Apr. 30: Month in review

april April 2014 is over. I haven’t done one of these month-end things in a while, but I sooo want to bid this month GOOD RIDDANCE that it seems appropriate to resume the semi-habit today.

Special days I celebrated this month and how:

  • Ummmmm… can’t think of a one. I mean, some good things that happened this month, sure. No actual celebrations, though.
  • Sherilee swung/swang/swinged/swunged through town while touring college campuses with her son. We met up for breakfast and had a lovely visit, as we always do. I’m crossing my fingers that Seth chooses Lewis & Clark so she swings through town even MORE often!
  • I had a court date for My First Speeding Ticket Issued From a Person, Not a Camera. I know, I know… it’s not so shocking that I got stopped for speeding, but that it had never happened before. The whole thing was unremarkable, as I shared in my Facebook status immediately after. Boo.


  • Spring is here, finally; we had some really beautiful days this month—this week the temps are hitting the mid-80s. The sunshine is a lovely thing to see.

I saw things with my eyes:

  • Lots of good stuff on TV these days… And OH so much trash! Chrisley Knows Best, I’m talking ‘bout you.
  • I’ve watched (listened to) Frozen on repeat most the month. You know those annoying people who recite movies word for word, beginning to end? It physically hurts me not to do it. Ye be warned.
  • Katie has now been introduced to The Breakfast Club. She knew about the movie from its references in Pitch Perfect and had been asking if she could watch it. Like an idiot, I forgot to consider all the reasons it’s rated R. Oops. (How does that saying go? Something about “great parenting falls somewhere between ‘don’t do that’ and ‘oh, what the hell.’”) I think what Katie enjoyed most about it was recognizing four of the five stars from their episodes of Psych.

This month’s good and bad:

There’s really only one thing to talk about here: Theresa’s husband lost his cancer fight on April 10. I rambled a bit about it here. It’s hard to write about for many reasons, but mostly because I want to be respectful to Scott’s family’s grief. I’m intensely angry and so, so sad.

There aren’t enough four letter words for cancer. It’s time to invent new ones. I bet Val could help me with that. :)

I likes to share the silly stuff:

I want to close on a less bummer-y note, so here are pictures I’ve been collecting.

photo 1



photo 4



  photo 2




Time to move forward. May will be good, right? 


    Apr. 21: Related-ish to 4/20

    In the midst of feeling super-shitty about life and pissed at the world in general, it’s nice to happen upon things that bring a smile. Recently I’ve found a lot of them on Instagram.

    This Baby Max Easter photo:


    It’s been awhile since I’ve gnawed on those cheeks. Great-Auntie Jen is going through withdrawals. Must fix.

    Margaret posted a pic of her beautiful, obedient pups:


    How cute? So cute!

    Kim F’n’s goofy dog loves the sunroof:


    OK, this is just THE BEST: Ed has been taking/sending his nephew’s Flat Stanley around the world (Portland, lately):


    Now, what I love most about this is not just that he’s taking pics of Flat Stanley all over the world (which is pretty great), but that he’s gone an extra step and made accessories for him. He turned him into a hipster for recent Portland pics, and gave him a helmet for a bike trip. And what I love about that is the picture in my head of Ed buying a box of crayons (24? 64 with a built-in sharpener? I must know!) to make Stanley his new clothes/gear, designing them so they look right AND fit perfectly, and laminating them. It just makes me so, so happy.

    It almost makes me feel bad about the time I accused Ed of hating all the nice things in life.


    This made me chuckle and shake my head: 

    My dreams are always insane, but last night’s was particularly vivid. This will sound like I embellished to make it extra-weird, but I assure you that every part of the following account was actually in my dream.

    1475260669_1378816234I was having post-cancer treatment tests, and results were all good, so I moved in with my dad (???). I got my hands on some marijuana but I didn’t want him to smell me smoking it, so I ate it. I ate it right out of the unrolled paper, because yuuum, I guess. While touring the campus of the nearest public high school—in hopes of being enrolled—I ran into a friend from college who was working there as a recruiter… because public high schools recruit students like me, 45-year-olds who have zero athletic skills and eat weed like sunflower seeds. Oh, and he was wearing a cape. Totes normal. My dad was embarrassed that I was talking to this caped guy, and I was all WHATEVER MAYBE YOU’RE THE WEIRD ONE, but that can’t be because Dad was cape-less. While arguing, I got a phone call from Ed, who said I had to leave immediately for the hospital to see someone about one of my tests. I guess I was too high to question the fact that Ed, who is technically not a physician, was giving me this info. While in the waiting room—which was also an airport terminal, duh—Boyz II Men walked by. They were white, and because I was friends with them since way-back, they stopped to chat. Yup. Peeps were soooo jealous. I finally got called in for my meeting, and was surprised to see B.J. Novak behind the desk. He started by asking me what happens when a computer screen is inactive for a while. I said, “Ummmm… the computer goes to sleep?” and he said, “Yes, and that’s what you’re going to do.” Ooooookay… We went back and forth with him being super-mysterioso, and finally he said the reason I was called there was so he could tell me I was at my insurance max and they had to let me die. It seemed strange, since I was fine right then, but he said a rule was a rule and WHAT. A. JERK. right???

    Who needs to actually smoke (eat) pot when my dreams are already like this??? Here’s a possible explanation for why dreams like this happen as often as they do. The fact that marijuana was one of the stars on 4/20 wouldn’t be such a puzzler if I actually partook… EVER.

    jackieold Something similar to the above kind of crazy is a short story I read last night, Jackie Old: a tale of the future told in the past, by Armistead Maupin. It was written in 1980 but is set in 1999 in San Francisco, which has been leveled by a 1906-like earthquake. Mick Jagger’s daughter is the mayor and married to JFK, Jr. Across the country, Jim Bakker is U.S. president (yikes), and his newly-formed Praise the Lord political party is determined to rid San Francisco of evil once and for all. Jackie Kennedy, who has become a bit of an eccentric recluse like her cousin featured in the train wreck that is Grey Gardens, discovers a new way to get back in the public eye when she decides to save San Francisco from the PTL-ers. 

    Particularly amusing were the futuristic assumptions Maupin made, such as hologram news broadcasts and Truman Capote being a PTL-er—while JFK, Jr. has to use a payphone to call his wife at City Hall. Ha! My favorite part of all, though, was Jackie’s first encounter with the drag queens. So clever, that Armistead Maupin.

    I hope your week doesn’t suck.


    Apr. 18: Cancer is an asshole

    a5000e802d87b82dcb658c8dadfe91feEvery time I start to blog lately, my thoughts wander from whatever meaningless topic I was planning to write about and focus on all the reasons I have no business writing about meaningless things. That’s why it’s been quiet ‘round here lately. A couple friends have messaged me to ask if everything’s okay, and I want to say that it is, but that’d be lying.

    Things are not okay.

    Things are not okay because while *I* may not have any diagnosed cancer cells in my body right now, cancer is still affecting people that I love. I AM NOT FINE WITH THAT. No one should be. I’m furious that people are still dying from cancer, that people who are being diagnosed immediately feel they’ve been given a death sentence. I know cancer cure rates are a lot higher than they used to be, but they’re not high enough.

    Examples? Why yes, I have several, DAMMIT.

    Theresa’s husband, Scott, was on hospice for a very short two weeks before he passed away last Thursday. He was way too young for this to happen. He had zero risk factors that contributed to his type of cancer. It’s just plain WRONG that he even had it in the first place. His daughters, 6 and 10, say it isn’t fair and ask why. What the hell can anyone say to that??? We agree. We ask why, too.

    The wife of another friend just found out she has an aggressive form of breast cancer. She’s also young, with two young sons.

    The doctor that ordered the scan that finally diagnosed my constant pain for the entirety of 2009—one of the kindest, most caring physicians I’ve ever known—was recently diagnosed with cancer himself.

    See? It’s all-cancer-all-the-time, and I’m pissed.

    Immediately after hearing about Scott last week, I felt an urgent need to DO something. Theresa’s house was full of family taking care of her immediate needs, and there was nothing I could help with there. I quickly figured out that sitting still just turned into crying, which did no good at all, so I tried to be busy. In the first hour I went out to our front yard and dug up every dandelion I could find, inadvertently digging up a few bulbs and other things we’ve lovingly placed “just so” over the years. Oops. When I finished our yard, I moved over into Tina’s. Then I went to the other side and worked on Trudy’s yard. I was exhausted and filthy, and I’d relieved a teensy bit of tension, but it wasn’t enough. I drove to a nursery to get more plants, and wandered the aisles back and forth, unable to make any choices. I don’t know why I thought plants were the answer. I was absolutely worthless.

    A few of us went to Theresa’s that evening. Conversation was all over the place, and at times it felt almost like any other girls’ night—we talked about a new job, a quirky husband, vacation plans, our hope to someday smoke pot just once, getting old, middle school drama, good wine, smelly boys, haircuts, Theresa’s near-perfect puppy, and more. But mixed in with all that was conversation about the hospice experience, Scott’s last moments, his big family (Val made a very helpful org chart of them!), memorial service plans, his bucket list, and the kids. It was good to be together, and it was good to smile. It was good to see Theresa smile. We all kinda love her a LOT.

    cancer images (9) (As a bystander, it’s hard not to put yourself in the shoes of the grieving person/people. We can pull from our own past experiences of loss, but the differences are huge sometimes—grieving a parent is not the same as grieving a spouse. It ends up being a lot of stumbling around, mumbling the same thing as everyone else: “I’m here for you” and “I’m so sorry” and “tell me if you need anything”—heartfelt, yes, but they just feel so friggin’ empty.)

    The next morning I was still antsy. I didn’t want to feel the feels, y’know? I attacked weeds again. I cleaned the house. I sorted laundry. I did whatever I could to avoid sitting and thinking. This was a good release of my angry energy, of course, but also made me feel selfish; I mean—and I know this sounds overdramatic—Theresa and her kids don’t have the luxury of avoiding thoughts of Scott.

    That evening I got the message from my friend about his wife’s diagnosis. I was watching TV, having calmed enough to sit for a few moments, and that damn email alert changed everything. It’s incredible—and a little scary—to feel how quickly anger comes over oneself. I pounded out a reply, and I tossed and turned all night with worry about his family, Theresa and her family, and cancer in general.

    I hate that I feel like a rotten friend to these people right now, because I know that ONE, I’m not all that encouraging—I want to be, but it’s hard to ignore all the screaming of four-letter words in my head, and TWO, I have a hard time separating my own experience from theirs. In other words, I worry that I come off as though I think it’s all about me. I know it isn’t. Everyone’s cancer fight is different. Everyone’s cancer fight is their own. But hearing another person has to start fighting brings back so much of the bullshit I dealt with four years ago.

    What I have to say to these people probably makes no difference at all, but I really, truly want to help, to ease pain, to give hope. Yes, I have some knowledge of what it means to be a cancer patient. But really, I should probably just shut the hell up. Cancer stirs all kinds of emotions in me, still, and I’m not so good at bottling them or waiting for the appropriate time to share them. The word “cancer” makes me just BLEARGH and throw my useless words all over the place.

    Come ON, medical science. It’s not okay that we have to keep hearing about more cancer. It feels like we’re all just waiting to get the news for ourselves; it doesn’t seem to matter if we avoid known carcinogens, eat right, do all we’re supposed to for good health; cancer’s still gonna find its way into us.

    I’m pissed. I’m so, so tired of being pissed. It’s not okay.




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