What Would You Give for your Kid Fears?

I’m sitting here listening to an Indigo Girls playlist on YouTube. It’s been a while since I listened to them, and oh man, how I’ve missed these beautiful melodies. They’re like the female version of Simon and Garfunkel. They make me want to learn to play the guitar. Their music reminds me of my carefree younger days in Vermont, when I was so naive I wasn’t sure if the Indigo Girls were lesbians, and if they were, did liking their music make me one too?

There’s more than one answer to these questions, pointing me in a crooked line.

It’s been 8 days since my last post, which stinks. That weekend I was barely containing my rage over how uncomfortable my mouth was. First thing on Monday I got in to see the dentist and had him trim off a bunch of the material. It helped, though my mouth was so sore at that point it was hard to tell if it was all OK or if more needed to be trimmed.

Immediately after that, I had to drive down to Mystic for a meeting. Of course there was a big ol’ snowstorm brewing at the time, so it took twice as long to get there as it should have. As soon as I got there, it was work, work work. I considered doing blog posts in the evenings like I have in the past, but Mystic in the middle of winter isn’t terribly exciting. I only got to leave the hotel in the evenings for dinner anyway. It was really pretty under a blanket of snow, I will admit.

The saddest sight my eyes can see is that big ball of orange sinking slyly down the trees.

It seemed that there was still material rubbing the sore spot on my gum/lip, because my mouth was still in so much pain every time I tried to eat. It probably sounds stupid that I was so insistent on keeping the bridge in, when I could have just taken it out and most likely no one would have noticed anyway. But no. I refused. At one point after lunch one day I did go in the bathroom and remove it, but no sooner had I done that when I was asked to talk extensively about something. So I had to excuse myself for a moment under the premise that I was getting a mint out of my bag while I discreetly popped the bridge back in. I didn’t want to feel like I was lisping and slobbering all over the place.

I’ll tell you, having constant mouth pain really doesn’t make for a social Heather. I was so irritated the whole time I had to keep telling myself not to punch anyone in the face. I’m usually pretty quiet anyway, but this time I was avoiding talking as much as I could because the less I moved my mouth, the better. I was so relieved to get in my car after the meeting ended. The first thing I did was pop out the bridge. I resisted the urge to throw it out the window. 

When I got home, I found some emery boards and got to work sanding down the piece that was irritating me. Believe it or not, it actually worked! I probably only sanded off a 1/16th of an inch, but it was all it needed. These last few days the sore has been healing and I’m now able to wear the bridge all day without getting violent.

If we ever leave a legacy, it’s that we loved each other well.

In other news, tonight I was supposed to give a speech at Toastmasters. I had planned to talk about the history of cleft lip and palate treatment, as this was something I’d been wanting to look into for a while anyway. The meeting ended up getting cancelled thanks to the weather (snow and 15 degrees… what’s the problem?). When I got home I recorded myself giving the speech but I had issues getting it uploaded so I’ll have to try again another time. For now I am ready for night-nights.

Never a Dull Moment

Things never quite end up the way I worry that they will.

See my video for a recap of my dentist appointment and my run-in with the law today.

Pardon the bad lighting, bad outfit and bad hair portrayed in this video. This is really just how I roll at home.


It’s Only Tuesday

I’m not one to wish the days away, but going back to a full work week after two nice, long holiday weekends is rough.

Last night I gave my 6th Toastmaster speech. I might be starting to get the hang of it. I spent a ton of time preparing a PowerPoint presentation to accompany my speech, which was on the art of Zentangle. One of the slides was a mini slideshow of some of my favorite pieces. Other slides showed the various steps of creating a Zentangle. It was gold.


One of many Zentangles

I arrived early and took pains to rearrange the room so we’d be facing a blank wall where I could project. We got the projector out of the closet and set everything up. The projector had one of those old connectors with the weird trapezoid shaped plug with all the little prongs in it. My computer doesn’t have a port for that kind of plug.

My heart fluttered for a moment. But wait! There was a USB cord in the case with the projector!

The projector was on, shining it’s bright blue glow on the wall. My computer was on, with the PowerPoint open and ready to perform.

But no.

The cord did not seem to comprehend that I wanted it to transmit the presentation to the projector. Various meeting attendees offered suggestions. Try Windows P! Function 8! Hail Mary!


There would be no presentation to go with my speech.

If I wasn’t still chilled from the 9 degrees outside and if I had functional sweat glands, I would have been sweating like a sinner in church.

Instead, I contemplated my choices. One, I could gather my things and leave at my earliest convenience. Or two, I could work with what I had.

Fortunately, I had considered the possibility of technical difficulties while I was preparing my speech, so I brought the book I had planned to mention, plus my Zentangle travel kit and a bunch of tiles.

Because I’d been rehearsing my speech so much, and also because Zentangle is near and dear to my heart, talking about it was easy. I was still pretty nervous with having to think on the fly and I really had no idea how I was doing on time, since I’d timed my speech to go along with the slides. But it all worked out okay. I used the book as a prop and I used the items from my kit as props, and of course, the main attraction, the Zentangle tiles.


During the break, I spread the stuff out on a table and a handful of people came up and looked at them and talked to me about it. So that was cool, and by then I was so glad to have gotten the speech over with that I didn’t care about the technical issues. Ok, I cared a little. I spent a LOT of time putting that presentation together and no one got to see it.


All in all, I’m happy I completed the 6th speech and I realize the fact that I got thrown a curve ball only served to educate me further in the importance of being prepared for anything. Only four more speeches to go and I will get my Competent Communicator Certification! Woo hoo!

I’ll close with my brilliant closing line from my speech last night:

I hope this brief overview has inspired you to try your hand at the art of Zentangle!

Embrace the corny. 🙂

Magnificent Mammaries

While searching for imagery to use in this post, I came across some unique jewelry.

Today I’m going to talk about breasts. Boobies, melons, sweater-stretchers. Snuggle-pups or sweater kittens. Whatever you call them, there’s no denying that people spend a lot of time thinking about these glorious glands.

In my growing-up years, my friends and I gleefully anticipated growing ample bosoms in our teen years. We practiced by stuffing all manner of padding into our bathing suit tops and strutting around in front of each other. Balled-up socks, balloons, crumpled up paper. We could only imagine the weight and density of the luscious lumps we would surely develop.

When I was about 10 years old, the magic started to happen. Or, as my mom said cheerfully one night as I was getting ready for bed, “The pumpkin seeds are sprouting!” I blushed and acted like I was embarrassed, but inside I was delighted. My Marylin Monroes would be taking the stage before I knew it!

Actual pumpkin seeds sprouting!

In those early days of breast development, I oscillated between feeling proud of my growing girls and feeling unhappy with their lack of size. At first I wore sports bras under large t-shirts (mostly because it was 1990 and that’s what all the girls my age did), but this did nothing to enhance my feminine look. I also worried that the sports bras were actually hindering my development because they were so tight.

In some cruel twist of fate, neither I nor my two best friends got to feel the weight of womanhood on our chests in the way that we had imagined. My two friends were naturally very petite (so much so that I often felt obese in comparison – which, if you’ve seen me in real life you might think is hilarious). In my case, I can probably thank ectodermal dysplasias in some part for my lack of humongous hooters.

Ectodermal dysplasias can affect breast development in some girls and women because it affects glands, and as we all learned early on, breasts contain mammary glands. I consider myself fortunate because I do have natural breasts, albeit little ones. Some forms of ectodermal dysplasias prevent ANY breast development and often the affected women will get breast implants in order to attain a more feminine look.

Throughout my teenage years I always kept some shred of hope that I would hit a growth spurt that would only affect my chest area. I looked at ads for supplements in magazines (though I never actually bought any). I tried exercises, (I must, I must, I must increase my bust!) and the power of positive thinking. I eventually learned that sports bras were not the answer, and switched to bras that actually defined and enhanced my shape.

I never seriously considered breast implants for myself. I won’t say I didn’t think about it, but it was not something I really wanted. The idea of having more surgery was unappealing to me, plus I was always finding other ways to spend my money.

It took me a while, but once I got into my mid-20’s or so, I was pretty happy with my queen jewels, and the rest of my body for that matter. I found out that not all guys want women with enormous eggplants. Plus, as my friend’s mom used to tell us “You’ve got more than he does!” (Though in some situations this is actually not true.)

All joking aside, having small breasts is really pretty great. You can exercise without needing to restrain them. You don’t get under-boob sweat. You never have back pain due to heavy breasts, or get dents in your shoulders from your bra straps. You can sleep on your stomach. You can walk around without people staring at your chest.

According to internet sources, small breasts make you look younger (maybe that’s why everyone thinks I’m 25…) and they are more sensitive than larger breasts. Also, you don’t have to worry about them sagging over time the way larger breasts do.fried-eggs-1

So let’s hear it for our magnificent mammaries, whether they be small or large, perky or droopy, plump or flat. Love what you have, and if you don’t, there’s always surgery!

PS. None of the imagery here is representative of my actual breasts, just in case you were wondering.



Man, I have been slacking with posting here (or anywhere, really) lately. I actually thought about taking a little hiatus while I try to focus on some other aspects of my life, but that just seems too severe. Plus I want to be able to write when I feel like it, and the moment I say “I’m taking a hiatus” I will probably be struck with an uncontrollable urge to write.

Let me just give you a little update on things here. First of all, today I FINALLY called the Cheyenne Mountain Resort to book the extra nights we’ll be staying for this summer’s NFED Family Conference. I called the reservation line and it automatically puts you on hold while you wait in the queue.

I’d like to just mention that the hold music was so fantastic that I wanted to sit there on hold for as long as I could. I’m serious! As I listened to it (and did a robot-like dance in my chair), I wondered if it was the hold music that they talked about on an episode of This American Life, which I used to listen to religiously. After I got off the phone I googled “awesome hold music” and found out that yes, it was the same tune.

Now that I’ve piqued your interest, check it out for yourself here. I’m actually listening to it as I’m writing this post.

Also, if you’ve never listened to This American Life on NPR, you might want to take a gander. An auditory gander.

Speaking of auditory. Yesterday I had a routine visit to my ENT. Good news! My ear is stable. Not that I really expected anything different, but it’s always nice to get confirmation that you don’t have a diseased inner ear. I also had a hearing test. Blah.

I’m not terribly fond of the audiologist my doctor uses. This is the same woman who got the silicone stuck in my ear last year, but even before that I found her annoying. First of all, she speaks really softly, which is a bad quality in a person who is working with hearing impaired people, right?

One of the other things that makes me not take her seriously is that when she does the test where she says a word and I have to repeat it, she doesn’t do a very job of covering her mouth, so I can see her forming the words on the other side of the booth.

Also, it’s the SAME WORDS over and over! They are going to think I had a miraculous regeneration of my hearing because I know it’s:

Ice cream. Toothbrush. Sidewalk. Hot dog. Backpack. Lollipop.

Add a wind sound in my good ear.

Hot dog. Ice cream. Toothbrush. Backpack. Lollipop. Sidewalk

I’ll admit it gets hard when it is just one syllable words. Sometimes I have literally no idea what she said, and I can’t even think of a word to repeat back so I just shake my head in defeat.

At a couple of moments during the test, she turned up the wind sound SO loud in my good ear that I actually had to pull the headphone away from my ear. What the hell. Maybe this is what I don’t like about her the most. She does not seem to notice how sensitive my ears are.

It seems like a paradox that I could be so hard of hearing, yet so sensitive at the same time. I have been thinking about it a lot in the last 24 hours. I am not sure if it’s because I have to struggle to hear sometimes that I am so sensitive, or if I would be this sensitive even if I could hear perfectly. In fact, maybe it’s a blessing that I can’t hear perfectly, because maybe all the loudness in the world would drive me insane.

I really don’t like loud noises. I never have. When I was growing up, my dad had a dirt bike. I don’t think I ever got within 50 feet of it when it was turned on because it was so loud. In fact, when I knew he was going to start it up, I would run into the house and cover my ears. Even now, I practically have a heart attack when a motorcycle drives by me and revs the engine.

Come to think of it, maybe I am just a huge wimp…

Well, that’s enough of an update for now. I need to hit the hay! Goodnight and good luck!

A Brief Recap of Recent Life

Hey ya’ll! My apologies for the serious lack of posts lately. As often happens, life seems to rise up and consume my time like a ravenous beast. I haven’t even taken time to do my morning Zentangles this week, which is an outrage. Here are some of the things I’ve been up to:

Last Saturday I noticed my upper bridge was a little wobbly. Ugh! I think I’ve mentioned before that it is cemented on to four implant posts. I guess that was cutting-edge technology in 1997, but it doesn’t seem to be the best long-term way to give a person a solid grille.

So I noticed it was wobbly, and being the neurotic person I am, I immediately began wiggling it to see how loose it was. Like a kid with a loose tooth, I couldn’t leave it alone. So of course I wiggled it until it came off. I had denture paste in the medicine cabinet, which will hold my bridge in enough to get by for a few days. So I used that, but then I was annoyed by the gross denture paste slime in my mouth, and the fear that anytime I talked or ate, the teeth would fall out again.

Fortunately I was able to get in to my dentist on Monday to have it cemented back in. Still that was an adventure in itself because while I was there, he decided to try and fix my bite alignment, which has been off lately. So he just randomly started grinding down one of the crowns in the back of my mouth. One of the crowns that I paid over $1000 for less than two years ago.

You may wonder why I would let him do that. I thought it was just one point of the tooth that was high and causing my bite to be out of whack, so I thought it would be a quick little adjustment. By now you’d think I would have realized that nothing with my mouth is ever quick. It ended up being a half-hour process of grinding down random bits here and there, lots of rinsing and spitting, and biting on carbon paper (or whatever that stuff is) and repeating the process to get my bite aligned. Even now it’s not really perfect, but I think he had to stop before grinding my molars to stumps. Ugh! I hate my life!

Just kidding, I don’t really hate my life, but I hate moments like that. I was lying there wondering why people are turned on by things like 50 Shades of Grey and BDSM, because I feel like my dental experiences involve dominance, bondage and masochism, and let me tell you, it does NOT turn me on. It just makes me want to punch someone.

Moving on. In exciting news, I finally bought a new car this week. I’ve been talking about it for at least five years, but there was always some obstacle that prevented me from doing it. Namely, being up to my ears in student loan debt. But in the last couple of years I’ve been saving money like a squirrel hoarding acorns and I finally had a nice amount in my savings account so I feel comfortable having a car payment in my life again. My credit score was through the roof, so I was able to get a ridiculously low interest rate, which also made me a happy camper.

In equally exciting news, tomorrow is the NFED Regional Family Conference in White Plains, NY. It sounds like there are a lot of people signed up to go, and the weather forecast is clear, so it should be a great turnout. I’ll be zoom-zooming down there in my new car and I can hardly wait to reconnect with people and to meet new friends!  I will write a blog post about that once I get back.

Now it is time to get ready for work! Happy Friday Ya’ll!  Here’s a little happy tune for you.

Throwback Thursday – Bonus Edition!

Hi there! So I was going through some of my journals looking for future Throwback Thursday posts (because it’s easier than creating new content) and I came across this one from just two years ago. I hope it gives you a chuckle.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Well, today confirmed what I’d always suspected was true: a GYN exam performed by a male doctor is more awkward than one by a female doctor. Perhaps it was the moment when, as I lay with breast exposed, he began rubbing his hands together vigorously like he was about to dive into a good meal. I realize he was merely trying to ensure that he wouldn’t give me a chill with cold hands, but the movement was so awkward that I almost burst out laughing right then and there.

Also, when approaching my vag, he would run the back of his hand down my inner thigh. I guess it was to alert me to his presence, but it was SO WEIRD. I mean it was vaguely stimulating! Maybe that was the idea – if the vag is happy, it won’t mind accepting a speculum? Ew!

The rest of the exam was fine, I suppose. I tried not to feel awkward, but he was younger than I had expected. At least he wasn’t my age, because that would have made it 1,000 times worse.

– – – – –

Editor’s note: I did not return to that doctor. He was a general practitioner and I thought it would be easy to just throw in a GYN exam with my regular physical, instead of going to two different appointments. But no. I later found a male GYN who was not awkward, and I actually like him better than my previous female GYN because he doesn’t ask me when my boyfriend is going to propose or when I plan to have children. (Judgy much?)

Can I Get a What-What?

Being hearing impaired but not wearing a hearing aid (or a sign that says “I’m deaf on the left”) makes for some interesting life experiences. I’ve unintentionally offended people when I’ve seemingly ignored them, when really, I had no idea they were talking to me or talking at all. There have been plenty of times that I have not heard someone clearly and thought they said something totally different than what they really meant. I’ve also had scary moments of driving in my car and hearing a siren and not knowing which direction a fire truck or ambulance is going to approach from. Luckily so far none of the moments have been life-altering. At least not that I know of… perhaps I just misheard.


The other day I was in my boss’s office for a meeting. Both of my co-workers were out of the office, so it was just me and my boss. She has a small conference table in front of her desk, where my co-workers and I usually sit. Out of habit, I sat so that my boss’s desk was to my right, which meant that my back was to the door.

We were expecting someone to call in during the meeting, and right on cue, the phone rang. I saw my boss reach out and push a button. Then she said “Hey, how’s it going?”  A voice I was not expecting to hear began to talk. I noticed that he sounded incredibly clear, and lacking that tinny, echoing quality that people usually have when they’re on speakerphone. It was another colleague, and he and my boss chatted amicably for a few minutes. I fiddled with my notebook, and flipped through a stack of papers I’d brought in for the meeting.

Then a weird thing happened. My boss’s phone rang again. The clear voice said “Oh, do you need to get that?”

Wait a second… I thought to myself. How does he know she’s getting another call?

My boss pushed a button on the phone to divert the call. I looked at her and noticed that she kept looking at something above my head. We have a calendar on the door, so at first I thought she was just looking at that. It finally occurred to me that there might be another reason she kept looking my way. Slowly I turned my head to the left and out of the corner of my eye I saw that there was someone standing behind me.

lucy woah

I’m not sure I can describe the feeling I had at that moment. As hilarious as it would have been for me to react as Lucy in the photo above, I did not. I had to spend a few seconds composing myself because I was pretty horrified that I hadn’t been able to tell that there’d been someone standing behind me and talking for what must have been a solid five minutes. I was also worried that I’d appeared rude for not acknowledging him the whole time. I decided to play it cool and not let on that I had just realized he was there. The next time he made a joke, I turned and looked him in the eye as I chuckled at his wittiness. I think I saved face there, but barely. I’m sure my boss was wondering why I hadn’t turned to look at him before that, and why I kept looking at her and at the phone.


Note to self: Avoid sitting with your back to the door. Or, start wearing glasses with side mirrors.

You’re Beautiful, It’s True.

On Friday, I sat down with my boss to discuss how things have been going since I transferred into her department earlier this year. We talked for 2 hours, and probably could have gone on longer if it hadn’t been 5:30 on a Friday afternoon. I won’t detail the whole conversation, but there were two things that stood out and that I’ve been contemplating all weekend.

First, I mentioned how I enjoy writing and working on the communication pieces we do for work. I also mentioned how I wanted to go back to Toastmasters and finish doing that. So we decided that I would take on more communication-oriented things for work, and that I would continue doing Toastmasters as part of my professional goals. Sweeet. (Look out TED, I’m gonna be talkin’ for you some day!) I’m pretty excited about this, as it ties in with my personal goals of being a writer and eventually becoming a public speaker. I mean, I’ve got a lot of stories to tell.

Second, we talked about psychological things, like people’s levels of self-awareness and behavior. One thing that came up was how people perceive themselves, and how these perceptions can sometimes be so horribly askew from reality. I mentioned to her that I struggle with my self confidence because I perceive myself as being unattractive and awkward. She practically fell off the couch. She said that people don’t see me that way at all and that everyone thinks I’m really nice and she even said I was gorgeous. What?

So anyway, I was thinking a lot about that over the weekend. I wonder why it is that people can be so off about themselves? I mean I’ve known several people (usually guys) who think they are just so awesome, and in reality they are awkward and smelly and make people uncomfortable. Meanwhile there are people who are amazing, smart, funny, sensitive and caring and they hate themselves. Why is this? Honestly. It is so frustrating. I wish I could go out there and fix everyone, myself included. I’ve spent the last 5 years learning to love myself. And really the last decade forcing myself to go out and not just stay in my house and hide all the time. I know in my situation there are plenty of reasons I learned to dislike myself. Deep down I have always loved myself, but it’s been such a rocky relationship! And to this day I am taken back when someone tells me that I am interesting or amazing or gorgeous. Gorgeous. Really?

Yesterday I got together with some of the family and went for a walk. Here’s my brother and I riding in the truck with the dogs humping each other in the back. That’s a typical get together for us. Awkward? Yes.


The Umbrella Story

What super power would you have? Why, invisibility, of course! Sure it would be nice to fly, or shoot lasers out of my eyes, but to be invisible . . . now that would be really cool.

umbrella boy

One spring afternoon in Music class, we were learning a song about the rain. On the handout there was a drawing of a boy walking through the rain with an umbrella. As I often did, I doodled on the drawing, beginning with shading his rain boots. Absent-mindedly, I continued embellishing the drawing until I came up with an amazing idea. Imagine an umbrella with curtain-like sides, so you could be completely hidden from view while using it! I could picture myself taking a walk through the park, strolling along in my own private room while passersby were completely uninterested in looking at me.

That afternoon I leapt off the school bus and ran to the house, eager to build the prototype. In the mudroom, I located the big Mary Poppins-style umbrella, grabbed a roll of duct tape and the rag box – which had some old bed sheets in it. I brought all the supplies out into the yard and painstakingly taped the mis-matched, paint-spattered sheets around the umbrella. I taped each sheet together to ensure that there would be no gaps through which I could be seen. My friend Chrissy came over to see what I was up to, determined I was nuts, and went home to watch Saved By the Bell.

I wasn’t the only one with this idea.

About an hour later, my umbrella creation was ready for a test run. I climbed under the sheets and hoisted the heavy contraption up off the ground. I’d failed to consider how I was going to navigate under this thing. After a few cautious steps around the yard, it was determined that an adjustment was needed. A section of sheet was removed and replaced with an opened-up black trash bag. The bag was transparent enough for me to see through, but not so transparent that anyone would be able to see me inside it. Brilliant! By then, it was time for dinner, so I closed the umbrella-contraption and tossed it into the mudroom, feeling accomplished.

A few weeks later, Joanna was visiting for the weekend. As usual, we spent much of the time lying around complaining about how incredibly bored we were. Then I remembered the umbrella. We decided to take it out for a walk around the park. It was big enough for the two of us to walk side-by-side in it, but it was awkward trying to coordinate our pace and not tread on the sheets which billowed around us. We made it across the parking lot to a bench near the tennis courts, where we sat down, still inside the umbrella.

Two teenage boys had just finished up a tennis game. They had probably seen us approaching the bench, like an enormous drunken jellyfish. They exited the tennis court and began walking towards us, their curiosity piqued. Joanna elbowed me in the ribs. “They’re coming over here!” she gasped, “let’s get out of here!”  I grabbed her arm, “No! Sit here – let’s see what happens!” For some reason, I didn’t expect them to actually come over to us. But they did. One of them tapped the top of the umbrella with his tennis racket. “Hello? What is this?” he laughed. We sat, paralyzed with a mix of excitement and fear. The other boy pulled back one of the sheets and peeked in. “There’s a couple of chicks in there!” he exclaimed. The other pushed him aside to have a look. “Naw, they’re just kids.”

As soon as they turned and began walking away, we leaped up from the bench and began running back to the house as hard as we could. If walking in a coordinated fashion had been difficult, running was proving to be impossible. The heavy umbrella wobbled uncontrollably in our hands. Joanna tripped on one of the sheets, ripping it from the umbrella as she fell. I kept running, still holding onto the umbrella as the remaining sheets flowed out behind me like a horse’s tail. Joanna kicked her legs free of the sheet that had tripped her and desperately continued running. Breathless, we reached the safety of the yard, where we collapsed into a screaming, laughing heap of sheets and mangled umbrella.

So much for that invisibility cloak.