Tuesday, May 9, 2017

It's Baaaack!!

Non-stop Mario for Child's Play Charity

If you've been a reader here before, or have followed me on Twitter for any length of time, you may have seen mention of Mario Marathon before. If you haven't, here's a quick synopsis -

Some guys here in Indiana hijacked the idea of playing video games, streaming it online, and using it as a fundraiser. They picked an awesome charity, Child's Play, to support, and ended up making it a mostly annual event. (They took one year off in there because sometimes adulting is hard, and people move, and have kids, and these guys were forking out literally thousands of dollars making it all work and, frankly, they needed a break.) But then they came back, and my crew is yet again totally stoked about it. The cool part? Audience participation, which equals donations to Child's Play, to the collective tune over the last 10 years of over $560,000!!    

So, what the heck is Child's Play? Good question. Child's Play Charity is a charity that provides games, books, DVDs, toys, etc to children's hospitals around the world. Founded by "gamers" with the idea of "gamers giving back", Child's Play uses funds raised to help kids have fun in a situation that could be... less than fun. (Because hospitals are not so much fun!) 

So, anywhooo... This is taking on some cool new meaning for me as we will officially become patients of an area children's hospital soon, courtesy of our Bump. Both of the children's hospitals in Indianapolis are partner hospitals with Child's Play, so this has really started to come full circle for me. 

Gist of all this is that Mario Marathon is back, and will be streaming live beginning at 11am Eastern on June 23, 2017. We're looking forward to it, and hope you'll join us. If you'd like to support Child's Play, you can make a donation (which goes DIRECTLY to Child's Play, the team gets information for tracking purposes only, but your funds go 100% to the charity) using the button there in the left sidebar. 

Want to read other posts I've shared about MM in the past? Find those here! 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

A Bump In The Road

Sometimes, you have so much built up inside you that you just might burst.

That’s kind of where I’m at.

I’ll open this with the statement that it’s ok. Then I’ll acknowledge that, on some levels, that’s a lie, because it’s not “ok” but it could be so much worse, and I’ve seen so much worse, and had people I care about live through so much worse, that this? It’s pretty ok.

See, my kid? He has a thing inside his head that isn’t supposed to be there. A Pituitary Microadenoma. (Micro! See – that’s good!) Technically, an active Prolactinoma.
All of which are big-ish words that mean that my son has a mass in his pituitary gland that is causing an overproduction of prolactin, a hormone present in all of us, but typically elevated in pregnant and nursing women. It’s small – thus the micro, which clinically means that the MRI shows that it is less than 10mm in size. I don’t have an actual measurement because we haven’t seen the Dr. who can clarify that part for me yet, but micro is better than macro in this scenario.

That doctor visit is still more than a month out, which is both frustrating (A MONTH!? And that is actually TWO MONTHS out from when we got MRI results!?) and comforting (A month + out just reaffirms that this is not life-threatening, this didn’t immediately turn into a next-day surgery and weeks of inpatient care and who knows what else). We will be headed to Indy to meet with a pediatric neurosurgeon first of June, and hopefully that will be the appointment, in what has felt like a flurry of appointments, where we will walk away with a plan. Surgery currently feels like the most likely option, but research (because you know I’ve googled the heck out of this thing, sticking to quality search results like the Mayo Clinic) says that there are options like medication, radiation and even chemo.

The chemo phrase brings me around to another quick, but really important thought. The odds that this mass is cancerous are VERY small. Of these types of masses, only 0.2% are actually cancerous. Those are good odds, and I’ll take them.


So. There it is. A little brain vomit that gives a quick outline on our bump. His bump. This bump in the road.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

That day that I Louis C. K.ed


I shared this on my Facebook the other day. When I did so, I did while mostly thinking about it from the side of the person who was hurt, not the person who had committed the hurt. 

Yesterday, I had an interesting experience. I was volunteering at an event where I was selling programs. At one point, I had 3 people approach me nearly simultaneously. From directly in front of me, a gentleman approached, and there was a woman right behind him. Mere moments later, as the first man reached into his pocket for money, a second man approached on my right, asking if I had singles to be able to make change for his $2 bills. (Programs are $5.) I did not, as I had not received any singles so far in the day, but the man already pulling out his cash said he had a couple of singles, and would be able to help the man to my right. 

The man in front of me, with the woman on his heels, purchased two programs, handed two one dollar bills to the man on the right, took the two dollar bill, and walked away. The man on my right then handed me one of the singles and two two dollar bills, took his program, and walked away. Then the woman stepped up.

"How much?" she asked. 

"Five dollars." I replied.

"Well, you just lost a sale. I was here before that man, you should have waited on me first. Stop giving preferential treatment to men." 

I had begun to interject with an "I'm sorry" - you see, I had thought she was with the first gentleman. She wasn't interested, however, and walked away. 

I was left a little dumbfounded. I certainly had not intended any slight, and there was only a few seconds between the first man walking away and the second walking away. Less than 10 seconds. I didn't view any of it as preferential treatment, as the first man and the second man held the bulk of conversation between themselves, while I waited to hand them their programs in exchange for the cash. Frankly, I was offended by her reaction. I'm standing alone with a cart full of programs (we usually have at least 2 or 3 of us together, but we were shorthanded, so I was flying solo) and three people come up within mere moments of one another. I'm making eye contact and responding to direct questions, smiling, and trying to be as helpful as I can, and it wasn't good enough for this woman who perceived my (volunteer!) work as insufficient. 

As I thought back about the entire exchange, trying to determine what went wrong, this quote came back to my mind. She was hurt by my actions, or at least offended enough by them that she was going to stand there long enough to make her statement. While I didn't intentionally slight her, she felt slighted, and that was real enough to her. 

Was I responsible for her feelings? No, I don't think so, but that doesn't mean that her feelings were invalid. I hope that she felt better after scolding me, and I hope that just maybe she stopped at one of the other spots where the school kids who we are selling the programs to support were standing and bought one from them. 



Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Knowing Your Value

Last weekend I travelled to the San Diego area for a family wedding, which was gorgeous, so much fun, and a lovely break, but is not at all what I want to write about right this moment. I flew out on Southwest, and if you haven’t flown with them lately, they have added some Wi-fi related offerings to their flights. One such offering is access to select ebook titles via Kobo.

I had started a book a couple months ago on another trip, and had been unable to find a copy via my public library to be able to finish it, so the first thing I did after settling in was check the available titles. It wasn’t still on the list (bummer) but another title caught my eye.

Now, I’m not a big follower of political news shows, but I catch Morning Joe periodically, and really enjoy it. News, politics, humor, antics – all in a well thought out, balanced program. I like it. The interactions between the folks there are honest and genuine. (Don’t believe me? Watch it a few times. The eyerolling alone is proof!)

Mika Brzezinski is one of the co-hosts, and I have found that I really admire her. She pulls no punches, she isn’t there to just look pretty, she is a sharp, witty, intelligent woman. She just… gets it.

She is also an author. The book that caught my eye was hers – Knowing Your Value. I’m not embarrassed to share that I DEVOURED this book. As a woman working in a field that for many, many years was male-dominated (as most are, historically speaking) I knew that many of us are wary of pushing for the equality we deserve and have earned. I don’t know that I had been realistic about how wide-spread the issue was. I would never have considered that Mika, who is such a valuable perspective and voice on Morning Joe, was so undervalued by the powers that be.

She talked about how focused people were on her appearance as well. As a woman who rarely wears makeup, and prefers blue jeans and tennis shoes to skirts and heels, I know that people often initially view me as “lesser”. It’s a sad reality that women are expected to make less, give as much (or more, because  they have to “compensate” for the time they are away in a role as mom, wife or other caregiver) and invest more in personal appearance than men.

Now, let me be ABUNDANTLY clear – this is NOT the case with every business. It is not the case for every woman. It is, however, a reality for many women in business. So, with that in mind, if you are a woman in a profession, or a man who works with women, you should consider reading Mika’s book. It is empowering and enlightening.

And if you are on a Southwest flight? It’s a free read at the moment.

Disclaimer: I was in no way compensated for or asked to provide a review of either the book Knowing Your Value or Southwest Airlines. This is simply my sharing of my opinion following my personal direct contact with both.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Emotional

Saturday was a whirlwind of emotions.

Scott's memorial service was live streamed, allowing me to watch from the living room of the vacation home I was staying in for the weekend. As it ended, I walked out the door to head to my cousin's wedding.

One love story tragically cut short as another penned its most passionate chapter to date.

Love is a hard thing. The joy it can bring, the pain it can pour out, the havoc it can wreak. Emotions drive us. As humans, we find ourselves caught in their tides, some days filled with joy and laughter, others with pain and heartbreak, even others with fear, or loathing. Some days are a compilation of all of the above.

Emotions can be hard. They can be discouraging. The can hold us back. They also can be the push we need to fully appreciate all we strive to be.

Saturday, they were swirling. My face was made up, and I desperately tried to avoid tears rolling down my powdered cheeks. Vows were shared, promises of forever, and my heart celebrated for them, while it shattered just a little more for Tracy, for Scott, for a forever cut short. A song, their song, played at the reception, and again, I wept.

Embrace the emotions.

One day, they may be all that is left.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

When #BetterThanDying Isn’t Enough

I started blogging several years ago, and with blogging came community. I was part of a network called the BlogFrog, a fun discussion board where bloggers gathered to just.. hang out.

I “met” some really great people there. One was this dude named Scott. He was one of a very small number of daddy bloggers in a sea of moms. He was snarky, pulled no punches, and most of all, he was hilarious. He would tell tales about his “4C’s” – the 3 sons and 1 daughter he had with his wife, affectionately just called T.

T – her real name is Tracy – was clearly the love of his life. He shared their love story, how they met on the beach, how they married quickly. How much he supported her being home with the kids, being a mom who chose to extended breastfeed, cloth diaper and home school.

He bitched about how much he hated his job, how he hated the hour long commute each way, and how crappy his bosses were. Talked about getting out of there, finding something he loved and that would support T & the C’s.

He talked a lot about body hair, and PODO (Pants off dance off, for those not in the know. You know – makin’ babies?) He was a pro at making you laugh at the most inappropriate things.

He was also a hell of a friend. When Jeep was raising money for St. Baldrick’s, Scott reached out to a syndicated radio program, The Bert Show, and asked him to share. Bert did, and went above and beyond, making a significant donation to push Jeep over the $3,000 mark in his fundraising.

When I was having a bad day, a tweet from him was good for a smile. Every time.

Until last spring. Scott was found unconscious at work, face down on his desk, not breathing.  He had suffered some kind of seizure, and was comatose for days. Eventually, scans showed cancer in his brain.

Scott fought that cancer the same way he did everything else – balls to the wall. He was a big Cross Fit guy, and eventually helped coordinate a fundraiser called Kettle Bells for Brain Cells to help fund brain cancer research, held in June.

On July 15th, 2015, Scott got the news none of us wanted to hear. The cancer, which had appeared to go into remission for a short time, was back. Aggressively. This time, the mass was in his brain stem. He was told to start making arrangements and saying his goodbyes. 

Yesterday, August 4th, 2015, Scott, known to many of us as “This Daddy”, lost his battle against glioblastoma. He leaves behind his wife Tracy and four children.

Scott – thank you. I appreciated our friendship. I loved talking football smack with you, giving you crap for refusing to change diapers, and griping about stupid work stuff together. You swore to us all over and over that you were a big asshole. I’ve been watching twitter for a while, pal, and there are an awful lot of us who disagree. There are an awful lot of us who think you’re a pretty damn swell guy. We’ll keep pushing on back here, #stillkickin and fighting the good fight. Forever #BetterThanDying.

We love ya.

@TaxMegan & @ProFBallPlatter

Sunday, August 2, 2015

First Day of School

They are tucked away in their beds, but I doubt they are sleeping just yet. Nervous energy and all that.
In just a few hours, I will start the process of rousting them for their first day of school. My freshman. My middle schooler. My baby in her final year at our elementary school.
For the first time ever they will all three be in different schools. Three different busses will carry them away. Three different times in the afternoon that they will be arriving home. New faces. New friends.
The nervousness here has been palpable. Not for Melissa so much - she is flitting about, humming like a hummingbird, anxious to start. It is comfortable for her. Teachers she adores, a building she knows. Friends she has been missing.
But the boys? Nervous. Tense. Eli is headed to a much bigger school, and is facing down some pretty intense academic challenges. Jeep is off to a smaller high school with an intense curriculum and very few familiar faces.
Backpacks have been filled, checked and rechecked. Clothes picked out. Lunch accounts funded. We are as ready as we can be.
Truth be told, I am nervous too. My babies aren't any more. They are teens and tweens taking big steps towards their futures. It is what they are supposed to do. It is what we, as parents, are working towards, right? But it is scary for us too. We worry about so many of the same things they worry about - will they make friends? Will they be good friends to have, or will we always worry about the choices they are making with those friends? Will they make good choices on their own? Will they get lost? Be afraid? Eat enough? Understand their classwork? Like their teachers? Come to us when they have questions or concerns? If not to us, to another trustworthy adult?
Tomorrow, my town will turn around 12,000 children over into the hands of hundreds of other caring, loving adults. Adults who also have first day jitters, and who also want our kids to succeed. To grow. To be amazing.
So, to my three - do just that. Succeed. Grow. Be amazing. Work hard. Do your best. And then?
Come home and tell me all about it.
Love,
Mom