I’m late, I’m late for a very important date

NaBloPoMo Day 15:
If you could quit one bad habit instantly without difficulty, which would it be?

Here’s another one that’s easy peasy. If I could rid myself of a bad habit instantly, I would never be late for anything again.

Being chronically late is stressful. All the way from point A to point B, you are checking the clock, feeling panicked, wondering how in the world you are going to explain that, once again, you have messed up and now you are hopelessly late.

It’s also humiliating. People instantly assume that you don’t value them or their time, or that you think you are more important than they are. Perhaps these things are true for some people, but not for me. I can screw up and be late for something even when I am trying as hard as I can to be on time, because I do respect people and appointments and commitments.

Though there are those who would not believe it, I am actually doing much better with time now than at times in my past. I know that it is a personality trait that I am making progress toward eliminating, but oh! How I wish it could happen instantly without difficulty!

I want books to fix my life

Long, long ago, when I first started this blog, I talked about Aspirational Clutter, the term given by Colleen at 365 Less Things to describe “items that you aspire to using one day but one day never seems to come.” She gives some excellent direction on how to deal with these things:

My first advice is don’t be too hard on yourself and also don’t ever let this situation deter you from aspiring to other dreams in the future. My second piece of advice is to make a calculated choice as to what unsettles you the most, the thought of decluttering these items or thought of continuing to live with them cluttering up your home. What is greater, the chance that you are never going to use them or the chance that you are going to regret getting rid of them?

I’ve used that wisdom to release many hobby items, though not nearly as many as I should, since my craft room is still unbelievably cluttered. Now, however, I have to use the same mindset to attack my greatest clutter enemy.

BOOKS. Yep, it’s time to get brutally honest with myself about my books.


Many people own books. For that matter, many people hoard them. But I’d bet a large percentage of those people keep books they love, books they enjoy, books they want to read again and again.

I have some of those books, definitely. Those, however, are not the ones that are overtaking my home.

You see, most of my books are Aspirational Clutter. I buy self-help books by the armload, all because I want them to fix whatever I see as a problem in my life. The real problem? I don’t want to get rid of the book if the original difficulty still remains… which it often does.

Do the books not work? No, it would be more accurate to say that I don’t work. Apparently, in some little corner of my mind, I hope that just buying the book will do one of the following:

  • Inspire me to read it;
  • Motivate me to act on it; or
  • Impart its wisdom to me through osmosis.

What happens, instead, is that the book is brought home and set in a “To Read” pile beside my bed, where I page through it every so often and where it remains until the pile gets too big and all the books are shelved. Thus, the problem remains, which leads me to believe that I should buy yet another book pushing yet another scheme, technique or breakthrough. Lather, rinse, repeat.

The other day, Quinland suggested I get rid of all my parenting books. Her rationale: I wasn’t using the books anyway, and since she is no longer a little kid, my opportunity to “parent” her has pretty much come and gone. I do plan on parenting her for a few more years, but in many ways she is right. I should let go of the books that are not age appropriate.

Why was I hanging on to those books, anyway? Nostalgia? No, I really think that they represented the way I had wanted to parent, the fun things I wish we had done together, the structure I wish I had been able to provide.

When it comes right down to it, though, did I actually need those books? Perhaps. Perhaps I gleaned some tidbit from them at the store when I looked through them and decided to buy, or in my bed when I looked through them again. Some I may have even read more thoroughly along the way.

Then again, perhaps my wonderful, funny, loving, confident daughter has never needed me to  find any wisdom in books. Perhaps just loving her and parenting her the way we have, to the best of our abilities, has been enough.

If so, what does that say about all the other books? The ones about simplifying, organizing, and decluttering? The ones about exercise, nutrition, and yoga? The devotionals and prayerbooks? The guides to success and money management and veganism and conscious living? Is it possible that I don’t need them? Is it possible that just being myself and doing the best I can is enough?

That would sure fix a lot of problems.

Whew! Do you buy books to solve your problems? How many do you buy? How many do you keep? Do you read them? Do they help? Talk to me here. I need to feel that I am not alone.

Team WhyMommy / Inflammatory breast cancer

Life's a bitch !
Photo by pfala

I have been following a blog called Toddler Planet for some time now. Susan Niebur, who writes the blog (under the name “WhyMommy”), is fighting metastatic breast cancer. She encourages people to spread the word about IBC (Inflammatory Breast Cancer), a kind of cancer that “kills without a lump.”

Back in 2007, when she was first diagnosed, Susan wrote a post about IBC and asked other bloggers to repost it. I wasn’t blogging then, but I am happy to repost it now.

Inflammatory Breast Cancer

We hear a lot about breast cancer these days. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetimes, and there are millions living with it in the U.S. today alone. But did you know that there is more than one type of breast cancer?

I didn’t. I thought that breast cancer was all the same. I figured that if I did my monthly breast self-exams, and found no lump, I’d be fine.

Oops. It turns out that you don’t have to have a lump to have breast cancer. Six weeks ago, I went to my OB/GYN because my breast felt funny. It was red, hot, inflamed, and the skin looked…funny. But there was no lump, so I wasn’t worried. I should have been. After a round of antibiotics didn’t clear up the inflammation, my doctor sent me to a breast specialist and did a skin punch biopsy. That test showed that I have inflammatory breast cancer, a very aggressive cancer that can be deadly.

Inflammatory breast cancer is often misdiagnosed as mastitis because many doctors have never seen it before and consider it rare. “Rare” or not, there are over 100,000 women in the U.S. with this cancer right now; only half will survive five years. Please call your OB/GYN if you experience several of the following symptoms in your breast, or any unusual changes: redness, rapid increase in size of one breast, persistent itching of breast or nipple, thickening of breast tissue, stabbing pain, soreness, swelling under the arm, dimpling or ridging (for example, when you take your bra off, the bra marks stay – for a while), flattening or retracting of the nipple, or a texture that looks or feels like an orange (called peau d’orange). Ask if your GYN is familiar with inflammatory breast cancer, and tell her that you’re concerned and want to come in to rule it out.

There is more than one kind of breast cancer. Inflammatory breast cancer is the most aggressive form of breast cancer out there, and early detection is critical. It’s not usually detected by mammogram. It does not usually present with a lump. It may be overlooked with all of the changes that our breasts undergo during the years when we’re pregnant and/or nursing our little ones. It’s important not to miss this one.

Inflammatory breast cancer is detected by women and their doctors who notice a change in one of their breasts. If you notice a change, call your doctor today. Tell her about it. Tell her that you have a friend with this disease, and it’s trying to kill her. Now you know what I wish I had known before six weeks ago.

You don’t have to have a lump to have breast cancer.


P.S. Feel free to steal this post too.  I’d be happy for anyone in the blogosphere to take it and put it on their site, no questions asked.  Dress it up, dress it down, let it run around the place barefoot. I don’t care.  But I want the word to get out.  I don’t want another young mom — or old man — or anyone in between — to have to stare at this thing on their chest and wonder, is it mastitis?  Is it a rash?  Am I overreacting?  This cancer moves FAST, and early detection and treatment is critical for survival.

Thank you.

I want to thank Susan for sharing this information, but also for writing a beautiful, honest blog over at Toddler Planet. Watching her go through cancer with grace and courage has really been inspirational for me.

Susan’s latest post indicated that she needs hospice care. Please keep Susan, her husband, and her two little boys (4 and 6) in your prayers.

xo, Lori