Monday, May 31, 2010

Sixtyfive Roses

May is Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month, so before the month ends we wanted to highlight an amazing book on the subject called Sixtyfive Roses: A Sister's Memoir by Heather Summerhayes Cariou. If you've read any of our posts about attending the International Women's Writing Guild conference, Heather's name might be familiar to you. If not, just know that we've described her as a "force of nature". Basically, she's awesome.

Heather's sister Pam had cystic fibrosis, and the book is about Pam's story, Heather's relationship with her sister, and their family's journey.

My sister Pam was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis at the age of four and given only a short time to live. I promised to die with her, but as Pam fought the limits of her prognosis, she instead taught me how to live. “Sixtyfive Roses” is the way Pam pronounced the disease that altered the lives of my siblings and parents, who in turn helped alter the community’s response to the disease by founding the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. With the help of the Foundation, research, and new treatments, the fight to save Pam lasted for years, ending with her death at the age of 26. We had to learn to survive the tragedy of my sister's illness, and her loss.
SIXTYFIVE ROSES offers an "unsparing" eyewitness account of the pain, hope and valor of a family in crisis as it falls apart and pulls itself together again and again, only to emerge stronger and more loving. At the heart of the story is the relationship between me and Pam as sisters. As we journey through childhood, adolescence and young adulthood, each of us struggles for autonomy, yet helps the other learn where to find joy and meaning in a world of pain and uncertainty.
This is not just a story about a disease. SIXTYFIVE ROSES is about fighting for your life and never giving up. It’s about loving fearlessly and the choices we make in the name of love. It’s about the kind of faith, fortitude and forgiveness we tell ourselves we don’t possess, but which is present in all of us. Ultimately, SIXTYFIVE ROSES illuminates what we must all come to understand about the nature of life and death.
There is no happy ending. But there is the day. The sun, the rain. The chance to say I love you. The willingness to forgive. The courage to remember. The opportunity to be kind. The ability to laugh and to be generous. The fact that we can choose our joy in each moment, no matter what. This, in itself, is the miracle.” []
This probably goes without saying, but have your tissues handy, especially towards the end. It's such a powerful book. There were times when I wanted to jump into the book and give young Heather a hug, but it helps to know that she got through it all and grew into the rock star that she is today. (Yeah, it totally sounds like we're kissing up right now, but if you know her you get it.)

One of the special things about Sixtyfive Roses is that it tells the story of coping with a serious illness from the perspective of a well sibling, whose needs and voices can often get overlooked in the moment, and an experience that's relevant to a lot of people even if they're not affected by cystic fibrosis specifically. The same goes for her insight into the experience of being a part of a family in crisis. She says at one point that "it's the small things that people in crisis need". It's a great lesson and reminder for everyone about how important and meaningful it is to try to put ignorance or fear or awkwardness aside and just be there for people, even if at first you're not sure exactly what to say or do.

So, this is definitely not just a "cystic fibrosis book". (Although it would still be great if it was.) It's about...well, everything. Life, death, love, family. But we'll let Heather tell you about it in her own words:

Just trust us and read it, you won't regret it. For more information and to get the book:

Sixtyfive Roses Official Website

Sixtyfive Roses: A Sister's Memoir [Amazon]

Sixtyfive Roses: A Sister's Memoir [Powells]

Would you buy a laptop for a 10 year old?

Remember when we were kids and the idea a phone in our bedroom was like a really big deal? Having our own line was almost unthinkable. Maybe the most expensive electronic gift we might have asked our parents for was a Gameboy or a walkman. If we were lucky, we may have had a clunky slow computer in our house, but we had to share it with the whole family and our gaming options were limited to stuff like Frogger.

Times have certainly changed.

Lil' Lilith (my 10-year-old) has a nicer iPod than I do, a DSi, and her own cell phone (for emergencies only, but still.) Now she wants a laptop and wants to start her own blog. I'm afraid we're going to have to wait on the latter (she'll have to settle for guest blogging for the ESC  for now) but I'm actually considering letting her have her own computer. The main reason is pure selfishness: I want her to quit borrowing mine! Doesn't she know I have important Facebooking blogging to do?

Some people think that it's crazy to let a kid that young have their own computer, but those arguments come mostly from the older generation - that didn't grow up with computers, etc. Lil' Lilith's generation has never known a world without the Internet. While many parents question whether or not it's safe to let our kids online (be it for play, schoolwork or "social networking") we can't ignore the fact that computer proficiency is a required skill nowadays, even for kids at the elementary school level. What do you think about letting kids use the Internet? How young is too young?

Honestly, I'm not that concerned about it. She's a really smart kid, she's incredibly responsible and has so far  proven herself to be very good about following online safety rules. Plus it's not as though I would allow her to The real problem is that computers are friggin expensive!! Even the "cheap" ones are way up there and it's hard to justify spending a lot of money on a computer for a fourth grader.

As always, I turned to for online discounts and coupon codes... I found some great HP coupons and Dell coupon codes. So now my real question, is what kind of computer do you readers recommend? I'm looking for something that is not just cost-efficient, but also user-friendly and durable (she's smart and responsible, but she's still 10!!)

Advice is needed! (Although I don't need any lectures about spoiling my kid or exposing her to the horrors of the Internet, thanks.)

*Computer coupons and discount info brought to you by: (PS: Totally unrelated, but while I was scoping out computer coupons, I noticed some really great Home Depot coupons. So in case anyone out there is decorating a fantasy office like we are, you should check out the Home Depot deals.)
*For more info on now to protect your kids from Internet risks: Online Safety Tips

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Baseball Baseball Baseball!

It's baseball season! Is everyone totally excited? How is your team doing? Winning? Losing? Are you loyal to one team, no matter how bad they're doing? Do you support the local arenas or root for players from out of state? Are you a Cosmo-style fan who only roots for the hottest players? (Kidding.)

We can't deny that most of the Good Authority are Yankee fans, but we're not the kind of Yankee fans that hate the Mets or anything. (Although we're not going to comment on how we feel about the Boston Red Sox.) And yeah, we know, everyone hates the Yankees, we don't need to hear it.

We have to admit that even though we're big fans of the Yankees, we're usually lazy fans who are more likely to watch the game on TV (preferably while drinking beer) than buy tickets and trek to Yankee Stadium...Although it does happen from time to time. We've also been to a bunch of Mets games, but we haven't been to Citi Field yet. We're not even used to saying Citi Field instead of Shea Stadium yet, but we'll get there.

But we do also travel a lot (World Domination takes a lot of work!) so we're always looking for fun things to do in any area we visit... including checking out the local home teams. (Of course, if they're playing the Yankees, all the better!) We had a lot of fun when we were in Chicago for BlogHer last summer, but unfortunately we were too busy to make it out to Wrigley Field for a game. And we're not sure that anything can top Jezebel's experience at Camden Yards a few years ago, when a drunk guy sitting in her section decided to throw his own impromptu dance party complete with a striptease down to his cow print boxer shorts. Shockingly the security guys were not amused.

If anyone has their own fun stories from live sports events, or you just want to invite us to come to a game with you, let us know!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Fantasy Office Decorating: Rugs

We're on a fantasy office decorating kick again. This happens lately every time one of us mentions Pregnancy Pact, one of the most Lifetimey movies that Lifetime has made in years, featuring a character who works for a super cool vlog for teens based out of a "hip" and "trendy" office. It always sets us off on a discussion about the type of office that we want for our empire one day.

We've decided that we need rugs, and not some thin gray crappy generic office carpeting either. We're thinking of going the oriental rugs route, for a few reasons:

a) We're classy and sophisticated like that.
b) We need a nice place to sit when we're organizing our collection of Cosmo clippings
c) We're prioritizing comfort over productivity.
d) Did we mention we're really classy?

This rug + us and our laptops + a stack of Cosmos + pizza and/or Doritos = blogging gold.

*Decorating fantasies brought to you by

Even if you don't watch Glee, you still need to see this...