Thursday, August 29, 2013

From the Mouth of Bonus

To the dentist who had just discovered 8 cavities in his little mouth and asked him if he eats a lot of waffles with syrup:

"I don't eat them anymore because now I play baseball."

Non sequitur much?

And BTW, there were no cavities six months ago.  We pulled up the x-rays to be sure.  Sigh.  I'm supposed to take him to the dentist because the dentist suspects something called silent reflux. 

If it's not one mouth, it's another.  Fortunately, RNR was finally able to be a member of the no cavity club.  For once.  Bonus and I both have additional dental appointments in our near futures.

Three at bats.  Three hits.  One run.  Not bad for a little guy who doesn't eat waffles and syrup anymore.

I know the picture is not that stellar with the lighting and the fence links, but, thankfully, Mr. Incredible snapped some in my absence. Awfully cute.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


Sometimes I wonder if I am doing the whole parenting thing right or not.

Just at that moment, as I am driving my oldest daughter to her last summer band practice, "My First, My Last, My Everything" by Barry White comes on the 70's channel.

Miss Noteworthy is a NOTORIOUS channel flipper (she learned this from her father).  There have been many times when a great tune was playing on the radio and just as I started to belt out the first line, she has pressed a button shutting down my superior rendition of Kenny Roger's "You Decorated My Life."  Hmphf!

Source. You wish you were this smooth.


This time, she does not touch any buttons.  Instead, she says, "Oooo, I like this song!"

As I begin to sing along with the words, I look over at her and see that SHE KNOWS EVERY WORD. 


(that hashtag will cause Mr. Incredible much chagrin...)

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Opening up the whole can of worms....

Well, yesterday was fun. 


Well, sort of.

Let me explain.

Yesterday, I posted what was supposed to be a humorous and informative piece about a derby injury.  I knew it was a little provocative.  I had kept it sitting in my drafts since March because I didn't want to offend my actual friends who regularly read my blog and who go out to lunch with me in real life.  Sometimes they tell me I go a little too far in my descriptions of things like laser hair removal and derby or being accidentally braless in Vegas.  Sigh.  I am who I am.

In the end, I decided to post about the injury and take the jabs because in recent days a derby girl in my area had to seek medical treatment when her swelling became profuse and unbearable. It needed to be drained. :( 

I thought that sharing my experience with this injury might help another derby girl.  Especially a young one who didn't know how to treat her injury and might be too embarrassed to ask.  And might be uninsured and not need to be saddled with an expensive medical bill.  Ice is pretty cheap and could have prevented her need for a doctor. 

My bad.

I had no idea how upset this post would make some people in the derby community.

They were upset because of a word I have since removed from the post.  I expected some backlash from non-derby people, but I did not expect it from inside the derby community.  Who knew?  Not me.  That's for darn sure. 

It's not the "c" word or the "eff" word that most of my non-derby friends know I dislike.  It was the "r" word. 

I spent much of yesterday responding to comments on Facebook and writing apologies to offended derby people all over the world for my use of the "r" word on my blog.  I apologized between dishes and laundry.  Between six trips to the high school for summer band camp sessions.  Between sorting cans of PlayDoh to toss out the ones that had dried out and cooking dinner and changing the light bulb in the ancient LiteBrite.  Between breaking up fights between Bonus and RNR. Between making guitar-shaped popsicles, dinosaur-shaped sandwiches, and chocolate milk.  The guitar-shaped popsicles were pretty cool. :)

All that to say that I am a real life housewife who happens to play derby.  And that's what I write about.

Here's the thing...

I didn't learn the term I used in a vacuum.  And I didn't learn it in suburbia or even on the internet or through Urban Dictionary.  I learned it in the derby community.  And not solely in my league.  Which is only three years old; we obviously learned the term from elsewhere in the derby world.  I've heard it at training camps with world-class skaters.  I've heard it at RollerCon for the past three years.  I did not create the term; I did repeat it though.

So, if you want to take it out on me and up with me, fine.  I put it out there.  I wear big girl panties.  I apologized and edited my content to reflect many of your wishes.  I'll listen to anything you hurl at me.  Warranted or not. 

But if you want something different and better to be perpetuated by the greater derby community in the future, you need to take it up with the greater derby community.  You need to make your voice louder in your own league and in your own social media circles because not everyone has time to prowl Facebook or my blog.  Sending me a nasty message attacking my character isn't going to further your cause or stop people from using the language that bothers you.  Starting a meaningful dialogue will, and it's the moments of meaningful dialogue that made me decide to revise my post and change my terminology.   

BTW, I'm just small potatoes.  On a REALLY, rilly, unusually good day where I tell a story about something like my preschooler pantsing me at the community pool I will have 200 readers.  My voice is pretty small on the blogosphere.  I'm just me.  A housewife who plays derby.  Who gets upset when she unintentionally upsets people.

I so appreciate the support of my league mates when the Facebook comments started to get a little heated. The fact that one of my league mates said "that anyone who knows Reckless knows what a good heart she has" actually made tears well up in my eyes.  And the rest of you who backed me up in our private forum.  Your loyalty made me smile.  Smooches to all of you. 

For the rest of you who showed support.... Thank you.  You flooded my inbox with kind words.  You got that the focus was supposed to be on helping someone who found themselves with the same injury I had NOT on what I called the injury.  You laughed with me.  And at me (which is more than fine).  You liked my post.  You passed it on to friends.  Lots of friends.  In fourteen countries. On tumblr and twitter.  In your own league forums.  Hugs all around.

Whichever opinion you formed yesterday, derby love to all of y'all.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

I Survived a Shiner on my 'Giner, and You Can, Too

WARNING: There are no photos of this.  Just inappropriate words and descriptions.  If you are my dad or pastor, you probably want to close this page now.

'Giner Shiners.

They happen.

Pretty much every week on a derby track near you.

It has happened to me.

More than once.

Because I have no shame or dignity left I'm going to speak candidly in order to help others who find themselves in this unexpected (and painful) predicament.

When you play a full contact sport and fall down as much as I do, you may get hurt by the very wheels you skate on.  Sometimes, you find a donut shaped bruise on your calf and remember you got kicked a little during scrimmage.  Or other times, you get a giraffe kick to the face while you are lying on the track. 

Then, there are those times where you fall on your own skate.  And it makes contact with your crotch.  And you are sure glad you decided to wear pants because otherwise there might have been penetration.

And THAT would be BAD. Very bad.

Falling on your own skate or that of another player has several colorful names. 'Giner Shiner. C__ Punt (not my favorite, but I've heard it used). Wheel bang. Baby Maker Violation.  Many others, I am sure.

It hurts like the dickens.  You may see stars.  Sometimes there is blood. 

You may hear someone scream, "I hurt my labia!"

or "That's gonna interfere with my evening activities."  Or maybe just a LONG string of words you can't say on television.

You may lie on the floor with your hands between your legs and tears streaming down your face remembering the time you rode Kenneth Wetzel's bike and slipped off the seat.  Or the time you didn't quite make it when you jumped over a fence.  Or the time you accidentally landed with the beam between your legs in gymnastics....

Ahem... moving right along....

It might take you an extra moment or two to get up.  And when your very MALE coach is asking what happened, you might squeak out, "Collateral damage."  And when he looks at you like you are a little nuts, you might slowly get up off the floor and skate straight for the bathrooms to grab your crotch and cry in the privacy of the ladies room.

It's going to swell.  So, get some ice on that sucker as soon as you can.  Shove it right down your pants.  If you get an ice pack from your league or the rink, for the love of St. Peter, please don't give it back.  Bring a couple of fresh ones to replace it the next time you are up there.

It may swell despite the swift application of ice.  You may be shocked at the enormity of the swelling the first morning. Especially if you injured yourself at night, fell asleep with an ice pack between your legs, and woke up thinking you peed in your bed thanks to the pinprick leak in the ice pack. If you wake up in the middle of the night, get more ice.  Maybe even set an alarm.  Just trust me on this one. 

And other than a nurse or doctor, you may just want to keep the viewing of that all to yourself. Just a tip. The whole area may blow up like a balloon that hangs halfway down your thigh. A huge, misshapen, bruised, bleeding balloon that you might accidentally try to sit on. 

Yeah, don't. 

Don't plan on sitting on a bench or a wooden chair for a few days either.  Just go get in your bed or on the couch; it makes life easier.  If you have to sit on something hard, employ the I'm-casually-leaning-to-one-side-so-as-to-rest-on-one-cheek method.  It will do in a pinch.  A Boppy pillow is not a bad thing either, although any preschooler in your life my give you grief over why you are sitting on their pillow.  You may decide it's not worth the possibility that they will push you off said pillow.  Not that my child would do that....

Also, you may want to forego pants.  I know they saved you from wheel penetration, but this is not the time for pants.  Dresses, skirts, gowns, and robes are the only way to go.  If you must leave the house because you need to go to work or the grocery store or possibly the cosmetic surgeon to have your lady parts reconstructed, carefully consider your undergarments.  The big, not cute ones in the back of the drawer from when you were two sizes bigger than you are now, pull those granny panties out.  They have room to accomodate the ice pack that you MUST continue to use.  Save the sexy, little things from VS for later.  This is no time for lace or thongs.

Liberal amounts of ibuprofen are good.  When I say liberal, I mean eight follow the directions for taking a higher dosage on the bottle.  Remember, I'm not a doctor.  I'm also not a great patient. 

If you have lacerations (cuts) from your private battle with a wheel or two, you need to make sure to keep it all clean, too.  If you have had a baby, you know what to do.  If you haven't, you need to get a clean squirt bottle and fill it with warm (I like hot) water.  Don't drink the water; squirt it on the swollen areas.  Use this to clean yourself each time you have to "powder your nose."  It might sting a little.  The hotter the water is, the better.  Drip for a bit.  And no wiping.  Pat dry.  Gently.  Then, apply witch hazel pads. Change the witch hazel pads several times a day.  You will thank me for that tip on the witch hazel pads.  And apply more ice.

You might also want to try a sitz bath.  That's where you run a couple of inches of hot water in the bathtub, and you sits in it.

Well, I thought it was funny....

During your sitz bath as you are sitting naked in the equivalent of a small puddle,  your kid comes in and asks if you want some more water.  And if you want some toys.  And can he have some candy.  The answer to all three is no.

You do not want to sit in the sitz bath all day.  Just a few minutes.  Maybe 10.  Then, get out, gently pat dry, and get some more ice.

In case you hadn't noticed, the magic ingredient throughout is ice.  One solid day of ice.  After one full day of ice, you can wean yourself off the frozen stuff, although you may want an ice pack in the morning and at the end of the day.  You should be nearly good as new in three days. It might take a week or two for the bruising to completely subside, and you may be sore for a while, too.   And a little skittish when anyone gets a little close to your crotch. 

After this experience, you might find yourself being extremely thankful that it didn't happen in a bout where 400 strangers would stare at you as you writhed in pain and then would clap as you got up holding your vagina.  Seriously, they would clap. And hold their hands up to make a special vagina symbol. And you would have to make the symbol back followed by a thumbs up. I'm sure that has played out on a track out there somewhere. Somewhere other than my mind. If not, I want ALL the royalties when they put that in the next derby movie.

Ice, ice, baby.  Peace out.

Monday, August 12, 2013

15% Lesbian is Nothing to Apologize for

I haven't told a derby story in a long while....

On Saturday night at HOQ, I watched a men's mashup and a WFTDA bout between our travel team (Fighting Unicorns) and the Cen-Tex Roller Girls.  In case you are wondering, white won the men's bout, and WE won the match-up over Cen-Tex.  Unexpectedly. By over 200 points.  Look out when we become full WFTDA members!  Whoot! Whoot!

My volunteer job that evening was to be a "Derby Girl in the Crowd."  This means I dressed a little bit derby spectacular (platform glitter gold heels, black and gold derby skins, and black House of Quad tee with a silver sequinned belt I snagged from RNR, and black and white stripped tights).  Plus, I wore a purple button that says "Ask Me".  My job was to mingle with the crowd and explain the game to people who were new to derby or had questions. 

I haven't done this job since we were in our old facility, but I used to do it fairly frequently.  I used to get assigned this job because I am apparently friendly and approachable.  Ha.  These people still haven't met me. 

It was a perfect job for me this time since my Derby Delinquent (basically my derby son), Side of Sausage was playing in the mashup, and his brother and some friends had come to watch derby for the first time.  They needed me to 'splain the rules to them.  So, I sat on the Sausage sofa and 'splained away to Rowdy and company.  I enjoyed getting to meet and chat with the family of part of my derby family.  :)

Late in my evening as I stood talking to Sausage, someone came up and smacked me on the butt.  I don't think I even flinched because that actually happens to me fairly frequently in derby.  Ya know, it's like what happens in football.  Only it is usually from someone I know.  And I probably wouldn't have even noticed if Sausage hadn't asked, "Do you know her?"

I didn't know her. But, you know, whatever.... 

Sausage and I continued our conversation about his injury to his hand, and then it was time for me to go home.

I started making my goodbyes.  Round about the merch table, up pops the butt smacker.  Turns out she is a friend of Sausage's brother who I hadn't met.  She felt the need to apologize and explain her gesture.  She didn't mean to offend me (I wasn't offended; I hardly noticed).  She wasn't hitting on me.  She just thought I looked great and wanted me to know (Thank you.  I appreciate the compliment.).  She told me she had seen me standing there all night and that she had thought to herself,  "That girl is sexy, and she knows it." (Huh.  Not really anywhere in my thought process. And I think she was really just picking up on my feeling comfortable in my surroundings).  She just thought someone should tell me.  And she decided it would have to be her. 

At this point she acknowledged that the whole conversation we were having was a little weird, "maybe 15% weird". 

I laughed and told her I thought she might be about 15% lesbian, too.  Which is not very politically correct of me, but it was really funny considering she kept saying how hot I was. 

Hysterically funny.  We both laughed. 

Then, she told me that she was going to go back and tell Sausage that she and I had decided to go on a date.   Not sure if she told him or not.  But that would have been extra hilarious.  I'll have to ask him.

Here's the thing.  15% lesbian should be okay. 

And don't go all nuts on me here. Listen to what I have to say first.  Then, you can go nuts if you like.

I'm not talking about sexuality here.  I'm talking about women expressing kind words to other women. Which was what the strange exchange between me and the butt-smacker was really all about.  We should be liberal with kind words about appearance.  About child rearing.  About careers.  About anything.

As women, we shouldn't feel like we need to explain to one another when we are offering a compliment, but we frequently do.  We often feel like we have to set the compliment up to avoid looking strange or odd (which actually makes it more strange and odd).

The 15% weird girl (I'm totally kidding) made me think about women and the way we talk to one another.    If we as women walking down the street or through the mall or across campus or through the aisles of the Krogert, would approach one another and simply say,

"I love your haircut."


"I saw you struggling with your kid, and I know it's hard and embarrassing for your kid to lose it in WalMart, but you really handled that well."


"You know.  You carry yourself very gracefully."

Whatever it is that you see in her.  Lifting each other up.  Not falling into the trap of comparison.  Really looking at each person as someone God made, loves, and thinks is beautiful.

If we as women all did that regularly, instead of the meowing that women sometimes do... it wouldn't be 15% weird. It would be 100% wonderful.

But if it is outside derby and comes with a smack on the butt, it might be 15% lesbian. And I can accept that compliment, too. 

Question:  Is this 15% offensive?  Do compliments make you uncomfortable?  Are you comfortable giving compliments?

Friday, August 9, 2013

From the Mouth of Bonus

A few conversations from the week...

"Mama, I can spell pernicious."

"Okay, let's hear it."

"P-U-R-N-I-S-H-U-S, I think."

"That's not quite right, but that's a big word. It's spelled like this [offers correct spelling]."

"Yeah, the E sounds like it shoud be an U."

pause in conversation.

"Ummm, [Bonus], do you know what pernicious means?

"Yeah, ancient, wicked damage."

"Ummm, pretty close, dude."

I walk away a little stunned at the vocabulary of my 7 year old.  How perfect that I have a son who delights in words in the same way I do.

A little later in the day...

I hand Bonus a bag of hot dog buns that are a little moldy and ask him to throw them out for me.  My hands were wet when I passed him the bag, but he didn't know that.

As he walks over to the pantry, he shivers and says, "Ew, these are so old that they produced wetness."

Produced.  What kind of kid says things like this? 

I tell him that he has a big vocabulary, and he asks me what a vocabulary is.  I explain that it is the group of words you have in your brain from where you choose what you will say or write. 

His face lights up, and he gives me his little puppy-dog-scratching-at-the-back-door-impression.  He walks out of the room repeating the word vocabulary to himself.

And finally,

"Mama, if they are setting up a paintball course do they make sure it is in a place where there are no wolves or mountain lions?"

"I have never played paintball.  It seems like that would be a good idea though."

He has the most random thoughts that seem to come out of absolutely nowhere.  I can never guess what may come out of his mouth at any given moment, and I am so curious about the thoughts that I know are constantly rolling through his little brain.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Naked + Fire Alarm = My Worst Nightmare Come True, Part Two

Sorry to make you wait.  That was a little mean.

I just had to get up from the computer for a bit.  I had really camped there for quite some time. 

Back to my tale....  if you missed the first half, go here.

So, the Europeans and I step out of the elevator on Floor 61.  And I immediately get a sick feeling.

Remember my first mistake?

I had just realized that I did not have a key to my room.

My key was on the dresser.  Next to the lanyard.  Not in the lanyard.  I doubled checked my wallet and purse to make sure.  Yup, no key.  I'm going to have to go down to registration to get a new key.  Which means I will have to cross the paths of at least a thousand more people.

I press the down arrow and wait for my elevator to arrive.  I towel-dry my hair a bit while I wait. 


The doors open, I enter, and I realize the same old derby dude is in the same elevator.  AGAIN.  And he winks at me.  Haven't I been through enough already?  I pull the towel over my chest and cross my arms over it.  Fortunately, we only stop twice before reaching the lobby floor.

I make my way past the steakhouse, tattoo parlor, childrens' shop, ABC store, and smaller casino toward registration.  See, I wasn't kidding about the thousand people.

When I arrive at the registration desk, I find a line of about 150 people.  Who all simultaneouly stare at me.  And my bralessness.  At least that's what it felt like. 

Crap.  I wasn't going to stand there like that for another hour. 

Then, I remember a wonderful little detail.  I had given my friend Baronness von Booty a key to my room, so that she could throw her skates in there between sessions.  Unfortunately, she was staying at a different hotel and had headed over there to hang out by the pool and then ready herself for our night out.

I texted Booty, briefly explained what had happened, and told her I was on my way over.

Which means I was heading out to the Strip.  Like that.  I know it's Vegas, but it's also me.  And I feel naked. And bouncy.  And wet.

I decide I will find a restroom, get my bra out of my purse, and put it on my body.  Great idea!

I head toward the large casino which leads to the doors nearest to Booty's hotel in search of the elusive restroom.

If you have ever been to Vegas, or any large hotel for that matter, you know that in the maze of the hotel floor you can easily miss things like restrooms.  Even though you know that they are coming up on the left.  Somewhere.  Was it by the pool bar or by the Wizard of Oz slot machines?

As I reach the doors that lead out of my hotel without finding the restroom, I decide it's better to keep moving forward.  Did I mention that my heart has not stopped beating a mile a minute yet?  It was still pounding.  Still adrenaline pulsing through my veins.

I step out into the bright 106 degree sunlight of the Strip.  And realize my sunglasses are on the dresser next to my keys.  Sigh.

Heading toward Booty's hotel, I start to feel a little parched.  I reach into my purse for lip balm.  Which is, of course, in my backpack that I left in the hotel room because there was a possible fire and you should just grab the minimum (like your ID and key) as you exit. 

So, I'm strolling down the Strip squinting, braless, with chapped lips, wet hair, holding a hotel towel....  In other words, I pretty much fit right in.

I pass a CVS and duck in to buy lip balm and deodorant.  Because the stress of the situation is really starting to show, or should I say smell, in my armpits. 

I finally arrive at Booty's hotel room where I put on the bra, deodorant, and balm.  Booty says I look like I could use a drink, and I let her lead me to the pool where Styx and Whip are lounging on chaises.  Booty wanders off to buy me a pina colada, and I sit at the end of Styx's chair, allow my heart to (finally) slow down, and sip its cool sweetness in. 

After about an hour of chillin' by the pool, we decide it is time to get ready.  Booty double checks to make sure she has given me my key and that I know where it is.  I head back. 

And you better believe as soon as I get in my room, I put one key in the lanyard and one key in my purse.  Who knows what I might be doing the next time there is a fire alarm?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Because we need a laugh today...Naked + Fire Alarm = My Worst Nightmare Come True

After yesterday's serious post, some of you need a little levity. I know I do. 

I endeavor to bring it before this post is over.  Hang in there. 

First, you need a little backstory though.

On the Friday afternoon of RollerCon 2013 after watching some fantastic high level derby on the main track, I headed back to my hotel room to shower and have a power nap before we embarked on another evening of fun on the Strip.  Once safely triple-locked in the privacy of my room, I threw my hotel key on the dresser instead of putting it back in the pouch on my lanyard as I had since Wednesday.

First mistake.

I procrastinated for a few minutes. I had a drink of water.  I looked at GroupMe on my phone and caught up with my derby peeps back home and in Vegas.  I might have read a few updates on Facebook.  Checked my email.  I looked through my RollerCon guide to see what classes and bouts were scheduled for Saturday.  I read a few ads and then picked up the book I was reading (Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford) and quickly got caught up in the story of Henry and Keiko during the Japanese internment.  

Big mistake.  Huge.

After several engaging chapters I started to nod off a little and finally decided I needed to clean up or get to napping.  I decided I would rest better if I was clean. 

Usually if I am in a hotel, I will figure out what I am going to wear before I get in the shower.  I'll lay it out on the bed.  Bra, panties, outfit all waiting for me when I get out.  But since I was focused on getting clean and tired, I didn't.

Number three.

I hopped in the shower.  I started by washing my face.  Then, I moved on to washing my hair, which was recently dyed a fabulous royal blue by my amazingly talented teammate, Dynamo Yo.

If you have never had your hair dyed with vibrant color, you might not know that the first couple of times you wash your hair, the color can get all over you and all over the shower.  Yeah, I was a quickly turning into a smurf.  I turned my attention to my back and chest, so I wouldn't be blue.  Literally.

I had just finished returning my skin to its normal flesh color when I thought heard something.

I turned off the water, and then I was sure.

Yep, it was an alarm.  A fire alarm.  And I was naked.  And dripping wet.  With unshaved legs.

I wrapped my head in a towel to prevent the blue dye from redepositing itself on my skin. 

The alarm continued, and it seemed to get louder. And more frequent.

I towelled off my body--sorta.  Reached in the closet and tore the tags off the new red dress I was going to wear that evening and pulled it over my head.  Of course, it stuck to me.  Then, I rummaged through my suitcase for a pair of clean panties.  I had packed too much (as usual), and it took me a minute to locate a pair.  I stepped into them and tried to pull them up against my still moist skin.  I looked like Bonus trying to put his pajamas on after a bath without drying first.  Yeah, it was a wrestling match with jumping and bunching, etc.  I'm so glad there was no one there to witness the ridiculousness. 

The panty wrestling had taken longer than it should have, and the fire alarm continued sounding.  I had hoped for an announcement that it was a false alarm, but it hadn't come.  The fire could be close.  It could be huge.  I knew I needed to get out of there and fast.  My heart was pounding.  I located my strapless bra and shoved it in my purse along with my phone. 

Mistake cuatro.  Treinta y cuatro DD. 

Slipped my feet into my flipflops.  On my way out the door I hung my lanyard around my neck.  I turned left and headed for the stairs.  I always check for the location of the exits as soon as I locate my room, and I was thankful for my OCD in this area because I was prepared in an emergency.  Scoffers keep scoffing... 

It was fairly quiet when I entered the stairwell, but I could hear a few people making their way to the ground floor.  When I was about half a flight down, a European couple entered from the same doorway I had.  They told me that they were glad I knew where to go because they had blindly followed me down the hall and into the stairwell.  They said they had been napping when the alarm went off.  They asked me what the alarm was for, and we began to make our way down...


Or somewhere along those lines.  I was on floor sixty-one (which has nothing to do with the actual floor you are on--it has to do with which tower you are in).  I think the ground floor was 42, but I can't be certain.  No matter the number of floors, it was a long way down with my hair in a towel, my panties off center, and my boobs bra-lessly bouncing.  I'm sure I was a real spectacle.

The Europeans and I chatted about this being their first trip to Vegas and I told them I was visiting for roller derby. Which they were unfamiliar with.  So I schooled them a little.  And admitted that it was most likely the shenanigans of one of the RollerCon attendees that had caused us to be traipsing (at a moderate clip) half-dressed down so many flights of stairs.  I apologized profusely for derby people everywhere.

About nine stories down, the alarm ceased.  A voice came through the speakers and told us that the tower had been checked, that there was no danger, and we could return to our previous activities.

Whew!  Crisis averted!

The Europeans and I decided we would take the elevator back up to floor 61.  We had a good bit of company.  Who noticed right off the bat that I had been in the shower when the alarm sounded.  Some disagreed with my need to don clothing before leaving my room.  One particularly forward elderly derby geezer posited that it would have made his day had I left my room sans clothing.   

Step off, dude.  And in your dreams.  But thanks for thinking I'm attractive, I think?

Anyway, the Europeans and I finally return to floor 61.

You think this story is over, but you are wrong...

Come back tomorrow to find out what happens when I get off the elevator.

Don't you just hate it when people do that?  Me, too!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

When your circle gets a little smaller

I had just finished up a long, hot shower.  I was freshly dressed.  My hair was still in a towel when I heard the phone ringing. 

Five minutes earlier I would have missed the call.  I nearly did anyway, as I have a new phone and don't yet recognize its ring.  I caught it seconds before it would have gone to voicemail.

It was 8:12 am Vegas time on Sunday, August 4.  When I looked at the name of the caller, I already knew.

I said, "Hey" and she said hello and asked if I had already spoken with another of our friends.  Then, I asked her if Jennifer had died.  My friend told me she had died just a little earlier that morning. 

We sat in silent shock for a moment.

A lump rose in my throat. I choked it down with a few tears.  I wanted to cry, but I couldn't because this moment wasn't really for me. This moment was for the friend on the phone who was closer to Jennifer.  She needed a moment where she could cry and talk about how she had seen Jennifer just the day before.  Jennifer had trouble speaking that day, and while I think my friend knew it was just a matter of time, we all thought the time would be longer.  We always think it will be longer.  People were making calendars to sit with her on different days when the kids went back to school.  Friends from her high school and college days were trying in earnest to get here to see her one more time.  It just didn't work out that way.

I'm not going to tell you that Jennifer and I were great friends. We weren't.  We were neighborhood moms in the same support circle.  Our oldest children are in the same class and starting high school together in a few short weeks. We survived the early years of elementary school together. We went out to dinner with the same friends. We sat in friends' homes and chatted. We attended birthday parties and direct sell parties together.  We offered and received advice on marriage and child rearing.  We worried about our childrens' choices in friends.  We lamented the overload of homework in 4th grade.  When we chatted, Jennifer and I frequently had dissenting opinions, and right now I can see her bewildered face when I disagreed with her on something.  Trying to figure out how I could believe so differently from her.  Even though we didn't always agree, it was okay.  We just picked up from there and gave each other a warm hello the next time we passed one another in the hallways at school or in a friend's kitchen or living room or in the grocery store.  Jennifer had a huge smile, a large laugh, a knockout thin body, a large appreciation for good margaritas, and a passion for fitness.  Everyone in our neighborhood at least knew of her because she had taught water aerobics, yoga, and pilates in our community center before she went back to work at Mary Kay.  If you passed her on the trails in our community, she would give you great encouragement to finish your workout strong.          

This had been Jennifer's second battle with breast cancer, and it was cut unbelievably, unceremoniously short.  She was just rediagnosed at the tail end of June.  However, when the second diagnosis was received, her body was already riddled with cancer.  In her bones. In her liver.  In the lining of her lung.  Last summer following the double mastectomy, she had been pronounced cancer free.  Her reconstruction surgery was just last fall.  When the cancer decided to come back, it came back with a fiery vengeance.

It feels like we had just learned that the cancer was back, and now, she is gone.  I had just asked my Sunday School class to pray for her and her family a few Sundays ago because she said she didn't need meals or anything.  She just needed prayer. 

Now, she needs nothing.  She believed in Jesus Christ and followed Him.  I am certain she sits in glory.   I am so thankful to know that as we go on to celebrate her life in its final ceremonies on Wednesday and Thursday.

Her husband and boys, however, need comfort, love, and prayers, and they will continue in that need for a long time. I know the boys will also need rides to school and football practice. Help with homework.  Understanding when the oldest loses his cool in his first few days of high school.  Acceptance at the middle school where awkward preteens don't know what to do or say and teachers don't know the family.  Patience at the elementary school where teachers have a classroom full of young children.

And I know my circle of moms will be there to step in.  Like they have so many times for me.  Like they did when my friend on the phone was going through her own battle with breast cancer.  Just like they did when another neighborhood mom died of breast cancer, another mom suffered a severe stroke, when one was lost to melanoma, when divorces happened, when miscarriages devastated, when children were ill, and on and on.  It's our responsibilty and our privilege.  As moms we may not always see eye-to-eye, but we do see heart-to-heart.