Monday, February 2, 2009

Classy Broads I Admire

Classy Broads I Admire

Since I chose the moniker Classy Brassy Broad people ask me why I picked it.
I think that in many ways it describes me well. I am well educated and not afraid to speak my mind on most subjects and to most people who want to engage. I am a strong proponent of taking charge of you health and to not fall into the trap of place health care professionals on a pedestal. I don’t automatically believe that our elected officials are the best choice for America and will challenge a decision with which I do not agree.

Sometimes I have to wonder where these ideas and beliefs com from. I only have to look around me to the other Classy Brassy Broads in my world to find the answers.

My daughter, Leolady2 is a classy broad. As a young girl with a visual impairment she refused, with parental support, to accept the school counselors who decided that her future was a daycare provider. While that is a noble profession it was not in her plan for life. She chose to go to college no matter what a tough course that might be and consequently this year she will graduate from the University of (Go Huskies) as well as a minor in Non-Profit Management and a second minor in Education. She comes from a long line of women who are not afraid to speak out even when hers is not the popular opinion.

My cousins Mawtulsa, PJ and EK are classy broads each of these beautiful women lost the love of their lives in the last couple of years to sudden and unexpected deaths. Yet each of them has shown grace in the tragedy of life ad carried on with a bravery only seen in women of substance. Mawtulsa was first to experience loss and held her sisters hand through her grief with humor and love. PJ flew to Jordan to spend her husband’s final days in the land of his birth sharing that time with his brothers and then as a great gift of love buried him next to his family members and returned to the USA alone bravely knowing that her family would be there for her. EK has been the quiet, private one. She was a rock to my twins when my Mom passed away, sharing with them how life renews itself. Her Dad had passed away a few years earlier and she was the one to explain it to her brother who has Autism. EK is a teacher and wonderful with young people. I am not sure if I ever thanked her enough but I do now. EK you have such class.

My sister, Yarntangler has brassy class. She abandoned conventional life to live her dream life travelling the countryside in her rolling mansion. She is like a pioneer braving the weather and bumps in the road like a roof coming off in the wind or even worse a spouse who forgot to lower the TV antenna and wiping it off of the roof. She lost LOST! She speaks eloquently about her new life especially in a most animated discussion with her Classy Brassy Broad of a sister.

My sister-in-law BH is one of my favorite classy broads. She successfully raised two kids as a single mom, working harder than anyone I know, and then took a leap of faith and married and has loved my brother for over twenty years. I believe she saved his life in many ways. She takes no #@#@ from anyone any never feels that the world owes her or that she couldn’t survive anything. She is strong and has a never ending supply of colloquialisms that always hit the mark. She is truly a person that I wish I had found forty years ago to be my friend.

That brings me to my friends. WOW are some of you are classy and some of you are brassy but all of you are my heros.

MJ - you are one of the first women in my life who tell it like it is you always called me on my stuff when I might get full of it and I did the same for you. I remember sharing so much but none more than you leaving Massachusetts to fly to Washington to care for my two little children while I spent weeks in the hospital awaiting the birth of our twin sons. You helped name them and you loved my kids like your own. You protected my daughter when she needed a friend alone on a trip to her Grandmother’s house. It saddens me to think that we have let the busyness of our lives keep us from keeping in touch more.

LN – you believed in my love for Sticks when others did not and you weren’t afraid to tell people to let us be happy. You taught me about Filene's basement. You are so smart and so caring and one of the world’s great Special Ed teachers. You are so much more: you speak out about the injustices in the country and about issues which you feel passionately about. While there are many things we disagree about we still discuss them with gusto never jeopardizing our friendship. You truly live, love and feel as a classy brassy broad.

Joy – no matter how long we are apart when we see each other it is as if time has stopped for months or years and we still live in the same neighborhood even though we have been states or countries apart. As twenty somethings we helped raise one another’s kids. As young Army Wives we saw one another through deployments sitting at our children’s hospital bedsides together or babysitting the night before hubby left or came home again. When you learned that I was starting dialysis you and Em drove up form Oregon surprising the hell out of me and took me to dinner in a great gesture of support. It meant the world to me and my family. You interrupted your life when the boys and I got stuck in Oregon in the great storm of Nov 07. What a blast we had with your Grand daughters. You went back to college following your dreams and did it I am so very proud of you!

NB – you were first my boss and then my very dear friend. The tricks that you taught this broad are for the ages. Most of what I have learned from you definitely fits the brassy category, live life to the fullest, make no apologies for being yourself, love well and laugh well, be confident and exude excellence. Take time to think of yourself as a Classy Broad NB, for truly you are.

All of these women have been influences in my becoming a Classy Brassy Broad but none more than the one original Classy Brassy Broad, LILBIT. My mom instilled in me permission to be who I wanted to be, to know that it is okay to speak up in this world. She knew that women shouldn’t be the little woman without opinions or beliefs but should take time to read and learn and teach. She told me to be strong in adversity and she knew what she meant. She put her children before her grief more than once to be certain that we knew it was okay to feel whatever we needed to feel. She fought for us but kept it real. Once when a teacher I had in high school called to say that I had been disrespectful my mom called her on her dishonesty and yet at the same time let me know that I needed to apologize for hurting my teacher's feelings . She told me something that I have tried to let my own children know: “It is hard enough to apologize when you are wrong but when you know in your heart that you are right it is much harder and yet much more noble”.

Thanks Mom you are my most important Classy Brassy Broad. I only hope that I can do you proud.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Dialyze This

Dialyze This

Imagine being a health professional who on a weekly or monthly basis must deliver a worrisome diagnosis. Scary words like cancer or heart disease, Alzheimer’s or End Stage Renal Disease. There are a myriad of others just as frightening to patients. All are delivered somberly and most often with the wish that he or she was not the chosen physician.

I heard the words End Stage Renal Disease myself not so long ago. It was not the biggest surprise since for several years the diagnosis was Chronic Kidney Disease. This is a byproduct of Diabetes a disease I have owned since my early twenties (I am in my mid fifties now).

For years I have thought sadly for folks with such diagnoses. Such words were death sentences then and are still thought of that way today. I understood the somber delivery.

I was so wrong! Such words should not be delivered with sadness anymore.

I wish my own doctor had said something like the following:

“I am pleased to tell you that your kidney disease has progressed to the stage that we have a solid treatment to affect it. You will need to go on Dialysis but it is highly likely that you will begin to feel much better. You will need to do your part by being an active participant in your treatment. Think of it, not so long ago End Stage Renal Disease meant just that the End but now we can help you to live your best life and you may even have the option of transplantation”.

Trust me when I say that being tethered to a chair for up to twelve hours a week may not seem like the most fun you have ever had but consider the alternative.

When one of my most favorite people, Skooba, got married in May; I was thrilled for him and his beautiful bride. I actually missed the ceremony because I had felt so ill in the morning of the wedding that we left late and ended up encountering traffic. Once we arrived I was so exhausted that it was difficult to actively engage. My nephew, Sage Words, asked me to dance (what a charmer that one) and I gave it my all and then had no energy to dance with my own sons.

That was May 11th; on June16th, Lone duck’s birthday, I began dialysis. Two weeks later I realized how sick I had been because I began to feel better.
Seven months later and I feel as though I have 95% of my life back. It may seem silly to get excited about grocery shopping but it wasn’t so long ago that I couldn’t walk through the store. Now I can and I can complete other errands a well.
When my sister Yarntangler and her husband Geezerguy came to visit I had to force myself to cook for them; it was incredibly exhausting but I managed. Today I can actually enjoy the process of cooking a meal and not become grouchy or need a nap when I’m done.

There are additional benefits to Dialysis or Chemo that sometimes are overlooked. A patient is forced to take time for oneself. Most people never devote 12 hours a week to solitary involvement. Treatment gives you the time to read or think or watch a movie or play a game on your computer. Who knows one might even write a blog entry.
I have made new friends and had wonderful dialogs with folks I never would have expected.

My family still worries and I still need a kidney (type A or O blood please) but my message is a simple one.
If you are a physician feel blessed that you can give hope and if you are the patient feel joy that treatment is available to you.
Take the time during treatment to think of the researchers who made it possible for you to live a longer healthier life.
If you are a family member try to worry a little less but be supportive; days are not all great as treatment can be rough.

I am grateful for my family’s support every day. I love how much they love me.

Thanks Dr Perkins for telling me that it was time for Dialysis. I just want to say that the next time you tell someone it is time it really is okay to do it with a smile. You will be changing a life for the better.

Until next time,
Classy Brassy Broad

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Merry Christmas Sis

Merry Christmas Sis

I have thought long and hard about what to give my big sister for Christmas this year. Seriouslywhat do you give a person whose home is on wheels and room to spare is nonexistent.
My sister and her very special husband of forty years have chosen a life many would envy and few could accomplish. They have chosen a simple life much like one of yesteryear, a life of pickingup stakes and moving when the desire strikes.The trouble is it makes gift giving a challenge. Mac who was always a collector wants no cutsie knickknacks no room. Art work is out no where to hang it. Clothes might be okay but there isn’t a lot of room for anything not absolutely necessary. Pity her not, she loves her new life. She has discovered persons and places of great interest and seen so much more than she ever thought she would.

Consequently, when deciding on this year’s gift I wondered what she has asked most of me in the past few years. The only thing she has asked for is for me to write something. She has asked for a gift of me and so finally I shall attempt it.

My big sister is pretty amazing. She writes, she crafts, and she creates great memories.

I have been thinking of my memories of Mac. One of the first memories is the Christmas my mom was in the hospital. My Grandmother came to take care of us and tried to put up the tree. When my dad came home he seemed irritated and one of those family arguments that seem to happen at holidays broke out. I remember that we kids at least the youngest of us (me) were crying and my big sister made everything okay. We didn’t know yet that my new baby brother had died just four days before Christmas, it is no wonder that the adults were so upset. My mom came home for Christmas and she and my dad made Christmas special for all of us. My sister surprised me when she told me that our Granddad would be there too.

Mac made a lot of events or nonevents special. She taught me how to pretend to be asleep when I wasn’t so that we could watch the Outer Limits without our parents knowing. She taught me how to swipe pudding from the fridge (although I seemed to get caught for both of us) and how to squirt Ready Whip into everyone’s mouth so if mom came around the corner it was in my hand. Wait a minute, it seems now that she was teaching me how to save her butt not mine. When you worship your big sister you don’t think of the consequences you just love her.

My sister has been there for most of the biggest events in my life. She went trick or treating for me when I fractured my skull and couldn’t get out of bed. She took me to the movies when my mom was angry with me and wanted me out of her hair for awhile. She helped me buy my parent’s Christmas gifts and really made me believe that I had picked something very special even when it might just be Jean Nate again. Mac dragged me to concerts with her boyfriend (now her spouse). She taught me how to shave my arms and legs. She picked me to be in her wedding. She ate ice cream with me when the first love of my life broke up with me. When I fell in love she let me live with her in Texas for six months while I decided if he was the right man for me even though my parents and the rest of my family weren’t convinced. He is still the right guy after 34 years. She was my matron of honor. She even put her three little boys on a bus with her from El Paso, Texas to Adams, Massachusetts in order to be there for the wedding. Then while I was sick in bed the whole week before the event Mac was in the kitchen with my mom and my aunt preparing the food for 150 people. When we lost our first child she was on the phone with me every other day for weeks. My mom took the opposite days all to be sure that I would be okay.

When my daughter was born she came back to Massachusetts to surprise me and to be my baby’s Godmother. When my twins were expected to need risky surgery while my husband was deployed she came to help with my daughter and first son. She helped me overcome the maze of agencies dealing with disabled children.

Mac and I have laughed together, cried together and yelled together. Our children take bets on how long we can share a space without fighting. The winner is usually the one who chose the shortest time. We have tried venture after venture to move our families forward. We always have great ideas but lack something in execution but we make memories together. We have each opened our homes to the other at one time or another and truth be told have both loved and hated doing so but would without a doubt do it again and again.

We as many sisters are very competitive. She is the better singer; I am the better Scrabble player. We have great debates about almost everything. I wouldn’t give it up.

My sister is pushy in a good way. She can guilt me into almost anything. She could not push me into this writing though. I had to find a reason for myself. Little did I know that my reason would be Mac.

Big sisters are little sisters training ground. If a big sister tries and screws up a little sister will know to try another way. When a big sister picks a good man to marry a little sister should pay attention and pick someone with the same qualities. A little sister should never try to be a clone of her older sister but to be a complement to her. I have my own thoughts and feeling about things all of them formed through my parent’s eyes and my sibling’s reactions. My self confidence is supported by my sister and her faith in me, a faith that often I don’t have in myself.
There are three women in my family who are my inspiration. First and foremost is my mom. My sister and my daughter are the others. These are three very strong caring smart women. My mom has passed away and so my sister has taken on some of my mom’s role. She works to keep me grounded and without realizing it often tempers my passion for things with a reality check.

I am proud to have Mac (yarntangler) as my sister. Bloggers, you are truly lucky to have yarntangler amongst you. She can spin a great tale for your enjoyment and her journey has produced much to learn about.

Keep reading her blog at http://

Merry Christmas Sis

Sunday, February 3, 2008

classy broad connections

Welcome fellow CLASSY BROADS!

My sister, an accomplished writer and blogger has been strongly engouraging me to join the blogging ranks. I have been reluctant until I found a jumping off point.

I have been thinking lately about all of us who are sisters, mothers of daughters, daughters,grand daughters, grand mothers, girl cousins, mother-in-laws, daughter-in laws, sister-in-laws, aunts, nieces and friends so dear that we may as well be sisters; In other words CLASSY BROADS.

I am very aware that many may not agree with my views and I think that is awesome because it speaks to our freedom of thought and our uniqueness as women. I have no intention to offend anyone and apologize in advance if I do but please share your ideas with me by adding comments.

It is our time to be heard; time to have a conversation about how we would like to see our lives become fulfilled. We might have very different feelings about issues facing our world and that is okay. I am anxious in this election year to learn from each of you who should be our next leader.

We as women have strong opinions and good judgement. Let us share those ideas and just possibly come to a consensus on ways to save our planet and make life safer for our children and generations to come.

I would like to hear how you are going green or if not what your feelings are concerning global warming. I want to hear if we should elect a man or woman to the white house. Who are we ready for and why do you believe it?

What you worry about? Who has been there done that and how did you resolve your worries? How can we be helpful?

I am very much in favor of Universal Health Care. I believe that if we had more preventive care, we might be able to lower costs and insurance premiums. We might lessen the number of people like myself with Type 2 Diabetes and its devastating effects. My personal story includes multiple surgeries to save my vision, placement of a fistula (grafting of vein to artery) to faciltate dialysis, and the need for a kidney transplant. I am one of the lucky ones to have excellent health insurance coverage but I know so many who struggle with funding their heakth care.

I am ready to have Hilary Clinton at the helm but also want to hear who you support and why. I believe her overall experience is what we need. I find Barack Obama to be charming but he has many contradictions that concern me. In the last debate he stated that while he knew that Clinton was more experienced to start on day one it was more important to be right than reasoned. Later when asked about a shared ticket he said that he would surround himself with persons not afraid to say no to him because he knew he would not always be right. How does that follow? As women and those of us who are moms we know that flexibility is more important than being seen as right. At every turn life changes and frankly women are more adept at changing with it. I welcome his candidacy in four or eight years once he has gained more experience in national government.

Those are my first thoughts, now I would love to hear yours perhaps you will sway me to your side.

We will follow the election in this blog for awhile. We will watch to see if Mitt Romney's hair ever moves or if Hilary becomes a gentler spirit. Will Barack teach Bill any dance moves? Let's all watch and see.

See you soon
Classy Brassy Broad