Why These Bracelets?

According to the latest statistics from the American Cancer Society (October, 2021), there are some 3.8 million women with a history of breast cancer in the U.S.  It is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among  American women. Breast cancer became the most common cancer globally as of 2021. And it is estimated that in 2021, 281,500 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S.

And even more frightening, about 43,600 women in the U.S. are expected to die in 2021 from breast cancer. That’s 43,600 too many.

While I have not had it, I know far too many women who have, or who have family members who have. Because of early detection, most have fortunately survived, and several of these women are already past the five year marker. And some, sadly, were tragically lost.

It wasn’t easy on them, or their families. They were naturally scared, and yes, terrified, when they received the diagnosis, but yet they were determined to be a survivor. But it was a long, hard road.

There were surgeries, of course. Lumpectomies, partial mastectomies or full mastectomies. There was radiation and chemo. All of them were sick from those treatments. Some worse than others. Some had to stay in bed a few days or weeks after each one because they were so ill. They missed work, children’s and grandchildren’s special events, birthdays, weddings, and holidays.

And of course, there was the hair loss. A side effect from all the treatments, adding insult to injury, as the saying goes. They wore wigs and scarves, and while the wigs were almost undetectable as not being their own hair, THEY knew.

Their families supported them, but obviously they were worried as well. And who wouldn’t blame them?

Most of the women I am referring to survived, as I said previously, but not without a hard-fought battle. And they don’t forget what they went through. They go to regular checkups with the thought always in their head…”what if it comes back

My mother-in-law passed away from breast cancer when our daughter was young. Because she lived so far away, our daughter doesn’t even remember meeting her.

Why these bracelets? They are designed not only to honor women who are fighting this disease, who have survived this disease, or unfortunately lost their battle with this disease, but also as a reminder that we’re all in this fight together.

These are available in my shop, NotOnlyBracelets on Etsy. Or you may click on the link on my home page to take you to the store.

Custom orders can be designed and personalized with yours or a loved one’s name.

Please ladies, get your annual mammograms. Check your breasts monthly. And if you suspect something is wrong go to your doctor immediately.

We don’t want to lose any more of you to this disease!

Why Bother?

To vote, that is.

“My vote doesn’t count. One vote won’t make any difference.”

“I’m too busy. Besides, nobody cares what I think anyway.”

“I don’t like either candidate, so why should I vote for one of them?”

“I don’t know anything about anybody who’s running. So why should l?”

“Elections are rigged anyway. The outcome is predetermined because the Democrat party has already paid off the companies who count the votes.”

“All politicians are crooks. Who wants any of them?”

Why bother? It’s very simple. Because we all need to voice our opinion and have our say in who’s going to make the laws that impact our daily lives, and our children’s lives. If we don’t voice our opinion, then we don’t have any right to complain about the outcome, or to complain that you don’t like the way things are being done.

I’m not saying you can’t complain after the election if you don’t like who won, but if you didn’t have any input, then it’s not your place to complain because YOU didn’t even TRY to make a difference!

Your vote doesn’t count? I’m sorry but every vote counts. There are any number of local elections, albeit in small towns mostly, which have been decided by one vote. And if one person had voted differently than the outcome would have been totally different. Other elections in other precincts, and even states, have had similar situations in which the outcome was determined by a small handful of votes.

No one should ever claim to be too busy to vote. Most employers allow time off for voting. Or if they don’t, not everyone works a 12 hour day to keep them from the polling places. Saying you’re too busy to vote isn’t a good excuse. It just means you don’t care one way or the other. And that’s just wrong. Going to be out of town on Election Day? Surely you could take the time to get, fill out, and return an absentee ballot.

I don’t always like any of the candidates either. Which many times causes me to vote for the one I dislike least. But that’s not good either. We have the right to write in the name of a candidate. And many people do. They know there’s not much of a chance that person will win, but it does show that there are voters out there who want other choices. And don’t write in Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck! You may think it’s cute, but the poll workers have to count every vote and tally up even ones like that.

If you don’t know anything about any of the candidates who are running, where have you been? In this day of nonstop media ads, and the internet, you can find out what the candidates stand for. And don’t listen to all the attack ads, because that’s what they are. Attacks against someone they’re running against. Go to the candidates’ websites and read about what they stand for. If you can take time to be on social media for hours each day, you can surely take time to do a little research for yourself.

Elections are NOT rigged. Those untrue and unfounded conspiracy theories being spread by poor losers are just ridiculous and designed to make people question our system. Of all the lawsuits that have been filed, none have proven any election tampering or rigging. Our system may not be perfect, because none are, but there aren’t people out there driving aound trucks full of fake ballots and substituting them for the real ballots after the polls close! Computers in China and Korea aren’t changing the results.

All politicians are crooks? Well…I imagine some may be. But all? No. That’s a statement that has no merit. Just because you don’t like what someone stands for doesn’t mean they’re a crook. Just because one candidate has more money than you think they should doesn’t necessarily mean they earned it illegally. Yes, there are most likely politicians that aren’t totally aboveboard, and we’ve seen many of those brought down, forced to resign, and some eventually end up behind bars. But that doesn’t make ALL politicians crooks.

Just bear in mind that in our country we still have the right to vote without the fear of being hurt or killed. We have a choice of candidates, not just one name on the ballot because the regime in power controls everything and will do anything to retain that power.

So now what’s your excuse? Did I miss one?

I’m voting on Tuesday. Whether the candidates I select win or lose, I will honestly be able to say I voiced my opinion and had my say in the outcome.

Will you be able to say that?

[Note:  Our state of Virginia has an off year election on November 2. Which is the reason for this post at this time.]

Dressing up the Dogs???

Yes, we do dress our dogs up on occasion, although not as much as we used to.  And yes, that does include Halloween. They’re actually not real fond of it, though, as you can imagine.

But being puppy parents to two adorable and extremely spoiled Yorkies means we really have to do things like that. It’s sort of an unwritten law for those of us who are owned by Yorkies.

I’m sure most of you have seen the cute pictures all over Facebook and Instagram of Yorkies wearing clothes, and not just for Halloween.  Those pictures look adorable. The dogs look so happy, and you think, “wow I have to have one of those dogs so I can dress him/her up, too.”

Well, that’s a good thought. However, actually doing it and taking good pictures are two entirely different matters. 

Dogs don’t like to get dressed up. At least ours don’t. Oh, they tolerate it. But they really act embarrassed. You will see a few pictures here, but you have no idea what we had to do and how long it took us to get what pictures I’m posting. How the photographers online get such photos I don’t know! Either the dogs are extremely well trained or the photographer took a thousand pictures to get that one!

A couple of years ago, however, we had a brilliant idea to enter the pups in a Halloween pet costume contest at a local restaurant. We had a couple of weeks to plan for it, and knew we had to get the perfect costumes for Benji and Chloe. 

And what could be more appropriate than bride and groom outfits! Complete with a veil for Chloe and a top hat for Benji! Online ordering is an awesome thing and Amazon had just the perfect outfits! 

But it wasn’t enough to just have them dressed for the part. We even got Chloe a “bouquet” of flowers (actually a fancy dog toy felt flower bouquet that we wouldn’t let her chew on). We also had a dog toy cake but it had birthday candles on it, so that wouldn’t work. 

Then my husband had a perfect idea! Something he knew would be just the thing to clinch the prize for the most adorable doggies in the Halloween parade! Instead of just walking them up on stage, they would make their grand entrance as “newlyweds” in their own little car.

And it just so happened that our daughter and son-in-law had a pink (of course) remote control car they’d bought for our granddaughter, and they were happy to bring it for us to use.

So we were all set! Except for the two stars of the show not being too happy about wearing their outfits! Maybe it was “pre-wedding jitters”? Or Chloe had changed her mind about her dress and wanted a different style?

Anyway, the show must go on, and so must the Halloween Pet Contest! We promised the pups we’d give them treats if they behaved, so that Sunday afternoon we all met at the restaurant, including our daughter and son-in-law and our little granddaughter (who wanted to ride in her car!) and my best friend.

Of course, the contest was held outside in a beautiful setting by the water. Picnic tables were set up and ready for participants and diners as well. There was even a special menu for the dogs to order from!

There were quite a few dogs there, all in costumes! And like Benji and Chloe, some of them didn’t seem overly happy to be dressed up either! Or maybe they were just nervous to have to go onstage. Benji was more interested in barking at the other dogs like a crazy person (or dog) and Chloe just wanted to take her dress off and run and play with them.

Maybe this wasn’t a great idea after all?

But we’d come this far, so we went for it!

All the dogs had their chance onstage.  There were some really creative costumes; dogs dressed as hot dogs, a beer can, clowns, a police officer, a scarecrow, and even a taco!

Then it was our turn. We put Chloe’s veil on her, put both dogs in the car, and held our breath as my husband controlled the car that slowly rolled along in front of the stage. And amazingly both pups stayed in the car! And everyone there loved it!

The winners were decided by audience vote. We held our breath to see who’d win. And yes, Benji and Chloe won! By one vote, but they still won! 

We were awarded a gift certificate from the restaurant (which happens to be one of our local favorites), and the pups got to order lunch from that special dog menu! 

Would we do it again? Well….that depends on the dogs. But I think they’re going with the “once is enough” answer!

Note: The restaurant is Blue Pete’s in Virginia Beach. It’s a locally owned establishment situated on a small body of water known as Muddy Creek. The atmosphere and food are great, and so are the owners!

What’s So Special About Flamingos?

Just for fun…and because we like flamingos so much…we’ve written several whimsical stories about these interesting pink birds! And more are sure to follow.

The fascination we have for flamingos just sort of happened. It all started out with someone giving my husband and me a flamingo statue as a gag gift. Then I decided he needed another one, so I found a really cute one. We put them both in the Florida room, and all of a sudden, before we even realized it, our little collection of these pink birds had grown and had not only become the main décor in that room, but many of them had also migrated to the family room, and of course, outside by the pool.

And somehow, new flamingos still seem to pop in when we least expect it! Birthday presents, Christmas gifts, or just picking out one in a store because, well, because it just said “buy me”! And they’re quite attractive flamingos, I might add. Of course the plastic ones are out by the pool. And this summer we added solar lighted flamingos out there as well…. In fact, we now have flamingos in just about every room.

We’ve realized that flamingos really are beautiful birds. Yes, they have a not so wonderful and undeserved reputation for tackiness, but seriously, how can you resist a bird that’s bright pink, eats shrimp and shows up in the most unusual places?

They are also quite intelligent, or at least the ones we have by our pool seem to be. They know how to withstand snow, sleet, cold weather, and really don’t require a lot of maintenance at all, except for the occasional scrubbing when their pink plastic feathers get a bit grungy. They’re always there to greet us when we go outside, and summer, well, summer is their favorite time of year, probably because they’re very social animals, and they love it when we’re outside in the pool with them, or cooking shrimp and steak on the grill!

And when we host our annual Flamingo pool party, well, they are just beyond tickled pink. In fact, they’re usually the stars of the event!

So, in honor of our flamingo fascination, we decided to let the flamingos have their say online. After all, they’ve told us some interesting stories over the years, and it’s time to share some of them!

May you enjoy their words of wisdom as much as we do!

THINK PINK!

Stop the Attacks

The attack ads, that is. Those totally irritating and most often false claims spread by one political candidate or political party against their rival. I guess the candidates and their ad agencies think they help sway voters, and maybe sometimes they do. Or else they wouldn’t spend thousands of dollars to run them

When I was younger we called it mud slinging. Smear campaigns. And it used to be frowned upon. But not any longer.

Today that’s all we hear during political campaigns. This candidate caused children to starve. That candidate wants to let all the violent criminals out. This candidate plans to take away your guns by going house to house. That candidate is going to get rid of the police departments. This candidate is planning to raise your taxes by 15%. And this one is being investigated for tax evasion. That one is going to force teachers to teach fake history that was rewritten by the other political party. Another candidate even talks about how bad it is to run these attack ads, and then in the next sentence attacks his opponent for things that were said in that candidate’s attack ad…

Wow! If any of what’s claimed in those attack ads are true, those people shouldn’t be considered as serious candidates! How’d they even get on the ballot?

Why are they even running? In many cases that’s an easy answer. Most of the candidates who use these tactics are ego-driven, wanting to have their name in the forefront; to be known as a state representative, congressman, senator, mayor, governor, and yes, maybe eventually president. Do they really care about doing good for their district, their state or their country? Maybe. Or maybe they want the prestige, the limelight, and the power to say, “I’m the [whatever office he/she holds] and I make the rules! If you don’t like it, that’s too bad!”

And to hear some of these ads, if what’s being said is true, that particular candidate should actually be behind bars instead of running for office!

We are inundated constantly with these nasty, untrue, derogatory political ads to the point of total disgust. It makes me not want to vote for any of them. Because each candidate says they supported that attack ad!

Seriously? Why would I vote for someone who can’t run on his or her platform. Whose only claim as to why he or she should be elected is how bad the other person is?! I really don’t think any of them deserve my vote.

But if I don’t vote, then I have no right to complain and criticize who won when they do something I disagree with.

And that causes me to cast my vote for the candidate I dislike the least in order to vote against the one I don’t want in office.

That’s a terrible way to vote, but unfortunately I’m not the only one doing that in today’s elections.

I can still remember political ads that actually stated a candidate’s platform. They were running to do this or that. They had a reason for running, and wanted people to vote for them because those voters believed in what the candidate stood for, and believed he’d keep his promises. Bad-mouthing their opponent? That wasn’t done. Political debates were polite. There was no yelling and screaming at the other side. The candidates made their points in a positive manner without calling the other candidate derogatory names.

How things have changed. And not for the better. Politics has evolved to the majority of candidates acting like spoiled children who want their way, no matter what. They stretch the truth for their own means, call people who don’t agree with them insulting names, and accuse their opponents of all sorts of things, that if it weren’t for the election, would institute lawsuits for libel or slander.

And our children see this and when their parents don’t disagree or say it’s not right, those kids are taught it’s ok to act that way.

But it’s not. Not for our children, and certainly not for the politicians who are trying to get us to vote for them!

I’m tired of it all. Here in Virginia we are electing a new governor and delegates, along with numerous local offices. We have one more week of this mess. But every day it gets worse. I cannot wait until this election is over.

And of course, the way things have been going lately, then we’ll have to listen to all the unsubstantiated claims of stolen elections and voter fraud.

Because that’s unfortunately becoming the new normal in American politics. I seriously doubt our founding fathers would be happy to see how things have evolved.

Maybe one day politics will change and become more civil again, but I doubt it will be in our lifetimes.

And that’s such a shame.

I’m sure many of you will disagree with me. And that’s your right. But please be respectful about it. Our state and our country’s future is more important than blasting someone for opinions you don’t agree with.

Why Flamingos Don’t Like Halloween

You know that flamingos really like a good party. That’s evident in everything they do. But Halloween isn’t necessarily a time they enjoy, and when you think about it, their reasons really make a lot of sense!

Orange doesn’t look that good with pink, or so the flamingos think. And since Halloween colors are mostly orange and black, well, all the decorations and costumes for Halloween clash with their beautiful pink plumage. And flamingos want to always look their best!

They briefly considered this feather boa and feather hat, but decided no. Not them. Not their style.

Then they thought about Halloween costumes….and that was a big “NO” as well. After all, they just didn’t want to look scary. They totally disregarded witch costumes, skeletons, ghosts….all the traditional ideas. Flamingos are fun-loving, vivacious, and well, flamboyant birds. These outfits, although popular with their human friends, just wouldn’t do! Neither did bales of hay.

And then if they were going to have a party, well, the décor would have to be mostly orange and black with all of those Halloween type decorations….skulls, skeletons, black cats, and (horrors!) witches in those ugly drab style-less black robes and pointed hats stirring black cauldrons of steaming who knows what! No, that simply wouldn’t do. The skulls with flowers, well, that wasn’t an option either. Even an elegant-themed Halloween party would have to use some of those colors and props or it just wouldn’t work.

At least they did find a couple of cute shabby chic pink pumpkin decorations to use around the house, so they were able to at least have a little touch of “elegant” Halloween décor.

Still, they really, really wanted to have a party of some kind. They just wouldn’t call it a Halloween party.

So now what to do?

Fortunately they were able to find some pink Halloween-themed plates, even though they were for a kids’ party, so they decided to have an afternoon tea party/dessert party instead. With the option of champagne and wine, of course, rather than tea! And they were also able to find pink Halloween cookies and even a couple of pink Halloween cakes.  And they all had a lovely time.

And what will they be doing on Halloween night? Why, handing out pink wrapped candy to all the trick- or-treaters that show up at their door. And being thankful they didn’t have to put up with that traditional Halloween décor or those “tacky” costumes. After all, flamingos DO have a certain reputation of flamboyant elegance to uphold!

Photo Sources: Header Photo: redshedgardenandgitfs – 1st Row: – claires.com; the hat hive – 2nd Row: – amazon; plowandhearth; amazon – 3rd Row: via Etsy – LushsCreations; blogspot.com – 4th Row: – twinkletwinklelittleparty.com; thewondrcottage.com; blacktwine.com; via etsy; via etsy; source unknown; LaurenConrad.com