Friday, April 25, 2014

No More Excuses

My First Mammogram | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
My souvenir for having my boobs smashed!
It is utterly ridiculous for any woman today to skip the ten minutes it takes to have her boobies squished to screen for breast cancer. I hang my head with embarrassment that it took me five years to make the appointment for my baseline mammogram screen. Oh, I had lots of grand reasons. Here were my top five:

1. I don't have time. I work, have a family, help my aging parents...I'm lucky to get five minutes on the couch in front of the television before passing out from exhaustion.

2. I don't have a family history of breast cancer, so it's okay to put it off. 

3. It sounds painful and what if my boobies rupture when they smoosh them in that machine? Have you ever seen a grape in a vice?

4. I keep forgetting to call.

5. We don't have the extra money right now.
Ready to Smoosh | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
Ready for my screen. 

However, during a recent visit to my doctor, the subject of a baseline mammogram came up. In this highly digital information age, my doctor knew via a few quick keystrokes that I had not yet been for my first mammogram. She looked up from her laptop, scrunched her face, furrowed her eyebrows, and asked, "Why?"

As I began with my string of reasons, my words bounced off the sterile walls with the resonance of pathetic, sad excuses. Even I knew it was unacceptable for an educated professional woman to be so negligent of her own health and well-being. My doctor  strongly urged me to make the call and set up the appointment, noting my number 2 reason was unacceptable, especially since I did have a family history of cancer, even if it wasn't breast cancer. She noted that our insurance would pay for the screen in full. I would not have to cough up a co-pay or any out-of-pocket money at all. Excuse number 5 went up in smoke.

As I was walking home from my doctor visit, I made the call. The woman who scheduled my appointment asked where I had been getting my mammograms in the past. I sheepishly admitted I never had one. A shocked, "Oh!" was followed by a brief and condemning silence. She then asked me the usual questions: 
Butterflies | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
A patient made these butterflies, which
really warmed the X-ray room and made
it brighter and more comforting.
Do you have breast implants? 
No, please refer to 5 above, plus, Hubby says there's no need. (She wasn't amused.)
When would you like to come in? 
Oh, um, I think I have some time on Friday. (As if they could fit me in that very week.)
How about 10 a.m.? 
(Wow. They could fit me in.) Sure. Okay.
Then she gave me some instructions and that was that. I had my first mammogram appointment. 

After overcoming numbers 1, 2, 4, and 5 on my list, I spent the rest of the week worried about my girls. Number 3 was my biggest challenge. I lost sleep as I tossed, turned, and envisioned being the first ever woman to have her boobs burst like grapes in a vice. But then I figured I'd get a huge settlement out of it if it did happen. I decided I was willing to let them burst if it meant more money for my kids to go to college as well as new cars and a newly renovated kitchen.
Mammo Selfie | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
Mammo-Selfie with Kathy,
my awesome X-ray technician.

When I was called back to the mammogram room, I was greeted by Kathy, my X-ray technician. She was so wonderful and upbeat, I almost forgot about the grape-in-a-vice scenario. 

Within 10 minutes, it was all over. Kathy cheerfully talked me through the entire process. My boobs were slightly uncomfortable at times, but it never lasted long enough to warrant any complaints. And the girls never got to the point at which I thought they might burst. 

So there you have it. There are no more excuses left. And while I'm still a bit ashamed of waiting so long, I'm proud to have overcome my excuses and fears so that I can say my boobies have been appropriately squished and screened. Oh, and ladies, if I can do it, you can too! Go get squished. And tell your sisters, moms, aunts, and friends to do it, too.

Micki Bare, mother of three, wife, daughter & writer is the author of Thurston T. Turtle children's books. 
Email: mickibare (at)
Connect with Micki on Google+
Like Thurston T. Turtle on Facebook
Follow Micki on Twitter: @TurtleAuthor
View Micki's pics on Instagram @mickibare

Friday, April 18, 2014

Knee Deep in Easter Eggs

Onion Skin Easter Eggs | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
My grandmother taught me how to dye
Easter eggs with onion skins. 
With the advent of social sharing sites such as Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, there are too many different ways to serve up Easter eggs. I used to buy one extra dozen eggs for the holiday. That dozen was used to propagate the egg dying tradition we thrust upon our children at a very early age. We bought into the commercialism and purchased egg-dying kits with stickers and shrink wrap. Yesterday, I purchased three dozen eggs and will probably run out before Easter dinner is served. I'm now convinced chickens hired social media marketing experts to drive up egg sales. 
Easter Egg Bread | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
To create an Easter egg loaf, you have to
dye raw eggs in the fridge and hope
your boys don't smash them with
a half-full pizza delivery box.

With my three dozen, I planned on making some Easter egg loaves for friends. The loaves require dyed raw eggs. The eggs get cooked in the oven while the bread bakes. My plan was to dye some eggs for the bread and then dye another half dozen for the benefit of the Easter bunny. That would leave some for baking and breakfasts. My boys are too old to sit around the table and dye eggs--or so I assumed. 
PAAS is tradition | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
Egg dying kits--a tradition
my young adult children
have not quite outgrown.

My 20-year-old texted me a few hours after I bought the eggs. He wanted to know; when are we dying eggs this year? I explained that I planned to do it while they were enjoying their all-day fishing excursion. He explained he was out buying egg-dying supplies, and; should he pick up eggs? I told him about my egg purchase. He was thrilled. As for me, his inquiry meant I needed to boil more than half a dozen eggs. He came home with not one, but two egg-dying kits. Evidently he was expecting the family egg dying tradition to be resurrected this year, despite our boys' ages and my lack of grandchildren.
Easter deviled eggs | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
Success with a Pinterest idea means
new traditions and more dyed eggs.

In addition to dying raw and hard boiled eggs, I set a precedence last year I have now come to regret. Rather than simply make plain deviled eggs, I mastered Easter deviled eggs. My family absolutely loved the Pinterest-worthy, colorful, tasty eggs. To make Easter deviled eggs, one must peel the boiled eggs and then dye them. 

To be perfectly honest, all this dying seems like overkill now that we get all our eggs from friends who raise free-range, vegetarian-fed chickens. The eggs naturally come in a variety of pretty colors. But thanks to our creativity and tradition over the years, as well as all the great ideas online, my family has come to expect brightly colored eggs in all aspects of our Easter celebrations. 
Nature's Colored Eggs | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
Mother Nature really does a great
job coloring eggs already.

Well done, chickens. Your social media marketing worked. I will probably have to buy another dozen. And that's assuming no one will want eggs for breakfast. 

Micki Bare, mother of three, wife, daughter & writer is the author of Thurston T. Turtle children's books. 
Email: mickibare (at)
Connect with Micki on Google+
Like Thurston T. Turtle on Facebook
Follow Micki on Twitter: @TurtleAuthor
View Micki's pics on Instagram @mickibare

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Travel Feet: Romantic Mountain Getaway

While my wanderlust gene is dominant and Hubby's is recessive, as a couple, we still need to get away together. I've been able to convince Hubby we need to go on adventures together every now and again. We need to travel to new places. It was a difficult sell. Not only is he more of a homebody, he was worried about the exorbitant price tags associated with travel.
Highway Feet | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
One of the best parts of a romantic couple
getaway is Hubby does most of the driving.

We have budgetary restrictions, due to most of our money being sucked away by the vortex that is being a parent. Whether you are paying for child care or college tuition, whether you are stocking closets or the fridge, your wallet was hijacked at the birth of your first child. I've heard rumors of parents regaining control of their own money when their youngest becomes gainfully employed, but I also know it is not wise to pin hopes on hearsay.

To ensure our bank account would not bleed to death, we put a 300-mile restriction on our romantic getaways. We can easily drive to many interesting destinations within 300 miles or less from home. It takes a mere half a tank of gas to get 300 miles away. And we live in the Southeast, so if we stay away from the major metro areas, which are not all that major compared to New York, LA, or Vegas, we can find relatively inexpensive overnight accommodations.

Sensing I had Hubby's attention with my argument, I took the initiative to plan our first getaway. Jonesborough, TN was barely within the 300 miles, but I kept to our limits and found a great little B&B.

Hubby did most of the driving, which was a nice change of pace for me. Typically, I'm the one going here or there, which means I'm behind the wheel. I rather enjoyed taking in the scenery as we made our way through the mountains toward Jonesborough.

Cozy Fireside Feet | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
Who needs a television when you have a
cozy fire, your hubby, and no interruptions?
The B&B was charming and cozy. You can read more about it in the April issue of Asheboro Magazine (pp. 27-30). The fact that we could hang out in our room without fear of a child knocking in search of car keys or a mother calling out in need of a fresh lightbulb on her side of the house made it luxurious. Quiet moments on the porch sipping wine and watching the clouds roll by as the horses and llama grazed in the field below were priceless. And our hosts never once called out to us, "What's for supper?" 

Couple Getaway Feet | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
 Two sets of #TravelFeet are
always better than one.
On our trip, we discovered there are sushi restaurants as far inland as the western side of the Appalachian Mountains. We also made a pact to only eat sushi when we're within a few hundred miles of the coast. We had the opportunity to hear a real, live storyteller in the storytelling capital of the world. And, we consumed one of the best pizzas we've ever tasted after trusting the pizza maker to pick out our toppings.

The best part of the trip was simply spending time hanging out with each other. Some of our future getaways will be day trips. Some will be overnighters. The amount of time doesn't really matter as long as we continue planning adventures for two. 

And you never know. Wanderlust might be contagious. If it is, Hubby will eventually become just as infected as his gypsy wife.

Micki Bare, mother of three, wife, daughter & writer is the author of Thurston T. Turtle children's books. 
Email: mickibare (at)
Connect with Micki on Google+
Like Thurston T. Turtle on Facebook
Follow Micki on Twitter: @TurtleAuthor
View Micki's pics on Instagram @mickibare

Monday, April 14, 2014

Colors of Spring

As the pollen drifts downward, coating our cars, homes, and outdoor furniture, tissues are a hot commodity. Allergies are in full bloom. But it is difficult to hold a grudge against Mother Nature, especially when she is busy painting her earthly canvas with the brilliant colors of spring. After a cold, dismal winter, the colors are a welcome sight, assuming you can see through watery, red eyes. If it's too much on your sinuses to get out and walk amongst the flora of the season, put down that box of tissues and scroll through this virtual tour of the blossoms around my place. 

Purple Phlox | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
Our Purple Phlox love to creep
down the hill on which they were planted.

Red Tulip | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
The Red Tulip leaves have begun to curl.

Red & Yellow Tulip | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
The multi-color Red and Yellow Tulips
look like fire this year.

Common Blue Violets | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
Lots of wild Common Blue Violets
pop up during the first weeks of spring.

Pink Dogwood | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
The Pink Dogwoods are beautiful against
the North Carolina blue sky background.

White Dogwood | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
White Dogwood petals warmly replaced
the snow flurries of winter.

Yellow Daffodils | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
Our Daffodils are done blooming, but
we enjoyed their sunny welcome to spring.
Micki Bare, mother of three, wife, daughter & writer is the author of Thurston T. Turtle children's books. 
Email: mickibare (at)
Connect with Micki on Google+
Like Thurston T. Turtle on Facebook
Follow Micki on Twitter: @TurtleAuthor
View Micki's pics on Instagram @mickibare

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Edible Violets: A Taste of Spring

Until they were placed before Hubby and me during breakfast on a recent excursion, I had no idea the violets that inundate our yard each spring were edible. Not only did the freshly picked violets brighten our breakfast, they tasted delicious with the fresh eggs prepared by John and Diane, the owners of Storybrook Farm Bed & Breakfast in Jonesborough, TN.
Violet topped eggs | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
We enjoyed a beautiful violet-topped
breakfast at Storybrook Farm.

Over warm and easy breakfast conversation, we learned it is the wild violets that grow in our yard; Viola sororia or the common blue violet; that are edible. The African violets that brighten our homes are not edible. They are actually poisonous, so don't eat them. For me, it is easy to remember the difference: DON'T eat the ones that die on me when I try to grow them on the window sill; DO eat the ones that grow all over the yard each spring.
Fresh Picked Violets | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare

Now that I know the common blue violet, with its heart-shaped leaves, can be used for garnish, in salads, as cooked greens, or prepared as tea, I decided to harvest them. According to Steve Brill on the HGTV website, vitamins A and C are found in the leaves. The flowers contain vitamin C. And I already know they are tasty, because I ate every bit of my garnish when we were in Tennessee. 

The best part about learning about the edible properties of violets is they are free. I do not have to plant seeds or seedlings purchased at a store. The watering is taken care of by Mother Nature, so my water bill is not affected whatsoever. I do not have to buy violets or violet leaves at the farmers' market. I do not have to do a thing to earn the plentiful harvest with which we are blessed each spring. 

The free stuff comes in handy when you have kids in college and your budget is tight. We also do our best to eat healthy, so free healthy foodstuff is a win-win around our house.

Of course, getting my family to eat them might be a challenge. You think they would notice if I added violets to my three-cheese quiche?

Micki Bare, mother of three, wife, daughter & writer is the author of Thurston T. Turtle children's books. 
Email: mickibare (at)
Connect with Micki on Google+
Like Thurston T. Turtle on Facebook
Follow Micki on Twitter: @TurtleAuthor
View Micki's pics on Instagram @mickibare

Monday, April 7, 2014

Career Day: Updating My Toolbox

Career days provide young learners a glimpse into professional life. It gives them an opportunity to see what life could be like when they grow up. I was honored to participate in one of our local elementary school's career day events. Talking about writing is almost as fun as writing. But then, I have an extensive early childhood background, so I enjoy interactively entertaining groups of children. And the atmosphere in a creative teacher's elementary grade classroom is invigorating. Not only do I impart bits of wisdom from my experiences, but I learn from the children as well.
Career Day Toolbox | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
Books, thinking cap, and toolbox all set
up for career day presentations.

After this year's career day, I will be adding to my Tools of the Trade toolbox. I already had to add something new to it while I was preparing for my visit. The last time I did a presentation, social media was not as prevalent. Yes, it's been several years since I presented. The ever-changing world of writing now requires more images than ever before. While the professional photographers are busy taking front page newspaper images and brilliant photos for the glossy pages of magazines, a writer who wants to increase readership among her social media connections must also be an amateur photographer. Therefore, I had to add a camera to my toolbox.

In addition to adding the camera, I picked a student during each presentation to snap a picture that could be shared online. Every child in every group knew my smartphone was a Samsung and I did not have to give them instructions on how to use it. They are going to make great writers someday.

Reading Rocking Chair | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
This is my new favorite
reading time rocking chair.
After spending 25 minutes each with eight different groups of students, I realized I needed to add some additional tools to my personal toolbox. We decided collectively during my presentation that things that represent ways to evoke creativity need to be in that box.

For me, I will need to add a paintbrush. I love to take painting classes at The Preppy Possum, with my friend, artist Nikki-Cherry, who was also a presenter during career day. Painting, even though I can't draw much more than a stick figure, lights up different parts of my brain and helps me be creative when I write.
Great picture of me sharing my Tools of
the Trade while wearing my creative thinking
cap, taken by one of the students.

I will need to find a little pair of shoes to add to my toolbox, as well. I love to embark on new adventures, so I depend on my feet to take me to new places where I can experience new things, inspire my senses, and restore my muse. 

Since I also love to bake, the children suggested I also consider adding a whisk or spatula to my toolbox. Being creative in the kitchen is not only a great way to relax, it restores my creative energy. So, in honor of my brilliant audiences at the elementary school, I will add three new items to my toolbox. And I look forward to future presentations where I have the opportunity to inspire young writers, as well as be inspired by them.

Micki Bare, mother of three, wife, daughter & writer is the author of Thurston T. Turtle children's books. 
Email: mickibare (at)
Connect with Micki on Google+
Like Thurston T. Turtle on Facebook
Follow Micki on Twitter: @TurtleAuthor
View Micki's pics on Instagram @mickibare