Wednesday, July 20, 2011

And Now, Back to the Real World

Good morning all. You are probably wondering why I, Betty Lou, am writing from home on a Wednesday morning. No, I am not taking a personal day - although those are lovely. I was laid off. A combination of budget issues and skill set problems led to my downfall. But honestly, this is a good thing. I am of the philosophy that every moment is an opportunity so me being without a job is just an opportunity to go after the bigger, better and more awesome. Besides, I have a tremendous skill set and a helpful personality and my contracting firm has already put me in for a few jobs.

But how, you may ask, have I been spending my unemployment - all 3 days of it...I coordinated Youngest's wedding shower (yes, she's gettin' hitched and moving to Texas), did some organizing of my apartment and resume and have watched a lot of TV, which I know is terrible so today that stops, I have books to read and laundry to do.

As you know this is a societal issues website now, so I need to give you a little something-something. You see, the Great Recession hit right around 2007 and I was employed (when unemployment was 5%). Yea! Yippee! Then in 2008 I was unemployed for a few months (unemployment was still only 5% then). Boo! Hiss! Then I got a job and it was great, I worked downtown (the dream was to work and live downtown), the office was beautiful and stable and then my contract was canceled. Boo! Hiss! I was contracted to another division of said former company where I learned a lot in a few roles, but honestly this last one, I never really felt comfortable never jelled.

So here I am today, part of the 9.2% of Americans who are jobless...That's 14M people.

That's the population of Ecuador.

I am going to do my laundry now.

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Wikipedia.

Monday, May 09, 2011

She's Your Lobster...Or She Just Looks Like One

This weekend was the first truly warm weather since that freak February warm snap. Hopefully it is here to stay, I am sick of wearing socks and real shoes. I prefer flippy-flops.

Unfortunately, given that it has been cooler as of late, I was unprepared for the awesomeness that was sunshine. So I got a little burnt. One side of my upper body that is.

And since this bloggity-blog is all about learning something new and making the world better (if at least, healthier), I am going to learn you something about SKIN CANCER and CARE.

And so we begin

My Gran is 74 years old, she looks 50. Why, you may ask, and how, damnit, give me the lady's secret. I am here to tell you folks, after nearly 30 years of watching this woman, I think I know it. Moisturizer...and long sleeves. Gran may like to be outside, but she is always covered, big hat to ankle pom-pom socks in her tennis shoes. I could never understand why she wore long sleeves in the summer. Now I do. No sun + good skincare regiment = awesome skin. I am hoping the wonder-genes have been passed on to me. Because obviously, the common sense didn't carry over.

My family seems to be prone to skin cancer-like things. Mom, sister, probably me, if I had the time to go to the dermatologist. So I am here to tell you, go to the doc, get the screenings done. They will scrape, possibly cut somethings out of you (which I am told hurts like well, someone cutting something out of you), but you will feel better in the end.

SKIN CANCER FUN FACTS - It's No Laughing Matter

•Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. More than 3.5 million skin cancers in over two million people are diagnosed annually.1

•Each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than the combined incidence of cancers of the breast, prostate, lung and colon.2

•One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime.3

•Over the past 31 years, more people have had skin cancer than all other cancers combined.4

•Nearly 800,000 Americans are living with a history of melanoma and 13 million are living with a history of nonmelanoma skin cancer, typically diagnosed as basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma.5

•Actinic keratosis is the most common precancer; it affects more than 58 million Americans.6 Approximately 65 percent of all squamous cell carcinomas arise in lesions that previously were diagnosed as actinic keratoses. In patients with a history of two or more skin cancers, 36 percent of basal cell carcinomas arise in lesions previously diagnosed as actinic keratoses.7

•Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common form of skin cancer; an estimated 2.8 million are diagnosed annually in the US.8 BCCs are rarely fatal, but can be highly disfiguring if allowed to grow.

•Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is the second most common form of skin cancer.9 An estimated 700,000 cases are diagnosed each year in the US,10 resulting in approximately 2,500 deaths.2

•Between 40 and 50 percent of Americans who live to age 65 will have either skin cancer at least once.11

•About 90 percent of nonmelanoma skin cancers are associated with exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.12

•Treatment of nonmelanoma skin cancers increased by nearly 77 percent between 1992 and 2006.

~Courtesy of The Skin Cancer Foundation

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Your Breasteses and You

I participated in the Romp to Stomp a few weeks ago. This is a snow shoe walk for breast cancer. Breast cancer affects not only those who are diagnosed, but their families and friends. Women are preemptively cutting off their breasts because of this disease. One of the things that makes us women and we have to cut them off because of a stupid bunch of mutating cells! We should have a cure by now! Where is this cure?

Here are some facts you should keep in mind next time you skip your yearly or do not do your self exams.

About 1 in 8 women in the United States (12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.

In 2010, an estimated 207,090 new cases of invasive breast cancer were expected to be diagnosed, along with 54,010 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer. About 39,840 women were expected to die in 2010 from breast cancer, though there has been a decrease in death rates since 1990. These decreases are thought to be the result of treatment advancements, earlier detection through screening, and increased awareness.

For women in the U.S., breast cancer death rates are higher than any other cancer, besides lung cancer.

Besides skin cancer, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among American women. More than 1 in 4 cancers are breast cancer.

White women over the age of 40 have a higher rate of breast cancer than African American women over the age of 40. However, African American women under the age of 40 have a higher breast cancer rate than white women under the age of 40. African American women are also more likely to die from the disease.

As of 2010, there were more than 2.5 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S.

Yeah, fight hard ladies!

A woman's risk of breast cancer approximately doubles if she has a first-degree relative (mother, sister, daughter) that has been diagnosed with breast cancer. About 20-30% of women diagnosed with breast cancer have a family history of breast cancer.

About 5-10% of breast cancers are caused by inherited gene mutations (abnormal changes passed through families).

Mutations of the BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 genes are the most common inherited genetic mutations. Women with this mutation have up to an 80% risk of developing breast cancer during their lifetime, often at a younger age than it typically develops. An increased ovarian cancer risk is also associated with these genetic mutations.

The most significant risk factors for breast cancer are gender (being a woman) and age (growing older).

Source: American Cancer Society

So make that appointment, if you want a great doc, I love mine (ask for her info). Cop a feel on yourself. Breast cancer is all of our business.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Regime Change

This blog has gotten way too whiney. So from here on out, it will be devoted to proper causes and social commentary.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Clever Blog Post Title

So I cried...and drank

Then I got angry...and drank

Then I walked, slept and drank...a lot more.

I feel better now. I am better off and 10 pounds lighter.

I need to go to the shooting range. Pop a cap in some paper dude's ass (random, I know).

I have coffee klatch tomorrow (gonna go for a walk beforehand) and then brunch on Sunday with Boo Boo.

I feel better.

I am better.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Last Couple of Weeks

The last couple of weeks have been a bit, how you say, on the rough side. OK, they have been pretty terrible. Let me explain...

I was in a car totalling accident with my dad - Thankfully, we all walked away with just bruises.

Work has been especially stressful - Nothing out of the usual, I am stressed naturally. It's my baseline. But it contributes to the rest...

It was the anniversary of my nephew's death last week. I am happy that he only ever knew love and he has a sweet and clever little brother that we can love with everything we have as well.

Jason broke up with me. There is no bright side to this one.

And now you see where I am coming from - of course this is certainly not as bad as some people have to go through, but it's my life and this is how I categorize things.

So I have been eating crapily and nightly drinking my IQ in CC's of booze.

But now it's time to wipe away the tears and stand up straight once more.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Year in Review 2010 and some of 2011

I have been working at Xcel for 2.5 years - Usually good, sometimes dull. A job, basically. I have plans for bigger and better thing.

My grandma died - the first of the core 4. I am down to three and Mom is half and orphan. I miss her terribly. She was my prayer warrior - everything she prayed for came true for me. Her powers were awesome and terrifying.

I have been dating a wonderful man for 15 months. He, unfortunately, has moved to Edwards (3 hours away). But we talk every day, email and I plan to invest in a webcam for Skyping.

The rentals will celebrate their 34th wedding anniversary this month. Yeah!

I got a snazzy new computer.

I moved to a new, better apartment - more character, less rent, walkable bars.

I travelled to Minnesota for the BF's brother's wedding. It was a beautiful wedding and everyone was great (I met the whole family).

My beautiful and clever nephew celebrated his 2nd birthday.

Youngest got engaged! I'm in the wedding!

There are probably some more things to mention, but this is good for now.

"Oh, You're OK"

I went to a basketball game with some work chums - it was free for Xcel volunteers (I plant trees, therefore I am) and as I was ordering my beer (can't enjoy college B-ball without one or 2 as it were), I went to get out my ID and the vendor says to me, "oh, you're OK." And then goes to card my friend, who is older than me.


Am I that haggard?

Twenty-nine is got haggard...considering I will be this age...FOREVER.