Do You Like Me? Do You Really Like Me?

In the 30 Day Non-Facebook Prose-Instead-of-Pictures Challenge, there are hard challenges and easy challenges.  Today's is easy: 

18.A picture of your biggest insecurity

Growing up in a very small town in the South, you went to school with the same people you went to church with, did Girl Scouts with, took ballet class with, sang in the church choir with, and on and on and on.  So when one girl decided to turn all the other girls against me because she didn't like me, it made for a long eighteen years.  Thank God for college!  And that in my graduating class only five of us went away to a four-year college.  And my bête noire went to the cross-state rival.  Praise the Lord!

High school.  Ugh!  My cousin was the fun one.  My bête noire was the head cheerleader.  I was the smart one.  Plus, at five-ten in stocking feet, I towered over all but two boys.  I also weighed in at 110 pounds soaking wet.  Long and lanky.  Geeky is more like it.  Thank goodness I never had braces or wore glasses!

How many times did a guy from my high school ask me for a date?  Zero.

How many dances did I attend where a boy asked me to dance?  Zip.

Going away to college where no one knew me changed all that.  There was the sorority, the fraternity where I was a little sister, the college newspaper editor who wrote a front page story about me as a way to ask me out, the month I never made it home because I had an average of five dates (with different guys) in a weekend.  Yes, average.

But deep down there is still that little girl from that little town who is terrified of being alone, of not being liked.  And that, my friends, is my biggest insecurity. 

[Title taken from this.]


Come Live with Me in the Valley

Are these getting harder or is it just me?  The 30 Day Non-Facebook Prose-Instead-of-Pictures Challenge is a real challenge. Note to self:  next time try a 5 Day Challenge.  As usual, here is today's challenge:

17.A picture of something that has made a huge impact on your life recently

Wow!  Now that I think about it, this is quite easy.  No, it's not the threat of cancer in my life.  Nor the debt ceiling crisis and possible economic straits.  Yes, those are huge.  But too negative.  Let's be positive, shall we?

In yesterday's post, the moral of the story was Carpe diem.  I drew the short straw with my genetic code.  The past five generations in my maternal line have lived to the ripest oldest age of 65.  On my paternal line, the same number of generations provided only 84 years to the longest surviving generation.  Giving me anywhere from a good 20 to 40 years left.

Carpe diem!  Seize the day!  Plan my dream house, my retirement house, my death-or-divorce house.  (Death or divorce would be the only things that would make me permanently leave the house.)

In the process of planning the dream retirement house, we need land to build it on.  Along comes Google Earth.  Lo and behold, when using Google Earth, I found an actual hidden valley.  A long, narrow valley.  Part of the Shenandoah Valley.  But world's away.  My own Shangri-La.  Now to find the perfect lot in the perfect valley.

The huge impact was made possible by the good folks at Google (Earth) who showed me a valley big enough for my retirement.

[Title taken from this.]


A Friend with No Name

I'm getting into the groove again with the 30 Day Non-Facebook Prose-Instead-of-Pictures Challenge.  Today's challenge:

16.A picture of someone who inspires you

Taking the easy way out isn't for me.  The answer won't be Jesus, or Mother Teresa, or Gandhi.  Those are all inspiring people.  But too easy.  To make it more difficult for myself, I remembered a sermon from several years ago about Pentecost.

What does Pentecost have to do with inspiration?  "All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them" -- Acts 2:4.  Spirit.  Inspire.  They both come from the root Greek spīrāre, to breathe.  Inspīrāre, to breathe upon or into.  So what breathes into me?  Who makes me alive?

There are very few people who truly inspire me.  Suzanne Farrell, the ballerina, for her endless love of dance to the point of destroying her hips and knees only to have them replaced with metal, for showing me that there can still be the love and desire of something so beautiful but dangerous even well into one's sixties.  John Muir, the naturalist, for his devotion to nature, for teaching me that the land can be loved, and cared for, now so that future generations will be able to love it as we do.  Julia Child, the early television foodie, for introducing me to roast chicken which can still be saved even when dropped on the floor in front of millions of viewers.  And a friend who will remain nameless, for utterly breathing the spirit of creativity into my mind and creating new ideas and ways to view things, for making me look at myself as someone still growing, never accepting that this is all there is.

Having a friend with no name push me to push myself, to be myself, to be more than myself.  That is true inspiration.  The breath of life that creates new life within me.

[Title taken from this.]


Long Time Coming

Lazy usually doesn't describe me.  Laziness didn't keep me from continuing my daily installments of the 30 Day Non-Facebook Prose-Instead-of-Pictures Challenge. Terror did.

Before the explanation of how terror paralyzed my blog posts, here are the past and future (daily) challenges.

The past:
1.A picture of yourself with 10 facts
2.A picture of you and the person you have been closest with the longest
3.A picture of the cast from your favorite show
4.A picture of your favorite night
5.A picture of your favorite memory
6.A picture of a person you'd love to trade places with for a day
7.A picture of your most treasured item
8.A picture that makes you laugh
9.A picture of the person who has gotten you through the most
10.A picture of the person you do the most ****** up things with
11.A picture of something you hate
12.A picture of something you love
13.A picture of your favorite band or artist
14.A picture of someone you could never imagine your life without

15.A picture of something you want to do before you die

The future:
16.A picture of someone who inspires you
17.A picture of something that has made a huge impact on your life recently
18.A picture of your biggest insecurity
19.A picture and a letter
20.A picture of somewhere you'd love to travel
21.A picture of something you wish you could forget
22.A picture of something you wish you were better at
23.A picture of your favorite book
24.A picture of something you wish you could change
25.A picture of your favorite day
26.A picture of something that means a lot to you
27.A picture of yourself and a family member
28.A picture of something you're afraid of
29.A picture that can always make you smile
30.A picture of someone you miss

The timing of Day Fifteen's request was poignant in that I'm still not completely cleared of suspicious cancer cells.  Skin cancer.  So "what do I want to do before I die?" has become a very real question. 

Bucket Lists are fun to think about.  But when the shit hits the fan, they're not all that realistic.  Seriously?  Sailing around the world?  If it's really that important, make it happen now.  When it can be enjoyed.  Even when I posed the Bucket List question on Facebook with a caveat of only one thing, people's suggestions were too broad or grand for the immediate. 

My "List" has been revamped.  If you know me in real life, you've heard me say that if I were ever diagnosed with some terminal disease, I would climb Mount Everest.  Because if I'm going to die, at least do something fun.  But no more.  I'm a wimp.  I'm not an Alpinist; I have only recently rejoined the world of exercisers; and to top it off, I'd have some disease that could be a lethal burden to my fellow climbers.  No, I would want to surround myself with all the love and comfort I could for as long as I could.

My "List" is quite simple.  To be with the people I love in a place I love.  My family, at home.  No grand adventures, no thrill seeking, no fastest or highest anything.  Just Mr. Gaelic, Finola, Deirdre, Maeve, Baby, Thing 1 and Thing 2.

And no regret that I never summitted Mount Everest.

[Title taken from this.]


All in a Day's Work

Ring, ring. [abridged office phone call - actual lasted about 20 minutes]

Gaelic: This is Gaelic.

Caller: Hi, Miss Gaelic. This is Marcus Brown. I'm calling to tell you that you won three five five million dollars.

Gaelic: [mental alarms going off]

MB: We want to deliver the check to you today. Can I have your address?

G: Do you know who you're calling?

MB: Yes.  Miss Gaelic.  What is your address?

G: [decides to play along] U.S. Capitol Building, Washington, DC.

MB: I'm sorry.  That's not a valid address.

G: Try this. One one zero zero Longworth Building, Washington, DC 20515.

MB: Our company will pay 99% of the tax bill.  You just have to pay 1% of the tax bill.

G: Oh, really?

MB: Just send a money order to Courtney Evans, Brownstown, JAWI, St. Ann.  As soon as the check is deposited I'll call you back.

G: Do you know where you're calling?

MB: Yes.  Miss Gaelic.  I'll call you back as soon as the check is deposited.

G: Okay, but before I go I just wanted to make sure you know who you're talking to.  I work for the United States government and I've had you on the phone long enough to have this call traced.

MB: [dial tone - he hung up]

Dial, dial, dial. 

Committee Staff: Financial Services Committee.  How may I help you?

G: [explains preceding phone call]

CS: Just a minute.  We have a Secret Service agent detailed to the committee.  Let me get him.

Secret Service Agent: Can you give me all the details you have?

G: [repeats story to SSA complete with notes taken during phone call]

SSA:  [finds the phone number registered as a cell phone in Sarasota, FL]

SSA:  It's probably a Nigerian scam that wires the money through Jamaica.

G:  But he called on my office phone.

SSA:  It's probably some sweat shop where they're going down a list of numbers.

SSA:  [finds address that I gave him in, wait for it... Jamaica]

SSA:  There are one-star generals who have lost thousands of dollars in scams like this.  It's a good thing you were smart enough not to get hooked.

G:  [thinking to self - If I won $355,000,000, I don't think they'd be asking for 1% in taxes.  And besides, don't people watch TV, read the paper, or listen to the radio to know about these scams?]

Just in case you didn't know about these scams or you assumed they would never call you, think again.  They're out there.  And you've been warned.

Oh, and if you ever do get one of these calls, take copious notes and let me know.  I'll put you in touch with a really nice Secret Service agent who'll send the report to Headquarters.


Good News, So-So News, and a Warning

First the good news.  The stitches are out of my finger.  Yippee!  The pins are out of my finger.  Yippee!!  The bones are healed.  Yippee!!!  However... The progress on mobility backslid while my finger was in the latest bandage.  The finger only bends about 60° and won't touch the palm.  Yet.  Give it a few weeks.

The so-so news.  As you may remember from last Thursday, it was not a good evening.  After calling the doctor's office this morning for the official word from my biopsy, the nurse informed me that the results came back with "suspicious cells".  The doctor wants to do a more extensive biopsy at the end of August.  She wants the site to heal before she takes more.  Next time she'll stitch me up, that's how much she plans to take.

And the warning?  It may be too late for you.  According to doctors, melanoma is a young person's cancer.  The damage is done when we're young.  Such as the many, many sunburns (including one second-degree sunburn) growing up as a fair-complected, red-headed child spending summers on the Gulf Coast.  Whose great-grandfather died of the disease.

But it's not too late to pass the warning along to others.  "Dear 16-Year-Old Me" isn't meant as a "Scared Straight" admonition against tanning.  Just as a friendly prodding to check yourself.