I Flashed My Support Group and Liked It

A dear friend I met as a result of having breast cancer (perks of cansah) asked me to join her at a breast cancer support group she attends; dinner included.  Sold!  There was to be a guest speaker, a sex therapist, at this meeting, too, who was to speak about intimacy and cancer.  I’m up for most anything . . .

Finding my way to David C. Pratt Cancer Center at Mercy Hospital, I walked into a room of beautiful women sitting in a circle.  My friend hadn’t arrived yet, so I took a seat next to a woman named Norma, and I am glad I did.  Later in the evening while the therapist was discussing vibrators and dilators, I nudged Norma and asked if she knew the difference between the two since I didn’t.  She replied, “No,” but quickly shouted out the question to the instructor.  Nice!  My kind of girl . . .

By the end of the evening, discussion had taken a turn to breast reconstruction and the decision whether to choose nipples or not.  Surprisingly to me, in a room full of nearly twenty women, it turned out I was the only one who had opted for nipples.  Questions were then geared towards me regarding the procedure, recovery, post-op instructions, etc.  From experience, I know this is a tough decision as breast cancer warriors are only given one shot at nipples due to the usage of skin.  If infection or necrosis sets in, a second attempt at nipple reconstruction is unlikely (as I understood it).

I finally thought to myself and out loud, “If anyone wants to see my boobs for themselves, I’d be happy to show them.”  In my experience, most everyone in the St. Louis Metro medical community had already seen my breasts during diagnosis, treatment, and reconstruction, so what’s the harm in a group of women taking a peek if it puts their minds at ease and helps make their decisions regarding their own bodies easier?

A fearless group of women warriors, I look forward to seeing them again.  If you are a breast cancer warrior undergoing treatment or post-treatment, come on out and network with some of the bravest women you will ever meet, and I may just flash you with my new ta tas.

Have you been to a support group which has helped you in your breast cancer fight?  Share the time/location below in the comments section.

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Karen Russell’s Sleep Donation Book Club

I stumbled onto Atavist Books and was intrigued with the synopsis as well as the book cover of Karen Russell’s digital-only novella, Sleep Donation.  I am on a novella (short novel) kick, so I downloaded it to my Kindle straightaway.

The plot follows the protagonist Trish Edgewater who lost her sister, Dori, due to an incurable case of insomnia and now works for the not-for-profit Slumber Corps urging others to donate sleep through the emotional appeal of her sister’s death.  Furthermore, the story follows Edgewater as she works closely with Mr. and Mrs. Harkonnen whose infant, “Baby A,” possesses sleep vital for this life-threatening epidemic.

In unfolding the plot, Russell’s use of simile throughout offers vivid descriptions for the reader:

” . . . Donor Y wrote in tiny all-capitals, like a scream shrunken down into a whisper”  (Location 469).

“My wife just died, you see, and she’s saturated my sleep like coffin milk”  (Location 506).

” . . . the freak blue Maybelline [personally, I never know where to put that blue] smuggles in between the taupe and the gray, which Dori always said was like the strawberry you’re forced to buy in Neapolitan ice cream . . .”  (Location 1093).

In addition, the imagery of the moon found at the beginning and the end of the novella offers full-circle writing which could be discussed at length in the critical thinking classroom.  Yes!

While reading this short work of fiction, I was on the edge of my seat especially during the scene with Mr. Harkonnen and Edgewater, but ended up expecting a bit more.  Also, confusion for me was towards the end where Trish is referred to as “Mrs. Edgewater”  (Location 1565) when no mention of a husband occurred anywhere in this writing.  Instead, an intimate give and take appeared in Sleep Donation, but a co-worker shared the scene with Edgewater in lieu of a spouse.

For the purposes of book club, one may consider serving “loaves and fishes . . . ”  (Location 1004) or “poisoned apple[s]”  (Location 1034), but I prefer “green pistachios. . .” (Location 1165) and a risque “purple sleep cocktail. . .”  (Location 1316).

Five Minute Friday: Lost

LOST . . .  Using this summah to truly unplug and be LOST in my children and the hub.  As witnessed on the insides of their doors with Sharpie marks, my kiddos are growing like weeds.  When did this happen?

So, this summah, we are LOST in one another. . .  No scurrying from camp to camp as in previous years.  A VBS here and a Sports Camp there rounds out the summah.

Facebook deleted . . .  Long summer days and nights LOST in one another, in books, in play, in conversation . . .

Share your idea of LOST in only five minutes . . .
Lisa-Jo Baker’s Five Minute Friday:  Lost

Thousands

If you are like me, you enjoy observing people, wondering what their stories are . . .  Everyone has a story to tell.

While at the park yesterday, I could overhear a personal trainer and his client.

Trainer:  “Your form is a thousand times better than anyone I’ve worked with.  Seriously.”

Trainee:  “Really?”

Later in the session . . .

Trainee misses punching target and accidentally clips Trainer.

Trainee:  “I’m sorry.”

Trainer:  “It’s okay.  I’ve been hit thousands of times.”

For me as one who enjoys writing, I think our best “stories” come from those around us and those “stories” we have experienced ourselves.  As a reader/observer, the pleasure comes from trying to decipher these stories.

When I asked my hub his take on the above conversation, he replied, “He wants to do her.”

When I asked my girlfriend, her reply, “Trainers are salesmen.”

What stories have you witnessed?  What are your interpretations?

Book Club Babes: Nick and Tesla’s High-Voltage Danger Lab

Miss Colleen’s selection of Nick and Tesla’s High-Voltage Danger Lab was a hit not only for the book club members, but also the adults.  A thriller full of suspense and pretty cool experiments (this coming from a liberal arts person), I read my copy in one night.

Due to the high volume (sweet!) of experiments Miss Colleen’s mom brought with her, we changed the mode of discussion.  Each member chose a favorite question out of the three written in her journal, wrote said question on an index card, and placed it in a bowl.  Members then chose a question (blindly) from the bowl and were given time to think about the answer before sharing with the rest of the group.

After discussion it was experiment time, their favorite.  

Volcano Kit Purchased at Happy Up

To conclude, members were given a choice of ice cream flavors including mint chip and double chocolate chunk (the hub was unable to find double chocolate praline)  because this was what Nick and Tesla devoured at the end of the book.  Takeaway was a sandwich bag full of diluted highlighter juice to be used in a top secret manner of the Book Club Babe’s choosing much like Nick and Tesla used it to track the van in chapters 9-10.

Next discussion:  Miss Grace’s The Puppy Place:  Chewy and Chica

Get Fisk Book Club

Looking for a daily read full of suspense, romance, and short videos?  Get Fisk may be just the read for which you are searching.  Think adult graphic novel meets the adventure-themed novella resulting in this digital series of monthly titles which contain chapters able to be read while waiting in a doctor’s office, at lunch, or while the kiddos are soaking in the tub.

This month’s title, Pirate’s Lair, revolves around pirates working out of the Horn of Africa.

Get Fisk would be the ideal vehicle for the formation of a book club in a work environment (The Literate Lunchers), in an adult literacy classroom, or simply a means to chat with others regarding daily reading.  Thus, grab a local bite, your brown bag, or your replacement meal shake, and have a brief discussion regarding the Get Fisk daily read.

Loving Another Woman’s Child

Looking back, I see how apparent the reasons of why I became a teacher.  Not only am I a “BIG kid”  (not a baby goat) at heart, but I have this desire to positively contribute to a child’s self worth based solely on his/her unique person, the child as gift philosophy.  This undoubtedly springs from my own dysfunctional upbringing where I was placed on the metaphorical back burner.

As a mother, I am blessed to be given the opportunity to express daily to each of my children her importance and ability to impact others through kindness, generosity, and love

In addition, I have been blessed to have been given the opportunity to love and learn from other women’s children. . .  as a teacher, coach, neighbor, group leader, and mother.  

My children bring home some of the most intelligent, hilarious, thoughtful friends who will undoubtedly improve this world as adults and who do so already as children.

What is difficult, though, is having to say, “I’ll see ya later!” to these kiddos when they move away.  Unfortunately for us, we have now had to do this two years in a row.  As seen in my daughter’s second-grade journal, the impact is lasting as the girls mentioned in the journal moved at the end of the previous school year.  

Our whole family full of tears said goodbye to Miss C., my eldest’s tow-haired, blue eyed, classmate, fellow Girl Scout, and neighbor.  In fact, I think we hoped right until we saw the moving truck that perhaps plans would change, and this girl’s move would be aborted.  This young lady brought much joy to our lives through her gentle manner, helpful ways, and unending smile.

This year, we are having to say goodbye to Miss E.  My eldest daughter met her in kindergarten as they were both seated at the “Rainbow Pegasus” table.  Miss E., a young beautiful lady with the most distinct voice- low and raspy- also touched the life of my youngest daughter as a reading mentor this past year in school.  With much anticipation, Colette readied herself (minus any of the usual urgings) for school on “Reading Buddy Day.”  In fact, those two are so much alike, I can look into the future and see what my youngest squirt will be like in two years.  In return, Miss E. always looked out for my youngest on the playground at school and otherwise as I often heard her say, “Where is Colette?”

Although Miss E. and her family’s moving truck is full and headed for the East Coast, I can only hope one day these belongings will find their way back to this area.

How has loving another woman’s child impacted you?

Lisa Kleypas’ Tempt Me at Twilight Book Club

It had been a year, and I still hadn’t read Lisa Kleypas’ Tempt Me at Twilight.  I had borrowed it from the owner of the condo we rented in Florida, but it never made it into the house past the laundry room.  So, when leaving for a return trip to the condo a year later, I knew I had to read it on the way.  

If you liked Fifty Shades of Grey in any way, shape, or form, then this romance is for you (see pages 314-17).  Set in the 1800s, this book follows an innocent Poppy Hathaway and a troubled Christian Grey Harry Rutledge as they maneuver through the complexities of societal pressures, dysfunctional childhoods, and trusting relationships.

For the purposes of book club, great-aunt Albertine’s steamed apple puddings with drizzled cream sauce, courtesy of Chef Broussard, would be a welcome conversation starter.

Book Club Babes: Frozen

Book Club Babes (a third-grade book club) met and discussed Disney’s chapter book, Frozen, selected by Miss Bella.  As members arrived, they were asked to decorate a cup to be used for the frozen punch, SoBe pina colada drink (found at Schnucks for $1/bottle . . . score).

Frozen SoBe was used as ice cubes to chill the punch.

After a dinner of sandwiches (which is mentioned in “Love is an Open Door”), a frozen dessert bar was served complete with a cake like the one found in the movie (minus the head statue) and various white/silver-colored treats (thank you Miss Faith for the white-iced snack cakes).

 
Discussion ensued with thought provoking open-ended questions such as, “What makes a family?” and “What is true love?”  to close reading questions such as, “What are the names of the three trolls?  Look in chapter 2.”  One member’s question of “What was your favorite scene?” led to third-grade members acting their answers out for the rest of the group.  Yes, goosebumps ran up and down my arms and legs as literacy in action unfolded before my eyes.  Even first and second grade siblings joined in on the discussion.  Be still my heart.

The remainder of book club was spent watching the movie Frozen (okay, I think one member ended up watching the movie in its entirety) and playing;  hey, they earned it.

Next discussion:  Miss Colleen’s pick of Nick and Tesla’s High-Voltage Danger Lab