Lend me Your Glitter-Glue: A Dying Woman's Wish

If the little girl in tucson waiting for this letter can say she's ever had a friend snow shoe to the mailbox to deliver mail for her, my feelings will be hurt. #mexicaninmaine She is dying.

With every sunrise, she's one day closer to preparing herself for goodbyes and I Love You's for those she will leave behind. And yet, Jeanie Winchester is focusing on the positive. She's looking forward to what may be her last Valentine's Day on this earth and what may arrive in the mail from the strangers she is hoping will reach out, share love, and give her another reason to smile.

I found Jeanie on Facebook while searching for places and people in the area I was getting ready to move to while still living in the desert. If tress must be heard while falling in the woods for them to be recognized as having fallen, then in my world, the very definition of Existance is defined by being able to find it on the internet. It wasn't until I got here that I realized why Jeanie's name was really the only one to show up, and that's because people don't do social media here. They arrive on your doorstep with freshly baked cookies to welcome you to the neighborhood and offer to jump your car in the middle of a blizzard when the battery dies in the grocery store parking lot. And they wave and make eye contact.

The Husband actually warned me to not punch the gas station attendant when I went to fill up the first time because random men walking up to a woman's driver's side window used to be on the list for tomorrow's headlines. Now it just means the poor guy is freezing his ass off waiting for me to find my credit card and let him know if I want regular or unleaded. Welcome to northern Maine. It's colder than hell up here but I'll take it, considering I am allergic to everything south of New Mexico and I also happen to be allergic to allergy medication. Doesn't make having to use a land line to make a call while in my house because cellphone reception sucks unless I am standing on the porch less of a pain in the ass, though.

Jeanie accepted my random friend request. And then I watched her updates fly by, not really paying attention because who does when there are 500 people talking at the same time?

It was her Facebook update on New Year's Day that sparked our initial conversation. She simply said that she wanted to know what her resolution should be because everyone expects her to have one.

Everyone expects everyone to have at least one of those, I think. I stopped making them a long time ago because I got tired of reminding myself that I always feel like I need to be more than I am (while reporting a steady weight loss, of course) in my status updates because that's what we all try to do.

Normally I ignore resolution conversations just because its easier than explaining my penchant for breaking promises to myself so it's just better not to make them. But Jeanie ended her update with a simple reminder to her friends that she has about a year left.

"They didn't look for a cause to the lymphoma. I found out about 9 months ago," Jeanie told me during one of our late night Facebook conversations. "That was when I decided that I was going to make the trek back home to Maine from Florida. I had already fought and am currently still in remission to lung and brain cancer. I made the decision then not to fight this."

I have yet to meet Jeanie in person and yet she amazes me every day with the simple act of waking up to live it.

A few days ago, she asked for Valentine's Day cards.

This may be my last Valentines on earth so, I want to exchange Valentines with EVERYONE. I don't care if you live down the road, send me a Valentine and you will get one in return. I don't care if it's just a scribbled ripped piece of paper that says Happy Valentines Day, just send anything at all! For every Valentine I get I will send one back will a special surprise inside! :-)

Dear Internet, please grant me your leftover Hallmark cards, the extras from your child's school stash for passing out, and glitter glue covered construction paper. Find a stamp. Get yourself to the post office. Jeanie's waiting.

***

I will personally deliver your Valentine's Day cards to Jeanie. Just use this address on the envelope and I'll do the rest:

Girl Body Pride Pauline Campos

(In Care of Jeanie Winchester) P.O. Box 941 39 Court Street Ste 9998 Houlton, Maine 04730-9998

And thank you.

 

I'd Have Stuck To One Topic But The Pharmacuetical Grade Speed Hasn't Kicked In Yet

Maybe it's the phase of the moon. Or perhaps it's my head adjusting to new meds. Or it could just be that my Muse decided to clock out without notifying me and is currently sipping mimosas by the pool at some beach side resort while I sit here staring at my blog wondering what the hell I'm going to write about. If it's the latter, that bitch is so fired.

Until I figure out where my motivation went, I'll thank the Universe for providing me with a few bits of awesomeness to fill this space. Hopefully, my motivation will find its way back home by Wednesday, with that being my next regular posting day, and all.

And now?

 

The First Bit of Awesomeness

My friend Jenna Glatzer must have stolen my scale, as is evidenced by the following Facebook posting:

Dear Bathroom Scale, I've been eating nothing but bird food and cereal for 2 weeks. You are now supposed to show me a LOWER number as a reward for my efforts. I don't mean to question your competence as a scale, but I just thought I'd point out that you seem to be doing it wrong. If you need help understanding how to lower your numbers, please ask my bank account.

 

The Second Bit of Awesomeness

 

It's Back to the 80's week at Funny Not Slutty, y'all. I was lucky enough to be included in the awesomeness, which happened to work out nicely since I was still in possession of The Funny. We've got 80's babies and leotards and John Cusack and a whole bunch of, like, neon-colored, multi-bangled hilariousness going on over there from a boatload of talented women. Click on over, read my piece on what the M in MTV should stand for these days, and save me a trip to my therapist with a little ego boost I like to refer to as A Comment.

 

 

The Third Bit of Awesomeness

You know that An Army of Ermas site I contribute to? (This is the part where you nod your head and say yes because even if you didn't know before you know NOW and will spend your coffee break catching up so you don't have to lie next time) My editor over there, Angie Mansfield, decided I was worth an interview on her blog, The Wandering Zebra and it would be ever so sweet if you'd pop on over, laugh in the right spots, and leave a comment to make me look good for The Powers That Be. (This is the part where you nod your head and...oh never mind. I see you are already familiar with this program. Carry on.)

 

The Fourth Bit of Awesomeness

Remember that LifeProof iPhone case contest? You know, the one for the case that you can pretty much do anything with and STILL have a working phone? Want to know who gets a free case in their choice of color? I'll tell you. Or rather, Random.org selected one of you lucky bastards and I get to pass on the good news. Shelley Oswald will soon be tweeting from the shower with her purple LifeProof case JUST BECAUSE SHE CAN.

Thank you to LifeProof for sponsoring the contest and to all of you for entering.

 

The Fifth Bit of Awesomeness

This one is my favorite.

There's gonna be a wedding, y'all. And I'm gonna be a bridesmaid! Congratulations to my BFF Heather and her new fiance Dave. Buttercup approves, so you guys are all clear to proceed with the planning on the nuptials.

Happy Monday, you crazy kids.

Interview with a CHICKtionary

n: Lefler, Anna: 1. Award-winning writer with nationally syndicated essays whose work has appeared online at Salon.com, McSweeny's, The Big Jewel, and Funny Not Slutty. 2. Wife (see also: domestic partner and Queen of Your Heart) 3. Comedian (see also: Hilarious and Can I Be Your Biffle?) 4. Mother (see also: Superwoman) 5. Social Media Maven who is waiting to be cyber-stalked on her popular humor blog Life Just Keeps Getting Weirder and www.AnnaLefler.com and on twitter (@AnnaLefler). 6) Author of The CHICKtionary: From A-line to Z-snap, the Words Every Woman Should Know (see also: LOL funny, My New Bible, and Can You Be on my Team When We Play Dirty Minds?)

She's fun, funny, and it seems, funnier with every page. Trust me on this. Grab yourself a copy of The CHICKTionary, flip to a random page, and laugh out loud while you wish you had though to say what she just said first. And then do it again. And again. Really...it doesn't get old.

Sidebar: Let me interject on my own little gush-fest with my not so small print: While Anna was kind enough to offer me the opportunity to review her book on my blog, sent me a copy that I did not pay for, and has been kind enough not to issue a restraining order on me (see also: yet and cyber stalker), I like to stick to the Rule of Thumper, which pretty much dictates I pretend I never received the book and that all of Anna's emails went to spam when she asks why I haven't reviewed her book yet if I couldn't think of anything nice to say. But as I'm sure you can now guess, I actually thought of plenty....and then I realized Anna is much funnier than I am and decided to let her tell you just how she manages to be so much cooler than us and still make us love her at the same time.

Told you she was talented.

Aspiring Mama: Name. Rank. And serial number. Go!

Anna Lefler: Hmmm, I'm not sure about rank and serial number...but the name is Anna. Lefler, that is. (It helps to imagine the "Beverly Hillbillies" theme behind this. "Beverly. Hills, that is.")

AM: I see from your Chicktionary bio that you also go by MOOOOOOOM and Mrs.

Please tell Aspiring Mama readers a bit about what makes the Lefler clan click. Or, more specifically, do they take for granted how funny you actually are?

AL: I think we are pretty weird for a "normal" family, and I like it that way. I am fortunate in that my husband, daughter and son really get my humor and they are very supportive of my creative dreams. This is a gift for which I am grateful every day. They also think I'm a few doughnuts shy of a box, and they may be on to something with that. Now that the children are a little older - in middle school - the three of us can present a united front against my husband, who is by far the most grown-up person in the house. One of our favorite family activities is to embarrass him in public by, say, doing a spontaneous clog-dance in the lobby of IHOP. He's disavowed his connection to us on many occasions, but he's going to have to try harder than that if he wants out of this little cult.

AM: So we share the same philosophy on family. *Fist Pumps* Tell me, do these creative dreams include taking this little clog dancing act on the road? Or do you have other fun and interesting ways to not have any free time?

AL: Oh, you know me - I've always got something cooking. (I'm not referring to actual food, of course. I never have real food cooking. My family will back me up on this.) I'm polishing up a novel right now and I'm very excited about that. I've also got a couple of creative ideas that fall outside the writing world, but they're still in the planning stages. When I need some occupational therapy (or to ruminate on something), I make jewelry. Necklaces with semiprecious stones, mostly. I love working with my hands - it's good for my noggin.

AM: A novel in progress, a stand-up comedy career, and jewelry making. I think you just gave me a complex. Wait. No. That already happened while reading The CHICKtionary. What moment of genius spawned a book written in dictionary form for women ?

AL: I wish I could take credit for the idea! The notion of a funny women's dictionary came from the publisher, Adams Media. They saw some humorous pieces of mine on various websites and thought my voice would be a good match for the project, so they contacted me through my blog. Which is why, by the way, I tell people always to check their spam filter! You never know what you might find in there among the Viagra ads.

Anna has graciously offered a signed copy of The CHICKtionary: From A-Line to Z-snap, The Words Every Woman Should Know with one Aspiring Mama reader. To enter, simply do one of the following (or more for extra entries!)* Leave a comment for Anna on this blog post.

* Tweet, Facebook, Google +, or include a link to this post on your own blog. Each counts for it's own entry, so be sure to leave me one comment letting me know what you did so I can add up points!

* Comments will be accepted through midnight, EST, on Monday, February 8.

* One winner will be selected via Random.org and will be announced here on Aspiring Mama shortly thereafter.

***

I'd like to thank Anna Lefler for offering me the chance to share her book with all of you. And the not minding the fan-girl squee thing I've got going on right now. Yeah...especially that.

 

UPDATE: Because I'm obviously a dumbass in need of a calendar tattooed to my forehead, I've decided to extend the giveaway period for a chance at Anna's book. And no, this has nothing to do with Heather pointing out that I had the day AND date wrong in her comment. Nope. I figured this all out by myself. And that's a total lie. So come forth and comment. According to my calendar, you've now got until Sunday, February 12.

You're welcome

 

Born to Be a Dragon

I had almost forgotten what it felt like. As a child, I was known for my love of books. The magical world of Narnia. The mysteries of Nancy Drew. The reflective words of Judy Blume. My sisters and I spent weekends at my aunt and uncle's house regularly. And before it had become considered a danger to do so (or maybe it was and the security guards just didn't care back then) my uncle would leave me in the book section at Meijer while he shopped for groceries. He didn't have to tell me not to wander and that I'd better be sitting exactly where he left me or else because he just knew. Before he had even had a chance to push his cart out of the aisle away from me, I was already lost in a new chapter of a new book and loving every delicious second.

I was probably eight when this was happening. The deal was if I managed to speed read my way through one book, he'd buy me two. My personal faves for this little challenge were the Nancy Drew books because really?  Once you read one, you could pretty much skip all of the required Bess, George, and Boyfriend Ned background, also known as Chapter One, and get on with the story. I always left with two books.

Other people's worlds.

I was too young to appreciate (but old enough to marvel at) the opportunity to hold entire worlds in the palm of my hands. Friends were few, vacations to escape the hum-drum of reality were fewer since my father worked two jobs to keep us afloat, but none of that mattered because I had a little library at my fingertips. All I had to do was choose the pages I wanted to lose myself in.

I had almost forgotten what that felt like.

And then I read Eisley Jacob's debut middle grade novel Born to Be a Dragon. And I remembered.

The novel follows Meia, a ten-year-old foster child who has been bounced from family to family because of her tendency to daydream about the  dragons she believes are real, and Deglan, the ten-year-old dragon who must flee from his home to protect himself because of the ancient mark he bears upon his skin. Told in alternating points of view, Born to Be a Dragon is truly an inspired work that will take readers along for a breath-taking ride filled with twists and turns as the unlikely friends discover the truth behind a legend that is destined to change both of their lives.

"Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup." ~ Anonymous Dragon

This cracks me up every single time I see it. Thank you, Eisley, for giving us the gift of your words. I can't wait to read more. Or attend the movie premiere...

Order your author signed copy today. And stay tuned because I have an incredibly fun interview with Eisley that happens to include a giveaway...I tried talking her into an autographed bottle of ketchup, but she insisted on a book instead.

Your welcome.