So, over on my newest blog, The Crazy Creative Corner, we're having the First Annual Virtual Craft Show and, yes, I'm a part of it. I now not only have a blog (or two) but I have a Facebook page and an Etsy Store all of which you're more than welcome to visit me on (and, of course, buy!). Anyway, check out today's blog, here, and see what's going on as well at take a peek at some of the items over on Etsy that I have for sale. Here's a sneak peek of a few items:
Y'know, I probably shouldn't complain. I mean, it's hard enough finding people who think "customer service" means forcing a plastic-looking smile as they serve you in some way. But, honestly, folks, having someone who's about 15 years younger than you call you "sweetie" is annoying! I'm not 12 anymore and I don't know anyone over the age of 14 who likes the term "sweetie" being applied to them. If you're in customer service (i.e., fast food, restaurant, cashier at any store) don't call someone "sweetie" unless it's obvious they're under the age of 12 or they're your husband/spouse.
And, while I'm ranting, to you women who use the words "hon" and "sugar" to everyone... don't. Just. Don't. Unless you're a Southern woman, it sounds patronizing in the extreme. I worked for years with a woman who did that and it always sounded like she was talking down to the person she used it on, as if they were mentally incapacitated in some way. When Southern women say "Hon" or "Sugar" it's a complement, as if they're including you in their vast circle of friends. And it's the way they can say it. They sliiiiide it under the door and follow after! It's not a short, abrupt bark of a word "Hun!" They draw it out as "Huuuun" and you expect to hear the second half, "-ney," on the end. You don't feel talked at or down to, you feel welcomed. And, when she says "sugar" it, too, is drawn out, "Shuuh-gah." Southern women are just easy on the ears and ego. And they never call anyone "sweetie" unless it's a grandchild (at least, not that I've ever heard... and, yes, I can say this with authority, my mom's side of the family is Texan - as am I - and most of my college friends were from Alabama, Georgia, North & South Carolina... you get the idea).
I think we forget that words have meaning, even words we take as "meaningless" today. And, the meaning takes on more weight in how it's used, when it's used and how it's said (the one thing you don't want is a Southern woman shortening that "hon" when you've done something stupid... it's a reprimand all on it's own!). Think about what you say and how you say it before you verbalize. Because, seriously, folks, I'm about ready to snap off a good, old fashioned, Southern "Hon!" at the next young person who calls me "sweetie!" as if I were twelve!
Okay, yes, I know, it's not Christmas, yet. And, no, I'm not being like the stores and putting out "Christmas Items" before Thanksgiving is even here. This isn't about my new blog (or Etsy store), this is about being asked (in a very round-about way) by Mr. School Principle to write the kids Christmas play this year. You see, our school is the smallest, student numbers-wise, that it's ever been so he needed something simple. Yes, this is why he came to me (droll-roll-of-the-eyes). Anyway, below is the story I came up with and he, so far, has approved. It's about two little boys at granma's house on Christmas Eve and a dream about Christmas' first Gift.
THE FIRST CHRISTMAS GIFT
[bedroom, two cots with a little boy in each, about 6 and 10 years of age]
Ivan: Pssst! Gabe! You still awake?
Gabe:[rolls over] Yeah, Ivan. What's wrong?
Ivan: Nuthin'. I'm just excited 'cause tomorrow's Christmas. D'ya think Santa will bring that skateboard I've been begging for?
Gabe:[in thoughtful tones] I dunno, Ivan. You were a real pill to Mom last week.
Ivan:[with a whine in his voice] Yeah, but... I worked double hard at being good over the weekend!
Gabe:[trying not to laugh] And you broke Mimi's favorite vase this afternoon.
Ivan:[defensively] You know that was an accident, Gabe. 'Sides, you threw that pillow!
Gabe:[snickers] Yeah, well, Mimi wasn't too upset. MAYYYYYbe Santa will bring all the loot we asked for. I really, really want that new bike!
[woman's voice from off-stage] You boys go to sleep or Santa will never come!
[in unison] Yes, Mom! [snuggle down in cots]
[lights dim, dream sequence begins with K thru 1st grade children singing first verse of "Away In A Manger"]
Lead Angel: For unto you a Child is born.
Angel chorus: a Child is born
Lead Angel: Unto you a Son is given
Angel chorus: a Son is given
[all angels in unison] : And His name shall be called Wonderful, [little louder] Counsellor, [louder] the Mighty God, [firmly louder - no screaming] the Everlasting Father, [softly] the Prince of Peace.
Prince of Peace. So the prophets said He would be called. But, I don't remember much being peaceful about that night. God's only begotten Son was born in a city so crowded, people were literally sleeping in streets and alleys. I was so glad Joseph was able to talk an innkeeper into letting us use his stable. [shakes head, small smile] This King of kings, the Prince of Peace, Immanuel Himself was born in a small, dirty, smelly hole in the wall when He had every right to be born in a palace.
But, He came to give, not take.
To be a servant, not a King.
I remember His first visitors, too. [laughs] You'd think just-hours-old parents would be left in peace but, no, a bunch of unwashed, burly shepherds found us, wanting to see Him. They said God sent angels to tell them of His Son's birth. The Lamb of God visited by keepers of the lambs used in sacrifice.
Lead Angel: Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy...
Angel chorus: good tidings of great joy
Lead Angel: For unto you is born this day... a Saviour which is Christ the Lord.
Angel chorus: a Saviour, a Saviour, a Saviour which is Christ the Lord
[first verse of "Silent Night"]
Silent night? HA! There wasn't much silent around Bethlehem that day OR night. So many people were crowding into the city, kicking up dust as they came over the roads and through the hills, scaring our sheep out of their wool.
Then the angels appearing in the middle of the night to proclaim the birth of the long-awaited Messiah. This time, it was we shepherds who had the wool scared off of us! We got the idea, though, and raced off into the city, looking for a manger with a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes. [chuckles] We made quite a ruckus ourselves with our looking but the angel didn't say which manger He'd be in!
Well, we found Him. Oh, yes, we found Him! We paused before we got too close, wanting to calm ourselves and not wake the baby. The gift of God.
The Lamb that taketh away the sin of the world.
Lead Angel: For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulders: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.
All Angels[unison]: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
We weren't there at His birth even though we saw the star announcing it. We had a long way to travel; mountains to cross, bandits to fight off, animals to care for, people to protect. It took us close to two years or so to even reach the city of Bethlehem and the first place we went was to the palace. I mean, where else do you find a King? But, King Herod wasn't too happy when we asked for the one born King of the Jews. I'm sure he had no idea what we mean. He wasn't looking for the King of kings. He had no help to offer but he asked us to let him know if we found the child. That made us nervous and, because of a dream we all had later, we never went back to tell Herod where He was. When we left the palace we happened to look up and His star was back in the sky and it was moving! It led us right to the house where the yound child lived. We surprised his family when we knocked, but they welcomed us and allowed us to see Him. We only had small gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh but it was the very best we had to offer Him.
The King of kings.
God with us.
[lights come up slow--like a sunrise]
Gabe:[rolls over and stretches, then sits up fast] Hey, Ivan, you up!?
Ivan: [pops up quickly] Yeah! And, I had the coolest dream!
Gabe: Me, too! All about the first Christmas and -
Ivan: [interrupts Gabe before he can finish the word "and"] -and God's Son!
Gabe: - and Mary!
Ivan: - and Angels!
Gabe: - and Shepherds!
Ivan: - and Wise Men!
Ivan: Think we ought'a tell the others?
[woman's voice from off-stage] Boys! Mimi made homemade waffles and French toast! And Santa came last night with presents!
Gabe:[grinning] Yeah, we should!
[scramble out of bed and run from the room, whooping with excitement]
Well, my other loyal subject in the Procrasti Nation has sent me her answers to my nosy questions. We're closing out the month of October discussing Spina Bifida. Karen (aka Scasmflop) over at Carson's Corner let me ask her questions about what she went through when she discovered Carson has Spina Bifida (SB) and some advice for those who may find out their child will have a disability.
See, here's the thing, a disability does NOT mean that child's life is valueless and should be terminated. Karen was already far enough along in her pregnancy her doctor didn't even bring up abortion as an option to her (it wouldn't have been an "option" anyway, as far as she and her husband are concerned) but others have been told that "the child's quality of life" would be poor or not worth living. What that really translates to is "your life will be harder and you won't be able to do things others do." Well, guess what, having a child, with or without a disability, changes your life. It makes it harder. It changes what you can and can't do. You have someone else to think of, now, other than just yourselves. If your child has a disability, that doesn't make life worse, just tougher. And, as they say, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Are you willing to let that child be stronger?
Another great resource is Spina Bifida Kids and you can follow links to other blogs and see these a-MAZ-ing kids and their loving parents. Parents who decided not to take the "easy" road and abort these precious lives. Parents who decided even a physically disabled child deserves a chance at life and to bring joy into someone else's life. Here is the mother of one such child, Karen and her adorable son Carson.
M&T: How far into your pregnancy were you when the doctor informed you there was a problem with Carson?
Karen: 32 weeks
M&T: Did he actually say there was a problem, or just indicate a need for further testing on your baby and what was your initial reaction to this?
Karen: My Ob detected what he thought to be a cyst on myself- possibly a ovarian or uterine cyst. He said those are fairly routine but I can’t rule out for certain that the cyst is not on the baby so I am going to send you for further testing.
M&T: What was your immediate reaction to being told Carson has Spina Bifida?
Karen: shocked, scared, sad, mad, hurt, confused, couldn’t breathe.
M&T: Do you recall if you noticed, at the time, what your husbands’ reaction was?
Karen: Pretty much the same as mine.
M&T: I know you did Internet research into Spina Bifida after learning Carson has it. What was your emotional state as you learned what it was and what it could entail for him?
Karen: Some info helped me relax while other info scared me for him. It was a Russian roulette game with info.
M&T: I know you’re both Christians, do you feel your relationship with God was affected by these circumstances that were occurring at the time?
Karen: I would say that I’ve realized more how much He is in control and not me.
M&T: What about your marriage relationship, how was it affected at the time?
Karen: We have a very strong relationship and this really didn’t seem to help/hinder. We just stuck together, leaned on each other, cried together, prayed together, but also laughed together and focused on what really mattered.
M&T: I know when Carson was born, they insisted on a C-Section birth in order to reduce as much trauma to his little body and spine as possible, were you able to see him immediately after his birth?
Karen: It was about an hour after his birth before I was able to see him. He went straight to the NICU and I was transported to recovery. I didn’t think I would get to see him till the next day since he was to be transported immediately to Childrens… I had to stay at Hollywood Pres. for 24 hours and recover. However, while I was in the recovery room I overheard the nurses talking. One nurse kept asking about moving me out into my room … she said I was ready and they needed the spot in the recovery for another patient. This other nurse adamantly told her that I was not moving anywhere till I got to see my baby. He was on his way to see me and we were waiting. I quickly called out to her and ask if I had heard her correctly. She said, oh honey yes, you are gonna see your baby. I squealed!!!! Sure enough about 30 minutes later they wheeled him into the room. He was in a transport incubator. I cried with joy. He was so perfect. They let me reach my hand into the hole and touch him. I just stroked his face over and over and prayed for him. They stayed for probably five minutes then he had to transfer. It was amazing!!!!
M&T: Do you recall your emotional state at that particular time?
Karen: Overwhelmed…. so many emotions I can’t even explain it. Joy, wonder, anticipation, fear, love, exhaustion.
M&T: Did you, at any time immediately after his birth, consider all the things you and your new family would be facing in dealing with Carson’s Spina Bifida? Can you tell us some of what was going through your mind at the time?
Karen: Not really. His birth and seeing him made me just want to see him more, hold him, and take him home. I was worried about him in some ways but also just felt a perfect peace that God was taking care of him.
M&T: I know that there have been some physical difficulties for Carson, he had a broken leg immediately at birth and it’s broken a couple of times since then. How fragile are his bones at this time? Is he able to bear weight on them, yet?
Karen: His bones are fragile, how fragile is unknown exactly but we have to be very careful. Weight- bearing actually strengthens the bones so we currently do about 30 mins 3 times a week in a mobile stander. The more the better!!!! This is why we need to get his braces so badly. He needs more standing time, but currently he requires a supine stander in order to do that. We cant afford to purchase one so I have to take him to therapy and do that, and that’s limited for time.
M&T: How much time do you have to spend on a daily basis to work on Carson’s physical therapy; getting him to get up on his knees, working on his crawling, whatever other exercises the therapists have given you for him. And, how much more difficult is this when you have another son who’s 6 months old and probably beginning to think about mobility, himself?
Karen: This is hard to answer. Each day is different… Part of that is having a 6 month old, and part of that is just daily schedule. Also some days Carson seems willing to work and other days he just doesn’t. I’ve learned when to push him and when not to push him. Pick my battles- I guess. I’d say on average we spend 1-2 hours a day on physical therapy activities.
M&T: Give me your best piece of advice for women facing the birth of a “disabled” child and name three web-sites you think would be good places for them to go for support and/or information.
Carson and one of his many "girlfriends"
Karen: It’s gonna be fine. Your baby is a precious, amazing, and a special gift. There’s nothing that is going to change that. Love is not based upon physical expectation. Do not grieve or fear, just trust in the Lord and His plan. Don’t lose sight of the great blessings you do have. Cherish them, and search for everyday wonders, and miracles.
As far as websites go it would depend upon your unique situation. There are online support groups for everything now-a-days. I recommend finding friends who understand your situation… it’s been one of my biggest blessings and comforts. Try babycenter.com, facebook, or Parents.com.
I'm sorry this interview has taken so long to publish. Yes, I know, October - and Breast Cancer Awareness month - are almost over. I am the Queen of the Procrasti Nation and I seem to have some very loyal subjects! :)
That said, I have a friend named Angie who agreed to let me ask her some personal questions about some things that have happened recently in her life. Things that would send most of us to a dark, scary place if they happened to us. Angie's been lucky in that she, herself, has never had cancer although her mother died from breast cancer and her maternal Aunt Julie had it as well, although her aunt did not have the BRCA2 gene. However, Angie and her sister bothhave the BRCA2 gene which gives you an 87% chance of having breast cancer as opposed to the 7% chance the rest of us face. She's gone through the emotions, the ups and downs, the questions and, ultimately, the decision to have her breasts and uterus removed to prevent breast or ovarian cancer from striking her life. Here is the interview she graciously agreed to:
M&T: What made you decide to get tested for the BRCA2 gene?
Angie: This is a little crazy, but at my last "annual" when my Dr was doing the breast exam, she commented on how dense my breast tissue was which made it SUPER important for me to do the self exam regularly. I asked if that would be a problem if I ever wanted to get implants because the girls where heading south, and she kind of jokingly said that with my family cancer history, I should get tested for the BRCA gene (which stands for BReast CAncer) and if I tested positive I would basically get a boob job on my insurance's dime. When I left the appointment I called my sister and asked if her Dr had ever suggested getting tested. Her Dr hadn't, but she was going the next week for her visit and said said she would ask. Her Dr said she would absolutely recommend getting tested. My sister tested positive which then made it more important for me to get tested and after some prayer, I decided to do it.
M&T: What was your immediate, emotional response when you found you had the gene?
Angie: It was very surreal. I remember thinking prior to the test that it might be awesome to get new, young, breasts. When the test came back positive, the reality of the situation was anything BUT awesome. The gene increases the risk of breast cancer from the 7% chance we all have to an 87% chance. They are basically saying that it's no longer IF you get breast cancer, but WHEN. It also increases the risk of ovarian cancer to 57%. I think I was mostly in shock for the first couple of weeks.
M&T: Whom did you instinctively turn to in those first hours, days, weeks as you dealt with this new knowledge and why?
Angie: The people closest to me were such an amazing source of comfort and strength. My husband was absolutely my rock. My sister, who had already tested positive, and could uniquely understand exactly what I was going through. My family and closest friends. I knew that this was not something anyone should go through alone. I needed prayer. I needed wise counsel. The direction that the medical community was HIGHLY suggesting was extreme to say the least. I needed to know that even though I had to walk this path, whatever decision I made, I did not have to do it alone.
M&T: Why did you decide to have the hysterectomy and double mastectomy?
Angie: The first two months I had extensive testing. MRI and ultrasound of the breasts, internal ultrasound of the ovaries, extensive blood work looking for anything out of the ordinary...NOT FUN. I felt a little humiliated by the whole thing and this was the testing they would want to do every 6 months so that anything abnormal could be detected early. It wasn't just that. The more I researched, the more I prayed, the more I got counsel from those I trust (who were also getting counsel from friends and family in the medical field), the more I knew that I wanted to take the potential for breast and ovarian cancer out of my life's future.
M&T: Did you come to this decision on your own or did you talk to your family?
Angie: LOTS of conversations with family and friends!
M&T: How supportive were they?
Angie: Everyone was beyond supportive. Those who initially were not so sure I should take such a drastic step, all came back to me and said they thought I should go this route.
M&T: Your doctor?
Angie: To my doctor(s) there really was no other option. My sister experienced the same thing and she has difference insurance. I was truly blessed with the surgeons I was referred to, which was so helpful as I moved forward with my decision.
M&T: What information did he/she give and how helpful was it?
Angie: I was actually sent to a genetic counselor for the testing. She explained everything in great detail prior to my being tested, down to how the mutation of the gene happens. She also explained all that might be in my future if I decided to get tested and the test was positive. The information I got from her was extremely helpful. I understood what was going on in my body, what the options were for me and why.
M&T: Did you do an Internet search on the information your doctor gave you?
Angie: I did! I would say for the most part it was helpful. I liked finding other people who had experienced the same thing. There is a lot of information out there! Probably the first time I got really scared was when my sister's doctor had given her a website that had pictures of reconstructed breasts. The site was password protected specifically for women who would be having mastectomy and reconstruction. Those poor women! Some of them did not have great results and it was often because they had cancer - the chemo, the radiation, the damage to the tissue caused issues with the reconstruction. I just kept thinking, I'm going into this with healthy tissue, I have a great surgeon, I'll be fine.
M&T: Did that help or make things worse for you?
Angie: I think it helped ~ it just felt good to feel a little proactive since I felt a little like I was on a runaway train. Gathering information was at times overwhelming, and I knew that I had to be careful because not all of the info on the Internet is accurate.
M&T: Is there a site or sites you would recommend to others?
Angie: The most helpful site wasn't for the breast cancer issue, it was for the hysterectomy. The site is hystersisters.com and I was on there many times a day after my hysterectomy. It is a great resource. There really wasn't any one great site I found for the brca2. I did go on youtube and searched for tram flap reconstruction - oh my goodness! Glad I did that after my surgery. I was so sore and also couldn't get my brain around how it was actually done (even though my Dr had explained it)...not something to watch if you have a weak stomach!!!
M&T: What was your first post-surgery reaction?
Angie: I have a little trouble with nausea post-surgery. They tell you to let your anesthesiologist know if you have any issues and they give you something for it. Never really helped me! Such a bummer to toss your cookies when your abdomen has been cut open and abdominal muscles moved! In general, post-surgery is just hard. Your body has been traumatized. I found that my support system post-surgery was invaluable. You have to let people help you. Also, super important to take your pain medicine. I thought the medicine was the cause of the nausea and so I tried to take as little as possible. Come to find out, the pain was causing the nausea. The doctor told Pep to set timers to insure I took the meds at the proper time. Once we did that, the nausea ceased. I think I wanted to be so strong, and I didn't want to be dependent on pain meds. Only made that mistake once ~ unfortunately that "once" was for about a week!
M&T: How did your first post-op visit go?
Angie: Post-op was important for me. There are so many questions that I didn't know to ask before surgery - all of the is "this" normal, the way something feels or looks. I was so weak. There was really no grid for what to expect, so seeing the doctor and being assured that "all is well" was very needed.
M&T: How is your health today? Are you as active as before the surgery?
Angie: It has been a year and ten months since my 1st surgery. Recovery was a long process. Whenever I was in pain or discouraged by my progress Pep would say "Next year at this time this will all be behind us." That helped at the time. It took longer than I wanted, so I just had to be patient. I am in great health today. I started working out again this past March and it made all the difference in the world. I could barely do anything when I started. EVERYTHING was hard, even walking to the car. The thing is that the real progress was made when I started exercising. Important to note that I had some complications and I waited to exercise (work out with weights, etc., prior to that all I did was walk) until the doctor gave me the green light.
M&T: Really nosy question for who are couples facing this decision; did this bring you and your husband closer or did it strain things for any length of time?
Angie: I think the answer is both. It was a hard season. Pep did everything. I lived in the recliner. There was no physical intimacy for quite a while. At the same time, Pep did everything, I needed him in a way I never had before, and he rose to the challenge, emotional intimacy on a whole new level.
M&T: Any lingering problems from the surgery?
Angie: I have a "bulge" in the lower abdomen. It is uncomfortable, with a pain on the right side. They think a nerve may have been damaged and there is nothing really that can be done for it. It is also much improved since I started exercising. There was a time that I couldn't stand for any length of time because of it, but now it is rare that I have to get off my feet because of it. The skin on my breasts and most of my abdomen is still completely numb. They say the nerve endings may find their way back or they may not so this may be it. I have also had problems with pain during intimacy since the hysterectomy. We are still trying to figure that one out!
M&T: Would you do it all again, given what you know now?
Angie: There are times when I think what I did was crazy. "What was I thinking" kind of thing. This is usually when I'm frustrated by the "lingering problems." When it all comes down to it though, I know I made the right choice, so yes, I would do it all again
M&T: Give us your three best pieces of advice for others who may be facing this decision.
Angie: ~Don't be afraid to ask questions, lots and lots of questions. I wish I had asked more questions!
~You really do have time. I think I felt a pressure to make the decision right away. I probably would wait a little longer if I had it to do again. Let them monitor me a little longer, although, in the end I would have made the same decision.
~Listen to You. What do you think? This is something that you have to do, no one can do it for you. When it gets down to it, it is your body. Listen to the still small voice inside, and trust that it is the Holy Spirit guiding and directing you.
You know, our health is nothing to mess around with. I know, some of us are disgustingly healthy, over-all; and, I know, some of us are crazy hypochondriacs (or afraid of becoming one!) but we need to educate ourselves about things that can seriously affect our lives. As in, end our lives or, if you're lucky, just change them in a drastic way. To find out which month of the year focuses on which health issue, you can visit the PCI Health Training Center's Health Awareness Monthly Calendar for more information. They'll also give you links to each site that can educate you about the specific issue that may have touched your life.
I have two issues that have, in a very small way, touched my life so October is the month for me. The two issues celebrated in October (yes, "celebrated," you'll understand why as I go on) are for Spina Bifida Awareness and Breast Cancer Awareness. Neither one have affected me, personally, but I'm friends with those it has. One has the BRCA gene (which guarantees an 87% chance of having breast cancer and over a 30% chance of having ovarian cancer) and the other friend has a child born with Spina Bifida.
I'm going to ask interview-style questions of each lady and post them here this month so you'll get at least two more posts before the month is out. The first one will be for Breast Cancer Awareness. This can affect both men and women (yes, men, you can get breast cancer, too. Be vigilant!) but my focus in the interview is (obviously) going to be more toward the feminine POV. There are things you can do and places you can go to get information on either of these life-changing issues and I'll try to have links to them. One place you can go to support research for breast cancer is Harry & David, a site that specializes in pears. Yes, pears! They have special ones for the month of October to benefit breast cancer research, chocolate dipped pears that have been dipped in two blends of chocolate, one of them pink. (droooool!) If you know someone you'd like to show support for, this is a good way. They're a little pricey, but, remember, 20% of the proceeds from these particular pears go to breast cancer research.
Not a bad way to be extravagant OR show your support!
I don't suppose I should really call it "labor" in that it's not really difficult... or, it hasn't been. I've written a goodly amount of poetry over the years, a lot of it in gratitude toward, and dedicated to, our military Veterans. My most recent foray, "Tears From The Deep," I sent to a group called Sons and Daughters of Pearl Harbor Survivors and told them, if they liked it, they could use it how they saw fit. Well, dear readers, they saw fit to publish it in their quarterly newletter! You can read/see it on the on-line, PDF version of the newsletter, if you want, just go here to see it. I was totally honored (and a weeeeeee bit excited) when I saw that, yes, they had actually printed it. As I've said before, we just can't thank our Vets enough, but let's do our best to do so before we can't say it at all.
Okay, yes, the title is going to make men start grinning and women roll their eyes. (hey, Mom? at least I didn't use the word you don't like!) My mom hates the other word for flatulence, calls it "the F-word" (in spite of our explaining to her that "the F-word" doesn't mean to other people what it means to her) And I mean she really, really hates it, but even she rolled her eyes in disgust at a recent article about the military's decision regarding flatulence. You can read the entire article here, but let me proceed to poke fun at it from this point on.
See, it's the Marines serving in Afghanistan that are receiving a ban on "audible fa..." ahh... flatulence. Yes, folks, the U.S. Military, in it's infinite(-ly ridiculous) wisdom has decided that since audible flatulence is offensive to the good folks of Afghanistan, our boys need to stop doing it. Just like they're not allowed to discuss girls in front of them, either. (okay, okay, that's another story) But the implication here is that only the Afghani culture finds flatulence, especially the audible kind, offensive and that Americans all find it amusing.
Did I mention my mother?
Really, think about this a moment. Let's even make a list, here, for the good ol' military brass who decided this would be a good idea (5'll get'cha 10 it was a woman):
1. Most Marines are guys.
2. Most guys find audible noise created by the body hilarious, it doesn't matter if it's far... ahh... flatulence or belching.
3. Most guys will get into serious contests regarding the "best" bodily noises when bored.
4. Marines waiting for action get bored.
5. Did I mention most Marines are guys? It bears repeating!
6. Not all Americans are amused by public displays of audible flatulence (actually, most of us are offended if someone does it in public).
7. Even Marines know when to hold it in!
I have a cousin who the military should be glad isn't a Marine. Not that he'd have made a bad one but because, the moment that ban went into effect? my cousin would likely have ended up in Levinworth for breaking... ahh... "the ban." He and his friends take PRIDE in breaking... (ahem) "bans." I'll even give you odds most Marines (of the male persuasion... no offense to the female Marines intended, btw) have the same skill set my cousin and his friends do in this regard. In fact, you could probably blindfold a Marine and have one of his buddies "break the ban" nearby and he could identify his buddy by name, based solely on the sound he hears. (it's a safe bet for me to make, my cousin can do this!)
On a (slightly) more serious note, there's really no way to ban flatulence. Okay, okay, I get that it can be "suggested" that they refrain from doing it aloud in front of the Afghans but, really, banning it? Come on, folks! Yes, we're guests in their country. I get that. However, if they're on our base they are, essentially, in "our house," as it were. While *I* wouldn't break any "bans" in front of a guest, it's not the guests place to complain if it happens. If someone who would find it offensive happens to see a group of all-male Marines laughing hysterically, I would suggest they not go over to see what's so funny. They're likely to find out a good 3 or 4 yards before they get there since... ahhh... sound carries (yeah... sound).
Men are men. I'm not ragging on them, here. We women have our little foibles and things we giggle over that would likely gross men out if they knew about them, so don't take this as man-bashing. It's not (you can thank that cousin I mentioned earlier, he rather inured me to most guy-humor). I just find it beyond ridiculous that the military would go so far as to try and regulate a bodily function. Can it be controlled? Well, somewhat in that you can choose whether or not to allow any noise (although even that is debatable in some cases) but it's not something you can "ban." Intestinal gases are caused by a variety of things: certain foods, certain beverages, even eating too fast. Eating too fast can cause you to swallow more air than is good for you and it has to get out somehow. Usually this is through belching (which men and boys also find hilarious) but, sometimes, it's from the other direction. And, sometimes, excess intestinal gasses are produced by an overabundance of intestinal bacteria. Only one way for those gasses to remove themselves. Sorry, not so much.
I could go on and on about the silliness inherent in trying to stop men from doing what every boy, twelve and under (and older... okay, pretty much everything male) finds hilarious, but I won't. It's too much like shooting fish in a barrel. And I know for absolute certainty, unless there's an officer somewhere nearby, our military boys won't stop "breaking the ban."
Okay, so another poem... this one inspired more by Dad than anything else... yes, he does that to me from time to time. I'm not sure this was what he was thinking when he said I should write about where the war (WWII, FYI) began and where it ended, but, then again, most of my poems don't necessarily end up the way I think they should when I start them, either. It's (mostly) about The Arizona and The Missouri (Big Mo')... both ships representing the start and the end of the war, respectively. But, really, you can't use the names flowingly in a poem that doesn't sound kindergartenish (IMO). SO! To also help you understand the title, the "trail" is in reference to the fact you see the oil from the Arizona as it moves along the current towards the Missouri; a trail of the Arizona's tears, if you will (see previous entry "Tears From The Deep"). Enjoy (I hope)!
A TRAIL OF TEARS
A trail of tears, from start to end,
Lead where it ended from where it began.
From one comes weeping, from the other a sigh,
For those who from the grave now cry.
tears and wrath and fire and loss,
marked by water instead of a cross.
A trail of tears that endeth not,
A reminder of what sins' greed had sought.
One Power would their realm extend,
One Power would the weak defend.
anger and fear and war abide
in hearts where naught be greed reside.
A trail of tears for the many that died
In a war that came like a raging tide.
Its' sorrow formed a spear of wrath
And set the heart on justice' path.
honor and valor and strength and tears
follow the path that Freedom steers.
A trail of tears did pave the way
To loss and vic't'ry that final day.
Men stood strong and hearts beat proud
For naught but yielding would be allowed.
triumph, defiance and painful loss
of all the lives that paid the cost.
A trail of tears, cans't follow the lead
In honor for those whose death we heed?
The cost of war, the price that bought
An end not one our Foe had sought.
blood and fire and death and tears
bought peace and Freedom throughout the years.
A trail of tears, from start to end,
Lead where it ended from where it began.
Remember the end, as too the start,
Marked by the tears from a sunken heart.
I went to Hawai'i with my family the first week of August and got to visit the Arizona Memorial as well as visit with 3 of our Pearl Harbour Survivors. After seeing the Memorial (and in spite of the rudeness of certain other visitors!) another poem began rolling around in my head. See, there's still oil seeping up, one drop at a time, from the hull of the Arizona. My sister mentioned it and I told her it was the Arizona weeping for those lost on December 7th. That's when the poem got triggered and, a few days later, was written. That one, small drop of oil that continually weeps from the Arizona where she rests are her tears from the Deep.
TEARS FROM THE DEEP
Tears are still wept, tho' the heart's made of steel,
For men nigh forgot tho' a Nation should feel.
They died in a war, tho' no battle fought they,
On what became known as an Infamous Day.
Tears from the Deep, tho' the heartbeat is cold,
For valorous men who will never grow old.
Entombed in the dark, by water enshrined,
Stood ready 'gainst all, by Freedom defined.
Tho' many have come, so few shed a tear.
They call to us, now, do the whisper you hear?
They are the reason this Nation stood fast!
The weeping, so soft, do you hear it at last?
Tears are still wept to help us recall,
Tho' few still remember they gave us their all;
From way down below, to the Oceans' safe keep,
Seeping up for reminders are Tears from the Deep.