Friday, February 26, 2010

Contest Crazy

For some reason, I have been entering contests lately.
Contests for cash. Contests for prizes.

I even bought a Powerball ticket for my husband for Valentine’s Day.
He didn't win.

I am not sure why I’ve been so obsessed with contests in the past few months or so. Maybe it’s the hope or promise of something better coming our way.

Maybe it’s because most contests are just so darn easy to enter – just fill in some information and click.

Maybe it’s because we are on a very, very tight budget and a mound of money would come in quite handy around here.

I think winning it big would be terrific.
But even winning it small would make me smile.

My daughter would love, love, LOVE for me to win a trip to New York in a contest I recently entered. And I would love, love, LOVE if she won the Old Navy SuperModelquin contest.

So please vote for her at

Even though winning the SuperModelquin contest is a long shot, spending an hour or so at the Old Navy with my daughter (without her little brother) was a lot of fun.


(Except for the 50 bucks I spent on some spring clothes for her and her brother)

Vote now, vote often.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

And a rush came over the room . . .

Go, go, go.

It seems as a society we simply cannot slow down.

Rush here, rush there.
Do this, do that.

Frankly, I’m quite tired of all the rush.
Truthfully, I just can’t keep up.
I have to move at a much slower pace than the rest of this hurried world. Simply so I can do just one thing which is


Rushing here, rushing there takes my breath away.
It makes me frustrated.
It makes me nervous.

Take for instance a recent shopping trip to a well-known discount department store. Now I ordinarily do not spend too much time shopping at big stores or malls anymore because it usually is just too exhausting for me. But on Monday I had nearly two hours to kill while my daughter was at a birthday party nearby, and my son had some money burning a hole in his Thomas the Tank Engine wallet so off we went.

Luckily, I walked about the store at my own almost turtle-like pace. Then, I rested while my son checked out all the toys.

It is at the check-out where I felt that I just wasn’t cutting it in the sport of discount department store shopping - as in a “hurry up lady, you’re not moving fast enough for us” way.

First, the not-so-friendly cashier seemed miffed that I wanted my son to pay for his items with cash, and then I would pay for mine with credit. I guess that would have slowed her down in the Olympic event known as discount department store cashier cross.

Next, she waited impatiently as I tried to dig some change out of the child-sized Thomas wallet. This is not an easy feat for a person like me who sometimes has trouble using my fingers to do simple tasks like opening a jar, buttoning children’s clothing, or pulling apart tiny Lego pieces.

Then, before I could even gather up my bags and put my credit card away, the cashier was moving on to the next customer who had not so graciously placed her eco-friendly shopping bags on top of my stuff. Not that I have anything against eco-friendly shopping bags. We use them from time to time as well. I just didn’t want those bags on top of my stuff, or in my space, urging me to hurry up and move on already.

Now, like the not-so-friendly cashier, I was miffed. I even mumbled something to the cashier and the eco-friendly shopping bag lady as in, “Can you give me a minute to finish? I even accidentally knocked one of her bags off the counter when I gathered up my stuff. (I swear it was an accident) But both the cashier and pushy bag lady didn’t seem to care. They both just looked at me like I was crazy. As in a “hurry up lady, you’re not moving fast enough for us” way.

I have seen that look before. It happened one time when a fast-paced couple nearly plowed me over while I was walking s l o w l y while wearing my portable oxygen on my way out of the hospital after pulmonary rehab. On that day, I did not mumble. I said loudly, “You don’t have to walk right on top of me!” I am in a hospital. I am wearing oxygen, for goodness sake. Slow down. I don’t even recall if they said they were sorry. They just went on their merry, hurried way.

The frantic pace of the outside world is not only to blame for my dislike of all things fast. Many times, I feel rushed in my own home or with my own family. Hurry, get breakfast, lunch, or dinner on the table. Hurry, get the kids out the door or they will miss the bus. Hurry, sign this paper, make a phone call, fold the laundry, check this math paper. Hurry, get in the car so we won’t be late.

Hurry, hurry, hurry.

Sometimes my family needs a lesson in taking a less-than-lightening pace. I remind my kids that they need to slow down because mommy can’t move so fast. I remind my impatient husband that dinner won’t be for awhile yet as he paces about the kitchen. I remind my 70-year-old mother to stop walking so fast when we are together.

Sometimes even me, myself, and I forget that we can’t keep up with this lickety-split world. I have to remind myself to slow down, to stop, to relax, and to take a deep breath. I have to give myself at least one hour to get ready in the morning, instead of just 45 minutes or less. I have to remind myself to do one or two things at a time, not three, four, or more. I have to rest if I need to rest.

Rest, Rest, Rest.

Slow down, slow down, slow down.


Ahhhhhhh . . . that’s more like it.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Just say (oh!) no to . . . Chocolate

Well, I finally had my appointment with the ENT (ear, nose, throat doctor) last week who assured me after sticking a teeny tiny camera through my nose and down my throat that my vocal chords looked just fine, thank you. Of course, by the time of this visit my voice had returned to near normal.

In his opinion, my sexy (hoarse) voice, might have been caused by a broken blood vessel due to coughing. Imagine that! I've been told that I will always have a cough due to the problems with my lungs. Sometimes I cough a lot, sometimes not so much. But I always have a cough.

Oh, and the ENT said there is some evidence of acid in my throat, too. No surprise there as acid reflux is a complication of scleroderma, which is my case is pretty well-controlled by taking medications, avoiding certain foods, elevating my bed, etc., etc., etc.

So thank goodness, no new meds, no further testing, no follow-up appointment. Just some tips on how to prevent acid reflux. Avoid coffee, tea, cola - basically anything with caffeine, don't drink red wine, and don't eat dairy products after dinner, blah blah blah.

I am pretty good at avoiding foods or drinks that will trigger acid reflux, except for one of my favorites:


Yes, the doc said to limit chocolate. I can do without coffee. I don't drink cola or red wine, and I hardly ever eat after dinner. But chocolate? I enjoy having a little bit of chocolate each day. Isn't it supposed to be good for you in some antioxidant sort of way? Doesn't everyone deserve a little bit of chocolate every now and again?

I don't think I can easily give up chocolate. I can try, but I will have to be strong.

I will try to remember this quote by author Judith Viorst:

"Strength is the capacity to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands --- and then eat just one of the four pieces."

Viorst is best known to me as the author of the children's book, "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day." It is precisely on that kind of day when I need a little bit of chocolate.

Wouldn't you agree?