My attempt to earn the funds for a new keyboard

For the past couple of years, I have been earning Amazon gift cards through a program called “SwagBucks.”  Most of what I earn comes from using their search engine, but I also earn SwagBucks through referrals, watching videos, playing games, taking surveys, and using the coupons available at the website (which I haven’t been able to do since my printer gave up the ghost).

Now, in order to save myself the pain and frustration of working with a wonky keyboard, I am trying to earn more SwagBucks than ever so that I can get enough gift cards to pay for the keyboard I want.  If you want to help, that’s awesome–all you need to do is follow my referral link, sign up for SwagBucks, and search and earn SwagBucks towards any number of things that you might like to get that they offer in the SwagStore.

This company is legitimate–as I said, I’ve been earning SwagBucks and redeeming them for gift cards for years now, so you don’t have to worry that I’m not being honest.  You don’t always win SwagBucks with every search, and the process of earning can be something of a pain in the rear unless you are constantly searching or spending your day just earning SwagBucks.

If you want to try it out, here’s my URL:

Have fun, and thank you!

Edit: A very kind and generous friend gave me TWO usb keyboard and THREE usb mice, so I was able to use the giftcards I had earned to buy a cooling pad for my laptop (something that I desperately needed as well!).


Of Broken Keys

I would like to post daily, but my laptop keyboard has three dead keys, and I’m despairing over buying an external one.

Just the same, though, I’m tired of copying and pasting the letters from the dead keys.  It’s old.

And it’s just my luck that inspiration would come when it was most frustrating to express it.


Lady Cygnet: Origins

Sometimes, people ask me about the handle I’ve had for over a decade now.  I usually say it has to do with “The Ugly Duckling,” and leave it at that.

For people who are curious, here’s the story in fairy tale format:

Once upon a time, there was a shy, fat little girl.  She loved to run, jump, and play like other little kids, but unlike other little kids, she took way too long to learn how to ride a bike, whistle, tie her shoes, swing, or do any number of things…and she was still fat, and on top of that, she was different from everybody else, so people called her “weird.”  Her peers rejected her, and she was sad.

Fortunately, she had a cousin who was fat like she was, but this cousin had blossomed into a svelte beauty, and she wasn’t weird at all.  The little girl’s parents often voiced hope that she would lose her “baby fat” and blossom as her cousin did and change into someone universally loved…but it never happened.  The girl just kept on getting fatter and fatter, and while she had some friends, she was still strange, and a social outcast.  She wrote stories, sang, performed in plays, but she was still outside looking in.  She was still “other.”

The fat little girl became a fat woman, and she went to college, got a degree, got married, got a job, got divorced, moved to another state, had a baby, moved back, and lived with her family again.  Meanwhile, she had won awards for her writing, her art, and her photography, but all anyone ever seemed to see was the strange, fat little girl.

While she was in high school, the fat girl felt very unloved and unwelcome.  She came to identify with the Ugly Duckling, and she hoped that one day, she too would become a beautiful and beloved swan.  She took the name Cygnet, because cygnets become swans.  When she went to register it as her email address, though, “cygnet” was already taken, so she chose the name “LadyCygnet,” and it became a part of her, over time.

Now she is a woman almost middle-aged.  She is still fat and weird.  She has accomplished much, but it is hard for her to see it, because she never became thin, beautiful, and beloved. She does have a child, though, and her child is thin, beautiful, beloved…and just as weird as her mother.

But even if her little girl were fat, ugly, or both, the fat, weird woman would love her child just the same, because she doesn’t want her daughter growing up thinking that her worth depends on her weight or her ability to fit in with others.  She wants her daughter to know that she is more than her looks or her social standing.

They are both odd ducks…but they are also swans.

And they lived oddly, yet contently, ever after.


On Grief and Pregnancy Loss

I was prepared to offer up a happy blog with happy things today, but there’s been a miasma over the whole week.  A beloved family member lost the child that he and his wife  were looking forward to bringing into the world. It happened today.   We know what caused it and have answers to the biological whys, but that doesn’t make the grieving process any easier.

I too have had pregnancy losses.  Most of them were so early as to barely count as miscarriages, but there was one that was so late that it could almost have been a stillbirth, and that was the one that traumatized me the most.

I can’t claim to know what my relative and his wife are going through right now–each experience is different, and we all grieve in our own ways.  I can speak to my own losses, though, and how they affected me.

First of all, they hurt like hell.  Not just the cramps, but the loss itself.  From my earliest memories, my biggest dream was to be a mother.  My career aspirations changed all of the time–doctor, opera singer, botanist, actress, writer, art therapist, curator, webmistress, hospital administrator, small business owner, etc–but the one thing that never, ever changed was that burning desire to have a child of my own and raise him or her to the best of my abilities.  To have my own body deny and betray me was hard to bear.  I felt like less of a woman because my body just refused to let me carry a child all the way past the finish line.

With only one pregnancy loss, I was married–the other times, I was single or past my divorce.  Sometimes I was in relationships, and sometimes I wasn’t.  I’m not proud of some of the things I’ve done, but I refuse to believe that my unborn babies died for my sins.

I am a follower of Christ, and as such, I believe that Jesus died for my sins and was resurrected on the third day.  I do not believe that my children were taken away for my sins–Jesus took care of that.

There is one reason and one alone that my unborn children died:

Shit happens.

Life is imperfect.  Circumstances sometimes deprive us of the things we desire most.  It’s not out of some cosmic desire to punish us for being the fallible creatures we are.  We don’t all have perfect bodies.  We aren’t all nubile and fecund.  We don’t all have genius in ways that will bring us fortune and fame.

We are who we are.  Life happens to us whether we are prepared for it or not.  Sometimes great things happen to us, and sometimes unspeakably painful things happen to us.  Sometimes we don’t even realize what a good thing we had until it is gone and can never be replaced.

What matters most is how we react to loss and pain.  Do we allow it to destroy us or delay us, or do we learn from it and build something beautiful on the ashes of the loss?  There’s nothing wrong with a little destruction, as long as we rise from the ashes of our loss with courage, wisdom, and the strength to build a better life in the name of those who we have lost.

At the end of my life, I want all of my children, regardless of whether they were born or not, to be able to be proud of the woman I am when it is my time to go.  I want to hold them all and let them know that I always loved them, and that they are all a part of me.  I want my living child (and any future children I have) to look at me and see strength, wisdom, courage, and a role model.  When they lose something they hold dear (and because they are human and life is imperfect, they will), I hope that they look at my life and find the courage within themselves to carry on with faith, hope, and love, knowing that they too can make the best of any situation and draw strength even from the gravest of losses.

Some say that time heals all wounds.  I respectfully disagree–time just gives us the ability to be stronger than our pain and carry on.  The ache is still there, but it becomes more bearable with each passing day.

If you are grieving a lost child, please know that it gets better. Reach out for help if you need it–you don’t have to bear your burden alone!