Thursday, December 2, 2010

Let them eat cake! (Hint: This is a GIVEAWAY)

 couple months ago I was honored to be among a group of bloggers invited to a pre-opening event at the newly renovated and expanded Winston-Salem Ronald McDonald House. (I wrote about it here.)

Laura Walsh, our lovely host, and Watson, the house's blogger/pet in residence, got in touch with me about a program they've got going this holiday season. For just $5, you can buy a book of 20 coupons for a free square of Dewey's cake. AND, 100% of the proceeds go to RMH. That's a great reason to eat cake, am I right?

What's more, Laura sent me FIVE COUPON BOOKS to give away!

Unfortunately Dewey's is a local institution (with three locations, FYI), so anyone can enter to win one of the books, but you'll have to come to Winston-Salem to redeem your coupons. International winners welcome (airfare not included).


Leave a comment to enter, and I'll pick the five winners using on Friday, December 10.

These would make great stocking stuffers (once you're done stuffing yourself with Dewey's cake, of course), so please consider purchasing a book to benefit the house.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Want me to give you a free and totally legal copy of a Wii game?

Because I have an extra one.

As a parting gift for everyone who came to my Nintendo party, Nintendo and the American Heart Association gave us goody bags. One of the things in each bag was a copy of Wii Sports Resort. Since even I got a goody bag, Noah and I each got a copy of Wii Sports Resort. Leaving us with one superfluous copy.

I promised there'd be something exciting for you guys, and this is it. Are you suitably enthused?

So! This isn't a Nintendo-sponsored giveaway, but I received the game from Nintendo, so...props to them? They won't be paying the shipping; I will. Happy Holidays!

If you want a chance to win this re-gift (which, at a $40 value has got to be a lot better than, say, a re-gifted purse from the 80s that smelled like a cheap knockoff of Chanel No. 5—something I've been given before), just leave a comment on this post. And if you follow me on Twitter, you can add an extra comment for another chance to win. Same goes for Facebook. Because why not? Oh, and make sure to leave an email address in the comment, so I can get in touch with you if you win.

I've never done a giveaway before, but I think I'm supposed to make you work for it. So how about in your comment you tell me what you'd do with the game if you won it. Give it to your nephew? Get your Wii on? Sell it on Craigslist? Readysetgo.

I'll pick the winner using a week from today, aka Fri. November 19.

Monday, November 1, 2010

And much fun was had by all

So it's been two weeks since the Big Nintendo Party, and there are several really cool things that happened that day, not least of which was the hotel staff laundering Ethan's soiled pants and consequently Ethan running around in front of an American Heart Association Board Member in a diaper and sporty loafers.

Everyone who attending recieved some Nintendo Wii coaching and some pretty cool information from the AHA, but that wasn't all! Each guest took home a goody bag with a Wii steel water bottle, a Nintendo hoodie, Wii Sports Resort, and a copy of the keynote speaker's (very cool and visually striking) book.

I have some more exciting news to share that will affect you, my darling readers, but for now, here are a few photos from the event. I'm the svelte goddess in green, in case you were wondering.






With Gwen Bell and Maria of Immoral Matriarch.






Monday, October 11, 2010

Send help

I love being a hostess, but I also hate being a hostess. Sort of like the Smeagol/Gollum situation.

A week from Sunday, I'm hosting my first Nintendo event! The American Heart Association is presenting, we'll get to play with Wii Fit Pluses, there'll be a delicious lunch and (shh, don't tell) a very exciting party favor for those who attend. Sounds fun right? And also, nightmarish for a hostess me as a hostess? Thing is, lovely Justine of Brand About Town has taken all the work out of it for me. All I had to do was invite people—even the invitation was set up, so all I actually had to do was enter names and email addresses.

Alas. In the two hours since I sent the invite, I've already checked the response list three times. Three Yes's: Justine, and my parents. Three No's. I could live tweet the progress, but who really cares. ME, THAT'S WHO.

Oh! And fun fact: Immoral Matriarch and Poobou are also hosting that day, so I'll get to meet some awesome bloggers. And then they'll know what a huge dork I am.

Seriously, what's with the negativity? OH MY GOSH! Self-Defeating Erin is back.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Living Proof

This is sponsored content from BlogHer and KFC.

Debbie looked away as the nurse pressed gently just above her collarbone. She was nervous, and it unnerved me to see my mother-in-law—a middle school teacher used to handling stressful situations—looking so ill at ease. I had witnessed this woman wrangle thirty sixth-graders at a theme park like Calamity Jane on a cattle drive. If she couldn't handle this, well...the situation was dire.

“Can you see the little triangle?” Debbie asked April, her nurse for the day.

“I sure can,” April replied.

I watched as April located the portacath in Debbie's chest and inserted the needle into a triangular opening only visible as a vague impression, at least to me. A strangely edged lump pushing outward from beneath Debbie's skin.

“Is it in?” Debbie asked with a sidelong squint.


She smiled at the nurse and whispered, “That didn't hurt at all.”

*     *     *

Nineteen years ago, almost to the week, Debbie was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. Noah, her middle son and my husband, was just 8 years old. When she talks about that experience, what it did to her three boys typically takes precedence over what she went through, which was considerable: She had a double mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation that left permanent scarring on her chest. It's what Noah said to her when she came home from the hospital, though, that she returns to again and again. 

“I need to see what they did to you,” Noah demanded. So she showed him her scars beneath the bandages, the incisions leaving the last bit of evidence that there had been breasts there once. 

By the time I met Debbie, she had been cancer-free for ten years. Not long after her fifteen-year remission anniversary, she underwent a second breast reconstruction. The original implants disintegrated, leaving her with constant pain and discomfort. 

The second time around, she saw a specialist in New Orleans who, using fat from Debbie's own body, would construct breasts of living tissue. The procedure was broken into several painful surgeries over the course of a few months. Finally, she was well.

That's why we were stunned when in January her doctor in New Orleans called with the results of the pathology done on some scar tissue he removed from her right breast. She had cancer again.

*    *    *

After dispensing an anti-nausea drug and benadryl, April hooked a bag of chemotherapy drugs into Debbie's IV. It was her first chemotherapy session in almost two decades. Before, she had been stuck so many times her veins kept collapsing. This time, the portacath took care of that. The pain of ice-cold toxins flowing directly into an arm vein was happily a faint memory. 

The side-effects would unfortunately remain the same: flu-like symptoms, nausea, mouth sores, hair loss.
“There went the hair-taker,” Debbie told me after the first bag of chemo triggered a series of beeps indicating it was empty. “Next comes Herceptin.” At that, we looked at each other and smiled.

Debbie's cancer is HER2-positive, meaning it's particularly aggressive. Her team of doctors discovered the original cancer was HER2-positive as well after testing a tumor sample. (Apparently they keep these things in storage, which to me sounds a little Area 51ish. Then again, I'm a confirmed pansy.)

In 1990, women with HER2-positive cancer had no recourse. They endured harsh levels of treatment and survived on prayers and luck. Debbie was one of the lucky ones.

Although this cancer is an invasive scoundrel, we have Herceptin to give us hope. Debbie loaned us her rented copy of Living Proof, a Lifetime movie that documented the history of Herceptin including how so many times the research was nearly quashed. The belief and perseverance of just a few individuals made this drug a reality for thousands of patients who might otherwise have been terminal. Right on cue, Noah and I cried several times. Genuine tears! The thing is, it's a miracle drug for women like Debbie.

As Nurse April adjusted the dose rate, Debbie and I talked with a young woman in the treatment chair across from us. Her name was Laura, and she was just 28. Not two years older than me. Double mastectomy, chemotherapy, radiation. Before she cuddled up with her blanket and portable DVD player, I noticed the slogan on Laura's shirt: Fight Like A Girl.

April finished fiddling with the machine and told us she'd be back soon to check the progress. Debbie leaned back and closed her eyes. As the clear liquid began its slow drip, I looked at her and knew. 

Everything's going to be all right.

*     *     *

I wrote this post for the Shared Story Program. My post, as well as the posts of all the other participants, can also be viewed at the special offers page.

I'm excited to announce that for every Pink Bucket, KFC makes a 50 cent contribution to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. The Pink buckets will be available in KFC restaurants through May 23rd. Even better, BlogHer will donate $1 for every comment left on the blog posts and across the other posts from the Exclusive Offer page at, up to a total of $1,000 for the entire program. For more information on this program, go to the KFC website.

Programs like these help fund invaluable breast cancer research. Research for treatments like Herceptin, which give hope to people who previously had little. People like us.

By simply leaving a comment on this post, you are contributing to a life-saving cause. So let me ask, What do you do to make a difference in the lives of others?