Friday, November 30, 2007

I'm no Star Trek fan, but it's like this...

The following should be imagined in the voice of Captain Kirk:

"Need to clean.... Must...tear...myself...away from... computer!"

"AAaaahhh, can't... fight... the force which... holds me ... captive in... this... chair!"

"Floor... so... dirty... must vacuum!"

"Yet, Amazon.... might... hold... the key... to a perfect.... Christ-mas...Arrrgghh!"

Stay tuned for the next episode... Will enough power be summoned to break the phenomenal force controlling all upward mobility in order to fight the restraints of the computer desk?... Or is our hero doomed to failure... A fate in which the grime prevails?

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Massacre at Snowman Corral... OR... Frosty's Gone Postal*

It's that time of year again, the season of giant parachutes collapsed in brightly colored heaps on the front lawns of suburbia.

I'm no scrooge, I enjoy the self expression of the holidays as it pertains to both the interior and the exterior of a home... But c'mon folks... Have you any idea whatsoever as to how white trash, a series of giant deflated characters littered across your lawn appear? When I'm witness to such carnage, the following conversation comes to mind... "Sorry neighbor, my garbage must of tipped over with the wind last night and blew across your yard. As you can plainly see we had Christmas Elf with a side of Rudolph for dinner last night... Here, just let me clear those carcasses for ya!"

I passed a home in our neighborhood this morning with not just one, not two, not three but FOUR giant deflated snowmen littered across the lawn. It looked like mortal combat had ensued during the midnight hour, the frost upon the grass appearing as the over spray of bodily fluids, from Frosty and his enemies. Kids shouldn't be witness to such horror... Hell, I can scarcely stomach it before breakfast.


*This ad paid for by a generous grant from the society for the preservation of decent holiday decor.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Ode to a Dying Curling Iron (*and yes, I'm 43 yrs. old and I still use a curling iron!)

Yesterday there were no signs of your impending demise. You were one HOT rod!

Today, with the first curl I knew something was terribly wrong... No heat, but surely I turned you on?

Yet, as I carefully lifted you from the counter for closer inspection your light began to glow... Hope, glorious hope that all was well... Only to have you reveal that your light was sputtering and fading.

C'mon, not today... I have places to go, people to see!

I lay you down gently and your light flickers on... YES! One good curl... I gently lay you down again, turning your body gingerly so as to catch the blessed flicker... YES! Two good curls. We continue this dance, each time I finish a curl and allow your body to rest once more, you become more dim. I complete the much needed 5th and last curl before your light dims once more. I gently unplug you and cover your aged body with a hand towel (no not really, but I'm going with a theme here.)

Rest in peace dear curling iron.

Now I must add a trip to Wal-Mart into my travels today, so I can start up a whole new relationship... One with lots of bouncy ~~~~~~~curls!

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Because some things are just too important NOT to be shared...

Japanese Binocular Soccer

Because without this kind of innovative thinking, life is just plain boring!

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Monday, November 26, 2007

24 yrs. ago Today...

24 yrs. ago Today I married the man I knew I was going to spend the rest of my life with.

I wasn't nervous, not in the least... I just wanted to 'get to it, already'... Get it done, get married and start a new life... Wake up each morning with the man I love beside me.

The wedding was corny, the ceremony unexceptional... The song, sung by a friend of ours seemed to go on FOREVER! We stood there holding hands, looking into eachothers eyes trying desperately not to laugh because we felt so conspicuous, so self-conscious, so down-right goofy! When you have that many people just sitting there, watching you, it kinda feels like you should give 'em some sort of song and dance... They had the song, but we're no dancers, as our guests witnessed later at the reception, when we awkwardly shuffled back and forth, trying once again not to be too conspicuous. We freely admit that we had the lamest wedding either of us has ever attended... My mother, heavily medicated over having to share the same air space with my father. My step-sister bridesmaid made her statement with a bleach blond mowhawk she had done just before the wedding... My step-mother dressed in a black suit, so she could make her feelings over our union loud and clear... Between the factions at war on my side of the family and the seething emotions my new relations had for certain members in attendance it's a wonder WWIII didn't break out. It was stressful, it was awkward and it most certainly wasn't like anything I'd read about in my bridal magazines.

However, whatever our wedding day lacked in normalcy, the most important part of it was our becoming husband and wife. Because it's not really about the day... It's about the life... How we deal with the day to day joys, sorrows, delight & frustrations. We've weathered them well and 24 yrs. from now I plan to be recalling with contentment, just how much further we've come... Together!

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Rockin' it like I'm 15...

One thought came to mind as I enjoyed the concert last night... No, two... Two thoughts... No, three... Yes, three thoughts stood out in my mind...

1. It must be such an incredibly awesome feeling to write a song and then have 10,000 people sing it back to you or along with you as you perform it... And I wonder, does that incredible feeling make up for the fatigue of being on the road for months at a time?... The isolation of fame?... The lecherous scum known as the paparazzi trying to catch you at your worst?

2. After everyone gets paid... the venue, the roadies, the tech guys, the ticket handlers, the bus drivers, the security guys, etc... Does each performer make out as well as we imagine? I mean, there were 4 bands performing, each with at least 4 members and each of them had roadies and handlers and buses and hotels etc. etc. etc.

3. Mosh pits??? I just don't GET it?

Oh, and a fourth thought... That's it, I swear...

4. Did concerts get louder? I mean, when I was younger they were loud but at least when a performer spoke into a mic you could understand what they were saying... Not so much last night. Could it be, the next generation just trying to one up us on decibels?

Here's some pics of the concert:

Sorry no pics from the group - 'Cute is what we aim for'
(and hey, too bad, I thought the lead singer aimed pretty high and made it... my daughter sadly, didn't agree, though we both thought he could use a haircut.) We were able to see the band members pretty close up because we brought binoculars. Yes... Yes, we are geeks!

Here's a pic of 'The Plain White Tees'
... The did a great job with the song 'Hey there Delilah'
Next 'Gym Class Heroes' performed
What's not to like about this group... The lead singer 'Travis McCoy' has a Will Smith quality to him... He's talented, he can laugh at himself and best of all he was the one performer last night that gave a shout out to all of the parents at the concert... Thanks Travis! Not only that but they're taking MY old music (Supertramp) and making it cool again!
(On a side note Travis is like the tallest dude on the tour... With all the short performers he must feel like a friggin' giant!)

Finally the band we couldn't wait to see... Fall Out Boy! The cheers were deafening and I was hoarse and deaf by the end of the evening. They were spot on as good Live as they are recorded. They played a few of their older pieces which I wasn't familiar with but 'Dance Dance', 'Arms Race' 'I'm like a Lawyer' and 'Thks fr th mmrs' were fantastic! Fortunately for my daughter and her friend, (who are shall we say, 'Pete obsessed') our seats were on the side of the stage where 'Pete Wentz' spent most of his time... He wasn't moving around too much due to the 'rocker boot/leg cast' supporting his broken foot. Regardless of the broken foot the band was simply awesome!

Probably the best shot of Pete's 'boot'.

The band goes acoustic with 'Golden'

And what's a concert without some pyrotechnics?

*For those of you who read this blog for my somewhat witty repartee' regarding life as a 43 yr. old wife and mother of two... Well, I'm not always that mature... Today, I'm like a 15 yr. old who just went to a concert and saw some of her favorite music performed... I'm sure this just kills it for 'Fall Out Boy' fans everywhere.


Monday, November 12, 2007

Hold on to your Copper, folks!

Our dear friends Lori & 'The Captain' have had their fare share of bad luck for oh let's say the past... Well, for about as long as we've known them... Which has been about 4 yrs. now.

Really, I'm not kidding... That LONG!
In fact Lori told me just this morning that she couldn't understand how we could still hang out with them for fear that some of it just might rub off on us. She said if the shoe were on the other foot, they wouldn't walk, they'd RUN away! I told her we seemed to be okay so far but if it appeared that her prediction was coming true... Well, it's been nice knowing ya.

Some of the events our friends have had to deal with are quite tragic and far too personal to mention here, but most of them are just plain old rotten luck of the most unfortunate kind. Case in point: Our friends have been trying to sell their beautiful 110 yr. old victorian home for a little over 2 yrs. now. Struggling to carry two mortgages after the collapse of the housing market which coincided with the purchase of the home their in now. True, my husband and I would've NEVER taken the risk of even looking for a new home until we sold the one we were in, but Lori & The Captain?... Well, they're kind of 'Fly by the seat of your pants' people. Crazy, Insane, kinda Reckless which is, I guess, why we're so intrigued by them.

Anyway, during the two years of trying to sell their house, which I can't stress how beautiful it is, I'm not kidding! They've gone through... is it 3 or 4 realtors?... And a stretch of trying to sell the house themselves. One of their realtors was an old guy, (ready to retire) whose method of selling a home involved well, pretty much nothing and I don't think that was working for him... Nor was it working for our friends. They then found a young excited realtor... A really gung-ho kind of guy with lots of plans and a self professed love of the property he was selling for our friends. Then he up and disappeared, perhaps abducted by aliens? Perhaps living a life on the lam? Even his wife didn't know what happened to him... Yes believe it, he vanished in thin air and oddly enough, I don't think his last name was Houdini. We met this guy at a dinner party not long after our friends signed the contract to have him represent them. He seemed pretty nice, quite normal but now... Now he's vapor!

So here it is November 2007... Our friends FINALLY find a buyer. They haven't wanted to discuss the fact that they've accepted an offer because the people that are buying the house are robbing them blind after several counter offers. However, at this point our friends have little choice, they're broke and they simply MUST unload the beautiful house they put so much hard work, money and tlc into. They're scheduled to close on the home this coming Thursday.

All of this leads me to the dumb luck part of the story... Wait, you know, the term 'dumb luck' doesn't even apply here... 'Dumb Luck' would imply there was at least some form of 'Luck' involved... And truth be told, there's absolutely NOT one ounce of luck involved here. In fact, let's just call our friends completely Shit out of Luck!... Because last night 'The Captain' received a call from their realtor who told him there was a water leak at the house. 'The Captain' was busy on a job and called to ask if we could go check it out with his wife Lori. We all raced over to the house, my husband arriving first and waded into the foot and half deep water covering the basement floor of a house which is currently without electricity, heat and NOW water! When Lori and I arrived with wrench in tow we managed to get the water main valve from the street shut off to the house as water was flowing into said basement at a rapid rate. Not being entirely familiar with the pipes of the old victorian home my husband wasn't sure what was causing the leak. However, once we got the main shut off, Lori made her way into the newly formed basement pool, my husband holding a flashlight high above his head for optimal viewing. From where I stood outside, by the bilco doors I could hear her shout, "Somebody stole our *&@%-ing pipes, I can't believe they stole our *@%-ing pipes!!!!" Sure enough, someone had indeed stolen their pipes! Cut them right out... All this 4 days before finally going to close on the house!

Eventually a guy from the water company stopped by and we informed him we'd gotten the water main shut off. He wasn't the least surprised about the stolen pipes. Said there's a rash of this type of theft taking place due to the high cost of copper. "And that's not all." He said, "Aluminum is fetching a pretty penny too, there have been vandals ripping the gutters and siding right off of houses in broad daylight." We heard from one of our friends neighbors, who came out to see what all the commotion was about, that a local youth with a drug problem had been arrested for stealing the 150 yr. old bricks right out of the sidewalks because they're worth money too! Apparently, he got pretty far along on the job, because instead of stealing bricks, passers by just figured he was laying them. I know I'd think the same thing if I saw someone ripping gutters off the side of a house in broad daylight... I'd just figure someone was replacing their gutters, wouldn't you?

So, as it stands... The good news is, the water in the basement has receded (hooray for old brick floor basements and a drought filled year.) What puddles were left were cleaned up by 'The Captain' and his insurance restoration gear. Bad new is, there's no insurance on the house... I guess things got so tight, they just couldn't afford it anymore. The Captain and my husband are currently out purchasing new pipe, which they'll try to hook back up this evening and hopefully the plumbers will arrive by Wednesday to complete the somewhat delicate operation of getting it all hooked up to the heating system. The Captain says he's going to include a note on the new pipes that reads:

Take all the pipe you want... After Thursday!

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Sunday, November 11, 2007

He's here all week folks...

My son holds up an empty package of mini size M& M's and says:

"You know what I don't understand?... 'Fun Size' candies!... How is this fun?"

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Saturday, November 10, 2007

Note to my 7th grade Sewing Teacher

Dear Ms. B,

Perhaps this note is a tad premature, as I haven't finished my sewing project quite yet... BUT, I just HAD to let you know that I might have finally moved past that 'D' grade you gave me in your class. True, the wrap around skirt you tortured me into creating was a logistical disaster but that was only because Susie Krogh (the little backstabber) told me the tension setting on my sewing machine should be set to 1. I know, I know, I should've been listening during that part of the lesson but my attention was elsewhere and I was too timid to raise my hand for fear you would snap at me. Of course, in retrospect that would've been much easier to deal with than the week of lunch hours I spent tearing out microscopic stitches with my seam ripper.... But I digress.

Tonight I began sewing banners for a decorating project for our towns Christmas Festival. I've not yet completed the 8 banners I've committed to completing by next week but I just want you to know that I ROCK! My seams are fairly straight, not only that but I checked my bobbin BEFORE it ran out of thread, wound a NEW bobbin AND re-threaded my machine in RECORD time! I'm sure to you that may seem a small victory but to ME, Ms. Best it's like achieving the title of head-seamstress to the Queen!

I didn't want to take up too much of your time... And I really MUST get back to my project, but I just HAD to stop and let you know that I was thinking of you.


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Friday, November 09, 2007

Guess it's just a 'Dad' thing...

Dad: "So are you excited about this concert you're going to next week?"

Daughter: "Yeah!"

Dad: "You're going to see 'Far Out Boys', right?"

Daughter: (immense eye rolling) "NO Daaaaad, we're going to see 'Fall Out Boy'!"

Dad: "Who? 'Fall Over Boys'?"

Daughter: (louder) "I said, FAaaallll... Ouuuuuutttt... Boyyyyyyy!!!"

Dad: "Oh, I see... 'Fall Out Boys'... Let me get this straight, they sing that song 'Skater Boy'... Right?"

Daughter: (clearly disgusted) "No Daaaad, you're thinking of 'Avril Lavigne'... 'Fall Out BOY' sings 'Thanks for the memories' and a bunch of other songs I like!"

Dad: "Oh, so who's in the group 'Avril Lavigne'?

Daughter: (throws hands up in the air and walks out of the room.)

Mom: "Why do you do that to her? You KNOW who 'Fall Out Boy' is AND you KNOW 'Avril Lavigne' is a female artist who sings 'Sk8tr Boy.'

Dad: "Because I'm having fun playing the part of 'Clueless Dad."

Mom: "You mean to tell me, when my dad pulled that crap with me it was all an act?"

Dad: "Yeah... At least I'm pretty sure it was when MY dad used to do it to ME."

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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

And I Got This Cool FREE Gift Too!

I DID IT! I finally got a Mammogram! Here's my *squish by squish* recall of the whole event.

I walked to the 'Breast Health Center' at the hospital which, handy enough, is right down the block from the clay studio where I hang out ... It seemed the 'healthier' thing to do! The lady behind the desk who greeted me was just as friendly and sweet as could be. I filled out the required paperwork and informed her I was a first-timer to this whole mammogram thing... I wanted to say I was 'Mammogram Virgin' but there were nuns in the waiting room and I wasn't sure the comment would go over well. The kind lady welcomed me and I sat down and sucked on one of the free mints which were sitting in a bowl beside my chair.

After a while a pretty young technician called my name and escorted me to a small room where a few women were seated. She handed me a 'cape', told me to undress from the waist up and put the cape on with the snap in the front. I was able to change behind a curtain and place my clothes and purse into a 'Disneyland' style locker in which I could lock up my stuff, remove the key and wear it on my wrist fur the duration of the exam. As for the 'cape'... Imagine if you will a GIANT handkerchief with a single snap at the neck, which allows for full ventilation so your 'girls' can swing freely. Most of the women in the room, myself included, spent much of the time clutching our capes so as to create sleeves at our sides so the 'twins' might stay hidden from view... Tug too hard to create a sleeve though and you end up with the 'twins' flashing a full frontal view. It was like a new game 'Try to hide the boobies'... We were all losing.

The nice part about this second little waiting room was well, for one, it was more intimate... I mean how could it not be with all the boob flashing... But more importantly it had HGTV! What woman can be bored when pretty rooms are flashing across the tv screen? Certainly NOT me! The ladies in the room that might not have cared for interior design, stared at the tv as though deeply enthralled, lest someone think they were too interested in catching an eyeful of mammary.

I must admit, I don't do well in tense situations. I tend to work on quashing anxiety with humor... So I proceeded to 'do my thing' whilst watching 'Decorating Cents'... A show where a room is redecorated on a $500 budget. There's always a segment in the show when they go to the house of a woman who just can't seem to make her room 'Work' or another way of putting would be to say... She just can't get her *shit* together so it fits in a room comfortably. So we nervous 'Mammo Ladies' are sitting watching the show when 'Joan Stefand' (the shows hostess) announces, "The wing back chairs were too heavy for this room but found some chairs we pulled from another room in the house which fit the scale of the room more appropriately... Instead of the heavy ottoman a glass top table was found elsewhere in the home which made the room more open." That's when I piped up with... "You know, I'm not sure I buy the fact that every time they do this segment they find a perfect item for the room they're working on somewhere else in the house... If they were to come to my house, I'm quite certain they'd look in the other rooms and say aloud, "Nope! nothing but crap in here!" My attempt at brevity mustered a few giggles and prompted the woman seated next to me to ask where I lived. We exchanged pleasantries and I found my audience. From that point on, nearly every goofy comment I made had her laughing. I joked about our 'airy frocks' being all the rage, as everyone seemed to be wearing one and shared with her my previously withheld comment of being a 'Mammo Virgin' (there weren't any nuns in the tv room.) I noticed at one point that my new friend was holding a foam pad in her hand and asked her what it was... She told me it was for the procedure and they told her to hang onto it while they checked her films, in case they needed another 'shot'. I told her I thought it looked like a mouse pad and she chuckled.

Eventually my name was called and my new friend wished me luck... I proceeded to ANOTHER room where I stood next to a tall machine which I correctly assumed was THE MASHER! The technician asked me a few questions, made a few notes... I tried to remember if it was 2 or 3 years since my hysterectomy and could barely recall how long it's been since my reduction surgery. Once again I shared that it was my 'First Time'... This gal seemed rather humorless so I chose not to go into my shtick. The technician opened a cupboard and pulled out a foam pad just like the one my new friend was holding onto. She then positioned the pad on the plate of the machine... OH, I see, it's a little pillow for my breast to rest on... How Nice! Then she took two little stickies out of her pocket and put one over each of my nipples... The middle of the 'stickie' had a tiny metal ball, I presume this was to spot the location of the nipple on the x-ray. She spent a few minutes working on trying to position my body correctly... Always a hassle for me, "Do you mean MY right, or YOURS?" Once I assumed the perfect stance she mechanically lowered a clear plastic plate upon my breast... I think it was the right one first... I waited for the intense discomfort I'd been expecting for the last Oh, 3 years or so and........ Nothing! Okay, maybe the sensation that the skin from my neck was being tugged on but boob wise... NOTHING! No Pain, No Discomfort... The technician asked me if I was okay... I probably surprised her with my over zealous outburst of, "YEAH, I'M PERFECT, JUST GREAT, NO PROBLEM." She told me to hold my breath, I heard a brief buzz from the machine and viola! My first film was done. I then decided to go for a laugh and I got one, when I told her I was glad she'd told me when I could breathe again. I then shared with her the true story of when my sister got her first mammogram, a couple of years ago. She passed out twice because as she said, "They didn't tell me when I could breathe again... So I held my breath so long I began hyperventilating and passed out, not once, but TWICE!" Now, my sister can be kinda ditzy sometimes but to her credit, she has implants and apparently it's much more difficult to manage a mammogram with a big silicon filled airbag blocking the view of the breast tissue. Anyway, when I shared this little story with my technician she couldn't suppress a smile and a face full of wide-eyed disbelief, "Really, she passed out?"

Anyway, 4 breast smooshes and I was done. The technician handed me my 'mouse pad' and asked me to wait in the tv room... So I hung on to my pad and tried to wrap my cape safely around my cold boobs. My new friend was all smiles when I shared with her my disbelief at how easy the whole thing was... That was when one of the technicians opened the door and asked my new friend back for some more 'squishing'... That's when I got a little worried for her. Hmmmm?, I thought to myself... Maybe she just moved at the wrong moment or something?... Maybe they didn't get her positioned correctly? She returned after a few minutes and I joked that it was good she'd held on to that 'mousepad'... I started joking with her that I was going to take mine home and present it to my son, "Look Zak, I got you a new mousepad!"... Only after he accepted it, would I tell him what it really was... She loved that one, it really got her laughing!... And we waited... Once again becoming, or pretending to be, completely enthralled with the tv. As we watched 'Candace Olson' turn what was once a ratty area into a stunning room fit for, well, fit for people who have a helluva lot of money to spend on home decor. All the while the door to the little tv room opened again and again with ladies coming in to receive their 'capes' and directions to undress and utilize the lockers.

Eventually the technician that was working with my new friend stepped in and asked her to go ahead and get dressed and after she was done they had someone for her to talk to. OH Man, I thought, this can't be good? She smiled the whole time as she made her way to her locker behind the curtain and that's when I couldn't help but feel we were all on trial... Each of us in our little capes, awaiting a sentence... Some of us would get off, but we'd be back in a year... And some of us had already been through the system, like the lady with the barely there hair and the woman who could only look forlornly at the magazine in her hand. It was probably another 5 or 10 minutes before a technician opened the door to the tv room and said to me, "Everything looks great, we'll see you in a year."

I went out to the main lobby where my friend Lori was waiting for me... She'd had a very busy day, but arrived just after I'd been called to the back. They'd told me when she arrived and it means more to me than words could possibly convey that she sat on the other side of that wall supporting me, because she knew I was scared. We passed my new friend as we were leaving the 'Breast Health Center'... My new friend smiled at me, reached out her hand and placed it on my arm and brightly said, "Are you okay?" I said, "Yes, and you?" She said, "Oh, I'll be fine."

I sure hope so.

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Thursday, November 01, 2007

Because I NEVER go back on my word...

So it was the end of September when my husband and I had a conversation relating to my breasts... We don't speak of them often, most of the time they're just kinda there, ya know? However, my husband thought it was time I FINALLY get a Mammogram... UGH! "I know, I know!" I said. You see, I'm 43 now and I've yet to go through the process which was once described to me in an e-mail as comparative to 'Laying down on the garage floor and having my husband run over them with the rear tire of his car.'.... Uh, sure, ya... I'll get right on that, when can I get an appointment?

I'm really not that big of a baby when it comes to pain... I've given birth twice, had 2 episiotomies in the process, ouch!... I've had my uterus removed and an ovary along with it... AND I've had both my nipples sliced off, my breasts cut open, 7 1/2 lbs. of excess boob taken out and had the whole damn thing sewn all back together again! It kind of freaks people out when I tell them my nipples once rested on a table beside me and were then sewn back on with a hefty needle and some strong thread. I was unconscious the entire time so I couldn't tell you my thoughts on the procedure. All I can say is, there was post-surgical pain involved but the results were SO worth the new 'Large B/Small C' size cup vs. the 'G' size cup I had prior to surgery. I used to say the 'G' stood for, "Good God can they Get any bigger?"

So this all leads me to the FEAR of having someone pull, squish, crush and mash my chest, laden with scar tissue, that to this day can still, at times ache... Not to mention how uncomfortable it can be for ones nipples in a cold movie theater. BUT, I made a promise to my husband! I told him I would schedule my first mammogram during October aka Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Okay, so I waited UNTIL the LAST day of Breast Cancer Awareness Month to actually SCHEDULE the damn thing but I DID IT! On Tuesday the 6th 'round about 2:30 in the afternoon I'll have that proverbial tire crushing my delicate mammaries. But I made a promise and I NEVER go back on my word!