It’s “Chocolate Day”

Have it for breakfast, lunch AND dinner. Why not? It’s a special day.

Madeline and I just had our weekly day of beauty (every Sunday) and we gave ourselves chocolate facials. As I was applying hers I reminded her that it’s not REAL chocolate and she shouldn’t eat it. “But mommy, it smells like real chocolate.” I looked into her eyes, surrounded by brown goo, and said sternly, “But it’s not REAL chocolate”. Just moments later as I was applying my own chocolate mask, I heard spitting noises coming from her direction. “Ick. Mommy, you were right. It’s not real chocolate.” Live and learn.

When Ben was in treatment he didn’t eat a real meal for 15 months. After his first round of chemo he got terrible mouth sores. The inside of his sweet little mouth was riddled with what looked like the aftermath of a land mine blowing up. It was heinous. So, the kid didn’t eat. He was on daily IV nutrition instead. Occasionally, he would be having a mouth sore-free day and would request chocolate. In Ben-speak, it was “chockwat”. He’s had a terrible time with “L’s”, which is tough for a kid who likes chocolate, Lego’s, and his sister “Madeline”. That was the best, though, he called her “Mad-e-win”. Thinking of him calling her that still makes my heart melt like a Hershey bar left out in the sun.

Speaking of Hershey, my sister used to live there. She moved to Pennsylvania to pursue a love interest. Once they got married, they moved to a house in Hershey, PA. It was right across the street from Hershey Park, which is actually a very cool amusement park. The whole town smelled like chocolate. I think it was a nice place to visit but I don’t know if I could handle that smell every day coupled with the noise from the amusement park during the summer. However, we’ll do crazy things when we’re in love – even tolerate screaming on a daily basis.

The main street in Hershey is lined with streetlights fashioned as Hershey Kisses. The local residents actually call this the “Hershey Highway”. I still can’t get over that. Sadly, Cassi doesn’t live in Hershey anymore. They moved to Hummelstown. I’ve not been there yet, but I’m hoping they don’t have those freaky little Hummel kids all over the place. Along with the Precious Moments figurines, Hummels are things that my nightmares are made of. And clowns. Oooh, and ticks, too. Creepy.

When I was a kid, I loved walking down to the carry-out in Kirkersville with my allowance. I got a dollar each week for cleaning out the cat litter box. With that dollar I could get four candy bars – or actually three candy bars and a bunch of Swedish Fish. I’d be set for the week. They’d give me my brown paper bag with my treasure trove of candy. I would take it all to my secret hiding place – a tiny area wedged between two dressers – complete with a beanbag chair, diary, Judy Blume books, etc. I loved that space. I wish I had something like it today.

My friend, Tracey, is from England. She swears that American chocolate is disgusting. She’s not impressed with Hershey’s. She says that Cadbury’s is so much better. I point out that we, too, have Cadbury’s here in the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave. “It’s FAKE!”, she says. And, apparently, she is correct. Much to my surprise, I learned that Hershey owns America’s Cadbury. So American Cadbury is really just Hershey chocolate dressed in a different outfit. We are frauds!

Fine. I’m done talking about chocolate, for Ben just came up behind me, put his hands on my waist and said “You’re squishy.” Thanks, kid. Guess I’ll skip that chocolate after all.

More tomorrow 🙂

Mmmm. Chocolate.

It’s “Build A Scarecrow Day”

Seriously? This is all I have to work with? Bummer.

So. After staring at the screen for about 10 minutes now, I’m just going to wing it. Scarecrows. Michael Jackson. The Wiz. “Come on and ease on down, ease on down the road.” Poor Michael. I think he was semi-normal when he did that movie. I remember watching it at my step-mom’s house when I’d go to visit my biological father (who I usually referred to as Uncle Dan). They had cable at their house. He couldn’t afford to pay child support but they had cable. Priorities. I’d stay up for hours on end watching bad movies just for the sake of enjoying cable. Hey, I deserved to get the most out of what was replacing my child support payments. My step-mom and I would watch the craziest movies. Mostly horror films. I like a good scary movie, and “The Wiz” was one of them.

Scarecrows. Living in Kirkersville, Ohio for most of my life, which used to be a very small town surrounded by farms, one would think that I’d seen my share of scarecrows. I just can’t recall ever coming across one. Many people had lawn ornaments, but no scarecrows. During my high school years my best friend was Jill. She had her driver’s license (a novelty to me since I had killed that kitten and refused to get my own license). We would go to a couple of the houses that were the “big daddies” in the lawn ornament world. Deep in the dark of night, we would sneak into these worlds of landscaping horrors: mini towns of dwarves, families of deer, angels, lawn jockeys, and that big rear-ended lady bending over. We would carefully rearrange them so they’d be looking into the homeowners’ windows. And then we’d steal away, laughing at our mischievousness. (Spell check says this is a word.) Ridiculous? Yes. A pain in the butt to the homeowner having to rearrange their lawn? Yes. Funny? Are you kidding me? It’s hysterical. And harmless. We could have done any number of ridiculous things but this is what we chose. It could have been worse.

I’ll tell you who needs a few scarecrows. The Grand Canyon. They’ve got crows bigger than Texas. While Matt and I had exactly one day to marvel at one of the modern world’s greatest wonders, we saw a tremendous amount of crows. They would lurk close to the visitors because – despite all the signs clearly pointing out that you shouldn’t feed the wildlife – there were a gazillion idiots flinging food at these birds saying “Hey! Is that an Eagle?!” I guess we’d technically need a scarecrow for the idiots flinging food, not for the crows. This is where Michael Jackson would come in handy.

Actually, Michael Jackson died while we were on this trip to the Grand Canyon. Cellular service was spotty at best so – as I was reading Facebook updates on my BlackBerry instead of marveling at one of the greatest natural wonders of the world – I saw hints that suggested he had died. My friend, Wal, had posted “I think Michael Jackson’s been dead since 1987.” I thought that was an odd post, so I scrolled down. Someone else had written “Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett AND MJ all in one week. Sad.” What? I’d gone to the Grand Canyon and all these people had died? I was furiously trying to get information on my BlackBerry as the scenery of this beautiful area whizzed by me. They don’t call ’em CrackBerries for nothing.


Hey! Is that an eagle?

As I’m writing this I keep singing a song called “Let’s Build A Snowman” from the movie “Cannibal, the Musical“. This movie, by Trey Parker and Matt Stone (yes, the “South Park” guys), is a musical based on the life of Alfred Packer. He’s the man who attempted to lead a mining party from Provo, Utah to Breckenridge, Colorado but was stranded in the Rockies during a winter storm and eventually resorted to cannibalism. I know. It’s a gruesome story. However, their musical is loosely based on facts and has quite a snappy repertoire of tunes. While I found the movie to be wonderfully funny, I cannot recommend it to anyone. You might lose all respect for me. However, I can recommend you listen to the following link and replace the word “snowman” with “scarecrow”.


Now wasn’t that a peppy tune? My bet is that you’ll be singing it for the rest of the day.

Enjoy your Sunday, everyone. More tomorrow. 🙂

It’s “Stay Out of the Sun Day”, “Disobedience Day”, and “Compliment Your Mirror Day”

Great. We’re taking a trip to Idaho Springs today. The plan is to hang out at the hot springs pool. Fantastic. So, I’ll just knock two things out right away: I’m going to be disobedient by playing in the sun today.

Seriously though, skin cancer is a big flipping deal. Kids, wear your sunscreen.

My older sister, Cassi, used to BAKE in the sun. And, quite honestly, I was jealous. Jealous because it takes me 90 days of consistent exposure to get any sort of tan – and that’s just all the freckles finally merging together. My sister, however, could be outside for two hours and be a bronzed beauty. In fact, back in the late 1970’s, the only reason I had any friends in my neighborhood during the summer (I was the lone female in a pack of males) was because all of my “buddies” wanted to come to my house to watch Cassi sunning herself in her ultra skimpy bikini. And she had quite a rack back in the day. Meanwhile, I couldn’t get a tan AND I didn’t need to wear a bra until college. Nope. No sibling issues here. 🙂

We used to take a family trip to Myrtle Beach every summer up until I was about 12 years old. I hated these trips because 1) I burst into flames in the sun, and 2) I’m not a fan of sand. I like to swim. I love water. I love boating, fishing, most things that go along with H2O, but I’m just not a fan of the beach. Plus, I’m pale. You can see me coming a mile away. And no one wanted to see me because I didn’t have any boobs. It’s a no-win situation.

Sarah on the beach

Nearly every summer I got a burn bad enough to cause nasty blisters (I know! I know!) I’d walk around for a week or so afterward holding myself as still as possible. It hurt terribly. One particular summer, sporting my usual crispy-fried skin, I was gingerly walking up the stairs to my bedroom. As I rounded the corner,  holding my neck as rigid as possible to avoid searing pain, I saw a BAT hanging upside down from the top of my Map of the United States. He was sleeping. I was terrified. Do I scream? Should I move? Ouch! Moving will cause friction to my sunburn! What if this bat has rabies? Then I’ll get bit and end up having a sunburn AND rabies! As I began my retreat and started to call for backup, the bat woke up. Sunburn be damned! I was out of there! We both started flying. The bat was flying circles around my room as I was flying down the stairs. I found my brother-in-law and persuaded him to go clear it out. He did, using a Tuperware bowl and a creative use of the wall. My advice: Never wake a sleeping bat when you have a nasty sunburn.

Disobedience Day. I’ve made a career out of being disobedient – at least in a passive-aggressive way. And I’m a believer in the old adage that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. I will be disobedient until I spontaneously combust. If I were a dog, I’d be in remedial training, eventually returned to the shelter, and awaiting some sweet person who just doesn’t care about my disobedience. At least I’m lovable. But if you ignore me I’ll eat your favorite shoe.

Compliment Your Mirror Day. I like this. Some of you may not know this but I suffer from a debilitating disease: Low Self Esteem. I think it’s because of the whole “no-boobs” issue. Anyway, I struggle. Recently, my husband has been trying to help me with this by drawing a great big heart on my side of the bathroom mirror with a marker (not permanent). Above the heart he writes things. This week, it says “You’re Yummy-licious”. He’s made other statements like “You are Loved”, stuff like that. It’s very sweet. So, after my shower this morning, I’m going to look into the mirror. I’m going to say, “Hey. You’re Yummy-licious. You’re Loved.” Let’s all give it a try!

And then I’m off to Idaho Springs to scare everyone with my crazy pale legs.

More tomorrow. 🙂

It’s “World UFO Day” and “I Forgot Day”

Forgetting. I forget all the important stuff and hang on to the ridiculous. I have so much unnecessary trivia in my head that it has crowded out everything that I “learned” in high school, college, and even my MBA program. I can’t remember how to write a business plan but I can remember that if you say good-bye to a friend on a bridge, you will never see each other again. Triskaidekaphobes are people who fear the number 13. And cows lifting their tails is a sure sign that rain is coming. Or they’re pooping.

Many students believe in the theory that taking a test while in the same state of mind of which you studied will bring you success on said test. In other words, if you studied while you were tired, you should take the test when you’re tired. If you studied while you were drunk, take the test when you’re drunk. Crystal Meth… you get the idea. Here’s what you probably didn’t know (and simplifies the test taking process a hundredfold): If you use the same pencil to take a test that you used for studying for the test, the pencil will remember the answers. There you have it. Just use the same pencil. You can forget everything else. The pencil will remember. Amazing.

Check out this link. This is how I operate on a daily basis:

I personally like this cartoon better:

Sesame Street rocked. And it’s a shame that they’ve only just recently come up with the ADD diagnosis because I’ve had it for years. Between my son and I, we’re always forgetting something important. We just blame it on the ADD.

So. You have permission to forget something today – ADD or not. Hopefully today is not your anniversary (besides, it’s unlucky to get married in July) or an important birthday. You could even tell someone “Sorry, I forgot to come home. I wrote it down but I didn’t use the same pencil.”

Of course, if you were abducted by a UFO, you have every excuse to forget. They do that anal probe thingy that completely wipes your memory. Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything. I like the idea of aliens, but I don’t have any proof that they exist. I LOVE the movie “Mars Attacks”. It’s not uncommon for me to walk around the house saying “Ack, Ack-Ack ACK!” I even have a hat that says ACK.


ACK is really the three-letter code for the Nantucket Memorial Airport. But, in my mind, when I wear this hat I’m ready to meet the Visitors.

OK, gotta go mow the yard. I think I’ll wear my ACK hat, make some crop circles in our back yard, fire up the bug-zapper and wait for the Visitors to come. I’m ready. Unless I forget.

More tomorrow. 🙂

It’s Canada Day, Creative Ice Cream Flavors Day and International Joke Day

Happy July, everyone. I have until the 9th to enjoy being 40. I’ll be moving up a notch.

So, I have to start off with a joke. I’m not good at remembering jokes so I looked one up online. Here goes:

An Irishman walks into a bar in Dublin, orders three pints of Guinness and sits in the back of the room, drinking a sip out of each one in turn. When he finishes them, he comes back to the bar and orders three more. The bartender asks him, “You know, a pint goes flat after I draw it; it would taste better if you bought one at a time.” The Irishman replies, “Well, you see, I have two brothers. One is in America, the other in Australia, and I’m here in Dublin. When we all left home, we promised that we’d drink this way to remember the days when we drank together.” The bartender admits that this is a nice custom, and leaves it there.

The Irishman becomes a regular in the bar, and always drinks the same way: ordering three pints and drinking them in turn. One day, he comes in and orders two pints. All the other regulars notice and fall silent. When he comes back to the bar for the second round, the bartender says, “I don’t want to intrude on your grief, but I wanted to offer my condolences on your great loss.” The Irishman looks confused for a moment, then a light dawns in his eye and he laughs. “Oh, no,” he says, “Everyone’s fine. I’ve just quit drinking.” 🙂

It’s birthday time for my family. Ben’s bday was on June 22, My step-dad’s birthday is July 5, my brother Scott, cousin David and drunk grandfather Jake’s birthdays are all on July 8 with me missing the boat by a mere 25 minutes and being born on the 9th. You’d think it would be an ice cream extravaganza around here. Honestly, I’m not a fan of ice cream. I’ll eat butter pecan once in a blue moon but my standard is vanilla. Plain, boring vanilla. So for a holiday to solely celebrate creative ice cream, I’ll just leave that one to the rest of you ice cream eating people out there.

I know Graeters has that raspberry chocolate chip stuff that everyone seems to like. And they’ve gone national with it. I actually saw a coupon in the Denver paper for this frozen treat available at King Soopers. They are part of the Kroger’s chain. I do shop at King Soopers even though I have major issue with how they spell their name. I consistently tell the lucky one scanning my groceries that they should really consider contacting their corporate office to complain how the misspelling is contributing to our Nation’s illiteracy issues. Their eyes become heavy-lidded as they give me that “you’ve got to be kidding” look, only to ask “paper or plastic” when the bagger is already placing my groceries in plastic. I should get some of those “green” bags.

See? I can’t even stay on topic here. Ice cream is clearly not my thing. I guess we’ll take the kids to Coldstone tonight where they can get blue ice cream with sprinkles and kit kat mixed in. *Shudder*. I’ll just have vanilla.

It’s also Canada Day. I wonder if they’re interested in ice cream? It’s so cold up there – they probably don’t care about it either. Maybe I’m Canadian? I don’t know any history on Canada Day, but my step-grandmother was from Manitoba. There was always an emphasis on the third syllable: Man-i-TOE-ba. I kinda like the Canadian accent. What’s that all aBOAT? I’m actually a big fan of accents in general. I perfected my New York Jewish accent while at camp back in the 80’s. My Jewish alter ego is named Sally Rabinowitz. She’s married to Murray. And then I’ve got my West Virginia alter ego: Sally Mae Skinner. She longs to leave her river town and attend one of them-thar universities. And, of course, my Southern Belle, Sally Jean Vanderbilt, who occasionally likes to make prank phone calls. Today I’m going to create my Canadian alter-ego. Sally Man-i-TOE-ba. And that’s how I’ll celebrate Canada Day. Drinking a Canada Dry ginger ale. Singing O Canada. And perhaps getting out my hockey stick and skates. Ya.

You might like to know that July is also: National Blueberry Month, National Anti-Boredom Month, Unlucky Month for Weddings (Where was this information when I got married the FIRST time – JULY 24?), National Cell Phone Courtesy Month, National Hot Dog Month, and National Ice Cream Month.

And then my favorite – and one I’ll be celebrating – the second week of July is Nude Recreation Week. Nude hiking, nude biking, nude water skiing, nude mowing your yard… the opportunities are endless. ENJOY!

Here’s a picture of me enjoying my nudity at an early age.


More tomorrow 🙂 Not more nudity. More writing. Don’t be disappointed.

It’s National Camera Day

I love taking pictures. I first fell in love with photography in high school. I can’t remember the exact day or anything but the first whiff I got of Kodak’s D-76 developer – it was all over for me. Hours were spent taking pictures. Hours were spent in the darkroom at WMHS. Roll after roll was developed. Photos enlarged. Images superimposed. Being alone in a dark room for hours on end was my nirvana.

I preferred to take pictures of buildings and shapes (I planned to be the principal photographer for Architectural Digest one day) but would occasionally shoot friends. I rarely shot family. Little did I know this would be the only way I could shoot them and get away with it. 🙂

My future step-dad had given his old Pentax to me. It was the coolest gift I’d ever received. I loved it so much – it rarely left my side. I was always snapping pictures. I didn’t have much of a desire to photograph current events. There was no way I could go into photojournalism because I could never intrude on someone’s personal space when they were at their worst. I would not win Pulitzers for capturing the campus shooting or people jumping from a burning building. That wasn’t my style. Shapes. Things. That was me.

My mom recognized my interest and decided to encourage it. On one shopping excursion to the J.C. Penney outlet, she came across an enlarger. It was a sign! She bought it for me and then decided to turn one of the vacant rooms in our house into a darkroom. She took me to Cord Camera and let me pick out trays, chemicals, thermometers, and paper. This set up was to be my 16th birthday present. In retrospect this was a perfect present for that particular birthday. Some kids pine for a car on this hallmark of birthdays, but since I had run over a kitten during one tedious evening of driving instruction, I swore I’d never drive again. Cars were the devil. And since it was the tool of an innocent kitten’s death in Outville, OH, I need not have anything to do with the four-wheeled beast. It took me a good six months to come to my senses, get over my grief, and finally obtain my license.

My love of photography carried through to my college years. I was disappointed to learn that the darkroom was way more crowded at Ohio University and often a place where the dark was taken advantage of. I recall many instances – after tripping over couples making out near the enlargers – saying “Excuse me, SOME of us are trying to WORK here”. Perhaps I was just jealous.

I went on a mad spree of photographing tombstones after my step-mother, step-sister, and grandfather all died within a two month period during my freshman year of college. Somewhere along the way I decided to drop my photography classes. I changed my major from photography to psychology (which eventually turned into social work). I think after taking a couple of psych courses I learned that there were actual case studies of people just like my family members! I became fascinated and dedicated myself to learning about alcoholism, suicidal tendencies, bipolar disorders… Wow. I was no longer ET on a foreign planet. There were others just like us and there were actual NAMES for their disorders! I would no longer be spending time in the dark.

Today, I have a Canon EOS Rebel. We bought it shortly after Ben was diagnosed with NB. I photographed a lot of his treatment. I figured that he deserved to be able to look back on it all and say “Wow. I’m an amazing kid. Look what I did!” I do enjoy scrapbooking (I have a weakness for paper… ) but there’s nothing in the kid’s section of the scrapbooking stores that commemorates childhood cancer. They have “First Day of School” stickers, every sport you can imagine, and a selection of paper celebrating orthodontia… but no cancer products. I’m not being morbid. After all, they do have PINK RIBBON scrapbook paper, stickers and accessories. You’d think breast cancer is the only cancer out there. I’m anxiously awaiting the creation of a line of GOLD RIBBON products. People might think Childhood Cancer is rare, but it’s not. I happen to know lots of kids who have suffered, are still suffering, or have passed away. They deserve to have their own flippin’ scrapbook page.

Today, sort through your old pictures. Or take some new ones. Find one of yourself taken on a “good hair day”, or one that makes your butt look smaller, your eyes a bit brighter, or the one taken when you were in love… the happiness permeating through your eyes.

More tomorrow 🙂


Eden and Ben on Ben’s last day of treatment, March 31, 2005.

We lost our dear Eden this past December, 2008.

I’m going on the road today.

Sorry that posts have been spotty. My parents are in town as well as my sister and her kiddos. My step-dad is renting an RV as I type this and we’re headed to the Grand Canyon this afternoon. Yesterday was Ben’s birthday… whirlwind of activity.

Since I won’t have the opportunity to update from the road I wanted to let you know this week’s line-up of holidays.

June 23 – National Pink Day and Take Your Dog to Work Day. Our dogs just got the shaft… they were dropped off at the kennel this morning. 😦

June 24 – Swim a Lap Day

June 25 – Log Cabin Day and National Catfish Day.

June 26 – Beautician’s Day and Forgiveness Day. I’m sorry to miss that one.

June 27 – Paul Bunyan Day and Sun Glasses Day

So. Now you’re set for the week. I’ll be posting trip photos on Facebook so keep an eye out for those!

More next week. 🙂

It’s National “Go Skate Day” and “Finally Summer Day”

First of all, let me say HAPPY FATHER’S DAY to all the dads out there. From a child’s standpoint, I feel very conflicted about the role of the father. My biological father is an interesting specimen – he’s a total deadbeat. I’m glad to have a “fill-in” in the form of my step-dad. If it weren’t for him, well, let’s just say it was good to have him around. From a mother’s standpoint, I’m amazed by my husband’s love for his children. He is a great father. Dads, I hope you understand how important you are to your kiddos. If you can’t be there with them all the time, just make sure you’re “there” for them 100%. Your kids need you.

Now. An apology. I missed posting yesterday because I took a day trip up to Summit County with my dear friend, Hillary. She’s moving back to Ohio shortly and we just had too much fun. See the photos on Facebook. So I missed Ice Cream Soda Day. Bummer. Having worked at the Kirk Kone, I know I have some good stories. However, I’ve got a lot of catching up to do, so you’ll have to wait until next year.

OK. National Skate Day. Man, I loved that roller rink in Reynoldsburg, Ohio. My Elementary school experience wouldn’t have been the same without it. Lacing up those skates, loving the pulsating music, waiting anxiously for the hokey pokey and backwards skate. I ROCK at skating backwards. And I had “the comb”. You know, the big-toothed comb with the oversized handle designed to fit in your back pocket. Completely necessary for perfecting feathered hair. These combs usually declared a statement of some sort on the handle. Mine said “If you can read this, you’re skating too close”. I loved that thing. It was a necessary skating accessory.

Ben’s school has a skating party once in a blue moon. We’ve been once. Madeline was too young to skate on her own so I couldn’t really get my groove on. But the next time we get the opportunity I’m so there. I’m going on eBay to find an oversized comb and while I don’t have feathered hair anymore, I’m so going to request “Renegade” by Styx and rock out the rink.

I hope I don’t fall and break my hip.

So. Finally Summer Day. I love this day. Not because I love summer. I have red hair and very fair skin. Our species are more akin to wearing long pants, parkas and, well, covering every inch of skin we have. I love this day because I like to tease my son. See, I went into labor with my fine young son on June 21, 2001. June 21st is the summer solstice. It’s the longest day of the year. I realize that the longest day of the year is technically all about the amount of sunlight we receive, but I tease my son that since he took forever to arrive – over 25 hours of labor – that it was, indeed, the longest day of the year.

June 19 was my “false labor” where I did the “walk of shame” (see post from June 19). So, I went in to my OB/GYN for a follow up on June 21. Matt was with me, as was every other pregnant woman in the Central Ohio area. The waiting room was PACKED. I was miserable. My feet looked like overfilled water balloons by this point. These feet could have starred in their own horror film.

After realizing that my wait to see the doctor would be extensive, I knew I would have to go potty before my actual appointment. I went up to the nurses station and requested a little cup to leave my specimen in and headed back to the bathroom. Just as I was starting to sit down on the toilet and position my cup, a big splash occurred. I mean BIG. Being a normal person, I should have just assumed that this was, indeed, my water breaking. However, since I had just done the “walk of shame” on the 19th, there was no way I was going to embarrass myself again. So, I left my “specimen” and said nothing. I went back out into the waiting room and whispered to Matt that I thought my water had just broke. He urged me to go say something to the nurse but I declined. No way. I’m not embarrassing myself again. Forget it. I’ll just wait.

A few moments later a nurse came out into the waiting room. She was holding my sample. Glancing around the packed waiting room with a look of “duh” on her face, she said, “Uh, Sarah Brewer?” Feeling like a child get a scolding, I lowered my head a bit, lifted my eyes to her and even raised my hand a little bit. “Yes, ma’am. That’s mine.” I stammered. Every woman in the waiting room glued their eyes on me. They KNEW what was in that cup. I wasn’t so sure. The nurse said “What is this you’ve left me?” All the women were anxiously awaiting my response but I was horrified to answer. So, since it wasn’t multiple choice, and no one was willing to help me cheat, I gave my standard response: “I don’t know”. She looked at me, pointed at the door and said “Go to the hospital. Your water just broke.”

I was hoping that the waiting room would erupt in a cheer but that didn’t happen. The air was thick with envy. So, we collected our stuff and I commanded my grotesquely overblown feet to get me out of that waiting room.

Labor was grueling. Exhausting. Never ending. Two epidurals worth. My little Ben had no desire to come out. I was threatened with emergency C-section at one point during the night. I was fine with that. I was completely over being in labor. Enough already! Plus, I really wanted to know if it was a boy or a girl. C’mon, kid. Don’t make me wait any longer.

Finally, at 11:48 AM on June 22, 2001, he arrived. Benjamin Harrison Brewer. 7 pounds, 2 0z. 19 inches long. Red hair. They gave me a chance to rub his little toes before they whisked him away. He was in distress. Cord issues… not passing APGAR initially. He was tired. Me, too. But it was worth it. It still is. It always will be.

Love you, kiddo. Thanks for making that longest day of the year one with such an incredible ending.


It’s World Sauntering Day

Sauntering: to walk with a leisurely gait; stroll: sauntering through the woods.

Let’s all slow down. As I type this, my five-year-old daughter is walking around in fancy shoes, wearing gaudy blue eyeshadow and wanting me to fix her hair so she can look more grown up. My heart twinges when I see her rush like this. But it’s a rite of passage. And I know it’s not going to slow down any time soon. One minute they’re a sweet baby in your arms and the next they are all grown up. *Sigh*

Eight years ago today I was in the process of my “getting ready for work” routine. I have to follow a routine or everything gets thrown off. I think this is all a part of my ADD issues. Anyway, I had stepped out of the shower, dried off, and began to brush my teeth. Half way into my brushing something watery hit the floor. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that I was nine months pregnant with my first child – gender to be determined. My toothbrush fell into the sink and I excitedly yelled for Matt to come into the bathroom. I called the Doctor’s office, told them what had happened and they told us to head straight for the hospital.

We excitedly drove to Riverside Hospital thinking that by the end of the day we’d have a baby. Part of the excitement was finally learning if it was a boy or a girl! I couldn’t wait! We checked in at the front desk of the maternity unit, excitedly chatting with nurses about finally finding out what we were having. They led us to our room, directed me to change into a gown, and proceeded to check out my “progress”.

The nurse who initially inspected me was saying “Hmmm” a lot. She called over another nurse, who began her own inspection, and pretty much had the same to say. As they both stripped off their gloves with a loud snapping sound they both said “Nope. Your water didn’t break.” What? Then what hit the floor while I was getting ready this morning? While they weren’t 100% sure of what it was, they suggested it was the mucus plug. Man. The process of having a baby is just gross. 🙂

So. I begrudgingly took off my hospital gown. We would not be meeting our baby today. I redressed as Matt collected our things. The little gown that was appropriate for a boy or a girl… the video camera… stuff to help me through the delivery (which I later learned the only thing that would help with that was an epidural).

We left the room. As we were walking down the hall, one of the nurses was erasing my name off of the big white board of patients. I lowered my head and began what could only be described as a “walk of shame”. I felt them all looking at me, saying “Tsk, tsk. First time parents. They know nothing.”

I was sad that we wouldn’t meet our son or daughter that day. I felt as if I just couldn’t wait another day. My feet were swollen. My body was tired. I wanted to finally learn how to put a diaper on a real baby. I just wanted to go home. Unfortunately, when my boss found out that I wasn’t truly in labor, he called me back to work. Ugh.

Waiting. It stinks. But when we distract ourselves with other beautiful things in the world, hopefully we learn that it will all eventually come to us, just as my sweet little Ben came to me just three days later.

More tomorrow. 🙂


Three for One: Go Fishing Day, International Panic Day and National Splurge Day

Wow. Some days are just loaded with holidays! You’ll have to get started early in order to celebrate all three of these because they run the emotional gamut.

Fishing. I sincerely enjoy fishing as a sport but cannot stand to eat fish. I’m more of a catch and release girl. I caught my first fish at Buckeye Lake when I was four years old, with my drunk Grandfather acting as my coach, while he was off peeing behind a bush. “Just reel it in, Dan-elle”. He always pronounced my name as if it were two separate words instead of how my parents intended it be pronounced, Duhnelle, which isn’t much better. Is it any wonder I eradicated this name from the line-up? So, I caught a catfish. Nasty looking creature. And there was no way I was going to eat it.

Fast forward a few years. 1988. Pennsylvania. I’m a camp counselor at Camp Weequahic near Binghamton, NY. Camp for the very privileged, ages 6-16, predominately Jewish kids from the NY-NJ area. The kids were dropped off in June and picked up in August. I was hired for my knowledge of photography… they had a darkroom at this camp! Since I’m a fair-complected individual, being in a darkroom at a summer camp in the Poconos is a perfect place for me. I was also hideously shy (I know some of you will doubt this but my high school friends will understand). I didn’t know a single soul at this camp. I decided to go on a whim. I was there for a week before the campers got there – getting the darkroom ready – and while I met my co-counselors, I didn’t really branch out and meet very many others.

So. The very first day that the children arrived I was down at the fishing dock helping the wee-little ones adjust to being without their parents. I was tending to several six-year-olds, helping them with their rods and setting them up with bait. I was bridging a gap between two piers to help some of the kiddos get from one side to the other. With a leg on either dock I would lift up the kiddo on one side and place gently on the other. One child decided to leap at me instead of waiting to be gently placed on the other side. I caught him, but my balance wasn’t what it should be since my legs were spanning two docks floating in the water. We went in. It wasn’t very deep, but it was rocky. I came up, gasping for air, but my little six-year-old daredevil didn’t. Here’s where we start to celebrate International Panic Day. I dove back in and was able to grab my little sweetie-pie’s shirt. I pulled him up. Come to find that his shoe was caught in some rocks – that’s why he couldn’t get up. He was sputtering, gasping for air, and I was convinced that his first words were going to be “I’m going to sue you”. I checked him for major injury. Whew. Just a few red spots. I shouted to another counselor to watch the kids and started running towards the waterfront director. I just knew I was going to be fired. I didn’t realize I was hobbling more than running. When I finally got to the waterfront director, I was gasping for air. Grabbing onto his shirt for support I started babbling “I… just killed… a… six-year-old… on the… fishing dock. I know… you’re going…. to fire me.” Panting. Gasping. I’m a natural over-reactor. The waterfront director, Paul,  looked toward the fishing dock and saw a soaking wet kid, but he was well enough to be fishing again. He tried to get me to calm down before I started hyperventilating. He told me the little boy appeared to be fine but he was ultimately worried about me. I started panting again, trying to tell him that I would eventually stop hyperventilating, and he said “No. There’s something really wrong with your leg.” At that point, I stopped breathing all together as my head shot down to look at my leg. Indeed, there was something really wrong with my left leg. There was a gash from just above my ankle to just below my knee. And a flap of skin that hung from the right side to the left side. I started to pass out.

Click pic for full effect.
Click pic for full effect.

The next thing I know, I’m in a golf cart headed for the infirmary. The doctor was trying to tell me that he was going to give me stitches. I started hyperventilating again (I’m supersize afraid of needles – another story for another time) and refused the stitches. Since I was dead-set against getting the stitches he had to wrap my leg up as if I was being prepared for mummification. AND I had to stay immobile for several days. Which meant I was laying in the infirmary for a week instead of teaching photography and being a counselor to my 12-year-old girls. Nobody knew who I was so nobody visited me. I spent my days reading Judy Blume books (since it is technically an infirmary for adolescents… not 20-year-olds!)

When I was finally sprung, I hobbled down to my bunk. On my way many people stopped me to ask who I was and if I sincerely belonged at the camp. So, I had to start the painful process of reintroducing myself to everyone all over again. And, instead of being known as “Sarah” (my first name, which is what I switched to after my 19 years of being Danel) everyone called me SCAB. I had that nasty scab all summer long. Good thing I was in a darkroom for most of it!

Go out and SPLURGE on something today. More tomorrow. 🙂