Thursday, June 27, 2013

Caution: Gross: Don't Look: Skin Cancer Surgery

Back in the 80's, when I was a teenager, cancer wasn't that big of a thing. Something old people that smoked got. Up to that point only one, single, solitary person in my family had ever died of cancer, and that was one of my Great Grandfathers in his 70's. Lung cancer, natch.

We'd not heard of skin cancer, that I can recall. Sun block? Ha. We slicked up with SunTan oil or baby oil and laid out and worked on our tans many Summer time days.

Eventually we did start hearing of the dangers and warnings, but pooh-pooh'ed them as someone's over-reacting hysteria.

Or I did until I was about 23 years old. When I was seven or eight months pregnant with my 2nd son, I got a skin cancer of the Melanoma type on my lower back. Where many girls have a "Tramp Stamp" tattoo (that was after my time) I have an ugly scar.
I can't see the scar and wasn't really that concerned about the looks of my lower back, but it was mostly that having that sonuvagun cut out hurt like a bitch. Hurt, burned, bled like a stuck pig.
It made an impression.

So I started trying to take better care of myself. Somewhat, but not religiously. I use Sunblock if I'm going to the beach or pool, but not so much in just regular day-to-day outings.

I guess I've been lucky to make it to the ripe old age of 45 before having to deal with it again, but on the other hand I think maybe if I had only done a better job over the past 20 years I wouldn't even have to be dealing with it now.

I still even at my age break out with pimples sometimes, and that's what I thought this one was.  Being where it was located, the corner over my left eyebrow, I kept hitting it with my fingernail when I'd brush my front-hairs to the side. I just thought it never got a chance to heal because I kept hitting it.

It looked awful, like a water blister or something, and I knew I needed to get it seen about, so I finally wound around and made an appointment.

The first appointment, the Dermatologist deadened the area and removed the...bump, growth, whatever you call it, and sent it to be tested, but she was pretty sure it was Basal Cell Carcinoma.

I didn't get a before - before picture, but this little spot over my brow is what was left about a week and half after the first part was cut off.

Doesn't look that bad, right? Just a small place. Shouldn't be any big deal to have removed.

I had a consultation with the Mohs Surgeon doctor and he explained how it worked, they remove a layer at a time, test it right there to make sure they got it all, or remove more layers until they get clear tests. He didn't think mine had gotten very deep at all.

He explained about how there would be a hole left in my head there and to close it they would cut into the temple area and pull the skin up and stitch it.
The way he drew the picture, it was two small cuts, one to the side, and one above they have to cut to take out some "bunching".  I'm neither a seamstress or plastic surgeon, so I just nodded and agreed.

Long story short, it wasn't as minor or simple as me and J both had the idea it was going to be.

No I'm not wearing make up, that red on my eyelid is blood under the skin, and underneath my eye is a black and blue bruise.

If you've never really believed or took it seriously before, believe this. It fucking hurts.

If you're at all fair-skinned, don't compare yourself to darker toned people. You weren't meant to be darker or you would have been born darker.
Porcelain skin (aka fish-belly-white) may not be considered beautiful at the moment, but not that many years ago it was. And if the skin cancer trend keeps going like it is, it probably will be again.

So wear your sun block, a big floppy hat, sleeves, whatever, and protect and take care of yourself while you can.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


I had a dollhouse as a little girl back in the '70's, a Marx dollhouse made of metal, with the lithograph sticker walls and exterior. (I still say the 1970's toys were some of the best toys ever made.)

Anyway, as an adult, I've been kindly wanting a dollhouse that I could work on. Customize. Paint and add flooring and wallpaper and decorate and whatever.

I just didn't want one bad enough to pay for it. Or at least not pay a lot for it.

I belong to a LOT of local yard sale, garage sale, swap, trades, freebies Facebook groups, and this dollhouse came up on one of them a couple weeks ago priced at $20.00.


Then yesterday the lady lowered the price to $5.00 and I couldn't pass it up.

It's wooden and looks to be custom/hand built, or not one bought from a store or assembled from a kit.

The lady said it was "pretty big" but it is Big. I didn't measure it yet, but it takes two people to carry it. I believe it's larger than your typical dollhouse size, but I'm not sure that it's Barbie size, or 1:6 scale in doll-speak. (Leave it to me to end up with odd-ball size something.)

Attic space. Awesomesauce.

Off to start learning about dollhouse customization.

Monday, June 24, 2013

What's New and My Other Blogs/Posts

So at my doctor's appointment last week, which was a dermatologist surgeon or something to that effect, I found out I have a spot of Basal Cell Carcinoma above my left eyebrow. Ah, the joys of being a redhead.

Or rather, the joys of being an OLD redhead. BCC is caused by sun damage. My fair-er skin has taken all the damage it can over the years, and now skin cancer is what I have to look forward to. For the rest of my life. What few years I have left of a life anyway.
I saw on my medical chart that I'm 45 years old. 45. I honestly don't think I knew I was that old. 40-ish doesn't seem nearly as old as 45. That's practically 50. Shit.

Anyway, they'll be doing something called Mohs surgery, whereby they'll remove a layer of skin at time, test it right there, and continue removing layers of skin until they reach a layer with no cancer.
After which I'll have a hole in my head, and since I don't need another hole in my head, they'll be doing reconstructive surgery to close it up by cutting into the skin down in my Temple and pulling it up and stitching it.
I think I'm going to end up with an "L" shaped scar on my forehead. Perfect.

My papers say I'll have to wear a bandage for about a month afterwards, doctoring it and such. So when my Sister texted me that same night and said I needed to come visit, I figured I'd better go then because I probably wouldn't feel like it for awhile after this surgery thing.

I posted a little about my trip to Florida last week at my Family Travel Blog.

My sweet youngest niece

I've also spent some time working up a couple of websites (blogs in disguise) for my parents Rental properties in Steinhatchee, Florida.

Check out my work, and I'm for hire - my specialty is Easy & Cheap - if you or you know anyone wanting a small, inexpensive website.

The Big House, aka Sleepy-Crew-House.


Staples is giving away more goodies this week. I posted the deal at my Shopping Blog.

Kroger (goes by other names in other parts of the country) is having a good Mega Sale this week. I haven't been very good about buying newspapers for the coupon inserts lately, but using only coupons printed from the internet I was able to stock up on some things we use and save 70%.

You can read about my shopping trip at my Shopping Blog.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Smile Awhile!

The other day we rode up a back-ish road in Dallas (Georgia) and came across this hilarious sight.

Monday, June 17, 2013


The other day, my firewife and blogger friend, Brandi @ Life Between the Tones told us about a great kids book she'd found called "Firefighters A - Z".

My kids aren't little anymore and I'm working on getting rid of the majority of their old kid books (that I've hung on to all these years because I'm too sentimental about them), but I still have my Firefighter book collection.

From Baby Board books to Adult Romance and everything in between.
(I'd take a picture, but like every frickin' thing else around this dump, they are packed away in a cabinet waiting for me to get my "Dream Den" fixed with built-ins so I can display stuff.)

Anyway, I didn't have this book in my collection, and I wanted it. Maybe. If I could get it free. Sort of free.

Thing is, I have always been an avid, voracious reader for as long back as I can remember. Heck, I may have been born reading. (j/k....maybe)
Books were one of my addictions,  I bet I've spent a good $100 thousand or better on books in my lifetime.

One of my favorite places in the whole world to visit, not the Library. You'd think so, right? Our local library had a very sad, small, old selection of Historical Romance, which was what I liked to read the most at that time.
No, my favorite place to visit was the Used Book Store. People would buy the books I wanted, read them, and trade them in for credit, and then I could buy the book at 1/2 the cover price. Usually that was around $3.00.

A friend told me about, which she used to swap her kids books because she didn't live near town or near any Used Book Stores to trade at.

Trade Books for Free - PaperBack Swap.

The way PBS works is, you list your books for swap and someone requests one or more of them.
You wrap it and buy the postage and mail it. Then you earn a Credit for the book.
When you find a book you want, you spend your Credit to order it, and it costs you nothing, the sender pays  the postage.

I found out that postage to mail a book generally cost less than I was spending to buy the book at half-price at the UBS. Usually around $2.00, give or take.

So I moved all my book-swapping business to PBS. Plus, I could list books on there that my UBS wouldn't accept, like hardbacks and books older than a certain date and kids books that weren't Chapter books.

With the ginormous membership at PBS, I started getting requests right away, and earning Credits like crazy. Which I'd turn right around and use to request books I wanted. Books I'd wanted and the UBS didn't have, awesome.

Eventually - long story short - I converted to electronic books.
I still have a raging book addiction, it's just that I can store my thousands of books virtually now, and have them not take up so much space in the house.

But I continue to use PBS occasionally for books that I really want, in my hand. I keep Credits in my account in case I'm wanting a book, like this "Firefighters A - Z" book Brandi told us about.

It was available, and only cost me 1 Credit.

If you still buy physical books and shop at a used book store, or Amazon or where ever, you should give a check out and see if it can save you money.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Yard Sale-ing!

I had a doctor's appointment yesterday morning, about 45 minutes from home, so on the way back we stopped at a ton of yard sales between there and here.

I was able to find some more orphan beaters for my clock project. I need to count and see if this makes enough or if I still need more. Hopefully I don't. (I can't seem to find the old posts from where I was finding and collecting these from yard sales and thrift stores last Summer to try and make this Clock I saw on Pinterest.) Total cost of all 4 was 75¢.

The other egg beater has a hole in the red plastic covering, and they don't turn/beat very well. I think I could tear the red plastic coating off the gear/wheel and they'd probably look and work better, but I already have a good working egg beater so I believe I'll leave this one like it is and put it up or hang it near my Sweetheart cabinet as decor. It only cost like 10¢.

The green/glass chopper thing, my Mom had one when I was a kid, back in the 70's. I don't know what I'll chop in it, but it was only 50¢.

The Potato Chipper I paid $1.00 for. If we manage to grow any potatoes, or even if we don't and I end up buying a bunch on sale again, I spend a lot of time peeling and slicing or cubing potatoes into fries or cubes for potato salad and put them in the freezer. Maybe this thing will help make it a bit easier chore.

I saw these white bowls and my first thought was they'd make good cereal bowls. My bowls at home have a lip around them that makes turning them up and drinking the milk out of them hard. They were 6/$1.00.
I noticed later they say "Made in Korea" on the bottom. I don't know anything about Made in Korea dishes, if they are old or no older than any other dishes. (I tried google'ing information, but apparently I'm a google-failure. I don't seem to do well at finding information. Probably don't know the right keywords to use or something.)
Anyway, they're still going to be cereal bowls.

These bowls have no markings on the bottom and I don't know anything about them except my Mom collects bowls like the one on the left, with a pretty/colorful design. I couldn't make up my mind about the brown bowl but J said "It's only a quarter, get it".

The little Pyrex refrigerator dish minus it's lid was only 10¢.

I bargained the "Aunt Jemima" shakers down to 50¢ from $1.00. They say "Japan" on the bottom. I am sure these are pretty vintage.
Checking on ebay, they are apparently one-half of a set that includes "Aunt Jemima" and an "Uncle Mose". I wondered why they both had the same number of shaker holes.

I got this huge - maybe King size, not sure yet - Chenille bedspread for $5.00.  I love Chenille bedspreads, probably because my Grannie's and Great-Grannie's had these on the beds when I was a kid.
Or, possibly, because I'm still a big baby that likes to be swaddled. These blankets are thinner than most blankets and comforters, but they are soooo heavy. I love these and the old handmade quilts that are a lot heavier than modern day quilts.

And I bought these three blankets for $2.00 (total, not each).  I already have a ton of blankets and throws, but I didn't have these blankets, I guess.

Love the tag in this one.

This ladder, LOL. The man had three gallons of paint sitting on it, and I totally didn't even see the ladder.

We had gotten back in the car and was turning around, discussing the possible reasons these people still had so much stuff left for sale when pretty much the rest of the subdivision was close to being sold out and some of them even closing up already. J said "Blah blah - wooden ladder for two dollars - blah blah blah"...I was like, hold on. What? Ladder? Two dollars? How did I not see that? Go get it, man.

I found this (potentially vintage Lamplight Farms hobnail glass) oil lamp at one of the yard sales for 75¢.  Saw the exact same one at the Gold Mine store (see below) priced at $12.00.

On the way back home we ended up coming across this new Antique and Flea Market store about 10 minutes from the house neither of us knew was there. It was awesome, there was so much neat - and freaky - stuff to look at.

I totally would have popped the $10.00 for this fire bucket had it been more red.  If I was any kind of half-ass good at decorating my home with Flea Market finds, I would have anyway. Heck, I may still go back and get it, lol.

Sigh. I wish I could go to yard sales and thrift stores and find awesome stuff and be able to bring it home and put it in some awesome decor and take awesome pictures of it like so many other frugal/thrifty bloggers (and others) are able to do.

Oh well, I keep trying. One day, maybe......

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Cloudland Canyon State Park

Yesterday we went on a nice "One Tank Trip" family outing to Cloudland Canyon State Park in extreme Northwest Georgia, about two hours from home.

If you're interested in reading more about our trip and seeing a lot more pictures, check out the post at my Family Travel blog.

My son, Ryan took this picture of his little brother, Kevin checking out the view through the scenic viewer thing.
I think this might be my favorite picture of the whole day.

For my frugal followers, other than about $20-$25 worth of gas, this trip only cost $5.00 Park parking fee. I brought food and items we already had at home for our picnic.

For our $5.00 Park parking fee, we got a parking spot. We also got free Park maps and information, a free guided tour, free use of a picnic table, free visit to the Interpretive Center where we saw live native Georgia wildlife and learned interesting facts about the land, gorgeous natural scenery, and a ton of free exercise.

Friday, June 07, 2013

Digital Scrapbooking...But Not

Because I can't seem to catch on to actual Digital Scrapbooking, much as I'd love to. I have tried; I've read instructions how to do it, and I've tried Programs that are supposed to do it for me.  Something is just not clicking.

So in the meantime, I'm still doing it the old fashioned way. Sort of.

Since I can't figure out how to do the Digital Scrapbooking, I just look around on the internet and find some graphics and images I like and print them out.

The reason this came up was after a lady in one of the local OnlineYard Sale groups I belong to was looking for some Firefighter related Scrapbook papers and stickers and anything else she could use to make a project for her husband for Father's Day.

I messaged her with the suggestion of printing out graphics and images from the internet, and also about how I use pictures or images from other sources like Travel Brochures from the State Line Welcome Center.
Once, I was working on a page I was making for my great-Grandfather, who was a Confederate Soldier in the Civil War, and just so happened we'd visited a Civil War battlefield and I had a shiny, full-color brochure from the place and it had photos in it that were perfect for cutting up and using on my Scrapbook page.

Later on in the evening, I still had it on my mind and decided to see, if it had been me wanting to make a Scrapbook page(s) and someone suggested looking for things on the internet to use, what I might come up with.

Well, a huge part of my problem is that I'm not creative, or maybe it's not imaginative. Maybe neither. I know others could do a lot better, but anyway, here's what I managed to cobble together.

At first I had printed a Red Chevron page, but I didn't like it, so I checked out some examples of Firefighter layouts and saw the black diamond plate and liked it pretty well.
I printed it on a piece of photo paper because that's what I had that was stronger than regular copy paper. I typically would have used card stock, but mine's packed away at the moment.

I also printed the picture and the black chevron card on photo paper. I picked the black chevron print thinking it would coordinate/contrast with the red chevron I was originally using for the main background. Not so much.

Then I printed out several items on regular copy/print paper.
I found and saved about 10 times more than just this, but these are what I ended up using for this particular project.

Then I arranged everything and glued it.

Apparently I have a problem with any of the background showing, so much for the nice black diamond plate print. I had no idea that would be a problem for me when I started.