Say it isn’t so, Disney

Y’all, I adore Disney. I love the parks. I love the movies. I love the characters. I love it all. But, right now I am very, very disappointed in the corporation behind all the wonder that inspires me.

I don’t know how many of you heard about the hubbub about the makeover Disney tried to give Merida (from Brave) before her official coronation as a Disney princess. I feel like the whole world heard about it but that probably isn’t true. The short story is that Disney fell in with the hyper-sexualization of female characters, decided a sleek and sexy Merida would appeal more to the masses, and ruined much of what we love about the kick-ass character of Merida. The original Merida was a girl who stood up for herself, kicked ass, and saved the day. She had a unique look that many little girls (and big girls, too) adored and identified with. The post-makeover Merida kowtowed to the views of beauty touted in the media…tiny waist, bigger chest, high cheekbones, and tamed hair. Where was the Merida we fell in love with? Many people raised such a stink that Disney retracted the makeover and claimed it had just been done for the coronation. I hoped that despite the evidence, Disney had learned a lesson.Merida1and2

Sadly, this was just the latest entry in a history of this kind of prettying up and perfecting of characters. Upworthy recently featured a video by the fabulous Melissa May who placed 7th in the Women of the World Poetry Slam of 2014 with a piece that was both a tribute to Ursula the Sea Witch and a slam on what Disney did to this fabulous villianess back in 2012.

See, back in 2012, Disney was releasing a line of designer villainess dolls. For some reason (I think the decision maker must have been smoking something), Disney decided that Ursula just didn’t fit the proper image. The doll designers at Disney took the fabulous Ursula; the larger than life sea witch; the character with more swagger and fabulosity than almost any other Disney character and they sanitized her. They made that larger than life character I loved to hate and turned her into a pallid, vapid representative of the current standards of beauty. She isn’t even recognizable.

Ursula1and2

God, I truly hope Disney puts this trend in the past. I want to unabashedly and unashamedly embrace Disney and all the quirky characters of there movies without worrying that one day they will be made unrecognizable. I want my children to receive the message that it is ok to be different.

Come on Disney, don’t let me down.

Benign is Beautiful

Photo Courtesy of williami5 on Flickr

Breast Cancer Reflection courtesy of williami5 on Flickr

Huge thanks to everyone who held me close and kept me in their thoughts and prayers. I got the results of my needle biopsy back and the spot seen on the mammograms was nothing more than fibrocystic breast tissue. Completely and totally benign! Again, thank you. Knowing that I had so much support in my corner kept me from totally wigging out.

For any of you out there who haven’t had a mammogram and probably should have, don’t let fear keep you from getting one. First off, the actual mammogram was not nearly as bad as I had anticipated. Yeah, it was uncomfortable but the pain was minimal. Second, the needle biopsy was nothing as far as pain is concerned. All I felt was a little pinch from the needle with the local anesthesia. I do have one hell of a bruise but, even that does not hurt. Finally, if it had turned out to be cancer, my little lump was just that…LITTLE. Early detection is key.

Benign is beautiful!

A lack of faith…

Logo 1in9Just over 3 weeks ago, I finally did something I’ve been meaning to get it done ever since my 40th birthday. I went in for my very first mammogram. I know I should have done it earlier but we were spending so much time dealing with Vic’s diabetes (kicked that in the ass…so glad it is gone) that the thought of another doctor’s appointment was just too much.

2 weeks ago, I got to have my second mammogram. Yup, I was lucky enough to be a member of that small select group that needs a follow up mammogram because something was seen on the first set of images. I don’t know why I was surprised. The women in my family have a history of fibro-cystic breasts. Why would I be any different?

2 weeks ago, that second mammogram showed a small cluster of calcification in my right breast and the radiologist said there was evidence of tenting of the breast tissue around that cluster. I was a good patient. I asked all kinds of questions. I listened. I decided to go with his recommendation and schedule a needle biopsy. Even though he said he was 95% certain there was nothing to worry about, better safe than sorry seems like a good philosophy to embrace.

I told everyone…it’s just one of those things…I’m not really surprised…not worried at all. And, intellectually, that is exactly how I feel.

But, deep inside, there is that little tiny part of me that is quietly panicking. See, about 10 years ago, I lost complete faith in my body. That is when Vic and I decided to have a third baby and my body repaid me for that leap of faith with 6 consecutive pregnancy losses. Each loss eroded a little more of my belief that my body would function the way it is suppose to. Each loss destroyed a little more of my belief that the odds the doctors quote mean anything at all. Sure, we ultimately beat that bitch known as infertility but holding Gabe didn’t restore my faith in my body. It just made me believe that sometimes God and modern medicine can triumph.

On Monday, that lack of faith in my body came slamming home. The simple act of sitting in the office of the doctor I was referred to for the needle biopsy sent my blood pressure through the fucking roof. Seriously, the last time my blood pressure was even close to that high was when I was dealing with pregnancy induced hypertension while pregnant with Gabriel.

Today, I have an appointment at noon to get my biopsy done. Intellectually, I believe everything is okay. Intellectually, I believe that when I get the biopsy results next week, I will be given a clean bill of health. But, that little voice inside of me is still screaming “You never fall on the right side of the medical odds. Why do you think you will this time?”

If you don’t mind, can you send me prayers and/or positive thoughts that my results come back ok. I really don’t want to join this club. I don’t want to become that 1 woman in 9 who has breast cancer.

The Story of Bruthilda the Witch…a dark fairy tale

Once upon a time, there lived an evil witch named Bruthilda. On the surface, Bruthilda seemed to be a sweet old lady but she was living proof that you can’t always judge a book by it’s cover. Bruthilda was anything but sweet.

Photo courtesy of SteFou! via Flickr

Photo courtesy of SteFou! via Flickr

Bruthilda was the matriarch of a large, extended family. At one time, that family seemed to be close. They celebrated birthdays and holidays together. There were family meals and visits from far flung places. At the center of all these gathering, Bruthilda always displayed this fabulous statue that she called El Padre Bueno. No one knew where El Padre Bueno came from. He had been around as long as anyone could remember. When the family gathered in the presence of El Padre Bueno, there was love and laughter and warmth.

Then one day,a tragedy occurred and El Padre Bueno disappeared. The family searched high and low but El Padre Bueno was gone for good. Bruthilda and her family mourned the loss of this family heirloom. To outsiders, El Padre seemed to be just a statue but, for Bruthilda and her family, El Padre was so much more. El Padre was the talisman that symbolized the heart of the family. Without El Padre, their heart was gone and the true nature of some of the family members came to light. One of Bruthilda’s children started loudly criticizing his brother’s spouses, never thinking it would get back to them. Another accused one of his sisters-in-law of marrying for money and wanting to work her husband into the grave. Even Bruthilda was affected. Without the soothing presence of El Padre Bueno, Bruthilda no longer gathered her family in love. Bruthilda forgot important family days including ones important to her grandchildren. Bruthilda treated family members like they were children and lectured them horribly. Bruthilda even began to insult and criticize those she was suppose to love the most.

As time went on, this witchy behavior continued and even got worse. Bruthilda didn’t appear at any family events and rarely even bothered to contact her family except to rage at them. Yet, she seemed at a loss to understand why her family never gathered at her house. Without El Padre Bueno, the heart they once gathered around, the once close family drifted apart. Without the heart to embrace, the family’s baser, witchier instincts blossomed and grew. Without the heart, the family was no more.

The Last Snowman

The winner is Lisa!

Every so often, I get the opportunity to write a sponsored post. While I never promote products I don’t like, I am rarely as excited to write about something as I am today. Today, I get to share one of the most fantabulous kids books I have ever read with you. I get to tell you all about The Last Snowman by JC Little. And, if you read all the way to the end of this post, you get a chance to win a copy of this book. image
In the spirit of full disclosure, I’ve had a major girl crush on JC for years and was thrilled beyond belief when I met her at BlogHer in 2012. Even if all that wasn’t true, I would still tell you about The Last Snowman…it’s that frakking awesome!

The official description of The Last Snowman says

“This afternoon it snowed. It was probably one of the last snows of the winter, so it was lovely sticky snow…perfect for making a snowman.” So begins the funny and poignant tale of a teenage girl and a dangerously tall snowman.

From the kitchen window, a mother watches her teenage daughter build one last snowman in the fresh spring snow. The girl works diligently, and, with some help from her little brother, she constructs a dashing giant. But wet snow and gravity take their toll, leaving a young girl who has perhaps loved and lost for the very first time.

The Last Snowman is a book with timeless appeal for children and adults alike. Award-winning story artist JC Little has playfully captured a “moment” in family life, marking the ephemeral grace between childhood and adolescence.

While this is a wonderful description about a charming book, it still doesn’t capture the magic of JC’s book. Frankly, JC blows me away with her ability to capture so much emotion in so few strokes of her pen pencil whatever the hell it is she draws with. Look at this picture…image You can see the brother’s exuberance. You can see the girl’s frustration with her brother. I can draw but it is nowhere near what JC does. Her style of illustration is spare and elegant and simply charming.

And, the story…well, the story appeals to all ages. I’m 44 and I loved it. All my boys loved it too. Here is what they each had to say… They all loved it. Gabe (8) said he would read it again and he thinks all his classmates would love it. He also thinks his Grandma and Grandpa should read it. Joey (13) says it’s good for beginning readers up through early teens although the teens might not admit to reading it. Marty (16 when he read it) thought it was really cute. I think it’s going to be a permanent addition to our holiday reading list.

I know Joey is right about it being great for beginning readers because Gabe’s teacher was having her students practice reading by reading The Last Snowman on her iPad.

All right, we’re too the really important part of the this post…THE GIVEAWAY. Y’all are so lucky. The giveaway winner is going to get tons of cool stuff…

1) A paperback copy of The LAST Snowman by JC Little. (even if you win the paperback version, you should buy the Kindle version because the story is designed to ‘animate’ in the page flips of Kindle…input from Kristin).

image2) This fabulous mug is inspired by JC’s book and is yours if you win.

3) Boiron is a world leader in homeopathic medicines for the whole family. Since the book is winter-themed and winter is cold and flu season, Boiron is joining the fun and offering swag bags with some of their products – the contents of the prize pack may vary slightly depending on whether you’re in the US or Canada.

4) You’ll also receive a special treat from Dot & Lil – a company that produces luxurious bath & beauty and skincare products with a fresh, young feel, handmade in their Montreal studio. Dot & Lil are designing a custom soap just for The LAST Snowman blog tour – Limited edition “Hot Chocolate Swirl” soap! It’s going to be chocolate scented and will have chocolate soap sprinkles on top, with the book cover design on the label. Fun right? Also included in the Dot & Lil gift bag will be the Shea Rescue Butter for lips and nails.

I hate to limit anything but this giveaway is only open to residents of the US and Canada. I wish it could be otherwise but shipping is just too expensive to send this fabulous swag worldwide :( Also, the giveaway ends on the 27th at 6pm Eastern time.

All you have to do to enter is comment and tell me your favorite winter memory. You can earn a second entry by heading over to JC’s blog, The Animated Woman, read a little, and then come back here and tell me what your favorite post is.