Army of Mom

So this is how liberty dies ... with thunderous applause.


Countdown to seeing Steve tonight

Well, got the sonogram done and considerable advances have been made in sonography. They warmed the gooey medium instead of squirting in on cold. Score one for the sonogram tech.

I get a treat today and will head to the salon for a cut and highlight appointment and then I get to go see Steve Burns tonight with my next door neighbor. I'll make sure and tell you all about it tomorrow. Have a good Saturday.


about 13 hours to go

This shouldn't be as bad as the mammogram was. *sigh* I'm going in at 8:45 a.m. Saturday for a sonogram on my left breast for "further studies." Whatever the hell that means. Hopefully it means they're just going to take my money and tell me my boobs look great.

Op-ed piece criticizes stay-at-home moms as "bad for children"

I don't know where to start on this one. A friend of mine emailed me a link to a Christian-based website that wrote a piece about this July 6 "commentary" in the Austin-American Statesman. Here is the link to the story, but be wary you have to do one of those Godforsaken sign-up thingees to access it.

I had a hard time completely reading this piece. You probably already know this, but I'm a stay at home mom who works as a journalist by candlelight at night, when children are napping or when I can bribe the soon to be 10-year-old to entertain his baby sister. So, I feel this is an attack on me and every woman - working mom or stay-at-home mom.

The woman who wrote it, Gretchen Ritter, is the director of the Center for Women's and Gender Studies at UT and an associate professor of government and women studies. I weep for the femi-nazis that take classes under her tutelage. I am also pissed beyond belief that my tax dollars go to support a program that goes against everything I believe in. Seriously, I'm going ADD because I don't know where to start ripping apart this woman's piece.

Her first point about why it is bad for children for women to stay at home:
"It denies men the chance to be involved fathers. This is a loss for them and a loss for their children. What does it mean when fathers are denied the opportunity to nurture their kids in ways that are as important as their work? What do the children miss when they don't have fathers changing their diapers, picking them up from school, coaching soccer, making breakfast or dinner and doing homework with them? On both sides, the answer is too much."

Ok, let me counter that with first-hand experience. My husband is one of the manliest men I know - he is also one of the most involved dads I know. His picture is in the dictionary many times beside the words testosterone, manly and macho. But, he is also one of the best dads I've ever seen in action. He changes diapers, coaches no less than TWO soccer teams, he cooks as much or more than I do, he is in the floor doing horsey rides and wrestling and he helps them with their homework. He also makes a mean hand puppet to entertain children during bathtime.

Strike one for this femi-nazi.

"Women who stay at home also lose out — they lose a chance to contribute as professionals and community activists. Parenting is an important social contribution. But we need women in medicine, law, education, politics and the arts. It is not selfish to want to give your talents to the broader community — it is an important part of citizenship to do so, and it is something we should expect of everyone."

What? Somehow because I stay at home I'm Ted Kaczynski? I help my husband coach the boys' soccer teams. I volunteer at church and I show my children the importance of being a part of the community by contributing to the food bank, the homeless shelter and other charities. I volunteer at my children's schools and I'm always at career day talking about being a writer.

Strike two, bitchcakes. This next one is my favorite.

"Full-time mothering is also bad for children. It teaches them that the world is divided by gender. This sends the wrong message to our sons and daughters. I do not want our girls to grow up thinking they must marry and have children to be successful, or that you can only be a good mother if you give up your work."

First off, I see a dramatic difference in my children since I started staying home. My oldest child struggles in all that he does and he was in daycare for the first five years of his life. My two youngest are more articulate, more schooled on little things like colors, counting, etc. as well as more well adjusted. Maybe it is a coincidence, but I don't think so. My oldest had the odds stacked against him with a speech impediment, birth defect and a divorce of his parents. But, I think had I been able to be home with him, his chances of being a little stronger would have been greater. As far as addressing gender roles and differences ... HELLO you stupid bitch. The world is divided by gender. It isn't ideal, but it is life. I see some blurring of the boundaries, but deal with it. I don't want everyone to be gender-neutral. I love women because they are soft, patient and lovely. I love men because they are harder, hairy and strong. There is a reason for these things. My daughter plays equally with Hot Wheels and trucks as she does her baby stroller and dolls. My 5-year-old boy plays as much with the toy kitchen and vaccuum cleaner as his sister. So, back off on the gender thing. Strike three, you're out Frauline Ritter.

"The new stay-at-home motherhood movement parallels the movement to create the "perfect" child. It's not just that mothers are home with their children; they are engaged with their children constantly so they will "develop" properly. Many middle-class parents demand too much of their children. We enroll them in soccer, religious classes, dance, art, piano, French lessons, etc., placing them on the quest for continuous self-improvement."

God forbid we want to offer our children opportunities for enrichment and further education. I played softball, took zoo and museum classes. I took piano and art. I don't remember wanting to commit harey-carey as a result of it. I think it made me a better person overall. I grew up with a love for art museums, wildlife and sports. OOOH, the shame of it all.

"Finally, the stay-at-home mother movement is bad for society. It tells employers that women who marry and have children are at risk of withdrawing from their careers, and that men who marry and have children will remain fully focused on their careers, regardless of family demands. Both lessons reinforce sex discrimination."

Whatever. If bosses are going to discriminate against women it isn't because we may hop off the career path, but because we won't give the guy head under his desk.

"This movement also privileges certain kinds of families, making it harder for others. The more stay-at-home mothers there are, the more schools and libraries will neglect the needs of working parents, and the more professional mothers, single mothers, working-class mothers and lesbian mothers will feel judged for their failure to be in a traditional family and stay home their children."

This point above makes zero sense to me. I was a single working mom for a while. I never felt neglected by any part of society.

What pains me worse than this article attacking motherhood on all levels, I weep that this woman is taking my tax dollars and teaching this horse hockey to impressionable young women and men at UT. She is molding our future into thinking that parents are doing their kids a favor by working and putting them in daycare where people don't really care about them like those who love them. Let's put them in those situations, willingly, to be left in hot vans and smother to death, to walk away from daycare before someone realizes the kid is missing. I feel for moms who have to work and can't be with their children. I was there once and I know how bad it hurts to put your child in another's care and entrust your most precious possession to someone who is getting paid $8 an hour. It is tragic. But, how this woman can blame the ills of society on stay-at-home moms is beyond me.

Look out Bill

It looks like love to me.


Sean 'P.Diddy' Combs greets Sen. Hillary Clinton at the Democratic National Convention Thursday, July 29  at the Fleet Center in Boston. Look out Bill, I think P. Diddy is about to slip her some tongue. You know, if MY candidate only had P.Diddy endorsing him, I know we'd win. *shaking my head*


it comes in pints

I keep glancing at the link to that blog and it just makes me smile. I love the Lord of the Rings books and movies. I'm such a dork.

Hobbits rock. I wonder if there is any correlation between their foot size and .... well, they are only about three to four feet tall, so how big could it be anyway?


Anxiety - not always a bad thing

Nothing like anxiety to motivate you to stay busy so you can't think about what is bugging you. My kitchen is clean. My laundry is washed. My children ate a good healthy meal last night and I'm getting all kinds of work done on my story assignments.

My brave face is about to collapse, though. There are only so many times I can smile, nod my head and say, yes, yes, you're right. I'll be fine. I was okay and not worrying about the  call until everyone and their dog called and emailed Wednesday to ask if I heard from the doctor's office yet on my biopsy results. The doctor said if I hadn't heard by Thursday, to call them. Oh, that is reassuring. Thanks doc. But, they did say we may know something by Wednesday or Thursday. Regardless ... now that it is Thursday, the anxiety is mounting. My shoulders and my arms feel heavy, almost dead. I feel like a cattle prod is inserted in my chest - it almost stings - and feels heavy, too, as if someone is sitting on it.

Combine the anxiety with my "new eating lifestyle" (I don't say diet because I'm trying to change the way I eat permanently) and I'm about to curl up in the corner and suck my thumb or something. But, that would probably make me hungrier. All of my life, when the going got tough - the tough either went shopping or to get an ice cream or cookies or .... you get the picture. So, I'm doubly on edge. Not only am I stressed, but I'm having to learn a new way to cope with it without depending on food for comfort. This is where the blog is coming in handy. I forgot how good it feels to write for ME.  This is my way of coping. Ok, it is a pretty public way of doing it, but on the other hand, it allows my friends a new insight into me and knowing why I do some of the dumbass cockamamey (how the hell do you spell that?) shit that I do. *shrug*

So, keep on praying for me. That is always good. And, feel free to ask me if the doctor has called yet. But rest assured, I'll tell you when I hear something. I promise. When have I ever NOT told you just about everything including stuff you DON'T want to know?


Beautiful people and drugs

I just don't get it. I really don't. Maybe its because I'm not one of the beautiful people. And, let me explain what I mean.

I was reading the sports page about Paul Molitor and Dennis Eckersley getting inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Both are deserving of the honor. I can remember watching them play when I was younger. I can remember my dad telling me to watch the way Molitor swings the bat and try to mimic that in my own swing. I remember watching in amazement as the washed up starting pitcher came back to kick ass as a reliever. So, I'm not shocked to learn about them getting inducted into the hall. But, then, I'm reading the story about their speeches. Eckersly talked about his alcoholism and how he beat it and turned into a great closer. Kudos to him for kicking the bottle to the curb. Then, I read about how Molitor admitted struggling with drugs early in his career.

I'm shaking my head at this. I turn to the next story about Ricky Williams retiring. That was a pretty big shock to everyone, I think. Then, I start reading about how he tested positive for marijuana on at least two occasions.

Am I missing something here? Is it because I'm not one of the "beautiful people" that I just don't get it? Talent, riches and a promising career to make even more money - but I think I'd rather have another drink or another hit ... WHAT? Hello? I managed to resist the urge to toke it up my entire life. I managed to bypass doing drugs at parties. Now, the alcoholism - I understand that it is a disease - but I still don't quite get how you let yourself get to the point of hitting rock bottom. God willing, I'll never understand that. Now, I have my demons. Anyone who has seen my ass knows that I enjoy a good brownie fudge sundae one time too many and my self-restraint lacks a bit. But, I just can't imagine tossing away $3.5 million a year (Williams' salary that he would have gotten this year) for a simple joint. I just don't get it.

I have no solutions, no magical answers. Only the shaking of my head ... I just don't understand it. My doctor told me to lose weight to ease the bone spurs (plantar fasciitis) in my feet and to simply be more healthy. I'm working on it and it is not easy. The lure is there. But, I feel like I'm passing the test. I have a 24-pack of Dr Pepper in the garage that I haven't opened. I have a bag of Chips Ahoy in the kitchen that I've only given to the children as snacks. I'm moving toward a more healthy life and kicking my habit of eating for comfort. It is hard and it is not fun. But, I know it is what I have to do to be more healthy and not a lard butt. I want to be around for my husband and children. I guess that is why it baffles me that someone can toss all their God-given talent and the ability to provide a wonderfully comfortable life for their families for drugs. I don't guess I'll ever understand. I hope I never find out by experiencing it first hand.


Learning about the moon

I keep humming that REM song about a man on the moon. Can't remember the exact words, but if you like REM, you know the song.

Ever since the shuttle Columbia exploded over North Texas in 2003, I have been signed up to get automatic news digests from NASA regarding what is going on with the space program. It is pretty cool, even though I feel like a giant nerd because I know when the guys on the space station are doing special space walks, etc.  It is pretty cool, though.

This evening I finally got around to reading emails from the past few days and saw the following information and thought this is too damn cool.

Media may watch as 30 teachers, including five from a Houston school, learn how to handle moon rocks in their classrooms at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, July 29, as part of a week-long NASA Explorer Schools Program workshop.
The teachers will earn lunar certificates that will allow them to handle encased lunar samples in their classrooms as they conduct science lessons during the coming year. To attend the teachers' Lunar and Meteorite Certification for interview and photo opportunities, contact the JSC Newsroom, 281/483-5111, by noon on Thursday, July 29.
NASA's Explorer Schools Program brings exciting opportunities to educators, administrators, students and families at participating schools by involving them in NASA research, discoveries and missions. This workshop will assist educators in developing a strategic plan to incorporate NASA resources into their classrooms during a three-year partnership with the agency. The goals are to ignite the interest of students in grades four through nine in math and science. Teachers attending represent:
-  James Madison High School, High School for Meteorology, Space and Science, Houston
-  West Ward Elementary, Killeen, Texas
-  G. W. Carver Academy, Waco, Texas
-  Jardine Diversified Leadership and Technology Magnet School, Wichita, Kan.
-  Circle of Nations School, Wahpeton, N.D.
-  Sasakwa in Sasakwa, Okla.
For information about the NASA Explorer Schools Program on the Internet, visit:
For more information about NASA on the Internet, visit:
NASA Johnson Space Center Mission Status Reports and other information are available automatically by sending an Internet electronic mail message to  In the body of the message (not the subject line) users should type "subscribe hsfnews" (no quotes).  This will add the e-mail address that sent the subscribe message to the news release distribution list.  The system will reply with a confirmation via e-mail of each subscription.  Once you have subscribed you will receive future news releases via e-mail.

How fun would that be? What a cool teacher to have that you get to actually have a moon rock in your classroom. When I worked for the Killeen Daily Herald, I covered the schools and spent a few days at West Ward Elementary School. That would have been a fun story to cover.

Planned Parenthood selling "I had an abortion" T-shirts

I got up this morning and wondered what I would write about. I had a few things floating around in my mind, but nothing just jumped out at me. So, I got up, took a quick bath, shaved my legs and then put on my robe and turned on the computer. A quick check of my email and I get one from my ex-husband. Not all that unusual. We do share a child and similar views on most things in life. What I got shocked the shit out of me. I really couldn't believe it.

I followed all the links. I even went backwards and started at the Planned Parenthood site to make sure that this wasn't someone's sick joke. It isn't. Follow the link to really see the shirt in all its distaste.

Why in the world would you want a shirt like this? Why? Are you proud to have made a "mistake" and then opted to end another person's life so you won't be inconvenienced? This is nothing to be proud of. I was at WalMart last night and bought a silly shirt that sports "Be nice or You're Fired" on the front of it. That is funny to me. I wanted to wear that as a joke. I tell EVERYONE that they're fired for whatever reason I deem funny at the time. So, it says something about me. People who know me will think it is funny. How amusing is "I had an abortion?" Really? What are you hoping to communicate to others? That you're an evil bitch? That you could care less about the lives of others? And, on top of it ... you're not just putting an end to just any old life. It is the end of YOUR baby. A piece of you? I used to have a sticker on my car that read "I am the face of pro-choice America." I used to roll my eyes and cringe when the newspaper made me go cover pro-life rallies in front of Planned Parenthood. I wrote the story in an unbiased fashion and then would bitch and moan about having to do that. Then, I got pregnant. Nothing else could have changed my mind about being pro-choice. But, hearing that heartbeat and seeing that little "blob of goo" move around in me changed me profoundly. Never again could I see a fetus in any other way but as a baby.

Now, don't get me wrong. Seriously. I'm Catholic, but I'm also a woman. While I think NO WOMAN should ever have an abortion, I do believe it should be legal to get one. I know it contradicts all that I believe, but I have never walked in the shoes of a woman who has had to choose. I was blessed by God to never have to make a decision like that. I can remember a few scares when the thought crossed my mind, but I do thank God that I never had to make a decision like that only to regret it later. I have several friends who have had abortions and the stories they told me were awful. At the age of 14, a friend of mine, also 14, described for me in detail what happens in an abortion and how completely sickening it was. I remember getting off the phone and being sick and crying for hours and I wasn't even there. A friend of mine in college was married and had one. That was beyond my comprehension. Her husband was in the Air Force and off at basic training and she just "wasn't ready" to be a mom while he was going to be gone so much. I told her I'd take the baby. I had only been married a few weeks, but discussed with him (my now ex-husband) and we agreed that we'd take her baby. I was still in college and he was working at a record store, but we valued life and we were ready to give this baby all he/she could ever need - our love and support. But, she discounted my genuine plea and had the abortion. Want to know the sickest part? Her mother-in-law took her to the clinic. I have never gotten over the loss of that precious little life because he/she wasn't convenient. I have three inconveniences. They cramp my style. They require my attention, my money and my energy. But, you know what? I wouldn't trade them for a million dollars. But, thank God, it was never a choice as to whether to have them or not. And, I am grateful that I never felt my back was against a wall and I had to make a choice as to whether or not to have them.

I know the arguments for abortion. Rape, too young, not ready, not financially capable of supporting a child, etc. And, again, it is not my place to judge these women. However, I will do all I can to promote life and the options that go along with it. It isn't easy to be pregnant and carry a baby to term. God knows it is even harder to be a mother. But, no baby chooses to be born. I know many people who may have chosen not to be born had they been given an option. My church has a wonderful program called Project Gabriel. It partners trained volunteers with mothers-to-be in need. These women are given help getting to and from the doctor, given the tools they need to be good mothers - from instruction on how to do things to equipment from cribs to kitchen tools, and they're given support AFTER the baby comes. If you feel compelled, please give a donation to St. Mark Catholic Church for Project Gabriel. Mail it to 2800 Pennsylvania Drive, Denton, TX  76205.

Support life. I encourage anyone who values life to contact PPFA in some fashion and tell them your opinion of this tasteless shirt. I sent an email to the store website and asked them to pass it along to the appropriate person.
Contact information: To place an order or for more information: Call: 877-478-7732 Fax: 212-868-4692 Email: Mail: PPFA, Marketing and Sales Department, 434 West 33rd Street, New York, NY 10001


I still got it

After my rant about my mammogram and feeling old, I just had to add this. My mother and I took my baby girl to Six Flags today for a special big girl day. She had a ball riding what she wanted to and going through the little sprinklers they had out to keep visitors cool. I wore a tank top to stay cool and as we walked in the park, I noticed these four hunky college boys. Then, much to my surprise and amazement, I realized THEY were noticing ME, too. As  I walked by, out of the corner of my eye I caught one elbowing his buddy and saying Check out THAT rack! The boy closest to me whisphered, Nice Breasts as I walked by. I started giggling like a teenager. My mom didn't hear the guy and said, good Lord, those boys were staring at your chest. *giggling* I know. Score one for Ego Girl. She has returned. Three pounds down, 50 more to go. This is going to be a long ride - and I'm not talking about Six Flags.

First Lady material?

Sigh. I just can't picture Laura Bush doing this. She may think about it, but I have interviewed her on three different occasions. Her composure and dignity are unmatched. Here is a story from the Washington Post about Kerry's wife.

'Shove It,' Heinz Kerry Says to Journalist
Associated Press
Monday, July 26, 2004
Page A22 BOSTON, July 25 -- Teresa Heinz Kerry urged home-state delegates to the Democratic National Convention to restore a more civil tone to politics, then minutes later told a journalist to "shove it." "We need to turn back some of the creeping, un-Pennsylvanian and sometimes un-American traits that are coming into some of our politics," the wife of Democratic candidate Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.) told fellow Pennsylvanians on Sunday night at a Massachusetts Statehouse reception. Minutes later, Colin McNickle, editorial page editor of the conservative Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, questioned her on what she meant by the term "un-American," according to a tape of the encounter recorded by Pittsburgh station WTAE-TV. Heinz Kerry said, "I didn't say that" several times to McNickle. She turned to confer with Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell and others. When she faced McNickle again a short time later, he continued to question her, and she replied, "You said something I didn't say. Now shove it."
© 2004 The Washington Post Company

Ah, now don't you feel proud?

Blue's Clues - I'm so excited!

Ok, I'm so middle-aged and I'm just going to have to face it.

My third child is now in her Blue's Clues phase and it coincides perfectly with bedroom decor I had from the previous child who was into the little blue doggie and her green-stripe loving master, Steve. Of course, I've always agreed with my kiddos that Steve is da bomb. What woman wouldn't love a man who entertains her children with silly songs, games and educational opportunities? I think Steve is every woman's dream come true. Ok, ok. Maybe THAT is an exaggeration, but I'd do him. Ok, maybe I can't because of the little gold band, but one can have her dreams, can't she? Ok, ok ... so Steve Burns is not what most women are fantasizing about, but cut me some slack. He can be right up there in between Aragorn and Legolas *meow* and Kelsey Grammar. Yeah, I know. My fantasy life is lacking if I'm bouncing between Steve, Frazier and LOTR. What can I say? The knights of the round table from King Arthur rank up there, too. I either like them smart, dirty or taking care of my kids ... oooooh, that describes my man on a weekend! I like HIM, too. Dammit. I did it again - off on a tangent.

Better sit in my thinking chair and think. ;)

Anyway. Sarah's room is now in Blue's Clues. Robert went through a Blue's Clues stage, as did Dylan. Robert even went as Steve on Halloween in 2000. I'll have to find that picture and post it. Damn, he was cute. I have pictures of both boys in Steve shirts - the green striped rugby shirt - in front of those cheesey Sears photo backgrounds. I love it! So, who loves Blue's Clues more? Mom or the kids? I think it is even. I like this show. It doesn't numb my brain like some children's shows and the little dog is cute, Steve is cute. Even the new guy, Joe, isn't that bad, but he pisses me off more than Steve did. *shrug* Not everyone can be Steve.

So, the lovefest for Steve started back in 1996 when Blue's Clues first hit the scene on Nickelodeon. But, it has grown as he has loved each of my children through the orange Nickelodeon videos that have given meaning to my VCR. Steve and Blue encouraged my speech-delayed child to try and talk and interact with the characters. I'm not sure if they really taught my exceptional middle child anything, but boy he loved them. That Halloween we weren't sure if he'd be Steve or Slim Shady, but he liked Steve, so we went with it. And, now Baby No. 3 squeals in delight when the paw print appears on the screen to signal the start of the game. Boo's coos, she tells me. Mama, I want Boo's coos. How can you NOT love a show that makes your 21-month-old daughter do that? Plus, he plays the King in a story in one episode and his rendition is that of Elvis as The King ... I laugh EVERY time I see it. I can't help it.

Ok, back to what triggered this post. Steve Burns, himself, left the show a year or two ago to pursue other things. He is a normal guy. He doesn't always shave, his hairline is receding and he didn't want to ALWAYS be known as Steve from Blue's Clues, although he knows it is/was his bread and butter and appreciates that unlike some of my Star Trek actors who think they're too good for conventions. But, THAT is another blog entry. Anyway. Steve is a wannabe indie rock star and I want to help him reach that status. He has an album, er, dating myself again, CD out now. I've heard a few tracks off of it and I like it. My oldest saw some of the clips on the Today show one day and he liked it, too. So, Steve is going to play at Hailey's in Denton this Saturday night. I am SOOOO there. I can't wait. I may even take some kind of Blue's Clues memorabilia to have him sign it. We have no less than three Blue dolls in the house. We have Tickity Tock the clock, we have numerous books .... oooh, I have it ... I'm going to go buy a new Handy Dandy Notebook and have him sign it if I can. Maybe he'll sign my saggy old boob ... he can't have TOO many groupies younger than 35, can he?

Go check out his wacky website and listen to a few tracks ... he is on tour.


My first mammogram

It has been a little more than a week now since I had my first mammogram, but the memory is still fresh in my mind.

CNN was on the TV in the waiting room as I filled out paperwork and signed form after form after form. I felt like I was donating an organ or getting ready for major surgery, not having a simple mammogram. I had heard all the horror stories - it feels like they're making your boob into a pancake, it is humiliating, etc. One of my vertically challenged friends said she had to stand on her tiptoes to get her boob in the machine. I read a humor column about smoke coming out of the machine and the firefighters coming in to use the jaws of life to rescue the boob ... all these things were on my mind.

But, nothing adequately prepares you for it. Tears welled in my eyes as the tech, Linda, explained the nature or mammograms to me. I got Boob Xray 101. How they do it. Why they smush it like they do, etc. She could tell I was mortified. As I sat in the poorly made gown contemplating the day's wages of a nickel that some poor Vietnamese child lost for the day because the right side of the top didn't complete go over my shoulder and cover my ample  bosom, my right nipple peaks out from the gaping gown. I turned my thoughts back to the explanation of shadows, milk ducts, fatty tissue, fibrous tissue and more ... I asked her if the machine could be lowered because I'm short. She looked at me  a little funny. Then, she showed me how the machine goes down to accommodate wheelchair bound patients. A little relief there. I told her why I asked and she said all the horror stories were usually exaggerations because no good story starts with being in and out of the lab in 15 minutes with no trauma.  Still, the tears drip out of my eyes and run down my cheeks.

Next thing I know, I'm face to face with the machine. The tech places her hands on my right breast to position it on the plate and a dozen thoughts race through my mind. I smiled to myself that this is not what my husband had in mind those times he fantasized about another woman fondling my breast. The next quick thought was the male labor and delivery nurse who helped me figure out how to position Robert to nurse better when I had him back in 99. I thought of all the wonderous things breasts are good for and how particularly fond I am of mine. I wondered if Linda was a bit like the Marquis de Sade and enjoyed her job. Right breast completely freed from the gown and ready to be mammogramizeed; I looked at Linda. Relax, she tells me. Relax. The tears begin to flow freely; no longer am I able to retain my composure.

I know you've probably heard it all, I begin. But, this makes me feel so old.

Now, I'm openly sobbing. Equal parts of shame for being so vain and fear at the prospect of getting old are fueling the tears. There it is. I admitted it. I'm 35. I have three children. I wasn't afraid at the prospect of getting breast cancer like my mother experienced (including a radical mastectomy.) I was more afraid of being the aging soccer mom driving a mini-van and spending my time at PTA meetings commiserating about joint custody, flabby arms and the cost of children's shoes. Gone are the days when sturdy young men stopped to gaze at my great rack or ghetto ass. Now, I wonder if they're reminded to call their moms when they look at me.

Linda, the tech, puts her arm around me and pats me on the back. Mind you, my boob is still flapping in the wind here. I wonder, in the back of my mind, if she wants to laugh. She tells me that she has never heard anyone tell her that is why they're scared or crying. Then, she proceeds to follow the same philosophy my mother always gave me of how much better I have it than the next person. She tells me how she performed mammograms on a 17-year-old girl and a 23-year-old male bodybuilder who had an infection in his chest. Somehow, that doesn't make me feel better. It only brings out my guilt for feeling sorry for myself. Mom used to do that to me, too. I do it to my own kids, dammit. Of course, the guilt from when I was 7 and was at M.D. Anderson cancer center in Houston comes rushing back. The volunteers brought around a gift cart for the patients. There were stuffed animals and paint by number kits. I wanted a stuffed horse, so I took it and was happy. Then, my mother told me that there were children in the hospital who weren't able to paint and by taking the stuffed animal, I was depriving other children - much worse off than me - of joy. I'm sure she didn't say it that way, but as an adult, that is what I remember. I still feel bad for that. That simple little green stuffed horse with yarn for a mane and a tail still torments me. But, that is neither here nor there. I am riddled with guilt for feeling so vain.

When the boob smushing party was over, I got in the car and started to cry and cry and cry. I was down much of the day, but then I got over it. That is what you have to do when you're the mom. You have no choice, right? If you don't suck it up and deal with it, who will?

Deadlines suck