T-Shirt Friday – Breast Cancer Awareness

in keeping with the recent theme of “breast cancer awareness”, here’s my contribution to T-Shirt Friday, around a fun sliver of the blogopolis…  expect there will be a few folks playing along, including nursemyra, silverstar, sylvied and perhaps queen of breast support, olga the traveling bra!  Oh, and though technically not a t-shirt, the lovely dolce has popped a new twist to the game!

 Don't let cancer steal second base...

yesterday’s post has the message.  as for the shirt?  was getting my nails painted last week, and a salesman for “hair saloon” paraphenalia wandered in to deliver hair products and nail polish to the proprietors.  when he whipped out a stack of these, my friends there immediately called me over and said “you gotta have one of these…”.  Four brief nanoseconds later, the deal was sealed!

Still not winning any “Mother of the Year” awards, i snagged The Boy to snap this… it’ll come out in therapy one day…

Smooshing Boobies

Inspired by the scrump-delicious dolce, i’ve dived into the “Smoosh Your Boobies” campaign, led by Olga The Traveling Bra (naturally) and her pal, Claire!  Breaking news – they’ve extended the deadline for submission* until November 7th, so there’s still time to join the fun.

Short version:  Tape paper to wall.  Or just use a wall if you’re not renting your home.  Paint breasts**.  Smoosh breastages to create art.  Grin.  Mince about with paint on your boobies.  Grin some more!

Better Living Through Edible Body Paint

Better Living Through Edible Body Paint and Chocolate Syrup

On the serious side, ladies – do it.  It was a routine mammogram that caught the 8mm x 6mm cancer nugget in my left tit.  With the advances in digital mammography, they caught it below the traditional detection limit (1cm).  A non-aggressive cancer, it was gone within a month, i was on stage for a dance rehearsal (Bat Boy: The Musical) 4 days later, breast reconstruction (ie: “perkification”) a month after that, and a spot of radiation. 

Done.  If you catch it early, it doesn’t have to be a big deal. 

Let’s try an analogy – suppose you can take a simple preventative measure to avoid being chased down, hacked up and eaten by a psychotic serial killer***.  A special talisman you can get at the checkout at WalMart.  You choose NOT to do this.  Based on this choice, you have abdicated your license to bitch about being killed by a psychotic serial killer.  Yes, i know that you’re dead, but work with me here…

Ladies:  Without our Unalienable Right to possess a License to Bitch, what are we?  Vacuous, amiable and complacent tools!  If for no other reason, you must get your mammogram to preserve this fundamental right!

Here are the official rules, cut and pasted from dolce’s cut and paste.


1. Tape a piece of paper to the wall, at boobie height (on the floor works too)

2. Choose your color(s) of paint

3. Apply paint to bare boobies with a soft brush, fingers, sponge, or whatever

4. Smoosh your boobies onto the paper (you might want to experiment a little with holding them together and/or guiding them into place)

5. Repeat as necessary until desired effect is achieved

6. Shower****

7. Take a picture or scan your smooshed-boobies print(s)

8. And email it to Claire or Olga no later than November 7th.  (Include your name/blog’s url if you want a link back)….

Please support this brilliant and tasty creative awareness campaign.  And take a few minutes every month to feel yourself up.  You’ll be glad you did…


* No, not “submission”, you perverts.  “SUBMISSION”… D’uh!

** Perfectly ok to enlist the help of a friend.  Or two.  If you’re so inclined…

*** OK.  It’s a clown.  That’s worse.  MUCH worse.

**** Or, if you used edible body paints (not that i did, mind you), allow your assistant to help with paint removal.  No.  i did NOT deploy the dog.  That’s fucked up… and you should be ashamed for even thinking that.

Genetics – Part Seven

Despite a serious back injury to my niece’s husband, BJ, plans are moving forward on the “Big Move To The Country”.  To recap, the plan is for Mom to buy the land (15 wooded acres), and to secure a construction loan.  From there, BJ and my niece, DQ, will orchestrate building a new home – with an attached apartment for Mom.  Mom will then pay for her portion of the total square footage, and DQ and BJ pick up the mortgage on the remainder.

This gets Mom to an uncluttered “happy place” where she can be surrounded by family.  And it gets BJ, DQ and their menagerie of critters and children* a spectacular new home – along with the full time responsibility for taking care of Mom**.  She’s 80.  She could live a couple more years or twenty.  Throw the dice (and install a canary in the bedroom and hire a ‘taster’ for her food)…

Before my trip to South America, the first domino fell.  The deal for the land purchase was to be closed.  As holder of Mom’s legal “power of attorney”, i reviewed the paperwork by remote, concurred that all was in order, and skipped the proceedings.

The day after closing, while taking Mom to see the cardiologist, i asked her how things had gone with the banking people. 

Mom:  Fine.  I think i threw them all for a loop, though.

daisyfae:  [bracing herself] What happened?  What did you do?

Mom:  Well, everything was going fine.  Signed all the stuff, went through the paperwork.  Didn’t seem like a big deal.  Then they said “Now, all we need is your money”.  So i said “What?  No one told me i was supposed to bring money?”


Mom:  They all laughed real hard when they figured out i was kidding!

daisyfae:  i bet they did, Momma…

In later discussions with DQ and my friend KMD (realtor coordinating the purchase), i also learned that when she handed over the cashiers check, she made a point of kissing it goodbye.

KMD’s comment – “Well, i can certainly see where daisyfae gets it…”.  i’m totally going to fuck with people when i’m an old lady.  Hell… why wait?


* Hard to tell who’s who without a score card.  i thought there were only two cats, but discovered about two more when i dropped of my dog for the long pet sit… i think there was only one baby, but they might have had a loaner in the mix.

** no lines are forming for this job amongst the rest of us… we’re lucky someone is willing to take this on.  but the situation is ripe for exploitation.  i’ve seen the house plans go from 800 sq ft “apartment” for Mom, with a 1500 sq ft house (complete with unfinished basement) to about 1000 sq ft for Mom and 2000 sq ft for the rest of the clan… and i simply ask “how do you plan to pay for this?”… (sigh).  Stay tuned…

On life and living…

You’re either living or you’re dying. There’s not much in between.

Despite a diagnosis of terminal prostate cancer, my roommate on the South American trip, MDP*, is living. About five years ago, he was diagnosed with advanced, aggressive prostate cancer. After surgery, radiation and hormone therapy** were unable to contain the cancer, MDP chose the even more dramatic option of surgical castration.

Some success – his “tumor markers” remain low. Quarterly blood tests show good results so far, but someday – perhaps within the next five years – that will change. He is a scientist.  He has carefully studied the statistics and has a solid grasp of probable outcomes.  He is resigned to the prospect that the day the cancer returns, he has about three months before painful bone metastasis kicks in, then perhaps another six months before he dies.

His initial reaction was quite human. Deep depression. Planning his funeral, making all burial arrangements. Planning his “farewell party”, down to the menu and invitation list. Doing the work of depression – preparing and letting go. When all that was done, he said “OK. Now what?”

He set about living. Living life to the fullest, pursuing joyful things. Working. Hosting dinner parties for friends.  Adventure travel.  Managing his medical issues while getting on with life – and not unloading responsibility for his quality of life on anyone else. He is living with cancer.  He is not dying from cancer.

There’s a world of difference.

Sharing a room with him on the trip was quite an experience. He puts his circumstances right out there – often broaching the subject by explaining to people that he is a eunuch***. Openly annoyed when his “diaper”**** slips and he needs to make an on-the-fly adjustment. This is a little unnerving for the unsuspecting, but it certainly starts the discussion, and invites questions.

A reality check for us all.  How many of us know how, or approximately when, we will most likely die?  i’m not a biologist, but i’m pretty sure we’re all circling the drain. My brain function shall cease, my heart will stop and my lungs will sigh one last time… This death thing?  Right up there with taxes on the “certainty” scale.

You make choices every day – and like MDP, i choose to live.  i don’t want to waste one neural firing*****, heartbeat or breath…

* During one of our “slumber party chats”, MDP agreed to let me write snippets of his story – even refusing any editorial rights. Talk about a Brave Little Toaster! He trusts me to tell his story… Ha!

** Prostate cancer feeds on testosterone. By reducing, or eliminating, testosterone, it is possible to starve prostate cancer, so estrogen shots are often deployed. Extremely painful treatment.

*** Got to say that until i met MDP, i’d never discussed castration over dinner!  Ummm… Come to think of it, i’d never had dinner with a castrated man… After seeing it play out a few times?  i got used to it. Interesting to watch how people react when it happens!  And just maybe MDP is amused at the reactions.

**** The radiation was devastating to his lower body innerds. Destroyed much of his “bodily function” hardware in the process.

***** Yeah.  i know.  To be consistent i would need to quit my job and disconnect from The Trailer Park.  Oh, and probably give up blogging – a key source of my current wasted neural activity. Poetic license and all that stuff…

The Dude does his civic duty

Yesterday was a “down day” at daisyfae’s dream condo.  Home theater/audio installation day*.  The Boy and one of his friends were sleeping in, after being up late the night before playing billiards and drinking cheap beer…

With the installation noise, The Boy was up earlier than expected.  Sitting with me at the table, he mentioned that he might want to vote absentee.  Asking me about issues and candidates, we went through a League of Women Voters summary of the five state-level constitutional amendment issues on the ballot.

The Boy:  Issue 1 is stupid.  Who cares how many days there should be for filing petitions.  i’m not voting on that… Issue 2 is about green space? Parks?  Acquiring green space?  Does that mean they’ll exercise eminent domain over homeowners and take property?  Fuck that!

daisyfae:  No, it’s about issuing bonds to raise funds to purchase land.  Very different.

The Boy:  OK.  Issue 3 is about the rights of people who are living on the shoreline?  Isn’t that the issue Dad was involved in?

daisyfae:  Yep.  Another “property owners rights” issue.  Allows people who live on the shoreline to have access to the water without paying taxes to the state. Seems reasonable to me since they pay a premium to buy the land.

The Boy:  Where the fuck is Issue 4?  Why does it go right to Issue 5?

daisyfae:  i have no idea… What’s issue 5?

The Boy:  Payday lenders?  Those fuckers can charge more than 28%?  That’s robbery!  Shut ’em down… bastards.

daisyfae:  Another case where people who are desperate aren’t always doing the math… May be good to have legislation regulating interest rates.

The Boy:  Issue 6 is the casino thing?  Hell yeah!  I don’t care who’s backing the damn casino.  How am i ever going to get a job as a poker dealer if we don’t have casinos in the state?

And so it went… We talked about candidates, issues, and taxes, too…

The Boy:  Is there a police levy? 

daisyfae:  Nope.  Just schools and mental health…

The Boy:  Fuck the po-lice.  i’m looking forward to voting against police levies. i’ll vote for schools, fire levies and anything else, but fuck the po-lice.

The Boy DudeOff to a halloween party...

Off to a halloween party...

The Boy woke up his friend, and they reviewed issues and candidates. They went to vote.  i’ve seen so much energy from the “young ‘uns” regarding this election.  They are – across the board – engaged, and paying attention.  As my friend ctyri writes “I can’t express how great it feels to be witnessing a new direction for our country”.  And he and i are both hard core cynics… It’s their country.  They need to take charge.  i’ll cheer wildly from the sidelines.  There’s a future… fingers crossed…

Last night, as friends and i drank our way through my liquor cabinet celebrated the new home theater/audio system, The Boy headed out for a halloween party as The Dude, from The Big Lebowski**.  And despite the bathrobe, shades and dirty t-shirt?  i was kinda proud…


* And the Geek Gods sang “Ahhhhhhhh!”.  And daisyfae was in a state of perpetual electronica delirium as she tested each sound zone, humped the new HDTV/Blueray system and flitted about like a school girl in heat…

** renal failure offers brilliance for halloween costume cool-if-ication.  Zombie up, bitches… My suggestion was to go as The Zombie Dude…

Repatriating Mr. Pickles

Based on the short “test run“, i expected it to be bad… And with further data, supplied while i was en route to South America? Oh, it was gonna be WAAAAAY bad… in the sense that he would never want to come home!

My flight landed around 1pm on Monday, and by 3pm i was driving madly southbound, headed to The Park, to retrieve my canine life partner gently retarded dog. Mild trepidation – mostly around the thought that with all of that 24-hour attention, he would be loathe to return to my quiet home, where – unlike my niece – i have this pesky day job that keeps me away from him 10 hours a day…

After a quick, smothering hug when i first entered the trailer, i knew he hadn’t forgotten me.  i also realized quickly that he smelled like a biker bar, oozing stale smoke the way a homely sorority girl reeks desperation.  But i also realized that, unlike the sorority chick, my dog could be bathed…

My niece, DQ, gave me the “scores and highlights”.  She apologized for the mess – but her vacuum cleaner had choked and died from all of the plastic pieces-parts ingested when cleaning up the dog/baby toy shrapnel.  Seems Mr. P doesn’t like stuffed animals or rubber chew toys, and has a deep-seated hatred for tennis balls.  Oops*.  He also managed to chew through a wide swath of carpeting – which my niece assured me was old, and in need of replacement anyway.  Double oops**.  He did, however, excel at cleaning the cat litter box, and drinking from the toilet came quite naturally.

On the plus side of the equation?  My dog apparently got more sex than he’s ever gotten in his life.  DQ explained that the floor was a roiling 24-hour humpfest, with her two female dogs sharing in the lovin’ from both sides of the fence.  He was nearly permanently attached to one or both of his cousins.

Perhaps more disturbing?  She mentioned that the Shar Pei puppy, 9 months old***, was a bit precocious.  Every time Mr. Pickles “Red Rocket” made an appearance, the li’l skank liked to treat it like a cherry popsicle.  Really surprised that my damn dog would even get in the car after that….

Mr. Pickles enjoys "Girl on Girl" action

Mr. Pickles enjoys "girl on girl" action...

The best part?  He seemed to have developed a special bond with the 1 year old, DQ, III.  Not just serving as her “doggie horse”, i got to watch them both begging for pizza scraps together, as DQ ate dinner on the couch.  And share a sweet moment shortly thereafter****.

Sharing worms with the baby...

Sharing worms with the baby...

But he’s home.  He’s happy – sleeping for the better part of 12 hours after repatriation.  i missed him.  Nice to have the big doofus taking up space in my bed, drooling on my floor, and breathing my air again…


* i ordered a new vacuum cleaner for them.  it should be delivered in a couple days.  it’s called the “Pet Hair Eraser”.  kinda liked the sound of that… if i ever purchase a vacuum cleaner for myself, i might get that one.

** and yes, i’ll be contributing toward new carpet when they put their house on the market.  damn.  dogs are a lot of work…

*** At 9 months old, this pup isn’t even 7 in dog years.  So, my brain-damaged mutt had his little doggie knob polished by a 5 year old?  AAAAAAAAARGH!

**** Looks like a kiss, but in fact, i think he’s swiping a pizza crust from the baby.  Every critter for himself…


A few random neural firings as i recover return from 2 weeks away from home…

– After three fabulous days sailing, hiking and snorkeling the Galapagos, i had a built in “decompression” stop with my sister, T, in Miami.  It helped.  Had a chance to rest, reflect and relax before getting home and doing the mad dance to clear office e-mail, go through bills, retrieve the mutt, etc.  Need to consider building in such a day for future trips…

– Poked through ~300 work e-mail messages last night.  Walked into a frantic “30% budget cut” activity at 0730.  Found it very difficult to give a rats ass about the budget.  i was the senior staffer humming a little tune to myself while others pulled out hair by the roots, gnashed teeth and raged against the injustice of it all… Vacations rock. Fully.

– Lowered or non-existent expectations may hold the key to happiness.  Due to circumstance, i had virtually no time to prepare for this holiday.  Didn’t read the books i’d purchased to learn about the places to be visited.  Didn’t even look at my flippin’ itinerary until i got there!  The entire trip was one delightful and unexpected event after another!  i may never buy another Lonely Planet guide again!

– Picked up my dog from The Park yesterday afternoon.  Brought a friend along for company.  Mr. P had a great time – and there’s enough material for several future posts.  My friend was a bit blown away by The Trailer Park Experience*.  He knows the stories, has heard my tales of woe and glee.  And yet was still a bit taken aback to see it all play out.  Bottom line:  i don’t write fiction, folks… i truly could not make this shit up.

– i am a karaoke whore.  i cannot deny it.  looking for a 12-step program as i type…  intervention may be in order.

– If you’re gone from the office for more than a week, it’s highly probable that you’re going to forget a few passwords, entry codes, etc.  Thank god i violate policy and write them down in my blackberry…

– Nope.  Despite my specific instruction to them prior to my departure, those fucking boxes DID NOT unpack themselves in my absence.

– The difference between a “good” vacation and a “great” vacation is the company you keep.  This one was beyond “great” – due to the friends i was traveling with, as well as the new friends i met along the way!  DR and MA — you are some seriously wonderful dudes!  Hope we can swing a return trip one of these days!  An adventure is wonderful, but an adventure shared?  Sheer joy!

More travel nuggets later after i dig out a bit… i’m a lucky, lucky puppy…


* i’m still in negotiations with Universal Studios about the rights to the thrill ride.  They balked at getting the banjo-kid from “Deliverance” as the tour host…

Guinea Pig – it’s what’s for supper

A key element of travel is to experience the local cuisine – try new things!  And in this part of South America, that means Guinea Pig (“cuy”).  i’ve had them as pets, adore the little fur-balls, and struggled with the concept, but wanted to dive in and experience South America.  One of the locals pointed out that they have names for the Guinea Pigs here – “Monday, Tuesday, Saturday….”.  They are food, pure and simple. 

At a restaurant in Cuzco, i had the opportunity to taste cuy.  As i pulled a small piece of meat off the tiny, fish-like bones, i just let myself forget about the “ranch” i used to manage.  It didn’t taste bad.  Maybe a bit gamey, and strong.  Commenting that it was unlike anything i’d ever tasted, my travelmate, LP, said “It’s a rodent.  Have you ever eaten rodent before?”.  Choking down the last bit, i decided to leave the rest for the others…

If you know your Incan history, they were “conquered” by Pizarro in the mid-1500’s.  With assistance of germs, of course… The local people eventually accepted Catholicism, but not without some resistance.  Indiginous artists were employed to create artwork for the new cathedrals, and apparently liked to sneak in subliminal (and not so subliminal) messages.  To make the new religion more real to the natives, traditional Christian art would incorporate local flavor – and nowhere is this more evident than in a version of The Last Supper, found in the Cathedral in Cuzco.

Until i visited Cuzco, i had no idea that Jesus and his disciples feasted on roast guinea pig.  Who knew? 

There are other things about this version of The Last Supper that are curious as well.  Notice Judas in the lower right hand corner.  The artist chose to make him look like Francisco Pizarro, Spanish conquistador over the Incas.  He’s holding a small bag of coins in his hand under the table – and from just the right angle, it even appears that he’s pleasuring himself.*

Talk about culture clash… i wonder if ol’ Pizarro had any idea he’d be making tourists giggle 500 years later?


* Naturally, i was the first one to notice, but once i enthusiastically pointed it out to my travel mates, they all agreed.  Maybe just to get me to shut up…



Interesting fact about being at the equator in Ecuador – due to altitude, it’s not hot and steamy the way you imagine the equator to be, but cool and typically dry.  During our visit?  TORRENTIAL RAIN! 

More later on my “drainage” experiments – i’m collecting data from all sources.  In the process, i have learned another interesting fact – it’s very difficult to photograph water in a sink or toilet bowl.  Experiments with additives continue…

i’m. such. a. geek.


Off to Galapagos for 3 days – do not expect internet connectivity, so will pop back in on the other side!

Arrival in Ecuador

Just a few quick notes as we head out to explore Quito, Ecuador today…

– The Bathroom angels sang “Hallelujah!”  Plumbing tolerates paper! 

– Fan-damn-tastic meal last night, Broiled Sole in garlic sauce, vegetables, and dessert – plus 3 generous helpings of a local beer – for $18.  Including service.  And the beer angels sang “Uuuuurp…”

– Working girls, casinos and 110V electricity… just like home.

– Let the experimentation begin:  Very close to the equator (Quito is slightly north of 0 degrees).  While not he primary reason for my journey, i am on a mission.  There will be experimental toilet flushing above, below and hopefully AT the equator.  Relax, people, i’m a scientist… i shall seek truth…