Saturday, July 11, 2009


This was sent to me by a friend. Thanks, Kathy. Check it out:

This is absolutely the silliest thing I've seen yet. I no longer wear the things, since I no longer have anything to put in them, but back in the day, at a hefty 36C, I found them more annoying and confining than anything. I never liked them, and would go without when possible, such as when wearing a sweatshirt.

Just to illustrate how brain-washed we women are, I spent several years, a lot of money and effort and endured a lot of frustration after my surgeries, trying to fake a "chest". First it was just one, in which case I had no choice, obviously. One can't run around one-sided, though I did, at least at home. That was a real bother, over a period of more than twenty years. The fakes never matched up with the real one, and they were heavy, hot and expensive, as much as $300 each. Also, they required constant readjusting. Miserable.

Then several years ago, when the remaining one was removed, I thought I'd find it easier to match up since both were fake, and could go smaller and lighter, with little bags of fluff instead of the heavy silicone things. etc. Well, it didn't work too well. The surgeries weren't identical, so what works on one side doesn't work on the other. "Small and light" is a pipe dream, too. I quickly found that weight helps a lot in keeping things in place, while "light" tends to migrate to astonishing locations. However, weight soon digs the straps into one's shoulders and becomes very uncomfortable. Also, if a heavy fake did manage to escape its holder, it would drop to the floor with a thud. That wouldn't be cool.

A regular bra refuses to stay in place, and is constantly riding up. You must remember, there is no longer anything there to hold it in place. (Those men in the "man bras" are going to have the same problem.) Oh, the specialty shops offer all sorts of contraptions - I call them industrial strength bras. They're equipped with all manner of straps and pulleys, and have snaps, hooks, velcro and laces. There are sewn-in pockets to keep the heavyweights from falling out. For the problem of "riding up", they have a three-inch wide band with a rubberized layer next to your skin, and the whole thing is fitted so tightly that breathing becomes your highest priority and you forget all about the weight of the straps on your shoulders. Naturally, that rubberized part quickly becomes hot and irritating, and blisters are a distinct possibility.

These things wear on one's patience at times, and once in a while, I confess I think "why me?" I don't tarry long at that place, though. Cancer happens, and for some, the outcome is not good. When it happened to me, I was one of the blessed ones. Even though the first one was in a fairly advanced stage, through the hands of a good surgeon, the skill of a good oncologist during a year of treatment, and most of all, the blessings of a loving God in response to the prayers of a whole lot of family and friends, I am now thirty years down the road from that original cancer, with no recurrence. The second one was an incidental, a new occurrence caught in a microscopic stage after an elective surgery done to try to simplify the prosthetic situation. We didn't even know it was there until after the surgery, and Pathology found it. No treatment was needed. Again, God was good.
That forces me to ask again, from a different perspective, "why me?"

After that second surgery, I struggled for a few months with this bra and that one, this prosthesis and that, even tried birdseed in a nylon stocking tied to make a small bag (suggested by a friend who knows a female impersonator and that's what he uses!) My birdseed promptly got ants in it, so that didn't work too well.

Believe me, I've tried everything. So, one day as I was pinning, and nipping and tucking, adjusting and sweating, it hit me. Why on earth am I putting myself through this??
I've done nothing wrong, committed no crime or sin, I simply got breast cancer. No fault of mine, I was a random victim. It happens. I am not required to punish myself because of it. I pulled off whatever annoying thing I was working with at the time, stuck it in a drawer, and there it remains, with all the other relics of my attempts to look like I once did. (I threw the birdseed out to the birds, ants and all.)

The best option I've seen so far was discovered by a friend with a similar problem. She just wears a little cotton camisole, pins her little fluffs to it in the appropriate places, and pins the camisole to her panties so it won't shift around or ride up. It works for her. I hate it. First of all, she's thin and I'm not, and I think that makes a difference in how the whole plan works. Also, she's always cold, and I'm always too warm, and that camisole under whatever else I'm wearing doesn't help. Still, as I said, it's the best option so far, and one of these days, maybe if I lose a little weight and cool off some, I might employ it. Or I might not.

For now, I'll continue to do as I've done for the past six years or so. Go without. So sue me. I have no gripe, no complaint, no whine. I have only gratitude that I've been given these last thirty years, and with God's approval perhaps a few more. Without those years, I probably would have seen only two of my ten grandchildren, and perhaps only one, if the disease had moved rapidly. If I look a little funny, I really don't care. Well, that's not entirely true. I do care, a little bit, but not enough to make me put up with the discomfort and inconvenience of trying to simulate what is no longer there. Okay, that's not completely true, either. I do have this new bra, which shows a bit of promise, but I don't care enough to make trying it out a priority. I've had it for two weeks and haven't worn it yet.

Now, to speak to the original point of this whole thing - who on earth do the makers of those "man bras" think they're kidding? And who do the wearers think they're fooling?
“They’re not interested in cross-dressing, they just find wearing a bra relaxes them.”
Oh, please. Give me a break. Come on, girls - just how "relaxed" does your bra make you feel? What's the first garment you shed when you get home, after you get your blouse off? Right! Please don't try to convince me that there's anything remotely "relaxing" about wearing a bra! That dog won't hunt, it really won't.

Apparently this phenomenon originated in Japan. I suppose the men will be mincing around in kimonos next, wearing big black wigs with knitting needles stuck in them, and trying to convince the world that they feel "more relaxed." Come on, Japan, admit it. You've got the same problems we have, yours are just still in the closet. Sorry, but all the well-worded advertising hype in the world isn't going to hide the truth.

A woman with two mastectomies is never going to look perfectly natural, and a man wearing a bra is never going to look relaxed. It's a law of nature, like gravity. And as we all know, it's not nice to fool Mother Nature.

Thursday, July 9, 2009


Dear Reader...

Please take a minute to follow this link:

I haven't vetted this article through my usual, trusty The reasons are: it is from a well-known news-reporting agency, and I have read and confirmed everything in this article before, when doing my own Google searches on the silly little curly light bulbs, and was as astonished then by the contradictions as I am now.

One very official-looking document I read gave detailed instructions for cleaning up a broken fluorescent bulb, part of which is repeated in the attachment here. The one I read went into greater detail with regard to ventilation, using sticky tape to pick up fragments, and using a wet paper towel to wipe over the area. It assumed the break was on a hard surface - (I guess they just don't break over carpet) and then went on to state that the clean-up materials and the broken glass must then be placed in a plastic Ziploc bag, and that bag placed inside another one. I notice this article mentions a glass jar with a metal lid. It is then deemed safe to put it in your garbage, as the double bagging (or the jar) will keep the mercury from escaping into the environment.

Excuse me? Have any of you ever visited the local dump? Well, I have. The garbage is piled into huge hills and dunes, and is continually being pushed around and redistributed by huge, chugging bulldozers. If one of those little double-bagged packages or a glass jar (with a metal lid!) survives being mauled by a bulldozer, then all I can say is, the Ziploc manufacturers are missing a wonderful Kodak moment to use in their ad campaigns. Also, when I die, my kids can save a lot of money by just burying me in a big mayonnaise jar.

Another recommendation is to return the bulbs to the place where you bought them, or to your local Fluorescent Bulb Recycling Center. Well, to the best of my knowledge, we don't have one of those critters around here, so I ran a little test. The last time I visited Lowe's, I walked up to the service desk and spoke to the young man behind the counter. I lied and told him I had a broken fluorescent light bulb in a double plastic bag in my car, and wondered if I could return it there for recycling. He just stared at me, and finally called his manager, who also stared at me and stammered something about "that disposal system has not been set up yet." So - it would appear that if you're planning to break any fluorescent bulbs, you had better wait a year or two.

Now, do I use any fluorescent bulbs at all? Yes, two. The light in my front hall bathroom stays on at all times, simply because I don't like having a whole section of my house in darkness. It is a visible light to anyone passing by, and if I go into the entry for something, that whole three-bedroom section down the front hall is not a dark cave. Also, the lamp beside my chair in the living room remains on. That one lamp illuminates the central core of the house well enough that I could see anyone who might enter, well before they could see me. My house is three rooms wide and three rooms deep, basically a square, so the center does not have windows. A light is a necessary thing for me, since I live alone. I'm not afraid, but I am cautious.

Also, if someone develops a fluorescent bulb that will work in my colored landscape lights out back, I'll gladly use them. They come on at dusk and go off at dawn, and I won't mind their two-minute warm-up. There are seven of them, and I wouldn't mind at all having energy-saving (and money-saving!) bulbs in those fixtures. However, to the best of my knowledge so far, such a bulb is not available. If anyone has different information, please let me know.

Though I hate the greenish light the things put out, I'll put up with it in those two continually-burning fixtures. However, for lights that are frequently turned off and back on, the fluorescents are unacceptable. When first turned on, they are very dim, emitting a sickly, pale green light, and they take a good two minutes to achieve their full potential. I'm not about to put up with that. By the time the thing is bright enough to be functional, I'd be turning it off again. Who needs that? Also, most of the lights in this house are on rheostats, or dimmers, and the fluorescents don't work well in them. They whine, buzz, ring, and usually go out. So instead of a nice, subdued, candle-glow light, you have a choice of bright greenish glare (eventually) or nothing. Can you tell I don't like the fluorescents? Any woman who has ever tried on a swimsuit in a department store dressing room will not have a very positive opinion of fluorescents, either.

As usual, government has gone off half-cocked, and mandated a Chicken Little action in response to a report that th
e sky is falling. Thank you, Al Gore. Wonder what kind of bulbs he uses in that energy-guzzling house of his?

Why does government always take an all-or-nothing approach to things, insisting on being our nanny, our policeman, our boss? Why not make both bulbs available, and let people make their own choice? The fluorescents are fine for long-term, continuous use, and the incandescents are much more attractive for short-term, on again-off again use. Mr. Gore might just be surprised how many of us would make good choices. Not all-encompassing choices, perhaps, but enough to make a big difference. Most people would probably weigh the pros and cons of the things, and use them where they can, as I have - or would, if the bulbs I need were available. Why can't we be trusted to make good decisions? Most of us would, I think. Any good parent knows that most children will respond well when given reasonable choices, but will balk and resist when everything is an order, never a request. But no, it has to be a big old hairy law, forcing us to use the bulbs everywhere, whether we like them or not.

Personally, every time I visit the grocery store, I buy a couple of boxes of incandescent bulbs. I now have enough of them stored in my garage to last until I leave this planet, but just in case, I'm still buying them. Who knows? Maybe I can sell them on the black market in a few years and get rich.

Be blessed, my friends.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


We are now well into July, and this is the first time I've visited the blog since my granddaughter's wedding. I'm glad I have those memories to fall back on, because the yard surely looks different now!

The heat has taken its toll. My pansies are gone, fainted dead away. The snapdragons are all gone as well, as are almost all the dianthus. I'm glad I planted some petunias around and between the cool-weather lovers, since without them there would be almost no color out there. There are a few roses, the crape myrtles are starting to bloom, and the oakleaf hydrangea is fully loaded with reddish-brown blooms. An interesting plant, the oakleaf. The blooms start out snow white, just elongated clusters called pannicles, many reaching over a foot long. Once they're all open, they begin to turn pink. First they're a faint, shell pink, then they darken until they're a russet red. Finally, the red turns into a mahogany brown, and that's how they remain, into the winter. The bush itself is a thick, sturdy, handsome shrub in its own right.

My beloved irises are long since finished, but a few of them are remontants, and will bless me with another show in the fall. The plumeria is fully leafed out, but so far has no flowers. My friend Beverly has a couple, and both of hers are blooming. I think I'll have to go have a chat with mine. There are a few tired roses, borne on heat-wearied bushes. I need to deadhead those bushes, maybe just go on and prune them deeply, and I'll get another flush of blooms in a few weeks.

It's a constant battle to maintain the pond. The sun causes the algae to proliferate unmercifully. I have a UV light set up on one of the water lines, and it kills the algae that's released in the water, but more is growing and setting itself adrift from the matrix on the sides and bottom all the time. The light keeps it under control so the water isn't green, but the box filter catches all the dead algae and about every twenty-four hours, it has to be pulled up, dismantled and washed out. If this isn't done, the main pump can't run, the waterfall stops, and the fish don't get sufficient aeration. Eventually, the pump will burn out, so I'm careful to clean the filter when it's needed.

The sun. Ah, yes, the ever-present, unrelenting, brutal Texas sun. I finally bought a nine-foot-wide beach umbrella, bright blue, and it helps to shade the pond, thereby reducing some of the sun exposure and slowing the algae growth to a small degree. It's a handsome umbrella, quite reasonable at under $100, tilts, and cranks to furl or unfurl it. It has an airvent in the top, with a circle of loose fabric covering the opening. I named it Fatima, because when it's collapsed down, it looks for all the world like a Muslim woman in a burqa.

My dear friend Eloise bought me an early birthday present. It's a bronze fish, poised on his belly, with his head and tail arched into the air. With the aid of a pump in the pond and a line connected to a point beneath him, he spits a jet of water back into the pond, thereby providing additional aeration. He's adorable, and useful as well.

As I said, the yard is looking pretty tired. That goes for the local wildlife too, especially the birds. I've never seen such tacky-looking birds, as the specimens who are haunting my yard these days. Skinny, molting, sad-eyed critters, of a variety that under the best of conditions would not necessarily be called "pretty", and right now, "tacky-looking" is a compliment. Absent tail feathers in most cases, and when they do have one or two, they're bent or broken. The poor things are hot, and they just stride around in the yard, beaks open, tongues protruding, looking frantic.

There are numerous water sources out there, including a very nice birdbath which I wash out daily and refill, and which is filled again at night when the sprinklers run. There's a large flat boulder with a natural depression, and I keep that washed out and filled as well. Then there's the little fountain/waterfall at the pond, and it always draws a crowd. I keep seed out as well, because I know they're just too hot and tired to hunt for food, and there's plenty of water. I don't know what else I can do to help them, but they just look so pitiful. The cardinals, mockingbirds, bluejays, flickers, robins and sparrows all seem to be doing okay. The grackles are a little ragged, but it's those other birds - cowbirds or whatever they are - that seem to be faring the worst. I haven't seen any starlings in a couple of weeks - I wonder where they went? Wherever it is, I hope they stay.

The squirrels haven't been around as much lately, either. They come by early in the morning, eat their fill if there's fresh feed out, or snuffle through the grass if the table has not been set for them yet. They jump up on the big birdbath and get a drink, or sometimes give me a special show when they come to the little tiled birdbath beneath my window. It has a small boulder beside it, so they can perch on the boulder while they drink from the birdbath. This puts them only about five feet away from me, and they can see me, but they don't seem to mind. Occasionally one will jump onto the window ledge just a couple of feet from me, and will peer in at me, or scratch on the glass, as though to say, "Hey, lady! We need groceries out here!" I usually respond to the demand, and the squirrels will skitter up the tree when I open the back door, but I'm barely back in the house when they're in the middle of the offering I've left them, munching seeds and carrying peanuts away to be buried.

I have amazing things that sprout up in my garden, things I never planted, but they're there. I'm picking tomatoes now from a vine I never planted, there is a cornstalk in the rose island, and last year there were peanut vines everywhere, which produced a lot of peanuts, which were in turn harvested by the furry little peanut farmers. My pear tree is drooping with a heavy load of pears, but the squirrels will get most of them. I don't care, I hope they enjoy them.

The Bible says "To everything there is a season." This seems to be the season for being hot, sticky, weary and thirsty, but just think how good that first cool Texas Norther will feel!