Jenster's Musings

Monday, August 31, 2009


Today is my three-year bloggerversary. Feel free to send flowers, balloons, chocolates, or my personal favorite - cards with money.

Thank you. And good night.


Mused by Jenster :: 9:26 PM :: 14 People musing:

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Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Start of Another School Year

The kids go back to school tomorrow. Taylor is a senior now and Katie a freshman. You read that right. Two kids in high school. I can't figure out when that happened. My Facebook peeps are telling me that either I blinked or turned around. Well thanks a lot, friends. Why didn't you warn me earlier?

Oh wait. You did. It's not that I didn't believe you. I guess I just thought I was blinking quicker or spinning faster so I wouldn't miss anything. Apparently that doesn't work.

I think I'll quit before this post turns maudlin. Besides, I have to go to bed so I can get up early and see the kids off to school. So I'm going to cheat and repost what I published last year at this time:

Ye Olde Tale

And it came to pass in those days that a decree was sent throughout the land stating all children shouldst return to their scholarly pursuits. And so it was the offspring of the house of Todd, garbed as was appropriate to their station, boarded the conveyance of saffron which wouldst carry them to places of learning. And thus there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth upon the carriage. But lo, the women rejoiced, singing praises to the Lord and joyfully dancing in the streets.

Ye Olde Tale, Part II

But woe to those who didst sing praises and dance joyfully in the morning, for their joy wast turned to sorrow. Though Jenster, wife of Todd, son of Phillip, was gladdened in her heart as her children departed the conveyance of saffron from whence they came, she wast overcome with despair at the multitude of scrolls those in governance over the learned places deemed she should writ her name upon. Verily, the sorrow didst continue at the command Jenster, wife of Todd, son of Phillip, shouldst make haste to the market place and thereby give a goodly sum to the merchant in exchange for bindings with which to hold the scholarly scrolls and the tools with which to document the knowledge learned by her children. Yea, though she rent her clothing, donned sackcloth and covered her person with ashes, her mourning was turned back to joy for by the next time the sun didst rise much toiling wouldst be finished so she could then enjoy the fruits of her labor.

And so it was.

Mused by Jenster :: 9:30 PM :: 5 People musing:

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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Girls' Day Out

Katie starts school on Monday so today we had a Girls' Day Out. What a great day it was!

First were Sunflower Spa Pedicures which were divine. We sat in massage chairs with heated pillows around our necks. Our feet received a sunflower scrub followed by a green tea mask and then wrapped in hot towels. While all that was going on we were each given a bowl of vanilla bean ice cream sprinkled with chocolate candy covered sunflower seeds. Is there any better way to start a day (after coffee, of course) than with dessert? I think not.

When the polish was dry (or mostly dry, anyway) we drove across the parking lot (because the polish wasn't completely dry) to a delicious restaurant and sat outside on the patio. We shared the most amazing tomato basil bruschetta - something we had decided on a couple of days ago. I had the French Onion Soup with about a half an inch of Gruyere on top and Katie had some sort of wrap -- not exactly sure because I was too busy enjoying my soup.

Once the check was paid we headed for the movies, but we just missed the 2:10 showing so we walked around Target for a while. Big mistake. Huge. We only needed two things. Two. We walked out with twenty or so. Hair products, toothpaste, and necessities like books, clothes, candy. Funny how you remember all the things you need when they're right in front of you. We finally realized we had to go or we were going to miss the 3:50 showing because these things we couldn't live without kept popping up.

Todd and Taylor had a Boys' Day Out very similar to ours, except no pedicure. At least that's what they said. Hold on a second...

...I was going to look at Todd's toes to make sure they hadn't been "handled" and I'm still not sure because Todd has tennis shoes on. Kind of odd if you ask me. He usually always wears flip flops in the summer. I'll have to get back to you on this one.

But I digress. The boys went to lunch (not nearly as delicious as ours, I'm sure) and then they went to the same theater to see Inglorious Basterds (which I can say without being accused of cussing because "basterds" is spelled wrong). So Katie and I parked in the same row and left a note on Todd's truck (which reminds me of another post I'm going to have to write). Then we went in and got our scrumptuals, but we had to sit on a bench outside the theater because they were still cleaning it. The benches were right next to the theater that Todd and Taylor were in. Can you guess what I did?

Nope. I wanted to. Really bad I wanted to go in, stand at the bottom and look for the boys and then wave at them. But seeing as how I AM an adult, and a responsible one at that, I refrained. Finally we were allowed in our theater and we found the perfect seats. Not too far up; not too far down; right in the middle. Perfect.

We saw Julie and Julia. Have you seen it? It was delightful. I can't think of a better word to describe it. Just delightful. If you love to eat you should see it. If you love to cook you should see it. If you love to write or if you blog, you should see it. If you're a woman or a female of some type, you should see it. If you're a guy you should see it (it's not a chick flick, just so you know). If you've ever been to Paris you should see it. If you want to go to Paris you should see it. Heck, if you have a pulse you should see it! It's just a good movie. It's just... just... delightful.

Of course part of my fanaticism could be that Todd, Taylor and I watched Defiance last night and today's movie was a complete change. Defiance is a very good movie, too, but very difficult in some spots to watch. Today's movie? Well you already know. Delightful. It was the perfect ending to a perfect day.

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Mused by Jenster :: 7:16 PM :: 5 People musing:

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

TP Update/Foob Brilliance

Remember the Great Toilet Paper Debacle of '09? I had asked Taylor to look in the hall closet upstairs to see if there was any toilet paper. I heard him open the door and I envisioned him diligently searching so I took his word for it when he said, "no". Imagine my surprise on Saturday when I found SEVEN rolls in the hall closet! Seven whole rolls just sitting there. They weren't covered by towels or blankets. They were just quietly taking up space on the shelf in plain sight!

That'll learn me.


Sunday morning at church I approached my friend, Gail, as she was chatting with Sarah, to ask her a question. When she saw me she hugged me and said, "I love it when you blog about your boobs!" It was quite obvious from the look on Sarah's face that she had no idea what Gail was talking about. Between the two of us we explained what the post had been about.

She considered the story for a moment and then she said, "So instead of Locks of Love, it's like Bosoms of Blessings." How brilliant is that??

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Mused by Jenster :: 8:36 PM :: 9 People musing:

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Friday, August 21, 2009

Have Boobs, Will Travel

The day after my mastectomy I was released from the hospital with a nearly concave left chest and a drainage tube at each end of the incision that ran from mid-chest to under my arm, stopping just short of my back. I looked like a Cyborg.

Not until I saw my surgeon ten days later and had both tubes removed was I able to get a special bra with a puff to “even things out”. Which hadn’t been such a big deal because I really wasn’t feeling wearing anything remotely nice with plastic sucky thingies protruding from my body, but I was excited when I was finally allowed to get a post-surgical bra.

I liken it to getting a training bra. It looked kind of like one and came in sizes such as small, medium, etc. The assistant in the Women’s Resource Center looked at my ta (the singular of tatas), nodded her head and said, “Medium bra, small puff”. Whatever. I couldn’t be sad about the “small puff” comment because small was better than nothing, which is what I had on the left side. I couldn’t wait to get home and put on my new bra with the insert to see how my tops looked.

Running to my room like a kid at Christmas, I practically threw off the shirt I was wearing. I had already ripped the packaging off the puff in the car and stuffed it into the convenient pocket of my new best friend. I fastened the clasp, adjusted the straps and looked in the mirror only to be totally deflated (no pun intended). The “small puff” was too big! It didn’t even me out, it just made me lopsided in the opposite direction. So I pulled out the filling until it was just about the right size. I guess that would be extra small.

The humiliation didn’t end there, though. A couple weeks later when I received my chemo-port the professional staff had to keep asking me which side I’d had my mastectomy on. Really? I chronicled that experience here (which also includes me on drugs) because if I’m going to share one embarrassing moment I might as well go the whole way.

Finally I was given the go ahead to get a real mastectomy bra and prosthesis. Barbara Graves Intimates in Little Rock is one of the few shops in the area that have mastectomy merchandise so my friend, Beth, and I decided to go into town for dinner and a boob.

Prescription in hand, we weaved our way through the beautiful lingerie that wouldn’t work well on a uniboob and found the very pleasant fit specialist. She took us to the prosthesis room with boxes and boxes of silicone blobs and asked my cup size. I didn’t want to say Almost-a-Boob so instead I came out and told her what I was thinking.

I knew I would eventually have reconstruction and was fairly certain I would have a prophylactic mastectomy at that time. If I was going to go through all that trouble you could be sure I’d be making the surgeon earn his money. So instead of matching up my right breast I wanted to see what it would be like as a larger version of me. The problem, however, is that insurance will only pay for one prosthesis if you had a single mastectomy and those puppies are expensive.

That’s when the helpful lady told me it’s very common for women to return their “breasts” after reconstruction. The foobs (fake + boobs = foobs) are then cleaned and sterilized and given to women with no insurance. So Blue Cross/Blue Shield bought a regular foob for me and Barbara Graves donated a filler foob for the other side. And a happy day it was when I could proudly stuff my bra and not feel like a fraud.

The Girls (as Beth named them) were treated very special. Every night they had to come out of their pocket, get washed and then put to bed in their cradle. Seriously, that’s what the box was called. A cradle. Sometimes they were hot and sometimes they were heavy and sometimes they misbehaved abominably - like when I went swimming at the YMCA in my new mastectomy swimsuit and the Girls decided they’d rather swim around my waist instead of stay where they were supposed to – but for the most part they were my good friends. They did their part to make me feel a little more normal than I otherwise would have. That is until late December 2006 when I put them away for the last time and had reconstruction.

We had moved to Pennsylvania six months before my reconstruction so I wasn’t able to drop the Girls off at Barbara Graves' when I happened to be out running errands. They slept peacefully in their boxes on the shelf of my closet for two-and-a-half years. And then a month ago we drove down to Arkansas for a visit.

Instead of luggage in the back of the car, we had our dog. The luggage had to go in a special travel bag on top which had to be taken off and put inside the car during our overnight stay on the way down and the way back. Along with the luggage was a bag full of mastectomy bras and camisoles and two boxes with breast prostheses in them. When we stopped on our way down the guys were taking everything out of the bag – a bit of a pain – and I heard Todd tell Taylor, “Well at least we won’t be bringing mom’s boobs home with us.” Because, you know, they were so large and unwieldy.

While on vacation my mother and I ran into Little Rock one day and I took all the mastectomy paraphernalia with me. We drove up to Barbara Graves, I walked in with all my goodies and the attendants seemed as appreciative as if I’d donated a bajillion dollars. Or maybe a couple grand. And it made me happy. Maybe now some woman with crummy or no insurance will be able to feel a little more normal than she otherwise would have.

Cross-posted at Mother's With Cancer

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Mused by Jenster :: 7:20 PM :: 14 People musing:

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Toilet Paper and Laundry

We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming to bring you this breaking news...
Never was my failure as a domestic more apparent than today. It's stinkin' hot here right now and I had no capris to wear this morning. I could have worn Bermudas but I didn't actually think that one through in the shower and, while I'm low on the pride scale, I refuse to wear shorts with furry thighs. I mean, it's bad enough that I don't have a tan. So I rocked the fashion world today. Kids' Camp t-shirt, mesh exercise pants and my Crocs. It was either that or an evening gown.

Not really. I don't own an evening gown.

Apparently I need to do laundry.


I usually buy toilet paper in the really big packages so we always have a lot. Always. Except for when we don't. Like this morning. We were sharing half a roll for three bathrooms. I'm not real good with math, but even I can figure out that doesn't add up. Thankfully I had to go to work and Taylor was babysitting so we could use someone else's toilet paper. I think Todd kicked Katie down to her friend's house just so he could have all the remaining squares for himself.

At lunch I ran to the grocery store in my killer outfit and bought a gallon of milk, some chicken for dinner and two very large packages of toilet paper. Each bathroom now has about 12 rolls and hopefully this will last our family for a week or two. Maybe even three. And tomorrow I'm wearing capris. Just sayin'.


Mused by Jenster :: 6:53 PM :: 4 People musing:

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Whidbey Island: A Photographic Tour - Island Living - Friday

Following our adventurous morning on the beach we all kicked back at the house for a while - napping, reading, whatever - and then prepared to go into town.

I think we clean up purty good.

Gretchen drove us to the quaint town of Langley. We made dinner reservations and then explored up one side of the street and down the other.

Aren't these Monopoly streets?

This bell is to be wrung when a whale has been sighted.

Finally it was time to hasten to The Edgecliff for dinner.

Fresh cut flowers on the table.

Mussels and clams in garlic butter sauce. I actually ate a mussel. Or maybe a clam. Not sure. They pretty much look the same to me when they're nekkid.

I thought the salad was colorful and pretty. After that they brought the real food and I lost all thought for anything other than the culinary delights awaiting me so no more dinner pictures. Sorry.

Then it was back to the house for endless talking and laughing with a little bit of sniffling thrown in for good measure and a big bowl of Kellie Krack - my newest obsession. Hot, buttery popcorn with peanut M&Ms tossed in. I don't even want to know how many Weight Watcher's points we're talking about!

Next up -- a farmer's market, another charming village and a lavender farm.

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Mused by Jenster :: 9:22 PM :: 7 People musing:

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Friday, August 14, 2009

Whidbey Island: A Photographic Tour - The Beach

As I mentioned in my last post, I took over 1200 pictures. Some great, some horrible, most tolerable. Don't worry. I won't share them all. That would be like going to great Uncle Horace's house and watching his vacation slides. Great for insomniacs, bad for blog readers.

I am going to break them up, though. So today I give you...


Our Island Abode

The view of Double Bluff from our Island Abode

The walkway to our treasures. Gretchen's husband, Big, helped build it.

Beauty on the beach

A live sand dollar

Lunch time

One of Susan's greatest finds

Kellie and His Girl taking a break from touching slimy things to get some snapshots

This is a moon snail. A big moon snail. There is nothing wrong with it. This is what a moon snail is supposed to look like. Poor little moon snail.

The girls peaking over the vastly interesting barnacle rock

Susan's crabs, not to be confused with cooties

A sampling of our beach booty

What a fun morning that was. Gretchen gave us bags to carry our finds in, but I was so busy taking photos that I only brought home three things. A sand dollar, a snail shell and a clamshell. And I don't even think I actually gathered them off the beach. I think I pilfered them from someone else's finds. But what are they going to do? Come get them?

Next tour - Island Living

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Mused by Jenster :: 10:00 PM :: 11 People musing:

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