Dec. 31: 2009 in review

It’s time for an end of the year meme.

  1. 2009pic What did you do in 2009 that you’d never done before?
    Shaved my head.
  2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
    I didn’t make any 2009 resolutions, and probably won’t make any for 2010 either.
  3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
    Several friends.
  4. Did anyone close to you die?
  5. What countries did you visit?
    This year, just the one in which I live.
  6. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?
    A good vacation. A real one, I mean.
  7. What dates from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
    Lots. The big one, though, will be the date of my cancer diagnosis: Nov. 27.
  8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
    Not killing anyone.
  9. What was your biggest failure?
    Apparently, walking upright without tripping and landing on my face.
  10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
    Ha! You’re new here, arentcha?
  11. What was the best thing you bought?
    Probably my iPhone.
  12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
    Mine. Remember, I didn’t kill anyone this year.
  13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
    My doctor’s.
  14. Where did most of your money go?
    iPhone accessories and apps. smiley
  15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
    Seeing David Sedaris TWICE. Seeing Wicked TWICE. Seeing Topol in Fiddler on the Roof.
  16. What song will always remind you of 2009?
    “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on it)” by Beyonce.
  17. Compared to this time last year, are you: (a) happier or sadder? (b) thinner or fatter? (c) richer or poorer?
    a. Happier. Always happier.
    b. Thinner, but only a little bit.
    c. Neither.
  18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
  19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
    Staying home.
  20. How did you spend Christmas?
    With family. It was lovely.
  21. Did you fall in love in 2009?
    Not with anyone new.
  22. What was your favorite TV program?
    Probably 30 Rock.
  23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
    My doctor.
  24. What was the best book you read?
    Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen
  25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
    Duh! My nephew’s band, The Rouge. Their CD came out in June. They’ve got a big signing with a big record company coming up, and BELIEVE ME, you’re gonna get tired of hearing about them.
  26. What did you want and get?
    An answer to the reason for my back pain.
  27. What did you want and not get?
    An answer to the reason for my back pain that will not potentially kill me.
  28. What was your favorite film of this year?
  29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
    I turned 41 on September 18. Worked a little, met Random Sunshine for coffee where she showered me with treasures, spent the evening chasing a drunk friend down in the dark. Laughed a LOT.
  30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
    A vacation. Probably not getting cancer too.
  31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009?
    “Keep the ugliest parts covered.”
  32. What kept you sane?
    Aforementioned family and friends.
  33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
    It’s a tie between Justin Timberlake, Alec Baldwin, David Letterman, and George Clooney.
  34. What political issue stirred you the most?
    Don’t get me started.
  35. Who did you miss?
    My dad. Always.
  36. Who was the best new person you met?
    Random Sunshine!
  37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009.
    Listen to your body, no matter what your doctor says.
  38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
    The Beatles’ Let it Be.

    When I find myself in times of trouble
    Mother Mary comes to me
    Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
    And in my hour of darkness
    She is standing right in front of me
    Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.

    (Thanks, Mom!)


Dec. 30: 2010 is sooo gonna rock

So, today I found my horoscope for next year and I read it with great interest because I totally care what it says because I know there’s a huge significance in my astrological sign and I always let it guide my decisions in life and I’m just kidding because I think that astrology stuff is all just great big piles of poo. Acid poo, if you will. (I don’t know what that means, but my neph does.)

I was born September 18, which makes me a Virgo. My horoscope says April and May will be good for me career-wise, but that the last three months of the year may make me question my career choice.

We shall see, right?

It was my romantic horoscope that really interested me, though. Apparently Pluto is transiting my Romance House and I HATE when Pluto transits my Romance House! WTF, Pluto? Then in July, I’ll have an eclipse of my House of Love Received. Oh, goodness.

Also, in February? Jupiter will roll into my Eighth House, which will cause me to be hit on a lot. I’ve always thought my Eighth House was rockin’ awesome, and it’s about time someone else acknowledges it.

Not too shabby for a bald chick, eh?


Dec. 29: Snow ♪ snow ♫♪ snow ♫ snow ♪♫ snow!

The view of the OMIGOD snow from my bedroom window--OK, it's hard to see, but it really is snowing huge flakes

Everyone’s suddenly freaking out. Oh, blah-dee-blah-blah-blah… it’s snowing in Portland. BFD. I have a much bigger and more pressing problem.

Somehow, my discarded cherry Mike & Ike’s (very yuck) got mixed up with my Hot Tamales (oh-so-yum) and I have no idea what to do. Has this ever happened to you, and if so, how did you fix it? Wikipedia’s not being very helpful.

(I wonder if a paramedic would make a run out here from yonder Tillamook to rescue me from this dreadful situation. It’s not blood on my toothbrush, sure, but it’s bad, bad news no matter how ya look at it. By now I betcha it’s all over the police scanners in Boise, even.)

Snow? Pffft.


Dec. 28: Health update

cancersucks Lookie there, my blog almost got back to a normal, non-cancer blog there for a bit. That was nice while it lasted.

It’s been a week since my second chemotherapy treatment, and I’m feeling much better this time around than I did a week after my first. That first time I was over-wary of any signs of nausea; this time I simply have felt very little. This is definitely a good thing. Throwing up sucks so much. Well, technically I guess it BLOWS, but I was trying to be less graphic. Heh. Oh well.

I also have more of an appetite this time than I did before. I drink Ensure at least once a day, usually in the morning, but the thought of other foods doesn’t make me queasy, so I’m often able to eat a normal-ish meal if someone brings it to me on a platter with fresh flowers. I’d like a newspaper, too, but don’t want to be demanding, you know.

This time, and today especially, I’m feeling more run-down than I remember that first week. Walking up the stairs zaps me and I need to stop at the top to catch my breath. Even getting up from the bed to get a drink kinda makes my head spin. Maybe it’s the dogs and cat that are constantly trying to trip me on the way, or the open armoire doors I still have not learned to keep closed to avoid further possible injury. Maybe it’s just that walking is finally stressing me out—I mean, I’m way overdue for a good spill, right? Or does having cancer supersede my awesome clumsiness?

I cannot give this time of year enough credit for keeping my mood up. I love the Christmas season, and I know the things I’m dealing with right now would seem much worse if not for it being my favorite time of year.

I’m also quite sure that one of the biggest differences in feeling better is that I’m getting sleep now. It’s not the most restful sleep, and it’s certainly not pain-free, but it goes for many hours at a time and more important than anything else, it’s horizontal. I’m tossing and turning quite a bit, getting too hot and then too cold, waking up over apparently nothing several times during the night… but getting back to sleep. This is a huge improvement over the way I’ve slept most of the year.

The other thing making me feel better, of course, is the lovely and effective pain medication. I’m cutting back on my original dosages, but still definitely need it. I didn’t have anything that helped my back pain before, but this potent stuff the oncologist prescribed helps me sleep, and if I need it, helps me get through the day without snarling at random people. I even talked to my grandma on the phone the other day with unclenched teeth! Thank you, OxyContin!

After my first chemo treatment, it was the second week that sucked the most—I felt like I’d been run over by a truck. Everything ached. It hurt to move, it hurt to be touched, it hurt to be me. I got twinges of that today, and if there’s a pattern to chemo reactions, I expect it’ll get bad again. Grrr. This is when I’m very, very thankful that my mom is here to help with Katie and Jack and bring me food on a lovely tray with fresh flowers. I love that woman.

When I went in for last week’s treatment, I had a dry, scratchy cough. It’s gotten a lot worse since then, and is now one of those coughs where I half expect lobes of my lungs to come up. I need to find out if I should be taking something for it, because it’s hanging on longer than it seems it should. I don’t want to add more drugs to my list, but I’ve grown fond of my lungs and would like to keep them.

My vision is still inconsistently weird. Apparently there’s nothing that can be done for it, and its weirdness is temporary so low priority, I guess. I just have to hope it’s not awful when I need to be driving somewhere or watching a Law & Order: SVU marathon I’ve not yet seen.

Generally speaking, things are going better after Round #2, but it’s possible I’m speaking too soon. If so, I may have to disappear from my blog and FB for a bit to figure out how to be me again. So there’s my health update, and now I’m going to bed.


Dec. 28: “Nanny Returns”

nannyreturns Today I finished reading “Nanny Returns,” the brand new sequel to “The Nanny Diaries,” by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus. I read “The Nanny Diaries” when it came out in 2002 and really enjoyed it, one of the few “chick lit” books about which I can say that. I am not a lover of that genre.

I am a lover, however, of the characters in these two books, and I liked this sequel very much. I love Nan, her parents and friends are realistic, and her grandma is a hoot.

“Nanny Returns” begins 12 years after Nan has been fired by Mrs. X. She has since married, gotten her masters degree, and moved into a fixer-upper in New York City. Through a series of coincidences, she gets involved with the X family again, as well as a new batch of Mrs. X-like moms. The stories of excess are amusing. The ridiculous expectations put on hired help is sad and hilarious at the same time. Totally reminds me of my own life. Ha.

One of the things that frustrated me about the first book was how Nan never really took the chance to tell off Mrs. X like she wanted to. I mean, YES, she screamed at the teddy bear camera but not with the intention of Mrs. X ever seeing it. The sequel, on the other hand, didn’t end like I expected it to, but it wasn’t disappointing either. There was definitely some maturity in Nan between the two books.

One complaint I have about some novels (movies too, actually) is when they try to make lots and lots happen, as though there has to be action at all times. Stuff like this:

  • I finally have a date with that guy!  . . . . . . . . . . . .  Oh no, my car broke down.
  • I have to get to my very important meeting on time!  . . . . . . . . . . . .  This emergency phone call can’t wait.
  • I have the perfect dress for this occasion!  . . . . . . . . . . . .  I fell in mud.
  • My best friend is finally coming to visit!  . . . . . . . . . . . .  I have to work.

Oh, I know that stuff happens; it just doesn’t happen every single time every single person on earth does those things. Sometimes plans get carried out and sometimes they even go as we expect them to. Not everything is interrupted by emergencies or bad things happening in spite of best intentions.

Books like this keep me in panic mode, and I resent them for it—I can’t just relax and read because I’m on edge over whether or not ANYTHING will go the way the main character deserves. It just seems so unfair.

“Nanny Returns” was on the verge of this. It seemed like there were a lot of cliffhanger chapter endings; some big, some small. The cliffhangers weren’t so excessive that they kept me from enjoying the book, though—I’ve read much worse. But if that kind of thing bugs you like it does me, there’s your warning.

It’s been seven years since I read “The Nanny Diaries,” and I didn’t see the movie so I don’t know how that compared. But from what I remember of the first book, if you enjoyed it, you’ll probably like “Nanny Returns” as much or more. I was kinda bummed to finish it today.


Dec. 27: In the news

I’ve been walking down a very dim Memory Lane the past couple days, wishing I could remember more about a friend of mine from high school, and also wondering about the changes in his life since 1986.

I won’t use his full name here because I don’t want my blog popping up as a search result for him. Out of 60-some graduates in the PAA Class of ‘86, there were several Mikes. This guy was one of them. (I’m not referring to Mike Devitt, of whom I’ve not really lost touch over the years. Mike Devitt was at least one Mike that turned out alright, depending on your definition of “alright.” Heh heh heh…)

PAA's (mostly) Fine Class of 1986

The classmate I’ve been thinking of is Mike B. He was very friendly and flirty, and liked to pretend he was a much badder boy than he probably was. And you know what good girls often think of bad boys... Mike B was never the type I wanted to date, but he was definitely a fun person to be around. When he flirted—especially with me, because I embarrassed easily—he would almost always take it too far, just to get a reaction. It always worked.

Mike liked Ozzy long before Ozzy was a bumbling foolA bunch of us girls were like that with him—we enjoyed the attention but that was about enough. Boys who wore Ozzy Osbourne shirts under their sweaters got in trouble way too much. This was not a boy our parents would have been pleased to see pick us up for a date.

I have one memory of Mike B that stands out more than any other. It was a Friday night, and my dad was out of town so I took the opportunity to throw a party. (Now who’s the bad kid???) My girlfriends and I invited an odd assortment of classmates—or maybe we invited everyone and it was just a handful of them who actually showed—and Mike B and another guy showed up drunk. I didn’t want them mixing with the good kids, so I sent them down the hall and can’t remember what I did next… did I actually try to get a party going? Was I that much of a Martha Stewart back then, that I wouldn’t let two juvenile delinquents ruin my otherwise perfectly good party? Gah.

Knowing me, I was playing Amy Grant cassettes and starting up a game of Ellen G. White Trivia for the good kids in the living room while the bad boys at the end of the hall got drunker. Gotta keep all the guests happy! At one point I remember dragging a couple girlfriends back there to check on them with me, and they got loud so we went into my bedroom. My door ended up closed, and the lights ended up off, and suddenly there were lots of hands in lots of places. The lights quickly went back on and the door re-opened.

We were never scared of Mike B and his friend. Maybe we should’ve been, but Mike B’s drunk self was a sillier version of his regular self, and I’m quite sure we weren’t in a potentially dangerous situation. But my clearest memory of this moment was that Mike B then really, truly kissed me, several times. And y’know what? It was gooood. Because I wasn’t in love with him, I felt guilty to think it was so nice to be kissed by him, but I hadn’t been kissed all that much in my life yet so I went with it. Then the hands started again, and I called it to a stop—honestly, more out of fear than a lack of curiosity.

I ushered our little crowd back into the living room, where the drunk ones declared my party an absolute bore and left. I don’t remember the others hanging around much longer either. My girlfriends spent the night and there was much giggling and review of the night’s activities.

At school Monday morning, nothing was said, nor were uncomfortable looks exchanged. I’m guessing it’s because Mike B didn’t remember anything, so the rest of us pretended not to either. But for being a guy I never exactly crushed on, I can remember kissing him almost like it was yesterday instead of nearly 25 years ago.

Why the sudden walk down Memory Lane? Because I’ve seen a current picture of Mike B on the news many, many times over the last 48 hours. He was arrested yesterday morning when he surrendered himself after shooting and killing his mother at home on Christmas Day. News reports say there was a history of mental problems and that he had not been taking medications he needed. Here are local news pieces from KGW, KOIN, and The Oregonian.

Our very small graduating class has suffered some tragic deaths since high school, and at least two former classmates are now (or soon will be) serving murder sentences in prison. “Sad” doesn’t begin to cover it.


Dec. 26: Last Christmas

This literal video version of “Last Christmas” isn’t as good as “Total Eclipse of the Heart” or “Separate Ways,” but it’s got a few chuckles in it.


Sticking with the Christmas theme, check out these two different versions of Hall and Oates’ “Jingle Bell Rock.” I especially like G.E. Smith as Granny.


Dec. 26: Christmas-y meme

  1. christmasstockingcandycane Location: President Obama and his family celebrated Christmas in Hawaii this year. If you and your family could celebrate the holiday anyplace but where you currently live, where would you go?

    The year after we got married we vacationed in Hawaii for two weeks of December. Although we were home by Christmas, it made the season feel very short and we agreed we missed out on a lot of the traditions of home by being someplace tropical for half the month. Since then, I’ve had no interest in being anywhere but home—or a similar climate, anyway—but nowadays I don’t think it’d take much to be convinced otherwise. In fact, as long as I have some family members with me on Christmas, I’m pretty sure I’d be happy just about anywhere.
  2. Mood: What’s your mood this holiday season?

    Given my current health situation, the happiness of the holiday season this year was probably more welcome than ever. I don’t think I ever felt like our celebrations should be tempered. I love this time of year—and it appears I love it NO MATTER WHAT. smiley
  3. Food: What are your favorite holiday foods?

    I love the traditional Christmas dinners—turkey’s good, beef’s good, ham’s good… I just like the tradition of the big, celebratory meal with lots of people at the table. I also love frosted sugar cookies, fudge, and that gross grocery store peppermint taffy. And Pez. And candy canes. And hot apple cider. And Life Savers storybooks. And… and… and… It’s all nummers. ‘Cept eggnog. I’m not a fan of eggnog.
  4. Giving: Nearly 70 percent of Americans say they give to charities during the holiday season. Do you regularly donate money during the holidays, and if so, do you give to the same group(s) each year or do you change it up from year to year?

    We don’t usually donate money, but always do things for Toys for Tots or other agencies that collect new toys for needy children. We usually contribute to food drives. I used to do Salvation Army red bucket donations, but avoided them this year after reading about their homophobia.
  5. Traditions: Do you have any holiday traditions, like opening one gift on Christmas Eve, or prolonging the gift opening by having each person take a turn opening one gift at a time while everyone else watches?

    Although I love the idea of opening gifts one at a time, it’s really difficult to do with young children. I wrote up most of our traditions in my Christmas report this morning. Other traditions we have involve decorating the tree, Christmas music, sending out cards, etc. I had a good excuse to skip out on a lot of those efforts this year, but it just wouldn’t have felt like Christmas if I had.

I’d love to read your responses! Please share them in a comment below or on your own blog.


Dec. 26: Christmas report

christmasSantaHat I already wrote about the fab start to my Christmas Eve—lunch with Mike, Angie, and Kim—and the day just got better as it went on. I don’t know if having such a joyous holiday amidst my current health crisis means I’m in denial, but it does seem a little strange that we enjoyed ourselves so very much these past couple days.

Throughout the day on Thursday our doorbell rang with the last of my Amazon deliveries and tasty gifts from our generous and friendly neighbors. Have I mentioned before how much I love where we live? It’s a happy place, with happy people. We love them.

When Victor got home from work, he picked up the take-out Chinese food order and brought it home, where we transferred it to our Chinese tableware purchased especially for our annual Christmas Eve tradition. With Darlene’s help, I even got the plates right side-up when I set the table (they actually have Japanese writing on them, but this stupid American doesn’t know the diff, and gets them upside down every year). Two shout-outs:

  • Lucky Star, a Chinese restaurant here in Clackamas, of all places, has pretty decent food. I judge most Chinese restaurants by their hot and sour soup, and this one’s is deeee-licious. I also like that all of their dishes have unique sauces, unlike many American-Chinese restaurants, where everything is served with “pink sauce.” Blech. I know there are much more authentic restaurants in Portland, but when you’re out here in the ‘burbs, we think Lucky Star cannot be beat.
  • The biggest Asian market near us is Fubonn, which is in an Asian shopping center whose stores change on a regular basis. The supermarket itself, though, is huge and much more convenient for us than Uwajimaya in Beaverton. A few years ago I dragged Darlene shopping up there and had her help me choose proper Asian dinnerware, serving dishes and utensils. I got about 16 place settings, with several platters and large bowls, and spent less than $100 for everything. We store it except for the two or three times a year we use it, and it’s totally worth it to eat “real” Chinese food the “right” way.  Fun, too. smiley

After dinner we let Katie and Jack open a few gifts. Another one of our Christmas Eve traditions is that they always get new jammies on Christmas Eve. They also usually get a quiet-ish toy or two, and maybe a book—anything that will NOT keep them from falling asleep that night. Although we aren’t doing the Santa thing anymore, we still keep most of the gifts hidden until Christmas morning so the kids don’t ask to open more and more until all of a sudden there’s nothing left for the next day. This is mostly because Victor and I are parents who just can’t say “no.”

At 11 p.m., both kids were still awake. I would’ve been frustrated by this, but they were playing quite nicely together and looked so darn cute in their new jammies, how could I be upset with them? We finally gave up waiting for them to fall asleep and started loading the gifts under the tree. Peeking was kept to a minimum, so the shrieks of glee the next morning were genuine. I always love that part.

Darlene and Wellington joined us again at 9 a.m. Christmas morning for gift-opening. We all felt completely spoiled and honored by all our goodies, and are still glowing like the happy recipients we are. Mid-afternoon we sat down for a pot roast dinner. I totally played Martha Stewart for that meal—planned everything, but did absolutely NONE of the work. My minions did a lovely job, though, and are definitely going to be re-hired for all future entertaining events at my home.

We all had a lovely Christmas Eve and Day. I needed more rest than in Christmases past, but I still felt very fortunate to be celebrating the holiday with my family. For the most part, the cancer thing easily took a back seat to the festivities, for which I was grateful. I was also relieved not to have horrible weather to deal with, like we did last year and like many folks are having in the Midwest right now. Total suckage!

Here’s hoping your holidays were as joyous as ours!


Dec. 25: Bald ain’t beautiful

This has been my new mail alert for years now:

Download this MP3 - (Right Click)


It was a hell of a lot funnier to hear 30 times a day *before* I was bald.

For three or four days last week, every time I looked down I could see hair that had fallen out of my head and landed on the front of me. Sometimes it was long strands stuck to my clothes. But much worse was when it I could see it had fallen into whatever I was eating. Thank goodness this didn’t happen often, what with the lack of appetite I’ve had for the past month… but once was definitely enough. The other night I asked Victor to shave my head.

I think I’ve shared this photo before:

This is me and my dad, circa 1969. Notice my perfectly rounded and mostly bald head? It’s kinda cute, right? I mean, it’s cute in the way that many bald babies are cute, and it’s scar-free and dent-free and probably as close to perfect as any baby who’s 6+ months old.

Guess what? Forty-plus years has ruined the cuteness of the way I might have ever looked bald. In fact, it’s made my baldness look downright scary. Like Uncle Fester-scary.

Or Mr. Clean-scary.

Or Mr. Bigglesworth-scary.

There are people out there who look good bald (cats excluded). If I were dictator, I’d make sure that only those people would get the hair-falling-out chemotherapy drug. The rest of us would get Rogaine in our IVs. It’s only fair. Because hair is a pretty big deal, y’know? I mean, entire rock operas have been written about it.

Hair brings one’s self-image into focus; it is vanity’s proving ground. Hair is terribly personal, a tangle of mysterious prejudices. ~ Shana Alexander

The HAIR is the richest ornament of women. ~ Martin Luther

We’re all born bald, baby. ~ Telly Savalas

Hair is vitally personal to children. They weep vigorously when it is cut for the first time; no matter how it grows, bushy, straight or curly, they feel they are being shorn of a part of their personality. ~ Charles Chaplin, My Autobiography, 1964

Baldness is a sign that you no longer have to hide your wisdom from people who think they know everything. ~ Kathleen Anderson Johnson

Better a bald head than no head at all. ~ Austin O'Malley

FYI, these are just a few of the names I prefer not to be called in this new state of hairlessness:

  • Fluffy
  • Gillette
  • Lady Schick
  • Lady Godiva
  • Lucile Bald
  • Nair
  • Scarlet No Haira
  • Shaggy



    Dec. 24: Christmas Eve reunion blast

    I went out with my friends Kim F’n and Mike Devitt today. Kim and I have been friends since college, and I’ve known Mike (in the un-Biblical sense) since a few years before that. Mike’s lovely wife Angie joined us too. Here’s what we learned:

    • Kim’s having an affair with her mail carrier, who may or may not have teeth but is most certainly a woman and the father of one of her sons.
    • Mike’s patients, on the other hand, are the opposite of whatever Kim thinks they are.
    • A lot of people we know went to Laurelwood Academy. If you don’t know how they’re connected to us, it’s safe to assume “Laurelwood.”
    • The servers won’t admit it, but anything on Applebees’ menu without an apple next to it is bad for you.
    • People in the booth behind you will become greatly offended if you say “sheee-it!” very loudly over and over and over until they move.
    • Kim flosses at the table, but it’s okay because she totally told you not to look.
    • (I’ve met Deen, Mike. In person. Just reminding you. But you’ve met Neal*, and some might say that’s better. Whatev.) *Thanks, Lori, for correcting me on the spelling of “Neal.”
    • Larry was invited, but didn’t show up. We even waited. Some people just never RSVP.
    • Lori wasn’t invited. That wasn’t very nice, was it? Maybe someone should blame Kim.
    • After an hour with Mike, I’m pretty sure his son’s screaming habit is simply a precursor to talking very fast and not letting a person get an answer in edgewise.
    • Don’t call 911 if you find blood on your toothbrush. Kim will make fun of you on the scanner, and then everyone sitting in a lawn chair as far away as Boise will know.
    • “Hooking up” means something different depending on your age. That age is 40.
    • Dr. Angie diagnosed my lymphoma before my own doctor did by Mike’s description of my symptoms. Together, Angie and Mike are like “House.” ‘Cept they’re “Devitt,” which is not nearly as roll-off-the-tongue-y.
    • Mike has cooler hair than he thinks, thanks to his nephew. He will not get a Brazilian, however, so do not ask.
    • Gary Tetz knows a little bit about wine and can play a mean accordion, but was not involved in that Big Lake scandal.
    • Gary Tetz plays the accordion. I think that bears repeating.

    Last and most certainly NOT least, Buddha’s blessings to Angie, who is incredibly patient to spend all that time with three loud goofballs. Thank you, Kim, for organizing this mini-reunion. And thanks to Mike and Angie for driving ALL THE WAY FROM BOISE to take us out for lunch. Larry would never do that.

    I’ve never laughed so hard about cancer in my whole life. smiley


    Dec. 22: Chemo #2 done

    If you ever have to have chemotherapy and Loveliest Lori offers to come sit with you for the much-too-long amount of time it takes to get all the poison in you, LET HER. She made it fun! It helped that she brought a bazillion trashy magazines, like:

    Lori said I’m too young to read this magazine so I snuck it home. I must see the 14 sexy party hairstyles! Yes, that’s the part I’m dying to read.
    I didn’t get to this one during my appointment so I brought it home, because I simply must find out why guys love me just the way I am. I’m also pretty sure only one guy actually does, and even that’s debatable. But it’s a lovely notion.
    How can I possibly resist such exciting and TRUE accounts of scandals and shockers???
    A celebrity split? Such a shame. But I’ll read any Us magazine for their “Fashion Police” layout.
    I don’t know if I’ve ever read this magazine in my life, but it was scandalicious and that makes it the perfect thing to read during chemo. Hear me? PERFECT.
    Lori was disgusted at herself for buying the “Country Special” edition of People. I thought it was still a fun time-waster, even if she refused to read it.
    It wasn’t the Bobby Sherman edition, but it was still a good one. I can honestly say it’s been at least 30 years since I’ve held a Tiger Beat. I looked through it, thinking, “I’m old enough to be this kid’s mom… and this kid’s mom… and Zac Efron’s… um… girlfriend…”

    Loveliest Lori also brought Now & Laters, one of my favorite candies, and her laptop so I could watch the DVD she gave me—the Journey: Live in Manila concert video, which totally cost more than $10. I love the DVD even though it wasn’t autographed by her drummer bro. (She sent an autographed DVD to Mike Devitt, who she’s never actually met in person and Mike doesn’t even have cancer! But whatever. I still love Lori. Not so sure about Mike. And I’ve met Deen in person on more than one occasion, so suck on that, Mr. Devitt.)


    Chemo was uneventful. Before they got me all IV’d up, I met with my oncologist, who was thrilled with my bloodwork. I worked really hard on my blood since I last saw her, so this was no surprise. She was impressed to hear that I’m sleeping in a bed again and taking far less pain medication than I was two weeks ago; she says it’s “almost certainly” because O.J. is shrinking. Isn’t that great news? It is. It is great news.

    Now it’s all a waiting game to see how this treatment affects me. Except for feeling tired, which is nothing new, I don’t feel much different tonight. But I’ve got all my anti-nausea drugs nearby to take at the first sign of feeling pukey, and Ensure to deal with my lack of appetite. Oh, and my new satin pillow cover, another treat Loveliest Lori brought for me today! It’s slippery!

    My next treatment is Tuesday, January 12. Kim F’n and Sheila R have both offered to sit with me for that one. I’d like for them to get together beforehand to prepare a little IV pole-dancing show for me that day (Lori refused to perform today—something about a busted ankle or pride). Do I have the most wonderful friends, or what? I can’t forget Rockstar Cassie, who took Katie and Jack for a sleepover at her house tonight, and Jenn K, who brought us a delicious lasagna dinner. And then there are all the texts and messages and FB comments I received from well-meaning friends and family today. I tell ya, there are some fabulous people in my life, and I have no idea what I did to deserve them.

    But boy, do I like them lots. Even Mike Devitt, who has an autographed DVD but no cancer, because he’s been known to say nice things to me too.


    Dec. 21: I’m not just Baldilocks

    Brenda and Loveliest Lori both sent me this very cute “flair” on Facebook today:

    I found some cute images to send back to Brenda, but then I decided to post them here because they’re pretty good and we cancer wenches share.


    That last one’s my favorite. No matter how my story ends, the theme throughout will be hope and love, thanks to my remarkable group of supportive family and friends.


    Dec. 21: So many things

    I haven’t posted in a few days, and I wouldn’t write right now if not for that fancy little bulleted list button up on the toolbar. I’m way too scattered to write a cohesive post.

    • Christmas shopping: done. I think. This year I shopped locally and online, almost equally. I hate waiting until the last minute, but Amazon Prime is, like, the greatest invention EVER, and I was still placing orders yesterday. If you need a cardboard box with an Amazon logo on it, by Friday I’ll have a very tall pile of them.
    • The mall: Hell on earth.
    • Doorbell: rings too much.
    • Christmas shipments: done. Definitely. Will they get to their destinations before Christmas? I sure hope so.
    • The Nanny Diaries sequel: purchased. I didn’t see the movie (Scarlett Johansson is one of those totally overrated actresses, IMO), but I read the book when it first came out and really liked it. Nanny Returns picks up 12 years after Nanny stops working for the X’s.
    • Millie: cabin feverish. The cat’s locked up in our bedroom while Gilly’s here, and she’s going nuts. We let her out for a little while yesterday, and it seemed to help. I think she realized that outside isn’t so awesome when it’s rainy and cold—she hasn’t asked to go out since she came back last night.
    • My vision: all wonky. WTF? I noticed last week that I was having a hard time seeing long distances. During The Nutcracker performance, I couldn’t tell which bad actor was Jack. I called my oncologist to ask about it and was told it’s a temporary side effect from the steroids—the steroids I haven’t taken since the week of my last treatment. Hopefully I’ll get more information when I see the doctor tomorrow, and hopefully I’ll feel comfortable enough to drive again someday. This kinda sucks.
    • Chemo: tomorrow. Loveliest Lori is accompanying me on treatment #2. Let’s hope it takes less than six hours this time. Let’s also hope it doesn’t make me so sick that I spend Christmas Day in bed. The timing for treatment #2 could definitely be better.
    • My head: hurts. It’s not headache-y; it’s tender. I think it hurts from the nonstop pulling on my very loosely attached hair. I blame The Boy.
    • Bathroom sink: clogged with hair. I don’t have much left, but what comes out every day still manages to plug up the drain again and again.
    • Hairless: the people who love me most. My cousin Deanna suggested that rather than shaving your heads, y’all should get Brazilian bikini waxes in support of me losing my hair. Great idea, isn’t it? Turns out there are a lot more people who would rather shave their heads. It also turns out that not everyone knows exactly what makes a Brazilian bikini wax different from a regular one. Here’s a pretty good account. And if you’re on the fence, I don’t advise reading this article.
    • My hairy friends: I still love you. But a little ‘scaping wouldn’t kill ya, would it?
    • Akinator: silly fun. Think of a real person, movie character, anything like that… the Akinator will ask you questions until he guesses who you’re thinking of. Try it.


    Dec. 19: Wig report

    Wig Day #1 went alright. Besides being kinda hot, I’d call the afternoon a success. When we went to The Nutcracker performance at the school Thursday night, I wore one of the newsboy caps Loveliest Lori got for me. I got lots of compliments, but I’m pretty sure most people would’ve said nice things even if they thought I looked like a giant dork, because the people I know are nice and also, occasionally, pants-afire-liars.

    When I got home, my wig was so far back, the bangs no longer lay on my forehead. What did I tell you? I knew something embarrassing would happen. I can just imagine Jenn K and Sabrina, who were sitting behind me at The Nutcracker, thinking WOW, JEN MUSTA PAID EXTRA TO HAVE A WIG THAT ACTUALLY GETS LONGER AS YOU WEAR IT. I was like that doll, where you twist her arm into ungodly positions to make the ponytail grow out the top of her head.

    Clearly, there is work to be done getting the wig to stay where it’s supposed to. Any recommendations? I’ve got my eye on a Costco case of Super Glue, or at least a pulley system of some sort.

    Wig Day #2 was yesterday. It was a fun Christmas-y shopping day with Random Sunshine, and only a few moments of wig embarrassment. The first (and worst) was when we were in The Blue Butterfly—one of the cutest stores EVER, by the way—and, without thinking or looking around first, I yanked hard on my bangs to make sure the wig was where it was supposed to be. A second later I looked up to see the store owner looking right at me. Totally not humiliating, right? Because I don’t go in that store, like, every week…

    The only thing I really, really, really dislike about the wig, besides the fact that it feels like friggin’ Barbie hair because it IS friggin’ Barbie hair, is that I get sooo hot in it. And I don’t mean “hawt,” I mean “hot” as in profusely-sweaty-wig-sliding-back-Barbie-hair-melting-down-my-face hot. Would it be very noticeable if I wore a pack of Blue Ice under the wig? Cuz I really think that would help.

    I’m not going to do Wig Day #3, #4, etc. blog posts. We’re done with wig reports for now, unless something even more humiliating happens that I feel the need to report to the Internet. Do not fret—you know it’ll happen. This is ME we’re talking about.


    Dec. 17: Wig Day #1

    Every time I touched my head yesterday, loads of hair fell off me. This does not include the bunches intentionally yanked by Terri and Katie D at work and (once again) Jack. In the evening, I pulled and pulled and filled my bathroom sink with hair. I’m not kidding—it was totally full. And kinda gross.

    Even grosser? (Tell me, Fancy Lori, is “grosser” a word?) The cat found my hair stash in the sink—admittedly, I had not hidden it well—and pulled most of it onto the floor and proceeded to play in and with it. That was super-fun to clean up.

    I have (or had, actually) a LOT of hair. It’s always been really thick and full. And I still have hair on my head, but now it’s easy to see my scalp. The hair I have left lies flat against my head. There’s still enough that if you didn’t know me it probably wouldn’t look unusual, but trust me, I’m not going out in public like this.

    Today is a wig day. My first one. Here’s what I predict will happen:

    1. A bird will pluck it right off my noggin. I hate birds.
    2. A good wind gust will hit me as I get out of my car and blow my hair across the parking lot. I will have a bit less pride than I need to just let it go—yes, that will be me chasing my tumbleweeding wig onto Market Street.
    3. I will turn around quickly but my wig will not move with me, and my bangs will end up in the back. I will then immediately be approached by a circus ringmaster looking for a new side show act ever since The Bearded Lady started chemo herself and became Just Any Old Fat Lady, and I will be The Queen of The Reverse Mullet and the newly-unemployed Kate Gosselin will sue me for stealing her horrible, horrible look.
    4. Throughout the day my wig will move further and further back until it falls off. I will not notice, and will end up sitting on it all afternoon while my coworkers are too embarrassed to tell me, and then when I finally leave work my hair will be bent from being under my butt all afternoon and there will be some activity in the hospital atrium I have to walk through and everyone will look at the girl with the butt-bent hair and make fun of her and I will have to yell I HAVE CANCER YOU BULLIES to make them shut up.
    5. It will be hot and itchy and I will vow to never wear it again.

    I’ll report back later to let you know which of these actually occurred. Wish me luck—I’m really not interested in the circus life.



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