Sunday, May 26, 2013

No One Deserves to Die.

I want to talk to you all about something that is very important to me, a topic that is very sensitive and very hard for me to talk about at times so bear with me.  If I didn't think this was important, I wouldn't talk about it but I would like people to try to think differently.  

A bunch of ads started popping up on subways a few years ago.  They said things like "Cat lovers deserve to die" and "hipsters deserve to die."  Naturally, people freaked out about it a bit.  A quick google search or capturing the QR code on the page would've led you to this website:  At the time, it featured a few facts and a countdown to revealing one of the biggest killers in our day and age.  A few days later, all was revealed:  the ad campaign and website were from the national lung cancer alliance.  

Lung cancer kills more people each year than colon, breast, and prostate cancer combined, and yet of the four cancer types, the least amount of research funding is dedicated towards finding a cure for lung cancer.  If caught early, the survival rate for breast cancer is 88%.  For prostate cancer, nearly 100%, and for colon cancer, 74%.  With lung cancer, the average five year survival is 14%.  FOURTEEN FREAKING PERCENT.  Let's say seven of your friends were diagnosed with lung cancer (which honestly, without further research, is very likely).  One of them would live.  One out of seven.  

There is this perception that people who are diagnosed with lung cancer deserve that they get.  They smoked.  They worked with asbestos.  They didn't check their basement for radon.  That means they deserve it, right?  Especially if they smoke.  Anyone who smokes obviously deserves to die from it.  Nevermind that you are waaaaaaay more likely to develop heart disease than lung cancer.  If you smoke, you have about a 17% chance of developing lung cancer.  I grant you this is way more than the .5% chance non-smokers have of developing the disease.  But I highly doubt that when anyone smoked their first cigarette that they were thinking "when I'm fifty-six, I will be diagnosed with lung cancer."  Even though cervical cancer is primarily linked with HPV--a sexually transmitted disease--I highly doubt you would tell a woman suffering from cervical cancer they deserved it for whoring it up.  

In case you were wondering why this matters to me, why this smokers disease matters to me, is because it has touched my life multiple times.  When I was born, my grandfather was already in the hospital to greet me because he was receiving treatment for lung cancer.  He died from the disease when I was two.  He left behind four daughters.  When I was in middle school, his second youngest daughter, my aunt Karen was diagnosed with cancer.  She fought hard, receiving chemo therapy, radiation, and eventually having her lung removed at Johns Hopkins, the number one cancer hospital in the country.  And still she died when I was a freshman in high school.  

Not long after that, her sister, my Aunt Sara was diagnosed with lung cancer.  The one blessing from Aunt Karen's death was that all of her sisters started getting yearly CT scans.  The doctors found a nearly in-detectable mass in her lung and she had surgery and chemo therapy.  It has been six years, making her officially a cancer survivor.  

In June of 2011, I was working at Eastern University for the summer when I received a call asking me to come home for the weekend.  I grumbled, because I was supposed to work that weekend but I drove down.  My parents were separated at the time but all four of us, both parents, my brother and I, gathered at the house where I grew up.  My mom proceeded to tell my brother and I that she had been diagnosed with cancer.  One doctor was sure that it was lung cancer and another was sure that it was lymphoma.  We desperately hoped it was lymphoma but the biopsy soon revealed one of the worst cancer diagnoses you can possible get:  extensive stage small cell lung cancer.  

I won't quote you statistics or tell you all of the facts about lung cancer staging and the differences between small cell and non-small cell lung cancer.  What I will tell you is that I thought I was the one who was dying.  Because life would never, and hasn't been, the same since.  With that kind of diagnosis, it wasn't a sure thing that mom would make it to see me graduate in May 2012.  That weekend and in the coming months, I kissed visions of my mom at my wedding or holding my children good bye.  I said good bye to many years of birthdays, holidays, and life events.  I said good bye to life as I knew it.  

My mom has beaten the odds so far.  She has had chemo and radiation and her last two scans have shown that the tumors in her lungs and lymph nodes are stable.  The doctor has even used the words "years" for survival.  But he has not once mentioned a cure, not once has he said "we can beat this."  Even from the beginning, he has said we would treat this like a chronic disease that needs to be managed, not beaten.  

For the record, since I know you are dying to know, my mom, my aunts, and my granddad all smoked.  My granddad smoked until he died.  My Aunt Karen was diagnosed with lung cancer seven years after she quit smoking, my Aunt Sara was diagnosed about eight years after she quit, and my mom was diagnosed five years after she quit.  I know people are curious but it really pisses me off when they ask that question, like it's my mom's fault that she got sick.  Think before you speak please.  

The whole point of this post is not to get you to petition for more lung cancer research or to donate money for research, though I would love it if you would.  If the public doesn't demand more research, it won't happen.  My goal is to get you to think about how you perceive the disease and the people who are diagnosed with it.  If you drive drunk, you don't think you are going to be the one to wrap your car around a telephone pole and die.  I'm not saying that is something you're supposed to do (obviously) but I am saying that no one thinks they are going to be the one bad things happen to.  Think before you speak because no one deserves to die from cancer.  

Friday, May 24, 2013

Fun Facts Friday: Top Five Favorite Make up Products

So I am a make up junkie.  I use a mix of high end and low end brands because I have super sensitive skin and prefer the way my face looks when it isn't breaking out in huge zits or flaking off or covered in blotchy red patches.  So I'll link you to my favorites...

1.  Smashbox Photo Finish Face Primer Adjust

Available through ULTA
I have been using this for a week to help fight the great make-up migration and correct some of my redness.  Between this and my foundation, my skin looks GORGEOUS.  The green color is off-putting at first but it fades as soon as you apply it, it disappears along with redness and also helps fill in the gaping pores of my nose.

2.  Benefit Hello Flawless Oxygen Wow Foundation in I'm pure 4 sure

Available through ULTA
I try not to think about how much money I spend on this product but seriously it is the best thing ever.  I love the pump bottle.  My skin looks fantastic and one pump does my entire face.  It doesn't break me out and it includes sunscreen with UVA protection.  Awesome stuff.

3.  Bare Minerals Brush in Beauty

Available through ULTA
I am a fan of bright, pigmented blushes.  I've had this container FOREVER.  Sanitary issues from keeping it for so long aside, I love this stuff.  It has a lot of pigment so I only use a small amount on a big fluffy brush.  Blends super well.  Awesome.

4. E.L.F. Eyelid primer and eye liner sealer

Available through E.L.F. which is carried at walmart and kmart
This is the best $3 I have ever spent on a make up product.  Full stop.  the primer keeps my eye shadow from moving and the sealer takes my liquid eye liner from a source of frustration to something that won't budge at all.  I would not recommend letting the sealer drip in your eye though.  It burns line nobody's business.

5.  Maybelline Volume Express "The Falsies" Mascara- Black Drama

Available at most drugstores or at ULTA
I go through a tube of mascara in a month.  There are high end mascaras that I have LOVED but I just cannot justify spending $17 a month on mascara and this tube of $7 wonderful stuff that works just as well as most of the super expensive brands.

And there you have it.  My top five make up products.  I used black liquid eyeliner but I haven't been able to find one that I really and truly like since I stopped selling mark cosmetics so if you have a suggestion, let me know.  :)  my eye shadow changes on a daily basis, basically, in case you were thinking "that's weird.  she wears primer with no eye shadow."  I'm sure you desperately wanted to know all of this but whatevs.  Maybe you'e learned something about fun make up products.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Return of the Invisible Woman

So I apologize for falling off the planet.  Trust me, it was unintentional.  Life just got crazy for the last week and a half.  Well, crazier than normal.  So let me recap.

So backing up to Wednesday the 8th, I was made aware of a potential job for the summer.  I had band that evening so I did not have time to call the person who had contacted me so between getting off work on the 9th and heading off to the Seussical Jr. cast party, I called my potential new boss.  I was invited to submit my resume, which I did promptly.  Next day, I worked again and right after I got off work, I listened to a voice mail asking me to fulfill the next application and assessment steps which I did immediately upon returning home.  Boom.  Five minutes later, I get a call from potential boss's boss offering me the job as I have passed the assessment.  Boom boom.

...And informing me that I need to get a drug test and be fingerprinted within 3 business days.

What is this job, you may ask?  I am working as a bank teller for the summer at a branch near the beach.  Because it is a bank, drug screening and fingerprints are required.  However, I did not want to have to jam both events into my already jam packed week.  I went to schedule my drug screening and prints, intending to go do my drug screening on Saturday morning.  So I went to the lab on Saturday morning... only to discover that they stop drug testing an hour before they close.  ...Crap.  New plan.

So I head home to make some calls, begging people to host students from the Eastern University Choir who was doing a concert on Wednesday evening then headed down to Sams Club to buy paper products and food for said event.  Can I just say that the hot dog, diet coke, and frozen yogurt sundae was the cheapest/best lunch I had all week?  I think I paid $3.50.  Returned home, more calls, more begging, more pleading.

Sunday, I went to church for the early service to beg people from the service I don't normally go to.  Thankfully, after some confusion, I got enough people to volunteer so by that evening I had placed everyone on my little list with someone.  Deep breaths.

I had booked some teaching gigs for Monday through Wednesday a long time ago and there was no getting out of it so it was mandatory chaos.  Monday wasn't all that bad but Tuesday and Wednesday... whoa boy.  I had a very early appointment to go pee in a cup on Tuesday morning, worked all day, was fingerprinted, and then went to the church to go do set up for the choir dinner.  Problem:  there was an event at church that evening I hadn't previously known about so I could not set up tables and do table cloths and all of that fun stuff.  I mixed up the drinks and prayed for sanity.  Upon returning home, I worked on getting house ready for guests by making beds, blowing up air mattresses, and vacuuming.  More prayers for sanity.

Wednesday was when the real chaos began.  I headed off to work like a cray person who bites off more than she can chew, praying that i hadn't forgotten anything important.  Car cleaned out?  Check.  Computer with me in case I need to access my lists?  check.  Sanity intact?  well...

I left school literally the first second I could... only to learn that the choir had arrived early.  Ahhhh!!!!  So I went off to the church just as fast as I could (which was not very fast because of utility work en route).  After showing the director around the church, we had less than two hours to have dinner ready to go.. Thankfully, many people had already dropped off their dishes.  I don't know how we did it but we did.  The cinner was good, the concert was amazing, and it was offer surprisingly quickly.  then there people at my house and we stayed up talking until 2 AM  (some of them were my best friends from my choir days).  Next morning, it took several trips to get the choir members back to the church, saw the choir off and then my real day began...

I had to make myself look like a real person (not a bum) because I had to head down to Princess Anne for training for my new job.  I made it, after getting lost on the way due to my GPS being confused.  It's kind of sad that my hour each way commute plus a full day of training was my easy day--other than the rehearsal I had that afternoon afterwards of course.

In my Friday training, I learned that essentially my entire wardrobe was not going to work.  Those 35 pounds I have lost mean my clothes don't fit.  And most of the clothes that do fit are not appropriate.  So I had to shop.  Which I did Friday after training and also all day Saturday, until the afternoon when I had a rehearsal. Because I had a concert Sunday afternoon.

This week hasn't been as chaotic but I have had training every day, with an hour commute each way.  So by the time I'm ready to relax, I don't feel like blogging.

So there you go.  I'll try to be more regular.  I'm working on a post on taking in a top/adjusting the proportions for short people like me.  In the mean time, this will have to do.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Fun Facts Friday: Top Ten Favorite TV shows

I watch a very strange variety of TV shows.  Crime dramas, home improvement, cartoons, comedies... I watch an odd assortment of things.  So here are the rankings:

1.  Holmes on Homes/Holmes Inspection
I put them together because they are essentially the same show.  Mike Holmes helps out home owners who either had a bad renovation or a home inspection that didn't reveal major issues.  He rips out walls, gets rid of mold, and gets extremely indignant.  It's fantastic

2.  Doctor Who
A hot time travelling alien speeds through time and space in his blue box with a pretty woman as his companion.  He's saved the world about a million times.  I am waiting for the Doctor to come take me away in the Tardis, preferably David Tenant as the Doctor.  He's my favorite.

3.  Law and Order: SVU
SVU=Special Victims Unit.  Elliot Stabler and Olivia Benson track down the criminals behind sex crimes and atrocities against children.  Always a lot of drama and sexual tension between the pair practically oozes out.  I'm still annoyed that Elliot left the show before the two of them got it together.

4.  My Little Pony:  Friendship is Magic
I know it's a kids show.  I don't care.  It's awesome and fulfills my childhood fantasies about horses and magic.  I am a brony for sure.

5.  Bones
A forensic anthropologist and her team of brainiacs fight crime by looking for evidence present on the bones.  Also, David Boreanez is a hot FBI agent who eventually gets together with Brennan, the forensic anthropologist.  It appeals to my brainy side with the science and also my romantic side with all of the little romantic sub plots.

6.  Gilmore Girls
I know it's a defunct show but Rory and Lorelei are my BFFs.  Mother and daughter live together, almost like sisters, as they struggle through all of life's challenges.  They go through their rough patches but at the end of the day, they will always support one another.

7.  Sabrina the Teenage Witch
On her sixteenth birthday, Sabrina Spellman discovers that she is a witch.  She lives with her aunts and talking cat and learns about magic and all of life's lessons.  Melissa Joan Hart is wonderful.  I cannot believe she is married and has children now.  Crazy.

8.  ER
Doctors working in a Chicago emergency room.  The crazy medical stuff they encounter is nothing compared to the insane personal drama that the young hot doctors go through.  Includes Alex Kingston and her British fabulousness and also Noah Wyle who is one handsome, handsome man.

9.  Private Practice
More medical drama where the medical stuff pales in comparison to what goes on behind the scenes  Romance, drama, and plenty of laughs.

10.  Make it or Break it
This is my most shameful entry.  Truly.  It's about gymnastics and girls trying to make it onto the 2012 Olympic team.  It's an ABC original drama so the convoluted plot is, well, convoluted.  What can I say?  I enjoy watching the gymnastics and imagining that I would be able to things like that.

I thought it would be really really hard to come up with ten shoes... and then I realized just how much TV I watch.  I could list more which is kind of crazy.  Ah well.  I read a lot of books too so I'll just pretend that makes up for it. What are your favorite TV shows?

Friday, May 3, 2013

Fun Facts Friday: Top 10 Favorite Foods

So I am trying out this whole "regular posts thing."  I decided to try out my own 'Fun Facts Friday' where I will share top 10 lists of facts about me you may or may not have wanted to know.  So today I'm going to tell you all about the food that I love.  Let me preface that by saying that this girl LOVES food.  I mean, how else do I explain my ridiculous size 18 butt?  I have eaten every blessed pound and I will admit it.  Working on eating less.  That being said... my 10 favorite foods...

1.  Ice Cream
I have a huge sweet tooth and something about the sweet, cold, creamy meltiness of ice cream makes it my ultimate favorite food.

2.  Macaroni and Cheese
Specifically, the good stuff made with real cheese and baked in the oven, often with bacon or vegetables mixed in.  I could write a sonnet on cheese and how much I love it.  Mozzarella, brie, gorgonzola, provolone, amish butter cheese... oh my giddy goodness.  Home girl likes some cheese.

3.  Bread
When I was younger, I joined the Atkins craze and actually lost a lot of weight in the process.  I gained it all back very quickly because there was not a snowball's chance that I was going to do without bread for the rest of my life.  Me and bread are bffs.  I think that's probably why it hangs out right around my thighs whenever I consume it...

4.  Maryland Blue Crabs
I have lived in Southern Delaware for the entirety of my life.  For those of you who are not from the midatlantic, Delaware is part of the Delmarva penninsula with the Chesapeake Bay to the West and the Delaware Bay to the east.  Water=seafood.  I have fond memories of going crabbing as a child... and also fond memories of eating seamed crabs, covered in Old Bay and dipped into cider vinegar.  Mmmm... I like crabs in a multitude of ways:  cakes, balls, crab imperial, steamed, etc etc.  Maryland crab has now become a thing that gourmet restaurants are serving and charging an arm and a leg for but the hipster in me is screaming I LIKED MARYLAND CRAB BEFORE IT WAS COOL!!!!

5.  Scrapple
A number of people are probably confused by this.  "what is scrapple?" some of you are asking?  Well, I'll tell you.  It is the stuff the sausage factory rejected, mixed with cornmeal, and grilled up nice and crispy.  Yes.  Sounds awful, tastes delicious.  Just like hot dogs.

6.  Scallops
I know.  My second seafood entry but I can't help it.  Seafood, especially shellfish, are just so gosh darn delicious.

7.  Cheese cake
I love cheesecake.  It's also my signature creation.  I make a truly magnificent white chocolare raspberry cheesecake.  Truly.

8.  Lemon
This is kind of vague...  I don't eat raw lemons or anything like that but I love consuming lemon IN things.  Lemon squeezed on fish, lemon muffins, lemon curd, lemon bars, lemon lemon lemon lemon.

9.  Caramel
I enjoy chocolate like almost all women but what I really love is caramel.  Sweet, buttery, sometimes salty.  It's so deliciously wonderful.  The Ice Cream Store in Rehoboth has a "Buttery Salted Caramel" flavor that is my absolute favorite kind of ice cream ever.

10.  Butter
I love butter so much that I wrote an ode to it for a previous entry.  Yes.  Delicious, delicious butter...  preferable on a warm crusty slice of #3.

It was surprisingly hard to come up with this list for two reasons:  1.  I like a lot of foods but 2.  I'm not passionate about every single things that passes my lips.  Oh well.