In which I thought I had lymphoma... (and other ramblings)

Spoiler alert - I don't have lymphoma.

Anyway, there was this thing in my ear.  I didn't think much of it.  Pimple maybe?  Kinda hurt but no biggie.  And no, I know there are no lymph nodes in my ear for any of you medically gifted people out there who are already trying to connect the dots and tie in my thinking I had lymphoma into the thing in my ear.

So a few days later my ear hurt more.  Then Tom and I were in the car and I rubbed my neck and felt a lump on the side.  It was about the size of a pea and hard.   I immediately started to cry.  The ear was hurting more, not getting better and a dr's appt was made.   In the back of my mind I was confident the two were linked.  In the front of my mind, I was surely dying of lymphoma.  

Turns out I had a nodule in my ear that had become infected.  Like mother of all infections infected.   And the lump in my neck?  That was the lone lymph node trying to fight the infection.  Don't ask me why the rest of the lymph nodes didn't step up to take part in the battle, but they didn't.  That lonely little lymph node was fighting it's heart out and I'm so appreciative.

Long story short the infection got taken care of and yesterday the nodule was taken care of and after the infection was taken care of within two days the lump in my neck was gone.  That lymph node is somewhere tropical on a well deserved vacation.  I'm sure of it.

And aside from some pain, I'm all better now.  Just need to heal.


School is back in now.  Which means very little to me since I have no kids and don't go to school.  It means nothing except for two things.   TRAFFIC is the first thing.   They've built so many new homes and townhouse complexes between here and my husband's work that even in the summer there was heavy congestion.  Now that school is back in?  We're having to leave between 15 and 30 minutes earlier.  And STILL stopping and sitting in traffic.  The 15 to 30 minute buffer isn't to avoid the traffic, it's to allow for time to sit in it.  The other thing the start of school means is that I'm back to being the morning driver.  During the summer my husband drives in the morning.  But he has ZERO patience for traffic when he's the passenger and even less than that when he's the driver.  So now that we have super heavier traffic during the school year, I have to be the bleary eyed driver in the morning.  INTO the sun.

And just for the record, can I ask a question?  See, in stop and go and SUDDEN stop traffic, I leave room in front of me lest I rear-end the person in front of me.   Makes sense to me.  Seems a lot like logic.   So can anyone tell me WHY people in the right lane think that's an open invitation to move over in front of me to the left lane?  Thereby effectively removing my buffer zone?  Because it happened 6 times on the way to work just this morning.   I'm not talking like a ridiculous about of space.  I'm talking a car length, in which they squeeze in their car.  It gives me stabby pains in my eyes.   Along with the ones I already have in my ear.


You know, I had this whole thing written in this space here, but I'm not doing it.  Some issues I don't want to revisit to be quite honest with you.  But let me just say this.  I've recently come to believe that someone I used to be very good friends with but are now just Facebook friends with may read this blog.  So let me just say this:

To you, if you are reading, you know who you are.   Of everything I lost 5 and a half years ago for better or worse...  and in most cases for the better - you - are my only regret.  I see pictures of you, your husband and your two beautiful girls and when I see your face?  Oh my gosh, I just love you.  And miss you.  So very much.  And while I don't actually expect anything between us to change because I really think some things may be insurmountable for me to get past (which is totally my issue, not yours at all) - I just wanted you to know how I feel about you.  I think you are a remarkable woman with a beautiful heart.  And I always will.
- Love, Amer


A Letter to my Neighbor

Dear Neighbor:

You seem like a decent guy.  You do.  And I do like that when things seem awry in our neighborhood you patrol it with a Colt45 tucked into your belt given the responding police are 40 minutes away.  But knowing that you're a slightly different guy with a house full of guns gives me pause to bring this up to your face.  Not because I think you'd shoot me, but because I don't want our house left off your rounds when a stranger walks into another neighbor's house thinking she's not home (we're guessing to rob her) but finds her sitting in her easy chair in the living room and runs out.  Like I said, it gives me pause...   a long pause.

But if I WERE going to say anything to you it would be along the lines of "When I want your opinion on my weight I will ask you for it, you misogynistic jerk... got it?"  Because honestly, I am sorry that the previous neighbor with her tight body, fake boobs and highly age inappropriate clothing moved out and this fattie moved in three years ago thereby effectively removing your eye candy, but them's the breaks.  You can't win 'em all, buddy and I do not need you telling my husband that when he mows that I should follow behind him and gather up the grass clippings because, according to you, I could "use the exercise".  Really?   REALLY?

And, I will admit, at first I was mad at my husband for not sticking up for me, but really, it's just not worth it.  Plus, depending on how it went down that could be something that would ALSO leave us off your rounds and  I just don't want that. And I was irritated that he didn't tell you that I've lost 25 pounds in the last 3 months but the more I thought about it, I'm glad he didn't - because why on earth would that be any of your concern or business?

So speaking of business I would suggest that you mind yours or I will keep up with the passive aggressive behavior I've been employing all night of "mistakenly" leaving on the side porch light which shines right in your bedroom window.  At this point I'm only intending on doing it for about a year.

So when I see you outside and our eyes meet and you look like you might make a move to come down the hill to shoot the crap with me, don't be offended when I quickly take the dogs back into the house.  It's only because I think you're a jerk.

But thanks for your vigilante like method of law enforcement   It is appreciated.  Your opinions, however, about MY body?  Are not.

The old ball and chain of your neighbor...

I Don't Want to be Cooked in the Squat

For anyone who doesn't know who Zig Ziglar is, you're about to be introduced.

I used to listen to Zig Ziglar CDs all the time back when I fancied myself an insurance salesperson.  As my goals in life have changed, so have my listening habits.  I'm all sports talk radio all the time now.  Which really has nothing to do with any life goals except being happy and listening to sports talk radio makes me happy.

But what I forgot and lost sight of was that listening to Zig Ziglar made me happy, too.  Yes, he speaks on sales and successful selling and closing the sale - but he also speaks on successful living.  Goal setting and going for your dreams by building a foundation under them.

I was missing Zig and his unique voice the other night and took a chance and looked him up on YouTube.  There he was, in all his Zig Ziglar glory.  And while a lot of the videos were different parts of things I've heard when I listened to him before, there was a gem that I came across that I got to hear for the first time..

It's about being "cooked in the squat".   No one could speak better on what that means than Mr. Ziglar himself so here he is talking about being "cooked in the squat".

I'm one of those people. The one that always seems to be waiting for something to start or finish or happen before I do what I want to do. Or become who I want be. And I think I'm done with that. I don't think I want to wait anymore. I don't want to be "cooked in the squat." I want to rise up to my full potential and just BE.

So I'm gonna.

Favorite Post of the Week #8

No contest.  My favorite post of the week this week almost made me pee laughing.  No joke.  

It's this post here from the ravishing Shauna Glenn.  Because oh my gosh, it's so something I would do and I love the way she writes it.

Definitely worth a read.  And Shauna, in general, is worth reading always.   Some of my favorite posts of Shauna's:

Actually - you know what?  1.  There are SO MANY good ones.  2.  Every one I think of I have no idea when it was written, so I'll never find them in her archives.  So make a cup of coffee or something, get comfy and just read them all.  It'll be worth it.  She's fantastic.   She should really have a "poop" category because THOSE posts?  Those are the funniest posts by far.  Hilarity ensues.

And I'm apparently a 12 year old boy.

The Help - In Defense of Me

I seldom, if ever - usually as a rule - post anything... controversial.   And I don't know that this is or will be, but I know it makes me feel all uncomfortable knowing what I'm going to write so at least in my mind, it's controversial.  It makes me feel all icky because I hate conflict and controversy and I also worry that my reluctance to stand up and say something will make me waver and I'll come across seeming unsure when in actuality, I'm just overwhelmed by the fact that I'm actually taking a stand that sometimes what I want to say gets lost.  So I really just avoid it all together.  But I just can't on this one and after some soul searching, I am ready to embrace whatever backlash there may be.  I know what I am.  I know who I am.  And I am confident in that and will defend it if and when necessary.  This would be one of those times.

I've read a few posts like this one from Mocha Mama among others about The Help and their feelings about it.  And I do 100% see their points, especially from Mocha Mama's post which was so eloquently written.  I encourage everyone to go read it.  I understand that several other books...  fiction and non-fiction have been written about domestic employees in the 60s.  And I know I'm just a white girl and like my friend said to me "it's best to leave the determination of whether something is racist to those that actually experience racism" and I agree with that, until it it comes to my own morals coming into question.

I cannot help the fact that The Help was a good book.  I cannot help the fact that The Help was well received.  I cannot help the fact that The Help got good reviews.   All of which goes together to create the fact that I could not help that I wanted to read The Help.  And loved it.  And it had nothing to do with a "white savior" figure coming in to rescue the day.  Of THAT I'm certain.  It didn't even cross my mind.   I don't see color - maybe that's why *I* didn't notice the white savior.

I contend that the assumption that people of a certain color who love The Help are racist IS in and of itself...  racist.  I take offense...  actually no...  I am downright indignant over the fact that I could even be considered racist because I loved the book, have every intention of seeing the movie (OnDemand, because my husband will never go because it's a chick flick) and more than likely will love that as well.

I am not saying The Help is not racist.  I do agree with my friend that I am in no position to determine if it is or not.  I have my opinion, but it's just that, my opinion..  I respect most all opinions.  The opinions I do not respect are the ones that say *I* am racist because I enjoyed the book and eventually will enjoy the movie.  I am not now, have never been and never will be racist.


Oh I am also not saying that Mocha Mama said that if someone liked The Help they were racist.  She didn't.  I loved her post, but a search lead me to more posts that I don't even want to link.   Kelly's post is logical and poignant and brings to light some topics and insights that I've never even thought of... :)

Band Nerd for Life... apparently...

So awhile ago my high school band director posted some news on Facebook.  He was leaving the school where he'd been a band director for YEARS, my school, and going to another school.  And not just ANY other school, but my school's rival.  In football, in band... we always seemed to be one step behind this school.  We just couldn't get by them.  It was all very political and orchestrated.  I mean their band could have taken the field in street clothes and no instruments and still come in above us in the final rankings at band competitions.  Not because we were so bad... but just because that's how it always was.  Always.   Even back to when my brother was in the band that other band always came in above.  

I adored my band director.  I thought he was just the bee's knees and I wish him well, of course (shut up, I DO!).  But oh my gosh.  When I read that on Facebook, it was like a DAGGER.  Seriously?  THERE?  Of anywhere you could go...  THERE?   It just feels...  wrong.  Like a betrayal.   Like Arlen Spector becoming Democrat, like Charlie Manuel going over to manage the Mets, like Andy Reid going to coach the Cowboys...  or Giants...  (actually that wouldn't be so bad...  it'd be nice to know another team would never win), like McCartney teaming up with Jagger.    Just...   wrong.  

So yeah, I may be fifteen years out of high school, but the band geek in me is still alive and kicking.  

Getting to my fighting weight.

Ok, so BlogHer12 is roughly 50 weeks from now.  And I've read over and over that no one cares how you look or how you dress.  Just that you show up.  Ok...  I hear blah blah blah blah.   I know BlogHer means one thing.  Eleventy billion pictures.

I refuse to hate every single picture of me that is taken while I'm supposed to be having loads of fun and getting to know some of the people in person that as of right now I'm convinced only live in my computer screen.  

So I'm comitting.  To you, readers, and to myself.

I will be back to this or close to it by BlogHer12.   Join me HERE on the journey.


When moments that define us die...

Today I found out that an old high school boyfriend... and my prom date... died.  On Saturday.  I am utterly torn apart.

Nate was a wonderful guy.  Kind.  Sweet.  Funny.  We were together just 5 months.  Which at 17 is like, forever,

We broke up, mainly just because I was going off to college and he had another year of high school left and we knew it just couldn't work.  So it ended.

Now years later he went in for surgery on a hernia and came out a vegetable.  And now 6 months later.  He's dead.  I didn't know anything about what was going on.  Just happened to see something about a memorial for "Nate" on Facebook and happened to ask "Nate who".

My senior year of high school near the end of the year in my AP English class, we read a poem called The Egyptian Vase.  We talked about it afterwards and how those vases the Egyptians made told stories of their lives.  Our teacher said that as we were leaving high school and "starting our lives" that we all had an empty vase and we would be painting it with the most important moments of our lives and things that meant the most.  It was an eloquent speech and has most of the girls in tears and the guys looking solemn.

About two weeks later was prom.  Nate arrived in a limo and we were taken to dinner.  He brought a dozen roses and a teddy bear.  When we were in the limo he sat in the seat across from me and he just looked at me.  In the most gorgeous dress I've ever worn (yes, including my wedding dress) feeling wonderful and he just smiled and said, "You know? I've always known you were beautiful, just because you are.   But tonight?  You've blown my mind."

It's on the vase.  It has been ever since and always will be.  And I just can't wrap my head around the fact that that wonderfully beautiful boy is gone.  I will always have that memory that for me will encapsulate everything I loved about him forever.

The world is that much darker today because Nate's light has gone out.  And my world is darker because the creator of one of my brightest, most shiny glittery moments is gone.

Godspeed, Nate.   And thank you.

Ripped From The Pages #1

So I think I'm actually going to dedicate posts on my blog now and then to ones written before typed.  Quality Time With Me will be the titles, I think.  (Edit:  Upon further review that title has been discarded because it was so cheesy it wanted to make me vomit and then choke baby bunnies...  title will be changed).  Who knows.  Work in progress.   But I so enjoyed writing the other day and then posting.  It was lovely.

I find myself thinking more and more lately about what I want to do.  Not in some "Greater Purpose" epic kind of way, but more in a "I'd like to enjoy what I do" kind of way.

I think it's completely soul sucking to stay on my current path.  And no, I'm not talking about quitting my job.  Not at all.  I just think I need to find something that fills my spirit - as opposed to crushing it after beating it into submission...  to put it lightly.

Writing makes me happy but I know I don't write well enough to be paid for it.  I love to crochet but crocheting won't pay the mortgage.

I'm constantly thinking.  Constantly picking my own brain.  Constantly searching to find that something.  That very specific certain something.

I don't think about the fact that it might not exist.

Favorite Post of the Week #7

Hands down my favorite post of the week is this one from Kathy over at Mama's Losin' It - because really?  How CUTE is she.  I liked her before.  I'm just loving her now.  She's so adorable.

The runner up was this post from Amy over at Amalah because honestly?  It's nice to have a blogger admit that they know that posts about BlogHer... when you didn't GO to BlogHer?   Not all that interesting.

Stay tuned for my posts about BlogHer from about July 29th - August 5th next year.

I apologize in advance.

The Joy of Writing

This post inspired by this post by Jana and this one by Tracie.  

I love writing.  I do.  Like the actual act of putting pen to paper and pulling words from my head and putting them down in print.  Or cursive as the case may be.

My words flow more easily from a pen than through a keyboard.  I should probably hand-write every blog post first.  I don't - obviously.  This one I am.

This has been written in the Target dining area.  As I listen to ladies talking over lunch and a baby babbling, I write.

It must look odd.  To my right and in front of me the only other 2 solo diners poke away at their android phones.  My writing probably seem archaic almost.  But I?  I just feel at peace amongst all the hub-bub because when I write... physically write... I am in a world wholly of my own making.

No one can tell me it's wrong or inconsiderate or say there's something I forgot or something I really need to add.  It's mine.  And while, yes, some of what I will write will end up here on my blog for all to see... there will be other things.  Things that are just mine.  Things that I keep for me.

I don't know the things I'm going to put down in this book... with this pen.  All I really know is it'll be me.  For me.  And that's more than just a little something.

It's everything.

The time I knew I was being watched...

When I was 16.  I babysat every day after school and all day for a whole summer for a lovely little girl..  who is so not little anymore which makes me feel SO very old.  And across the street lived a VERY cute boy who was a senior and just... hot.    Her back yard was very hilly so we would play in the front yard and in the driveway and in the garage.

She was actually the first one that noticed him.  In the house across the street.  Looking out a window.  Watching.  Now had this happened in THIS day and age I would have worried about my young charge's safety.  Maybe he was looking at HER.  But this was the mid-90s and well, like I said, I was 16.  Young, thin, pretty and boy-crazy like nobody's business.  I was boy-crazy like it was my JOB.  My friends and I could have lead a multi-billon dollar boy crazy corporation.  *I* knew what he was looking at and I was quite satisfied with myself because of it.  Sometimes he'd play basketball in his driveway and after awhile he'd sit on the ball, leaning against his house and just watch us...  or me, I guess.   Yeah, subtlety was not his forte.

Don't think I wasn't mindful of the young life I was responsible for.  I was.  And she wasn't like an infant.  She was 8.  So it wasn't a huge deal and she and I had tons of fun.  She was like the little sister I never had.  All under the watchful gaze of the guy across the street.

I did talk to him.  Twice.  On the phone once and one time after babysitting I went and sat on his front yard with him and we talked.  That was it.

Time went on.  One day he was gone.  Joined the military, my kid I babysat got older, school started back up and the job was over.

I talked to him years later.   I once asked him why nothing ever happened.  Why didn't he ask me out...  what was the DEAL with all the watching?  He told me after talking to me that day he knew I was too nice to get involved with the likes of him.  He was right.

But it was a fun summer we'd had.  Me and my faux little sister.  And the ever present watcher across the street.

***This post written as part of Mama Kat's Writing Prompts - Write about a time that you believed someone was watching you.***

BlogHer 12... or bust?

So the announcement was made during BlogHer11 that BlogHer12 is going to be in NYC.  And I know a ton of people are like "ho-hum NYC...  been there... done that... that's SO last year..."  And while I will be the first to admit that 1.  NYC terrifies me and 2.  It's nowhere to be in August, it being in NYC means one thing.   I'm going.  See, I'm down here outside of Philly and NYC is just a train ride away.  So while some will have to by cross country plane tickets...  I will have to spend $100 on a round trip train ticket.  WOOT!

But here's the thing.  Here is my deep seeded fear which was somewhat quelled today*.   I am terrified that I'm too fat for any cab drivers to pick me up and take me from Penn Station to the appointed BlogHer festivity area.  Yeah I know, they don't care, they just want money.  And I SO get that...  intelligently.  But self-consciously...  I'm totally going to be trapped at Penn Station for 3 days seeking out a single BlogHer badge of ANYONE that I can latch on to.  I just know it.  And no one will come by and I'll just be there sleeping in the bathroom and crying about the psycho trying to beat down the door while I hold my young son and cry.  Oh wait, I'm not Will Smith and don't have a son and know how to spell "Happiness" though am not sure how to pursue it..  but be that as it may I picture coming home and my husband asking how it was and being all, "Shut up, I never got out of the train station."

But all that to say that 1.  I'm STOKED it's in NYC next year and 2.  I need to lose weight if I want to partake in the festivities of BlogHer rather than not being allowed to step foot outside the station because my hometown has undergone a coup and 3.  I watch too many movies that take place in terminals plane, train or otherwise.  I do hope the train doesn't go under 70 miles per hour or I'm pretty sure that baby's gonna blow.

Blogher12...  here I come.

*I received a tweet reply today from Brooke of TxtingMrDarcy that she will be my train partner.  She's my closest geographic blogging buddy and we can go together!!  So either we'll both get to BlogHer or we'll have a grand time at Penn Station.

It's that time again... BlogHer@Home

I wish I'd known about BlogHer@Home last year.  Of course at that time Hamlet's Mistress was in her infancy and I didn't really get the whole BlogHer thing.  Now I do.  and now I'm keenly aware that I'm not there.  Next year it's in New York which is a train ride away...  so I'm thinking I'll make it to that one.  Which would be awesome.

But that's next year.  This year there's a BlogHop, a chat tomorrow night and GIVEAWAYS!! And who doesn't love THOSE?  Am I right?  Of course I am.  I will be providing one of the giveaways.  I don't know exactly what, yet.  I just know it'll be awesome.  So I need to figure that out.

If you're here because of the BlogHop...  WELCOME!  I hope you'll find something here that will make you want to come back.  I don't write about any specific thing...  I don't have kids...  I have animals and a husband.   My main goal in life right now is to move out of our too small home into a bigger home and expand our family with some children that aren't covered in fur... HOPEFULLY!!  Unless something goes terribly genetically awry.   That's the main reason for the Avon business.  To help us get to somewhere else just a bit quicker.  The clock is loud and it never. stops. ticking.

I'm so looking forward to visiting the other blogs on the BlogHop tomorrow.  I'm always looking for more material for my Favorite Post of the Week.  

I lead an online book club and an online healthy living forum.  Two separate forums not just one with dual purposes because that would be weird.  We always love new members at both.  And the book club is between books right now so it's a perfect time.

Hm, what else?  That's probably good enough for now.  Like I said I hope some of you will come back again and again.  I love people tons.  I will try to make a personal connection with almost anyone.  It's just me.  I'm not the standoffish type.  You've been warned.

Oh and my name's Amy.   Hi.

Here is my Avon store.  Order direct to your home.  Orders over $30 have free shipping.

Favorite Post of the Week #6

This was a good week for blog posts.  I narrowed it down to 11 and from there had to pick one.  
I picked the one that made me laugh right out loud while reading it.
So the post of the week this week?

This one from Brittany at Barefoot Foodie.
I read it.  I died.  It was that funny.  
Oh but Brittany, if you read this?  Tell Andy that Cicada Killing Bees have hives just like regular bees.
Those holes they dig?  Yeah, that's just where they bury the Cicada bodies.  
For real.  Google it.  I'm sorry.

There were a few other ones that came in just behind.
This one from Moosh In Indy about breastfeeding.
But for a couple reasons.
One, because it made me angry that she needed to explain why she's not breastfeeding because that's HER decision and even though it was one she was forced into, it's still her decision and I hate that other mothers get all Judgey McJudgerson about that.  No one else is harder on mothers than other mothers and it disgusts me. 
But all that aside it's a beautiful post and I love her.

This one and this one talk about motherhood.

AND THIS ONE!!!  Where Booshy (Jess) tells us about finding out about their expected arrival.

The clock starts ticking on next week's favorite post...  now!


So this has been a doozy of a week.  I made a tough decision to step back from The Band.  I just have so much going on.  I have my Avon business that I desperately want to get off the ground and be successful.  We had a gut-wrenching beginning of the week with some family stuff that I won't get into.  I've got the online book club and the online healthy living forum...  both of which I've seriously been neglecting.  Sorry members who read this.  I'll be better!!  I promise.  And I haven't crocheted in MONTHS.  Which makes me very sad and a little stabby.   Because I love crocheting so very much.   But all that to say that I haven't been here to post much either.   Which I also love.

Because lately...  life's been so crazy that I feel like I've just been holding my breath for days and right now?  I just need to pause and exhale.