2012 in review

WordPress is outstanding. I give all credit to the Hubs for choosing WordPress as my blog home. Actually, he gets all the credit for this little blog’s existence. He bullied convinced me to transition from Caring Bridge to a “real” blog. I wasn’t sure I had the chops or the audience for a “real” blog, but he was right on both counts. See, I’m neither too proud nor too Greek to admit I was wrong.

After Trevor bullied convinced me to leave the safety of Caring Bridge for the wide-open world of “real” blogging, he set out to find the best blog host for me, and WordPress won that contest, hands down. Not to knock those blogs hosted by other, non-WPsites, of course, but WP never asks me to “prove I’m not a robot” by entering a string of jibberish into a little box before my comment can be published. WP never requires me to identify myself each and every time I want to post a comment on someone else’s blog. The brain that powers WP is big enough to remember who I am every time. There’ve been times when I’ve abandoned a comment I was planning to leave on another blog, after carefully composing it (or just rattling off a stream-of-consciousness thought) because the process of proving I’m not a robot and having to enter my credentials took too long or crashed my computer. Not so with WordPress.

I got a handy email from the dear folks at WP the other day saying this: “The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.”

They provided this cute graphic as well. Thanks, WP; now I don’t have to troll googleimages to find something to pretty up my post.

The good people at WP crunched a lot of numbers and came up with this analogy for my little blog:

19,000 people fit into the new Barclays Center to see Jay-Z perform. This blog was viewed about 100,000 times in 2012. If it were a concert at the Barclays Center, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report. Thank you, stat helper monkeys, for this annual report. What a cool gift. Those helpful monkeys laid out my all-time most-viewed post for me. How interesting. If someone — or some monkey — asked me to pick what I thought my most-viewed post was, I’m not sure I would have thought of this one. But I’m not a stat-crunching monkey, now, am I? I’m someone who still counts on her fingers sometimes, and who always resorts to a 20-percent tip in a restaurant because the math is just easier. What I don’t know about stats and numbers and most-viewed posts is a lot.

I’m humbled and tickled and perhaps a bit surprised to see how far-reaching this little blog has become. My heart is warmed by the blog friends I’ve made through this little blog. Women and men around the globe from all walks of life, united in one thing: the need to pour out our hearts onto the WP screen, to try to make some sense of the curveballs life has thrown us. Whether cancer or life in a foreign land or the pursuit of a goal right here at home, my blog friends write about the stuff that is foremost in their minds and filling up their hearts. Through good news (the latest scan was clear!) and bad (the dreaded mets), through everyday events and life-changing ones, we share. We comment. We connect. We come together.

And that, my friends, is a beautiful thing.

As we shed this year and look forward to a brand-spanking-new one, I will take some time to reflect on this little blog and all its stats and numbers. As I prepare for a year-end blow-out celebration with dear friends and lots of champagne, I will think of my blog friends around the world, and I will raise a glass to our shared experience. While I’d just as soon not have been diagnosed with breast cancer at the tender age of 40, had I not, I wouldn’t have started this little blog and “met” all of my wonderful friends in the blog-o-sphere. While I still fervently maintain that cancer is not a gift, it does happen, and we deal with it. We curse it, we cry about it, we blog about it. We come together.

Readying myself to bid adieu to 2012, I think of the year ahead and hope it’s full of good health, dear friends, yummy food, sunny days, bottomless glasses, cherished children, and beloved pets. I wouldn’t mind getting back on the tennis court after 4 long months of rehab for my newly-repaired knee, BTW. I’m thinking of things I want to do in the New Year, tasks I want to tackle, skills I want to acquire, places I want to go. In the immortal words of Mark Twain, I’m thinking of catching the wind in my sails. Mark_Twain_Quote_Explore_Dream_Discover

Advertisements

The list is complete

When I wrote this blog the other day, there were two children on the victims list of the Sandy Hook massacre for whom photos and personal details had not been released. It bothered me that my list was incomplete. Many people commented that they just couldn’t watch the news or listen to any coverage of this tragedy, and I get that. It’s curious to me that our society seems torn between a perverse curiosity into the intimate details of strangers’ lives (the prevalence of celebrity worship and the relentless paparazzi come to mind), and an instinctive urge to turn a blind eye to the searing pain that comes from seeing — really seeing — the hard-core bad stuff out there. We have an instinctive impulse to protect ourselves from stuff that hurts. We rubberneck as we pass traffic accidents, hoping to glimpse the smashed cars, yet we shrink away from the gory details of what really happened inside Sandy Hook Elementary School as if being uninformed can keep the tragedy at arm’s length. There’s no judgment here, just my perception.

While my first instinct was to avoid the news and shut out any mention of Sandy Hook, it was equally important to me to learn something about each victim. As if my “knowing” them, in snippets and from afar, could connect me to the people suffering the most wrenching loss imaginable. As if learning a couple of facts or insights into who they were would allow me to share in the grief and somehow comfort those affected from 1,700 miles away. It doesn’t make much sense, but there it is. That is why I wanted to feature each victim individually and to uncover a little bit of personal info about them. I didn’t know any of the victims personally, nor do I know anyone in Newtown, CT, but as a parent — as a member of this human race — I felt compelled to showcase each of the victims.

To complete my list from the other day, here is Madeleine Hsu399225_451374501587568_547153531_n

and Allison Wyatt. allison-wyatt-4_3_rx512_c680x510

 

Both photos come from the Facebook page In Loving Memory of Sandy Hook Elementary Victims.

A blogger I greatly admire and whose words always ring true for me wrote this about the tragedy at Sandy Hook:

“The only way for those left behind to survive something like this is when the rawness begins to subside, to adapt rather than crumble – in no way an easy thing to do. The unfortunate reality is that the 27 innocent lives cannot be brought back and the tragedy cannot be erased. As a community, a collective of humans, we need to absorb what happened and adjust our lives around it. To harp on the tragedy and let it define us will do no good. Rather, we need to define what our lives will be in spite of this tragedy. We need to sharpen our focus, reassess our priorities and make an even more concerted effort to love and let ourselves be loved, as that is what makes the world function. Let there be so much kindness that there is no room for hate.”

I love her idea of sharpening our focus. And her proclamation for us to “let there be so much kindness that there is no room for hate” is the best idea I’ve heard in a long time.

My list is now complete.

 


Eulogy for the Martyred Children

On September 18, 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered the eulogy at the funeral for three little girls — Addie Mae Collins, Carol Denise McNair, and Cynthia Diane Wesley — who were killed by a bomb as they attended Sunday school at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham.  The fourth victim, Carole Robertson, was remembered in a separate service.

googleimages.com

googleimages.com

Robert Chambliss, a member of the Ku Klux Klan, used 122 sticks of dynamite to send a racially motivated message and end the lives of four innocent girls. The bombing became a turning point in the Civil Rights Movement, and the eulogy seems eerily prescient as the first victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre are laid to rest.

While Dr King’s speech addressed racism and segregation, the ideas he expressed in the eulogy apply to the bloodshed at Sandy Hook. As I contemplated the start of many funerals in Newtown, CT, I was compelled to re-read Dr King’s words and am stunned at how much they apply to our current-day tragedy. Yesterday, Noah Pozner and Jack Pinto were buried, and today funerals were held for Jessica Rekos and James Mattioli. As I try to wrap my head around the idea of tiny caskets holding 6-year-old children being lowered into the ground, I imagine Dr King shaking his head at the fact that while great strides have been made in racial equality, innocent children continue to die at the hands of disturbed men with weapons. Nearly 50 years have passed since Dr King spoke these words, and yet here we are again mourning the senseless loss of unoffending, innocent, and beautiful children.

“This afternoon we gather in the quiet of this sanctuary to pay our last tribute of respect to these beautiful children of God. They entered the stage of history just a few years ago, and in the brief years that they were privileged to act on this mortal stage, they played their parts exceedingly well. Now the curtain falls; they move through the exit; the drama of their earthly life comes to a close. They are now committed back to that eternity from which they came.

These children—unoffending, innocent, and beautiful—were the victims of one of the most vicious and tragic crimes ever perpetrated against humanity.

And yet they died nobly. They are the martyred heroines of a holy crusade for freedom and human dignity. And so this afternoon in a real sense they have something to say to each of us in their death.

They have something to say to a federal government that has compromised with the undemocratic practices of southern Dixiecrats and the blatant hypocrisy of right-wing northern Republicans.  They say to each of us … that we must substitute courage for caution. They say to us that we must be concerned not merely about who murdered them, but about the system, the way of life, the philosophy which produced the murderers. Their death says to us that we must work passionately and unrelentingly for the realization of the American dream.

They didn’t live long lives, but they lived meaningful lives. Their lives were distressingly small in quantity, but glowingly large in quality.”


A nation grieves

Words fail me in light of the latest school shooting.Connecticut_School_Sh_inev_t607

Twenty precious children and 7 adults gunned down by a man with access to incredibly powerful weaponry defies logic. My brain understands the words involved in this story, but I struggle to process them.

The angel wings hanging from the elementary school sign crush me. The irony of the “Visitors Welcome” addendum to the school sign hurts my heart.

nytimes.com

nytimes.com

President Obama visited Newtown, Connecticut, last night and spoke to the grieving townspeople. It was his fourth time during his tenure to speak to a town ripped apart by gun violence. He came as our country’s Chief Executive, but also — and perhaps more importantly — as a father. He finished writing his speech on Air Force One as he made his approach into this small, close-knit Connecticut town. One of the things he said in his speech was “I am very mindful that mere words cannot match the depths of your sorrow, nor can they heal your wounded hearts.”

nytimes.com

nytimes.com

True, Mr President, so true.

Mere words are virtually powerless in the face of such an unimaginable tragedy, and yet we try.

ctpost.com

ctpost.com

Newtown Chief Medical Examiner H. Wayne Carver had the unthinkably horrific job of performing autopsies on the shooting victims, the majority of whom were just 6 and 7 years old.

ctpost.com

ctpost.com

Carver did not mince words about the abject horror of the wounds suffered by the gunman’s victims. He said that all of the victims were hit multiple times, some as many as 11 times; 2 children were shot at “extremely close range.” The victims suffered “devastating” wounds by a weapon that delivers bullets “designed in such a fashion (that) the energy is deposited in the tissue so the bullets stay in.” He added that he knows of no one who hunts with such a weapon because “the bullets are so fast that they break up and spray the targets with bits of lead.” The Bushmaster .223-caliber rifle unleashed on these sweet babies and the school employees is known for its easy handling and deadly accuracy.

Carver, whose wife is an infectious disease doctor, says he’s learned from her to look at issues in an “epidemiological sense.” I’ve spent a fair amount of time with a team of infectious disease doctors, thanks to a nasty post-mastectomy infection, so I completely understand what he means by this. He went on to say this: “Firearms are like any other pathogen,” he said. “The more bacteria in the water supply the more people get diarrhea. The more weapons in a society the more people get shot.”

Connecticut State Police Lt. Paul Vance said Sunday that the shooter used “multiple” 30-round rifle magazines in the attack. Scott Knight, former chairman of the International Chiefs of Police Firearms Committee, says of the Bushmaster, “The way it looks, the way it handles — it screams assault weapon.” He added that the gun’s practical application is little more than “a combat weapon.” The Bushmaster rifle was also used by the D.C.-area sniper who killed 10 people in 2002.

While I don’t want to lose sight of the tragedy by going off on a gun-control tangent, the issue can hardly be ignored. The issue is rife with complications, but at some point public safety must prevail, regardless of politics. With an estimated 300 million guns in the hands of U.S. citizens, it’s easy to say it’s too late, but the innocent children of Sandy Hook deserve better. While I personally support the wealth of freedoms we in this country enjoy, at some point we need to get real about the freedom to bear arms. I seriously doubt that the framers of the U.S. Constitution could have in their wildest dreams imagined modern-day weaponry and the undeniably mentally unstable people who use those weapons to mow down innocent people at gas stations, in movie theaters, and in schools and universities.

I imagine that our founding fathers would scoff at the people who cling to the Second Amendment as rationale for owning assault weapons. Read the exact text of the Second Amendment and explain to me how it applies to assault weapons. Please. “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Much has been written in the last few days about that “well-regulated Militia,” and people continue to screech about their need to keep guns in order to ensure their personal safety. However, we are hardly at risk of being attacked by indigenous peoples upon whose territory we’ve infringed, nor are we forming a new government or breaking free of Great Britain. The attacks we are vulnerable to nowadays have nothing to do with a militia and everything to do with assault rifles and mental illness.

The way I interpret it, the point of the Second Amendment is to ensure security, not erode it. Allowing guns of all types to fall into the hands of anyone with money to buy them or happenstance of being in the presence of them, as was the case of the Newtown shooter, hardly seems to speak to security. While gun laws vary from state to state, the law in Connecticut prohibits anyone under the age of 21 from buying or carrying a gun. Yet the guy who opened fire on Sandy Hook Elementary School was 20 years old. The guns belonged to his mother, who is also now dead at the hands of this young man, and while her guns were purchased legally and registered, they were used to kill innocent people. How is it that her right to bear arms supersedes 20 children’s right to not be gunned down in school? How is it that the Second Amendment trumps the lives of the principal, school counselor, and teachers who died trying to shield and save their pupils? Why must our lives be marginalized by a “right” to protect oneself from a threat that may never materialize?

beingliberal.com

beingliberal.com

Unlike the words spoken by our President last night, my mere words cannot even begin to scratch the surface of what I want to say, and what needs to be said. So I will let the images do the talking.

dailymail.co.uk

dailymail.co.uk

A wreath containing the names of the victims reminds of us the proximity of this horrific tragedy to Christmas. I imagine presents for those 20 children, perhaps already wrapped and placed under the family’s tree, or perhaps hiding in the truck of Dad’s car or in the cool dark of the attic, waiting to be unveiled after the kids are asleep on Christmas Eve.

nytimes.com

nytimes.com

A woman grieves under a wall of candles, flowers, and stuffed animals while holiday lights twinkle in the nearby trees. To juxtapose the holiday festivities and the enormous loss of life is almost too much to bear.

nytimes.com

nytimes.com

Eric Mueller, a high school art teacher, created a memorial made from wooden angels. I wonder if he assigned the different hair colors based on photos of the victims.

googleimages.com

googleimages.com

Hordes of items placed at a memorial site. The legos in the front are simply heartbreaking.

cnn.com

cnn.com

A man played his violin as people approached the memorial site, his hand-lettered sign reading: “Our tears are on your shoulders, and are hands are in yours.”

nytimes.com

nytimes.com

Someone lovingly created a teddy-bear memorial, with each bear noting the name and age of the victims, then wrapped in plastic to sustain the wintry weather.

ctpost.com

ctpost.com

A young boy walks past a line of Christmas trees decorated for the victims.

cnn.com

cnn.com

The sight of brave and burly firefighters kneeling bare-headed and respectfully in front of the school sign is powerful, and one can only imagine what was going through the heads of these first-responders as they grappled with the unspeakable evil that permeated their town — the town they devote their lives to keeping safe.

nytimes.com

nytimes.com

Across town, firefighters draped a fire truck in black.

nytimes.com

nytimes.com

Tracy Kirk lit a candle for each victim.

ctpost.com

ctpost.com

I tried to do the same at my house Friday night but it didn’t look quite as nice as hers. It was windy and the candles didn’t want to stay lit. 556733_10200220937513052_1703948180_n

Another view of those angel wings.ctpost.com

A woman hugs her daughter on the church steps in Newtown.cnn.com

People around the world shared our sorrow. Here, people in Bangalore, India, pay their respects.

cnn.com

cnn.com

A woman lays flowers at a memorial site on Copacabana Beach in Rio.

ctpost.com

ctpost.com

Hometown hero JJ Watt displayed a personal homage in the Texans’ game against the Colts yesterday.121216051425-04-newtown-reax-1216-horizontal-gallery

And the victims.

Sandy Hook Elementary School Principal Dawn Hochsprung, 47, was described by ABC News as “a 5-foot-2-inch raging bull lifesaver.” She confronted the gunman head-on in her attempt to stop him.

rex/rex

rex/rex

School psychologist Mary Sherlach, 56, also hurled herself at the gunman in an attempt to keep her students safe. She and Hochsprung are believed to be the first victims at the school.

abcnews.com

abcnews.com

First-grade teacher Victoria Soto, 27, is described as a hero who died shielding her students from the gunman.

people.com

people.com

Anne Marie Murphy, 52, was a special education teacher at Sandy Hook who is described as artistic, fun-loving, witty, and hardworking.

legacy.com

legacy.com

Rachel D’Avino, 29, was a behavioral therapist who worked with autistic kids. Her fiancée was planning to propose to her on Christmas Eve.

nydailynews.com

nydailynews.com

Lauren Rousseau, 30, had just been hired at Sandy Hook last month. She was substituting for a teacher out on maternity leave.

legacy.com

legacy.com

And the children.

Charlotte Bacon, 6, begged her mother to let her wear the new dress and pink boots that were supposed to be for Christmas. Her mother acquiesced, and it was the last outfit her young daughter would ever pick out for herself. Charlotte’s family described her thus: “She was going to go some places in this world” “This little girl could light up the room for anyone.”

legacy.com

legacy.com

Daniel Barden, 7, was a fireball who had recently lost his two front teeth. The youngest of three children, his family described him as a constant source of laughter and joy.

google.com

google.com

Olivia Engel, 6, was the teacher’s pet, the line leader. Her uncle said that on Friday she was simply excited to go to school and return home and make a gingerbread house. “Her only crime,” he said, “is being a wiggly, smiley 6-year-old.”

legacy.com

legacy.com

Josephine Gay, 7, just celebrated her birthday last Tuesday, according to the Hartford Courant. In a Wall Street Journal article, she is said to have loved riding her bike and setting up a lemonade stand in her neighborhood. Her favorite color was purple.

legacy.com

legacy.com

Dylan Hockley, 6, loved video games, jumping on a trampoline, watching movies and eating garlic bread. He had dimples, blue eyes and “the most mischievous little grin,” according to his grandmother. His family moved to Connecticut from England and chose Newtown because its schools has exemplary academic ratings.

bostonherald.com

bostonherald.com

Madeleine Hsu, 6. No photo available. A neighbor told the Wall Street Journal that the little girl was known as Maddy and always wore flowery dresses.

Catherine Hubbard, 6, was the daughter of Jennifer and Matthew Hubbard. The family released a statement thanking everyone for their love and prayers.

abcnews.com

abcnews.com

Chase Kowalski, 7, completed his first triathlon last year. He also loved baseball, Cub Scouts, and the kids’ workshops at Home Depot. His parents said “We are thankful to the Lord for giving us seven years with our beautiful loving son. It is with heavy hearts that we return him.”

legacy.com

legacy.com

Jesse Lewis, 6, had hot chocolate with his favorite breakfast sandwich — sausage, egg and cheese — at the neighborhood deli before going to school Friday morning, according to the Wall Street Journal. He loved animals and was learning to ride a horse.

wsj.com

wsj.com

Ana Marquez-Green, 6, is described as “beautiful and vibrant.” Her grandmother told the Associated Press that the family moved to Connecticut just two months ago and were drawn to Sandy Hook’s reputation.

9news.com

9news.com

James Mattioli, 6, is described by a neighbor as having “a 1,000-watt smile.”

9news.com

9news.com

Grace McDonnell, 7, was the ultimate girly-girl who loved playing dress-up, wearing jewelry, and all things pink.

legacy.com

legacy.com

Emilie Parker, 6, was the oldest of 3 girls. Her family also recently moved to Newtown where her dad works as a physician’s assistant. He says his oldest daughter was”kind and sunny-natured, the type of person who could just light up a room.” She was, he said, “an incredible person, and I am so blessed to be her dad.”

9news.com

9news.com

Jack Pinto, 6, loved football, loved the NY Giants, and loved Victor Cruz most of all. Cruz spoke to Jack’s family who said they were considering burying their son in a #80 jersey to reflect his love of Cruz. The wide receiver wrote a message to Jack on his cleats.

wsj.com

wsj.com

googleimages.com

googleimages.com

Noah Pozner, 6, “had a huge heart and he was so much fun, a little bit rambunctious, lots of spirit,” according to his aunt. “He was a gorgeous, gorgeous boy and he could really get what he wanted just by batting those long eyelashes and looking at you with those big blue eyes. You really couldn’t say no to him,” she said. Noah leaves behind a twin sister.

legacy.com

legacy.com

Caroline Previdi, 6, was reportedly always smiling and earned the nickname “Silly Caroline.” A neighbor remembers how “Silly Caroline” intervened when her son was nervous about starting kindergarten and sat with him on the bus to help calm his nerves.

legacy.com

legacy.com

Jessica Rekos, 6, loved anything relating to horses. She’d asked Santa for a new cowgirl hat and boots this year, and her parents had promised to get her a horse when she turned 10. Her mom’s words: “Jessica was our first born. She started our family, and she was our rock,” her family said in a statement. “She had an answer for everything, she didn’t miss a trick, and she outsmarted us every time. We called her our little CEO for the way she carefully thought out and planned everything. We cannot imagine our life without her.”

9news.com

9news.com

Avielle Richman, 6, also loved horses, and her riding instructor said she would giggle every time her horse trotted.

legacy.com

legacy.com

Benjamin Wheeler, 6, is described as an “irrepressibly bright and spirited boy whose love of fun and excitement at the wonders of life and the world could rarely be contained.” Ben was a fan of the Beatles. He loved lighthouses and the No. 7 train to Sunnyside, Queens.

wsj.com

wsj.com

Allison Wyatt, 6. No photo, no information available.

Lasting words from Nelson Mandela:

liberalandproudofit

liberalandproudofit


12.12.12

I’m big on signs. Not the roadside kind, but the superstitious kind. I like to ascribe meaning to things that are probably mere coincidence. That said, when I was awakened in the wee hours this morning by the Weasel Dog, I didn’t immediately think about the fact that today was 12/12/12. WebImg_12_12_12_I got out of bed, let the weasel outside, then quickly shooed him back inside when he started barking his fool head off. He slunk back inside and promptly hopped back into bed and made himself a cozy nest out of the covers, most of which should have been on my side of the bed. With scant covers and a fully-awake brain, I lay there, sleepless and running through the kind of thoughts my mind prefers in the middle of the night: did I remember to buy bread for my boy’s lunch? why is the tire pressure indicator light still on in my car? how many days do I have to mail packages before the real Christmas rush? and of course, the back-by-popular-demand recurring thoughts of recurrence. Some 37 minutes later, no closer to sleep despite employing the Ujjayi breath control I’ve learned in yoga class, I looked at the clock: 3:33 a.m. on 12/12/12.

Cool.

Surely there’s something auspicious about this. Surely this is a harbinger of good things to come, instead of simply yet another insomnia-fueled night.

At some point, I drifted back to sleep. That point was precariously close to the time in which I was due to wake, no doubt. When I awoke, rather than feeling like I was dragging ass, I felt buoyed by the potential in this day. I went about my usual business (packing lunch, tidying up, ferrying a not-so-thrilled middle schooler to school) and went about my usual day: some sick cardio designed to burn enough calories to provide a guilt-free happy hour, then a more-intense-than-expected yoga class, followed by errands and more tidying before heading for a visit to my orthopedic surgeon to check on my newly repaired knee, then driving both kids’ carpools, bookended by a trip to Walgreens for the never-ending prescription refills and a quick trip to the monogram place to pick up our little piggie‘s new Christmas stocking. Once home, I wrapped a few Christmas gifts and assembled the piles for mailing, found boxes suitable for shipping, packed those boxes and taped them shut. In the midst of all this productivity, I realized something important.

Nothing amazing happened at any point during this day.

Not one single out-of-this-world event took place in my life today.

It was all business as usual.

So much for being awake to witness 3:33 a.m. on 12/12/12.


Tattoos gone bad

My favorite girl has odd taste in TV shows. She’s a big fan of reality shows, and at first I mistakenly thought that the people on most of these shows are such idiots there’s no way that’s reality. Then I came to my senses.

Her latest reality show craving is for “Ink Masters” on Spike TV. It’s a competition among tattoo artists, and as you might expect, there’s plenty of tattoos, drama, and cussing. Why my 10-year-old is drawn to this is a mystery to me.

While home sick with a fever, sore throat, and congestion, my favorite girl was bundled up in my bed with Vicks Vapo-rub on her chest and a mug of hot tea on the nightstand. She happened upon a new tattoo show called “Tattoo Nightmares.” The premise is simple: people who have a bad tattoo come to the “Tattoo Nightmares” gurus who transform their unfortunate ink into something respectable, lovable, or maybe just bearable. The casting call for this show reads like this:

“Crazy ex-relationships, drunken dares and college nights, there are many instances where a decision made can haunt you for the rest of your life, especially if it is made permanent in ink. High school sweetheart not so sweet anymore? Sick of your husband, Steve, asking you who “John” was? Flash art lost its flare? Wish it were still the days when tribal tattoos were cool? Did you find out what that Japanese symbol on your shoulder actually means? Tramp stamp tattoo not fit the prude you? You lived the memory, you loved the ink and now it has lost its luster.Do you or someone you know have a great story as to why you want to cover up your ink? Doron Ofir Casting is looking for people who made a mistake in ink and want the chance to re-do their tattoo. Tattoo Nightmares – Waking up from 1 terrible tattoo at a time!”

I prefer my girl’s synopsis of the show: “These are some of the best tattoo artists in the country, so if your tattoo is ugly or really messed up, of course you’ll go to them.”

Of course.

Some of the bad ink that tattoo masters Big Gus, Tommy, and Jasmine have fixed include a giant pot leaf on a guy’s wrist that was (gasp!) impeding his job search and a guy who got his son’s initials scratched onto his chest while in prison, but there was a little mix-up — as there often is with prison tattoos — and the initials were transposed. I guess once the guy got out of the big house, his kid didn’t appreciate seeing his initials scrambled on dear old dad’s chest.

It’s estimated that 40 million Americans have at least one tat, so it’s not surprising that some of that ink would stink. The fix-it masters on “Tattoo Nightmares” claim they can transform an ink disaster-piece into a masterpiece. They needed to call on every ounce of their creative genius to help a girl named Erica out of her tattoo nightmare. She walked in with this:s-TATTOO-NIGHTMARE-DRUGS-121016-large640

and told a sad tale of woe about meeting a guy in a liquor store and admiring his tattoos. Apparently he offered to tattoo her, and she happily chose the Los Angeles skyline. Once her new BFF began etching the tattoo on her belly, she realized his pupils were huge and he was acting erratic. She concluded that he was on drugs and was freehanding the fine art she expected from him. She began to regret her decision to have a total stranger perform some ink art on her. I never saw that one coming.

Erica was rather emphatic about how much she hated her tattoo, which “looked like it was drawn by a child,” and she implored the “Tattoo Nightmare” experts to help her because, and I quote, “This tattoo really affects my self-esteem.” She went on to explain that she doesn’t like showing her stomach because of the terrible tattoo, and asked the experts if they have any idea how hard it is to find a cute one-piece swimsuit.

That is a problem.

I sure hope that poor Erica is lucky enough to dodge the bullet that hits nearly 300,000 women in the United States every year. If she feels bad about her body after a bad tattoo, can you imagine how she’d feel after undergoing a lumpectomy that left her breasts uneven and lumpy? Or a single mastectomy that resulted in that cursed asymmetry and the super challenge of finding bras and clothes that camouflage the difference? Or God forbid she undergoes a bilateral mastectomy, with or without reconstruction, and has to deal with the myriad fallout from that cluster-bomb.

I’m sure glad that girl got her tattoo fixed tattoo-nightmares-spike-tv-showso she can finally feel good about herself again. Thank heavens she doesn’t have to worry about that mess anymore. I bet she never did find a cute one-piece swimsuit.


Oh, happy day!

IMG_3906After stressing about the big bill and nearly coming to blows with the patient “advocate” provided by my insurance company, I found this in my mailbox.

Note the statement balance, aka amount I owe.

Thank you to my sweet surgeon for saying “bah humbug” to the out-of-network status my insurance company conferred upon his surgical center. I love that man.

And many thanks to my sweet readers who expressed umbrage on my behalf.

Whew!