Progress or Regress

Have you seen the new Kleenex towel product? I just saw an advertisement for these disposable towels the claim- “a clean fresh towel every time”.  So whatever happened to reduce, reuse, recycle?  How can we save the world when we keep developing products that add to its waste?

Are we Americans so lazy we can’t wash our hand towels? I get disposable towels in public areas. But at home? REALLY?  And how do you get that fab splash of color that a posh hand towel offers if you are using a stack of kleenex towels?

Come on America…don’t be so lazy and ordinary.

The dreaded yearly appointment

Life is our most precious gift. And to that end, taking care of our whole self should be #1. For the most part, this is fairly easy. Eat right, exercise and keep your body healthy.

There are a few necessary things that we should do on a regular basis…like going to the dentist. And as a woman…this means going to the gynecologist for a regular check up. I’m not going to say anything really sensitive or embarassing in this blog. Guys don’t want to hear about this yearly visit.

But I do want to say that I never really understood why we went for this yearly exam and I certainly didn’t realize the impact of the PAP smear. I just knew this was something my insurance pays for and something that I SHOULD do. Alas…I go every year to take care of myself. But here’s why its so important:

In doing a little research about why this visit is important, I learned that prior to this test, cervical cancer was the #1 cause of death in women across the world!  That’s huge.  regular program of pap smear screening, with appropriate follow-up, can reduce cervical cancer incidence by up to 80%. In the US, over half of all invasive cancers occur in women that have never had a Pap smear; an additional 10 to 20% of cancers occur in women that have not had a Pap smear in the preceding five years. This stats alone show the importance of this dreaded once a year check up.

No… this yearly appointment is not fun. Yes…that little thing is cold and uncomfortable (I know that is TMI). But it only takes a few minutes every year to ensure your health and well being.

Today I saw new doctor for my yearly exam. That’s all I will say on this subject….

Baby Ruth

The news spread like wild-fire among our group of friends. How could it be true that Ruthie was diagnosed with breast cancer?  There must be a mistake. Ruthie is one of the most vibrant, healthy people that we know. And how could this happen, just a few weeks before her wedding? We all quickly had a reality check-breast cancer does not discriminate.

Young, old, rich, poor, tall, short, fat, skinny….breast cancer knows not a difference.

Ruthie has faced the diagnosis with bravest of outlooks and the determination to win – to beat this horrible monster. And she is winning. Though it goes without saying there have been some hard days along the way, her optimism and outlook on life is inspiring.

We joined together to support her in the Race for the Cure. This year over 5700 people gathered at Flour Field in Greenville to show our support for the efforts to reach a cure for breast cancer. Women are 100 times more likely to have breast cancer than men and the survival rate is fairly good depending on the type of breast cancer. Each year the work that is done to support the cancer research bring us closer and closer to a cure.

I feel blessed to have participated in such an impactful event. The spirit and energy at the event was awe-inspiring. Men and women, young and old, gathered together to make a phenomenal difference in the lives of generations to come.

To my friend Ruthie- You are beating this disease. You are a hero to me. Go Baby Ruth!

Handbags for Hope

I never thought I’d see a purse made out of two bras sewn together…but I did tonight (still not too sure who would be willing to use this handbag!). I, along with a few work colleagues attended an event to raise awareness and funds for ovarian cancer. The event, Handbags for Hope, featured a silent auction filled with all sorts of handbags. Big and small. Designer and hand crafted. Some were even signed by celebrities.

Here’s what I learned: Ovarian cancer is one of the hardest forms of cancer to detect. The symptoms aren’t as easy to detect as other forms of cancer. Rapid weight loss and abdominal pain are two of the most common symptoms. Lifetime risk of developing ovarian cancer is only about 1.6%, but the prognosis for the cancer is not good.

I have been blessed.

Everyday I count my blessing that I live the privileged life that I do. I am thankful that I grew up in a happy home with two loving parents, that I have an education, that I am not addicted to drugs or alcohol, that I married a wonderful man and that both C. and I have great jobs that afford us many luxuries in life. We are blessed.

I was born with the understanding that we should pay it forward when we can. That’s why C. and I choose to give back to our community and universities (well really it’s me telling C. what we need to give back to…but we’ll give him credit for going along with me to the events and supporting me in my efforts). This year, I have been introduced to the United Way of Gville County and all of the life changing programs they support. I decided to commit my $$$’s about a year ago… and along with $$$’s comes my time. I think it’s important to get involved in the organizations I financialy support- I like to know what kind of people are behind an organization- tells me a lot about it.

I carefully filled out the volunteer form, but it took about 8 months to receive a call with an opportunity. It’s hard to believe an org would have a willing volunteer and not take them up on it. The lady called me to make the ask…and before she could even explain what I would be doing…I said yes. She was so startled by my eager enthusiasm that she could hardly continue the conversation. I’d been waiting for the call for 8 months…it didn’t matter what the project was, I was ready to begin working for the United Way. Anyway- I began my volunteer work with the United Way today. I am going to be a school solicitor- which means that I will be meeting with principals at our local schools to discuss several programs the United Way will be offering this year and I’ll plug the fundraising campaign. This will be really fun. I have four schools that I, of course, have never visited. Hope I have nice principals. I really am looking forward to getting involved in the United Way. It feels good to give back…both time and money.

Emily Post would be pleased

Don’t you think the demise of a hand written note is tragic? Nothing, I mean nothing, replaces a hand written note. People rarely send notes these days. I get the occasional thank you note, but never a note out of the blue written by hand, stamped and mailed (with the exception of my dear friend RCR). Why pen something out when you can email, text, facebook or twitter? Instant gratification.

My grandmother wrote me almost every week when I was in college. She rarely had anything to say, but it was so fun to get her note in my SPO (mailbox). It did help that she stuck a $20 in there every now and then. I always thought it so amusing that she closed each- Isles of view- Mama. I can see her sharp-pointed penmanship…a little shaky as she aged. Oh and she sent the mini-page each week. Though I had long outgrown the minipage, she had saved it for me my whole life and I guess it was something she just didn’t want to give up (and I have to admit, I enjoyed reading it even in college…it reminded me of home).

So today, I wanted to extend words of encouragement to a couple of friends who were going through a hard time and words of happiness to friends who are soon to give birth. I started to pick up the phone to call one…and I started to send a quick email to another…and I even started to send a quick facebook message to a friend I haven’t seen in while…but then I remembered the joy of receiving something in my mailbox other than a credit card offer or a bill. So, I grabbed my pen and began to write. It only took a few minutes and a couple of stamps. Presto…a piece of sunshine in their mailbox. Today’s something new is a practice that I plan to continue. It made me feel great and I know the recipients would agree that the heartfelt message was much more meaningful than a quick 21st century communication.

Pay it forward

Today’s new activity was sooooo fun. I had some errands to run during lunch so I stopped by Chik-fil-A for an iced tea (thanks W. for the tea recommendation). While in line waiting for my drink, I remembered KD’s suggestion and decided today was the day to pay it forward, afterall Karma was not working on my side last week. I was the last in line for a few minutes…but hey it was 12:15 on a sunny day. I knew the line would amass behind me…and it did. The lucky driver of a purplish two door Pontiac pulled in behind me.

Bingo- my lucky winnner: a middle aged woman with blondish hair.  Thoughts swirling in my head about who she was. All the time, hoping she wasn’t placing an order for 12 kids who were home from school on Spring break. So exciting. Quick post on facebook, and it was my turn to pay.

I was kind of nervous. Defintely butterflies in my stomach. Tried to play it cool and told the lady that I’d like to pay for the person behind me. She smiled and asked me if I knew this person in the purplish Pontiac. I very proudly said no. She told me that she once read that for every one person who does this, 7-8 people will pay it forward  just by hearing the stories.

Pay it forward people. Next time you swing by a fast food drive through consider doing a nice gesture for someone else. It’ll make you feel so good from the inside out. And….you never know when you might be the one of receiving end!

Tomorrow- I’m going Vegan for the day! Let me know if you have any pointers. Don’t think I know any vegans.