter, talking, game playing {full disclosure: I won, so I may have enjoyed it more than some ;-)}, and then it was time to ring in 2014. And we did. In such a great way - I had my family around me and good friends too. Which I think makes me pretty darn lucky!

Today we had a slow morning - which we all needed! And early afternoon it was time to head back home. Of course, Chicago was at the tail end of a snow storm, so things got a bit scary as we got close to home, but we survived.

new project
I worked on a new crochet project I started at midnight (my tradition of starting a new craft project at midnight holds up). Husband and I talked, some planning of things to come this year. It makes me happy and excited.

So. I have high hopes for 2014. I don't over-the-top-fabulous things to happen. I just want a year that I can look back on in 364 days and think, that was a mighty fine year.